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"I Have Been Under Tremendous Stress"; Mystery In Miami; Phelps Rejoins Drug Testing Program; Andy Kaufman Alive With A Family?

Aired November 15, 2013 - 07:30   ET



MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: I used forgivable language, and again I apologize. I wish you to know I'm receiving support from a team of health care professionals.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All this coming after Toronto's city council called Mayor Ford out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, you're not being truthful.

ROBERTSON: For his admitted use of crack cocaine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?

FORD: Yes, I have.

ROBERTSON: And this mea culpa.

FORD: I really f'd up and that's it.

ROBERTSON: The council which can't fire the mayor will be meeting Friday and Monday to consider ways to strip his powers. For now, council members settled for turning backs on him as he spoke. The mayor whose drunken profanity laced tirades have brought him international notoriety denied allegations of driving drunk issuing this challenge.

FORD: None of you guys have ever, ever had a drink and got behind the wheel?

ROBERTSON: Still, the mayor insists he's here to stay.

FORD: I'll be doing everything I have done for the last 13 years, returning calls, watching every dime, going to people's homes and fighting for the little guy in the city.


ROBERTSON: So some of the powers the council wants to strip away from him, control over some of the money that he says he's watching over, taking away powers that he would have during an emergency situation giving them to deputy mayor, taking away his power to hire and fire some senior staff, even giving some of his own staffers the opportunity to transfer their jobs to work for the deputy mayor.

They are really trying to isolate him at this stage, but he recently said I will sail this ship even if it is by myself, he said that on a radio show recently. But right now it's looking like it's getting to be less and less of a ship that is sailing. And it will be a little kayak by himself before he steps out of it -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and Nick, still no way yet for them to force him out of office. They can just try to strip away his powers, as you said. We'll see what happens next. Nic Robertson, great to see you. Thank you.

A mystery in the skies to tell you about off the coast of South Florida, a search resumes this morning for a passenger who apparently fell out of a plane flying almost 2,000 feet over Biscayne Bay near Miami. CNN's Alina Machado has the very latest on this investigation. Good morning, Alina.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Police believed two people were on that plane when it took off. Authorities are now desperately looking for the missing passenger who is presumed dead.


UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: Mayday, mayday, mayday! I have a door ajar. And I'm heading to Tamiami.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: OK, do you want to go to Tamiami and land. You have a door open, is that what you say?

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down.

MACHADO: That mayday from the pilot of this small plane is at the heart of a midair mystery. A passenger suddenly falling out of a plane several miles from shore.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: You said you had a passenger that fell out of your plane?

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: That's correct, sir. He opened the back door and he just fall down the plane.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: OK. I got your spot marked where a passenger fell out then you want to go, you want to go land at Tamiami now?

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: That's correct, sir.

MACHADO: Authorities searched in the air and on the water. The pilot telling authorities the man fell 1.800 feet. What isn't known is whether the passenger accidentally fell out of the plane or deliberately jumped.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: November 164, Lima Delta. Do you require emergency assistance on the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: I don't. I just have the door open, but I will require emergency exits for the passenger who fell two miles from the shore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no indication at this time how he fell out of the plane.

MACHADO: The plane eventually landed at Tamiami Executive Airport. The same place where authorities believe it had taken off. They are questioning the pilot and homicide detectives are also investigating.


MACHADO: Police say they know the identity of the passenger, but they are not ready to release it to the public. They are still working on notifying his family. Meanwhile, the search for this man has been a recovery mission from the start. Authorities don't believe he could have survived such a fall without a parachute -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Alina, thanks so much. I don't know about this story. There seems to be something we are missing on this one.

CUOMO: To be continued.

Next up on NEW DAY, comedian, Andy Kaufman still alive with a family? A woman claiming to be his daughter, is this the truth? We pursue for you.

BOLDUAN: And Olympic swimming champ, Michael Phelps may not be done after all. He just made a major move to pave the way for a 2016 Olympic game return.


CUOMO: All right, here is the question, is Michael Phelps coming out of retirement? The most decorated Olympian of all time may be gearing up for a fifth go-around at the games. Why do we say this? He reportedly rejoined the drug testing company that could prove he'll be at Rio De Janeiro in 2016. CNN's Nischelle Turner has been dispatched to figure this out. What do you think? Is it real?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it is very real. The idea of it is very real. We don't know if it's exactly going to happen because Michael Phelps is treading lightly here. He's dog paddling and treading water right now. He told the Associated Press on Thursday nothing is set in stone, but the big news is he's back in the poll. That's the first big step to yes. Here's a lesson, remember how your mom said never say never. Michael Phelps, never say never. Listen to what he told a Brazilian journalist back in April.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to ask you, Michael Jordan did it, many boxers did it. You don't know what the question is yet. MICHAEL PHELPS: I already know where you're going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So is there a comeback?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way? Not even when you are here in Rio?

PHELPS: I'll be here. I'll be watching. But no, I mean, I've done everything I've wanted to in the sport and there's no need to come back.


TURNER: Now let me read what he told the Associated Press on Thursday. Nothing's set in stone. He said if I decide to keep going and swim again, then I'll compete. But what he didn't say is he's back training with his aquatic club in Baltimore and he's lost 15 pounds. And he has also been tested twice by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. And that's the big news because you have to be tested nine months in advance of competing again if you're going to compete.

PEREIRA: He's allowed to change his mind, but it's interesting when you think, he's not an old guy, 28 or so, but that's kind of old to these standards. How many billions of medals does he have already?

TURNER: Well, that's funny because you have the look like, he's an athlete. He's got the competitive drive. You want to get back in it, and sometimes -- he's 28. If he's just sitting at home and still has it in him, why not?

COUMO: I know I'm still the best, but what if I'm not? Am I going to ruin who I am? Jordan we watched really struggle with this.

TURNER: How do you top what he's done, though? He went out in 2012 to the Olympics there, four god medals and two silver medals, how do you top that?

PEREIRA: They are wired differently. Wasn't he checking on golf? What happened to his golfer?

TURNER: He was being trained by Hank Haney, Tiger's old coach. He was working on his golf game and swing, but maybe he found out he's most comfortable when he's in the pool. Now I do think it's interesting, too, because he would be eligible to compete again in March. So he could compete in the 2015 world games in Russia. That's what most of the athletes that are going to the Olympics in Rio will do.

So it could be a little bit of a test for him, but this is big news. It will definitely change the landscape of swimming. It will definitely change the 2016 Olympics. We already know Ryan Lochte who was supposed to be the heir apparent. He is out with a torn ACL. If Michael Phelps comes back in, that puts swimming back on the map.

CUOMO: How did Lochte hurt himself?

TURNER: He was trying to catch a crazed fan who just ran towards him and they both tumbled to the ground and he tore his ACL.

BOLDUAN: You felt bad if you were that fan. I want to see you back in the pool and he hurt his knee.

TURNER: This could be a very big deal. We'll definitely stay on this.

BOLDUAN: Michael Phelps watch.

TURNER: The Phelps watch is on for 2016.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Nischelle.

Here's another one to ponder. Coming up next on NEW DAY, is comedian Andy Kaufman still alive or is this letter a hoax? We'll talk to his brother live coming up.


CUOMO: We can be heroes. Welcome back. A woman lost control of her car and wound up in a pond in Sanford, Florida. She winds up being rescued with seconds to spare. Take a look. Sometimes it seems people aren't looking out for one another, but this time virtue wins. A Good Samaritan saw her struggling to get out of her car. He pulls her out and seconds later the car goes under.

He just happened to be in the right place at the right time. In all the excitement, he didn't get the name of the woman he saved. He just did it because it was the right thing to do. You see that? There he was, a hero popping up among us to save someone's life.

BOLDUAN: Two for humanity in this show.

CUOMO: Very good.

PEREIRA: We are keeping a running tally.

Let's go to really -- I've got to tell you, I've seen a lot of things in my time. This is a bizarre story. Almost as out there as the man Andy Kaufman's comedy himself, is he still alive? A woman has come forward claiming to be his daughter. His brother also said that he had got an letter from the comedian saying he faked his death and had a family. But is Michael Kaufman the victim of a hoax? He joins us live to answer that but first, more on the story from CNN's Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His comedy mysteriously funny. Andy Kaufman from episode one of "Saturday Night Live," October 11, 1975. And there's Kaufman being beaten by the world wrestling foundation's Jerry "The King" Lawler. His stint in the world of professional wrestling, funny to a bizarre degree. Kaufman's brilliance, the line between fantasy and reality never clear. The Kaufman (inaudible) feud played out on the "David Letterman Show." The feud, fiction, so the news that Kaufman may be alive is not exactly news. The 2011 documentary "The Death Of Andy Kaufman" a serious study of whether he faked his death has been a possibility. So the woman who claims to be Kaufman's daughter along with his brother made a convincing claim he might be alive.

The rumor mill churned again. According to his death certificate, Andy Kaufman died on May 16, 1984, in West Hollywood, California. When asked if there was any chance he faked his own death, the L.A. coroner put it bluntly, Andy Kaufman is dead. His comedy lives on. We like to think he does, too. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Hollywood.


PEREIRA: So joining us now is Andy Kaufman's brother, Michael Kaufman. Thank you for joining us. We just watched this video of what happened. You were there. What was going through your mind when it happened?

MICHAEL KAUFMAN, ANDY KAUFMAN'S BROTHER: I was skeptical at the time, and things have happened since that day that more than just skeptical at this point, but there was enough, enough information that she had that had me possibly believing her and I'm not sure if they showed it but at the end I did hug her. I said just in case this is my niece, I'm going to hug her, but I was skeptical even at that moment.

BOLDUAN: So now, I mean, it's all, rumor mill, rumor mill, what's going on, what's going on that's kind of surrounding the aura of Andy Kaufman.


BOLDUAN: Is this all a hoax? Are we all victims of another hoax? Are you hoaxing us?

KAUFMAN: You know, I've been processing, a lot's happened since Monday, a lot of nights where I haven't slept well, just trying to figure it out, and where I am today, which may be different than yesterday, certainly different than Monday night is I still have a glimmer of hope that he is the mastermind behind it all, but more likely, someone else is behind it with his help, that, you know, before he died, I believe he did give someone information so that they could know this information.

CUOMO: One of the reasons you believe is because of a letter you say you received. What did it say?

KAUFMAN: Which at the time I thought was, I thought it may have been real. I didn't tell anyone about it because I was told not to in the letter. I have the letter with me if you want me to --

PEREIRA: Yes, do you have it right there?

BOLDUAN: This was back in '99.

CUOMO: So it's 1999. Your brother said he'd be at a certain restaurant and date, what happened?

KAUFMAN: I was there when he died, when he was emaciated with cancer. I had to keep it a secret. He asked me not to tell the family. When he tells me not to tell my father about this letter it's Andy, not trying to hurt my father's feelings so I'm assuming it's Michael who is reading this for several loving reasons.

Michael, I am sorry for the pain I must have inflicted on mom, dad, Grandma Lily, Carol and you. I hope you can understand my reason. And he writes number two first for the heck of it. Number one, to have a life that was too much pressure to be Andy Kaufman, I just wanted to be Andy. I think that's why I got sick. I had to change completely and quickly.

PEREIRA: What did you think when you received this letter, obviously that must have been sort of chilling and also, did it feel like your emotions were being toyed with? You mourned the loss of your brother, as anyone would?

KAUFMAN: And having mourned the loss, I've gone through the most difficult part. That was awful, you know, my brother, he was only two years older than me and he was so, he was life. He was like bigger than life. Every time I was with him it was magical.

CUOMO: I grew up loving him. He set all new kinds of standards not just on "Taxi," but on comedy blurring the line. It puts you in a jam because you process this as a brother, but also I can't not believe someone is putting us on right now because of who we're talking about --


CUOMO: This is what made Andy Kaufman great. Why wouldn't his brother try to extend the legacy with a hoax and it's OK if you are.

KAUFMAN: I understand that. I understand where you're coming from.

CUOMO: You're saying that's not what it is. You're not motivating this.


BOLDUAN: Do you believe your brother is alive?

KAUFMAN: I have a glimmer of hope, but if I had to bet on it, I would say no. I would say that he told somebody else -- you know, the secret handshake we used to have, how he used to make fun of me for being the nice guy saying they're onto you, no one's believing it, all of those, how many toothbrushes he used, all that kind of stuff, he could have told somebody and said carry this out for me or he could have hired somebody. Today that's where I am with it.

BOLDUAN: What do you do now? Do you just sit and wait and try to process? Do you try to seek out more answers and see if there is a glimmer of hope in your mind that he could still be alive? Do you seek out to try to find him? What do you do now? KAUFMAN: Well, I've been sitting with this for 14 years, and pretty much I've done nothing. I put the letter in the safety deposit box and that was it. I think now I might try to find out who was behind it. Back then, I didn't, you know, I had no --

CUOMO: It turns out she does have a real father and they say it's not Andy Kaufman.

KAUFMAN: I don't think she is -- even if Andy alive, I don't think she's the daughter.

PEREIRA: Does all of this upset you or do you kind of grin and say if my brother was up to something and that's what this all is it's typical Andy.

KAUFMAN: If I told of part of this amuses me, would I be sick?

PEREIRA: You're allowed to.

KAUFMAN: If Andy is dead and this is happening and he helped it happen, I'm amused. If he's alive and he's doing this and really is happily married and all that, I don't like that he trusted somebody else over me, but I'm still kind of -- I always try to see the positive side, so I'm trying to be happy for him.

BOLDUAN: It does say something about his legacy and how many lives he touched and how much people loved him, the fact that after all this time, how many people are talking about this and care about this and want to find answers along with you.

CUOMO: Remember how he was and TMZ is out there, don't worry.

KAUFMAN: What I'm scared is being lost is my father passed away this summer and we played a video of my father addressing the Andy Kaufman award in 2009, which you see the love there that they had for each other which is not apparent and that's being lost.

PEREIRA: You always have that in your heart.

KAUFMAN: And also the winner of this year's Andy Kaufman award surpassed what Andy did on stage through the use of video, he was able to, present harry talking to future harry and what he did was what Andy did in his writing so I just don't want that to be lost.

CUOMO: It's great to be reminded of what he was about if nothing else.

PEREIRA: Thanks for joining us, Michael. Good luck on your search for answers.

KAUFMAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the president's reversal on Obamacare letting people keep their plans for a year if they like them. Has this damaged him? We'll talk about it.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think it's legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law.


CUOMO: The president issues a mea culpa and temporary fix for the botched health care roll out. We'll look at what the fix might mean for you. Is the cure worse than the disease?

BOLDUAN: The Philippine government is defending itself over response to Typhoon Haiyan. Overnight the official death toll has risen to over 3,600 people. With many streets impassable survivors are still waiting for aid.

PEREIRA: The Toronto city council plans to vote this morning on whether to strip Mayor Rob Ford of most of his duties, but will the embattled mayor take the hints. We'll talk live to this councilman who put forth the motion for Ford to step down.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.