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Presidential Race in Indiana; Shark Attacked Near San Diego; Missing Pilot Suspected Kidnapping; Mahmoud Abbas Interview
Aired April 26, 2008 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Well, a rally in Harlem this morning for an unarmed man killed on his wedding day in a hail of bullets. Sean Bell's family, fiancee and friends are expressing outrage after three detectives charged with killing him were acquitted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE PAULTRE BELL, SEAN BELL'S FIANCEE: The justice system let me down. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I'm still trying to get past it, because it's not over, it's far from over. Every march, every rally, I'm going to be right up front.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The acquittal brought tears of joy to the accused officers. They spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the shooting happened in November of 2006.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DET GESCARD ISNORA, ACQUITTED IN SEAN BELL SHOOTING: First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for bringing this to fruition. For my family members who are here. Secondly, to the Honorable Judge Cooperman for his fair and accurate decision today, and I'll keep it brief. Lastly for my family and friends, for their support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The head of the Detectives Endowment Association then lashed out at those who were quick to condemn the men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL PALLADINO, PRES DETECTIVES ENDOWMENT ASSN: Our thoughts and our sympathy go out to the Bell family, to Mr. and Mrs. Bell, and to Nicole and the children. We have been portrayed as insensitive murderers, and I can tell you that we are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The detectives are not in the clear, they face possible civil suits, and the Justice Department is considering federal charges. Justice served or justice delayed? Where does the case go from here? Our NEWSROOM legal team takes it up in our "Legal Briefs" later on this hour.
Battling street gangs, Chicago's police superintendent says officers will soon be armed with powerful M-4 carbines in a bid to match the firepower of the city's street gangs. Right now, rank-and- file officers are only allowed to carry handguns. Police are beefing up patrols after dozens of shootings left at least nine people dead last week alone.
Well, getting the shakes in Reno, another earthquake, this one a magnitude 4.7, Keeping gamblers and residents on edge just before midnight, last night. The quake dumped cans off shelves, knocked pictures off the walls, and sent rocks off hillsides. It followed a swarm of nearly 100 quakes that rocked the area on Thursday.
And home at last. Staff Sergeant Matt Maupin will finally be laid to rest tomorrow near Cincinnati, Ohio. His remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base, this morning. The motorcade to a local civic center, was greeted by thousands of yellow ribbons. Maupin was listed as missing for nearly four years after his convoy was ambushed near Baghdad. His remains were found last month.
Well, turning to the race for the White House, and one primary contest shaping up to be a real tight one. A new poll of polls of Indiana Democrats shows Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a statistical dead heat. The Indiana primary is May 6.
And as the polls indicate, the very tight race in Indiana, CNN's Jim Acosta joins us from Anderson, Indiana.
So, Jim, what are Clinton and Obama doing to appeal to these very important voters?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, Barack Obama was in Indiana yesterday, he is in Indiana today. And this is Hoosier country, after all, so Obama trying to play to one of his strengths, here in the Hoosier state, and that is playing a little basketball. He hit the hardwoods last night at a high school in Cocamo, Indiana, where he played some three-on-three basketball with some high school teenagers, there.
This is part of what Barack Obama's campaign is indicating as sort of a tweaking of his message to voters, here in Indiana, after that difficult loss in Pennsylvania, they want to try a little harder to make Obama appeal as more of a regular guy, so yesterday Obama was standing outside of a gas station in Indianapolis, not only talking about the high gas prices, but he was also talking about the fact that he only owns four pairs of shoes, that he only owns a handful of suits, so he's now getting his haircut more frequently from what he used to because of some teasing from his mother-in-law.
So, Barack Obama trying to relay the message to the voters his he is not the elitist that Hillary Clinton tried to paint him as in Pennsylvania. As for Hillary Clinton, she is in northern part of the state, she was there just a couple of weeks ago, in northwest Indiana where we saw her putting down a shot of Crown Royal whisky. She is still trying to flex those blue-collar credentials, here in Indiana, that she did so successfully in Pennsylvania -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jim Acosta, busy weekend for both of the candidates, there. We'll see more of the candidates on the campaign trail today, raw and unfiltered; it's a special edition of BALLOT BOWL, today 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Wild in Wisconsin, a camper trailer landed on top of a building. As powerful storms swept through the state, lightning and high winds led to thousands of power outages and despite widespread damage, no injuries were reported.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I shut the door and no more than I shut the door, I heard this whoosh! The lights went out and it was just like the air was sucked right out of the basement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Well, weather investigators will try to confirm today whether a tornado hit the town of Wyocena.
Well, they're cleaning up in northern Kansas after a tornado did strike early yesterday, there. Baseball-size hail and 80-mile-an-hour winds also pounded the area. The half-mile-wide twister downed power lines and damaged a home, but no one there was hurt. Close call, Reynolds Wolf, is in the Weather Center.
Lot of tornados to report over the last couple of weeks.
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah tornados and now we have a lot of snow to deal with. Hard to believe, but a lot of the northern plains that had to deal with that rough weather and had to do with some wintry mix in some places.
WHITFIELD: OK, and you know what, Reynolds, you were talking about snow, here it is April and we've got some pretty remarkable pictures, as well. This out of North Dakota? Wow.
WOLF: Yeah, hard to believe. That's actually, that system now is what is...
WHITFIELD: Or South Dakota, which is it?
WOLF: You know what...
WHITFIELD: We've got both on the screen there, don't we?
WOLF: We've got both, let's just cover the Dakotas.
WHITFIELD: OK, that's safe. WOLF: Both states received some snowfall. But now, that is certainly Minnesota's problem. As that moves a little bit more to the east the snow showers will begin to fade out but for Chicago back into Detroit, mainly your rain event over the next 24 to 36 hours (INAUDIBLE).
WHITFIELD: Yeah, and you mentioned snow at the top but, you know, seeing is believing.
WOLF: Yes, very true.
WHITFIELD: When you see those images like that, it's big snow.
WOLF: But not unusual.
WOLF: I mean, parts of Minnesota, I mean, last year in April, for example, they had around 13 inches of snow for the month, so not unusual for this time of the year to see this widespread snowfall in that part of world.
WHITFIELD: Only we get excited about it, huh?
WOLF: Oh, yeah. Yeah, you're right.
WHITFIELD: Thanks a lot, Reynolds.
All right, well, this is not something very exciting, but instead very frightening in southern California, a rare, deadly shark attack. Well, it's closed the beaches. We'll get a live update.
And a mystery in Florida, a pilot is missing, his story straight ahead. In the NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning there is one thought, I heard screaming and we turned back and we swam to him and he'd already been hit by a pretty good-sized shark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy, well, that's putting it mildly in terms of size of the shark. The swimmer that was attacked in waters north of San Diego, well, he later died. The shark believed to be a great white, perhaps as long as 17 feet. CNN's Ted Rowlands is tracking this developing story for us from Solana Beach.
And Ted, I understand they have closed the beaches for a pretty long stretch really because they're not sure if it's one shark or there may be other sharks in the area still.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, really out of an abundance of caution they've closed an eight-mile stretch of beaches here in southern California, just north of San Diego. And the reason for that is because it's a warm day, there will be a lot of swimmers out here typically, they haven't had a shark attack here in this specific area ever, and the last one in san Diego County, the confirmed fatality was in 1959, so a very rare occurrence. They don't think there's going to be another attack, but they just want to be sure. They are also patrolling by air this stretch of beaches.
Also today, the San Diego County Coroner's Office, medical examiner, is performing the autopsy. They're hoping to get more information from that autopsy about this specific shark. They're going to analyze the wounds of the victim, Dr. Dave Martin, and then they're also going to be looking for teeth fragments. They do believe it is a great white shark, they don't believe there'll be another attack, they do, however, as we said, want to patrol these beaches by air to keep an eye out just in case the shark comes back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID OTT, DIR OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Right, we're really not there to capture a shark or kill a shark or anything like that, we're there as we're flying over, if we see any large, dark shadows in the water and if there's any simmers or surfers nearby we would advise them through P.A.s to move out of the water, go to the beach and that's all it is, is precautionary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: Meanwhile, people in the tight-knit community are remembering Dr. Dave Martin, he's a retired veterinarian. A 66-year- old triathlete, he has four children, a lot of family members and friends have been coming to the beach, here. Last night there was a candlelight vigil, vigil people were writing messages in the sand. A lot of people leaving flowers here and remembering this individual and in the community who loved to swim and as one of his friends put it, he did die doing something that he absolutely loved to do and that is be in the water and be swimming. But a huge loss, here and at this point, some caution being taken, but they don't believe that they'll either find the shark and they don't believe there will be another attack, but as a cautionary decision, they're closing all these beaches for an eight-mile stretch, Fredricka, until Monday, at least.
WHITFIELD: So, Ted, so terribly sad. Now, he was training with a number of other triathletes, they were all swimming as a large group. Have you heard any more information perhaps from the other swimmers how far out they were, what exactly preceded the shark attack?
ROWLANDS: Yeah, it was a normal swim, 7:00 a.m. This group of swimmers routinely leaves from this area, they swim in this same area and according to the witnesses, there they were about 130 yards offshore, not too far out. I don't know if you can see back behind us, there's a set of breakers in the back. That's basically where the shark attack took place, not really too far offshore.
WHITFIELD: Right. ROWLANDS: Sharks feed, though, on seals that come in this area, obviously the witnesses were shocked, they were brought to a secluded area after this. They tried to revive him and just couldn't, but as you can imagine, just a horrifying, horrifying experience.
WHITFIELD: So tragic, all right, Ted Rowland's thank you very much, from Solana Beach, there.
ROWLANDS: On to other news across America -- a Chicago transit authority station is open again, just after, 12 hours after this were to take place. That's a tractor-trailer wedged inside the station. That story tops what's happening across America.
Two women died on the scene last night when the rig exited an expressway and then slammed into the street-level bus shelter.
And close to a third of the 150 residents of this apartment complex are unaccounted for after it went up in flames early this morning and the city's fire chief is saying it is possible that some of those people just simply didn't make it out alive.
WHITFIELD: And Florida lawmakers are considering adding this license plate to its election of about 100 specialty tags. The plate's main sponsor says people already believe in their college or university or believe in their football team, so why not? Critics say it sends the message that Florida endorses a specific religious preference.
Well, in Florida, the FBI is saying little about a pilot who has been missing for nearly a month, except that he may have been kidnapped that the family received a ransom note. Our Susan Candiotti is on the case.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Robert Wiles dropped out of sight April 1, just after closing up shop at National Flight Services, an aircraft maintenance company at a regional airport in Lakeland, Florida.
THOMAS WILES, FATHER: We have not heard from Robert since then, and nobody in our family has heard from him.
CANDIOTTI: Two days later, his parents received a ransom note, it demanded money, made a threat, and was signed in a, "unique way." The FBI refuses to disclose anything more.
PAMELA WILES, MOTHER: We are worried about Robert. We love Robert, and we are terribly concerned about his safety.
CANDIOTTI: The FBI says the parents tried to contact whoever sent the note, but never heard back.
DAVID COUVERTIER, FBI: They've done everything they could possibly do. They tried to follow the directions and instructions provided to them. For some reason, the individual, again, or individuals involved here have not responded back to them.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): The FBI says it didn't disclose the kidnapping until now, more than three weeks later, because they were trying to track down leads in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, even Thailand, but the well's run dry. Robert Wiles' parents appeared to struggle for what to say.
T WILES: Robert was a...
P WILES: Is a...
T WILES: Is a business management developer. He's a -- he's a pilot.
CANDIOTTI (voice over): The 26-year-old can fly multiengine aircraft and ran his father's company in Lakeland. Its Web site sites other location in Ohio where it's headquartered, Texas, and Toronto.
T WILES: We want him to know that his family loves him, we care about him. And we want him to come home.
CANDIOTTI: Wiles is described as an avid fisherman and diver. His parents are offering a $10,000 reward in hopes of generating new leads.
T WILES: Robert loves life, he loves nature and he believes in God.
CANDIOTTI: ransom kidnappings are rare, not even the FBI could provide statistics. And without evidence to the contrary, agents say Wiles' disappearance is being treated as the real deal.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.
WHITFIELD: Straight ahead -- Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas talks to CNN about his thoughts on the peace process.
WHITFIELD: Well, here are some of the stories we're watching around the world. The ruling party of Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe, suffered a major blow today. The electoral commission said a recount of votes for 10 of 23 disputed parliamentary seats shows the opposition won six of them in last month's elections. That makes it unlikely that Mugabe's party can retain control of parliament. At the same time, Mugabe continues a violent crackdown on dissent in a bid to strengthen his grip on power. Results from the presidential elections still have not been officially released.
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas tells CNN he will meet with President Bush next month in Egypt. The White House isn't commenting, but Abbas says the meeting will take place around May 17. Abbas says he is hopeful for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian authority. A word of the possible Abbas/Bush meeting came yesterday, when CNN's Hala Gorani sat down for a one-on-one interview with the Palestinian president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALA GORANI, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In this coming year, are you really confident you'll have a deal with the Israelis? I mean, it's just -- it just seems so optimistic to think it will happen. Is there really that belief?
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): All I say is that this is a very precious opportunity, a precious opportunity that we must seize, no matter what the percentage of chances, you know...
GORANI: I get it. But your people want to know, I mean, your people are really listening, they're going see this interview and they want you to say yes or no. They know what you're hoping.
ABBAS (through translator): The Palestinian people, of course, want it. They've been wanting it for 60 years. They've wanted the state of siege and occupation to come to an end, but they want -- and they want an agreement, they want a deal, but they want and agreement and a deal that is reasonable, that is compatible with the restoration.
GORANI: There is Hamas, of course. Hamas controls Gaza. They've made an offer of sort of a cease-fire for six months, then maybe extended to the West Bank. What do you make of that?
ABBAS (through translator): As for the cease-fire with Gaza, we have sought to achieve calm in this -- total calm. We would like to see that and we have asked the Egyptians to intervene in order to reach that total calm in the region, quiet, because this would be for the Palestinians.
GORANI: May I ask you this, last week we had viewer reaction and reader reaction to Jimmy Carter's Middle East tour like almost no other story I've written about online. I mean, the passionate responses from viewers, either on the one hand saying it's a fantastic idea. You need this talk to your enemies or you need to talk to your adversaries, on the other hand, people are saying you're speaking with terrorists. What do you think of what Jimmy Carter did? Was it helpful?
ABBAS (through translator): We have not at all objected from the start, and we do not object to any form of mediation done by any party, whether Europeans or any other parties who would like to do that mediation. However, at the same time, we'd like to say that more specifically about the mediation by President Carter is that it may be misunderstood by Hamas. And Hamas will interpret the message as basically not as President Carter going there by himself on a personal initiative, but, rather, being sent by the American administration.
GORANI: Let me ask you this from our viewer, because we asked our viewers to pose questions to you, so this gives them the opportunity to address themselves directly to you as the president of the Palestinian authority. This comes from Abby in Durban, in South Africa. "President Bush told Israel at Annapolis to free settlement activity and then we read in the 'Washington Post' yesterday that Bush secretly gave a letter to Ariel Sharon in 2004 which said that Israel could expand its settlement. Don't you feel you are being deceived by both Israel and the United States?"
ABBAS (through translator): I don't want to say that I have been deceived by the Israelis or the U.S. administration. But I say that we should all in, and the U.S. administration, should all go back to the roadmap and more specifically article one of the roadmap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: That was CNN's Hala Gorani talking to Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
And in this country, this campaign is getting personal. We'll take a closer look straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: Stories happening right now in the NEWSROOM.
In New York a rally for Sean Bell who was killed in a hail of bullets on his wedding day. Family, friends, and civil rights activists are protesting the acquittal of three police detectives accused in the shooting. The detectives still face possible civil and federal charges.
And in Southern California, a shark attack closes beaches there. The body of a swimmer was found in San Diego County yesterday, Dr. David Martin, a 66-year-old triathlete and retired veterinarian. Authorities think he might have been killed by a great white shark.
The president and the press, dining together this evening at the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington. It will be President Bush's eighth and final time attending the event with reporters who actually cover him. Top government officials and Hollywood stars are also expected to be there. The president will make farewell remarks as part of his last hurrah. All aides say expect something good.
Politics often personal and dirty. But does it work? Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider, takes a look.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The Democratic campaign has gotten intensely personal. Hillary Clinton runs ads criticizing Barack Obama.
NARRATOR: Harry Truman said it best, "If you can't stand the HEAT, get out of the kitchen." Who do you think has what it takes?
SCHNEIDER: Obama runs ads criticizing Clinton for criticizing him.
NARRATOR: What's Hillary Clinton's answer? The same old politics, misleading negative ads.
SCHNEIDER: The news media encourages them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Obama, do you think Senator Clinton can win?
SCHNEIDER: What do the voters think of all this? Not much. A national poll taken by the Pew Research Center in the days leading up to the Pennsylvania primary reveals a sharp increase in the number who say the presidential campaign has become too negative. Twenty-eight percent felt that way in February, 50 percent feel that way now. Among Democrats, the volume of complaints has more than doubled, from 19 percent to 50 percent.
What happened to the issues, voters want to know?
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
SCHNEIDER: Sure, Clinton won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, but two-thirds of the voters said they thought she attacked her opponent unfairly. That could have consequences. Among Democrats who felt Clinton was unfair, 20 percent said they won't vote for her in November if she's the Democratic nominee.
Half of Pennsylvania primary voters thought Obama's attacks were unfair. That perception could hurt him even more, because Obama claims to be a different kind of politician. Nearly a third of those who believed Obama attacked his opponent unfairly say they won't vote for him in the fall if he's the nominee.
(on camera): The candidates believe they've aired all their big issue differences and this race still isn't resolved. What's left to do but try to discredit each other personally? That's what happens when a campaign goes on too long.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: Obama endorsed by Hamas? Bill Schneider, part of the best political team on television, examines his latest salvo here in the 2:00 hour of the NEWSROOM.
And join the best political team on television for complete coverage of the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Tuesday night, May 6th, starting 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN, the home for politics.
Sean Bell died in a hail of police bullets. A judge has set the officers free. Our legal team joins us to talk about whether Bell's family has any other options.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer is considered to be the busiest season to travel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are now ready to begin our boarding process.
DE LA CRUZ: And that means overbooked flights. But when a gate agent offers you that voucher in exchange for your seats, you better know what you're getting into.
ERIK TORKELLS, BUDGET TRAVEL: There is such a thing as a free flight, but you have to read the fine print closely to make sure you don't lose it. For all airlines, be sure to check the expiration date. For most airlines, it's a book-by date, not a fly-by date. Some U.S. airlines offer roundtrip tickets, while others offer credit for future flights. Credit's better, because you can split up the amount except on United and ATA.
DE LA CRUZ: Torkells also says that most airlines let you redeem your tickets online. Others will allow you to do so over the phone, by mail or at the airport.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE PAULTRE BELL, VICTIM'S FIANCE: Yesterday, the justice system let me down. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I'm still praying for justice because it's not over, (INAUDIBLE), it's for Sean (ph).
BELL: For every protest, every march, every rally, I'm going to be right up front.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The pain, the anger, this in reaction to the acquittals yesterday of three New York policemen in the shooting death of Sean Bell. Bell was unarmed when shot dead in a barrage of police gunfire hours before he was to be married.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has been following this case from Queens, New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't be found!
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Immediately after the verdict, cries of disbelief and anger. Police formed a human chain protecting Sean Bell's fiancee, his parents and supporters as they left the courthouse. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back it up. Back it up. Please, just let them get to that car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have zero confidence in the criminal justice system.
FEYERICK: The three detectives were found not guilty on all charges including manslaughter, assault, and reckless endangerment in the shooting death of Sean Bell and the wounding of his two friends following Bell's bachelor party at a Queens strip club.
Those friends who had testified during the trial angrily left the court. But the detectives called the verdict fair.
DET. GESCARD ISNORA, ACQUITTED OFFICER: First and foremost, I'd like to thank Lord Jesus Christ for bringing this to fruition, for my family now is here. Secondly, to the honorable Judge Cooperman for his fair and accurate decision today.
FEYERICK: Judge Arthur Cooperman said he did not believe prosecution witnesses. Two of them were in the car with Bell when police opened fire some 50 times. The judge cited what he called inconsistencies, contradictions and the possibility some of the witnesses had motive to lie.
The judge said the detectives responded to a perceived threat, after hearing one of Bell's friends say he was going to the car to get a gun, and that prosecutors had not proven the detectives were wrong in shooting when the car began moving and it appeared one of the passengers was reaching for a weapon, though none was later found.
The Reverend Al Sharpton supported the victims' families throughout the trial.
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: What we saw in court today was not a miscarriage of justice. Justice didn't miscarry. This was an abortion of justice.
FEYERICK: The one detective who faced only charges of reckless endangerment apologized for the shooting.
DET. MARC COOPER, ACQUITTED OFFICER: I'd like to say sorry to the Bell family for the tragedy.
WHITFIELD: Well, let's see what our legal experts have to say about this case. Avery Friedman is a civil rights attorney and law professor. Good to see you, Avery.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman is a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor. Good to see you as well.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Fred. WHITFIELD: It looks like you're joining us from Vegas, however, this time ...
WHITFIELD: ...right? OK.
All right, well, this is a tough case because it really is hard for anyone to understand how an unarmed man can be shot 50 times by police officers and it go through the court of law and it be found to be a justified shooting.
So, Richard, if you could, give us an idea of exactly what the judge meant by saying the testimonies were inconsistent and thereby he stands behind this judgment?
HERMAN: You know, Fred, the burden of proof in a case like this is proof beyond a reasonable doubt and their trier of fact has to determine the credible evidence in order to reach that burden.
The prosecution witnesses testified, eyewitnesss who were in the car with him, and gave conflicting testimony, so much so that the judge didn't believe them. There was a tape of someone saying go get my gun. The car that Sean Bell was driving actually hit one of the undercover officers there.
You know, it's a tragedy. It's absolutely a tragedy. But this was -- this case was clearly not proven beyond a reasonable doubt and it was a brilliant defense strategy to go non-jury and try the case without a jury before the state court judge.
WHITFIELD: And who gets to make that determination?
HERMAN: The defense makes out that determination.
WHITFIELD: Interesting, and so, Avery, might the prosecution have said, you know, we want to call these detectives? Or is that to the discretion of the defense that they don't want to put their defendants on trial? Because we didn't hear their testimony and that indeed may have helped fill in some of the blanks of these inconsistencies, right?
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely, the defendants didn't have to testify, but, again, I think part of the tragedy, Fredricka, is that what's been absent here is a thoughtful, careful explanation of the difference between proving a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no justification, a very high burden, and the other aspects of this case. If the family is going to receive comfort at all ...
FREIDMAN: ...this has to be understood, Fredricka. This was a criminal case. It's one of probably three cases, a Justice Department civil rights investigation, possible prosecution and wrongful death. And, again, if you mush them all together, this is nothing but making a bad situation worse for the family. If you don't understand what the criminal case was in the context of this, it's devastating to the family. And ...
WHITFIELD: Well then, how would the Justice Department weigh in at this point?
WHITFIELD: And who would make the determination whether they've got all the material possible to go forward with even a civil case as well?
HERMAN: Fred ...
FRIEDMAN: Yes, what's going to happen is the civil rights division of the Department of Justice will investigate the training of these officers, whether there was incompetence as Judge Cooperman talked about or other failures and that may very well happen.
I think we very well may see that, and if that can be shown, that impacts on the wrongful death case. So, this case is far from over. The family will get some semblance of justice, but to look simply at the criminal trial is dead wrong.
WHITFIELD: Yes. All right, Richard?
HERMAN: Yes, a couple things. First of all, all the officers testified at the Grand Jury ...
HERMAN: ...before the case. And all that Grand Jury testimony was admitted during the course of this case, so in effect they did testify.
HERMAN: No. 2, when Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave his comments after the verdict yesterday, he specifically said, that the Justice Department from the Eastern district of New York asked him not to bring any disciplinary proceedings yet or even contemplate them until the Justice Department decided whether or not they were going to bring a federal civil rights case.
FRIEDMAN: It's the right thing to do, absolutely.
HERMAN: And also as Avery said, there is already civil litigation filed against the city of New York and against these officers for the wrongful death of Mr. Bell.
HERMAN: So, all of this is going to transpire in the next year, two years, three years down the road, Fred. WHITFIELD: Yes.
HERMAN: And remember O.J. Simpson ...
HERMAN: ...he got acquitted in the criminal case, yet he got convicted in the civil case.
FRIEDMAN: That's a good point.
FRIEDMAN: That's a good point.
WHITFIELD: All right, painful, very arduous case and this spanning 17 months to this point and now it's still not over.
WHITFIELD: Boy, what the families on both sides are having to go through just is heartbreaking.
All right, let's talk about the Wesley Snipes case. Oh, boy, you know, in a federal court in Ocala, Florida, he really gets the maximum is my understanding. The maximum of ...
WHITFIELD: ...three years is his sentencing for willfully not paying taxes.
WHITFIELD: Avery, you know, does he have any chance for appeal or at this point is it, you know what, you're going to jail for three years, period?
FRIEDMAN: Well, he can appeal all he wants. Maybe he still thinks he's in the "Blade" trilogy or something, but the fact is that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta which will hear this ...
FRIEDMAN: ...will very likely affirm this. This case just dripped in arrogance, including the defense team. I was outraged the way it was handled. There is no chance he's looking at anything else.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And, Richard, he tried to give up some money, right, you know, before sentencing saying OK, wait, wait, wait, here's $5 million, too late.
HERMAN: Yes, he grandstanded to try to avoid the jail there. But you know Fred, the defense brought up a point, it was a selective prosecution because of his celebrity. There were 5,000 other clients of these -- these ... FRIEDMAN: Sure there was.
HERMAN: ...these tax people. None of them were prosecuted, Wesley was. But Avery's right.
WHITFIELD: He is being used as an example.
HERMAN: Yes, but, Fred, listen, I tried a case in the middle district of Florida, the lead defendant got 845 years in an insurance fraud sustained by the 11 circuit court of appeals as fair and reasonable. And the second defendant got 750 years ...
HERMAN: ...sustained by the 11 circuit, so ...
FRIEDMAN: Three years is the right sentence here.
HERMAN: Yes, he's -- that's maximum per misdemeanor. It's all the judge could do, he gave him the maximum. For a first offense, I think it's very harsh.
HERMAN: But there's nowhere, he's going to prison.
WHITFIELD: Ouch. All I got to say is ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.
FRIEDMAN: Ouch, ouch, ouch three times.
WHITFIELD: All right, Richard, Avery, thanks so much. Always good to see you all.
FRIEDMAN: Good to see you again.
HERMAN: Thanks, Fred. Feel better there, watch the throat.
WHITFIELD: Yes, I know.
FRIEDMAN: Take care, yes.
WHITFIELD: I'm trying to get it together here. All right.
HERMAN: You're doing great.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much.
All right, well, getting hooked on fly fishing of all things as they recover from the violence of war. That's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
WHITFIELD: All right, lots of shaking going on out West. Take a look right here. Everything knocked off the shelves, at least a lot of things knocked off the shelves there in Reno, Nevada, after they experienced a quake measuring 4.7. That was last night.
And guess what, this is just the latest, because there's been a lot of shimmying going on in the area in the past week. Upwards of about 100 different strikes in the area. Pretty frightening stuff.
Reynolds Wolf is in the weather center. Reynolds, have you ever been through a quake or an aftershock, anything like that?
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, it's funny, I lived in California twice, California two times, physical equations (ph) ...
WHITFIELD: Oh, so, surely you have.
WOLF: Can you believe it? I've had -- there have been earthquakes in spots where I lived in California before and after I left.
WOLF: But during, nope, missed them twice. So, Fred ...
WHITFIELD: I've only been through one and it is really, you know, jolting. It is a frightening experience, but I was kind of sleeping and was just waking in my sleep and I didn't know what was going on. But to be aware and to see stuff like that, you know, off the walls and shelves, yikes.
WOLF: Well, you know, the weird thing is, Fred, there's really no huge warning for it. I mean, think of it. When you have a thunderstorm ...
WOLF: ...you look out off to the distance, here comes the dark clouds. When you have a hurricane, obviously, we see it on radar and you can see it on satellite. But when you have one of these, there really is no advanced warning. And what happens, a lot of times, most people don't realize it happened until after the fact. So, that was ...
WHITFIELD: Oh, so, that's what that was.
WHITFIELD: A little bit of everything.
WOLF: We move heaven and earth for our viewers. WHITFIELD: I know. Well, you know, at least for the folks in New Orleans, I'm thinking about them with the whole Jazzfest and stuff. You know, they are diehard. They can even handle the rain.
WOLF: It could be raining fire ...
WHITFIELD: What's a little shower?
WOLF: It could be raining fire and they'd be out there enjoying that music.
WHITFIELD: I know, all right, well, thanks so much, Reynolds.
WOLF: You bet.
WHITFIELD: Gone fishing, a program helps wounded veterans by giving them a rod and a reel on the road to rehabilitation.
Here's CNN's Kate Bolduan.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rose River Farm in Madison County, Virginia, is far from the front lines or the hospital bed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that!
BOLDUAN: But it's where some of the nation's wounded warriors have found what they consider the best rehabilitation: fly fishing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to let it play out until I get them nice and tired.
BOLDUAN: Sergeant First Class Jake Keesler lost both of his legs to an IED blast in Iraq in 2006.
JAKE KEESLER, WOUNDED IN IRAQ: I joined the army because I wanted challenges, and now I've got challenges every day.
BOLDUAN: Many of Keesler's fellow anglers are also recovering from life-threatening injuries.
DIANE LOPES, WOUNDED IN IRAQ: I got shrapnel in my arm here and there.
BOLDUAN: They're all part of Project Healing Waters, a nonprofit organization that works with military and veterans affairs hospitals across the country, offering a unique and they say a effective form of rehab to wounded and disabled veterans.
ED NICHOLSON, PRESIDENT, PROJECT HEALING WATERS: There's nothing like seeing a great big smile on a guy or a lady's face when he's got a trout or any kind of fish on the line.
BOLDUAN: Ed Nicholson, the founder of the project. He says the physical benefits are obvious, with improved mobility and stability, but possibly more important are the benefits not so visible.
DAVE FOLKERTS, WOUNDED IN IRAQ: It was a big part of my, I guess, emotional recovery. Just being able to get back to doing everyday, normal things.
BOLDUAN: Project Healing Waters started in Washington, D.C. nearly four years ago. The project has now expanded to about 20 programs reaching from Maine to Hawaii.
NICHOLSON: As a military man, former military man myself, I just figured it's more that I can give back to them who have been giving for us, of course, overseas for four or five years now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoo!
BOLDUAN: Some participants are returning to duty overseas, others continue their recovery, but out here it's not about the wounds or the rehab. It's about the fish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you what, when you're fishing, any day is a good day, as far as I'm concerned.
BOLDUAN: Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: And this new mission for some officers-to-be from West Point. Is this what they were trained to do?
WHITFIELD: Trained for battle. Now, two West Point cadets hope their fight for victory will be on an NFL team instead of a war zone.
Our Larry Smith reports as the 2008 NFL draft opens today.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The future of these two West Point cadets is as cloudy as the campus's normally pristine view of the Hudson River. Calab Campbell and Owen Tolson are used to the black-and-white world of the army, but now find themselves in an area as gray as the uniforms they wear, all over which uniform they will wear next fall.
Campbell was a safety and team captain for army's football team. Tolson was a Black Knight's punter and kicker. Each now hopes to bring their skills to the NFL.
CALAB CAMPBELL, ARMY SAFETY: You don't really every year get someone from the military academy, you know, pursuing their NFL dreams and having a legit shot at the NFL.
OWEN TOLSON, ARMY PUNTER: We both understand that the work it's taken behind the scenes to make something like this happen for us. SMITH: What makes it possible is a three-year-old army policy known as the alternative service option, which allows army personnel with special talent to trade their five-year military commitment for two years in a recruiting office and five more in the reserves. Meaning Campbell and Tolson could become the first cadets allowed to do battle immediately in the NFL as opposed to on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan.
CAMPBELL: People are getting deployed to combat zones, combat situations, so it definitely is harder.
SMITH: A choice made tougher perhaps, but still made, regardless of who agreed with them.
CAMPBELL: Everyone just didn't understand the true policy, they should say this kid's getting out of the army to go play football. he has nothing -- they would think that I'm getting the same education but I'm taking an easier way out.
TOLSON: It's a different mission for sure, but me and Calab are going to go out there and try and get the word-of-mouth, get the -- generate the answers into getting people here to West Point and getting people into -- into the army.
SMITH: And they still have to make a team out of training camp.
STAN BROCK, ARMY FOOTBALL COACH: So little of it is really talent, you know, making it in the NFL. Kind of maybe gets you in the door, but then it just becomes -- a lot of it's heart and desire and how bad do you really want to be there, how bad do you want to stay.
CAMPBELL: If you have the smarts of the game and you understand the game, you know what's unfolding in front of you, that can make up for the maybe little lack of speed you have.
TOLSON: I know we both have the work ethic. West Point instilled that in us. And we got the mental tools, you know, the determination, the grit, the fortitude to stick with it.
SMITH: Each believes it is their makeup that matters, the traits they were taught, the strengths that surround them every day at West Point that will serve them well, however they choose to serve their country.
Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.
WHITFIELD: A look at the top stories in a moment. "YOUR MONEY" is next. Here's a preview.
ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: Oil on the rise. We'll take a look at why prices are soaring and if there's any relief in sight. Also ahead, paying more at the checkout counter. Food prices are increasing and you'll be surprised to hear who benefits when you spend more at the grocery store.
And the six-figure salary, we're telling you who's getting high- paying jobs and if you can land one yourself.
All that, and more, after a quick check of the headlines.