Return to Transcripts main page


Government Shutdown?; Michael Jackson`s Former Doctor Charged With Manslaughter

Aired September 27, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, everyone. This is South Korea and my dog loves CNN Student news, right? Especially (inaudible). High five. OK. This is CNN Student News. Whoo!

CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: A big thank you going all the way to South Korea for getting today`s` show going today. From the CNN Center here in Atlanta, Georgia, I`m Carl Azuz. Let`s get to the headlines.

First up, we`re looking at the possibility of a U.S. government shutdown again. October 1st, which is just a few days away, is the start of the government`s fiscal or financial year. But unless Congress takes action this week, there won`t be any money for some government programs.

If that happens -- and it`s just an if -- shutdown. Candy Crowley looks at which government agency is at the center of this new round of debates.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): For the third time this year, a congressional staredown threatens a government shutdown.

CROWLEY: Let me start with you, Senator Warner, and ask you if there is a point at which you think this is embarrassing.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D) VA.: Yes. It is embarrassing.

CROWLEY: Are we there?

WARNER: Can we be -- can we, once again, inflict on the country and the American people the spectacle of a near-government shutdown? I sure as heck hope not.

CROWLEY (voice-over): The U.S. government runs out of money at the end of this week unless a temporary spending bill is passed on Capitol Hill.

Inside the House version is money to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, which assists disaster victims, tornadoes in Joplin, hurricanes in the Northeast. The remarkable thing is that basically Congress can`t agree on something everyone is for: funding FEMA.

The crux of the matter is how and when to decide how to pay for it. Senate Democrats have rejected the House version, saying Republicans are proposing to pay for increased FEMA funds with cutbacks in programs that create jobs.

Nobody`s budging, ergo stalemate, a looming shutdown and the politics that ensue.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R) TENN.: I`ll give the Senate Democratic leader most of the credit. He manufactured a crisis all week about disaster when there`s no crisis. Everybody knows we`re going to pay for every single penny of disaster aid that the president declares and that FEMA certifies.

WARNER: One point about who to blame or not to blame on this current, hopefully non-shutdown, is that there is a group -- and I do believe it is mostly centered in the House in terms of some of these Tea Party Republicans who say, on every issue, we`re going to make this a make-or- break.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Pointing fingers about an impending shutdown can be good politics. But an actual shutdown is likely to hurt any politician in a 50-mile radius of Washington. Odds are good they`ll figure this out. They have till Friday -- Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ: So would you notice a government shutdown? Maybe, maybe not. As many as 800,000 government workers could be sent home. So if your mom or dad is one, they might be home without pay.


AZUZ (voice-over): Applications for things issued by the government, like IRS tax refunds, passports, visas, those could be delayed, and national parks could be closed, as well as the National Zoo, although zoo animals would still get fed.

The list of things that would stay open is longer. We`d still get our mail, criminals would still be chase and prosecuted; anything to do with public safety keeps on running.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The region known as Silicon Valley is located is Texas.

Nope, not true. Silicon Valley is in California. It`s home to a lot of technology companies.


AZUZ: Couple events in Silicon Valley yesterday. Might have made it look like the reason was in Washington, D.C. Political leaders held town halls at two major tech companies.


AZUZ (voice-over): President Obama was at the headquarters of LinkedIn, a professional networking website. He took questions from the audience and tried to raise support for his jobs plan. He did a similar meeting at Facebook`s offices back in April

And that`s where these three Republican leaders were yesterday. Representatives Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan headed out to Silicon Valley after this event in Washington. They were set to talk to part of the tech world about their ideas on innovation and job growth.


AZUZ: The country of Greece is facing its own financial struggles, and it needs help -- bailouts from groups like the European Union and the International Monetary Fund -- if Greece wants to avoid going broke.

But those bailouts come with rules. Greece would have to find ways to cut its own spending.


And some of the plans are not going over well with Greek citizens. Protests, like the one you see here have been coming (ph) for months. Greece has already raised taxes, reduced pensions, had layoffs -- there`s a vote this week on a new property tax. Some observers think the anger over these new rules could lead to a major shakeup in the Greek government. And that uncertainty might make the situation even worse.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this legit: extra credit -- the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution re requires criminal court cases to involve a trial by jury.

This one`s true. The amendment also establishes the right to a speedy and public trial.


AZUZ: A trial starts today that is going to be very public. It involves the personal doctor of Michael Jackson, the mega pop star who died two years ago. Conrad Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

He`s pled not guilty, and with the jury set to start hearing opening statements today, we thought this would be a unique way to take a look at the legal system. Ted Rowlands explores the cases from the prosecution and the defense.


DR. CONRAD MURRAY: Your Honor, I`m an innocent man.

TED ROWLANDS (voice-over): The jury in the Conrad Murray manslaughter trial will have several questions to answer. One, did Dr. Murray give Michael Jackson a lethal dose of Propofol? Prosecutors say there`s no doubt. Murray and his attorneys say there is no way.

ED CHERNOFF, MURRAY`S ATTORNEY: There is no way that Dr. Murray would pump Michael Jackson full of Propofol sufficient for major surgery, and walk out that room. It`s not going to happen. That`s not the doctor Dr. Murray is.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Murray claims the day Jackson died, he only administered 25 milligrams of Propofol, far less than what was found in Jackson`s body by the coroner.

ROWLANDS: How did it get in him?

CHERNOFF: Well, that`s a good question. Ted, do you have any idea how it got in him?

ROWLANDS (voice-over): The defense is expected to argue that Jackson somehow gave himself the lethal dose.

ROWLANDS: Could Michael Jackson have done it?

CHERNOFF: Is it possible for an individual to inject himself with a drug? Yes. Yes.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Before Jackson died, he spent hours struggling to go to sleep, according to a timeline Murray gave police. Murray says he gave Jackson five doses of three different drugs between 1:30 am and 7:30 am. At 10:40 am, he says he gave Jackson the Propofol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody witness what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just the doctor, sir.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): 911 was called at 12:21. Emergency responders will testify they believe Jackson was dead when they arrived.

Another question jurors must answer is: was using Propofol, an anesthetic for surgery, as a sleep aid so reckless that Murray should be held responsible for Jackson`s death?

ROWLANDS: Doctor after doctor gets up and says, well, this should never be used outside a clinical setting, outside of a hospital or a clinic.

CHERNOFF: The fact that the circumstances may be unusual, may be demonstrated to be unusual, does not make it egregious. That alone does not make it egregious.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Murray`s defense will argue Jackson was a drug addict and in horrible physical shape, and that he was getting drugs from other doctors that Murray didn`t know about.

Prosecutors plan to argue that Jackson was in good shape, and planned to show this clip from the documentary "This Is It" of Jackson, rehearsing just days before he died.

So now, more than two years after Jackson`s death, a Los Angeles jury will be presented with the case, and ultimately decide whether or not Dr. Conrad Murray should be held responsible -- Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.



AZUZ (voice-over): What we`ve got here is my face on a pumpkin. And it`s the work of some very talented CNN Student News fans. Now we want to see what you can do.

Halloween`s just a month away. That gives you plenty of time to come up with a creative pumpkin project. Doesn`t have to have my face on it, but you get extra credit if it does.

Once you`ve "carved" out an idea, head and send us an iReport of your efforts.


AZUZ: You might need a whole month to carve out the pumpkin in today`s "Before We Go" segment because this bad baby might be the biggest one in all of New York state.

Gary and Cathy Adams (ph) have only been growing giant pumpkins for a couple years. Looks like they got the hang of it. They say one of their gargantuan gourds weighs in at more than 1,600 pounds. If that turns out to be true, it would break this year`s state record.

And even if they don`t get the title, it`s no big deal, because growing giant pumpkins is all in "gourd" fun. Oh, sure, that pun -- "pun- kin" -- that pun might have been low-hanging fruit, but "orange" you glad we didn`t try to force the joke?

Man, that`s just painful. Or pun-ful. We hope you`ll "carve" out some more time for CNN Student News again tomorrow. See you then.