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President Bush Blasts Democrats; Three Frozen Embryos Stuck in Legal Limbo; Chicago Policeman Accused of Torture; Fugitive Imposter Indicted by Grand Jury

Aired November 1, 2007 - 22:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
President Bush lit into Congress today, accusing Democrats of shirking their duties to keep the nation safe, virtually daring anybody to call him a lame duck. Just ahead, we are going to take a look at what was behind today's tough talk.

Also tonight, a high school dropout who disappeared without a trace and then conned her way right into the Ivy League, well, now she's vanished again. This time, she's a fugitive from the law.

Plus, three frozen embryos in a legal limbo because of a divorce. She wants the baby. Her former husband says, no way.

Those stories are all ahead tonight.

We begin, though, with that tongue lashing that President Bush gave Congress today. Mr. Bush, to put it mildly, is not happy that his nominee for attorney general, Judge Michael Mukasey, has hit some speed bumps in the Senate. Mukasey has refused to say whether the interrogation technique known as water-boarding, or simulated downing, is tantamount to torture.

With his nominee taking heat, the president fired back, accusing Democrats of weakening the Justice Department and compromising the war on terror.

CNN's Tom Foreman is "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the conservative Heritage Foundation, President Bush came out swinging, making it clear he's still the man in charge in D.C. and suggesting Congress is in trouble unless lawmakers get busy on four key points.

First, quit quibbling about how attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey defines torture and give him the job.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is no time for Congress to weaken the Department of Justice by denying it a strong and effective leader. FOREMAN: But, "Keeping Them Honest," plenty of political analysts say those torture questions are legitimate and that recently resigned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was neither strong, nor effective for months as he struggled with his job and his memory over those U.S. attorney firings.



I do not recall.

I don't recall.


FOREMAN: The second point:

BUSH: It's no time for Congress to weaken our ability to gather vital intelligence from captured terrorists.

FOREMAN: What the president appears to be talking about is a classified program for handling terror suspects, which he fears could be exposed through congressional probes. But no Congress members are suggesting that they want to hurt our intelligence-gathering, even if they do want answers.

Third point:

BUSH: It's no time for Congress to weaken our ability to intercept information from terrorists about potential attacks on the United States of America.

FOREMAN (on camera): He's talking about that warrantless wiretapping program. However, virtually no one in Congress opposes the idea of listening in on terrorists' phone calls. Lawmakers just want the courts to be more involved in deciding when that is appropriate.

(voice-over): And his final point:

BUSH: This is no time for Congress to hold back vital funding for our troops as they fight al Qaeda terrorists and radicals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

FOREMAN: Congress says, that's not happening. Sure, they are arguing over the latest request for war funding. And that could affect the future, but all of the vital funding for daily troop operations right now is flowing.

Still, the message from the president lately has been clear and loud. He may be a lame duck, but he's not headed south for the winter yet.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


O'BRIEN: The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Mukasey's nomination early next week.

President Bush, we should note, mentioned 9/11 nine times in his speech today.

Joining us now, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux and also the former presidential adviser David Gergen.

Good evening to you both. Thanks for talking to me.

Listen, Suzanne, let's start with you.

What exactly do you think is the strategy here, the president linking 9/11 and the war on terror to this confirmation?


This is a strategy that's been very successful for this White House in the past. They're essentially banking on the possibility that Democrats are really going to back off this, if they can frame this debate, this nomination debate, as one over national security. It worked in the past when it came to intelligence legislation, as well as interrogation techniques, that the Democrats essentially gave the White House what it wanted.

So, what you're hearing the president do is say, look, we were attacked on September 11, that al Qaeda, the enemy, is -- wants to attack again, and that Mukasey essentially is an integral, key member of the national security team. So, he's issuing a direct challenge to the Democrats, saying, look, if we are attacked again, and the Democrats do not provide the tools and the people to prevent such an attack, then it largely rests with them and it's responsible with them.

O'BRIEN: David Gergen, we heard the president, as I mentioned a minute ago, nine times mention 9/11. Do you think, in that speech, it was overkill, or do you think that it was actually effective?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think it's effective with his base, but that the base -- that base is shrinking.

The heart of this issue is not -- and this is what the Democrats have to make clear, that it's not whether the country is going to be strong against terrorism and fight it effectively. The question is whether we're going to use torture techniques in interrogating those people we capture, especially water-boarding.

Now, much of the civilized world long ago decided that water- boarding was a form of torture. And Mukasey refuses to say whether he thinks it's illegal or not. That is what has really ensnared at this point now.

Mukasey has a very good point. He does not want -- if he says it's illegal, there might be all sorts of prosecutions of CIA agents for what they have been doing. And he does not want to open that Pandora's box. So, that's very understandable. But there's a middle ground here, that Mukasey could say, look, I think this is repugnant, as he has, and I will support legislation that declares that, henceforth, there will be no water-boarding. And that's what we in the administration will do.

If they were to do that, he would be confirmed, I think, and sail through.

O'BRIEN: So, David, then, when the president invokes Hitler and Stalin sort of as this warning that Democrats should not appease terrorists, do you think that that's a legitimate analogy?

GERGEN: I think that's been way overdone. And there's only -- that goes way beyond what this issue is about.

This issue goes down to what -- what techniques we are going to use in the war and how much unfettered power does the president of the United States have. This president, with his vice president, Cheney, and others in the Justice Department have been consistently arguing the president should basically have unfettered power in a time of war.

The Democrats are arguing, no, you don't. And, indeed, they have support for that in the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O'Connor basically said in one of her decisive opinions that the -- the war -- war doesn't give the president unfettered power.

Nobody wants to lose the war, but the question is, is there shared responsibility for this war? And I think the president's rhetoric, you can use that kind of red-hot rhetoric, but I don't think it addresses the serious issue that is bothering so many in the Senate, including some Republicans.

You know, John McCain and Lindsey Graham and John Warner are all against water-boarding.

O'BRIEN: Suzanne, let me ask you about the president now. At his last press conference, he talked about sprinting to the finish. He talked about remaining relevant.

This time around, he's asserting himself very forcefully. Do you think he is going to be able to avoid lame-duck status?

MALVEAUX: Well, the president would certainly say he's not a lame duck at this point.

But what he's going to do -- and you will see this -- use this strategy quite often -- is, he's going to do things without Congress, essentially through executive order. We have seen that before, moving forward legislation on energy, on immigration, things like that.

So, he's going to bypass Congress in some ways. And, in other ways, he's just simply going to fight. He's simply going to try to prove and the throw red meat to the Republican base that, yes, this is an administration that needs to prove itself once again that it's fiscally conservative and, yes, that it's strong on the war on terror, those two things, in the hopes that they can help the Republican Party for the next election.

O'BRIEN: David, let me ask you a final question.

As you heard, the president was very critical of the Democrats for listening to groups, the way he put,, CodePink, instead, he said, commanders on the ground.

What did you make of that, that criticism and what he...


GERGEN: Well, I think he -- I think the -- you know, the whole thing, it refers back to the controversy over General Petraeus. And I think they made a mistake on that, and they paid a price for it. The president went after them. That's normal politics. I think he did score some points on that.

And -- but it is not moving this nomination forward. This is a critical nomination. And it appeared the president had this cinched. I mean, after all, he thought, by nominating Attorney General Mukasey -- Mukasey as attorney general, that he had compromised. He got somebody Chuck Schumer, the Democrat, wanted.

Now he's finding that the Democrats are trying to block it, or many -- a growing number are. But the truth is, there's a reason they're trying to block it. And there are some issues here which are not unimportant. They're actually very vital to how we run a government.

O'BRIEN: David Gergen joining us tonight, also Suzanne Malveaux.

Thanks to both of you. Appreciate it, and good night.

GERGEN: Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Quick programming note for you. Tomorrow on 360, candid talk from Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Some call the die-hard libertarian eccentric. Some people say, no, he's just flaky. But he's been drawing impressive crowds. He's raising lots of cash, even while he's really trailing in the polls. He's also stirring the pot with some of his controversial views.

So, one of the things I asked him was whether he would be OK with Iran having nuclear weapons. And here's what he told me.


REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would prefer them not to. And I think, if we had a different foreign policy, they wouldn't have an incentive.

But, if they did, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't do that much about it. I wouldn't bomb them. I mean, they're a third-rate nation. They're not going to attack us. They are incapable of even attacking their neighbors. They are incapable of and they have no history of doing this.

So, to stir up hatred that's so unnecessary and needless just doesn't make any sense. I mean, the Pakistanis have them. There's a lot of nuclear weapons floating around in the old Soviet Union. So, it isn't the nuclear weapons. We're just looking for an excuse.

This is war propaganda to give us -- get the American people behind the bombing of Iran, just like the war propaganda got us all worked up and thought we had to go get Saddam Hussein, which was absolutely unnecessary.


O'BRIEN: My full interview with Ron Paul will air tomorrow on 360.

Now, Ron Paul has seen a windfall of contributions lately. He's still far behind the front-runners, though. Here's a look at the "Raw Data."

Paul has raised about $8.2 million. That's a fraction of the nearly $63 million war chest that has been amassed by Republican candidate Mitt Romney. As for the top Democrats, they dwarf Romney with their bankrolls. Hillary Clinton is just shy of $91 million. Barack Obama has raised $80 million.

And, as we mentioned, we're going to hear from Ron Paul tomorrow night.

We'd like to hear from you tonight, though. What would you do if you were elected president? You can go to, link right to the blog, and post your comments. We are going to read some of them coming up a little bit later.

From politics, let's turn to a story that is certainly going to have you talking tonight. Divorce cases are often bitter and brutal. And they certainly get worse when there's a child caught in the middle. But there's one battle that is not over a boy or a girl. It's over frozen embryos and just who they belong to.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has our report tonight.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are from very different countries and cultures, but Augusta and Randy Roman hit it off quickly when they met in Texas.

AUGUSTA ROMAN, FORMER WIFE OF RANDY ROMAN: We wanted to get married and have kids. So, we didn't really have a long, what you call it...

TUCHMAN (on camera): Courtship.

A. ROMAN: Courtship. So, we talked about it, and we wanted to get married and start a family. RANDY ROMAN, FORMER HUSBAND OF AUGUSTA ROMAN: She was the woman that -- that I married for life, and she was the woman that I wanted to have a family with.

TUCHMAN: They had fertility issues and ultimately began in vitro fertilization treatment. Thirteen eggs were retrieved from Augusta's ovaries. Six were fertilized with Randy's sperm. The night before they were ready to implant the eggs:

A. ROMAN: I got ready for bed. And he just came out of the office and said he has something that's been on his mind that he wants to talk about.

TUCHMAN: Augusta's husband told her he didn't want to go through with it.

R. ROMAN: I just felt that something wasn't right and the marriage wasn't in harmony.

A. ROMAN: I was pretty shocked.

TUCHMAN: The couple went through marriage counseling, but, ultimately, they got divorced.

However, Augusta, who is now 47, still wanted to try to have a baby from the three embryos that survived the freezing process.

A. ROMAN: I want my children. Those are fetuses. They're my children. They're not just embryos out there.

TUCHMAN: Randy Roman says he's an evangelical Christian, but:

R. ROMAN: Not everybody in the Christian community, or in the evangelical Christian community, believes that life begins at conception. And I'm one of those who does not believe that life begins at conception.

TUCHMAN: Greg Enos is his attorney.

GREG ENOS, ATTORNEY FOR RANDY ROMAN: He doesn't want to have a child with a person who feels so negatively about him. He -- and he wants to have a child in a nuclear family.

TUCHMAN: So, in a most unusual divorce case, the Romans are fighting over their embryos. You will be amazed how far that fight has gone. We will tell you when we come back.



O'BRIEN: Like many couples, Augusta and Randy Roman wanted to start a family. And their attempts at childbirth lead them to in vitro fertilization treatment. But then the marriage fell apart. She hoped to create a family with the embryos, but he doesn't want to.

CNN's Gary Tuchman continues his report, showing us just how far both are willing to take this fight.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Both Augusta and Randy Roman had signed a form, agreeing to have the clinic discard the embryos in the event of a divorce.

A. ROMAN: I wasn't paying attention. I was signing a bunch of forms, trying to get to have babies. That was the only thing on my mind, trying to have babies.

REBECCA REITZ, ATTORNEY FOR AUGUSTA ROMAN: My heart just breaks for her.

TUCHMAN: Rebecca Reitz is Augusta's attorney.

REITZ: I know that -- that society should -- should err on the side of protecting life, and -- and not destroying life.

TUCHMAN: A Texas trial court ruled in favor of Augusta, but then an appellate court ruled in favor of Randy. The Texas Supreme Court decided not to hear the case. Now Augusta's attorney is preparing briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court. The embryos remain frozen at this clinic. Anti-abortion groups support Augusta.

CLARK FORSYTHE, AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE: The best-interests- of-the-child standard should be applied here to protect them, without regard to the individual will of either parent.

TUCHMAN: One prominent bioethicist disagrees with that.

DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA CENTER FOR BIOETHICS: He is involved in the creation of the embryos, as well as her. And you don't want to put people in a position where they're being asked to reproduce against their will with someone they don't want to.

TUCHMAN: Randy Roman says his ex-wife has made this very difficult and painful.

R. ROMAN: She hates my guts, but she wants my sperm.

A. ROMAN: I don't hate him. I feel -- I think he has a problem. And I do pray for him.

TUCHMAN: She also prays that the U.S. Supreme Court take the case and rules in her favor. It's her last legal chance.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Webster, Texas.


O'BRIEN: OK. So, you have seen the story. Now to the legal issues that are at the center of this battle. For example, is there any difference between the legal rights of an embryo that's inside the womb and one that's outside the womb? We will take a look at that just ahead.

First, though, let's get right to Erica Hill. She joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, we begin with a tough day for America's investors. The Dow sank more than 360 points, to close at 13567. The Nasdaq and the S&P, as you can see there, also dropping there.

So, we asked "AMERICAN MORNING"'s Ali Velshi to stay up late, because I'm sure that you were so upset by all of this, you couldn't sleep anyway.



HILL: With all of the big ups and downs, why is today's drop so much more significant, Ali?

VELSHI: Well, because it comes a day after the Fed cut rates. It gave everybody a discount on their debt. This was supposed to be good news. This is the beginning of the new generation. This is the recession that we have dodged.

So, why on earth are all these smart investors selling stocks today? Because they're concerned about inflation. They're concerned -- concerned about oil getting up near 100 bucks. They're concerned that shoppers are not heading out to those stores in the most important retail season of the year.

Erica, when the smart money is this concerned, you should be a little bit, too.

HILL: OK. So, as a concerned person and investor, or me just with my 401(k), what do you do?

VELSHI: Well, you don't lock in any -- any losses by selling your stocks right now. But you do make sure that you're diversified.

There's so much proof that, if you diversify your holdings and you're not too concentrated in one place, days like this, while they might be a little bothersome, are not going to hurt your portfolio in the long run. The Dow is still up for the year, and so are most diversified investments. Rough days like this are going to happen. You shouldn't worry too much about it.

HILL: All right, we have got Ali Velshi to talk us -- talk us through it.

Ali, thanks. Get some sleep. We will catch you...

VELSHI: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: ... bright and early on "AMERICAN MORNING."

We will get you caught up now on some of the other headlines tonight.

That deadly storm tearing up the Caribbean, Noel, has now been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of up to 75 miles an hour. Fortunately, though, Noel moved away from the Bahamas and out into the cooler waters of the Atlantic.

At least 64 deaths have been reported in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

The pilot at the controls of the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan has died. Paul Tibbets was 30 years old when he flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima in 1945. Tibbets never expressed any regrets about his role in history, saying that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki averted what would have been a bloody invasion of Japan.

And another sports figure leaving amid suspicions of drug use. Tennis champ Martina Hingis is retiring after accusations she tested positive for cocaine. The 27-year-old Swiss player calls the report horrendous and says she is 100 percent innocent, Soledad.

I was shocked when I heard that one earlier.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I was, too. You remember back then, when she was kind of the bad girl in tennis?

HILL: Yes, but I don't know.

O'BRIEN: That's kind of a different take, though, right? Well...

HILL: Indeed, it is.

O'BRIEN: ... she's retiring, maybe not a moment too soon.

All right, Erica, thanks.

HILL: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Let get to Kiran Chetry now with a look at what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."



Tomorrow, we bring you the most news in the morning, including solutions to your frustrations as a flyer. We have been taking an in- depth look at air travel nightmares. And you have been sending in your horror stories about lost luggage, flight delays, long lines, cancellations.

Well, tomorrow, we have some solutions on the horizon. It all begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern -- Soledad, back to you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: All right, Kiran, thank you very much.

Now back to that bitter custody battle we have been talking about, a divorced couple fighting over frozen embryos. Is this case going to go all the way to the Supreme Court? We are going to check in with law professor Jonathan Turley right after this short break.


O'BRIEN: In custody cases, courts usually decide by what's -- looking at what is for the best interest of the child. But what if there is a custody case, but no child? What if the fight is over frozen embryos? That's what is unfolding in Texas between a divorced couple.

Randy Roman doesn't want the embryos implanted. His ex-wife, whose name is Augusta Roman, is hoping that she can use the embryos and have children. A Texas appeals court ruled in his favor, because the two signed a contract saying that those embryos would be discarded upon divorce. Now she's asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in.

Lots to talk about tonight.

Joining us is Jonathan Turley. He, of course, is a constitutional law expert at George Washington University.

Jonathan, nice to see you, as always.


O'BRIEN: The Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case. What do you think the chances are that, in fact, the United States Supreme Court will hear this case?

TURLEY: I would bet against it. I have got to tell you, I don't think that the United States Supreme Court wants any part of this case.

It's very, very complex, in the sense that it has constitutional elements, contractual elements. But, at the end of the day, the Supreme Court generally leaves these things to the states. And I'm willing to bet you that a majority of the justices would agree with the court of appeals on the case.

O'BRIEN: At the same time, you have some outstanding issues. She's older. These embryos can remain frozen until they make a decision. But there's sort of a clock ticking here in the background. Will that play any role?

TURLEY: Well, all of this goes into the mix.

I mean, the trial court actually found that, even if the embryos were implanted, she would have only about a 10 percent likelihood of actually bringing a child to full term.

O'BRIEN: Because she's 47 years old.

TURLEY: That's right.

But, still, this is still the potentiality of something that she wants very, very much. And that's what makes this all very, very tragic. And, so, you have this tension between a case -- within a case in which you have got constitutional questions which are looming, the Roe v. Wade, you know, right-to-choose/right-to-life questions.

But then you also have a sort of purely contractual question of, these are two people that entered a contract and said, we're going to do something under these conditions. And one of those conditions was that we would not use the eggs unless both of us agreed.

O'BRIEN: And it was clear. There was a form that was signed. She said, you know -- she's not saying she didn't sign the form. The way she describes it, well, you know, there are lots of forms. And I just signed them because I wanted to go ahead and get -- you know, get going with having these babies.

Will that have any standing in a court?

TURLEY: Not really.

I mean, I can understand what she's talking about. Many of us sign things, particularly when we're distracted or we're thinking about other matters. But we are held accountable to those. And this was a very important contract. This was dealing with fertilized eggs, the potentiality of being implanted. And I'm afraid the courts will use that lack of judgment or concentration against her.

The -- the terrible thing for many people, Soledad, is that these eggs are treated as property. They are just part of the estate. And what the court said originally, the trial court, was, this is a community property state. It's part of community property. I'm going to give it to -- give it to her, and she can use these eggs.

But the court of appeals said, wrong, that this is subject to a contract. And the court also noted that there's a strong public policy against requiring people to have children.

O'BRIEN: Anti-abortion organizations are supporting Augusta in this. And she says -- this is what she said in interview with the Associated Press -- "If I was pregnant with these embryos, no one should come and say to me, abort them. There's no difference," she says, "between embryos inside the womb and outside the womb. I'm already pregnant."

Is she already pregnant, in the eyes of a court?

TURLEY: No, not in the eyes of the court and not legally. She may view that morally...

O'BRIEN: And not technically either. TURLEY: Yes, or technically.

But she may believe that, morally, that -- that that's true, that this is the potentiality of life. You know, President Bush is opposed to destroying even stem cells under the same theory.

But, legally, that's not the case. And to make this argument to the Supreme Court is going to really buck the trend. Right now, conservatives are trying to take inches away from Roe v. Wade. This would be a moon shot. This would be asking justices to say that a fertilized egg is itself life that deserves full protection that you would give a full-term baby. That's just not going to happen. And it hasn't happened.

The notable thing, Soledad, is that the courts have been almost uniform -- in fact, I think they have been entirely uniform -- in ruling against people trying to force an ex-spouse or ex-partner to relinquish control of these -- these eggs, that the courts have said, you really cannot force someone to have a child. You have a right to procreate, but there's a flip side. You have a right not to procreate, unless they signed a contract waiving that right, their right, to you.

O'BRIEN: Jonathan Turley is a constitutional law expert with G.W. University.

Nice to see you, Jonathan. Thanks so much.


TURLEY: Thanks, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.

Turning now to the Chicago Police Department in the crosshairs of federal investigators. At the center of the inquiry is a former police commander. And he's accused of trying to torture confessions out of more than 100 men, all of them African-Americans.

Now the city of Chicago is paying out millions of dollars to defend him. And there's no end in sight. Why?

Randi Kaye is "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 30 years ago, this Chicago man confessed to murder. Anthony Holmes told police he killed a Chicago bar owner. Today, after 34 years in prison, Holmes is a free man and pointing a finger at this man, Jon Burge, then a Chicago police commander.

(on camera) Why would you confess if it wasn't true?

ANTHONY HOLMES, SERVED TIME FOR MURDER: You try it. You go through what I went through, and you'll know what I'm talking about. KAYE (voice-over): May 1973, Holmes says Commander Burge burst into his house, handcuffed him, then tortured him for hours to get a murder confession. It happened on the second floor of this building. Three decades later, Holmes agreed to return here with us.

(on camera) What does it feel like to be standing here?

HOLMES: Shaky, nervous. Stomach quivering.

KAYE (voice-over): Holmes was a gang leader. He'd had trouble with the law before, but this time was different.

HOLMES: He said, "I'm going to ask one more time, and you're going to tell me about these murders."

I said, "I don't know about no murders."

He put the bag on my head, lit me with electricity. I scream. I bite through the bag. I fall on the floor. He picked me up, put another plastic bag over my head and he kept doing that and then I passed out again.

I did that about, I don't know, five, six times. A few times I thought I was dead.

KAYE (on camera): Do you remember what that electricity felt like? Could you describe it?

HOLMES: It felt like a thousand needles going through my body.

KAYE (voice-over): Holmes says Burge's men used a device similar to this one. Wires attached to his handcuffs sent electric shocks shooting into his body. The torture, Holmes says, lasted for hours until finally...

HOLMES: That was about the last time, when I couldn't holler out, I thought I was dead. I said, "Whatever you want to know, I'm going to tell him." I told him I killed everybody and did everything he wanted me to say. It wasn't true.

KAYE (on camera): About the time Holmes was sent to prison, more claims of abuse were reported. In all, more than 100 men, all of them African-American, accused Commander Burge of torture, their stories hauntingly consistent. Tales of electric shock, radiator burns, even mock Russian roulette.

Commander Burge has never been charged criminally and has always denied wrongdoing. But in one civil case, a federal judge did find him liable for torture.

(voice-over) "Keeping Them Honest", we asked the city of Chicago why, if Commander Burge had been found to have tortured a suspect, is the city of Chicago still defending him in court?

There are five federal civil suits against Burge today. The city has already spent $10 million defending him and may end up paying out hundreds of million of dollars more in legal fees and wrongful conviction settlements, using your tax dollars.


O'BRIEN: That's right. You heard it right. Your tax dollars being used to defend a policeman who's accused of torture. That means your tax dollars are helping fund his defense. We're going to hear how the city of Chicago defends that, coming up next.


O'BRIEN: Before the break we told you about allegations of brutal torture against a former Chicago police commander. Now for years, the city defended this officer at a cost of millions of dollars, and they're likely to spend tens of millions of dollars more. That's even though he's already found been liable for torture and has already been fired.

Once again here's Randi Kaye, "Keeping Them Honest".


KAYE (voice-over): More than two decades ago this Chicago police commander was found liable for torture. A federal judge said Jon Burge beat and burned Andrew Wilson to get a murder confession. Wilson was awarded $1.1 million in a civil suit.

That was back in the early 1990s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torture, we say no! John Burge has got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Torture, we say no! John Burge has got to go

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torture, we say no! John Burge has got to go

KAYE: Pressure mounted on Burge. Demonstrators demanded he be fired, and in 1993 he was.

Now the former commander has been hauled back into federal court. More than 100 African-American men allege Burge tortured them to get a confession. Five have filed civil suits against him.

And the city of Chicago is paying millions of dollars, tax dollars, to defend him. Even those accusing him of torture are helping fund his defense.

(on camera) You pay taxes.

DARRELL CANNON, SAYS HE WAS TORTURED: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. And I truly do not like the fact that I have to contribute to what he has done.

KAYE (voice-over): One morning back in 1983, Darrell Cannon says Burge's underlings took him to this deserted Chicago steel mill.

CANNON: They said, "Now, you're going to tell everyone here."

I said, "I ain't telling you nothing."

And at that point, he shoved a shotgun in my mouth and split my upper lip. And the other two was saying, "Blow that -- blow that nigger's head off. Blow that nigger's head off." And they pulled the trigger.

KAYE: As Cannon tells it, the torture continued with a cattle prod.

CANNON: And they turned it on. And the first time they stuck it to my testicles, I kicked at it. And they started telling me, giving me a scenario of what happened in the murder case, and they wanted me to confirm that.

KAYE: Cannon confessed and was convicted of murder. In April of this year, a judge tossed out his case and conviction. He'd served 23 years in prison for a murder he says he doesn't commit.

CANNON: I could have no peace until -- until -- until they receive -- just a little of what they did to me and what they did to others.

KAYE: U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating the Chicago P.D's actions in 1980s. He has not named Burge and declined an interview but says it involves pending federal civil suits.

(on camera) These days Burge keeps a low profile here in Apollo Beach, Florida, about 30 miles outside Tampa and a long way from the streets of Chicago. Burge retired here after losing his job with the Chicago P.D.

We came here to his home to ask him what he thinks about federal investigation and the mounting accusations of abuse.

(voice-over) Our knocks went unanswered.

"Keeping Them Honest", we asked the city why it would keep defending a cop who'd been found liable for torture and accused of heinous acts by more than 100 African-American men with strikingly similar stories.

The mayor did not agree to an interview, and neither did police. But a city spokesman told us, "We believe we don't have a choice in defending Burge." Decades ago the city of Chicago had argued it should not have to defend Burge for his alleged abuse, but a federal court ruled it does because he was a city employee.

Today Cannon's lawyer estimates the city will likely play at least $195 million to settle wrongful imprisonment claims in all five civil suits.

CANNON: You think about the misery that took place here that morning. The anguish, the anger, the hurt. And the only thing that -- that keeps me sane is the fact that I've always hoped and prayed that some day I could bring them in court, you know, and see them squirming on the seat.

KAYE: Jon Burge, to this day, has never been charged with a crime.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Chicago.


O'BRIEN: We've got an update now on a story about a young woman hiding in plain sight. She's no stranger to 360, but she is to a lot of people. Police say she lives her life by stealing other people's identities, a scam that's led her to Harvard and beyond.

She was just indicted by a South Carolina grand jury, and now she's a wanted fugitive.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-year-old Brooke Henson disappeared without a trace in a small South Carolina town of Travelers Rest.

JON CAMPBELL, TRAVELERS REST, SOUTH CAROLINA, POLICE: My working theory is that she was murdered, and her body was disposed of.

TUCHMAN: But no arrest has ever been made.

Lisa Henson is Brooke's aunt.

(on camera) Can you believe how much your family has been through?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): The family has gone through a whole new round of trauma more than seven years following Brooke's disappearance, after police in New York City contacted the police in Travelers Rest.

CAMPBELL: They called us and said, "Your girl is in New York. She's alive."

HENSON: I was just, like, jumping for joy. I mean, it was incredible.

TUCHMAN: But the joy was brutally dashed. This is the woman police found in New York. She said she was Brooke Henson, but in reality, she had taken Brooke Henson's identity.

CAMPBELL: This guy was actually living as our victim and went to great lengths to live as her and to become Brooke.

TUCHMAN: her real name Esther Reed, originally from the tiny town of Townsend, Montana. She had been reported missing by her family around the same time as Brooke. And now she's missing again, after she realized she realized she had been caught as an imposter.

Edna Strom is Esther's sister.

EDNA STROM, ESTHER REED'S SISTER: I had pretty much come to the terms that she was dead.

TUCHMAN: Far from it. Esther Reed apparently read that Brooke was missing and used the false identity to apply to two Ivy League colleges, Harvard and Columbia, and the high school dropout got admitted to both.

CAMPBELL: She was able to get some true identification using fake identification, and she was able to take the SAT, the GED in our victim's name, and she used those to apply to Columbia.

TUCHMAN: There was no evidence Esther Reed used the false I.D. and other false I.D.'s she'd gotten for illegal financial gain, but authorities are investigating relationships she had with at least four officer candidates at West Point, Annapolis, and thousands of dollars she received in wire transfers from outside the country. Officials want to make sure she's not a spy.

CAMPBELL: We don't want to learn something like that in a small town in South Carolina and say, "Well, that's interesting" and shove it in the desk drawer and not tell anyone. We want to give it to somebody who would be able to investigate. So we passed hat off to the Army.

TUCHMAN: So who is Esther Reed? High school teachers called her a genius but also invisible. We'll tell you why when we come back.



O'BRIEN: What if you woke up tomorrow and decided you're going too be somebody else? That's what this woman you're looking at right there is accused of doing again and again and again.

Police across the country are trying to track this now fugitive down. Like the movie "Catch Me if You Can", police say she is one of the most illusive imposters you could ever meet.

CNN's Gary Tuchman continues his profile of this mystery figure.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Esther Reed allegedly stole a missing woman's identity and has now been indicted. She lived a life in Montana that seemed to be a sad one.

James Therriault was her high school English and speech teacher.

JAMES THERRIAULT, ESTHER REED'S FORMER TEACHER: Esther was the kind of kid who would be invisible if you didn't take pains to notice her presence. TUCHMAN: Her grades were poor but her I.Q. was high. Her teacher put her on the speech team. A first place plaque with her name still hangs in the school more than a decade later.

THERRIAULT: What strikes me most about her was her innate brilliance. I mean, this is a really smart girl we're talking about.

TUCHMAN: Her father stills lives in Townsend.

(on camera) Earnest, can I ask one more question about Esther?

(voice-over) Earnest Reed did not want to open the door but did tell us earlier he is convinced his daughter does not want to be found.

(on camera) Do you think she's using another I.D. right now?

CAMPBELL: Most probably.

TUCHMAN: Vulnerable people in venerable institutions. This native of small-town Montana has fooled them all with equal ease, which makes authorities more than aware that, even after all this, Esther Reed could currently be in your college class, in your office place, in your apartment complex, and you don't even know it.

(voice-over) Esther's sister is just relieved she's alive and wants her back.

STROM: I would hug her. And I guess -- I mean, you just hug people you love.

TUCHMAN: In South Carolina, Brooke Henson's family just wants her back, too.

(on camera) Is there any chance your niece is still alive, you think?

HENSON: We don't believe so. I think you always have a little bit of hope.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Hope, even after being victimized again.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Townsend, Montana.


O'BRIEN: "Raw Politics" is up next tonight. Tom Foreman is in Washington, D.C. -- Tom.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, nobody expected it, but one of the big political items today was a piece of South Carolina road kill. It's coming up in "Raw Politics".


O'BRIEN: We've been hearing a lot about what the Democrats are or aren't doing in Congress. Well, even the leading Democrat in the House doesn't approve. That tops "Raw Politics" tonight.

Once again, here's Tom Foreman.


FOREMAN: Hard to believe it's been a year since the Democrats took over Congress, but it's true. And that is being celebrated and/or mourned right here in your nation's capital.

(voice-over) The big Dems held a news conference to say they've created jobs, made college more affordable, whipped up on the president. Problem is, polls show the public wanted much more. Approval for Congress in the basement.

And you know you have problems when even the boss says work stinks.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disagree with Congress, as well.

FOREMAN: Hillary Clinton is under attack for waffling about driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, for being a Washington insider, and a popular Web video is accusing her of more fundraising irregularities.

Back at her tony college in Boston, she says opponents are unfairly piling on.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics.

FOREMAN (on camera): Piling on? Yes, well, in the state school, we called it "Raw Politics".

(voice-over) The situation in Iraq is steadily improving and voters' attitudes will, too. That's what Republican John McCain says. The "Raw" read: steadily declining death tolls say he's on to something. Stay tuned.

And South Carolina road kill. Comedian Stephen Colbert's campaign has crashed in barbeque land. He wanted to run as a Democrat. The state committee in charge of such things just wanted to run.

(on camera) They decided to block his name from the ballot, suggesting he's not a viable national candidate. Mike Gravel, however, he's still in there. That's "Raw Politics".


Well, two weeks from tonight, actually, the Democratic presidential candidates with face off in Las Vegas for the CNN debate. That will be hosted by Wolf Blitzer.

Then, at the end of the month, Anderson Cooper is going to host the second CNN/YouTube debate. This time, the Republicans will be answering your questions. If you want to post one, go to

Now a look at what's "On the Radar" on the 360 blog. Earlier, I asked you if you were president of the United States, what would you do?

Arachnae in Sterling, Virginia, writes this -- that's a tough name, Arachnae. Writes this: "I'd take the Constitution out of cold storage and dust it off and put it back where it belongs, in the heart of our legal system."

Steve says this, "I would provide health care for our people and restore America to its status as the leader in the free world. And, I would bring our people home to protect our own land and our borders."

Lots of comments on "Keeping Them Honest", the report Randi Kaye did for us tonight about Stand 'N Seal spray-on tile grout. That was last night. The product had been recalled.

Here's what -- OK, slow down, teleprompter, so I can read this. Back it up. There you go. This is what Jeannine in East Brunswick says. There you go. New Jersey. "I want to thank CNN and Randi Kaye for her story on Stand 'N Seal Grout Sealer. I just happened to flip to CNN and saw the story that the product had killed two people, almost killed that doctor in New Jersey and sickened hundreds. I have the product in my bathroom and had intended to seal the grout, just never got around to it (my procrastination may have saved my life). I can't tell you how many times I almost got to that chore. I never read anything about a recall. I read two papers daily. Never saw anything on the news, or any sign in Home Depot (which I frequent). I fear I have many more -- many other people may have this product. So thank you", exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point.

So, Jeannine, you're very welcome. We hope that our other reports can keep other people out of danger, as well.

If you want to weigh in on that story, go to, link to the blog or send us a v-mail through our web site.

Up next, "The Shot of the Day". The fireworks show nobody wanted to see, but after one bold move, lots of people are talking about it. We'll play it for you when 360 continues.


O'BRIEN: OK. Let's get to "The Shot of the Day". It is as scary as anything you might have seen on Halloween. Take a look at this.

A man wearing a skeleton mask, setting off fireworks inside a wine shop. Happened in Northern England. As many as 200 rockets exploded and exploded and exploded some more. Now even as the pyrotechnics are going off, you can see that that's the shopkeeper in there now, trying to kick that box of exploding rockets out the door. They keep on going, even on the porch.

It was all caught by a surveillance camera. He doesn't look like he was injured at all.

Want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, you can tell us all about it at

That's it for tonight. I'm Soledad O'Brien, in for Anderson. For our international viewers, "CNN Today" is coming up next. For those of you here in the United States, "The Noose: An American Nightmare" is up next. Have a great night.