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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
George Zimmerman's Brother Speaks Out; Interview with Mike Tyson
Aired March 31, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, a Trayvon Martin exclusive. George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen. Now his brother, Robert, breaks the family silence. The interview you'll see only here.
Plus, iron Mike Tyson, born into desperate poverty, but also born to box. At his prime, one punch was all it took. The only one who could stop him was himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TYSON, BOXER: I wanted it. I don't know if I was prepared for it. But I know I wanted it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We watched the collapse unfold in and out of the ring. The bizarre meltdowns, the rape charge, the prison sentence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYSON: I think I used bad judgment and I had to deal with the circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And then, battered by personal tragedy, the redemption. A new man, a new life, stealing the show in "The Hangover." Mike Tyson, roar and ready for the next round, our prime-time exclusive.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Tonight, the "Big Story," Trayvon Martin. The latest developments, a new witness to the shooting comes forward. Today Anderson Cooper heard an altercation, someone yelling for help, and also what the witness describes as a painful scream. The witness saw two people on the ground, one on top of another, and then hears the sound of a gun going off.
Also, new questions about that police video of George Zimmerman. The tape shows no obvious signs of any injuries, but authorities say he was given first aid at the scene.
In just a moment, my exclusive interview with George Zimmerman's brother, Robert, breaking his silence. Also tonight, Mike Tyson, the champ is here and he's angry about the Trayvon case. He tweeted the shooting puts us all in fear. I'll talk more about that and much more with Iron Mike just ahead.
Let's get straight to the "Big Story," Trayvon Martin. With me for an exclusive interview is Robert Zimmerman, whose brother George killed Trayvon in what he said was self-defense.
Robert, thank you for joining me tonight. Why are you here? Why do you want to do this interview?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, JR., BROTHER OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I think the tide has turned. There's a lot of loose ends to this story. Some of them have to do with the events of that night and an investigation. Some of them have moved on to a lot of hate speech, people like the McClain family having to flee their home. People taking really -- putting emotions ahead of fact and putting our family and other families in danger.
MORGAN: Has your family had death threats?
ZIMMERMAN: Oh, yes. Yes. And --
MORGAN: Credible threats?
ZIMMERMAN: Credible threats. Yes, they have, yes.
MORGAN: Against more than one member? Against more than George? Against others?
ZIMMERMAN: You know, I'm really not at liberty to discuss exactly who was threatened or how they were threatened, but I can tell you that I, myself, have been contacted by law enforcement, too, because there was credible intelligence that could threaten me. So I look a lot like my brother. People can easily confuse us. And in this misinformation that's been going on, that's been a constant fear of mine, that I would be --
MORGAN: Nobody has heard from your brother, and therefore, a mythology has built up about him. He is, at the moment, one of the most hated people in America. And we don't know anything about him.
Tell me about your brother. Tell me what you want to say about him that could be his defense, if you like.
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I agree. It is a mythology that's been built up. And it's not because no one has had anything to say about George, or because his family doesn't love him or support him, or not because he doesn't have supporters. It's been because the people who love and support George, his family, namely, also respect the system, the judicial system, and the legal system that we have in America, and that we don't have, sadly, sometimes the opportunity to comment when there are investigations going forth, to respect the integrity of that actual investigation.
But as far as George goes, he's the neighbor that everybody would want to have. He's the kind of guy that sees somebody struggling with changing a tire and stops to help them or helps older people with their groceries. He goes out of his way to help people. He always has. That's the kind of thing --
MORGAN: I mean, people watching this saying, sure, maybe he was. Maybe that is what he did. Then why would somebody like that, why would somebody, kind to neighbors, want to do the right thing, do the decent thing. Why would somebody like that get into some kind of altercation with a young 17-year-old boy, defy instructions he's given from the 911 operator, chase after him, some altercation clearly appears to have happened, and then your brother pulls out a gun and shoots him? Why would your brother do that?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, taking, from what you said, when you said chasing after and getting into an altercation, there's a lot of ways that people get into altercations. You know, I believe that if you wanted to reach over this table and assault me badly enough, you could be armed with chopstick and a toothpick and still put me in fear of my -- reasonable fear of my life. He didn't get into an altercation. People don't just get into altercations. There are aggressors.
MORGAN: When did you first hear from George after this incident? You, personally?
ZIMMERMAN: Me, personally, I heard immediately after the incident. And by immediately I would say --
MORGAN: Within an hour?
ZIMMERMAN: I would say within 24 hours.
MORGAN: Within 24 hours. So the next day?
ZIMMERMAN: Would be the closest I'm willing to narrow the window down of exactly when George spoke, yes, would be within the next 24 hours.
MORGAN: And what exactly did he tell you about what happened?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, some of the details have come out. You know, unfortunately, Miss Corey's investigation has been compromised. Some details have been leaked. And that's why we can talk as a family more about, now, what George told us was the truth. This fantasy, or this mythology of that he chased a person, is just absolutely false. He didn't chase anyone.
MORGAN: On the 911 call, he says that he's seeing somebody suspicious who is running, and he says he's pursuing him, and he's told, please don't do that.
ZIMMERMAN: And he says, OK. And anything past that point is conjecture by the media.
MORGAN: Let's listen to this crucial bit of tape. This is from the 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S SHOOTER: He's running.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: He's running? Which way is he running?
G. ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the entrance of the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
G. ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?
G. ZIMMERMAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don't need you to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So I mean the dispatcher says, OK.
ZIMMERMAN: Right. George says, OK, he says don't need you to do that. And then George does stop following that individual.
ZIMMERMAN: I believe, actually -- I believe he may have actually lost sight of that individual.
MORGAN: When you say he stopped following, how do you know that?
ZIMMERMAN: I believe that's what George -- and that's what's in the police reports and that's what has been leaked and --
MORGAN: But the police report would be based on what George told the police on that night.
MORGAN: Wouldn't it?
ZIMMERMAN: Right. Well --
MORGAN: There's been no actual eyewitness to this. It's only George's word, isn't it?
ZIMMERMAN: Correct. It is only George's word. At this point there were -- there was an eyewitness or two to the actual assault, but to the part where you're talking about whether he followed or did not follow, he did not follow nor did he ever catch up to Mr. Martin.
Mr. Martin allegedly was close to his home. He had found himself so far from the front door, I guess unable to find his way home, if he -- you know, if he were really being pursued, I don't know how he couldn't make it home.
MORGAN: What did George tell you Trayvon Martin allegedly did to him?
ZIMMERMAN: What has come out that I can talk about today is that Trayvon Martin somehow snuck up on him, and according to Mr. Crump, their own attorney, he was on -- we don't know if this is verifiable information, but he was on the phone with his girlfriend. I don't know if that's a police source, but I know his attorney at least holds up the girlfriend as a source and says Trayvon told him, no, I'm not running. I'm going to walk real slow.
And Trayvon went up to George and said the first thing to George. And there's some discussion about, did he say, do you have a problem, do you have a problem, are you following me? Why are you following me --
MORGAN: What did George tell you he say?
ZIMMERMAN: One of those things. You know, do you have a problem with me following me? Why are you following me, something like that. My brother drew back to grab his phone, in retreat to call again 911 and say, well, now this person who I lost sight of and was not pursuing has now confronted me. That's what he did. He never got to make that call, because he was attacked by Mr. Martin.
MORGAN: And when you say "attacked," what did George tell you Trayvon did to him?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, I don't know, I believe that at the time, George knew he had sustained some kind of injury to his face or his nose. I don't know that he knew it was broken. I know that --
MORGAN: You see, here's the weird thing. How do you explain, as a family, the video that came out last night, with your brother within, you know, not much time after this incident, walking around, unaided, perfectly OK, with no apparent markings to his face.
I mean, if you get a broken nose or the kind of head injuries sustainable from having your head smashed on a concrete floor, you're going to have blood everywhere. You're going to have visible injuries. There is nothing. I mean, we're looking at the images now. There's no visible sign of any attack. How do you explain that?
ZIMMERMAN: We're confident the medical records are going to explain all of George's medical history, because how he was treated at the scene and how he was not. To me, his nose looks swollen in that video. I'm his brother. So to me --
MORGAN: Have you talked to George about the video since it came out?
ZIMMERMAN: I'm not at liberty to say. That particular piece of information about the video or about how he thinks his appearance may or may not be, what I think I see is a swollen nose. Now, I'm not a physician, you're not a physician. A lot of these injuries take time, 24 hours, 36 hours, to show the bruising. Sometimes the bone breaks and the blood is swallowed, like in the case of, for example, if your hand would be on someone's nose and mouth, preventing them from --
MORGAN: Does he have any injuries now? ZIMMERMAN: His nose is still broken.
MORGAN: It's still broken?
ZIMMERMAN: His nose is still broken, yes.
MORGAN: A month later, it's still broken?
ZIMMERMAN: His nose. I don't know about the back of his head. I mean his nose is still healing. It's not healed. He's not -- he has very severe emotional injuries. He has very -- he's been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. He was not right from the moment it happened. He didn't call his family and express anything but, you know, sadness. It was just a darkness.
He had changed. He wasn't the same. He would never be the same. He was very disappointed that none of the neighbors had come out and helped with the whole situation, potentially could have been avoided by just someone coming out and saying, hey, what's going on out there, or --
MORGAN: Let me ask you a difficult question, Robert.
MORGAN: You're not on trial for anything here. You're not the accused. But you are the brother of George. If we reverse this situation and it was your brother who had been gunned down in exactly the same set of circumstances, and the worst that had happened, as far as his behavior, was that he had been followed and he got into an altercation and he was unarmed, he had a bag of Skittles on him, and a guy who was much older, who followed him in the street, pulled out a gun and shot him dead.
Would you not, at the very least, if you're honest and candid about this, would you not have expected that person to at least be arrested, to at least perhaps face some kind of trial where the full evidence could come out?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, and -- you know, I take a -- I take a pause to that whole, you know, conjecture, again, of pulled out a gun and shot him. That's absolutely not fact.
MORGAN: That's not what happened, then?
ZIMMERMAN: No, it is not what happened.
MORGAN: But he did pull out a gun and shoot him, right?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, he stopped someone from disarming him and shooting him. He didn't pull out a gun and shoot him. George showed tremendous restraint --
MORGAN: But he had the gun on him, right? ZIMMERMAN: He had a permit to carry that gun --
MORGAN: Where was the gun?
ZIMMERMAN: The gun, I believe, was in his -- inside -- tucked inside his pant waist --
ZIMMERMAN: In a waist holster.
MORGAN: So he has pulled it out and he has fired it?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, he has taken control of his firearm, he prevented his firearm from being taken from him and used against him. And that's called saving your life.
MORGAN: Right. So you believe, as a family -- is this what George told you the next day? That Trayvon was trying to grab his gun to use against him?
ZIMMERMAN: My father also is on record yesterday night saying that. And again, what Trayvon said was, either to the effect of, I believe, this is going to be easy, you die tonight or you have a piece, you die tonight. And then attempted to disarm him. So when you say, "have a bag of Skittles and an iced tea," nobody just stood there with a bag of Skittles and iced tea. You return force with force when somebody assaults you.
George was out of breath, he was barely conscious, his last thing he remembers doing was moving his head from the concrete to the grass, so that if he was banged one more time he wouldn't be -- you know, wearing diapers for the rest of his life and being spoon fed by his brother, and there would have been George dead had he not acted decisively and instantaneously in that moment when he was being disarmed by --
MORGAN: I mean, there were people watching this saying, well, the family would say this, they're protecting their brother. He may well have invented this whole story. Once he realized what he'd done. He may have just thought, the only way I can get out of this is to use this "Stand Your Ground" law, and under Florida law, and just invent this whole story. He may have inflicted the injuries to himself. We don't know, do we? Nobody actually knows.
ZIMMERMAN: Well, the eyewitness that was there actually saw -- I don't think his face has been revealed. I know that the police have his testimony. I know that media in Florida have gone to his house and he doesn't want to open the door, but he did apparently see the whole thing from the first blow.
MORGAN: Hold that thought, Robert, we'll come back after a short break and discuss this more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Do you need police, fire, or medical?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: So you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: All right. What is your --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: You just heard gunshots?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: How many?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The chilling 911 call as the shooting of Trayvon Martin was taking place. Back with me now is Robert Zimmerman. His brother, George, killed Trayvon Martin. Who was screaming there, Robert?
ZIMMERMAN: That's my brother.
MORGAN: How can you be so sure? Because Trayvon's family are equally adamant it is their boy.
ZIMMERMAN: You know, that's a very sensitive thing to talk about. I don't blame them for being as equally adamant, I don't blame anybody whose family member they believe or perceive that they hear on the tape for being as equally adamant. I would expect nothing less, actually. I know that that's George. I know that one of the -- the saddest things for him in this whole thing was that despite those screams, no one came to his aid.
Those screams could have avoided, you know, what eventually George had to do to defend his life, if someone had, you know, heard them, come out, shown a light on the situation, said, get out of here, what are you guys doing? Because of that pain that he felt in particular, that he was screaming out so many times, I know that that's his voice. It sounds just like my voice.
I mean, he's my brother. That's what I sound like if I yell. But, you know, there are hopefully technological means to sort all that out. We thought --
MORGAN: I mean the other -- the other technological means that are being deployed on tape are the reference that your brother makes under his breath, which appears to be the racial term that people have deduced it was. I'm not going to repeat it now.
ZIMMERMAN: I've heard it, yes.
MORGAN: You know what it is.
MORGAN: I mean, CNN got that slowed down, replayed it 10 times. I heard it. I'm pretty sure what I heard. I'm pretty sure it was a racial slur. What else could it have been?
ZIMMERMAN: It could have been anything. If we slowed --
MORGAN: You know your brother.
ZIMMERMAN: I do.
MORGAN: And you look like him, you sound like him.
ZIMMERMAN: Right. He speaks two languages fluently.
MORGAN: What do you think he's saying?
ZIMMERMAN: That part -- that tape, it's my understanding, is not actually in the original 911 tapes. It's after media outlets have slowed down, buffed up, redone, retouched --
MORGAN: Right, but it exists.
MORGAN: It exists.
ZIMMERMAN: Well, it does not exist as it exists. It is a reconditioned piece of audio to satisfy whatever you want anybody to hear in that tape. I don't -- I don't know --
MORGAN: Well, I don't think it is. I mean, I think that, to be factual, that part of the tape is under his breath. The police missed it first time around. They've accepted that. The question becomes, what is your brother saying? As I say, when I heard it, I believe I heard a racial slur. What do you think you heard?
ZIMMERMAN: Right, I believe --
MORGAN: Or what do you think those two words were?
ZIMMERMAN: Again, I just -- I don't believe that, first of all, that they're words. I don't think that when someone is running and making, you know, utterances, not necessarily words, but utterances from strain under their breath, you can take any of that --
MORGAN: But what do you believe he was saying?
ZIMMERMAN: I have no idea that he was even saying anything. That's what I'm trying to say. MORGAN: Well, he clearly is saying something. I mean he's clearly saying two words.
ZIMMERMAN: I don't know that that's the case, Piers. I don't -- I don't believe --
MORGAN: You know what, the reason I'm asking is that if he is saying what I and many others believe him to be saying, it adds a racial element to this. It adds fuel to the fire that this was a case of racial profiling, that your brother saw a young black boy in a hoodie and decided he had to deal with him.
ZIMMERMAN: Right. Well, that whole hoodie thing, I mean that's another -- a hoodie is a description. You know, you're a man wearing a black suit and a red tie. That doesn't mean that if you commit a crime, we should all go out and march in black suits and red ties. That was just simply how someone was described. That's not what made him --
MORGAN: Have you ever heard your brother utter a racist remark about anybody?
ZIMMERMAN: No. And certainly that word is not even in his vocabulary. I -- you know, of all words to say this was a racial slur, I'm a little bit older, you know, I was kind of familiar with it, that it was used in literature, you know, things like that, and that it was a word much more prevalent before. You know, something kind of you're exposed to in school growing up, reading, but --
MORGAN: Let me ask you this. Why was your brother walking around this neighborhood anyway? He didn't have his neighborhood watch stuff on. Nothing to identify him, as any kind of neighborhood watch operative or security guy. So if you're Trayvon Martin, 17 years old, you're a boy. You're going to your father's girlfriend's house. You've been to a store. You've bought some Skittles.
And there's this big guy who is following you, it's scary, isn't it? I mean, you can't blame Trayvon Martin for wondering what the hell this guy's doing or who he is?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, sadly, even your statements now are just a product of conjecture. Saying that he was patrolling a neighborhood is absolutely false. He was not patrolling the neighborhood. He was going to a store, Target. There was someone in the rain. According to even Mr. Crump, the family's attorney, taking shelter, what he calls taking shelter, in other buildings.
So George just saw simply someone who everyone lives in Florida knows when it rains, it pours. People take shelter in their home or they see that it's raining and they wait 10 minutes and then they go out. George saw Mr. Martin in suspicious in context of what had been happening in his community, not just --
MORGAN: Well, George found him suspicious. ZIMMERMAN: George found him --
MORGAN: I mean, Trayvon Martin would argue he wasn't being suspicious at all. He was just walking to a house.
ZIMMERMAN: Right. And the police are the people who, you know, would have made that determination ultimately.
MORGAN: How do you feel, personally, that your brother has killed somebody in these circumstances?
ZIMMERMAN: No matter what, you know, I try to think of what if this were me? What if this were someone who had broken in my home and I had to defend myself or some other situation, where self-defense fits the mold more, and it's easy, we can understand, oh, yes, that's clearly self-defense, because there's no room for conjecture. This is my home, you broke in, and that happened.
I've tried to think about it in terms of what if this were me. I would at least want to feel supported by my family. And I would definitely, definitely respect the process that we have in this country.
MORGAN: Would it be easier for everybody, particularly your brother, if he was now arrested and there was a proper investigation that started from that point? Do you believe that it was actually, with hindsight, a mistake for the police to effectively conclude on the night, he had no case to answer?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, absolutely not. Investigations in our country are not effectively started once people are arrested. Nor are people arrested simply because another group demands their arrest. There is either probable cause or there is not probable cause to arrest someone.
MORGAN: Has George ever lied to you?
ZIMMERMAN: Not to my knowledge, no.
MORGAN: He's always been completely, 100 percent honest?
ZIMMERMAN: He's -- he would be the more honest of the two. The most honest brother. I would say. He's very straight and narrow. And you know, very helpful guy. Very concerned with his neighbor and the truth.
MORGAN: Very quickly, finally, what would you say to the family of Trayvon Martin? To his mother in particular?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, to his mother, you know, personally, myself, I can't speak for George, this is a tragedy. Her son was lost. I feel very badly about that. And I want, in the end, not for her son's memory to be seen as how we degraded our system and turned it into mob rule and went into a hate speech, you know, carnival of hatred and let's go get him and tweeting addresses. I want Mrs. Martin, the same Mrs. Martin yesterday who saw humanity in my brother to know that I can see humanity, too, in Trayvon. I understand this is a story about human beings and I think that was a touching thing that she said last night. And you know, ultimately, we all wish that this was a different situation.
MORGAN: Robert Zimmerman, thank you very much for coming in today.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you, Piers. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: And I appreciate that your family is also going through a very pretty hellish time right now. And I appreciate you showing your face and speaking up for your brother.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Thank you.
Next, he might have strong feelings about the story. The always outspoken Mike Tyson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYSON: How you doing? Right on the chin. I'm going to relax. I don't want my head to swell anymore than it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Mike Tyson at the start of his career, in a documentary "Tyson." A lot has happened since then. It was a time when Mike Tyson made headlines about everything but boxing. He was certainly no choir boy. Now he's fought his way back from the dark side but he's still the outspoken and unpredictable Iron Mike and I'm glad to say he joins me now.
TYSON: How you doing, Piers?
MORGAN: What did you make of the interview that I just had with George Zimmerman's brother?
TYSON: I don't know. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. I have a good opinion what happened, like everyone else. I don't know. He doesn't look like a seasoned enough liar to talk to you.
MORGAN: What do you think happened, from everything you've seen and read?
TYSON: I don't know what happened.
MORGAN: Do you believe that any kind of altercation, if Trayvon was unarmed, justifies somebody shooting him? TYSON: Well, I just know that young man shouldn't be dead from this ordeal. You know? I can only go by what I saw on television. I don't if it's true or not, but I can only go by what I see on television.
Once the officer told him to stop following him, he should have took that order from a superior, stopped following him. And once he stopped following, the young kid continues to go. What happened after that order was denied? I don't know.
MORGAN: Do you believe, as many do in the black community, that young black teenagers in hoodies get profiled, get chosen, targeted for this kind of thing? Do you believe that?
TYSON: It doesn't matter what I believe or not. The history of the nation proves it. What I say means nothing. We have to go by the history of particular incidents like this. And that's the proof. You know, this is just the television, of course, saying that.
How did the young kid know that he had a gun, to go for the gun? I don't know.
MORGAN: That's a very good point. How did he know that he had a gun?
TYSON: To go for it.
MORGAN: Unless he saw it.
TYSON: Unless he saw it, yeah. Unless he was trying to do for it -- I don't know, unless he's defending himself.
MORGAN: What do you think --
TYSON: I want to believe that Mr. Zimmerman did something wrong and illegal, but I wasn't there.
MORGAN: Do you think he should have been arrested on the night? Do you think it's a strange law in America, in modern America, that somebody can stand their ground in the street, in these circumstances, having defied an instruction from the 911 operator? Do you think that that's acceptable? Is this a law that should exist?
TYSON: I don't know. I don't think it should, but then again, I'm -- I'm not a state representative. I don't make these laws. I don't know the pretense of these laws. And the only thing I could do is be a citizen of America and I guess base my opinion.
And this is really bad stuff. It makes -- the whole world is watching us. It's watching our judicial system. And just from the world looking in, and being objective, we have -- man, we have laws that are a disgrace to a nation of savages. From the world looking in, from the civilized world looking in -- and, I don't know.
Us as black people -- you gave me that format, could you use that word, African-American, black people. This is -- I'm just talking. We're so accustomed with these laws, with these overt wrong laid laws. We're very accustomed to them.
MORGAN: Do you think America, Mike, has become more or less racist since Barack Obama, an African-American, became president?
TYSON: There's a great possibility, yes.
MORGAN: That it's become worse?
TYSON: One hundred percent, yes. Because that's how these groups surface, these red -- these Tea Party and everything. Listen, it's new stuff, being a black man, having the image of the strongest man on the planet, the biggest man in the world, from a political point -- from a political standpoint, you can send the strongest army in the world and in the country and stuff. And that must be pretty tough to take in when you -- I don't know.
It's just the way this country is. I believe this is the best country in the world. We just have problems we have to iron out, but --
MORGAN: How do you think Barack Obama's doing as president?
TYSON: I don't know. I live in a Barack Obama household. From -- from ethnicity, I think that's beautiful seeing a black president, for my children to see a black president. But I'm just -- regardless if he's president or not, I have to be the bread winner of my family. If he's the president or if he's not the president, I'm going to be the one paying the bills and working.
MORGAN: Now that your life has changed, and you have to pay bills, and you have to think about money and all those things, very different to when you had half a billion dollars and so on -- now that you're in that position and you can relate probably much better to people on the street, going through hardship, not having jobs and so on, do you think America is coming out of the bad times or do you think that it's still pretty set in the bad times?
TYSON: I don't know. But whatever it is, we're going to make it. We're going to get out of it, whatever it is. This is just what life is all about, good times and hard times. This is just what it is. Hard times fall upon everybody, every nation. And if you continue to live, you'll be able to see the good times, I guess.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and talk to you about your extraordinary comeback. Because you went to hell and back. Most of it, I'm sure you would admit, probably down to you. Some of it down to circumstance.
I'm going to get your feelings about what it's like for you now to be Mike Tyson today.
TYSON: All right, I am willing to do that too. Cool.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TYSON: I expect the good, expect the worst, OK. When the good happens, it happens. I don't expect anybody who put me in prison to -- in the least -- if someone puts me in here, and the more polite I am to them, kind, the more I lay back, that's not going to make them take their foot off their neck. That's going to make you want to crush them more.
If you're in a fight with somebody and you hurt of them, the objective of the fight is not to back off and let them recoup. The objective is to smash them to oblivion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Mike Tyson in prison in 1994, serving a sentence for rape. When you see that, Mike, do you recognize that Mike Tyson? Because you seem a very different man today.
TYSON: Well, I don't know. That guy's pretty deep. You know, I don't know. He's pretty intense. And that's just who I was for that time.
MORGAN: Do you feel that you've changed? When I read your Twitter feed -- you're a big Tweeter -- you seem a much calmer man today than you were then.
TYSON: Well, I don't know if I am. Maybe after all that fighting, I guess some red flags seem more relieving when they went up. I'm just happy hanging out with my wife. That's just the main focal point of my life, my wife and my children.
MORGAN: Your wife's an extraordinary woman, Kiki. I've had the pleasure of meeting her.
TYSON: She's extra extraordinary.
MORGAN: How has she changed you?
TYSON: That's -- like that -- you can't even fathom the ways. I'm just a human being now. When I was with my wife, I was a -- man, I was ODing once a week. Man, I was a Neanderthal. I don't know. I just can't even imagine how this even happened, that I'm just -- I have a respectable family and we travel together and I just -- man, I have some convicts that's not deserving of a prostitute with full blown AIDS. And I feel like I came up big time with my wife.
I'm just very grateful, yes. That's the word. That's the word I'm looking for.
MORGAN: You've been through some extraordinary times in your life. You had a desperately sad time a couple of years ago when your daughter died. What effect did that tragedy have on you, did you think?
TYSON: I don't know. Just being in that state of helplessness, to have no control over the situation -- I don't know. There's no words to describe it. I'm waiting for it to stop bothering, everything. But some people say it never stops. I talk to people that's in this unique club of ours that nobody wants to be involved with, bereaved parents. They say it never stops.
MORGAN: It's the ultimate heartbreak for anyone, isn't it? To be a parent and losing a child, it's so unnatural, isn't it?
TYSON: I don't know about that. I'm pretty young in this world. I'm 45. And I don't know. In some centuries, people sacrificed their children. But when I was in that hospital, I looked at it from a different way. Other people's children were dying and they came to me and said, we're sorry. But their kids are dying or dead already.
And then I said, hey -- I don't know why I started thinking that way, but I said, no, your guys' kids are dying too. I'm sorry to hear that. You know, that's what made me realize that there's other people here that are suffering here too. You're not the only one.
And I just looked at life differently after that.
MORGAN: Your two young children are here today, with Kiki. They're in the Green Room. Very sweet, young kids. What kind of father are you? Because you had such a tough upbringing. You never knew real normal parenting. What kind of parent have you become?
TYSON: I'm trying to become more understanding. I'm -- I should be shot for being called a good parent. I'm just a horrible parent. I've always been a horrible parent. I had -- I had horrible parents. And if it wasn't for my wife, none of this would work out.
TYSON: Patience -- I can't even describe, just the whole -- the change in my whole barometer. From a successful perspective, it's just us as a family. I'm not talking about we're making a bunch of money. We'll probably never have that wealth like we had before. But I'm not even trying.
MORGAN: Do you miss that kind of wealth, or is it destructive, that kind of money?
TYSON: No, I just miss having this whole ordeal with my family that I never had before. And when I'm away from them, even now, I miss that. That's just what I'm really into right now.
MORGAN: How has Kiki -- Kiki seems key to this. How has she talked to you? How has she transformed you? How has she made you come to peace with yourself?
TYSON: I don't know if I'm ever at peace with myself. I mean, you said that.
MORGAN: How do you feel? Do you still feel rages, occasionally, like you used to?
TYSON: Periodically. Not like I used to, of course. I may feel sorry for myself. And thank God, I'm not where my potentials could take me. But then I always think, where my potential could take me would separate me from what I really want, and that's my family unit.
So I don't really strive for some great goals anymore, unless my family's able to come with me.
MORGAN: When you look back at your life, what is the period you're most ashamed of?
TYSON: Well, I don't know. A lot of them. So I don't know. Pretty bad stuff.
MORGAN: How much of it, do you think, was down to your upbringing? I mean, you were arrested 38 times before you were even 13.
TYSON: A great deal of it. A great deal of it. But, still, that same -- that same emotion, that crudeness and stuff, is the same fire of my success, when everybody else liked it too. And I can't just separate the two at the time. It fed off one another.
MORGAN: People wanted you. You were the most ferocious fighter I've ever seen in the ring. And people wanted you to be ferocious. They wanted you to be this mythological character, you know, that -- sort of almost barbaric. They wanted to bay for blood.
When you look back on that, is that part of the problem, that you have people who just, they make money out of you being like that?
TYSON: Well, of course I'm not that way anymore. But I do understand there's something about me that people want to see. You know what I mean? If it's fighting, if it's entertaining, whatever it is, commenting, it's the fire, the energy.
And I don't understand it. I'm just happy to be a part of it, or whatever it is. People call it luck. Napoleon says greatness masters the artistry of luck. I'm not saying I'm great, I'm just saying what a great man said about luck. And that's pretty awesome.
MORGAN: Let's take another break, Mike. Let's come back and talk about how that luck has put you where you are today. You've got this great one-man show launching in Vegas. I want to know all about that. Mike Tyson, undisputed truth.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Tyson.
TYSON: This is my favorite part coming up right now.
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MORGAN: Mike Tyson stealing the show in 2009's "The Hangover." He's back with me now. So, Mike, I have an 11 year old son, my youngest boy. TYSON: Bernie.
MORGAN: All he knows you for, as I told you earlier, is for about -- about two months after he watched "the Hangover", every time I spoke to him he went, "dad, nice."
TYSON: I'm glad he likes that one and let's me talk about (INAUDIBLE)
MORGAN: Exactly. I mean, how have you found your reinvention? It's been an extraordinary thing. "The Hangover" created a whole new audience for you. What reaction have you had from people to that?
TYSON: I don't know. I'm just - Listen, I'm just very grateful. That's all I'm going to say, I'm very grateful to Todd Phillips and everybody. They -- I guess -- I wasn't ready for a support. I always had good friends. Whenever I was ready to change my life and live a respectable life in society, they were there.
MORGAN: Your acts are huge selling.
TYSON: Main event, baby.
MORGAN: You do these with Rock Live. Tell me about that.
TYSON: See, Rock Live, this gentleman, John Asanashi (ph), he's awesome, this guy. He's a pretty -- really a high-tech geek kind of guy. And they talk to me about this app stuff. Some of the guys from "The Hangover", But people who are on the app and stuff.
I thought it would be a good thing. I'm so happy to be a part of it.
MORGAN: Do you like all that? Do you like this new way of doing business where you don't get hurt. You don't have to hurt anyone.
TYSON: I don't know. I just -- I was Iron Mike Tyson then. Now I'm not. That guy died off somewhere. Now I have to make a new guy.
MORGAN: You have had lots of rough moments in your life. What's been the greatest moment, outside of marriage and children? What's been the greatest moment? If I could replay a moment for you now, you could relive, what would it be?
TYSON: I don't know. Being discovered and allowing Cus D'Amato inflict me with confidence. That's the best and worst thing that ever happened to me.
MORGAN: You said, I think -- it was a great quote -- something along the lines of you have to fight how you want to lead your life. It dictates how you lead your life.
TYSON: The only thing, you have to be careful how you fight your fights, because the way you fight your fights is the way you live your life.
MORGAN: Do you think Cus D'Amato, who was this legendary trainer -- do you think he would look at the way Mike Tyson is today and feel that you finally worked that out?
TYSON: No, he'll find something else wrong. He'll give me new battles to fight.
MORGAN: But he'd be proud of you, wouldn't he, for the way that you have rebuilt your life?
TYSON: He'd be very happy by the way I'm trying to rebuild my relationship with my children and stuff. You know, that was more important, me being an independent person and knowing the right thing to do, to gain the respect from my children and just from humanity in general and stuff.
He was a really tough guy, but deep down in the heart, he wanted to live the life that he refused to live.
MORGAN: Was he the father figure that you never really had?
TYSON: There's no doubt about it. The only father figure that I have known.
MORGAN: When you have that kind of respect from somebody like him, it makes all the difference, doesn't it?
TYSON: No doubt about it, because that was my goal. I was on a death mission. I was going to become the champion. Because he had died like a couple of months, a year before I became champion. And that's just accelerated my march and my drive and my desire to accomplish that for him.
MORGAN: When you became world champion for the first time, what did that moment feel like for you?
TYSON: I don't know. It was good for the moment. It was a great moment. I felt sorry for myself because Cus wasn't there. Because it was based all on us being there together.
And so I don't know. It was a weird feeling. But Cus leaving me and not being around me allowed my confidence to come out more. Because if anybody knows, I don't now -- I didn't talk much when Cus was around me. Because I remember one time I was in the -- I was in the locker room, one of my little fights.
And he's standing in the corner. I'm where the camera's at. And he listened to me talk. He'd listen to me say the things that he taught me to say and that we went over to say to reporters.
MORGAN: Once he wasn't there anymore --
TYSON: No, he heard me say baby to a reporter. And when we were driving back in the car, he let me have it. Who did you learn to talk like that from? Who taught you to talk to women like that? Who have you been around? I know I never taught you to talk like that to a woman. Wow, he just really ripped me.
MORGAN: Again, the father figure aspect to it. TYSON: Yeah,, no doubt.
MORGAN: Let's take a final break, Mike. When we come back, we're going to talk about 500 million dollars lottery. I bought us two tickets. We'll have an only in America live special. These could be the ones.
MORGAN: Two very quick things with my guest Mike Tyson. One is that you're at the WWE in Miami. You're being inducted into the hall of fame.
TYSON: Crotch chopper dude. Crotch chopper dude.
MORGAN: Also Breaking news, you are now trending worldwide on Twitter, thanks to this interview. So I have made you a world champion again.
TYSON: Well, thank you. I have been called worse.
MORGAN: Very quickly, Mike, it's Only in America special. Only in America could a British cable news host take on the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and stand a cat in hell's chance of winning.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not guaranteeing I'll win. The odds are 175.5 million to one, approximately. I'm, of course, talking about the same thing that the whole of America is talking about, Mega Millions' 540 million dollar jackpot.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nonstop. Nonstop for two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought only one ticket. That's all I need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
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MORGAN: Mike Tyson, you lost, they say, half a billion dollars. This is your chance to win it back. But here's the thing. I have two tickets. You can only choose one. We've got 10 seconds left. This could decide the rest of your life.
TYSON: Maybe my kids like -- I'm very undecided.
MORGAN: You've got five seconds, quick. That one. One of us is going to win half a billion dollars.
Mike Tyson, thank you very much. TYSON: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Take care. It was good to see you. That's all for us tonight. AC360 starts now.