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CNN NEWSROOM

San Francisco Mayor Apologizes For Affair; British Authorities Foil Alleged Terror Plot; Marketing Stunt Fallout Continues

Aired February 1, 2007 - 15:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.

The stunt that sparked a panic leads to the weirdest news conference we have seen in quite a while. And Boston is not amused.

PHILLIPS: In New Orleans, the latest in a notorious case of alleged mercy killings -- how did four elderly patients die at Memorial Hospital days after Katrina?

LEMON: And a stunning and disturbing story out of Russia -- tiny orphan babies gagged to muffle their crying -- details right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Top of the hour, and we start with a developing story.

Straight to the newsroom now and Fredricka Whitfield working on it for us.

What do you have, Fredricka?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, out of San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom, who gained notoriety for allowing gay marriages in San Francisco, is now in a bit of hot water himself over a sexual relationship with his former campaign manager's wife.

The 39-year-old campaign manager, Alex Tourk, resigned after confronting Mayor Newsom about the affair with his wife, who was also the mayor's appointment secretary.

Mayor Newsom gave this public apology earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAVIN NEWSOM (D), MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: I want to make it clear that everything you have heard and read is true. And I am deeply sorry about that.

I have hurt someone I care deeply about, Alex Tourk, his friends and family. And that is something that I have to live with and something that I am deeply sorry for.

I am also sorry that I have let the people of San Francisco down. They expect a lot of their mayor. And, my personal lapse of judgment aside, I am committed to restoring their trust and confidence, and will work very hard in the upcoming months to make sure that the business of running the city is framed appropriately.

I also want to extend a personal apology to everyone in our administration, to my staff that I just met with, to my friends and my family members. I am deeply sorry, and am accountable for what has occurred, and have now begun the process of reconciling it, and now will be working aggressively to advance our agenda in the city, and to work hard to build again the trust and restore the trust that the people of San Francisco have afforded me.

I appreciate everyone taking the time to be here today. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: That was the entire statement from Mayor Gavin Newsom, who took no questions. He exited the room. And a lot of voters are wondering what this just might do to his political future, given that he has enjoyed a 70 percent approval rating there in the city. And many had thought that perhaps he was on path to run for governor later on.

We will see if this, in any way, jeopardizes that -- Don.

LEMON: Ouch. OK.

Thank you very much, Fredricka.

PHILLIPS: Snow, sleet -- snow, sleet, and lots of icy rain. Winter moves south. And that means delays at the world's busiest airport. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson began canceling flights last night, well ahead of the storm, moving passengers to later flights. The snow fell farther north. Greenville, South Carolina, became a winter wonderland, especially for kids, who cheered every school closing.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Back in the Weather Center, Rob Marciano is tracking the storm system and a few more.

Rob, are the flights back in order now?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, they are deicing. There were some delays in Atlanta, but the past couple of hours have been delay-free there.

What was that, Dave (ph)?

Yes, they're fine, fine for the last hour at last check. There were some delays up in Newark and San Francisco, unrelated with the storm behind me.

Want to throw you -- show you some I-Reports straight away here. We have the -- the luxury of having a video -- a piece of video. You can send your video. We appreciate that as well.

Cherry Log, Georgia, this is Grady Queen, went out on her deck this morning to shoot this video, a little shaky. Need some lights. Our photogs' jobs are not threatened. But we appreciate that I-Report being sent in north Georgia. Some of the mountains up reported -- received five, six inches of wet snow.

All right, on to the next still photography there, also in Georgia, from Ringgold, Georgia. Michael Scroggins, age 9, sent this pick in. Or that is that is him on the trampoline -- his mom certainly screaming as she takes this picture, "Get into the house." He probably enjoyed a nice day of school off there.

All right, let's go to Blairsville, Georgia, also seeing a little bit of snow there, a wet snow, no doubt, as you can see the footprints of Scott Anna as he walked up -- or walked down the sidewalk there. That's likely melting right now.

And you know what? Floridians don't typically get to see a whole lot of snow, nor get to relish in a national championship. And this Gator was excited to roll up a snowball. His fiancee took this picture of him and his first snowball in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I will tell you what, not my fiancee, but it's Reynolds Wolf.

(LAUGHTER)

MARCIANO: Let's go to him in Charlotte, North Carolina...

(LAUGHTER)

MARCIANO: ... where he has been reporting all day for -- for CNN on the snow.

And, Reynolds, it has warmed up just a little bit, has it not?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, absolutely, Rob.

It not only looks better and feels much better here at this time. The snow, while we still have some of that slush that's on the ground, we haven't seen any precipitation in the form of sleet or snowflakes or even raindrops I would say at least for the last three or four hours or so. So, things have improved in that regard.

The roads, earlier, were a little bit of a mess. We had well over 100 accidents around the Charlotte metro area. However, there were no fatalities to report. And, as you look over my shoulder, you can see things are moving fine on I-77, which is great news.

Still, the slush and the snow did make for a lot of work for a lot of people. In fact, take a look at this video. Here's a fellow working in a parking lot using what appears to be like a fertilizer spreader or a seed spreader. He has got some -- it must be some kind of salt or something he is spraying out there to get rid of some of that -- that icy goo. And he certainly had his work cut out for him. But Mother Nature is going to help him, because, tomorrow, we're expecting the temperatures to be well above -- above the freezing point. So, much of that will be gone.

Snow like this doesn't happen all that often in Charlotte, North Carolina. So, when you have these conditions, when you have the snow, and when kids happen to be out of school, those kids have to make the most of it. And that is exactly what they did.

Now, don't laugh. Take a look at these video. These kids are doing the best they can making snowmen with the -- the wet snow that they have, and certainly a great effort. It certainly looks good. And there's no question that they had a fun time out there.

And those snowmen will be all -- again, just part of their memories, because, by tomorrow, we are expecting that warmer air to advect from the south. And, when it does, we're expecting those snowmen to go bye-bye. But who knows.

We still have a ways yet left in this winter season. So, maybe we will have another appearance of that icy snow, but, for the time being, it is certainly looking thumbs up -- Rob, back to you.

MARCIANO: As a meteorologist out there, Reynolds, were you regarded as a hero to those kids who got to play in the snow and take the day off? Were they pretty psyched about that, I assume?

WOLF: You know, I think they -- anyone who has anything to do with weather and anything that has to do with them not being in school today, I think would be associated as a hero.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLF: I mean, you and I both know I'm certainly not a hero.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLF: But, as long as those kids think so, hey, I will -- whatever it takes.

MARCIANO: Nice work. All right, Reynolds, thanks very much.

WOLF: You bet.

MARCIANO: Things obviously improving over there in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As we head towards the rest of the Mid-Atlantic, we're looking at snow that is heading into the eastern parts of Virginia as well, and some heavier rain getting into the northeastern parts of North Carolina, towards the cape.

So, we're watching this. This is going to develop a little bit more as we get farther up towards the north. But temperatures, for the most part, are at or above freezing -- so, not a whole lot of sticking snow expected to be the case. As we head towards I-95 Corridor, as these things get off the Delmarva, sometimes, they can start to really wind up and become a strong nor'easter. We don't think this one is going to do that, but it will be close enough to where we will have a little bit of snow, potentially, over the next 24 hours across the tristate area, back through Jersey, in through Baltimore and D.C.

New York area could see one to three inches of snow throughout the nighttime tonight and during the day tomorrow, and maybe in parts of Connecticut, up to two to four inches of snow.

Winter storm warning for parts of western North Carolina has been dropped -- still a winter advisory up for parts of Virginia, as that storm system continues to head north.

They southern part of this system is the warm sector. And it's pretty strong. There -- you saw that flash of a box there. That's the tornado watch that is out until 10:00 tonight for much of south parts of Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle, a pretty good cluster of storms about to head into Panama City right now.

Not seeing anything as far as a tornado warning out of this, but we will certainly watch out for the potential, as that tornado watch stays in effect until 10:00 tonight.

That's the latest from the weather department. Things are improving, but we will watch this for the potential of rough weather across the Panhandle of Florida. And then it gets plain old cold after that for just everybody east of the Rocky Mountains for the next few days.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: All right, Rob.

MARCIANO: Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Thanks a lot.

MARCIANO: You bet.

PHILLIPS: They have got their suspects and some powerful suspicions, but they want more time.

Police in Birmingham, England, are asking a court for permission to hold nine terror suspects for at least 27 more days without charges. This heavily-guarded police van also arrived at the courthouse, with the suspects believed to be inside.

All are charged in what police call a grisly plot to kidnap, torture and behead a British Muslim soldier.

CNN's international security correspondent, Paula Newton, is on the scene.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Into the early-morning hours here, police were still searching for evidence and keeping their silence. Even as forensic experts continue to sweep the area for a second day, police have confirmed very few details of the alleged plot, saying the investigation is still active; more arrests are possible.

The dramatic raids here in Birmingham have left this Muslim community anxious and on edge.

The details of the alleged plot are bad enough, the kidnap, torture and beheading of an innocent. But the accusation that the target was a Muslim serving in the British army, it is too hideous a detail for many here to believe without proof.

IMAM MUHAMMAD SAJJAD: Take the proper way. Take them to the court and prove and then say that they are guilty. Don't think that every Muslim is potentially dangerous.

NEWTON: And there is another issue nagging at people here, too. For some Muslims, being a foreign soldier fighting on Muslim land is still a spiritual struggle. There are about 300 Muslims serving, out of a total of 180,000 in Britain's armed forces. It means, at times, choosing to serve your country over the Koran.

But some see no contradiction. Zeeshan Hashimi is a British Muslim soldier whose brother has already lost his life serving in Afghanistan. He says he isn't rattled and won't be intimidated.

ZEESHAN HASHIMI, BRITISH MUSLIM SOLDIER: And I like to stand by my beliefs. And I'm not going to let or allow anybody to use their forcefulness into changing my views.

If that had happened, and if I was a Young Turk, a British Muslim, who's thinking of joining the military, I would have still joined it. I live my life by my rules. I'm not going to let anyone else dictate my life.

NEWTON: But the British Ministry of Defense will be reviewing security for its Muslim recruits.

COLONEL BOB STEWART, FORMER BRITISH COMMANDER: Clearly, soldiers might not seen in public as often as they have been recently in uniforms. Soldiers will be warned to be careful about their personal security, and alert states will be revised to consider this threat.

NEWTON (on camera): While one British Muslim soldier remains in protective custody, CNN cannot confirm reports that there could have been as many as 25 on a hit list.

Paula Newton, CNN, Birmingham, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Want to get you back to the breaking news desk, a developing story. Fredricka Whitfield working on it for us.

What do you have, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Well, Don, the national intelligence estimate on Iraq, which is a summation of what is effectively happening and not happening in Iraq, is to find its way to Congress next week.

It is a classified set of information, information gathered by 16 intel agencies, but, apparently, some information will be made public tomorrow.

The director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, told Senator Menendez in the Foreign Relations Committee today that success in Iraq remains possible, saying -- quote -- "Iraq is at a precarious juncture. That means the situation could deteriorate, but that there are prospects for increasing stability in Iraq. And achieving increased stability will depend on several factors, among them, the extent to which the Iraqi government and political leaders can establish effective national institutions that transcend sectarian or ethnic interests" -- these comments coming from John -- John Negroponte earlier today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

So, again, Congress will be getting this NIE, the national intelligence estimate, on Iraq next week, with some portions being made public as early as tomorrow -- Don.

LEMON: Fredricka Whitfield, thank you so much.

Well, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Now felony charges for some, and then there is a hefty security tab for others. The latest on a publicity stunt gone awry, that's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

The tale of the tape, but will jurors get to see it? Ahead in the NEWSROOM, we will have the latest on a legal wrangle at Scooter Libby's perjury trial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A cartoon character gives Boston the finger, and the feeling is apparently mutual.

CNN's Dan Lothian has the latest a marketing stunt that accomplished its mission, sort of, at the expense of a city, a network and who knows what else.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, the two suspects who were arrested yesterday in connection with the scare across the city of Boston were arraigned this morning. Sean Stevens, Peter Berdovsky pleaded not guilty to one count of placing a hoax device and one count of disorderly conduct.

They had been held on $100,000 bail each. That was reduced to $2,500 bail each. After posting that bail, both of the men left the courthouse, walked up to the microphones, and held a very bizarre press conference.

PETER BERDOVSKY, DEFENDANT: What we really want to talk about today, it's -- it's kind of important to some people. It's -- yes, it's kind of important to some people. It's haircuts in the '70s.

LOTHIAN: Everyone, obviously, confused by what these young men were attempting to do.

I asked their attorney what they were up to. And he said it was simply a performance. And I said, well, isn't he afraid that perhaps this could damage his case, whatever that might mean?

And he said: Listen, I think that these guys are just reacting to the pressure of what's been going on in their lives over the past 24 hours or so.

This is, of course, no laughing matter to prosecutors, who say that these devices that were placed across the city of Boston and in the surrounding areas looked like a bomb and disrupted the city. They said that, when you look at these devices, where they were placed, under bridges, near transportation centers -- they had batteries and wires and duct tape -- that that would have been the kind of thing that, if somebody wanted to cause major -- major damage, they would have placed a bomb in those areas.

And, so, they say this is very serious -- the mayor of Boston also saying that Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of Cartoon Network and, of course, CNN, should be held responsible. Cartoon Network is the network that this ad was made for this ad that these young men had placed these devices around the city for. It was a promotional ad -- and the mayor saying that they should be held responsible for this.

Already, we know that the transportation authority, MBTA, which had to shut down buses and trains yesterday, has written a letter to Turner Broadcasting, seeking some compensation for the losses they suffered yesterday.

I'm Dan Lothian, reporting from Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Well, if you never heard of term guerrilla marketing, you have now. That's a nontraditional means of getting people to talk about whatever it is you want them to talk about.

Karl Carter co-founded a company that has done guerrilla marketing for Turner Broadcasting in the past. He thinks what happened in Boston wasn't well thought out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL CARTER, GTM MARKETING: I think this is an example of not thinking about every single possible contingency. And while, you know, the actual devices themselves -- like, if you're fans of it, of this show, then, you will see the character, and it's funny, because you understand where it relates to. But, if you're the general public, you don't have any context.

So, this is probably set up for, like, nightclubs and other sort of scenarios, where the people that are receiving the message, one, will know what it's about, but, also, two, wouldn't be frightened. You know, if you put these in certain environments, like public spaces, in this post-9/11 sensitivity, then, of course, you're going to -- you're going to wind up in trouble. And I just don't think that they thought it all through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, as you have heard, two men face charges over the stunt, but a media law expert says it may be a tough case to prove.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL CALLAN, PROFESSOR, SETON HALL UNIVERSITY: The criminal charges essentially say that there was a deliberate attempt to place a device that looked like a bomb. That is what prosecutors will have to prove, that these men should have known that this light board of a cartoon character looked like a bomb.

And, while it disrupted Boston and it was a terrible thing, I think they're going to have a difficult time convincing a jury that this cartoon character looks like a bomb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Now, as Dan Lothian reported, the two defendants entered not-guilty pleas in court today. A pretrial hearing is set for March 7.

LEMON: Groundhog Day, Iraq style -- troops at Fort Stewart get ready to ship out to Iraq again -- ahead in the NEWSROOM, when surge meets redeployment.

And a stunning and disturbing story out of Russia: tiny orphan babies gagged to muffle their crying.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Muggles, Hogwarts, he who must not be named, you recognize any of those terms? Well, if you do, chances are, you are a "Harry Potter" fan.

Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us about some important news -- first of all, are you a fan?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vicariously, I am.

LEMON: Through other people, right?

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Tell me about it.

LISOVICZ: I have seven little Lisoviczes, our -- my nieces and nephews.

(LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: So, vicariously, I have heard the stories and I have been to some of the movies.

And this is what is the lead here, Don.

LEMON: Big news, huh?

LISOVICZ: July 21, that is when the final "Harry Potter" book will hit store shelves.

J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" will be the seventh and final book in the series. It's the bestselling children's book series of all time. Scholastic, the publisher here in the U.S., says the previous installment was the fastest-selling book in U.S. history. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" sold nearly seven million copies in the U.S. in the first 24 hours alone.

And the price you will have to pay to find out exactly what happens to Harry, $35, small price to pay for big fans, right, Don?

LEMON: Oh, yes, small price.

There was one, though. This one is supposed to be good. At least that's kind of -- we hope. There was one that wasn't so good. It still sold. So, what is the early buzz on this? This is the final chapter, right?

LISOVICZ: Well, this is it, right?

LEMON: Yes.

LISOVICZ: This, theoretically, ties it all up.

The biggest rumor swirling around is whether "Harry Potter" himself survives. Rowling has said, two characters die in the final book. And fans are wondering whether Harry is one of them. She has already killed off some other major characters.

Overall, the "Harry Potter" series has sold 325 million copies worldwide. It's been translated into 64 languages. The new book, by the way, comes out one week after the release date for the fifth "Harry Potter" movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." The first four movies have brought in $3.5 billion worldwide and have made J.K. Rowling, a woman who was once on welfare, a billionaire.

Turning to Wall Street... (LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: ... well, we're not talking about that kind of money, unless you're talking about ExxonMobil's record-high earnings, which are giving the Dow a boost.

Checking the numbers right now, the Dow Jones industrials are up 54 points, or nearly half-a-percent. The Nasdaq composite is up six points, also a quarter-of-a-percent -- shares of GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler all higher, even though sales are not.

GM's January sales tumbled 16 percent. Ford fared even worse. Sales dropped 19 percent, largely because of a pullback in sales to car rental companies. But DaimlerChrysler managed to gain 3 percent last month. And Toyota continues to gain market share. Its U.S. sales heated up by 5 percent.

I will be back in 30 minutes for the closing bell.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone.

I'm Kyra Phillips live in the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

Four elderly patients in critical condition, and they all died at New Orleans Memorial Hospital in the days after Katrina. Now, some say they were deliberately killed. The latest on the complex case right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, talk about tough job interviews. This is General George Casey, outgoing commander of the U.S. troops in Iraq. He's nominated by the President for Army Chief of Staff, but Senate confirmation is no rubber stamp. The general's evaluators are the among his harshest and most powerful critics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Do you believe that the job -- the new job can be done with less than five brigades that General Petraeus says he needs?

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF NOMINEE: I believe that the job in Baghdad, as it's designed now, can be done with less than that. But having the flexibility, to have the other three brigades on a deployment cycle gives us -- gives General Petraeus great flexibility. It allows him to make assessments on whether the plan is working or not and to either reinforce success, maintain momentum or put more forces in a place where the plans are not working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Several senators say they are skeptical. But the Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin says he'll vote to confirm.

Now, whether senators agree with the president's plan or not, it won't change the immediate future of thousands of troops. They are headed to Iraq, many for the second or the third time.

CNN's Sean Callebs reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Real bullets, real rockets, and members of the 37th Cavalry know the reality is, resolution or no resolution, they are getting ready to join soldiers being sent to Iraq.

PVT. CHRISTOPHER WEISENBERGER, U.S. ARMY: You can always train more, but we train with the time we have, and we get to see our families when we get to see our families. So I'm ready to go.

CALLEBS: But before reaching Baghdad, soldiers at Ft. Stewart are caught in a different kind of battle, a struggle between President Bush and senators who are supporting a non-binding resolution that says adding 21,000 more troops is against the U.S. national interest.

SGT. LARRY MITCHELL, U.S. ARMY: Reality is reality. So, you can ignore the negative stuff, but it's still going to be there.

CALLEBS: Training to go house to house, door to door, troops know just what to do. But a confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration is something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see our solders that were focused on what we have to do, and making -- making sure that we're going to make a positive difference with the Iraqi people and with ourselves. And we'll let the rest of it take care of it.

CALLEBS: It's a sacrifice for people like 25-year-old mother of two Carlia Mulholland. She is getting ready to say good-bye to her husband, a tank commander who is heading to Iraq for the third time.

CARLIA MULHOLLAND, WIFE OF SOLDIER: I don't really like going -- having him go back over again. And sometimes, you know, you get to the point where you're like, it's been enough. But he's our president.

CALLEBS: As the war goes, in many ways so does Hinesville, Georgia, home to Ft. Stewart. Those who have loved ones in Iraq say harsh reality means more than heated rhetoric.

CAROLINE CRISSMAN, WIFE OF SOLDIER: Frustrating to deal with. This all fighting over here when, no matter what you decide, my husband's still over there and still in harm's way.

CALLEBS (on camera): Troops will be training here next week, the same time the Senate is scheduled to discuss the resolution. President Bush has said it sends the wrong message and could embolden the enemy. The commanders here say it is their job to insulate troops and prepare them for the mission at hand, which is to fight an increasingly unpopular war.

Sean Callebs, CNN, Ft. Stewart, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Four New Orleans police officers still face murder charges. But they won't face capital charges in a shooting on the Danziger Bridge in the post-Katrina chaos.

CNN's Drew Griffin is here with the details.

Just one of the number of stories you've been investigating in New Orleans?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I think this move is not a really big surprise, Kyra. These are police officers who were in the line of duty when they were accused of shooting and killing two men on the Danziger Bridge. This was in the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina.

Here are those officers getting supported as they actually turned themselves in to face these charges. You can see a lot of the NOPD brethren in there giving them hugs. And there have been an endless stream of support and fundraisers going on in New Orleans for these officers. So the decision today by District Attorney Eddie Jordan not to seek the death penalty, I think is not a huge surprise. It would have been a surprise if he had actually....

PHILLIPS: Was it lack of evidence? Or it just didn't come forward as a strong a case as...

GRIFFIN: No, I think -- you know, they haven't had a real -- I don't think a jury's reached a death penalty verdict in New Orleans since 1997, even in a city that has a lot of bad crime.

PHILLIPS: Right.

GRIFFIN: So you have to in New Orleans, in the community of New Orleans, have to cross a threshold. These officers clearly didn't go out that morning and plan and plot to kill anybody. They probably didn't even plan to plot to shoot their weapons. So I think intent had a lot to do with it. The surrounding circumstances, the mitigating factors, the fact they were New Orleans police officers licensed to carry guns by the New Orleans Police Department.

PHILLIPS: And it was crazy at that time, right? I mean, that bridge was -- I mean, there were hundreds and hundreds of people working their way around New Orleans in certain areas. I mean...

GRIFFIN: Well, there was a lot of chaos in the city and there was certainly reported chaos going on. And what the officers thought they were responding to at the time was officers down, shooting going on. There's a lot of things that were happening and were not happening at the time. But in the end, you have this situation where unarmed man, particularly one unarmed mentally retarded man, was gunned down in the back, did not have a weapon. That's why the charges were filed in this case. But it's also why I don't think they would go for a death penalty at all.

PHILLIPS: All right. Another story that you were investigating broke a lot of news on, these nurses being held accountable for alleged allegations of euthanasia. These patients -- which hospital was it?

GRIFFIN: It was Memorial hospital...

PHILLIPS: Memorial Hospital.

GRIFFIN: ... owned by Tenet Healthcare. And it was Dr. Anna Pou (ph) and two nurses, Lori Budo and Cheri Landry. And today, the news is that the coroner says even after all of the investigation that he's done and sent toxicology out to many different consultants, he has yet to determine the cause of death and, in fact, is sending to the district attorney a report that says right now, these cases have undetermined death. That's being spun in a lot of different ways, meaning is this case falling apart? No, it just means that he can't classify the deaths as either a homicide, an accident, natural cause or suicide at this time.

PHILLIPS: But when you broke a number of the stories, you exposed what the levels of these toxic chemicals were in the bodies.

GRIFFIN: Actually, that came out from the attorney general's office who, at the time, when he announced the charges against these people, said these were elevated to the lethal potential and there is no way, according to the Attorney General Charles Fodi, that you could have these levels of, specifically, morphine in a body for kind of palliative care. It just was not possible, according to the attorney general, which is why he then went ahead and filed the charges.

Now you have this coroner, Coroner Frank Minyard, coming out, saying, "Well, it's unclassified."

PHILLIPS: Sounds fishy. Is it fishy?

GRIFFIN: It's New Orleans and there are a lot of things going on. But in the end in this case, there is a grand jury we believe being impaneled right now or in the next few weeks that's going to hear this case. And they're not just going to hear from the coroner, they are going to hear from the testimony from witnesses, from other doctors that we've talked to who were in that hospital at the time, all of the witnesses that have gone to the attorney general's office explaining what they saw, what they heard, and what they feel happened at that hospital. And then that grand jury will decide whether or not Dr. Anna Pou and these two nurses will be charged with second-degree murder.

PHILLIPS: We'll follow it.

Thanks, Drew.

LEMON: Well, at the Lewis Libby trial, a tug of war over a videotape. Just moments ago the judge agreed to let prosecutors show clips from a 2003 White House press briefing. Lawyers for Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, wanted the tape suppressed. The tape shows then-Press Secretary Scott McClellan discussing the leak that blew the cover off CIA operative Valerie Plame. The government hopes to show Libby was eager to cover up his discussions of Plame with reporters. He stands accused of lying to the FBI and on obstructing the investigation.

PHILLIPS: One last search off the California coast for renowned computer scientist Jim Gray, who hasn't been heard of since Sunday morning. At the time that the 63 year-old Gray made a call from his 40 foot yacht, which he had taken out to scatter his mother's ashes at sea.

Gray is a well-known figure in the computing world, and a number of Silicon Valley firms have offered their help. Now, the Coast Guard says it will suspend the search if nothing turns up today.

LEMON: And a stunning and disturbing story out of Russia. Tiny orphan babies gagged to muffle their cries. Details ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A moment of darkness in the city of light. The Eiffel Tower is one of several monuments going dark for five minutes tonight as part of a campaign to spotlight global warming. Scientists and representatives from 113 countries are meeting in Paris to release a strongly worded report on climate change. They do that tomorrow. Climate expert Heidi Cullen says rising seas levels are a particular concern.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIDI CULLEN, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: The sea level rise issue is especially one that needs to be discussed and we need to talk about more in the sense that it sounds like this creeping issue that is far off in the future.

But it's something where once we reach a point of warmer temperatures where we're pretty much locked into ice caps melting and a lot of the new science that's come out recently suggests that the sea ice is melting faster than we thought. So not to be alarmist or to draw some kind of a catastrophe level, but the seal level rise is a very big one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well some critics say today's blackout in Paris and other world cities is not a good way to conserve energy because there's a power spike when the lights are turned back on.

PHILLIPS: It's a story that touched a national nerve in the former Soviet Union, babies being mistreated at Russian hospitals. Mobile phone video reveals what otherwise might have remained an appalling secret. CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Grainy images that have shocked Russia. Babies in a state hospital gagged to stop them crying.

Just a few days old, some have white tape across their mouths. Others have pacifiers tightly strapped in. All of them are orphans.

The mobile phone video was recorded by a patient who was in the hospital in the city of Yekaterinburg with her own children. She reported the case after hearing the babies' muffled cries.

ELENA KURITSINA, SHOT MOBILE PHONE VIDEO (voice-over): I was shocked. What if the children throw up? What kind of harassment is it to seal up their mouths like this just so the nurses wouldn't be distracted?

CHANCE: But when Kuritsina complained, she says she was told by staff to mind her own business. The nurse who gagged the babies no longer works at the hospital, but others on duty at the time say gagging is normal practice.

The problem is babies spit the pacifiers out, this nurse explains to Russian television. She says the tape is meant to hold them in. There seems to be a spate of headline grabbing baby abuse scandals in Russia.

In the country's far east, officials confirm a 3-year-old child in this state kindergarten was injected with sedatives by a nursery assistant to keep her quiet during afternoon naps. Russian prosecutors have promised action in both cases. But with chronic understaffing of many Russian medical facilities, there is concern practices like this could be widespread. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Well France kicks butt and leaves thousands of smokers out in the cold. Don't call it gaperie (ph) today, my friends. We'll have the story in a few.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Let's go straight to the White House. Suzanne Malveaux is standing by with more information on this intelligence estimate coming out of Iraq. What do we know, Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is certainly a lot of anticipation about this document. And of course, this is something that is compiled by 16 different intelligence agencies. It is really about the security situation, the vulnerabilities, the threats to the United States regarding Iraq.

Now, the president and the vice president do not give input in this document, but as you know, of course Kyra, this has become a highly politicized document with people looking at it basically cherry-picking to support their own views. Before this has even been released, a lot of complaints at this time from members of Congress about the timing of the release. They say, look, they have been looking for this, asking for this since August. It has taken six months. They note that it took just three weeks for the administration to produce an NIE regarding the buildup for the case in Iraq just three weeks back in 2002.

They also complained here that they did not have a full picture of the kind of threat in Iraq. And they've already weighed in on this idea of troop surge.

So they are not pleased about this already. We have had a rare chance, however, to listen to the DNI, John Negroponte. He's been on the hot seat, his Senate confirmation hearings. And he has offered an alternative, saying, "Look, the last time we did this in three weeks, it was riddled with holes, there was no WMD." So, of course, they're taking their time in releasing this and compiling this.

We've also gotten a rare glimpse of what we think this is going to entail. No surprises here. We've heard from Negroponte, saying, "Look, they're going to say this is a precarious situation, but not an impossible situation, that they believe in the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that he, in fact, can turn the corner, turn things around, but that it is going to be very, very difficult."

Kyra, expect when this thing is officially released, there's going to be a huge debate here in Washington. They're going to look to see whether or not the dissenting voices in the document or if they're hidden away, whether or not their intelligence is cherry- picked, if you will, and whether or not it is accurate -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll keep talking about it and we'll talk with you.

Thanks, Suzanne.

LEMON: And here's more proof smokers are fighting a losing battle. The French, among the world's most passionate puffers, are telling smokers to take it outside.

From Paris, CNN's Jim Bittermann.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There they were, the huddled masses, the smokers of France, overnight forced out of their offices and into the streets by a ban against lighting up in public buildings that's now in effect across the land.

Just as elsewhere in the developed world, this country, where everyone from Belle Mondo (ph) to Bardot to the President of the Republic has been seen at one time or another blowing smoke. France now has decided it's time to quit, perhaps because it's been coming for some time or because most everyone here is familiar with the health dangers. Those out braving the February weather to light up seemed in grudging agreement that the new law might not be a bad thing.

SANDRINE PAGNARD, COMPUTER EXPERT: I think it's fair, yes.

BITTERMANN (on camera): And will you stop now?

PAGNARD: No, no. In a few weeks, maybe.

JEROME IZEMBAR, INSURANCE ACTUARY: For the moment in the streets and I'm sure I'll stop.

No, no. Perhaps, that's better I think for my baby, for my family and for the other people, for my colleagues.

PIERRE FRANCOIS, LAWYER: It is miserable. But it is the law. And in France we respect the law. At least for a while. At least for a while.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): It's not just health concerns that are driving the new law. One economist estimated the cost of each smoker to employers at 4,000 Euros, more than $5,000 per year, mainly from lost time.

To help cut down on the time which will now be lost by smokers leaving the building for a cigarette break, some employers are going to the expense of installing special smoking cabins, which the law permits. They are equipped with air locks and powerful extraction fans to make sure smokers keep it to themselves.

But the new law is not air-tight.

(on camera): There are some exceptions, of course. Smoking will be permitted in bars and cafes for another year and in those places known as home substitutes: hotels, retirement homes and jail cells. And authorities say they'll be fairly lenient with psychiatric patients.

(voice-over): Some here say you would have to be a little off to start smoking now with all the new restrictions.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right. Well, if you can't smoke, you might as well sleep, right? As if a 35 hour wasn't cush enough, considering how much we work, France's health minister has ordered a study of whether employees should be allowed to nap on the job. Se la zzzzz (ph).

PHILLIPS Closing bell -- yes, se la z (ph).

Closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street straight ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: That song is going to stuck in my head now. Ever have a song stuck in their head but didn't know what it was?

Well, we know that this is the "Macarena". We don't know how do it.

Well, everybody's had that song stuck in their head. A new music website could save your sanity. Unlike the other two naming sites, Midomi.com uses voice recognition. Just sing, hum or whistle a few bars into your computer microphone and, presto, the website will name the tune.

What about this? Dun-dun-dun-nuh-nuh. Dun-nun-nuh-nuh.

Which one is that?

PHILLIPS: I think that's the "SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf, we won't make you do the "Macarena", but you can go ahead and tell us what's coming up at the top of the Sit Room.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Who did sing the "Macarena"? Whose song was the "Macarena"?

LEMON: I can't remember the name of that song.

PHILLIPS: Can you remember?

LEMON: We'll have it for you on the other side.

BLITZER: I need that information.

Coming up at the top of the hour, a split on the war. Congress challenges the president as violence rages in Iraq.

Plus, A CNN exclusive: inside Iran. Our Christiane Amanpour is in Tehran right now. We'll get a special report on the tensions between Iran and the U.S. also not political.

Also, not political. The vice president's openly gay daughter, Mary Cheney, explains her decision to have a baby.

And City Hall sex scandal. The mayor of San Francisco now admits having an affair with his campaign manager's wife. Will this knock him off the national stage?

All that coming up right here in the "SITUATION ROOM".

Do you got the answer yet guys?

LEMON: Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh. Los Del Rio.

BLITZER: All right, you're good.

PHILLIPS: Wolf, the most annoying song for you.

BLITZER: Never mind.

PHILLIPS: Did I put you on the spot?

BLITZER: No, you got me on the spot.

LEMON: Thanks, Wolf.

PHILLIPS: See you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Take a look at this painting. It's not what it appears. The image of India's president is literally floating. That's right. The canvas is a pool of water. Rubber barriers keep the paints from blending together. The project took nine artists about 14 hours to complete. The painting was a tribute to India's Republic Day.

LEMON: That's cool.

PHILLIPS: Yes, isn't that neat?

LEMON: Yes.

PHILLIPS: There's some neat art in India.

I've actually been there and seen it.

LEMON: The next person's neat.

PHILLIPS: Susan Lisovicz, she's more than neat. She's beautiful, more beautiful than the "Mona Lisa".

(MARKET REPORT)

LISOVICZ: Now let's go to the "SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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