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CNN NEWSROOM

Immigration Bill in Need of Resuscitation; Israeli-Syrian Deal?; Missing Kansas Teen Killed

Aired June 8, 2007 - 08:59   ET

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


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Tony Harris.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Heidi Collins.

Good morning, everybody. Watch events come into the NEWSROOM live on this Friday morning. It is June 8th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Celebrity justice challenged. Paris Hilton heads to court and may be jailed again.

HARRIS: The Senate slams the brakes on immigration reform. A vote on a White House-backed bill falls short.

COLLINS: And severe storms put a hold on travel. We're watching for more wicked weather in the NEWSROOM.

Just when we thought we had moved on, no. Paris Hilton out for now. But for how long?

A court hearing set to begin in about three hours could send the celebrity socialite back to jail. The L.A. city attorney is asking a judge to do just that.

Hilton was sentenced to jail for violating her probation from an alcohol-related reckless driving conviction. Her release, after three days behind bars, set off a firestorm over whether celebrities get special treatment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: The problem here for the sheriff's department is that they're not releasing her based on overcrowding. They're releasing her because she's a head case.

And is she really a head case? Could she have been treated by the psych ward at county jail rather than letting her go home to her plush house? And I think that is what has ticked off a lot of people in town. And, I'm telling you, it is reaching a fever pitch right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Fever pitch.

HARRIS: Yes.

COLLINS: The sheriff's department released Hilton from jail yesterday and placed her on 40 days of home confinement. That would be such a bummer, wouldn't it?

She was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device, but she would be able to roam free in her 2,700 square foot Hollywood Hills home.

HARRIS: His assets now frozen and facing corruption charges. Congressman William Jefferson is being arraigned this hour in Alexandria, Virginia. Charges against the Louisiana Democrat include bribery, racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy.

A federal judge put a hold on millions of dollars of assets believed tied to the case. Jefferson has denied the charges. The case in court almost two years after federal agents say they found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer.

COLLINS: It's not dead, but a compromise immigration bill is in need of resuscitation this morning. The bill stalled on a procedural vote in the Senate. Right now its future uncertain. And each side is blaming the other.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D), COLORADO: The fact is, there were some members on the Republican side that didn't want the bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I don't think democracy is a dilatory tactic. This is the way the Senate's supposed to work. This is how we solve the hardest problems confronting our nation today, and I regret that the Democrat leaders sought fit to pull the bill and squander an opportunity to solve one of the nation's biggest problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Congressional Correspondent Andrea Koppel is joining us now from Capitol Hill.

So, Andrea, what can we expect to happen now?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a good question, Heidi. I don't really think anybody knows at the moment.

COLLINS: Right.

KOPPEL: We have heard from leaders on the left and the right, from Harry Reid and from -- and from Mitch McConnell, who said that they hoped that they can still get a deal. They're trying to hold out a glimmer of hope.

That said, the legislative calendar is packed. Harry Reid said he needs to move on to energy, which is next up. And, you know, the question is really whether or not they're going to be able to get anything before the year ends, let alone before this Congress ends.

COLLINS: So then tell us exactly why, if you can, Andrea, it all sort of just fell apart last night? And how can it be resuscitated, if at all?

KOPPEL: Well, depending upon who you ask...

COLLINS: Sure.

KOPPEL: ... naturally the Republicans are saying that Harry Reid is the one who really sort of prematurely pulled the trigger on this and insisted that there be this vote to cut off debate last night. They said that if they had just been given a day or two more, they would have been able to narrow down.

They had dozens and dozens of amendments that Republicans wanted to offer. They would have been able to whittle down that list to about 10 or 15 amendments, a more reasonable amount.

But Democrats say that, in fact, it was Republicans that brought the bill down. That they couldn't get their act together.

Harry Reid said that he felt he had given them plenty of time to narrow those differences. And when you look at the vote last night, there were 38 Republicans who voted against this, and only 11 Democrats who did.

COLLINS: And you know what, Andrea? I don't think we have seen this before on Capitol Hill, the whole, it's his fault, no, it's his fault -- yes.

KOPPEL: Yes, exactly. First time.

COLLINS: All right.

Andrea Koppel, we know you'll be covering it for us throughout. Thanks so much.

HARRIS: Cleanup and recovery in Wisconsin this morning. At least five tornadoes were reported across the state yesterday, including one that tore apart a popular vacation resort.

Some homes were also damaged and at least four people were hurt. The severe storm system also brought a lot of rain to the upper Midwest and baseball-sized hail.

Just look at this shot. It was taken by 16-year-old I-Reporter...

COLLINS: It looks like an ice cream cone.

HARRIS: Yes. The tornadoes missed his house, but Cody says he did hear that notorious freight train sound of the twister, and he got the shots of the hail damage. Plenty of cars like this one got their windows completely smashed out.

Man! Other cars suffered some serious dents.

COLLINS: In Chicago, high winds were the problem. And a big headache for travelers. Hundreds of flights at Chicago's O'Hare airport canceled, stranding thousands of passengers.

And there could be more trouble ahead. Severe weather is forecast for much of the Midwest and East today.

It sounds like a good time to bring in Chad Myers, watching all this.

(WEATHER REPORT)

COLLINS: Meanwhile, President Bush not feeling so hot, but now back on schedule. The president has rejoined other world leaders at the G8 summit in Germany. He had been sidelined with some sort of stomach illness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Well, President Bush is feeling much better. He's returned to the G8 talks.

He was very regretful that he missed part of the outreach meeting with the African countries, because our country has taken such a leadership role when it comes to bringing important retroviral aid -- drugs to Africa, a $30 billion commitment the president announced last week. So he was looking forward to that part.

But woke up this morning, thought he felt fine. Taped the radio address. But then took a turn for the worse. And believes it was probably some sort of bug that he may have caught somewhere. Kind of viral in nature.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: President Bush is said to be feeling better and will stick to his schedule.

Next stop, Poland. Talks there will focus on Washington's controversial missile defense plan.

HARRIS: Ready to launch. NASA counting down to its first space shuttle mission of the year. Atlantis set to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center this evening, with seven astronauts on board. It's an 11-day mission to deliver energy-producing solar panels to the International Space Station.

This flight was scrubbed in February because a hailstorm damaged the insulating foam on the shuttle's external tank. Forecasters today predict today favorable weather. Not sure what Chad thinks of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: We'll show you that again. Oh, there it is.

Raw politics. Smack down in the Alabama Senate. Details on maybe why it happened coming up in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: Darfur, Sudan, death on an unimaginable scale. Now students in the U.S. are using their imaginations and a technology to try and stop the killing.

We will talk to them just ahead in the NEWSROOM.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem, where rumors of war with Syria and rumors of peace are flying furiously.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: The word of God and the lyrics of U2. Churches reach out with rock 'n' roll in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Want to quickly show you these pictures and let you know that we are watching this story for you. Congressman William Jefferson's arraignment hearing will be taking place this morning. It began, we believe, a few minutes ago. It was supposed to start at 9:00.

This is a shot, of course, of U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

You'll remember he was indicted earlier this week in a bribery investigation involving business deals that he had to try to broker in Africa. Sixteen counts against him.

We will continue to watch the story for you.

HARRIS: Is Israel trying to make a peace deal with Syria? An Israeli newspaper reports on a secret offer.

For details, let's go live now to CNN's Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem.

Ben, good to see you this morning.

So, what is Israel offering? And is the offer a serious attempt to get an agreement with Syria?

WEDEMAN: Well, basically, Tony, what's happened is that, according to an official quoted in a very prominent Israeli newspaper, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, is offering to return the entirety of the Golan Heights, which were occupied in the 1967 War, in exchange for full peace with Syria. But I just got off the phone with a spokesman for the prime minister's office who says this is a bit of media frenzy, it's a bit overblown, and that really if there are any contacts going on, they really haven't reached that point.

The spokesman told me that Syria, they believe, is interested in peace talks. But not actually in peace -- Tony.

HARRIS: So how likely is it that Syria will actually consider the offer such that it is?

WEDEMAN: Well, the interesting thing is that actually over the last few years, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has made some very public proposals for a resumption of the peace talks between Israel and Syria which were cut off in the year 2000. The question is, do they really want it?

Now, Israel, for instance, wants as sort of a precondition for these talks or part of the talks, that Syria cut its ties with Iran, stop its support for Hezbollah and Hamas. And given that there's not really anything for Syria to go to beyond that, it's questionable whether this really is just a rumor of peace, rather than peace itself.

And what's interesting, Tony, is that just three days ago, the Israeli army conducted a war exercise in which they simulated an attack on a mock Syrian village. So they're talking peace, but it looks like everybody, both the Syrians and the Israelis, are maybe preparing for war -- Tony.

HARRIS: Well, we know you'll get to the bottom of it for us.

CNN's Ben Wedeman for us this morning.

Ben, thank you.

COLLINS: A young husband, a father, now a murder suspect. Edwin Roy Hall is being held this morning on $5 million bond, charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith. As the investigation deepens, new details now are emerging about the suspect.

CNN's Ed Lavandera reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Around this Kansas City neighborhood, Edwin Hall is known as "Jack". He moved here with his wife and young son a few months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn't really speak to anyone or say anything to anyone. And we didn't know him well or anything.

LAVANDERA: And someone going by the name "Jack" on this MySpace Web page looks just like Edwin Hall. This is the Web site photo. This is Edwin Hall's mug shot. This "Jack" lives in Kansas City, just like Edwin Hall, and both have a wife with the same name. If this is Edwin Hall's MySpace page, it paints a disturbing picture of the 26-year-old man accused of kidnapping and killing a teenage girl.

He calls himself a sweet, troubled soul who likes eating small children and harming small animals. His heroes are Batman and his dad, even though he calls him "the bastard". And one of his favorite movies is "Strangeland"...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "STRANGELAND": Where is my daughter?

LAVANDERA: ... a 1990s horror movie about a schizophrenic killer who lures teenage girls over the Internet and tortures the daughter of a police detective.

Kelsey Smith's father has had a long career in law enforcement.

Investigators say Edwin Hall kidnapped Kelsey Smith from this Target store Saturday night. Police say this surveillance tape shows Hall's pickup truck entering the parking lot soon after Smith arrived.

The video then shows Smith being forced into her own car. On Wednesday, Smith's body was found in the woods.

But at this point, it's not clear if Edwin Hall even knew Kelsey Smith. Those closest to the teenage victim are wondering why she was targeted.

JOHN BIERSMITH, KELSEY SMITH'S BOYFRIEND: When did you first see her? Was it just random? What was going through your mind?

LAVANDERA: Cameron Migues lives next door to Hall. His call to police led to Smith's arrest.

CAMERON MIGUES, EDWIN HALL'S NEIGHBOR: "I saw the picture," she goes, "and it looks just like our neighbor." And we both just kind of laughed it off at first, and then when I saw the picture of the truck...

LAVANDERA: Until that moment, Migues says Edwin Hall was just a friendly, normal guy.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: And still to come in the NEWSROOM this morning, accused of hiding $90,000 of bribe money in his freezer, a Louisiana congressman in court to answer corruption charges. A live report ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Want to show you some new video here of President Bush and the first lady, Laura. And we know that he is now getting off, as you see, Marine One, headed to Air Force One and on his way to Poland.

As we reported a little bit earlier today, he wasn't feeling so hot a while ago. Some sort of stomach ailment kept him from some meetings at the G8, the last few meetings, as we now know. The G8 has concluded.

He will head to Poland to talk more about the missile defense system that we have also been reporting on here.

So there you have it. We'll continue to watch him.

HARRIS: Homeowners and buyers, beware. Mortgage rates are on the rise. Although house prices have been actually coming down, buying that new home is still going to cost you.

Carrie Lee is "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Carrie, good to see you.

CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You, as well.

HARRIS: OK. What is happening with rates right now?

LEE: That's right. Rates have been rising, Tony. This time for the fourth week running.

The 30-year fixed-rate loan, according to Freddie Mac, now stands at 6.53 percent. That's up from 6.42 percent a week ago. Although we are still a little bit lower than that year-ago rate of 6.62 percent.

But still, the 6.53, Tony, marking the highest level we've seen since August. You know, rates typically go up as home prices come down, and that's exactly what we're seeing.

So, despite the housing slump, rates are going up because of other strong economic news, although that is prompting people to think that the fed may raise rates rather than cut them. And that's a big reason stocks have been in the red over the last couple of days...

HARRIS: Well, Carrie...

LEE: Yes?

HARRIS: ... you don't want rates going up when the housing market is in a slump. This is not great news for that sector.

LEE: Well, it's not great news for people who want to buy a home.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEE: But if rates continue to go up, that's going to bring prices down.

HARRIS: OK. OK. LEE: So, it really depends. If you have a lot of cash to put into a house and you don't have to borrow that much money, well, then that's a pretty upbeat scenario.

HARRIS: What is happening this week with the markets?

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

HARRIS: And Carrie, travel woes. We have a number of people here in Atlanta who are trying to make, you know, some travel plans and need to get that passport back, and are having all kinds of difficulty -- what's wrong, Heidi?

COLLINS: Oh, no. I was just saying, yes...

LEE: Well, the Bush administration trying -- trying to make it a little bit easier now. They're basically waiving the need for U.S. citizens to have a passport if you're going to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda or Canada.

Now, that was a new rule. Remember?

HARRIS: Yes.

LEE: It went into effect in January. Well, now they're waiving it because the State Department -- we talked about this yesterday -- got so backlogged, they couldn't process these applications. So people were really getting stranded.

You know, a lot of anecdotal stories, people paying thousands of dollars for a trip, and then they lost their money or couldn't go because they couldn't get their passport in time. So, they're trying to make life easier. And then once again, September 30th you will need a passport again to go to those places.

HARRIS: So what is the new standard? Maybe a photo I.D., maybe your driver's license? Or maybe...

LEE: Exactly.

HARRIS: ... the receipt indicating that you have applied for the passport?

LEE: You need to apply for it. And then just back to the old days.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEE: You know, driver's license, birth certificate, something like that. You still do need a passport, though, to go to Europe and other places.

HARRIS: Got you.

LEE: But just those four I mentioned, no passport required until September 30. HARRIS: Carrie, great to see you. Have a great weekend.

LEE: You, too.

HARRIS: Good Friday to you.

COLLINS: The ride of a lifetime that could have led to a very dead end. We first told you about this during yesterday's show.

A wheelchair gets lodged in the grill of a semi-trailer. Its 21- year-old occupant goes on a hair-raising ride down the highway. Amazingly, the man is unhurt and mostly unfazed.

We talked to Ben Carpenter and his parents earlier on "AMERICAN MORNING".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARPENTER, HIT BY TRUCK: I was crossing -- the light for the traffic was red. I crossed in front of him. And it must have turned green as soon as I got out there.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: So, he had no idea. And at the time, what happened after that? You obviously became entangled in the grill. And then what did you do?

CARPENTER: Well, I guess I just went along for the ride.

JOYCE CARPENTER, BEN CARPENTER'S MOM: Well, I was at work, and I happen to work in the hospital where Ben was taken for treatment afterward. And I heard my son was hit by a semi.

CHETRY: Yes. Well...

J. CARPENTER: And that's all I heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Holy cow. The truck had traveled several miles, in fact. It his speeds of about 50 miles an hour. Police say the driver did not believe them when they explained why they pulled him over.

HARRIS: Her get out of jail card could be revoked. Paris Hilton goes back to court today. Will she end up back behind bars?

The latest coming up for you right here in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Here we go. Here we go. Here we go.

Bottom of the hour. Getaway day, Friday. Whoo! Just ahead of the weekend.

You're back in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Good morning. I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: You know I'm going to do (ph) that again.

HARRIS: The "whoo"?

COLLINS: Yes.

HARRIS: OK. Next hour we'll do it.

COLLINS: And now waiting for the opening bell here.

HARRIS: Yes.

COLLINS: Did we miss it or do -- are we waiting still?

There it is.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

HARRIS: And another story we're following, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson in court right now, his first court appearance on federal charges filed against him earlier this week. And what a charging document it was. Jefferson facing a 16-count indictment, charging him with -- listen to this -- racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, soliciting bribes, obstruction of justice. The list goes on and on and on.

Brianna Keilar is following the hearing for us and we will check in with her when news breaks here in THE NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Outrage over her release, but a hearing today could send Paris Hilton back to jail. The celebrity socialite due in court in less than three hours. The L.A. City attorney wants her back behind bars. The sheriff's department released Hilton yesterday after just three days in jail. They say medical considerations played a part in the decision.

But some call it a case of celebrity getting special treatment.

No!

Hilton was placed on 40 days of home confinement. She was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device, but she would be able to roam free in her 2,700 square foot home.

HARRIS: Immigration impasse -- the compromise reform bill stalled in the Senate, its future unclear. The bill fell short of the votes need to cut off debate and move it forward. Republicans accused the Democratic leadership of pushing for a vote too soon. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the bill is not dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I have every desire to complete this legislation. And we all have to work, the president included, to figure out a way to get this bill passed. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: We weren't there yet. We could have finished this bill in a couple of more days, in my judgment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: The bill was touted as a bipartisan compromise and was backed by the White House.

COLLINS: A glimmer of hope in Darfur. The top U.N. Humanitarian chief in Sudan saying today all sides in the conflict are ready to begin talks.

The goal?

Renegotiating a year old peace accord. Death on a massive scale in the region has captured the attention of world leaders at the G-8 summit.

Also on Capitol Hill, Congress getting a visit today from two high school students. There they are. They are raising awareness and a whole lot of money for relief in Darfur.

Ana Slavin and Nick Anderson are joining us now from Washington.

Nice to have you guys.

Thanks for being here.

NICK ANDERSON, DOLLARS FOR DARFUR COFOUNDER: Thank you.

ANN SLAVIN, DOLLARS FOR DARFUR COFOUNDER: Thank you.

COLLINS: We are really interested in hearing how you became aware and keenly interested, I should say, in the issue of Darfur.

Ana, why don't you tell me.

SLAVIN: Well, Nick and I both had experiences last summer. I had an internship at the Wellesley College Women's Research Center doing research on gender-based violence in Third World countries. And Darfur was obviously a very prominent topic at that time.

ANDERSON: And, for me, last May I traveled to South Africa. And that was something that sort of opened my eyes to the issues in Darfur. And then over the summer I worked for a geophysics crew. And a lot of the guys who I was working with had been in Chad and sort of witnessed the horrors of the refugee camps and that was another thing that inspired me to get involved with this project.

COLLINS: Well, it just absolutely tears your heart out. We're looking at some video now of, you know, some of the images that we have captured in our reporting, as well.

But, hey, you know, $300,000 is what you guys have raised. It's certainly not a small amount.

What kind of fundraising activities were you able to do and get such success like this?

Ana?

SLAVIN: Well, high schools across the country have all participated. And they've thought of really creative ways of raising money at their high schools and in their communities. They have had benefit concerts run and performed by students. They have held walks and runs raising money. It's really been great to see their enthusiasm.

COLLINS: Yes.

Hey, Nick, how receptive were your classmates? This -- does everybody seem to really understand what's going on over there?

ANDERSON: It's been amazing. From our classmates at school to people across the country, we have had the greatest feedback. And being able to see people who knew nothing about Darfur and then were totally engaged in the cause was really great.

COLLINS: I'll bet it was.

And what about testifying before Congress, though?

What was that like, Nick?

ANDERSON: That was something that sort of was the ultimate embodiment of our goal, because we were giving our generation a voice to speak on these important issues and showed that we cared and wanted to make a difference on these topics.

COLLINS: What do you think, Ana, was maybe the one line or the portion of the testimony that really hit home when you were there?

SLAVIN: For me, speaking or...

COLLINS: Yes.

SLAVIN: I think the fact that our generation is standing up and making a difference and people are starting to listen. People are starting to become more aware.

COLLINS: Nick, did you notice anything in particular that you were able to say and really seemed to make people sit up and take notice?

ANDERSON: Well, just along the lines of what Ana said. It's really inspiring to see the kids all around the country coming together on such an important issue.

COLLINS: I know that you meet with your congressman today.

What happens after that?

I mean will you continue to do some of this fundraising?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Although this year's challenge is over, we have plans for next year. And, of course, everyone can get involved on our Web site, SaveDarfur.org. There's lots of work left to be done and we just hope that more people from around the country will get involved.

COLLINS: Ana, how has this changed your life?

SLAVIN: It's made me more aware of everything that's going on, I guess, and it's really become a strong passion of mine now. I'll never look at the world the same, I guess.

COLLINS: Do you have any plans to visit the country, either of you?

ANDERSON: I am hoping to visit Darfur and Chad, this summer.

COLLINS: You are?

ANDERSON: Yes.

COLLINS: Well, excellent work, you guys. I'm very proud of you. I'm sure your parents are, as well.

Nick Anderson and Ana Slavin today. Three hundred thousand dollars.

Good for you guys.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much.

SLAVIN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

HARRIS: How about that?

Chad Myers, what do you say we give those two young people roadblock Paris Hilton coverage, huh?

How about that?

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: I'm sure they're very concerned.

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: Yes.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Exactly. Good morning, guys.

HARRIS: Good morning.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HARRIS: Take a listen. Take a look.

MYERS: Looking.

(VIDEO OF ALABAMA CONGRESSMEN FIGHTING)

COLLINS: Oh. Oh my gosh.

HARRIS: Oh, man.

OK, you missed it -- you missed the moment here, but we'll show you again because that's what we do.

COLLINS: Pow!

HARRIS: Have some. Raw politics -- smack down on in the Alabama Senate. Details in THE NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Wow!

COMMERCIAL

COLLINS: We quickly want to take you back to the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, where we have Brianna Keilar standing by, updating us on the case of Congressman William Jefferson.

The hearing began today, just a few moments ago. Already over -- Brianna, what happened?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Congressman William Jefferson pleaded not guilty to these charges, among them racketeering and money laundering, here at the U.S. District court in Alexandria, Virginia. And he also waived his right to a speedy trial. We could have seen a trial begin as early as August, but Jefferson waived that right. And so jury selection in the beginning of his trial was set for January 16th. So quite a ways ahead here, several months ahead.

But while the government was willing to go ahead in August, Jefferson's defense lawyer said that there were so many documents to go over and it was such a complex case, that he needed that time. And, indeed, the government did say in court today that they have about eight file cabinets of documents, as well as numerous recordings.

So, again, this trial is set to begin at this point, January 16th of 2008 -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Wow! Eight file cabinets -- that is certainly a lot of documentation to go through.

But I imagine there may have been some conditions on his release? KEILAR: That's right. He has been released on his own recognizance. At this point, Jefferson is going through fingerprinting in the marshal's office here and checking in there. But he will be released on his own recognizance on these conditions.

He has to surrender his passport, but the judge said he could just turn it over to his lawyer and his lawyer is responsible for that. And, obviously, he has certain duties that he has to perform as a Congressman. He's been allowed unrestricted travel between the Washington metropolitan area and all of Louisiana. He is also -- he's allowed to travel within the United States, but he has to check in with the judge ahead of time. He's going to go through pre-trial supervision. That's just a pre-trial office that he has to check in with or checks in with him from time to time, and that's pretty standard. And he's also had to post a -- well, really, take an oath and agree to a $100,000 personal recognizance bond. This isn't posting $100,000, it's just saying if he is to break the terms of his release, he will pay this penalty of $100,000.

COLLINS: All right, so, quickly, let me just make sure I understand. It is June and this whole thing will not begin until January 16th?

KEILAR: At this point, that is when the trial date is set.

COLLINS: All right.

Brianna Keilar, standing outside the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

We believe we may be hearing from the Congressman, so in that event, we will certainly come back to you to get that sound coming in.

Brianna, thanks.

HARRIS: As we all know, politics can get ugly and it did on the Alabama Senate floor -- ouch -- where fighting words sent fists flying.

Details now from Eileen Jones at affiliate WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There ain't giving a little. It's our way or the highway.

EILEEN JONES, WSFA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dispute between the minority group that's made up mostly of Republicans and the majority group of 18 Democrats continues through this, the last day of the regular session.

CHARLES BISHOP (R), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: I will raise my voice. And I get tired of getting damn run over and I get unreasonable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's going to change. We need to cut that kind of talk out, fellows. You know better than that.

JONES: So senators could regroup, they voted to take a recess. But that's when emotions flared.

BISHOP: And he called me a son of a (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED), right?

Where I grew up, that's somebody talking bad about your mother. And when he did, I responded with my right hand. And from that point on, I don't know what happened because people grabbed me and I turned around and walked off.

JONES: And this is what happened. The two seemed to be in a heated discussion, when Bishop hauled off and hit Barren. Security and other Senators rushed in and pulled Bishop away.

And afterwards, Bishop had only one regret.

BISHOP: No, I'm not apologizing for that at all. I'm apologizing for it happening out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

JONES (on camera): But you're not apologizing -- I'm sorry, what is it you're not apologizing for?

BISHOP: I'm not apologizing -- if he calls me that again, it'll happen again.

JONES (voice-over): Senator Barren says Bishop hit him on the neck and he says it was a hard punch.

LOWELL BARRON (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: He used real provocative language at me and I did not call him what he said I did.

JONES: The Democratic senators then asked the senate to expel Bishop for the rest of the session.

VIVIAN FIGURES (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: I do fear for my safety here in this body. And I should feel safe when I come here.

HANK SANDERS (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: We are removing him from this floor so he won't hit anybody else. We are removing him from this floor so we won't have another incident that embarrasses all of us.

HANK ERWIN (R), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: I am not going to lay all of the blame on Senator Bishop, because it's been going on on both sides. And there has been, in the backs of people, back stabbing. There has been what I call abusive language on both sides.

BISHOP: I love every one of you. Most of all, I love this chamber. I'm going home. And y'all have a good day.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HARRIS: I don't think we can see that piece enough. He who throws the first punch goes home. Lawmakers are asking the Ethics Committee of the Alabama Senate to investigate the incident.

COLLINS: New information coming out about Vice President Dick Cheney and allegations of some strong arm tactics in a push to a controversial wiretapping program approved, ahead in THE NEWSROOM.

COMMERCIAL

HARRIS: All right, we are pod casting Friday. It's a good day when we can pod cast. You know to catch us weekday mornings 9:00 a.m. Until noon (ph). But did you know -- well, now you do, of course -- that you can take us with you anywhere on your iPod. The CNN NEWSROOM pod cast available to you 24-7 right on your iPod.

COLLINS: Some churches are offering worship with a modern soundtrack to attract parishioners.

CNN's Adrian Finnegan explains.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ADRIAN FINNEGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one of England's most venerable seats of learning, you might be surprised to find a darker side of religion. With church attendance in decline, especially among the young, the Church of England is offering a service tailored to a generation who feel that the church has little relevance.

NATHAN PHILLIPS, GOTH: I wasn't a regular churchgoer. I was when I was younger, probably up until my early 20s, mid-20s. Then I sort of drifted a little until I started coming here more regularly.

FINNEGAN: The Goth Eucharist was created by the Reverend Marcus Ramshaw, who wanted to tackle issues sometimes avoided by the church, like depression, self-harm and sexuality.

REV. MARCUS RAMSHAW, STARTED GOTH EUCHARIST: I'm going to start off preaching about transgendering.

Is it sinful to change sex?

FINNEGAN: But it's not to everyone's taste.

RAMSHAW: People had, you know, visions of it being something which was about Satanists or, you know, naked virgins on the altar or black masses.

Goths are a scary bunch of people who wear black clothes, black makeup and are normally misrepresented in the press of being a bunch of dangerous, scary people, when actually they're quite the reverse.

FINNEGAN (on camera): Well, it may not be a regular church service but at least among this Goth community in Cambridge, it's turned some people into regular churchgoers.

(voice-over): Goth services have now spread from the U.K. To Seattle and on the campus of Yale University in the U.S. But if the Goth Eucharist isn't for you, then there's always the U2charist. Coming the other way across the Atlantic, it's a service based on the music of Irish rockers U2. They don't just play the CDs, they perform the band's songs. And the congregation sings along.

The Reverend Paige Blair, an Episcopal priest in York Harbor, Maine, started the service for one reason.

REV. PAIGE BLAIR, STARTED U2CHARIST: Reaching the unreached -- to reach people who are outside of the church but who still need to know the message of god's love for them.

And what better way than to use the music that's really part of the soundtrack of their lives?

FINNEGAN: Goth Eucharists, U2charists -- and there may be more like them, as various parts of the Anglican Church try to help those whose lament is I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Adrian Finnegan, CNN, Cambridge, England.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HARRIS: And still to come this morning, hidden pains at the pump. Why drivers are getting less bang for their buck. That story coming up for you in THE NEWSROOM.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kara Finnstrom in downtown Los Angeles, where Paris Hilton goes back to court today and possibly back to jail. That story coming up in THE NEWSROOM.

COMMERCIAL

COLLINS: This week marked the 63rd anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces launched their invasion of Europe on their way to defeating the Nazis. But the end of the war marked the beginning of another battle -- reclaiming lost cultural treasures looted from European museums.

Bringing the story to light has been one man's quest in retirement.

Randi Kaye has the story in this week's Life After Work.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer -- these masterpieces grace the walls of museums today, but might have been lost forever if not for the work of a group nicknamed Monuments Men.

ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR, "RESCUING DA VINCI": The Monuments men and women are my heroes. They're -- it's a group of men and women, about 350 or so, museum directors, curators, art historians that volunteered for service during World War II and ultimately were involved in the leadership of what I refer to as the greatest treasure hunt in history, trying to find the great works of art throughout Europe hidden in more than a thousand hiding places.

KAYE: Robert Edsel uncovered the story at a crossroads in his own life. In the late 1990s, Edsel sold the oil and gas company he built in Texas and decided to take a break from work. He moved his family to Italy to renovate a villa, study art and discover his next passion.

Little did he know, it would find him on a bridge in Florence.

EDSEL: And I stood on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, the only of the bridges that wasn't destroyed and blown up by the Nazis when they fled Florence in 1944, and thought to myself how did all of this stuff survive World WarII.

In fact, who were the people who saved it?

KAYE: And so Edsel discovered the story of the Monuments Men and his new passion is sharing their story through a book he's offered, a documentary he helped produce and speeches he gives.

EDSEL: Literally tens of thousands of paintings, hundreds of thousands of cultural items hidden in more than a thousand caves, salt mines and other places by Hitler and the Nazis was a circumstance no one contemplated and resulted in an extraordinary effort on the part of this special group, these Monuments Men and Women, to try and find these things and ultimately restitute them to the countries from which they were stolen.

KAYE: Earlier this week, Congress passed a resolution honoring the Monuments Men. In attendance were four of the 12 surviving members. Fittingly, the event took place on the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COMMERCIAL

COLLINS: Good morning, everybody.

It's Friday.

I'm Heidi Collins.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris.

Good morning, everyone.

Stay informed all day in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Fast track celebrity -- a quick trip home, now back to court.

Will it mean a return to jail? COLLINS: Congressman going to trial. William Jefferson waiting for his reaction to the corruption case.

HARRIS: And a preacher's wife found guilty of killing -- of his guilty. This hour, back to court for sentencing.

It is Friday, June 8th, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And at the top of this hour, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson pleading not guilty to corruption charges. He was arraigned last hour in Alexandria, Virginia.

Our Brianna Keilar is on the case at the courthouse -- and Brianna, it sounds like a pretty routine first appearance.

Any surprises?

KEILAR: Not many surprises, but there were some definitely interesting moments.

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

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