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Foley Resignation Fallout; 15-Year-Old Student Kills Principal; Suspected Plot to Bomb Baghdad Green Zone; Republicans Join Ranks With Those Warning About Global Warming; Possible Injuries In Montreal Highway Overpass Collapse
Aired September 30, 2006 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: This breaking story just north of Montreal. A frightening scene right here. You're looking at a live pictures of an overpass that has simply collapsed.
You see some of the vehicles that were possibly on the overpass that have fallen now to the below highway. Well, these pictures are being brought from our affiliate WTVA out of Canada. The all news channel LCN is reporting that at least one vehicle may be trapped in the rubble and that five people have been injured.
The Quebec provincial police say the overpass on Boulevard de La Concord (ph) gave out early this afternoon, crashing on to Highway 19 below it. Emergency crews are on the scene. And as you can see, on that Highway 19, traffic is backed up while they try to get to a vehicle that may be underneath some of this debris and looking for any other people who may possibly be injured or trapped.
On to our other top stories.
Shocking allegations go before the House Ethics Committee. Congressman Mark Foley resigned abruptly yesterday amid reports that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages. Just hours later, the House asked its Ethics Committee to investigate.
We will have a full report coming up.
More than 150 people feared dead in the crash of a Brazilian airliner. The wreckage of the plane, a Boeing 737, has been spotted in the Amazon jungle. Rescue teams are trying to reach the site, but authorities say it's unlikely anyone could have survived that crash.
A security clampdown in Iraq and an alleged plot to bomb Baghdad's Green Zone. Authorities have arrested a suspected al Qaeda terrorist who was working as a bodyguard. The Green Zone is the heavily fortified home to the Iraqi government and to the U.S. Embassy.
A curfew has been imposed in Baghdad as of late yesterday. Well, now it's been eased. The government first banned both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Now the pedestrian ban has been suspended until 11:00 p.m. Baghdad time so Muslims observing Ramadan can leave their homes to pray. The traffic ban, however, remains in effect.
Israel is apparently moving out. The Associated Press quotes Israeli defense officials as saying Israeli troops hope to be out of Lebanon by tomorrow morning. The pullout is one condition of last month's Middle East cease-fire which ended fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.
And welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Ahead this hour, an ethics scandal sweeps Capitol Hill with the election right around the corner. What's next for a popular congressman and his party after he suddenly resigns?
Also, more on that major security clampdown in Baghdad. A full report coming up.
And she's a popular politician who suspected her husband of cheating. Now she's under investigation for planning to spy on him. Our legal eagles tell us if she could really end up in big trouble.
But first to our top story.
What a way to wind things up. Congress began its pre-election recess today. But as members return home to campaign for re-election, almost no one was talking about the bills they passed. Instead, they're talking about the scandal that surfaced just hours before adjournment when Republican Congressman Mark Foley made a stunning announcement.
CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Congressman Mark Foley's resignation was abrupt. "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent," said Foley in a short written statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what purpose does the gentleman from Florida rise?
BASH: The six-term Republican and member of the GOP leadership made no mention of his e-mails with a former male congressional page or concerns, according to GOP sources close to Foley, that devastating information was about to become public. Hours later, it did.
ABC News reported a number of sexually graphic instant messages between Foley and male congressional pages, using his personal screen name, Maf54.
"What are you wearing?" he asked in one. "T-shirt and shorts," the teen replied. "Love to slip them off you," Foley allegedly said.
And in another, Foley asked, "Do I make you a little horny?" "A little," said the teen. "Cool," replied Foley. A GOP leadership aide tells CNN as soon as ABC confronted Foley's office with the explicit messages, he knew he had to quit. There was no immediate response from Foley's office to those alleged messages. But a spokesman confirmed to CNN that Foley did have five e-mail exchanges last year with a 16-year-old page, asking him, "How old are you?" in one. And in another, he asks the young man to "send me a pic of you as well."
The young man forwarded that e-mail, according to a government watchdog group that posted it online, to a congressional staffer, writing the word "sick" 13 times. The group's director sent it to the House Ethics Committee and the FBI.
MELANIE SLOAN, ETHICS WATCHDOG: Because Representative Foley was using a personal e-mail account to send the page e-mails -- the former page e-mails, and the young man was clearly made very uncomfortable by the e-mails, we thought it was a matter appropriate for the House Ethics Committee to investigate.
BASH: Law enforcement sources won't comment, but there is no indication at this point of any criminal probe. And it is unclear how the House Ethics Committee proceeded.
Foley's resignation sent shock waves through the Capitol. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was visibly angry.
HASTERT: I've asked John Shimkus, who is head of the page board, to look into this issue regarding Congressman Foley. We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe.
QUESTION: How disturbing is this?
HASTERT: Well, none of us are very happy about it.
BASH: Yet at least one member of the GOP leadership and the Congressional Page Board knew almost a year ago about Foley's e-mail asking the teenager for his picture. According to Congressman John Shimkus, the head of the board, they confronted Foley, who insisted that "Nothing inappropriate had occurred."
The board ordered Foley to cease all contact with the former page, then dropped the matter.
(on camera): What makes this all the more troubling that Congressman Foley was co-chair of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus and was responsible for writing the most recent legislation to crack down on Internet predators.
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
WHITFIELD: The lawmaker in charge of the House page program says he became concerned about an e-mail exchange between Mark Foley and the former House page last year after Hurricane Katrina. Congressman John Shimkus says at the time Foley told him he was simply acting as a mentor to the boy and was concerned about his well being.
In this statement, Shimkus says, "It has become clear to me today based on information I only now have learned that Congressman Foley was not honest about his conduct. As chairman of the House Page Board, I am working with the clerk to fully review this incident and determine what actions need to be taken."
So who is Mark Foley? The former Republican congressman represented Florida's 16th congressional district which includes West Palm Beach. He was first elected back in 1994 and he was co-chairman of the House Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.
His professional biography says he's single and was seeking his seventh term in Congress. The Democratic challenger now facing better odds in November is Tim Mahoney.
Well, not surprisingly, the Mahoney campaign is drawing new interest from national Democrats. Senator John Kerry is campaigning with Mahoney today. Mahoney was considered a long shot. Now Democrats think they have a good shot at taking over Foley's seat.
And we'll take a closer look at the politics surrounding Mark Foley's resignation in about 25 minutes when we talk with NPR political editor Ken Rudin.
Well perhaps you can't get enough of the Mark Foley story? Still much more on the Web at CNN.com.
And now a top story we're following right now. You're looking at live pictures right now coming out of Montreal. That picture shows kind of the backup that has resulted from an overpass which has collapsed on to the road beneath it, which means you can see the remnants of some vehicles who -- which crashed down into the ground. But we understand that according to the "Montreal Gazette," three cars and a motorcycle may be trapped underneath all of this concrete rubble.
This taking place at De La Concord Boulevard, just over Highway 19. Of course, Highway 19 blocked in both directions right now while you see in these pictures emergency crews are responding and trying to figure out a way to remove a lot of that concrete to try to get to any persons that may be trapped in those vehicles and possibly at least one motorcycle.
Of course, when we get more information about this, we'll be able to bring it to you.
And now live pictures out of Colorado, where in a small mountain community people are mourning as they remember Emily Keyes. She's the teenager who was shot to death during a standoff at the local high school there. Memorial services are under way, as you see in those live pictures.
Keyes was killed Wednesday by a gunman who had taken Keyes and five other female students hostage. The gunman shot Keyes and then himself when a SWAT team moved in. Well also rattled, a tiny community in Wisconsin. They're in mourning after a fatal shooting at the high school there. A 15-year- old student is accused of gunning down the school's principal.
More details now from CNN's John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was supposed to be the start of homecoming weekend for the students of Weston High School in Cazenovia, Wisconsin.
But the annual celebration in this rural town 70 miles northwest of Madison was over before it even began.
CAPTAIN RICHARD MEISTER, SAUK COUNTY, WISCONSIN, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: A Weston High School custodian observed a 15-year-old student enter the high school carrying a shotgun.
ROBERTS: It was doing homeroom, just after 8:00 in the morning, that police say ninth-grader Eric Hainstock came down the main corridor.
The custodian saw him, grabbed the shotgun, and, all on his own, wrestled Hainstock to the ground. The custodian got the gun, but Hainstock got away with a concealed pistol. That's when the principal, John Klang, a popular 20-year veteran, confronted him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard about three gun firings happening.
ROBERTS: Hainstock allegedly shot Klang in the head, chest and leg.
TERRY MILFRED, WESTON SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: He was injured because he was trying to maintain -- maintain control and protect the students and staff at Weston, all of whom are -- who are grateful and safe as a result of his efforts.
ROBERTS: Hainstock was facing probable suspension for having tobacco at school, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
But he also told police after the shooting that other students had been bullying and ridiculing him, and said teachers did nothing about it. So, he told police he decided to confront the students and teachers and principals with the guns, and make them listen to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he went there to get their attention.
ROBERTS: It was the second tragedy of the day at this tiny rural school with just about 100 students. Earlier, another student had been killed in a car wreck on the way to school. That was upsetting enough. But the shooting, well, that was something students in this quiet community couldn't even conceive of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just can't believe some kid would do that to a teacher or the principal. It was a troubled kid, and he just didn't have a right to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it wasn't for Mr. Klang, we don't how many people would have been shot.
ROBERTS: Klang gave his life for protecting the students, and for that he is being hailed as a hero.
John Roberts, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: And by law, the streets of Baghdad should be empty this weekend. Straight ahead, we'll get a report from the Iraqi capital about what exactly is go on.
Plus, a new book claims to have an insider's look at the Bush administration's in-fighting over the Iraqi war. We'll hear from some of the players.
And later, should protests be allowed at military funerals?
WHITFIELD: This breaking story we continue to follow near Montreal. Trying to get to possibly three vehicles and a motorcycle that may be trapped under a huge concrete section of a highway overpass that simply collapsed at about 12:30 earlier today.
Rescue crews, emergency crews are on the scene trying to get to these folks that may be in trapped vehicles and a motorcycle. This taking place at the De La Concord Boulevard over Highway 19.
More information as we get it.
Meantime, here are some of the most popular stories right now on CNN.com.
Lawyers say Michael Jackson and his ex-wife Deborah Rowe have settled a long battle over custody and visitation rights for their two children. Rowe had relinquished all of her parental rights to the kids but said she changed her mind after Jackson was arrested on child molestation charges back in 2003. A judge will now have to sign off on this proposed new deal.
The Brazilian plane crash is also getting lots of Internet hits. Relatives are waiting for information on the fate of 155 people on board the jetliner. Pilots have spotted the wreckage of the Boeing 737 and authorities say rescue teams are trying to reach it in a dense rainforest. They believe there may be no survivors.
And another big story, Bob Woodward's upcoming book, "State of Denial." One of its claims, that former White House chief of staff Andrew Card wanted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fired, and that first lady Laura Bush wanted him out as well.
The type of insurgent tactics we see in Iraq are now being used in Afghanistan. A suicide bomber at a crowded shopping area in Kabul killed at least 13 people this morning. It was the capital's fifth suicide bombing this month.
The U.S. military says Al Qaeda in Iraq may have been in the final stages of a plot to bomb Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. That's the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq's government. This, as a curfew is now in place across the Iraqi capital.
CNN's Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The announcement came pretty much as a surprise to everyone. It came very late Friday night on state- owned Al Iraqiya television.
The Iraqi government announcing both a vehicle and pedestrian ban that went into effect at 11:00 p.m. on Friday to last until 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. The government did, however, lift the ban for a few hours Saturday evening to allow worshipers to go to the mosque to pray. This is the holy month of Ramadan.
The U.S. military said that it did advise the Iraqi government to put a curfew into place. However, it was the Iraqi government's decision to then act upon that.
They say that it is because in the last two weeks we have seen an increase in attacks and especially in the last week an increase in suicide attacks. All of this is part of an effort to bring the violence, especially in the capital of Baghdad, under control.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has announced that it foiled a major terror plot that involved multiple suicide car bombings, as well as possibly suicide vests against Baghdad's international zone. They say that they detained a suspect, a man believed to be part of this terror cell that was going to be carrying out this attack at the residence of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician here.
He was one of Mr. Dulaimi's bodyguards. However, the U.S. military said that Mr. Dulaimi was not involved in this attack, that he was not the target of the operation.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
WHITFIELD: Well, more now on this story we're following near Montreal. You're looking right now at live pictures.
A huge section of a concrete overpass of highway -- now as we widen out the shot -- simply collapsed. And you're see something vehicles below.
Well, apparently, at least three vehicles and a motorcycle are trapped. Five people have been taken to the hospital with injuries. And now rescue workers are trying to get to those other vehicles trapped, possibly to free, rescue any other people that might be trapped inside.
We'll continue to follow that story.
Meantime, Bob Woodward, he's ruffling feathers again inside the Bush administration. We'll tell you why he has so many people upset.
And one of the candidates running for attorney general in New York wanted to know if her husband was cheating. Did she break the law as part of her own investigation?
Our legal team weighs in later.
WHITFIELD: Could it really be happening, Republicans joining the ranks of those ringing the alarm bell about global warming? The answer is a resounding yes, up to a point.
Miles O'Brien has the story in our planet segment.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): No question there is a political climate change inside the Republican Party. Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco announcing with great fanfare a California law to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, at the root of global warming.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: California leads the way on one of the most important issues that are facing our time, which is the fight against global warming.
O'BRIEN: But some Republicans are fighting a different battle. Listen to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Now, I'm going to speak today about the most media-hyped environmental issue of all time, and it's the word that gets everybody upset when you say it and the word that many -- or the phrase that many politicians are afraid to say, and that is global warming.
O'BRIEN: It's not new ground for Oklahoma's senior senator. Jim Inhofe has repeatedly called global warming a hoax. Despite a steady stream of stark evidence, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, the warmest temperatures in 12,000 years, the senator is not convinced.
INHOFE: During the past year the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media.
O'BRIEN: In a 45-minute speech on the Senate floor, he voiced skepticism over this graph called "the hockey stick." Despite some flaws, most climate scientists consider it the best depiction of global warming. Inhofe says there is evidence that the Antarctic is actually cooling, even though most scientific findings suggest the contrary and point to the loss of major chunks of ice sheets and shelves. And he says the polar bears of the arctic are thriving, even though the world's two most influential wildlife protection agencies say they're veering toward endangered status.
Inhofe is all but alone on Capitol Hill these days. Most Republicans believe the scientific jury is in.
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: We have seen too much documentation to know that the world is getting warmer. We know that the ice shelves are melting. And for him to say otherwise just is like putting a bag over his head and not seeing it.
INHOFE: The American people know when their intelligence is being insulted. They know when they're being used and when they're being duped by the hysterical left.
O'BRIEN: Hysterical left? Don't tell that to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The middle ground on climate change is shifting.
SHAYS: In the last few years, this administration isn't trying to be on both sides of the issue. They are clearly in the camp that said global warming is for real. They are clearly trying to deal with it.
O'BRIEN: Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: President Bush used his weekly radio address to defend the war in Iraq. But a new book by journalist Bob Woodward is adding to criticism of the way the war has been conducted.
CNN's Mary Snow reports.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld comes under heavy fire within the Bush administration and according to Bob Woodward there were attempts to get him fired. In "State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III," Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was about to leave the administration, is quoted as telling then White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, "If I go, Don should go."
Woodward reports Card tried twice to persuade the president to fire Rumsfeld but the president refused. A fact a senior White House official confirmed to CNN. While in Slovenia Friday, Rumsfeld was asked about the book and generally dismissed it.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I haven't seen the book. I haven't read his first two books yet either, so...
(CROSSTALK) RUMSFELD: ... I wouldn't hold your breath on this one.
SNOW: As an example of the friction inside the Bush inner circle, Woodward says that the president had to tell Rumsfeld at one point to return calls from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I know you won't talk to Condi, but you've got to talk to her.
The White House quotes Rice as saying that's ridiculous. Perhaps the most damaging claim that the administration is not being u front about the level of violence in Iraq. In an interview airing Sunday, Woodward tells CBS' "60 Minutes" there's intelligence that the violence is expected to get worse in 2007.
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "STATE OF DENIAL": In public you have the president and you have the Pentagon saying oh no, things are going to get better. No. There's public and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret.
SNOW: The book says there are attacks on coalition forces every 15 minutes. White House spokesman Tony Snow said he not authorized to talk about classified information but replied...
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president contrary to the assertion was not in fact painting a rose colored picture. He's been saying that it's a tough war. It's a long war. It's a war that's going to outlive his presidency.
SNOW: And on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, Woodward says that Vice President Dick Cheney was so involved in the search for WMD in Iraq that he called chief weapons inspector David Kay with specific satellite coordinates.
Woodward writes, "Cheney was acting as a kind of super- investigator, trying to ferret out the elusive WMD," Kay concluded. "But there were always loose ends in intelligence, disparate bits of information that could lead to all kinds of wild conclusions. It continued to remind Kay of the blockbuster novel 'The Da Vinci Code'."
WHITFIELD: And Monday night, Bob Woodward discuss his new book, "State of Denial," with Larry on "LARRY KING LIVE". And you can catch that at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Ahead, more on the stunning news of a U.S. congressman resigning because of messages he sent to teenagers while he was working on Capitol Hill.
And are you looking for the ultimate in customized ring tones? We'll have some tips for you in today's "Techno File."
VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Losing 20 pounds or quitting smoking can do wonders for your health. But it can also help you save money. Healthier people often have fewer out-of-pocket healthcare costs than lower insurance premiums. The key to changing your health habits? Small steps, like using two percent or skim milk instead of whole.
Take free help from your employer. Many companies offer "quit smoking" clinics, weight loss seminars and gym discounts. If you do it now, your heart and your bank account will be in better shape. For more ideas, pick up "Money" magazine or online at CNNmoney.com.
I'm Valerie Morris.
WHITFIELD: Half past the hour, now in the news. We want to show you these live pictures right now just near Montreal in Laval, Quebec. Emergency crews are at the scene of a collapsed overpass. Reports say at least three vehicles are trapped in the rubble and at least five people have been injured. The area is just north of Montreal.
A troubling matter is now before the House Ethics Committee. The House asked the panel to investigate former Congressman Mark Foley and some sexually explicit e-mails he allegedly sent to teenaged male pages. Foley, a Florida Republican, abruptly resigned yesterday.
A Colorado community in mourning as it remembers this young lady, Emily Keyes. She's the teenager who was shot to death at a local high school there. Memorial services are taking place today. Keyes was killed by a gunman who had taken her and five other female students hostage. The gunman shot Keyes and then killed himself when a SWAT team moved in.
Brazilian pilots have spotted the wreckage of a Boeing jetliner that went down yesterday with 155 people on board. The crash site is deep in the Amazon jungle. Right now, rescue crews are trying to reach the site. Authorities say they don't believe anyone may have survived that crash.
Well, shaking the political scene, a congressional scandal that could reverberate into November. The abrupt resignation of Florida Congressman Mark Foley has Republicans working damage control. The House of Representatives wants an ethics investigation into e-mail Foley allegedly sent to a teenage boy, a former congressional page.
Foley says he did nothing inappropriate. He has apologized to his family and to his constituents. Republicans sources tell CNN Foley's resignation was prompted in part by concerns that other more graphic e-mail exchanges with pages might be revealed.
Well, the lawmaker in charge of the House page program says he became concerned about an e-mail exchange between Mark Foley and the former House page last year after Hurricane Katrina. Congressman John Shimkus says that, at the time, Foley told him he was simply acting as a mentor to the boy and was concerned about his well-being. In a statement released last night, Shimkus says, quote, "It has become clear to me today based on information I only now have learned that Congressman Foley was not honest about his conduct. As chairman of the House Page Board, I'm working with the clerk to fully review this incident and determine what actions need to be taken."
Foley represented Florida's 16th District, which includes Palm Beach. He was considered a shoo-in in the November elections. Now things are looking up for his Democratic opponent, Tim Mahoney.
Joining me from Washington to talk about the political fallout, Ken Rudin, political editor for the National Public Radio. Good to see you, Ken.
KEN RUDIN, NPR POLITICAL EDITOR: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. I don't know what is more outrageous, the fact that you have got these allegations of these e-mails, of this kind of inappropriate discussions between the Congressman and this -- at the time -- 16-year-old, or that at least three other Congressmen knew about it, didn't say anything about getting to the bottom of this, and now there is an Ethics Committee looking into it?
RUDIN: Well, actually I think you're raising exactly the right point. Mark Foley may be old news by now, the fact that he resigned from Congress yesterday. But the Democrats are really concerned about who in the Republican Party leadership knew about this, when did they know about it and what was done about it. And apparently not much.
WHITFIELD: And how could that be? I mean, how is anyone going to be able to answer to that when we're talking about Mark Foley being one who helped bring about legislation, stiffer legislation, to try to go after predators who are trolling for young people on the Internet, and now apparently he may allegedly be one who has perfected it himself?
RUDIN: Well, that's the ultimate irony and the saddest thing of all, the fact that he was the chairman of the missing and -- the Caucus of Missing and Exploited Children, and as you say, to protect these young people, and the pages from being exploited by predators, especially online.
But the fact is, is that when some members of the Republican leadership found out about this last year, they did not go to the Ethics Committee. They went to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee as if this was a campaign matter and not an ethics matter.
And the fact is, is that it is interesting like, 37, 38 days before the November election is when finally Foley leaves office. And the Republicans now find themselves in a real pickle because they only -- the Democrats only need 15 seats to pick up control of the Congress. And now with Foley, it may make their task a little easier.
WHITFIELD: And here now the last day of September, maybe this is the October surprise that some folks were anticipating to kind of stir things up in the congressional races. Ken Rudin of the NPR, thanks so much.
RUDIN: Thanks, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: We've got another breaking story we're continuing to follow just near Montreal. This being Laval, Quebec. You're looking at the live pictures right now of an overpass, a concrete overpass, a huge section that simply collapsed. And we believe, according to police reports, that there are several vehicles that are trapped underneath.
Genevieve Beauchemin is a reporter for CTV and joins us over the phone right now. Genevieve, what do you understand has happened?
GENEVIEVE BEAUCHEMIN, REPORTER/CTV: Well, exactly -- witnesses actually describe it as a house of cards that went down as the overpass collapsed, and five people have been taken to hospitals so far, three of them in critical condition, two others are in stable condition.
And firefighters and police don't know how many people are trapped underneath. Firefighters at the beginning were able to get underground to see a little bit of who was inside and they believe that they did see two people in a car, but then had to retreat because of fears that the overpass might collapse further.
And so now firefighters -- there are several firefighter on the scene, ambulances, just trying to see what can be done for the people who, as I say, are trapped inside.
WHITFIELD: Now, Genevieve, earlier we saw some really sizable equipment being brought in. Perhaps to help lift some of those concrete chunks. Talk to me about the precautions the concerns that they have in trying to move some of this concrete while they're trying to get to any potentially injured people.
BEAUCHEMIN: Absolutely. There have been cranes that have been brought over to try to move those things and they are -- they do fear that there could be further collapse. This is something that happened about an hour-and-a-half ago, but since then, they haven't been able to make their way.
There have been special teams that are making their way and trying to get to those people, but they fear that the structure is still very unstable. So as you say, a lot of heavy equipment brought in to try to lift as carefully as possible so that there's no further collapse and no further injuries to the people who are trapped inside.
WHITFIELD: So, Genevieve, this is not a new structure, right? This is one that has been standing for a long time. Is there concern now that the other side might be just as weakened as this side that collapsed?
BEAUCHEMIN: Absolutely. They're keeping a large perimeter of people away for quite a distance. And this is not a new structure, as you say. Back in 2000, there was, in the same city of Laval, which as you say, is near Montreal, there was another overpass that collapsed.
And at the time, a person was killed and two others were injured. But that was a new structure that was under construction. So this is another situation altogether, an old structure dating back quite a few years which has collapsed.
WHITFIELD: Have you had a chance to talk to any of the other passersby, folks in their other vehicles which, according to wires, report that they put on their brakes as soon as they saw some of the vehicles careening down after this overpass collapsed?
BEAUCHEMIN: I haven't, but I do know that several people were saying that they were just -- they said it could have been them, that there were a lot of emotions from people that were driving nearby, that they said they were about a few seconds away from being trapped in that -- the wreckage there, that they saw -- that this was happening right in front of their eyes.
And as I said before, some of them were describing it as something that was incredible as they saw this collapse, like I said, a house of cards. And they felt relieved that it wasn't them, but quite concerned for the people who may be trapped inside.
WHITFIELD: All right, Genevieve Beauchemin, thanks so much, a reporter with CTV for that live report there coming out of Laval, Quebec, as investigators try to figure out the safest, most delicate way of removing these huge chunks of concrete to get to any possible survivors trapped underneath. We'll have more than throughout the day.
Also, straight ahead, should you be allowed to protest at a military funeral? Our legal team takes up that rather controversial court ruling that says yes.
But first, when your cell phone rings, you want to stand out from a crowd, right? Well, how about creating your own personalized ring tone?
Dan Sieberg shows you how in our "Techno File" report.
DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: In your quest to have your cell phone or PDA stand out in a crowd, how would you like to learn how to personalize your ringtones?
Joining us now to talk about making your own is Brian Cooley, editor at large with CNET. So, Brian, first of all, how easy is it to do this?
BRIAN COOLEY, EDITOR AT LARGE, CNET.NET: Not hard at all. Most of us have a large library of MP3s today. You can take little pieces of those and turn those into ringtones and save buying them at $1 $2, $3 a pop. So here's a program that does it. It's from a company called MAGIX. It's called Ringtone Maker. It's one of the good ones. I've taken a piece of music and I've dragged it down here in this cutting window so I can select my little piece. I use these markers to create this red region, which is the part that I want to make a ringtone out of, and I hit this button called simulate ringtone just to check it. And that lets me know what is going to play and what it is going to sound like. And it sounds pretty good.
So now have I have already done the research on my phone. I know that my phone, for example, will use an MP3 ringtone so I save this little clip as an MP3. It saves it to my computer and that's going to give me the file on my machine.
Then I have to transfer that ringtone to my phone. You synchronize your phone to your computer. Most modern phones today can do that. And then you go look at your phone and see if you've got the file. There it is. Now I'll play it here.
SIEBERG: Wow. So you can that with virtually any song you've got in your library?
COOLEY: Any song will easily cut down like that. Now, hopefully it's a song you own legally and didn't steal to begin with.
SIEBERG: Right. Paid for, right.
COOLEY: And then I think you're on pretty stable legal footing. But this is a great way to build a library of ringtones without having to go buy them all afresh.
SIEBERG: All right, sounds good. Brian Cooley, editor at large of CNET. We appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: We'll start our "Legal Briefs" today with an issue that may make your blood boil. You remember that church group from Topeka that goes around the country protesting at military funerals? Well, they say troop deaths are God's punishment for America tolerating homosexuality.
Well, a judge in Kentucky suspended a ban against protesting within 300 feet of those funerals. She said that distance is too far and could restrict the free speech of the general public. Today in Kentucky, church members faced off against flag waving demonstrators at the funeral of a National Guard soldier who was killed in Iraq.
Let's see what our legal experts have to say about all this. Avery Friedman is a civil rights attorney and law professor. Good to see you, Avery.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman is a New York criminal defense attorney. Good to see you as well, Richard.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, so Avery, let me begin with you. So this is a free speech issue?
FRIEDMAN: You bet.
FRIEDMAN: This is a classic confrontation in terms of the First Amendment and you know what? What is unbelievable to me is that 18 years ago, Fredricka, the U.S. Supreme Court said that when it comes to protests, you cannot have 300 foot barriers.
And what does Kentucky do? They pass a law trying to protect the dignity of these funerals from these whackjobs out of Topeka and they create a 300 foot barrier. The law has to be unconstitutional, and in a very conservative decision, U.S. district judge Karen Caldwell said you what? You're going to have to go back to the drawing board to do it right.
WHITFIELD: But then, Richard, it also seems like it is a right to privacy issue, that those proposing this 300 foot barrier are saying doesn't someone have the right to be able to mourn in privacy, bury their loved ones?
HERMAN: Well, Fred, the First Amendment is so powerful in the United States and the rights -- the attempts to curtail those rights are scrutinized so intently. But I got to tell you, I heard they make great moonshine in Kentucky or great bourbon down there and I think Judge Caldwell may be sniffing at that jug. It is outrageous.
You cannot go into a movie theater and yell fire, fire. You can't do that. That's free speech. You can't do that, and you should not be allowed to have these ridiculous, outrageous protests at funerals and cemeteries when people are mourning the death of their loved ones. It is absolutely outrageous and they certainly could carve an exception and 300 feet or 299 feet should not be a problem. It is outrageous.
WHITFIELD: Because, Avery, it does seem like universally accepted that this is sacred ground. I mean, this is, you know, a private ceremony to honor a loved one. Why shouldn't there be restrictions about disrupting it?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I don't know if Richard and I read the same opinion. But Judge Caldwell said that exactly. What she explained is that, look at, this is a captive audience. These are people that are entitled to privacy, entitled to dignity.
But the legislature has to make sure it employs the least invasive way of doing it, that is, these people have the right to their privacy because they're a captive audience. But 300 feet is wrong. It's not moonshine. It's not bourbon. It's a correct decision and it's time for the legislature to do it right.
HERMAN: It is not a correct decision.
WHITFIELD: Well, it sounds like this one is probably not over even though this is a federal court judge.
FRIEDMAN: Well, you're right.
WHITFIELD: Well, let's go onto politics, possible sex, thoughts of spying. Jeanine Pirro is running for state attorney general of New York, but she's also under investigation now. She's accused of helping to plan to bug the family boat to secretly record her husband to see if he was having an affair.
Of course, she never went through with the plan, but just simply, I guess, conspiring to carry out this plan means that Jeanine Pirro, Richard, may be in some deep doo?
HERMAN: Well, she is in deep doo. She's running for the state attorney general's post in New York States.
WHITFIELD: Yes, highest, right.
HERMAN: That's the highest post for a legal official. It is outrageous for her to say righteous indignation over this case here.
WHITFIELD: But at the same time, I bet you a whole lot of folks are saying, wait a minute, you know, I can understand my spouse may be cheating on me, I want to hire someone to find out if it is really true before I confront this person. A lot of people do it.
HERMAN: Her spouse had a -- her husband had a child out of wedlock. This is known. This is like ...
WHITFIELD: You're saying because of precedence ...
HERMAN: Everyone knows this. And she knows it too. She said I've stayed married because my husband is a good father. So why is she trying it bug him illegally? Bernard Kerik was a disgraced representative ...
WHITFIELD: But, Avery, Is it still considered illegal when it is like common property? I mean, it's their boat together, right?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, let's get to the legal issue. The legal issue is in 1968, the Congress enacted a law that provided for civil and criminal penalties if you conspire to engage in a certain kind of wiretap.
The behavior involved in -- if it is true, between Miss Pirro and Mr. Kerik, the former police commissioner, believe it or not of New York City ...
WHITFIELD: Right, Bernie Kerik.
FRIEDMAN: ...in conspiring to do this may very well be a violation of federal law. So, again, I'm not sure -- I understand what the controversy is. She shouldn't be treated any differently than anyone else.
WHITFIELD: So are you thinking fines or potentially even jail time?
FRIEDMAN: People go to jail. I can tell you, I've been involved in these cases, involving individuals who think, hey, it is my home, it's my property, so they put a bug device in. Unless you're participating, you got a problem and she doesn't have the right to stand in any better position than Americans who get prosecuted for these crimes every day of the year.
WHITFIELD: And, Richard, I don't even think she's denied that part, right?
HERMAN: Right, but if there is one overt act to support this conspiracy, she's going to get indicted. She's a federal target right now. And, you know, she's claimed this is an unethical, overzealous prosecutor. I got clients at the MCC and the MDC, they would say the same thing when they get made targets and they get charges brought against them. It is outrageous.
WHITFIELD: I'm sorry, guys. I knew this was going to get you going, but we're so out of time.
HERMAN: This is a great one.
FRIEDMAN: This is a great one.
WHITFIELD: It is not over. We're going to be talking about it again.
FRIEDMAN: We'll talk about it.
WHITFIELD: Richard and Avery, thanks so much.
FRIEDMAN: Nice to see you.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you.
FRIEDMAN: Take care.
WHITFIELD: And, of course, we're going to continue to watch the breaking story out of Laval, Quebec, there, with a collapsed overpass, possibly people trapped. More when we come right back.
WHITFIELD: More reaction now to six-term Congressman Mark Foley's resignation over inappropriate e-mails being sent to a 16- year-old page. From the White House, spokesman Blaine Rethmeier is now saying, quote, "We're surprised and disappointed by the news and understand these allegations are being investigated by House leadership and that Congressman Foley has offered his resignation. We have confidence that the White House" -- or rather, "that the House of Representatives will address this matter appropriately," end quote, that statement coming from the White House now in response to the resignation of Congressman Mark Foley.
Ahead in the next hour, "CNN PRESENTS: THE TOWN THAT FOUGHT BACK."
And at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, find out how you can fight the dangers of transfats. A check of the day's headlines is next and then "CNN PRESENTS."
RUSSELL SIMMONS, PRES. & CEO, RUSH COMM.: I was inspired by the whole hip-hop culture. You know, I was always like a servant to the culture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Russell Simmons helped to cultivate hip-hop's growing success as co-creator of Def Jam Records, propelling the careers of artists like the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. As founder of Rush Communications, he's also developed Phat Fashions to dress up the hip-hop lifestyle.
SIMMONS: The real success is when you can find that the work is really a benefit to others.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Simmons is also an activist for social change. He serves as chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network an organization that promotes voting and confronts issue like poverty and injustice.
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