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THE SITUATION ROOM
Simpson Out on Bail; Ahmadinejad Wants to Visit Ground Zero
Aired September 19, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Kitty.
Happening now, O.J. Simpson heading out on the highway with cameras in hot pursuit, this time he's free on bail, but could he still be facing life in prison?
And his nation is labeled a major international sponsor of terrorism. But Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to visit 9/11's ground zero. How does New York City feel about that?
Plus, did CBS News make him a scapegoat? That's what Dan Rather is now charging and the former evening news anchor is suing his former bosses for $70 million.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
O.J. Simpson free on bail tonight and cleared to return to his Miami home. He left a Las Vegas jail this afternoon trailed by news helicopters in a scene reminiscent of the frenzy surrounding his murder trial more than a decade ago. CNN's Ed Lavandera is on the scene for us. He's joining us from Las Vegas.
Ed, first of all, do we know where Simpson is right now?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've learned that O.J. Simpson is at the airport and will be presumably leaving Las Vegas here shortly. And according to his attorney, he can't -- he's very happy to be leaving this city.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): O.J. Simpson handcuffed and wearing jailhouse blues, it triggers a flash back to the days of Simpson's double murder trial. The prosecutor from that trial, Marcia Clark, was sitting in the front row. She now works as a special correspondent for the "Entertainment Tonight" TV show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson, won't you stand up, please Mr. Simpson.
LAVANDERA: But this time the former football star faces 11 criminal charges, 10 of them felonies, including robbery, burglary and coercion, all with a deadly weapon, as well as conspiracy charges. Simpson listened passively, but notice his reaction to the two kidnapping counts. He didn't enter a plea today but his lawyer says it will be not guilty. Next came the main issue. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bail is set on this case at $125,000, total bail cash assurety (ph). As a condition, Mr. Simpson, there are certain conditions to posting bond here. You're ordered to surrender your passport to your attorney.
LAVANDERA: The judge also barred Simpson from any contact with the alleged victims, his co-defendants or any witnesses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand that order?
O.J. SIMPSON: Yes, sir.
JUDGE JOE BONAVENTURE, CLARK CO. NEVADA DISTRICT COURT: Now, Mr. Simpson, by no contact I mean no direct contact, no indirect contact whatsoever. If you see them, avoid contact. If you see them walking down the street, you're to cross the street. You're to have no indirect contact. You do not use any means to contact these individuals. Don't use e-mail, telephone, mail, passenger pigeon, no whatsoever contact.
LAVANDERA: Wearing a sport coat and a white shirt O.J. Simpson walked out of the Las Vegas jail driven away from the glare of the cameras by his attorney.
LAVANDERA: And Wolf, O.J. Simpson might be leaving Las Vegas tonight but the arrests here continue to pile up. If you remember, authorities here say they were still looking for two other men that were with O.J. Simpson last Thursday. They have found one of them already and charged that person and booked them into the jail here. And also one of the victims in the case, a man by the name of Alfred Beardsley, who is one of the sports collectors that was in that room, has also been arrested on a parole violation charge in connection with an unrelated case out of California.
BLITZER: What a cast of characters here. All right, Ed, stand by. We're going to continue to watch this story. Our senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin is going to be joining us later this hour.
But there's another developing story we're watching right now, right here in Washington. Democrats on Capitol Hill suffering a stinging setback on what may have been their best chance to force a change in Iraq. It involves senators from the same state but different political parties and one of them is now making a surprising about-face. Let's go to our congressional correspondent Dana Bash, she's on Capitol Hill. Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Democrats suffered a major blow here today by a vote of 56-44 the Senate defeated what Democrats thought was their best chance at sending the president Iraq legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BASH (voice-over): Virginia Democrat Jim Webb's efforts to limit tours of duty in Iraq suffered its fatal blow when the other senator from Virginia changed his mind.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: I endorsed it. I intend now to cast a vote against it.
BASH: GOP Senator John Warner gave several reasons for his reversal. Like a full court press from Pentagon officials, including this meeting with three-star generals earlier in the day.
WARNER: They have now convinced me that they cannot effectively put into force that amendment at this time without causing severe problems within the existing forces and those that are serving there.
BASH: Webb's legislation would mandate troops spend as much time at home as on the battlefield.
SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA: It's time we put into place operational policies that sensibly take care of the people we are calling upon to go again and again.
BASH: Democrats who lack votes to pass a time line for troop withdrawal have seen Webb's measure as their best chance at forcing a change in Iraq policy because it would limit the number of troops available to deploy. Several undecided GOP senators tell CNN the White House and Pentagon lobbied them hard to vote no, saying it would break up military units and reduce combat effectiveness. It worked with Tennessee Republican Bob Corker. After multiple meetings with Pentagon officials he decided to vote against Senator Webb's measure.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I have a lot of respect for him and have been open to it, certainly, but when you look a at -- again, the operational aspect of what it would truly do, it's just not something that would be good for our country.
BASH: One main reason the defeat of Senator Webb's measure is such a setback for Democrats is because after nine months in the majority, they're under intense pressure to finally send the president some kind of legislation that forces a change in Iraq strategy -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dana. Thanks very much -- Dana Bash on the Hill.
The United States is urgently trying to resolve a dispute with the government of Iraq over the threatened expulsion of thousands of private U.S. security guards. Iraq blames the Blackwater USA security firm for a weekend shootout which left a number of Iraqi civilians dead.
Meantime, thousands of American diplomats and their families in Baghdad are left without their armed escorts. Let's go to our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. He's watching the story for us. They have announced it is going to be a joint U.S./Iraqi investigation, Jamie, into this incident?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well this commission is going to try to diffuse the raging controversy between Iraq and the United States. This is not the first time civilians have been killed by contractors but this is really inflamed passions in Iraq and the State Department is now on a mission to try to put the fire out.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): This victim, an Iraqi lawyer, told CNN from his hospital bed, the American contractors from Blackwater opened fire unprovoked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They open fire at all cars from behind. The bullets are in my back.
MCINTYRE: Blackwater USA tells CNN the deaths as many 20 civilians according to Iraq resulted when its security forces protecting a State Department convoy returned fire in self-defense, as permitted under the rules of engagement. Both the U.S. and Iraq are investigating the Sunday attack but what's not in dispute is that the Iraqi government has had it with Blackwater and wants its 1,000 employees out of the country.
We will not tolerate the killing of our citizens in cold blood, vowed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at a news conference, insisting Blackwater must be held accountable. The threat forced the State Department to curtail embassy convoys outside the Green Zone temporarily and create a new joint commission, aimed at calming Iraqi anger.
TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: What we want to do in light of this incident is have an opportunity to, with the Iraqis, work out a joint understanding of what we might be able to do to improve the effectiveness and safety of these operations.
MCINTYRE: But some of Blackwater's competitors say the company's high-profile reputation and run and gun approach to security may be working against it. Jamie Smith is a former Blackwater vice president who now runs a competing firm.
JAMES SMITH, SCG INTERNATIONAL: They have got helicopters overhead. They have got Humvees. They have got big armored trucks and you know their -- the guys are, you know, got the guns sticking out all over the place and it looks like a -- you know it's like a rolling porcupine.
MCINTYRE: Now Wolf, if Blackwater were to be kicked out of Iraq there are plenty of other U.S. companies that would want to bid on that contract and the U.S. military could provide security in the short term. But Blackwater USA tells CNN it is confident it won't come to that and that the investigations underway will show that its employees acted properly -- Wolf. BLITZER: But the Iraqi government, Jamie, no matter who these contractors are, they want to change the rules so that they're held liable to the Iraqi government for any crimes they may have committed as opposed to the U.S.
MCINTYRE: And that's something that this joint commission is going to try to negotiate with the Iraqi government, recognizing their sovereignty but maintaining control over U.S. contractors in Iraq so they wouldn't be subject to Iraqi justice. And frankly, Wolf, a lot of the companies feel that the Iraqi system of justice is riddled with corruption and they don't want their employees under that system.
BLITZER: All right, what a situation. Thanks, Jamie, for that.
So how long will American diplomats be forced to hunker down in Baghdad's limited Green Zone? If private security guards aren't allowed to protect them, who will? Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno is the number two U.S. military commander in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What does it say about the state of security in Baghdad, capital Baghdad, General, when American diplomats, and there's a thousand of them at least at the largest U.S. embassy in the world in Baghdad, simply are confined to their little Green Zone, they can't leave that secure area because they don't have armed protection? What does it say about the environment in Baghdad?
LT. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, U.S. ARMY: Well, first, I would tell you the security environment in Baghdad continues to improve. Now, I will tell you that by some small groups, Americans and westerners are targeted so that's why obviously as our diplomats move around they have to have security with them. That's because they are specifically targeted by these groups.
I will say that there are many other people that work for the State Department that are out with our embedded provincial reconstruction teams that get -- that move around with our forces that will continue to be out there working every single day. And I believe this will be a temporary halt for our diplomats leaving the Green Zone as we continue to work through this issue with the government of Iraq.
BLITZER: Because if they kick out these private security firms, presumably, you, the United States Army or the Marine Corps, would have to provide security for the American diplomats. Would you have enough troops to fill up -- to fill that need?
ODIERNO: Well, we'll wait to see what happens. Obviously, we'd have to -- if that occurred, we would have to re-look at what we're going to do. We obviously would be able to provide security for them. But let's wait to see what happens with this commission first as we move forward before we decide and determine whether we'll need military to secure our diplomats or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: General Odierno speaking with me from Baghdad earlier. Jack Cafferty is getting ready for his prime time special. That's coming up at the top of the hour immediately after THE SITUATION ROOM.
Also coming up, for decades Dan Rather was the face of the CBS News and he tried to put on a brave face after he was replaced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS EVENING NEWS ANCHOR: But I want to make it clear, I don't have any complaints.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But that's what he used to say. Tonight it's a whole different story from Dan rather. The news anchor is suing CBS for big bucks, details coming up.
Also, an unusual request from the leader of Iran, he wants to visit one of America's most hallowed spaces.
Plus, a CNN exclusive, Rudy Giuliani one-on-one, why he believes one liberal group can actually help him win the GOP nomination.
And there's new video just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, video of O.J. Simpson arriving at the airport to go back to Miami, we'll talk about that a lot more with our CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin -- all that coming up.
BLITZER: The former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather is suing his old network and his old bosses saying they made him a scapegoat. Let's turn to CNN's Mary Snow. She is following these late developments in New York.
What are we learning, Mary, about his lawsuit?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Dan Rather is seeking $70 million in damages, suing CBS, its parent company Viacom and three of his former bosses. Now he claims they breached his contract and indicates that politics played a part. Now Rather's lawsuit comes two months after he told CNN's Larry King that what happened to CBS is in his words, yesterday's news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS EVENING NEWS ANCHOR: But I want to make it clear, I don't have any complaints.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: But now in his lawsuit Rather says he has made -- he was made a scapegoat after the fallout from a report in September of 2004 that was critical of President Bush's performance in the Texas Air National Guard. Rather says his bosses coerced him to take personal blame for what he calls alleged journalistic errors. He says CBS's parent Viacom wanted to curry favor with the Bush administration by damaging his reputation. In July rather told Larry King he was puzzled when he was terminated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RATHER: What I do know is that it was a contract, which went unfulfilled, and there were promises not kept. I was surprised by that. I never heard the other side of the story, which is to say that I never heard from the top of the corporation or the top of the news division.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Now, CBS is reacting to the lawsuit tonight saying in a statement, a very short statement, quote, "those complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit" -- Wolf.
BLITZER: If he wins the lawsuit is he saying what he's going to do with all that cash?
SNOW: He did release a statement saying that if gets a significant amount that he plans to donate a large part of it to projects that promote journalistic independence.
BLITZER: All right, Mary. Thanks very much. Mary Snow watching this story. Dan Rather, by the way, will be an exclusive guest tomorrow night on "LARRY KING LIVE". "LARRY KING LIVE" airs 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Carol Costello is monitoring some other stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Carol, what is going on?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A couple of things, Wolf. Today a federal judge ruled Tennessee's executions are cruel and unusual punishment. The judge says...
BLITZER: Carol, hold on one second, Carol. We're having trouble hearing you. Your microphone -- I don't know if your microphone is there -- maybe it's someplace else. We're going to -- there it is right there.
COSTELLO: You know, I think that I have...
BLITZER: It always helps to have a microphone.
COSTELLO: You know, this is the second time that that's happened today. I apologize to our audience. But let me go on with the news of the night. Today a federal judge ruled Tennessee's executions are cruel and unusual punishment. The judge says the state's new lethal injection procedures do not ensure inmates are properly anesthetized before they're put to death and that the judge says could result in an excruciating death. The ruling will likely delay the execution of convicted killer Edward Harbison (ph), who was scheduled to die next week.
The White House is strongly condemning the killing of an anti- Syrian lawmaker in Lebanon today, calling it a politically motivated assassination. Antoine Ghanem, a member of the Lebanese Parliament was killed in a massive bomb attack in Beirut. At least five others were killed, dozens more were hurt. The attack coming just six days before Parliament was scheduled to elect a new president.
Officials if Peru confirm a fiery meteorite did crash into the southern part of their country last weekend, but doctors sent to the site tell a Lima newspaper there is no evidence that fumes from the crater are making people sick. A local health official reported 200 people near the crash had experienced headaches, nausea and respiratory problems.
And the owners of a Washington, D.C. dry cleaner are closing a second shop after being sued for $54 million over a pair of missing pants. The case went to trial in June and the owners won, but they say their six-figure legal bills combined with the loss in profits took a toll. They say now they'll focus their energy on the last of their three shops that do remain open.
That's a look at the headlines right now, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Carol. Thanks very much.
Rudy Giuliani, he's responding to Moveon.org.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact that they want to personally attack me is probably a badge of honor for me. And probably is going to jump me five points in the Republican primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Why the GOP candidate thinks the liberal group can help him win the Republican nomination. An exclusive interview with Giuliani, that's coming up.
Also Iran's president with a request that's angered many New Yorkers. Wait until you hear what he wants to do.
And it's the most notorious Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, and for the first time we're going to get a closer look at a site of it we've never seen before.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Iran tops the list of U.S. international terror sponsors, so it has raised a lot eyebrows and ire when Iran's president is now asking when he visits New York to go to the 9/11- memorial site during his upcoming trip to the United Nations. Deborah Feyerick is in New York. She's watching this story for us.
What's the latest, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, he sponsors terrorism, is considered an enemy of America and says he wants to wipe Israel off the map, still Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was hoping to visit Ground Zero. The united mission to the United Nations telling CNN that the president intended to lay a wreath in order to, quote, "pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks." Well officials from the Secret Service, Port Authority and New York Police Department denied the request.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMM. RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE: Construction is ongoing, so we did allow, obviously on September 11th people to go into the site. Construction is now back in full swing, so I think it would not be possible to have him go to any area other than the -- the area where most of the public goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: Now, although the Iranians were not involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the U.S. response to the requested visit was immediate. The State Department saying, quote, "that it is appalling that President Ahmadinejad, one of the world's leading sponsors of terror, would find it appropriate to visit this hallowed ground."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Iran, as you know, supports terrorism, it's a source of problems in Iraq, it is a source of some of the problems in Afghanistan. We do not support the tragedy that happened at that site where so many people lost their lives, be used as a photo op.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: Now, a number of presidential contenders also weighed in. Republican Mitt Romney called the request shockingly audacious. Democrat Hillary Clinton called it unacceptable. And Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York when the Towers fell, called it outrageous, saying, quote, "this is a man who has made threats against America and Israel, is harboring bin Laden, his son, and other al Qaeda leaders, is shipping arms to Iraq insurgents and is pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. And a spokesman for the Iranian mission tells CNN that in fact they haven't been officially notified that there will be no trip to Ground Zero -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much. Deborah Feyerick watching the story for us from New York.
Tonight there are some questions about Rudy Giuliani's judgment when he was mayor for putting New York City's emergency response center in a building targeted by terrorists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Do you know how many buildings in New York are targeted by terrorists? I used to know the list cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Rudy Giuliani talks about what some are calling his bravado. It is a CNN exclusive interview. That's coming up later.
And new moves to keep the prescription drugs you take safe. You're going to find out what the government is now doing.
And O. J. Simpson, he is on his way back to Miami. Can he get a fair trial, given all the publicity surrounding his previous criminal case -- CNN's Jeff Toobin with a frank answer to that question, all that, lots more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, a renewed effort in Congress to ensure the safety of prescription drugs, today the House passed a bill that would give the FDA new authority to ensure drug safety, including the power to require drug companies to change their labels to warn consumers of possible health risks. The Senate is expected to pass the measure tomorrow.
President Bush is urging Congress to make permanent a law that gives the government more power to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists without warrants. Democrats want to change the law to provide more oversight.
And Wall Street on the upswing, the Dow gained 76 points, following yesterday's move by the Federal Reserve cutting a key interest rate.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
More now on our top story. O.J. Simpson freed on $125,000 bail. We just got this video coming into THE SITUATION ROOM from the Las Vegas airport of Simpson getting ready to board his flight back to south Florida.
The question tonight, can he get a fair trial given the notoriety of his 1995 acquittal on double murder charges?
Let's go to CNN's Carol Costello. She's joining us now once again with this part of the story.
So what's the consensus among the people you're talking to, Carol?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, O.J. Simpson's lawyer thinks he can seat an impartial jury, one willing to forget all about all of that baggage that Simpson carries around with him. The consensus, though, it will not be easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the state of Nevada versus Orenthal James Simpson.
COSTELLO: It was all so familiar, O.J. Simpson in court, a media circus outside waiting for Simpson's attorney.
YALE GALANTER, SIMPSON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My only focus up until this point in time has been securing Mr. Simpson's release from custody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice work, dude, up high!
GALANTER: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, don't leave me hanging.
GALANTER: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
COSTELLO: This whole strange scene one reason reporters are asking whether Simpson can get a fair trial. Attorney Yale Galanter says call me corny.
GALANTER: But I believe that you if identify the proper issues, you can get a fair jury. The second issue is, we understand who our client is. We know what public perception is. We know what you guys think. I mean, you know, we don't live in holes.
COSTELLO: On according to our poll, 80 percent of Americans believe Simpson murdered his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman, despite his win in criminal court. And experts say that may make it difficult to see jurors who will believe Simpson's side of the story.
Adding to the mix, lawyers who are sharing with the nation parts of their jailhouse conversations with Simpson. This is attorney Scott Holper on CBS.
SCOTT HOLPER, ATTORNEY: He has utmost confidence in his counsel, and you know he has 100 percent support from his daughter, who's in town, his sister, and his girlfriend, Kristy.
COSTELLO: The problem, Scott Holper isn't on Simpson's legal team. Galanter is and he says Holper is hurting his client.
GALANTER: You will never hear out of my mouth anything I discuss with Mr. Simpson.
COSTELLO: But legal analyst Drew Findling says while none of this is good, Simpson's lawyers do have one thing going for them.
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The case is a nightmare. It's a mess and I think things are starting to swing in O.J.'s favor.
COSTELLO: Thanks in part to Simpson's alleged accomplice Thomas Riccio who just happened to secretly taped what transpired that Las Vegas hotel room.
O.J. SIMPSON: You steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and sell it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
SIMPSON: Don't let nobody out of here you mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
COSTELLO: And then Riccio sold the tapes. Findling believes the messiness of this case will convince a jury be fair, even to a defendant they are sure to dislike.
Still, while that may be true, Simpson is a man who wrote a book called "If I Did It" where he describes how he would have killed Brown and Goldman if he did it. It's now number two on Amazon.com, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Carol. Thanks, very much.
Let's go to our senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin. He's watching all of this unfold.
All right. Jeff, walk us through this process. He was released. He got into a car, drove away, presumably back to his casino hotel. What happens next?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The judge has scheduled a status conference for some time in late October. Hasn't set the exact date. But now the ball is really in the prosecution's court. They have to decide whether they're going to schedule a preliminary hearing or present this case to a grand jury. They have that choice. But Yale Galanter, the main defense lawyer for Simpson, says he's about to start a three-month trial so nothing much is going to happen in this case until the new year, at the earliest. So after a week of very fast-moving developments, as you say, it's going to slow down.
BLITZER: It's going to slow down at least until next year or sometime. If there's no plea agreement and a trial starts, that's going to -- that's not going to happen this year, is that right?
TOOBIN: There certainly will not be a trial this year.
And don't rule out entirely the possibility that the case somehow falls apart at this stage. Certainly O.J.'s lawyers will be arguing to the prosecutors that upon reflection this is not a case that they should bring and this is a time f they're going to walk away from the case, this is when they'll do it.
BLITZER: Because the cast of characters involved in this case, Jeff, are about as weird as it gets. It's hard to differentiate who are the good guys, who are the bad guys.
TOOBIN: I'll say. I mean Larry King did an interview with this fellow, Tom Riccio, who is the person who introduced O.J. to the memorabilia dealers who supposedly had stolen this stuff from him. This is a guy with four prior felony convictions, including arson, escape from prison and, apparently, at least according to Riccio himself, the government has immunized him when he was the one who led O.J. into this hotel room. I think that's a very problematic position for the government to be in. But we haven't heard the government's side of the story yet and it will be interesting to see how they deal with that potentially big problem.
BLITZER: As you know, a lot of people out there would just love O.J. to spend the rest of his life in jail. Can he get a fair trial? Can jurors and a judge in this particular case, can they separate themselves from the history and simply focus in on what's going on right now?
TOOBIN: You know, usually I am a great believer in juries, and I think they generally do a great job. But here we have a situation; a CNN poll said 80 percent of the people polled believe that O.J. Simpson was guilty of killing Ron Goldman and his ex-wife 13 years ago. That's such an overwhelming consensus that it's hard for me to believe how that can be put aside, no matter how many times a judge tells them to do that.
BLITZER: Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our own Jeff Toobin on his new book. It is just out. It's already a best seller, "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of The Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin." Jeff, congratulations on writing this great book.
TOOBIN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: I think our viewers are going to want to read every word. He has a history of writing best sellers and this one is certainly going to be a major best seller. Jeff, thanks again.
TOOBIN: Thanks, Wolf. See you next week.
BLITZER: Rudy Giuliani says he has a lot of foreign policy experience and that he didn't need to be on the Iraq study group. You're going to find out why he thinks even joining that important commission was a mistake. It's a CNN exclusive interview with our John King. That's coming up.
And it's a sign of the most notorious Nazi death camp, a side none of us have seen before. We've got some newly revealed photos. We'll show you what happened. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Rudy Giuliani wants you to know about the stamps on his passport. In an exclusive interview with CNN the Republican presidential candidate says in the past few years he's traveled the world more than anyone running for president.
He went to London today for meetings with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others. And in between, Giuliani spoke with our chief national correspondent, John King. John's joining us now from London with more on this exclusive interview.
Hi John. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you Wolf. The goal of the trip, of course, is to look presidential, to look at ease on the world stage. Rudy Giuliani here talking tough on Iran, saying the American people need to be prepared for an indefinite military presence in the Middle East. But as we sat down for a one- on-one conversation he was more than willing to discuss the dust-up with a leading liberal group back home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You're in this spat right now with Moveon.org and by extension Hillary Clinton over the ad, criticizing General Petraeus. Moveon.org comes back at you with a criticism that, well here was a guy with a unique opportunity to sit on the Iraq study group, to get inside information from the generals, from the administration on everything that went right in Iraq, everything that went wrong in Iraq. He wanted to be the next president of the United States and instead he skips the first two meetings and then leaves the group because he was giving paid speeches and he didn't want to attend the meetings.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the reason I didn't, I couldn't give the time to it. And secondly, I knew that ultimately I could very well be running for president of the United States. I wasn't sure at the time. And had I stayed on that group, their report was put out just around the time I announced for president and I would have totally political sized it. It was a mistake to join in the first place.
And as far as foreign policy experience goes, I've probably traveled to Europe, Asia and Africa more often in the last five, five and a half years than any of the people running for president. I've had more executive experience than any of them. I've had the responsibility for safety and security on my shoulders for much of the last 20 or 25 years and I've actually dealt with terrorism.
And frankly, I wish Moveon.org would do several more commercials attacking me because if they do, it could get me nominated. They are not exactly the most popular group among Republicans. They have spent $200 to $300 million assassinating the character of Republican candidates. And the fact that they want to personally attack me is probably a badge honor for me and probably is going to jump me five points in the primaries.
KING: Without a doubt a fair statement. Well, let me bring up a couple of things that have had people, some political critics to be fair but raised question about your judgment to lead the war on terrorism and they're familiar to you that Rudy Giuliani as mayor put his emergency response center in a building that had been targeted by terrorists before.
GIULIANI: Well, I put my emergency center in a building that was also the home of the CIA, the secret service, all the major federal agencies we had to be in contact with in an emergency.
KING: Is that almost like a -- is there a risk of going too far in the bravado part of it, that, damn you, we're not going to be scared by you but at the same time ...
GIULIANI: Absolutely not. No, the idea was we had to be in communication with those agencies and those buildings got a great deal of security as a result of - I mean the CIA was there. The Secret Service was there. All the agencies were there.
You know how many buildings in New York are targeted by terrorists? I used to know the list cold.
KING: As you know, you have angered some members of the first responder community recently with this statement. I was at ground zero as often if not more than most of the workers, exposed to the same things they were so in a sense, I am one of them. "The New York Times" looked at this from the three months from September 16th to December 16, 2001 and said the mayor was there 29 hours total in those three months. The workers, over a course of three days, would be there more than 29 hours.
GIULIANI: I was there probably in the first two weeks more than 29 hours. You know, the "New York Times" in some cases is not the most accurate judge of my record or of my ...
KING: An exaggeration on your part, though?
GIULIANI: It was a comparison with some of the people who have gotten sick, who were there less often than I was. Some people who worked on my staff, some people who were there a third of the time I was. What I was actually pointing out was, you can be there for a relatively short period of time and still get sick, and still be considered in the category of people that are at risk.
The reality is, that I was there, a good deal of time, a lot more than "The Times" indicates. I was there in two weeks more than "The Times" indicates. I wasn't there as much as some others, but I was there enough so that I would be in the at-risk category by -- in fact, I've even been invited to join some of the studies, some of the tests to determine what kind of an impact did it have on me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Three meetings with current and former British prime ministers on the agenda for Mayor Giuliani, Wolf, including tonight an appearance with Lady Margaret Thatcher, who of course is a hero to conservatives back home in the United States.
This isn't all though about projecting an image on the world stage. Rudy Giuliani also holding a luncheon here today for Republicans who live in this area, raising some money he says and courting their support saying that suppose we have an election like 2000 when absentee ballots and overseas ballots counts. He's looking overseas for every last possible check and every last possible vote.
BLITZER: I'm sure he's got a bunch of supporters in London as well. Thanks very much for that. John King doing some good reporting as usual.
An unexpected discovery, giving a rare glimpse into a terrible part of history. There are some just-released photographs from one of the most infamous Nazi caps camps, shows a part of Auschwitz never seen before. We have the story. We have the pictures. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Nazi SS officers at leisure while the gas chambers and oven work overtimes. Hidden away for half a century, photos from the Auschwitz death camp have just been revealed.
Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's got this story on the other side of evil.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, after all these years we think we know everything about what went on in the concentration camps but this discovery gives us an astonishing and almost surreal new look at the people who perpetrated that horror.
You'd think they're lounging at a country resort. Some gather carefree for drinks in the afternoon sun. A line of women pose on a fence, one pretends she's upset that her bowl of blueberries is finished. The year, 1944, the place Auschwitz. These women, communication specialists for the Nazi SS.
SARA BLOOMFIELD, DIR., U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: We're seeing them enjoying life. We're seeing them as though they saw themselves as normal, happy, as humans.
KING: The very same day these pictures were taken, 150 eastern European Jews arrived at the same complex and most were gassed to death. This album, compiled by Carl Hooker, an aide to the commandant of Auschwitz is now in the National Holocaust Museum's web site. Hooker, his fellow officers and their female colleagues seen almost gleefully whiling away their off hours at a time when Auschwitz was operating beyond capacity.
JUDITH COHEN, U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: To such an extent that in fact they were burning corpses in open pits because they couldn't accommodate them all in the crematoria they had built.
KING: When they took breaks from the slaughter, a favorite past time was the accordion sing-along. Joining in here, Dr. Joseph Mengele, the Nazi physician known for doing grotesque medical experiments on Holocaust victims and at Auschwitz, selecting who was fit to live and who wasn't. Eight newly revealed pictures of Mengele are in this collection, the only photos linking him to Auschwitz. Sobering for their casual depiction of how little conscience he seemingly had.
COHEN: You don't see him doing anything outrageous but he's going about, enjoying himself as if his moral compass had shut down. KING: Holding hands, sitting on the laps of these murderers and their collaborators, young children.
BLOOMFIELD: We see it as so exceptional. But remember, this is a world of self-justification, a world that teaches us about the human capacity to rationalize.
KING: Perhaps the most telling illustration of that, December 1944, the soviet army within earshot of Auschwitz. Carl Hooker lights a Christmas tree candle.
Just weeks later, Hooker and the other SS officers would abandon Auschwitz. The soviet army would liberate the camp. Carl Hooker would not be tracked down and prosecuted until 1943.
BLITZER: You mentioned, Brian, that this was almost like a resort to these Nazis. What was this area like?
KING: The area where a lot of these pictures were taken was in effect a resort. It was a retreat called Salahoot (ph) inside the Auschwitz complex but several kilometers away from the main camp. It was tucked in the woods with an area for hunting game. Museum officials tells us that it's still there and it's a cafe now.
BLITZER: All right. Brian, thanks very much. An important story for us, Brian Todd watching it.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty, a little preview of what's coming up at the top of the hour, a special Cafferty File, a very not only special but very long Cafferty File today.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes it's very long. We're going to read 350,000 e-mails in the next 60 minutes. Actually, you know, you've got to do a little truth in packaging. One of the reasons we're going to do an hour of this is to try and sell this book I've written. Because it needs a -- you know, we have to kick it in the rear end, get it off the ground. It's called "It's Getting Ugly Out There" and since some of what I do on THE SITUATION ROOM every day is about how ugly it's getting out there, one of the wizards around here put it together and said, hey man, we should do a show and I'm thinking that's a good idea. And as it turns out, it's not a bad show, Wolf.
We have Chuck Hagel on the air, who is -- he's one of my heroes. And I don't have many in Washington but this guy's been there and done it all. Decorated combat veteran in Vietnam. Sadly he's decided not to run for president but he's here to talk about how he thinks the war in Iraq is one of the great mistakes in the history of this country. And some other things.
We also have Whoopi Goldberg on the show. She's one of the hosts of "The View." Whoopi's won every award in every category of show business that there is. I've known her for 25 years. She's a delightful person who has strong, humorous and interesting opinions on almost everything. So I had a long conversation with Whoopi and we're going to talk about things that are on her mind.
And then there's actually a cameo, Wolf, of your own self, the Wolf-man will be on the program via videotape. You and I talked about the personal stuff in the book as relates to my own life, things that actually I haven't talked a whole lot about in public before.
And we've got some man on the street stuff. We sent cameras around the country talking to people why they don't like the congress, why they don't like the government, why they don't like the president.
We've got e-mails. We're actually going to commandeer that little crawl that runs incessantly across the bottom of your screen. We managed to arm wrestle that away from the powers that be and we'll run e-mails on that as well. So it's action-packed, as Marv Albert used to say.
BLITZER: It's a great edition of the Cafferty File coming up in a few minutes. We're not only going to be watching that but immediately after we're going to run out and buy the book.
CAFFERTY: Get two. You might lose one.
BLITZER: OK. Jack, good work. Thanks very much.
Hundreds of reporters, producers and photographers all swarmed in one space. It's the O.J. Simpson media circus and Jeanne Moos standing by with a most unusual look at it. That's coming up next.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some Hot Shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press.
In Afghanistan, a boy reads the Koran in an Islamic school in Kabul. Muslims worldwide are observing the holy month of Ramadan.
In Slovenia, a cyclist passes by a car wrecked after flooding. At least four died after the heavy rains.
In Iraq, a man sews a wedding blanket in a market north of Baghdad.
And in Jerusalem, take a look at this. An orthodox Jew holds a chicken over his sons as part of a ritual performed before Yom Kippur. Believers believe that it transfers their sins to the chicken before that chicken is given to charity.
Some of this hour's Hot Shots, pictures often worth a thousand words.
A decade after the first go-round, Simpson mania breaks out again. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that acceptable?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A judge with a ponytail, O.J.'s girlfriend with sunglasses and a funny guy blowing bubble gum bubbles crashing a press conference. This is some of what you missed if you weren't glued to the tube for O.J. the sequel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Simpson, do you understand the charges against you?
O.J. SIMPSON: Yes, sir.
MOOS: An O.J. supporter was outside handing out free juice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't suck up the juice. I'll tell you, suck up the truth.
MOOS: Competing truths sucked up to the TV cameras. Not this time O.J., read the sign, paraded around by a guy in a chicken suit. Not laughing was O.J.'s daughter from his first marriage. She was sitting between O.J.'s sister and O.J.'s girlfriend, both aware of the glare of courtroom camera, which for a while stay fixed on the ever- changing face of Christie Prody, she seemed about to cry, then smiled, then raised her eyebrow, brows that one gossip blog called eyebrows from the demon world, while another blog referred to her keeping company with a lady killer. Outside the courtroom celebrity news and comedy collide. Collided during a press conference by O.J.'s defense attorney.
YALE GALANTER, SIMPSON ATTORNEY: We expect Mr. Simpson to be processed and released.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
MOOS: The loud mouth was on every cable news network.
GALANTER: Have been securing Mr. Simpson's release.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice work, dude. Up high!
GALANTER: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice work, dude, up high! Nice work, dude, up high.
MOOS: His had read, "I love famous people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is your client innocent or not guilty?
GALANTER: I'm not sure there's a difference in the eyes of the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's both, dude. He's innocent and not guilty.
MOOS: Eventually O.J.'s defense attorney took offense.
GALANTER: Excuse me. Excuse me.
MOOS: Expect to see this press conference crasher on Jimmy Kimmel's late night show. He's billed as Jack bird's celebrity avenger. Anthony Barbieri is a comedian you may remember from other media events featuring celebs like Paris Hilton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serve the remainder of her sentence at the Century Regional Detention Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up.
MOOS: It's how 24-hour news calls in the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't talk right now. I can't talk right for you.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Only Jeanne Moos does that kind of reporting. Thanks very much for joining us.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Up next, a special edition of the Cafferty File.
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