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Amanda Knox's Murder Conviction Overturned; Testimony Continues in Michael Jackson Death Trial; Perry Under Fire for Ranch's Racist Name; E.R. Doctors Testify in Jackson Death Trial

Aired October 3, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone, 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

Breaking news tonight from Italy, the best news imaginable for the family of Amanda Knox. In just a few hours, she will be heading home. And here's how that happy ending began. Take a look. You can see the story in a single picture. Just imagine the emotion behind this, this shot just as the verdict came in overturning her murder conviction in the death of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, ending nearly four years from behind bars for the American exchange student from Seattle.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): ... is acquitted -- they're acquitted of offense of charges A, B, C, D. And with regard to E, because the (INAUDIBLE) didn't happen. So we have overturned. So, Knox, Amanda, is free and Sollecito, Raffaele, as well.


COOPER: Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito both exonerated on murder charges. The court's upholding Knox's slander conviction, but sentencing her in effect to time served. The jury, which also included two judges, had powerful incentive to overturn, including evidence casting doubt on the state's DNA evidence and Amanda Knox's own words earlier today.


AMANDA KNOX, DEFENDANT (through translator): I am the same person I was four years ago, exactly the same person. The only thing that separates me now from four years ago is my suffering. In four years, I have lost my friends in the most terrible and unexplainable way.

My trust in authorities and the police has been damaged. I had to face charges that were totally without any basis. And I'm paying with my life for something that I haven't done.

Meredith has been murdered and I always wanted justice for her. I am not escaping the truth and I never tried to escape the truth. I insist on the truth. I insist that after four desperate years, I insist on my innocence, our innocence, because it's true and it got to be defended and recognized.


COOPER: Well, outside the courtroom, competing outcries from onlookers, some shouting victory, victory as the legal team left, others yelling shame, shame. Amanda's sister, Deanna, read a brief family statement.


DEANNA KNOX, SISTER OF AMANDA KNOX: We are thankful for the support we have received from all over the world, people who took the time to research the case and could see that Amanda and Raffaele were innocent. And last, we are thankful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth and to overturn this conviction.


COOPER: Well, Knox said nothing herself leaving the prison in a two- car convoy after briefly picking up her belongings and saying her goodbyes. She's reportedly in Rome. Her parents will depart some time early tomorrow local time for Seattle.

Matthew Chance was in the courtroom in Perugia when the verdict came in. He joins us now.

What is the latest you're hearing? Where is Amanda Knox right now and do we know what her plans are for the next few hours?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an undisclosed location. We understand she's staying at a villa with her family. She's reuniting with her family and friends that have come over to support her, obviously presumably celebrating her dramatic acquittal from these murder charges and her release from her 26-year prison sentence.

I expect she's got a lot to talk about, a lot to celebrate. Her plans over the next coming hours, as you just mentioned, according to the family, according to the lawyers that we have spoken to, she wants to get home as soon as possible back to Seattle so she can pick up, you know, the pieces of her shattered life.

It's something that she said she has wanted to do since she was arrested four years ago, and since she was sentenced in 2009 for the killing of Meredith Kercher.

COOPER: Matthew, I mentioned you were in the courtroom. I was watching on television. I couldn't tell what the reaction in the court was. I heard all these sounds but it was very hard to kind of understand whether people were yelling at her or for her. What was it like?

CHANCE: It was very emotional indeed. The sounds that you could hear in the court were the sort of hoots and yelps and cheers of the Knox family.

They were the only ones making the noise really. They were so euphoric. They couldn't believe that this nightmare for them had come to an end. Amanda Knox herself was overwhelmed with emotion. She could barely walk she was crying so much as they escorted her out of court. She was very much overcome with the emotion of the moment.

Very tense situation because also the Kerchers were in the courtroom the sister of Meredith Kercher, the mother of Meredith Kercher, the murdered girl as well. And they had the opposite reaction. They were very upset, very sad, and they were crying because of this acquittal.

COOPER: And I know they feel like she's the forgotten victim in all of this. And we're actually going to give you a profile of Meredith Kercher a little bit later on in the program just on this day when the family of Amanda Knox is celebrating. We just want to remember the family of another victim in all of this, Meredith Kercher. That's coming up. Matthew, thank you.

I want to turn now to Drew Griffin, who is in Amanda's hometown, Seattle. Also with us here, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and former L.A. Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark, author of the book "Guilt By Association."

Jeff, in your opinion, was this the correct verdict?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, this was really a terrible case.

There were two pieces of evidence against her. There was this confession that was clearly discombobulated and false and a piece of DNA that was completely discredited. Plus, the real killer is in prison. Rudy Guede has all his DNA, all his blood. It's all at the murder scene and we know who did this. And the prosecution of Amanda Knox and her boyfriend, it just seemed inexplicable to me.

COOPER: And, Marcia, a lot has hinged on DNA evidence that was later reversed or later ruled basically useless.


And, Anderson, it's one of these things that you look at it now and you think, wow, why did nobody look at this at the time of trial? Why did this even get this far if it was this badly handled? And on appeal we discover it was.

But they have a different system there. And in trial, unlike here, where we really weed it out before we ever get to court, there, it seemed as though they go to trial, and then they weed it out on appeal, whereas here an appeal is a very limited thing. They have a different balance. The bad news about that system is people go to trial and sit in prison waiting for an appeal who probably shouldn't be there.

COOPER: And she already has served four years.


TOOBIN: And what made today so incredibly dramatic is in the Italian system, the stakes were much higher than usual. The court could have increased her sentence. In an American appeal, you can't get a longer sentence. But the Italian prosecutors asked for a life sentence. She was looking at anywhere between life and going home today.

COOPER: Incredible.


TOOBIN: ... pretty incredible, yes.

COOPER: The pressure must have just been extraordinary.

Drew, you're in Amanda Knox's hometown of Seattle. What are you hearing from friends and from family and from people there?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: They're just elated that this nightmare is finally over, looking forward to her coming home, hopefully tomorrow, hoping to hear from her, although the family has told us in the past that they were going to let Amanda Knox decide when and if she talks to the media.

They are very concerned about the pressure she will be under when she does get back to the States.

COOPER: Marcia, it was interesting to watch the courtroom. It seems like kind of chaos. It just seems so disorganized compared to a U.S. courtroom.

CLARK: Doesn't it? I was impressed by the same thing. It like people are just kind of milling around.


COOPER: It's like, who are all these people and what are they doing?


CLARK: And it's so crowded there you could barely see here. It's like they engulf her. And then all of a sudden she's moving and a whole crowd is moving around her and it does seem a lot less orderly.

TOOBIN: And I have to say I got a kick out of the crucifix behind the judge. That's not exactly you would see in an American courtroom.


CLARK: True.

COOPER: Are you surprised that she's still spending -- that she's spending the night on Italian soil? There was a lot of talk about her trying to get out right away. I don't know what her access is to planes.

CLARK: Right. She's probably getting out right away. At the last minute, she probably couldn't book the flight until she knew what the verdict was, right? So I think maybe she is getting out as soon as she can. COOPER: What's the expectation, Drew, for the next 24 to 48 hours? Do we know, is she going to return directly to Seattle?

GRIFFIN: That's the plan. The family had been talking about a big barbecue. She's a barbecue fan. Her stepfather brought her barbecue when she was in that prison outside of Perugia. That is the plan.

But again, they say that Amanda Knox really, even though this case is huge and even though she had access, that Amanda really didn't know how big this case was internationally in scope, and they are very concerned about how she will handle it.

Anderson, I just want to point out to your viewers, I sat down with this prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, and to understand how it got to this point, you have to understand this man. In my interview, he was a guy who would step over the obvious path that the evidence led to and look for conspiracy theories to explain how this evidence could fit into his version of what this crime was.

And I think a lot of how this came to this point, this four years in prison, was developed out of Giuliano Mignini's mind and his conspiracy theories that he just would not shake, even though the evidence was pointing in different directions.

COOPER: Drew, I remember that interview you did. And I was really stunned. I think -- and correct me if I'm wrong, but I vaguely recall him saying something like, well, when I went to the crime scene, my instinct just told me she had done it.

GRIFFIN: Yes. He showed up on the very first day Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were comforting each other outside the apartment. And from that moment, he knew somehow those two people were guilty.

And when the evidence came back, remember, Patrick Lumumba was also arrested based on the confession of Amanda Knox. The police had just checked her own confession, which she says was coerced. They would have known that Patrick Lumumba had an airtight alibi. He was running his bar with a lot of people in his bar that night. They had to let him go.

Then the DNA comes back and they still include Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, even though none of that forensic evidence was there to prove they were at the crime scene.


Marcia, why do people give confessions that are false to police? We hear this time and time again. I think a lot of people always ask that question. I would never confess to the police. How does that happen?

CLARK: Until you're under the gun, until you're a young -- especially, look at her, for example. A young girl in a foreign country who feels very alone and very frightened and perhaps is being on some level, whether it's implicit or explicit, is being assured that if she does admit some kind of culpability, she will get out eventually and it will be better for her if she tells the truth right now.

There's that kind of a promise and an implicit threat that if you don't tell the truth right now, as they see it, it will go much worse for you. So picture her alone in that situation.

COOPER: Right.


TOOBIN: Happens all the time.

COOPER: It happens all the time?

TOOBIN: Unbelievable.

COOPER: And even to people who under normal circumstances would be like, no, there's no way I could ever do that.

TOOBIN: Right. And keep in mind that Amanda Knox is 20 years old. She's only been in Italy for two months and her Italian is shaky at best. And she's being interrogated in Italian.

COOPER: Also, Drew, the whole idea that this was some sort of sexcapade on the part of her boyfriend and her, she had only been dating this guy I think you revealed in your report for eight days.

GRIFFIN: That's absolutely right. And in our interview with the prosecutor, he said -- he fluffed it off, said, I have no idea where that whole sex orgy thing came from.

Well, it was he was quoted as being the source of that. Back to the point of the confession, Amanda Knox told her parents -- and this is why her parents are also in trouble because they repeated this -- that the police harangued her for 15 hours. They didn't give her water. There was no translation accurately being given to her.

She didn't speak fluent Italian like she does now back when this happened. According to her, she said she was asked to imagine what could have happened. I have talked to other people that were interrogated by Mignini.

And they said, listen, in separate crimes we were asked to imagine what would happen. And I have the Amanda Knox confession, which by the way was thrown out of court. In it she says, "At the very end, I do not remember if Meredith was screaming and if I heard some thuds, too, because I was upset, but I imagine what could have happened."

I'm not sure what happened in this confession, but it was after many, many hours of interrogation when she says she was in a room with limited translation being provided by a police officer, not an actual Italian-to-English translator.

COOPER: Drew, appreciate your reporting. Thank you. Jeff as well, Marcia Clark, thanks for being here.

Let me know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be trying to tweet over the course of this hour.

Up next, how doubts about DNA evidence helped free Amanda Knox. We will be joined by an expert from Idaho's Innocence Project. We will also take a look at the victim in all this, Meredith Kercher, not forgetting her tonight.

Later, the controversy over Rick Perry's old hunting grounds. The old name of the place, it is a racial slur. Perry's people claim it's ancient history. The sign they say was painted over decades ago. "The Washington Post" says it's closer to current events. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

But first let's check in with Isha Sesay.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's already high drama, but today some of the most gripping testimony yet in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. Two emergency room doctors taking the stand telling jurors what happened as they tried to revive their patient and they say what crucial fact that Dr. Conrad Murray failed to mention -- that and much more when 360 continues.


COOPER: Again, our breaking news tonight, in just a few hours later this morning local time, Amanda Knox is expected to leave Italy. Earlier tonight this was the scene, a van followed by the black Mercedes with her in the back, departing the prison.

Her conviction in the killing of Meredith Kercher overturned late today by an appeals court in Perugia where the murder took place and where the two women shared an apartment.

As you have seen already, this is being viewed as vindication for Amanda Knox, recognition that justice was not done in her original trial, which for some is another way of saying that justice was not done either for the victim.


COOPER (voice-over): Meredith Kercher's family feels she's become the forgotten victim.

STEPHANIE KERCHER, SISTER OF VICTIM: It's very difficult to kind of keep her memory alive in all of this.

COOPER: Kercher was just 21 years old when she was raped and murdered, her body found partially naked, her throat slashed.

S. KERCHER: The brutality of what actually happened that night and everything that Meredith must have felt that night, everything she went through, the fear and the terror and not knowing why, and she didn't deserve that. No one deserves that.

COOPER: Kercher was the youngest of four kids. Growing up, she loved poetry, gymnastics and ballet.

MAUREEN LEVY, NEIGHBOR: She was nice. She was clever, and there's not enough metaphors to say how nice she was.

COOPER: Her friends and family remember Kercher as someone who always cared for others, always wanted to lend a helping hand.

LYLE KERCHER, BROTHER OF VICTIM: We perhaps feel it the most when we sort of meet up things like her birthday and Christmas, which is only a couple of months off now, and her absence is huge really.

COOPER: Kercher, a third-year student at the University of Leeds, was in Italy to study European politics and Italian. To raise money for the trip, she worked a job at Gatwick Airport near her home south of London. Her father John told "The Daily Telegraph -- quote -- "She fought so hard to get out there. There were quite a few setbacks, but she was determined to go and kept persisting and eventually got what she wanted."

Once in Perugia, Kercher moved into this villa with Amanda Knox.

ARLINE KERCHER, MOTHER OF VICTIM: I think they were friendly, but I wouldn't say they were that close, because they were moving in different circles and at different levels as well.

COOPER: For Kercher, the study-abroad program in Italy was the opportunity of a lifetime, until that violent night her life and future were stolen.

And now that an Italian jury has thrown out the murder convictions of Knox and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, Kercher's family is left wondering whether justice was served.

L. KERCHER: I think it is difficult to sort of speak of forgiveness at this point. As I say, four years on the one hand is a very long time. On the other, it's not. It's still very, very raw.

A. KERCHER: We need to find out what happened. And it's not really a question of reaching out or, you know, joining them in anything. It is to find out what happened to Meredith and to get some justice for her really.


COOPER: It's hard to imagine your daughter dying in a faraway land and feeling that you don't know what really happened even four years after her murder.

Let's dig deeper now on the scientific evidence that prosecutors continue to maintain tied Amanda Knox and her boyfriend to the crime, and it's the same evidence that the appeals judges felt wanting.

Joining us now is Greg Hampikian. He's a professor of biology at Boise State University and the director of the Idaho Innocence Project.

Greg, thanks for being with us. You said Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her then-boyfriend, should have been released four years ago because the scientific evidence just wasn't there to support the prosecution's case. How so?

GREG HAMPIKIAN, DNA EXPERT: I think we see the tragedy of misapplied science in that you have shown the Kerchers. They're now in a state of just utter despair because they were led down a certain road.

But the DNA that was done the day of the murder in that room where their daughter was killed was done perfectly well. I have watched all the videos and seen the collection and gone through all the analysis. All of that DNA pointed to Rudy Guede, one person.

And the tragedy here is that gut feeling, the gut feeling of the prosecutor trumped the science. And because of that, we have added more victims to this crime. You have three families devastated. And you have the first victim's family in this terrible state where they don't know who to trust now. So that's the problem when you refuse to give up a gut feeling when the science comes back and shows you, you were wrong.

COOPER: You got involved in this case back in 2009. You conducted tests basically recreating how the police collected the evidence. What did that show you?

HAMPIKIAN: Well, we collected tests where I told my research associates to change their gloves every other time, every other piece of evidence. Kind of -- we didn't see them change gloves much at all in the video. When they did that, we saw the same type of contamination that was seen in this case.

We saw innocent DNA from some soda cans we collected from the staff of my dean's office ended up on some knives because my staff was only changing their gloves every other piece of evidence.

COOPER: So wait a minute. Explain that to me.


COOPER: What's the important of changing the gloves?

HAMPIKIAN: Well, you know, the principle of DNA transfer is that it is so easy to move DNA. If I want to move your fingerprint from a glass, your traditional fingerprint, it's impossible -- or difficult at least.

But DNA, I just have to rub it with my finger and rub it on to a gun or a knife, and your DNA has moved. Now, if I'm wearing a glove, the only DNA that shows up in a gun is your DNA that I transferred from your soda can, from your skin.

We showed that that's what happens especially when you do -- what they did in Italy. They did not stick with the traditional cutoff, which is about what we call 200 RFUs or 150. They went down to a very, very low level. When we did that in my laboratory, we saw contamination.


COOPER: RFU, that's a level of DNA, an amount? HAMPIKIAN: Yes. I'm sorry to use...

COOPER: That's OK.

HAMPIKIAN: That's the relative fluorescence unit. So for example the FBI says that they won't report to incriminate someone levels that are below 200.

COOPER: I see.

HAMPIKIAN: My lab, we use 150 as our cutoff. We validated that. Some labs maybe go down to 100. I have seen a few that have validated their approach to 50. But in this case, they looked at the knife that implicated Amanda, they looked for Meredith Kercher's DNA, didn't find it at 200, lowered it to 100, started to see it, and then brought it down to something like 15.

And if I do that in my lab, I'm going to find my kid's DNA transferred on my hands.

COOPER: Wow. That's amazing.


HAMPIKIAN: ... such small levels. Yes. So that's why we set those levels. We set them at levels -- that's the FBI does it -- they say, we're sure when we do it at this level, it's real. And, unfortunately, the gut feeling was supported by bad science in this case. It's ruined two more families. It will take them a long time to get over this.

COOPER: Yes. Yes, it sure will. It's fascinating stuff.

Greg Hampikian, I appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being on.

HAMPIKIAN: Thank you. Thanks, Anderson.

Up next tonight, thick clouds of black smoke caused by a fire in at chemical plant in Texas forced a nearby school in a neighborhood to evacuate. We will take a look at those images. We're going to have the latest on that.

And the latest on Dr. Conrad Murray's trial, the death trial of Michael Jackson. Damaging details emerge from the emergency room from the doctors in the emergency room who tried to save Michael Jackson's life when he arrived at the hospital -- details ahead.


COOPER: Coming up, Rick Perry on the defensive over racially charged campaign controversy. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

But first, Isha with a 360 bulletin -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, officials say preliminary tests show there is no threat to the public from a fire at a Texas chemical plant. Buildings within an eight-block radius of the plant in Waxahachie, Texas, were evacuated, including a school. The cause of the fire isn't known. No one was injured.

More dates being set in the Republican presidential race. South Carolina has scheduled its primary for January 21 to stay ahead of Florida. Last week Florida scheduled its primary for late January, violating Republican Party calendar rules. They say only Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada can hold primaries before March 6.

A Nobel Prize is going to a man who died just days before being named a winner. Biologist Ralph Steinman died of pancreatic cancer Friday. The Nobel Committee was unaware of his death when it announced he had won a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

And Andy Rooney signed of from "60 Minutes" last night, capping a career of more than six decades. It was his 1,097th essay for the how. But Rooney said he's not retiring because writers don't retire and he will always be a writer.

Anderson, one of his colleagues calling him America's favorite grouch in chief.

COOPER: Well, he's a great guy.

SESAY: He is.

COOPER: And, really, it's hard to imagine "60 Minutes" without him.


COOPER: By the way, is it -- is it shed-yule or schedule? Because on these shores, I believe it's schedule.

SESAY: Well, I'm here to change things up on these shores. And it would be shed-yule.

COOPER: I think we need to shed-yule some...

SESAY: Some classes?

COOPER: Some classes of some sort.

SESAY: We may have. I'll be pushing my shop trolley.

COOPER: Your shopping trolley, right. And your aluminium carts. And what not.

SESAY: Be gone with you.

COOPER: Be gone. Tallyho.

Time now for "The Shot." Imagine being 29 years old and hearing your voice -- incredible. Hearing your voice for the first time. Here's what it was like for Sloan Sherman, who was born deaf recently, received an implantable hearing aid. We found this on YouTube. Take a look.



It's beeping. So now technically the light is on. Can you tell?

Oh, it's exciting. You can put it down for a second. Just get used to the sound. What does it sound like?


SESAY: So moving.

COOPER: Sloan's husband videotaped that moment when the device was activated. The video has gone viral. It's obviously not hard to see why. We certainly wish her the best. Just incredible.

Just ahead, the new controversy that has hit Rick Perry's presidential campaign involving a deeply offensive racist slur on a ranch the Perry family has long been associated with. But which version of the story is true? Trying to sort out the facts. "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

Plus, remember the guy convicted of the Lockerbie bombing they released from the Scottish prison, sent back to Libya. A guy who was supposedly on his death bed? He just gave an interview to Reuters. Wait until you hear what he said.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight about a campaign controversy centered on an ugly name out of Rick Perry's past. It is ugly and offensive. You'll only hear it once tonight and not from us.

It was the older name of the ranch that Governor Perry has hunted on over the years and that his father invested in back in 1983. The current name is Crooked River Ranch. The old name, as we've said, is offensive.

Party opponent Herman Cain was asked about it over the weekend after it surfaced in "The Washington Post."


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The name of the place is called Niggerhead. That is very insensitive. And since Governor Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place. That's just a basic case of insensitivity.


COOPER: Cain has since backed away from his words, saying he's satisfied with Perry's explanation and that he's neither attacking the governor nor, he says, "playing the race card." That's a quote.

As for the governor, he's taken strong exception to the "Post" story, his campaign putting out a statement saying, in part, quote, "A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent and anonymous." As for the last part, anonymous sourcing, that is true. The "Post" makes no attempt to conceal it.

Both Governor Perry and his campaign say that Perry's father painted over the offensive name back in 1983 or '84. But "The Post" cites several -- seven people, most of them anonymously, some who say they saw the word more recently.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, their recollections of when they saw it range from the 1980s to the 1990s to as little as three years ago. And remember, the Perry campaign said the word was painted over no later -- no later than '83 or '84. So there's a lot of daylight between the two sides.

Here to talk about it Erick Erickson, editor in chief of; former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, now a CNN contributor, and available on Twitter, @AriFleischer Also political analyst and devout Texan, Roland Martin.

So Roland, Perry's supporters are saying, look, this is -- this is basically slanderous, this article. Nobody's saying that Rick Perry chose this name of the farm or of the ranch or painted it on that rock. Is he getting a raw deal here?

ROLAND MARTIN, POLITICAL ANALYST AND DEVOUT TEXAN: First of all, to suggest it's slanderous makes no sense. The reality is there are people who are saying -- some people were quoted, their names used, in that "Washington Post" story that that was a name on a rock. It was very visible. He said, "We painted over it."

And so look, if you're the campaign and you say there are some inconsistent statements, but you know what? You knock them down. You knock them out of the way. So therefore, I've read their statement. But look, you must knock this thing down, be very clear. And at the end of the day, is the rock still there? Are you still going there? And remove it. It makes no sense. Forget painting over it. Just destroy it. It makes no sense at all.

COOPER: Erik, you agree with the critics who said this was slanderous. You stick by that? Slanderous, how so?

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: Well, you know, this is an attack on Rick Perry, trying to paint him as a racist. And you know, these come up all the time. I don't think anyone who knows Rick Perry would think he's a racist.

And to be fair here, his father didn't invest in this property. It was a hunting lease, which are pretty common in a lot of places. And you just have access to the land to hunt on. You don't control or manage or own it.

And you know, the statement that the rock may or may not have been seen, I haven't seen any pictures of the rock to see what its current condition is. I don't know that there are any pictures of the rock. His father painted over it. The paint faded. They at some point, apparently, tipped the rock over at some point, or someone did. The rock was set up again.

I mean, to tie this in to Rick Perry and say this is -- Rick Perry is a racist or this is the product of being raised in the south or in west Texas, it's really making a mountain out what I really think is a mole hill.

COOPER: Ari, you think the impression that Perry is being unfairly attacked may actually help him here?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there certainly has been a conservative rallying to Rick Perry and a backlash. I think it's in large part because of what Erick's talking about. There's just this sense in Republican politics that almost doesn't matter who you are and what you do, you'll get accused of being a racist. And when it happens, people rally.

But there is another side of it here, and that's sensitivity. I do think, for heaven's sake, if you're African-American, and you heard that somebody had a piece of land, even though they didn't own it and they didn't name it, that had that name on it, of course, that's going to get your back up. That's human nature, and it's understandable.

But to defend the governor here, it is a fact. He didn't name it; he didn't own it. He had 2 percent of that entire ranch that he got to use for hunting.

I asked the Perry campaign today why didn't they just get rid of the rock? Apparently, it's some gigantic bolder. It's not the type of thing that you can just throw out. I think the intention was clear in the '80s, 30 years ago, when they said they painted it over, that they objected to the name. That's, I think, what's most important here.

MARTIN: Anderson, look, here's the deal. And I totally understand what Ari said. But isn't it is a question of what you do in your own life?

It's no different to me than, if somebody decides to join an all-male golf club or the golf club that excludes African-Americans, it is going to come up. And so it speaks to an individual.

So is this going to be, to me, a long-lasting story? No, of course not. Herman Cain has backed off of it. No other Republican candidates are making an issue out of it. But no doubt, if you're on the Republican side, the last thing you want is Rick Perry having to deal with this story. Already he's having difficulty over the whole debate issue.

And so the party is trying to figure out who is the candidate who, frankly, can be strong enough to go against President Obama. So it doesn't help them him, but I doubt very seriously it's going to knock him out of the campaign. And so more than likely in 48 hours, it's gone. COOPER: Ari, is this the kind of story, as a press secretary, you would advise your candidate, "Look, just put out a statement, as they have, or campaign aides put out a statement, but don't necessarily come on camera and say something about it"?

FLEISCHER: This is the classic issue where a candidate, if he got in earlier, he would have brought it up himself if he could have done so. This is the type of thing that, when he's giving a speech about racial relations in America or about immigration and how he is open to immigrants, he could have talked about insensitivity.

And for example, "My family had a lease on land. And 30 years ago it said this. We covered that up, because it was wrong. We painted that."

If he had brought it out himself, it would have been very different. He didn't have time, because he got in so late. And so he was hit with a story and now has to react to it. He will have to deal with it himself in person. I think that's just the way the press corps operates.

Next time he's on the trail and reporters see him, they're going to ask him anyway. So I don't think he can just say he's handled it.

But this is going to fade in just a matter of days. This is not the stuff of major politics or something that's going to last long.

COOPER: Erick Erickson, Ari Fleischer, Roland Martin, thank you very much.

Still ahead tonight, gripping testimony in the Michael Jackson death trial. Emergency room doctors describing the extraordinary measures they took to try to revive Michael Jackson, even though he was clearly dead by the time he arrived and beyond help. Plus, what Dr. Murray said to the emergency workers.

Plus, the latest in a mission that has been stalled by bad weather: looking for earthquake damage at the Washington Monument. Be right back.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment," day five in the Michael Jackson murder trial. Inside the Los Angeles courtroom where Dr. Conrad Murray is facing manslaughter charges, the prosecution once again called witnesses to describe what they saw and heard and did on June 25, 2009, the day Jackson died.

Two emergency-room doctors testified in gripping detail about the extraordinary measures they took to revive Michael Jackson, even though they were certain he was dead. They also described a crucial fact that Dr. Murray never shared with them, even as he urged them to save Jackson. Here's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the struggle to save Michael Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray felt a pulse. But emergency-room doctors from UCLA Medical Center testified they didn't feel a thing. Still, they pushed ahead with efforts to revive Jackson at Murray's urging.

DR. THAO NGUYEN, CARDIOLOGIST: Dr. Murray did ask me one thing, and he repeated the same request to Dr. Cruz. That we not give up easily, and try to save Mr. Michael Jackson's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that what you were trying to do?


KAYE: Emergency responders were ready to declare Jackson dead at home. But Murray insisted he be transported to the hospital.

DR. ROCHELLE COOPER, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: My assessment when he arrived, was that he was clinically dead. The resuscitation efforts would likely be futile.

KAYE: Doctors Cooper and Nguyen pressed Murray about what drugs the singer had been given. Dr. Nguyen told the jury Murray never mentioned the powerful anesthetic Propofol, even though according to the police affidavit, he gave him 25 milligrams of Propofol at 10:40 a.m., not long before Jackson stopped breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never mentioned Propofol to you?

NGUYEN: Absolutely not.

KAYE: Dr. Cooper testified Friday that, even if Murray had told them about Propofol, it would not have changed the outcome because Jackson had, quote, "died long before."

Still, prosecutors wanted to make clear to the jury how dangerous the drug is and how rarely it's used outside a hospital.

NGUYEN: It is not anywhere in the hospital. It is designated place with designated personnel and -- and equipment available. By equipment, I mean a crash cart should be available. Propofol could cause severe lung collapse, respiratory collapse, breathing collapse, and it could cause cardiovascular collapse. And Propofol does not have an antidote.

DAVID WALGREN, PROSECUTOR: So you're prepared for any consequences?

NGUYEN: Yes. It is a must.

KAYE: Dr. Nguyen also painted a picture for the jury of a flustered Conrad Murray, who couldn't remember what time he called for help.

NGUYEN: And I asked him from the time that he found that the patient was down, what was the time that EMS or the 911 was called. And he couldn't remember that either. He said he did not have any concept of time. He did not have a watch. KAYE: The defense tried its best to show, if Conrad Murray had given Jackson only 25 milligrams of Propofol, that it couldn't have killed him. A key to the defense's theory that Jackson must have taken Lorazepam tablets and ingested more Propofol without Conrad Murray knowing.

COOPER: I couldn't imagine I would give a dose at 25 milligrams to an otherwise healthy 60-kilogram male and give it over three to five minutes, because I would not expect that that would produce any level of sedation.

KAYE (on camera): Employees from two cell phone companies also testified about Conrad Murray's cell-phone records. They told the jury Murray got a call at 11:07 a.m. and placed four calls himself after that.

The question is, if Murray gave Jackson Propofol at 10:40 a.m., was he monitoring him and making those calls from inside the room? Or had he stepped out for longer than his lawyers say he did? Those call times are key in determining what Conrad Murray was doing in the hours before Jackson died.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, still to come, "The RidicuList" is coming up and first Isha is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, the only man convicted of blowing up a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1986 tells Reuters new facts about the case will be announced in a few months. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi told the Reuters news agency the truth will come out one day and hopefully in the near future.

Al-Megrahi's comments come about five weeks after CNN's own Nic Robertson visited him in Libya, where his family said he was in a coma and near dead from prostate cancer. Scotland released him from prison in 2009 for medical reasons.

A federal judge says accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner will probably be able to stand trial if he keeps taking medication. The judge issued a motion today saying Loughner's mental state is getting better since he was forced to take anti-psychotic drugs. Loughner has been diagnosed as schizophrenic. The Arizona shooting he's accused of left six people dead and injured 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The minimum wage is expected to rise in eight states, Ohio, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Florida and Vermont. Next year, Washington workers will earn the highest minimum wage in the U.S.: $9.04 an hour.

Engineers have resumed their inspection of the Washington Monument. They are rappelling down the landmark looking for damage from that magnitude 5.8 earthquake that hit back in August. Their work was suspended a couple of days due to high winds.

And Hank Williams Jr.'s "Are You Ready for Some Football?" was missing from "Monday Night Football" tonight. ESPN dropped the opening because of Williams' controversial comments about President Obama and Adolf Hitler. On FOX News, Williams said Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner was like Hitler playing golf with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Later in a statement, Williams said the analogy was extreme, but he was just trying to make a point about people who don't see eye to eye.

OK. Now, our "Beat 360" winners. It's our challenge to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the photo we post on our blog each and every day.

Tonight's photo, President Obama with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the cabinet room.

Our staff winner tonight is Tom. His caption: "With Joe Biden off at his weekly Kiwanis meeting, Secretary Clinton was given the critical job of pretending to listen to the president."

Our viewer winner is Jessica. Her caption: "Obama: Excuse me, could we get some muffins? Those good $16 ones, thanks."


SESAY: Yes. Jessica, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. Now back to Anderson.

COOPER: Hey, Isha, thanks. Now, let's check in with the newest member of our team, Erin Burnett -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson. Well, we've got a lot coming up, and mostly our exclusive interview with Leon Panetta. I talked to him about the capturing of al-Awlaki and what that meant for U.S. policy. And most important, Anderson, recently, he said Yemen was the biggest threat to America. Well, is it? Or is he more worried about something else? Here's a peek.


BURNETT: You've recently said Yemen was the biggest terror threat to America. Has anything changed? Is Yemen now less of a threat to the United States than it was?

LEON PANETTA, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We certainly have gone after their leadership. I think we've dealt them a major blow by virtue of having taken down bin Laden and now al-Awlaki and other leadership types.

There are still al Qaeda out there continuing to plan potential attacks on this country. This is not a time to take the pressure off; this is a time to put the pressure on.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And you'll hear more coming up. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Erin, thanks very much.

UP next, a restaurant war, Hooters versus Twin Peaks? A lawsuit custom fitted for "The RidicuList."


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding a lawsuit that Hooters has filed against a rival restaurant chain for allegedly stealing its trade secrets. That's right, Hooters has trade secrets.

Now, I know what you're thinking. What's so secret about the Hooters business model? I mean, they kind of put everything right out there, don't they? Perhaps it's the secret of which brand of panty hose a food-service professional should wear with orange short-shorts. Or how to scrub out a wing sauce stain out of a thank top that's already stretched beyond its limits.

But the company says it is so much more. In the lawsuit, Hooters says one of its former vice presidents downloaded a bunch of documents about everything from management to recruiting right before he left to work for -- wait for it -- Twin Peaks. Yes, Twin Peaks, a restaurant chain where the motto is eat, drink, scenic views.

And just look at the place. It's totally different than Hooters. I mean, it's an authentic mountain lodge where the authenticity of the mountain lodge atmosphere is very -- well, it's very authentic. Just ask the owner.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an authentic mountain lodge. And you know, we feel like every guy deserves to relax in an authentic mountain lodge, drink 29-degree draft beer and be catered to by a beautiful lumber-Jill.


COOPER: Scoff, if you will, but come on, 29 degrees? That is a cold beer. And apparently, beer temperature is a corner stone of the mammary-themed restaurant game. Check this out from the first ever Hooters commercial.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know why our beer's so cold here at Hooters? Because we keep it in the refrigerator. Hey, kids, want to do your dad a really big favor? Tell your mom you want to go to Hooters.


COOPER: That's right, kids, do dad a favor. Tell your mom you want to go to Hooters. Hooters, fun for the whole family since 1983. That's when the first Hooters opened. Nowadays they're firmly implanted in 28 different countries.

Yes, Hooters is that big. There are more than 430 of them. The whole world is just riddled with Hooters. So far, Twin Peaks only has 15 restaurants in five states, although it does plan to enlarge.

Look, I've got to say, every time I say Twin Peaks, I just think of David Lynch's TV show from the early '90s.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This cherry pie is a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you please ask the lady with the log to speak up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like some pie?

LYNCH: Massive, massive quantities, and a glass of water, sweetheart. My socks are on fire.


COOPER: See, now the Double R Diner, that was a cool restaurant.

As far as the Hooters-Twin Peaks feud, in serious business there are serious rivalries. Coke versus Pepsi, Ford versus Chevy, Burger King versus McDonald's. Giants in industry, all coexisting. Is there not room for two in the bra-centric bar food business?

If nothing else, Hooters and Twin Peaks are a pair that belongs together, at least on "The RidicuList."

Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now. See you tomorrow.