tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC November 29, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
is reassessing his campaign, as de after the iowa straw poll. joining me today, robert, d.c. bureau chief for the comcast network, julia from "the financial times" and msnbc contributor mike barnacle and politico's ben white. thank you for joining me. breaking-ish news. unconfirmed but herman cain is reassessing his campaign. what is the prognosis? >> i would say the prognosis is pretty negative for herman cain at this point. it was never going to be the republican nominee for president. he's not now. but this is something, a 13-year affair, the charges -- but the allegations sound credible. this is something that both breaks up a marriage and ends a political campaign. >> right. >> it's on life support. >> it ends it for herman cain. if not today, but tomorrow. >> he made major gaffes, whether it comes to abortion, whatever it may be, but from a personal standpoint a lot of voters and maybe his wife and family are saying, herman, enough is
enough. >> a 13-year affair, it's very different from a few random, isolated examples. i mean, this is something basically remeditated, went on for a long time and does lay open to a lot of hypocrisy charges. >> this is between two consenting adults. four or five women that have sort of alleged sexual harassment, which is a breach of trust, which in some way is if not illegal it's morally, i think, questionable in a way that an affair -- well, we could argue an affair is, too, but it's interesting on me that this would potentially be the nail in his campaign coffin. >> he's a family values candidate. he's run in iowa as a friend to the right and social conservatives. they don't like sexual harassment, they don't like infidelity, particularly not for 13 years. >> say what you want about -- >> mike barnacle has a list. >> he shouldn't reassess his campaign. he should reassess his marriage.
b, the only way to remain viable in the campaign is to perhaps show up with the 125 million women in this country who he hasn't fooled around with. >> that's right. the multitudes. >> yes. c, there's an element of this that is a shame on us element within the media. by that i mean, we have effectively blocked out legitimate candidates like huntsman by covering clowns like herman cain. >> i will tell you, i talk about huntsman as much as i possibly can. >> but someplace right now, this america's eat your spinach moment. what they need right now is a grown-up candidate who can actually talk sense, who's not going to provide, you know, whacky entertainment but is actually going to be sensible. >> newt gingrich, who has had a history of infidelity? i mean, this is the question. >> look, here's the unfortunate truth. the unfortunate truth is that there's many politicians out there that are survived sex scandals. go back to bill clinton and so forth. that's not the real issue. the real issue is whether or not the american people are
comfortable with a candidate that has some of these issues. when you take a look at herman cain, there was an interesting phenomenon, the 9-9-9 plan, very simplistic, overly simplistic but the american people, according to the polls said, this is something here because for the first time throughout this presidential campaign so far, someone is talking directly to me. so you can't dismiss that. >> right. but let's be honest about herman cain, i actually think -- i think what we do in this business more and more is confuse what happens on cable in a 24-hour cycle with something that's of lasting interest to the american public. i don't think it is. i think we occasionally show something that has legs. but in the course of how we have come to cover campaigns, especially electronically, we really miss the mark. we really miss the mark. >> how would you explain cain's poll numbers then? that's not just a media creation. >> and that's -- >> there's a need he's filling there. >> a sense of amusement. >> and a sense of straight talk,
i think. he did connect with people on a level of -- i understand what this guy is saying. he has a simple plan. i'm not saying he's a real good candidate. he doesn't know anything about foreign policy, not know where libya is. >> when you say he connects with people, do you mean he connects with people or -- >> with voters. >> -- connects with voters in the republican primary? those are the polls. if he's connecting with those people in the room, let's check out who's in the room. >> but i think he has a great point. what you're looking for right now is entertainment. >> right. >> it's not real analysis of the issues. a hershey bar search, not the spinach search. >> but isn't that the media chasing its tail, too? you have to cover herman cain because he's at the top of the polls, therefore he gets more expo you're, gives him a leg up. the american public is -- i mean, it's a self-perpetuating cycle. >> go back to newt gingrich. he has his own skeletons. say, angry, belligerent but brilliant so the question becomes, whether or not the american electorate, regardless
if republican or democrat f they're going to take him serious as a credible candidate. it's not about being humerus, it's about being serious. these are serious problems this country is facing. one can make the argument, say whatever you want about his personal life, newt gingrich could be the answer to some people's prayers, some people. >> and herman cain and gingrich are inflated because they're magnetic on the television but newt has a command of the issues, newt has a command of history and an ego to match. >> and also been forthright about his three personal -- whatever you want to call that. >> divorces. >> divorces, extra-martial affairs. he's been very transparent. >> that's the advantage newt has as a guy that's been around for a long time. this is a known quantity. all of his skeletons are out there, vetted. some of his financial dealings we're learning more about -- >> going to tiffany's tonight? >> gingrich is doing well because he did with in debates. he can come up with meat and
potatoes answers to questions in a way herman cain cannot so he's rising as the alternative to mitt romney. i don't think it's a flash in the pan. >> this is my favorite gingrich quote of late where he's talking about the only -- well, i won't cover the sound myself. but it's a radio interview from earlier today where he's talking about christ and christ's perfection from yesterday, i believe. 4. >> anybody who is honest knows no person except christ has ever been perfect. so i don't claim to be the perfect candidate. i just claim to be a lot more conservative than mitt romney. and a lot more electable than anybody else. >> a lot more electable than anybody else the new addendum -- >> what's interesting about that is that he went right after mitt romney in a way he hasn't before. in debates he was uniter of the policy, we shouldn't fight each other, we're fighting barack obama but now he takes seriously that he's high up in the polls and a credible threat so he's going after romney saying i'm the conservative candidate inspect you can't believe
anything romney says. >> listen to who he's talking to and where he's talk pentagon. south carolina, a key presidential primary state, also on talk radio and talking about issues that talk radio people like to talk about, which is social value issues. i didn't mean to cut you off. >> for me the interesting question is, how is mitt romney going to respond? is he going to carry on, trying to rise above the fray or is he going to have to come out and get a bit dirty now? >> i think he has to engage gingrich. running this campaign against president obama, which makes sense when you're the de facto nominee but begin rich nin begi leading in the polls. >> this is a -- that sound bite you just played is a fedex envelope to southern new hampshire. because he knows with union leader endorsement, what comes
with the endorsement -- the endorsement is nothing. what comes with the endorsement is the daily drum beat against any opposition candidate now to newt gingrich, so that is just feeding into the endorsement, feeding into i'm more conservative than he is, so get out and vote. >> you're exactly right. this is a fundamental conversation at republican parties. what you really have, you have a moderate candidate in mitt romney or a conservative candidate in newt gingrich, which direction do you want to go? >> exactly, there are ads with nancy pelosi, even his stance on immigration which he -- >> look, i'm with you. >> but only on three issues. only immigration -- only immigration. it's a big issue but when you take a look at newt gingrich's voting record from 197 to 1908 when he was in congress, 87% conservative. conservatives like him. >> have you done that actually? >> yeah. >> you have to get a hobby. >> i know, i know. but look, conservatives trust him. >> the answer is yes. >> conservatives trust him but they don't trust romney. the question they have to ask
themselves is who do you to want go against obama. >> how can you trust -- look, the white house has a mound of opposition -- >> on the policy issues, and he has tried to deal with the personal life issue up front. oddly enough, i think he is playing to this trust card. i mean, extraordinary turn-about in the whole saga. >> there is so much more of this saga to be continued after the break. we will be talking about mitt romney, about team obama strategy and more on president biden's surprise trip to iraq. the employee of the month is... spark card from capital one. spark cash gives me the most rewards of any small business credit card. it's hard for my crew to keep up with 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. 2% cash back. that's setting the bar pretty high. thanks to spark, owning my own business has never been more rewarding. [ male announcer ] introducing spark the small business credit cards from capital one. get more by choosing unlimited double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day.
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>> that was mitt romney speaking this morning about the dnc ad painting him as a flip-flopper. we are dealing with a lot of news, vis-a-vis the 20 12 range, a attempted game cain changer. herman cain saying, not confirmed, but he may be reassessing his position in the field. i want to talk about mitt romney. we talked about him a little before the break. he's largely running a campaign against the white house right now and i think the white house has helped him to some degree in sort of painting him as the front of front-runner. does he have to engage with newt gingrich and the rest of the field and cement that position? >> i think he does. he's running under the assumption he's the nominee and he's probably right. ultimately if he wins new hampshire big and south carolina, he could run the table and get the nomination. there are a lot of conservatives who don't trust him, will change his mind given political winds on anything and immigration -- on any issue he's not solid so.
gingrich is rising above him who is a guy who says, i'll say what you think. you may not agree with me on everything, but i'm honest. he has to take on gingrich now and sell his candidacy to conservatives not just run against obama. >> we think is he the front-runner, and yet he's not at the top of all the polls. a 5% hit could really take him out. >> he's a weak leader. no question about it. there's a lot of holes in his candidacy. what we saw mitt romney engage newt gingrich on immigration. you see him trying to nip at his sails. the question is how's offensive mitt romney will be in some battleground states such as iowa now that mitt romney is now playing in iowa, such as south carolina, we saw newt gingrich obviously going after mitt romney to a certain degree and also even more importantly in new hampshire and mitt romney's backyard, how aggressively and domineering romney is willing to play. that's the question over the next couple weeks. >> the delegates going to republican convention and people voting in iowa caucuses, new hampshire primary and other primaries, they have to figure
out, do they want to sit in the backseat of a car, being driven by thelma and louise or do they want to arrive at their destination, which is 1600 pennsylvania avenue? that's really for them to figure out. and if you look at the field, it would seem to i think a neutral observer, which i consider myself to be, is that romney would have the best shot against barack obama, other than jon huntsman who has no shot at getting that nomination. so, they've got to figure out if they can define the word w-i-n. do they want to win? it's as simple as that. >> i think robert makes a very good point. newt gingrich is not just a flamboyant personality. he has policy clout. and i think that for mitt romney to assume that he can simply stand by and wait until he burns out, as all the other would-be burnt out to date, would be a mistake. he has to deal with him on policy issues and lay out choices that face the republican party now. >> i want to be clear. we have confirmed that herman cain is reassessing but not have
confirmed whether he's out or not. i want to talk about how the white house factors into this. i want to play choice sound from barney frank talking about gingrich versus romney as a nominee. >> lived a good enough life to be rewarded by newt gingrich being the republican nominee. it still is unlikely but i have hopes. he would be the best thing that happened to the democratic since barry goldwater. >> you saw barney frank do that, you saw bill clinton trot that out a little bit. no question they want gingrich to be the nominee because he's the most definable and probably the most imbedded personality on the american political scene in our generation, just in terms of whether you really like him or really, really hate him. a lot of independents out there in the presidential battleground states of michigan, pennsylvania, florida, ohio, pretty much have made up their mind about newt gingrich already.
they're probably saying to themselves, if he's their nominee, i kajtd vote republican. >> but in the republican party have you this fantasy of debates, the general election debates. they see newt gingrich up there as the guy who can take it to obama on substance and really just have this credible historical debate about what kind of country we want to be, fix those programs -- >> name check john quincy adams at the drop of at hot. >> be the ultimate wonk and wipe the floor with obama in a debate. he would be a worthy opponent. romney will not get republicans up cheering like you knocked out obama in a debate, which prebts the conundrum, do you want a guy that excites you in debates or go to the dance with a good looking candidate who maybe has a better shot in the general election. ultimately i think they make the romney call and go to the dance with him but there's a flirtation with gingrich. >> it gets back to, do they know what it means to win? and the fact that do they realize that, you know, according to that scenario, newt
would do fairly well in debates but prior to the first debate, before the first pitch is thrown in the american league playoffs, he would be portrayed as the single most loathsome figure in american political history by the obama campaign. >> and loathsome is a word used in association with newt gingrich. i think the white house is looking at this and they saw a trickle of gold coins from heaven with mitt romney, with all of the opposition research, flip-flopping and then they see newt gingrich and it's a shower of gold coins. we'll talk about this and more coming up after the break. i'd race down that hill without a helmet.
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2012 race. one thing i want to talk about is when these -- when ginger white, the woman who alleged to have a 13-year affair with herman cain, first came out, herman cain's lawyer came out with a statement i thought was very telling. if we could just play that. sorry, it's a statement. and i will read it playing the role of herman cain's lawyer. no individual should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. the public's right to know and the media right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries and outside of one's bedroom door. >> that is the most punch of poppycock i've read. it's obvious clearly there was a relationship, lower case "r" or capital "r." clearly what his lawyer is doing is protecting his client. clearly herman cain should not be running for president right now. i can just say that. >> the minute you have a lawyer that issues a statement like that, you should go back home because it ain't going to happen. >> go back and close the bedroom
door? >> exactly. >> this is the third fim herman cain and his lawyers are trying to malign the accuser from a legalese standpoint. >> or the media. certainly we bear some of that blame. >> he should have just yiched the one-sentence disclaimer. yes,he did, so what? that's, in effect, what that statement is saying. >> could he have recovered? >> no, he was dying from the other stuff, the more serious sexual harassment stuff. this notion that politics and med media's coverage should end at the bedroom door. it's so antiquated. it's about credibility, trust, about social values if you're a social values candidate. it's a nonsensical statement. >> did we ask herman to run for president? did the media ask him to run for president or did he chose to? did he not know what comes with it? >> we were talking about outside his ego in the context of newt gingrich but once he step back
from all this, herman cain was having -- allegedly having a 13-year affair that allegedly ended in september. now -- >> right before he started to run. >> we don't know if these sexual harassmentallegations hold water but this is someone these theticily who had a pretty incredibly outsized ego if he thought -- >> let's be the unfortunate truth-teller here. herman cain never ever was a serious candidate. he actually announced he was running for president because he wanted to write books and sell books. so, this actually blew up much, much more in terms hifz candida candidacy, the interest of his candidacy more than he knew he would not be the republican front-runner. >> did he? >> yeah, i actually -- why would you do something like this to your family, your reputation and the people you love? why? >> because have you an ego and you think it will never come out. we've seen that story play out over and over again. now, what i find fascinating is the degree to which they are letting out not just against the media but the women-b and that's
distasteful. >> important point. >> you mean the cain campaign? >> yeah. that's distasteful. in my mind that raises questions about judgment and leadership. there's a point to which you say, i take responsibility. to somehow imply all these women have come forward for ulterior motives it's grotesque. >> it's ridiculous and out of the clarence thomas playbook, attack the accuser, it's distasteful, repugnant, ridiculous and not going to fly. if he's not out today, he's out later this week. and my hope is the silly season is over in this campaign. >> oh, ben, an optimist. >> we have europe melting down, iran in crisis, a big plate of serious issues, an economy teetering on perhaps a great recovery, could be tanked by europe. we've got entitlement perhaps in ten years are going to take up 90% of our gdp with debt. we have huge issues. we need to stop talking about
herman cain and start talking about these issues and move on. >> i a. >> >> we may in fact talk about some of these issues on this show, unless we don't get done talking about with herman cain. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning...
welcome back. we are now listening to the judge at the sentencing of michael jackson, dr. conrad murray. >> and being responsible for the death of the sdeed adeseed ant,l jackson. even the people say dr. murray did not intend for michael jackson to die. the court is called upon to utilize its sense of fairness and decency, as well as various
factors it has gained over the years in experience to fashion an appropriate sentence in this case. there are those who feel dr. murray is a saint. there are those who feel dr. murray is the devil. he's neither. he's a human being. he stands convicted of the death of another human being. and that death is predicated not on simple civil negligence but on criminal negligence. and it's important for the court to realize that that is the appropriate standard. the standard of criminal or gross negligence and the fact that a jury of 12 people from remarkably different backgrounds and life experiences concluded unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that dr. murray had, with criminal negligence,
caused the death of michael jackson. it's important to emphasize the standard of criminal negligence found by this jury beyond a reasonable doubt. because some may feel this was a medical malpractice case. it wasn't. it was and is a criminal homicide case. and this jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, with criminal negligence, caused the death of michael jackson. and criminal negligence is defined as follows -- criminal negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention or mistake in judgment.
a person acts or fails to perform a legal duty with criminal negligence when, one, he or she acts or fails to perform a legal duty in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury and, two, a reasonable person would have known that acting or failing to perform a legal duty in that way would create such a risk. a person acts with criminal negligence when the way he or she acts is so different from the way an ordinarily careful person would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard for human
life or indifference to the consequences of that act. it's important to remember and focus on those terms and not to treat them cavalierly as some might, by saying, oh, well, it just happened. oh, well, if it weren't for dr. murray, someone else may have been involved. i categorically disassociate myself from those types of statements. this is not a question about what might have happened or what if someone else had been involved if not for dr. murray. that is an insult to the medical profession. the fact is, that michael jackson died because of the
actions of and the failures to perform legal duties on the part of dr. murray. not some other medical doctor, and also not exclusively because of michael jackson. i accept mr. chernoff's invitation to read the whole book, and i have. i've been impressed by the submissions from family and friends and associations of dr. murray. it is a book of dr. murray life. but i've also read the book of michael jackson's life. not isolated chapters from either. regrettably as far as dr. murray is concerned, the most significant chapter as it relates to this case is the
chapter involving the treatment or lack of treatment of michael jackson. and michael jackson died not because of an isolated one-off occurrence or incident. he died because of a totality of circumstances which are directly attributable to dr. murray. not some mistake or some accident in the early morning hours of june 25, 2009, but because of a series of decisions that dr. murray made which jeopardized his patient, which violated his obligations to his patient in the essence of a hippocratic oath. those violations overcome the
other aspects of dr. murray treatment of other patients and the good deeds he may have done before that time. dr. murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine. the practice of propofol for medicine madness, which violated his sworn obligation for money. fame, prestige, and whatever else may have occurred. so, i don't look to one isolated incident. in terms of the misdeeds of dr. murray or the deeds of
dr. murray. but insofar as this case is concerned, dr. murray engaged in a recurring, continuous pattern of deceit, of lies, and regrettably that pattern was to assist dr. murray. it is almost inconceivable that dr. murray would have persisted in this pattern over such an extensive period of time. the lies, the deceit began and continued as we heard for six weeks worth of testimony to build up an absolutely astounding set of circumstances.
the lies from the inception of his medical relationship at the homeby hills residence in terms of ordering propofol in staggering quantities, unprecedented quantities. the lies to the pharmacy and to the pharmacist. the sophisticated intentional deception in that regard. the lies and repeated deception to those associated with mr. jackson, whether it be members of the staff and also members of the production team, aeg and mr. jackson's personal and professional associates. the continuing series of lies to michael jackson's security and
staff personnel at a critical point in time. the unconscionable lies to health care providers, life savers, paramedics and medical personnel at ucla, which were not designed to help his patient. quite the contrary. which were designed to receive and give dr. murray a way out. the efforts on the part of dr. murray to subvert the process by attempting to destroy evidence, subsequent efforts to cover up by distortions and lies to law enforcement. if one looks to the crime of involuntary manslaughter in a vacuum, one can say, this may be
something that went terribly wrong and it's tragic, but it's so critically important not to have a superficial gut reaction to what happened in this case, but to look at the totality of circumstances in terms of the long-standing failure of character on the part of dr. murray to serve his patient. and when one does that, one can't help but be offended by the circumstances in this case. of everything i heard and saw during the course of the trial, one aspect of the evidence stands out the most. and that is the recording of
michael jackson by his trusted doctor. and i have repeatedly asked myself, why did this happen? and for what reason? and i can speculate and surmise that there might have been some justifiable reason, some benefit to michael jackson. that would be an entirely unreasonable conscious. that tape-recording was dr. murray insurance policy. it was designed to record his patient at that patient's most vulnerable point. i can't even imagine that happening to any of us because
of the horrific violation of trust. and i can't help but wonder that if there had been some conflict between michael jackson and dr. murray at a later point in time in their relationship, what value would be placed on that tape-recording, if the choice were to release that tape-recording to a media organization to be used against michael jackson. and regrettably, that failure of character was compounded by later actions on the part of dr. murray , each of which amounted to a betrayal of trust and confidence and a clear violation of the doctor/patient
relationship, and an undermining of the phenomenal role and responsibility that health care personnel, doctors, nurses, paramedics, health care aides, perform in our society. we revere medical doctors, and we should, because they work diligently and they serve and they make sacrifices to keep us well. unquestionably, dr. murray did that. but at some point things went terribly wrong for dr. murray. and when he had an opportunity, he didn't get out. he stayed in and he got deeper and deeper in trouble and he betrayed the very oaths and tenets of his medical profession. so, i do look to totality of circumstances. and when i looked at the totality of circumstances and
when i look to the whole book, the book of dr. murray life, i also look to the the chapter that disturbs me most, and that's the chapter to which i've referred. i can't say that my opinion changed after i became aware of the production involving dr. murray after the jury verdict in this case. when dr. murray says, i don't feel guilty, that's what he says, mr. chernoff acknowledges can dad candidly, there's fault here. you didn't hear it from dr. murray. you didn't hear it when dr. murray talked to the security staff or at the homeby
hills property, you didn't hear it when he encountered members of the paramedic squad, you certainly didn't hear it when dr. murray encounters dr. coopers and nguyen, or when dr. murray talked to detectives of the lapd and you certainly didn't hear it in his documentary in this faux documentary production where he says, i don't feel guilty. i wasn't reckless. i never told them about propofol because they never asked the question and it wasn't important. and where dr. murray at that point says he feels betrayed and entrapped by michael jackson. yipes. talk about blaming the victim. not only isn't there any
remorse, there's humbrige by dr. murray against the deceadant. to hear dr. murray say it, he was just a bystander who came upon a scene and was put in this situation because of everybody else's actions other than himself. whether it be members of the family, whether it be members of aeg, whether it be mr. jackson or anybody else. those are factors which cause me tremendous concern, because the essence of probation is a recognition that someone may have done something wrong, some responsibility, some remorse.
why give probation to someone who is offended by the whole idea that that person is even before the court? you can't have probation when there isn't an acknowledgment of rehabilitation and responsibility. regrettably, dr. murray doesn't have any of them. dr. murray certainly is statutorily eligible for probation. i looked valiantly for efforts to satisfy myself that while dr. murray was legally eligible for probation, he was suitable for probation. and i really didn't become convinced i could find any. dr. murray is eligible for probation. the court declines to grant probation in this case for a host of reasons.
and in making that decision, i acknowledge that dr. murray has throughout his 58 years provided services to the community and has helped many individuals, but i also acknowledge that he unquestionably violated the trust and confidence of his patient, mr. jackson, on a repeated nightly basis. michael jackson, as a patient, was vulnerable because dr. murray put mr. jackson in a position where dr. murray was responsible for the very life of mr. jackson. dr. murray engaged in a sophisticated scheme to obtain propofol through insidious me s means, by lying to the
pharmacist, to concoct a story, by not keeping records and by allowing his personal life to interfere with his professional responsibilities. at the very time that people are depending upon dr. murray to be candid with them regarding mr. jackson's medical condition, dr. murray is lying. he's lying to the aeg people. he's lying to mr. ortega. he's lying to the insurance carrier. and anybody else he can. and he's engaged in personal matters while he should be paying attention to his patient. anybody who takes an objective view of what was going on here has to come to the conclusion that dr. murray abandoned his patient. and this is not a simple one-off
occurrence. this is an unacceptable, egregious series of departures from the appropriate standard of care which undermine the physician/patient relationship and which are a disgrace to the medical profession. an honorable profession, which bears the blot -- the scourge of what happened here. again, we're not talking about a single, isolated mistake. what we're talking about is a gross continuing deviation. so, for those factors, the court makes a determination that dr. murray is not a suitable candidate for a grant of probation. the request for probation under the rules of court is denied.
the question then becomes, what is the appropriate period of incarceration? the court has many options. including hybrid type sentences as authorized by the realignment act of 2011 and straight sentencing. this court does not have the legal authority to actually send and imprison dr. murray in state prison. i do not have that legal authority. and i certainly am going to follow the law in that regard. the legislature of this state signed a realignment act that declares certain offenses, while felonies, not to be served in state prison and involuntary manslaughter is one of those. i don't have that legal authority.
i must determine the appropriate sentence. and in making that determination, the court is guided by a triad of possible sentences that the court can impose, two, three or four years. the court no longer has to weigh what are called aggravating circumstances or factors versus mitigating circumstances or factors, but has to give a statement of reasons. the court has determined that the appropriate term is the high term of four years imprisonment. i do so because, once again, i find that dr. murray abandoned his patient, who was trusting him, his patient was vulnerable under those circumstances, having been administered, potentially dangerous drugs by
his medical provider, dr. murray course of conduct extended over a period of time. dr. murray repeatedly lied, engaged in deceitful misconduct and endeavored to cover up his transgressions. he violated the trust of the medical community, of his colleagues and of his patient. and he has absolutely no sense of remorse. absolutely no sense of fault. and is and remains dangerous. it's easy to say, oh, well, dr. murray a medical doctor. he's a smart, sophisticated man. he does not have a criminal history. he may not be licensed to practice medicine in the future, although that has nothing to do with me. i have no authority over that.
the fact remains, dr. murray is offended by that patient dying. i don't have any idea what will prompt dr. murray to do or not do something in the future that may be dangerous to a patient. if he does practice medicine in the united states or even elsewhere -- >> joining me now is "today" show co-host and chief legal analyst savannah guthrie. thank you for joining us. >> we are just hearing that michael jackson's physician, dr. conrad murray has been sentenced to the maximum -- the max numb sentence, four years in prison. talk to us about what this means. >> well, it's not a surprise in items of the judge maxing out michael jackson's doctor because he kind of tipped his hand when the jury verdict came down, but have i never really witnessed such a dressing down by a judge that's gone on, i don't know,
more than 20 minutes at this point, where this judge is absolutely expressing his disdain for conrad murray actions. he said he read all of the letters and the documents that the defense submitted saying what a good doctor and good man dr. conrad murray is and the judge is unconvinced by it. he said he was oe fened by dr. murray actions in this regard. at one point the judge said, yikes, when he was looking at what dr. murray had done here. dr. murray did himself absolutely no favors by, one, not addressing the court, expressing any remorse, apologize to the family or acknowledge any wrongdoing but the fact he had done interviews, candidly with the "today" show in the middle of the trial in which dr. murray, again, accepted no responsibility. said he didn't feel guilty whatsoever for michael jackson's death and, in fact, blamed michael jackson. clearly that has gotten under the skin of the judge. the judge had the option to give him probation, to give him less than four years. that was an option this judge
clearly did not want to take. >> savannah, what does this mean practically speaking in terms of the amount of time dr. murray will spend in california prison? >> that's a real question. as the judge said, because of the california prison overcrowding, state prisons are under supreme court mandate to reduce number of prisoners in their jails right now, so for certain felonies, including what are considered nonserious, nonviolent felonies in california, they actually are sentenced to county jail. now, this is a homicide case but it's involuntary manslaughter, so this falls under that nonserious, nonviolent category in california law. so what's likely to happen is that murray will go to county jail. then it's really anyone's guess how much time he actually serves because the county jails in los angeles also have a severe overcrowding. we've seen it with some of the celebrity cases out there, whether it be paris hilton or lindsay lohan. the sheriff there often has sentences that are much less than what judges have handed
out. so, i think we'll ahave to wait and see how that plays out. >> to be determined. thank you for all the legal expertise. thank you, everybody, on my panel for your patience and intelligence. we appreciate your efforts and your time here. that's all for "now." actually, we have a little more time, i'm being told. we're going to go back to savannah and we're going to talk a little more about dr. conrad murray and what is happening practically speaking with the sentencing trial. i know that the judge you said went on at some length. i think it was 24:54 by my timer. do you think that was to give closure to this case? given the fact that dr. conrad murray may not spend that much time in jail, was this sort of the judge's effort in giving some sort of peace to this case? >> you know, it's -- >> it's hard to know. here's a judge who clearly knows he has a national audience. some people, i've seen them on twitter saying, he really wants to use his 15 minutes of fame. you know, the point is, this is a high-profile case.
there are people who think, you know, dr. conrad murray got a raw deal. boy, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. this is a judge trying to explain the decision he's made in this case. for those who are just tuning in or casually watch, it is clear this judge wants to convey the sense of outrage he so obviously feels. you just saw the defense lawyer stand up there and say that michael jackson was a drug seeker and to give him prison time would be a matter of vengeance. that's just another argument that totally fell flat with the judge, and certainly with the prosecutors because the evidence at trial was pretty overwhelming. it showed not only that dr. murray supplied this powerful anesthetic, normally only used in a hospital, night after night after night after night to michael jackson, but that conrad murray had left the room at the moment that he was sedated, left him for several minutes while conrad murray was on the telephone. most troubling, he spoke to paramedics and first responders and e.r. doctors and never told them about the drug he had given
him. i think we see why the judge threw the book at him. >> a very interesting conclusion to what's been an interesting, long-winding road. andrea mitchell reports is next. how are you? >> thanks so much. a lot of breaking news and breaking right now on "andrea mitchell reports" a mob of protesters storm the british embassy in tehran. a throwback in the 1979 takeover of the american embassy during iranian revolution. we are live in tehran with the very latest. is herman cain having second thoughts? >> here we go again. i acknowledge that i knew the woman. i acknowledge that i've known her for about that period much time. but the ak sccusation hi a 13-y affair with her? no. >> today republican insiders say that cain is reassessing after the latest sex scandal. if cain drops out willewt gingrich inherit his followers? plus, tangle over taxes. the payroll tax showdown with