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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Christie Answering Questions About Bridge Scandal; Chris Christie Interviews For New Jersey Radio Station; Heroin Use on the Rise in the U.S.; Dow Sinks 326 Points; Report: Former Christie Aide Invokes Fifth Amendment

Aired February 3, 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: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, breaking his silence seconds away from the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answering questions about the bridge scandal on the heels of new allegations. You see him there tonight arriving to take those questions. What did he know and when did he know it.

And more breaking news, stocks tank, the Dow up more than 300 points today. Are we going into a downwards spiral?

Plus, new details surrounding the death of actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, what police found in his apartment. That report today. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with the big breaking news, Chris Christie answering questions. The New Jersey governor seconds away from sitting down. He is going to be taking questions on the bridge scandal that is threatening to take down his meteoric political career. You see him there arriving just moments ago entering the New Jersey radio station.

He is going to be answering those questions in the "Ask the Governor" program. Now this is really important because it is the first time we have heard from the New Jersey governor since his two hour news conference last month where he repeatedly denied having anything to do with closing down lanes on the George Washington bridge for political retribution.

Tonight's comments from Christie are pivotal. A former top official says he has evidence that Chris Christie knew about the lane closures on the GWB. Happening before, Christie has admitted knowing. CNN's new poll shows the governor's numbers have slipped in rather dramatically.

Chris Frates begins our coverage of the New Jersey radio station that's hosting the governor. Obviously, Chris, he could begin speaking at any moment. We are monitoring that, but you saw his arrival. So many cameras there, you're there, what is at stake tonight?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, Erin, what is at stake is this is his first time that we are going to hear from the governor. He is taking questions from Jersey residents. This is a call in show. It is something he does every month, but it's going to have national implications whatever he says. It comes the same day where subpoenas were due for many members of his team by the Democrats who are investigating him in the State House.

So it will be interesting to hear what is on Jersey voters' minds here, how that plays nationally and what kinds of questions are going to be asked. I think it is also important for folks to know that the Jersey Democrats here in the state has asked their members to call in. They say if you have question for Chris Christie, if you are a Democrat, you want to put it to him, now is your opportunity.

So it will also be interesting to see if we are getting tough questions from the other side of the aisle for the next hour for the governor.

BURNETT: Chris, before you go and I know you are there monitoring it, but I think it is important, you know, the governor having to declare a state of emergency in New Jersey today for snow. You know, he had an out if he wanted to get out of this. That probably would have been legitimate enough, right. Everybody was sent home who worked for the state government at noon today. But he didn't take it, which would seem to me to be code for he is going to come out swinging.

FRATES: Well, I think that's right, Erin. He could have said, you know what, the roads are too bad. I think this is a way for him to show as doing something that he normally does. This is part of his routine and he is able to get out there and say this is part of what being the governor is, I'm going to answer your questions without causing a national media circus. So he is able to do it in a controlled setting in a way that says I'm just doing business as usual. But it certainly has much more implications and he knows that.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much, Chris Frates. Of course, as more happens there, we are going to go to Chris. But we are also just so all you know, this is going to on camera even though it is a radio show. So we are going to be bringing the governor to you. We know exactly when he sits in that chair and when the interview starts.

We do anticipate that is the room where he is going to be. We do anticipate the news director from the radio station is also going to be conducting an interview ahead of time. So we may get a direct and fiery question and answer before even some of those call-in questions begin. So we are monitoring that.

But in the meantime, I want to bring in John, the Democratic New Jersey assemblyman leading a state investigation into the lane closures of the George Washington Bridge. He is really the point person on this, Sean Spicer, the communications director for the Republican National Committee and John Avlon, a political analyst and editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast."

OK, great to have all three of you with us. John, let me start with you so obviously have read the letter where the former head of the port authority says he has evidence showing that the governor knew about the lane closures during the time they were happening. You have been looking into this since October, October 2nd, I believe. He is entering the room. We'll see if he starts answering the questions, as soon as he does, we are going to dip in there. I'll let you start, though, to cut you off if he does. Do you see a smoking gun here?

ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NEW JERSEY: Not yet. I think it is really important to look at the words that were used in the letter. Mr. Wildstein's attorney wrote this letter and it says that his client is aware of information that would contradict the governor. We don't know if it is a document or a conversation or somebody he knows that has material.

So I think we need to see exactly what this information is before we make any judgments that it does actually contradict the governor. I'll say this. Mr. Zeggis is a serious attorney, well respected in New Jersey. I'm sure he is not going to write the letter without having some reasonable basis that his client has something to say.

<19:05:13>

We just don't know what it is he has to say.

BURNETT: I want to -- you know, David Wildstein -- the governor has come out now aggressively, not that he hasn't spoken yet, which of course, we are going to see him do in just a moment when he starts talking about this. He said -- let me just play the sound bite of what he said on January 9th about David Wildstein once more. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and a hat. So I was the guy working the cones out there. You really are not serious with that question. I don't get involved in traffic studies. So what I can tell you is you can find that hard to believe. I don't know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this of the planning, execution or anything about it. And then I first found out about it after it was over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And I want to get to the David Wildstein question I had in just a moment. Let me ask you about that first. I mean, he has said again and again and again, if it turns out that there is a smoking gun and as John just said he doesn't see one and he is the guy looking into this. If there is, is he done?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Absolutely. He's put his credibility on the line. He has been very clear. He is a former U.S. attorney. He knows the implications of this and is a pretty savvy politician. When he says he didn't know, if he is lying, he is done.

BURNETT: And Sean, I mean, he is taking a huge hit in the polls for this. Let me show you this. Republican choice for nominee back in the day, that was Chris Christie was number one, 24 percent of Republicans were going to vote. Now you can see Mike Huckabee is number one with 14 percent. Mike Huckabee who got trounced obviously when he tried to run for president. What does say to you? I mean, if you don't have Christie, you must be pretty terrified?

SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: OK, that's a bit of a stretch. First of all, Mike Huckabee did very, very well last time. Mike Huckabee is an amazing -- was an amazing governor, a huge figure in the party. Additionally that is a little unfair. Anybody would take a hit in the polls if you had the media pile on that we have seen over this event.

In fact, I think the "New York Times" what they did last weekend was just unbelievably reprehensible. It's up there with tabloid media, but the notion that this, quote/unquote, "scandal" that the assemblyman admits that there is no smoking gun, no evidence beyond the action of the governor has already taken and yet you see the throngs of media out there outside of a radio station is unreal.

I cannot believe that there has been zero attention paid to any of the scandals in D.C. that Democrats are involved in to a fraction of what has happened here. And as the assemblyman himself a former state party chairman, a guy who spent all of his time attacking Republicans can't find a motive and this is the kind of media circus that's created because it's a Republican.

BURNETT: All right, I'm going to let you respond, John. I just want everyone to know it is live what you are seeing on the screen, the governor of New Jersey taking questions. Right now he is talking about the Super Bowl. The second he starts talking about this issue which is of utmost importance to his candidacy for 2016. I'm going to go into that live, but we want to give you a chance to respond.

WISNIEWSKI: Look, the governor's office is involved. There is no doubt about that. There is an e-mail from Bridgett Kelly, a deputy chief of staff, somebody appointed to a high position that said let's close these lanes and cause traffic in Fort Lee. That's not a rational government action and she did something wrong, and his staff did something wrong.

BURNETT: All right, we are going to listen to the governor here talking about David Wildstein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your office put out a pretty strong response to the letter.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What in particular do you dispute in Wildstein's account at this point?

CHRISTIE: Well, Eric, listen. Let's make one thing clear right off the bat, which I think is the most important issue. And most important issue is, did I know anything about the plan to close these lanes? Did I authorize it? Did I know about it? Did I approve it or have knowledge of it beforehand? The answer is still the same. It's unequivocally no. In fact, no one has ever accused me of that. That is the thing people of New Jersey care about the most. Now, when did I first know about the lane closures? You know, the fact is that the first time this came into my consciousness as an issue was when the executive director of the Port Authority's e-mail about this incident was leaked to the media and reported on. And that was the first time that I got a sense that there might some issue here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who brought that to your attention?

CHRISTIE: It was news accounts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You read them personally or did somebody bring it to your attention?

CHRISTIE: I read it in the "Wall Street Journal." And it was that day, then, when I read that that Pat was saying I didn't know about this. It wasn't cleared through me, whatever else he said in that e- mail. That's when I asked my chief of staff and chief counsel. I said to them would you look into this and see what's going on here?

<19:10:15>

Now, if prior to that -- I know prior to that there were press accounts about traffic issues out there. And if I either read that or someone said something to me about traffic issues up there it wouldn't have been meaningful to me because I didn't know there was a problem up there because I didn't know we had actually closed lanes before that.

So my dispute is two folds. First, to make clear to everybody in the midst of all of the things that were reported over the weekend, that nobody has said that I knew anything about this before it happened. And I think that is the most important question. Secondly, that when this first became an issue for me -- because let's face it, Eric, there is traffic every day at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel.

I hear those reports on the radio. We all hear about them. That is not something that rises to the gubernatorial level. When this first became clear to me that this was a potential issue was when the e-mail was put out. Now like I said to you, there were press accounts before whether I read any of those.

If I did or heard anything from anybody about traffic it would not have been meaningful to me because now we are looking at it in the prism of knowing everything we know since January 8. Back then this was not a major issue. It became one to me in terms of finding out what was going on when the Foy e-mail came out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So today is the day that subpoenas were due to be answered in the legislative investigation. We know some of those who were served or granted some extensions. Have you seen any of the documentation that had been gathered to this point?

CHRISTIE: I have not. The governor's office has started to produce things today. We did not ask for an extension. We started to produce documents today, but we are doing so on a rolling basis. We are working as hard as we can to get through. There was a lot of stuff asked for from us, but we didn't ask for an extension. We started today on a rolling basis to produce things to the legislature, but I have not seen any documents that were produced by anybody else, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you curious to know what is in some of those documents?

CHRISTIE: Well, I mean, listen, I've got -- here is what I'm curious about, Eric. What I'm curious about is what happened here. That's why I've authorized an internal investigation as I talked about on January 9th. We've hired a law firm to come in and do that internal investigation. They are working really hard. They are working diligently. I can't wait for them to be finished so that I can get the full story here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the internal investigation of your staff to determine who may have known what.

CHRISTIE: Right. And to get into the situation, I mean, we are going to try to get as much information as we possibly can by interviewing folks and reviewing documents.

BURNETT: The unequivocal denial continues. John, let me ask you because you are the one, he just actually responded to you. You are the one who asked for those subpoenas. Are they giving you everything you need and most important he says all that matters was did he know before. Is that all that matters?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, I'm not sure that's all the matters. First of all, the documents are due today. They are starting to come in. Our office was closed about by midday. So we don't know the total quantity of the responses that have come in. It will be shared with the committee tomorrow. We will start reviewing those documents. But it is not just simply a binary question of whether he knew before or not.

It is clear somebody in his office with a high position, a deputy chief of staff ordered these lanes closed and then tried to cover it up and a lot of people were involved in it. It is a little bit more than just did he know before the lane closures.

AVLON: To be clear obviously we know there was wrong doing on the part of the deputy chief of staff. That is clear and an investigation is about the search for the truth. But the real question and the reason there is really a partisan feeding frenzy around this let's be frank is because Chris Christie had previously been the front runner for some polls for the 2016 nomination.

The key question for the investigation is what he knew and when he knew it. So that is really the criteria. We know already that there was absolute wrong doing on the part of individuals in the Christie administration and that affected people dramatically and negatively. But the real focus, of course, ultimately is what the governor knew, correct? WISNIEWSKI: The real focus is not only what the governor knew and who else in his staff knew. I mean, clearly there is something wrong where take the governor at his word that he has no idea about this. His staff orders lanes closed at the George Washington Bridge. They closed down Fort Lee for four days. That's pretty serious.

BURNETT: Sean, let me ask you this though because the reason this does matter is because of 2016. You look at what has happened because of this scandal to Chris Christie on a national level, Chris Christie versus Hillary Clinton. In December that was pretty much a dead tie, 46-48 percent with the win going to Chris Christie.

Now 55 to 39 in favor of Hillary Clinton, that is an incredible swing.

<19:15:03>

Obviously time can change that dramatically, but part of the problem here isn't just whether he lied, which of course, as John Avlon said would be game over for the governor. It is the perception of the inner circle that would think it is OK to do these kinds of things. Can he get over the perception?

SPICER: Absolutely. And first of all, frankly, you have two non- candidates that they are testing. And so, you know, things go up and down.

But here is what I truly believe. And again, I'm not here as a Chris Christie supporter and RNC is neutral in the 2016 race and he has not announced. That being said I think there is a sharp contrast should those two be the nominees. You have Hillary Clinton who had, you know, several scandals, including Benghazi, where she did her one little song against and dance and then we have gotten no further. She wouldn't get interviewed for the review board. And you know, Chris Christie who is out there tonight taking more and more questions from the general public who stood for 119 minutes taking questions that the national and New Jersey media could. It is basically a huge contrast in the type of leaders that they are. So, that I would welcome that.

Secondly, I think what you have seen from Chris Christie is that when the problems occurred and every administration, every organization is going to face some kind of problem or hurdle, how a leader deals with them is important. And what Christie has done in terms of addressing the problem, firing people and taking corrective action and he really goes to speak to the kind of leader he would be.

BURNETT: All right, I am going to hit pause here. We are going to staying with this because obviously, the breaking news that the governor is actually finally starting to answer the question. We will see as he continues this. We are watching live coverage of that.

We are also going to be talking about the very latest toxicology report that we have with Philip Seymour Hoffman. New details today coming in and what exactly was found in his apartment and the growing heroin crisis in the United States.

And a convicted killer escaped from prison taking a woman hostage. Tonight, we actually have the 911 call as the hostage tries to escape.

All right, that coming up OUTFRONT. We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<19:20:19>

BURNETT: -- breaking coverage. You are looking at a live picture of Governor Chris Christie who had been the Republican front runner for 2016 nomination answering questions live right now at a radio station in New Jersey. It is called Ask the Governor. He has been doing a question and answer with the host and going to be taking call ins.

He has unequivocally denied knowing anything before the closing of the lanes of the George Washington bridge. It has come to light, obviously, later that members of his staff ordered that for political retribution reasons.

The governor, though, a bit vague on exactly when and how he did find out, whether it is press reports or when.

I want to play here, we, of course, have with us John Wisniewski, the Democratic New Jersey assemblyman who is leading the state investigation into the lane closures. The man who request all the subpoenas coming in today. Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican national committee and John Avlon, editor in-chief for "the Daily Beast."

They are all still with me.

So, you see the governor talking there live. During the commercial break though, he talked about the media got you game which, Sean, I think you referred to. I want to play what the governor just said a moment ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Here is the thing I find so interesting. Because what is going on now with all these other stud is just a game of got you, you know. When did I first learn about this or that? Well, the fact of the matter is I have been very clear about this. Before these lanes were closed I knew nothing about it. I didn't plan it. I didn't authorize it. I didn't approve it. I knew nothing about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Sean, let me ask you a question on this because, you know, you are talking about the media pile on and you said, you know, that that hasn't happened to Democrats. Do you think it is unwarranted that the questions are being asked?

SPICER: No. But they have been asked and they have been answered. And I guess my issue is this. If there was a changing story or the governor is coming out saying well, I guess, let me explain what I meant by then. But he has been unequivocal since day one as to what he knew and when he knew it and how he knew it. And nothing has changed. And I think the assemblyman has said basically the same, but I'm not going to put words on his mouth. But he said nothing that there has been any evidence or anything to contradict everything what the governor has said since day one.

So, we have a story that has not changed at all, responses that have not changed. And yet, the media frenzy continues. Not just continues, but frankly, the "New York Times" made up news to go after him. That was nuts. I think that that literally made the enquirer look like a solid reputable newspaper the way that they attacked.

BURNETT: Sean, of course, is referring everyone to what you see there, which is an original headline from "the New York Times" which said Christie knew about the lane closings to an edited one which said that unofficial said evidence exist.

And I want to emphasize, the public editor for "the New York Times" has come out and said the change was more than a nuance and that the "New York times" made a mistake. I think that that is important to notice to note.

But still, there is this allegation that there is evidence. And then when you look at the polls, the public believes there could be.

JOHN AVALON, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Right. Well, look. Politics is perception. And that, you know, Chris Christie is suffering from a thousand cuts right now and "the New York Times" headline was misleading. And this whole thing has something he wants. He wants to get his legal fees paid for. So, there are a lot of questions as this investigation goes. But the larger issue in front of them, of course, is there is a preemptive war on potential presidential candidates. That's why Republicans is obsessed about Benghazi. It is really about attacking Hillary Clinton. That's why Democrats and, you know, finally pushed Christie about this.

BURNETT: The Benghazi has not hurt Hillary Clinton. It has not, I mean, when you look at the polls we showed with Sean, right?

AVLON: Because she is such a known figure by comparison, you know? A lot of them are baked in that cake. Chris Christie is still emerging as a national figure.

BURNETT: John, you are the man leading the charge here, the one who asked the subpoenas leading the investigation. You have been looking into this. You said, by your own admission right here on this program, you don't yet a smoking gun. When are you going to say I'm done. No smoking gun. I'm going to move on?

ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NEW JERSEY: I can't tell you that. We don't have all the answers to the questions. I mean, first of all, let's deal with the statement that was made that the governor's story has been consistent. Now, he started out first by mocking the legislature for even looking into this. He called Senator Weinberg and myself obsessed with this. And then he made (INAUDIBLE), he moved the cones himself. And he really, his statements about what he knew has progressed from where he started to today where he is saying what he is saying. All we are saying is this. There are e-mails and documents and information that either Bridget Kelly or other people in his office have. We want to have that and look at it.

BURNETT: At the least, don't you think, as a former prosecutor, that he is smart enough to not have made the cone joke and not denied that so on equivocally, if he had a little teeny bit of fear that there might be proof?

WISNIEWSKI: I can't get into what he is thinking. All I know is this, is that it was strenuously denied that there was any involvement and now the governor's office is involved through Bridget Kelly and perhaps others. We need to get answers. I mean, this is an abuse of power that should not be allowed and we need to have answers as how it could happen.

<19:25:09>

BURNETT: How long do you think the public stays so passionate about the issue?

AVLON: You know, it becomes a question of how expedited this investigation is and the more news it comes out. That's why these headlines, you know, like "the New York Times" wrote on Friday night are so distracted because they really distract from the process of inquiry and they hype it up and pour fuel on the fire. Some folks are cheer leading for that, make no mistake.

BURNETT: They certainly, certainly are.

And Sean, let me just ask you. I mean, completely honestly, you have to admit you are shocked by the dramatic change in the polls, aren't you?

SPICER: Again, yes, I am in a way but I'm also not. I mean, if you took a pounding every day that Governor Christie has or any candidate on our side where you are waking up and every national and state publication is coming after you, I don't think you -- in some ways I'm not that surprised that if somebody hit you that hard every day that it wouldn't do a little damage to your poll numbers.

But I also believe that once he is vindicated in terms of this investigation proves that he was telling the truth, he didn't know what he didn't know and that as far as it went, then people rebound and say, you know, he was telling the truth.

BURNETT: All right, Well, thanks very much to all of you. We will see what will happen, of course, as John's investigation continues and we watch those polls.

Still to come, breaking news on the Dow taking a huge dive down more than 300 points, a thousand in recent days.

And new details about the shocking death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, what police found in his apartment. We have that report today.

<19:26:00> (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<19:30:16>

BURNETT: New details tonight in the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor known for starring roles in "Capote", which earned him Academy Award for best actor, "Doubt", "Boogie Nights" and "Charlie Wilson's War", was found dead in his apartment yesterday from a suspected drug overdose.

According to sources familiar with the investigation, police found close to 50 envelopes of what was believed to be heroin and several bottles of prescription drugs. The New York medical examiner is conducting an autopsy. Investigators are piercing together the final moments of his life.

And here's what we know right now of what's come out: on Saturday, around 2:00 in the afternoon, Hoffman's ex-partner Mimi O'Donnell told investigators she last saw him near his apartment and he seemed high. Around 8:00 p.m., Mimi O'Donnell said she spoke to him on the phone and he sounded high.

Yesterday at 9:00 a.m., Hoffman was supposed to pick up his kids at Mimi O'Donnell's home but he never showed up.

At 11:00 in the morning, a friend went to his apartment after getting a call from O'Donnell.

At 11:30 a.m., Hoffman was declared dead. He was found with a needle in his arm.

And we have been talking about the growing heroin crisis in this country for weeks in the show, long before Hoffman's tragic death. You don't have to look far for the headlines. Every day, more people are dying across the country from heroin. Between 2002 and 2012, heroin use in the United States has doubled.

In just a few minutes, we're going to talk about this crisis with Eric Roberts, a friend and colleague of Hoffman who was also addicted to heroin, and addiction expert, Dr. Adi Jaffe.

But, first, Ted Rowlands has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GABBY MURO, FORMER HEROIN ADDICT: He's like Superman. He can do anything.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gabby Muro started doing heroin when she was 15.

MURO: I started snorting it. On my 16th birthday, they injected me for the first time. When I got that, like instant rush, I was like, OK, I am never going back to snorting. So, I was using the I.V.

ROWLANDS: Gabby lives just outside the Chicago suburb Naperville, Illinois, where nearly 20 high school age children have died from heroin overdoses in just the past six years. Teenagers in predominantly white upper middle class suburban areas like Naperville are many times the perfect customers for heroin dealers.

MURO: Their parents hand them all this money. Don't even ask like, what you are doing. Like, where are you going? They do whatever they want.

ROWLANDS: John Kacina overdosed in his bedroom. His mother Caroline was only 20 feet away and found him dead the next morning.

CAROLINE KACINA, MOTHER: It's the affluent areas where they have targeted and marketed to our children.

ROWLANDS: Nationwide, heroin use has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, according to the national survey of drug use and health, what was once considered a rare hard core drug is now more common in many high schools across the country. While Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was brought the problem front and center, when young people like John die, it's often kept quiet to avoid embarrassment to a family.

KACINA: It's sad that it does take the death of somebody famous, you know, whether it is Mr. Hoffman or Cory Monteith. But it does illustrate very clearly that this is a disease that knows no boundaries.

ROWLANDS: After John's death, his mom started Open Hearts, Open Eyes, a Facebook-based forum for children and parents dealing with heroin addiction. She is also trying to push for Naloxone kits which reverse the effects of an overdose to be made more widely available. She is motivated to keep kids alive because she misses her son terribly.

KACINA: Every day, every moment of every day.

MURO: Felt like no one can stop me. Like I can do anything.

ROWLANDS: Gabby has been clean almost three years. She spent two years in prison for heroin possession. Those two years she says saved her life. Some of her old friends, however, are still using heroin. She worries they may not be as lucky.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Naperville, Illinois.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. Our thanks to Ted.

It's stories like that one and Philip Seymour Hoffman's death that are bringing new attention to an alarming trend we have been talking about.

Eric Roberts and Dr. Adi Jaffe are OUTFRONT with me tonight.

Great to have you with us.

And, Eric, let me start with you. There are reports that Hoffman's partner, they had three children together, had just kicked him out the apartment because he was using heroin again. His assistant told investigators he was in rehab in April of last year, as recently as that.

You are a former addict. So, can you give us a sense of what he was going through in those last few days of his life, especially given the statistics we hear about how many bags of heroin were found in his apartment?

ERIC ROBERTS, ACTOR: Well, I am a former addict, Erin. But I was never a former heroin addict. I have done everything else but pretty much. I have done heroin a couple of times.

<19:35:00>

But I don't -- I don't know what he's going through, but he was obviously celebrating and/or very depressed, one thing or the other, and he was stocking up on a drug of choice. And he was using. And he obviously was not content with himself.

I have to say excuse me for not being shaved. I'm making a movie where I am playing an addict. That is why I look the part today. Excuse me.

BURNETT: I'm sorry. I wouldn't have noticed. It looks just fine.

But, Dr. Jaffe, let me ask you because Hoffman had battled addiction for many years, you know, and struggled with it, as Eric is talking about how he did.

Let me just play him back in 2006 when he did an interview on "60 Minutes" about how he had finally gone sober. Here is Philip Seymour Hoffman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KROFT, 60 MINUTES: So this was drugs or alcohol or both?

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, ACTOR: It was all of that stuff, yes. Anything I can get my hands on.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, yes, I liked it all, yes.

KROFT: Why did you decide to stop?

HOFFMAN: You get panicked. You get panicked. I was 22 and I got panicked for my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Dr. Jaffe, he was reportedly clean for many years and had these relapses. How easy is it to have a relapse with heroin? I mean, can you go down so quickly as he did or is that unusual? ADI JAFFE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALTERNATIVE ADDICTION TREATMENT: Sure. Well, first of all, let me point out that relapses are pretty common for people who have gone to treatment in general. One of the things we are seeing with heroin is the huge risk for something like an overdose during relapse. You know, heroin as was pointed out in the previous segment that you were showing, has a massive ability for people to develop tolerance to the drug.

One of the ironic and sad thing is we see people like Cory Monteith, like Mr. Hoffman who get out of treatment after a short period of time of staying sober, maybe after battling the addiction and winning for a long period of time. And while their tolerance is low, they go back to using and what ends up happening is they overdose because their bodies are not used to the same sort of quantities of the drug.

BURNETT: And there are a lot of different options out there, right? I mean, Dr. Jaffe, it's also, my understanding, it's a lot cheaper than other options, too, for a lot of people to try to use heroin now.

JAFFE: It is. As your story pointed out, the past stories you've done, it has to do more with young people who are struggling with these drugs. And they normally come in through the prescription route no doubt. But this -- getting heroin on the streets out here, it's tar heroin over there in New York, it's supposed to be china-wide and pure kind of forms.

But what ends up happening to people, as it is cheaper, sometimes easier to get, that's pretty difficult to get OxyContin on the street. So, they move on to heroin. We see a lot of affluent children, kids, you know, 17, 16, 18 years old who get into prescription medication first and then find heroin is a cheaper option for them.

BURNETT: And, Eric, were you surprised when you read this? Or was this when you read this, you worked with him at one point and it sort of flashes in front of your eyes that this is exactly how this kind of thing would happen. You know, your wife, your partner says, hey, move out until you get your you-know-what together, and things just fall apart.

ROBERTS: Well, he and I got to know each other when I wrote him an e- mail after he had done a performance called "Owning Mahoney", where he played an addict, employed (ph) by his own addiction, which as we know is an unregulated place to work. And I wrote him a note about how totally brilliant he was. He wrote me back and we started to be e- mail pals.

That's what we were basically. We talked probably a couple of times a week on e-mail. We were just friendly acquaintances.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate your taking the time.

And, you know, it sometimes easy to focus on someone's personal problems, especially a story like this, instead of the professional successes. But tonight, I wanted to end this discussion by remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman's amazing career. You have all seen one of his movies and probably been in awe. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOFFMAN: Talk about anything, you know, any subject in the world, don't worry whether it will interest me or not, just talk. So I won't break down.

I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man.

Great art is about guilt and longing, and love disguised as sex and sex disguised as love.

<19:40:00>

And I know this sounds silly and I know I might sound ridiculous where the guy is trying to get ahold of the long lost son, you know, but this is that scene. This is that scene. I think they have those scenes in movies because they are true.

We cannot sum up a man's life with a bunch of numbers on a computer screen.

You have never done anything wrong.

Shut up! Will you shut up? Shut up! Shut, shut, shut, shut up!

About to have some fun, fun, fun.

How are they?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: We are watching some of those again. It is sad he won't be making more.

Hoffman leaves behind his long time partner Mimi O'Donnell and three children. He was 46 years old.

Still to come, the Dow tanking more than 300 points, 1,000 plus for the year now. And the big question for every American watching.

Plus, breaking news -- an update on the search for a convicted killer who escaped from prison and took a woman hostage.

We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We have more breaking news.

The huge freefall on Wall Street. The Dow down 326 points. That was a huge plunge in one day. Companies like Microsoft and G.E. fell three full percentage points. AT&T fell more than four.

<19:45:01> So far this year, the Dow down 1,200 points affecting every 401k and pension in the United States.

Brent Wilsey is present of Wilsey Asset Management.

Brent, I mean, this is a big -- I mean, the markets have hit all-time highs, right? So, that's the context. We come back from that horrible low from a financial crisis. But, I mean, 1,200 points in just a few weeks? Is this the beginning of something bigger?

BRENT WILSEY, PRESIDENT, WILSEY ASSET MANAGEMENT: Erin, I don't think so. I mean, you have known me for a long time. It is normal that it does this.

I really hope people don't start panicking and sell their 401(k)s and IRAs and go to cash. That's completely the wrong to do.

We have to look back, you know, year-to-date, we have about 7 percent on the Dow. But, gosh, I mea, we might fall more maybe down to 14,500. But please people, don't panic over that. That's normal. We hit these highs. It doesn't keep happening. In 2014, it will be a pretty good year I think, Erin.

BURNETT: And some people will say, oh, if the market is down in January or up in January, whichever it is. That's how the whole year is going to go. That's the old adage, right? We had a terrible January.

So, do you think that the year still could be a good year? I mean, what is there to make you optimistic that this is just sort of a temporary pullback and then a bigger step forward?

WILSEY: A great question. Until that January effect is 100 percent right, I will never comment on that because you never know what the data was that caused it to go up or down.

And, Erin, we've got, you know, great company profits. We've got good housing numbers. We've got, you know, consumers are spending money. I mean, banks are strong. Real estate is doing well.

So, we've got all of these positive things and it's normal for the market to happen.

And, again, when I look back at 2007, the highest quarter they had for earnings and the S&P 500 was like $24 a share, third quarter of 2013 is like nearly $27 a share.

So, companies are earning more. They are with more, about 30 percent of current assets in cash. I mean, they're so strong, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes.

WILSEY: These little things are going to happen. Don't panic. I mean, I think by the end of 2014, the Dow could be around 18,200, maybe 18,500.

BURNETT: Wow.

WILSEY: But you're going to have these dips and that's a great buying opportunity.

BURNETT: All right. Optimistic, and, of course, I always want to hear the optimism. I hope you are right. Thanks very much, Brent Wilsey.

WILSEY: You're welcome, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, we have another breaking development in the Governor Christie scandal. One of his key aides involved in the bridge scandal now pleading the Fifth. We're going to have the very latest on that breaking news from our reporter after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<19:51:12>

BURNETT: All right. Breaking news, according to a New Jersey paper, "The Record", one of the people at the center of the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie bridge scandal is pleading the Fifth. Obviously, as you know, the governor has been taking live questions this hour, you heard all of that breaking news right here OUTFRONT.

Chris Frates joins me again. He's with the governor, obviously.

And, Chris, what have you learned about this pleading the Fifth?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, I'll tell you, this is the second top official involved in bridgegate to plead the Fifth. Bill Stepien, the governor's campaign manager, has done the same thing. Tonight, we're learning that Bridget Ann Kelly, the woman who wrote the e-mail, "Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee", has also pleaded the Fifth.

So, that's -- the governor was just asked about this on the radio show, and he said, quote -- we're going to let you listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It doesn't tell me anything. I know everything I needed to know from a point of employment for Bridget Kelly when she didn't tell me the truth, and I fired her. And what I said to all of these people are that they have lawyers now, is that I hope they would share information with us, but I also understand that people have rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And, Chris --

FRATES: You hear the governor saying that -- go ahead, Erin.

BURNETT: Sorry, there's a little bit of a delay. I just wanted to ask you, how significant do you think this is? FRATES: Well, I think it's very significant. I think it raises questions about whether or not they can plead the Fifth in subpoenas, that's going to be something that I think the co-chairman of the legislative committee are going to take a look at.

And the other thing I wanted to mention that was new tonight is that the governor said the U.S. attorney's criminal investigation is something that he has cooperated with, his office has been subpoenaed, and that is a new development as well.

We knew his re-election campaign had been subpoenaed by the U.S. attorney. But now, we're learning that his office has as well. And he says he'll fully cooperate with that investigation. So, a couple of big news items coming out of this interview today.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chris Frates. As we said, he had some significant news coming out of there. As you can see the governor still taking questions from New Jersey residents, some of which aren't about this scandal, but as we said unequivocally, denying he knew about it beforehand.

Still to come, football and fur. Jeanne Moos is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<19:57:14>

BURNETT: The Super Bowl may have been a blowout, but it was still the most watched blowout in television history. Hard to imagine it was painful to watch. A record 111.5 million tuned in to see the Seattle Seahawks stomp down the Denver Broncos.

But that wasn't the only game begging for your attention. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quick, name the MVP not of the Super Bowl. We mean the MVP of the Puppy Bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He breaks for the sideline, crosses the 40, the 30, the 20.

MOOS: Touchdown.

(on camera): Actually, he scored four touchdowns, but who's counting? Not the pups.

(voice-over): Actually, the 66 pups reminded us of the Denver Broncos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a fumble.

MOOS: Except for when the dogs scored.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's in. Touchdown. MOOS: No, even the Broncos did just plop down in the end zone and quit. Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl was just one of the other bowl games. It was Hallmark's Kitten Bowl. Their kitties had names like Tom Cat Brady and Feline Manning.

And we can't forget the Fish Bowl. Four hours of watching a goldfish mope around a bowl, joined occasionally by a guest fish on Nat Geo Wild.

But it was the Puppy Bowl that most mirrored the big game.

(on camera): The Puppy Bowl even featured a little trash talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That kind of aggressive behavior could get her ejected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's holding.

MOOS: Instead of Bruno Mars, the half time show featured the keyboard cat. This updated version of keyboard cat was actually playing a Bruno Mars song.

Though Bruno's impressive footwork put the pups to shame, when one kicked the ball over the goal line --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Field goal.

MOOS: -- all of the dogs come from shelters, and all but two have been adopted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Lauren (ph) on his way to becoming this year's most valuable pup? He's at the 30, the 20, the 10, he scores again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, you're a Puppy Bowl X MVP.

MOOS: But how did former Jets quarterback Joe Namath get mixed up in the Puppy Bowl?

It was the fur he wore to the Super Bowl coin toss. Broadway Joe was compared to Ron Burgundy. He was compared to the Ikea monkey.

But one of the more often repeated tweets was that Joe Namath's coat is made from the losers of the Puppy Bowl.

Talk about a personal foul.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dropping the Chihuahua.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Plus, you've got to wonder whether the fur was real or not. But I have to say, the highlight of the night. I mean, it may have been more interesting to watch the goldfish than the Denver Broncos performance, even though I was watching for them.

<20:00:05>

BURNETT: Thanks for watching. As always, see you tomorrow.

Anderson starts now.