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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Snow Slam: Storms hit Northeast; Two More Incidents Linked in Ohio Shootings; Blood Found In Suspected Sjodin Abductor's Car

Aired December 5, 2003 - 19:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Back-to-back winter blasts. An icy one-two punch from the heartland to the East Coast.

Is there evidence linking a suspect to the missing North Dakota student?

A murder mystery in Rio. A grizzly assault leaves an American couple dead.

Is Michael Jackson a victim of racism? The Reverend Jesse Jackson speaks out.

Hugh Hefner on "Playboy" magazine and the business of sex in America.

And some hot Hollywood tickets for a cold and snowy weekend.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us on 360.

A developing story right now out of Columbus, Ohio. Two more shootings near a highway that circles the city. No one killed, but they have been linked to the others. We're going to have details on that coming up. But first, our top story.

A double whammy for the Northeast. The first snowstorm of the season hits, and a second more powerful storm is on the way. We are tracking the storms as they move up the coast tonight, hitting West Virginia, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York and other areas. Some are skiing, others are just trying to get home. It may not be winter, but tonight it sure looks like it.

Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Veterans feeling like first storm freshman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up in upstate New York, so I thought I could handle this and, you know, it wouldn't be a problem. But, you know, I came out this far. And it looks like I'm stuck here now.

CARROLL: So is Erin Mckay (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just kind of staying here and waiting for a friend to come help me out.

CARROLL: Eight to 10 inches expected in Philadelphia. But the National Weather Service says the Southeast has already seen the worse. Good news for people like Jean Wilkes (ph) in Sterling, Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that they tried to tell us, but I was still surprised that there was this much snow. A little unprepared.

CARROLL: They are prepared in New York. Plenty of plows, hats and hoods. But little patience for making snowballs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. We've got the light. Hurry up.

CARROLL: The worst for New York is yet to come. About a foot should fall here by late Saturday. New England could end up getting even more.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: And the storm is expected to hit New England late tonight and throughout tomorrow. Boston could get anywhere from 10 and 16 inches. Obviously if you're traveling throughout the region, you want to check with your carrier first. Area airports such as Philadelphia, LaGuardia, as well as Newark, are all experiencing many delays as well as cancellations -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks very much. And didn't you listen to your mom? You should be wearing a hat, Jason.

All right. We go to Columbus, Ohio, right now, where the authorities say the highway shooter or shooters are still at it. The police now say two new attacks are linked to the 12 other shootings. CNN's Martin Savidge joins us live from Columbus, Ohio with the latest -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Anderson. Yesterday it was 12, and a vague sense of optimism from authorities that the shooting spree might have come to an end. Today, that came to an end with the announcement of two new shooting cases.

Both of them date back to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. I-270 southwest of Columbus, a woman driving there, hears a loud noise, later notices a flat tire. She calls police, they find a bullet hole.

Then, sometime on Sunday night, maybe on Monday, a bullet goes into a home in the community of Obettes (ph). That's right near the area where these highway shootings have been taking place. Nobody hit because nobody is home. Later, the homeowner finds a bullet lying on the floor, gives it to police. They run a ballistics check, bingo, they've got a match. It ties in with four other bullets that they had. One of them was the fatal bullet that killed the 62-year-old woman on November 25.

Here's the problem for authorities. They thought with her death maybe the sniper had been scared into running down to ground, meaning into hiding. Apparently he was not. That person has fired twice since then.

At the news conference today, I asked, "If you have five bullets, why aren't you calling this a sniper case?" Here's what authorities had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF DEPUTY STEVE MARTIN, FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We still don't believe that we should call this individual a sniper, because, one, that denotes a military person in camouflage, hiding and shooting from long distances. That may or may not be the issue. We're not prepared to make that jump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: And so now you've got the fear level expanding, because not only are vehicles being hit. But also now you've got a home and an elementary school. This was not the news that the people of Columbus wanted to hear today -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. How concerned are police that this is expanding beyond the highway? I mean, as you said, you have the school and now you have this house.

SAVIDGE: Well, it is a very big concern. One of the things that everybody notes is that the school and the house were in the area of the highway. Now, was somebody firing at the highway, missed and hit the house, or were they purposely aiming there? And the same with the school. They don't know.

The truth is, they've got over 1,000 tips coming in. But no major break. They still don't know who the shooter or shooters may be -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Martin Savidge live in Columbus for us tonight working the story. Thanks, Martin.

To Baltimore now. Disturbing new details from the investigation of murdered prosecutor Jonathan Luna, stabbed dozens of times, 36 in all. And investigators are still piecing together his actions in the final hours of his life.

CNN's justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, is on the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sources close to the investigation say prosecutor Jonathan Luna left the Baltimore courthouse where he worked at 11:40 Wednesday night. They've been able to track some of his movements after that, but still, there are more questions than answers.

Luna was working on a plea deal in a heroin case. Defense lawyers do not believe their clients played any role in Luna's murder. Kenneth Ravenell represents Dion Smith, an aspiring rap artist.

KENNETH RAVENELL, REPRESENTS DION SMIITH: First of all, my client, ther eis no evidence in his past of any violent nature. Secondly, he had the plea that he had asked for.

ARENA: Investigators say after leaving work, Luna did not head home, but took a non-direct route to Pennsylvania. Electronic records show that he made two stops along the way. It is not clear whether he was alone or at what point he was stabbed.

Officials say his car was found idling 70 miles away in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his body underneath. Money and Luna's cell phone were found in the car. The interior drenched in blood. Sources described the killing as brutal. Torture wounds were found on Luna's torso, and he was stabbed as many as 36 times. His lungs filled with creek water.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: Sources say that investigators are looking to past cases that Luna worked and conducting interviews to see if there's any possible connection. They're also scouring video records. Investigators say that until they know more, though, they are pursuing every possible scenario -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kelli Arena, in Washington. Thanks, Kelly.

In North Dakota right now, in the face of diminishing odds, the father of missing college student Dru Sjodin, well, he is holding out hope that she is alive. But he admits he is troubled by a published report that blood has been found in the suspect's car.

With more, here's CNN's Jeff Flock.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN SJODIN, DRU SJODIN'S FATHER: Dru, we're still looking for you, honey. We haven't given up on you.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CHICAGO BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Dru's Sjodin's father talks to her like she can hear him. He can still see her smiling face in his mind.

SJODIN: I can see her waiting for us. I just have that eternal faith.

FLOCK: That despite a "St. Paul Pioneer Press" report that says blood matching Dru's type was found in this car, seized from the man authorities say kidnapped her, Alfonso Rodriguez. Police neither confirm nor deny, but a source tells CNN it's "just a matter of time before he tells us where she is. Could be tomorrow, next week other later."

But should prosecutors consider a plea bargain with Rodriguez in return for leading searchers to Sjodin now if he knows where she is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's a dialogue, the dialogue is, where's Dru?

FLOCK: Police say Rodriguez has been interviewed three times already but hasn't given investigators much. They're screening surveillance tapes from the mall where Sjodin disappeared and handing out fresh news of Rodriguez's car, hoping someone saw something somewhere that will lead them to the 22-year-old University of North Dakota senior whose father keeps the hope alive she will still come home.

SJODIN: We'll find you, doodles. Not a problem, babe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FLOCK: But Anderson, finding Dru Sjodin has indeed been a problem, one that will only get worse. As time goes on, the winter snows and cold set in. That, of course, unless someone who knows where she is gives them some help -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Flock, thanks very much.

We're following a number of other stories right now "Cross Country." Let's take a look.

If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, you better get moving. The two companies that make the vaccine say they have shipped all this year's supplies because of high demand. The surge (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fears of a bad flu season. Now, health officials point out that plenty of doses are still availability at hospitals, HMOs and clinics, although people may have to make an extra effort to find the vaccine in some areas.

Salt Lake City, Utah: case dismissed. Today a federal judge tossed out charges against two men accused of paying bribes to get the 2002 winter Olympic games in Salt Lake. The judge blasted prosecutors and said there simply wasn't enough evidence. Now, he had dismissed the case once before, but it was reinstated by an appeals court.

Miami, Florida: confirmation. DNA testing confirms that two girls who were raped last week in their homes were the victims of this suspect, a serial rapist. The victims are 7 and 8 years old. Police say the suspect is now linked to as many as 12 attacks or attempted ones this year.

Washington D.C.: hey buddy, can you spare a dime? Republicans on Capitol Hill are pushing a bill to honor former President Ronald Reagan by putting his profile on the dime. Democrats are fighting back. They want former President Franklin Roosevelt's face to remain on the dime. Haven't heard the last of this one. That's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.

More accusations against Michael Jackson. Will any of it be admissible in court? I'll ask 360 legal analyst, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. That ahead. Plus, Reverend Jesse Jackson explains why he thinks the pop star is being treated unfairly.

Also tonight: murder in Rio. A Shell Oil Company executive and his wife bludgeoned to death. We're going to get the latest in the investigation.

And part two of my special interview with Hugh Hefner. The original playboy gets real about business, sex and values.

But first, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at tonight's top stories on the network evening newscasts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It looks a lot like winter outside.

Well, the trial against sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo has adjourned for the weekend. An interesting day in testimony, however. The defense put several witnesses on the stand, including an expert on cults.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve explains why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Jim Jones and Jonestown, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, famous examples of indoctrination mentioned Friday in the trial of Lee Malvo, despite vigorous objections from prosecutor Robert Horan, who called indoctrination "a nebulous notion."

Psychologist Paul Martin, a former cult member himself, testified that an individual can be brainwashed to commit murder and that one- on-one indoctrination can be stronger than group indoctrination. He said the person indoctrinating others is often charming, charismatic, with a history of telling lies. And that a person from an unstable background could be more susceptible to brainwashing, which could involve physical exercise, diet, and the viewing of videotapes.

The defense is clearly hoping jurors will see parallels to the relationship between Lee Malvo and John Muhammad and will produce experts next week to say Lee Malvo was so indoctrinated by Muhammad, he was insane. Will it be enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is, jurors often want to hear, well, if you were indoctrinated, if you were brainwashed, if you suffered Stockholm Syndrome, tell me about it. I want to hear it from you.

MESERVE: The defense team will decide by Monday morning whether to put Malvo on the stand. John Muhammad will not make an appearance at Malvo's trial. The judge said Friday it could be dangerous to fly or drive him to Chesapeake and refused to sign a transportation order.

(on camera): John Muhammad is older and larger than Lee Malvo, and the defense wanted jurors to see the contrast to bolster their argument that Muhammad indoctrinated Malvo.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Chesapeake, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right. Let's open up our "Justice Served" file. A number of new developments in the Michael Jackson story.

CNN has learned there is a second child who claimed the entertainer molested him back in 1993. According to sources, this alleged victim could be called to testify. 360 legal analyst, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, joins us now from San Francisco.

Kimberly, good evening. Good to see you. It could be pretty compelling for prosecution, no?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: Very compelling. This could be the exact thing that they're looking for to solidify their case. If they can demonstrate that there is a pattern of conduct, criminal touching, that is similar to the present case that is alleged today, this could come into evidence. It could be ver damaging to the defense, and in fact would corroborate what the victim is saying here. A jury is going to find that very persuasive.

COOPER: And if it's ruled admissible, I mean, that, still, would be an open question if this thing does go to court.

NEWSOM: The judge is going to have a lot of discretion, because this type of evidence can be very damaging. He's going to have to balance the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) prejudicial impact. So the facts and circumstances are going to have to be almost identical to this present case to warrant it coming in.

Because think about it; jurors are going to say, if he did this before, then he probably did it this time. And that's exactly what judges are worried about. They want to evaluate the present case based on these facts and circumstances and not look at old things and say, well, he's more likely guilty than not.

COOPER: Well, let's talk about the present case, because, today, the "L.A. Times" is reporting that the accuser's 12-year-old brother witnessed one of the alleged incidents. This is the most recent case. Eyewitness testimony I would imagine would be extremely powerful again if this does make it to trial.

NEWSOM: It is, because right now this case is what's considered a one-on-one. It's Michael Jackson's word, the famous pop star, versus this young boy. So if he has another witness to come forward, even if it's his brother, it could be very persuasive.

But jurors are going to wonder, is there a bias here? Is there a motive in bringing testimony against Michael Jackson? And did this young boy, his brother, bring forward this information right away? Those are all things that the judge is going to have to look at to see if he is gong to let this evidence in, and what the jury is going to be evaluating to determine whether or not Michael Jackson is responsible.

COOPER: And this alleged witness, this 12-year-old brother, is the same brother who is heard on the tape, which you heard, through defense sources, in which they both say that they basically have high praise for Michael Jackson. So there's some sort of a discrepancy somewhere. It's not clear where it is.

NEWSOM: There is. And many times, victims of sexual assault and child abuse are often ashamed to come forward and tell the truth about these instances. But now you have two people that would potentially have prior inconsistent statements. That's really going to call into question their credibility.

And it becomes key to have other physical evidence to corroborate their story. For example, pornography found in the home that would give you an idea, some insight as to Michael Jackson's intent at the time that these crimes were committed if it shows that he has this unhealthy interest in young children. Then people are going to think maybe this conduct and this criminal act that they're alleging is true.

COOPER: All right. Well, we hear charges are going to be filed some time of the week of December 15. We'll be watching.

Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, good to see you. Have a good weekend.

NEWSOM: You as well.

COOPER: All right.

Well, a couple of stories of interest around the world tonight. Let's check the "UpLink."

Southern Russia: terror on a train. Officials suspect a suicide bomber and three others were responsible for a train explosion during the early morning rush hour. Russia's president says it is a terrorist attack. At least 41 people are dead, more than 151 injured.

Al Qaeda: disturbing new video. You've seen it right here. It surfaced on a Web site affiliated with the terror network.

Not only does it show this, training, but it also shows the burning World Trade Center on 9/11 from an angle that hasn't been seen before. And what you're looking at right now is allegedly a training session for terrorists. U.S. officials say videos like these are used primarily as recruiting tools.

France: prisoners evacuated all due to rising floodwaters. These prisoners were taking to other jails. The floodwaters are receding in other parts of the city. It has been a tough couple of days in that part of the world.

That's tonight's "UpLink."

Murder in Rio. An American oil executive and his wife bludgeoned in their home. We're going to have the latest on the investigation.

Also tonight, Eminem raps about the president's death. And now the Secret Service is listening. We'll take a closer look at that.

A little bit later, the ultimate playboy, Hugh Hefner, on bunnies, business and porn. I talked to him. But first, today's "Buzz."

Hugh Hefner doesn't like to use the word "porn." But what do you think? Is "Playboy" magazine pornography? Vote now, cnn.com/360. We'll have the results at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, a brutal murder case is gripping Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, a city more than accustomed to violent crime. An American oil executive and his wife were slain in their high security luxury home under very mysterious circumstances. CNN's Harris Whitbeck has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No valuables were taken, no signs of a break-in. Practically no clues. But behind the electric gates among nice modern houses, and overlooking a beautiful lagoon, a crime so gruesome that even Rio de Janeiro's crime-hardened detectives are stunned.

This American couple from Utah moved to Brazil with their four children only three months ago. Todd Staheli settled in the affluent middle class neighborhood of Baja de Tejuca (ph) with his family and a job as an oil company executive. Sunday morning, one of their four young children found them bloodied and bludgeoned in their bedroom.

Todd Staheli died shortly after being discovered. His wife, Michelle, was in coma. She died days later in a Rio hospital. The family's maid and driver were questioned and later released. Rio police say they are stumped.

The murder stunned Rio, already one of the most violent cities in Latin America. Fifty of every 100,000 residents die of violent deaths here every year. In one of the most recent high-profile cases, a television journalist was dismembered and burned to death by drug traffickers as he reported in one of Rio's shantytowns.

In a case with few clues, police have asked (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 13- year-old and 10-year-old children to help them recall any possible hints as to a motive. And the FBI has sent two observers to accompany the Brazilian police in their investigation.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, police in Brazil are now investigating a work related or personal motive to these murders and are not ruling out a family member might be involved. There are media reports the oldest daughter had given some seemingly conflicting statements to police, but at this point simply nothing is known.

Joining me now from Utah is Michael Davis. He's the brother of Michelle Staheli.

Michael, we appreciate you joining us tonight. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you are going through.

Tell us a little bit about your sister and about Todd. What were they like? I mean they have been married for a long time.

MICHAEL DAVIS, BROTHER OF MICHELLE STAHELI: Yes. They were an extremely loving couple. I know Michelle supported Todd in everything that he did. And they loved each other very much and they loved their kids.

COOPER: They traveled the world working for Shell. Were they having trouble adjusting in Rio? They'd only been there a couple of months.

DAVIS: Not to my knowledge. I talked to my sister on Thanksgiving night. And she said that they were excited to come home and spend Christmas with the family and share their adventures. But the language obviously probably a little bit of a barrier.

COOPER: Now Michael, I know some of your family have already flown down to Rio to take care of the four kids. And I know you've talked to some of the kids. How are they doing?

DAVIS: They seem much better now that they have family with them. A little more like home with being surrounded by the family.

COOPER: The youngest two girls are 3 years old, 5 years old. Do they know what's happened?

DAVIS: They're aware of what's happened, yes.

COOPER: But I mean, I guess at that age, it's hard to understand. I guess it's hard to understand at any age. They're being kept down right now in Brazil. Do you know, are they going to be able to come home at this point?

DAVIS: Well, that's our hope and goal is to bring them home. There's a lot of family waiting here to hug them and give them all kinds of love and attention. And we just really want those kids home so we can take care of them.

COOPER: Now, at this point, though, the police are still investigating, there are a lot of questions. I mean, I guess the question of the security system seemed to have been turned off from the inside. Police have -- there's this report now floating around in Rio that they found a letter in which Michelle talked about some tensions with the oldest daughter, who's 13.

Were you aware of any family tensions?

DAVIS: No, I can't say that I am, you know. I have not heard anything like that. They loved each other very much. You know, I have a 12-year-old daughter, and we don't see eye-to-eye all the time either. So, you know, it's hard.

COOPER: Do you have confidence...

DAVIS: They're a long ways away.

COOPER: Do you have confidence in the Brazilian authorities? I know there are two FBI officers who are going to be monitoring the investigation as well. Do you have confidence this thing is going to get solved?

DAVIS: Yes, and I hope so, because that's -- you know, I loved my sister and my brother-in-law very, very much. And I want them to work as hard as they can to find out what happened. The world is going to be a lesser place with two bright stars no longer with us. And my heart aches.

COOPER: Well, Michael, we appreciate you talking with us tonight. I know it's a tough thing. We appreciate you telling us about your sister and about Todd. And we wish you a lot of thoughts and a lot of prayers in the days ahead.

Thank you very much, Michael.

DAVIS: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Jackson on Jackson. Jesse speaks out about Michael.

Hugh Hefner and sex as a business.

And this weekend's hot tickets.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time for "The Reset," tonight's top stories.

Baghdad, Iraq. War Crimes Tribunal. It's in the works. A coalition official says the Iraqi Governing Council wants to bring Saddam Hussein and others in his regime to justice.

Columbus, Ohio. Two more shootings. Police now have 14 shooting cases under investigation. The latest targets: a car on Interstate 270 and a house near that same stretch of highway.

From coast to coast, act quick if you want a flu shot. The two makers of the vaccine say they've shipped all of this year's supplies. But health officials point out that doses are still available at hospitals and clinics, although people may have to make an extra effort to find the vaccines in some areas.

The Northeast. Get out of the snow. Or get out -- at least get out the snow shovels. A live shot there of Pittsburgh. A double whammy. The first major storm of the season is moving through, and a more powerful storm has yet to hit. There's a live shot of Philadelphia tonight. It looks pretty there. Some locations could get up to 18 inches of snow. That, of course, is -- we were about to show you New York Times Square if we get it. There it is. Blanket of white right now.

That is "The Reset" for tonight.

As we mentioned earlier, CNN is confirming that another child claims he was molested by Michael Jackson in 1993, and, according to the "Los Angeles Times" today, the brother of the latest alleged victim claims he witnessed the incident.

Amid all these allegations, some supporters of Michael Jackson say the case against him is racially motivated. Earlier today, I spoke to the Reverend Jesse Jackson about that accusation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Reverend Jackson, I want to play for you some sound from Jermaine Jackson about what he said about what is going on with his brother. Let's play that and then talk about it.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: OK.

JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S BROTHER: I am sick and [EXPLETIVE DELETED] tired of everybody saying these things about my family. We will fight, and we will stand up, and everybody that knows this family around the world will support us because, at the end of the day, this is nothing but a modern-day lynching.

COOPER: That phrase he used -- it is incendiary. Do you believe it's true?

JACKSON: Well, the family feels very beleaguered and feels victimized really by two sets of rules.

In the case of Michael, the issue of pedophelia, child molestation is a serious charge legally and morally and psychologically, and it has gotten lost in all of the theater, the politics of it, the 70 people going into Neverland and ransacking it, as if they were going into Waco, and then the kind of giddy press conference at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) y'all come and join us, and then the high-profile handcuffs as if he were going to escape, and the $3- million bail.

It seemed that the real issue of pedophilia has been lost in the political theater of it. So it does take on those lynching overtones.

COOPER: You believe this is a modern-day lynching?

JACKSON: Well, I would not use that language. Let me use my own language. Suffice it to say that it's been overkill, and, so far, with all of this theater, Michael has been tried and convicted and not yet even been charged.

COOPER: Do you believe Michael Jackson has ever done anything inappropriate to a child?

JACKSON: Well, not to my knowledge. He certainly has never been charged with it. He wasn't charged in '93. And -- and so the presumption of innocence until proven guilty -- that presumption ought to be honored.

COOPER: I want to show you some poll numbers, how Americans respond to two high-profile African-Americans in legal trouble. O.J. Simpson, on this screen we're showing, 88 percent of blacks say he's innocent; 41 percent of whites thought so. Mike Tyson, 71 percent of African-Americans say innocent; 33 percent of whites. The question is: is America becoming increasingly racially divided?

JACKSON: Well, in a real sense, these high-profile blacks who often think that they are exceptions -- they are examples. They mirror a deeper truth, and that truth is, today, there are 950,000 black men in jail and 600,000 in college. There are more blacks in jail in every state than there are in college.

That is a huge statement. We're now being locked up -- locked up for sport and locked up for profit. So there is a system which -- the criminal-justice system is not -- is not serving us well.

COOPER: So have you talked to Michael Jackson, and, if so, what have you said to him or what would you say to him?

JACKSON: I've talked with -- I've talked with his mother and talked with his father. His mother...

COOPER: What did you tell them?

JACKSON: Well, we talked about the matter. We had prayer. Their concern is that, with the high-profile attack in '93, there was no charge and there was a settlement. We do not know what that settlement was. We do not know it, and yet we broadcast it as if we do.

But now, again, their concern is that, with all that has gone on, there has been the condemnation, and the media even to suggest to take his children, give them to the state, as if those children do not have grandparents and aunts and uncles -- Michael is not a thing. He is a person with a family.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there this evening. Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you very much for joining us.

JACKSON: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Another music star is causing a stir in, well, a very different way. The Secret Service has actually launched a preliminary investigation to determine if a new lyric from rapper Eminem was meant to be a threat against the president of the United States. The lyric in question is from a bootleg recording, one of several on the Internet.

An Eminem spokesman says this. Quote, "This was an unfinished song either lost or stolen. There was no determination where, when, how, or if it was going to be used."

Let's talk more about this controversy with Toure of "Rolling Stone" magazine.

Thanks for being with us.

TOURE, "ROLLING STONE": Sure.

COOPER: People -- let's play this song which they're floating out there on the Internet, and then we'll talk about it. We'll play just a certain section on it. Let's listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

EMINEM, RAPPER: For the money / I don't rap for dead presidents / I'd rather see the president dead / It's never been said / But I set precedents and standards / And they can't stand it...

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. Do you think Eminem was making a threat against the president of the United States?

TOURE: No, no. It's clearly not a threat. It's just a wish, just an opinion. And, as you know, there are millions of people that are very upset with the direction the country's taken the last year, the last three years. So he's representing the will of the people with this.

COOPER: But you think he was talking about the president because -- because I mean he doesn't specify the president of the United States.

TOURE: He doesn't, but it just seems to me that he's talking -- I mean when you reference dead president, which, of course, represents money, what -- that's what we talk about in hip-hop, it says to me we're talking about President Bush.

COOPER: There are a lot of things to say about this. Obviously, a lot of people will be extremely offended. Do you think this is for publicity?

TOURE: Well, to call it a publicity stunt sort of misses the thing, but Eminem is a controversy stirrer. That's what he does, just the same way Madonna did at the beginning of her career. They want to stir up controversy, get people talking about them, get people thinking about them. But with the case of Eminem, it's organic. He's really a crazy little sort of person, and so you...

COOPER: Well...

TOURE: ... you see that.

COOPER: This is certainly not the first time for this sort of controversy -- I mean he's offended just about every group possible...

TOURE: Right. Right, right, right.

COOPER: ... I think at one point or another. What he always says is that, you know, I'm playing a character in my song, and I am singing what this character feels.

TOURE: Right, right, right. Well, I mean, just in the anti-P.C. era, it's nice to have somebody who's willing come to out and says, hey, I'm mad about this, I hate you, I hate you. But he's consistent. He hates everything. He even hates himself, you know, hates his mother. So it's -- like -- it's consistent throughout his whole personality.

COOPER: But I mean...

TOURE: But he loves his daughter. So that's this whole beautiful other thing, like hates her mother but loves his daugh -- so he does have love in him, but it's -- it's just...

COOPER: I'm not sure the Secret Service will be all that interested in all that other part, though, at this point.

TOURE: Well, I would think that they would have more important things to be worrying about than some song by a millionaire rapper. I mean...

COOPER: Bottom line do you think this is going to hurt him in any way?

TOURE: No, no. This what we want from him -- controversy, stirring, arguing with the power structure. I mean that's what hip- hop is about -- confidence, power, rebelling. This is what we want from him.

COOPER: Do you think he'll actually release this song, or do you think it'll just sort of fade away into the ethos?

TOURE: Well, I mean hip-hop has a lot of songs that just go out on the Internet, go out on mixed tapes, and sort of, you know, the real fans hear it. So, you know, we'll hear it. We'll figure it out.

COOPER: All right. Toure, I like your writing with "Rolling Stone." Thanks for being with us.

TOURE: Thank you.

COOPER: All right.

Well, still to come this evening, the Tom Cruise blockbuster "Last Samurai" is here. Should you care or just rent an old version of "Shogun"?

What else? A little later, the exciting conclusion of my chat with a man of seven girlfriends, Hugh Hefner. After half a century, where does "Playboy" go now? I'm not sure I really want to know, but we're going to hear it.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: CNN.COM/360. Send us your e-mail any time.

Now pressing questions for this edition of "The Weekender." Should you battle the snow to see Tom Cruise battle his way through "The Last Samurai"? How compelling is the bittersweet story of the new movie "Honey"? And will HBO's "Angels in America" fly on television the way it did on Broadway? We're going to get some answers right now from "New York Times" film critic Elvis Mitchell.

Elvis, thanks for braving the snow to be here.

ELVIS MITCHELL, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" FILM CRITIC: It's almost like being on B.E.T. with all this Michael Jackson coverage.

COOPER: I know. Eminem. We're doing Eminem as well.

Let's talk about "Last"...

MITCHELL: Eminem and B.E.T. What are you getting at here?

COOPER: All right. Let's talk about "The Last Samurai." Don't get me in trouble now.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I'm staying on point like a politician. "The Last Samurai." Tom Cruise. New, big blockbuster. Tell us what it's about and whether it's good.

MITCHELL: Well, it's about a disillusioned American who rediscovers himself when he learns the way of the Samurai. It's a good -- well, it's kind of half good. I mean it's beautifully directed, but it's sort of like the sort of curriculum if "The Karate Kid," the kind of wax-on-wax-off...

COOPER: It reminds you a lot of that?

MITCHELL: You -- very similar. And there are lots of great performances. There's a great performance by an Irish comedian named Billy Connolly who's so good in this that you know he's going to be around for like about 10 minutes. It's that kind of thing.

COOPER: All right.

MITCHELL: There's a great Japanese actor named Ken Watanabe. On the other hand, Tom Cruise is trying really hard. He's just too eager to learn. So he's kind of a burnout. He sort of takes the lessons too fast and is a little bit too contemporary like he's still waiting for that cellphone call in like 1877.

COOPER: Oh, really? The cinematography looks beautiful, though.

MITCHELL: It's an amazingly made picture, directed by Ed Zwick, who also did "Glory," "Courage Under Fire," who has a real interest in sort of dealing with kind of the many facets of patriotism. It's not all just kind of the stuff -- the problems with the right wing, which is the really interesting thing they're doing...

COOPER: So it's a little like "Karate Kid." I'm going to look for Ralph Macchio, see if he shows up in this thing.

MITCHELL: Absolutely.

COOPER: Let's talk about this other movie, "Honey." I've never heard about it, don't know anything about it. What's it about, and is it good?

MITCHELL: But, gee, based on this whole kind of Michael Jackson/Eminem thing, I thought you were down with that here at CNN. About...

COOPER: I'm down with many things. I, unfortunately, don't know about "Honey."

MITCHELL: Well, let me break it down for you, baby. Let me...

COOPER: OK. Make it real for me.

MITCHELL: I'm trying too make it as real as humanly possible here, Anderson. It's about a young dancer in this part of the community who can -- she's about to blow up, again, as you say on here CNN. Will she be able to stay on the real estate, still stay honey on the block? You know...

COOPER: And Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott is in this.

MITCHELL: Look at you! That Columbia Record Club thing came through for you. And she's actually really good in it. Whenever she's on-screen, you kind of go, no, no, go back over there. No, no, no.

COOPER: Oh, really. You wish it were staying with her? Yes, I'm actually a big fan of hers.

"Angels on America." We're going to a clip for a minute. It's on HBO. Let's play it and then talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Are you a homosexual?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, is it that obvious? Yes, I am. What's it to you?

STREEP: Would you say you are a typical homosexual?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me? No, I'm stereotypical. You mean like am I a hairdresser?

STREEP: Are you a hairdresser?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it would be your lucky day if I was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It starts Sunday night, HBO. It's over the course of two weeks on Sunday nights. Is it great?

MITCHELL: It's the perfect thing to watch over the course of a blizzard. You can't go out for three hours. The first three hours is so spectacular.

Mike Nichols has such an instinct for directing actors, and the intimacy that the first section of it demands makes it really kind of extraordinary television.

Great performances from Jeffrey Wright, who was in the original version on Broadway in '90. Great stuff from Meryl Streep.

COOPER: OK.

MITCHELL: Emma Thompson. Pacino is a little bit Pacinoish, so it's too much from the outside.

And in the second half of it where it has to become literal angels, it's a little bit too literal-minded. So you almost feel like downtown magic...

COOPER: But definitely worth seeing?

MITCHELL: Absolutely.

COOPER: All right. Appointment for TV viewing Sunday night.

Elvis Mitchell, thanks very much.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, "Playboy" magazine turns 50. So what has Hugh Hefner learned in half a century of selling sex? Well, we'll find out. We're going to get some more kernels of wisdom from "Playboy's" chief playa coming up.

Elvis Mitchell is listening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, some steamy history hit newsstands today, the 50th-anniversary issue of "Playboy" magazine. The man behind the famed bunny icon, of course, is Hugh Hefner, the self-professed luckiest guy on the planet. It all started when he sat down at his kitchen table 50 years ago, laid out the first edition.

We sat down and talked about the past, the future, and all the controversy, about is he surprised "Playboy" is still around.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUGH HEFNER, "PLAYBOY" MAGAZINE: I'm a kid who dreamed impossible dreams when I was a boy, but nothing like what happened.

When I -- when I put together the first issue in the summer of '53, I didn't have enough money for the second issue. So I didn't put a date on the first issue. So you can imagine how I feel now after half a century.

COOPER: You put Marilyn Monroe on the cover.

HEFNER: Yes.

COOPER: So that was a good choice.

HEFNER: That was a very good choice.

COOPER: Very -- a smart first move there.

HEFNER: Yes. Well, I -- I was a smart kid.

COOPER: What was in the -- I mean so much of editing a magazine is sort of picking up on the zeitgeist of the times. Nineteen fifty- three -- it seems -- it doesn't seem the perfect year to start up this kind of a magazine.

HEFNER: I think it was perfect because it was so contrary to the culture of the times. I think that the 1950s was a very conservative time socially, sexually, politically.

COOPER: Was it tough getting women to pose early on?

HEFNER: No, I don't think so.

COOPER: I mean would you go up to them on the street and ask them? How did -- how did you recruit them?

HEFNER: Well, I didn't -- generally didn't stop women, you know, on the street and ask them, but -- but it -- you know, it happened -- to begin with, it did happen in a very natural kind of way.

I mean the first -- the very first few centerfolds were actually calendar pictures from a -- from the John Baumgarth Calendar Company. They're also -- that's where we got the original Marilyn Monroe picture. COOPER: At a certain point, society sort of not only catches up but kind of goes farther probably than you ever anticipated. I mean the stuff you see in -- I mean you had other competitors, "Hustler," "Penthouse," who were being far more explicit. When those first came up, did you think to yourself, you know, we've got to push the envelope, we've got to go farther?

HEFNER: Well, I think some people thought so. There was a moment in time in which I literally held a meeting with my editors and said I don't want to wind up imitating the imitators.

COOPER: Playboy in 2001, I think, bought three very explicit cable TV channels.

HEFNER: Absolutely.

COOPER: Do you worry that the company is pushing things too far?

HEFNER: Well, I think it's always a balancing act. I think you have to reflect the realities of the world in which we live. And I've never really had a problem in terms of sexuality or, you know, explicit images of sex. It's more a matter of what you really want to do in a particular context.

COOPER: But that's the thing. I mean the -- the profits -- the money that the magazine makes are dwarfed by the money that's made...

HEFNER: Of course. Sure.

COOPER: ... by the Internet, by the cable TV...

HEFNER: Yes.

COOPER: ... by licensing. I mean is -- is the magazine irrelevant?

HEFNER: I think the magazine is the inspiration for all the rest of it. In other words, I don't think that -- there wouldn't be any products, the products wouldn't have any meaning, that rabbit wouldn't have any meaning if it wasn't for the magazine.

COOPER: You have young kids. Do you worry about the culture, the society they grow up in, in terms of what they can see on the Internet, elsewhere? I mean do you -- do you worry about images that are out there?

HEFNER: I don't worry about sexual images. I worry about the messages that exist out there and the realities that exist out there in terms of war, violence, bigotry, the things that are really hurtful. I don't think sex is the enemy.

COOPER: Well, that is certainly clear.

HEFNER: Yes.

COOPER: I believe you fully believe that. HEFNER: I truly believe that.

COOPER: I want to read you something one of your competitors, Larry Flynt said of "Hustler" magazine.

He told "The New York Times" that you're a visionary, but he also said this. Quote, "Hef thinks he's publishing 'Time' or 'Newsweek.' He's never been able to come to grips with the fact he is a pornographer."

Do you think of yourself as a pornographer?

HEFNER: Well, I would say that anybody that looks at "Playboy" and calls "Playboy" pornography would call anything that's erotic pornographic.

COOPER: Is there something hypocritical about American society? I mean, on the one hand, we sort of...

HEFNER: Of course.

COOPER: ... don't want to talk -- of course.

HEFNER: Of course there is.

COOPER: Well, there's many things...

HEFNER: I would say, quite frankly, in terms of sexuality, schizophrenic.

COOPER: Schizophrenic? You think...

HEFNER: Absolutely.

COOPER: ... American society is schizophrenic about sex?

HEFNER: I -- our mixed emotions in terms of sex is as American as apple pie. I mean...

COOPER: In what way?

HEFNER: Well, we are fascinated with sex, and we feel guilt and shame connected to it. I mean that's who we are.

COOPER: So that's America?

HEFNER: That is America.

COOPER: God bless it.

HEFNER: God bless it.

COOPER: Thank you.

HEFNER: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The one and only Hugh Hefner, 77 years old.

That brings us to today's "Buzz." Is "Playboy" magazine pornography? What do you think? Vote now, CNN.COM/360. The results in just a few moments at the end of the program.

All right. Time for "The Current." Let's check in what's happening out there.

A federal judge says movie studios can send out free DVDs of their movies to Oscar voters. Small studios said a ban on screeners would hurt the odds of important indy films at movie time. The ruling means Oscar voters can return to their traditional method of ignoring good indy movies on their merits.

Bachelorette Trista Rehn and fiance Ryan Sutter are getting married tomorrow at a luxury resort outside Palm Springs. The result is offering special Trista and Ryan package to other couples, including caviar and Dom Perignon champagne, but you get to keep your dignity. So that's good.

Mary Tyler Moore has quit the new Neil Simon play "Rose's Dilemma" after getting blistering criticism from Simon. Simon reportedly was angry with Moore for mangling his lines, while audiences have apparently been disappointed when she read his lines correctly.

Florida officials have denied harassing talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. After officials seized some of his medical record, Limbaugh yesterday accused them of going on a fishing expedition. Some fishermen, however, warn that OxyContin should only be used as bait when going for large-mouthed bass.

Monday on 360, secret societies. A week-long special series looking at the mysterious groups that still exist in and some say influence America. A revealing look at that starting Monday.

And these two guys carrying on in the tradition of the Hatfields and McCoys, Montagues and Capulets. Harold Stern and Don Imus take their feud to the airwaves. We're going to take that to "The Nth Degree" in just a moment.

But, first, time is running out for "The Buzz." Is "Playboy" magazine pornography? CNN.COM/360. Results when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." We asked you: Is "Playboy" magazine pornography? Here's what you said. A split vote. Fifty percent of you said yes. Fifty percent of you said no. This is not a scientific poll, just you buzz.

Tonight, taking celebrity feuds to "The Nth Degree." You may have heard about the latest dustup between Howard Stern and Don Imus. Imus did a bit insulting Stern's girlfriend, Beth Ostrosky, prompting Stern to phone into Imus's show, call Imus a name, and then friends revealed details about his daughter's sexual past. Imus replied, quote, "Why don't you just keep your mouth shut, OK, punk?" and then hung up on Stern.

Now some listeners might have mistaken it as a sly homage to the legendary Lincoln/Douglas debates, but it got me thinking about celebrity feuds. See, in the days of Hamilton and Burr, famous people used to settle their beefs with pistols. It's only marginally better today when the weapon of choice is P.R. flacks at 10 paces.

Public feuding is unnecessary at best and hurt at worst. When it's used as a way to generate publicity, it's just downright annoying. And that realization made me look deep inside myself and decided that -- you know what -- it's time for me to make amends and put aside my very public, very tawdry feuds.

So, Lee Iacocca, I'm calling a truce.

All is forgiven, Mr. Mandela. We're cool.

Bono, you can keep the pen. And you know what? It was never about that anyway.

As for you, Britney...

Oh, we're out of time. I'm sorry. We're out of time. We're going to have to do more of this next week.

Dr. Kissinger, call me. We'll talk. I think it's time.

That's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching.

END

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