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Deadly Tire Shop Shooting; Skydivers' Plane Found; Gunfire in Baghdad

Aired October 9, 2007 - 14:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is a dirty business, turning coal into power. But it should get a whole lot cleaner at 16 plants blamed for fouling the air and tainting the rain throughout the Northeast. Our Miles O'Brien cuts through the haze of an historic settlement.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're also live in Simi Valley, California, often called one of the safest cities in America. Today it's the site of a deadly shooting at a tire shop.

We hope to learn this hour whether the gunman is still on the loose.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, in the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We are following breaking news out of Simi Valley, California, a deadly gunfire at a tire shop.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is there for us -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, investigators still ironing out exactly what happened here. About 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time is when this incident started. You can see behind me there is still a bevy of activity as they try to sort this out.

Basically, we have confirmed that the gunman is dead. There are two fatalities here. It's unclear the relationship between the gunman and the store.

This is a tire store in Simi Valley just northwest of Los Angeles called Tire Pros. And according to investigators, two people were injured and we have two fatalities. The gunman among the fatalities.

One of -- the other individual may be a customer that was here, a female customer. That is what we are hearing. And the two folks are in the hospital. One has suffered gunshot wounds to the arm. The other suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen. That individual going into surgery.

According to somebody in the neighborhood that we just talked to, one of the injured is the owner of the shop, a friend of his. He says he has talked to him by phone and did not know what the motive was. That's the big -- what is unclear here.

This is a very quiet area in the town of Simi Valley, but that quiet was shattered this morning at 7:30 with this gunfire. There's blood that goes down one of the sidewalks here, and there's an indication that this may have gone from one store to another. Police right now just don't know what the motive is, what led this person, the gunman, to go haywire this morning, leaving one person dead, two injured, and then a self-inflicted gunshot wound ending his life -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Ted Rowlands.

Thank you for your report, Ted.

PHILLIPS: A grim search in the Cascade Mountains. Emergency teams are trying to recover bodies from the wreckage of a small plane that was discovered last night, but it may take days.

Let's get straight to Katharine Barrett. She's near the scene there in White Pass, Washington.

Bring us up to date, Katharine.

KATHARINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, where I'm standing is about one mile from that crash site. It's the incident command post for the search and rescue and recovery operation at this point.

We've just seen search and rescue workers come back here picking up litters, and, yes, body bags. Again, all indications are that all 10 people on that plane have perished, though they have only said that they have located seven of the 10 bodies.

At this hour we're starting to get some heartbreaking stories, putting names, faces and histories to some of those people -- nine skydivers, one pilot, mostly young, all with a thirst for life and high adventure. All enjoyed what they called the educated risk of skydiving.

One family, the Craig family, lost their baby brother, the youngest of three children. His sister wanted the world to know a little bit more about him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY CRAIG, BROTHER KILLED IN PLANE CRASH: Casey (ph) is my little brother and I wouldn't have it any other way. He's one of my best friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crazy Casey.

CRAIG: Casey, Casey, Casey. He was crazy. He was fun. He was loving.

He loved animals. He loved to build things. He loved his friends. And he loved to skydive. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BARRETT: It does seem a cruel twist that those lives were cut short not by skydiving, but simply by a tragic accident in the jump plane, but on their way home from airport to airport.

This afternoon, that crash site is expected to be visited by Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators who will try to start determining what may have caused this crash.

Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: We'll continue to follow the recovery efforts.

Katharine Barrett, thanks so much.

LEMON: The pictures were startling -- Los Angeles police officers in riot gear bashing immigration rights protesters and journalists. Today, the LAPD issued its official report on what's known as the "May Day Melee".

It cites a failure of leadership among department brass and commanders and says some officers used their batons to disperse peaceful protesters contrary to policy. Well, the board that oversees the LAPD is promising big changes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY PACHECO, PRESIDENT, L.A. POLICE COMMISSION: It is important for the public to know that my fellow commissioners and I will hold the department accountable for any misconduct that occurred. The individual actions of the officers involved in the events of that day will be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that the department's response and the discipline proposed, if any, (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And 26 officers are still being investigated. A separate inquiry is handling the issue of discipline.

PHILLIPS: Gunfire in Baghdad. Iraqi sources say two women die and that people in a private security convoy are the ones responsible. Now the intense scrutiny of security contractors in the war zone may get even more intense.

Let's get straight to Baghdad and CNN's Alessio Vinci.

Alessio, what do we know about the latest shootout involving a private security contractor? Do we even know who it is?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We still don't know, Kyra. What we heard from the Iraqi government spokesman is that the firm involving the shooting incident is neither western nor American, nor Iraqi. So that would perhaps leave in the mix Australian security firms, as well as South African ones. We don't know yet.

What we do know, however, is that according to two sources within the Iraqi Interior Ministry, is that this convoy was involved in the shooting. Two women were killed. They were in one car, and according to one eyewitness, this car may have come too close to this convoy that the guards felt threatened and opened far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A car, an Oldsmobile, came out on that street, and there were two women. What a shame. They got very close to the convoy so they shot at them to warn them. But I think the driver got confused or even scared.

Then they start shooting at them. Yes, they killed them. They killed these two women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VINCI: And Kyra, as you know, there are dozens of private security firms operating in this country, tens of thousands of guards belonging to those firms. So it will take some time perhaps to come to the bottom of this.

The Iraqi government spokesman told us that he does know which company was involved, but again, I want to stress out, he is saying that it's neither American nor Iraqi, or, for that matter, even a western company -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And of course we're paying close attention to all of this because of everything surrounding the Blackwater security company. The Iraqi government announced measures aimed at Blackwater based on their investigations, findings into these other incidents.

What are the details? What have you been able to find out, Alessio?

VINCI: A senior Iraqi official told us that basically the Iraqi side of the investigation is complete and this probe basically determined that the actions by Blackwater three weeks ago in which 17 civilians were killed are "premeditated murder". And the probe also recommends that Blackwater pays $8 million for each the 17 victims to compensate for the loss of life. That will be $136 million.

And in addition to that, the Iraqi probe also recommends that the U.S. hands over the Blackwater security guards who were involved in the shooting so that they can be tried here in Iraq. The big question, of course, is whether or not these courts would have an authority or jurisdiction to try the Blackwater guards.

We do know that Blackwater operates in this country under a State Department contract, virtually giving the security guards immunity from prosecution. We do know that the U.S. side of the investigation is being carried out by the FBI, so perhaps it is possible that if indeed the U.S. investigators find out that Blackwater guards were at fault, that they could be perhaps tried in the U.S. But as far as Iraqi courts are concerned, at this time we believe they have no jurisdiction over Blackwater guards -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Alessio Vinci, live from Baghdad.

Thanks, Alessio.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Now the mystery of the missing mayor. Rumors are rampant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and patience is running thin as day after day goes by and the city's chief executive is simply gone.

CNN's Brian Todd has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Mystery and crisis surrounding the leadership of a major East Coast resort and gambling destination. Atlantic City mayor Bob Levy hasn't shown up for work in about two weeks, and some on the City Council are fed up with his mysterious disappearance.

BRUCE WARD, ATLANTIC CITY COUNCILMAN: We need to know where he is. We need to know what his prognosis is for recovery and getting back to work. I want this mayor to do the right thing, and if that is stepping down, then so be it

TODD: His attorney says he knows where Levy is but he won't tell anyone. The lawyer says he will clear everything up with a press release in the next few days. But if it's anything like the last press release, it may only add to the mystery.

Late September, the mayor's office says only that Levy will be out on medical leave until further notice. And city business administrator Domenic Cappella will take over in the meantime.

DOMENIC CAPPELLA, ATLANTIC CITY ACTING MAYOR: And the key question really is, is there a vacant office? There's not. He's out on sick leave.

TODD: But neither the mayor's office nor his attorney will say what the illness is. We know the mayor may have legal trouble.

A source familiar with the case tells CNN the federal government has been investigating Levy for misrepresenting his military service. His attorney wouldn't comment on that allegation. Levy is a Vietnam veteran, but he recently admitted to reporters he made false claims about serving in the Special Forces.

He was elected in a landslide in 2005 after serving a long time as head of the city's beach patrol. But in less than two years in office, this is not Levy's first medical leave. Late last year, he took off for more than a week, turning the government over to Cappella then as well. Cappella told CNN recently that was for back surgery.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Closing the educational gap. The president wants his No Child Left Behind Act renewed.

This is his plea to Congress.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The No Child Left Behind Act is vital, and ensuring that we have a hopeful America.

We don't necessarily agree on every issue, but we do agree that education is a basic civil right. And that a good education is important for America.

We agree that our nation has reached a defining moment in our struggle to secure a good education for every child. And we've come a long way since the days when children were simply shuffled through the schools, just moved grade to grade, whether or not they were learning.

See, we believe every child can learn. We don't accept a system that simply shuffles children through the schools.

We believe in setting high standards, and we believe that by setting high standards, we encourage greater results for every child. Now the question is whether or not we will finish the job to ensure that every American child receives a high quality education.

Our nation made an historic commitment nearly six years ago when Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act. The philosophy of the law is this: the federal government will invest in education, and in return we seek results.

Instead of just hoping for the best, we've asked states to set clear standards and hold schools accountable for teaching every child to read and do math at grade level. That doesn't seem like too much to ask.

In return for taxpayers' money, we expect schools and school districts and states to measure to show us whether or not a child can read at a grade level or do math at a grade level. And the key to getting good results is measuring. Measuring results helps teachers catch problems early so children who need help, extra help, can get that help.

In other words, you can't determine whether a child needs extra help unless you measure. One of the key components of No Child Left Behind, it says if a child is falling behind, we will provide supplemental services to help that child catch up.

Measuring results empowers parents with valuable information about schools so they can push for change if it's needed. Measuring results means schools are working to close the achievement gap instead of looking the other way when a student is struggling or falling behind.

No Child Left Behind is helping replace a culture of low expectations with a commitment to high achievement for all. And the hard work being done by principals, teachers, parents and students across our country is producing results.

Last month we learned that fourth graders earned the highest math and reading scores in the history of our nation's report card, and that's good news. I'm able to report that because we actually measure now in the schools.

We learned that eighth graders set record highs for math scores. We also learned that scores for minority and poor students and students with disabilities are reaching all-time highs in a number of areas.

As a result, the achievement gap is beginning to narrow. And the promise of America is expanding for children of all backgrounds.

In short, No Child Left Behind is working for all kinds of children in all kinds of schools in every part of the country. There's more work to be done. So long as there's an achievement gap we have work to do.

Our goal is to have every child reading and doing math at grade level by 2014. That seems reasonable to me. It seems like a reasonable thing to ask, is to have every child reading at grade level by 2014, or being able to do math at grade level by 2014.

So now is the time not to roll back the accountability of watered-down standards. It's reasonable to set an important goal such as that because, as the global economy becomes more competitive, a good education will become even more important for getting a good job. Unfortunately, nearly half of African-American or Hispanic students still do not graduate from high school on time.

We need to raise the bar for our high schools, as well as for our junior highs and elementary schools. We need to give all our children the skills they need to compete. So I'm going to work with Congress to reauthorize and strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act this year.

My administration has offered several proposals to strengthen this law. By giving local leaders more flexibility and resources, we can help them turn around troubled schools. By giving families with children stuck in low-performing schools the opportunity to choose some place better, we can raise student achievement.

At the same time, we need to increase access to tutoring programs for students who struggle and make sure these children get the special help they need. We need to reward good teachers who improve student achievement in low-income schools. We need to make sure that our country is more competitive and that our children can take advantage of the best jobs this new century has to offer by expanding access to advanced placement courses and strengthening math and science education. As we move forward, we'll continue to welcome new ideas, and I appreciate the ideas I heard today. Yet, there can be no compromise on the basic principle. Every child must learn to read and do math at or above grade level, and there can be no compromise on the need to hold schools accountable to making sure we achieve that goal.

I call on members of Congress to come together to pass bipartisan legislation that will help us achieve this goal. By working together we can raise standards even higher, expand opportunities for all Americans of all backgrounds, and build a future where no child is left behind.

Thank you very much. Thank you all for being here.

PHILLIPS: The president of the United States there in the Rose Garden pleading for Congress to renew his No Child Left Behind Act. He said that it's been successful, it has helped close that gap, academic gap, ensuring access to quality education for all ethnicities, all children across the country.

However, there are states where those test scores have been low and that students and families and teachers feel they are not getting the equal education or the resources that they need. So critics are saying that program needs a major overhaul. We'll see what Congress decides as it goes up for renewal.

We'll follow that.

LEMON: Pollute the air and pay. A landmark settlement and the power company left holding the bill, that's ahead right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, it's a power struggle in every sense of the word. The U.S. government, eight northeastern states and several environmental groups allied in a lawsuit against a major power company that they claim is a major polluter. Today, the largest environmental settlement in Justice Department history worth billions of dollars has come through.

And CNN's chief environment correspondent, Miles O'Brien, is in Washington with all the details.

It's something we've been talking about all morning, wanting to talk to people that have been affected, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CHIEF ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Kyra, there's so many people that could potentially be affected by this. Anybody who has asthma or respiratory problems might very well be a victim of all this.

This huge settlement which focuses on the American Electric Power company based in Columbus, Ohio, largest coal consumer in the United States. It's a company that was sued by the government, some environmental groups, and eight states downwind of smokestacks you see there.

The lawsuit was filed -- of course, those are cooling towers there, but you know what I mean when I'm talking about smokestacks. In 1999, that lawsuit was filed for not complying with the Clean Air Act by illegally emitting sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air at 16 facilities where coal is used to generate electricity.

Now, these gases are the gases that are linked to acid rain and a whole host of respiratory problems, including asthma, and we've seen huge upticks in asthma. We've been talking about this for a long time. There might very well be a smoking gun link there.

Now, the settlement specifics -- $4.6 billion will be paid by AEP to install essentially scrubbers to clean up their act at smokestacks at those plants. They will remove 800,000 tons of S02 and NOS (ph) in the coming years. That's a 69 percent reduction in nitrous oxide, a 79 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide.

It will take, however, until 2018 for that to happen. Nevertheless, one of the government officials tried to put it all in perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRANT NAKAYAMA, EPA ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR: To give you a sense of the mammoth scale of these reductions, the amount of S02 emission reductions from this settlement alone will exceed all the S02 emissions from all sources in the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut combined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Now, those states, the New England, Northeast states, are the plaintiffs in these cases. Look where the power plants are -- mostly in Ohio and Kentucky, a little bit in Illinois and in West Virginia, a little bit of Pennsylvania.

Here's the deal. We're talking about the prevailing winds here, Kyra which blow, of course, from west to east. Just remember the whole acid rain discussion, blowing these harmful pollutants into those states where in fact the victims reside.

Now, AEP, out with a statement today, said this: since November of '99, when the initial complaint was filed by the government, "We have remained firm in our belief that our plants were in compliance with new source review provisions."

That's from the company chairman.

New source review essentially says this: if you have an old dirty power plant and you have some major modifications done to it, you lose your grandfather status and you have to clean up your act.

The company over the years, Kyra, did a series of modifications which they said were minor modifications, and thus they said those plants were still grandfathered in. No, said the government, and this settlement, which was at the 11th hour, the day before they were supposed to go to court, speaks volumes about what AEP is admitting potentially today.

There are still three or four other outstanding suits by the government waged on other utilities which may or may not be settled. Maybe this settlement today will have some impact on how those play out in court or perhaps get settled beforehand -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Do we even have a number of people that have been affected, could be affected? And what are -- is it just asthma? Are there other -- are we talking birth defects within families? I mean, how intense has it gotten?

O'BRIEN: Well, you can imagine. I mean, first of all, just about anybody who breathes the air is potentially a victim here, so that pretty much is 100 percent of people downstream here.

What we're talking about here is certainly asthma. Any other respiratory disease, emphysema, those things would be exacerbated by this.

What we're talking about here is a whole host of issues which could be linked. The question is, can you come up with that smoking gun link?

The fact is, this company has settled and is going to clean up its act. So, you know, whether there is that smoking gun link or not, perhaps it's to some degree a moot issue, because marching forward they are not going to continue to bump the pollutants in the air.

PHILLIPS: Time to call Erin Brockovich once again?

O'BRIEN: I think Erin is not needed on this case. As I said, there's still some outstanding cases, and she might be available.

PHILLIPS: We'll follow it for sure. Miles O'Brien, thanks a lot.

O'BRIEN: All right.

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live in the CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. If Fred Thompson has been on a honeymoon period politically, the honeymoon could end today.

PHILLIPS: Then again, this could be the first day of the rest of the campaign. Today for the first time Thompson takes on his fellow republicans and you'll see it live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: The road to the White House includes a stop today in Dearborn, Michigan. The economy will top the agenda as the republican presidential candidates face off in a debate just about 90 minutes from now. It is the first debate for Fred Thompson since he joined the race last month. Just last month?

CNN's chief national correspondent John King, there he is. He's in Dearborn and he joins us now to talk about that.

So what does Fred Thompson have to do, John? Does he have to show substance, style? I think I read something that all he has to do is not fall asleep, and he should do OK in this.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some say the expectations, Don, are pretty low because the candidate has been panned a bit in the reviews of his early speeches, but he needs to show strong points on both style and substance, on style just because of that point. Many of his early speeches have been described as low key, mumbling, some say very flat so across the campaigns and even some of his own supporters say does this guy have the passion and fire to mount a campaign for president so they want to see some style and fire from him tonight. Some of those skills he maybe perfected as a movie actor in Hollywood but they also want to see substance.

On some of his early trips Senator Thompson has stumbled. In Florida, for example, asked about the Terry Schiavo case or asked about drilling in the Everglades he didn't have good answers and stumbled a bit. If guy is going to go up against Hillary Clinton next year in the general election does he have command of the issues?

Can he go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with any democrat in the general election in the other campaigns obviously want to achieve goals today, the first discussion about the economy, a debate dedicated to economic issues so less about Iraq and national security, more about bread and butter, government spending and taxes but, certainly, Fred Thompson will be at center stage literately and figuratively. Nine republican candidates on stage. The pressure most of owl an him, the newcomer, Don.

LEMON: They sort of compared this to the star power of a Ronald Reagan, that he could stumble a little bit and still get away with it. Something interesting you mentioned, it will be less about Iraq and security. What will be the focus? What will be different?

KING: Because we're in Michigan, the sponsors of the debate decided to dedicate is to economic issues. We'll have the candidates asked would you want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and what about social security and Medicare? And what about General Motors, just through a strike and in contract negotiations and Chrysler is now in negotiation with the united autoworkers and obviously the big three have struggled. Michigan has lost jobs while the country has been growing economically. Some of these cars are products from car- makers, so jobs and economic prosperity are flash points.

Most of the eyes will be on Senator Thompson but just in the last 72 hours former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani accusing each other of campaigning as fiscal conservatives and having records as big spending, not liberal, but certainly the campaign getting more testing. Watch for Giuliani and Romney and perhaps some of the others to perhaps dust it up a bit too, Don.

LEMON: Not to take the spotlight off of the GOP because this is their debate. We just got the news into CNN and I'm sure you know about it and talk about the democrats within the past hour, Senators Obama and Biden, along with John Edwards and Governor Richardson are pulling out of the Michigan primary. What's the significance of this, and anybody there talking about it?

KING: It is significant because it has Michigan democrats mad. They moved their primary up hoping to give this industrial state, again, one that's had economic troubles, more of a prominence in picking a president, but it's a bit confusing and can be hard to follow but rules of the democratic party protect Iowa and new Hampshire at head of the calendar and Michigan jumped in to what's called the window.

There's a window for Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina. Nevada was added this year. No other states are supposed to jump up into that window and if they do jump into that window they do not get delegates to the national convention if they have their presidential primary so the leading candidates, and we're still waiting to hear from Senator Hillary Clinton to see what her campaign will do are taking their names off the ballot in Michigan.

The significance is they are trying not to run afoul of the very parochial and feistily protection of the contest voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and it could be even more significant because Florida has done the same thing. It's moved its primary up breaking the national Democratic Party results and the candidates have until the end of the month, the end of October to get off the ballot in Florida so the big states are trying to go earlier to have more influence. Iowa and New Hampshire are protecting their turf in the front of the calendar and at least as of today Iowa and New Hampshire are winning that argument as most of the candidates are dropping off the Michigan ballot.

LEMON: It will be interesting to see if Hillary Clinton pulls out at well. We want to remind our viewers can you see all of the day's political news any time day or night at CNN.com/ticker. We're constantly updating it for you for the latest right from the campaign trail.

PHILLIPS: A devastating blow to a close-knit sky diving community that ends in tragedy. That story straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: A horrific site, that's how one searcher describes the wreckage of a small plane that slammed into a rugged area of the Cascades. Most of it was found last night near White Pass, Washington, along with seven of the ten victims. All had taken part in a weekend sky diving meet in Idaho, and in the words of a family they died doing what they loved.

KELLY CRAIG, BROTHER CASEY DIED IN CRASH: The people on the plane weren't just my friends, they were all my family, obviously my brother, but we love you guys. Thanks for coming out and helping, rescuers, search and rescue, appreciate it, and just keeping this intact and letting us know everything you could possibly know. Appreciate it.

IVY GREEN, BROTHER CASEY DIED IN CRASH: Thanks to all the guys who have helped and all the women who have helped on the ground, we really appreciate it and the Red Cross has been amazing, absolutely amazing. They are amazing people. People should volunteer for the Red Cross.

CRAIG: Family, just family. We're all family.

GREEN: Sky divers are a big tight-knit group. We lost our little brother on there, Casey Craig, but he wouldn't -- he'd want everybody to know that he died living the way he wanted to live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My three kids are all sky divers and here's their picture, and we lost Casey. We lost nine others, too, on there that are family.

PHILLIPS: Well, the sheriff says that it appears that the plane went straight in and was going about 70 miles an hour when it hit the ground. Federal investigators are on the case.

LEMON: Smeared university president or prodigal son? Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts says the real truth will end the questions but right now there are lots of questions and among them, did Roberts and his wife use the school to live the good life and to help a friend win an election? Three former professors say they were shown the door when they raised their concerns. Their lawyer told CNN's Rick Sanchez a red flag started flying after a student downloaded some information off a computer.

GARY RICHARDSON, FIRED PROFESSORS' ATTORNEY: My clients did not present them as being truth. They presented them to the board of regents because the information was given to them that was taken off of the sister of Lindsey Roberts' computer.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Apparently she was doing -- this is interesting for our viewers to know. She was apparently doing what you would call maybe an internal audit for lack of a better word just to see where they might be a little vulnerable.

RICHARDSON: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: So she prepared this report and somehow, how did the professors, how did your clients get their hands on this thing?

RICHARDSON: Well, Lindsey's sister Stephanie Cantese asked a young student to do some work on her computer, and he downloaded the hard drive, he says, to preserve it and I think it will show that he looked at it and he became quite concerned the material which are pictures of things that we haven't talked about and will not talk about tonight as well as information that basically were things that we need to be concerned about at ORU and how we're going to deal with these things when and if they should come up.

LEMON: Well, Richard Roberts has denied any wrongdoing and claims the lawsuit is all about money. The school's board of regents has appointed an outside auditor to look into the financial allegations, and also, you've heard from the accusers. Well, tonight, the accused states his case to our very own Larry King. It's an exclusive interview with Oral Roberts President Richard Roberts tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on CNN.

We now know this story has a lot of you talking, and we want to hear your thoughts about the controversy brewing at Oral Roberts University. Send us your comments. The address is CNNnewsroom@CNN.com. We'll read some of them throughout the afternoon here.

PHILLIPS: Temperatures remain unusually high in much of the country but cold weather is coming and so are the heating bills.

Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us about the outlook for homeowners.

Susan, first, it was the big air conditioning bills and now we move right into winter with the heating bills.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think people are still using their air conditioners, Krya, because it's been that hot this autumn here in the northeast. But cold weather is coming. A government report says heating costs are expected to rise this winter no matter how you heat your home to nearly $1,000 per home for the entire season. Heating oil will see the biggest increase, 22 percent or more than a $300 increase on average. Little used propane will rise 16 percent followed by more widely used natural gas and electricity. The northeast is the nation's largest area of consumer of heating oil and could be hard hit by such a big surge. Of course, this news comes at a time when there's already concern about slowing consumer spending because of the housing collapse. This is not good news any year, but this news it might this particular season might hit some folks particularly hard, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So what do you think? Is it because the oil prices are higher or just because it's going to be a cold winter?

LISOVICZ: Could be both, Kyra. Crude prices are definitely a factor, up 30 percent from a year ago and crude prices today, just to give you an idea are up about $1.25, back around $80 a barrel.

But then there's colder weather. This winter is expected to be warmer than the norm but still about four percent colder than last year when we had a really warm January, and that's why heating bills are also expected to be higher, that warmer than average winter may make a drought. We're seeing in many parts of the U.S., including the south, worse.

As for Wall Street, well things are warming up here finally. Investors are digesting the minutes from the Federal Reserve's September 18th meeting when it cut interest rates by half a percentage point. That report came out at the top of the hour and it shows that policy-makers are a little more confident of a sustained drop in inflation but say those risks, those inflationary risks could resurface if the dollar continues to fall dramatically. But the Dow is on the rise, right now at session highs, up 72 points or half a percent. The NASDAQ is up 11 points, or nearly half a percent and by the way, we'll be watching Alcoa after the bell.

It will quick off third-quarter earnings season when it reports results late this afternoon.

Coming up, General Motors looks to put the brakes on car thieves. Quite literally. You'll never guess how they are doing it. I'll tell you in the next hour of NEWSROOM. It's a little bit scary, but it could have some fantastic results as well.

Kyra and Don, back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right, Susan, thanks. See you in a little bit.

LEMON: How are they doing it? We don't know. How do they do this? How did a kangaroo cross the tracks? Very carefully. Don't give it away with a little bit of luck of course. This amazing video straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. Yikes!

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LEMON: Coming up, bring troops home. President Bush making a Christmas pledge, but is it just sleight of hand by the White House? We're keeping them honest at the top of the hour.

A.J. HAMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm A.J. Hammer in New York. The family of a police officer killed in the line of duty gets a gift from a big-time TV star, and I'll have all the details coming up next in the NEWSROOM.

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LEMON: Well, comedian David Spade has stepped up to help the family of a police officer who died in the line of duty. A.J. Hammer is here with all of our entertainment news, and A.J., it's -- we have so much bad news about celebrities. It's nice to hear some good news.

HAMMER: Yes. This is refreshing to report for me as well, Don. David Spade donating $25,000 to the family of a slain Phoenix police officer. His name is Nick Erfle. Now, Spade is originally from Arizona and he read about Erfle's death in the line of duty he decided to help out. Erfle was shot last month while trying to arrest an illegal immigrant. He left behind a wife and two children under the age of six. Now, Spade hasn't spoken to the family directly. He made his donation through a fund that set up to help the family at the Arizona Federal Credit Union. So Don, I don't think David Spade's out there looking for credit for doing this but my hat's off to him.

LEMON: Absolutely. You took the words right out of my mouth and of course any officer who dies like that our hearts are with them and their family.

So let's move on now. We have something that's a bit little you know something on the happier side I should say, maybe. A reality series, is that what I hear? As if we needed another reality series.

HAMMER: Yes. The roster is pretty long as it is, but add the name "Pageant Place" to your reality roster. MTV is going to air the show. It features a collection of beauty pageant winners living together. The show is the brainchild of somebody who certainly knows all about drama, Donald Trump. Among others, Miss Universe, Miss USA, former Miss USA Tara Conner and former Miss Teen USA Katie Blair will all take part in the show. Now you may very well remember Conner and Blair from the uproar over their behavior last year particularly when Conner had to almost give up her crown for her wild partying and ended up going off to rehab. Well, those two were filmed for the show talking about the scandal. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that it sucked for you because they kept you away from saying your piece but they didn't help me. Like in the beginning they wouldn't let me say. I was locked in the apartment before they sent me to rehab. I wasn't allowed to see anybody before I went, and not to mention I've known because I'm the Miss USA that went to rehab. You know that's not fun for me. It's not fun for me to sit there and think, wow, because I'll look at Rachel and she's doing so good, you know, and she's amazing and it's just like I wasn't that Miss USA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, I spoke with the beauties myself yesterday about all of the drama and you'll see my "Pageant Place" interview on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." Don, there will be no shortage of tears and drama in this show.

LEMON: I feel so bad for her.

HAMMER: I know. It makes you weepy.

LEMON: That was -- that was really bizarre. All right. Moving on, moving on, moving on. We could say a lot about that. Stop it, Kyra. All right. So listen, Donald Trump.

HAMMER: Yes.

LEMON: Rosie has a new book out. You think he'll be buying it?

HAMMER: No. I actually spoke with Donald a couple weeks ago, and he was made aware of some of the things that are in it. Yes, I don't see him going out to his local book store and plunking down the money to buy it. However, if you would like to buy this book yourself, as Don mentioned, it did go on sale today and Rosie is right out there trying to peddle it. I want you to take a look at this statement that she posted on Amazon.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O'DONNELL, ACTRESS: It's all about fame and what it is and what it isn't, what's good about it, what's not. What you expected and what you ended it up to be, not you, me, because I wrote it right here in this craft room. It talks about our culture and about celebrities and about my childhood and about what I had expected and what I actually ended up with, and I think it's -- I think it's a good book. I think it will move you. I think it's relatable. It's about parenting. And being a kid and being a kid without a mom and looking for moms in other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, "Celebrity Detox" is the name of the book and additionally, in it Rosie talks about some of the events during her tenure on "The View." Rosie has passed up on several interviews to promote the book with people like Diane Sawyer saying it's just too personal and that may be all we see from her, that little statement on Amazon.com.

In the book, she does take some shots, as you would expect, at people like Donald Trump and even her former boss Barbara Walters. But is the book any good? Well, "USA Today" reviewed it. They called "Celebrity Detox" a train wreck and they said it was both baffling and fascinating. You'll have to judge for yourself, if you choose.

Well, tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," Britney in love, but not with another man. The one thing that Britney can't seem to live without these days, but by doing that, is she putting herself in danger? This is the story you will see only on TV's most provocative entertainment news show. It's "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." We'll look forward to you joining us at 11 p.m. eastern, 10 pacific on headline prime.

LEMON: Is the answer the paparazzi?

HAMMER: Don, you could be on to something, but that's all I can say.

LEMON: OK. A.J., thank you. We'll be watching.

HAMMER: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Are all soldiers created equal? Some guardsmen say they have done as much if not more of the fighting and the dying in Iraq but are getting short changed at home. The battle for benefits straight ahead from CNN NEWSROOM.

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