Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Knox Convicted Of Murder Again, May Face Extradition; Will The U.S. Extradite Amanda Knox?; Inside The Site Of The Iran Hostage Crisis; Interview with Sean Spicer; Interview with Actress Glenn Close
Aired January 30, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, guilty in a shocking verdict, an Italian appeals court has just convicted Amanda Knox of murder. We are going to live to Florence for the latest. A huge question tonight, will the United States extradite Knox to Italy to serve decades in jail?
Plus, CNN holds the Georgia governor accountable for his bungling of the storm that paralyzed Atlanta. We asked how did this happen?
What was Justin Bieber on the night police stopped him for drag racing in Miami Beach? The toxicology is back. It's OUTFRONT. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT tonight with the breaking news. That shocking verdict in the Amanda Knox case, found guilty, again. This is the second time an Italian court has convicted the former American exchange student of murder. Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Rafael Sollecito, were both found guilty of killing Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2009.
Now that verdict you may remember because the whole world was watching. It was overturned on appeal in 2011. Knox was set free. Do you remember that night her return to hoards of cameras in Seattle. Knox watched this trial from her home there in Seattle and she released a statement when the verdict came out today.
And it said, in part, quote, "I'm frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution."
Now, a judge sentenced Knox to 28.5 years in prison. We begin our coverage tonight with Erin McLaughlin who is in Florence where the verdict came in just a short time ago. Erin, of course, they stayed there late into the night in Italy to have this verdict. What was the reaction tonight?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Well, this was absolutely devastating news for the defence when the presiding judge read out the guilty verdict before a packed courtroom. It was met with absolute silence. Amanda Knox's lawyers later telling CNN describing the moment he called his client to tell her that she was sentenced to 28.5 years in jail. She said she was absolutely shocked, shocked at the latest turn in a legal drama that seemingly has no end.
AMANDA KNOX, CONVICTED OF MURDER: It's hard to prove that you're innocent, that you didn't do something.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): In 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher to death. The sentence more than two decades behind bars. An appellate court later overturned the conviction due to a lack of evidence.
KNOX: Thank you to everyone who has believed in me.
MCLAUGHLIN: After four years behind bars, Knox was free and back in the U.S., but there was more heartache. Italy Supreme Court found the acquittal full of deficiencies and contradictions and ordered a fresh appeals trial. The ruling outraged Knox's most ardent supporters.
STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: What we're really going to find out whether this is about evidence, whether this is about forensics or about the law or about politics and saving face.
MCLAUGHLIN: Unlike the first two trials, Amanda Knox has never seen the inside of this courtroom. She's watching it all from her home in Seattle. She told CNN's Chris Cuomo that she's afraid to return to Italy.
KNOX: I really want this to be behind me. I need this. I don't know how long I can defend myself.
MCLAUGHLIN: While Knox stayed away, Sollecito, an Italian native, made several court appearances including an almost tearful plea for his freedom.
MCLAUGHLIN: Rafael Sollecito was present in court this morning, but he was not there for the verdict. His father telling CNN that he was absolutely terrified. Italian authorities are expected to take away his passport and other travel documents so not be able to leave Italy until the Supreme Court considers the appeal -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Erin McLaughlin, as we said reporting live from Florence tonight.
Well, Amanda Knox spoke to our Chris Cuomo in May and he asked her about the case against her. I just wanted to play -- you'll hear more of this, but play a bit about what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNOX: Well, I find it incredible that despite an absolute lack of evidence that connects me to this murder, I'm still being judged based upon unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about how a young woman would react to a horrible situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We're going to talk a lot more about that because how she reacted, of course, involved in part apparently doing cartwheels as she was waiting questioning. We'll have more on that. Here's what we have about the evidence. You may have an opinion about this, but it's worth going through some of the key points here again.
According to the police, a knife found at Rafaele Sollecito's apartment had both Amanda Knox's DNA and Meredith Kercher's DNA on it. Meredith Kercher's bra clasps tested positive for Rafaele's DNA. Crucially Knox made a confession, which was later recanted. And there was a bloody footprint in the bathroom that prosecutors say belonged to Sollecito and a bloody shoe print next to Kercher's body.
They also said that was the foot print of Sollecito. A homeless man claims he saw the couple, Knox and Sollecito, near the house the night of the murder. Now all of this evidence was challenged by the defense. You know, they said the cuts on the body didn't match this knife and an appeals court ruled in Knox's favour in 2011.
But now as they go through the levels of the Italian justice system, she has been convicted again. I want to bring in Steve Moore. He is a former FBI special agent. He wrote a book about this case and you saw him in Erin McLaughlin's report and also significant work investigating this for the Knox family.
CNN legal analyst and former homicide prosecutor, Paul Callan, joins me, as well. So thanks to both of you. Paul, in the United States, this is a case that arouses passionate points of view and the majority of Americans who follow this case believe that Amanda Knox is innocent. Why do you think they're wrong?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I don't have a personal opinion on this, but I do have the opinion that we have an obligation to respect of the Italian system and they heard all of the evidence in this case. You know, the one name we haven't heard is Meredith Kercher. She was a young woman in her 20s, stabbed 40 times and that's why British public opinion and Italian public opinion is anti-Amanda Knox.
What is the case against her? One, the Italians says she confessed to the crime. Then she recanted the confession, but she also wrote it out in addition to orally confessing to the crime. They said that her DNA is linked to the murder. It's on the murder weapon. They say that her DNA was found mix would Meredith Kercher's blood at the apartment. Then they say she acted totally inappropriately after the murder.
BURNETT: The cartwheels.
CALLAN: A claim she was doing cartwheels at the police station and also a claim that she and her boyfriend were making out in the area that they were being held while questioning was going on. Now, this, while Meredith Kercher her best friend and roommate lies stabbed to death. So everyone thought inappropriate conduct. Now let me add one other thing the Italians say. They say that Sollecito and her alibi. The alibi was that they were together at the time of the murder. However, when they interviewed him first, his alibi was different than her alibi.
BURNETT: So, stories didn't match up.
CALLAN: The stories didn't match up. So they say false alibi, DNA, inappropriate behaviour and she confessed to the crime. How can you ridicule the Italians for convicting on that evidence?
BURNETT: Steve, when it's laid out like that it makes a real case for a guilty verdict. You have looked into this and had gone to the evidence in Italy, why do you say it proves Amanda Knox is innocent?
MOORE: Well, because unlike Detective Callan. I looked into the case. Callan just repeated only what the Italians have said. He said has no opinion on it and that means he hasn't looked at the evidence first hand. Therefore, if he is, as he says, New York homicide detective had he looked at that information, had he looked at every bit of evidence, he would agree with me and he wouldn't be spouting the Italian lie. I know that's his job as a correspondent, but here --
BURNETT: I know he will want it reply to that, but lay out for me, please, why you say?
CALLAN: Prove me wrong with the evidence.
BURNETT: Make your case first. Why is that wrong when you have the DNA mixed on the knife? When you have a confession twice made and recanted? These are the points he's making that the prosecution makes. Tell us why from your investigation it's wrong.
MOORE: First of all, there was no DNA mixed on the knife. The second trial proved with independent experts that the DNA that they claim was the victim's was not on the knife. It was thrown out. So, you have to accept that. There was no DNA of the victim on the knife. Amanda cooked with that knife and it was in a kitchen drawer. It was, as the detective will note, it was a disorganized crime scene.
Again, the knife did not fit the wounds. So, how can you say that that knife committed the crime? There was another knife print of the knife that did fit the wounds that was never found. The knife is out. Then the confession is out and because, and the detective will have to agree with me on this.
If you give me 53 hours with a suspect and I can slap them, hit them, deny water, food, anything. I can get detective Callan to admit to the crime. If you then go to the bra clasp and admit that thing was recovered six weeks after the crime scene had been released and the independent DNA --
BURNETT: Meaning contaminated.
MOORE: Right. And it said that even with that, the DNA that they said was Rafael was actually a woman's DNA. You don't have the DNA on the bra clasp. You don't have the knife. You don't have any confession and that, alleged cartwheel was yoga moves to end stress and this making out that they said happened was a woman standing outside her own house where her best friend had just been slaughtered and her boyfriend is holding on to her to comfort her and they pecked two or three times on the lips. That's making out. And it offends me when people talk about this case without looking into it.
CALLAN: You know, Steve has very impressive investigative credentials, but he should realize that I'm not a detective, I'm a lawyer. You should have done more investigation on that before you sat in the chair.
MOORE: I was reading your lower thirds. It said detective.
CALLAN: I read your upper thirds and you have very impressive credentials but even in this country we don't let former FBI Agents decide guilt or innocence. We let juries decide and the one thing about this case. I was not in court, nor were you.
MOORE: Yes, I was.
CALLAN: Maybe for part of the trial, I don't think you were there for all the trials. I do know that you have this case going all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. You have six individuals evaluating it at the intermediate level. You have a lower court level. Court after court in the end said there is enough evidence here to convict her in much the same way that might be said in the United States. So, I'm not, I'm saying there's enough evidence here for them to have based a judgment on. I think we have to hesitate a little bit before we're overly critical of the Italians.
BURNETT: Only going to hit pause here on this, actually, go ahead, Steve, you can quickly respond, please.
MOORE: This was a show trial. Show trials, like I have not seen since Stalin. The minute you say every single court procedure in the world is leg legitimate just because it happened, then you are on -- put Martin Luther King in jail. This is not legitimate.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate both of you taking the time and no doubt many of you watching one side or the other, although, I will say equating this to Stalin is a bit rich. But OUTFRONT next more of our breaking news coverage of the Amanda Knox guilty verdict because there was a huge question here that Steve was referring to, will the U.S. extradite Amanda Knox to Italy? If that happens, she could serve, as you heard, her sentence to 28.5 years in jail.
Plus, a winter storm trapping thousands of people on the highway's in Atlanta. You've seen this story on CNN repeatedly asking for answers. Georgia's governor finally comes on the air to explain his side of the story.
And a rare look inside the former American embassy in Iran, remember Argo. We'll show you where dozens of Americans were held and tortured by Iranians in 1979. An exclusive look and only here OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Our breaking news coverage of the Amanda Knox guilty verdict continues. Guilty, again, but a shocking turns of events, it's the second time an Italian court has convicted the former American exchange student of murder. She just spoke recently about this crucial question. "The Guardian" actually recently asked Knox how she would handle another guilty verdict and I wanted to play for you her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNOX: It would feel like a train wreck. They would order my arrest and the Italian government would approach the American government and say extradite her. And I don't know what would happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: No one really knows what would happen, but that key word extradite is the centre of this entire thing. Knox right now is thousands of miles away from Florence, Italy. She is in Seattle tonight where she issued that statement saying how shocked she was about this verdict. Frightened and saddened by which she calls an unjust verdict so should she be extradited.
Tonight, CNN legal analysts, Mark O'Mara and Joey Jackson, OK, great to have both of you with us! You're going to get physical like our last guys.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: We're not going to do that.
BURNETT: Mark, let me ask you though, if this goes through the case, this is the legal system of Italy, which is a major, an important country with a serious legal system. If this goes through the process and she is ultimately found guilty, should the United States put her on a plane and send her to Italy where she'll go to jail for 28.5 years minus the few years she served?
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If the process works through and if in fact it's finally a guilty verdict then how can we say no to the Italian government? We want them to respect our treaty part when we say we want you to extradite to us? So how can we say because maybe we think she's not guilty?
BURNETT: In the court of U.S. public opinion.
O'MARA: Right, and maybe because she's an attractive girl that carries some weight with the American public, it carries absolutely no weight in international law. We have a treaty, we have to respect it.
BURNETT: So, the government should go ahead, whoever it will be at that time when they finish this, if it's still Barack Obama and go against public opinion. By the way, probably take a hit in the opinion polls for doing that. O'MARA: Sorry, but we have to because even though there was some provisions in that treaty that may have a small window, reality is the treaty says, if she's guilty, we have to send her back.
BURNETT: Joey, why not?
JACKSON: I think this is a question of interpretation here. Here's how I read it. Article 10 of this treaty and that speaks to the issue of reasonable cause to believe that the offense was committed. Now if --
BURNETT: That sounds like it's allowing a bureaucrat in the United States to second guess a verdict.
JACKSON: Here's why it's not. Here's where we go with this. Reasonable cause to believe that she didn't commit it, the United States could take the view that we side with the appellate court that made the determination very clearly, very forcefully in saying that she's not guilty. So, if the United States, in its wisdoms, decide that the appellate court was proper in its ruling and its judgment could use Article ten as blocking her furthermore, Erin, precedent for the United States notwithstanding adjudications in Italy to say we're not going to play ball.
What am I referring to? In 2003, Americans, most of them CIA agents, right. There was an issue of them being convicted for kidnapping a citizen of Milan. They went back to the United States; they never got back to Italy and what happened there? So, the United States certainly has discretion here not withstanding what the Italian court does or doesn't do.
BURNETT: Yes, but don't you end up in a situation, Mark, whether it's Italy or the United States do that. They say, you know, the next time you want to fly your planes over and we're not going to give you flyover rights and what does the United States do by taking a stand on Amanda Knox?
O'MARA: Cannot let one individual case let you interact with another country. I understand your position, but that's saying the appellate court in Florida or New York said this.
BURNETT: It's not really a personal opinion. I think just what is going it is stated.
O'MARA: We have to follow the letter of the law. Unfortunately, maybe a victim of the fact that we have to deal with the reality, if she's convicted, we have to follow.
BURNETT: Ultimately should the United States do it? Should they send her back?
JACKSON: I know it's a very difficult question. I know the double jeopardy and how it's technically not under the treaty because of the DNA and because of the sloppy investigation she did not do this. That's something the United States could say.
BURNETT: Appeals process, not a second trial at the same testimony.
JACKSON: The United States could take that judgment and say it's our judgment and say she's not going anywhere.
BURNETT: Well, thank you both, very much. Share with us your thoughts on extradition and, of course, your thoughts on guilty or innocence. A case that so many thought had been put to bed and Amanda Knox was writing her book and figuring out the next stage in her life.
Still to come, the Republican Party appears to be without a leader. That was our interpretation of the state of the union rebottles. But the chairman of the party said that was just point blank silly.
Plus an OUTFRONT exclusive, we are going to go inside the former American embassy in Tehran where dozens of Americans were held for months. It's an exclusive look. Is it just like the movie "Argo?"
New details on the Justin Bieber case in Florida, what was in his body the night he was pulled over for a dui? We have the toxicology report.
BURNETT: And now an OUTFRONT exclusive, a look inside the former embassy in Iran, the site of the Iranian hostage Chris where dozens of diplomats were held and tortured by Iranians for 14 months back in 1979. They recently were played out in the movie "Argo." but amazingly, it looks almost exactly like it did 34 years ago. That's pretty incredible, right, an anti-American museum, now, exclusive access. Jim Sciutto has our tour.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years this as is close as the U.S. reporters could come to the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, but now a rare glimpse inside.
(on camera): Is this where the Marine guards were?
SCIUTTO (voice-over): For 444 days this was a prison for some 50 American hostages. The 1979 takeover dramatized in the Oscar winning film "Argo." They took us to what was the secure part of the embassy.
(on camera): Is it the same combination it was?
SCIUTTO (voice-over): It's the same, he said. Now run by the Iranian government and while many in this country have grown disillusioned with the revolution, here the anger against America still survives.
(on camera): Do you still believe it was justified to hold the Americans as hostages?
(voice-over): Yes, he said, definitely. Every room and every piece of equipment is an exhibit.
(on camera): This is a walk back in time. (voice-over): A sound proof meeting room complete with dusty mannequins and encrypted machine marked as belonging to the NSA. And the shredder staff used to destroy secret documents as students took over. A panicked moment captured in "Argo."
(on camera): This is where the embassy including the CIA would do its most sensitive communications as a pressure sensor here and then inside all the ways they would communicate with back home. There's a teletype machine, an ancient fax machine. This looks like coding equipment, all of it now the prized possessions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
(voice-over): Equally prized is more modern propaganda attacking mural tells a Middle Eastern conspiracy theory claiming the U.S. was actually behind 9/11.
(on camera): Why would we do that to our own people?
(voice-over): They wanted to make their people believe they are in danger, he said, so they could attack other countries. What has yet to penetrate these walls is any optimism about the new diplomacy between Iran and the U.S.
(on camera): Could you ever imagine American diplomats returning to this embassy and opening the embassy again?
(voice-over): You cannot trust America, he said. America is the great Satan. For OUTFRONT, Jim Sciutto, CNN, Tehran.
BURNETT: Sort of an amazing thing, the feeling we had, too, with people still chanting down with America at rallies for the presidential election. At the same time, wanting to talk with us and be friendly with us, it's a Juxtaposition that is important to notice there.
Next, the Republican Party appears to be without a leader, but the chairman of the party says that's just ridiculous and silly. That I was ridiculous and silly so we ask, is it?
Plus our special series, "Kids in crisis, Fragile Minds." Tonight, we have a look at the mental health system. You're going to see one family -- what you're going to see is remarkable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does someone have to die before the right amount of treatment can be available?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was the only way he got in to where he is now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: All right. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, CNN has an exclusive interview with President Obama. Our Jake Tapper is with him and we have a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm going to give you a choice. You just have to pick one.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
TAPPER: I'll give you two.
Hillary versus Biden or Broncos versus Seahawks. You have to tell me. You have to pick one and give me the winner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I guess I'd probably -- assuming he went with Broncos/Seahawks. But I don't know. I know, Jake, if anyone, able to get the answer to that question. You can hear the answer and a lot more starting on "NEW DAY" tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. and "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Jake is going to ask him some serious questions about this push for executive orders for things like minimum wage in America.
Well, a crucial question for the Republican Party is whether it lacks a leader. That's the question that I posed last night to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, after watching four separate GOP responses to President Obama's State of the Union speech.
Now, Ryan got pretty fired up about my question, actually, as did a whole lot of you on social media. I want to play a part of that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That seems like a party that doesn't know who the heck is in charge. It seems leaderless.
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I think that's a pretty silly comment and I know it's your first day back, but I would tell you --
BURNETT: All right. Tell me why I'm silly, Ryan.
PRIEBUS: Because there is probably 300 responses yesterday, every member of Congress. I mean, you say Rand Paul gave a response. I would imagine every senator gave some kind of response yesterday. This is ridiculous.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers was the responder and she gave the official response.
BURNETT: But official response, and there's all these other splinters. I'm not the only silly one. I'm not alone --
PRIEBUS: Every member of Congress is in the studio giving a response. Rand Paul, I guarantee you, is not the only senator giving a response.
BURNETT: I hear your point, but McKay Coppins of "BuzzFeed" framed it this way, he said conservatives are competing for airtime.
PRIEBUS: I don't care how McKay Coppins framed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Joining me now, communications director for the RNC, Sean Spicer, who joins me on the phone, and CNN political commentator Hilary Rosen also with us.
All right. Sean, so you heard that exchange. If the question is so silly, then who is the leader of the Republican Party?
SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think the Republican Party has several leaders. Reince Priebus is the head of the RNC. John Boehner heads up the House Republicans. Mitch McConnell heads up the Senate Republicans. Chris Christie is the head of the RGA.
The question you asked, though, Erin, was with respect to responses. Let me just go through what the chairman was saying. When there were several responses that came out, not only on our side, but in theirs. Leader Pelosi put out a statement on the Dems side, and Senator Baldwin, Congressman Hoyt, Democrat after Democrat. Even Jesse Jackson did an official response to the State of the Union.
So, there's everybody these days is putting out a response. That's totally different than the question of leadership. And that's how you ask.
But more importantly, the interesting thing that didn't get asked is every one of the Democrats put out a statement from Senator Mary Landrieu, to Senator Kay Hagan, to Senator Mark Begich, all of them put out responses to the State of the Union condemning their own president and running away from them as they head into a tough re- election.
So, the real question I think coming after the State of the Union was, why were so many Democrats running away from the president?
BURNETT: That's an interesting point. And Sean doing his job trying to spin it around. He's good at his job.
Hillary, let me ask you this question, though, because Sean raises a fair point that a lot of people are frustrated with the president and the Democratic Party and they don't necessarily see him as a key to their victory. But when it comes to 2016, which what this is all about. When I talk about leaderlessness in the Republican Party, it's about 2016.
With the Democrats in 2016, it appear clear who the leader is. We've seen in "Washington Post"/ABC News poll, choice for president, Hillary Clinton, 73 percent of Democrats. That's a joke. It's not even an issue.
But, for Republicans, post-Chris Christie bridgegate scandal, 2016 choice for president, it's split five ways. Nobody has any idea who they want. Now, that's a big question.
My question to you, Hilary is, if Hillary Clinton doesn't run, talk about leaderless.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I agree with you. Sean's good at his job.
And when we look at our side and the presidential nomination, you know, the Democratic talking points will say, oh, we've got a really deep bench and there are lots of great candidates out there and I am a personal huge fan of Joe Biden's. But the truth is there's nobody who is going to electrify our party and I think the country the way Hillary Clinton would. And I think that poll reflects that.
The interesting thing about the Republican side of that poll that you cut out for a couple seconds there is that the -- those candidates actually all represent the multiple factions of the current Republican Party.
ROSEN: And there is, you know, despite Sean's good spin on this, there were sort of in their minds the Tea Party folks gave their Tea Party response. The, you know, Latino Republicans gave their response, there were this sense that they have their own way. And that's what the Republicans are going to struggle with in their primary. Democrats not so much if Hillary Clinton runs.
BURNETT: Which is an interesting point.
Sean, let me ask you about something else because I want to go back to the exchange that I had with Reince yesterday because you know, and I want to make it clear that I didn't see what he said this way but people on social media felt that Priebus was talking down to me as a woman and a new mom. I jut wanted to raise one point.
Comment came from a man who describes himself as a divorced guy with three kids, Navy dad and motorcycle rider. And he tweeted, "OutfrontCNN, Reince, wow, what a condescending tone to Erin Burnett, implying she was out of touch because she was on maternity leave."
Let me just play, play that exchange for you right now.
OK. Sorry, we don't have that sound bite. So I guess it makes it hard for you to respond to it. I apologize for that, Sean.
BURNETT: I want to emphasize I didn't see it this way. But this goes to the women's issues, right, that Republicans sometimes say things that they wish they didn't say.
SPICER: Well, first, thank you to Hilary kind comments. I appreciate both you and her.
So, I was going to say that before this segment, but I appreciate the kind words. That's very nice for both of you to say.
With respect to yesterday, and I agree with you. I watched it and read the transcript. You initially commented that you had been away and the chairman sort of said, well, I know you've been away, but that had nothing to do with why you wouldn't know.
So, I think he was actually agreeing with the sentiment that you expressed.
BURNETT: Right, like I said, I didn't take it that way, but I was only suggesting to you, some people did. I mean, that guy wasn't alone. So, it does show people are looking. Some people are looking for this issue to arise with the Republican Party.
ROSEN: There's a hypersensitivity to it.
SPICER: Look, I think both parties and the way this country is structure would so many people, people are looking to hit everybody on every word and every comment they make. That's kind of the partisan polarization that this country has seen. But, I don't -- I think you're right and no one took it that way except for some interesting folks on Twitter.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you, we appreciate it. And please share your comments with us, as always, on Twitter.
Ahead, our special "Kids in Crisis" series, looking at mental health. So, you're going to hear about a family. I mean, this story, as I indicated is remarkable. You're going to want to hear it from OUTFRONT's own David Mattingly. That's coming up.
And we're going to be joined by Glenn Close after that.
BURNETT: And now to our special series "Kids in Crisis", fragile minds. It's an OUTFRONT investigation into the mental health crisis in the United States.
It seems like every day there is another story, a headline of a kid who didn't get help because of a failed system. Adam Lanza, 20 children murdered and six adults slaughtered at a Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School.
Two months ago, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was slashed, stabbed and nearly killed by his son, mentally ill. His name is Gus and then Gus took his own life. The day before that attack, Gus had actually been released from a hospital because there were no psychiatric beds available. No beds available. No care to be found. It is shockingly and unacceptably common in this country. And the problem is getting worse, not better. Fewer beds now for kids than there were years ago. But it's an issue still that people don't want to talk about.
Coming up in just a moment, I'm going to be speaking with actress Glenn Close and her sister. Together, they're trying to change the stigma associated with mental illness.
But, first, we begin our coverage with OUTFRONT's David Mattingly. He has the story of a family who struggled to get the right care for their son.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 18 months, Teddy Shuman's curly blond hair and bright smile melted the hearts of his adopted parents.
It took them years to see all the damage that was hiding underneath.
(on camera): That first time, what did he do?
THOM SHUMAN, FATHER OF MENTALLY ILL SON: First time he got, he was just completely out of the blue. He started yelling and screaming and he went after Bonnie.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Thom and Betty Shuman say Teddy suffered from a variety of severe developmental problems. His birth mother drank when she was pregnant. Doctors also told them Teddy had been physically and sexually abused.
Normally, a gentle and loving child in spite of it, about a year after this video was shot, Teddy began lapsing into uncontrollable violent rages.
(on camera): Were you afraid of him?
BONNIE SHUMAN, MOTHER OF MENTALLY ILL SON: Yes, I was. And I was afraid of him for years. I loved him. He's just a neat kid.
MATTINGLY: Did you think he could kill you?
BONNIE SHUMAN: Yes.
THOM SHUMAN: Accidentally, yes.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Teddy's episodes lasted hours and got worse as he got older. Overwhelmed, the Shuman's looked for a place in their home state of Ohio where Teddy could live full time, where he wouldn't be a danger to others or to himself.
What they found instead was a mental health system with public facilities that didn't have the room and private facilities that they couldn't afford. THOM SHUMAN: Insurance companies weren't prepared to pay for residential treatment. At the time our private insurance would have paid for 12 or 18 days per year. Well, you know, for someone who needed to be in care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that's just an impossibility.
MATTINGLY: Teddy was in and out of different facilities 20 times in three different states, always ending up back at home when money or space ran out.
(on camera): The Shuman's greatest fear was that Teddy would one day end up in need of a lifetime of mental care either homeless, on the street, in jail or dead.
Teddy was 20 years old when their worst fears came true.
What was that phone call like?
THOM SHUMAN: I mean, it was like, the worst thing in the world had happened.
BONNIE SHUMAN: I just totally fell apart.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): In 2006, the Shumans placed Teddy in yet another residential facility. They tried to get him a private room but couldn't. Just six days later, he attacked and killed his roommate, strangling him with a belt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Shuman has absolutely no appreciation for what he did.
MATTINGLY: A judge determined Teddy was mentally unfit to stand trial and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in a state residential facility. It was exactly the kind of place Teddy's parents had tried to keep him in for 16 years.
(on camera): Looking back, this didn't have to happen?
THOM SHUMAN: No.
BONNIE SHUMAN: No.
MATTINGLY: But was it inevitable?
THOM SHUMAN: The way the system operates it was probably inevitable.
MATTINGLY: Does someone have to die before the right amount of treatment can be available?
BONNIE SHUMAN: That was the only way he got into where he is now.
THOM SHUMAN: Yes.
BURNETT: It's an incredible, incredible indictment of the system. What has life been like for them now that he is forever put away?
MATTINGLY: Well, when you asked them that, they'll tell you they're no longer walking on egg shells because they don't live in fear of having him in the home and then suddenly going into one of his rages.
They're able to see him about once a week, but this has really taken a toll on them. They are both retirement age, they have no savings, they're in debt because of the treatment they had to get for him over the years, and they're exhausted.
BURNETT: And so, are things getting better or worse? Because I feel like we keep hearing the story, people say there's something wrong with their child, they try to get the help, it fails, something horrible happens and, there are fewer beds now than there were years ago for these children.
MATTINGLY: Well, this is the whole point that the Shumans want to come forward and tell their story. They want to make sure this kind of care is more affordable and more available. But it doesn't seem like the right people are listening because in the state of Ohio actually fewer beds available for children needing psychiatric care today than there was six years ago.
BURNETT: Just, as I said, horrible indictment system.
Thank you very much, David Mattingly.
And one of the biggest advocates for changing the sigma surrounding mental illness is actress Glenn Close. She started an organization to raise awareness about the misconceptions that are out there today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi there. Sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a lunatic on a rampage. I'm Kalen (ph) and I've been living with schizophrenia for 11 years.
GLENN CLOSE, ACTRESS: It's time to start talking about mental illness. Start the conversation, and pledge to end stigma at bringchangetomind.org.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, actress Glenn Close, who founded the organization Bring Change to Mind, and her sister, Jessie Close, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And Jessie is joined by her service dog, Snick (ph).
And I appreciate both of you taking the time and doing this together because it is a family issue, Glenn, as you've talked about so much.
But let me first get your reaction to the piece you just saw. I mean, these parents, for years, tried to get help for their son. They said he would hurt someone. They didn't get help until he killed somebody.
GLENN CLOSE: Yes.
BURNETT: I mean, this strikes home to you.
GLENN CLOSE: Well, it -- the thing that's unfortunate about that is that the percentage of people with mental illness who actually do violent acts like that is so -- is minimal. But whenever it happens, of course, we hear all about it and so it only feeds into the stigma that everyone who has a mental illness is going to hurt somebody. And that's just not true.
I mean, four out of five of us are touched in some way by mental illness. So, I think these are the kinds of stories that get our attention, that we have to realize that there's a whole, whole huge other side to the story about mental illness.
BURNETT: So, I want to ask Jessie about your experience, but you're with me, so let me ask you. What was it like when you were growing up with Jessie, how did you first learn or realize that she had a mental illness?
GLENN CLOSE: Well, I think our family is like a lot of families. We had no vocabulary for mental illness. It never came up. Now that I look back and we luckily have more research into early intervention, Jessie would do things when she was little that would have been red flags if we had been more knowledgeable.
Just little -- she used to rub her finger like this until it was raw and bleeding when she was little. And I remember that. I remember seeing that.
BURNETT: You remember, something in your mind said that's not right. But you didn't ask questions?
GLENN CLOSE: I didn't know. I didn't ask the question. My parents didn't ask the question.
Jess was told to just, you know, get it together and go to school and pull up her socks and get a job. And it wasn't that my parents -- we just didn't know. We just didn't know. We just thought she was wild and irresponsible.
So, when she was finally diagnosed, which was not until she was 50, she had lived a life which she needn't had lived. That didn't have to happen. And thank God she's still here, because she easily could not have been.
BURNETT: So, Jessie, hearing your sister talk about you like this, I know that's got to be hard and painful in some ways. But what was it like for you to go through your entire life, your childhood, your adolescence, your young adulthood, your adulthood, and have this? What was it like to do that? How did it feel?
JESSIE CLOSE, DIAGNOSED WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER: Well, you know, I think I'll take it from the other end, when I was finally diagnosed, I went through a long period of grief, because I had so many instances where I was manic and not in my right mind. I was never able to really stick to what I wanted to do. I would get sick.
It was -- it's a difficult thing to look back on a life when you're already 50 years old.
BURNETT: So you feel like it took away the opportunity to be whatever person you might have been if you had the help?
JESSIE CLOSE: Yes, exactly.
BURNETT: And, Glenn, that's the tragedy, because that's what's happening in so many of these cases, people get their lives stolen from them. But yet, we hear statistics like you just heard, and I heard a mother whose son threatened to kill her with a life and they have to accuse them of a crime to get them put in a bed for 10 days then he's back home. We have fewer beds today for children than we did a few years ago.
How does this happen that this goes in that direction?
GLENN CLOSE: Well, I think stigma has a lot to do with. Mental health has always been the least funded of all the departments in our government. I think that has a lot to do with ignorance and fear. And -- but I think, I was down in Washington last month with a bipartisan group who they -- it was the -- I have to read this because I want to get it right, the Excellence in Mental Health Act.
What is so exciting about that is to make sure that there is adequate care, it has to be on a community to community basis.
GLENN CLOSE: It has to be something that towns and cities take care of by themselves. And with this act, they're going to set up, they're going to be able to get government funding for behavioral and mental health organizations that are already on the ground doing great work in their community. There's been such a cutback on funds for organizations like that that we are suffering from it.
So, I think there's hope. I think everybody needs to make sure to let their leaders know this is vital for the country.
BURNETT: Jessie, I want to give you the final word. I know you have Snick (ph), the infrastructure around you, the things that you need. But I know you have a child, who also suffers from a schizo affected disorder.
Were you able to get the right treatment for your child?
JESSIE CLOSE: We were. We were. Luckily, he was living with his father up in Helena, Montana, and a locked ward (ph) was available up there in St. Peters, and luckily he got to go in there and was stabilized. When he came out, we searched for a place to put him and found McClain (ph) hospital outside Boston, and he was there for two years.
But he now lives a great life. He's an artist. We speak together all over the country. He's in the PSA that you just saw. That's Kalen.
And my other children are extremely supportive of both of us, and I think we're probably tighter because we've been through -- we've been through a war, a war on mental illness.
BURNETT: Interesting way of putting it.
JESSIE CLOSE: Yes.
BURNETT: Thank you both very much for taking the time.
JESSIE CLOSE: Thank you.
BURNETT: "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.