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Government Spending Hundreds of Millions on Smallpox Drug?; Newt Gingrich Taking Fire From Opponents

Aired December 8, 2011 - 22:00   ET


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

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a 360 special investigation.

Smallpox was eradicated from the entire world back in 1980. Even if it ever came back, the federal government still keeps enough vaccine for every single person in the United States. So why is it that the federal government is spending at least $432 million to develop a new smallpox drug, not a vaccine, a drug that, incidentally, one of the world's leading smallpox experts says has not been proven to work?

Could it be because the company just awarded the contracts has some pretty deep ties with the White House? And why is it that the company with deep ties to the White House, the company that just got the big contract for the drug that's not been proven to work, why is it going to make an 85 percent profit on that contract?

Coming up, we will talk with a member of the company's board of directors, a familiar face around CNN.

We first got wind of this story in "The Los Angeles Times," but since then, we have learned a lot more.

Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's just another good business deal for billionaire investor and big-time Democratic political supporter Ron Perelman.

This major political contributor to both parties, but particular friend of the Obama White House, owns the controlling shares in a company called Siga Technologies. And Siga this year won a sweet $432 million no-bid contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that even a Democrat says is a little bit too sweet to ignore.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: How did this become a no- bid contract? Was it justified as a no-bid contract? Overall, I think we need to begin asking some policy questions about the kind of money we're spending on developing drugs where the United States government is the only customer.

GRIFFIN: Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for an investigation. Capitol Hill Republicans have already launched their own.

REP. SAM GRAVES (R), MISSOURI: The fact that the regular procurement process wasn't followed, so that's something we definitely know, is there's a lot of political connection here.

GRIFFIN: First, a little background.

During the Bush administration and following 9/11, the idea of terrorists using bioweapons became a real concern -- among the threats, smallpox. It hasn't been a threat in decades, and even if it did return, the U.S. still has enough vaccine for everyone in the country.

But what to do if terrorists somehow were able to release the smallpox virus before people could be vaccinated? Siga, the company controlled by Ron Perelman, says it now has a drug for that, a drug developed with a lot of taxpayer money and government help.

But one of the world's leading smallpox experts, Dr. D.A. Henderson, says Siga's drug simply may not work.

DR. D.A. HENDERSON, CENTER FOR BIOSECURITY: The question is what will it do in the way of treating a patient who's had a fever and now has a funny rash that could be smallpox? Will it treat the disease? I have not seen the data that suggests it will.

GRIFFIN: That's mainly because you can't test the drug on humans without infecting them first. Siga insists it has cured infected monkeys.

But this is a story about contracts. And when the Siga contract was being questioned last year, Siga placed another major Democratic political supporter on its board of directors, Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees Union International, a public workers union that put its entire weight and money behind presidential candidate Barack Obama, then used its political weight and money behind the president's push for universal health care.

Stern was named to the board at Siga around the same time another company called Chimerix said it too had a smallpox drug. Stern, his aide told CNN, was unavailable for comment. In fact, Chimerix not said it had a drug, but it was and is a small business.

And by the Department of Health and Human Services' own requirement, the contract was supposed to go to a small business. That's when the Department of Health and Human Services did something pretty interesting. The government changed the terms of the bidding, making sure any company, even large ones like Siga, could go after the contract.

Then Health and Human Services determined that Siga was the only bidder that actually qualified.

(on camera): Do you feel because some very large Democratic supporters of the White House, Ron Perelman, Andy Stern, are involved with that company, that this has the impression of a political payoff?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to comment about people drawing conclusions about the appearances of this contract. I want to get into the facts.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): According to documents obtained by CNN, that's not the only question to be asked, because internal documents reveal a profit return that one Health and Human Services official called outrageous.

How much? On March 18 of this year, a contracting offer questions Siga's return on investment, which he writes is an overwhelming 180 percent. He adds, "I know you won't find a contracting officer in government who would sign a three-digit profit percentage."

A half-hour later, another HHS official, a doctor, writes back saying he fully concurs, that 180 percent is outrageous and advises that, "Considering all the money taxpayers have already invested in developing the drug, well, the U.S. government should get a major discount."

But that's not what happened. Instead, Siga's CEO, a man named Eric Rose, complained in writing to the HHS contract officer about the government's approach to profit and asked that the negotiator be replaced by a more senior official. And that is exactly what happened.

(on camera): So what did the White House say? Not one thing. They told us to get any answers we wanted from Health and Human Services, the agency that granted the contract. And guess what we found here? Despite dozens of communication professionals on staff, not a single one would come out and talk to us.

Instead, we got a statement, saying the contract was awarded -- quote -- "after a rigorous market analysis determined that Siga was the only known company in the world with the capability to produce the required antiviral drug within the required time frame."

As for that huge return on investment, HHS told us -- quoting again -- "We can't get into the details, but the final rates ended up well within industry standards." HHS even told us that the change in negotiators actually resulted in substantial savings for the U.S. government.

Siga Technologies got back to us in writing, telling us, "The negotiations and decision to award the contract were handled solely by career procurement officials at HHS who negotiated a fair and reasonable price" and that "never at any time was any elected or political official asked to intervene in the procurement process by Siga or anyone affiliated with the company."

Republicans aren't buying that just yet.

GRAVES: You certainly can't ignore the political connections between the company and the administration.


GRIFFIN: And in a postscript to this story, Anderson, from the documents that we have seen, the CEO and CFO included in this contract bonuses for themselves of $200,000 to $225,000.

COOPER: All right, Drew, I want to bring in our national security contributor Fran Townsend. Fran is here not in her usual role tonight, but as a spokeswoman for Siga Technologies. She's on the board of directors, works full-time for MacAndrews & Forbes, a company that is owned by Ron Perelman.

Fran, thanks for being with us.

You just heard the reporting. How do you respond.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I'm glad we're calling it "Keeping Them Honest," because there are so many factual inaccuracies in the story, I kind of don't know where to start.

So, for example, the contract was put out in a competitive process. And, frankly, it was clear that the government wanted it to be a competitive process. It was awarded to Siga, as Drew's package reports, and it was set aside because of the small business concern.

They then went out -- the government then goes out with what is called a sources-sought notice, looking for competition. The only people who respond is Chimerix. Chimerix ultimately is not competitive in this process because the scientist who discovers their drug admits in an application to NIH, which Siga provided to Drew, that the drug, their smallpox antiviral, causes toxicity in the gastrointestinal tract.

So there is no competition. The government wants it. And when the government finally awards the sole-source contract to the only company that actually has a smallpox antiviral, what do they do? They also give a research and development grant to Chimerix, saying that they want to encourage competition, and they don't give the award of the contract for the entire requirement, that is, another 12 million doses of smallpox antiviral.

They decide they're not going to decide that and they're going to give Chimerix an opportunity to fix their drug, so they can be competitive. And so the government has bent over backwards to try and balance the need for an antiviral against competition.

And, look, Anderson, I sat in the seat when I was at the White House. These are difficult decisions. But when what you're trying to balance is the safety of the American people and competition, look, I think BARDA did the right thing, and they did -- they did make an award that allows them to stockpile some, while allowing a competitor the opportunity -- and they gave them the money -- to go back and try to and fix the problem with their antiviral.


GRIFFIN: I want to just point out that both these government oversight committees on the Hill, on the House, are calling these no- bid contracts. That's the language that they are looking into and asking why it appears that the contract negotiations were that way. But...


COOPER: And you deny it. You're saying it was not a no-bid contract?

TOWNSEND: It ultimately was, Anderson, a sole-source contract, but because there was nobody to compete.

It was not a question of they directed it to Siga. The fact of the matter was there was nobody with a smallpox antiviral that could meet the government's standards. Siga had gone through testing in the animal, as it's reported, with monkeys. There are four cases of what's called compassionate use, where the ST-246, the Siga drug, was used against -- with humans who were infected with an orthopoxvirus who were cured.

So there's substantial evidence in this case that this smallpox antiviral is effective. And, in fact, the secretary of HHS has found that it's likely to meet FDA approval, and we're in the process of going through that.

GRIFFIN: Fran, it's likely to, but in the company's own filings, it says, look, we don't know if it works and we don't know if it's safe.

And that's why only the U.S. government is buying this right now, because it has no commercial value.

TOWNSEND: Well, that's right.

But what it requires, for the government to have even purchased the amount in the awarded contract, the secretary had to make a finding that based on what they know so far between the money -- the animal testing and the compassionate use cases, it was likely to receive FDA approval.

And, by the way, what the piece doesn't mention is the FDA advisory committee who are looking at this very issue in the animal rule will have an open and public hearing that Drew can attend on December 14.

COOPER: Why would a guy like Andy Stern, who has all these political connections, why would he be on the board of this thing? Why would you bring in somebody like that, unless it was to get influence with the White House?

TOWNSEND: Anderson, this is a board, it's got doctors, it's got people with public experience, it's got -- it's a very diverse board.

But the fact of the matter is, this may be the only thing in Washington that Republicans and Democrats agree on. Just this week, the underlying enabling legislation that gives the government the authority to purchase medical countermeasures, of which the smallpox antiviral is one, actually passed -- that legislation passed the House unanimously. Nothing passes unanimously...


COOPER: I'm just not sure what the company gets from having a high-level guy who worked at a big union that backed Obama, other than that influence. I'm not sure what he brings to the table.

TOWNSEND: Anderson, I can tell you, not Ronald Perelman, not Andy Stern, no member of the board was involved in these contract negotiations and never contacted anybody in the government about this contract. The contract negotiations were handled by career procurement officials and the management of Siga.

GRIFFIN: But, Fran, what does this say about how Washington works, though? Because, from the outside looking in, we have got very politically connected people to the White House, and we have you, yourself, who was in the White House, drawing up and drafting this very legislation that you are now outside of the White House at a private company bidding on.

People tell me this is the way that Washington works, both cynically and not-so-cynically.

TOWNSEND: Well, this is fabulous. If I'm part of the Washington revolving door, Drew, I don't -- it doesn't work very well. I went into the federal government, was a career public servant for 24 years.

I came out, and, presumably, Siga wanted me on the board for the same reason CNN hired me, and that is because of my expertise in national security and bio-defense areas. There's nothing improper about that.

And, in fact, if you look at any major defense board today, look at Lockheed, look at Northrop Grumman or Boeing, every one of them have men who are retired four-star generals and admirals who are on those boards. Why? Because those public companies want the expertise of retired public officials. And I don't see anybody questioning the appropriateness of that.

GRIFFIN: Well, actually, we have on this show, and the watchdogs of government say this is the very problem, Anderson, with a lot of these contracts, revolving doors. I mean, we have the government buying a drug that they can't sell to anybody else. This company can't sell it to anybody.

COOPER: What's the next step in the process for this?

TOWNSEND: Well, the FDA advisory committee meets next week in this public hearing. Chimerix will be at it. If Chimerix can get their drug together, they can compete for it. They will look at the animal rule and the testing that's gone on.

And, by the way, we talk about a $433 million contract. If you look at the contract, you will see there are a number of milestones that Siga, as a company and the drug, ST-246, must meet in order to get payments along the way. This is not a guaranteed $433 million contract.

GRIFFIN: We have looked at the contract. Most of what we got was redacted, I must be honest with you.

Let me just ask you really quickly about the profit margin. Are the profit margins accurate, and is that too much for a government contract?

TOWNSEND: The profit margins that are reported are not accurate, because, of course, what they did -- what was publicly available was take the 1.7 million doses and divide it into the $433 million on the contract, which doesn't account for, by the way, the government required another 300,000 doses, it required pediatric testing for pediatric doses.

It requires a warm production capability, so that you can produce more.

GRIFFIN: So what is the profit?

TOWNSEND: The profit is competitively confidential and it's been found by the government to be so, and so I'm not at liberty to say.

COOPER: But you're saying it's not...


TOWNSEND: But, by the way, we provided you, Drew, with a list of drugs. And so you can see, even if you take the number that's out there publicly, which is higher than is accurate, and you look against orphan drugs and other drugs purchased by the government, it is substantially lower.

And, in the end, this is about value. And so I never got the smallpox vaccine because I am not able to because of my health, and I would need an antiviral. And if you're somebody who requires an antiviral, by the way, many people who did get the vaccine, it's no longer good, you would need it.

The cost of it is fair and reasonable. And it's funny. The quotes from HHS officials about outrageous, I have to believe though I have never seen them -- we're early in the process -- because they were very aggressive in the way that they negotiated this contract.

COOPER: You can look at the full statement from the company, from Siga, on our Web site.

Fran, I appreciate you being on, Drew Griffin as well. Again, you can check it out at the Web site. Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. Add us to your circles. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Up next: opponents taking aim at Newt Gingrich on policy and on his personal life. Are they clean hits or below the belt? We will look at his record and how it may affect his chances at the nomination and beyond. James Carville is going to join us in a moment.

Also, the latest after another deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, where that rampage four years ago took dozens of lives.

Let's also check in tonight with Isha Sesay -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Jerry Sandusky makes bail and his wife is speaking out. Stay tuned and find out what she's saying about the sex abuse allegations now being leveled against her husband by 10 accusers -- that and much more when 360 continues.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" today, no holds barred. Mitt Romney today unloaded on rising opponent Newt Gingrich. He unleashed a number of surrogates and supporters who lit into Gingrich's changing policy positions over the years.

Rick Perry took some shots as well today on that subject, but it's Governor Romney's apparent attack on Gingrich's turbulent personal life that's getting the most buzz. Take a look.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me -- I will get in trouble -- for 42 years.


ROMNEY: I have been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years, and I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games.

If I'm president of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America.


COOPER: Romney, married once. The comparison with Gingrich is implied, but it's pretty hard to ignore. It's no secret that Gingrich is on his third marriage or that he was having an affair with the woman who would become his third wife while pushing for Bill Clinton's impeachment for lying about infidelity.

He actually devotes a section of his Web site to it titled -- quote -- "Extramarital Affair During Clinton Impeachment."

In a moment, our political panel on what Mitt Romney hopes to gain by going on the attack and what Newt Gingrich stands to lose.

But, first, the background from Tom Foreman.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newt Gingrich's private life has long been seen as an Achilles' heel for the Republican firebrand. Strongly associated with the conservative base, he clearly relished that role when President Bill Clinton was caught having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and trying to hide it from investigators.

Gingrich called Mr. Clinton's actions:

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The most systematic, deliberate obstruction of justice cover-up in an effort to avoid the truth we have ever seen in American history.

FOREMAN: Later, however, Gingrich's own personal issues came to light. Married three times, he was famously in the process of divorcing his first wife, Jackie, while she was recovering from cancer. The couple had two daughters, the split reportedly bitter and contentious.

He was married to his second wife, Marianne, for close to 19 years. They separated at one point, reconciled, but in the end, that ended badly too, with the revelation that Gingrich was having an affair with an aide who was some 20 years younger.

Moreover, that relationship was secretly under way even as he pushed for the president's impeachment in relation to the Lewinsky affair. He later suggested to the Christian Broadcasting Network this and other affairs were the outgrowth of overwork.

GINGRICH: There's no question that at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

FOREMAN: He eventually married that former aide, his third and current wife, Callista. They have been together for 11 years now.

And he has made some seemingly large accommodations to keep the union strong. He was raised Lutheran, was Baptist for years, but became a Catholic for her.

(on camera): The question is has his troubled personal past been converted into the kind of history that conservative voters can forget or forgive?

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's dig deeper with Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, also Democratic strategist James Carville.

So, Ralph, how vulnerable do you think Newt Gingrich is on the issue of personal character, particularly in light of Romney's new ad highlighting his own status as a family man?

RALPH REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, Anderson, this is going to be litigated during the course of the campaign. You know, Newt Gingrich is -- this is not his first rodeo. He knew that going in.

Memories tend to be pretty short, but when he got in earlier this year, he addressed a lot of these issues. He said that the mistakes that he made were inappropriate. He made it very clear that he had repented of those past mistakes. He's converted and become a very devout Roman Catholic. He's in a very devout and deep and loving marriage with his wife, Callista.

He's never been closer to his two daughters. I'm certainly not going to pass judgment on him. I'm not his judge. That's between him and the good lord and his family. But I will tell you this. I think voters are fair-minded and I think they're going to look at the issues of his past, they're going to weigh it in terms of his leadership attributes, his policy substance.

And, look, at the risk of stating the obvious, he wouldn't have surged to the top of all these polls if voters didn't think he had something to offer.

COOPER: James, what do you think? I mean, surging at this point in before caucuses or primaries is one thing, general election is another. Is character a winning issue for Mitt Romney?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, he's been stuck at a number for so long and everybody is coming up and they have got three weeks to go.

Of course he's got to do something. Just to sit there, he's getting ready to lose. Look, Gingrich has an excuse. He loved his country so much. If people want to buy that, that's their business. I'm not a Republican. It's kind of weird to me. But if people want to believe that he did that out of love of country or because he was working too hard, that doesn't fit in with my view of life, but, again, I'm a Democrat. So maybe we look at the world differently.

COOPER: Ralph, Gingrich has said he doesn't plan to go negative. It's been possible for him in debates not to kind of get into personal attacks or attacking other candidates because he hasn't been a top- tier candidate. Everybody is going to now be gunning for him. Do you think -- does he hold up to that?

REED: Look, I think anybody who's underestimating Newt Gingrich is making a big mistake. You know, this is somebody who in 1994 pulled off something that nobody thought was possible. Republicans gained control of the House for the first time in 40 years. They passed the first balanced budget since 1968. They had the most sweeping reform of a major social welfare program, welfare, since the Great Depression and the New Deal. They had the deepest and broadest tax cuts since the Reagan era.

This was cataclysmic. And I think that Romney -- you know, I don't generally offer unsolicited advice to candidates or campaigns, but I think this is -- it's more likely to be played out, Anderson, in terms of their differences on issues, of which there are a number, and who is the best leader. I don't think that it's going to be possible to defeat Newt Gingrich by saying he's disqualified from being president because he's been married before.

And, again, 44 percent of the Republican voters are going to be evangelicals, and they voted for Ronald Reagan, the first divorced man to ever sit in the Oval Office, against Jimmy Carter, who was a born- again evangelical. Why? Because they agreed with Reagan on the issues. They believed he was uniquely qualified to lead.

COOPER: James, there are some Democrats, to Ralph's point, who have been saying they relish going up against Newt Gingrich. Are they underestimating him?

CARVILLE: You know, I don't know.

Certainly, he's made an interesting thing having, Mr. Bolton, say that he would have him as secretary of state. I'm sure that Democrats and Romney are going to look at Mr. Bolton's history. Something tells me that we're only in about the third inning in terms of what we're going to find out about Speaker Gingrich. I don't think that we're through here. I think there's a lot more to go.

I think Romney has no choice but to do this. He's been stuck at 22 percent forever. He's got to mix this thing up. The Iowa caucus is like January the 3rd. That's like three weeks away. He's got to go long here and I think he's starting to do that. And I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the next three weeks here.

COOPER: But, James, isn't Newt Gingrich pretty much a known quantity? Isn't pretty much -- he's been under the microscope before, though not at a presidential level. But everything -- you think there's more to emerge?

CARVILLE: Right. I think he was under a microscope in a ninth grade science class. I think he's getting ready to get under an electron microscope here.

Like I say, I think more will emerge. I think there will be a lot of things that people will find out. Now, they may discard them. Look, it's obvious these Republicans, it's obvious Ralph doesn't want to be for Romney. He wants to be for Gingrich, it's pretty clear.

And it's pretty clear that that's the way a lot of them feel. And it's their party and they're certainly entitled to nominate who they want. And it seems to me they're going to great lengths not to nominate Mitt Romney, so it's a very fascinating, interesting cycle to me.

COOPER: Well, we got to leave it there.

But, Ralph, just because James intimated who are you supporting, are you supporting somebody at this point?

REED: Well, just to be clear, I'm not endorsing anybody or supporting anybody. I just said, as empirical, analytical matter, I just wouldn't underestimate Newt Gingrich.

COOPER: All right, Ralph Reed, James Carville, gentlemen, thank you. Interesting.

Up next: fear and chaos at Virginia Tech. Four years after the worst mass shooting in American history, another deadly shooting. We will have the late developments from campus in a live report.

Also ahead tonight: Iranian TV showing off what they said is a U.S. stealth drone that went down in Iran last week. Is it the real deal?

New details ahead.


ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, I'm Isha Sesay, live with breaking news tonight.

Police at Virginia Tech have identified the campus police officer who was murdered today during a traffic stop. Derek Krause (ph) was 39 years old and had been with the Virginia Tech Police Department for four years. Krause is one of two people left dead in the shooting today, which prompted a four-hour lockdown at the university.

Officials won't say if the second person is actually the suspect, but a video camera from inside Krause's police car could be the key to answering that question.

Let's bring in, on the phone from Blacksburg, Virginia, CNN's Athena Jones.

Athena, what more can you tell us about the officer who was killed?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): I can tell you, I mentioned, he is 39 years old, father of five children and stepchildren, and he's from nearby Christiansburg. It's interesting to note he joined the police department just a few months after that last big shooting back in April of 2007. He joined in October. And that was, of course, the shooting where a young, troubled student ends up kill 33 people, including himself.

So yes, the officer has been identified. This man as Derek Krause. SESAY: And Athena, this video camera that was in this car, and the images from it, talk us through the video, the images as we know about -- what we know about them and their significance.

JONES: Well, this is particularly interesting because of the details that we've learned late in the day. Of course, the lockdown ended about 4:30, and the second man was found dead was found just a few minutes after the original officer was shot, so around 1 p.m.

And so details have been trickling out during the course of the day and just now learned a while ago that this video camera mounted inside the police car of Derek Krause, Derek Krause's police car, this Virginia Tech officer, showed a man with a weapon who authorities say appears to be the same person who was found shot dead about a quarter mile away.

Now, a Virginia state police major says that at this point in the investigation, they're still -- they still cannot say definitively that it was the second victim who shot the police officer, but they are saying, look, he was on this video, from this car and he had a weapon. And this was a video that he appeared on just moments before that officer was killed. So, certainly an interesting tidbit of information we're learning tonight, Isha.

SESAY: Definitely. And give us a sense of the mood and what's been going on, on campus hours, you know, after this shooting episode. What's happening?

JONES: Well, things have calmed down quite a bit. It was interesting the event takes place on the day that several campus officials were in Washington, D.C. The head of the campus police and the emergency management director, among others, were in Washington to appeal a $55,000 fine that had been imposed on the school by the Department of Education, which said that the school didn't do enough to notify students and faculty of the incident, of the shootings that were taking place back in April of 2007 with this last big rampage that everyone remembers. And so they were there in Washington, D.C., to oppose that $55,000 fine.

In contrast today, we had a chance to speak to a couple of students. We know that the university was telling everyone what was going on, keeping everyone abreast of the situation through text messaging, by posting announcements on their Web pages, also by tweeting. And so, it certainly seems at this point as though things were handled in a much swifter manner this time around, Isha.

SESAY: Athena Jones joining us there on the line from Blacksburg, Virginia. Appreciate it, Athena. Thank you.

We'll be back after a quick break. Stay with us.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, the 20-year-old man accused of killing a 7-year-old Georgia girl is being held without bond, and we are learning more about him. His name, Ryan Brunn. He was arrested yesterday at the apartment complex where the little girl lived and where her body was found Monday in a trash compactor.

She had been missing for three days. Authorities say she was beaten, stabbed, sexually abused. According to a source close to the investigation, her mouth was duct taped, her hands and feet bound with plastic ties.

A horrifying crime that her family and neighbors were trying to absorb when the second shock hit. The man now charged with the murder of someone who lived and worked among them, a new neighbor who moved in just weeks ago.

Gary Tuchman reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His hands shackled, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a bulletproof vest, Ryan Brunn walked into a packed Georgia courtroom, charged with the murder of little Jorelys Rivera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand what you're charged. Two offenses here. One is murder and the other is a false statement.

TUCHMAN: Brunn appeared shocked by the number of journalists in the courtroom, so much so, he had to be warned by a deputy to pay attention to the judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old are you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far did you go in school?

BRUNN: Tenth grade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you read and write?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you under the influence of any alcohol or drugs at this time?

TUCHMAN: Just last month, Brunn started working as a maintenance man at the apartment complex where Jorelys was sexually assaulted, stabbed, beaten and killed.

NANCY HUDGINS, NEIGHBOR: He'd go around picking up trash from the -- other places around the park and everything else.

CONNOR BRUNN, SUSPECT'S BROTHER: Just moved there about three or four weeks ago. He just got a new job and was going to make more money.

TUCHMAN: According to his Facebook page, Brunn is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He seemed to be looking forward to starting his new job in Canton, Georgia. "New job, apartment, life coming soon," he wrote in October. A post from November reads, "Today is moving day. Not ready to go, but I got to."

VERNON KEENAN, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Brunn was well known in that -- in the apartment complex because he was employed there. To the extent that he is known to the -- to the family of the child, I do not know.

TUCHMAN: Neighbor Nancy Hudgins said she did not notice Brunn hanging around other kids and that he was quiet and kept mostly to himself.

HUDGINS: He had just moved in. He's got his girlfriend and stuff. And I didn't see his girlfriend out with him or anything that way.

TUCHMAN: Brunn took part in the search for Jorelys, but Hudgins claims Brunn confided he didn't want police to go through his apartment, an apartment that overlooks the Dumpster where Jorelys' body was eventually found.

HUDGINS: He was kind of scared, because he had beer bottles and stuff. He was underage drinking. He thought that he might get in trouble.

TUCHMAN: But Brunn soon had much more to be worried about.

BRUNN: Yes, he was very scared. He didn't know what to think, because you know, he's been questioned for the last 14 hours and whatnot. And he just doesn't know. He's never been arrested before. He's never went to jail. He's never been in the back of a cop car. He's just been a good kid.

TUCHMAN: Investigators say Brunn has no criminal record that they know of, but they're still examining his past.

KEENAN: We have sent agents to other states, to another state and also to other counties, and we will -- we are going to backtrack all of his activities and make a determination if he has been involved in other crimes.

TUCHMAN: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has yet to disclose exactly what evidence led them to arrest Brunn. But his brother says he didn't do it.

BRUNN: He wouldn't touch a girl like that. He would never do something like that. Just like -- it's just all bogus.

TUCHMAN: But authorities say they are very confident they have their man.


TUCHMAN: Ryan Brunn is in jail tonight in solitary confinement. He's expected to return to court next month for his arraignment. The district attorney here hasn't made a decision yet, but there's a very high likelihood this will ultimately be a death penalty case. You know, the city of Canton is very small. It's charming; it's picturesque. It's 45 miles north of Atlanta. This is where you come to get away from crime. But the crime, and a horrible crime, has come here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Gary, appreciate the reporting tonight. So -- such a tragedy.

Let's dig deeper now. I'm joined by Mary Ellen O'Toole, former FBI profiler, author of "Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Feelings Betray Us." This guy, Ryan Brunn, he's only accused of the murder and hasn't been convicted of it. If he did, in fact, kill this little girl and then afterwards participate in the search for her, you call that injecting yourself into the case. How so?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, he's injected himself into the -- into the search for the victim. And that's a very high risk thing to do. It's high-risk behavior. We didn't see it a lot in the FBI as a profiler, but it does happen. And it generally happens for several reasons. And one of them -- one of those reasons includes it's thrilling and exciting to know that you're looking for the victim, and the only one that knows where she is, is you. And also, it's a great way to monitor the investigation. And it does happen in these kinds of cases.

COOPER: Do people think it's also going to, obviously, help them cover their tracks or, you know, make them look not guilty if they're helping search for her?

O'TOOLE: It can be a number of motives. It can also show, look, I'm helping. I'm trying to participate. I'm a member of the community.

But I think the motives tend to be a lot more self-serving than trying to look altruistic to the community.

COOPER: The fact this little girl was killed in the way she was, I mean raped, beaten, stabbed before her body was just tossed in the trash compactor right outside this guy's window, what does it tell you about his process, his thinking?

O'TOOLE: It's suggesting right now a couple of things, and I'd want to look at the order in which the homicide and the sexual assault occurred. The fact that he put her in a Dumpster could mean that that's how he sees her, and it's very tragic to say. He could see her as garbage.

The other thing, however, is that he was interrupted somehow, and he had to dispose of the body very quickly.

So right now, we're not sure. And the medical examiner, when they finish their report, they will be able to give us more specific information about the body disposal. And then it will become easier to start considering one motive, as opposed to another.

COOPER: Georgia investigators say they are confident that he is the killer and that the murder was planned and calculated. If it was planned and calculated, though, it just seems such an obvious place -- I mean to dispose of a body right outside your window seems not very calculated at all.

O'TOOLE: And it doesn't mean that these kinds of offenders are smart and calculating from beginning until the end. They can have a part of the scene that shows a lot of preplanning and then another part that seems almost stupid.

But if you dispose of a body right outside your window, it certainly allows you to monitor whether or not and when the victim is recovered and who is searching around the area, and if you have the opportunity, you may even be able to go in there and move the body a second time.

COOPER: Again, it's just so disturbing. Mary Ellen O'Toole, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

O'TOOLE: You're very welcome.

COOPER: Up next tonight, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky out of jail tonight, as we said, after being accused of new child sex charges. Now his wife is speaking out about the allegations. We'll tell you about that.

And a new lawsuit filed against Syracuse's associate basketball coach, Bernie Fine.

Later, Alec Baldwin kicked off an airline. You heard about that. The whole bizarre incident lands on "The RidicuList."


COOPER: Following a number of other stories tonight. Let's check in with Isha again and a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, Jerry Sandusky is out of jail tonight after posting a $250,000 bail. The former Penn State assistant football coach was arrested yesterday on new child sex abuse charges. Sandusky is now under house arrest, and his wife is speaking out, defending him.

Dottie Sandusky says, quote, "We don't know why these young men have made these false accusations, but we want everyone to know they are untrue." She goes on to say, "I continue to believe in Jerry's innocence and all the good things he has done."

Meanwhile, former Syracuse associate basketball coach Bernie Fine is facing a civil lawsuit from one of his alleged child sex abuse victims. Zachary Tomicelli claims Fine molested him in a Pittsburgh hotel room in 2002, although Tomicelli's own father questions the allegations and Fine insists he's innocent of the charges.

Trustees for Florida A&M University have voted to reprimand the school's president, James Ammons, for his actions after the suspected hazing-related death of drum major Robert champion. They've also decided to hire a public relations firm.

And, Anderson, listen up. Congratulations for 2011. You're the most searched media personality online. Hmm. According to Zeta Interactive. You're followed by Jon Stewart; Stephen Colbert, your BFF; Chris Matthews; and Al Roker.

COOPER: Really?

SESAY: Yes, you know?

COOPER: That's interesting.

SESAY: Trying and feign interest, if you will.

COOPER: I just don't believe in lists. I think those are all made up. So I...

SESAY: You don't believe in lists; you don't play games; you don't like spinach.

COOPER: Exactly. I'm not playing games with you, Isha. We talked about this last night. I am not playing games with you.

SESAY: Oh, yes, you are. Don't fight.

COOPER: Oh, I don't play. Unh-uh, hmm-mm.

SESAY: Hmm-mm. There's only going to be one winner, baby, and it's not going to be you, hmm-mm.

COOPER: Hmm-mm.

So, Isha, we're just three days away from naming the 2011 CNN hero. On Sunday, I'm going to host the live broadcast from Los Angeles, where we're going to reveal the winner. I like how she just sort of disappeared. It's like I said, "Isha" -- oh, there. She's back.

SESAY: I'll be there. I'll see you in L.A.

COOPER: Are you going to be there?

SESAY: I will be.

COOPER: All right. Cool. I will see you there Sunday night. It's going to be a live broadcast. It hasn't been live in past years. It's going to be live. It's going to be exciting.

If you haven't already, go to to learn more about this year's top ten heroes. Really amazing group of people. I mean, these are regular people just doing extraordinary things. We're going to be honoring them all on Sunday night. A great group. Just ask anyone who's spent a few minutes with any of them.

Here's Jonathan Torgovnik, a photographer for reportage by Getty Images. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN TORGOVNIK, PHOTOGRAPHER, GETTY IMAGES: I was in Uganda photographing Derrick Kayongo. He's the founder of Global Soap, an organization that provides soap to communities in need around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't that great?


TORGOVNIK: And we visited a school, a primary school with children that come from northern Uganda. Internally displaced people that had to flee the conflict.

DERRICK KAYONGO, FOUNDER, GLOBAL SOAP: We're bringing you 5,000 bars of soap.

TORGOVNIK: It's amazing to see Derrick with the children in the school. And how he interacts with the people in the community. He has this magnetic character. He's very charismatic. He was demonstrating to the people how to use soap in the most effective way.

KAYONGO: That's very good.

TORGOVNIK: From something that sounds very simple, just washing your hand, he created a whole event and a whole happening within the community, which made it fun for them to do. I think Derrick makes a huge impact on the community.


COOPER: Derrick and the rest of the top ten heroes are going to be joining me live in Los Angeles this Sunday, December 11, for "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute," starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. Join us for that. "The RidicuList" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList," and tonight we've got to add the airlines. The airlines who just can't seem to stars in the sky.

You probably heard about the latest one: Alec Baldwin kicked off an American Airlines flight. He apparently wouldn't turn his phone off. Well, the plane was sitting at the gate, and there were some words exchanged with the flight attendant. As the old saying goes, look, there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the one that's told in 140 characters on Twitter.

Baldwin copiously tweeted about the incident, comparing the flight attendants to, quote, "retired Catholic school gym teachers in the 1950s." American Airlines wrote on Facebook that Baldwin was rude, and he slammed the bathroom door so hard the cockpit crew heard it. Look, we weren't there, so we don't really know what happened. So, as is so often the case, we're just going to have to rely on the reporting skills of Oscar de la Hoya. Oh, yes. He happened to also be on the flight, and he says he thinks the flight attendant overreacted. But Baldwin apologized to the passengers, and has since shut down the Twitter account, his Twitter account in the wake of all this, which may be the real tragedy here.

Is it just me, or has there been an epidemic of stars getting kicked off planes lately? Josh Duhamel wouldn't turn his Blackberry off. He got the boot. Green Day singer Billy Joe Armstrong, his pants were too baggy. He got the boot. French actor, of course, Gerard Depardieu -- maybe you heard about this -- urinated in the plane's cabin. He got the boot.

Kelly Ripa has actually noticed this trend, as well. She and her guest co-host, Josh Groban, were talking about it on her show. Take a look.


KELLY RIPA, ABC'S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": Anderson Cooper famously put Gerard Depardieu on his "RidicuList." And if you haven't seen it, it's all over YouTube. It's very funny. He makes this -- he does this thing about him making -- having to go "oui oui" in the aisle. He said, "At least it wasn't Gerard Depart two."


COOPER: I don't know what she's talking about. I have no memory of that at all. But I do think the airlines -- what? What? Wait. Oh. All right. All right. Fine, go ahead. You can roll it, but consider yourself this your Christmas present, control room.


COOPER: Now, all I can say they should thank their lucky stars it wasn't depart two. Sorry. That made me giggle every time I read it. He also commented on this incident. Depart two. I know you got it, but -- all right, sorry. Sorry, this has actually never happened to me.


COOPER: I'll consider it myself -- I'll consider it my Christmas present that you actually played the short version. I appreciate that.

In any event, with the holiday travel season nearly upon us, let's all just try to make flying more pleasant. Let's make a pact to turn off our phones, pull up our pants and get ready for takeoff on "The RidicuList."

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