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Sniper Trial: Lawyers Back in Charge; Rumsfeld's Concerns: Memo Cites Long War

Aired October 22, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): The D.C. sniper suspect: why is he no longer representing himself?

What's next for a brain-damaged woman kept alive against her husband's wishes.

Newly released videotape of the Columbine killers.

Our special series, "Conjoined Twins". Tonight, life after separation surgery.

A possible profile of the Petaluma prowler still on the loose.

And the sad saga of Liza and David: did booze break up the odd couple?


ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: And a good evening to you. Thanks for joining us on 360.

A lot to cover tonight, including a startling discovery in a southern postal facility. Traces of a deadly toxin found in an envelope. The FBI is hunting for the source. We'll get to that shortly, but we begin with another dramatic twist in the D.C. sniper trial of John Allen Muhammad.

Two days after he decided to defend himself, the accused sniper has turned the job back over to his attorneys. For what's behind the move we turn to Jeanne Meserve.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A toothache causes another turn in the topsy-turvy trial of John Muhammad. Muhammad asked that Peter Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro again lead his defense after complaining of an abscessed tooth. In a bench conference, Judge Leroy Millette asked, "Are you making this decision solely because of your physical problem or because you think it's in your best interest to have them represent you?" Muhammad replied, "The latter." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know how emotional it is for a lawyer with death on the table to be sidelined in deference to a defendant's right to represent himself.

MESERVE: Observers said it looked like Muhammad had gotten a dose of reality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not so surprised that he switched back. It sounds to me like he's not crazy, and he had, you know, a day and some of being his own lawyer. And he learned that it's not so easy going.

MESERVE: It was a day of tears and trauma in the courtroom. Kelly Adams (ph), still suffering the effects of a tracheotomy, described being shot in the Montgomery, Alabama parking lot, casting sidelong glances at Muhammad as she left the stand. James Gray (ph) described chasing a man from the scene of that shooting and coming face to face.

"His eyes were big and round," he said, "and they looked like he was in some kind of frenzy. When I saw his eyes, he scared me." Malvo was brought into the room. Gray said, "That's him," and broke down in tears.


COOPER: Jeanne Meserve joins us now. Jeanne, so many people have been trying to understand what is the nature of the relationship between Muhammad and Malvo. They were in the same room on many occasions today. What kind of interactions did they have?

MESERVE: Malvo was in the room three times so witnesses could identify him. The first time without a jury present. As he left the courtroom, he turned, and he and Muhammad locked eyes. Muhammad had had his head resting on his hand. He took his hand and he made a gesture which wasn't a wave and it wasn't a fist. It was something in between.

Made this gesture to Malvo. Malvo did not react and walked out of the room. The other two times Malvo was in the room there was no such interaction.

And, by the way, the prosecutor in the Malvo case today has asked for a delay in that case. He says he needs more time to do mental health evaluations. That motion will be taken up tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much. We'll have more on this trial later in the program with 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom.

A disturbing videotape released today, a tape that really brought back chilling memories of the killings at Columbine High School. On the tape, two teenagers out in the woods shooting. The two teenagers who weeks later would open fire on their classmates. Here's Brian Cabell. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): March 6, 1999, six weeks before the Columbine High School massacre, the two teenaged killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were practicing. Practicing with their weapons in a national forest not far from the high school. It was a seemingly light-hearted outing for the two boys, shooting up bowling pins and trees, getting acquainted with the guns they'd later use for deadly purposes.

Accompanying Harris and Klebold were two men convicted of supplying them with the guns, Mark Manes (ph) and Philip Duran (ph). The tape shows that some of the weapons have been illegally modified.

The video was released by the Jefferson County, Colorado Sheriff's Department after a Columbine taskforce urged that it do so. Officials say it's something the public should see. What the tape doesn't tell us is the motive behind the horrific assault on the high school April 20, 1999.

The boys killed 12 classmates, a teacher, and then themselves. Several others were wounded.

Harris and Klebold were intelligent youngsters from middle class, two-parent families. But they apparently considered themselves outcasts at school. What this tape does confirm is that the massacre was not the result of a sudden, impulsive decision. They practiced killing before they actually did it.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Well, a quick news note on this story. In terms of school shootings, this year is already shaping up to be one of the most violent in history. So far, 18 students have been killed in the nation's public schools. Now that's more than all of last year combined. It is important to note, however, that crime statistics show school is one of the safest places for kids to be.

Well, now the war on terror and the talk of Washington today. The Pentagon is insisting a memo from Secretary Donald Rumsfeld challenging his top deputies about progress in the war on terror is not at odds with his public statements on the subject. Some administration critics insist the document shows Rumsfeld is not saying publicly what he really feels privately. Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has more.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The memo. Rumsfeld critics charge it's a smoking gun.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: Well, I think Secretary Rumsfeld's comments are an illustration of the concern that they have about the failure of their policies in Iraq so far. MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld says it's just his way of managing a slow- moving bureaucracy.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The reason I write those things is -- and ask questions, is because I find it a useful thing to do.

MCINTYRE: A grim outlook is how "USA Today" characterized the memo, which the newspaper was the first to report in a front-page story. Nonsense, responds the Pentagon.

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS: What you are seeing in this memo I think is the way we do business -- is our boss is challenging us with a lot of questions.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon argues nothing in the memo contradicts what Rumsfeld has said in public. But in the internal document, meant only for his closest deputies, Rumsfeld is far more candid in expressing dissatisfaction on many fronts. A long, hard slog is how Rumsfeld portrays the prospects in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We have not yet made truly bold moves," he writes, "of transforming the Pentagon to fight terrorism." And he complains about the lack of measures to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Rumsfeld also states flatly that he can't change the Pentagon fast enough to successfully fight the war on terrorism, and suggests it might be time to fashion a new institution to refocus the efforts.


MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld's aides say the memo is just a reflection of his management style in which he's always pushing his staff to think unconventionally. But the White House spokesman also defending Rumsfeld, saying that this kind of thing is exactly what a strong and capable defense secretary should do -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thanks.

A number of stories we're following now "Cross Country." Let's take a look.

Washington State: drenched. And it may not be until week's end before it starts drying out. The rain started earlier in the week, pushing rivers well above flood stage. Warnings remain in effect all over the state today. Get this, Seattle alone got hit with five inches of rain.

New York: racist blues? A detective files a racial discrimination lawsuit against New York, saying the police department gives the most dangerous undercover work to black and Hispanic officers. He's asking for class action status and $20 million in damages.

Scottsdale, Arizona: suspected sexual assault. Police arrest four men from the -- for the suspected rape of a 14-year-old runaway girl. A police spokesman identifies three of the men as athletes at Scottsdale Community College. Two are football players. Officials say more arrests are imminent.

Columbia, South Carolina: extortion. A 19-year-old South Carolina man pleads guilty in federal court. Walter Kenneth Halloway (ph) admits he planned to be the person who kidnapped that young woman right there, Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart last year, demanded $3 million to return her. He had nothing to do with her disappearance. A Utah couple has been charged with that.

New York City: surrender. This guy, the captain in last week's fatal ferry accident, was suspended without pay today because he ducked investigators. They want to know where he was when the ferry's pilot reportedly passed out at the controls and slammed the ferry into a pier killing 10 people. His lawyer says Captain Michael Gansas is "too shook up to talk right now."

And that's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.

A letter laced with a deadly toxin found at a South Carolina post office. We'll get the latest on this disturbing development.

Plus, Princess Diana's dire prediction. Her butler speaks out for the first time since her secret letter was released.

And Liza Minnelli's legal brawl. Estranged husband David Gest claims drunken abuse caused him serious damage and he wants $10 million. His lawyer joins me live.

Right now, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at the top stories on tonight's network newscasts.


COOPER: Well, Princess Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, who, by the way, has got a book he's selling, speaks out for the first time since he released a letter from her predicting her own death in a car crash. We're going to have that in a moment.

But first, a late story that is still developing tonight at this hour. A disturbing discovery inside an envelope at a postal handling facility in South Carolina. Traces of a deadly toxin. CNN's Mike Brooks is covering the story.

Mike, what is this toxin? How bad is it?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just start off by saying that authorities do not believe this is terrorist related at all, Anderson. And the toxin is a very, very deadly one. It is ricin.

It comes from castor beans that sometimes grow wild along the roads of Florida. But it was discovered Thursday by a postal worker because they thought the letter seemed suspicious. Authorities were called, they sent the letter to the CDC here in Atlanta, and we found out Tuesday evening from authorities, the FBI, CDC and homeland security, that in fact it did contain traces of ricin.

But also in this letter, Anderson, was a threatening note that demanded an action. Authorities will not say exactly what this action was. A criminal case has been opened. An extortion case by authorities has been opened and they are investigating it at this time.

I also want to say that the traces of ricin were contained in a metal container. Authorities do not think there was any cross contamination of the postal facility. It is a mail handling facility not open to the public, but they do not believe that any of the postal workers were in any harm because it was contained inside this metal container.

But again, I wanted to stress that authorities do not believe, and one of my FBI sources told me, that they do not believe that it is terrorist related at this time -- Anderson.

COOPER: Just very briefly, who was this envelope addressed to? Was it to the postal facility?

BROOKS: They did not say exactly who it was addressed to. Apparently on the outside, postal workers are given certain things to look for and it fit the criteria that they deemed suspicious. They called the authorities.

A hazmat team came in and took care of it from here. They did close the postal facility today just for preventive measures, as a precaution. But they do not believe anyone was exposed to it -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Mike Brooks, thanks. Still a developing story. We're going to continue to follow it. Thanks very much, Mike.

Let's take a quick look at what's going on overseas in tonight's "UpLink."

Canberra, Australia: President Bush, still on his whirlwind Asia tour, arrived down under, bringing high praise for Australia's prime minister, as well as the Chinese president. But he criticized Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat for pushing Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas out of the way last month. And he had some tough talk for North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, not only for creating a nuclear crisis, but for letting his country starve.

Iraq: new attacks that target a convoy. The weapon, an explosive device, the place, a Baghdad traffic tunnel. Two soldiers received minor injuries. Several hours later another device explodes, hitting a military vehicle near Fallujah. There's the picture of that. Three soldiers injured in that; all five have since returned to duty.

Seoul, South Korea: terror training. Take a look at this. It looks like a terrorist attack in a subway station. It's only practice, part of an annual drill to test emergency procedures. They were testing how well they could respond to a gas attack in the subway. Moscow's "Star Search" behind bars? What? Rehearsals are under way in Russia for a talent show Friday. It is a contest put on by the ministry of justice. All the contestants are doing time in Russian prisons. There are cash prizes and trophies.

But get this: some of the winners will actually be released from prison. A lot of potential contestants. Russia has more people in prison than any other country except the U.S.

That is tonight's "UpLink."

On to the palace intrigue that's been the talk of Britain all week. It involves Princess Diana and new revelations by her former butler about a letter in which she predicted her death in a car crash. The letter named someone who she believed was plotting it all. Hat person's name has not yet been revealed.

The butler, Paul Burrell, who not, uncoincidentally, is out with a new book, talked with ABC's Barbara Walters for "20/20." Here's some of what he had to say.


BARBARA WALTERS, "20/20": You write, "Princess Diana predicted her own death."

PAUL BURRELL, PRINCESS DIANA'S BUTLER: Yes she did. She wrote me this letter in October before she died. So that's 10 months before she died.

WALTERS: OK. What does the letter say?

BURRELL: It says, "I'm sitting here at my desk today in October, longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high. This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. I had to blank out the next line because it contains the names or the name of people or someone who is planning an accident in my car, brake failure, and serious head injury."

WALTERS: What made Princess Diana write it at this time? Did you ask her?

BURRELL: She was frightened.

WALTERS: Why then would someone have wanted to get rid of her?

BURRELL: Because she was deemed as a loose cannon. People thought that she was messing in things that were far from the royal family.

WALTERS: You whitened out where Princess Diana had named people whom she thought might want to do harm to her?

BURRELL: It could be a group of people or it could be one person.

WALTERS: Will you give those names to the proper authorities?

BURRELL: Yes, if there's an inquiry, I would give that name with a provision that that would not be leaked to the media.


COOPER: That was Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler, promoting his new book. The complete interview is Friday on "20/20."

Conjoined twins separated in a dramatic surgery. A look at their lives seven years later, part of our weeklong series.

Also tonight, the government's role in life and death decisions. We'll hear from former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and right-to- life activist Randall Terry. They will join me live.

And a little bit later, death on the racetrack. An Indy driver loses his life. Find out what went wrong.


COOPER: Well, we continue our weeklong series, "Looking at the Lives of Conjoined Twins." Tonight, a couple who had too make the tough decision to separate their daughters. A chance at giving them their own lives.


MICHELLE RODERICK, MOTHER: Go help dad. You guys pack your lunch.

COOPER (voice-over): A routine morning for Michelle and Jeff Roderick getting their 7-year-old twins, Shawna and Janelle, ready for school. You'd never know by looking at them, but Shawna and Janelle were born conjoined. They were surgically separated when they were 1- month-old.

They were conjoined from breastplate to belly button. Their livers and diaphragms fused but not shared. The Rodericks decided to go ahead with separation surgery, though they knew it would be risky.

RODERICK: Time to go, kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The good thing is we know they're prepared. And testing them, making sure that they were ready. That the whole team was ready, and that they are prepared for anything that would happen.

COOPER: There were 24 people on the surgical team. The operation lasted seven and a half hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did have some jumpy moments when we were dividing the liver tissue. And Shawna, the twin on the right, went into acute cardiac failure. Her pulse went up and her blood pressure and oxygen saturation went down. When we finally divided all the major vessels in the liver, then she stabilized. Both twins stabilized.

COOPER: The surgery was a success. For the first time, Shawna and Janelle could sleep in separate beds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are officially on their own OR table.


COOPER: Well, together then apart, but as twins, still together in a lot of ways. We talked with the Rodericks from their home in Prescott, Arizona earlier. I started by asking whether the twins had any repercussions or medical issues related to their separation.


JEFF RODERICK, FATHER: Shawna has more of the breast bone, the cartilage in the breastbone left that was left over between the bridge. Shawna has more of that. And she will eventually have to have some of that shaved off in another surgery. But other than that, it's -- haven't had any other complications.

COOPER: Michelle, I want to take you back to when you were pregnant. It was in your fourth month that you found out that you had twins. You then had a sonogram and were told what the situation was. Explain what that was like when you first heard the news.

M. RODERICK: Well, it was really, really frightening, Anderson. I really didn't know quite what to think at first, except for these are my children and there's something wrong. And, of course, every mother wants to have their children come out perfectly normal. And they weren't going to be that way.

COOPER: Jeff, were you in the operating room when the twins were born initially?

J. RODERICK: Yes, I was there. When they came out, they had a lot of extra skin. I told Michelle's mother, who was in the operating room also, and I said, Man, they look like Sharpei dogs. They have all this skin hanging off.

COOPER: You said they look like Sharpeis?

J. RODERICK: Yes, yes, I did. And so...

COOPER: You're real romantic, aren't you?

J. RODERICK: Yes, well not real smart either. So the -- you know, but it actually turned out pretty good because, a lot of times what they have to do is put in skin expanders so they can create more skin so they have coverage. But with all the extra skin, they were able to do the separation surgery sooner because they had enough skin to cover. So it actually worked out OK.

COOPER: Michelle, what was it like? I mean, the first time you saw them separated, they were separated -- I think they were what, a month old? M. RODERICK: It was really, really strange. I mean, we walked into that room and they looked so long and so big. Because all we had been used to was just the two of them kind of cuddled together, and they looked really small that way. And to see them actually separated and spread out, I mean they just looked really, really different. It was almost shocking.

COOPER: Janelle, when you hear this story, do you have any sense of how special you are?

JANELLE RODERICK, TWIN: I don't really know, but I think my mom and dad know because I still ask them different questions.

COOPER: What kind of questions do you ask them?

J. RODERICK: How was I? Like, how little was I? Like a lot of different questions. Like I can't really, like, remember.

COOPER: Well, you've got two beautiful girls, Janelle and Shawna, and we appreciate both of you joining us. Jeff and Michelle, thank you very much.

M. RODERICK: Well, thank you for having us on your program.



COOPER (voice-over): Live or let die? The battle over keeping a brain-damaged woman alive

Inside the mind of the Petaluma prowler.

And Liza and David. Where oh where did the love go?

We'll be right back.



COOPER: Time for a look at our top stories. Let's check the "Reset."

Greenville, South Carolina: toxin found. Authorities say a sealed envelope containing traces of the deadly toxin ricin was discovered last week at a Greenville postal facility. CNN has just confirmed the envelope contained a threatening note expressing anger over trucking industry legislation. Officials said there is no evidence of any terror connection and there are no reports of illness. The investigation is still going on.

Aboard Air Force One: difference of opinion. President Bush says he disagrees with recent controversial statements by Army Lieutenant General William Boykin. Boykin's statements passed (ph) the war on terror in religious terms. Speaking to reporters on a flight to Australia, Mr. Bush says he has offered reassurances to Muslim leaders troubled by Boykin's remarks. The Pentagon says Boykin will not be fired.

Indianapolis, Indiana: race car driver death. A crash at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway claims the life of 26-year-old Tony Renna. He was taking test laps when his car slammed into a wall at over 200 miles an hour. His death is the 67th at the racetrack since it opened in 1909.

San Francisco, California: doping sanctions. U.S. track and field officials say they are considering tough new sanctions on athletes who use banned drugs. The new proposals call for fines of up to $100,000 and possible lifetime banishment.

Virginia Beach, Virginia: change in strategy. Two days after John Allen Muhammad decided to be his own lawyer, the Washington area sniper suspect is putting his attorneys back in charge of his case. Muhammed says a painful tooth abscess was making it difficult for him to speak.

And that is a look at tonight's "Reset."

And this just in to CNN, actor Fred Barry who played Rerun on the hit series "What's Happening" has died. His pastor said he suffered a stroke previously. He was 52 years old.

Now, justice served. The latest on the Muhammad trial and that matter of his wanting to represent himself. Today's stunner from Muhammad: never mind. We're joined by Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Kimberly smart decision he made, you think?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a smart decision that he actually now going to have appropriate counsel represent him. It's just too big of a risk to represent yourself.

One, you are not preserving an appropriate and proper record on appeal. You're not to make the, I guess, the important points really, on cross-examination. He could miss a lot because they weren't even at this point allowed to sit next to him. They were seated behind him. So he really was on his own.

Although, they said he did somewhat of a decent job in terms of his courtroom appearance and demeanor, he was definitely not handling some of the legal objections as issues as best as an actual lawyer would.

So, this is a smart move. But I think, I just said, I smell a rat here. I think this is something he thought about, he was able to ingratiate himself with the jury by making an opening statement and I just don't continuing was appropriate. If he was going to do this, he should have stayed with it. It seems like gamesmanship.

COOPER: But he was able to make an impact on the jury. He was able to present himself. So maybe there was some advantage to doing this. NEWSOM: No, I think that there was. And that he was able to get up and make an opening statement, connect with the jurors, make eye contact. They got to hear him speak. Then they made a decision as to whether he'll take the stand in this case in his own defense. So he got that.

We saw that happen in the, remember, in the O.j. Simpson case. O.J. did not take the stand but stood up at one point and made a statement in front of the jurors and in front judge that he was roundly criticized for. And again, people thought that that was deliberate.

It is important, because they are not going to hear from him, if at all, for a long time until the defense presents their case.

COOPER: An interesting moment between Muhammad and Malvo in the courtroom today. Jeanne Meserve described it, not quite a wave, not quite a clenched fist. Some sort of a recognition of each other, some sort of a movement with the hand. What do you make of that? Important? Should the judge have said anything about it?

NEWSOM: The judge absolutely should have admonished him and told him if he's going to carry on and act out like that in the courtroom, then he can be removed from the courtroom and watch the proceedings from another room. That is totally inappropriate. You are not supposed to communicate with witnesses or jurors or another defendant. Essentially coming into court.

I think that's going to do him a lot of damage with the jurors. They're going to see he was, in fact, trying to communicate with Malvo and doing that kind of like call to arms gesture, so to speak, I'm with you, showing that the two of them were definitely in this together and coconspirators. I think that hurts him.

COOPER: It is fascinating, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks very much for the update.

NEWSOM: Thank you.

COOPER: We turn to the life and death battle over the brain- damaged Florida woman. Tonight, a 39 year-old, Terri Schiavo, is being treated in a Florida hospital one day after Governor Jeb Bush ordered her feeding tube be reinserted.

Schiavo's husband, Michael, who says his wife should have his right to die, continues to battle with Schiavo's parents who want her kept alive. A Florida judge today ordered the feuding family members to work out an agreement on appointing a guardian. Michael Schiavo's lawyer says the judge's order was a big mistake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terry was almost a week into her death process and the doctors have said by reinstituting hydration and nutrition now artificially. She may have already sustained massive organ failure and kidney damage and what this may have done is just prolong her death process and instead of having a quick, painless death, she may have a prolonged and horrible and physically distressful death.


COOPER: Well, Governor Bush has ordered to reinstate Terri Schiavo's feeding tube came on the same day that Congress passed legislation to outlaw certain late-term abortions. Both developments are considered victories for self-described right to life groups.

What does this mean for the future? Joining us from Little Rock, Arkansas is former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders. And from Jacksonville, Florida Operation Rescue's founder Randall Terry. Appreciate both of you being with us.

Mr. Terry, let me start off with you. Two apparent victories back to back. Where does the self described right to life movement go from here? What is the next move?

RANDALL TERRY, OPERATION RESCUE: Well, certainly it was a great victory for Terri Schiavo. She is now not being starved to death. And, for me, the exciting thing was that, for once, an executive and a legislative body stood up to judicial tyranny.

You know how many cases are decided not by legislators, not by the voters, not by self-government, but by judicial decree. So we were elated for Terri and for the bigger picture.

On the partial birth abortion side, I have to tell you, Anderson, it's a political gold mine in the sense of, we can talk about this, we can debate abortion, but it may not save one child's life. So for me, it's the president and the pro life members of Congress really want to do something, what they need to do is not just outlaw one type of abortion, but outlaw all abortion from 20 weeks onward so that any baby that is viable that can survive outside the womb, that they cannot be killed by this procedure or any procedure.

COOPER: Mr. Terry you saying this may not do anything, because it may get overturned later on.

Let's bring in Dr. Elders to this. Dr. Elders, what does this mean for the self-described pro choice movement? Did they drop the ball on this?

DR. JOCELYN ELDERS, FORMER SURGEON GENERAL: Well, we're certainly disappointed and we are sorry that our government is choosing to make -- be involved in decisions that should be between a woman, her doctor, or significant other and her God. And I did not feel that the government should be involved in making those kinds of decisions.

COOPER: But what is going on with the pro choice movement, as they call themselves? I mean, where are though leaders? You know, do you see this as a failure of the movement?

ELDERS: Well, you know, this was passed before. You know, this was not the first time that this was -- that this piece of legislation was passed. It was vetoed by President Clinton and I -- they have been work on this partial birth abortion thing for ages. But they do -- this group does absolutely nothing to save normal, healthy children.

COOPER: Mr. Terry go ahead.

TERRY: Dr. Elders, that's just not true. Listen, the reason the pro abortion leaders can't rally around this is because it's indefensible. We're approaching nearly 50 million children that have been murdered in the American holocaust of abortion. This procedure is so barbaric, where most of the baby is born and at the last second when the head is in the birth canal, the doctor ruptures the skull and sucks out the brain.

ELDERS: I will interrupt you, because you know that's not true.

TERRY: If that had happened...

ELDERS: You know that's not true.


COOPER: Let Dr. Elders respond. Go ahead.

ELDERS: You know that that is not true. It does not -- we do not -- most of the partial birth abortions are done between 20 and 24 weeks. And they are not...

TERRY: These are viable children, that's the point.

ELDERS: They are not...

TERRY: If they brought that baby out at that same gestation it would live a normal, happy life.

ELDERS: I doubt that.


COOPER: Let me try to focus this discussion a little bit, if I can. Mr. Terry, where do you -- where do other self-described right to life movement organizers go from here. Is the battle state to state? Is it in the judicial branches? Where do you go?

TERRY: It's several things, Anderson. Number one, it's state by state with parental notification laws, with 24-hour waiting periods. It's seeing that there are state legislators that are pro life, solidly pro life so when Roe vs. Wade is overturned we can immediately make abortion illegal.

ELDERS: That's what it's all about.

TERRY: Of course we want to make child killing illegal. You know that.

ELDERS: It's not about partial birth abortions. It's about overturning Roe V. Wade.

TERRY: Absolutely.

ELDERS: And it's really about power. I'm not concerned, you know, all women that are educated and have money can get abortions any time they want. It's only the young, the poor and the uneducated that you're destroying.

TERRY: So you want to kill the children of the poor, Dr. Elders, is that what you are saying? Kill off the poor.

ELDERS: I'm saying -- this partial birth abortion, these laws that you are making against abortions, those are the only the people are hurt.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it right there.

ELDERS: And you know that.

COOPER: Randall Terry, appreciate you joining us. And Dr. Jocelyn Elders thank you as well.

Coming up, prowler in the night. A night stalker terrorizing the small town where Polly Klaas was taken from her home. We're going to talk to a former FBI profiler.

And a little bit later on, Liza Minelli's legal plight. Her estranged husband sues for millions. We'll talk to his attorney about the case that has many an eyebrow being raised.


COOPER: The investigation continues in Petaluma, California, where nearly one third of the towns 71 police officers are involved in a hunt for a bedroom prowler.

As Rusty Dornin reports, the whole town is on edge.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A child walking alone is just not something you see in Petaluma, California, these days. A prowler has appeared inside nine homes over the last seven months. The sketch, they say, may be of a man who tried to sexually assault or touch three young girls. Sometimes he just appears at the bedsides of victims, ranging in age from 7 to 52.

For Betty Ashton's family, it's unnerving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had my kids sleep in my bedroom last weekend.

DORNIN: Her 12-year-old son Tyler is taking his own precautions.

TYLER ASHTON, 12-YEAR-OLD: I have like my golf club and little siren thing you turn on. It's like a pager, but it's really, really loud.

DORNIN (on camera): You want to make sure none of your sisters...

T. ASHTON: Yes. He won't like it if he comes to our house.

DORNIN: Across town Travis Sweader (ph) locks up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see we have three locks on each door. The first thing we do is flip this over and of course lock the dead bolt and this automatically locks every time we shut the door.

DORNIN: He also doesn't want his children to be alone at night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been sleeping in the master bedroom with the children on the floor.

DORNIN: Christina Buckley (ph) keeps a tight rein on her son Kelp (ph). And says Petaluma has more than good reason to be more than a little paranoid. Polly Klaas was abducted from a Petaluma slumber party and murdered 10 years ago from this month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are always thinking about it. You know, you are always thinking about, it could happen to your kids and it's not a fun thing.

DORNIN: A thought that has Ricardo Ahces (ph) and so many parents here keeping their children within arm's reach.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Petaluma, California.


COOPER: So, what can we figure out about the Petaluma prowler at this point?

Casey Jordan is a criminologist and professor at West Connecticut State University. She's worked as a profiler and she joins us now. Thanks for being with us. Hard to say. Not a lot of information.

But what do you think is going on in this guy's head?

CASEY JORDAN, PROFILER: Well, your right. We really don't know, because this is an extremely rare sort of crime. This kind of voyeuristic prowling apparently not violent.

COOPER: But sexual in nature you say?

JORDAN: I believe it's sexual in nature. I believe this prowler does have a fantasy going on in his head. And it's at its formative stages and he's kind of taking little steps to see how far he can get with it. He's not a total idiot. He's always got a plan of escape. But he really is completely thrilled with the idea of walking into people's homes and being able to watch them without them knowing.

COOPER: Good news it's the formative stage. Bad news it could escalate.

JORDAN: That's what I'd predict would happen. We don't know to much about this kind of crime because it is highly unusual. But at the same time we know from interviewing sexual predators after they have been caught, that many of them started this way. With voyeuristic fantasies they began to act on, in very small steps and slowly blossoming and graduating into physical contact and eventually sexual assault.

COOPER: So there's some sort of fantasy life going on in this person's head, you believe?

JORDAN: I do believe that. And a lot has to do with power control issue. There's a tremendous amount of power being in somebody's room while they are sleeping and having the potential to harm them, and yet perhaps choosing not to, at least not yet.

COOPER: And police, I mean, I understand -- police are looking at past people with past sexual histories, people that are past sexual offenders.

But you think maybe this person not have some sort of sexual assault in their past?

JORDAN: Perhaps not. Now...

COOPER: In terms of a police record.

JORDAN: A record right. I don't think that this person would have been apprehended yet, but they are very smart to be looking at every sex offender in the area. At the same time, this is a person who might have prior offenses that are property in nature, perhaps burglary, vandalism. This is a person that likes to get close to people's property, to their homes just to see, almost as a dare to see how far it can go before it becomes a little dangerous.

COOPER: It's just a horrible, horrible thing to think about.

Casey Jordan, thanks you very much for coming in.

JORDAN: Great to be here.

This week's "Midweek Crisis": It's the marital mess between David Gest and Liza Minelli. We'll talk about that in a moment.

Also tonight, why JLo may be coming to your breakfast table some time soon.


COOPER: Time for this week's "Midweek Crisis." And today it's a marital crisis. David Gest suing Liza Minelli for spousal abuse.


COOPER (voice-over): Their love was, well, unexpected. Their passion unchained. When they married in March 2002, the wedding was a who once was who of show business. Everywhere they went they kissed and kanoodled and plotted a comeback. But that was then. This is now. David Gest has filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging Minelli was a monster, a boozier batterer with a taste for Vodka and seem league superhuman strength. When he took her to rehab, he claimed she attacked him, yelling, "Don't make me go! I don't want to go!"

Another time Gest claims Minelli pounded his head with her fists, forcing him to cover her face and cry, "Liza, stop it! Stop it!" He says his business has been hurt and he is physically ill. His symptoms include a throbbing pain, a dull ache, severe headaches, vertigo, nausea, hypertension, scalp tenderness, insomnia, mood dysphoria, photo sensitivity and phonophobia, defined as a fear of loud noises, telephones and voices.

We're guessing one voice in particular.



COOPER: Well, that's what the suit alleges. So what does Liza Minnelli say? Her lawyer put out a statement from Minnelli this afternoon, quote, "I hope very much that the end of my marriage would be handled with mutual respect and dignity. The allegations in this lawsuit are hurtful and without merit. My lawyers will respond to the lawsuit in the proper forum. I will continue to focus on my work, my sobriety and my fans who have been so wonderful to me." End quote.

Joining us now, David Gest's attorney, Raoul Felder, with more on the lawsuit and what comes next. $10 million, why so much for this?

RAOUL FELDER, DAVID GEST'S ATTORNEY: Well, Anderson, you know, the figure in a lawsuit, commercial lawsuit, a lawsuit for tort, so to speak is an arbitrary figure to some degree. It's whatever a jury will award. And I think a jury is going to award easily that amount.

COOPER: You think you can get $10 million?

FELDER: I think -- well, you get paid for pain and suffering.

COOPER: Well, let's talk about the pain and suffering. I mean, scalp tenderness, insomnia, mood dysphoria, phonophobia.

FELDER: Phonophobia means dysfunction, noise that's troubling and hurtful.

COOPER: But I mean, this makes it sound like he's on his deathbed here.

FELDER: He is in not good shape. He's a victim. Basically, it's a concussion to the brain, neurological problem. Today he's getting I think 20 or 30 injections in the scalp and face for pain, and he tells me he has to do the same thing tomorrow. It's a two-day situation. He's been in and out of the hospital. COOPER: But he had none of these problems, he didn't have -- mood dysphoria is basically depression. He never took antidepressant things before?

FELDER: He never took an aspirin. That's a funny thing. So one of his problems is...

COOPER: He never took an aspirin?

FELDER: Well, he's not a pill taker. And one of the problems is that he's not used to being ill, he's not used to having to be heavily medicated like this. And he's dealing with it, you know. It's a constant pain. Constant head pain. Doctors are treating it.

COOPER: There are those who say, look, Liza Minnelli was a star. This guy married her and, you know, now he wants money. Do you think your client has a credibility problem?

FELDER: Well, I'll say a couple of things. You know, there are two kinds of stars. There's a kind of star that's in front of the footlights and the back of the footlights, and the public knows the one in front of the footlights. And back of the footlights, like directors, if I were -- the best directors in America, Wim Wenders...

COOPER: So you are saying David Gest was a star as a producer.

FELDER: We would know them if we saw them on the street. David Gest was -- he produced the most acclaimed special in the history of television.


FELDER: Michael Jackson's 30-year anniversary. He's heavily in demand. Very successful financially. Liza Minnelli, I don't want to be impolite, but her career was what her career was when he married her and...

COOPER: You are saying basically her star had faded and he was the real star?

FELDER: Oh, I mean, I don't want to be unkind, but she had some problems, and I think it's...

COOPER: Where does this go from here? I mean, it's going to get unkind. I mean, the allegations here are very unkind. You are basically saying she's, you know, vodka swilling batterer.

FELDER: Well, I don't want to talk about that. I think that has to be played out in court. The fact she said that she's committed to sobriety is not particularly comforting. It's something -- the horse has left the barn or whatever it is. Maybe somebody should have thought of that back when they got married.

COOPER: Is this going to see the inside of a courtroom?

FELDER: We're prepared. There's a detailed complaint. We name names. We give dates, places, who the witnesses were. In return she said they are untrue. That's not very exacting denial.

COOPER: Well, this is no doubt not the last we've heard of this. Raoul Felder, appreciate you coming in.

FELDER: Thank you.


COOPER: Thank you very much.

Well, time for a quick check of tonight's "Current."

And yes, folks, it is raining men in Dallas. A whole lot of men. As you can see, they are called the Mav Maniacs, rallying Maverick fans at a pre-season game. No, ladies, they do not go the full monty. Please, get your mind out of the gutter.

Tammy Faye Messner has already had a surreal life. Now it's turning into reality TV, and frankly we can't believe it took this long. The divine Miss Tammy is set to star in the second season of "Surreal Life," sharing a mansion with, among others, Ron Jeremy, the poor man's porn star, also known for some reason as the Hedgehog. I don't really want to know why.

We know that many of you can't start the day without coffee and some piping hot divas, and soon you'll have another diva to choose from. J.Lo. She's producing a talk show next fall that will feature her sister Linda (ph), but she'll appear, her people say, when she has something to say. I want to get some people.

And rounding out our diva watch tonight, Elton John. He signed a three-year deal to perform at the Coliseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, reportedly worth more than $50 million. The shows start in February and tickets went on sale today. Did you call? That's a check of "The Current."

Staff devotion to "The Nth Degree." Remember the staff that plays together stays together. That's coming up next.

And coming up tomorrow, a revealing look at Caroline Kennedy from the author of a new book called "The Last Child of Camelot."

First today's buzz question -- Does David Gest deserve $10 million from Liza Minnelli? Vote now, at Results when we come back.


COOPER: All right, time for the buzz. We asked you, does David Gest deserve $10 million from Liza Minnelli? Eleven percent said yes; 89 percent voted no. Certainly, this is not a scientific poll, just your buzz.

Finally tonight -- staff devotion to "The Nth Degree." On page one of "The New York Times" today was the story of the sushi memo. A partner at a New York law firm after eating some bad sushi apparently asked a paralegal to investigate better dining options. The results, a three-page memo with footnotes and two exhibits.

It begins, quote, "as requested, please find below selected alternatives for ordering sushi in midtown New York, categorized into two distinct groups."

But, wait. This is news, page one? See, I don't get it. I get staff memos like this all the time. This one I got today. Take a look. It says, quote, "as per request, staff sampled Colombian, Kona and French Roast coffees in controlled setting. After repeated tastings and close consult with aforementioned Starbucks "barista," staff concludes that Kona has the fullest body and the smallest aftertaste." This memo I got the other day after I had a disappointing pizza. "Following up on your query, the party of the first part informs average pizza has 36 pepperoni slices, circumference 1 inch. Legal counsel says you don't have a case. They advise in the future you need to inform said franchise upon ordering of your desire for "extra pepperoni."

And when I couldn't get the paper clips I needed, the staff was all over it. Look at this memo: "Mr. Cooper, hand-crafted, gilded paper clips rush ordered. Diagrams of clips attached."

The lesson in all this? Well, I have no idea, but by tomorrow, there better be a memo on my desk outlining all the possibilities.

That wraps up the program tonight. Coming up, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


Memo Cites Long War>

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