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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN

Pentagon Declares Hussein Prisoner of War; Threat Level Goes Down to Yellow; Schwarzenegger Proposes Cuts to Balance Budget

Aired January 9, 2004 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again everyone.
It is, I suppose, hard to get too terribly worked up over how Saddam Hussein is being treated by the U.S. government. He, after all, didn't get too terribly worked up over how he treated his people.

So, we get why many people will not care much about a decision made by the U.S. government today to treat the former dictator as a POW. POWs have rights. The governments which hold them have responsibilities.

What those are and what they mean begin the program and the whip tonight, the Pentagon first, CNN's Jamie McIntyre, Jamie a headline from you.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, after a day of confusion and some backtracking, the Pentagon late today finally officially declared that Saddam Hussein is an enemy prisoner of war.

The Pentagon says it doesn't make much difference because they're still treating him as a POW but legal experts say it may make it harder for the U.S. to have its way with Saddam down the road.

BROWN: Jamie, thank you.

On to changes in the alert level that are something short of clear cut. CNN's Kelli Arena has been reporting the story today, Kelli the headline.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we are down to an elevated threat level. That's yellow. But it's a different shade of yellow than in the past. Some industries and places are being asked to remain at a higher alert.

BROWN: Kelli, thank you.

A smack of reality in California today, California's budget crunch and how the governor plans to deal with it, Charles Feldman on the story, Charles a headline from you.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, for those who voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger today they finally found out what they got, a blueprint he says to fiscal recovery but it is going to be very painful -- Aaron. BROWN: Charlie, thank you.

And finally, what happens sometimes when people and wild animals find themselves in too close a quarters, CNN's Frank Buckley also in Los Angeles tonight, Frank a headline.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, in this case sadly a man was killed when he was mauled to death by a mountain lion but incredibly a woman who was also attacked by the mountain lion was saved by a friend who literally pulled her from the mountain lion's jaws as it attacked -- Aaron.

BROWN: Frank, thank you. We'll get to you and the rest shortly.

Also coming up tonight on this Friday edition of NEWSNIGHT what is local news anymore and does it make any sense to change the location of a trial like Scott Peterson because of all the local publicity?

Later, the art of the apology does it really mean anything or do any good? We'll look at some recent examples.

And no apologies ever from the rooster who will show up with a heaping serving of your morning papers for Saturday and the week's tabloids too, all that and more in the hour ahead.

We begin with Saddam Hussein. For a little more than three weeks he's been in the custody of the Americans but also in a kind of legal limbo where international law is concerned.

Should he be classified as a prisoner of war, a fugitive from justice or something else? Making a distinction is anything but an exercise in hairsplitting and tonight a decision has been made, to the Pentagon and CNN's Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Until now Saddam Hussein was afforded protection under the spirit of the Geneva Conventions but now the U.S. will have to adhere to the letter of the treaty and that might limit its options.

EUGENE FIDELL, MILITARY LEGAL ANALYST: For example, I think there would be substantial questions as to whether prolonged interrogation, deprivation of sleep and the like would be permissible.

MCINTYRE: Under the Geneva Conventions prisoners can only be required to give name, rank, date of birth and serial number. Specifically, Article 17 of the Conventions states: "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

Also as a POW, Saddam Hussein can only be tried under the laws of the occupying forces. Might that require a trial in a U.S. military court? Would it complicate any desire to turn him over to an Iraqi war crimes tribunal? FIDELL: If he was tried by the United States he would be entitled to really the kind of silver-plated trial that U.S. GIs have in a court martial. It's a system that has a lot of rights to it, including the application of the strict rules of evidence. So, he would gain in some sense a legal bonanza if he were found to be a prisoner of war.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says the International Red Cross will be able to see Saddam soon, assuming he wants a visit. The Red Cross confirmed to CNN it's been in talks with the U.S. military since last month to make the arrangements.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: The bottom line is that Pentagon officials thought there was some advantage to keeping Saddam Hussein's status ambiguous but when the lawyers looked at it they really concluded that as the former head of the country and the commander of Iraq's military he couldn't be classified anything but an enemy prisoner of war.

That said the Pentagon points out that there are provisions under the Geneva Conventions to reclassify him if new evidence comes to light, such as if it turned out that he led the post-war insurgency he might be classified as a terrorist leader and therefore not eligible as for POW status -- Aaron.

BROWN: Here's the area that's a little bit squishy to me. They had been interrogating him, right?

MCINTYRE: That's correct but we don't know what techniques they were using to interrogate him and we don't know precisely when they decided to classify him as an enemy prisoner of war.

So we don't know, for instance, are they using sleep deprivation or loud music or some other technique to try to pressure him. But what we do know is once he's declared an enemy prisoner of war there are pretty strict prohibitions against those things.

BROWN: So, but didn't they say from the get-go that whether he was so classified or not that they were treating him in accordance with the Geneva Convention?

MCINTYRE: Right but that sort of gets into the spirit and letter thing. I mean do they actually have to follow ever letter of the Geneva Conventions if he's not technically a prisoner of war? Now that they've declared he is they really do.

BROWN: Jamie, thank you, Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon tonight.

The fact that Saddam Hussein is now officially an enemy prisoner of war means he is far better off in some respects than hundreds of others captured in the war on terror including a handful who are U.S. citizens.

Labels are key when it comes to a prisoner's status. If you're designated an enemy combatant none of the protections that Saddam will receive apply to you, which of course has set off an enormous legal battle.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a second case on the matter and in this case it was a move the White House opposed.

Here's CNN's Bob Franken.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. born Saudi Yasir Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan two years ago and held as a terror suspect since then without access to a lawyer in spite of repeated efforts by his federal public defender Frank Dunham.

FRANK DUNHAM, HAMDI'S ATTORNEY: My appeal presents questions of national significance going to the core of the president's power to wage war and the individual liberties that are contained in the Bill of Rights.

FRANKEN: The Appeals Court ruled that Hamdi's capture on the battlefield gave the president a right to designate him a so-called enemy combatant with few if any constitutional protections.

BRAD BERENSON, FORMER ASSOCIATION WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: If someone is properly held as an enemy combatant they're properly held until the end of hostilities. Whenever the president declares the hostilities to be at an end then those detentions are at an end unless a person has been charged with a violation of the laws of war.

FRANKEN: The Justice Department released a statement saying: "It will vigorously defend the president's authority to capture and detain enemy combatants crucial in times of war whether taken on the battlefield or in the United States."

An Appeals Court has ordered the release of Jose Padilla from military custody. Padilla was arrested in O'Hare Airport for plotting to detonate a so-called dirty bomb.

THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, SUPREME COURT APPELLATE ATTORNEY: The justices have been waiting for these cases. They regard themselves as the guardians of liberty. That's their job and so they are really reticent to allow the president to say stay out. This is none of your business.

FRANKEN: The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear the appeals of some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

(on camera): In all these cases the fundamental question is whether the administration has trampled on the rights of those taken into custody and in the process trampled on the Constitution.

Bob Franken, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: On now to the new yellow. The government has lowered the national terror threat level back to yellow technically speaking at least. Yellow is an elevated risk not high orange on the five color scale, only five colors in theory.

But every artist knows colors are mixtures and proportion determines the shade. The same it turns out may be true in the new normal because this time the yellow looks different.

Here's CNN's Kelli Arena.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA (voice-over): With the holidays and related celebrations safely behind us the United States is once again at code yellow but this shade of yellow is a bit more modeled than it's been in the past.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Yellow still means that we are in elevated risk of attack and we will maintain particular vigilance around some critical resources and locales.

ARENA: But the secretary would not elaborate on exactly which sectors or areas would remain on a higher alert than the rest of the country.

RIDGE: I don't want to broadcast to everybody where we're going to be doing this.

ARENA: Privately sources say those sectors include aviation, shipping and the nuclear industry and they say the areas include potential target sites in cities such as Las Vegas, New York and Washington, D.C.

MICHAEL HERSHMAN, CINTAS GROUP: I think it's helpful. The fact is it's a compromise. There was a lot of disagreement within this administration, particularly within the Department of Homeland Security as to whether to lower the rating from orange to yellow.

ARENA: Officials say there is a still a great deal of threat information coming in but that it's not as specific as it was when the level went to orange three weeks ago. For many communities, like Miami, Florida, going back down to yellow alleviates a lot of financial strain.

CHIEF JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: It allows you to I wouldn't say ease up but it allows you to now redeploy people away from those static locations that now just get special attention and allows us to resume with the full force crime fighting, public order, traffic enforcement, things of that nature.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: The U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that the last time the nation was at orange it cost about $70 million a week nationwide -- Aaron.

BROWN: And do they get much if any help from the federal government paying the $70 million a week?

ARENA: Well, they get some. Secretary Ridge talked today about cities and states handing in reimbursement requests and when he was asked exactly how much he thought this orange was going to cost he said it would take a while until those reimbursement requests came in for him to give a specific number.

BROWN: Kelli, thank you. Have a good weekend, Kelli Arena tonight. Thank you.

ARENA: You too.

BROWN: On to politics now, politics past and present. Today Howard Dean racked up another endorsement from a prominent Democratic, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a definite get with the Iowa Caucuses just ten days away.

In the present tense at least a very good day for Dr. Dean but also a day when his past made an awkward return. Excerpts from interviews he gave four years ago as Vermont's governor are the problem. They've put Dr. Dean in an awkward position, the position of a dinner guest who disses the cooking only to find out his host has overheard.

Here's CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oops, he did it again.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm a little tired of the gotcha politics of this campaign.

CROWLEY: This time the get is Dean circa 2000 talking among other things about the Iowa Caucuses.

DEAN: If you look at the Caucuses systems they are dominated by the special interests on both sides and both parties.

CROWLEY: It is one of many tapes discovered by NBC. It is four years old and coming at just the wrong time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It kind of burns me up a little bit. It really does. After all he thought he (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Iowa to get what he can get and if he can make it, fine. If not, I hope he don't make it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want you to stand in one place and shake everybody's hand here and will you shakes hands? We say will you please bring three different people to the caucus with you.

CROWLEY: About a quarter of Iowa Caucus goers are still not sure who they'll support and Dean's fiercest competitor in the state found the whole thing oh so very perplexing.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who does he think the special interests are out here that dominate the Iowa Caucuses? Is it the farmers? Is it the labor union members? Is it the senior citizens?

CROWLEY: Howard Dean, the frontrunner in Iowa circa 5:00 p.m. Friday.

DEAN: I hadn't much of a vision of what the Iowa Caucuses were all about. After two years in Iowa, 99 counties, I do have a vision and I wouldn't say the same thing today.

CROWLEY: Iowa's most popular Democrat holds no grudge. Senator Tom Harkin called Dean the Democrats best chance to beat George Bush.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Howard Dean has his head screwed on right.

CROWLEY (on camera): With a little more than a week to go Dean's rivals think Senator Harkin's endorsement came too late to help Dean on caucus night. That may be but it was just in time to save the day.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Des Moines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Ahead on NEWSNIGHT tonight, the 911 tapes of the dramatic end to the hunt for the accused murderer in Georgia.

Plus a mountain lion attacks two bikers in Southern California, one person is dead. We'll hear from a woman who saved her friend by fighting back, extraordinary story.

And in Segment 7 tonight does being a public person mean you never have to really say you're sorry?

From New York this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Approaching now 500 casualties in Iraq.

In California, DNA tests are being done to determine whether the primary suspect in two gruesome attacks of mountain bikers is in fact the culprit. The capture last night was as dramatic as it gets, helicopters using heat-seeking devices pinpointed the fugitive as he was stalking the very officers searching for him on the ground.

Alerted from above they shot him before he could pounce, pounce because that's what mountain lion's do. Though they rarely do attack humans this one apparently did. Today a witness to one of the attacks described the details.

Here's CNN's Frank Buckley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY (voice-over): The mountain lion lay dead after the attacks, shot and killed by sheriff's deputies. Earlier mountain biker Debi Nichols watched as her friend Anne Hjelle was attacked. DEBI NICHOLS, WITNESS: I was only 20 feet behind Anne and this mountain lion jumped on her back and started grabbing her so I grabbed her leg and he dragged us down probably, I don't know, 100 yards down into the brush and I just kept screaming.

BUCKLEY: Other mountain bikers in the wilderness park arrived as the women struggled with the animal.

MIKE CASTELLANO, WITNESS: The true hero in the story is Debi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Debi.

CASTELLANO: Because she was just fearless inches from this mountain lion and it could have any second have just let go and gone after her and she was not going to let her friend go.

BUCKLEY: Nels Magneson (ph) and Mike Castellano threw rocks at the lion until it let go of Hjelle. Then they called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a lady that is attacked by a mountain lion in her face, her face is almost gone. I need people out here.

BUCKLEY: As authorities searched for the mountain lion they found another victim, 35-year-old Mark Reynolds killed earlier authorities believe by the same lion while he was fixing a broken chain on his bike.

JIM AMORMINO, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The victim was disfigured by the animal.

BUCKLEY: Authorities say mountain lion attacks on humans are rare and it isn't clear what provoked these.

DOUG UPDIKE, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME: That all of a sudden triggers in the mind of the lion all of a sudden this is prey, this is no longer a human. I don't need to be afraid. Let's eat this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY: And an update on Anne Hjelle's condition, she was upgraded from critical to serious today. She still remains hospitalized. Her attack illustrates the fact that while attacks are rare by mountain lions on human beings they do occur.

In fact in California since 1890 there have been 14 attacks on human beings, six of them fatal. Since 1990 across all of North America there have been six fatal attacks by mountain lions on human beings -- Aaron.

BROWN: How far into the wilderness were they?

BUCKLEY: Not very far. This was an area where people -- about a half mile from homes and it's an area that is frequented by many people. It's a park. It's a wilderness park so people go there to mountain bike every day. BROWN: Frank Buckley in California, thank you Frank. Have a good weekend.

On to the other side of the country, yesterday a different search was underway the actual manhunt in this case. The suspect had kidnapped three young children after apparently fleeing a multiple murder scene.

An Amber Alert was activated and fortunately for the children this time it worked. A chase unfolded on a highway.

The 911 tape released today gave a dramatic glimpse of how the police closed in, reporting for us tonight CNN's Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The drama of the murder/kidnapping ended the way it began with a phone call.

DISPATCHER: Whitfield County 911.

SAVIDGE: 7:30 p.m. Thursday night a motorist traveling north on Interstate 75 alerted by media reports spots what he thinks is the suspect's vehicle.

CALLER: That's it. We're right behind him.

DISPATCHER: Where you at, sir?

CALLER: Exit 3 -- 323.

DISPATCHER: Can you see if people are inside the vehicle?

CALLER: There's a gentleman and I think there's a couple of kids.

SAVIDGE: As sheriff's deputies and Georgia State Police close in the driver shadows the SUV, driven by 31-year-old suspect Jerry Jones. Shortly after Jones crosses into Tennessee and exits the highway, Georgia State Police nudge the SUV from behind forcing Jones off the road.

WHITFIELD COUNTY DEPUTY: We have all three kids in custody.

DISPATCHER: 10-4 copy, subject 10-109 and children are in custody.

SAVIDGE: Jones is only able to fire a single shot critically wounding himself.

VERNON KEENAN, FBI DIRECTOR: The three children have been recovered. They are safe. They have been -- the children have been sent to the hospital for examination.

SAVIDGE: Nearly 24 hours earlier it was another phone call from Melissa Peler (ph) Jones' estranged common law wife that led police to the grisly discovery of four bodies from Peler's family in two homes in rural north Georgia, including Peler and Jones' baby girl and the realization that three other girls, ages ten, four, and three were missing.

The hunt for Jones and the girls stretched nationwide but in his time on the run he only managed to travel about 40 miles. Those girls are now back in the custody of their mother for whom the joy of reunion is overshadowed by the fact that she must now make funeral plans for her mother, stepfather, sister and 10-month-old daughter.

Martin Savidge CNN, Calhoun, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Coming up on NEWSNIGHT is there such a thing as a local news story anymore?

And can a defendant get a fair trial anywhere when media coverage is everywhere?

From New York this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: There is, we think, a certain intersection between the following two headlines. Judge Orders Change of Venue in Peterson Case and President Commits to Permanent Base on the Moon.

Thanks in part to us, perhaps in large part, finding a place where jurors haven't already heard it all and seen it all before the trial even begins is getting harder all the time, not that it was ever all that easy or simple.

Here's CNN's Jeff Greenfield.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Here is where Michael Jackson is accused of molesting a boy in Neverland in the community of Santa Maria, California, 150 miles or so north of Los Angeles.

A local story, you got to be kidding. When one of the best known people in the world is charged with a sex-related crime the folks in Santa Maria, Guatemala likely know as much about it as in Santa Maria, California.

In fact in our age of instant all news all the time even if there isn't any news coverage of Michael Jackson or Kobe Bryant or Martha Stewart, the idea of moving a case because of pretrial publicity is almost quaint.

It brings to mind another era, like the murder trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard in the mid-1950s, the case that inspired "The Fugitive." Back then the Cleveland press went all out. Front page headlines screamed "Why isn't Sam Sheppard in jail? Quit stalling. Bring him in." That's why the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Sheppard's murder conviction a decade or so later. In those days it was likely that few people outside of Cleveland would have been touched by that local media overkill.

(on camera): But does it really make any difference today if you move a case, like the Scott Peterson trial, to a different locale when the media have for a year turned this not particularly significant story into a national festival of speculation and rumor? Well it just might.

(voice-over): For one thing in a small community potential jurors might know a defendant or a witness or someone who knows a witness who just might have passed along information or misinformation. The lawyers can try to find that sort of stuff out but moving the case might be safer.

And then there's the example of a Rodney King beating case. In 1991, the trial of four Los Angeles police officers was moved from L.A. to Simi Valley, a far different community with a far different jury pool.

When the largely white jury acquitted the cops in the spring of 1992, Los Angeles was plunged into days of rioting. When a second federal trial was held in Los Angeles a year later they were convicted.

But in two of the most sensational of cases, the 1970 trial of the Charles Manson family for thrill killings and the 1995 trial of O.J. Simpson there was no change of venue. The publicity was simply too pervasive to even think it could make a difference.

(on camera): Once upon a time it took a famous defendant or victim to turn a crime story into a national story, like the Lindbergh baby kidnap/murder. But if today's appetite for such stories keeps growing they're going to have to move these cases to the plains of the Kalahari to find anyone without a clear opinion about this week's trial of the century.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Joining us now from Los Angeles tonight one of the stars of the trial of the last century, Christopher Darden a prosecutor in the Simpson case of course, now a legal analyst for us, nice to see you again.

It's kind of an odd confluence I suppose that we're here talking about this. Do you think -- it's one of those things I think we all have thought about but not any of us is sure of the answer. Do you think it has damaged all this coverage on all of these cases the ability of the criminal justice system to perform the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) correctly?

CHRISTOPHER DARDEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely. You know when you start sticking TV cameras in the courtroom and when you begin making celebrities of trial lawyers and celebrities of criminal defendants as well you really do, that is the media, impede the criminal justice system's ability to treat individual defendants fairly.

BROWN: Hundreds of -- let me gently argue the point because I'm not sure I'm totally convinced of the argument I'm about to make. Hundreds of trials have been televised. Few have been impacted. Would you agree with that?

DARDEN: Well, not necessarily. I think, number one, certainly you know when you look at the statistics most defendants in televised cases are convicted. Now whether or not that means the trial is impacted or not, I mean it's very, very hard to say.

But the fact is, is that when you're a lawyer on a national stage with a television camera in your face you're going to do things a little different than what you might otherwise do.

And judges are going to conduct themselves in a different way as well and the fact that the media is present or a TV camera is present may or may not cause judges to make decisions that they might otherwise not make. But how do we determine whether or not a trial has been impacted is very hard. It's very hard to determine.

BROWN: I agree with that. Let me turn this just slightly. In the Simpson case was it the televising of the trial that was in your view damaging more so than the pretrial attention the case got?

DARDEN: Well, you know, that's a very interesting question because, you know, I was -- I became involved in the trial very late in the game and I didn't fully realize just how much press attention was being paid to the case until I joined it and when I did I couldn't believe it.

I have never seen anything like it before and certainly with all of the media attention directed to that case prior to trial most people in Los Angeles had an opinion or had come to some conclusion as to whether or not Simpson was guilty or not and that was very harmful to us, the prosecution.

BROWN: You think so? I mean I didn't necessarily think -- I didn't plan to spend all this time talking about Simpson, but my sense in covering the case -- and that's all this is -- it's just a gut feel -- is that, going into the trial, the pretrial stuff actually was helpful to the prosecution. It was the trial itself and some of the things that went on in the trial, including the impact of television, if you will, on the performance of a number of people, that really shifted people's feelings, or the jury's feelings.

DARDEN: Well, my feeling was that, prior to selecting a jury, there were many, many people who felt that O.J. Simpson had been set up, that there were problems with the evidence, chain of custody, that there were issues of planting, that police had violated Simpson's rights when they jumped over the fence and found the bloody glove.

There was a lot of attention focused on different pieces of evidence and the like that really shaped people's opinions. And I can tell you that I talked to prosecutors involved in the Simpson case even prior to jury selection, who simply stated to me, we just hope the jurors will believe the evidence that we have, because we know that most people have very little faith in the prosecution's case. And that was even before it was presented.

BROWN: And did you see that -- last question on Simpson and we'll move on -- did you see that in the voir dire of jurors? I don't remember that in the voir dire of jurors. But I didn't hear it all.

DARDEN: Well, when I joined the case, the first 12 jurors had already been selected. And so I was only present when the alternate jurors were selected. And so I don't know.

BROWN: Yes. OK.

DARDEN: But when you have a high-profile case, there's no telling what jurors will tell you. There is a real incentive to sit on that case, if you can, if you're a potential juror.

BROWN: Yes, that's a whole 'nother issue here, too.

Just in the decision that was made yesterday in the Peterson case on the change of venue, hard to imagine any other decision being made there?

DARDEN: Yes. I mean, I believe that was the correct decision to make.

So many people in Modesto and in Stanislaus County have a personal attachment or a personal stake, in some sense, in what happens in the Peterson case. She was one of their own. Many, many people joined in the search for Laci and Connor. And when you have a large population with that type of personal and emotional attachment, you really ought to move the case out of that particular county.

BROWN: And if you are the defense attorney, Chris, in this, you want to move it as far away from Modesto as you can?

DARDEN: Yes. And you want to move it to Los Angeles. This is the place to try a high profile cases.

BROWN: Because?

DARDEN: Well, because you have 11 million people, different socioeconomic groups. It's multiracial. It's a real melting pot.

And we've seen a lot here in Los Angeles. And you really have to convince jurors here of a defendant's guilt in a high-profile case. And history has proven that time and again.

BROWN: Chris, good to see you again. Thank you very much, Chris Darden from Los Angeles tonight.

Still to come on NEWSNIGHT, down to the nitty-gritty, as they say, as Governor Schwarzenegger delivers his budget and grim news of what's going to be cut to balance California's budget. Around the world, this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: You've probably heard it said. California has an economy the size of France. It also has a budget crisis of a Third World country on the skids. It spelled doom for California's last governor and is job one for the man to replace him.

So today, Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled a budget proposal with a lot of pain for a lot of people.

Here is CNN's Charles Feldman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Arnold Schwarzenegger, the honeymoon is, without doubt, over. His proposed budget hits health care for the poor, education, and city and county governments hard. At a news conference, the new governor promised the tough-love proposed budget will lead to recovery within two years. But, until then, he says, everyone must share the pain.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: When you, for instance, have a budget cut, part of it is, is that everyone has to come in and help, if it is the counties, if it's the cities, if it's education community, if it is the prison system, every single one.

FELDMAN: Sheretta Thomas is one of those the governor expects to share the pain. Both she and her grown daughter, she says, will be hurt by planned tuition hikes for higher education.

SHERETTA THOMAS, COLLEGE STUDENT: This is the American dream. You can come here and be whoever you want or do whatever you want. And he's taken that American dream from me.

FELDMAN: The proposed budget relies heavily, say some financial analysts here, on very optimistic projections of improved income tax revenues this spring, as well as voter approval of a $15 billion bond initiative this March, without which Schwarzenegger says the state will slide into the fiscal abyss.

The Schwarzenegger budgets would require local governments to give up more of their property tax revenue to the state, forcing them to make cutbacks.

JAMES HAHN, MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: To say that I'm disappointed would be an understatement. I have placed a call to the governor to let him know how important this funding is for public safety.

FELDMAN: In the recall election in which Schwarzenegger ousted Democratic Governor Gray Davis, he vowed to drastically change the way the business of the state is done. The state's chief financial officer says he has not.

STEVE WESTLY, CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER: Well, he has proposed roughly $2 billion to $3 billion in cuts, essentially what Gray Davis did.

FELDMAN: The mayor of Glendale, California, apparently agrees.

FRANK QUINTERO, MAYOR OF GLENDALE: I don't see that this is any out-of-the-box thinking or that there's anything different in what the governor is proposing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FELDMAN: Now, of course, Schwarzenegger argue that one thing he is doing differently is, he is not proposing any new taxes. He pledged that again today.

But critics say the proposed cutbacks and fee hikes are tantamount to a tax increase, a tax increase, they say, that is aimed mostly at the poor -- Aaron.

BROWN: Charles, thank you -- Charles Feldman in Los Angeles tonight.

Before we go to break, the "MONEYLINE Roundup," starting tonight with Enron and the plea deal that wasn't, or hasn't, not yet, at least. Lea Fastow failed to meet a judge's deadline to enter a guilty plea in advance of her trial. Her lawyers say negotiations do continue. Prosecutors had hoped a plea deal from her would pave the way for a plea deal with her husband, who was Enron's top financial officer, and he would make a deal to drop a dime on his bosses, and they'll move up the chain of command that way.

U.S. Airways is looking at the possibility of selling off large chunks of itself, including gates at three hubs and its Northeast shuttle. The airline is in a very delicate financial position, having trouble squeezing givebacks out of its union workers.

The country's unemployment rate fell last month to 5.7 percent, but there's a but here, mostly because so many Americans apparently have stopped looking for work. The economy itself added only about 1,000 jobs in December. And the smart people, the economists, expected 100,000. That news, along with some Friday profit-taking, sent investigators running for the exits, a very tough day on the market today, all the indices down, as you can see.

Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, our sincerest apologies over our segment on apologies and the lost art of giving them.

A break first. This is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: You may have noticed that this has been quite a week important for public apologies, Pete Rose, the governor of Connecticut, John Rowland, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. And then there was the woman who claimed to have bought and then lost one of those huge multimillion-dollar lottery ticket.

But then, of course, all apologies, it turns out, are not created equal. So here is a brief guide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELECIA BATTLE, CHARGED WITH FRAUD: It just took over me.

BROWN (voice-over): Rarest of all is the simple, straightforward apology, the kind made by Elecia Battle of Cleveland, Ohio, after she lied about having bought a winning $162 million lottery ticket.

BATTLE: I wanted to win. The numbers were so overwhelming. I wanted to win so bad for my kids, my family. And I apologize.

BROWN: She didn't say the devil made her do it. She didn't blame low blood sugar, didn't say she had been quoted out of context. She just said sorry. By the way, today, she was charged with filing a false report.

On now to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In advance of quoting him at a fund-raiser, Senator Clinton said Mahatma Gandhi was some guy who once ran a station in Saint Louis. The senator subsequently expressed her regrets, calling the remark -- quote -- "a lame attempt at humor," which is an apology/description, helpful to those wondering exactly what category of gaffe to score it under.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: And I am very sorry that it might have been interpreted in a way that would cause distress to anyone.

BROWN: Then there is the overdue apology.

For months, Governor John Rowland of Connecticut insisted that he had not accepted gifts in the form of home improvements from friends and people who do business with his state. Then he said those statements were -- and he actually used this word -- incomplete. The incomplete part, it turns out, is that it did not include the truth.

GOV. JOHN ROWLAND (R), CONNECTICUT: I lied. And there are no excuses. My mistakes are my own.

BROWN: Finally, there is the long overdue apology. Ever since he was drummed out of baseball for gambling 14 years ago, Pete Rose has said, again and again and again, that it was a bum rap. He did no such thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE ROSE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: I'm happy to look into the camera now and say, I never bet on baseball and I never bet on Cincinnati Red baseball.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Until at last, in a new book and on TV, he finally says, yes, yes, OK, I did bet on baseball.

But then he writes: "I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So, in my mind, I wasn't corrupt." An interesting apology, we think. Pete Rose gave away lies free for 14 years. Now he's selling the truth for $24.95 a copy. Confession, apparently, is good for the soul and maybe for the bottom line as well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Ah, but will it work?

Murray Chass joins us. Last month, he was elected to the writer's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he belongs. He's covered the sport for more than 40 years, many of them with "The New York Times." We are most pleased to see him and have him with us tonight.

So, I said last night on the program about Mr. Rose, it does seem that, the more he talks, the less likely it is that he's going to get to the Hall of Fame.

MURRAY CHASS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It's incredible that he has taken this time to do further damage to himself. I agree with you. He was -- everything he has said, whether written in the book or said in interviews -- he wrote that betting with a bookie is technically illegal. Well...

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: So is murder.

CHASS: He just has a really weird way of looking at things. And when he speaks, I think he tightens the noose a little more.

BROWN: He said, I guess yesterday -- and he might have said to it a colleague of yours -- what do people want from me?

And, in a sense, I sort of got that, because Mr. Rose is Mr. Rose. I mean, there's nothing that he has said or done in the last week that, if you know him at all, is surprising.

CHASS: Well, he has been Pete Rose the past week. Everything he has said, the way he's acted, has been Pete Rose all his life.

Rose has always been a very arrogant guy. And he's shown that this week. And he still has his way of looking at things. And it's not like a lot of other people, the way other people look at it.

BROWN: A lot of things, if you were sort of managing this moment for Mr. Rose, went wrong. I'm curious, from a writer's point of view -- "Times" writers, I don't think, get to vote on the Hall of Fame?

CHASS: About 10 years, the paper adopted a paper-wide policy against voting for awards.

BROWN: So there were a couple things that will influence, adversely, writers who ultimately -- well, perhaps ultimately -- will pass judgment on his Hall of Fame ballot bid. Is it the arrogance? Is it the timing? Is it the selling of the book? Does one stand out?

CHASS: I don't think so. I think it's a combination, because it's just one thing piled on another.

And I would guess that a majority of writers, whether it was a three-fourths majority, which is what a player needs to be elected, was prepared to vote for him. But I think he lost a lot of voters this week with the things he said, with what he wrote in the book, the way he said it. He said he never placed bets from his office when he was the manager of the Reds.

He may never have done that directly, but he had his betting buddies do it. And they were quick to point that out the first day this all happened this week.

BROWN: I suppose, if people stopped being stupid, I'd be out of work. But if you're going to go to all this trouble, and ultimately what you want, and he wants badly to be both in the Hall of Fame -- I'm afraid I'm asking you to be a shrink here -- be in the Hall of Fame and make a lot of money -- both those things are important -- why not just give it up? I mean, do it right.

CHASS: Because he felt, just as he thought he would never be caught for betting -- he knew the rule against betting. But he was Pete Rose and he was never going to be caught.

Now he feels: I can say just this much. I don't have to go the whole way. I can just get away with this much and they'll believe me and that'll be enough.

It's the same thing all over again.

BROWN: The problem, I think, a lot of us who love baseball have, is that he, on the merits of his play, clearly belongs, clearly belongs. So is it wrong, in your mind -- you aren't voting, so, actually, your opinion might be most interesting -- to make the distinction between Pete Rose who can be kind of a jerk, and Pete Rose who was the great hitter of the game?

CHASS: There's no question Pete Rose was a great player, great hitter. And his career, his playing career, merits the Hall of Fame.

But he so damaged himself and baseball that he detracted, he undermined what he did. And I think, if Pete Rose were in the Hall of Fame, you'd have people eventually forgetting all this other stuff that he did and only focusing on what he did as a player, the hits he had, the record numbers of hits. And I think that would be wrong, because then that deterrent...

BROWN: He wouldn't be the only jerk in the Hall of Fame.

CHASS: Oh, no, he wouldn't. There are others. And people bring up Ty Cobb and others and so forth. But...

BROWN: It's the gambling.

CHASS: Yes, the gambling. There's no question that people rely on the game being honest.

And who knows? I'll give you an example. In 1987, according to the betting records that John Dowd uncovered, Rose did not bet on games that Bill Gullickson started. He obviously didn't trust Bill Gullickson. Well, later that season, Gullickson was traded to the Yankees. So here was a case of Rose saying -- Rose said, I would never bet against the Reds.

But every time Gullickson pitched and he didn't bet on the Reds, the bookies knew that he felt they were going to lose.

BROWN: Right.

CHASS: So he did undermine the situation there. He didn't have to place a bet against the Reds. He was letting them know that he didn't think they could win that night.

BROWN: We're really pleased to see you, looking well.

CHASS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BROWN: Come back soon.

CHASS: Thank you.

BROWN: Just what, a month and a half away from spring training. On this weekend in New York, it give us hope. Thank you.

We'll check morning papers in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(ROOSTER CROWING)

BROWN: Sometimes there's not enough time in the day. Time to check morning papers from around the country. And this being Friday, a special journalistic treat. I think that's the right way to put it, a journalistic treat. But you have to wait for that.

Well, this is a journalistic treat, "The International Herald Tribune," published in France by the good people at "The New York Times." And speaking of France, "New Year, Old Theme, Chirac Elbows Bush," is their big story on the front page. Haven't had a chance to read it, but I think you sort of get what's going on there.

Here at home, "The Oregonian." That would be the newspaper in the city of Portland, Oregon, one of my favorite towns. "Big Thaw Makes New Mess." They've had horrible weather out there. And weather always works if you are in the news business, if you ever want to know or you are ever in the news business. Ice, snow, terrible. Got a picture from my brother of the place today. It's a mess. Anyway, that's the big lead in "The Oregonian."

"The San Antonio Express-News" leads with the economy, at least up top here. Unemployment Rate Falls For the Wrong Reason. It Wasn't Caused By New Jobs. Instead, Many People Just Gave Up Looking For Work." That's not the kind of headline that another Texan, who happens to be the president of the United States, would be all that too thrilled to see. But it is the lead in tomorrow morning's "San Antonio Express-News."

How we doing on time, David?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1:15.

BROWN: 1:15.

"The Boston Herald" -- welcome back, by the way, David.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you. That's the polite thing to say, David. Thank you.

"The Boston Herald." "Zero Hour." This is the football game. They're playing that tomorrow night, I think, in Foxboro. And it is going to be freezing. It is really cold in the East.

OK, now, one or two tabloid stories. I don't mean tabloid like "The New York Post," which is a tabloid. I mean tabloids like "The Weekly News World." This story is fabulous, ladies and gentlemen. We should have covered it. Can you get a good shot of this? You want to know how the Saddam Hussein thing went down? We thought it was high- tech, this and that. The military did great.

Uh-uh. That's not what happened. What happened is, "Bat Boy Led Our Troops to Saddam's Hole." And, incredibly, they have a picture of bat boy. See him right over there? And they have a picture of the president. "President Bush Plans to Award the Paint-Sized Hero a Bronze Star." That's bat boy, who led our troops to Saddam Hussein's hole.

The weather tomorrow in Chicago, unbelievable, "vapid." That's the "Sun-Times."

We'll wrap up the day after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Before we go tonight, a quick recap of our top story.

The Pentagon has now officially classified Saddam Hussein as an enemy prisoner of war. The decision has the potential to limit the options available to interrogators. It may also rule out turning him over to the Iraqis for a war crimes trial. Left unsaid so far, precisely why the Pentagon decided the way it did.

Monday night on this program, we'll introduce you to perhaps the most important person in the New Hampshire primary campaign. Call him Mr. Microphone. That's Monday here on NEWSNIGHT.

Here is Bill Hemmer with a look at what's coming up Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Aaron, thank you.

Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING," she survived an earthquake that killed more than 30,000 in Iran. She's an American pulled from the rubble in Bam alive. Adele Freedman talks to us Monday morning, 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. I hope you can join us then.

Until then, have a great weekend -- Aaron.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And you guys have a great weekend, too. We'll see you Monday.

Good night for all of us at NEWSNIGHT.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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