ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Judge Rules Kobe Bryant Will Stand Trial; John Allen Muhammad to Represent Himself
Aired October 20, 2003 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): President Bush blitzes Asia. Can he diffuse the North Korean nuclear threat?
In his own words, "I didn't do it." A sniper suspect defends himself in court.
The date is set. Kobe Bryant to stand trial for sexual assault.
Three students, three suicides at one college. Is there a link?
Our special series "Conjoined Twins". Tonight, beginning the journey to separate lives.
And did Princess Diana predict her own tragic death?
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: And a good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin with significant new developments in the Kobe Bryant case. Within the last hour, we've learned that a judge has ruled the NBA superstar will stand trial over accusations he raped a 19-year-old woman. Gary Tuchman is covering the case in Eagle, Colorado -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, hello to you. Kobe Bryant's legal problems have now officially increased. Judge Fred Gannett has decided there is probable cause for Kobe Bryant, the Lakers superstar, 25 years old, to go to trial. He'll have to return to this courthouse on November 10, three weeks from today, for his first appearance in the district court to be read his rights.
Now, we've been telling you over and over again how probable cause is a very low standard for the prosecution to meet, and the judge alluded to that in his order. He said, "The court finds that the evidence taken in a light most favorable to the prosecution is sufficient to induce a reasonable belief that defendant committed sexual assault as charged. The people have therefore established sufficient probable cause to bind this matter over to district court for trial."
But we must emphasize to you that it's very clear from this order that the judge was not overly impressed with the prosecution evidence. He continued, "The people presented what can only be described as a minimal amount of evidence, relying substantially on the use of hearsay evidence."
Now, the prosecution did say it has more evidence for a trial. It did not want to show all its cards. Nevertheless, it's notable this was mentioned by the judge. The judge finally saying in his closing words, "The alleged victim's statement, not having been shown to be incredible and implausible as a matter of law, cannot be rejected by the court."
Now, during the preliminary hearing that was held over the last two weeks over two days, the alleged victim's statement was uttered by a detective who interviewed her. During the trial this accuser would actually be on the stand.
We should tell you that Kobe Bryant practiced with the Los Angeles Lakers today in California. A CNN producer and cameraman were on the scene talking to him just before this order came out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOBE BRYANT, BASKETBALL PLAYER: A little anxiety. I mean, I just pretty much give it up and, you know, pretty much done all I can here. And just God will carry me the rest of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: So, once again, this was not a ringing endorsement of how the prosecution framed its case. But it was enough to reach the probable cause threshold that was necessary. When Kobe Bryant comes here on November 10, it just so happens that the Lakers have a game that night against the Memphis Grizzles in Tennessee. Kobe Bryant will not be able to go to that game.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: All right, Gary. Thanks very much for the update.
A number of legal questions have been raised by the judge's ruling. For that, we go to 360 legal analyst and San Francisco's Assistant D.A., Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom.
Kimberly, good to see you. I guess not all that surprising the judge has ruled this. But the judge coming out and basically saying that the prosecution's case thus far presented was a lot of hearsay.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM, LEGAL ANALYST: You are right. Really no big surprise that this case is being bound over to district court. The surprise is that the judge actually, in his ruling, was pretty adamant in strong language, saying that he was not impressed with the prosecution's case. And this tells me that the prosecutors better take a closer look and make sure their victim is prepared to testify and testify well, because I believe they are already operating at a disadvantage, given the damage the defense has already done to their case.
COOPER: So you think it's going to basically all boil down to the alleged victim, her testimony and her credibility?
NEWSOM: I really do, because detective Doug Winters struggled on the stand, unfortunately. And I think the jury is actually going to pay attention to what she had to say. But keep in mind, the defense will be able to impeach the victim when she takes the stand with some of the statements and inconsistencies that were brought out and elicited through the testimony of detective Doug Winters.
This is going to be a tough case for the prosecution. And a very long time, I think, before it goes to trial. I think for sure, it should be at least six months, but I think we're really going to see this go after the Lakers' season is concluded.
COOPER: You say a long time. We have this November 10th date from Gary Tuchman. But that's simply for Kobe Bryant to appear and have his rights read to him. Is that correct?
NEWSOM: That's correct. It's called a first appearance. And then he may enter a plea at that time. Usually, like I said, it's six months from the date he enters the plea that a trial would be expected to proceed forward.
We'll see all kinds of motions in this case. They'll try to keep out Kobe Bryant's statement that the judge did listen to, but we didn't hear in court. And they don't want that to come out in front of the jury.
Also, so many forensic motions, expert testimony, et cetera. There will be a lot of battles in this case. It will be an interesting one to watch. Keep in mind, this is going to be he biggest celebrity case since O.J. Simpson.
COOPER: Yes. A lot of battles in the court and outside the court, no doubt, in these next couple months. All right. Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom, thanks so much.
Another bombshell today in a Virginia courtroom. Just before his trial was to begin, sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad asked to represent himself and was granted his request by the judge. Facing murder and terrorism charges, Muhammad denied having anything to do with the accusations against him. Jeanne Meserve has the latest now from Virginia Beach, Virginia.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Muhammad took his life into his own hands asking at the last minute to represent himself in his capital murder trial. During a bench conference, Judge Leroy Millette said, "I have to tell you, I think it is a mistake," but granted his request. The team that did represent him will now stand by to assist. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It surprised everybody. I can't -- like I said, I think this guy has a death wish.
MESERVE: In his opening statement, Muhammad said, "The evidence will show that I had nothing to do with these crimes, directly or indirectly."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just sat there and looked at someone who cold bloodily killed a number of people in our community. And it was sort of tough to sit there and look at him.
MESERVE: Prosecutor James Willit (ph) stunned the courtroom, taking pieces of a Bushmaster rifle out of a duffelbag, putting it together, and placing it directly in front of the jury as he ticked off 16 shootings which he alleges Muhammad participated in. An employee of a Virginia bank testified that she saw Muhammad just down the road from the Dean Meyers shooting a little more than an hour before it occurred. When Lee Malvo was brought into the courtroom, she said she had seen him there, too, getting into a Chevy Caprice with New Jersey tags, like the one in which they were arrested.
MESERVE: Muhammad's opening statement was a long discourse on the nature of truth in which he told a lengthy anecdote about falsely accusing his daughter of taking some chocolate cookies from a cookie jar. It was a fascinating performance, and some would say an incongruous performance by a man accused of so many murders -- Anderson.
COOPER: And no doubt there will be a lot more of those performances still to come. Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much for that.
A fast fact for you now. The list of high-profile defendants who've represented themselves is actually a very long one. Gunman Colin Ferguson -- remember him -- convicted in 1995 for killing six commuters on a Long Island railroad train.
Assisted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian convicted in 1999 for killing a terminally ill Michigan man.
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski pleaded guilty to three murders in 1997. He is now representing himself in appeal.
And Zacarias Moussaoui, charged in collection with the 9/11 terror attacks, is also representing himself currently.
President Bush is in Bangkok, Thailand this evening at a gathering that is supposed to be about bread and butter issues. Instead, the question on the plate is, can North Korea's nuclear program be stopped? It dominated discussions between the president and other leaders at today's opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
Senior White House correspondent John King has details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president brushed aside complaints from a few summit colleagues and pushed terrorism and security concerns to the top of the Bangkok agenda. Over breakfast, talks with South Korea's president about the new U.S. overture to North Korea.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a common goal to make sure that the Korean peninsula is nuclear weapons free.
KING: Mr. Bush refuses to negotiate one on one with the north, but says he is now prepared to offer written security assurances as part of some form of a joint statement with regional allies. Japan and Russia are reviewing the initiative, and the White House says finding appropriate language could take some time.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are not going to go in all guns blazing and say, take it or leave it, this is it.
KING (on camera): North Korea added a bit of drama to the summit debate by test firing an antiship missile. South Korea characterized it as a routine exercise, but both Japanese and U.S. officials called the timing curious, to say the least. As one White House official put it, "They like to let us know they're paying attention."
John King, CNN, Bangkok.
COOPER: Well, now a reminder that Osama bin Laden is still around. A new tape was played Saturday on Arab television, and after reviewing the evidence, CIA experts now believe the voice on the tape is likely that of the al Qaeda leader. National correspondent Mike Boettcher reports that the tape also includes new threats.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the recorded statements broadcast on the Al-Jazeera network, the voice that CIA analysts believe is bin Laden warns of new suicide attack both inside and outside the United States and against U.S. allies.
OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): The aggressor should know that we reserve the right to respond at a time and place that we see appropriate in all countries that are participating, especially England, Spain, Australia, Poland and Italy.
BOETTCHER: The war in Iraq, and the continued U.S. occupation there, was the overriding theme of the recording, with bin Laden calling for new recruits to fight a holy war against the United States in Iraq.
BIN LADEN (through translator): I say to our brothers, the Mujahadeen in Iraq, I share your concerns and feel your pain. And also, I congratulate you on the status of jihad that you're in. God only knows, if I could find a way to your battlefield, I would not stay behind.
BOETTCHER: The last bin Laden message and videotape seen September 10th, included no time reference to prove that the al Qaeda leader was alive. But the CIA says this newest tape was probably made within the past six months.
Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Well, let's put this latest audiotape in some perspective. The last time an independent source saw bin Laden alive was back October 21, 2001, when an Al-Jazeera reporter actually interviewed him. Since then, al Qaeda has released six videotapes, eight audiotapes and three statements released all allegedly from bin Laden.
There are also threats to America on what is being described as a new al Qaeda Web site. The site includes videotaped statements from four al Qaeda followers believed to have been responsible for the bombings last May in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The tapes show the suspects offer their testaments before they died in the bombings. The attacks targeted three housing complexes almost simultaneously, killed dozens of people, including nine American.
Now, in a message directed at American soldiers, one of the speakers said, "We promise that we will not let you live safely."
Well, a number of international stories to tell you about now. Let's check the "UpLink."
Near Fallujah, Iraq: deadly ground. Another U.S. soldier killed near that city today. Several other soldiers wounded when an 82nd Airborne Division patrol was ambushed.
Gaza City: missile strike. Medical sources and Palestinian security say at least 11 people have been killed, more than 100 hurt in five Israeli military strikes in one day in Gaza. Two of the strikes were on a house Israel says was used by the militant group Hamas to make weapons.
London, England: a politician with a heart. Prime Minister Tony Blair was told by his doctors to take it easy today. The 50-year-old Blair spent five hours in a London hospital yesterday getting electrocardiac treatment after suffering heart palpitations.
And space: the final frontier. There's a new crew onboard the International Space Station. An American, a Russian and a Spaniard rode up on a Soyuz spacecraft, docked with the space station today. There it is. It's the second time a Soyuz was filled since the U.S. space shuttle fleet was grounded back in February.
And the Netherlands: strip down fund-raising. No, this is not naked news. It is an effort -- uh-oh-- by Dutch athletes to find a way to make up for money lost when their subsidies were cut. To earn money to train abroad, they are posing nude for a Web site. Obviously, not going to show you that. You'll have to find the address all on your own.
That is tonight's "UpLink."
A skip and a jump through presidential politics. Two key contenders blow off Iowa. Find out if it's likely to hurt or help their chances of winning nominations.
Plus, two lives, one struggle. Our weeklong special series on conjoined twins.
And the princess Diana letter. Find out why she thought someone was trying to kill her.
But first, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at the top stories on tonight's network evening newscasts.
COOPER: All right, today's political bombshell. Two key Democrats to skip Iowa. Will Clark and Lieberman turn conventional wisdom on its head or suffer the consequences? That debate in a moment.
But first, checking the stories "Cross Country" tonight.
Baltimore, Maryland: airplane scare hearing. Nathaniel -- well, this guy -- he faces a judge on federal felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon aboard an airplane. The FBI says the North Carolina College student triggered a nationwide airline alert last week by putting banned items on passenger planes. Court papers say box cutters, bleach, matches and clay were put on board planes in September just after the 9/11 attack anniversary.
New York: U.N. shooter sentenced. Remember this video? This guy, a disgruntled postal worker, was sentenced to serve two years and three months for climbing a fence and squeezing off seven shots at the United Nations headquarters last year. Korean-American Steve Kim (ph) says he was protesting the plight of North Koreans, but told the court he aimed high to keep from hurting anyone.
Boston: settlement accepted. A lawyer for the Boston Archdiocese says an $85 million settlement has been approved by 80 percent of the alleged victims involved. That's the number needed for the deal to take effect. The deadline to reach that figure was Thursday. Each alleged victim will get between $80,000 and $300,000.
Near Hernando, Mississippi: overpass collapse. A concrete overpass fell from its supports today after it was hit by heavy equipment. The county coroner says they are not sure how many people were trapped under the convete and steel rebar (ph). The accident took place on a new state road about 25 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.
Circleville, Ohio: school bus crash. Look at this video. A judge was expected to rule on whether the driver of this bus is guilty of a misdemeanor charge of careless operation. These pictures from the bus surveillance camera show middle and high school students go flying as the bus runs off a road, flips on to its side. Sixteen kids suffered only minor injuries.
Well, that's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.
Now to today's political shocker. Two Democratic presidential hopefuls, Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark, say they are going to skip Iowa's lead-off precinct caucuses and move on to key early primary states. Shrewd or shooting themselves in the foot?
With me here in New York to handicap the moves are political analyst Carlos Watson and Kirsten Powers. Thanks for being with us.
Kirsten, let me start off with you. How surprised were you that Lieberman and Clark are skipping Iowa?
KIRSTEN POWERS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that the thing that you have to remember about Iowa is that it's all about organization. It's all about structure, money, spending time in the state. I don't think anyone is really surprised that Clark isn't going to be there.
COOPER: Because he doesn't...
POWERS: From day one, he got in the race so late he didn't have the time to build the kind of infrastructure and organization that you have to do in Iowa to compete in Iowa. Lieberman, on the other hand, has been in the race for the last year and really has had the time.
He's made a strategic decision that he's not going to spend the time in Iowa because he's not getting much traction there. And he's going to go ahead and go to New Hampshire, which other candidates have done, like Bill Clinton.
COOPER: Well, Carlos, I mean, a strategic decision is one thing. But as Kirsten points out, he has had an awful lot of time to think about this. It's not as if he's just gearing up his machine. Does this mean he's in perhaps more trouble than people even thought?
CARLOS WATSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he's in big trouble. I think the reality is, we saw Bob Graham drop out less than a month ago. And Anderson, I frankly expect another one to two Democrats to drop out before Iowa.
This is bad news for Joe Lieberman. Clark will get a pass, as Kirsten said. He's only been in it a month. But make no mistake about it, this says once again that Howard Dean, who many dismissed earlier in the year, right, small state governor, too far on the left, anti-war position, this once again says this guy not only has money, not only has popular poll support, but he's got a great organization.
COOPER: You say it's bad for Lieberman. Drop out bad for Lieberman?
WATSON: I think Lieberman's on the way to at least considering it. And I think if he's not concerned yet, I bet you I'll tell you who will be, the fund-raisers and his staff. They've got to be looking around and saying, this guy was a vice presidential candidate less than four years ago and now he's not even running in Iowa?
COOPER: Do you agree with that, Kirsten?
POWERS: I don't think I'm ready to say he's going to drop out. But I do think that he's looking ahead and saying, where should I spend my resources. And it's not in Iowa. These are not people who are going to vote for him.
He's too conservative. He would (UNINTELLIGIBLE) moderate for Iowa voters. He's going to...
COOPER: Let's take a look at our recent national poll, the CNN- "USA Today" poll. Clark leading 18 percent. Dean and Lieberman follow with 13 percent, with Clark and Lieberman.
Basically, what does this mean for Dean in Iowa? I mean, this is, I guess, good for him or no impact?
POWERS: I don't think it has any impact on him because Clark had no presence there. I mean, Clark is a huge threat to Dean. There's no doubt about that. But the reality is he was never a player in Iowa.
COOPER: Carlos, you agree?
WATSON: Dean's stature has enhanced among Iowa voters who look at him now and say, wow, he scored a technical knockout over Joe Lieberman and he scared a general out of the race. And don't forget, when you move to New Hampshire, it's not like the scene is that much rosier there.
The last really good poll we saw back from October in American Research Group, not only had Dean with a 10-point lead over Kerry, but he had a 20-point lead over Lieberman and over Clark. So it's not like they have an easy road to hoe there.
Now, we've seen people like John McCain storm back, not really compete in Iowa, and then ultimately win New Hampshire. But it's a tough road to hoe here.
Let me add one other thing, Anderson. Who else does this help? This helps John Kerry.
COOPER: How so?
WATSON: Fewer voices to compete with there now. Now John Kerry can seriously compete for a third-place finish. And like Michael Dukakis in 1988, he can take a third-place finish in Iowa -- remember Michael Dukakis did that -- combine it with a first-place win in his next-door state, New Hampshire, and all of a sudden head to the South and head to the West... COOPER: He's the new comeback kid all of a sudden?
WATSON: He could if he positions it right and he puts together a good third-place finish and a first-place finish in New Hampshire. This could offer a breath of fresh air for...
POWERS: But (UNINTELLIGIBLE) being very dismissive of Clark, who basically barely was even in the race and went right to number three in a poll, having not even been to the state, having not run any ads. And this is up against people who have enormous, great, great structure there, Dean and Kerry, who are both also the favorite sons. So I think we now have to see what happens when Clark actually starts spending money and spending time there and seeing how that plays out in New Hampshire.
COOPER: And how much money he has and how long it's going to last. We're going to leave it there. Kirsten Powers, thanks very much. And Carlos, thanks very much -- Carlos Watson.
Well, a quick note for you. We are getting ready for Tuesday, November 4th, one year before the election for "America Rocks the Vote," a 90-minute forum with young voters, the Democratic candidates and yours truly moderating at Faneuil Hall in Boston starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Don't miss it. Mark it down on the calendar right now.
All right. Coming up: two lives, one struggle. Our weeklong series on conjoined twins. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with two boys seeking a new lease on life.
Also tonight, a day care molestation case that grabbed headlines in the '80s and sparked a national debate over child testimony. Now the man at the center of it all is about to go free. We'll take a closer look at the controversy.
Also, a little bit later on: Princess Diana, the hidden letter. Find out why she believed someone was out to kill her.
COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight we begin our weeklong look at conjoined twins. Two lives, one struggle.
Last week, we saw Egyptian twins fighting for their lives after they were separated in Texas. Today, Filipino twins are in New York taking their first step on the road to separation. And it will be a long journey.
More on their struggle in just a moment with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. But first, we wanted to look at some of the best known conjoined twins, their history of pain, and more recently, hope.
COOPER (voice-over): America first became captivated with conjoined twins in the 1830s. The Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, joined at the lower chest, were a popular attraction. They performed stunts and displayed their connecting band to paying crowds. Ultimately, they settled in North Carolina, married two sisters and died half an hour apart at the age of 63.
Show business was forced upon conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton in the 1930s and '50s. They start starred in movies, most notably, "Chained for Life" and "Freaks."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, come on, Daisy, let's get out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
COOPER: In this country, at least, life for conjoined twins his changed dramatically. Twins now come here not for work and circuses, but for surgery to separate and improve their lives. Seventy-five percent of such surgeries result in at least one twin surviving.
Last year, there were the Guatemalan girls who became known as the little Marias. And last week, Ahmed and Mohammed in Texas. Their lives still at risk, but so far their surgery seems successful.
The news is not always good. The Iranian Bijani sisters underwent risky surgery in Singapore this summer. Both died in the operating room.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare; one in every 200,000 births. Most commonly, twins are conjoined at the chest, but beyond that, much is still unknown. There's no agreement on why twins are born this way and why 70 percent are female.
COOPER: Well, there is one thing everyone agrees on. Separation is very dangerous. According to UCLA, only 40 attempts to separate twins actually joined at the head have been performs since 1928, and half did not survive the operation. But parents from the Philippines are hoping to beat those odds.
Two boys named Carl and Clarence began the dangerous journey today toward a life apart. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been following their story and joins us now -- Sanjay.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. They arrived September 10th. They've been getting fed, prepared and generally readied for an operation like this.
I've gotten a chance to know them, also to know the immense preparation that goes into an operation like this, one of the most challenging in neurosurgery, and that is saying something. Here's how it starts.
GUPTA (voice-over): The trip is almost 9,000 miles from Manila to Manhattan. Eighteen-month-old Carl and Clarence Aguirre arrived here together. But their parents are hoping they'll leave separately. Another set of conjoined twins. Without an operation, they would never walk or develop normally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really expect Carl and Clarence to be up and around and exploring and interacting with their environment. And they simply can't do that the way they are conjoined. And they have begun to suffer in developmental terms for that reason.
GUPTA: Today's operation largely preparatory, the first of many for these twins over the next few months. It's called staging and doctors expect the approach to improve chances for survival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Underneath the scalp...
GUPTA: Doctors inserted balloon-like tissue expanders into their scalps to gradually expand the boys' skin. That will be useful later to cover the separated skulls. They also performed a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), cutting a window into the boys' shared skull to figure out how tightly merged the brains really are.
The biggest concern is separating a vein called the sagittal sinus. This is a major blood supply drainage funnel between their two brains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we're not successful, the risk is neurological damage, the risk is blood loss and, of course, the ultimate risk is death of the children.
GUPTA: Doctors learning from past separations, successes and failures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The surgeries themselves will be shorter. Blood loss, we would expect to be less. Exposure to anesthesia would be less, swelling of the brains would be less.
GUPTA: Less swelling, less blood loss, better chance they'll ultimately be able to live their lives separately.
GUPTA: Absolutely smoothly. Well, that was how the operation was described today. It seemed to go very well, Anderson.
These little balloons underneath the skin, they're going to be gradually filled over the next few weeks basically to provide some skin when the separation actually takes place, to be able to use that skin to cover. So things are going along pretty well so far, Anderson.
COOPER: That's good news to hear. We'll obviously be following this thing closely. Dr. Gupta, thanks very much.
A quick fast fact now on how much separation surgery can actually cost. It's estimated the medical care for these two boys, Carl and Clarence Aguirre, will cost $2 million. The Montefiore hospital is going to pick up the tab out of charity funds.
Tomorrow we're going to continue our week-long look, "Conjoined Twins: Two Lives, One Struggle." We'll have an update on the Guatemalan girls separated last year. New video of their new lives. The little girls known as the little Marias.
Three suicides on a college campus. Were there warning signs?
And did Princess Diana believe someone wanted her dead?
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Time for the "Reset." Some of the major stories we're watching.
Eagle, Colorado. Bryant facing trial. A judge has ordered NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant to stand trial for sexual assault. Bryant's accused of raping a worker at a Colorado resort. Now if convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. More on this in just a moment.
Washington, D.C., record deficit. The White House says the federal deficit hit $374.2 billion in fiscal 2003. That's an all-time record and double last year's deficit. Ironically, the previous record deficit was posted when President Bush's father was in the White House.
Boston, Massachusetts -- charges sought. Police say they'll seek assault and battery charges tomorrow against two members of the New York Yankees. Pitcher Jeff Nelson and outfielder Karim Garcia. Now, the investigation stems from a bullpen brawl with the groundskeeper at Boston's Fenway Park during the American League championships.
Los Angeles, California -- De Niro ailing. A spokesman says actor Robert De Niro has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. But it was detected at an early stage, and doctors predict a full recovery.
And that is tonight's "Reset."
Well, today was a big day for high-profile crime cases. The decision that Kobe Bryant will stand trial and the decision by accused Washington area sniper John Allen Mohammed to represent himself at his own murder trial.
Let's bring out 360 legal analyst, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, an assistant D.A. in San Francisco joining us.
Kimberly, is this a wise decision by Mohammed?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. You know what they say. Basically now he has a fool for a client, because he's representing himself.
It is never a good idea. He doesn't have the skill, the training, the expertise. He'll be outmatched in the courtroom. I think it's an uncomfortable things for the jurors. It's really not a good idea. Keep in mind, though, he will have stand-by counsel. But this is a man who, I think, is a bit of an egomaniac and he believes -- and typically with people who represent themselves -- that he can do a better job than his lawyers and he will be able to manipulate and connect with the jurors. And I don't think we're going to see that that's going to be the case.
COOPER: Well, is it just ego, in your opinion, or is there some strategy behind it? Does he want to, perhaps, show some sort of insanity, maybe, to jurors or cross-examine some of the witnesses?
NEWSOM: Well, I'll tell you what. I mean, he thinks it's the best idea. I think he planned this all along, for him to be prepared to deliver his opening statement, which he did, right at the beginning. There was no request for a delay. The jury was picked. So this was something he had up his sleeve.
I think he does think that he'll be able to be more cunning, ask better questions on cross-examination and basically muddy the waters for the prosecution.
I'll tell you this. When you have a defendant represent themself, it makes the case immeasurably more difficult for the prosecution. You're worried about preserving the record. In case you do get a conviction, you worry about appeal, and it just could disrupt the proceedings. If he acts too much up in court, though, the judge will then suspend proceedings and have stand-by counsel step in to represent him.
COOPER: But now this gives him the opportunity to question his alleged accomplice, Malvo.
NEWSOM: Well, he could try to call him to the stand. It's very likely that Malvo will try and take the fifth and say, "I will not make any statements," since he has a trial pending that will start, I guess, during this trial -- in fact, separately.
But he might think that he will have the ability to influence being in the courtroom and speaking because Malvo has been ordered present, which is very unusual by the judge. He'll be sitting there in the courtroom. And part of the stuff we've heard in this case is that Mohammed had this weird kind of brainwashing manipulative control over the juvenile, over Malvo. So we'll see if a little bit of that has something to do with it.
COOPER: Let's move on to the Kobe Bryant case. It is going to go to trial several months from now. November 10 is the next court date, in which Kobe Bryant gets his rights read to him.
But the judge basically kind of gave a slap to the prosecution and said that he basically gave a lot of hearsay evidence thus far.
NEWSOM: Yes, the judge was not impressed with the case that the prosecution put forth. The judge didn't have to do a written ruling and didn't have to go into the detail that he did, suggesting why he bound the case over. He basically said, viewing it in the light most favorable to the prosecution, he decided to then bind the case over to district court. I think this is a big wake-up call to the prosecution.
But, again, keep in mind they are saying they only put on the minimal amount of evidence and didn't want to show their hand completely to the defense. But nevertheless, the prosecution better get the act together. And it's all going to come down to the credibility of the victim, when she takes the stand.
COOPER: So there's no doubt, I mean, she's going to have to testify?
NEWSOM: Absolutely. She has -- Kobe Bryant has a right to confront and cross-examine any witnesses in court. And she is the main person. She is the accuser. She will have to testify. She won't get a pass like she did for the preliminary hearing.
And keep in mind, the defense will likely impeach her with all the inconsistent statements that was elicited, basically, from Detective Doug Winters about the ambiguity about when, if at all, did she say no? This is definitely going to be one to watch.
COOPER: All right. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks very much tonight.
NEWSOM: Thank you.
COOPER: More "Justice Served" now.
A man at the center of a notorious child abuse case has been approved for release next spring. The Massachusetts case of Gerald Amirault, who has spent the last 17 years in prison, helped start a national debate about the reliability of children as witnesses.
CNN's Dan Lothian has the story.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paroled, for convicted child rapist Gerald "Tooky" Amirault, is a dream come true for his family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family and I are thrilled to get this news today.
LOTHIAN: But a nightmare for some of his victims.
JENNIFER BENNETT, VICTIM: I got sick to my stomach. I started crying and yelling.
LOTHIAN: Seventeen years ago, Amirault was convicted of raping and molesting eight children at his family-run Fells Acre Day Care in a Boston suburb.
Also convicted, his sister and mother, who both served eight years in prison. His mother died while her case was on appeal.
(on camera) There were lurid tales of abuse, of a clown molesting a child in a magic room or of ritualistic animal sacrifices. Some testimony was viewed with suspicion. What followed were questions about the reliability of young children on the witness stand.
PATRICIA AMIRAULT, WIFE: Absolutely innocent, which is why we've stood by him all these years.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): But the victims and their families have always stood by their accusations.
BENNETT: We know what happened. This man is guilty, and we weren't coaxed.
LOTHIAN: Amirault, serving a 30 to 40 year sentence, was granted parole last week and could be released in April. The parole board concluded in part, quote, "It appears that justice has been served by his 17 years of incarceration."
But Jennifer Bennett, who says she was violated as a young girl at the day care, is angry.
BENNETT: We can't let this man walk the streets. I have two kids out there. There's other innocent children out there.
LOTHIAN: Amirault, who still says he's innocent, would have to register as a sex offender and have no contact with his victims.
Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.
COOPER: A top university copes with a string of tragedies. What's behind a series of suicides at New York University? We're going to take a closer look.
Also tonight, the death of Princess Diana and what she said in a chilling letter less than a year before her death.
Stay with us.
COOPER: Well, three New York University college students have fallen to their deaths in the last six weeks. One of the deaths has been ruled a suicide; the others are still under investigation.
As you can well imagine, students and school administrators are feeling shock and sadness.
CNN's Jason Carroll has the story.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's time for midterm exams at New York University. But for many students, word of another possible suicide is a disturbing distraction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are definitely very shocked by what happened again. It's really sad.
CARROLL: On Saturday night, a 19-year-old student from Brooklyn fell to her death from a friend's fifth floor apartment. Investigators say they're trying to determine if it was a suicide. If so, it would be the third this semester.
Two happened here at the Bobst Library. An 18-year-old freshman from California and a 20-year-old from Illinois leapt to their deaths in separate incidents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had one friend who was actually in Bobst Library when the second suicide occurred, and she was really shook up, obviously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely, firmly believe that it's a good thing to talk about it. I mean, when you keep your emotions bottled up inside of you about something that's as drastic as this, I mean, something that could really affect you.
CARROLL (on camera): The university did not want to provide someone on camera to talk about what happened. In an e-mail to the student body, the university's president said, "We all share a sad sense of a future snitched away." He said "because of that, we owe it to ourselves to think about ways to ensure it does not happen again."
(voice-over) Like providing increased counseling to the university's 36,000 students to help them understand something so tragic.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Eleven hundred college kids commit suicide every year, and the rate for the suicide of young people age 15 to 24 has tripled since the 1950s. What is going on?
With us is Dr. Harold Koplewicz. He's the director of the NYU Child Study Center and the author of the book "More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression."
Why are the numbers growing so much?
HAROLD KOPLEWICZ, "MORE THAN MOODY" AUTHOR: Well, just remember, these numbers are 40 years old. For the last 40 years, we've seen an increase in teen or adolescent suicide.
So we know that, first of all, we are better at identifying suicide, because in the past, very often, this was...
COOPER: It was brushed away.
KOPLEWICZ: Right. But there was definitely a bump, and the bump could be related to gun availability, to a breakdown of the family, to a more pressured society. But not in the last decade. In the last four decades.
What's really good news is that there's been an actual decrease in the last 10 years among adolescent white males. And that group seems to be getting less, and black adolescent males actually is going up.
And the only real difference is the fact that SSOIs -- Prozac, Newvox (ph), those new antidepressants -- are more readily available to a white adolescent population than to a population of Hispanic or blacks.
COOPER: The problem of cluster suicides. I mean, right now only one of these deaths has been ruled a suicide but it very well could be three. Why does it happen in groups? And where's the danger of it?
KOPLEWICZ: Well, there's no doubt that suicide can be contagious. We actually have established in many different research studies when you show a TV movie about suicide, you'll actually see an increase in suicide attempts and suicide completion.
So the important part right now is for us to take this moment to start identifying what the risk factors are for suicide.
And No. 1, every single time is going to be depression. And adolescent depression or young adult depression is different than normal depression. You are more likely to be irritable. You're more likely to oversleep. You're more likely to overeat.
And that chronic irritability is what causes problems, because when you're chronically irritable, you're more likely to abuse marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, other drugs. We have a double whammy. We have someone who's biologically vulnerable in a stressful situation and then taking substances. So...
COOPER: But it's tough, though. Yes, school administrators should be aware of these things. But often in a college setting it's your friends who are the first line who are going to, you know, be interacting with you. What should friends look out for? I mean, if you're sleeping a lot. I mean, I slept my entire way through college.
KOPLEWICZ: Right. Well, it's a matter of distress and dysfunction. I think the step comes before you even go to college.
The fact is that there are many, many kids going to college today, in fact, across universities everywhere. And this is not a phenomenon of one university. It's every college. Kids who go to college today who never would have been able to go before, because they've been treated adequately for bipolar disorder or for depression.
And now they're in college, and they don't identify themselves as needing mental services. In fact, there's so much stigma that they would rather pretend this is a fresh start. They don't need it.
COOPER: Some colleges now do counseling to everyone, whether or not anyone actually says they want it. It's just a blanket policy.
KOPLEWICZ: Right. But there's counseling and treatment, you know. We need to have a diagnosis before we can start treatment. So that's one problem.
The other problem is that people tend to wish that this is just a phase. So this would be a time, right now, in any university that if you see a friend who's behaving differently: he's not coming class. He is sleeping more. He's doing more drugs. This is a time to reach out and to get this kid or this friend some help.
COOPER: Doctor Koplewicz, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.
KOPLEWICZ: It's a pleasure.
COOPER: All right.
Well, we want to put teen suicide in perspective. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for college age kids. Ten percent of U.S. college students admit serious thoughts of suicide, and seven percent had a suicide plan. Those statistics came from the Centers for Disease Control.
Well, still to come this evening, the eerie story of Princess Diana, the letter and her fears on just how she would die.
And why "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" reigned supreme in the box office this weekend.
Be right back.
COOPER: Just checking your e-mails.
All right. The Los Angeles Police Department is facing new brutality charges tonight. A doctor who was visiting L.A. for a medical conference claims he was treated so roughly his surgical skills have been affected.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has the story.
DR. ANGELO GOUSSE, SAYS LAPD BRUTALIZED HIM: It was a very terrifying experience of uncertainty.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Angelo Gousse says his terrifying experience came in February 2001 at the hands of a Los Angeles Police Department.
GOUSSE: I guess I was driving while black in Los Angeles.
MARQUEZ: But the city of Los Angeles says Gousse was driving about 35 miles per hour on an empty freeway at 2 a.m. in a car that was reported stolen. Good reason for a stop.
ERIC MOKES, L.A. CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: The police department did its own investigation and determined that the officers acted appropriately in following up on a report of a stolen vehicle.
MARQUEZ: But Dr. Gousse says he was handcuffed too tightly and lifted in a way that caused damage to his left hand and arm, limiting his ability as a surgeon.
GOUSSE: What upsets me about my injuries is they were preventable injuries. I had warned the officers not to handle me in that manner, because I work with my hands.
MARQUEZ: Dr. Gousse was in Los Angeles to attend a medical conference. At LAX, he rented a Ford Taurus from Budget. What he didn't know was that a year before, Budget had switched the plates with a car it later reported stolen.
BROWNE GREENE, GOUSSE'S ATTORNEY: Two organizations responsible Budget Rent-a-Car and the LAPD proceed to manhandle him, to hurt him physically and humiliate him to change his life.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Budget admits the error, but says any problems Dr. Gousse may have were caused by Los Angeles police.
Dr. Gousse is seeking an unspecified amount of money, and the city of Los Angeles and Budget Rent-a-car are counter-suing each other.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: We'd love to hear from you. What do you think about this story or any other story here on "The Current." You can e-mail us at www.CNN.com/360. It rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?
All right. Let's look at what's going on in the "Pop Culture Current."
Americans wanted to forget their cares at the movies this weekend with two feel-good flicks topping the list. All right. Let's be honest. Moviegoers wanted blood, and they got it.
Number one was the remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," a quaint little charmer about a killer who hacks his way through Texas, wearing mask made out of the flesh of his victims. Mmm.
The splatter quotient is even higher in the number two movie this weekend. This one, "Kill Bill," is considered one of the most violent films ever made and, some allege, the most pretentious.
An impassioned plea from Pamela Anderson. Please, think of the chickens. The former "Baywatch" babe is calling on KFC to end what she calls cruelty and injustice toward chickens. KFC denies that.
Anderson is a long-time animal rights supporter. She opposes fur and, it seems, most clothing in general.
And that is a quick check of tonight's "Current."
And now to a fascinating story about Princess Diana and something she wrote just 10 months before her death in a tragic car crash. Her fears that she would die in just such a crash, that it wouldn't be a tragedy but would be a crime.
Here's CNN's Walter Rodgers.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Lady Diana was killed six years ago in Paris, the French called it an accident. Now a British newspaper, serializing a new book about Diana, published a letter from her saying her enemies were plotting to kill her in a car crash, 10 months before she died.
Editors blocked out the name of the alleged plotter, but experts agree it is Diana's handwriting.
PIERS MORGAN, EDITOR, "DAILY MIRROR": What is particularly unnerving about the letter is that she details a very specific plot. She gives absolute concrete, in her eyes, evidence. This is it.
RODGERS: Paul Burrell, Diana's butler, was the recipient of the letters. He's written what threaten to be a royals blockbuster.
A former palace spokesman said the letters are genuine. The conspiracy, he says, is not.
DICKIE ARBITER, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: There is no question of murder. There is no question of conspiracy. It just didn't happen. It was an accident.
MORGAN: I think it is fuel to the fire of every conspiracy theorist in the world on a story that has attracted more than probably any since JFK's assassination.
RODGERS: A spokesman for Prince Charles now says there will be an official British inquest into Diana's death sometime in the future. The "Daily Mirror" is promising more disclosures all this week.
Walter Rodgers, CNN, London.
COOPER: Well, coming up, "The Nth Degree" looks at the big squeeze. One game show lesson and a possible crisis for hugging in America? What is going on with that.
Plus tomorrow, two lives, one struggle. We'll update you on the Guatemalan girls separated last year. New video of the little Marias.
COOPER: Tonight, the big squeeze, to "The Nth Degree."
Three years ago, a guy named Will Wright won nearly $50,000 and a trip to Puerto Whatever on "Wheel of Fortune."
Now, he's suing the show's producers, saying Pat Sajak hurt his back when the host gave Wright a congratulatory hug. Wright feels wronged and he wants two million bucks to ease the pain.
Now, the hug was never televised, so we've asked 360 producers Guillaume (ph) and Eric to re-create it. Guillaume (ph) is in the blue. He's Wright. Eric is in the white as Sajak. Please do not try this at home.
All right. Let's see it again. Wright is standing there. Sajak jumps and hugs and the leg wrap. On the recreation, it's tough to tell who's at fault.
If this lawsuit is successful, however, it could have a chilling effect on game shows everywhere. People fall on the "Price is Right" all the time. Frankly, if game show hosts aren't free to hug, kiss and kanoodle contestants, can the genre even survive?
And what about politicians? If hugging becomes equivalent to mugging, our nation's leaders are going to have to change their ways.
Come to think of it, I think that's not such a bad idea after all.
That wraps up our program tonight. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
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