Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Richard Sheman's Rant; Wolf of Wall Street; Sochi Security; Escame from a Polygamist Cult
Aired January 21, 2014 - 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: This is Piers Morgan Live. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Tonight, the rant that everyone in America is talking about. Richard Sherman's extraordinary trash talk of Fox Sports after the Seahawks' amazing victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SHERMAN, FOOTBALL CORNERBACK FOR THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Well, I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, what was he thinking? Well, Richard Sherman explains all exclusively to CNN.
Also, the Olympic gold medalist who says Chris Christie wanted him out of New Jersey Senate race. Carl Lewis is here to explain.
And Olympic side, security scares for the winter games Sochi. President Obama talked to Vladimir Putin about it today. I'll talk to Meredith Vieira tonight. She's headed there in just a few days.
What are we getting though with the remarkable rant heard around the world? I'm talking about Richard Sherman mouthing off the Fox Sport's Erin Andrews.
On the Seahawks' incredible victory over the 49ers on Sunday to take the NFC title. The game ended with this, a play for the ages that put Sherman's team in the Super Bowl. But the icing of the cake was surely this, Sherman blasting the 49ers' Michael Crabtree moments after victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERMAN: Well, I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me.
ERIN ANDREWS, FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL HOST: Who was talking about you?
SHERMAN: Crabtree! Don't you open your mouth about the best. Or I'm going to shut it for you real quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Sherman went on to apologize. And tonight, he talks exclusively to CNN's Rachel Nichols who joins me now.
Rachel, before we get to your interview, which is a great coo for you and for CNN and what was your reaction when you are watching it live to what he did?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, actually we hear things like that all of the time so I was a bit surprised at the reaction that mushroomed out from what Richard Sherman said.
And here's what's fascinating about Richard Sherman. He is definitely one of the brashest, most outspoken guys in the NFL. But he's also one of the smartest players in the NFL. This is a guy who graduated from Stanford while he was playing and even started on his master's while he was there playing football.
So, not a surprise that while this was a very emotional moment, when he sat down to talk to me, he was very reasonable and thoughtful.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP
NICHOLS: There was the moment on the field when he made the play. There is the choke sign. There is the interview on the field post game and there's the press conference interview. What do you regret about all that? What do you not regret about all of that?
SHERMAN: Well, there isn't much about that I regret. You know, mostly I regret I guess the storm afterwards, you know, the way it was covered, the way it was perceived and the attention that it took away from the fantastic performances from my teammates, you know.
And that be the only part of it I regret, you know, the way it's covered, you know, it is what it is, what I said is what I said, you know, I don't say I probably shouldn't have attacked another person. You know, I don't mean to attack him and that was immature and I probably shouldn't have done that. I regret doing that but I just felt like my teammates are better and, you know, I have to apologize to them and I have.
NICHOLS: Your brother has said that Michael Crabtree was rude to you at an event this past summer, a charity event, that he shunned you, he wouldn't talk to you and that you said at that time, "All right, I'm going to show him on the field." is that the background of all this?
SHERMAN: That's the short version of it.
NICHOLS: Is that the clean version?
SHERMAN: That's the -- and we're going to keep it clean.
NICHOLS: All right.
SHERMAN: And you know, I try ...
NICHOLS: Did it get nastier than that?
SHERMAN: Well, I'm going to keep it clean.
SHERMAN: And I told -- I said I would keep it on the field, you know, I will show you on the field and that's always been my thing. Everybody is like, "Oh man, this guy is pushing you on the face. You're doing this, doing that." you know, I'm not going to fight anybody and embarrass myself, embarrass my family, embarrass my, you know, organization like that. There's no need for that. There's no need to be that kind of barbaric human being.
But on the field, we're playing a very barbaric sport. You can do as you please. And that's when I take all of my animosity and all my anger and all my frustrations on the field. With discipline football, sound football, you know, it takes a different kind of person to be able to turn that switch on and off and be able to step into the ring or step on the field and beat the intense incredible focus and kind of, you know, I guess angry human being that you have to be to be successful in those atmosphere.
NICHOLS: How do you do it?
SHERMAN: You have to have that switch. You take it off. You treat it totally different. And that's why sometimes it crashes and doesn't go all so well because if you catch me in a moment on the field when I'm still in that zone, when I'm still as competitive as I can be and I'm trying to be in a place where I have to be to do everything I can to be successful on the football field and help my team win. Then it's not going to come out as articulate, as smart, as charismatic because on the field, I'm not all those things. I'm everything I need to be a winner.
NICHOLS: You know, we've seen this. We've seen Deion Sanders and Terrell Owens, and Bart Scott and you can go much further back. Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali.
We've seen guys get excited in a moment, make big pronouncements. What interested me so much about what happen to you was the reaction afterward. The way it mushroomed and the fact that race, so quickly, became involved.
SHERMAN: Yeah, you know, it was really mind-boggling and it was kind of sad that the way the world reacted, you know, I can't say the word, I don't want to generalize people like that because there are a lot of great people who didn't react that way.
But for the people who did react that way until the racial slurs and things like that out there. It was really sad especially that close to Martin Luther King Day. You're judging -- you're not judging a guy. I'm not out there beating on people or committing crimes, or getting arrested or doing anything. I'm playing a football game at a high level and I got excited but what I did was within the lines of a football field. What they did was an actual reality. They showed their true character. That was -- those were real comments. Not in a moment. Not in a, you know, they had time to think about it. They were sitting at a computer and they expressed themselves in a true way and I thought society have to move past that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLS: You know, it's interesting, this backlash against Sherman, the racial aspect is what so striking to me because you had people tweeting him, reaching out to him over e-mail, text message basically using monkeys, bananas, and a lot of language I can't say on television and then you had more veiled criticism calling him a "thug".
Certainly, you could make the case that he was a bad sport in that moment but thug seems to be an underlying way to bring it back to race in something that Sherman is not only offended by but he told me he was surprised by.
MORGAN: Well, here's the thing, Rachel, I don't even think he was a bad sport. I mean I'm a passionate soccer fan, cricket fan, you know, I love a lot of American sports and I watched it live.
Let's watch it again. We just had the charming, nice, calm version of Mr. Sherman. Let's watch the rant all over again and I'll say what I want to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERMAN: Well, I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me.
ANDREWS: Who was talking about you?
SHERMAN: Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best. Or I'm going to shut it for you real quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You see I absolutely love that. I love the passion and drive, the total commitment. But I love it in a context of what he just said to you which is when I'm on a football field that is what I have to be to win.
When he's off the football field with you? Lovely guy. But I would -- if I was a fan of his team and they're on the Super Bowl for a reason because of winners like him.
NICHOLS: We asked these guys to be gladiators on the field but it's a pretty common expression, right? We asked them to put their bodies at risk.
It was just a few minutes earlier that another player on that same field had his leg bent in a direction that legs are not supposed to go in. They risk limb and, you know, and if you look at their future life, they're future life for this there's people who've suffered severe reactions after playing football and they have to go out there and they have to get themselves in a mental state to do that.
Another interesting aspect to that that he brought up to me was, "You are going against the best." He said, "You have to have so much confidence ...
NICHOLS: ... to think that you can go beat the best." You have to think of yourself that way. You have to think that you are invisible and say that to yourself and sometimes say it to other people to think that you can bat that past out of the air. That he did. He saved the game for the Seahawks. He put them in the Super Bowl.
MORGAN: Right and talking of beat season. The Beats headphones commercial. Let's take a little look at this. This is quite entertaining actually.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a problem with depression?
SHERMAN: Not often really.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He thinks so (inaudible) untouchable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you fight a lot as a kid?
SHERMAN: Not everybody in Compton is a gang member.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard, have you gone downhill since college?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an athlete. Do you feel you're untouchable?
SHERMAN: I'm not afraid of anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about your reputation as a thug?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll be honest with you, Rachel. I didn't know a lot about Mr. Sherman before I was watching live when all this happened. I now know a lot about him and I rather like what I know about this guy.
He seems to me to be a good family guy. He's a good community guy. He does a lot of work for charity. And yet on the football field, he wants to crush his opponents and win. And that's what it's about, isn't it? NICHOLS: Well, it's interesting you showed that advertisement. Yeah, it is a national campaign that he's in which is pretty unusual for a defensive player especially a fit round draft pick.
So you can see he is smart and canny. All of these things that says, all the attention that he gets for being outspoken and brash, it gives him more leverage when it comes to endorsements. Its gotten him this national campaign and his agent has come out and said in the past 24 hours that the reaction has been that he's gotten more endorsement offers since all of this happened on Sunday.
So Richard certainly knows what he's doing, we saw that with another great athlete Reggie Miller when he taunted Spike in the garden. They know where to pick their spot and certainly, Richard knows where to pick his spot with this one.
MORGAN: Well, if he's watching, Mr. Sherman, I salute you, sir. Long may you continue. I'm going to be rooting for you in the Super Bowl purely because of the passion you showed for your game. I like that.
It's a terrific interview, Rachel. A lot more in it will be appearing on Friday in your show "Unguarded" at 10:30PM Eastern Time. Rachel, thank you very much indeed for that. A great scoop by you. And I'm thrilled to have you him on our show because I like that guy.
MORGAN: When we come back, nine-time Olympic gold medalist, Carl Lewis. I want to get his reaction to what Richard Sherman said. And he also tells me, what do you think Chris Christie did to drive him out of New Jersey's Senate race?
Plus, escape from polygamy. The woman who risked everything when she fed Warren Jeffs' sect at the age of just 16.
MORGAN: Got to like him. The NFL cornerback, Richard Sherman could face 12 days from now when the Seahawks take on the Broncos in the Super Bowl across the river here in New Jersey while I'm in New York but is down the road.
Breaking the news with me tonight and somebody may have had some advice to Sherman. Nine-time Olympic Gold medalist Carl Lewis, also Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Manager of Fortune, and Ben Ferguson, big bully Ben, the CNN Political Commentator and Host of the Ben Ferguson Show. Always a delight to have them here.
And let's start with you Carl Lewis because -- what do you think as an athlete? Who's been at the very, very top of your game for a very long time. When you saw Richard Sherman go off like that, did you -- did you empathize? Did you understand what he was doing?
CARL LEWIS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, FMR. NJ SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, you know, it's really interesting because people are quick to judge and they don't know the back story. So obviously there was something between he and Crabtree that went back awhile. Number one, number two, this is a very intelligent articulate guy who does a lot of things and understands what he is doing.
I mean I've been in that situation where you make a play like that for the super bowl. The super bowl is something you merely have one shot at. And understanding the Olympics, I get it. So the emotion of that moment I think overtook him and I thought it was emotion.
MORGAN: Yeah, I completely agree. Let's -- very quickly, Carl, to the real reason we got you on tonight which is that Chris Christie still engulfed in this Bridgegate scandal. And you were loosely caught up in a battle with this administration. Tell me -- tell me in very brief terms exactly what happened with you and why you think it was wrong.
LEWIS: Well, what happened is that I met Governor Christie back in 2009 when I was named New Jersey Hall of Famer and so I reached out to him about being involved in Physical Education in the State of New Jersey. And we came up with a great idea of making me kind of an Ambassador.
And the Governor's office came up with a great program which I was really excited to be a part of in the State of New Jersey. And I really recommended him for that but then I decided to run for State Senate and that came out of just willing to do more in my community as well.
And when he found out about it, he called me and kind of pushed me to get out of the race. He said "We're going to go after you."
Now, I understand politics because I follow politics and I get it. But it's also a personal thing because he was trying to push me out of there and use the physical education thing that's kind of a coward to do it. And it was this friend running and it was difficult for him but I felt like he was trying to intimidate me to get me out but I didn't feel intimated.
MORGAN: Just to clarify, Carl, you know, Chris Christie personally said to you if you run, we're going to come after you?
LEWIS: Oh, absolutely he said that on the telephone call. And I didn't, you know, and it was obviously clear and he also said that we'll kill the program because obviously we can't work with you on the other side of the line.
So those are things that are clear, it didn't bother me in the sense of it was going to stop me doing what I thought was right because I wasn't about political politics, I wasn't about partisanship, I was about the people in New Jersey and I try to keep it that way.
MORGAN: I think his people have denied this today and I guess it's your word against his. What is your reaction to that denial?
LEWIS: Well, that isn't really surprising. This story that came out in 2010 and if you go back to 2010 -- 2011 rather, you could see how the story worked out, you know, starts with denial and then it goes too well, it wasn't what they remembered and then it changes.
So the reality, this is what happened and just a few days ago, I was on the track practicing with some of the athletes and I get a call from someone that brought the story back to me because I really moved on from it.
MORGAN: They said "Unfortunately, this coming now is obviously a sour-grapes rehash of a clear-cut legal issue which did not fall his way. Mr. Lewis was disqualified from running on the basis of residency by every court state and federal and lost at every level, including all of the appeals."
Just as an overview, Carl, before I move to the others, do you think Chris Christie therefore is a bully as many are trying to portray him?
LEWIS: Well, you know, I actually I want to kind of get to what their comment was because the reality is that I was approved by judges and also the law judge, the Guadagno is the one who actually pulled me off the ballot twice. So let's be clear about the reality of what actually happened.
But more than that, I wouldn't call him a bully. What I think -- what I got out of him he is very insecure. Someone who is using his power as governor now because of his lack of security, that's the way I see it.
MORGAN: But can I talk to Ben Ferguson because, Ben, here's the thing about Chris Christie. He's the news all day ...
BEN FERGUSON, HOST, THE "BEN FERGUSON SHOW: Sure.
MORGAN: ... everyday at a moment. He is a huge beast in the jungle and he is getting currently pounded by every other animal out there.
How is this all going to shake out and what you make of what Carl Lewis just said about his own personal involvement the way Chris Christie according to Carl ...
FERGUSON: Well, look I ...
MORGAN: ... said, you know, you run against me, I'm going to come after you.
FERGUSON: Carl, I'm a huge fan of Carl but welcome to the world of politics, Carl. It's a lot like ...
FERGUSON: ... sports. You pick the team; you are going to run as a Democrat. You're going to have Republicans come after you the same way that I guarantee you as a candidate. Being a fighter, we're going to go after Republican if it all pan (ph) out at the end of the day.
I mean this is normal political actions and to imply that somehow there was something under handed here, is kind of to me to be honest laughable because if you want to play with the big boys ...
LEWIS: Wait, wait, wait.
FERGUSON: ... then you better be ready to play with the big boys. You were as an athlete so I don't know why you didn't expect in the political route?
LEWIS: Wait a minute. Hold on here. You know, no one is implying anything. I'd stated the facts as it were. I'm not -- there's no implication, I'm just telling you what happened.
And it turns out what he try to do to me ...
FERGUSON: Sure, but ...
LEWIS: ... I just said it. He didn't -- wait, hold on, he didn't intimidate me I just said that's the piece of the facts. And I went on to run my race, I've never criticized the governor, even now I'm not criticizing the Governor. I'm just stating the facts so we can't change what I'm saying because what I just said are the facts.
MORGAN: OK. On a wider point ...
LEWIS: Wait. Hold on. I've moved on in my ...
MORGAN: Ben Ferguson. Let me ask Ben, Carl, if I may. On a wider point about Chris Christie. All of these, he's damaging.
MORGAN: I mean which ever way you look at this, he's getting pounded. His poll ratings are coming down. How do you see this playing out in the bigger picture for Chris Christie because a lot of concerns at the moment are refusing to put their heads over the parapet for him?
FERGUSON: Well, look. We're a long ways from the presidential election and that's what really this is about. And you see politicians come back all the time. The Republicans got beat up after the government shutdown. Now, their improved ratings, they're fine.
The president got beat up recently with the Affordable Care Act and guess what, he's up a little bit. I mean, people have very short memories and Chris Christie, the reason why someone is obsessed with him right now and Democrats are doing everything they can to try destroying him is they're terrified of him because he is a Super Bowl player. If you want to use a sports analogy in the political world and so any shot they can take at him, they're going to do it but I don't ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
FERGUSON: ... think this is going to be any type of TKO for his career ...
FERGUSON: ... and the thing is he's going to fight back.
MORGAN: I want to move on. I sort of agree with you actually. There's something terminal comes up evidentially to contradict we've been saying in a way makes him more famous and perhaps a more potent competitor for the big election.
But let's go into an interview I did last night with Jordan Belfort. He's the real-life Wolf of Wall Street. A pretty extraordinary aura, I must say, one that I found very compelling in many ways.
Leigh, I want to come to you on this. Let me play you -- one of the most riveting moments. When I confronted him about how do you talk to any of the victims of all that pumped and dump stuff he'd been doing. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: People ...
BELFORT: I think it's awful.
MORGAN: ... losing a lot of money ...
BELFORT: It's terrible.
MORGAN: ... in some cases having their lives completely turned upside down.
BELFORT: I think it's terrible.
MORGAN: On a human level, if you -- have you ever met any of them? Ever met one of your victims?
BELFORT: I have not.
MORGAN: Why not?
BELFORT: No one just sought me out.
MORGAN: Why haven't you sought them out?
BELFORT: You know, I don't want to intrude anybody's life and, you know ...
MORGAN: Come on Jordan that's a cop out.
BELFORT: No it's not. I don't think it's appropriate to seek my ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What was your reaction, Leigh. And not just to that but to the interview as a whole?
LEIGH GALLAGHER, FORTUNE ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR: I thought the interview was fascinating. I felt like you could really see how he is somebody who has a lot of success on the speaking circuit. He's one of those people you just kind of can't take your eyes off him when he's talking. He has that kind of magnetism. I thought that question was very interesting and to me it looks like he had never been asked that or ever -- never thought about that before.
MORGAN: Also, it never crossed his mind.
GALLAGHER: It never crossed his mind, exactly. That's what I'm trying to say. Yeah. Exactly and so ...
MORGAN: And yet I found him very engaging, very likable in parts of the interview. I'm sure you wouldn't like him as much if you'd lost tons of money to him but here was a question I was asked this morning. Someone asked me. "Would I now invest money with him?" And I think, in all honesty, 17 years clean looks to me like he's learned all his lessons. I think I probably would. Am I madly?
GALLAGHER: I think you're mad. I think you're absolutely mad, yeah. I mean -- and you're not the only one who likes him by the way. When he's got 38,000 likes on Facebook, there are comments on his Facebook page that he's like ...
MORGAN: And my Twitter grew up.
GALLAGHER: ... you're the man. You're a legend, you know.
MORGAN: Yeah, my Twitter grew up and I found 80 percent in favor. Ben Ferguson, did you like the Wolf of Wall Street?
FERGUSON: Yeah. Look I think he's one of those classic train wreck narcissist that you just can't take your eyes off of but I wouldn't give him a dime of my hard-earned money because he's a scumbag.
He stole money from people. He ruined their lives and he still kind of grinning about it. I mean there's an insanity X factor about people like him that you look and you're like how could you knowingly do that to people and take their entire life savings and then do speaking engagements saying somehow you got clean.
I mean you were an addict to drugs, OK, you're a corrupt human being that stole people's money, and you love the fact the movie was made about you but I wouldn't give him a penny of my money and I wouldn't hang out with him.
MORGAN: OK, the predictably unforgiving Ben Ferguson. Let me give the final word to Carl Lewis.
Carl, many sportsmen hit the rails either professionally or personally. They get caught cheating or whatever it might be or they have personal crisis, and they make comebacks, and most of the time if it's a first offense, the American people are much more forgiving than Ben Ferguson just was about him. Why should it be different rules for a trader given that it seems to me like he was certainly pretty sincere with the remorse he showed?
LEWIS: Well I think that the difference in a lot of ways is the way you affect other people's lives. You know, as an athlete ... FERGUSON: Amen.
LEWIS: ... we do affect their lives but really it's something that we do but that is a deliberate attempt to affect other people's lives whereas we're not doing that. I mean, athlete just makes a mistake or falls out but, man, I'll tell you, it's pretty tough. And you know what? I will have -- bipartisanship. I wouldn't give him any of my money either.
MORGAN: Last word. Leigh, (inaudible) to get in there?
GALLAGHER: No one is saying this about Bernie Madoff. You know, nobody is liking Bernie Madoff and I don't ...
MORGAN: Here's the difference. I thought about this. Madoff was 100 percent a complete scam from start to finish. Clearly, the Wolf of Wall Street, as he said, and I don't know exactly what the split is, but the vast majority of what he did was legitimate, that the bit -- the WASP was extremely bad as he said.
GALLAGHER: I don't know that it was the vast majority, but what he did was stealing money. It wasn't inside or trading or mortgage securitization project. It might, as well been bank robbery. He was stealing other people's money.
MORGAN: Okay, you've made your feelings clear. He did tell me about how to sell a pen. And that was a ...
GALLAGHER: He's very good salesman.
MORGAN: The best salesman, I think, I've ever seen I'm my life. Anyway Carl Lewis, Leigh Gallagher, Ben Ferguson, great to have you all. You're a great panel. My god, I'll have gold medal super star like you Carl on a panel, what moment for this show. I thank you all very much.
Coming up Meredith Vieira is headed for Sochi. I want to know what she thinks about the security for the rest of the games because she'll right in the middle of it. So that's coming next.
MORGAN: I now return to Olympic size security concerns. President Obama called Vladimir Putin today and offered US help to keep the Winter Games in Sochi safe. It's up to Russian police to pass up posters. For several women, they fear maybe planning terror attacks at the games. And the Jihadi video that surfaced Sunday threaten tourist.
So is Sochi safe?
Well Meredith Vieira is co-hosting the opening ceremony, joining us now with her husband, Richard Cohen, author of "Blindsided". Welcome back to both of you. I love having you two on my show.
MEREDITH VIEIRA, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to be here. MORGAN: And you because you're so irascible and give me a hard time and you, because you're such a nice guy and obviously a saintly figure who puts up with Meredith.
VIEIRA: Who puts with me, exactly.
VIEIRA: He was asking me to answer that question, is Sochi safe?
MORGAN: He was?
VIEIRA: Because I have no idea.
MORGAN: What is your feeling about it because ...
MORGAN: ... I mean it's been so much terror activity ...
MORGAN: ... around the Russian border and Russia itself that there's obviously a clear concern now by the world leaders that there maybe some form of attack.
VIEIRA: Absolutely and by the legislators in our own country. Some of them said, "I would never go. I certainly wouldn't let my children go."
It's been a concern of mine since the beginning. We've had a lot of conversations at NBC News about it and sports. And after a certain point, it's a bit of a leap of faith, you know, you hope that the security is there. I hope that they share information more than they have with the U.S. Right now, that's kind of a rough point but I'm going, I'm going and, you know, they talk about that ring of steel and I hope it's there.
MORGAN: The only good thing is it is likely to be significantly warmer than New York today.
VIEIRA: Well, that's right. It's like 50 and the palm trees they're swaying and ...
MORGAN: Absolutely freezing out there. And Richard, how do you feel about your wife going to Sochi with all these terror talk?.
RICHARD COHEN, AUTHOR, "BLINDSIDED": Well, I think it gives us -- on those parts, I don't trust the Russians. That's my problem.
MORGAN: Just generally.
COHEN: Just generally they - no but they've never shared with the United States. They've turned down U.S help many number of times before. And, you know, so I don't have a lot of faith in them but part of me also thinks that life is all about taking chances and ... VIEIRA: With my life.
MORGAN: But you would like to take our chances back here in New York ...
MORGAN: ... and leave Meredith to take the chance.
VIEIRA: But I also think there was so much prodding (ph) on this for President Putin obviously. And he does not want to take any chances. So, there's going to be a lot of security there. And for what I've said ...
MORGAN: I thought this guy I mean they got this massive security operation going at the Olympics ...
VIEIRA: That's right.
MORGAN: ... in Sochi but Russia is this vast country clearly the resources will all be focused there but if they can strike anywhere with the ...
MORGAN: ... world's attention on Russia and get the same kind of headline.
VIEIRA: Absolutely and there are a lot of soft targets out there. So, if they want to and these are people who are determined, they will make every effort.
MORGAN: Now an even bigger threat to you, Richard, as I mention is the fact that Meredith is being reunited with Matt Lauer out in Sochi. I mean that's enough to make any husband make a little question isn't it? I mean really.
COHEN: No, I think they deserved it.
MORGAN: You're going to be taking a lot of co-presenting with him out there. How do ...
VIEIRA: Opening ceremony. Yeah.
MORGAN: Yeah. How does it feel for you to be back ...
VIEIRA: You know it's funny. And we had a meeting today with the David Resnick as well who's going to be joining us in the booth and it is like riding a horse, a dead horse, but it's a horse. I don't know it's nice to see -- to see Matt again. He's the best at this of anybody I've ever worked with and I think it will be a lot fun to have -- and it's also very reassuring to have him there.
MORGAN: Is it beards staying in the Sochi games?
COHEN: No, she's shaving it. VIEIRA: Why do you even encourage?
MORGAN: I think he's very ...
VIEIRA: I don't know if he looks very good. Don't you think he looks good in that?
MORGAN: I'm not convinced by the beard. No. I don't know about that.
VIEIRA: You know, when I was with him today, and I can't remember if he had the beard.
VIEIRA: I'm not the most observant person.
MORGAN: ... Meredith, that's a terrible to mention.
VIEIRA: I don't remember because I don't focus on the superficial like you apparently ...
MORGAN: The other big issue of Russia of course is this ridiculous law they passed banning the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations and Americans who are gay could be committed to breaking the law facing fines of up to $3,000 or 14 days in jail.
VIEIRA: That's not what happened in the Olympics I don't believe at all.
MORGAN: But the mere fact that it could happen.
MORGAN: Pretty extraordinary in the modern age, isn't it?
VIEIRA: Yeah. Although, Piers, you help me out here. I hear of somebody talking about this the other day and I thought it was CNN saying that, "If you went back to England in 1987, a similar law was on the books there." Do you remember that? Is that accurate?
MORGAN: We have a lot of crazy laws in our country, yeah. I think -- to me has moved so fast in Britain and America in this debate. It's interesting, isn't it, Richard, that even in -- you're talking about Russia before and in quite escaping terms but the fact that they are still prepared to have a law outlawing homosexuality as the rest of the civilized world moves on.
COHEN: Right, but I think ...
VIEIRA: Although they would say they're not outlawing homosexuality if you would ask President Putin, he said, "That's not what we're doing. We're outlawing the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
COHEN: But I think he's going to backpedal home.
MORGAN: You do?
VIEIRA: We already have.
VIEIRA: He's already said that (inaudible) ...
COHEN: He's got (inaudible) ...
MORGAN: Clearly, I would imagine there are going to be some gay athletes who are going to make a stand on there.
VIEIRA: I think they'll be gay and straight athletes. So they're probably be wearing a -- the rainbow ribbon for sure. And what's interesting about Sochi historically is one of the most tolerant cities for gays in all of Russia. It's the place where they would go and in terms of going for a resort and one of the coolest nightclubs for gays is in Sochi.
MORGAN: How do you know that?
VIEIRA: I watch CNN. I watch and honestly that's where I saw it.
MORGAN: You can't blame us. You clearly got a deep knowledge of the ...
VIEIRA: I study that stuff.
MORGAN: ... of the gays scene in Sochi. Which is I just find it quite fascinating. Richard, are you aware of your wife's key knowledge of the night life in Sochi?
COHEN: More than you know.
MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk a bit more seriously about multiple sclerosis. Conditionally, you've been living with very heroically and you probably hate that phrase. But I want to get into the treatment you've been having. It's been quite groundbreaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that hurt (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
VIEIRA: Remember, there's nothing really happening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Just a perception.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one down.
VIEIRA: OK, that's not really happening.
COHEN: Thank you mom.
VIEIRA: I'm trying to be helpful. There's some big things to grab (ph) in your chest. Try to be calm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're doing just perfect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A clip from Richard's video blog richardmcohen.com. He's undergoing procedure to remove bone marrow and build stem cells to be injected into his spine, part of a clinical trial to treat MS.
Richard Cohen is back with me now along with his wife Meredith Vieira. It was bloody painful if I'm honest with you, Richard, is it as painful as it looks?
COHEN: Not at all. Not at all. It was uncomfortable but there's a big difference between pressure and pain. They kept saying it's going to feel like your chest is being crushed.
MORGAN: You witnessed, I mean, it's incredibly brilliant blog in many ways when you talk in this remarkably frank way about what you've been going through because it's almost the ultimate life (ph), isn't it?
Your brain is completely unaffected ...
MORGAN: ... and you're exactly the same guy, smart as a whippet (ph), great sense of humor and so on. And yet physically, each time I see you, I can see there's been a slight deterioration in you physically. How do you deal with that on an emotional level?
COHEN: Well, I think you just accept it, you know, what is, what it is and I've never stopped fighting it and this stem cell trial is really a break with traditional therapies. I've had -- first of all, I've had the illness for 40 years. Second of all, the traditional therapies have done little, if anything for me. And when I was offered the opportunity to join the trial, I decided to do it instantly. I mean, this is the future earth as far as I am concerned.
MORGAN: And do they make any promises to you? Can they tell you, "Look, you're going to walk perfectly normally again in a year if this is all successful," or is it kind of open-ended (inaudible).
COHEN: No. No, there are no guarantees. Look, in some ways we're pioneers because we're at the very beginning. There's been very little stem cell therapy of this kind and we don't really know what's out there. But, it's an adventure and for the -- and it's a wonderful feeling for the first time and literally in decades.
MORGAN: It's giving you hope. COHEN: But, it's given hope but it's a chance to be proactive. It's a chance to do something.
MORGAN: Meredith, you're such a God-seeker, you know that, because you're married to him. You wrote this in one of his blogs, "I picked up the pieces and reinvented myself as physical deterioration redefined what I can do. Friends have noted how many times I have been reincarnated. The television producer became a consultant, the freelance writer turned into an author, advocate, and web columnist. My trek has not been linear, though my parachute continues to open."
It's a beautiful way of describing it. What frustrations are there for both of you about this ongoing relentlessly tedious process which is what it must be?
MEREDITH VIEIRA, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's part of the frustration that it is ongoing and tedious and you don't know from one day to the next what you're going to get and there are exacerbations. A couple of months ago, Richard was in a bad place. And I think we were both very low about it and depressed and then he had a steroid treatment and came back to where he had been prior to that. But you never know whether those are going to work or we're going to see yet another problem developing.
COHEN: You have to learn to live with him and give it.
MORGAN: That this could be, Meredith, a hugely significant moment in the treatment of M.S.
MORGAN: If in a year's time, we're back here in another interview and you've made significant progress suddenly, this could be the one breakthrough everyone's been waiting for because three to 500,000 people in America have a form of M.S.
VIEIRA: And when you're of secondary progressive like Richard they are -- as he said, there is nothing out there. So this would be huge for people in that position.
MORGAN: So those who have opposed stem cell research, what do you say to them?
VIEIRA: I'll say they're wrong. I don't know why you would oppose stem cell research and this is using his own stem cell. So, you really wouldn't have that argument of embryonic stem cells. That's out of the equation.
MORGAN: You don't want to create other Richards?
VIEIRA: Not really.
COHEN: One's enough. VIEIRA: One's really enough. But, I also -- before, I don't want people to think that everyday for us is easy and we're like we're strong and all that. There are days we were both upset, there are days when Richard has said, "I wish I were dead." I mean, where it leaves that level of frustration and death of sadness and then he pulls himself out. But I -- I totally understand that people go to that dark place because we go too, I mean, when you -- if you really have to fight to get out of that place...
COHEN: But, it was...
VIEIRA: ... appreciate your life and (inaudible).
COHEN: What's interesting about this situation now is the expectation again is really dangerous.
COHEN: You know it's -- neither of us is willing to go there, you know...
COHEN: ... either of us is willing to -- I'm not even willing to fantasize, you know, I'm not willing to imagine putting down again. I'm not willing to imagine, I'm legally blind, giving eye sight back. It's too dangerous, it really is, I figured just consent (ph) person up.
VIEIRA: That our Dr. Zuniga (ph) said, if there's no change of Richard plateaus right here, that will be seen as success...
VIEIRA: ... to him.
MORGAN: Because it will be a break in the deterioration.
COHEN: Just stops, it just stops.
VIEIRA: It just stops, so.
MORGAN: Well, best (inaudible) I think is over exciting. You're a just the perfect (inaudible) to be a guinea pig for this because you have the right attitude to it Richard and for these words I like you OK. I think you as a little bit of pretentiory (ph).
VIEIRA: It's all pretension.
MORGAN: Yes, you're lucky kind of you know, she'd be down to (inaudible) somewhere.
COHEN: Yeah. And either way, I'm keeping it. MORGAN: Well, you can read more on Richard's blog, richardmcohen.com. Also, huffingtonpost.com. I'll speak to that too as you can read it there as well which is very exciting and it's a terrific read for me to go to any (inaudible) so just feel inspired to keep fighting. It's good to see you both.
VIEIRA: Thank you. Good to see you.
MORGAN: And good luck in Sochi.
VIEIRA: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Proud of you to me.
Coming up, escape from polygamy. The incredible true story of a woman who risked it all to get out of more than just a polygamist cult when she was just 16 years old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORA JESSOP, EX-FLDS MEMBER AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST: This is one example of what they do when you leave the FLDS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to stop the vandalism?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our city attorney is the one that's going to tell us the way to do it.
JESSOP: Every government agency within the bounds of Colorado City from the mayor to the police are FLDS members loyal to Warren Jeffs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Clip that's from the TLC's "Escaping the Prophet" which features my next guest Flora Jessop and Brandon Jeffs, ex-members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or in Jeffs' polygamous sect and now are dedicated to themselves to helping people flee the group that once controlled their entire lives. And will share tonight Flora Jessop and Brandon Jeffs.
Welcome to both of you. I mean, there was a few people who got out of this polygamous sect known to be Rebecca Musser last year and is -- they're all very powerful stories. You escaped around the same age 15, 16 but 10 years apart. Flora, tell me about your story. How did you eventually make that break?
JESSOP: I -- the pain in what I believe was heaven, got to the point that I was willing to down (ph) myself to hell to escape it. And that's the point I reached in order to leave.
MORGAN: So the whole conditioning in there is that, yes, you're suffering but it's all for a greater good.
JESSOP: God requires it in order to get to heaven. MORGAN: In terms of the detail of your suffering, how bad was it?
JESSOP: My dad was sexually abusing me starting at about eight years old continuing on up into my teenage years -- begged for help. Nobody would listen. And I think that that's why I come back and I fight for the abused victims now. And it's just -- not just the FLDS kids, it's abused victims everywhere need a voice. And I need to know they're not alone. And I...
MORGAN: You were impregnated at one stage I think as well...
JESSOP: Yes, I was.
MORGAN: ... by your father.
JESSOP: By my father.
MORGAN: I mean, a more horrific thing you couldn't imagine. Brandon, you have the double blow I guess of -- you are nephew of Warren Jeffs. You're part of the family. How does that stigma make you feel?
BRANDON JEFFS, EX-FLDS MEMBER: The stigma of having a last name Jeffs -- it's kind of a double edged sword. Like I -- everybody sees my last name and I'm pretty sure that there's going to be a, you know, a preconceived notion of who I am and what I stand for. But it also gives me the power and the voice to say, "It's OK to stand up against the abuses that happened to me and others in the FLDS."
MORGAN: You were sexually abused, physically abused, what was the nature of the...
JEFFS: I was sexually abused by Warren Jeffs when I was five and six years old. And physically abused by my third mom. So it was very abusive growing up.
MORGAN: I mean, you know, people know about this sect. Obviously, everyone in America knows about it. It was a horrific case when it all came out. Warren Jeffs is now serving a life-sentence imprisonment for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of numerous children. To actually have lived through it, how bad was it for you?
JEFFS: It was completely horrible. I mean, I grew up with three moms and 20 siblings. There was no time to be raised. It was children raising children. And I was a number.
MORGAN: When you talked together -- obviously, you worked together on this show "Escaping the Prophet," do you feel a bond with other people that have been through this that nobody else can really understand?
JEFFS: That's exactly the way you put it. It's exactly the way it is. You feel a bond and you can understand what they're going through, why they're acting the way they're acting, and you can help them understand that it's OK to reach out and have a voice and choose a different lifestyle that can make them happy ultimately.
MORGAN: Flora, you both believed that the power of Warren Jeffs continues even from inside prison, is that right?
JESSOP: Yes. It absolutely does.
MORGAN: In what way does it manifest itself?
JESSOP: Warren is still doing church services from his prison cell. He calls in my sister who just got out a year ago has told me about church services where Warren would call in and for 15-minute phone call, they would record it and then play it over and over and over for like eight hours. And these -- the babies would be crying and they would have to sit there until it was just drilled into their head. So...
MORGAN: Do you believe that abuse is still going on in his name so that indirectly ordered from...
MORGAN: ... inside prison?
MORGAN: This is terrifying that they could be even possible that that has happened.
JESSOP: You know, when my sister and her six children first came to my house, I put the babies in the bathtub to give them a bath. And her two-year-old child, I put the soap in her hair, went to rinse it, and this child went into full blown panic. And it took both my sister and I to hold her down to rinse the soap out of her hair because she had been water boarded so severely inside the group.
MORGAN: And was that part of the technique, Brandon, to keep everybody under control?
JEFFS: It was the scare tactic. It was a fear tactic. They used the fear that you will literally, physically burn in hell for all eternity if you'd ever turn your back against the FLDS.
MORGAN: Hold that through there. Let's just take a short break and come back and discuss what it takes to break out because you're very keen to help other people do what you both have the courage to do right, get into that and how successful you've been and how much more you think you can do.
MORGAN: Back with me now, Flora Jessop and Brandon Jeffs, ex-members of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect. You know, I've been watching this show gripped by (inaudible) I should have been following. It's a folk's journal about a serial killer who attracts this kind of weird cultist following of people who want to kill in his behalf. And the parallel is that you were just saying in the break there quite chillingly that part of being part of Jeffs' sect is that you're encouraged to believe that one day you will go and kill to achieve the second coming, right? JESSOP: We are to become God's army. We -- it is our duty to become God's army that cleanse the North American continent of everyone except those people. So...
MORGAN: Brandon, how many people are out there who are still disciples of Warren Jeffs, what he say?
JEFFS: Disciples of Warren Jeffs, I'd say there still about 10,000 plus. And...
MORGAN: And how many of those from your knowledge, from your instinct, would if it they came to it be capable of killing?
JEFFS: They would obey him blindly. They would, no questions asked every single one of his loyal followers would do exactly what he says without question.
MORGAN: And you know, and not withstanding the fact that he's your uncle. You think he still wheels the same power even though he's imprisoned?
JEFFS: I definitely still feel he wheels the exact same power because his word is god. He had told the people that he is the second coming. He's Jesus Christ.
MORGAN: Flora, you got out, Brandon you got out, and to anyone who may be watching this who is part of this sect and completely brain washed even to the point of being murderous potentially, what do you say to them to trigger a different thought process that may make the break and escape?
JESSOP: You know, I want them to realize that their brain was not given to Warren Jeffs. It was given to them. Use it. Start finding your voice. Make your choices. Become your own hero and stand up. Stand up for you and for your children and not, you know, it's not Warren Jeffs doing this. It's the people that are telling him, "Yes, you are god that are enabling this to continue."
MORGAN: This is a fascinating show "Escaping the Prophet" airs Tuesday night at 10/9 central on TLC. You're both very courageous to do this.
JESSOP: Thank you.
MORGAN: I know that sticking your head above the parapet is a dangerous thing to do with this particular sect. And I just want you to do...
JESSOP: Can I just -- I just want to say one more thing to -- for abused victims everywhere. Be your own hero because nobody is going to fight harder for you than you.
MORGAN: Perfect way to end. Flora Jessop, Brandon Jeffs, thank you both very much indeed. That's all about tonight. AC 360 Later starts right now.