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Interview With New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; North Korea to Scrap Nuclear Weapons Program?; Snow Buries Upstate New York

Aired February 12, 2007 - 22:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
He was a Marine accused of murder, a decorated fighter, a devout young man. So, what moved him to pump as many as eight rounds into an unarmed Iraqi civilian, a father of 11 children? And why is he now challenging his plea and telling his story? It's a 360 exclusive, and it's coming up.

We begin, though, with the makings of a deal to get North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons program. As we speak, diplomats from North Korea and five other countries, including Russia, China and the United States, are still hammering out the final details. The agreement reportedly calls for Pyongyang to freeze its production of plutonium, to shut down its main reactor at Yongbyon, and let international inspectors back in.

In return, Kim Jong Il would give security guarantees, along with badly needed oil and electricity. Unclear, though, what happens to his program for enriching uranium, which can also be used to make nuclear weapons, or what happens to any existing bombs -- some tricky details yet to be worked out.

Bill Richardson knows firsthand about it. Before he was governor of New Mexico or a Democratic candidate for president, he hammered out the last major nuclear deal with Pyongyang, back in 1994.

We spoke earlier today.


ROBERTS: Governor Richardson, first of all, what do you think of this tentative deal that's been worked out with North Korea, good thing, bad thing?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: It's a good thing. It's a good, important first step, because what it basically means is that North Korea will not be able to harvest any new plutonium for nuclear weapons.

But we need a full denuclearization of the whole peninsula. That is going to be later. But it's a good first step.

ROBERTS: John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations, thinks that it's a -- it's a terrible deal. He hopes that the president still has time to reject it.

Listen to what he said earlier today, talking to Wolf Blitzer on "THE SITUATION ROOM."


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: It's bad for two reasons. First, it contradicts fundamental premises of the president's policy he's been following for the past six years.

And, second, it makes the administration look very weak, at a time, in Iraq and dealing with Iran, it needs to look strong.


ROBERTS: I want to get to the Iraq and the Iran issue in just a second, Governor.

But -- but Bolton also went on to say what this really does is takes us back to 1994 and the deal that you folks at the Clinton administration did with North Korea, and really does nothing to address their budding uranium-enrichment program, that this is all about putting the same caps on plutonium that you had in 1994.

RICHARDSON: Well, I'm glad he's no longer the U.N. ambassador, because this is a good deal.

And it shows that, if you negotiate directly with the North Koreans, as I have been urging -- and the administration finally has done this with this very good negotiator -- you're getting something. The reality is that North Korea will not be able to harvest any new plutonium.

The next step has to be get them to dismantle all their nuclear weapons. But this is an important step. And I don't mind, as a Democrat, saying that.

ROBERTS: But what about this idea that this deal only gets you back to where you were in '94, and does nothing about the nuclear -- the uranium-enrichment program?

RICHARDSON: Well, that's totally false, John, because what next is going to happen is further negotiations, based on North Korea dismantling their nuclear weapons. Now, they are getting millions of tons of fuel oil for this partial deal.

But it means that the six-party talks, led by the U.S., are going to continue. So, this is a good first step. We have been at a standstill with North Korea for two years. And, if you listen to the Boltons and Vice President Cheneys, we would be right now experiencing probably North Koreans having another missile test.

ROBERTS: What kind of message, though, does it send to Iran, as they continue to rattle sabers over their nuclear program?

RICHARDSON: Well, it says that, if you negotiate with the United States -- now, I wish the United States would negotiate with Iran and with Syria and with others -- that you might get a decent deal. You know, Iran does not have all the cards, John. They have a lot of oil. They don't want a -- they don't want the United States and European countries to cut off purchasing their oil, nor -- Iran wants stability in their region, on their borders. There is no stability. Iran wants to build nuclear weapons. We can't let them do that, but maybe some civilian nuclear capacity, some nuclear power plants.

So, hopefully, this a message to the Bush administration that, with bad guys, it is better to negotiate with and talk to them, and you might get a decent deal out of it. But, not talking to them, saying to Iran and Syria, you're bad and, therefore, we are not talking to you, doesn't make sense.

ROBERTS: Governor Richardson, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

RICHARDSON: Thanks. Thanks for having me, John.


ROBERTS: And, again, the talks are back under way. We will have a live report from Beijing a little bit later on in the program.

And, if the news tonight out of Beijing is cautiously hopeful, the same cannot be said about Baghdad, an especially bloody day there. You could you not escape it, even at a dry news conference. Listen to this. In all, three bombings, at least 90 people killed, a year to the day in the Muslim calendar since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.

In addition, the war of words is ratcheting up yet again over claims that Iran is fueling some of the slaughter.


ROBERTS (voice-over): These pictures held up as evidence of Iran's meddling in Iraq, weapons, the U.S. says, provided to Shia militias used to kill U.S. and coalition troops.

The photos were released Sunday in Baghdad, and quickly prompted a denial from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): But we think that the U.S. is following another policy, is trying to hide its defeats and failures. And that is why it's pointing fingers to others.


ROBERTS: And he may, in part, have a point, according to Iran expert Patrick Clawson.

PATRICK CLAWSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR RESEARCH, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Inside Iraq, it is more acceptable to talk about the foreign role in causing violence than to talk about an Iraqi role. So, to blame Iran for the Shia random killings plays well with Iraqi audiences.

ROBERTS: But the Iranian weapons were not brand-new finds. In fact, they were collected over the past couple of years. So, why unveil them now? To some critics, it looks like an aggressive step toward a new war with Iran.

Here's what the commander in chief had to say about that.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess my reaction to all the noise about, you know, he wants to go to war, is, first of all, I don't understand the tactics. And I guess I would say it's political.

ROBERTS: In fact, the president probably speaks for many on that front. What are the tactics in play? The reality is that the administration is trying to send different messages to different audiences.

CLAWSON: The U.S. has, for a long time, understated the Iranian role in Iraq, in the hopes that, in fact, there would be ways found to resolve these issues, for, after all, the Iraqi government wants to have as good relations as it can with its large neighbor to the east.

ROBERTS: Now, as the problems in Iraq worsen, U.S. allies are growing restless. On the one hand, the U.S. has to assure its friends in the Middle East that it's willing to stand up to Iran, but, at the same time, convince its European partners it's not war-mongering, a concern boldly stated by Russia's President Vladimir Putin this weekend.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.

ROBERTS: And then there's the domestic Iranian audience, where there's been debate recently over whether Ahmadinejad is getting too aggressive.

Publicizing the Iranian weapons at a time like this could add further fuel to his critics at home, critics the American government has always been careful to court.


ROBERTS: More now on the politics inside Iran, as well as the timing of the allegations against it.

I spoke earlier tonight with CNN's Michael Ware and Christiane Amanpour.


ROBERTS: Michael, these explosively foreign penetrators, or -- or projectiles, are hardly anything new. They have been around since 2005. And Iran has long been suspected of supplying at least the parts for them.

So, why is the United States making such a -- a big point of this now, particularly all of the security and secrecy around yesterday's briefing?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reason that the officials have given for the secrecy -- and that's that debriefing could not be recorded, and the three officials who were present could not be named or identified, except by title, a senior defense official, a senior defense intelligence analyst, and an explosives expert -- was, they said, so that the media to could get access to the information that at least one of these men, the intelligence analyst, had.

They said, he cannot be exposed. His identity cannot be revealed. And, if it was to be a public event, we would not have access to his information.

As to the timing, well, that's up to anyone's guess. The military says, it took time to collate this information, declassify it, and protect their methods.

They also said that there's been such an upsurge in the use of these weapons, that they felt that they were obliged to disclose it. That's their story.

ROBERTS: Yes, there were some sources who were -- who were saying that they were -- they were worried about authenticating the -- the intelligence, particularly this idea that ties these IEDs to Iran.

Christiane Amanpour, the Iranian government is denying absolutely any involvement in this. Any reason to believe them?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are denying it. And they deny it strenuously.

They basically say that they believe that the U.S. is -- is doing it because the U.S. is trying to deflect attention from a very catastrophic situation inside Iraq.

Now, there may be -- there may be evidence. You know, certainly I'm not privy to it. But what I can tell you is what you know. And that is, the Iranians do deny it. Now, that's on the official level.

Behind the scenes and on background, very senior government official, connected, very, very well-connected, has told me that he believes the time is now to start ratcheting back this dangerous escalation of rhetoric, and actually to start finding ways for the United States and Iran to have an engagement and a rapprochement, not from position of dictating or weakness or strength or anything like that, but from a position of mutual interest and mutual benefit.

ROBERTS: Michael Ware, the United States military believes that these parts for these IEDs are coming from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Al-Quds division.

What -- what is the Al-Quds division? And -- and what can be done to stop the cross-border traffic -- traffic of this type of explosive device?

WARE: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's very hard. You can restrict the flow, but you shall not stop it.

And the Quds Force, the Jerusalem Force, within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is its extraterritorial, essentially, its Green Berets on black operations would be a rough equivalent from an American point of view. And, according to U.S. intelligence, they answer not to the armed forces, but directly to the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself.

ROBERTS: And, Christiane, even -- even if Iran were to be found to be supplying these IEDs, or -- or even the parts for them, what could the United States really do? During the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. was -- was very openly supplying the Mujahedeen with the service-to-air missile launches to knock down Russian helicopters.

AMANPOUR: To try -- to try to stop it, whatever it is, clearly, would need engagement. That -- that seems to be the most logical way to try to -- to -- to figure out what's going on, and try to have some influence on it.

You remember this incredible moment many months ago now, it seems, when the then-U.S. Ambassador to Zalmay Khalilzad was meant to be having talks with Iranian counterparts precisely about this kind of -- of thing, and those talks were canceled abruptly, at the last minute.

I think that most people looking in believe that it's -- it's got to have -- there's got to be some kind of engagement on this issue, and that it's not going to be stopped militarily.

ROBERTS: And, until there is, it looks like American solders and Marines will keep fighting and dying at the hands of these devices.

Christiane Amanpour in London, Michael Ware in Baghdad, as always, thanks.


ROBERTS: A new message tonight from al Qaeda's number two -- in it, Ayman al-Zawahri calls on Afghans to unite under the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

He went on to say that President Bush is addicted to drinking, lying and gambling, and will soon abandon the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, just like was done with South Vietnam.

Still to come tonight: the mother of all battles here at home -- a ground war, that is, if you can even find the ground under all that snow. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): Eight feet, 10 feet, even 12 feet of snow -- can you dig it? They sure are. And they are about to get more.

Also, the photo, the drugs in her fridge, new suspicions about her son's death -- just when you thought the Anna Nicole case could get no stranger, it does.

And we will bring you the latest -- ahead on 360.



ROBERTS: A winter storm in Upstate New York has literally buried parts of Oswego County, dumping nearly 12 feet of snow in just nine days.

That's an incredible amount, even for that part of the country.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No town in the U.S. has gotten more snow this month than Redfield, New York. The town looks like it's been gobbled up; 141 inches have fallen since February 3, one of the largest snowfalls from one system in New York state's recorded weather history.

CAROL YERDON, RESIDENT OF REDFIELD, NEW YORK: I will tell where you I used to get my mail. And this would be my mailbox under here.

TUCHMAN: Carol Yerdon lives in Redfield with her husband and son.

YERDON: This is our only entrance at the moment.

TUCHMAN: The front entrance and the top floor of the house have disappeared under feet of snow. There was concern the roof could collapse.

YERDON: Absolutely, we measured exactly 60 inches of snow on the roof. So, it was time to shovel.

TUCHMAN: Incredible amounts of snow have been measured throughout New York State's upper tier, east of Lake Ontario, in towns like Mexico, New York.

TERRY GRIMSHAW, MAYOR OF MEXICO, NEW YORK: We had a storm in '66, but that was a three-day storm. This has gone on for a week.

TUCHMAN: But Redfield gets the prize for the most snow. Despite that, school was open today. You would not see that if another town in this state, New York City, got 146 inches of snow. Even though they are used to huge amounts here, this one is inspiring wonder.

YERDON: Usually, we don't go too far from home, I can say that, because, once you do get cleared out, if there's another bout coming, you are liable to not be able to get back in.

TUCHMAN: Inside the Yerdons' home, it is very dark, because snow blocks the windows. But the heat is plentiful. And so are the good spirits, as the family counts down the days to spring.

YERDON: But it might be about May before we see green grass.


TUCHMAN: Right now, the temperature is five below zero Fahrenheit, but the wind and the walls of snow make it much colder.

I want to thank this family for letting me lean on top of their roof to do a surreal demonstration that I would recommend you not do, unless you have 141 inches of snow.

But you can start on the roof and then walk down through these snow drifts, and make your way, safe and sound, 17 feet down to the ground by just walking. And this gives you an idea what they are dealing with here.

There have been no tragedies here, nothing hard to deal with. The fact is, people here are used to a lot of snow, usually don't have this much. The main concerns is not letting these snow drifts get in the way of vents, because that could cause problems in the house with gases, with heat, and also what to do with all the snow. They simply don't have enough space for the snow, so most of it just stays in piles.

But the schools remain open. They are also talking about another type of record here. Ten years ago, they got 420 inches of snow during the entire winter year. That's the all-time-recorded record. Right now, they are up to 287 inches of snow. More snow is coming tonight and Wednesday. They are expecting another 12 inches.

So, there is the thought here that this little town of 680 people can have an all-time record, in addition to the one-system record of 11 feet, 10 inches -- John, back to you.

ROBERTS: It's just amazing, Gary, and would have been so much better if they had, had a mountain there in Redfield. Thanks very much.

One hundred and forty-one inches of snow in Redfield, New York, set a New York State record for the most snowfall in a single storm. But, believe it or not, that's short of the national record. Here's the "Raw Data" for you.

The record for a single snowstorm is 189 inches. That's more than 15 feet of snow. That happened at Mount Shasta Ski Bowl in California over one week in February of 1959. As for the most snow in a 24-hour period, 75.5 inches of snow fell in Silver Lake, Colorado, back in April of 1921.

And, as Gary mentioned, there's more winter weather on the way. It starts as freezing rain in Illinois and Indiana tomorrow, and then moves east over Ohio and Pennsylvania. By Wednesday, western New York could be looking at another 12 inches of snow. But that kind of pales in comparison to what they have been getting.

Now to breaking news: two shootings in two major cities. In Philadelphia, five people were killed and another critically injured in an apparent murder-suicide at a marketing firm in the city's old Navy Yard. Police tell CNN that four people were found dead in one room of Zigzag Net. The fifth, believed to be the shooter, was found in another room.

In Salt Lake City, a deadly shooting inside a shopping mall -- the fire department says as many as five people are dead. Police say they shot one suspect. Right now, they are looking for another and other possible victims.

Some other headlines as well tonight.

Erica Hill has our 360 news and business bulletin.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John, political columnist Robert Novak was called as a witness today in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis Scooter Libby.

Novak testified that former Secretary of State Richard Armitage and White House political adviser Karl Rove were the sources of his information about Valerie Plame. She's the former CIA agent who Novak named in a column. That revelation set off an investigation now playing out in federal court.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks fell today, spurred by a drop in oil prices. U.S. crude fell more than $2 a barrel and worries over further evidence of weakness in the housing market, as markets continued to react to Friday's news that home loan foreclosures have reached their highest level in five years.

A price hike by the leading U.S. discount airline, Southwest, set off a chain reaction among its rivals. Southwest is raising its fares by up to $10 each way. American, Continental and the bankrupt Northwest Airlines are matching that increase.

And, finally, it is official. We will finish on a high note here. Hours after performing at the Grammys, The Police today announced a reunion tour. The band, which broke up in 1984, will perform across North America and Europe. It all kicks off, John, May 28 in Vancouver. Mark your calender.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to that, but I'm hoping that they have a song that is a little more recent than 22 years old.

Ahead on 360: more twists and turns in the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's 5-month-old baby. We will have the latest from the Bahamas.

Plus: A young Marine who pleaded guilty to murdering an innocent Iraqi, and then changed his mind, now he says he was just following orders -- an exclusive CNN interview, next on 360.


ROBERTS: From her final hours to the future of her baby girl, so many unanswered questions about Anna Nicole Smith -- the latest next on 360.


ROBERTS: Anna Nicole Smith was used to grabbing the headlines, a "Playboy" model who married an 89-year-old billionaire. She went as far as the Supreme Court to get her inheritance.

And the headlines have not stopped with her death, from the fight over her baby to the contents of her refrigerator.

CNN's Rusty Dornin joins me now from the Bahamas, where she's live.

Rusty, there are so many odd angles to this story. Let's -- let's start with what's happening there.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, John, this island prides itself on allowing celebrities to have anonymity. And a lot of people have told us: Look, we really aren't interested in this whole story about Anna Nicole Smith.

But now there's a scandal brewing that is really shaking up the whole Bahamian government. Here we have pictures with Anna Nicole Smith with the minister of immigration. There's speculation that there was some kind of affair that was going on. He actually appeared on Bahamian television tonight with his wife to deny those charges, saying it was not an individual relationship; he had a relationship with the family.

But there are definitely members in -- within the government that are asking for him to step down -- John.

ROBERTS: Rusty, did he say how he ended up on her bed?

DORNIN: Well, he said, actually, the picture was taken by Howard Stern, and it was all very friendly. And he also claims the photos were stolen from the house, one of the sets of items that they claim were stolen from Anna Nicole Smith's house.

ROBERTS: What about this other picture that was apparently taken of Anna Nicole Smith's refrigerator?

DORNIN: That's an amazing story, because they are not denying that it -- that it was taken from her refrigerator. And inside was a bottle of Slim-Fast, which her attorney says was planted there. But there was also a bottle of methadone, which they do not say was planted there. And that has piqued the interest of Bahamian authorities here, who say methadone was found in high levels in Daniel Smith's -- that was Anna Nicole's son -- system when he died.

Now, there's already an inquest that is going to be happening. And they definitely want to talk to them. We talked to the chief magistrate here, Roger Gomez, who says there are suspicious circumstances surrounding Daniel Smith's death.


ROGER GOMEZ, BAHAMIAN CHIEF MAGISTRATE: He died so suddenly. He came here for what would normally have been a festive occasion, to see his newborn sister. So, it's unusual for someone to die suddenly like that. So, we want to find out exactly why.


DORNIN: Now, that inquest is scheduled for March 26. There is going to be 30 people coming, apparently -- 30 witnesses -- and, apparently, 15 of them from the U.S.

ROBERTS: Methadone pretty typical treatment for heroin addiction -- is -- is there a chance that he just could have been coming off a heroin addiction, and that innocently explains that bottle?

DORNIN: Well, that's the whole question that they are wondering. Why would that still be in her refrigerator now, if Daniel Smith has -- already has died last year? Why would the methadone bottle still be in Anna Nicole Smith's refrigerator?

So, there are large -- so, it's just -- they want to ask Howard Smith. He was the only -- or Howard Stern -- excuse me -- he was the only one that was in that room, in the hospital room. There were three people when Daniel Smith died, and two of them are dead. And, so, he wants to know -- ask more questions of Howard Stern.

ROBERTS: A lot of twists and turns.

Rusty Dornin in Nassau, in the Bahamas -- thanks, Rusty.

As you might imagine, there's a lot more to the Anna Nicole Smith story -- more on the legal angles, all 42 of them, with Court TV's Lisa Bloom.

And coming up later on: a 360 exclusive -- the decorated Marine accused of murdering an Iraqi civilian now changing his plea, saying he was ordered to do it.

That's coming up.



LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: How did fame affect her?

JACKIE HATTEN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH'S FRIEND: Fame got to her in a way where people like Howard K. Stern leeched on and hung on for anything that they could: money, fame, fortune, and she felt used.


ROBERTS: That was Jackie Hatten, a woman who claims that she was Anna Nicole Smith's best friend, on "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight.

Before the break, we talked about some of the unanswered questions surrounding Anna Nicole's sudden death. Court TV's Lisa Bloom joins me now to talk about some of the legal issues involved.

As that woman said, Howard K. Stern, still hanging on. He's apparently moved back into the house that Anna Nicole was staying at in the Bahamas, along with Dannielynn, her 5-month-old daughter.

What are they doing in the house? Because there's a dispute over who owns it.

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, that's right. And the owner of the house -- I spoke to his attorney today -- says that they don't have the right to be there, that he didn't give the house as a gift to Anna Nicole, although he always said he did. Apparently, there's no legal document, according to his attorney, showing they had any right to be there. The locks have been changed a couple of times and, nevertheless, they are there.

So they can go somewhere else in the Bahamas, but I think it's smart for Howard Stern to be in the Bahamas with the baby. Because he's been with the baby for five months, and as the time goes by, a court deciding paternity is eventually going to say, this is the only parental figure this child has known that's still alive and may give him some kind of presumption, some kind of benefit of the doubt.

ROBERTS: What's the presumption of paternity as it relates to the Bahamas?

BLOOM: Well, from the Bahamian lawyers that I've spoken to today, two people who live together who have a long standing relationship, which would be Howard Stern and Anna Nicole, there is a presumption that a baby born to that relationship is the child of those two...

ROBERTS: Even if it wasn't.

BLOOM: That's right. Even if it wasn't. Similar to in the United States, a baby born to a legally married couple is presumed to be the child of that mother and father. Courts don't want to hear outsiders coming in and changing the nature of the marital relationship.

In the Bahamas, living together apparently is good enough. And courts are not required to have a baby submit to a DNA test. That's discretionary. So everybody involved in this paternity case needs to go down to the Bahamas, file an action down there and get the judges in the Bahamas to rule on this thing. And as long as they don't, this baby is in the Bahamas with Howard Stern and may stay there.

ROBERTS: So this paternity hearing that's coming up on the 20th, is it moot?

BLOOM: Well, it's not moot, but here's the problem. The Bahamas is a separate country. It's a sovereign nation. So they don't have to follow court orders that are entered in the United States.

You know, Larry Birkhead has been giving court orders, saying the baby needs to submit to a DNA test. Howard Stern and Anna Nicole Smith were in the Bahamas with the baby, thumbing their nose at the court order. There's no reason to think Howard Stern will change that now that she's gone.

ROBERTS: Her mother, Virgie Arthur, is also down there. Does she have any legitimate claim to this child?

BLOOM: Not really. Not as far as I can tell. Look, she's the biological grandmother. I think most sane people want her to have some relationship with the child, but she doesn't have rights over those of the biological parent or even a putative parent, a parent like Howard K. Stern, unless the court gives her those rights.

ROBERTS: You've got to take a look at the front page of the Bahamian newspapers today and see that picture of the immigration minister in bed...

BLOOM: Literally in bed...

ROBERTS: With his arm around Anna Nicole. Bahamians -- he is saying, or and his family is saying Howard K. Stern was there. It was all in good fun. But that doesn't look good.

BLOOM: You don't want an immigration official embracing someone in this way, their lips maybe an inch or two away from each other. They look like they have clothes on, but they're lying down. They're in bed.

And the question is, did she get special favors? She was trying to become a resident of the Bahamas because she was behaving this way with the immigration official?

ROBERTS: I think people in the Bahamas are asking, did the immigration official get special favors?

BLOOM: Did it flow both ways? What was he getting? What was she getting? But it certainly does not look good. And they were trying to establish legal residency in the Bahamas. That's why they were trying to buy that house and live in that house. That was one of the elements. And then that all blew up.

ROBERTS: Lisa, really quickly, is there anything further yet on this inheritance, who could stand to inherit all this money that may be coming her way? BLOOM: Well -- well, that's right. May be are the critical words. It's all potential. You know, she initially was entitled to $464 million. Then reduced to zero by the federal courts. Then $80 something million, then reduced to zero. She won in the Supreme Court. What did she win? The right to keep fighting in federal court.

So lawyers are going to keep fighting this, and it's like Jaundice vs. Jaundice in the old Charles Dickens novel "Bleak House". It could go on for decades, as the participants die off, as many of them have. The lawyers will keep fighting it. Maybe Dannielynn will one day get some of the money. But it's not a sure thing.

ROBERTS: This will keep you folks at Court TV busy for a long time.

BLOOM: Oh, yes. A lot of legal -- it's like a law school exam: jurisdiction, child cases, wills, estates. It's got everything.

ROBERTS: All right. Lisa Bloom, thanks. It's always good to see you.

Up next on 360, a CNN exclusive interview with the U.S. Marine on trial for murder. Why he changed his mind about pleading guilty to killing an innocent Iraqi.

Plus, Jeff Koinange's exclusive report on rebels in the Niger Delta. He went where few reporters go, and now he' coming under attack by Nigeria's government. All of that still ahead on 360.


ROBERTS: Tomorrow at Camp Pendleton in California, Lance Corporal Roger Pennington will face murder and kidnapping charges. He's one of seven Marines and a sailor that are accused in the killing of an Iraqi man and the subsequent cover-up.

Just last week, in an unexpected twist, another defendant in the case withdrew his guilty plea. He did so shortly after giving an exclusive interview to CNN's Jason Carroll.

As Jason reports, it's a case that's brought the fog of war all the way home.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's still hard to say what happened that one terrible moment in Iraq. Hard to understand why a devout Christian is now forced to make this distinction.

(on camera) Which one are you?

TRENT THOMAS, CHARGED WITH MURDERING IRAQI: I'm a Marine. I'm not a hero. I'm not a murder. I'm a Marine. I will leave it at that. I'm a Marine. CARROLL (voice-over): Trent Thomas had long dreamed of being a Marine. He grew up in East Saint Louis amid drugs and desperation. Here, violent crime is seven times the national average. But Thomas went his own way, attended church, won these awards at Christian camp. Bible college was his way out of East Saint Louis.

THOMAS: I was either at school or at work or at church. So there was really no time in between.

CARROLL: Soon Thomas joined the Marines. He would serve three tours in Iraq. During his second was shot in a firefight as he recovered a fellow Marine's body. He received a Purple Heart for his heroism.

But last April during his final tour, Thomas came face-to-face with that terrible moment. His squad was searching for an insurgent in Hamdaniya, northwest of Baghdad.

Details of what happened next come from Thomas and other Marines during the court-martial testimony that would follow. They couldn't find the insurgent at his house, and furious that yet another insurgent seemed to be getting away, they went next door.

There they found Hashim Ibrahim Awad, who was not an insurgent but a 52-year-old father of 11. Thomas and other Marines testified that they bound the Iraqi man's hands and feet. Then Thomas says, he shot Awad.

(on camera) How many times did you fire at him?

THOMAS: Maybe five or six. Seven, eight, somewhere in there. I think maybe about eight altogether.

CARROLL (voice-over): The question of Thomas' defense ultimately would come down to this: what could have driven him to abandon his judgment and his faith and to commit such a heinous crime? Thomas says he hoped killing Awad would send a message.

THOMAS: I look at the situation as, maybe we just set an example. Maybe these people are putting IEDs on the road...

CARROLL (on camera): A good example or a bad example?

THOMAS: Maybe we set an example for any future terrorist that are going to put an IED on this road.

CARROLL (voice-over): Eventually Thomas' eight-member squad was charged with offenses ranging from kidnapping to murder. At first, Thomas pleaded guilty to second degree murder, kidnapping and making false statements.

Thomas told us relentless battle turned him into a different person, not the Christian his family knows, but rather a frustrated soldier who saw violence and blood every day, one who saw his best friend die in battle. THOMAS: You heard of the battered wives syndrome. The wife comes home. Her husband beats her every day. Beats her every day. And one day she says, "I can't take it anymore," and she shoots him. Now is that justified?

Put Marines in the same situation. They're getting shot at. They're getting blown up every day. And they get mad, and they go out and do something. Is it justified?

CARROLL: And yet even as he provides that explanation, he says it's not enough for him.

THOMAS: At the time I felt that I was doing what I had to do, and now that I'm back here, I know that it was wrong what we did. And for that, I'm truly sorry.

CARROLL (on camera): Were you ordered to do what you did?

THOMAS: I really can't say.

CARROLL (voice-over): Thomas' commanding officer is also charged with murder. His attorney didn't return our calls.

Thomas' family says they believe the truth is he was following orders.

LINDA THOMAS, MOTHER OF ACCUSED MARINE: My son is not a murderer. My son was ordered to do whatever he did.

CARROLL: The day after these interviews, Thomas changed his guilty plea to not guilty, his attorney saying he killed an innocent man that day because he was ordered to do it.

THOMAS: I think your leadership plays a huge factor in what you do. That's all I can say.

CARROLL (on camera): But you understand, I think, some would argue, if you're going after someone who is identified as a bad guy, then it's justified. But if it's somebody who's just a bystander, then it's not justified.

THOMAS: A lot of people would argue that. But until you're put in the situation where everyone -- you take a face off everyone through so many bad circumstances...

CARROLL: And when you say take a face off, that means what?

THOMAS: You start -- you stop looking at people as people.

CARROLL (voice-over): What Thomas may ultimately do is take a closer look at the person he is behind the Marine.


ROBERTS: Jason Carroll is with us now. He's in a rather odd position, for the fact that he admits this guy has nothing to do with it. He admits that he shot him but now is changing his story, saying he was ordered to do it.

So he said that he was sorry. But did you get a sense that he's really come to grips with what he's done and sort of the enormity of it in terms of what it means for the image of the U.S. military?

CARROLL: It's an interesting question. I do believe that he is sorry for what he has done. In speaking to his attorney after that interview, I'm not so sure the magnitude of what he has done has sunk in. I'm not quite so sure the emotional impact of everything that he has seen for as long as he saw it has sunk in with him yet.

ROBERTS: So what happens to the case, now that he's pleaded not guilty?

CARROLL: At this point, it starts from scratch, goes back to point one. He goes through a military trial. And that's what he wants. That's what his attorney wants. He wants to be judged by his peers, and that would be a group of our fellow Marines.

ROBERTS: How does he feel about being a Marine now? As you pointed out in the piece, it was his lifelong dream to become a Marine?

CARROLL: It was. And absolutely, one of the proudest moments in his life, he said if he actually had the opportunity he would go back to being a Marine, if given the chance. However, he would not go back to Iraq, if given the chance.

ROBERTS: Yes. I bet if he had a do-over on that day, he might do it a little differently, as well. Jason Carroll, great piece. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

And you can read more about Corporal Trent Thomas on our blog. Just log on to and tell us what you think. We'll read some of your comments later on in the program.

Tonight, diplomats who try to hammer out a deal with North Korea over nuclear weapons. Still ahead: we'll look at what the proposal on the table would mean for everyone involved in the debate.

Also ahead, Jeff Koinange's exclusive report from deep in the Niger Delta and the heat that he's now taking for it.


ROBERTS: Those are rare pictures of a rebel group that is waging war over Nigeria's oil wells. Last week, CNN's Jeff Koinange fired several -- filed several gripping reports from the Niger Delta where the rebels have launched a violent campaign against the oil industry.

Jeff went there after receiving an e-mail invitation that he believed came from the leader of the militant group behind much of the violence. It wasn't long before Jeff and his crew realized what they could be facing. See for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We were an hour and a half up river from the delta town of Warri when suddenly, out of nowhere, masked gunmen in powerful speed boats surrounded us, shooting over our heads and demanding to know who we are.


ROBERTS: Well, the rebels ended up taking Jeff to a group of foreign hostages that they had kidnapped. In an exclusive report, Jeff talked to them. Listen to this.


KOINANGE: Just to show us how confident these MEND militants are, they brought us here, deep in the heart of the Niger Delta, to show us their latest hostages, 24 Filipino sailors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all OK, but only we want to be free. Yes. We want to be released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a family. And we need to communicate with them. But our communications is closed.


ROBERTS: As can you imagine, Jeff's reporting got a tremendous response from viewers to officials in the Philippines and now to the Nigerian government, which is accusing CNN of paying for and staging the report on those Filipino hostages.

Here's what a government spokesman told CNN's Jim Clancy.


FRANK NWEKE, NIGERIAN MINISTER OF INFORMATION: We have evidence that some of these people were actually paid to put up a show. They were -- they were counseled on what to do. They were advised what to do. And we thought this run against the grain of every practice of responsible and objective news reporting everywhere in the world. We have evidence to this effect. It was a paid job.


ROBERTS: CNN responded today in a statement denying those charges. Earlier, I talked to Jeff Koinange about the accusations.


ROBERTS: Jeff, let me get you to respond to a couple of the charges that have been brought against you, at least in the court of public opinion by the Nigerian government.

First, this idea that this whole thing was a setup on your part, that you set up the actors, you paid them. What do you say?

KOINANGE: John, first of all, CNN did not pay or stage any part of this story. What we did pay for, John, just so that we don't compromise ourselves, is the speed boat, the hire of a speed boat from the port of Warri for five hours, 100-horsepower speed boat, cost us $700. That we paid for. Because we wanted to be -- you know, to have control of the story.

The second thing we paid for was a fixer. And the fixer, as you well know, John, is a local journalist. When we go to an area, we need guidance. We need direction and also we need someone to translate for us. This came to about $150 a day for three days.

Those are the two things we paid for. CNN does not pay for interviews, period.

ROBERTS: Right. And what about the idea that this whole thing with the masked men was stage managed?

KOINANGE: How could it have been stage managed, John? People shooting over our heads in the middle of the swamps? We were hitting the decks, screaming for our lives. How could we have stage managed that?

And then when they took us to this place where they had these Filipino hostages that were dancing around, how could we have stage managed that?

And look at this, John, those hostages have been held for nearly a month. The government doesn't know where they are. We found them. We filmed them. We interviewed them. How do we have staged all of that? I mean, it's absolutely absurd.

KOINANGE: Another charge that the Nigerian government is leveling at you, Jeff, is that you failed one of the basic principles of journalism, and that is to get a comment from the Nigerian government. Did you ever try to contact them for this story?

KOINANGE: John, I'll tell you, right after we finished this story I knew we were sitting on something that was really hot, really controversial. We flew from the town of Warri directly to the capital of Abuja, and I immediately made phone calls to the president's office.

We sat there in Abuja for five whole days, waiting for a comment from the president. In fact what I wanted to do, John, was put some video on a laptop and show the president and, you know, get a comment from him on these rebels. Was he aware? Did he know what was going on? That's what I was prepared to do. We waited in Abuja for five whole days.

What the president's office came back and said, the president is busy on the campaign trail. He will -- he can not see you at this point.

ROBERTS: What do you think this is all about, Jeff? Is this you having embarrassed the Nigerian government? For instance, the fact that you did get those Filipino hostages on tape must have caused some tension between the Filipino and the Nigerian governments. KOINANGE: Clearly, John, we've hit a very raw nerve here. Our point was not to embarrass the Nigerian government. Our point was to show that there is a problem in the Niger Delta. And I wish this is what the government would be addressing right now.

There's been a problem for the last few decades. And now we've brought it to the fore. And everybody can see that this is an ongoing problem. It just didn't happen yesterday. What the government should be doing now is addressing the issues, not attacking the messenger. It's easy to attack the messenger.

But, obviously, they are clearly embarrassed and there could be a certain amount of pressure from the Philippine government. And again, those Filipino hostages, they're still out there. And you can just imagine their families back into the Philippines wondering, "What is happening to our loved ones?" That is the issue right there, John. Nobody seems to be addressing it.

ROBERTS: And interesting hornet's nest that you have stirred up. Jeff Koinange from Johannesburg, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it. We'll see you soon.

In our next hour, we're following a story out of Utah. Gunfire and casualties at a shopping mall in Salt Lake City. We're expecting to hear from a reporter on the scene, and we'll bring you the details when's 360 continues.


ROBERTS: Good evening again.

We begin the hour with breaking news. Gunshots at a shopping mall, gunshots and casualties. This is unfolding on Salt Lake City's east side. With us by phone is reporter Ben Winslow of the "Deseret Morning News".

Ben, it sounds like you're having some sort of a briefing beside you there. Can you tell us what you know about -- about this incident at this point in time?

BEN WINSLOW, "DESERET MORNING NEWS": What we know right now is that there are multiple fatalities, multiple casualties, but police are not saying how many yet.

We have one shooter who walked into the Trolley Square Mall here in Salt Lake City, in downtown Salt Lake City, and opened fire. He is dead.


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