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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Resigns; Steve Ballmer Wins Bidding War for Los Angeles Clippers; Shelly Sterling Confirms Agreement To Sell L.A. Clippers To Steve Ballmer; Famed Activist Accused Of Fabricating Story; Sheriff's Deputies Asked the Killer About His Disturbing Videos But Did Not Watch Them; Oldest Person In America Turns 115
Aired May 30, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
The head of the V.A. steps down. And the question now, what will it take to get millions of veterans the medical attention they deserve? We'll ask the whistleblower and congress' top lawmaker on Veterans Affairs.
Also head this hour, more breaking news on the Donald Sterling affair less than a day after his wife's multibillion-dollar sell of the Clippers, his billion-dollar lawsuit and more lat development as well.
Plus, her account of being sold into sexual slavery, move celebrities, Washington and the world led to a book and charity made her a CNN hero even. Tonight, how that remarkable story has unraveled.
We begin tonight though, Keeping Them Honest, with a clear accountability moment in the V.A. scandal. A welcome one from many of the America's military veterans, thousands of whom have been waiting months now for medical care while V.A. hospitals conceal the problem.
Today, amid bipartisan calls to step down V.A. secretary Eric Shinseki went to the White House, spoke to President Obama and then did just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He does not want to be a distraction because his priority is to fix the problem and make sure the vets are getting the care they need. That was Rick's judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans and I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, according to the inspector general's recent report that problem may be nationwide. Something this program, especially our Drew Griffin's investigative team have been reporting on right from the beginning. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was last summer when CNN first learned of waiting lists, delayed care and deaths at the V.A. At first, just two hospitals and this story airing November 19th of last fall.
To understand the problems with the V.A., a good place to start is the Williams-Jennings Bryan Dorm Memorial Veterans Medical center in Columbia, South Carolina, where veterans waiting for simple gastrointestinal procedures like colonoscopies or endoscopies have been dying, six so far confirmed.
And sources telling CNN the number of vets dead or dying of cancer because they had to wait too long for diagnosis or treatment could be more than 20.
In January, two months later, CNN's investigation expanded. This internal V.A. document obtained exclusively by CNN says that at least 19 veterans have died because of delays and simple medical screenings like colonoscopies or endoscopies.
BARRY COACH, GULF WAR VETERAN: I just try to live every day as my last day.
GRIFFIN: Barry Coach, a 44-year-old Gulp war vet, waited a year to get a c colonoscopy. While his V.A. doctor in South Carolina were telling him he had hemorrhoids. When he finally underwent the procedure, doctors found a baseball size tumor and cancer that had spread.
Then, inning, a recently retired V.A. doctor in Phoenix name Sam Foote came forward, appearing for the first time on CNN he told us veterans are only dying. They are dying on a secret waiting list.
We have heard of as many as 40 veterans her in Arizona, in the Phoenix area could have died waiting for care.
DR. SAM FOOTE, FORMER V.A. CLINICAL DOCTOR: That is correct. The numbers actually higher.
GRIFFIN: Foote and other inside V.A. sources gave a startling details of how this secret list was being used to hide veterans waiting for care and hide just how long they had been waiting. After CNN's report on the Phoenix V.A. aired, the drum beat for change at the V.A. began.
The American Legion, one of the nation's most prominent veteran's organization called for the V.A. secretary to resign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are again requesting an interview with general Shinseki.
GRIFFIN: All of our reporting and six months of asking, general Shinseki refused to talk with CNN and instead earlier this month told the Senate veteran's affairs committee the problems were not widespread.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are people quote-unquote cooking the books? Is that in fact a problem within the health care system?
GEN. ERIC SHINSEKI, FORMER VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: I'm not aware, other than a number of isolated cases where there is evidence of that. But the fact that there is evidence in a couple of cases behooves us to go and d take a thorough look.
GRIFFIN: And the president stood by him.
OBAMA: He has been a great public servant and great warrior on behalf of the United States of America. We're going to work with him to solve the problem.
GRIFFIN: Then more whistleblowers, clerks who told us in Texas, in Colorado, they, too, had been directed to manipulate wait times and delay care. And more grieving people like Priscella Valdez to tell us her dad, who fought in Vietnam, And had been suffering from shortness of breath for months was unable to get an appointment at the V.A. until it was too late.
PRISCELLA VALDEZ, DAUGHTER OF PEDRO VALDEZ: I told him, dad, I love you. I love you very much. You're going to come out of this. They're going to let your lungs rest for a little bit. You will be OK.
His mind was there. His mind was there and he said don't worry I'll be back. I'm stronger than what the doctors are saying might be wrong with me. I'll be back. Those are the last words he ever said.
COOPER: And Drew joins me right now.
Drew, these families that you have been reporting on, sadly, they finally know everything that they feared was true actually is true.
GRIFFIN: Yes, from the inspector general's interim report from the report of general Shinseki today, Anderson, it was all true. V.A. hospitals throughout the country, the administrators were cooking the books, hiding the terrible truth on just how long the veterans were waiting for care. And it may have been done deliberately done to meet performance standards so that V.A. employees could get bonuses while veterans died.
COOPER: And I mean it took six months of your reporting, our reporting to finally get the administration's attention and now the secretary of veterans affairs.
GRIFFIN: Yes. I think in the end, the president couldn't trust at Eric Shinseki who had ignored or was unable to recognize the problem right under his owned nose. He is just not the person to lead the V.A. out of the debacle that it is in. He was trusting. Shinseki was trusting the very people who are lying to him. And ignored the many, many voices that were trying to tell him the truth.
COOPER: I want to bring in, Drew, Dr. Sam Foote, who you mentioned in your report, also and Florida congressman, Jeff Miller, chairman of the House committee on Veterans Affairs.
Mr. Chairman, let me start with you. Earlier today you said while the person at the top may be changing the fact that there are serious systemic problems within the agency that has not changed. Will Shinseki's resignation, or the next person be able to address the problems in the V.A.?
REP. JEFF MILLER (R-FL), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS: Well, I think it is an appropriate step, whether it is the appropriate next step is up for anybody's debate. There was clearly no leadership from the secretary to the point that people felt comfortable or thought that they had to report to him the bad news. They would only give him the good news. And I had told him this for years. And he trusted his people. And unfortunately, the trust that he put in them took him down.
COOPER: And he was there -- in six years he had time on this.
Today, Mr. Chairman, you said there would be no honeymoon period after Shinseki's resignation. Do you believe the interim secretary, Sloane Gibson, is the right man to keep the investigation moving forward?
MILLER: Absolutely. I talked with Sloane earlier today shortly after the announcement. I told him that I wanted -- my first opportunity to come to the central office and visit with him. I told him what the committee was most concern about. And then he explained to me where he wanted to go.
You could tell there was an anger in his voice as to how the secretary had been misled and lied to by his employees. And if they would lie to the secretary. If they would lie to Congress you can only imagine what they would say to a veteran.
COOPER: Well, Mr. Chairman, if the president was to nominate Mr. Gibson for the V.A. secretary position, would you support that nomination?
MILLER: I will. I would, I would think that Sloane has the skills that's necessary. He has the demeanor that is needed in order to force a change. He has got outside experienced, outside of government. But I don't know whether he is going to be the permanent replacement. I think there may have been a thought at one time when the secretary stepped down. But again, I'll work with the acting secretary now. And I have gotten assurances from him that his agency will work with our committee which has been sorely lacking over the years.
COOPER: Dr. Foote, I mean, you have experience on the ground. You saw all the stuff firsthand. You blew the whistle on this. What needs to change? I mean, what are the core problems that are causing all of these cooking of the books?
DR. SAM FOOTE, V.A. HOSPITAL WHISTLEBLOWER: Well, the first thing is we need a change in the supply and demand. Right now we have more demand than we have supplies. So that needs to be immediately addressed -- COOPER: When you talk about supply -- sorry, when you talk about supply, what do you mean?
FOOTE: Well, enough physicians and nurses and personnel and space, enough money to meet the demand. And if we can't meet the demand within the veteran's organization, within the V.A., then we may have to contract it out through something like that a vet care card.
COOPER: Doctor, there has been complains about sort of bloated centralized bureaucracy for the V.A. do you think that is the problem?
FOOTE: Well, I think it is the attitude of the administrators. And they're forgetting we're here to take care of the veterans, not to further our careers and line our pockets. And this focus on numbers rather on an outcomes on how we are doing with patients really needs to change. And whoever takes on this job permanently as a secretary is going to be biding a huge organization that is run like a fraternity or a sorority where are people that are like or promoted. It is not like the military where you have to prove you're better than the next guy and rise up. And I think that was the world that Shinseki knew, of duty, honor and country, and not me, me, me, and what can I do to further my career.
COOPER: Mr. Chairman, it is pretty scary to hear Dr. Foote saying that it was run like a sorority or fraternity.
MILLER: And he should know, He was there. He saw it happening. And thank goodness that he felt comfortable enough to reach out and say there was a serious problem and somebody has to look into what is going on. If you can go back to Augusta and Columbia in South Carolina, at this point there has been nobody accountable for those deaths that they have already admitted have taken place.
COOPER: Drew you have been covering these right now.
MILLER: These two guys that are talking to you right now, these guys were trying to blow the whistle on this long before I came along, this show came along and we started to do our reports. The congressman with his bipartisan committee has been at this for a long time. The V.A. wouldn't listen to him. And when Dr. Foote came on our air, Anderson, there was a whisper campaign in this town,
In Washington D.C., to try to destroy his credibility instead of looking at what he was saying and critiquing the information he was bringing forward. Now it has just been a political crisis. It has been a shame that over at the V.A. they have been so close-minded that they can't understand there are people critical of them who are trying to fix the V.A. not just take away their bonuses.
COOPER: Yes, and they're ducking and hiding still.
Chairman Miller, it is good to have you on again. Dr. Foote, as well, an honor. Drew Griffin, thanks.
A quick reminder, be sure to set your DVRs, you can watch "ac360" whenever you like. And coming up next, we have breaking news on what now looks like a fight within the Sterling family, over selling of the Clippers and make his dynasty. It looks like Mr. Rogers are -- is it all a sham. It is not clear what is going on. We'll try to sort it out.
Also the billionaire trying to buy the team makes Mark Cuban seem kind of mellow as Steve Ballmer's intensity made Microsoft giant, it is.
COOPER: A lot of breaking news tonight in the Donald Sterling affair, a lot to talk about. That's in addition to his reportedly estranged wife, Shelly, confirming that she signed an agreement to sell the L.A. Clippers to Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
It is also in addition to a pair of doctors declaring that Donald Sterling was incapacitated, giving her sole power under the family trust. But Sterling's lawyer says he is not incapacitated. Now, word comes that the NBA has called off a meeting next week to force to say, I want a word from Donald Sterling's that he is suing the NBA. A lot strange going on.
Brian Todd got details on all that he joins us now.
So Brian, what is the latest, the agreement, let's talk about it first between Shelly Sterling and the NBA.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is really symbolic, Anderson, that there is a real divide between the two Sterlings right now which how they deal with the NBA. The league has just announced that it has resolved its dispute with Shelly Sterling. It is going to withdraw its effort to terminate the Sterling's ownership of the Clippers. It is going to cancel that June 3rd meeting and vote that the owners were going to have, you know to vote whether or not to kick Donald Sterling out of the league.
Now in the exchange, according to the NBA, Mrs. Sterling and the Sterling family trust have agreed not to sue the NBA. And according to the league they have agreed to indemnify them, to protect the NBA from other lawsuits including those from Donald Sterling.
Well, that maybe in some dispute because of what we learned a couple of hours ago, Donald Sterling has now sued the NBA, according to his attorney, Max Bleacher.
COOPER: And you received a copy of the lawsuit. What do we know about it?
TODD: Well, it is suing them for breach of contract, for violation of its constitutional rights with the NBA. It is for a $1 billion in damages, Anderson. It calls for Donald Sterling's lifetime ban and for the $2.5 million fine that he was levied to be lifted. And here is the quote from the lawsuit. It is basically what it rely on the main argument here.
Quote "defendants rely almost entirely on an inadmissible transcript of the illegally recorded conversation. That is of course the conversation that started all of this between Donald Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Donald Sterling claiming that that was illegal and basically just nullifies everything. So we'll see how this plays out in court.
COOPER: You also have alleged information about his mental state. There is a lot of controversy about that. What do you know about that?
TODD: Absolutely, there is Anderson.
Two sources with knowledge of a situation, detailed knowledge told us that Donald Sterling was found mentally incapacitated by two independent physicians, those physicians are neurologists, according to our sources. And that these tests were conducted sometime within the past month and that there is a clause within the Sterling family trust according to our sources that says if one or more Sterling was found mentally unfit. Then the other would basically have the power to negotiate any deals. And that is they claimed that Shelly Sterling was basically, completely justified in her negotiation of the sales to Steve Ballmer.
But the attorney for Donald Sterling is firing back hard on that characterization of mental incapacity. He told me that is a vast overstatement. His quote is that this diagnosis was of a modest mental impairment. And what he equated to is a kind of a slowing down. And he said that Donald Sterling is far from being incapacitated. The attorney for Donald Sterling firing back hard on that characterization, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Brian Todd, appreciate the update.
Let's dig deeper now sports agent, Drew Rosenhaus and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.
Mark, a lot to discuss. First of all, this whole idea that he is mentally incapacitated. His lawyer saying that is a vast overstatement. That he is suing the NBA with Mrs. Sterling is now indentifying the NBA for lawsuits. What is going on do you think?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is all kabuki theater. What ultimately is going to happen is she has negotiated a sale. She already had a written agreement. And him authorizing the fact that they could sell it. His lawyer is suing right now only because he wants to not pay the $2.5 million. And he wants them to rescind the ban. That is exactly why the NBA has already called off the June 3rd meeting. All of this is orchestrated. I hate to tell you. This is not unfolding like some kind of set of dominos --
COOPER: You think this is orchestrated between Shelly Sterling and Donald Sterling?
GERAGOS: It is orchestrated by not only Shelly Sterling and Donald Sterling. It is orchestrated by Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling, the NBA and the management. So all of this is a fait accompli. That is why they called off the meeting. You saw the rapid fire sell of the team. They are suing right now because they want to orchestrate to sell the team, they are going to rescind the $2.5 million and the ban for life.
COOPER: Drew, just -- I mean, from a sports standpoint. The sale is amazing. Just the -- I mean, the dollar amount is it really stunning, the immense value -- I mean, it has added immense value to professional sports. Has it change that?
DREW ROSENHAUS, SPORTS AGENT: I can't help but smile, Anderson. It is a stunning amount. It is shocking. This time last week when I was on your program I was talking about a billion dollars would be a good deal for the Clippers. This is a stunning amount. $2 billion is almost incredible. What a steal --
COOPER: What impact does that have on other teams?
ROSENHAUS: Well it is tremendous for all professional sports franchises. And particularly the NBA who had previously had a record amount of a sale of $550 million, the Milwaukee bucks, now increases the value to all the other franchises not just in the NBA, Anderson, but across professional sports.
GERAGOS: And remember, the Milwaukee bucks sale was within the last four weeks. This is stunning.
ROSENHAUS: How about the Dallas cowboys? Or the New York Yankees? Or the Boston red sox? How about the marquise franchises.
GERAGOS: How about the L.A. Lakers whose share the same Staples arena?
ROSENHAUS: Hey, the Lakers were the number one show in town. Still are the marquis franchise. And for the Clippers this says a lot about Mr. Ballmer, Steve Ballmer, he is a Ballmer for sure. The guy has got money, big money. He must have won a bidding war.
A lot of this --
COOPER: Go ahead.
GERAGOS: A lot of this has to do with the TV rights. And the broadcast rights. Because what this is -- is content. And this is the ability of people to put out content and to sign these very lucrative deals. So --
ROSENHAUS: You say it is just a game. Anderson, this changes the game. I mean, when you're paying $2 billion for a franchise?
Now everybody is going to have to be a Steve Ballmer to own a new professional sports franchise. This is not even the NFL. You know, this is the NBA. So I mean, this is a stunning number. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Steve Ballmer is paying. He is a celebrity. He is a superstar now. He got rid of a pariah. And Donald Sterling is a hero. Throughout the nation this is a big, big story. Larger than sports and he has made the largest sports acquisition of all time. And he could have gotten this team, in my estimation, for hundreds of millions less.
GERAGOS: Well, not only hundreds of millions less. There was a lot of people who faded out. Most people thought it would have gone for a billion at the most, or o--
ROSENHAUS: That is a great deal, Sterling bought it for $12 million, guys.
COOPER: Mark, let me just ask you about the incapacitation thing. I mean, what is the reason -- I get why Shelly Sterling would have him declared that because that allows her to take over control and make a deal. Why, though, would the lawyer -- his lawyer contest it and how hard is it to get two doctors to say somebody is incapacitated.
And certainly, I mean, I'm not a doctor. But when I sat down with him he was able to complete sentences, form thoughts, he certainly didn't have a filter for his thoughts. But he wasn't drooling.
GERAGOS: Right. But remember, when the police went to Elliot Rodgers to talk to him in Santa Barbara, the guy who was clearly incapacitated, he could keep it together for a short amount of time. That doesn't mean all that much. You can get a doctor to say anything you wanted if you pay them enough. I think it is all pasturing. It is all part of this, as I said before, (INAUDIBLE) to get or to straight the rescinding and the lifetime ban and the 2.5.
ROSENHAUS: I tell you this, The NBA has got to be so happy with this deal. You know, they're going to work with Donald Sterling to get him out and see this deal go through because it is so good for business on both accounts. He should go much more smoother.
COOPER: A lot of agents are very excited. Very excited agents out there.
All right, Drew Rosenhaus, Mark Geragos, guys, thanks very much. For more of the story, of course, you can go to CNN.com.
Up next, if this deal goes through, just who is it that the Clipper is getting as a new boss? Plus, everything you want to know about Steve Ballmer next.
Also tonight, the story of her past is heartbreaking, a woman sold into slavery as a child, living (INAUDIBLE) for a decade. He has done tremendous work but was it all a lie? Details ahead.
COOPER: Well, the deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, if it goes through, they will add another name to their rosters team owners. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reputation that is a dynamic boss, a major sports ban. He is a billionaire many times over.
Christine Romans has more about the man who would be king of the Clippers.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He always seemed ready for courtside. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was famous for energizing his employees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got four words for you! I love this company! Yes!
ROMANS: Ballmer started working at Microsoft in its early days. In 1980 he became the company's 24th employee. And his over-sized personality became known fast through videos like this, promoting Windows 1.0 in 1985.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch as windows integrates lotus 1, 2, 3, with Miami vice.
ROMANS: And with Bill Gates in a night at the Rock berry (ph) spoof to this '90s club hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Ballmer.
ROMANS: In 1998, Ballmer rose president and CEO in 2000, taking the company a few hit like x-box and Kynect and flops like Windows Vista.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job, our job is to make sure that not only is PC not dead, but we're constantly innovating, re-imagining it.
ROMANS (voice-over): He stepped down as CEO of Microsoft just three months ago, but remains on the Board of Directors and is a bigger shareholder than Bill Gates. He is worth more than $20 billion according to "Forbes" and sits at Number 35 on the magazine's annual billionaire's list. Ballmer grew up near Detroit where his father was a manager at Ford Motor Company. He went to Harvard and briefly attended Stanford School of Business.
And he is no stranger to the business of sports. His name has been tied to a possible deal for the Sacramento Kings, but that fell through. Now he is poised to make the biggest NBA deal ever, going from high tech billionaire to court side baller. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we wanted to see how this is all sitting with the players. Joining me now is Roger Mason Jr., who is vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. Thanks for being with us. So what is your reaction first of all to the news that the NBA and Mrs. Sterling have agreed in principle for the sale?
ROGER MASON JR., VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: Well, just like everybody else we were stunned by that number, $2 billion is a heck of a lot of money. But it is a good day, it's a great day for the NBA family, and we hope that this thing goes through. COOPER: Is it good for the players?
MASON: It is outstanding for the players. I mean, you got a franchise in the Los Angeles Clippers that is definitely a big market franchise. But you know the Lakers are the marquis team in L.A. and there are other marquis franchises like New York and Chicago so for a franchise to sell for $2 billion that is great for us as players and it means that this league is in a great, great spot.
COOPER: Is there any kind of opinion that you've heard about Steve Ballmer as an owner? Clearly, he tried to get the Sacramento Kings before.
MASON: Yes, well, he is a guy that reaches out and grabs companies that he sees valuable and obviously he saw value in this franchise. He has a world of excitement. You see that and he is a businessman. He is somebody who is going to bring value to the league, to our players, and to the brand. I just think it is great for basketball. It's great for the NBA.
COOPER: This idea of Donald Sterling being incapacitated, which has now been put out there. A, do you buy that? And do you think that -- because there are some people who see that as an attempt to kind of make people sympathetic toward him and get people to change the way they think about his comments. Have you heard talk about that among the players?
MASON: Yes, guys has been wondering whether that is true. You know, you get a couple of doctors to write up a report. You can't question it and so there's been conflicting reports. I know his attorney came out and said that those things weren't true. I'm not sure. I'm not a judge of sickness and those types of things. But us, players, we don't really know what to think about that.
COOPER: Yes, and there is this issue of Donald Sterling suing the NBA for a billion dollars in damages. Are you concerned that he is just kind of refusing to go away and it will be a distraction for the league?
MASON: Yes, it seems meritless. Look, this is not the constitution of America. This is not the court of law. The NBA is a private entity and Donald Sterling's comments affected the brand negatively. So they have a right through its constitutions to make those types of decisions. So I'm not a lawyer. We don't know the technicalities of it, but it just seems meritless.
COOPER: The $2 billion, does it change the value of other teams? I mean, suddenly it seems like anything is possible after that.
MASON: It is a game-changer, you know, "Forbes" does their valuations of the teams all the time and you see numbers, but really when you look at the value of a franchise, it is what someone is willing to pay for it. And this seems like it was a bit of a bidding war. You had a number of wealthy individuals that wanted to buy this team and it bodes well for us as players and the game. Look at the end of the day, live content wins and our game and our sport has that. COOPER: It certainly does, Roger Mason, Jr. Thanks a lot, Roger. Appreciate it.
Coming up, she is arguably the most prominent anti-sex trafficking activist in the world, getting support from everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Hillary Clinton, but has she duped them all about her life story? New reports out, we'll have the latest.
Later, the signs that were missed in the UC Santa Barbara shooting and the ones have seen were just maybe ignored.
COOPER: It was a prominent activist working against the sex trafficking of young girls. She has spoken at the White House, drawn attention from movie stars and the media and raise millions of dollars. She has been featured in countless news stories including on this program in part because of her own brutal story being sold into slavery as a child.
Now she has resigned from the foundation that bore her name amid allegations that she faked not only her own story, but some other victims' stories, as well. Randi Kaye investigates.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her story is heart breaking, abducted, raped, beaten, sold into slavery by aged 10, then life in Brothels for a decade until her escape. It is a story this Cambodian woman, Somaly Mam, shared over and over, during her rise to become a celebrated international activist.
In 2005, her bestselling book about her life, "The Road of Lost Innocence," brought her and her campaign against sex trafficking plenty of attention. Celebrities rally to her cause. Actress, Meg Ryan, visited Cambodia with her.
Actress, Susan Sarandon, joined her on the Tyra Banks show. Angelina Jolie wrote this glowing article about Mam when she was named to "Time" magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
(on camera): That some pretty impressive backing for a woman who spent her childhood in the slums of Phnom Penh or at least that's how she tells it. What if we told you her story was not true? That there are so many cracks in it she resigned from her U.S.-based charity. "Newsweek" magazine has uncovered new information that contradicts some of the heart breaking details in Somaly Mam's tale of misery.
(voice-over): Simon Marks investigated Somaly Mam for "Newsweek" even visited the village where she said the man who abducted her had taken her.
SIMON MARKS, "NEWSWEEK" CONTRIBUTOR: They say that they saw her arrive in the village with a family, she grew up in the village living a relatively normal life. I'm not previous to her time in that village. She had moved just over the river from another village on the other side of the river where she lived with the same people.
KAYE: Somaly Mam had long shared the story of her own daughter, at 14, being kidnapped and sold into slavery. That doesn't seem to be true either.
MARKS: Her former husband says it was not true. That in fact she had run away with a boyfriend.
KAYE: Many in the media were fooled. "New York Times" columnist, Nick Cristoff visited the Brothels in Cambodia with her, calling Somaly Mam one of his heroes. In 2007, she was named one of 54 CNN's Heroes, and "360" featured her in a story from the red light district in Phnom Penh.
SOMALY MAM, ACTIVIST: They have been great. They have been (inaudible) by 10, 8 men, 20, 25 (inaudible).
KAYE: Politicians were also fooled, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toward Mam's charity in Cambonia in 2010 and she met with Michelle Obama a year earlier. It appears Somaly Mam wasn't the only one stretching the truth either. "Newsweek" also uncovered she coached teenage girls to describe how they had been sold into slavery too.
This woman confessed last year according to "Newsweek" saying she rehearsed for the cameras under Mam's instruction. The Somaly Mam Foundation released this statement, which says in part, "While we are extremely saddened by this news we remain grateful to Somaly's work over the past two decades," adding, "She has raised critical awareness of the nearly 21 million individuals who are currently enslaved today."
COOPER: That is quite a story. Randi is also following several others tonight. She is here with the 360 Bulletin -- Randi.
KAYE: Anderson, golfer, Phil Mickelson reportedly is being investigated in a possible insider trading case. "The Wall Street Journal" reports federal investigators are looking into whether Mickelson and another man traded illicitly using non-public information from investor, Carl Icahn. The report says the FBI and SEC are looking into Mickelson's trading patterns. A lawyer for Mickelson denies that he is the target of any investigation.
A new arrest today in the Boston marathon bombings, a 23-year-old Massachusetts man is charged with destroying evidence and making false statements to investigators. Prosecutors say he did not participate in the bombings, but tried to hide his friendship with the Tsarnaev brothers.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stepping down from his post. He will leave in mid-June after three years on the job. No word what he will do next. President Obama has appointed, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Ernest, to take Carney's place. And the National Spelling Bee ends in T-I-E, yes, that spells tie. Two teenage boys spelled so many words correctly. They were both declared winners. The first time that it happened in 50 years and what happened was, Anderson, the Spelling Bee officials actually ran out of words.
They used all the words on their prepared list. They actually said to one of the boy if you get this right you both win. And of course, he got it right.
COOPER: That is amazing. Congratulations to both. Randi, thanks very much.
Coming up, some serious stuff, disturbing questions tonight that we're looking out about the deadly rampage that happened one week ago tonight in Santa Barbara. Questions about why sheriff's deputies who went to the young killer's house about a month ago, actually watch -- did they watch the threatening videos he posted online? It appears they did not. The question is why. That's next.
And later something to lift your spirits, we'll introduce you to a woman who just celebrated her 115th birthday. She definitely charmed our Gary Tuchman. She'll charm you as well.
COOPER: One week after the killer's rampage in Santa Barbara that could have cost her life, a shooting victim is speaking out for the first time. Bianca Dekock was walking with friends at their sorority house when she said the killer's car came out of nowhere. He smirked at her and then opened fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIANCA DEKOCK, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Honestly I thought is this rubber bullets and then I realize, I'm bleeding. I'm in pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Bianca was hit five times. She was one of 13 people who were injured on that terrible night. Six others were killed including two of her sorority sisters. Now there are some troubling questions about whether that rampage could have been prevented in any way. We now know that when sheriff's deputies visited the killer about three and a half weeks before the rampage, they never actually watched the disturbing videos he had posted online.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said deputies asked the killed about the video, but didn't watched them nor did they find cause to go in his apartment and search for weapons. Hindsight is 20/20, but for the victims that rampage and their families hearing this maybe just another level of heartbreak. Kyung Lah reports.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the horrific sequence of events at Isla Vista, officers met with the gunman at his apartment three weeks before he would murder six students. On the evening of April 30th, a friend of the would-be gunman calls the mental healthcare hotline. A worker there speaks to the gunman and the would-be gunman's mother then calls 911.
At some point, deputies are told about the disturbing videos he had posted online, four deputies, a police officer and dispatcher arrive for the welfare check at the 22-year-old's apartment.
SHERIFF BILL BROWN, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: The deputies contacted him directly at his residence and they determined that he did not meet the criteria for an involuntary mental health hold. He was as I said, courteous and polite. He appeared timid and shy.
LAH (on camera): Officers spoke to him about his videos. He said that they were just a way to express himself. That he was not fitting in socially in Isla Vista. Deputies determined that he was not a threat and had him speak with his mother on the phone. They did not enter the apartment. They did not do a weapons check and we're now learning that they did not view the disturbing videos. Ten minutes after they first arrived, deputies left.
DR. MARK BRENZINGER, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, law enforcement that is primarily a reactive component. Not always, but we like to see them become more proactive.
LAH (voice-over): Forensic psychologist, Mark Brenzinger, assesses threats at work places and universities. He says in an ideal world, mental health workers would join officers in cases like this and would have immediate access to the web.
BRENZINGER: They would post information about a possible attack or a possible behavior prior to it occurring. And if this information, if you're aware of this information, I think it would be ideal to look at it.
LAH: In this case, it was a missed chance, but there were others. The gunman's former roommate tells ABC News, he saw warning signs, had a bad feeling, but didn't act.
CHRIS RUGG, FORMER ROOMMATE: How do you stop something like that? You say well, you look at the signs of the people and what they're like before they do this.
COOPER: And Kyung joins us now from Santa Barbara. Kyung, thanks very much for being with us. The responding officers did go by the book in this welfare check, correct?
LAH: You are absolutely right about that, Anderson, they didn't break any rules. They didn't break any protocol. They did what they were supposed to do. But after these types of shootings happen there is a lot of reflection afterwards by everybody. Forensic psychologist say, there needs to be a more comprehensive approach not just by law enforcement, but by family, friends and people in the community -- Anderson.
COOPER: Or could a mental health professional had been with officers as they are checking on somebody's mental state, to assess somebody, a lot of questions still. Kyung, thanks very much.
Up next, in tonight's "American Journey," a great story, a woman who has been on that journey for 115 years.
COOPER: A Michigan woman has just marked a milestone. She has turned 115 years of age and now holds a distinct title in the United States. Her story is a true "American Journey." Our Gary Tuchman had the honor spending time with her. Take a look.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A baby born in the 21st Century, his great-great grandmother born in the 19th Century. Jeralean Talley is the oldest living person in America and she is one of the last five known people in the world born in the 1800s. She lives with her daughter, Thelma.
(on camera): How old are you if you don't mind me asking.
THELMA HOLLOWAY, DAUGHTER OF OLDEST LIVING AMERICAN: Well, in November I'll be 77 years old.
TUCHMAN: And you are her little girl?
HOLLOWAY: I am her little girl.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Her mother was born May 23rd, 1899. This is her 115th birthday.
(on camera): What is the secret to living to 115?
JERALEAN TALLEY, OLDEST PERSON IN AMERICA: The Lord. The Father above. He got everything. I got nothing.
TUCHMAN: I think you have a lot more, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has got it all. He got mine and yours and everybody else's.
TUCHMAN: So the answer is to have a lot of faith? Taken in 1950.
(voice-over): Jeralean is the matriarch of five living generations, her husband lived to 95, passing away in 1988. She was born in Georgia during the presidency of William McKinley. She later moved to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, where she lived for almost 80 years. She says she always lived life with this outlook.
TALLEY: Do unto others as you desire them to do unto you.
TUCHMAN: The golden rule. Church has always been part of Jeralean's life. At the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, the entrance is named after her. Her pastor says religious leaders received many honors.
PASTOR DANA DARBY, NEW JERUSALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: God only blessed one pastor, the pastor, the oldest person in the United States and that is me. And I'm grateful for that.
TUCHMAN: While she credits her faith for her longevity, she also says the outdoors keeps her inspired.
(on camera): Do you like fishing?
TALLEY: I may go this year. I don't know.
TUCHMAN: What do you catch, what kind of fish do you like?
TALLEY: Trout and cat fish.
TUCHMAN: Trout and cat fish?
(voice-over): She has also won athletic awards.
TALLEY: I bowled until I was 104 years old.
TUCHMAN (on camera): You bowled until you were 104 years old?
TALLEY: And I was 104, I said this is my last bowling, and I bowled a 200.
TUCHMAN: You bowled 200 when you were 104 years old? Well, if I could bowl 200, I would quit and retire, too.
TALLEY: They wanted me to keep bowling, and I said no.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Jeralean received recognition for her amazing long life from national leaders including President Obama for her last birthday. But this is a big one, 115 years old, the oldest living American and the second oldest person in the world.
And before we say goodbye to this woman who has been alive for almost half of the existence of the United States, we give her a birthday present.
(on camera): This is a CNN Anderson Cooper 360 hat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful.
TUCHMAN: You look beautiful! It is perfect. And my guess is you are the oldest person to ever wear that hat and we're greatly honored. Not too many 115-year-olds wear our baseball caps. You like it? I'm glad. Thank you. Thanks for talking with us, OK.
(voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Inkster, Michigan.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: What a great laugh. We heard that Jeralean is watching tonight with family and friends and all of us here at 360. Hope you had a very, very happy birthday, Jeralean. That does it for us. The CNN original series "THE SIXTIES" starts now.