Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Senate Takes up Gun Control Law; Zimmerman's Attorney Says His Client's Case Does Not Fall Under Stand Your Ground Law; Analysis Of Jodi Arias Case; Real Life Hero of "Argo" Describes Some Differences from Oscar Winning Movie
Aired February 26, 2013 - 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 I promised you I'll stay on this and I meant it. Guns in America. The courageous father who lost his son at Sandy Hook and made it his mission to ban the weapon that killed him.
NEIL HESLIN, SON, JESSE LEWIS, DIED IN SANDY HOOK: It was made to put a lot of -- lead out a battle field quick. That's what it did in Sandy Hook.
MORGAN (voice-over): Neil Heslin tells me what he'll say on Capitol Hill tomorrow.
Also the pizzeria owner who gives a 15 percent discount to anybody packing heat.
(On camera): Why do you want your pizzeria full of people armed to the teeth.
JAY LAZE, OWNER OF ALL AROUND PIZZAS AND DELI: It actually makes me feel more safe.
MORGAN: Plus, are two of the most shocking crime cases America has ever seen? New York's cannibal cop and Arizona's Jodi Arias accused of killing her boyfriend, stabbing him 27 times, slashing his throat and shooting him in the head.
And the real hero behind best picture "Argo".
BEN AFFLECK, DIRECTOR, "ARGO": I'm really proud of the movie. I'm proud of the people that worked on the movie. The story that we're telling is true.
MORGAN: My exclusive with the man who inspired the Best Picture of the Oscars.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MORGAN: Good evening. You're looking live at Capitol Hill where in just a few hours from now the Senate will hold its first hearing on Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban. That ban would outlaw 157 kinds of military assault style weapons. It would also ban large capacity magazines to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
If you've watched this show lately, you know exactly where I stand. I think the ban would be a very good thing for America, but its passage is far from assured. Even the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. The shooter there, it's important to note, used a Bushmaster semiautomatic assault rifle with a 30-round magazine. In fact, many magazines were on his possession.
Joining me now is Neil Heslin. His 6-year-old son was killed at Sandy Hook. He's in Washington to meet with members of Congress about the assault weapons ban. With him is his friend Stephen Grich, whose son was also a tragic victim of gun violence, killed just days before Sandy Hook, during a home invasion near Clemson University.
Welcome to you both. I just want to say from the outset, Neil and Stephen, that you were friends from high school in Connecticut. You've known each other a very long time. Joined in this awful way by the death of your children.
Neil, let me start with you. Tomorrow is a big day for the assault weapons ban, for the ban that's trying to go through on high capacity magazines and so on. Where do you feel this debate now is in America?
HESLIN: I don't know on that. I still believe that there has to be a ban in place for assault rifles and the high capacity magazines.
MORGAN: Stephen, you've also lost a child, as I said, to gun violence. This is a debate that is raging all over America. It's extremely emotive. I can't think of two more appropriate people to be talking about this publicly than you and Neil. What do you hope to achieve by what happens tomorrow?
STEPHEN GRICH, SON KILLED IN HOME INVASION: I hope to achieve, for people to be responsible fully for what weapons they own. If they own a weapon that's used by another individual because they didn't put the gun up safely where it belongs, they need to be responsible for that weapon.
MORGAN: Neil, I'm about to interview somebody. It's an interview I recorded earlier. Somebody who runs a pizza restaurant. And he's offering a 15 percent discount to any customers who turn up at his restaurant armed with guns.
To me, this is a preposterous situation, but I'm interested in your reaction as the father of somebody who lost a child to gun violence. What does it say about America that this kind of thing is happening?
HESLIN: What was the -- could you repeat that? What was the -- he's a --
(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: It's a man who owns -- it's a man who owns a pizza restaurant in Virginia, and he is offering discounted pizzas to any customers who turn up armed with a gun. His reason being he believes it shows his support for the Second Amendment.
HESLIN: Well, I don't think the question -- the question's never been about supporting the Second Amendment. I support the Second Amendment. The big question has been -- it's just banning the assault weapons. And they have no place in the general population. And on the streets or in the schools that our children are in. And that's the defense everybody keeps talking about, the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment.
I've never yet once said I'm not in favor of the Second Amendment. I support the Second Amendment. And the Second Amendment also reads well regulated. It's clear that it hasn't been well regulated. If it was, we wouldn't be having the problems and the mass murders and the massacres that we've had such as Sandy Hook Elementary, which took my son Jesse's life. And there's no reason that should have happened. It's an elementary school and --
MORGAN: No, there isn't.
HESLIN: They're innocent children. And I just -- I'm devastated. I'm heartbroken over it still. And I -- I can't believe my little boy is gone and all that's left is the memories. And I have to be Jesse's voice. There were 25 other victims in that school. And it's just unbelievable that it could happen.
MORGAN: It was an -- it was an appalling tragedy, Neil. I've spoken to you many times. You've become a very powerful, very simple advocate for gun control in America. It's not about really gun control. It's about safety. It's about insuring that no more children like your sons get blown to pieces in the way that they did and also to you, Stephen, with your son, the people who are just not susceptible to so much of this gun violence in America.
I thank you both for joining me. I wish you all the very best luck tomorrow. It's a very important day in this gun control debate. And I wish you every success tomorrow in achieving many of the things I think most Americans are in favor of.
HESLIN: Thank you, Piers.
GRICH: Thank you.
MORGAN: And I want to turn to the other side of a gun debate. A pizzeria owner in Virginia Beach is giving customers a 15 percent discount if they bring in their firearms. That's right. You get a cheap pizza if you come in armed to the teeth.
Not surprisingly, I'm not a huge fan of this idea. So I want to debate it with Jay Laze, the owner of All Around Pizzas and Deli.
MORGAN: So, Mr. Laze, explain to me why this is not as dumb as I think it is.
LAZE: This is not a dumb idea because the majority of gun holders are responsible people. As you can see behind me, the majority of people behind me are gun holders and there's no death or shooting going on.
MORGAN: Yes, but why do you want your pizzeria full of people armed to the teeth?
LAZE: It actually makes me feel more safe.
LAZE: It makes me feel more safe because these are responsible people. And if a criminal decides to do anything funny, I have these people to back me up.
MORGAN: How do you know the people that are coming to get your discount aren't mentally ill or criminals?
LAZE: I guess because they can walk in on their own two feet and they drove here?
MORGAN: So people who could walk on their own two feet and who can drive a car are not mentally ill or criminals?
LAZE: They're innocent until they're proven guilty.
MORGAN: I mean, here's my argument with you.
MORGAN: You say you're doing this to support the Second Amendment. What do you think is happening --
LAZE: I am.
MORGAN: -- to the Second Amendment?
LAZE: I think it's being eroded. The Second Amendment says it shall not be infringed yet in 1934 Franklin Roosevelt signed the First National Firearms Act. And ever since then he opened Pandora's box and we've slowly been seeing our rights be eliminated. Of course we've seen Obama talk about forcing us to register our guns and that always precedes confiscation because what they want us to do is volunteer the information that we have a gun and that just lets them go directly to our house and collect our gun.
MORGAN: Actually, what he's doing, as you well know, is trying to shut down the loopholes precisely for the reasons that I put to you that you haven't got a clue who is bring these guns into your pizza place. You don't have a clue.
But do you know anybody under President Obama right now -- who is the president, as you know. LAZE: Yes.
MORGAN: Do you know anybody that he's asked to remove their gun, to confiscate their gun?
LAZE: Personally, I don't know them.
MORGAN: Right. Because the point is if you see President Obama doesn't want to take away anybody's gun. It's a complete myth. There's not a single --
LAZE: Right. He might not want to --
MORGAN: Confiscation of a single weapon. Well, the point is, he's the president and the law he's trying to --
LAZE: Right. He might not want to take away the guns, but --
MORGAN: Not one of them involves confiscation.
LAZE: But future presidents might want to take away our guns.
MORGAN: You are quite happy for American civilians to march into your restaurant with rocket launchers, arriving in armed tanks and perhaps carrying a few Uzi submachine guns, is that your position?
LAZE: Well, the thing is I don't trust our government. And they out- firepower we the people even with the weapons that we have right now that are legal if they decided to wage war on the people themself, we would lose in a heartbeat. And now they want us just to have shotguns? That makes it even easier for them to do what they want. Now --
MORGAN: Right. So what you're saying is that they -- OK. Let me clarify again because it's important that I understand what you're saying.
MORGAN: You believe that your government --
LAZE: All right.
MORGAN: Current President Barack Obama, may well attack its own people. How are they going to do that, with the American military or without the American military?
LAZE: Well, it really isn't our government that I'm worried about, it's something bigger than our government. It's the United Nations.
LAZE: Right now --
MORGAN: So the United Nations is about to attack American people. Which part of the United Nations do you think is about to launch an attack on the greatest military power that the planet earth has ever seen, that has 5,000 nuclear warheads? Which part of the world do you imagine is right now marshaling its troops to invade America?
LAZE: I'm not saying they are going to do that. I'm saying we need the Second Amendment as insurance against them trying anything funny.
MORGAN: How many of your customers share your views, do you think?
LAZE: I couldn't tell you a number on that.
MORGAN: I would imagine that the profits you're making from this extremely cynical commercial exercise involving armed people who you have no idea who they are coming to your restaurant will perk up your profits nicely. And that's why you're doing it, to make money, isn't it?
LAZE: I am trying to make money because that will -- how it's supposed to work is I can save money, and then I could use it later in life to support me when I put my work into society.
MORGAN: Right. But your failure to make enough money has got nothing to do with your liberty. That you are living in one of the great free countries of the world. It has nothing to do with your liberty.
MORGAN: And the fact is that there are already 50 gun control measures in America and they're all imminently sensible, but America has 12,000 gun murders a year, 18,000 people kill themselves with guns every, 100,000 Americans get hit by gunfire every year. And every statistic you could possibly see would tell you that when you have a house or a room or dare I say your current restaurant with loads of guns around accidents happen, and people get shot and killed.
That's a reality.
LAZE: That's right --
MORGAN: It doesn't make anything safer. It makes things more dangerous.
LAZE: Accidents do happen. I mean, that's life. That's what we have to deal with is accidents happen and there are bad people and there are people on drugs that don't have any control over their body and we have to deal with it because that's real life.
We can't -- car accidents happen every day. People lose their life. It's a tragedy, but it's something that we have to live with.
MORGAN: How many people have been shot in your restaurant since you've owned it?
MORGAN: Zero. So actually there's been no gun threat to your restaurant whatsoever. The only threat now is --
MORGAN: -- because you're encouraging all these people who may or may not be criminals or mentally insane people to come in armed to the teeth with weapons, the likelihood of there being an accident in your place or somebody doing something stupid has just massively increased. So actually rather than making your restaurant safer going from zero shooting, you have now increased a massively higher probability of there being a shooting in your restaurant.
And that is why I called you an idiot the other night because it's an idiotic premise to work off that somehow going from no shootings in your restaurant to encouraging everybody in the area without any way of checking who they are to come in armed to the teeth is going to make your restaurant safer.
And that's exactly the kind of attitude that is unfortunately causing America, the most hideous gun violence problems.
Mr. Laze, good luck with your promotion. I hope it fails spectacularly. Thank you for joining me.
LAZE: OK. Thank you.
MORGAN: Quite extraordinary.
Anyway, from an idea I hate to an idea I love. Hip-hop mogul Michael Blue Williams has a plan to get guns off the streets of New York. He's creating a private gun buy-back program offering mentorships and even a chance of Beyonce tickets to anyone who turns in a gun. Great idea.
When we come back, George Zimmerman's attorney talks to me exclusively on the anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death.
And later, a real-life spy whose story inspired Ben Affleck's "Argo." His first interview since the Oscars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: And don't think about the color of the child. Think about that child going to school. Think about that child hanging out with his father, with his mom, skiing, skateboarding, doing all these fun things that a 17-year-old child does. And then think about that child on his way home to see his father and all of a sudden, that child has his life taken from him.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Actor Jamie Foxx at the Million Hoodie Candlelight Vigil in New York tonight on the one-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death. It was a case that got America talking about Stand Your Ground. And joining me now exclusively is Mark O'mMara. He's the attorney for George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin.
Mark, welcome back. We've spoken many times in the last year about this case. And I'm aware you'll be restricted from talking about some of the details, obviously with an impending trial coming. Tell me this, sir, how much is this in the end going to be about Stand Your Ground? Because I'm led to believe there is a process called immunity where you can apply for the Stand Your Ground law to be applied, as it is in Florida. And if it's successful, there may not even be a trial.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: That's correct. 2005, the legislature changed a couple of things. First, they said if you act reasonably and in self-defense, then you can have an immunity hearing. A hearing before a judge to determine if in fact you acted in self- defense, you should not stand trial. You shouldn't even be prosecuted and even shouldn't be arrested. That was one of the changes.
The other change that it made -- and this is the one that causes a lot of confusion -- is they added a provision to the statute that said -- and it's known as the Stand Your Ground statute. They say if you are in a situation where you are legally where you can be and you have the ability to retreat before using deadly force, you don't have to do that any more in Florida.
That is the Stand Your Ground. I have said many times that George Zimmerman case is not a Stand Your Ground case, not because we're going to avoid the immunity portion of it, but because the facts don't support that George had an opportunity to retreat and didn't. He just didn't have the opportunity, so it's not a Stand Your Ground case.
MORGAN: I mean, in terms the of a Stand Your Ground law, which now applies in quite a few states in America, the NRA aggressively lobbied in Florida in particular for this. But since the law came into practice, justifiable homicides have doubled. I mean, this law is just a dangerous farce, isn't it? I mean, putting aside this particular case, wouldn't you as a compassionate lawyer just feel that this is just not working?
O'MARA: Well, I'm not saying I agree that justifiable homicides have increased. What's happened is there's been pretrial determinations that a homicide was justifiable so they don't go to trial. But if you look at the cases in Florida, the 215 or so cases that happened since the law was passed, in about two-thirds of those cases, immunity was granted.
Now understand what that means. That the judge looks at a case and says, under our law, you did what you were allowed to do under the statute. Now, I will tell you that there was a small percentage of that large spectrum of cases where people truly do actually stand their ground. But we have to be really careful not to confuse the immunity hearing, which includes all self-defense cases, and the very small percentage of true Stand Your Ground, that being defined as "I could have retreated, and I decided not to." That is a difference.
MORGAN: Right. People, as you know, they've been trying to position this also as a form of racetrial, that somehow your client racially profiled Trayvon Martin. That's why he went after him, that is what led to the encounter and Trayvon's death. How are you countering that? Do you feel in the end that it will be seen as that once the trial has been and gone?
O'MARA: First of all, we're countering it by trying to get out more of the information that should have been out at the beginning. The unique thing about this case is that it was handled in the beginning where a lot of information came to the forefront and was really focused upon that suggested it was in fact a racial event.
However, once the FBI got involved, we know that everything that they looked into, they found absolutely no racism. As a matter of fact, they found a lot of events and instances where George was what you might call an absolute non-racist. So, the racial overtones early in the case, we've been trying to dispel by getting out the rest of the evidence.
To answer the rest of your question, my hope -- my fear is that this case is going to be connected to a civil rights victory or loss. My hope is that we will learn to divorce the verdict, whatever that verdict might be, from the true questions that need to be answered about the civil rights question, which is, as I've said many times, how are young black males being treated in the system and how can we approach that question? The more people that consider an acquittal of George Zimmerman to be a loss for civil rights, the worse for civil rights.
MORGAN: A lot of this case in the end may well come down to one premise: did George Zimmerman pursue Trayvon Martin against the advice of the police? Are you confident from everything that you know that in the end George Zimmerman will be seen not to have done that?
O'MARA: I believe so. I believe, you know, again, the evidence is what it is and that's for a jury to determine. But a close reading or looking at that tape and all the evidence that followed, particularly George's injuries and Trayvon's lack of injuries but for the fatal gunshot, suggest that George did not begin the fight, did not continue the fight and actually was the victim of the attack rather than the other way around.
MORGAN: Mark O'Mara, thank you very much.
O'MARA: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming up, the latest on two more extraordinary headline- grabbing trials. I must warn you the details are pretty graphic. The cannibal cop case and the shocking Jodi ARIAS murder trial. I talk to some of the country's top legal minds about both of these cases
MORGAN: Two shocking crime cases on the docket tonight. I must warn you, the details are extremely graphic. In New York, the man they're calling the cannibal cop. A police officer accused of plotting to kidnap, murder and cook a series of women, including his wife.
And in Arizona, Jodi Arias is charged with killing her boyfriend by stabbing him 27 times, slashing his throat and shooting in the head. For the latest on both those cases, I want to start with Jane Velez- Mitchell, host of HLN's "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL."
Jane, I mean, extraordinary case, this Jodi Arias case. Just fill me in. For those like me who have sort of not really been following it and then suddenly become aware that this woman has been on the stand for 11 quite extraordinary days of testimony --
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: They're a Broadway show.
MORGAN: -- and now suddenly is gripping everyone, what do you make of it?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, this is a triple-X-rated case. And she says, yes, I did kill my lover, Travis Alexander, but I did it because I was a sexually battered and degraded woman who was debased and made to feel like a used piece of toilet paper and a prostitute. And oh, I was forced into all this unwanted anal and oral sex.
Well, the prosecutor is showing that she initiated a lot of this kinky S&M sex talk and that she really wanted to have sex with Tootsie Pops. You can do the math on that one. I'm not going to touch that one. But also, for example, the prosecutor unveiled a text where she's begging Travis Alexander to do some of the very things that she has previously described on direct as extremely degrading and debasing. So is she really doing a disservice to all women who are truly battered, Piers?
MORGAN: Well, let's take a listen to some of the stuff today, which was pretty gruesome, compelling, whatever you want to call it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think somebody who masturbates to pictures of little boys is beautiful on the inside, right?
JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I don't think that aspect of him is beautiful at all. I think it's sickening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says, "Travis, you're beautiful on the inside and out," doesn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were the one that had the KY or brought it into the relationship to make it better, right?
ARIAS: To facilitate our activities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, on the other hand, you're telling us, well, I felt like a prostitute. Which one is it?
ARIAS: Well, when he jizzes on my face and throws candy my way and walks away without a word, it kind of feels like I was a prostitute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I want to bring in Linda Fairstein. She's the former head of the Manhattan sex crimes unit and the best-selling crime novelist. Also attorneys Gloria Allred and Alan Dershowitz. Let's start with you, Linda. I mean, personally I've watched her now on and off for the last few days. I don't really believe a word she's saying, this woman. I think she has murdered this guy, and that's the end of it. But am I missing something?
LINDA FAIRSTEIN, FORMER HEAD OF MANHATTAN SEX CRIMES UNIT: No, I don't think you're missing anything at all. I think whether or not the prosecutor's attitude and tone in approaching her is the best one, he's certainly been able to -- to make her out to be a liar. She's certainly changed her position often enough. And changed the facts.
And I think to Jane's point, when anybody's heard the story of a battered or abused woman or someone in a relationship who has been degraded, this is not that story. Disproved by all of the earlier e- mails and correspondence and notes. I think she's lying and has murdered.
MORGAN: Right. Let me go to Gloria Allred. This is the point that I think will anger many women, is that if she is lying through her back teeth, using the cover of somehow being this poor innocent victim of a domestically violent man is really appalling, isn't it?
GLORIA ALLRED, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is appalling, Piers. I'm very offended by it. But, of course, she's fighting for her life. This is a death penalty case. She's trying to assert self-defense, which by the way was not her original story. Originally it was, I wasn't there. Then the story changed to it was an intruder who did it. Then it changed again to it was self-defense. Now it's battered women and then experts to come on that.
So I think she's really got an uphill climb on that. There are lies and there are damn lies. And I think there are a lot of damn lies coming out of her mouth right now.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, the -- I guess the issue for the prosecution is how far do they take what is already one of the longest parts of testimony I can remember in a case. She's been on for 11 days now. Are they damaging their case by putting her up there for too long?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: You know, there are two issues that are really being presented at the same time. One, does she have any kind of defense of self-defense? I don't think anybody realistically thinks she has any chance of being acquitted on self-defense. But they're also trying the second phase of the case here, the death penalty phase.
Under Arizona law -- I've litigated Arizona death penalty cases in Arizona. You get a second shot at the apple if there's been a conviction. But you usually try to create a sympathetic atmosphere during the guilt phase of the case as well. And so they're trying to do that. I think the prosecution is falling into the defense trap.
What the defense did is kept her on a long, long time, 10 days or so. Now they're keeping her on -- the prosecution is keeping her on probably too long. They appear to be a little bit bullying. They may be creating a little bit of sympathy among the jury not for a defense but for the death penalty phase of the case.
So sometimes less is more. And if I were a prosecutor, I would be just focusing on, you stabbed him 27 times, you shot him. Even if you didn't like the sex, that's no excuse for killing somebody. That's not what battered women syndrome is all about.
Let's get the conviction first, then you worry about the death penalty.
MORGAN: Jane Velez-Mitchell, there's a kind of Casey Anthony feel to this trial building up, isn't there? And it's to do I think with her personality and the way that she's conducting herself in a courtroom with cameras there. Would we be going even remotely as far as we are if she wasn't there on our television screens, do you think?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she is very mesmerizing. You're absolutely right, Piers. There's a lot of parallels to Casey Anthony. All the talking heads thought she was going to be convicted and she was acquitted. I think they could get this one wrong, too, because I do believe the prosecutor is making some mistakes.
For example, he hammered in on the fact that she had breast implants. Wow, there are women in the jury. So maybe some of them have had breast implants. Millions of women have had breast implants for very legitimate reasons. So this could break down along gender lines.
FAIRSTEIN: On the other hand, Piers, I think the prosecutor is doing a very good job of impeaching her, using her own diary, using her own texts, using her own words to the police before she shifted to this new defense that she has, relatively new. I think she's in trouble.
MORGAN: I couldn't agree more.
DERSHOWITZ: Let's also face one other reality.
MORGAN: Very quickly, please.
DERSHOWITZ: One other reality, the fact that she's an attractive young woman. Attractive young women don't get the death penalty in America as often as unattractive or men. I think they're playing that angle a little bit as well.
MORGAN: Yeah, I'm sure that's true. Jane, for now, thank you very much. My lawyer experts will stay with me. Unbelievably, that isn't the most shocking crime story out there right now in a courtroom. We're going to come back after the break with the New York City alleged cannibal cop, a quite disturbing and extraordinary tale.
MORGAN: The case of the cannibal cop has shocked even "see it all" New Yorkers. I want to warn you again about the graphic details. A police officer on trial for plotting to kidnap, kill and eat dozens of women. The defense claims they were just fantasies.
CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick joins me now with the latest. Deborah, a really grisly, grisly case. It comes down to this, is this guy just fantasizing or is there enough evidence to suggest he was really planning to do this?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what the jurors basically are going to have to decide. They're going to have to decide whether, in fact, this was some crazy fantasy fetish or whether the facts show that he was planning to do this? What prosecutors did today is they introduced a series of e-mails to try to prove that this cop, this six-year veteran of the NYPD actually conspired with others online to kidnap a woman, then cook her, and eat her.
They talk about different body parts, how they're going to basically prepare her. They're going to make bacon out of her stomach, or at one point they're going to cook the feet as she watches and screams in torture and terror. There was a lot of thinking that appears to have gone into this.
But Valle's lawyer -- Gilberto Valle, his lawyer basically says, look, this was pure fiction. This was not real. There's no evidence to suggest that, in fact, any of this sort of kidnapping was going to take place. Even though he was online chatting with another man, there was no exchange of real details. So they were sort of existing in this virtual world, talking about these virtual crimes, these virtual kidnappings.
So a lot for the jury to take in because the e-mails are so graphic. At one point, he basically says, you know, look, he wants to -- he says, oh, she does look tasty, doesn't she, and then says the abduction will have to be flawless. He wants his other online cannibal to pay 5,000 dollars for the privilege of abducting this woman who he knows from college.
So just a lot of varied details that are coming out at this trial. And the jury is listening intently.
MORGAN: Deb, thanks very much, indeed. I want to bring back Linda FAIRSTEIN. She's the former head of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit, and my attorneys, Gloria Allred and Alan Dershowitz.
Linda, I mean, it's a sickening case. The details in these e-mails are utterly revolting. But from your expert eye, looking at this, is it possible that he could just be having lurid, unpleasant fantasies?
FAIRSTEIN: When the Internet first became available to everybody and we started to have child pornography on it and exchanges, there were clearly people who are fantasizing and not going to go any further than use that pornography in their own homes. And this is a huge challenge in this case. But I do think it's gone further when you -- the wife's testimony today was very graphic about how she discovered this, her efforts to get her child out of the house and get out of the state.
You've got the fact that he went on to a New York City Police Department law enforcement database to try to find some of the women. I mean, he actually took a step that's beyond the fantasy, beyond the Internet, beyond just enjoying this in his own room, that he made contact -- he has his wife under his own roof, obviously. But he made contact with two other young woman at least. And the prosecutor may have more, who he -- one of whom he had brunch with, one of whom he invited to his home in New York for a weekend.
And in this conspiracy theory, if they can prove -- if the prosecution is able to prove that he took overt steps to doing this -- people don't like to hear this, but cannibalism exists. There have been other cases of it. I think your other guests tonight know that. So it's very repellent to a jury and they may want to think it's a fantasy. And I think the prosecution has a difficult job. But I think this is as good a case short of a murder that you are going to find with this fact.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, is that enough to be a case as good as a murder? Because in reality if they cannot prove that he was genuinely going to do this, then presumably he will walk, won't he?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I teach about these cases in my criminal law class and I write about them. The interesting thing is if he had done this all by himself, if there hadn't been a conspiracy charge, if they were charging him just with plotting or attempting to kill, he'd be acquitted because you can't convict somebody just for planning or plotting or wanting to do something.
But once he talked to somebody else -- and in this case they don't even know who it was -- then it becomes a conspiracy. If they can prove there was an agreement between him and somebody else to actually do it -- now, they have to prove that both of the people really intended to do it, that it can't be a fantasy on the part of either of them. But if they can overcome that burden of proof, then they'll win the case.
This is a really cutting edge issue, because it poses the question when does the criminal law intrude when you have somebody who we can't ever be absolutely certain he would do it, but we're very worried. Do you want to make the kind of mistake that errs on the side of putting someone in jail who might not have done it or not putting somebody in jail who might have done it? Do we really believe better 10 guilty go free than one innocent --
MORGAN: Right. Let me bring in Gloria there, because it seems to me that even if he wasn't going to carry out these appalling crimes, the mere fact he's put these women, including his wife and female friends, through this appalling psychological trauma, that they must be reading about this sickening plot that he was e-mailing people about, is that not in itself a crime? ALLRED: Not really just to worry them, but having said that --
MORGAN: Isn't that abuse to his wife?
ALLRED: There are more details. He is Googling. There is evidence that he looked up online, what's the best rope to tie somebody up with? How do you make chloroform? What's the recipe for cooking human flesh? These kinds of details will be pretty shocking to a jury. The fact that he went and put real women -- the photos of real women online and that he was trying to find out the routine of some of these real women, perhaps in order to carry out some of his scheme, these are the issues that the jury are going to have to grapple with.
And I'm so glad that his wife picked up the baby and left and then turned over her computer and whatever she had to the authorities, because I'm sure she was fearing that she was at risk of harm and really didn't know the person that she was married to.
MORGAN: And the most disturbing thing of all is he's a New York policeman. I've got to leave it there, I'm afraid -- sorry, Alan, very quickly.
DERSHOWITZ: It really shows that when you have a doubt like this, you leave, you take action, presuming he'll do it. But when you have the criminal trial, you may have to reverse the presumption and say, when in doubt, you can't convict.
ALLRED: They don't have to prove beyond any doubt whatsoever, just beyond a reasonable doubt.
MORGAN: It's a fascinating case. We'll see how it all unravels. But for now, Linda, Gloria and Alan, thank you all very much. Two very grizzly cases there, but they are gripping people.
Coming up, my exclusive interview with the real life hero of "Argo." The true story may be even stranger than Affleck's Oscar winning version.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN AFFLECK, ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I want to thank, you know, Jack McNeese and Jerry Beck, Marty Breth (ph), my brother and mom and dad, and Patrick Weitzle and Tony Mendez, who led us do his story.
CHRIS TERRIO, ACADEMY AWARD WINNING SCREENWRITER: I wanted to dedicate this to a man named Tony Mendez. Thirty three years ago, Tony, using nothing but his creativity and his intelligence, got six people out of a very bad situation. And so I want to dedicate this to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Ben Affleck and screen writer Chris Terrio accepting the Oscars for "Argo" about the seemingly far-fetched plan to rescue six Americans trapped in Iran during the hostage crisis.
Joining me now in his first interview since the Oscars, the former CIA agent whose real life exploits are the basis of the film, Tony Mendez, who tells the story in "Argo" of how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history. Also joining us is Tony's wife, Jonna Mendez, a former agent herself, and "Argo" co-author Matt Baglio. Welcome to you all.
Let me start with you, Tony, if I may. What an amazing moment that must have been for you, when Michelle Obama read out the one word, "Argo," and you realize that your story had just been made best picture at the Oscars. Tell me about how you felt in the moment.
TONY MENDEZ, HERO OF "ARGO": It was beyond belief. It was -- the emotional reaction was amazing. Nothing I ever did in the service was as scary as that moment. But it also had the high as well as the low.
MORGAN: And Jonna, for you sitting there, you have obviously been through so much together, not just at the CIA, but in the gestation period of this movie. Must have been great emotional moment for the pair of you. Wasn't it?
JONNA MENDEZ, FORMER CIA AGENT: You know, it was five years pretty much from beginning to end. At the end, we cried when we won. We cried when Chris Terrio won. I think we cried the first time we saw the movie. The whole thing has just been an emotional roller coaster, but a good one.
Can't wait to see it again and see if we just keep crying. It was something. It was something. It was unexpected.
MORGAN: Matt Baglio, there's been lots of conjecture about how accurate the actual movie is in terms of history. What is your reaction to the reaction so far?
MATT BAGLIO, AUTHOR, "ARGO": Well, you know, it's tough. It's a movie. I think people understand that. It's not a documentary. Hollywood movies tend to take liberties with the facts. There was -- there were some things that were omitted from the real story of "Argo."
One of the reasons Tony and I wanted to write this book was because we wanted to get the real story out there. You know, I think the movie focuses more on Tony's side of events. Real life, the Canadians, of course, were instrumental in taking in the Americans when nobody else really would. That's also portrayed in the film.
There are a couple things that are different in real life. But on the whole, I think emotionally and the tone of the film, I think they did a pretty good job.
MORGAN: Tony, I want to play you a clip from my interview with Jimmy Carter last week when he directly got involved in this controversy and said he wished the Canadians had gotten more credit. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only thing I would say was that 90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good.
But Ben Affleck's character in the film was only in Tehran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was a Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Jimmy Carter there. Now Tony, I think people would say that you're all heroes really. Everyone involved in this was a hero. So it's not really a question of who was more heroic than anybody else. But did you think that the president had a point there, that perhaps the Canadians in the movie version didn't get quite enough of the credit they probably deserved?
T. MENDEZ: I think that's always true. Sometimes the numbers trip you up. And maybe we could say once again, thanks, Canada. Certainly they deserve it. They were putting their life on the line for 86 days. Actually, I stayed there four days. But if I had taken 86 days to execute the operation, I think I would have got fired.
MORGAN: Listen, to me, you're an absolute all-American hero. You've got no problems with me. Jonna, you're jumping to get in there. Do you feel a little bit -- I don't know, a little bit miffed that people are trying to mar the great moment by saying, come on, give Canada more credit? Do you think that your husband deserves all the adulation that's being showered upon him?
J. MENDEZ: I'm always ready to jump in there. It's a bit of a problem sometimes. I think there's plenty of heroism to go around. I'm a little perplexed by President Carter's statement. When Tony did this operation, like all operations at CIA, you file an extensive report afterwards. That report has been up on CIA's website for 13, 15 years now. Tony wrote it three weeks after the event. It's pretty much the ground truth of what happened.
And anyone who reads that report and anyone can read that report would see that it was a couple months of hard work by a whole bunch of people getting ready to launch Tony into Tehran. So to dismiss it saying a day and a half and 10 percent kind of-- kind of cut against the grain, as far as I was concerned. There's plenty of heroism here. There was no one who didn't come out of this looking good.
There was no bloodshed. There was no violence. It was a matter of wits. And Tony got them out.
MORGAN: And Tony, there is that suggestion that you were a bit fed up with Ben Affleck playing you. You would have preferred George Clooney. Is that true? T. MENDEZ: No, actually the women would prefer George. Ben was a good guy to work with. But I was really concerned about that was he good-looking enough to play me?
MORGAN: One of the craziest stories I think I can ever remember, brought to life in such a vivid way, where actually the real story was almost more crazy than the movie, which is very unusual. But thank you both for joining me. And thank you, Matt.
T. MENDEZ: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now.