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Paula Zahn Now

Bin Laden Cries Foul Over Zacarias Moussaoui; Mexican President Visits United States; Should Immigrants Learn English?; New Therapy Claims to "Cure" Homosexuality; Plastic Surgery in Iran

Aired May 23, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Glad to have you all with us tonight.
Here is what is happening at this moment.

Experts are now analyzing what could be the latest message from Osama bin Laden. He says Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man to face justice in the U.S. for 9/11, had absolute nothing to do with it. We will have the latest on that in just a moment.

And South Carolina's lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, is being treated for injuries after a plane crash in Cherokee County. He and a passenger are said to be conscious after being rushed to a hospital in Spartanburg.

And here's our nightly look at gas prices all over the country. We call it our "Crude Awakenings" segment. The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. Nice to see the green outnumber the red tonight. The average today for unleaded regular, $2.87 a gallon. That's a penny cheaper than yesterday.

And, then, as you see in our chart, that seems to follow a slow downward trend that began last week.

Now, on to this hour's developing story on the CNN "Security Watch" -- more from the most wanted man in the world. Osama bin Laden says fellow terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui isn't telling the truth about his supposed role in 9/11. But, when it comes to a choice between two al Qaeda terrorists, who can you believe?

At any rate, a new audiotape supposedly recorded by bin Laden himself surfaced just a few hours ago on the Internet. Analysts are still checking whether it is really bin Laden. But they do think at this hour it's authentic. And it talks about who is and who isn't responsible for 9/11.

Let's turn to justice correspondent Kelli Arena, who has covered Moussaoui's sentencing trial. She's now heard the new tape. She's been checking with her sources, who are trying to determine if it is really bin Laden.

Can they confirm that, too?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they can't confirm that at this hour, Paula. But U.S. officials do say that they have no reason to believe that it isn't bin Laden.

And, of course, this is an audiotape, not a videotape. The last time we saw that was in 2004. But this message very different from the ones that we have heard from him recently.


ARENA (voice-over): The latest audio message is simple, without the usual poetry associated with communications from Osama bin Laden.

Clearly conscious of Zacarias Moussaoui's terrorism trial in the U.S., bin Laden says Moussaoui had absolute no role in the September 11 attacks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am certain of what I say, because I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers -- Allah have mercy upon them -- with those raids. And I did not assign brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission.


ARENA: During his trial, Moussaoui claimed he was supposed fly a fifth blame into the White House and that captured shoe bomber Richard Reid was going to be on his hijacking team.

After being sentenced to life in prison, Moussaoui changed his story and said in a court filing that he lied on the stand. Bin Laden mentions the testimony in an effort, U.S. officials believe, to seem up to date.

FORIA YOUNIS, FORMER FBI AGENT: He clearly is showing that he's still out there. He wants to be in the news. He wants to comment on the Moussaoui investigation.

ARENA: Bin Laden also spoke about the 500 or so detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He claims none of them have any connection to 9/11 either.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And even stranger is that many of them have no connection with al Qaeda in the first place, and even more amazing is that some of them oppose al Qaeda's methodology of calling for war with America.


ARENA: Officials believe at least one person being held in Guantanamo, Mohamed al-Kahtani, was connected to 9/11. The U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission concluded, he was meant to be the 20th hijacker, but couldn't get into the United States.

Bin Laden hasn't been seen on video since October of 2004. Like the one released today, his recent messages have been audio only. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: But in this message, bin Laden makes no explicit threat, but he does offer a vague suggestion that one day there might even be peace between the U.S. and the Muslim world -- Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli, it's interesting to hear what the FBI agents say, that this guy is craving attention, but I think what's harder to understand is why he would spend so much time talking on this audiotape, if it turns to be him, talking about Moussaoui, a guy he always said was irrelevant to al Qaeda.

ARENA: Well, yes. This is something that officials have said that it's pretty surprising of all the topics he chooses to talk about, because we continue hear from him very much, he would choose Moussaoui. But they say that they really do believe that that is it, that he is making a quest to seem relevant, that he wants to let his followers know: I'm still in the game. I'm still up on things. And just because you haven't heard from me does not mean that I'm not as involved as I was before.

ZAHN: We will stay in touch with you throughout the hour. If you get it confirmed from your sources, we will put you on the air one way or the other.

ARENA: You got it.

ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks so much.

ARENA: You're welcome.

ZAHN: Now on to something that's literally never happened before in U.S. history. And tonight it has set off one of the most bizarre turf battles that Washington has ever seen. It is so big, the U.S. Supreme Court may need to pass final judgment.

What's causing the trouble? Well, the last thing you would expect, a scandal involving a Democratic congressman and a weekend FBI raid on his Capitol Hill office.

Congressional correspondent Dana Bash has just filed this report on why it is tying Washington into knots tonight.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An 18- hour FBI raid of a Democratic congressman's office, allegations in a government affidavit William Jefferson took bribes and stuffed cash from an FBI informant in his freezer. In raw election-year politics, this should be manna from heaven for Republicans. So, why are they complaining?

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There's ways to do it. And my opinion is that they took the wrong path.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Yes, I'm concerned because it does involve the Constitution.

BASH: They're alarmed that the Bush Justice Department searched a congressional office for the first time in history and may have crossed the constitutional line.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert says he went straight to the president with his and other lawmakers' concerns. Both parties say, FBI agents, part of the executive branch, ignored the separation of powers by forcibly entering a legislative office, and may have breached the Constitution's speech and debate clause, intended to shield lawmakers from executive intimidation.

CHARLES TIEFER, CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR: What happened Saturday night was an intimidating act, by which the Congress is going to be -- the members of Congress are going to be nervous about doing their job from now on.

BASH: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the search as critical to a high-stakes corruption investigation.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We respectfully, of course, disagree with the characterization by some. We believe, of course, that we have been very careful, very thorough in our pursuit of criminal wrongdoing.

BASH: And, he insisted, the search was necessary, given the extraordinary circumstances.

In fact, this FBI affidavit supporting the search warrant says a Jefferson aide told investigators relevant evidence was in his office. And, according to government sources familiar with the investigation, a federal judge recommended the search, after the congressman ignored a subpoena issued eight months ago.

The affidavit also shows investigators were well aware of the potential backlash, setting up a so-called filter team of agents and prosecutors just to make sure they took nothing privileged. Some legal experts say no one is above the law.

VIET DINH, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR LEGAL POLICY: There is no constitutional protection for congressional offices, as such.

BASH: But Senate historian Don Ritche (ph) says lawmakers have good reason to be concerned this unprecedented event sets a new precedent that could some day be abused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't want a future situation in which future presidents might use this as an opportunity to punish congressional opponents. And that's one of the big issues.


BASH: Congressional sources tell CNN they're talking with the administration about ways to avoid that, ideas like making a formal statement making it clear that this weekend raid cannot be used as legal precedent.

But the number-two Republican in the House, Paula, says he's sure Congressman Jefferson's case is going to end up right across the street at the Supreme Court.

ZAHN: So, Dana, we just heard from a number of Republicans in your piece. Where are the Democrats in all this?

BASH: That's a very good question.

It's very interesting, the way they're handling this. They certainly support and agree with Republicans with regard to the constitutional issues in terms of Congressman Jefferson's office, the raid on his office, but they're letting Republicans take the lead on it.

And they're also being very careful. In fact, they're really keeping at arm's length from the congressman, in terms of the underlying allegations. They're being very cautious, certainly not supporting him at all, to say that nobody is above the law on this.

As you know, Democrats want to use corruption against Republicans in this coming election. And the fact that they have one of their own under this kind of cloud certainly doesn't help them.

ZAHN: Congressional correspondent Dana Bash, thanks so much.

BASH: Thank you.

ZAHN: Part of the best political team on TV.

Now I want to you look at something. Just a few hours ago in California, more than 1,100 people from 101 different countries raised their right hands and took the oath to become legal U.S. citizens. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a naturalized citizen from Austria, was on hand to congratulate them.

And as this ceremony was taking place, U.S. senators were debating what to do about the estimated 12 million immigrants who are in this country illegally. And just as the Senate debate is reaching a climax, guess who came to the U.S. today? Mexican President Vicente Fox, whose country is responsible for at least half of the illegal immigrants in this country.

And in this report just in from Salt Lake City, Ed Lavandera explains why Fox is here now.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Vicente Fox stepped off the plane in Salt Lake City, the 700 people waiting to have lunch with him were encouraged to stand and applaud his arrival. And, on cue, they did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome his excellency, Vicente Fox.

LAVANDERA: In his speech of this four-day trip to the U.S., the Mexican president talked business, but not immigration.

VICENTE FOX, MEXICAN PRESIDENT: We need to continue strengthening the economic, educational and cultural ties between ourselves.

LAVANDERA: President Fox was invited to Utah by the state's governor. This conservative state has seen its Hispanic population triple since 1990. And Mexico is now Utah's third largest trading partner. But why so many Mexican immigrants are moving to Utah is a point of contention.

Some say Utah's family-friendly atmosphere and economic opportunities bring immigrants here. Others don't see it that way.

Alex Segura is a member of the Utah Minutemen, a group fighting against illegal immigration. He says Utah is a safe haven for illegal immigrants, because many people here tend to look the other way.

ALEX SEGURA, UTAH MINUTEMEN: Utah, they are very compassionate, open-minded, open-hearted people that want to help. But sometimes their compassion supersedes the law requirements that they need to recognize.

LAVANDERA: Vicente Fox is walking a fine line on this trip to the United States. Critics say he's discreetly trying to influence American policy on illegal immigration by avoiding Washington and meeting with Western governors, trying to build support for a more lenient approach to illegal immigrants among state leaders. But those close to the Mexican president say that's not Fox's intention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very sensitive about what's going on in Washington right now. And he's being very careful to make sure that he does not become too much involved or says too much that will damage what's being already negotiated in the Senate.


LAVANDERA: President Fox just wrapped up a brief meeting with hundreds of Mexican immigrants here in Salt Lake City. Right now, he's on his way here to the governor's mansion in Utah, where he will be the guest of honor tonight at a state dinner.

Outside the mansion, some 200 people are expected to show up, protesting President Fox's position on immigration here in the U.S. -- Paula.

ZAHN: Now, what was the deal with the president? He wouldn't take any questions from reporters?

LAVANDERA: There was a press conference that had been scheduled, a joint press conference with Fox and the governor of Utah. That's been canceled. They said there were some scheduling conflicts.

But those close to President Fox say that this is part of the strategy and something that President Fox is very sensitive to this week, that, in now way, does he want to appear that by answering -- of course, many of the questions would be about immigration. And because of that, he doesn't want to appear to be influencing the political process here in the U.S.

ZAHN: Of course, it makes one wonder how you can inflame those tensions any more than they already are at this hour.

Ed Lavandera, thanks so much.

And, in a minute, we are going to have the very latest developments on the immigration debate itself, as well as a look at one of the more controversial parts of the bill. Should all immigrants learn English?

Now on to our countdown of the top 10 stories on More than 19 million of you logging on today.

At number 10 -- some new information about the theft of personal data on more than 26 million U.S. veterans. A government source tells CNN that the burglary actually took place on May 3. But officials didn't alert the public for nearly three weeks.

Number nine -- President Bush says he doubts that he will get a chance to see Al Gore's new documentary on global warming, even though the president's former rival has offered to bring it straight to the White House for a private screening. The film opens in the U.S. on Wednesday.

Numbers eight and seven just ahead, along with a visit to a place few have ever seen, on guard for an epidemic that could threaten the U.S.


ZAHN: "Outside the Law." Yvette Cade claimed her husband was dangerous. But a judge wouldn't listen. Then her husband went to where she worked and set her on fire. Where did the system go wrong?

And the "Eye Opener" -- this man says he cured his homosexuality. And now he claims to be teaching others to do the same. Could there be more to this controversial therapy than just wishful thinking?

All that and much more just ahead.



ZAHN: Still ahead, some actually -- absolutely incredible pictures. How did anyone get out of this fire alive?

Here's what's happening at this moment -- another warning tonight from the Pentagon about the rapid growth of the Chinese military. The Pentagon's annual report to Congress says China's expanding its reach with improved missiles and nuclear weapons and may be spending more than $100 billion a year on its military. Meanwhile, the White House says conditions in Iraq mean it's too soon to talk about any withdrawal of American troops. Meanwhile, a U.N. report blames a bloody mix of gang violence and rival militias for undermining human rights in Iraq.

The Senate is expected to approve Air Force General Michael Hayden as the new CIA director later on this week. The Intelligence Committee gave Hayden its blessing in a 12-3 vote. Those voting against cited Hayden's involvement in the domestic surveillance program.

And, tonight, on to another critical issue -- it looks like a coalition of Senate Democrats and Republicans will hold together long enough to pass immigration reform in the next day or two. Now, one of the most controversial parts of the bill calls English the national language of the U.S., but it stops short of making it our country's official language.

And while the Senate bill requires immigrants to begin learning English, they don't have to prove they know it before they can become citizens.

Now, just getting that much in the bill sparked angry accusations of racism during the Senate debate and has many people at the boiling point tonight.

My next guests are among those with some very strong opinions. Mauro Mujica heads U.S. English, a group that supports making English the required language of the U.S. And John Trasvina of the Mexican- American Legal Defense and Education Fund doesn't want tougher English requirements for immigrants.

Thank you both for joining us tonight.


ZAHN: Mr. Mujica, your organization actually wants to go further than this bill, not only declare English the official language, but to do away with bilingual ballots altogether. Why?

MAURO MUJICA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, U.S. ENGLISH: Well, you see, to vote, you have to be a citizen. To be a citizen, you have to pass an English exam. It's in the law right now. There's nothing new about it.

ZAHN: Well, you have got people out there saying this is racist and it's specifically targeting Hispanics.

MUJICA: Well, we have a lot of ignorant people out there. This is a country of immigrants. And immigrants have always learned the common language of this country. Ninety percent of the people in this country agree that English is the official language. I mean, it's the common language of the country.

No, it is more like 80 percent. But it's never been a problem for immigrants to learn English. ZAHN: Mr. Trasvina, you think this amendment is racist?

JOHN TRASVINA, MEXICAN-AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: I wouldn't call it racist. But it goes back to something we have had to deal with as a society for many years.

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed this in 1921, when Germans were the target and there was efforts to take away German from being taught in the classroom. And the Supreme Court got it right by saying that the protection of the Constitution extends to all.

And it is great if everybody speaks the common language, but you don't get there by means that conflict with the Constitution. What we want is not a meaningless amendment. What we want are more English classes, adult English programs. There are long waiting lists for adult English classes in cities and towns across the country.

So, Latino immigrants don't need to be told English is the nation's language. What they need are opportunities to learn English. We just don't have them today. Groups like U.S. English don't support it. They support getting rid of the important measures for bilingual ballots, bilingual services, things that don't discourage English.

What we need are things that promote more English...

ZAHN: All right.

TRASVINA: ... such as more English classes.

ZAHN: But why, Mr. Trasvina, is this such a big deal to you, when you already have 27 states out there that have passed English-as- the-official-language legislation in their own states?

TRASVINA: Because the real mission is to get rid of the types of services he just described.

And what we really need are some things that bring the United States together, which is more proficiency in English, more services and more language classes. These bills don't do that. They divide Americans.

ZAHN: Mr. Mujica, you came to this country. You learned English. I know you think it's everybody's intent as an illegal immigrant to ultimately learn English.

MUJICA: Right.

ZAHN: Why do you think this amendment would work, when Mr. Trasvina just explained you have so many services that are cut that encourage people to speak English?

MUJICA: Well...

ZAHN: There's no infrastructure out there to -- to actually get them to the point where they can speak English well.

MUJICA: There are too many services also that discourage immigrants from learning English.

You can get driver's licenses in 30 languages in California. You can get -- you can vote in eight or nine languages in L.A. We're making it way too easy for the newcomers to function without having to bother to learn English. And it's absolutely essential for the country to be able to communicate with each other.

We're only talking about government language right now. We're not talking about personal language. I speak Spanish at home with my American wife and my children. This has nothing to do with how many languages a person speaks. We all welcome also ESL classes. U.S. English is absolutely in favor of more ESL money.

ZAHN: All right.

Mr. Trasvina, you were saying it was your understanding that they were against those kind of programs. You get the last word tonight.

TRASVINA: Well, they have been for the last 20 years, when Senator Hayakawa started the group back in the '80s.

But the real point is, are we going to have opportunities for people to learn English? Just because you get a bilingual ballot on Election Day doesn't mean that, the other 364 days of the year, English is unimportant. English is the language to get ahead for economic opportunity, for children's futures.

That's we support at MALDF. We support the opportunities and the classes, not these amendments that make it more difficult for people to get ahead in this country.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there.

John Trasvina, Mauro Mujica...

MUJICA: Thank you.

TRASVINA: Thank you.

ZAHN: ... thank you for both of your perspectives tonight.

We have now some unforgettable pictures from a security camera. They show a man setting fire to his estranged wife. She survived, but she says a judge helped make this attack possible. Her story is coming up.

And, then, a little bit later on, can whacking pillows with a tennis racket really, really hard make gay people go straight? We are going to meet a controversial therapist who says it can. Wait until you hear what he has to say.

First, number eight on our countdown -- a midair collision over the Aegean Sea between F-16 fighter jets from Greece and Turkey. The Turkish pilot was rescued. Authorities are still searching for the pilot of the Greek jet. Number seven, former Texas Congressman and Senator Lloyd Bentsen died at his home in Texas today. He was also the 1988 Democratic vice presidential nominee, and may be best remembered for his scathing remarks to Dan Quayle during their debate. Bentsen also served as President Clinton's first secretary of the treasury. Lloyd Bentsen was 85 -- numbers six and five when we come back.


ZAHN: In tonight's "Outside the Law," you're about to get a chilling look at a crime that shocked the whole nation as much for its brutality as for what happened before it. We're only now getting a look at the surveillance tape that shows the terrifying attack of a Maryland woman -- or on a Maryland woman by her estranged husband. And we're also now hearing her tell her story.

Jason Carroll has tonight's "Outside the Law."


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A surveillance camera at a T-Mobile store captured the most terrifying moment in Yvette Cade's life. It was the moment her estranged husband, Roger Hargrave, tried to kill her.

Hargrave entered the store and doused Cade with gasoline. She ran into the parking lot. He caught her and used a match to set her on fire. The camera shows, as the flames consumed her, Cade rushed back inside for help. A co-worker called 911.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lay down! Lay down! She's on fire. She's on fire. Lay down! Lay down!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's on fire She's on fire.

DISPATCHER: They're setting her on fire?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They set her on fire.


CARROLL: Earlier that same morning, Cade called 911, telling an operator that Hargrave had been making threatening calls. One in particular was a frightening clue into her fate.


YVETTE CADE, VICTIM: It sounds like he would burn somebody just like Crisco. I don't like getting involved in this kind of stuff. I want it to be over. (END VIDEO CLIP)

Cade's family says the story of what happened to her actually began several weeks before the brutal attack, before any threatening calls. It started when Cade went to Prince George's County District Court Judge Richard Palumbo to ask him to keep a restraining order in place against Hargrave.

MICHAEL HAYNESWORTH, COUSIN OF YVETTE CADE: Nothing she said mattered to Judge Palumbo. She was trying to plead her case. She let it be known that she was in fear of her life.

CARROLL: Her family says, instead of getting help from Judge Palumbo, she got insults. Listen to the courtroom exchange that day.


YVETTE CADE, VICTIM: He's still contacting me. He's intimidating my daughter. And he's vandalizing other people's properties. I want an immediate, absolute divorce.

JUDGE RICHARD PALUMBO, DISTRICT COURT OF MARYLAND: Well, I would like to be six 6'5", but that's not what we do here. You got to go divorce court to do that.


CARROLL: Judge Palumbo's disparaging comments didn't end there.


CADE: He was trying to force me to go to marriage counseling.

PALUMBO: It might not be a bad idea, if you want to save the marriage.

CADE: I don't want to, because...

PALUMBO: Then you're in the wrong place. Get a lawyer and go to divorce court.


CARROLL: Cade left the courtroom dejected and humiliated. And, worse, Judge Palumbo removed the restraining order against Hargrave.

(on camera): Several weeks later, after the horrific crime, Judge Palumbo said the removal was a clerical error. But now a new development since we originally covered this story: Maryland's Judicial Commission has filed misconduct charges against Palumbo, alleging he demonstrated insensitivity not only towards Cade, but other women in separate domestic violence cases as well.

(voice-over): Repeated calls to Palumbo and his attorney were not returned. The state's attorney, Glenn Ivey, was so angered by Cade's story he personally prosecuted the case against her estranged husband and got a conviction for attempted first degree murder. Ivey says Judge Palumbo should have done more.

GLENN IVEY, MARYLAND STATES ATTORNEY: I think we have to make sure that at every step along the way the system doesn't let down victims like this, people who are reaching out and need help.

CARROLL: Despite Cade's slow and painful recovery she wanted more people, especially women, to know how she was treated in Palumbo's court. So she told her story on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I think that's awful, don't you? So despite Yvette's desperate plea for help, the protective order was lifted. And you were just dismissed. You were literally dismissed.

CADE: I thought I would leave and it would remain the same. I didn't understand dismissed meant that --

WINFREY: That the protective order was removed.

CADE: I didn't know that.

CARROLL: Cade and her family also say Judge Palumbo should be removed from the bench. He remains on administrative duty until August, when he will be judged himself at hearings on his conduct. Jason Carroll, CNN, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.


ZAHN: We have learned that Yvette Cade's ex-husband is scheduled to be sentenced June 2nd. He could get life in prison.

Now, we're going to take a look at a very controversial therapy.




ZAHN: Coming up, the man who says this is part of what he calls a cure for homosexuality. But what do others have to say about that tonight?

And a little bit later on, pictures of incredible heroism. How did a family get out of this fire alive? Right now number six in our countdown. Big changes in store at ABC news. "Good Morning America"'s Charles Gibson will take over as sole anchor of "World News Tonight" replacing Elizabeth Vargas who will return to "20/20" after taking maternity leave.

Number five, At the sniper murder trial in Maryland, Lee Boyd Malvo testified for the prosecution against his former partner John Muhammad. Malvo said they had planned to kill six people a day for a month followed by a bombing campaign. Ten people in the Washington area were killed in the sniper attacks in 2002.

Number four just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Coming up in this half hour, how did a family get out of this fire alive? Boy, were they lucky. And why is there such a huge demand for cosmetic surgery in a country where women are supposed to cover up all the time?

Then on "LARRY KING LIVE," Tim Russert is the man of the hour. He'll be talking about his latest book on dads. Of course, will talk Sunday talk show stuff as well. But here's what's happening at this moment.

In Washington, a warm White House welcome for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. President Bush praised his plan to remap the West Bank and promised to help Israel if it is ever attacked by Iran.

Now, there's new details on last week's attack against guards at the military's Guantanamo Detention Center. Members of Congress just back from a fact finding trip say 90 prisoners were punished for taking part in last week's violent attack.

And a new 52-story skyscraper stands tonight at 7 World Trade Center. The shimmering glass tower replaces the old 7 World Trade which collapsed after the twin towers were destroyed.

Jim McGreevey is back in the headlines this week. You remember him. The New Jersey governor who resigned when he revealed he's gay. He was also married to a woman at that time of that revelation. He has released excerpts of his memoir which will be published in September. He describes his life as a closeted gay man in politics as a slow march into Hell.

Now to come out or not is a struggle for any gay person, but a few choose a third and very controversial option. Therapy to make them straight. Deborah Feyerick has tonight's eye opener.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you've been watching "The Sopranos" on HBO, then you know the secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes you tell lies so long you don't know when to stop.

FEYERICK: Vito, a mob guy, married with kids, on the run, knowing he'll be killed because he's gay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are these church groups. They could cure you of this.

FEYERICK: While it may sound like a plot line, the reaction from Vito's TV wife that there's a cure is very real. And it's a reaction many gay people and their families wonder about in the beginning. Is it possible to change, to not be gay.

There are groups who believe that it is possible. Some use religion. Others more unusual techniques. More on that in a moment. But whether it's faith based or secular, Dr. Jack Drescher of the American Psychiatric Association says the practice of so-called conversion therapy is dangerous.

DR. JACK DRESCHER, AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOC.: People who have done anything approximating a scientific report admit that the majority of people who try to change their sexual orientation do not change.

FEYERICK: And yet this man, who tells us he was once gay, claims to have helped hundreds of men like him.

Richard Cohen, now married with three kids, is a leader in the so-called reparative therapy movement. With just more than 1,000 members it is not a particularly big movement, but because it's so controversial and despised within the gay community it tends to get a lot of attention.

(on camera): What you're suggesting is that being gay is a switch you can turn on or off.

RICHARD COHEN, CONVERSION THERAPIST: People have a right to determine how they wish to live their life. If they choose to live a gay life, great, OK. But to say I have to live as a gay man because I had those desires, that's discrimination.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Cohen, who had several boyfriends, spent years in various kinds of therapy searching for answers. It wasn't until he remembered being sexually abused by a man when he was a child that what he calls his convergence process began,

COHEN: I knew it wasn't for me. I knew it in my gut I wasn't born this way.

FEYERICK: Cohen is an unlicensed therapist. He offers the theory that some kind of childhood trauma triggers homosexuality. All it takes is figuring out what it is, healing from it and moving on. One of his clients is a 42 year old program analyst who we'll call Rob. Because it is such a sensitive subject, he asked us to shield his identity.

He began seeing Cohen three years ago after years of struggling with unwanted homosexual feelings.

"ROB", CONVERSION THERAPY CLIENT: I had a mother that basically committed emotional incest with me because they had a very bad marriage. She used me as her husband, a stand-in.

FEYERICK: Cohen explains Rob's same-sex attraction is typical of the men he treats. Cold, distant dad, overbearing mom and overly sensitive kid. He showed us some of his unconventional techniques like touch therapy, in which he encouraging Rob to seek out same-sex mentors to basically re-create a healthy father-son bond.

COHEN: It's nonsexual. It establishes like parent-child relationship. So he didn't experience this growing up with his dad. FEYERICK (on camera): Rob, do you feel a sexual connection right now?

ROB: No, I don't. I feel very safe and very comforted and it just feels wonderful.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Another technique, bioenergetics, designed to help clients release memories stored in the muscles, in this case by hitting a pillow with a tennis racket.

COHEN: I was angry at my mother. So I started saying, mom! mom! mom! mom! Why did you do that to me?

FEYERICK: So is being gay a matter of nature or nurture? Doctors say they don't know for sure. There is no gay gene and no definitive scientific proof that one's family or environment triggers same-sex attraction.

That's why mainstream mental health experts have such a huge problem with Cohen and those like him who promote reparative therapy as legitimate.

DRESCHER: It's like this person has landed on Earth from Mars and is doing things that the rest of us don't believe in and that we don't do. And it's just unfortunate that there are people who are willing to accept because of their desperate homosexual feelings, to accept these kinds of treatments.

FEYERICK: 48-year-old Xavier Yager sent spent five years in reparative therapy.

XAVIER YAGER, FORMER THERAPY CLIENT: It drove me to the edge of suicide, several times.

FEYERICK: He says it was so damaging, it took years to recover.

YAGER: From my farthest back recollection, I was always gay. I just tried -- you know, they always say it's a choice to be gay. I chose to try to be straight. And I found it was unattainable.

FEYERICK: Yager is now happily gay. Rob is also happy, but for the opposite reason.

ROB: I know what I'm experiencing. I know the freedom that I feel now. And as a result of the work, I don't have same-sex attractions anymore.

FEYERICK: He's even been chatting with women on the Internet, hoping to line up dates.

(on camera): Do you see yourself now as an ex-gay?

ROB: I see myself now as a much happier person.

FEYERICK (voice-over): A person who seems to have found his own inner peace. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Bowie, Maryland. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Richard Cohen says he counsels some women, but the majority of his clients are men.

Now, the pictures in our next story are absolutely incredible. Watch this closely. How did a family and their cat get out of this burning apartment alive? We'll show you.

And a little bit later on, a great trivia question you can ask at the office. What's the most popular cosmetic operation in Iran? We'll show you.

First, No. 4 in our countdown. A Sheltie so fat she could barely stand, the poor thing. She gained weight after years of being fed beer and donuts. Don't ask me why. But now the Arizona Humane Society has stepped in. They've got her working out in that water. You could find out more about her welfare if you go on to our Web site and start clicking watch the video. She's got a lot of paddling there to do in the water. No. 3 right after the break.


ZAHN: Welcome back. Right now we're going to show you some absolutely amazing and terrifying images. It's videotape of a fire in an apartment building. And a mother and child trapped on a balcony. Now, when you see it, you're going to wonder exactly what I did, how anyone could have escaped alive. Chris Burns has the story tonight from Germany.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the pre-dawn hours in Hamburg, a mother and her two children were asleep. They were awakened suddenly by flames raging in their apartment. Firefighters trying to get to the scene were delayed by the locked gates of the apartment complex.

By the time they got through, the blaze had engulfed the third floor apartment. The mother and her 11-year-old son were trapped by the flames, screaming for help. As the flames got closer and the smoke got heavier, the woman grabbed a net used to keep her cat from falling off the balcony.

She used it as a rope to lower her son to the next balcony. From there he jumped to the ground. His mother followed, carrying the cat under her arm. She suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation. But otherwise both mother and son were unscathed.

And there was more good news. The mother's 14-year-old daughter had not been trapped in the apartment as everyone feared. She had made her own way to safety by coming down the smoke-filled stairs. Investigators still don't know what caused the fire. Chris Burns, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: How amazing they got out of there.

Still ahead, the last thing you might expect in a conservative Islamic country like Iran. Why is plastic surgery such a big deal? And what are the procedures these women are doing? That's ahead.

But now it's time for a quick biz break.


ZAHN: And in just a minute, we're going to show you the last thing you might expect in a country like Iran. Why is plastic surgery making a comeback? And what operation do women want the most?

First, though, No. 3 in our countdown. In New York, an 8-year-old boy is charged with criminally negligent homicide for allegedly sneaking onto this school bus and releasing its parking brake, which caused it to roll forward and kill a second grader that got trapped between the bus and a street light. We're going to have No. 2 on our list right after this.


ZAHN: When you think of plastic surgery and Iran, you probably wouldn't connect the two. So get ready for a big surprise. Iranians are lining up to get nose jobs. You heard me right. In Tehran, Aneesh Raman takes us beyond the headlines tonight.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Tehran, you hear it wherever you are. Throughout the day, calls to prayer come from mosques all around the capital. It's a reminder that this is an Islamic state where religious mandates are law, where women are required to cover their heads at all times. Which is why you might find it odd that tucked away on a quiet side street at this clinic is one of the country's latest trends.

Inside, 17 year old Nesi (ph) is about to have surgery. I ask her if she's nervous. No, not at all she says. More than worried, I'm happy, excited.

Why no worries? Because Nesi (ph) is about to have a procedure now common in Iran. She's getting a nose job. Her mom got one a few years ago. Nesi's plastic surgeon says he's done over 2,000 operations in the past 13 years including a nose job for his wife and her sisters.

In fact, at this clinic, most of the female staff have had nose jobs.

(on camera): The doctors here say plastic surgeries in Iran have really picked up in the last five years as people got more money, as the surgeries got better. But the bigger question is why is such a progressive surgery so popular in such a conservative country? (voice-over): Dr. Saddounghi is another plastic surgeon here. It is rooted in culture, he says. Our religion and the way we live means women have to wear head scarves and you only see their faces. Because that's all women can show, they pay more attention to making their faces look good.

And why the big deal about nose jobs? The head nurse has an answer for that one. As a rule, Iranians have big noses, she says, and the first opportunity they get when they feel they have the chance they get a nose job.

On the upscale streets of Tehran it is not hard to find women with bandages. Some want their plastic surgery to be obvious. It's a sign of class.

It is not just women. Guys are getting them, too. This is 22 year old Amir. He's a few minutes away from his nose job.

Yes, there was a stigma for men, he says, but now nose jobs for men, too, are routine. Nobody makes fun of it. I have several guy friends who did it. As Amir heads into surgery, Nesi moves to recovery. Her operation went well. She'll soon be walking the streets with a brand new nose.

It is all a bit odd in this religious society of all the topic we spoke to Iranians about, plastic surgery seemed the least controversial. The subject they talk most freely about. Because, they say, even God knows that beauty is of utmost importance. Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.


ZAHN: Interesting slice of life there. In just a few minutes, on "LARRY KING LIVE" instead of asking the questions tonight, Tim Russert has to do some answering. He's Larry's guest at the top of the hour.

Before that, though, number two on our countdown. TV's Dr. 90210 also known as plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Ray jumps into action during a flight from Austin, Texas, to L.A. Dr. Ray helped restrain an 80 year old man who had a panic attack and went after a flight attendant.

Now, bears have been in the news quite a bit lately. So what happened here? It's on the top story on You have to stick around to find out what the details are. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: We leave you with number one on our countdown tonight. Thanks so much for being with us and we hope you'll be back with us same time, same place tomorrow night. Have a great night everybody.