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Paula Zahn Now

Government Rests Case Against Zacarias Moussaoui; Duke Rape Case Heading to Grand Jury?

Aired April 12, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening to all of you. Glad to have you with us tonight.
And we focus on the desperate voices from September 11. Will they send an al Qaeda terrorist to his death?


ZAHN (voice-over): On the CNN "Security Watch," the final moments of Flight 93.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least two people in what are likely their final moments, pleading for their lives.

ZAHN: High drama in a Virginia courtroom. The jury and the defendant hear the actual voices of the pilots, the hijackers, and the passengers who fought back.

"What Were They Thinking?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're in critical condition.

ZAHN: They claimed their sextuplets were in intensive care. Their neighbors were kind and generous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, they were very convincing.

ZAHN: Until someone finally said, show me the babies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say to the people that donated money for your babies that don't exist?

ZAHN: "The Eye Opener": dash-cam crashes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I should have been dead. There's no doubt. I still don't understand how I -- I'm not.

ZAHN: Incredible pictures from tiny cameras mounted on dashboards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like the cop in your rearview mirror.

ZAHN: If more cars and trucks have cameras, would the roads really be any safer?

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: We begin tonight with a CNN "Security Watch" and an absolutely spellbinding, unforgettable day in court at the death- penalty trial of admitted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

The cockpit voice recording from United Flight 93 was played for the jury. It has never before been heard in public. Now, as you probably remember, Flight 93, with 33 passengers, carrying a crew of seven, is the only one of the four hijacked airliners that did not reach its target on September 11.

Justice correspondent Kelli Arena was in the courtroom and gives us the harrowing details of Flight 93's last, desperate moments.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The court was riveted. The static-filled 31-minute cockpit voice recording played publicly for the first time showed the suffering and bravery of the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93.

The tape, in Arabic and English, begins after the hijackers take control, telling passengers to sit down, shut up and not move, hijacker Ziad Jarrah, who was flying the plane, hit the wrong button and made this announcement to air traffic control, where it was recorded.


ZIAD JARRAH, AL QAEDA MEMBER: Hi, this is the captain. I would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands (INAUDIBLE) Please remain quiet.


ARENA: Later, on the cockpit tape, a man pleads, "Please, please, don't hurt me."

"Down, no more," a hijacker ordered.

"Oh, God," said the unidentified passenger.

After more yelling, the voice of a flight attendant begging for her life. "I don't want to die," she said.

"No, no, down, down," a hijacker yelled.

"I don't want to die. I don't want to die."

Then loud, agonized cries, followed by this in Arabic from a hijacker: "Everything is fine. I finished."

At about the same time, flight attendant CeeCee Lyles left a desperate message on her husband Lorne's answering machine. It was also played in court. "Hi, baby," she said. "I want to tell you that I love you. Please tell my children that I love them very much. I'm sorry, baby. I hope to be able to see your face, again, baby. I love you. Goodbye."

Lorne Lyles said of his wife's death, "It tore my world apart."

About half-an-hour after the hijacking, the passengers began their counterattack on the terrorists.

Hamilton Peterson lost his father and stepmother on that flight.

HAMILTON PETERSON, SON OF FLIGHT 93 PASSENGER: I think it captures the American spirit. It is truly remarkable that, when one appreciates the brutality and the complexity of the conspiracy, that, in a matter of moments, these brave Americans overcame a horrific challenge.

ARENA: Hearing the commotion outside the cockpit, a hijacker asked, "Is there something, a fight?"

At this point, the plane was rocking wildly. Then, more screaming. Abraham Scott, whose wife died in the Pentagon attack, was in the courtroom.

ABRAHAM SCOTT, HUSBAND OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: Apparently, they had grabbed -- they had grabbed one of the terrorists. And it sounded like they took him out. And it's -- up until the plane hit, it -- it was really bad.

Passengers could be heard yelling, "In the cockpit, in the cockpit," then shouting, breaking glass, and, later, another passenger voice: "In the cockpit. If we don't, we will die."

As the plane continued to rock wildly, a passenger yells, "Go, go."

Rosemary Dillard lost her husband on Flight 77.

ROSEMARY DILLARD, WIDOW OF FLIGHT 77 VICTIM: They got to the cockpit. And,after that, it's kind of -- I don't know what was really going on, but I do think that they got to the cockpit.

ARENA: Finally, inside the cockpit, a hijacker said: "Pull it down. Pull it down."

As the airliner went into a nosedive, hijackers could be heard saying, "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest," then silence. United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

(on camera): Prosecutors rested their case, hopeful that they have convinced jurors to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to death. The defense will now introduce evidence that Moussaoui hyped his role in al Qaeda and suffers from mental illness.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.


ZAHN: And there's one other thing to add.

Just after the judge sent the jury home for the day, Moussaoui shouted, "God curse you all."

His outbursts have become familiar to those in the courtroom.

Hamilton Peterson, his father and stepmother were on Flight 93. And he was in the courtroom today when the tape was played. And he joins us now.

Thanks so much for being with us.

I know that you have heard these audiotapes a number of times before, but never in the presence of Zacarias Moussaoui. What was that like?

PETERSON: Paula, it provided the unique opportunity to watch him.

I was seated approximately 15 feet from him. And when the particularly uncomfortable cries for his life from what I believe to be the pilot were shared over the P.A. system, he turned and smiled to his defense attorney. And I think that says it all.

ZAHN: How sickened were you by that?

PETERSON: It reaffirmed to me that he is more than eligible for the death penalty. And I have faith in the jury that they will do the right thing.

ZAHN: There were many family members in court today. Could you describe to us how they reacted to some of the same things you just say you witnessed?

PETERSON: Well, it was bittersweet.

On the one hand, we hear the tender cries of people in the final moments of their lives. On the other hand, we hear what was clearly one of the most heroic first salvos in the fight in the war on terrorism. That plane was averted because of the courage of the passengers and crew.

ZAHN: And, Hamilton, unlike you, some of the family members had never heard these chilling audiotapes before. Describe to us how they reacted, particularly at the point where Moussaoui turned to his attorney and had that smirky smile on his days.

PETERSON: Understandably, we were all taken aback.

Notwithstanding the good news coverage you all have provided, how he has conducted himself, particularly on the day of Rudy Giuliani's testimony, with respect to the bodies hurling themselves out of the World Trade Center, his behavior today was consistent with some of his prior conduct.

ZAHN: There has been some disagreement among 9/11 families whether these tapes should ever be allowed to be played for the public. Now that you have seen the reaction of folks in the courtroom today, what do you think? Should we be able to hear it?

PETERSON: I fully respect those families' positions, and I am not in the position to speak for them. And I honor their right to object.

However, I will share with you a concern that I have that I experienced today. And that was, when I was first given the opportunity to listen to the cockpit recordings, back in April of 2002, the U.S. attorney, Paul McNulty, was kind enough to allow us to listen twice to those recordings. We wore headsets, which were extremely high-tech. They eliminated any ambient noise.

Having heard that, in the company of my wife and the other people who were there, we clearly heard what was a non-native, English- speaking person screaming out in distress at about the time the assault on the cockpit occurred.

That type of clarity, unfortunately, is lost. Abraham Scott, who was just on Kelli Arena's story, himself picked it up. However, I spoke with many members of the media who did not catch that. And the loss of that type of specificity is unfortunate.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your joining us.

A lot of different viewpoints on whether that should ever be allowed to be heard publicly again.

Again, thanks for your time tonight, Hamilton Peterson.

PETERSON: My pleasure.

ZAHN: Now, you might be surprised to learn tonight that the 9/11 attacks still appear to be claiming victims. How can that be? Well, a coroner in New Jersey has ruled that the death of a New York City police officer in January is directly linked to the officer's exposure to toxic materials during the ground zero cleanup.

Mary Snow has his story.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is the toxic cloud that engulfed Ground Zero following the September 11 attacks now claiming victims? A coroner confirms police officer James Zadroga's lung failure and subsequent death in January was linked to the officer's 400-plus hours of work at Ground Zero -- quote -- "It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident."

DR. Jacqueline Moline was not involved with the autopsy but is tracking 9/11-related health problems. DR. JACQUELINE MOLINE, WTC MEDICAL MONITORING PROGRAM: In some very susceptible individuals, they may develop this profound scarring of the lungs that can actually lead to respiratory failure.

SNOW: Zadroga's family is going public because they want Zadroga's death to be classified as dying in the line of duty. So four-year-old daughter Tyler Ann can get his full pension benefits. Tyler's mother died two years ago.

The NYPD tells CNN, it is evaluating the proposal. Zadroga's family acknowledges officers were aware of the risks of working at Ground Zero.

JOSEPH ZADROGA, FATHER OF DECEASED OFFICER: They all knew that it was detrimental to their health. You had to be a fool not to realize that. They knew that, yet they still stayed there and worked.

SNOW: Officers who worked alongside Zadroga at Ground Zero joined his family at a press conference. They said this official cause of death raises questions about their own illnesses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Detective Ernest Vilavona (ph). I have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Detective Al Shuey (ph), I have multiple myeloma.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have lung disease.

SNOW: New York City officials released a statement saying -- quote -- "There is no scientific evidence showing an increase in cancer rates among uniformed services personnel or other persons who worked at the World Trade Center or that links cancer to work done at the site."

Doctors say the mystery remains why some are reporting problems and others are not.

MOLINE: It's individual susceptibilities. In the same way that we know that smoking causes lung damage and cancer, but not all smokers get lung damage or cancer.

SNOW: Doctors say it may take years to prove definitive links between the aftermath of 9/11 and a host of illnesses. But they are following thousands of cases, including James Zadroga's, to try and determine the harm still to come from the aftermath of 9/11.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: And late this afternoon, federal officials said they will examine the report on James Zadroga's autopsy. Also, New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a registry of nearly 71,000 people who were exposed to dust and fumes after the terrorist attack. Moving along now, what kind of boss would make a lawyer be his baby-sitter, and would that boss be in any hot water at all if he didn't happen to be one of the most powerful people on Capitol Hill?


GREG HUNTER, CNN CONSUMER CORRESPONDENT: Horrific crashes caught on video. I'm Greg Hunter on the busy Long Island Expressway. What could we learn from these wrecks? -- coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.


ZAHN: Also, we have a new development in the rape allegations against members of Duke University's lacrosse team. Why is the prosecutor who is handling the case taking heat from all sides?

First, though, more than 18 million of you went to our Web site today.

Our countdown of the top 10 stories on starts with the race to complete repairs to New Orleans' levee system before the start of the hurricane season on June 1. You can find out more by going to our Web site and clicking on "Watch Video."

Number nine -- bombings in Iraq killed at least 40 people today. Three attacks took place in and around Baghdad. Also, three U.S. soldiers died in another bombing near the capital -- numbers eight and seven when we come back.


ZAHN: All right, you may have heard about this one. A couple that won people's hearts with their struggle to have sextuplets, they claimed their babies were in intensive care, but something was missing from the story, like, the babies,all six of them. We will explain when we come back.

But, tonight, we're hearing that the Duke University rape case could go to a grand jury in just the next couple of days. Now, that is in spite of the DNA tests this week that failed to connect Duke lacrosse players to an alleged attack on an exotic dancer at a wild party.

Also tonight, Durham's district attorney, who is trying to get reelected, is defending his handling of the case.

Jason Carroll is in Durham tonight and has just filed this report for tonight's "Outside the Law."


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Durham's district attorney, Mike Nifong, found himself in the hot seat, under fire from two candidates running for his seat. Both strongly criticized Nifong for his handling of the case involving Duke University's lacrosse team and a young black woman who says she was raped by three white players, and the fallout that has affected the community as a result.

FREDA BLACK, DURHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: Durham has been portrayed in a negative light nationally. This case was mishandled from its inception.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One minute, please.

BLACK: When the cameras leave, who will pick up the pieces?

MICHAEL NIFONG, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Does anybody really think this community is fragile and ready to break? Is that what you're seeing here? That's not what I'm seeing. I'm seeing a committee -- pardon me -- a community that came together initially to support a young lady who was the victim of a brutal assault.

CARROLL: The candidates accused Nifong of saying too much publicly about the case too soon, faulting him for making early promises of arrest, a stinging criticism after DNA test results showed no match between any of the players and the alleged victim.

KEITH BISHOP, DURHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: If you didn't have the correct information, you should have sat back and be silent and wait until you knew that you had enough information to guarantee a community that you would make arrests.

BLACK: It's my belief that premature information that is either leaked or told to the public can jeopardize a case.

NIFONG: And there was also pressure put on me to do nothing, to say, well, you know, her profession was not really the most honorable in the world, and we really don't have the strongest case in the world, if there's no DNA, so let's forget about it. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not doing your job. If I did that, then you should vote against me.

CARROLL: There are also accusations the timing of the case is politically motivated. If Nifong completes his investigation this week, he could present it to the grand jury when they meet next Monday. If he does not, the next scheduled meeting is in two weeks, just one day before elections for district attorney.

BLACK: Perhaps he thought that he landed a case that would save his prosecutorial career.

CARROLL (on camera): Nifong's challengers charge, so much has been said about the case, they worry defense attorneys will ask for a change of venue if there is a trial. They also say, despite all the negative publicity, Durham's residents deserve to sit on that jury. But at least one defense attorney tells CNN, he will ask for a change of venue, saying he does not believe he can find a fair set of jurors in Durham.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Durham, North Carolina. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And joining me now, someone who is watching this case very closely, Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom. Always good to see you.


ZAHN: So, has the DA blown this case, as his critics have just suggested?

BLOOM: I don't think so, Paula. He's getting heat from both sides.

On one side, people are saying: "Why hasn't he made arrests yet? And, if the colors were switched, a member of the black community would have been arrested by now."

On the other hand, members of the Duke community are saying: "Why doesn't he let this whole thing go?"

I think he's taking the prudent approach, right down the middle: "I'm going to continue to investigate. I'm going to look for more DNA evidence. I'm going to continue to talk to witnesses."

I think investigating is something that nobody can really disagree with.

ZAHN: Well, you would have to concede that it has damaged his case that there was no DNA evidence so far linking any of those players to this alleged rape.

BLOOM: It probably is damaging, but we don't know what the accuser's story is, OK?

In the search warrant affidavit, she says that she was raped, that she was sodomized, and raped vaginally, OK? But we don't know what parts, if I may be a little bit graphic, of the males were used. Was it a hand? Was it an object? What was used in the rape? We don't know that.

Now, if it was a rape the way most of us think of it, yes, we would expect for there to be some DNA, hair, fibers. That hasn't been found as of yet. And that is better for the defense.

ZAHN: Meanwhile, there seems to be a concerted effort by friends of the defense to continue to trash this alleged victim.

BLOOM: Right, talking...


ZAHN: You don't hear her described as a student or as a mom...

BLOOM: A mother.

ZAHN: ... but the stripper... BLOOM: Right. You hear her described...

ZAHN: ... or exotic dancer.

BLOOM: ... in the -- in the lowest social terms, as a stripper.

Meanwhile, the boys, one-third of whom have criminal convictions for disorderly conduct, for underage drinking, we don't hear them referred to as criminals. We hear them referred to in their highest sense, as Duke students, as star lacrosse players. So, I think points can be made that -- that perhaps she is being trashed by the media.

Look, she has got a criminal conviction. You don't have to have a perfect record to come forward...

ZAHN: Right.

BLOOM: ... with a rape charge in this country.

ZAHN: How meaningful is that, accused of trying to steal a cab, right?

BLOOM: Right.

ZAHN: Is that going to mean anything?

BLOOM: Right, accused of trying to steal a cab.

ZAHN: It does...

BLOOM: She did her time.

ZAHN: It does call into question her integrity, though.

BLOOM: She served -- she served her probation.

Well, I think -- I don't know if it does call into question her integrity. She does have a criminal record, like I said, as do many of the boys on the lacrosse team. Ultimately, that's probably going to be a wash.

The question is, is there going to be physical evidence? Will the DA find something? Will more advanced DNA tests come back with something that he can use? What about the other dancer? What is her story? Does she corroborate her friend?

And what about these 40 lacrosse players, Paula, who have clammed up? Have none of them flipped? Have none of them given any story to the DA that helps her? These are the mysteries, these are the questions that continue to swirl around this case.

ZAHN: And those are the questions we are going to continue to try to get answered...

BLOOM: That's right.

ZAHN: ... in the days to come.

Lisa Bloom, always good to see you.

BLOOM: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thank you so much.

Coming up, is the next breakthrough in auto safety as close to your car's dashboard? Stay with us for some absolutely amazing pictures. How could dashboard cameras make drivers -- driving safer for any of us? And how do you think this guy survived this? You will find out.

And we move on now to number eight on our countdown. A small Missouri town is reeling after a couple is accused of lying about having sextuplets and then asking for money to help raise the babies. So, where are the babies tonight? Well, we will have more on that story in just a little bit.

At number seven -- just days after huge demonstrations for immigrants' rights, GOP leaders in Congress are now backing away from language in a House bill that would make illegal immigration a felony. They stay it probably won't be included in future legislation -- numbers six and five straight ahead.


ZAHN: So, what would you do if your boss came to you and told you he was going away for a couple of weeks and you have to take care of his kids while he's gone? Well, "No way" comes to mind.

So, get ready to be outraged.

Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has uncovered some startling allegations from some former employees on one of the nation's most powerful people.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sydney Rooks says she had no idea , when she signed up as legal counsel for her boss, she would also be baby-sitting her boss' children, a lawyer required to baby-sit.

SYDNEY ROOKS, FORMER LEGAL ADVISER TO CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS: Several times, he just brought them into my office and said: "Rooks, they're your responsibility for right now. I will be back later."

GRIFFIN (on camera): And how long was later?

ROOKS: Later could be a few minutes. Later could be hours. Later could be frantically calling around, trying to find him, because it was now 8:00 or 9:00, or later in the evening, and not knowing what to do with the children.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): For Deanna Maher, later turned out to be weeks. She says she was actually told to move into her boss' house, this house in Detroit, and be the live-in nanny while he was gone and his wife was away at school.

DEANNA MAHER, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS: He handed me the keys to his car and his house and said, "Take care of my child, Carl (ph), and everything," make sure, in other words, I had to stay at the house and take care of him. And that was for several weeks.

GRIFFIN: She says he left her, never telling her when he would be back, certainly, not that the baby-sitting gig would last six weeks.

(on camera): And this was not just, can you do this for this one time?

ROOKS: No. It was -- it was common. It was ubiquitous. And it wasn't just me. OK? I was the tutor, primarily, but I wasn't the only person who got stuck with the kids for the day. I wasn't the only person who had to take the boys to the bathroom, change a diaper, or anything like that.

We would also take them to doctors' appointments, other things, too. If they had to go, they had to go. Somebody had to take them. And there was no reimbursement for gasoline or anything like that.

GRIFFIN: Did you feel like a servant, like a house servant?

ROOKS: Many times, I frankly did, yes.

GRIFFIN: Why didn't they just complain to the company, report that their boss was making them do things that they thought were unethical, maybe even illegal? Well, they did complain to the company. Take a look at the company.

(voice-over): And who was the boss? This was the boss, 21-term liberal Democratic Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Detroit, the second most senior member of Congress and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and who was in no mood last week to talk with us about ethics, his children, and who baby-sits them.

(on camera): Congressman Conyers, Drew Griffin with CNN.

REP. JOHN CONYERS (D), MICHIGAN: Hi, Drew. How are you?

GRIFFIN: I have been trying to meet you for several weeks now to discuss these allegations by your former staff members. Ethics violations.

CONYERS: Oh, just a minute, sir. I've been told not to discuss them because we haven't examined them, and I have an attorney.

GRIFFIN: Well, can I just ask you...

CONYERS: No. GRIFFIN (voice over): As shocking as the allegations of using his congressional staff as servants is the fact that the allegations have been around for years, that a lot of people on Capitol Hill know all about it. In fact, members of John Conyers' staff filed several complaints with the House Ethics Committee. And CNN learned there was even an investigation launched in 2004 into staff complaints, but that investigation was abruptly stopped.

Melanie Sloan, who once worked for Congressman John Conyers on his Capitol Hill staff, thinks she knows why. She now heads the liberal watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that mostly criticizes Republicans, but in the case of ethics, she says, neither conservatives nor liberals on Capitol Hill are held accountable.

MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY: That's right. That's because there is an ethics truce. Both parties will deny this, by the way, but there is, in fact, a truce that's been in existence since 1998. And under the terms of that truce, nobody will file a complaint against a member of the other party.

GRIFFIN: The truce, among Democrats and Republicans, Sloan says, is a gentleman's agreement. I won't report you, if you don't report me. Still, according to Sydney Rooks, who was John Conyers' legal adviser after all, the rules as written are very clear, a congressman can't treat his staff as personal servants nor should taxpayers be paying for a congressman's chauffeurs, personal babysitters and errand runners.

When it came to Conyers, staff members said doing errands and babysitters were only the half of it. Conyers, they told CNN, regularly used his congressional staff to work on other politicians' campaigns. Chief among them, the campaign of his very own wife, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, a charge Monica Conyers' spokesman says is just a lie.

SAM RIDDLE, SPOKESMAN FOR MONICA CONYERS: City Council President Pro-Tem Monica Conyers certainly denies that any of the congressman's staff helped her with her campaign. It simply didn't happen. These are disgruntled employees who couldn't cut it in the workplace.

GRIFFIN: Rooks says it not only happened, she complained directly to the congressman about it.

ROOKS: I was so opposed to the use of staff time for campaigning, I actually wrote the Congressman a memo, which I don't have anymore, but I also had a conversation with him. And I told him I thought this was wrong.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): When you complained, when you brought up these issues, you were told this is part of your job.

ROOKS: Well, I was told that doing whatever he wanted to have done was part of my job.

GRIFFIN (voice over): And, she says, she received regular raises, was assigned sensitive projects and, like others now filing complaints, was told she was doing a good job for the congressman.

After several weeks of phoning, faxing and mailing requests for an interview, including to his attorney, and being told by Conyers' staff that the congressman wasn't available, we decided to look for him ourselves and found him right outside a Capitol Hill committee room.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): You have required your staff members to babysit your children?

CONYERS: No, no, look. May I say, I told you I could not discuss it. Now, this is not fair.

GRIFFIN: I just asked a yes or no question. Have you required your staff to babysit your children and at one point, babysit your children for six weeks?

CONYERS: Oh, come on.

GRIFFINS: That's what the allegation is in the ethics files, sir.

CONYERS: Can you do me a favor, sir, I thought you were going to...

GRIFFIN: I've been trying to talk to you through your staff for two weeks, sir.

(voice over): Though rare, the House Ethics Committee does have the power to vote on starting an ethics investigation against members of Congress. In the case of John Conyers, that has not yet happened.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: And all repeated attempts to reach Congressman Conyers' lawyer has been unsuccessful as well.

Now, so many things can go wrong on the highway. Have you ever wished there was a high-tech way to cut down on traffic accidents? Well, you may be looking at it. And you're going to see more in just a minute.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in Grain Valley, Missouri. For weeks, this town of 12,000 people has been buzzing because of the arrival of sextuplets. Well, if the story sounds too good to be true, it too often is. I'll have the details when PAULA ZAHN NOW continues.


ZAHN: Now, number six in our countdown, June Pointer, the youngest member of the pop trio The Pointer Sisters, has died of cancer. She happened to be the lead singer on the group's hit, "He's so Shy" and "Jump." June Pointer was 52.

At number five, remembering the very first space shuttle launch exactly 25 years ago today. The shuttle Columbia took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California and returned to earth just two days later. We're going to have number four right after this and more on that sextuplets scam when we come back.


ZAHN: Coming up in this half hour, a town's incredible generosity to the parents of sextuplets. There is one big problem. Tonight, though, just where are all of those babies?

And then at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," high society insider Dominick Dunn reveals some secrets and scandals of the rich and famous.

But now, we take a look at this video of a Tennessee police officer as he talks with a school bus driver suspected of drunk driving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm drunk. I can't help it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll move on to another one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not going to pretend. I am drunk.


ZAHN: All right. Well, the bus driver admitted it. She was charged, released on bail. The arrest was also caught on the officer's dashboard camera, something that seems to be coming more and more common these days. But you might be surprised to learn how many other people are starting to use dash cams as well and taping some amazing and frightening examples of very bad driving.

Consumer correspondent Greg Hunter has tonight's "Eye Opener."


HUNTER (voice-over): It was another busy morning on New York's Long Island Expressway. Thousands of commuters making their way to work.

BRYAN PACELLI, CAR CRASH VICTIM: I should have been dead. There's no doubt. I still don't understand how I'm not. Don't understand it.

HUNTER: The last thing Bryan Pacelli, a father of two remembers, is traffic slowing down. Bryan is driving the black Audi. Watch the semi-trailer on the right. All of a sudden, cutting through two lanes of traffic. Bryan's car is trapped.

PACELLI: They put a blanket over me and I saw them starting to cut up the car. I remember that. I remember...

HUNTER (on camera): When you saw them starting to cut you out of the car?

PACELLI: ... Yes, I knew something was bad, I knew it was bad.

HUNTER (voice-over): But it could have been worse. Safety experts say that all too often, the drivers of private cars in accidents with trucks are larger vehicles, don't live to tell their story.

Bryan Pacelli was lucky to survive, although he doesn't remember much of the accident. But he knows exactly what happened thanks to a video camera installed on the windshield of this bus traveling in the left lane. The bus ended up pushing Bryan's car under the semi- trailer.

(on camera): Every year, the most accidents in New York state happen in Long Island. In one year, there were 45,000 crashes. Many of those happened right here behind me on the Long Island Expressway. More and more of those wrecks are being caught on video and it teaches us two things: what happened and, more importantly, how they might be prevented.

(voice-over): For example, driving in the rain.

Distracted driving, or not keeping a safety distance from the vehicle in front. Mistakes, which could be avoided. Bill Schoolman owns a New York transportation company. A few years ago, he installed cameras in all his vehicles.

BILL SCHOOLMAN, PRESIDENT, CLASSIC TRANSPORTATION: It's a great business decision because we save lots of money on our insurance and all direct costs also of operating a bus. You save money on front ends, tires, fuel. There's lots of direct benefits that operationally you get when people drive more safely.

HUNTER: Schoolman says he saves up to $250,000 a year on insurance. He's so enthusiastic about the cameras, he's now working as a part-time consultant for the company that makes them. The cameras help him keep an eye on his drivers.

SCHOOLMAN: This camera, when mounted on the windshield, is the cop in their rearview mirror. They drive more safely. And this camera is on all the time and watching.

HUNTER: That metaphorical cop in the rear-view mirror didn't keep this taxi driver from dozing off at the wheel while he was working. Watch what happens next. As soon as he falls asleep, he loses control. It's hard to believe he walked away unhurt. But when his boss saw the video, he lost his job.

We asked Joan Claybrook, a long-time road safety advocate and former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to look at some video, like this one from a camera in this New Jersey limousine. The driver says the car on the left was trying to cut him off and almost crashed into him. He slammed into the pole on the side of the road. The car caught fire.

JOAN CLAYBROOK, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Incredible, just coming out of nowhere and passing on the right.

HUNTER (on camera): Totally out of control.

CLAYBROOK: Right, going too fast.

HUNTER: And then blows up.

CLAYBROOK: Blows up.

HUNTER (voice-over): How did this end? The limo driver jammed his brakes on to avoid crashing into the car. The driver of the car that blew up walked away with no real injuries.

Next, we asked Claybrook to review Bryan Pacelli's accident.

CLAYBROOK: I don't think in all the years that I've driven, I've never seen a truck behave that way. This video tells the real story, that's why it's so valuable.

HUNTER: Safety experts, like Claybrook believe video cameras can help keep all of us safer.

CLAYBROOK: I think can you use it for training of drivers because it will reveal what the mistakes are, what the problems are. Two, you can use it for the police to figure out exactly what happened at a crash.

HUNTER: Bryan says the video has changed his view of other drivers.

(on camera): What does this video want to make you do?

PACELLI: Makes me angry. Makes me want to, you know, it's made -- it's turned me into a safety advocate. There's plenty of people like me every day next to those, you know, trucks or buses. That was a loaded gun rolling down the street and nobody knew.

HUNTER (voice-over): Greg Hunter, CNN, Old Westbury, New York.


ZAHN: He was so lucky. As you could see from those pictures. One more thing, a new federal study says that mistakes by drivers are 10 times more likely than anything else to cause crashes involving trucks. So dash-cam tapes can clearly teach all of us some life- saving lessons.

Still ahead tonight, a couple that needed and received help with the six new additions to their family. But instead of sextuplets, they now have a huge scandal on their hands. Where are those babies is the question tonight? We will explain all of that after Sophia Choi brings us the "Headline News Business Break."


ZAHN: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes. Larry, I know your friend and mine, Dominick Dunne, will be joining you. What are the two of you going to talk about?

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: I love Dominick.

ZAHN: Yes, he's a good guy.

KING: Murder and mayhem, as seen through the eyes of Dominick Dunne, one of the top crime reporters, novelist, fiction or nonfiction. Regular contributor to "Vanity Fair" and he knows everything about everything. If it deals with crime, Dominick Dunne is your man and he's our man at 9:00 Eastern immediately following Paula.

ZAHN: And he's a pretty good secret keeper so tonight, you're going to have to do the best you can to get some of those out of him.

KING: We'll try.

ZAHN: We'll stay tuned. Thanks, Larry, have a good show.

KING: Thanks, dear.

ZAHN: There is no question some Missouri townspeople are extremely generous, but maybe they should have asked a few more questions before trying to help this couple's sextuplets. Questions like, where are the babies?

Now, No. 4 in our countdown, the young man who's third in line of the British throne is now an officer in the British army. Prince Harry graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy on Wednesday. His rank means he could be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan.

No. 3 was our top story tonight, the final moments of United Flight 93 on September 11th captured on audiotape by the plane's cockpit voice recorder. The jury in the death penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui heard the tape this morning just before the government rested its case.

No. 2 on our list up next.


ZAHN: So what would you do if you heard about a couple who needed help because they had just had sextuplets? Well, you would probably open up your heart, maybe even your wallet, and that's exactly what the people of one Missouri town did when they saw the news all over the front page about a couple with six brand-new babies. But now, the truth is finally coming out.

Here's Ed Lavandera with tonight's "What Were They Thinking?"

LAVANDERA: Sarah and Kris Everson are bold -- well, make that very bold. When they moved to Grain Valley, Missouri, a few months ago, they started asking for help to care for six newborn babies, and they weren't shy about what they wanted. Gary Bradley was one of the many people trying to organize help for the couple.

GARY BRADLEY, GRAIN VALLEY CITY ADMINISTRATOR: They needed new transportation because they have a truck. They needed a new house. They needed a washer and dryer to handle the clothes for six kids. Cribs, all of those types of things.

LAVANDERA: The Everson's said they needed all of those supplies and money to help care for the sextuplets who would soon be coming home from the hospital, but after weeks and weeks of baby talk, the babies themselves were nowhere to be seen.

CHIEF AARON AMBROSE, GRAIN VALLEY MISSOURI POLICE: That was the big question, why are they holding back the babies? You know, why hasn't anybody seen these babies? Well, apparently some people said they had seen them. I find that very interesting. I don't know what babies they were looking at.

LAVANDERA: Gary Bradley says they had an excuse for that.

BRADLEY: They indicated that there was a gag order in place by a judge to protect the lives of the children. And that they had a relative who threatened to kill the children, and I just found that part very hard to believe.

LAVANDERA: Then Sarah and Kris posed for this picture in the local newspaper holding six tiny sweaters. Again, the babies were not available for pictures. Even the town newspaper had fallen for the story.

(on-camera): When the Eversons' picture and story hit the front page of the local newspaper, they became the talk of the town. But it also resurrected a shady past. It turns out, according to police and some local residents, that Sarah Everson has a history of faking pregnancies.

PASTOR BOB SPRADLING, MAYWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH: When I heard about it, I thought, well, she's up to it again.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Pastor Bob Spradling wasn't surprised to see Sarah Everson in this situation. Five years ago, Everson told him a similar story. Church members helped with food and other donations, but the babies never came. The pastor says she claimed to have miscarried, but he says she was never actually pregnant.

SPRADLING: It is odd, and I think that's why people help because it is so out of the norm, you think, well, it's got to be true because who could make this up?

LAVANDERA: Grain Valley Police say the Eversons have admitted they made up the story and could face felony charges of stealing by deceit. Late today, the couple issued an apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to ask to be absolutely clear, there were no babies. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

LAVANDERA: Kris and Sarah Everson left the police station in a truck big enough to hold this family of two.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Grain Valley, Missouri.


ZAHN: The whole thing is so sad and pathetic.

Time to reveal number two in our countdown, Secretary of State Rice says it's, quote, "time for action on international demands that Iran stop enriching uranium." Yesterday Iran announced that it had reached that goal in its nuclear energy program.

So, what does Britney Spears have to do with the most popular story on Well, it sure isn't her singing career lately. Stay with us to find out what's up.


ZAHN: Beautiful night out there. The first night of Passover here in the big city. And just enough time left for number one in our countdown. California child welfare officials visit Britney Spears home again after her 6-month-old son fell from his high chair. The child was taken to an emergency room, which reported the accident as required by law. Spears' attorney says officials found no reason to open up a formal investigation.

That's it for us. Thanks so much for being with us. Please join us again tomorrow night. We will be here. Good night.