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TB Traveler Testifies Before Congress; Tension Growing Between Russia, U.S.; Man Tries to Jump on Pope's Car; Family Works to Free Student Jailed on Sex Charges
Aired June 06, 2007 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: As far as I knew, from my medical advice, and I don't think anyone is going to get up in front of you today and tell you otherwise, I was clearly told I was not contagious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Via speakerphone, Andrew Speaker to a panel of stone-faced senators and doctors on Capitol Hill.
ROB MARCIANO, CO-HOST: At issue? Was he a threat to public health? How could he fly to Greece and back with a drug-resistant strain of TB.
Hello, I'm Rob Marciano at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Don Lemon is on assignment in India.
PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
First up at the top of the hour, we just couldn't pass this up. Video of the day, no doubt. An interloper trying to jump on the Popemobile. Pope Benedict doesn't even seem to notice the German man trying to trespass against him. His bodyguards aren't so forgiving. We're going to have much more from CNN's Alessio Vinci in Rome later in the newscast.
MARCIANO: Back to the U.S. Who knew what, when? That's the focus of two congressional hearings this hour as the case of the globe-trotting TB patient has federal health officials under the microscope on Capitol Hill.
You're now looking at live pictures of one of the hearings. Andrew Speaker has been testifying by phone before both committees throughout the morning.
A lot of time and attention has been spent establishing the timeline and clarifying the rules. Speaker says May 10 was pivotal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER: I had the much-discussed meeting on May 10. At that point, on May 10, CDC was aware of my travel plans. While it may not have been communicated up the chain of command, that's -- that's not something I'm really privy, too. But I know that not just my father- in-law but numerous people at the CDC knew of the travel plans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARCIANO: Speaker says doctors told him he wasn't contagious, and they didn't order him to stay in the U.S. for treatment. But that's not all Speaker said, and today's testimony quickly turned into a case of he said, they said.
CNN's Brianna Keilar joins us now from Washington with more on that. What else have you learned today, Brianna?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Speaker said health officials in his county told him that they preferred he not travel, but Speaker told a congressional subcommittee that he'd also been told he wasn't contagious, that he wasn't a threat to other people.
So also the question being why did Speaker fly from Canada -- to Canada, rather, from Europe and enter the U.S. by car, instead of seeking treatment there in Italy where he was?
Well, he told Congress that he feared he would be in Italy indefinitely for treatment, because the CDC could provide him no assistance in returning to the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER: I was told that the only option -- by my father had been called earlier that day and told that -- and her father had been called early that day. And they'd both been told the only option was for them to raise the money to get me home. And I was told that if I didn't come up with -- their estimates were up to $140,000 to get myself home, I would have to stay there and be treated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC said that the CDC was looking at many options, including an air ambulance, military transport and using a CDC airplane. But not all of these options were available or safe.
And in the end, the efforts of the CDC were moot, since Speaker headed back to the U.S. on his home.
In retrospect, though, Gerberding said the agency should have acted sooner, that they failed to take forceful legal action, but she also stressed the CDC did everything they could to track Speaker down in Europe, once they realized that his TB was extremely drug resistant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JULIE GERBERDING, CDC DIRECTOR: They were contacting the patient's family. They were searching the Internet for information. And where were weddings held in Greece? Where could this patient possibly be? They were on a detective hunt to try to figure out did he leave the country? Is he in Georgia? Did he go someplace else? Did he elope? Where was this patient and what was his status?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Gerberding said it was very understandable that Speaker was frightened by the news that he had this extreme form of TB, since he was out of his home country. But she said she was also surprised, Rob, that he disregarded what the CDC advised and headed back to the U.S., because she said usually patients cooperate.
MARCIANO: Brianna, we love to point fingers in these sort of cases. Is anybody accepting full blame for this?
KEILAR: Well, we did hear from Gerberding. As she said they should have taken action sooner. But you know something that was interesting that we heard from the Fulton County Health Department.
The representative from that health department said that their hands were really tied, that they really have to wait for a patient to not go with the action that's recommended, that they really would have had to wait for Speaker to travel, even though they recommended against it. Because the law ties their hands. They can't sort of preempt him on something like that.
MARCIANO: Fair enough. Brianna Keilar live for us in Washington. Thank you, Brianna.
PHILLIPS: Well, of special concern: how Speaker was able to get back into the U.S. after a computer alert instructed guards to stop him at the border. Many blame the guard who took it on himself to let Speaker cross. But at least one higher-up thinks someone else is at fault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAN LUNGREN (R), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Speaker is the person who bears the initial responsibility for here, and I would have to disagree with you, Doctor, to say he had compelling reasons not to follow advice.
He had self-absorbed reasons. He wanted to have his wedding in Europe. His first response, as reported in the press, is, "I'm an intelligent, well-educated person." Well, evidently intelligence and good education doesn't give you common sense or concern for other individuals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: And it didn't stop there. Homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve has been following today's testimony.
Jeanne, seems there's a lot of finger-pointing going on.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, customs and border protection officials said, "Quite frankly, we missed. It's inexcusable." And he blamed that one frontline agent who, he said, in a clear and blatant disregard for the rules, chose to ignore an alert that showed up on his computer that Andrew Speaker should be isolated and that public health authorities should be notified.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
W. RALPH BASHAM, U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PATROL: He doesn't have the authority to ignore it. He chose to ignore it. His instructions were very clear -- you have in front of you -- of what he should do. He did not do it.
LUNGREN: I mean, it's not a question not understanding the language. It's fairly clear, isn't it? Straightforward? Tells you what to do?
BASHAM: I've got 12 grandchildren, Mr. Congressman. I don't know of any one of them that would not have known what to do in that situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Customs and border protection officials also revealed for the first time that that front line agent's computer wasn't the only place where the alert on Speaker would have showed up.
They said there also was some sort of message that showed up in computers in secondary inspection. But at this point in time they say only one person has been suspended from the front line jobs. That's that front line agent. Before they had told us that he was on administrative duties. Now they are saying administrative leave as the investigation continues -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: So Jeanne, we've sort of gone back and forth. Because at the beginning, we were told it's up to that border guard, sort of, if he thinks the person is OK to cross or not.
Now we're hearing that he had specific instructions not to let Speaker cross. So what's the real story?
MESERVE: Well, the story is they're making it a more secure system at the moment. Or at least they think they are.
Before, apparently, there has been some discretion afforded to front line officers. But what they're saying is the wording here was unmistakable; it was very clear. It said stop this man.
In the future, what they say they're going to do is automatically have a supervisor involved in the process, so it is not completely at the discretion of that front line officer. Someone else would come in and weigh in on any such decision.
One of a couple of different changes they're making. They're also saying that, in this case, information came in to customs and border protection in Atlanta, and they put it -- an alert into the system. But they didn't push it up through the chain of command to headquarters in Washington. In the future, they're going to try and make sure that happens.
We also heard today that they're going to continue to push to get passenger name records for flights not coming into the U.S. There's been a lot of pushback from the Europeans and others. It violates their privacy laws. The U.S. saying we need to have this information.
If we'd known that he was on that flight from Prague to Montreal, we could have stopped him when he landed in Canada.
PHILLIPS: All right.
MESERVE: And perhaps -- perhaps if the system had worked a little better, they would have gotten him on the no-fly list before he left Prague. But that was still in process when this was unfolding.
PHILLIPS: And back to the border. The rules are changing now. This has obviously triggered a change in the procedure.
MESERVE: That's right. That's right. The change in the procedure: right now, when you go to the border, the frontline agent can't decide to ignore any alert that's in the system. A supervisor is going to get involved in that decision making.
PHILLIPS: Got it. Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much.
And tonight, Andrew Speaker and his wife and family join "LARRY KING LIVE". That's at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
MARCIANO: Well, it's an exclusive club, and the members, well, they don't always get along. The leaders of the world's most prosperous nations are gathering in Germany for this year's Group of Eight summit. But the official agenda may be overshadowed by new friction between the U.S. and Russia.
Our Suzanne Malveaux is in Rostock, Germany, this hour.
Suzanne, just how tense is it?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rob, it's pretty tense. I mean, it's beautiful weather here, of course, but there is a chill between those two leaders. We're talking about President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both of them, of course, at the summit now. It's a day of greeting, as well as entertainment, niceties.
But significant news even before the summit began. And that is President Bush taking on Putin's threat, the threat that Putin said he would turn Russian missiles to U.S. military installations as well as European allies if -- if President Bush goes forward with this controversial missile defense shield program that is in Russia's backyard. That is Eastern Europe.
President Bush, in an -- it was an on the record off-camera briefing before reporters -- was directly asked whether or not the U.S. would respond in any kind of military fashion. He said, and I'm quoting here, "There needs to be no military response, because we're not at war with Russia. Russia is not a threat."
He went on to say that he does not believe that Russia is going to attack Europe.
Now you may recall, of course, that this comes after a time -- it was just yesterday, President Bush in the Czech Republic told Putin directly, he said, "This is not the Cold War. The Cold War has ended."
That followed some comments that Putin made, the last 48 hours, saying that the U.S. policy was imperialist. That he also said -- he accused the Bush administration of trying to incite another arms race.
Clearly, both of the sides are trying to tone down the rhetoric. It was just earlier today that CNN got a hold of Putin's spokesman to see what he had to say about all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, RUSSIAN SPOKESMAN: This is extremely sensitive issue. Strategic security and strategist balance in European continent is so sensitive that you have to use a very strong language in order to convey your disappointment.
And -- but I just want to repeat that it doesn't show that we are very close to a Cold War. I don't think there is the slightest possibility or a slightest danger that we'd enter another period of Cold War.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Rob, of course, all eyes are going to be on these two leaders tomorrow. That is when they meet face to face to discuss a lot of these controversial issues, including that defense shield system.
And, then, of course, about three weeks later, that is when he -- actually, Putin is going to be at the Kennebunkport Bush compound for kind of a one-on-one personal time to work through all of this.
The fear, Rob, is that this really is going to overshadow a lot of the issues here that are important, not only to these two leaders, but other world leaders. We're talking about climate change, aid to Africa.
It was just within this hour, as a matter of fact, President Bush and the first lady met with Bono, as well as musician Bob Geldof. Both of them quite disappointed in these leaders. It was two years ago that they made a commitment to really up and increase the aid for Africa. A lot of these leaders have not come through on that promise, and they want them to recommit this time around -- Rob.
MARCIANO: Certainly a lot to talk about. Thanks, Suzanne. Suzanne Malveaux, live for us at the G-8 summit in Germany.
PHILLIPS: Live pictures now as we bring you two developments from our affiliate KCET out of Overland Park, Kansas. Right now detectives holding a news conference about 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, the new high school graduate that was missing. She was last seen going into a Target store.
A man was caught on videotape following her out of Target. Then later on videotape, there was also captured the same man trying to force her into her vehicle. Detectives talking about details of this case. The fact that they're still searching for this man.
And they do have a few clues as they continue to also look for a gray 1987 Buick that was -- actually, that was her car that was found. They're actually looking for a truck.
Here are the details that we just got from investigators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DETECTIVE MATT BREGEL, OVERLAND PARK POLICE: We have received and processed more than 500 leads, 200 more since last night, which is an extreme amount of leads for a case. We ask anyone out there who may have seen anything, to please continue to call. Just because we have received 500 leads, we are still asking for anyone that has seen anything, in an attempt to bring this young lady home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: We'll continue to follow this case, obviously.
And the car that authorities are looking for now right now: 1970s model pickup truck. That's what they're looking for. In addition to the videotape of the man that they're looking for.
The parents don't believe that they know this man. They don't recognize him, that he knew Kelsey Smith.
Obviously, here's the tip line. Police monitoring -- or following up on 500 leads thus far, looking for more. Overland Park police asking for you to call this number if you know anything about Kelsey Smith.
MARCIANO: While a leap and a prayer, a spectator goes airborne at the Vatican. But did the pope get a little bit ruffled?
PHILLIPS: And ten years in the slammer for consensual teen sex. We'll talk with Genarlow Wilson's mom and his lawyer about new efforts to get him released.
You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
MARCIANO: It is 17 minutes after the hour. Here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour.
More troops in Iraq, but they're not American or Iraqi. They're Turkish. CNN has learned Turkish soldiers have crossed the northern Iraq border to fight Kurdish militants blamed for attacks in Turkey. No word on how many troops are involved.
And we heard just minutes ago from Kansas police who are still searching for 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, seen here on a store security camera. Surveillance video also shows her being forced into her car. Now police are looking for a pickup truck they think might be involved. They're also looking for a man seen on the tape.
And this morning a Senate panel heard from the tuberculosis patient who sparked a global health alert by taking two international flights. Andrew Speaker talked to senators by phone from his hospital room. He says health officials told him he wasn't contagious and then they did not order him to not travel.
But officials say he took his flight earlier than planned and was told he shouldn't travel. He said-they said, that's for sure.
We do have some breaking news we want to tell you about. We are told that this hour that there is a high school in Michigan that is on lockdown. Henry Ford High School on lockdown right now in Michigan. As we get information into the CNN NEWSROOM, we'll bring it to you.
PHILLIPS: Deranged and mentally imbalanced, that's how the Vatican is describing a man who tried to jump into the back of Pope Benedict's open Popemobile. No one was hurt, but the scare in St. Peter's Square is raising new questions about the pontiff's security.
CNN Rome bureau chief Alessio Vinci reports.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pope didn't even appear to notice that someone had tried to climb onto his open deck Popemobile. The vehicle didn't accelerate, and the general audience, a Wednesday tradition, went ahead without changes. The whole incident was over in less than 15 seconds.
Vatican officials say the man who jumped over the protective barricade was a 27-year-old German student with a history of mental problems who wanted to attract attention to himself.
He was unarmed, officials said, and the pope's life was never in danger. After questioning by the Vatican police, he was handed over to Italian officials, who took him to a psychiatric institution.
Vatican officials downplayed the seriousness of the security breach, but an incident like this inevitably brings back memories of the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul II, shot by a gunman who had at the time no trouble smuggling a weapon into St. Peter's Square.
A harder proposition today, since everyone attending papal events goes through strict searches, including a metal detector.
Umberto Nanni worked for ten years as one of the pope's bodyguards. He says the pope's security detail did exactly what they are supposed to do in quickly apprehending the man. But he says the man should have been stopped even before he could jump over the fence and certainly should have never reached the Popemobile.
"Someone got distracted," he says. "And certainly, incidents like this one, teach us that when you work in that position, even a split second can make a difference."
(on camera) Vatican officials are clearly relieved that this incident turned out not to be serious, but at the same time it is safe to assume that security officials are asking themselves a simple question. How could someone come so close to the man they are assigned to protect?
Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.
MARCIANO: Isolated, but not muzzled. Andrew Speaker phones in his side of the story. We'll have more on the Capitol Hill hearings about his tuberculosis health flap. That's coming up, in the CNN NEWSROOM.
PHILLIPS: Well, prices in the cereal aisle at your supermarket might seem like they're coming down, but as Susan Lisovicz is about to tell us, the price for your morning bowl of Cheerios is actually going up.
All right, Susan, explain. And do you really eat Cheerios?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I do, and I'm one of those people who eats cereal in the evening, too. But it's usually a reflection of my diminished pantry.
PHILLIPS: Domestic skills or your pantry?
LISOVICZ: Well, I suppose that's an editorial comment, Kyra, but sometimes when -- you know, when things get desperate, you take desperate measures.
General Mills, in the meantime, says it's raising cereal prices as of June 25. The maker of Total, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Wheaties and other breakfast staples says the hikes will help it make up for higher energy prices and rising costs of wheat, oats, and most recently, corn.
But despite this price hike, consumers might actually see lower prices per box at the grocery store. The reason? The company is reducing the size of some boxes.
And we've seen that before, Kyra, where you know, the bags of potato chips or the containers of yogurt have gotten smaller. You're actually paying more for what you eat -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Sounds like a sneaky way to raise prices.
LISOVICZ: Well, it can be. But again, it's common place. General Mills has a response. It says its box sizes are bigger than those of its competitors, so the company says its cereals often appear more expensive than the competition, which puts it at a disadvantage.
It also points out that its competitors have been raising prices, as well. Kellogg, the world's biggest cereal maker, raised prices by as much as 5 percent last year.
So that cereal, bowl of cereal, whether it's in the evening or in the morning, is getting more expensive.
And while we're talking about oats, the FTC is trying to block one supermarket from getting its wild oats. Antitrust regulators are planning to sue to block Whole Foods Market's attempt to take over Wild Oats market. They say the deal would virtually eliminate competition in the market for natural and organic groceries and lead to higher consumer prices.
The companies pledge to fight the FTC suit, saying the agency is ignoring the fact that they compete against traditional grocery stores, which now carry an abundance of organic products which often cost more. So that there's a lot of competition out there.
LISOVICZ: In the next hour of NEWSROOM what you don't know about real estate could cost you big bucks the next time you buy or sell a home. I'll tell you how a lot of people are missing out, Kyra. So you'll want to pay attention to that one, too.
PHILLIPS: We always pay attention to you. See you in a little bit.
LISOVICZ: You got it.
MARCIANO: Well, a former honors student sits in a Georgia prison for breaking a law that's since been changed. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, the young man, his mother and his lawyer, and their fight to free him.
PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
MARCIANO: And I'm Rob Marciano.
He's a 17-year-old honors student sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl.
PHILLIPS: The law that put Genarlow Wilson behind bars has changed. And we're going to talk with his mom and his lawyer about new efforts to get him out.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. A 21-year-old Georgia man is serving 10 years in prison for one act of teenage sex. Some say it's a crime.
Genarlow Wilson hoped he might be set free today, but a judge says he expects to decide by Monday whether to overturn Wilson's mandatory sentence.
CNN's Rick Sanchez takes a look at the crime, the punishment, and the outrage.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Genarlow Wilson is a convicted felon, a prisoner, despite being a good son, a good athlete, a high school student with a 3.2 GPA with no criminal past.
He was a track and football star, being recruited by several universities. He was his school's homecoming king. He was the boy who seemed to have it all.
GENARLOW WILSON, CONVICTED FOR SEXUAL CHARGES: I was somewhat popular, you know, maybe too much in the spotlight, you know, for my own good.
SANCHEZ: Imagine now going from that to this: living behind bars for a minimum of ten years for something he did that some may consider immoral, maybe stupid, maybe even criminal, but ten years in prison?
"The New York Times", in an editorial, is calling for his release. Web sites are dedicated to freeing him. Even conservative talk show host Neal Boortz has taken on Genarlow's cause.
NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The kid broke a ridiculous law passed by the General Assembly that did not -- can we use the phrase -- grade on a curve.
SANCHEZ (on camera): You lost your freedom. What's that like, to lose your freedom?
WILSON: It's real hard, because I started off -- it was like I had everything one day, and the next day, I didn't have nothing.
SANCHEZ: Where and when did this all begin? Right here, at this Days Inn in suburban Atlanta. December 31, 2003, Genarlow and some of his friends decided they would come here, rent a room and ring in the new year. It was a decision that has forever changed his life.
(voice-over) Here's why. During the night, several girls showed up. One of the boys whips out a video camera to record what's about to happen. CNN obtained the tape, but we've blurred it out to protect the other teen's identity.
In that video, the teens are seen having sex right out in the open. In one scene, Genarlow receives oral sex from one of the girls. He's 17. She's 15. It appears to be a consensual act between two teens. (on camera) At no time did you tell that young lady that she had to give you oral sex?
WILSON: No, sir.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Eddie Barker, who prosecuted Genarlow, shows us the tape that he used to prove his case.
(on camera) He says he never used any force, that he didn't force the girl at all. Is he telling the truth?
EDDIE BARKER, DOUGLAS COUNTY PROSECUTOR: From what we've seen on the videotape and heard from the victim herself, we do not believe there was any physical force used.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): So if there was no force, why then is Genarlow in prison for ten years, surrounded by real, hard-core criminals, even murderers and rapists?
The answer to that question is found here in this now outdated Georgia criminal statute which comes down hard on any act of sodomy and includes oral sex. It states if a person giving oral sex is under the age of 16, then the person receiving it is guilty of aggravated child molestation, even if he's a teenager himself. Ten years, mandatory, no way around it.
(on camera) Do you see this as a travesty of justice in Genarlow's case?
B.J. BERNSTEIN, GENARLOW WILSON'S ATTORNEY: A hundred percent, because we have consensual teen sex, criminalized to the extent that this kid has got ten years in prison, and everyone is just saying, "Well, we can't help that. That's the law."
SANCHEZ: That law that ensnared Genarlow does seem illogical. For example, if he'd intercourse with a 15-year-old instead of oral sex, he would only have been charged with a misdemeanor.
(on camera) If you had known that it was illegal for a 17-year- old to have sex with a 15-year-old, would you have done it?
SANCHEZ (voice-over): So draconian is the law, that since Genarlow's case, the governor has signed a new law doing away with it. Now consensual teen sex is regarded as a misdemeanor.
The change in the law, though, comes too late for Genarlow, and too late for the juries who say they felt horrible about having to find him guilty.
(on camera) So you weren't allowed to look at the spirit of the law...
MARIE MANIGAULT, JURY FOREMAN: Correct.
SANCHEZ: ... any other meaning? You had to look at it concretely?
MANIGAULT: Absolutely. And that was our biggest argument in the deliberating room. With the spirit of the law, he was not guilty. You know, with the letter of the law, based on what we were told, he was guilty.
WILSON: Even when someone says a sex offender is someone who has a history of continually committing the same crimes with kids, someone who's weak. They prey on the weak. I wasn't preying on the weak when that happened.
PHILLIPS: Joining us now, two women who have been fighting to get Genarlow Wilson free: his attorney, B.J. Bernstein, and his mother, Juanessa Bennett.
Juanessa, this has been a tough couple of years.
JUANESSA BENNETT, MOTHER OF GENARLOW WILSON: Three years.
PHILLIPS: Three years. To be exact.
BENNETT: Right. It's over three years, actually.
PHILLIPS: How are you feeling today? What was going through your mind, your heart?
BENNETT: Nervous, but real hopeful. Today was a better day.
PHILLIPS: How is your son doing?
BENNETT: He looks good, so I'm sure he's doing well. I spoke to him last night.
PHILLIPS: What does he say to you? What do you ask him?
BENNETT: How is he doing, what has he been reading, how is his interactions with other people? The letters that he's getting. Just trying to make sure he keeps his head clear.
PHILLIPS: B.J., is everybody keeping their head clear? This has not been an easy case for you. I know that it's been hard for you to get sleep at night, as well.
BERNSTEIN: I know. If you had told me when Juanessa came in the door and told me this problem and we would be, over two years later, still trying to fight it. And in court today, asking a judge to finally release Genarlow, that it's cruel and unusual punishment to punish him for a ten-year mandatory sentence.
He cannot get out early. He will be on a sex offender registry. When the law has been changed. And now, if this very same party happened, it would be only no more than 12 months in jail and no sex offender registry.
PHILLIPS: So what happened today?
BERNSTEIN: Today I was arguing against the attorney general's office. We were in court on what's called a habeas petition, a habeas corpus petition, meaning literally produce the body.
It's the civil action to say to the court we think he's being illegally held, and it's time to release him.
The judge heard arguments from us and the attorney general's office, who's now fighting us, and then we wait and hear from him on Monday.
PHILLIPS: And Juanessa, as all of you wait to hear from him and see how this case turns out, there is definitely an overall message here about being a mom, talking to your kids, talking about sex, talking about the law. What have you learned, and what's your message to parents?
BENNETT: Actually, I did not know that one teen can go to jail for having consensual sex with another teen that was 15. I didn't -- I just thought that teenagers could be with teenagers. Not that me as a parent would want that to happen, but if it does happen, I didn't know it was against the law.
But the message is we have a web site which was created by B.J. and some other attorneys, and, of course, Mark Cuban's attorney, and it's called MyFifth.org. Any child anywhere across the country can type in on this web site, see a video and see the consequences of what will happen in their state.
PHILLIPS: Wow. And I can just imagine whether you're with your friends or at a function. And I bet parents have come up to you and said, "Juanessa, you know, I'm having this issue with my kid. Or what can I learn from this?" What do you tell your closest friends?
BENNETT: You can learn a lot. Mostly at work or even when I'm out, people walk up to me and say, "I know you. I've seen you somewhere before."
But the message is, you know, just try to stay in tune with your kids. Because you have that gut feeling when your child is doing something that they're not supposed to do, which is what I had at that instant.
Let's try to stay in tune with them, and try to stay educated on the law and also try to keep your kids up on the law, whether they listen to you or not. Please drill it in their heads, because we don't want this to happen again to another child.
PHILLIPS: And why have you believed so strongly in this case? I mean, you even have a bracelet now.
BERNSTEIN: Yes, it's a little G and a lock that is kind of like my solidarity bracelet. Because again, you know, I've worked in this business for a long time. And we've created MyFifth.org, this nonprofit, because the prosecutors here say ignorance of the law is no excuse. And yet we don't teach our children the law, and Genarlow is getting the worst end of it. That we tell children not to do things, but we don't tell them the consequences.
And our goal is, with this case, get Genarlow out and to prevent any more Genarlows happening, whether it's in Georgia or other states. You know, on this web site, all 50 states have laws about teens and sex. Other states make it a felony. Some states put you on a sex offender registry. Most states make it criminal, no matter what, and I think that's a shock to most patients.
PHILLIPS: What about this woman, well, this young gal? What has happened to her, the one that he had consensual sex with? Where is she, where's her family? They're not the ones that pressed charges. It was the police.
BERNSTEIN: The police did it, and you know, she all along had said it was consensual. This is not an issue of this young woman saying it was not consensual.
We don't know where she is right now. You know, we haven't pushed. A lot of people have sent e-mails: "Go after her."
And we're saying you shouldn't go after so hard the teens. What should happen is intervention on education and talking to the boy and the girl about what's right, what's wrong, the consequences of this, but not going after them, you know, in a criminal fashion and, certainly, not ten years in prison.
PHILLIPS: Juanessa, if your son is set free, what's he going to do? Has he talked to you about what he wants to do with his life?
BENNETT: He wants to go to school and study sociology. He wants to educate other people. He wants to play ball, of course. I don't know what to level he wants to play. But basically, just trying to teach people not to get caught up in the same way he got caught up in.
BERNSTEIN: And he's waiting for the next Harry Potter book. He reads all the time in prison, and he said to me at the prison last week, "The next book is coming out in July." And I'm just praying that on Monday we get a type of order so that we can be standing in line at the bookstore all night and get it to him that way.
PHILLIPS: We'll keep following the case. Juanessa, thanks so much.
BENNETT: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: B.J. Bernstein, appreciate it.
PHILLIPS: Iraq, immigration and President Bush. That's what we're talking about after the break. Sticky issues for Republican presidential hopefuls. We're going to hit the highlights from last night's GOP debate, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
MARCIANO: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. You're watching President Bush and the first lady arriving in Germany at the G-8 summit. They're being greeted there by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as they walk down the red carpet.
Lots of big meetings on tap here over the next couple of days. And we'll following them very closely for you as they bring us the information here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Speaking of the president, he's fairly unpopular in many cases. The party -- his party trying to regain momentum. And there's a crowded field of ten with an 11th likely on the way, as far as Republican presidential candidates are concerned.
Well, last night they had that debate in New Hampshire, home of the nation's first primary. And if President Bush was looking for someone to carry his banner, well, he didn't find it, especially on the subject of Iraq.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I supported the president's decision based on what we knew at that time. I think we were under prepared and under planned for what came after we knocked down Saddam Hussein.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is that Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction before on his own people and on his enemies. And if he'd gotten them again, he'd have used them again.
That was his commitment and his belief, that he was going to. And we did the right thing. The problem was the mismanagement of the conflict.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror.
And the problem is that we see Iraq in a vacuum. Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States. The problem the Democrats make is they're in denial.
TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing the president should do is demand the al-Maliki government to vote as to whether they want the United States to stay in Iraq. We've been there four years. Give the government the responsibility of voting.
If they vote yes, how are they going to help us win this war? And if they vote no, we should redeploy our forces outside.
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we've had four years to do this, and it hasn't worked. The biggest incentive for them to take up on themselves the responsibility is just for us to leave. We don't need to lose 100 men and women every month, 1,000 -- more than 1,000 per year.
And so you want it done. You want them to take it over. You've got to give them an incentive.
So I think we should immediately stop patrolling the streets. That's a policeman's job. It's not the work of the army. We're not fighting a military battle. We're in a different type of warfare right now. So the sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can make sure that no more Americans will die.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not about leaving, and it's not about being defeated. It's about getting the situation to a point that we can turn it over to Iraqis and then us pull back from the front of the line.
MARCIANO: We'll talk more about the candidates and last night's big moments in a few minutes with CNN political analyst Bill Schneider.
PHILLIPS: All right, now. Wind, hail, rain and tornadoes. We could see it all this afternoon across parts of the plains. Jacqui Jeras on alert in the weather center for us.
MARCIANO: All right, Jacqui. Say hello to Jacqui.
PHILLIPS: Take it away.
How are you doing?
MARCIANO: I always like to jump into the weather event there.
Well, he's isolated, but he's not muzzled. Andrew Speaker phones in his side of the story. We'll have more on Capitol Hill and the hearing there about the tuberculosis health flap. That's coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.
MARCIANO: He said-they said. Andrew Speaker takes on local and federal health officials today on Capitol Hill.
The controversial tuberculosis patient has been testifying from his Denver hospital room by phone, and lawmakers held two hearings today on the international TB scare.
We've got CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, been following today's developments. A lot of information coming out today, Elizabeth. The CDC, what did we learn from them?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we learned, actually, the biggest bombshell came from Andrew Speaker himself. He wasn't in the room, because he's still considered contagious. But he definitely made his voice heard.
What he said was that the CDC knew all along that he was planning on traveling, and they never stopped him.
Let's hear his exact words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: I spoke with an official from the CDC, conveyed my plans about the wedding. They did know about this; this wasn't something hidden. This was something that was out in the open, that numerous officials at the CDC, at the county level, my doctors, that everyone knew about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So let's take these one at a time. We just heard Andrew Speaker say, "Fulton County in Georgia, they knew what I was going to do, and so did the CDC."
Now, this gets confusing, but bear with me. But a doctor at Fulton County said, "Well, if Andrew Speaker says the CDC did know about this, this could" -- he said, "this could possibly be the explanation for what he's saying."
So let's hear that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN KATKOWSKY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, HEALTH OFFICIAL: The physician that saw Mr. Speaker was also a CDC physician who was an expert in TB. He was not working as a representative of the CDC. He was working for the Department of Health and Wellness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So Doctor Katkowsky said officially, the CDC didn't know about Andrew Speaker's travel plans before he traveled. That's what Dr. Katkowsky seemed to be saying.
What did the CDC have to say about all of this? Well, interestingly enough, when Andrew Speaker testified via the telephone, Julie Gerberding, the head of the CDC, she wasn't even in the room. She had left to go to another hearing on Capitol Hill on this same issue.
But just last week, Julie Gerberding said, "We did not know that he was going to travel." Let's listen to what she said last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE GERBERDING, CDC DIRECTOR: If we had been aware that travel was imminent, we may have been able to act, if requested, by the local health officials. But under the circumstances, I think we were surprised that the patient had left the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So there have you it, Rob. As you said, a he said-they said. That's basically what it is. He said, "Everyone knew I was going to travel. No one stopped me."
And the CDC says, "We didn't know you were going to travel."
MARCIANO: I don't know who to believe at this point.
COHEN: I know. It's tough.
MARCIANO: And the good news, at least, with this story is that the doctors are saying very, very unlikelihood that he's infectious.
COHEN: Right. And I think if you can look at the glass as half empty in this case, you know, so many mistakes were made, and officials even said mistakes were made, at this hearing.
But mistakes were with someone who was not very infectious. Doctors have said he is just a bit infectious. And so the likelihood he didn't get anyone sick is really quite high.
But what if these mistakes had been made with someone who had SARS or Ebola or something terrible? Hopefully, they learned their lesson this time with someone who's not very infectious.
MARCIANO: Yes. For that reason, maybe the protocol has to be changed.
COHEN: That's right.
MARCIANO: All right. CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.
Andrew Speaker is going to be on "LARRY KING" tonight, so you'll want to tune into that, 9 p.m. Eastern.
PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, millions of diabetics take it. But could they be risking their lives? Today, Congress is weighing the FDA's oversight of Avandia and the drug's potential dangers. We're going to bring that to you, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
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