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Jones Doping Case; Tax Standoff Ends; Myanmar Crackdown

Aired October 05, 2007 - 14:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: She had speed, she had style and, boy, did she have success. Now, though, for track and field superstar Marion Jones a glittering history is tarnished. The future is clouded, and "The Clear," an off-limits steroid, is the reason.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It could be the end of the line for her career.

And it's also the end of the line for two convicted tax evaders in rural New Hampshire. After months holed up in their booby-trapped 100-acre compound, the pair outsmarted by marshals.

We'll get a live report on that.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

NGUYEN: Hi, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, in today for Kyra Phillips.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

First up, a court appearance today in a New York case that could rewrite sports history. Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones is expected to plead guilty to lying about steroid use. Her freedom, her reputation, her Olympic medals all are in jeopardy.

So let's go now to CNN's Allan Chernoff for the latest. He joins us from White Plains, New York.

And we understand she's going to be entering that courtroom in a couple of hours from now.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: That's right, 4:00 Eastern Time.

And you'll remember the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Marion Jones was simply astounding there, winning five medals. Her performance seemed superhuman and, indeed, now we learn it had been enhanced by steroids.

We understand from federal authorities that Marion Jones, in this courthouse, will shortly be pleading guilty to two counts, one count of lying to investigators about her drug use and another count dealing with a separate case, a check fraud case. Also the charge there, lying to investigators.

Now in the past, Marion Jones had denied using steroids.


MARION JONES, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I know how clean this young lady is sitting right here, and that's 100 percent. I cannot speak for anybody else, and I won't do that. I refuse to, but I know that I'm an athlete that's always been drug-free. I am right now and I will always be.


CHERNOFF: Jones will become the first athlete to be convicted from the investigation of BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative. That company provided nutritional supplements, as well asteroids to athletes.

And, of course, there have been many reports about some very famous athletes obtaining steroids from BALCO. Reportedly, Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees did so, according to a report in the "San Francisco Chronicle". He told a grand jury that he had obtained steroids from BALCO. And also homerun king Barry Bonds reportedly told a grand jury as well that he had obtained the steroids.

Now, if Marion Jones follows through with this guilty plea, it is most likely that she will lose her five medals from those Olympics, and two of those medals were from relays. So it is likely that her teammates also could lose their medals as well -- Betty.

NGUYEN: That is just going to be devastating if that's the case to those track stars who were on that relay team.

Allan Chernoff, thanks so much. We'll join you a little bit later.

LEMON: One of the first people -- one of the first players really to get outed and sort of get caught up in the steroids scandal was Jose Canseco. He joins us by phone now.

Mr. Canseco, thank you for joining us today here on CNN.

JOSE CANSECO, FMR. MLB PLAYER: Great to be here.

LEMON: Hey, listen, when you heard about Marion Jones, what were your thoughts?

CANSECO: Well, it didn't surprise me at all. I think what we have to look at is every athlete that has set or broken a record, especially a record that has completely been -- a previous record that has been completely been demolished by either, you know, a great margin of winning -- so I think you really have to look at each and every athlete that has accomplished that and ask yourself if they used some type of enhancement drugs.

LEMON: Every single athlete in every sickle sport you're talking about here? CANSECO: Absolutely. That's including tennis, golf, hockey. There are a lot of sports which people really don't assimilate (ph) really steroids with. Like, for example, golf.


Let me ask you this. Jones and some of the other athletes who have been sort of involved in this controversy, at least mentioned in this controversy, said they thought they were taking flax seed oil. How common is that, and do you believe that that is a viable excuse?

CANSECO: Absolutely not. Why would you take flax seed oil for any sport? It doesn't make any sense.

I think maybe these individuals were convinced that it was a specific type of enhancement drug, but didn't know exactly maybe what the breakdown of these drugs were, what exactly was going in their bodies, whether it be a clear that you rub on to your body or inject, because there are a million combinations they could have been using.

LEMON: So do you think that any of these people maybe thought that they were taking something else which was not necessarily a steroid, and in Marion Jones' case as well?

CANSECO: Well, I don't know not necessarily a steroid. I don't think they knew exactly what steroid or what combinations they were actually using.


You mentioned other sports, and, you know, without naming names, because we don't have the other folks here to defend themselves, you claim that you had -- you injected steroids yourself, is that correct, in your book, "Juiced"?

CANSECO: Yes, I did.

LEMON: You did it with other athletes. And we don't have to mention names because, again, they are not here to defend themselves.

CANSECO: Of course.

LEMON: So you think that this is more pervasive than we may even realize? Do you think this is only the tip of the iceberg and as these investigations continue we're going to see more athletes, high- profile athletes outed by steroid use?

CANSECO: Well, there's no doubt about it. I think we're only -- because I wrote this book "Juiced" in Major League Baseball, I mean, we still have to look at basketball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, which people don't really look at, but for me, golf is a sport of longevity, really, a sport that you can play until your 50s and 60s. And why not use enhancement drugs, why not use growth hormones that really slow down and stop the aging process?

So, I mean, any sport where there's a physical task that has to be used or mandated is going to use steroids.


Let me ask you this real quick, and I have two quick questions for you as fast as can you answer them.

There's a small minority who say, you know what? If they are athletes and use steroids, why not just let people do it? And that way everybody can compete and it's all a level playing field because everybody is using them?

CANSECO: I agree. I agree completely, and I'll tell you why.

As an athlete in our society, we are given accolades, the greater levels we actually reach and the more things we accomplish and the more records we actually break. What's the different between one athlete, let's say, given supplements, completely legal, and the other athlete in another country being restricted from those supplements?

LEMON: OK. We'll have to let other people answer that.

But real quickly, seriously, five, 10 seconds, what does this mean for kids though? I don't think that's a good role model.

CANSECO: Well, the question is, what does it mean for children that alcohol is legal and tobacco is legal?

LEMON: Yes. All right.

Jose Canseco, thank you so much for joining us.

CANSECO: Thank you.

NGUYEN: In other news, a New Hampshire couple who appeared ready to take the state's motto of "Live Free or Die to Heart" has been arrested. Convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown had been holed up in their Plainfield home for months vowing not to be taken alive, so how did it all go down?

Well, our Deborah Feyerick is live in New York with the latest on this one.

This is such an interesting case.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it really is. And the two, Elaine Brown and Ed Brown, had vowed not to be taken alive. But instead, the six-month standoff with federal agents in New Hampshire ended quietly without incidents and with no shots fired.

Now, they had been convicted for refusing to pay taxes on some $1.9 million made over eight years, saying there was no valid law requiring them to do so. But rather than surrender, they barricaded themselves in their fortified home and had supporters bring them supplies and weapons, according to authorities. Well, on Thursday night, when the couple was alone, two deputy marshals who had been opposing as supporters were invited in by the Browns. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MONIER, U.S. MARSHAL: Last evening, the Browns invited yet another what they thought were a group of like-minded individuals to their home. Unfortunately for them, these supporters actually turned out to be deputy U.S. marshals.


FEYERICK: And the U.S. marshal there for New Hampshire also saying, they invited us in, we escorted them out.

Now, federal agents found a number of explosive devices inside and outside of the home, along with weapons, ammunition and booby- traps. The agents have been scouring the property, which right now is considered a crime scene.

The Browns are both in their 60s. They will each serve more than five years in federal prison and they're likely to face additional charges for failing to surrender.

Now, to put this in context, Betty, there was a big fear that this could turn into another Ruby Ridge-like standoff which ended violently in 1992. In fact, one of the participants who actually visited this summer was Randy Weaver, who was involved in that Ruby Ridge standoff. But right now, after a long wait, this ended, again, no shots fired -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. CNN's Deborah Feyerick joining us live from New York.

Thank you for that, Deborah.

LEMON: And take a look at these images we're about to show you. They're from the streets and temples of Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.

It's quieter today, on the surface, anyway, but armed troops and police officers are still out in large visible force there. The United Nations sent a diplomat to Myanmar to try to mediate some sort of calm. He's back and he has some encouraging news.

CNN Senior United Nations Correspondent Richard Roth is with us live to tell us about that -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know how encouraging. He has news from his visit to Myanmar.

He thought that Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was under house arrest for years, looked better than she did in November. He says the Myanmar authorities have released hundreds of monks that were arrested and other people, but he's also telling Myanmar you have a window of opportunity here, take advantage of it. What you're doing inside your own country could have international repercussions.

He also said that the offer by the government to talk with pro- democracy people like Aung San Suu Kyi could represent an opportunity.


IBRAHIM GAMBARI, U.N. ENVOY TO MYANMAR: I'm, therefore, cautiously encouraged by the government's announcement yesterday that (INAUDIBLE) is prepared to meet Aung San Suu Kyi with certain conditions. This is a potentially welcomed development that calls for maximum flexibility on all sides. As soon as such a meeting takes place the better, as it is the first and necessary step to overcome the high level of mistrust between them.

I sincerely hope that the potential for dialogue would recognize to the same extent of both sides and that it can translate into concrete steps in the immediate wake of the crisis.


ROTH: Myanmar asked the Security Council to refrain from any action. The U.S., Don, threatened a sanctions resolution and arms embargo if Myanmar did not relent. China warned against taking that tact, saying this an internal affair inside the Myanmar, not the business of the United Nations Security Council.

LEMON: Richard Roth, much appreciated.

Thank you.

NGUYEN: Olympic superstar Marion Jones reportedly admits to steroid use, so will she be stripped of her medals? We're going to hear from a "Sports Illustrated" reporter who has been on the story for years

LEMON: And minorities and subprime mortgages, the costly connection ahead in the NEWSROOM.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


NGUYEN: All right. Here's how it breaks down -- mortgage lenders and minority borrowers. A new report is raising some big questions.

Our personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, is digging into this.

And here's what's so interesting. You are finding some really amazing results here, Gerri. What have you discovered?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, the news here is not good, Betty.

A disproportionately large percentage of mortgages made to African-American and Hispanic buyers were high cost, subprime loans. Now, we've been describing subprime loans as mortgages given to people with poor credit. They are required to pay more in interest rates because they are higher risk, but as you are about to see, it's not always necessarily the case.

First the numbers here.

Nearly four out of 10 new mortgages made to minorities were subprime, more than double the rate for white borrowers. For African- Americans, 48 percent of the loans they took out were subprime. For Hispanics it was nearly 42 percent.

Now, compare that to whites. Only 18 percent of loans to whites were subprime.

Now the study was conducted by Genworth Financial, a financial services firm, and Compliance Technologies, a consulting and software company. And according to Genworth, some of these consumers could have been in prime loans with lower interest rates. That's right, they should have qualified for better loan terms.

Now, a Genworth representative tells us that better education of minorities about loan options would have helped some of these borrowers, but consumer advocates say that low-income borrowers and minorities are often steered towards subprime loans by unscrupulous lenders who simply want to make more in commissions.

NGUYEN: The numbers are just staggering.

OK. So now we know how bad it's gotten. Is the situation getting any better or is it still continuing on that path?

WILLIS: Well, the trend is not new, Betty. Five years ago, a nonprofit group found similar trends.

In fact, the study entitled "Risk Erase" (ph) revealed that lower-income African-Americans received 2.4 times as many subprime loans as lower-income whites, while upper-income African-Americans received three times as many subprime loans as whites with comparable incomes. At the same time, lower-income Hispanics received 1.4 times as many subprime loans as do lower-income whites, while upper income Hispanics received twice as many.

So you can see there's a real trend there.


Hey, you tackle these issues and a lot more on "OPEN HOUSE".

So what's coming up this weekend?

WILLIS: Well, we'll have more on the mortgage crisis. Plus, some areas in the U.S. where home prices, hey, they're still soaring.

And how to get your insurance claim paid.

That's this Saturday at 9:30 a.m., right here on CNN.

Join us for "OPEN HOUSE".

NGUYEN: I'll be watching. Thank you, Gerri.

WILLIS: Thank you, Betty.

NGUYEN: You can watch Gerri Willis on "OPEN HOUSE" tomorrow morning at 9:30 Eastern and at 3:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday -- Don.

LEMON: Such a popular and important show, I thought we'd just do it in stereo.

NGUYEN: In stereo, yes.

LEMON: Yes, there you go.

It's usually, what, dog saves man?

NGUYEN: Usually.

LEMON: But this time it's man saves dog.

We'll meet the canine cop who did CPR on his four-legged partner.

That's straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

NGUYEN: That's love.

LEMON: He's cute though. Look at him.

NGUYEN: He is.




NGUYEN: Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen live at the CNN Headquarters right here in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. Steroids scandal stalked the sports world for years now. Today it could bring down Marion Jones.

NGUYEN: Coming up in the NEWSROOM, a reporter who has followed this drug scandal for years talks about the Jones case. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And just in, to CNN, we have new video of Marion Jones arriving at federal court today in White Plains, New York. We're going to show that to you right now. Government official tells CNN that Jones will plead guilty to two counts. One of steroid-related false statements, and one of bank fraud involving an unrelated matter.

Now Jones has written a letter to her family and friends, according to "The Washington Post", where she says that she was unaware of what she was taking, and she writes that her former coach gave her the substance and told her that it was flaxseed oil. So we're going to dig a little bit deeper into all of this. And let's look at it on the whole here, three gold medals, two bronze, fame, glory, history. They all belonged to Marion Jones. Her plea in court today could take it all the way. The Olympic track star expected to plead guilty to lying about her past steroid use, CNN's Larry Smith looks back at her career.


LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): What a fall for grace for Marion Jones. I recall back in 1994 when she was a freshman star basketball player at the University of North Carolina on a Tar Heels team that won the NCAA Championship that year.

She played three years basketball in college before focusing solely on track and field. The big breakthrough here in 2000, and what a year it was. The Sydney Olympics, where she went in trying to win the five gold medals, came away with three gold, five medals, in total.

But she was on top of the world. She got a $1 million appearance fee. She received 70 to 80 grand per meet, just to show up and compete. The money is gone. And, of course, years now dogged by steroids allegations coming from the BALCO scandal. And now we'll see what happens with this.

Her life has changed. She got married for the second time in February, had her second child in July. And now we'll see what happens with Marion Jones.

We do know this much, that her image is forever tarnished and as for the medals she won in Sydney, and the medals she won as well in the World Championships in 1999 and 2001, a period in which she now says she did take the CLEAR (ph) for those two years. We don't know what's going to happen yet. Both the International Olympic Committee and the World Governing Body over track and field will take a wait and see on this. Just to wait and find out what happens to the legal proceedings.

But there is precedence, though, back in 2003 Great Britain's Dwayne Chambers, after the World Championships, he tested positive and the entire relay team was stripped of their silver medals. So, not only can Marion Jones lose her medals, but anyone involved in the relay teams, including the 4x4 100 meter relay team that won gold with her in Sydney, also could lose their medals as well. Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.


NGUYEN: The steroid scandal won't go away. It shadowed Barry Bonds' recent home run chase and now it's bringing down track star Marion Jones. Luis Fernando Llosa has been following the link between sports and steroids for years. He is a senior investigative reporter for "Sports Illustrated" and he joins us now live from New York.

Let's look at the big picture, if you will. You've been following this for many years and that big picture includes the BALCO case.


NGUYEN: How is Marion Jones connected to that case and could it be like she says in her letter, to family and friends, that she didn't know she was taking steroids? She was just told it was flaxseed oil.

LLOSA: The flaxseed oil defense, we've heard already from Barry Bonds. And the, "I didn't know it was steroids when I took it" excuse, which Shane Mosely gave last week, when we published a story about him having receiving the cream, the Clear, and taking EPO, is one that doesn't seem to hold up.

Because you're talking about elite, high-profile athletes who have teams of people who work with them, nutritionists, trainers. They have to be very careful about what they take all the time. They can accidentally take substances that might provide them with a positive, you know, without even wanting to. They know what they are taking in, so we've heard this over and over. And as fans and journalists we wonder, you know, when is this going to stop? When is this, "I unwittingly took steroids" defense -- it's going to wear thin.

NGUYEN: Over and over again we hear the name BALCO pop up and a larger investigation. Tell us how Marion Jones could be connected to that.

LLOSA: She was definitely subpoenaed in late 2003 and spoke with investigators, and in those interviews that she said that she hadn't taken steroids. And that's why she's in trouble now when we find out that she, you know, is about to plead to having, you know, perjured herself, or lied to investigators about that.

She's been involved in this case because way back even in '99 when she was coached by Trevor Graham, she was introduced to -- and even earlier perhaps, to Victor Conte, the BALCO owner, who has been at sort of the center of the maelstrom for the past years, which has involved Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, now Shane Mosely. And basically it's this nutritionist who worked out of the San Francisco Bay area, or San Jose area, and was selling designer steroids, and other steroids, and performance enhancers to the different coaches and athletes.

The question with this case now is where is it going? And what I would venture is that the next target is Trevor Graham, the coach who has been linked to banned athletes as well as suspended athletes, and to athletes testing positive with names like Tim Montgomery, who was stripped of his world title and record, and just recently Justin Gatlin who is now serving an eight-year ban imposed by the U.S. anti- doping agency.

So the question is what is going to happen today? I would venture in her plea agreement there's some sort of arrangement.

NGUYEN: According to her letter to her family that "The Washington Post" got word of -- part of it, she says that she faced up to six months in jail, but would be sentenced to three months. So it appears like there is some kind of a deal that may have been made?

LLOSA: Right, and since Trevor Graham, the coach, we know is -- his trial is set to start in late November. The question is -- and she is implying or saying that she got the steroids from him. He's up for distribution charges. She's up for lying about using charges. And so the question is how in the general configuration of this case as a puzzle piece how she works, in terms of getting to her coach.

And what is at question here is that all these big-name athletes are falling like dominoes, but it's not just the athlete that takes a substance. It's the coaches, the trainers, the business itself.

NGUYEN: But it's the athlete who stands out in front of the cameras and the microphones and says you know what, I didn't do it. So let's rewind for just a second and go back to 2004 when this is what Marion Jones said.


MARION JONES, TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE: I have never, ever used performance enhancing drugs. And I have accomplished what I've accomplished because of my God-given abilities and hard work.


NGUYEN: So, now we see where we are today. She is heading to federal court expected to plead guilty. Do you expect she will also be stripped of her medals? And what does that mean for the people who were on her relay team, if she indeed is going to be stripped of those medals?

LLOSA: Well, given the precedent that you mentioned earlier in the show and given the nature of her offense, and the fact that Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin and others who either have a non- analytical positive finding, which means they didn't test positive, or in Gatlin's case did test positive for testosterone, and lost their titles -- or some of their titles -- you know, the educated guess, we're waiting to see what the anti-doping agencies do -- the educated guess is, yes. She will lose them and it's more than likely if she's a component of a team that won they will, too. That's a real shame for American sport.

NGUYEN: It is and it affects a lot of people. Luis Fernando Llosa, senior investigative reporter for "Sports Illustrated". You've been following this for many years, we appreciate your time.

LLOSA: Well, thank you.

LEMON: We're going share some of our e-mails. We've been getting some really interesting responses about this a little bit later on in the CNN NEWSROOM. People, hundreds as a matter of fact.

NGUYEN: It's a big story. I mean, she was such a role model for so many people, especially after wining and the Olympics, so many medals, not just one, not two, but many. LEMON: Yeah. We're both here in Atlanta, lots of rain for the weekend. We hope, we need some rain, but it could be a mess for other parts of the south, right, Chad?


LEMON: A dramatic example of global warming, an island no one knew was there. Meet the man who discovered it and find out how it affects our "Planet in Peril". You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


NGUYEN: Let's get you straight to the newsroom and T.J. Holmes with details on a developing story.

What do you have, T.J.?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes, we have a plane missing and three occupants of that plane missing, as well. This is a medical flight that was going -- as you see there. It took off from Phoenix last night, heading to Alamosa, Colorado. The last contact that the radio -- the last radio contact was made last night when there was just about 20 miles southwest of Alamosa, not too far from its destination.

But it went missing. And now crews are on the scene in some pretty rugged areas just outside of Alamosa trying to track down this plane. They aren't able to do a search from the air right now because of bad weather in the area.

But three people on board, a pilot, a flight nurse and a paramedic were on board. Not exactly sure what their mission may have been, if this is a medical situation they were going to, or coming from, but right now kind of a scary and sad story right now to think that this plane is missing.

Hopefully, maybe they just got into some trouble. Maybe they were able to land somewhere and the crew is all right, just need to be found, Betty. But right now that search continues. And if we get an update, hopefully a positive update, we'll certainly pass it along to you.

NGUYEN: All right, T.J., thank you.

LEMON: Greenland is the next stop in the preview of the upcoming CNN documentary "Planet In Peril" preview. Today we take you to one of the world's newest islands, and island that only exists because of global warming. Here's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: Constable Point, Greenland, to say this place is remote is an understatement. We're here with explorer Dennis Schmitt, traveling up the east coast to his latest discovery. After a few fly-bys, we touch down. This is one of the world's newest and least explored islands.

DENNIS SCHMITT, EXPLORER: No one has ever been here before. We're the first people to be here.

COOPER (on camera): No one has ever been here? Really?

SCHMITT: We are the first to ever walk here.

COOPER: Schmitt didn't expect to make this discovery. He literally sailed right into it. When did you realize, wait a minute, this is not -- this an island?

SCHMITT: I realized something was wrong. Either I was in a different place, or the place where I was had completely changed. And I pointed to the area of open water at the edge of the face of the glacier, and I said that's the world's newest island.

COOPER: Here in the Arctic's bitter cold an island revealed because of Greenland's retreating ice shelf.

SCHMITT: This is the first example of an island actually breaking away from the continental mass.

COOPER: He named it Warming Island, a permanent reminder of a warming Earth.

It was a moment you dreamed of your whole life.

SCHMITT: Yeah, when you're a kid and you think of that you think -- you fantasize that you can do that but, of course, you don't think you'll really do it.

COOPER: But as a kid Schmitt was well on to his way to a life off the beaten path. Schmitt says he was tapped as a prodigy in his native California, placed in a special school as a child and by 11 he says he was composing symphonies. Then at 19 he was restless in the modern world, so he went to live with the Eskimos in Alaska. After that he took it a step further, literally. He walked across the Bering Strait.

SCHMITT: There was nobody to stop me. There were no soldiers, no rifle shots, nothing. I just kept walking and I ended up on a Soviet island.

COOPER: He's been traveling the Arctic ever since.

SCHMITT: I've had this since I was 16.

COOPER: Part explorer --

SCHMITT: And I would ride his sled --

COOPER: And part poet and philosopher.

SCHMITT: With rainbows raining, in the rain.

COOPER: Musician and composers.

SCHMITT: I'm trying to invent a new kind of opera. The music I write and the poetry I write is just who I am. All my life, as an explorer, I carried notebooks around with me and writing music and poetry all the while I was in the arctic. I never stopped doing that.

COOPER: Schmitt's island has become a visible symbol of climate change.

SCHMITT: I think historically Warming Island is going to be by far the most important thing I've discovered.

COOPER: Now 61, Dennis still makes several trips to the Arctic each year hoping for more discoveries, discoveries he believes can send a message to the world.


Well, don't miss the four-hour "Planet In Peril" documentary premiers in less than three weeks from today, October 23rd and 24th. If you would like to get clips -- that's very interesting -- get them online on CNN's "Planet in Peril" before it begins. Just download the "AC360" podcast. Go to, to download it now.

NGUYEN: All right. Man saves dog and we're going to meet the canine cop who did this, get this, CPR on his four-legged partner. Talk about love. That is ahead in the NEWSROOM.

I'm Kareen Wynter in Hollywood. A major rock star has recorded a song about racism, and Jena, Louisiana. I'll tell you who, next in the NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, we're going to talk entertainment, but this is a pretty serious subject. There is a new protest song about what's been going on in Jena, Louisiana. And the man behind this song, well, it may actually surprise you. Well, maybe, not sure.

WYNTER: Maybe, maybe not.

LEMON: Hey, Kareen Wynter.

WYNTER: Hey, Don.

LEMON: So, who is this? Who recorded this song?

WYNTER: Well, John Mellencamp, of course. He's the latest performer, Don, who call attention to what happened in Jena, and his new protest song, well, it isn't pulling any punches.


JOHN MELLENCAMP (singing): An all white jury hides the executioner's face; is this how we are, me and you?; Everyone here needs to know their place; And here we thought this blackbird was hidden in the flue; Oh, oh, oh, Jena --


WYNTER: OK. You've had a little listen there. Mellencamp released a statement saying this song isn't meant of an indictment of the people of Jena, but rather as a condemnation of racism. He also added that he isn't out to antagonize anyone, but he's out to catalyize (sic) thought, which for the rest of us means inspire debate. Mellencamp will perform the song in public for the first time later today at the San Francisco Bluegrass Festival.

LEMON: Yeah, it's kind of catchy when you listen to it there.

WYNTER: It is.

LEMON: Not really surprising because, you know, John Mellencamp, we used to call him John Cougar --

WYNTER: Of course.

LEMON: He writes these kinds of songs all the time. We'll see. We'll see what it does on the chart.

Let's switch gears now. I was surprised to hear about this, Owen Wilson, when it happened. But he is returning to the public eye and he also has a new movie out, too.

WYNTER: Lots going on, lots going on for him, Don. That's right. Last night in his first public appearance since his hospitalization in August, Owen Wilson went to the premiere of his film, "Darjeeling Limited".

Now, as you may remember, Wilson was taken to the hospital two months ago after an apparent suicide attempt. Since then he's been keeping to himself and actually getting treatment, but it appears that he is ready to start resuming normal activities again. Although he did avoid the media coverage at the event by skipping the red carpet. He wanted to avoid all those cameras.

He appeared on stage with director Wes Anderson, to a round of applause. Good for him.

And there's certainly a lot of people inside Hollywood, of course, Don, inside and out, wishing him well.

LEMON: Yeah, like I said it was really surprising. OK.

Time for -- ?

WYNTER: Let's breathe. Let's take this next story all in.

LEMON: It's time for Brit watch Friday. What do we have?

WYNTER: I hear Betty chuckling.

NGUYEN: I'm tearing up as we speak. WYNTER: Because it's good news, you know. There's no Britney bashing.


WYNTER: So listen to this.

We got some good news yesterday. Her new single -- which I know you have, Don, in your CD player -- "Gimme More" is doing extremely well. It was the most downloaded song, according to the "Billboard" digital songs chart. And it's also the No. 3 song on the "Billboard Top 100". How about that?

Now this song is the first one to be released from her new album, and that will be coming out November 13th.

Of course, we'll be talking a lot more about Spears before then as her custody battle with her ex-husband continues. There's a hearing that will be scheduled for that on October 26th.

LEMON: That's tonight on "Headline Prime." That's what you'll be talking about?

WYNTER: More Britney.

LEMON: I do not have her song. Believe me, I wish her the best, I feel bad for her. She has so much going on, but I'm not really a big Britney fan.

WYNTER: Ouch. All right.

LEMON: I'm not. I like Aguilera.

NGUYEN: Why do you have to hit her when she's down?

LEMON: I'm not hitting her when she's down, I'm just saying I'm not a fan. Some people aren't fans of mine. I mean, I'm not hitting her when she's down. I've been wishing her well. Right, Kareen?

WYNTER: And that's all you can do is wish her well.

LEMON: Absolutely.

WYNTER: It's an incredibly tough time. But we'll talk more Britney because saving Britney Spears will actually be the focus tonight on "Showbiz Tonight".

There are new startling suggestions about what she needs to do to clean up her act to get it all together, plus how K-Fed, Kevin Federline has gone from zero to hero. A special report on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, "Showbiz Tonight," 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 Pacific on "Headline Prime." We're closing out the week on Brit, you know?

LEMON: And you're jumping on the Betty Nguyen bandwagon and beating up on me. Bye, have a great weekend, Kareen. WYNTER: Gotta root for the girl.

NGUYEN: That's the newest thing to do around here at CNN.

LEMON: All right.

NGUYEN: Thanks, Kareen.

LEMON: Have a great weekend.

NGUYEN: We're going to get serious because we're going to show you some newly released surveillance video taken just before Carol Anne Gotbaum died in police custody at Phoenix airport. What did the tapes reveal? Well, that's ahead in the NEWSROOM.