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Pressure Mounting Over Status of Detained British Sailors; War Fund Feud; San Francisco Bans Plastic Grocery Bags
Aired March 31, 2007 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Next in the NEWSROOM, thunderstorms leave flooding in the South overnight, and that could be just the beginning. A tornado watch is in effect right now further north.
Plus, a strange twist. A husband kills his wife's lover, allegedly. But she's the one who is being indicted. Our legal eagles examine that case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a lady screaming. And by the time I got out to the balcony, she had the baby off the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Also, a child falls from the ninth floor of a building. You have to stick around for what turns out to be a very happy ending.
You're in the NEWSROOM, where the news unfolds live this Saturday, March 31st.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Pretty severe weather in much of the country. Floodwaters on the rise, trees and power lines are down, thousands of people are in the dark.
Powerful spring storms cause some pretty big problems as they sweep across Texas and Oklahoma. Flashfloods quickly turned many of the streets into streams. More than three inches of rain in Oklahoma. And now the storm system is threatening other areas in the South and Midwest.
Our Jacqui Jeras is watching all of it.
WHITFIELD: Meantime, overseas, the pressure is mounting over the status of 15 British marines and sailors detained in Iran. On the diplomatic front, both sides are talking. At the same time, Iran is threatening to put the captives on trial.
Our Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance has more from London. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Facing continued uncertainty, the 15 British military personnel held in Iran remain at the center of a bitter standoff. The British foreign minister confirms there's been an exchange of letters between London and Tehran, but no one is talking about progress towards a release.
MARGARET BECKETT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: What we want is a way out of it. We want it peacefully. And we want it as soon as possible.
We would like to be told where our personnel are. We would like to be given access to them, but we want it resolved.
CHANCE: And a sense of diplomatic urgency is only heightened since Iran chose to broadcast this purported confession by one of the captured sailors, possibly made under duress.
NATHAN SUMMERS, BRITISH SEAMAN: I'm grateful no harm has come to us. Just, I'd like to apologize for entering your waters without any permission
CHANCE: Letters handwritten by the only female captive, Faye Turney, have been released, too. British officials say their anti- British and U.S. tone also appears to have been coerced.
On the streets of the Iranian capital, where Islamic Republic Day is being celebrated, there appears to be some support for the way the Iranian government is handling the standoff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The fact that the United Kingdom or America are great powers, does not force us to free these soldiers. They may even be spies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It would be better if Iran were to free the female British sailor because it is a positive move. But the United Kingdom also must respond positively after her release.
CHANCE: But, for the moment, Britain is trying to step up the diplomatic pressure on the Islamic republic. At a gathering of EU foreign ministers, it's looking to its European allies to adopt strong measures to encourage Iran to back down.
(on camera): Already, the European Union, which is the biggest trading partner of Iran, has expressed its strong up support for the British position in this escalating standoff. They could now choose to impose punitive measures against the Islamic republic if the British sailors aren't released soon.
Without some kind of solution, it seems Iran may be facing ever deeper isolation.
Matthew Chance, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WHITFIELD: Now turning to Iraq, the feud over funding. President Bush today used his weekly radio address to slam congressional Democrats for weighing down war funding bills with what he calls pork and a timetable for withdrawal.
Our Elaine Quijano is live at the White House -- Elaine.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon to you, Fredricka.
Well, President Bush is showing no signs of backing down. He once again today reiterated his veto threat.
Now, you'll recall it was just a couple of days ago that the president met with House Republicans privately, and once more blasted the Democrats for their spending bills, their war spending bills that include timetables for troop withdrawals. Now, in his weekly radio address today, the president also mocked Democrats for attaching unrelated expenses to their legislation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrats loaded up their bills with billions of dollars in domestic spending completely unrelated to the war, including $3.5 million for visitors to tour the Capitol, $6.4 million for the House of Representatives' salaries and expenses account, and $74 million for secure peanut storage. I like peanuts as much as the next guy, but I believe the security of our troops should come before the security of our peanut crop.
For all these reasons, that is why I made it clear to the Democrats in Congress I will veto the bill.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
QUIJANO: Now, in response, Democrats chose Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horn (ph), a retired member of the Marine Reserves to deliver their radio address. And in that, Horn (ph) said that supplemental spending bills passed by the House and Senate provide a much-needed change, he said, in the president's Iraq policy. He said the legislation also provides billions for the troops, giving them the proper protection and training they need to survive in Iraq.
And we should mention that Horn (ph) himself served in Iraq. He served during operations Desert Storm, as well as Iraqi Freedom.
Now, President Bush, though, continues to argue that any bills that include a timetable for troop withdrawal simply tie the hands of military commanders and generals. And he continues to oppose them because he says they impose restrictions on what the military can do.
Lawmakers, Fredricka, as you know, are now on spring break. The House and Senate negotiators are going to have to sit down and reconcile the two bills passed by the House and Senate -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Elaine. Thanks so much, from the White House.
Meantime, not far away from the White House, the Pentagon says it could run out of money for the war in Iraq if the feud over funding isn't settled soon. But there's some debate over just how fast that would actually happen.
Our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats say a new, non-partisan analysis undermines White House claims that the fight over funding the Iraq War will soon put combat troops at risk.
The Congressional Research Service says even without additional funding, the Army could finance the war for several more months, through most of July 2007. The report also says the Pentagon does have flexibility to transfer money from elsewhere for urgent requirements.
KATHLEEN HICKS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The process is that you rob Peter to pay Paul. Lower priority items will start to lose funding in order to pay for overseas contingency costs.
BASH: Democrats hope the new study helps rebut a powerful Bush argument in a standoff centered on Democrats' demands that Iraq War funding be tied to a deadline for troop withdrawal.
America's top military officer warns if the Pentagon doesn't get $100 billion in war funding by April 15th, the Army will have to curtail Reserve and Guard training. Quality of life initiatives like barrack upgrades would be reduced and equipment repairs suspended.
And by May 15th, General Pace warns, deployments to Iraq could be delayed. Troops in Iraq would have to stay longer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're saying there's a chain reaction?
GENERAL PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: There is, sir. And there are other things. I'll stop there.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Whose fault is that? Whose fault is that? We have waited for months and months and months to get this appropriation bill.
BASH: Democrats blame the president for mismanaging the war and weakening the military, and say the Pentagon and White House are using scare tactics to try to get Democrats to back down in their push for a deadline for troops to come home.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And what the president is saying, give me the money but don't expect me to be accountable. BASH (on camera): Congress has now left town for spring break and they're weeks away from sending a war funding bill to the president, one they know he will veto.
BASH (on camera): So the question is how and when will the standoff end? How much are both sides willing to compromise on the issue of timetables for troops to come home in order to get money for troops who are still in Iraq?
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WHITFIELD: And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, well, she's opening a week-long Middle East tour. She's in Jerusalem right now to address the Israeli parliament. Pelosi will also go to the Palestinian territories.
But it's her planned stop in Syria that is raising hackles at the White House. A spokeswoman says a meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is "a really bad idea." The Bush administration says Syria sponsors terrorism, but a Pelosi spokesman notes the Iraq Study Group encouraged a dialogue with Syria.
A new warning for pet owners now. What you need to look out for straight ahead.
Also, the grocery bag issue in San Francisco. Plastic bags are now out. How this debate impacts our planet.
And this depiction of Jesus. Is it too sweet for some? Religion and chocolate, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: All right. Happening right now, a standoff between Britain and Iran now in its second week, with 15 British sailors and marines still being held by Iran. Diplomats are trying to resolve the standoff, and there is word from Iranian officials that the British troops could face trial on charges of illegally entering Iranian territory. London says the troops were in Iraqi waters when they were seized.
More worries this weekend for pet owners. Purina is recalling all sizes and varieties of its Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food. Those products believed to be tainted with wheat gluten containing a toxic substance. And now some dry pet food is also being recalled.
Meanwhile, the FDA is investigating what may be a different culprit for the whole pet food scare -- at least involving Menu Foods.
CNN's Mary Snow has the story.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For the first time, a massive recall includes dry pet food. Hill's Pet Nutrition says consumers should stop using one of its products, Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry food. The development comes roughly two weeks after wet pet food products from a separate company, Menu Foods, were recalled after cats and dogs suffered kidney failure. Some pets got sick, others died. Federal officials are at a loss to explain exactly what went wrong.
DR. STEPHEN SUNDLOF, FDA CTR. FOR VETERINARY MEDICINE: We understand it's confusing. It's confusing to everybody. We're trying to make sense out of it.
SNOW: The Food and Drug Administration says it's found a chemical called Melamine in certain pet foods containing wheat gluten from a supplier in China. In China, Melamine can be found in fertilizers. It's banned for that purpose in the United States but can be found in some plastics. As investigators continue working towards solving the pet food supply program, what are some vets telling pet owners to do?
DR. BRUCE AKEY, CORNELL COL. OF VETERINARY MEDICINE: If you're really, really concerned, then feed your pet a home-made diet for a few days or a few weeks and give this thing a chance to run its course. SNOW: Dog owner Eileen Moriarty says that's exactly what she intends to do.
EILEEN MORIARTY, DOG OWNER: It's a little scary to think that, you know, it could be in any one of these foods, especially when you think you're buying a premium brand that has better ingredients.
SNOW: Exactly how many pets have been affected by the tainted food remains unclear. The FDA is confirming the deaths of approximately 14 pets but says it's received over 8,000 complaints it's now reviewing.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: So, for more on what brands are included in the recall, go to CNN.com.
And now, out West, in San Francisco, plastic is out, canvas is in. That city taking another step to make our planet a greener planet.
Here's reporter Deborah Villalon. She's with affiliate KGO.
DEBORAH VILLALON, REPORTER, KGO (voice over): About 1,000 canvas shopping bags went fast, free on the steps of City Hall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put it in the back of your cars. It's a very easy thing to do.
VILLALON: Supervisors celebrating the ban on petroleum-based plastic bags blamed for litter and clogging landfills.
PEGGY ROYSTER, SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT: This is great. I do have another bag at home that I got at Trader Joe's. They're very earth conscious.
VILLALON: San Francisco is steering shoppers toward cloth and plastic bags made of cornstarch that can be composted. Grocery and drugstores that had only limited success recycling the old-style bags must abandon them. And many may just return to paper bags since they cost about the same.
DAVE HIGHLAND, CALIFORNIA GROCERS ASSOCIATION: Are bags even going to be available? What cost are the bags going to be? What's the integrity of the bag?
Is it going to be able to hold the same type -- same amount of product as a normal plastic bag? If not, are we now going to go to doubling bags?
VILLALON: Plastic bags won't vanish. San Francisco has almost 100,000 small businesses not covered by the ordinance, and shopping centers will still have them, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's super compact, super light, and I never have to worry about it.
VILLALON: But for many people it's more about changing habits, carrying your own tote, for example, so you won't need a store bag at all.
TINEKE TRIGGS, SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT: It's just like cars. You know, I have a hybrid. It cost me more to buy the hybrid, but in the long run I think I'm doing the right thing.
VILLALON: For critics who say the city has bigger issues than bags to worry about, backers point out other San Francisco firsts that spread -- bans on aerosol cans and pull-tabs on cans.
ROSS MIRKARIMI, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: That makes this state proud and that leads the path for the United States, which inevitably become as great bellwether as how the rest of the country would follow.
WHITFIELD: So here's a story of inspiration. Really inspiration.
He could have left college for a shot at millions last year. Coming up next, the son of a tobacco picker and garbage man stays in school. And he's also in the Final Four. Find out all about him coming up.
And later, a little boy incredibly surviving this huge plunge nine stories. But first, a live look at the 41st annual Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds. Always a great time, and great weather, to boot. What could go wrong?
WHITFIELD: So, March madness in full swing. College basketball, it all boils down to the Final Four tonight in Atlanta.
You also might know what several famous fathers have been doing. They've been a big influence on their basketball-playing sons.
But one father you probably don't know and haven't heard about. Well, he certainly has had a huge impact on one player.
CNN's Larry Smith has that story live from the Georgia Dome.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon to you.
Yes, we're getting closer now to tip-off. About 6:07 the final four will tip off in the Georgia Dome here behind me. Game one, Georgetown and Ohio State. The nine (ph) cap is rematch of last year's championship game between the defending champion, Florida Gators, and UCLA.
Now, on these Gators, there are three members of the starting five, all who have famous dads who were all pro-athletes -- Taurean Green, the point guard, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford. But a fourth player, Corey Brewer, also a junior, along with the other three, his dad you may not know about. And here is his story.
Corey Brewer, growing up in rural Tennessee, he's thinking of his team, as well as his father. His dad, "Pee Wee" Brewer, as he is called, taught his son the value of hard work. Corey worked in the tobacco and soybean fields as a teenager back home in Tennessee, even collected trash with his dad. And his son watched father fight through his own hurdles -- open heart surgery, three angioplastys, and last October Pee Wee had his leg amputated due to complications from diabetes.
But all along, instilling a work ethic and a hunger for survival in his son Corey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY BREWER, FLORIDA GUARD: He's a huge inspiration. You know, he worked so hard his whole life. And just a big inspiration to me.
CHRIS RICHARD, FLORIDA FORWARD: He loves his father. And he helps us out a lot. And when he helps us, it boosts everybody, and all of us play a little better.
BILLY DONOVAN, FLORIDA HEAD COACH: One thing that's nice about his family is they're great people. They're people that have worked very, very hard. They've worked very hard to try to raise Corey, you know, in a way about getting his degree, going to school, being a good person, being a good role model.
BREWER: I just think about playing for him, you know, because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here just because, you know, it's my dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Now, a year ago Corey Brewer and a couple of his teammates, Joakim Noah and Al Horford, all put off aspirations of leaving early for the NBA to try to return to school and again repeat as national champion. Now, of course, a pro decision would have greatly benefited the family, as you might imagine, but his family, the message they wanted to send to him was simply to choose happiness. That he did, and now here he is two wins away from a repeat national championship.
Fredricka, still yet to see if that same decision would be made again this spring. Corey Brewer is a junior, 6'9" inch forward. He's an outstanding talent, and certainly you would think would be a first round draft pick should he decide to go out a year early and in to the NBA draft this summer.
Let's go back to you.
WHITFIELD: I love that story, Larry. Pee Wee is big in Corey's life. That is so awesome.
All right. Thanks so much. What an inspiration.
SMITH: Absolutely. OK.
WHITFIELD: Well, one man's work of art is blasphemy for others. The story behind the chocolate Jesus?
That's later in the NEWSROOM.
And our legal team debates the case of a wife arrested after her husband allegedly shot her lover.
We'll sort all of that out, straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: The latest on the British troops held by Iran.
One official suggesting again today Iran might put the 14 men and one woman on trial. They've been held nine days now.
Iran accuses the marines and sailors of trespassing on its territorial waters. Britain denies that. Britain's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, at EU talks in Germany, says London and Tehran have exchanged diplomatic notes on the crisis. As she puts it, "We are now beginning to discuss the situation." Australian David Hicks has become the first foreign terror suspect to be convicted among the hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda members detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Hicks' guilty plea was formally accepted yesterday as part of a plea deal. That deal stipulates that Hicks was not mistreated at Guantanamo. An important point since Hicks has complained in the past of alleged abuse. Hicks' father is not so pleased about that part of the deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY HICKS, FATHER: The other thing that's come out of this is I believe the Americans have committed perjury by making David sign a piece of paper that's wavering the -- suing the American government, for their actions on him and also his mistreatment and abuses. Now, we know for a fact that David was abused. He was mistreated and yet he had to sign a piece of paper saying, no, he wasn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Hicks has been at Guantanamo for five years now. He will eventually be transferred to an Australian prison will where he will spend nine more months in custody. Australia's prime minister says Hicks got what he deserved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: ... for all time will be that he pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting al Qaeda. That's -- that's an absolutely undisputed fact. It's also undisputed fact that he's acknowledged that the prosecution could have proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Hicks, a Muslim convert, was captured trying to escape into Pakistan after fighting briefly with the Taliban. In his guilty plea Hicks admitted conducting surveillance on the U.S. embassy in Kabul on behalf of al Qaeda. He was given a seven-year sentence with all but nine months suspended.
We wanted to know your thoughts on a terrorism threat, hitting close to home. Opinion Research Corporation asking whether you were worried that you or someone in your family will become a victim of terrorism.
Here are the results of more than 1,000 people. Forty-four percent say yes while 54 percent say no.
Well, you might not be worried, but many young Muslims are torn between innocence and extremism. Christiane Amanpour explores the battle over Islamic ideals in England and what drives so many people to turn to terrorism. CNN's SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT, "The War Within" tonight and Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.
So art, it can stir debate, awaken passion, speak to the soul. A sculpture is doing all of that. It's also a tease for your sweet tooth. Here's national correspondent Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Because of threats they say they have received an artist and his wife do not want to meet at their home. So instead we get together at a New York City diner to talk about ...
COSIMO CAVALLARO, ARTIST: "Sweet Jesus."
TUCHMAN: This is "Sweet Jesus." A life size anatomically correct sculpture of Jesus made out of 200 pounds of chocolate created by New York artist Cosimo Cavallaro. An art gallery in this New York City hotel scheduled its debut for this Monday.
C. CAVALLARO: The purpose of "Sweet Jesus" is for me to portray that iconic image with a taste.
TUCHMAN: But many, including the New York Archdiocese and the Catholic League say it's scandalous.
KIERA MCCAFFREY, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: They are saying we are taking up a devout Christian image, the crucified Christ and making him into chocolate with genitals exposed. They're digging the knife at Christians on this. To try to pretend otherwise is absurd and they're doing this at our holiest time.
C. CAVALLARO: Here we have chocolate, no negative connotations to chocolate. And the body of Christ. You know? The figure of Christ. So how two wrongs make one -- two rights make one wrong, that I could never imagine.
TUCHMAN: But the Catholic League asked for a boycott of the hotel and says the sculpture also known as Chocolate Jesus is hate speech.
MCCAFFREY: They surely wouldn't do something similar to Muslims. You want to bet they would never put up a naked chocolate statue of Muhammad with genitals exposed during Ramadan?
TUCHMAN: There have been many similar controversies. The former mayor of New York and current presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani threatened to withdraw funding from a Brooklyn museum after it featured the Virgin Mary with elephant dung.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: Of course it's Catholic bashing.
TUCHMAN: Rap singer Kanye West raised hackles by appearing on "Rolling Stone" magazine in this fashion in support of his song "Jesus Walks." And then there's Madonna, a few months ABC removed footage of Madonna suspended from a giant cross which was to be included on a prime time special.
So would this artist create a sculpture called "Sweet Muhammad"?
C. CAVALLARO: No.
C. CAVALLARO: That's not my religion and I have no need to get close to that. This is what I have to do is to get closer to my religion.
TUCHMAN: You're a Christian?
C. CAVALLARO: Yeah. I'm a Christian, Catholic.
TUCHMAN: And now the controversy has taken a new twist. The gallery and hotel have backed down. On Friday the hotel released a statement saying, "We have caused the cancellation of the exhibition and wish to affirm the dignity and responsibility of the hotel in all its affairs."
The Cavallaros are upset. But not at the gallery.
SARAH CAVALLARO, ARTIST'S WIFE: I feel that they were really scared and that they were protecting themselves.
TUCHMAN: And as for his sculpture -
Where is "Chocolate Jesus" right now?
C. CAVALLARO: In a refrigerator truck looking for a home.
TUCHMAN: Don't be surprised to see "Sweet Jesus" in a different gallery sometime soon. Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: So one of Georgia's so-called Barbie bandits out of jail. Authorities in Cobb County northwest of Atlanta say 19-year-old Heather Lynne Johnson has been released on $11,000 bail. Johnson and 18-year-old Ashley Miller are charged with stealing nearly $11,000 in a bank robbery in February.
Police say the two went on a shopping spree and even gave money to the homeless after the heist. Miller remains in jail.
Police in Highlands County, Florida, are facing questions over their arrest of this six-year-old girl. Local affiliates' Web sites are reporting the story and they say the kindergarten were handcuffed and taken to jail after allegedly hitting her teacher. Police say she was also crying uncontrollably. The girl's mother says she's shocked about how her child was treated and is considering legal action now.
Meanwhile, the girl is facing one felony count and two misdemeanors.
In Texas, a killing straight out of a country song. Daryl Roberson comes home from a card game. In the driveway his wife is inside a pickup truck, let's say, heavily engaged with another man. Well, caught in the act, she screams "Rape" and her husband opens fire with a gun he happened to have on hand allegedly. Well, the lover is dead and on Thursday a grand jury handed down an indictment, but here's the twist. It's the wife, Tracey Dennis -- Denise Roberson, rather who is charge with manslaughter. We toss this challenge to our legal experts, law professor and civil rights attorney Avery Friedman, good to see you.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And criminal defense attorney Richard Herman. All right. Good to see use well, Richard.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Well, this is really interesting because no doubt someone would expect charges to be handed down after this case. A man is dead. But it is the wife, the woman who is involved with the man who is now dead. So Richard, how unusual is this that this kind of ending, I guess, to charges being handed down would happen like this?
HERMAN: Well, Fred, it's just terrific police work, to look at her cell phone records and get those text message where's she communicated with her lover the day before and told him, please come over to the house, because without that, I don't think they had her. Now, you know, the only charge against the husband was murder, which requires a specific intent to kill someone and the grand jury expressly rejected that. Put themselves in his shoes and said, geez, what would I do if I had a gun and I came home and my wife said that she was being raped by someone out in the street there in the parking lot in the driveway. So just incredible scenario here.
The wife basically fraudulently induced her husband, who had a gun, who carried a gun, which obviously she knew, to shoot this man.
WHITFIELD: Because she screamed rape.
HERMAN: It's an incredible, incredible story.
So when your talking about manslaughter or even murder charges, then, Avery, usually intent is part of the equation. So where is intent in this?
FRIEDMAN: The difference here is that when you're dealing with murder, you're correct, absolutely a fundamental element. This is manslaughter. And what we have is essentially a claim that she recklessly caused the death of her lover because, remember, she had text messaged him to come over after her husband went to a poker game. And he worked over at UPS and said, you know, I want you to bring over a package, so to speak, and he did.
And then what happened is that no one anticipated what was going to happen. So what she's facing is not a crime of intent but, rather, her reckless behavior, her being quick on her feet or whatever position she was in, she claimed rape.
And the husband didn't know. He pulled a gun, started shooting, shot four shots. One hit him, that was the end.
WHITFIELD: So she's crying wolf.
HERMAN: Why are you blushing, Fred?
WHITFIELD: You got me. You guys are so funny. We're talking about crying wolf. So if this woman were, you know, to get any sympathy from anyone, you know potential jury pool out there, not only is she involved in an extramarital affair but now she's used rape, she's toying with the word "rape." To be taken very seriously when anybody calls out that they are being raped.
It's difficult, I guess, to expect that a lot of jurors might be empathetic or even sympathetic with her, right, Richard?
HERMAN: You've got it, Fred. As an adulterous, that's three strikes against her right there in a jury pool and then to use the word "rape." I mean that is just -- So many women are afraid to come forward because they're afraid to face the scrutiny and cross- examination in cases like this. They don't think they will be believed.
And here, this deals a death blow to those people who are on the borderline whether to come forward and press charges here. But she's going to have no sympathy with this jury and I expect she's going to make some sort of resolution. She's facing two to 20 years in prison.
WHITFIELD: Wow. All right. We're not done with you guys yet. We still have another legal case we want you guys to grapple with. A teen sent to prison for 10 years for having consensual sex with another teen. Well, Avery and Richard will be weighing that straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: A young Georgia man awaits freedom. Genarlow Wilson got a 10-year prison sentence for consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. He has already served two years in prison. The law that convicted him has since been changed. And his supporters hope lawmakers would pass a bill to revisit earlier convictions, including his. Our legal experts join us on this in a moment. First, here's CNN's Tony Harris bringing us up to date.
B.J. BERNSTEIN: I am shocked. I'm disappointed. This most looked at bill, a bill that's been repeatedly brought up by every major newspaper in the state as a major bill of concern, that the entire country is watching Georgia and they adjourn and don't get to this bill.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unfinished business, the Georgia Senate let the deadline pass without a vote on a bill that could have freed Genarlow Wilson. Wilson is 25 months into a 10-year prison term for having sex with a teenage girl. GENARLOW WILSON, SENTENCED IN TEEN SEX CASE: When you label someone as a sex offender, sex offender is someone who has a history of continually committing the same crime with kids, someone who's weak, they prey on the weak. I wasn't preying on the weak when that happened.
HARRIS: It was New Year's Eve, 2003, and Wilson was partying with friends. Somebody had a video camera and captured Wilson receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old. Wilson was 17. In Georgia at the time, that was a felony.
The law said receiving oral sex from someone under 16 is aggravated child molestation, even when both participants are teens and the act is consensual. Wilson's case prompted an outcry and the law was changed, making the crime a misdemeanor.
But that didn't help Genarlow Wilson. So Wilson supporters had one more mission at the Georgia State Capitol, Wilson's freedom. A bill was introduced that would allow judges to review the case of Wilson and hundreds of others convicted under the old law. But critics argued that would put an unnecessary strain on the legal system.
DAVID MCCADE, DOUGLAS COUNTY, GEORGIA D.A.: I don't believe you should create relief for a person convicted of aggravated child molestation and child molestation. They've been through courts.
HARRIS: The legislative time clock ran out for Genarlow Wilson. And all an attorney could do was console a mother.
WHITFIELD: So let's see what our legal experts have to say about the Genarlow Wilson case. Once again, Avery Friedman and Richard Herman. So Avery, Generalow Wilson, is he getting any closer to perhaps a reprieve?
FRIEDMAN: Well, this is very difficult, Fredricka, because at the trial level, the lawyers who represented Genarlow could have raised constitutional issues. And you know what? They didn't. So the difficulty is that the higher courts were burdened with this problem of the failure of the lawyers to raise these issues.
A very similar case, by the way, was decided in March of 2006 in California by its Supreme Court and held a law very much like Georgia's, Fredricka, unconstitutional. So whatever remedy is left and it may have to head to the federal courts, the fact is that there is very little that can be done. This was the week where the legislature in Georgia could have rectified it and it didn't.
WHITFIELD: And so, Richard, one argument is the concern is if concessions are made for Genarlow Wilson, then that would open the door for similar concessions to be made for other convicted sex offenders, particularly those sex offenders who are serving time for far greater, more egg egregious offenses. HERMAN: Well, that's the problem, Fred. The argument and our position to this is a floodgate of cases that will arise out of the change of legislation. But this is a very narrow aspect here. He was 17, she was 15. It was as a result of oral sex at the time, which had it been intercourse it would have only be a misdemeanor one year. The legislature changed the statute but the courts are -- their hands are tied. They can't do anything about going retroactive and recreating some sort of remedy for him.
The legislature is the only way to go for this man. And the Georgia legislature has sent the message, they're not that sympathetic towards him and not willing to address it, at least for this year.
WHITFIELD: So what would be the next step?
FRIEDMAN: The next step ...
HERMAN: Like Avery said -- go ahead.
FRIEDMAN: Heading to federal court. I mean, the Georgia Supreme Court, by the way, had a chance to address this issue. And the breakdown were for four white justices saying affirm the conviction. Three black justices saying it should be reversed. So trhe only possible remedy, and I'm really skeptical if it's going to be successful, is a federal district court because I'm not sure where else they could possibly go.
WHITFIELD: And so, Richard, timetable, if that were to be involved?
HERMAN: Fred, I think you're years away at this point. And I really think the only legitimate recourse here is going to be for the Georgia legislature to step up and enact a statute. Next year. It's not going to happen this year. So they need to do it through next year.
WHITFIELD: So we're actually talking about -- he's already served two years. And if you talk about the federal courts now you're talking about another two years. You know, it will be the halfway point by the time they ever make any arguments in court, right?
FRIEDMAN: Well, the legislative way is the easier way to go on this. Maybe it will be revisited.
FRIEDMAN: There's a lot of sympathy on this young man who is an honor student, top athlete, on his way to college. Again, 17-15, oral sex, 10 years, regular intercourse, a misdemeanor. This is a huge injustice. And California, as I say, ruled a similar law to be unconstitutional. So there's got to be some legislative approaches. It will be next year.
WHITFIELD: All right. Avery and Richard Herman. Richard, thanks so much, gentlemen. Appreciate it.
FRIEDMAN: See you soon. Take care.
HERMAN: Have a good weekend, Fred.
WHITFIELD: You as well.
Well, this is an incredible story. Injured after falling nine floors, to the ground. A boy's amazing survival story, straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: This just in. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accuses the British of being arrogant. He insists on an apology from British forces after sailors and marines, he says, trespassed into Iranian waters. Iran is holding 15 British sailors and marines captive. And he's threatening, that country is, to put them on trial. Britain says its forces were in Iraqi waters. And now let's check in with Jacqui Jeras new tornado watch going on.
WHITFIELD: That's right. Or a real high-powered umbrella. Thanks a lot.
Jacqui Jeras, CNN METEOROLOGIST: OK.
WHITFIELD: Well, a Toronto-area boy seems to be on the road to recovery today. By all logic, he should be dead. Here's CTV reporter John Musselman.
JOHN MUSSELMAN, CTV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paramedics rushed the five-year-old boy identified as Jong Jim Kim to Hamilton McMaster Hospital after he plunged from the ninth floor balcony of this apartment complex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like cries, oh, my God, oh, my God. That's all I heard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heard a lady screaming. And by the time I got out to the balcony, she had the baby off the grounds.
MUSSELMAN: Incredibly the boy survived. He suffered two broken legs. From this view on a neighbor's balcony you can see where he landed. There's an imprint in the grass and mud marking the spot. The soft ground likely saved him. Just 20 feet over, there's a concrete parking lot. The family is from Korea and moved to Hamilton three years ago. The boy's mother picked him up and rush him to this nearby variety store. She knows the owner who called 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He opened eyes and then he's a little bit talking. Complaint, my legs hurt, and then so a little bit bleeding from the nose. MUSSELMAN: It's still not clear what happened. The boy's mother was cleaning the apartment when she noticed her son was missing. When she went out to the balcony and looked down, she saw her son lying on the grass.
WHITFIELD: That is incredible. Glad the little boy is on the road to recovery.
Straight ahead, at 4:00 Eastern on CNN, are tasers and bean bag guns really a safer alternative than the standard weapons used by police departments? We'll tackle that question.
Also ahead, a check of the top stories and CNN's SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT presents "The Ultimate Medical Drama, Grady's Anatomy."
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here's what's making news right now.
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