Program Note: Tune in tonight for more on the arrest of James Arthur Ray. AC360° 10 p.m. ET.
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Yesterday, Gary Tuchman and I looked through hundreds of documents related to the October 2009 'Spiritual Warrior' retreat held by motivational speaker James Arthur Ray. The retreat, held in Sedona, Arizona, was where three people died after spending time in a sweat lodge. The documents related to the case were just released by the Yavapai County Sheriff's office.
We have been covering the story since last fall - interviewing many people who had been to this "sweat lodge" and many other James Arthur Ray events in the past.
We were preparing to put together another story when I was sent an email I wasn't expecting. It was from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office stating that James Arthur Ray has been arrested.
Gary spoke with Barbara Bunn, who was in the sweat lodge that day, and she immediately started crying. She says she felt a sense of relief.
We had been trying to get a comment from Ray since the sweat lodge deaths occurred. We went to one of several seminars Ray held after the deaths in Arizona. I asked Mr. Ray why he was still out trying to earn money just weeks after people had died in a sweat lodge that was part of one of his programs. He looked at me and said "this is not a press conference" and his security escorted me out of the event.
Last night, Ray's attorneys said the motivational speaker was deeply troubled by the events last October. They say the charges are unjust and that it was a terrible accident. They add that Mr. Ray never forced people to stay inside the sweat lodge.
But Bunn and others say Ray encouraged people to stay inside and told them to try to "fight through the pain."
Ray's first court appearance is scheduled for this afternoon. We'll have more details tonight.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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