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Zacarias Moussaoui Criticizes Lawyers' Strategies; Man Accused Of Killing Grandmother, Five Relatives; Just How Threatening Is A Nuclear Iran?; Legislator Proposes Banning Hallucinogenic Herb After Teen's Suicide

Aired April 13, 2006 - 13:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Kyra Phillips.
Zacarias Moussaoui take two. The admitted 9/11 conspirator is taking his fate into his own hands one last time, again taking questions on the witness stand in his death penalty trial in Virginia.

Let's get straight to Jeanne Meserve in Alexandria -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, the testimony has been all about Moussaoui's dislike and distrust of his legal team. They have had a very fractious relationship. He has said repeatedly, "They do not represent me." He represented himself for awhile until the judge put an end to that.

Today on the stand, he expanded on his displeasure with his attorneys, accusing them of criminal non-assistance, criminal non- assistance of defense counsel, he said. He criticized them for not asking for a change of venue, pointing out that this courthouse some' few miles many not Pentagon, which was hit on 9/11.

He accused them of wanting fame, and said, "You put your vested interests above my interest to save my life."

He also said that he had asked from the very beginning for a Muslim lawyer to represent him in court, but that had not happened, although one Muslim lawyer from Texas had volunteered his services free. He said, "I wanted to have someone in court who I could trust."

Moussaoui then went on to criticize the strategy that his defense counsel has been employing. He says that in conversations with them, he has told them that their strategy to bring up his mental health, to portray him, in his words, as crazy, would not work. And he suggested to them an alternative approach they might take. Specifically, he told them that they should try to tell the jury that life in prison would be worse than death and that they should deny him martyrdom, which is something he might like.

And, third he suggested that he might be useful at some future date as a bargaining chip. Perhaps, he said, if some Americans were taken captive in Iraq or Afghanistan, he could be traded and would end up saving an American life.

Of course, this all indicates that Moussaoui wants to live rather than die, which would some to contradict why he testified in the first phase of his trial. You remember that he went on the stand previously and said that he had had a role in 9/11, that he and Richard Reid were supposed to have hijacked a fifth plane that was going to fly into the White House that day. He also said that he had not told investigators everything he knew about the 9/11 plot so the plot could go forward.

Asked why he did that, why he testified that way, if he didn't want the death penalty, he said, "Well, this might not be understandable to you who are not Muslims, but I was putting my trust in my god." Moussaoui expected to go back on the stand when trial resumes in about half an hour -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Jeanne, did he say anything about the victims or say anything to the victims' families, or was this just all about him?

MESERVE: No, this is still the very early phases. The defense here is trying to illustrate whether -- that Moussaoui thinks that people are trying to kill him. They keep saying specifically do you think we're going to kill you? Do you think the judge is going to kill you? Do you think the prosecutors want to kill you? So they're trying to establish part of their case here.

There's been no opportunity at this point in time for him to have said anything relative to the victims or their families.

PHILLIPS: Any kind of reaction from the jury after he got up there and spoke?

MESERVE: No, no. I've been sitting near the jury this morning. And they seem to be watching with very little expression on their faces. He has said things, as he has in the past, as he left the courtroom. "Victory to Moussaoui" and things of that ilk, but generally says those things after the jury has left the courtroom. While they are in there he's been very calm, reasoned, and -- and coherent on the stand.

One interesting thing I should mention, Kyra, there have been a lot of references to popular American culture, which you might not expect from someone of Mr. Moussaoui's background. He's referred to "Uncle Tom," "Chicken George," who of course was a character in "Roots". Also referred to "Silence of the Lambs". So I don't know where he learned so much about us, but apparently a student of American culture -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Interesting twist, Jeanne. Jeanne Meserve, outside the courthouse, thanks.

A blood-spattered crime scene in a sleepy Pennsylvania town. Police now say it's a homicide, times six. All the victims died violently, all of them related.

CNN's Chris King is in Leola, Pennsylvania, where a person of interest is now a person under arrest.

Chris, what do we know?

CHRIS KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kyra. What we know is this is a gruesome scene here in Pennsylvania. This is where it all happened. Take a look over here. As you can see, police tape is still up around the house here at 81 East Main Street in Leola. Police are still on the scene.

They have arrested Jesse Wise, age 21. Police say Wise killed his grandmother, Emily Wise, two aunts and three cousins.

Now, this is in the heart of Amish country, just about 75 miles west of Philadelphia. Authorities held a press conference earlier, and here's what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JOHN BOWMAN, EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT: There is a relationship in that the deceased, Emily Wise, would be the grandmother of the accused. And the other deceased at this point would be cousins or some type of blood relationship along those lines, from what we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, five of the bodies were found yesterday afternoon inside the house. The sixth body was found this morning. The Lancaster medical examiner is listing the cause of death as, quote, "multiple traumatic injuries" -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So, Chris, do we know anything about motivation at this point?

KING: Well, so far no word yet on motivation. But there is a preliminary hearing scheduled for this afternoon. Perhaps we'll hear more on a motive -- on a motive at that point.

PHILLIPS: All right, Chris King, we'll stay in touch, thanks.

Out of the shadows, into the headlines. You're watching night vision surveillance video of what agents say are people, clients of a human smuggling ring, sneaking across the U.S. border from Canada. Most are said to be from India or Pakistan, making their way into Washington state from British Columbia. Some allegedly paid as much as $35,000. About 50 of them have been arrested. So far, 14 men on both sides of the border have been indicted for running the smuggling operation.

Iran is a nuclear power; get used to it. That's the line today in so many words from Iran's president, still pulling one way while much of the outside world pulls the other.

The head of the U.N.'s nuclear agency is in Tehran now, trying to, again, persuade Iran to toe the lines by the Security Council. Mohamed ElBaradei did tell reporters today that he hasn't see any diversion of nuclear materials for weapons, so he said the picture is, quote, "still hazy."

So anyway, what's the big deal? Even if Iran does develop the bomb, it certainly won't be the first, even in its own neighborhood. But the key, as always, is context.

CNN's European political editor Robin Oakley casts some light on the bigger picture.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR (voice-over): From the outside looking in, an Iran believed to be seeking nuclear weapons can look pretty frightening. All these countries would be within range of an Iranian weapon coupled with a standard missile delivery system.

But what if you're inside Iran looking out? Then you see yourself surrounded by countries which already have nuclear weapons. Pakistan has them. So does India. So does Russia. Much closer, so does Israel. Iranians have to be seen in context.

ROSEMARY HOLLIS, INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: They have the Americans on the western border in Iraq on their eastern border in Afghanistan. They have India and Pakistan standing off against each other with nuclear power to the east. They have a very suspicious Arab world to the south. They want to assert their regional influence, but history tells them that they cannot trust anyone.

OAKLEY: The western world's voice is clear, Iran is entitled to a civil nuclear program but not a jot more.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.

OAKLEY: But how consistent is the west? Not so long ago, President Bush was in India, offering them nuclear cooperation. Unlike some neighbors, Iran has never yet attacked anybody, and it signed up to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

HOLLIS: Countries which have not signed the nonproliferation treaty like Israel, like India, like Pakistan, have been able to develop the bomb, whereas Iran, which has signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, is being more seriously dealt with, more stringently dealt with, than those who have flouted the whole principle.

OAKLEY: That treaty called, too, for existing nuclear powers to whittle down their nuclear stockpiles. So how much has been done?

HOLLIS: There has been no progress on those powers in the world that have already developed the technology and have nuclear weapons arsenals, giving them up or scaling them back or, indeed, demonstrating to non-nuclear powers that you're perfectly safe without them.

OAKLEY: Iran hasn't made life easier for itself by supporting terrorists outside its borders or by electing a president who says Israel should be wiped off the map.

(on camera) It hasn't helped, either that Iran lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency for two decades about its nuclear program. But if that past dishonesty has convinced others the country is lying now when it says it's only developing only nuclear power not weapons, there's a whiff of hypocrisy, too, about those making the case against Iran.

Robin Oakley, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Two ships, one bay, heavy fog. Now there's only one ship. The bay is in Tokyo. Two freighters collided this morning. The one you see here from the Philippines was carrying steel and 25 crew members. The crew's safe. The ship and steel are lost. The other ship is a Japanese freighter carrying animal feed. None of its five crew members are hurt.

Don't look now, but hurricane season is seven weeks away. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen led the federal response to Katrina. He joins me to talk about the next big storm and his new big assignment. Our exclusive interview straight ahead on LIVE FROM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Standoff in Baltimore. Carol Lin working the live pictures and the information for us -- Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Kyra, it looks like a hostage situation inside a police substation in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is what CNN has been able to confirm, that there is a suspect, reportedly a narcotic suspect, drug suspect. He's holding not a police officer hostage but a civilian employee right now. This happened right during the lunch hour about an hour ago.

And the wires, also "The Baltimore Sun" newspaper up there reporting it's in a building called the Northeastern District Building and that the suspect is holding some kind of sharp-edged weapon.

We don't know whether negotiations are going on right now, but we do know that that is the situation on the ground. And as soon as we hear more, especially about the safety, hopefully, of this civilian employee, we'll let you know.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Carol, we'll track it.

Well, it's as easy to buy as a pack of gum, but it may pack the danger of a loaded gun. It's salvia, a mind-altering herb that's -- that's perfectly legal in 48 states, though that may soon become 47.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has this story that you may have seen first on "ANDERSON COOPER 360".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATHY CHIDESTER, MOTHER: See this one?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kathy and Dennis Chidester had one child. His name, Brett. K. CHIDESTER: There, he wanted to go to San Francisco and he says, "I've got to see the Rice-a-Roni treat," and there was the cable car with the Rice-a-Roni on the back.

TUCHMAN: Memories are all they're left with. Earlier this year, Dennis found his 17-year-old son in the garage of his Delaware home.

DENNIS CHIDESTER, FATHER: He was laying in the fetal position on his jacket. And right away, I felt his body was cold. And so I called 911 and said, "My son -- you know, my son's committed suicide."

K. CHIDESTER: I thought I would wake up and it would be a mistake. There's no way that he would ever do anything like that. Not the son that I knew. Not the boy that we raised.

TUCHMAN: At first, the Chidesters had no idea why Brett, a straight "A" student, killed himself with carbon monoxide. But hey remembered he had experimented with a drug they had never heard of before, an herb called salvia divinorum, the world's most potent natural hallucinogen, a drug that is not against the law in most of the U.S.

K. CHIDESTER: He said, "Mom, it's legal. You know, there's nothing wrong with it. I can -- I can get it and there's -- it's -- there's no problem with it."

TUCHMAN: Kathy says her son did agree to stop using salvia. But after reading his suicide note, she doesn't think he stopped.

K. CHIDESTER: He wrote, "How could I go on living after I knew the secret of life? It's taken me 17 years, but I figured it out. I can't tell it to you here, of course."

TUCHMAN: The Chidesters believe salvia contributed to their son's death, and the Delaware state legislature took notice.

KAREN PETERSON, DELAWARE STATE SENATOR: If kids think they can fly and start jumping out windows, that's a public safety concern to me.

TUCHMAN: State Senator Karen Peterson introduced legislation to have Delaware follow in the footsteps of Louisiana and Missouri and criminalize salvia distribution and possession. In every other state, it's legal.

PETERSON: The bill, by the way, is named after Brett. It's called Brett's Law.

TUCHMAN (on camera): In the states where salvia is legal, it is very easy to buy. We walked into this smoke shop here in Georgia and $20 later, we bought a package of salvia.

And the courteous salesman inside gave us this informational sheet talking about salvia. It says that when used in small doses, the user feels relaxing state of mind, uncontrolled fits of laughing. When used in larger amounts, it continues, intense laughter and meditational epiphanies can occur.

(voice-over) Salvia is smoked and chewed and has been used by indigenous people in Mexico for perhaps hundreds of years, but there's limited scientific knowledge about it. The number of users in the U.S. is small but growing.

The co-director of the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies says many in law enforcement and lawmaking have also not heard of salvia, despite the fact that it's readily available on the Internet.

PROF. STEVEN MARTIN, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE: It's been particularly found that heavy doses of salvia can lead to depression, particularly after use of the drug, that it leads to a sort of an after-effect of depression.

TUCHMAN: Many who advocate salvia use believe it should be regulated but not criminalized.

Daniel Siebert is a California botanist who studies medicinal plants and sells salvia on a web site. He believes it's a meditative tool that can actually help depression.

DANIEL SIEBERT, BOTANIST: You know, to me, I see it as a gift from nature. And to legislate some little piece of nature as being out of bounds for human beings just seems illogical to me.

TUCHMAN: Early this month, Brett's Law came to the Delaware Senate floor.

(voice-over) What was the vote in the state senate to make it illegal?

PETERSON: It was 21-0.

TUCHMAN: The state house is expected to soon follow suit. The law would allow salvia to be medically researched.

(on camera) These are things you never forget.

(voice-over) The Chidesters look at Brett's Law as their son's legacy, even as they look at Brett's videotapes and wonder what they could have or should have done differently.

K. CHIDESTER: We both lost our dads. And we thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen. But, you know, you expect to lose your parents. You don't ever expect to bury a 17-year-old son and your only child.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: You can join "ANDERSON COOPER 360" weeknights at 10 p.m. Eastern. Straight ahead, it's like firing up an old furnace, only much more complicated. A young girl's transplanted heart is replaced by her original heart after 10 years. And the beat goes on when LIVE FROM continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: A story now that will no doubt warm your heart. It's all about a 12-year-old girl whose heart is beating on its own for the first time in 10 years.

Hannah Clark had a transplant when she was a toddler. Recently, though, her anti-rejection drug started causing complications. Hanna's own heart was still in her chest, so doctors took a chance. They removed the donor heart, and the original one took over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH CLARK, HANNAH'S MOTHER: Didn't think it would ever be done but I'm so glad we're in the situation, that it was done. But, also, because if it wasn't for the donor heart, donor registry, then Hannah wouldn't be here today to have this operation done. So the donor is -- the main people, really, which we're thankful for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Hannah's case is so unique that doctors aren't speculating on her long-term prognosis. But she went home after less than a week after surgery, and the hospital says she's doing really well.

Well, Michael Jackson is still in the news, this time not for his legal troubles but for his money woes. You could call it a financial thriller, guess. Let's get the story from Susan Lisovicz, who joins us live from the New York Stock Exchange.

Hey, Susan,

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kyra.

You know, there's been so much discussion about Michael Jackson's emotional state, how fragile he is, given all of his legal woes. Well, his financial health has been just as precarious. And now Michael Jackson, the so-called King of Pop, may be on the verge of selling one of his most prized assets to pay off his colossal debts.

According to published reports, Mr. Jackson is near a deal to refinance hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to avoid bankruptcy. But it requires the sale of half of his stake in the music catalog. That's why we're hearing these Beatle songs. It includes 250 classic songs such as "Hey Jude," "Let it Be," "Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Revolution," a very prized asset, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: so how much is the stake really worth? I mean, will it be enough to help Jackson get back on track? LISOVICZ: It's a big question, Kyra. Because Michael Jackson's lavish lifestyle has put him in this predicament in the first place. But there's no question that this asset, this music catalog, has paid off handsomely for him.

In 1985, he bought this catalog for $47 million. Ten years later, he sold half of it to Sony for practically double, $95 million. Now this catalog is worth $1 billion in total. He owns half of it. So half a billion dollars. He wants to sell half of that, $250 million.

But then there's his lavish lifestyle. This is a guy who just doesn't only get hotel rooms: he takes floors. He flies in private jets. And this catalogue, by the way, I mean, includes other well- known songs such as "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, "Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan. So quite a bit there -- Kyra.

(STOCK REPORT)

LISOVICZ: And we want to tell you that still ahead, an interesting idea for parents: keeping track of your kids by satellite. I'll tell you how that works in the next hour. I don't think a lot of kids will like that.

Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: No kidding. All right, Susan. Thanks.

Well, he's been in the eye of the storm. Up next, he's in our newsroom. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen joins me to talk about Katrina and the storms yet to come when LIVE FROM comes back, right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Fatal failure to communicate. Well, the Dallas County sheriff's office lays some of the potential blame for last year's catastrophic bus explosion on the driver's lack of fluency in English.

You might recall, that blast happened in the rush to flee the Texas Gulf Coast just ahead of Hurricane Rita. Well, the driver, a Mexican national, was cleared by the grand jury, but the sheriff's report notes that he was, quote, "unable to communicate with passengers regarding emergency exits prior to trip and could not give them adequate warning that there were problems when the bus caught fire." Twenty-three people were killed.

Brown out? Ex-FEMA director Michael Brown says he won't be a paid consultant for Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish, but he will offer free advice. Some in the parish objected to hiring the man many blame for the botched response to Hurricane Katrina to help them navigate the federal bureaucracy.

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