CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Interview with Barbara Riggs; Racist Reality Shows; Keystone Pipeline

Aired April 19, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, HOST: We have breaking news tonight. We now know the names of two of the agents who lost their jobs over the Secret Service sex scandal. More agents could still be fired. There's a big few hours to come.

And the producers of "The Bachelor" hit with a lawsuit that says the reality show is racist and the latest in the case of the soldier who vanished from Ft. Bragg, the man who drove her home from the bar questioned by police today. We go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight we have breaking news. Two of the Secret Service agents who lost their jobs in the fallout of the prostitution scandal have been identified. According to "CBS News", David Cheney was the supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another supervisor, Greg Stokes, was, quote, "removed with cause". He was recently listed as the supervisor of the Canine Training Section of the Secret Service. That's what we were able to find out in our search just a few moments ago.

Now, a third employee who left the agency yesterday in connection with the scandal is still so far unidentified, but I think the thing to emphasize tonight is that more heads will be rolling. There are more agents who could be losing their jobs and being kicked out in the next 24 hours and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee told CNN today that we're going to see a lot more of these resignations tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE. CHMN.: I have four investigators working on it, talking to not just the Secret Service but other sources we have in law enforcement. We'll talk to as many people as we can. If I have to, I will send staff investigators down to Colombia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Of course that was Chairman King of the Homeland Security Committee. As many as eight other agents and 10 members of the military are being investigated for allegedly bringing prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Colombia ahead of the president's visit. Now, we don't know the identities of those being investigated but it is widely believed that they are all men and the Secret Service, the elite agency that protects the president is defending itself against charges that it's a good ole boys club with a wheels-up-rings-off mentality.

Now in just a couple of moments, we're going to find out the very latest on what's happening on the military side of this and who those individuals are and how deep that may go, but now an insider's view into the culture of the Secret Service, the numbers. Women make up a quarter of the Secret Service, nearly 7,000 employees. Female law enforcement agents who are defined as gun-carrying personnel make up about 11 percent of the agency.

Women now are expected to do everything that their male counterparts do from training to deployment in order to protect the president. One person who knows the job better than anyone is Barbara Riggs, a 31-year veteran of the agency. She was the first woman to be named deputy director of the Secret Service, one of the first 10 to even join the agency and she's OUTFRONT tonight.

I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and talk with us, Barbara. Let me just ask you first. I know that you're not familiar with both of these gentlemen. I believe you don't know Greg Stokes but you may be familiar with David Cheney?

BARBARA RIGGS, FMR. DEPUTY DIR., SECRET SERVICE: Yes, I think I do know who he is, yes.

BURNETT: And is there anything that you know about him or anecdotally about him to give us a sense of what kind of a person he is?

RIGGS: No, I never worked with him personally. My interactions have always been very professional.

BURNETT: And so what about the culture of the Secret Service? I mean I just referred to what some say is, you know the wheels-up- rings-off mentality. Is there something to that?

RIGGS: Well, that phrase, the first time I've ever heard that phrase was in the media this week, so I have never heard that before. The culture I know of the Secret Service and one that I lived for 31 years is a workforce of men and women who are dedicated to their mission and make great sacrifices every day in the service of their country.

BURNETT: And certainly -- I mean I think all of us who have ever had to interact whether it be with the president or the secretary of state have seen that incredibly professional impressive behavior in every level. But obviously what happened in Colombia was incredibly disturbing and it wasn't just one person. It was a whole lot of people, which meant a whole lot of people seem to think it was OK. Are you surprised that such a thing could have happened? Would it have happened in the Secret Service you knew?

RIGGS: Well, I am shocked and I am surprised because I have spent 31 years traveling on advances under six different presidents. I was assigned to the presidential protective detail on two separate occasions for a total of seven years at the White House. I supervised advance agents. I conducted advances. I had advance agents report to me in my supervisory position on the president's detail prior to a visit. As the assistant director, I had many components of the advance teams reporting to me and I have never seen an incident like this in the 31 years of my career.

BURNETT: And would it be your assumption that there wouldn't have been any women -- I mean what would you have done if this was what you saw -- before you were deputy director, just if you were a woman who happened to see all of the guys out at the bar drinking, even if you didn't even know they were taking prostitutes home, or even if you did, would you have turned them in?

RIGGS: Well I -- if I saw something like that, I would probably counsel them personally, because, you know prior -- first of all, I don't know -- I do not know who the individuals were other than what you have just told me. And you know, my experience, when you're on an advance is that -- especially a day or two before the visit, you're walking through the sites with your counterparts. You're going to countdown meetings. You know you're briefing supervisors who are coming in to walk through the sites. And you know there's no time for frolicking.

BURNETT: Should director Mark Sullivan lose his job, even though everyone has come out and defended him? Is that just a sign or signal that needs to be sent or not?

RIGGS: Well, I am very proud of how Mark -- the director has reacted to this. He's been very decisive and acted very quickly. I have known Mark for over 20 years. In fact he worked for me on the president's detail when I was a supervisor. And when I was the deputy director, he reported to me as the assistant director. And you cannot find an individual of a higher character than Mark Sullivan. And he has shown in my opinion aggressive leadership in addressing this issue. The other concern I would have was you know the Secret Service is in a campaign year. We're in a presidential campaign. We're seven months away from a campaign.

BURNETT: Right.

RIGGS: And you know this is going to distract the workforce. And my concern would be you know further distracting the workforce with any change of leadership.

BURNETT: All right, well thank you very much, Barbara. Appreciate your time. As we said one of the first 10 women to join the Secret Service in this country and as I promised, we do have some more details about the 10 U.S. military personnel, including five members of the elite Army Special Forces who are now being questioned in relation to the prostitution scandal.

We now know that the failure of the Army Green Berets to meet their curfew on the same night as the incident involving the Secret Service agents led to the military opening its own investigation. Barbara Starr is following that side of the story. And Barbara, what more can you tell us about what happened, who these people are, how many of them there might have been tonight? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, at the moment they are still questioning essentially 10 military personnel about any potential involvement in either heavy drinking or the solicitation of prostitutes or any of the activities that went on in Colombia. An investigating officer of the U.S. military is conducting that right now. At the moment it appears to be limited to the 10, five Army Green Berets and five others.

Sadly, all of the military services appear to have personnel involved in this mess. So they're looking at all of them. I would say, however, you know the military is making the point they're not exactly clear yet exact -- where it all stands. They may broaden it to include other military personnel and they still could wind up clearing some of these 10 of any wrongdoing -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you very much.

Well the producers of "The Bachelor" the reality are hit with a lawsuit. Are reality shows racist?

And new information about the Keystone Pipeline, we're going to tell you why the ultimate decision now is not in the hands of the president apparently, it is in the hands of the state of Nebraska.

And new developments in the case of Ft. Bragg's missing soldier. A man drove her home from the bar and today he was questioned by police.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: "The Bachelor" is a reality show about quote "25 lovely ladies looking for love with one sexy, single guy". But two Tennessee men say that description does not apply to people of color and they are suing the producers of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" for racial discrimination. Nathaniel Claybrooks says he wasn't given as much consideration as others during a casting call last August.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATHANIEL CLAYBROOKS, PLAINTIFF SUING "THE BACHELOR": The guys in front of me, the white males in front of me, I guess they took maybe like 45 minutes to an hour. But when I went up, it took me maybe 15, 20 minutes. They kind of rushed me through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Over 10 years and 23 seasons, the show has never featured a single person of color in the leading role. Now, it has had contestants from different races. Warner Horizon Television (ph), which is part of Warner Brothers Entertainment and a subsidiary of our parent company, Time Warner, says and I quote, "this complaint is baseless and without merit. In fact we have had various participants of color throughout the series history and the producers have been consistently and publicly vocal about seeking diverse candidates for both programs." Brad Cohen is a former contestant on the reality show "The Apprentice", not on "The Bachelor", "The Apprentice" and a defense attorney. Although, hey, nothing wrong with that. Joey Jackson is a trial --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you know if I was handsome enough I would have been on "The Bachelor".

BURNETT: Joey Jackson is a trial attorney and professor of civil rights. So it's good to have both of you with us. Let me just start with you, Joey, 23 seasons, not a single person of color in the leading role. Taking your legal hat off for a second, does that look like discrimination?

JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, sure, without a legal hat, Erin, without question. If you look at the duration of time that the show has been on and the fact that there hasn't been one in the leading role, then of course you can make that conclusion. Legally speaking, I you know would have something else to say about it but sure, anybody I think could draw that inference off the bat.

BURNETT: All right and before we get to the legal side, Brad, let me ask you. You've been on a reality show. Obviously "The Apprentice" we're talking about. You've witnessed how they operate, how they select, how you get treated, vis-a-vis, other people. You see how much air time you get versus them. Why do you think the numbers are so skewed?

BRADFORD COHEN, FORMER CONTESTANT ON "THE APPRENTICE": Sure. Well you know listen, reality shows are not reality. The fact is, is that you're putting together a puzzle and you're taking people that you think would be interesting for TV. It could be these two gentlemen didn't -- weren't that interesting, I don't know them. So you know to just say randomly like, hey, it's a racist show because they have never had a black contestant in the leading role, that's really not looking at the individuals that applied.

If you look at the individuals that applied there's plenty of people that applied to "The Apprentice" that didn't make it. I don't know if it's because they were smart. They were dumb. They were black, white, Hispanic, whatever they were, but there's different people that they need for the show, so to say that it's just racist blanketly (ph) say that without that legal basis, it's very hard to do.

BURNETT: OK. All right, so now let's put on the legal hat. So let's just say, Brad, they're trying to cast and they're looking at their demographic and they say look --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

BURNETT: -- our demographic is primarily white women between the ages of 25 and 40. I'm making this up and I'm assuming there might be something to that and so --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You probably have it right. BURNETT: -- they say well we want to have a white bachelor. Legally, is that OK or not?

COHEN: I think if you're casting a role and that role is what you're looking for it's just like anything else. Like I'm not going to do an ad for Clairol, right? I'm not going to do an ad for a hair product. There are certain roles that they want and there are certain roles that fit certain people. You know, and legally I don't think they're going to be responsible for it. I think it really is baseless.

BURNETT: What do you say Joey --

JACKSON: Brad, you might do a role for a hair product, you never know. But listen, here's the point. The point is this, two conflicting concerns here, Erin. One is you say that this 1981 action governs contracts and it says you can't discriminate on the basis of contracts. At the same time, remember, we live in a freedom of contract society. I'm allowed to enter into a contract with anyone or anyone who I want to. And it's totally up to me and so you have to balance those considerations. Having said that you do have to look at the statistics and in viewing the complaint as I have there's two people that they cite there.

BURNETT: Right.

JACKSON: I think you have to cite a little bit more --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

JACKSON: -- than two people who have come forward and not got the job --

BURNETT: Right.

JACKSON: -- and then you have to statistically match it against white applicants who haven't been successful.

BURNETT: And then Joey, I'm still curious how you answer that question of they could say, all right, well you know say the numbers don't go in their favor and those numbers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BURNETT: -- would indicate you racially profiled in selecting. But then they're going to say well we're out to make money, we're on a network that the demographic --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BURNETT: -- is a certain group. Right, I mean I would imagine if you were casting this on another network, you'd get a different choice.

JACKSON: Right.

BURNETT: But you know --

JACKSON: Correct.

BURNETT: Is there anything to that?

JACKSON: There is, Erin because to your point what happens is, is that when you're looking at -- look, we're not talking about social consciousness here. We're talking about a business who's in business to make money and if you have a demographic that you can appeal to and that demographic is going to fill the coffers (ph) then that's your first obligation. They're not about social conscious, social justice. They're about having viewers, the more the merrier so that they can get paid.

BURNETT: Right.

JACKSON: And ultimately it goes to the point of contract and they are going to say that's the basis for which we entered into this.

BURNETT: Right. Civil rights --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's absolutely right.

BURNETT: Do you think they have a case? Each of you, do you think they have a case? Will they get anywhere?

JACKSON: I think it's a very novel approach. I mean you know it raises social conscious. Why not?

BURNETT: Right.

JACKSON: I think they'll make a motion for summary judgment, meaning they'll try to dismiss it. ABC will off the bat, but let's see how far it goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: I don't think it's going to go very far. I think they're going to make a motion to dismiss. I always pull a mock jury from Franklin Field (ph), New Jersey, one of my favorite places on earth and I always ask people what do you think about the complaint. I send it over. They're not buying it. I don't think this is going anywhere.

BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to both of you, but I have to say this, it sure does raise awareness. You look at things sometimes in a different way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

BURNETT: The obvious is in front of you sometimes and you don't notice it. One of the things every championship team looks forward to and their fans like to watch you know when they get to go to the White House and visit the president. Today it was the Alabama Crimson Tide football team's turn. I'm sure Joe Scarborough was just rolling over like a pig in the red tide. They got to meet President Obama after winning the BCS Championship game. Unfortunately, though, they could not bring their Waterford Crystal Trophy (ph) because it shattered after a player's father stumbled on a rug that was under the trophy display.

No word if it was just a trip or he was, you know I don't know, having a beer to celebrate winning. I'm not sure how it happened but it's gone. And the school it's working on getting a replacement crystal football which costs about $30,000. That's one expensive trip. It's a lot of money but it is not enough to get you into a dinner with President Obama.

And that's our number tonight, 40,000, as in dollars. That's how much 25 supporters of the president are paying tonight to attend a fund-raising dinner with the president at the W Hotel (ph) in Washington. The money raised going to the Obama victory fund. Wow, crystal football, money for your campaign (INAUDIBLE).

All right, the Keystone Pipeline could be on its way to being a reality. That's going to make a lot of people happy and a lot of people angry. But Nebraska holds the cards and tomorrow is 4-20. We read through the news to bring you a story from Colorado.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: The fate of the controversial Keystone Pipeline now lies in the hands of Nebraska. The government there will make a decision after TransCanada, which is the company that's going to be building the pipeline, proposed a new route late Wednesday. We told you about that last night, but here is a little bit more detail. The new proposal travels a little bit east of the original pipeline.

The president postponed making a decision on the 1700-mile pipeline last year due to environmental concerns. Abby Huntsman and Michael Waldman join me now -- Abby, the conservative commentator, also of course the daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Michael was the head speechwriter for President Clinton. All right good to have both of you with us and appreciate it.

So Michael, let me start with you, proposed new route. What does this do for the president? I mean there's been a lot of heat on him from some in his own party as well as in the other side. Now he can say well it's Nebraska's problem, right? So it's not -- don't get mad at me?

MICHAEL WALDMAN, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE, NYU: Right. I'm sure that as a political matter, this is a relief. It's not necessarily a plus but it takes away a minus. You know, they say that the decisions that get to the president's desk are the hard ones. If somebody else could have made it, it wouldn't get to the president's desk. This was one that pitted his union supporters and the desire for jobs with environmentalists who feel very strongly about both the risks of the pipeline but also the broader sense that this is a bad kind of oil to be burning. This shows some strength in that it's moved. It's environmentally better. It doesn't really address the broader environmental issues, but I think -- like I said, I'm sure in the White House they're viewing this as --

BURNETT: Thank God it's not us.

WALDMAN: Kicking the can down the road a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Or kick it out west.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: I think you're exactly right. But regardless, I mean as we move to the summer and the fall months, gas prices, oil prices are going to be if not the most important issue on voters' minds and I have to say he's been very timid when it comes to handling energy independence and the Keystone Pipeline and even if this is not his decision now, he needs to lead it. He needs to be the president and say look we need to speed this up. You know we need to get this going because we're still 60 percent dependent on foreign oil.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: And should he come out, Michael, and say something about look I'm glad this has changed and now go ahead --

WALDMAN: I think he can talk more broadly about energy independence and the environment and how to do it. This particular pipeline won't actually help energy independence all that much because the idea is the oil gets shipped from Canada through the United States, and then gets refined and shipped away out of the United States from Texas. So I think the argument here is not to my mind so much about energy independence, but about more broadly what are we going to do about the environment, what are we going to do about climate change, what are we going to do about energy. And as I say, this was not set up in a way that he wanted. I'm sure that there's some political prestidigitation here that's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

HUNTSMAN: There are other areas too that he could be looking at like we need to be talking to our neighbors like Mexico, like Canada. We need to be looking at other ways that we can become more energy dependent because that's the only way that we're going to have any control over the gas prices going forward.

BURNETT: I want to ask you all about what's happening in the vice presidential race. This is fun and I know we have a lot of time here left but there was just a very interesting what do you call it, faux pas (ph). Freudian slip may be more appropriate in what happened today. Florida Senator Marco Rubio of course says he doesn't want to be vice president now or ever. By the way, he said it months and months ago (INAUDIBLE) and so I thought maybe he meant it, but then he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Three, four, five, six seven years from now if I do a good job as vice president -- I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys all got that, right?

RUBIO: As a Senator --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all got --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALDMAN: That barely counts as a Freudian slip. I mean that's like --

(CROSSTALK)

WALDMAN: That's a bad first -- it's like a bad first date --

(CROSSTALK)

WALDMAN: It's like a bad first date like oh, god, that's one thing I'm not supposed to say and I just said it.

HUNTSMAN: It was great. It will give him press for the coming days, I'm sure. But I think he's made it very clear he's not interested in the job. So however, I think he would be a phenomenal pick. If you had to put you know a list of everything you would need for Romney, he's you know from a swing state. He's Hispanic. He's the Tea Party darling. But I still think he's not going to take it.

BURNETT: It's going to be interesting to see.

WALDMAN: With vice presidents you say no, no, no, until you say oh, OK.

BURNETT: That's right. That's right. (INAUDIBLE) the more you don't want it, the more people want you, right (INAUDIBLE).

HUNTSMAN: (INAUDIBLE) I would be surprised if he took it.

WALDMAN: (INAUDIBLE)

BURNETT: All right, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, sex offender questioned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Holbert (ph) was one of the last persons that had contact with Mrs. Bordeaux.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to find my sister. That's all I can do.

BURNETT: CU goes to pot.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's gotten out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel gross to be around that.

BURNETT: All this tonight, OUTFRONT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the OUTFRONT five.

And number one tonight: breaking news on two of the Secret Service agents who lost their jobs in the prostitution scandal in Colombia. There are names now. According to CBS News, David Chaney was the supervisor who was allowed to retire. Greg Stokes was the supervisory moved with cause. He was recently listed as the supervisor of the canine training section of the Secret Service. The third employee left the agency yesterday in connection with the scandal, has not been identified yet.

But more heads will roll. The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee tells CNN that more Secret Service agents could be resigning as early as tomorrow.

Number two: a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter crashed yesterday -- or today, I'm sorry, in southern Afghanistan. Four American crew members were on board, are believed to be dead, and the crash did occur in bad weather, but a U.S. official tells OUTFRONT they cannot rule out enemy action yet.

Troops at a combat outpost were waiting to be picked up when they witnessed the crash. No one on the ground was injured.

Number three: India says the first test of its longest range nuclear capable missile was a success. Now, this missile is dubbed the Agni-V. It has a range of 3,100 miles. That does mean it could hit major Chinese cities, including Beijing.

The Indian defense minister dubbed the launch an immaculate success. International reaction was muted. The Chinese government says the countries have a sound relationship. A U.S. State Department spokesman says India has a solid nonproliferation record. Interesting, though, when you look at who's getting nuclear weapons, they went out ahead and got one without anyone in the international community saying they could.

Number four: unemployment claims fell by 2,000 to 386,000. Despite the decline, it was a disappointing report. The Labor Department had to boost its previous number by 8,000. That is a pretty big increase on these weekly numbers, which puts a little concern about the jobs market.

Economists we spoke to are saying, look, let's wait and see. Something that the recent increase in claims could actually just be a seasonal anomaly and they think the underlying labor market continues to improve.

Well, it's been 259 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, jobs matters but so does housing. Existing home sales today fell in March, down 2.6 percent. It's a disappointing headline. If you look compared to a year ago, though, we did see an increase of 5.2 percent. We'll take that silver lining for the day.

Well, North Carolina police are questioning a registered sex offender in the disappearance of Kelli Bordeaux. Bordeaux is the 23- year-old combat medic stationed at Ft. Bragg. She went missing early Saturday morning after visiting a local bar. Authorities have interviewed the sex offender who drove Bordeaux home and he admits to doing so but says he didn't do anything to her.

Midwin Charles is a criminal defense attorney and she's OUTFRONT today.

So, Midwin, from what we understand as the case, sex offender, 25 years old, young man there. Is this -- he did drive her home.

MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He did. I think that the police are doing the right thing in starting with the last person who saw her alive. That is typical. It is standard procedure when you have a missing person.

But you know, Erin, when you listen to what her mother has to say and her sister, they have both said that this is really out of character for her to go AWOL, for her to be missing, for her to not show up to work. Let's just hope that she is found alive and well.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about whether you think this is fair to look at his past. I mean, the past of this individual, what did you say, he was 16 or 17 years old when he was convicted of assaulting a 5-year-old child.

CHARLES: Yes. Or having improper relations with a 5-year-old, which is why he's on the sex offender list and is a convicted person with that type of record. But, unfortunately, in this case, he was the last person seen with her. So it is reasonable for investigators to focus their attention on him. The fact that he has this criminal record I think kind of raises a red flag and kind of really wants to have the investigators focus on this guy.

BURNETT: So what about -- how far can they go in a situation where they don't know where she is? Obviously, we're hoping that she shows up, that she chose to leave for some reason. But if she doesn't and this didn't end that way, what can they do without finding her?

CHARLES: Their job. They really have to do a very good job of investigating the situation. Perhaps they can locate surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, in the bar. They could look at her cell phone records. I understand that there was some pinning they called it at a nearby tower.

So they have to do their jobs. They have to put on a very thorough and good investigation and hopefully they'll do that.

BURNETT: What can they do, though, in terms of moving the case forward or prosecuting if she doesn't show up and they don't have a body?

CHARLES: It's hard. I mean, they're going to need some strong evidence linking him to her in terms of her death. Let's assume there was a death or some sort of assault.

But without that, without any sort of forensic evidence or direct evidence, i.e. an eyewitness, I don't see how this guy could get arrested or charged with anything for that matter.

BURNETT: So they need --

CHARLES: They need more evidence. They need more evidence.

BURNETT: All right. Midwin, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time as we follow that awful story and hope that it has a happy ending.

We now go to Sanford, Florida, where a statewide task force has been convened to examine the controversial stand your ground law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

David Mattingly has been covering this story since the very beginning and joins us now.

David, good to see you.

Obviously, this task force -- tell me what you know about it, how it's different, what they're trying to accomplish with this thing.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the governor putting this task force together saying he wanted to do this after the special prosecutor was finished putting her case together and getting the Zimmerman case into court. So, now, the governor has come out. This is going to be headed up by the lieutenant governor. There are 17 people on it. The governor says that the makeup of this group is racially, regionally and professionally diverse, promising that they're going to be looking at data that's been collected by the state so they're going to make factual decisions about this law, trying to determine if it's being applied the way it was intended when it was passed years ago or if it's being abused.

So, there's a lot that this group is going to be able to do when they're looking at this data. But the public is also going to get a chance to weigh in with hearings. And then this committee is going to report back to the state legislature sometime early next year with their findings to determine if this law needs to be changed.

BURNETT: And, David, tomorrow, George Zimmerman going back to court for his bond hearing. Obviously, that is going to be a very big story. What do you anticipate? Is it possible that he could be allowed to go on bond?

MATTINGLY: Well, that's the big question, will George Zimmerman go free tomorrow? There's two things we're looking for. The prosecution is the one who has all the work to do tomorrow to prove that he has to -- that George Zimmerman has to stay behind bars. It's possible they could be showing us some evidence we haven't seen before, we don't know, but if they do that, that could be very interesting.

Also, if George Zimmerman is awarded a bond and is allowed to get out, we know that he's already indigent. If he does have a bond to make, who's going to pay for that? So another big question right here as we're just beginning with this legal process, as George Zimmerman goes through the judicial process, accused of second-degree murder in this case.

So again, so many questions right now. We're just waiting to see if he gets out and how he's going to pay for that bond if he does.

BURNETT: I'm curious, Midwin, I just want to bring Midwin back in because something David just said gave me a thought. If George Zimmerman was going to flee, you would have thought he would have done so before he was even taken into custody given what was happening.

CHARLES: You would think so, but this is when, remember, that erratic sort of haphazard press conference that his past attorneys put together and seemed to kind of indicate that their client had gone AWOL and couldn't be found and they were concerned about where he was. This is when this all comes to play.

And I think that, you know, the prosecutor can say, you know what, there is a reasonableness here as to the fact that he might not stay put. There was a point in time where even his own attorneys couldn't reach him. So I think there are some facts here that might help the prosecution in trying to prevent him from getting bond.

BURNETT: What do you think is the likely outcome, given we've talked a lot about this Judge Lester, that he's a very, very fact- oriented guy, and in fact some of his prior cases, someone who had schizophrenia killed their parents, he eventually let that person out of jail. He's very, very plays it down the center.

CHARLES: Right. Well, playing it down the center is great. That's what a judge should do. But second-degree murder is a very serious charge. The charge carries a prison fine of 25 years to life. So this is not stealing your neighbor's cat that we're talking about here.

So, I think it's unlikely he's going to get bond. I would be very surprised if he did.

BURNETT: And, David, let me ask you, you mentioned something else I thought was interesting, which is, is it possible there could be new evidence introduced tomorrow? What are the chances of that and how unusual would it be if that occurred?

MATTINGLY: Well, the burden is on the prosecution to prove to the judge that George Zimmerman has to stay behind bars. They have to prove he might be a flight risk. They have to prove he might be a danger to the community.

What we saw in the documents that have been filed so far for probable cause showed what we already knew and what we've already heard. They may have to come back with more information that we haven't seen so far to say that the judge -- this is the reason why George Zimmerman needs to stay behind bars.

So we're going to be watching very intently tomorrow to find out what the prosecution's plan is and what they plan to say to keep George Zimmerman right where he is right now.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much for David Mattingly, reporting there from Sanford.

And, Midwin, of course, you as well.

All right. The presidential election in France is on Sunday, but this is all about Twitter. That's right, or Twitter. I don't know, how do you say that word in another language?

And a break in the original milk carton missing child case. Police today could actually be close to solving a 33-year-old disappearance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We're back with the "Outer Circle" where we reach out to sources around the world.

And, tonight, we begin in France where the presidential race is in the final stretch. There's a big election on Sunday for who's going to rule the country. The current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, isn't alone in using social media, yes, Twitter, to reach voters.

The front runner Francois Hollande is running the most popular Twitter account in the country. Jim Bittermann is covering the elections from Paris and I asked him just a few moments ago about how the Internet is actually shaping the race for who will rule France.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, you could tell things were going to be different in this campaign because from the very beginning, President Sarkozy announced the fact that he was entering into the campaign with a tweet. He used his Twitter account to make that announcement.

This is a country where a third of the people are on Facebook, so it's a country very well tuned into the Internet and social media. And what has happened in the campaigns themselves, there are a number of people that are volunteers that use Twitter all the time to either do fact checking when candidates -- opposition candidates are on television and check out the facts that they're stating in their various messages and by the same token, they do cheerleading. They have the same banks of volunteers go out and cheer-lead for the candidate that they want with their twitter accounts -- Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It's incredible.

Well, now to Afghanistan where President Hamid Karzai has called for an accelerated transfer of power after photos surfaced showing American soldiers posing with body parts of suicide bombers. The U.S. is preparing for eventually withdrawal by trying to use tribal rivalries in the country to its advantage.

I asked Nick Paton Walsh in Kabul what the strategy is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, you heard today, President Karzai demand that America or NATO speed up the transfer of security to Afghan forces because of the fabrication of these photographs in "The Los Angeles Times." We've been to one village in the east called Marzak (ph) where the United States teamed up with villagers who were hostile to the insurgency, arming them, paying them to keep that area safe.

Now, it's worked for the past few months. The Taliban aren't in presence there and it has been relatively peaceful. But there are fears that this temporary measure may begin to fail if the insurgents during this fighting season choose to fight back into that particular area. If this local militia called the Afghan local police don't get on with the Afghan government that are supposed to be their masters and if U.S. troops aren't able to provide support because their numbers are increasingly dwindling out here in the east, Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh there, as we said, in Afghanistan.

Well, there's breaking news tonight, a possible break in one of the most high-profile unsolved missing cases in the United States. Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 on his way to the school, on his way to the school bus two blocks away from his home here in New York City. A new lead has investigators searching for his remains after cadaver dogs reportedly picked up a scent in the basement of a commercial building in Lower Manhattan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BROWNE, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: We're looking for human remains, clothing or other personal effects, of Etan Patz in trying to find out where he disappeared, why he disappeared and where.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: According to sources, today's search is focused on a handyman who reportedly gave Etan a dollar the day before he disappeared. The case raised national awareness when he came the first of hundreds of missing children to appear on the side of a milk carton.

Lisa Cohen is the author of "After Etan: A Missing Child's Case that's Held America Captive". And Marc Klaas is the founder of the Klaas Kids Foundation.

It's good to have you both with us.

Lisa, let me start with you. Obviously, you have lived and breathed this case for years and years. Are you surprised by what happened today? It's got to be amazing after all of this time that suddenly, there's a break in a 33-year-old case.

LISA COHEN, AUTHOR, "AFTER ETAN": Well, on the one hand, I am surprised because this is not a lead that goes anywhere near the direction that people have been following for the last several years. On the other hand, you know, it's been a 33-year roller coaster of twists and turns. Every time you think you understand this case, something happens that turns it on its head.

So in that sense I'm not surprised because this is happening this week and we won't know anything for a while about what will come of it. It's not clear that it is going to lead us anywhere.

BURNETT: All right. I mean, you and I were talking in the commercial break before just about sort of -- obviously we've heard of this thing before. But a cadaver dog picking up the scent of human remains 30 plus years after something happened is hard to imagine anyway. Obviously, it could be possible but.

Marc, one of the things that we've been hearing is that they're going to be searching handyman. The handyman, considered a friend of the family, they didn't search this man's home, though, I understand. And I know Lisa will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong. Before, originally, you know, more than 30 years ago, because the family said he was a friend. Is that usual, that it's usually friends and families don't realize they're protecting someone who could have been involved in the disappearance or assault of their child?

MARC KLAAS, FOUNDER, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Sure, Erin. First, I'd like to say that Lisa did write an excellent book on Etan. I've read it, it's really quite wonderful.

But statistics will always take you first to the family, then to friends of the family, then to peripheral contacts and then finally to strangers and/or the registered sex offenders in the community.

Unfortunately back in 1979, they didn't have those statistics and they didn't have that kind of knowledge. So, they quite possibly overlooked a very important potential lead in the case.

BURNETT: So they didn't have -- there was no registration then, Lisa. Is that a big part of this?

COHEN: Yes, that is one of the after effects of this case and a few high-profile cases that followed. But they did -- they searched the neighborhood. They knocked on doors. They went to people -- they opened people's closets and they did look in this basement.

But as I understand it, they didn't pull up the floor that had been laid down there, they didn't find anything when they saw what was in the basement the last -- when it happened right after it happened.

BURNETT: I know it's hard to say since we don't know if this is the case, but if it is the case and they do find the remains there, I find it hard to understand how they couldn't have found it then. Would it be an example of they were trying but messed up in that location and didn't do a good job?

COHEN: I couldn't begin to speculate. I don't know what they would find now they wouldn't have been able to find before.

BURNETT: Marc, when you -- go ahead, Marc.

KLAAS: Well, I was going to say, I mean, they just were not armed with good knowledge at that time.

BURNETT: Yes.

KLAAS: And what happened in that case is not uncommon. There was a case in Oregon just a few years ago where a couple of girls had disappeared. The son of serial murderer had just laid a new patio in his backyard but nobody paid attention to that for a couple of years and they finally found one of the girls' remains underneath.

So, it's hard to criticize law enforcement when they are really armed with bad information and don't really know a lot about these kinds of cases. We've learned an enormous amount since then.

BURNETT: So, Lisa, you've obviously done this, reported so much. I mean, where is his family now? There are reports that somebody may still be living there. I mean, what would they be going through right now?

COHEN: You know, I think it's very hard, but it's been hard for them all this time. And I also think that they have been through iterations of this for 33 years. I mean, they have gotten calls saying Etan is alive and living in a hippy commune. Etan is this woman's husband in Florida.

You know, they have heard so many different versions of this that I know that they're waiting. They're just waiting at this point.

BURNETT: Just can't -- I don't know -- hope certainly isn't the word to use, but some sort of knowing.

COHEN: Yes. And, you know, I've talked to them, I've talked to Stan often. Stan Patz is his father -- often enough to know he's been through this before, he's a very measured man and he also doesn't -- he understands that it's not going to end things to know what happened to Etan. It's not going to make the pain go away.

But, you know, he's been searching for answers all these years.

BURNETT: He would have been 39 years old.

Lisa, thank you very much. Marc, thanks to you.

And let's check in with Anderson.

Anderson, what's on "A.C. 360" tonight?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Erin, we're following more on this breaking story, the new details on potentially why authorities now swarmed that building in New York City today. It's incredible to think, I mean, I grew up in New York City, that after 33 years the parents of Etan Patz might be able to find out what happened to their little boy. We'll speak to two parents who know what the Patzes have been going through, Ed Smart and Erin Runnion.

Also breaking news in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman wanted to meet with the family of Trayvon Martin. We'll tell you whether they have accepted his offer. Zimmerman's attorney is going to ask for his client to be released on bail tomorrow. We'll speak live with one of the Martin family attorneys.

Those stories, and the "Ridiculist" and a whole lot more -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Anderson. Looking forward to that, coming up at the top of the hour.

But now we go to the University of Boulder -- Colorado in Boulder. Sorry, it's almost as if I was on some sort of a drug. The campus is all but shut down in preparation for tomorrow's annual 420 marijuana smoke out. The state has led the nation in legalizing pot, passing an amendment to make it OK to smoke medical marijuana.

But it looks like some in Colorado would like to see 420 snuffed out.

Jim Spellman is OUTFRONT with the latest.

I understand there's a little bit of a smell there?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. Listen, this is the closest thing stoners have to a holiday. Imagine this as stoners New Year's Eve and this is their Times Square. C.U. Boulder at the Norlin Quad.

Officials here, they say enough. Every year, they get about 12,000 people coming here, lighting up right in the middle of campus. This year, they're saying, enough, we want to squash this. We're going to close the campus to outsiders and do everything we can to make this quad that's become ground zero for these marijuana enthusiasts as inhospitable as possible.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPELLMAN: Now, I understand that to make this beautiful quad little less hospitable, you're going to put down some fertilizer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. We've got some fish emulsifier that seeps into the turf and provides nutrients. It's made of deep sea fish that feed on plankton and it's very smelly.

SPELLMAN: It sounds smelly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very smelly. Yes.

SPELLMAN: You're going to have to really come and smoke marijuana on the quad to put up with barriers, police restrictions and smelly fish fertilizer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, know, what we're trying to do is create a disincentive for people to keep coming here for 4/20. This is not a place that's appropriate venue for 4/20, as we've discussed. So, yes, we're not trying to make it easy for people, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPELLMAN: So, Erin, there's a lot of mixed reaction here. Some people are really sad that they won't have their big celebration here. There's actually a group in court right now fighting the school's decision to close the campus.

They also have a thing called take back 4/20. Some people trying to do this right off of campus, still do their smoking.

But other people are really happy that this isn't happening here. A Facebook group popped up called Stay Classy, C.U. They aim to wear suits and ties and come out to show that everybody here is not a stoner. A lot of people are also here about a serious education.

So a lot of division here. But one thing we know is it's not going to be the usual 4/20 tomorrow, Erin.

BURNETT: That's kind of a tragedy for a whole lot of people for sure. All right. Thanks so much to you, Jim Spellman.

All right. Still OUTFRONT, how many mistresses are too many? Really?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: I saw this headline on page 27 of the "New York Post" today. "Toxic temptress hubby has 100 lovers."

That's a pretty crazy headline and, of course, I had to read this story. I thought it would just be one of those sensational stories. But then as I read the article, I realized it was the latest development in a very serious story we've been following for weeks -- a story of corruption, murder, business deals and the downfall of a Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

Now, the 100-mistress number comes from a respected Chinese journalist named Xian Weping (ph). We reached out to him to confirm it and he told us it was a conservative estimate and that Bo Xilai could have been keeping a lot more women.

That's a pretty shocking number but it's not exclusive to him. The keeping of a mistress is a male status symbol in China apparently. There's even a term for it, "er nai."

I woke up one morning in Hong Kong to see a whole article targeted at er nais, telling them what Armani and Gucci bags to buy with their lovers' money. In exchange for the cash and gifts they are expected to provide, of course, sex. Luxury goods and mobile phone companies, even banks market directly to the er nai.

Well, the past few weeks we've said China's economic success is great but corruption is holding the country back. At least it looks like having hundreds of mistresses is still over the line.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.