Return to Transcripts main page


Bernie Madoff Speaks Out; O.J. Simpson in Court

Aired May 17, 2013 - 15:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And speaking of jackpots, nearly $5 million is all well and good, Mr. Cerezo, but chump change compared to tomorrow's Powerball jackpot. It's at $600 million. And guess what? That might be chump change to what it could go up to.

It is already the second largest prize in U.S. history. And the odds of hitting the jackpot are not so good. They're about 175 million to 1. CNN has just learned from the lottery officials that if there isn't that one against the 175 million, nobody wins that, that multistate Powerball lottery jackpot on Saturday is going to jump to $925 million.

I don't even care if you have an office pool. By that time, you're one of the richest 1 percent in the world.

Our Zain Asher is joining us live from Passaic, New Jersey.

I don't know if the news has reached you yet out on the street yet, Zain, but this has got to have people pretty freaked out that the chances of winning are high, but if you strike it, you strike it almost bigger than anybody else ever before.


And a lot of people here, Ashleigh, are lining up, as they fancy their chances. They're hoping to get lucky tomorrow. I actually spoke to one man. He was in the process of buying 10 lottery tickets, another man telling me that he spends $80 a day on lottery tickets and that tomorrow would be no exception.

I do want to say, though, if you are spending that kind of money, if you are buying multiple tickets, it is, of course, important that you do not spend more money than you can afford to lose. But, yes, Ashleigh, you said it, $600 million as it stands now. That number could, of course, grow.

But you do have the choice between either taking annual payments or a lump sum. Now, the catch, of course, with the lump sum, is that you end up with less money. It is actually $376 million if you choose the lump sum. But the odds are stacked against you. You said it, one in 175 million.

But that's actually an improvement, because previously it was actually one in $195 million. Now it is just only one in $175 million. But that is not stopping people. I spoke to one woman. I said to her, listen, if you woke up tomorrow and you had $600 million sitting in your account, what would you do with that money? Here's what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would pay off my mortgage. I would pay off my parents' house, their mortgage down the shore. I would buy a shore house for myself right on the beach and definitely donate to the Cancer Society. My mother is a cancer survivor two times already. So I would donate to that charity and probably another charity and set up a college fund for my children.


ASHER: She's definitely well-prepared, and a lot of people here I spoke to saying the same thing, that they would give back, they would spend money on charity.

They would give back to their community, help out their loved ones. One woman I spoke to also, by the way, Ashleigh, told me that she would not quit her day job, that if she had $600 million, she works as an EMT, she loves her job, she would still work every single day, even if she had half a billion dollars in the bank.


ASHER: I know.

BANFIELD: I would, too, Zain, but I would buy CNN and I would give us all a day off and we would just air puppies for 24 hours. That's what we would do here.


ASHER: That's hilarious.

BANFIELD: Zain Asher, nice to see you.


BANFIELD: Don't forget to get in on the office pool, my friend. Thank you for that -- $925 million. I actually think CNN is more expensive than that.

All right, now we got a great CNN exclusive for you right now, convicted swindler Bernie Madoff talking too CNN Money about his life in prison. The one-time investment guru swindled nearly $20 billion from his own clients. He is now just himself a number. Madoff is inmate 61727-054. That's his identity at a medium-security federal prison in North Carolina.

And CNN Money's Aaron Smith joins me here now in New York, had a chance to speak with Bernie Madoff on the phone. And also the director of Wall Street Prison Consultants, Larry Levine, a former federal inmate himself, joins us in Los Angeles as well.

Aaron, I want to begin with you, if I can. You have had this chance to have a conversation with Bernie Madoff. I should clear up the record. We don't pay for interviews, but he had to call us collect, didn't he?


Yes, I actually mailed him a letter when he was in prison and I included my number, and the prison told me that he basically had to call me collect, which he did. And then I had to deposit money from my own account, by the way, into Bernie Madoff's phone account. And he did call me. We spoke several times. And we did this interview. And then I put more money in his account about a week ago, and I still haven't heard from him. So...

BANFIELD: So, wait a minute. You have given money to Bernie Madoff. That's got to hurt.

SMITH: I did. I did.

BANFIELD: But let me ask you, generally speaking, we have heard a couple of things since the guy was locked away. And I'm sure a lot of people are thrilled to know he's still locked away and that he's not very happy about being locked away. What does he say about his life behind bars?

SMITH: Well, he said that he can't sleep. He gets up at 4:30 every morning, and I think that what he told me is he thinks about his family a lot and it haunts him, the death of his oldest son, Mark. Now, Mark committed suicide. He hanged himself on December 11, 2010.

That was the second anniversary of his father's arrest. He also told me that he thinks about Ruth, his wife of 50 years. And he also actually says that he's responsible for the death of one of his investors, Jeffry Picower, who died of a heart attack and is considered to be the biggest beneficiary of the Ponzi scheme.

BANFIELD: So, he's taking responsibility for the death of that investor. He's sorry. And I'm guessing you mean he's taking responsibility for the suicide of his son.


BANFIELD: Is he taking responsibility and does he show any kind of remorse for all the other awful parts of this crime?

SMITH: He said that he feels bad for the victims.

BANFIELD: Does he now?

SMITH: I have talked to a lot of victims who say that they don't believe him. I spoke to someone, Mike De Vita, the other day, one of his victims, who says that it is just words, he doesn't really believe it.

But he did say that. He said that he feels remorse for what he did for the victims.

BANFIELD: Hard to believe it or at least assess anything when you're not able to look into his eyes and you're doing this on a telephone. But did you get any sense that maybe some of this time behind bars in federal prison has had an effect, has actually created some humanity in Bernie Madoff?

SMITH: Well, I honestly do think that he feels bad about his son. I really think that that rips him apart.

BANFIELD: Sure, of course.

SMITH: He put -- he went through great pains to insulate his family from his wrongdoing, though it didn't work. His brother is now doing 10 years in prison for his, you know, involvement with Bernie Madoff.

That's his brother Peter. And as we know, his son committed suicide and Ruth is just basically not with him anymore. He's in prison. And when I spoke to him, though, he sounded very calm and collected and sort of reassuring and he came across as the very intelligent man that he is. And I have to tell you, I can totally see how people would give him their money.

And he started talking about the markets, and he definitely knows what he's talking about. And some of the stuff was above my head, to be honest with you. And I was kind of intimidated.

BANFIELD: Larry Levine, you spent time in a medium-security federal prison. Give me some insight as to what...


LARRY LEVINE, FORMER FEDERAL INMATE: I was in actually -- I was 11 different federal institutions over 10 years. So, I know what he's going through.

BANFIELD: OK. Then tell me what it's like. You have had a few years.


LEVINE: Well, I think actually he might have scammed Aaron, because he could have called him using the money he made at his job. The calls are 23 cents a minute, and he is working on the inside. So I think he just scammed you out of some money, Aaron.


BANFIELD: Well, we wouldn't be surprised.


SMITH: He maybe did.

BANFIELD: He's got some skill there.

Larry, but, in all seriousness, when you get a guy like that, he's older. He's real white-collar. How would he fare in federal prison? Would he fall into a hierarchy of some sort? Does he has to play tough guy or the fact that he's really smart and maybe could help... LEVINE: No, no, not where he's...

BANFIELD: ... these guys with whatever they need, would that give him some cache?

LEVINE: Well, not really where he's at.

He's in a medium-security. He's not in a maximum-security. There's people there doing life sentences, but he is older. And the severity of his crimes -- I mean, he's the king of the cons, kings of the thieves. He's got a lot of respect among the inmates because of what he's done. Nobody is going to bother him. And he's probably handing out stock advice and such.

And the job he had, working in the commissary, I worked in the commissary at Lompoc, at the federal prison. That is one of the best jobs in the whole system, because you can get things other inmates can't. So he's getting perks, or he was.

BANFIELD: Well, Larry Levine, thank you for your insight. Aaron Smith, good scoop. And I think all of us are probably thrilled to know that he's not sleeping at night.

SMITH: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Because a lot of his victims haven't been able to sleep any night since they were..

SMITH: He does have a new job, by the way.

BANFIELD: Oh, what is it?

SMITH: He's cleaning off phones and computers.

LEVINE: What is he doing?


SMITH: He's cleaning phones and computers.


LEVINE: That should pay him maybe 17, 29 cents an hour?

BANFIELD: There you go, 40 bucks a month. All right, power to you, Bernie. Let's see if you can maybe pay for a few of your own phone calls in the future. Thank you to both of you. Appreciate your time.

SMITH: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Want to take you now to a shocking murder mystery. She was a former lawyer who gave up her career to help her husband and he was a well-known and seemingly well-liked professor at Creighton University.

But this week, the bodies of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary,were found inside their home in Omaha, Nebraska.

CNN's Kyung Lah joins me now live.

This is such a bizarre set of circumstances. And yet we're not learning much from some very tight-lipped police officers. Why are they -- why are they being so cagey about the information on this?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, because this is so unusual for Omaha. They don't want to release any details because they believe that they have a suspect on the loose right now.

Omaha, a small city, about 400,000 people, they only have 40 murders a year. And the fact that they have now a double homicide on their hands, that's even more unusual. So, let's look at who the victims are, Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary. They're 65 years old, Dr. Brumback retiring from Creighton University's Pathology Department. He had just announced his retirement.

He and his wife were telling their friends and family that they were very excited about retiring to West Virginia. They were planning a move. Well, on Tuesday, a mover hired to move their piano came and discovered the body of Dr. Brumback. His wife, Mary, her body was found inside the home as well.

The Omaha Police Department will tell us that they did find a gun clip at the home. They will not, though, Ashleigh, tell us whether or not it is actually connected to this particular crime or, you know, what the connection is with this gun clip. But authorities very concerned about this case. They are hoping that the public will help them solve it, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: But, Kyung, what is so bizarre, there's not a lot of serious hard-core crime that you hear about coming out of Omaha, Nebraska, and yet we have something back in 2008, a murder, that involved another professor as well, same university too. What's -- is there a connection? Are we making a big leap here?

LAH: Well, that's what they're actually trying to find out, because it is a very strange coincidence. I was just talking about how the double homicides are so rare for Omaha.

Well, five years ago, take a look at this picture. An 11-year-old boy and his housekeeper were fatally stabbed inside the home, and this boy, Thomas Hunter, and his housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, the little boy, his father worked at Creighton University in the Pathology Department, the very same department where the retiree I was just talking about worked.

So a lot of coincidences there, very concerning for the police. The cold case detectives on this case are also working with the homicide detectives on this case. So they're trying to connect the dots, seeing, Ashleigh, if at all there is a connection.

BANFIELD: Well, if there isn't, that's one bizarre coincidence. Thank you, Kyung Lah, good work out there for us, Kyung Lah reporting live for us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris Hilton is hosting a party in Vegas tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does she live? Do you think we could find a way in?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. Let's go to Paris.


BANFIELD: This looks like a good movie. It is Emma Watson's new film about a group of teenagers who rob celebrities of their clothing and their jewelry and it just happens to be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival.

So here's what's so strange about the timing of the premiere. At the same time that celebs are in town for the festival, a massive jewel heist has happened, and the target, Chopard. The jewelry for these kinds of A-list affairs, certainly, Chopard would fit the bill. Originally, this was thought to be the actual jewels that were loaned to celebrities, but Chopard has released a statement about it all saying that the jewels that were stolen were actually not the ones intended to be worn on the red carpet.

The thieves swiped those jewels from a Chopard employee's hotel room. And, again, that movie that was premiering is about a true story of a Hollywood jewelry heist ring, "The Bling Ring."

Coming up next, the man who O.J. Simpson says did not do a good enough job defending him takes the stand to go on the defense for himself and comes face to face with his former client. How do you think that dynamic played out? Facing down O.J., when all you ever did was stand behind him, his side of the story is coming up next.


BANFIELD: The man who defended O.J. Simpson in his 2008 robbery trial is today instead defending himself.

O.J. Simpson alleges that Yale Galanter took his money in 2008, but then failed to provide a vigorous defense that resulted in his guilty verdict. And Simpson wants a new trial because of it. It all stems from that incident back in 2007 when Simpson and the guys who were described as goons went to the Las Vegas hotel to take back some memorabilia that Simpson said had been stolen from him.

Simpson said that he told Galanter, his own lawyer, about the scheme before he even did it. Yale Galanter shot down Simpson's testimony as soon as he took the stand. Listen to how he responded to that.


YALE GALANTER, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: He told me that he and some of his boys had an opportunity to get some of his property back, that he thought it might be in Las Vegas. And I said, tell me about it. And he proceeded to tell me about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he tell you about it?

GALANTER: He told me that he finally had a lead on some personal items of his pictures and personal memorabilia that had been stolen from his house in California many years before, that he wasn't sure, but he thought it might be in Las Vegas. And, you know, he wanted to know what I thought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you respond to him?

GALANTER: I told him to call the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any further discussion of that with him?

GALANTER: We did, yes. Well, the discussion turned on the calling of the police part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Other than calling the police part, did you advise him regarding that plan?

GALANTER: Well, he never told me of a plan.

And, second, I said, call the police. He said that he had already tried to call the police, and they weren't doing anything. And I said, O.J., you know, you got to call the police. And if you don't want to call the police, call me, call Ron, call security.


BANFIELD: Hmm, that's interesting, because I remember during the trial itself, there was on-the-record testimony about that conversation yielding another comment as well, I believe from Yale Galanter himself, about don't do this kind of a take-back in California, because you got a civil judgment against you there. May be better to do it in another state, like Vegas.

Paul Vercammen is live in Las Vegas right now.

Actually, you're in Vegas. What am I saying, Los Angeles? You're live in Clark County. That's a place we spent a lot of time covering O.J.

Has he -- has Yale Galanter alluded to any of that part of the conversation about you have a civil judgment against you, $33 million and climbing, in California, you better maybe do this in Vegas instead? Has that come up at all, Paul?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: No, that has not come up. And that's all part of this he said/he said. O.J. of course says that Yale Galanter advised him that he could, in a way, take his own stuff back. And I have to tell you, Ashleigh, inside the courtroom, it is the feel-bad movie of the year as Galanter seemingly shoots dagger at everybody on the Simpson side of the gallery, if you will. And, of course, Simpson's crew is looking back at Galanter.

One point that Galanter also made is he said that he did repeatedly inform O.J. Simpson about a plea bargain and also he said he didn't think it was a good idea for O.J. to testify because in effect he thought O.J. would incriminate himself.

So, that's the reason why O.J. didn't testify in that 2008 trial, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I'm just only imagining the tension. There is always tension when someone is testifying against you, if you're sitting at the defense table or even if you're sitting on the other side of the courtroom.

But what is the tension like between O.J. who spent so many years with Yale Galanter, they became friends?

VERCAMMEN: Well, it is extreme.

And at times when O.J. Simpson seems to think his attorneys are making a solid point, for example, they have been pounding away at Galanter, suggesting that in effect he was running up huge fees and trying to basically siphon any dime he could out of O.J., in a sense ripping him off.

You will see O.J. sort of nod, having a bemused look, turn to the other lawyers and whisper to him. It is extremely tense in there. And, you know, Galanter's body language, often, he sits there with his arms crossed, leaning back. He's been going back and forth with the defense lawyer. The judge at times has had to admonish him.

But it is nothing, by the way, Ashleigh, like 2008, when, remember, Jackie Glass, as you pointed out, would just absolutely hammer Galanter at times, telling him to just sit down. We haven't had any of those explosions this time.

BANFIELD: Ah, I remember it well. I almost thought there would be F- bombs at times. I have to be honest with you, Paul. That courtroom was wild. All right, well, it remains to be seen if it will get any wilder. So, back you go. Great coverage out there, Paul Vercammen, live for us at the Clark County Courthouse in Vegas.

And up next, some unbelievable allegations are coming out of Toronto against the mayor of Toronto. A newspaper is reporting that he's been seen on video smoking crack with Somali drug dealers. I am not making this up. Come right back after the break. I will tell you why.


BANFIELD: It is Friday. And that's probably why I can stomach this story at all, because it is a real wild card and it is coming out of Canada, a place I used to live. In fact, I was born there. The mayor of Toronto is reportedly seen on video reportedly smoking crack cocaine with drug dealers.


QUESTION: Mayor Ford, are the allegations true? Are the allegations true?



BANFIELD: This is Mayor Rob Ford. He's running an absolute gauntlet of reporters this morning. All of this was ignited by a story in the "Toronto Star" newspaper.

Two of its reporters viewed a video, not once, not twice, three times, and they say that video appears to show Ford smoking crack from a glass pipe. The allegation is so outrageous that I asked the "Toronto Star" reporter who saw the video how he could be so sure that it wasn't fake. And here is what he told me.


KEVIN DONOVAN, "TORONTO STAR": When I finally saw it, along with my colleague Robyn Doolittle, both of us were left clearly believing that this was Mayor Ford. He has a very distinctive look about him. The lighting is very good in this video, streaming in from blinds, shot in the afternoon.


BANFIELD: So that's the investigative editor and a reporter both having seen the video.

Our Paula Newton has been digging into this story as well.

I don't even know where to begin on this one, Paula. This has got to have that community absolutely shaking their heads and wondering if anyone is ever going to actually see the video. Take me from the beginning. And let me know where we stand in this.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, from the beginning, let's say that CNN, I have not seen the video, no one at CNN has seen the video. We cannot authenticate what the two veteran reporters at "The Toronto Star" are saying.

But, as you said, they each viewed this tape three times. They were not given the tape because they wanted too much money for the tape. "The Star" said that this was taken in the winter, in Toronto, that they first saw it on May 3, and that the person who was asking money in exchange for the video, this person actually claims, Ashleigh, to have been a person who has sold crack cocaine to Mayor Rob Ford in the past.

Now, it goes without saying that Mayor Ford, as we just heard, denies all of this. He said the allegations are absolutely ridiculous. We have been in contact with Dennis Morris. He's the lawyer for Mayor Rob Ford. He says he may or may not have some kind of briefing for us later today, but he tells us that the mayor will be fighting these allegations.

Again, "The Star" being very certain, they say, that the person they saw on this video was Mayor Rob Ford. Why is this so outrageous? Ashleigh, I don't have to tell you, this is a city that has been dealing with a lot of gang violence in the first instance, shootings in the second instance, drug turf wars in the third instance. And here, allegedly, what "The Toronto Star" alleges, is that the mayor himself is a drug user.

Now, many people in Toronto -- as you know,the mayor is a contentious political figure. He is very controversial, but many people in Toronto here still shocked today and wanting to know, if this video exists, can we see it? So far, it has not transpired. I know "The Toronto Star" has said they're kind of worried about the whole video being erased. Certainly, there could be legal action undertaken and that's what we're waiting to hear from the mayor's legal representative.

But, Ashleigh, I have to tell you I have been trying to get ahold of the mayor for six or seven months regarding drug issues. We did a documentary here in Canada about supervised injection use and harm reduction strategies. Toronto was recommended for at least one, if not three of these.

The mayor is on record as saying it is not a strategy that he ever wants to talk about. So this saga continues and this might be a long weekend here in Canada, Ashleigh, but you can bet many reporters will be on this story throughout the next few days.

BANFIELD: Happy Victoria Day.

But, listen, if he's going to launch any legal action, you bet your bottom dollar Paula Newton, he's going to have to talk. And that will be a really telling thing if he launches any legal action against "Toronto Star," reputable newspaper, by the way.

Good job, Paula Newton, and good luck trying to get your hands on that video. It's just unbelievable, a remarkable story. Paula Newton for us live in Ottawa, the nation's capital.

Up next, CNN's Candy Crowley and Jake Tapper are going to join me live about those fireworks on Capitol Hill in the good old U.S. of A. Just 48 hours after announcing his resignation, the head of the IRS gets a grilling, facing questions about the agency and its targeting of conservative groups.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who started the targeting? Who knew? When did they know? And how high did it go? Who leaked the private taxpayer information?