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OUT IN THE OPEN

Interview With Delaware Senator Joseph Biden; Interview With Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton

Aired December 4, 2007 - 20:00   ET

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


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Our first story is an important point for discussion in the United States.
It's kind of like when the Wizard of Oz tells Dorothy, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

For more than a year now, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been beating the drums about getting tough with Iran, because Iran was building a nuclear arsenal. At one point, President Bush even raised the specter of World War III with the American people.

Well, now we're finding out this, that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and that President Bush did or should have known that. A newly declassified U.S. intelligence report says that Iran shut down that program in 2003.

Perplexingly, the president is still singing the same tune. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous. And Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It does sound familiar, doesn't it? Kind of like what we heard before with the Iraq war, when we were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Young people call it street cred, as in credibility, as in what this administration seems to lack right now on this issue.

There is no more Bush loyalist than former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. He sat down with me just a while ago.

And he even agreed that this raises some serious questions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: A lot of folks, all over the country, from Kansas to Hawaii to Iowa to Florida, are going to saying, uh-oh, were they trying to do this again? Were they going to play this card again? And you could understand why they might think that, right? JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: I think it's legitimate to ask about these kinds of questions. I really do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: We are going to more of the interview with Ambassador Bolton coming up in just a little bit.

But, first, let's go to the White House now and correspondent Ed Henry.

You know, Ed, on the issue of credibility, which seems to be what this is very much about, how damaging might this be for the Bush administration?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's a big-time damage for the White House.

The president was essentially handed lemons with this report, and he tried to turn it into lemonade during that press conference today. But as you showed in that sound, the president is having some difficulty doing that, because the fact is, while there is a little bit for the president to hang his hat on, which is the fact that this report does say that at one time Iran had a nuclear weapons program -- so, the president can say, look, they were dangerous at one time, they still are, and, in the future, if we don't stop them, because they could restart this program at any time, they could be a danger.

But the fact is, the bottom line, the main thrust of this report runs counter to what the president and Vice President Cheney have been saying in recent months in suggesting there was an imminent threat from Iran. Instead, we now know in fact they shut down or at least halted their nuclear weapons program four years ago.

So, it makes you wonder also about the timing. And the president today acknowledged at this press conference that he got the first inkling that there was some new intelligence back in the summer. But he only got the final assessment last week.

You to wonder, what happened between August and last week, when the president got the final report? Was he asking more questions to find out whether the intelligence was different than what he was telling the American people? A lot of questions.

SANCHEZ: Down to 30 seconds here, but I want to know this. Wasn't their response today even worse? Couldn't it create more of a damage, almost as if to say, well, they were eventually going to have a program of this type at some time in the future?

I mean, that's a far cry from raising the specter of World War III, Ed, isn't it?

HENRY: You're right. And it can not only -- obviously, it's hurt the credibility, if the White House ever wanted down the road to try to launch war against Iran, trying to build an international coalition, but even for something smaller, trying to build an international coalition for sanctions against Iran.

That has now been very much damaged, because the White House is not even acknowledging the obvious here. They're trying to stick to what they have been saying all along. And that's going to potentially hurt them around the world.

SANCHEZ: White House correspondent Ed Henry making some fine points from the international standpoint.

Speaking of the international standpoint, several lawmakers are furious about today's revelation, none more so than Senator Joe Biden, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee.

Now, I reached out to him in Iowa just a while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Presidential candidate and Delaware Senator Joe Biden good enough to join us.

Senator, I'm going to read to the viewers what your own words are. And then you can amplify on them.

"Knowingly disregarded or misrepresented intelligence" -- you're talking about the Bush White House, aren't you?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm talking about President Bush, not just the Bush White House.

The president said -- he started talking about World War III and the weapons program and the nuclear program that is going on. He said that in October, yet, he had advice, all the way back in terms of August and before that, that the Iranians had not, according to the 16 American intelligence agencies, that, in 2003, they had shut down their program to build a nuclear weapon.

SANCHEZ: So, let's be clear. You're saying, the president was telling the American people one thing, seemingly presuming that there was this huge threat on the horizon coming from Iran, when he knew that that wasn't the case.

Now, my dad and your dad would call that a lie.

BIDEN: That's exactly what I'm saying.

SANCHEZ: Would you call that a lie?

BIDEN: I call it irresponsible, is what I call it. I call it a rerun of the same kind of run-up to Iraq, where he misrepresented, cherry-picked the intelligence. And now the president is parsing his words.

SANCHEZ: What would be his motive for doing something like this? Because, as you said, we have been down this road before.

Explain to the American people what your perception is of the reason. I mean, if you have information that says A, and you go out and you say B, why do you do that, people would ask?

BIDEN: You do that because I think this administration, he and Cheney, are looking for a war with Iran.

I think their neoconservative notion of how to protect America's interests tells them that we should be using force against Iran. I hope I'm wrong about that. That's why I went further to say I have had a group of constitutional scholars draft a memorandum for me that I'm going to distribute to the Senate pointing out that if the president uses his power to go to war with Iran, absent -- absent congressional authorization, I would call for his impeachment.

SANCHEZ: How much damage could something like this do, do you believe, not in our country, but all over the world?

BIDEN: It does incredible damage.

What it does, it feeds into the urban legend on the streets of the Muslim countries that this is a war against Islam. What it does, it increased the price of oil overnight when he made those comments, because of what they call the security factor in here, that, people thinking that this may happen, the price of oil goes up because they worry about disruptions.

It's totally counterproductive. We have so little credibility in the world right now. The presidential continuing to rote it is dangerous for our physical security. Who is willing to cooperate with us now? We need the rest of the world to solve the problems in Pakistan, Afghanistan, dealing with the problems in Russia with the totalitarian bent of Putin.

We have lost our credibility because of this administration.

SANCHEZ: Senator and presidential candidate Joe Biden, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: All right, to be fair now, let's go to the other side of the coin.

John Bolton has always been an avid supporter of the administration. He has been called a loyalist, also called a hard- liner, as you know, which is part of they reason I asked him to sit down and talk about this new revelation.

By the way, he's got a new book out with a title that I think very much defines him: "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Ambassador John Bolton good enough to join us now.

I know you're a conservative. And you have got a real strong position. And you're going to back the administration -- that's expected -- loyally. But how do you explain to the America people who look at this and can't come to the conclusion that the administration was less than straight with them, less than honest with them, if, in 2003, there was information that seemed to indicate that in fact Iran was not building a weapons program?

It says nuclear weapons program in 2003, that the program remains frozen, is what the information they should have had was.

How do you justify that?

BOLTON: Well, as I understand what the intelligence community is now saying is they have received information in 2007 reflecting back on 2003.

I have my own questions about this intelligence judgment, because one of the things that the estimate concludes is that pressure was being applied to Iran in 2003 to make them suspend their military program.

I was undersecretary of state for arms control at the time, and I can tell you, my view is that we were not applying anything like enough pressure at the time to get Iran to do any such thing.

SANCHEZ: Are you saying this report is wrong?

BOLTON: I'm saying, I think there's a risk that it was politicized, that some of the people involved in writing this report frankly have had views about Iran for five or six years I think have been erroneous.

I think the House and Senate Intelligence Committees need to look into how this report was created.

SANCHEZ: President Bush used the words World War III.

BOLTON: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Those are strong words, Mr. Ambassador. That's alarmist language to be applied to a country that we now learn may not have even had a weapons program, sir.

BOLTON: Yes.

But I think you're overstating what this -- even what this says.

SANCHEZ: OK.

BOLTON: But let me say this.

There were members of the House and Senate who were briefed last week on this estimate, as to whom nothing was said about the conclusion that the military side of the program was suspended in 2003. So, there are a number of people in the House and Senate who are wondering where this conclusion came from, which is one reason I think the two Intelligence Committees need to look into this. SANCHEZ: But you know why this is so important to the American people? Because they have been down this road before. People think, boy, we were so behind the president, so behind this administration with the Iraq war.

And then it turned out that maybe not everything they said really jibed the current circumstances. And they heard stories about, well, there was an intelligence breakdown and everything else.

But now this information comes along, and a lot of folks all over the country, from Kansas, to Hawaii, to Iowa, to Florida, are going to be saying, uh-oh, were they trying to do this again? uh-oh, were they trying to do this again? Were they going to play this card again? And you could understand why they might think that, right?

BOLTON: I think it's legitimate to ask about these kinds of questions. I really do.

And I think part of the problem here is that the intelligence community may well be following that old saying about generals fighting the last war. They got it wrong on Iraq. Now the risk is they're overcompensating by understating the threat on Iran.

I think there's not a lot that is really known about the data that underlie these conclusions. That's one possible. People can't get their arms around whether they're accurate or not.

And don't forget there were dissents within the intelligence community from these conclusions.

SANCHEZ: It's a good point.

And, by the way, the Russians are now saying, see, I told you so.

We never want to be in a position where the Russians are saying that over us.

BOLTON: Yes. Look, I couldn't agree with you more.

But here's part of the problem. Even this estimate says that Iran did have a military program until 2003. The Iranians continue to deny that, and so do the Russians, which tells you something about their credibility as well.

SANCHEZ: It's also a question of what kind of program, though.

Ambassador, thanks so much for coming in and talking to us.

BOLTON: OK. Good to see you. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Always a pleasure, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: We are not done yet with this issue. Coming up, we're going ask a onetime Bush insider if this administration knew about this or not. We're going to get to bottom of this OUT IN THE OPEN.

Then later, O.J. Simpson, he walks into the Sean Taylor funeral. You're asking, I'm asking, America is asking, all right, what is he doing there? Is being in front of a camera an addiction for this guy?

Stay with us. We're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. This is OUT IN THE OPEN.

An important issue for the world and the United States. We're continuing now to dig deeper into the national intelligence estimate which says that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program back in 2003. It seems clear and it seems direct, doesn't it?

Although the administration has been saying all throughout that, no, we could be in peril as a result.

You're about to hear now from somebody who says that this administration actually has played politics with a lot of the intel.

Joining me now is Flynt Leverett. He's an expert in Middle East policy and a former senior CIA analyst. He's good enough to join us. He's now with New America Foundation.

All right, first of all, when I was talking a little while ago to Ambassador Bolton, he told me, look, Rick, I don't think that the Bush administration knew about this. I don't think that President Bush personally knew about this revelation that in 2003 they had stopped their weapons program.

Do you buy that?

FLYNT LEVERETT, SENIOR FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: No, I don't.

It is inconceivable to me that the director of national intelligence or some other senior intelligence official would come in to the president, as apparently happened this summer, and say, Mr. President, we have had this new information come in that we're going need to evaluate, and that may affect the fundamental judgments of this forthcoming NIE on Iran's nuclear program.

I can't imagine that McConnell or someone in that position would tell the president about this, and not tell him what the information actually said.

SANCHEZ: So, if the president knew and if the vice president knew, did they lie to the American people?

LEVERETT: I think that they certainly played fast and loose with the facts.

SANCHEZ: Right.

LEVERETT: And you can see after this summer the president in particular began to shift his rhetoric to redefine the nature of the problem.

For years, literally, he had said that it was unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. But, starting in September or so, after this information came in, he began to talk about how it's unacceptable for Iran to have the knowledge of how to build a nuclear weapon. That's a very important distinction. And I think he was trimming his sails because of this.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: It's a subtlety that is important. You're absolutely right. And you would know this as well as anybody, because you have been an insider. You were part of this organization.

Let me ask you a question, because I'm interested in something you have been talking about. The administration, like any administration, has a right to classify information that they think has to do with national security. But you're saying or charging that this administration in the past would classify information for political reasons.

First of all, is that correct? Or am I overstating this?

LEVERETT: I don't believe you're overstating it.

I myself, along with my wife, another formal official, had an experience where we wrote an op-ed which was very critical of the administration's handling of Iran policy, basically talked about things which were in the public domain, which other officials, like Secretary Rice, Secretary Powell had talked about, things that I had been cleared to write about. And the White House interfered and said that this was classified information. It was not.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: We're down to 20 seconds. And I hate to rush you, because we have got so much to get through on this story.

But did they do that with this story, with the Iran story? Did they keep the American people from knowing the truth by using the classified information categorization?

LEVERETT: Well, I think the kind of intelligence that went into this NIE is legitimately classified. But the fact is that they did not -- their public rhetoric did not reflect what they really knew about Iran's nuclear program.

SANCHEZ: That's amazing.

Good insider stuff. Flynt Leverett, thanks so much for joining us. We will talk to you again.

LEVERETT: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: O.J. Simpson next. What was he doing at Sean Taylor's funeral?

Also, this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's about the child and the damage that would be done to him. And it just makes me sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Remember the Elian Gonzalez custody battle? Boy, that was pretty bad, wasn't it? Meet Gabrielle (ph), this cute little kid, and a custody battle that could be just as messy, if not messier.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We have been putting a lot of effort on bringing you this story. And here's the very latest on this now.

This is from Miami, video that we have been getting in today. This is where all the suspects now in the Sean Taylor shooting case were indicted for first degree felony murder and armed burglary today. So says a grand jury of their peers.

Meanwhile, the three adult suspects, seen here, were arraigned as well. All three were denied bond and all were put on a suicide watch. You will notice they're wearing something that looks very peculiar. You see that green smock they're wearing right there? That's actually what they use in Miami-Dade County. That is actually called a suicide safety smock.

Such a sad story all the way around.

Welcome back, everybody.

Personal note. Yesterday, I covered the funeral of NFL superstar Sean Taylor. This was one of the largest and most emotional funerals that I have ever attended. But I was floored when I saw this guy suddenly walk in, O.J. Simpson. It made us wonder, why in the world was he there?

Joining me now, CNN contributor Roland Martin, good enough to join us.

Roland, always good to be with you.

I was with a bunch of people at the time. We were up in the second level, where they had put some of the reporters who were following this. We all kind of looked at each other and said, boy, that just seems odd. What is O.J. Simpson doing here?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Why?

SANCHEZ: That's what we wondered. You get that, right?

MARTIN: No, not really.

SANCHEZ: Why not?

MARTIN: Look, this is an NFL player. O.J. Simpson is a Hall of Fame player in the NFL, lives in Florida. Kids went to the same school as Sean Taylor.

So, it's not like it's a shock. And so you can say that about any number of people who were there, as to, well, Reverend Jesse Jackson was sitting next to Sean Taylor's father. You had former players and coaches. You had lots of people.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Let me tell you something about Jesse Jackson. His eulogy yesterday was so stirring, so right on, so perfect.

I mean, there was a reason for Jesse Jackson to be there. The Sean Taylor death has a lot more to do with just the NFL and Sean Taylor. And you and I both know that. But it seemed like in O.J.'s case, I think that, a lot of other people think this as well -- and maybe you could prove to us why we're wrong -- seems like a guy who just can't get away from television cameras, a guy who should be looking for some kind of quiet place...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Why? Why?

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Why?

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Rick, he's lived his entire life in the public eye.

But again, if he knew Sean Taylor, if there was a relationship, Sean Taylor died. The focus is on Sean Taylor, not who showed up. And, so, if I'm O.J., and a guy dies, I am going to go pay my respects, regardless of what the rest of us think. I don't have to defend O.J., but if he knew the guy, he would go to his funeral. What's the big deal?

SANCHEZ: Well, because to many people, it seemed like he was more attracted by the fact that there were going to be nine million cameras there lined up getting ready to take his picture.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: OK. Have any of those people asked him that question? Have any of those people said, hey, O.J., why are you here?

No. They're sitting there. All of a sudden, he shows up and it's like, oh, O.J. is here because of the cameras.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Wait a minute.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: OK.

SANCHEZ: We did. Here, you want to see it?

MARTIN: Sure.

SANCHEZ: Hey, do we have that tape?

Let's go to the O.J. interview we did yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: (r)MD-BOŻ He's just a great athlete and a terrific guy. And, as I said, we used to sit at practice with his dad, and all the fathers, watching him practice at Gulliver.

And I know it's horrible, not only for him, but, as I said, for those other four families. That's four other lives that are gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: See, my friend? Ask and you shall receive, Mr. Martin.

MARTIN: But, Rick, that's precisely my point.

You asked the question. He sat there and said he would sit there at the practice with his father and watch him play. He knew the guy. He knew the family. That's why he was there.

Look, there were 3,000 people there. I don't think we should -- the one person I think we should focus on at the Sean Taylor funeral is really Sean Taylor. There were 2,999 other people. Who cares if O.J. Simpson was there? I don't.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, by the way, there are other ways that you can pay the respect. You can go and be with the family privately.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Rick, he showed up. But, Rick, a lot of other people talked to the media. So, were they wrong?

So, should we say, well, O.J., although you knew him, although you watched his practice, although you knew his father, hey, you can't say anything? No.

So, I know people have hangups about O.J. But you know what? Deal with that. But the reality is, the focus is on Sean Taylor, not O.J. Simpson. If he knew the guy, he paid his respects, that's what anybody should do.

SANCHEZ: Roland Martin, always a pleasure to have you on, my friend. We will get you back. We will continue the discussion. Thanks so much.

MARTIN: Thanks a bunch.

SANCHEZ: All right, this child custody just case ended ugly. Remember that? Yes, that was Elian. Well, this one seems to be heading in the same direction. We're going to tell you all about it.

Also, who wants to marry a U.S. citizen? Yes, that's the name of this new show. It speaks volumes about the situation in this country. We are going to give you a clip.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez, OUT IN THE OPEN. I want to tell you now about this cutest little boy caught in this huge custody battle. His grandmother is Mexican. His foster parents, U.S. citizens. There is the conflict.

Here's Ted Rowlands with the story of little Gabriel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GABRIEL ALLRED, CHILD CAUGHT IN CUSTODY BATTLE: Flowers.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has no idea but 2-year-old Gabriel Allred is in the middle of an international custody tug of war between his foster parents in the United States and his grandmother in Mexico. Since he was 4 months old, Gabriel whose mother lost custody because of drug used has lived with Steve and Angela Brandt in this home in Toledo, Oregon. When Gabriel's mother fled Oregon to avoid prison, the Brandts decided to adopt the little boy that they've fallen in love with.

STEVE BRANDT, GABRIEL'S FOSTER FATHER: She never showed up. We just started thinking that yes, we will be adopting Gabriel, and that's what the case workers were telling us, too.

ROWLANDS: But part of the adoption process includes a search for suitable blood relatives. Gabriel was born in the United States. His mother is a U.S. citizen. His father is Mexican who's lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years illegally, serving time for drug trafficking and attempted rape of a 12-year-old girl. He is now awaiting deportation.

The father has no parental rights, but his mother, 51-year-old Cecilia Martinez does and she says she wants Gabriel to live with her in a suburb of Mexico City.

TRANSLATOR OF CECILIA MARTINEZ, GABRIEL'S GRANDMOTHER: This is going to be the room of the boy.

ROWLANDS: Cecilia says she's excited to raise Gabriel and promises to keep him away from his father.

TRANSLATOR: He will be well-educated and raised well.

ROWLANDS: After stacking both families side by side, the state decided that Gabriel's grandmother, Cecilia, should raise him, not the Brandts.

ANGELA BRANDT, GABRIEL'S FOSTER MOTHER: It's about the child and the damage that would be done to him, and it just makes me sick.

ROWLANDS: Gabriel's biological mother who we tracked down of state says she's following the case over the Internet and wants the Brandts to raise her son.

LINDSEY ALLRED, GABRIEL'S BIOLOGICAL MOTHER: They -- God, they love him so much, and he's just so attached to them. You can see by the videos. They're just -- they're good people.

ROWLANDS: Then you want him to stay there.

ALLRED: Yes.

ROWLANDS: From jail, Gabriel's father says he promises not to see his son, but he wants him in Mexico.

ROBERTO VALIENTE MARTINEZ, GABRIEL'S BIOLOGICAL FATHER: You know, to grow up with this real family and learn his backgrounds and stuff, that's what I would like if it was up to me.

ROWLANDS: The state of Oregon won't comment on the details of each family's evaluation, but blood relatives are given an edge.

GREG PARKER, OREGON DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES: If there are family members that we feel would be a good home for the children that are in our care, it doesn't matter where they are.

TRANSLATOR: If he comes, he will notice we have the same blood and we are his family.

A. BRANDT: Blood is not always the best solution for a child. Otherwise, you would be insulting adoptive parents everywhere.

ROWLANDS: Oregon's governor has stepped in and has ordered a review of the case. Eventually, it may be resolved in court.

G. ALLRED: Good-bye.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Toledo, Oregon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: You could expect a lot of developments in Gabriel's case, and we're going to be staying on top of it and bring you every development as we get it every step of the way.

And you know, a lot of us dream of just chucking it, right? And doing something other than what we do for a living that really makes us really happy. Well, we dream about that but sometimes we can't make that happen. Tonight, in our "Life After Work," Ali Velshi brings us a story of a man who didn't find his happiness until he hit rock bottom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's audition time for Director Haywood Fennell.

HAYWOOD FENNELL, OSCAR MICHEAUX REPERTORY THEATER: Thank you, young lady. Good.

VELSHI: Looking for another cast to perform the plays he's written. But Fennel isn't the classically trained playwright. In fact, his first play was written at a homeless shelter.

FENNELL: I was living in a shelter, and I wrote a play called "The Harlem Renaissance." If you visit, it is a Boston play. And it was a play about when people were actually denied the opportunities to perform and perform in different places and be heard as poets, and writers as writers. It was a little bit like me.

VELSHI: The first act in Fennell's life was in the army overseas when he became addicted to heroin. Upon returning home, Fennell spent the next 20 years of his life in and out of jail and shelters because of his addiction.

FENNELL: The police officers arrested me and said you're too smart for this. And then later on they said, you're kind of old for this.

VELSHI: So Fennell got clean 15 years ago and now in the second act of his life, he is a renaissance man, writing children's books, hosting a weekly public access show in Boston and staging his plays.

FENNELL: It's been an ongoing wonderful journey. It's been very moving to be able to write something and then have someone perform it to the level that they perform.

Hey.

VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Coming up, the creator of "Who Wants To Marry a U.S. Citizen?" Yes, it's a real show. You heard Lou Dobbs tonight talking about this. Lou says this show makes hum want to vomit. What do you think? Also new information on the United States of America versus Pedro, the dishwasher. Think about that. What a country. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Boy, this one gets them wild up. Tonight, we're looking at the issue of immigrants marrying U.S. citizens just so they can stay in this country. Last year, more than 330,000, think of that number, 330,000 spouses gained permanent residency in this country. There's nothing wrong with it if it's being done for the right reasons.

For some, it's a controversial way, though, to get citizenship. But now, it's also a controversy with a whole new wrinkle. Check out this clip I'm about to show you. This is from a -- it's a whole new show. It's in the works. It's called "Who Wants To Marry a U.S. Citizen?"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm honest. I'm hardworking, and I don't have smoke. I live a clean life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have so much for the world and so much love to give to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll never see a new one, be a monogamist, and I'll be there until the end.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would marry all of these guys, but I can only choose one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: OK. The show's creator, Adrian Martinez, good enough to join us now. I got to tell you. Catchy beat. I like the music.

ADRIAN MARTINEZ, SHOW'S CREATOR: Thank you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Go ahead. Give us your pitch. Sell America on this show that you are going to create for them.

MARTINEZ: Well, Rick, regardless of where people stand on the immigration issue, it's a subject that everyone's interested in. And you know, we've gotten an overwhelming response from people regarding our program, so that kind of tell you something. People want to be on this show. It's not just us that force people on the program.

SANCHEZ: When are we going to be able to see this on TV?

MARTINEZ: We're on talks with the networks, so we can't speak for the exact date. But once it's a -- once we're told, we'll inform America.

SANCHEZ: Well, let me tell you what -- we picked up. I'm going to read something to you. You're ready. The show is being produced by Moorusa Media, M-O-O-R USA Media...

MARTINEZ: Right.

SANCHEZ: A company with no Web site, and this is according to ABC News, I'm putting it on them, but this is what they say.

ABC News says there's no evidence. It's even registration in California at all. So is that true? Are you working with a company that doesn't seem to have any kind of foundation?

MARTINEZ: No, they got their information incorrect. It's MoorusaRecords.com (ph). And what happens is, this show took off almost overnight. Just last week, we were just beginning to start marketing it and just took off like wild fire. This is our 12th interview in the past four days with a fifth major network. So it tells you something that we're here. People are clearly interested in this.

SANCHEZ: Well, remember, you're doing a lot of these interviews because you're tackling a controversial story, which I think it's interesting to most viewers from a news standpoint. It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to make a good show on an entertainment standpoint.

MARTINEZ: Right.

SANCHEZ: I mean, do you agree?

MARTINEZ: Well, first of all, you know, Rick, we're not the immigration. We're not the U.S. government. We can't give out green cards. We're not out to give our green cards or marry people. We're just playing the role of matchmaker. That's all we're doing. We just want to have a good time in a format that is similar to --

SANCHEZ: Yes. But hold on, hold on. You're doing the matchmaker thing but you're doing the matchmaker thing taking on a subject that implies that some of these people might be doing this because they want citizenship. And that's wrong, isn't it?

MARTINEZ: Of course, that's wrong. Of course, it's wrong, Rick. Again, we're not the immigration. That's not our job to know whether they're in it for true love or if they're trying to be -- opportunists for this, and we hope not.

SANCHEZ: So why would they be -- OK. So then why would they be looking to a U.S. citizen as opposed to somebody who maybe isn't a U.S. citizen? I mean, that categorization is what gives us kind of, you know, a little bit of an audacious look to it.

MARTINEZ: Right. Right. Rick, we've got -- most people want to meet people from other cultures. That's what it is. You know, backgrounds and people -- Americans love that.

SANCHEZ: All right. Well, we'll keep checking back with you. We'll see how it goes.

MARTINEZ: Thank, Rick. Thanks.

SANCHEZ: But I tell you it gives some people who have been very stern on this issue some ammunition to be even more critical. Adrian Martinez --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTINEZ: Yes. Nothing to worry about. They have nothing to worry about.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, it is what it is. Adrian, thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

MARTINEZ: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: "LARRY KING LIVE" standing by now. He's got a panel that he's put together. You know, Larry puts the best panels together because whenever he asks people to be on, they're like, yes, be there right away. So he's standing by. He's going to tell us what he's got.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Well, we've got a lot to cover tonight, Rick. Remember Debra Lafave, the teacher who had sex with her student?

SANCHEZ: Oh, yes.

KING: She's been arrested again. We have the latest on that. It's odd because she was arrested only for talking to a 17-year-old in a public restaurant. It sounds weird.

And we've got a great panel of TV judges who will go at it on all the big legal news of the day. That's all at the top of the hour, immediately following my man, Rick.

SANCHEZ: My man from Miami, Rick, who -- yes, I was --- you're going to be talking about Sean Taylor's case, too, with your legal panel, right?

KING: Yes, every part of the discussion -- a lot of experts were wrong about that thinking it was not at random, it was not a burglary. People are out after him.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

KING: It turned out to be wrong.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

KING: The pundits were off.

SANCHEZ: Yes. What a surprise. That's why they say, sometimes wait for the 48 hours of the news cycle before you start to make any determinations. Larry King.

KING: If we could learn from that. SANCHEZ: All of us. Thanks, man. Look forward to it.

KING: OK.

SANCHEZ: In a minute, we're going to look into this case of a teacher who was convicted of having sex with one of her students. She, as Larry had said just moments ago, is in trouble. One of the facts before you get to Larry, we'll give them to you as well. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Hey, Larry mentioned a story about Debra Lafave just a little while ago. Just to let you know from the program news standpoint, that we're going to have that for you in just a little bit.

But we now have this. Apparently, there's an update in the case of Pedro Zapeta that we've been telling you about. Now, you may remember him, a humble little guy. He's an undocumented immigrant who scrimped and saved $59,000 from his job as a dishwasher. But when he tried to take his lifesavings home to his family, the government confiscated all of it, every penny. He wants it back.

There were some arguments as whether they thought he was a drug dealer. He's not. Well, now the powerful 11th circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear his case, has agreed to hear his case so that's obviously, extremely important. Good news for him.

Live from Miami now. Let's go to our John Zarrella who's been following this. How significant is this development, first of all, from a legal standpoint and nothing else, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you, Rick. Right way, first blush, you say wow, this is major because the 11th circuit Court of Appeals does not agree to hear oral arguments in any case unless they believe there's merit. There's too much on their plate. They do not take frivolous cases. So clearly, they think that there is reason to look at it, and I'll tell you why. It goes back to precedent. The Supreme Court has already ruled in a case called Hosep Bajakajian. He's a Syrian immigrant, 1994, gas station owner from California, leaving the country with $357,000.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

ZARRELLA: He stopped. The government seizes his money. Well, the Supreme Court rules you can't take all his money and basically because he did nothing wrong except try to leave without filling out the proper paper work, same thing Pedro did.

SANCHEZ: Yes. In other words -- yes, in other words, you pay the fine. Pay your taxes, but we can't take the money that you earned. However...

ZARRELLA: It's exactly right. SANCHEZ: ... that Syrian guy, he was legally in the United States, Pedro was not. Does that make it different as far as --? I know you're not a lawyer. I'm not here to put you on the spot.

ZARRELLA: Right.

SANCHEZ: But is that -- do you think it would make a difference?

ZARRELLA: Well, the attorneys are telling us, look, he wasn't legal, but he earned his money legally.

SANCHEZ: OK.

ZARRELLA: So there is a differentiation there.

SANCHEZ: Hey, you know what's interesting from a timetable standpoint? Apparently, Pedro is being told to leave. Well, look at my notes here.

ZARRELLA: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Schedule -- this hearing is scheduled for March. Pedro is supposed to be deported in January. So that means he won't be here for that hearing? Can they give him an extension or something?

ZARRELLA: No. It does not look like he'll get any extension. They're two parallel cases. One before the immigration courts. This one, an appeal in the civil courts in the 11th circuit. Different courts. He's already agreed to self-deport.

SANCHEZ: Right.

ZARRELLA: We do not need him here for an appeals case. If he gets his money, they'll manage to get it to him somehow.

SANCHEZ: Yes. We broadcast for him. It would be a real nice present to get down there in Guatemala.

ZARRELLA: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Hey, John Zarrella, as usual, man, you and I are spending a lot of time together lately. Thanks, again.

ZARRELLA: A lot of time.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it.

I wanted to show this because when we watched it, it became quite a conversation piece for us in our newsroom today. Watch this guy. All right.

This guy right here is robbing this jewelry store. There you see, he's got the gun, right? But watch what happens. He's got all these jewelry sitting around, and then he decides he's going to take the clerk's ring off her finger. When this guy seems to threaten her, this elderly fellow here, he points the gun at him again and he struggles to get her ring off when he could have all these other jewelry. It just -- it seems like it's almost adding insult to injury. Grabs her ring and then takes off.

The Lafave story. This teacher was convicted of having sex with one of her students. Why she's now in trouble again. Stay right there.

Then at the top of the hour, legal eagles on "LARRY KING LIVE." They debate a lot of cases including Lafave and the Sean Taylor case. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Here's that follow up. Tonight, the woman and one-time middle school teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old student has been arrested again. We've got some pictures.

Two years ago, Debra Lafave was sentenced to three years under house arrest and seven years of probation. She's been working as a waitress, but authorities just made her quit her job because she discussed sex, boyfriend issues, and her personal life with another waitress, a 17-year-old girl.

Well, this is a defiance of probation. Her attorney calls it just girl talk. Authorities call it a violation of the terms of her probation. Let's see what a criminal defense attorney has to say about this. Drew Findling is good enough to join us now. Drew, what's she do? Where did she mess up here?

DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, when you're on probation, you have terms and conditions. She had three years of home confinement as well as seven years probation to follow, and she was supposed to see a therapist, not use alcohol or drugs, abide by laws, do community service, pay fines.

She did everything. The one thing she did wrong is she was prohibited from having contacts with any teenagers less than 18 years old without permission of the court. And apparently while working at this Danny Boy's Restaurant in Tampa, she started talking personally with a 17-year-old woman who is a fellow waitress, talking about life, talking about personal matters.

SANCHEZ: Well, but you know, hold on a minute. You know, if it was just -- and here's what we don't know. If it was just a casual conversation, you can't -- I mean, you can't be rude, right?

FINDLING: No. Hey, listen. I think when all's said and done, this is going to be much ado about nothing. I think what's going to happen is, quite often a probation officer can just ignore this, pull you in and say, look, don't do that again. That didn't happen here.

Probably because of the popularity of this case, how complex it's been at least in the past. It brought it to the -- the probation officer brought it to the court's attention. It's not going to get rid of the court. I think the court is just going say, hey, listen. Be a little smarter from now on when you're communicating with another teenager.

SANCHEZ: But she was -- but, hey, but Drew, she was arrested. I mean, you know, she was out in the water. You know, the toothpaste is out of the bottle, man.

FINDLING: I'm absolutely with you on that, and I think it's because of the popularity of the case. I mean, look, her husband wrote a terrible book about what happened. So who knows what the probation officers motivation is going to be. I mean, it made no sense to arrest her for talking to a 17-year-old teenager.

SANCHEZ: But there's another side to this too. It depends on what she was talking about with the 17-year-old, how graphic the conversation was, right?

FINDLING: Well, how graphic the conversation is -- it wasn't that she was talking with a 13 or 14-year-old young boy. She was talking with a 17-year-old girl. Remember that in most states in this country, like in Georgia where I am, 17-year-old is majority anyway. So in Georgia, she'd be talking to an adult.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: But Drew, what if she was talking about sex? What if she was, you know, laying it out there and saying some things that most of us as parents would find inappropriate?

FINDLING: Well, I think if she was talking specifically about this case, specifically about 13, 14-year-old boys, she has trouble. I think if she was just generally talking about sex, I don't see her being incarcerated because of that.

And I'll change the issue a little bit and I know this has been part of this case. But had she been a man in this case and she was on probation and talking to a 17-year-old fellow construction worker, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

SANCHEZ: So you're convinced that this case has a lot of sexes involved in it?

FINDLING: This case is not only sexes, and it's about a beautiful woman that's involved. And then that's when all's said and done, what this case is about it's what the attraction of this case is, and it's probably why it's going to be in the headlines again.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Yes. You're right. But yes, you know, that's part of the reason it's so bizarre because she is an attractive older woman who was with a 14-year-old boy.

Drew, you're great. Great guest. I really enjoyed talking to you.

FINDLING: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: We'll get you back. All right?

FINDLING: All right, man.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it. "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up next. We say goodnight. We'll see you tomorrow. On behalf of my staff, I apologize for the ugly tie.

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