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President Bush Pushes Immigration Reform; Michigan Police Capture Office Shooting Suspect; Father of Anna Nicole Smith's Baby to be Revealed
Aired April 9, 2007 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello there, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, live at the CNN world headquarters here in Atlanta.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm T.J. Holmes.
He's often outrageous. But now he's on the receiving end of some outrage. Can Don Imus come up with any apology that is good enough? We're checking the reactions.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
New details emerging from Michigan, where a workplace shooting in suburban Detroit has left one person dead and two people wounded. And a suspect is now in custody. He is 38-year-old Anthony LaCalamita, a former accounting firm employee, who police say was fired from his job just last week.
Employees say security codes at the building were changed after the suspect was let go -- still no word on just how he managed to get into that building. We're expecting to get a lot more details on this case and that suspect and his capture, as we wait for a press conference coming to us out of Genesee County. The sheriff there, we're expecting to hear from them.
We're expecting that at the top of the hour. It is supposed to start, really, at any minute. We will monitor that and bring that to you live, as soon as it happens.
We are also going to be talking this hour with a man who was stuck inside that building, who was inside when that shooting started happening at that workplace just outside of Detroit. So, all those things, we're keeping an eye on this hour. And we will bring them all to you.
NGUYEN: We're also watching this guy, because he's rude, he's crude, and he's sorry -- radio host Don Imus trying to make amends today for his racist, sexist crack about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "IMUS IN THE MORNING")
DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and...
BERNARD MCGUIRK, PRODUCER: Some hard-core hos. IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, among many others, want Imus off the air.
And, today, Imus bellied up to the Mike on Sharpton's radio show. He acknowledged the last week's banter went way too far, but insisted there was no intentional racial component.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You call these people nappy- headed hos, but you wasn't talking racial when you said nappy, jigaboos and wannabes, but you didn't understand what you were saying.
You just -- what are you saying; you blanked out?
IMUS: Well, no, I didn't -- don't -- no, no, I didn't -- don't tell me I didn't -- I didn't say I didn't understand what we were saying. I said I wasn't thinking that.
Now, if somebody says jigaboos and wannabes, then my frame of reference is a Spike Lee film.
IMUS: That's not...
SHARPTON: Which was about light-skinned blacks and white...
IMUS: No, I understand that. But I'm not thinking that it's a racial insult that's being uttered at somebody.
At the time, I think it's in the process of this -- what we're trying to rap and be funny. I mean, I understand it's not funny. I understand there is no excuse for it. I'm not pretending that there is.
IMUS: I wish I hadn't have said it. I'm sorry I said it.
SHARPTON: All right.
IMUS: Go ahead.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. And then we can talk about the things that you want to talk about.
If you realize that something must be done, why would you then feel that we are out of order to ask that you step aside?
IMUS: I didn't say that.
SHARPTON: Oh, you don't think we are out of order?
IMUS: No, sir.
SHARPTON: So, did you come to sign your resignation here?
IMUS: No, I'm not signing anything.
SHARPTON: So, what are you saying?
IMUS: I'm saying you have the right...
SHARPTON: That you want to -- you want to determine what ought to happen, even though you were the one that did the wrong?
IMUS: I didn't say that either.
IMUS: I say you have the right to say and do whatever you want to do.
What I want you to do, and everybody else, everybody who is calling me a racist, everybody who is calling me a bigot, everybody who says, I don't know anything about him -- I have heard people say, I don't know what's in his heart, and I don't know -- I have never listened to his show, but I want him fired.
That's an ill-informed decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Well, Sharpton said that he respects Imus for showing up, but he still wants him to resign or be fired.
HOLMES: We want to get back and talk more about that workplace shooting that happened just outside of Detroit, Michigan, earlier today that left at least one person dead, two others wounded, when a person, a former employee of one of the companies that has an office inside that office building -- he went back to that office.
And police say it appears he was targeting people. A lot of people were really on lockdown, working in some of the offices there in that building, terrified, wondering where the shooter was and exactly what was happening.
One of those people was Bill Adgate, who works in that building, and he was stuck in his office as well.
Mr. Adgate is on the line with us now.
Sir, thank you for taking us inside this building and giving us an understanding of what was happening in there. First, tell me what was going on. And did you hear shots? And was that your first indication that something was going on and going wrong in that building?
BILL ADGATE, WAS IN BUILDING DURING SHOOTING: We first had an indication by an employee that wasn't allowed to get into the building. And she called one of the other employees on a cell phone.
At that point, we decided to blockade the door, so in case there is someone fleeing in the building, they couldn't come into ours -- our suite. Yes, we did hear shots, though. And I was understanding that it was a response to -- by the police department. That was that was my impression. But only days will tell us.
HOLMES: Now, how far are you -- the report is that this Gordon Advisors -- that's the name of this company -- an accounting firm there, where this gentleman, the suspect used to work and where he went back to target people, where -- how far are you, the office you were in, in relation to that?
ADGATE: We are right above them. We were the third floor. That's second floor.
HOLMES: So, what is everybody's -- how did you all get instructions, I guess, for what to do? You barricaded yourself in. Did you all take it upon yourselves to do that, or did you get instructions from the police? Or what was going on?
ADGATE: Well, we put the barricades up before we were asked to. I was -- I and other associates moved a table and a few chairs in front of the window to both block vision and, you know, somewhat -- it was a glass door -- maybe somewhat, you know, slow someone down if they wanted to flee and try and get into our suite.
HOLMES: What was your understanding of the security issues in the building? We were told earlier that security codes and whatnot had been changed because that folks -- or security was certainly aware of this individual. Things were changed around there.
So, give us an idea of what the changes were. And, I guess, how secure is that building on a day-to-day basis anyway?
ADGATE: Well, Troy, Michigan, is an extremely secure community in the first place. We have, per capita, probably the most police officers per -- well, per capita.
And the point is, it's a very great community and very safe community, probably third safest in the nation, last I heard. This is an incident that occurred. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't say anything about the security of the building itself. There's codes to get on the building -- in the building on the weekends. And that's normal.
There is really no security, per se, other than maintenance people walking around the facility.
HOLMES: How terrified were other people in the office you were in, and I guess how many people were in there as well?
ADGATE: Well, we were one of the last groups to get out. So, we were probably the most terrified, more than likely, just because time is the thing that moves emotions. And there was a lot of ladies that were concerned, but everybody stuck together.
And we stayed in the general area. We knew our ways to get out of the suite. It's a larger suite. There are three entrances. So, we were ready to move at any time. But, obviously, the nerves got the better of all of us, but I think everybody did very, very well.
HOLMES: All right. Could only imagine what you all were going through at the time.
Bill Adgate, one of the people who works in that building who had to barricade themselves in while this was all going on -- Mr. Adgate, appreciate you, again, for taking us in there and giving us a little insight into what you all were going through in that building.
And want to remind our viewers we are expecting a press conference from the sheriff's department in Genesee County there. We expected that at the top of the hour, just a few minutes behind here, but still expecting that at any time. And we will bring that to you as it happens.
NGUYEN: Right now, the president is gearing up for another push to secure the country's border with Mexico.
And, today, the president spoke to border agents in Yuma, Arizona, to generate support for a toughened-up version of his plan to halt illegal immigration. Now last year's effort died on Capitol Hill. But the president said today that it's got to get done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These failures help create a perception that America was not serious about enforcing our immigration laws, and that they could be broken without consequence. Past efforts of reform did not do enough to secure our nation's borders. As a result, many people have been able to sneak in to this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: Now, like his earlier effort, Mr. Bush's emerging plan envisions a guest-worker program and a path to U.S. citizenship. But it is tougher than last year's version. It calls for three-year visas renewable at a cost of $3,500, English-proficiency standards for prospective guest workers, also criminal background checks.
People in the country illegally who wish to become U.S. citizens would have to pay a fine of $10,000 at a U.S. Embassy back in their native land. The president wants it done by the end of the year.
HOLMES: All right.
And we want to turn to Jacqui Jeras now standing by in the Weather Center.
Jacqui Jeras, they call them the boys of summer, you know, baseball. They are supposed to be playing ball right now.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes.
HOLMES: And they are playing in -- they're the boys of winter, it seems like...
JERAS: Yes. They don't play so well as the boys of winter, do they?
JERAS: In fact, they don't play at all, if you are the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners.
JERAS: Game time is supposed to be at 4:05. Not going to happen.
JERAS: The double-header was supposed to be made up today, was canceled on Friday, canceled Saturday, Sunday, and yet again today. So, they are just going to have to reschedule some other time of the year.
If you haven't heard why, it's because of all the snow that came down in the Cleveland area, just over 11 inches there -- snow showers continuing, very light, to the east of there. But, right now, the weather is cooperating. Let's look at a live picture in Cleveland at this hour, mostly cloudy skies, 39 degrees. You can still see the snow on the ground, but should be melting rapidly over the next couple of days.
Even though the weather is cooperating right now, they say the field is just in no condition to play ball. They are also talking about the potential of rescheduling their games, or probably relocating their game on Tuesday against Los Angeles because of the wet weather and the snow that's going to be making the field kind of mushy.
Here's your five-day forecast for Cleveland. Look at that. We are going to get rid of the freezing temperatures, but replace that, unfortunately, with a few of those rain showers.
HOLMES: All right, Jacqui, sorry, dear lady. I have got to jump in here, because our press conference is starting up in Michigan on that workplace shooting.
We're just going to go right to it in Genesee County.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ROBERT PICKELL, GENESEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN, SHERIFF: ... progressed, they filled in the description of a vehicle, that being a 2007 Ford Fusion, silver in color.
The Dexter man driving north on I-75 realized that the vehicle directly next to him on north -- on 75 was the vehicle which was being described on the radio show. He immediately called 911, at which time the office of Genesee County sheriff's deputies responded to the call at approximately 12:25 p.m.
Identifying the subject's vehicle, as well as the lone male suspect wanted in the shooting, deputies spotted the subject coming into the Vienna Township. A stop was attempted, and the subject disregarded the lights and siren, and fled northbound at speeds up to 120 miles per hour. The suspect went from Genesee County through Saginaw County into Bay County, and was apprehended approximately after a 30-mile chase, which ended at the 158-mile marker.
During this pursuit, the subject drove erratically from one side of the expressway to the other, through a construction zone at the high rate of speed, at one point going on the grass shoulder. It was at this time that the sheriff's department and the state police out of the Bridgeport post boxed the subject's vehicle in. The subject stopped the vehicle and was taken into custody without incident.
The gentleman, the man was brought to the sheriff's department, where he was booked on fleeing and eluding charges. The vehicle was impounded, and we turned it over to the Troy Police Department for processing.
We are confident that this is the subject wanted in the shooting at the Troy office building. At the point of arrest, we seized a .12- gauge pump shotgun and three live shells.
This tragedy was brought to a conclusion by the quick wit and observation of an alert citizen, that being the man from Dexter. He didn't want any information given out about himself, other than he was 50 years old and from Dexter.
Again, without the help of citizens, it's very difficult for law enforcement to operate effectively. And it's because of this man's call to 911 and the stellar police work of the sheriff's deputies and the Michigan State Police that responded that we were able to bring this man into custody.
We hope to have mug shots for you in a very short time. The man that we arrested, his name is -- nobody wants to know it, do they?
PICKELL: Anthony LaCalamita -- L-A-C-A-L-A-M-I-T-A -- III, Anthony LaCalamita III.
He's a 38-year-old male, 5'8'', 189 pounds. We -- again, hopefully, we will have some mug shots for you within the next five minutes or so.
QUESTION: Sheriff, what did he say to police?
PICKELL: He made no comment at all. We're going to turn him over immediately to the Troy Police Department. We have been in constant contact with Troy, the Troy Police Department. In fact, I believe they are going to be taking him back to Troy very, very soon.
QUESTION: Sheriff (INAUDIBLE) that he threw something out of the car that was recovered? Is that true?
PICKELL: Everything -- I don't know that -- I have not heard that. We recovered live shells, three live shotgun shells, and, as I said, a .12-gauge pump shotgun.
The officers did not report something being thrown out of the car.
PICKELL: Now, again, we're going at speeds of 120 miles an hour, going from one side of the expressway to another, through a construction zone. So, you know, it's possible, but it's not being reported.
QUESTION: ... where the gun was found in the vehicle...
QUESTION: ... where the gun was, where the shotgun was in the vehicle?
PICKELL: No, I'm not going to give that information, except to say that it was in the vehicle.
QUESTION: Any indication where he was heading?
PICKELL: No, we have no indication.
QUESTION: Any word on the motive...
QUESTION: ... for all this?
PICKELL: No, we have none of that, no.
QUESTION: Can you describe his demeanor? Was he acting, you know, hyper, subdued?
PICKELL: Very subdued, very, very subdued.
You know -- you know, I -- well, as you can imagine, you know, you -- he went through a very tense period. And, when you are going at speeds of 120 miles an hour, and he's gone through some of that, after -- right after, if you can imagine, right after he was arrested, it was almost like, it's over.
QUESTION: So, he surrendered peacefully?
PICKELL: He did. He surrendered -- no, he surrendered peacefully and without incident.
QUESTION: Did he have any identification on him?
QUESTION: Was there a suicide letter or anything in the vehicle?
QUESTION: Does he have a family? Does he have kids?
PICKELL: You know, I don't know that -- we still -- you know, it just happened a short time ago. We're still in the process of getting information. I think those are things that you will be able to find out from the Troy Police Department.
QUESTION: What about the victims? Is it true that two people are now dead?
PICKELL: My understanding is and -- that there are two people dead and one in critical condition.
QUESTION: A man, a woman?
PICKELL: I don't know that. I don't know.
QUESTION: Was there anything in the car that made you believe that he did the shooting, like maybe a list of people or supplies, anything like that?
PICKELL: No. No.
QUESTION: Sheriff, can you discuss the hazard in going this fast on the freeway like this?
PICKELL: Well, yes. I mean, we're very, very fortunate that no one else was killed. And, you know, when you are going at 120 miles an hour, you are aiming the car. And normally -- normally, our -- our officers would be instructed, you know, to back off on a chase. But when, you know, we receive information from 911 that this is the car, the getaway car, where people were shot, one was dead, and two were critically injured, you know, it was in everybody's interest that we pursue. And we did that. And, thank God, it's by the grace of God that no one else was killed in a car accident.
PICKELL: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Did he drive around (INAUDIBLE) at one point?
PICKELL: Yes, he did.
Somewhere -- somewhere up in Saginaw, I believe, that we put the drop sticks. The state police put the drop sticks down. And somehow he maneuvered around the drop sticks.
QUESTION: Sir, does he know anybody, to your knowledge? Have you guys been able to determine if he knows anybody in this county or any county north of here?
PICKELL: No, we have not been able to determine that.
QUESTION: Any idea if he stopped anywhere along the way?
PICKELL: No, we don't -- we don't know that yet at this time.
QUESTION: Anything else of interest in his vehicle, besides the shotgun and the shells?
PICKELL: I think those are the things that you would be concerned about.
QUESTION: Did he have clothing, a suitcase, anything like that?
HOLMES: All right. We have been listening in to officials there in Genesee County, where this suspect, 38-year-old Anthony LaCalamita, the suspect in the workplace shooting that took place today in Troy, Michigan, which is about 15 miles north of Detroit, that left one person dead, two more injured, he has been caught. He is in custody, after somewhat of a chase, according to authorities, and also giving credit to an alert citizen who identified the car that the authorities were looking for, called 911.
They were able to get on his tail, but really a 30-mile chase here that ended after he was boxed in, gave up without incident after the chase. I guess that was the first incident, but gave up after he was stopped, didn't put up a fight after they were able to stop his car. He is in custody. Still looking for a lot more details to come out on that story, and motive behind that shooting.
NGUYEN: Also want to show you some video here. Remember when Saddam Hussein fell on this day back in 2003? Remember this? Iraqis cheered. But, four years later, a new book denounces the war and what came after. We're going to hear from the Iraqi author. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: Also, a burning questions and new science in the study of arson -- ahead in the NEWSROOM, details on a troubling case and a disputed verdict.
HOLMES: All right, here are three stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour.
In custody -- Detroit area police have caught the suspect in a deadly shooting in an office building, two people killed, one critically wounded. The suspect used to work in that office building.
Also, President Bush renewing his call for immigration reform on a visit to an Arizona border post. Last year, his fellow Republicans opposed his plan for a guest-worker program.
Also, it's a case that drew national headlines -- jury selection now under way in Tennessee for Mary Winkler, accused of killing her minister husband with a shotgun. About 160 potential jurors are on hand.
NGUYEN: The Anna Nicole Smith saga takes center stage tomorrow when at long last we will find out who is her baby's father.
"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT"'S A.J. Hammer joins us with those details. But he's not on that list. No worries there.
NGUYEN: Hey, A.J.
A.J. HAMMER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: No. And I will review to you the name of another person who is not on that list.
NGUYEN: Really? OK.
HAMMER: That is coming up in just a moment.
And, Betty, tomorrow certainly is a big day in the Bahamas. For everybody who has been following the whole Anna Nicole Smith story, and, of course, everybody involved with the story, a Bahamian court is scheduled to reveal the father of Anna's baby girl, Dannielynn.
Anna's former lover Larry Birkhead is the guy who filed that paternity suit. And he's expecting, of course, that he will be confirmed as the biological father when those DNA test results are announced.
Howard K. Stern is Anna's former companion and the man whose name appears on Dannielynn's birth certificate. He's considered to be the baby's legal father at this time. Now, again, all of this is going to become known if things do go according to plan tomorrow. Betty, we should all keep in mind that almost nothing in this entire saga has gone according to plan.
NGUYEN: Yes. So, once we get this, I mean, is this going to be the end of it? We keep calling it a saga, and, for good reason, it seems.
HAMMER: Yes. Well, it could at least be the end of the whole paternity and the custody chapter in the whole saga.
Indications now are that neither Larry Birkhead, nor Howard K. Stern will challenge the findings in court if the other one is named as the father, which is a terrific thing. And we had heard different things along the way from at least Howard K. Stern's side.
The complicating factor here is the presence of Anna's mother, Virgie Arthur. Now, both men appear to be ready to try and deny her access to her granddaughter. She may take them to court to try to gain custody of the child. If that happens, Stern at least has said that he will fight tooth and nail to keep Arthur away from her.
Arthur and her daughter, Anna Nicole Smith, were estranged at the time of Anna's death. But that hasn't at all stopped her from fighting in court, not just over the custody of Dannielynn, but, of course, Betty, you remember, the fight over Anna's remains.
NGUYEN: Mm-hmm. And, in fact, she was the reason there was that whole court battle over where Anna is going to be buried.
HAMMER: Exactly. She wanted -- she being Virgie Arthur -- wanted to bury her daughter in Texas, where Virgie lives, instead of in the Bahamas, where, of course, she was living at the time she died and where she eventually was buried, next to her son, who had passed away.
Anna had expressed at various times in her life that she would have liked to have buried next to her idol, Marilyn Monroe. Monroe's plot is owned by "Playboy" magazine founder Hugh Hefner. And, just after Anna died, one of Anna's family members mentioned the idea of getting that plot from him, but they never seriously pursued it.
Now, the people over at "Playboy" magazine are remembering Anna Nicole Smith with a 10-page spread in their current issue, as well as video and Internet tributes.
And, since we're talking about Mr. Hugh Hefner, got to mention two things. One, in a recent interview -- this is what I was alluding to before -- in a recent interview with the Associated Press, he denied that he was the father of Dannielynn. So, his name is not going to be popping up in court tomorrow.
The second thing I should mention, as long as we're talking about Hugh, today is his birthday -- Hugh Hefner turning 81.
Now, coming up...
HAMMER: Yes. We have got to celebrate the man.
HAMMER: He's certainly had a long and storied life.
NGUYEN: Storied life, indeed.
HAMMER: Let me tell you what's coming up tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." We will be dealing more with the anger over Imus. With more and more demands that Imus be fired for his racially insensitive remarks on the radio, is there really any chance he could get fired?
We will have the anger. We will have the outrage tonight on TV's most provocative entertainment news show. You will find "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Headline Prime.
NGUYEN: A.J., we will be watching. Thank you.
HAMMER: You got it.
HOLMES: All right, Betty, we have got burning questions and new science in the study of arson -- ahead here in the NEWSROOM, details on a troubling case and a disputed verdict.
NGUYEN: Hello there, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen live at the CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta.
HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes. He is rude. He is crude. And, well, he's sorry. Radio host Don Imus trying to make amends today for his racist, sexist crack about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON IMUS, HOST, "IMUS IN THE MORNING": That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they've got tattoos and some hardcore hos. That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Yes, you were hearing that right. Well, now Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, among many others, want Imus off the air. And today Imus bellied up to the mike on Sharpton's radio show. He acknowledged that last week's banter went way too far but insisted there was no intentional racist component. Sharpton continued to grill him on that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: What is any possible reason you could feel that this kind of statement could be just forgiven and overlooked?
IMUS: I don't think it should be. I don't think it can be. I think it can be forgiven, but I don't it can be overlooked. When I originally apologized on Friday, I didn't -- I apologized, and I didn't say what everybody says. You know, "if I offended someone, I'm sorry." Because I knew I offended somebody. So I apologize.
But I didn't want to be portrayed as often is an excuse, saying, what we have is a comedy show, which it is. I'm not a journalist. I'm not Tim Russert. I'm not a politician. I don't have any -- we don't have an agenda. Our agenda is to try to be funny. And sometimes we go too far. And sometimes we go way too far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, this story continues really to develop. Another new development we're just getting. A new comment from Rutgers, this specifically comes from the athletic department and the athletic director there, Robert E. Mulcahy III. A two-page statement here, but some of the highlights mentions that the comments were certainly reprehensible and disgusting and also went after Don Imus for his comments but also the show's producer.
It also said some negative comments about that women's team. It says: "They assassinated the character of these ten exceptionally talented and hard-working young women. They were unfairly characterized. It's vile, despicable and in a racist manner. They and their families are also now feeling terrible."
Also according to this statement that they have passed along to the players that Don Imus would or is offering at least to come make an apology to the players and their families personally. They have relayed that to the players. The players have not yet gotten back to him, if that's something they are interested in doing.
Also said that they would like for the press really to stop calling and text messaging the players and just let them have their space right now, nothing to tarnish what this team accomplished this year.
Really, they did have -- if you didn't follow the tournament, this Rutgers team had a magnificent run, a Cinderella run through the women's tournament and made it to the Final Four, made it to the championship game, an improbable run that they made. So really a great year. It is unfortunate it had to be tarnished in this way like this. But that's some of the latest statement from the Rutgers athletic department.
NGUYEN: In other news, a penny more per pound may not sound like much, but it does represent a big concession from the world's leading restaurant chain and a big victory for some of the lowest-paid workers in this country. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on this. Hi there, Susan.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Betty. Well, McDonald's, of course, being the leading restaurant chain, says it will pay a penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes and it says the extra money will go to the farm workers who harvest them.
Workers had been campaigning for the increase for two years. These migrant workers, many of them are immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala, the agreement coming just days before they were scheduled to stage a demonstration outside the McDonald's corporate headquarters in Illinois.
Like you said, a penny per pound might not sound like much, but consider this. Tomato pickers currently make about 45 cents per each 32-pound bucket of food they pick. This increase would bring that rate to 77 cents per bucket, a 71 percent increase per bucket.
More than 90 percent of the nation's winter tomatoes come from Florida. And this deal was brokered, by the way, with help from the Carter Center in Atlanta, which, of course, was founded by former President Jimmy Carter -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, we go from that, Susan, to what has become really a bitter battle over artificial sweetener, of all things. Talk to us about that.
LISOVICZ: Yes, because it's a relatively new area, right? The sweetener market. The makers of the nation's two most popular artificial sweeteners head to court today. The maker of Equal claims that competitor Splenda misleads consumers with its slogan, "made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar."
Splenda is actually made from a chemical synthesized in a lab from table sugar. The company that makes Splenda says it has always provided accurate information to consumers. Equal was once the dominant artificial sweetener. Splenda now holds the top spot, hence the bitterness between the two.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Susan.
HOLMES: Meanwhile, we've got burning questions to tell you about. We've got new science in the study of arson. Coming up here, we've got details on a troubling case and the disputed verdict.
NGUYEN: Take a good look. Is this the case of an arsonist? Well, Houston police think so, and they think they know her motive, even if they don't understand it. Licensed nurse Misty Ann Weaver was arrested over the weekend and is set to appear in court tomorrow.
Now she's charged with setting a March 28th office fire that spread and killed three people. Here's some video of that. Investigators say she confessed to setting the fire to, get this, hide the fact that she had gotten some office work done -- or had not gotten it done by its deadline. Can you believe that?
Well, in Houston, they are confident that they are dealing with arson. But it turns out not all cases are so clear-cut. And some investigators fear that innocent people have gone to jail because of bad science. Randi Kaye investigates this subject tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." And she joins us right now from New York with a preview.
This is pretty interesting stuff here -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Betty. It's also very disturbing. This is a very disturbing possibility. The State of Texas in February 2004 may have actually executed an innocent man. His name is Cameron Todd Willingham. He was home with his little girls back in 1991 when a fire broke out in the house.
Willingham said he tried to save his daughters, 1-year-old twins and a 2-year-old, but they all died. Now fire investigators say clues at the scene told them the fire had been set.
KAYE (voice-over): Willingham, then 23, was charged with setting the fire, convicted of arson homicide and sentenced to death. But what if Fogg (ph) and the others got it wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens all the time. There are maybe 75,000 suspicious fires every year. That's 75,000 chances to get it wrong.
KAYE: John Lentini (ph) is a fire investigator and a forensic scientist. He has analyzed more than 2,500 fire scenes and conducted large-scale experiments like this one at Eastern Kentucky University to better understand the science behind how a fire moves and why. Lentini says for too long investigators have relied on folklore, not fact, untested myths instead of science.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They haven't had any science training at all since high school and they go back to their fire department and they teach the myths to the next guy coming up.
KAYE: Lentini, with the help of fire investigator Doug Carpenter (ph), also debunked one of the greatest arson myths about temperature. The fire on the right is burning with gasoline, a common accelerant. The other is just burning wood. Take a look at the temperatures. Nearly identical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a common myth that higher temperatures are produced by gasoline than other types of common materials. And that just is not true.
KAYE (on camera): Which would lead investigators to say that the gasoline fire would be arson just because the temperature is higher, but really this shows that that's not the case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct. So you've come to an unreliable conclusion.
KAYE: That experiment is just one of many that we're going to show you tonight so you can see for yourself why these guys say that they have debunked the old methods used. John Lentini, the forensic scientist and fire investigator you just saw in that video calls what investigators have been doing for years, B.S., bad science -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, it does appear that way. I mean, what else were you able to debunk in this?
KAYE: There's something investigators have used as an indicator for years now, for decades, actually. It's called "crazed (ph) glass." It is when a piece of glass actually would crackle inside or web inside. And for years investigators have thought that that was caused by rapid heating, when an accelerant is used in a fire. But we were able to see in the lab that it's actually caused by rapid cooling.
We heated a piece of glass. It didn't crack, it didn't web. But when we sprayed water on it, which is what firefighters might do to a window at a home where a fire is taking place, that is when the glass actually crackled. So it is the rapid cooling, not the rapid heating, which they thought for years.
NGUYEN: Yes. Just the opposite what they thought. So how many, do you think -- how people behind bars -- this new type of science, this forensics, will that be able to actually set free possibly?
KAYE: Well, we've talked to Barry Scheck with the Innocence Project. And he believes that there are probably at least 200 people behind bars convicted of arson whose cases should be looked at it. But the International Association of Arson Investigators says that they don't think all of these cases should be reopened or reexamined.
And just to point out regarding the Willingham case, just to show you what a strong stand some people have, the prosecutor in that case believes that the findings by John Lentini and the others, he's calling them silly. He says that he stands by this case and believes that they got the right man.
And also the original fire investigator also says that he stands by his findings. So a lot of people -- even though this new science seems to be proven, a lot of them just don't want to work with it or accept it.
NGUYEN: Hmm, all right. We can see the full investigation tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360," that is at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Randi Kaye, as always, very good stuff, we appreciate it.
KAYE: Thanks, Betty.
HOLMES: And we are celebrating Larry King's 50th year in the broadcasting industry by highlight some of Larry's most memorable interviews. And tonight we look back at a heart-felt conversation with President George H.W. Bush.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": George H.W. Bush, and I've become very close to him, a great admirer of him as a person. He is a weeper and a sentimentalist, and he had had a book come out about letters that he had written and stories about his daughter, poems.
George Bush letting himself out in these letters, none more so than in this one to your mother about the loss of your daughter. "Try."
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Larry, I couldn't read that letter.
KING: I'll read parts of it. "We need someone who is afraid of frogs. We need someone to cry when I get mad, not argue. We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We had one once."
I think any parent's worst fear is the loss of a child. And they lost that little girl. You never get over that. I'll never forget that.
HOLMES: "Monumental ignorance." A new book says that's what the Bush administration has shown in Iraq. It was written by Ali Allawi, the cousin of Iraq's former prime minister. Our Brianna Keilar talked with Allawi today and she joins us now from Washington.
Hey there, Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, T.J. And a little more about Dr. Ali Allawi. He was educated in Britain and the U.S. And since 2003, he served as minister of trade, of finance, also of defense at different times. And he's now a sometimes adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
His book, "The Occupation of Iraq," it's really the first to look at the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and the war that has ensued from the perspective of an Iraqi insider. He's in town right now promoting his new book. And he told me that he points a finger at the Iraqi political system as a whole, but he also has scathing criticism for the United States, from early on when Paul Bremer was heading up the Coalition Provisional Authority until now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI ALLAWI, AUTHOR, "THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ": There has been a very generous flow of funds, but it was terribly managed and chaotically managed and in some cases managed again in an inexplicably off-handed way. So the end result of this was, as you say here, little bang for your dollar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: In his book, Dr. Allawi says: "The billions that America spent went unrecognized and therefore not appreciated. Iraqis heard about the billions, like some memorable banquet to which only a few are invited. But what they experienced was the daily chaos, confusion, shortages and the stark terrors of life."
And of course, we've seen that poll numbers show American patience with the war is waning. But in his book, Dr. Allawi says Iraqis generally still are hanging on to a sliver of hope but that they are coming very close to what he calls a terminal breaking point -- T.J.
HOLMES: Brianna Keilar for us in Washington. Brianna, thank you so much.
NGUYEN: And coming up on the closing bell, Susan Lisovicz has a final check of the markets right here in the NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: Well, it's almost 4:00 Eastern. That means it's almost time for Wolf Blitzer to do his thing.
NGUYEN: He's standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what's coming up at the top of the hour.
Hi there, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, guys. Thanks very much. We're going to have more on Don Imus. He's fighting to save his career. He just went on the Reverend Al Sharpton's radio show to apologize once again for those racially-charged remarks. Does Sharpton accept? I'll ask him. He'll join us live right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
Also, turf wars in the race for the White House. Barack Obama makes some high-profile appearances in Hillary Clinton country.
Plus, it's four years today since the fall of that statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. Are there any good scenarios left for the troubled U.S. mission? And what's the political fallout right here? We'll talk about it in our "Strategy Session" with James Carville and Terry Jeffrey, all of that coming up right at the top of the hour in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
Back to you.
NGUYEN: We are looking forward to it, thank you.
HOLMES: All right. Thanks so much, Wolf.
NGUYEN: Closing bell coming up.
HOLMES: It is, right there. Yes, you get a wrap of the action on Wall Street.
NGUYEN: Susan Lisovicz has a look at that right after this.
HOLMES: We quickly want to head over to the Pentagon where our Barbara Starr is following a developing story and maybe some news here that some service members and their families will not want to hear.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely right, T.J. About 15,000 U.S. Army troops about to get possibly very tough news that their tours of duty in Iraq are going to be extended.
CNN has learned that the Pentagon today, as we speak, is reviewing a request from commanders in Iraq for the extension of the tour of duty for up to 15,000 Army troops. Four combat ground brigades. One combat aviation brigade. Their tours might be extended up to 120 days.
Why? Because the Pentagon has to find a way to keep that so- called troop surge going. They are going to have to keep some of these troops on the ground longer. This request is being reviewed in the Pentagon, we are told. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates could sign off on all of it by the end of the week -- T.J.
HOLMES: Barbara Starr following this story. Appreciate you being all over that for us. A lot more to come on that. Thank you so much, Barbara.
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