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Senate Fails to Pass Iraq Resolution; Pause to Party in New Orleans
Aired February 17, 2007 - 13:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Showdown in the Senate over the president's plan for Iraq, an unusual Saturday vote happening right now. The results live this hour.
A Britney Spears shocker. The pop star has shaved her head. Her dramatic self-makeover captured all on tape.
And not in the will, major legal confusion over Anna Nicole Smith's fortune. Who is left out and who gets her inheritance?
I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you're in the NEWSROOM.
Challenging President Bush on Iraq in the Senate, procedural voting under way on a Democratic resolution that rebukes the president for planning to send more than 21,000 additional combat troops to Iraq. CNN's Dana Bash is on the Hill with the very latest -- Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well they very latest, Fredricka, is that the vote is under way and could be wrapping up in the next few minutes. The Senate is -- exactly what they're voting on is a procedural motion to go ahead and finally get the Senate unlocked in the deadlock that they've been in, over the whole question of whether or not it is right or wrong to send more troops to Iraq, as is the president's plan.
But the bottom line, Fredricka is at the end of the day, this rare Saturday vote, the Senate is very likely, almost sure, is to be in the same position that it was when it started this vote, which is deadlocked. Now, essentially, the reason why we're having this Saturday vote is because Senate Democrats in the majority felt pressure and they are under pressure from the folks in their -- in their constituencies, but also by -- they essentially feel pressure by the American people, that they are now in control of the United States Senate and they understand that the big message from November's election was to try to change -- force the president to change course in Iraq, and they believe that this is the first way to do it.
And the House, of course, debated all week and did have a vote condemning the president yesterday. So the Senate decided before three go home for a week-long recess, to make sure that they try one last time to vote. But what we are going to see is a repeat, essentially a repeat of what we saw about two weeks ago, and that is Republicans, for the most part, will vote against this.
Why? Because they say it is a matter of fairness. They say Democrats are not allowing them to bring up their resolution. Their resolution in this case is specifically to make sure that it is clear that Congress will not cut funding for troops in Iraq.
Now, already we know that there have been four Republicans who have broken with their party and voted with the Democrats to proceed to this issue. But we do not believe that in the end the Democrats will have the 60 votes necessary for this to be approved -- Fredricka.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: What's interesting, too, Dana, is among the senators who are on the campaign trail for presidential politics in 08, you've got Barack Obama, who broke with his schedule to come back, Hillary Clinton, who has done the same, Joe Biden. But also on the trail is John McCain who said this essentially -- this vote is disrespectful of the U.S. troops, and he decided to continue campaigning. He's not there among the other senators making a vote.
BASH: That's right. John McCain said exactly what you just described, that he had already planned to be gone from Washington, to be out on the campaign trail, and he had no desire to come back, because he has said over and over here in the Senate that he does not -- first of all, he supports the president's policy to send more troops to Iraq. He has supported that for some time. But he also believes that this kind of non-binding resolution that has no force of law is, as you said, inappropriate.
It is interesting and has been interesting this afternoon, Fredricka, to see the Democrats who are running for president racing, screeching into the Capitol, in order to make sure that their votes are cast. Hillary Clinton, for example, she was in New Hampshire just this morning. She is back and is casting a vote with her party in favor of this resolution to oppose the president's plan.
Barack Obama was scheduled to come back. As of now, our producer, Ted Barrett, who is on the lookout for him, has not seen him yet, but we certainly expect him. And we also expect Joe Biden, another Democrat runing for president, and Chris Dodd to be here. Because, look, they understand for their constituencies, this is the big issue.
This is the issue that is going to define and direct voters in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, how they're going to vote. And it's interesting. Just on the issue of Hillary Clinton -- I'll just throw this in there, that she was in New Hampshire this morning. We understand that she once again, as she has over the past couple of weeks, got a lot of tough questions about her 2002 vote to support authorization for the Iraq war.
BASH: And Fredricka, today she put -- she didn't give a speech on the Senate floor, but she did put a video on her campaign Web site that details binding legislation that she had already announced but formally introduced last night which says that she wants the troops to be redeployed or come home within 90 days and that she wants the president to -- to seek reauthorization from Congress if he intents to continue to keep troops in Iraq.
So, you see jockeying continuing, even through campaign issues going on, even as the senators are here to make sure that their votes are cast on the Democratic side.
WHITFIELD: And Dana, then you have to wonder if on Hillary Clinton's Web site this is in direct response to all of those very tough questions that she has received from voters out there while she's been having those face-to-face conversational town hall-type meetings. You mentioned, yes, she's been getting a lot of those questions, but do we know, you know, whether this was direct response to that?
BASH: Well, let me tell you what a campaign aide said to me this morning. Said that they felt that it was important for Hillary Clinton to get her message out there "unfiltered". And that is why she did this -- has this video on her Web site, to make it abundantly clear -- and she does this in this video -- abundantly clear, she says, that if Democrats want somebody from her point of view who will want -- will be able to and have the desire to end the president's war in Iraq, she's the person to do that. And that's essentially apparently the answer that she gave to one of those tough questions the Democratic primary voter in New Hampshire this morning who once again said, "Why did you vote for the 2002 authorization?" And "Why don't you say pointblank that you regret that vote?"
WHITFIELD: So, once again, Dana, just to help us clearly understand what's taking place here, this procedural vote, which really is to unlock the deadlock, there's no one who believes that the 60 votes which are need in order to, I guess, pass this resolution will be -- will be achieved in the Senate today. So what would be the next step after this procedural vote today?
BASH: Well, the next step is going to be essentially the -- some issues that are binding. The Senate in the end probably will -- will not be able to get past the procedural deadlocks on this non-binding or symbolic resolution, which Democrats had wanted to put forward to get a sense of where each senator is -- stands on this issue.
Now, Democrats are going to say that's what this vote is, that the senators' votes today will be telling of that. But moving forward, there will be some bills on the floor of the Senate like a 9/11 bill, where Democrats and Republicans will be able to offer amendments that will -- that will really have the force of law.
For example, some Democrats have said that they will put forward amendments that will make clear that they wanted to cut off funding for troops in Iraq. Now, that -- Democrats are very much divided on that issue, but you will see more jockeying, if you will, and more proposals that will be offered that will force votes on some of the dicey issues like that. And that's what we'll see in the Senate.
In the House, I should mention that they are a little bit more in gear to -- to have some kind of plan that has been offered by John Murtha, an anti-war congressman from Pennsylvania. He has made clear that he wants to do next is to put conditions on the money that the president has asked for, for Iraq. The president has asked for about $96 billion in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.
John Murtha has said that -- he's in charge of the committee that does this. He says, well, if the president wants that money, I'm going to put conditions on it, make sure that the troops are combat-ready, make sure that they have enough time back -- back stateside.
His goal there is to try to make it hard for the president to keep the mission going. And the leadership in the House has not -- has been careful not to fully endorse it, but it does seem that that is for now where the House Democrats are going. It would be interesting to see where the Senate Democrats are.
WHITFIELD: OK. Dana Bash, thanks so much. Don't go far. We're going to be calling upon you again.
But right now we want to get some reaction from the White House. Our Elaine Quijano is there.
And Elaine, we know that the president has been standing his ground on this very issue. But now back-to-back votes on Capitol Hill about whether to put a stop to his plan certainly has to make the White House take pause. Is it not?
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly they're watching this very closely. But this is not unexpected, Fredricka.
And just to jump on a point that Dana was mentioning a moment ago about this idea of attaching conditions to the funding for U.S. troops, this is something that all week long White House officials here have been careful in talking about because they obviously know it's going to be a very sensitive situation, and they've been careful to say, look, we haven't seen any legislation yet, we can't tell you whether or not we would in fact oppose something.
We have heard the talk of the conditions perhaps being attached to funding. But at the same time, being very careful not to lay out opposition or support just yet.
Now, the strategy, Fredricka, of the White House really over the last few days has been to try to downplay the impact of any non-binding resolution expressing opposition to the president's troop increase plan, and at the same time to try to put the president's critics really on the defensive by saying what really does matter here is how lawmakers vote when it comes to funding for U.S. troops. The message has been that while lawmakers have every right to express their opinions, that ultimately lawmakers and the White House's view in order to supporter the troops must in fact approve the president's request for some $100 billion in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, the president, as for his reaction after the House vote yesterday, he was in the Oval Office meeting with the man he has chosen to become the new ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. He didn't talk about it, and instead sought to shift attention really to the conversation that same day with Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, in which the president said he was pleased to hear that the prime minister said he was meeting benchmarks.
What are those benchmarks? A big one, of course, delivering Iraqi troops to the fight. The president essentially arguing that lawmakers should give his plan some time to work, and already, Fredricka, the president saying there are some early signs of success. But clearly, this is a White House that understands that the opposition to his troop increase plan is really running deep.
At the same time, as you noted, he is unyielding, saying that he believes that it is in the U.S.' best interest to go ahead with this surge plan, some 21,000 additional troops to help quell the violence in Baghdad and the rest of Al Anbar Province. As the White House puts it, it is their belief that it will in fact give the Iraqi government "breathing room," political breathing room to better establish itself and assert control in Iraq -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: But then, Elaine, bringing it home, the White House must be worried when they've got 17 Republicans in the House that break ranks and at least three Republicans to speak of right now who are breaking ranks in the Senate about the president's plan of sending more troops.
Is the White House, you know, worried about the support that it needs overall from Capitol Hill.
QUIJANO: Well, clearly, this is a White House that has been moving to try and stem any kind of Republican defections. And it is watching very closely to see, in fact, those Republicans who will remain with the president and trying very hard to make sure that they do not abandon the president over his Iraq policy.
At the same time, this is a president who maintains that he believes it is still the right thing to do at this point, that there is still a chance, albeit difficult. And this is a message we've certainly heard the president talk about in recent days and weeks, and really since he announced his troop surge plan back -- as the White House -- as some have called it, rather, the troop increase plan back in January.
The president essentially saying, look, we understand there have been mistakes that were made in the past in dealing with the situation in Iraq. At the same time, this is a critical moment, the White House argues, and a moment that can in fact turn the tide, but only if these U.S. forces are sent there. This is something that they believe is not negotiable, but they are working very hard to try to make sure that Republicans stay with the president -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elaine Quijano, thanks so much. We'll be checking back with you, because we are still awaiting that vote to take place there on Capitol Hill. And we continue to monitor it.
And as the Senate gears up for that vote, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Baghdad earlier, holding talks with Iraqi officials. She acknowledged to reporters that people in both the U.S. and Iraq are impatient with the course of the war. Rice also gave her take on the latest security crackdown in the capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have been reviewing the prospects for the Baghdad security plan, what the United States can do to support it. I want to say that we're very impressed with the leadership of the prime minister and his team thus far. We believe that they're clearly showing that this can be a new phase for the people of Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: From Baghdad, Rice flew to Israel, where she is holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Elsewhere in Iraq today, back-to-back explosions in the country's northern oil hub of Kirkuk. Two car bombs killed at least six people and injured 45. The explosions hit a crowded shopping area and bus depot.
Meantime, here back in the states, on Capitol Hill, we await the tally of this procedural vote taking place in the Senate one day after the Democratically-controlled House voted to rebuke the president's plan for 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq.
We continue to monitor it, and when the final tally takes place, we'll be able to bring that to you live.
And bald is beautiful, right? Well, it's also cleansing. So what was singer Britney Spears' intention when she shaved her head?
Also, new developments in the case of Anna Nicole Smith. Our legal team tackles the complications of Smith's will.
WHITFIELD: Live pictures right now of Capitol Hill, where we're awaiting the final procedural vote on matters out of the Senate which would rebuke President Bush's call to send more U.S. troops to Iraq. This taking place one day after the House made a similar vote on the matter.
We're continuing to watch that, and when that vote takes place, we'll bring it to you live.
Meantime, other serious matters, perhaps, out of Hollywood stealing headlines. In case you haven't heard, the buzz today is this bizarre story out of Los Angeles last night about Britney Spears.
As you see in this video, yes, you're not mistaken. She's got no hair on her head there. The pop queen went into a salon, shaved her head. "US" magazine has a story with lots of details.
CNN's Betty Nguyen spoke with the magazine's Bradley Jacobs earlier this morning about this very strange episode.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRADLEY JACOBS, "US" MAGAZINE: She came in and said she wanted her head shaved. The hairdresser refused, so she literally grabbed the hair clipper and started doing it herself.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Bradley, did she say why? I mean, did she offer any information?
JACOBS: Yes. They asked why she wanted to shave her head. And she said, "I don't want anyone touching me. I'm tired of everybody touching me."
Another employee there told "US" magazine she wasn't making sense at all and you could tell she's not in a good place at all, and that she's totally freaking out. She was a nightmare to deal with.
But now this incident yesterday with shaving her head and getting the two tattoos that followed, followed a cross-country flight. She got on to an airplane, domestic. She got into a domestic flight. She sat in the very back in Miami yesterday.
NGUYEN: So she went coach?
JACOBS: She went coach. She sat in the back in Miami, flew all the way to L.A., got -- went to her house for less than 20 minutes, then got back in her car, went out, got her head shaved, then went from there and got two tattoos. And I have the details on those as well.
One of them is on her lower hip. It's a black, white, and pink cross. The other is on her wrist, and it's a red and pink set of lips.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Back now toto more pressing matters out of the nation's capital, on Capitol Hill there, the Senate.
We talked about this procedural vote that was taking place involving a rebuke of President Bush's plan to send more troops. Well, apparently that vote has failed. This, after a victory for the House yesterday which passed that same non-binding resolution.
Our Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill right now.
And so, does this come as much of a surprise? We did say that they wouldn't have the 60 votes needed to pass it, but by how much has it failed, Dana?
BASH: Hi, Fredricka. By four votes.
As you mentioned, as we expected, this motion to begin Iraq -- debate on an Iraq resolution did not pass. It was 56-34. So, as I said, the Democrats were four votes short of passing their procedural motion here.
What is interesting is that -- in terms of the "yes" votes, seven Republicans voted to rebuke the president, essentially. Seven Republicans voted with the Democrats in an effort to start a debate on this issue. And that is interesting because of the following.
The last time the Senate voted on this, last Monday, there were only two Republican senators who voted with the Democrats. And the others, about five of them, who don't agree with the president's plan, who actually outright oppose it, said that they were going to vote with their party because it was a matter of minority rights. It was a matter of sticking with their party because they believed that their party had the right to have their own resolution.
Well, nothing has changed. Republicans still did not have the right to offer their own resolution. But still, these five Republican senators switched their vote, essentially because they say they lost patience, that they simply don't agree with the president's plan, they want the Senate to have their say, to have a vote, and that they gave their leadership time to work it out, to work out a deal with the Democrats and it didn't happen.
So you saw seven Republican senators voting with Democrats, but big picture, the Senate is still where it started today, Fredricka, deadlocked. This motion does not pass as expected.
WHITFIELD: So, interesting, Dana, among those seven Republicans, it was expected that they would -- among those would be the very powerful John Warner, Olympia Snowe, and even Arlen Specter. Do we know whether they were indeed still part of that seven?
BASH: That's exactly who it was. It was Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe. It was Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. It was Norm Coleman, who voted the same way before. It was Susan Collins.
And I have the list in front of me on my Blackberry, but it's essentially the group of seven Republican senators who have really pretty much from the get-go said that they simply don't think the president's plan is the right one and they don't support the idea of sending more troops in. As John Warner said on the Senate floor today, sending more GIs into the middle of a civil war. He said that's not what he believes he authorized when he voted to authorize the Iraq war in 2002.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, even with that vote failing, some very powerful messages being sent to the White House from those very powerful and outspoken Republican leaders that often have the ear of the White House.
Dana bash, thanks so much.
BASH: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We'll be checking in with you again.
BASH: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Well, down on the Gulf Coast, celebrating good times, still in the midst of a lot of pain. We'll have a live report from Mardi Gras in New Orleans straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: New Orleans is open for business. The city facing plenty of work in the years ahead. But this weekend, a pause to party.
Mardi Gras is in full swing today, and our Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen is there.
And the crowd -- I can hear the crowd.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka, I have the best -- yes, and I have the best seat in the house. You stand up on these ladders and you can really get the throes.
Now, this is the crew of Iris (ph). It is an all women's parade, 900 members. The theme this year is "Under the Big Top." So all the floats, as you can see, have a circus theme -- fortune tellers. snake clharmers, lion, elephants.
Now, this lady's club, in fact, is the largest lady's club in history. And they wear the traditional masks so you don't know who is where. And they throw a lot of beads.
So let's see what we can catch here. They throw cups. They throw beads. They throw plush animals.
Throw me something, Mister.
A lot of families out here, Fredricka, waiting to get these beads today. You know, this is the strange thing about Mardi Gras. These beads aren't worth anything the day after Mardi Gras, but up until Mardi Gras, they're prized possessions. I will elbow people out of the way to grab them because it's just what people do here.
Now, we've got one more float coming, Fredricka. I'll see if can I catch you some.
WHITFIELD: Oh, OK. That's a deal.
ROESGEN: This is the circus band, so let's see if we can get some beads.
ROESGEN: Hey, throw me something. This is for CNN. Throw me something for Fredricka Whitfield.
WHITFIELD: Well, now you'll get nothing. Don't mention that part.
ROESGEN: I got it!
WHITFIELD: All right! Hey, I like that.
ROESGEN: I had to practically steal it from the girl -- I had to practically steal it from the girl next to me, but I got it.
WHITFIELD: Hey, it's competitive out there. Oh, I so appreciate it.
ROESGEN: For you, Fredricka. Happy Mardi Gras.
WHITFIELD: Thank you. Is this a testament to how many people are out there, that it's so competitive to get those beads?
ROESGEN: Yes, a lot of people out here. A pretty good crowd, even on a cloudy, windy day. But this is what they all wait for.
WHITFIELD: Oh, that is so great.
And so, are you noticing a lot of locals are out there, you k now, instead of a lot of tourists, or is it vice versa?
ROESGEN: Yes, this is where the locals come, really. The tourists go down on Bourbon Street and they -- you know, boobs and bourbon. This is not -- this is for the locals. I'm not doing anything funky to get them.
WHITFIELD: All right!
ROESGEN: I got another one.
WHITFIELD: That's two, nice. Oh my gosh. Stay on that ladder, please.
ROESGEN: It's really a lot of fun, Fredricka, and it's good for the city, it's good for the city's soul, and it's good for the city' economy. You know, I think I mentioned last time, it's about a one billion-dollar boost to the city's economy.
All of these beads -- the riders, if you ride on one of these floats, let me tell you, it will break the bank -- $500 to $1,000 worth of beads per person.
ROESGEN: Because nobody wants to seem stingy when the crowds are going, "Throw me something." And you better throw them something.
Watch out. Watch your hands. Woo!
WHITFIELD: All right. Impressive. All right.
Susan Roesgen, catching all of those beads.
You've got a handful now. That's good.
ROESGEN: See you, Fredricka. I got them for you. OK.
WHITFIELD: I so appreciate it. Thanks so much.
All right. Susan Roesgen there in the middle of Mardi Gras there in New Orleans, where things look pretty good there right now.
Gone, but certainly not forgotten. The many legal disputes surrounding Anna Nicole Smith's death. Our legal minds join us straight ahead with their views. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What have you done to me, your wife? What have you done to your children, to our families?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Murder for hire. Emotional testimony as a wife confronts her husband who tried to have her killed.
WHITFIELD: Half past the hour, now in the news, the Senate still deadlocked over a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's troop build up plan for Iraq. Just a short time ago, Democrats came up four votes short in their bid to clear a procedural hurdle and allow debate on the resolution to begin. The House passed the measure yesterday.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Israel after a surprise visit to Iraq. In Baghdad, she met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and with American troops. Rice expressed support for President Bush's new Iraq strategy, saying it will help that country become a pillar of a stable Middle East.
Another deadly attack rocks Pakistan. A suicide bombing today inside a courtroom in Quetta. The judge and at least 12 other people were killed. It's the deadliest in a string of attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks.
More than a week after Anna Nicole Smith's death, her body has been embalmed. The procedure, completed two hours ago in Broward County Florida. The cause of Smith's death is still under investigation.
And pop star Britney Spears sporting a brand new look. She's now bald, shaving off her hair. She also has a couple of new tattoos. Gossip blogs quote tattoo shop workers as saying Spears was quote, "flipping out." One called Spears, quote, "a celebrity on the verge of a nervous breakdown."
Dramatic courtroom confrontation, a spurned wife, a cheating husband, a big insurance policy. But this was no movie of the week. From Houston Kym Alvarado-Booth of affiliate KPRC reports.
FERRILL: How could you not imagine the hell you were planning for your children?
KYM ALVARADO-BOOTH, KPRC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Shelley Ferrill lived to tell her husband off in court after he plead guilty to a plot to have her killed. John Sheroke was caught on tape by police asking a hit man to make his wife's murder look like a carjacking last October.
FERRILL: What need, what desire would -- could possibly influence Katelynn (ph) and Garrett's (ph) need for a mother?
ALVARADO-BOOTH: In her victim's impact statement, Ferrill says her eight and six-year-old children are scarred for life.
FERRILL: Katelynn refuses to put words to all her pain. She bears the weight of your sudden departure so heavily, and I'm trying to help Garrett deal with his emotions. He is acting out his frustrations at losing a father.
ALVARADO-BOOTH: Without a trial, we don't know John Sheroke's true motive for murder, but prosecutors say he was having an affair and he would have collected millions in insurance money. Dr. Ferrill hinted to Sheroke's shortcomings.
FERRILL: You coveted everything I worked for and yet resented my success. You expected a profession from me that you could never have lived up to. You refused to put in the work to create the life you wanted.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WHITFIELD: Anna Nicole Smith still not resting in peace. Legal battles, almost too many to count, her will has been released and that's bound to cause new disputes now, not to mention where should she be buried, who is the baby's father and who gets her late husband's inheritance?
It's enough to make our legal experts heads spin, but they won't, because they're always on point. Avery Friedman is a civil rights attorney and law professor, good to see you, Avery.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman is a New York criminal defense attorney, good to see you as well.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right gentlemen, didn't seem like that long ago when we were talking about the lessons of having a will and a trust all prepared when we were talking about Anna Nicole Smith's case going to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And now this is the centerpiece of this legal battle now. Her will, some of the details being revealed. And apparently it had not been updated. And so Avery now the quandary is the sole heir of her estate was to go to her son who died five months ago. And now the executor happens to be her partner.
WHITFIELD: So what happens now?
FRIEDMAN: Well in all -- for all practical purposes, the will that was written in 2001, winds up being a nullity, because not only was Danny, her son the only designated beneficiary, but there was an express provision Fredricka, that there would be no other beneficiary whether it was a future spouse or child.
WHITFIELD: And that's remarkable. Isn't that remarkable? Isn't that unusual?
FRIEDMAN: It is remarkable and what is beyond remarkable, is that my hunch is that Mr. Stern wrote the will designating himself as the guardian in this.
And so here we go again. Her first husband, Mr. Marshall, a former professor of wills at Yale, look at that mess, and now we have this guy and look what we have, we're actually back to ground zero.
WHITFIELD: OK Richard, I hear you in exasperation over there. You know how the criminal mind then works and we talk about strange coincidence, the executor, you know, is now someone who is in the middle of a paternity suit as well trying to determine who is the father of the child. But the child is even written out of the will, how much more complicated does this get in determining where the estate actually goes to? Is it up to him completely?
HERMAN: Fred, we need an hour to go through all of this. But the bottom line is this. It is a California will, and I have it with me right here. This is the copy of the will. I don't know if you can see it.
Page four of the will lists Howard Stern as the executor and trustee under this will. Everything is left to her son, who predeceased her. Then if the son is not here, the rules of intestacy would take over and it would go to her next of kin, which would be Daniellynn, the little baby girl who is in the Bahamas right now.
So any way you look at this, California law, Florida law or Bahamian law, the little baby is going to get the estate, whether it's whatever Anna has now or the potential $80 to $400 million in the appeal that is pending.
But the fact that Howard Stern is the executor of the will, what that does is that gives -- executors get a percentage of the gross estate as a legal fee. So I don't think he's going to walk away from this so quickly.
WHITFIELD: OK, so that's one element. And now on February 20th, next Tuesday, there is a hearing and Anna Nicole Smith's body was being preserved for this hearing, to answer a lot of questions, all involving the whole paternity suit. So what exactly will transpire? What will happen?
FRIEDMAN: Well, what's coming up is a hearing in which the probate judge in Florida has ordered Howard K. Stern to appear. And I'm predicting that you're not going to see him, and let me tell you why.
Because what is at issue before this probate judge is the disposition of the body. Well, once Howard appears, several things happen. They're going to subpoena him in the paternity issue. They're going to require a DNA sample, which is an anathema to this guy. It's exactly what he doesn't want. And so disposition of the body is either going to go Texas or the Bahamas. More likely to the Bahamas, why should he show up?
HERMAN: Fred, I think he's going to show up. I think he's probably eventually going to submit to the DNA sample. I don't think he's going to turn out to be the father of the child here.
And Avery is right, this body is going to go to the Bahamas. That was her intent when she purchased the four plots that she recently purchased for her son. Her mother is going to be disqualified, DQed as an heir or as any representative of this estate to make a determination whether this body goes.
WHITFIELD: Because he's still the executor, whether he's the father or not, of the child.
HERMAN: But, she's estranged. She hasn't spoken to her for 15 years. She's out, forget mama. Mama, go back to Texas.
FRIEDMAN: Howard is also going to be out. Richard and I may disagree with that. I think we're going to see a substitute in terms of what happens with the administration of this estate.
HERMAN: But I think the body, the body is going to the Bahamas.
FRIEDMAN: You're right about that.
WHITFIELD: OK and I know we're going to have an opportunity or two to talk about this case again.
But for now, we're going to take a short break. We do want to talk to you still Richard, Avery about another big legal case this week, neither Lewis Scooter Libby nor Vice President Dick Cheney testified in Libby's trial this week, much to the disappointment of many folks, I know, including you, Avery and Richard. So how might that affect the outcome of the case overall?
And Price Harry, he is getting orders. We'll have the latest on his plans for Iraq. That's straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: Should Scooter Libby have testified? Closing arguments are set for Tuesday in the perjury trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff. Testimony ended this week with neither Libby nor Cheney taking the stand. We'll ask our legal experts what they think of that strategy. First, here's CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An angry Judge Reggie Walton warns Scooter Libby's attorneys not to play games, says he always expected Libby to testify and now that he isn't, the judge won't allow the defense to introduce some evidence it wanted, documents that might have shown how distracted Libby was with national security matters in the summer of 2003. It might have bolstered Libby's claim that he didn't remember what he told reporters about administration critic Joe Wilson and his wife's job at the CIA.
JEFFREY JACOBOVITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That decision really will impact upon whether Scooter Libby gets a jury instruction to the jury on faulty memory and what the jury considers.
TODD: Something the jury won't be able to consider any testimony from Libby's former boss who the defense elected not to call to the stand. Dick Cheney could have told the jury about Libby's huge workload that summer, all the crises he dealt with, but there was also considerable risks.
JACOBOVITZ: The evidence has showed is how essentially panic- stricken the White House was over this editorial by Joseph Wilson and if in fact Cheney was focused on it, then Libby was focused on it. And if Libby was focused on it, then Libby's faulty memory might not have been that faulty.
TODD: Bolstering the strategy of not calling Libby to the stand, the jurors already heard from him, hours of audiotape from Libby's grand jury testimony. And his attorney, Ted Wells, has made this crucial strategy call before.
Wells defended former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy on charges of accepting illegal gifts. Wells didn't put Espy on the stand either. Espy was found not guilty on 30 counts.
(on camera): But Ted Wells got another challenge in this case. He had wanted to call the prosecution's star witness, NBC News' Tim Russert, back to the stand, or play TV clips of Russert to try to punch holes in an obscure part of Russert's testimony, but the judge ruled it was too obscure, and Ted Wells never got another crack at Tim Russert.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: So before the attorneys in the case make their closing arguments, let's get some closing thoughts from our legal experts. Joining us again, Avery Friedman and Richard Herman.
All right Richard, let me begin with you. Do you think jurors have a real clear-cut idea of what this trial was really all about?
HERMAN: I think they do, Fred. I think that the prosecution has explained to them that this is not about the outing of Valerie Plame, this is about Libby lying to federal investigators during that investigation. Plain and simple.
And the cascade of government witnesses over and over again testifying to dates, prior to when Libby told the government that he first discussed Valerie Plame's identity, is what is going to do him, it's going to get him convicted.
It is hard to second guess a trial attorney here, but I think in this case here, I don't think -- I think Libby should have testified to try to persuade the jury that he's an honorable, honest man, and this was an honest mistake. Because I really think Fred, he's going down here, going to get convicted.
WHITFIELD: All right, so I'm hearing yes, yes, yes, from you, Avery. So you think too that it really did not serve Libby well to not testify, he should have taken the stand?
FRIEDMAN: Well again, these are very dangerous calls, if you put a defendant on the stand, because anything can happen at that point.
But I totally agree. I think the evidence at this point, other than Jack Hanna, not the zoo Jack Hanna, but there was a guy, a national security adviser, who said that Scooter had a spotty memory. That was his testimony.
You had five Pulitzer winning journalists testifying for the defense who said we met with Scooter, but he never talked about Valerie Plame. I don't know what that has to do with the case, but the bottom line is Scooter Libby is a smart guy. He could have gotten up there. I think he would have persuaded the jury. Defense council, roll the dice, I'm in total accord, I think the jury's coming back with at least a conviction on at least four of the five counts.
WHITFIELD: All right, and so Avery, I wonder too -- I think everyone was expecting that the vice president would indeed be called to testify, even though matters of national security were at hand and certain secrets, nobody wanted to be revealed publicly. But is this a big disappointment for the prosecution perhaps that the vice president was not to testify?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I think it's a big disappointment not only to the prosecution, but to everyone. It would have been the first time in American jurisprudential history that a vice president of the United States would have testified in a criminal proceeding.
And you know what? Dick Cheney could have helped his former chief. But you know what, a lot of people don't know that President Bush sent Dick Cheney to Japan so he wasn't even around.
WHITFIELD: OK and so Richard, you know just kind of tagging on to that bit about -- you mentioned that Scooter Libby perhaps should have taken the stand just to at least kind of clarify his character, who he was. Perhaps Dick Cheney, the vice president's testimony could have done the same thing, right?
HERMAN: I don't know, Fred. You know, the judge may have limited his testimony and some pretrial motions, I don't know. I think Libby was the one that had to get up there and do the job and win over there jury.
But I think really, and let me say it right here, I think if he gets convicted, which I believe he's going to, I think he's going to get a pardon before George Bush gets out of office.
WHITFIELD: OK, and is he the scapegoat out of all this?
HERMAN: I think so, I really do.
FRIEDMAN: And I totally agree, I think we're looking at a conviction and a pardon.
WHITFIELD: All right, Avery Friedman, Richard Herman, always good to see you, thanks so much.
Harry heading to war. A British newspaper says the prince will be in Iraq soon, leading a troop on reconnaissance missions. Here's reporter Neil Connery from Britain's ITV News.
NEIL CONNERY, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prince Harry, seen here in training, will be known as Troop Commander Wales. He's reported to have threatened to resign his commission if he was denied active service on security grounds. He's always made clear his determination to serve on the front line.
PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: The last thing I want to do is have my soldiers sent away to Iraq and for me to be held back home, twiddling my thumbs, thinking, what about David? What about Derek, whoever?
CONNERY: The posting to Iraq will mark another stage in Harry's life, often seen as the partying prince. His reputation has sometimes attracted unwanted headlines, but his work in Africa helping AIDS orphans showed him maturing, winning praise in many quarters. After his military training at Sandhurst, he now faces his toughest challenge to date with his deployment to the front line.
Harry won't be the first royal to see battle. Prince Andrew served as a helicopter battle during the Falklands War. But despite fears the third-in-line to the throne could become a target for Iraqi insurgents, the defense secretary Des Browne is expected to announce Harry's posting towards the end of the month. Neil Connery, ITV News.
WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, what caused this elephant to go crazy? Stop playing the polo and instead go on this kind of rampage. He was mad, very mad, or she.
WHITFIELD: A huge upset at a sporting event, an elephant in a polo match destroys the vehicle of the rival team. We get details on the Sri Lankan rampage from reporter Harry Smith.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HARRY SMITH, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether sportsmen lose their cool, they often do so in dramatic fashion. But when the player in question weighs in at four tons, the effect is that much greater.
Nobody knows why Abey lost his cool during the annual International Elephant Polo Tournament, but whatever got under his skin, caused him to unseat his American rider and then attack the Spanish team bus.
As spectators fled the stadium in the southern city of Galle, handlers tried to control the animal with rocks and sticks. One said Abey was probably suffering from something common to all sportsmen facing a big match.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In much experience, not just only humans get stress. I think some elephants have stress. Stress may come from, they don't know the each other, elephants very well.
SMITH: Although this was supposed to be a sporting occasion, rampaging elephants is serious business in Sri Lanka. Last year alone, 50 people were trampled to death. Eventually a vet arrived with a tranquilizer gun and the tournament continued. Harry Smith, ITV News.
WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, the latest on the Senate vote regarding Iraq. That's followed by a CNN "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" report: How to Rob a Bank."
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