Return to Transcripts main page


Zimmerman Ordered to Return to Jail; Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.2 Percent; Interview with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Aired June 1, 2012 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Erin. Thanks. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight with the Trayvon Martin case. And a sharp blow to defendant George Zimmerman's credibility. Not to mention, he ended his freedom. He's facing trial on second degree murder charges and now he's going back to jail.


JUDGE KENNETH LESTER JR., SEMINOLE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: At this time we place him on no bond status. Find that good cause exists based upon the material misrepresentations that the court relied upon. Order him to surrender himself within 48 hours to the sheriff of Seminole county.


COOPER: Well, Zimmerman's yet to turn himself in. The judge today ruled the way he did after hearing arguments that Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, lied at the bond hearing in April about their ability to make bail.

Here she is that day testifying by phone, first being sworn in, then not telling the truth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you god?


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Are you of any financial means where you could assist in those costs?

ZIMMERMAN: Not -- not that I'm aware of.


COOPER: Because the judge believed the Zimmerman's to be strapped for cash, Zimmerman was granted a low bail, $150,000 of which he only had to pay $15,000 out of pocket.

What Mrs. Zimmerman did not say is that the couple actually had more than $150,000 in donations in a PayPal account.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: The defendant through Ms. Zimmerman lied to this court about the amount of money they had. Now, I would argue to the court that that is an egregious violation in terms of the representations that were made to this court. It was misleading and I don't know what other words to use other than it was a blatant lie.


COOPER: Well, what's really interesting is that in addition the court has transcripts of a call, a telephone call between Zimmerman and his wife last month allegedly where they were talking in code about money, talking in hundreds when in fact they were actually talking about tens of thousands of dollars.

Quote, "in my account do I have at least a hundred dollars?" George Zimmerman asks. "No," she tells him and eventually says it's more like 155 dollars.

What they're talking about is 100,000 and 155,000. There is also the question of Zimmerman's passport, he handed an expiring one over to the court and kept his second more recent one. None of if though sat well with Judge Lester. At one point, he had this to say to the defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.

The judge asking, "does your client get to sit there like a potted palm and let you lead me down the prim rose path?" Just moments ago I spoke with Mr. O'Mara and with the Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump.


COOPER: Mark, have you spoken with George Zimmerman since today's ruling?

O'MARA: Yes, I have.

COOPER: What was his response?

O'MARA: Well, you know, frustrated because he now has to sort of come out of the hiding that he is in. He understand the court's ruling. I've had a good conversation with him about it. We are going to have a conversation with the judge to try to explain it away and hopefully that will be worthwhile and we'll get back out on bond.

COOPER: Does -- I mean, does he admit that he tried to mislead the court or does he say he tried to mislead the court?

O'MARA: Well, there is no question that they knew about the money, and actually in a previous corresponds to the judge we had acknowledged that. The question of whether or not they presented it properly, I think it was somewhat misleading to the court. I have gone over that with George. I think you need to realize that we are still talking about a 28-year-old who, you know, is being charged with a crime he does not believe he committed and his whole life has been turned upside down. So, I think it all needs to be kept in context.

COOPER: Does the prosecutor - the prosecutor though is saying that, I mean, he and his wife had phone conversations that they knew were likely being recorded because he was in prison at the time and that she was actually at the bank where the PayPal account was and that they were talking in code which -- which seems to -- is relatively sophisticated if that's true.

O'MARA: Well, the code that they were using, to the extent that they were using a code, if you read the transcripts, if they were talking about $180,000, they were talking about $18 or $90 was $9, so I don't think that it was a particularly sophisticated code that they were using.

And, again, as I've said before, if, in fact, they were trying to deceive the judge with some intent to hide away the money, I don't believe that they would have turned it over five days later when the first conversation about it actually occurred.

COOPER: Ben, how important a ruling do you think this is?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY (via telephone): Well, I certainly think it's the most important ruling in the case thus far.

COOPER: The most important? How so?

CRUMP: The most important thus far because it makes us all focus on the credibility of George Zimmerman, which is the central issue in this case. Everybody looks at the evidence, the only evidence that Trayvon against George Zimmerman is his version. And all the (INAUDIBLE) evidence, the 911 calls, the situation where he says he was getting out of his car. That all suggests that he's pursuing Trayvon, that he confronts Trayvon. George Zimmerman says Trayvon attacked him. That's why I think it's very important, the ruling that the judge said, based on the law.

COOPER: Mark, does this hurt his credibility? I mean, if he was misleading in court? And I mean, you downplayed this code, but it does show -- I mean, if it was an intentional desire to mislead somebody listening on the phone, that's another example of being misleading.

O'MARA: Everybody's credibility who's going to be a witness in this case, and quite honestly, even posthumously Trayvon Martin's credibility is going to be an issue before we get in front of a jury. And certainly, the fact that George Zimmerman may have allowed in misrepresentation to occur may affect his credibility. Quite honestly, I don't think it will get in front of a jury. I don't it is the type of relevant evidence that would get before a jury.

But, we also need to keep in mind that what really is going to be important in this case is the forensic evidence. The entirety of the evidence which will include the eye witness statements, the forensic evidence of the injuries, the forensic evidence regarding the gunshot. All of that will be taken into context. And one part of that, one facet is the credibility of all people involved. Certainly should George decide to testify, his credibility as well.

COOPER: Mark, about the second passport. You said that Zimmerman did what he needed to do and that the responsibility for the court not knowing about it is your fault, how so?

O'MARA: On the 26th when I first talked to George, coincidentally I was talking to him about the money and the check. He told me about a second passport. That they had found when they left the state. They gathered up all their belonging. Left the state. Uncovered the second passport.

He told me about that. He forwarded to me in a fed ex package the second passport and the check at one time. As it turns out, we have good documentation that it came to me on the 26th. On the 27th I did a notice of filing to give that to the court file. We were at court and literally it was left in my pleading file until this morning when Bernie, the prosecutor first said to me, we found out about this second passport. I said, hold on, I have it. And I've had it since the 27th or 26th of April. My apologies, but it's always been here.

COOPER: Benjamin, how did Trayvon Martin's family react to the news today?

CRUMP: Well, they certainly were relieved to hear that Zimmerman's bond will be revoked because they wanted him to remain in custody until they have the trial.

I just have to say this, Anderson, with respect to Mr. O'Mara, there is going to be -- the testimony that he -- that Mr. -- the special prosecutor's office said they lied on material information, that's relevant. Nobody's going to say Trayvon Martin lied in the court. Nobody's going to say there was a material falsehood. I think that's important to this case.

COOPER: Mark O'Mara, appreciate you being on and Benjamin Crump.

Thank you both, very much.


COOPER: Deeper now on the implications. Let's dig deeper on the implications of this dramatic day in court.

Criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, also legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin.

So, as a criminal defense attorney, Mark, I'm curious to get your take on what happened. I mean, has Zimmerman done real damage to his case? Because if you hear Benjamin Crump, he is saying, this is the most important ruling because it totally destroys Zimmerman's credibility about what happened the night of the shooting?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think -- I don't think that it totally damages his credibility. Is it bad? Yes. There's no sugar coating of it. I think you might remember, Anderson, we talked about this the night you led off. And I think you were the one who reported first about the money that was in that account, and I said at the time. I know a lot of judges that would have remanded him into custody right there and then. So, this judge gave him quite a bit of string to play out before remanding him into custody.

And I would tend to agree with Mr. Crump. I think that it will, if he takes the stand, this is something especially because it dealt with this judge in this courtroom, that's something this judge is going to led in.

Having said all of that, I don't think that it is going to be the death fell in for the defense in this case. In fact, I think in a lot of ways Mark O'Mara has always fallen on the grenade, so to speak by saying, look, the second passport was my fault. I had this. I also brought it to the court's attention about the money in the account as soon as a I found out.

And I think to Mark's credit, he hasn't laid it off on the prior lawyers. But I think a lot of this can be laid off on those two clowns that were representing Zimmerman beforehand who should have informed Zimmerman, number one. Look, when you go into custody, remember something. They're taping everything you say. So don't think you are going to outsmart the cops or the prosecutors by talking in code or anything else. That's the first thing you tell a client when they are in custody is don't talk to me, don't talk to anybody when you are on the phone about material facts or anything else that the prosecutor is going to have unless you want that broadcast on CNN the next day.

COOPER: And Sunny, Mark O'Mara is a good attorney and he is in difficult position. And he is trying to do the best he can I mean, because he was misled clearly by George Zimmerman because he didn't know about this money. He wouldn't have gone into court making this argument had he known about this money.

But he's now arguing, well, you know, it wasn't a very complicated code they were talking in. Whether it was complicated, or smart code or not, it does seem like he and his wife were trying to mislead the court.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And certainly seems like that. The judge found that. And you know, I have a copy of the motion in front of me. And I think it's pretty clear that they not only knew that they were being taped but they tried to be evasive about that. They were sort of trying to speak in code.

And I have to tell you, Anderson. I do think it is really significant, the judge's finding revoking his bond and finding that he had been dishonest and misled the court. And that is because should this case have a "Stand Your Ground" hearing, that is a hearing just in front of the judge. So, it will be the judge's determination as to whether or not George Zimmerman gets immunity from prosecution. That, now, going to be in front of the same judge that found that he was dishonest. And so, I think s it is very significant that now this judge has been placed in a position that he believes George Zimmerman can be dishonest. And if this case is about self-defense, the only version of events that leads to self-defense --

GERAGOS: Exactly right.

HOSTIN: -- is George Zimmerman's. So, his credibility is everything.

GERAGOS: That's exactly --

COOPER: If this gets to a jury trial, Mark, this can be brought in? I mean, this would definitely be brought in?

GERAGOS: Well, this is what -- I think Sunny brings up a brilliant point. I apologize for having agreeing with her.

HOSTIN: Thank you, Mark.

GERAGOS: I know. It's Friday. I'm looking forward to the weekend, Sunny.

The problem here is that it became a lot more likely now that there will be a jury trial. Sunny is right. I've been saying for a long time that I thought that he stood a real chance, a significant chance, of getting this case thrown out at the "Stand Your Ground" hearing.

Well, what judge is going to want to believe anything that somebody tells him when he is willing to equivocate, that's the euphemism here, on the bond hearing.

So, I think it is a lot more likely that this goes to trial and it is likely that a judge lets this in to a trial because the judge is going to say, look, this guy has been in front of me with the same lawyers, on the same prosecutors in front of the same judge on the same fact pattern and told me stuff that was not true or that I found not to be true. That's - you know, it is not a good day for the defense.

COOPER: Yes. We will leave on a happy note of agreement between you two.

Mark Geragos, thank you. Sunny Hostin, as well.

Let us know what you think. We are on facebook. Follow me on twitter.

Do you think this hurts George Zimmerman's credibility? Tweet me right now @andersoncooper.

A lot more to talk about including today's jobs report. It's almost certain to make it tougher for President Obama to make his case for re-election. We will look at that. We will look at one of Mitt Romney's talking points on jobs and attack on the president is simply not true. "Keeping Them Honest" next.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" now on the campaign trail. May unemployment numbers came out today. And if you haven't heard it already, they are pretty grim. Only 69,000 jobs created. The worst in a year. The jobless rate meantime rising a tenth of a point to 8.2 percent. Not good numbers for the country or the White House or the Obama campaign.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The economy is growing again, but it is not growing as fast as we want it to grow. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months. But, as we learned in today's jobs report, we are still not creating them as fast as we want.

And just like at this time last year, our economy is still facing some serious head winds.


O'MARA: President Obama there talking about head winds today. Mitt Romney calling the numbers in his words devastating.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is very bad news for the American people, and the president is always quick to find some of the blame. First it was George Bush, then it was congress, ATM machines, Europe. He's always got someone. But the truth is the job of the president is to get America back to work.


COOPER: You can argue about who is to blame. It is true the president's job is to get America back to work, one of the jobs of the president. And the economy is likely the issue that will decide this election.

New CNN/ORC polling showing a slim three point Obama lead and the economy issue in number one. However, in talking about President Obama's performance so far, Mr. Romney has also been saying something repeatedly that simply is not factually correct. Here he is last night on CBS news.


ROMNEY: And of course domestically, it is hard to call, what, now, 39, 40 months of unemployment above eight percent a success when even he said by now it would be in the six percent range. And by now it is not. It is over eight. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mr. Romney has made this something of a theme stating it in a number of different ways over the course that campaign. Watch.


ROMNEY: He said if we let him borrow $787 billion he'd keep it below eight percent.

The stimulus, by the way, borrowing $787 billion, the president said that would hold unemployment below eight percent.

He would keep unemployment below eight percent. It has not been below eight percent since.

He borrowed $787 billion right off the bat for a stimulus. Said if he was able to do that, he would hold unemployment below eight percent.

The so called stimulus that didn't stimulate, that that would hold unemployment below eight percent.


COOPER: All right now, you can decide for yourself how well or how poorly President Obama has been handling the jobless issue.

However, Governor Romney has claimed that from the beginning that President Obama promised o otherwise indicated in his policies, namely the stimulus, would keep the unemployment rate below eight percent. That is just not true.

When house speaker John Boehner made the same claim last fall, Politifact reported that it quote, "could find no evidence of anyone in the administration making a public pledge that stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below eight percent."

The "Washington Post," the fact checker gave then claim three Pinocchio's and pointed out that the Romney campaign's own Web site actually helped refutes their candidate's own claim. The Web site attribute to the promise not to President Obama or even then candidate, but to a projection, not a promise, written about the effects of a possible stimulus by two members of the transition team on January 9th before then Mr. Obama took office.

The two staffers, Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer would go on to become top economic advisors in the new administration. So, back to that very real and very troubling unemployment number, if politics is all about the trend. After three straight months, the bad economic news, the trend is now working against President Obama and for governor Romney, no doubt about it.

Joining us now Republican strategist, Mary Matalin, also Jen Saki who is deputy communication director in the Obama White House. Jen, the president may not have promised unemployment would be below eight percent by now, but you probably thought it would be, didn't you? Didn't everybody at the White House?

JEN SAKI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Well look, there are predictions made early on where nobody knew how deep the hole was. And since that time over the last 27 months, 4.3 million jobs have been created in the private sector. That is a pretty stronger for said months.

I think most people in the White House today and people across the country were disappointed to see the numbers today. Of course they wanted them to be better. And that's why the president has called for more steps and for Congress to move forward on more steps to help the economy continue moving forward.

COOPER: Mary, the Obama campaign is focusing on Mitt Romney's record of job creation as governor of Massachusetts. Unemployment did drop from five something to 4.7 percent under his term. But, as every Democrat will tell you, particularly your husband would mention a couple times on this show, they were 47th in job creation.

Is that enough to kind of blunt the bad economic numbers we are seeing now?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Anderson, I don't need to tell you, you don't need to listen to everything James Carville says particularly when it comes to the economy. I think any American would appreciate, would revere having a 4.7 percent growth.

We have had over 40 months of over eight percent unemployment. And that you can talk about jobs created, but if the labor force participation was, today as it was when Obama took office, we'd have over 10 percent, and some say as high as 50 percent unemployment.

People are dropping out of the work force. They are going to be looking at this president's record. And they will take into account what he says about Romney, but that also undermines a very big positive for this president.

He was going to be transformational. He was going to be post partisan. Now he is the most partisan. And that really hurts him with one of his this positive constituencies which was independents. They don't like what he has to do to take out Romney.

COOPER: Jen, to Mary's point, the Obama campaign now, basically spent the first part of the week focusing on Bain. Now, it is looking at the governor's record as governor of Massachusetts. Did the Bain strategy not work?

SAKI: No. Actually, I think the campaign will continue to talk about. No, they weren't attacking private equity. That's an industry where, you know, it is an important industry in this country. There are supporters who work in private equity.

What they were saying was that and with the campaign will continue to say is that Mitt Romney is using his experience at Bain as evidence that he is a job creator. Yet, that role he had there was to make money for investors, not to create jobs. Nobody in the private industry says it was to create jobs. And so, that is not an ingredients or a fact that about his record that means he is a better choice.

COOPER: Mary, in our CNN poll today, the newest poll, voters split about -- pretty evenly about which candidate could actually manage the economy best. But if you look at the one area there was some real distance between the two. By almost 20 points voters think Obama as most likely to understand their problems more likely than Romney. Is that a concern?

MATALIN: It would be a concern that that question made any sense whatsoever. What this poll shows, as is consistent with what previous polls and all the other polls if you have a real clear politics show, is that on the number one issue, the economy, 2/3 of Americans say that under Obama's watch their personal circumstances either haven't improved or are worse and greater than 2/3 say they expect them to continue being worse into the future.

We got a 70 percent wrong track. That's all on Obama. And they don't - they don't like. It's discordant for them to hear consistently. Well, as Jen has been trying to say, she does a very good joke, which she supposed to be doing. It was worse than we thought, and we had these head winds, it was Bush, it was this and it was Japan, and it was all of this.

You know, Reagan didn't do that. W. Bush didn't do that. Jack Kennedy didn't do that. And that undercuts his leadership. So, they ought to just do what -- their only hope, really. They think their only hope is to try to destroy Romney. Their hope might be, although they would lose this way, is to say, here is our Kantian philosophy of government and we're going to put this up against a Republican or conservative philosophy of economics in government and let the chips fall where they may.

You know who's siding with the Republican, the conservative? It's not just Bill Clinton, it is governors, senators current and former. It the president's own advisors. It is like he is the outlier in his own party at this point on economic philosophy.

COOPER: Jennifer Saki, appreciate it. Mary Matalin, thanks.

SAKI: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, there's a lot of stuff happening tonight. One congressman is outright calling Pakistan an enemy, not an ally of the U.S. from imposing a long prison sentence on the Pakistani doctor who tried to help the U.S. tracked down Osama bin Laden. He is calling for drastic action cut off of all aid. We will hear from him next.


COOPER: There's new charges filed today against the American soldier accused of murdering eye dozen of Afghans civilians back in March. The defense says those new charges may actually help their case. We will explain ahead.


COOPER: Digging deeper now into the criminal case against the Pakistani doctor who helped the United States or tried to help the United States track down and kill Osama bin Laden. His name is Shakil Afridi (ph).

There are reports today that his lawyers filed an appeal, the 33- year sentence he was given a sentence last week by a tribal court in Pakistan. But, here's where the case gets complicated.

Officials initially told CNN and others that Afridi was charged with treason for spying for the U.S. He was accused of setting up a phony vaccination program in Abbottabad to help the U.S. try to figure out if in fact bin Laden was in fact hiding in that compound.

Dr. Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities shortly after bin Laden was killed. But, after he was sentenced, court papers revealed that Afridi was convicted for his tied to an Islamic militant group in Pakistan, or I should say alleged ties, not for helping the CIA. The militant group by the way, denies any link to Dr. Afridi. And a key member of the house foreign affairs committee called the conviction a sham.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says there is no question that Dr. Afridi is being punished for assisting the U.S. He is now calling for decisive retaliation against Pakistan. I spoke to him early.


COOPER: Congressman, you said the fact that Pakistan has sentenced Dr. Afridi of 33 years in prison. You say it is decisive prove Pakistan see themselves at war with the U.S.?

REPRESENTATIVE DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: That's correct. Pakistan would not be charging one of its citizens for treason for helping us bring to justice the man who murdered 3,000 of our citizens unless Pakistan was on the side of the man who murdered 3,000 of our citizens, and that speaks for itself.

COOPER: This was a so-called tribal court, which is a different system than the official national court in Pakistan. It was a local tribal council that said he had this link to this terrorist group. Do you read anything into that, that maybe that's a sign that there is some wiggle room for negotiation?

ROHRABACHER: No. I think we should quit looking for signs of some minuscule message being sent by somebody in the government of Pakistan to us and take a look at what is right in front of our face. And that is that the Pakistani government has been using the billions of dollars that they have received from us in aid to do us harm.

Let's quit trying to bend over backwards to give the benefit of the doubt to people who have proven time and again that they don't like us. They are our enemy and they're doing things to kill our people.

COOPER: So you believe the Pakistan government knew Osama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad?

ROHRABACHER: I think anybody who has any real serious doubts that the Pakistani government wasn't giving safe haven to Osama Bin Laden all of these years, that that person is living in never never land. That government is acting like our enemy and we shouldn't give them anymore money or anymore support.

COOPER: The U.S. has given Pakistan around $20 billion in military, economic aid to Pakistan since 9/11. You've been calling to cut off all of that aid.

Whether we are happy with the relationship with Pakistan or not, don't we need that relationship based on what's happening in Afghanistan?

Pakistan right now is preventing us from resupplying troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan. Don't we need some sort of leverage over Pakistan?

ROHRABACHER: Pakistan is the main instigator of the problems we're trying to solve in Afghanistan. They've been arming the terrorist groups. They were the country that created the Taliban.

No, we should not be trying to find reasons of how we could work with Pakistan. We should find out how we can cut off our relationship without a hateful country.

Let's try to find a new strategic relationship perhaps with India that would give us the type of leverage in South Asia to play a positive force.

COOPER: So you're not concerned about losing any kind of leverage over Pakistan over their nuclear weapons, over what goes on, over support of the troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan?

ROHRABACHER: I don't think that we have any leverage on Pakistan. I think they've been playing a game and a wicked and evil game at that that has cost American lives.

COOPER: And as for this Dr. Afridi, do you think the U.S. should make some sort of deal to get him out?

ROHRABACHER: I think we should try our very best to free Dr. Afridi. He risked his life. He put himself in harm's way and we are abandoning him. We can't even get a resolution on the floor of Congress.

We can't get our president to lay down the law to Pakistan that you're not going to treat this person who is a hero to the United States in such a manner because if you do this to Dr. Afridi, you are doing it to the people of the United States.

COOPER: Congressman Rohrabacher, I appreciate your time. Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we're getting new insight into how John Edwards avoided a felony conviction. He left court a happy man after jurors deadlocked in all but one of six counts that he was charged with.

They deliberated for more than 50 hours. We now know what went on in the jury room and why the jurors, we're going to talk to three jurors, all of whom say they think he's guilty of something.

That the prosecution just didn't make its case. I'm going to ask them whether they think John Edwards was a good liar. Hear what they have to say next.


COOPER: A 360 follow, the jurors in the John Edwards trial are now free to talk. We saw them for the first time as they left the courthouse just yesterday. We're going to hear from three of them in just a moment.

They deliberated more than 50 hours, over nine days. They could only agree on one count, which they cleared Edwards on. They deadlocked on the rest. The judge declared a mistrial on those five charges.

It was a big victory for John Edwards who was facing a possible 30-year prison sentence. The former Democratic presidential candidate denied it, but he wasn't entirely humble either. Take a look.


JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: While I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong and there is no one else responsible for my sins. I don't think God's through with me. I really believe he thinks there are still some good things I can do.


COOPER: Any plans he has for his immediate future is going to hinge on whether the Justice Department decides to retry him on the five deadlocked counts. A lot of legal experts believe the government's case against him is weak and they won't bring it back to court.

He was accused of violating campaign finance laws by using money from two wealthy donors to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter while he was running for president in 2008.

The daughter they conceived is now four years old. The trial testimony was filled with intimate, embarrassing details. Edwards was about as unsympathetic a defendant as they come.

The defense team argued the money was a gift, not a campaign contribution. Edwards used it to hide the affair from his dying wife, Elizabeth Edwards, and not for political gain. Enough of the jurors bought the argument.

Joining me now are three of them, David Rashan along with Ladonna Foster and Cindy Aquaro. So all three of you believe that he was guilty on some of the charges, what did you think he was guilty of, do you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it related to him being guilty, I think the charges were very clearly defined by the prosecution and the instructions were defined by the judge. So we applied the rule of law based on the judge, Judge Eagles, and also the evidence that was able to support at least my opinion in some of the cases where there was guilt.

COOPER: So you think he did do something wrong, but they just couldn't prove it? They didn't have the evidence to prove it, is that accurate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be my assessment.

LADONNA FOSTER, JUROR IN EDWARDS TRIAL: We actually wish that there had been more evidence and that we were able to follow the money to John Edwards, but that wasn't the case.

COOPER: How significant was it that you didn't hear from Rielle Hunter, that you didn't hear from Bunny Melon, and some of the other people who obviously passed away?

CINDY AQUARO, JUROR IN EDWARDS TRIAL: That was one of the ones I wish we could have heard from, Bunny Melon, to see -- I think we would have been able to follow the money more if we heard from Bunny Melon.

COOPER: Do you think though -- I mean, he was trying to use money -- campaign money to pay for Rielle Hunter, bottom line?

AQUARO: I thought he was. We just -- it could not be proved. The evidence was not there to prove it, but I felt that's what he was doing.

COOPER: How weak was the prosecution's argument, their main witness was Andrew Young, and a lot of people watching his testimony sort of felt he was not all that credible of a witness.

DAVID RECCHION, JURY FOREMAN IN EDWARDS TRIAL: All throughout the process our responsibility was to, as we looked at the evidence, also assess the credibility of all the witnesses. So the government had a tough job to do with a witness that wasn't as credible that was needed to be in order to prove guilt.

COOPER: Did you want to see John Edwards on the stand as a juror?

RECCHION: I personally did, but I don't think that it would have helped it. I don't know about y'all.

FOSTER: Somewhat, yes. I would have liked to have heard his voice. Those questions that I felt could have been asked and we would have gotten some really good and honest answers, as honest as we would have gotten.

COOPER: There's an infamous interview he did with ABC News with Bob Woodruff. It was his confessional interview. He continued to lie about the paternity of the child.

And we talked to our legal expert last night, Jeff Toobin, he said they would have played that interview and you would have seen him how he looked when he lied.

And it would have hurt his credibility. Do you think seeing him lie on camera would have affected you guys?

FOSTER: It did.

COOPER: It did? Having seen that already?

FOSTER: Having seen that. We watched it in the courtroom and we actually watched it during deliberations.

COOPER: Right.

RECCHION: That was the first time that I had seen it so when I saw that interview, it definitely demonstrated that he had lied and said some things that were untrue.

COOPER: When I saw that interview I thought, wow, that's pretty effective. Because he's sort of -- he said, that's from a tabloid. You've got to think about the source. He kind of made the interviewer bad for even asking the question.

RECCHION: Yes. I definitely did. I don't know about the others.

AQUARO: Yes. I definitely thought that he was a good liar.

FOSTER: At the time of the interview, yes. But once you know all the facts and saw how he danced around several questions, no, not really.

COOPER: Do you think he should be retried? You don't want to be serving on the jury again.

RECCHION: I'd rather not do that again. What I would like -- I mean, I think justice has to prevail and in this case justice to me was he had a fair trial to be innocent before proven guilty.

I think that part is really good. I do like, however -- I would like to see some change made so that future candidates understand that these activities aren't acceptable.

COOPER: Changing -- you want to see changing campaign finance laws because under the current guidelines it's a difficult case to make?

RECCHION: It is. COOPER: So you all kind of think that if there were some sort of change in campaign finance laws, then your job would have been easier to figure out, to follow the money?


AQUARO: I think so.

FOSTER: Based on the current definition, yes.

COOPER: Well, you all did a remarkable job. It's not an easy thing. Our entire system, as I'm sure the judge has said to you, depends on y'all doing your job.

I think it's great you were able to separate preconceived notions from him from what the actual evidence shows. Thank you very much.

FOSTER: Thank you.

RECCHION: Do you mind if I add one comment?

COOPER: Sure. Yes.

RECCHION: I just wanted to say it was really an honor. The jury, the 12 members and the four alternates, they were an amazing group. It was a tremendous honor to serve with them.

It definitely highlights the value of our judicial system, but it also demonstrated some weaknesses as it relates to --

COOPER: How tough was it in that deliberation room? How --

FOSTER: Got really intense at times.

COOPER: Did it really?

FOSTER: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: Screaming, yelling?

AQUARO: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: Really? Wow. It's like a movie.

FOSTER: Your skin became very tough.

COOPER: Is that -- really?

RECCHION: But it was interesting though because I had a responsibility as foreman to help facilitate the discussion, and it seemed like that was the hardest facilitation job I had ever had.

COOPER: Is that right?

FOSTER: Mediator now. RECCHION: We all took roles and responsibility in facilitating and you know, I was really comfortable with the way that everybody interacted, but every time there was some high intensity and emotion, we all kind of had our own moments to step out and say, enough is enough. Let's bring this back down to the facts.

COOPER: Again, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

RECCHION: Our pleasure. Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, a week after the massacre in Houla, Syria and a day after Syria's own utterly absurd report on what happened. The U.N. is launching an investigation into what happened. Details ahead.


COOPER: There's a lot more happening tonight. Let's check in with Isha in the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, severe storm pounded through East Maryland. Buildings collapsed, roofs were torn off, tree limbs and light poles were knocked down. The fire department tells CNN affiliate, WMAI, at least four people were hurt.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has authorized an independent investigation into last week's massacre of 108,000 civilians in Houla. Russia, China and Cuba voted against the resolution. Syria says armed terrorist groups carried out the massacre. That claim at odds with survivor accounts.

A 360 follow, the Connecticut mother who locked his three daughters and her parents back in December in a house fire is suing the city of Stanford.

She claims the city of Stanford destroyed her home without notice or just compensation and intentionally destroyed evidence. The city says it tore down the home two days after the fire because it was unsafe.

The American soldier accused of murdering 16 civilians in Afghanistan in March is now facing steroid and alcohol abuse charges. Staff Sergeant Robert Bell's lawyer indicated part of the defense may focus on whether his client used steroids and who supplied them.

Wall Street had its bloodiest day this year after it dropped 2 percent following an ugly jobs report. The Dow lost 275 points a day erasing all its gains for the year.

Anderson, there's lots of excitement for a rare astronomical event. On Tuesday, Venus will slowly cross the face of the sun appearing as a small black dot.

Now you'll need to use special glasses or other gear to protect your eyesight. The next time Venus makes this trek will be in the year 2117. COOPER: I will mark that down on my calendar.

SESAY: You should. To make this very clear, Venus is taking her sweet old time getting across the sun.

COOPER: You need special what?

SESAY: Special glasses, special spectacles.

COOPER: Spectacles.

SESAY: Spectacles.

COOPER: I will look for some this weekend.

SESAY: That is your Brit word.

COOPER: Isha, thank you very much. "The Ridiculist" is next. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding the Miss USA pageant, which is taking place Sunday in Las Vegas. I'm putting the pageant pre-emptively on "The Ridiculist." That's how I roll on Friday nights.


COOPER: What's going on?

SESAY: Hold up. Come on now. You had to know this was coming.

COOPER: I actually didn't. I actually didn't. I totally did not know this was coming.

SESAY: There is no "Ridiculist" tonight because it's your birthday.

COOPER: Good lord. I didn't even think this was going to happen. I really had no idea this was going to happen.

SESAY: Honestly, how do you not know that every year we're going to set out to get you? Come on now. You see, the music's playing. You've got the confetti and you're already giggling.

COOPER: Bob is just running around, all right.

SESAY: Last year, as you know, Mr. Cooper, we gave you a dog and pony show literally.

COOPER: Yes. Yes, there was a dog and pony show.

SESAY: Don't worry about the confetti. You look great. So I come bearing cake and look what else.

COOPER: Yes, I do remember this.

SESAY: You see the things we do for you.

COOPER: Yes. I appreciate that. Thank you.

SESAY: Well, it's not over yet.

COOPER: Are we done?

SESAY: No. This year, we have an extra special guest for you. Let's see if you know who it is.

COOPER: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Waaahhhoooo. Wild action!

COOPER: Are you kidding me? Turtle man, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, buddy, what's up?

SESAY: Yes, indeed.

COOPER: Turtle -- I can't believe, Turtle Man, you're here. And, geez, that's a big turtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out, buddy. That's live action.

COOPER: That's live what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's live action there.

COOPER: Live what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live action end.

COOPER: Live action end. I don't understand --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing will snap it off.

COOPER: Will that snap your hand off?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will snap your hand plumb off, dude.

COOPER: You know, I've followed you for years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why I came here tonight. This was in New York's park. I caught it out of the pond. I almost got in trouble, man. The cops got after me. I run in here. Luckily we got these studio guys that was taking up --

COOPER: How did you get this through TSA security?


COOPER: They saw Turtle Man coming. They were like, let him through. Just let him through. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him through because they knew you, was a big fan. You wanted to see you. Live action. Anderson Cooper just got him some. Wahoo!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about it?

COOPER: I am stunned. The turtle is blocking my key light, but that's OK. I'm not too worried about that. How did you start -- how did you become turtle man? How did you start -- how did you know that you had a skill to catch turtles?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uncle Phillip taught me how to do it when I was a little kid, 7 years old, and I just taught myself some new techniques.

COOPER: Have you ever been bitten?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I've been bit through the hand there. Seven stitches. I nearly bled to death, had it cauterized. It wouldn't quit bleeding.

COOPER: You had to cauterize your own wound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to the doctor.

SESAY: Before we run out of time, I hate to break up the turtle romance, but we can't have a birthday without a cake. We brought you a turtle. We had the cake boss, the real cake boss -- pay attention, Cooper. We had the actual cake boss put one together.


SESAY: They whipped up a cake. Let's bring it out.

COOPER: That is crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Birthday cake, man.

COOPER: How are you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one don't bite.

COOPER: That is crazy. Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ain't that neat?

COOPER: Let me go stand next -- let me quickly go stand next to this thing. See how it goes.


COOPER: See how this looks. There you go. There's turtle. Look at that. Wow. Is this all really edible?

COOPER: Turtle Man, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.


SESAY: You can see more on "Cake Boss" which airs Monday at 9 p.m. on TLC. Also, we want to give a big thanks to Ernie Lee Brown, Turtle Man. His show, "Call of the Wild," can be seen on Animal Planet and returns with new episodes this Sunday at 10 p.m. Happy birthday, Mr. Cooper.

COOPER: Thank you, Isha, and thank you, everyone. Appreciate it. "PIERS MORGAN" starts now.