Return to Transcripts main page
Te'o Admits Prolonging Girlfriend Hoax; Lance Armstrong Slapped with Lawsuit; Super Bowl Ad Sneak Peak; "Insane" Woman Who Killed Child is Free.
Aired January 24, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for your service but we're proud of you for your Purple Heart and what you've done for us.
It will be interesting to see how this conversation moves forward.
Gayle, good to talk to you as well. Thank you, both.
JENNIFER HUNT, STAFF SERGEANT: Thank you.
BANFIELD: We're back right after this.
BANFIELD: So the girlfriend was fake. The girlfriend's car crash, her cancer, her death never happened. But Manti Te'o insists that his pain was real. Real. The Notre Dame standout and runner up for this year's Heisman has been opening up to Katie Couric about a scam that he says he admits he kept alive for weeks even after learning that the girl, Lennay Kekua, a wasn't dead and probably never, ever lived in the first place.
As for Manti Te'o's own personal legend --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME RUNNING BACK: I think, for me, the only thing that I basked in is I had an impact on people. That people will turn to me and -- for inspiration. And I think that was the only thing I focused on. My story, I felt, was a guy who in times of hardship and in times of trial really, you know, held strong to his faith, held strong to his family and I thought that that was my story.
KATIE COURIC, ABC ANCHOR: Even if that hardship was perhaps exaggerated?
TE'O: No. What I went through was real. The feelings, the pain, the sorrow, that was all real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: It's weird. That's for sure. There's even more to this story. Every day there's a weird twist. There's a really weird twist. Even a guy who has a multi-year romance on the line and on the phone need to have a face to look at, right? And here's the face. Manti Te'o fell in love with this face but it belongs to a woman named Diane O'Meara. Diane went to school with a young man who reportedly engineered this whole hoax, a man who has 'fessed up and apologized.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE O'MEARA, THE WOMAN'S FACE BEHIND THE HOAX: He reached out to me two days before the story broke and realized he was stalking my profile for five years, and taking my photos. And he created this --
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Five years?
O'MEARA: He created this identity that was not me. It was this Lennay Kekua with my face on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: I know you're probably thinking anybody can fake an e-mail, fake a text or a tweet, but who was on the other end of the phone calls for three years? Ronaiah Tuiasopo's lawyer has now told the "New York Daily News" and they made it a big front-page story, that it was Ronaiah on the phone the whole time, a man, a young man, faking the voice of Lennay. And here's what the lawyer said, "This wasn't a prank to make fun. It was a person trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship again." That's Milton Grimes, the lawyer for Ronaiah Tuiasopo. Talk about defiant. He could be in some trouble.
It also helps to have a background in theater and music, as Ronaiah Tuiasopo reportedly does.
Now I'm going to tell you the most jaw-dropping stuff about all of this. This stuff goes on all the time. Often, the mark, the person like Manti Te'o, can lose a lot more than their pride.
CNN's Deb Feyerick talked to an expert about it.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As crazy as it sounds, what happened to Notre Dame player Manti Te'o happens every day.
DAWN RICCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, I mean, people who are really smart.
FEYERICK: Private investigator, Dawn Ricci, says she has spoken to hundreds of men and women who get conned after falling deeply in love online.
(on camera): What are they hoping for?
RICCI: Everybody just wants to feel needed and loved and find that romance, the wonder, the excitement of it all. The scammer just knows how to pull them into it.
FEYERICK: It's called "catfishing," the term popularized by the 2010 film "Catfish," who has an online love affair with a woman who does not exist. It starts with one e-mail, one text, one phone call at a time, over months. And in perhaps Manti Te'o's case, for years.
RICCI: He fell in love with a fictional character, just a thought, a fantasy in his head.
FEYERICK: Ricci believes Te'o is like many of her clients, the target of a cruel hoax.
RICCI: The bottom line is there's money. They will always ask for money.
FEYERICK: Ricci says she's had clients pay tens and thousands of dollars pay outstanding gifts or buy expensive gifts like airline tickets, jewelry or, in one case, a BMW.
Te'o told ESPN he never gave money to his so-called girlfriend but admits she wanted to send money to him and asked for his checking account number. He refused to give it.
RICCI: It's very hard for people to accept the fact that this person doesn't exist. Nothing's going to match up. Phone numbers aren't going to match up, addresses aren't going to match up. You can send me to an address and it's not going to be the person.
FEYERICK: In most cases, once the money dries up, the scammer disappears. In Manti Te'o's case, his girlfriend faked her death.
RICCI: My clients are truly embarrassed at what has happened to them. They don't want to talk to their friends, their family. They've depleted their bank accounts. They feel completely humiliated.
FEYERICK: Humiliated and left facing questions, how can it happen in the first place?
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
BANFIELD: This one comes from a "you've probably seen it coming" file. A week after Lance Armstrong bares his soul to Oprah Winfrey, he's getting hit with a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit says, Armstrong's book, great reading about battling back from cancer to become the world's best cyclist, was based on lies and deception, and now people want their money back if they bought the book and believed it. It's not about the bikes. It's about the dope.
Joey Jackson joins me to talk about the chances of getting your $29.95 punitive damages.
JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: Money is money, right? BANFIELD: Money is money. A lot of people who were so inspired. Oprah even said so in this interview. He saved lives with some of his words. Could you really have suffered so many damages? He may have saved your life but you're not really depressed?
JACKSON: Here's what happens. When somebody peddles a book and say it's an autobiography, it about him and it's inspirational and they want the world to know how they overcame adversity, right? As a result of that, people should be able to rely on the representations in the book. If you pedal it as an actual story about your life, about your history and overcoming all odds, readers have a right to rely upon that. And if it's really fiction and not fact, pay up.
BANFIELD: Can you be entitled to spend damages, punitive or --
JACKSON: You know what happened, in law, as we look at law, we look to precedent. That's what happened previously. You might remember James Frey, James Frey before.
BANFIELD: A million little pieces.
JACKSON: A million little Pieces.
BANFIELD: A million little pieces of you know what.
BANFIELD: Oprah was in on that.
JACKSON: Oprah was in on that one, too.
Ultimately he had to come clean. He talked about his addiction and overcame it. And when it was found that it was all false, the publishers set aside a pot of money and people who wanted a refund got the money back. Very few came forward. They spent like $30,000 in refund and had a pot of millions so they gave the rest to charity and, of course, legal fees.
BANFIELD: It's more about the principle than getting your $29.95 back.
One last question. The fact that this thing was pedaled on Amazon, that's communication. That's using wires. Is there a wire fraud of any kind here? Lance Armstrong asked to you buy something over the international and national wires, so you're paying for a lie.
JACKSON: I think this is more civil in nature. I don't think we can see it civilized. Yes, he made misrepresentations but it didn't amount to a crime. I don't think the Justice Department will be looking at this. I think a lot of other people will to get their money back.
BANFIELD: I'll be curious to see how many people jump on board the class action suit and how much it actually costs and the publisher, by the way.
JACKSON: Oh, yes, publishers are involved, too. Of course.
BANFIELD: Not just Lance. A couple of people are going to have to pay up.
Joey, don't go anywhere.
JACKSON: I'm here.
BANFIELD: Because there's this case that we found, very disturbing, very troubling, and also really fascinating. A woman convicted of drowning her own child. Murder. Sure. You would think, right? Maybe not so much. She's just been released. She was only in prison for three years? We're going to find out why, and you might be really upset about it.
BANFIELD: I don't know about you, but I often watch the Super Bowl because of the commercials. This year, the 30-second spots are going to cost upwards of $4 million. 30 seconds, $4 million. Advertisers know the pre-game warm up is just as important as the big show. They are producing something new to me today. I never heard this term before. Teaser ads. Teaser ads that tease you towards the ads in the big game. We all love the ads.
Christine Romans is joining me.
It's a brand-new phenomena and it's no joke.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. They are trying to get to you talk about and think about their ads that are coming up. They are paying all of that money for the actual big game day but they want you talking about it on social media ahead of time.
We'll show you one, the Taco Bell teaser ad. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: It is meant to, you know, get you to talk about it, pass it around. These are only online. A lot of people are doing them. There was a V.W. one this morning that came out. They are trying to get to you talk about the ads -- that's not the ad maybe that's going to be out on super bowl but that's an ad for the ad that will be out on Super Bowl.
BANFIELD: I loved it. Not one brand or image anywhere. It can be that tricky.
So the one that caught -- look, it caught my attention, it caught literally everyone I know attention. This "Sports Illustrated" super model, Kate Upton, a supermodel, is washing a car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE UPTON, MODEL: You missed a spot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Of course, pretty girls sell cars.
BANFIELD: She's not washing a car.
ROMANS: Beautiful women sell cars and beer and this year is no exception. So --
BANFIELD: But here's what I want to know. Might it have been an exception? I'm not sure I want my exception? I'm not so sure I want my 5-year-old to see that.
ROMANS: The fact you said critique. They want us to be talking about it. That is how they get the buzz. The new part of this is social media is changing. Used to be you pay $3 million for your 30 seconds in the game. Now you are trying to use YouTube and your company web site, and us and people and Facebook to send this stuff around.
BANFIELD: I got to go but, after the Super Bowl, I want you to talk about how many eyeballs saw the commercials online.
ROMANS: All right.
BANFIELD: It's a deal. You're locked in.
Back after this.
BANFIELD: A California woman who went to jail for killing her own child is now a free woman and it was only three years between trial and out with the general population. What is unbelievable is the reason that officials said she could be released. Jennifer Bigham was pronounced not guilty. She did go to prison. That is a bit weird. The very same doctors who testified in court that she was insane at the time of the murders came back to be testified that she should be released and that she is now well again and officially cured.
Joey Jackson, defense attorney back with me now.
While many people would be shocked to hear that --
JACKSON: Including us.
BANFIELD: -- that is the system.
JACKSON: It is.
BANFIELD: The system is, if you are not guilty by reason of insanity, you are no murderer. You are sick.
BANFIELD: And if you can get well, you can be back among the living. This case is weird.
JACKSON: That is exactly what it is. Remember what happens when you commit a crime you have to have the mental state to do that. You talk about murder, which she did with regards to drowning your child, that's an intentional act, you would say. You have to know right from wrong. So what is insanity? Insanity is the inability to distinguish right from wrong because of your mental capacity at the time. So you get evaluated. Once you are evaluated, once doctors determine that you are now sane, you are not a danger to yourself or the community, you get released.
BANFIELD: A lot of people are surprised that the same doctors who argued in court that she was insane came back to say she is no longer insane. They do try in these kinds of procedures to get the same doctors to come back and say we worked with this woman. We know the progress and we know that she has come through it and the testimony is important of those first doctors.
JACKSON: 100 percent. It makes it more credible because these are the doctors who are treating and assessed her mental state and whether she was lucid, logical and rational. Those doctors say things have changed. She has gotten better. She has gotten the treatment that she needed but they are the ones to clear her.
BANFIELD: It is not often that the good man and I are stumped.
One thing that stumped us is that "not guilty by reason of insanity" does not mean you walk out of court to go get a burger. It means you go to an institution to be made well again, usually some kind of a psychiatric institution. This judge sent her to prison.
JACKSON: He did.
JACKSON: Ultimately. What will be argued now, he did send her to prison, as opposed to a mental institution. Even if it is prison, you can get the type of treatment that you need. So what the argument is that, although she was in jail, she got the treatment and got better, and now she is able to be released amongst us. Look for the prosecution to contravert with experts saying she is a danger to herself and everyone else.
BANFIELD: They are already appealing. She cannot be tried again. Let's be clear.
BANFIELD: Double jeopardy. She can't be tried for murder again. They can appeal that sentence.
JACKSON: As to whether she should remain in or go out.
BANFIELD: And quickly, Andrea Gates, who killed her five children by drowning them, two trials, and the second one deemed not guilty by reason of insanity. I recall someone in the case saying she will never, ever get out.
JACKSON: Ultimately, doctors will evaluate her and determine whether she has made progress. As you said, Ashleigh, that's our system of justice.
BANFIELD: Like it or hate it, that's the way it is.
Joey Jackson, great to see you.
BANFIELD: Thank you.
Back right after this.
BANFIELD: Who says that soccer is not a contact sport? I don't know if anybody says that. But watch this kick. Chelsea kick. Their most talented young player, seen kicking that ball boy. Look at how the ball boy reacts. Chelsea wasn't having a good game. When the ball ended up underneath the ball boy, thud. Ball boy got kicked. Eden grabbed the ball. Continued play. Some say Hazard is cool. Hazard says no. That red card meant he was off the field for the antics. He did later apologize to the ball boy. I'm not sure the condition of the ball boy at this time. Not fair. Not fun either.
Here is some other incredible video. That is an A.K. And you are looking right into it. Houston area police officer staring right in front of him, coming under fire during a bank robbery-turned-police chase. Shots fired. Jeepers. Dashcam footage of those rounds hitting the cruiser. The police officer was hurt badly. He was hit in the head, the arm. This video now coming to light because of the trial of the guy who did this. Police officer is OK now. This chase happened two years ago. That is what it is like to be one of your bravest.
Thanks very much for being with us throughout NEWSROOM. Nice to have you.
NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL continues now with Suzanne Malveaux.