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AC 360 LATER
Frozen Hell; Al Qaeda's Threat; Justin Bieber Facing Charges in Canada; Husband of Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Speaks Out; Deep Freeze in the Deep South
Aired January 29, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. Good evening. Welcome to "AC360 Later."
"Keeping Them Honest" tonight on the snowstorm that crippled a major American city and the blizzard of blame shifting that's followed. This is what just 2.6 inches of snow and did to the Atlanta metro area when it hit yesterday afternoon.
As you look at the traffic jam, now, consider this. Some of those people down there that you're looking at, they just got home this evening. Thousands actually left their cars, walked after running out of gas or simply running out of patience.
Some who stuck it out had to sleep in their vehicles. Others were able to take shelter in stores and churches and public buildings, wherever they could find basically a warm place just to lie down or to sit down in some cases.
Thousands of area kids slept at schools. Some got home only a few hours ago after a night in the gym or in the cafeteria. Officials in one of the big suburban Atlanta counties report that 911 operators dealt with almost 10 calls a minute all day from people stranded by the storm.
The fact that it hit just before rush hour in a Southern city that doesn't see much of this kind of thing, the schools, state offices and local businesses all open, that obviously did not help.
But "Keeping Them Honest," a lot of people may have been led to believe that their state and local officials were on top of the storm when, in fact, they weren't.
Yesterday morning, Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed tweeted, "Atlanta, we are ready for the snow."
And here he is a short time later not in some kind of situation room or emergency operations center, but with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal accepting an award for Georgian of the Year. "Nothing to worry about,, Atlanta," he said. "We are ready."
As for Governor Deal, who's responsible for all the miles of interstate highway that are still a mess even now and are beginning to refreeze, he also found time as the storm drew closer to host an event yesterday promoting Georgia tourism, complete with Rhett and Scarlett Butler impersonators. He issued no warning until just after 4:00 p.m., we well, into the traffic nightmare.
Here's how he described it just a short time later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NATHAN DEAL (R), GEORGIA: We have been confronted with an unexpected storm that has hit the metropolitan Atlanta area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest," it was unexpected or unforeseeable, not by a long shot. All Governor Deal really had to do was turn on the TV starting on Monday.
Our own Chad Myers predicted it the day before. So did the Weather Channel, which is actually located in Atlanta. The two dozen meteorologists at Delta Air Lines flight operations center, they also, which are headquartered in Atlanta, I should point out, they also saw it coming. They were canceling hundreds of flights.
By today, the governor was no longer saying he had no warning, but he was still pointing fingers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NATHAN DEAL: I didn't mean to imply that we didn't know something was coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest," though, that isn't true, either. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on with the winter weather advisory and the winter storm warnings? It goes until tomorrow morning. Temperatures are not going to rebound really at all today. It's going to stay cold. Could see accumulations of one to two inches, parts of metro Atlanta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's from yesterday's noon broadcast on the expanded National Weather Service warning covering the Atlanta area, an advisory that was already nearly nine hours old. Again, it would take more than four hours for the governor to issue any warning.
We invited the governor to come on the program tonight and he declined.
We also asked Michael Holmes to come on with us, and he said yes, thankfully.
Michael, what's it like out there right now? MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's cold, I can tell you that, Anderson. Any moisture that's still around on the ground is going to be frozen by now. That is a bit of a concern.
But you mentioned all the cars. We were at one point here on 75 North, one of the main freeways that runs through Atlanta. This is just some of thousands of cars. We have been all over the interstates all day today. Thousands of cars just abandoned by the side of the road, and they are still here.
I don't know if you can see on the door handle, there is a little yellow tape. The police have gone along here throughout last night and today and just marked those cars to say that they have looked in them and nobody is in them as a bit of a sign to everyone else.
There's been a lot of police around. They have been very active making sure there's no looting going on, I have to say. And, in fact, they have stopped and checked on our welfare several times. The National Guard came by just after we spoke to you a couple of hours ago and just said, are you guys OK?
So, a lot of activity. But these people, they ran out of gas or, as you said, they were sitting in this traffic for six, seven, eight hours and just gave up. And so, yes, the remnants are here for all to see, literally thousands of cars all over the freeways of Atlanta and the side streets, Anderson.
COOPER: How do they deal with that? Are they planning to clear the roads, to tow the cars? Are they hoping people just come back for the vehicles?
HOLMES: Yes, it's interesting.
They were hoping that people have been coming back today. We haven't seen many do that. We have seen some do that. Just up there, there's three cars right in the middle of the off-ramp, haven't been moved. They're still there now. You have to go around them to get off the freeway.
What they're going to do tomorrow, and they just announced this an hour or two ago, the government, the Department of Transport, they're going to set up a couple of meeting points in key places and they're asking people to come there and they will be taken to their cars in four-wheel drives along with gas and jumper leads and whatever they need in order to safely get them to the sides of what are normally busy freeways and get their cars and get them out of here.
Otherwise, at some point, they're just going to have to tow them, because it's a problem. You can see the freeway is here, and it's getting a little bit later at night, but it's been like this for hours now, empty.
Nobody is on the roads anymore, because they're all at home. A bit of a shutdown today, a shutdown tomorrow, no school and people have been told to stay at home if they possibly can to let this all thaw out properly -- Anderson. COOPER: Right. All right, Michael, thanks.
And again this program all began with schools letting out, businesses letting out early, basically close to a million people on the highways, getting on the highways all at the same time, the frozen roads.
At one point yesterday, 5:20 p.m., to be precise, the number of people stuck in traffic, it grew by one. Take a look. There she is, Grace Anderson. She's doing fine tonight. So is Amy, her mom and Nick, her dad. They talked about their adventure tonight on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY ANDERSON, MOTHER: It was just really all a blue, but we were going and my husband was driving on the side. And everyone is beeping at us, because they're all in the gridlock. But we came to a spot that we couldn't get through it all, and so that's when I told him, we're going to have the baby in the car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Unbelievable. The story has a happy ending, as we said, in large part to a police officer named Tim Sheffield. I spoke to him during the 8:00 hour.
COOPER: So, Officer Sheffield, you were actually on your way to an accident when you saw this car on the side of the road and decided to pull over. Walk us through what happened.
TIM SHEFFIELD, SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA, POLICE OFFICER: Yes, I was on my way to an accident on 285 just before Riverside Drive.
And I was checking on stranded motorists as I was going along. And I saw the suburban pull over to the right-hand side. And the driver was out of the car. And so I got out and I said, are you stuck? Are you OK? And he just calmly said, no, we're having a baby.
And I could tell that he was on the phone with 911, which they did an awesome job. I could hear them talking. So I walked up and I looked, and I could see that the baby was just about to come on out. So I went back and got my first aid kit. And I walked back up there. And the dad was real calm.
And the mom was a super trooper. She was doing awesome.
COOPER: How long had they been there, do you know?
SHEFFIELD: That, I don't know. I didn't really get to talk to them much because by the time I got there, about a minute after I arrived, the baby was being born.
COOPER: Wow. SHEFFIELD: So I didn't get a chance to talk. But I could hear a 911 dispatcher talking to him, walking him through, doing a great job.
COOPER: Have you ever delivered a baby before? Is this something you're trained to do?
SHEFFIELD: No, there is no training, but with this call and I have been doing it for awhile, I have actually delivered before, but never on the side of the interstate in an ice storm.
COOPER: I can imagine. Yes, it's a pretty unique circumstance.
SHEFFIELD: But the father did -- the mom did all of it, really, because that baby was definitely coming no matter what, who said anything. The father did great. And I was just there to assist. But it was definitely an awesome experience.
COOPER: And what happened after the baby was born? Then did you take them away? Or how do you -- what happens then?
SHEFFIELD: Well, once the baby was born, because we were the only ones there, and then I looked up. I looked down to my medical supplies to try to get a blanket to put the baby in.
And I looked to my right and the fire department and the emergency like expeditions pulled up. And they came over. And one of the firemen, he did a great job. He had the equipment and he came over and started cleaning off the baby. So I just kind of backed out of his way and stopped some of the traffic over so I could get the ambulance in there. And they loaded up the mom and the baby, and they drove off.
And the father followed in behind them. And I just left there and went down about a half a mile and started working accidents with a jackknifed tractor-trailer.
COOPER: You just kept on working. That's the job of a police officer, I guess. But I also understand it was actually your birthday yesterday, is that true?
SHEFFIELD: It was. And that's what I had told the father. I said, it is a girl, right? He said, yes, it's a girl. I said, that's awesome. I said today's my birthday. So it was kind of a neat birthday surprise.
COOPER: Well, you and baby Grace now share a birthday. And I'm sure it's one you will never forget.
SHEFFIELD: I will never forget. And the father, he was -- he looked like a pro. He was just real calm and collected. And the mom, with no anesthetic or any medicine, pain medicine, she just -- she was definitely a trooper. COOPER: Unbelievable. Officer Tim Sheffield, listen, I appreciate all you do, and not just yesterday, but every day. And I appreciate you talking to us. Thank you.
SHEFFIELD: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Amazing story.
Up next, some breaking new: Justin Bieber turning himself in on a serious new charge tonight in Toronto. We will bring you details on that.
And, later, my conversation with Erick Munoz about the wife and mom he loved and whose wish not to be kept on a ventilator he finally got to honor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERICK MUNOZ, WIDOWER: I promised her, I told her, I will honor your wishes.
For me and your dad, that was the hardest, because we looked her in her eye and told her, and for the state of Texas to not let us do that was hard. You know, you want to keep your word to your loved one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, Justin Bieber has left the building, leaving the Toronto police station by a back door away from cameras. That's not how he arrived.
This is -- somewhere in the middle of that, he is there. And, yes, he's got a new legal problem, an assault charge with a court date scheduled for March 10.
Police are saying very little. Just before airtime, a representative for Justin Bieber put out the following statement. "Our position is that Mr. Bieber is innocent. As the matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to address the specifics of either the allegation or our defense at this time."
No new details from the Bieber camp, but more from 360's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): What happened on the night of December 29 last year in Toronto is still unclear. But it's Justin Bieber who may be on the hook for it.
The pop star traveled to Canada tonight to face an assault charge in connection with an encounter with a limousine driver one month ago. According to CBC News, Toronto police were called that December evening in response to an alleged assault involving a limousine driver.
At the time, it was reportedly unclear if the incident was connected to Justin Bieber or a member of his entourage. Bieber was booked at a police station and given a notice to appear in court at a later date.
(on camera): This is the closest trouble has come to Bieber's home, having been born in London, Ontario, and raised in nearby Stratford. The media in Canada is also reporting that Bieber was seen at the Toronto Maple Leafs game on the night in question, but, according to the CBC, investigators believe Justin Bieber was in the limo at the time of the alleged assault.
(voice-over): Last time he found himself on the wrong side of the law, it wasn't a limo, but a Lamborghini. Just after 4:00 a.m. in Miami on January 23, Bieber mouthed off at police who accused him of drag racing in this yellow Lamborghini.
He was arrested and charged with DUI, driving without a valid license and resisting arrest. Tonight, he pled not guilty to those charges. Bieber went ballistic on the officers during the arrest. "What the F. did I do? Why did you stop me?" And when the officer performed a routine pat-down, it continued. 'I ain't got no F-ing weapons. What the F. is this about?"
After his arrest, he just kept on talking.
RAYMOND MARTINEZ, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF: Mr. Bieber made statements that he had consumed some alcohol and that he had been smoking marijuana and had consumed some prescription medication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bieber, you are charged with the following.
KAYE: His arraignment was set for February 14, Valentine's Day. Then Bieber was released on $2,500 bond. With Bieber's arrest Wednesday night, it will be his second in a week. And, remember, he's still under investigation for allegedly pelting his neighbor's house with eggs earlier this month, causing $20,000 in damage.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Now to "Equal Justice," our legal panel, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and criminal defense attorney and the very, very well-known, among others, Mark Geragos joining us.
So, Mark, we have this alleged assault on a limo driver in Toronto, the DUI and resisting arrest incidents in Miami, the alleged egging in L.A. County of his neighbor's house. Then this just a short time ago as he was about to turn himself in, he posted this photo on Instagram. He says a new song -- this kid -- he basically just seems like he's kind of out of control. As a lawyer, what do you do?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, as a lawyer, he's 19. I suppose I'm envious that he's the most famous pop star in the world and he's busted in a yellow Lamborghini and he's posting and has got 29 million followers. I don't know that he's out of control. He's a 19-year-old kid with more money than he knows what to do with.
Most of these things are not the biggest deals in the world. I'm sure Roy is going to take care of the Miami thing. I don't think anything untoward is going to happen there. This case certainly doesn't rise to the level of what the mayor of Toronto is involved in. So I can't imagine there will be much consequence to this.
He's going to have to try a lot harder if he thinks he's going to get into trouble based on these things.
COOPER: Sunny, do you agree with that? They're all little minor things.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: But just spoken like a true defense attorney.
I think Mark's attitude, and that's sort of usually the attitude of the defense bar, is the problem here. This is a kid clearly out of control. This is a kid who has no one really looking out for his best interest. And the bottom line is, these are serious things. We're talking about felony vandalism.
We're talking about DUI, which could lead to killed, not only Justin Bieber, but he could have killed someone. And we're talking now about an assault on a limo driver that was driving Justin Bieber and his friends.
COOPER: Well, an alleged assault.
COOPER: Mark, you're saying it's not serious.
GERAGOS: A felony vandalism in L.A.? Come on, give me a break. Egging? God save me from something, Sunny, that your kids or my kids would do. This guy hasn't done any -- he hasn't done anything, Sunny...
HOSTIN: DUI is nothing?
GERAGOS: Well, the DUI is serious. That's the most serious out of the three. Do I think that's going to be the death knell for him?
No. And give him a break. He's 19.
(CROSSTALK) HOSTIN: Give him a break? this is the opportunity, Mark, for the justice system to step in and hold him accountable, because he's never held accountable.
Look at Lindsay Lohan. I think the justice system being involved finally, finally got her on the right track. Your old client Chris Brown, with the justice system getting involved, he's finally, it seems, getting the help he needs. This is the prime example of someone that could be rehabilitated.
COOPER: Mark, for all we know, and you probably have a ton of experience with this as well, when people see an opportunity maybe to get their name in the paper or to have this thing settled, they might make charges or they may sue -- these people get sued all the time. These people have things being brought up against them all the time. And a lot of them end up just kind of going away, don't they?
GERAGOS: Of course they do. I probably had 100 similar type of these nonsense-style incidents involving a variety of celebrities in the last couple of years. They are targets. People make up stuff. People basically want to extort them.
And that's what happens. And then you get people like Sunny who start talking about, oh, they're out of control.
HOSTIN: He is out of control.
GERAGOS: The government needs to come in. The government needs to come in and take control. The government is not...
COOPER: I don't know that anybody is talking about the government coming in and taking control of Justin Bieber.
GERAGOS: Well, the government -- remember what we're talking about here.
GERAGOS: Prosecutors are nothing but the government. Why do you always want the government getting involved?
HOSTIN: He's terrorizing his neighbors.
COOPER: Mark, you're making it sound like President Obama addressed this in the State of the Union last night.
GERAGOS: Remember who funds the prosecution.
HOSTIN: He's terrorizing his neighbors.
COOPER: Sunny, He's terrorizing?
COOPER: We're done. We're done. We're done.
GERAGOS: He T.P.ed a house.
HOSTIN: This is someone that needs help.
COOPER: How do you do $20,000 of damage with an egg, by the way?
HOSTIN: He did.
COOPER: OK, allegedly. I don't know what he did. All right, Sunny, thank you. Mark, thank you.
COOPER: Well, as always, you can find more on the story and other stories at AC360.com.
Just ahead, the top U.S. intelligence chief says al Qaeda has morphed into at least five factions in a dozen countries. And some have set up training camps in Syria to plan attacks on the United States. Now security Peter Bergen looking at the facts joining me ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back.
At a Senate hearing today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described a growing danger from violent extremists aligned with or inspired by al Qaeda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: There are some five different franchises at least in 12 countries that this movement has morphed into.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Clapper estimated that more than 7,000 foreign militants are fighting in Syria. He also said one group aligned with al Qaeda has set up training camps there to plan attacks on the United States.
National analyst Peter Bergen joins me tonight.
Peter, so Clapper says that al Qaeda affiliates in Syria want to attack the U.S. How likely a possibility is that? We heard that a lot about terrorists in Iraq wanting to attack the U.S. That didn't really seem to happen.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It didn't, Anderson, but terrorists in Iraq did attack American targets in Jordan, you may recall. In 2005, three American hotels were attacked and 60 people were killed.
BERGEN: So what might be more plausible is people being prepared for attacks on American targets in the Middle East or perhaps even in Europe.
I think Clapper moved the ball forward from a reportorial point of view talking about training camps where people are really being encouraged to do attacks in the West. And, certainly, I have talked to senior counterterrorism officials who say the number of Americans who have gone to Syria is more than has been previously reported. They put the number about 70.
Now, not all those have gone to fight with al Qaeda. But they are concerned. In fact, they say it's all Syria all the time is what they're concerned about right now. But that's what they're paid to do is be concerned about these issues.
COOPER: Well, that certainly is more ominous, more Americans going to fight in Syria than previously known, and, as you said, basically new information about camps inside Syria where they are being encouraged to launch attack on American targets
Is -- do you think the greater threat though is American targets in Europe or even European targets? Because there's a lot of Europeans going there as well to fight.
BERGEN: Yes. The numbers of Europeans are -- we're looking at perhaps 1,000 in total. And each Scandinavian country has dozens who have gone. Netherlands has had dozens. Britain's had more than 100. They're already seeing people coming back.
They have been convicted, indicted some people who have come back. They're much more concerned. You can drive from Paris to Damascus relatively easy. So I think the threat is certainly higher in Europe. I'm not -- I think the threat in the United States is much lower. A lot of these people are going -- it's one-way tickets. Right? They are not military experts. They get killed when they go over there or sometimes they volunteer as suicide bombers. A lot of them are not coming back at all. COOPER: When the president says that al Qaeda is son the run, is that not in fact the case? Are the gains the U.S. has made against it not as strong as the administration sometimes claims?
BERGEN: I think the administration is basically being correct.
Al Qaeda, the organization that attacked us on 9/11, is basically on life support. Al Qaeda, the organization that is rising up in Syria, is certainly rising up, and that's true in the last year or so in particular. But they have their own problems. The two al Qaeda affiliates in Syria right now, Anderson, are actually fighting each other.
And they're also fighting the Assad government. And that could go on for years. So, the administration is certainly correct when they say this. Maybe they're not sort of -- the whole picture is a little more complicated than perhaps is being presented hitherto. But they're -- broadly speaking, they're correct. And I think the threat to the United States is nothing like the threat that came from al Qaeda central.
COOPER: All right, listen, Peter, I appreciate you being on. Thank you.
BERGEN: Thank you.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas returned to port in New Jersey today after nearly 700 people got sick.
Their symptoms were consistent with the norovirus.
The cruise was cut short by two days. The company says passengers will get a 50 percent refund and a 50 percent credit for a future cruise.
And don't mess with Jim Cantore. The Weather Channel reporter saw a heckler approaching him while he was on the air. Take a look at this. He just kneed the heckler in the groin and continued to report about the snowy weather in South Carolina.
You've got to like those moves, Anderson, though. Very cool. Like, a little side eye, looks over, and then boom, slips a knee and a cool little twist with it.
COOPER: Stephanie, thanks very much.
Still to come, an update on the Deep South's deep freeze. We'll get the latest from Atlanta and hear from Chad Myers on what's next with the storm.
Also coming up next tonight, a 360 exclusive. Erick Munoz explains how his late wife, Marlise, made him a stronger man and why he's certain he did the right thing. As you know, she was pregnant and brain dead in Texas. The family wanted to take her off the ventilator. The hospital refused, citing a little-known Texas law. We'll talk to Erick and also Marlise Munoz's mom about fighting to honor her wishes to die with dignity.
HAMMER: Tonight, a 360 exclusive. For the first time, the family of Marlise Munoz is speaking out about the beloved wife, daughter and young mom they've lost and their battle to honor her wishes after she died. It took them two months and an exhausting legal battle, but they did honor her wishes just this past weekend. Now they're trying to find a way forward in their grief.
They told me they want to make sure that no other family has to go through what they did. In just a moment, you'll hear from Marlise's husband, Erick, and her mother, Lynne. First, though, a quick look back at how this tragedy unfolded.
COOPER (voice-over): This past November, 33-year-old Marlise Munoz wakes up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle for her young baby boy. A paramedic, whose husband is also a paramedic, Marlise is 14 weeks pregnant with the couple's second child when she collapses on the kitchen floor of an apparent blood clot in her lung.
Shortly after being taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, doctors tell her husband, Erick, his wife is brain dead and will never recover.
ERICK MUNOZ, WIDOWER: I can't say enough about her. I mean, everything I do will always be short of what she was. I can't do her justice.
COOPER: Marlise's body is connected to a ventilator, despite her family's wishes and what her family says were her wishes. Erick Munoz says, as paramedics, it was a conversation he and Marlise had often.
MUNOZ: We've seen things out in the field, and we both knew that we didn't want to be on life support.
COOPER: But the hospital refuses to unplug the ventilator, because Marlise is pregnant. Texas is one of about 30 states that restricts a woman's ability to be disconnected from life support if she's pregnant, regardless of the patient or family's directive.
MUNOZ: We've reached the point where, you know, you wish that your wife's body would stop.
COOPER: After more than a month, the family files a lawsuit, demanding that Marlise be immediately disconnected and her body turned over to them for proper burial. The case sparks a passionate debate over end-of-life decisions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just don't want the hospital or, if it does go to court, to forget that there is a child involved.
COOPER: Tom Mayo is a law professor at Southern Methodist University. He helped write the law and says the hospital misinterpreted it, because Marlise can't be brought back to life.
THOMAS MAYO, SMU LAW PROFESSOR: I don't see how we can use a provision of the law that talks about treating or not treating a patient in a case where we really don't have a patient.
COOPER: Attorneys for the family revealed that, despite a heartbeat, the fetus inside Marlise is distinctly abnormal, saying, quote, "Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined."
After more than two months since she collapsed, a judge orders the hospital to declare Marlise Munoz dead and withdraw life support. The hospital says it will comply with the court, saying in a statement, "JPS Health Network has followed what we believed were the demands of a state statute. From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it."
On Sunday, the devices that had kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs working for two months are switched off, and her family is finally able to lay her to rest.
COOPER: But for all that coverage the story has gotten, the most painful details were intensely private, obviously. The loss of Marlise is still, obviously, very raw for the family.
The Munoz's 15-month-old son is too young, obviously, to understand what's happened. For now, at least, he's spared from that heartbreak.
Earlier, Erick Munoz and Marlise's mom, Lynne Machado, told me they want their story to be heard to save other families from going through the same nightmare. Here's our exclusive interview.
COOPER: Let's go back to when she first had the embolism. She was, at that point, 14 weeks pregnant.
MUNOZ: Yes. Once we got to the hospital and after the doctors do their initial procedures that they do to try to determine what cause -- what's causing the problem, so they can fix it, they showed us a C.T. of her cranium, and just her brain. And I'm not a doctor, but you know, you take enough stroke patients to the hospital and you see their C.T.s. Because you know, we see the C.T.s. We see them. And I knew -- I can't tell you exactly what I was looking at, but I knew it was wrong.
COOPER: And even then, even those early days, you were all on the same page. You felt you knew her wishes, that she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially through extreme measures?
LYNNE MACHADO, MARLISE'S MOTHER: Yes, yes. We've known for years. We've known for years. I knew that it was over for her when they brought us back to the E.R. And I don't have anything scientific to back that up. It was just -- I walked in. She had already coded. Her heart had stopped again.
And there -- I remember a nurse being on the table administering CPR. And I turned to my husband and I said, "Why are they doing that? She's gone."
And so I knew in the E.R. and it was clarified when -- from one of the doctors in the E.R. that showed us the CAT scan. And they brought us up to ICU so we could have a little bit of privacy for when she was disconnected. And by the time we got up to -- up to the third floor, that's when we found out that there was this little-known law in Texas that, even to this day, we have yet to have someone that has known about it.
COOPER: So the doctors initially didn't even -- didn't know about this law?
MUNOZ: No. Actually, we called -- we were called back into her room in ICU, and the doctor told us about this. And of course, we were like, "No, we want to disconnect her."
And his words were -- you know, we were asking for an explanation. His words, "I'm sorry. I just found out about this law five minutes before you did. I've been told to notify you of it." And...
COOPER: When they told you this, I mean, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. You're in this horrific situation. And you've made this difficult decision, based on conversations that you've had with your wife and with your daughter in the past. What goes through your head when a doctor says, "We're not going to follow your wishes"?
MACHADO: For me, I thought there must have been a miscommunication in some way. That we said, "No, no, no, that's not what she wanted. She wanted to -- never to be on life support."
And that's when they're saying, "Well, she's pregnant." And then, you know, it went from there. So we knew we weren't going to let this rest, because it wasn't right. It was not honoring her wishes.
COOPER: I think a lot of people think, well, maybe if you had had something in writing, that would have made a difference. If she had written down, if there was an advanced directive or something. But under this Texas law, even if it's in writing, it gets overridden.
MACHADO: Exactly. Exactly.
MUNOZ: She could have been detailed with everything, exactly how this happened, detailed it, and it wouldn't have mattered.
COOPER: There are some families in that situation who think, well, maybe -- maybe she can come back from this. Maybe a miracle could happen.
MUNOZ: We still held the hope. I mean, I did. I can tell you I did. But for me, it was you can't -- at least for me, I couldn't turn off the knowledge that I know of what was going on. And even though I do want to keep the hope and you -- it's my wife. I would do anything, you know. Many a nights that I asked God to take me instead. But you can't turn off that knowledge that you know how bad it was.
And like I said, I promised her, I told her, "I will honor your wishes." For me and her dad, that was the hardest. Because we looked her in her eye and told her. And for the state of Texas to not let us do that was hard. You know, you -- you want to keep your word to your loved one.
COOPER: What was she like?
MUNOZ: She can light up a room with her smile. A personality that's contagious. I am not one to talk a whole lot, but she -- it was just -- being around her to me was natural. It was just relaxing. I could do things that even my parents, you know, I felt a lot more relaxed with her than I did with my parents. But it's just -- she's contagious. That smile, that personality, that kind, noble heart that she has, is -- it's indescribable.
MACHADO: Towards the end as the body reacted to the amount of time it had been on life support, and the deterioration that had started, it made it very hard to look at -- to look at this body that used to be our daughter and to know that nothing about her was there.
COOPER: And you could -- you could even -- you could see deterioration?
MACHADO: Very much. Very much. And you could smell it.
MACHADO: You could smell the deterioration. I said when I go by the -- if I'm close to her head, "I smell death."
COOPER: I understand you learned that you were going to have a daughter. Is that...
MUNOZ: They had done several sonos throughout the process, and the initial ones, they couldn't determine. So after the court hearing, I said, "You know, I would like to know the gender to give my baby a name. I know it's nothing legal, you know."
COOPER: What did you name her?
MUNOZ: Nicole. Nicole. It was my wife's middle name.
COOPER: And you were saying you feel that Marlise was in heaven to greet Nicole?
MACHADO: I know she was. I know she was there when baby Nicole arrived January 26. So...
COOPER: So they're together? MACHADO: They're together. They're together.
COOPER: One of the reasons you're both speaking out, because this is not easy; you're not looking to get on television here, certainly.
COOPER: But you want people to have this conversation with their loved one. You want -- you hope that this sparks conversation in families. And whether it's getting stuff -- I mean, getting stuff in writing and -- but even in this case that wouldn't have made a difference. But to have that conversation.
MACHADO: To have the conversation, to make sure your relatives or other loved ones know what your wishes are. Again, that helped with us being on the same page from the very beginning.
COOPER: One thing I hadn't thought about, and I actually got a lot of e-mails and tweets about this from viewers, who were saying, "Well, this family is not going to be given a bill by this hospital for this? There's no way that could happen, because that would be unthinkable." Have -- did they present you with a bill?
MUNOZ: They have not -- I have received bills to my house. They have not come to me and said how that's going to work. But I believe I've heard several media outlets saying that they've asked about that, they've asked that question. And they said that they would continue normal billing.
COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know?
MACHADO: For me, closure began after she was disconnected. I was able to get a sense of closure. And of course, now we're starting the grieving process. And it was hard to do -- hard to start the grieving process when we still had this -- this body that we knew was an empty shell in front of it. We really couldn't start grieving. But now we can.
For me, our story does not end here. It will end when we have laws changed and...
COOPER: And you're going to continue to fight for that?
MACHADO: Yes, yes, we are. Yes.
COOPER: I wish you -- I'm so sorry for all you've gone through as a family, and I wish you strength in the days ahead.
MACHADO: Thank you. Thank you.
MUNOZ: Thank you.
COOPER: Hard to imagine what they have been through and will continue to go through.
When we come back, we're going to have more on the winter weather down in Atlanta. Our lead story, the ice down south.
COOPER: Welcome back. As we talked about at the top of the program, it's been a very rough day in Atlanta, with the temperatures falling again. It is not over yet. I want to check back in with Michael Holmes and a look ahead. Also from Chad Myers.
So Chad, I think so many people are wondering how did something like this happen in a city like Atlanta? I know on Monday you predicted the storm was going to hit. So what exactly happened here? I mean, how were officials so unprepared?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We don't spend taxpayer money in Georgia to buy snowplows and sanders that only get used once every 1,000 days. There's just not the amount of equipment that you'd see in a northern city. That's part of the problem.
And then the kids went to school that day, when everyone knew it was going to snow during the school day and the kids are going to get sent home. Well, when you said go, literally, the schools are closing, it's snowing, go, we had a million cars, whatever the number is, on the road all at the same time.
If you did that on a dry day, Anderson, you'd get a three-hour commute. If you did it on a rainy day, you'd get a six-hour commute. On a snowy day with accidents, we had a 24-hour commute for some people. That's just the way it went. Because everybody on the road at the same time, and the roads weren't pre-salted enough, I don't believe. I wasn't there. I was here for an ice storm, but I think that's what happened.
COOPER: And Michael, as you were talking about at the top of the program, I mean, the freezing temperatures now, so roads could refreeze. But right now, the highways are pretty empty. People are staying at home, staying off the highways. But there's a lot of empty cars around.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. The freeways are deserted now. As you say, it's getting a little late, but everybody has been home all day.
And yes, these cars, thousands and thousands of cars. People who just gave up, ran out of gas, and some of them had accidents, of course, as Chad was saying, as well. And this freeway, which is empty behind me at the moment, was a car park yesterday. It was just absolutely extraordinary.
And so what they're going to do tomorrow is set up meeting points and bring people out here in four-wheel drives to pick up their cars. They're going to give them gas and jumper leads to try to get some of these thousands of cars off the side of what are busy freeways -- Anderson.
COOPER: So Chad, obviously, a lot of southern states were hit hard. The snow is gone. Talk about these frigid temperatures, because that's still a very big problem.
MYERS: It is very dangerous. In fact, it will probably be deadly if we don't be very careful. We have to look after the elderly, look after the pets. They can't be outside very long.
This is, what, 32 -- or 45 degrees here. This is cold for the people here. They don't have coats to go with this. And if you get up into Minnesota, the temperatures are 10, 15 below zero with the wind chill factors. Not that that's extraordinary, but it's a long- term event. It's been cold for months, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Chad, I appreciate the update and Michael Holmes, as well, thanks very much. We'll be right back with the "RidicuList."
COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." And on the off chance you haven't been obsessively watching the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings for President Obama's ambassador nominees, let me fill you in.
It may come as a surprise or not, that in order to be an ambassador to a foreign country, one doesn't necessarily have to be a super familiar with that country. Take Senator Max Baucus of Montana, nominee for U.S. ambassador to China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT), CHINESE AMBASSADOR NOMINEE: Senator, I am no real expert on China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No real expert on China. An aide for the senator says he was just being humble, because that is the Montana way. I guess that makes sense, but to be honest, I'm no real expert on Montana, so what do I know?
Surely, though, if you're going to be an ambassador to a country, you've traveled there at some point, right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to Norway?
GEORGE SUNIS, NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR NOMINEE: I have not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I guess the guy who's going to be the ambassador to Norway hasn't been there. George Sunis is his name. He's a businessman. He's been nominated for the ambassadorship to Norway versus Senator John McCain, ambassador of sass. It got pretty esoteric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: What do you think the appeal of the Progress Party was?
SUNIS: I'll tell you, Norway has been very quick to denounce them.
MCCAIN: The government has denounced them? They're part of the coalition of the government.
SUNIS: I stand corrected and would like to leave my answer at they are -- it's a very, very open society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "I stand corrected."
Look, not many businessmen would be able to intelligently discuss the political makeup of Norway's government, that's true. But they're not trying to be ambassador to Norway. I'm not sure Sunis even Googled Norway. He made reference to the country's president, which, by the way, Norway does not have and stumbled over just about everything else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNIS: The heart of our in-services, but there are -- important that we continue, um, interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I tied an onion to my belt. Interesting. You know, suddenly, I have a great idea for a new U.S. ambassador to South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like, such as...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAITLIN UPON, FORMER MISS TEEN SOUTH CAROLINA 2007: Some people out there in our nation that don't have that and that I believe that our education, such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere, like such as. And I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. -- or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's only a matter of time before she's nominated.
But look, I just want to see Senator John McCain do the interview portion in a Miss Teen USA pageant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Senator John McCain, putting the bad-ass back in ambassador hearings on the "RidicuList."
That's it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, "Frozen: State of the South."