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Extra Security for International Passengers; Destigmatizing Military Suicides; Tabloid Feels the Heat; Public Opinion Vs. Court of Law; Checking the Markets; Challenger Widow Speaks; Presidential Twitter Town Hall

Aired July 6, 2011 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

Want to get you up to speed.

Passengers flying to the United States from other countries may have to go through extra security at the airport soon. A U.S. security source tells CNN there is new concern that terrorists may have explosives surgically implanted inside their bodies. The source says there is new intelligence pointing to a possible new technique that could be used, but the source says that no attack appears imminent.

Casey Anthony may walk out of an Orlando courthouse tomorrow free to carry on her life. Anthony sobbed and hugged her lawyers when jurors found her not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Jurors did determine that she lied to police, but experts say it's unlikely the judge will give her more jail time since she has been in custody for two-and-a-half years. The jurors aren't talking about their deliberations, but an alternate says that prosecutors just didn't have the physical evidence for a conviction.


RUSSELL HUEKLER, ALTERNATE JUROR, CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: The prosecution did not prove their case. The question that was not answered, how did Caylee die? I think there was probably a lot of discussion that it was probably a horrific accident that dad and Casey covered up. And unfortunately, it did snowball and got away from them.


MALVEAUX: President Obama will hold talks on the upcoming debt ceiling deadline. That is happening tomorrow. He's invited congressional leaders from both parties, and a Republican official tells CNN that the president met with House Speaker John Boehner over the weekend. The White House and Congress have to agree to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, or the country will not be able to pay its bills. Well, the White House is changing its policy on military condolence letters. President Obama will now send letters to families of servicemen and women who commit suicide while deployed in combat operations. The White House says the president wants to destigmatize, take the stigma away from mental health costs of war.

And attorneys for Dominique Strauss-Kahn are meeting with New York prosecutors today. Now, these same prosecutors announced last week that the woman who accused the former IMF chief of sexual assault had credibility problems. Well, prosecutors have to decide whether or not to go forward, pursue a plea, or just drop the case.

Georgia prosecutors are considering criminal charges in a major cheating scandal that has rocked Atlanta's public schools. Now, a state investigation says 140 teachers, 38 principals were directly or indirectly involved in this. They changed wrong answers on standardized tests for years to boost school performance.


GOV. NATHAN DEAL (R), GEORGIA: Many of those cases could lead to criminal prosecutions. When educators have failed to uphold the public trust and students are harmed in the process, there will be consequences.


MALVEAUX: Democracy's growing pains on display here in Afghanistan. Two women get physical in parliament. One throws a shoe, the other hurls a bottle of water. The fight erupted during a discussion of rocket attacks from neighboring Pakistan. Apparently, a passionate topic.


DR. JACQUES ROGGE, IOC PRESIDENT: The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic winter games in 2018 are awarded to the city of Pyeongchang.



MALVEAUX: Yes, the city of Pyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Pyeongchang was competing against cities in Germany and France.

Well, Facebook says it's going to have some awesome announcement in one hour. Bloggers think that Facebook is going to unveil a video chat feature powered by Skype. The move could counter Google Plus, which launched on a trial basis last week. Now, friends using the service can drop by a video chat room called Hangouts.

Well, a U.S. security official tells CNN that terrorists intent on getting bombs on board commercial airplanes have showed a renewed interest in now having explosives surgically implanted inside their bodies.

Our CNN national security contributor, Fran Townsend, she's a member of both the CIA and Department of Homeland Security Advisory Committees, and she joins us from New York.

And Fran, what do we know about this? Where is this threat coming from? Is it from overseas or here in the United States?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Not clear. The source had told CNN that passengers who were traveling internationally from outside of the U.S., coming into the U.S., may notice additional screening measures. Not clear.

You know, there's been much talk about this in the wake of the attempted underwear bomber that Christmas Day several years ago, and there was a use of a device against the head of the Internal Security Service in Saudi. It was believed at one point that those may have been internally implanted. They weren't -- hence the underwear bomber. Both had been on the outside.

This has been a concern though, because screening techniques, Suzanne, don't -- this is very difficult to detect, even with the advanced imaging machines that there has been so much controversy about. But what you try to do is have sort of a menu of techniques to try and detect explosive traces, whether there are canines in airports, you've seen your hand swiped in airports. The combination of those things make it more likely, if they were to try such a thing, you'd pick it up.

MALVEAUX: And Fran, I guess it's hard to imagine here. What are we talking about, things implanted under the skin, things swallowed, put in orifices? I mean, all of the possible -- all of those things?

TOWNSEND: Well, you worry about all of it.

You know, drug couriers have often swallowed small balloons of drugs. I suppose that's one of the things. More likely, you're talking about explosive materials inserted in an orifice of the body.

MALVEAUX: Is this something that is happening now?

TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not aware that we've actually seen a case where this has been used, but there has been -- what the source tells CNN is that there has been some recent intelligence suggesting that terrorists are considering trying this method.

Look, it's not a very effective method, one you can't -- you know, there's only so much of an explosive material you could insert. Two, the fact that it's inserted in the body blunts the explosive effect of the material. And so it won't -- it's not a terribly effective technique if, for example, you're trying to take down an airplane.


And Fran, last question here. Do you think of the full body scanners that are being used now, would they be able to pick up these kinds of things, detect potentially a bomb like that?

TOWNSEND: I don't believe they would. I mean, you may see -- what they'll detect is some sort of a physical anomaly that would require further inspection. But this is really hard.

And the advanced imaging detectors were not meant for this sort of thing. They are meant to show these anomalies that would suggest you need further investigation. But they are not designed to pick up an explosive or an implement that's internally inserted.

MALVEAUX: All right. Fran Townsend, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thanks.

TOWNSEND: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Here's your chance to "Talk Back" on one of the big stories of the day. It was a bombshell verdict, but the question is, was justice served in the Anthony trial?

Well, Carol Costello with that question.

I mean, it was clear, Carol, a lot of people reacted very strongly one way or the other. A lot of people were surprised by it. But, you know, was justice served?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the question this afternoon.

Casey Anthony might be a free woman as soon as tomorrow, found not guilty of murder. She could be sentenced to time served for lying to investigators. If that happens, Orlando cops already have a plan in place to sneak her out of the courtroom for her own protection.

Not accusing anyone, but the emotion surrounding this case is frenzied.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if they are watching the same thing we were. It's just shocking. I don't know. I don't watch anything like this, but the little girl -- it's just wrong.


COSTELLO: A jury found Casey Anthony not guilty. An alternate juror telling us the big question that was not answered, how did Caylee die? But in the proverbial court of public opinion, Anthony is guilty as sin.


JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Most people she was guilty. Even the prosecution thought it was a slam-dunk.

You know what I think happened here? And this is -- apparently, what happened was, the O.J. jury retired and moved to Florida. This is their first time back.


COSTELLO: One thing for sure, you have not heard the last of Casey Anthony. Some think she'll write a tell-all book or even star in a reality TV show, and she will make millions of dollars. If she does, it is her right. She was found not guilty by a jury of her peers.

It brings us to our "Talk Back Question of the Day." Was justice served in the Anthony trial? I'll read some of your comments later this hour.

MALVEAUX: Can't wait to see some of these responses, Carol. Thanks.

Here's a rundown of some of the stories that we're covering over the next hour.

First, we ask a parent if the change in White House policy towards members of the military who commit suicide goes far enough.

And then, a British tabloid in trouble now for hacking into the voicemails of celebrities and now even private people. How actor Hugh Grant is fighting back.

Plus, are the media to blame? Casey Anthony's attorneys lash out at those who they say convicted her prematurely.

And if you had the chance, what would you tweet the president? Today, 140 people, they get their chance.

And meet the window of a Challenger shuttle astronaut who says his death saved the shuttle program.


MALVEAUX: President Obama is reversing a longstanding White House policy of not sending condolence letters to the family of service members who commit suicide.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence, he joins us.

And Chris, explain to us, how significant is this change when you think about the military's culture, the shame over Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It could be very significant in that those are sort of invisible injuries, Suzanne. And in some way, this order now elevates them to the same level as someone who is hurt by a bomb or injured when their MRAP rolls over.

A senior White House official said that President Obama wants to destigmatize the mental costs of these wars and really help the military try to deal with its suicide problem. If you take a look at some statistics, I mean, it is startling to see the change.

Back in 2004, an average of about 10 soldiers for every 100,000 committed suicide. But by 2010, that had already increased to 22 per 100,000. It still seems like a relatively small number, but the military used to have a lower rate than the civilian population. That rate is higher. And when you combine active duty Army soldiers, and Natural Guardsmen and Army Reservists, last year they were killing themselves at a rate of about 25 per month -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Chris, I know this was not really an issue that was brought before the public until a number of people brought it to their attention, including your team there at the Pentagon -- I know my colleague at the White House, Elaine Quijano, who brought a story of several families, many families who were quite upset that they didn't get these letters from the administration, from the president, after losing their loved ones.

Is this more than a symbolic move, do you think?

LAWRENCE: It's symbolic, Suzanne, in the sense that it only directly affects a relatively handful of troops and their families. But it's certainly not symbolic to the moms and dads, the wives and children of these troops who want to feel that, you know, their family member's service and sacrifice has been recognized.

And down the road, it may help change some perspectives within the military about how they look at suicide. Look, there were people -- a senior White House official said the president's review was exhaustive and difficult. And it took more than a year, because there were some people in the military who really felt that by extending the letter writing to those who commit suicide would diminish the sacrifice of those who died in combat and may open the door to simply just writing letters to anyone in uniform who dies while they're in uniform.

MALVEAUX: OK, Chris. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

You know, this policy change might have not even happened were it not for my next guest. Gregg Keesling, he joins us from Indianapolis.

And Mr. Keesling, thank you, first of all, for being here with us.

You wrote the president and the Army chief of staff to have your son, Army Specialist Chancellor Keesling, recognized for his service in Iraq. And this seems to have really changed, the policy changed now for many families moving forward.

What does this mean for you personally when you hear this?

GREGG KEESLING, FATHER OF MILITARY SUICIDE VICTIM: Well, it's bittersweet because it does not that bring our son back. And we would trade everything to have Chance back with us today.

But I think it does send a powerful message through all of the ranks that mental health issues within our military can be addressed, and can be addressed better than they are currently being done. There have been tremendous efforts put in place by the military to do a better job, but the president changing the policy sends a symbolic message to everybody that we can do a good job.

MALVEAUX: And I know this certainly won't bring back your son, but I understand there's a special place on the wall in your house where you've set up a tribute to him?

KEESLING: Yes. Shortly after Chance died we heard President Obama say that he knows the cost of war, that he would write a letter to all the families whose children die at war. And so we did not know anything about the policy at that time, so we had the American flag, and we set up a little spot on the wall, and we left a blank space for the letter. And we have been waiting.

And we will not get a presidential letter of condolence. The policy that changed took affect July 1st, and it will be for soldiers going forward. We may get something from the White House, we hope we do, so we can hang something on the wall, but the policy change will be for families going forward, not going backwards.

MALVEAUX: What do you think your son would feel about getting recognition from the White House for his service?

KEESLING: Very interesting. If my son was alive, he would probably, to be very honest, would not want all of this hoopla about him today. But my son is not here, and I think that he -- we're sending a message to the rest of the United States that mental health is on par with other accidents.

If Chance had died by food poisoning, or he had been electrocuted in a faulty shower, we would have gotten a letter of condolence. And that letter would have provided us some comfort. But more importantly, it would have sent a message to everybody in the military and even in the public that these issues can be fixed.

So, just like food poisoning and faulty showers, mental health is an issue that can be addressed, and I think this symbolic gesture by the president is going to start a process that will allow us to deal with the situation more effectively.

MALVEAUX: Do you know if this changes your circumstances in any way in terms of getting the same kind of benefits for your family or children as those other soldiers who died in combat?

As far as I understand, all the benefits have been equalized. So we got the full 21-gun salute. We had the folded flag ceremony, the death benefit that accrues when a soldier dies in a war theater. All that has been given afforded our family. The only thing that was different was the presidential letter of condolence.

MALVEAUX: Gregg Keesling, thank you so much for joining us, for being with us.

KEESLING: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

KEESLING: Well, just that Chancellor Keesling was a good soldier, and I am positive the vast majority of soldiers who have died by suicide in these wars were good soldiers. And my heart goes out to all their families, and I hope that they will feel as we do, a bit of vindication today. And it's the right move made by our president, and I thank him very much for making this change.

MALVEAUX: Does it take a little of the pain away?

KEESLING: It takes a little bit of the pain. The pain will never go. Nothing can replace the loss of a child. Nothing.

But a little bit of the pain will go away. And for my two other surviving children and my wife, it's a chance for us to begin to heal. We have been on this for two years, and now it's a chance for us to focus on ourselves and our family, and begin to heal as we move forward with our lives.

MALVEAUX: All right, Gregg. Gregg Keesling, thank you very much. We certainly wish you the very best.

KEESLING: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Parliament demands answers about a British tabloid's brand of journalism, hacking the voicemail of a kidnapped teenager who turned up dead. But as you'll see, Milly Dowler wasn't the only one.


MALVEAUX: Have some breaking news here want to share with you. This is the very latest.

A U.S. Army general today approved a possible death penalty sentence in the future military trial of Major Nidal Hasan. Now, he, you may recall, is the American-Muslim accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan was partially paralyzed in the final shootout with police at the end of the attack in November. That happened November, 2009. He is in a wheelchair.

Now, he is being held in a local jail near Fort Hood. That is the country's largest military base. But this news just coming in, that a U.S. Army general has approved a death penalty in the future military trial of Hasan.

Well, it's the phone hacking scandal that has the U.K. in an uproar. The British tabloid "News of the World," part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, News Corp., which includes companies like Fox News and "The Wall Street Journal," is facing allegations that its reporters have been breaking into peoples' voicemail accounts, everyone from British movie stars to a teenager who was later found dead. Prime Minister David Cameron is calling it all absolutely disgusting.

Our Richard Quest spoke with one celebrity who struck back at the tabloid. That is actor Hugh Grant.

Richard, everybody seems to be talking about this story. I mean, it's unbelievable how widespread this is. London police have already launched a investigation.

Tell us, how deep is this scandal? You've got Hugh Grant, who is now tied up in all of this.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is hacking into voicemail on an industrial scale. We've known people like Sienna Miller and Jude Law and others who had their voicemails hacked into, and what they heard on those voicemails were used to make news stories in "The News of the World."

Hugh Grant believes that he was also hacked into, and in many ways he is now the celebrity that's standing right at the front, possibly because he has had a bit of a checkered past. He is now saying that it's time for things for change. And he is calling for a full judicial inquiry.


HUGH GRANT, ACTOR: What we need is a big public inquiry into all the methods and the whole culture of tabloid press in this country. That's one thing.

And people can vote very much with their wallets. They just don't have to buy these papers, especially the "News of the World." And advertisers have to look themselves very hard in the mirror and say, do we want to be advertising in papers like "News of the World?"


QUEST: Now, Hugh Grant got the bit between the teeth, as they say. It's not only "The News of the World" that he has in his sights. He, quite rightly, I think, points out the systemic nature of what has been taking place. And when he talks about the "News of the World," he's really talking a great deal more.


GRANT: It's one thing for there to be a very bad newspaper in the country, but when you start to realize it's not one, it's all our tabloids who have been shockingly out of control for a long time, and when you realize how much collusion there's been from the police, and how much collusion there's been from our lawmakers, from our government, who needs these tabloids, especially the Murdoch press, to get elected, you start to think I'm not proud of my country anymore. This is not the democracy I thought I was proud of.


QUEST: Now, tonight, in the last hour or so -- tonight, Europe time -- it's late evening here -- or late afternoon -- Rupert Murdoch has put out a statement. He has described the actions taken by "The News of the World" in hacking, paying of the police. He calls them deplorable and unacceptable.

To give this some perspective to you, Suzanne, we're not just talking about little newspapers here. "The News of the World" the biggest selling English newspaper in the world.

Rupert Murdoch has "The News of the World," "The Sunday Times." He also has "The Times of London" and "The Sun," which is Britain's biggest selling national newspaper. In the states, of course, it's The Post, it's Fox News and Fox channels, it's 20th Century Fox. It's "The Wall Street Journal."

So now, when one of the prime properties is caught up in such an egregious scandal, that is why this is making news.

MALVEAUX: Yes. And Richard, are the advertisers starting to pull out now?

QUEST: Yes. And this is really fascinating.

Ford Motor Company, straight out of the bat, canceling their advertisements in "The News of the World." One or two others, the Halifax buildings -- banks savings and loan, dancing around it.

But what's really interesting is the number of advertisers who are wishy-washy weak. They are sitting on the fence, Suzanne, saying we're going to wait for the investigation.

Now, interestingly, Ford is getting huge kudos for having come straight out. I mean, this is the sort of thing (INAUDIBLE) Alan Mulally they do these days. They make a statement, they go for it, and they stand where they stand. And there's still, which way is the wind blowing tonight?

MALVEAUX: All right. We'll see which way the wind blows, whether or not they will join in with the rest of those advertisers.

Richard, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Well, there is the court of law, and then there is the court of public opinion. Many outside the courtroom didn't seem to see the same Casey Anthony trial that the jury sat through. We're going to ask the attorney who won Michael Jackson's acquittal about public perceptions.


MALVEAUX: Here's a rundown of some of the stories that we are working on next:

How a jury of her peers acquitted Casey Anthony when so many people think she killed her daughter?

Then a town hall where the invitees get to tweet the president.

And in 15 minutes, an astronaut's widow looks back at the Challenger accident and how it changed the course of the space program.

The verdict in the Casey Anthony case may have shocked many, but it's certainly not the first time public opinion has gone one way and the jury's verdict has gone another. Who can forget this one?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of murder in violation of penal code section 187A, a felony upon Nicole Brown Simpson.


MALVEAUX: That verdict shocked and angered many people who to this day say O.J. Simpson got away with murder.

And remember Robert Blake, the actor who starred in "Beretta"? He walked out of court a free man in 2005 after a jury acquitted him of the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley, his wife of six months and the mother of his 4-year-old daughter. Blake was the only suspect in his wife shooting death. Jurors cited a lack of direct evidence and credibility issues with the prosecution's key witnesses in explaining their jury's decision.

And then there was the Michael Jackson case in 2005. A California jury exonerated the pop star of child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges that could have sent him to prison for almost 20 years. The jury deliberated about 32 hours throughout the course of seven days before reaching its decision.

Well, Jackson's lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau, Jr. told reporters on his way out of the courthouse that justice was done, and he said the man's innocent, he always was.

Tom Mesereau joins us live from Los Angeles. And thank you for being with us.

First of all, you represented Michael Jackson. You felt that he was unfairly tried in the court of public opinion and by the media as someone who was guilty. Do you find similarities in your case and what happened here with Casey Anthony?

TOM MESEREAU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND PARTNER, MESEREAU & YU, LLP: Well, first of all, you have to understand, yes, there are similarities in the sense -- you had the media ganged up against the defendant and the defendant's lawyer. The media every day were banging this drum beat of conviction. They were trying to skew the verdict they wanted.

The same thing happened in the Michael Jackson case. But you have to understand, there's a very big difference between the court of public opinion and the actual inside of a courtroom. Every case has a unique chemistry in that courtroom. You have a unique chemistry between the judge, the jurors, the witnesses and the lawyers.

And unless you are there with the responsibility of rendering a decision in your hands, you don't really understand what is going on.

Jurors are not voyeurs, they are under oath. They have a solemn responsibility. That changes your perspective. They see and hear everything, and they try to follow the law.

MALVEAUX: And help us understand that a little bit, the difference between what you experience inside the courtroom, that atmosphere, perhaps the body language, maybe even evidence that you are sharing and seeing inside the courtroom that those outside of us, that we're really not exposed to, we don't see. What is difference? What's the public not seeing? What is the public not getting?

MESEREAU: Well, first of all, most of the public, you know, is not there six to eight hours a day in the courtroom watching witnesses, feeling witnesses, and using all of the human senses to try and figure out whether they believe somebody or not, or maybe they believe them partly or not completely.

The public tunes in and out. They are voyeurs. They are subject to sound bites, and they are very vulnerable to what the talking heads and pundits say.

Jurors in the courtroom are under oath. They take their job very seriously. They watch everything for six to eight hours a day. They tie it together the best they can. They try to follow the judge's instructions on the law the best they can.

It's a different way of looking at reality. They have a responsibility, no one else does.

MALVEAUX: You know, I want to play a clip here if I can, Tom -- this was right after the acquittal of Michael Jackson, in your case, a statement that you made. Let's take a listen just real quick.


LARRY KING, CNN'S "LARRY KING LIVE": What was it like for you -- you were under order not to watch it, and what was it like to watch it?

MESEREAU: Well, I did not watch it that often, Larry. I was too busy working on the case.

KING: But you knew what was going on?

MESEREAU: I knew a lot of what was going on, when I would take a break in my apartment while I was preparing, I would turn on the TV set, and a lot of it was just appalling. The factual inaccuracies, the obvious bias among people like Court TV, who I felt was really an arm of the prosecution through the case. It was very amateurish and very unprofessional and very disturbing.


MALVEAUX: It seems like you were ticked off about how things were going outside of the courthouse, and loft people who were talking about it. Does it really make a difference? Does it matter if the public or the media don't agree on how things are going and don't agree that your client is innocent, because your jury is sequestered? I mean, do they really influence the process at all?

MESEREAU: Well, the jury in the Michael Jackson case was not sequestered and that trial almost went five months. But when I was questioning perspective jurors at the beginning, I actually challenged them to put the media aside, to not become puppets, not become clones of the media, and to exercise their own independence, their own judgment and to follow their conscience and to have integrity. I made it a challenge.

And I think they rose to the challenge and did what they thought was right.

It's very disturbing to see the media misreporting a trial because they have other goals in mind. There were reporters who use to watch the direct examination and then run out of the courtroom and not even watch the cross examination and give a salacious report on what the witness said.

People had their own agendas, their own goals. Generally speaking, the media wants revenue and ratings. They don't want justice in my opinion.

MALVEAUX: All right. Tom Mesereau, we're going to leave there. That is your opinion. We appreciate it.

We'll take a closer look at the court of public opinion versus the court of law.

Our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, he joins us by phone from New York.

Jeff, I want to ask you the same question here that I asked Tom here. If the public disagrees with a verdict, does it make any difference at all if the media is portraying it one way and the jury sees it another? I mean, in this case with Casey Anthony, the jury was sequestered. They clearly weren't listening to the public.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the point Tom made about listening to all the evidence is very important. You know, when you follow a trial through the news media, what are you really doing? You are watching a report about it at night or maybe you're reading something on the web or a newspaper. But, you know, those are very sketchy summaries of what goes on. It is a different experience to watch all the evidence in the courtroom than it is to just absorb a little through the news media.

MALVEAUX: Do you think it undermines the confidence people have in the justice system if they fundamentally disagree with what the jury finds? In this case, a lot of people thinking Casey Anthony is guilty and they find her innocent?

TOOBIN: I don't think it's a problem. I think people are mature enough to recognize by and large that jurors have a job to do that is different from simply being a television commentator or being a citizen.

And I think, you know, one of the real ironies here is we hear defense attorneys say, you know, the press is poisoning the public against my client, and the list of celebrity acquittals is just astonishingly long. I mean, Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, William Kennedy Smith, Claus von Bulow the second time.

I mean, true, Scott Peterson did get convicted, but many, many of these cases wind up in acquittals, far more than an average, which is about 80 or 90 percent conviction rates across the country. So, you know, I think that we do need to take it with a grain of salt defense attorneys' complaints that the press is poisoning the public.

MALVEAUX: And, Jeff, you know, it's odd. People are surrounding Anthony's home. They're donating gifts to the dead girl, Caylee. I mean, what do you this says about our society, that this phenomenon is happening?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it means that some people have too much time on their hands and, you know, need to get a life. But, you know, the news has always focused on sensational trials, whether it's the Lindbergh kidnapping in the '30s -- this is a form of the news that people have found interesting for many years. Obviously, television, when trials are televised, allow people to take a -- you know, more direct and intense interest.

But, you know, I think the vast majority of people, not perhaps the kind of people who are giving gifts to a dead child, but the vast majority of people, you know, recognize that it's an interesting case, but that the criminal justice system, by and large, works pretty well. And that's, I think, an appropriate message to get out of this case.

MALVEAUX: OK. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you, Jeff.

Well, the president is hosting a Twitter town hall at 140 characters a piece. The questions he is getting, well, they are pretty short and to the point. But the question is: will the commander-in-chief be able to answer as precisely?


MALVEAUX: I want to bring you some live pictures here that we're looking from WBAL. This is out of Baltimore. There are reports of shots that were fired. Police have closed portions of the Baltimore- Washington parkway, the intersection of I-195.

This is after there were reports that there were shots being fired at vehicles, Maryland State Police shut down this parkway, and they don't have information on whether or not any of these vehicles were hit by bullets. But there were reports that there were shots being fired at cars along this interstate, Interstate 195. It's the access road to get to BWI Airport. I know this area well.

They're saying -- the Maryland State Highway Administration is saying that motorists should avoid the area, head to the airport and use access 195 if you can reach the airport or 197, I-97, because clearly they have blockaded this area because there are shots being fired along this critical part of the highway.

Moving on, a new jobs report came out today.

CNN's Alison Kosik, she joins us from the New York Stock Exchange.

And, Alison, give us a sense of what the markets are doing.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right now, we are seeing a lot of green across the screen, Suzanne. The Dow is up 54, the NASDAQ higher by 10. It looks like the markets are pretty much shrugging a couple of downbeat reports.

One on expected layoffs and another on growth in the services sector. Challenger, Gray & Christmas came out with this report that you mentioned, saying that planned job cuts rose 12 percent in June because -- mostly of job government cuts.

Also about that growth in the U.S. service sector. That report coming in weaker than expected. Now this is an important report because the service sector makes up 80 percent of the jobs in our economy like retail, health care and construction. But it looks like Wall Street pretty much looking past that report, really waiting for the big government jobs report for June coming out on Friday.

The expectation is that the economy in June added 120,000 jobs. If it did, that would be a good step forward after that dismal report that we got in May showing that the economy only added 54,000 jobs of course, though.

But right now Wall Street buying into the market as they wait for the big jobs report on Friday -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks, Alison.

Well, as the final shuttle mission prepares to launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center this week, our John Zarrella sits down with the widow of Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka. Hear what she thinks about the end of the shuttle program.


MALVEAUX: CNN's "In Depth" focus this week, the final mission of the space shuttle program. As the nation looks ahead to Friday morning's scheduled liftoff of shuttle Atlantis.

CNN's John Zarrella looks back talking with the widow of Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is the altar?


ZARRELLA: All right. You have a lot of explaining to do. Coors can. The Lite can.

ONIZUKA: The baseball.

ZARRELLA: The baseball.

ONIZUKA: He played a lot of ball. We keep an altar for him, and when my mom is here, we -- she puts coffee here for him every day. And --

ZARRELLA: And that's all part of the Buddhist tradition?

ONIZUKA: Yes, and she prays in the morning and at night. And I just kept him in a small alcove instead of having him spread out to the house.

ZARRELLA: You think it was worth it?

ONIZUKA: Yes, I do. I think a lot of it is because I think El would have thought it was worth it. And anything that you're going to commit yourself to, there is a risk. And we all accept that. I mean I accepted it because El accepted it. I could not speak for my children, and that's where my heartache was.

It's always special to hear the commander say, you know, go throttle up, and then we see the RSVs separate. And for me that is -- that is the moment of truth.

ZARRELLA: Because that's when the accident took place?

ONIZUKA: Yes. So it's always very special to me but --

ZARRELLA: That they get through it every time.

ONIZUKA: Yes. Yes. Yes. El and I understood that, you know, something could happen. We just kind of hoped that it never would. But if you read back in history, any new effort to make discoveries have had their casualties.

ZARRELLA: And he was OK. I mean he -- obviously he was OK with accepting the risk?

ONIZUKA: He did. He had -- he was very well prepared for it. He was basically dealing with the pain and anguish in children that you cannot fix. You know, and his parents were fixers. And you can't fix those things. It's just time.

I think he would have been OK with watching the program end. He's just having a real tough time, I think, not being able to know these little kids, you know. And --

ZARRELLA: That's probably what bothered him the most, not seeing his grand babies?

ONIZUKA: I think so. I think so. I want to thank him, I want to thank El for watching over these guys in the years since, because I think he does. He shares their pride, shares their excitement, shares their glory, just from a different angle.


MALVEAUX: We thank her for her story.

CNN plans special coverage of Friday morning's launch of the Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center. Our coverage of the last shuttle flight begins at 10:00 Eastern. The launch is scheduled for 11:26.


MALVEAUX: Following some breaking news here. We're looking at live picture aerials. WBAL coming in right now. There is a manhunt for an armed man. This is actually Maryland State Police and Anne Arundel County Police are searching for an armed suspect.

This is around I-295 and Route 195 in Anne Arundel County. It's not far from BWI Airport. Currently they closed the road in both directions there. That is because police got a call just after 11:30 this morning saying that a man armed with a long gun, a shotgun or a rifle was along the highway.

There were reports that shots have been fired into vehicles. They believe that the suspect is still on the loose. They -- the police describe him as a white male, between 50 and 60 years old, wearing a black and red flannel shirt, and blue jeans, and reports of shots being fired at vehicles. So they had to closed that roadway down.

They have established a command post. And police say that there is a search that is under way now with K-9 helicopters and police officers on foot.

That breaking news out of the -- out of the Baltimore area.

Well, some big names are finally venturing into the Twitterverse. The Pope recently sent his first tweet. The 84-year-old typed out a message on an iPad announcing a new Vatican Web site.

And Vice President Joe Biden asked Americans to remember the troops this July 4th, saying, "VP and Dr. B, hope you take time to think about our troops and military families this Independence Day. Happy Fourth from OVP."

And today President Obama is holding his first Twitter town hall.

Mario Armstrong is here to talk about that.

Mario, thanks for joining us. I know you were stuck in all the traffic mess --


MALVEAUX: -- that we just saw out of Baltimore there.


MALVEAUX: So I'm glad you were able to make it. Thank you.

ARMSTRONG: It's unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was really weird.

MALVEAUX: Yes. I mean obviously they're looking for somebody there.


MALVEAUX: We hope it works out OK.

Give us real quick, how is this thing going to work at the White House with this Twitter town hall?

ARMSTRONG: Yes. So this is interesting because this will happen today 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. If people want to follow along, they can actually watch this live on the Web, at

But Suzanne, you're right. This is exactly his first Twitter town hall. So he's basically only going to talk about two topics, Suzanne. Jobs and economy. So people are enabled at this point to be able to just send questions in via Twitter to the president, and then they will curate those and then pick ones that they would then answer via Twitter.

MALVEAUX: And Mario, the president, he's not known for brevity.


MALVEAUX: He likes to go on. He was a professor. How does it work for him? Is he limited to 140 characters?

ARMSTRONG: You better believe. They aren't making any Twitter extensions for him. No. He's limited to 140 characters just like anybody else. So it is going to be challenging but great to kind of hear how he responds to questions in a very concise and effective way.

MALVEAUX: OK. So I understand that people will go ahead, they'll ask questions. I think he's actually going to be able to go a little bit longer, but we'll see. We'll see how that goes.

What's the focus here?

ARMSTRONG: Well, the focus is -- you know, and you're right. He could go longer, but it's still 140 per message, so -- but you could extend that over multiple messages. So that is a good point. But we're talking about jobs and the economy only. He won't take any other questions related to other areas.

And they have a team that's there that's going to curate these, so when the questions come in via Twitter, they'll have folks that will look to see, are there trending topics of popularity, and so a lot of people are curious about that whole curation process. But that's how those messages will get to him so that he can reply. MALVEAUX: All right.

ARMSTRONG: The interesting thing about this is that, you know, this might be a really smart move for him to really enable people outside of Washington and a younger demographic to be closer to the president.

MALVEAUX: OK. All right. Mario Armstrong, thanks very much. Got to make it --

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Got to end it there.


MALVEAUX: All right. We're going to go to a quick break.