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Pregnant Marine Believed Dead; Bank of America Buying Countrywide Financial?

Aired January 11, 2008 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, for weeks, police tried to find a pregnant young Marine who disappeared from Camp Lejeune. Today, they found -- or they're looking for her body.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: They're also looking for the fellow Marine whom the victim had accused of rape. He's a prime suspect in her death.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, 3:00 Eastern time.

Earlier today, there was a glimmer of hope Maria Lauterbach would be found alive, but by noon those hopes were gone. This hour, authorities in North Carolina are looking for the grave of the pregnant Marine on a tip from a key witness.


ED BROWN, SHERIFF OF ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Ms. Lauterbach is dead and has been buried here in Onslow County. The suspect in the case is the Marine accused by her for assaulting her.

And while you all have been getting up here, we have been getting out there in -- or searching the area for the grave that could be in and around the place where she was murdered.


LEMON: CNN's Ed Lavandera joins now live from Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Ed, it sounded like no one was expecting to hear any of this today from the sheriff in that news conference.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there's no question, Don. Everything came as a stunning development here this morning, and even more so given that it is a fellow Marine, a Marine corporal by the name of Cesar Laurean, that officials here are on the lookout for.

But authorities here in Jacksonville, North Carolina, say that essentially that Mr. Laurean had gotten essentially an eight-hour head-start on them, that at about 4:00 this morning they believe he left the area and that's why they are still on the lookout for him. We have not been provided a picture of this Marine just yet. So, we're still waiting for that to come through. But this is the same person that authorities here in Jacksonville say that Maria Lauterbach had filed the sexual assault charges with, and she was about to testify in a military court proceeding, which is called an Article 32 hearing, which is essentially a grand jury hearing. She was supposed to testify in that hearing against the -- well, what is described as the key suspect now in this case.

So, this situation has turned a -- in a tragic way. However, the sheriff here in Jacksonville saying that he does believe that the missing Marine had been murdered, but they still have not found her body. In fact, there are crews searching an area along Gun Branch (ph) Road here in the Jacksonville area.

They continue to do that. Whether or not they have made any progress here this afternoon, we still have not been told -- Don.

LEMON: OK. So, Ed, you have updated us on the search for her and this grave that they believe she's buried in. What about the suspect, who was also a Marine, right?


We understand that authorities here will probably be serving a search warrant on his house at some point today, that that is probably in the process of going on as we speak as well. And then authorities here, as we mentioned, believe that he had gotten essentially an eight-hour head-start, so they were putting out be on the lookout for notices to all state authorities around North Carolina, South Carolina, nationwide as to where this Marine corporal might be.

But we still haven't heard if they have had any progress or any tips coming in as to where he might be.

LEMON: All right, keep us posted. Ed Lavandera, thank you.

PHILLIPS: Hundreds of people, friends and family and the dozens of people who looked for her were expected to pack an Athens, Georgia, church within the last hour to honor the memory of Meredith Emerson. She's the 24-year-old kidnapped on a mountain hike and bludgeoned to death just after New Year's.

Emerson graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005 and had been living in the Atlanta area. Her family says that there will be a second memorial service in Colorado, where her parents live.

LEMON: There's a lot of cleanup ahead for parts of the Deep South slammed by powerful storms.

These scenes are from Caledonia, Mississippi, where a suspected tornado plowed right into a school. Look at those cars. Look at the roof of that, was once a structure, once a roof. Now it's on the ground. The wind was so strong, it tossed a school bus onto a roof. There are no reports of any serious injuries there. But across Mississippi, the storms are blamed for two traffic- related deaths. Dozens of homes, businesses, and farms are also damaged. And that same system pounded parts of Louisiana and also Alabama. In the town of New Roads, Louisiana, a storm believed to be a tornado damaged a business and knocked over four-wheelers and tractors there.

In Washington State, a rarity, especially, especially in January, a tornado in Vancouver left a trail of damage four miles long. It damaged homes and businesses and blew down trees and power lines.


ROB SPARKS, HOME DAMAGED: It's something I don't want to go through the rest of my life, never, and -- because when you are inside by that yourself, you're scared. I was. It looked like worse than a war zone. It was bad.


LEMON: Well, this is only the third January tornado in Washington State since 1950. A twister that struck Vancouver in April of 1972 killed six people and injured hundreds more.


PHILLIPS: Well, just to make the O.J. Simpson story once again back here in the news, we're getting word now that his bail has actually been revoked.

Here's the situation. Apparently O.J. Simpson is back in custody in Florida and is going to be brought before a judge next week on those allegations, again, that he violated his terms of his release on bail in that Las Vegas armed robbery case.

You remember he was sentenced -- or actually put out on bail because of the memorabilia, the sports memorabilia, that apparently he broke in with a gun, with accomplices, threatened this memorabilia owner, to take back those items, and he was let out on bail after going through, as we watched, for weeks, that whole court process.

Now we're being told he's back in custody and he's going to be brought before a judge because he violated the terms of his release when he was out on bail after that Las Vegas case. So, we're following it. We will let you know more as we get it.

LEMON: I'm sure we will be following that a lot more.

Stock prices have sunk today, way down again, by the mortgage mess. The Dow is down 250 points right now. And by the millions, homeowners, who took out subprime mortgages in recent years are in deep financial trouble. But things are looking up for the nation's biggest mortgage lender. Countrywide was facing possible bankruptcy in all this, but now there's word that the Bank of America has agreed to buy Countrywide for $4.1 billion in stock.

CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis is here to factor the fallout for us.

Busy time for you, Gerri. What do you have for us?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, you say $4.1 billion like that's a big number, Don, but in reality it was really a fire sale.

Countrywide was under assault. Earnings were down. They were having to lay people off. They were really hamstrung by this mortgage meltdown, lots of problems, the share price down. So, they sell out, and boy, they don't get a premium for their shares. They really get very little indeed.

Now, here's the good news, though. Countrywide will continue. The brand will continue. Bank of America will continue operating the brand. So, if you're out there sitting with a Countrywide mortgage, you don't have to worry about it going away.

LEMON: OK. So, what does that mean for, then, the average consumer, because that's really the bottom line? People...


LEMON: We hear about this big number or whatever. The banks will fight that out. But what about for the average consumer?

WILLIS: Absolutely right.

You know, this is good news, because it's certainly better than going bankrupt. In the past, when we have seen some of these mortgage lenders go out of business, people get caught in the crossfire. That's not the case here. If you have a mortgage with Countrywide, it will still be around and it will be kept either by BofA or sold. You may not even notice a difference.

Look, your loan, Don, is an asset to Countrywide. If BofA buys it, it's buying an asset. And somebody is going to keep that. You got to keep paying your mortgage.

LEMON: OK. So, we're talking about thousands, possibly millions of people, who are in this situation. So, what if people are watching and they are in this situation. What do they do?

WILLIS: Well, you have got to keep making your payments on time.

Look, at the end of the day, it matters whether you keep up. If the loan changes hands, the new owner will tell you where to send the payments. That's the way the law works. Know your rights. Your loan terms can't change, Don. So, if you got a sweet 5 percent rate a couple of years ago, you will be able to keep that.

Also, if the lender sells your mortgage, you will get a letter from the new company within 15 days telling you where to send that new payment. You will get a grace period of 60 days to get your payment to the right place -- Don.

LEMON: OK. And, again, I can't believe what you guys are talking about this weekend on "OPEN HOUSE."


LEMON: Don't say anything. Remember, shh. Yes.

WILLIS: Well, you better tune in.

LEMON: OK. That's right. That's why I said don't say anything.

WILLIS: It's very exciting.

LEMON: All right.

WILLIS: Do you want me to promo it or are you going to do it yourself?

LEMON: No, no, I'm going to do it. I got you covered.


LEMON: Gerri, I got your back. I got your back.

Thank you. Have a great weekend.

WILLIS: Great seeing you.

LEMON: Maybe we will be talking, as busy as it's going, maybe talking to you again in the next hour. But thank you.

WILLIS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: And, if I don't see you, have a great weekend.

WILLIS: You, too.

LEMON: And be sure to catch Gerri this weekend on "OPEN HOUSE." She will be talking economy and politics, plus this story, a new way to buy foreclosures from a tour bus. And you will find out how to save money on your medicine. That's "OPEN HOUSE" Saturday at 9:30 Eastern, a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. And you can watch on Headline News Saturday and Sunday 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: The red flags were there, but it was too little, too late for four sisters in D.C. They're in the morgue and their mother is in custody. Some people think the whole tragedy was totally avoidable.


LEMON: This just in to the CNN NEWSROOM.

CNN has confirmed that O.J. Simpson is now in custody in Florida and will be brought before a judge next week on allegations that he violated terms of his release on bail in a Las Vegas armed robbery case. Now, you might remember that, back in November, O.J. Simpson, Charles Ehrlich, Clarence Stewart all pleaded not guilty to the 12 charges that they faced in the incident related to a September break- in at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas. They face some serious charges there.

Their actual trial date was supposed to be April 7, but O.J. Simpson is going to be back in a courtroom again very soon, accused of breaking his -- his bail agreement in some way, his release agreement. So, we will be following that story. But, again, O.J. Simpson back in the news again. CNN is following the story.

PHILLIPS: And some of the other stories we're working right now at 3:14 Eastern time right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. A missing pregnant Marine is dead. That's according to law enforcement officials, who believe the body of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach is buried in a shallow grave in North Carolina. Authorities say that they are searching for a fellow Marine that Lauterbach had accused of sexual assault.

A memorial service being held today for Meredith Emerson, the 24- year-old hiker who was found dead in the North Georgia Mountains. The man charged with her murder also is a suspect in a Florida death. The prosecutor said today he is planning to file murder charges as well.

A Washington, D.C., mother charged with murdering her four daughters remains in jail without bond. Detectives say that Banita Jacks told them the girls they were possessed by demons.

LEMON: Did he or did he not violate his bail agreement, his release agreement? Is he in jail now? What is going on with O.J. Simpson?

This is our top story in CNN.

And Ted Rowlands is on top of it for us from our L.A. bureau.

What do you have, Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, at this point, what we have is what we're getting out of the Clark County courts.

And that is that the prosecution has filed a motion to basically revoke O.J. Simpson's bail. There's a hearing that has been set for next Wednesday. The bail bondsman has been informed. And the bail bondsman has revoked the bail on his own. In Nevada, the bail bondsman has the authority, if he feels he feels or if she feels that they want to revoke the bail, to do so.

And it seems as though that's the case here. O.J. Simpson, according to officials in the Clark County judicial system, is on his way back to Las Vegas as we speak. He's in Miami at the airport and about ready to come back to Las Vegas. He will be in custody until, presumably, this bail hearing, which at this point is set on Wednesday. Whether or not that scheduling will change remains to be seen.

We haven't been able to contact Yale Galanter, O.J. Simpson's attorney, but, according to the officials in Las Vegas, something has happened to where prosecutors believe they have a right to revoke O.J. Simpson's bail. They have filed the motion, and they will hash it out in court some time next week.

In the meantime, O.J. Simpson is going to have to sit in the Clark County jail until this is ironed out in front of a judge and argued.

LEMON: OK. So, I said, was he in jail? Not in jail yet, but he's in custody, Ted -- let's get this straight -- in custody, on his way to Las Vegas, right?


ROWLANDS: Correct.


ROWLANDS: And, at that point, he will be processed, again, and be in jail. He will be held in custody in Las Vegas until this motion hearing can be heard in front of a judge. And, at this point, it has been set for Wednesday, the 16th, of this month. And at that point, both attorneys obviously, both sides, will be able to argue this in front of court.

We don't know what it is that prosecutors say was the violation.

LEMON: Yes, that was my next question. Yes.

ROWLANDS: But it was very clear, when the judge granted bail to O.J. Simpson and the other defendants, that he was not to talk to any of the other defendants at all, no communication: You can't see them on the street. You cannot have any phone conversations.

So, if that was violated, that would give prosecutors the ammunition to go to the judge and say, he violated it. He needs to come back to jail.

We don't know what it was, the violation that they perceive here. But that very well could be in that vein. And the judge was very strict when giving Mr. Simpson the bail and agreeing to terms of the bail, that any violation, and, boom, you are going to be back here.


ROWLANDS: And it appears that the prosecutors want him back in jail.

LEMON: And, Ted, that was the question I had. That's the question that everyone had that you answered. What is it? We don't know at this point. But you guys are on top of it. If you find do out, let us know.

ROWLANDS: You bet.

LEMON: Ted Rowlands in Los Angeles, thank you, sir. PHILLIPS: Phone bills unpaid, wiretaps cut off. An audit of the FBI's handling of money in undercover investigations uncovered both. So, what's going on?

Let's ask CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena in Washington -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, now, this is one of the stories that is hard to believe.

But there was an inspector general's report showing that telephone companies literally cut off FBI wiretaps because the bureau didn't pay its bills on time. So, undercover surveillance of suspected criminals was just stopped in the middle of investigations.

Now, the report says that at least one of the cases was a FISA case. And, as you know, Kyra, those are reserved, those types of subpoenas are reserved for terrorists and spies, the most sensitive, sensitive cases.

PHILLIPS: How does this even happen?

ARENA: Well, you know, the audit blames just lax oversight for that program, money going toward undercover investigations. One FBI office alone, according to this report, owed $66,000 in phone bills. And this probe was actually kicked off when an FBI employee was caught stealing 25 grand in undercover funds, and that incident also blamed largely on poor oversight.

PHILLIPS: So, how detailed is the report?

ARENA: Well, much of this report wasn't even publicly released. I only read the unclassified summary. So, there are no details on how long the wiretaps were cut off, how many investigations were affected.

But I did pose those questions to the FBI. It wouldn't provide any details. But it says, look, there were a minimum number of cases that were affected, none of them adversely. They said there's an effort under way to better control financial programs -- one would hope -- and that it's working to make the changes that the inspector general suggests, but, unfortunately, lots of those details that we just cannot get answers to yet -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, we will follow it. Kelli Arena, appreciate it.

ARENA: You're welcome.

LEMON: All right.

And, Kyra, we have some new information just coming across the wire as it concerns that missing Marine, who was, they believe, sexually assaulted and then killed. That's according to investigators in North Carolina today. They are still searching for her body.

We're just getting a picture of the suspect. It is corporal Cesar A. Laurean, 21. And I'm reading the information here, which is straight from the prosecutors just coming across. It's saying -- it says that, when he joined the Marines, back in 2004, what he was trained as, which group he was assigned to, and just about his decoration, fairly decorated from the time that he's been in. I believe he joined in 2004.

But this is the picture of the suspect. Originally, according to investigators, they said that he was from -- somewhere from Nevada. They believe that he is eight hours ahead of them. They are searching, as we take a look at these pictures -- and I'm not sure if we have the search pictures there -- they are searching a wooded area -- we don't have them -- in North Carolina, near Jacksonville, near where they believe her body is or the place they believe her body is.

Cesar Armando Laurean. At first, according to the wires, it was "Lauren." But, according officially to the release here, it is Laurean, 21 years old. He is believed to be the person responsible in the disappearance and the death of 20-year-old Lance Corporal Maria Frances Lauterbach -- details to come in this case. We have a picture of the suspect, police and investigators on top of it, searching for her body right now.

As soon as we get more information, we will bring it to you here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Frightening moments for students, teachers and staff at a Mississippi school, as a powerful storm targets the campus. The high school principal will join me to talk about what it was like.



LEMON: The numbers, well, they are shocking: 66 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, 33 percent of children.

CNN's "Fit Nation" initiative set out to change that.

And our Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces one man who lost 120 pounds and found a vocation.


TIM LENCZOWSKI, LOST 120 POUNDS: My name is Tim Lenczowski. And I have lost about 120 pounds. It was about two years ago. Actually, my 40th birthday is when I started thinking I need to do something. I was weighing in about 335 pounds, and high blood pressure.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tim tried everything to lose weight. Bad diets, medications, group exercise. But the weight always came back.

LENCZOWSKI: When I see the before pictures of me, I think I look very sad, but that person's still here.

I couldn't run a mile. I had never run. And so I wanted to be able to do that. I set that goal for myself as I wanted to run that whole mile.

And then you see that bar starting to raise and you're like, hmm, if I can run the mile, can I run a half-marathon? Can I run a marathon?

Today, I have run five full marathons and 12 half-marathons. You know, five years ago, who would have thought that I would ever do that? Now it's exciting to me as I meet new people. And they don't look at the old Tim and they don't look at the Tim who's lost all the weight. They look at the person sitting in front of you now. And that's what I want to be remembered for.

GUPTA: Tim has reached his goal weight and is now working to build muscle mass. His new goal is to pass his experiences on to others.

LENCZOWSKI: I just encourage people to take that first step. I know it's hard. Find that program that is comfortable to you. They're out there.

GUPTA: But the biggest key to Tim's success, he says, was a good support network.

LENCZOWSKI: And you don't feel bad about asking for help.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


PHILLIPS: Well, straight ahead we're going to have more of my interview with two military men who led rescue and recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- retiring General Russel Honore and Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen. They're going to talk about their roles in Iraq and the possibility of politics in their future.


LEMON: All right, take a good look at this picture. Investigators say this is the suspect in the case of that missing 20-year-old Lance Corporal, Maria Frances Lauterbach. That's her picture there. But take a look at his picture. We want you to look at that, because police are looking for him. This is 21-year-old Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean. Police believe that he assaulted her and then killed her -- and then killed her and then dumped her body in the woods in North Carolina.

An intense search is going on for her right now and also an intense search for him. She was supposed to testify in a case of sexual assault against him and then she went missing. And investigators announcing today that they believe she is dead and that he buried her in the woods right here in Onslow County, North Carolina, where investigators are looking.

Those pictures courtesy of our affiliate WTVD.

Again, 21-year-old Corporal Cesar A. Laurean -- that's the suspect in this case of this missing, now believed to be dead, marine. PHILLIPS: This was the scene Wednesday in Washington, D.C. -- authorities taking the bodies of four girls -- sisters, actually -- out of their town home. The girls' mother is now charged with first degree murder. Now we're learning that there were red flags at this home long before those bodies were found.

CNN's Brianna Keilar joins us now with more on the story -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, in the last two years, this family had multiple encounters with at least five different D.C. agency. That includes D.C. police and Family Services. According to court documents, no one reported seeing these girls alive after May of last year -- seven months ago -- and none of these agencies seemed to notice.

Now, on April 30th, just a short time before these four girls seemingly disappeared, a social worker from the school of the 17-year- old victim -- the eldest daughter -- alerted D.C. police and D.C. Family Services. That school social worker told them that the mother, Banita Jacks, may be suffering from mental illness and was possibly holding her eldest daughter hostage by not letting her go to school.

At that point, a Family Services social worker -- a city employee -- went to the house three times in the following days to follow up, but no one answered the door. And just a couple of weeks later, the case was closed -- even so that Family Services social worker was unable to find or verify the well-being of these kids.

Now here's what D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said when I asked him if he thinks there were missed opportunities to help these girls.


ADRIAN FENTY (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: I do. I do. I think there are not only points where the opportunity to act was missed, but that employees, at best, were just going about their job in a check the boxes -- check -- checking the box type of way instead of really looking at the circumstances.


KEILAR: And because of that, Fenty says it's a real possibility that some city employees will be losing their jobs over this.

Meanwhile, Banita Jacks is still in jail. She's been charged with four counts of first degree murder. According to court documents, Jacks denied killing her children, but told police they were "possessed by demons."

The D.C. medical examiner found preliminary evidence that one of the children was stabbed, another beaten and the two others strangled -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Oh. Well, obviously, there are big holes in the system.

Is there concern that other kids might be falling through the cracks in that same district?

KEILAR: Definitely. That's something D.C. officials are talking about. When D.C. Family Services closed this case on this particular family, it was considered incomplete. That's the technical term. This caseworker thought the family may have moved out of the area, although that wasn't actually confirmed. And there are hundreds of similar cases of families like this falling off the radar.

D.C. officials say they're going to overhaul how these cases are handled so they can make sure something like this doesn't happen again -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I sure hope so.

Brianna Keilar, thanks for the details.

LEMON: Another sad story involving kids -- the search for the bodies of four children has widened in South Alabama. Their father is accused of throwing them some 80 feet off a bridge into Mississippi Sound. About 70 volunteers and law enforcement officers are searching a 150-mile area. Now, police say the father confessed -- at first. But he has now recanted and says he gave the children to a woman who claimed to know their mother.

PHILLIPS: Well, the two military men who led America through one of its most difficult times are talking about Iraq and possible plans for public office. You remember Russel Honore, right? He's that tough talking, no-nonsense General who restored order in the days after Hurricane Katrina. And right by his side, Admiral Thad Allen. Allen commanded countless Coast Guard rescue missions for people trapped by the storm.

Both men are also involved with what's happening in Iraq. I had a chance to speak with them about that and a possible run for office, maybe, for General Honore, who is retiring from the Army today.


PHILLIPS: What do you feel good about with regard to what you did with your soldiers in Iraq?

GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY: That's what I'm most proud of, that the National Guard, our citizen soldiers and our United States Army Reserve, have stepped up to the plate. And they answered the nation's call to duty. And that when we deployed them, they are trained and equipped. The Congress and the Army and the Department of Defense have given us the equipment they need for when they are training and to deploy with.

We still have equipment issues in the Army. And the Congress needs to step up and buy us our equipment. They need to step up and fully fund troop raises and they need to fully fund things to help take care of soldiers, sailors and airmen and marines' families. And they shouldn't be shopping for medical care around America. They should be able to walk into any hospital. Right now, they've got to find a doctor that takes care of -- that accepts TRICARE. Why the soldiers don't have the same medical coverage as members of Congress, that's what I'm going to do when I retire.

In the meantime, I'm looking for a job.


PHILLIPS: And we'll talk about that in just a second.


PHILLIPS: And there's a lot of people here that have a couple of ideas for you, Russel Honore.

You're heavily involved in Iraq. You've got so many assets there.

What's the Coast Guard's role?

I know there are armed SWAT teams that have been over there doing the meal (ph) operations, all kinds of assets over there.

ADM. THAD ALLEN, COAST GUARD COMMANDANT: We're involved in a couple of things. Most notably, though, is the protection of the oil platforms off Iraq, which constitute the major revenue stream for the country. Working with coalition forces -- not only the United States Navy, but our coalition partners. We six patrol boats that have been over there since the start of hostilities. In fact, the only casualties the Coast Guard has taken are in the defense of those oil platforms against an improvised explosive device. We're also training Iraqi Navy and Coasts Guardsmen to -- for point defense of the port and the oil platforms.

PHILLIPS: All right, I know Russel Honore has to get to a ceremony, so we're going to get personal here for a minute. I know both of you are extremely proud of your grandsons. Little James Russell named after you. Are you going to be spending time with your grandson?

HONORE: I will. I want to watch him grow up and help raise him.

PHILLIPS: You want him to be a soldier?

HONORE: Oh, absolutely.

PHILLIPS: Without a doubt?

HONORE: Oh, yes. I almost remember the West Point class he's going to.


PHILLIPS: He's already...

HONORE: But you caught me off guard. I don't remember.

PHILLIPS: How about you, Admiral Allen? Your grandson Zach (ph), I know you're very proud of him. Tell us about this baby. You threw out the pitch here, both of you.

ALLEN: I was the honorary chair for the combined federal campaign for the National Capital Region. And at the Nationals game one night, I got to throw out the first pitch. And my grandson Zachary was with me that night and we had a unique opportunity to have the picture taken. And it made his grandmother very, very happy.

PHILLIPS: A future lifesaver? Will he be a part of the Coast Guard?

ALLEN: We'll see. He'll make his own choices there.

PHILLIPS: You've got to be careful, because Honore might want to recruit both.


PHILLIPS: All right, so future -- everybody has talked about you running for office, General Honore.

HONORE: Office?


HONORE: Well, we'll see. But in the meantime, I'm just looking to get this transition started, find something to do that's interesting and has a purpose to help keep America free. Because I spent the first 37 years working on it and I might as well go out doing that and be in the conversation of what's important to the people in terms of preparedness and readiness.

PHILLIPS: Well, taking that into account and what you said, too, admiral, I mean we remember you had a trip to the White House. You got to meet Prince Charles, his wife. Your wife Bev, by the way, strikingly -- I know she kind of cozied up to the president there. I think she likes the president. What do you think?

HONORE: I was watching that.

PHILLIPS: Yes. I bet you were. And, Admiral Allen, you also had the pleasure of meeting the president a number of times. This was a special moment for you. It looks like you were getting along pretty well there, too, with the commander-in-chief.

ALLEN: Well, we've had tremendous support by the president. As you know, he came down to New Orleans often. We personally briefed him and spent time with him. And we appreciate his leadership and support. It made it easier to do our job down there.

PHILLIPS: Well, we have an idea for both of you. What do you think Honore and Admiral Allen, the presidential ticket for 2008? We've already decided that we could see you both in the White House running the show.


PHILLIPS: What do you say?


ALLEN: I have a day job.


PHILLIPS: You're not going for it General?

HONORE: No comment.

PHILLIPS: No comment.


PHILLIPS: We know that the two of you could get things done. Appreciate both of you.

ALLEN: We appreciate the sentiment.

PHILLIPS: Yes, I notice both of you are blushing and quite silent right now. Usually, I never see Russel Honore this quiet.


HONORE: You know when to keep your mouth shut.

PHILLIPS: Oh, yes. That's right. Thanks, both of you, for being with us.

ALLEN: My pleasure. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: All right.

HONORE: Thanks.


LEMON: A lot of wisdom right there. Invitation might be the sincerest form of flattery. It also can be a creative form of robbery. We'll have a case in point.


LEMON: New video in Onslow County, North Carolina, where investigators are searching for the body of 20-year-old Lance Corporal Maria Frances Lauterbach. Disappeared back in December -- mid to late December. And then they believe her body is buried somewhere in these woods. They believe the person responsible -- this is new video. The first time we've gotten some ground video in all of these pictures of the woods where they're searching.

Let's take just a little bit of look. Linger on these pictures a little bit longer. You can see the helicopters there in the sky. Probably some investigators, as well as news helicopters, as well, in all of this.

But the search is on. And let's take a picture -- a look at the suspect now. The search is on for U.S. Marine Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean. The Las Vegas area native is the prime suspect in the death of his fellow Marine, as I stated. And we're getting a first look at his picture this hour, as well as those new ground pictures.

Twenty-year-old Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, as I said, had accused Laurean of sexual assault before she disappeared. And just hours ago officials said Lauterbach is dead and buried somewhere in Onslow County, North Carolina, in the woods there.

Sheriff Ed Brown told me how they found out about this.


SHERIFF ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: We had a key witness come forward this morning after 8:00 with a statement and some tangible evidence to support her statement. And we moved on that. Prior to her coming there, we had gotten this call last night that led us to believe that we're going in the better direction. This one witness this morning changed that direction to a negative direction. We now have officers in the area with canines, searching for the body to where it's supposed to have been buried.

LEMON: OK. So you said you had a key witness in all of this. That person came to you. Was it someone that you were looking at...

BROWN: That person contacted the military -- that person contacted the military authorities. And the military authorities -- NCIS contacted me immediately and gave us that story.

LEMON: OK. But when you say you have tangible evidence, I would imagine that's not circumstantial evidence, but that's some sort of hard evidence. Can you talk to us about that?

BROWN: I cannot talk to you about it. And, as I've told you in the past, and the other stations, in an investigation, you have tangible evidence -- circumstantial evidence, you have statements. The most important and the most dependable is, you know, tangible evidence that don't change that don't lie.


LEMON: And Lauterbach's family in Ohio issued a statement. They did that just a few minutes ago. And you can see that's a handwritten note right there. They thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for time alone so that they could grieve -- Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Well, they captured the imagination of the world what so many had died trying. Remembering the first man to stand atop Mount Everest.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Well, he was the first man to conquer the world's tallest mountain. And today, on the news of his death at 88, Sir Edmund Hillary is being hailed as a hero -- and more -- and as a larger than life New Zealander who embraced Nepal's Sherpa community.

Reporter Zoe Conway of ITN looks back on the life and legacy of the modest mountaineer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everest conquered. Two unassuming men have climbed the 29,000-foot monarch of the Himalayas. Now in the state Kerch (ph) of Nepal, Hillary and Tenzing with Tarnell Hunt (ph) and others of the expedition rode in triumph through Kathmandu.

ZOE CONWAY, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay stepped onto the summit of Everest on the morning of the 29th of May, 1953.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay.

SIR EDMUND HILLARY: I put out my hand to shake his hand and he reluctantly shook my hand. But then he threw his arms around my shoulder and we gave each other a really good hug.

CONWAY: They're aren't any pictures of Sir Edmund on the summit. Only this photo of Tenzing exists. Sir Edmund explains this was because Tenzing didn't know how to use a camera, but it may be that Sir Edmund was so modest, he wasn't bothered about having it taken.

It wasn't until Tenzing died that Sir Edmund was prepared to admit that he had reached the summit first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From New Delhi to London airport -- and what a bewildering experience it must all be for the Sherpa, Tenzing.

CONWAY: They were a team, he explained at a press at Heathrow.

HILLARY: Tenzing and I have climbing together every day and I think we've become a fairly heavy pair. And this was just one example of how a pair (INAUDIBLE) together are as a unit and how one is always protecting the other.

CONWAY: Sir Edmund, seen here in Kathmandu on the 50th anniversary of the expedition, became a hero to the Nepalese people, not so much because of the Everest climb, but because he devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpas and their communities. The Himalayan Trust built 30 schools and two hospitals. He said once that this had given him more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain.

And so today they mourned him in Nepal, as well as his native New Zealand.

MOHAN BAHADUR BASNET, NEPALI MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): He was not just the first person to climb Everest, but also the first one to help Nepal in the international arena. It is a loss not just for Nepal, but to the world.

MICHAEL CULLEN, NEW ZEALAND ACTING PRIME MINISTER: He was an extraordinarily humble man, very modest about his own achievements, very understated about his achievements.

CONWAY: Sir Edmund suffered personal tragedy when his first wife and daughter died in a plane crash. He once said life is a bit like mountaineering -- never look down.

HILLARY: I had a very good life, an exciting one, many good adventures.


PHILLIPS: Once again remembering the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.

Well, we know there are a lot of good adventurers among our viewers. And if you've been to Mount Everest, we'd love to see your pictures. Upload them at

LEMON: We want to update you on our developing news here in the CNN NEWSROOM. It involves O.J. Simpson.

Our Ted Rowlands has been working on this -- and, Ted, I understand you're pouring over some new documents you just got.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We have the copy of the motion filed by prosecutors in this case. And it basically lays out what they believe is a violation of the bail agreement set when O.J. Simpson and the two co-defendants were granted bail. They say that O.J. Simpson made an attempt at contacting one of the other co- defendants. They claim that O.J., through the bail bondsman in this case, tried to send a message to Clarence Stewart, who has not been cooperative with authorities.

But, basically, they have a recording, obviously, of a voicemail transcript, they say. And they have laid it out in this in this filing with the courts. And they're alleging that O.J. Simpson called the bail bondsman and said, hey -- and I'll paraphrase it, because it's quite lengthy. He said hey, I just want C.J. to know -- and it goes on, saying that this doesn't sound right blah, blah, blah. It goes on. And, Don, and then he ends it with, "All right?"

The insinuation here for prosecutors is that O.J. Simpson called up the bail bondsman and said hey, I just want C.J. -- Clarence Stewart -- to know this. And that, they say, is a violation, because it was an attempt to contact one of the other co-defendants in this case.

The judge in this case has granted a hearing on this motion. And O.J. Simpson, as we have been reporting, is on his way back to Las Vegas, where he will be in a Clark County Detention jail cell until this hearing can take place, which right now is scheduled for Wednesday. But the allegation is he tried to contact one of the witnesses -- one of the other co-defendants. and the judge expressly told him that was a huge no, no and if he did it, he'd lose his bail. LEMON: And, Ted, I think I'm pretty certain to -- as to what you're going to be reporting on tonight and possibly the weekend.


LEMON: Thank you, sir, very much for this.



Time now to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

PHILLIPS: He's standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what's coming up at the top of the hour.

I bet Wolf Blitzer will not be leading with O.J. Simpson.

Hi, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: No. We've got some other important news, though, that we're following, including Rudy Giuliani's campaign wishes. He hopes to be getting some more money. We're learning that some Giuliani staffers actually will not see their next paychecks.

Does this spell serious political trouble for the Giuliani campaign?

We're watching this story.

Also, are thousands of people living near one nuclear power plant actually in potential danger?

That's what some are asking about a situation after guards who protect the plant were actually caught on tape apparently sleeping. You're going to hear the story and we're going to show you the video.

And the government delays a plan that will affect all our driver's licenses. While some argue that delay could benefit terrorists, others say moving ahead with the plan could put your personal privacy at risk. All that, guys, and a lot more, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

LEMON: All right, Wolf, we look forward to that. Happy -- have a good weekend, too, as well.

BLITZER: Thank you. You, too.

PHILLIPS: The closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street straight ahead.


LEMON: It's about that time,, don't you think?

PHILLIPS: That's right. Time for the closing bell, a little Susan Lisovicz.

LEMON: Yes, Susan, it's Friday. That's...


LEMON: I guess that's good news.


LISOVICZ: I'm going to give you a few seconds of comic relief, because we have a lot of news here.


LISOVICZ: Is that Spam -- a lot of people think it's just unwanted e-mail. But it originated in 1937. It's luncheon meat. And it is a favorite food in Hawaii. Next week, Hormel is going to launch a campaign to remind everyone that it originated not on the Internet, but in that tin can. So just...

LEMON: Yes, see, you threw me off with that, when you were saying spam. I was thinking the other spam.

LISOVICZ: Of course you were.


PHILLIPS: But I thought on the computer.

LEMON: ...favorite food in Hawaii?

Did you say the favorite food in Hawaii?

LISOVICZ: That's what -- yes, they love it. They have Burger King and McDonald's have it.