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Obama Discusses Syria; California Fire Doubles In Size; Remembering The March On Washington; Bob Filner's Last Day Is Friday; Community Mourns The Andersons; Thousands Of Wildfires So Far This Year; Manning Wants To Be A Woman; Woman Faces Assisted Suicide Charge; Your E-Mails Aren't So Private

Aired August 24, 2013 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. We're in a new hour. Here are the top stories we're following for you in the CNN NEWSROOM. President Obama discusses the Syria crisis with his national security team. That after reports the Syrian government used chemical weapons, killing hundreds of people.

In California, a raging wildfire is exploding in size and spreading inside Yosemite National Park. And Bradley Manning has been sentenced for 35 years for leaking classified U.S. documents, but he now says he wants to live as a woman and is requesting hormone therapy. All that and more straight ahead.

We start with the crisis in Syria. President Barack Obama met with his national security team at the White House today to talk about reports of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. But Syrian state TV says soldiers found chemical weapons in tunnels used by rebels. CNN cannot confirm those claims or the authenticity of these images. These are images from that alleged attack by the government forces.

A top U.N. official is in Damascus today asking to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons. Back home, President Obama sat down with our Chris Cuomo earlier and he said the U.S. is still gathering information on that attack.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work and you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account. Now, this, well, this latest event the something we've got to take a look at.


WHITFIELD: The U.S. says it is realigning its naval forces in the Mediterranean to keep the option for an arm strike on Syria on the table. All right, back here in the U.S. now, in California, a wildfire is burning almost out of control through parts of that state. The rim fire is burning so fast, it doubled in size in a day. At least 126,000 acres of forest have already been scorched. The fire has now also been spread inside the western edge of the Yosemite National Park.

And Nick Valencia is joining us outside park following developments for us there. So Nick, how are they trying to get a handle of this blaze?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the problem is and the concern is Fred is that it's so fast moving and it's just so large. The rim fire has the potential of being one of the largest wildfires in the history of the state of California. Just take a look at what it did to this area. We're on the edge of a charred out part of the national forest where the rim fire was unforgiving to these trees here, potentially ruining all of this land. This goes back hundreds and hundreds of yards, Fred.

But if you look here at the earth and the fuel that the fire had to work with, you see that this area didn't really have much fuel. You peel back sort of the layers here and it's darker on top. You get back to the dirt there. It could have been much worse is the point of it, but the pattern that this fire took at least here in this part. It's very strange. You see charred out trees and then on the other side, untouched trees.

Trees that are just green, but the concern at this hour though is that they stop the potential for this to infringe even further on Yosemite National Park. It's a few miles away from a hot tourist destination, Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite Valley right now where most of the tourists gather, it appears to be untouched, no smoke and still blue skies there. Here, the smoke is still sort of making the atmosphere soupy, but it is starting to rise as the day goes on -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And so, nick, San Francisco, about 200 miles away, yet a state of emergency has been declared there. Explain why.

VALENCIA: It's an interesting point, Fred. The San Francisco area, the water and the power, come from this area so some of the generators that produce electricity for the cable cars and street lights in San Francisco come from this area and those power generators were threatened. That led to the governor of California declaring that state of emergency and San Francisco is a long ways away from here about 200 miles away from here. That also gives you the perspective about how much of an impact this fire is having -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, keep us posted. Of course, we're wishing the best for those firefighters who are battling this blaze.

VALENCIA: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: And now, on the east coast today, thousands of people are gathering on the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Our Chris Lawrence is live for us now from Washington. Chris, it looks like the turnout has been pretty significant when the camera is looking at the reflecting pool and seeing all the people, but now, we're looking towards the Lincoln Memorial there, where a number of speakers will be taking to the stage there.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Fred, Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker, just left the stage just a few seconds ago. We'll step away and sort of give you a wide view of this incredible, stunning view here in the nation's capitol. The reflecting pool and down the mall of course, the Washington Monument, where this march will end.

After the speakers finish up here, over the next hour or two, they will start to retrace the steps of the march, but they will go by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Pause there and then continue on to the monument. Earlier, we heard from Attorney General Eric Holder, who took the stage and sort of related what this day meant for him.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Surely those who stood on the mall in the summer of 1963, but we must also remember those who road buses, who sat at lunch counters, who stood up to racist governments and governors and tragically those who gave their lives. We must remember generations who carried themselves on a day-to-day basis with great dignity in the face of unspeakable injustice, sacrificing their own ambitions so that the opportunities of future generations would be assured. But for them, I would not be attorney general of the United States and Barack Obama would not be president of the United States of America.


LAWRENCE: And one of the feelings that we're getting from the folks here is that the country has come a long way in the last 50 years, but at the same time, there are individual issues and causes that they feel still have a ways to go -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Chris Lawrence, thanks so much. Of course, we're going to continue to monitor the events there. There are a number of speakers we're going to bring to you live as they take to the stage including that of Congressman John Lewis. He is the only living speaker from 50 years ago that will be taking the stage today.

All right, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will be out of a job beginning next Friday, but not out of the spotlight. The mayor still faces possible lawsuits over the sexual harassment allegations from 18 women. Plus, he's the target of a criminal investigation. Yesterday, the city council announced Filner's resignation. Filner apologized for his offensive behavior, but he denied there was harassment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOB FILNER, OUTGOING MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO: Not one allegation, members of the council, has ever been independently verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone.


WHITFIELD: The city council will hold a special election to find a new mayor.

Just a couple of hours from now, a community near San Diego will pause to remember the mother and brother of Hannah Anderson at a memorial service. The bodies of Christina and Ethan Anderson were found in the charred house of kidnap and murder suspect, James DiMaggio. DiMaggio is suspected of killing them before allegedly kidnapping Hannah and fleeing to Idaho. After being spotted there, the FBI shot him dead and Hannah was returned to her family.

Stephanie Elam joins us live now from California. Stephanie, this is a public memorial, right? How has this town come together?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Fred, when you take a look at the story, it's a small community outside of San Diego and when you look at the story and realize it's been three weeks now since Christina and her son, Ethan, were found dead in that house some 40 miles away from here, it's time for the family to come together and mourn and remember them and they want the community to be a part of that, too.

We are outside of the Guardian Angels Catholic Church here where the memorial service is going to happen. They say they can fit about 500 people inside, but they expect it could be about 1,000 people that show up and will overflow outside here of the church so they can remember Christina, who was 44, and Ethan, who was 8.

And also just putting some focus here, the family says, on remembering all the good these two people brought to their worlds because they said there's been too much focus on the negativity brought into their lives by James DiMaggio.

WHITFIELD: And then Stephanie, there have been a number of surprising revelations in the past few days including a request by DiMaggio's family for a DNA test of Hannah Anderson. This story, this event in her life takes so many twists and turns. What is the latest on all of that?

ELAM: It's a very convoluted story, Fred. The more you dig into it, the more you find out that it just doesn't end. What has happened here now is that the sister of Jim DiMaggio has requested this DNA test to find out if he was in fact the father of Hannah and also Ethan. Hannah's grandparents, I spent some time with them this week and this is Tina's parents, they're saying that's just ridiculous.

They don't think Jim DiMaggio met Brett and Christina Anderson until she was six months pregnant with Hannah. They say it's ridiculous. I also had a conversation with the aunt of Jim DiMaggio and she said that she thinks the niece is just trying to go after money because in one insurance policy Jim DiMaggio had, he left it to the mother of Brett Anderson so Hannah's other grandmother. It's a very convoluted story, but the family is all together saying they don't think it has anything to do with anything based in reality.

WHITFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam, thanks so much from California.

All right, 1963, she helped organize the march on Washington. Well, today, she is a delegate representing the nation's capitol. Coming up, Eleanor Holmes Norton joins me live at the 50th anniversary of the march with her reflections on civil rights then and now.

But first, raging wildfires consuming acres of land and more than a billion dollars, we'll take a look at the high cost of fighting those flames.


WHITFIELD: We've been talking about this wildfire that is burning through parts of California including Yosemite National Park, but this is just one of thousands of fires that have burned so far this year. Tom Foreman explains the cost for this busy fire season that it could be more than a billion dollars already.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. When you're talking about this fire season, there are two words you need to keep in mind, time and money because the time is creeping on through the fire season, but the money's burning up fast. Look at the stats right now. So far, this is what we've seen. We've had about 33,000 fires, about 3 million acres burned out there so far. The budget for all of this is about $1.7 billion at the federal level, cut by sequestration, so firefighters last year, about 10,500 last year, down to 10,000.

Why is that burning up so fast? Several reasons, one, global warming according to many scientists is making the forest more likely to burn, more dry. Secondly, we have suppressed fire so aggressively over the years that many scientists say we've built up a tremendous amount of underbrush and trees that really should have naturally burned a long time ago, so when these fires ignite, they're explosive and very expensive to fight, but we have to fight them because we've also built homes out into the wild lands enough that there's tremendous pressure to defend against these fires.

What's the result? Take a look. In 1985, all the fires in this country added up to a space of about the size of the state of Connecticut. It didn't cost us this much to fight them. Those fires cost us about $240 million to fight. Come forward to last year and because of all those factors, we had about three Connecticuts worth of fire to fight across this country. Was the cost three times as much? No, it was not.

That would have been put it about right who are if it were just three times as much. If we factor in inflation, it would still be about up to here. But the ups and downs of all years and where we wind up right now, we come up with almost $2 billion fighting fires this year. And that's also being reflected on the local level. Simple truth is fighting fires, acre per acre is getting more costly and unless conditions change out there, Fred, that's going to continue.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Tom Foreman.

All right, now to the nation's capitol, Congressman John Lewis there returning to a spot where he spoke 50 years ago at the march on Washington, now again at the Lincoln Memorial. Let's listen in.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: -- Asian-American or Native American, it doesn't matter whether we're straight or gay. We are one family, one people, one house, we all live in the same house. So, I said to you, my brothers and sisters, we cannot give up! We cannot give out! We cannot give in. We must get out there and push and pull.

Now, I, a few short years ago, almost 48 years ago, almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You've got to stand up. Speak up. Speak out and get in the way. Make some noise.

The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society and we've got to use it. Back in 1963, we hadn't heard of the internet. We didn't have a cellular telephone, iPad, iPod, but we used what we had to bring about a nonviolent revolution and I said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us.

We must say to the Congress, fix the voting rights act. We must say to the Congress, pass comprehensive immigration reform. It doesn't make sense that many of our people are living in the shadow. Bring them out into light and set them on a path to citizenship. So, hang in there. Keep the faith. I got arrested 40 times during the '60s. Beaten, bloody and unconscious, but I'm not tired, I'm not weary, I'm not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight and you must fight. Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Georgia Congressman John Lewis there returning to the very place where as a very young man he represented the Student Nonviolence Committee there 50 years ago today back as a U.S. congressman representing the state of Georgia returning to the Lincoln Memorial there. We're going to continue to watch the march on Washington today after a number of speakers there taking to the podium there at the Lincoln Memorial.

They'll be trying to repeat the march by making a stop though at the Martin Luther King Memorial along the way. We'll continue to try to take you there to the nation's capitol. Coming up, your free e-mail service may actually have a huge price, your privacy. Ahead, who can see your messages and what you can do about it.

But first, he wants to live life as a woman, but he'll have to do it behind bars. The soldier serving time plans to fight to get female hormones while in prison. Our legal guys weigh in on that case. This week, a CNN hero saw refugee girls in urban Chicago struggling to get an education and fit in to their new community, so she reached out to those who desperately need a place to call home.


BLAIR BRETTSCHNEIDER, YOUNG WONDER: My family come to America because we want a better life. I want to go there? Yes? Twelve people in a family -- from Chicago -- it's really hard to first day, you know, I'm totally lost. It's hard enough to be a teenage girl in the United States, so it's even harder to be a refugee teenage girl.

My name is Blair Brettschneider and I help refugee girls find their place in America. I was tutoring different kids. One girl was really struggling. Nice to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a girl who -- my family, taken from my brothers.

BRETTSCHNEIDER: Started going on field trips, going to college. Are you getting excited for class? One of our biggest goals was to graduate high school and be on the path to going to college. I thought, this is really important. I'm sure there are other girls. There are about 50 girls in our different programs.

You're making great progress. I'm so proud of you, you know? Matches girls in high school with mentors who work with them once a week. You have to write an essay, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I want to write about my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walking down the street, they are just teenagers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have my own salon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day, I'm hoping to become a nurse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be a teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to become a doctor or a nurse.

BRETTSCHNEIDER: What I see is what all the girls can accomplish and everything they can do that's why all this exists.



WHITFIELD: The U.S. Army says it's not going to provide hormone replacement therapy for Bradley Manning. He says he wants to transition from being a man to a woman and plans to change his name to Chelsea, but he'll be doing that from the military prison in Kansas. He's facing a 35-year sentence after being convicted of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. Our Chris Lawrence has more.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle lines are drawn. Bradley manning wants hormone therapy and his friends say he needs it.


LAWRENCE: Lauren McNamara chatted online with Manning and testified in his defense. She also transitioned from male the female.

MCNAMARA: Just because they're in prison, similar to denying them treatment for depression.

LAWRENCE: But the army has never provided hormone replacement therapy to any soldier. Prison officials tell us Manning will wear the standard prison uniform at the all-male Fort Leavenworth and he will not receive the hormones he says he needs to transition to a woman.

NEAL MINAHAN, PRO-LGBT ATTORNEY: He would have a better shot in a federal or state prison.

LAWRENCE: Attorney Neil Minahan fought and won the right for one of his clients to get hormones in Massachusetts. State and federal prisons don't have a blanket ban on the therapy like the military. Consistent injections can cost thousands of dollars and taxpayers have been paying for prisoner's therapy for years.

MINAHAN: It can't just be him stating he wants to get this, this medication. It needs to be a prescription.

LAWRENCE: But several military doctors have already diagnosed him with gender identity disorder. While he was deployed to Iraq, Manning e-mailed this foe toy to his sergeant and described wanting to live as a woman.

MCNAMARA: This was often pushed aside because the unit was underpowered.

LAWRENCE: So Manning stayed in Iraq and later became the man behind the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history. Legal experts tell us it's that crime and Manning's behavior while being held that will determine whether he's paroled. They don't believe his gender identity issues will be a huge factor. Chris Lawrence, CNN, The Pentagon.


WHITFIELD: All right, Bradley Manning's lawyer says he hopes the army will do the right thing and provide his client with hormone replacement therapy. If not, the lawyer says he'll do what he can to force the army to pay. Let's bring in our legal guys, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland, and Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor joining us from Las Vegas. All right, Gentlemen, good to see you both. OK, so let's talk about in what way federal taxpayer dollars could pay for this. Whether it be the military decide OK, it will happen while in a military prison or federal prison. Avery, what's at issue here? Where he would serve his time or who would pay for this hormone therapy or both?

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes, he's going to serve his time no matter what although ironically with good behavior and giving credit for his time in, he could be out in seven years from now. I don't know if it will happen, but the big difference is that under federal law, at least if he were a civilian, there would be a so- called Article 3 making those decisions.

Here, it's governed under Article 2, the military itself. It is there a right. The case is unprecedented because there is no case in American history when it comes to military law that would afford him this and he has what they call gender dysphoria. It is a condition, but he argued that during this trial, what does this have to do with leaking documents. The judge was right. It's got nothing to do with anything. He's not going to get treatment. He'll going to get counseling.

WHITFIELD: Avery, you used the operative word there, you say no precedence in military, I guess prison, but there is some in other jurisdictions, Richard, so will it boil down to whether he should be in a federal institution some other institution than that of a military one in order for him to get this therapy?

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't know why it's going to boil down to that. He's going to be in Fort Leavenworth. There was one instance in Massachusetts where a federal judge directed it for a civilian, but here, let's face it. He was convicted of six counts of violation of the espionage act, but illegally acquiring and transferring confidential information. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, Fred.

Now, I have clients in federal facilities who are complaining of federal facilities and it takes six months to get them to the infirmary. I got clients that are on Lipitor, statins and can't get them for like ten months. It's absurd. Some of these cases we cover, this is beyond insanity. There's no way that taxpayers are going to pay $100,000 for a gender transformation for this guy while he's in prison. If he wants to be Chelsea, he can practice all he wants in Fort Leavenworth. Then when he gets out, he can have the operation and he can pay for it.

WHITFIELD: The issue has to be why now. Why wouldn't this be addressed long before trial? Long before sentencing? Why now? Why would his request be made now when the argument will be this is something you could have done long ago, right?

HERMAN: He argued at trial that it was a defense. He said there was a connection. When he puts that wig and lipstick on, the guy's a dead ringer for Tonya Harding, isn't he? It didn't work. It was a silly defense, frankly. But again, understand the argument that it somehow impaired his ability to think correctly. It didn't work then. It's not going to work now. I think it's going absolutely nowhere.

WHITFIELD: OK, all right, well, we're going to talk to you again. We got another case to talk about, a very serious matter in about 15 minutes. We're going to talk about a case of assisted suicide and it has a lot of people talking and a lot of people feeling like they can see themselves in a very similar situation.

And that includes a woman who says all she wanted to do was relieve her terminally ill dad of his suffering, so now, she's facing up to ten years in prison for allegedly handing him a vial of morphine. We're going to talk about that when we come back, Richard and Avery and everybody else.


WHITFIELD: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. There are three things crossing the CNN news desk right now. One, 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial and thousands of people are gathered there today on the National Mall to remember the march on Washington and reflecting on how life has changed.

On to California now, a raging wildfire is burning almost unchecked. At least 126,000 acres of forest have been scorched so far and it has now started to burn inside the western edge of Yosemite National Park. A state of emergency has been declared for the San Francisco area because the fire is threatening the city's power and water supplies.

Three, President Obama met with his national security team today to talk about Syria. Syrian state TV says soldiers have found chemical weapons in tunnels used by rebels. It showed video of the alleged storage dens, but CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the pictures. The opposition claims the Syrian government launched a nerve gas attack this week, killing hundreds of civilians.

Fifty years ago, she helped organize the march on Washington. Well, today, she is a delegate representing the nation's capitol. Next, Eleanor Holmes Norton joining me live to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King's dream.


WHITFIELD: We're taking you live to the nation's capitol right there. Martin Luther King III, he was only about 6 years old when his dad, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., took to the steps there delivering his iconic "I have a dream" speech and now, 50 years later, Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III now in his footsteps at the Lincoln Memorial on the nation's National Mall. Let's listen in.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S SON: -- that anthem of the movement. People, get ready, there's a train a coming. People, get ready, there's a train coming, a train that takes us to a land where we have decent houses and not dope houses. A land where we have schools that teach our children and not do not defeat our children, a land where we have enterprising entrepreneurs and not incarcerated inmates, a land where we have fathers who create stable families and do not merely procreate innocent babies.

Yes, a train to the freedom land. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. boldly ignited a mighty torch to God our freedom to our freedom train land here and we are today standing in the midst of that eternal flame. If we could all but catch a flicker from that ferocious flame of freedom, we could each light a small candle of courage and in our own voice, cry, this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.

If we each let our own little light shine, then we shall truly overcome. Yes, if we each do our own small part in our home, in our churches, in our schools, on our jobs, on our organizations, in every aspect of our lives, to advance the cause of freedom, then surely, a change is going to come and take it from me, some day, we will all be free and on that triumphant day, we will offer up our praise to the God of our weary years, the God of our silenced years, who has brought us thus far along the way.

And together, we as a people, we as a nation and indeed, we as a world, will proclaim in unison, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Glory, glory, hallelujah. Glory, glory, hallelujah. Glory, glory, hallelujah. His truth is marching own. God bless you.

WHITFIELD: Echoing the words of his dad, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King III now leaving the stage there, the very place where 50 years ago, it was his father leading that "I have a dream" speech and that moment that is just indelible there.

The march on Washington now being repeated. One of the people who is commemorating the occasion is a long time activist herself, a delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives for the District of Columbia and someone who was an organizer for that 1963 march on Washington. Eleanor Holmes Norton joining us live from Washington. Delegate Holmes Norton, good to see you. You look so cool on a day that's so hot.

DELEGATE ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: Good to be out here 50 years later, I have to tell you that.

WHITFIELD: What is that moment like to see Martin Luther King III there commemorating 50 years after his dad took to the stage there, resonated not just in Washington, D.C. not just nationally, but globally?

NORTON: Martin Luther King would have been proud of Martin Luther King III, the same themes and recognized whose son he was out there, up there just now.

WHITFIELD: Does it seem like it's been 50 years? You were one of the organizers of that march, 1963. What are you reflecting on as you look out there on the ground and see so many people? Does it take you back to that day, 50 years ago?

NORTON: Well, it does. I was a law student. On the staff of the -- and I came up from Mississippi where I had been working with the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee in the Mississippi delta, and I was standing right up there near the Lincoln statue where the people are gathered all on the steps then.

I guess post 9/11, you can't have them so close, and I remember that the best view was not when I would come down and look up. The best view was when I would look out and see that the march, which had a lot of doubt hanging over it, would people really come, because there had never been a mass march on Washington before for any cause.

Would they come? How would they be received and here, I could not see the end of the people. March by any measure had been a success, more people for any cause had gathered on this space 50 years ago.

WHITFIELD: D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, we thank you for taking the time now to help us remember that day 50 years ago and educate many of us who don't remember it, but know of its power in the history books. Thanks so much.

Our live coverage of the 50th anniversary of the march in Washington continues next hour. Former D.C. Mayor, Marian Berry, will be joining us live. He's now on the city council and has a very unique civil rights history of his own in the nation's capitol. Live in the 1:00 Eastern Hour.


WHITFIELD: A Pennsylvania woman is charged with helping her 93-year- old father commit suicide. Her case is putting issue of aid in dying laws back in the spotlight. Our legal guys are back. First of all, let's lay out the basic facts of this case, 57-year-old Barbara Mancini was helping to care for her terminally ill father in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors say she handed her dad a vial of morphine, which doctors had prescribed for him for his pain.

Medical records say he went into a coma shortly after taking the morphine. A hospice nurse called 911 and reported an attempted suicide. He died four days later. Mancini's attorney said she was just trying to relieve her father's pain, but prosecutors say she caused or assisted his suicide and now, she could face up to ten years in prison if she is convicted.

Richard, this case centers on the fact she handed her dad that morphine. Didn't necessarily administer it, but because she handed it to him, she was an accomplice, so to speak?

HERMAN: That's the theory. The fact she gave him morphine because he was in pain, 93 years old and dying, prosecutors have discretion in whether to bring these cases or not. He lived for four days by the way after think brought him back to life in the hospital despite a non-resuscitation order. The problem here is the coroner who must be investigated, a lunatic who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania. His toxicology report claims cause of death was morphine, but we don't know was it at the time he entered the hospital or four days later when he died. The toxicology report is suspect as is the coroner. The prosecutor should never have brought this case.

WHITFIELD: Avery, it was a prescription, but is it being argued that the prescription was not administered correctly. The dose was too high or perhaps wasn't given at the correct amount at time or something to that effect?

FRIEDMAN: I don't think those issues are even relevant. This is one of the great issues that are legal and unethical, at the end of the day, short and sweet. How in the world she is charged with this is absolutely wrong. One terminally ill who is suffering excruciating pain has the right to death with dignity. She had power of attorney. Four states wouldn't even let this kind of prosecution proceed. It is one of the great, important issues that need resolution by legislatures around the country.

WHITFIELD: We'll try to stay abreast of that case. Thanks so much, Richard, Avery, always good to see you. Thanks so much. We have to shorten our time today because there's a whole lot going on. Thanks so much.

HERMAN: Longer next week.

WHITFIELD: OK. We'll work on that next weekend. The legal guys are here every Saturday at about this time. Just to give us their take on the most intriguing legal cases of the day, week, month, you name it.


WHITFIELD: If you think your e-mails are just being read by the people you're sending it to, think again. Coming up, we'll tell you who might be looking at your private messages.


WHITFIELD: I'm betting a lot of you have a free e-mail account with Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! and you probably think your accounts are pretty private. As CNN's Tom Foreman found out, that may not be the case.


FOREMAN: Every day, people around the globe send or receive about 180 billion e-mails according to research. Much of it goes through free e-mail services, but across the ocean in London, an activist says, hold on, some of these free services may be costing us dearly.

SMARI MCCARTHY, MAILPILE: If you're not paying for the product, you're not the customer. You're the product itself.

FOREMAN: What he means is this. For years, we thought of mail as private, but they're much more like postcards, easily read by anyone or any company between you and the person you're sending this message to and huge e-mail companies with millions of users do just that. With powerful computers, they scan every word for clues to help them sell precisely targeted ads, so if you write kayak, you'll soon see odds for river trips. Have doubts? In a recent court action, Google attorney cited a decision stating users should have no legitimate expectation of privacy, so in terms of mining personal data --

MCCARTHY: These services are big honey pots. FOREMAN: He argues we should seek out more obscure e-mail providers, which have fewer users or better yet, use an e-mail program that lives in your computer, bypassing the middleman and he says we should start looking at encryption software that will garble every message so it can only be read by the person to whom it is being sent. McCarthy is part of a group developing something called "Mailpile," which they hope will offer a consumer, friendly, free alternative with lots of e- mail protection soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are fairly certain that over the next month or so, technical people will be able to start using it and by January we are hoping to launch a publicly alpha release.

FOREMAN: In any event he believes if we want e-mail security that is the future we must move toward no matter where it is.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.