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Judge Dismisses Juror in Lewis Libby Trial; Military Readiness; JetBlue Singing the Blues

Aired February 26, 2007 - 11:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The latest now on a Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial. A juror has been dismissed. CNN now confirming a juror, a female juror, has been dismissed during the deliberation process that has been going on since last Wednesday.
Let's find out exactly what has happened with our man on the ground.

CNN's Brian Todd reporting now live outside the courtroom.

Brian, what's the latest?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, just moments ago, as you mentioned, a female juror was dismissed from this jury pool. Then both attorney's sides got up and made their arguments for what to do next.

The defense went first. Ted Wells saying that he would argue for going with 11 jurors so that they wouldn't have to bring the next alternate juror up to speed and take all that time to do that. Then prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald got up and said, well, we're concerned that if you go to 11 jurors then you're running a risk of really running short if someone else were to get sick or exposed. And the judge then ruled in favor of the defense.

They're going to go with 11 jurors. They don't want to throw away two and a half days of deliberations, said judge Reggie Walton. So, 11 jurors are now hearing this case, Heidi.

One female juror dismissed because of her exposure apparently to something that was either written about this case, said about this case in some form. The judge would not discuss what that was.

COLLINS: Brian, any idea if this juror went to the foreperson and sort of admitted that this was what happened? Or was it just obvious in their deliberations that some information outside of that courtroom had come into the case?

TODD: No definitive word as to how it unfolded, but you get the impression -- I mean, they got in here at 9:00 this morning. By 9:45, we were called into the courtroom. Essentially -- again, speculation, but you would imagine that the juror probably said something to the foreperson. The foreperson reported it to the judge, and then, you know, everything unfolded from there.

So I would imagine that if something did happen it might have happened over the weekend.

COLLINS: OK. Very good. Thanks, Brian Todd.

We also have our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, standing by.

And Jeffrey, just wondering, we had spoken earlier when we first got this information in about what type of information would lead to an actual dismissal of a juror, versus, you know, just a mistake that was made and what that intent might be.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Again, I don't know what it was, but it obviously must have been something fairly substantive about the case that may have prejudiced one side or the other. And the parties apparently agreed that the juror should be excluded. This is always a difficult strategic decision for the lawyers because, you know, you always have a sense as a trial lawyer whether this is a good juror for you or a bad juror.


TOOBIN: And, you know, what -- what parts of the evidence did they smile at, what part did they scowl at? So both sides have to weigh whether they're losing one of what they think of as their jurors. But apparently they -- both sides agreed, they'll go ahead with 11 jurors.

That has the advantage of not forcing the jury to start over. If an alternate were brought in, the judge would instruct them to start their deliberations all over again. You know, throw out everything they've written down, really start from scratch.

That would have slowed things down a lot. And this way they simply get to continue with a -- an attempt to reach a unanimous verdict...


TOOBIN: ... of the 11 remaining jurors.

COLLINS: And it seems like, at least from some of the proceedings we've been able to follow and been able to watch here, that the defense seemed pretty confident up until this point.

Is there any way to be able to tell, Jeffrey, whether this is good for the defense or bad for the defense?

TOOBIN: You know, this is the kind of tealeaf readings that always goes on. I have no idea whether this sort of...


TOOBIN: ... this juror was leaning one way or another. Both sides always want to put on a brave face going into deliberations.

As someone who watched the way the evidence came in, I thought the evidence actually went somewhat better for the prosecution than I had expected it would. It was a clean case. You're talking about only 14 days of testimony, which is not a very long trial.

This has not even been a very long deliberation so far, three or four days. So I really wouldn't venture any sort of prediction for what this means.

COLLINS: OK. What about the fact that there are -- and Brian Todd sort of mentioned this for us, that they're down to the nitty- gritty now. I mean, you've got only 11 jurors. You had those two alternates before. Somebody else gets sick, something else happens, then that would be a very different scenario.

TOOBIN: It would. There were these two jurors who have been excluded, but no one really knows -- they are off premises. No one knows -- the two alternates, that is -- whether they are still pristine, whether they have been exposed to any other information.

So we don't know if there are any potential jurors out there. And this is -- this is a risky situation with only 11 jurors, but this jury has been at work for a while, so the possibility of a verdict today or tomorrow would seem pretty high to me.

COLLINS: OK. Very good.

Thanks so much, Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.


COLLINS: Brian Todd still standing by for us, too, live outside the courtroom.

Brian, any idea how this decision was announced, what that reaction was in the courtroom?

TODD: It was interesting to see the dynamic, Heidi. When the judge came in, both sides had just -- actually just prior to the judge coming back in, both sides were huddling, the defense and the prosecution teams were huddling. When the defense team broke, you got a sense that there were almost a half smile on their part, indicating that maybe something had happened in their favor. But, you know, then the prosecution broke. They were very businesslike, as they have been the whole time.

So it was also interesting to see Scooter Libby. He went up and whispered something in his wife's ear before the judge came back and made that ruling. So, you know, all sorts of, you know, facial expressions and other things you can try to -- try to fathom.


TODD: Jeff mentioned reading tealeaves. We're doing a lot of that in the courtroom while we're waiting for these decisions. But it was kind of an interesting dynamic to look at.

COLLINS: I'm sure it is. And I know you're doing that tealeaf reading for us. We do appreciate it.

TODD: Sure.

COLLINS: Brian Todd, live outside the courtroom.

Just also want to mention quickly that we've just learned the juror who has been dismissed is apparently a Caucasian female, she's in her 70s, also a curator at a museum.

So we will continue to follow this story and what it could mean for the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And we also have an update on the condition of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. The latest word from Jordan, he's been transferred into the intensive care unit.

Doctors say Mr. Talabani has had a catheter inserted into his heart. He was whisked away to Jordan yesterday. A doctor says he'd become dizzy and suffered a drop in blood pressure. A short while ago we spoke with Talabani's son by telephone.


QUBAD TALABANI, SON OF IRAQI PRESIDENT: He has not (ph) had a catheter inserted into his car. His condition remains stable and improving.

I have spoken with him this morning, and I have spoken with his medical staff as well. They're very pleased with the progress that he's making. Again, his spirits continue to be high and is improving all the time.


HARRIS: Qubad Talabai says tests show his father's heart is in very good condition and is performing normally.

Jalal Talabani is 73 years old.

New questions this morning about the military's ability to respond to an additional crisis.

More now from Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, is this yet another warning sign that the U.S. military might be just too thinly stretched?


You saw some of this first reported in "The New York Times," but CNN has confirmed now that General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has signed off on a classified report that now says there is "significant" -- that's the word -- risk of the U.S. military being able to meet its obligations in the event of a third crisis. Of course, after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, if a third crisis was to develop, there would be a significant risk now of the U.S. military being able to meet its obligations.

Pentagon officials say they could meet their obligations, they could get troops there, but that it would be costly, it would take longer, and the troops might not be as well trained as the military would like because they are tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan and stretched thin, literally, around the world. This report is classified. There will be no public discussion of it by the Pentagon, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates has now sent up his own separate report to Congress because of the chairman's view on this, talking about what they're going to try and do -- Tony.

HARRIS: So, Barbara, what is the Pentagon -- what can the Pentagon do about all this?

STARR: Right. They do have what they say are a number of mitigation measures, things like increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, buying more modern equipment, trying to transform, as they call it, becoming a more high-tech military. But Tony, the bottom line is, defense officials say, given the current situation now, it could take what they call several more years before this risk is reduced to acceptable levels -- Tony.

HARRIS: Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr for us.

Barbara, thank you.

COLLINS: More delays, more cancellations. Another winter storm ruining the day for thousands of air travelers. We'll have the latest coming up in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Eating out and the calorie count. A startling new report on just how many calories are packaged into restaurant food.

That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Hollywood gold rush. The sixth time the charm for this guy, Martin Scorsese.

We'll get a live report on all of the winners later in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Quickly want to remind you about the story we've been following here, the latest in the Scooty -- Lewis Libby trial.

We are -- have learned from both our correspondent on the ground there, CNN's Brian Todd, and from our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, that apparently the judge in the case, Judge Reggie Walton, has dismissed one juror for exposure to information outside of the case. However, the deliberations that have been going on for about three days now will continue with 11 jurors.

And because it was a female who was let go, apparently Caucasian, in her 70s, also a curator at a museum, it will be seven women and four men who will continue on. And also should let you know the defense preferred to continue, had no objection to it, and the judge found no broader tainting. In other words, no other jurors, at least at this point, have been found to be influenced by this information that apparently came in.

However, the prosecution did object, but the judge overruled. So there you have it.

We will continue to follow that for you and let you know what happens.

HARRIS: Slammed again. Parts of the Midwest and Northeast face another round of digging out, battered by more snow and ice.

Up to two feet of snow is on the ground right now in parts of the Midwest. More expected today.

Heavy ice the big problem in Iowa, parts of Illinois. It brought down miles, if you can imagine this, miles of power lines and utility poles. More than 300,000 people without power in those two states.

A weather nightmare all over again for JetBlue Airways. The company canceled dozens of flights. JetBlue still recovering from a Valentine's Day fiasco.

CNN senior correspondent Allan Chernoff is at Kennedy Airport in New York City.

And it looks like, Allan, JetBlue tried to get ahead of any potential problems with a number of cancellations today.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: Tony, that's right. They tried to get ahead of a problem, and in some cases, by trying to get ahead, they created some problems for themselves.

Bottom line, JetBlue has canceled 66 flights system-wide, two of them actually were reinstated. It had been 68 earlier. But the bottom line is, you can see behind me, very -- pretty clear weather, very nice day except for the cold weather here. But the ground conditions are just fine for flying.

Nonetheless, 66, as I said, of JetBlue's flights canceled. And a lot of customers pretty frustrated.

I spoke with one gentleman who's trying to get to Puerto Rico. He found out last night that his flight was going to be canceled. He was booked on a new flight for this morning.

He gets to the airport. They tell him, "You're not in the computer. We're going to have to put you on another flight to Orlando." And from Orlando, he's going to have to make his way to Puerto Rico. He's not a happy camper.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) on vacation. You know what? A lot of people have more important things going on than I have, but this is a week vacation and I'm stressed out, taxed, very aggravated at the time.


CHERNOFF: Now, JetBlue says it is reinstating all flights for the afternoon. So it will be back to a normal schedule.

As you can see, the weather has improved. Let's also point out, it's not just JetBlue that canceled flights. Delta Airlines canceled 27 departures from Kennedy Airport. American Airlines canceled seven.

So we do have other airlines participating in this. But JetBlue certainly tried to get ahead of the game, prevent a disaster, and as a result, you have some unhappy customers.

Tony, back to you.

HARRIS: That's for sure.

Allan Chernoff for us.

Allan, thank you.

COLLINS: New findings out this morning. Food from certain chain restaurants really packing in the calories. But what's surprising, even shocking, is just how many calories.

Here's one example. Look at this now.

A chicken and broccoli pasta dish from a national franchise with as many calories with two steak dinners with butter, baked potatoes, and Caesar salads, with the croutons.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us now.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm not going to vouch for the croutons.




COLLINS: All right. So help us, digest, if you will, the findings of this report.

COHEN: Yes. Well, the numbers are a little indigestible.


COHEN: They're so eye-popping. They're so huge.

You know, when you order, like, let's say a piece of chocolate cake...

COLLINS: Duh. COHEN: ... you expect a lot of calories. Right? You're indulging. But when you order chicken and broccoli pasta, you don't necessarily expect to get more than 2,000 calories.

So let's take a look at these numbers. That's exactly what you get.

This is a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And what they found is that Uno Chicago Grill (sic), the chicken and broccoli pasta, 2,060 calories, 128 grams of fat. Oh my goodness.

And as Heidi said, that's equivalent to two 12-ounce sirloin steaks, complete with two buttered baked potatoes and two Caesar salads. Apparently there's a lot of cheese and cream in that dish.

Let's take a look at an entree from Ruby Tuesday's (sic), chicken and -- I'm sorry, pizza skin -- 2,050 calories. This, I'm sorry, is the Uno Chicago Grill -- 2,050 calorie, 48 grams of fat. That's equivalent to three pepperoni personal pan pizzas.

So you're ordering these pizza skins appetizers and you're getting the equivalent of three personal size pepperoni pizzas. Again, something you would probably not expect.

Now, here's Starbucks, and what...

COLLINS: Bad news for them.

COHEN: I'm sorry. Well, you know, part of it is -- right, really it's not a great day.

So, when you order a Venti White Chocolate Mocha -- that's their largest drink size -- plus a blueberry scone, you're getting 1,100 calories.

COLLINS: Now, come on.

COHEN: You mean, who would get a Venti White Chocolate Mocha? Because they are huge.

COLLINS: You've got to...

COHEN: There's no question.

COLLINS: Yes, Venti, in case you're not a Starbucks drinker, that's like the biggest, baddest one.

COHEN: Right. I think if you don't know this...


COHEN: ... you need to work on your food I.Q. a little bit, because this one...

(CROSSTALK) COLLINS: With the blueberry scone?

COHEN: Right, with the blueberry scone. So that's a pretty hefty breakfast right there.

But sometimes people think, oh, a scone, that's got to better than a muffin because it sounds so -- it sounds a little healthier, but it's actually not.

COLLINS: It does. It's got a lot of gluten in it, I know that.

COHEN: It's got a lot of stuff in it, it definitely does.

COLLINS: So -- but we have been hearing about portion control or portion sizing. You're not supposed to have anything bigger than, I guess, the fist of your hand or something -- I don't know.

COHEN: A deck of cards. A serving of steak, a deck of cards. Right. But who does that?

COLLINS: A deck of cards. OK. So what's new actually about this?

COHEN: What's new is that the calories have even grown.

CSPI, who did this report, they've been covering this and following these restaurants for more than a decade. They said the calories just keep growing.

Entrees like this one, or a smaller version years ago, they would be more like 1,000 calories for an entree. Now it's like 2,000 calories for an entree. So they said it used to be if you ate one of these you kind of blew your fat and calorie allotment for the day. Now you eat one of these and you kind of blow your fat and calorie allotment for several days. And they say it just keeps on growing.

Now, when we talked to restaurants and said, hey, what gives? They said, look, you can order a salad.


COLLINS: It's so dramatic when it's slow motion like that.

COHEN: But they said you don't have to get any of these things. You can get a salad. And what critics say is, look, there's no nutrition labeling on there. How are you supposed to know what's lower calorie? There are some salads that have lots of calories.

COLLINS: I think you really hit the nail on the head, though. I mean, you've got to know that pasta with, like, four pounds of cheese on it is probably not going to be low calorie.

COHEN: But if you're looking at the menu and you see chicken and broccoli pasta, you don't necessarily think loaded with cheese.

COLLINS: OK. COHEN: And then you see some on the top. You really have to -- you really have to think about it. And that's why some people say, why not just put it right on the menu?


COHEN: Why not put the nutrition on there?

COLLINS: They're hiding it from you. It's in the fine print.

What about cities, though? Certain cities are really getting involved in this.

COHEN: Right. For example, New York City is going to start mandatory menu labeling for certain chain restaurants. They're going to say, look, you've got to put those calories right there on the menu, or when you're talking about a fast-food restaurant, on the menu board.

Let people see it. Because like you were saying, you can think it through and think chicken and broccoli pasta, there might be cream, there might be cheese, but you can also just have it right there on the menu and make it a lot easier.

COLLINS: What is it, 1,380 calories for the chocolate cake?

COHEN: Yes. So you're actually better off with the chocolate cake than you are with the pasta.

COLLINS: That's what I'm saying.

COHEN: And that's dessert, right.

COLLINS: Go straight to the cake. I love it.

All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for that.

HARRIS: Let's get you to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, right now. Susan Candiotti is standing by. She has new information in this continuing court battle over the remains of Anna Nicole Smith -- Susan.


As expected, we just received a three-page order from Judge Larry Seidlin denying a motion to stay his original order that granted custody of Anna Nicole Smith's remains to her child. Technically, to a lawyer representing the child as the next of kin.

We say expected because Judge Seidlin had originally said when he issued this order originally that he would have nothing more to say on this case, and certainly seemed to indicate that he was not going to change his mind. But on Friday, Virgie Arthur -- that's Anna Nicole Smith's mother -- asked him to stay that original order.

The judge denied it in this three-page response, citing three things.

Number one, he said, I again -- "I believe that Anna Nicole Smith's wishes were to be buried next to her son Daniel in the Bahamas."

Number two, he said, "I'm worried about the deterioration of her body. She needs to be buried as soon as possible."

And then he said he disagreed with the mother. He said, "I think that the child is the next of kin, not you, because according to Florida law, I have the right to appoint a guardian to protect Anna Nicole Smith's daughter's interest."

And finally he stated that the mother did not say that she wanted to post any kind of bond to help pay for a funeral or help with the funeral costs that would be required to further upkeep the body while this legal process drags on. So, for all of those reasons, Judge Larry Seidlin has denied the emergency motion to stay, meaning that the court -- next court now will review all of this will be the 4th District Court of Appeals. As you know, the mother also filed an appeal there for that court to take a look at her appeal of this case.

Back to you, Tony.

HARRIS: All right. CNN's Susan Candiotti for us.

Susan, thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, high-speed car chases. The local news staple now landing at the Supreme Court. Police tactics come under scrutiny.

That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: A little girl hops off a bus and heads into traffic. We'll tell you the rest of the story next.

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


HARRIS: Let's take you to Washington, D.C., Now.

President Bush, you see there, speaking before the National governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. We understand the president will take some questions after his prepared remarks.

We're going to attempt to time that out so that you can hear some of that give and take -- the governors asking questions of the president -- when that happens. But right now the president making prepared remarks to the National Governors Association.


HARRIS: The Supreme Court today considering high-speed police chases, the use of force to stop fleeing suspects. CNN's Gary Nurenberg takes a look at the case that caught the court's attention.


GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In 2001, 19- year-old Victor Harris didn't stop when Georgia police tried to pull him over for speeding, the police shown to judges shows him accelerating, leading police on a chase at times more than 100 miles per hour.

PHILIP SAVRIN, ATTORNEY FOR DEPUTY SCOTT: It wasn't just a question of the speed. He was also crossing the double line, actually driving in the wrong direction of travel, in order to pass cars that were in his path. He was also going through red lights.

NURENBERG: Harris pulls into a shopping center parking lot and Sheriff's Deputy Timothy Scott tries to block him. Harris hits Deputy Scott's car. This is what it looks like from another angle, and then it's back to high speed on a two-lane road. Scott radios his supervisor, Scott bumps Harris from behind. The crash leaves Harris a quadriplegic. He sues, arguing police used unreasonable force.

CRAIG JONES, HARRIS' LAWYER: All Mr. Harris had done was commit traffic violations, he wasn't a felon, and he wasn't a violent criminal.

SAVRIN: If Deputy Scott had not used the force that he had and a minute or so later someone had been injured or killed, the question would be, why didn't Deputy Scott take some action?

NURENBERG: Lower courts ruled the police did use unreasonable force and the Supreme Court, which has shown deference to police in a number of cases since 9/11, decided it wants to review this case.

ED LAZARUS, CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR: Nobody is going to suddenly say it's OK to use deadly force against a fleeing felon who poses no threat to society. They're just going to say, I think, that a speeding car going down a two-lane road at 100 miles an hour is in and of itself necessarily a danger.

AL LIEBNO, POLICE DRIVING INSTRUCTOR: Just because a violator does something in front of it doesn't mean we have to pursue.

NURENBERG: As police departments across the country try to teach their officers whether to chase and how, the Supreme Court may be about to decide how much force is allowed.

Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.


COLLINS: More delays, more cancellations. Another winter storm ruining the day for thousands of air travelers. The latest in the NEWSROOM. HARRIS: Hollywood's gold rush, the sixth time was the charm for Martin Scorsese. Oh, did I just give it away? I think I just gave it away. I hate when I do that!


COLLINS: Some interesting news in today on the Lewis Scooter Libby trial that the deliberations have been going on for about three days now. Today Judge Reggie Walton dismissed one of the jurors, Caucasian female in her 70s, and she's a curator at a museum, because she was, apparently, exposed to some information outside of the case that may have influenced her in one way or another. The defense preferred to go ahead and continue with 11 jurors, and the prosecution objected, but the judge overruled that. So that is what will happen, the deliberations will continue with 11 jurors. That'll be seven women, four men. We will continue to follow that story and see what it means for the case.


HARRIS: And we have an update now on the condition of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. The latest word from Jordan, he's been transferred to the intensive care unit. Doctors say Mr. Talabani has had a catheter inserted into his heart. He was whisked away to Jordan yesterday. A doctor said he'd become dizzy and suffered a drop in blood pressure. A short while ago we spoke with Mr. Talabani's son by telephone.


QUBAD TALABANI, SON OF IRAQI PRES.: He has now had a catheter inserted into his heart. His condition remains stable and improving. I spoke with him this morning, and I spoke with his medical staff as well. They're very pleased with the progress that he is making. Again, his spirits continue to be high, and is improving all the time.


HARRIS: Qubad Talabani says tests show his father's heart is in very good condition and is performing normally. Jalal Talabani is 73 years old.

COLLINS: A connection rooted in a dark part of American history comes to life today. We'll tell about you it in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And Hollywood's gold rush, a live report from -- that's a live report from the red carpet aftermath. That's still to come in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" coming up at the top of the hour, what, 15 minutes, Heidi?

COLLINS: Something like that.

HARRIS: Fifteen minutes.

Hala Gorani -- oh, there she is -- Hala Gorani standing by with a preview.

Hala, good morning.

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you both. Well, we're going to take you around the world on "YOUR WORLD TODAY" once again at the top of the hour. Hope you can join us. And developments that could affect the future of the Iraq conflict. We're going to go to our Michael Ware in Baghdad. He's going to talk about the latest on the health of Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president.

And also the discovery of a big weapons cache -- you see it there -- with highly sophisticated arms that some say came from Iran. We'll also be talking to the Deputy White House spokesperson, Dana Perino, on the vice president's trip to Pakistan. And on "The New Yorker's" Seymour Hersh's latest story on the White House's plans to attack Iran. So we're going to -- what you're seeing there is Jesus' tomb, is that what it is? The Hollywood director James Cameron says he's found the tomb of Jesus, right, but some experts say, they're not so sure.

Also you may have noticed the Oscars, very international yesterday, right? A Brit winning best actress, other very international films, exploring international themes also honored. We're going to ask our viewers what they thought of yesterday's ceremony.

Back to you guys.

HARRIS: Wonderful. OK.

COLLINS: If it matters, I thought it was cool.

HARRIS: You enjoyed it?

COLLINS: So many different companies -- or -- that would be countries represented. I really thought it was neat, Hala.

GORANI: Yes, it was, absolutely. And this is something that's also very interesting to international viewers and U.S. viewers, and Hollywood is making lots of money selling DVDs abroad as well. So it's a market they don't want to ignore.

HARRIS: You better believe it. All right, Hala, appreciate it. See you at the top of the hour.

COLLINS: Thanks.

HARRIS: One was a segregations, the other is a civil right leader, but both are tied together.

CNN's Bob Franken reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Everything from anger and outrage, to reflection, and to some pride and glory.

FRANKEN (voice over): That's how a flabbergasted civil rights activist Al Sharpton describes what it was like to learn that not that his great-great grandfather was a slave, but a slave owned by relatives of a symbol of racial segregation, Senator Strom Thurmond.

According to the genealogists, Coleman Sharpton, before he was freed, he was owned by Julia Thurmond, blood ancestor of the Strom Thurmond who generations later became the champion of Jim Crowe laws before moderating his views in later years as a U.S. senator.

He had walked out of the 1948 democratic convention run for president as a Dixiecrat. This intertwined family history was discovered after web site approached the "New York Daily News" and then Sharpton, who has run for president himself.

MEGAN SMOLENYA, ANCESTRY.COM: I'll tell you, this was a stunner even for me. I had no clue we would find a story like this hiding in there.

FRANKEN: It was just another chapter in the story of Senator Strom Thurmond. Before Thurmond died, at age 100, it was made public that he was, in fact, the father of a mixed race daughter, Essie May Washington. Family members are refusing comment on the slavery connection, although a niece of Thurmond's, Ellen Senter, did tell the "Daily News" "It is wonderful that [Sharpton] was able to become what he is, in spite of what his forefather was."

SHARPTON: The shame is that I am the heirs of those that were properties to the Thurmond family, but the glory is that Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 on a segregationist ticket. I ran in '04 on a ticket for racial justice.


COLLINS: I want to go ahead and get a recap, a little bit of it anyway, from our CNN's Sibila Vargas, standing by to give us a live scoop of the aftermath of the Oscars.

I've got to tell you quickly, my favorite part...

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hollywood's biggest night. What's your biggest part -- or favorite part?

COLLINS: My favorite part was "Little Miss Sunshine" and Will Smith's little boy.

VARGAS: Oh, I know, it was so adorable! Totally cute. I loved them!

Well the Oscars, we'll be talking all about it, and I'll have those highlights and so much more, when the NEWSROOM continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS: Hollywood gold handed out, but the night's biggest prize began to a celebrated director, who finally ends his long dry spell. There she is.

CNN entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas.

VARGAS: Sibila Vargas! Nobody says it Tony.

HARRIS: I sell it is what I do. Great to see you, lady.

VARGAS: Sell it, sell it! You're awesome.

Well, that's right, it was a night of tears, fears and dreams realized, and in the end the Oscar went to a king, a queen and ended with a bang.


JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: And the Oscar goes to -- "The Departed."

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: The crime drama "The Departed" stole away with four Oscars, best picture, editing, adapted screenplay, and a long-awaited best director award for Martin Scorsese, who after five previous directing losses couldn't believe his luck.

MARTIN SCORSESE, DIRECTOR: Could you double-check the envelope.

VARGAS: In the lead-acting category, Forest Whittaker won for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," while Helen Mirren reigned supreme for playing Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen."

HELEN MIRREN, ACTRESS: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the queen.

VARGAS: As for the supporting actors, veteran Alan Arkin pulled off an upset, winning for his performance in the quirky family road comedy "Little Miss Sunshine," which also won for best original screenplay. And best supporting actress Jennifer Hudson was recognized for her very first film "Dreamgirls".

JENNIFER HUDSON, ACTRESS: I couldn't believe it. I'm still in shock.

VARGAS: The Al Gore global-warming film "An Inconvenient Truth" won for documentary feature, and for a second it looked like Gore might have a big announcement.

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, I'm going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce my intention

VARGAS: Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up" from the documentary won for best song, beating out three entries from "Dreamgirls," which despite eight nominations, wound up with just two Oscars.

ELLEN DEGENERES, ACTRESS: This is the most international Oscars ever, which is a huge deal, I think.

VARGAS: As "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Babel" won four Oscars between them, and top honors went to a very American version of a Hong Kong film, it proved to be a very small world on Oscar night.


VARGAS: One of the biggest evening's highlights came when three bigtime directors, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas took to the stage to present the best director Oscar to Martin Scorsese. Now Scorsese says he kind of got a feeling that may have been a winner after the directors shot him a look from the stage.

Back to you.

HARRIS: Hey, Sibila, great to see you. Saw a lot of the show yesterday. You looked fantastic. If we had more time we would talk about what you were wearing, because it was off the charts, as the kids say.

Sibila Vargas in Los Angeles. We've got to go. Sorry.

VARGAS: Thank you.

COLLINS: He never says any of that to me.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Are you feeling better? It is so good to see you.

COLLINS: Thank you, Don. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LEMON: You look great.

COLLINS: You guys have a terrific show coming up at 1:00.

LEMON: We do have a terrific show coming up.

How're you doing?

HARRIS: Hey, good to see you.

LEMON: We do have a terrific show coming. Forget Pandora's Box. This is a controversy of truly biblical proportions. Does an ancient box contain the remains of Jesus?


JAMES CAMERON: I've never doubted that there was a historical Jesus, that he walked the earth 2,000 years ago, but the simple fact is that there's never been a shred of physical archaeological evidence to support that fact until right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Wow. So, guys, if you think "The Da Vinci Code" stirred up a hornet's nest, wait until you hear the response on this one, and you won't have to wait long. We'll be talking to theology professor Darrell Bok (ph). What could this find mean to millions of Christians around the world?

And this -- will the Supreme Court put the brakes on high-speed police chases? A 2001 police chase left a Georgia man paralyzed. His lawyers call it "excessive force." We want to know what you think. Should there be limits on high-speed chases? E-mail us at And join us in the CNN NEWSROOM at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, look forward to you guys watching us.

COLLINS: No question about it. All right, Don Lemon, thank you.

CNN NEWSROOM does continue just one hour from now.

HARRIS: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next with news happening across the globe and here at home.

I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins. Have a great Monday, everybody.



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