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AMERICAN MORNING

Iraq Reacts to Saddam's Trial; FBI Urges Vigilance Against Terror on 4th of July

Aired July 2, 2004 - 9:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: An Independence Day warning. The FBI urges vigilance against terrorism for the Fourth of July.
Questions and answers. Kobe Bryant will be among the first criminal defendant to answer questions that are put to him by jurors.

And he's not backing down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL COSBY, ENTERTAINER: We're going to call each other names of ugliness, comedians coming on TV. "My mama's so ugly. You're ugly. Well, yuk, yuk." That's all minstrel show stuff. I'm tired of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: More harsh criticism for the black community from Bill Cosby on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer.

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome back, everybody. Bill Hemmer's got a little vacation day. He's taking the day off.

Some of the other stories that are making headlines this morning, Iraqis now digesting the performance of Saddam Hussein. We're going to get a view from somebody who was inside that courtroom as the former dictator challenged the judge.

Also this morning, the effort to stop a massive humanitarian crisis. We're going to talk to Senator Sam Brownback about Sudan, where more than a million people there are in grave danger.

Also this morning, the Reverend Jesse Jackson is going to talk about Bill Cosby's outburst against what he sees as terrible influences on black children.

Those are all ahead. But first, Jack Cafferty is with us.

Hello.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing? A little perspective, I guess, talking about the Sudan. They're going to have a lottery drawing in this country tonight. The prize is $290 million. What would you do if you won all that money? AM@CNN.com. O'BRIEN: I wouldn't come into -- OK, I would be right here. Well, not to worry. Right here.

CAFFERTY: No, you wouldn't.

O'BRIEN: Each and every day. No question. All right, Jack. Thanks.

In its weekly bulletin to law enforcement agencies, the FBI now urging vigilance against possible terror activity during the 4th of July holiday. And on the National Mall in Washington, there is that concern being taken very seriously.

Sean Callebs live for us this morning from the National Mall.

Hey, Sean. Good morning.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

And, indeed, this weekend a holiday tradition will play out here. Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock here for a number of outdoor activities during the day, and of course the massive fireworks display that will light up the D.C. sky scheduled Sunday evening. But they will also deal with something else that has become a holiday tradition: a thorough and intense security screening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CALLEBS (voice-over): Metal detectors and securities guards greet visitors at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. No one gets in until pockets are purged and all belongings are passed through the unblinking eye of the x-ray machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're sitting in the middle of the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian Institution, as far as we're concerned, an American icon.

CALLEBS: The measures are now a permanent fixture for Smithsonian security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is everything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. We having any problems today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problems whatsoever.

CALLEBS: Government officials have repeatedly warned holiday events that draw crowds, like July 4th on the National Mall, could be terrorist targets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made me think before I came down. But since I've been here I've been very comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to make sure that our buildings aren't looked upon as being a soft target.

CALLEBS: This holiday weekend, thousands are expected at the Smithsonian's museums and outside at the colorful Folk Life Festival. And, of course, for the traditional fireworks. Authorities are setting offense up around the mall. There will be 19 entry points, including some of the Smithsonian's museums that will have thorough security screening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that it's a complex situation we're living in right now. And -- but I've just been enjoying myself. Because I work hard all year, and I'm just down there to have a good time with some family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CALLEBS: And we heard that a lot from people flocking to D.C. Now, in its weekly message, the FBI said that al Qaeda often chooses symbolic targets, the kind that could yield mass casualties. However, the agency also says, at the same time, these attacks appear to be driven by what the FBI calls operational considerations rather than a specific timeframe -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: In other words, nobody is really sure.

Sean Callebs for us this morning. Sean, thanks.

Weather now, and Chad Myers at the CNN Center for us this morning with the latest forecast, especially as we look toward the 4th of July.

Good morning to you again, Chad.

(WEATHER REPORT)

O'BRIEN: Central Baghdad was awakened this morning by several loud explosions. Attackers had rigged a minibus to launch rockets near downtown hotels which house international journalists, and civilian contractors as well. A malfunction, though, caused most of those rockets to explode prematurely, which then ignited the minibus.

Two rockets were launched. One hit the Sheraton Hotel, causing some damage. No casualties. Two Iraqis were wounded at the site of the second explosion. Those blasts come as Iraqis continue to try to come to grips with seeing their former leader facing charges in court. Brent Sadler has this report from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Baghdad, they call it the trial of the century. This is act one; Iraqis glued to the proceedings. A fair trial, that from the viewpoints of many, seems too fair.

"He'll never confess to his crimes," say Taha Majid (ph). "Forget this trial. It's better to execute him. Now." The tape played around the world shows Saddam Hussein uncertain at first. Then pouring scorn on the proceedings, rejecting charges of war crimes and genocide, trying to beat the system.

SADDAM HUSSEIN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF IRAQ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): So that I have to know, are -- you are an investigative judge of the central court of Iraq? What resolution, what law formed this court?

SADLER: An inaudible reply, but Saddam pounces.

HUSSEIN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Oh, the coalition forces? So you are an Iraqi that -- you are representing the occupying forces?

SADLER: Hidah Hassan (ph) and his family wince at the verbal blows on the anonymous young judge. They're Shia Muslims who claim they've lost seven relatives during Saddam's rule. The courtroom drama is making them mad.

"What is this?" says Ali Hassan (ph). "He doesn't look like a criminal. He's more like the judge."

(on camera): They were expecting to see images befitting a fallen despot cornered by the law. But instead, they saw Saddam Hussein in court, casually dressed, powerless, but still provocative.

(voice-over): "The accused should not appear like this," says Hidah Hassan (ph). "He should be wearing a prison suit and locked in a cage."

Rava Sat Hassan (ph) is a recruit with the new Iraqi security forces. "He doesn't deserve this much respect. His supporters will be happy to see him in such good shape."

In Auja, Saddam's birthplace, some were carrying his framed picture and chanting in support of him. And this was just the opening round of a long, legal battle.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Turning now from Iraq to what Colin Powell is calling a humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan. The secretary of state threatening the Sudanese government with U.N. sanctions if it continues to support Arab militias in their bloody campaign against black Africans.

Secretary Powell had a firsthand look this week at the devastation in the Darfur region of Sudan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a very difficult situation here. It's a humanitarian problem, a serious one. But it's really a security crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: More than 30,000 people have died in 16 months of bloodshed in Darfur. Arab militia are accused of killing and raping black African villagers in an ethnic cleansing campaign. The fighting has displaced a million people from their homes, left more than 2 million others desperate for aid.

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback has just returned from Sudan. He's a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and he joins us this morning from Topeka, Kansas.

Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us.

We just heard the secretary calling it a humanitarian and a security catastrophe as well. Describe for me, with as much detail as you can, the scope of the human suffering that's going on in Sudan.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: It's massive. The scale of human suffering is -- is almost unbelievable. And it's all manmade.

You have these Arab militias that are being armed and provided logistics by the government, going in and burning entire villages. We've got satellite photography of over 300 villages that just burned. They go in and shooting the men, raping women, driving them into these large refugee camps.

Frank Wolf and I, a congressman from Virginia, visited five of the refugee camps. The stories are very consistent of each of them from the individuals that are there. We have lost we think somewhere around 30,000 individuals already, and the scale will scale up substantially if the international community does not step in aggressively, and now, to deal with this security crisis. And that's primarily what it is. It is a security crisis, created and propelled by the Sudanese government.

O'BRIEN: Before we talk about the international community's reaction, let's talk a little bit about the Sudanese government reaction. The U.S. obviously very vocal about its opposition to what it has seen. What's been the reaction to that opposition by the Sudanese government?

BROWNBACK: It seems to be evolving. At first, they just completely denied that there was anything going on, any crisis whatsoever. Now they seem to be saying, yes, there is a crisis, come help us with it, but are denying complicity with the Arab militias.

I think we have to put the bead right on them. And the people in the refugee camps do not trust the Sudanese government. At one point in one of the camps, even if we -- we had Sudanese government officials around us, the people are yelling, "They're killing us! They're killing us!"

So they've got dirty hands. And the people do not trust the Sudanese government. We really need to get pushed, and push the Sudanese government to accept responsibility and to work with the international community to solve this before it gets much, much, much bigger. O'BRIEN: What specifically needs to be the reaction, do you think, on the part of the international community?

BROWNBACK: I think Kofi Annan really needs to step up on this one. And that he needs to press the Sudanese government that this is preventable, the further crisis taking place. But if you don't, you're going to be guilty of a series of international violations. The top potential one being genocide.

But this doesn't need to -- to be at that level, if we can force the international community to press the Sudanese government. But it -- the Sudanese government can't be trusted to do this. They have dirty hands here and they're not trusted by the people.

O'BRIEN: It seems like Sudan has become a priority for the Bush administration. Do you think that's fair to say? And, if so, why and why now?

BROWNBACK: Well, it's a priority because the level of human suffering is just so profound. We've got tens of thousands already killed. And this is just in the western part.

In the southern part, you had up to 2 million people were killed over the last decade by this same government in Sudan. This is the same government that hosted Osama bin Laden from 1991 to 1995. It has this really militant Islamic nature to it. And they seem to be trying to go through a metamorphosis.

But they -- it's tough for -- for a leopard to change its spots. And I think you really have to press and watch these guys very aggressively, to see that they don't let just more suffering and more death taking place.

The other thing that's interesting about this in the western part of the country, it is Muslim on Muslim. It's Arab Muslim and it's black Muslim that is the nature of the conflict. So it's not a religious-based. As far as in the north and south, it's a Muslim on Christian crisis.

O'BRIEN: Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who's returned from the region, talking to us about Sudan. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

BROWNBACK: Thank you very much for covering it.

O'BRIEN: It's our pleasure.

It is almost 14 minutes past the hour. And it's time to take a look at some of the other stories that are making headlines today with Betty Nguyen at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Hey, Betty. Good morning again.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

Two freed hostages expected to leave Iraqi today. Turkey's foreign ministry saying two of its citizens have been released. The men were reported missing June 1, and it's believed they were the only Turks still held hostage in Iraq.

The Coast Guard is making sure American ports abide by new security regulations. The Coast Guard ordering four ships out of the Port of Miami yesterday, which was the first day the new standards took effect. One additional ship from Bolivia was denied entry as well. The new safeguards are meant to secure the nation's ports against possible terrorist threats.

In entertainment news, a record-setting opening for a web- slinging super hero. "Spider-Man 2" snaring $40.5 million at the box office for its debut. That's the biggest first-day haul for any movie. Ticket sales surpassing the opening of the original "Spider- Man," which happened back in May of 2002.

And check this out. One man in India is on a roll for what he says is a mission to better relations between India and Pakistan. The so-called rolling saint claims to have rolled more than 15,000 miles by road. His latest trip from his hometown in India to Lahore, Pakistan, will cover some 800 miles. He rolls about 12 hours every day, apparently stopping only for cigarette breaks and water.

That makes me dizzy just looking at it -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: The rolling saint. Stopping only for cigarette breaks. OK. A little strange, but...

(LAUGHTER)

NGUYEN: Definitely interesting, yes.

O'BRIEN: We don't -- we just report it, right, Betty?

NGUYEN: Absolutely. We don't make it up.

O'BRIEN: We don't make it up. We just report it. All right. Thanks, Betty. Appreciate it.

Iraqi reaction to Saddam Hussein's defiant court appearance reigned from calls for his execution to demonstrations of support for the former Iraqi leader.

Pool reporter John Burns was in the courtroom yesterday during Saddam's hearing. He joins us this morning from Baghdad.

Nice to see you, John. Thanks for being with us. Let's get right to it. How much of the hearing do you think -- would you describe as sort of a political diatribe on the part of Saddam Hussein?

JOHN BURNS, POOL REPORTER: Well, the first thing I would say is, that of the 12 defendants who appeared yesterday, there was only one who hasn't understood that the game is up and that's Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein feels that presenting himself as he did, as the president of Iraq, that he can attack the coalition and its position here at its weakest point. And there's no doubt that that's quite effective. There were many Iraqis who -- who liked that, including Iraqis, by the way, I talked to yesterday whose families and, in some cases, who themselves had been injured by Saddam and in his prisons. Difficult psychology to understand.

But he knows he's got -- he's got an audience to play to out there. And he'll -- he'll make the most of it, you can be sure.

O'BRIEN: The 11 others who also appeared in court after Saddam Hussein was -- went through this hearing, had chains on. They were in cuffs. How come they had chains on and Saddam Hussein's chains were taken off before he was brought into the courtroom? Do you know?

BURNS: No, no, no. No, let me -- let me clarify that. They were all brought in manacled. That's to say, they had chains around their waist. They were handcuffed to those chains, which also go between their legs and around their -- their upper thighs. Very restrictive.

As I understand it, they were flown to Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters here, and the flight seems to have been some duration, because one of the more older of the defendants claimed that he was confused and couldn't remember the dates when he served in various ministries. And he said, "It's the long flight. It's exhausted me."

So they all came manacled. Saddam was separated from the others. His chains were taken off. We heard him. The first we knew he was there was when we heard him coming down the corridor.

They took the chains off before the door was opened, so to spare him the humiliation, and they did the same with all the others. But for some reason or the other, some of the other 11 didn't have the waist chain removed. So they sat there disconsolately, pathetically, you might say, with the waist chain around their -- their ill-fitting American-bought $20 suits.

O'BRIEN: OK. I understand now.

You write about Tariq Aziz -- and some of the others, as well, that we'll get to -- the former deputy prime minister who had said very strongly and brashly before the U.S. invasion that the U.S. forces would be chasing shadows. How was his appearance before the tribunal yesterday?

BURNS: Utterly deflated. Many of us who were there, who worked here under Saddam, and were, of course, appalled, as any person of humanity would be by the brutality, found ourselves feeling sorry for these people and then questioning our own sanity in this.

Those 11 men were utterly banal, utterly commonplace without their uniforms and their berets and their pistols at their hips. And Tariq Aziz was, in some ways, the most pitiable. He was a very self- assured, cocksure little man. He was a great deal littler in aspect yesterday. He seemed confused and he seemed frightened, as many of them did.

O'BRIEN: You write also about Chemical Ali, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was -- I think it's fair to describe him as once the most feared man inside of Iraq after Saddam Hussein potentially.

BURNS: That's right.

O'BRIEN: Well, how was his appearance?

BURNS: He was very intriguing. And I felt not for the first time that we needed a battery of psychologists trained in aberrant behavior to understand this.

He was, as you say, a man hugely feared, the man directly responsible for the chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in March 1998, in which at least 5,000 people killed. And, by the way, many other chemical attacks at the same time in which many tens of thousands of people were killed. And that's only one of the things he did. Many, many videos of this man personally supervising summary executions and laughing and congratulating the executioners.

He walked in, utterly different in aspect, as many of them did, plumper, black hair turned to gray, mousy crew cut, and he was everybody's congenial uncle. He seemed intent on congratulating the court for its existing, thanking them for extending their rights, saying he wasn't worried about the charges, which amount to mass murder charges, because he felt he could defeat them.

And then as he went out, unaware, apparently, that he could be heard, he said to the security guard who was taking him out through the courtroom door -- he said, "That wasn't too bad." He said, "I thought the charges might be much worse." Well, you have to imagine, what sort of charges could be worse than mass murder?

O'BRIEN: As you say, a psychologist could have a field day with all of these 12 who appeared in court yesterday. John Burns, one of the pool reporters in the courtroom yesterday, talking to us about the experiences.

Thanks for being with us, John. Appreciate it.

Turning to Jack. He's got the "Question of the Day."

CAFFERTY: Ill-fitting $20 American suits? They looked OK to me. I mean, the suits those guys had on yesterday?

O'BRIEN: Well, I think it's to make the distinction between the fantastically expensive European suits they used to wear.

CAFFERTY: Maybe when the trial starts we can fly them all to saddle (ph) row and have some stuff tailored for them.

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and had $290 million in your kick? That's the prize in the lottery drawing tonight, so we're asking the question on Friday because I'm tired and I don't want to exercise my brain on anything heavier. David in Asheville, North Carolina, "I would rescue and adopt greyhounds from every racing track and install sanctuaries for them to live out their lives in an environment full of happiness that they never had. I have three as pets and would probably rescue a few more to keep at home with us."

That's nice.

Wesley says, from Cape Charles, Virginia, "I would do my best to die poor and exhausted." That would be like some of the guys around here, I think. Right, Shane (ph)? Yeah.

Grace in Trevose, Pennsylvania, "Well, the way the press hounds the winner, who instantly has 500 long-lost relatives and friends they never knew and winds up broken in therapy, I would give the money to someone I really don't like."

O'BRIEN: OK. I'll take it.

CAFFERTY: There you go.

And Kyle in Abilene, Texas, "If I win, I would never see you again. Why? Because I wouldn't have to get up early to go to work. I mean, sure, eventually I'd get up early again, but it will be years from now, and you'll be retired. So it was nice knowing you, I hope."

(LAUGHTER)

CAFFERTY: Very clever.

O'BRIEN: That is clever. All right.

CAFFERTY: We'll do one more batch late -- in about a half-hour.

O'BRIEN: OK, great, Jack. Thanks.

Still to come this morning, we're going to talk to the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He had a bird's eye view really on Bill Cosby's rant on race in America last night. We'll find out what Reverend Jackson has to say about the controversy. He's right there.

Also ahead this morning, the latest milestone at Ground Zero. America celebrates its birthday while it honors the memories of some of its heroes.

And ahead, Al Sharpton's got a new gig starting this fall. But does that mean he's ditching politics? "Political Pop" is just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Entertainer Bill Cosby isn't letting some complaints stop him from being critical of other African-Americans. At a conference of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition yesterday, Mr. Cosby called black children who don't posses basic academic skills as the "dirty laundry" that the black community doesn't want aired. And he criticized parents for exposing their children to music with lyrics that include racial slurs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY: The more you invest in that child, the more you're not going to let some CD tell your child how to curse and how to say the word (EXPLETIVE DELETED). This is an accepted word used so hip with (EXPLETIVE DELETED) but you can't even spell it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Back in May, Mr. Cosby was criticized for saying some poor blacks were squandering the opportunities that were brought about by the civil rights movement. Reverend Jesse Jackson heard Cosby's comments firsthand yesterday, sitting right next to him. He's with us this morning from Chicago.

Nice to see you, Reverend. Thanks for being with us.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: What did you think when you heard what Bill Cosby was saying?

JACKSON: Well, Bill Cosby's message was not new to black people. It's a common message. It was intriguing, it seems, to watch in the media.

His essential point is that we were behind on equal opportunity and superior effort. And if you are down, no matter who knocks you down, it's your responsibility to get up. Responsibility is a weapon. And Bill was essentially saying, we must stop recycling self- degrading, self-destructive behavior in route to achieving our basic civil rights goals of equal opportunity.

O'BRIEN: Well, certainly, a lot of the remarks, and not only about by the white media, but by all media, I think it's fair to say, have been seen as pretty controversial, maybe especially coming from somebody like Bill Cosby. Why do you think...

JACKSON: Well, I'm not sure -- I'm not sure it's controversial in the sense that we know on the athletic field, if you're behind, you've got -- you've got to run faster. And we've always had to face an uphill struggle to overcome the odds. And do you -- do you adjust to your situation, or do you resist and do you fight back?

And Bill was chiding. He was not trying to tear down, he was trying to lift up. And the message was been warmly received.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think -- or maybe correct me if I'm wrong -- black leaders haven't really been saying this message in such a mainstream widespread way? Because, truly, some of the things that Bill Cosby is talking about are several decades old.

JACKSON: Well, you know, I think if you go to almost any black church, you'll hear the same message over and over again. If you listen to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from NAACP speak, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), or go hear (UNINTELLIGIBLE) North Carolina (UNINTELLIGIBLE), this is a rather common message.

And Bill's point was, on the other hand, we fight equal opportunity. And we do not have adequate counsel, he said, for example. He derived at the fact that a tax base gives us inferior schools. But against these odds, how do you -- how do you buck the odds?

You must be more determined, more willing to work. And you must not surrender to low expectations and low standards. Probably the best in the world at football or basketball or baseball or track, golf, tennis, because of superior effort. So if you're behind, you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) opportunity, but you must do so with superior effort.

O'BRIEN: Back in May, we -- he made similar comments, or in a similar vein, and some of them addressed to poor black single moms. And there are many people who said, well, you know, that's an easy group to target. You know? I mean, if you're going to pick on, who's easier to pick on than someone who is impoverished, who is black, who has kids, who doesn't have any real financial...

JACKSON: But he was not picking on. He was saying that, against these odds, you must do your best.

I went to a high school two weeks ago. Four hundred (ph) freshman four years ago and 72 graduates. He said that's unacceptable.

I went to another high school and I asked the kids there, "How many hours a day have you practiced basketball?" They said, "Five hours." "How many days a week?" "Five days."

No radio, no TV, no telephone, no social visitation. They're the best. I said, "Do you study three hours a night?" "No, Reverend." "Two hours a night?" "Sometimes."

I said, "You must -- you must have your athletic effort to correspond with your academic effort so that you'll (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mind keep you in." This is a rather solid message. And it's not meant to degrade, it was meant to uplift. And people accept it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as a challenge.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. Reverend Jesse Jackson, nice to see you, as always. Thanks for being with us.

JACKSON: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, it could be the case of a lifetime for any lawyer. So why does the D.A. in the Kobe Bryant case say he's going to take a back seat once that trial starts?

Senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin joins us just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: It is coming up on half-past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING. Bill Hemmer is taking the day off.

A new law has gone into effect in Colorado in time for the Kobe Bryant trial. Jeff Toobin is going to join us to explain just how the jurors' questions could affect that case.

Also this morning, this 4th of July will mark an important event at Ground Zero. We'll have a report on the laying of the cornerstone for the Freedom Tower at the site of the twin tower attacks.

And a while back you might recall we met a young American who was helping to teach democracy to Iraqis. Well, now he's been severely injured. He's going to talk to us this morning about the attack and also what happened to his "Extra Effort" to help Iraq.

But first, a milestone at Ground Zero this Sunday. In a special ceremony, the cornerstone will be laid for the Freedom Tower. It's the centerpiece of the new World Trade Center, the skyscraper that will reclaim New York City's skyline.

Alina Cho has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like a mirror.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it gorgeous?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty tons of New York granite, flecked with red garnet, the state's gemstone, soon it will become the cornerstone and first piece of the Freedom Tower, the tallest building at ground zero, and in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big responsibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, boy, it's a really big responsibility.

CHO: Karen Pierce's (ph) company donated the stone after her crews completed three weeks of round-the-clock work, preparing the stone and carving an inscription, which is still a secret. Such delicate work, Pierce (ph) says, like taking care of a child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm not sleeping because I'm afraid, oh, I want nothing to happen, you know. So...

CHO (on camera): You want it to be just right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we want it to be perfect.

CHO (voice-over): The stone slowly made its way to lower Manhattan, arriving on a flatbed truck Thursday morning. It will be placed in the southeast corner of the 70-foot-deep foundation on July 4th.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Everyone understands this is more than a building more than just a site. It is a symbol of American freedom. CHO: New York Governor George Pataki wanted the towers started by the third anniversary of the terrorist attack.

PATAKI: A part of the message we are sending, that we will never forget the heroes we lost, and we will always live in freedom. And with not just confidence, but real exuberance.

CHO: Charlie Wolf lost his wife Kathy (ph) on September 11. She worked on the 97th floor of the north tower. Wolf says rebuilding is part of moving on.

CHARLES WOLF, LOST WIFE ON SEPT. 11TH: They may have gotten my wife, but they're not getting the rest of my life. And I think we Americans are saying, they're not getting our life either.

CHO (on camera): Construction on the Freedom Tower is expected to be finished in 2008. Around the same time, a memorial will be unveiled honoring the nearly 3,000 lives lost three years ago.

Alina Cho, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: The Freedom Tower cornerstone ceremony is set for the 4th of July, in the morning, on Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Legal news now. Now to the surprise move in the Kobe Bryant case. When the sexual assault case goes to trial next month in Colorado, Eagle County district attorney Mark Hurlbert won't play a lead role. Senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin joins us to talk about that, other things as well.

Why not? I mean, why would the head guy hand the case, a case that is so high profile, that has media camped out in front of it, hand it off to his underlings?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: There is a tradition of, you know, big cases being tried by people who are trial specialists, not the top person. What's odd is that he announced at the beginning that he was going to try the case and then pulled out of it.

I don't know if there is any sort of sinister story behind this. But the fact is, based on what I've seen, this pre-trial period has not gone especially well for the government. So I don't know if he's leaving a sinking ship or not, but it's -- it's not -- he is -- his team has not done all that well in the courtroom so far.

O'BRIEN: In that same trial, or case, which will be a trial soon, they're now going to allow the jury questions to Kobe Bryant when he's on the stand.

TOOBIN: This is an absolutely fascinating development.

O'BRIEN: How does -- I mean, you know, my image in my head is that people scribble little notes on a piece of paper and hand it to the judge. Is that... TOOBIN: And that's exactly what's going to happen.

O'BRIEN: Really?

TOOBIN: You know, it's been in effect since 1999 in civil cases in Colorado. It goes into effect July 1, just this week, in criminal cases.

No one really knows how it's going to work. But I actually think it's terrific. You know, this way, by having the judge screen the questions, he'll make sure that there are no inadmissible, inappropriate questions. But, you know, these trials are for the benefit of the jurors. Why shouldn't the lawyers know what's on the jurors' mind?

Apparently, in the civil cases, the experiment has gone pretty well. And I think it's great. I think it's wonderful to experiment in this way.

O'BRIEN: Do you think it helps one side or the other, or is it a wash?

TOOBIN: You know, I've been thinking about that. I can't really figure out how it would help one side or the other. I think what's going to be interesting, and the challenge for the lawyers, is how they change their presentation based on what they learn by the questions.

You can learn a lot about what someone's thinking by the kind of questions they ask. So they're going to probably re-jigger in their summations, they may elude to some of the questions. It's all new, but I think it's good.

O'BRIEN: That would be really revealing. Does only the judge have access to the questions, or do...

TOOBIN: No, I think the way it's going to work is, if it's at all controversial, whether it's an admissible question or not, he'll show the questions to the lawyers and they can argue about whether it's appropriate to ask the witness.

O'BRIEN: "Court TV" wants to have cameras in the courtroom. They're really petitioning on behalf of all the media that's covering this trial. They plan to use this new technology they say that would edit out if somebody slips and mentions the accuser's name in court, or anything else that would be deemed inappropriate. And it would sort of cause a delay, I guess, of about an hour.

What do you think the chances are that -- that we'd see this case on TV?

TOOBIN: You know, I think the cause of cameras in the courtroom is simply not doing well in recent years. After the O.J. Simpson case, people sort of assumed that -- that cameras would be everywhere. But, in fact, the number of states where it's available has contracted. Judges tend not to like it. The parties tend not to like it. I think it's good for the public. I think it's good for, you know, the...

O'BRIEN: Says the journalist, Jeff Toobin.

TOOBIN: Well, that's right. I mean, you know, we have an interest. And CNN has an interest.

O'BRIEN: Yes.

TOOBIN: We're part of that petition. And we -- you know, we want to get those, you know, pictures. But it's -- it's going to be an uphill battle.

And I think the fact that it's a sexual -- there's a sexual element to the case makes it even more difficult. Remember the William Kennedy Smith trial, where they put the blue dot over the accuser's face when she testified. It's even more difficult in -- in a sexual violence case to have cameras in the courtroom.

O'BRIEN: Sounds like you're saying -- a long way of saying, no, you don't think so.

TOOBIN: Well, I hope so. But I don't think so.

O'BRIEN: All right. Jeff Toobin, thanks, as always.

TOOBIN: OK.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business." It's actually some sports business, believe it or not. Seems that Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady's got some car problems. Sounds odd? We'll explain it just ahead.

Also, just in time for the Coney Island hot dog eating contest. Let's see some contestants scarf down this giant thing.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. Time for "Political Pop," the stories that are kind of off the main page when it comes to politics in America. On the left, back with us, Serena Torrey, political strategist. Holding the middle, John DeVore, as he does so well out of Maxim Magazine. On the right, Mark Simone, ABC radio talk show host, back with us as well.

Good morning to all three of you.

SERENA TORREY, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Good morning, Bill.

JOHN DEVORE, MAXIM MAGAZINE: Good morning. MARK SIMONE, WABC RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good morning.

HEMMER: Shall we get it started?

Serena, Al Sharpton?

TORREY: Got a new career.

HEMMER: Reality TV? A new career? What gives?

TORREY: Like all successful people in the public eye, Al Sharpton is starting his own reality show. It's called, "I Hate My Job." And he's going to take eight people who have just quit their jobs, they're looking for their dream work, and he's going to be a career counselor.

HEMMER: So it's "I Hate My Job?" That's the theme?

TORREY: Listen, Al Sharpton has made an art of -- of seeking new jobs. And frankly, I think there is no one...

HEMMER: So you think he's an expert on this?

TORREY: I do. No one gained more stature from that race for the presidency in the Democratic primary than Al Sharpton, with the possible exception of John Kerry. But the jury is still out there.

HEMMER: Really?

DEVORE: What I'm looking forward to, though, is more presidential candidate TV shows. I'm hoping this is a whole new era, like "Who Wants to Marry Dennis Kucinich?" or "The Two Americas With John Edwards," where the Texas militiamen and the San Francisco lesbians switch places.

HEMMER: John, next topic.

DEVORE: Yes?

HEMMER: The Boston mayor and Senator John Kerry, is there a tiff rubbing here?

DEVORE: Oh, a terrible spat between the two of them.

HEMMER: What happened?

DEVORE: Well, on one hand, it's Kerry pandering to the union vote and ignoring the mayor of liberal town. But what I think is most important, though, about this issue is it kind of highlights the very subtle rift in the Democratic Party between those who are pro-Kerry and those who are eh-Kerry.

TORREY: Democratic politics...

DEVORE: I sort of think -- well, it does -- it does sort of -- I mean, a lot of the sound bites that's coming out from the mayor kind of indicate...

HEMMER: Did he call the mayor -- did the mayor call the Kerry camp "incompetent?"

TORREY: Incompetent.

HEMMER: Yes.

TORREY: Look, Democratic with a big "D" politics, never -- never easy. We don't sit down in a room and say, this is how we're all going to feel about this issue, like some parties might.

HEMMER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMONE: But give the mayor credit.

HEMMER: She tosses that back to you.

SIMONE: You know, the mayor did try to call Kerry and got his answering machine. And you can always tell it's Kerry's answering machine. It has no message. But...

HEMMER: Oh.

(CROSSTALK)

SIMONE: ... there's an important lesson here. A very important lesson. Kerry says in Iraq he will make peace with our allies, he'll meet foreign leaders and become friends with them. He can't even make peace with the head of his own convention. He can't even settle things with the Boston mayor.

HEMMER: For the record, the mayor denies any feud. Three and a half weeks to Boston, the countdown.

DEVORE: They're going to be best friends in Boston.

HEMMER: Before we get to Boston, Mark, next topic, July 9.

SIMONE: Yes.

HEMMER: Howard Dean is going to debate Ralph Nader. Is this must-see TV or must-listen radio, NPR?

SIMONE: No, you've got the bland leading the bland. I mean, this is -- this is a huge mistake for the Democrats. Why keep bringing all this attention to Nader?

First of all, he and Dean agree on everything. The only difference is, one screams, one mumbles. Why bring attention to Nader? It's not going to help them.

TORREY: What Dean's going to do is bring attention to the fact that Ralph Nader is taking support from conservative groups. He's now running on Pat Buchanan's Reform Party line. Ralph Nader may have garnered a good percentage of the vote in 2000, but the more people know about where his support is coming from, the less attention he's going to get in the voting booth.

SIMONE: Yes, but also remember, the last time a Democrat was in the White House, they give billions of dollars of contracts to Halliburton. Do you really need Nader mentioning this?

HEMMER: Thanks to all three of you, Serena, John and Mark. Come back again, OK?

DEVORE: Thank you.

HEMMER: All right -- Soledad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Bill. Let's go right to Jack.

CAFFERTY: Coming up in a couple of minutes, more e-mails on what you would do if you won the $290 million first prize in the big lottery drawing? One viewer says they would spend a lot of it on plastic surgery. Wait until you hear what they're going to have done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

CAFFERTY: A check of the markets now. And car troubles for the Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady. Do you remember the Super Bowl?

ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes.

CAFFERTY: Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business."

SERWER: It's a story about a quarterback named Brady.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

SERWER: We'll get to that in a second. Let's check...

CAFFERTY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SERWER: Yes. We'll get to the markets first.

Of course, we're digesting the big jobs report that was disappointing. Not a surprise then that the Dow is down 42 points at 10,291, as you can see there.

We were looking for 250,000 jobs to be created in the month of June. We only got 112,000. Unemployment rate stays steady at 5.6 percent. One stock moving to the southward, Jack, is Apple Computer, because they're not going to be able to deliver the iMacs for that key back-to-school shopping season.

CAFFERTY: Why not? SERWER: They haven't got them ready in time. The other reason why the stock is falling is because, just a couple of days ago, I was saying what a genius Steve Jobs is.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

SERWER: Well, Steve, you're not that smart. I mean, get those computers out there. Come on. Get ready.

CAFFERTY: Well, there's two times of the year you sell a lot of computers...

SERWER: Yes.

CAFFERTY: ... back to school and Christmas.

SERWER: Christmas, yes.

CAFFERTY: Hello?

SERWER: He just missed the mark. I mean, it's very hard -- you know, it's a lot of production problems...

(CROSSTALK)

CAFFERTY: Maybe they're playing badminton over there at the Apple Computer place. I'm just kidding.

SERWER: A lot of that going on these days.

CAFFERTY: Yes, a lot of that.

SERWER: Let's talk about Tom Brady. You know, when you win the Super Bowl MVP, Jack, back in February, Cadillac promises you a new car.

CAFFERTY: Right.

SERWER: You can pick any Cadillac you want. Tom Brady said, terrific, I'll take this SUV over here.

O'BRIEN: It's a good looking SUV, isn't it?

SERWER: It's a beauty. Yes, it is. The only problem is, is that that SUV wasn't in production quite yet. So they said it was going to take a little while, and he said fine.

Bottom line is, the man still doesn't have his Cadillac. OK? It is July. It's five months later and he doesn't have his Cadillac.

He changed his mind from the SUV to the Roadster, that is in production. We called up Cadillac and they said they weren't going to put him ahead of paying customers. Now, that's a huge, huge mistake.

CAFFERTY: Yes, you know why? Because we're sitting here on a national television show trashing them for not giving him his car. SERWER: Talking about Cadillac not giving Tom Brady his car.

O'BRIEN: Well, plus, I mean, what good advertising to have Tom Brady driving around in his Cadillac.

CAFFERTY: You know, the paying customers are used to being pushed around. Celebrities aren't. Paying customers can't get media coverage like celebrities can.

SERWER: Right.

CAFFERTY: So you should put him ahead of the paying customers, would be my advice.

SERWER: Tom Brady, said, "I'm not driving that damn car. That's for sure. It's the damndest thing I've ever seen."

O'BRIEN: No, really?

SERWER: Some strong language.

O'BRIEN: Oh, he's mad.

SERWER: The bottom line is, supposedly, this car is at the dealership in Boston today. So Tom, go get your car.

O'BRIEN: Well, he's not driving the car he just said.

SERWER: Well, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He can give it to me.

CAFFERTY: And clean up your language.

SERWER: Yes.

CAFFERTY: What would you do if you won $290 million in the lottery. Jim in Cambridge says, "I would have plastic surgery, half Bush, half Kerry. And then I would run for public office. I always wanted to know what it would feel like to be a two-faced politician."

SERWER: Ha ha.

CAFFERTY: That's very bad, Jim.

SERWER: Yes.

CAFFERTY: Allen in Waco, Texas, "With that kind of money, I'd buy the morning show a new set with some high class furniture." Here- here. "With millions of people watching, they shouldn't be cheaping out on you guys."

O'BRIEN: That's so true.

CAFFERTY: "We've complained about the furniture for years."

O'BRIEN: And this is -- you know, I know it looks like glass. It's plastic. CAFFERTY: No, it's plastic.

SERWER: Oh, well.

O'BRIEN: And it's uncomfortable.

CAFFERTY: Tony, in my home town of Reno, Nevada, "I don't" -- we were trashing "The Today Show" because they were late getting to the Saddam Hussein stuff yesterday. So we were kind of kicking them around a little bit earlier.

Tony writes, "I don't like Katie Couric, but you people really can beat a dead horse. I had to shut you off early yesterday with your coverage of Saddam Hussein. I was so bored. I had to go paint something just so I could watch it dry."

CAFFERTY: All right. That's fair.

SERWER: He doesn't like Katie Couric. He's bored with Saddam Hussein. He's hard to please this guy.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I'm not sure -- clearly not a news junkie, obviously.

CAFFERTY: Tough audience out there in Reno, I know.

Join me this week for "IN THE MONEY," Andy and I, and Susan. A new study has found that a lot of kids are not paying full price for college tuition anymore because the government is giving out more college grants. We'll tell you how you can get a piece of that action on "IN THE MONEY" this weekend, Saturday at 1:00., Sunday at 3:00.

You know, we were pre-empted last Saturday at 1:00 for the funeral of some guy. Yes. I mean, the show...

SERWER: Funeral of some guy?

CAFFERTY: ... came on. Yes. I mean, he was going to be dead another hour later. You could have let our show just go ahead.

You know, he wasn't going to come back to life. They took us off the air. I'm heart broken.

SERWER: But what guy?

CAFFERTY: I don't know.

SERWER: We don't even -- yes.

CAFFERTY: I was on vacation. Somebody told me about it when I got back.

O'BRIEN: Obviously a very important person bumped you. You can't remember who it was.

CAFFERTY: Yes. O'BRIEN: All right. Jack, thanks.

CAFFERTY: Sure.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, this week's story of an "Extra Effort." We're going to talk to one man who gave up a lot to help the people of Iraq, and he's paid a very big price.

We'll ask him about any regrets ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Each Friday in our "Extra Effort" series, we pay tribute to those who go the extra mile to help others. This morning, we're updating a story we aired back in April about Scott Erwin, a University of Richmond student who went to Iraq to launch a program called Ambassadors of Democracy. The program was set up to educate Iraqi students on the fundamentals of democracy.

Now, a horrific attack has injured Scott. It killed his good friend. Scott Erwin joins us this morning to update his story.

Scott, I've got to tell you, I was so shocked to hear that you had been very badly injured in this attack. How are you feeling? How are you doing today?

SCOTT ERWIN, INJURED IN IRAQ: I'm doing wonderful. I was actually discharged from Walter Reed Hospital here in Washington, D.C. two days ago. And I'm now an outpatient.

O'BRIEN: I've got to tell you, you look pretty good for a guy who's been shot four times by an AK-47. Tell me a little bit about what happened that night.

ERWIN: Actually, I was returning from one of my final sessions of Ambassadors of Democracy. And on the way back to the Green Zone, unfortunately the car I was riding in was ambushed. We were at an intersection, and one car pulled around and blocked our way, and another car pulled around and then out came gunmen.

And they fired a volley of AK-47 fire at our car, unfortunately killing the two Iraqi police I was with in the front seat almost instantly. And as the attack came from the left, and I was sitting in the black left, it injured me pretty quickly as well.

O'BRIEN: You've described it as an attack by insurgents. But do you know specifically who -- who attacked you and who they were targeting?

ERWIN: As a westerner in Iraq, and an individual who was attempting to promote the ideals of democracy, I would be a natural target. But it really is unsure at this point who was the specific target.

O'BRIEN: I know that you lost a friend, Mohammed (ph), in this attack. And from all that I've heard described about him, he seemed to really have gone above and beyond what he was supposed to be doing each and every time. It must be a huge loss for you.

ERWIN: It is. And it's very sad. But in a way I'm happy that the world is getting to be introduced to an Iraqi who did take that extra effort, because I think many times that we're not introduced to these people, and I want everyone to know that there are many Iraqis who are working diligently day and night to improve their stead and improve their country and really see a more prosperous and democratic Iraq.

O'BRIEN: So what happens to you next?

ERWIN: Well, one of the lingering elements of my attack is that I have a little bit of nerve damage in my left hand, which will require around four to six months of rehab. And so I think that's going to be my number one priority over the upcoming months.

O'BRIEN: I've got to tell you, we are so glad to see you looking so well and to see that you're recovering so well.

Thanks for coming to talk to us, Scott Erwin, of Ambassadors of Democracy. It's nice to see you. Thanks.

ERWIN: Thank you so much, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Scott says that a battery in his pocket is what saved his life from a bullet actually killing him. He's going to return to the University of Richmond in the fall. He says he wants to pursue his Master's degree and then go on to law school. Good for him. Pretty amazing guy.

SERWER: Wow, amazing.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it really is.

Coming up on CNN this morning, the latest job numbers, as we told you, are out. President Bush set to address them later today. We're going to bring that to you live. That's coming up in the next hour with Betty Nguyen on "CNN LIVE TODAY."

AMERICAN MORNING back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Aaron Brown now with a preview of what's coming up tonight on "NEWSNIGHT."

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Thank you, Ms. O'Brien.

Tonight on "NEWSNIGHT," Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, unvarnished talk about patriotism from a man who has spent his life fighting injustice. Civil rights activist, human rights hero, the Reverend William Sloane Coffin calls himself an old man in a hurry to do what he can to improve the world before he leaves it.

He's 80 now. And he is ailing. But he's still fighting the good fight. We'll tell you his story, plus all the day's news. That's "NEWSNIGHT," CNN tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And thank you, Mr. Brown. Appreciate it.

As you are making your plans for the holiday barbecue, here's a little something to chew on. Vienna Beef in Chicago unveiling what they claim is the world's longest hot dog. The giant frank -- look at that there -- measures more than 37 feet. It was garnished with four pounds of chopped onions, 140 tomato slices, 70 pickles.

Also -- woo, that's a biggie -- in New York, contestants ranging from this 98-pound Sonya Thomas (ph) -- have you seen this woman?

CAFFERTY: No.

O'BRIEN: Four hundred and 10 pound Charles "Hungry Hardy (ph). There he is weighing in for the Nathan's big hot dog eating contest. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was there as well. I don't think he's going to be tasting the hot dogs.

The contest is set for this Saturday -- Sunday, as it always is. And last year's winner, who missed the weigh-in, gobbled up 44 and a half hot dogs in just 12 minutes.

This Sonya (ph) woman, she's literally 98. She is teeny, tiny.

SERWER: Right.

CAFFERTY: My money is on the big guy.

SERWER: Sometimes you see those small guys...

O'BRIEN: No, I've got to tell you...

CAFFERTY: Really?

O'BRIEN: ... don't put your money -- put your money on Sonya (ph). I think she won last year. Am I right about that?

SERWER: Right. I remember -- yeah. And I remember a small guy won the year before. It's always the little one.

O'BRIEN: The Japanese guy.

SERWER: That's right.

O'BRIEN: The Tsunami beat everybody.

SERWER: Yes, the Japanese guy. That's right.

O'BRIEN: So...

CAFFERTY: I'm sure we'll have the winner on probably live Monday, right, or Tuesday?

SERWER: Or on "IN THE MONEY."

CAFFERTY: And I'm betting on the big guy.

O'BRIEN: OK.

SERWER: All right. We'll see about that.

O'BRIEN: I'm taking Sonya (ph).

CAFFERTY: You never pay off, though.

O'BRIEN: I know. But I've got -- I've four children coming.

CAFFERTY: Yes, I know. You're off the hook.

SERWER: So collective (ph) she wins now.

O'BRIEN: We are out of time this morning. For Jack, and also for Andy this morning, let's go right to Betty. Thanks for being with us. Have a great holiday weekend.

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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