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Interview with Warren Ballentine and Martha Zoller; Stage Collapsed in Canadian Music Festival; Violence in Chicago Getting Out of Control; Michael Jackson's Estate Goes to Court; Mother Found Son in Adoption Scam; Mozart Compositions Discovered; Wild Fire in La Palm

Aired August 2, 2009 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. We're bringing you breaking news tonight on a story that could turn into an international powder keg. On the surface, looking at it from here in the U.S., it appears to be an innocent mistake. But seen through the lens of world politics, the arrest of three American hikers who apparently strayed into Iran, from northern Iraq, takes on a much more dangerous dimension.

We have new information on this story we first told you about last night. Some of it coming from a high-ranking administration source. But there are lots of serious questions that remain unanswered. For starters, where are the Americans now? How is the Iranian government treating them? And what's the U.S. government is doing to bring them home?

In a moment we'll have the first reaction to the story from inside the White House, but first we want to tell you more about these hikers and who they are and why as American civilians they were even in the area to begin with.

Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti joins us now with the very latest on this.

What do you know, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. There are so many questions here. Kurdish officials have identified the three Americans being detained as Joshua Fattal, seen on his Facebook page, as well as Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, both appearing on internet websites. They've been staying at a hotel before setting out to a scenic area for a hike in the mountains near Ahmed Awa in Iraq. Despite warnings to be careful, they apparently strayed into Iranian territory across an unmarked natural border with northern Iraq.

A friend who stayed behind at the hotel because he was ill said he last heard from them on Friday. They called to tell him they were surrounded by Iranian soldiers during their hike. Fattal's mother, who lives in Pennsylvania, confirms their captivity but is declining requests for on-camera interviews. She spoke by phone with CNN Radio.


VOICE OF LAURA FATTAL, JOSHUA FATTAL'S MOTHER: My husband and I are eager for the best welfare and conditions for our son, Josh, and for the other two companions he's with. And that is our only concern, his welfare and the best conditions for him.


CANDIOTTI: Now, friends say the three have spent time or have lived in Western Europe and the Middle East and are seasoned travelers. Sarah Shourd appears on a website that mentioned her travels. She's also named on Shane Bauer's website. He's a still photographer. The American hiker Shon Meckfessel who stayed behind because he was ill, is now at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad according to his grandmother.

Meckfessel is a graduate student at the University of Washington. The State Department says it has asked the Swiss consulate in Iran to try to make contact with the detained Americans. So you can see, Don, this is going to be going on for some time.

LEMON: Hey, Susan, just so I can get a really clear picture, can you walk us through the people again. Sarah Shourd. And you said that we got information from her website and also Shane Bauer. They are said to be girlfriend and boyfriend, if we can bring their pictures back up.

CANDIOTTI: Well, certainly friends, certainly friends, and they travel together, and they have evidently worked together according to information on their website. And we have talked to several of their friends who also confirm this and that they have traveled extensively together.

LEMON: OK. Great. Our Susan Candiotti joining us tonight on top of the story in New York. Thank you, Susan. We appreciate it.

Until now the U.S. government response on this story has come from the State Department, but tonight we are getting reaction from a top administration official. April Ryan is working this story for us tonight. She's the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Network. She's working her sources in the administration. Very sticky subject here, April.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes, Don. It's very, very sensitive. What's happening is my senior administration source is telling me that basically the ball right now is in Iran's court. Basically they're waiting to hear what's happening in Iran as far as these hikers, these detained hikers are concerned. Now, what's happening with Iran and with the White House and the administration person said is that they're trying to find out, the Iranians, who these persons are and why they crossed the border, and at issue, Don, is the fact that you have these young people who crossed the border.

They were hiking, but they - at first they were said to be soldiers. So the Iranians are trying to figure out who they are. The U.S. government has talked to the families of the hikers and also the U.S. is hopeful that the Swiss can help in this situation by getting the ICRC, the International Red Cross in. So that's where it is pretty much right now, but also, Don, at the same time the administration says we want them back, and also they're saying this is somewhat similar to North Korea because this could be a short period of time or as long as a long period of time because it's all in the Iranian's hands. They are trying to figure out who these people are and why they crossed the border.

LEMON: All right. April Ryan. Stick around, April, there's much more to talk about politically.

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: -- tonight. We'll see you in just a little bit.

So how will these young Americans get back home? Let's bring in now Ken Robinson. He is a former U.S. military intelligence officer. So Ken, let's talk about negotiating for the release of these detainees now. What's the strategy involved in dealing with a hostile government here?

KEN ROBINSON, FMR. U.S. MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Well, strategy number one is to shut up. To not talk publicly about it. Number two is to talk to anyone who is talking to the government of Iran, and that is the prime minister of Iraq has good relations with the government of Iran and the Swiss have represented our interests there for some time. This is a real opportunity for the Iranians to have a public relations coup that they can show that they are still participatory in the community of nations in the mind of others by simply confirming that these are students and releasing them. That would be their smart move.

LEMON: OK. But what about Iraq then? Because it was in the Iran-Iraq border?

What's Iraq's involvement, if any, in this?

ROBINSON: I don't think Iraq really has any involvement other than to help get them back. That part of the border up in Kurdistan is ill-defined. It's very lush. There are caves, waterfalls. It's ill-defined. People have wandered across there before. It's not uncommon. And the Kurdish portion of Iraq has been autonomous since the first Gulf War with the no-fly zones that were created. So this area has specific people who have interests.

The question is going to be who is in possession of these students? Is it Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps? Is it soldiers within the government of Iran? Or is it some militia? That's what's the unknown right now and how quickly they take them to the central government.

LEMON: And people are wondering why are the Swiss involved in the negotiations. Explain that to our viewers, Ken.

ROBINSON: Well, in the Iranian hostage taking in the 1970s, we lost all diplomatic relations with the government of Iran, and in the last eight years we've not spoken to them much at all except through surrogates, and right now, of course, with the problems with their attempts at nuclear fuel and the allegations by many countries that they're trying to make a bomb, it's caused them to be a diplomatic pariah, and so we don't talk directly to them, but we have spoken to midlevel leaders in their country and mostly through the Swiss government.

LEMON: Right. All right. Ken Robinson. We appreciate it, Ken. Thank you very much. Ken, stick around as well. We still want to talk to you about Captain Speicher in just a little bit.

While all of this is going on, the Iranian government is holding a mass trial. The defendants, hundreds of protesters who hit the streets following the disputed presidential election back in June. Opposition leader Mir Hussein Mousavi said today that some defendants have been tortured and former President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, is calling the trials unconstitutional and an insult to Iran and Islam. The trial will be going on as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who won that disputed election is sworn to a new term this week. No word on whether the opposition has any plans for protest around that inauguration.

18 years after his jet fighter was shot down over Iraq, closure tonight for the family of Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher. He was the first Evers U.S. casualty of "Operation Desert Storm," lost in the opening hours of the U.S.-led air strikes. Now, here is how CNN reported the story back in 1991.


BOB CAIN, CNN ANCHOR: The Pentagon has identified the United States Navy pilot as apparently the first U.S. serviceman missing in action in the Persian Gulf War. He is Lieutenant Commander Michael Speicher. His F-18 attack jet went down during a raid on Iraq before dawn yesterday. The 33-year-old pilot is married, has two young children. He's assigned to the "USS Saratoga" which based in Mayport, Florida.


LEMON: U.S. forces eventually reached the crash site, but Speicher's remains were never found. Rumors persisted that Speicher had survived the crash and was a P.O.W. but as CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence reports, the Pentagon finally got the break it needed last month.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): John, apparently the family tells us they expect to get a classified briefing from the military either Monday or Tuesday, but now they know one thing for sure, Captain Speicher did not die in some Iraqi prison.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Captain Scott Speicher's children were toddlers the day he disappeared. Now his remains are coming home to college students. A nearly 20-year mystery. Was he captured? Tortured? All this time the answer was buried in the Iraqi sands and solved by a single tip. MIRIAM NOVELLY, HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE: It's a bittersweet ending. I mean, it's great that we have finally accomplished an ending, but it is bittersweet.

LAWRENCE: Last month an Iraqi citizen told American troops about the crash site. When the Marines arrived, another Iraqi said he was there when Bedouins found Captain Speicher already dead and buried his body. Searching the site, U.S. troops found multiple skeletal fragments and bones, and when military investigators compared Captain Speicher's dental records with the recovered jaw bone, it was him.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: The whole family is just so grateful that the Navy stayed on this.

LAWRENCE: But the military made mistakes, starting hours after Speicher was shot down when the Pentagon declared him dead.

DICK CHENERY, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The total U.S. losses are one aircraft and one individual.

CAIN: The Pentagon has identified the United States Navy pilot as apparently the first U.S. serviceman missing in action in the Persian Gulf War.

LAWRENCE: Some of the military thought Speicher had ejected and might still be alive. In 1994 they proposed a secret mission to survey the crash site, but according to senior defense officials in the room, chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Shalikashvili scrubbed the plan and said, "I not want to have to write the parents and tell them their son or daughter died looking for old bones."

In 2001 the Pentagon changed his status to missing in action. And there were accusations he was being held captive by Saddam Hussein. After the invasion of Iraq, some thought they found Speicher's initials scratched into the walls of an Iraqi prison. And investigators even excavated a grave site in Baghdad but it was not him. Now the vigils can end, but one fact remains.

SEN. BEN NELSON (D), FLORIDA: We walked away from a downed pilot. It was done by mistakenly declaring him dead and they didn't go and search for him. And that was a mistake and that is very important that we never repeat that mistake again.


LAWRENCE: Captain Speicher's family says they appreciate all the troops who never gave up and kept searching all these years. But they've got to be wondering, is there any chance that he survived that crash? And would an immediate search and rescue have made any difference? Don?

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, Chris, for that.

Reaction is coming in from the highest levels of the U.S. government. President Barack Obama had this to say. "I am grateful to the Marines who pursued the information that led to Captain Speicher's recovery so that he can now come home. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I hope that the recovery of his remains will bring them a needed sense of closure.

George Herbert Walker Bush was the president who ordered U.S. forces into Iraq. He issued this statement saying he was deeply moved to learn Speicher's remains had been identified. "We already knew he was a hero, one who helped lead our way to a historic victory in the Gulf, but now his family and countrymen know and history will finally record that he was one of the very first patriots to give his life in the liberation of Kuwait."

And finally tonight, these heartfelt words from Speicher's own family. "We thank the active duty men and women whose diligence has made this happen and hope that this process has prevented another of our servicemen and women from being left behind. We will miss him and we will never forget. Thank you for your thoughts and your prayers."

Former military intelligence officer Ken Robinson was deeply involved in the initial search for Speicher. He will join us in just a few minutes to talk more about that experience and whether the U.S dropped the ball in trying to find him.

It has been a deadly weekend in fighting in Afghanistan. Three American troops were killed today in the eastern part of the country. At least six other NATO troops were killed yesterday, including several Americans. In July, 75 NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan, the deadliest months for international troops since the U.S.-led invasion began in 2001.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, mourning and shock after two teenagers were shot dead at a center for gay youth last night. Hundreds of people showed up for their funerals. Meantime, police are looking for the shooter who witnesses say was wearing a mask. Protesters are condemning the attack as an assault on their freedom.


NITZAN HOROWITZ, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: We are all under shock. We didn't expect such a murderous attack. This is the first time something like that is happening in Israel, and we are not going to sit quietly and let this pass away. We're going to fight for our freedom.


HOLMES: Police are treating the shooting as a hate crime against the gay community. Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for respect and tolerance, and he is promising justice.

Two American filmmakers were hurt in a small plane crash in Kenya. The pilot did not survive. It happened over a residential area in Nairobi. People on the ground said the plane was flying unusually low just before it slammed into a three-story apartment building. One of the passengers was thrown from the plane because they were filming with the doors open. One of the survivors, the flight engineer, is in a coma. No one on the ground was hurt. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

The man who allegedly sparked a bomb scare at New York's LaGuardia Airport yesterday has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination. Police say 32-year-old Scott McGan was arrested at a security check point with a back pack containing, wires, batteries, and a trigger attached to it. The bag sparked suspicion that led to a large scale evacuation of the New York airport. LaGuardia was shut down and thousands of passengers had their travel plans disrupted. McGan is charged with placing a false bomb in a mass transportation facility and making a terrorist threat. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

Rock bottom. When will our troubled economy get there and when will we climb back up? We'll talk more about that and hear from a former fed chair, Alan Greenspan.

And for the first time since he was arrested outside his home, we're hearing from Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. And death at a Canadian music festival. What caused an outdoor stage to collapse and who was the movie star who was about to go on that stage right there when it happened?

Also, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or is how you become part of our show.


LEMON: There are encouraging signs that the economic free fall has hit rock bottom, if you could call that encouraging. So how do we start climbing back up? Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says Uncle Sam might have to dig deeper into your pockets.


TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: We will not get this economy back on track. Recovery will not be strong and sustained unless we are - we can convince the American people that we're going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established.


LEMON: Right now for Congress, health care is front and center, but the American people's top priorities right now, the economy and jobs. Joining me now CNN political editor Mark Preston, also April Ryan. She's a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. Thank you, both.

OK. So Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is talking economic recovery and so is the former fed chair. Listen.


ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I'm pretty sure we've already seen the bottom. In fact, if you look at the weekly production figures in various different industries, it's clear that we've turned perhaps in the middle of last month, the middle of July.


LEMON: OK. Mark, lots of talk, but do the numbers add up? Do they show a recovery?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: You know, Don, I'm certainly no economist but if you have to believe those such as Alan Greenspan who says that we have turned the corner, you know, perhaps they are right, but, you know, for the average American when you talk about growth of the American economy, that doesn't necessarily mean jobs, and we all know that jobs are a lagging indicator.

So even if administration officials today were saying that while things are on the upswing and that they're happy about it, you're not going to see the job numbers improve until next year.

LEMON: Yes. And that's what's really important because you need money in your pocket in order to feel like you are feeling some sort of recovery. April, the president has said over and over again that the economy was in turmoil well before he took office, but does that matter at this point? Do people really want to see progress and they want jobs now?

RYAN: Yes, people really want jobs now. And I talked to a Democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher, before we went on the air tonight, and I asked him. He said basically the president's approval ratings are closely tied, closely linked to the American public's anxiety over the economy. Now, he says, you know, right now the president depending upon what poll you look at, he's hovering around the 50s. He used to be in the 60s. But he said, you could see a bounce once Middle America feels that their retirement security is safe and also once their wages are not lagging behind the cost of living.

LEMON: OK. So, Mark, you know, the president could use a big win, and he's not going to get it when it comes to health care anytime soon because, you know, they're going on recess now. But that's not stopping him really from going out and selling his plan to the American people.

PRESTON: No, Don, and, in fact, he really needs to do that. He needs to go out over the month of August and he really needs to try to push and promote the idea this is a crisis and we need to get this health care bill through. At the same time, you will have members of Congress who have left Washington who are going to be back at home, we're going to be at the Rotary Club meetings, who are going to be meeting with constituents. And they're going to get an earful about what they want done, you know, regarding the whole idea of health care.

So, not only will you see members of Congress back out, administration officials but you're going to continue to see tens of millions of dollars of ads running across the country really trying to influence what's going to happen on this issue.

LEMON: Wow. OK. April, so how is the work week shaping up for the administration? They hit the ground running tomorrow?

RYAN: Yes. Tomorrow the president is dealing with issues of the economy. He's going to introduce the fact that we're now seeing the post-9/11 G.I. bill take effect and he's going into Virginia for that, and that's tomorrow, Monday, and Wednesday, the president travels to Indiana on health care, and Tuesday is still kind of up in the air. We'll see what happens.

LEMON: All right. Mark and April, we appreciate it. Have a good final five minutes of your weekend. See you next week.

RYAN: Thanks.

LEMON: Let's talk about the second 100 days of the Obama administration. Much was made of the first. What about the second 100 days? What's it been like? We want to hear your voice. Let your voice be heard. Cast your vote. Then get the results on CNN's "National Report Card" on Thursday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

He was one of the first to find out back in 1991 that Captain Scott Speicher was shot down. We'll talk with a former military intelligence officer, Ken Robinson, about what happened in those critical moments after the government got word.

And imagine searching Craigslist only to find a picture of your own child on the adoption page. It happened to one Massachusetts woman, a story every parent should hear about.


LEMON: A car bomb killed seven civilians and injured 20 others in Iraq today. The Interior Ministry says the blast hit 143 miles northwest of Baghdad at an outdoor market in central Haditha, a Sunni stronghold in Anbar province.

And in that same Anbar province, the remains of the first American lost in the first Gulf War had been found. Finally. U.S. Navy Captain Michael "Scott" Speicher was shot down in his fighter jet back in 1991 on the opening night of "Operation Desert Storm." And last month an Iraqi citizen told U.S. forces in Iraq where to find that crash site. The latest announcement by the Pentagon ends 18 years of speculation that Speicher may have survived that crash.

In 1991 Ken Robinson was part of a top secret military team that would have been involved in the search and rescue operation for Speicher, but before they could get started, something very unusual happened.

Ken Robinson, who is a former military intelligence officer, joins me now to talk about that. Something very unusual did happen, Ken.

ROBINSON: Well, the secretary of Defense declared Scott Speicher killed in action within hours of the initial flash report which we received that he had been shot down. The United States government at that time had incredible search and rescue capabilities on the ground and prepared to go, and instead they were told to stand down. And to this day we don't have a really good reason as to how he came to that conclusion so rapidly, and we continued to fight toward Kuwait to liberate Kuwait and Scott Speicher had moved off the map. I have touched this action four times in the last 18 years.

LEMON: What do you mean by that?

ROBINSON: Well, I also was part of a group that was going to go in and survey the site in the Clinton administration when intelligence said that potentially Scott Speicher had set a coded letter out saying that he had proof of life that he had lived, that he had ejected. And we were of the mission that was going to go in and survey the site. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs as reported in your previous reporting canceled that mission.

LEMON: Yes, we haven't heard anything from - there were other missions, you said, at least four - you were trying to go into there. We haven't heard anything from the current or former administration as to what you're talking about, but here is what I want to know from you. Even though these remains have been found at the crash site, do we know for sure that this is where he died and did he die at the time of this crash or could he have been placed there years later? Maybe some of the people who said they spotted him, maybe some of that was true. We don't know.

ROBINSON: Well, that's certainly how I would approach this. I would not declare him having died at the scene. There's plenty of opportunity to move a body retrospectively. Saddam Hussein was known to keep trophy prisoners. Some from Iran he kept for 12 to 16 years before he released them, and it's just unknown. There was too much - too many intelligence reports from too many places that spun in too many directions. The last time I touched the action I was the senior intelligence officer in the Gulf War illness investigation, investigating everything we knew about the first Gulf War, and in that I dealt with the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, the CIA, the DIA, NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and in all those cases we touched again the Scott Speicher case, and it was a big old mess.

LEMON: Yes. Hey, listen, I want to take you back to 1991 when the then secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, declared Speicher to be dead along with the Joint Chiefs chairman then which was Colin Powell. Take a listen, Ken.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you please describe the plane that went down on the American side, the type of plane, number of casualties?

DICK CHENEY, DEFENSE SECRETAYR: It involves a single casualty. I don't know that we want to identify the aircraft, do we?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A wound or a death?

CHENEY: A death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What other information do you have about casualties?

CHENEY: All I can give you at this time is that the total U.S. losses are one aircraft and one individual.


LEMON: So the only definitive answers that we're getting is from that day up until now, that day he went missing, believed to have crashed. And then now they have recovered his body and what happened in the middle is still sort of a mystery here.

ROBINSON: And there's tons of investigations that were done by the United States Senate, the intelligence committees. There's a lot of closed session testimony. Senator Nelson, who was in your last piece, kept it alive for years pressing the department of defense and I can tell you that within the intelligence community, within the CIA, within the intelligence community of the DOD, no one ever stopped looking for Scott Speicher, but on the political side there was a lot of times when we just didn't understand what the priority was.

LEMON: Hey, Ken, I have a time crunch here. Yes or no, do you think we'll ever get a definitive answer?


LEMON: You do. OK. Great. Thank you, Ken Robinson. We appreciate it.

And speaking for the first time since that beer summit that we have been talking about, take a listen to this.


PROF. HENRY LOUIS GATES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: My newest friend is Sergeant James Crowley. And Sergeant Crowley and I really did have a bonding experience. This is not a joke. I mean, we really hit it off.


LEMON: Well, there you go. That is Professor Henry Louis Gates on his new relationship with the cop who arrested him.

And how do you fix a $24 billion deficit? The state of California, they may turn to pot.

You thought you heard it all? Well, we'll hear a performance of some newly discovered pieces by Mozart. That's right, I said newly discovered by Mozart.


LEMON: OK. The White House beer summit may have done some good. May have. Professor -- Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates extended an olive branch to Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer -- police sergeant, I should say, James Crowley without the president even being there.

I want you to listen to what Professor Gates said earlier at his book signing in Cape Cod.


HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: You know what, I like Crowley. I thought that we would like each other, and, yes, I don't know what we'll talk about.

I asked him if he would have lunch with me one-on-one. I asked him maybe we could go to a Red Sox game together, maybe go to a Celtics game together. Maybe we could have dinner with our families, you know. Why not? You know, I offered to get his kids into Harvard.



LEMON: All right. So no word on when that game or the dinner summit might happen, and they probably won't tell us because they don't want all the cameras.

Martha Zoller, Warren Ballentine, our radio hosts are here tonight.

Well, guys, you know, the beer summit, we've been hearing a lot about it. And you know, I know from Sergeant Crowley, speaking to his friends and his family, and then him, as well. He can't speak to the media anymore. He says, you know, I can't talk to me anymore.

He wants to move beyond this, he said. And he really wants to figure out a way to work with Professor Gates to try to get the country and people to listen and have a different understanding about race and racial profiling, and they seem, both men, seem very sincere about this.

And by the way, I contacted Professor Gates, and he said, I'm all talked out, man so...


So they don't want to hear any more. So tell us something, Martha, that we haven't heard in all this.

MARTHA ZOLLER, HOST, "THE MARTHA ZOLLER SHOW": Well, I think that really...

LEMON: And then we'll move on. ZOLLER: We saw that Sergeant Crowley had a great record. He seems like a guy that's together. But I think in this case the president and Henry Louis Gates jumped to conclusions about policemen -- before they knew all the facts.


LEMON: Warren? Warren?

WARREN BALLENTINE, HOST, "THE WARREN BALLENTINE SHOW": Well, you know, I'm going to say this. I'm glad that they were able to come together and come together as human beings and see who they are as humans, but the bigger issue isn't even about race here for me.

The big issue is that the cop misquoted things or falsified things on the police report. That could have been anybody. They could have ended up in jail because of something that he put down on that police report. That's the big concern here.

ZOLLER: Well...

BALLENTINE: As Americans we all should be concerned about that.

ZOLLER: But the bigger issue is how will this affect President Obama's working class, public safety type folks? I mean you saw in the interview, Don, that you did this week.


ZOLLER: You got a surprise answer.

LEMON: So here you go. This is what -- you know, Warren, people are saying about the falsifying of the police report, that is an accusation. We're not sure, you know, if that is a falsification or if that is what he remembered. So, you know.

BALLENTINE: He wrote it down, Don. That's factual. That's factual.

LEMON: Still to be determined. Still to be determined. But let's move on and say this. I think Martha brings up a very good point when she talks about the president because a lot of people are saying they're hoping that this is not just a photo-op, and it appears that the two men involved in this don't want it to be a photo-op and are working towards that end.

But where does the White House go from here? They sort of put themselves in the middle of this mess.

ZOLLER: Yes, they want to end it here, I think.


ZOLLER: And I think the president will not comment on local police matters anymore. LEMON: OK. We want to end it right here, too. That is the end of it. OK, moving on, an issue that everyone that cares about really is the economy.

So, Martha, a top adviser to President Obama is drawing some extra attention for refusing to rule out, you know, a middle class tax hike, you know, to help with the deficit, and your listeners all along were concerned about this.

ZOLLER: Absolutely. And I think Geithner is kind of seeing what the response is going to be, Secretary Geithner, but I think that President Obama is smart enough to know that that is not going to work, and it's not going to work unless there is spending retraction that goes along with that.

I'll use a pretty word about it since we called the economy retracting or contracting. The spending has to get smaller, too. And that's what's got to happen. It's not just on taxes alone.

LEMON: OK. You know what's really helping out, though, a lot of people in the middle class, Warren, is the Cash for Clunkers program? But there's a lot of confusion. And you know, it may be over before -- almost before it got started.

BALLENTINE: Yes, but we got to be truthful about this, too. I support the administration, but let's call a spade a spade. They put this in place because they're tied in GM. Of course, they want people to buy cars. They want to get economy moving through the car dealership because they have a principle ownership in it.

And honestly, Don, so many other things they could have been doing with this money. They could have been putting it into education. They could have been putting it into jobs.

I mean if they're going to really use this money, forget clunkers. Give me some books in these schools so these kids can get educated and keep up with the rest of the world.

LEMON: Martha?

ZOLLER: Well, and I think when you look at what the dealers get out of this, they are going to sell cars and get service, but that cost them to -- what do they have to do to these clunkers before they actually get the money, they net about 50 bucks. That's all. And so it's a real problem, but I got to tell you, I want to see the money given back to the people, not saying you just have to buy certain cars.

You know there was one family-sized car that was in that group of cars you could buy. And I'm sure a lot of families need a new car.

LEMON: Let's talk about trying to get money into coffers or what have you . When you start talking about the possibility of legalizing marijuana, that is really catching fire in California, and it's a real possibility in California. And where does that take us? What if it happens? Where does that take the rest of the country? BALLENTINE: Well, Don, I have to say this. I'm syndicated across the country. Over 3 million listeners in 25 states and on satellite. I did a show nothing but, do we want to legalize marijuana? Overwhelmingly yes.

Legalize it, tax it, let's clean up the debt that we owe so we can go back to being America. I know a lot of moms and a lot of people who'll say well, we don't want to legalize it. Guess what? The kids are getting it anyway. Why not put a tax on it?

LEMON: Here's what surprised me the last time we talked about this -- we had this conversation. It wasn't quite about California. But...

ZOLLER: Right.

LEMON: Martha said hey, you know, I'm reconsidering it. A conservative Martha Republican -- I mean, come on.

ZOLLER: Yes, I mean -- I get torn because if we say, oh, they're just going to do it anyway, then what are we going to do, tax condoms? We're going to tax this and that and the other thing, but I have been thinking about it, haven't made my mind up because it's a tough issue. It's a touch issue to say legalize marijuana when we know where that leads.

LEMON: Do you know there are a number of conservatives who may feel the same way that you do, Martha.

ZOLLER: I think a lot of people are looking about it, thinking about it. I mean heck we can't keep taxing cigarettes and liquors.


LEMON: The governor of California hasn't come out and said he completely supports it but you know I think that he's on board somewhere there.

ZOLLER: Well, California is like a small country that's about to go off...


BALLENTINE: And so all the conservatives out there, I would tell you just look at the data between marijuana and alcohol as far as what it does to your body. That's what turned me because I have never been a weed smoker, I don't advocate it but when I looked at what was happening to people who are alcoholics and so what they were doing to their bodies compared to weed smokers, it was alarming. The difference, how much alcohol is killing us and it's legal.

LEMON: OK. But I've got to say this, Dr. Ballentine, which you're not, we know you're an attorney.


Carcinogens and lung cancer, you don't get that from alcohol.

BALLENTINE: That is true. That is true.

LEMON: Liver and some cirrhosis and psoriasis there.

OK, so thank you guys.

ZOLLER: Thanks, guys.

LEMON: This conversation went somewhere I didn't expected to go but I enjoyed it. I hope you did.


ZOLLER: We did. Thank you.

LEMON: A concert stage collapses as a major movie star was about to go on. Who was it?

Plus homes wrecked and planes flipped as storm whipped across the northeast. Our Jacqui Jeras will show us more on this.


LEMON: Sad silence on the last day of a country music festival in Canada after an outdoor stage collapsed in a furious summer storm. One person is dead and as many as 75 others are injured. Some critically. Ticket holders describe a panics dash as the stage caved right in.


MARIA ORYDZUK, SURVIVED STAGE COLLAPSE: Next thing I know there is like concrete and there's like something on top of my back. I can't see a thing. All I'm doing is yelling for my sister. There are children on the deck with us. It was awful. I thought my life was literally ending.


LEMON: Boy. Actor Kevin Costner and his band were about to take the stage at the Big Valley Jamboree in Alberta when the stage just toppled. Costner is OK after reportedly wiggling out from under the wreckage, but two of his band mates are among those who are hospitalized.

Our Jacqui Jeras is following all the weather across the nation. Some nasty weather there, Jackie, and I understand it's going to be some big travel delays in the morning.


LEMON: All right. Jacqui, thank you.

More violence in Chicago. The death toll soars. More than 250 people killed this year alone. And a new tax to keep kids out of gangs. Could a multiple choice test help save them?


LEMON: Violence in Chicago, really, really getting out of control. The "Chicago Tribune' is reporting more than 250 people have been killed this year alone. Six people were shot outside a church on the city's west side just yesterday. The shooting is believed to be gang related.

I spoke with Dr. Gary Slutkin. He is executive director of Ceasefire about what law enforcement and his organization are doing to try to curb this killing.


DR. GARY SLUTKIN, EXEC. DIR., CEASEFIRE: The police department is doing all that it can. I think the Chicago Police Department is doing an excellent job. I mean, they can provide an additional presence in areas in which things are extremely hot.

However, they may not be able to always know what's going on when one person is mad at another because of someone having looked at someone else's girlfriend at a party or because someone owes someone some money or something like that. And that's where the ceasefire intervention comes into play.


LEMON: All right. We're going to stay on top of this story. We asked the Chicago Police Department to come on. They would not come on. They did not release a statement to us. So we'd be interested to hear their side of the story as well as the mayor of Chicago. An open invitation to tell you right here on CNN to tell us what's going on and how you're trying to fix it, if at all.

Los Angeles has a new tactic to keep inner city kids out of gangs. Researchers at the University of Southern California have come up with a 74-question survey to determine if a child is at risk for joining a gang.

I just want to tell you what few of the questions are. "I take things that are not mine from home, school, or elsewhere." "It is OK to steal from someone who has money and can replace it." "Have you illegally spray painted a wall or a building doing graffiti?" "Have you attacked someone with a weapon?" Those are questions.

Who will get control of Michael Jackson's empire? The question goes to court tomorrow along with Jackson's mom.

Plus a Massachusetts mom finds her own child for sale on Craigslist and you won't believe this one. You've got to see it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The battle for the King of Pop's music empire playing out in a Los Angeles courtroom tomorrow. Katherine Jackson says she is being kept in the dark by the two men now in charge of her son's estate. She wants a judge to grant her access to Michael Jackson's contracts and business dealings, but the temporary administrators say they've done nothing wrong. The judge is also expected to give Katherine Jackson full custody of her grandchildren.

Imagine pointing and clicking through Internet ads only to discover a grinning photo of your own baby boy smiling back at you from a Craigslist adoption listing. One Massachusetts mom says it happened to her.


JENNI BRENNAN, MOTHER: Out of the blue some girl e-mailed us and said, I think you should know that someone is using Jake's picture in an adoption scam.


LEMON: Well, Jenni Brennan's think Jacob's picture was lifted from her family blog then used as a tool in an international adoption scheme. The ad claimed Jacob is Canadian born but living in an African orphanage.

Brennan alerted the FBI when the advertisers asked for 300 bucks to start the adoption process.

It's that dusty and forgotten. You're going to hear new music pieces discovered by Mozart himself. It's music to our ears.


LEMON: Two newly discovered compositions by Mozart are getting a public hearing.


The pieces were found in Mozart's library in Salzburg, Austria. They are part of a well known manuscript of Mozart's earliest works. They were considered anonymous creations before scholars took a closer look at them and were stunned to find out who actually wrote them.

Here's a portion of the second one.


Mozart began playing the piano when he was just 3 years and began composing at the age of 5. Scholars believe Mozart wrote these pieces when he was just 7 or 8 years old, and by the time Mozart died, he had written more than 600 pieces.

A top tourist destination in Europe is in flames. Incredible video just into CNN. The breaking details for you, next.


LEMON: We have some incredible pictures just coming into CNN tonight. They're from the Canary Island of La Palma. This is where -- the scene there that a wildfire has been burning out of control for two days. Strong winds are fanning these flames. 4,000 people were evacuated from the area on Saturday.

La Palma is a popular tourist destination. 500 firefighters have been deployed to fight the blaze.

Make sure you tune in to "AMERICAN MORNING" for details on all of the stories that we cover.

I'm Don Lemon in Atlanta. I'll see you back here next weekend. Have a great week, everyone.