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Three Young Men Accused of Joining ISIS; American Sniper Killer Found Guilty; Reporting from Frozen Great Lakes; Aaron Schock's Shocking Lifestyle

Aired February 25, 2015 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us.

Tonight, jurors in the "American Sniper" trial tell us how they decided that a killer, whose victim Chris Kyle, called straight up nuts was nonetheless not criminally insane.

We begin though with three suspects and three words. The suspects, three men all residents of Brooklyn New York accused to try to join ISIS, two of them stopped as they were about to leave the country. The word plain and simple from New York police commissioner Bill Bratton, this is real, he said.


BILL BRATTON, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER: This is the concern about the lone Wolf inspired to act without going to the media or concern of once they get to the Middle East, acquire fighting skills, capabilities and then attempting to return to the country.


COOPER: Authorities nabbed one suspect this morning at New York's Hannity airport. He was trying to fly to Turkey. Another suspect booked on a later fight flight was arrested at home in Brooklyn. A third man arrested in Florida. Now, all three allegedly talked about carrying out a variety of attacks in this country, one allegedly talked about assassinating the president.

The latest now from Deborah Feyerick who is outside of the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Also joining us is justice correspondent Evan Perez who first broke the story of arrest.

So Deb, what's the latest? What do we know about these suspects and exactly what they're accused of?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we can tell you two of the three here were at federal court this afternoon. The hearing was delayed, Anderson, because one of the man had asked for an Uzbek translator and that took a couple of hours delaying this hearing.

The 19-year-old, he was picked up on the Jet way. He was arrested as he tried to board the plane to Turkey in order to get to Syria. The third man, the money man, he was in Florida. He owns a series of kiosks in Savannah, Philadelphia, and Virginia Beach. That's how he makes money, selling kitchen ware and also fixing mobile phones.

All three have been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Now, specifically, the two wanted to jihadists planned to travel to Syria. But they did have back-up plans, Anderson. And one of the reasons they have the back-up plan is that the 19-year-old, his mom actually confiscated his passport fearing that's exactly what he wanted to do. So he came up with this plan b according to court documents. He allegedly was going to join the military and (INAUDIBLE) information to ISIS. And if that failed or was caught then he would simply open fire on troops. He also had a plan according to the court documents to buy an ak-47 and then go out and shoot police officers as well as FBI agents.

The 24-year-old, he was really sort of focused on getting to Syria but he said if not, then he was going to be in touch with ISIS through a web site. And once they gave him the go ahead, he was going to attempt to shoot President Obama.

They were both in court. They were rather small, Anderson. No taller than 5'4". They were both wearing hoodies. The 19-year-old had a pair of black and red leather high tops with the laces removed. They both understand that the charges against them are extremely serious, Anderson.

COOPER: And the government sources that you're talked to, I understand, they are describing this as something that they have not seen before. How is it, the dual plans?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, I think what this represents for law enforcement is an elevation of what they already believe was, you know, real threat and what you hear from law enforcement that you know, from what we've heard in the past couple of years, especially with regard to ISIS, was this concern about Americans traveling over there, getting, you know, some kind of know-how about fighting and bringing it back here.

In this case, what they're talking about is a real sell. If you read the court documents, a real act of sell, which had plans. Again, there were plan Bs, but there were plans to do something here and that was something they haven't seen before. There is also something different that's here, and that we've seen a lot of these cases come from around the country.

And I talked to prosecutors recently about exactly why we hadn't seen anything out of New York City, the biggest city in the country and now we've seen that. And again, that's something that is really alarming to them because they know that, you know, once you see it in New York, you know, there could be other types of cells around the country.

COOPER: Deb, do we know much about how law enforcement actually got on to these three suspects and do they feel they got everybody involved in this?

FEYERICK: Well, Anderson, they do feel that they got everybody involved in this. And one of the reasons is that the 24-year-old who actually worked at a gyro king actually was caught on a web site talking about some of the things that he wanted to do including joining ISIS. And so through him, the FBI was able to get to others, to this 19-year-old, also to the money man and then they sent in a confidential informant. That confidential informant was crucial in helping the FBI make this case against the three men.

But also, it was the confidential informant who actually was able to help the 19-year-old get a new passport and he told him that he had to go down to the immigration office in Manhattan and get Photographed and fingerprinted and that's exactly what the 19-year-old did. And he said he felt joyful, his soul felt happy.

COOPER: Deb Feyerick, appreciate it. Evan Perez, very important, thanks very much. (INAUDIBLE) from CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend. Fran

was George W. Bush's Homeland security advisor and currently she is on the CIA and homeland security external advisory boards, also former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry.

Fran, this idea is particularly issuing that a, they wanted to go to ISIS, but they also had plan B and plan C in some cases.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, remember, in the case of the Ottawa bad guy, he couldn't leave the country. He couldn't leave Canada because the authorities stopped him. And so, you know, this is, we have to remember, this is a learning organization. These guys watch the news. They understand what the contingencies are. And so they're planning for it, very concerning.

Look. The FBI, I don't know that it's fair to say they identified everybody in this ring. You know, Deb was saying that they had. They certainly identified the immediate ring through the informant. But the answer is they took this down not because they have identified the complete network. They took this down because the guy at the airport getting ready to get on the plane and if they didn't arrest him then, they wouldn't have had that option. And so they took it down because they had to. It's not clear to me that they actually had identified the entire network.

COOPER: So you think that a group like ISIS actually prefers that people like these guys would actually stay in the United States? They're actually more valuable to them here?

SHAWN HENRY, PRESIDENT, CROWDSTRIKE SERVICES: I think that's certainly something that we need to look at. That's one of the things that the FBI and DHS, the (INAUDIBLE) are look at. Those that are inspired, those that are looking to cause harm here. Should they go back over to Syria or back to the Middle East, they can inspire others. They're going to be trained. We may lose visibility on them. They come back through Europe or elsewhere to get back into the United States. But if they can't get out, is there an opportunity for them to do something here to raise their profile and have an impact?

COOPER: Shawn, from a law enforcement standpoint, you know, there are people who are very skeptical when they hear about a case like this and hear, wait, a confidential informant, he told this guy how to go down and get a passport. I mean, how smart can this guy have been if he didn't know how to go down and get himself a passport, is there an element of them being set up or kind of led down a path? From a law enforcement standpoint, how do you defend that?

HENRY: When you've got people that are making these types of statements talking about the jihadi cause, talking about traveling over supporting ISIS, talking about hurting Americans, killing the president, you've got to follow all these leads to their logical conclusion.

In a case like this, it's very often difficult to prosecute these cases where people are making statements. There's a balance between freedom of speech in what somebody says and is it aspirational or is this real.

The FBI about introducing confidential informant is looking to get some overt acts to demonstrate that clearly he was intending to make this charge. He was intending to go over. He wanted to cause harm. So that's a balance part of the investigation. But you can't turn ahead, your head against these things. You've got to follow these to their logical conclusion to make sure you keep Americans safe.

COOPER: If you don't do that, if you don't go down the road with them, and do something, God forbid something happens, you get blamed for not having fully investigated.

HENRY: I mean, the FBI is looking to collect evidence of their intentions. They were very clear on what their intentions were. They had to provide the capability to record that activity, so it was very clear. This was not aspirational. This was not just puffery. This was somebody who wanted to take acts to harm Americans.

TOWNSEND: Anderson, I'll tell you. The track record of the FBI in this sort of an incident is very good. They understand very well, they are working with prosecutors. They understand where the line is. And so, their ability to defend these cases in these investigations is virtually unparalleled, right? They haven't gotten these things reversed because they understand very well not to over lead the individual.

COOPER: I want to play something the FBI director said today.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I have home grown violent extremism investigations in every single state. Until a few weeks ago, it was 49 states. Alaska had none. I couldn't quite figure out but Alaska has now joined the group. So we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states.


COOPER: It's really interesting I think a lot of people to hear that. Because you don't, as much as we know about, you know, and we've seen happen around the world and even here in the United States with the number of incidents, it's still kind of shocking to hear that every state of the union, there are investigations going on.

TOWNSEND: What he didn't say is that in every state of the union there's one. In certain communities like New York, there's many more than one. The FBI's investigative resources are incredibly stretched. And so, it's important in places like New York.

But they're working with the local police department to develop sources, to develop leads and to do surveillance and follow them. And so this is a real problem. Let's remember, ISIS had said they want to bring their brand of terrorism here to the United States. You've got to take it seriously when the FBI is.

COOPER: Fran Townsend, thank you. Shawn Henry, thank you so much (INAUDIBLE).

Coming up next, the verdict that could catch everybody by surprise, at least the quickness of it after deliberating for 2.5 hours, the jury in the "American sniper" trial returned a guilty verdict last night. What do they see that helped them make up their minds? I talked to two of the jurors. You are going to hear from them in a moment.


COOPER: Were you surprised how quick it was, ultimately, about three hours, I think.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because, in my heart, no. I wasn't. I wasn't surprised. When I heard all the other jurors speak their piece, I was not surprised.


COOPER: Welcome back. In just a moment tonight, you are going to hear two jurors in the "American Sniper" talked about how they reached agreement. Late last night, they have Eddie Ray Routh was guilty of first degree murder in the killings of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. They are speaking out tonight. And for the first time, we can now see and hear what transpired in the courtroom and the police interview where Mr. Routh was first interrogated.

Ed Lavandera has all of that.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Eddie Ray Routh confessing to the murders, wearing the clothes he wore to the country side country range that day. Chad Littlefield's blood still staining his boots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened out there today other than shooting sports?

EDDIE RAY ROUTH, SUSPECT IN THE KILLING OF CHRIS KYLE AND CHAD LITTLEFIELD: I was reasonable and fair with them boys. I can't just keep eating my soul up about this. You know, you can't just keep letting people eat your soul up for free. You know.

It's not what it's about. It's about having a soul that you have to you for yourself and there are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talk to your sister today. What did you tell her?

ROUTH: I told her I had to kill men today. It wasn't a want to. I had to, a need to.

LAVANDERA: And the jury heard from Chris Kyle's wife, Taya.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who were you married to prior to February 2nd, 2013?

TAYA KYLE, CHRIS KYLE'S WIFE: Chris Kyle. I'm sorry. I'm not nervous. I'm just emotional.

LAVANDERA: Emotional as she remembered the last time she saw her husband.

KYLE: Chad had an extra set of eyes and then I said, maybe, make sure that this guy knows that Chad can be trusted 100 percent so that he's comfortable saying whatever. He said, no, yes. I definitely will. And then that we loved each other, a kiss and hug like we always did.

LAVANDERA: Later, she called Kyle and sense something was wrong.

KYLE: Because normally, going out there, especially if they said left creek, it's beautiful. He feels very good about helping somebody, usually he is making their day and he knows it. Which is what, you know, happened earlier. He thought that the guy sounded really excited to go, and so he thought he was doing a good thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sounded irritated when you talked to him that afternoon?

KYLE: Yes. It was very short and it wasn't like a short like interrupting a good time. It was short like, I wish I could say more but I'm not going to because there are people around.

LAVANDERA: And that was the last time they would ever speak. She texted him, are you OK? I'm getting worried. Chris Kyle never responded.

A few hours later, Eddie Ray Routh sit in Chris Kyle's truck would be surrounded by police. And in the police interrogation tape, Routh is questioned by Texas Ranger, Danny Briley.



COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins us.

We hear Taya Kyle on the stand there. Has she reacted publicly to the verdict?

LAVANDERA: We haven't heard any public reaction. In fact, she wasn't even in the courtroom when the verdict was read last night, Anderson. As defense attorneys were giving their closing arguments toward the end of that, Taya Kyle got up and left the courtroom after having sat through two weeks of testimony. Obviously, excruciating for her. Sounds like she couldn't be in that courtroom anymore. She got up and left and wasn't even around for the verdict, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. She has been through incredible. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.

Now, two members of the jury, I spoke with jurors Stacie Matthews and Heidi Correa (ph) earlier tonight.


COOPER: So Heidi, I know - I mean, this case hinged on whether or not the shooter knew what he was doing, knew right from wrong when he pulled that trigger. You as a jury decided he did know right from wrong. I'm wondering, what convinced you of that?

HEIDI CORREA (PH), JUROR, AMERICAN SNIPER TRIAL: It was just kind of an overall, it was you get so much information in the matter of, you know, the 10 or 11 days of the trial. And you hear one side and you hear the other. And it was the preponderance of the evidence that he admitted he knew it was wrong. And the one hinge thing for me, everybody has their own hinge thing that convinced them, but for me, it was when he admitted that when he was riding in the back of the truck on the way to the shooting range that he said he considered killing them then. But he knew if he did that, that the truck would wreck and he would get hurt.

The other thing was the Chad and Kyle thing. He shot Chad, which was a murder. It wasn't the American sniper but it was a human life. And in that moment, he knew if he didn't shoot Chris, that Chris is going to kill him.

COOPER: Heidi, even though you decided he knew right from wrong, did any of you believe that he did in fact suffered from some kind of mental illness?

CORREA (PH): The thing that is hard about it is you might think in the back, maybe he was crazy. The dude was definitely not right. I mean, there was -- he definitely was an unhinged person. But at the same time, every time he got in trouble for something, which was violent behavior, and got -- the police were called, he was taken, he claimed PTSD and said, I'm a veteran and they took him to the V.A. instead of taking him to the police and arresting him. And every time he went to the V.A., he was tested positive for drugs and alcohol.

And so they could not specify what was causing his psychosis. And they told him over and over again, until we can diagnose you. You have to get off the drugs and alcohol.

When we get the charge as a jury, the defense had to prove beyond a preponderance of reason or preponderance of the evidence, 51-49 is all it had to be, the defense never proved that beyond, you know, the preponderance of the evidence that he was clinically insane.

COOPER: And I mean, the defense psychiatrist testified that he had paranoid schizophrenia. Did that - did you believe that? Because then the prosecution also rebutted that with their own experts.

STACIE MATTHEWS, JUROR, AMERICAN SNIPER TRIAL: Yes, I did. And I'm not saying any of the psychiatrists were wrong in their diagnosis. They probably felt like they were as correct as they could be given what they saw of Mr. Routh when they interviewed him. But the bottom line is there are all levels of mental illness. His mental illness was not severe enough that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

COOPER: He was released from a V.A. hospital just shortly before he ended up killing Chris Kyle, and his mom talked about that. I think it was just a week before the shootings, he was released. His mom talked about that, trying to keep him inside the hospital because she said he wasn't ready to be released. I want to play that for our viewers what she said on the stand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever plead with the Dallas V.A. not to release him?

JODI ROUTH, EDDIE RAY ROUTH'S MOTHER: Absolutely, I did. On Thursday, they called me at school and said we are realizing Eddie. You need to pick him up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what did the Dallas V.A. tell, you?

ROUTH: They said, OK, we will keep him. They kept him on Thursday. Because I objected and said he's not ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A long period of time, didn't you?

ROUTH: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in fact, the U.S. government not released your son and they still released him?

ROUTH: Yes, sir.


COOPER: Heidi, I'm wondering what impact the mom had in that statement on you? I mean, the idea that her son was hospitalized just a week before the shootings and that his mom pleaded with the V.A. not to release him. Did that weigh in your thinking at all or does it come back to the never really understanding or getting a sense of what his actual psychiatric diagnosis was?

CORREA (PH): Well, I think the mom was pleading because she knew every time he would stay for the V.A. for a certain amount of days, he was free of the drugs and alcohol and when he got out, he was normal for a couple of days. She just didn't want him released because she knew as soon as he was out, he was going to go back to his old behavior.


COOPER: Our conversation covered a lot of ground. And when we continue, we are going to have more of their impressions of the trial, the evidence that they heard and the testimony that moved them. What it was actually like in the juror room.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Guilty verdict against "American Sniper" killer Eddie Ray Routh, just about 24-hours old. We are getting a much - excuse me, 24-yeard-old, getting much better idea tonight of what jurors saw and heard and how they decided the case.

More of my conversation now with juror Stacie Matthews and Heidi Correa (ph).


COOPER: And Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow, testified for the prosecution. And I want to play a little bit of what she said. She described the last time that she saw Chris Kyle alive.


KYLE: You know, he just said he was inviting Chad to come along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said Chad had come to the house?

KYLE: Chad had come to the house, had an extra set of eyes. And then he maybe make sure that this guy knows that Chad can be trusted 100 percent so that he's comfortable saying whatever he wants. He said, yes. No, I definitely will. And then that we loved each other and gave each other a kiss and hug like we always did.


COOPER: You know, Heidi, trials are such personal things, particularly for jury members like yourself. I wonder what went through your mind when you heard Taya saying that.

MATTHEWS: Sorrow. Sorrow for her and her family. How you can't sit there and not feel sorrow for her, and empathy, but that is not what made our decision.

CORREA (PH): There's a lot of sad things that happen in the world and you can't base it just on the emotional fact. We were given the facts. We were given evidence. And our charge was that you have to consider the facts and evidence only, no emotion, no outside influences and your charge is the state does not have to prove their case. He already admitted to the murder. The state case was already done. He committed the murder. It was on the defense's burden to prove a preponderance of the evidence that he did not know what he did was wrong. There was three prongs, that he had a mental defect at the time of the murder, at the time of the conduct, had a mental defect or disease, and that he did not know what he was doing was wrong and they couldn't prove it. I mean, even if he was a little bit wacko, they could not prove that he did not know what he was doing was wrong at the time that he committed the murders.

MATTHEWS: We did not take our decision lightly.

HEIDI: There were a lot of tears.

MATTHEWS: There were a lot of tears in that deliberation room. We felt very, we felt a lot of sympathy for Eddie. We felt sympathy for the victims.

HEIDI: For his family.

MATTHEWS: And for his family. We took it very seriously.

COOPER: When you got into that jury room, as you said, you hadn't been able to talk about it. Suddenly, you know, all have ideas in your head and you are all finally able to talk about it, was it apparent right away that everybody's on the same page here in terms of what they now believe or was it, you know, sometimes ...

MATTHEWS: There is - people - It was just like, everybody was ...

HEIDI: ... we passed the Kleenex box.


HEIDI: Passing a stick to talk.

MATTHEWS: And all 12 jurors got to talk and state their piece without interruption. And then we got to question and discuss. And it took us, you know, we had to really weigh the evidence and make sure we believed what we were doing was right.

HEIDI: And then we took a vote.

MATTHEWS: We took a vote.

HEIDI: That was it.

MATTHEWS: That was it.

COOPER: Heidi and Stacey, thank you so much.

HEIDI: You are welcome.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

COOPER: So, having heard all of that, I want to bring in our own legal and medical panel. Criminal defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Danny Cevallos, also HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of "Dr. Drew on Call." Danny, one of the big problems clearly for the defense here was the shooter's drug and alcohol abuse and that clearly was something that the jury picked up on.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, I'm actually fascinated. The jury in this case seems to have hit on all the issues. They would have read - been read an instruction that was essentially this. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense to any crime in Texas. So every shred of evidence that was evidence of intoxication or drug use negated that insanity defense. That's why the prosecution pushed so hard to get that in and the defense was left in a somewhat awkward position of trying to separate the two, saying, yes, he used drugs, but that was separate and distinct from his mental disease that he labored under. Which is interesting because I'm sure as Dr. Drew will tell us, that it's almost impossible to separate in the case of, say, a dual diagnosis a mental illness with drug addiction or abuse.

COOPER: That's the thing, Dr. Drew, I mean from what I understand about mental illness, a lot of people mask it with drug abuse. A lot of people who are suffering from mental illness will turn to drugs to kind of self-medicate, isn't that right?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": Right, but they are making things worse.

COOPER: Obviously.

PINSKY: It does not make things better. It may feel better in the moment, but it's - and it's something that is common, you're right. And I'm amazed as Danny was that these women have picked up a very astutely connecting the dots from the volitional use, the unwillingness to get treatment for his addiction and the uncontrolled psychotic episodes he was having to the point that the medical teams couldn't even make an accurate diagnosis because he wouldn't stop the drugs and alcohol long enough. And there was a direct line from that drug use to the psychosis and though kind of psychosis he had was almost a delirium. And they could have made more of that, I suppose, and said he really didn't know what he was doing, except he showed remorse, he thought of killing them in the car. There were all sorts of other subtle points that these - women picked up on very clearly, there was further damning evidence.

COOPER: And Mark, the sentence for the shooter, life in prison without parole is the only option the judge had after the guilty verdict. Do you believe it's the right outcome?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I get that question today a lot and I've answered, it's the legal outcome. It's what the judge had to do. Is it the right outcome? I don't think so. I don't think you should ever in a situation like this when you've got mental illness and I've said other times Anderson discussing with you, we've turned our jails and prisons into mental institutions, which is awful, and I think at a certain point, we have to better understand what mental illness is and how to handle mental illness, because clearly, law enforcement should not be dealing with mental illness.

COOPER: But Dr. Drew, do you believe he could know right from wrong even if he was mentally ill?

PINSKY: Yes, there is such a thing but there's two points. He resisted treatment. The time for this man to do something about this illness was before he did something that required the legal system to step in. Everybody needs to learn a lesson from this. It is critical that people understand that the time to get help is before you hurt somebody or somebody else. The other issue is his, as Mark is saying, we don't want to have the jails to be the mental health service of last resort, but this man had evidence of character disturbance on top of his mental illness. There is evidence I've heard tossed around that he harmed animals when he was a kid. He had conduct disorder, things that lead him to not be able to empathize with other people and cause him to do things that could be really heinous above and beyond his mental illness made worth by his mental illness but separate from it.

COOPER: You know, Danny, it's interesting. Because we're so accustomed to the idea of innocent until proven guilty, but in this case, the burden was really on the defense.

CEVALLOS: It was. And it's still innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution still was required to prove each and every element of the crime of murder. But the defendant was raising what we call an affirmative defense. It essentially says, yeah, all that stuff is true, but I had some additional facts that should excuse me. And so the courts have said that that's proper to put that burden, at least in Texas on the defendant to prove in other states they have to disprove insanity, the prosecution does. But in Texas, a preponderance of the evidence, which is commonly thought of as 51 percent of the evidence, whatever that means, is up to each individual jury. And you heard them, they got the standard right, but it is proper and allowed. And that's what Texas applies. Other states use different tests. But when it comes to an affirmative defense, we can hold the defendant to a burden to prove that affirmative defense.

COOPER: Mark, attention, because a lot of people are asking. You know you were wondering about this. It's kind of what impact Holly - you know, what the Hollywood effect would have on this, the movie about Chris Kyle's life, the trial coinciding with the Oscars, the take that was at the Oscars. As it turns out, only one or two of the jurors had actually seen the film and they said to them, it was completely separate from their commitment to the trial.

GERAGOS: Right. That's, and they're always going to tell you that. Jurors are rarely going to say, hey, I was influenced by outside items.

COOPER: All right.

GERAGOS: But I will tell you one other thing. One other observation I make and it maybe echoes both Danny and Drew, is they're smart and they take this stuff seriously and always, I'm always refreshed whatever goes on that jurors take it seriously. Once they take that oath, next to military service, people take this stuff seriously.

COOPER: That was one of the things Heidi, one of the jurors I talked to, said. We were talking to her about this off camera. She was saying she would go back and forth. You know, the prosecution would argue with something and argue with something and she would say, oh, I can kind of see that point. The defense would argue something - she can say herself, I can kind of see that point as well. And I think that's the mark of a good juror. Somebody with an open mind and is listening to both prosecution and defense and ultimately finally making up their own mind.

GERAGOS: It's exactly right.

COOPER: Yeah, Mark Geragos, Danny Cevallos, thank you, Dr. Pinsky, always great. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, new questions about a rising political star who's not shy about his jet-setting lifestyle, but who has been footing the bill? That's the question. A new report says, maybe taxpayers in ways you might not expect.


COOPER: Tonight, new revelations about a U.S. congressman's lavish spending on travel and entertainment paid in part by your tax dollars. U.S. representative Aaron Schock of Illinois isn't the first rising political star who'll be tripped up by a glittery lifestyle, but now, like others before him, he's finding out that too much luster in your personal life will lead to questions about exactly who's paying for it. Athena Jones has more on whether a report reveals and what the congressman has to say about it now.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jet setting Illinois congressman Aaron Schock has never shied away from publicity. He boasted about his travels online, posting pictures on Instagram of meeting the pope at the Vatican, hanging out with Buddhist monks in Myanmar and parasailing in Argentina. Telling ABC News he's not your typical member of Congress and if his photos raise eyebrows, well?

REP. AARON SCHOCK (R) ILLINOIS: You know, as Taylor Swift said haters are going to hate.

JONES: Schock even showed off his toned abs in "Men's Health," but his very public presence may now be causing problems. Those very Instagram photos posted by him leading to questions about who's funding his lifestyle. Schock used taxpayer and campaign money to pay for flights on private jets and even tickets to a sold-out Katy Perry concert, according to the Associated Press. The AP says Schock took at least a dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on planes owned by key donors since mid-2011. The fresh-faced congressman, just 33, has been seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. But stories about his spending and his relationship with donors are now raising questions.

SHELLA KRUMHOLZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: It comes down to a lot of smoke, but repeatedly over and over again and you know what they say, when there's a lot of smoke, there's often fire.

JONES: Schock isn't commenting on the latest report which comes after a series of stories on the lavish decorations in his Capitol Hill office. Dark red walls, a bouquet of pheasant feathers. It's been nicknamed the Downton Abbey office, after the popular PDS show. And it was at least partially funded by taxpayers. The congressman is also facing questions for selling his home in Peoria to a donor for significantly higher than market value. Critics have called for an ethics review in both cases and while the office of congressional ethics won't comment on the allegations, Schock is already facing an inquiry over an accusation he broke fundraising rules and federal law by soliciting higher than allowed contributions for a political committee.

Back in Illinois, Schock's thousands of dollars in car mileage reimbursements, 18,000 since 2013, are among the highest in Congress.


COOPER: Well, Athena, I understand that he's now what - hired legal representation?

JONES: That's right. He's hired two lawyers from a prominent firm here in D.C. One of them has represented member of Congress before the Office of Congressional Ethics and before the House and Senate ethics committees and the other is a former federal election commission chairman and an expert on federal campaign finance law. That team will be reviewing the finance procedures in his congressional office and his campaign and leadership packs to see whether they can be improved. Schock has also hired two GOP communication strategists to help him out with the press and I should mention, Anderson, today, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left leaning group, filed their third complaint in less than a month against Schock with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking for an investigation.

COOPER: All right, Athena Jones, thank you very much.

Just ahead, Gary Tuchman is on ice tonight reporting from the frozen Great Lakes in the thick of the battle to keep ship lanes open. Plus, a house explodes. This is incredible. Captured on dashcam video, what caused the explosion and how many were hurt. We'll tell you ahead, but first a preview of CNN's newest series, "Finding Jesus," it's in depth look at the artifacts and the evidence surrounding Jesus's life and death.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unprecedented CNN event. He didn't vanish without leaving a trace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time in history, we're able to place these relics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And grasp something that changed the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really the moment of truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the story of Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A rock upon which the church is built.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An icon of scientific obsession.

This extraordinary defiant and archaeological piece.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we really have here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did Judas betray Jesus?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody chose to write this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The science does matter. Is this the burial shrug of Jesus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the clues he left behind? Faith, fact, forgery, finding Jesus. Premieres Sunday night at 9:00 on CNN.


COOPER: Tonight, there are winter storm warnings in 11 states. Another round of rain, ice, and snow adding more misery to the mix. That pile-up you're looking at is in Iowa, where they're at least - they are kind of used to weather like that, but tonight, the South, that's Louisiana you're looking at, is also getting hit with another storm. It's fourth in just the last two weeks. This one cutting a path through Texas to the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, all declared states of emergency. Farther north, an arctic blast has frozen the Great Lakes. They are nearly completely covered by ice and the coast guard is struggling to keep shipping lanes open. Gary Tuchman is there on an ice cutter. He joins us now. So, where are you right now, what are you seeing?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Coast Guard cutter holly hawk, Anderson, and we're in the middle of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes. We are north in the city of Port Huron, Michigan, but a hundred miles northeast of Detroit and this is Lake Huron. It's impossible to believe that a few months from now, people will be jumping in this water and water skiing. Right now, it feels like we're on a glacier. We're crunching the ice as we go. And this is a Coast Guard mission. There are nine coast guard ice breakers like this one and their mission every year is to clear the shipping channels in the five great lakes. They do it with a Canadian Coast Guard, four of the great lakes are shared by Canada and the United States. The only one that's entirely in the United States is Lake Michigan. But right now we're on a mission. It's a 20 hour mission. We are going to two Canadian commercial vessels that are trapped by ice in the northern part of Lake Huron. We're heading there, we'll be there by sunrise tomorrow. And the idea is to clear the ice so they can continue south back to their home port in Ontario. They're not in peril, they are not in danger, they just can't go anymore. And that's typically what happens in the winter. Anderson, last year at this time, very cold winter, 70 percent of the Great Lakes ice surface was frozen. Right now, same week, 85 percent of the five Great Lakes frozen just like Lake Huron where we're standing right now.

COOPER: And how long is a mission like this?

TUCHMAN: Like this particular mission is going to be about 20 hours. We expect to arrive as I said tomorrow morning and then head back with the Canadian vessels, but sometimes there are 45 Coast Guards, men and women, on this ship and it's incredible the sights and the sounds. It almost sounds like an earthquake, Anderson, when you go over the ice. This ice is about a foot deep and there's about ten inches of snow on top of the ice, but most missions they go on could be between five and nine days where they sleep in their bunks aboard the ship and they stay on the Great Lakes for five to nine days and go home for a day and then go out for another mission.

COOPER: Wow. Long day. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much. A lot more happening. Amara Walker has a 360 Bulletin. Amara.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the state of Jody Arias is now at the hands of a jury at her sentencing retrial. They will decide if she should die or get life in prison for killing her boyfriend. The jury that convicted her in 2013 deadlocked over her punishment.

A source close to the family of Bobbi Kristina Brown says doctors treating her started to take her off the medications, but have put her back on them, because she began having seizures. Brown is in a medically induced coma after being found face down in her bathtub nearly a month ago.

And in Ocean County, New Jersey, a gas explosion was captured on a police dash cam. One home is completely destroyed in Tuesday's blast. 15 people were injured. Many of them were workers from a national gas company who were investigating the leak and take a look at this. All that remains now of the destroyed home is its foundation. Debris was scattered all over the area. Incredible that nobody was killed in this. Anderson?

COOPER: Just it could totally disintegrate. Just incredible. Amara, thanks very much.

Up next, more of our breaking news reaction from the New York neighborhood where police say men were plotting to join ISIS and launch an attack against the United States.


COOPER: We are returning to the breaking news from the top of the broadcast, those three men charged tonight with attempting to aid ISIS. Jason Carroll tonight is outside the apartment building where two of the suspects lived. So, I know you spoke with the travel agent who actually booked the flight for one of the three men. What did he have to say? JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, that was for 19-year-old Akhror Saidakhmetov. Apparently, last Thursday, he walked inside - said he wanted to buy a round-trip ticket to Istanbul. That was going to cost about $900. He didn't have that much money. The travel agent said that he offered him a different option. He said, well, if you make a stopover in Kiev, I can get you a ticket on Ukrainian International Airlines for $571. And that's what he did. I have a copy of the itinerary here that the travel agent gave me. He said, according to the travel plans, he was supposed to fly Wednesday, today, just after midnight on Ukraine International Airlines flight 0232. Obviously, Anderson, he never made that flight. That travel agent also telling me saying how shaken he was. He actually said my hands are still shaking knowing that I spoke and dealt with someone accused of such a terrible crime.

COOPER: You were also going to speak with one of the guy's landlords.

CARROLL: Right. Actually, two of the suspects. Both of the suspects, which appeared in court, actually lived in the building here behind me. Spoke to the landlord late this afternoon, he said there was nothing out of the ordinary about all of them. He said they paid the rent on time. One thing he did say, he said the younger suspect, the 19-year-old told them that he was just about to take a long vacation. Anderson?

COOPER: Some vacation. Jason Carroll, thanks very much. Just incredible story. Obviously, there's a lot more that police are trying to learn about those three men and exactly what their plans were. They believe they were operating some sort of a cell. It's not clear if they believe if they got everybody associated with this group and no doubt, we'll be learning a lot more in the coming days about exactly what law enforcement say they have on these three that warranted these arrests.

That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching and Anthony Bourdain, "Parts Unknown" starts now.