Return to Transcripts main page


Michelle Knight Thanks Castro Neighbor; Castro's Former Sister- In-Law Speaks Out; Report: Feds Meet With Trayvon Martin's Parents; FDA Names Mexican Produce Supplier In Cyclospora Outbreaks

Aired August 2, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight with breaking news. The signs keep growing that the country is on high alert here and around the world against the possibility of al Qaeda attacks on American, as well as Western targets. The threat, according to officials, credible and serious.

Three sources telling CNN that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was in the final stages of planning for an unspecified operation. The response so far, 21 American embassies and consulates scheduled to close on Sunday from Algeria to Bangladesh. The state department issuing a global alert for the entire month of August to Americans traveling abroad. Airlines said they are monitoring developments.

Now, all of these coming after a message surfaced recently online al- Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is calling for attacks on American interests. Meantime, official Washington is buzzing senior state department officials briefing lawmakers today on Capitol Hill telling them they are very concerned about an increased in communications chatter especially aboard.

CNN's Jim Acosta is reporting that President Obama has been briefed as well. And according to an official, he has directed his national security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the American people.

Joining me now is terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, and national security analyst and former White House homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend. Fran is a member of the DHS and CIA external advisory boards, also Dana Bash and Jill Dougherty.

Jill, let me start with you. What is the latest you are hearing at the state department about this worldwide alert, 21 posts close in 17 countries. How credible a threat is this?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: They believe that it definitely is credible. They say that they are taking it very seriously. In fact, they say that the number of countries where these embassies and consulates are being temporary shutdown could increase in the length of time in which they are shut down could increase, as well. Now, what they are saying is in light of Benghazi, and I think you are going to hear the word, Benghazi quite a bit, they out of an abundance of caution are taking these steps. It refers to routine things that happen at the embassy, giving passports, et cetera. But they do say for Americans, that if there is an emergency, they can get in touch with the embassy. That is not a problem.

But they are also, Anderson, urging Americans if they are traveling to that region to register for this program, that they have this called step. You can find it on their Web site and then you can actually get texts and e-mail messages real-time about the threat that's out there and anything happening, country specific.

COOPER: And Jill, Britain is closing its embassy in Yemen. Your sources are telling you that there may be even more U.S. closings, correct?

DOUGHERTY: Well, there could be.


DOUGHERTY: I think, Anderson, this we were told depends on the information that is coming in.

COOPER: All right. It is interesting, Fran, you don't typically see so many embassies and consulates closing their doors like this.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: No, that's right, Anderson. And imagine, in 21 different countries you have not seen one of those governments be critical or disagree with the U.S. move.

I talked to two foreign intelligence service sources who said that is because the Americans have shared with them some intelligence. That they, too, believe it is specific and credible, although not specific to location, they -- you know, foreign governments are very supportive over the steps the U.S. is taking.

COOPER: And Paul, video from al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, surfaced this week calling for attacks against Americans. He also released one 18 hours before the Benghazi attack. Do you see any link between these new video and this worldwide alert?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Anderson, it certainly brings up the possibility that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's leader, had some sort of full knowledge of whatever is in the works here. It definitely does bring up that possibility we've seen in other plots him put out videos before hand, Anderson.

COOPER: And Dana, what about in Capitol Hill? How serious is it being taken this.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very seriously, Anderson. Look, the republican sources who are read in on this intelligence tell me that the administration is doing absolutely the right thing to take such sweeping and extraordinary steps to protect Americans, you know, that this threat really does appear to be significant.

Now, another signal as to how concern they are is sources in the room told me that the vice president himself used a previously scheduled meeting a few days ago to congressional leadership and key committee chairman about the threat. And you heard Jill talk about Benghazi considering the political backlash on Capitol Hill against the White House for that taking threat to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi seriously enough before the deadly attack last year, I asked around to source that are not, especially Republican sources that not, especially Republicans sources, they were ready to say this was a CYA. The answer I got from Democrats and Republicans was absolutely not. They are not over doing it all. This is real and necessary, again, that was bipartisan.

COOPER: And Fran, how common is it to share intelligence with some of these countries?

TOWNSEND: Well, you know, it's very common, a. B, you know, when you look at al-Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, it is Saudi government and Saudi service that has got the best act to say helped us disrupt numerous threat in the past. And so, you can't imagine really operating effectively without sharing this sort of information. And let's remember, we also have heard reports that Zawahiri exert in the last several weeks has named as the new chief operations, the ahead of the al-Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula affiliate.

So, all of this stake, what I'm told by sources, is take all this together, right, you have got the naming of the chief from al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, you have got the video that Paul Cruickshank was just speaking about, plus you have got the intelligence, all of this comes together in the last couple of weeks that leads them to take this extraordinary step of closing 21 embassies.

COOPER: And Paul, what do you make of the selection of the 21 consulates and embassies, and what does that tell you about the threat? Most are in the Middle East but closing as far away as Bangladesh.

CRUICKSHANK: That's right. It is very diffused. And you know, last time I checked, al-Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula, the group in question here doesn't really have much of a presence in Bangladesh. So, this brings up the possibility that different al-Qaeda affiliates may be coordinating here in perhaps days of violence potentially.

COOPER: And Jill, in terms of this alert for Americans around the world traveling in universities or hotels, you talked about ways to keep in touch with embassies. Is there anything else Americans should do?

DOUGHERTY: Well, they are saying, of course, to be very, very cautious about your surroundings, but I think you would have to say getting these updates and also registering your trip with the state department is another thing that you can do. The Web site actually is quite good. It's got a lot of links, and the most important is to get that critical time sensitive information and that's what you can do by registering.

COOPER: All right. I will leave it there. Fran, thank you so much. Really, fascinating stuff. Paul Cruickshank, Dana, Jill, thanks very much.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on twitter a @andersoncooper.

Coming up next, we have rocket results, clinic operators billing taxpayers a bundle for in some cases patients who don't even exist. Tonight, the man that is in charge of the whole operation faces our questions live.

And later, you will hear from the woman who knows all too well that Ariel Castro was brutal sadistic monster long before he held three young women captive.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight on how California's federally funded Medicaid system Medical paid out $94 million, your money, over the past two years to drug rehab clinics that have shown signs of deception or questionable billing practices. Among the apparent scams billing for phony patients for treatments never provided or treatments patients didn't need. In one case, patients were dead.

A rehab racket series producer conjunction with the center for investigative reporting is now headline news across California. "The San Francisco chronicle, the L.A. Times, the Sacramento Bee," all picking up on it until the series began airing, officials either turn down the interviews or it just seem literally ran from our cameras.

Tonight of your life, when the official in-charge the program. But first, the reporting that has a lot of people talking. And sure, Drew Griffin tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Georgio Luno (ph) shouldn't be in California's drug rehab business.

You seem to be center of fraud allegations here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no.

GRIFFIN: He has banned from billing Medicaid since 2002 but it hasn't stopped him from billing the state of California. (INAUDIBLE) is accused of wrong practices at his drug rehab clinic. But it hasn't stopped him from billing the state of California either.

Mr. Ajindu (ph).


GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin with CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who are you? GRIFFIN: I just told you, my name is Drew Griffin with CNN.

Wait a minute, your former employee say you are billing for the county services you're not providing, sir.

And then there is this man, Alexander Ferdman (ph) convicted for running an organized crime ring in Texas that ripped off insurance companies. It hasn't stopped him from coming to California, setting up a drug rehab clinic and billing taxpayers. Even though, felons are barred from running drug medical centers.

Mr. Ferdman (ph), how can a guy with the record like you be operating a run a drug rehab clinic here in California. This is a major insurance car crash scheme in Texas.

ALEXANDER FERDMAN (ph), CONVICTED OF RUNNING DRUG REHAB CLINIC IN TEXAS: I was convicted, but it's not what it seems.

GRIFFIN: In the last two fiscal years, taxpayers spent nearly $186 million supposedly treating drug and alcohol abuse patients in California. Our investigation with the center for investigative reporting found half of that money, or about $94 million has gone to clinics that have shown questionable billing practices or signs of fraud.

Joy Jarfers (ph), former drug medical supervisor says she complained to the state for years about all the obvious fraud.

We found billing records for people in jail, one person dead. People who said they didn't need this kind of treatment.


GRIFFIN: Clinics closed on a certain day, billing for that certain day.

JARFERS (ph): Yes.

GRIFFIN: None of this surprises you?

JARFERS (ph): Not at all. We found all of those things.

GRIFFIN: For more than a month now, CNN has been asking for an explanation from the state of California. And for more than a month, we have gotten nowhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe the interview was declined.

GRIFFIN: Can I ask from you why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That wasn't my decision.

GRIFFIN: State health officials in one Sacramento building after another refused to be questioned, including Toby Douglas (ph) who oversees drug medical.

Will you make sure to provide a response why this wide-spread fraud is allowed to continue?

Finally, after weeks of calling the state's secretary of health and human services, Dianna Duly and getting no for an answer, we decided to get a response in person.

Hi. Drew Griffin within CNN.


GRIFFIN: Hey. We have been trying to reach you and talk about the wide-spread fraud in the drug rehab business and we're told that neither you nor the program director nor anybody inspect state of California will talk to us about it.

In an uncomfortable moment, the secretary at first refused to speak.

Secretary? Do you know Alex Ferdman (ph), a convicted felon who runs a clinic and billing the state of California for several years despite the fact that there have become plants registered with the department about him? He's convicted of a major insurance fraud in the state of Texas, but for somehow was able to get certified, and has been billing. I'm just wondering if there is anybody in the state of California concerned about this fraud.

Then finally, answered a question.

DIANNA DULY, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The state of California takes fraud very seriously and there are many investigations that are underway. The allegations, all allegations are given full and fair consideration and you have caught me running because I am late for a meeting that I'm chairing.

GRIFFIN: I wonder if you would do one thing and ask Toby Douglas (ph) to sit down with us and talk to us --

DULY: No. And if you want to give us a little bit of time.

GRIFFIN: We have been giving you about a couple months.

DULY: We have a budget that we are just completing and we have many priorities on our time. Information has been provided. Answers have been provided. We have a very --

GRIFFIN: I understand.

DULY: We have a very extensive fraud and investigation unit in medical that is one of the best in the country.

GRIFFIN: Two questions --

DULY: That's all I have to say.

GRIFFIN: Are you concerned that there is massive fraud because that's what we're finding out and number two, as secretary of health could you have Toby Douglas (ph) just sit down and talk about our specific questions? DULY: Excuse me, I am --

GRIFFIN: But that is hardly the end of the story.

DULY: Would you get security for me?

GRIFFIN: Our confrontational exchange with California's secretary of health and human services may in fact have been the trigger for a major statewide crack down.

One month later, nearly to the day, the state sent out this news release, 16 drug rehab centers are under investigation and temporary suspended. And just this week, California announced that figure has jumped to 108 rehab centers.


COOPER: And Drew joins me with Toby Douglas, the director of the California department of homeland -- of healthcare services. Appreciate, Mr. Douglas, you being with us.

I want to start with this. In an editorial today, the "Sacramento Bee" said and I quote "it's not enough to stop payments to problem clinics, as the state belatedly appears to be doing now, who in state government or at the county level was responsible for years of lack of oversight? Can you answer that question? Who in state government or the county level was responsible for years of lack of oversight?

TOBY DOUGLAS, DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES: Anderson, first, thank you for having me on tonight. I can't talk about the past --

COOPER: Why not?

DOUGLAS: What I want to tell you is that this past year the governor and legislature transferred authority of this program to the department of healthcare services. Once we received authority and, that's the director was accountable, we started top to bottom review of this program and we have been initiated audits, put field investigators on the ground and what we have found so far is appalling. We have found --

GRIFFIN: Mr. Douglas --

COOPER: But you didn't just get born last year. I mean, this thing for the last two years, according to our reporting you paid $94 million to clinics that showed signs of questionable billing or fraud. That's half of all the clinic for this program. You say you have been investigating this for a long time. You have been throwing money away during this time, more than half a billion has been spent over the past six years. And you say you can't talk about the past. Can you not answer the question of who was responsible for years of lack of oversight? You must have studied this.

DOUGLAS: Again, Anderson, this is the legislature and governor, Governor Brown moved the authority of this program directly responsible and accountable to me --

COOPER: So you have no idea what happened in the past? You have no idea who is responsible?

DOUGLAS: Well, what we -- what my focus is on now, Anderson, is making sure that I am rooting out all this fraud that we have all our investigators, we are putting all resources to root out this fraud --

COOPER: How many clinics have you suspended in the year you have been in office before the latest suspensions we've been reporting? How many in that year of investigation?

DOUGLAS: We have been investigating -- what I can tell you is that we have suspended 38 clinics of which are 108 different locations --

COOPER: You just done that. I'm saying, you said you have been investigating this for a long time. You don't have to wait until -- I assume the investigation is not over. So you've announced this --

DOUGLAS: All this time --

COOPER: Like for a year you've been investigating. Have you not shut down any in that year?

DOUGLAS: I can't give you the numbers on -- right now --

COOPER: So you can't name one clinic that you've shut down in the year --

DOUGLAS: No, these are open investigations, Anderson, and our job is to work with the department of justice and focus on rooting out the fraud --

COOPER: Right, but have you rooted out any fraud in the year-long that you've been -- you say you've been investigating --

DOUGLAS: We have suspended 38 --

COOPER: Right, this week, I get it.


COOPER: In that year of investigating, can you name one person, one of the felons running one of these clinics that drew has talked to, can you name one person, one clinic you've actually shut down or stopped paying?

DOUGLAS: Again, the focus -- you know, again, our focus is rooting out this fraud --

COOPER: Right --


COOPER: Clearly, you can.

Drew, do you have a question?


Mr. Douglas, you know, as well as I do, that the audits and investigations branch of your very department, department of healthcare services has been getting at these fraud allegations for five years, not for the past one year but for five years. There were meetings pointing out this fraud.

We have heard from the L.A. county health director, Dr. Jonathan Fielding who said he's been very frustrated in the past for the lack standard of state certification and the time it has taken the state to investigate and take action from these bad actors.

Now, you have been in senior leadership of the department of healthcare services since 2005. What I think, Anderson is asking and the whole state of California and certainly the federal taxpayers want to know is there has been evidence of this fraud right under your nose for years and only now it seems, even if you say in the past year we've began investigating, only now is the state going to do something about it. The question is why and who is responsible for overlooking all this fraud?

DOUGLAS: Again, focus now is that now this program is completely under the control of the department of healthcare services. I'm accountable for rooting out this fraud and that's what I'm focused on is putting investigators out there, recertifying all providers, a thousand providers and we'll work on it until we re-root the fraud in the program.

GRIFFIN: And you've been the chief deputy director since 2009, the director of healthcare services since 2011. I mean, why would the public have any faith that you are now going to be able to tackle a problem, which hasn't been tackled since at least, what, 2008?

DOUGLAS: Again, this program, Anderson, was in another department that is now the legislature --

GRIFFIN: A department under the department of healthcare services.

DOUGLAS: No, it was a separate department that did not report to the department of healthcare services --


COOPER: And you have no idea what occurred in the last six years? You have no idea? You have not a clue in the world --

DOUGLAS: Again, Anderson --

COOPER: Who could be responsible for this?

DOUGLAS: My focus --

COOPER: Dude, dude, in ten years I can tell you stuff that happened at CNN ten years before that. I can name names of people who worked here. You can't give me any name? You're saying oh, well, we just joined these two companies together. Time Warner and AOL joined together. We still had to come to work and work every day. Your boss when Drew had like to chase her down, your boss, her excuse was we have been working on a new budget so we are very busy. Now you are saying, actually we have been investigating this all along but you can't name anybody whose actually been named by your investigation until just now. All of a sudden, you have been able to come up with all these names. Doesn't that at least -- you don't get that looks really shady?

DOUGLAS: Again, we have been doing, since we have taken this we've been assessing this program top to bottom and we will focus continuously working to root out fraud within this program.

GRIFFIN: Anderson, I just want to remind you what we are hearing from this staff, this fraud has been reported to healthcare services. They have an audits and investigation staff, supposedly, that was having meetings for years and the problems were being overlooked. That's what our report says. And that has been verified now by the L.A. county health director who says he's been very frustrated with the state not taking action on this. So now we have the same people who have basically been in charge and in oversight capacity telling us that they will clean it up. I hope that is the case. I hope that is very much the case, Mr. Douglas.

DOUGLAS: Well, again, Drew, we have taken -- as we've reported, 38 clinics have already been suspended in 108 different locations. We're recertifying 1,000 providers. We'll continue at this and continue to root out the fraud in this program until it gets to the same integrity of the programs that we administer in the medical program.

COOPER: You know, I feel bad that -- I mean, I appreciate you being on tonight and I know your boss didn't want to talk and I appreciate you have been on. But, you have only one talking point and you can continue to say and in fact that you answer every time by saying again, verifies you're giving the same answer over and over again.

But what I don't understand your boss said and you have said you couldn't talk before in the many requests that Drew has made to talk to you, you couldn't talk before because of an ongoing investigation. The fact that you're talking now, does that mean the investigation is over?


COOPER: Right.

DOUGLAS: These investigations --

COOPER: Continue.

DOUGLAS: Will continue on and we'll work with the department of justice until we take all these providers --

COOPER: Great.

DOUGLAS: To the extent possible -- COOPER: So why, why is it OK to talk now, even though the investigation is still going on, but over the last many weeks that drew has tried to get an interview, you couldn't talk because of ongoing investigation. Now, you can talk even though there is ongoing investigation.

DOUGLAS: There is an ongoing investigation and I want to make sure, Anderson that everyone knows is that I'm here. I'm accountable and that I am going to fix this program.

COOPER: All right. Well, we will continue to follow it Mr. Douglas.

Drew, do you have anything else?

GRIFFIN: No, I'll look forward to the follow ups, Mr. Douglas, and hopefully we can see where your investigations bear fruit and get some names and find out if indeed, the felons running clinics will be weeded out and the people have been falsely billing will be weed out as well.

COOPER: All right, Mr. Douglas appreciate it.

DOUGLAS: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thank you.

GRIFFIN: Thank you.

COOPER: There you go. Tell me what you think. Talk to me on twitter about this. @andersoncooper is the address.

A quick reminder, you can make a difference, if you have a tip for Drew on this or another story, let him know at

Just ahead, Ariel Castro's former sister in law responds to what he said about his sister in sentencing hearing. She has a message for him tonight.

Also, will George Zimmerman soon face federal civil rights charges for the death of Trayvon Martin. Look how difficult that case may be to prove ahead on 360 hear what Martin's parents were reportedly doing this week in their quest for charges.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back.

Michelle Knight just showed how strong she is when she stood feet from Ariel Castro in court yesterday and spoke truth to his lies. Her poise and words made a big impression on a lot of people, no doubt about it. Today, she did something else that is pretty remarkable. She made a surprise visit Seymour Avenue and just across the street from the Ariel Castro's house, she thanked (INAUDIBLE), the neighbor who gave shelter to Amanda Berry after she escaped. Tejada (ph) told CNN she is to see night through a window and because of her small size, she thought she was a child. What Ariel Castro said at the sentencing hearing was so shocking, so off the charts twisted. It is hard to even wrap your mind around it. Twenty-four hours later there is still a lot to unpack. Last night we focused on his outrageous remarks about the three young women he imprisoned and tortured for a decade.

He said he didn't rape them. He said the sex was consensual. He said there was a lot of harmony in that house. He said he's not a monster and doesn't have a violent bone in his body, but his brazen fantasy about his past didn't end there. Here is what he said about his former common law wife, the mother of four of his children.


ARIEL CASTRO, KIDNAPPER/RAPIST: I never had a record until I met my children's mother. My son was on there the other day saying how abusive I was, but I was never abusive until I met her. And he failed to say that at the end before she passed away, that them two weren't even talking. So what I'm trying to say is what she's saying that I was a wife beater. That is wrong because this happened because I couldn't get her to quiet down.

I would continuously tell her the children are right there, would you please, she would respond with I don't care if the children are there. She would just keep going and if the situation would escalate until the point where she would put her hands on me and that's how I reacted by putting my hands on her.


COOPER: It's unbelievable. She died last year. I talked to her sister back in May after Castro's arrest. She joins me again tonight. Good to have you here. When you heard what Ariel Castro said about your sister yesterday. What did you think?

ELIDA CARABALLO, ARIEL CASTRO'S FORMER SISTER-IN-LAW: I was infuriated, all those lies he's saying in that courtroom. It hurt. He beat my sister. He stomped on her head. He kicked her in the stomach repeatedly, all the time in front of her children. He beat my nephew, Anthony all the time, and he's saying he never did that. Look at the records.

COOPER: And he seems to be -- as he was doing a lot yesterday, justifying his behavior saying, you know, that it was your sister's fault. I want to play part of the hearing yesterday when the judge addressed Ariel Castro's abusive behavior.


JUDGE MICHAEL RUSSO, CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO: You said that your wife would irritate you, she wouldn't stop talking and then you would respond. My understanding from the records is that she suffered a broken nose twice. She had broken teeth and otherwise was abused, but they were never followed through as a conviction. And that's unfortunate.


COOPER: I think a lot of the people who watched him speak yesterday really and experts we talked to said look, this guy is a psychopath. That he, you know, he doesn't have emotions like everybody else. He is a true, true psychopath. Did you always feel that way about him? Did you always feel he was a monster?

CARABALLO: In the very beginning, very beginning, the beginning of her relationship he didn't seem that way. But throughout her relationship he started as soon as my nephew was born.

COOPER: And you blame him for your sister's death.

CARABALLO: Yes, yes. All my family blames him for my sister's death. He put her six feet under.

COOPER: When we spoke in May, you told me that you hoped Ariel Castro would rot in jail. What went through your mind yesterday when you heard the judge tell him he would spend the rest of his life in jail?

CARABALLO: I was happy. I was excited. I was thrilled. He's going to see what hell is like now.

COOPER: I was stunned in the testimony he clearly seems to be watching media coverage. He was talking about the three women who survived the ordeal in his house, survived the abuse for years, talking about recent appearances they made in the media. If he happens to be seeing this, is there anything you would want to say to him?

CARABALLO: I want to say Ariel you need to rot in jail. I'm glad you're rotting in jail. You're going to -- you're going to see what hell is like. Words can't even explain what I'm feeling right now and I really want to tell him. It's just words can't even say.

COOPER: Well, Elida, I'm glad there is justice in this, some justice and I appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you.

CARABALLO: Thank you.

COOPER: Trayvon Martin's parents reportedly meeting with Justice Department prosecutors continuing the investigation into the killing of their son. Will there be civil rights charges filed against Georg Zimmerman and what does his acquittal l mean for that? That's next.

And later, the FDA finally says where that tainted salad that made people sick in Iowa and Nebraska came from and the popular chain restaurants where it ended up.


COOPER: Why the widow of an alleged victim calls Whitey Bulger a coward. Disorder in the court today when 360 continues.


COOPER: Trayvon Martin's parents are reportedly getting new updates on whether there will be federal civil rights charges filed against George Zimmerman for killing their son. Now this week, Martin's parents met with the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors to talk about the ongoing investigation according to the "Miami Harold."

Zimmerman's attorney said the killing of Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race, but some civil rights leaders strongly disagree. As you know, jurors found Zimmerman not guilty in Martin's killing and going forward with the civil rights case will be challenged, but it's not unprecedented. Randi Kaye tonight reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorney General Eric Holder has made it clear all along that for any federal charges against George Zimmerman, the bar is high.

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: For federal hate crime we have to prove the highest standard in the law, something that was reckless, that was negligent, does not meet that standard we have to show that there was specific intent to do the crime with the requisite state of mind.

KAYE: Neither prosecutors nor defense made race the central issue in the state's case against Zimmerman, but civil rights leaders called the killing of Trayvon Martin, a hate crime. They say Zimmerman racially profiled martin, something Zimmerman and his family denied.

JESSE JACKSON, PRESIDENT, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: You look on a jury without a black and without a man, certainly not a jury of Trayvon's peers, the Department of Justice must intervene and take this case to another level.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find George Zimmerman not guilty.

KAYE: In response to the verdict and calls for action, the Justice Department released this statement. It reads in part, that the Department of Justice will continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial.

Federal prosecutors will then determine if Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated and the federal prosecution of George Zimmerman is appropriate. If Zimmerman is charged with violating Trayvon Martin's civil rights, it wouldn't be the first time a failed criminal case gave way to a federal sieve rights case.

Remember, Rodney King? After the four Los Angeles police officers caught beating him on camera were acquitted, the case moved to federal court where two of the four officers were found guilty of violating King's civil rights. They were each sentenced to 30 months in prison. It was a similar story in New Orleans, after a hand full of officers were cleared in a shooting on the bridge. In the aftermath of Katrina in 2005, the officers opened fire on a family, killing a 17-year-old.

When local prosecutors couldn't deliver a conviction, the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI began an investigation. In 2011 a jury in New Orleans federal court convicted five police officers on charges related to covering up the investigation and deprivation of civil rights. Still, regardless of the outcome of those two high-profile cases, George Zimmerman's attorney continues to insist this case was never about race.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: My fear is that now that they've connected that conversation to his conviction, that his acquittal is going to be seen a negative to civil rights, absolutely untrue.

KAYE: Maybe so but that seems is for the United States Department of Justice to decide. Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Joining me now, Criminal Defense Attorney Danny Cevallos and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin. So I want to read the actual federal statute that's involved here. It says this statute makes it unlawful to cause bodily injury or attempting to do so with fire, firearm or other dangerous weapon when the crime was commented because of the actual or perceived race, color religion or national origin of any person. How difficult would this be to prove?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: When you started out, you said the original case was race. Race was not an element of the original case. They avoided race and that's why any civil rights case or DOJ case will be exceedingly difficult. Why, because at the criminal trial the state failed to prove any evil intent.

So the Department of Justice would now have to prove not only that evil intent but further, it was motivated by a racial animus and that was the under lying evil intent was never proven at the criminal trial. So the federal government would have the additional burden of proving that intent plus the evil motive.

And on top of that prove connection to interstate commerce or something else that gives it that federal next sustained. That's why it's a very high burden. The federal government does not like to bring cases and lose them and that's why most commentators agree it's not likely they are very motivated to bring this case.

COOPER: Sunny, do you agree with that? The state's attorney said race was not a factor in the trial?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I don't agree with that. I think Danny is way off base, Anderson. The bottom line here is that the state case has no bearing, no bearing whatsoever on a federal case. The federal investigation has been ongoing. It started in March 2012. There has been in determination and we know the investigation is continuing so to suggest somehow that whatever happened in state court has some sort of bearing on the federal investigation or any sort of federal crime is just really way off base.

COOPER: Sunny, let me ask you, though, would a federal investigation turn up different evidence than the state investigation did? HOSTIN: Absolutely. I mean, we're talking about, you know, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and all the resources the federal government has to bear. We know that they have been out and meeting with witnesses over again, and they may have found even new witnesses, other information about perhaps George Zimmerman, whatever racial problems he may have. We don't know what they uncovered. We don't know where it's going.

I think there is a lot to be said by the fact that the government did meet with Trayvon Martin's family because prosecutors often times do keep victim's families in the loop. Sometimes they interview those families, get additional information from the family, and they do go over potential charges and so -- I think when we know now they are meeting with this family, it says something.

COOPER: Danny, we know before the trial, the state trial, the FBI looked into this and found no evidence Zimmerman is a racist. Doesn't that tell you something?

CEVALLOS: It tells me -- hold up, Sunny.

HOSTIN: That's --

CEVALLOS: What evidence do you think the federal government, what evidence do you think the federal government is reviewing, any new evidence? Maybe, but --

HOSTIN: Absolutely.

CEVALLOS: They are reviewing evidence from the trial court and have to review additionally the racially motivated evidence. They are reviewing additional things, but have to prove that racial motive. Of course state court decisions are not binding on the federal government, but they have to prove the racial problem. Sunny, tell me at the state court level where will that jump on that? Where is it?

HOSTIN: Again, I love a challenge, Danny. And I love a challenge.

COOPER: You said that's not accurate. I'm a big believe near accuracy. How is that not accurate?

HOSTIN: Yes, my understanding, Anderson, is certainly the FBI started their investigation in March 2012 and did interview some of the Sanford Police Department investigators and one of the investigators said they didn't believe that race was a part of this. That does not mean the FBI came to that conclusion.


HOSTIN: So we've been hearing about the FBI making that conclusion, that's inaccurate.

COOPER: We'll end it there. We'll see what happens. Sunny, do you have a sense, timeline how long they might come to -- before they make a decision? HOSTIN: You know, every federal investigation is different. I've led federal investigations, of course, having been a federal prosecutor and there is no science to it or definitive timeline. It has been going on for a year. You do have the state trial but it may be on going for a little while longer.

COOPER: Appreciate it. Sunny Hostin, Danny Cevallos, have a great weekend. Thanks.

Just ahead, they spent 69 days trapped a half mile underground. Who is to blame for the mine collapse that almost killed them? Details that's coming up.


COOPER: The name of the tainted salad mix. Details ahead.


COOPER: Let's get you caught up quickly on some other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 news and bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, federal health officials say the tainted salad mix blamed for cyclospora outbreaks in Iowa and Nebraska came from Taylor Farms in Mexico and was eaten by diners at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants. Now the FDA said it doesn't believe the bagged salad was sold in any U.S. grocery stores.

The defense rested in the Whitey Bulger trial after the 83-year-old former mob boss told the judge he wouldn't be taking stand and called the trial a sham. A widow of a victim called him a coward. Jurors were not in the room at the time.

An Army official says at least 55 soldiers have been suspended from their duties as sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill instructors. According to the official, the suspension stems from minor offenses like drinking alcohol to sexual assaults and child abuse.

A 360 follow, prosecutors in Chile say there is not enough evidence to file criminal charges in the 2010 mine collapse that trapped 33 men under ground for 69 days. They have closed the three-year investigation. All 33 miners were rescued. Two of the men tell CNN they plan to appeal the prosecutor's decision.

COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." We have the basic, everyday zombies on the loose in Denver on the 5k race. The idea of spending a weekend running a 5k isn't scary enough on its own. They have balloons, life balloons the zombies try to pop along the way signifying the runners are dead, although they keep running. It's a simple of terrifying concept.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Supposed to be the zombie apocalypse and the runners are running to save their life to get to the finish, to have an after party.


COOPER: Sure, what does zombie apocalypse without an after party? It got out of hand in Denver and not the zombies. A woman that played a zombie got pummeled by a runner.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was not fun at all. I had a large guy tackle me over a boulder and left me there, scrapes, bruises. I wasn't planning on bleeding my blood that day.


COOPER: Paramedics say another zombie had her nose broken after a guy in a banana costume punched her in the face. We won't show you the picture because we don't know if it's the guy that punched her and we're in the in the business of banana slander. Here is a picture to give you a sense of what it looked like. The artist was Tom Foreman. The founders of the zombie runs say the goal is for nobody to get hurt, but you know what, runners can be scary and I guess zombies can be, too.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes humans are aggressive and sometimes zombies are too aggressive.


COOPER: As a 12-year-old really running the race? I'm not surprised. When you get humans and zombies together, things can get intense as anyone who seen "the walking dead" is aware.

That was a good episode. Remember, that was the one the little zombie girl got shot at the end. I find myself rooting for the zombies there, do you? The human characters are annoying. The zombies are more fun if they are creepy looking. That's me as a zombie. You can do it on AMC's website, dead yourself. I'm off track. It's coming to other cities so agree, zombies and mortals and bananas alike can get along and run as one on the "Ridiculist."

That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern another edition of 360. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.