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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
35 U.S. Soldiers Wounded in Mortar Attack Near Baghdad; President Bush's Immigration Proposal
Aired January 7, 2004 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): The debate begins over the president's new plan granting legal status to millions of illegal workers.
New fears of global extinction. Hundreds of species may disappear in 50 years.
An unthinkable crime goes to court. Did this mother drown her three children?
The battle for the White House heats up. A new number two nips at Howard Dean's heels.
A teen arrested for, believe it or not, showing too much skin in school.
Her lips, his cheeks, her nose, his eyes: plastic surgeons tell all on what really makes the stars shine.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us on 360.
We begin with breaking news from Iraq. Thirty-five U.S. soldiers have been wounded in a mortar attack on a logistical base west of Baghdad.
Let's go right now to CNN's Karl Penhaul in Baghdad.
Karl, what can you tell us?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Details still coming in so far. What we have is a five-line communique from military authorities here in Baghdad. What we do know, about an hour and a half after sundown, a barrage of six mortars slammed into a logistics base near the town of Balad (ph). That's just west of Baghdad.
Now, 35 American soldiers were wounded. They received first aid treatment at the site of the attack and were then medevaced out for further hospital treatment. Now, then, in a later statement from the Pentagon, what the Pentagon has told us is that at least one of these mortars scored a direct hit on the living quarters occupied by these soldiers, all members of a maintenance battalion that's based out of Fort Riley, Kansas. The Pentagon has also told us that some of the soldiers have since been transferred back to the base and have returned to active duty. That, obviously, Anderson, indicating to us that some of those soldiers only lightly wounded, while others do remain in a hospital, we're told.
COOPER: All right. At this point, the extent of the injuries unknown. Karl Penhaul, live in Baghdad.
Thank you, Karl, for the update. This is breaking news. We will continue to follow it over the course of the next hour, for the next several hours. We'll bring you any updates as soon as we get them.
Today, President Bush proposed a dramatic overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. The plan would allow eight million illegal immigrants to obtain legal status as temporary workers.
Senior White House correspondent John King has details.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president calls his new immigration plan economic necessity and a compassionate way to bring millions of illegal immigrants out of hiding.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must make our immigration laws more rational and more humane. And I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens.
KING: Mr. Bush wants Congress to create new three-year temporary visas to match prospective immigrants with unfilled jobs in the United States and make illegal immigrants eligible for the visas if they can prove they already have a job and pay a registration fee. One instant criticism was that Mr. Bush is offering a reward to law breakers, the eight to 10 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
REP. THOMAS TARCREDO (R), COLORADO: They are here illegally. They need to be deported. People who hire them need to be fined. If they keep doing it, they need to be sent to jail. It is against the law.
KING: The White House insists it is not amnesty, because the three-year visas would be temporary, renewable once or twice. The workers then would return to their country of origin unless they qualify for a green card, permanent residency status in the meantime. It was Mr. Bush's first major policy initiative of the campaign year aimed in part at increasing share of the critical Hispanic vote.
KING: And already at the plan at the center of a growing political controversy. Many Democrats, including those running against Mr. Bush, say it does not go far enough, that more needs to be done to give permanent legal status to illegal immigrants.
But of more concern to the White House, sharp criticism from conservatives, Anderson, including this statement just out from a key voice in Congress, the House Republican leader, Tom DeLay of Texas. He says the president's program, "seems to reward illegal behavior. I remain skeptical" -- Anderson
COOPER: Skeptical or not, how confident is the White House right now that they're going to be able to push this plan forward on Capitol Hill?
KING: Well, the DeLay statement is a serious warning to the White House. He does not rule out embracing the president's plan. He says he wants to study it. But his skepticism is a reflection that many conservatives do not want to do this in an election year.
The last time there was major immigration reform back in 1986, it took about three or four years to get a compromise. The question here, will Mr. Bush demand it? Will he put the pressure on his fellow Republicans?
COOPER: All right. John King, at the White House. Thanks, John.
Echoes today from the Enron scandal. The company's former finance chief, Andrew Fastow, is said to be working on a plea bargain involving dozens of counts, including fraud and insider trading. Now, if the deal goes through, he will be the highest-ranking executive to plead guilty in the criminal investigation of Enron.
CNN financial correspondent Chris Huntington reports.
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Andrew Fastow, the mastermind of Enron's fatally flawed financial dealings, and faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison, is negotiating a plea bargain with the Justice Department that sources close to the case tell CNN would significantly limit his time in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hearing a timeframe of roughly 10 years is the deal that's on the table right now that Andy Fastow may take. Some kind of deal has been cut, meaning that he's giving the government some type of information. He's definitely cooperating.
HUNTINGTON: But sources with knowledge of the negotiations say the deal may hinge on the fate of Fastow's wife. Lee Fastow was an assistant treasurer at Enron and faces six criminal charges of her own for allegedly helping her husband with some of those now infamous off- balance sheet transactions.
But late today, according to a source familiar with her case, a federal judge rejected a deal that would have reportedly trimmed her prison time to just five months from a potential sentence of more than 10 years. The Fastows have two young sons, and that may be an important motivating factor in their negotiations. For federal prosecutors, though, the motivation to bargain is driven by what Andrew Fastow can tell them about Enron's former chairman, Kenneth Lay, and former CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, who so far have escaped indictment.
JACOB ZAMANSKY, SECURITIES LAWYER: One of the key ingredients of this deal will be that Fastow has to give complete cooperation, say exactly what he knows, put Lay and Skilling and others at meetings. So he's going to have to really come clean. He knows where all the bodies are buried.
HUNTINGTON: Now, the talks with the Fastows continue tonight. And federal prosecutors hope to announce a joint plea bargain tomorrow in Houston.
One other note. I spoke with Sharon Watkins today, the famous Enron whistleblower. And she says that Andrew Fastow has more than enough information to put Jeffrey Skilling in real trouble. But, Anderson, probably not enough to do any real harm to Ken Lay because, at Watkins says, Lay was just so far out of the loop.
COOPER: Interesting. All right. Chris Huntington, thanks very much.
A fast fact for you on Enron. So far, only one Enron executive is doing time. Ben Glisan, he plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. He got the max, five years in prison for that. So far, 26 people have been charged in the Enron case, including a 218-count indictment against seven former Enron executives.
Now a follow-up on a story we told you about last night: the search for a man who didn't show up for the Christmas Eve Air France flight that was canceled due to security concerns. U.S. and French officials tell CNN his name is Abdul Hai (ph). He caused some concern because his name is similar to a name of an Afghan with close ties to the Taliban who escaped from U.S. custody in Kandahar.
U.S. officials have concluded that the two men are not one and the same. That was just one of the flights canceled recently during a week that has seen fighter jet escorts and extensive passenger delays.
Susan Candiotti reports on our midweek crisis.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the orange security alert, 14 flights have been canceled, including British Airways Flight 223.
DAVID GOLDSTEIN, BA 223 PASSENGER: I'm fearful that there's going to be more and more security risk and more and more security checks as we go along.
CANDIOTTI: Even after a four-hour wait at U.S. Customs, Canadian Melissa Canel (ph) has no intention of letting terror threats change travel plans with her 2-year-old son Shane (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep an eye open, a better eye open. We're more careful. But life goes on. That's the way it has to be.
CANDIOTTI: Air travelers have had to deal with it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't let the enemy know that we're all afraid, or else the country will die.
CANDIOTTI: On Tuesday, a woman wearing a jacket wired for heat delayed a Delta Paris to Cincinnati flight for hours. Passengers given the third degree. Did they mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't really mind. No complaints.
CANDIOTTI: But how long will the understanding last?
LAUREN STOYER, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMIN.: We are in a forward-leaning security posture, taking proactive steps appropriate to the high volume of intelligence information that we are receiving.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): For now, passengers appear willing to put up with long lines, added security measures, and delays, as long as they appear to be working. The moment they don't, security officials admit there could be a drastic change in attitude toward air travel.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Ft. Lauderdale.
COOPER: Today's "Buzz" question is this: would you be angry if your flight was canceled for security reasons? Send us an e-mail. Vote now: cnn.com/360. Vote. We'll have results at the end of the program tonight.
We are following a number of developing stories right now "Cross Country." Let's take a look.
Washington and Oregon: major snowstorms. Take a look. Parts of the Pacific Northwest coping with their heaviest snowstorm since 1996. From three to 11 inches in some spots. Storms closed schools, shut down highways, left travelers stranded in airports. The snow turned to rain and icy slush today, triggering flood advisories. We're going to have more on this a little bit later.
Cleveland, Ohio, now: lottery dispute, a story we told you about last night. An Ohio woman, well, she sues to block payment of a $162 million lottery prize to the validated winner. That's the woman there, Elecia Battle. She claims she lost the winning Mega Millions ticket when she dropped her purse outside a convenience store. Police are investigating. She also admits she once paid a fine after being charged with assault and credit card fraud. Varner, Arkansas: Singleton executed. Another follow-up on a story we reported yesterday. Charles Singleton, a convicted murderer with a history of severe mental illness, schizophrenia, was indeed put to death last night, executed by lethal injection for a murder of a woman during a robbery.
And that is a like at stories "Cross Country" tonight.
New scientific warning: a mass extinction by 2050. They're blaming global warming, but are they just crying wolf?
Plus, the heat is on Howard Dean. His lead narrows; his opponents attacking from all sides. And a new number now nipping at his heels. We'll take a closer look at that.
And today, a mother and her ex boyfriend in court, excused of the unthinkable, drowning her three kids. Was it an accident or murder? We'll look.
First, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at tonight's top stories tonight on the network newscasts.
COOPER: Well, a new study out today is raising concern and some eyebrows. Researchers are warning that global warming could wipe out a quarter of all the Earth's plant and animal species by the year 2050.
Sharon Collins has details.
SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just mention the word extinction, and it brings to mind the dinosaurs. Many scientists believe they were wiped out ages ago by a worldwide drop in temperatures. Well, a new study published in the respected journal "Nature" says predictions of more abrupt climate changes could have the same impact in our lifetime, between 18 and 35 percent of species wiped out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Along with habitat loss, climate change now stands as one of the major risks to wildlife in the world.
COLLINS: What's new in this study? A team of researchers looked at six biological hot spots, places where unique animal and plant life might already be on the brink from the rain forests of Costa Rica to the Australian outback to the Horn of Africa. The few degrees of temperature rise predicted for the next 50 years the study authors believe could spell the eventual demise of a million species.
Now, while there is some disagreement on how bad the warming will be and how much of it can be blamed on human influences, most researchers say we're in for big changes in our coastlines, polar ice, and weather patterns. Some beneficial, some potentially ruinous. The report also embraced a political partial solution, calling for cleaner burning fuels to reduce the rise in temperature. Without it, they say spaceship Earth could lose some very valuable passengers.
Sharon Collins, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Now this study was just released today, we should point out. It is, no doubt, controversial. The Washington think tank, Competitive Enterprise Institute, as a matter of fact, has just issued a statement tonight saying the numbers of possible extinction of a million species is "alarmist and the numbers are greatly exaggerated." We'll be following this story over the coming days.
In cities across the country, more and more schools are sending students to the police instead of the principal's office. In Toledo, Ohio alone, more than two dozen students were arrested in schools in October for offenses like cursing, being loud and disruptive, and violating the dress code.
Kris Osborn reports on one of the cases.
KRIS OSBORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What should educators do when a young female student shows up at school without enough clothes on? Well, it happened in Toledo, Ohio, where a 14- year-old girl violated the public school dress code by wearing a belly top that exposed the ring in her belly button. "Too revealing," said Washington local school officials.
After refusing to put on two alternative shirts, the young student was handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention facility. School officials say she was detained because she talked back to police.
JUDGE JAMES RAY, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JUVENILE COURT JUDGES: We should not criminalize normal adolescent behavior. If you tell a kid enough times that he's a juvenile delinquent then, believe it or not, he will become one.
OSBORN: It used to be that being sent to the principal's office was once the fear-inspiring fate awaiting unruly kids. Well, that still happens, but these days, anecdotal evidence suggests more and more kids are being booked by police for misbehaving in school.
(on camera): Organizations that monitor the juvenile justice system say situations like the one in Toledo are happening all over the country. The result is what they call the criminalization of unacceptable but otherwise normal rebellious behavior.
(voice-over): Some educators suggest that some schools may be too heavy handed in the disciplinary climate of zero tolerance.
JOHN MITCHELL, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Some schools have taken that idea of -- that there has to be a severe punishment and interpreted it that that severe punishment should be there for lesser issues, too. And that just doesn't make sense. That doesn't work for kids.
DR. EUGENE SANDERS, TOLEDO SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: Our primary goal, of course, is to keep our schools safe and to focus on academic achievement. We will continue to do that. But our goal also is to make sure every kid feels comfortable with coming to our schools and that teachers can teach and instruct in a safe and comfortable environment.
OSBORN: The Toledo schoolgirl spent only a few hours in custody until her mom picked her up.
Kris Osborn, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Just to update you, we continue to follow this breaking story out of Iraq. Thirty-five U.S. soldiers wounded in what is being described as a mortar attack just outside Baghdad. We continue to follow the story. We're going to bring you any details when we get them.
Let's take a look right now at what's happening overseas. A number of developing stories. Let's check the "UpLink."
Iraq: conditional prisoner release. The U.S.-led coalition says it will start releasing some of the 12,000 Iraqi prisoners in its custody. But they must show they renounce violence and have a respectable sponsor in the community. The first group of 100 will be released tomorrow.
Southern Afghanistan: Taliban apology, if you can believe it. The ousted militia says it was behind yesterday's bicycle bomb. That's the bicycle bomb that killed 16 people, including many children. Well, says the Taliban, that was a mistake. We were trying to target American troops instead.
Somewhere in space: Beagle, phone home. NASA may be showing off its new colored snapshot from Mars, but European space officials are still trying to reach the Beagle II. Europe's Mars Express orbiter failed to pick up a signal from the lander (ph) today. It has not been heard from since mid December, when it headed off toward the Red Planet. The Beagle is lost.
England: royal appearance. Prince Charles officially opens a breast cancer support center outside London. He was warmly greeted by cheering crowds. This, of course, is his first public engagement since he was named in a British tabloid as the person Princess Diana believed was plotting to kill her.
That's tonight's "UpLink."
We're going to turn to politics in a moment. Battered from the left and right, Howard Dean being criticized from all directions. Now a strong challenge from within. Find out who may be nipping at his heels.
Also tonight, Scott Peterson. Will a change of venue change the outcome of his trial? Can he even get a change of venue? We're going to take a closer look.
And a little bit later, changing faces. Find out why Americans are submitting to surgery to look like celebrities.
Be right back.
COOPER: Let's talk politics for a few moments. The latest on the Democratic presidential race.
Just a month ago, retired General Wesley Clark trailed frontrunner Howard Dean by 15 points. But Clark is surging up, closing the gap fast. According to the latest CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll, taken January 2 until the 5th, 24 percent of registered Democrats would choose Dean, down from 27 percent in December. While 20 percent choose Clark. That is up from 12 percent last month. That's a big jump.
Eleven percent choose Senator John Kerry. Ten percent choose Senator Joe Lieberman. That's down.
CNN's Dan Lothian looks now at how Clark has been climbing up the opinion poll ladder.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New Hampshire resident Frank Dobisky is part of Wesley Clark's new army of supporters, a recent convert who had been a diehard Dean backer, until he met Clark at a campaign stop late last year.
(on camera): What made you change?
FRANK DOBISKY, CLARK SUPPORTER: I like the way the general spoke about how he would deal with Iraq. I thought he was very specific, but he wasn't hard-edged.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): Clark, meeting with voters at a packed event in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is enjoying a sudden surge in national polls. What changed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, he's shown the ability to raise money. And the ability to raise money I think is key that makes him a viable candidate. Secondly, that viability is being pulled together with a sense that he is a plausible alternative to Howard Dean.
LOTHIAN: Clark says he's not watching polls, but admits voters are tuning into his message.
WESLEY CLARK (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm getting a lot of resonance out there for what I'm saying. I believe we need a higher standard of leadership in America, and so do the people in New Hampshire.
LOTHIAN: For his part, Dean, flipping pancakes at a campaign stop in Iowa, seemed unconcerned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, are you worried about the latest polls showing Clark creeping up on you?
HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.
LOTHIAN: But Dean's campaign appeared to be speaking volumes. Volunteers handing out this anti-Clark flyer outside the retired general's New Hampshire event, questioning whether he's a real Democrat, criticizing his shifting position on the war in Iraq.
COOPER: And that was Dan Lothian reporting from New Hampshire.
Joining us to talk about Clark and his big leap into second place, political analyst Carlos Watson from Mountain View, California, and Democratic strategist Julian Epstein from Washington. Appreciate both of you joining us.
Carlos, let me start off with you. Why has General Wesley Clark been able to come so close to Howard Dean?
CARLOS WATSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Three reasons. One, I think there is a broad search both within the media and among voters for an alternative to Howard Dean. And that's not unusual. That happens in almost every campaign. We saw it in 2000, as people coalesced around John McCain on the Republican side.
Number two, Wesley Clark has legitimately put together some good news. Not just this poll, but the fund-raising numbers. And frankly, his new tax policy plan is being well received.
And last but not least, I think the other thing that's coming into play is the whole Saddam Hussein capture and the reaction to comments by Howard Dean after it. I think in some cases people saw Dean as unprepared and maybe unrealistic. And in other cases, people looked out and said, boy, I would rather have a general on the Democratic side dealing with these kind of foreign policy questions.
COOPER: Julian, do you agree that events in Iraq have propelled Clark upward?
JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No question. And Clark is absolutely now the clear alternative to Dean.
There is another point. I think Carlos makes three good points. There is another I would add to that, however, which is that Kerry, Gephardt and Lieberman I think have made a drastic tactical mistake in the last couple of months by doing little else than attacking Dean.
That hasn't worked -- the attacks haven't worked at all on Dean. And what it's done is it kind of eclipsed their own ability to define their own candidacies and the rationale for their running.
Clark, on the other hand, has kind of taken a high ground position. He skipped Iowa, which I think was tactically intelligent. He's now running second in New Hampshire. And he's taken some position that is are counter to Democratic orthodoxy, which is very similar to what Bill Clinton did in New Hampshire. Remember, he came in second there as well, and he was the comeback kid.
He has national unquestioned national security credentials, and he's not really a Washington beltway candidate. So I think for Democrats that are looking for the alternative, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards, who I've liked very much and I've been very complimentary towards, seem to be really floundering at this point. And Clark is clearly the alternative.
COOPER: And Carlos, in the money game, Clark has proven that he can raise some money.
WATSON: Interesting. Two numbers. In the fourth quarter, Clark came in second, raising a little bit over $10 million. Dean raised $15 million.
And number two, when I talked earlier today to some of the officials in the Clark campaign, they'll tell you, if you look back and you include matching funds, they will have raised $20 million over the last 15 weeks, a very impressive sum. So there's a lot of excitement on that side.
But let me add one other thing. And Julian pointed to this. Campaigns can move and change very quickly. Wesley Clark clearly has momentum in terms of the anti-Dean alternative. But watch Richard Gephardt.
If for any reason he starts to close in Iowa, or ultimately wins in Iowa, we'll very quickly stop talking about Wesley Clark. And before you know it, instead of Dean-Clark, we'll start about Dean- Gephardt. So things can change.
EPSTEIN: Well, let me tell you why I disagree with that a little bit, Carlos. Gephardt is expected to win Iowa. Gephardt should win Iowa. It's his neighboring state.
If Gephardt doesn't finish in a commanding lead in Iowa -- and right now he's struggling to do that. He's struggling even to win at this point. And if you look at his numbers elsewhere, he's not particularly strong elsewhere around the country.
Same thing for Kerry. Kerry should easily win in New Hampshire. Kerry is now down to third in New Hampshire and could even come in fourth in New Hampshire.
COOPER: So you're really saying New Hampshire is the key, more so than Iowa?
EPSTEIN: For Kerry, it is absolutely the key. If Kerry comes in third -- and Clark is now running a pretty respectable second in New Hampshire -- if Kerry comes in third in New Hampshire, then I think it is curtains for Kerry.
COOPER: All right.
WATSON: No two ways about that, that if Kerry comes in third, that it's curtains for him. But going back to Gephardt in Iowa, certainly early on he was expected to win. Right now, I think frankly expectations gain for him has shifted. And if you look at the most recent poll, actually you have Dean ahead 26 to 22. And most people expect Dean to still win.
So if Gephardt were to win, even if he didn't win in a commanding way, he certainly would have some fresh momentum. We...
COOPER: All right. We're going to end it there.
Carlos Watson, appreciate it. It was interesting talking to you.
Julian Epstein, always good to talk to you as well. Thanks very much.
WATSON: Good to be with you, Anderson.
EPSTEIN: Have a good evening.
COOPER (voice-over): Will the Peterson trial leave Modesto?
A mother and ex-boyfriend arraigned. Did they drown her three children?
And who has the best hair, lip, body?
L.A. surgeons pick apart Hollywood's hottest. We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right. Let's look at our top stories.
In the "Reset" Baghdad, Iraq. Breaking news, the military says a mortar attack on a logistical base west of Baghdad, very close to Baghdad has wounded 35 U.S. Soldiers. It is one of the highest casualty tolls in the conflict so far. We are following this story right now. We are told a number of the soldiers have returned to duty already. The level of wounds may not be too severe. We're following the story.
In other news, Washington, the Pentagon has the go-ahead to resume mandatory Anthrax vaccine shots for troops. A federal judge lifted his previous order against the inoculations. That ruling now applies to the six plaintiffs suing to change the policy.
Wall Street: If you have technology stocks take heart, the Nasdaq rose to its highest close in two and a half years today. A bullish call on Intel helped pushed the composite to 2,077.68. Two- thousand seventy-seven point sixty-eight.
Washington: President Bush's campaign said it raised more than $130 million last year. Forty-seven million of it came third quarter. The four leading Democratic presidential candidates combined raised only 32 million in those three months. A long way to go.
Moving on right now to "Justice Served."
A woman charged with murder of the drowning deaths of her three children was in court in Illinois today. She and her former boyfriend pled not guilty to the murders. Even the woman's mother has expressed some doubt.
Keith Oppenheim reports.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many who knew them, 6-year-old Christopher Hamm, 3-year-old Austin Brown and 23-month-old Kyleigh Hamm, the motive to end their lives remains a mystery.
DIANA TOUD, NEIGHBOR OF ACCUSED: We want to know why we lost three babies.
OPPENHEIM: Police in Dewitt County, Illinois say the children were murdered here, in a serene place called Clinton Lake. Investigators say the victims were all in the back seat of their mother's car when it rolled down this boat ramp on the evening of September 2. That mom, Amanda Hamm and her boyfriend Maurice Lagrone Jr. have been charged with multiple counts of first degree murder. But police still have not disclosed why they believe the couple intentionally killed the children.
ROGER MASSEY, DEWITT COUNTY SHERIFF: That's one of the things we're not going to get into. That's one of things you are going to have get at trial.
OPPENHEIM: In court today, both Hamm and Lagrone pleaded not guilty to the charges. Before the incident Hamm worked at this restaurant as a waitress, Lagrone was a dishwasher there. Neighbors say they were together about a year and parented well together.
EMILY STRANGE, NEIGHBOR: Maurice was not the biological father of them children but he was still their father. Kyleigh called him daddy
OPPENHEIM: Neighbors also said Ham and Lagrone were devastated by the deaths. Now both face their own deaths as possible punishment if convicted in this case.
Keith Oppenheim, CNN.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: It's certainly a shocking crime. Sadly it's a crime we've heard before.
Joining us in San Francisco tonight, "360" legal analyst, Kimberly Guifoyle Newsom. Kimberly, good to see you as always.
Hamm's attorney suggested his client's mental state on the night of the murder might be part of the defense.
Does it sound to you like he's setting up for some sort of insanity defense?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: I think they are going to try to pursue that route. They have to make decision at some point. The initial stories that came out after this incident occurred was that it was a terrible, tragic accident. Authorities didn't buy it. But that's the statement that Hamm and Lagrone made. So, they are going to have to change their story if they wants to pursue an insanity defense. Keep in mind we have not seen that worked well with Andrea Yates or Susan Smith or others like that in similar situations.
COOPER: And what sort of has fueled I guess a lot of the speculation by prosecutors, but also even some members of these peoples' family, these kids were drowned in 4 feet of water. It would not have been too hard, it seem, at least on the face of it, to rescue some of these kids. The charge against Hamm, first-degree murder by accountability. What does that mean about what the prosecution thinks what happened?
NEWSOM: It tell us the charges decision made by the prosecution, that they are going against her on a theory of accomplice liability. That the actually principal or main person involved in this would be Lagrone, who keep in mind was not the father of any of the children. But it suggest that she was an active participant, that perhaps she encouraged him, assisted him, aided and abetted in the deaths of her three children.
COOPER: Now, the prosecution has not come forward to say what they think the motive is. They say you are just going to have to wait for trial for that. There had been I guess a lot of talk in town. These two were talking about moving to Saint Louis, starting over with a new life, the intimation they didn't want their kids or her kids slowing them down in some way.
Were you surprised that the prosecution really has not been very forward about what their case, what they think the motive is?
NEWSOM: No. I think they're still compiling facts. They have until early April to decide whether or not they're going to seek the death penalty in this case. And both individuals are equally liable under the eyes of the law. They are both eligible for the death penalty and they could seek it against both of them. I wouldn't be surprised if they did. If their case can add up and they can show they had this motive to perhaps get away and that these poor children were some kind of hindrance or obstruction for their life together then a jury is not going to be sympathetic to them. COOPER: Guilty or not, it is just a sickening event. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks for joining us.
NEWSOM: Thank you.
COOPER: More legal news. Scott Peterson's attorney is pushing forward with a change of venue request at a hearing tomorrow in Modesto, California. The defense team is expected to make its case for moving the trial to Los Angeles County.
With all the media coverage of the murder of Laci Peterson, her unborn child, can the accused husband get a fair trial no matter where it's held?
That's one question.
Earlier I spoke with jury consultant Marshall Hennington. I started with -- by asking him what's going to make the judge decide whether to move the case or not.
MARSHALL HENNINGTON, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, there are a number issues to consider. No. 1 how compelling is each side's of the argument? No. 2 what information did they obtain from the respondents in that particular venue, Stanislaw County as well as Modesto. That's going to be interesting.
And more importantly, what issues of bias are going to come up that perhaps could enhance either side.
COOPER: Mark Geragos says there is a lynch mob atmosphere in Stanislaw County, that's why he wants this change of venue out of Modesto. But how can he prove that? I mean how does it work?
HENNINGTON: Well, that's his theory. His theory is there is a lynch-mob mentality out there. And I'm sure that is connected with the feedback he's received doing research and...
COOPER: But what kind of research is it?
I mean, they do telephone interviews?
HENNINGTON: Yes. What happens is that as trial jury consultants we conduct community attitude surveys, which are essentially similar to politicians doing polling. We assist with getting information from particular jurors in a certain venue to see exactly what their attitudes, opinions and beliefs are with respect to the central issues of the case.
COOPER: Bottom line, you have done this work a lot. Do you think it's going to get a change of venue?
HENNINGTON: It's an uphill battle. There's a number of things to consider, the roll of the media, how people feel about his guilt or innocence, how he has been portrayed by individuals associated with the case that have come on these shows. It's going to be an uphill battle for Mark Geragos. But at the same time, the state has to really make a compelling argument in order for the case to stay in that particular jurisdiction.
I'll tell you what's to be what's going to be interesting is, can Mark Geragos get this trial delayed, because to me, as a trial and jury consultant, I would try to have the Jackson case go before the Geragos case, because if, in fact, Mark Geragos ends up on the losing end of the Peterson matter, then what possibly may happen is that Michael Jackson may substitute in another attorney to represent him, because he doesn't want to be affiliated with a losing case.
COOPER: Interesting. All right, we'll see. Marshall Hennington, appreciate you joining us, thank you.
HENNINGTON: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, an age-old practice of killing or aborting baby girls is continuing in China. The fact is horrifying in itself. It's also having some unexpected social repercussions. We're going to take look at that when we come back.
COOPER: In China, there's a growing gender gap, a lot more males than females, evidence in part, of a continuing problem: child infanticide. The crime, the social consequences of which are just now being understood. CNN's Beijing bureau chief, Jaime FlorCruz reports.
JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These baby girls survived the perils of female infanticide. Unwanted and abandoned, they have found refuge in this orphanage where they out number boys. But on the outside, the picture is reversed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are currently 13 million more baby boys than baby girls below age 10, according to the last national census.
FLORCRUZ: That's because many Chinese still prefer boys over girls, especially in the countryside where farmers want boys to do the heavy physical labor and to continue the family line.
(on camera): Due to strong preference for boys, the age-old practice of killing girls in their infancy or aborting them as fetuses continues. And female infanticide gained new momentum after China instituted it's 1 child policy in the 1970s.
(voice-over): As a result demographers say, the national sex ratio at birth has risen to 119 boys per 100 girls. To curb female infanticide, they generously laxed the 1 child policy in exceptional cases. And it's banned abuse of ultrasound tests.
Still, the sex gap is increasing. Among children born in the past ten years, there are now 50 percent more boys than girls in the same age group.
CHEN SHENGLI (through translator): This statistic means in another 10 to 20 years when these children are able to marry, 15 to 20 percent of the young men may not find a companion.
FLORCRUZ: The shortage of women means a shortage of brides. That has led to crimes against women. Kidnapping rings have seized countless young women and sold them as brides. They going prize, 500 to $1,000 U.S. dollars each. Jaime FlorCruz, CNN, Beijing.
COOPER: Hard to believe.
Turning to a lighter affair, back here at home. A new car with a special scale. The question is, will it steer you into shape? There's Jeanne Moos driving and eating. I'm not sure that's safe. We'll take a closer look at that.
Also, dreams of being a Hollywood hottie come true for average Joes and Janes. Find out how coming up.
COOPER: For the seventh year in a row, a pair of Hollywood plastic surgeons have put out their list of which celebrity body parts are actually most coveted, surgically, not sexually, by their patients. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): Angelina Jolie was the only woman on the list with more than one coveted body part. The surgeons say patients want her eyes and her lips.
Two guys, Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp had multiple features cited. Men want Reeves's nose and skin, but Depp's eyes and jaw lines.
In any case, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Consider Jolie's lips with Nicole Kidman's nose, Debra Messing's hair, the eyes of Catherine Zeta Jones and Cameron Diaz's jaw line.
On the other hand, men could pick Ben Affleck's nose, use Hugh Grant's comb, look through Ashton Kutcher's eyes, Take some of Leonadro DiCaprio's check and speak through Jude Law's mouth and turn them into the ultimate perfect man.
Critics worry that celebrity worship has gone too far, that plastic surgery poses real risks. But also, that there's something unhealthy about wanting to look like someone else, regardless of whether that person is more or less famous than you are.
COOPER: One of the surgeons behind this year's celebrity list is Dr. Richard Fleming. He joins us from, why, of all places, Los Angeles. Dr. Fleming, thanks for being with us.
One of the most popular procedures you were telling me before is noses. Let's talk some celebrity noses here. Women want what in a nose?
DR. RICHARD FLEMING, PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, they want definition. They want shape. It has to be individualized. They request very many different things but refer to celebrities when they come into the office for a consultation.
COOPER: And they talk about Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Carrie Ann Moss, for women's noses?
FLEMING: That's correct. They're referring to those individuals and it is not that they want to be Nicole Kidman. We have celebrities come in the office and we've been in Beverly Hills for over 25 years and celebrities will come in, well established themselves, but they may describe Charlize Theron's nose as what they would like to achieve. And it's just an example because it's difficult to describe the ideal nose.
COOPER: And men use, obviously, different examples. They talk about Keanu Reeves, Colin Farrell and Ben Affleck in terms of the kind of schnoz (ph) they want.
FLEMING: That's correct.
COOPER: Interesting. Also, let's talk about perfect eyes. You got Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry. Those are all eyes that women cite? What do they have in common?
FLEMING: Well, it's shape, it's definition. They have a nice almond-shaped eye, a very bright eye, what I call a smiling eye. Even as I describe what they want specifically, it's hard to do. And that's why they use examples to describe the physical features that they would like to achieve. That would be their ideal goal.
COOPER: And eyes for men, I guess, they talk about Ashton Kutcher, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt. Are those like bedroom eyes? What? How would you describe those?
FLEMING: Yes, I would describe them as well-defined, thin, without a hooding. They're not heavy eyes. They're bright. But again, this brings up another point that the surgery has to be individualized. No two people are ever identical. You were talking earlier about a composite of all of these physical features in one person. That doesn't work because the surgery has to be individualized.
COOPER: And it's got to be all in proportion. Dr. Richard Fleming, it is a fun list. We appreciate you joining us tonight. Thanks.
FLEMING: My pleasure.
COOPER: All right. Time to check on pop news in tonight's "Current." Let's take a look at what's going on in the world of the ridiculous.
Crocodile hunter, teaser, and coquette, Steve Irwin has been nominated by his home state for the nation's top award, Australian of the Year. Not to be confused with father of the year.
Jennifer Flowers is coming to the off-Broadway stage. Expectations for her debut are high despite the ambiguity of the show title "Boobs."
Apple chief Steve Jobs debuted the new iPod mini MP3 player yesterday. The new gizmo can hold 1,000 standard songs or one copy each of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
NBC says it has signed deals to license "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" in more than 30 markets. I, however, am particularly looking forward to "Queer Eye for the Fundamentalist Islamic Guy." I think that will go over big.
Well, they say one of the reasons why so many Americans are overweight is that we spend so much time in our cars. Imagine the irony then of a car that weighs you. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on a real guilt trip in the works.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before you head off to the drivethrough, check your fuel, check your oil, check your weight. There have been cars that fly and cars that talk, but a car that throws your weight around?
What do you think of the idea of having your car weigh you, like, you get in the car and it would tell you how much you weigh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's kind of crazy, if you ask me.
MOOS: But it's not crazy if you ask Russian inventor Yefim Kriger who recently got a patent for the...
YEFIM KRIGER, INVENTOR, ENGINEERING PROFESSOR: Vehicle overweight preventive system, VOPS.
MOOS: Right now, VOPS is just a prototype on the computer but here's how it would work. Opening the car door would start the system, you sit down on sensors built into the seat.
A dashboard touch screen would display your weight or the car could tell you.
It's going to be friendly. It's not going to be, look, you fat slob. You just gained ten pounds.
MOOS (voice-over): The micro processor would be able to track your progress, as well as offer diet and exercise advice. The big question is do you think people want their car to tell them how fat they are?
KRIGER: It's a good question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't want that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asking a fat guy that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would encourage a lot of people to lose weight who've been procrastinating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't imagine what would be more useless?
MOOS: Next thing you know they'll be handing out tickets for weighing 180 in a 150 pound zone. Jeanne Moos, CNN, in Ansonia, Connecticut.
COOPER: I'm not sure I need to see that stomach.
So have you heard about the Wisconsin guy who might sue his cable company? He actually says they've made him a TV addict. Coming up, we're going to take that to the "Nth Degree."
Plus, tomorrow, picking up and moving is tough enough but what happens to a marriage when one of you has to quit a job so the other can find a better job somewhere else. Join us tomorrow for that.
Tonight's "Buzz" question. Would you be angry if your flight was canceled for security reasons? Vote now. CNN.com/360. Results when we come back.
COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." We asked you, "would you be angry if your flight was canceled for security reasons?" Here's what you said. 31 percent of you said yes. 69 percent, no. Not a scientific poll. Just your buzz. We appreciate it.
Tonight, taking addiction to the Nth degree. A Mr. Timothy of West Bend Wisconsin is threatening to sue his cable company because he says it got him and his family addicted to cable. That's right. Hooked on the box. Wired on tube. Hopped up on sweet lady tea.
How can this happen, you ask? It's simple. He says he tried to kick the habit but his supplier kept it coming for free. That's how it works. First it's free. Before you know it you're popping NBCs and ABCs until you pass out in your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in a pile of Cheetos crumbs.
I know. Believe me, I've been there. After a while, broadcast channels, they just don't cut it. Now you need the hard stuff. You start paying for it. Through the nose. You want that spike, your daily FX, E, TNT, whatever you want to call it. Soon, you'd sell your own mama, your whole Nielsen family just for a single hit of pay-per-view. Then you crash. If you're lucky, it kills you outright. You got to go cold turkey. And I don't mean the Food Channel, baby.
Sure, you'll get the DTVs. You'll get them bad. Feels like bugs all over you. And even when you're clean, still be a junkie for the rest of your life. How do I know? I'm Anderson Cooper. And I'm not just a cable new pusher, I'm also a TVaholic. That wraps up our program tonight. Thanks for watching. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
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