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AMERICAN MORNING

Interview With Storm Chaser Jim Reed; Peterson And Bryant Trial Updates; "90-Second Pop."

Aired August 16, 2004 - 09:30   ET

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


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, 9:31 here in New York. Good morning. Welcome back, everybody. Looks like February outside. Really dark clouds out here. We dodged Charley over the weekend. Said to do some damage working its way up the east coast, but felt just about nothing over the weekend here, which is good news.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe this is the after effects.

HEMMER: Could be, yes.

In Florida, meanwhile, how would you like to be in the middle of all of this over the weekend? Well, an extreme weather photographer was. He's a storm chaser. His name is Jim Reed, and has some of the most incredible footage we have seen yet about Charley and how it came onshore late on Friday afternoon. We'll talk to Jim in a few moments here.

COLLINS: Also, the Scott Peterson trial resumes today after a day off on Friday. On tap today: more tapes of phone calls between Peterson and Amber Frey. Our CNN's Rusty Dornin will join us with a preview on all of that.

HEMMER: Also, the world's best-dressed men. "Esquire" magazine has a new list out. Look at him. Stylin'. Andre 3000 from OutKast. He is number one on that list.

COLLINS: Would you wear that?

HEMMER: Sure.

COLLINS: Really?

HEMMER: There's guys imitating his dress all over the country now. And anytime you set the fashion trends, you know you're doing something right. I think he's cool, and classy, too.

COLLINS: OK. All right.

Moving on, the worst of times are often the best of times for storm chasers like Jim Reed. So, when Hurricane Charley hit Florida on Friday, Reed was where he usually is, in the eye of the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM REED, STORM CHASER: We are watching a neighborhood disintegrate. This is Hurricane Charley. For the past five minutes or so, we have been experiencing winds in excess of 100 miles an hour. It's tearing off roofs. Category 4 hurricane...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Reed captured this amazing video in Port Charlotte -- as you know, one of the area hardest hit by Charley. He's joining us from the CNN Center with more details on exactly what he saw.

Jim, first of all, glad you're with us today.

REED: Thank you.

COLLINS: That looks pretty darn dangerous out there. Why do you do this?

REED: To learn and to experience.

COLLINS: Learn and experience. What do you learn, and what do you experience when these things happen?

REED: Well, first of all, a good question. I wasn't alone. I had a chase partner, meteorologist Greg Zamarripa. I was receiving information from research meteorologist John Davies in Wichita, Kansas, and my research assistant Katherine Bay in Columbia, South Carolina.

So, we were really working as a team. And we normally take shelter before it reaches this ferocity.

COLLINS: So, were you surprised then a little bit by this storm and how fierce it was?

REED: Unfortunately, we were very surprised. John had warned us to be very, very careful. We -- I had never experienced a situation where we went from Category 1 hurricane force winds to Category 4 hurricane force winds in such a short period of time. And that's what really caught us off guard. So, we were forced to take what we call a shelter of last resort. And in this case, it was someone's abandoned home.

COLLINS: But Jim, what were you thinking? I mean, when you looked out there -- I assume you were hunkered down a little bit -- what were you thinking? Was there any point where you said, jeez, you know, this is a bad idea?

REED: Absolutely. I said to myself, I've made a really bad mistake. I had mistimed this, and my first thought was, I felt really, really badly that I put Greg, my partner, in this situation.

Thankfully he was able to crawl under the vehicle. He did sustain some bruises and scrapes, as we both did. I think we're even more sore today than we were two days ago. But he was praying. And my method of praying was to try and document the situation, so that we could share it and try to convey to people how violent a hurricane can be, and why they need to take every hurricane very seriously.

COLLINS: Yes, and actually, I had read that you actually say, you know, the only reason why I do this is to explain to people that when officials tell you to get out, you should get out. Because if you don't, this is something that you could experience firsthand.

REED: Absolutely. And one thing that concerns us is that there was a lot of focus on Tampa -- rightfully so, for a while. But the hurricane warning extended all the way down to the Keys, as I understand it. And I believe a lot of people assumed that it was going to go to Tampa. And it's important that we never make assumptions when it comes to hurricanes, whether it's a Category 1 or any other category.

And unfortunately, we're also talking about a lot of elderly people who have pets. And they did not want to leave their pets. So, it was a worst case scenario. You had a hurricane changing direction at the last second. You had a hurricane intensifying at the last second. And you had a lot of people who just couldn't get out of the way. And it was horrifying to witness that.

COLLINS: No question about it. Jim Reed, glad you are a professional. Obviously we don't advocate for the people at home.

REED: No.

COLLINS: And glad you are safe, as well.

Thanks so much for your time this morning.

REED: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.

HEMMER: Wow.

From a California jury room now, the jury today will hear more of what Scott Peterson said to his mistress. Amber Frey, back on the stand after an off-day on Friday. But it's the tapes she recorded now that are stealing the show and getting all the attention.

Rusty Dornin, live in Redwood City, we start there. Rusty, good morning.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.

We've heard hours of chit-chat between Amber Frey and Scott Peterson out of the hundreds of phone conversations recorded by investigators. Prosecutors are hoping that jurors are going to remember that, while the love-struck pair was reciting poems and talking about favorite movies and talking about the future, that in the background people were frantically searching for Scott Peterson's wife.

Now, you're going to -- the tapes that are going to be playing today are going to change things a little bit. We're going to hear Scott Peterson confess some of his lies, the tension will go up. And we're going to hear Amber Frey interrogate Scott Peterson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): As searchers beat the brush for signs of a missing Laci Peterson, her husband was spending hours on the phone.

SCOTT PETERSON: Amber?

AMBER FREY: Yes, I'm here.

DORNIN: Pillow talk with his mistress Amber Frey, and seemingly endless lies about a European trip. Finally, jurors heard the conversation tape two weeks following his wife's disappearance where Peterson reveals one of his biggest secrets.

PETERSON: The girl I'm married to -- her name is Laci.

She disappeared just before Christmas.

DORNIN: Then Frey began hours of her own interrogation of Peterson.

PETERSON: My God, Amber, I had nothing to do with her disappearance.

FREY: Then who did?

PETERSON: We don't have any ideas.

DORNIN: Repeatedly, Frey asks Peterson what happened.

PETERSON: Sweetie, I'm so sorry, but I can't -- tell you about those things right now.

FREY: Why? Why not right now?

PETERSON: They would -- it would hurt entirely too many people.

DORNIN: Peterson apologizes for his lies, but continues his deceit.

PETERSON: OK, I wasn't in Madrid. That was a lie. The second phone call was only the truth.

FREY: So, did you even go on that fishing trip in Alaska with your family?

PETERSON: Yes.

DORNIN: Peterson never went to Alaska.

The jury has followed the transcripts intently, even chuckling at times when Peterson says he hardly ever lied to Frey. First up Monday morning, the court will play the end of a conversation in which Amber Frey talks about her fears.

FREY: ... and not to have this -- this fear inside my heart that had something to do with this and that may possibly and potentially have killed your wife.

PETERSON: No, you don't need to have that fear. You know me well enough.

FREY: What was that?

PETERSON: I'm not an evil guy.

DORNIN: Two more days of tapes, then Frey will resume her testimony.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): Well, she'll resume her testimony with prosecutors, but that's expected to be fairly short after these tapes finish. And then, of course, it will be up to Mark Geragos to cross-examine the star prosecution witness.

There's a lot of speculation about how long he's going to take. In some instances, some feel he's going to take -- keep her up there five or six days. That could be dangerous, because he could look like he's really bullying her.

But he certainly does want to try to put some kind of wedge in her credibility -- Bill?

HEMMER: All right, Rusty, thanks. Rusty Dornin there in California -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Just about 40 minutes past the hour now. Time for a look at some of today's other news. And Carol Costello is the person to do that.

Hi, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Heidi. Thank you.

President Bush is unveiling a plan today that could call back tens of thousands of U.S. troops from overseas. The president will announce the plan in an address in Ohio later this morning. In fact, he left for the conference in the past half hour. An official says the plan would withdraw some staff from Europe and Asia but would not affect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A U.S. tank patrolling Sadr City in Baghdad was hit by an improvised explosive device. The U.S. Military says the crew escaped with minor injuries.

In the meantime, Iraqi leaders are calling on radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to end his rebellion against multinational forces in Najaf. Three American troops were killed in Iraq yesterday.

The International Olympic Committee will decide the fate today of two Greek sprinters embroiled in a bizarre drug-testing controversy. The Greek Olympic Committee has suspended the two athletes amid suspicions that they faked a motorcycle accident to cover up a missed drug test. An attorney for the pair has requested a delay until Wednesday so the athletes can appear before the committee in person. And here is an event you will not see at the Olympics. Take a look. Forty athletes competed in Hong Kong's first-ever 300-foot vertical track event on Saturday. The final round for the event will be held again in Hong Kong next weekend. The winning prize? A trophy and $10,000.

Back to you, Bill.

HEMMER: Yes, but is there more than that?

Thank you, Carol.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: And now to the Kobe Bryant case. The NBA star will be in court today for what's supposed to be the final pretrial hearing before jury selection begins on August 27th. But there's plenty of speculation that the sexual assault case won't make it that far.

Chris Lawrence is live in Eagle, Colorado now with the very latest.

Chris, good morning.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.

Well, Kobe Bryant is scheduled to arrive here at the courtroom within the next hour. While his defense team says it's ready to go, many are wondering if the prosecution still plans to present its case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Colorado prosecutors had been seeking more time to prepare their case against Kobe Bryant, but they won't get it. The judge has decided the case either goes to trial as scheduled August 27th or doesn't go on at all.

CRAIG SILVERMAN, FMR. DENVER DEPUTY D.A.: Almost 1,000 juror summons have gone out. That leads to a lot of logistical problems for people of Eagle County who have planned their life around this event.

LAWRENCE: So Monday marks Kobe Bryant's last court appearance before jury selection begins. And if the case does go to trial, today's decisions will go a long way toward determining what those jurors hear.

The prosecution's case is already damaged by the release of certain transcripts, in which a defense expert explained her examination of DNA evidence, indicating the accuser had sex with another man after Kobe Bryant, but before her hospital exam.

SILVERMAN: In a he said-she said case, credibility is everything. Dr. Johnson's testimony undermines the credibility of the alleged victim.

LAWRENCE: Today's biggest battle could be whether prosecutors are allowed to present their own expert who would testify that DNA can remain on cotton cloth for months, even after washing it repeatedly. That would explain the presence of a second man's DNA on her clothes.

All of this comes after the accuser filed a civil suit against Kobe Bryant and her father wrote a blistering letter to the judge, saying his daughter cannot get fair treatment in criminal court. Among several mistakes, the court posted her name on its Web site and released confidential documents to the media. Some victims' rights advocates worry that in future cases it will make women less likely to come forward.

CYNTHIA STONE, VICTIM'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Unfortunately, this case has sent, I think, a message to many victims that there are loopholes in Colorado's Rape Shield Law.

LAWRENCE: Judge Terry Ruckriegle apologized for the court's mistakes, saying they won't be repeated.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: Now the judge did decide to limit any testimony on the woman's mental health, meaning if this case does go to trial, any defense accusations about drug abuse or attempted suicide would never be heard in court -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right, Chris Lawrence, thanks so much, live from Eagle, Colorado.

And still to come now this morning, Hurricane Charley caused billions of dollars in damage. How much damage will it do to the insurance industry.

HEMMER: Also, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, they are part of our our "90-Second Pop" this morning, working on a new production, and there are rumors. We'll get to that in a moment, when we continue after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: The words are appropriate. It's time for "90-Second Pop" on a Monday. Say hello to Sarah Bernard, contributing editor for "New York" magazine.

Good morning, Sarah.

SARAH BERNARD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Good morning.

HEMMER: "Rolling Stone" contributing editor Toure is back, also the author of "Soul City."

BERNARD: Oh, very nice!

HEMMER: Shanon Cook, music correspondent for CNN Headline News, out of Australia, by the way. Good morning, Shannon.

BERNARD: Hi.

HEMMER: Great to have you back here in New York.

"Esquire" has named the best-dressed men in the world. Andre 3000, what's cooler than being cool?

TOURE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE: Yes, you can't be cooler than Andre 3000.

BERNARD: Right.

TOURE: I mean, he is so sartorially ambitious. He will wear anything. He thinks about everything. He is the classic English dandy, but take it to a whole other level.

HEMMER: I think he has the ability to bring back the pork pie hat.

BERNARD: Oh!

TOURE: He could do anything.

HEMMER: And make it cool again.

BERNARD: What about the other ones? Matt Lauer, you were robbed, Hemmer, totally.

TOURE: They lost your application.

HEMMER: Yes?

BERNARD: Totally.

HEMMER: You think so? They must have lost my application, he mumbles over here in the corner.

BERNARD: We're going to plug for you next year.

HEMMER: Hamid Karzai.

BERNARD: Yes, what's up with that?

HEMMER: Hugh Grant.

SHANON COOK, CNN MUSIC CORRESPONDENT: And Prince Charles, who was just a total shock to me, although he does look pretty hot in doffers (ph) when he's out hunting.

BERNARD: They didn't have him in that. They had him in a double-breasted suit.

COOK: Right.

BERNARD: I would like to make a late-breaking nomination.

HEMMER: You... BERNARD: How about Ian Thorpe, Ian "Thorpedo" Thorpe for that.

COOK: He looks great.

BERNARD: He (INAUDIBLE) thing that he swims in all weekend.

(CROSSTALK)

TOURE: Are you watching the Olympics?

BERNARD: Yes, I'm watching. Well, just the Ian Thorpe ones.

HEMMER: Next year we'll put that one in the hopper.

BERNARD: Next year, yes.

HEMMER: Shanon, there are reports that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt have a bit of a career change within their own family.

COOK: Yes! Yes.

HEMMER: Reports say what? And are they true?

COOK: Reports are saying that they are going to adopt a child after unsuccessfully conceiving one. Apparently, Brad has already started constructing a nursery in their mansion in Beverly Hills. But they also say that even though they are going to pursue the adoption, they are also going to keep trying to conceive. And of course, if you are Jennifer Aniston, why would you not still try to conceive with Brad Pitt?

HEMMER: He's 40, she's 35?

COOK: Right. And they've been married four years.

TOURE: If they have a natural child, that child will rule the Earth through its beauty.

COOK: Yes, I know.

TOURE: So like, please, just for the good of us all, let's have somebody be a lottery winner and been adopted by them.

BERNARD: If they adopt a baby, it's going to have to be the most good-looking kid.

HEMMER: Yes.

BERNARD: Can you imagine the awkward teen years if it is not good-looking and those are your parents?

COOK: But we want them to conceive, because we need to keep the Brad Pitt genes circulating around the world.

HEMMER: We need a whole new "Troy," don't we?

COOK: We do.

HEMMER: I'll tell you who wins if this is the case: a lot of adoptive babies in the country, because they will get the attention focused on because of the name and the draw of Pitt and Aniston.

We'll leave it there. Great to see you. Shanon, Toure, Sarah, thanks -- Heidi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Still to come, will Wall Street feel the effects of Hurricane Charley. We'll talk about that, coming up next, here on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Could there be a Charley effect going on on Wall Street today? Well, here with a check of the markets is Christine Romans, "Minding Our Business" this morning.

So, we've got a little bit of good news, yes?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little bit of good news, stocks are doing better this morning, starting a new week on an up note. That's largely in part because Charley has already rolled through and is gone.

And oil prices are moving lower this morning. Still hitting record highs, almost $47 a barrel overnight in European trading. But that is good news for the stock market. Stocks moving a little bit higher so far.

COLLINS: And what about the insurance companies now?

ROMANS: Insurance stocks are doing a little better. As we said before, in the very short term, insurance stocks can take a hit, because you get concerned about if you've had all of these claims, right? Well, the insurance companies are rolling in there with their RVs, filling out the paperwork, and it might even inspire people who don't have hurricane insurance to get it.

It might mean that the insurance companies can raise their premiums. So, longer term, it's good news for the insurance companies. So, the insurance stocks are moving slightly higher. And Wal-Mart...

COLLINS: Wal-Mart is benefiting from this.

ROMANS: Wal-Mart benefits from this, because all these people rush out before the storm and they get flashlights, and duct tape, and bottled water. And then after the storm, after the storm is cleared, then they have to rush back out to Wal-Mart and the discount retailers, and the Home Depots and Lowe's of the world to get plywood and things to put their lawns back together and to put their houses back together, and the things to live off of while they try to get their houses in order. Indeed, so that's the retail push from Charley. You know, people are out of the stores for a couple of days while this rolls through, and then they're in the stores for a few days while they're trying to stock up again.

COLLINS: All right, Christine Romans, thank you so much.

HEMMER: Back to Jack now for the Question of the Day.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, two topics that we've beaten absolutely into submission this morning are whether or not Governor McGreevey in New Jersey ought to resign now or wait until November 15th. And we were whining about the Miller beer can series honoring the pioneers of rock and roll on the 50th anniversary of the music.

So Jim in Cambridge, New York writes this, "Not to worry, Jack, next week, Miller's issuing the 'greatest gay and straight governor and mayor caught in the scandal' beer can series. Marion Barry should be a shoo-in, along with Jim McGreevey."

And the last one we got was anonymous viewer wrote in the top 10 ways to chap Jack's grisly hide. Some wrote early on this morning about, "Number 10, let Toure pick the Question of the Day and Andy Borowitz do all the viewer letters. Number nine, change the prompter type to the size of the ticker. Number eight, all of next Wednesday's quotes come from him. Number seven, contract up from two years to 12 with no raises. Number six, buy him Hemmer stick-on moles for his secret Santa gift."

HEMMER: Lovely.

CAFFERTY: "Number five, makeup swapped with Soledad's. Number four, change his coffee from Sanka to Miller beer. Number three, use Def Leopard as his new opening theme. Number two, Heidi picks his ties, matches them with Hemmer's. And number one, let Hemmer do all the weather metaphors."

HEMMER: Chap my grisly hide, Jack.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: All right, thanks so much, guys. Coming up on CNN now. President Bush is about to make an announcement that will affect the lives of tens of thousands of Americans around the world. That's coming up in the next hour with DARYN KAGAN on CNN LIVE TODAY.

And AMERICAN MORNING will be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Programming note for you: Tune in later tonight, "PAULA ZAHN NOW." This evening, Paula sits down with a general, Tommy Franks, the military leader who planned and executed the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan.

Looking back at the victories, the setbacks and the lessons learned, 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 on the West Coast with Paula later tonight. We're out of time.

What are you wearing tomorrow?

COLLINS: I'm thinking maybe a hot pink.

HEMMER: OK, you're going to be own your own then.

See you tomorrow, Christine.

And Jack, welcome back again.

CAFFERTY: Thank you.

HEMMER: All right, here's Daryn Kagan at the CNN Center, taking you through the next hour.

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