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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

North Korea Threatens "Merciless" Strikes; Racist Comments Or Politics As Usual?; Gun, Drugs and Beer in Jail

Aired April 3, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, North Korea says the moment of explosion is approaching fast and the United States moves hardware into Guam.

Plus, shocking video shot inside an American prison, prisoners with drugs and guns and no one stopping them. An OUTFRONT investigation.

And former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford celebrates his primary victory with his mistress turned fiancee. Is the political sex scandal a thing of the past? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good Wednesday evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, North Korea's army has announced it has final approval to launch merciless strikes against the United States.

A warning posted by North Korea's state-run news agency states, quote, "The moment of explosion is approaching fast." It goes on to say, quoting again, "The U.S.' reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike needs of the DPRK."

Kyung Lah is in Seoul for us tonight. Kyung, is this more of the same from North Korea or is there something different this time?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's slightly different, Erin. You know, North Korea isn't prone to any sort of subtlety. They love to talk big. The difference here is if you look at the timing of when this particular message came out. It came out at 4:00 a.m. Seoul time.

They're not talking to their locals. They are talking to the United States. That's what's different. They're messaging directly to America, just like the video that we saw earlier this week where we saw the North Korean soldiers taking aim at a paper cut out of a U.S. soldier.

The difference here is who they are directly talking to. We are used to hearing all of this crazy talk out of the north. The difference though is exactly when and who and that is the slight difference -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's significant though as we've been talking about this bellicose rhetoric has been directed at their own people. So as Kyung points out this could be significant. Kyung, you know, North Korea, it's been reported on doesn't have the proven ability to conduct a nuclear strike against the United States at this point. So how big is the threat here?

LAH: If you talk to people who are truly well versed in the military and truly feel confident about reading the tea leaves here, they say the threat is actually quite low. Why, because North Korea had nuclear weapons for some time.

They have, according to many experts, anywhere from four to eight nuclear weapons. They haven't used them. Why? Because this young leader, Kim Jong-Un, even though he is 28, 29, a man child of sorts, he knows if you use nuclear weapons, it is regime suicide. So the experts widely believe, Erin, that he cannot use them.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much, Kyung Lah reporting from Seoul live tonight.

And OUTFRONT, CNN contributor, Ari Fleischer, he was the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush and Gordan Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World."

So Gordon, let me start with you. How concerned are you about these new threats?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": I'm concerned because leaders in the region can't back down. Yes, we've heard this playbook before of North Korea making threats and winding to get paid off. But you have to know that North Korean regime is unstable.

Kim Jong-Un has not been in power for very long. He's purging the officials who were loyal to his dad, his predecessor. The South Koreans are sick and fed up of taking blow after blow from North Korea and not retaliating.

And China is going through tumultuous leadership transition of its own. The military is becoming more powerful and the Chinese military supports the North Korean military.

BURNETT: So Ari, what happens here if we're in a situation where it's impossible if not incredibly difficult for anyone to back down? Whether that be North Korea, South Korea or the U.S.?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the history actually is in North Korea does this for a design purpose. The purpose is usually to get something at the negotiating table, either to force the west, the United States and South Korea to give them something more food aid, more energy aid or to make us back down in some way.

What is important that we should do that comes next is for the American administration and our Defense Department to be resolute, to not back down an inch, not a second, not a yard. That's the way to handle North Korea. In fact, much of it means ignoring what they say despite the aggressive nature, but being absolutely 100 percent militarily prepared so they don't do anything foolish.

BURNETT: And Gordon, on that front, we have just -- the United States new land based missile defense system is headed to Guam. So the Pentagon is taking this seriously enough, especially the threats against Guam that they're moving the missile defense there.

Two warships have gone into the region. Sea-based radar platform also has gone in there. And the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel today described the threat from North Korea as a, quote, "real and present danger."

How real is the danger against Guam right now given that Guam is the American territory that would be the most reasonable for North Korea to try to strike?

CHANG: I don't think the North Koreans would strike Guam at least in the beginning. They're going to go after South Korea or better yet from their perspective, Japan because most Koreans have a war time memory of Japan and hate the Japanese. But, you know, we can get involved. It's not just Guam. It is also our bases in Japan, Okinawa.

BURNETT: OK, that's my question. Would they do that because, you know, as Kyung was saying, a lot of -- they are pointing at the U.S. as opposed to just their own domestic people or South Korea at least the rhetoric.

CHANG: If they really thought the regime was going to fail in Pyongyang, they would go out and try to bring everybody down and that means, they would go after Guam. They go after anything that they could catch.

But the point is that is not the first thing that they're going to strike. I agree with Ari. You know, you have to be absolutely resolute because the North Koreans, if you give them an inch, they will take the proverbial mile.

BURNETT: Ari, President Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon said something. We played it for our viewers before, but I want to play it again because here's what he said about North Korea's nuclear capabilities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS DONILON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States will not accept North Korea's nuclear state nor will we stand by while it seeks to develop a nuclear missile that can target the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, of course, the reason I found this strange is they are a nuclear power with nuclear missiles. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talked about that today and said something very different than Tom Donilon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: They have nuclear capacity now. They have missile delivery capacity now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, Ari, sort of saying the opposite of Tom Donilon. But I mean, I guess the question for you is can we stop them at this point? They've already gotten the weapon.

FLEISCHER: No. They can't be stopped. They are, whether they're a nuclear state is a term of art or something that makes logical sense, they have nuclear bombs. That cannot be stopped. That's why it's problematic when Tom Donilon says something like that and then as Chuck Hagel saying, they have nuclear weapons.

They have delivery devices, but they don't have the combination of thou deliver the two by at least large distances. And that's why in many ways this is the usual bluster coming from North Korea. The last time they engaged in this was in 1994.

When it got this heated, this red hot, people in North Korea and South Korea actually thought they were on the verge of war. And they were able to get concessions as a result of the threats they made in 1994.

The difference now is they have nuclear weapons and it is always dangerous on the Korean Peninsula. But it goes back to why the administration needs to be measured about this. The rhetoric, their words should be in some ways nonchalant.

I think it was a mistake when Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, talked about not seeing military maneuvers from South Korea. The White House should not brief -- from North Korea, I'm sorry.

The White House should not brief about North Korea's military moves. It raises the temperature too much. They should let the Pentagon brief about that and then the Pentagon is the place to look for the resolute action.

If any red lines are crossed, President Obama would have no choice but to counterattack. I hope it will never get to that point and we should certainly not go and engage in pre-emptive strikes in North Korea.

BURNETT: All right, well, thank you both very much, an interesting conversation. Republican Congressman Peter King told us that he would do a pre-emptive strike last night when he was on this program.

Still to come, Dr. Ben Carson says white liberals are racist and are targeting him for his views. Did his comments cross the line?

Plus, a convicted felon was released from prison four years early because of an error, an error that had deadly consequences. And two men convicted of attempted murder today, swords, a body bag and their plan to attack a Grammy winning singer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, racist comments or politics as usual? So Dr. Ben Carson, you may be familiar with. I mean, he is an upcoming African-American in the Republican Party. Anyway, he is being taken to task tonight after making some controversial comments on Mark Levin's conservative radio show. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LEVIN, RADIO HOST: You're attacked also in many respects because of your race. Because you're not supposed to think like this and talk like this, a lot of white liberals just don't like it, do they?

DR. BEN CARSON: "Well, you know, they're the most racist people there are, because you know, they put you in a little category, a little box. You have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: How could you dare come off the plantation? Carson and Levin, we're talking about how Carson says white liberals are attacking him for opposing gay marriage. OUTFRONT tonight, Mary Curtis, a blogger for "The Washington Post" and Niger Innis, the chief strategist for the teaparty.net.

OK, great to see both of you. Appreciate it. Niger, let me start with you. Does Dr. Carson have a point? That white liberals tend to put African-Americans in a certain category or a little box and that they're as he says, quote, "the most racist people?"

NIGER INNIS, CHIEF STRATEGIST, THE TEAPARTY.NET: Well, yes, he does. He absolutely has a point. And, you know, look, Dr. Carson is not a refined politician. He is a rank and file person outside of the field of politics. That's why the American people love him so much.

So he can be a little clumsy sometimes is what he wants to say, but he's dead on with what he's trying to say. Isn't it interesting, Erin, I think even Mary would agree with me, that it is quite racist to say that all certain type of people look alike.

But somehow with many white liberals and for that matter black liberals, it's not racist to have the presumption that all blacks do or all blacks should think alike. And that's what Dr. Carson was talking about and he's dead on.

BURNETT: All right, let me ask you, Mary, to be clear, what sparked this conversation about white liberals was what Dr. Carson recently said about gay marriage. So let me play that to give everyone the context.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: No group, be they gays, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Talking about the definition of marriage. Mary, if white liberals have an issue with what he just said there about gay marriage, are they racist?

MARY CURTIS, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST" BLOG "SHE THE PEOPLE": Listen, this is politics. He's going to criticize others and he's going to get criticized. If you put same-sex marriage and Nambla in the same sentence, you will be criticized. What did he do? He apologized. It was time to move on.

BURNETT: Nambla is North American Man Boy Love Association, that's why it's offensive.

CURTIS: It is offensive. And as Niger said, he's not sophisticated. He's not used to politics. It's time to move on. But what did he do? He talked about white liberals and being racist and he blamed them.

And so he wants to be treated as an individual and, yet, he stereotypes all white liberals as being racist. And that doesn't seem -- would be the way you would go if you want to make that particular point.

INNIS: Let me have a point of agreement with Mary, which is that if you stick your head into the field of politics, you're going to get hit from both sides. There's no question about it. And I'm sure Mary was equally critical of those who say that they are racist or that those that offer a critique of President Obama's policies are racist simply because they're criticizing a black man or because they call him a socialist or mention his middle name -- are racis,t that is equally absurd. And that most powerful man in the world is going to receive critique, and sometimes that critique is going to be harsh. And just because it is harsh does not mean that it's racist. I'm sure that Mary offers that critique as well.

BURNETT: Well, let me ask each of you --

CURTIS: It's harsh, but because he gets harsh criticism it is not racist. But there is some criticism of President Obama that is racist. And you can tell the difference. It isn't all racist. But some of it is.

BURNETT: All right. So let me talk --

INNIS: And Dr. Carson has a point -- I'm sorry.

BURNETT: That's all right. I want to ask you about this fundamental issue I think both of you are getting at here ultimately, which is are African-Americans a block group when it come to voting? In 2012, Niger, Obama got 93 percent of the African-American vote. You say there is a phenomenon among white liberals, a liberal racism that assumes blacks should be liberal. If you're black, you're going to vote Democrat. Is expecting blacks to vote for President Obama racist or not?

INNIS: Absolutely. And it's more than just that. It is the kind of treatment that blacks get for stepping off the ideological plantation. You know, it is the treatment of Condoleezza Rice, which was vicious when she was secretary of state. Being called a porch monkey, having cartoons of her as Aunt Jamima. Justice Clarence Thomas having a picture in the front of a black liberal magazine as a lawn jockey. It's even liberal black Republicans like Colin Powell being called a house slave by Harry Belafonte.

It's a vicious double standard that on the one hand, if you're a black conservative, you can say anything you want about that individual. But if you are a black liberal and the most powerful man on the planet, that somehow any critique of you is racist or bigoted and unfair.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Mary?

CURTIS: I think Niger is generalizing there. Because while there was some criticism, when people used those images of a Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, there was pushback. There was criticism. They were honored and admired by many African-Americans.

CURTIS: Oh, give me a break, Mary. There was no -- Mary that is not true. There was no criticism from the race merchant machine out there. The Al Sharptons, the NAACPs, they were silent when that happened, Mary! That is not true. I was engaged in those battles.

I pushed back. The Congress of Racial Equality pushed back. But no, heck no. I'm not going to let you get away with that, Mary. You're too smart. And that is not true. That is hypocrisy and you're wrong and that's a lie.

CURTIS: That is not a lie. You are generalizing -

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: -- liberal bastion of -- and race merchants out there -- the silence was deafening, Mary!

CURTIS: What do you think of all this slavery imagery? If an African-American happens to have a certain view, then they're talked about as being slaves on a plantation. John Lewis, an African- American civil rights activist who is a Democratic politician, is he anybody's slave? Honestly? Did you push back against those characterizations?

INNIS: Mary, I agree with you there. Mary, I agree with you there. John Lewis is not anybody's slave. He is a great man. He's a hero. But what Dr. Carson was talking about was the hell that black conservatives and by the way, woman conservatives, Latino conservatives - are you are listening, Marco Rubio? The kind of double standard and heck and unfair, vicious attacks that are launched on people of color or women that dare to break out of the box.

BURNETT: All right. I'm going to --

CURTIS: The Republicans are trying to reach out to minorities right now. Reince Preibus says they're trying to reach out to minorities right now. Is this the way to do it? To say somebody that has a policy that is not conservative and you want them to vote for you is somehow on a plantation? To divide and stereotype African- Americans as being on or off a plantation?

Dr. Ben Carson is now in politics. People will criticize him. People will criticize him.

INNIS: To tell the truth is always the way to reach out.

BURNETT: All right. I'm going to leave it there. Thanks very much to both of you. Really appreciation that conversation.

Still to come, is it your college's fault if you don't get a job after graduation? Well, the people behind a class action lawsuit say yes. Hey, tort reform, anyone?

Plus, prisoners drinking and doing drugs while incarcerated, and we have the video for you tonight. A special report.

Plus, dramatic video of a 40-story building on fire. Just look at that. Why there is not much firefighters can actually do about something like this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, lawsuits gone wild. A California law school graduate is suing his law school. He claims the school committed fraud by promising graduates they'd get a job within nine months of graduating. Did you know you could sue for that? Well, Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORREPONDENT: Michael Lieberman went to Southern California's Southwestern law school because he figured getting a job with a law degree was the surest bet one could get.

MICHAEL LIEBERMAN, LAW SCHOOL GRADUATE: I know I did my research on it. I relied upon those numbers when I made my decision or relied upon the 95, 97 percent employment.

MARQUEZ: That is the promise, he says, from Southwestern, 97 percent of graduates employed within nine months. After graduating in 2009, he passed the bar exam, then filled out hundreds of job applications. He got an equal number of rejections and ended up having to live back home with his parents.

LIEBERMAN: I had high hopes for employment. I thought this degree was going to be very important to me getting a job.

MARQUEZ: His hope, he says, was based on hype. He joins several former students unable to get legal jobs after graduating who are suing schools here for what they say was misleading employment numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we blame the law schools for is not accurately disclosing what the market for its graduates was like.

MARQUEZ: In at least six states, there are similar suits. former law students, many of them carrying more than $100,000 in student loan debt who feel they were misled into believing a law degree equalled a good job.

Our legal analyst, Paul Callan, calls these suits ridiculous.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: These lawsuits are totally ridiculous. They've been filed in courts across the country, and they're being dismissed by judges across the country. Frankly, if somebody were smart enough to get into law school, you would think that they would understand it's not a guarantee of a job.

MARQUEZ: California's Southwestern law school says it follows the American Bar Association's requirements, which has since changed way jobs are reported here and nationwide. But the lawyer trying to get four California cases consolidated as a single class action suit says that does nothing for those already through law school and struggling to find work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those students who did incur the expense of going to the schools where the information was provided was inherently misleading, we're going to seek monetary damages.

MARQUEZ: Driving this in large part, the tough job market and a lawyer glut in 2011. The number of full-time jobs for practicing lawyers nationwide hit 65.4 percent, the lowest ever. For Southwestern University, it's worse. In 2012, just under 47 percent of graduates got full- or part-time jobs as practicing lawyers.

Michael Lieberaman finally got a job last December, not a legal job. He's now working for an elected official. He's moved out of his parents' home and still hopes a job as a lawyer or at least in the legal field is out there.

For OUTFRONT, I'm Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. Let us know what you by this that one, please, on Twitter.

How could a convicted felon be released from prison by accident? Take off his ankle monitoring device and no one notices? And then murder people? It's a story that doesn't add up.

Plus, the bizarre execution plot against a popular singer, and this video of guys drinking, smoking and playing with guns. You find it disturbing. But look what they're wearing. That's when you realize this is happening inside an American prison. A special report is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We have breaking news out of Ft. Knox in Kentucky. An emergency situation has led to a lockdown of the entire Army post. There is just coming in. So, let me give you the latest information that we have.

Sources are telling our affiliate WDRB that a shooting took place at the post near the human resources command. You're looking there where for the Fort Knox is in Kentucky. About 3,800 people work at that center.

Now, we -- as I said this is it a developing story -- we don't have any word on any casualties at this time. A source emphasizes to our affiliate that the Army post is 100 percent on lockdown. Well, we're going to keep you updated on this breaking story. If we get information on whether it's clear or whether there have been casualties as this happens over the next few minutes, we'll bring that you to.

But this is the latest we had. We didn't want to wait to give it to you.

Well, a few of the other top stories that we are watching, there is trouble for the already problematic Carnival cruise ship that the ship broke down in the Gulf of Mexico. You may recall, during 70 mile an hour winds, the ship broke loose from its dock in Mobile, Alabama, and drifted down the Mobile River. Right now, Carnival tells us the Triumph is resting against a cargo vessel. But one worker who fell into the water is still missing and there are conflicting reports about where he was working.

Well, there is a very disturbing report out of Saudi Arabia. According to the "Saudi Gazette", a man has been sentenced to be paralyzed as retribution for stabbing and paralyzing his best friend 10 years ago when he was 14. That is unless he can come up with the rial equivalent of $266,000 in compensation.

How paralysis will be enforced is not entirely clear. But Amnesty International pointed us to a similar case in 2010, in which the Saudi government approached a number of hospitals about the possibility of cutting a man's spinal cord as payment for his crime. The government has denied the paralysis has been considered in that case. But this is troubling example of an eye for an eye justice.

Well, this is incredible. We're going to show you this picture. It's the tallest skyscraper in Chechnya. It caught fire today. At one point, all floors of the 40-story apartment building, all 40 floors except the ground floor were on fire. Authorities say dozens were evacuated. No one was killed or injured, which is rather miraculous. But retired fire chief Russ Sanders who's worked with the Russian fire service tell us the options of battling a fire of that volume are totally limited. All firefighters can really do is fight it defensively from the ground.

That is just incredible to see. Thank goodness no one was injured.

It has been 608 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, stocks ended down today over worries about rising tensions with North Korea, as well as comments from the Federal Reserve saying, you know what, these free, easy money, it ain't going to last forever.

And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: gross negligence. So, a convicted felon released from prison four years early due to clerical error. That's first. Then, authorities take five days to realize that parolee had disconnected his ankle monitor and fled. Now, parolee was supposedly under intense monitoring, which means no alcohol, no driving and a curfew.

And yet that parolee, free by error, is believed to have killed two people in cold blood. I'm talking about Evan Ebel, who investigators say killed Colorado's prison chief Tom Clements and murdered a pizza delivery man and drove half way across the country before authorities even put a warrant out for his arrest. It doesn't add up.

And Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Evan Ebel was serving time for armed robbery, prison disciplinary documents show he was anything but a model prisoner. Several times, threatening to harm or kill prison authorities. In November 2006, this report describes Ebel striking a staff member, a note said, "threatened to kill staff member and family."

In 2005, this report described another chilling account of Ebel's rage, telling a staff member he would kill her if he ever saw her on the streets and that he would make her beg for her life.

This new information on his violent behavior combined with the revelation that a clerical error led to Ebel being released four years early, it only added anger to the anguish of victim's families.

Katherine Leon is the widow of the first person Ebel is suspected of killing, Nathan Leon.

KATHERINE LEON, MURDER VICTIM'S WIFE: Clerical error -- clerical error is not going to bring my husband back. It's not going to bring Tom Clements back. It's not going to bring my children's father back. How do I tell my 4-year-olds, oh, daddy was murdered because of a clerical error? SAVIDGE: In addition to that mistake, documents obtained by CNN show it took Colorado authorities five days to realize a paroled Ebel had disabled his ankle monitor and fled, beginning what investigators say was a deadly crime spree that ended in a Texas shootout.

Seven-twenty a.m., March 14th, Ebel makes his daily call to parole officials. Eight hours later, the tamper alarm goes off on his ankle monitor. Instead of investigating, the monitoring service sends Ebel a message to schedule a repair.

March 15th, Ebel fails to call parole officials or make a repair appointment.

March 16th, still no sign of Ebel.

Not until March 17th did the monitoring company notify parole officials Ebel had failed to come in, to have his ankle monitor repaired. It's the same day authorities believe Leon was murdered.

March 18th, prison officials contacted Ebel's family to inquiry about his whereabouts. The next day, police search his home and determined he left in a hurry or has gone into hiding. They begin the process of revoking his parole.

That night, Clements is shot to death at his home outside Colorado Springs. March 20th, the State Department of Corrections issues a warrant for Ebel's arrest, citing parole violations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Just a shocking story, Marty. What can you tell us about the letter that you referenced but that Evan Ebel wrote in which he threatened the officers who are that time were guarding him in prison?

SAVIDGE: Yes, this is another one of the red flags. There seem to be so many of them that authorities apparently knew about a letter they confiscated the Department of Corrections and he appears to be fantasizing about murder.

He is writing to someone on the outside about the abuse he claims he's getting from the prison guards. And he says, quote, "I just fantasize about catching them out on the break and subjecting them to vicious torture and eventual murder," unquote.

Authorities believe the fantasies eventually turned into reality -- Erin.

BURNETT: Just an awful story and the time line there. Thank you to Marty.

And questions about our justice system are front and center also across the country in New Orleans today, where a federal court is looking at what is happening inside the city jails. This is shocking. This video has been hidden away for years by the sheriff's department. We have it for you to night and in it you'll see inmates doing drugs, drinking beer, waving around a handgun.

Our Sara Ganim has an OUTFRONT investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An inmate with a gun, in a cell packed with prisoners, another appears to be shooting up heroin, all caught on video on a cell phone smuggled into the jail. Inmates free to roam, even leave. This incredible footage was shown in a federal courtroom in a lawsuit over how to pay to fix horrifying prison conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No gloves on, not on his head, that's how they want to feed right by the shower.

GANIM: The footage is several years old and was recorded at the now closed house of detention in Orleans Parish.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says this facility was not alone. Many others just as bad in Orleans Parish are still open. They, along with several former inmates, sued the sheriff Marlin Gusman last April. He's in charge of running the jails.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This city is all about a dollar, man. It is so corrupt down here, man.

GANIM: As shocking as it is to watch this video, reading the details in the lawsuit is just as disturbing. Mental health patients denied care, inmates beaten by staff and raped by other prisoners, guards instigating fights.

This father lost his 32-year-old son to suicide in the prison two years ago.

JAMES HITZMAN, FORMER INMATE'S FATHER: Hearing some of testimony and looking at the video of the jail itself, I cannot imagine the conditions of any human being to live in those conditions.

GANIM: The Southern Poverty Law Center and the sheriff's office reached a settlement in December. It was agreed that changes would be made to make the prisons more safe. But change costs money -- money the city says it doesn't have. That's why the case is still in court.

The city's mayor says taxpayers are already investing more than $200 million to build new facilities. In a statement to CNN, the mayor said, quote, "I cannot in good conscience cut invite am services or raise taxes to put even more money into an office where waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant." Instead, he wants the federal government to step in and take control from the sheriff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's aware of the conditions since 2008. And their conditions have gotten worse.

GANIM (on camera): All of this takes us back to a disaster the New Orleans area just can't seem to fully recover from, Hurricane Katrina. In a statement, the sheriff said these were temporary facilities he was forced to use after the storm flooded parish prisons. Eight of those temporary jails still house inmates today -- Erin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And now, a plot to kill singer Joss Stone. Two British men were convicted of conspiracy to murder and rob Stone. The evidence against them included a samurai sword, body bags and cryptic notes that suggest Stone was not the only celebrity in their sights.

Erin McLaughlin is OUTFRONT tonight from London.

And, Erin, what can you tell us about this bizarre plot?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin.

Well, the evidence in this case is pretty incriminating both Kevin Liverpool and Junior Bradshaw arrested within miles of the singer's home. Inside their car, police found a stash of weapons including, as you mentioned, a samurai sword, two knives and incriminating notes, notes that read, "Jocelyn RIP" and "Once Jocelyn is dead, find a river to dump her." Evidence that the jury today found overwhelmingly shows these two men traveled some 230 miles across England with the intent to rob and kill the singer inside her home -- a plot that police were able, thankfully, to put a stop to, Erin.

BURNETT: So, Erin, what about motive? This just seems so bizarre.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Joss Stone was actually not the only celebrity mentioned in their writings. They also talked about R. Kelly and Beyonce. Prosecutors say as to why she specifically was singled out in this plot, we may never know, though some of the writings did mention her royal connections. She is a friend of the royal family. She attended the royal wedding. One of the writings referred to the queen as a she devil who likes Joss Stone.

But, then again, we may never know, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Erin, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Well, how about this? Do you care about sex scandals in politics? Fair question. South Carolina voters are about to decide.

And we're going to show you some video of adorable kittens. Why? Because we know that you love it. We have the proof.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And we're back with tonight's "Outer Circle" where we reach out to our sources around the world.

And tonight, we go to Berlin where 220-pound unexploded bomb from World War II was just discovered near a train station. Can you believe that?

Diana Magnay is there. And I asked her how they were able to diffuse the bomb.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, a 100 kilogram Russian bomb unexploded since World War II found just two meters from the railway tracks where freight trains go to and fro the heart of Berlin. A team of experts spent all morning working out how to diffuse the bomb. In the end, they managed to unscrew the fuse. It took 20 to 25 minutes. They said it was a standard operation.

But it is standard because there are still thousands of bombs that lie beneath the soil of this city -- the legacy of World War II that still has the power to harm, Erin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That is just incredible. Thanks to Diana.

And now, let's get to Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360".

Hey.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We have a lot more, Erin, tonight in the breaking news. North Korea's threat of a nuclear strike on the United States. The question, though, is it bluster from a young dictator or is the threat real? A live report from South Korea ahead.

I'm also joined by Christiane Amanpour who was in North Korea when it shut down the nuclear reactor it's now vowing to restart.

Also, Richard Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. This is maybe not what it seems. We'll try to put this perspective.

In crime and punishment, an arrest today in connection with the killings of a Kaufman County, Texas, district attorney and his wife. It's not the arrest officials hoped for and the triggerman remains on the loose, authorities say. Senior legal analyst Jeffery Toobin joins us, former federal prosecutor, also CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, formerly, of course, of the FBI and LAPD, join me on why the killing is shaking the law enforcement community so badly.

Those stories, tonight's "RidicuList" and a whole lot more, Erin, at the top of the hour.

BURNETT: All right, Anderson. We'll see you in just a few.

And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: standing with your other woman.

Well, former South Carolina Governor Mike Stanford was celebrating his Republican nomination for Congress. A little something caught our eye last night. Standing to the right -- I mean standing right there to the left of Sanford, a very, very attractive woman, happens to be the Argentinian woman who derailed his political career in 2009. You remember he went missing for a few days. The staff didn't know where he was. He came back to the States and announced he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

But it turns out he was actually in Argentina with his then mistress. But now, she's not that anymore. They're engaged. And last night, to the surprise of many, including Sanford, there she was. She got a hug and kiss from him at one point during the night.

So does this help or hurt his political come back?

OUTFRONT tonight, our contributor Reihan Salam, radio host Stephanie Miller, and Michael Medved, conservative commentator for Salem Radio.

All right. Great to see all of you.

Stephanie, Mark Sanford acknowledged that some voters will never be OK with this and never forgive him. But he stressed he's a better man and he's learned from his mistakes.

He talked to Jake Tapper earlier today here on CNN. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD (R-SC), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: One thing that I consistently have done through this campaign is to acknowledge the fact that I failed back in 2009. We'll have different events where in we wish we could have done things differently, we wish we could have handled them better. But, in fact, they help us to ultimately refine our lives, make us that much better of a person, maybe walk out into the arena of politics a bit more humble than we were before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So does seeing Sanford with his fiancee and hearing him talk about being more humble and that he has changed make him seem more human to voters?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, I think for women voters, Erin, they're just going to go, yeah, now I remember why I thought he was such a douche bag. Now I remember the whole story. He was he said hiking the Appalachian Trail and he was getting Argentinean tail.

And my favorite part, Erin, is he actually asked his ex-wife Jenny, who's incredibly smart, if she would manage his campaign.

BURNETT: Yes.

MILLER: Asked if she would manage his campaign!

I'm just thinking the woman's vote is gone. But I could be wrong.

BURNETT: He's certainly had no shame in that request.

Reihan, Sanford is running against comedian Stephen Colbert's sister, who is Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. Colbert, just make sure I say that right. Democrats are obviously wasting no time going after Mark Sanford for his affair. So New York City Senator Kristen Gillibrand wrote a letter, a fundraising letter trying to go after him.

Do those attacks work, or will it backfire? And people say, look, you know what, everyone makes mistakes, he has found this woman he loves and is now with, and let's move on?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Fundamentally, special elections are like crazy town. Republicans get elected in Hawaii, Democrats get elected in the Deep South. Dogs and cats live together in harmony, crazy things happen in special elections which is why the Democrats are absolutely right to put their backs into t.

Here's the thing. Even if they manage to pull off an upset in a district that voted 59 percent against Barack Obama in 2012, even if somehow they pulled that off, chances are she's not going to last very long in Congress. Another Republican, another generic Republican who is not like a Sanford or not like Sanford's opponent, who is very weak, is going to come along and win back the seat.

So, again, Democrats go for it, pour money into the race, fair enough. But the truth is -- the other thing about Mark Sanford is that he left office very unpopular for lots of reasons, this being one of them and also had tons of conflicts with other Republicans in the state.

BURNETT: Fair point.

SALAM: So he's a smart guy, he's an impressive guy, but he has a lot of baggage.

BURNETT: Yes, well, how he treated his wife and family certainly was a big part of it.

SALAM: Definitely.

BURNETT: Now, Michael, Sanford's fiancee, the beautiful woman we keep showing, is about 10 years his junior and some people, Stephanie might -- I don't know, Stephanie, whether you think this or not. But some people might say that would hurt him more, because not only did you leave your wonderful wife and the mother of your children, but you left her for a younger woman. But you think this might help him.

MICHAEL MEDVED, SALEM RADIO: No, I do. At least you have put a face on it, and it's an appealing face. And, look, to have this sort oh of secret Argentinian mistress, he could have said I was just jumping the gun with my fellow Republicans and I'm reaching out to Latino voters or Latina voters, although I don't know if she has a path to citizenship. Maybe her path to citizenship is when they get married. But the point about this, the problem I have with Mark Sanford, first of all, I hope he wins, because he's running for Congress, he's not running for governor. And I do agree with him far more than I would agree with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. And I think he'll vote more conservatively.

But the problem with what he's done is not what he did to his family three years ago and three-and-a-half years ago. It's what he's doing to his family now. He has four young kids.

And I really wonder about the sickness that leads someone to believe that I am so indispensable that this is the only thing I care to do that I'm going to put myself and my fiancee and my children and ex-wife through this kind of examination again, just to win a special election.

MILLER: Michael --

SALAM: Please --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Final word.

MILLER: I think that's absolutely true. It wasn't just the dereliction to duty to his family. First of all he left them on Father's Day and they didn't know.

Secondly, he just left -- he didn't left the state, didn't tell them. He's just like, dude, here's the keys to the governor's mansion, if I'm not back by midnight, I don't know, just govern without me.

SALAM: A lot of Americans can relate.

MILLER: Dereliction of duty to his job. I understand he might get some of the young male high-five dude vote. But the rest of the state, I don't know.

MEDVED: I guess, Stephanie, this means that you're not his soul mate.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: I she'd agree with that.

MILLER: Clearly not. As much as I'd like to be.

BURNETT: And everyone let us know what you think about this. By the way, Newt Gingrich did this, Max Baucus did this, Rudy Giuliani did it, John McCain did it. Plenty of people have had an affair, married the other woman and had very successful careers. So, let us know if you think it's OK.

All right. Big score for Animal Planet today. I've been waiting all show for this. Animalplanet.com has a feature called the kitten cam and don't tell me you don't know about it. It's a huge hit. Since its launch in September, the shot of kittens, playing, eating and sleeping has been viewed more than 25 million times. I admit it, I have watched it. You can admit it too.

These kittens are so cute that this week Animal Planet is launching "Animal Planet Live", an entire network of animal cam channels online. I mean, talk about zero production cost, people. The 10 new channels allow you to watch cute animal porn all day, puppies, penguins, ants, birds, even cockroaches. OK, some are cute.

And Animal Planet hopes to make money paw over fist. They're running commercials every eight minutes. All right. You're going to say why are sponsors so excited to sign up? Well, the average kitten cam viewer watches the page for 18 minutes and 50 seconds. That's right almost 20 minutes watching kittens sleep. We'd kill for that here at CNN.

And now, we know the recipe, we have our own animal cam and it's not cute kittens or puppies. Animal Planet has already cornered the market on that. Tonight, because it's hump day and this is OUTFRONT, we're introducing our newest segment, the ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT camel camera. Every week, you can tune in to our show on Wednesday, and for a full hour enjoy the sight of camels in all their humpalicious glory. Hopefully, it will work out as well for us as it did for Animal Planet.

Tonight's essay is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: A special anniversary today. The cell phone turns 40. It all started back on April 3rd, 1973 when Martin Cooper used his radio telephone system to make a call. A full 10 years before the first cellular phone was released to the public at $4,000 a piece. Since then, the cell phone has come a long way.

I can hardly remember a time without my beloved and yet I miss the pre-cell phone days. I mean, all this extra talking and texting and e-mailing hasn't really improved our ability to say the things that matter. And in addition to the good things it does, it creates a lot of unneeded noise in our lives. So I'm vowing to use my phone less.

"A.C. 360" starts right now.