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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Inmate Freed by Mistake; Michael Jackson Family Lawsuit; NRA Plan for Guns in Schools; News on Late Night Wars

Aired April 2, 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, you just heard Conrad Murray. This is what Michael Jackson's mother says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHERINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S MOTHER: He did a terrible thing. And it might have been others involved, I don't know that, but I feel that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now she's suing the company that produced Michael's comeback for $40 billion. It says billion with a B. Does she have a case?

Plus a widow's pain. Her husband's killer got out of prison by mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE LEON, VICTIM'S WIDOW: Just a simple sorry ain't going to suffice in my book.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I'll talk to her live. And the one thing you didn't expect in the late night wars. Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon's lovey-dovey duet. It's a PR coups for Leno or for Fallon? Or maybe just NBC.

Plus, my exclusive with Masters champion, Bubba Watson. A man who told me this the last time he was here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Why have you given me the big exclusive interview?

BUBBA WATSON, CHAMPION GOLFER: Because when you were on this other show you were (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Good evening. This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. And a lot coming up on the Michael Jackson case. An extraordinary interview with Dr. Conrad Murray with Anderson Cooper conducted earlier. We begin in Colorado tonight, where investigators are faced with the question. How could it have happened? How could a man who was behind bars for robbery and menacing who was written up 23 times for disciplinary issues behind bars, who was once a member of a white supremacist prison gang, who threatened to kill guards and beat up other inmates? How could someone like that be set free four years too soon on a technicality, a mistake, an accident?

Evan Ebel was let loose in January because of a clerical error. He's now believed to have killed Nathan Leon, an IBM employee who delivered pizzas on the side, then Colorado prison chief Tom Clements. Ebel himself was killed in a shootout with sheriff's deputies in Texas on March 21st. Meanwhile, the widow of Nathan Leon is devastated. Listen to what she had to say earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON: It happened once, it's going to happen again. I mean, they -- clerical error. Clerical error ain't going to bring my husband back. It's not going to bring Tom Clements back. It's not going to bring my children's father back.

I mean, how do you tell your 4-year-old daughters that? And have to go on the rest your life knowing that this could have been prevented? If somebody would have done their job? And stood up and went through that paperwork before they ever released this monster into society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And joining me now is Katie Leon along with her mother, Bernadette Alnes.

Welcome to you both. Extremely powerful and emotional comments there from you, Katie. I mean, it's an almost unbelievable case, this, that somebody like this man, Evan Ebel, was released four years early by mistake with a record like his.

Expand on how you're feeling about this, Katie. You've got three young girls at home, twin girls of 4, and a 6-year-old girl who have now lost their father because of a clerical mistake. How does that make you feel?

LEON: I'm outraged. I'm hurt. I'm sick to the pit of my stomach. I mean, I'm just -- I'm hurt.

MORGAN: When did you hear that Nathan had been killed?

LEON: I heard Monday, early afternoon.

MORGAN: When you heard the details of Evan Ebel's background, 28 different disciplinary punishments while inside prison, links to white supremacist groups, et cetera, et cetera, an incredibly dangerous, nasty piece of work, the idea that he was let loose by error and that he then killed your husband, it makes me angry. I never knew your husband, but it makes me so angry this has happened to you and your family. LEON: Thank you. Yes, I was pretty upset.

MORGAN: What do you say to the Colorado court officials? They've apologized for the clerical error. Apparently the judge wasn't clear on the paperwork so Ebel served a concurrent sentence instead of a consecutive sentence. Even as I'm reading that, it seems extraordinary that this should have happened, never mind all the disciplinary action that went on inside.

Let me ask you, Bernadette, as Katie's mother and as the grandmother of these poor young girls now who have no father, what is your reaction as you found out more and more about the background here?

BERNADETTE ALNES, KATIE LEON'S MOTHER: Disbelief, I think, because there's so many mistakes. I don't understand. I've had faith in the judicial system all my life and it's one mistake after another mistake. Nobody took the time to question, to make sure that it was right. This could have been prevented if somebody would have just taken a minute to ask. Do a cross-check. My daughter would have had her husband, my grandchildren would have their dad.

MORGAN: To make things even worse for you --

ALNES: And we're angry.

MORGAN: I'm sorry, Bernadette. You continue.

ALNES: I said, and we're angry. We're very angry. We're outraged. We don't have words and I don't know if there are words that could even offer any comfort. It hurts. It's painful.

MORGAN: Katie, let me ask you about another aspect of this, which is incredibly disturbing, which is that Evan Ebel, he got hold of his gun illegally in his case, but he got it from somebody who had bought it legally. Stevie Marie Vigil. She now faces up to 16 years in prison herself for selling this firearm to this maniac, there's no other way to describe him.

When you heard about that, I would imagine your anger was simply increased even further.

LEON: Yes. Yes. It was. To think that she would purchase the gun for this crazed lunatic who would eventually take my husband's life, anger doesn't even touch how I feel.

MORGAN: There's an ongoing debate as I'm sure you're aware about all aspects of gun control since the Sandy Hook atrocity. One of the big areas of debate is about background checks. Clearly in this case, there was no background check. There was no check at all. This convicted felon, a very dangerous man, like I say, I'll repeat it again, 28 disciplinary offenses while inside prison, threatening to kill a female guard, fighting with other inmates repeatedly, refusing orders, et cetera, et cetera. That he is able to come out and so easily purchase the gun that killed your husband.

Do you have a view about gun control, about background checks, about any of those things that have been so heatedly discussed in America?

LEON: I think that they need to be more cautious and I guess look into who purchase these guns. I don't necessarily have a problem with guns. It's just the lunatics that are put behind those guns. The people that have access to these guns and do these horrific acts. It sickens me. I think that people need to take a closer look to how easy it is to purchase a gun.

MORGAN: Your husband worked for IBM but he was delivering pizzas on the side to make some extra money to take you and the kids on vacation. You had just been to Disneyland. He sounds a great guy. Tell me about him.

LEON: He was the light of my life. He was an amazing husband. The most wonderful father. He was funny. He was kind. He saw the good in everybody. He never had a bad word to say about anybody. He just thought everybody had a good side. He didn't see the bad in anything. He was a good man.

ALNES: Yes, he was.

LEON: He was a very good man.

ALNES: Yes, he was.

MORGAN: Have you been able to talk properly to your daughters about what's happened? Have you been able to explain it at all?

LEON: I haven't went into detail. I think my kids pretty much know with just the silence and seeing mommy upset and crying and not knowing where daddy is. I've explained to them that daddy's an angel and daddy's always with them and daddy loves them very much, but I have not went into detail. I think they're too young for that right now.

MORGAN: It's an appalling story, and I'm so sorry I've had to talk to you under such tragic circumstances. I'm so sorry for your loss.

LEON: Thank you.

MORGAN: Really, words can hardly begin to describe how angry I am about what's happened here in terms of the complete breakdown in any kind of official authority or checking or anything from the gun to him being released early by mistake to all of it. A catalog of mistakes that should never have happened that have led to your husband being shot dead in cold blood, and it is an unforgivable series of errors by a variety of people.

But for now, thank you very much, Katie, for joining me, and to you, Bernadette. I wish you all the very best in rebuilding your lives and particularly for your three young girls. And I hope you can find a way to do that without the great distress that you must be feeling overwhelming you.

LEON: Thank you.

ALNES: Thank you.

MORGAN: An awful story.

Coming next, why Michael Jackson's mother is suing for $40 billion. Who's to blame for the death of the king of pop? I'll ask his former attorney.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S AC 360: At the heart of this trial, of the AEG trial, is a simple question. Were you an AEG employee, someone they had a responsibility for, or were you an employee of Michael Jackson? Can you answer that question?

VALERIE WASS, DR. CONRAD MURRAY'S LAWYER: I don't want Dr. Murray to answer that question.

COOPER: OK.

CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON'S PHYSICIAN: No, I cannot. Not at this time.

COOPER: Okay. I understand that. Can I ask you, do you know -- I mean, do you know the answer to that question?

MURRAY: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Anderson Cooper just a few minutes ago talking to Conrad Murray and asking him the key question, who hired him? Murray's lawyer wouldn't let him answer, but the Jackson family is suing concert promoter AEG, saying the company is to blame for hiring Murray in the first place.

Joining me now, a man who knows Michael Jackson pretty well better than most people. Thomas Mesereau, who represented him, of course, during his molestation trial. Tom, fascinating interview that he had there with Anderson Cooper. What did you make of it, in particular that first clip there which I guess is into the key of all this. Who was employing Conrad Murray to be a practitioner for Michael Jackson?

THOMAS MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Well, there's no question in my mind, Piers, that the concert promoter employed Conrad Murray. Michael Jackson may have introduced Murray to them. But they had their lawyers draft an employment agreement, they sent that agreement to Murray to sign, he signed it. Apparently there's e-mail correspondence where they're admitting they had employed him. And I think they'll have a tough time getting out of that position.

MESEREAU: How will that affect the litigation that's about to start tomorrow with the family led by Michael's mother suing for $40 billion? How will that affect that, if you assume that what you've just said is correct, which I concur with? MESEREAU: I don't think this Conrad Murray interview is going to affect that case at all. I think everyone knows that Murray was incompetent. He was convicted of criminal negligence. He caused the death of Michael Jackson.

The question is, was AEG, the concert promoter, also negligent, and they can't just hide behind Conrad Murray. I think there's an e-mail trail where they're taking responsibility for hiring him. They're instructing him what to do, they're reminding him that they pay him his money. I think they'll have a tough time. I think Katherine and the kids have a strong case.

MORGAN: Let's listen to another clip. This is where he talks about Propofol, which is of course the killer drug.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Yes, indeed, I did order Propofol to his home, but I was not the one that brought Propofol into his home. I met him at his own stash. I did not agree with Michael. But Michael felt it was not an issue because he had been exposed to it for years and he knew exactly how things worked. And given the situation at the time, it was my approach to try to get him off of it. I never knew he was an addict. He was going to Dr. Kline's office and being loaded up with humongous -- you know, levels of Demerol. That was his addiction. And basically, this was causing his insomnia and -- because that's a huge side effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And you hear -- I listened to Conrad Murray when he came out. He obviously didn't testify in his case but he then gave an interview to the Today Show at the time, and it's sort of more of the same, I guess. Very much you can't blame me, you know.

But in the end, he was the doctor who was being paid to care personally for Michael Jackson. It all comes down to him, doesn't it, in the end?

MESEREAU: Well, not all of it. He is the doctor that treated Michael Jackson. He's responsible for his death. The question is, should AEG, the concert promoter, have hired him? Should they have supervised him properly, and did they have enough information to know that he was a danger to Michael Jackson, should they have fired him?

There are three theories the plaintiffs are relying on. They're saying they negligently hired him, they negligently supervised him and they negligently kept him around. Three different theories. They had agreed to provide medical equipment. Murray actually had asked for a CPR equipment, portable equipment. He asked for a gurney. He wanted saline. He wanted syringes. They agreed to provide this equipment to him and never did.

So, I think the negligent supervision issue and negligently keeping him on when it was obvious he was deficient and they had problems with him, I think is going to be a big hurdle to overcome. MORGAN: I have two clips to play. This is from interviews with Jermaine Jackson and then Latoya Jackson. Both talking about the people around Michael Jackson, including AEG. Let's listen to these back-to-back. First Jermaine, then Latoya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: They were only concerned about the show, moving the show forward.

MORGAN: These are people working for AEG?

J. JACKSON: These are people working for AEG, working for him, working for the show.

LATOYA JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SISTER: They controlled everything that he did, the people that were around him. They knew he wasn't healthy enough to do those shows, but yet they said he was fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now, when you hear the family talk like that, not entirely surprising, but certainly a familiar pattern. From Michael's father to his mother to the siblings, all repeating this same pattern about how they believed all these people were around Michael, forcing him against his health, really, to do this tour. How significant will any of that be when this trial starts?

MESEREAU: Could be very significant. Apparently, there are e-mails from his choreographer, Ken Ortega, warning AEG that he's not well. He has serious physical problems, serious psychological and emotional problems, he's asking for professional help. And I'm informed that there are some e-mails from AEG basically telling Murray you better get him to rehearsals.

So I think this issue is well founded by the siblings, and I think it's going to be a big issue for the plaintiffs. And I think AEG will have a tough time explaining it.

MORGAN: AEG's lawyer, Marvin Putnam, said it was the 2005 child molestation trial which you obviously were involved in, which caused Michael to dramatically increase his drug use. Do you think there's any truth in that?

MESEREAU: I really don't. Now, I was his lead criminal defense counsel in that trial. I talked to him throughout the trial. He was lucid, he was articulate, he was cooperative. I never had a problem working with Michael. My co-counsel, Susan (INAUDIBLE) and I both thought he was one of the nicest clients we ever represented. And I did not see drug use as a problem during the trial.

Now, the verdict day, he didn't look well, I will say that. He had been through over five months of trial, all the stress and strain, we were in court five days a week. And I do think that he suffered physically and emotionally during the trial. But I never saw him take a prescription drug. It would not have been unusual if he had, because people in situations like that are sleep-deprived, they are depressed, they have anxiety. If he did take something, it would not have surprised me, and it would not have been abnormal.

But he never was a problem for us when it came to talking to him, getting information from him, telling him what was going on. He was a delightful client to represent.

MORGAN: One of the e-mails you alluded to is from AEG Live CEO or co- CEO Paul Gongaware, which says, "We want to remind Murray it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him." Quite explicit really there, you would think, in terms of who's responsible.

I suppose on the flipside, Michael Jackson was a very well known, highly temperamental pop superstar prone to canceling concerts, having a variety of health issues of various types of severity, unpredictable. All those things, like many pop artists. Could that work against the family's claim in the sense AEG may say look, we did try to get him to work but he was a bit flaky?

MESEREAU: Well, if they thought he was that flaky and they thought he was that disturbed, why did they enter into a contract with him to do all these concerts? They invested over $30 million before the concerts even began. If they thought he was that bad and they thought his reputation was suffering from all these other issues, why in the world did they go into business with him? I think it's an uphill battle for AEG.

MORGAN: Let's just play the final clip from the Anderson interview. Quite extraordinary moment when Conrad Murray burst into song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: You know what surprises me, Anderson? Let me sing something for you. This is important to me. (SINGING) He's a little boy that Santa Claus forgot. And goodness knows he did not want a lot. He wrote a note to Santa for some crayons and a toy. It broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come. In the streets, he envied all those lucky boys. But goodness knows he didn't want a lot. I'm so sorry for that laddie who hasn't got a daddy -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, it's almost comical on one level, that. You can quite see why he didn't testify, because clearly, I suspect his legal team weren't entirely sure how he would behave on the stand. But when you hear Conrad Murray behave like that, that's not the behavior of, as he would pitch himself to us, being a decent, honorable, straightforward physician, is it?

MESEREAU: No. He has never taken responsibility for what he did. He has always blamed Michael Jackson for everything that's happened to him. He wasn't professional. He violated medical ethics. When the paramedics came to the scene, they asked him what did you give him? He never mentioned Propofol. There was evidence that he tried to hide Propofol from the paramedics and the police. He can't get out of this. He's responsible for his death. AEG should not have retained him. They should have checked him out beforehand, and if they had any problem with him, they should have gotten rid of him. No, he's not a good doctor. He shouldn't be a doctor and I think he's where he belongs.

MORGAN: Final question and very quickly, if you don't mind. Is she going to win, Katherine Jackson on behalf of the family?

MESEREAU: She and the children are going to win, in my opinion. They have a very strong case. They have a great lawyer, Brian Pannish, the best in Los Angeles, for a case like this. And I think they have the evidence on their side. And I think they have morality on their side. So, I think the defendants have a tough go.

MORGAN: Tom, great to see you, as always. Please come back soon.

MESEREAU: Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: Tom Mesereau. Can't think of a better guy to talk to about Michael Jackson.

Coming up, why the NRA point man who unveiled the plan to put guns in America's schools says he's in favor of expanding background checks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASA HUTCHINSON, NRA NATIONAL SCHOOL SHIELD TASK FORCE: We can address assault weapons, and it doesn't stop someone bringing in a .45 caliber firearm into the school. It doesn't stop violence in the schools. And so if you're going to protect children, you have to do something about school safety.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson on the NRA's plan to train and arm adults in schools across America. Then he revealed that he personally disagrees with the NRA in expanding background checks. So, lots of controversy to get to tonight. Joining me now, former Republican Congressman Steven Latourette of Ohio and conservative radio host, Ben Ferguson. Welcome to you both.

So Ben, let me start with you. The NRA's main recommendations today, they want at least one armed guard or school employee per school. NRA program to train personnel to use firearms.

Now, here's my problem with this. Who are these employees going to be? Are they going to be teachers? Are they going to be janitors? Who are these school employees who are going to be trusted with being the great defenders against shooters?

BEN FERGUSON, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Well, I think first, you look at the recommendations. They said the first candidates would be those who are either former military or former law enforcement officers or have an extensive background being around guns.

I think the other thing is, is they're willing to go through extensive training to have this. And there's two options here. Look at what Connecticut did today. They passed a whole lot of laws, and I have one big question. If someone walks into a school in Connecticut after all these laws are implemented and a gun-free zone that we think is going to make us safe and it doesn't, who's going to stop that shooter?

And the point the NRA was making is we know that in a lot of schools, there's at least one former military or one former law enforcement officer who would be more than willing to go through the training or principal or vice principal or coach that can do the background check. We have to have someone in these schools, regardless of the gun control laws we put out there to protect the kids. Because even Connecticut, unfortunately, with everything they did today, they do not have a plan to stop a shooter.

MORGAN: OK. OK. But here's my problem again. See, Wayne LaPierre, the great leader of the NRA, of course has done a complete u-turn on all this. He used to believe, and we've replayed this clip many times, that schools should be completely gun-free zones. Let me come to you, Steven LaTourette. Which Wayne LaPierre should we believe? Which NRA position should we believe? Is he -- does he say that schools are gun- free zones or not?

STEVEN LATOURETTE (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I can't speak for Mr. LaPierre, but let me say this about Asa Hutchinson. He's a good man. The report made eight recommendations. And I know we're going to focus on the arming personnel in school, but four of them were pretty decent about an online tool to enhance security, working with law enforcement.

But I got to tell you, in my opinion, just like Connecticut's legislature didn't go down the right path, arming people in schools, I mean I had teachers that I wouldn't trust with a 50 magazine stapler for crying out loud, let alone a firearm. And I think you're going to increase accidental shootings and a whole bunch of things that you don't have going on in schools today. And I think that that's not so hot.

FERGUSON: But that's --

MORGAN: Yes, Ben.

FERGUSON: Piers, this is where -- this is where the fearmongering is so ridiculous. And my point is this. We trust these teachers with our children. We trust these teachers around our children to educate them, to care for them and, by the way, to protect them. Even what the Democrats have asked for is for teachers to have a strategy to help protect these kids and lock doors if there's a shooter. If we trust them with that, are you saying that there's not at least one person in a school that we should be able to trust with a gun? Because if we can't find one person in a school, we're totally screwed.

MORGAN: Here's -- here's my thing. Here's what I say, Ben. FERGUSON: OK.

MORGAN: I've read a very, very lengthy, detailed piece about New York armed policemen and their record in live situations compared to training situations. I think their record of successfully hitting targets in a live situation was about 18 percent.

FERGUSON: Yes.

MORGAN: And there was a big incident recently in New York where they sprayed about nine bullets into passersby trying to get one guy.

FERGUSON: But, Piers --

MORGAN: Here's my point. Here's my point, Ben.

FERGUSON: What was --

MORGAN: It all sounded -- it all sounds great on paper until this actually has to happen. And then you're entrusting teachers.

FERGUSON: Yes, but --

MORGAN: Teachers to carry guns and turn into the wild west. And here's where the cynic in me says, I know what this is all about.

FERGUSON: But, Piers -- Piers, the --

MORGAN: The NRA -- well, let me finish. Let me finish, Ben. Ben, let me finish. Here's what I think it's about. Wayne LaPierre's main modus operandi is selling guns. And he's worked out, there are 120,000 schools in America and he can sell 120,000 weapons like this made by his mates from the manufacturers. Call me cynical, Steven LaTourette, but I think that's what's behind this.

LATOURETTE: Well, listen, I think --

MORGAN: I think that is what is behind this.

FERGUSON: I think -- well, let me say this. Hold on.

MORGAN: This is about selling guns and turning schools into wild west zones.

FERGUSON: I think that -- I -- let me say this. Piers, Piers, Piers, Piers.

MORGAN: No, I want --

FERGUSON: Piers. Piers.

MORGAN: No, I want Steven -- Steven responds first, then you, Ben.

LATOURETTE: Hey, Ben. Ben, I know you're a talk show host, but can you be quite for just a second. Holy mackerel. Two things. One, Piers, I think that's a bridge too far and that is a little too cynical. I don't think that Mr. LaPierre's in the gun business. I think that this is a response and a reaction to the NRA to fight --

MORGAN: Really? Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

LATOURETTE: To fight --

MORGAN: He's not in the gun business?

LATOURETTE: Oh, no, wait a second, to fight the background checks, which is where America's come, which is where I told you America would come the last time I was on your program. That's the answer. That would solve some of the problems that we're facing, keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

But I've got to tell you, to you, Ben, I have a bunch of kids in public schools and I never entrusted the teachers to shoot to defend my children. I entrust the teachers to teach them.

FERGUSON: And I understand. I'm not advocating for every teacher to be able to shoot. What I'm advocating for is not having another Newtown, another Littleton, another Columbine, where you have these issues where your definition of success is only gun control.

And, Piers, my definition of success is being able to stop a shooter from continuing to be able to walk into a school and the only person that can stop him now is if we call 911 and yet again, if a good guy shows up with a gun. And you can be cynical about this, but I will look at what you advocated for a moment ago. And what you advocated for a moment ago, saying you're terrified of having teachers with a gun, even one teacher who may have been former police, which you're still overlooking, may be former military, which you yet again are still overlooking is, you're going to have another school shooting by your plan with no one to stop the shooter. That, to me, is irresponsible.

And the other thing is this. We've got to learn from our mistakes. The mistake is believing that a gun-free zone is truly a gun-free zone. It's only in a perfect world. One man walks in and one school, and the gun-free zone is shot to total hell. And I think we all saw that in Newtown.

LATOURETTE: Yes, I got to say, though, look --

MORGAN: Well, I mean what's interesting -- yes, Steven, I'll let you have the final word, but let me just read a couple statistics. On this issue, it is split. I mean 51 percent of the Americans polled in a Fox News poll recently were in favor of requiring armed guards in schools for protection, 45 percent opposed. So I do respect the fact, Ben, that you speak for the majority of Americans on this, which I find unsettling, I have to say, but I respect that.

But in terms of background -- in terms of background checks --

FERGUSON: Well, let me say this though.

MORGAN: Well, let me come to Steven. In terms of background checks, both you and Asa Hutchinson have been, I think, on the right side of this, saying of course we should have better background checks. To me it makes obvious sense. And on that, there's 96 percent or 90 percent in favor, 96 percent of Democrats, 89 percent independents, 86 percent Republicans. Huge, huge, huge majority. So the obvious question is, Steven, why is it not happening? Why are we not having this done in Washington?

LATOURETTE: Well, I mean, it's politics and people want to blame the Republicans. But quite frankly, you know, Harry Reid's going to have a problem with his five red state senators that are up for re-election this fall. And so it's across the board.

But let me say, we've had school resource officers at the school across Ohio forever and they are trained police officers. They're armed in many cases. They are a great -- a great resource. They're through the cops program.

But Adam Lanza took five minutes to shoot 26 people. And I don't care how good -- and to Ben's point -- how good that ex-Marine is that's the gym teacher. By the time he gets that gun out of the locker, rushes down, then maybe have 22 people that are dead.

The way to get at this is to do universal background checks to make sure that we don't let guns into the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

MORGAN: OK, we've got to leave it there. Ben and Steven, of course, you know where I stand -- you know where I stand on this. So my view is you've always got to try and reduce the number of guns. This plan increases the number of guns immediately by 120,000. To me it's complete madness.

FERGUSON: In the -- in the hands of good guys. In the hands of good guys.

MORGAN: But, Ben -- Ben, we leave it -- I -- yes, the trouble is, not everyone's a good guy that you think they are. They're good guys until they become bad guys.

FERGUSON: And that's why we've got background checks.

MORGAN: Well, I hope we can bring it in. It would be great to see background -- it would be great to see something at the moment. There's nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all.

Anyway, Ben, Steven, thank you both very much indeed.

LATOURETTE: Good to see you.

MORGAN: As always, a lively debate.

FERGUSON: Thanks for having us. MORGAN: When we come back, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon. You saw them sing their extraordinary duet last night, but are they really in harmony? The latest on the late night wars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: A little breaking news on the late night TV wars tonight. Joining me now is Kim Masters, editor at large for "The Hollywood Reporter," and author and "New Yorker" media writer Ken Auletta.

Welcome to you both.

Kim, big news tonight broken by you in "The Hollywood Reporter" that there's a deal. Tell me about it.

KIM MASTERS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": We are told that Jimmy Fallon has signed a deal that will include his taking over "The Tonight Show." So at this point the real question is when. It could be if NBC -- some at NBC Universal have their way, as early as February, using the Olympics to launch. But I think if Lorne Michaels, who is producing the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show has his way, it will take a little longer. Maybe ease him in, in the summer.

MORGAN: And Jay's existing contract, I think, ends in probably September of 2014?

MASTERS: September 2014.

MORGAN: And it may be that they would want to wait until then anyway to get everything sorted.

MASTERS: Well, I think they want to start him a little bit before then. And I don't know if you're Jay Leno at this point, how long do you want the farewell to last. I think if you saw the video last night with Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno together --

MORGAN: Yes.

MASTERS: It seemed to me at the very end Jay Leno is kind of hinting that he's accepting this. So, I don't know, at that point in the tribute, he's still number one. They do a tribute. How long do you want it to go on?

MORGAN: Let's listen to a bit of this lovely duet last night between these two guys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST (singing): Tonight, tonight, my ratings were all right. Twenty years and I'm still in first place. Tonight, tonight, I've got Fox on the line, or maybe I could take over for Dave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Extremely amusing video there. Ken, are we buying all this bonhomie between everybody over there now, that it's all one big happy family and the transition has been agreed?

KEN AULETTA, AUTHOR & "NEW YORKER" MEDIA WRITER: No, I don't think it is at all. I'd be surprised if it was. I mean I think one of the questions is, will Jay Leno pull the plug at some point and just say, enough of this, I'm mad as hell, I'm not going to take it anymore. I took a 50 percent pay cut to placate the people at NBC. I gave up my "Tonight Show" several years ago to put someone else in, then they moved me back. I'm not going to wait around a year and a half.

MORGAN: I mean just extraordinary, Kim. Here's a guy who's still number one.

MASTERS: Yes.

MORGAN: And all he gets treated like is dirt.

AULETTA: Yes, but --

MORGAN: Everyone flags him off and then -- I'm actually asking Kim first, Ken, then I'll get to you, Ken.

AULETTA: Sure.

MORGAN: Let me ask Kim first because she broke the story.

I mean, it does seem odd that everyone's got their knives out for a guy who is number one.

MASTERS: Well, he was, of course, hugely damaged in the battle with Conan O'Brien a couple of years ago.

MORGAN: But not through his doing.

MASTERS: Well, no. He took the 10:00 five nights a week. Not a decision that people regard as a particularly great one on the part of NBC. But he did it and then they set him back. But he came out as the bad guy who had undermined Conan O'Brien and there was just that whole team cocoa (ph) thing and I think there's still some hangover from that.

MORGAN: I mean, Ken, he is oddly unpopular amongst his comedic peers, because whenever I've met Jay Leno -- I've done his show many times -- he's always been unfailingly courteous, really solicitous, a really nice guy. I don't really get why everyone seems to dislike him so much.

AULETTA: I don't get it either, actually. He's a gentleman. And he's behaved as one with NBC, which has not always been reciprocal gentleman.

But I think one of the issues here, and one of the reasons they want to move him off, is because he doesn't appeal to a younger audience. It used to be in television you judged who had the most -- the highest ratings. Who got the most viewers. But now it's who gets the most younger viewers, because that's what advertisers want. And the truth is, broadcast television is a medium designed to sell ads. And if you don't reach those younger people, you don't sell ads.

MORGAN: Kim, got to leave it there, but final prediction, where will Jay go next? Because he won't give up. And there are places like Fox which will, I'm sure, bite his hand off. Could he do that, do you think?

MASTERS: Well, they decided not to do it when Conan was available. Whether they would do it for Jay is a question that will have to be answered. I'm sure they're calculating right now.

MORGAN: Ken, would you go to Fox if you were Jay if you were offered it?

AULETTA: If I were Jay, I would take my dignity and leave quietly and count my millions.

MORGAN: I don't know, I think he's a bit of a street fighter. I've got a feeling this isn't over yet. Anyway, Ken and Kim, thank you both very much. It's a fascinating story ongoing.

Coming next, exclusive Masters champion Bubba Watson warming up in my green room. Already promising to create merry hell after the break. Watch that club. All these lefties.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUBBA WATSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: BW1 is a prototype. Our first one out. No bumps. Golf cart's going to have bumps. It takes you everywhere you want to go. Through sand traps, through waters, shortcuts, into the woods, out of the woods. And my ball likes to go in and out of the woods, so we got to be able to get there in the best way, quickest way possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: If it's real, then I want one. If it's an April Fool's prank, it's brilliant. A new video shows Masters champion Bubba Watson darting around fairways and water hazards in a hovercraft golf cart. He'll be defending his title at the PGA Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, next week. And the great Bubba Watson joins me now exclusively.

Bubba, how the devil are you?

BUBBA WATSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I'm doing great. How are you doing?

MORGAN: I'm good.

Now, is this hovercraft true or is it just an April Fool gag?

WATSON: No, it's April 2nd. So, no, it's not a gag. This was the real deal. We -- me and Ocean (ph) teamed up and we came up with this idea to do a -- to do a hovercraft. Let's change the game of golf a little bit. Let's make it crazy. And so it was fun to do. It was scary to drive it. You know, I only had a five-minute lesson. But then I figured out how to drive it.

MORGAN: But I love the idea of it. And the way I play golf is clearly not quite the way that you do. I would be using that all the time in the most inventive of scenery.

WATSON: Yes, for sure. You know, it's one of those where it take you to the course. You know, let's you have fun driving a hovercraft around and then, again, golf just gets in the way.

MORGAN: Now, how's your form been? Because rather worryingly for you, as you approaching your great moment again where you became that wonderful Masters champion last year, Tiger Woods is back and on the prowl. And in the right way this time.

WATSON: You know, it's -- my form is good. You know, it just takes a -- you know, the right bounces. Takes me making some putts. But right now Tiger is just playing so good. He's making all the putts. His mental game is right where it needs to be. He's playing. He's performing. He's number one in the world again. So, obviously, he's going to be tough to beat when we get to Augusta.

MORGAN: You bought Tiger's house in Orlando.

WATSON: Yes, I did. You know, it's a great house, great location for us right next to the driving range, right next to the playground, and it's on the water. So, for us, we redid it. We did about 95 percent of the house. Changed it a little bit. But, yes, we love it there as a family.

MORGAN: The theory is that Tiger's found his form again because he's found love again. Do you think there's any truth to that? You know him pretty well.

WATSON: Yes. You know, you've got to think that his life is settling down. His new golf swing is obviously working pretty good. His knee is all healed up. And, obviously, he's in love and he's having a good time and he's just -- and he's enjoying life again. And so I think he's back to where he was.

MORGAN: How are you going to beat him?

WATSON: Hopefully he gets sick. You know, I really -- I don't think anybody knows how to beat him. You know, it's one of those things where, we want to go out there and play our best. I'm going to go try to play my best and hopefully it's good enough to beat him and hopefully he's not on his best.

MORGAN: I had the great pleasure of interviewing you after you won the Masters last year. It was such an emotional time for you for a long time afterwards. Has it lived up to all the expectations? How's it changed your life in the last year?

WATSON: First you've got to look at the adoption. You know, having a child. You have some kids. And so when you have a child, it changes everything. It changes perspective on life. It changes perspective on your sport. And so, for me, that's when's changing me. It's making me a better, complete person. It's making me a better husband, a better dad. I'm learning every day with our child and I think golf -- golf is always going to be there for me. I love it. I have a passion for it. But to go back and try to defend with my family there and my child there, it's going to be an honor and a privilege and I can't wait to put on that green jacket one more time for the -- before we tee it up there.

MORGAN: You've also reunited with "The Golf Boys." You released a very amusing video last year with some of the young turks of the golf circuit and you've done it again. Let's watch a little clip from the new Golf Boys video, "Golf Boys 2."

(VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A bit of a sort of Engelbert Humperdink chest wig (ph) going on there, Bubba.

WATSON: Yes, that's -- I thought real men have chest hair. So I just wanted everybody to see it and know I'm a real man.

MORGAN: Do you like doing those crazy videos?

WATSON: Do you -- I've got a question, do you shave your chest hair or do you have chest hair? I'm not sure.

MORGAN: I do not shave it. I do have some. I'm not a Burt Reynolds.

WATSON: Oh. Oh.

MORGAN: If that answers all your questions.

WATSON: Yes, that's perfect. Thanks.

MORGAN: Any other deeply intimate, personal questions you want to get off your chest (INAUDIBLE)?

WATSON: Yes, you know -- yes, I do. You know, I went in -- I snuck into your office without you knowing, since you're not here, and I left you a few notes. But the chair is not as comfortable as I thought it would be, but maybe next time it will be better.

MORGAN: I have seen a picture of the note and I intend to tweet it later. You were your normal offensive self. Is it because I'm British?

WATSON: No, it's just because you are that (ph).

MORGAN: This is a five letter word beginning with "p" and ending in "k." And you base this assessment of me on my performance as a judge on "America's Got Talent."

WATSON: Exactly. Because I wanted to -- I wanted to be on that show and I couldn't ever -- I didn't have any talent. So -- but, no, I really -- actually I -- I joke of that but you're not really a prick. You're really a nice guy. But, no, I enjoyed it.

MORGAN: You said it. You're not supposed to say it!

WATSON: Yes. Well, it's fun to say it because everybody around here's laughing because they know that's what you are.

MORGAN: I don't know why I keep inviting you back. What is the point of me interviewing you if all you're going to do is call me that?

WATSON: Well, it's not really -- it's not you inviting me back. It's everybody right here laughing right now that you can't see.

MORGAN: You know what. I really hope Tiger spanks your backside next week.

WATSON: Good. As long as it's not a European player. Wait. I shouldn't say that. I'm just playing.

MORGAN: Let me ask you -- let me ask seriously, Bubba, because it -- we've become good buddies over Twitter and stuff in the last year. Do you like the celebrity aspect of what you've become since winning the Masters?

WATSON: No, I don't think anybody should like being a celebrity. But, you know, my platform has changed. And so when you look at it that way, the charity dollars I can help raise now, the influence on young kids I can help, you know, we're doing a hospital in Kenya, me and my wife are, and so we've teamed up to do that. You know, the influence, we're trying to be a good role model. And when I say role model, especially for my child, you know, to -- my influence now of being a so-called celebrity or idol or whatever, you know, I want my son to grow up and know that I'm a good husband, a good father and I do a lot of good charity work. And so that's what I'm hoping that he sees me as his role model and if other kids want to see that too, then hopefully I can do the right things for them.

MORGAN: Well, good for you, Bubba. You're been a breath of fresh air this year. It's been wonderfully entertaining watching you on and off the course. And we're still owed (ph) to that little golf date ourselves. I'm an 18 handicapper, but I can play lower on a good day. And after your insults, I'm ready for you, big boy, any time.

WATSON: Perfect. Eighteen shots. I'll give you 18 shots.

MORGAN: Then we're on. We're on. When you lose the Masters to Tiger, I'll come and make it worse for you.

WATSON: Hey, when you get fired and I take over, we'll -- I'll let you on the show.

MORGAN: Bubba Watson, in all seriousness, best of luck at the Masters. It would be wonderful to see you win it again. And I wish you all the very best with that and I look forward to seeing you soon.

WATSON: All right. Thanks a lot, man. Thanks.

MORGAN: Bubba Watson, great guy.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts at 11:00 tonight. Now let's get to "The Point."