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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Nicole Kidman Casting Her Own Shadow; Central Park Jogger Tells Her Story; Police Say Latino Gangs Major Problem

Aired April 22, 2005 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: TGIF. Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
One of Hollywood's brightest stars opens up about her glamorous career and about the most difficult chapter of her life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): She's gone from down under to the heights of global stardom, from the perfect Hollywood marriage to a painful front-page divorce.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: You look fantastic. I heard you're getting divorced. How is that going?

NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: Well, I can wear heels now.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: When you've got that kind of poise, a string of hit movies and even an Oscar, who needs a Tom?

KIDMAN: So I'm now going, hmm, wow, I'm able to take care of myself.

ZAHN: Tonight, Nicole Kidman's many reasons to feel good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Well, one of the reasons Nicole Kidman has to feel so good these days, she may just be the busiest actress in Hollywood. Four years after her humiliating split with Tom Cruise, she's emerged from his shadow to become one of the world's highest-paid leading actresses.

Her latest film is "The Interpreter," a political thriller that opened today across the country. Nicole Kidman is our focus in tonight's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): She's the Aussie import who happens to be one of Hollywood's highest paid leading ladies. Since Nicole Kidman split up with her megastar husband, Tom Cruise, the 5'11" actress has been standing a head above the rest. The past four years have seen Kidman come into her own as a Hollywood powerhouse, 10 movies...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: Come and get me, boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: It's not normal, Walter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: ... five Golden Globe nominations and two wins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nicole Kidman!

ZAHN: Not only did she get a star, but in March 2003, Kidman achieved her crowning moment. With parents in tow, she walked the red carpet once again. An Oscar nomination for "The Hours" had brought her to the Academy Awards, and while the buzz was in her favor, her nerves were out of control.

JESS CAGLE, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: On Oscar night, she had pretty much decided that she was not going to win.

KIDMAN: Renee!

CAGLE: And she probably felt that Renee Zellweger was going to get the Best Actress award instead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RENEE ZELLWEGER, ACTRESS: No, I'm not quite finished yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAGLE: Then right before they announced the Best Actress winner, Nicole Kidman's daughter leaned over and said, "You're going to win, Mommy" and she became completely panicked. Then, of course, she won.

ZAHN: Kidman's character in "The Hours," Virginia Woolf, had dealt with depression, isolation, alienation, feelings all too familiar to this movie star.

KIDMAN: One of the daunting prospects for a woman when she goes through divorce is learning to be able to then live alone and survive alone and find your way in the world without your partner. And so now going, wow, I'm able to take care of myself.

ZAHN: It had been a solid marriage, even by Hollywood standards. But in February of 2001, her movie star husband, Tom Cruise, shocked the entertainment world and Kidman herself, announcing he wanted to end their 10-year marriage.

Kidman had to maintain her composure while promoting her new film, "Moulin Rouge."

DUNNE: She attended the premiere. She's waving to the people. Whatever's going on inside, she kept that private.

ZAHN: The show must go on is very much Kidman's guiding motto. She'll show up no matter what. The so very Aussie Kidman began her life in America. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on June 20, 1967. Her father, a biochemist and author, was studying there. His research would later take the family on to Washington D.C. But by the time Kidman was four, her family had returned to Australia to stay. Sidney became the place she'd always call home.

Kidman is very close to her younger sister, Antonia, a television reporter in Australia, as well as to her father and her mother, a nurse and educator. While growing up, Kidman's extraordinarily pale skin meant Australia's sun life was out of bounds.

KIDMAN: Instead of going to the beach or you know, the normal thing that you do in Australia, I would go on the weekends to drama school.

ZAHN: At age 10, Nicole retreated to the comfort of the rehearsal studio to strengthen her acting skills. It wasn't natural, she said, to disappear into a dark theater and she did so with her parents' approval.

KIDMAN: They both have a love of the arts. And I think they gave it great credence and value that it wasn't -- and I really respect them as parents for doing that because it wasn't sort of pooh- poohed. It was actually you know, what do you enjoy? My parents always took me to the theater when I was young. I was taken to see opera. I was taken to see modern dance. So I was exposed a lot -- to a lot of culture and I really -- that's what I try to do for my children as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You started very young acting.

KIDMAN: Oh no, which one do you've got?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have "BMX Bandits" and "Bush Christmas. "

ZAHN: Kidman may cringe, but the TV film she made in 1983, "Bush Christmas," remains a national favorite and still airs every Christmas. That same year, the cult favorite, "BMX Bandits" was released. A group of kids on bikes takes on a gang of bank robbers. Kidman chose to ride away from high school at 16 to pursue a full-time acting career.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Oh, that could hurt.

When the story of Nicole Kidman continues, one of Hollywood's hottest leading men comes into her life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: It's such a surreal experience when all these things happen in your life and they're all written about and they're all, sort of everybody watches.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Love, heartbreak, and the surprising thing she did after winning her first Oscar when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Nicole Kidman was a star in Australia by the mid 1980s. Then she moved on to Hollywood, and it took just one movie to catch the eyes of critics and one of Hollywood's top leading men.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: What about those people?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN (voice-over): After TV and film success down under, Australian Nicole Kidman's first Hollywood break was the seagoing thriller, "Dead Calm. " Mr. Hollywood, Tom Cruise, was just coming off his divorce from actress Mimi Rogers and after viewing "Dead Calm" was reportedly eager to meet the dazzling new actress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: How could you ignore me like that?

KIDMAN: I wasn't ignoring you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: That meeting came within a year. Both were cast in the film, "Days of Thunder." There was immediate on-screen and off-screen chemistry.

A quick romance followed and on Christmas Eve 1990, the two married quietly in the resort town of Telluride, Colorado. Within months, Kidman was working again with her famous husband in the 1992, epic, "Far and Away." The super couple were becoming part of Hollywood royalty, and children were now part of the dynasty. The couple adopted a girl, Isabella, in 1993, and a baby boy, Connor, two years later.

KIDMAN: We do it all, Tom and I. It's, you know -- it's -- you bear the priority and so that means you make compromises.

ZAHN: By 1996, she was a star in her own right, moving out of Cruise's orbit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: It was the quirky film noir, "To Die For," that propelled Kidman to stardom. It all began when Kidman picked up the phone and begged director Gus Van Sant for the breakout role. Once on board, Kidman shined. Acclaim poured in, including a Golden Globe in 1995.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: It frightens me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Kidman went on to appear in three films with husband Tom Cruise.

Their last pairing came in Stanley Kubrick's psychological thriller, "Eyes Wide Shut." She had spent nearly two years on the project and then just after okaying the final cut, director, Kubrick, died. Kidman has said Kubrick's sudden death shocked her out of her youthful naivete.

KIDMAN: I had just revered him and loved him dearly.

ZAHN: Then on February 4, 2001, another shock. Shortly after their 10th wedding anniversary, a statement was released announcing an amicable separation. Three days later, Cruise officially filed for divorce. Friends of Kidman were quoted as saying she was broadsided.

While the reasons for the split remain private, it was played out in public to Kidman's dismay.

KIDMAN: It's such a surreal experience when all these things happen in your life and they're all written about and they're all, sort of everybody watches it and somehow you have to get through it. And thank God for my mom and dad and my sister, and the people in my life who love me.

ZAHN: As her marriage disintegrated, Kidman faced the press to promote her work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

LETTERMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, here's Nicole Kidman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Kidman used her legendary humor on the "Late Show with David Letterman" to diffuse the divorce questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN") KIDMAN: Hi.

LETTERMAN: You look fantastic. I heard you're getting divorced. How's that going?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Kidman was ready with a well-rehearsed line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

KIDMAN: Well, I can wear heels now.

(LAUGHTER)

KIDMAN: Now we move on.

LETTERMAN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Indeed she did, in black couture to the premier of her thriller, "The Others." Discreetly following on the red carpet was Tom Cruise. He had co-produced "The Others" and tapped Kidman for the starring role.

CRUISE: I gave it to Nic, who I thought would be perfect for the role, and it's a tour de force performance for her and I'm very proud of her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: Come and get me, boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Just two months earlier, Kidman had released "Moulin Rouge" to critical acclaim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: I believe you were expecting me.

EWAN MCGREGOR, ACTOR: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Two thousand two brought a Golden Globe win for "Moulin Rouge."

KIDMAN: We never thought we'd be standing here.

ZAHN: And that same role nabbed her first Academy Award nomination. In the end, Halle Berry took home the Oscar that year. But just 12 months later, it was Kidman's turn to shine. Her role in "The Hours" brought to the big screen a Nicole Kidman like we've never seen before.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE": So much has been said about the nose, including, of course, the overused joke about winning by a nose. I don't think she won because of the nose. I mean she won not only for her performance in "The Hours," but also for being a big old movie star.

ZAHN: And following the Academy win, you'd never guess the call she made immediately following the walk off stage.

CAGLE: I think a lot of people might be surprised to know that she called her ex-husband, Tom Cruise, you know, the night that she won the Oscar. As she says, you know, I think quoting a line from "The Hours," "We always had these hours together. We always had this time together." And so, he's really part of her life and I think that marriage and whatever she went through there is really a part of who she is and it makes her feel close to him.

ZAHN: Now the acclaimed actress who refuses to be typecast will try a new big screen genre, a political thriller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN PENN, ACTOR: Is that you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: In "The Interpreter" Kidman plays a U.N. translator who overhears an assassination plot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIDMAN: It's a death list.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROZEN: Nicole Kidman's like, hey, move over, Meryl Streep. Not only can I do an accent, which she does in this movie, but she also speaks a completely made-up language.

ZAHN: Validated by peers, loved by fans, and seemingly at peace with her past relationship, it seems Kidman has gained not only box office clout in the past four years, but valuable insight as well.

KIDMAN: The most important thing in life is sort of knowing who your friends are and cherishing them. And, in a weird way, you have your -- the best of times and the worst of times, they come together. And there's always balance, you know? And it keeps your feet on the ground.

ZAHN: No longer Mrs. Tom Cruise, the resilient actress is now in every way Nicole Kidman.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And one note about Nicole Kidman's new film. It is the first ever filmed inside the United Nations.

Coming up, an anniversary that shows the very worst and very best of what people can be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRISHA MEILI, CENTRAL PARK JOGGER: I'm not the same as I was before. And that doesn't mean I'm worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The Central Park jogger 16 years into her road to recovery, a true story of inner strength when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Still ahead, a horrible crime she can't remember and a brave recovery you'll never forget. The Central Park jogger tells her own story.

But, first, just about 20 minutes past the hour. Time to check the top stories with Erica Hill at headline news tonight.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Good to see you.

And we start with a story we've been following, Zacarias Moussaoui pleading guilty today to six counts of conspiracy in connection with the September 11 attacks. He says he plans to fight the death penalty. In a statement of facts presented at today's hearing, Moussaoui said Osama bin Laden had personally selected him to attack the White House with a commercial airliner.

The Virginia Supreme Court reaffirmed the death penalty for Washington, D.C.-area sniper John Allen Muhammad. He was convicted on two capital murder counts for the shooting death of a man in Manassas, Virginia. Lawyers for Muhammad had argued he couldn't be sentenced to death because he wasn't the trigger man. Muhammad's accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, has entered a plea deal for the Manassas killing and was convicted for one of the other nine murders attributed to the pair.

In Florida, cameras were rolling as part of a class project earlier this month and captured police handcuffing an unruly 5-year- old girl. She was tearing papers off a bulletin board, climbing on a table, and trying to punch and kick an assistant principal before the police were called. A St. Petersburg attorney says he plans to take legal action against the officers.

And the Today Sponge contraceptive is returning to the market, a decade after being pulled off store shelves. Its effectiveness and safety were never in question. The manufacturer simply stopped making them in 1995 rather than upgrade the plant where the FDA found deficiencies.

And, of course, Paula, it came to fame in that "Seinfeld" episode.

ZAHN: Oh, we will never forget that episode, will we?

HILL: I don't think we can.

ZAHN: And you can get it on reruns these days.

HILL: Oh, definitely.

ZAHN: You know, four years later.

Erica, thanks. See you about 30 minutes from now.

Your chance now to vote for the person of the day. Tonight's nominees, Julian Castro for running for mayor of San Antonio and, thanks to his twin brother, magically campaigning in two places at once, the newly elected pope, Benedict XVI, for being a 21st century pontiff and getting his own e-mail address, and Wendy's Restaurant for taking an undeserved financial hit. A woman who claimed she found a finger in her chili has now been arrested.

Vote at CNN.com/Paula. I'll let you know who wins a little bit later on in this hour.

Coming up, two strangers whose fates were forever interwoven by tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEILI: There is part of me that wishes that I do remember what happened. But there's a big part of me that is so thankful that I can't remember it. And I'm grateful for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Coming up next, the Central Park jogger's incredible 16- year recovery.

And, later, a man who was imprisoned for the crime, even though he wasn't guilty. Now he's using that experience to help others.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: A talented young woman, a brutal attack, five teenage suspects, 16 years ago, all that came together in a crime that stunned the nation. The anonymous victim became known as the Central Park jogger. She was left for dead. Almost no one expected her ever to recovery -- recover, that is. But she did.

And, in a remarkable story of one woman's courage, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): It was one of those beautiful spring evenings in New York City, the kind where everything feels alive. New Yorkers were out in droves. Trisha Meili was one of those people. A rising star on Wall Street, she looked forward to her evening run, something she did almost every night after work. But this is where the predictable ends and the unthinkable begins. It was that night that Trisha became the anonymous woman known as the Central Park jogger.

(on camera): How often do you get images in your mind of your attackers or any of this process you've gone through?

TRISHA MEILI, CENTRAL PARK JOGGER: Sometimes I do think about it. And I wonder, I mean, what was it like? And I can only imagine that I was scared out of my mind.

ZAHN (voice-over): At 1:30 a.m., Trisha was found in a ravine, unconscious, savagely beaten, raped, and left for dead. Her attack made headlines. Against all odds, she survived. And, somehow, this woman, who had endured so much pain, found the strength to go on and put a name to the once anonymous face.

(on camera): You are celebrating 16 years of recovery. Was there ever a time when you were lying in your hospital bed where you thought you might not make it at all?

MEILI: I do remember a time when I thought, you know, when am I going to be able to walk again, or am I going to be able to walk again? But my body just took over and said, this is what we need to do to help you heal and get better.

ZAHN (voice-over): Doctors didn't think she would survive. The brutal attack left Trisha in a coma for 12 days. Suffering serious brain trauma, she doesn't remember anything about her attack.

(on camera): That must be a blessing in a way, that, because of the extent of your injuries that that part of your memory is completely wiped out.

MEILI: There is part of me that wishes that I do remember what happened. But there's a big part of me that is so thankful that I can't remember it. And I'm grateful for that.

ZAHN: Did you feel much shame during the healing process?

MEILI: I didn't feel shame about the sexual assault, because I felt I had every right to be in that park.

ZAHN: But, along the way, did you ever have to confront that criticism that often accompanies violent crimes, somehow that you were partly to blame or somehow your actions led to this vicious attack?

MEILI: I felt so strongly inside that, no, that is not true; I'm not to blame for this.

ZAHN: What was the most difficult part of this whole struggle?

MEILI: I think the most difficult part is accepting myself, really as I am and being proud of who I am, that, you know, I'm not the same as I was before and that doesn't mean that I'm worse.

MEILI: Justice isn't served until crime victims are.

ZAHN: Part of Trisha's own healing process was to work with victims of sexual and violent crimes. By sharing her story, she was able to begin making peace with what had happened to her. But this was only part of the process. Trisha also agreed to meet face to face with sexual offenders to try to help them understand the consequences of their actions.

Two years ago, she spoke with 60 inmates at a San Francisco prison, an experience she'll never forget.

MEILI: They have a restorative justice program to make violent offenders who are going to be out of jail in a couple of years try and change their behavior, take responsibility for what they did and to understand how it affected the victim, how it affected them, and how it affects the community.

ZAHN: Obviously, going into this speech, you had no idea what you were going to feel like. Were you fearful that you would become very angry?

MEILI: I -- you know, I felt good about what I was doing, because some of them there are wanting to hear and listen and participate in this program that's trying to make them, you know, be responsible and understand why they behave the way they did. And I felt that, you know, I have to respect them for that. Obviously, I don't respect them for what they did to put them in jail. But I do, you know, think, and maybe it's more of a hope, that there is the possibility for change.

ZAHN: And for rehabilitation?

MEILI: And for rehabilitation.

ZAHN: For Trisha Meili, this part of her journey has been about sharing her story. The once anonymous Central Park jogger recently broke her 14-year silence, writing a book, speaking in public, all to help others and herself become survivors, not victims.

ZAHN: What is it that you want folks out there to learn from your 16-year struggle?

MEILI: I think I want them to know that they can do so much more than they ever thought possible, whatever it is. And that the power of the human spirit is an amazing thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Trisha Meili tells the full story of her recovery in the book "I Am the Central Park Jogger."

But there's more to the case. Five teenagers were convicted and sent to prison for attacking her, and they were convicted wrongfully.

Coming up next, one of those five sent to prison for attacking Trisha, even though he wasn't guilty. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YUSEF SALAAM, WRONGLY CONVICTED: All we were saying was, look, you have the wrong people. You really need to go back out there and continue to search, continue to look for the real perpetrator of the crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: He kept fighting for vindication and for freedom, but winning wasn't the end of his crusade for justice.

And a little bit later on, we're going to take you into the heart of a murderous gang of criminals. Unbelievably, their leader ran it from right inside a prison.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Trisha Meili's battle to recover is only part of the story of the rape of the Central Park jogger. Five teenage boys were arrested; four confessed. All were convicted. But three years ago, some new evidence surfaced, clearing them all after years behind bars. Maria Hinojosa has the story of one of them, a man now free, fighting to recover his reputation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SALAAM: Man, that tree looks big.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yusef Salaam has a radiant smile. Thirty-one years old with three small children, these days Central Park is just a place to take his kids.

SALAAM: That's about all you can go.

HINOJOSA: A gentle man, Yusef speaks in a soft voice, counseling college students on what justice means to young black men.

SALAAM: What kept me was continuously just believing that one day I'm going to be free from this.

HINOJOSA: He lectures state legislators about the high cost of mistakes made by the legal system.

SALAAM: I was 15 years old, just a boy when these events changed my life forever. Because I was the tallest and presumably the darkest-skinned of my co-defendants, people pointed at me and said things like, what we need to do is hang him.

HINOJOSA: And he runs an organization he co-founded, called People United for Children, helping teens navigate the same criminal justice system he faced at 15.

SALAAM: Whether a person is innocent or guilty, there is things -- there are things that they can do.

HINOJOSA: Yusef knows firsthand the frenzy of what a teen goes through in the criminal justice system.

It was 1989, and New York was a city besieged by crime and divided by race. It was no surprise when the media seized on a story known as the attack on the Central Park jogger.

SALAAM: The trial hadn't even started, and we were being judged, tried, and convicted in the media.

HINOJOSA: A group of black teens had allegedly raped and beaten white jogger Trisha Meili in a rampage. The press called it "wilding," from the popular rap song "Wild Thing."

Police arrested Yusef and four other young men, who were quickly branded as animals, the Central Park Five -- the face of the urban crime nightmare. All the boys except Yusef made detailed videotaped confessions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my first rape. I never did this before. This gonna be my last time doing it. This is my first experience.

HINOJOSA: They were all convicted and sent to prison. Yusef was sentenced to five to 10 years.

SALAAM: Once you hear that first guilty, it's just like echoing. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

HINOJOSA: Then, 13 years later, another man confessed to being the real rapist of the Central Park jogger. Matias Reyes, who was serving a life sentence for another rape and murder, said he had acted alone.

SALAAM: All we were saying was look, you have the wrong people. You really need to go back out there and continue to search, continue to look for the real perpetrator of the crime.

The other women that he raped after the Central Park jogger would not have been raped had they been on their job.

HINOJOSA: Despite discrepancies in the videotaped confessions, no other suspect was ever pursued.

(on camera): Do you wish that that night you hadn't gone to the park?

SALAAM: In many ways, yes. You know, they always say hindsight is 20-20. So had I been able to avoid the experiences of being put into prison, the experiences of seeing just madness, you know, definitely, I would have tried to avoid that at all costs.

For 13 years, my mom wore this shirt, you know. For 13 years, the families struggled...

HINOJOSA: Yusef went to jail a child and came out a man. His record erased, his name taken off the state sexual predators list. But the scars remain. SALAAM: No one has come forth and said, I'm sorry. Or listen, we apologize for putting you through probably the worst time of your life. Even though I was exonerated, there's still a lot of folks that believe that I was guilty.

Yes, I'm Yusef Salaam.

HINOJOSA: These days Yusef is learning to use the media to his own benefit. He wants to create a TV show for urban teens. He prays for those kids, as he once prayed for his own future and for the victim whose pain he recognizes.

SALAAM: My heart definitely goes out to her. We were -- we were victimized in this situation, just like she was a victim in this situation. We did someone else's time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: That was Maria Hinojosa reporting for us tonight. Yusef Salaam is now suing New York City and the district attorney for damages. Still, as you heard in that piece, some in the police department maintain he may be guilty.

If you think sending crooks to prison puts them out of business, you're going to be shocked at what you're about to hear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're serious about it. And they're angry enough and they're quiet about it, they can accomplish a lot from inside a prison cell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: See just how much some bad guys got away with and how they were finally stopped.

And please help us pick the person of the day. Your choice is Julian Castro, who's getting some help from his twin brother in running for mayor of San Antonio, creating some controversy along the way. The new pope for getting his own e-mail address. And Wendy's, for its handling of the finger story and a month of undeserved bad publicity.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Still ahead, a case where police put the right guy in prison but it didn't stop him. The incredible story of how he actually ran his gang from behind bars.

44 minutes after the hour, though, time to check in one more time with Erica Hill. How are you doing tonight, Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS: I'm doing well, Paula. Good to see you again. The only person charged in the United States in connection with the September 11 attacks pleaded guilty today, as expected, to six counts of conspiracy. Al Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui said he plans to fight the death penalty. Moussaoui was arrested less than a month before the attacks when he raised suspicions at a flight school in Minnesota.

Four top army officers are being cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison. Among them Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez who became the senior commander in Iraq in 2003. The Army says an investigation found the allegations were unsubstantiated.

President Bush has nominated Marine General Peter Pace to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed, he'll be the first Marine general to lead the U.S. military. Pace played a behind-the-scenes role in shaping the war on terror. He will replace Air Force general Richard Myers, who is retiring in September.

NASA is denying reports in the "New York Times" that its loosened safety standards for the space shuttle. The newspaper cites internal NASA document including one that says lesser standards must be used to determine acceptable risks quote "because we cannot meet traditional standards." NASA says it will fly the space shuttle only if safe. Discovery is scheduled to launch next month.

And that is the latest from Headline News on this Friday evening. Paula, back to you. Have a great weekend.

ZAHN: Oh, TGIF. Thanks for the reminder, Erica.

HILL: How could you forget? Come on. We wait all week for this.

ZAHN: OK. 14 minutes to go. LARRY KING LIVE is just ahead at nine. Hi, Larry. How are you doing tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Love the jacket.

ZAHN: You do?

KING: Oh, yes. Luminous, I love it.

ZAHN: Thank you. My daughter said it looked like a really bad motorcycle jacket.

KING: I like -- it looks good -- leave it in. Trust me.

ZAHN: So who are you talking to tonight, besides me?

KING: Tonight -- I'd rather talk to you -- tonight we're going to discuss good and evil. People born evil -- what is evil in the world? John MacArthur, Deepak Chopra, Father James Cheating, Char Margolis and Roger Depue, who's the former head of the FBI's behavioral science division. Will -- he's written a book called between good and evil. That's the topic, Paula. Good and evil. And you and I, we both know what side we're on.

ZAHN: Absolutely. But I just want them to answer the question for us, when your children ask you why such bad things can happen to good people. If you can get that answered...

KING: I never have heard a great answer. Have you ever heard a great answer to that? I never have.

ZAHN: No, I haven't. Counting on you to dig that out tonight, Larry.

KING: I will attempt everything within my forbearance to bring that out.

ZAHN: That's the attitude we like here at CNN. Larry, thanks so much. See you in a couple of minutes.

We've counted the votes. Time to reveal the person of the day. Your choices were Julian Castro, the candidate for mayor in San Antonio, who appeared in two places at once thanks to his twin brother. Actually, it did spark quite a controversy. The new pope for showing he's fully in the 21st Century with his own e-mail address. And Wendy's for tackling a nasty problem head on. A woman who claimed she found a finger in her chili has now been arrested. And guess what? You picked Wendy's.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It certainly is a big bun.

ZAHN: Once upon a time, Wendy's wanted you to look at everybody else's food and ask, where's the beef? But lately, despite all the jokes, the news about Wendy's has been no laughing matter.

DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTER: It's so sunny here in Manhattan today, listen to this, the finger in my Wendy's chili was wearing sun-block.

ZAHN: And it isn't just the late-night comedians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tony, well, here's my turn at the gallows humor. Thank goodness the finger-licking good has already been taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank goodness for KFC.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to point the finger at anybody -- oh, I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

ZAHN: It all started last month when a woman named Anna Ayala claimed she bit into a human fingertip in her bowl of chili at a Wendy's in San Jose, California. The company launched an investigation worthy of "CSI," bringing in the police, the coroner, searching DNA data bases. Their conclusion -- the finger didn't come from Wendy's, not from any of its employees or its suppliers' employees. Police arrested Anna Ayala last night and charged her with attempted grand theft.

CHIEF ROB DAVIS, SAN JOSE POLICE: The truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy's owner, operators and employees here in San Jose.

ZAHN: Wendy's has seen a 20 percent to 50 percent drop in business in Northern California and is still offering a $100,000 reward for solving the mystery of the finger.

JOSEPH DESMOND, WENDY'S SAN JOSE FRANCHISEE: Please come back to Wendy's, because we do serve wonderful hamburgers and sandwiches and everything else.

ZAHN: So you decided to take the high road. And instead of making another joke, made Wendy's the person of the day. We'll be right back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We have a drizzly night out there tonight in Manhattan. On to our story about murderers, robbers, hardened criminals, when they are arrested, convicted, and sent to prison you'd think that would be the end of the story.

But as Tom Foreman shows us tonight, that's not always a safe assumption.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a cold night in Washington, D.C. Police and the FBI are in the midst of a 10-year investigation into the K Street Crew. The gang is suspected in more than a dozen murders while dealing drugs near the Capitol. When authorities catch a break, gang leader Jerome Martin is picked up on a murder charge, and there is a witness, 19-year-old Chrissie Gladden (ph). Quickly, she is put into hiding. After all, prosecutors Ken Wainstein and Jim Dinan know what the K Street Crew can do.

KEN WAINSTEIN, FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The key to their survival was that they had a penchant for intimidating or killing witnesses.

KIM DINAN, ORGANIZED CRIME UNIT: This group was dogged and tenacious in going any way they could to try and find these witnesses.

FOREMAN: True to form, authorities say minority calls a fellow gang member, Sam Carson, to visit him in jail, where unheard by any of his jailers, Martin orders Carson to kill Chrissie Gladden. Prosecutors have her well hidden, but only days before the trial she slips back into her old neighborhood for a party. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was walking out of this party. Sam Carson jumped out of an abandoned house, shot her once in the chest. She fell to the ground. He then stood over her and shot her two or three more times right in the head and killed her.

FOREMAN (on camera): And this was orchestrated from jail.

WAINSTEIN: This was orchestrated, commanded, or requested by Jerome Martin, who was in jail at the time.

FOREMAN (voice-over): A scathing report on the federal prison system six years ago found criminals behind bars routinely dealing in murder, drug trafficking, and fraud on the outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing has changed.

FOREMAN: And Ron Angelone, one of the nation's most experienced corrections experts, insists the problem is growing with inmates at every level of the prison system.

RON ANGELONE, CORRECTIONS CONSULTANT: If they're serious about it, and they're angry enough and they're quiet about it, they can accomplish a lot from inside a prison cell.

FOREMAN: But how does it happen? I called a bank robber to find out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what's up?

FOREMAN: Joe Loya was once the terror of Southern California, knocking off more than 30 banks and eventually serving seven years hard time, events chronicled in his book "The Man Who Outgrew his Prison Cell." He says countless messages, what inmates call kites, are passed to the outside.

JOE LOYA, FORMER BANK ROBBER: You can communicate by phone. You can communicate by visits. You can communicate by letters. Only in rare instances are people cut off from having communication with the outside world.

FOREMAN: This message in micro-writing, for example, was taken from a California inmate. The thousands of words crammed onto this paper relate to the criminal dealings of a major Latino gang. Corrections officers in Texas discovered an entire dictionary of code words inmates use on the phone to keep guards from spying. Loya says coded messages can be shockingly simple and effective.

LOYA: You know, I sent out a birthday card to so and so, and you know, it was for her 25th birthday, and the 25th stands for $250 that you just sent to somebody, so that you could buy a gram of heroin.

FOREMAN: And of course the river of inmates coming in and out of the system every day provides a ready avenue for passing notes. Simply put...

LOYA: It's impossible to stop illegal communication with the inside world and the outside world.

FOREMAN: Deadly dealings from behind bars used to be primarily associated with major organized crime families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To live by the gun and by the knife and you die by the gun and by the knife.

FOREMAN: But now prison experts say dozens of gangs keep regular and easy contacts with their convicted members.

ANGELONE: We know that when they go to prison they're looking at how they can strike out to those that sent them to prison.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Why can't prison professionals protect us more, though?

ANGELONE: It's very simple. We don't have the tools to do that.

FOREMAN: Prisons have tried to develop the tools. And many places computers now record and monitor all phone calls, listening for key words that might signal trouble. But the Bureau of Prison Study found less than 4 percent of inmate calls are monitored by correctional officers.

(voice-over): The courts have reaffirmed inmates' rights to make phone calls, write letters, and talk to visitors with little or no interference. So law enforcement officers often focus on criminals outside who might help them. Remember Jerome Martin and his K Street Crew? He escaped one murder charge by reaching out from jail and ordering the killing of the witness, Chrissie Gladden. But his plan backfired. Authorities added her death to a huge list of charges against the K Street Crew, and two dozen members or associates of the gang, including Martin, were convicted. The worst locked up for good. For killing Chrissie Gladden and eight others, Sam Carson is in Leavenworth.

WAINSTEIN: They ended up all getting locked up and sent away for life without parole. That message that got out there on the street, and it got out there, tells other crews, other criminals or criminal -- wannabe criminals, that you're going to pay a price if you hurt our witnesses.

FOREMAN: Still, if the nation's more than 2 million prisoners each talk on the phone for just five minutes a day, that's more than 19 years of continuous talk every day. Too much for anyone to monitor. Bottom line, if an inmate wants to get word to the outside for good or bad, he probably will.

ANGELONE: No matter what you do to put up road blocks, someone who has 24 hours a day to think about is going to find a way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: What an amazing look at what can happen. Tom Foreman reporting for us tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate your being with us. Saturday on CNN please join me for "People in the News," with this fabulous trio, Kirstie Alley, Madonna, and Nicole Kidman. That's at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 p.m. Pacific.

And then on Sunday morning we will have live coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's installation mass. That coverage gets under way at 3:00 a.m. Eastern. I know all of you will be awake then. Have a great weekend. Thanks again for being with us tonight.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

END

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