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Al Qaeda Magazine Praises Boston Bombings; Steroids To Blame For Deaths Of 16 Afghans?; New Video Of Ariel Castro's Backyard

Aired May 30, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, new developments in the Boston terror investigation. The man shot by police in Florida, why did police open fire while trying to question him?

And how terrorists are using the Boston bombing to recruit for al Qaeda.

Plus, an American woman jailed in Mexico for drug smuggling has new hope. What her lawyers say a videotape showed. Let's go OUTFRONT.

I'm Jake Tapper in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, new details on the fatal shooting by the FBI of a man being questioned about his relationship to Boston marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Ibragim Todashev was shot and killed early May 22nd during questioning at his Orlando home. And now Todashev's father says his son's death doesn't add up. Alina Machado has the details.


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Holding photos of his son's body, Abdulbaki Todashev, had harsh words for the FBI.

ABDULBAKI TODASHEV, FATHER OF IBRAGIM TODASHEV (through translator): At the moment, I want justice. I want there to be an investigation so that these people are tried under American law. These are not FBI agents but bandits. I cannot call them anything else and they must be tried.

MACHADO: It's been more than a week since Ibragim Todashev was shot and killed in his Orlando home while being questioned about his relationship with dead Boston marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

TODASHEV (through translator): It's absurd. There were four or five armed well trained people from the FBI or police. Couldn't they handle my son?

MACHADO: A U.S. government official tells CNN that two Massachusetts state detectives and a Boston FBI agent were interviewing Todashev in a room where there was a samurai sword. According to the official, Todashev who was trained in mixed martial arts suddenly flipped the table knocking the FBI agent back into a wall. The official says Todashev then pulled out a long handled object and came at the agent prompting the shooting. Todashev's family as well as an attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations believed Todashev was not armed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received confirmation that he was, in fact, unarmed when he was shot seven times, once in the head. The best claim they have is that there was a decorative sword in the room somewhere. My question is if they really thought that sword was a threat, why would they interrogate a suspect that they thought committed murder in four hours of a room with what they perceive as a weapon?

MACHADO: A law enforcement source has said Todashev implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a 2011 triple homicide in Massachusetts during the questioning. That source also says Todashev confessed to having a direct role in the crime.

RENI MANUKYAN, EX-WIFE OF IBRAGIM: This is absolutely not true because they can even check the phones and everything. They were not in conversation. They were not texting 24/7 to each other. Maybe once in a couple months she shoot text message, how are they doing and that's it, but never calls.

MACHADO: An FBI internal review team has been investigating and looking into the circumstances of the shooting since last week.


MACHADO: That team of investigators is made up of members of the FBI and the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, Todashev's father says he hopes to get a visa by tomorrow so that he can fly to the U.S. to get his son's body -- Jake.

TAPPER: Alina, thanks. OUTFRONT tonight, Tim Clemente is a former FBI agent in counter-terrorism and Mitch Silber is the former director of the NYPD Intelligence Divisions Analytic and Cyber Units. Tim, I'll start with you. You heard Todashev's father in that piece. He said couldn't they handle my son? The agents knew Todashev had mixed martial arts training. Should they have been better prepared to handle a confrontation with him?

TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM FBI AGENT: Well, Jake, that's hard to say. I mean, in the circumstance and from what we've heard, an agent was thrust against the wall by the table. The individual was reaching for something, a long object, possibly that samurai sword whether it was decorative or not. When you're in that circumstance, there is no time to stop and reason with someone like this.

This guy has a history of violence. He's been arrested for assaults and extenuating circumstances, a traffic stop where he attacked somebody over a parking space. And he's a mixed martial arts fighter. You don't want to get into a tussle with a guy that is a mixed martial arts fighter when he knows you have a weapon on your belt.

At that point I'm sure the agent drew his weapon according to the FBI's use of force policy. He would have been well within his rights to use deadly force if this individual was attacking him and going anything that may have been used as a weapon. It didn't have to be a gun for him to have been able to use deadly force against the agent and the cops. The cops, their only alternative at that point if they can't immediately contain him is to use deadly force.

TAPPER: Well, Tim, if that's true, should he not have been in handcuffs?

CLEMENTE: If it was a confrontational interview and interrogation, he was arrested and detained, that's possible. But if he was in his home and it was not a detention, it was an interview then it's not customary to put somebody in handcuffs. They had him in a situation that was contained originally and then something obviously made his temper rise and that rising of his temper caused him to get violent.

And apparently it happened in the blink of an eye so it's not something they anticipated, obviously. And they don't want to -- you don't want to handcuff somebody when you're trying to get their cooperation. They're talking to this guy over several hours. He's obviously admitting to things he may have been involved with the Tsarnaev brothers. So it's critical to keep him comfortable in that interview. That's apparently what they were trying to do.

TAPPER: Mitch, does it look to you like the use of deadly force was justified here?

MITCH SILBER, EXECUTIVE MANAGING DIRECTOR, K2 INTELLIGENCE: You know, it's hard to say, Jake, having not been in the room when this situation happened, but I think as Tim mentioned, context means a lot. Here's an individual who is being interviewed based on his relationship with someone we know was a terrorist and committed the Boston attack. Also he is being interviewed in the context of being involved in this awful triple murder. So the fact that is the context and this individual has a violent history. If he's coming at with you a weapon that could be deadly, it would be unreasonable for the agents to have acted the way they did.

TAPPER: Mitch and Tim, I want you to stay here for a minute while we take a look at another developing part of the story. New evidence today that the Boston bombing is already becoming a key recruiting tool for al Qaeda, the terror plot is front and center in the latest issue of al Qaeda's English language magazine "Inspire." The magazine praises the Tsarnaev brothers as heroes and encourages readers in the United States to follow their example.

As it said on page 17, quote, "The Boston bombings have uncovered the capabilities of the Muslim youth. They have revealed the power of a lone Jihad operation," unquote. The magazine also highlights the attack in London, another recent lone wolf type terror incident.

So, Tim, I want to bring you back here. Today the State Department submitted this report on terrorism to the U.S. Congress. The key line in the first paragraph of Chapter One, the AQ core's ability to direct the activities and attacks of its affiliates has diminished as its leaders focus increasingly on survival. This would see to speak directly to what we're seeing in this latest issue of "Inspire," the threat that al Qaeda is now pushing is these lone wolf, home grown attacks. Is this in your view the real future of al Qaeda terrorism?

CLEMENTE: I believe it's been the past and the future of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has never been about regimented attacks although they have planned long term planning for attacks like September 11th. That's not the norm for them. The norm for them is radicalizing individuals and getting those individuals to come up with plots on their own.

The 9/11 attack was conceived of by Mohammed Atta and planning with his uncle and they were, you know, they were individuals that came up with we think question do this. That's al Qaeda's method. It's guerrilla warfare. So a planned attack doesn't have to be something that involves the entire organization from the top down.

Any individual anywhere can be inspired by al Qaeda, the movement of "Inspire" magazine, from Anwar Awlaki and his followers. And that inspiration is just to fight the west. It's to fight our beliefs and our way of life. If you look at "Inspire" magazine, some of those articles other than just lauding the Boston bombers, they talk about the cost economically to our way of life by doing these attacks.

The increased security, the increased security in the London marathon weeks later because of the Boston attacks and that's what they're really proud of. They're hurting us economically as well as making our people bleed and killing innocent civilians on the streets of Boston.

TAPPER: Mitch, according to analysts, the explosive devices used in the Boston bombings had striking similarities to a bomb recipe in the first issue of "Inspire" June 2010. The article "Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom." Now the magazine is essentially touting the success of that issue in its new edition. How difficult will it be for law enforcement to stop this type of "Inspire" born lone wolf terror? What more needs to be done?

SILBER: It's a significant challenge for law enforcement and intelligence. One of the things about the larger al Qaeda plots that we saw in the years after 9/11 were that there are multiple people and there was communication back and forth between the group overseas in Afghanistan and Pakistan and their operatives who are in London or who were in New York.

And that was a way can you disrupt these plots. To some degree, U.S. counterterrorism success in thwarting plots and disrupting al Qaeda core has resulted in al Qaeda deciding to embrace this lone Jihadist operation. Partially it is opportunistic. It's difficult to carry out the complicated plots that they sought to do in 2005 and 2006.

So for law enforcement intelligence, now you're dealing with plots that don't give off many signatures. If you're looking for one or two individuals, how are you going to detect them? Unless you're in that location, in that chat room, in that mosque where these individuals are getting radicalized, going to be very difficult for you to detect them.

And in many ways that was the challenge in Boston. How law enforcement intelligence going to detect these two individuals if they weren't communicating with some overseas terrorist group and not part of a larger conspiracy?

TAPPER: All right, Tim Clemente and Mitch Silber, thank you so much.

Still to come, an Army sergeant allegedly kills 16 civilians and his attorney says it was due to what the army gave him to inject, our exclusive interview coming up next.

Plus, first New York City Mayor Bloomberg and now President Obama, who is sending poison to our elected leaders?

And then an update from the investigation in Cleveland, new images of the house where Ariel Castro held three women for more than a decade.

And the shocking video of a collision between a freight train and a commercial truck.


TAPPER: Our second story, OUTFRONT, the roid rage defense. Did Army Special Forces pump Sergeant Robert Bales with steroids before he killed 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012? According to his attorney, that's what he plans to argue with the penalty phase of his trial. Bales has agreed to plead guilty next week to avoid the death penalty and in an effort to avoid a life sentence, his defense will also argue the Army knew he was suffering from PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, and a traumatic brain injury whether they sent him to Afghanistan.

OUTFRONT tonight, Sergeant Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne. Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Brown.


TAPPER: Sir, do you have proof that Army Special Forces gave him steroids?

BROWNE: Yes, actually, the Army admitted that. I did want to correct one thing you said earlier. It's not an injectable substance, it's a pill form and it was provided to him by a Special Forces personnel. Of course, nobody forces him to take it, but that's how he got it. The Army admits that.

TAPPER: OK. I appreciate the correction. Is it your contention that Sergeant Bales was forced to take these steroids in any way, if not physically forced, then emotionally forced and forced to take the steroids? BROWNE: Well, you know better than anybody being since I read your book, which is wonderful, by the way, and you know how Special Forces have an influence on the infantry and so I think it's a cultural problem. The army also admitted there was a real failure of leadership at this camp, of the Special Forces leadership. So I think there was like almost peer pressure, I would call it, to do what the Special Forces people were doing.

TAPPER: So if I understand you correctly, I just want to make sure I do, you plan to argue that steroid use combined with the PTSD and the TBI, the traumatic brain injury, contributed to Sergeant Bales committing murder? So why not take that argument to trial?

BROWNE: Well, I mean the risks -- we have the best psychiatrists in the United States literally on PTSD and concussive head injuries working on this case. We don't believe the defense would rise to the level of a legal insanity defense or a legal diminished capacity defense. We think it's very mitigating. What you're going to hear and what the public is going to hear next Wednesday is what happened? And it's going to be very difficult for people to listen to.

And that's going to take at least a whole day and then in September, we're going to find out why it all happened. So the mental health issues, the PTSD, the concussive head injury, all of which the Army knew about will be discussed mostly during the September trial we're going to have in front of the jury.

TAPPER: Well, if there were all these mitigating factors, and if there was some dereliction of duty on the part of the Army having somebody in a war zone on his -- on a multiple deployment, who had TBI, who had PTSD, why plead guilty at all?

BROWNE: Well, because, you know, I'm a trial lawyer. You know, the best trial and the best cases in the world you can still lose and I don't take lightly death penalty cases by any stretch of the imagination. And I think that when I got this case the Army was on a fast road to use this case as the first time to execute a soldier since 1961. And I think they were on a fast track to do that. After hundreds and hundreds of hours of work, we basically worked thought arrangement which we, you know, saving a life is more important. He might have a chance of life with parole, which will be very important.

TAPPER: According to a Defense Department survey in 2008, just 2.5 percent of Army personnel had illegally used steroids within the past 12 months. That's not a -- that's not a high number. Have you learned anything in your research to suggest that that 2.5 percent is accurate or not accurate?

BROWNE: Well, I don't know how they would even come up with a statistic like that. You have to take urine samples or blood samples. I don't think voluntarily people are taking steroids to do that. I know steroid use at this camp was endemic. Pretty much everybody was taking steroids. So I would just question that figure in general.

TAPPER: Do you know other instances of this kind of thing happening? People jacked up on juice in a war zone and maybe not something these horrific, but other incidents where there was unnecessary violence because of steroid use in Afghanistan or Iraq?

BROWNE: Yes, anecdotally, a lot of anecdotes that we've gotten. We have mental health experts and psychiatrists working with us that have been in the military and talk about this being a problem and a serious problem. They all the street term road rage is true. I certainly have other cases where they alter a person's perception and aggressive tendencies.

TAPPER: But no official reports, these are anecdotal stories?

BROWNE: That's correct. We may have more substantive evidence about that in September in the penalty phase.

TAPPER: All right, John Henry Browne, we hope you'll come back and talk to us more about this case.

BROWNE: It's a pleasure. Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Still to come, Ariel Castro allegedly held three women captive for more than a decade. What was the Cleveland house where they were held like?

Plus, an American woman being held in a jail in Mexico has new hope tonight, a videotape. We'll tell you more about that.

In tonight's shout out, follow that bird.


TAPPER: Our third story, OUTFRONT, shocking new video from Ariel Castro's home, barbed wire on the garage windows. We're getting a new look at the house where Castro was accused of holding three women hostage and sexually assaulting them for a decade.

Scott Taylor is an investigative reporter for Cleveland's WOIO, the station that originally acquired this video. Tonight, he comes OUTFRONT. Scott, thanks for joining us. What is the most shocking part of this video?

SCOTT TAYLOR, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WOIO: I think it's when you get into the garage, you mentioned that barbed wire along the windows of the garage. You look inside. There are several children's bicycles in there. And we know that Amanda's daughter was in that house when Amanda and Gina and Michelle escaped. Ariel Castro's daughter we now know through DNA, but in that garage there is a little American flag, one of those little ones, Jake, that most kids would wave at a Memorial Day parade or Fourth of July parade so that is really, really disturbing.

TAPPER: One of your sources got a look inside the house. What did that person tell you?

TAYLOR: Well, on the first floor, you open the door, it looks really normal, Jake. You've got a couch, a recliner, a love seat, more kids toys. You also, though, have plexiglas, kind of a thick plexiglas in all the windows. Then you go to the basement. That's when things get really, really creepy. All the windows are blacked out. There is barbed wire nailed all over the windows.

Then you head upstairs and it gets even more disturbing. All the windows have chicken wire where you find in a chicken coop, chicken wire on the windows then more plexiglas and then on top of that the barbed wire. But then in one bedroom, there is a metal stake that is stuck, screwed down into the floorboard into the floor and attached to that is a dog chain. The dog chain only reaches to a bed, not the door and nothing else. And we know that Amanda, Gina and Michelle at times were chained up in that house.

TAPPER: Horrifying details. Thank you, Scott Taylor from our affiliate WOIO.

Still to come, more letters containing the deadly poison ricin were found. This time one was headed to the White House. How does the issue tie into the gun control debate?

Plus, the woman hired to clean up the Rutgers Athletic Department is now under scrutiny herself. My exclusive interview with a woman who says the new athletic director was not properly vetted.

And a collision and a deadly explosion, the video still to come.


TAPPER: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

Let's start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.

One of the two suspects accused of the gruesome murder of a British soldier appeared in court for the first time today, 22-year- old Michael Adebowale was charged with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. The other suspect who appears in this video with blood on his hands literally remains under arrest at a London hospital. Since England does not have the death penalty, Michael Griffith, an attorney who specializes in international law tells us that the suspects if convicted are probably looking at about 25 years to life in prison.

New developments in the House's IRS investigation. Congressional sources tell us lawmakers will be questioning two IRS employees based in Cincinnati this week. And they have plans to interview two others next week. The investigation centers on the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. The IRS office in Cincinnati handles most of the requests and it's where a congressional source says two employees were, quote, "overly aggressive in their handling of requests."

And we have shocking video showing the collision between a freight train and a commercial truck right before it derailed in the Baltimore area earlier this week. Here it is, right at the point of impact. The truck driver was injured but is in stable condition. According to the NTSB, three of the cars that derailed contained hazardous materials. Those materials may have led to the massive explosion that occurred five minutes and 23 seconds after the collision.

The NTSB reenacted the accident today as part of its investigation. And a major drug bust, authorities have confiscated nearly 7,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than half a billion dollars. It was seized from two speed boats over Memorial Day weekend.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent us these images and they tell us the air and marine team first spotted one speedboat north of the Galapagos islands. When the speedboat crew realized it had been caught, they began dumping packages of cocaine into the water. Authorities say they fired shots to disable the boat. Three suspects were arrested and the boat -- well, it sank.

Our fourth story OUTFRONT: a chilling threat to President Obama. Tonight, authorities are testing the letter addressed to the White House for presence of ricin. Investigators say the letter is similar to the ricin-laced letter sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to his anti-gun group.

Our Deb Feyerick is OUTFRONT with more on the investigation.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The anonymous ricin-tainted letters contain an ominous warning, "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you." Three letters sent to three men at the forefront of the gun control debate. President Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the head of his gun control group.

In two of the letters, the sender threatened to shoot anyone who tried to confiscate his or her guns. Quote, "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right and I will exercise that right until the day I die."

RAY KELLY, COMMISSIONER, NYPD: In the text of the letters themselves, in the greeting in the letter, it just says you. So, we're assuming that the letters are the same, from the same machine or computer.

FEYERICK: Police say at least two of the letters contained an orange, pink, oily material within which were traces of ricin which is derived from castor beans. All were sent to the National Bio Forensic Analysis Center.

Investigators scrubbing every last detail contained in the envelopes, trying to figure out who sent them. Letters to the president and mayor were intercepted at off-site sorting facilities with workers trained to spot and handle suspicious mail.

However, the head of the gun control group personally opened the letter addressed to him according to a police report. Mark Glaze sent a message to friends saying he's fine and can't comment. The mayor's letter was opened last Friday. On site tests prove negative. It was not sent to the national lab until Wednesday when ricin tests came back positive.

KELLY: The first person who transported the material to the police lab, he said that he had some symptoms with his eyes watering.


TAPPER: Deb, was there a delay from the time the first letter was discovered to when it was actually sent to the main National Forensic Center?

FEYERICK: Well, there was. That's a big question.

The letter that was addressed to Mayor Bloomberg was tested at the mail site Friday. It was then transported to the NYPD lab. But it never got to the national forensic lab until Wednesday. That is really the main lab. So, yes, there was a delay.

Now, the mayor's office says the envelope was put in a special biochemical containment box. It was removed by hazmat teams. The mail room, though, is clearly now being cleaned and the safety precautions are being reviewed -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jake Feyerick, thank you so much.

Tonight, Rutgers University is facing even more questions over its decision to hire Julie Hermann to help turn around the school's scarred athletic department. Some members of the university search committee reportedly complained that the hiring process was too rushed and that they didn't have enough information about the candidates. Information, for example, that may have shown Hermann was linked to a sex discrimination lawsuit while at the University of Louisville.

It was filed by Mary Banker, a former assistant track coach. She worked under Hermann. And she claims she was fired for clang about sexist behavior by male coaches. A jury awarded Banker more than $300,000, but that decision was later overturned.

I spoke to Banker earlier and asked about her experience working with Hermann.


MARY BANKER, FORMER UNIV. OF LOUISVILLE ASST. TRACK COACH: Julie Hermann oversaw the track and field office and so I had direct contact with her on several occasions. I went and complained to the head track coach about some language that was being used, and inappropriate behavior, and just some gender discrimination things.

And so, Julie came in and took me under her wing. The head coach said she wanted to mentor me. So, we went out to lunch and, you know, she had different conversations with me. She had expressed to me that she along the way had worked with many men and she learned to talk the talk and she learned to play the game. When things got worse in the office that I worked in, I continued to let her know what was going on. And when push came to shove, she ignored my complaints and I went to the human resources office of the actual university, and made a complaint there.

When she was questioning me during the investigation, she was really -- she was very harsh in the interview. She told me that if this was going to be a lawsuit that I should name her in the lawsuit, she was very confrontational. And in the end, Julie turned her back on me and the complaint that I made, even after expressing that she didn't like the behavior of the male coaches and the head coach for not handling the situation appropriately. And as soon as I went to HR they did an investigation and I was fired within weeks.

TAPPER: That must have been very confusing, because after you told Hermann that you felt you were being discriminated against because of your gender, according to legal filings, you say that she e-mailed you an she was supportive.

She wrote, "Thank you. We're lucky to have you. You're a change agent. Don't let their limitations take you out of the game. Thank God you're here."

But then, after that, her response changed.

What do you think happened to prompt this change in tone and attitude?

BANKER: When Julie interviewed me, she was part of the selection process. And when she interviewed me, she liked me from the second I walked in the door. She knew my accolades. I was very successful coach.

I think when push comes to shove, it's easy to have the meetings and encourage somebody. But when somebody is persistent the way that I am, it's hard. I was rocking the boat, so to speak in their mind. And they couldn't continue to do what they were doing or they could continue and just get rid of me and that's what they chose to do.

TAPPER: Now, the University of Louisville, obviously, tells a different story. They contend you were fired because of poor job performance, particularly in recruiting which you just talked about.

Did you have any indication prior to your firing that the university was unhappy in any way with your performance?

BANKER: No. I was never written up. I was never -- I never had any meetings at all saying I was doing a poor job.

TAPPER: And what was your reaction when you heard the other day that Rutgers which had just had this disastrous experience that they hired Hermann to clean up its athletics program after that coach abuse scandal. What was your reaction when you heard that news?

BANKER: If she's going in to clean up the programs and clean up the athletic department, it's like having a fox guard the henhouse. I don't know who would be comfortable to go to her especially after my lawsuit.

She's supposed to be an advocate for the protection of student athletes and coaches, and when it came down to it, to do the right thing, I was easier for her to save herself, to save the head coach and not to have to fire any of the male coaches because they were all together in the whole thing. And I was the one that was saying like this is inappropriate. This isn't right. We're in academic institution.

So all of that stuff was going on in Louisville, the same kind of stuff that was happening at Rutgers. It may look different but the principle is the same. And she didn't handle that. So I don't know why a university would think she's going to come in and clean up a mess.


TAPPER: Thank you, Mary. We called the University of Louisville for reaction to Mary Banker's assertions. And we received this statement, quote, "The Kentucky court of appeals ruling in Ms. Banker's case validates what we stated all along that the employment decision made in this case was based on performance and nothing else," unquote.

Mary Banker is appealing her case to the state Supreme Court.

We also reached out to Rutgers and they responded saying, "At no time was either Rutgers or Julie Hermann a named party in the action and the case was overturned on appeal by the Court of Appeals in Kentucky."

Still to come, an American woman being held on drug smuggling charges in Mexico has new hope. Why her lawyers think a videotape will set her free.

And it's like something out of Jurassic Park. Are we one step closer to bringing back the woolly mammoth?

Tonight's shout-out, follow that bird. This is surveillance video of an ostrich running through the streets of a city in southeast China. Its journey during rush hour was nearly four miles long.

Unfortunately, the ostrich was hit by two cars before finally being captured. It was then taken to a local zoo. Authorities are still trying to find out where the bird came from. The shout-out tonight goes out to those folks who desperately tried to chase the run away bird down.


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

We start tonight in China where the baby boy that was rescued from that sewer pipe has left the hospital. Baby 59 as he's been called was taken home by his maternal grandparents. I asked David McKenzie what he's learned about the baby's mother.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is the apartment building where the events unfolded that really captured the world's attention. A newborn baby boy stuck in a sewage pipe, had to be rescued by police and firefighters here in China.

Now, it seems now that boy has recovered miraculously, the hospital telling us that he's, in fact, gone home with the mother's parents.

The case of the mother -- new developments -- the police said they won't press charges most likely against her. And neighbors in this area say that this could have been a case of a young mother who was frightened and ashamed. Apparently, she had hidden the pregnancy from her parents and she didn't quite know what to do when she had those stomach pains and realized she was going to give birth. She rushed her landlord in this area and they then called the police.

Police and the hospital are asking for privacy for the parents and the family. At this stage it seems that this is more case of an ashamed and frightened woman -- Jake.


TAPPER: Out thanks to David.

Now we go to Russia where scientists have been able to extract liquid blood from a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth.

Phil Black is in Moscow. I asked him what scientists plan to do with the blood.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is not the first preserved mammoth to be recovered from some frozen region of Russia, nor is it the most intact specimen to be found. But, crucially, part of this 10,000-year-old female was so well-preserved the scientists who excavated it were able to recover a blood sample. It is the first known specimen of mammoth blood. The scientists say that is priceless, because of what they hope to do with it.

Like a story line from Jurassic Park, they say that blood represents the best chance yet of cloning a mammoth and bringing back to life that long extinct ancient species -- Jake.


TAPPER: Phil, thank you.

Now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's ahead on "A.C. 360" -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, I want a baby woolly mammoth. Do you think that's going to be possible, Jake?

TAPPER: You have a birthday coming up.

COOPER: That's right.

TAPPER: I just got a big raise. Things can happen.

COOPER: There you go.

TAPPER: Things can happen.

COOPER: Good to hear it.

We have breaking news on the program. Coming up at the top of the hour, more storm warnings across Oklahoma today, including the town of Moore which was so hit by the deadly tornado earlier this month. We're going to live to CNN's Chad Myers who is in the middle of it, chasing a storm with a possible tornado on the ground near him. Ominous weather, look at that.

Also, tonight, new virus out there in the family of SARS. Sixty percent of the cases that we know about have resulted in the infected person dying. It's some scary stuff. The World Health Organization calls it a threat to the entire world. We're going to speak to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how it started and what we know about it, how it actually spreads.

Also in crime and punishment tonight, she was a straight A student who is mysterious disappearance had law enforcement in the hometown of West Virginia baffled until a stunning admission from one of the girl's best friends solved the case and shocked the community. We will tell what you happened to Skylar Neese ahead on the program.

Those stories and tonight's "RidicuList" at the top of the hour -- Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson. Sounds like a great show.

And don't miss an "A.C. 360" special tomorrow night. CNN investigates the mysterious death of a Texas beauty queen and the alleged killer an ex-priest. "Beauty and the Priest" airs Friday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Our fifth story OUTFRONT tonight: new video evidence could help an American mom being held in a Mexican jail.


YANIRA MALDONADO, ARRESTED IN MEXICO: I'm not a criminal. I'm not a criminal. I'm just here by mistake.


TAPPER: Yanira Maldonado's attorney says surveillance video taken from this bus station proves that the mother of seven did not try to smuggle 12 pounds of marijuana into the United States. According to Mexican law, the judge must charge her by tomorrow or let her go.

Rafael Romo is OUTFRONT tonight.

Rafael, thanks for joining us.

You were in court when they played the surveillance video. What did the video show and what was the reaction?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it was the most dramatic day in court today. And that's because that was the most important piece of evidence that the defense wanted to introduce in the court. And essentially what the video shows is what the defense attorney has been saying all along. It shows Maldonados, both Yanira and her husband Gary, boarding a bus in the city of Los Mochis in Mexico, and they only have two blankets, a small purse and two bottles of water.

And what the defense attorney is trying to argue with this video is that it would have been impossible for the Maldonados to somehow hide as much as six kilos of marijuana in the blankets or in the purse. So, from the defense attorney's perspective, that is the nail -- that is the final nail in the coffin and he says that from his perspective, the case of the prosecution is crumbling at this point. So, a very important victory for the defense today, Jake.

TAPPER: What was the bus, who was the bus, where was the bus going, was it a tourist company?

ROMO: No, the Maldonados had traveled to a city south of Mexico because Yanira's aunt had died, so she attended her funeral. This was a very important woman in her life, somebody whom she told me helped raise her. So, she was very fond of her and she died last week.

They were coming back from the funeral and took the bus in the city that I mentioned before, Los Mochis. On their way back to the border, they got stopped at a military checkpoint and that's where soldiers found the drug, a little less than six kilos. A lot of drug to be carrying around in any case.

TAPPER: How likely does it now seem, based on this video evidence, that she was set up?

ROMO: Well, I asked the defense attorney that specific question and what he says is I am 100 percent confident that the judge is going to rule in our favor. Earlier this week, I had a conversation with a Mexican official who spoke to me on condition of anonymity and he said also it's very unlikely that somebody like Yanira Maldonado and her husband Gary would have been able to board the bus with that much marijuana and go unnoticed. So somebody would have been able to see either the bus driver or authorities somewhere in Mexico before getting to the checkpoint, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much.

Every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we like to call the OUTFRONT "Outtake." The mayor of Toronto, Canada, Rob Ford, has found himself at the center of a drug scandal after it was reported that a video exists showing him smoking from a crack pipe, and while the video has yet to surface, and no one can say for sure if the mayor actually took a hit that day, his office has taken a few hits this week.

Rob Ford announced at a press conference today that two more of his employees have resigned, bringing the number of staffers who have quit or been fired in the last seven days since the scandal broke to five. And yet despite the exodus, Mayor Ford insists it's still business as usual at Toronto city hall.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO, CANADA: I assure you that the work is being done, phone calls are being returned, e-mails are being responded to. I was elected to keep taxes low and reduce the size and cost of government, and that's exactly what I'm doing.


TAPPER: Say what you will about Mayor Ford. He really does seem committed to reducing the size of government. Just this week alone, his staff has shrunk from 17 to 12 people. Nice work.

OUTFRONT next, an amazing new idea. What if you never had to park your car ever again?


TAPPER: Parking. It's annoying and as the population swells, it's only going to get worse, right? Well, maybe not. One company has an idea that could take the pain out of parking and they're doing it with robots.


TAPPER (voice-over): Think this is scary? What about letting a robot park your car? The family who brought you some of the fastest roller coasters in the world is now bringing you this. The robot garage.

Now, don't get too excited. A robot won't be behind the wheel. Rather, the garage does the parking.

Take a look at how it works. First, you pull in and park on a large steel tray. Next, punch your code into a panel. The battery- powered robot then slides under the tray and lifts your vehicle two inches above the floor, moving it to an open parking space and in a touch worthy of Inspector Gadget, spins your car around and parks it.

President and founder of Boomerang, Chris Mulvihill, came up with the idea.

CHRIS MULVIHILL, PRESIDENT, BOOMERANG SYSTEMS: You don't have to remember where you parked. You don't have to worry about door dings.

TAPPER: Now, what you might be worried about is what happens if the robot breaks down.

MULVIHILL: A very low-level technician can come in and simply turn the bot off and push it into an empty space.

TAPPER: That's right. Move it aside and the other robots keep working. Similar technology has done well overseas, but robotic garages in the U.S. have only had moderate success, Mulvihill says, until now.

MULVIHILL: We've had people here from Bangkok. We've had people here from Australia, from Spain. We've had all kinds of consultants and engineers who have studied automated parking. Every one of them have said, wow, this totally changes what you can do with automated parking.

TAPPER: Even better, robots eliminate the need for humans to walk through empty garages alone.

MARK PATTERSON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BOOMERANG: Many bad things have happened in parking garages but the patron never has to be in the garage in an unsafe environment.

TAPPER: Mark Patterson is the CEO of Boomerang and has worked on Wall Street for more than 20 years, covering real estate. He says developers are starting to take notice.

PATTERSON: There's no question it's challenging because it is something new, something innovative, but the savings are so dramatic, the ability to gain great rewards from using a new system or having break-through technology versus the competitors is very powerful.


TAPPER: And "A.C. 360" starts right now.