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Coast Guard Surrounds Freighter With Haitians Onboard; Defense Rests in Martha Stewart Trial

Aired February 25, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Stumping for dad: candidates' kids on the campaign trail. An exclusive interview with John Edwards' daughter, Cate.

The vice president's invisible gay daughter dragged into the spotlight because of debate over gay marriage.

The defense rests: after just a single witness, Martha's lawyers say, let the jury decide.

Refusing refugees: President Bush warns frightened Haitians, don't come here.

Club drug cure: researchers think ecstasy might help rape victims heal.


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

COOPER: Hey, good evening to you. Welcome to 360.

Breaking news happening right now off the coast of Miami, Florida. A freighter surrounded by the U.S. Coast Guard. You see it there. It is believed that onboard Haitians fleeing the violence in their homeland.

For the latest on the situation off Miami Beach, we go live to CNN's John Sorrel.

John, what's going on?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, apparently ripples of concern, I would assume, from Miami to Washington tonight, as the Haitians, at least on this freighter, we believe, 22 Haitians in all, another seven crewmembers. About three days ago, the reports are they may have hijacked that 200-foot coastal freighter called the Margot, commandeered that freighter, forced it to sail here to Miami, and now are surrounded by the U.S. Coast Guard, members of the Immigration and Customs enforcement teams as well. We are at this point awaiting a team to go on board that freighter. Within the last few minutes, we have seen the Haitians, believed again to be 22 of them, standing along the side of the ship with their hands on their heads. And they did earlier this afternoon, about an hour, lower down the side of that 200-foot freighter a bag believed to be containing four weapons.

You can see them there. Again, there they are moving up the side of the ship. They were told by the U.S. Coast Guard to get back up underneath the tents there.

This all started about 5:00 this afternoon, between 4:30 and 5:00. The Margot was steaming into Miami. Reports apparently from the captain to the U.S. Coast Guard saying, "We're here. We have been hijacked."

Again, it is unconfirmed exactly how they commandeered the ship or from where they commandeered the ship. But it is believed, again, 22 Haitians and seven crewmembers now sitting, waiting for a boarding party from the United States Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs enforcement to go onboard the ship. They wanted to secure the situation first, make sure the weapons were off before they went on board.

That's where we stand right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, let's go back to looking at these pictures. Is there any sense, John, of how long they have been tracking this vessel? As you said, it is a Panamanian vessel.

ZARRELLA: Right. No idea how long they have been tracking it. Our understanding is, when the captain of the vessel got close enough to Miami to alert Coast Guard that he was here, he was in territorial waters, that that's when the word got to the U.S. Coast Guard.

That is unconfirmed. But we're also hearing reports that out of Cap-Haitien, which is on the north coast of Haiti, again unconfirmed reports that radio in Cap-Haitien was reporting that some of the people in this group may be Haitian police and may be some government -- low-level government officials from the Haitian government. Of course, Cap-Haitien one of the towns that has been seized by the rebels, so it would certainly make some sense if that were, in fact, the case -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. How far off the coast of Miami is this, John? You said about 10 miles? Is that right?

ZARRELLA: It's roughly between five and 10 miles is the latest we've heard, 10 miles off the coast of Miami.

COOPER: All right. John's going to continue monitoring the situation. We'll come back to it as events warrant.

Now, of course, all this comes just hours after President Bush said that Haitian refugees would be told to go back home and sent back home if they got here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's abundantly clear to the Coast Guard that we will turn back any refugee that attempts to reach our shore. And that message needs to be very clear as well to the Haitian people. We will have a robust presence with an effective strategy. And so we encourage -- strongly encourage the Haitian people to stay home as we work to reach a peaceful solution to this problem.


COOPER: Well, that message apparently didn't get through to the people on the boat now off the coast of Miami about 10 miles. We're going to continue to monitor that situation.

We are also now getting in word of another freighter with Haitian refugees. It is a developing story.

We're going to go to CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre for that.

Jamie, what do you know?.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, is it the beginning of a mass exodus of Haitians? The Pentagon says it doesn't think so. But it is seeing a small number of Haitians trying to leave the island.

And tonight, Anderson, officials tell CNN that another incident off the coast of Haiti, not off the coast of Florida, but Haiti has involved the U.S. Coast Guard intercepting a ship and transferring about 125 Haitians to Coast Guard vessels. They haven't been taken back to Haiti yet. They are being held at sea for the moment.

In addition, the Coast Guard is monitoring a number of other smaller boats with a total of about 250 people that have taken to sea. Again, the Coast Guard says the policy will be to take them back to Haiti. There are no plans, unlike last time, to take them to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or any other third location. In fact, there is no place ready to receive them. So it appears that they will have to go back at some point.

COOPER: So how will they try to intercept this second boat?

MCINTYRE: Well, they've already intercepted a second boat. They have taken some of the Haitians off onto Coast Guard vessels. They are watching several other boats that have left the island. They are using air patrols and sea patrols, they say, of a very robust presence, and they're just going to try to essentially have a blockade to keep anybody from coming to the U.S.

COOPER: All right. Thanks for the clarification. Jamie McIntyre on a second boat that has already been seized. Jamie, thanks very much.

Moving on now, we're going to cover this story throughout the hour and probably bring you an update in a short couple minutes.

For Martha Stewart trial junkies, your fix is almost finished. The defense rested today. Neither Martha Stewart or her co-defendant, Peter Bacanovic, took the stand. In fact, Stewart's lawyers called just one witness and made their case in less than an hour.

Following the case for us tonight, CNN's Deborah Feyerick.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took less than 45 minutes for Martha Stewart's lawyers to begin and end their defense. Forty-five minutes to call a single witness and submit a handful of news articles.

ROBERT MORVILLO, STEWART DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We thought it was a sufficient way to deal with the quantity and the quality of evidence that the government had put in.

FEYERICK: It was a quick finish, wrapping up four-and-a-half weeks worth of evidence from prosecutors and Stewart's co-defendant, Peter Bacanovic. Stewart's team called one of her former lawyers to testify about notes he took when Stewart first met with federal investigators with ImClone. His notes contradict notes taken by an FBI agent that were used to support the charges against Stewart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A one-witness defense case is very risky. This is a high-risk strategy, where the defense is essentially throwing this case to the jury.

FEYERICK: Prosecutors in their rebuttal played a recording of the broker's interview with federal investigators two years ago. Bacanovic has asked whether he and Stewart's business manager, Heidi DeLuca, spoke about selling ImClone at $60. Bacanovic telling investigators...

PETER BACANOVIC, STEWART'S BROKER: I don't get into that level of detail with Heidi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Heidi never brought it up to you?

BACANOVIC: No. She only brought it up to me in terms of adding gains to the account.

FEYERICK: DeLuca testified Tuesday that she and the broker had set a $60 sell price. Prosecutors claim the price was made up to cover the ImClone trade.


FEYERICK: Now, closing arguments will take two days. Starting on Monday, the judge has told jury members they will sit every day until they reach a verdict, smiling. And adding, the court will continue providing them with buckets of coffee -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Let's hope it's good coffee. I've got to ask a question, though. The judge is still considering throwing out some of the charges. When do we expect a ruling on that?

FEYERICK: Still unclear. The judge is drafting a proposal of what's she's going to charge the jury with tomorrow. That will be available to the defense team at 5:00 tomorrow. They're going to have a conference on Friday.

Not clear whether we will get those charges. But it's interesting, because the securities fraud charge is the most serious fraud charge. And I asked one of Stewart's people, would that have affected the kind of case they put on. And they said, no it wouldn't have affected it.

COOPER: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much.

News on the economy and the race for the White House now. There is reason they call Social Security the third rail of American politics. Touch it and you die, at least politically.

Well, today, Fed chairman Alan Greenspan brushed against the rail, telling Congress it is time to cut future benefits to help bring the deficit under control. Greenspan saying, if the deficit isn't reduced, the nation's economy will be seriously harmed. Not exactly what the Bush administration, facing a more than $500 billion deficit, wanted to hear it.

We have two reports tonight from St. Paul, Minnesota, where Kelly Wallace is with the Kerry campaign.

But first, we go to CNN senior White House correspondent John King --- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the White House, by the end of the day, actually very much liked most of what Chairman Greenspan had to say on Capitol Hill today. But there were a couple of key sticking points, Social Security among them.

For one, Chairman Greenspan said Congress should go back to those strict "pay as you go" rules when it comes place to the budget that were in place during the Clinton administration and help produce those record budget surpluses. The Bush White House opposes that. And in the Oval Office today, the president also made clear as well that he does not want to talk about cutting Social Security benefits in an election year.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The best way to trim the deficit is to follow the budgetary plan I submitted to the United States Congress. We presented a plan that would cut the deficit in half over the next five years.

I haven't talked to the chairman or read his comments. I need to see exactly what he said. My position on Social Security benefits is this: that those benefits should not be changed for people at or near retirement. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Senior Bush aides say they see no reason, no political benefit in trying to deal with the big structural issues, like raising the retirement age that Chairman Greenspan touched on in his testimony to Congress today. The things they did like, Chairman Greenspan was asked if taxes should be raised to reduce the deficit. He said that was not his preference. He didn't rule it out, but he said spending should be cut first.

And he was asked whether the 10-year Bush tax cuts should be made permanent. Chairman Greenspan said he believed so long as spending could be kept under control, that they should be made permanent. He said that would help the economy -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Welcomed words there for the White House.

John King, thanks very much.

Not surprisingly, the Democratic presidential contenders licked their lips, rolled up their sleeves, and pounced on some of Greenspan's remarks. Front-runner John Kerry, fresh off his victories yesterday in Utah, Idaho and Ohio, he was talking about the economy in Ohio before moving on to Minnesota.

CNN's Kelly Wallace picks up the story.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The major Democratic presidential candidates focusing not on each other but the Bush administration, reacting quickly after the Fed chairman urged Congress to consider cutting Social Security benefits in order to trim the budget deficit.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANIDIDATE: The answer not to cut Social Security benefits for those who need them and depend on them.

WALLACE: Ditto from the Democratic front-runner.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And no matter what was said in Washington just this morning, the wrong way to cut the deficit is to cut Social Security benefits.

WALLACE: Ohio has lost more than 200,000 jobs in three years, more than any other state, except Michigan. And so it was no coincidence that here John Kerry unveiled a new idea, requiring companies to give workers three months' notice if their jobs are being eliminated and shipped overseas.

KERRY: And companies will no longer be able to simply surprise their workers with a pink slip instead of a paycheck.

WALLACE: Earlier, after receiving ashes for Ash Wednesday, Kerry, with three new victories, was upbeat but still his cautious self.

KERRY: We have a lot of work ahead of us.

WALLACE: Because Kerry continues to fight off a challenge from John Edwards. The latest polls show the senator from North Carolina trailing by just eight points in Georgia, with 11 percent undecided. He's further behind in Ohio and New York.


WALLACE: A goal for both candidates today, a day after the issue of gay marriage took centerstage, was to try to put the focus on the economy and the deficit. You can hear a lot of protestors behind me. That being said, advisors in both camps think Alan Greenspan helped them achieve their goals today -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kelly Wallace, thanks. We'll cut away before you get blown out by them. Thanks very much, Kelly.

A little later on 360, a unique look at the campaign trail. My exclusive interview with John Edwards daughter, Cate. She is working hard for her dad.


COOPER: Well, for decades, ecstasy has been a popular, albeit illegal, club drug. Now, for the first time ever, the Drug Enforcement Administration has OK'd a clinical study to see if there could be any medical benefits to using ecstasy.

Our medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has details.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ecstasy became famous as a party drug for the young. MDMA, its formal name, is simultaneously a powerful stimulant and an anxiety reliever. It tends to make users open up in conversation. Now, before MDMA was illegal in 1985, dozens of psychotherapists tried it on their patients.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raped when I was 17.

GUPTA: This artist, who asked us not to identify her, was one of those early guinea pigs. The victim of a violent sexual assault, she was in and out of hospitals for eight years. The smallest reminder of the attack could trigger panic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would begin to sweat and my body would kind of go into shock. And I would feel like I was being retraumatized.

GUPTA: Therapy under the influence of MDMA made a world of difference. Two sessions had a lasting effect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started remembering and not blocking it out. I knew I wasn't crazy. I knew that all those triggers of those eight years and all the pain I had those eight years were related to the rape, and that I -- that it was totally normal.

GUPTA: Are her results typical? South Carolina psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer wants to find out. In a tightly controlled setting, he's been given federal government approval to test MDMA on 20 women who suffer Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, after screening to make sure they are physically healthy and not prone to side effects.

MICHAEL MITHOEFER, LEAD RESEARCHER: Recreational use, the way kids use it at raves, can be extremely dangerous. And it's not the same thing as using it in this careful kind of setting.


GUPTA: And it doesn't mean that psychiatrists will start prescribing ecstasy anytime soon. And certainly, as the old adage applies, this isn't something you should try at home. But if the studies pan out, Anderson, this could become standard treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's a fascinating story. All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks, Sanjay.

A quick news note for you on ecstasy alternatives. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning today against an herbal version of the illegal street drug ecstasy. They call it Green Hornet.

Recently, four teens were rushed to the emergency room after consuming this Green Hornet. They suffered from seizures, excessive heart rates, severe body rashes and high blood pressure. The case is under investigation right now by the FDA.

"The Passion" and the violence. Thousands flocked to see Jesus on the big screen. Find out why some movie-goers were moved to tears.

Also ahead, the Martha Stewart trial. The defense rests. Have they done enough to keep her out of jail? We'll take a closer look at that.

And a little bit later, midweek crisis. The vice president's openly gay daughter thrust into the public eye over the same-sex marriage debate. A look at the family and political pressures in the Cheney household.


COOPER: It is judgment day for Mel Gibson. After weeks of buildup and debate, his controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ," opens around the world. And emotions are high both inside and outside theaters.

CNN's Maria Hinojosa reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anxious moviegoers lined up at noon on a work day, Ash Wednesday, no less.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't mind waiting for it. It's lent. You're supposed to suffer.

HINOJOSA: The enthusiasm, the controversy, the hype for "The Passion of the Christ" drawing reverends and rabbis, protestors and police. Everyone has something to say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crucifixion, we're so apathetic about it now. But when you see this and you see the suffering, there is no way somebody can tell me that he's not god.

HINOJOSA: It premiered across the country and around the world on Wednesday. Even the pope has seen it. The reviews were mostly critical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen so much flogging, flaying, chunks of skin flying, blood pouring and showering. I can't imagine eating popcorn during this.

HINOJOSA: Critic Jamie Bernard (ph) was stunned by the response to her review that called it anti-Semitic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The e-mail I got was largely anti-Semitic. It was personal. They talked about my looks. You know, things like that.

HINOJOSA: But other critics and some religious leaders defended the film, holding news conferences under movie marquees.

WILLIAM DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: If there's any Catholic who comes out of this movie hating Jews, all I can do is condemn them. And all (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will say is that he must have been a bigot before he went into the movie.

HINOJOSA: But Wednesday's audiences were mostly devout Christians and Jewish leaders, who say it confirmed their worst fears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For many of us, I think the best part of this movie was the end, when was over.


HINOJOSA: Now, Anderson, the debate and the commentary continues. Behind me, there are protesters who say that the movie is anti-Semitic. They are wearing concentration camp outfits, and they've been chanting, "Boycott Mel Gibson."

Earlier today, the New Black Panther Party -- no relation to the old -- complained that Jesus Christ is not depicted as black in the movie. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that mistreated animals today suffered the way Jesus Christ is depicted as suffering in the movie. And New York's cardinal reminded worshipers that Jesus Christ gave his life freely and no one took it from him -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. A lot of passion all around one movie. Maria Hinojosa, thanks very much from New York.


COOPER (voice-over): One and done. Martha Stewart's defense rests after calling just one witness.

The vice president and his gay daughter. Is it fair they are now in the spotlight?

And life on your parents' campaign trail. An exclusive interview with John Edward's daughter, Cate.

360 continues.



COOPER: Take a look at our top story in "The Reset." Washington, D.C.: time expiring. The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks want at least two more months to complete its work. But Congress is unlikely to grant the extension. The White House is backing the idea, but a spokesman for Dennis Hastert says the House Speaker think it's wrong to make the issue, quote, "political football during an election year."

Still in Washington: a gun bill moves forward. A measure that would protect gun makers from certain liability lawsuits was approved overwhelmingly in a Senate test vote today. Many who voted in favor say their yes votes will come with a cost. They say they want to extend the assault weapons ban and add more thorough background checks at gun shows.

New York City: the defense rests. Martha Stewart's attorneys called just one witness today before resting their case in the stock fraud trial. Closing arguments are expected to begin early next week. More on this later.

Washington D.C.: pulling a plug on a shock jock. Clear Channel Communications is suspending Howard Stern for what it calls vulgar, offensive and insulting content. The company announced a new effort aimed at cleaning up its air waves.

That's a quick look at "The Reset" tonight.

For the latest on the freighter with Haitians on board surrounded by U.S. Coast Guard, let's go back live to Miami and CNN's John Zarrella. John, what's happening right now?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, not just surrounded now, but actually boarded a boarding team believed to be made up of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can see them there heavily armed on the top of the ship. Right below them, just above our breaking news banner, you can see the Haitians. They are standing on the side of the ship. The Coast Guard cutter right up against on the ship. And there are the Haitians, their hands appear to be bound with those tie wraps behind their backs.

They are taking them one at a time from the images we have seen over to the back of the boat and, at that point, checking them, patting them down, making sure none of them have weapons. Again, heavily armed federal agents watching closely over them to make sure that nothing happens.

Not that we would expect anything, but it is a precaution standard procedure in a situation like this because, of course, what we know and at least what we have been told, although nothing is absolutely confirmed at this point, is that about two or three days ago this freighter, the 200-foot freighter, the Margo, was hijacked out of Haiti, possibly the north coast around Cap Haitian.

And it was when this freighter got into territorial waters that the captain of the freighter was able to call the Coast Guard and tell them, hey, I've been hijacked. I've got some armed hijackers onboard. We believe 22 Haitian, seven crew members.

Earlier this afternoon, about an hour or so ago they lowered their weapons down the side of the ship in a white bag. And it was only after that that the boarding team moved in within the last hour.

This has been going on now since about 4:30 this afternoon. When we first saw this freighter, again, a 200-foot Panamanian registered freighter approaching the waters about 10 miles off of Miami. It was ordered to come to a stop, which it did. And at that point, the U.S. officials began to talk to these people, find out what they wanted.

Apparently they want asylum in the United States. We are told, Anderson, they may be, only again maybe, since so much is not clear, they may be police officers from the Haitian government and some low- level Haitian government officials who hijacked this boat and took it on its way here to Miami -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, John, that's interesting. As you know, Cap Haitien is the second largest city in Haiti. It is now in the hands of rebel forces, former paramilitary forces. So, if these are in fact, government policemen I guess they can make the argument they were fleeing rebel whose have taken over the city, the city they were once operating in.

Again this is a developing story. John, how long has this been thing going on? How long -- when did the Coast Guard board this ship?

ZARRELLA: Well it just boarded the ship within -- since your newscast went on the air, around 7:00 p.m. Eastern time. But it's been going on since about 4:30 this afternoon, that's when the first word broke that there was a, quote, hijacked freighter with Haitians onboard entering off the coast of Miami. At that point, we began to see these picture from our affiliates of the Margo as it steamed up to the outskirts of Miami where it was ordered to come to a halt, which it did. And it was surrounded by Coast Guard boats, Homeland Security, Customs and Immigration Enforcement teams and moving at about 7:00.

The point you make, Anderson, the fact -- if, in fact, it did come from Cap Haiten, it would make sense, Anderson, because of the fact that has been taken over by the armed opposition -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right John, we'll continue to monitor this. Looks like the Coast Guard has it under control. We'll continue to watching. We'll come back to you, if necessary. Appreciate your coverage.

This, of course, comes hours after President Bush sent a message to Haitians saying, do not come to the United States. You will not get refuge here. We'll send you back. That was his message Haitians several hours ago.

Moving on tonight. Imagine what it must be like for the kids of anyone who wants to be president. A lot of attention and God knows a lot of pressure. Remember, a politician chooses to be in the public eye, but his kids, they don't get that option. They just have to keep a happy face and try to stay out of trouble. Judy Woodruff has got more.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Life on the campaign trail is hectic, but Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry see it as a bonding experience for their blended family.

VANESSA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: We work to be close considering the fact it is a family of remarriage and bringing stepchildren in the picture. But I would have to say, we have definitely become closer for it.

WOODRUFF: Vanessa is in her third year of medical school. Alexandra graduate this is spring from the American Film Institute. Still, they have managed to log quite a few miles campaigning for their father, targeting colleges and voters their own age.

V. KERRY: Just trying to travel around and talk about what's at stake, make the issues, politics, elections more accessible.

WOODRUFF: One of their three stepbrothers, Chris Heinz also gets out does his part, sometimes providing comic relief.

CHRIS HEINZ, JOHN KERRY'S STEPSON: You did not know I was coming, but I checked with Maria. She said, come on up. It's all right.

ALEXANDRA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: I think during these times of campaign, the family becomes valued even more, because there's so few people who can relate to the experience you're having in some sense.

WOODRUFF: Kate Edwards can relate. The Princeton University senior got a crash course in Campaign 101 in Iowa and New Hampshire. Even 5-year-old Emma Claire and 3-year-old Jack Edwards are experienced at photo ops and the art of agreeing with the candidate. Judy Woodruff, CNN reporting.


COOPER: Tonight "Midweek Crisis" we look at vice president Cheney and his daughter, Mary, almost invisible so far in the same-sex marriage debate. Pressure is growing for Mary Cheney, who is openly gay, to speak up.


COOPER: Mary Cheney is openly gay and works on her father's reelection campaign. She may be invisible to most Americans, but if some activists have their way, she won't be longer.

Dick Cheney talks about my family. I can talk about his family. Let's talk about gays, relationships, your kids. Lets talk about your kids whether they are gay or not and whether that's OK.

John Aravosis, Web site, is urging Miss Cheney to come out against amends the constitution. To pressure her, she plan on running ads with her face on the milk carton. They also urge people to write her postcards care of the White House, like this one.

"You have to realize that by remaining silent you are encouraging those around you into thinking that they are doing the right thing. Do not sell us out."

In the 2000 election, Mary Cheney's father, then candidate Cheney, indicated he opposed amending the constitution to ban gay marriages.

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENT: The fact of the matter is that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should be a federal policy in this area.

COOPER: Now, vice president's Cheney's position is murkier. Last month he said this to "The Denver Post." At this stage obviously, the president is going to have to make a decision in terms of what administration policy is on this particular provision, and I will support whatever decision he makes. The two Cheneys are in a tough spot, a very personal "Midweek Crisis" unlikely to end anytime soon.

Senator Kerry picked up 61 delegates yesterday as he swept contests in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii. But the biggest day is six days away. All this week in our series, "10 States, 5 Days," we're looking at super Tuesday states, issues and agendas. Tonight we focus on Maryland and Connecticut and what they mean for Kerry and Senator John Edwards. CNN's political analyst, Carlos Watson joins me now. Carlos, thanks for being with us again.


COOPER: Lets tart off with Maryland. Sixty-nine delegates at stake, only Democrats can vote, significant that. Twenty-eight percent is African-American.

How does it affect the race?

WATSON: African-American are important here. John Edwards actually scored a couple of important endorsements, namely Albert Wynn (ph) the congressman from Prince George's County could ultimately help him turn out a significant African-American vote, and maybe do what Paul Tsongas did in 1992, what Jerry Brown did in '76, score an upset over the favorite.

COOPER: What does Edwards need to do to win the state or do well?

WATSON: He has to visit again. He's got to come and score some points on civil rights during the debates, either our debate tomorrow or the debate on Sunday. And, significantly, he has to make sure he spends a little bit more money on advertising, maybe radio.

COOPER: John Kerry.

WATSON: John Kerry, can't (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the African vote and has to make the electability argument again.

COOPER: Lets turn to Connecticut right now, 49 delegates at stake. Only Democrats can vote again, significant. Nations highest per capita income.

Senator Lieberman of course had this state locked up before he dropped out, what does each candidate need to do to do well?

WATSON: If you Edwards, you have to visit which he hasn't done yet. You need a high profile.

COOPER: Edwards hasn't visited.

WATSON: Hasn't visited at all.

COOPER: He's basicly written off this state?

WATSON: Basically has. Remember four of the 10 states on super Tuesdays are New England states. So they are kind of in John Kerry's backyard. This is probably one of the ones he's largely written off.

COOPER: And for Kerry?

WATSON: For Kerry, don't take anything for granted, and send your wife in, or a surrogate, namely his wife is going in this Sunday to visit. COOPER: All right lets talk predictions, Maryland.

WATSON: Maryland, could be a quirky place, but I think that Kerry is going to win.

COOPER: Connecticut.

WATSON: Kerry, two for two.

COOPER: You heard it here first.

WATSON: You heard it here first, and second and third.

COOPER: All right. Thanks, Carlos.

WATSON: OK, good to see you.

COOPER: Coming up the defense rests in the Martha Stewart trial. All that ahead. And then a surprise from the prosecution.

Should the domestic diva be worried?

We'll talk about that in "Justice Served."

And refugees from Haiti. A boat intercepted by the coast guard. A developing story, a breaking right now. We are going to follow all developments and give you a live report in just a moment.


COOPER: Breaks news off the coast of Miami. A story we've been following all evening long. A freighter surrounded by U.S. Coast Guard. On board, 21 passengers believed to be Haitians fleeing the violence in their homeland. It came hours after President Bush warned Haitians not to try to escape, not to try to come to the United States saying any Haitians would be turned back. The coast guard crew has now boarded the ship. The men are in hand cuffs and have the situation under control, we'll continue to follow it.

In "Justice Served" tonight, the defense rests in the Martha Stewart trial. Neither Stewart nor her co-defendant Peter Bacanovic took the stand. In fact, Stewart's lawyers called the one witness. The big surprise of the day came in the government's rebuttal when a clip was played from Bacanovic's taped interview with the SEC. Her to talk about all the goings on today, "360" legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and "Celebrity Justice Correspondent, Carolina Buia.

Good to see both of you.

Kimberly, let me start off with you. I don't get what's going on because Martha Stewart's business manager said that she had a conversation with Bacanovic and there was this pre-existing $60 sell order. Now there's this tape where Bacanovic says he never talked to her. What's going on?

KIMBERLY GUIFOYLE NEWSOM, "360" LEGAL ANALYST: It's unbelievable, because Heidi DeLuca, her business manager presented this amazing information, that collaborated the stop loss order. And we thought, wow the prosecution blew it. This blew the whole case out of the water. Next thing you know, what a difference the day makes, we get this bombshell evidence, and it sunk the defense battleship. And I'm shocked neither one took the stand. I don't under why they didn't see this coming and handle it better.

COOPER: Carolina, you spoke to someone on the Bacanovic defense team.

What did they say?

CAROLINA BUIA, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE" CORRESPONDENT: Now somebody from the defense told me it was a snippet of interview and taken out of context. Now, I was there. I heard the interview. Peter Bacanovic was asked four different ways whether or not he told Martha Stewart's business manager about the $60 agreement before December 27, and he flat-out denied it four times at least.

COOPER: Fascinating. Do you think now it was a mistake, in light of this, that they both didn't take the stand, particularly Bacanovic?

NEWSOM: Yes, absolutely. Especially -- he's very charming. He's known in the social (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as something that's very likable, very personable. I think he would have connected with the jury and he had to save himself. It just seems like he didn't have the benefit of good lawyering, and it may be a very costly mistake.

BUIA: Someone on the defense team told me that Peter Bacanovic was ready to testify, willing to testify, and actually wanted to testify. In the end he took the lawyer's advice.

COOPER: They all say that.

BUIA: He wanted to testify. In the end this lawyers didn't think it was good strategy.

COOPER: Most always say that. They want to testify, it's the lawyer.

NEWSOM: Well, especially, after the fact. But I'll tell you what, these are two people that would have credibility with the jury, Martha and Peter if they took the stand. It is not like they're notorious career criminals with a prior record. These are people the jury could have related to.

COOPER: Martha's defense team only put one person on the stand.

Who were they?

BUIA: It was a lawyer who was present during an interview that Martha gave to the FBI, the SEC and the government. And the defense claims that his notes were different from a government witness from the FBI. But in fact, his notes had a lot of holes. He claimed that he didn't take down some of the questions and answers. While he was a credible witness, he did very little for the defense team.

COOPER: Closing arguments on Monday, I believe, is that right?

BUIA: Yes. And they better be great closing arguments.

COOPER: All right. Carolina Buia, thanks. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, good to talk to you as always.

Well, still to come this evening. What did Jesus look like? The Bible doesn't exactly say but, well, Hollywood does. We'll talk about that coming up.

Also tonight on the "Current," the trials and tribulations of David Gest. Luckily, Botox eases the pain.


COOPER: You are looking at pictures taken a short time ago off the coast of Miami, some 10 miles off the coast of Florida. A Panamanian-registered vessel that left Port-Au-Prince. Apparently reports are not confirmed that is was hijacked, commandeered by a number of Haitians seeking entry into the U.S. They were found with weapons on them. As you see, the Coast Guard seems to have the situation is under control. Various coast guard vessels as well as representatives of Immigration and Customs have boarded the vessel already.

They have handcuffed the 22 Haitians who are believed to be on board. At least 22 Haitians known to be on board. One by one they are interviewing them, separating them, talking to them. They have also searched the vessel. As we say they do have the situation under control. It is not clear exactly what happened. But apparently, Customs has been tracking this vessel for quite some time now.

We have been watching this story over the course of the last hour or so. It has been going on for several hours now. At least 22 Haitians on board. This, of course, coming several hours after President Bush warned Haitians who may be thinking about fleeing their country ahead of the violence that is consuming that country, President Bush warning them, do not come to the United States. We will not give you sanctuary. You will be sent back to Haiti.

Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon also reporting that another vessel closer to Haiti has also been boarded. I think I misspoke. I think I said it left from Port-Au-Prince. It did not. It actually left from Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second largest city which is now in the hands of rebels. Those are some of the Haitians on board. Again, we'll follow the story throughout the evening.

Let's get a quick check, though, on what's happening. In much lighter fare, some pop news in tonight's "Current."

Court papers filed by David Gest, the husband of Liza Minnelli were released this week. According to documents, Gest receives a regular series of Botox injections. 28 of them at a time. Gest insists the Botox is for migraine headaches which appear to have spread to his cheeks, nose, lips and neck.

The male version of the pill may soon be available. The "Evening Standard" says testing will begin on a revolutionary birth control product that specialists say will be almost 100 percent effective. Works by lowering the sperm count. No word on the product's name yet but we have a suggestion: Beer.

Boy George is in trouble with the law after making up a story about being beaten up by a nightclub secretary. George must pay $18,000. He's also being forced to apologize to his victim. Meanwhile, New York theater goers are still waiting for an apology for having to sit through "Taboo."

And that's a quick look at tonight's "Current."

"The Passion of Christ" is stirring up emotions at the box office. Mel Gibson's controversial movie opened nationwide today with some movie goers leaving in tears, others say they were insulted. The Bible doesn't go into detail about what Jesus looked like and that's lucky for moviemakers.

Hollywood, after all, is not a town that likes to be hamstrung by facts.


COOPER (voice-over): If you take a look at the dozens of Jesus movies produced by Hollywood over the decades, you will notice Christ always kind of looks the same. He's tall, slender, has a beard, and long hair. Usually brown. Sometimes blond. You will also notice Jesus is most often Caucasian.

Many historians however disagree with this Hollywood version of Christ. Anthropological evidence indicates Christ most probably had curly hair and a darker complexion like the Assyrians who populated the Middle East at the time of Jesus. Back then, an average man's height was about 5'3". Average weight, 110 pounds. Hollywood likes their Jesuses taller, more athletic. Mel Gibson's Jesus is 6'2, 185 pounds. So why does Hollywood keep portraying Jesus as a good-looking white guy as in Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a liar, hypocrite. I'm afraid of everything. I don't ever tell the truth. I don't have the courage.

COOPER: Maybe the reason is simple. In Tinseltown, no one really wants to be burdened by the facts.


COOPER: Well, many expect "The Passion" to rake in a profit. We're going to take that to the "Nth Degree" straight ahead. Stay with us.


COOPER: Tonight, taking passion and profits to the "Nth Degree." From Hollywood, the holy land of hype, comes word that it may only take a couple of days for Mel Gibson to make back the $25 million he ponied up for "The Passion." Of course, people who have 25 million to spare probably aren't all that worried about making it back. But it makes you wonder. What were all those pundits pontificating about?

I mean, they'd said it was a big financial risk for Mel Gibson. As always, conventional wisdom is proven wrong. When you think of it, why shouldn't it be big-box office? It's had 2,000 years of advanced publicity. And the property, as they say in Tinseltown, is proven. Movie marketers, of course, haven't left anything to chance. They have been zealously pushing "Passion" products, T-shirts and nails. Can a crown of thorns be far behind?

Mel Gibson may have made a movie based on his beliefs but leave it to Hollywood to turn a story about the Almighty into a celebration of the almighty dollar. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

Defense Rests in Martha Stewart Trial>

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