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Ray Nagin Indicted; Armstrong: The Law and His Confession; Winter Storm Eases in U.S.; Clinton on Hostage Crisis in Algeria; The Senator And The Snake

Aired January 18, 2013 - 14:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get you back to the breaking story here as we're talking about really someone who seems to have fallen from grace, former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin here, as we have learned. This indictment has been handed down, 21, 21 federal corruption counts handed down today from this grand jury.

I want to bring in Victor Blackwell. I know indictment is fresh off the printer as you have been parsing through it, just a little bit. Can you run down some of the counts, what he's facing?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are concerns here. I mean, he's been charged with bribery, accepting kickbacks, money laundering and filing false tax returns. One section here I wanted to read especially for the viewers.

It says that Ray Nagin knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud the city of New Orleans and its citizens through a bribery kickbacks scheme where his public office would be used to benefit his personal business and to provide him with payment in the form of checks, granted inventory for his business, wire transfers, personal services, and free travel.

Accusations of uses of limousines and flights and a trip paid to Jamaica for his entire family. So as it relates to the tax returns, this, of course, goes specifically after Ray Nagin, but could also involve the rest of the family because some of the personal financial details will be involved.

Now, this is involving two business men who, in exchange for paying the former mayor and his company, in turn, this indictment alleges, got millions of dollars in contracts from the city of New Orleans for rebuilding after Katrina.

At a time when Ray Nagin was tasked with rebuilding his city, in 2006, said he wanted to make sure that New Orleans stayed a chocolate city and rebuild it, some of the comments that made people cringe --

BALDWIN: Storm of the century.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he said he would rebuild this city, this indictment alleges he was trying to fatten his own pockets and build the coffers of his family's business. Again, 21 very serious counts and it involved two business men. One of them pleaded guilty, that happened back in June and is now cooperating with the government on this indictment.

BALDWIN: Obvious question is where this goes next, what could happen to him if found guilty on any or all of these charges. Let me read quickly, I have a statement again from the current mayor, Mitch Landrieu, upon learning about these 21 counts.

He says this is a sad day for the city of New Orleans, today's indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public's trust, public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated. We'll keep a close eye on developments that could happen.

If you find out what could happen next, possibly getting someone just on a legal angle, right, as far as what Mayor Ray Nagin could face, Victor Blackwell, for now, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

BALDWIN: Let me move off that and back to this confession that everyone is talking about today here, Lance Armstrong admitting what many say they already knew, not a single one of his seven Tour De France titles was a clean win.

So part of this whole sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, we all watched, as straight out of the gates, Armstrong admitted to everything, blood doping, testosterone, and even more.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: I view this situation as one big lie.


BALDWIN: So why come clean now? Watch what he said when Oprah asked.


ARMSTRONG: That's the best question. That's the most logical question.


ARMSTRONG: I don't know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It is too late for probably most people and that's my fault.


BALDWIN: The lawyer for another long time target of steroid allegations joins me here from Miami. Marty here, you represented baseball's Mark McGwire, who eventually came clean. So, Marty, welcome to you. Just tell me how involved were you in that decision, and what were those discussions like?

MARTY STEINBERG, REPRESENTED MARK MCGWIRE DURING STEROID HEARINGS: Well, I really can't go into discussions with my client, but, of course, in any situation like that, you got to assess all the legal risks that might be prevalent because there could be charges brought, you have to look at the statute of limitations, and you have to look at the implications of an admission versus just evidence.

BALDWIN: OK, so you can't talk about that. I think you can talk about this, though, because as we talk about Lance Armstrong today, and he says he never coerced anyone to break the rules is what he says, I've talked to teammates who would disagree with that. But in this Oprah interview, he did admit to bullying people to keep quiet. Take a look.


WINFREY: Were you a bully?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, yes. I was a bully.

WINFREY: Tell me how you were a bully.

ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that you just -- that I tried to control the narrative. And if I didn't like what somebody said, and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you or whatever, I tried to control that. That's a lie. They're liars.


BALDWIN: As an attorney, could that be considered witness intimidation, bullying?

STEINBERG: Well, it depends if the person he was intimidating at the time was a witness in any proceeding. It certainly is an admission.

BALDWIN: An admission of bullying, of trying to make them dope or else, is that what you're saying?

STEINBERG: Well, if that person was a witness in any proceeding, it could be an admission of intimidating them.

BALDWIN: OK, let me talk about your -- Mark McGwire. Because we now know he really has been able to speak with such candor and authority on this whole topic of, you know, drug abuse, steroids, et cetera. The question would be then as we look at Lance Armstrong as we're awaiting part two of this Oprah interview, would you say that he is similarly positioned as Mark McGwire is or has he so damaged his brand and believability?

STEINBERG: I don't think they're similarly positioned at all. Mr. Armstrong appears to be a very deliberate, calculating person who has some objective with this admission. We're not sure what it is yet. He has a number of legal issues that are awaiting him, a whistle- blower case for defrauding the federal government since the post office was his primary sponsor.

You know, potential criminal cases for possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs, perjury, positions he took in prior cases that may now be considered a fraud on the court. So I don't know what his objective was by this admission, but there seems to be some objective.

BALDWIN: If you were his lawyer, how would you be advising him? Would you be glad he's talking?

STEINBERG: Unless I had concluded that he had no more risk because the statute of limitations had run or for some other legal basis, I would have advised him not to make those statements. Forgiveness from the public is not immunity.

BALDWIN: Marty Steinberg, thank you so much. Attorney for baseball's Mark McGwire, thank you. Want to invite all of you to join me at the top of the hour for a special hour on the crash of an American icon, Lance Armstrong.


BALDWIN: Some of the hottest stories in a flash, rapid fire. Roll it. This year's flu outbreak claimed the lives of nine more children, bringing that total to 29. Hawaii and Tennessee are the only states. Look at this map.

See those two white states, the only two states in the U.S that have not reported widespread flu activity. The CDC reports more elderly Americans are being hospitalized with the flu. Symptoms typically last up to seven days for a normal flu infection.

Tests are under way on the body of a Chicago lottery winner who police believe was poisoned. It took workers a couple of hours this morning to exhume the body of 46-year-old Urooj Khan.

Khan died suddenly last summer, one day after claiming his winnings from a million dollar jackpot. Investigators originally thought he died of natural causes, but Khan's death became a murder mystery after tests showed a deadly amount of cyanide in his system.

Thanks but no thanks. That's what the spouse of a lesbian lieutenant colonel told a support group for military spouses after they offered her a guest membership to its club. Ashley Broadway who we had on show the here has been really at the center of this six-week long battle with the Association of Bragg Officer Spouses after they said no to her.

She wanted to be a member of their club. But she doesn't have a military spouse I.D. The club said she needed it to join. Broadway, however, told me that she was denied, she believes, because she's gay and now finds an offer of a guest membership and, I'm quoting her, a slap in the face.

I talked to Ashley last week, asked her what made her want to join in the first place.


ASHLEY BROADWAY: You know, I would like to be a part of the group so that they can see that my family is no different than their family. We go through the same thing. Our loved ones are deployed. We have times of separation. Our kids miss their parent, whether their mom or their father.


BALDWIN: Broadway told us today that her wife is about to deliver their second child any day now.

Winter storm relief, brutal winter storm system left the U.S., but not without leaving serious damage and snow here across the south and east coast. Last night, take a look for yourself, look at this landslide.

This happened yesterday, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, roads, gone. A storm also caused major flooding in the south, which forced a lot of people in places including Louisiana to have to leave their homes.

And a little too close for comfort for me with a great white shark, watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God, he's starting to get a bit more -- that was close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we start the engine?


BALDWIN: Yes, let's start that engine really, really quickly. Two men fishing off Australia when this 13-foot shark nudged their boat. The shark circled for 40 minutes. If you're wondering how this whole thing ended, the fishermen powered up the motor and took off when they had enough of the shark.

Sixteen bedrooms, 35 bathrooms and underground bunker, not too bad for a family of four. We're talking about some prime Washington real estate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House. President Obama and his family get a rent free deal to live there for the next four years. You could say every American taxpayer owns just a little piece of the White House.

Felicia Taylor, I wanted to talk to you about this. I saw this article in Zillow had calculated this morning, just having fun. The White House isn't for sale. In terms of dollars and cents, if someone wanted to buy the white house what do you think it would be worth?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: About a cool $295 million. Not such a big price tag.

BALDWIN: Please.

TAYLOR: You certainly make enough to afford that, I know. Anyway, Zillow used public data and recent sales to figure it out. It buys you 50,000 square feet, 132 rooms, and three kitchens because one isn't enough. You've also got a pool, a movie theatre, a bowling alley that was because of the Nixens, they asked for that one. There's a jogging track, which Bill Clinton added. The value of the White House got up, though, since Obama came into town, up about 7 percent since 2009 and that of course, does mirror the housing market, which peaked in 2006 and then fell before recovering. So, you know, not bad.

BALDWIN: Not bad. Not bad. Look, if we don't have that chump change to buy it, what about if someone wanted to rent this house?

TAYLOR: We're still talking about not chump change here. That's $1.75 million per month.

BALDWIN: Per month?

TAYLOR: Per month.

BALDWIN: No problem.

TAYLOR: Yes, right. Can you imagine $1.75 million a month? OK, like I said, you got a lot of time. Obamas do live there rent free, but they have to pay for their own food and incidentals. I'm amazed that $1.75 million doesn't buy the food.

Anyway, Nancy Reagan, when she was there a month after moving into the White House, said she was a little surprised when the usher sent up a bill for their food. Quote, "nobody told us that the president and his wife are charged for every meal as well as dry cleaning, toothpaste, and other toiletries."

So, Ronald Reagan used to call it like an eight-star hotel because you had to pay for all the amenities.

BALDWIN: Well, I guess right now they have a garden, right? Michelle Obama can get fresh veggies and fruits out of the backyard.

TAYLOR: But she wasn't the first one to do that. That actually happened under -- I'll tell you exactly. Wait, wait, wait, no, John Adams. John Adams was the first person to put in the vegetable garden.

BALDWIN: Gardening back in the day. There you go. I like that factoid.

TAYLOR: I thought it was Michelle.

BALDWIN: There you go. Felicia Taylor, thank you so much. As we're talking White House, obviously, we're talking White House just because of the inauguration this upcoming Monday.

Today we're looking beyond the fun and festivities and breaking down the challenges the president will face in his final term. Coming up, a look at one of his biggest jobs.

But first, next month we will begin introducing you to a new group of amazing people. You know them as our CNN Heroes. This will be for 2013. Want you to first take a look at the young woman from Nepal who you named the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360" (voice-over): For 29-year-old Pushpa Basnet, 2013 begins on a high note. Basnet was named "CNN Hero of the Year" for her work providing a home for children of incarcerated parents in Nepal. I sat down with her right after the big moment.

(on camera): How do you feel? You just won.

PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: I think I'm dreaming. It is a big honor for me. I would never forget this night in my life.

COOPER: What was going through your mind when you were walking up on stage?

BASNET: My dream come true. Thank you so much. I still -- mama is going to take you out from the prison and you're coming to my place and this is for my children. And thank you so much, for everyone who believed in my dream.

COOPER: The kids call you --

BASNET: Mom, yes.

COOPER: What does that mean to you when you hear that?

BASNET: It means a lot to me. The reality I know that I'm not their original mother, but I'm their so-called mother to give them a better life and better education. That's for sure.

COOPER: What was the inspiration?

BASNET: I'm very fortunate to be brought up in the family that I was. I had good parents. Some children have parents who did mistake and are suffering and I should give it to them.

COOPER: Some of your kids were watching, what did you want to say to them?

BASNET: Your mama did it and I'm sure you're proud of whatever I'm doing.

COOPER: I'm proud of you too.

BASNET: Thank you.



BALDWIN: Want to get you a quick update as we have been watching the situation unfolding involving a number of hostages in Algeria, this North African nation, including a number of American hostages. So Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, is speaking at the State Department. In fact, she's meeting today with the foreign minister of Japan, but she did make a statement on the situation in Algeria. We just wanted to share that with you. Take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Before we start, I would like to say a few words about the situation in Algeria. The United States extends our condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones in this brutal assault. And we remain deeply concerned about those who remain in danger.

I spoke with the Algerian prime minister again this morning to get an update on this very difficult situation. And to underscore, again, that the utmost care must be taken to preserve innocent life. We are staying in close touch with our Algerian partners and working with affected nations around the world to end this crisis.


BALDWIN: And, again that was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still watching. There is a lot of information coming out of Algeria, like a game of telephone, like our correspondent was telling me a moment ago, still a number of Americans still there, still missing, still being held against their will.

Now to this, to make his point about invasive snakes, Florida Senator Bill Nelson once brought the skin from a 16-foot python to a senate committee hearing. Now he's out to hunt one for himself.


BALDWIN: From a brand-new hairstyle and Twitter account for first lady, all the way to Florida, we're talking about something you know I hate talking about, pythons here where a senator apparently is hunting them.

We have all the best political news for you might have missed here in political pop. Shannon Travis, let me bring you in, my friend, Michelle Obama, big news, everyone is talking about the fact that, can't believe this, she has bangs.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: She has bangs and it came on her birthday, Brooke. Are you going to try that out, bangs yourself?

BALDWIN: You know, I have options some days.

TRAVIS: Maybe so. This is all part of the first lady's birthday was yesterday, happy birthday, Michelle Obama, she turned 49. And part of the gift apparently was a brand-new Twitter account that is @flotus, first lady of the United States.

Already 84,000 people have given her a gift by following her, Brooke, that's how many people when I last check, might be more now. We're told that she has two accounts, the @michelleobama, from her campaign days, that's now managed by the Democratic National Committee.

And this new one will be the primary place where people can find out updates about her official duties as first lady and as you just mentioned, one of the first pics to come out of this, first lady with bangs that everybody is talking about. Take a look at that, Brooke.

BALDWIN: There she is.

TRAVIS: A lot of people are talking about it.

BALDWIN: She can do her hair however she wants to. A, we would still be talking about it, because she's first lady. B, she looks amazing.


BALDWIN: She would look amazing.


BALDWIN: Moving on from the flotus to a senator in Florida. You know, I was talking to John Zarrella, our correspondent in Miami, because he's sometimes either on the space beat or python beat, they have been hunting python because they're all up in the everglades. Now we have this Florida senator, Bill Nelson, trying to find some pythons as well apparently.

TRAVIS: Yes. He went hunting for snakes yesterday. Pythons, I didn't realize it, is such a huge problem in the Florida everglades estimates between tens or hundreds of thousands out there. It can be pretty destructive. Yes, Senator Bill Nelson went hunting for pythons yesterday because this is an issue that he cares about. We're told from local reports that he actually didn't catch any -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Empty handed, didn't find a python. I mean, I guess, you want to but I would be, like, fine with me. I'll see you later.

TRAVIS: It would be a nice trophy on the wall.

BALDWIN: I don't know about that. Shannon Travis, thank you. I'll see you in Washington for the inauguration.

Meantime, after years of deceit, Lance Armstrong confesses to it all, the doping, the lying, and the cheating. Coming up, our special hour on the crash of an American icon.


BALDWIN: For years, he trashed his critics and sued his accusers. But Lance Armstrong's confession and what he says tonight could actually make things worse. I'm Brooke Baldwin with a special hour on the crash of an American icon.

Will Lance Armstrong's confession land him in a legal battle? We'll look at lawsuits, possible criminal charges, and how much he could have to pay up. Plus the sport of cycling and doping, how many athletes went along with it? Former teammate of Armstrong's will join me live with an insider look on the pressure to juice.

And how exactly did Armstrong dope? What was he using? We'll take a close look at the drugs and the damage it can do to the body of any athlete.