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Herman Cain Facing Pressure; Syria's Crackdown

Aired October 31, 2011 - 22:00   ET


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

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest."

Herman Cain says he's the victim of a witch-hunt. Politico says at least two women accused him of sexual harassment and were paid in part for their silence about whatever did or did not happen.

Now Mr. Cain's story seems to be changing. Politico's Jonathan Martin and others first broke the news. He joins us in a moment.

But, first, here's what happened Sunday morning, when he tried to ask Herman Cain for comment on his reporting.


JONATHAN MARTIN, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Have you ever been accused, sir, of harassment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last one, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question, last question.

MARTIN: Sir, have you? Yes or no? Have you ever been accused, sir, of sexual harassment? Have you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the last question. Thanks. Thanks.

MARTIN: Have you, sir? Yes or no. Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?


COOPER: Mr. Cain also said -- quote -- "I'm not going to comment about two people who you won't tell me who they are." He's talking about the two women mentioned but not named in the Politico story.

Former employees of the National Restaurant Association, a trade group that Cain headed in the late '90s. According to Politico they and possibly others complained to colleagues and senior association officials about their boss' inappropriate behavior. Now Politico citing but not naming multiple sources goes on to say -- quote -- "The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable." Both women, according to Politico, left the NRA and reached five- figure money settlements, which included nondisclosure agreements. This morning on FOX News Cain denied the allegations and said he was unaware of either then or now of any settlement.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the Restaurant Association did a settlement, I am not -- I wasn't even aware of it. And I hope it wasn't for much because nothing happened. So if that was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at this association. So the answer is absolutely not.


COOPER: In short, unaware then or now. He said the same just a few hours later at the National Press Club.


CAIN: I am unaware of any sort of settlement. I hope it wasn't for much because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is I'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.


COOPER: Yet just a few hours after that, he seemed to change his story.


CAIN: I was aware that an agreement was reached. The word "settlement" versus the word "agreement," you know, I'm not sure what they called it. I know that there was some sort of agreement, but because it ended up being minimal, they didn't have to bring it to me.


COOPER: Well, from no comment to "I didn't know then" and "don't know now" to "I knew about an agreement," all in less than 24 hours.

We should also mention that Politico first contacted the Cain people about this story 10 days ago. So the idea that Cain was unaware of a key piece of it today, 10 days later, is hard to understand.

And if Politico's reporting stands up, there may be more to come. The story cites a source familiar with Cain's tenure in Washington who says -- quote -- "I happen to know there were sealed settlements reached in the plural. I think that anybody who thinks this was a one-time, one-person transgression would be mistaken," this source said.

We should again point out these are unnamed sources. Many of them, to be sure, but still anonymous. We should also point out the allegations whether one or many are not facts. Allegations are not facts. And settlements are not admissions of guilt.

The Restaurant Association is not commenting.

Herman Cain -- Herman Cain declined our invitation to come on the program even though he's been talking to just about everybody else in the last couple of days. And Politico's Jonathan Martin joins us now.

So Jonathan, Herman Cain wouldn't talk to you when you tried to get him to answer questions about the allegations. He has been talking plenty today including a taped interview with FOX News where he talked about a woman who made a sexual harassment allegation, saying -- quote -- "She was in my office one day and I made a gesture saying -- and I was standing close to her -- and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, my wife comes up to my chin."

Cain goes on to say that the comment made the unnamed woman uncomfortable.

Is this consistent with what you've been told by your sources?

MARTIN: Anderson, thanks for having me on.

No, the kind of behavior that we understand took place in the late 1990s by Mr. Cain towards at least two female employees at the organization was far more suggestive, more sexual of nature when it came to both verbal comments and also physical contact with these two individuals.

And in fact, it was so off-putting, Anderson, to the two women, that they contacted colleagues, they contacted superior officials in the organization, both full-time employees and board members, and they ultimately received five-figure payouts from the organization to leave under the condition of signing a nondisclosure agreement.

So these women were obviously bothered by it. Mr. Cain was asked tonight, Anderson, also in a separate interview on PBS if he had ever crossed the line. He said he didn't think he had crossed the line, but obviously that's in the eye of the beholder and some have a different view.

From our reporting over the course of the last three weeks talking to multiple sources it sure was the view of at least two female employs there that he did in fact cross the line.

COOPER: So how -- so you've had this story now or been working on this story for three weeks. When did you inform the Cain campaign?

MARTIN: We informed the Cain campaign on Thursday, October 20th, of our reporting. We did not get back any kind of a response, Anderson, until the following Monday. At that point, the response was not satisfactory. We went back to them again and on Wednesday we had a telephone conversation. At that point the spokesman said that Mr. Cain vaguely recalled the allegations, that the general counsel at the organization had taken care of the matter and that they, the campaign officials, all talked to the counsel to figure out what happened. That was their on record response for days. We asked for more, they wouldn't give it to us. Until finally, as you mentioned, Anderson, I went to CBS yesterday morning, the Washington bureau here of CBS News, and asked Mr. Cain very directly and very straightforward, have you, sir, ever been accused of sexual harassment? I asked him that question three more times. He never answered.

COOPER: And he answered by asking you, have you ever been accused of sexual harassment, correct?

MARTIN: Yes, sir.

COOPER: Did -- in your article, you talk about one incident which was not in an office but in a hotel, correct?

MARTIN: Right. Our sources tell us, in fact, a board member talked to the woman who was approached by Mr. Cain and asked to come to his hotel room through an official National Restaurant Association event. And she was very off-put by that. And I subsequently talked to the board member about it and the board member actually pursued that and her issue was ultimately resolved, of course, by the organization. She got five-figure buyout to leave and sign the nondisclosure agreement.

COOPER: So there also seems to be like, Jonathan, the details of the possible financial settlement.


COOPER: As a result of the allegations. I mean, do you know specifically the amount of money, can't say or were you just told five figures?

MARTIN: We can say that we have seen documentation, Anderson, on both the allegations that the women lodged against Mr. Cain and a confirming that it was a formally resolved by the organization. So yes, we have some documentation on this matter.

COOPER: Do you know what Herman Cain knew about it at the time? I mean is there any documentation on the level of his involvement in any settlement or any discussion of the incident?

MARTIN: He was definitely aware of the allegations that were made against him because the allegations were made, again, to board members, to senior officials at the organization. So he very much was aware, according to our sources, of the allegations against him.

And keep in mind, this is the CEO of a major trade group. And there were separate five-figure payouts made to these women. It's hard to see how he wouldn't know about that kind of money leaving his organization to two employees.

COOPER: In your report, you say you're aware of who the women making these claims are but chose not to print their names. Did you -- MARTIN: That's correct.

COOPER: Did you speak to the women? MARTIN: You know, over the last three weeks we've talked to, Anderson, dozens of folks from across the country. Current and former employees, current and former board members, sources here in D.C. who worked with the trade group or close to the trade group. So, you know, our piece has multiple sources quoted in there and we'll just leave it at that.

COOPER: So you don't want to say whether or not you spoke to the women.

MARTIN: I will just refer you and your viewers to our piece on, and again, we cite multiple sources including current and former board members, current and former staff, and a lot of folks in D.C. close to the group.

COOPER: There are also some alleging that you may have been tipped off to the story by another campaign. Can you say?

MARTIN: Yes, I mean, again our sourcing is very straightforward in the story and I would just refer you back to there. So we're going to leave it with that.

COOPER: All right.

MARTIN: As far as sourcing goes.

COOPER: Jonathan, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you, Anderson. Good to see you.

COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary in the George W. Bush administration. You can follow him on Twitter @AriFleischer. Also Democratic strategist Paul Begala. I spoke to them just a short time ago.

So, Paul, what do you make of this? How damaging might this be to the Cain campaign?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the truth is we have no idea about even the content, really, of these allegations much less their truth or falsity. So I certainly don't want to cast judgment.

I think you can observe how Mr. Cain is reacting. And it's not the way I think his campaign might want. You know his story is shifting. If I had been working for him, I would have tried to at least beat this out of him before the campaign ever began so you could sort of bleed it out before.

You don't want this sort of bombshell breaking just when you're starting to soar in the campaign. COOPER: Ari, do you agree with that? I mean the fact he's -- you know, it's based on the span of 24 hours he's begun to kind of contradict himself or at least shift to the story a little bit.

ARI FLEISCHER: Anderson, I think there's only one issue in play here. Did he sexually harass somebody? If he didn't, then I think this is terribly unfair to Herman Cain. If he did, Herman Cain has huge problems on his hands.

But to me that's what this whole thing is about. And today he came out and flat out said he did not sexually harass anybody. All the other details about settlement, did he remember this, did he get an update from his counsel, between his speech and his interviews later in the day, I don't think any of that matters.

Did he tell the truth? Did he harass anybody? To me, that's it.

COOPER: What should he do next? I mean you say he's -- you know, he's addressed the key point. Does he stop talking about it? Does he try to, you know, flesh out all the details? How would you advise?

FLEISCHER: You know, it wasn't that long ago a sitting United States president settled with Paula Jones and paid her $850,000 to settle a lawsuit when she alleged that former President Clinton harassed her when she was a state employee of Arkansas and President Clinton at the time was the governor. So these things have been settled before and you never know how they're going to impact on politics.

If I'm Herman Cain --

BEGALA: If I could --


COOPER: Let Ari finish, then --

FLEISCHER: If I'm Herman Cain and I didn't do it, I would just reiterate what I said earlier today and I would say, I didn't do it, it's not true, it's baseless. But that's the only issue I think that matters. And I think the press runs the risk of making too far and making too many other things at issue if in fact he never sexually harassed anybody.


BEGALA: Well, the problem is he's had these shifting stories and that sets off every red flag in every journalist. I mean a smarter way to do this is he could have found a way to leak this out himself, to put this out himself. I mean Ari is working for George W. Bush. He was running for office when he started running on the national stage, replete with rumors that in his youth he had used drug.

Bush got out in front of it. He said, when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. And then he said, I'm not going to tell you. He roped it off. He said, I'm just not going to answer the question whether or not I used drugs. I'm not going to go through a laundry list. I'm not going to tell you.

And actually I think none of your business is a pretty good answer. He put it out there. Barack Obama in his book years ago wrote that he smoked pot as a college student. He even tried, as he said in his book, a little blow.

Well, nobody chased him on that because he admitted it. It was out there and people could decide for themselves if 10 or 20 or 30 years ago those things matter to people. This was a long time ago, too, but Mr. Cain I think is caught in part because he didn't get out in front of the story.

COOPER: But --

FLEISCHER: You know, it's trickier than that because on both of those instances Paul's exactly right, but they cited things that they did. Here Herman Cain would have to say, here's something I didn't do but I want to tell you about it anyway because there was a settlement. But I didn't do it.

It doesn't fall into that easy a category. I think this is going to be vexing no matter what which brings you back to fundamental truth. If he didn't sexually harass anybody, he has nothing to really worry about and I think this story will become a Washington fixation. I don't think it will move Republican primary voters. If he did, he's got a whole lot of trouble on his hands.

COOPER: So, Paul, do you think he tries to address it again or just -- you know, leave what he said -- he said it and move on?

BEGALA: He's got to get one very brief, very short story and then move on. I talked to one friend of mine who's a prominent Republican. It was funny. He kind of laughed it off. He said it doesn't matter. I said, how can it not matter, this is an allegation that he might have sexually harassed someone? And he said, it's like saying that Rick Santorum doesn't tip his bartender. This guy said. He's not going to be president anyway. He's not going to be my party's nominee. So a lot of national Republicans just sort of laughing this thing off.

COOPER: Paul Begala, Ari Fleischer, guys, thanks.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter, @AndersonCooper. I will tweet some tonight.

Up next, another "Keeping Them Honest" report, this one about the Syrian regime. The Syrian government keeps saying they don't beat their own people, they don't torture, that they're only targeting terrorists. Yet video keeps surfacing on YouTube and elsewhere reportedly telling a much different story.

We're going to talk to a filmmaker who's worked undercover in Syria who has been held captive by Syrian authorities and what he heard was shocking, inside a prison.

Also tonight, a travel nightmare. Imagine being stuck on a plane, no food, no water, no bathrooms right next to the -- to jetway inches, feet away from being able to get off. Others were held on the tarmac for more than 7.5 hours and a snowstorm within view of the gate.

How did this happen? An "Up Close" look ahead.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight about a story we promised never to look away from, the torture that Syria's dictatorship continues to inflict on its people. They deny it, of course. And as it brutalizes ordinary Syrians, the regime lies about it and does everything it can to blind their eyes to their barbarity.

Tonight, though, you're going to hear first hand from a reporter and filmmaker Sean McAllister who snuck into Syria. He worked undercover, witnessed the daily horror, then was arrested and witnessed even worse while he was in custody.

As always the videos keep emerging online. They jive with McAllister's reporting. But we should warn you, they are hard to watch but we think they are important.

There's this new video of a man whipped and beaten by authorities while in custody. Sean McAllister says he heard numerous beatings from the room he was held in. The regime doesn't shy away either from turning its fury on teenagers even children. This is Hamza who was captured while attending a protest with his father, beaten, burned, mutilated and murdered by authorities. They say -- according to human rights activists inside Syria. They say he was murdered by authorities.

The regime has fired on ambulances, sent tanks into the streets, had attacked helicopters and strike fighters open fire on protesters. All the while, the dictator Bashar al-Assad promises reform and blames the unrest on outsider, on terrorists, on foreigners, and thousands of criminals who've somehow managed to be roaming the streets, this in a total dictatorship.

Now he's telling Britain's "Sunday Telegraph" that only terrorists are now being targeted and claimed that fighting has -- quote -- "becoming much less." And virtually everyone inside Syria and around the world say otherwise.

The regime, they say, is targeting opponents, dissidents and ordinary civilians. Thirteen people were killed today in Syria, dozens over the weekend. About 3,000 according to the U.N. since the uprising began. And day after day we see pictures like these, people beaten and killed by armed thugs. Men being treated and human cargo, shoved into car trunks, taken away, beaten, tortured and killed.

That's the reality the Syrian dictatorship tries to deny to the world. Remember, the regime denies they torture and beat prisoners. Tonight a man who says he heard their cries. Filmmaker Sean McAllister. Last week he was arrested while working undercover for Britain's ITN News and he says they held him in a prison, a house of torture, for six days.

I spoke to him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Sean, what did you witness while you were being held? What did you hear? What did you see?

SEAN MCALLISTER, INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER: We were blindfolded. We were taken in a car. We were led to some security center. I was placed in a room next to another room where I could hear screaming and shouting and constant slapping.

My blindfold was taken off, but I could see that the Syrians around me that were coming in and out were all the time blindfolded, and I can assume, and having spoken to activists who had been in this situation, they were blindfolded and beaten.

This is -- this is the first stop before -- I think it's about a six-hour stay here before you're taken to the security center prison, which is a dungeon basically in a basement. Because of my British passport, I was relieved of that -- to endure that day and night. In fact I just endured it by the night. By the day I lived upstairs with the security police.

But daily and nightly, I mean, usually around 3: 00 a. m. each night in this place you would hear the most howling, horrific cries of people being whipped and tortured basically.

And when I was taken down -- I was eventually given a room next to what I called the torture chamber which was basically a room which had huge amounts of belts. In fact, when I left, they took my belt to add to their collection. And there was a cable that must have been an inch thick, and inside the cable were four electric wires.

So if you imagine the electric wire that goes to your kettle, there was a -- there was a cable with four of these inside. It must have been like an inch thick. And they'd manufactured a handle at the end of it and the whole thing -- the whole thing had taken the natural form of an arc as it would hit repeatedly on the backs of god knows how many of these guys.

COOPER: You know the Syrian government repeatedly denies that they're torturing anyone. And yet we have seen video after video of people whose bodies have been returned to their families bruised with signs of shocks. We've seen, you know, a child whose genitals were cut off, whose kneecaps were damaged.

It seems hard listening to your account to believe what the Syrian government has been telling us. And we haven't believed it so far, but your account just verifies that people are without a doubt being tortured.

MCALLISTER: Well, you know, towards the end of my stay, I befriended my guys upstairs. In the daytime I would -- I would spend hours and hours with my interrogators. And the head guy spoke perfect English. And they were all quite, you know, Anglophiles. And they, you know -- that enjoyed my company.

The irony was they would treat me like a king. They would treat me so respectfully and so beautifully, but downstairs they were treating their own people so horrendously. To me, it was so disturbing. It was so shocking.

COOPER: And now your belt has been added to the room of other belts. I mean, that's just a -- that's a horrific thing to imagine.

MCALLISTER: And I can only assume -- it's only because it was a real belt. The belt that they gave me when I was leaving -- I said, I'm not leaving here until you give me back my belt. And they said, we can't find your belt.

My belt was a proper leather belt. It was a big thick leather belt. It was made out of leather. The belt that they gave me back was plastic. And I can only assume they took my belt because it was a proper belt for beating.

COOPER: The fact that they would allow you to hear all this, to see all this, and realizing you would talk about it, they -- it's almost as if they don't care or they don't even think in those terms?

MCALLISTER: They're fed -- all they made me watch day in and day out was Syrian TV. And all they kept talking about was terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. We would never open fire on our own people. You've got to understand it's an American conspiracy and U.S. this -- they will not accept it's the will of the people, it's the will of the Syrian people that have taken to the streets to finally speak for freedom.

They cannot -- they cannot see this or accept this. And they keep -- they're force fed this propaganda from state-run television about terrorists and foreign fighters in the country and the idea that the Islamists are going to take over and they all got guns and they're going to kill -- I mean I really think to the extent that they really -- I mean, that they believe it.

And I think that's the power of the regime. The regime have absolutely brainwashed the security services into believing this so much.

COOPER: Sean McAllister, I'm sorry for what you went through, but I admire your courage and I appreciate you speaking out tonight. Thank you.

MCALLISTER: Thank you.


COOPER: Hard to believe.

Up next: no food, no water and no usable bathrooms. That's what passengers on one JetBlue flight had to endure when they spent more than 7.5 hours sitting on the tarmac during Saturday's snowstorm. And get this, that whole time they were within walking distance of the gate. As you would imagine there is plenty of fallout. Today an up close look at what went wrong coming up.

Plus, heated moments in the Michael Jackson death trial, the prosecution hammering away at the star witness for the defense. This was a crucial day in the trial. The question is, could it spell trouble for Dr. Conrad Murray?

And on a much lighter note, this Halloween, a costume contest here in our newsroom. This is the 360 staff -- plenty of the disguises are ripped straight from the headlines. We'll show you the best in tonight's "Shot."


COOPER: "Up Close" tonight: a look at the travel nightmare for JetBlue passengers forced to spend more than 7.5 hours sitting in a plane on the tarmac. Imagine this. This was on Saturday night. Flight 504 was supposed to make a quick trip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Newark, New Jersey.

The Saturday snowstorm forced the flight to divert to Hartford, Connecticut, instead where it sat, and sat and sat. Food and water ran out and the bathrooms were off limits. Not even the pilot's concerns for his passengers' medical needs could get the airline to help get them off the plane. His frustration evident in his conversation with the tower. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is 504. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, you know, we can't seem to get any help from our own company. I apologize for this, but is there any way you can get a tug and a tow bar out here to us and get us towed somewhere to a gate or something. I don't care. Take us anywhere.

I have a paraplegic on board that needs to come off. I have a diabetic on here that's got an issue. Its -- there's a list of things. I just got to get some help.


COOPER: Well, this is not the first case of its kind for JetBlue, just the latest. In all, 23 flights were rerouted to Hartford and six of them were from JetBlue.

Now today the airline apologizing to passengers who spent hours stuck in their plane. The Department of Transportation is investigating. JetBlue could face some big fines.

Mary Snow joins us now with more.

How did this happen, Mary, and what is their excuse?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unbelievable. But, you know, that's a big question that remains unanswered, because the airport is citing that -- saying that it was stretched to the limit. The airline is citing the number of diverted flights.

And both are not really giving out specifics because they say they're doing their own investigation. You just mentioned that Department of Transportation investigation. You know, frustrated passengers were questioning how could both the airline and the airport be caught off guard so much when this storm had been forecast? It was not a surprise.

One of the passengers on board was a man named Jimmy Brown. He is in a wheelchair. He was on that flight with his wife, Francine. They say, you know, there was a lot of tension and little information.

COOPER: That's the most infuriating -- oh.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yelling and, you know, standing up. And it was getting a little -- a lot of people getting irritated.

FRANCINE ROE, STRANDED PASSENGER: By 6, 7, there was no more food: no potato chips, no snack boxes, barely any water. The bathrooms stopped working. It got pretty crazy.


SNOW: And you know, Anderson, one of the passengers I spoke with tonight says she was amazed when she finally got off the flight how close it was to the gate.

COOPER: Is the airline or the airport -- I mean -- responsible for getting, I mean, a plane to the gate and getting passengers off- loaded?

SNOW: We talked to a former inspector general at the Department of Transportation, and she said it is the airline's responsibility to provide extra personnel to get people off that plane.

But you know, some passengers rights groups are saying tonight that airports should not be let off the hook, because right now they don't have to come up with contingency plans for these tarmac delays. And some of these groups are saying they should be held accountable and have to come up with a contingency plan.

COOPER: Isn't there supposed to be some kind of a rule that passengers can't be left sitting on a tarmac for more than three hours?

SNOW: Yes, it was passed as the Passenger's Bill of Rights. It was passed last year to prevent this exact kind of thing. And it states that, if people are on a plane on the tarmac for up to two hours, that the airline is responsible for food, drinking water, toilets, medicine. And it prohibits passengers from being on those planes on the tarmac for three hours.

COOPER: But JetBlue was saying they're going to give the passengers their money back. But I mean, what -- that doesn't really amount to much of anything. That's not real satisfaction. What kind of fines could they face?

SNOW: Well, in this case, the maximum penalty that an airline could face is $27,500 per passenger. When you take a look at this flight, that could amount to about $3.5 million in fines against JetBlue, if it reaches the maximum fine. Those fines go to the government.

And some airline advocates groups are saying, you know, perhaps if some of this money went to passengers, it would be more of an incentive for airlines never to break this rule.

COOPER: Mary Snow, appreciate it. Thanks, Mary.

SNOW: Sure.

COOPER: Saturday storms still causing a lot of problems for residents of the East Coast. Susan Hendricks joins us now with the latest on that in a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.


Yes, as you saw in Mary's report, the weather's brutal across the northeast. And because of it, 1.8 million customers still have no electricity. Some of the outages could last through Friday. That is forcing some areas to cancel or postpone Halloween events. Devastating for kids in the area because that includes trick-or- treating, not your normal snow day.

Steve Jobs, his last words were, "Oh, wow, oh, wow," stating them three times. That is according to his sister, writer Mona Simpson. The two, separated by adoption, met later in life. In her eulogy, published in "The New York Times," she describes his final moments as filled by the epiphanies.

Demonstrators in Lower Manhattan are trying to trademark the name Occupy Wall Street. But they could have some competition out there. An Arizona-based investment firm also filed for the same trademark on the same day.

And a Burmese python -- you've got to see this -- making his last meal count, consumed an entire 76-pound adult deer. Snake hunters with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission shot and killed it. Pythons have been known to eat alligators, other large snakes, even some humans. The midsection, though, of this case, the snake expanded 44 inches trying to eat that deer.

COOPER: Wow. That's amazing. Time for "The Shot" and a couple things for this Halloween on my daytime show, "Anderson."

I dressed up as kind of an homage to an early talk show idol of mine, Phil Donohue. Take a look. That's Phil Donohue, and he actually surprised us and came out on the program, as well. So it's me and Phil there. I'm not sure you can tell which is which, but I'm the one on the left.

We take Halloween seriously here at 360. This year, we had a costume contest for the staff. The whole staff really got into the spirit. I didn't have a costume, but I feel like, you know, I was Phil on TV already. So almost everyone, though, on the staff did it. Isha has the day off. Sent us this picture. She's clearly ready for Halloween. I also read some of her tweets. It sounded like she had quite a late night. Ended up Sunday hanging out on the couch.

We also got this video entry from our producer Chuck, who was traveling on assignment. Take a look.


CHUCK, AC 360 PRODUCER (singing): My name is Chuck and I'm a cowboy. I wrote this song for you I wish you enjoy. I wish I could be there to see all the show, but Patty made me go to Ohio


COOPER: Got sent to Ohio on assignment and missed the contest. We applaud Chuck and Isha for their creativity, but they did not win the competition. The competition was pretty tough. Runner-up went to our producer, David. Check out his Muammar Gadhafi costume.


DAVID, AC 360 PRODUCER: Ah, shut up now, Patty. I'm out of beer. Keeping Them Honest.


COOPER: That's setting the bar high. But associate producer Ann crushed the fake Gadhafi, taking first place as Courtney Stodden's Twitter feed.


ANN, AC 360 ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: I'm real. I'm Courtney Stodden's Twitter feed.

Love it.


COOPER: Yes, regular viewers know that Courtney is a favorite on our "RidicuList."

We also got some great i-Reports. Thanks to everyone for playing along. One costume that really stood out for us. Check out this little guy. That is Dave (ph). He's 8 years old. I will call him mini me. I wish we had a tighter shot. Maybe that I'm blind as a bat. You can see he's dressed up as me.

You can see more costumes cooked up by the staff and viewers at it was fun stuff today.

Back to the serious stuff, though, tonight. A riveting day in the Michael Jackson death trial as prosecutors grilled a key witness about the care that Jackson received in the final hours of his life. The question is, did they put a dent in the theory that the defense has been arguing, that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose of Propofol? We'll have the latest from the courtroom.

And in Arizona officials breaking up a huge drug smuggling ring, talking millions of pounds of drugs. We'll be right back.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, a crucial day for the prosecution in the Michael Jackson death trial. On the stand, the defense's key witness, Dr. Paul White, a widely-respected expert on Propofol, who's in the same league professionally as the prosecution's Propofol expert.

Now, on Friday Dr. White delivered strong testimony for the defense. Today the prosecution began its cross-examination. They came out swinging. Things got so heated the judge sent jurors out of the courtroom at one point. Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The lifeline Dr. Paul White threw to Dr. Murray on direct examination was all but washed away when prosecutor David Walgren put White, the defense's key witness, on his heels.

DAVID WALGREN, PROSECUTOR: Have you ever administered Propofol in someone's bedroom?


WALGREN: Have you ever heard of anyone doing that prior to this case?

WHITE: No, I have not.

KAYE: In just minutes Walgren got White to admit that Murray had deviated from the standard of care. Sounding more like a witness for the prosecution, White told the jury he believes when Murray left Jackson's bedroom, he left a syringe loaded with Propofol, a syringe White says Jackson could have used himself to give himself another 25 milligrams of Propofol, never expecting it would stop his heart.

WALGREN: So Conrad Murray drew up the syringe? In your analysis. Yes or no?


KAYE: The state argues, even if Murray did not administer the fatal dose, he's responsible for the pop star's death, because Murray brought the powerful anesthetic Propofol into the home.

WALGREN: Would you walk out of the room and leave him alone with no personnel and no monitoring, if you're of the opinion they like to push Propofol themselves? Would you walk out of the room in that situation, yes or no?

WHITE: I would -- no, I would not leave the room. KAYE: Murray told investigators he left the room for about two minutes, but Dr. White testified he believed Murray wasn't paying attention to Jackson for 35 to 40 minutes before he left the room because he was talking on his cell phone. At some point, Dr. White says Jackson could have grabbed the syringe.

The prosecution believes Murray administered the fatal dose, though, and suggested White's scenario was ridiculous, given all that Jackson was hooked up to.

WALGREN: And so Michael Jackson's walking around, wheeling the IV stand attached to a condom catheter, and Conrad Murray is somewhere else on the phone? That's the assumption underlying your scenario, correct?

KAYE: The state also got Dr. White to admit he could not justify Murray waiting more than 20 minutes to call 911 after noticing Jackson had stopped breathing. And when asked about Murray's repeated failure to tell paramedics and emergency-room doctors that he gave Jackson Propofol, Dr. White hedged.

WHITE: It was obviously overlooked. He didn't -- he didn't tell them...

WALGREN: Well, not obviously. It could also be a lie, correct? Correct? That's another option?

WHITE: If you say so, I guess, yes.

WALGREN: That's another option, correct?

WHITE: It's an option, yes.

KAYE (on camera): The prosecution also pressed Dr. White about his fees to testify for the defense. He told the jury he'd been paid about $11,000 so far but would like to be paid more, because he normally charges $3,500 a day.

A bit of a dig to suggest he might be in this for the money, because the state's expert anesthesiologist, Dr. Steven Shaffer, is doing the work for free.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: A lot of folks believe that Dr. White's testimony could end up being the key to this trial's outcome. Joining me now is longtime prosecutor Paul Henderson and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Mark, you said all along the cross-examination of defense's Propofol is crucial for the prosecution. How do you think it went today?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If you might remember, if you rolled some of your previous tapes, I think I predicted that this was exactly what Walgren was going to ask. And I think the answers that he got were not what the defense wanted to hear.

COOPER: Because -- because why?

GERAGOS: There's two -- there's problems with this from the defense standpoint.

No. 1, it absolutely puts the death knell in the idea that there's going to be any argument about gross negligence. Their own expert says this guy was not living up to the standard of care.

No. 2, in the biggest problem here, I think, from the defense standpoint, is this idea that he left a syringe there that he had prepared. So, even if it's Michael Jackson, even under the defense theory of Michael Jackson is self-administering, the problem is that you would never leave a syringe there for somebody to possibly pick up and inject.

COOPER: And the prosecutor, David Walgren, was very aggressive with the witness, even accusing him of having rehearsed lines during his testimony. Mark, does that kind of aggressiveness backfire sometimes, or is it effective?

GERAGOS: It does sometimes, but I'll tell you. David has got -- I've known David for a long time. He's got a wonderful way in front of jurors. He's also built up a little bit of good will, I think, or capital, if you will, with this jury.

Normally, you do not want to come out that aggressive. I think that he could afford to here. I think he did a very good job. I think the defense has got their work cut out for them in trying to rehabilitate him.

COOPER: The prosecutor got the defense's star witness to admit he would never administer Propofol in a bedroom setting. And he would also never accept a job as Michael Jackson's doctor if it meant giving him Propofol regularly to help him sleep. How damaging did you think it was for the defense today?

PAUL HENDERSON, PROSECUTOR: I think it was extremely damaging. I mean, you've got the jury there listening to this doctor that's there for the defense, actually admitting and saying that, "Look, this is not the standard of care that I would have used, and I'm the expert for the defendant."

I think that's actually why they started off so aggressively. And this is something that is pretty common when you have a case like this, where you have experts against experts, where you're trying to define a standard of care and trying to figure out who is going to be at fault.

In this case, it seemed very damning to me and probably pretty damaging to the rest of the jury as well that the witness was indicating that there's a whole series of behaviors, and a whole series of facts that are uncontested that he would not have engaged in for dealing with a patient like this.

I think it's not looking very well for Dr. Murray at this point.

COOPER: Mark, what happens tomorrow?

GERAGOS: I suppose they're going to try to recoup. You know, I said -- I think last night we talked, Anderson, the best hope for the defense here is a hung jury, in my humble opinion. So...

COOPER: That's the best?

GERAGOS: Yes, that -- that's their best hope.

COOPER: Do you agree with that, Paul?

HENDERSON: Yes. I don't see that coming at this point. With the evidence that's been presented so far, I think the jury, in addition to hearing all of these lapses of judgment and about all of these options where Dr. Murray was talking on the phone and texting the girlfriends and waiting before he administered aid and actually not being honest about what was happening and taking efforts that could have revived Michael Jackson, you know, I think the jury, as they're listening to that, is coming to a place where they can sit in judgment pretty easily and make a determination that he is guilty, that he has committed some wrongdoing. And I think that's the direction that this case is headed.

I'm really curious to see just exactly what the defense is going to argue in their closing, what they're going to stick on the wall, or what they're going to throw at the jury to try and give them some alternative means of finding anything other than guilty in this case.

COOPER: Paul Henderson, appreciate your being on. Mark Geragos, as well. Thanks.

GERAGOS: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Coming up, a cop caught speeding, rushing to stop a crime. He's the one accused of committing the crime at 120 miles an hour. We'll explain that ahead.

Also sad news about the cracks in the Kardashian marriage, but it's not their 72-day marriage on the "RidicuList" tonight. Oh, no. Kardashian critics, you better watch out.


Back to Anderson in a moment, but first a "360 News and Business Bulletin."

We start in Arizona, where officials say 70 alleged smugglers with suspected ties to a powerful Mexican drug cartel have been arrested after a 17-month investigation. They are accused of bringing in more than $33 million in drugs a month.

Videos, papers and photographs released by the FBI show how Russian spies used Cold-War-era techniques in secretly-taped meeting with undercover FBI agents. The materials tie in to that spy scandal last year in which 10 people pleaded guilty.

Some good news. Big monthly gains for the major stock indices. The Dow adding more than 1,000 points, it's best month in nine years. The S&P 500 surged nearly 11 percent, its 20-year record.

And in Miami, check it out. That is a squad car being pulled over. Yes, it is a cop behind the wheel, charged with reckless driving after barreling down the road at more than 120 miles an hour. He says he was trying to get to his other job on time. He obviously didn't make it, taken away in handcuffs -- Anderson.

COOPER: Hey, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is at 11 p.m. Eastern. Erin, what's next?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, Anderson, I know you've been doing "Keeping Them Honest" on Herman Cain and the allegations of sexual harassment. We're going to talk to Republican king-maker and rainmaker Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi. Everyone's been waiting for his endorsement. He's known Herman Cain for 15 years. He's going to weigh in on this story tonight.

We're also going to talk about the next al Qaeda. We've always been hearing about the biggest risk is a person with an American passport training overseas and coming back to take care of -- cause a terror attack on American soil. Well, guess what? That could be happening. We're going to talk about the next al Qaeda.

Plus, Anderson, a vigil in downtown New York City. It's not the Halloween parade; it's not Occupy Wall Street. It is a vigil about a marriage gone very, very wrong. We'll tell you what we mean in "We Can't Resist."

Back to you.

COOPER: Hmm, interesting. All right, Erin, thanks.

Up next, there is no "happily ever after" for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. And the critics of their fairytale wedding land on our "RidicuList." We'll explain.


COOPER: Tonight on "the RidicuList," we've got to add all you Kardashian kritics [SIC] to "The RidicuList." That's "kritics" with a "K," because that's how the Kardashians would trademark it.

That's right. After listening to folks bash Kim Kardashian all day long for filing for divorce after 72 days of marriage to Kris Humphries -- 72 days of marriage and millions of dollars in profit -- I'm sticking up for her, and it's not just because I'm scared of Khloe. I'm a little bit scared.

You see, America, divorce is sad. It's nothing to make light of or take joy in. So tonight, let's not talk about divorce. Let's talk about -- about love. Tender, soulful, cash-hungry love.

If all you angry, cynical souls out there with your Twitter machines and your bad attitudes are so bitter that you were rooting these past 72 days against a marriage that was grounded in love complete with Ryan Seacrest as the wedding planner? Well, all I can say is that I pity you and your knockoff Bruce Jenner track suit.

Sure, the marriage ended up being shorter than the tiny wait between teeth cleanings. Who cares? Have you seen Kim's teeth? Spotless.

How can you not support a couple whose two-day televised wedding on the E! Network cost a reported $10 million and was subsidized by sponsors? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that is called the American dream.

By the way, that shakes out to about $138,000 per day of marriage, which, incidentally, is the same amount per day Wolf Blitzer spends on mustache combs. A little known fact.

And yes, according to "The New York Post," Kim Kardashian reportedly sold the rights to the wedding for nearly $18 million. But really, who among you can say you've never have done that? Blitzer can't.

I'm telling you, America, the time for cynicism has passed. The Kardashians are serious people who, contrary to popular believe, do indeed have discernible talent. For instance, they make the -- um -- the uh -- well, there was the time that they did the thing -- um. They won "America's Got Talent," didn't they, in '96? Can somebody call Piers? Piers Morgan? Is he on Twitter? Piers Morgan? Nine p.m.? Anyway.

As for Kim and Kris, look, what's done is done. Let's just be clear on one thing. Kardashian critics, there is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- that you can say or post on your Twitter or in the comment section of some blog that will hurt Kim Kardashian. She is, as the saying goes, laughing all the way to the bank. She's laughing so hard that, even if they locked her in the bank vault deep inside the sub-basement, you would still hear her laughter floating all the way up to the street level where Kris Jenner would be in a Bentley, double parked on your soul.

Her soon-to-be ex-husband might be the ball player, but in the game of reality TV, Kim Kardashian wins every single time. She certainly wins tonight on "The RidicuList."

That's it for us, thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.