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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Awaiting Grand Jury Decision on Michael Brown Shooting; Two More Cosby Accusers Come Forward
Aired November 21, 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 ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the Ferguson grand jury's decision could come at any minute. We are standing by for an announcement. Plus more FBI and ATF agents sent to the region. SWAT teams on the way. The governor of Missouri declaring a state of emergency. We're going to go live to Ferguson.
A new video of Bill Cosby kicking off his comedy tour with jokes about being a, quote, "evil man." This as two new accusers come forward. One says she was a minor when she was sexually assaulted by Cosby.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And we begin this Friday evening with the breaking news.
Sources telling CNN that the Ferguson grand jury decision could come at any moment. Tonight the FBI has sent dozens of extra personnel to the area. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the ATF, also sending more agents to Ferguson, including SWAT teams. The governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency. The National Guard has been called in.
Overnight there were more angry demonstrations in Ferguson with dozens of protesters blocking a busy street. Police arrested three people in violent confrontations.
In an interview with ABC News, President Obama just called for calm when the grand jury decision happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Evan Perez is OUTFRONT tonight in Clayton, Missouri, where the grand jury has been meeting.
And Evan, local officials have told you to expect a decision tonight. Is that still the case?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you know, that's the last word we heard from them, that they expected a decision to come today because they were bringing the grand jury back for what they believe was going to be the final session.
We know the grand jury came in today. They -- the grand jury room is on the second floor of the Justice Center behind me. They were going to hear some final bits of evidence from the prosecutors and then they were going to begin deliberations.
Now, you know, and like a regular jury, this grand jury has been able to discuss the case all along. So the leaf from the local authorities here was that the decision would come fairly quickly. We got some hints today from officials that they believe something was imminent. We were told by some law enforcement officials that people were being told to cancel any plans this weekend just in case there are some words that they could announce on Sunday.
BURNETT: So obviously we don't know. But you're hearing it could be imminent. Now in terms of who these jurors are. I know there are 12 of them and let's just make sure our viewers understand the basics that we know about them. Three of them are black. Nine of them are white. Seven are men, five are women.
What do you know about them? And they've been together now for a long time here, several months.
BURNETT: So how are they getting along?
PEREZ: Well, you know, actually, we've been told from officials who have been involved in the process that they've become quite a tight bunch apparently. They are living this case, Erin, for the last couple of months and they've become very friendly with each other. It's obviously they know how much attention this case is getting. They know they're not sequestered. They're freely able to hear how much anticipation there is for their decision.
What we don't know obviously is once they came into this building today, whether they wanted some more time, whether they indeed were going to follow the expectations of local officials that this is going to be coming very quickly or whether they wanted -- as you said, once they get into this room, you know, it's up to them how quickly they want to make a decision. And that's what we're waiting for.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan. As we get more information, because of course, as everyone understands, it could be -- it could be any moment. We're going to share it with you.
Well, Officer Darren Wilson as of tonight is said to be in the final stages of negotiating with the Ferguson Police Department about what happens to him next. Now this is according to sources close to the discussions. But this obviously could change when the grand jury makes its decision.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The grand jury's decision is imminent on whether or not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of teenager Michael Brown. Even as the grand jury debated Wilson's fate Friday the prosecuting attorney's office announced plans for a news conference to announce the jury's decision.
Ahead of that, CNN sources say Officer Wilson is in final negotiations with the city to resign, though city officials deny it publicly. Wilson reportedly expressed concern about resigning while the grand jury was hearing evidence for fear it would appear he was admitting fault.
At this point, though, protesters say Wilson's resignation would mean nothing if they don't get an indictment and arrest.
DAMON DAVIS, PROTESTER AND ARTIST: The cry of the people is overwhelming. That's what democracy is supposed to be. It is supposed to be the cry of the people. And all that we're asking is for a fair trial, for the system to do what it's supposed to do and for him to be put into the same system that we put into every day.
SIDNER: As the city of Ferguson waits, tensions are rising. After weeks of calm, eight people are arrested over the past two nights. Protesters sometimes baiting police, sitting or standing in the street, refusing to let motorists pass. When police arrived, protesters move toward them, and suddenly everything begins to escalate. Police eventually grabbing and arresting some of the protesters.
This as Michael Brown's family and now U.S. attorney general are urging for peaceful protest.
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I know from firsthand experience that demonstrations like this have the potential to spark a sustained and positive national dialogue to provide momentum to a necessary conversation and to bring about critical reform. But history has also shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to nonaggression and nonviolence.
SIDNER: But days, perhaps hours from an expected decision, many commercial buildings in Ferguson are boarded up. Even the I love Ferguson office bracing for a broken heart.
SIDNER: A lot of folks here, Erin, are exhausted for -- by this wait and, exhausted by what's been going on, frustrated because they don't know what is going to happen and worried about what may happen. I can tell you that everyone is preparing. The protesters themselves we know have been putting kits together, for example, with things like eye wash and masks in case there are large protests where you see different people, you know, getting in the way of teargas.
So there is a lot of activity going on but there is really just a lot of nerves in this town and pretty much everyone wants to hear the decision to get it over with -- Erin. BURNETT: Sara, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, one of the attorneys for Michael Brown's family, Anthony Gray, our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and David Klinger, a former officer with the LAPD, now a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Good to have all of you with us.
Anthony, let me just start with you. Have you heard anything yet? Obviously, you know, as representing Michael Brown's family, anything about where the grand jury is at this time?
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: We do not know where the grand jury is at this time. We are operating off of an understanding that we will get notice in a systematic way from the prosecutor's office when the grand jury has finished its work and has reached a decision.
BURNETT: And you're saying and you have not gotten that notice yet.
GRAY: Have not received that notice yet, that is correct.
BURNETT: All right. And so, Jeff, let me -- let me get the basics from you here. This is the -- these are the people we're talking about. You just heard Evan talk about hey, they're getting along, they've forged this bond.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Correct.
BURNETT: Which is interesting given the racial disparity of this jury and the racial nature of the case. Twelve members of the jury, though, this is not a seven-member say yes and it's an indictment. This is not a simple majority.
TOOBIN: No. It is a three-quarters majority necessary. It's not like a trial jury where it has to be unanimous. You need nine out of 12, and the standard is also lower than -- if it were a trial. As we all know a trial, the standard the prosecution has to prove is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Here only nine of the 12 have to find probable cause, more probable than not.
BURNETT: All right. So back to that racial breakdown, Anthony, let's just ask you about that. The grand jury -- the racial breakdown there does not reflect the population of Ferguson. 25 percent of the grand jury is black, 67 percent of Ferguson is black.
Do you think it is fair in principle when it was a white police officer who shot a black teenager?
GRAY: The racial dynamics are -- in this particular case as in all cases are pretty much the same. It's not shocking. I don't want to get into whether or not you have enough blacks or whites on the jury panel. I think it kind of speaks for itself. It's been this way for the longest since I've been practicing law in St. Louis County. So I don't really know how to speak to that issue other than to say that the demographics are what they are.
BURNETT: I was about to say, you're saying it is what it is.
David, let me ask you. Do you think the grand jury, though, will feel pressure, pressure of reprisal, pressure because of what we were just talking about with Evan there, that they have not been sequestered, they understand that the nation is watching this decision?
Is that pressure enough to just indict and let a jury with the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt make a decision?
DAVID KLINGER, CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS: I would hope not. I would hope that they would feel pressure but it wouldn't be pressure of the ilk that you're talking about. What they need to do is they need to look at the evidence and look at the law. And if the evidence and the law line up that indicates that there's probable to indicate that Officer Wilson committed a crime then an indictment should be handed down.
If, however, the law and the evidence line up so that there is not probably cause to indicate that Officer Wilson committed a crime, then there should not be an indictment. And that is what their job is. My hope would be, and my belief is -- I tend to have faith in juries, both petite and grand juries that they will take their oath seriously and they will focus on the law and the facts as opposed to this outside pressure.
BURNETT: And the law and the facts so, Jeff, comes down to one issue. And Anthony and I talked about this a lot. I mean, there's a lot of information we don't know. We're told we're going to see everything the grand jury saw later.
BURNETT: But right now we know this. There are some eyewitnesses who say Michael Brown had his hands up in surrender, and there are others, again, I would cite the "Washington Post" in this, seven to eight of whom were African-American, who support Officer Darren Wilson's side.
In a case where beyond a reasonable doubt is not the standard, where it's probable cause, isn't that disparity that there are some who say one, some say another, enough to indict?
TOOBIN: Well, it might be. But it is really so hard to evaluate the evidence sitting here when we haven't heard the testimony. Yes, we have heard interviews with some witnesses but I am sure there are witnesses who we haven't even heard from at all.
TOOBIN: So I just think it's very hard to know. But the one possibility that it always exists in the legal system is delay. So it is certainly possible we will get absolutely no information tonight and this process will just continue into next week.
BURNETT: David, when you've dealt with these things, what do you think the fact that, you know, Anthony says look, he was told he would get notice when there's a decision. They don't have that notice. What is your view of what that might mean in terms of how this grand jury may go?
KLINGER: Well, my understanding is there's going to be notification to the Brown family's attorneys before a public announcement.
KLINGER: And so I think the fact that one of the Brown family's attorneys is indicating they haven't heard anything does suggest that it's going to take a little bit of time.
I'm not privy to whatever line of argument was put forth about how much time they should have, if there has been an agreement about a particular timeline, but that's my understanding. And I also think that Mr. Toobin is correct, that there could always be some delay. I do believe that these grand jurors do understand the gravity of the situation they're facing and they want to make sure they get it right.
BURNETT: Right. And Jeff, they have until -- I mean, no one is saying they're going to go this long. But there is no, quote-unquote, deadline until January.
TOOBIN: Right. And remember this is the first day of deliberations. This is a big deal. They know what a big deal it is. Why not take two days, three days to decide this?
TOOBIN: I just think they very well may say, let's just take the weekend to think about this.
BURNETT: We will see. All right. Thanks to all three of you.
And next the grand jury in Clayton, Missouri, making this crucial decision. Why Clayton, Missouri, is target number one for some protesters?
Plus a woman coming forward with explosive allegations of gang rape at the University of Virginia. And she tells "Rolling Stone" that the university isn't doing much about it. A special report.
Plus Bill Cosby on tour, now new video of his show just last night in the Bahamas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: Parents are coming and taking their children home, and saying to me, Bill Cosby, you are an evil man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, federal law enforcement boosting its presence in the St. Louis area tonight, bracing for major violence when the grand jury decides whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The FBI, the ATF both sending in extra personnel, SWAT teams on the way. The grand jury deliberated in the town of Clayton, Missouri. Residents there are on alert tonight and Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT in Clayton.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Large demonstrations have taken over the streets of Ferguson for months.
But in the past few days, Clayton, Missouri, a relatively small affluent town less than 10 miles away, has also seen its share of unrest. It's where the grand jury sits and where Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor handling the Darren Wilson case, has his offices.
Since many who support Michael Brown feel the grand jury will not indict Officer Wilson and because critics say McCulloch is too close to law enforcement to be impartial, demonstrators have their eye on Clayton.
WILLIAM WHITAKER, PROTESTER: Nobody is really sure about what's going to be said or what's going to be done. But with all the reactions of what we're preparing for, we feel like we're preparing for a war.
CARROLL: Businesses located just blocks away from McCulloch's offices worry what will happen here once the grand jury releases its findings.
Julie Luedher said their toy store should have a steady flow of pre- holiday shoppers, but not now.
JULIE LUEDHER, TOY STORY EMPLOYEE: This is our busiest time of the year. And so with Thanksgiving coming up with the possibility of that affecting our business, it's a little bit scary, it's also a little bit scary to think of what damage might happen to our store.
CARROLL: Just down the street, more concerns.
HAL UNGER, CLAYTON RESIDENTS: Whichever decision comes down is, I think, still going to be problematical.
SHEILA UNGER, CLAYTON RESIDENT: Yes. And I think that most of the problems are not coming from here, but people that are coming in and instigating and inflaming people when they have the problem to begin with. It is wrong.
MICHAEL BROWN SR., MICHAEL BROWN'S FATHER: Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.
CARROLL: Michael Brown's family has called for calm and Brown's father recorded a public service announcement Thursday urging nonviolence. Residents throughout the city hoping demonstrators are listening.
FRANCINE SCHAR, CLAYTON RESIDENT: I'd like to think that our community is going to be fair in how we treat whatever the verdict is going to be. And I would like to think that it is done in a peaceful way.
CARROLL: And, Erin, earlier this afternoon Brown family attorney Anthony Gray who I know you heard from in your show just a short while ago, he held a press conference where he once again called for calm. And I have to say that he seemed somewhat frustrated when he was holding this press conference and speaking to reporters, and that's probably because this is a message that the Brown family has repeatedly tried to get out here for the past several weeks. And once again, at this point, they can only hope people will listen -- Erin.
BURNETT: Jason Carroll, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, former St. Louis Police Chief, Daniel Isom. He was appointed state public safety director by Missouri's governor three weeks after Michael Brown's death.
Good to have you with us tonight, sir. One protester told CNN, and I wanted to quote him. If there is not an indictment, excuse my French, all hell is going to break lose.
Is he right?
DANIEL ISOM, FORMER ST. LOUIS POLICE CHIEF: Well, our expectations and our hope is that this will be peaceful, that we will have peaceful protests. We have been working so hard in the last hundred days, at least law enforcement has, and I have as well, speaking to all members of the community. And everyone we speak to has that same mission in mind, that we want peace in the city of St. Louis and in Ferguson.
BURNETT: And I know everyone wants that. Of course when you hear, you know, the SWAT teams, the ATF, the FBI, the National Guard, it's already a state of emergency in the state beforehand, I guess you could argue they have to be prepared but certainly the signal that's being sent by that is an anticipation of violence.
I mean, back in August we saw images that looked incredible military like. As you know. National Guard, police military gear, guns were pointed. It looked like a war zone.
Is there any situation now after the indictment under which officers would use their guns?
ISOM: Well, you know, our hope is that all the work that we have been doing will make all of this preparation unnecessary. We're hoping that the dialogue that has gone on, the work that has been done, the understanding and trust that has been built over time will mean that all of the preparation is not necessary. And so that's our hope and our wish. And really that's what I expect.
BURNETT: Our Sara Sidner attended a secret meeting that she reported on in this program. She said at that meeting there were people who were planning violence. Do you know about any of those meetings or those plans or who those individuals might be? ISOM: No. We haven't been privy to any meetings like that. The
meetings that we have gone to have all been about creating a direct line of communication, an ongoing line of communication so that as we get into and past the decision, and if peaceful people are out protesting and there become issues, that we will be able to communicate with people who are protesting and have some resolution to any problems that we have.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much for your time tonight, sir. I appreciate talking to you again.
ISOM: Thank you.
BURNETT: And I want to go to Van Jones now.
You know, Van, I was just talking there with Mr. Isom about this. I mean, I know that they're saying we don't want this preparation -- we want it all to come to naught. But yet, you know, it's a state of emergency in the state before anything has happened at all. There is -- the National Guard has been activated, the ATF, there's SWAT teams, there's the FBI, I mean, certainly the signal is that they are expecting something.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. And I think that's -- it's so ironic, because, you know, I went back, I said, are we living in the United States of Amnesia? I look back in my DVR back in the summer. The vast, vast majority of people in Ferguson were peaceful. They were angry, but they were peaceful, they were restrained. There are few knuckleheads out there.
Most of the coverage from this network, from BBC, from around the world was that the police seemed to be the ones that were being a little bit too aggressive, too much teargas, too much militarization, and so now suddenly we're afraid of the people? The people of Ferguson on the whole have shown a lot of restraint.
I think we've somehow gone through the looking glass now where the people last time are now the people we were concerned about are the ones we're now saying we trust them.
JONES: The law enforcement, which let us down, and we now don't trust the people of Ferguson. I think that's a shame, it's an insult to the people of Ferguson who've already gone through so much.
BURNETT: And the other thing that we've talked about, I don't know if you heard Evan Perez, who's been breaking so much of this on the news of the grand jury. He was just talking about how these jurors who have been together now for several months have built a bond. That they have become very friendly. Obviously the racial divide, as we know, there are three black jurors, there are nine white jurors.
They are meeting in Clayton, Missouri. As you heard Jason reporting on, it's very different that Ferguson, only 10 miles away.
BURNETT: Here's the statistics. Clayton, Missouri, is 78 percent white, median household income is about $88,000. Ferguson, Missouri, 67 percent black, median household income of about $37,500. Again, the grand jury make up three blacks, nine white.
If there isn't an indictment, all of a sudden will these racial issues start to matter?
JONES: Absolutely. There is no -- there is no reason to pretend that it won't. And that's been part of the problem. You have an overwhelmingly African-American city with an overwhelmingly white police force. That by itself not so bad. But then when you look at the numbers, at the data, it looks like 80 percent, 90 percent of the people who are being ticketed, who are being given warrants to are African-Americans, 67 percent African-American population, but three warrants for every one household.
So you already have a very bad situation, then you have the shooting. Then you have a grand jury that is overwhelmingly white and they are not even meeting in Ferguson, they are meeting far away. That is a recipe for distrust of the outcome. That is why people said from the beginning, that Governor Nixon should have appointed a special prosecutor that everybody could trust to do a good job.
Governor Nixon, being missing in action, hiding away and letting the situation fester, I think he has to be held accountable for the fact that this process now does not have the confidence of the people in Ferguson and frankly observers around the world.
BURNETT: Which of course is your point, right? I mean, if you get an indictment, it might be all right. And if you don't, then it raises all these other questions we're talking about, about what the repercussions might be.
Thanks so much to you, Van.
JONES: OK. Welcome. Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Bill Cosby hits the road. He's on a comedy tour in the middle of 30 something scheduled dates, I believe. Six of them have been canceled but a lot of them haven't. And he had a show last night. And fans laughed as he joked about being, quote, "an evil man."
Plus a student comes forward, telling "Rolling Stone" magazine she was gang raped at a University of Virginia frat party. So how come we didn't hear about this? How come the school didn't tell anybody? Are they covering it up?
BURNETT: Welcome back to OUTFRONT.
Two more Bill Cosby accusers speak out. So far at least, a dozen women have broken their silence. We're going to hear more about their stories in just a moment.
But as you are aware, Cosby has long denied these allegations. He's never been formally charged. At this moment, it appears he still has fans. He is performing at this moment actually in Melbourne, Florida, as part of his comedy tour.
Alina Machado is OUTFRONT in Melbourne.
And, Alina, the show is about to get started. What have you been seeing?
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, the show is just about to get under way here. He definitely has many supporters here who come out here, who are coming out here tonight to show their support and their love for Bill Cosby. We have also seen police officers both inside and outside of the theater and they seem to be ready to deal with any potential disruptions.
MACHADO (voice-over): Bill Cosby might not get the warmest welcome tonight thanks to a Central Florida radio host who said he is willing to pay a thousand for this --
RADIO HOST: All you have to do is stand up, you have to film it or record the audio, stand up and one of the quiet portions of the beginning of Bill Cosby's performance and scream out something about the rape allegations.
MACHADO: There are now 12 women alleging Cosby sexually assaulted them decades ago. The 77-year-old has refused to address the allegations publicly himself. But he's feeling the heat. His performance next week at a Las Vegas casino canceled, along with at least five other appearances next year.
But last night, Cosby performed in the Bahamas, in front of an African-American women's group. While he did not address the rape allegations, he did joke about being, quote, "an evil man".
BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: And parents -- parents are coming out and taking their children home, saying to me, "Bill Cosby, you are an evil man." We will never eat your Jell-O pudding again.
MACHADO: And when he left the stage, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
The group released a statement saying in part, "The schedule for Bill Cosby to perform was done in good faith and in advance of the allegations coming to light. Recent accusations against Bill Cosby are alarming and unsettling. We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct a thorough investigation."
Back here in Melbourne, the show will go on with heighten security because of the threat of protests. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MACHADO: Now, so far, we have not seen any protesters. We do have a producer sitting inside the theater right now and he's telling us that an announcer went on and said there may be disruptions during the show. He told the audience not to confront this person and to stay calm.
Erin, the producer who's inside, Javier De Diego (ph), told me that it is pretty full in there.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.
And, of course, if there is anything that happens, I know Javier and Alina are going to tell us about it.
In the meantime, I want to bring in Paul Callan, our legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney, along with trial attorney Lisa Bloom, who is a legal analyst for Avvo.com.
All right. Good to have both of you with us again.
Paul, you just saw Alina's report. Bill Cosby going ahead, he has cancelled a few, but going ahead with his show last night, going ahead with his show tonight. Last night, it was a black women's group and he got a standing ovation.
What do you think?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm kind of stunned actually, because I thought, and having, you know, seen these play out in court, there is so much damage usually to a male's reputation when he's subjected to these charges, and now, we are up to 12 women. It's hard to believe Bill Cosby can survive, you know, the damage to his reputation.
So, a cheering crowd there really does survive me.
BURNETT: Lisa, does it surprise you? I mean, it was sort of stunning.
LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVVO.COM: You know, if you need further proof that we live in a rape culture by which I mean a culture that condone even lapse at rape, it's Bill Cosby joking that he is an evil man and the audience laughing and giving him a standing ovation.
By my count, seven or eight women have come out publicly using their faces and their names, talking about him, accusing him of raping them, not asking for anything. Up to 15 if you include the anonymous ones. I mean, how many women do you need to counterbalance the word of one big celebrity? I think six, eight, 15, that's enough.
BURNETT: And, Paul, there is now -- one of the new women that came forward said that this happened when she was underage. So, I understand that this could be different in state by state. But what is your understanding then? Because we keep being told that we're never going to know for sure, because the statute of limitations expired on these cases, because most of them were a long ago. But if you're underage when it happened, is there a statute of limitations?
CALLAN: Well, it's changed tremendously in recent years.
CALLAN: It used to be, we had these strict limitations on when you could bring these actions, but to protect children, virtually, all of the state legislatures have made them very long statute of limitations now and much easier if you're abused as a child. But there is a catch.
And of the catches is, that the statute had to be amended during the time period when your incident occurred and you'll get the benefit of the longer statute. And it is a complicated analysis, so maybe there will be a case and maybe not that can be brought.
BURNETT: And, Lisa, I want to follow up on a point that Paul is making with what our producer, Javier de Diego (ph), as you just heard Alina say, he's in the room. So, Bill Cosby just walked out to tell our viewers, it just happened a minute ago, he stood on stage and got a one full minute standing ovation from this audience.
I guess my question to you is, isn't this the verdict? Is this the bottom line? Obviously, this comes down to whether he is commercially viable and certainly, what we have now just seen again tonight would indicate he is.
BLOOM: Listen, people love celebrities. No matter what they are accused of. They love Paula Deen. They love Mike Tyson, who is a convicted rapist, right?
We have a short memory. And as I say, people I think overall are not as upset about rape as you would think. We all say it's a terrible thing, but when confronted with it -- for example, when I'm trying a case of rape, you know, it can be hard to get a jury to convict.
Same thing with child molestation. We all think of the abstract, it is a terrible thing. But when we are confronted with an actual person who's accused of it, we don't want to believe it. And I think denial is very heavy.
CALLAN: And in fairness to the crowd, I think a lot of Americans say he hasn't been convicted of anything, these are just allegations that are made many years after the incidents, and they are giving him the benefit of the doubt since there's been no trial.
BLOOM: And he hasn't sued anyone for defamation either.
CALLAN: That's what's going on here. BURNETT: Right. Now, what about that point she made, the issue that he hasn't sued for defamation. I mean, we had a woman on last night, Tamara Green, a very disturbing and frightening retelling of what she said happened to her. But she came forward with this first in 2005 and now, it's ten years later, she's still talking about it. He never sued her for defamation.
Wouldn't you sue for defamation if it weren't true?
CALLAN: Lisa makes a good point there. Yes, she could in theory. But anybody who does defamation law and sees these lawsuits, they end up being damage done to both sides because there is so much mud thrown in the case. And so, he's obviously made a decision, I'll just forget about it, nobody's going to listen to her and I'll go on with my life.
BURNETT: But she was at that time, I want to note, she did do an interview on "The Today Show". I mean, it wasn't as if, it was just know, in some random place. It was very public.
CALLAN: It didn't resonate obviously because it's only now that this thing is blowing up. So, that strategy seemed to work for him previously.
BLOOM: And a lot of celebrities bring these cases and I would take issue with the term of mud throwing when we are taking about a rape allegations. This is very, very serious. He has his pit bulls out there calling people liars in the public domain.
You know, if he is really serious about this, let him bring a defamation case, truth is on the defense, and then we can have the court hearing that he claims he really wants.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you.
And OUTFRONT next, two more women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
Plus, at the University of Virginia, a women allegedly raped by seven guys out of frat party. But we didn't hear about it until we heard about it until "Rolling Stone" published the report, charging that there is a rape epidemic at UVA. We have a full report.
BURNETT: Tonight, Bill Cosby getting a standing ovation in Florida where he is performing as part of the comedy tour. That is two more Bill Cosby accusers speak out today.
At least a dozen women have broken their silence. There were reports of alleged sexual assault though back in 2005. So, why wasn't it until recently when it got to be a bigger story? That is when another comedian called out Cosby and the 77-year-old comedian icon then encouraged people to meme online. That got women started coming forward with what we now know are strikingly similar stories.
Susan Candiotti is OUTFRONT.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two more women joining ten others, accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Their claims ranging from forced kissing to rape.
One of the most salacious, actress Louisa Moritz, alleging the entertainer forcing her into a sex act in a "Tonight Show" green room when Johnny Carson was hosting.
In a statement, Cosby's attorney calls the claims beyond belief. Quote, "We've reached the point of absurdity. The stories are getting more and more ridiculous."
But several of the women have spoken out before. Barbara Bowman and Beth Ferrier did interviews with "People" magazine back in 2006.
Ferrier says back then, it was risky to go public.
BETH FERRIER, ACCUSES BILL COSBY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: My family dropped me, from there on my agent, my life, no one believed me. I did it purely because I was told that I was helping a person who -- who had a similar story.
CANDIOTTI: The woman Ferrier hoped to help was Andrea Constand, who sued Cosby for battery in 2005. Ferrier and 12 other women offered to testify about similar claims against Cosby but the lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
As that case was gaining attention, one of the women spoke to Matt Lauer on the today show about what she claims Cosby did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had gone from helping me to groping me and kissing me and touching me and handling me and taking off my clothes.
CANDIOTTI: But on that very day in 2005, those claims competed with other headlines. New revelations about the 9/11 attacks and Prince Charles popping the question to Camilla Parker Bowles.
The Cosby scandal simply disappeared. Beth Ferrier believes Cosby's image as a family man in "The Cosby Show" made the claim seem unbelievable to the public.
It wasn't until a standup comedian's act mentioning the old sex allegations went viral last month that it made news all over again. Tamara green said social media has changed everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you're a rapist, so --
CANDIOTTI: It wasn't until a standup comedian's act mentioning the old sex allegations went viral last month, that it made news all over again.
Tamara Green says social media has changed everything.
TAMARA GREEN, COSBY ACCUSER: People who were skeptical at that time have, you know, have been replaced by people who on social media can pull up a story any day of the week.
CANDIOTTI: Ferrier says she hopes this time, the accusers' voices are heard.
FERRIER: Women, men for that matter, need to be able to come forward. And if they tell you that story, there is a reason they have told you that story.
CANDIOTTI: But for now, Bill Cosby is remaining silent.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, a woman gang raped at a frat party. A magazine investigation says that it was ignored by the University of Virginia. How big is this problem?
Plus, Jeanne Moos is ahead.
BURNETT: Now, let's check in with Anderson with a look on what's coming up on "AC360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes, we'll have more on the breaking news tonight on the program. The president urging calm, even as the FBI and ATF boost their presence ahead of the decision of the grand jury on whether or not to indict Officer Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. I'll be joined by Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump and the St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson about their preparations.
Also tonight, President Obama going on the road to sell his immigration plan, even as Republicans denounced his approach to reform. I'll speak with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos about how the latest immigration maneuvering is being received in a Latino community.
Those stories and how those stories how a hero marine walked to receive the Bronze Star, an amazing moment. All that and more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: Can't wait to see that part. Anderson, thank you.
Well, tonight, police are investigating claims at a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia frat party. This only after a report in "Rolling Stone" magazine.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says he's, quote, "deeply disturbed by the allegations, he's calling for a full review.
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a shocking allegation of rape at the University of Virginia. A report in the current "Rolling Stone" magazine alleging a culture of rape and sexual assault there, including a story about a first year student said to be considering suicide after she went to party in 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house and was allegedly gang raped.
Quote from the article, "'Grabbed its leg', she heard a voice say, and that's when Jackie knew she was going to be raped. She remembers every moment of next three hours of agony during which he says seven men took turns raping her.
Annie Forest is a friend of the accuser.
ANNIE FOREST, FRIEND OF ACCUSER: She was just doing what a normal girl on date would do, and then he led her upstairs where she was taken into a room and pretty much ambushed by these men.
JOHNS: Since the article, another student has come forward, similar story, same fraternity.
KELLY ORGANSKI, FORMER UVA STUDENT: I had to walk on campus with my rapist for the next two and a half years.
JOHNS: And the issue is not just one fraternity house or even one school.
SABRINA RUBIN ERDELY, ROLLING STONE CONTRIBUTOR: I was told that University of Virginia is actually quite typical, even though the things that I discovered at University of Virginia are really horrifying. I was told that really what happens at UVA is probably fairly normal at a college campus.
JOHNS: According to "Rolling Stone", the accuser did not report the incident at the time to police but did speak to a university official.
FOREST: When she left the fraternity house that night and called some of her friends, they actually recommended that she not go to the police.
JOHNS: At the university, damage control is in hyper drive and police are investigating. The fraternity chapter is suspending all activities and said it will cooperate fully with the investigation.
UVA's president said in a statement that the report includes, quote, "many details that were not previously disclosed to university officials. The university takes seriously the issue of misconduct. We have recently adopted several new initiatives and policies aimed at fostering the culture of reporting and raising awareness."
It's a national problem, 88 colleges and universities are under investigation for how they handle sex assault cases.
A former dean at UVA is now the national president of a group dedicated to ending sexual assault on campus. He said schools could be sanctioned.
JOHN FOUBERT, FORMER UVA ASSISTANT DEAN OF STUDENTS: They can face a loss of federal funding, which basically would decimate an entire institution. That has never been done. But there are fines that the Office of Civil Rights can levy.
JOHNS: Important to say that in the case of UVA, it was the university that call for authorities to get involved, including police and the Virginia attorney general's office -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Joe, thank you very much.
And, of course, this is something we're going to be looking more into as there are many colleges across this country with very, very serious issues about rape right now.
OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with a rescue dog named Queso tackling his fears by backing up.
BURNETT: You're about to meet a dog named Queso, and he knows how to make an entrance. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's a dog to do when he's scared to walk through a doorway.
This is a story of a pitbull who puts his fears behind him by going in backwards.
His name is Queso. Spanish for cheese.
RHIANNON HAMAM, QUESO'S OWNER: Goofy, silly, weirdo Queso. So, my husband and I were just like, what is he doing?
MOOS: Rhiannon Hamam says when he moved into their new house in Austin, Texas, their shelter dog Queso refused to go into any of the upstairs bedrooms except for theirs, and that one he had force himself to enter backwards.
HAMAM: He's come up with this technique to overcome this fear, and it works for him, and it's awesome.
MOOS: It's being called a moon walking pitbull in the style of Michael Jackson.
(on camera): Queso's owners don't think it's actual the doorway that scares him. They think it's the floor. (voice-over): Something about transitioning from the slippery hardwood to carpeting, but once he gets in.
(on camera): Does he back out the door?
HAMAM: No. Going out the door, exiting the bedroom he's just fine. He goes straight. I can't explain it. Queso's a weirdo.
MOOS (voice-over): A happy weirdo with tail wagging as he backs in. There's no hint of trauma involving doors or abuse in his past.
(on camera): For his perseverance, we pronounce Queso the Rocky of pitbull.
(voice-over): Rocky knows a thing or two about jogging backwards, and both boxer and pitbull shine at the top of the stairs.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Moonwalking dog.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. We'll see you back here on Monday night. Thanks so much as always for joining us.
"AC360" begins right now.