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CNN CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT

Baseball Strike Averted; Anniversary of Diana's Death Nears; Crime Story Becomes De Niro Movie

Aired August 30, 2002 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung.
Tonight: America's pastime safe at home.

ANNOUNCER: Play ball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUD SELIG, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: All games will be played as scheduled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: No strike for Major League Baseball. Tonight: The national pastime plays on, but are the fans fed up?

Prince Diana: Five years after her tragic sudden death, her legacy survives. Tonight: Diana's lasting impact on the royal family, great Britain, and the world.

Gay teachers coming out in the classroom: Should an educator's sexual orientation be the subject of discussion at school? Angry parents consider it a "Crisis in the Classroom."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: Is this the guy who killed Picasso?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The real story behind the movie about a cop whose father was convicted of murder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

JAMES FRANCO, ACTOR: I didn't shoot that cop. Did you hear me? I didn't shoot him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And in terms of this investigation...

DE NIRO: What investigation? You already made your mind up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Was killing in their blood?

The little Marias: serious, but stable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both of them will require multiple, probably multiple operations over the next months and even years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The very latest on the formerly conjoined twins and their bumpy road to recovery.

This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York: Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening.

Tonight: This time, there is no crying in baseball. For the first time, Major League Baseball owners and players have negotiated a new deal without a work stoppage. The first game played after the deal was reached was this afternoon's matchup between the Cubs and the Cardinals.

We sent CNN's Jeff Flock to Wrigley Field.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first sign of good news? The Cubs open the windows and begin selling tickets to the game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have full confidence.

FLOCK: Fans come away with fistfuls. They start putting the flags up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, $1 scorecards here.

FLOCK: The vendors come out. And then the no-strike news flashes across the ticker at the Cubby Bear Bar and eventually TV screens.

SELIG: Major League Baseball's 30 clubs the Major League Baseball Players Association have today reached an historic agreement and that all games will be played as scheduled.

FLOCK: At Wrigley, players begin arriving in their giant SUVs and sports cars, mindful of how close they came to disaster.

(on camera): Can you believe how close it came?

BOBBY HILL, CHICAGO CUBS: Yes. For myself, I really didn't know what was going on. But everyone was saying it was going to go down to the bottom and what you did.

FLOCK: This got awful close.

ROOSEVELT BROWN, CHICAGO CUBS: Yes, it was close. It was close. I was about to make my flight arrangements.

FLOCK: To go home?

BROWN: Yes, to go home.

FLOCK: In what they call Wrigleyville, where even the street- sweepers wear Cubs uniforms, a strike would be particularly crippling. This is a neighborhood ballpark. And the souvenir shops, the restaurants and the bars all rely on this foot traffic to make a living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm glad they didn't strike. It was fun to see the season carry on and continue.

FLOCK (voice-over): On the field, players like the Cubs' Bill Mueller seemed to sign a few extra autographs, mindful of the amends they will have to make with their fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel any connection anymore with the teams. It's this bunch of millionaires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's frustrating. As a fan, I can't wait for football.

FLOCK: But by the time the Cardinals' Albert Pujols cracks the first post-settlement home run, some fans are willing to forgive and forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They settled it. They worked out their differences. And it's great.

FLOCK: A game that had gone eight for eight with work stoppages, happy to finally strike out.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Specifics are a little fuzzy, but here's a quick look at the deal. Players will be tested for steroids. The owners wanted to fold the Expos and the Twins. Not going to happen. The players won that one.

But the big-money issues, the owners won. Big-market teams like the Yankees will have to share their money with smaller teams. And high-payroll teams will have to pay a so-called luxury tax to discourage spending. Well, the bottom line is, they're playing again. And we've asked a former boy of summer, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, now a commentator for ESPN, to join us from San Francisco.

Joe, thank you for being with us.

JOE MORGAN, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: How you doing, Connie? Glad to be here.

CHUNG: Great. Great.

I think the owners won. What do you think?

MORGAN: Well, I don't think the owners won. I think the fans won, because they voiced their displeasure to both sides. And both sides heard them loud and clear. The only reason I believe we have a settlement today is because the fans said we're tired and we're not going to listen and we're not going to take it anymore.

And I think both sides realized they had so much to lose in the fans. And they decided they were going to get this done. Now, if you're going to count and say, well, the owners got more out of this than the players did, I have to tell you, I'm proud to be a former player today, because I think the players, actually, they took the extra step to get this job done.

(CROSSTALK)

CHUNG: Yes, I hear you, Joe, but let me argue with you for a minute, OK?

MORGAN: OK, all right.

CHUNG: And I'll state my case and you correct me if I'm wrong.

MORGAN: OK.

CHUNG: OK.

Some of the owners were really ganging up on George Steinbrenner. I think this is probably the first time that the owners turned on their own. And, basically, they think that Steinbrenner is able to win the World Series, the Yankees are able to win the World Series many times, four times, or whatever, because he can buy the big players. And they want to be able to buy the big players.

So they are going to ask him to fork over millions with not only this revenue sharing, but through the luxury tax. So, the owners, who are ganging up on Steinbrenner, really won. Do you buy that?

MORGAN: Well, maybe they beat George.

CHUNG: Huh?

MORGAN: I guess you can say they beat George, because he is the one that is going to be affected most by this agreement. But let's look at George's side. He played within the rules that were set and the way the game had been run before. And let's face it. Just because you have a lot of money doesn't mean you are going to win the championships. The Yankees had won a lot of championships before free agency and when you couldn't go out and buy players. The Yankees were able to able to win 15 championships before the last one.

CHUNG: I hear you, Joe. So what you're saying is that this shouldn't have happened. Not only the players, but George Steinbrenner actually should have been on one side.

MORGAN: Well, I think if you look at it realistically, they were pretty much on the same side.

But I still believe that there had to be some changes made in the way the game was run. And I think the players realized that. And that is why I'm proud of them, because I think they went the extra step to get it done.

CHUNG: Well, but, Joe, wasn't it really public sentiment that was working against the players? I mean, there was a poll that 80 percent of people were supporting -- were against the players, not supporting the owners, but basically against the players. They thought it was their fault.

MORGAN: Yes, I agree with you.

But, first of all, you have to realize the players are always going to be the focus. The players are the people you see every day. You do not see the owners. The only time you see the owners is when it's close to a strike or during the World Series. So the players are always going to be where you put your focus.

And I agree. Look, I think the fans said that they were upset because the players were making a lot of money and they felt like the players were asking for something else. But they really weren't asking for anything else.

CHUNG: So do you think those $25-million-a-year contracts are over? Or were they already over?

MORGAN: I think they were already over. Well, obviously, we only have one. And that is A-Rod. But I think they were going to stop that anyway. I don't think you were going to see many other players being given those types of contracts.

CHUNG: All right, so, last night, you may have seen in Anaheim the fans were just throwing debris all over the field. They were pretty fed up. Do you think that baseball is going to suffer?

MORGAN: Well, they're definitely going to suffer. We've already suffered, because, any time you get the publicity, the negative reaction that we've gotten, you are going to suffer, and rightfully so.

I really am a little upset myself, because I really felt like this should have been done a lot sooner. If you can do it at the last minute, you could have done it a week ago. And I think the fans have a right to be upset. I don't think they have a right to throw things on the field, but they have a right to be upset.

CHUNG: OK, so, four years from now, are we going to be facing another deadline and facing another strike?

MORGAN: And that is the real problem that we face today.

But I have to say this. I think that the owners and the players came closer together this year than they did after the strike in '94. I think they have both realized that they need each other, that they have to work together. And I'm hopeful that we will have better chances of not going to the last minute four years from now. But it will be a problem four years from now.

CHUNG: All right, Joe Morgan, it's great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.

MORGAN: Always a pleasure, Connie.

CHUNG: OK.

Still ahead: gay teachers revealing their sexual orientation to students. As a parent, what do you think? Is it OK?

ANNOUNCER: Next: She touched the hearts and lives of millions -- the legacy of Princess Diana.

CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: Tomorrow, it will be five years since a Mercedes crashed in a Paris tunnel, killing three people. Millions of people around the world were shocked to learn that one of the dead was Diana, princess of Wales.

Although she is gone, the impact of her life and her death have led to lasting change in Britain's royal family.

CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney reminds us how powerful Diana was in life and death.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wails of grief and cries of "Diana" greet the coffin of the princess of Wales, as her remains left her former home, Kensington Palace, for the last time, a princess whose marriage 16 years earlier to the heir to the British throne had been the stuff of fairy tales, but whose life had been cut short in a less-than-fairy-tale ending.

The sorrow in London that sunny morning in 1997 was palpable, as the world bore witness to a public display of emotion hitherto unseen in Britain. ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN (singing): Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will.

PITTU LAUNGANI, PSYCHOLOGIST: She did lead a life which turned out to be tragic, if not to say very sad. And, thirdly, she also died a very tragic death. So, given these factors, it wasn't difficult at all for her to be placed on some kind of a pedestal. In Britain, people do need an event. Either it has to be befall upon them or they have to manufacture an event in order to bring a sense of community feeling together.

SWEENEY: And the sense of guilt perhaps that somehow, unwittingly, the public had indirectly contributed to her death by its veracious appetite for her every move in life.

LAUNGANI: And it's almost a form of atonement, if you like, for the guilt that so much publicity was given to her and so many people from all over the world came to put flowers outside Buckingham Palace a day or two after she died.

SWEENEY: But if the people flocked to Buckingham Palace, there was no one at home. The handling of Diana's death in the intermediate aftermath of the Paris crash drew harsh criticism from the British press and the British people.

In a rare error of judgment, Queen Elizabeth underestimated the public mood and was eventually forced to cut short her vacation in Scotland and return to London in an attempt to heal the widening rift between her and her subjects.

BEN PIMLOTT, AUTHOR, "THE QUEEN": I think it was the most serious jolt, without any question, since 1936, when Henry VIII abdicated, probably more serious, because it was more hysterical. And although I don't think that the monarchy was ever in immediate danger, there was a point during that first week when it looked as if it would be shaken irrevocably.

EARL CHARLES SPENCER, BROTHER OF DIANA: It is a tribute to her levelheadedness and strength that...

SWEENEY: They were to be further shaken by the speech given at Diana's funeral by her brother Charles, when she asserted she needed no royal title to continue to generate what he called her particular brand of magic, a reference to the fact that, after her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana lost the title of Her Royal Highness.

But, if change was called for, the monarchy did learn and did adapt and became more at ease with its people. Five years later, Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles endured, a relationship the British public seems to have quietly accepted. And, if the regent golden jubilee celebrations, marking 50 years of her reign are any indication, the queen continues to enjoy her subjects' enduring respect.

PIMLOTT: The queen and the prince of Wales, they have been getting much better press and much more sympathetic press. And it's the kind of judgment that particularly the popular press makes. What the public wants and what the public seems to have wanted since Diana's death is for them to recover and for them to be seen in a more favorable light.

SWEENEY: There is a great deal of public interest too, in Diana and Charles's young sons, the Princes William and Harry. The boys, just 15 and 12 years old at the time of her death, are now gradually becoming adults and increasingly entering the public arena.

And, after some heated debate, plans for a permanent memorial for Diana are under way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: And when we come back, we'll talk with a veteran royal observer who has covered the royal family for more than two decades about the impact of Diana's life and death.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TREVOR REES-JONES, BODYGUARD OF DODI AL-FAYED: Again in the future, but I have no intention of doing this at the moment. I would also like to add that I have got no intentions of speaking further on the subject publicly until after the court proceedings are finished.

ANNOUNCER: Was it his fault and whatever happened to him? The answers when we return.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Was Dodi Al-Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, to blame for the car crash that killed Princess Diana? A French inquest cleared him. But while he struggled to find another job in security, he ended up selling sneakers part-time, until releasing his book on the crash. In 2001, he became U.S. deputy head of security in a town in East Timor. He never regained his memories of the crash itself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Joining me now to talk about Princess Diana's legacy, her impact on the royal family and on the future king of England, from London, the editor in chief of "Burke's Peerage," Charles Mosley, who has covered the royal family for more than two decades.

Thank you, sir, for being with us.

CHARLES MOSLEY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "BURKE'S PEERAGE": Not at all.

CHUNG: Tell me a little bit about Prince William and Prince Harry. How have they been coping growing up without their mother?

MOSLEY: I think pretty well, considering the appalling circumstances surrounding not just the last few years of her life, but the death itself.

We can't know, of course, what is going on inside their minds. And there is evidence with Harry, with the drinks and drugs revelations that came a few months ago, that he is not coping as well. But then he's a younger son. Sadly, he's not as good-looking as his elder brother. He doesn't seem to have that sort of special magic.

But the older brother, William, is coping very well, I would say. He looks as if he has got the star quality that his mother undoubtedly had.

CHUNG: I couldn't agree with you more.

William is 20. Harry is 17. I think teens across the world think that they're both hunks, even Britney Spears. How do they deal with all of the attention?

MOSLEY: I think the same way as boys of their age usually do. They're shy one moment and forward the next.

We've heard remarkably little about any particular girlfriends. That suggests discretion or amazing self-denial. And I think I would go for discretion.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Now, do their classmates treat them any differently from the other students? I think William is at St. Andrews in Scotland.

MOSLEY: St. Andrews, of course, is a very distant, somewhat obscure university, although a very ancient Scottish one. And it's has a very good academic record.

My guess would be that, the Scots being somewhat less prone to slavish adulation than the English...

(LAUGHTER)

MOSLEY: He is probably treated with a good -- well, no, it's true. It really is. He's probably treated with a good deal of egalitarianism, although there is a always problem with anybody that well-known. This is a celebrity problem, I think, rather than a royal problem.

Harry's still at Eton. Eton has a long, long tradition of taking everything in its stride.

CHUNG: But tell me about their personalities, William and Harry.

MOSLEY: All I can go on, of course, is what I've seen of them.

William seems to be just a tiny bit diffident, which of course is nice. One doesn't want arrogance. And that is so easy to acquire when you're in his position, everything given to you on a plate -- Harry a more complex character, I would think, somewhat in the shadows of his elder brother, as I said earlier.

There is also, of course, one hears this doubt -- which has been aired; let's face it -- about the paternity, who his real father is.

CHUNG: Do you think that Prince Charles and Camilla will be married soon?

MOSLEY: Not soon. There is a degree of sort of trying to ease her into public life. The more she's seen, the less fuss there is, the more people get used to it. This is the way one tries to introduce anything, isn't it, something new that might be a little unpalatable?

CHUNG: How do you think Diana will be remembered tomorrow, the fifth anniversary of her death?

MOSLEY: I think there's an upsurge in her shares, if I can use a stock market analogy.

For the last two years, visitors at the shrine -- I would put it shrine, although it is actually where her body rests -- have been running at 2,000 people a day. This year, there has been more coverage. The newspapers in this country are very sensitive to public feeling. Therefore, the fact that they have had more coverage of her suggests that there is a groundswell of feeling.

CHUNG: How do you think Diana's relationship with the public, which was quite warm, changed the royals?

MOSLEY: I think it changed them enormously.

There had, of course, been tentative moves in the direction of making the royal family more open from the '60s onward. But what she did, she changed it by her personality. She was, if you like, the Bill Clinton of royalty. She actually reached out and had an almost physical touchy-feely, almost erotic relationship with the public.

No royal has been able to do this since Henry V on the battlefield of Agincourt, when he goes around to visit his troops the night before the battle. This is tremendous stuff. She was a star. There is no doubt about it. And if Prince William can follow her, he will not only revive the monarchy, but he could put it back on a pedestal which it has not been on since the Middle Ages.

CHUNG: Charles Mosley from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Burke's Peerage, thanks for giving us a look at the royal family's future.

Still ahead, we will get a look at how the separated twins are doing after one of them had to go back into surgery.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up: diversity or divisiveness? Are openly gay teachers appropriate in the classroom?

CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: As your kids head back to school, do you know what their teachers are telling them? Is it appropriate for their teachers to talk about their own personal lives, specifically if they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend who happens to be the same sex?

One school district in California wrestled with the issue, ultimately passing a resolution allowing teachers to discuss their sexual orientation in class. But some parents in the Hayward School District believe that that has created a "Crisis in the Classroom."

So, we are joined from Portland, Oregon, from Brian Olkowski, the teacher who is coming out to his fifth graders, who is part of the controversy. And in Los Angeles, we have Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, an advocacy group representing Hayward parents opposed to the policy.

Thank you, gentlemen, both, for being with us. We appreciate it.

Brian, let's start with you. You were teaching fifth grade.

BRIAN OLKOWSKI, FIFTH-GRADE TEACHER: Yes, I was.

CHUNG: And you decided that you wanted to tell your students that you were gay. Can you give me a short version of how you did that?

OLKOWSKI: The first year I came out, we were reading a book called "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry." I was reading aloud. I was reading to the class.

And through this, it was talking about segregation in the South. And we were talking about prejudice and discrimination throughout the book. And partway through the book, I had the kids do a journal-write about these issues of discrimination and prejudices and asked them also to personalize it. And those students who wanted to share were able to. And we had a great discussion about different types of discrimination and prejudice. And, through that, I read my journal and came out to the students.

CHUNG: I see. Also, your partner had sent you some flowers. And they wanted to know where the flowers came from, right?

OLKOWSKI: Right, that was the following year. My partner, Jeff, sent me flowers. And the students were asking who they were from. And I told them they were from Jeff, my partner. And some of them asked, "What do you mean?" And I told them that I was gay.

CHUNG: All right, why did you think it was so important to share this information with your students?

OLKOWSKI: I know, as a child, if I knew one other person who was gay, my life would have been a lot easier. I had suicidal thoughts as a kid. And just knowing that my life, I wasn't the only one, would have helped me a lot.

And I know that there's kids out there that are not feeling safe in school; 30 percent of the kids, according to the GLSEN survey, leaves a day of school because they don't feel safe.

CHUNG: You're not suggesting that 30 percent are gay?

OLKOWSKI: No, 30 percent of gay students...

CHUNG: No, right, of gay students. I see. Yes, of course.

And just very quickly, how did the kids react when you told them that you were gay?

OLKOWSKI: The second year, when the flowers came, most of the kids already knew. I mean, the year before, I came out to the students. And it went around the playground. So, the students in my classroom already knew. The kids in my class the second year, it was just kind of a matter-of-fact discussion, kind of confirming in their minds the rumor.

CHUNG: Good. Thank you.

Now, Brad, the school district unanimously passed this groundbreaking resolution, basically saying that there could be open discussion of gay life, I guess it is, in class. Now, the parents that you represent are vehemently opposed to this. Can you explain why?

BRAD DACUS, PRESIDENT, PACIFIC JUSTICE INSTITUTE: Well, we're not just dealing with discussion in the classroom. We are dealing with teachers, who have a very high influential input, to be able to flaunt it.

Teachers by law in California are not allowed to flaunt their personal politics. They're not allowed to flaunt their personal religion. And yet here, even though they have a high influential role, this policy says they can flaunt their sexuality or sexual orientation, despite the fact that 14-year-old boys and girls, on a widespread basis, are all working through their gender-identity issues, and despite the fact that many parents wish to simply opt their kids out of such classes, and are being told that they can't.

And that is intolerance. If there is intolerance, that's intolerance.

CHUNG: That is what you are proposing. You are proposing that parents who are opposed to this particular resolution should be allowed to bring their kids out of class when any discussion occurs. Is that right?

DACUS: Oh, absolutely.

Children come from different, a wide diversity of backgrounds, from different religious backgrounds, experiential backgrounds. Some of them have even gone through some child-abuse issues. So, the key point here is that true sensitivity and tolerance be exhibited which allows parents to do what they feel is best for their children.

If a school district is going to adopt a policy allowing a sexual-orientation-boot-camp-type philosophy into public schools, they at the very least, at the minimum, need to tolerate those parents who don't want that for their children, who don't feel their children are ready for it.

CHUNG: Brian, I think he brings up a very good point, that you didn't get in front of your class and say, "Well, I'm a Catholic or I'm a Protestant or that I'm a Democrat or a Republican." It's nobody's business, isn't it? Isn't that the bottom line?

OLKOWSKI: I have to disagree. I think it's a safety issue, where kids are going to be exposed to gay people throughout their life. And they need to know -- they don't necessarily have to accept gay...

CHUNG: Yes, but they will be exposed to Catholics. They will be exposed to Democrats and Republicans.

OLKOWSKI: Right.

CHUNG: You know, so do you have to reveal your own personal information? I would think that it might be your privacy that you're entitled to.

OLKOWSKI: I think it's up to each individual person if they want to release that information.

But, again, as I say, these are issues that students struggle with. And, as I said, I was suicidal as a kid. And I know there's other kids that are like that in the school district. And if this kind of discussion was allowed when I was a kid, I would have had a lot easier time growing up. I would have felt safe in school. I would have been more successful in the things I did.

(CROSSTALK)

CHUNG: All right, let me turn to Brad for a minute.

Brad, the parents that you're representing, basically, they're opposed to homosexuality? Isn't that the bottom line? I would say, wouldn't you guess that the major portion of these parents are fearful that a gay teacher might indoctrinate or recruit? And most people know that is foolish.

DACUS: Let me say this.

The parents we represent are very level-headed, actually. Some of them have religious beliefs and convictions that homosexuality is wrong. But we live in a free country. And I hope they have that right to believe that and be able to preserve that conviction with regard to their own family. But with regard to harassment, I would like to mention, with regard to what Brian said

(CROSSTALK) CHUNG: You know, I'm not sure that you really answered that question. What I'm saying is, basically, don't these parents oppose homosexuality and that is the root of their feelings?

DACUS: No, they are not opposed -- I'll make this really clear -- they are not opposed to depriving any citizen their right to do in their own privacy what they wish to do. Teachers have different things in their closets in different capacities.

The question is whether or not a teacher is going to be able to bring that into the classroom in a manner that is disrespectful to the diversity of the parents in that community. That is where there issue is.

CHUNG: Well, would it be disrespectful if I said -- if I were a teacher and I said, "I'm married and this is my husband," and happened to mention that I have a child? What is wrong with that? That is all he's doing.

DACUS: Well, Connie, actually most parents today in California, because of so many controversial issues involving this distracting the students, would rather there be zero discussion of their sexual orientation or family life and stick to academics. I think the parents we represent would gladly like to see that as a policy than something else.

But, as far as harassment, though, I want to make it real clear. They are against harassment. We have one of the most sweeping policies on harassment

(CROSSTALK)

CHUNG: I'm so sorry. We have run out of time and I must ask you to stop.

Thank you both for being with us.

DACUS: Thank you.

CHUNG: We appreciate it.

OLKOWSKI: Thank you.

DACUS: Thank you very much.

CHUNG: Still ahead: He's a cop whose son was accused of murder. Now he's being played by Robert De Niro. His story is compelling.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: We will continue.

(NEWS BREAK) CHUNG: Still ahead: The twins born joined at the head, they are not out of the woods yet. We will have an update on last night's new operation.

ANNOUNCER: Next: After his dad was sent to the chair, he became a cop to clear his family name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

FRANCO: I didn't shoot that cop.

DE NIRO: Joey?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The real story behind the new film when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: A cop whose father died in the electric chair, now his son is accused of murder. It sounds so Hollywood. Well, it is. It's a Hollywood movie, a new movie called "City by the Sea" starring Robert De Niro. But it's also reality.

I spoke with the ex-cop earlier who lived that reality and shared his story with me in the first person.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: I'm now joined by Vincent LaMarca.

Vince, thanks for being with us.

VINCENT LAMARCA, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Thank you very much.

CHUNG: You were only 9 years old when your father committed a crime. What was that crime?

LAMARCA: He committed a kidnapping on Long Island, New York, a young child. The baby did end up dying.

CHUNG: Why did you father kidnap the child?

LAMARCA: Money. Money. No question about it. He was in debt to the tune of $1,800, left a ransom note. He wanted $2,000.

It was stupid. It did not have to happen. He got himself in debt with loan sharks and was now afraid they were going to threaten his family. And panic sets in.

CHUNG: So then your father went to death row. Was he actually executed?

LAMARCA: Yes, two years later. He was executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. CHUNG: What kind of impact did that have on you as a boy?

LAMARCA: A lot of impact. That's a difficult thing to try and explain.

I was aware of what the crime was. I was aware of the fact that he was probably going to be executed. Even at that age, I knew the crime was not who my father was. There was a person there.

CHUNG: And how did that affect you as a kid, as an 11-year-old, with the other kids that you played with?

LAMARCA: I think, when you see the movie that was later made about this, it hits that right on the head.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

DE NIRO: When my old man did what he did, I felt so bad, you know? I felt like I was the criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAMARCA: Children can be very cruel. You get teased. "Your father is the baby-killer," that type of thing. That does come up. And it does happen.

CHUNG: So, can you express to me, as an 11-year-old, what were you feeling, knowing that your father was going to the electric chair?

LAMARCA: Connie, I wish I could zoom in on one particular thing with a question like that. It's very, very difficult to explain.

I had a very close relationship with my father. I had a very close relationship with my grandfather, who fortunately was right there with me this entire time when my father was on death row. Even as an 11-year-old, I can see it devastating my grandfather at that time. It influenced me a lot. I think it had a lot to do with how I later grew up.

CHUNG: And let's deal with that. You became a police officer, a street cop, all the way up to an administrative job. Now, you took a completely different turn. Why?

LAMARCA: I was mentioning my grandfather. I think that is a lot of the reason why. I couldn't see him getting hurt anymore. I couldn't do anything that would put me in trouble to give him any more embarrassment. That was very, very important to me.

CHUNG: So were you determined to get your good family name back?

LAMARCA: I don't know if I ever looked at it like that, but I guess that was -- that was one of the factors involved, certainly.

Probably one of the proudest moments for my grandfather was being at the police academy when I graduated. You have no idea how that must have made him feel. CHUNG: So your professional life was terrific. But, unfortunately, your personal life was not going well. You had a wife. You had two sons. And you got divorced. Did you see your sons?

LAMARCA: I wasn't always there for him. It's a typical divorce. The ex-wife makes it a little tough for you to see the child. And I'm not blaming her. Don't misunderstand me. It's a common thing.

And me, I'm guilty. I didn't put that extra effort in. She made it difficult. And sometimes it's easy to move on with your life, rather than put that extra effort in to be there with your son.

CHUNG: Did your son know about his grandfather's history and that his grandfather was a murderer?

LAMARCA: Yes, he did.

CHUNG: And that he died in the electric chair?

LAMARCA: Yes, he did.

CHUNG: Was your son somewhat fascinated with it? Because I know he went and got clippings, newspaper clippings, and saved them.

LAMARCA: Yes.

I wasn't aware that Joey -- he didn't develop a fixation with it, but he was much more interested in it than I was aware of. And he was much more aware of that crime than I ever had any idea of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

(PHONE RINGING)

DE NIRO: LaMarca.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: And one day, you got a horrible phone call. What was it?

LAMARCA: A drug dealer had just been killed and my son was the main suspect.

CHUNG: And what happened to you in your heart?

LAMARCA: That was a difficult phone call to get. My son Joseph, he was in a lot of trouble. I was aware of what was going on. I may not have had a lot of dealings with him. I may not have had any type of influence on him, but I was aware of what was going on. I knew he was getting in and out of trouble. But I would never have expected this.

CHUNG: Were you hoping that the police were wrong?

LAMARCA: Of course you're hoping they're wrong. However, the very next day, I got a call from Joseph. He was still on the run. And I didn't know where he was calling me from at the time. And he admitted to me it was him.

CHUNG: Tell me, what did that do to you?

LAMARCA: That's very difficult to deal with.

CHUNG: Here you had spent 20 years in law enforcement.

LAMARCA: Yes.

CHUNG: You were trying to reverse the LaMarca trend. And you successfully did so. And, all of the sudden, your second-born does exactly the wrong thing.

LAMARCA: Yes, he did. The only murder dumber than my father's murder was my son's, the one my son committed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

DE NIRO: I'll be there, just me.

FRANCO: And why should I trust you?

DE NIRO: Joey, you don't have a choice. Just meet me there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAMARCA: I guess he called me because he's going to call dad. Whether you have the relationship or not, I'm his father. And he gave me the call. And my kid was in a lot of trouble.

CHUNG: You were envisioning a repeat nightmare?

LAMARCA: Yes, I certainly was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CITY BY THE SEA")

FRANCO: I don't know what happened. I mean, one minute we're fighting. The next minute he's dead.

DE NIRO: This is something you can't run away from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAMARCA: This was a drug deal went bad. Both men were armed with knives. My son came out on top is what it boiled down to. I'm not saying it was strictly self-defense. However, it could have very easily have gone the other way.

CHUNG: So Joey went to prison for manslaughter?

LAMARCA: Yes, he did.

CHUNG: How many years is he committed for?

LAMARCA: He took a plea on this. He didn't go to trial. And he got 15 to 25. So he just turned 30 this month. So he'll be in his early 40s when he gets out of prison.

CHUNG: What is your relationship with him now?

LAMARCA: Actually, it's amazing. My relationship with him now is wonderful.

CHUNG: No. Really?

LAMARCA: We have really developed a good rapport.

CHUNG: How did that happen?

LAMARCA: I don't know. It happened slowly. It really did.

CHUNG: So, isn't it fascinating that it took something like this to bring the two of you together? What is that all about?

LAMARCA: Yes, it is. It's amazing, when you think about it. But I'm happy to say, I'm looking forward to him coming out of prison.

CHUNG: Will he go straight?

LAMARCA: I think so. I see how he's changed.

CHUNG: Why will

(CROSSTALK)

LAMARCA: He's changed drastically.

He's finally matured. He's finally grown up. He's taken responsibility for the choices he's made. He may have been drugged out when he did this crime, but he made a decision to take the drugs. He actually has taken some responsibility. And that is important, because we both have.

CHUNG: All right, so what do you think the message is in your life and what do you think the message is in the movie?

LAMARCA: OK.

You make your choices. You really do. And I made my choices. My father wasn't around for me as I was growing up, but I still made my choices. And I decided to do what I did. And my son made his choices and decided to do what he did. If people are going to blame things on something else, all it is, is they're not taking any responsibility for their actions. I really believe and feel that way.

CHUNG: Vince, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

LAMARCA: I thank you very much, Connie. It's been a pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: And still ahead, we will find out how the formerly conjoined twins are doing after last night's follow-up surgery.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: The extraordinary operation to separate twin girls joined at the head was not the end of their ordeal. Almost a month later, they are still in serious, but stable condition. And yesterday, Maria de Jesus had her first operation since the separation.

So, we've asked for an update from Dr. Irwin Weiss, UCLA Medical Center's attending physician for pediatric intensive care.

Dr. Weiss, nice to see you again.

DR. IRWIN WEISS, UCLA MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you.

CHUNG: Tell me, I know that you took Maria de Jesus back into the operating room -- I mean, the staff did. But this was planned. And it was somewhat routine, because it was reconstructive surgery. How is she doing? And is she behaving more like a normal 1-year-old?

WEISS: She is doing, actually, very well.

I think most people know that there were two aspects to her surgery, both the brain aspect and as well as the reconstructive aspect. So we expected that both sisters would be required to have multiple surgeries to make the reconstruction as best as possible. And that was what happened yesterday.

She returned from the operating room. She's back to herself. She is laughing, playing, very active, eating, and doing all the things that most 1-year-olds do.

CHUNG: And is she babbling? Does she talk at all?

WEISS: We think she is saying -- of course, obviously, her language would be Spanish. We think she says "Papa" and "Mama." But we're not 100 percent sure, but we think it sounds that way.

CHUNG: That's great.

Maria Teresa, I know, is not doing as well. Are you worried about her? Tell us about her condition.

WEISS: Well, she, as most people probably remember, has had four operations, including the separation procedure. And she has had a little bit more of a difficult time. And so her, she is not as awake and not as -- well, she is awake, but she's not as active and playful as her sister is.

But we kind of expect that for anyone who has had four major brain surgeries, to be a little bit slower recovery. But, if you look at her, she is better than she was last week. And we're optimistic that every week she will improve.

CHUNG: Has either twin shown any signs that she realizes she has been separated from her sister?

WEISS: That's an interesting question.

Maria de Jesus, who had the surgery yesterday, she at times seems to reach up over her head, wondering -- I don't know if she knows it's her sister or if it was a thing or what it was. But she does seem to reach over her head and try to feel what was there.

I don't know if she is wondering what was there, but she -- it's hard to know. They're so little, so hard to know what they're thinking or what they know happened to them.

CHUNG: But that is fascinating, if indeed you're guessing correctly.

Tell me, the parents have been with them this whole time. Do you have any idea of when the whole family can go back to Guatemala?

WEISS: Well, as we expected, this was such a major operation, separating these two little girls. And it involved so many aspects of their care, not very different to many of our patients who come to UCLA from very, very far away, who need to have stages in their surgery or their transplant or whatever the case may be.

So it's hard to know. I think the stages that we are looking at in the next several weeks: that they no longer need intensive care and can move to our floor, which is really an observation-level status, over the next several weeks. Following that...

CHUNG: All right, Dr. Weiss...

WEISS: ... would be out into the community.

CHUNG: OK, I understand, and then eventually back home, and maybe some follow-up surgery?

WEISS: Eventually, hopefully, back home, sure.

CHUNG: I'm sorry I had to interrupt you, but we are going to say good night. And give them a nice little touch for us on the hand. You can touch their...

WEISS: We will. Thank you very much.

CHUNG: Yes, OK.

WEISS: Thank you for your interest, too.

CHUNG: Oh, we love checking in.

WEISS: Good night. Bye-bye.

CHUNG: Thank you.

So we will be back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: On Monday: Should the U.S. invade Iraq? Will the U.S. invade Iraq? And the truth about what your dog and cat are thinking: pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick.

And "LARRY KING" next with Jerry Lewis.

Have a great weekend.

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