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CAMPBELL BROWN

Where Will LeBron James Go?; Disaster in the Gulf Day 80

Aired July 8, 2010 - 20:00   ET

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


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.

Tonight, we start with breaking news out of Oakland, California, where a jury has come back with a guilty verdict in the trial of a white former police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man. We are going to have a live report coming from Oakland in just a few minutes.

And in other breaking news tonight, well, the question that everybody on the planet is asking: Where will LeBron James go? We are going to have the very latest on LeBron mania and tonight's big announcement coming up now in less than an hour.

And, later, on day 80 of the disaster in the Gulf, BP on deadline. In a little over 12 hours, the president's point man, Thad Allen, wants the company to hand over what he calls detailed plans and timelines for replacing the cap on the gushing well.

But we are going to start tonight with the breaking news coming in from California. A former transit police officer who is white has just been convicted in the shooting death of an unarmed black man at a BART train station in Oakland, California, last year.

CNN's Casey Wian is in Oakland right now with all the details for us.

Casey, give us the latest.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Campbell, I'm here at a park in downtown Oakland, where authorities have been very concerned about the possibility of violence, rioting tonight, because something similar to that happened here more than a year ago after the shooting.

Right now the scene is very, very calm. There's about 100 or 150 people who have gathered here. Maybe 20 percent of those folks are media types like myself. We have seen shop owners boarding up their shops, closing their businesses early just to be safe and make sure that nothing happens overnight.

We asked some of the folks here who are here to sort of demonstrate their support for the Grant family what they expect to happen tonight. And some of them said anything. When the verdict was read, and when the word went through the crowd here, there was an audible groan. A lot of the folks were very upset that former Officer Mehserle received the lightest possible sentence that he could have. But the community leaders here have been urging folks to stay calm. They say that former Officer Mehserle lost his cool during the shooting. They don't want the community here to respond by losing its cool. So, we are just going to have to see through the evening whether they listen to those leaders -- Campbell.

BROWN: And, Casey, just talk to us a little bit about the verdict here. You know, the defendant claimed that he had mistakenly grabbed his firearm, instead of his Taser weapon. I mean, clearly, that is not a defense that was able to sway a jury.

WIAN: Right.

And I have to be honest with you, Campbell, that I was not -- this case was moved to Los Angeles because of all of the tension up here in the Bay Area, in Oakland. So, I was not in the courtroom during any of the proceedings. I haven't spoken to any of the lawyers. So, I can't really shed any light on that.

But it is clear that the jury believed that he was not guilty of second-degree murder, which was the most serious charge that he faced.

BROWN: And any reaction from the -- from the family of the victim?

WIAN: Not that I have heard so far.

BROWN: All right, Casey Wian joining us tonight with the very latest in all this -- Casey, thank you very much.

We are going to take a quick break. We will be back with a lot more right after this, including LeBron James.

Or are we going to LeBron James now?

OK. This is the story, as you know, that everybody is buzzing about. Can you even remember when there has been so much drama over a sports superstar? Well, tonight, LeBron James, the king of the basketball court, will finally answer what all NBA die-hards want to hear: Where is he going to play. Will it be with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers? Or will he wind up in New York or Chicago or Miami?

Yes, he is talented, but LeBron is also a commodity. Wherever he winds up, the money will flow.

CNN contributor Max Kellerman is live in New York, one of cities contending for the prize, joining us right now.

Max, what is going on there?

MAX KELLERMAN, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I have got to tell you the truth. There are excited Knicks fans here. But I think this last 24-hour or 18-hour news cycle has taken some of the air out of what would have been a more raucous kind of atmosphere in New York. Just all the indications are that he -- point towards Miami. I think though the good news for New Yorkers is, my belief is that is a smokescreen, because last night when everyone went to bed it seemed like he was coming to the Knicks. And that made the whole press conference kind of anticlimactic.

And when you really look closely at the sources, unnamed sources in P.R. firms are all saying that he is headed for Miami, it sounds suspicious to me.

BROWN: So, take us through, Max, I guess, what teams really are still in the running at this stage.

KELLERMAN: Well, he -- obviously, he is from Ohio, although he always points out it is Akron, but close enough to Cleveland. He plays in Cleveland, basically his hometown team.

If he were going to stay in Cleveland, why would he not only wait for it to get to free agency, but then to opt to go back to Cleveland, when they really haven't improved the team? It seems doubtful to me that he is going back to Cleveland. I never thought he was a great fit in Chicago, although, because there has been absolutely no buzz about Chicago, now I am a little bit suspicious.

I think that is the stealth pick. Miami would be the place to go if he was just intent on monopolizing championships from here to whenever, because playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, that's what would happen. And New York is the destination if he wants to be the alpha dog on a team in the biggest market really in the world, let alone the country. So, those are the -- those are the options.

BROWN: All right.

Max, I know you are going to stick around, and we are going to be checking back in with you a little bit later, as we get a little closer to the big moment. Max, appreciate you being here.

When we take a break -- we are going to take a break. When we come back, dramatic developments tonight in the Russian spy scandal -- 10 accused spies become keys to a deal between the U.S. and Russia that is right out of the Cold War era -- right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Our number-one international story tonight, fast-moving developments in the Russian spy drama. All 10 suspects pleaded guilty this afternoon in a New York City courtroom.

The judge immediately ordered them to be deported as part of a deal between the U.S. and Russia. Russia, in turn, will hand over four people convicted of espionage over there.

And Susan Candiotti was in the courtroom. And she is joining me right now with all the latest on this.

This was a pretty dramatic day in court. Talk to us about the deal that was worked out.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, really, of all the court cases I have covered, this ranks right up near the top of them, certainly for the drama that happened in court.

But right now at this hour, the group of 10 is on their way, if they haven't already reached, the airport, we believe it is La Guardia Airport, to be headed on a direct flight to Moscow some time tonight. And that's pretty much how they said it was going to go down. They appear to be going on the plane with -- without their children. Everyone has been wondering what about them, because there are five kids involved here.

BROWN: Yes. Yes. Right.

CANDIOTTI: But it turns out that -- I spoke to a couple of the lawyers -- one of them told me that it was his understanding the children will not be on this flight, but he wasn't aware of what the travel arrangements are.

But he does believe that they will be reunited soon, as he put it.

BROWN: OK, but any -- explain kind of what the deal was. I mean, the -- like what has been laid on the table? You have to do this in order to do this or get this and how they negotiated it.

CANDIOTTI: Well, they had to -- yes, they had to plead guilty. So, one charge went away. The money-laundering charges went away.

And they agreed to plead guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent, in essence, working as a spy in the United States.

BROWN: Right.

CANDIOTTI: And many of them lived here for 10 years. Remember, that's how long the U.S. attorney's office has been working on this case. So, they had to agree to that.

And, in return, it's a pretty sweetheart deal. They could have faced up to five years in prison for that charge. But instead they get to get on a plane and get out of here. They were sentenced to time already served.

So, imagine, Campbell, this is a case that went down. They were arrested less than two weeks ago, start and finish, and they're already gone. But what led up to this, we learned today in court that a number of meetings were held starting over the weekend from members of the Russian, Russian Consulate, who met with them several times, looked over the deal that was offered to them by the U.S. government, and it was approved of by the Russians before all of the defendants agreed to plead guilty.

BROWN: Wow.

They had to give up -- you talked about forfeitures -- their homes, cash, pretty much all of their belongings, right?

CANDIOTTI: Pretty much, homes, cash, cars, the whole built. And this part is interesting. They also had to agree that if they go back to Russia, they -- and if they decide to sell their story -- and what a story or movie...

(CROSSTALK)

CANDIOTTI: ... screenplay, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: I would be suspicious that might already be in the works.

CANDIOTTI: I bet you are right about that. But, if they do, and if they make money from it, which obviously they would, they would have to forfeit their money under this plea deal back to the U.S. government.

BROWN: Wow. So, what do we know, if anything, about the four who Russia is releasing?

CANDIOTTI: Right. What we know about them is that many of them have been in prison for many years, Russian spies convicted of treason, some of them in very poor health.

Some of them worked for the Russian military. Some of them worked for Russian intelligence. All of them, our understanding from our correspondent Jill Dougherty, have received a pardon from the Russian president. And they will be coming back. We don't know exactly when, but this was a quick swap.

BROWN: Right.

CANDIOTTI: They could be coming back very soon as well, coming to the United States.

BROWN: Wow, and beginning a whole new life.

Susan Candiotti, it was really interesting stuff. Really appreciate it. Thanks, Susan.

CANDIOTTI: You bet.

BROWN: Tonight, the man who just became the mayor of New Orleans is not going to be joining us after all.

You are going to hear the unbelievable number of workers who say they're becoming ill from cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf. Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes straight to BP to find out why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Our number-one national story tonight: the oil spill.

Just a little while ago, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court's order blocking the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. Also today, the White House gave BP an ultimatum.

Incident Commander Thad Allen says the company has got less than 24 hours to lay out exactly what it plans to do to try to plug that gushing well. But BP thinks it could be turning a corner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: BP suddenly sees blue sky in the Gulf. Its relief well could be finished three weeks early. Bob Dudley, BP's point man in the Gulf, told "The Wall Street Journal," "It's possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27," adding, "That is a perfect case."

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But Admiral Thad Allen says the capping procedure is not expected to be completed until mid-August.

ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN (RET.), NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: Our target date remains middle of August. There are certain things that could move the date up. But, for right now, my official position is it will be middle of August before this well is capped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Late today, a Navy blimp that will provide aerial support to skimming operations over the Gulf arrived in New Orleans. Its first deployment, weather permitting, is set for tomorrow.

Now, an astonishing number of cleanup workers along the Gulf are reporting that they have gotten sick or injured while on the job, 1,500 of them so far. And that number isn't someone's allegation. It's the official number coming from BP.

And our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, went looking for answers from the physician in charge of BP's medical response.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If someone has been out there -- and there -- and you have heard these complaints, I'm sure, like I have. They complain of -- of burning in their -- in their sinuses, in their throat, lightheadedness, nausea, headaches. What is that? Is that -- is that exposure to these toxic elements?

DR. KEVIN O'SHEA, BP'S MEDICAL UNIT LEADER: Regarding the symptoms that we're seeing, we don't have a good explanation.

GUPTA: Does it surprise you that there's not a good explanation? Because, I mean, they -- they're -- what a lot of people are telling -- are saying is that, look, we're smelling this stuff. We don't feel well afterwards. We are exposed to this stuff. We get rashes.

O'SHEA: Right. They -- and they do come in. And we do evaluate them. And we do treat them and -- and assure that there hasn't been any ill effect from a chemical out there. Sometimes, we can't explain why.

GUPTA: But, I mean, there are gray areas of medicine. You...

O'SHEA: Oh, absolutely, yes.

GUPTA: I mean, you know that probably better than anybody.

With regard to testing, if someone comes in with any kind of complaint, are you just getting baseline blood testing, or are you only doing it in cases where you're strongly suspicious of something?

O'SHEA: We do not have any set protocols out there. So, we rely on the -- the occupational medicine physicians, the emergency room physicians to do appropriate evaluation and treatment of the individuals.

So, I would know, in some cases, yes, there's blood work being done. In all cases, I can't tell you that.

GUPTA: You know, these patients coming in, they have -- they have cold-like symptoms. They have got these rashes and other things, and they're just told that this is all due to a virus. I mean, just -- that didn't sound right to me. Does that sound right to you?

O'SHEA: Not having -- not being able to evaluate any specific examples, but we have 40,000 responders out there. People will get sick as well.

So, I -- we are not influencing the practitioners out there in any way. We are reliant on them to use their clinical judgment, understand what the exposures are, and understand what the symptoms are, and give their best diagnosis for the situation.

GUPTA: Because of this -- this concern that, you know, you're -- you're with BP.

O'SHEA: Right.

GUPTA: A worker may say, look, you have got a dog in that race. If they come to you, a worker, and they're not happy with what you or your doctors have told them, can they go somewhere else?

O'SHEA: Absolutely.

GUPTA: And will that be covered by BP?

O'SHEA: Well, as far as going somewhere else, we know that people have bypassed the EMS personnel that we have and have gone in to their -- their -- see their personal doctors.

And we have -- we don't have a problem with that. They just need to go through the claims process and the workers compensation process. And that would be -- be handled that way. So, we know that it's happening. We're not forcing people to see any of the -- the health facilities that we have out in the field.

GUPTA: After Valdez, they said, of 11,000 workers that were studied, some reports say that more than 6,000 of them eventually were -- were -- got ill, some longer-term, some shorter-term, some very long-term, and they developed significant problems.

Is that something you worry about?

O'SHEA: It is. And that's why we have engaged the Institute of Medicine and other government agencies, Health and Human Services, NIH, to look at long-term health studies. We are...

(CROSSTALK)

GUPTA: But -- but there aren't any right now to look at, right? I mean, there's no...

O'SHEA: The long-term health studies? No. I don't believe from any of the oil spills -- the Institute of Medicine had a -- a seminar here, and there -- there were not any long-term health studies that were out there.

(CROSSTALK)

GUPTA: So, you're working in a little bit of a black hole. I mean, you just don't have the precedent to base this on.

O'SHEA: For long-term health studies? No, we do not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And that was CNN's Sanjay Gupta reporting. He's going to have a lot more on the oil spill coming up on "A.C. 360" tonight at 10:00 Eastern.

Coming up: He is known as America's toughest sheriff, but has Joe Arpaio gone too far? An in-depth look at the controversial lawman tonight.

Plus, one lucky NBA team will hit the jackpot. We're going to handicap who is most favored to score LeBron.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The outspoken sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, says he will not be threatened by a federal lawsuit challenging his state's tough new immigration law. Joe Arpaio is vowing to enforce the law no matter what.

But, tonight, there are new questions about just how he wields his power. Arpaio is battling serious accusations he uses his officers to persecute his political enemies.

Ted Rowlands investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Arpaio is known as America's toughest sheriff, famous for his Arizona tent city jail and pink underwear for prisoners. Recently, Arpaio has been making headlines with his very vocal support of Arizona's new controversial immigration law.

JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: You don't want us back here tomorrow? Is that what you said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

ARPAIO: Well, we will be back here tomorrow, full force.

ROWLANDS: But the 78-year-old lawman/politician is the subject of a serious investigation. A federal grand jury is looking into allegations that Sheriff Arpaio has abused the power of his office.

(on camera): Critics, including the people you will meet in this story, say the sheriff has a disturbing track record of turning innocent people's lives upside down by launching bogus criminal investigations, against political opponents or anyone else who gets in his way.

(voice-over): In 2006, more than 30 sheriff deputies, including members of the SWAT team, descended on the home of Sandra Dowling. The superintendent of schools was accused of stealing millions from a school for homeless children.

SANDRA DOWLING, FORMER SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: And the sheriff went on the news and said, we're going to move on this aggressively, and we are going to be -- this is going to be speedy. She will be out of office within three to five days.

ARPAIO: We are looking at all avenues of this investigation.

DOWLING: Well, I was front-page news every day for -- it seemed like for about three years.

ROWLANDS: Dowling was indicted on 25 felony counts. She lost her job, her reputation, and ran up more than $100,000 in legal bills.

DOWLING: I said, how can they dupe this? I didn't do anything. I kept saying, I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything.

ROWLANDS: Dowling thinks her political rivals got Arpaio to destroy her reputation. She claims this video of a meeting between a county official and Arpaio's investigators shows that the investigation was purely political.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Sandra to come begging on her hands and knees, please, please, please help me out.

ROWLANDS: In the end, there was no money missing, and Dowling only pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor. The rest of the case was thrown out.

DOWLING: Even to this day, if I go into a restaurant, I will still have people that stare at me. Oh, I blame Sheriff Arpaio

ROWLANDS (on camera): Because of an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into these allegations and others, and because of civil litigation, the sheriff has declined our request for an interview.

However, one of his longtime assistant chiefs said that he was more than happy to sit down and defend his boss.

JOHN MACINTYRE, MARICOPA COUNTY ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF: Was there probable cause? There was a ton-and-a-half probable cause, really.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Assistant Chief John MacIntyre defends the department's investigation of Sandra Dowling.

(on camera): Was your response to the house a little much?

MACINTYRE: It was over the top. There's no question about that.

ROWLANDS: Was it because it was a political case?

MACINTYRE: I don't think so. I think...

ROWLANDS: Why else would you...

MACINTYRE: ... part of it, there were allegations of weapons.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): There were no guns found in the house.

DOWLING: And I still don't think everybody knows that I'm innocent.

ROWLANDS: Sandra Dowling is not alone. All of these people say they're victims of a politically motivated sheriff's investigation.

Former Police Chief Dan Saban ran against Arpaio in 2006. Newspaper editor Mike Lacey, wrote articles critical of the sheriff. County Supervisor Don Stapley questioned the sheriff's budget. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon spoke out against the sheriff's neighborhood roundups of illegal immigrants. All became targets of criminal investigations.

PHIL GORDON (D), MAYOR OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA: He created a reign of terror purposely to make sure that anyone that wanted to challenge him, whether it was politically or public relations wise or his policies, knew that they would pay, and pay dearly.

ROWLANDS: In each case, highly publicized investigations were launched, but not one conviction has been obtained.

DOWLING: He just takes that cookie-cutter mold and moves it to the next person, to the next person and to the next person.

ANDREW THOMAS, FORMER MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY: The reality is, these were legitimate cases that needed to be brought. ROWLANDS: Former Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas is one of Joe Arpaio's staunchest allies. He's currently running for state attorney general.

THOMAS: They're not the martyrs that they're portraying themselves as.

MACINTYRE: The electorate is going to have to look at this and say, we don't want to do this anymore, and we will vote one or more people out. Right now, the sheriff's polls still indicate that the public supports him rather overwhelmingly.

ROWLANDS: In the meantime, Sandra Dowling is preparing a lawsuit against the sheriff. So is Don Stapley, Dan Saban, Mike Lacey, and others. The cost to the county in legal fees alone could be millions.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And coming up: fighting words from President Obama, as he rips into the Republicans over the recession, some of his strongest comments yet about the opposition party -- when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Our number one political story tonight. President Obama touting the economic recovery and getting feisty out on the campaign trail. He was at a fund raiser for Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan today. And listen to what the president said about his critics and the GOP and Wall Street reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are peddling that same snake oil that they've been peddling now for years. They're trying to run the okie-doke on you. Trying to bamboozle you. The leader of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, he says, well, we don't need all this. This is like using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant. The worst crisis since the Great Depression he calls an ant. He's got to make a movie. The ant that ate the economy.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president also spoke at a company in Kansas City that makes electric car and told workers the economy is, quote, "headed in the right direction."

The sport story of the night, LeBron James and his big announcement. In just minutes now, the world will finally learn where the king of basketball will hold court. That is ahead. But first, Joe Johns is here with some of the other stories we're following. Hey, Joe. JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, tonight, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is defending new restrictions on military interviews with the media. Gates says the new rules are a result of what he calls "flat-out sloppy media relations on the part of military officials." They come after a recent "Rolling Stone" article led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is not a change of policy that a reaffirmation of an existing policy that was being followed selectively at best. It reflected the fact that for some time now, long before the recent "Rolling Stone" article, I have grown increasingly concerned that we have become too lax, disorganized and in some cases flat-out sloppy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: A memo issued by Gates requires military officials to notify the Pentagon before providing interviews on potentially sensitive subjects.

Four U.S. senators are demanding an investigation into the release of the only man convicted in the Lockerbie bombing. The convict was freed from a British prison last year because doctors said he was dying from cancer. Abdelbaset Megrahi (ph) was allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds because a doctor had given him only three months to live. New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg has said the terrorist may have been released under false pretenses. Two hundred seventy-two people were killed in that bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland back in 1988.

A judge in Boston has ruled that the federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The judge says the ban violates state's rights. Same-sex unions have been legal in Massachusetts since 2004, but the state argues that the federal law discriminates against gay married couples by denying them access to the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Superstar Mel Gibson was named today as a potential suspect in a domestic violence investigation. The accusations involve Gibson's ex- girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. According to "People," she filed a restraining order and accused Gibson of repeatedly punching her in the face. The couple has been involved in a nasty custody dispute over their infant daughter.

And boy, that's a lot different from the image I always heard of Mel Gibson, isn't it though? Who knows what's going to come out of the case?

BROWN: Well, not really, actually. Joe Johns, thanks, Joe. Appreciate it.

We are, of course, all watching the -- we're waiting for and watching for the big decision coming up. In just a matter of minutes now, King James has the country waiting. But as I said, it's not going to be for long.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: It's not about the money. It's all about winning for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: As you may have guessed, our number one sports story tonight is all about LeBron James. In a matter of minutes now, he'll announce which NBA team will win the LeBron sweepstakes and get the services of the man they call "King James."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LeBron James is a stud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He plays with unbridled power. When he dunks, he jumps with 700 pounds of force. And the speed of his slam? Faster than a Chinook helicopter blades.

The self-described chosen one primed to choose his future home in a primetime special on ESPN.

ISIAH THOMAS, FORMER NEW YORK KNICKS COACH: I would like to see him play for the Knicks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I want to sleep at night, I thought he was coming to the Knicks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All signs at this point seem to be pointing to Miami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Cleveland, LeBron James is a hometown guy.

BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: He's the best basketball player on the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: LeBron, please stay,

WHITE: I'll make it worth your while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: So, where will he end up? And wherever that is, will he live up to all of the hype surrounding all this.

Joining us right now, "USA Today" columnist Christine Brennan, and joining us once again CNN contributor Max Kellerman, as well.

Hey, guys, Christine, before we get into anything else, where do you think he's going?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY" COLUMNIST: A great question. You know, I love as a native of northern, Ohio, Campbell, I'd love him to stay in Cleveland. Ohio doesn't win a lot of things these days, and it would be neat to win this, you know, LeBron lottery, shall we call it. But I'm thinking it's going to be New York or maybe Miami. The East Coast, the glitz, the glamour, Miami certainly makes sense from the standpoint of the team around him. They just signed two superstars in the last couple of days. We'll see.

BROWN: And, Christine, that's where most of the reports have been today. Right? Pointing towards Miami?

BRENNAN: They have. That's correct. You know, again, this is something that I think it's best to say we don't know. But Miami would seem to be the odds-on favorite going in to this, this important momentous decision.

BROWN: Well, and just to share from a very credible source here, "US Weekly" now reporting that he's rented cabanas at the W Hotel in South Beach this weekend to celebrate. Max, where do you think?

KELLERMAN: I think he's coming to the Knicks. I thought he was coming to New York two years ago. I haven't changed my mind.

The only reason people are talking about Miami now is because once he announced the press conference was going to be in Greenwich, Connecticut, where the Knicks practiced, everyone assumed, well, with all the salary caps, the Knicks created now with Amar'e Stoudemire, it's the number one market in the world, let alone in the country. There's a huge need for him. It's a basketball town first. Clearly, he's going to New York, to the Knicks. Then around 2:30 in the morning, sources leaked -- no, no, no, actually he's going to Miami. So I'm just suspicious. TO me it feels like a smokescreen to bid because otherwise this press conference would have felt anti-climatic.

BROWN: Yes.

KELLERMAN: But I'll tell you this, if you want to win championships --

BROWN: All right, Max, but let me say this. You're surrounded by a bunch of Knicks fans right now.

KELLERMAN: -- play with Dwyane Wade.

BROWN: So that might be influencing your view. But go ahead.

KELLERMAN: No, actually it's just -- rational thinking tells me he's going to the Knicks with this caveat. If the point is simply to win as many championships as possible, then, if you team LeBron James with Dwyane Wade, there is no stopping them. There are two choices. You go with Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant. You know, any one of those three, any permutation of those three will own the championship. So it's always possible he goes to Miami. But it makes less sense in the big picture to me than New York.

BROWN: Right.

KELLERMAN: And I will say this, Chicago is a stealth pick. Nobody is talking about Chicago now, and it makes me suspicious.

BROWN: Oh, but, Max, now you're on the record. Who knows?

Christine, I got to, before we run out of time here, just ask about this hour-long special. I mean, OK, he's going to make his announcement, then what happens for the rest of the hour?

BRENNAN: Yes. Well, can you tell it's a slow "Newsweek" in sports? This is probably the slowest, quietest, sports week of the year. And so, clearly this is taking up a lot of that dead air.

You know, I don't know. I mean, this is really the height of ridiculousness in many ways where we are with sports and media. The cult of personality as we've called it over the years, Campbell. But this is where we are. And until fans start not buying tickets and striking, and I'm not going to hold my breath for that, then, this kind of snowballing of interest, or, at least perceived interest, in these kinds of things will only grow.

BROWN: OK. So, Max, I mean, seriously what is he going to say for an hour?

KELLERMAN: You know what? There's like a lot of negative reaction in the press now to this whole event. I don't know. There's not a ton going on in sports right now. The baseball, all-star game. The United States is out of the World Cup. What do people want to talk about? I mean, they've turned this entire process, LeBron James' camp, into this Hitchcockian (ph) level of suspense.

I like it. I mean, it beats nothing, if you're a sports fan. And I guess for 10 minutes he builds up. And then he talks about what a great rivalry it will be with the Heat and the Knicks or else, how dominant they'll be in Miami. And he'll talk about his teammates and all the opportunities and he'll field questions. I guess that's the idea.

BROWN: All right, Max and Christine, many thanks to both of you. We will be watching. Fifteen minutes away, guys. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes. Larry, I can kind of guess what I think you have for us tonight, huh?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Well, you know, five weeks ago when we interviewed LeBron at his house in Akron, I think that really started all of this because it was the first time he had spoken since the end of the season. And now, we've come to this, minutes away from the decision that has gripped the sports world as all of you have been talking about. Where will LeBron James be playing basketball next season? Cleveland, Miami, New York is what they're all saying. They're eliminating -- they're eliminating the Clippers. They're eliminating New Jersey, Nets. So, that kind of puts that -- of course, hardly anybody is talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers. I'll give you our prediction. We'll also have reaction from Stephen A. Smith, John Sally, Rick Fox. We'll have LeBron's high school coach on, all on "LARRY KING LIVE" at the top of the hour.

BROWN: OK, Larry. We will see you then. We will definitely be watching.

And coming up next tonight, "M2." Mary Matalin and Roland Martin tonight. They take on Sarah Palin. She's got a new rallying cry. Got to hear this when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Now, it's time for "M2." Our team with Mary Matalin and Roland Martin tackling the most talked about stories of the day. Guys, what have you got tonight?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Campbell, thanks a bunch. You've already been talking about LeBron James, his decision as to where he is going to go.

Mary, I had a little Twitter debate with singer John Legend earlier today. Because a lot of people are saying, well, he should stay. You know, you know, he really shouldn't go. But I make the point. We all switch jobs all the time. Everybody else makes these kinds of decisions. Why can't this guy make his own choice? It's his life.

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Because, he's the, you know more about sports than I, he's the hottest free agent draft choice in basketball and all sports and we're all sports crazy here, and that he gets to make this announcement with all this fanfare. And control of the media is a more interesting story to me. I say more power to him. He's successful and that he is commanding this media attention.

MARTIN: Right.

MATALIN: I think it's fabulous.

MARTIN: I just think a lot of people don't want to recognize that they make their own choices. He's making his own choice as well. So I say, good luck to wherever you go or if you stay in Cleveland.

MARTIN: Yes, I agree. But that loyalty to that city in which he was raised is a different subject from the attention that he is commanding, which I approve. The Cleveland thing, I kind of -- loyalty, I grew up in a time when teams were loyal. Now, I've been dying to talk to you about some things.

MARTIN: Teams are not fully loyal today. They will cut you if they need to. So I get your point, but for them it's a business. It should be a business for him, too.

MATALIN: I know. We use our sports figures to teach, have teachable moments for our kids. Here's a teachable moment I want you to teach me. MARTIN: All right.

MATALIN: The New Black Panthers, clear case of voter intimidation in Philadelphia, screaming, horrible, ugly things. The case was brought and going down the normal channels when this Justice Department under Eric Holder not only dismissed a slam dunk case, but said that no cases of -- will be prosecuted in this Justice Department under the voting section against a national minority.

MARTIN: First of all, in the case that you're talking about, it was the evidence there. According to the Department of Justice, no one has come forward as a witness to suggest that they were intimidated. What you have here is you have an individual who is using hearsay, not fact. The problem here is, first of all, the DOJ did get a judgment against one of the individuals who is holding a Billy club. And so there's a difference between making allegation and what is actually fact.

MATALIN: But the fact that, and this is true, and it's been testified to under oath, that there will be no enforcement of voting rights against a minority. How is that equal justice under the law? How is that equal enforcement of the law? How does that not undermine our entire system if you can't count on equal protection of the law?

MATALIN: All right, Mary. Sarah Palin, she has released this very interesting ad, I'm sorry, Mary, is absolutely sexist to men. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: This year will be remembered as the year when common sense conservative women get things done for our country.

It seems like it's kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half where women are rising up and saying no, we've had enough already. Because moms kind of just know when something is wrong.

There in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse towards their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough. Well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN: All right. Mary, now, I always take offense when I watch commercials and they portray fathers as bumbling idiots who are always screaming where is mom. I'm sorry, my dad wasn't that way. And so Sarah Palin, I disagree. There are some men who pay attention and who know when something is wrong.

MATALIN: She's not using the gender card. She's speaking for a lot of dads. She's peaking for every parent and every grandparent.

MARTIN: She is a parent. MATALIN: Who is -- for non parents who want to protect this progeny of this generation that don't want to violate for the first time in our history our intergenerational promise to leave this country a better place.

MARTIN: Just get moms.

MATALIN: Mom, yes, and you know what? More women are running and winning conservative voters in this cycle.

MARTIN: And I love it.

MATALIN: And that's not a sexist thing. They're not using the gender card. They're using the Thatcher rule, which is if you want something done, get a woman to do it.

Campbell, Campbell, I just come to see you.

MARTIN: I didn't hear papa grizzly.

MATALIN: Papa, well, you guys have your role to play. Just for sure. Go hunt.

MARTIN: All right then.

MATALIN: You go hunt and gather. Campbell, I am woman. Hear me roar.

MARTIN: Oh, God, here we go. All right. Well, sing Usher's "Bad Girl."

MATALIN: Bye, Roland. Hello, Campbell.

BROWN: Two to one, Roland. Thanks, guys, appreciate it.

"LARRY KING" starts in just a few minutes. But up next, tonight's "Punch Line." Here's a sample.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Looks like Lindsay Lohan is heading to jail, and this time it's not to visit her dad. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: He's probably the first octopus who's ever gotten death threats. But then, again, he's also the first octopus who's ever been called psychic. Jeanne Moos has the story of one sea creature's world class World Cup predictions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's an octopus who doesn't realize his goal is to predict World Cup winners. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul, the oracle octopus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psychic sea creature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Called oracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psychic (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mystic mollusk (ph) has gotten famous.

MOOS: Paul lives at the Sea Life Aquarium in Germany where they lowered two boxes labeled with the flags of competing teams. Each box contains mussels, one of Paul's favorite foods.

(on camera): He picked the winner like six times in a row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very sensitive octopus.

MOOS (voice-over): Faced with a choice between Germany, his current helm, and Spain, Paul loitered atop Germany then slinked over to Spain and later straddled the two before making his final pick by opening the box with the Spanish flag.

Paul's less lucky relatives were on sale at New York's fairway market.

(on camera): Octopus, $3.99 a pound. A heck a lot more than that.

(voice-over): Some who were buying octopus were skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like it must be fixed. I don't believe that there's some genius octopus.

MOOS: Paul isn't the first animal prognosticator. Princess the camel picked winning football teams by selecting one of two Graham crackers from her owner's labeled palms.

(INAUDIBLE) chimp, was pitted against human pundits, deciding between Rudy and Hillary for U.S. Senate. But Chippy never made it big like Paul who has his own Web site. Don't tell any of my handlers that I can type. And his own Twitter account.

(on camera): PETA has even gotten into the act demanding that Paul be set free. They're saying an octopus is not a prop that should be used for entertainment.

(voice-over): After correctly predicting Germany's loss to Spain, the psychic octopus has even received death threats. "Put that thing on the menu. I ate your mother."

OLIVER WALENCIAK, SEA LIFE AQUARIUM: We take a little bit more care of our octopus than before because there are quite a lot of visitors who want to kill and to eat him.

MOOS: The prime Minister of Spain joked about sending Paul a protective team. And after Spain beat Germany, Spanish celebrity chef Jose Andres took octopus off the menu. But a jokester on YouTube made Paul the target of a Hitler assassination plot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul will be served up in a Japanese restaurant by tomorrow.

MUSIC: I'd look to be under the sea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Posted one fan, "With eight tentacles, I'd love to see him do a penalty kick."

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Finally, it is time for "The Punch Line." Our look at the best of late-night television. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Here we see Obama alone on the shores of the gulf looking beaten down. Now, "The New York Times" accused the economists of unfairly manipulating the image because the original photo was not of Obama alone. They removed this woman, the president of a Louisiana parish. I don't know what the big surprise is. Louisianans should be used to being invisible by now.

LENO: Yesterday, a Beverly Hills judge sentenced Lindsay Lohan to 90 days in jail for violation of parole. She failed to attend those alcohol awareness classes. So let that be a lesson. In Hollywood, it doesn't matter if you're a big celebrity or not. If you haven't had a hit movie in two years, they're going to lock your ass up.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": This is a great story. An American adventurer strapped himself to a bunch of helium balloons and floated from England to France. Immediately afterwards, people in Mexico asked exactly how many balloons?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And that's it for us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.