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Dark Matter Mystery; Acquitted and Freed After 42 Years in Prison; New York Cop Charged with Shaking Down Drug Dealers; Roger Ebert Dies

Aired April 4, 2013 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It's the visible invisible material that's been called the glue that binds the universe together. I'm talking about dark matter.

And now NASA may have made an incredible discovery, unlocking more secrets about the mysteries of the space, the mysteries of the universe.

Chad Myers is here. What did they find?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEROLOGIST: Don, this story makes my brain hurt. It hurts so bad, I had to get my blood pressure taken. I don't even know what's going on here, trying to get your head around this thing.

They know that there's something out there holding the galaxies from just exploding.

LEMON: Right.

MYERS: We see the galaxies, we see the pictures, but why don't they keep moving, why don't they change direction, why don't they change location?

Because they think there's something else out there that's a gravity force that's gluing it all together. We just don't know.

If you ever took old courses back in college, you don't know what you don't know. We don't even know what we're looking for. That's part of the problem.

So, think about trying to make a recipe with chicken and you've never seen a chicken before. That's the idea.

We're trying to find out what's holding this together. They put a spectrometer up at the space station two years ago and they're finding particles now that are coming from dark places.

There should be nothing coming from here. There should be no positrons coming from this direction. It's black. There's nothing there.

Well, there must be something or these particles wouldn't be coming from that direction. They're getting close. They don't know what they are finding. I'm fine. My blood pressure is 140/90.

LEMON: Is it the end of the world as we know it? What's the significance of this discovery?

MYERS: No, we want to know what all these other particles are out there. We only believe that atoms, the things that we know, you know, electrons and all that spinning around, only about five percent of the whole universe.

The rest of it we don't even really know. There's dark energy. There's dark matter.

When we find something like this, maybe we'll know how the pyramids were built. Maybe we'll know that 10,000 men didn't pull the rock up to the pyramid. Maybe they levitated it somehow, but they knew how. We just forgot how to do it. I don't know.

Yeah, that's what I've been doing all day.

LEMON: Thank you, Chad Myers. Have a good one. Appreciate it.

MYERS: All right.

LEMON: All right, could science be on a brink of a cure for meth addiction? The FDA fast-tracking human trials, testing what could be the first cure for those hooked on methamphetamines.

In a preliminary trial at UCLA, the drug Ibudilast, researchers say a dope-off in drug cravings and improvement in cognitive functioning, they saw that. If successful, the drug might be the first non-opiate for heroin addiction. A good breakthrough there.

He served more than 40 years in prison for a crime that he says that he did not commit. Today, Louis Taylor is a free man.

So what's preventing him from trying to get paid for all the years he spent behind bars? We're "On the Case." You don't want to miss it. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Texas law enforcement officials were among those present at a memorial service just a short time ago for a slain district attorney.

Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were killed over the weekend at their home in Kaufman County.

Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke about the slain couple and their community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: By any measure, we're capable of understanding that we shouldn't be here today.

Mike and Cynthia were too vibrant, were too full of life to be gone so quickly.

Three weeks ago, Mike and I saw each other on the south steps of the capitol as he came to be honored by the Texas senate and the Texas house, and there just aren't any words that can explain what this community's gone through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Perry also announced a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of McLelland's killer and Mark Hasse, another Kaufman County prosecutor, gunned down in daylight in an attack on January 31st.

Let's talk now about Louis Taylor. He was 16-years-old. That was back in 1970. That's when this fatal fire broke out at a Tucson, Arizona, hotel, claiming 28 lives.

Taylor was swiftly arrested and charged with arson. He was sentenced on 28 counts of felony murder and ordered to spend the rest of his days incarcerated.

Now he's 59-years-old and Taylor walked free on Tuesday after entering a no-contest plea at a new trial. This came after the Arizona Justice Project convinced the court that there wasn't enough evidence to confirm arson caused the blaze.

Taylor and his lawyer spoke to CNN about his newfound freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS TAYLOR, PRISONER FREE AFTER 40 YEARS: It's amazing, man. You know, to feel mother earth under my feet, free mother earth.

All I can do is go forward. I educated myself in prison, I finished college, you know. I worked as a medical technician in prison.

I was minimum, three times, and I never ran off because people were always running off and saying, come on, Louis, you've got natural life. You're never going to get out of here.

I said, I'm innocent, man. The innocent don't run away. I'm going to wait for justice.

And, unfortunately, the county attorney, Barbara LaWall, did not want to cure injustice, so I wasn't going to give them another minute. They already took 32 years of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So there he is right now.

Joining me now, criminal defense attorney Drew Findling, who is "On the Case" for us.

Drew, we just heard from Taylor himself, he says that he is free, so why has his injustice not cured, as he said? DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I have to tell you something, I'm shocked at the way that the county attorney in Pima County has dealt with this case.

She required him to do a no-contest. She would not exonerate.

If she looked south to Craig Watkins in Dallas, Texas. Craig Watkins is a district attorney who's embraced the notion of exoneration, who has embraced that, when people are innocent, they need to be exonerated and therefore, be adequately compensated.

She's refused to do that, regardless of the evidence that indicates he's innocent.

LEMON: OK, so, that's the question. Does the evidence indicate he's innocent? Or it says, from what I've read, there isn't enough evidence to prove that it was arson, not that he's necessarily innocent.

FINDLING: Yeah, and I think that was a self-serving statement made by the county attorney in Pima County.

Let's look at what it is. In order for it to be arson, it must be an intentional crime. There were two arson investigators. One says, because of the advancements in fire science, he no longer believes it's arson. Therefore, if it's not arson, he'd be innocent.

The second, in a deposition, who's now in his 80s -- he's 83-years-old -- said, well, he was a suspect because he was black and this is the kind of thing that black people did back then. I mean, that testimony is gone.

So you have one person that says it's not arson. The other's a racist. He was tried in front of an all-white jury. He was a man of color.

You also have the judge believing that there wasn't enough evidence, through the years he's indicated in his writings and in the gifts that he sent to him.

LEMON: So then why won't the D.A. exonerate him?

FINDLING: I cannot understand why the D.A. would not. One of the things that I think about, and I can't help but thinking about, is that she lives in a homogenous environment.

Her people in her community is -- the black community is not well represented, so she doesn't have to worry about backlash.

If you go to other parts of the country where it is a diverse community, then the district attorney has to take into consideration racism played a role in it.

I think racism did play a role in this and I think she has nobody to be held accountable for, so she just wants this to slip through as a no-contest and then Arizona and her office can't be sued like other cases in which people are exonerated around the United States and are financially compensated.

LEMON: So you think they're aware of that or do you think that they don't know because they don't know? They've never been faced with racism, so they think their way is the only way. Do you think they're overtly doing it?

FINDLING: The only thing that I can think of is that they're just kind of turning away and not really dealing with it head on.

LEMON: Because you said they live in a homogenous community. And if you do, you don't even realize.

FINDLING: And, listen, that's a great point.

LEMON: Not that I'm letting them off the hook, but you know what I'm saying.

FINDLING: I think that there are parts of the country where prosecutors embrace somebody's exoneration.

Right here in Atlanta, Georgia, just a few years ago, Paul Howard, our district attorney, embraced that a gentleman named Willie Otis Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He embraced his exoneration and proudly stood in court when the man was declared free.

LEMON: So Louis Taylor has now basically signed away his rights, I guess, for any -- he can't sue, right?'

FINDLING: I don't think there's any ...

LEMON: Does he have any legal recourse against the fire department, against investigators, anyone here?

FINDLING: With him entering a no-contest plea, I think that his legal recourse is going to be severely limited.

LEMON: What are the implications of this, do you think?

FINDLING: I think the implications are that this is tantamount to him having to pay a ransom.

He, to me, is equivalent of somebody that's kidnapped. He was being held in jail and the only way to achieve his freedom was this two words, "no contest."

I think that's just shocking.

LEMON: Does this stand alone, or do you think this is going to influence other cases? Will other cases be looked at because of this particular case?

FINDLING: Well, I think that this is a little bit unique to the issues of fire science. I think if you -- people realize that fire science has really changed through the years, that, years ago, there was a lot of finger pointing for arson when, as science developed, they realized these fires were really not intentionally set. They were just mistakes.

LEMON: He just wanted -- if we can go back to him, the recourse he has. Like anybody who's spent that much time locked up, you're like, look, I just want to get out of here.

You sure there's nothing he can do, but for having maybe undue influence. People have signed things before. They didn't know what they were signing. They had undue influence. Nothing?

FINDLING: Sometimes what you'll see is that legislatures set aside money, and you'll hear about this. No suits are even filed and there will be a resolution or some type of proclamation passed in a governmental entity and they'll reach some type of decision as to what's best to compensate him.

He's going to run up against a brick wall, however, that even though it wasn't guilty, he didn't enter technically a plea, the equivalent is somebody that has a drunk-driving case and they say, no contest. Nevertheless, they have to be penalized.

LEMON: Yeah. Good stuff. Thank you. Very interesting case, Drew Findling, appreciate it.

Up next, a long-time cop accused of joining the bad guys. Find out why this police officer who served on the force for 17 years is now behind bars

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The breaking news, Roger Ebert, according to "The Chicago Sun- Times," has died. The legendary film critic, Roger Ebert, has died. That's what "The Chicago Times" newspaper is reporting today.

Ebert, 70-years-old, lost his ability to speak and eat after surgeries to thyroid and salivary gland cancer in 2002 and 2003, and said earlier this week that his cancer had returned. We had been reporting on that on CNN.

And then on a Facebook posting on Twitter, he said that it was with a very heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert has passed away, the newspaper where Ebert worked for decades, decades, "The Chicago Sun-Times."

"This is a hole that can't be filled," this according to "The Times." It says, "One of the greats has left us. Roger Ebert passed away at the age of 70."

And I personally have to say as a friend of his wife, Chaz Ebert, Chaz, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family, and we are all thinking of you.

According to "The Chicago Sun-Times," legendary film critic Roger Ebert dead at the age of 70. We'll continue to report as we get more information. A veteran New York City cop is accused of running a robbery crew that ripped off drug dealers to the tune of more than $1 million.

Jose Tejada worked out of this precinct in Harlem. Prosecutors say he stocked his apartment with real police gear and uniforms for the crew to use.

He used fake warrants to arrest drug dealers, then took their cash and drugs.

Tejada was in court just last hour, and our legal analyst, of course, Sunny Hostin, she was in the courtroom as well.

So, Sunny, prosecutors called Tejada a flight risk and wanted him jailed without bail. Did the judge agree with this?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, we just found out, yes, the judge did agree. The judge found him a danger to the community and a flight risk.

But I've got to tell you, Don, there were fireworks just now in this courtroom. Tejada's attorney argued very, very vigorously for his release pending trial, and the argument was a good one.

His argument was that Tejada has remained a New York City police officer for the past four years without incident. Although he had been on modified duty, so he did not have a service revolver, he certainly still had a badge and was walking the halls of justice.

So, for the government to argue at this point, four years later, that he is a danger of community after sending him out in the community day in and day out, the defense argued was ridiculous, was extraordinary.

However, the government came back and said that Tejada's -- these allegations that Tejada's behavior was simply outrageous for a police officer, and as you mentioned earlier, he is accused of armed robbery, three, in fact, robbing drug dealers.

And apparently this all came to light when Tejada and others stormed an innocent family's home, and they called 911.

Now, the government says that that family is distraught. They remain distraught. They don't trust the DEA. They don't trust the law enforcement community, and they still remain haunted by that day.

So, the judge, magistrate judge, did remand Officer Tejada, pending trial.

LEMON: Sunny Hostin, thank you, Sunny.

Up next, a new project for Hillary Clinton. Find out what she's been up to since leaving the state department less than two months ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Hillary Clinton is revealing her future plans, but we're not talking the presidency. We're talking about publishing.

The former secretary of state is going to write a book. That's according to her publisher, Simon & Schuster. It'll be about her time on the job and it'll be released in 2014.

No word on what her book deal nets her, but Mrs. Clinton reportedly received $8 million for her last book, "Living History."

We'll get unique perspective on North Korea in just minutes. "The Lead With Jake Tapper" is next.

And, Jake, you're talking live with Bill Richardson. He is the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He was actually in North Korea recently.

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": That's right. Governor Richardson will give us his take on North Korea as things seem to be escalating in North Korea, as the military seems to be preparing and showing force, the U.S. military.

But diplomats here in the U.S. are talking about dialing down the language, dialing back the rhetoric.

We will also, of course, spend some time remembering film critic Roger Ebert who, as you reported just a few minutes, ago succumbed to his battle with cancer today, "The Chicago Sun-Times" has announced. We'll talk to him.

We'll also take a behind-the-scenes look on the set of "Mad Men." We got a sneak preview of that show.

And our political panel will talk about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's book which is due out just a few months before the 2014 mid- terms. Interesting timing, Don.

LEMON: Yeah, absolutely. Jake, thank you very much. We will be looking forward to that. Jake about five minutes away with "The Lead." We'll see you then.

As Jake mentioned, "The Chicago Sun-Times" reporting the death of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. More on that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The renowned film critic Roger Ebert has died. That's according to "The Chicago Sun-Times."

I want to bring in the host of "Showbiz Tonight" on HLN, Mr. A.J. Hammer."

A.J., renowned, legendary and now we are hearing this. We heard earlier in the week that the cancer had returned.

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, HLN'S "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yeah, and this is -- that makes this really some pretty unexpected and, of course, sad news tonight, Don. The legendary, Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic Roger Ebert has died today.

He spent more than 45 years reviewing movies for "The "Chicago Sun- Times" which is pretty remarkable. And, of course, he became very famous giving his thumbs-up or thumbs-down for three decades on his television show with Gene Siskel.

He died of complications of the cancer that he had been battling, according to "The Chicago Sun-Times."

It was always that quick wit and thumbs-up/thumbs-down movie review that we loved so much about the man. It earned him fame as one of America's most prominent film critics.

He was a native of Illinois. His love of cinema came at a very early age. He began writing film reviews for "The Chicago Sun-Times" in the late '60s and, in 1975, was the first film critic to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

In 1970 he dabbled in screen writing, coauthoring "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" with Russ Meyer. Certainly knew a great deal about what it takes to make a good film.

And then it was in 1976 when he teamed up with a competitor, "Chicago Tribune" film critic Gene Siskel, to host the weekly movie review program on local TV.

Within a few years that went into syndication and Siskel and Ebert's thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system soon became their trademark that everybody still uses today when we're talking about films.

It was 1999 when Gene Siskel died from complications stemming from a brain tumor operation. The show title was changed to "Roger Ebert and the Movies," and a short time later, fellow "Sun-Times" columnist Richard Roeper became the permanent co-host of the show. It was later titled "Ebert and Roeper."

Roger Ebert also published annual collections of his film reviews as well as several film guides. And not one to be left behind he embraced social media. He was actively tweeting.

He never lost his voice despite battling both thyroid and salivary gland cancers and he underwent numerous surgeries in recent years, Don.

And again, as you said, earlier this week, we all got the news that his cancer had recurred. We did not realize he was at the stage he was at.

But Roger Ebert, a beloved American icon, dead today at the age of 70.

LEMON: And one of those interviews that we're seeing there is one time when I interviewed him and his wife, Chaz, who is a friend, talked about, you know, she was there by his side, the lady you see by his side.

And talked about she was so excited, A.J., that he was getting this new machine and you would hear the voice of Roger Ebert again. And she was there by his side through and through and it's just sad to hear.

You know, we all hope that he would just go the distance and would live a much longer life, but again, according to "The Chicago Sun- Times" they are reporting that Roger Ebert has died.

A.J., we look forward to your report. Thank you very much.

We're going to send it off now to "The Lead" and Jake Tapper.