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U.S. Terror Plot Foiled; Racism Flap Fallout; Chris Christie Endorses Romney

Aired October 11, 2011 - 20:00   ET



And we begin with that breaking news. New details just obtained by 360 on that alleged terror plot uncovered right here on U.S. soil with ties to Iran. Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI and the DEA have uncovered a murder-for-hire scheme to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir is his name, and according to court documents the suspects talked about killing him with explosives, possibly at a crowded restaurant in Washington.

One suspect behind bars tonight. He was arrested last month. He's a naturalized U.S. citizen who appeared in New York court today. In a moment new details on just how they caught him, how long he's been held, and who was tracking him.

The other suspect is a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He's still at large.

Iran is blasting the United States saying it has no ties to this suspected plot. The spokesman for the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, quote, "I think the U.S. government is busy fabricating a new scenario and history has shown both the U.S. government and the CIA have a lot of experience in fabricating these scenarios. And this is just the latest one.

"I think their goal is to reach the American public. They want to take the public's mind off the serious domestic problems they're facing these days and scare them with fabricated problems outside the country."

But in Washington, the FBI director Robert Mueller said this was no fabrication, no joke. He says elements of the Iranian government were ready to spend $1.5 million to hire what they believe was a drug cartel hit squad from Mexico.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: This case illustrates that we live in a world where borders and boundaries are increasingly irrelevant. A world where individuals from one country sought to conspire with a drug trafficking cartel in another country to assassinate a foreign official on United States soil.

And though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been very real and many lives would have been lost.


KING: And there's new fallout. Just this hour, Congressman Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, claims Iran was planning an act of war on U.S. soil. And when it comes now to a U.S. response, Chairman King says everything should be left on the table. Everything.

As for the Saudi response, they released this statement. "The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia would like to express its appreciation to the responsible agencies of the United States government for preventing a criminal act from taking place. The attempted plot is a despicable violation of international norms, standards and conventions, and is not in accord with the principles of humanity."

Joining me now with new insight on the alleged plot, CNN national security contributor, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, Fran Townsend. Plus Ali Soufan, a former FBI Supervisory Federal Agent, he's also the author of the book, "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War against al Qaeda."

Also with us tonight CNN contributor, former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, and former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Fran, you've got some important new detail about the whole operation. What are your sources telling you that's new?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, John, Bob Mueller of the FBI said it was like a Hollywood plot. And as we've gotten additional details, it's really not only that, but it's an incredible example of the sophistication and success of the FBI and the law enforcement agencies here.

We know that Arbabsiar, the defendant here, flew into Mexico and was denied entry. Well, it turns out we've learned tonight from senior counterterrorism officials he was denied entry into Mexico by design with the cooperation of the Mexican government. You would then think -- he then flew to New York. Now you might ask yourself why didn't he fly to Texas? That's where he and his family were living.

He didn't go to Texas because federal officials here in the United States understood that under Texas law he may not have been able to have been held to do an intelligence interview, and so he was flown to New York. Unbeknownst to the defendant on that flight were federal agents. He -- when that flight landed in New York, federal agents quietly took him into custody, and then took him to a U.S. government facility.

We don't know where it is. It's a secret facility where he was held from September 29th until today, that's 12 days, John. Each of those days he was interviewed by federal agents. Each of those days before those interviews began he was given his Miranda warnings and told that he was entitled to be presented on charges before a federal magistrate. And each of those days he in writing signed a waiver. The reason he was presented today, the defendant was tired of talking to federal agents. And so during those 12 days they not only got a confession from him and we see that in the complaint, but they also got dozens of intelligence reports and leads. Those dozens of reports are now being gone through across the federal family of agencies trying to find additional links.

The interesting thing here, John, we know that there are direct links to the al-Quds force of the IRGC, the Revolutionary Guard. A senior counterterrorism official tells me they have not yet found a direct link to the supreme leader or to President Ahmadinejad, but that's exactly what they're going through these reports looking for now.

KING: Let's go through this process. Ali Soufan, I want to come to you first because you're familiar with the interrogation tactics. What does it tell you based on Fran's new information, 12 days of talking, then I'm done. So then the feds decide it's time to go to court but what does that tell you about the suspect and the process?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: It tells me that the individual has been cooperating. It tells me that the government was probably taking advantage of his cooperation, getting as many intelligence as they can get.

This is a very sensitive case. It has regional implications. It has international implications. And the government needed to dot every I and cross every T. I believe that the FBI agents who were debriefing him, you know, did everything that they can get from him. And eventually after his cooperation ended or at least maybe it's ended by -- from our side, he was presented and appeared into court.

Because the subject, the defendant, has a right to ask for an attorney and has a right to appear into court any time he wants. Just the fact that he stayed more than 12 days being interrogated by the FBI, that indicates to me that he -- there was a level of cooperation going on.

KING: And so Tom Fuentes, if you read this complaint and now we understand what happened in prison, it would -- it does read like a Hollywood novel. If you presented this in Hollywood to a publisher, they'd probably throw you out. But if this all true, a symbolic attack, assassinating the Saudi ambassador, the key adviser to King Abdullah, what's the strategic goal? Why would Iran want to do this and why would they want to do it here?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think one thing that Iran has an advantage is when they make the rest of the world mad at them and either create a situation where the United Nations starts hearing evidence against them or other statements are made, then that unifies them politically internally.

So someone like Ahmadinejad can gain national power internally if it's Iran against the world. And that could be one reason to have an attack like this. KING: Iran against the world, Bob Baer. How unusual is it for a foreign government essentially -- this is if we believe this -- the Republican Guard of Iran outsourcing an assassination to a criminal drug enterprise, the drug cartel?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: -- uses proxies to make attacks. The Quds force has attacked American troops in Saudi Arabia. It blew up the Marines in Beirut. I could go on and on. But they've always used reliable proxies. I have never seen them go to drug cartels, sit down in a meeting like this, send money through New York. It's just -- it's sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

This is not characteristic of the Quds force at all. It makes me wonder if there isn't -- somebody is losing it in Tehran. This is just a terribly risky operation. And it's been said by the Department of Justice, it's an act of war. I mean, how could we not respond to this? What I can't figure out is why they left so many clues, fell into this trap. It's just not their modus operandi.

KING: Just not their MO, Ali. You heard Bob lay that out. It's sloppy, he says. So does it -- can this happen? Can a plot like this happen without going to the highest levels? The administration, the attorney general was very careful today. He says it goes high in Iran. They can't prove it goes to the highest levels, but can the Quds force, can the Revolutionary Guard, can they freelance?

SOUFAN: It's very difficult for an operation like this to take place in Washington, D.C. after 9/11 and -- not have the highest approval of the government. But I agree with what Bob said, this is not al-Quds force. Al-Quds force is a very efficient terrorist organizations and they have their own way to send money, to have surveillance done, to case targets and their own people to conduct operations.

So that gives me actually a big question who's doing it in Iran? Why they are doing it. What is their reason. And how much are they connected to the political establishment in Iran.

There's something going on in the Iranian government, and that's very apparent. And something like this will be unfolding in the next weeks, in the next month. We're going to see a lot of regional implications, especially when it comes to the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries and between Iran.

And also a lot of implications between us and Iran, our relationship between the United States and Iran. So there's a lot of issues that we need to monitor and we need to watch for in the next few weeks. This is just the beginning.

KING: And so Fran, what do you watch for most closely in the sense -- we know President Obama's national security adviser went to Saudi Arabia. He briefed the king -- King Abdullah -- on this threat.

What happens now when you hear Pete King and the Congress saying all options should be on the table? What can the United States do? And what do you suspect will be the Saudi response in the region? TOWNSEND: Well, you know, it's interesting, John. I mean -- there have been talk about, you know, sending home their diplomats at the U.N. That's not really feasible. And I think what you're going to see is -- Secretary Clinton has said she's going to brief her counterparts in the U.N. Security Council.

I think you'll see the United States put pressure on Russia and China now to leverage this case to try and get them to agree to tougher sanctions in the Security Council. And we're going to see how it plays out. How our other regional allies react.

I must say, you know, this administration has been criticized that they have not used sort of intelligence gathering and intelligence interviews aggressively enough. Remember Denny Blair, the former DNI, was criticized in a prior case, the Christmas Day bomber who's now on trial, that it wasn't used there.

This is a real example of the success. This is the FBI working inner-agency and taking advantage of their legal authorities in this country to gather intelligence to understand the threat. So I think this is -- this is a tremendous success for the FBI and for the administration.

KING: And Bob Baer --


FUENTES: If I can add to that.

KING: Please go ahead.

FUENTES: Sorry, John, if I can add to that. I mean this also shows that the FBI's techniques in trying to get the cooperation of subjects in these cases is the way to go. The Abdulmutallab case in Detroit, the FBI talked to him for many days. The FBI brought family members from Africa to Detroit to encourage him to keep cooperating with the Justice Department.

And so I don't think it's an accident that the FBI takes the lead in a case like this after a subject's taken into custody and is able to establish a rapport and get the type of facts and intelligence gathering accomplished that they want to without using illegal or other techniques such as the enhanced interrogation technique.

KING: Bob Baer, as we talk about this, and it is a spy novel right here in a court document, what's the next chapter if this is a spy novel? We don't expect the United States to have any military options against Iran. Yes, there will be more sanctions. But is there anything off the table in terms of covert, things we can't see that the United States or any ally could do against the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds force?

BAER: I would go farther than that. I'd have a back channel with Tehran right now to find out what went on because if (INAUDIBLE) they were to make an attack on Washington, D.C., or several attacks, that is an act of war. We have to get to that regime and ask them, what are they thinking about because it's not going to be expelling diplomats if this actually goes -- one of these attacks happens.

It's going to -- it may have to go after the regime and the Quds force bases and the rest of it. There is no in between measures. This is very serious, all of this.

KING: Fran Townsend, let me ask you lastly. Adel al-Jubeir, for anyone watching who says they don't know the name probably, the Saudi Arabia ambassador to the United States, just that title says he's important, but he's more than that. Right? He is a key foreign policy adviser to King Abdullah and we have the Shia/Sunni tensions obviously between the Saudis and Iran.

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right, John. I mean Adel al-Jubeir has been with the king when he was crowned prince. He's been his foreign policy adviser for decades. He travels on almost every foreign trip, he continues to and he's also the king's translator. And he's tremendously influential beyond just being the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

On the -- on the Shia/Sunni tensions, remember Saudi Arabia came to the defense of the Bahrain regime. That's really a Sunni minority rising up -- a Shia majority rising up against the Bahraini Sunni royal family. And the Sunnis -- the Sunni royal family in Saudi Arabia came to their defense. Why? Because they believe that Bahrain is a proxy fight between the Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and the Shia of Iran.

And so this will only serve to heighten those tensions right now. And there's a substantial Shia majority in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s Iran and the Shia were part of an attempt to overthrow the Al Sauds as part of the hajj, the royal pilgrimage. And that's coming up now. And so the timing of this is very important in terms of those Shia/Sunni tensions.

KING: And the stakes are incredibly consequential. We'll keep watching it.

Fran Townsend, Ali Soufan, Tom Fuentes, Robert Baer, thanks for your help tonight.

And let us know what you think. We're on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter @JohnkingCNN.

Up next, "Raw Politics." Herman Cain's controversial comments on race and racism in America. Could his remarks help or hurt his Republican presidential campaign?

And just one week after Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he won't run for president, he announces which GOP candidate he thinks should get the job.

We'll have that. First, let's check in, though, with Isha Sesay.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: John, for the first time we hear Dr. Conrad Murray's full story, what he says happened the day Michael Jackson died. More audio tapes of his police interview were played in court today.

You'll also hear Murray talk about how the singer's children reacted to the news their father was dead. That and more when 360 continues.


KING: "Raw Politics" tonight. GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain under fire for his comments on racism in America. Cain said today that many liberal Democrats in the black community are, quote, "racist," for questioning his political ambitions as a black conservative Republican.

His remarks came in an interview on the (INAUDIBLE) radio show. And there's -- and there's more. Over the weekend, the former executive of Godfather's Pizza, Pillsbury and Burger King caused a stir in an interview with our Candy Crowley on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" saying African-Americans who remain economically disadvantaged have only themselves to blame. Watch.


HERMAIN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They weren't held back because of racism, no. People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.


KING: That comment, along with some others he's made recently, outraged a number of African-American leaders who argue Cain is out of touch with reality. Among Cain's critics, radio talk show host, Princeton University professor Cornell Wells, who said the Republican candidate needs to get off his, quote, "symbolic crackpot," and actor and activist Harry Belafonte who called Cain a, quote, "bad apple" who didn't represent the African-American community.

Last night Cain fired back at his critics on FOX News's "Hannity."


CAIN: People like Harry Belafonte and Professor West and others who attack me, they don't want black people to think for themselves. And this is why they're so upset with Herman Cain who is now moving up into the top tier for the Republican presidential nomination and that people are listening to me. They don't want me to wake people up and get them to read the fine print and think for themselves.


KING: Cain also had this message on FOX News for those speaking out against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAIN: I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me -- and I'm not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views. The only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names and this sort of thing. It just simply won't work.


KING: Will comments like that help or hurt his presidential campaign? Joining me now, Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Web site,, and Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

Boyce Watkins, to you first, Herman Cain says some of his critics are racist. You now believe he's a racist. That's a pretty heavy indictment. Stick by it?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Yes. I think that Herman Cain, to some extent, is the perfect racist because racism is most effective when it has a black face. A lot of people think that being black means you can't be racist, but we have black people who have problems with dark skinned black people, black people who have problems with poor black people, et cetera.

You even have women that will sit on a jury during a rape trial and say, oh her skirt was too short or she should have women that hate women and black people that can effectively promote an agenda that was not created by them but is accelerated by the color of their skin because, remember, no other Republican candidate could really get away with talking about race as much as Herman Cain has.

And to some extent he's at risk of really turning his entire campaign into a big political gimmick because you see Hannity and guys like him really using him to say those things that maybe they're afraid to say themselves.

KING: Ken Blackwell, is Herman Cain a racist?

KEN BLACKWELL, SENIOR FELLOW, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: No, I don't think Herman Cain is a racist. I don't think that Harry Belafonte is a racist because he says Herman Cain is a bad apple.

I think race is being used in this instance all around the table to repress differences in opinion. And when race issues to repress dissent, it is wrong on all sides of the table.

Look, Herman Cain is a Republican, he's a conservative. He believes that he has the prescription for growing the economy, creating jobs and providing opportunity for all Americans inclusive of black Americans.


BLACKWELL: I think the name -- John, John, I think name-calling has gone too far. KING: Right. You say name-calling has gone too far. We've known each other a long time and you're involved in Ohio politics including being the secretary of state.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

KING: You were among the African-American Republicans trying to build support in the African-American community. Is the language Mr. Cain uses helpful to that effort to have more blacks join the Republican Party or hurtful?

BLACKWELL: I think Mr. Cain's prescription for growing the economy is helpful. I think when he says that folks who differ from him have been brainwashed, that is not constructive, but I don't think that calling him a bad apple or saying that he's on a symbolic crackpipe is helpful either.

Look, people want -- you know it's as if the African-American community was drowning 50 feet off shore. They don't want somebody to throw them a 100-foot rope, and then drop them to find something better to do or throw them a 25-foot rope and say, you know, swim, what do you do?

They want somebody who will throw them a 50-foot rope and hold on to their end. That's what we have to get back to.

KING: Boyce Watkins, what about the larger argument Mr. Cain makes, about a lack of ideological political diversity in the African- American community and the fact that many liberal African-Americans do criticize conservative African-Americans saying they're somehow abandoning their community?

WATKINS: Well, you know, one of the best kept secrets in America is that many black people are very conservative. I'm from the south. And there are a lot of people in my family who really want to like Herman Cain. Some of his values are in perfect alignment with their own.

I think that what Mr. Cain might want to pick up on is this simple word called "dignity." You've got to run your campaign with dignity. You can't run around making these ridiculous statements one after the other and allowing people to use you as this racial fireball.

Remember Colin Powell was also a conservative. And many people loved and respected Colin Powell. To this day we -- many people respect him. I know I do. And there's a big difference between the way a conservative like Colin Powell would run a presidential campaign versus Herman Cain.

You know this idea of gimmicks and sort of turning yourself into a black male Sarah Palin or a black male Rush Limbaugh that might be great for selling books or getting a radio show but it's not what people are going to look for in a commander in chief. Actually I would argue that he's acting a little bit more like a court jester as it stands today. KING: Is that fair, a court jester, Ken?

BLACKWELL: That's outside the pale of talking about human dignity. Here's a guy that grew up in a low-income family, went to school, did well, created jobs and actually hired black folks and white folks and Latinos. You know, he in fact has lived the American dream. And the basically to say that he did -- you know, I've seen him depicted as Sambo by the left.

Is that promoting human dignity? No. I'm saying that both sides have to get back to what people are looking for. They're looking for leaders who inspire hope and create opportunity and pull us together to get something done, and I think that I've heard Herman Cain over the last 20 years. He can be that sort of leader, and I think he, in fact, needs to advance his program and say this is what I'm about.

KING: Boyce Watkins, Ken Blackwell, appreciate your insights tonight, gentlemen. Take care.

Still ahead here, the president demanded a vote on his jobs bill. And tonight well, he's getting it, but it's not turning out the way he hoped.

We'll have the latest from the United States Senate.

Also in his own words, jurors in the Michael Jackson death trial hear Dr. Conrad Murray's version of just what happened the day Jackson died.

And kids tell us what it's like to be bullied and the toll it takes long after the bullying stops.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It starts to build up and bad things start to happen, whether you start cutting yourself, you kill yourself, you develop, like, an eating disorder. It's obsessive. It becomes obsessive.



KING: More "Raw Politics" tonight. Just one week ago he took himself out of the running for the Republican presidential nomination. Today Chris Christie handed his endorsement to Mitt Romney. The tough talking New Jersey governor said Romney's work in both the public and private sector has made him the right choice for president.

Meanwhile, Romney is doing a little tough talking of his own calling on fellow candidate Rick Perry to speak out against an attack on his faith by the Reverend Robert Jeffress. Jeffress, a Perry supporter, called the Mormon religion a cult.

Joining us to talk about how all of this could affect the Republican race for the presidency, our chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, good to see you. How much of a difference will the Christie endorsement make? After all, the Perry campaign quick to point out, one Republican from the northeast and another.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, there is that. You know there are two Republican blue state governors. And I think it will have an impact with that branch of the Republican Party that considers itself sort of populist conservative and establishment, if you will. So I think it does sort of help with the Romney aura of electability and plausibility as president.

But it's not really going to help with the base of the Republican Party, which is where Mitt Romney has got a lot of trouble because the base is as skeptical of Chris Christie as it is of Mitt Romney on issues like immigration and gun control and climate change. So I think it's a little preaching to the choir here but not to the base.

KING: Still helps to establish the momentum, is that enough? Let's deal with the --

BORGER: Yes, yes. Totally.

KING: Let's deal with the conspiracy theory question du jour that being Governor Christie has battered down any possibility of being anybody's running mate. But as evidenced today, you know, he's a feisty guy, he's a good guy to have a debate. Plus some will say, well, could Romney need him? I'm assuming -- I'm assuming we're on the same page today.

BORGER: Right.

KING: A former governor of Massachusetts can't pick a governor of New Jersey, the northeast thing, even if he wanted to do it.

BORGER: Yes, a northeast ticket. You're right. I don't think so, but they would be an odd couple on the campaign trail. That could be really good for Romney to have Chris Christie campaigning for him even if he's not going to be on the ticket because Chris Christie is authentic.

People may disagree with him, but they think he's the real deal. And the big question about Mitt Romney is, is he the real deal. So if you had this fellow out there campaigning for you, suddenly the hope is, at least, that Mitt Romney becomes a little bit more believable himself as a conservative Republican. So it's kind of help him out there on the road.

KING: At that endorsement event today, Governor Romney spoke out for the first time about those comments Pastor Robert Jeffress said last week when he said Mormonism is a cult. Listen to Governor Romney here.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Governor Perry selected an individual to introduce him who then used religion as a basis for which he said he would endorse Governor Perry and a reason to not support me.

And Governor Perry then said that introduction just hit it out of the park. I just don't believe that that kind of divisiveness space upon religion has a place in this country.


KING: A quick fact, but Governor Perry did pick Reverend Jeffress at the event. But Romney then went on to say, Governor Perry should repudiate the pastor's statement. Will that hunt Perry if he doesn't do that?

BORGER: Well, as some point, Perry is going to have to address it head-on. He's already said that Mormonism is not a cult. Today his son said Mitt Romney is clearly a Christian.

But I think at some point, Perry has to address it because it becomes about his leadership. It becomes about whether he, by not saying anything directly would endorse any kind of bigotry. What's also interesting to me is that Mitt Romney is taking this on directly, which shows you that he believes that Perry is vulnerable on this. And suddenly it's become a discussion less about Mormonism than about Perry's leadership, which is right where Romney wants it.

KING: That's right. Romney could have not answered the question if he didn't want to keep it going.

BORGER: Right, you got it.

KING: Thanks for your help tonight. Let's get the latest now on some other stories we're following. Isha Sesay joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin."

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, President Obama demanded an up or down vote from the Senate on his jobs bill and he got it. As expected the bill did not pass. Republicans are balking at a 5.6 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million a year.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says he will comply with subpoenas when they are issued by the congressional committee investigating "Operation Fast and Furious." The subpoenas will reportedly cover Justice Department personnel and communications about the failed gun running operation.

"Occupy Wall Street" takes its message uptown today. Protesters traveled from New York's financial district to the Upper East Side, past the homes of some of the city's wealthiest residents including several well known media and financial executives. Today's march was organized by several union groups supporting the protests.

And John, here's one way to bolster tourism in Japan, free flights. According to reports, the Japan's tourism agency is offering 10,000 free flights that people who write about their experiences. Tourism has reportedly dropped about 50 percent since the country was ravaged by an earthquake, a tsunami and, of course, the nuclear crisis. John, what do you think?

KING: There's probably something in our contracts that say we can't take that, right?

SESAY: For sure.

KING: Yes, all right. Somebody will. You can be sure of that.

SESAY: Yes, they'll have to write an essay.

KING: Under a pseudonym. We'll do that, Isha, we'll go together.

SESAY: We'll think about it.

KING: More serious news ahead, an emotional and possibly pivotal day in the Michael Jackson death trial. What the singer's three young children did after learning their dad died. Those details came out after prosecutors played a tape of a police interview with Dr. Conrad Murray.

Also ahead, we continue our in depth look at bullying, its causes and potential cures. What kids told us, what parents and teachers very much need to hear.


KING: "Crime and Punishment" tonight, another emotional day in the Michael Jackson death trial. Prosecutors show jurors a photograph of the singer's naked corpse on an autopsy table.

We're not going to show it to you. Yes, it's that disturbing. Also today, pivotal testimony today from the doctor who performed the autopsy. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of death, Dr. Rogers?

DR. CHRISTOPHER ROGERS, DEPUTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: The cause was acute Propofol intoxication.


KING: Propofol, of course, is that powerful surgical anesthetic that Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, has said Jackson was addicted to. The prosecutor also asked the medical examiner this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the manner of death?

ROGERS: The manner was homicide. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Homicide, homicide. Dr. Murray has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. His lawyers say that Jackson gave himself that final and fatal dose of Propofol. But today the medical examiner shot down that explanation.


ROGERS: The circumstances, from my point of view, do not support self-administration of Propofol.


KING: Now, that's his professional opinion as medical examiner. But the real drama today came when Dr. Murray himself described what happened in the final hours of Jackson's life. Prosecutors played a recording of an interview Murray gave police just two days after Jackson died. Here's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time jurors heard the story of what happened in the hours before Michael Jackson died directly from the doctor blamed for his death.

In a two-hour interview recorded by police, Dr. Conrad Murray recounted a sleepless night for Jackson who was desperately looking for rest in order to prepare for his upcoming tour.

CONRAD MURRAY, ACCUSED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER: He was wide awake. And then he complained. I've got to sleep, Dr. Conrad. I have rehearsals to perform. I must be ready for the show in England. Tomorrow, I will have to cancel my performance. I'll have to cancel my trip because, you know, I cannot function if I don't get the sleep.

ROWLANDS: Murray says he gave Jackson a series of sedatives, but nothing worked. Finally at 10:40 a.m., he says he gave in to Jackson's pleas and administered 25 milligrams of Propofol, which Jackson referred to as his milk.

MURRAY: I then decided to go ahead and give him some of the milk so he could get a couple of hours sleep so that he could produce because I cared about him. I did not want him to fail. I had no intentions of hurting him.

ROWLANDS: But Murray's timeline of what happened next is under dispute by the prosecution.

MURRAY: I monitored. I sat there and watch him for long enough period that I felt comfortable. Then I needed to go to the bathroom. So I got up, went to the bathroom. Then I came back to his bedside and was stunned in the sense that he wasn't breathing.

I was gone, I would say, about two minutes. His body was warm. There was no change in color. So I assumed that everything happened very quickly, just about the time I was gone, within that time and coming back.

ROWLANDS: Murray says he was away from Jackson for only two minutes, but phone records show Murray spent 45 minutes on his cell phone before he discovered that Jackson had stopped breathing. Still, the audio tape may work in Murray's favor. The jury heard Murray say repeatedly that he loved Jackson and wanted to help him.

MURRAY: Mr. Jackson was my friend. I loved him. Michael Jackson may have had a dependency to substance. I was trying to wean him off.

ROWLANDS: Murray also talked about consoling Jackson's daughter, Paris, at the hospital.

MURRAY: I said I tried my best. And she said, I know that, Dr. Murray. I know you tried your best. I know you tried your best, but I'm really sad. You know, I will wake up in the morning and I won't see my daddy.


ROWLANDS: The audio saved may be the only chance the jury has to hear Murray's story as it is not expected that he'll take the stand in his own defense. Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.

KING: A lot of powerful evidence there for the jurors to weigh. Joining me now to discuss it is criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos. He defended Michael Jackson successfully against child molestation charges.

And also a former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin from "In Session" on our sister network TruTV. Mark, let me go to you first. The rest of this Murray interview was played in court, the police interview. Who does it help more the prosecution or the defense?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it clearly helps the defense. You don't have to think back too far to the Robert Blake case where the prosecution played the Barbara Walters interview.

He didn't have to take the stand, he wasn't cross-examined. He was able to get his story out. Here you've got him clearly professing his love for Michael Jackson and everything else. I'm a little mystified as to what the gain was for the prosecution at the risk of putting in all this evidence.

If I can tell you, kudos to your network, unlike some other networks for not showing the autopsy photo. It's inexplicable to me why that thing is being played by some other networks.

KING: Well, let me ask you this question since you bring it up -- we're not going to show it. We have some standards here. Why do you think the prosecution decided to bring it into evidence?

GERAGOS: I think they wanted to -- I think the shock factor. I just can't imagine what the -- what the probative value was. This is not a case where there was a stabbing or a shooting and where entry or exit holes are going to matter or where it's going to make one difference to how he died. How he died is going to be based on the toxicology reports and medical testimony.

Looking at his body on a gurney doesn't give the jury any kind of value whatsoever. I don't understand, number one, why they introduced it. Number two, I really don't understand why the lawyers didn't ask for it to be sealed.

If they did, I don't understand why the judge allowed it to be out to the media. Lastly, I don't understand why certain networks have lowered their standards to actually show it.

KING: Sunny, A, do you agree shock value was the only reason to introduce that photo? And B, do you agree this mark, this tape not as damaging as the prosecution had hoped?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I completely disagree with Mark in that he should know that every single case that's based on a homicide, you have to show the autopsy photo. You show the lifeless body. They only show two pictures.

I think that's completely probative, it's relevant and it's appropriate. As to the tape recording, I would agree with Mark on that. I mean, I think there's no question that it certainly helped Conrad Murray a lot because now his story is in front of the jury. I think he sounded cautious, pretty reasonable.

And he is not going to testify because he doesn't have to. He's not going to be cross-examined, but his story is out there. Mark and I have a 50/50 split right now. But certainly I don't think that people should be showing this autopsy photo.

GERAGOS: Look, right, and I don't disagree with you that in almost every homicide case they show one, but in almost every homicide case it isn't a situation where you're talking about toxicology. You're usually talking about 99 percent of the homicide cases I do, 99 percent of the time it's a bullet or a stab wound.

KING: Well, Mark, one thing that was also on this tape, you hear Dr. Murray saying Michael Jackson never told him he was seeing other doctors, never told him the medication those doctors were giving him. What's the potential impact of that? I assume the defense is hoping it says we're not culpable?

GERAGOS: Well, that's exactly what the defense is. Remember, they previewed in the opening statement that there was this lethal combination of drugs unbeknownst to Dr. Murray, Michael had been doctor shopping. That's what the defense's opening statement was.

Now, I anticipate they're going to bring in a laundry list of prescriptions under a variety of names. That will be in evidence. And they're going to say, look, this lethal cocktail that killed Michael was not as a result of Dr. Murray administering it.

He didn't cause the death. Even if he was totally incompetent and not rising to the level of a standard of care of a doctor in the situation, he didn't cause the death. And that's what they're going to argue will cause the not guilty.

KING: Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, appreciate your insights tonight.

Still ahead here, the secret weapon in the battle to end bullying. How a few brave kids, maybe even yours, can make a huge difference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely gets me angry when I see someone getting picked on.

COOPER: What makes you angry about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the kid didn't do anything to deserve the bullying. I just wanted to stop it because I didn't want to see something escalate.



KING: All this week on "360," we're taking an in depth look at an epidemic we've been reporting on for more than a year now, bullying in schools.

No kid deserves to be taunted and abused, but to stop it you have to first understand it. To find out more, "360" teamed up with two leading experts in the field and one very courageous school in a New York suburb to explore the roots of bullying.

The results were astonishing. First, forget the old stereotype of a school yard bully preying on the weak. Lots of students even the most popular are caught up in bullying today.

Doctors call it social combat, a constant battle to be part of the in crowd. Another surprise, victims are often bullies themselves. It's a vicious cycle, but researchers do say we can stop it. The solution might be easier than you think. Here's Anderson's report.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Wheatley School, one of the top ranked schools in the nation, has a bullying problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're calling like gay, faggot, dumb ass, those names can be hurtful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It starts to build up and bad things start to happen. Whether you start cutting yourself, you kill yourself, or you develop like an eating disorder. It becomes obsessive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They physically abused me, mentally abused me, and emotionally abused me. I'll admit I had thoughts of suicide. COOPER: "360" teamed up with sociologist, Robert Faris and Diane Fellney to investigate how the severe the issue is at Wheatley, why kids bully and how that knowledge could help end the problem.

In this pilot study more than 700 students took a scientifically designed survey four separate times over the semester. What we discovered was shocking. Fifty six percent of all students had engaged in aggressive behavior, been victimized by bullies or both.

Out of all incidents more than 80 percent were never reported to an adult.

(on camera): Perhaps even more alarming to parents in this survey, 74 percent of students said they don't think that telling their parents about an incident would be helpful. Does that surprise you?


COOPER: Doesn't surprise you.



HUNTER, STUDENT, THE WHEATLEY SCHOOL: Most people say that telling your parents, parents will most likely say just ignore it. You can't ignore it. It will stick to you and you will think about it at the end of the day.

BRIDGET, STUDENT, THE WHEATLEY SCHOOL: After you get bullied, you start to internalize it. I just think about my day over again, what everyone said to me. You start to bully yourself.

COOPER (voice-over): And this is in a school district that takes the issue seriously. They have anti-bullying programs from kindergarten through 12th grade, and awareness assemblies throughout the year. Principal Sean Feeney.

SEAN FEENEY, PRINCIPAL, THE WHEATLEY SCHOOL: It breaks my heart when they keep that all inside and we're not aware of it. Our goal is to try to reach all of our students. We're not always successful, but we certainly will continue trying.

COOPER: Our studies show that the main reason kids bully is to climb the social ladder, but in a key finding, the study found that most of the time bullying doesn't work. Kids who bully usually don't actually gain social status.

ROBERT FARIS, CO-AUTHOR OF AC "360" BULLYING STUDY: We found that, by and large, on average, the more aggressive you are, it doesn't have an effect on how likely you are to climb the social ladder later on.

COOPER: And that could be a breakthrough. Educate kids not only that bullying is destructive, but why they bully is misguided and let that message spread.

FARIS: There's also the possibility that positive behaviors can also spread through social networks and that kids may be more likely to intervene in bullying situations if they see their friends stepping in to stop things.

COOPER: Getting kids to intervene is crucial. And these are the students on the front lines of that fight. They were ranked not as bullies or victims, but the ones who actually step in and try to stop it.

(on camera): Do you think that bullying is a big problem?


COOPER (voice-over): For Andrew, his experience as a victim that makes him stand up to bullies.

(on camera): Do you think the fact that you were bullied when you were younger, you kind of know what it feels like and makes you more prone to intervene?

ANDREW, RANKED HIGHLY BY STUDY AS AN INTERVENER: It makes me angry when I see somebody getting picked on.

COOPER: What makes you angry about it?

ANDREW: The kid didn't do anything to deserve the bullying, so I just wanted to stop it because I didn't want to see something escalate.

COOPER (voice-over): According to the research, students like these could be one of the keys to stop bullying.

FARIS: These bystanders, they are the heart of the school social life. They have the numbers and they really hold the power to prevent this behavior. Because if it really is about jockeying for status, then it won't work if those kids, those bystanders are actively disapproving of it or stepping in to prevent it.


KING: Valuable lessons there. This special study part of "360's" joint effort with Facebook and our corporate cousin the Cartoon Network and Time Inc. to help stop the bullying epidemic.

We'll have more reports about the study each night this week. Be sure to join Anderson for presentation of his town hall, "Bullying: It Stops Here." That's this Friday, October 14th at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

You can find bullying resources and go behind the scenes of the town hall on our blog

Still ahead tonight, "360" raised the alarm about child pornography on the popular web site weeks ago, why is the company listening now?

The new details in the hunt for missing Missouri baby Lisa Irwin. Where investigators are searching now?


KING: Let's check in on some other important stories we're following tonight. Isha Sesay here with the "360 Bulletin."

SESAY: John, keeping them honest tonight, the popular web site Reddit has shut down jailbait, its section featuring sexually suggestive photos of teenage girls. This after the FBI received a complaint that jailbait was violating child pornography laws. "360" aired similar concerns about the Reddit site just last month.

In Missouri today, the hunt for 10-month-old Lisa Irwin focused on an abandoned house just blocks from her home. Kansas City firefighters drained a backyard well and searched it three times, but found no evidence. The baby was reported missing more than a week ago.

In Aruba today, the attorney for American Gary Giordano demanded his immediate release. Giordano is being held in the disappearance of the 35-year-old Robyn Gardner last seen while vacationing with him on August 2nd.

And bigfoot lives in the Russian tundra, to be exact. After a day-long conference in the region scientists and Yeti enthusiasts say they are 95 percent certain what many call a myth actually exist. And John, their evidence, hairs, footprints and a presumed bed they say might belong to the creature.

KING: A presumed bed? I mean, sheets, pillows. What are we talking about?

SESAY: You know, 3,000 thread count Egyptian. Only the best stuff.

KING: Bigfoot the myth. OK, yes or no, do you believe it?

SESAY: No, but there's a woman at the conference from the U.S. state of Michigan who says she sees bigfoot every day.

KING: There you have it. Isha, take care. That does it for this edition of "360." We'll see you again at 10 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.