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O.J. Questioned in Robbery; Defense Secretary Gates Hints st Deeper Iraq Troop Cuts; Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Still Sought

Aired September 14, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now, is O.J. Simpson in trouble again? Police say he's a possible suspect in an armed robbery. Find out what he has to say about it.

And stand down at a U.S. Air Force. Planes grounded as the military investigates exactly how nuclear weapons were flown across the country hanging from a bomber.

And more troop cuts, the Pentagon says it could go even further than the president's plan. Find out when they may be coming home. Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, the man famously found not guilty of murdering his ex- wife and her friend is a possible suspect in an alleged armed robbery. Police in Las Vegas say they are questioned and have questioned O.J. Simpson and are very interested in what he has to say about his involvement. Let's go straight to our Brian Todd for more. Brian, what is the latest on this developing story?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Suzanne, O.J. Simpson finds himself in the middle of a very bizarre case and at the moment it seems to be his word against another man's.


TODD (voice-over): Again, suspected of possible involvement in a serious crime, again, proclaiming his innocence. This time, it is robbery at a Las Vegas hotel. The alleged victim, a sports memorabilia collector says former NFL star O.J. Simpson and several other men took some items from his Thursday night in a room at the Palace Station hotel. He described the incident to

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was directed at gunpoint to go to pack the items up in the condition they were brought in.

TODD: Alfred Beardsley told Simpson seemed to be in charge. The Web site quotes Beardsley saying the group pretended to be customers interested in buying the suit Simpson wore when he was acquitted in 1995 of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson told The Associated Press, quote...

"Everybody knows this is stolen stuff. Not only wasn't there a break-in, but Riccio came to the lobby and escorted us up to the room. In any event, it's stolen stuff that's mine. Nobody was roughed up." The man Simpson mentioned, auctioneer Thomas Riccio backs him up, but implies that someone else had a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. came in, did not break in, trying to get his stuff back. He didn't have any gun. He wasn't with -- he didn't have any gun with him. And he -- he and his people confiscated the stuff. That's basically what happened. There was no break-in. O.J. was not the one with the gun. And, you know, he didn't steal anything.

TODD: A Las Vegas police official was asked about weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have reported from the victim that there were weapons involved. We have not determined that at this time and we have not recovered any weapons.


TODD: Police say Simpson is being questioned as a possible suspect but has not been arrested or charged and is not in custody. In fact, no arrests have been made. Asked if they were confident that Simpson wouldn't leave town, the police captain said he was not confident but he said Simpson didn't hesitate to cooperate with authorities -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Brian, do we have any idea about these other men who allegedly were involved in this, who they are or what their relationship is with Simpson?

TODD: We really do not. There are varied accounts of how many there were and who had any weapons if there were any weapons used. It is very unclear at the time -- at this time. And police are really not giving away much information right now. They say they'll start to give out more information in the coming days but right now some of those details, I'm sure are being hashed out possibly between O.J. Simpson and the Las Vegas police.

MALVEAUX: And Brian, I know, I guess one of the possible explanations for why he might have been in that room I understand that he makes money, needs to make money because he auctions off or sells his own items, memorabilia...

TODD: That's right. He does. And he has done that since the acquittal in 1995 to make money. He has auctioned off various items that he has owned, at one point he sold off his Heisman Trophy that he won in 1968. And he does do this on a regular basis. This man in the piece, Thomas Riccio, is an auctioneer who says he occasionally does business with O.J. Simpson. He claimed that O.J. Simpson called him and claimed that these items were stolen so, again, you know, very early on in this investigation. Police admit that and they are really kind of loathe to give out a lot more information at this point.

MALVEAUX: Sure. Brian Todd, thank you so much for those details. And straight ahead, we'll go live to Las Vegas and CNN's Ted Rowlands. He spoke with O.J. Simpson and Ted will tell you what he had to say.

... announced a roll back of his Iraq troop surge. The Pentagon is suggesting much deeper troop cuts may follow. Here's our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. And Jamie, what is the latest in terms of the numbers and when we might see some of these folks coming home?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well this comes from the secretary of defense, Bob Gates, who held a news conference this afternoon and even though he is stressed that he's very familiar with long-term projections in Iraq that don't work out so well and while he underscored that General Petraeus believes he cannot plan much past six months, nevertheless, the defense secretary held out the prospect that more than a year from now, 15 months from now in January of 2009 the number of U.S. troops could be as low as 100,000 troops. Now he said that's not a projection. That's not a promise. That's not a forecast. It's just a hope.


ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: And my hope is that when he does his assessment in March that General Petraeus will be able to say that he thinks that the pace of draw downs can continue at the same rate in the second half of the year as in the first half of the year. That's my hope.


MCINTYRE: And again, if that were to pan out, you would not see only -- not only the five brigades that are gone now taking from 20 to 15 but it will go from 15 to 10 and as Secretary Gates says, if you do the math, that's about 100,000 troops, but he says it all depends on conditions on the ground which he says a year from now how it's going to be in Iraq is in his words a mystery. So again he holds out the prospect that in a best case scenario, there could be 100,000 troops when the next president takes office but he is not making that forecast.

MALVEAUX: OK. Jamie, thank you so much. The administration's words of success in Iraq challenged one of its own reports. It shows the Iraqi government is failing in key areas and has not make much improvement since July. CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry now has those details.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, put some broccoli on it. Family tradition.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After serving up another new slogan for the Iraq war...

BUSH: Return on success. HENRY: Now the president is trying to sell it. Lunch with Marines at Quantico. The plan I announced was that we're making enough -- based upon the fact we're making enough success in Iraq that we can begin bringing some troops home.

HENRY: That sunny forecast stands in stark contrast to the grim assessment by the White House in a new report to Congress. The Iraqi government has shown satisfactory progress on only 9 of 18 benchmarks, unsatisfactory on 7 while the final 2 were inconclusive, but the White House gave a positive rating on any benchmark where, quote, "present trend data demonstrates a positive trajectory, which is tracking toward satisfactory accomplishment." In other words, thumbs up for a benchmark that might be met eventually.

BUSH: We expect the Iraqi government to enhance national reconciliation through the passage of law.

HENRY: This lax score keeping doesn't seem to match with the president's normally tough standards for, say, America's schools.

BUSH: Schools just shuffle kids from grade to grade. As if the child couldn't learn to read and write and add and subtract. They never measured, they never had any idea how the child was doing until it was too late. And that's unsatisfactory for the United States.

HENRY: With the president having trouble getting the Iraqis to eat their vegetables, White House spokesman Tony Snow has tried to down play benchmarks.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, benchmarks were something that Congress wanted to use as a metric.

HENRY: Except back in May the president endorsed them.

BUSH: One message I have heard from people from both parties and -- is that the idea of benchmarks makes sense. And I agree.

HENRY (on camera): Back in July, when the White House's preliminary report on benchmarks came out and the Iraqis failed, the White House said, wait until September. September's here. The Iraqis are still not doing well. So now the president is saying, wait until next April. There will be yet another report card.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


MALVEAUX: And he's one of America's most wanted. Right along with Osama bin Laden. Tonight, new pictures that the FBI wants you to see. Is this the fugitive accused of 21 murders? Officials hope you can help. That story next.

Plus, Air Force planes grounded after a major mistake involving nuclear weapons. Find out how serious the threat really was.

And a small school district with a big controversy. Why they're banning a film about parents.


MALVEAUX: An innocent tourist couple on a vacation abroad or a notorious mob boss with a record going back more than half a century on the lam for more than a decade. The FBI wants your help in finding out. Here's our justice correspondent Kelli Arena. And Kelli, tell us about this very unique case.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well Suzanne, this is all about Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. He has been playing cat and mouse with the FBI for nearly 13 years.


ARENA (voice-over): Where's Whitey? It's a game the FBI is sick of playing. The latest possible sighting of south Boston's most notorious gangster and his mall of all places Sicily, birthplace of the mafia. James Whitey Bulger is the alleged former boss of the Winter Hill Mob and he is linked to 21 murders.

WARREN BAMFORD, FBI BOSTON: What we want is for the public to take a look at the video and the photo and help us identify these people.

ARENA: The FBI says the video was shot back in April, facial recognition tests were inconclusive, so agents want to talk to anyone who may have seen or spoke with the couple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some people who have said this absolutely is Bulger. And others who have said, no, we're really not sure. We don't think so.

ARENA: Is it the same man? Well here's his picture from the FBI's most wanted list. Right under Osama bin Laden. If it is Bulger, chances are he's already long gone. Officials say when he blew town back in 1995, Bulger, who's now 78, had stashed away a bundle of cash in safe deposit boxes around the world. Since then, the FBI believes that he and his girlfriend Catherine Greig (ph) have been traveling around the U.S. and Europe. "The Washington Post" called them Bonnie and Clyde on Geritol.

BAMFORD: You know this is a career criminal. He's been a very violent offender throughout his life and so I would say he poses a significant danger regardless of age.


ARENA: Suzanne, just in case you are interested, the bounty on Whitey's head is $1 million. But I know you. Don't think you can nab him yourself just because he is pushing 80. The FBI says that he should be considered armed and seriously very dangerous.

MALVEAUX: I'm sure that a lot of people will be looking for him there and it looks like they have got updated video and you can tell, a sense that he has changed in his appearance but certainly enough to recognize him.

ARENA: That's right. Well if it is him, at least they have a lead. Right?

MALVEAUX: All right. Kelli, thank you so much. I guess we'll both be looking.

ARENA: One million.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you.

Carol Costello is off today. Mary Snow is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now and Mary, what are you looking at?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Suzanne, we have new developments in racially charged "Jena 6" case. Today a Louisiana appeals court threw out the only remaining conviction against one of the black teens accused in the beating of a white schoolmate. Michael Bell (ph) faced a prison term on an aggravated battery charge, but today the court said he should not have been tried as an adult.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is now claiming responsibility for the assassination of a Sunni Sheik and U.S. ally. Abu Risha (ph) was killed yesterday by a roadside bomb. This came just less than two weeks after he met with President Bush. The sheik had united with U.S. forces to fight al Qaeda in Anbar Province. In a message on the Islamic Web site today, al Qaeda in Iraq called his killing heroic.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto says she plans to return to her country on October 18th, but she doesn't know whether the government will press charges against her to prevent her from having a role in this year's elections. Bhutto has been living in exile since 1999, she was accused of corruption while in office but she tells CNN she did not go into exile under any agreement.




SNOW: And it was an emotional farewell today to Tony Snow. This was his last day as White House press secretary. He announced his resignation last month saying he needed to make more money for his family. Snow has colon cancer, but he said the disease has nothing to do with his decision to step down. Snow's successor is Dana Perino who has been his deputy and Suzanne, a lot of people asked, we're not related but I know you join me in wishing him the very best.

MALVEAUX: Another Snow, yes. I mean it was amazing to see that scene there. There were literally hundreds of people on the steps who were wishing him well. He is very, very popular as you know inside the White House, he's talked a lot about his struggle with cancer and next week he is going to take a vacation, a much-deserved vacation with his family and then he's going to look to some speaking engagements, maybe even write a book out of all of this, but a lot of people saw him as very courageous and inspiring, so you can -- you get a sense of just what it means to people who are inside that building.

SNOW: Yeah. Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: All right. Mary Snow, thank you so much.

And O.J. Simpson speaks to one of our reporters. We'll talk to CNN's Ted Rowlands in Las Vegas.

Also, in terms of Iraq debates, it represents the most heated. James Carville and Terry Jeffrey trade barbs over the fight between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

Plus, they thought they would never walk again. Amazing first steps for Iraqi war vets.


MALVEAUX: So how did a half dozen nuclear warheads get aboard a B-52 on a cross-country U.S. flight? It happened last month in direct violation of nuclear protocol. The incident prompted the daylong grounding of Air Force aircraft and crews. Our CNN's Brian Todd joining us again, and Brian, what do they hope to accomplish with this grounding?

TODD: They want answers, Suzanne. Air Force combat wings across the U.S. had until the end of today to complete what they call 24- hour stand downs where fighter jets and bombers are grounded while they review security procedures. The Air Force calls this a focused and swift response to a very alarming incident.


TODD (voice-over): Security checks at combat wings across the country, as Air Force officials get to the bottom of an incident they say should never have happened. Six nuclear warheads on cruise missiles hanging from the wing of a B-52 bomber flown from one Air Force base in North Dakota to another in Louisiana and the crew didn't know they were there.

MAJ. GEN. RICHARD SHERLOCK, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The Air Force maintains very high standards of safety and precision. And so, any deviation from those standards is taken very seriously.

TODD: Current and former Air Force officials tell CNN the public would not have been in danger, even if the plane had crashed.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: These weapons would not have been able to be -- to detonate. We have permissive action links, other safety mechanisms; the president has to release the codes for the weapons.

TODD: But experts say with the missiles hanging on the wing, nuclear warheads inside them, if there was impact... HANS KRISTENSEN, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: It scatters the plutonium that's inside the warhead and if we have a pollution, not a detonation, nuclear detonation, you have a pollution problem.

TODD: Because of accidents several decades ago, experts say nuclear weapons haven't been flown on U.S. combat aircraft for nearly 40 years. They're transported in cargo planes or over land. Officials alarmed at this incident last month because the military is supposed to have airtight control over these warheads at all times.

SHEPPERD: The Air Force has a two-man policy. One person cannot be around a nuclear weapon alone. These people have to have security clearances, background checks.

TODD: Checks that are so tight they include what medications are used by the personnel guarding the weapons.


TODD: The investigation is not expected to be completed for several weeks but Air Force officials say the squadron commander in charge of those weapons at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota has been relieved of duty and several other personnel who guarded the munitions have been reassigned -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So Brian, when it comes to the question of human errors, is it possible to actually handle one of these cruise missiles and not even know that it's armed with one of these nuclear war heads?

TODD: It is possible. Officials say the war heads are mostly inside the shell of the cruise missiles, but experts say there's a small marker on the outside that should tell you it's loaded with a nuclear warhead. Now when I asked an Air Force official today if these missiles had those markers, he would not comment on that.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you so much. The B-52 Stratofortress (ph) is a weapons work horse (ph) that entered military service in 1954. And the latest version, the B-52H (ph) can carry up to 20 air launched cruise missiles. It can go to 8,800 miles without refueling, fly at high subsonic speeds up to 650 miles an hour, fly at altitudes up to 50,000 feet and deliver 70,000 pounds of payload.

In our look at stories around the world, a dominant theme in the war debate. Advancing the military goals in Iraq to give its leaders enough room to advance their political goals. But what do the Iraqi leaders actually want? Well CNN's Tom Foreman joining me now. Tom, you have been taking a good look at this and what do you see?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well talking to our "Week at War" experts, really, this is the big, big hurdle that has to be cleared for anything to move forward. So let's look at the map and talk about this a little bit. We know Iraq divided into Shia down here generally, Sunni over here, the Kurds up here. What do the Sunnis want?

Our "Week at War" experts say basically what they're after is power because they had it under Saddam Hussein, they'd like to have it again, protection because many of the Shia militias are after them now, and a fair share of the oil profits because the oil tends to be under the Shia and under the Kurds. What do the Shia want? Well the Shia are down in this area.

They want the majority government. They have that right now. A lot of power that goes with it. Many of them want revenge against the Sunnis who ruled over them for so many years and some of them want a theocratic state. They want a government based in Islam. And what about the Kurds up to the north? We don't talk about them nearly as much.

What do the Kurds want? Well ideally what they want is an independent nation. That would include parts of Turkey and Iran and they want the oil rich city of Kirkuk to fall under their control. The interesting thing about this, Suzanne, when we talked to our "Week at War" experts, the first thing on the list for all of these groups is what they can't get. They can't get this.

They are not going to have complete power for the Sunnis. They are not going to have revenge or a theocratic state so much it doesn't like for the Shia. And the Kurds are not going to get the independent nation, so there is more and more talk about how do you get these people together. Maybe in something like a date in the accords meeting, where they come together away from the violence and talk about what they might be able to do to work it all out, but this is the big hurdle that has to be cleared if anything is going to move forward and our "Week at War" experts say it remains a big hurdle because these sides are not ready to bend yet.

MALVEAUX: Sure. And a lot of People talk about partitioning, as well as a possibility. But that's an amazing challenge and the way you've laid that out, so thank you so much, Tom.

FOREMAN: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Join Tom for "This Week at War" Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 1:00 p.m.

And still ahead, O.J. Simpson talking to CNN about his latest troubles. Late developments are coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, find out what he said about the accusations against him.

Plus, an Academy Award winner made it, parents approved it, but the school board is banning it. Controversy behind a film about families.



Happening now, Tropical Storm Ingrid is in the open Atlantic. The ninth named storm of the season is plotting west/northwest and expected to make a turn toward the north. For now, forecasters say they expect no threat to the mainland. And a report released today shows the budget at the U.S. Justice Department was bloated last year by pricey conferences. At one event, officials feasted on $5 Swedish meatballs , at another the tab for snacks ran to $25 per person, all funded by the taxpayers. Conferences ran the department some $46 million.

A State Department report singles out Iraq as lacking religious freedoms. The annual survey released today says members of all religions in Iraq are victims of killings, kidnappings and intimidation. Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

No arrests, but O.J. Simpson is being questioned in connection with a reported armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel. He says the sports memorabilia in question belongs to him. The dealer who reported the alleged robbery disagrees. CNN's Ted Rowlands has made his way to Las Vegas and now is joining us. And Ted, you have actually spoken with O.J. Simpson just in the last hours. Tell us about what he said.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, O.J. basically said that he went into this situation, into this hotel room knowing that his items were possibly being put up for sale so he used one of his friends to pretend to be the buyer. He says absolutely there were no guns involved and said the people in the hotel room with the stuff were people that he knew. So one person he said he knew for 15 years and he says this is being overblown, cooperating with Las Vegas police. He says absolutely, what he did was go in there and get his stuff.

He says once he got into the room, he says he screamed at these guys, he said was very angry but that nobody was hurt and nobody had a gun. And that's the real issue. If there were guns involved, O.J. could be in trouble. Nobody involved says that O.J. himself was carrying a gun. That doesn't matter if he and the accomplices together had guns, that would be something to get him into trouble and that's what Las Vegas police are trying to find out but O.J. said, at one point, quote, "What would you have done? This was my stuff. I went in and I got it. That's what anybody would have done. The only reason this is media attention is because I'm O.J. Simpson."

MALVEAUX: And Ted, I understand you spoke with one of the alleged victims, as well. What did he say?

ROWLANDS: Well, he tells a much different story. He says yeah, he's known O.J. for a long time and if O.J. would have just quote, "been a man about it" and called him, they could have worked something out. His name is Bruce Famong (ph) and he is a sports memorabilia agent in the Las Vegas area. He sells this kind of stuff, O.J.'s stuff. He said he was in the room and they thought a buyer was going to come in and he says that the door burst open and guys came flying into the room, the second man in had a gun pointed -- who pointed it at people in the room, then another man came in with a gun and the last guy to enter the room was O.J. and he was screaming at everybody.

He said that he took control of the room, did Simpson. Said this is my stuff, this is my stuff. They brandished the weapons and they left within a matter of five minutes. The question is in terms of what Las Vegas police want to know, were there guns involved? If there were, O.J. could be in trouble. He can leave. He's told me he is in town for a wedding and plans to stay here at least through the weekend and quote, "I have no reason to get out of town so I'm going to se this thing through."

He says he is cooperating completely he says and emphasizes that absolutely no guns were involved this and he was just, quote, "getting his stuff back."

MALVEAUX: So, Ted, it sounds like you are getting two very different stories and essentially someone is not telling the truth. O.J. Simpson says there were no guns were involved and then the alleged victim said there were several men who came in with guns.

ROWLANDS: Exactly. That's going to be up to the Las Vegas Police Department to try to determine how they will do that, it is unclear. They'll identify obviously the other people involved, talk to them, along with Simpson. O.J. has been subjected to a short interview, we're told earlier today. They expect to talk to him again possibly with his lawyer later either this weekend or Monday as soon as they can make that happen but at this point, not expecting any arrests or significant movement in this case within the next few hours. They say it is going to take a couple of days to sort this thing out.

MALVEAUX: Ted, thank you so much.

And Internet reporter Abbi Tatton following this story and she has more details on Alfred Beardsley, a different man is reporting was an alleged victim. He says he was robbed by O.J. Simpson, as well.


ALFRED BEARDSLEY, MEMORABILIA COLLECTOR: I was directed at gun point to pack the items up in the condition they were brought in.


MALVEAUX: So Abbi, tell us who this man is.

ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alfred Beardsley, Suzanne, is a long time collector of sports memorabilia and this is by no means his first encounter with O.J. Simpson. According to the Associated Press he says he's known the former football player for 20 years. In fact, Beardsley actually talked to CNN in 2004, back then, Beardsley tried to set up a business transaction with O.J. and a judge ordered him to release the information he had on O.J.'s finances. This is what he told us then.


BEARDSLEY: I know an innocent bystander in this thing, I know Mr. Simpson is an innocent bystander. We just tried to do a very simple transaction and it just blew way out of control. All I was going to do is accommodate him with his hotels, his transportation and meals.


TATTON: These are some of the photos, these photos are some of the memorabilia Beardsley collected. Today, Beardsley making a statement to that O.J. Simpson was one of the men who robbed him at the hotel. According to the AP Simpson is in Las Vegas for a friend's wedding and went to the hotel with other guests of that wedding. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Very interesting, Abbi. Now we want to talk more about this case involving O.J. Simpson. Joining me by phone from Miami, Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney who has been very familiar with this case. I want to ask you, first and foremost, how important is it that the police have obtained a weapon in this case? We've heard two very, very different stories here?

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It's certainly critical. From the standpoint of the police, this is a completely different matter that is to say an argument over who owned memorabilia as opposed to a serious crime. And walking into anybody's room, yelling, screaming, threatening with a gun is in every state in this country a very serious felony that guarantees you jail time. How do the police sort it out? Sounds like they said -- they said. And the police would actually like to see a weapon but let's keep one thing in mind. When you get into one of these swearing contests and a few people have different sides, you always look at who has the motive to lie. Why would the people in the room make up a story about O.J. and company, whether it was one of his colleagues or O.J. himself having a gun? What's their incentive to lie? When the police are unscrambling this thing, they start out with the assumption people don't normally walk in and make up a story of somebody having a gun.

And by the way, O.J. doesn't walk around with a biggest mountain of credibility when it comes to the perspective of law enforcement officials.

MALVEAUX: So, if you believe his story, O.J. Simpson's story, that he told our colleague Ted Rowlands, he says, he alleges that there were two people who walked ahead of him and he followed them. If those two individuals did have weapons, did have guns and followed them into the room, perhaps even unbeknownst to him that they were brandishing the weapons or their intention, what could he be charged with?

COFFEY: First of all, if he, in fact, walked into the room behind people with guns, it is going to be pretty clear that they were part of a same package. That he knew what was going on, he had to be aware of the guns and that makes him fully as guilty as the people who are actually holding the guns. Even if there's no guns involved, and again, giant question, if he's going in and yelling and bullying and kicking and screaming at people to get them to turn over property to him, he doesn't have any right to do that, either. You can't take the law into your own hands just like you and I can't walk into somebody's living room and take things out of -- off their dining room table or living room tablet that we think belong to us but it is such a different landscape for Simpson. The question of whether there were guns being used or whether it was in effect an argument and they walked off with some stuff that might have been his. That's what the police work through the weekend to try to determine.

MALVEAUX: Thank you so much, Kendall Coffey.

Ahead, great political strategy or stirring up trouble? The Giuliani campaign puts its twist on an already controversial add about General Petraeus. A special and very heated edition of our "Strategy Session."

Pictures of families with two moms and two dads. A film a New Jersey school district doesn't want its kids to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's two men that love each other but ...



MALVEAUX: A new ad from Rudy Giuliani based on the ad is heating up an already tense debate over the war in Iraq.


MALVEAUX: Joining for us a special edition of our "Strategy Session," we're bringing them back, Democratic strategist James Carville, a CNN contributor, and Terry Jeffrey, editor at large of the magazine "Human Events" for round two.

I want to talk here about the gift that keeps on giving. The ad that says "General Petraeus or General Betray Us." Hillary Clinton went after Petraeus in his testimony. And now we're seeing Rudy Giuliani really hitting back hard. We've heard him say a few things here, calling it despicable. But here he has got into the act with the ads. He took out his own $68,000 page "New York Times" ad once again attacking her saying that this is times for statesmanship, not politicians spewing political venom here.

James, this ad does this help her? Does it hurt her? They keep using it against her.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, Rudy Giuliani was a draft dodger who attacked, criticized the troops in Iraq who didn't even attend an Iraq Study Group meeting that he was appointed to that has absolutely no foreign policy experience or military experience. Other than he is eminently qualified I guess with his battalion of ex- wives advising him how to do this. It matters not. is not a Democratic Party. Last time I checked, the First Amendment applies to them. They have a right to free speech. General Petraeus goes up and I expect he brave enough man to be asked questions by United States senators. TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "HUMAN EVENTS": I think James has more about draft-dodging presidential candidates than just about anyone. The ad was shameful and it was wrong. Hillary Clinton ought to distance herself from it. It is ridiculous for her to challenge the credibility of General Petraeus.

MALVEAUX: Is he overplaying himself here? I mean, by constantly this reminder of she hasn't aligned herself with their statements.

JEFFREY: It's a good political opportunity for Rudy Giuliani for this reason. If the Republican primary race is Giuliani contrasting to the Republicans every candidate in that field has a better claim to the loyalty of Republican voters based on the issues. Rudy is the most alienated from the Republican primary voters on the issues. The more he can make a debate between him and a contrast between him and Hillary Clinton, the better it is for him. This is a freebie for him.

CARVILLE: Yeah. I have no idea what has to do with Hillary Clinton. But again, Rudy Giuliani, his record is very clear. He didn't even show up at the Iraq Study Group meetings. This is foolishness.

MALVEAUX: Let's hear what is up to next. Obviously, it's about attacking character and credibility. It was with General Petraeus now it's President Bush. Let's take a listen.


ANNOUNCER: ... George Bush had 130,000 troops stuck in Iraq. Americans had elected a new Congress to bring them home. Instead, George Bush sent in 30,000 more troops. Now he is making a big deal about pulling out, you guessed it, 30,000. So next year, there will still be 130,000 troops stuck in Iraq. George Bush, a betrayal of trust. Political Action is responsible for content of this advertisement.


MALVEAUX: James, what ...

CARVILLE: I have one word to describe that ad. Accurate. Is there any factual thing that? Can we do a fact check on that? Because if they're missing a fact, I don't know what it is. That might be the most factual television ad I've ever seen in my life.

JEFFREY: No, look, it's one thing for to disagree with the president's policy in Iraq and they have every right to do that and it also legitimate for to object to Democratic politicians or be upset with Democratic politicians who ran for office in November 2006 saying they wanted to pull the troops out of Iraq. President bush did not run on that. Everybody knows what President Bush's policy is. He is moving forward. Not a betrayal of trust!

CARVILLE: The facts on the ad are right there.

JEFFREY: How is it a betrayal of trust?

CARVILLE: Any fact -- it namely a fact -- name one fact, name one fact that they got wrong in that ad? That ad is a 100 percent accurate.

JEFFREY: It would be a betrayal of President Bush to turn his back on his own policy and break a strategy in Iraq he did not think had a chance of success. If these guys had their way -- James, let me ...

CARVILLE: We agree on everything! We agree there will be 140,000 troops six years into this war. We agree to's ad is factual.

JEFFREY: What do you think would happen in Iraq if we followed's strategy? Would there be genocide?

CARVILLE: Can I answer? The first thing is we had followed we would never have been there and we'd be a hell of a lot better off. Let's start there. Again, you asked me about

MALVEAUX: What can the Democratic candidates do to satisfy

CARVILLE: They don't have to do anything to satisfy

MALVEAUX: They are talking about troop numbers here.

CARVILLE: is an interest group. I will say this ...

JEFFREY: The jerks (inaudible) part of ....

CARVILLE: If you're not going to let me talk, then you go ahead. I'm not going to say anything.

Again, is not part of the Democratic Party.

JEFFREY: Sure they are.

CARVILLE: Again. Because as I pointed out - when they're losing an argument they get desperate. Let me go. They ran a factual ad. Everybody agrees, Terry agrees and I agree it's 100 percent factual.

JEFFREY: It's not factual to say that George Bush is in a betrayal of trust. He's following ...

MALVEAUX: Real quick.

JEFFREY: Let me ask James Carville. If in your fact your party does what does and precipitously remove our troops from Iraq will there be a catastrophe there as Ambassador Crocker said? Do you believe that?

CARVILLE: First of all, let me stop. We have a catastrophe now. It's going to be a trillion dollars. I don't know how to tell you this, hiss, we're in the middle of a controversy! JEFFREY: Will there be genocide in Iraq if we do what says?

CARVILLE: There has been genocide. I don't know - the Democratic Party has said, Senator Webb says ...

JEFFREY: Will there be a broader regional war in Middle East if we do what says?


CARVILLE: We have -- I don't know how to break this news to you. We have a catastrophe.

JEFFREY: James will not address the question ...

MALVEAUX: We got to leave it there! I'm sorry. We didn't have time for Newt Gingrich. We will talk about it the next round. But thank you so much both for a very spirited discussion.


MALVEAUX: And we got a new statement from the Giuliani campaign a short time ago. It says, quote, "Being attacked by the Democratic character assassination team is something that Rudy Giuliani will wear as a badge of honor. This is, after all the same liberal group whose Web site compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler, the same liberal group that wanted no military response against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11 and the same liberal group that consistently opposes funding for our troops in the theater of war."

And this note about James Carville. He is not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign, although, he will be the first to tell you and he has said many times on our show that he is a Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter.

And a video for third grade graders touches off a wave of tantrums by parents in one New Jersey school district.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my mom, her name is Betty. This is my other mom. Her name is Kim.


MALVEAUX: That video is now banned. We will show you why.

Also, they lost arms and legs on the battlefield. Now, they get a new chance to rebuild their lives. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: A New Jersey school district is the latest battle ground in the issue involving same sex couples. A video that was supposed to be shown to students to promote diversity is now banned because it features same sex parents. CNN's Mary Snow joining us now. And Mary, what is going on at this school?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, it's really a heated debate and it's over what to teach third graders about diversity. It's divided a school district in Evesham Township, New Jersey.

SNOW (voice-over): This is the film one school district in New Jersey doesn't want their kids to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Abby and I'm nine years old. This is my mom, her name is Betty and this is my other mom, her name is Kim.

SNOW: The film, created by a director of Women's Educational Media is called "That's a Family." I t aims to teach diversity but made for heated reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want this!

SNOW: It all started last December when a third grade class was shown "That's a Family." Along with kids of mixed race and adoption and parents who were divorced the film features children talking about their gay parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really cool to have two gay dads because they brought us into a home and they adopted us and they love us.

SNOW: The school district formed a special committee of parents, teachers and others who reviewed it and recommended the film could be moved from third to fourth graders and parents could opt not to have their children see it but the school district voted to ban it. Some opponents argued it wasn't age-appropriate. Others protested the film itself.

REBECCA NUGENT, PARENT OPPOSED TOSHOWING FILM: It's too political and it's getting into sexuality that aren't necessary to teach children to be kind, respectful and to get along with different people.

STEVEN GOLDSTEIN, CHAIRMAN, GARDEN STATE EQUALITY: Listen. There's such homophobia on the part of some of these parents it's disgraceful. Never in my life have I seen parents so afraid and so vicious toward gay people.

SNOW: The gay rights group Garden State Equality plans to file a lawsuit to get the film reinstated in the Evesham Township Public School District. The film's creator says it's been shown in hundreds of districts around the country, she says this is the first ban of its kind.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (on camera): And as for the Evesham Township School District, a spokeswoman defended the film and school officials declined the interview request. They said in a statement they'll look for other ways to meet state mandates on teaching third graders about diversity and families. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Mary Snow, thank you so much. And let's go right to Rick Sanchez to find out what's coming up in the next hour of OUT IN THE OPEN. Rick, what are you looking at?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: What a show, Suzanne. O.J. Simpson's being questioned as you know. We are expecting there might be according to our sources in Las Vegas some breaking news on this. We're going to be all over it. By the way, he is talking to us. And the McCann diary, we're going to be on that. Police want to know what's in there. We have the details.

Also, you know, the story going around with the Patriots. If they cheated in the game which seems to be the case, why aren't they being asked to forfeit the game? That's the question we are going to ask of Warren Moon, all-time quarterback, one of the greatest passers ever.

By the way, the book, we've been looking at this thing. Have you seen it? This is O.J.'s book, Suzanne. Says "I Did It" and but then there is a little "If" right there, see hiding right there inside the I.

MALVEAUX: Got it, got it.

SANCHEZ: That's how they get you to buy it.

MALVEAUX: Big questions. Great. Sounds like a good show.

SANCHEZ: We'll have it.

MALVEAUX: And from a wheelchair to rock climbing. Coming up, more than rehab. These vets are conquering fear and finding new hope for the future.


MALVEAUX: They have lost limbs fighting for their country but a state of the art rehabilitation center will help train some amputees to keep serving their country and train others to rebuild their lives. Here's our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, there is now a place for wounded troops to get help to stay in the military.


STARR (voice-over): This new facility at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is more than just rehabilitation. This is military training. Major David Rozelle lost a leg in Iraq. He has organized the center. He is an unwavering advocate for keeping wounded troops on duty.

MAJ. DAVID ROZELLE, U.S. ARMY AMPUTEE: This population of amputees is not satisfied with some crutches and wheelchair and have a nice day. It's not the right answer.

STARR: The Army already under fire for the care it has given troops, spent $10 million on this state-of-the-art center, even though all of Walter Reed is scheduled to shut down.

ROZELLE: Do we wait, do we say let's wait four years before with give you a world class facility? The answer is no.

STARR: Specialist Marco Robledo was injured by an IED in May and now his brother Jose helps him into a harness that is marking Marco towards independence.

SPEC. MARCO ROBLEDO, U.S. ARMY AMPUTEE: I was scared to walk by myself. After this, I'm going to leave the wheelchair a little bit and walk on my own.

STARR: Before this center an amputee could walk just for a few steps. Now this harness moves on a circular track in the ceiling. Marco can walk for as long as he wants.

How high do you go on this thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll go all the way to the top.

STARR: Sergeant First Class Jake Keesler (ph), who has lost both his legs, is now doing what he loves, rock climbing. This is the kind of place, he says, amputees need to move out of that wheelchair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gives you confidence in your ability to do things.

STARR: Confidence to face a mountain and the future.


STARR (on camera): There are now over 600 troops who have lost an arm or a leg in the war. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Thanks Barbara. And thanks for joining us this weekend on LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER, former NATO supreme allied commander, General Wesley Clark, Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Eastern. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Up next, Rick Sanchez with OUT IN THE OPEN.