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Limbaugh Admits Addiction to Painkillers

Table of Contents

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Rush Limbaugh addicted to painkillers. Tonight, the conservative talk show host on his way to rehab.
What happened in Kobe Bryant’s hotel room? Shocking testimony comes out in court.
Wesley Clark slammed in the debate. Can he take the heat?
“Life Behind Bars,” why do have some women love men who kill?
Mexico mystery: hundreds of women disappear. Is there a cross- border serial killer?
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: Hey there. Good evening to you. Thanks for joining us on 360.
We begin with a stunning admission from Rush Limbaugh. The allegations of his prescription painkiller abuse broke last week. Today, Limbaugh himself confirmed parts of the story. He is an addict, he’s tried to get help before, he’s going to try again.
The latest from Susan Candiotti in Miami.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One week after promising to have more to say about drug allegations, Rush Limbaugh began to address the issue near the end of his daily radio show.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Part of what you have heard and read in the past week is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.
CANDIOTTI: Limbaugh said he’d been asked not to comment on a criminal investigation that first surfaced last week. Law enforcement sources in Florida confirm they’re investigating claims by a former housekeeper that she illegally sold him thousands of prescription painkillers, including OxyContin and Hydrocodone. Limbaugh told listeners his problems started years ago after continued pain following spinal surgery.
LIMBAUGH: Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication, and this medication turned out to be highly addictive.
CANDIOTTI: Sources close to the investigation tell CNN the woman who made the claims against Limbaugh has turned over e-mails and answering machine messages in which a voice sounding like his appears to ask for pills. Limbaugh told his audience he’s been in detox twice and is now voluntarily entering a 30-day program again.
LIMBAUGH: And I’m not making any excuses and I don’t intend to. You know, over the years, athletes, celebrities have emerged from these treatment centers. They’ve come out to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. They’ve gotten a lot of praise for doing this.
Well, I want you to know…
CANDIOTTI: CNN has learned within the last couple of days that well known criminal defense attorney Roy Black has met with representatives of the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office at Limbaugh’s request. Investigative sources say that meeting was called to discuss Limbaugh’s predicament — Anderson.
COOPER: Susan, very quickly, has anything been publicly said? I mean, could Rush Limbaugh be the target of prosecutors?
CANDIOTTI: Well, investigative sources have said all along that he has not been the target of this ongoing investigation into suppliers and sellers of illegal prescription drugs. They do say no decision has been made on — or won’t comment, rather, on whether a decision has been made on whether to charge him. But the charges, they say, could include something as minor as misdemeanor illegal possession of illegal drugs or felony because of the number of drugs allegedly involved.
COOPER: All right. Susan Candiotti in Miami. Thanks very much, Susan.
A quick fast fact for you on prescription drug abuse. Last year, an estimated 9 million Americans abused prescription drugs; 1.5 million of them were abusing painkillers.
We move on to another major story tonight, Kobe Bryant. Today, it is not just his conduct under scrutiny, but also the conduct of his attorney, Pamela Mackey. In yesterday’s preliminary hearing, repeatedly she named the alleged victim and suggested she is promiscuous. Some called it a brass knuckles defense. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, among others, called it sleazy and appalling. Opinions. Let’s get the facts from Gary Tuchman in Eagle, Colorado.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kobe Bryant helped his attorney, Pamela Mackey, out of the van when they arrived outside the Eagle, Colorado, courthouse. But how much did she help him inside the courthouse? Denver’s former district attorney thinks she made some serious mistakes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen anything like this. I was a prosecutor for over 20 years, and I’ve been practicing law since 1970 in this state.
TUCHMAN: After the prosecution unveiled its allegations which portrayed the L.A. Lakers’ star as a callous rapist, Mackey began a cross-examination, where she seemed to accidentally state the name of the alleged rape victim. But then she kept doing it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all make mistakes, once, maybe twice. On the third, fourth, fifth and sixth times, it was knowing and deliberate conduct. She was sending a message to the public that she’s going to zealously represent her client and pull out all of the stops in representing him.
TUCHMAN: Experts agree good lawyers should zealously represent their clients, and Mackey is widely known as an exceptional attorney. But was she overzealous when cross-examined the police detective and asked if something else could have caused the 19-year-old accuser’s injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought what the defense attorney did in that courtroom, in the combination of using her name, as well as with this bogus thing about sleeping with three different men in three days, that was nothing but contemptible, disgusting, and it was sleazy.
TUCHMAN: But this attorney in New York State thinks it was appropriate.
PAMELA HAYES, ATTORNEY: What she was trying to do was find out whether or not sex on different occasions with different people could create an end result where the — where there would be injury or trauma to the vagina.
TUCHMAN: Now, we don’t know Pamela Mackey’s reaction to all of this. She says for now she is not doing interviews with members of the news media. We do know that she will be back here at this courthouse behind me on Wednesday with her client, Kobe Bryant, for day two of his preliminary hearing.
Anderson, back to you. COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much. Two legal experts are going to face off in the case of Kobe Bryant a little bit later on in our program.
We move now to Philadelphia. Today, a cloak and dagger drama continued to play out there. First, a bug was discovered in the mayor’s office. Now, sources say the mayor is involved in a federal probe. The mayor insists he has done nothing wrong and says he is the victim of dirty tricks.
Jason Carroll is on the case.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal government sources tell CNN Philadelphia Mayor John Street is the subject of a federal investigation. Although at this point, it’s unclear what the investigation is all about. An aide close to the mayor calls the investigation “total political bull,” saying it’s a fishing expedition. The mayor says he’s been told almost nothing.
MAYOR JOHN STREET (D), PHILADELPHIA: The bad guy in these investigations is the target. And I know I am not the target.
CARROLL: According to the Justice Department, a target is a person who prosecutors have evidence linking to a crime. A subject is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the investigation. Is it possible that the mayor could become the target or that federal officials are instead investigating someone close to him?
U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan won’t say. Legal experts say approval to plant an electronic listening device in the office of a big city mayor up for re-election must have come from a federal judge, and the Justice Department.
DANIEL MILLER, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It goes to main Justice in Washington, where they have a whole bureaucracy that looks at the application.
CARROLL: Federal law enforcement sources tell CNN Attorney General John Ashcroft and his top aides were not involved in the decision. The Democratic mayor suspects this all may be politically and racially motivated, and that the investigation could be a Republican conspiracy to get him out of office.
STREET: The timing of all of this is suspicious.
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins us now for more. Jason, what are the chances that the FBI or the U.S. attorney’s office, someone is going to come forward to try to clarify what this investigation is about?
CARROLL: Well, right now it doesn’t look like there are any plans to have either of them do that, although there are a number of calls from both Democrats and some key Republicans, including Arlen Specter, for someone to come out and say something and clarify all this.
COOPER: Yes, the pressure is certainly building. Jason Carroll, thanks very much.
Well, there is a development today in a very different cloak and dagger story. Questions of espionage at a Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison camp. Army Captain James Yee, the camp’s Muslim chaplain, was charged today, but not with what you might think.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One month after he was taken into custody, the Islamic Army chaplain, Captain James Yee, is now charged with two counts of failing to obey orders. The specific allegation? He took home classified material and didn’t use proper procedures when he tended to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But there may be much more ahead for the Islamic cleric.
Military sources tell CNN the strategy may be to start with the least damaging charges, continue the investigation, and then decide whether to press for charges of espionage. Yee was allegedly carrying classified information about the detainees and the camp, and it’s unclear what he may have planned to do with it all. Sources also say he was observed during federal surveillance of Muslim groups in the U.S. Yee may now face an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury, to decide how to proceed.
(on camera): Authorities say there is no final word on whether Yee is connected to the two other men under arrest in the espionage investigation at Guantanamo Bay. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
COOPER: A couple stories around the world to tell you about. Let’s check the “UPLINK.”
Paris, France: a Nobel first. The first peace prize ever awarded to a Muslim woman. It goes this year to this woman, Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi. She was hailed as a courageous champion of political freedom.
Geneva, Switzerland: tough talk directed at the U.S. The international committee of the Red Cross says the status at Guantanamo Prison Camp is unacceptable. More than 600 suspects held indefinitely without criminal charges and without access to lawyers or judges.
India and Israel arms deal: a $1 billion sale of Israeli-made early warning radar systems. India’s rival, Pakistan, warns that deals like this could lead to an arms race in South Asia. The two countries, of course, have already fought three wars since 1947. Paris, France: sacre bleu! This years French grape harvest is the smallest in 10 years. Violent storms, a prolonged heat wave have all taken their toll. Hardest hit, vines producing Champaign and Beaujolais. Expect prices to, well, double up.
That’s tonight the “UPLINK.”
Coming up: a molester beat in prison by one of his alleged victims. How did they end up in the same cell together?
Also, al Qaeda in pursuit of anthrax? Find out just how close the terror network came to acquiring it.
And serial murder mystery. More than 100 women raped and killed in a small town. The bizarre case that’s drawn international attention.
First, let’s take a quick look at the top stories on tonight’s network evening newscasts.
COOPER: And welcome back.
In Florida, a story that seems to defy the odds: a bizarre and violent encounter inside a jail holding cell. A convicted child molester came face to face with one of his alleged former victims.
CNN’s John Zarrella details what happened next.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Jason Flores’ mother, Judy Coronett, doesn’t condone what he did, but she understands, and called his action “damn therapeutic.”
JUDY CORONETT, JASON FLORES’ MOTHER: Somebody has taken away your life, taken away your virginity, taken away your manhood, and has destroyed your life to the extent that Kinder has destroyed Jason and other boys. Heck, yeah. I mean, I would be revengeful.
ZARRELLA: The 22-year-old Flores, in jail on a probation violation, was placed in the same holding cell with this man, Kevin Kinder. Kinder is a convicted child molester. Eleven years ago, one of those victims was Jason Flores.
When Flores recognized Kinder as the man who molested him, police say Flores beat Kinder unconscious. Both men were on their way to separate court hearings at the time of the confrontation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this case, there was nothing in writing that basically specified that the two individuals had to be kept separately.
ZARRELLA: Kinder served six years for the assaults. Now he is serving 60 years for violating his probation. Police found a computer and notebook in his possession with pornographic materials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you agree that all the images on page six were pornographic.
ZARRELLA: After Kinder’s initial release, Coronett led a relentless campaign to get her son’s attacker back behind bars. Coronett says her son’s own problems with the law began after his molestation.
ZARRELLA: And now, Jason Flores faces another set of problems with the law. He has been charged with felony battery for his jailhouse attack on the man who molested him. Flores now faces up to five years in jail — Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Amazing story. John Zarrella, thanks very much tonight.
Some other developments to tell you about “Cross Country.”
Arizona: capital punishment. A man convicted of killing an Indian immigrant in the days after the September 11 attacks has been sentenced to death. The victim of Seikh (ph) was wearing a turban and beard. It’s believed the convicted man, Frank Rogue (ph), mistook him for an Arab.
New Jersey NFL lawsuit. The National Football League is being sued over a car crash that paralyzed a child. The girl’s parents say the NFL promotes the kind of behavior that led a fan to get drunk at a New York Giants’ game in 1999. He, then, hit the family’s car while driving home.
Las Vegas, Nevada: good news for magician Roy Horn and his fans. His doctors say he’s improving every day and has a 95 percent or better chance of surviving last Friday’s tiger attack.
And that’s a quick look at stories “Cross Country” tonight.
Tonight’s “Terror Watch” takes us to the realm of what might have been. Chilling new reports out today about al Qaeda and anthrax. Statements to U.S. interrogators suggest the terror network tried to purchase anthrax for use in a deadly biological weapon.
Miles O’Brien has details.
MILES O’BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fall of 2001. As U.S.-backed forces are routing the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership from Afghanistan, other suspected terror leaders are quietly leaving the country with the remnants of the group’s bioweapons program. They even set up a company in Kandahar, the emotional home of the Taliban and a known holdout for al Qaeda leaders. The company’s aim? To buy anthrax. How do we know this? Interrogation reports of this man, Bidwan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, a report seen by CNN’s Maria Ressa and reporters from other news organizations.
U.S. intelligence believes Hambali ran al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian branch. But the company never got the right kind of anthrax, and the plan never took off. Of course, al Qaeda’s pursuit of such weapons is well known. Documents CNN uncovered in Afghanistan that fall show a wide-ranging pursuit of toxins such as cyanide and ricin.
And ricin was the weapon found during a series of arrests last winter in Britain. Ricin made in a makeshift lab.
Officials from several governments tell CNN that those arrested have connections to a man known to be al Qaeda’s top bioterror expert. Investigators say they have evidence that al Qaeda still has a keen interest in launching a bioterror attack, but this latest report that al Qaeda’s anthrax program lacked the crucial ingredient as of late 2001 only bolsters the belief held by U.S. investigators that whoever it was that launched the successful anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, it wasn’t al Qaeda.
Miles O’Brien, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Well, falling in love with men doing time. Find out why some women give their hearts to drug dealers and murderers. All part of our weeklong series, “Sex, Violence and Favors: Life Behind Bars.”
Also tonight, the evidence against Kobe Bryant, it’s lurid, it’s graphic, and it is being broadcast around the world. How does Kobe Bryant fight back court? We’ll take a look.
And Rush to rehab. A look at a drug user’s descent into the bleary world of addiction.
COOPER: Well, all week long we’ve been looking at life behind bars. Tonight in our series conclusion, we focus on the women who stand by their men in prison. In New York state alone, 20 percent of prisoners are married.
Maria Hinojosa recently met one woman who did something that may sound unimaginable. She married a man just as he was going to prison. Decades later, they are still together. Take a look.
MARIA HINOJOSA, URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Allison Coleman and her daughter Cecily are planning a normal weekend visit with dad. ALLISON COLEMAN, MARRIED INMATE: That doesn’t make the metal detector go off, does it?
HINOJOSA: In this family, normal means weekly visits to Jay (ph) in prison. They married the day he was sentenced 23 years ago. Intimate visits haven’t been an option in six years.
A. COLEMAN: I feel strongly about history in relationships. And we have a very long history.
HINOJOSA: The Osborne Association has counseled about 100 prison wives in the last six months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two million people in prison in the United States. Most of them are there on drug-related cases. Most of them are pretty normal folks.
HINOJOSA: So it’s no surprise to them why women marry inmates.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we have are men who are able to communicate, who, for the first time in their lives, are listening to women in a different way than they ever had.
HINOJOSA: That’s what makes it special for Cecily.
C. COLEMAN: When I compare it with other “normal families,” yes, I would say, oh, Jenny (ph) gets to go out with dad and I don’t. But Jenny (ph) didn’t go to visit him and spend eight hours with her father with undivided attention.
HINOJOSA: Even if that level of attention has its price.
A. COLEMAN: I said to somebody recently, “I’m going to take a trip north to see the yellow and orange and red of the leaves and the green of my husband’s state issued pants.” That, to me, sounded funny.
HINOJOSA: Jay (ph) could be paroled and free to finally join her in just two years. Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Albany, New York.
COOPER: Well, that’s the story of one woman who has married a man on his way to prison. Now we want to look at a very different phenomenon: women who actually seem to seek out criminals, even killers, for romance.
Sheila Isenberg is the author of “Women Who Love Men Who Kill.” She joins us now from upstate New York. Appreciate you joining us, Sheila. You know, the most obvious question is why? Why are some women attracted to men behind bars and particular to killers?
SHEILA ISENBERG, AUTHOR, “WOMEN WHO LOVE MEN WHO KILL”: Well, it’s kind of a complicated series of reasons. But the first reason is that if you are in a relationship with a man behind bars for life or a man on death row, then you have a lot of control over the relationship. You can decide when to make the visit, when to accept the phone call, or if to accept it, and you are that man’s link with the outside world. So it’s very much…
COOPER: It’s a powerful feeling, I suppose. You…
ISENBERG: Control, yes.
COOPER: Control. You’ve drawn a psychological profile of some of these women I think you refer to as the four D’s. Tell us about that.
ISENBERG: Right. Well, one of the D’s is dysfunction. The women I interviewed for my book, “Women Who Love Men Who Kill,” most of them came from dysfunctional pasts. Either childhood, sexual, psychological, or physical abuse, or a first marriage that was dysfunctional. So that when they get into a relationship with a man in prison, who showers them with affection and intensity and romance, it’s very wonderful.
Plus, they’re in control. And he can’t hurt them. So it’s a safe relationship.
COOPER: And the other D’s?
ISENBERG: Well, there’s denial, which is her — the woman’s actually denying the fact that the man has committed murder. And in most cases, that’s what sustains the relationship.
Another one is delusion. The woman basically thinks she’s in love, but she is not really in love. It’s a sort of romantic kind of love. It’s a courtly love that harkens back to the medieval days, where there’s no sex, no real intimacy, just romance, passion and intensity.
COOPER: Well, let’s talk about the delusion, though. I mean, because you have people like the Menendez brothers in custody. You have Ted Bundy, who I think even fathered a child with a woman who was one of these groupies.
COOPER: I mean, are some people drawn to the fame of a Ted Bundy, Menendez brothers?
ISENBERG: When you have a man with notoriety, like a serial killer, like Ted Bundy, or Richard Ramirez, or the Menendez brothers, or someone who’s on trial now, like Scott Peterson, there is a different element. Then the woman is also attracted to the notoriety and the fame, and, you know, this is her 15 minutes for some of them.
COOPER: I’ve read John Wayne Gacy — I mean, this is a guy, you know, a convicted murderer, rapist, I think of 33 young boys. Even he was getting love letters? ISENBERG: Yes. There’s a book published with a collection of letters that women sent to him basically throwing themselves at him and offering to have a relationship. And John Wayne Gacy actually did have a relationship, a committed relationship, with a woman who was delusional and in denial and did not believe that he had committed the murders even though he was on death row and about to the executed.
COOPER: So being convicted is one thing. As you mentioned, Scott Peterson, who has not been convicted, but he is in custody…
ISENBERG: Right. And he is quite notorious.
COOPER: And I suppose that sort of brings another level, where the women who believe he is innocent and, therefore, writing to him?
ISENBERG: Right. And that’s where the fourth “D” comes in, devotion. In my book, I talk about a woman who was a juror in a murder trial. She was one of the jurors who convicted a man, and then later on she started to visit him in prison because she felt badly for him.
And after a few visits, they began to form a relationship, and they sort of fell in love and they ended up getting married. And she was so devoted to him that she left her children, left her hometown, left her job, and went to live near the prison.
COOPER: It is…
ISENBERG: I mean, the stories of devotion are incredible, yes.
COOPER: It’s a fascinating phenomenon. Sheila Isenberg, appreciate you joining us to talk about it. Thanks.
ISENBERG: You’re welcome.
COOPER (voice-over): How will the lurid details from Kobe Bryant’s accuser affect the jury pool?
And, a chilling murder mystery on the Mexican border.
We’ll be right back.
COOPER: All right. Let’s look at the night’s top stories an “The Reset.” Washington challenging Castro, speaking to a group that included Cuban exiles, President Bush declared Cuba must change. He announced new steps against the government of Fidel Castro, including tougher enforcement of travel restrictions.
Tucson, Arizona, eye in the sky. The Homeland Security Department is testing aerial drones along the U.S./Mexican border that may be used to detect drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. Baghdad, Iraq. Angry aftermath. There were anti-American protests in Baghdad, Sadr City neighborhood, after violence that killed two U.S. soldiers last night. U.S. commanders say the Americans were ambushed. Witnesses say two Iraqis also died.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Appeal rejected. Pennsylvania Supreme Court has turned down the latest appeal by convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. A former radio reporter and ex-Black Panther, Abu-Jamal has spent 21 years on death row.
San Francisco, California, suspect charged. Prosecutors have identified a suspect in bombings at two companies allegedly involved with animal testing. They are looking for this man, 25-year-old Daniel Andreas San Diego, a vegan and well-known animal rights activist. And that’s a look at tonight’s “Reset.”
More now on the bombshell that Rush Limbaugh dropped on his radio listeners today. Confirmation that he is addicted to prescription painkillers. He said he has tried to kick the habit before and he is giving it another try, starting today.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Immediately following this broadcast, I will check myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days, to once and for all break the hold that this highly addictive medication has on me.
COOPER: Well, so what is Rush Limbaugh facing now? We’re joined in Anaheim by Dr. Clifford Bernstein, medical defector of the Waismann Institute, a substance abuse treatment center specializing in opiate addictions. Appreciate you joining us, doctor.
These drugs, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, how powerful are they? How hard are they to kick?
DR. CLIFFORD BERNSTEIN, WAISMANN INSTITUTE: These drugs are very hard to kick and they are very powerful. Some of the drugs, like OxyContin, can be just as hard to kick as heroin.
COOPER: Why is it people do get hooked on these? I mean, how does the cycle of addiction start?
BERNSTEIN: Well, there are many different ways people can start. Some people can start with just recreational use. And other people, and most of the people that get started on prescription drugs, get introduced to it by a physician. Maybe they hurt their back or they had a toothache and need some painkiller. Often times people realize that they like the feeling the painkiller gives them. It makes them mellow. It can take away a lot of stress and anxiety. They can function very well.
So it’s very easy for them to justify in their own mind that maybe they still need the painkiller, even though their back pain might be improving, if that was what they were originally taking the drug for.
COOPER: Long-term, does it affect someone’s temperament?
BERNSTEIN: Yes, the drug can affect your mood and your temperament. It’s usually noticed by your loved ones at first, because they are the ones that are exposed to you the most.
But in between taking the doses of medication, once you become hooked on it, people start, you know, to have a little bit of withdrawal. And that withdrawal can be very noticeable. And that’s when people really get moody, because they’re starting to feel sick, they’re starting to get stomach cramps, and maybe some diarrhea, and just a general…
COOPER: I want to go — I want to go into some detail on that withdrawal in just a moment. Let’s listen to what Rush Limbaugh said today about what he’s tried in the past to do to kick this habit.
LIMBAUGH: Over the past several years I’ve tried to break my dependence on pain pills. And in fact, I’ve twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so.
COOPER: He apparently has now checked himself in tonight. Describe, if you will, the withdrawal? You started to just a little bit. How tough is it? What is it like?
BERNSTEIN: Well, the withdrawal from opiates can be extremely hard to make it through, which is why the success rate is so abysmal. The one year’s success rate of staying clean off opiates is about 15 percent. So it’s not surprising that somebody will go through a traditional rehab and still go back to using the drugs.
The withdrawal can be shaking, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, very bad stomach cramps, bone aches.
COOPER: Limbaugh has said he will be away for 30 days, for a month. Is a month long enough time to kick this thing?
BERNSTEIN: Well, depending on how much OxyContin someone is taking, the withdrawal syndrome can be three or four weeks. And then you have very bad cravings.
COOPER: Dr. Bernstein, appreciate you joining us tonight to try to shed some light on this. It’s a tough thing. A lot of people facing it throughout the U.S. Dr. Bernstein, thanks very much.
BERNSTEIN: You’re welcome.
COOPER: Time for justice served now. In Durham, North Carolina, a dramatic tale of sex, money, politics and murder. As novelist and one-time mayoral candidate, Michael Peterson, is convicted of murder for killing his wife. CNN’s Art Harris reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ART HARRIS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was hardly the ending novelist Michael Peterson would have written for himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty of first-degree murder.
HARRIS: The 59-year-old writer then turned to face his family. And was heard to tell them, “I love you. It will be all right.” Then, came his sentence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant is imprisoned in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for the remainder of his natural life without the benefit of parole.
HARRIS: Peterson was charged with beating his wife, Kathleen, then staging her death as an accident, a fall down steps at their $900,000 mansion, after a night of drinking to celebrate selling his novel to Hollywood.
MICHAEL PETERSON: Quick, get somebody here right away.
HARRIS: Police found Kathleen in a pool of blood, and intrigue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How in the world can someone get 38 injuries over their face, back, head, hands, arms and wrists by falling down some steps?
HARRIS: While the defense claimed a happy marriage, prosecutors raised motives from bisexuality to profit. Cashing in on his wife’s hefty life insurance policy.
Another twist. His wife’s murder bore eerie similarities to the death of family friend Elizabeth Ratliff (ph) in 1985, last seen with Peterson. Her body was exhumed earlier this year. An autopsy showed she, too, had been beaten to death.
Her two daughters, who were adopted and raised by Peterson, wept as he was led away.
Art Harris, CNN.
COOPER: I want to return now to that other courtroom action we’ve been watching very closely, the sexual assault case against basketball star Kobe Bryant. As we mentioned earlier, the preliminary hearing resumes next Wednesday, after several hours of graphic testimony yesterday in Eagle, Colorado.
Joining us to discuss the session and where things stand now are Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom, and from Philadelphia, CNN contributor, Michael Smerconish. Appreciate both of you joining us.
Lisa, let’s start off with you. Pamela Mackey, the defense attorney, used the alleged victim’s name several times in yesterday’s hearing, she said it was an accident. Accident or not, what’s behind it?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, she is six times in violation of the judge’s order from last Tuesday, saying that the victim’s privacy was of paramount importance in this case. I don’t think an attorney of that caliber makes that kind of mistake six times in a courtroom.
COOPER: So if it wasn’t a mistake, why did she do it?
BLOOM: I think she did it for two reasons. She wants to impress her client by showing how aggressive she is. I think clients tend to choose lawyers like themselves, and she wants to show off a little bit, how aggressive she can be. She knows how much she can push it. She wasn’t sanctioned in the courtroom.
The other reason was that she just wants to show the world that she’s going to go after this victim, tooth and nail, say her name, attack her credibility, attack her promiscuity, supposedly, as she did later.
COOPER: Michael, do you buy this — it was an accident?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. It was no accident. And I think the third reason was to send the message to the alleged victim herself that this is hardball and the gloves are going to come off.
Also, that bit about, you know, three sex partners within three days, that was really astounding and I think it had the same intended effect, to tell this woman, you’re in for a rough ride.
COOPER: Do you think that could backfire, though, on the defense?
SMERCONISH: She’s got to have the goods. I mean, for Pamela Mackey to make that statement, even in a preliminary hearing, Anderson, she better be able to show up with three guys at the trial who are going to claim that they had sex with that woman within a three-day time period. If she can’t, then I think she did something unethical.
BLOOM: And you know, Michael, it’s not only disgusting, as you say, it is unethical. It violates at least three separate Colorado rules of professional responsibility. She’s got to have a good-faith basis for it. The judge did sustain that objection. There was an hour off camera, in chambers discussing it. I think she was admonished there. But she should have been sanctioned. It should have been more serious.
SMERCONISH: But Lisa, if she has three guys prepared to say that, I think it is relevant and it does come in as an exception to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Colorado rape shield law. BLOOM: Not necessarily. She didn’t establish any timeframe on that question.
SMERCONISH: If they’re close in time.
BLOOM: It could have been three guys from three years ago. That wouldn’t have caused the lacerations and the tears that they’re talking about in this case.
COOPER: Does the rape shield law, though, Michael, come into effect at all?
SMERCONISH: Absolutely. Because, Anderson, if they say this woman had a vaginal tear as a result of Kobe Bryant and Pamela Mackey can introduce the testimony of 3 guys who say that they had sex with this woman close in time to this encounter and if that all offers an alternative explanation for those vaginal tears, that testimony comes in as an exception to the shield law.
BLOOM: You know Michael, you’re missing the point. This is not about consensual sex. Consensual sex doesn’t not usually cause many vaginal tears not as are alleged in this case, not to mention, the victim’s blood on Kobe Bryant’s t-shirt and injuries to her neck area. She has the right to consent with whoever she wants in this country. It doesn’t have any relevance to the case. And the rape shield law does protects her from that kind of evidence coming in.
SMERCONISH: Let me just remind you that we don’t know which of the two of them is the real victim at this stage, and the victim might be Kobe Bryant.
BLOOM: Well, but we do know what the rape shield laws do. They protect her from this kind of smear other than reputation. Pamela Mackey knew that. She pushed the envelope. And the objection was sustained. But she should have been sanctioned. It should have been more serious.
COOPER: Let me jump in here, because this notion of this young woman having multiple partners within a short span of time, Michael sort of bringing it up as perhaps have be a physical evidence or may explain some sort of tearing. Was it being brought up for that reason, though, or was it in some way brought up to imply that this alleged victim perhaps has a reputation?
BLOOM: It was one question. It was not explained. But the question centered on the woman, not on the injuries. Consensual sex does not usually lead to tears, bruises and blood. That’s the point the prosecution is trying to make.
COOPER: Michael, final point. Were you surprised Kobe Bryant’s wife was not in court?
SMERCONISH: Not surprised at all. I was surprised that this took place, but now I understand the reason. We were worried the prosecution was going to poison a potential jury pool. Now we’re looking at it saying, maybe the defense did. COOPER: Final thought Lisa?
BLOOM: Final thought is why was Vanessa not there? She’s made public statements supporting him. She has not appeared at either court proceeding. She got a $4 million ring, but maybe it didn’t apply to those court proceedings?
COOPER: You’re cynical, Lisa. All right Lisa Bloom, Michael Smerconish, appreciate you both join us.
Coming up, hundreds of women killed in one small town. The murder mystery that is drawing worldwide attention.
Also, welcome to Middlesborough, Kentucky. Look out for meteors. We’ll explain that one.
And little bit later on, Quentin Tarantino is at it again. We’ll talk about “Kill Bill” and a couple other movies you might want to check out this weekend.
COOPER: 360@CNN.com.
This weekend a half dozen members of Congress are headed for the Mexican City of Juarez right across the border from El Paso, Texas hoping to draw attention to a mystery of really staggering portions. The murders of more than 300 women over the past decade. At least 100 of them unsolved.
COOPER (voice-over): Each cross represents a victim. And there are hundreds. Some were mutilated. Others classified sexual murders. One victim was, Brenda Luna. Her mother told CNN…
MARIA LUNA, MOTHER OF VICTIM (through translator): The people in charge of justice here need to do more.
COOPER: There are countless theories: a serial killer, several serial killers, perhaps even copycat killers. The “New Yorker” magazine reports, polls show most Mexicans believe the women are victims of an organ harvesting ring, though the evidence is reportedly thin.
Another possibility the “New Yorker” says, investigators are seriously considering, the women are being killed for sport.
The search for answers continues, but a Mexican special prosecutor who talked to CNN seemed pessimistic.
“There’s a good chance,” he says, “many of the cases will never be solved.”
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Joining us now with more on the Juarez murders Diana Washington Valdez. He is a reporter with the “El Paso Times” and is also finishing up a book on the murders called “Harvest of Women”. Diana, appreciate you join us.
You’ve been tracking these murders a long time. About 100 of them are sexual homicides. What is the pattern and could it be a serial killer?
DIANA WASHINGTON VALDEZ, “EL PASO TIMES”: Experts told us there are at least two or more serial killers and other situations involved here with suspects. Most of the women who have been victimized were tortured, stabbed, strangled, mutilated. Ages have ranged from 14 to 17 years old. Your average victim.
COOPER: Juarez is a transient town. A population of some 2 million people. Does the fact that it is so transient play into this in any way?
VALDEZ: Not really. Once you’ve analyzed the victims’ profiles, where they were last seen and how close they were to each other, you can see there is a selection process going on that involves looking at these girls for a time before they are abducted.
COOPER: Let’s talk about the authorities’ reaction to all this. I want to read from you an “Amnesty International” report. It was entitled “Intolerable Killings.” I’m going to put part of it on the screen.
Quote, “The failure of the competent authorities to take action to investigate these crimes, whether through indifference, lack of will, negligence or inability has been blatant over the last 10 years.”
Have they dropped the ball on this? Are they investigating this thoroughly enough?
VALDEZ: Well we know from some FBI accounts in which our authorities have given the Mexican authorities credible leads, that these leads were not followed up on the Mexican side. Leads about suspects, modus operandi and so forth.
COOPER: So many people. So many victims. Diana Washington Valdez, appreciate you trying to shed light on this. Thank you.
Well, coming up next on 360 the movie “Kill Bill.” Some are calling it, frankly, the bloodiest American movie ever. We’re going to take a look at that
Also tonight, a lot of towns are just holes, but how many of proud of it? You’ll see why this one is. Stay with us.
COOPER: Ah, “The Weekender.” Uma Thurman may be the one raking up the body count this weekend, but as we put together today’s “Weekender” segment we realized that the two big movies that have been getting intense buzz are really getting the buzz because of who’s behind the cameras. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): Director Quentin Tarantino is back, bloodier than ever. In “Kill Bill,” his first film in six years, Uma Thurman plays a sword-yielding, high-kicking, limb-slicing bride. There’s also deadly school girls, one-eyed women, knife-wielding moms and plenty of cinematic wet kisses, to spaghetti westerns, kung-fu flicks and Italian horror movies.
If your taste runs to more loquacious genres, try a helping of “Intolerable Cruelty.”
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I assume you’re a carnivore.
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, ACTRESS: Oh, Mr. Massey, you have no idea.
COOPER: It’s a classic, smart screwball comedy directed by the Coen brothers.
And if you’re looking for something to take the kids to, “Good Boy!” reveals the ugly but irresistibly cute truth about dogs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may look to you like people are in charge. But let’s face it. You don’t see us picking up their poop.
COOPER: The dogs, it turns out, are actually aliens.
If you like your aliens less house-trained — on DVD, “The Matrix: Reloaded” is coming out next week. Features include the making of the video game. Also on DVD, the first season of the British television comedy “The Office.” If you want to catch the second season, it starts Sunday on BBC America.
And in music — does Clay Aiken have what it takes to be a pop star? We’ll find out next week, when his CD, “The Measure of a Man,” is released.
COOPER: You can do it, Clay, you can do it!
Time to check “The Current” for today’s pop culture news.
A new poll says 16 percent of Americans are tattooed; 34 percent of those with inks said the tats make them feel sexier. The survey only included results for people who actually remember getting tattooed.
“School of Rock” professor emeritus, Jack Black, tells Sharon Osbourne he wants to be her husband. Black says he wants to play Ozzy Osbourne in the movie of his life. Black said, quote, “if anyone’s Ozzy, I’m Ozzy.” Osbourne was not available for comment, but in the past has said (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Thank you very much. Fangoria reports that New Line Cinema is considering a sequel to “Freddy v. Jason,” that would add a third combatant, the lead character from the “Evil Dead” trilogy. The story marks the first time CNN has ever used the phrase “Fangoria Reports.”
The WB is relaunching “Lost in Space,” the classic ’60s series about a family that gets lost in space. The series will not include the character of Dr. Jonathan Smith, well remembered as part of TV’s first openly gay couple.
There aren’t too many towns in America that can honestly brag that they were founded 300 million years ago. In fact, there may well be only one, Middlesboro, Kentucky. His founding father is one very big rock that fell a very long time ago, a meteor that helped create the town and is now actually helping to revive it. Here’s CNN’s Bruce Burkhardt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a wide, green valley, shaped by a meteor eons ago.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): William Watson, a lawyer in Middlesboro, Kentucky, was inspired to write a poem.
Judy Barton (ph) was inspired to promote tourism for this mining town that has seen better days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I doubt that they’ve ever been to a town in a crater. Have you?
BURKHARDT: Though most around here have known it for some time, it was just recently made official by geologists. Middlesboro, Kentucky, is built inside a meteor crater, believed to be the only town in the country with such an honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is fascinating, isn’t it?
BURKHARDT: Tom Shaddick (ph) gives tours through the historic Cumberland (ph) gap right next door to Middlesboro. It’s the passageway to the west, blazed by Daniel Boone and other early pioneers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really, a historical spot. And just think a meteorite right next to it. How about that?
BURKHARDT: Three hundred million years ago. We can only imagine. And do a low-budget re-creation to show what it was that put Middlesboro on the map. That’s one way of looking at it.
This might be a better way. Geologist Keith Milan (ph) demonstrates using a paintball gun, a tray full of flour and coffee grounds on top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here you see, we’ve got an excavated crater. And you also see that we have the white stuff, the flour, being thrown up from below.
BURKHARDT: The geologists figure the center of the impact was here, the golf course, a 1,500-foot wide rock makes a cosmic hole in one.
(on camera): How is life different for you now that you know you’re in a crater?
BURKHARDT (voice-over): All right. So maybe it will be the same, with the exception, they’re hoping, of a few more tourists.
Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Middlesboro, Kentucky.
COOPER: Well, coming up next on 360, Congress is giving America’s servicemen a taste of Shakespeare. Haven’t they suffered enough? We’re going to take that to “The Nth Degree.”
COOPER: Tonight, Bill Shakespeare to “The Nth Degree.” AP reports that Congress have approved a million bucks so U.S. troops can see his classic works. That thrill then may be moved so many people through all history.
But might young troops view Congress with some scorn for giving them some blank verse old story, when many might prefer a stack of porn? They’re far from home and miss compassion’s touch, in deserts of such big diameter ’tis no surprise that men might not have much a yearn for tales in iambic pentameter? ‘Tis all the program time will now allow, but coming up next is “PAULA ZAHN NOW.”
Case: Courtroom Uproar; Philly Mayor Subject of Federal Investigation
Source: CNN

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