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Interview with Elgin and Elaine Baylor; VA Secretary Speaking Out

Aired May 7, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Tonight, an exclusive interview with a man who knows disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's history better than most. NBA Hall of Famer, longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor, who sued Sterling five years ago, alleging racist behavior that went back decades. He speaks to me tonight in his first interview since Sterling was banned from the NBA.

And the head of the Veterans Affairs Department breaks his silence over details we've been reporting on this program for six months. Will he resign because some patients died while waiting for care at some VA hospitals? What Eric Shinseki is finally saying tonight.

We begin tonight with a question, does V have a vendetta and has she been using it to try to extort money from disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling? There are new reports that V. Stiviano, the woman behind the visor, the women who recorded the racist remarks that led to Sterling being banned by the NBA, has plenty more recordings of Sterling and has been using those recording to threaten Donald Sterling.

And meanwhile, we're learning more about just how the NBA plans to go about forcing Sterling to sell the team. The source tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that it all hinges on a document Sterling signed when he first bought the team. A document that lays out reasons his ownership could be terminated.

There are reports Sterling has met with several high-powered lawyers and may be planning to fight the NBA. V Stiviano is fighting as well. Her representative is denying the extortion reports but if they turned out to be true, it wouldn't exactly be her first rodeo legally speaking.

Jason Carroll looks back.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New reports the Los Angeles district attorney's office is looking into allegations V. Stiviano tried to extort money from current Clippers owner Donald Sterling to stop more damaging recordings like this from leaking.

DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: If you don't feel -- don't come to my games. Don't bring black people and don't come.

CARROLL: And apparently that isn't the only recording of Sterling behaving badly. Here's what Stiviano told ABC's Barbara Walters.

V. STIVIANO, DONALD STERLING'S ALLEGED MISTRESS: Part of the audio which the world heard was only 15 minutes. There's a number of other hours that the world doesn't know.

CARROLL: A spokeswoman for the L.A. district attorney said we are not commenting on the report. Nor would her office confirm it is investigating Stiviano for trying to extort money from Sterling. A representative for Stiviano says the extortion allegation is, "if you don't pay, I will release the tapes." She absolutely denies the allegations.

STIVIANO: Pardon me.

CARROLL: Stiviano's attorney has also denied she leaked the original recordings that led to NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Sterling for life.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Adam Silver said at his news conference that it really didn't matter how Donald Sterling was taped, why he was taped. And even if it was improper that he was taped. The point is, that the tapes exist and that means, according to Silver, that Sterling has to go.

CARROLL: If the extortion allegations prove true, this wouldn't be the first time Stiviano has had a brush with the law. A representative for her attorney says she has been arrested for petty theft and reckless driving. But that representative also says ultimately, she was not convicted in those past cases.

The current drama has former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda weighing in. Lasorda says he has been a friend of Sterling's for 30 years.

TOMMY LASORDA, FORMER LOS ANGELES DODGERS MANAGER: Well, it doesn't surprise me that he said those things. That doesn't surprise me. And he shouldn't have said it. And he just hurt himself by talking too much and doing things that he couldn't -- that shouldn't be doing. And I'll tell you, I don't wish that girl any bad luck but I hope she gets hit with a car.


CARROLL: Meanwhile, the NBA here in New York, Anderson, is moving ahead on removing Sterling. The advisory committee met today to address the timing of Sterling's termination and will meet again next week -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks for the update.

Joining me now are CNN senior legal analyst and former federal Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.

So, Mark, let me start with you. What do you make of the reports that the district attorney's office is looking into allegations that this woman V. Stiviano tried to extort money from Sterling? MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it wouldn't surprise me. I mean, L.A. seems to be ground zero for extortion of celebrities. So if it is, in fact, the case that she said, I'm going to release other stuff if you don't pay me, that's a -- kind of a black letter law for extortion. Then what would surprise me, however, is she saying she's not the one who leaked it. In fact, the rumor mill here in Los Angeles is that she sent those tapes to a girlfriend and that the girlfriend then sold them to TMZ who released them and to Deadspin.

If that's the case, then she doesn't have any problem in terms of the original taping. But if she said I'm going to release some other stuff, if you don't pay me off, and if that's the reason that Sterling was quoted as saying, I should have just paid her off, then that could be some legal jeopardy for her.

COOPER: But what's odd about this whole thing is, they're still being seen together. I mean, I met with them both Friday. I can't -- it was off the record, the discussion. So I can't say what was said. But they were in the same room. They arrived together. They left together.

Sunny, I mean, it seems odd that they're still hanging out allegedly, though Donald Sterling said I should have just paid her off.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is so bizarre. But I think what is really interesting is that V. Stiviano is now being portrayed as this gold digger, as someone with a criminal record. And I'm certain that it's Donald Sterling's camp that released it. I mean, I don't know if they've hired Olivia Pope but things are being handled. Because now the narrative isn't Donald Sterling is this terrible bigot, he's a racist. The narrative is he's an octogenarian 80-year- old, being taken advantage by this career criminal.

COOPER: So you believe -- you believe maybe Donald Sterling is even behind some of this or his camp is behind some of this in an attempt to change the narrative?

HOSTIN: No question, no question about it. And it's a smart narrative.

GERAGOS: Sunny --

HOSTIN: It's the narrative that he wants.

GERAGOS: Sunny --

HOSTIN: I know you're going to disagree, Mark, but you know it's true.

GERAGOS: I'm not necessarily going to disagree but I'm going to say Tommy Lasorda is not the only one who's got a problem with this woman. Anderson is going to show a --

HOSTIN: Donald (INAUDIBLE), too.

GERAGOS: -- interview with Elgin Baylor later. And the Baylors who have no love lost for the Sterlings, they're not exactly fans of this woman either. This is not a role model, this is not somebody who you're going to say I want my daughter to grow up and be V. Stiviano.

HOSTIN: Why, I've always --


GERAGOS: Give me a break. But the woman is a --

HOSTIN: I've always said she's not the noble person in this but she did --


HOSTIN: She did do us a service by exposing his racism.

GERAGOS: She's a train wreck.

COOPER: Well, Jeff, you come in here.

TOOBIN: The one -- the one thing the L.A. district attorney is going to say is, there is no way in the world I'm getting in between these two crazy people. I am not going to decide who's the perpetrator, who's the victim. This is not a place for the criminal justice system. They are going to work out whatever they're going to work out. And none of it has anything to do with whether Sterling keeps the team. He's not keeping the team. That ocean liner has left. And that has only one destination.


COOPER: Jeff, why are you so sure of that? I mean --

GERAGOS: I'm not so sure of that either.

COOPER: It's a family trust. The wife is involved. He'll pay, you know, he'll pay a big financial price if he sells this team rather than giving it to his family members in terms of capital gains. Can he be -- really be forced to sell this team, Jeff?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. The NBA is looking at a situation that if Donald Sterling owns this team when the exhibition season started it's going to have one problem. It's going to have no players on the team, which is very difficult situation for a basketball team.

HOSTIN: They also have contracts though, Jeff.

TOOBIN: You know what? It doesn't matter.


TOOBIN: They will have the whole country -- behind them. Donald Sterling will not be allowed to ever own this team again, and it's just --

GERAGOS: That may be the case. I'm not sure you're just going to be able to.

TOOBIN: And they have the right under the contract.

COOPER: One at a time. Mark, go ahead.

GERAGOS: I don't know that they're going to be able to divest Shelly Sterling or the Sterling family trust.

HOSTIN: There you go.

GERAGOS: That's the problem, Jeff. You just can't -- just because he is a (INAUDIBLE) because he's a pariah doesn't mean you can strip him of property rights. Just because he's deplorable and he's been this way for 30 years. I mean, there's an argument.

TOOBIN: Absolutely.

HOSTIN: That's right.

GERAGOS: Shelly Sterling, and remember, Adam Silver went out of his way to kind of separate out Shelly Sterling.


COOPER: And I should point out, Jeff, that one of the things I talked to Elgin Baylor about is, you know, if Elgin Baylor thinks Shelly Sterling still being involved and owning the team would be appropriate. He certainly doesn't because he believes as does his wife believes that Donald Sterling would still have a hand in running this team if Shelly Sterling is involved.

TOOBIN: Of course.

HOSTIN: No question about that.

TOOBIN: And the players would feel the same way. That's why the NBA, in order to protect the NBA, is going to get all of them out of there. There is just no way this league is going to allow anybody named Sterling to be affiliated with this team.

HOSTIN: He's not going to give it up without a fight, Jeff. This is going to be tied up in litigation for a long time.

TOOBIN: You know what? He can -- he can sue but it doesn't mean he's going to get an injunction. And I don't think there's any court that's going to stand in the way. Remember, this is a contract.

COOPER: Jeff --

TOOBIN: And he signed the contract that gives the NBA right.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, thanks very much.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVRs so you never miss 360.

Up next, as Mark mentioned, as I mentioned, if anyone deserves to say I told you so right about now, it is longtime Clippers executive and NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor who sued Sterling years ago for racist behavior. Baylor speaks to me in an exclusive interview for the first time since the story broke along with his wife Elaine.

And later, more of my interview with one of the three courageous women who survived being held captive in a house of horrors in Cleveland for a decade. Michele Knight says on top of what she endured inside the house, there was added pain inside her heart, feeling like no one was actually looking for her.


MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I was considered a forgotten one.



COOPER: Well, to many people it came as no surprise that Donald Sterling was caught on tape saying racist things. Maybe least surprised was longtime Clippers executive and NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor who sued Sterling five years ago, alleging racist behavior that went back decades. Mr. Baylor hasn't spoken since the Sterling story broke last week but you'll hear from him for the first time tonight only on this program.

First here's more about why probably more than anyone he has a right to be saying I told you so right about now.


COOPER (voice-over): Say the name Elgin Baylor and any NBA fan will tell you on the court, he was power and grace defined. The young Elgin named for his father's style of pocket watch was the number one pick in the NBA draft in 1958. Immediately filling the seats, saving the near bankrupt Lakers. When the 11-time all-star was later asked by ES News the secret for his record-breaking success, the low-key Baylor demurred.

ELGIN BAYLOR, 11-TIME NBA ALL-STAR: Well, I had great teammates, unselfish guys who are willing to throw the basketball to me. And it was quite unique. And the coach let me -- let me, you know, sort of go out there and just play.

COOPER: And play he did. Straight into the NBA Hall of Fame. Age and injuries forced Baylor to retire from the court after 14 seasons, but he didn't leave the game.

BAYLOR: I like to be everybody.

COOPER: After coaching for a time, Baylor was hired by Donald Sterling as general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers. A position he would hold for more than two decades before he says he was unfairly fired.

BAYLOR: I did not retire. I had so much more to give.

COOPER: The 11-time NBA all-star brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Clippers naming Donald Sterling directly in his complaint alleging racism and ageism.

BAYLOR: In 2006, the head coach was secretively given many of my general manager duties. When I asked Donald Sterling if he was going to take care of me, he said nothing. He offered me nothing.

COOPER: Baylor claimed his boss paid him a below market salary because he was African-American and that Sterling had a vision of a, quote, "southern plantation type structure for the team." Sterling, according to court documents, told Baylor that he wanted his team to be composed of poor black boys from the south and a whitehead coach.

Sterling, said Baylor, repeatedly said he was, quote, "giving these poor black kids an opportunity to make a lot of money."

The racism claim was dropped before trial and Baylor lost the suit but his allegations of racial prejudice now perhaps find an eerie echo in recent comments by Donald Sterling caught on tape.

STERLING: I support them and give them food. And clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?


COOPER: I spoke with Elgin Baylor and his wife Elaine in their first interview since the Sterling story broke.


Elgin, you worked with Donald Sterling for 22 years. What was your reaction when you first heard that tape?

BAYLOR: When I first heard it, it just brought back memories of some of the things that were said, you know, by Donald.


COOPER: It didn't surprise you?

BAYLOR: No, it didn't surprise me -- at all. No.

COOPER: That was the -- that's the Donald Sterling you know.

BAYLOR: That's the Donald Sterling I know. He says a lot of things, different things. He had different mood swings, so you never know what he's going to say or do.

COOPER: Do you think he even realizes what he's saying?

BAYLOR: He's an intelligent man. Great businessman. So I'm sure he's aware of what he's doing, what he's saying because there are times when I would say things to him and say hey, you know, that's -- you know, you shouldn't say things, certain things that he would say and do. You know, I would express my opinion.

COOPER: Do you think he's a racist?

BAYLOR: Of course he is. There's no doubt in my mind now. At the time, I thought then and no doubt now that he is. I think he is.

COOPER: When you heard the recording that came out, what did you think?

ELAINE BAYLOR, WIFE OF ELGIN BAYLOR: Vindication. I'm glad he said it. He's hung by his tongue. There's no way in the world it would be proven otherwise.

COOPER: That's the -- that's the Donald Sterling you know?

E. BAYLOR: Yes, I mean, you know, he's not running around with a white robe on. You know, he's not that blatant. He's a very smart man but he communicates how he feels and what he wants, especially to people who work for him. So you know where he is and you know what he wants. And if you're going to work for him, somehow or another you're going to meet those requirements.

COOPER: This woman, V. Stiviano, when she was asked about that, she said, well, I think he's just from a previous generation. Is that an excuse?

E. BAYLOR: I can't even relate to what she says.


I mean, I don't know where she's from. I mean --

COOPER: She makes no sense to you?

E. BAYLOR: None.


I can't -- I can't -- I can't even make sense out of it.

COOPER: I understand that I believe in your lawsuit, as well, you said at some point, Donald Sterling would bring women into the locker room and point out the black players.

BAYLOR: Oh, he did it on many occasions.

COOPER: What would he say?

BAYLOR: Look at those beautiful black bodies. That's what he used to say.

COOPER: So while the guys are naked or half naked?

BAYLOR: And while the -- and while the guys in the shower and everything else. On several occasions I told them not to. You know, players were -- you know, they were mad. They were upset about it because I told him on several occasions and he kept doing it. Eventually it stopped.

COOPER: Why do you think he's this way? I mean --

BAYLOR: Why? Why is he that way? I don't know. One thing to probably get attention. I know that. He likes that attention.

COOPER: He likes the attention?

BAYLOR: He loves attention.

COOPER: Do you agree with what the NBA commissioner has now done, banning Donald Sterling for life?

BAYLOR: Absolutely.

E. BAYLOR: Absolutely.

BAYLOR: He's had problems with the NBA and I was there is with Dave Stern. I mean, he was after Donald but not signing players. He wanted to low ballplayers. And the way he was just running his organization.

COOPER: Do you think Donald Sterling is going to fight this?

BAYLOR: Probably. Donald likes the limelight whether it's good or bad. That's the type of guy he is. So probably, maybe, I don't know.

COOPER: You were asked I think during a deposition about whether he had ever made racist remarks to you. And you said that he hadn't directly said anything to you. Is that -- is that true?

BAYLOR: Not to me personally. Not to me personally, no. I would have knocked him out. No, he didn't say anything to me personally.

E. BAYLOR: He's smart enough not to do it directly. But you know --

BAYLOR: No. And I would get in arguments with him all the time about it.

COOPER: Really?

BAYLOR: And he would say, well, that's the way I feel.

COOPER: So the issue of race would come up. A lot.

BAYLOR: Not a lot. You know, occasionally it might come up by players.

E. BAYLOR: Donald thinks if it weren't for him, all of those guys would be playing basketball in the ghetto somewhere. Actually, when Elgin first started, he told Elgin to go out in the inner city and see if he could find some players on the basketball courts.


COOPER: He said just go out to -- E. BAYLOR: Yes.

BAYLOR: As -- yes. You got to find those -- you know, some great black players out there, you know.


E. BAYLOR: Yes. You know.

BAYLOR: Why don't you go to playgrounds to scout and look at players.

E. BAYLOR: But it was like crazy. I mean, really crazy.

COOPER: Do you feel like this is vindication, as well?

BAYLOR: Well, you know --

E. BAYLOR: It's all right to feel good about it, Elgin.

BAYLOR: When I say -- well, justice has been served. You know I look at it that way. Justice has been served. Now they know what Donald was like and, you know, things I said before about Donald is absolutely true.

COOPER: When he was on the witness stand, he claimed that he didn't even know your history with the NBA.



COOPER: I'm not a sports guy. I know your history with the NBA.

BAYLOR: But that's -- that's Donald. That's Donald. You know. That's Donald.

COOPER: You have no doubt he knew?

BAYLOR: There's nothing new.

COOPER: It's got to be so difficult to -- you know, to come forward with allegations to launch this lawsuit against somebody very powerful, very wealthy. Spends a lot of time in court.


COOPER: And then to not really be able to have it play out. I mean to not feel like justice has been served.

BAYLOR: Well, it has been.


BAYLOR: In one case.

E. BAYLOR: Now. BAYLOR: Donald has been exposed.


COOPER: This also bears repeating that the year of their lawsuit in 2009, while the suit was going on, the NAACP, the local chapter actually honored Donald Sterling as they were going to do again this year. That's something that obviously surprised the Baylors and that Mr. Baylor felt was obviously an issue of money trumping what they really believed.

Just ahead, breaking news. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is breaking his silence on the health care scandal that our Drew Griffin has been out in front of for six months. Breaking new information. Shinseki is now talking it seems to everyone but us.

Plus our big 360 interview with Cleveland kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight. Tonight she describes what she did when police officers showed up at the house that had been her prison for 11 years.


KNIGHT: I said please don't let me go. Please don't put me down.


COOPER: There's breaking news tonight. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is finally breaking his silence on the health care scandal that has many calling for his resignation. Secretary Shinseki is talking to everybody it seems except to us even though our Drew Griffin has been leading the reporting on the scandal, breaking a lot of new information.

For the past six months, we repeatedly asked Secretary Shinseki to talk to us about allegations that were revealed in a series of reports on this program that VA hospitals are making vets wait months to get care with one hospital allegedly keeping a secret waiting list hidden from the public and VA headquarters in Washington, and that veterans are dying while they wait to see a doctor.

This past week with calls for the secretary to step down from veterans groups, we kept pressing him to talk to us.

Drew joins me again from San Antonio.

So the secretary talked to NBC, CBS, "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Military Times." Not to you we should point out. What did he actually say?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Not too much specific. Certainly no specifics on the allegations and the facts we know about in our reporting over the last six months, Anderson. Mostly because he wasn't asked about those specifics. The one thing he did say is he will not voluntarily resign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you willing as a secretary of Veterans Affairs to accept full responsibility?

GEN. ERIC SHINSEKI, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: I am. I have and that's the reason the IG is down there doing the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They want you to resign or be fired? Will you resign?

SHINSEKI: I would say I serve at the pleasure of the president.


COOPER: What's frustrating is not only you've been reporting on this for six months and know the cases inside and out. A lot of the people doing interviews with him do not know all the details of these cases. The secretary will not talk to you. When you call the VA and request an interview, what do they actually tell you?

GRIFFIN: Well, I didn't get any callback today. I didn't get any response to our e-mails today. We, again, we've been doing this every day asking for an interview. Just yesterday I was in Washington, D.C., I was actually standing in front of the building where his office is. Calling up to the press office trying to get five minutes with Secretary Shinseki to answer some of our questions.

We never got a response yesterday, as well. They basically have no -- have just stopped even taking our calls. But this isn't about Shinseki, this isn't about me. This is not about our interview. This is about these veterans, Anderson, who have been dying waiting for care. That is a fact. It goes way beyond Phoenix. We reported this at several hospitals and so far the VA has not given us any specific answers as to how this is getting fixed.

They keep talking about this Phoenix inspector general report. We want to ask him about Augusta, Georgia, Columbia, South Carolina, Florida, everywhere that vets are waiting and as we're reporting dying for care -- Anderson.

COOPER: You're in Texas tonight. What's the story there?

GRIFFIN: Well, we've learned that the VA's office of inspector general, they have a team of investigators here in San Antonio, we've learned. And they are looking at very specific allegations that sound like the allegations we've been reporting all across the country. We're trying to find out what that's all about, what the facts are. But I can tell you right now, they sound very, very similar to what our reporting has already proven across the country -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we'll bring our viewers that story tomorrow night.

Drew, appreciate the reporting.

Let's get caught up with some other stories. Susan Hendricks has the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan. SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Boko Haram strikes again. Witnesses say the terrorist group attacked a Nigerian village on Monday killing at least 150 people, some were burned alive.

There are growing calls for the Nigerian government to take action against the group which also has kidnapped 276 school girls at gunpoint. All because they were getting an education.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his troops have pulled back from the border with Ukraine but the U.S. is not buying it. According to sources who were at a briefing today for U.S. senators, the Obama administration believes Russia has its sights on the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa and it could landlock Ukraine.

The DEA is saying more than 150 people have been arrested in a crackdown on synthetic drugs. Hundreds of thousands of packets of fake marijuana and hallucinogens and stimulants called bath salt has been seized in 29 states since January. They can be more dangerous than the drugs that they're mimicking.

And from tupelo, Mississippi, this is incredible. Take a look. Video showing the power of a tornado as it hit a preschool playground last week.

Anderson, destroying this within seconds. It's an amazing view to see that camera.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Susan, thanks very much.

Up next, Cleveland kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight reveals why she went to court to face the man who stole 11 years of her life.


MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: It was important to me to express how I felt about what he did.


COOPER: Plus, I'm going to talk to Kevin Durant's mom about what her son said last night when he accepted the NBA's top honor. If you not heard his speech, we're going to play it for you. It is so moving. You're going to want to grab a Kleenex or two especially with Mother's Day coming up. Stick around.


COOPER: A year ago this week, we were covering breaking news out of Cleveland where Michele Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus have made a dramatic escape from their kidnapper's house. They've been missing for years. Michele Knight was the first to varnish in August of 2002. She was 21 at the time. Her family thought she'd ran away. Her case quickly went cold. The world seems to have forgotten her.

Now she's written a memoir, "Finding Me A Decade Of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed." And in tonight's big 360 interview, she describes the moment she realized her 11-year nightmare was finally ending. Nightmares we don't use lightly. Most of the time it's a cliche. Except in this case, it is a horrible fact.


KNIGHT: Sometimes I felt hopeless because there was nobody out there for me. No one.

COOPER (voice-over): For 11 long years, Michele Knight was held captive inside 2207 Seymour Avenue where along with Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus she was brutally raped and tortured. For them it seemed there was no end in sight that is until May 6th, 2013.

(on camera): Did it seem like any other day?

KNIGHT: For me, it was the most awesome day ever, but it was also terrifying at the same time. Because me and Gina, we actually thought somebody was breaking in.

COOPER: You heard what, noises down stairs?


COOPER: What happened?

KNIGHT: There was a crash, pounding on doors. Then we didn't hear no sound.

COOPER: Did you know that Amanda had run out of the house?

KNIGHT: No. We didn't have no clue. Whatsoever that she had taken off.

COOPER: Did you know that he was gone?

KNIGHT: Well, yes, we knew he was gone somewhere. But we thought it was a trick. You know, like he was just in the backyard, but he was waiting for somebody to be stupid.

COOPER (voice-over): But this time, it wasn't a trick. And Amanda Barry was able to break through the front door with her 6-year-old daughter, Joslyn.

AMANDA BERRY: Hello, police. Help me, I'm Amanda Berry.

911 OPERATOR: Do you need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

911 OPERATOR: OK. What's going on there?

BERRY: I've been kidnapped and missing for ten years. I'm here, I'm free now.

COOPER: The police arrived, but inside their boarded up bedroom, Michele and Gina were hiding from what they thought were burglars. KNIGHT: I hear a noise but anybody can say police. Then I noticed some form of a big person. I was like OK, maybe this might be, and I see a badge. I see numbers and then I hear the police radio. I just said, I ran right into her arms, and I literally choked her.

COOPER (on camera): To the police woman's arms?


COOPER: Do you remember saying anything.

KNIGHT: I said please don't let me go. Please don't put me down.

COOPER: You actually were in her arms?

KNIGHT: Yes, I actually had my legs wrapped around her and my arms like this. She was like that girl literally choked me and then when --

COOPER: Did it seem real to you?

KNIGHT: At that time, no. It didn't. It seemed unreal.

COOPER (voice-over): At 32 years old, Michele walked out that front door for the very first and last time. Rushed to a hospital, she was treated for a long list of health issues due to the years of beatings and neglect. Although she was free, she was also all alone. Estranged from her family when she was released from the hospital, she took refuge as an assisted living facility outside Cleveland. Far away from the media, it gave her the space to gain strength to face her captor in court.

KNIGHT: I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.

COOPER (on camera): When I saw you in court that day, at the sentencing, I was blown away. Were you determined to do that?

KNIGHT: Yes. It was important to me to express how I felt about what he did and how he did it, and let the judge know that he need to be punished for what he did.

COOPER (voice-over): The man who had held her for nearly 11 years was indicted on 977 counts and sentenced to life plus 1,000 years. Just a month into that sentence, however, he was found hanged in his jail cell.

KNIGHT: I understand why he did it. He couldn't face what he did with his head held high. He had to face it like a coward because he was ashamed and embarrassed of what he done. And he didn't want what he did to us to happen to him.

COOPER: Just three months after her rescue, Michele returned to Seymour Avenue to witness the demolition of the house that was her prison. On our visit, she took us to see the park that now stands in its place. KNIGHT: I was considered a forgotten one. That's the reason why I made a poem and said all the people that are out there right now, they're never forgotten in my eyes. Never. This is for all the missing people.

COOPER: Armed with friends and a good support system, Michele is focusing on giving a voice to other missing people like herself.

(on camera): What's it like? I mean, I don't even know how to ask. What's the past year been like?

KNIGHT: Amazing. Overwhelming but amazing as hell.

COOPER: What's it like to -- I mean, to have friends, to have a life? To be able to be the person you want to be?

KNIGHT: It's amazing. It's something that I never thought I would have but I have it.

COOPER (voice-over): But one thing Michele doesn't have is her son. While in captivity, her Joey was given up for adoption. Now 14 years old, she isn't allowed to see him, but has been able to see photos.

(on camera): You still think a lot about Joey? I know you write about him in the book.

KNIGHT: Yes. I think about him all the time. I'm glad he's doing good and I'm very happy that he's happy right now.

COOPER: And you've seen pictures of him?

KNIGHT: Yes, I have.

COOPER: Is that painful to see or is that to know he's out there?

KNIGHT: No, it's soothing to see that he loves everything that I love. Even though I wasn't there, he's got a part of me inside of him.

COOPER (voice-over): Today, Michele is focused on starting over. She's changed her name to Lily after her favorite flower. She's also back in school with the hope of opening her own restaurant someday.

(on camera): What do you see for your future? What do you hope?

KNIGHT: I see beautiful and amazing things coming to me.

COOPER: You deserve them.



COOPER: She is a very, very strong young woman. Amazing. Amazing story. Up next, Kevin Durant is the new NBA MVP. He gave a really remarkable acceptance speech. Maybe he should also be named son of the year for it.


KEVIN DURANT, NBA MVP 2014: When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.


COOPER: That's his mom, Wanda Pratt. He called her the real MVP. She joins me next.


COOPER: Back not NBA. A different type of story far from the scandal involving the LA Clippers ousted owner, Donald Sterling. A very positive story, Kevin Durant, of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the NBA's Most Valuable Player. The league's top scorer got the honor last night. The 25-year-old gave a really powerful acceptance speech.

He thanked his teammates and coaches and ended his speech by thanking his mother for all the sacrifices she made for him and his brother. He called her the real MVP. Take a look.


DURANT: And last, my mom. I don't think you know what you did. You had my brother when you were 18 years old. Three years later, I came out. We were -- the odds were stacked against us. Single parent with two boys. By the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren't supposed to be here.

We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I had is when we moved into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture and we just all sat in the living room and just hugged each other because we -- that's what we thought we made it.

And when something good happens to you, I don't know but guys but I tend to look backing to what brought me here. And you wake me up in the middle of the night in the summer times making me run up a hill, making me do push-ups. Screaming at me from the sideline of my games at 8 or 9 years old. We weren't supposed to be here.

You made us believe. You kept us off the street. Put clothes on our backs. Food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to the sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.


COOPER: What an incredible moment, NBA's MVP Kevin Durant. His mom was there in the crowd as you see listening, fighting back tears. I'm very happy that she joins me tonight. Wanda, just wow. What was it like -- I mean, to hear such words from your son?

WANDA PRATT, KEVIN DURANT'S MOTHER: It was like wow. I never expected that.

COOPER: You didn't know he was going to do this?

PRATT: No. I did not. I -- I never thought that it would happen the way that it did. I knew that he would probably mention me and our family. But I never thought it would be the way it was. And so it was overwhelming to me to sit there and listen to him remember some of the things of our past and how it's become the foundation of his life as a man and so it was very overwhelming. Yes.

COOPER: And to see the man that you have raised, I mean, it just -- and to see him you know, not only achieve so much, but recognized by others and also to know that he hasn't forgotten where he came from and who helped him get there.

PRATT: Well, as a parent, you raise your children and you always want the best for them. But to see that he has become the man that he can look in the mirror and be proud of, I think that's a gift that a mother cherishes from her son, and he really rewarded me yesterday with that gift because I see how he's growing as a man, and I'm extremely proud of him. And I'm grateful that he is humble and he does remember where he's come from and who helped him to get there. It wasn't just me. It was our entire family.

COOPER: That moment that he spoke of in particular stayed with me when he talked about you moved into your first apartment. There was no bed, no furniture, you were huddled together, holding each other, hugging each other. Were you surprised he remembered that and do you remember that moment? Can you kind of tell us about that moment?

PRATT: Yes, I was surprised that he remembered it. I do remember that moment. It was a time as he stated, it was my first apartment. My mom had really encouraged me it was time to move out of her home and to stand on my own two feet and to show my sons that I was standing for not only them but for myself, too. And when I had taken them to the apartment that day, we did have furniture that was coming, but I just wanted them to see what we had accomplished. And yes, I did feel that I arrived. I had done it. I was able to stand on my own so that my sons would look up and be proud of me.

COOPER: Did you ever imagine that your son would be so successful? I mean when he was younger, did you ever think he could make the NBA MVP?

PRATT: Of course, I thought he could make it because he worked really hard. And I say that as humbling and modestly as I can because I know that those accomplishments come from hard work and he worked from age 8 or 9 for this day and for this time in his life. So I knew it was inevitable for it to take place. I'm just grateful that it's now for him.

COOPER: And hearing your son tell you that you're the real MVP, I mean, with Mother's Day coming up, that's got to be the best gift net mother could possibly get.

PRATT: Wow. There's no gift that he can top ever that would surpass what he gave me yesterday. He and I talked this morning and I told him that he really doesn't know what he did for me as a mother. Because as I stated, when is you raise your children, you want them to be especially your mother and son, you want them to be a man that you can lean on and rely on. And he gave that to me yesterday and so I'm really grateful to him. Supremely grateful.

COOPER: I got to say, your son has raised the bar with Mother's Day coming up, your son has raised the bar for all of us sons out there. What are we going to do what am I going to do for my mom on Mother's Day that's going to top that. He's raised the bar. I don't know what I'm going to do. Flowers aren't going to cut it.

PRATT: I guess I would suggest to all the sons if you just pour your heart out to your mom the way that my son did with me yesterday, they will be just as appreciative as I am today and it will last forever.

COOPER: Not just a card. It's got to be face to face you're saying.

PRATT: It has to be face to face. It has to be heartfelt and genuine, yes.

COOPER: Wanda Pratt, it is an honor to have you on the program. Thank you so much.

PRATT: Thank you so much. It was my pleasure.

COOPER: How great is she? We'll be right back with "The Ridiculist."


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." It's been awhile. We haven't had room in quite some time. Something happened on "The Voice" this week that can't be ignored. I hope you're sitting down in your chairs because Adam Levin has changed his hair. I repeat, he has changed his hair.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First I turn to my friend and our fellow coach, Adam Levin, to explain his hair. Adam?

ADAM LEVIN: I don't have an explanation. I woke up, I had the day off, and I thought I'd look like Shakira. I don't know why I did it, but it feels right.


COOPER: Now, it may not be a big deal to Adam Levin, but this is pretty much the platinum bomb heard around the world. Lots of people online are saying his new do makes him look like me or to quote, your hair makes you look like a much more attractive Anderson Cooper. Words hurt. Let's do a side by side comparison. Here we go.

Wow. Yes, which one is me? It's looking in a mirror twice. The resemblance is uncanny. As a handy guide for all of his fans, I'd like to point out subtle ways you can tell us apart since it is not terribly difficult. Here's a picture Adam posted on Twitter. Here's his gorgeous fiance with him. By contrast, here's a picture I posted on Twitter and there's Kathy Griffin giving me an ear bath with her tongue.

Here's another. Adam Levin on the cover of "People" magazine named sexiest man alive. It calls him cool, confident and seductive. Here I am on the cover of "Web MD" Magazine. The cover text also inquires whether you the reader are due for a prostate screening. I know you remember being on that cover.

If you're still having trouble, here's another trick to remember who's who. Adam Levin is the lead singer of Maroon Five has moves like Jagger whereas I've always thought I had moves like Dougie. Adam Levin will probably be mistaken for Billy Idol, Miley Cyrus, Meg Ryan whereas I usually get mistaken for you guessed it, it happened again just last week on this program.


COOPER: Today's decision, what was your reaction?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, thanks for having me. Wolf.

COOPER: Anderson.


COOPER: I get mistaken for Wolf all the time though. He's far older than I am but --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're much better looking too.


COOPER: Also, Dr. Drew. I had somebody yell at me on the street the other day, Hey, Dr. Drew. I was like, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. Sorry.


COOPER: Anyway, I consider it all a compliment. Call me Wolf, call me an older, less cool Adam Levine, just don't call me late for the Ridiculist. That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of "360." "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.