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Marion Jones Pleads Guilty; Secretary of Housing Investigation; Soldier's Afghanistan Death

Aired October 5, 2007 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Kitty.
Happening now -- the disgraced Olympic track star, Marion Jones, a tearful apology...


MARION JONES, OLYMPIC ATHLETE: I have let them down, I have let my country down and I have let myself down.


BLITZER: Tonight, how high a price will she pay after pleading guilty to lying about steroid use?

Also, a cabinet member, the secretary of Housing now under investigation by federal agents. Did this old friend of President Bush improperly use his power to help line the pockets of another friend?

And a soldier dies mysteriously in Afghanistan, shot in the head. Now her family is demanding answers. Tonight, her story, and the frightening clues she left before she died.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It's a fall from glory the likes of which has rarely been seen among Olympic athletes. The gold medalist track star, Marion Jones, likely to be stripped of her honors after admitting to taking steroids and pleading guilty to lying to investigators about it. Tonight she's making an emotional, an emotional apology.

Let's go right to our senior correspondent Allan Chernoff. He's watching this story for us in White Plains, New York, where she appeared before a federal judge. Update our viewers, Allan. What a day.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, instead of shattering athletic records, Marion Jones today shattered the myth of her athletic prowess. She admitted she had cheated and lied to federal investigators.


CHERNOFF (voice-over): Marion Jones appeared to be superhuman when she won a record five medals at the Sydney Olympic Games. Today seven years later Jones confessed she had been fuelled by performance enhancing steroids and that she lied to federal investigators about her drug use and about participating in a check fraud scam.

MARION JONES, FORMER TRACK STAR: And so it is with a great amount of shame, that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down.

CHERNOFF: For years Jones had denied suspicions she used steroids.

JONES: I have never, ever used performance-enhancing drugs and I have accomplished what I have accomplished because of my God-given abilities and hard work.

CHERNOFF: In a firm voice, Jones told the court her coach Trevor Graham first gave her a supplement he called flaxseed oil in 1999, which she said she later recognized was, in fact, a performance- enhancing drug. Graham, who has pled not guilty to charges he lied in the case, has not publicly commented on Jones' accusations. In 2003, a federal agent investigating BALCO, a company that distributed supplements as well as steroids to athletes, showed her the designer steroid known as "the clear". "I told him I had never seen it. I had never ingested it." those were both lies, Jones said.

JONES: Making these false statements to federal agents was an incredibly stupid thing for me to do. And I am responsible fully for my actions. I have no one to blame but myself for what I have done.

CHERNOFF: Jones now becomes the first athlete convicted in a case tied to the BALCO investigation. Baseball player Barry Bonds reportedly told a grand jury that he had taken substances obtained from BALCO, believing to it be flaxseed oil. Jason Giambi admitted using steroids and human growth hormones.


CHERNOFF: Jones is likely to lose her Olympic medals, all five of them, and she faces a theoretical maximum of 10 years in prison, although her actual sentence will almost certainly be far shorter. Wolf?

BLITZER: Allan Chernoff on the scene for us. Thank you, Allan.

Here's a little bit more of what Marion Jones had to say in that emotional statement she made after entering her guilty plea.


JONES: With a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I want all of you to know that today I pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents, making these false statements to federal agents was an incredibly stupid thing for me to do. And I am responsible fully for my actions. I have no one to blame but myself for what I have done. I want you to know that I have been dishonest. And you have the right to be angry with me. I have let them down. I have let my country down. And I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying that I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and the hurt that I have caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.


BLITZER: Before now Jones had firmly denied using steroids. Back in 2004, she went even further, filing a $25 million defamation lawsuit against the owner of BALCO. As Allan told us that's the laboratory used to create the steroids she now admits to taking. In the lawsuit Jones said Victor Conte falsely accused her of taking performance enhancing drugs. The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount -- much more on this story coming up later this hour.

A member of President Bush's cabinet is under investigation. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson is pledging to cooperate into -- with a probe into a no-bid contract that was awarded to a friend. Let's bring in Brian Todd. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM watching this story.

Brian, what are you finding out?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we know that Alphonso Jackson is an old political friend of the president's and that got him appointed to a cabinet post. Now the FBI is investigating whether the secretary improperly rewarded another friend.


TODD (voice-over): The housing secretary under investigation by federal agents. An associate of Alphonso Jackson may have gotten a no-bid contract to help rebuild New Orleans and he was paid $400,000 for it. A former special explains what the feds will look into.

SCOTT FREDERICKSEN, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: What were the circumstances? Was it friendship involved? Was there something more? Was there a quid pro quo? Was there a reward? Was there an understanding?

TODD: Jackson's friend is identified by "The National Journal" which first reported the story as South Carolina construction contractor William Hairston. The magazine says Jackson gave Hairston's name and two others to officials in New Orleans. Our calls to William Hairston were not returned. But he's quoted as telling "The National Journal", the secretary asked me if I would go to New Orleans and help them out. Jackson through a spokesman said, I intend to fully cooperate with any possible investigation, and to clear my name. The White House isn't saying much.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president expects that Alphonso Jackson will comply fully with the investigation. He has indicated that he will do so and our counsel's office has been in touch to make sure that that is happening and we are sure that it is.

TODD: This isn't the first time Jackson has faced scrutiny over contract awards. During a speech last year Jackson said one potential contractor told him he didn't like President Bush. Jackson said he didn't get the contract. Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president? Jackson later apologized. Told HUD's inspector general he never prevented that contract from being issued and said he lied when he made the remark. In an interview last year, he said...

ALPHONSO JACKSON, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECY: It was really a slipup. I was very tired. I had a very sore throat, a cold. And I've told the story probably 14, 15 times and that was the first time that the ending came that way.


TODD: Now, when he became HUD secretary, Jackson helped set up a review board to make sure he wouldn't get involved in this very same thing. That he would have nothing to do with contracts, Wolf.

BLITZER: But he was grilled also about that by the Senate.

TODD: That's right. Senator Frank Lautenberg has grilled him about it. He called for Jackson to resign over the remark, that Jackson got rejected -- that Jackson rejected that one contractor for not liking President Bush, but when Lautenberg grilled him in testimony this spring, Jackson again reiterated, quote, "I don't touch contracts".

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thanks very much. We'll watch this story together with you.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty. He's in New York with The Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It may soon get easier to stock your medicine cabinet with certain kinds of drugs. The government's considering creating what it calls behind-the-counter sales, which would be a middle ground between prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Essentially it would allow consumers to buy routine things like birth control pills or cholesterol drugs, migraine medicine without a prescription as long as they discuss it with a pharmacist first.

Right now there aren't very many drugs you can get behind the counter in this country without a prescription, but it's more much common in places like Australia, Canada and parts of Europe. Pharmacists and drug companies are generally in favor of the idea. They say pharmacists are trained to consult people about routine medical conditions and that they can be more accessible and spend more time with you than doctors.

But a lot of doctors aren't so crazy about the idea. They say they're concerned about people trying to self-diagnose and self-treat. And, of course, they'd be beat out of that fee for the office visit that you have to pay when you go and get them to write a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration wants to know how you feel about it and they're going to be holding a meeting next month to get input from patients, pharmacists and doctors. And the FDA is also taken written comments through the end of November.

But we can do away with all that and get this thing settled right here. The question is this. Is it a good idea to allow people to buy some routine drugs without a doctor's prescription? E-mail your thoughts on that to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thank you.

There's outrage in Congress over a shocking story first reported by CNN. Tonight new questions about a possible cover-up in the controversy over private contractors in Iraq.

Plus -- the mystery surrounding the death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Did her sexual orientation have anything to do with it?

And Hillary Clinton portrays herself as a defender of ground zero workers. Is it a taste of future attacks on Rudy Giuliani's response to 9/11?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: There's a new controversy tonight involving the private security contractor Blackwater USA. Lawmakers want to know why a former employee who lost his job after allegedly killing an Iraqi guard was hired months later by another contractor, a story first revealed by CNN.

Let's go to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre. He's watching this story for us. Jamie, what can you tell us about what's going on?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, in response to questions raised by CNN, the House Oversight Government Reform Committee wants more answers from the State Department.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): CNN has confirmed that this man, Andrew Moonen of Seattle, Washington, is the Blackwater contractor accused of killing a bodyguard for the Iraqi vice president after allegedly drinking too much at a party last Christmas Eve in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a lawyer. Please go talk to him.

MCINTYRE: HIS lawyer told CNN he doesn't believe his client committed a criminal offense. Still, at a congressional oversight hearing earlier this week, the head of embattled Blackwater USA insisted fired employees like Moonen would have a hard time getting any sensitive government work in the future. ERIK PRINCE, CEO, BLACKWATER USA: We endeavor to get their security clearance pulled, cancelled, and once that's done they'll never work in a clearance capacity for the U.S. government again.


PRINCE: ... very unlikely.

MCINTYRE: So Committee Chairman Henry Waxman was outraged to learn from a CNN investigative report Moonen was hired just two months later by another firm. Combat Support Associates, a Pentagon contractor in Kuwait. A spokesman confirmed Andrew J. Moonen was employed by CSA from February to August this year. But the company would not say if Moonen's job required any special clearance.

Waxman cited CNN's reporting in an angry letter he fired off to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Serious questions now exist about whether the State Department may have withheld from the U.S. Defense Department facts about this Blackwater contractor's shooting of the Iraqi guard that should have prevented his hiring to work on another contract in support of the Iraq war. The Pentagon says it does not do background checks on employees of private contractors.

A spokesman saying, the DOD does not hire individuals. It hires companies. And we expect companies to apply standards that are appropriate. CNN has also learned from Army personnel records that Moonen was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division for three years and served a tour in Iraq before his honorable discharge in 2005.


MCINTYRE: Congressman Waxman accuses the State Department of being too anxious to pay cash to families of the victims of shootings, and not enough on holding Blackwater accountable. A State Department spokesman disputes that and says it will happily comply with Waxman's request for more information and documents -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The story not going away, Jamie. Thank you very much.

A U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, but this case is shrouded in mystery, the victim, a woman. She was found dead on her base, shot in the head. And now her family is demanding answers.

CNN's Kathleen Koch has details -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the U.S. military is not saying very much publicly. And all this has been so tough on the family because after being told initially that she was killed in action they learned that really wasn't the case.


KOCH (voice-over): The Massachusetts National Guard delivered the news that Army Specialist Ciara Durkin had been killed in action in Afghanistan September 28th. Her family was devastated. PIERCE DURKIN, BROTHER OF SLAIN SOLDIER: It's my birthday on the 27th, on Thursday, and we found out on the 28th, and it was at 1:00 a.m. on the 28th that there was a voice mail on my phone. I just missed her call. And she was -- she said, hey, little bro, I love you very much. I can't wait to see you. And then she started singing "Happy Birthday."

KOCH: Then, the family says word came from military officials that Durkin had been found shot in the head near a church inside a secure area of Bagram Air Base.

MAURA DURKIN, SISTER OF SLAIN SOLDIER: We need answers. We'd like answers. We want to know how our beloved Ciara spent the last moments of her life and why was she taken from us?

KOCH: Right now the Pentagon will only say that Durkin was a non-combat-related death and that within minutes Army criminal investigation division agents were on the scene. Thirty-year-old Durkin was lesbian and never complained of harassment. But her family says on her last visit home she made a frightening comment.

STEVE RALLS, SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK: That should something happen to her, to demand an investigation, because she had uncovered something in her unit that apparently made many of her fellow service members anxious or upset.

KOCH: The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which represents gays in the military, is now helping the family. Durkin, who worked in finance and processed payroll for her unit, never told her family what she had discovered.


KOCH: Now, both Massachusetts senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, are calling for an investigation. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is urging anyone who served with Durkin who wants to submit information anonymously to go to their Web site, Durkin's wake is today, her funeral tomorrow -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kathleen Koch, reporting. Thanks. What a story that is.

As of September 1st, by the way, 12 women have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, 13 women there wounded, the tolls though in Iraq much higher. Eighty U.S. military service women killed and 528 injured, that according to the Pentagon.

Politics, and 9/11. A presidential candidate uses Ground Zero in advertising. And it's not who you might think.

A disgraced senator's fall from grace continues reaction tonight from voters on Senator Larry Craig's refusal to resign.

And the accused become the accusers. Those former Duke University lacrosse players wrongly accused of rape, are heading back to court. You're going to find out why. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: In the days after the 9/11 attack, Senator Hillary Clinton rallied behind New York's Republican leader including then the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. Now in the heat of the 2008 presidential race, Senator Clinton is harkening back to those difficult days and hinting, though, that Giuliani fell short.

Let's go right to Mary Snow. She's in New York following this story. And it involves a new Clinton campaign ad, Mary that is raising some eyebrows.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does, Wolf, and there are some critics, some say they are fine with it. The images run for just a few seconds but a new campaign ad running in New Hampshire and Iowa entered new territory.


SNOW (voice-over): Ground Zero is an image that hasn't been used in the 2008 presidential ad campaign until this one from Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She stood by Ground Zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives.

SNOW: The ad focuses on health care, not 9/11. But it wasn't entirely expected.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Since Rudy Giuliani is the candidate who is most closely associated with 9/11, I think we all expected for him to use the image first.

SNOW: To date Rudy Giuliani has not. He's largely built his candidacy on his days as New York's mayor during 9/11, but using images in a political campaign can be politically dangerous. In 2004 President Bush's campaign used a 9/11 image that sparked a furor. Critics say he exploited the tragedy by showing a flag-draped body. The Ground Zero images in Senator Clinton ads are very different, showing workers going to the site. Still, specialists in voting behavior say using such emotionally charged images carries a risk.

DOUGLAS MUZZIO, BARUCH COLLEGE: There's always risk but it seems to me that she needs to establish herself as someone who can be positively associated with 9/11.

SNOW: The Clinton camp says she has an outstanding record of helping people who were hurt in the aftermath of 9/11 and that's something we want people to know about. The political observers say the ad also takes aim at Rudy Giuliani.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's one of those people who have a legitimate stake in 9/11. She can't allow Rudy to be exclusively the 9/11 candidate.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SNOW: Now, the Giuliani campaign declined comment on the story. 9/11 families we contacted had mixed reactions to the ad. Some say it's not appropriate to use any 9/11 images for political ads. Others say they didn't object to this particular ad by the Clinton campaign -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Mary. Thanks very much.

Carol Costello's off today. Fredricka Whitfield is in Atlanta, monitoring some other stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What's the latest, Fred?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, let's start with Philadelphia where police are questioning a man in connection with that fatal armored truck holdup yesterday. Police say he was arrested on an unrelated warrant. But they are offering no details on how he might be connected to the case. A robber gunned down two guards, killing both in broad daylight in a crowded business district yesterday.

And three former Duke Lacrosse players accused and cleared of raping an exotic dancer are now suing the city of Durham, the prosecutors and the detectives who handled the case. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages, attorney fees and reforms to investigative procedures in the city.

And Myanmar took center stage at the United Nations today. A U.N. special envoy is urging the military government to quickly start talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He called it an hour of historic opportunity. The Myanmar government is now admitting to detaining more than 2,000 Buddhist monks during pro-democracy protests last month. Dissident leaders say the real number is much higher than that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Fredricka Whitfield, reporting for us.

The stunning fall of an Olympic track champion...


JONES: I have let them down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down.


BLITZER: Marion Jones won five medals. Tonight, she's talking of shame and regret. You're going to see her full, tearful apology. That's coming up.

Also, the president speaking up and standing firm, what he has to say about the interrogations of terror suspects.

Plus, Hollywood turning its focus on terror. Why a new blockbuster is causing controversy around the world.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now -- President Bush tells Arab television reports the United States is getting ready to attack Iran are, in his words, baseless gossip.

A jury is ordering McDonald's to pay $6 million to a female employee. She says she was strip searched by a supervisor as part of a hoax when someone called posing as a police officer.

And more than three dozen schoolchildren are back on dry land after the ship they were on took on water off the coast of southern California.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

On Capitol Hill tonight, quite a few Republicans are upset over Senator Larry Craig's refusal to resign. Craig lost a legal bid to withdraw his guilty plea in connection with his arrest in an airport men's room. Let's go to our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, many Republicans here are angry. They say Senator Craig is hurting an already ailing Republican Party. And it appears many of Senator Craig's constituents back in Idaho aren't very happy he's staying either. We went back to an Idaho radio station we visited when this men's room sting first broke.


BASH (on camera): On the airwaves in Idaho, the verdict seems clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put me down as disappointed in his decision.

BASH: Nearly every call about Larry Craig to this conservative radio show goes something like this...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable Senator Craig needs to go ahead and step down. It would be the honorable thing to do. All the good things he's done for the state are now being harmed.

BASH: Though many Idahoans wish Craig stuck with his decision to resign, especially after his bid to withdraw hi guilty plea was denied, Craig's fellow senator from Idaho is behind him.

SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R), IDAHO: Senator Craig has the right to pursue his legal defense of his case to its fullest extent. And I support his decision to do that.

BASH: But back in Washington, Senator Crapo is a lonely voice. Most of Craig's fellow Republicans who tried to force him out are furious he's staying. They're raising the possibility of public Ethics Committee hearings, hoping Craig will reconsider.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Putting the Senate through this kind of embarrassment, especially if they're public hearings, I don't think is good for the institution, Republicans or Democrats.

BASH: That's not likely to sway Craig. His attorney says he welcomes the Senate investigation. Since a Minnesota judge dealt him a legal blow, Craig sees the ethics probe as the last viable way to clear his name.

STANLEY BRAND, CRAIG'S ATTORNEY: I don't think there's anything in the public record -- and this entire case is in the public record at this point -- gives the senator pause or cause for concern were it to be aired in the Senate Ethics Committee. That may be the only place that he gets his day in court.


BASH: Craig's attorney says the Ethics Committee would embarrass itself if it reprimanded a U.S. senator for a misdemeanor, something he says has never happened before. But right now the Ethics Committee is conducting a preliminary inquiry and it is still not a sure thing it will become a full-blown investigation or if there will be public hearings. Wolf?

BLITZER: Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.

At the White House today, President Bush obviously had something else on his mind during an Oval Office photo-op on the economy. He made a point of telling reporters, and I'm quoting now, "This government does not torture people." Here's our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Despite fresh accusations that the U.S. tortures suspected terrorists in its custody, President Bush insisted he'll continue to do whatever it takes to protect the American people.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we're going to detain them, and you bet we're going to question them.

MALVEAUX: But Mr. Bush insists the harsh interrogation methods he had signed off on do not amount to torture.

BUSH: This government does not torture people. You know, we stick to U.S. law and our international obligations.

MALVEAUX: But how do we know?

Thursday, "The New York Times" revealed a once-secret Justice Department memo from February of 2005 which alleged the administration approved harsh interrogation techniques, including simulated drowning, head-slapping, and exposure to extreme cold.

Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller, said that's a lot more information than he got when he and other committee members were briefed by the administration. Today he lashed out, saying, "I'm tired of these games. They can't say that Congress has been fully briefed while refusing to turn over key documents used to justify the legality of the program."

The White House says they've been as open as they can.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What would make it better? What would make it better? That we should tell everybody exactly what we have?

You want to know the techniques that we use so we can tell exactly al Qaeda what we're going to do? That's absurd.


BLITZER: Our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reporting.

A month-long standoff between federal agents and a New Hampshire couple convicted of income tax evasion is now over. The pair was taken into custody at their home last night, by two undercover agents posing as supporters. Ammunition, weapons, explosive devices and booby traps were reportedly found in and around the home. In April, the couple was sentenced to six years in prison. They say there's no valid law requiring them to pay income tax. The couple barricaded themselves in the house, but that didn't stop supporters from rallying for them online.

Let's go to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton. She's following this story for us. So, what were they doing all those months inside that house?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTEr: Wolf, there are blogs and MySpace pages updated by their supporters that take you right inside that standoff. This video is dated last month. Shows the couple discussing their legal strategy while in their home.

And then there's this one, which was posted over the summer, in July, showing a carnival-like atmosphere as supporters gathered on the grounds of the home to listen to the couple speak. An essay online attributed to Elaine Brown describes living with no power after the government shut it off and lays out the couple's claim that federal income tax is not legitimate.

It's a cause that's got them quite the following online with blog posts going back to early this year. Agents last night posed as their supporters to gain access to the house. Wolf?

BLITZER: And presumably they might be going to jail right now for all of this. All right, Abbi, thanks very much.

She's won five Olympic gold medals, but tonight she makes an emotional confession. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARION JONES, ATHLETE: I want you to know that I have been dishonest. And you have the right to be angry with me.


BLITZER: Coming up -- you're going to hear all of Marion Jones' tearful apology, plus Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us a closer look at the steroids she now admits to using.

Also -- a car dealer makes a commercial to sell cars. Now, some are so outraged, they say they'll never buy anything from that dealer again. We'll tell you why.

Plus, a new Hollywood blockbuster is raking it in at the box office. But it's also causing controversy not only in the U.S., but around the world. You're going to find out why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your safety is my primary concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought your primary concern would be the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you'd be mistaken.



BLITZER: More now on our top story. The former track star, the Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones admitting to steroid use and pleading guilty to lying about it in a federal probe. After her court appearance today, a very emotional Jones talked to the news media outside.


JONES: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Marion Jones-Thompson, and I'm here today because I have something very important to tell you, my fans, my friends, and my family. Over the many years of my life, as an athlete in this sport of track and field, you have been fiercely loyal and supportive towards me. Even more loyal and supportive than words can declare, has been my family and especially my dear mother, who stands by my side today.

And so it is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I want all of you to know that today I pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents. Making these false statements to federal agents was an incredibly stupid thing for me to do. And I am responsible fully for my actions. I have no one to blame but myself for what I have done.

To you, my fans, including my young supporters, the united states track and field association, my closest friends, my attorneys, and the most classy family a person could ever hope for, namely, my mother, my husband, my children, my brother and his family, my uncles and the rest of my extended family, I want you to know that I have been dishonest.

And you have the right to be angry with me. I have let them down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying that I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and the hurt that I have caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I have asked almighty god for my forgiveness. Having said this, and because of my actions, I'm retiring from the sport of track and field, a sport which I deeply love. I promise that these events will be used to make the lives of many people improve, that by making the wrong choices and bad decisions, can be disastrous. I want to thank you all for your time.


BLITZER: Marion Jones speaking earlier. So what exactly is the steroid that she now admits taking? Its nickname is The Clear. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explains.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's called THG as you know, it stands for tetrohydronegesterone (ph). It is a designer steroid, which basically means you take a steroid such as testosterone and you add a hydrogen molecule to make it a little bit different and a little bit harder to detect.

Now a couple of things about THG and another steroid known as andro that used to be legal. Up until a few years ago, you could actually buy them in health food stores and a lot of people, a lot of athletes actually took it on a regular basis.

But they've become illegal now and what we hear now most recently is they're often with flaxseed oil either to cover it up or to transport it in a different way. Unsure, but a lot of times people are told they're taking flaxseed oil when, in fact, they are given this cream or The Clear as it's called, all of it known as THG.

Now when you have these designer steroids, the whole idea of adding these hydrogen molecules. It still gets broken down into basic testosterone into your body. So that's the ultimate goal of these substances, no matter how designer it is or no matter how many molecules they add to it, is to give yourself an anabolic steroid.

And we know those can have significant effects to the inside of your body. They can cause liver tumors. They can raise your bad cholesterol. They can lower your good cholesterol. They can have effects on your psyche and cause aggressive behavior and they have been known to actually be linked to heart disease down the line as well.

The exact effects on someone in the long run is hard to trace, because so many of these people have not come forward and say they're taking this particular substance. But again, all of it basically comes back down to the idea that someone is taking testosterone to try and improve physical prowess and athletic performance. There will be many more details in this story as they come forward, and we'll bring them to you. Back to you.


BLITZER: All right, Sanjay, thanks very much. Bottom line, don't take steroids.

It's a blockbuster movie with big-name celebrities. But some people do not want you to see the movie, "The Kingdom."

Also, a car dealer hopes to sell cars, but winds up angering potential customers.

And is it a good idea for people to let people buy some routine drugs without a doctors prescription? Jack Caffery with you e-mail. All that coming up.


BLITZER: The latest movie to take on the war on terror is coming under criticism for supposedly being anti-Arab. Here's CNN's Kareen Wynter. Kareen?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. "The Kingdom" raked in more than $17 million at the box office over the weekend and although it was a success with some movie-goers, the film didn't fare well with a certain audience.


WYNTER (voice-over): Americans abroad, under terrorist attack. This nightmare scenario plays out in "The Kingdom," the fictional story of an FBI team investigating the slaughter of American civilians in the Saudi capital. No one doubts the film has plenty of this --


WYNTER: What's in dispute is the movie's depiction of Arabs. Some film critics and one Islamic-American group argue they are portrayed as bloodthirsty or ignorant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought your primary concern would be the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you would be mistaken.

HUSSAN AYLOUSH, COUNCIL ON AMER-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: It's feeding on a paranoid and anti-Muslim sentiment that exists in our country today. The movie itself perpetuates every negative stereotype. WYNTER: Hussan Ayloush of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the film doesn't promote understanding between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

Were you angry leaving the film?

AYLOUSH: I wasn't angry, but I was more depressed. Every character in the movie that was Arab and Muslim is unfortunately a villain except for one who plays a good guy.

WYNTER: That good guy is a Saudi colonel who eventually decides to help the FBI team. Director Peter Berg says the character is there to balance the film.

PETER BERG, DIRECTOR: I wanted to present a moderate Arab character in addition to religious extremists.

STEVEN GAYDOS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, VARIETY: For people who don't like the depiction of Muslims or Saudis, they are having to look past the fact that the single most he heroic character in the fact happens to be Saudi.

WYNTER: "The Kingdom" is among the first in a wave of Hollywood films that explore Middle Eastern themes. But Steven Gaydos of the entertainment bible "Variety" says movie-goers may not be ready.

GAYDOS: The early indications are that audiences are a little bit reticent about films with a Mideast theme or a terrorist theme.

WYNTER: Successful or not, Hussan Ayloush says, Hollywood has a bigger responsibility than the bottom line.

AYLOUSH: My message to Hollywood is Islamophobia is real and anti-Americanism is real, terrorism is real. These are actual threats their are killing people, that are and making people miserable. We all have a role to play and that role is to bring people together.

WYNTER: "The Kingdom" rolls out internationally later this month. And Wolf, you know, it will be interesting to see how viewers all around the world react to this movie. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right Kareen, thank you.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have long-standing ties. President Franklin Roosevelt first established formal diplomatic relations with the kingdom back in 1933. The U.S. embassy opened in Jeddah in 1944. It later moved to Riyadh. The Saudi crown prince Abdullah made state visits to the United States in 2002 and 2005. He's now the king. Saudi Arabia is the third largest supplier of oil to the United States.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's in New York with "The Cafferty File." Jack?

CAFFERTY: They also supplied most of the terrorists who flew those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, didn't they?

BLITZER: Fifteen out of 19.

CAFFERTY: Yeah, that's what I thought. The question is -- is it a good idea to let people buy some routine drugs without a doctor's prescription?

Andrew in Cleveland writes: "It's absurd that consumers cannot purchase many medicines without a prescription. There will come a point where we will have to stop making laws based on the least intelligent guy in the room. It seems that there's one knucklehead out there that ruins simplicity for the rest of us."

Sandi in Connecticut writes: "The pharmacist will do this until their malpractice feeds go up. Let's have the lawyers do this and then they can all sue each other. And let's see where the pharmacists are in the middle of the night when the patients have a reaction and need care."

Dave in Vancouver: "To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, it's a good idea to let some of the people buy routine drugs all of the time and all of the people let routine drugs some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time."

Connie in Illinois: "If you move drugs from prescription to non- prescription, who pays for the drug? Does the insurance company still cover or does the cholesterol drug now be paid for by the patient himself?"

Jean writes: "I work in a doctor's office. A lot of time, people say they can either afford the doctor's appointment or afford the medication. Maybe the dispensing of some medications by pharamacists would alleviate at least part of the problem."

And Jack writes from Florida: "Letting people buy needed drugs without a prescription is an impossibility. The doctors who are bribed by the drug manufacturers to prescribe these drugs would lose money and the drug companies would also lose money. And then who would finance our politicians?"

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to We post of them online, along with video clips of "The Cafferty File." Wolf?

BLITZER: Have a great weekend, Jack. Thanks very much.

Let's see what's coming up at the top of the hour. Rick Sanchez standing by. Hi, Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, we've got an "OUT IN THE OPEN" video exclusive tonight, Wolf. We're getting information that there's a bit of a panic that's going on in the Dallas area among immigrants there. In fact, the information we're getting is that the Mexican consulate there is warning immigrants to avoid certain parts of the city. We're going to tell you what's going on. Also, why is it that we have borrowed so much money from the Chinese? Maybe this is a better question, and this is something we're going to break down for you tonight, who's winning and who is losing when it comes to the borrowed money?

And then we're going to have Carlos Mencia and we've going to have Gloria Estefan here. Just part of what we're going to bring you tonight, "OUT IN THE OPEN." Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Sounds great, Rick, thanks very much.

Coming up here, it's supposed to drum up business, but this commercial is causing one car dealer to lose customers instead. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: In our look at Uncovering America, a story that may anger the Latino community. In south Florida, a car dealer's TV ad is turning off viewers that speak English. Here's CNN's Susan Candiotti.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, selling car is what drives Earl Stewart, simple as that. But when he decided to run his ads in Spanish on English-language stations, well, look what happened.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Without cue cards, Earl Stewart doesn't speak a lick of Spanish. But he knows how to sell cars. His family has been in business for 70 years in West Palm Beach, Florida. He figured why not advertise in Spanish on English-language TV, to reach Latinos who might be watching.

EARL STEWART, CAR SALESMAN: I wasn't trying to make a political statement, I was trying to sell more Toyotas.

CANDIOTTI: Viewers started calling with a vengeance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will no longer be buying anything from your dealership, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not right. Your advertisement is unbelievable.

CANDIOTTI: Within days, he got more than 200 angry e-mails.

STEWART: I find your Spanish commercial stupid and insulting. I would never buy a car from someone that doesn't know what country he lives in. This is not Mexico.

CANDIOTTI: This one says tell Earl he's a traitor and un- American. When you started to run these ads, did you ever think it would cause such a stir?

STEWART: I had no idea. I was shocked. CANDIOTTI: On the other hand, Saldados (ph) Hispanic Supermarket chain is running a combo Spanish/English commercial on Miami's English-language TV with no complaints.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People who advertise in Spanish are just trying to expand their consumer base. They're being smart. They want to sell their products.

CANDIOTTI: We asked one of Stewart's customers to watch the ads. She gets it, but doesn't think it helps Hispanics assimilate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They help draw the people in, which is what he wants, but they don't help them learn English.

STEWART: Well, I think it's nonsense to think that a car dealer's commercial on television is going to encourage anybody not to learn English.

CANDIOTTI: Stewart shrugs off e-mails like anything to make a buck, right, Earl.

STEWART: I did do it for the all-mighty dollar, I did it to sell more Toyotas.


CANDIOTTI: And Stewart is selling more Toyotas, record numbers last month. He credits in part those TV ads in Spanish, so he's not backing down and he promises to keep running those ads. Wolf?

BLITZER: Susan Candiotti in Miami for us, thank you Susan. That's it for us. Let's go to Rick Sanchez, he's in New York. Rick?