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Drew Peterson Probe; Serial Rapist on the Loose; Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi Indicted

Aired February 22, 2008 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: One piece of advice -- and it's just one piece. You better take your time...

LEMON: ... if you're heading into or out of the Northeast. With all the snow and icy rain, it's a nightmare.

NGUYEN: Look at that weather.

LEMON: Trying to get anywhere...


LEMON: Like I need to tell you that. It's crazy.

NGUYEN: Well, here's what's happening. Flights are being canceled left and right from Philadelphia, all the way to Boston. Delays at New York airports are running anywhere -- get this -- three to seven hours. Around Washington, D.C., the main worry is power outages caused by freezing rain.

LEMON: If you're watching this at home and in the airport, stick around. We'll have all the information for you right...

NGUYEN: And there's a lot of it.

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen, in for Kyra Phillips today, who is on assignment.

More political coverage to tell you about today, because you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, Betty, unfortunately as part of our political coverage today we have very some very sad news to report. A motorcycle officer escorting Hillary Clinton's motorcade in Dallas was killed this morning in an accident.

Dallas police say Senior Corporal Victor Lazatta-Torato (ph) was entering his 20th year on the force. He was married with four children. It's believed he struck a curb and lost control of his bike. No other vehicles were involved. Clinton went on to her next event in Ft. Worth, but she cut the rally short and left to visit the officer's family.

Earlier, she talked about the officer's death.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are just heartsick over this loss of life in the line of duty. And I have asked that my condolences be conveyed to the family.

I'm going to call them as soon as it's appropriate and I have the information to do so. I have placed a call to the chief of police expressing my sympathy.


LEMON: Well, sadly, this type of accident has happened before. In the past six months, two motorcycle officers have been killed escorting President Bush's motorcade -- Betty.

NGUYEN: More trouble for ex-cop Drew Peterson. A new autopsy concludes his third wife didn't die accidentally after all. Peterson's fourth wife, as you may know, has been missing for almost four months.

CNN's Susan Roesgen is outside Drew Peterson's home in Bolingbrook, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

Susan, have you seen him today?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, I have, Betty, just briefly. I went to the house behind me. I rang the doorbell. Drew Peterson opened the door about that wide, just enough to say, "I'm not doing any interviews, you can talk to my lawyer."

You know, he's facing a lot of scrutiny now ever since his wife disappeared at the end of October -- Stacy Peterson, his fourth wife. And when she disappeared, that's when investigators here decided to reopen the case of the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

She was found dead in a bathtub, and the initial coroner's inquest ruled that it was an accidental drowning. That was four years ago, March 1st of '04.

Well, when they decided to reopen the case, they exhumed her body back in November. And now a forensic pathologist says it was not an accidental drowning, she was murdered.

Now, no one is claiming that Drew Peterson is the suspect. No one officially, no law enforcement agency has named him as a suspect in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. But, again, he is the prime suspect named by law enforcement in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Now, the families, both the Peterson family and the Savio family, have long suspected that Kathleen Savio was murdered. And her family says now their suspicions are confirmed.


NICK SAVIO, KATHLEEN SAVIO'S BROTHER: It's really hard to swallow. I think we're happy that it's finally confirmed that it's a homicide, and we just have to hope whoever did it will be brought to justice.


ROESGEN: Kathleen Savio had two teenage children. Stacy Peterson adopted those children, and then she had two young children of her own when she disappeared.

I talked to a spokesman for her family today and they say that those children, as far as they know, are still being told by Drew Peterson that Stacy is on vacation. He has claimed all along that she ran off with another man. He has not participated, Betty, in any of the searches for her.

He has denied any involvement in her disappearance. He's denied, of course, any involvement in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. But Stacy Peterson has been missing now for four months -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. Two cases to follow here.

Let's get back to the death of his third wife. You're saying that he's not a suspect at this point, but now that this information is out there that indeed it was murder, what happens now?

ROESGEN: Well, the case is being investigated by the Illinois State Police and by a secret grand jury. And from what we understand, when the grand jury looks at the latest evidence, when the state police does some more investigation, then presumably, they're going to name somebody a suspect, and certainly all eyes are on Drew Peterson. He's not been named yet, but he very well could be.

NGUYEN: And we will be watching.

CNN's Susan Roesgen joining us live.

Thank you, Susan.

LEMON: We go to Reno, Nevada, and the hunt for a serial rapist who police think killed his latest victim. Authorities have turned to the FBI for a psychological profile of a man they are desperate to catch. The murder victim's body found a week ago today. And CNN's Dan Simon has the story for us from Reno.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On a cold January night, just over a month ago, an unknown man apparently walked into this two-story house and found a sleeping Brianna Denison lying on this couch. The door was unlocked.

Last week, the college freshman's body discovered in this empty Reno field, 10 miles away from the university campus. Those details chilling enough, but the case incited even more fear when police announced they believed the man responsible is a serial rapist responsible for as many as four attacks in recent months, three of them linked by the suspect's DNA.

BRITANY MAXWELL, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA-RENO STUDENT: I'm scared. I mean, I feel he could be watching me or my friends at any given moment and, you know, deciding to attack again. It's horrible. It's bad.

SIMON: Britany Maxwell says she and her friends are unable to focus on anything else. It is telling that pepper spray is now passed around like ballpoint pens.

MAXWELL: My friend's mom actually bought like six pepper sprays for us. So I carry it with me everywhere. Even when I'm walking just like at night, I'm holding it down by my side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop into your legs. And when I push into you, drive your energy down into the ground.

SIMON: Many students are taking self-defense classes and using the school's free shuttle service after dark.

Reno police say the vigilance is warranted.

LT. BOB MCDONALD, RENO POLICE DEPT.: I've worked here for 29 years, and I can't remember the last time that we've had a serial rapist that has progressed to the point of abducting a young woman out of a residence and ultimately murdering her.

SIMON: Lieutenant Bob McDonald is in charge of the detective unit. So far, the evidence and details have largely remained secret. But now this -- a pair of women's underwear, dotted with Pink Panthers and hearts, could actually be the key to solving the case. The underwear found next to Denison's body.

Normally police would not reveal such evidence. But it turns out the underwear did not belong to Denison. Instead, forensic testing showed DNA from another woman. There was also DNA from the suspected killer.

MCDONALD: We want to get the message out to any potential victims out there that may have lost this underwear during the course of a sexual assault or some type of attack that we know it hasn't been reported, and they may not feel comfortable reporting that, but it will be handled with the utmost dignity.

SIMON: Investigators are considering the possibility the underwear was placed here intentionally as a way of taunting them. Students just want this nightmare to be over. CHRISTY GRIFFIN, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA-RENO STUDENT: He needs to be caught now, because we'll all feel a lot better and safer.

SIMON: Police say publicity of the manhunt has likely stopped the rapist from attacking, at least for now, as a community mourns one of its own.


SIMON: And this field here is where Brianna Denison's body was found. You can see the cross over there. That is the exact spot. And I want to show you something over here to my right that is rather extraordinary.

Take a look at this really large makeshift memorial. You can see all of the flowers and all of the cards and all of the teddy bears that have been placed here by people mourning Brianna Denison.

As we take a look at this picture, I want to tell you a little bit about the suspect. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of information to go on, because none of the victims was able to get a good look at the attacker. He is described simply as a white male, somewhere between 28 and 40 years old, at least 5'6", is thin, has brown hair, a long face, and a square jaw. A little bit of information, but certainly not a whole lot to go back on -- Don.

LEMON: And Dan, I mean, just looking at that makeshift memorial there and all the teddy bears around you -- if we can get another shot of it -- I think it just shows you how this story has gripped the community and how people are coming together to try to support this family.

I've got a question for you though. Listening to your report there, do we know whether the killer is targeting a specific type of victim?

SIMON: Well, first of all, touching on the community response, we should tell you that there is going to be a community vigil here tonight at 6:30 p.m. In fact, we are hearing that as many as -- well, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are expected to attend. The city's actually set up shuttle buses for people to attend this candlelight vigil.

And in terms of the kind of person the suspect is attacking, it is somewhat vague, but we are told that he's attacking young women, people about 19, 20 years old. Also women who have long hair, and also people -- women who are very thin, Don.

So, that is the general description, of course. Police are asking people to be very vigilant, because in all these instances, these were crimes of opportunity. These weren't situations where the attacker was stalking the victim -- Don.

LEMON: All right.

CNN's Dan Simon for us in Reno. Thank you for that report.

NGUYEN: Well, there is a big legal trouble for a member of Congress. Republican Congressman Rick Renzi has been indicted on federal charges related to a land deal in his home state of Arizona.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is standing by for us in Washington.

So, explain to us exactly what these charges are.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Betty, these charges come in a 26-page indictment that I'm holding right here in my right hand for Arizona Republican Congressman Rick Renzi. Thirty-five counts that include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, insurance fraud, and also criminal forfeiture.

Now, this stems from an investigation of Renzi for allegedly using his position as a member of Congress to push an investor's land deal through a committee that he was on. This was the national -- pardon me, Natural Resources Committee. And according to this indictment, that was in exchange for that investor then buying some of his former business partner's land.

This indictment says that business partner owed the congressman, Congressman Renzi, about $700,000. And according to the indictment, guess what happened after this land deal went through? Well, that former business partner made good, settling that debt, paying the congressman more than $700,000.

So, those are really the facts of the case -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. So, taking this, you know, what happens now? What's next for Renzi?

KEILAR: Well, just so you know, Renzi had already announced that he wasn't going to pursue another term, a fourth term as a congressman. And at this point we're really waiting to see what he has to say or what his lawyers have to say.

We're efforting response there. And we're also efforting response from Republican House leadership. So far we don't have any -- Betty.

NGUYEN: All right. We will definitely be waiting for that.

Brianna Keilar joining us live with the latest information.

Thank you, Brianna.

LEMON: Win, lose, or draw? Who came out on top in last night's Texas showdown? Our Bill Schneider, part of the best political team on television, is up next.

NGUYEN: Also, who was "The Third Jesus?" That's the title of Deepak Chopra's new book. And he joins us in the NEWSROOM about the Christ he says we cannot ignore. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It is getting tight in Texas. Coming off this showdown with Hillary Clinton in last night's CNN debate, Barack Obama is campaigning across the state as he makes his way for Edinburgh, to Corpus Christi, to Austin. A new "Washington Post"/ABC poll suggests the Texas Democratic race is a virtual dead heat.

Texas and Ohio, of course, are the biggest prizes in the March 4th primaries, and that's why Hillary Clinton is campaigning in both states today. Earlier, she made a stop in Dallas. She only made a few comments at a rally in Ft. Worth after a motorcycle police officer who was part of her motorcade was killed in an accident. Senator Clinton has events later today in Columbus and Toledo, Ohio.

Republican John McCain held a town hall meeting this morning in Indianapolis. Afterward, he defended the role of several top advisers who worked as lobbyists. Well, yesterday, as you know, McCain firmly disputed a "New York Times" report that questioned his part -- his past, I should say, relationship with a female lobbyist and her clients.

NGUYEN: Last night's CNN debate covered a whole host of issues, including immigration. And that's an emotional topic in Texas.


CLINTON: When we see what's been happening with literally babies being left with no one to take care of them, children coming home from school, no responsible adult left, that is not the America that I know. That is against American values.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have seen hate crimes skyrocket in the wake of the immigration debate as it's been conducted in Washington, and that is unacceptable. We are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants, and we can reconcile those two things.


NGUYEN: All right. So now that you've heard that, let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, in Austin, Texas.

So, Bill, did either candidate make inroads with Latino voters last night?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Hillary Clinton started out with a strength among Latino voters. She's a familiar figure to them. She spent time in south Texas. They know her and they support her here in Texas, as well as in other parts of the country.

I think Barack Obama had a challenge because they don't know him. They don't know much about him. Unfamiliar.

Last night, this debate, which was co-sponsored by Univision and broadcast in Spanish, as well as English, that was their first chance to see him. And I think he probably did make some gains, particularly when he talked about his support for measures that would allow the children of undocumented or illegal aliens who are born in this country to have the rights of American citizens. That was probably very popular with those Latino voters.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, a new poll shows Clinton and Obama in a virtual tie in Texas. That being the case, is there anything that either of them can really do to pull ahead between now and March 4th?

SCHNEIDER: Basically, I think it's going to depend on organization. This is a primary state, and the organization doesn't usually matter that much in a primary. But it's also a caucus state.

They have a very complicated system where voters are supposed to first vote in a primary and then go to a precinct caucus the same night. That really depends on being well-organized in getting your people to vote twice in the same day. And, you know, Obama has a strong organization, it is reported here in Texas. And Clinton is going to have to match it.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, they do say everything is bigger and better in Texas. And I guess, you know, just a primary alone isn't big enough. So they had to have both a primary and a caucus.

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

NGUYEN: All right. Bill Schneider joining us live.

Enjoy the barbecue down there in Austin.

Well, if you missed it last night, tune in Saturday at 800 p.m. Eastern for a replay of the Democrats' showdown in Texas. Clinton and Obama head-to-head tomorrow at 8:00 on CNN, your home for politics.

JOHN DENVER, SINGER (singing): Country roads, take me home to the place I belong...

LEMON: Oh, gosh. Ali, Ali, Ali.

Ali is back on the road.

Betty, look at this.

NGUYEN: All I have to say, Ali...

LEMON: Where are you? Where are you?

Obviously, you're in Texas with that hat aboard the Election Express, talking with Texans about how the nation's economic slowdown is affecting them, a sad story.

But he's standing by from Austin. And so, tell us what you're hearing, if you can hear anything with that big hat on.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I can hear you. My ears are still -- my ears are still available.

As you see, the CNN Election Express is here. I'm on the campus of the University of Texas. Fantastic to be spending a day on a college with nothing to hand in and no guilt about it.

And we're here. You know, we're going to be driving around Texas to get the views of Texans on the economy and the election and what they're thinking. And this is one of the weird things about Texas, and that is that it's really like a country in one state.

Texas is the second most populous state in the United States. It's got the second biggest workforce in the United States, obviously after California. It's got the second biggest economy in the United States. And it is the state that exports the most of any other state, more than $100 billion worth of things last year.

And guess what most of those things are? It's oil. So, this is a state where some people are suffering because of the high price of oil and gasoline. Others are getting rich off of it.

Immigration is a major issue here. Texas is geographically different.

I mean, here on the campus, Don and Betty, I'm talking to students -- you know, students who are paying a lot of money for tuition and investing in their future. They're a little more optimistic.

They kind of think they're doing it for something. So I'm not facing a lot of negativity around here about what the future holds, but in other parts of Texas, there's some real suffering. So, we're getting a flavor for what goes on in Texas.

Now, it's a big business state. There are 111 Fortune 500 companies that have operations in Texas. I think about six or seven of them are based here. The biggest public company in the world, Exxon Mobil, is here -- Dell, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Continental, Whole Foods. So, Texas is home to a lot of business.

It's an interesting place to get a real flavor for what Americans are thinking about politics and the economy.

LEMON: And an interesting place to see -- to see people with hats.

NGUYEN: Yes. Speaking of flavor, you know...

VELSHI: I am a little bit -- I haven't met anybody on this campus yet with a hat. I'm the only guy here.

NGUYEN: I was about to say... VELSHI: But I know elsewhere in Texas, I'm going to be right at home.

NGUYEN: You know, I grew up in Texas, Ali, and we didn't go to school, you know, on our horse and wearing our 10-gallon hat. But I will tell you, if you are going to wear the outfit, you better have the boots, because if you don't you're just a poser.

LEMON: Do you have them? Do you have the boots?

VELSHI: Oh, come on. What do you guys -- you guys think I'm an amateur. Hold on a second.

NGUYEN: Uh-oh.

LEMON: Take that boot off. Sorry.

NGUYEN: Let me see those boots.


NGUYEN: Oh! I have a new respect for you, Ali.

VELSHI: I didn't rent this. I didn't buy it at the airport. This is a boot. And I'm -- I didn't just come by this stuff. I did buy the hat a few weeks ago, but other than that...

NGUYEN: You know what, Ali? You have earned so many points with that. Let me tell you. Give us a "yee-ha" and we'll let you go.

VELSHI: I'm...

LEMON: Crickets, crickets, crickets.

Hey, Ali, seriously though -- I mean, it's a serious story. And I think that sort of gives us a bellwether of what's going on, that Texas is a right (ph) place.

We're having a little fun with you with the hat and the boots, but really folks are suffering, and you kind of got us to the heart of that aboard the Election Express, no doubt. Ali Velshi on the trail.

Thank you, sir. We'll check back.

NGUYEN: Well, Belgrade and the American flag that flies again outside the U.S. Embassy. There's a picture.

Well, a raging crowd tore it down and burned it just a few hours ago. We'll test the tension level in the Serbian capital.

That's live from Belgrade coming up.


(STOCK MARKET REPORT) NGUYEN: Well, it's 32 past the hour. Here are three of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM. Slow going in the Northeast today. Take a look at this. Where a major winter storm is forcing slower speeds on roads and flight cancellations at airports. By noon, some parts of metro New York had half a foot of snow on the ground.

Well, there is death on the campaign trail. A motorcycle accident during Hillary Clinton's motorcade through Dallas today, has killed a police officer. Clinton says she is heartsick.

Also, some tragic news for families gathered at a Venezuelan airport. Search crews confirm that all 46 passengers and crew members aboard a Caracas-bound flight died when the plane slammed into a mountain.

LEMON: Hey, Scottie (ph), before you take that picture, can you take the -- can you show this book right here? This is a book, it's called "The Third Jesus." Who are the first two? Who is the third Jesus? And speaking of Jesus, how well do you know him? Well, Deepak Chopra says there is a third Jesus, a Christ that we cannot ignore. He'll talk to us about that, live in the NEWSROOM.

We've seen a black one. We've seen a white one. We've seen all sorts of representations, but who really is Jesus Christ? We're going to talk to Deepak in just a bit.


NGUYEN: Serbia and Kosovo: yesterday's rampage in the Serbian capital is followed by new confrontations in Kosovo City, where ethnic Serbs are dominant. Now, Washington is watching, and pulling all nonessential diplomats and dependents out of Belgrade. Want to take you now live to CNN's Alessio Vinci. He is there.

And, Alessio, it looks very different from this time yesterday.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would say a dramatic difference from 24 hours ago where, in this very square, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to participate in a rally in support of Kosovo Serb as they called it here, Kosovo Mitrovica (ph).

That said, the situation after -- of the embassy at this time is also extremely calm. Order has been restored already last night. And throughout the day it's been very peaceful. We spent a couple of hours today and we saw a handful of peaceful protesters there waiting, flying the Serbian flag as well as a handful of policemen -- Serb policeman, protecting the building. Perhaps a bit too late.

As you know, both U.S. officials in -- in the U.S., as well as here in Serbia, are complaining and dissatisfied at the lack of intervention from the police when about 100 or so protesters stormed the embassy, setting it on fire, several rooms there as you can see. Now, the -- as you said, the U.S. Embassy has decided to pull all nonessential staff away from Belgrade. We understand the ambassador will remain here. Throughout the weekend, U.S. officials will try to establish the extent of the damage primarily, we understand, to the entrance section of the consular and visa section. And we understand that the embassy, according to the U.S. ambassador here, will be reopened on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, also the U.S. ambassador, with whom I spoke earlier, quite dissatisfied with the lack of response, especially from the Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica. You may remember, he was the man who won against Slobodan Milosevic in the elections in 2000 -- in the year 2000. He was very much for the West. Right now, he is the man who has organized -- one of the organizers of the large rally.

He has disassociated himself from the violence, but according to the U.S. officials, he has not come publicly to condemn violence. He has not come out publicly saying that this kind of incident should not happen again and they are asking him to do so -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, it's glad -- very glad to see the streets a lot more quiet today than they -- definitely were not yesterday with all the people in the streets and rioting.

Thank you. Alessio Vinci joining us live.

LEMON: We got a question for you, who was Jesus Christ? Who was Jesus Christ? More than two billion people on the planet call themselves Christians. More than 30,000 different groups embrace their own interpretations of Jesus' life and his teachings. Well, best-selling author and authority, I should say, on the mind/body connection, Dr. Deepak Chopra, has just published his interpretation. It's called "The Third Jesus." And Deepak joins us now to talk about it.

First of all, I have to tell you, thank you very much for joining us today.

DR. DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "THE THIRD JESUS": Thank you for having me.

LEMON: And here's what I -- we're going to talk about Serbia, because we just finished that story on Serbia. And during the story, you and I were talking about it.

But let's get to who is Jesus Christ first? You start the book, you say and you say, "Jesus is in trouble. When people worship him today, or speak his name, the object of their devotion is unlikely to be who they think he is."

What do you mean by that?

CHOPRA: Well, there are three Jesuses. The first is historical. If you read the gospels, as they're available to the West, then -- 26 years of that life is missing. Out of -- so basically, less than 20 percent is what we know about the historical Jesus.

The second is the theological Jesus, the institution that has done a lot of good, but also some harm. Right now, what's happening in Kosovo is the result of the institution.

LEMON: The institution is that the institution of Jesus or is it the institution of ...


LEMON: ...or is it the institution of religion?

CHOPRA: Of religion, that human beings created after Jesus.

LEMON: Right.

CHOPRA: The third Jesus is the Jesus who says the kingdom of heaven is inside you. The Jesus who says, I'm in this world and not of it. The Jesus who says my yoke is easy and my burden and is light.

LEMON: But some people ...

CHOPRA: What is he talking about?

LEMON: Yes, but some people think that that -- that comes with no responsibility, then I can do whatever I want. If Jesus is ...

CHOPRA: No, it doesn't. It's actually -- when you have a relationship with this third Jesus, everything changes inside you. The way you relate to people, your personal interactions, your relationships, your environment, your behavior, the way you think, the way you feel, the way you interact with the forces of nature. This is the deep shift that we in the East call cosmic consciousness or Christ consciousness.

LEMON: OK. So are you saying the first two are wrong? Because you said the first ...

CHOPRA: No, I didn't say they were wrong.

LEMON: said the first Jesus was, "A rabbi who wandered the shores of northern Galilee many centuries ago." And you said, "He has been lost."

CHOPRA: In the sands of time. If you look at the latest version ...


CHOPRA: ...which is the King James Bible, it was 19 iterations later, and the -- you know, the King James Bible was written by 54 people who looked at all kinds of texts, including English translations for which people had been executed.

LEMON: OK. I want -- because I want to get -- to a lot of topics here. The second Jesus, millions of people worship another Jesus, however -- you said who never existed, who doesn't even lay claim to the fleeting substance of the first Jesus. This one is the Holy Ghost, right, the three in one that we talked about Christ the Prince of Peace? CHOPRA: The theological Jesus is the one that is used to pronounce on things like abortion.

LEMON: Right.

CHOPRA: To pronounce on things like homosexuality, stem cell research. Jesus had nothing to do with that.

LEMON: Nothing -- you said in doing this book -- you said you ran into someone or someone who said -- who was a reformed, I should say, Catholic and you said people feel conflicted -- you were saying people feel conflicted.

"Sometimes I feel the social pressure to return to my faith, but I'm bitter. Can I love a religion that calls gays sinners and hides pedophiles in its clergy?"

CHOPRA: That is a direct quote from this former Catholic friend of mine.

LEMON: Do you -- do a lot of people feel that way, especially when you think about what's going on now, politically?

CHOPRA: I think there's a deep questioning going on within the theological establishment itself and it's coming from within, a soul searching. And I think that's a wonderful thing, because like anything else, you know, the church has to reform and to evolve.

LEMON: OK, we're talking ...

CHOPRA: And keep up with the times.

LEMON: We're not going to get, you know, into exactly who Jesus was in two or three minutes. But I want to talk to you about, we talked about Serbia. Let's talk about the politics now and also popular culture when you see an African-American running for president, you see a woman running for president, you see an evangelical running for president.

In the context of all of this, what does this mean? Is this ...

CHOPRA: I think this means that we're living in a very exciting time. You couldn't have imagined a woman or an African-American running for president. It doesn't matter which one of these wins. But that's a statement that our collective consciousness has taken a quantum leap in its creativity.

LEMON: But, I have to tell you, what I get from this, though, and maybe I'm wrong, correct me if I'm wrong, that people who -- you are sort of calling out, in a way, people who use religion and Jesus as sort of political tools.

CHOPRA: I am. But I'm also saying that if you could really have a relationship with this consciousness that we call Jesus, that it doesn't matter whether you're Christian or not. It could so radically transform your life that you would be a peacemaker. LEMON: OK.

CHOPRA: And blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

LEMON: OK, Deepak, I could talk to you the whole day. But we have to move on.

What do you make of -- apparently the death of Heath Ledger? And real quickly, if you could talk about it? You were supposed to meet him the very day that he died?

CHOPRA: Yes. I was supposed to have dinner with him, and Shakur Kapur, his director. He had spoken to Shakur the day before, I booked a massage for him at the Chopra Center and then we found out that he was gone.

LEMON: Anything that you can add to that about maybe what he was dealing with if you were supposed to meet to him?

CHOPRA: I think he mentioned to my friend, Shakur, that he was a little -- he was missing his child, his daughter. But other than that, he seemed actually quite all right. He had just flown in from England, having finished a movie and he was excited.

LEMON: Deepak Chopra, it's called "The Third Jesus." And we -- it's a very interesting read.

CHOPRA: Well, thanks Don.

LEMON: Thanks very much for joining us. Best of luck to you.

CHOPRA: Thank you very much, Don.

NGUYEN: Well, the red carpet's all in place. The statuettes, they are polished. But will there be rain? That dreaded rain on the parade at the Kodak Theater. We're going to take a live look at Hollywood's biggest show of the year.


NGUYEN: So, could it be a soggy Oscar Sunday? Well, L.A. is bracing for a big storm and gusty winds this weekend. But rain or shine, our Kareen Wynter will be on that red carpet.

It looks like you've already staked out a spot, Kareen.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes and we're fighting with all the media, Betty, that's in town. They've actually arrived from all over the country. And you're right. Take a look, we're going to pan down and show you what the red carpet looks like right now.

It's covered with plastic. It's actually tented where we are, and that's because it is expected to rain through the weekend, so they want to make sure everything is in place, no one gets wet on Sunday for the big show. Speaking of the big show, Betty, guess who we caught up with?

None other than the host of this year's Academy Awards, the second time Jon host -- Jon Stewart will be hosting from "The Daily Show." And you know what, you never know what's going to come out of his mouth. Listen to what he had to say about what to expect on Sunday.


WYNTER: So, hosting the Academy Awards, it has to be one of the most stressful jobs in the world. Why would anyone want it?


WYNTER: Yes, of course.

STEWART: No, it's not.

WYNTER: Look at the pressure.

STEWART: Pressure, but not pressure. There's people that know how to take your heart out of your chest and restart it and put it back in. That's pressure. I'm just telling jokes.

WYNTER: And the heart is racing right now. I hear it.



STEWART: Can you really?


STEWART: Wow, I should really -- I should get that checked out, because that's not good.

WYNTER: I shouldn't say it, because I'm scaring you.

STEWART: Certainly shouldn't say that to a hypochondriac. And here's another thing, I think I see a tumor behind one of your eyes. I don't know, it could be a shadow. You might want to get that checked out.

WYNTER: And there's the music again.

STEWART: Thank you.

WYNTER: And you look nice and comfortable. You couldn't have dressed better.

STEWART: Thank you, thank you. I have my tux on underneath.

WYNTER: Of course.

STEWART: I'm just going to rip this off and go right out on stage.

WYNTER: What kind of issues -- can you give us a peek into what to expect?

STEWART: I'm going to go after -- you know, everybody expects us to go after the presidential race, and we're going to do that, but the one from 1972, it's going to be all Nixon and McGovern jokes. People are going to go crazy, they're going to be like yo, yo, yo, that McGovern joke was all that.


WYNTER: Betty, he's so unpredictable, that Jon Stewart. And you know what, I have to think he's just a little bit nervous, but we'll have to wait and see on Sunday. I bet it will be a fantastic show -- Betty.

NGUYEN: I think you were making him nervous with those -- that heart comment. All right, Kareen (INAUDIBLE).

WYNTER: Oh I know, boom-boom.

NGUYEN: Exactly, he's probably getting it checked out right now. We'll talk to you shortly. Thank you.

As CNN covers the Oscar race, who do you think will win? Choose at by playing our "Inside the Envelope" prediction game. You can win some great prizes and challenge your friends. That's at

LEMON: Going to be very interesting to see.

Right now, what's interesting to see are these pictures, these live pictures we have coming from our affiliate WPLG in Miami, Florida. Here's why we're showing you this. American Airlines flight number 862, American Airlines flight number 862 from Palm Beach to Chicago being diverted, we're told, to Miami International Airport due to an unspecified technical problem. One hundred and thirty-two crew and passengers on board this plane.

Our Chad Myers standing by. Chad, do you have, what, a little flight tracker for us to show us where this plane is going?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this plane was not scheduled to land in Miami, although, but we think maybe that's where it's going to go. It took off from West Palm Beach, but now they have it going from Palm Beach International to Palm Beach International. So, maybe they're going to try to get it down there to McDonnell Douglas.

American Airlines flight 862, left just a little bit ago and now doing a couple of loops here, trying to assess the situation, trying to figure out whether the light is just on, because the light's saying, oh, that nose gear is not all the way upwards or something more to it.

Obviously now, as he gets closer to a tower, the tower will be able to tell him what's going on and with the helicopters in the sky, they'll be able to tell him a little bit more as well.

So, our Miles O'Brien will be joining us as well.

LEMON: Yes, and Chad, as we look at these pictures again, they're saying this is a technical problem. Obviously, Chicago, I know we're having some weather problems in the northeast, not in the Chicago area. So, that is probably not the reason for this.

Again, we're being told it's a technical problem, correct, Chad?

MYERS: Correct, correct. Yes, this is way down in Florida, not near Chicago whatsoever.

LEMON: Well, it was supposed to go to Chicago. That's why I'm saying it's being diverted, yes.

MYERS: Absolutely, it's supposed to get -- but it didn't have this landing gear problem when it was trying to deploy the landing gear to land. It actually had this landing gear light or whatever the issue is on the way up, so that's why the light came on, didn't go off. It's not locked. So, that's why they're nowhere near Chicago. They're still flying around here over the ocean between the Bahamas and Ft. Lauderdale right now.

LEMON: Yes, and just to make it clear, what we're looking at now, that picture obviously, it's United Parcel Service ...


LEMON: ...plane that's landing, not the plane that we're talking about.

MYERS: Right.

LEMON: Chad, we appreciate that.

But again, an American Airlines' flight having trouble. And as Chad mentioned, our Miles O'Brien will update us on the other side of the break. Back in a moment.


NGUYEN: All right, we are following this story out of Miami, Florida. Taking a look at the airport there, the Miami International Airport because American Airlines flight 862 from Palm Beach to Chicago has been diverted to this airport. Has not landed at this hour.

We're going to get some more information on why this plane was diverted with CNN's Miles O'Brien. He joins us on the phone.

Do you know what happened here, because we understand it's a technical problem of some sort?

VOICE OF MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CHIEF TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. I mean, we heard some indication that there's some problem with the landing gear. Taking a look at the screen right now. I don't think that's the plane coming in.

We're told it's an MB-82 which, of course, is a successor to the old DC-9, two engines in the back. Most people are familiar with that type of airplane.

If it is, in fact, a landing gear problem, a couple of scenarios. We would be led to believe that it happened just as they departed from Palm Beach International Airport, which means as they were trying to retract the gear, something might have happened, which -- possibility is that as they were trying to retract, it didn't fully retract and now it's stuck in a position where it is not down and locked nor is it retracted.

Or it could be just a case where one of the landing gear didn't retract at all. And they're in a position right now where all the gear are down and locked. And it's just a simple case that the airplane is too heavy to land. When an airplane takes off from a long trip to Chicago, it has obviously a lot of fuel on board, and that's more fuel than it is certified to land safely at -- as far as weight goes. So, those are some of the scenarios.

Betty, I also have on the line with me an airline captain who has a lot of experience on these types of planes. And his name is John Regas.

John, if you could just run us through the troubleshooting that'd be going on right now in a scenario like this.

VOICE OF JOHN REGAS, COMMERCIAL PILOT: I imagine when they took off, when they attempted to retract the landing gear, one of the lights that either indicated the gear was fully up or fully down did not properly illuminate. And there's a checklist to go through, and they may have tried to recycle the landing gear in its normal mode.

And there's also an alternate or emergency landing gear extension. There's a big handle underneath the co-pilot's left leg on the floorboard. You slow down to a proper speed. You pull the handle. And this releases the up locks on the gear doors, and the nose gear. And with a little bit of luck, the landing gear should just fall down into place. There's some large springs that assist the nose gear to extend.

Now, they'll go through this and attempt to get the gear down. They may even just change the light bulbs to make sure it isn't an illumination problem.

As we both know, Miles, this plane cannot dump fuel, so they'll take their time. They'll burn the fuel off. And then, they'll come in for a landing, and the weather looks pretty good in Miami. The wind's from the south at ten knots. Good visibility, scattered clouds. Shouldn't be too much of a problem.

O'BRIEN: Betty?

NGUYEN: All right, Miles O'Brien joining us live with the latest on this plane coming in. And, Miles, just one quick thing, I know you said it's trying to burn off some fuel. It's got a crew of 132, that's crew and passengers, on board. So, will it take quite some time? We're looking at a plane of that size.

O'BRIEN: That's a good question. John would know exactly the parameters on what would be allowable. First of all, a flight to O'Hare, that's pretty close to the range of that airplane, correct me if I'm wrong on that, John, but ...

REGAS: It's about right.

O'BRIEN: ...the fact is, how long would it take to burn off the fuel required to land at a safe way ...

LEMON: Before you guys answer that, we want to tell our viewers that we're not sure if this is the plane -- sorry to interrupt you.

O'BRIEN: No, this wouldn't be it, this is not it.


LEMON: This is isn't exactly the plane, but this plane is coming in that we're watching. So, we're keeping an eye on our affiliate there, on all of the planes. And I would imagine anything that looks like an American Airlines flight ...

NGUYEN: We're going to be watching it closely.

LEMON: ...we're going to be watching it. Sorry, guys, continue.

REGAS: But just as a reference, that looks like a 737 and I think the best way to look for the MB-80, the engines will be on the tail and not under the wings.