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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Formerly Homeless Youtube Star Ted Williams on Journey Back to Fame; New Information in Trayvon Martin Case; Edwards Corruption Trial; Jane Lynch's Life and Loves
Aired May 15, 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, how the mighty have fallen. John Edwards' corruption trial. Can his daughter save him the former presidential candidate from a prison seasons? I'll ask the always fiery Dan Abrams and Gloria Allred.
Plus a primetime exclusive. Jane Lynch gets personal.
JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS: I have a really strong life. And we have a child. And if we're going to enter into this with a child, I want a piece of paper.
MORGAN: The star of "Glee" opens up on her real life and loves and reveals Sue Sylvester's secrets.
LYNCH: Sometimes I'm not in the script and I'm bereft.
MORGAN: And the man with a golden voice. Remember him? Ted Williams, from radio star to homeless crack addict, and back.
TED WILLIAMS, FORMER RADIO STAR: People would remember me from those great days in radio and they'd be like, what happened, man? You know? And I would always say smoke damage.
MORGAN: An inspiring story of how he got clean and sober all over again.
Plus "Only in America." Trading a mop and pail for a cap and gown.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We'll get to the big John Edwards story in just a moment. But I'll start with another big story. Dan Abrams is here with more on the news that ABC broke this evening. Dramatic new developments in the Trayvon Martin case. Information that could, I repeat could, support George Zimmerman's claims of injuries he received on the night.
Dan Abrams is here.
Dan, tell me about this quite dramatic new evidence ABC's unearthed. Tell me about it.
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. ABC's Matt Gutman has seen the medical records now of George Zimmerman's own doctor. And the doctor's records indicate that George Zimmerman appeared to have a broken nose, had lacerations on his head. Just as many of his supporters have been alleging now for many months.
The problem, of course, for George Zimmerman is this doesn't necessarily clear him. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to win. Because the question still remains who started the altercation?
MORGAN: Yes. Isn't that the key question?
ABRAMS: It's absolutely the key. You can't start a fight, start losing the fight, and then use deadly force. That's not the way it works.
MORGAN: When did this doctor -- it's George Zimmerman's own doctor.
ABRAMS: That's right.
MORGAN: So he knew him.
MORGAN: When do we think he treated him?
ABRAMS: It was -- this record is from the next morning. So it appears this is very shortly thereafter. The doctor in the records talks about the possibility that there'll black eyes because of the injuries, et cetera. So it seems that according to this doctor, there clearly were injuries that George Zimmerman endured. But, again, I think that there's still a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered in connection with this case.
MORGAN: There certainly are, but it's certainly a fascinating development on that. I'm sure there'll be others.
Now I want to get to our other big story, the corruption trial against John Edwards. Now today the explosive and emotional testimony, the defense could rest as early as tomorrow. The former presidential candidate is accused of using campaign money to hide his mistress and their daughter.
CNN's Joe Johns joins us now from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Joe, bring me up to speed on exactly where we are right now.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you would call this follow the money day, if anything, Piers. This was a day where they put an FBI agent on the stand, the defense did. And he really just sort of tracked that $1 million in hush money that went ostensibly to cover up this affair.
What we found was a lot more of that money ended up going to the handlers of the mistress as opposed to the mistress herself. But the real action probably was behind the scenes. And the talk by the defense that they might throw in the kitchen sink at the end of the trial, put John Edwards himself on the stand. Even possibly the mistress Rielle Hunter, though we think that's a lot less likely. At the end of the day it keeps the prosecution guessing and it leaves us speculating as whether there's some disagreement on the defense team about whether it'd be a good idea to put John Edwards on the stand for just -- sort of shut this thing down and let it go away -- Piers.
MORGAN: And what about his daughter Cate? There is a growing sense that she may testify tomorrow. Is that likely, do we think?
JOHNS: We do think that's likely. And for a couple of reasons. First, she could certainly humanize John Edwards. He's really had his reputation taken through the mud during the prosecution case. There's also the substantive piece of that. She could testify about what her late mother was saying about this relationship. Whether her late mother was the one who was very concerned about keeping so much information about the affair from moving from the tabloids into the mainstream media as has been suggested by some others.
Because at the end of the day, that takes you to the question of whether the intent was with John Edwards to try to maintain his political career or Elizabeth Edwards' intent was to protect her family.
MORGAN: It certainly does. Joe Johns, fascinating. It's going to be a gripping day tomorrow in that case whatever happens. Thanks for joining me.
Joining me now is victims rights attorney Gloria Allred and still with me, ABC News legal analyst, Dan Abrams.
Dan, let me start with you. What is your reaction to this whole case now given everywhere we've gone with it? Tomorrow obviously may be the day the defense rests. Is it likely they're going to chuck a hail Mary pass?
ABRAMS: There's no way.
MORGAN: Bringing in John Edwards --
ABRAMS: No way. No way. They can't do it. The defense here is that, in effect, John Edwards is a scoundrel and a liar, but he's not a criminal. The notion that they're going to call that scoundrel and liar to the witness stand to try to convince the jurors of something to me seems to be beyond a long shot.
It's interesting because many of the facts in this case aren't in dispute. Both sides seem to agree about where the money went, that it didn't go through the campaign coffers, who got it, who were the middle people, et cetera. The ultimate question in this case is getting into John Edwards' head.
MORGAN: Gloria, if you are prosecuting this, given everything you've seen to date, would you be pretty confident of a conviction now?
GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I would always appear confident whether or not I was confident. Obviously there is room for doubt. There are substantial questions that are raised. The issue is what did he know and when did he know it. Did he know there was a scheme? Did he know that he was violating the law?
I agree with Dan. I think it's highly unlikely that he's going to testify. I think it's highly unlikely also that Rielle Hunter will testify. But I do think it will be a smart move to call his daughter Cate. And she has strong bonds and strong feelings about her dad as she did also for her mom.
MORGAN: And the reason to do that is to try and humanize John Edwards, presumably, who has taken a hell of a shellacking in the media and amongst public opinion, getting his daughter on the stand, perhaps getting emotional, supporting the father who we know indisputably was a liar and a cheat, but may not have been a crook, could be fundamental to swaying opinion of that.
ALLRED: I do think that that would be important. But she also may have been privy to some conversations that she will testify to. But also, it may be that she's going to be able to get in. That John Edwards was there for her mother as her mother was dying. And that they are a family. There's still two young children at home, 14 and I think 12. And you know this would -- she won't say it, but it would be clear if he went to prison, it'd be leaving these two young children without either parent to care for them.
MORGAN: Yes, Dan?
ABRAMS: Kind of a no lose situation for the defense to be able to call Cate Edwards. As long as they can demonstration that there's a reason to call her, meaning she heard some conversations, she knows something she can only help here.
When you ask most legal analysts about this case, they don't know what to tell you about the outcome, about which way the jury is going to go. Because it is a kind of complicated question as to, will they be able to demonstrate what was in Edwards' head when most of the facts are not in dispute?
MORGAN: I mean, Gloria, the stakes are very high here. John Edwards faces six criminal charges. If he's convicted on all six, he could get up to 30 years in prison and a very heavy fine, which is kind of inconsequential, I would imagine, to him. It's the prison sentence. This is a man who was potentially going to be president, now facing a very lengthy, possibly life-ending prison sentence. This couldn't be a higher stakes for John Edwards, could it?
ALLRED: Couldn't be higher stakes unless of course the death penalty were involved which of course it's not involved in this case. But -- I mean he's been humiliated, he's been embarrassed. But the question is, did he violate the law? And that really is a significant question.
It's interesting that the judge didn't think it was a complicated issue of law, although the defense argues with that and argued that it would be reversible for the expert not to have been able to give all of the testimony about the law and the fact that the FEC did not find it was a campaign contribution. And that in fact there are other cases in which they also found that a payment to a mistress was not a campaign contribution. So it's going to be interesting. He does have a lot at stake and that's why we're all watching it.
ABRAMS: Bottom line, this is a really unusual use of the law. It's almost never been used in this way as it's being used against John Edwards. And so --
MORGAN: Hence the unpredictability of that --
ABRAMS: That's right. And hence, in a way, John Edwards' best argument is, I never should have been prosecuted at all. But once it gets into the jury's hands, that's why it's tough to know. Because once you start saying that private donations can be considered campaign contributions, even if they didn't go through the John Edwards for President fund, where does the line get drawn?
ABRAMS: When do you start -- when do you stop that process? So this is what makes this such a tough case, such a unique case, and I think so frustrating to the Edwards defense team.
MORGAN: And Gloria, in terms of John Edwards himself and how he's come over just by his presence in court, there's always been a sense of him appearing to be quite an arrogant man. They clearly would have read all the headlines before regardless of whatever they may say, they have an impression of him. How will that count against him? I mean, you know juries better than most people. Do they get swayed heavily by a man's demeanor?
ALLRED: I think absolutely. Jurors watch every movement of a defendant while he is in court. They even look at what he's wearing as well as what the attorneys are wearing. And is he smiling? Is he appropriate in his demeanor as witnesses are testifying? Is he making notes? Is he not making notes?
They look at everything. And who he's relating to. Sometimes it's important to them as well. So I know that he, as an experienced trial attorney, is aware of what jurors may be thinking. And even if they -- should not be taking certain things into account, they will be. And so that's always going to be a factor as far as John Edwards is concerned.
ABRAMS: And he probably -- he probably wants to testify, too.
ABRAMS: He probably -- as an experienced trial lawyer the way he is, you can imagine that he's thinking to himself I've got to get up there and tell them the story myself. But he's also got to know how dangerous that would be and all the reasons why it doesn't make sense for him to do it.
MORGAN: Well, they may even, as we speak, be locked in a room deciding whether to --
ABRAMS: I don't believe that. I think if they're locked in a room, they're locking it -- they've locked John Edwards in a room and told him you cannot testify, you cannot leave. We will not let you out. Because if you're his lawyer, you lock him -- if he's insisting on testifying, lock him up in that room. Don't let him out. Do not let him testify. In my view.
MORGAN: It's going to be a fascinating day.
ALLRED: I agree. I'm sure that -- yes, I'm sure that Abby Lowell knows better than to let John Edwards testify.
MORGAN: Yes. Keep John Edwards quiet, seems to be the order of the day.
Gloria, Dan, thank you both very much. It's going to be a gripping day tomorrow.
Next, I don't know what you know about Jane Lynch or what you think you know about her. I discovered quite a lot that I find pretty surprising.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS: When I was a little girl, I developed early. By the time I was 14 I had this body you're looking at. Can you imagine that?
STEVE CARELL, COMEDIAN: I don't want to, no.
LYNCH: Well, needless to say, lot of male attention.
CARELL: Like that. Yes.
LYNCH: Especially from our Guatemalan gardener, Javier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jane Lynch stealing the show in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and as all America knows she's also the hilarious Sue Sylvester in "Glee." But if that's all you know about her then you need to watch this interview, because I'm going to get the real secrets out of Jane Lynch because she's got a book out, it's a paperback version of the other great (INAUDIBLE) I read, it's called "Happy Accidents."
The reason I say that is that you're now in the right chair, Jane.
MORGAN: Because we invited you against all my better judgment to come and replace me in a week off I had earlier and you were waringly good. So I needed to send you straight back.
LYNCH: Well, I'm in my place.
MORGAN: Where you belong to the guest chair.
LYNCH: I'm in the -- yes. Indeed. And thank you very having me.
LYNCH: I so appreciate it.
MORGAN: My staff said you behaved like an impossible diva.
MORGAN: Nightmare from start to finish.
MORGAN: Ring familiar?
LYNCH: It's my style, yes. It is. And thank you for matching your tie to my book.
MORGAN: Well, I thought so. I thought it was going to be a purple gleeful fest.
MORGAN: And I thought they're actually -- our set is kind of gleeful.
LYNCH: Yes, it is. A lot of the primary colors. I love your set. I think it's the best talk show set on television.
MORGAN: I like that. Is that a compliment?
LYNCH: It is a compliment, yes.
MORGAN: Doesn't mean I'm any good, it just means the set is wonderful.
LYNCH: No, I think you're very good.
MORGAN: Tell me about the big story at the moment that's very relevant to your life, I think. The whole issue about gay marriage.
MORGAN: President Obama last week finally coming out to endorse same- sex marriage. Almost as significantly I felt today Jay-Z has come out and done the same thing. To an audience that perhaps wouldn't be overly receptive to that, his fan base. What do you think of what's going on with this whole issue right now?
LYNCH: Well, this is the first time I've taken it personally. I have -- I kind of view it as the issue. And when my president stood up and said that he believes that I and my family should have the same rights, it blew me away.
MORGAN: Where were you when you knew he'd done it?
LYNCH: I was in the car and Laura, my wife, texted me. She said he did it. He supported gay marriage. And I said, wow. It was pretty immediate then it was -- it was a visceral thing. And --
LYNCH: Yes, it was very emotional. It was an emotional moment. Like I said before I hadn't taken it so personally but this was -- you know, nothing's going to happen because he said this, really. I mean most politics are calculus anyway. But just the fact that he said it and there was a risk in his saying it and -- I don't know. It's just -- it's just nice to hear that the guy who's sitting in the big chair in the big White House believes -- supports me and my family.
MORGAN: There are various critics of this. There are the -- let's be honest, the homophobes out there who just don't want under any circumstances they're bigoted in the way they talk about it. Then there are the critics that I have sympathy with. You know I was born a Catholic like you. I understand people who have strong religious beliefs and have been taught a certain way about their religious beliefs, that they feel uneasy.
And the president himself said he'd been on a bit of a journey about this. What do you say? As somebody who came from a Catholic family -- we'll get to your own experience. But what do you say to the people who aren't bigots but who have simply been brought up to believe in a religious matter this is fundamentally not what the bible says is right?
LYNCH: Well, I don't -- I personally don't look to the bible as an authority document. It's a flawed document and it's also an inspired beautiful document. I think that if your dogma, and I call it dogma if it's getting in the way of the golden rule, which is to others as you would like to be treated. And I think that when you get to know more gay people and you're sitting in the presence of them and you realize there's really -- if there's anything wrong with me, it has nothing to do with my orientation.
LYNCH: I have a lot of flaws but being gay isn't one of them. It isn't a flaw. It's just --
MORGAN: How much of bigotry -- how much of bigotry is basically ignorance, do you think? LYNCH: Well, there's a lot of smart people who are bigoted. But you can be really smart and ignorant in some areas and you know, I think that when you hang on to, like, a religious belief or a dogma, and you start dividing people and separating people because of that dogma, I think it's just a waste of time. And it doesn't help anybody.
MORGAN: A lot of people said, why does it matter so much to you to have the same rights with marriage as a straight couple? What would you say to people who say that?
LYNCH: Well, why shouldn't I, is I would ask the question back to them and say, why should I be different? I used to not care about marriage until I fell in love and wanted to get married. I used to say, oh, that's for straight people. And also, I had -- I had my own internal -- internalized homophobia, which said that, you know, like that's for -- that's for the straight people, it's not for the likes of me.
And I have a really strong wife who says, no, it's for us, too. And we have a child. And if we're going to enter into this with a child, I want a piece of paper. And I -- that made sense to me.
MORGAN: In the book, you've talked very movingly about your life. I was fascinated by it, because one of the arguments I've had repeatedly about this issue -- we've discussed it a lot on the show -- and I have strong feelings about it, very in line with what you've been saying, was I accept there are various levels of tolerance I have for the critics and for the reasons I might discuss with you.
MORGAN: I think that what was fascinating to me was you were about 12 years old when you began to realize that you were different and that you were probably gay. Tell me about that emotional experience for a young woman at that age, a young girl, really.
LYNCH: The first time I heard the word gay and what it meant, were -- two of my friends, they were twins, and they were talking about how they go to South Florida and sometimes guys walk on the beach holding hands and they're gay. She said they're gay together.
And I -- immediately my stomach dropped. And I thought to myself, I have that. I have the girl version of that. And I felt like I was, you know, given the diagnosis of a disease. And then I go on to find that, indeed, in psychiatric manuals, it -- at that time, it was considered a mental and emotional affliction. And, you know, that made me feel different, broken. I didn't know anybody --
MORGAN: Like you were sick?
LYNCH: Yes, like I was sick. And I couldn't tell anybody, either, because there was so much shame around it. I didn't know anybody else who was gay -- this is all through high school, too, and I'm sure at my high school there's a lot of people who were gay but, you know, nobody talked about it. And no one would admit to it. So I -- you know, I felt completely alone in it. So I really understand kids who don't live in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York, who feel so alone and in their own shame and can't say anything about it. I really feel for them.
MORGAN: And the moment that it all came to you with your parents --
MORGAN: -- you were in your early 20s?
MORGAN: Your 30s?
LYNCH: I was in my 32 when I sent my parents a letter.
MORGAN: So you've waited a long time?
LYNCH: I waited a long time, yes.
MORGAN: Did they know?
LYNCH: No. Well, here's the deal. My mom said that -- when I sent the letter, my mom read it out loud to my dad. And my dad and said Janie's gay. And he said, is that bad? And she said, well, of course not. And then -- my parents were very, very close and they loved each other very much. And they never talked about this, but they both said, later on, you know, after the smoke cleared, that they both suspected, but they never talked about it.
They were afraid for me. They were afraid for the choices I would have, the life I would have to live and, you know, one of the things I say in the book is that be -- living a normal life was like up there with, you know, food and shelter for my mother. I mean you want to live a normal -- a normal life like when I found out I was deaf in one ear and I heard a whispering to the doctor, will she lead a normal life? And -- so I always had that in my mind. And I think they're worried about it.
MORGAN: Because like it's the one thing that parents of that generation would instinctively worry about is well, my daughter can never get married or have children.
LYNCH: Or have children, right.
MORGAN: You now have both?
LYNCH: I have both, yes.
MORGAN: So that is another great reason, I believe, this debate is so important.
MORGAN: It removes that fear.
LYNCH: Right. MORGAN: From parents' lives.
MORGAN: They don't have to concern themselves about their child forever being deprived.
MORGAN: Of what they see as a natural state of affairs.
LYNCH: Exactly. But the only -- who wants their kid to grow up in a world where they are not accepted for who they are? And that's a horrible thing to be worried about for your kids. And I think that that was the biggest thing for my parents, you know, was -- was when they finally realized that they were afraid for me.
But at this point, I was 32 years old and I was living a wonderful life. And I had a nice little career going. So they so worried about it. But had it come out when I was 18, a different story.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and talk directly obviously --
LYNCH: I hope so.
MORGAN: -- about the best TV show which is only one of my all-time favorite movies.
MORGAN: I loved that, though.
LYNCH: Oh good.
MORGAN: It just just brilliantly done.
LYNCH: Yes, dark. Good. All you saw are the darks.
MORGAN: My god.
LYNCH: You got the underjohns.
MORGAN: Love the dark side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNCH: Becky, commercials aren't; real life. Advertisers are manipulative alcoholic who use images to play in on our emotions. Haven't you seen "Man Med"?
LAUREN POTTER, "BECKY JACKSON", GLEE: No.
LYNCH: Neither have I. Becky, let's be realistic. You just didn't have the books. For starters your poster send a bit of a mixed message.
POTTER: But my paintbrush (INAUDIBLE), Coach.
LYNCH: And second, and I mean this as a compliment. You're a bitch, Becky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jane Lynch in her Emmy and Golden Globe-winning role on "Glee." You've got the best lines on television.
LYNCH: Thank you. I am so lucky.
MORGAN: I mean seriously, you lucked out with this role.
LYNCH: Ian Brennan, thank you so much. Ryan Murphy, thank you so much.
MORGAN: Just brilliant lines. That was a classic.
LYNCH: Yes. Good stuff.
MORGAN: So you laugh at the role?
LYNCH: I do. I adore it. I love getting the script every week. Sometimes I'm not in the script and I'm, bereft.
LYNCH: I love it. I adore it. And Ian Brennan is just the best writer in the world.
MORGAN: Now, many Americans look at you and they think of "Glee." I look at you and I think "Best in Show." Which is one of my top four movies ever.
MORGAN: I've told you in the break about my others. But I often watch "Best in Show" just to make myself laugh. It brings a -- because it's a sort of dark comedy --
MORGAN: It's weird. It's hilarious. But it's just a great movie, isn't it?
LYNCH: Yes. Oh, I think it is. It's really -- it's a well made comedy. And it's spontaneous. You know, we don't have any script. I think he -- Christopher Guest just hit on it with the -- with his formula. I think it all just really came together in that movie.
MORGAN: How -- do you think, looking back, how lucky were you that fame came to you quite late?
LYNCH: Late, yes. I mean -- (CROSSTALK)
MORGAN: Because I was -- the problem with fame is that when it hits you at 21. And you certainly have all the money you made.
MORGAN: All the drugs available, all the booze, all the rest of it, and you're only 21.
MORGAN: Very different if you --
LYNCH: When you have all the drugs you want when you're 51? Yes.
MORGAN: Well, I know you went through a few but not --
LYNCH: No, no.
MORGAN: And I think there is a difference.
LYNCH: Yes. There sure is.
MORGAN: Well, what do you think?
LYNCH: If I had gotten famous at 21 or 31, even -- I guess I was starting to get famous at 41 -- I would have been blown by this winds of public opinion. If Twitter and Facebook and the Internet were around, I would probably be scouring it for people's opinions about me. And I would be lifted when they love me and I would be absolutely destroyed if they didn't love me.
And you know, that doesn't happen for me now.
MORGAN: Do you not read any of that stuff?
LYNCH: Every once in awhile -- every once in a while I'll look at it. But I'm not affected by it. But, yeah, I kind of know who I am at the end of the day. I think when I was younger, I did not.
MORGAN: You have been sober how long now?
LYNCH: Twenty years.
MORGAN: Do you ever miss it?
LYNCH: Not at all.
MORGAN: -- partying, drinking?
LYNCH: No. I didn't like partying when I was partying. I'm not a party person, but I was a drinking person. I liked that one on one in a tavern. I'm from the south side of Chicago and I loved going to the neighborhood tavern and getting loaded.
MORGAN: You addicted, you said. It was more you just felt you were drinking too much.
LYNCH: I was addicted. No, I was addicted. I'm still addicted. I'm drinking coffee right now. I drink coffee all day long. I'm an addictive person. I know that about myself. And that's why I can't have a glass of wine. And that's why I can't pick up a cigarette. And every once in awhile I do, and I'm always sorry, because it kind of wakes up the monster.
MORGAN: Is it incredibly hard? Is it a constant battle?
LYNCH: No, not at all. I've been sober now longer than I drank. It's a habit. It's a habit. Just like drinking was a habit, being sober is a habit. I love being sober. I had debilitating hangovers. And I remember that. We had a part at our house on Saturday and we had a bartender. And he made these kick butt drinks and everybody got loaded. And everybody had horrible hangovers the next day. And I was like I remember that.
I completely remember being poisoned from booze. And I don't need that anymore. But it's not hard, no, not at all.
MORGAN: What do you think of fame?
LYNCH: What do I think of fame? That's a very good question and it's a big question. But I'll try to answer it very simply. I think that people project things on to other people. Sometimes it makes them feel good to do that. And sometimes it makes them feel bad, and so they want to knock you down.
So I take fame with a grain of salt. I love it when people come up to me because they love the show. They love "Glee." I love it when it makes a 14-year-old girl feel really good about herself or a gay kid in Idaho feel really good about himself.
MORGAN: Does all this make up for the loss of anonymity?
LYNCH: You know, I'm still pretty anonymous. I mean, I -- when I walk into a restaurant, people will know who I am. But I don't have that stalking thing that a lot of celebrities have. I live pretty nicely. I still go out and do my errands. I'm not that famous.
MORGAN: You're keen on your politics. There's an election coming.
MORGAN: What is your view of the way the battle has been fought so far?
LYNCH: It's just such a shame we have this super PAC thing, I could almost cry. It was an awful, awful decision by the Supreme Court.
MORGAN: Were you disappointed in President Obama, having said he was totally against it then --
LYNCH: He has to play the game.
MORGAN: Does he have to?
LYNCH: Yes. He does. He does.
MORGAN: I'm not convinced.
LYNCH: You're not convinced. Tell me why.
MORGAN: I just wonder if President Obama stood back and said, I'm not playing this game -- you can spend hundreds of millions -- billions if you want, chucking nonsense at me on television. I'm telling the American people, I will not play that game. I think he would get a lot of respect for that.
LYNCH: I think he's maybe the one politician in history who may have the power to do that. I guess I just don't have as much faith in the electorate to not buy into the terrible ads that would be run.
MORGAN: Scale of one to 100, how has he done, do you think, if you were being his teacher?
MORGAN: I my goodness. I don't know to grade him. I've not sat in the Oval Office. I do not know what he has to deal with on a daily basis. I will say this. I think he's wicked smart. I think he's sane. And I think he definitely wants what's best for the country.
I think he probably makes mistakes. So -- and I know he's done some great things. I have great faith in him. But I think our system is deeply flawed and deeply broken. You know, he's kind of presiding over a sad state of affairs, I guess.
MORGAN: Terribly depressing way to end an interview with somebody from "Glee." But you know what, I think it works. It's been lovely to meet you. And come back here and sit in this chair again soon.
LYNCH: I would love to.
MORGAN: Everybody -- my staff absolutely loved you. I preferred was the word some of them used. So it was delightful to have you. And thank you for doing that. Lovely to meet you.
LYNCH: Lovely to meet you.
MORGAN: Jane Lynch. Coming up, my prime time exclusive with the man with the golden voice, Ted Williams. His darkest days as a homeless crack addict and how he got a second voice. It's an extraordinary interview.
MORGAN: From a street corner to a Youtube superstar, Ted Williams went from homeless to a household name all because of that incredible voice of his. He is now an author of the appropriately named title, "A Golden Voice."
Ted Williams is here with me for a prime time exclusive. Ted, welcome.
TED WILLIAMS, AUTHOR, "A GOLDEN VOICE": Thank you so much for having me, Mr. Morgan.
MORGAN: Do you feel slightly surreal that your life has brought you now to a show like this? CNN, prime time talking about your life, given where you've come from?
WILLIAMS: I think the overwhelming part of it all has kind of lessened, but yes it does just feel like my God, when it is going to ever stop. I just feel so grateful.
MORGAN: You feel like you got a second chance.
WILLIAMS: Yes, a second chance is definitely what I've gotten.
MORGAN: You've written this book, "A Golden Voice." an obvious title. It's what everybody knows you as, the golden voice from Youtube. I remember when I first heard that. We're going to come to the video a bit later, because you have I think mixed feelings about it when you watch it yourself.
But I want to sort of set the scene really for what happened before that. Because your life for a long time was pretty good. You know, you grew up in New York. You were born in Brooklyn, happy childhood. You spent three years in the U.S. Army.
MORGAN: You went to school for acting, voice acting. You fell in love with broadcasting. You eventually got a job in radio. You worked your way up to be the number one DJ in Columbus, Ohio. You become a husband and a father. Everything's good. Then it all goes horribly wrong. Why?
WILLIAMS: I would like to say I didn't have God in my life. I didn't take him with my anymore. I knew he blessed me with the golden voice, but I didn't appreciate it as a God given gift. So I just took everything for granted. I thought I had it coming to me, you know, the success and everything. I just didn't take it seriously enough.
I didn't -- I lost the -- I lost hope. Really I did at that point.
MORGAN: What was the trigger for the downward spiral? When did it start going wrong for you?
WILLIAMS: Well, I had taken on another relationship with someone else. And I had more children while still married to my first wife, you know. And I had children. So that was the turning point. I just left one woman holding the bag, so to speak, with other children, and then took on another life and had some more children.
MORGAN: And what? That created just a sort of -- an unbearable pressure, if you like?
WILLIAMS: More or less, yeah. I was looking how can -- people were coming to me from time to time, Ted, how could you leave this situation and take on another situation? You hadn't even resolved this situation. Then people just didn't look at me in a very respectful manner. You know, like oh, he's just a playboy now. Taking the family aspect of it all out.
MORGAN: You got into drugs. What was the first time for you?
WILLIAMS: In 1988, as a congratulatory offer, some friends of mine congratulated me for having my first son. I had four daughters previously. And as being a father of a newborn boy, that was kind of a happy moment. But it was laced with crack cocaine.
They referred to them as primos. Reefer, marijuana and crack equals primo. And I kind of liked it. You know, it seemed like it could be recreational. I didn't think I was that weak of a person that could fall victim to such an intense addiction.
MORGAN: It became that quite quickly.
WILLIAMS: Yes, it did. Very much so. I no longer cared about my career or anything.
MORGAN: It ruined your career.
MORGAN: It ruined your relationship with the woman you were with.
MORGAN: You'd already ruined the marriage that was already there, but hadn't been formally ended. And you end up homeless.
MORGAN: The first time that you began to walk the streets as a homeless man --
WILLIAMS: In 1993.
MORGAN: Right. For somebody that had been to such heights, how did that feel? It must be such a degrading experience.
WILLIAMS: It was terrible. I would go into shelters or various food lines, food kitchens, so to speak, and people would remember me from those great days in radio. And it would be like what happened, man? And I would always say smoke damage.
MORGAN: Broke your mother's heart. You tell the story in the book. She sends you money to go to your father's funeral and you spend it on drugs and don't go.
WILLIAMS: Yeah. MORGAN: When you look back on that, was that the lowest points, do you think?
WILLIAMS: It's one of the low points, but I guess the one that sticks out the most was when I was getting ready to feed my kids after three weeks of them not having a balanced home cooked meal. We had just gotten our Food Stamps. And we went to the grocery stores to buy the kids -- and the kids sat in the cart and they were so happy to get this food.
And they're watching all of the various items we were putting in. They were even picking items. My son grabbed some grapes. And so on our way back to the house to go unpack the grapes and everything, my son was eating them liberally, because he was happy to get these grapes. He hadn't seen grapes for awhile.
And on my way in the door, I ran into a dope dealer who said, hey man, I got some of that heart white. I did that little craving issue and all. I went back into the house and repacked all the groceries to put them back in the bag to take them back to the store.
And as my son's seeing us take these items back, he's stuffing his mouth full of grapes like they're not going to get these few that -- and we took the food back and got the dope. Needless to say, they ate a baloney sandwich. Out of 160 some dollars worth of food we had just -- that has got to be the lowest.
MORGAN: It's a pathetic tail. Yet what's fascinating about you, Ted -- and I think it's one of the reasons why the video resonated with so many people, is I guess people have a view of a conventional homeless person. They're not like you. You know? They're not as articulate, perhaps, well educated. They haven't been as successful normally.
I don't want to generalize too much. But you certainly -- you don't fit the bill of a classic homeless person. If I say that, am I wrong? The people that you met on the streets, did you meet other people with similar stories to you?
WILLIAMS: Oh yes, sure.
MORGAN: Does it know any class, homelessness?
WILLIAMS: None whatsoever, none whatsoever. I would say, with the housing market the way it is today, somebody's just a step away from being in that position. Yes. There were a lot of people, very talented, very gifted. But the acknowledgment of God along with that, you kind of lose a sense of spirituality when you're in that situation, because you don't believe that you can pray your way out of that.
You know, you just lose the whole concept of God and his miracle.
MORGAN: Many would argue -- you had how many children through this?
WILLIAMS: Nine, seven girls and two boys.
MORGAN: Right. Many would argue that the path you chose was incredibly selfish. Would you agree with that?
WILLIAMS: At times, yes, sir. You know, I didn't think about it then, but I look back now, yes, I was very selfish. I just felt that since I wasn't able to be the father that they had wanted or dreamed of having, or like their friends in school had or whatever, that, you know, I might as well just turn it over, let God take care of it, let the mothers take care of it.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. When we come back, I want to play in with the video that captured everybody's imagination and their hearts, and talk about how your life has been since that exploded onto the Internet around the world.
WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we are going to make your work for your dollar. Say something with that great radio voice.
WILLIAMS: When you're listening to nothing but the best of oldies, you're listening to Magic 98.9.
Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you. We'll be back with more right after these words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's the remarkable video that went viral, that made Ted Williams, who was homeless, an overnight sensation. Back with a prime time exclusive interview with Ted Williams.
It was an amazing thing to watch. It was just so surprising. There's this homeless guy and you have that voice, a voice that had brought you great commercial success and all the stuff that went with the success, and then had just become a talent that was completely underused, not used at all.
Did you have any idea when you did that little video for that guy how your life may possibly change?
WILLIAMS: None whatsoever. None whatsoever. I stood there on that corner a long time before that gentleman, Doral Chenoweth (ph). Doral's -- I had been on that corner every day. No one has ever come up to ask me, hey, can you do the -- even for camera phones, they never said, can you do that for me.
So this guy, when he did it, I thought it was a way of me getting some quick little money for that little snippet. I had no idea about Youtube.
MORGAN: When did you first realize it was beginning to take off?
WILLIAMS: Well, actually on January 4th of last year, I got a call. I had a little cell phone. And I got a call right there on that corner. Dave and Jimmy of a local radio station, syndicated program, they called -- somebody called and said Dave and Jimmy are looking for the homeless guy with the great voice.
And I -- it didn't dawn on me that I -- you know, maybe somebody else. You know, we have a traffic director or somebody like that. Because there are some guys that use hey, how are you? But it was me. And I identified myself when I called the radio station and the rest is history.
MORGAN: What are the challenges still for you, do you think?
WILLIAMS: I'm still -- the obsessions and all -- the obsessions and the desires, they come and go. You know, I surround myself by -- with great people, great people. Unfortunately, last year, I had a few situations where I wasn't. But this time around, my second chance of a second chance, I've been able myself to be around some great people.
I have a great attorney, Brett Adams, out of Columbus, Ohio. And my sober companion, Eric Harding. These are people that -- I don't have a big camp of people. Just those three people.
MORGAN: What is your message to other homeless people that you met along the way or people you never met who are homeless? You are through -- let's be honest, through a bit of luck, an amazing stroke of luck, this guy comes along and happens to video you. It goes out on Youtube and the rest is history.
To those who haven't had that stroke of luck, what is your message to them?
WILLIAMS: Keeping the faith that there is still a chance for a second chance, or maintaining hope and a desire to do better at some point. When I was standing there on that corner, I didn't have no idea that anything like this would have happened. But I still had a smile to give. I still had this God-given golden voice. I had those things.
I never -- I lost hope with having them. So I prayed about it. Every day, the prayers got more and more abundant. And then eventually, the stealing became less. The crack smoking became less. As I was standing there, I was used to smoking 250 dollars a day worth of crack. I could go out and make that money instantly.
But God said you stand on that corner and you give me reverence right there. Sometimes an hour -- in one hour's time, I wouldn't make nothing but 30 dollars, but that was -- 30 dollars worth of crack, true enough, but it wasn't the 250 that I could go out there and really make. So every day is a challenge. Keep the faith. Keep the hope. And keep the initiative to do better.
MORGAN: Well, Ted, it's a great book. It's great to have you back, I think is everyone will think watching this. What I want you to do, I would normally read the next bit, but I think I would like you to turn around, look into the --
WILLIAMS: OK. MORGAN: Which one? OK, Ted, I would like you to do the next phrase, please, In the inimitable Ted Williams style.
WILLIAMS: Coming up next, Only in America.
MORGAN: This could only have happened in America.
WILLIAMS: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Ted, great to you meet you. Best of luck with everything.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, trading in a mop and pail for a cap and gown. If any of you question for a moment that the American dream is now just an illusion or the promise of a better life here is nigh on impossible these days, let one refugee's journey put all those doubts to rest.
Gotz Filipi (ph) could not speak a word of English when he fled war ravaged Yugoslavia in 1992. After arriving in New York, he worked as a bus boy. He took high school classes and hoped to one day graduate from college.
He asked a best friend what's the best university in New York? And he was told it was Columbia. So he went to the campus and applied for a job as a custodian. He was hired. That was in 1993.
Seven years later, he was enrolled as a student, got to scrub the floors all day, and on sometimes as little as an hour of sleep, he studied on the way home on the train. Ancient Greek was tough for him, Latin considerably easier. This past weekend, at the age of 52, Gotz graduated with honors from the Ivy League school, celebrated with a brandy and with a pledge to keep on working and learning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had all the clean bathrooms, two or three more years and get the master's, then get a lot of more money and better job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: After a master's, he's considering a doctorate now in Roman and Greek classics, instead of custodian at Columbia, sending some of the 22 dollars an hour that he earns back to his family in Yugoslavia. Gotz is bursting with pride at what he does and what he's achieved.
And we should all be bursting with pride for him. Only in America can his story even be told. In words that he may better understand, veni, vidi, vici.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.