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CNN NEWSROOM

Endeavour's Slow Move; Zumba Class a Prostitution Front; More Armstrong Witnesses

Aired October 13, 2012 - 16:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It is the top of the hour and you're back in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Making their case to American voters, the presidential candidates have just 24 days to do it. And today, Mitt Romney zeroed in on one of the biggest battle grounds in this election, Ohio, no Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. And today, Romney told the crowd in the town of Portsmouth that he is the man to get the economy moving again. Romney spent the morning preparing for Tuesday night's debate with President Obama.

The president meantime is also preparing for that showdown Tuesday. He just arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia where he will practice for the next three days. Obama is under particular pressure to do well, after getting critical reviews in the first face-off last week. The town hall-style debate will take place in Hostra University in New York, and will be hosted by our own, Candy Crowley.

The shuttle "Endeavour" has traveled millions of miles in space, but the retired space giant now, lumber slowly through the streets of L.A., in the remaining four miles of the 12-mile journey through the city. Thousands are curbside watching including CNN's John Zarrella. So John, it doesn't seem as though the crowds are ever going to thin out.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, in fact, the crowd is growing here, and with good reason, because "Endeavour" is probably about an hour away from where we are at the local mall here in the Los Angeles area. And you know, if you take - you can see here, look at this crowd, everybody is just here, they're braving this hot weather, they're a little behind schedule with the shuttle. They ran into some issues along the way with some very, very tight clearances. Just a couple of inches on either side of the shuttle. And you know, in fact, oh, look here, Vanessa (INAUDIBLE), you came down from what? Ames, up in -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, NASA Ames Research Center.

ZARRELLA: And you got to see the back of Vanessa's shirt. At times, it takes a rocket scientist. And Vanessa is a rocket scientist up there. She is one of those that's working on the future of space and what is coming after the shuttle. And the little guy here, he's keeping cool with his drink, you like that, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. ZARRELLA: You come to see the space shuttle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

ZARRELLA: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a big plane.

ZARRELLA: Right, and of course, I am joined by Stephanie Stilson (ph) from NASA. And Stephanie (ph) is responsible for getting all three of the space shuttle orbiters ready for their retirement. It has got to really - I know you're sad to see them go, but this has got to make you feel good.

STEPHANIE STILSON (PH), NASA: This really makes a big difference. I did get emotional when we first brought "Endeavour" to Los Angeles International Airport, it was a bit emotional for me. I was a little it surprised how much I got caught up in it. But I'm over that now. I'm back to the joyous moment of making the big move to the California Science Center.

And you're right, the enthusiasm here - it's electric. It's hard to not be excited about it.

ZARRELLA: And I know we just talked really briefly about the fact they had some really tight clearances along the way. In fact, at one point they had to lay down some sand to build up a curb, right? But these were things you knew there might be slowdowns along the way.

STILSON (PH): Absolutely, California Science Center hired (INAUDIBLE) corporation and this is what they do, they move big things, and so they know what they're doing, and along the way had to do a little bit of adjustment, same thing with launch countdowns, we tend to do some adjustments along the way, so everything is going very well.

ZARRELLA: But here you are, you know, you take such care of these shuttles when you got them ready to fly, and now you're probably cringing. Oh, don't hit that.

STILSON (PH): I will be relieved once we get them into the new pavilion, at the California Science Center because once again, it will be more protected than out in the open. Fortunately, we have wonderful weather, no chance of rain, thank goodness, that would be a big thing we wouldn't want to have happen. So yes, I'll be happy to get it in the pavilion.

ZARRELLA: So Fredricka, you can tell, what a great crowd here. Kids up on top - what do you think? You guys excited? Yes, all right. Everybody's waiting, a little bit longer. You know, they're about an hour behind schedule here. But there is nobody complaining, because this is, as the California Science Center people say this case is a once in a lifetime experience, this is a once experience, because it will never happen again.

WHITFIELD: I know,

ZARRELLA: Right.

WHITFIELD: Because once you have the sunshine there and you got a little freezy drinks out there keeping people cool, it seems like everyone is very happy to wait.

ZARRELLA: Yes.

WHITFIELD: John Zarrella.

ZARRELLA: I'm going to go see if that little guy give me a sip of that drink.

WHITFIELD: Yes, maybe he'll share.

ZARRELLA: Bye.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, John. Appreciate that.

All right. Now to the East Coast, in a picturesque town in Maine, police say some pretty outrageous stuff was going on at a local dance studio. Investigators are expected to release an alleged prostitution ring client list, reported to include prominent local figures. Prosecutors say 29=year-old Alexis Wright used her Zumba studio as a brothel, even videotaping her sex sessions. She pleased not guilty to 106 prostitution related charges.

CNN's Susan Candiotti joining me right now from New York with more on this. What is the latest?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, it is a scandal that has the folks in (INAUDIBLE), Maine waiting for the big reveal. A lot of people want to know who is on the list of alleged "Johns." Customers of that woman running Zumba classes. Now there is reprieve for those accused customers until Maine's Supreme Court can look over and appeal. A lawyer for two people known as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 wants Maine's top court to put a (INAUDIBLE) on releasing the names of about 150 people. They're arguing it would invade their privacy and be well humiliating to their families.

Well, the fitness instructor, Alexis Wright, has pleaded not guilty, as you mentioned. And so is her business partner, Mark Strong. He is charged with being her pimp. Wright is accused of having sex with customers right there in the exercise studio, and videotaping some of her liaisons. There has been a lot of hoopla over outing her accused clients. They include a lawyer, an accountant, even a local TV personality, according to her alleged pimp's lawyer.

In court documents obtained by CNN affiliate, WGME, one man describes himself as disabled and a family man and another as a dad and a businessman. Both say their reputations may be ruined if their names get out. A local judge has ruled well, too bad, clearing the way to reveal those names. But the (INAUDIBLE) police chief is keeping those names a secret just a bit longer until Maine Supreme Court has a chance to rule. Fred?

WHITFIELD: So are residents - do they have any strong opinions as to whether the names on this list should be revealed?

CANDIOTTI: Well, as you can imagine, some say hey, we should really keep these names under wraps, but others say we want to know who they are. There is even a radio talk show host that tells us that his listeners are split. But the local newspaper editor says she is ready to publish the names of the accused johns, in her view, it is only fair, after all. They also are accused of crimes.

WHITFIELD: Oh my. All right. Susan Candiotti, keep us posted on that scandal.

All right. A former congressman could cost Mitt Romney the state of Virginia and the entire election, the third party presidential candidate who may be a spoiler.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A Virginia congressman may turn out to be a spoiler in the presidential election. CNN's Lisa Sylvester introduces you to the third-party candidate who could have a big impact.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Virgil Goode works the crowd at a fair in Chase City, Virginia. The six term congressman has worn many political hats.

REP. VIRGIL GOODE, CONSTITUTION PARTY: You got to be willing to step up the plate.

SYLVESTER: He has been a Democrat, an independent and a Republican. HE lost his GOP congressional seat in 2008.

GOODE: It's made in the USA?

SYLVESTER: Now, he is running for office again, this time for president. This time under the banner of the Constitution Party.

GOODE: We're running a shoestring campaign, we wouldn't have a lot of TV ads. We won't have a lot of mass mailings, but we will be grass roots campaigning.

SYLVESTER: Goode believes in a no-exceptions end to illegal immigration. He wants to reduce the number of legal immigrants in the country as well. He also supports term limits for Congress and major federal budget cuts, including cutting defense. He is on the ballot in half of the states. And he is a right in candidate in about a dozen more. Goode is his own campaign manager, his own fundraiser manager and his own press secondary. But he could still be a major game-changer, says Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report.

STU ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Virgil Goode is a wild card, particularly in Virginia, the most recent polls showing a very tight race in Virginia. Virginia is an important state for Mitt Romney, so yes, Goode could be a factor, and he could be a factor even if he wins only a handful of votes. SYLVESTER: The latest polls show a neck and neck race between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Virgil Goode is only a blip on the poll, but just his presence alone can upset the best-laid plans by the Romney campaign if he siphons off enough votes. Goode is asked about it just about everywhere he goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Just wondering what your reason for that is.

SYLVESTER: Goode gives his patent answer, it comes down to convictions.

GOODE: I don't think we're going to be a spoiler. We're doing the right thing. It will help America if we can get a lot of votes. If we win, it will be a tremendous help. It will shake up Washington and then the average citizen would be president instead of someone that is backed by the super pacs.

SYLVESTER: Long shot, long odds, but they don't deter.

(on camera): There are other third party candidates, including notably libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. RNC chairman Reince Priebus on CNN's "State of the Union" show was asked whether these outside candidates, particularly those of Goode and Johnson, might turn out to be spoilers. He is dismissing them, saying they are non-factors. But 13 electoral votes, that is what is at stake in Virginia.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And he is a caped crusader. But police say this batman is a bad guy. Our legal guys are on the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) to make things. That's why we have thumbs. We've gotten away from making so much. There is that instinctive drive to create. I like to think that Tech Shop helps in rekindling that in people and get them back to being makers. There are so many things that (INAUDIBLE) it could be little, tiny things. It might be big world changing things and all the things that people do here in this (INAUDIBLE) excited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Holy crime-fighting, we got a gentleman who was busted for what he thought was a good deed. Avery, what went wrong here?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, this is not the "Dark knight, Fredricka. This is the dizzy night, and the question is what kind of defense is he going to put on this week? We'll see what happens.

WHITFIELD: And Richard - we've seen this before, haven't we?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We've seen him before doing the same thing. He needs a padded cell. They need to put them away. He is the psycho knight, not the "Dark Knight."

WHITFIELD: We'll see you back in 90 seconds for more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A Michigan man who patrols the streets in a Batman costume, trying to help fight crime finds helps on the wrong side of the law.

Let's bring in our legal guys to talk about this case. Avery Friedman, civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland. It's not even Halloween yet and we already have something like this. Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor joining us from Las Vegas.

HERMAN: With a straight face, Fred, a straight face.

WHITFIELD: With a straight face, right -

FRIEDMAN: Warming up for the holidays.

WHITFIELD: Right. We've seen this gentleman before, have we not? Mark Williams, also known as (INAUDIBLE) batman, accused of interfering with a police investigation, arrested for resisting and obstructing police in an investigation. Avery, what was he thinking?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you remember, Mark Wayne Williams was convicted last year after they caught him hanging on the side of a building, in a Batman outfit. He put on - you know, he is not "The Dark Knight," he is like the dizzy knight. And so now he is going to be back in court next week.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.

FRIEDMAN: And you know, I really think somebody has got to take a look. You know, maybe he's eating too many lead paint chips as a kid or something, I don't know. But the fact is, he has already been convicted. This man needs some help. And we're going to have to see if the judge understands that there is more than criminal behavior and obstruction. There is something really wrong here.

WHITFIELD: And so Richard, while it seems kind of comical and funny, you know, the investigators say this is serious business. He may have interfered with a crime scene or an investigation.

HERMAN: It's serious, we're talking Batman, we're talking about the Yankees, right? The batmen, oh, no, you mean batman, Fred, when you showed that space shuttle, I thought I saw him sitting on top of that space shuttle. Is that him? I guess not.

WHITFIELD: No.

HERMAN: This guy needs a padded cell, that is what he needs. He needs a padded cell.

FRIEDMAN: Come on now.

HERMAN: He is gone, his brain his fried. He did too many drugs or too much drinking, or something went wrong here.

WHITFIELD: But he wasn't alone either while he had his cape and he believed he was batman, he also had his partner with him, known as Petaski bat girl, how come she is not facing any charges?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, right.

HERMAN: Oh, my goodness, she probably walked away after listening to the police and walked away. But he wants to help with the investigation? He is nuts, padded room, put him away, Bellevue, somewhere, put him away.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, wow. There are issues.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. So this kind of case -

FRIEDMAN: Don't put him away, get him some help.

WHITFIELD: Does he have real defense? I mean he is going to say he thought he was assisting, he was helping out, he didn't believe he was breaking any laws. Does he have a legitimate defense in any way, shape or form, Avery?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, insanity.

No, not really, there really is nothing there. I mean look, this man needs some help. It should have been obvious the first time around, dangling from a building. I mean, he was on the scene, he smelled so bad that it confused the K-9 unit. I mean, this man needs some help and the system should take care of him.

WHITFIELD: OK. Well, okay, this is certainly going to go somewhere. I guess because it's not (INAUDIBLE).

FRIEDMAN: I see you want to help him, Fred, not good.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: We'll give him your number, Fred, you can work with him.

WHITFIELD: Well, in the meantime, this puts the pressure on us, because you know every Halloween weekend, we have our own tradition, the three of us with our costumes and I've been looking so I don't know what I'm going to do yet.

FRIEDMAN: Wait till you see.

WHITFIELD: Really? You've been thinking about it? HERMAN: Don't wear that bald head again on, Fred. Don't put that bald head on.

FRIEDMAN: Oh, yes.

WHITFIELD: I'll surprise you. All right, thanks so much, Avery, Richard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Don't forget you can catch the legal guys every Saturday at noon Eastern, and again, 4:00 p.m., Eastern time with a bonus case.

All right, he is trying to do something no man has done before. Skydive from space. Nearly 23 miles up and plummeting to earth at the speed of sound.

Next, a look at Felix Baumgartner's plan to space dive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Another former team member of Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong has come out and admitted that he doped. Australian pro cyclist Matt White has acknowledged that he took performance-enhancing drugs while he was a member of Armstrong's U.S. postal team. Armstrong has steadily denied he used any drugs, White's statement comes just days after the U.S. anti-doping agency released thousand of pages of evidence against Armstrong. Another Armstrong team member Tyler Hamilton is also speaking out. He told CNN's Anderson Cooper how team members beat the drug test during competitions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: One of the things Lance Armstrong has always said "Look, I was tested 100 of times, I passed." You were tested. And I guess a lot of people wondering how you would over and over beat the tests.

TYLER HAMILTON, ARMSTRONG TEAM MEMBER: Yes, we had good team doctors. And the team doctors told us what we could take, when we could take it, how long it would stay in our system. So if we followed those simple rules, you know, 99 times out of 100 we're going to pass.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Various sports federations are reviewing the evidence. And Armstrong could be stripped of all of his titles.

All right, so we've all heard of people sky diving. You jump out of a plane, enjoy the great sights and safely land after you release your parachute, right? Well, one man, Felix Baumgartner is attempting to change the record books like never before. Here is Max Foster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Set to do what no man has ever done before, jump from a capsule attached to a giant balloon, from 120,000 feet where the view looks like this.

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, STRATOSPHERE SKYDIVER: I am going to slide the door open. Bail out, and then I'm going to be the first human person to free fall, breaking the speed of sound.

FOSTER: He makes it sound simple enough. But Felix Baumgartner's attempt to jump from the edge of space comes after five years of exhausted testing, development, and even a legal hitch.

(on camera): What is the biggest challenge here? Why has no one tried it before? And what is the challenge that you have managed to overcome to make it possible?

BAUMGARTNER: It needs a lot of research. It is not just - you let yourself off in a pressure capsule and then you get off. You need a lot of research, you need to find the right people to work with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Now, we're going to get serious. We need to depressurize the cabin to 120,000 feet, so (INAUDIBLE) and let's have a ride.

FOSTER: among those on the Red Bull stratus team, Col. Joe Kittinger, he holds the 52-year-old record Baumgartner is attempting to break. The former U.S. Air Force test pilot helped develop the NASA astronaut program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful, beautiful.

FOSTER: Baumgartner is no stranger to death-defying stunts, he has base-jumped from the world's tallest buildings, set a record from the lowest such jump off at Rios' Christ the Redeemer statue, and completed he first crossing from the English Channel, with a specially made fiber wing. But free falling from the edge of space is a whole new ball game.

I guess people imagine you diving off a diving board, you have to keep the position, don't you, because it could be very easy to spin out of control.

BAUMGARTNER: So for the first 30 seconds you cannot use the air, and that requires a really stable exit. That is the reason why we practice a lot of bungee jumps. Just to - get the right motion into my mind.

FOSTER: Are you not scared in any way?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, I am scared, because you're going up to 120,000 feet, which is a really hostile environment. And no matter how much you have prepared yourself you never know how it turns out until you do it for real.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Wow, that is Max Foster reporting. And Baumgartner is scheduled to attempt his jump tomorrow. We'll bring you live coverage as that happens. That is going to do it for me, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The CNN "Newsroom" continues at the top of the hour with Don Lemon, right now, keep it right here for "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D.."

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