Return to Transcripts main page
Missing G.I. IDs Found; Mike Nifong Faces Bar Hearing
Aired June 16, 2007 - 10:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. I'm Rick Sanchez here with Betty Nguyen to bring you up to date on this development that we've been getting out of Iraq. And that is that the identifications for those two soldiers that have been missing now for about a month have been found.
Physical identifications have been found by U.S. officials after they went into -- after they raided a safehouse in Samarra. Samarra being the very same place where Wednesday there was that mosque bombing.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And hopefully this will lead to clues as to the whereabouts of those two U.S. soldiers. So we want to take you now to Samarra and CNN's Karl Penhaul who joins us from there live.
I know, Karl, all this information is still coming in, a lot of it new, but this is information that the U.S. military has had since that raid which occurred on June 9th.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. It was a raid that occurred on June the 9th on a suspected al Qaeda safehouse that U.S. military authorities are saying is near Samarra. They're not saying exactly where that house is. They suggest that it may not actually have been the city of Samarra itself, but in one of the outer lying areas.
What I can tell you is that much of that outer lying area around Samarra is agricultural land and a lot of the communities there rather isolated farming communities. Certainly the key issue here, nobody -- none of the military commanders have yet released any information to suggest that any clues were found about the physical whereabouts of Specialist Alex Jimenez and Private Byron Fouty, both of them whom were captured south of Baghdad on May 12th.
The surprising thing here though, you look on a map and measure the distances. The point where the ID cards have now been found is around 120 miles north of the position where those al Qaeda insurgents captured those two U.S. soldiers. So still a lot of questions to be answered about how those ID cards were funneled to this area, and also did the U.S. soldiers come along with those ID cards, Betty?
NGUYEN: Another question, Karl, when you look at this, 120 miles north of where those two men were attacked on patrol, May 12th, over a month ago, leads to the question of this area that you were talking about, this outer area. And when you're going so far to find these cars and finding the whereabouts of these two soldiers, you know, that particular area, are there any inroads, any indirect routes? Are these routes traveled often by al Qaeda insurgents? Give us an idea, a description of the area that we're talking about.
PENHAUL: Exactly. Well, that really is the key answer. And -- or the key question. And in fact from the find of these ID cards, it has allowed the U.S. military commanders to deduce a certain amount about the movements of al Qaeda insurgents.
Because this area where we are, around Samarra, Saladin province, and the neighboring province, Diyala province, according to U.S. military commanders, is a very strategic zone.
It not only allows the insurgents to get access quickly south towards Baghdad, quickly north up towards the Kurdish area, but it also allows them to move west towards al-Anbar province which is home to both Falluja and Ramadi, which for a long time had been known as insurgent strongholds.
So really the area where we are now around Samarra is a key insurgent position in terms of the lines of communication. But what must now be answered by those U.S. military commanders is as to whether they think that the soldiers themselves may have physically been brought to this region.
What military commanders do say is that they believe that al Qaeda leadership is moving into this area or neighboring Diyala province and a lot of the insurgents themselves are also filtering north from Baghdad as a consequence of the search. And coming in from the west, from al-Anbar province and making Saladin and Diyala provinces the new base, the new stronghold for all of al Qaeda in Iraq -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Well, and maybe the answer to the question of whether the soldiers were brought to that safehouse will be on some of the equipment that they found. Maybe there are some tapes along with video production equipment that was found in that safehouse.
But my question to you is this. We saw a little bit earlier on an Islamist Web site that the pictures of these ID cards, well, now the military has the actual physical ID cards in their hands. Truly though when you're looking at this search, how significant is this?
PENHAUL: Again, I would guess, and it is only a guess, because as you'll appreciate, right now a lot of this information has been held classified until now. This raid again on June 9th, only tidbits of information being released now. So there is still a lot more information there that has been classified by the U.S. military for operational security reasons.
And as you suggest, I guess that the real clues will lie in sifting through this wealth of information to see why the ID cards were taken to that particular place, was it simply for the production of some kind of video? We do know that we've seen those ID cards published on the Internet, but was that the only reason these ID cards were taken there or will they find something in the other wealth of information that they found in this safehouse to suggest where physically these soldiers are, Betty?
NGUYEN: Maybe they already have. I mean, we don't know. These are a lot of questions we are asking. And I only simply say that because this raid took place on June 9th and today we are just now hearing about it from the military. So of course we're going to continue following the story. Karl Penhaul in Samarra there, following it as well. We'll be checking in with you throughout the day. Karl, we thank you for that.
And I do want to let you know that as we continue to look into the search for those two missing soldiers, we're going to be speaking very shortly with retired General David Grange about this very subject. So stay tuned for that.
SANCHEZ: We were following another developing story for you this morning -- in fact have been. We heard earlier from prosecutors who say that Mike Nifong should be disbarred. Now we're hearing from Dudley Witt, he is representing Mike Nifong, he will make the argument that he may have had some ethical lapses but he should not be.
Let's go ahead and dip into this for a bit.
DUDLEY WITT, NIFONG'S ATTORNEY: ... going through. But -- and he should have done that, but if there was no agreement, it wouldn't be anything that you would think you needed to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not so sure that maybe both parties were placing more importance on this supposed agreement than there really is. It's not that there was an agreement with Dr. Meehan. It's that he knew -- he, Nifong, knew, and he didn't do anything with it.
You know, we're not here to try Dr. Meehan or whether there was a conspiracy with Dr. Meehan. I don't think that we can figure that out. But we're here solely to try Mr. Nifong. And I'm not sure I agree with you that they really have to show an agreement, a conspiracy, with Dr. Meehan in this case.
WITT: Well, I think it is a little bit more you have him dealing with an expert from outside the world in which he had operated. And he testified that this is the first time that he had ever been asked by somebody about what needed to be in a report.
And I believe -- and I can only speak generally from the civil field, I rely upon my experts in my cases to prepare their reports, and I understand them to have the stuff in it that they are. I think the other issue related to the matters related to Dr. Meehan and terminology as to whether it is a "result," whether it is a "match," whether it is all that other stuff, is DNA has specific terminology. You have to understand that terminology. Dr. Meehan talks a lot, and so I don't know that...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WITT: I don't know from that you can...
WITT: I don't know from that that you can get a clear understanding of getting to the terminology on the right format on the front side and making certain you have a clear understanding of, yes, this is what you're reporting and this is what I got, and this is what I'm providing.
And the reason I think that's important, because I think it goes back, yes, he knew that. But I don't think it is unreasonable for him to think that it is going to be in the report. And as he reported to the courts when we were talking about it, when they were questioning him about it, as I recall the transcript of the testimony, he would go on, and says, yes, we talked about the way we were going to use all the stuff at trial, and then they have -- I got the report, they have the report. And that's what it is.
So if your basic underlying analysis is the report has the information of the non-Duke DNA, then I don't know that that's that unreasonable. It may be had he a duty to go back and double-check and clarify it more as far as what is there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what about this? And this is really bothering me. I believe it is bothering all of us on the panel is that at the September 2nd hearing, his attention is specifically -- Mr. Nifong's attention in court, in the transcript, is specifically drawn to that report that they have and they are specifically saying, there's something missing there.
SANCHEZ: This is a legal question that's being discussed in this hearing. The real question is whether he should be disbarred. But here are the essential accusations in this case. It accuses him, Mike Nifong, of withholding different DNA evidence from the players' defense.
In other words, from the people who were trying to represent, that he didn't give them the proper information regarding DNA. That's why you were hearing part of this argument about DNA. And also, giving the court false information.
The question is, did he do this because, like any other human being, he just screwed up, made a mistake? Maybe he's not that good a prosecutor. Or was there something more nefarious involved? Did he do it with intent? And that's some of what will be discussed during this hearing.
Let's bring in Susan Candiotti, she has been following this case now and she's going to try and bring us up to date and help us understand what it is that this bar will have to decide -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rick. You're right, those are some of the key questions that you brought out. And another one is, will this be Nike Nifong's day of reckoning? Will he be punished, at all, for his handling of the now-collapsed case against those Duke lacrosse players.
Remember, they were exonerated by North Carolina's attorney general who called Mike Nifong a "rogue prosecutor," as he put it. In closing statements, prosecutors are saying that Mr. Nifong made false or misleading statements to the public about the case. That he would make comments such as, calling these players "a bunch of hooligans," by making comments such as "why would they need lawyers if they hadn't done something wrong."
And here, Rick, is yet another example of what prosecutors said was a false and misleading statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, Mr. Nifong proceeds out to go out and make these kinds of statements in the press. That they're acting under some kind of "stonewall of silence" and are refusing "to talk with investigators."
And best of all, "why are they so unwilling to tell us in their own words what happened here." That is a misleading statement, at best, when he knows that three of the players who have come in and voluntarily cooperated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now during emotional testimony on Friday, Mike Nifong himself said that he didn't do anything intentionally wrong, that at times he was simply overwhelmed by all the information that was coming in to him. That is his explanation or part of it for what happened.
And then he made an unexpected announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE NIFONG, DURHAM, N.C., DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It is my intention, whether or not -- whatever the decision is to be, to resign as district attorney of Durham.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now Mr. Nifong also said that he was sorry for what had happened, apologized to the players and to their families and to the public. But attorneys for those now-exonerated players call that disingenuous and say it's too little, too late -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: By the way, Susan, are the players there in the hearing this morning?
CANDIOTTI: They are. We saw them come in. They are listening intently. Just went outside for a brief break. They are not commenting yet to the press, this day anyway, but they have said that they are watching this with interest and continue to say, as they have publicly before, that this entire event has changed their lives. It is entirely possible that they will eventually file civil lawsuits against Mike Nifong, too.
SANCHEZ: Wow. Well, it sounds like they have reason to be angry after what they have been put through. Susan Candiotti, thanks for bringing us up to date on that.
Betty, over to you.
NGUYEN: Yes, there is a lot more to come. In fact we're going to be talking about the breaking news dealing with those soldiers in Iraq -- those missing soldiers. Today we have learned from the military that the identification cards of these two soldiers, Specialist Alex Jimenez, you see there, and Private Byron Fouty, have been found. They were found on June 9th in a raid near Samarra, on a safehouse there. So as soon as we get more information on that we'll bring it to you.
But we do want to take a look at this information and really analyze it. And we're going to do so with retired General David Grange. He's coming up after the break.
SANCHEZ: Stay with us. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Rick Sanchez.
Well, bring you up to date now on what is going on in Iraq, they've found -- military officials have, the actual identification cards for those two missing U.S. soldiers. This could be a big break for this search that has been going on for them for quite some time.
We really don't know whether they are dead or alive. That's a key issue in this case. And the fact that they've found their IDs in a safehouse is important. Let's do this. Let's go to Illinois now, our CNN military analyst, General David Grange is joining us.
General, thanks so much for being with us this morning. The question that I have, and I think a lot of other folks have as they listen to this information is, they found it in a safehouse, but not just any safehouse. It is a safehouse where there were also computers and video production equipment. What does that tell you?
GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's obviously a production studio. It's a site used to exploit, I think, the prisoners of war. The good news is they did find ID cards. If they found nothing, obviously that would be a negative. This is some positive, it doesn't mean it is great news but it is a positive piece of information.
SANCHEZ: You know, it is interesting, isn't it, that they didn't find anybody there when they raided the place, but yet they found the equipment and they found the cards left behind. What do you make of that?
GRANGE: Well, they may have had to make a hasty retreat with the prisoners because they got a tip-off. It could be that they felt so secure in the area they didn't bother even posting security in there 24 hours a day. It is really hard to say. But I'm sure there are other leads that came from that and I'm sure some of the leads are not going to be discussed, which is appropriate, because they help the coalition forces on the trail.
SANCHEZ: Why is Samarra so hot all of a sudden? I mean, Samarra is the place where they find these IDs, Samarra is the place where the country is in a lockdown now because of this mosque bombing that has taken place. What can you tell us about that part of the region?
GRANGE: Well, as you put pressure or you have success -- Anbar province is an example where the alliances of -- collaboration with certain insurgent groups, a convenience for us and for them, against al Qaeda, when you start having local pockets of success in Baghdad, you start putting pressure on our adversaries and they go into other places, they go to the areas of least resistance.
They have a safe haven to operate from. And so you're going to continually see that north of Baghdad, (INAUDIBLE), the same thing, the same issue.
SANCHEZ: Hey, do you think that these -- I know, I don't want to put you in a situation where you have to speculate, and it is always difficult. But given what we've learned today, is it less likely or more likely at this point that these guys are still alive? And if they were alive, would al Qaeda have been showing them off by now?
GRANGE: Well, it may not be the right timing. They would like to exploit them. We don't know for sure that al Qaeda -- the information is that they have them, but you don't have 100 percent that that's the case. It's tying up a lot of friendly forces looking for these G.I.s, not knowing if they're alive or dead.
So it behooves them to keep the mystique up. I think there is a chance that they are alive.
SANCHEZ: Brigadier General David Grange, good enough to join us this morning to give us some of his expert analysis on this story that we're going to continue to follow here as it develops.
NGUYEN: And we are going to bring you a little bit more, especially reaction from family members involved here. Private Byron Fouty, we spoke with his stepfather just a little bit earlier as they're dealing with the news that's coming in. And just holding on to hope that he is still alive.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON DIBLER, PVT. BYRON FOUTY'S STEPFATHER: Well, our last conversation was on his birthday, April 17th, and we -- he had been discussing his desire to go into being a medic. And I was real proud of him for that, for wanting to be a healer. Our last actual words were that we loved each other.
NGUYEN: And if you could send a message out today, what would you say?
DIBLER: If I could send out a message today, is that our hearts are anxiously waiting his return and that we love him very much and that his sisters and I are both waiting with everything we have, and that his brothers and sisters that are helping support him are always thinking of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: One other note. Another problem that has surfaced at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This time is the mail. The Army is now investigating a pileup of undelivered mail, some more than a year old. The head of the mail room has been fired, the commander of Walter Reed has ordered soldiers to work around the clock and sort through the 4,500 letters and packages they seem to have fallen behind on.
NGUYEN: Well, Houston, the problem is fixed. Yes, we are going to take you to outer space and give you the latest on the problems up there and how they were able to resolve them. Stay with CNN. Are you in the NEWSROOM.
SANCHEZ: Let's take you back to the story that we've been following. This is part of our really breaking news segment that we've had today. This is the case of Mike Nifong. Should he be disbarred because of the way he acted -- this is an accusation of course, "unethically." This is the attorney for him, he is trying to defend him, say no, he should not be disbarred. This is Dudley Witt.
Let's dip into what he is saying for just a little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... something that kind of is also generally on my mind, which I think is reflected in the statement that you just read about how we were looking for positive matches to the lacrosse players.
One thing that concerns me in determining Mr. Nifong's intent is that it seems throughout, all he was looking for was evidence to link the lacrosse players to a crime with blinders on to evidence that tended to show that there was no such connection.
WITT: Well, on that subject, I believe that what the evidence was that came out was, Dr. Meehan and he both understood there was going to be additional testing that was going to be done after the May 12th report. And they did do additional testing.
If you look at Officer Hyman's notes -- and I believe Officer Gottlieb's notes, but I know Hyman's notes, not only did they go get buccal swabs from the boyfriend, there was a Jarrell Johnson (ph) that was interviewed by Sergeant Gottlieb on some date, and he admitted that he had had sexual relations with the victim on March 9th.
They went and got a buccal swab from him. They also went and got a buccal swab, if I'm not mistaken, from a Mr. Young (ph). And those were all submitted back to DNA Securities and they were all tested by DNA Securities. So they were following up on other individuals in the investigation in an effort to see whether those individuals' DNA ultimately matched. Yes, the boyfriend's, I believe, was the one that matched, but they did submit these other people going on. And if you go back and look at Hyman's notes, you'll see where they'll go and try to get those further-up exams or going through trying to get the exams from the other individuals that were going on.
So I don't -- I think the evidence is that there were other avenues they were going. The primary understanding -- I think the way this all started was, they were looking at who they understood was at the party, and that's the group that they were working with, but they were also working with their other outside information that the investigators had found and followed up on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and also in his response, he -- which I believe was made without benefit of counsel at the time, he expressly said, I was focusing on finding evidence that linked or matched these players to the crime, and I was not really focusing on what might be exculpatory. I'm asking you in a general way because, as you know, we're dealing with intent here.
SANCHEZ: And that's the real question in this case, intent. It's one thing to say that this prosecutor made a mistake when he essentially failed to recognize that there was evidence that could have cleared these three guys, Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans. It is quite another and much more nefarious to say that he knew what the evidence was but he turned it in his favor, as one would consider when one uses words like "railroading" suspects in this case, which is what they're saying in this case and is the reason that he should be disbarred.
So that's the intent question that they're going to now. They're going to continue obviously to have this discussion throughout morning here. And as we get an opportunity to do so, we'll dip in from time to time and let you know what's going on. Interesting arguments.
Also, opponents of a proposed immigration bill are gathering in Washington right now. And we're going to get a live update on what they have planned. We'll have that for you in just a little bit.
NGUYEN: Want to get you an update now on what is happening. Coalition forces in Iraq have found the I.D. cards of two U.S. soldiers missing since an insurgent attack in may. Still though there is no word on the fate of these soldiers. We are watching this very closely.
We're also watching this -- closing statements today in the ethics hearing for Duke University rape case prosecutor Mike Nifong. Nifong has already promised to step down as district attorney, but he could lose his license to practice law in North Carolina. That is under way right now.
And scientists think they have solved the computer problems that have been plaguing the International Space Station. Crucial systems are being restarted.
SANCHEZ: Then, there's the hot-button issue of immigration reform drawing crowds to the nation's capital this weekend. Protestors are expected to gather for marches and rallies. CNN's Lisa Goddard joins us now from Washington to try and pick up what's going on with this. Lisa, have they gotten started yet or are they about to?
GODDARD: Rick, I've got to tell you, it is a beautiful day here in Washington. The truth is most of the people you see passing behind me are tourists. There is this rag-tag, I'd call them to be, honest group of people who have come from across the country to try and defeat this bill. You see a few them over my shoulder. They're getting ready in the next half hour to march to the Washington Monument where there may be more of them.
Now this comes as senators and others are trying to pull the immigration bill out of a chasm. Issues including guest worker, legalization programs. But those are small potatoes to these protestors. They care most about one thing, and that issue is enforcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA GARDNER, PRESIDENT, LET FREEDOM RING FOUNDATION: They're not following the laws currently on the books. How can we expect them to continue to do that? I really -- unless I start seeing something, I'm not going to believe a darn word they say. I feel that they have betrayed the American public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GODDARD: That's Michelle Gardner (ph) who has helped organize this from Sacramento, California. She and other protestors drove here to try and defeat the immigration bill. But as they do that other forces are pushing the opposite way to try and get it passed. That includes businesses. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in fact, says that this bill is critical to farms and to industry. They say that from their perspective it has real teeth and also real reinforcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY JOHNSON, V.P., U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: If you have tough border security, along with tougher sanctions on employers for the hiring of illegal workers, there is going to be less of a reason for workers to come here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GODDARD: Interestingly, Rick, that Chamber of Commerce was pivotal in breathing new life into this bill after it really had a disastrous first month. And we could see it come back up on the floor maybe this week. Rick?
SANCHEZ: So as far as this rally's concerned though, doesn't look like a big showing up there? GODDARD: No. Right now it is a small showing. It will be interesting to see as we see rallies in support of the bill on Monday. That could also be relatively small. This group is not very well organized. It is very grass-roots. They just got a Web site up. So far just a couple dozen people.
SANCHEZ: Interesting. Hey, thanks so much for bringing us up to date.
New passport rules involving the U.S. and its closest neighbors now facing a likely delay. The rules require passports for U.S. citizens traveling to and from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Passports also required for travelers -- from those areas who are visiting the United States.
After major complaints about long delays and getting passports, Congress is now acting. The House has voted to postpone the rules until June 2009. Similar measure is working its way through the Senate.
NGUYEN: Well, if you are traveling, say, through Texas, Oklahoma today ...
SANCHEZ: Yes? What happens?
NGUYEN: Might need an umbrella, I hear. Let's get the latest with CNN's Bonnie Schneider who is in the severe weather center. Hi, Bonnie.
NGUYEN: Hold on. Hold on. It is going to feel like it is 115 degrees?
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's the heat index.
SANCHEZ: I got a question for you, Bonnie. Do you take offense to the term "dumb blonde"?
SCHNEIDER: Well considering I'm a smart blonde, no, I don't.
NGUYEN: I can't believe you asked her that!
SANCHEZ: Boy, daddy didn't raise no fool. Did he? You were so quick on that.
All right. There's a reason I asked that question. There is a method to our madness. The term "dumb blonde" can mean a lot of different things, especially to those who have been given that label. Well, we're going to do a reality check. Where does the term come from? What does it mean? All kinds of issues with this, folks.
NGUYEN: Why is it always females when you are talking about dumb blondes? Why can't it be a male? SANCHEZ: Not always! Remember Kato Kaelin?
NGUYEN: We'll talk about that. That's not the only guy you can come up with. Right?
Also, CNN and YouTube are teaming up for a potential break- through in the way you watch the presidential race. We're going to get a preview of this straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The crime -- water abuse. The weapon -- a sprinkler. The victim -- the city of las vegas.
DENNIS GEGEN, WATER INVESTIGATOR: The first thing I do is I jump out and I film it.
-- 101606. Time is 3:36. I'm looking at a day of the week violation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dennis Gegen is not your every-day criminal investigator. He works for the State of Nevada, helping to conserve its scarcest commodity -- water.
PAY MULROY, GENERAL MANAGER, SOUTHERN NEVADA WATER AUTHORITY: We've put restrictions on building codes, you can't have turf in the front yard. You can only have 50 percent of the back area landscaped with grass. We're promoting desert landscaping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hotels and casinos are all in when it comes to water conservation.
JAIME CRUZ, MGM MIRAGE HOTEL GROUP: We conserve by utilizing high-efficiency showerheads, toilets, sinks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if you haven't gotten the message saving water is serious business here, Vegas is putting its own humor spin on the rather dry subject with a new ad campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I help you?
UNIDENTFIIED MALE: To find your watering schedule, go to changeyourclock.com.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our water detective delivers the same message but his method of delivery is, well, easier to handle. That's this week's "Green House."
SANCHEZ: In Dallas today, Betty's old stomping grounds, they may end up electing the very first open-gay big-city mayor of the United States. In history. City councilman Ed Oakley, who is gay, is in a close run-off election with Tom Leopard. In a city known for its conservative values, it's noteworthy, if not newsworthy. Neither candidate has made an issue of Oakley's sexual orientation, by the way.
NGUYEN: Well, on a completely different topic, Paris Hilton spending another weekend in jail. She's apparently had some time for reflection, because she recently announced she is going to stop pretending to be a dumb blonde.
SANCHEZ: Oh no!
NGUYEN: Now that got our Josh Levs wondering where does the myth of the dumb blonde come from? He's here this morning. I know you did a lot of research.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yeah.
NGUYEN: You don't happen to be blonde.
LEVS: Not right now. I kind of miss my blond days. If I swim a lot in the summer, I get to blond again. By the way, can we just take a moment to observe how she said the word "pretending" to be dumb? She'll stop pretending to be dumb.
NGUYEN: That's what she said. I'm only quoting here.
LEVS: She's doing her job and a great job as always. Check this out. I'm kind of anti-puns in general but I'm making an exception today. Because the best way to lead into this is to tell you that I went combing through research to get to the roots of the myth.
NGUYEN: Stop it!
LEVS (voice-over): People made fun of her for saying it, but in a way, Paris Hilton was right. Last year she said, "I think every decade has an iconic blonde, and right now I'm that icon."
Now she's told Barbara Walters she's going to stop acting dumb. Whether an act or not, the dumb blonde thing has worked wonders for her just like it did for others before her. In the late 1970s, "Three's Company" made Suzanne Somers a huge star.
SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: Oh, it's so beautiful!
LEVS: Goldie Hawn kicked off her careers in the 1960s on "Laugh In."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's.
GOLDIE HAWN, ACTRESS: That's a dictionary, you know.
LEVS: Dolly Parton's break-through single was called "Dumb Blonde." She's always said the jokes don't bother him.
DOLLY PARTON, COUNTRY SINGER: Because I know I'm not dumb, and I know I'm not blonde.
LEVS: In the reality TV era it is Paris and Jessica Simpson. Americans went wild over this scene in MTV's "Newlyweds."
JESSICA SIMPSON, CELEBRITY: Why is it called chicken by the sea or in the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chicken of the Sea is the brand.
LEVS: But where does the stereotype come from. Studies show there is no correlation between hair color and intelligence. Researchers say since blonde kids generally grow darker hair by adult who had, blonde is associated with youthful naivete which on a bleach blonde adult can suggest a lack of intelligence.
Some icons have played that up. Researchers say the dumb blonde image was driven into the American psyche by "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," first a book in 1925, then the star of the movie, Marilyn Monroe who often used child-like ways of speaking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't ring for him?
MARILYN MONROE, ACTRESS: I didn't think of it. Isn't that silly?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVS (on camera): And that is the quintessential clip because she didn't even think of calling someone to let her out of the room, so she tries to crawl out of the window, gets stuck and needs help from a six-year-old. Heeheee.
SANCHEZ: Do that again.
LEVS: No thank you.
NGUYEN: You did that quite well! I know you have a lot of experience at that.
LEVS: Why's that so natural?
But let me just point out to be fair there are some people concerned about this but our next president just might be a blonde woman. So in general these days it is not as though Americans look at a blonde woman and assume ...
SANCHEZ: You talking about Giuliani in a wig?
NGUYEN: But we had this conversation a little bit earlier, Josh. When we talk about dumb blonde -- will you get it together here?
We were talking about why is it always females? Why don't we see dumb blonde males? LEVS: Some people try to. You mentioned Kato Kaelin. Just before the break. There were some people tried that after the Kato Kaelin thing. There were all of these people saying he is the ultimate male dumb blond.
But nobody picked up on it. Nobody has a list of dozens of male dumb blonds that match that profile. Somebody here today mentioned "Zoolander." Remember that movie? But it didn't lead into blond male models are dumb. It just never took off. It just didn't happen.
NGUYEN: You came up in this research, you saw a lot of different people pop you when you type in "dumb blonde."
LEVS: Yes, one was really striking which was Valerie Plame. Isn't that wild?
NGUYEN: That CIA agent?
LEVS: Here's way, no one actually thinks she is a dumb blonde, but the "Observer" newspaper talked to one of her associates at the CIA who said she succeeded in the CIA by playing the dumb blonde. So many people who want to believe in the dumb blonde that by playing that role she managed to rise up the ranks.
SANCHEZ: Dye your hair blonde, play the dumb routine and you'll make a lot of money.
LEVS: Maybe if I try it I could have your job, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Everything sans the money.
Thanks, Josh. The Internet and the election. We're going to look at how the two come together and how CNN is now playing a featured role in this. We'll tell you. Stick around.
SANCHEZ: Let's bring you up to date now on what's going on with Mike Nifong. There is hearing taking place to determine whether or not he should be disbarred for quote, "unethical behavior." Let's dip in for just a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what to make much of what Dr. Mehan (ph) said. I mean if anybody can say they came out of a meeting with Dr. Mehan clear with what he meant on May 12, my hats are off to them, because I've never been clear from looking through all this various documentation as to what he said. According to Dr. Mehan, he said he was informed that Mr. Nifong did not come before you and say, well, gee, look at that language. I knew that's what Dr. Mehan told me and that's what Dr. Mehan told y'all. That I informed him that non-probative language meant we were referring to unidentified DNA out there, and that anyone who looks at that would know that. And I was expecting a call the next day. Now I don't know that he was really thinking that or not. That's what he testified to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course the term "non-probative" doesn't really sound like a scientific term. Sounds like a legal term, to me. Where did he get that word?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does. Well, he said he came up with it himself. We've heard nothing to the contrary. We've heard non- culpatory. We've certainly not heard non-probative during the course of various documentation. He said that was the language he came up with. He said it was a poor choice of words. He said everything in that report that he wrote was his idea.
That no one -- no one -- told him how to write that report or limit that report or include or exclude anything. And he said that -- the language -- I was looking through some of ...
SANCHEZ: The real question here is intent, did Mike Nifong intend in this case to deceive? Did he act in a nefarious manner? Did he withhold DNA evidence from the players' defenses? From their lawyers, in essence? Did he give the court false information?
Not just did he do those things but did he do those things because he was trying to somehow deceive, in essence, as the term loosely used by many people is "railroad" these defendants. And that's the real question here that they're trying to decide. And as they do, we will follow it and bring you updates from time to time as it warrants.
NGUYEN: And ultimately we'll learn if he is going to be disbarred or not.
And of course NEWSROOM will continue to follow this throughout the afternoon. Susan Roesgen here in for Fredricka Whitfield. You've got a lot on the plate today.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot on our plate and a couple stories that I think some people would not even be aware of, certainly not in New Orleans where I am a CNN correspondent. Did you know there are still 100 bodies, 100 Katrina victims still unclaimed in this warehouse just a few blocks from the Superdome? People drive past this every day. There are bodies in there. Why haven't they been properly buried? We'll have that story.
Plus, have you guys heard about the new movie "Sicko", it's from Michael Moore? He's always got something up his sleeve.
SANCHEZ: The ads are out.
ROESGEN: The ads are out already. It's about health care and it's an explosive new film, as they call it. It is not in theaters yet but a lot of people are watching this movie for free. You can, too. We'll tell but that and why the movie company doesn't want you to get a sneak peek at it.
SANCHEZ: It is the first time he does one that's not necessarily anti-Republican or anti-conservative.
ROESGEN: Though we do see a shot of President Bush which is the last shot over "Sicko" in the movie trailer. So you know he's going to get his digs in somehow. SANCHEZ: That's to be expected.
ROESGEN: Well, both those stories coming up.
NGUYEN: Very good.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Susan.
You know what we're going to do here for you at CNN? We're going to be YouTubing CNN presidential debates. Could you say the democratic process has begun to catch up with the Internet age. Oh, boy, could you. Veronica De la Cruz of the .com Desk is here to put this together for us. What you got, Veronica?
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN.COM: Hey there, Rick, well, you know CNN is really raising the bar on these next debates. The next one is Monday, July 23rd and it's between the democrats. And this time, voters will be able to ask questions directly through YouTube. CNN and YouTube have teamed up for this experiment in democracy and the video questions are pouring in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Joe Pruwald (ph) from Philadelphia. A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. At my graduation ceremony James Biggs III (ph) did the commencement speech and he told us that leading is do you what you know is right even if you know it is unpopular. This is one of the more disturbing ideologies I hear Republican officials talking about, that you don't lead by listening to polls.
This works in a system where leaders rule and distrust the populations, but in America, leaders are elected to represent their populations. How will you remain committed to representing the constituencies which you are morally obligated to, the American people? Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My name's Shawn Conley (ph), I'm from Athens, Georgia. My question is for any candidate, is this -- what do you think about the Military Commissions Act of 2006, if you agree with it, why do you agree with it, if you disagree with it, what are you going to do about it?
And while I realize you don't have a lot of time to answer, please try to avoid the political cliches that we constantly hear all the time. Thank you.
DE LA CRUZ: Again, that was Sean Conley from Athens, Georgia. And more than 200 people clicked on that last one since it was posted two days ago. A comment left by one viewer called it an awesome question and predicted only Ron Paul would be able to answer honestly. And Rick, that's just a quick sample of issues on folks' minds. You can check them all out on YouTube. And a reminder, I hear Anderson Cooper will be hosting this first of its kind event. It is live, interactive, on television, online. July 23rd.
And then you can also see the Republican candidates debate, that's Monday, September 17th. And it all takes place on CNN.
SANCHEZ: Should be fun.
NGUYEN: Yeah. We'll be watching that. Can't wait to see the questions.
Well, there is a lot more to come here on CNN. We've been watching a lot of breaking news, developing stories especially out of Iraq. You want to stay tuned for that because Susan Roesgen will be in the anchor seat momentarily. Don't go anywhere.
SANCHEZ: Good night. Good ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERRI WILLIS, CNN FINANCE EDITOR: Convertible? SUV? Sports car? Before you know it, your child will be driving. And safety should be priority number one. Read up on crash test ratings and other safety features on aaa.com.
ROBERT SINCLAIR, AAA: Newer vehicles tend to have superior safety equipment, antilock brakes, crumple zones, electronic stability control.
WILLIS: Don't forget to get an independent mechanic to inspect a used car foe reliability before you buy and check to see if the warranty is still in place. And if not, look into purchasing one. And shop around for car insurance. Rates can be as high as $5,000 for new drivers.
But many companies offer discounts such as good grade rewards if they maintain a certain average.
(on camera): I'm Gerri Willis and that's your "Tip of the Day."
For more ideas, strategies and tips to save your money and protect your house, watch "Open House" every Saturday 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com