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American Morning

Saddam Hussein on Trial; California Murder Case Wide Open

Aired October 18, 2005 - 09:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Look at the sudden glistening there off the globe there.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to have no rain there for a change.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's go to the Google (INAUDIBLE), shall we. With Ted Googlefine (ph) driving the Google map, we're going to go down to Taunton, Massachusetts for you and give you a primer on this dam. OK, there you go, about 30 miles south of Boston, Taunton, Massachusetts, let's zoom around, and this is the lake in question. This is the water which we hope won't end up there. Just to give you a sense of what we're talking about here. That is the Whittenton Pond Dam, about 100 years old, made of timbers, and it is the primary way that this -- excuse me, while I change gears here. That's what keeps this water on this side.

Let's zoom down, Ted, get a little closer as we come in a little bit closer. Actually there's a couple of upstream dams here, I believe. What's the deal on those? Isn't there one there? The backup dam, but I guess that's not doing the job. Let's move a little further down the stream, as they say, and here is the dam in question. This is obviously not live. I guess we probably should point that out to people, this was shot a while ago, so we're not getting the live pictures that we've seen a little while ago.

But as we say, the governor says this has been routinely maintained every couple of years ear so, a few repairs made, but it was fair. But as we move along downstream, you can see there lies the city of Taunton, 56,000 people, and some of them -- do we have a live picture now? There it is. Well, it's behind the trees, isn't it?

S. O'BRIEN: The risk is the 2,000 people who are directly in the path essentially, many of whom have been told to get out, get evacuated, but some of whom, you know, as there always is in cases like this, just won't go. If that dam fails, you've got six feet of water that suddenly comes rushing. There is the dam there. This is videotape taken a little bit earlier. That water is just going to come rushing right through. It's causing huge concerns.


M. O'BRIEN: OK, the trial of Saddam Hussein begins tomorrow in Baghdad. He, along with seven former officials of his regime, will be tried in a 1982 mass execution in Dujail, Iraq.

CNN's Aneesh Raman live in Baghdad. Aneesh, give us a preview of what we might expect to see tomorrow as that trial begins.


Saddam Hussein charged with crimes against humanity for what happened in the northern Iraqi village.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On July 8, 1982, Saddam Hussein drove into Dujail. Crowds running alongside his convoy, women rushing to kiss his hand, bellowing in forced joy. It was the sort of visit Saddam often orchestrated, showing he was a man of the people. But when offered a glass of water in one home, he declined, always fearful of attempts to poison him.

Saddam then spoke to a crowd from atop the local party headquarters about the war with Iran. He was about to find out just how courageous. On this road, six young men were preparing to ambush the dictator.

Mohammed Ali drove one of the shooters to the scene.

MOHAMMED ALI, DROVE CAR IN SHOOTING (through translator): Hassan (ph) came to me, I took him on my motorcycle. I remember he was carrying two pistols. We drove through orchards looking for other men, but we only saw two. Hassan shot with his pistol to give the group a sign to start shooting at Saddam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When the convoy reached the orchards, three gunmen started shooting at his convoy from the left side. Saddam's guards started shooting back.

RAMAN: Saddam escaped unhurt. And moments later, villagers desperately tried to prove their loyalty.

But Dujail knew its fate. Immediately, a dictator's vengeance descended upon the village. With icy calm, Saddam himself started interrogating terrified locals. No one's loyalty is taken for granted.

And in the ensuing weeks, thousands of innocent villagers, like Ali, who was 14 at the time, were thrown in jail, tortured, and many others executed. Dujail was destroyed.

Villagers show us barren land that once blossomed with orchards, where the rebel gunmen hid that fateful day.

Ali is lucky. He survived four years in prison. But he never knew what happened to his brothers. They were also imprisoned that day. And it was only after Saddam's fall that he learned the worst.

ALI (through translator): I found a document signed by Saddam in 1985 to execute some of the jailed people who were in the prison. One hundred forty-nine people, including seven of my brothers, 34 of my relatives, and 118 people of my town, they are now forgotten. To god they have returned.

RAMAN: Photos of his brothers proudly hang on Ali's living room wall, casualties of state terror. In sheer numbers, Dujail was not nearly the worst of Saddam's atrocities, but that is of no consequence to the villagers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Saddam should be executed immediately for this because he killed and executed too many.

RAMAN: And now justice may finally come to Dujail, 23 years too late, but sooner than anyone here could have imagined.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Dujail, Iraq.


RAMAN: And, Miles, we're getting a first look at the courtroom itself, video being released today. Tomorrow we expect the charges to be read against Saddam Hussein and the seven other defendants in this case. And then we expect the defense to put in for a delay that could be some days or weeks -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, Aneesh, we're going to be watching that. In the meantime, let's talk about the -- sort of the upshot of the elections. Concern this morning that there might be fraud and improprieties on that vote. In some cases, some sectors, 99 percent yes votes, which on the face of it, seemed like not a real number.

RAMAN: Yes, incredibly high votes, both for and in some cases against this referendum. It prompted the Iraqi electoral commission to audit some of ballot boxes. It has delayed the official results being announced. The allegations of fraud have really come from the Sunni minority, saying that in the Shia and Kurd areas, people voted multiple times in favor of this constitution.

And if this is true, it would be a huge blow to this political process. The Sunnis did turn out to vote. They did not have enough, it seems, votes to reject this constitution. But if it passes, it will be a constitution that they do not approve and it will be one that they think was approved illegally -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, the group, though, that is doing this monitoring, is it independent enough that the Sunnis will look at whatever they decide and say that's point in fact what happened?

RAMAN: Well, to be honest, no. I think even if Iraq's electoral commission comes out with a statement that says they found no voter fraud, that will not be enough for many Sunnis if the referendum does pass. The electoral commission is made up of Iraqis. It is thought to be an independent body.

The U.N. does have a representative, Karena Perelli (ph), who has extensive experience in international elections of this sort. She is on the board there. And there are international observers involved in the process. But for the Sunnis, really, this whole process has been tainted from the beginning. They saw that deal that was made a few weeks before the election that solidified this referendum passing. That was in change. But they will likely not buy any sort of statement that comes out -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman in Baghdad. Great work. Thank you -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We should mention that AMERICAN MORNING is coming on an hour early, 6:00 a.m. tomorrow to start the coverage...

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, really?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, 6:00 a.m. tomorrow.

M. O'BRIEN: Guess I'm getting up early tomorrow.

S. O'BRIEN: You want to get up early tomorrow to start the coverage of Saddam Hussein's trial. So we'll bring that to you tomorrow.

M. O'BRIEN: I'll be here. You'll be here?

S. O'BRIEN: I will definitely be here.


M. O'BRIEN: Still to come in the program, a murder mystery in California.

S. O'BRIEN: Police are searching for leads in the beating death of a prominent attorney, Daniel Horowitz's, wife. We're going to talk to one of the couple's friends, just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: A brutal slaying in California involves the wife of a prominent attorney. Police say they have no suspects in the case, and, in fact, it's wide open.

Anne Bremner is a friend of Daniel Horowitz, who is a trial attorney whose wife was murdered. She's also a trial attorney. She's in Nashville this morning.

Anne, thanks for talking with us. Our condolences. I know that Mr. Horowitz is a friend and, of course, his wife, as well. Give me a sense of how he's doing. Have you spoken to him?

ANNE BREMNER, FRIEND OF DANIEL HOROWITZ: Now, I have not. I've e-mailed to him. And I knew him through -- you know, last time I talked to you, Soledad, I was at the Michael Jackson trial at about 4:00 in the morning, and I remembered that Dan Horowitz was right out with -- going out with the fans, waiting to get into court. I knew him from the Jackson case and the Scott Peterson case. And he's a wonderful, gentle and gracious man. I had met his wife at the Peterson trial, and all of our thoughts and prayers are with him, from all of us that have been closely involved in those cases and with Dan. S. O'BRIEN: He's a guy who defended and also crossed the paths of -- with criminals and people who were accused of very heinous acts. Is there a sense or did you ever get the sense that he was worried personally for his safety or that of his family?

BREMNER: You know, he never said that to me. I've heard that he expressed that to others. In this line of work, you know, there's random and senseless acts of violence out there, and there's random and directed acts of violence out there and all over America. And when you're in the middle of this business and high profile, then you've got to have those kind of concerns. And I'm sure he did, legitimately.

S. O'BRIEN: Friends have described them as a loving couple. When you saw them together on some of the cases and some of the trials, what did you see?

BREMNER: Absolutely. And, you know, Daniel has a heart of gold. You know, he loves everybody and to know him is to love him. And to see -- and again, I knew Daniel well and saw his wife at the Peterson trial. But he is just a prince of a man and it's such a horrible thing and an ironic thing, Soledad, that when he has done so much to help people in this system and help the public understand the system, that he has ended up a victim of a horrific crime.

S. O'BRIEN: We interviewed a friend -- a guy you probably know, Ivan Golde...


S. O'BRIEN: ... who was co-counsel, as well, earlier this morning. And he pointed the finger to a guy named Mr. Lynch. Let's listen first to what he had to say.


IVAN GOLDE, CO-COUNSEL WITH HOROWITZ: Mr. Lynch was a troublemaker. Mr. Horowitz had trouble with Mr. Lynch. That restraining order was written up, it was never served, never filed. There were threats to Pamela, some threats to Mr. Horowitz.


S. O'BRIEN: You're shaking your head. Why?

BREMNER: Well, I mean, it's just so sad that that is -- if it somebody that was that close physically to Daniel and to his wife, that -- what a senseless end directive with such a tragic death. They did file a restraining order, as I understand, and then didn't follow through with it. And I don't know to what extent restraining orders can save people's lives, or keep them safe, but if this is the case, what a senseless and horrible tragedy.

S. O'BRIEN: I'll just caution you on that. The police have told us, and it is still wide open, that in fact that they have not named Mr. Lynch, who is a neighbor, and named as a caretaker sometimes, too, as a suspect in any way, shape or form. And in fact, the information we have is that the restraining order was never filed.

The details of this murder, though, however you come to it are just utterly brutal. I mean, I wonder what you read into that, because when someone is beat tone death in their home -- you talked a little bit about random acts of violence, some people would say that's not random.

BREMNER: Well, that's what I was saying, there's senseless random acts of violence, and there's senseless directed acts of violence. And, Soledad, I completely agree, this is wide open, but there was at least a restraining order that was put together with certain facts. And the police are looking at a lot of different people.

But what we all know in criminal cases that if there's a lot of violence then it may be a more directed crime, because there's some passion there, some anger, or something that prompted someone to be more violent. It wasn't a shooting, or a shooter came in to burglarize, et cetera, at least from what we can tell right now, but we don't know anything. We don't know anything at all, and can't point fingers at anybody.

But I hope that someone out there knows something, and that they go to the police and that this crime is solved in short order.

S. O'BRIEN: Terrible, terrible crime.


S. O'BRIEN: Anne Bremner, usually we are talking about criminal cases. Today we're talking about a friend of yours, Daniel Horowitz, who suffered a terrible loss in the brutal murder of his wife.

BREMNER: It's a heartbreaker.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks for talking with us. Appreciate it -- Miles.

BREMNER: Thank you, Soledad.

M. O'BRIEN: CNN LIVE TODAY up next. Tony Harris in for Daryn Kagan today.

Good morning, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Miles, good morning.

At the top of the hour, will the dam hold? There could be massive flooding in Taunton, Massachusetts if it doesn't. It's a story you've been covering all morning, Miles, and, Soledad, we'll get a live update from the town's mayor in just a few minutes.

And later, it's called a breakup because it's broken. We're talking with the best-selling husband and wife who have written a guide book for women trying to get over that jerk, it says here, and move on to Mr. Right. That's at the top of the hour. Harsh!

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, man. No, Tony, Tony, don't let the guy bashing continue this way! Why is it always the guy?

S. O'BRIEN: What? What?

HARRIS: Making the necessary, and it's right now. Thank you very much.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. I want you to be the devil's advocate. I'll be watching.

S. O'BRIEN: The quote says, "getting over a jerk." I don't it could be more clear than that. If you're not a jerk, don't take it personally.

M. O'BRIEN: Jerks come in both sexes.

HARRIS: My job to stir the drink. That's it.

M. O'BRIEN: Back in a moment.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Tony.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll settle this during the break.


M. O'BRIEN: All right. This is a business that really sucks, but it's back.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: You were able to say that because we're talking about vacuums.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, it is cable.

Andy Serwer is here to explain why.

SERWER: Elucidate and illuminate.

M. O'BRIEN: As usual, yes.

SERWER: Yes, all right. Let's talk about the markets, first of all.

M. O'BRIEN: Like a Hoover, he sucks through the business news.

SERWER: All right, Miles.

Let's go and look here. We're down 15 in the Dow Jones Industrials. Why? Because wholesale inflation -- that's your PPI -- for the month of September, came out raging hot, 1.9 percent, strongest number in 15 years. That's bad news, let me remind you. The reason why, of course, higher energy prices. No surprise there. Still, the stock market doesn't like it.

New Orleans getting back up and running, businesses reopening. Oreck, the vacuum cleaner company -- excuse me -- based there is reopening up its headquarters in New Orleans, founded there in 1963. David Oreck is 82 years old, remember him, 82 years old, still rides a motorcycle.

M. O'BRIEN: Not seen here.


M. O'BRIEN: Not seen here, but you can imagine him from his commercials.

SERWER: Manufacturing facilities in Gulfport, Mississippi, they opened up only a month after Katrina. Also Marriott is going to open up 12 of its 15 hotels in New Orleans November 1st. So we're starting to see all these businesses getting back up to speed.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, Andy, thank you.

SERWER: You're welcome.

M. O'BRIEN: Back in a moment.