Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Iran's Nuclear Future; Opposition to War in Iraq Reaching New High

Aired August 22, 2006 - 07:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

And we could know Iran's decision on its nuclear future in about 30 minutes. That's when Iran's is expected to make its position public, the answer to this U.N. Security Council's demand for an end to Iran's nuclear-enrichment program.

CNN's Richard Roth is live at the United Nations this morning.

I imagine we will still be hearing a resounding no from them, right, Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: It appears so today, but will this be the final final answer? Because the U.N. Security Council resolution says Iran has until August 31st. But this is a significant day in Iranian history, religious, political overtone. This may be the day anyway that diplomats are called into Tehran to hear the news whether Iran intends to freeze its uranium enrichment, as demanded by the U.N. Security Council. President Bush warning yesterday about a nuclear-armed Iran, the possibility of that, and his ambassador here John Bolton reacted to reports that Iran had blocked access for U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors.


JOHN BOLTON, U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: They've obstructed the work of the IAEA repeatedly in Iran. They've concealed things from the IAEA inspectors. They've falsified data. They've destroyed facilities. So more obstructionism doesn't surprise me at all.


ROTH: Iran says it's going to have a multifaceted response, and that may mean it'll try to once again split the permanent powers on the U.N. Security Council, perhaps hinting at more negotiations in order to woo more support from China and Russia, while the U.S., Britain and France push for some type of sanctions, maybe symbolic at the outset -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Do you expect this is going to be heated in any way? What is the customary response to something like this? How is this going to be handled in about a half hour when it happens, Richard? ROTH: It will probably will be a very long document, though it is possible the president or Iran's nuclear official, (INAUDIBLE), could meet with reporters. And then there may be more appearances as the month -- the of the month and the deadline, the true deadline, nears.

SANCHEZ: Richard Roth following things there for us at the U.N. We thank you for bringing us up to date. And certainly when that happens in a half hour, we'll bring that up to date as well by bringing it to you.

Also North Korea is protesting joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea, which are going on right now. Pyongyang says it reserves the right to take preemptive action to defend itself. The threat comes amid concern that North Korea may be planning a nuclear test -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's second genocide trial is now in its second day. Today, two co-defendants insisted that the Iraqi military never targeted Kurdish civilians during a military campaign in the late 1980s. The former Iraqi dictator and six others are facing charges in connection with the death of tens of thousands of Kurds by poison.

Opposition to the war in Iraq is reaching a new high. President Bush says don't give up, pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq now would be disastrous.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not leaving so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror. We leave before the mission is done, the terrorist will follow us here.


O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano is at the White House for us this morning. Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon.

Let's begin with Elaine.

Good morning.


You know, we've said it many times before, but Iraq continues to be the primary issue weighing down President Bush's approval ratings. In fact, according to the latest CNN poll, 35 percent of people saying that they favor the Iraq war, but 61 percent saying that they oppose it.

Now combine that with the fact that this is an election year, along with the continued violence in Iraq, and that is why we saw President Bush yesterday offer yet another impassioned, vehement defense of his Iraq strategy.

Now the president acknowledged that the conflict is, in his words, straining the psyche of the country. He made clear, though, that his "stay the course" strategy is something he is sticking to. With less than 80 days to go until the congressional midterm elections, the president took aim at Democrats who want to see U.S. troops beginning to withdraw this year. The president argued that they want to leave in Iraq before the job there is done. And while he insisted that he was not questioning Democrats' patriotism, Democrats, for their part, insist that is exactly what the White House is Republicans have done in past election years. They say, Soledad, that the problem is with the president's overall Iraq strategy, with the Iraq war now, of course, in its fourth year -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano at the White House for us. Elaine, Thanks.

The president made reference to two controversial words when it comes to Iraq. Those words are "civil war."

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning.

Hey, Barbara.


Here's what the president said, quote, "I hear a lot of talk about civil war. I am concerned about that, of course." Of course President Bush saying the two words, "civil war," that Don Rumsfeld does not want to say.

But the president, again, making it very clear that the military strategy remains the same in his words, that is to bring democracy to Iraq. But he did emphasize that he has given his military commanders authority to change tactics. What does that mean? Well, with the sectarian violence taking a sharp spike, especially in Baghdad, of course we now have several thousand additional U.S. troops in Baghdad, running security mission across the city. Commanders say it's working, that at least in some neighborhoods of Baghdad the violence is down. But the key question, of course, is those tactics. When the U.S. troops leave those neighborhoods, what will happen? Will violence again be on the rise? Because the track record over the last three-and-a-half years is, as many commanders say, a game of whack-a- mole -- they whack them, and when the U.S. troops leave, the violence returns. So still, the jury out on the long-term situation, of course.

O'BRIEN: Barbara, let me ask you a question. The tone I thought from the president during his news conference seemed to be much more somber than it has been in the past. Do you think there's a setting of the stage of the discussion of civil war down the road?

STARR: Reporter: Well, I think it's inevitable, and I think it is already under way, because when you see all the top commanders, when you see Secretary Rumsfeld talking in public about why it's not civil war. Of course, the secretary's last comment this is was not, in his words, "classic civil war." It's already on the table for discussion.

Remember, you'll recall General Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Abizaid, the head of Central Command, telling the Senate Armed Service Committee just a couple of weeks ago that the sectarian violence is as bad as they have seen it. It is not what they have expected by any measure. And whether you call it civil war or not, the situation in so much of Baghdad, in so much of the four provinces that are seeing the bulk of the violence, it goes on. For the people who live there, it may be irrelevant what you call it, it's just simply a level of dreadful violence.

O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, thanks.



O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, how is the U.S. going to respond if Iran, as expected, does not give up its nuclear program? We'll take a look at some of the possible military options this morning.

SANCHEZ: We're also going to talk to a couple of lawyers who have spoken with the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey killing, and we're going to see what they have to say.

O'BRIEN: And an alarming, and common and often unreported crime, millions of elderly Americans abused by their own family members. We'll share one woman's ordeal with you. Those stories and much more ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Brook Aster is a well-known New York City socialite, 104 years old, known for her social connections and the millions of dollars she's given away to charity. But she's been in the news lately, not for her philanthropy, but as an alleged victim of elder abuse. And while it's only an allegation the story, sadly, is not uncommon. Alina Cho has one woman's story that's truly a heartbreaking tale.

Good morning.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

It doesn't just happen in high society. It is happening, sadly, everywhere.

You know, imagine if this happened to your grandmother, your grandfather, your mother or father. Elder abuse is becoming more and more common in the United States, especially as we, as a nation, get older. We recently talked to one woman in Maine who called what she went through the most painful time in her life.


CHO (voice-over): Two long years, this woman, we'll call her Betty, says she was a prisoner in her own home, held hostage by the most unlikely of abusers.

"BETTY," VICTIM OF ELDER ABUSE: When she'd come down, she'd get mad, she'd slap me. "I'm sick of this," she said. "Why don't you just die. Get it over with."

CHO: Betty, whose real identity we concealed for legal reasons, was 60 at the time. She was in a car accident and bedridden. Unable to care for herself, she relied on her daughter, but instead of watching over her, Betty says her daughter stole her retirement money, beat her, even left her in soiled bed sheets for days.

"BETTY": There was nothing there except my box spring and mattress. My clothes, my jewelry, everything was gone, and I weighed probably about 87 pounds by then.

CHO: Betty is not alone. As many as five million elderly people in the United States are victims of abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, two-thirds of elderly abuse cases involve family members.

Betty says she never imagined her own daughter could do this.

"BETTY": I loved her very much, but she was always money hungry.

CHO: CNN contacted Betty's daughter, who says the allegation of abuse are false, and that she wants nothing to do her mother. Betty says she was so miserable she tried to kill herself. After that she says her daughter kicked her out, but she told no one about the way she says her daughter mistreated her.

"BETTY": I was scared. I wouldn't tell them. I was ashamed.

CHO: Enter Ricker Hamilton, a social worker in Portland, Maine who gave an improperly tie speech or elder abuse. Betty was in the audience.

"BETTY": Every word that came out of his mouth was mine.

RICKER HAMILTON, ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES: She reached a point in her life that she wanted to die. She couldn't take living in the bed in the basement any longer. She couldn't take that a loved one was doing this to her.

CHO: Most abused seniors never speak up. Eighty-four percent of elder abuse cases are never reported.

Detective Cheryl Homes is with the Portland Police Department investigating elder abuse. The majority of her cases involve theft.

DET. CHERYL HOLMES, PORTLAND POLICE: This is like taking candy from babies. When you get older, you get confused, and that's what some of these suspects play on, the fact that, OK, so they get $100 laying on the table. I'm not going to take $100; I'm going to take $40, and let them wonder.

I wish there was more elders rescued, as the animals are rescued and as children, you know, rescued. They lived their life, and they're vulnerable and they deserve to be cared for and kept safe.

CHO: Betty ultimately sued her daughter for all the money she says was stolen from her, $55,000, her entire retirement nest egg. After legal fees she recovered about half of it, and now relies on Social Security. But she is living on her own. At 70, Betty walks eight miles as day, has a boyfriend, and urges other seniors to take control of their golden years.

"BETTY": You can love your children. You can say to yourself, my children would never be ever be ever do this. But my advice to every person that reaches the age of 50, make out a will. Put somebody in charge of your money that you can trust.


CHO: So how do you spot elderly abuse? Well, you know the experts say there are already obvious signs, Soledad, cuts, bruising, even something as simple as broken eyeglasses.

And social workers say one of the biggest indicator of elderly abuse, isolation. So for instance, if there's an elderly person living in your community, suddenly you don't see them at the grocery store, you don't see them at church, they suddenly disappear, that may be a sign that something is wrong, and in those cases, Soledad, the best advice is don't hesitate to pick up the phone, call, make sure that person is OK. It just may save their life.

O'BRIEN: So whatever happened in this case? Did this woman go ahead and bring her daughter to court and charge her with elderly abuse?

CHO: No, she didn't. At the end of the day, she said this is still my daughter. She actually ran into her in a grocery store two years ago, sort of JUST past each other, not much came out of that. This woman, as I mentioned, it was very difficult for her to come forward.

And remember, 84 percent of cases are never reported, and so the advice among social workers is you know try to educate people about this, educate seniors that this is going on, and that's the best way to get them to come forward.

O'BRIEN: What a terrible story. Alina, thanks -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: We're going to have a look ahead at some of today's hearings for the suspect the JonBenet Ramsey killing. We're going to hear from two lawyers who talked to him yesterday and find out whether he told them anything about his particular confession. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)




O'BRIEN: John Mark Karr could be on his way to Colorado today. We're going to talk to two attorneys who spent time with the man who is accused of killing JonBenet Ramsey.

SANCHEZ: Fear has faded on the campus of Virginia Tech University, after an armed murder suspect was finally found hiding in the bushes.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: By this time tomorrow we will have the first tropical storm of the season. That's Debbie, a hurricane, in just a couple of days. Big storm coming off the coast of Africa. The first of what we call the Cape Verde season. More on that coming up.

Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Chad. Remember the movie "Marathon Man?" Well, here's a true marathon man who is going the extra mile for Hurricane Katrina victims, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Rick Sanchez.

O'BRIEN: Let's get right to what's happening out in California this morning. Now jailed there in fact, John Mark Karr is awaiting an extradition hearing today. If he waives extradition, as some expect, he could be in Boulder, Colorado, very soon to face charges in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.

CNN's Drew Griffin live for us in Los Angeles outside that courthouse.

Drew, good morning.


This could be extremely quick. What is going to happen in the extra hearing is Colorado's issued an arrest warrant for John Mark Karr. If John Mark Karr goes into that courthouse, as we expect, and say, that's me,I'm the guy they want out in Colorado, he's essentially waived his extradition, and he will be heading back to Colorado to face charges in the JonBenet Ramsey killing.

The big question is, will he be represented by an attorney? He met some attorneys in his jail, his isolation cell, yesterday here in Los Angeles. There are attorneys in town who have represented him in the past. There's also public defenders willing to step up and represent him. But again, this is all about as quickly as possible getting him through the California court and getting him to Colorado, where the Boulder District Attorney's Office says they are eager to get John Mark Karr back in Colorado and get the case rolling, the case in the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: So, then, what exactly happens today? He's going to face charges or -- you said it's going to be relatively quick.

GRIFFIN: Yes, relatively quick. Jeffrey Toobin, our CNN legal analyst, explained it all yesterday. This is all about is the person who is on the arrest warrant in Colorado the same person that is standing before me here in the courthouse before the judge? And if John Mark Karr says yes, that person is me, then he'll be off to Colorado.

So the only way you could fight extradition, really, is say they got the wrong guy. That doesn't appear to be the case here.

O'BRIEN: Then pretty straightforward.

All right, thanks very much for that update.

We'll obviously continue to follow this as we get more information on the case.

The father of JonBenet Ramsey not talking to the media about Karr. His attorney is, though. Lin Wood is telling CNN's Larry King that John Ramsey is urging the public to go slowly.


LIN WOOD, RAMSEY FAMILY ATTORNEY: John wants the public to be patient, not to rush to judgment and not to engage in the type of speculation and rumor and gossip and hearsay against this man that, unfortunately, people engaged in with respect to him and his wife, and, tragically, even, at times, his son.


O'BRIEN: The man who led investigators to Karr, the University of Colorado professor, Michael Tracey, was also on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night. And he, too, urged patience for the judicial system.


MICHAEL TRACEY, CORRESPONDED WITH KARR: He really does have a right to be presumed innocent. There's a kind of -- a curious kind of art to this, that we have a situation where John Ramsey himself is sort of saying he deserves to be presumed innocent. And John Ramsey, more than any other person on the planet, knows what it's like to be presumed guilty.


O'BRIEN: Karr is being held on suspicion of first degree murder. He's not been charged yet.

"LARRY KING LIVE" airs nightly at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

SANCHEZ: Let's tell you now about a CNN Security Watch. Eleven suspects charged in an alleged airline terror plot appeared in a British courtroom today. At least one of them was ordered held until his next court appearance next month. Eleven other suspects are still in custody in the case.

Be sure to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

In the news, three Egyptian students will appear before an immigration judge today. The students, along with either others, were arrested after they failed to show up for a university program in Montana earlier this month. But FBI and immigration officials say there is absolutely no evidence to point the finger of terrorism toward any of these men at this point.

And former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is back in court. Today, two co-defendants in his second genocide trial insisted the Iraqi military never targeted Kurdish civilians. Hussein and six others are charged in connection with a brutal campaign that killed tens of thousands of Kurds in the late 1980s.

O'BRIEN: We're just moments away from a critical decision on the future of Iran's nuclear program. Iran is going to announce whether it's going to stop enriching uranium. The U.N. Security Council has threatened sanctions and Iran widely expected to defy the U.N.'s demands.

Iran's supreme leader, in fact, vowing a forceful response to any move on the country's nuclear program.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is the only U.S. television journalist in Tehran and he joins us there this morning.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These images, broadcast on Iranian TV, send a simple message -- if any military force tries to enter Iranian air space, this is what will happen.


RAMAN: It was the latest in a series of war games launched across the country, set to last five weeks and set to show case what Iran calls its new defensive military doctrine.

UNIDENTIFIED IRANIAN OFFICIAL (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We have designed and manufactured systems that can make Iran's air territory insecure for enemies in different magnitudes.

RAMAN: On display to Iranian TV cameras and nobody else, a readiness for war, a readiness to protect nuclear sites against a potential strike by the West. To reinforce the message of defiance, a TV appearance by the country's top official, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. He announced Iran would continue to pursue nuclear energy despite a U.N. deadline to stop by the end of the month.

Combined with these scenes, it's all meant to reinforce this is a government intent on pursuing a nuclear program and ready to defend against any military attack to prevent that.

But do Iranians feel the same one?

At one of Iran's war memorials, a solemn arch reminds of a brutal past of the eight year battle between Iran and Iraq. We came to see if people were worried that their country's pursuit of a nuclear program could lead to an international conflict. Nobody here questioned the government's claim that its program is strictly for producing energy. It's their right, they say, whatever the consequences.

"It is useless," Ali (ph) told us, "to worry about an attack when a basic need of the people, like nuclear energy, is being threatened. We will pursue that right against everything."

"People who believe in God, said Gorbani (ph), "are not afraid of sanctions or attacks by the United States."

Not afraid, and as Iran's military proclaimed, ready for whatever may come.


RAMAN: And, Soledad, we're just about an hour away from when we expect that official response by Iranian officials. We've moved now to Tajrish Square, one of the main squares in Tehran. We wanted to give you a rare, live glimpse of Iranians as they go about their normal day. There isn't much cause for concern on the streets here, having spoken to Iranians.

Today, a very auspicious Muslim holiday, the day, according to the Muslim faith, that the prophet was given his mission by god. That really is the cause of celebration today among Iranians. They expect, as the world does, that Iran will reject, in this written reply, any suspension of its nuclear program. And then where we go from here, they are essentially waiting to see -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question, Aneesh, because we've been reporting various times, we've been hearing it's minutes away, moments away. We've been hearing now an hour away.

What exactly is going to lead to the time that it's announced? Is there some big moment we're waiting for? Or could it be sort of any moment or hours away?

RAMAN: Well, the way it works here, unless there's live transmission by Iranian television from inside the office of the Supreme National Council, where we expect this hand over to take place. We'll only really find out once the video starts coming out. Iranian officials are very vague about these things leading up to them and you find out after the fact, often the case.

So what we expect is within the next hour, hour-and-a-half, video reports to emerge from that hand over. We'll know exactly who was there from the E.U. countries plus three, who was there from the U.N. Security Council. And then we'll get a sense of what exactly is in this comprehensive reply. It is expected to be lengthy. It is expected, according to officials we've spoken to, to call for further negotiations, to say that Iran is willing to talk about everything, as long as talks can take place. And this might be a way, they hope, to suspend that deadline that they face at the end of the month -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Aneesh, thanks for clarifying that.

Aneesh Raman in Tehran this morning -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: So one has to ask oneself, what are the options for the United States and for the Europeans if Iran does not give up its nuclear program?

CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon.

She can bring us up to date on what some of the plans may be. And she's joining us now live -- good morning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Rick.

Well, when you look at my college, Aneesh Raman's report from Iran, you see why Iran's military programs are causing so much concern.


STARR (voice-over): Iran's latest military exercises -- these missile firings, designed perhaps to send a message that Iran is determined to be a player on the world stage. These maneuvers come just as the country's leaders say Iran will not suspend its nuclear enrichment program despite international pressure. For President Bush publicly, there are no alternatives but diplomacy.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Imagine how difficult this issue would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon. And so therefore it's up to the international community, including the United States, to work in concert to -- for effective diplomacy.

STARR: But there is little indication that U.N. sanctions, if imposed, would change Iran's mind.

So what next?

COL. SAM GARDINER (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE INSTRUCTOR: The primary military option on the table right now with respect to Iran seems to be an air operation, an operation that would involve maybe four or five nights of very intense air attacks. It would include cruise missiles, B-2 bombers -- B-52 bombers with cruise missiles, striking the Iranian nuclear facilities and probably other military targets.

STARR: Analysts say support for a strike against Iran would be tough. U.S. forces in Iraq would have to be protected from Iranian retaliation. U.S. military assets, such as tanker aircraft and ships, must be put into position. A U.N. peacekeeping force first must be deployed in Lebanon to protect Israel.

But perhaps toughest?

GARDINER: The long pole in the tent is to convince the world and the American people that Iran has reached the category of serious enough that it requires a strike.


STARR: But, Rick, to be clear, U.S. military commanders say there are no current plans for a military strike against Iran. Nonetheless, they also acknowledge that Iran certainly seems emboldened, especially after the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: So, if anything, what they'll probably try to do is prolong this and find some way of getting Iran back to the table, right?

STARR: By all indications, both the United States, the Bush administration and its European partners certainly seem to want very much to see and make diplomacy work.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Barbara Starr from the Pentagon, bringing us up to date once again.

And we thank you -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning, things are back to normal at Virginia Tech University after a manhunt for an escaped inmate shut down the campus. William Morva, who is accused of two killings, was found in a briar patch not far from the campus.

In Georgia, a hospital spokeswoman says a Jackson County inmate died this morning after he was shot while trying to escape. Police say the inmate was being returned to jail in chains and leg irons when he grabbed a deputy's gun-and shot the deputy. The inmate was then shot by other deputies as he tried to drive away in a police van.

In western Missouri, the investigation goes on in the case against Michael Shaver. The 33-year-old says he's killed seven men and spread their remains around his yard. So far, officials have found dozens of small bone fragments less than an inch in size at his home.

Cleanup today in parts of the Texas Panhandle after big thunderstorms last night. In Amarillo, streets were rivers, pretty much, homes flooded. Police and firefighters had to work late into the night rescuing motorists whose cars had stalled in those high waters. Let's get right to Chad Myers.

He's at the CNN Weather Center with the latest for us -- hey, Chad, good morning.


Amarillo did pick up about three inches of rain in less than two hours and obviously water starts to go up pretty quickly when that happens.

Our first significant Cape Verde storm.

Now, what does that mean?

We've had some storms. We've had three tropical storms, but they've developed either in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico-or the warm eastern part of the Florida coast, the Western Atlantic, as we call it.

Here now, the eastern part of Atlantic Ocean. Think about the Eastern Pacific, kind of like by California. There's a cold current there.

So for a storm to develop -- and there's a pretty fairly cold current here across the coast of Africa. In order for a storm to form over here, you have to have that water above 80 degrees or so. So now we're in the middle, almost the middle of hurricane season. Now the water is warm enough.

We start to get different locations for storms to develop. And here's our first Cape Verde and it will be a hurricane by Saturday, as the day goes on.

We are still watching the development of something here, not spinning yet, but still, that's a lot closer to warmer water and obviously closer to the United States in general, Cancun-and Havana, right there, under some rain today -- back to you guys.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Chad.


SANCHEZ: Still to come, John Mark Karr system JonBenet Ramsey's death was an accident.

Was that a confession of murder?

We'll ask two lawyers who met with him yesterday.

O'BRIEN: Also, the cease-fire in the Middle East. Are U.N. peacekeepers on the same page as Lebanon and Israel?

We'll take a look.

SANCHEZ: And then later, 51 marathons in 50 days. How is that possible and why is he doing it?

His story ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Will John Mark Karr agree to be extradited to Colorado?

There are reports that the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case will agree to extradition and that he's going to represent himself.

Jamie Harmon and Patience Van Zandt are both defense attorneys and they met with Karr for several hours yesterday.

They're in L.A. today.

Ladies, nice to see you.

Thank you for talking with us.

Ms. Harmon, let's begin with you.

Are you -- have you both been hired now as his attorneys or not?

JAMIE HARMON, ATTORNEY WHO MET WITH KARR: No, not as yet. We have discussed our relationship at length and at this juncture our status as far as his legal representation is unclear.

O'BRIEN: Unclear because he has not agreed to hire you yet or unclear because you're not sure you want to be his attorneys?

HARMON: No. It's because we are trying to decide in what capacity we will assist him. There is no question but that we will be assisting him, it is just in what capacity that will occur, whether as trial attorneys or advisers or what have you. We don't know yet.

O'BRIEN: OK, because he -- I've read that, first of all, he will likely agree to be extradited, also that he might represent himself in the case.

If, in fact, you guys are advisers, could that be the scenario, that he's representing himself?

HARMON: No. He has -- he has categorically decided to accept, at the extradition hearing, the services of the public defender of Los Angeles County. So a lawyer from that office will be standing in with him this morning.

O'BRIEN: As you well know, he has said that he was there the night that JonBenet Ramsey was murdered.

I'm going to play a little bit of what he said to the media that surrounded him, the throng, really, as he was leaving Thailand.

Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MARK KARR: Her death was -- was an accident.

QUESTION: So you were in the basement?

KARR: Yes.

QUESTION: Can you tell us about your connection to the Ramsey family?

KARR: No comment.

QUESTION: How did you get into the basement to play with her?

KARR: No comment on that.


O'BRIEN: Ms. Van Zandt, these are certainly statements that could be seen or interpreted as very incriminating.

Do you think -- do these qualify as a confession?


Good morning, Soledad.

I think that -- that the man that we just heard was an exhausted, overwhelmed person who was under an extraordinary amount of pressure. I do not think that amounts to a confession. I think that what we got was a very small bit of -- of communication from Mr. Karr taken out of hours and hours, days and days of communication that he had with law enforcement officials and reporters, both in Thailand and on his way to the United States.

O'BRIEN: Meaning that when he says he was there the night of -- that she was murdered and that he is not innocent, that he's lying to the media?

VAN ZANDT: I'm not saying -- I don't wish to comment on that specifically. What I am saying is that Mr. Karr had -- even if he had been at his very best physically and emotionally, which he couldn't possibly have been after all the stress he was under, he had no time to think about what he was going to say and the magnitude of the import that is being given to words he spoke under extreme pressure, tired, frightened, harried by reporters and law enforcement officials, is -- it's not realistic and not practical, when you think about it, to take those few statements, isolate them and try to extrapolate from that the entirety of what he's trying to communicate.

O'BRIEN: We'll move on.

I want to ask you about this DNA sample. He gave one, apparently, according to officials in Thailand. Is he going to give a DNA sample here in the U.S.?

Many people have said, really, at the end of the day, it's going to come down to the DNA in JonBenet Ramsey's bedroom matching.

HARMON: I don't think we're in a position to disclose whether or not he intends to do that.

O'BRIEN: Attorneys Jamie Harmon and Patience Van Zandt.

We will see what your role ends up being as we continue to follow this case.

I thank you for talking with us this morning.

We appreciate it.

HARMON: You're welcome.

VAN ZANDT: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Rick.

SANCHEZ: We're going to have more on John Karr in just a little bit. We're going to go inside a DNA lab and see how DNA evidence could actually, in fact, most say will make or break this case.

And then later, a guy who brings new meaning to the nickname "Marathon Man." He's going to tell us what drove him to run-51 miles in just 50 days. Note the extra marathon there, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The man who claims he killed JonBenet Ramsey is in jail tonight...


O'BRIEN: Oh, it was a lot of talk when John Mark Karr was named as a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. And it is no surprise, then, that it's been providing plenty of fodder for the last night comedy shows, as well.

A big topic of conversation, too, on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."

Take a listen.


JON STEWART, HOST: We may or may not have solved the murder of one person in Colorado 10 years ago. For more, we go to Fox News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jonathan Karl arrested in Thailand for killing JonBenet Ramsey, now heading back to the U.S. Fox has a cameraman on the plane with him.

STEWART: Let it sink in, people, let it sink in. They're moving this man from Thailand to the U.S. on a plane. Obviously, this plane ride raises myriad questions. So much can happen with a Lex Luther like super villain like this man, who may or may not have had anything to do with anything.


O'BRIEN: Oh, that was funny. But...

SANCHEZ: Six cameras on this guy...

O'BRIEN: Oh...

SANCHEZ: ... while he's traveling and -- but they weren't allowed to ask him any questions, huh?

O'BRIEN: Jon Stewart is completely right.

No, but they interviewed a lot of the passengers, too.

SANCHEZ: And we did find out what he ate and drank.

O'BRIEN: There were lots of laughs, too, yesterday at the presidential address. The president gave a news conference. We were telling you about that right as our show ended. He was discussing some very serious topics like Iran and Iraq and the Middle East cease- fire.

But he also, you know, he always makes jokes with the journalists who are there.

Take a listen.

SANCHEZ: A good time had by all.

O'BRIEN: It's kind of becoming a hallmark, of course, in his appearances.

Jeanne Moos takes a look at what the president said.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two-minute warning.


MOOS: Two minutes until the jokes start. One of the president's favorite weapons to deflect and disarm is humor, which is why seersucker was the star at Monday's presidential press conference.

BUSH: By the way, seersucker is coming back. I hope everybody gets it.

KEN HERMAN, COX NEWSPAPER: Well, I think he insulted my suit no less than three times. But who's counting?

BUSH: Yes, Herman?

MOOS: Ken Herman has reported on President Bush for more than a dozen years. He's used to the Bush brand of humor.

BUSH: Let me finish my question, please. His hand's going up and I'm kind of getting old and, you know, just getting into my peroration. Look it up.


MOOS: Peroration -- the concluding part of a discourse.

But even in the beginning part of his discourse...

BUSH: Helen?

What's so funny about me saying Helen?

MOOS: There was a little ripple in the room because the president stopped calling on Helen Thomas for a couple of years.

BUSH: Let me finish. Let, let -- let me.

MOOS: And when he had finished...

BUSH: It's kind of like dancing together, isn't it?

MOOS: Though Helen later joked, "I don't waltz with this man."

BUSH: Stretch? Who are you working for, Stretch?

STRETCH: The "Washington Examiner."

BUSH: Oh, good. I'm glad you found work.

STRETCH: Thank you very much.

MOOS: Actually, Stretch's full nickname is Super Stretch, since he's six foot seven. There's also Little Stretch and plain old Stretch. Sometimes the president stretches his luck.

BUSH: Peter, are you going to ask that question with those shades on?

PETER WALLSTEN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": I can take them off if you want.

BUSH: No, I'm interested in the shade look, seriously here.

WALLSTEN: All right. I'll keep it then. MOOS: It turns out "Los Angeles Times" reporter Peter Wallsten has eye disease. The president later called him to apologize. Monday's Q&A took place in the new temporary press briefing room. The old one is being remodeled. Reporters fear they'll never get back in the White House.



BUSH: Absolutely you're coming back. You're coming back to the bosom of the White House.

MOOS: But being bosom buddies doesn't guarantee the question asked will be a soft ball. The president talked about 9/11 and Iraq in the same breath.

Ken "Seersucker" Herman interjected.

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

HERMAN: The attack on the World Trade Center.

BUSH: Nothing.

MOOS: Another media bloodsucker disguised in seersucker.

HERMAN: If I can make the leader of the free world happy with what I'm wearing, so be it.

BUSH: It's a ridiculous looking outfit.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: We'll take a look at our top stories straight ahead, including the fragile cease-fire now in the Middle East.

When are the U.N. peacekeepers going to be in place?

We'll take a look at that.

We're back in just a moment.

Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: Good morning.

Welcome everybody.

I'm Soledad O'Brien.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Rick Sanchez. O'BRIEN: It's nice to have you helping us out, by the way.

SANCHEZ: It's nice to be here.

O'BRIEN: Well, thank you.

SANCHEZ: I always ask, is it going to be you? Then I come.

O'BRIEN: Oh, you lie, but that's OK.

Thank you.

Thank you.

We've got lots to get to this morning.

Carol Costello has an update on some of the stories that we...

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When he hears it's me, he like runs away.

SANCHEZ: No, no, not true.

O'BRIEN: It's all -- he's totally making it up.

SANCHEZ: You're on the list, as well.

O'BRIEN: He's a charmer.

SANCHEZ: Costello.

O'BRIEN: He's a charm (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- on the list.

All right...


O'BRIEN: Thanks, Rick.

We're on the list.

SANCHEZ: You're on the good list.

O'BRIEN: Carol.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines