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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Serious Flooding In New Hampshire; Governor Of New Hampshire Asks For Federal Assistance; Heavy Rain Falling All Along East Coast; Miller Testifies On Conversation With Scooter Libby; New Jersey Has Floods; Scientist Finds Spanish Influenza In Arctic; Syrian President Speaks; Man Outsources Daily Tasks; Cops In New Orleans Hold Press Conference; Harriet Miers' Faith Made An Issue; Minnesota Vikings Party May Have Gotten Out Of Control
Aired October 12, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
The downpour continues in the northeast, turning backyards into lakes, roads into rivers. Ten people are dead, four missing. 360 starts now.
Good evening, again. Thanks for joining us on 360.
Deadly weather tops the news at this hour. Here's what's happening at this moment.
Ten dead, four missing in New England after more than 10 inches of rainfall in the past few days. And that rain continues tonight in many places around New England and the mid-Atlantic.
New Hampshire's governor calls the flooding in his state the worst in 25 years. John Lynch has sought a federal disaster declaration, and FEMA teams are expected to arrive later in the week. We'll talk to the governor in a moment.
Two hundred miles away in northern New Jersey, the rain has been coming down for six straight days. Flooding has been reported in six counties, roads closed in as many townships. And flights into Newark Airport have been delayed up to four hours.
In New Hampshire, a lot of small towns have suffered disproportionately from the drenching rains that have turned so much of southern New England and the mid-Atlanta into a dangerous, soupy mess. CNN's Chris Huntington has the latest for us, live from Alstead, New Hampshire.
Chris, what's it like?
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, thankfully, the rain has let up just a little bit. But I'm standing in riverbed that four days ago was not a riverbed. In fact, it was somebody's front lawn.
The river reclaimed that area and a lot more. A river that was once 20 feet wide, now more than 100 feet wide. The good news is the let up in the rain for now, but they're expecting a lot more tomorrow and Friday.
The big concern here in Alstead, five miles upriver. A dam at Lake Warren. It was broken over the top on Sunday. They have repaired it with sand bags on both sides of the dam. The word is now that the water is below the level of the top of the dam. That's good news.
But if they get significant rainfall in the two days ahead, that could present a problem. And any water that goes over the top of that dam will come down here -- Anderson?
COOPER: Chris, thanks very much.
No doubt about it, New Hampshire, particularly southwestern New Hampshire, has seen the worst of the flooding. State officials have asked President Bush to declare the area a disaster, and they say they need about $5 million in aid just for starters.
Governor John Lynch has been talking with FEMA officials about getting some federal assistance. He joins us now.
Governor, thanks for being with us.
GOVERNOR JOHN LYNCH (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Oh, you're welcome.
COOPER: You toured the disaster areas today. What's it like?
LYNCH: It's unbelievable, the devastation and the destruction. We've never seen anything like it.
Roads have been washed away. The foundations on which the roads were built are gone. Bridges destroyed. Homes washed away.
We had over 1,000 people evacuated from their homes over the weekend. There are three confirmed dead, three to four missing. It's just real devastation, again, something that we just haven't seen ever in our state of New Hampshire.
COOPER: The people who have died, the people who are still missing, do you know their stories? Do you know where they went missing?
LYNCH: Well, for example, there was one couple in Alstead. They were asked to evacuate. They refused to evacuate, and now the home in which they lived is gone. So we worry about them.
And then others, the ones who died, really died as a result of the flooding and the storm itself.
COOPER: Has the worst passed?
LYNCH: I think so. We have made enormous progress in the last few days. We've restored communication, power and service to just about all the families in the Alstead, Acworth and Walpole area.
Department of Transportation is working aggressively to put in temporary bridges and repair the roads. And we're concerned, obviously, about the weather forecast.
COOPER: What have you learned from Katrina, from watching that, that you're applying in your state?
LYNCH: I can tell you, here in New Hampshire, we're all working together. There's excellent communication, excellent communication among the department heads, excellent communication between the state departments and the civic leaders, between the state and private companies, between myself and our congressional delegation.
We're all working together to help the families most impacted. And that kind of cooperation and collaboration didn't happen as well in the Gulf states.
COOPER: Governor Lynch, appreciate you joining us on what has been a very busy couple days for you. Thank you.
LYNCH: Thanks for having me on.
COOPER: Let's take a look at the big picture right now. CNN's Jacqui Jeras joins us from the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta.
Jacqui, where's this thing at?
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's still off-shore. And as long as it sits there, it's going to continue to bring in moisture in from the Atlantic and bring it on-shore.
The showers and thundershowers have been quite heavy at times today, especially across parts of New Jersey and in New York City, on up towards Yonkers. And just to the south of Poughkeepsie is where we see some of the heaviest of rainfall.
New Hampshire has not been quite as bad today, but here you can see the flooded areas are still getting a little bit of wet weather at this time. We do think there's the potential for another maybe two to four inches. And what we're being told is that it's only going to take maybe two inches to bring the rivers back on out of their banks.
So here's where the flood watches are in effect from Vermont extending down into New Jersey and east central parts of Pennsylvania. Rainfall totals, quite impressive from just today alone. And keep in mind that the ground is already very saturated, so much of what is falling is now just running off almost immediately.
Riverhead, New York, more than seven inches of rainfall. Islip there in Long Island, more than five inches. New Haven, Connecticut, about three and a half. And Central Park, a record rainfall today, at about three and a half inches there.
Our next 48 hours are going to be quite critical here. And this is where we're expecting the worst of the rain to be. Rainfall accumulations in all of these white areas.
This will be our quarter of concern, including western parts of Connecticut, also into western Massachusetts, three to six inches are expected here. And you get in the higher elevations, and those rainfall amounts may be more than six inches.
Here's our area of low pressure. It's pulling in that moisture from the Atlantic. We also have high pressure up into northeastern parts of Canada. That's pulling in that cool surface area. Those two are coming together, producing an over-running situation, as we call it, and bringing in all that heavy, wet weather.
And, Anderson, we also have a little bit of tropical weather moving in, a little disturbance near Ravenna (ph) is going to will to bring those rainfall totals very high on Friday.
COOPER: I'm just sick of this stuff. Jacqui, appreciate it. Thank you. I know a lot of people are, as well.
Journalist Judith Miller is out of jail, in other news, but not off the hook. The "New York Times" reporter was called before the grand jury again today, this time to talk about a conservation took place more than -- or I should say a conversation that took place more than two years ago.
Kelli Arena has that story.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to sources close to the case, Judith Miller testified for more than an hour about a conversation she had in June of 2003 with Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. Neither Miller or her lawyer would comment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment today.
ARENA: The conversation is significant, because, according to one source involved in the case, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald didn't even know about it until after Miller was released from jail two weeks ago and turned over her notes.
And the conversation took place before covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity was disclosed in a newspaper column.
RANDALL ELIASON, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It appears that Fitzgerald has opened up this new avenue, having learned fairly recently, it appears, about the June meetings. And earlier, he was focused on what had happened in July.
ARENA: Libby's lawyer has not returned calls to CNN, but conversations that both he and presidential aide Karl Rove had with reporters seem to be a central focus of the investigation. Both men deny leaking Plame's name.
Sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN Rove will testify again before the grand jury on Friday, his fourth appearance. While legal experts agree that's unusual, they say it doesn't necessarily mean bad news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of times after you take another look at things, obvious leads come to light, obvious second questions come to light. And it's not unusual to invite witnesses to come back to clear up questions.
ARENA: Fitzgerald hasn't commented on whether he'll bring any indictments in the case, but legal experts suggest he may be considering several charges.
ELIASON: It may well be that, if criminal charges do come out of this, what comes out is not a classified information leak case but a cover-up case, individuals who were involved in the investigation being looked at in the investigation and trying to come up with cover stories lying about what happened.
ARENA (on-screen): The grand jury, which has been hearing evidence for nearly two years, is set to expire on October 28th. Sources with knowledge of the investigation expect Fitzgerald to be finished by then. If not, he can ask for that grand jury to be extended.
Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: A lot more to cover in the hour ahead. But first, Christi Paul joins us with a quick check of the day's headlines.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson. Good to see you.
Relief agencies are still struggling to get aid to those communities hit hardest by a massive earthquake in Pakistan. Neighboring India has sent troops over highly contested border to pitch in. The United Nations says a worldwide relief fund is needed to help the estimated 4 million people affected by that quake.
And in Iraq, 30 people are dead, 50 wounded after bombings meant to disrupt the upcoming constitutional referendum. Today, a leading group of Sunnis agreed to support the draft constitution, but two other major Sunni groups are encouraging their backers to boycott that election.
Confidential records from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles show that priests accused of sexual abuse were routinely reassigned to other parishes. The documents date back three-quarters of a century and show a pattern in superiors taking little or no action on allegations. The records were released as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit against the diocese.
And police in Georgia have made an arrest now in conjunction with the weekend theft of a charter jet in Florida. Daniel Wolcott flew the jet about 350 miles before leaving it in a Georgia air field. Authorities say Wolcott didn't have sinister motives here, apparently just no common sense. And a woman who just won't quit. Michelle Duggar has just given birth to her -- get this -- 16th child. She says she wants another, believe it or not. And it was the first baby girl for the Duggar family in eight years.
Certainly, congratulations to them, on a lot of different levels there.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: She's getting 16 and she wants another one?
PAUL: Apparently one girl isn't enough for her.
COOPER: There you go, Christi. We'll actually talk to her on the program tomorrow on 360. So join me for that.
Thanks, Christi. See you again in about 30 minutes.
Still to come tonight, think your home heating bills were bad last year? You ain't seen nothing yet. Your bills could go up hundreds of dollars more this winter, and that's a warning from the government.
Plus, Syria's president speaking out. You won't hear it anywhere else. An exclusive interview with CNN, Syria's strong man. Hear what he's saying now about the U.S. role in Iraq.
And we all heard about outsourcing. If you watch "LOU DOBBS," you certainly heard about it. What about -- do you think it's possible to outsource your life to India? You're going to meet one guy who did just that. We'll explain, ahead on 360.
COOPER: We often hear politicians in this country talking about the president of Syria, the country President Bush named in his axis of evil, but it's rare that we actually hear directly from Syria's president. You're about to do just that.
CNN's chief international correspondent, Christian Amanpour, sat down with the Syrian strongman, Bashar Al-Assad, his first English- language interview ever. Christiane joins us live from Damascus -- Christiane?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, exactly. Bashar Al-Assad is the target of much heated rhetoric from the United States, talking about regime change, from the U.N., which is probing the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, last February.
And a public investigation is going to be revealed on October 25th. And many informed sources believe that Syria may be implicated.
Now, we sat down with President Assad shortly before it was announced that one of the top Syrian intelligence people, in fact, the Syrian interior minister, Ghazi Kanaan, committed suicide, according to Syrian officials. He had been interviewed by the U.N. investigators some weeks ago about his alleged role, potentially, in the Rafik Hariri assassination.
When we talked to President Assad, he strenuously denied any involvement in that, but he did say that, if any Syrian official was implicated, he would consider that treason and insist they be punished harshly.
He also spoke about all the heat that's being piled upon him by the U.S., angry that he is allegedly, they say, not stopping the insurgents moving into Iraq.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, Mr. President Bashar Al-Assad.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA: You're most welcome in Syria.
AMANPOUR: Thank you. There are people who believe -- and very probably, the U.N. investigation will say this -- that Syria is behind the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri. Would you have ordered such an assassination?
ASSAD: This is against our principle and my principle. And I would never do such a thing in my life.
What would we achieve? What do we achieve? I think what happened targeted Syria. That will affect our relation with the Lebanese people and with most other countries. So we wouldn't do it, because it's against our interest, and it's against my principle. I would never do it. It's impossible.
AMANPOUR: If many Syrians are implicated, is it possible that such an act, such a crime, could have taken place by Syrian officials without your knowledge?
ASSAD: I don't think so. As I said, if that happened, this is treason.
ASSAD: Treason. This is treason.
AMANPOUR: As you know, because you've read it, and we've read it, there are witnesses who have said that, during one of Mr. Hariri's last visits to Damascus, he was threatened by you, unless he supported the extension of the mandate of the current president, Emile Lahoud, who's friendly to Syria.
Did you threaten him, sir?
ASSAD: This is another illegal presumption. First of all, it's not my nature to threaten anybody. I'm a very quiet person. I'm very frank. But I wouldn't threaten. Second, as you said, threaten him for the extension. And they say threaten him, then the Syrian killed him. So why to kill him if he did what Syria wants?
He didn't do anything against Syria. If he wanted the extension, he helped Syria achieving the extension, or making the extension. So why to harm him or to kill him? I mean, there's no logic. But I didn't. And I would never do it.
AMANPOUR: The United States is extremely angry with you and your government. It accuses you of facilitating, providing haven, and now actively supporting the insurgency in Iraq. What are you going to do to stop doing all that, to stop allowing the insurgents into Iraq?
ASSAD: I wouldn't say this is true. It's completely wrong.
You have many aspects of the problem. The first aspect is no country can control his border completely. An example is the border between the United States and Mexico.
And many American officials told me, "We cannot control our border with Mexico." But at the end, what they end up saying, "You should control your border with Iraq."
This is impossible. And I told Mr. Powell that for the first time we met after the war. I told him, "It's impossible to control the border."
AMANPOUR: What is your condition for helping the United States? And are you prepared to help the United States?
ASSAD: You mean in Iraq?
ASSAD: Definitely. We don't have any problem. And we said that publicly.
They talk about stable Iraq. We have a direct interest in a stable Iraq. They talk about unified Iraq. We have direct interest in a unified Iraq.
They talk about supporting the political process. We have interest in that, because that will help with stability. So there's no differences. We don't know what they want. I think they don't know what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Assad also told us that, in fact, he had restarted efforts to share intelligence with the United States. The Syrians had cut off those efforts several months ago, because, according to Syrian officials, they were fed up with, as they called it, the constant Assad-bashing by the Bush administration.
But when I asked him, would they restart these intelligence cooperation? He said they had tried through a third party, through some European and other mediators, but so far had heard nothing back from the U.S.
Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: Fascinating interview. Christiane, thanks.
Coming up after the break tonight, what happened on this yacht? Crewmembers say pro football players, Minnesota Vikings -- well, we're not going to show you the picture, but it's not really important. Oh, here we go. There you go. TV, it's a visual medium.
People say the -- crewmembers say the Minnesota Vikings had a no- holds-barred party on the yacht, drugs, prostitutes. Hear what the players had to say.
Also tonight, the devastation left by the floodwaters of New England. And there is still more rain to come, if you can believe it.
And a little later, how an Alaskan Eskimo could save the world from another pandemic. A fascinating forensic investigation. That's all coming up on 360.
COOPER: So we all know about outsourcing, jobs once done here being sent overseas. A lot of big companies are doing it. But could you do it?
Would it be possible for you to outsource your life, all those mundane details you're tired of taking care of? Well, you're about to meet one man who did just that.
A.J. JACOBS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "ESQUIRE" MAGAZINE: I kind of felt left out, because I don't have a big corporation. So I decided to send what I could overseas, which is my life. So I decided to outsource every one of my daily tasks to a team in Bangalore, India.
COOPER (voice-over): A.J. Jacobs, editor-in-chief at "Esquire" magazine, was surprised at how much of his life he could outsource to two women in India.
JACOBS: I call them my remote executive assistants.
HONEY K. BALANI, REMOTE EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FOR JACOBS: Good morning, A.J. This is Honey. How are you doing today?
JACOBS: One was named Honey, who is fantastic. She did the "Esquire" work. Honey is so good for my ego, she kept calling me a great family man and a wonderful editor. I mean, you know, what's not to like?
Then I also had Asha, who was dealing with my personal life. And she was also wonderful, a little shyer. COOPER: Asha and Honey did it all. They wrote his e-mails, answered his phones. They even called his parents and argued with his wife.
JACOBS: I outsourced my marital bickering. Julie was angry because I forget to get cash at the ATM. Originally, I wanted Asha to apologize, but also to point out that Julie forgets stuff all the time, as well.
And Asha was much more diplomatic than I could ever have been. She actually sent hugging teddy bears to Julie.
Hello, Asha. It's A.J. Jacobs.
ASHA, REMOTE EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FOR JACOBS: Hi, Mr. Jacobs.
JACOBS: At one point I asked Asha to call about my cell phone plan. I'm not sure about this, but I think that she called and the call is routed to New Jersey and then probably back to someone in Bangalore. So she was probably talking to someone in the next cubicle.
COOPER: There were some things his Indian assistants were better at than others.
JACOBS: I outsourced my parenting duties. I had Asha order some toys for Jasper. And she got a chicken dance Elmo. Jasper just loves it. It's driving me nuts.
COOPER: A.J. found that even every day angst can be sent to what Lou Dobbs would call "low-cost overseas labor markets."
JACOBS: If I had Honey pretend that it's a day worry for me about all my business dealings, and that was a great load off my shoulders.
COOPER: Sadly, A.J. didn't use the saved time all that wisely.
JACOBS: I actually saved hours, probably a couple of days of my life. I know I should have spent that reading Tolstoy or Melville, but instead I just watched bad reality television.
COOPER: So what's the moral of this story? Well, A.J. outsourced that, as well, in this case, to Honey.
JACOBS: She came up with a good one, which was, "Outsourcing implies growth for America in all fields."
COOPER: Just for the record, this story was completely outsourced, original concept by Jonathan Leaf (ph), writing by Amanda Townsend, and my voice done by voice artists at Tinda Bing (ph) of Bombay Anchor Tracks (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: Rain, rain, and more rain. Torrential storms flood parts of the northeast. Ten deaths so far, and more storms to come. How much can New England take?
The man the whole country saw lying in a pool of blood on Bourbon Street goes before a judge. What he said in court, and why the lawyer for the cops say, "If you think you know what you saw in that video, hold on just a minute."
Also, did a Minnesota Vikings yacht board party on Lake Minnetonka get out of hand, way, way, way out of hand? Allegations of a wild sex romp.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Think you've had some high home heating bills? Wait until you see your bill this winter. We'll explain, 360 next.
COOPER: Well, three people are known to have died in the flooding in Alstead, New Hampshire. Four others have been missing now since Sunday and the rain just continues to come down.
CNN's Chris Huntington reports from a shocked and grieving small town where some houses are literally poised on the brink.
HUNTINGTON (voice-over): Paul Garitoni (ph) says the Santa Claus hat helps him keep a positive attitude while he and his wife Maggie (ph) race to save their colonial house in Alstead, New Hampshire, now teetering over a dangerously eroded river bank.
Early Sunday, the rapidly rising waters of Cold River forced them to flee to higher ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can see water swirling around the house. Well, 15 minutes before that, there was 12, 13 feet down there. That's a hell of a lot of water.
HUNTINGTON: An enormous wave that ripped the foundation out from under the back half of their house and washed mud into every room and across a lot of what they own.
It came up through the floor, it came up through the vents and....
HUNTINGTON (on camera): This is the new edge of Paul and Maggie Garitoni's land.
It's here frankly because construction workers have dumped gravel here over the last couple of days. Their real property used to extend about 60 feet out there until the surge took it away. When that surge came, it wiped out this land and it wiped out the cornerstones of their house.
Thankfully, they've been able to save it just in time.
(voice-over): The construction crew works for a friend of Garitoni's, who didn't hesitate to help when it was needed most.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had a crew on-site here within three hours after I called him and he pulled them in from all over, he pulled them off other jobs to save my house.
HUNTINGTON: Garitoni says he should get about $64,000 from his flood insurance, but he's angry that the policy restricts the payout to structural repairs only and cannot be spent to replace any of their damaged belongings.
Still, the man in the red hat put things in perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm blessed, you know. I got a good wife, I got friends, I got people coming by. I just got junk to clean.
HUNTINGTON: But even the spirit of Saint Nick doesn't work on building inspectors, who officially declared what Garitoni admits is the truth -- that for now, his and Maggie's house is unlivable.
HUNTINGTON: Now, Garitoni is obviously making every effort to save his house. And as you saw, they've filled in land behind his house, but that is very, very vulnerable territory -- it's right along the banks of Cold River where I'm standing now.
The situation as follows right here, all of the hillsides around here are saturated. They cannot absorb any more rainfall and there is a lot more rainfall expected in the 48 hours ahead. And that means that anything that falls, washes down into the rivers. Here in -- along Cold River, very, very steep sided. These banks have eroded dangerously back. There's not much further they can go before they'll take more houses, more businesses and more of the roadways in this area -- Anderson?
COOPER: Bad news there.
Chris, thanks for that.
It has been raining for six days straight in New Jersey. Up to four inches fell in parts of the state last night. Rivers and creeks are rising and so, too, are the fears that the worst is still to come.
In Hackensack, New Jersey, CNN's Heidi Collins is there.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Oakland, New Jersey, people are fond of nature, but there are times when enough is enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the dam.
COLLINS: Lena Fricker (ph) doesn't even want to talk about it anymore. The Pompton Dam project has been in the works for three years and is supposed to help control flooding in these neighborhoods.
Instead, residents say it's pushing the water right back toward their home.
WALTER VOLMER, OAKLAND, N.J. RESIDENT: Yesterday, we had about four feet of water and it was just a complete nuisance.
COLLINS: Walter Volmer cleans up what he can, but after more than 12 inches of rain in just six days, he and his neighbors know there is more to come.
THOMAS HANNAH, OAKLAND, N.J. RESIDENT: It's ridiculous, because we get so much water in our basement.
COLLINS: We caught up with 14-year-old Thomas Hannah after he got dropped off fairly far from home. His school bus couldn't make it through the flooded streets.
(on camera): And this is your house right here?
HANNAH: This one right here.
COLLINS (voice-over): He took us to his basement where everything was destroyed and showed us where the water ruined baby books, pictures, valuables they couldn't save when they evacuated over the weekend.
HANNAH: Everything's ruined from the flood the other night, so it's all destroyed and we didn't even get a chance to clean it fully up yet.
COLLINS: No time to clean up. And for his mom, no intention of leaving a second time.
LINDA HANNAH, OAKLAND, N.J. RESIDENT: We're going to get evacuated but we're not going to leave this time because we already lost everything.
COLLINS: Some people are leaving and some people are not. In fact, important to point out that there are no mandatory evacuations at this time.
But just to give you an idea of what sort of waterfall we're talking about, I'm standing on the third step of the deck stairs of these people's home. It's about 25 feet from the river behind me.
We sat here today, Anderson, and watched the river go over the banks and come all the way up to where I'm going to try to head now to our camera crew. And you can see how much water is here.
Again, no mandatory evacuations, but like the people in this home, they are packing up and searching for higher ground and trying to take as many of their valuables as they can with them. And certainly, some people have already moved their cars and so forth trying to avoid the rain which, unfortunately, we are hearing is going to continue for many more days, possibly all the way through the weekend.
So people are trying to do the best that they can -- Anderson?
COOPER: Yes. That is certainly the last thing people in Oakland want to hear tonight.
Heidi, thanks for that.
This week, we've been following the case of New Orleans cops suspended for using excessive force when arresting a 64-year-old retired schoolteacher. Today, the police held their own press conference and while they didn't say a word, their lawyer spoke volumes.
CNN's Dan Simon was listening.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three New Orleans police officers on the defensive, fighting for their jobs, fighting for their reputations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we'd like to do is to lay out the facts.
SIMON: The officers appeared somber as their attorney, Frank DeSalvo, did the talking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did what they did based on what was placed before them and what reasonable police authority was at the time.
SIMON: Everything that happened on Bourbon Street Saturday night he claimed -- the struggle, the takedown and the injuries to 64-year- old Robert Davis -- were brought on by Davis himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His speech was slurred, he was belligerent, he told the officers to go F themselves, and pushes away, pushed them away in an attempt to get away.
SIMON: And when trying to get away, the officers say Davis put his hands in his waist band, which to them meant a possible gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a reasonable concern that the officers would have any time a man puts his hands toward his waist band. That's -- that's law enforcement 101. Don't let a guy put his hands in his waist band.
SIMON: But Davis had no weapon and has said repeatedly he hadn't been drinking and did nothing to deserve such a pummeling.
The retired schoolteacher also made a public showing at the New Orleans Amtrak station, now a municipal courthouse. He pled not guilty to the charges, which include public drunkenness, resisting arrest and battery.
His attorney says the videotape is all the evidence they need to prove that Davis is a harmless victim of overzealous police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The videotape is extraordinary evidence because, you know, guys, let's be realistic, without the video he would be just another drunk. That's how these things are handled.
SIMON: Davis is charged with a misdemeanor. So, too, are the officers.
But the Orleans Parish district attorney is investigating, hinting he may file more serious charges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the tape is very, very strong evidence of the use of excessive force, and it would certainly, I think, meet all of the requirements for a violation of state law, either simple battery or second-degree battery.
SIMON: Meanwhile, the officers suspended without pay are looking for new work, which they hope is only temporary.
SIMON: Mr. DeSalvo was very blunt in terms of his overall legal strategy. He said his goal right now is to, quote, "pick Mr. Davis apart."
So, Anderson, clearly you have the makings of a very bitter legal case -- one side saying that the videotape means everything, the other side saying it proves absolutely nothing -- Anderson?
COOPER: The allegation this attorney is making -- he says Mr. Davis is a belligerent drunk -- I did an interview with him that we're going to play on "NEWSNIGHT" tonight at 10:00, he's making some very strong allegations against Mr. Davis. When asked for proof, he says, well, that will come in court. So we shall see.
Dan, appreciate the report. Thanks.
Coming up tonight on the program, the love boat or was it a cruise from hell? We're going to investigate charges that some Minnesota Vikings -- pro football players turned a cruise on one of these boats into an orgy. That's what the crew is saying anyway.
Also tonight, imagine (ph) paying a lot for heat. How high you may wonder? Well, we'll have that story ahead.
And a little later, maybe you got one of those new iPod Nano thingamajiggers (ph)? You thought, hey, you got the newest, latest technology. Well, you don't. Your iPod is now out of date. The good news? The new version plays videos. We'll explain.
COOPER: Lots more ahead in the program tonight, but first Christi Paul from Headline News joins us with some of the day's top business stories. Hey, Christi.
PAUL: Hi, Anderson. We start with unfortunately some bad news for your wallet. Your home heating bills are going to be a lot higher than usual this winter. A government report estimates about one-third higher on average. So if you have electric heat, it won't be quite so bad, a rise of about five percent.
A panel charged with making proposals for tax reform is suggesting cuts in home mortgage deductions. The panel says the changes would address an inherent bias in the tax code towards wealthy homeowners. Opponents say they'd hurt the housing market.
And Apple taking its iPod to a whole new level. In a deal with ABC TV, Apple is launching a new player that can show music videos and downloads of hit shows a day after they've aired. That means's last night's "Desperate Housewives" can be yours for $2 a pop. Anderson, wonder how the folks at TiVo feel about that.
COOPER: Yes, probably not too happy. It's amazing although I just bought the iPod Nano ...
COOPER: ... and thought I was all like, you know, current and then they come up out with this thing, and I hate it when that happens.
PAUL: Yes, they always make something obsolete right after we buy it, don't they.
COOPER: It's so true. It's so annoying. Christi Paul, thanks.
You know, we've been talking a lot this week about the avian flu and fears that a pandemic could come to our shores, kill millions of people. There is good news. Right now, a controlled strain of flu virus that killed nearly 100 million back in 1918 is being studied at the CDC in Atlanta.
It could help in the search for a vaccine for the current strain of avian flu. But how they got that decade's old sample is a fascinated detective story. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has it.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In this cabin in the foothills of Northern California, lives a retired scientist. For 50 years, Dr. Johan Hultin has been on a trail of one of the deadliest killers known to man.
JOHAN HULTIN, RET. PATHOLOGIST: It's on it way, by the way. It's on its way.
GUTIERREZ: The Spanish Influenza of 1918 killed some 100 million people around the globe.
HULTIN: It's terrible. Suffocating, and rapidly, within hours.
GUTIERREZ: As a young medical student, Hultin decided to search for the virus in the Arctic where entire villages perished and were buried in mass graves beneath the permafrost. So Hultin headed for Alaska, seeking permission from tribal elders.
HULTIN: I got permission to open that mass grave. There were 72 buried.
GUTIERREZ: Ninety percent of the village wiped out all those years ago. Hultin collected samples and tried to reproduce the virus.
HULTIN: I would say it was terribly disappointing. I failed.
GUTIERREZ: Fast forward 46 years. Johan Hultin had retired from a distinguished career as a pathologist. Still the mystery of the Spanish Flu nagged at him until he came upon Dr. Jeffrey Tobinburger (ph) in Washington who is genetically profiling the virus.
HULTIN: My only question was if I go back and get a good sample, would he take the sample.
GUTIERREZ: And so on the eve of his 73rd birthday, Dr. Hultin headed back to Alaska, back to the mass grave he had opened here nearly 50 years earlier, and back to another meeting with the village elder.
HULTIN: She remembered me. She was six years old when I was there in '51 and she remembered me. And that's what made a difference. And then, I came across a young woman about 30 who had been obese in life.
GUTIERREZ: The woman's weight had prevented her diseased lungs from decaying. Hultin sent off the carefully preserved lung to Dr. Tobinburger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The samples came by Dr. Hultin ...
HULTIN: Ten days after he had received my specimens in Washington, he called me and he said, Johan we have -- sorry. That was a great moment for me.
GUTIERREZ: The genetic code of the Spanish Influenza now hangs on Hultin's wall.
(on camera): All of this information possible because of this work.
GUTIERREZ: Hultin, at age 81, says the race now is for an effective vaccine. If it's found, it may well be because of an anonymous young Inuit woman and the scientific detective who just wouldn't quit. Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Bear Valley, California.
COOPER: A fascinating story.
Coming up, the making of or making over of a Supreme Court nominee. This is what Harriet Miers looked like on the day of her nomination. To see what she looks like now, stick around.
COOPER: The battle continues over Harriet Miers, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee.
Ms. Miers may not have a judicial record. She's never been a judge, after all, but she does have a life and her faith plays a big part in that life. It may also play a big part in whether or not she is confirmed.
CNN White House correspondent Suuzanne Malveaux reports.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush defended his administration's campaign to highlight Harriet Miers' religious beliefs to win support from conservatives for his nominee.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers' background, they want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion.
MALVEAUX: But Mr. Bush insisted Miers' faith was not being used as a litmus test to indicate how she might vote on hot-button social issues like abortion, gay marriage and the role of religion.
BUSH: Our outreach program has been just to explain the facts to people.
MALVEAUX: As part of that outreach program, two days before Mr. Bush nominated Miers, his top political adviser Karl Rove was quietly lobbying Christian conservative James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, to get his support for Mr. Bush's pick.
Last week, Dobson created a stir when he suggested he had inside information about Miers that led him to back her.
In an effort to clear up the mess, Dobson on his latest radio broadcast said Rove never discussed Miers' positions on Roe v. Wade or other pending Supreme Court issues. Instead, he told him...
DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: We all know now that Harriet Miers is an evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life.
MALVEAUX: Language some Democrats say sounds a lot like a code to reassure conservatives Miers will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said, "We don't confirm justices of the Supreme Court on a wink and a nod. And a litmus test is no less a litmus test by using whispers and signals."
(on camera): The administration's focus on Miers' faith, as well as her qualifications, underscores the White House concern that Miers' nomination may be in trouble.
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN the White House.
COOPER: Another angle of the Harriet Miers story -- the fashion police over at the "New York Daily News" have spotted what they claim is a make-over of Miers. Check the evidence yourself. On the left, Miers on the day President Bush named her. The photo on the right is from Monday. Gone said the "Daily News" are the thick black eye liner, the dazzlingly bright-colored blouses and what they called the Mr. T starter kit of necklaces, broaches and pins.
So the question is, is her new streamline look another example of Karl Rove's political genius? Will it win the hearts of conservative senators? Is this any way for the press to treat a candidate for the Supreme Court?
Tough questions all.
Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": Hi, Anderson.
We're going to continue my special series called "My New Life."
We really had no idea what to expect when we started it, but it's going really well. Everyone we profiled so far is getting job offers.
So tonight, we're going to meet two more hurricane victims who desperately need jobs -- a woman with nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and a welder who lost his home, his daughter to breast cancer, and now has three young children to raise. He also lost a job in that short seven-month period.
We're going to see if someone out there can help them start a new life tonight.
See you at -- seven minutes from now.
COOPER: All right. Thanks, Paula. Still to come on 360, though, ship ahoy. Wild charges about wild behavior on board. Were some Minnesota pro football players, the Vikings, rocking the boat for real?
We'll explain ahead.
COOPER: Well, the allegations -- and that's all they are at the moment, allegations -- are disturbing. Members of the Minnesota Vikings football team turning the yacht aboard which they were partying into a floating orgy space, making spectacles of themselves and intimidating and terrifying members of the vessel's crew. Now, no charges have been filed in Minnesota, but right now there are a lot of fingers pointing.
COOPER (voice-over): Usually a bucolic scene of calm waters and family fun -- not last Thursday according to a lawyer for a charter boat company, however. He says at least 20 professional football players, Minnesota Vikings, were partying with almost 100 others on two yachts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They involved oral sex, numerous people with numerous people standing around, doing it in front of crewmembers while crewmembers tried to pilot the boat.
COOPER: Crewmembers told police they saw prostitutes and drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sex toys were being used just absolutely openly in front of everybody, including crews that were trying to serve drinks. And why were they serving drinks during this time? Because they were being yelled at because their drinks weren't there. They were frightened.
COOPER: The three and a half hour cruise was cut short and boats returned to shore after just 40 minutes. Before the cruise even started, one local resident said the players were out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say there was probably like six of them in between that tree and this tree.
COOPER: Kathy Huff (ph) says a group of players in a limo urinated on her lawn on their way to the marina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, it was like they were doing this -- I don't know -- pee line dance or something, you know. They were just...
Anyway, no charges have been filed but the incident is currently under investigation by local authorities.
Viking running back Mewelde Moore, who attended the bash, says nothing happened.
MEWELDE MOORE, MINNESOTA VIKINGS RUNNING BACK: Sex, what are you talking about? Is that what -- man, that's crazy. Sex, come on. Look, man, I'm engaged, so none of that. Think about that. That would put me in trouble.
COOPER: The team isn't saying much either. They've issued this statement: "The organization has been made aware of the allegations involving our players and we take these allegations very seriously. We're working diligently to gather as many facts as possible. At this time, we have no further comment."
In a press conference today, Vikings coach Mike Tice wouldn't comment directly but clearly was disappointed with his team.
MIKE TICE, MINNESOTA VIKINGS COACH: I have said many, many times before I fashion these young men as an extension of my family, so as a father and a family man, you can sense probably how I would feel.
COOPER: Back in the day, real Vikings were famous for pillaging and partying their way across Europe.
If all this is true, maybe not that much has changed.
COOPER: I don't think those were real Vikings, though, in the video.
Did that woman say a pee line dance? Did you guys hear that? Never heard of that before.
Anyway, hope you join me tonight at 10:00 for "NEWSNIGHT," a two- hour edition of "NEWSNIGHT" from 10:00 to midnight.
Tonight I'll be talking to the lawyer representing the police officers in New Orleans involved in the beating of Mr. Davis, a 64- year-old retired schoolteacher. Some very strong allegations this attorney is making about Mr. Davis and about what happened that night.
That interview at 10:00 Eastern Time tonight.
Thanks for joining us.
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