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Interview with Chaka Khan; Interview with Ron Paul; Interview with Natalie Cole

Aired March 26, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: Tonight, explosive new details on the death of Trayvon Martin, what the police are saying and what has his family furious.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: The only comment that I have right now is that they've killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation.

MORGAN: George Zimmerman insists the killing was self-defense. Will these latest developments prove his case?

And musical icon Chaka Khan shares her thoughts on the Trayvon tragedy and what it says about race and justice in America.

And always unforgettable, my exclusive interview with Natalie Cole, one of Whitney Houston's great friends. Tonight she speaks out on the toxicology report and her own battles with addiction.

I'll also ask her about today's shocking arrest of Whitney's ex, Bobby Brown, on a DUI charge.

Plus the passion of Ron Paul. The only doctor in the race takes on ObamaCare as the showdown begins at the Supreme Court.

And only in America, a very rotten Easter egg roll. How bad parents have ruined all the good fun. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.


MORGAN: Good evening. Our big story tonight, searching for the truth in the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

Civil rights leaders and thousands protest around the country. The official police account of the deadly shooting emerges, one of two new revelations that have outraged his grieving parents.

Was he gunned down because he was black? I'll ask Chaka Khan. The music legend has been closely following the story. She has something very important to say about it. That's coming up soon.

Plus my exclusive interview with Natalie Cole, her first since the death of her great friend, Whitney Houston.

Natalie watched Whitney's life spin out of control. I'll talk to her about her own addictions and today's shocking arrest of Bobby Brown.

Also Supreme Court takes on ObamaCare. The case affects every single American. It's essential to keeping America great. And Ron Paul will give me his diagnosis as another GOP challenger today rails against the sweeping measure.

FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This bill has far-reaching consequences for the economic health of this country and for liberty in our society.

MORGAN: But we begin tonight with our big story, the shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman says he killed Trayvon in self-defense. He's not been arrested, nor has he been charged with any crime. And tonight a police confirm a newspaper report with new accusations against the victim. They may be crucial to finding out what happened and why.

CNN's David Mattingly is in Sanford, Florida, with the very latest.

David, it's a confusing picture that gets more confusing by the day. Today new evidence from the police report, which appears to suggest that Zimmerman, the man who's become this hate figure in America, may have been acting in self-defense. What can you tell us about what's happened today?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN REPORTER: Well, this came about as an unauthorized leak from somewhere in the investigation. The City of Sanford itself is going to launch an investigation to find out where it came from and possibly fire the person who talked to the newspaper about this.

But what they were saying was that George Zimmerman was not the one who initiated the violent confrontation. They're actually saying it was Trayvon Martin who punched Zimmerman in the face, knocked him down, got on top of him and then beat his head against the ground.

Now of course, when the family heard about this, they were very quick to point out that they had a phone call that they -- a person that Trayvon was talking to, a young woman, who was on the phone with him at the time that this happened. And they're saying that her story doesn't correspond with what this leak was saying to the newspaper.

So they're very quick to respond and they're saying very vehemently that they believe that Trayvon Martin's character is being attacked here by leaking this information out.

MORGAN: Yes, and also, I mean, it's a confusing picture because we've now, what, a month into this story and suddenly these details start to emerge? The police have been under huge scrutiny and criticism and suddenly this stuff starts to leak, which would, you know, I guess put them in a slightly better light if Zimmerman -- George Zimmerman is said to be the guy who was receiving the attack.

You know, we've got to remind ourselves that this boy was 17, he's a hundred pounds lighter than George Zimmerman. He was unarmed. He had a bag of Skittles sweets on him. He was walking to his father's girlfriend's house. And yet we're now supposed to believe a month into this that he was the aggressor. I mean, how credibly are people taking these police reports?

MATTINGLY: Well, we do have the reaction from the family. And we do have the reaction from the city. They, the city did say that that is information consistent with what has been given to the state's attorney. So they were confirming that information.

And we're hearing from the family -- they're having their argument ready to go, saying that if you listen to the phone calls -- if you listen to the 9-1-1 calls and if you pay attention to what that teenage girl was saying as she was talking to Trayvon, as this was happening, she says -- they say that that paints a very different picture.

Now you say it's confusing. And it is confusing, because George Zimmerman has not come out to explain exactly publicly what he feels like happened that night. Also the only person alive from that encounter is George Zimmerman. Police have his account.

They say that they were able to go along with his claim of self- defense, because witnesses corresponded and said that that's what -- backed up what he was saying. So at this point, we know that what Zimmerman was saying, that it was self-defense, but this was the first time we were hearing these kind of details.

It has been a month. That should tell you how police have been keeping this under wraps. And they have been saying things to us all along that demonstrate that they have a great deal of confidence in their case. This might be one of those pieces of information that shows us where that confidence is coming from.

MORGAN: It might. Although, of course, there is no witness -- according to "The Orlando Sentinel," which has revealed this stuff today, there's no witness to the punch which George Zimmerman claims was laid on him first. So the witnesses are conflicting as well. We're going to have to get to the bottom of it.

David Mattingly, thank you very much for now.

I'm joined now by Chaka Khan.

Chaka, I know you're emotional about this. You're passionate about this. You're angry about this. You've heard what we've just been discussing there, the police leaking that's coming out, suggesting that it may not quite be the picture we think. Is it unfair towards George Zimmerman to be effectively declaring him guilty?

CHAKA KHAN, SINGER: Well, that is unfair to declare him guilty a month after the whole thing went down. I'm going to knock over everything.

(LAUGHTER) KHAN: A month after. A whole month after this has happened. This is ridiculous. He should have been immediately looked into for carrying a firearm as a neighborhood watchman. That is, like, ridiculous. When he called into his dispatcher and the dispatcher told him what the situation was, the dispatcher should have told him to immediately -- to stand down if you're carrying a weapon.

MORGAN: Well, the dispatcher did -- does say on the tape that he should not pursue the boy.

KHAN: That's right.

MORGAN: And he does pursue the boy. I mean, there are lots of contradictions there.

KHAN: I can't wait to hear these tapes. That's what I really want to hear, these police tapes, like they're -- you know, they're also -- you know, so forthcoming, usually, with --

MORGAN: Well, we first --


KHAN: -- 9-1-1 calls and --

MORGAN: The problem is there are gaps. We've heard some of the tapes. There are gaps here. What is the bigger picture, though, Chaka? I mean, clearly the black community of America is getting very, very angry about this. Why is that?

KHAN: Well, here's the thing. We are sick and tired in America of seeing little children lost and children gone missing and they never make the 9 o'clock or the 5 o'clock news. You can go back the last five years. And I don't think -- I think maybe one other kid, black child, a football player was covered on the news.

I think there's really something wrong with that. And that is the racial aspect of this. Because obviously George is not -- George Zimmerman is not a white man and neither was Trayvon. But there is -- there seems to be some kind of -- something going on here.

MORGAN: I mean, I totally share the pain of Trayvon Martin's parents, particularly in relation to you know, stuff leaking out now, that there was a trace of marijuana in his school bag.

KHAN: Yes, they're trying to sully his character.

MORGAN: That's why he was on suspension. But actually other teachers have said he was a good student. He was never in much trouble. Trying to portray him as a big troublemaker now, a drug- taking troublemaker obviously suits an agenda to try and move people away from the thought that this innocent black child has been killed.

KHAN: Right.

MORGAN: And yet the facts remain he was unarmed. KHAN: Right.

MORGAN: He had a bag of sweets.

KHAN: Skittles and a tea.

MORGAN: And he's, you know, he's a hundred pounds lighter than the guy he's supposed to have held down and beaten up.

KHAN: And he was shot at such close range that the bullet flipped him over onto his stomach. It's just crazy. It's crazy that this man has not been looked at, taken into custody. I don't care who his father is.

MORGAN: And what do you think of the "Stand Your Ground" law that Florida has? Because to me, coming from somewhere like Britain, it is inconceivable you'd have a law like this.

KHAN: I know, because I know in Britain there (inaudible) --


MORGAN: Just the idea that people could simply shoot people in the street and say I was acting in self-defense because somebody punched me. It would be utterly inconceivable that that would ever become law. And in Florida, that is the state law.

KHAN: It's insanity.

MORGAN: He wasn't arrested or charged because the law allows that. What do you feel about a justice system that has that law?

KHAN: That "Stand Your Ground" thingy, that "Stand Your Ground" law that they have in place, I don't understand it. Excuse me. I don't get it. I really don't understand it.

Stand your ground when? What? I mean, they need to really look into that. We need to really know the particulars of that legislation and really know really in depth what that really --

MORGAN: I mean, it comes down, I guess to --

KHAN: -- entails.


MORGAN: You know --

KHAN: I'm not sure.

MORGAN: Well, the right to bear arms, the right to defend yourself. You know, this has been in the Constitution. And Americans feel very fervently about this. But the stretch that I can't accept is this stretch to standing your ground in the street if somebody punches you in the face. Even if you assume the worst, that the police leaked -- KHAN: He didn't deserve it.

MORGAN: -- report today, even if he did, having been followed by George Zimmerman -- and we know that happened as a fact. If he then turns around and punches him, and you assume that happened, does that give anyone the right to shoot him?

KHAN: No. It gives -- no, he did not deserve to get shot. Absolutely not. This has just got to stop.

And, you know, it's because of a -- you know, with the boy -- I'm sure that the fact that the boy was wearing a hoodie, a jacket with a hood on it, and there's this profile going on in America, where this is a dangerous -- or this outfit or this -- children wearing these clothes at a certain age, you know, are a threat.

And so we did -- actually, my birthday was a couple days ago. And it hit me that I was here celebrating another year of life and here this child is dead.

MORGAN: You've done a video, a record. Tell me about this. We're actually -- we're going to play it for the first time.

KHAN: What I did -- what I did -- this is not anything to make money. It is simply to cause and to bring about awareness.

MORGAN: What's it called?

KHAN: It's called "Super Life."

MORGAN: Let's just take a little look at this. We've got a video.


KHAN: "So I've got to stand tall I'm going to live a super life for the rest of my life I'm going to live a super life Super life, super life yes

I'm Trayvon.


MORGAN: I thought one or the more powerful moments this week was the president saying, you know --

KHAN: He could have been my son.

MORGAN: He could have been my son. What did you feel when you heard that?

KHAN: That was beautiful. And that's how we all feel. That's how I feel. That's how I feel. Whenever I learn of a black child or any child, I love children, all children. It's not -- in the big picture, in the big picture it's not about racism. In the really big picture, it's about -- I think it's more having to do with you know, how much money you make at the end of the year or something like that. I really don't know exactly what it is. But I don't believe it's -- it's totally based on racism.

MORGAN: Do you think America is more or less racist since getting its first black president?

KHAN: Well, you know, I think we've seen some things happening and some things being said about Obama that I think were sort of on the racist side.

You know, I don't -- I really don't think that America has come that far when it comes to stamping out or, you know, stopping racism, period, since the end of slavery, because I think just we're more cerebral about it. I just think that the way it's applied now is just a lot smarter and --

MORGAN: Hold that thought. We've got to take a short break. I want to come back and talk about the -- this Black Panther group has emerged today. They want to put a price on George Zimmerman's head. I want to know whether you think this -- it's a good idea, or let family who share a concern about that.


MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Chaka Khan. Chaka, we're talking about this Trayvon Martin case. It has sort of gripped the nation's attention. And, you know, it is, I guess -- it's easy to be judge and jury on these cases.

And, you know, I'm exercised about it. I feel angry about it. I feel a young boy who was unarmed has been shot and no one has even been arrested. It seems totally perverse to me.

Having said that, George Zimmerman, under Florida law, if he was indeed standing his ground, as the law allows him to do, fearing -- and this is the crucial bit -- that his life was in danger or that he was going to be severely beaten, that he's entitled to use his firearm. That is the law.

There was a group today that came out calling themselves the New Black Panthers. Anderson Cooper was having a heated debate with them earlier -- you know, who want the right to perform a citizen's arrest on George Zimmerman and don't respect what they call white law in this country.

What do you think about that?

KHAN: I find that very interesting. As you may know, I was once a Panther myself when I lived in Chicago. I was growing up as a teenager.

MORGAN: The original Black Panthers.

KHAN: Yes. The original Black Panthers. All I did was sell newspapers on the corner barefoot. You know, it -- you'd have to almost walk in our shoes to feel what I know they're feeling. And I understand that reaction. I truly do.

Every time a child is kidnapped or dies or is shot in a drive-by, I mean, any baby, it -- I feel like I have lost -- I feel a loss, a big loss. And so I understand what they're -- where they're coming from.

MORGAN: But should they be allowed to be vigilantes?

KHAN: No, I really don't. I think that the law needs to really intervene and do the right thing. I think that Zimmerman needs to step up and go turn himself into the police department. If -- or they need to arrest him or bring him in and bring in all the witnesses, that the one -- the girl witness that was there and see what's really going on here. We're tired of this.

MORGAN: And is the anger the fact that he hasn't even been arrested? That seems to me to be the anger.

KHAN: That's just crazy. That's insane.

MORGAN: Do you feel if it had been, for argument's sake, a 17- year-old white boy and a black man who had killed him, would we be in the same position?

KHAN: Absolutely not. I think --

MORGAN: You really believe that?

KHAN: I truly believe that. I think you know that. I think -- you've lived in this country long enough to know pretty much how it goes. I -- there's still -- I think that young black men are an endangered species, for the most part. You know, I had to tell my son -- and my son and I have had some problems in the -- not too long ago, you know, with guns. And I used to worry every night --

MORGAN: Him actually using a gun?

KHAN: Yes. Well, a gun went off accidentally. It was his best friend.

MORGAN: What do you say to him?

KHAN: Well, please, son, be careful. And check in with me. Let me know where you're going. Let me know where you are. Call me. At least -- now he doesn't live nearby. So, at least call me, you know, two, three times a week just to say, Mom, I'm OK. You know, because I'm scared for him.

MORGAN: Well, when you have a country that has elected, Chaka, an African-American president, this incredible sea change moment in the nation's history, when that happens, you know, it's hard to say that boys like Trayvon Martin, your son or other young black teenage boys can't make great lives of themselves. Isn't it? KHAN: Yes. It is hard to say that. It's really hard to say. It's harder to see. It's harder to see, harder to witness. It's harder to experience. Yes.

MORGAN: So when you say that we need to put ourselves into their shoes, put me into their shoes.

KHAN: Oh, all right. In Chicago, for instance, I have a lot of family that lives there. Still today, they are shooting kids, 10 a day. My little cousins, my second cousins, had to move her three grandsons to another state for fear that they would not make it into college.

And now they can play outside, ride their bikes and do things like that. It's really gotten bad. And Chicago is one city that he's looking at, if you want to look at some stats of kids being murdered in the streets, and nothing being done about it.

And, I mean, and a lot of the shootings are, you know, kids shooting kids. And right now, my foundation is doing an initiative to -- for the gun laws, to get some -- to get that -- to address that situation, because that shouldn't be able to happen.

MORGAN: I mean, it is a desperate situation. I think the family of Trayvon Martin, just your heart goes out to them.

KHAN: Come on. These are people that work hard and have raised a beautiful child. And you can -- from everything I could see, and I'm a pretty good judge of character, he seems to be a lovely, lovely boy, a sweet boy.

What, he had some Skittles and a tea in his hand, for Christ's sake. You know? And to try to -- it took a month for them to, like, try to sully his whole you know, his, you know, his character. I think --

MORGAN: Well, that is the position that I think is causing the family such angst. And I understand that, is, you know, I mean, it took them three days to identify him, you know?

KHAN: Ridiculous, too.

MORGAN: And it's taken a month for any of these details to emerge. You would have thought if it was such helpful information to George Zimmerman's case, somebody would have said this earlier than a month later. And so I think that that is one of the reasons it's become such a huge story.

KHAN: Well, a lot of big stars, a lot of big people are really pissed off about this. And I really feel strongly about our children, period, and their safety. And this is children of every color. We're concerned about children's safety. Like we did, on that video that you just showed a clip of, on 48 hours' notice, people like Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance, her husband, Loretta Devine, Kelly Price --

MORGAN: And your purpose with this -- just remind me -- is to do what?

KHAN: Is to raise awareness in children and adults and everybody that you can't judge a person by what he's wearing.

MORGAN: Chaka, I've got to leave it there. Thank you for joining me today.

KHAN: Yes. Thank you for having me back.

MORGAN: Good luck with the record. Hope to see you again soon.

KHAN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Chaka Khan on the Trayvon Martin case.

Coming up next, keeping America great. What will be the battleground of the health care, what will it mean for this country and for the race for the White House? I'll ask Ron Paul after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can shake it up and we start all over again.


SANTORUM: -- an Etch-a-Sketch.

GINGRICH: How many of you ever used an Etch-a-Sketch?

MORGAN: How's your etching and sketching?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You shake it up like an Etch-a-Sketch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shake like an Etch-a-Sketch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's my Etch-a-Sketch app?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have an Etch-a-Sketch?

SANTORUM: We're talking about big things here, folks.

MORGAN: That was an ad from Ron Paul, taking a shot at all the Etch-a-Sketch uproar. Now he's taking on ObamaCare. It's a rallying cry for the Right and it's front and center before the Supreme Court. And Congressman Ron Paul is here to talk health politics and keeping America great.

Congressman, welcome back.

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Nice to be with you. MORGAN: I'd like to thank you for including me in your attack ad. It's the first time I've been used in that way, and a great personal honor. So thank you very much.

PAUL: We're going to make you famous.

MORGAN: Now let's talk about health care, because I come from a country where everybody gets free health care. I don't understand why all you Republicans are so exercised about a president who wants more Americans to get health care.

PAUL: Tell me what free means. I've never heard of anything being free. It means somebody gets something from somebody else, and the government uses force to transfer a service or a good or money from one to another. That's coercion and that's a mandate. It's a dictate. It undermines the concept of freedom, and it undermines the concept of what America is all about. This is all new for us.

You know, last 30 years or so that we've decided that we had to have the government doing this, and the quality of medical care is going down and the cost is going up. And we don't -- we're going to get our lines, just like they've had in Britain and Canada.

We hear about the long lines there to get their medical care. So -- but it's free, as you say. But, I mean, you're kidding yourself if you think it's free. You pay for it --


MORGAN: What about -- what -- let me throw a country like Switzerland at you, because they have a health care program, which is not dissimilar to what ObamaCare is suggesting, and it's been very successful.

PAUL: Well, we've had a very successful system here, too, before the government got involved. I don't know enough about Switzerland to critique it. But I would say that one thing they don't have to deal with that. If you want to provide services which might contradict my personal beliefs, you can't do it if you have these constant wars overseas and you consume the wealth.

Switzerland doesn't like to go around and police the world and invade other countries, which means that they have a little bit more money and they might be able to maintain a little bit better.

But because of the way we waste money, then it makes it more difficult. But the whole process -- and anybody who comes to the conclusion that government should redistribute wealth and services and mandate things, I think they're kidding themselves. That's not the way a free society works.

I don't want -- I'd like to see more distribution of goods and services the way we distribute cell phones. Everybody has a cell phone. The prices keep going down. The quality keeps going up.

The opposite happens when you get the government involved in housing or in medical care or education. The costs keep going up, and quality keeps going down.

I don't see why people can't see that it's not working. And now we're bankrupt. And the world's bankrupt. Sure, it lasts for awhile. But eventually the world is going to have to face up to the fact that we're bankrupt right now. We'll have hearings tomorrow dealing with the subject on how America and the U.S. dollar is going to bailout Europe. Europe is in big trouble.

MORGAN: Yes, as a former doctor, don't you think inevitably, given the way that other countries have gone with this, that America spends more of its GDP than any other country I think on health care -- isn't it inevitable that eventually it will get to a system like car insurance, where everybody will have it. They'll have to have it. It will be a form of mandate.

But like car insurance, it's for your own good. And the system just has to be simplified.


PAUL: I worry about governments when they do things for my own good. They do it for the good of the politician, is what they do. So I don't see how that's going to improve things. It just sort of bankrupts the country, and the quality does not go up.

America is a little different. We don't really have socialized medicine. We have, you know, corporate medicine. So whether it's the Democrats or the Republicans, we always have the drug companies, the insurance companies, everybody else, they're in the middle. And the bureaucrats -- you put the bureaucrats, the politicians, the -- the drug companies all in between the doctor and the patient.

As a physician, I want nobody between me and the patient. And if we -- we couldn't have a system where you give the tax credits to the people who want to take care of themselves and save their money, buy a major medical policy. I mean, up until the 1960s even -- even when I first started medicine, we didn't have government insurance. And things weren't that bad.

I worked in charity hospitals. And things weren't as tough in emergency rooms. Everybody got taken care of. But all of a sudden, now we have all this money. We spend more money than anybody else, but the corporations are very much involved in the distribution of this. It's not a very good way to do it.

MORGAN: Let's turn to Mitt Romney's position in all this. Because obviously he's got this issue of what he himself did and what he's now trying to distance himself from. How big a problem is it going to be for Mitt Romney, if he becomes the nominee, the fact that his own health plans were very similar to what Barack Obama is trying to get through?

PAUL: Well, he should have problems in the Republican primary. I mean, if Barack Obama does it and Mitt Romney's not too far removed, and his program was similar, you know, and the nation is accepting this, you know, I don't think that is as big a deal. It should be a bigger deal in the Republican primary, is where it should be.

But that's what's going on right now in the primary, because it is a major issue. And he has a problem because she's changed positions on some other things too. As a governor of a very liberal state and then becoming ultra-conservative in a Republican primary, that's a bit -- a bit of a challenge for him.

But if he has -- he has a program similar to -- I mean, Bush -- Bush went and gave us not only the prescription drug program and Republicans didn't say boo. Oh, yeah, we'll -- we'll go along with it. So Bush did the same thing. He massively expanded government medicine and corporate medicine.

I remember the drug companies were promoting that and the insurance companies were promoting prescription drugs. So -- but they're not different. The Democrats and the Republicans both kowtow to the corporations in order to distribute and make money. Force everybody to buy insurance. I don't see the insurance companies screaming and hollering about -- they like the customers.

But, of course, a mandate and they have to provide a service, then they complain about it. That's why governments don't work. You need freedom of choice and you need markets. You need competition. You need to drive down prices. You need -- you don't need to have so many monopolies running the health care system. And --

MORGAN: Talking of competition, let me put my own doctor hat on. If I was prescribing some medicine for you right now, congressman, I think I would say the situation is looking pretty terminal for your race to be the GOP nominee. Why don't you just do the decent thing and pull out? Why are you staying in the race?

PAUL: Why don't you do the decent thing and not pester me with silly questions like that? I mean, that would be decent of you.

MORGAN: It's not that silly. Hang on, the latest Gallup poll has you at nine percent.

PAUL: What you're looking for are delegates and we're doing quite well.

MORGAN: Let's count the delegates then.


MORGAN: Let's see how well you're doing. Mitt Romney 568 delegates, Ron Paul 71.

PAUL: OK. What about the states where they're still working through the process, which is most of them, You know, whether -- you know, whether it's up in Maine or right now we're doing very well in the state of Washington and North Dakota and excellent now in Nevada. And even Missouri the other day, some really good news came out there for us.

Through the process, our people are in the right places. They're doing the things to become a delegate. So it's way to soon for you to write anybody off. Besides, just because somebody is in second or third place and -- but there's a race going on. What if Mitt Romney isn't the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel because people like you say hey, throw in the towel; people don't want you out there wanting to debate the war and wanting to debate the Federal Reserve and wanting to debate this civil liberties, you know, assassination on American citizens, the military arresting Americans?

You know, we fought the British because the British came over here and arrested our American citizens for civil law. So now we --

MORGAN: You'd be fighting the British tonight, congressman, and very effective. I don't want you to throw in the towel. I think you're a national treasure in this country. I wondered if you thought you should and you made your position crystal clear. And I wish you all the very best with your campaign.

PAUL: Thank you.

MORGAN: Nice to talk to you again. Ron Paul, got to love that guy.

MORGAN: Coming up, my exclusive with Natalie Cole. She knew Whitney Houston before she was a star. Now she's speaking out for the first time since Whitney's death.


MORGAN: The unforgettable Natalie Cole is a nine time Grammy winning singer, song writer and performer, who knew Whitney Houston since Whitney was just 19 years old. This is Natalie's first interview since Whitney's death. And it's a real pleasure to have you here. Last time I saw you, you were performing at Sojo House (ph) in L.A. for a private birthday party. You were just fabulous. I've got to say, one of my favorite singers.

Before we get on to Whitney, sort of ask you -- you were listening to Chaka's interview there about this Trayvon Martin case. What do you make of it?

NATALIE COLE, SINGER/SONG WRITER: You know, the question unfortunately can be answered by another question, which is the best thing. And that is if it was a white boy that got shot by a black person, where would he be? I don't think we'd be doing the same thing. So I just -- you know, in my spirit, I just don't feel that -- that there's an equality going on, you know, even though the guy that shot him is not a white Caucasian.

But I just don't get it. I think that it's a horrible law they have.

MORGAN: So it may not be a race attack, although there is some evidence -- but even if it isn't, that's not really the point. The point is the way the law treats young black boys in particular in this country right now. Is that what you're saying? COLE: Well, not only the law that treats black boys. But there's another law that if you go and shoot somebody, you're supposed to be accountable for that.

MORGAN: I find that the most extraordinary thing.

COLE: It is extraordinary.

MORGAN: Forget the whole race issue. Forget almost all of it actually. How can the law just allow someone not even to be arrested when they shoot someone at point blank range who was unarmed? I find it -- I find that baffling.

Let's move on to Whitney Houston. A sad development today, Bobby Brown arrested in L.A.

COLE: I just heard that.

MORGAN: -- for DUI. He's obviously going through his own demons about all this.

COLE: Yes, makes sense.

MORGAN: You knew Whitney very, very well. We had the drugs report last week. What do you think of everything that's happened in the last month?

COLE: First of all, I do want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this. Because the first several weeks, I couldn't even get it together.

Whitney is -- Whitney was a very strong woman. I believe she knew exactly what she was doing. I don't think that she meant to leave here. And once the toxicology report came in, I wasn't surprised. Everyone wanted to believe that, you know, after I think at least two rehabs, that she was coming along. But the demons where still chasing her.

MORGAN: These are demons that you have fought in your life.

COLE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: And more successfully. I think we can say that.

COLE: By the grace of God really.

MORGAN: Yes, did you -- I mean, you had an affinity with her as a performer. You've been there and handled the pressures of that as well, huge fame and everything else. You've also been there on the drug addiction side of things. So you must have felt --

COLE: When Whitney knew me, I was in the throes of my addiction. I hadn't gotten quite sober yet.

MORGAN: Did you try and help her? COLE: You know, I talked to Whitney. There were a couple times that she'd call and she would just -- we would just chat and everything. But the last time I saw Whitney was actually -- I think it was either the Bahamas or Clive Davis' -- one of Clive Davis' parties, which is probably now becoming three years.

We were on tour together for three weeks in Germany. Me, Deion and Whitney had the best time. She was sober. She was in good health, good voice. It was wonderful. You know, so I've known her as a little girl; 19 years old I saw her.

And she just had such wonderful success. But I have to, you know, refer also to what Kevin Costner said at the funeral, that she really was so afraid of what people were saying about her. She had this guilt. She never was totally confident about who she was and what she had.

MORGAN: How big a problem -- and I've talked to a few people about this. And I got a real sense that perhaps her biggest demon was losing the magical voice that she couldn't hit those big notes again.

COLE: I would think that would be devastating.

MORGAN: Destroying her.

COLE: Yeah.

MORGAN: Can you relate to that?

COLE: Oh my goodness, I had to cancel a New Years Eve show in Atlantic City a few years -- about two years ago. I had gotten hoarse and I couldn't sing. The doctor said if you try to sing anyway, you'll ruin your voice. So I took his advice and we had to cancel, which was mortifying. But it doesn't happen very often. But when Whitney and I worked together in Germany, she was in fine voice, very good voice.

MORGAN: Could she still hit the big notes?

COLE: She hit some of them, yeah. But then her presence on the stage was so full that if you missed a high note, you get over it.

MORGAN: Do you -- is your voice as good as it was, say, 20 years ago?

COLE: I don't know. I kind of like to think it is, yeah. I'm just a little more savvy with it.

MORGAN: Is it harder if you're like one of those huge Diva singers, like Whitney, when you've done that "I Will Always Love You," when you hit that big, big note, and I always say that was the great test when I judged these talent shows of anyone who tried to do a Whitney song, most of them couldn't get near it.

COLE: Forget about it. MORGAN: You've got to be a very special singer to be able to do that consistently. And when you lose that power, it's like Samson losing his hair.

COLE: No question, absolutely. It's a great analogy. It's a great analogy. And it's terrifying when your voice isn't working the way you want it to. Yes. So I think with Whitney, there were other things as well, but I'm sure that depressed her.

And I wanted to get to her so badly, because we had both done a show in Australia. She had been there, like, maybe a month or so before I did. And I wish that I could have sat down with her. It's -- it's really about a choice. This is what Whitney chose to do. God bless her.

MORGAN: Let's come back after the break and talk more about Whitney. I'm interested in that whole idea of the choice, because so many people have tried to blame people like Bobby Brown and others. That may not be fair.

COLE: Please. Let's talk about this.

MORGAN: Let's come back.


MORGAN: Back with now is Grammy winner Natalie Cole, speaking out for the first time since her friend Whitney Houston's death. Natalie, I want to play a little clip you and Whitney singing together, because this is really special.




MORGAN: Fantastic. That was the 1989 NAACP Awards. I mean, what a moment. What do you feel watching that?

COLE: I'm just sad -- happy sad. You know, it is bittersweet.

MORGAN: So powerful.

COLE: Yes.

MORGAN: The pair of you, what a wonderful --

COLE: We loved each other's talent. We just appreciated each other. We had this wonderful friendship. And then there was -- we could sing together like that, in a minute.

MORGAN: I was intrigued by what you said before the break about she was her own woman. A few people who knew her really well have said the same thing to me, that she was -- this wasn't some shy, innocent retiring little girl who didn't know what she was getting into, and that when people try and blame Bobby Brown or other influences that came into her life, they're missing the point. Whitney was her own woman.

COLE: That's right. And you know, as we continue to do more research or something about addiction and what that really means, you know, being on drugs, I think that in spite of the fact that she was still getting high and having a good time -- Whitney was a little bit of a party girl. She loved it. She was good at it.

But yes, I think she was not -- I don't think she did anything she hadn't already been doing.

MORGAN: When you heard --

COLE: And it's a disease. It is a disease.

MORGAN: That's important to remember.

COLE: I had never even heard that word until I went to my second rehab. I was in rehab first right here in California and they told you were crazy. Then I went to a second rehab, because I didn't last. Thirty days is like -- nobody can get sober in 30 days. I'm sorry.

MORGAN: When you heard that Whitney had died, did you feel that it had been a wasted life or was it an inevitably short life that had amazingly high moments?

COLE: Yes. I don't think it was wasted, because she got some good stuff out there before she left here. But I see a woman who really wanted to please everybody. She knew what she had. She knew her talent. She knew her power. You know, and she had had faith beyond compare. And it's really -- it's too bad that she's not here.

I mean, I was so upset about it that I was just angry. You know, I was really angry.

MORGAN: With her or with the situation? Or both?

COLE: I don't know.


MORGAN: There is a selfishness to drug addiction.

COLE: Yes, there is. It turns into that.

MORGAN: Yes. And people say, in the end, you can't -- nobody can tell a drug addict. They have to look at themselves one day in the mirror.

COLE: They may fall down a bunch times before they finally say OK, I'm done. But it's not easy. I think that I even take issue with the drug treatment facility. I think that there's not really great ones. I think they use a technique that I'm not sure is all that successful, especially for someone to stay sober.

MORGAN: What would your favorite memory be of --

COLE: Of Whitney?


COLE: Probably when we were on tour together in Germany. We had the best time. It was me, Whitney and Deion.

MORGAN: I've got to leave it, Natalie. It's been a real pleasure. Thank you for that. It's been really nice to talk to you about Whitney. I really appreciate. Natalie Cole. .

Coming up next, Only in America, the out of control parent who ruin their kids Easter Egg hunt. Dastardly people.


MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America, RIP the Easter Bunny. Generations of young American children have celebrated the spring religious holiday with wonderful traditions like the annual egg roll at the White House.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is everybody having a good time?

Happy Easter, everybody. We are thrilled that all of you could come.


MORGAN: And of course, hugely popular Easter Egg hunts in communities across the country. But no more. I regret to announce the tragic demise of this harmless family pastime.

Because as usual with things that innocent children enjoy doing, greedy grasping adults have come along to ruin it. This year's egg hunt at Bancroft Park in Colorado Springs has been canceled after shocking scenes at last year's event, in which schools of parents were so desperate for their kids to win, they cheated.

Yes, fully grown human beings jumped a rope specifically designed to prevent adult involvement and swarmed -- yes, swarmed the hunt area to grab eggs for their children so they could win.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of role model are you as a parent if your actions are canceling an event your child is going to remember for the rest their life?


MORGAN: An absolutely bloody awful role model. Don't get me wrong, I'm a competitive kind of guy. I like winning. I hate losing. I'm also a parent of four children myself, so I fully understand that desire for one's precious little offspring to succeed in life.

But stealing eggs at an Easter Egg hunt? Really? Has there ever been a more unedifing example of this ghastly new phenomenon known as helicopter parents? You know who you are, the type that hovers over their children, poking their bossy noses into every aspect of their lives, and doing whatever it takes, ethical or otherwise, to prevent failure, the kind that lies, bribes and bullies to get them into better schools or sports clubs, or sneakily does their homework for them.

And for what? This isn't going to help spoiled little Chuck or Nancy when they get into the real world. Is it? It's just going to make them think cheating is the answer to everything.

When I grew up, my mother always reminded me of that great sporting proverb first coined by legendary American sports writer Grantlin Rice (ph): "when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he marks not that you won or lost but how you played the game."


Tomorrow night, my prime time exclusive with Tiger Woods long- time coach, Hank Haney. And that's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.