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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Can Democrats Challenge Kerry?; NAACP Controversy; California Death Penalty Debate

Aired January 28, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome. I'm Paula Zahn.
The world, the news, the names, the faces, and where we go from here on this Wednesday, January 28, 2004.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): The road to the White House. Next stop, South Carolina, Delaware, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma. Where can the candidates make a breakthrough to stop the Kerry bandwagon?

Plus, more than 20 years on death row for a gruesome murder. But with two weeks left to live, celebrities rally for this man's clemency. Why should his life be saved?

And they're winning NAACP awards despite their tarnished images. Is this the right message to send?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Those stories, plus, the major shakeup in the Dean campaign just hours ago.

But, first, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

CNN has received new information tonight about the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and how the hunt to find him will soon be intensifying.

CNN National correspondent Mike Boettcher joins us now from Atlanta with the very latest -- hi, Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.

Well, coalition intelligence sources tell CNN that there is evidence that Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in recent months, remarkably, to the same location where he declared a jihad against America five years ago. This is the videotape they point to, which was recovered by CNN as part of the al Qaeda tape library.

This is a camp near Khost. This was five years ago. But you can look at the heavy security. Coalition intelligence sources believe there are still many al Qaeda sympathizers there and bin Laden felt safe. They don't know if he's still there. Now, Bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir, a Pakistani journalist who has great contacts in the al Qaeda and Taliban communities, says he was told the same thing by Arab fighters in the region, that bin Laden late last year was traveling in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Now, Mir also points to another videotape, the most recent videotape of bin Laden roaming the mountains somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan. You're looking at this now. He says, from his sources, these Arab fighters, that this was taken in the spring of 2003, supporting the theory that, at times, bin Laden has roamed in Afghanistan.

Now, the other man in that videotape you see is Ayman al- Zawahiri, bin Laden's No. 2. And coalition intelligence sources tell CNN that these two men at times have been traveling separately for security -- Paula.

ZAHN: Another question for you tonight, Michael. There is also some news of the military front suggesting that there is another attack in Afghanistan being considered. What have you learned about that?

BOETTCHER: Well, there are concerns that the Taliban and al Qaeda remnants will launch their own offensive sometime in the winter and spring.

There is an offensive, of course, confirmed by U.S. military today that there will be an offensive by American and coalition troops this spring. We're told by several sources that the main concern is the safety of President Musharraf of Pakistan. And there have been two assassination attempts against him. They have not succeeded. But they worry, if somehow there is an assassination attempt that does succeed, a successor to Musharraf might not be as sympathetic to the coalition cause.

So there is a determination to force this issue now, to go after the Taliban and al Qaeda -- Paula.

ZAHN: Mike Boettcher, thanks for that late report.

Moving along now, "In Focus" tonight, the blame game continues in Washington over bad intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. Today, the former top weapons inspector appeared before Congress and said, nearly everyone got it wrong, including himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KAY, FORMER CHIEF U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense, that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological weapons there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: As for how it happened, David Kay cited a lack of funding, mostly not enough spies, and insufficient data. Kay also said he supports the idea of an independent investigation. Well, two members of the committee that heard Kay's remarks join me now, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Welcome, gentlemen.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Good to be with you.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Thank you.

Senator Nelson, which is it? Was the intelligence dead wrong? Or did this administration deliberately mislead the American public about the reasons for going to war?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, we better find that out, because our ability to protect ourselves from terrorists in the future depends on accurate and timely intelligence.

And so, if this intelligence was colored to produce a certain result, we need to know that. If it was just purely faulty analysis and collection, we need to know that for the protection of our homeland.

ZAHN: Based on what you've learned, Senator Nelson, what do you think the answers are to those questions?

NELSON: I don't know. But that's why we need to have further inquiry, even if it is an independent commission, so that we can get through all of this politics, particularly in an election year, and get to the truth. The safety of the country is at stake.

ZAHN: Senator Sessions, are you confident that we will get to the truth?

SESSIONS: Oh, I think we will.

I think on that question you just asked, Dr. Kay was crystal clear, without any doubt. And that is, he said that all the intelligence agencies, both in the United States and virtually around the world, believed that the weapons of mass destruction was there. They informed the president of that, just as they had informed President Clinton of it.

He said -- he has previously said that, if anybody failed, it was not the president failing the American people, but the intelligence community failing the president. We can do better with our intelligence. I think they may have been influenced by the fact that, really, Saddam Hussein never denied having it. And we had a U.N. finding that they had these weapons.

So I think maybe there was a lack of rigor in analyzing the situation. He was clear that he did not believe there were any substantial stockpiles there now. ZAHN: Senator Nelson, you heard what your colleague just had to say. He thinks it's crystal clear what David Kay was saying. You're still not convinced of that, though.

NELSON: Paula, I was told that not only did we have weapons, but he had the means of delivering them with unmanned drones launched off of ships off of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States on Eastern Seaboard cities, distributing stuff like anthrax to a place like New York, Washington, Charlotte.

Now, this turned out to be totally inaccurate. And what I find out after the fact now is that it was disputed in the Intelligence Committee. But, before I cast my vote, I was looked in the eye and told that was the threat. And, of course, I concluded that that was an imminent danger, then, to the interests of the United States.

ZAHN: So, wait, sir. I want to make sure I have the timing right. So you're saying that you weren't aware that this information was disputed at the time of your vote?

NELSON: Did not know that and told that it was accurate. Subsequently, the president talked about unmanned aerial vehicles. Subsequently, Secretary Powell talked to the U.N. about those same vehicles and being possible outside of Iraq to launch on America. But it ends up, it's not true.

ZAHN: Senator Sessions, are you troubled by what Senator Nelson is saying here?

SESSIONS: I absolutely am. And I think Dr. Kay was, too.

He said, we can do better, that there were errors in some of the interpretation and the intelligence reports that were given, that he believes we can do better. He said, at one point, that, there are more people in this room than we have Arabic speaking analysts in the world, or in the State Department or in our intelligence agencies.

So I think we can do a lot better. But the president is acting on the information he is given. This was universally believed throughout the world, including the U.N. And I would also say that we can do better in terms of funding and preparing our intelligence agencies to use more human intelligence.

ZAHN: But let me ask you this, Senator Sessions.

And, Senator Nelson, you can correct me if I'm paraphrasing this incorrectly.

I think, Senator Sessions, what Senator Nelson was saying, that perhaps that information was deliberately left murky at the time of the congressional vote?

SESSIONS: Paula, I think that's something that needs to be looked at, if anybody did not give a full and complete picture on this question. Dr. Kay said that he interviewed many, many analysts. Not a single one said they were pressured. Several of them sort of apologized to him for getting it wrong. He talked to -- in situations in which they were free to share with him, he thought honestly. So I think we can do better. And I believe we will.

NELSON: We better do a lot better.

ZAHN: Senator Nelson, you get the last word.

NELSON: Well, why wouldn't they have stepped forward and said, within the intelligence community, that there was a huge dispute over the accuracy of that information that I was given eyeball to eyeball?

So there's a lot of questions, Paula. And, for the sake of this country, they'd better get answered.

ZAHN: Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Jeff Sessions, we appreciate both of your perspectives this evening. Thank you.

Big shakeup for Howard Dean. We're going to get the latest on who is out in his campaign, who is coming in.

And he's homegrown in South Carolina, but can John Edwards win the state and the black vote in what may be the biggest test yet for the Democrats?

Also, find out why R. Kelly, a singer charged with child pornography, may be honored for being a good role model.

And will Arnold Schwarzenegger step in and stop the execution of a man some believe may be innocent of murder?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: It's the day after New Hampshire. And the fallout from finishing second is now hitting the Howard Dean camp hard. Joe Trippi is out as campaign manager. The decision to remove Trippi comes as a big surprise for some members of Dean's staff. He's being replaced by Roy Neel, a longtime associate of Al Gore.

Carlos Watson is here to set the stage now with more on the shakeup.

Good evening.

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.

ZAHN: So what does this really mean?

WATSON: It's dramatic.

ZAHN: Why is it so dramatic? John Kerry whacked his. Wesley Clark got rid of his campaign manager. So did Carol Moseley Braun.

WATSON: But you know what? They did it before they lost, Paula. And now it's not one just loss, but it's two losses.

I said about a week ago, on the night of the Iowa caucuses, that Howard Dean, having been the clear favorite there for several weeks leading up to that and then losing, probably needed to do what Ronald Reagan did in 1980. You may recall that, in 1980, Ronald Reagan was upset in Iowa, lost to George Bush, the first George Bush, the first president, and then fired his campaign manager, went on to win New Hampshire, win the nomination and win the presidency. This could be too little, too late.

ZAHN: It begs the question, is this Al Gore's campaign now?

WATSON: Well, Al Gore...

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: I make you laugh. Why, sir?

WATSON: When does the endorser become the candidate?

Look, Al Gore's got a lot at stake here, too. A lot of people said to him that he was making a mistake, including Joe Lieberman, that he was making a mistake by choosing sides, by making an endorsement that early, before the first votes had been cast.

ZAHN: I know, but this is -- Roy Neel is his guy.

WATSON: Roy is his guy. So make no mistake about it. Al Gore's got his reputation at stake. He's rolling up his sleeves. He's getting involved.

There's a world in which you say, that's a smart thing for him to do, to not just let the ship go down, because people aren't going to forget that he took up sides and that he put his arm around Howard Dean and said, this is the guy.

ZAHN: Paul Begala told us earlier in the day it's his belief that Roy Neel will bring him a strategy of maybe removing the negative attacks of John Kerry from the stump and we'll see perhaps more negative attack ads on John Kerry. Is that what you believe Mr. Neel will deliver?

WATSON: I think he'll deliver four things, and that will be part of it.

First and foremost, they're going to retool their strategy. And, Paula, this is big. They're considering, as we speak, skipping the February 3 contests, basically saying, we don't have enough time to compete. It's clear that John Kerry is likely to win three, four, five, maybe even six or seven of those, because right now, he's got the money. He's got the media. He's got the momentum. Let's skip those. Let's wait for a couple of other contests in Washington and Michigan, where we think we can do better.

And then the real showdown might be March 2, when half the delegates that you need to win are at stake, including New York and California. So that's what he may be considering as we speak.

ZAHN: What's really going on behind closed doors right now in Dean's campaign?

WATSON: You know, the truth of the matter is, on a very human level, there's a lot of heartache. You can put yourself in those shoes.

ZAHN: People have been working 24/7 for months and months and months.

WATSON: Twenty-four/seven. And a month ago, they thought they were going to win.

You know what the proper analogy here is, Paula? It's really the dot-coms. If you think of Dean's candidacy as a dot-com, they raised a lot of money. They excited a lot of young people. They seemed like they were going to do something different and better. There was a lot of excitement and, all of a sudden, there was an explosion, an implosion, if you will.

And the question now is, will Dean's campaign become Amazon.com, meaning, remember, they had some early struggles, but now doing they're incredibly well, have a $22 billion market cap, just announced their first annual profits, which is a big deal?

Or will they become Pets.com, something that was revolutionary, maybe a little bit ahead of its time. But it's gone and you don't remember it anymore. And it's so significant that they're bringing in the outside guys, the establishment guys, just like, by the way, Amazon.com did in order to get themselves steadied.

ZAHN: Interesting analogy, Carlos Watson, a prescient guy, predicted all this would happen back at the Iowa caucus time. Thank you.

WATSON: Good to see you.

ZAHN: South Carolina would seem to be the next big proving ground for John Kerry, Howard Dean and the rest of the Democrats. All of them are getting a crash course in how to win over voters there, especially African-Americans, whose impact could help determine the race for president.

Frank Buckley explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The choir at the Brookland Baptist Church will be heard. And, in just a few days, the voices of other members of this African-American church in West Columbia, South Carolina, will also be heard. Half of all voters here could be black. And how they vote could send a message to black voters across the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's a clear winner in this state and a clear recipient of that vote, it would resonate.

BUCKLEY: Laddie Howard says a candidate who is Bill Clinton-like in his pitch will do well.

(on camera): But there is no Bill Clinton in this election, is there?

LADDIE HOWARD, BROOKLAND BAPTIST CHURCH: Bill Clinton at this point in the election of 1992 was not Bill Clinton. So we'll just have to see if there's a Bill Clinton in this race.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): All the candidates have courted black voters and black leaders, especially Jim Clyburn, considered the king maker by some. And there is one African-American candidate in the race here.

AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way to move a donkey is to slap the donkey. I'm going to slap the donkey until the donkey kicks and we kick George Bush out of the White House!

BUCKLEY: Al Sharpton, who wasn't a serious contender in Iowa or New Hampshire, but he could be here. These ladies like what he has to say, even if he doesn't have a chance of becoming the Democratic nominee.

(on camera): Does Al Sharpton resonate at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does. He has fantastic issues. And I'd certainly want him to get to the convention.

BUCKLEY: So at least his voice will be heard at the convention, just as the voices of African-American voters will be heard for the first time en masse on February 3.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Columbia, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So just how important is the South Carolina primary? Joining us now from Columbia is Dick Harpootlian, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman.

Welcome, sir.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

ZAHN: I know you feel that the South Carolina primary is the most important of all the seven races next week. Why?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, South Carolina represents a unique opportunity for the Democratic nominee to demonstrate that he can appeal to the loyal base of the party, African-Americans, to blue- collar whites, and to suburban whites. This is going to be a primary which demonstrates all the strengths that somebody needs to win in November. ZAHN: A native-born son is John Edwards. He has said himself he must take South Carolina. How does it look there this evening for him?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think he has to take South Carolina. I must say, I think it's a dead-heat race between he and John Kerry. It's going to be very competitive.

I think this is going to be down to the wire. And, of course, if Kerry wins here, I think he's the presumptive nominee. If Edwards wins here, then it goes on to further races and may end up sometime in March. But this is going to be -- we've got a big debate tomorrow night, nationally televised debate.

Everyone's going to be looking that. Focus has just begun on South Carolina. And I think a lot of voters haven't made up their minds. It's going to be one hell of a race.

ZAHN: You talked about the cross-section of voters that these candidates need to appeal to. It's interesting to note that the African-American community has not rallied around a single candidate, like they have in the past, for example, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What's the difference here?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, remember this, now. Bill Clinton, when he was the nominee, had unanimous African-American support.

But as you go through the primary process, African-Americans, just like white South Carolinians, are split up. They have their preferences. So don't think that African-Americans vote in some bloc in a primary. In the general election, they'll vote as a bloc, because George W. Bush has done a terrible job of helping people who need help. His tax policies, his environmental policies, his education policies all have been suited to the rich minority in this country and not to the majority of working people and people that need help.

ZAHN: I don't have time to counter that argument from our other's pundit's point of view. But I would like to close with what the latest poll is showing, basically with Al Sharpton picking up maybe potentially 15 percent of the vote there. Is this a protest vote you're looking at or a real vote?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think Al Sharpton will get somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent. But I think, at the end of the day, Howard Dean isn't going to compete here. He can't compete here. He doesn't have a message that resonates here. He's never dealt with African-Americans or blue-collar white people.

Wesley Clark seems to have moved to other states although he's got a very active campaign here. It's going to be John Edwards vs. John Kerry, and I think it's going to be -- it's going to determine who -- I think the person that wins this primary will be the nominee and be the next president of the United States.

ZAHN: Dick Harpootlian, thank you for joining us tonight. HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: The rap duo OutKast, civil rights champion Rosa Parks is suing them. So why would the NAACP want to honor them?

And I'll be talking with a man who says a religious cult practicing polygamy is breaking up families and forcing women to marry against their will.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Controversy is swirling around next month's NAACP Image Awards. The nominees include R. Kelly, a singer/songwriter charged with multiple counts of child pornography. Also nominated is the rap duo OutKast, which is being sued by civil rights champion Rosa Parks.

Charles Feldman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, R. Kelly's song "Ignition." And then there is OutKast, with "The Way You Move." Add to the mix the fact that R. Kelly is facing 21 counts of child pornography, and you may see why some NAACP members protested their own group in Beverly Hills.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I quit.

FELDMAN: The president of the NAACP is on record saying he is troubled by some of the nominations and is calling for change in the nominating process, while a former New Jersey NAACP director says now is the time for a conversation about this in the black community.

WALTER FIELDS, PUBLISHER, THENORTHSTARNETWORK.COM: While it may be a temporary embarrassment for the association, I think, in the long run, it can be turned into something very positive.

FELDMAN: The NAACP leadership blames non-NAACP members, who help nominate artists, and wants the whole thing turned over to an in-house nominating committee.

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Do the Image Award nominations of R. Kelly and OutKast send the wrong message?

Joining me now from Chicago is "Chicago Sun-Times" columnist Mary Mitchell. Here in the studio with me, Toure, a guy that doesn't have a last name, a contributing editor for "Rolling Stone" magazine.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Welcome to both of you.

TOURE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": You love that.

ZAHN: I love that.

MARY MITCHELL, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Thank you.

ZAHN: You and Madonna.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Let's talk a moment about what this award is supposed to do. It's supposed to honor people who advance the work of African- Americans. Tell me how R. Kelly, a musician charged with 21 counts of child pornography against him, does that?

TOURE: Well, R. Kelly is a very difficult sort of case.

He's a clearly disgusting human being. And yet somehow, he continues to make fantastic music. He's a singer and producer. His job is to make hit records that make you involuntarily want to dance when they come on the radio, when they come on in the club. And somehow, he continues to do that. And I don't even know how he does it. He makes me viscerally disgusted. And yet, when those songs come on, I have to dance. I can't stop myself.

ZAHN: so you think he deserves this honor?

TOURE: Well, he continues to make great music. If it's about your work, then he deserves it. If it's about who you are, then, no. He's a disgusting individual.

ZAHN: Mary, what about that argument? If it's about his work, he makes the grade. After all, this a guy who hasn't been convicted of anything, just charged.

MITCHELL: OK, but we are not talking about a regular music award. We're not talking about a MTV Award or any award like that.

We are talking about an Image Award that was founded on the belief that African-American performers did not have to take demeaning roles, act like buffoons or denigrate themselves to be honored. That's how the Image Award was founded. And by giving it to someone with 21 counts of child pornography hanging over his head and someone who advances the cause of music that depicts African-Americans as being only interested in drinking alcohol...

TOURE: No.

MITCHELL: ... smoking marijuana, and engaging in sex gives the wrong image.

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: It is an image problem. And that's why I think he doesn't deserve it.

TOURE: What about, "I Believe I Can Fly"? I mean, R. Kelly is very much a Marvin Gaye sort of figure, where there's a tremendous spiritual side to him and a tremendous sexual side to him.

And R. Kelly may be vulgar, but Marvin Gaye was also vulgar. But then "I Believe I Can Fly" is a song that's sung on Sunday in many black churches across the country. So do we just ignore the spiritual side?

MITCHELL: Well, that's a great thing, but "I Believe" -- well, first of all, "I Believe I Can Fly" was not nominated.

"Ignition," which is filled with sexual innuendo and was made at the time, as I said, that he has counts of child pornography hanging over his head. If the image the NAACP wants to put forward is that we don't care, African-Americans about this sort of thing, then go ahead, give him that kind of award. But I don't think that's what they intended. And I think that's the reason why this has become such a great controversy. There's no way they can justify it.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Toure, how can they justify nominating OutKast? They, after all, are a group that's being sued by Rosa Parks for belittling her legacy.

TOURE: Well, that charge is completely ridiculous, OK?

ZAHN: Yes. Why?

TOURE: There's a song which is named after her, right? The song has nothing to do with her. It's an uplifting song.

OutKast's entire career is filled with intelligent music, sophisticated lyrics, sophisticated self-presentation. There is an entire album on their new album where the brother is talking about anima, right, his female spirit within the masculine soul. These are the sort of people that should be given an Image Award.

ZAHN: Mary?

MITCHELL: I don't think you can give anybody an Image Award who names a song, titles a song "Rosa Parks," and the song has literally very little to do with her, except a line that says, "Hey, what's all the fuss? Everybody get to the back of the bus," whatever that means.

(LAUGHTER)

MITCHELL: And this song is about the dispute, the ongoing dispute between rappers. I think it belittles her image.

TOURE: No, that's not true.

(CROSSTALK)

MITCHELL: I think that you cannot give -- I don't think that the NAACP can justify giving an award to a group, not just an award, six nominations they received, when that group is involved in a bitter dispute with an icon of the civil rights movement. It's unnecessary. It doesn't make sense. And it doesn't advance the cause of the NAACP.

ZAHN: Toure, you get the last word for defending OutKast here.

TOURE: Well, the whole discussion to me is kind of strange. The Image Awards at this point mean perhaps less than the Blockbuster Awards. The entire NAACP, it's the colored people. That was three names ago. What are we talking about? Join us in the 21st century, please.

ZAHN: Oh, you've given us yet another topic to debate here.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Toure, Mary Mitchell, thank you for joining us tonight.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

ZAHN: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is being pressed by many to spare the life of a man sentenced to death. We take up his case with one of his supporters, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was wrongly convicted of murder.

And the trial of Martha Stewart, we're going to talk about the evidence you're likely to hear when one of the best-known women goes back on trial.

And tomorrow, the race for the White House. With 269 delegates, seven states on the line next week, we'll get the latest on Tuesday's big showdown.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

ExxonMobil has been ordered to pay $4.5 billion in punitive damages because of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. An attorney for the plaintiffs also says the company must pay another $2.25 billion in interest. ExxonMobil plans to appeal.

The British Broadcasting Corporation is nursing a black eye today, following a scathing rebuke from a British judge. That judge says the network was wrong when it cited a source as saying Tony Blair's government sexed up intelligence to justify the Iraq war. The network apologized. Its chairman stepped down. Mr. Blair's government was cleared of any wrongdoing.

James brown arrested today for domestic violence. The godfather of soul was taken into custody in South Carolina. The 70-year-old Brown is accused of pushing a woman on the floor as they argued in a bedroom.

California Governor Schwarzenegger faces his first major life- and-death decision, whether to stop the execution of a man convicted of murdering four people. It's a case in which even some jurors who have found him guilty have now had some second thoughts.

Rusty Dornin reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1983, Doug and Peg Ryen, their daughter Jessica and a neighbor, Christopher Hughes, were brutally murdered.

Joshua Ryen, 8 at the time, survived but saw no faces. The evidence was largely circumstantial. But jurors convicted Kevin Cooper, a recent prison escapee. Years later, Cooper himself requested DNA testing of evidence, including a T-shirt found a short distance from the Ryen house. The request backfired.

MILT SILVERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR JOSHUA RYEN: It absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, contains his blood and Doug Ryen and Peggy's blood.

DORNIN: But now six jurors have second thoughts. They, along with a cast of celebrities, want Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to stay the execution or commute Cooper's sentence to life, until further evidence tests can be done.

Cooper's attorneys say there are too many unanswered questions, blonde hair found in one victim's hand. Cooper's hair is black. They say some evidence was mishandled or not pursued, that the jury never heard from other people who confessed to being involved and that the survivor, Joshua Ryen, told some people he was attacked by three Hispanic men.

Ryen, now 29, denies he ever said that. "I absolutely have no doubt that Kevin Cooper, and Kevin Cooper alone, is the killer." Kevin Cooper is scheduled to die from lethal injection in a San Quentin death chamber February 10.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Joining us now from San Francisco to discuss why Cooper's execution should be delayed, from San Francisco, Dr. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, whose long fight to clear his name after two murder convictions made legal history, and attorney Lanny Davis, who has taken up Kevin Cooper's cause as well.

Welcome.

DR. RUBIN CARTER, ASSOCIATION IN DEFENSE OF WRONGLY CONVICTED: You're welcome. How you doing?

ZAHN: I'm fine. Thank you, Dr. Carter.

I know, for you, this is very personal. You ended up spending almost 20 years in prison for a crime you did not commit. What is the parallel you draw between your situation then and what Mr. Cooper faces?

CARTER: Well, I was released from prison in 1985, the same year that Kevin Cooper was convicted of this horrible crime.

In all wrongful conviction cases, I've found that there are certain telltale signs that a case is, as the lawyers say, not safe, that prosecutors should be very aware of. Those telltale signs are the lack of hard evidence against the person. The telltale signs are statements of witnesses that have changed after conferring with the police, jailhouse snitches, unreliable witnesses, eyewitnesses who may be totally credible, but absolutely wrong.

I mean, Kevin Cooper's case contains all of these telltale signs. If one telltale sign is present, prosecutors or senior prosecutors ought to be very careful of that. If more than one of these telltale signs is present, then it is absolutely a bad case. And those senior officers should be able to stop it. But, unfortunately, we're dealing with human beings.

ZAHN: All right, but, Lanny, let me ask you this, based on what Dr. Carter is saying now. The parents of one of the victims is going to be joining us right after I'm done talking with the two of you.

They say that the evidence that convicted Mr. Cooper was absolutely overwhelming and that their 20 years of torture has to end. Do you have any empathy for their position?

LANNY DAVIS, ADVOCATE FOR KEVIN COOPER: I have complete empathy. And my condolences. And the pain they must feel is unknowable.

But all I can tell you is that the jury was not allowed to hear evidence that one of the victims, the blonde young girl, had a blonde -- 100 blonde human hairs in her hand, clutched. And photographs exist. Jurors have seen those photographs. And the question is, why weren't they told about that?

We also know about another witness who told police that her boyfriend came home with bloody coveralls, missing the very hatchet from his tool belt that was found as -- a murder victim. My heart goes out to the parents, but my question still remains. There are people who might have committed these murders. And we're only asking Governor Schwarzenegger, along with the jurors who didn't hear this evidence, take some more time to answer these questions before you kill this man.

ZAHN: OK, so, Dr. Carter, do you essentially share that position, that you can't say with 100 percent certainty that Mr. Cooper murdered these people?

CARTER: I can say with 100 percent certainty that there's volumes of evidence that has not been put before a jury. And the threshold question here is, could this evidence have changed the verdict of the jury?

That's the threshold legal question that needs to be addressed. And it's very clear that, yes, this evidence, this three-man assailant -- because one person couldn't possibly have controlled and killed four people with three different weapons in less than two minutes. I mean, that's impossible.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: All right, gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there, because we're going to be joined by the family right after this.

Lanny, real quickly here.

DAVIS: Real quick.

Governor Schwarzenegger, if you're watching, you're a kind and a decent man. We're only asking for more time. The jurors are saying they might have changed their minds. The evidence was withheld from them. We know the parents' pain. We only ask for more time to address these questions, before you kill this man.

ZAHN: Lanny Davis, Rubin Carter, thank you for joining us tonight.

Now we move on to the reaction from the parents of one of the murder victims, Bill and Mary Ann Hughes' son Christopher was 11 years old when he was murdered. Bill found him and the others. They join us from Los Angeles.

Thank you for joining us. I know how difficult this is for you to revisit this some 20 years later.

But, Mary Ann, you just heard what Lanny Davis and Dr. Carter had to say. Your reaction to their plea, the very personal plea they just made to Governor Schwarzenegger?

MARY ANN HUGHES, MOTHER OF MURDER VICTIM: Well, I just can't disagree with them more. Obviously, I don't agree with them at all.

The question of Jessica and the blonde hairs, this is horse country. They had a golden retriever dog. Her brother Josh was a towhead blonde. None of this makes any sense. And as far as evidence not being before the jury, it's just not true. A lot of that was heard. The defense had all of this evidence 20 years ago when this happened.

And, at this point in time, we've been down this road a lot of times. This has been before all the California and the U.S. Supreme Court. They have all said the evidence is overwhelming. And as far as hard evidence, the DNA, it was Kevin Cooper's DNA in that house. It was Kevin Cooper's DNA on a T-shirt, along with Doug Ryen's that was found on a road.

It was his DNA on cigarettes in the Ryens' car. It's my understanding that DNA is pretty foolproof.

ZAHN: Well, Bill, along that lines, you probably heard what Dr. Carter said about telltale signs that he thought raised red flags in this case. He said that, in spite of what your wife has just said, that there was a volume of evidence he thinks the jury never saw that he thinks, at a minimum, probably would have changed the verdict of the jury.

Tell us why you disagree with that so vehemently.

Well, I can't believe, No. 1, that he's even reviewed the facts of the case.

BILL HUGHES, FATHER OF MURDER VICTIM: Had he reviewed the facts of the case, it should be apparent to him that he has just misspoke. There was a preponderance of evidence, as my wife stated, that did point to Kevin Cooper. It was confirmed by DNA.

It was possible, as you were told, I'm the one that found everybody on that Sunday morning. And the way they were, it could have very easily been done by one man. And I firmly believe that Kevin Cooper did commit this crime.

ZAHN: Mary Ann, we've just heard Lanny Davis actually directly talking with Governor Schwarzenegger to consider staying this execution. I know that you've actually written letters to the governor as well, asking that the execution move forward. Have you gotten any response to your plea?

M. HUGHES: We haven't gotten any response yet. We just understand that the governor's going to be making his decision.

And we just pray that he's going to make it as not only the governor, but as a parent, and think about what these families are going through and what Josh Ryen, the survivor, is going through. We deserve for this to finally to come to an end, so we don't have to be sitting in a studio like this.

And we deserve -- my son certainly deserved to get to grow up and to go to high school and go to college and go to a prom and get married and have kids of his own. And Kevin Cooper, and Kevin Cooper alone, denied him of this right. And now he needs to pay the price for it. And the price in this state that he pays is with his life.

ZAHN: You've lived with this a long time. Your son would have been 32 years old.

Mary Ann, what's the hardest part of all of this for you today?

M. HUGHES: We just really -- we really miss him.

And there's not a day that we don't live thinking about what kind of terror he had to go through. We think that he and Josh were probably the last ones that Kevin Cooper attacked. So, they had an idea of what was going on in that house. And there was nobody there to save them. And no child should have to go through that. And it was Kevin Cooper in this house that did it. And he needs to pay for this.

ZAHN: Mary Ann, Bill Hughes, I know how difficult this is for you to be talking about this. But we very much appreciate your joining us to share your story with us.

B. HUGHES: Thank you.

M. HUGHES: Thank you.

ZAHN: And changing our focus quite dramatically, a couple says the leader of a religious sect has banished the husband from his house and ordered him to leave his family. It's a religious feud within a polygamist sect, with wives and children caught in the middle.

And we're going to look at some of the key witnesses in the Martha Stewart trial and what they are expected to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: For 70 years, a breakaway group of Mormons has lived largely unnoticed in Colorado City, Arizona, quietly living in polygamous families.

Well, now the group has burst into the news with accusations that its prophet, or leader, is expelling some of the men from their homes and forcing their wives, even some of their children, to marry others, against their will. Is this a dangerous religious cult or simply a family feud within a small religious sect?

Joining me now from Saint George, Utah, are Lori and Ross Chatwin, who are fighting his expulsion from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Thank you both for joining us.

ROSS CHATWIN, EXPELLED FROM CHURCH: Thank you.

LORI CHATWIN, EXPELLED FROM CHURCH: Thank you.

ZAHN: Ross, I want to start off by reading what the leader of your church has to say about why he is throwing you out of his church. He claims you were stalking young girls to become your polygamous wives, against their wishes and the wishes of their father. Is that true?

R. CHATWIN: To some degree, it may have some merit to it. But I'm not going to try and defend myself on that.

I'm going to say, hey, I'm sorry, all I was doing is what I was taught to do. And I just -- I want to repent and do better. And I feel like I've made a mistake.

ZAHN: Ross, you just admitted you made a mistake, basically conceding that you did violate the rules of this sect. Why are you admitting that now for the first time?

R. CHATWIN: I didn't want to bring up that family and go through all the humiliation. But now that they've brought it up, I don't have any choice.

ZAHN: So, basically, what you're admitting to tonight is that you went outside the sect and you solicited other wives to join your family. And was that against their will and was that against the will of their fathers?

(CROSSTALK)

R. CHATWIN: Their father was not impressed, no. He did not like that at all. But it was not against the will of the girl at the time.

ZAHN: OK, a single girl?

R. CHATWIN: Yes, a single girl.

ZAHN: So you're only admitting to a charge of soliciting one woman, not several, as the leader of your church charges?

(CROSSTALK)

R. CHATWIN: Right, exactly. Yes, there was only one girl involved. She was 17 years old. And we did tell her that, if she did want to pursue anything, then she would definitely have to wait until she was 18, because we would not consider it otherwise.

And she came to us. She asked us for help. And we just helped. And it turned into a little different relationship after we had been helping her for some time.

ZAHN: And, Lori, you were OK with all of this?

L. CHATWIN: I'm the one that asked her.

ZAHN: And how did that come about?

L. CHATWIN: She didn't have contact with Ross. She had contact with me in writing letters. We wrote letters back and forth, and, at her request, secret letters, because she knew that, if she was caught, then she was in big trouble.

ZAHN: Lori, I know your family has been practicing polygamy for generations. But I'll tell you, most of our audience listening tonight think this lifestyle is awfully weird. What would you say to them about why you would welcome a 17-year-old woman into your husband's lives and into your life as an intimate member of the family?

L. CHATWIN: As a friend. Everybody likes friends. People have like bridge clubs and, you know. And His is like family, someone that they can be close, a close friend.

ZAHN: So, Ross, what do you plan to do? It seems leek you're at an impasse with the leader of this church. He wants you out. You say you want to admit that you made a mistake and you want to be given a second chance. What's going to happen next? R. CHATWIN: We're going to just persisting at home. I don't plan to pursue plural marriage or polygamy at this point right now. And I think that I have a right to stay there. And Warren is going to try and prove me differently. He's going to try and prove me wrong. And he's going to try and use me as an example now.

ZAHN: Lori, how willing are you to fight this for the long haul?

L. CHATWIN: If it was just for us, I would say, well, let's just get out of here. But we're doing it for other people, because there are many people being hurt. There are many people that have been hurt. And it's not stopping. And somebody's got to do something about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: My interview with Lori and Ross Chatwin from earlier today.

Ross Chatwin also maintains, the church's leader, Warren Jeffs, has issued an ultimatum to his family. He says he and his family have until February 27 to leave their home and church property. If they refuse, Jeffs says he will go to court to get them out.

Big day tomorrow for Martha Stewart, as the prosecution's star witness is expected to take the stand. We're going to find out who and what it means for her case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Nearly a foot of snow delayed today's testimony in the Martha Stewart trial. They will start up again tomorrow morning, when a key witness is expected to testify.

Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us with a preview in his blizzard clothes.

I've been dying to do that all day to you. Wore his blizzard boots in.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I thought I'd be behind the desk. That's why I wore these.

But, anyway, yes, these are legitimate blizzard clothes.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Take us to the court tomorrow. Douglas Faneuil will testify. What is he going to say? What isn't he going to say?

TOOBIN: Star witness. This is such a great case. I thought this would be good, but it's even better than I thought.

OK, Douglas Faneuil is the key witness in the case. As everybody probably knows, the issue is, Martha Stewart sold this stock on December 27. Why did she sell? The government says she was tipped off, that Sam Waksal, the CEO, was selling. The defense says she had long planned to sell the stock.

The key person who actually executed the trade, who told her that she should sell the stock, was Douglas Faneuil.

ZAHN: All right, but how many stories has he had?

TOOBIN: Many. Quite a few.

ZAHN: And which of them will a jury buy?

TOOBIN: Well, the government wants them to buy that, A, he told her that the Waksals were selling, which is arguably improper, and that, B, he and Peter Bacanovic then schemed to cover up why Martha Stewart sold the stock and, thus, he was involved in the cover-up with Peter Bacanovic.

ZAHN: Will he be going head to head with Bacanovic in the courtroom?

TOOBIN: What was interesting about opening statements yesterday is that you realize is that this kid -- and he is a kid -- is a much worse witness for Bacanovic than he is for Martha Stewart, because he really buries Bacanovic.

If the jury believes him, Bacanovic is pretty much toast. But Martha Stewart can say, look -- her lawyers or she can say, look, I never spoke to this kid. I didn't know this kid. I had never met him in person.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: And she has a united front with Bacanovic?

TOOBIN: Yes, on this.

She says: He calls me on the phone. I'm standing on the tarmac. He says, sell the stock. I had been told to sell the stock by his boss earlier. So I said, sell the stock. What difference does it make why he said to sell the stock? He's really not that damaging a witness against Martha Stewart, I think.

ZAHN: So it comes down to what, the final decision in this case, about who the jury believes, Bacanovic or Faneuil?

TOOBIN: Well, that's part of it. That's really about Bacanovic's guilt.

But in terms of Martha Stewart, it's really much more of a circumstantial case against her. It's a bunch of circumstances that the government says suggest that she came up with this story afterwards that she planned to sell the stock long ago, but the real story is, she lied when she came up with that story and she was just embarrassed about the circumstances of the sale.

ZAHN: Are you going to characterize tomorrow's proceedings as firework-like? TOOBIN: Could be, but probably no snow and probably no return of these boots, I think.

ZAHN: I like them. You can bring them back tomorrow.

(LAUGHTER)

TOOBIN: I think that's it for the boots.

ZAHN: OK. Thanks for stopping by tonight, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: OK.

ZAHN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: That wraps it up for us this evening. Thanks so much for being with us tonight. Please join us for our preview of the countdown to next Tuesday's primary

Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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