ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES Hurricane Jeanne Poised To Strike Florida; Kerry Says Iraq War A Diversion From War On Terror; Interview With Iraqi Hostage Survivor Aired September 24, 2004 – 19:00 ET THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. … Hunting for evidence against Michael Jackson, a surprise raid on his assistant’s house. Is the prosecution on the right track, or desperately searching for a case? … Coming up next on 360, Michael Jackson’s search warrant. Police raid the offices of his personal assistant. The question is, is it a show of strength, or are they grasping at straws? Plus, disgraced teacher Mary Kay Letourneau, she served time for raping her student. Now she shares for the first time how it all unfolded. Also, great white shark shows up where it shouldn’t be. Check it out. Find out where the killer of the sea is headed for now. All that ahead. First, let’s take a look at your picks, the most popular stories on CNN.com right now. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, the state’s case against Michael Jackson has taken a surprising turn, a raid on his assistant’s house. Now, personal assistants to celebrities don’t usually make headlines. Michael Jackson’s assistant now finds herself front and center in the child molestation case against the singer. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Thelma Gutierrez has details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Santa Barbara County sheriff’s investigators recently raided this Sherman Oaks home belonging to Michael Jackson’s personal assistant, a move that has stunned some legal observers. ARTHUR BARRONS, LEGAL ANALYST: They either feel that their alleged victim is not totally credible or is inconsistent somehow, or perhaps outright unsupportable, and they’re looking for some other way to salvage their position. GUTIERREZ: Court documents released this week show on September 15 authorities seized personal papers and files kept by Jackson’s assistant, including a fax sent from the pop star to his lawyer about possible trial witnesses, and three files labeled with the name of Jackson’s lead attorney, Tom Mesereau. BARRONS: Anything with counsel’s name on it would involve attorney-client privilege and the attorney’s work product. This is a severe and grievous violation of the attorney-client privilege. GUTIERREZ: So why are authorities still hunting for more evidence against Jackson five months after he was indicted on charges of child molestation? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could mean that prosecutors think they have a weak case, they’re desperate to shore it up in any way they can. It could mean that there are productive new veins that they’re discovering, and there could be even ongoing criminal conduct. GUTIERREZ: Last November, sheriff’s deputies raided the office of private investigator Brad Miller, who was then working for Jackson’s attorney Mark Geragos, who has since left the case. (on camera): The defense filed an emergency application to seal all items seized in the most recent raid. That motion was granted, but the judge must decide whether the evidence is admissible. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Covering the case for us tonight in Philadelphia is Michael Smerconish, CNN contributor and attorney. Michael, good to see you. It’s a, I mean, it’s a not, it’s a surprising thing, raiding this assistant’s house. Why do you think they’re doing it? Is this just a fishing expedition? MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: One extreme or the other, either because the prosecution is scared to death of the case, and maybe it’s disintegrating, or perhaps because, through the course of ongoing investigation, they found something else that causes them to believe that there’s ongoing criminal conduct. Here’s the issue that I’m thinking about. Michael Jackson is not the sort of a person that I envision sending out his own facsimiles. That’s probably a duty that’s relegated to the personal assistant. And what’s being reported by the Jackson defense team is that certain faxed documents were found in the home of the personal assistant relative to trial witnesses. Anderson, if that’s the case, if it’s a fax where Michael Jackson, by way of hypothetical, is passing judgment on potential trial witnesses, and sending his thoughts to his lawyer, that is clear… COOPER: Which is what the defense is saying right now. I mean, the defense is saying that some of these documents were from Michael Jackson advising potential witnesses. SMERCONISH: Then it would absolutely cross the line. I mean, my God, the prosecution may as well go in and serve a search warrant on the defense lawyers’ offices and cut to the chase already. I can’t imagine that that sort of information is going to come into evidence. And that’s why my hunch is, more a sign of desperation than one of strength. COOPER: Desperation what, theoretically, because they don’t have confidence in their witness, don’t have confidence… SMERCONISH: You know… COOPER: … that the kid can hold up, the kid’s mother can hold up? SMERCONISH: You know, Anderson, I was here recently with you, and we talked about the fact that the kid’s mother really got beat up by Tom Mesereau, and this comes on the heel of the Kobe Bryant case disintegrating. Why? Because they played hardball with the accuser in that particular case. So who’s to say, maybe after Mom recently testified, she’s all of a sudden got some cold feet, the prosecution is looking to build their case elsewhere. That’s speculation on my part, but I don’t think that it’s unreasonable. COOPER: Michael Smerconish, always good to talk with you. Thanks, Michael. SMERCONISH: Thank you. Source: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0409/24/acd.00.html

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