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Jesica's Survival Comes Down to Second Heart-Lung Transplant; High School Student Forced to Remove Anti-Bush Shirt

Aired February 20, 2003 - 20:00   ET


CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening, I'm Connie Chung. Tonight, first they gave her the wrong heart and lung. Now she's got a fighting chance to live.

ANNOUNCER: Second chance. Her fight for survival comes down to second heart-lung transplant after a donor gives the gift of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can just hope that she will fully recover.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight -- the teenager trying to beat the odds after the first transplant was botched.

He wore this shirt to school. But his anti-Bush sentiment didn't sit well with his teachers.

BRENTTON BARBER, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Just like someone should have the right to wear a "God Bless America" shirt when they go to school, I should have the right to wear this shirt to school.

ANNOUNCER: It came down to this -- take the shirt off his back or get kicked out of school.

He was a well-respected police chief outside of Chicago, but he had no formal police training. Who knew that he got this position of power because of the mob? Tonight he tells his story.

A harrowing crash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please help us. Come over and rescue us, please.

ANNOUNCER: The daring rescue. Tonight, a survival story that came down to the pilot's knowledge of pop culture.

And "Our Person of the Day" wants four minutes of her life back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening. Tonight, Jesica Santillan has a fighting chance again. Two weeks after she received a heart-lung transplant that nearly killed her because of the wrong blood type, the 17-year- old got a new heart and lungs today and a second chance at life. We don't know who the donor was, but tonight Jesica's mother expressed her gratitude and a wish.


AMERICAN SANTILLAN, TRANSLATING FOR JESICA'S MOTHER, NIECE: She said she's really blessed and she thinks the family that donated the organs for her little girl and that she wants to meet them one day so they can meet Jesica, and she thanks them for saving her life.


CHUNG: CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has been covering this story.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the people who love Jesica Santillan, it was a day of hope and a day of anger. Hope because her new heart and lungs are working, although she's still in critical condition at Duke University Medical Center. The odds are about 50-50 that she'll live through the next year.

It was also a day of anger for family and friends because they say Duke Medical Center was slow to admit that the first time around they'd given the 17-year-old girl the wrong organs, organs that were Type A while she's Type O.

The family says the delay cost them precious time to find the right organs.

MACK MAHONEY, FAMILY SPOKESMAN: We could have got everybody together, we could have found out maybe some organs. She would have had a lot better chance.

COHEN: Duke says they weren't slow to admit the mistake and that Jesica never went off the transplant list. And they say they figured out what went wrong. Doctors, after receiving notice from the organ bank of a match, assumed the blood types matched and never double- checked.

DR. WILLIAM FULKERSON, DUKE UNIVERSITY: We have put in place additional procedures in order to prevent these kind of errors from ever happening again in the future.

COHEN: Duke hasn't said whether they'll pay for the second procedure to correct the problem. Family friends say they'd better.


COHEN: Duke says that this time before the second surgery three different doctors confirmed that the organs did match Jesica's blood type -- Connie.

CHUNG: Elizabeth, how is Jesica doing?

COHEN: The hospital says that she is doing as well as can be expected. The heart and lungs are working well. She is off of life support. Her family says she is on dialysis and on a respirator and that this was expected after this kind of surgery.

CHUNG: Is she still considered to be in critical condition, though?

COHEN: She is still considered to be in critical condition. She's in the pediatric intensive care unit. She has got a long road ahead of her. She has a lot of hurdles to pass. Doctors have to make sure that her other organs are OK. Doctors have to make sure she doesn't get an infection. So there are a lot of concerns before everything's OK.

CHUNG: But are the doctors optimistic?

COHEN: They are -- I guess I would describe it as cautiously optimistic. As we said, statistically she only has about a 50-50 chance of making it through the next year.

I mean, she was born, her family friends say, with a hole in her heart. She had to endure that. Then she had to endure the first operation. And then she had to endure living with the wrong organs for two weeks and then a second operation. So she has been through quite a bit.

CHUNG: Absolutely. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

COHEN: Thank you.

CHUNG: Family friend Mack Mahoney has been at the family's side and at Jesica's side throughout this whole ordeal. He joins us tonight from Durham, North Carolina.

Mack, thank you so much for joining us. My goodness, this is such a dramatic turn of events, but what a roller coaster ride. Tell me, is Jesica responsive?

MAHONEY: At the moment she's not, she's sedated.

CHUNG: I heard that earlier she might have been wiggling her toes a little and squeezing her mom's hand.

MAHONEY: Well, prior to the -- prior to the second transplant they thought that she didn't move enough. She was under a lot of sedation. And yes, when you rubbed her toes you could get her -- rubbed her foot you could get her foot to jump. Her mother could talk to her, and she could ask her to move your eyes, and she'd do her eyes, she'd blink them. So she done that several times. So we know she's in there.

CHUNG: Oh, my goodness. So she's clearly aware of the family's presence. How's the family holding up? MAHONEY: You know, right now they're very happy because you know, this little girl was just hours from dying. I mean, she couldn't -- she wouldn't have lasted until right now. I mean...

CHUNG: I know she's like a granddaughter to you, too. Now, I understand that she suffered from seizures and that could cause brain damage. Have the doctors told you or the family anything about that?

MAHONEY: Well, they're concerned. The doctors said there was a 50 percent to 75 percent chance that she'd be all right. The doctor last night said she has a 50 percent. But I think they always give you a little worse, you know, before the surgery. And today in the Duke interview that the doctor said, you know, 50 percent to 75 percent chance that she'll come out fine.

But you know, there's always the possibility that she had some cranial bleeding and maybe some oxygen deprived areas of the brain. So they're waiting to see. They've got to wake her up to know that.

CHUNG: Is the family -- the family has to be terribly angry about what happened. And obviously, they can't move her to another hospital because, you know, her life depends on it. But are they continuing to be upset with the hospital?

MAHONEY: Well, the mother has been on an emotional roller coaster. She's been up, she's been down. She spent the whole two- week ordeal, you know, crying and praying. And she one minute hates the doctor and then when the doctor does something that's good, well then she has a different feeling about the doctor.

I mean, you know, I guess -- I mean, I guess I have too except I have never liked the guy except the first night, or the first couple days when I thought he was really, you know, doing something. I mean, I've clashed with the hospital personnel many times.

CHUNG: The second set of heart and lungs came anonymously. Any word on that family or who they might be?

MAHONEY: No, ma'am. That's guarded information. They don't give that out. We're just real thankful to the press and to you and to, you know, everybody that has helped because we feel like if it wasn't for the national press being out here she wouldn't have got the second heart.

CHUNG: Oh, well, bless your heart. Thank you, Mack Mahoney, for being with us, and please tell the family our prayers are still with them.

MAHONEY: Thank you, Connie. And God bless you.

CHUNG: All right.

As we've been saying, Jesica is a very sick girl tonight. Joining us now to discuss the difficulties of the procedure, Jesica has just been through, and the dangers she faces during her recovery is Dr. Joseph Forbess, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Children's Health Care of Atlanta. Thank you, sir, so much for being with us.


CHUNG: Now, obviously Jesica has been through two major operations. Is this terribly risky?

FORBESS: Well, as Elizabeth was alluding to earlier, even a first heart-lung transplant must be considered a fairly risky procedure. Between 20 and 30 of these are performed in North America every year and, as has been mentioned previously, the survival at one year is approximately 50 percent, which makes it a high-risk procedure to begin with. Undergoing a second procedure this soon after her first heart-lung transplant clearly places her at higher risk.

CHUNG: So what obstacles does she have to clear? What hurdles?

FORBESS: Well, the first obstacle to clear would be obtaining good graft function, that is, good heart function and good lung function. Then her doctors will clearly be monitoring her other non- cardiac and non-pulmonary organ systems, her kidneys, her brain, her G.I. tract, her liver to make sure they are functioning well.

CHUNG: Is it not a good sign that she's on dialysis? Does that mean her kidneys are not working properly?

FORBESS: Well, it's clearly not a good sign. But a patient of her age clearly could have reversible kidney failure.

CHUNG: I see. When will it -- when can we look for a full recovery for Jesica?

FORBESS: Well, as we've been talking about, patients who are living with a heart-lung transplant, one might say that they've never fully recovered because they trade cardiac and pulmonary dysfunction for lifelong immunosuppression with a risk of infection, rejection, or even malignancy.

So acutely being out of the woods, clearly, when she leaves the hospital she could be considered to be out of the woods. But really no transplant patient, I think, is completely out of the woods as far as any potential future problems that could result from the medications that they're required to take.

CHUNG: Does she have her age going for her?

FORBESS: Oh, absolutely.

CHUNG: All right.

Finally, I just -- you know, I think everyone was astounded that they when they heard of this horrible mistake. Could you believe this actually happened, that she was given a heart and lungs that were the wrong blood type?

FORBESS: Hard to believe, but I should add, Connie, that I consider myself a Duke surgeon. I trained there for almost a decade. So my heart not only goes out to the patient and her family members that are assembled, but also my former colleagues who are at this medical institution, which the fact of the matter is not many institutions take on heart-lung transplantation. So it's a measure of Duke's excellence that they're even in this arena. And for something like this to happen, clearly they're viewing this as a major systems disaster and are going to take appropriate measures.

CHUNG: All right. Dr. Forbess, I thank you so much for being with us.

FORBESS: My pleasure.

CHUNG: And still ahead -- an American student put his view of America's president on display at an American school. Did he have the right to do it?

Stay with us.


ANNOUNCER: Next -- as a possible war with Iraq looms, are old friends abandoning the U.S.?


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We present our case, and hopefully the power of our argument will persuade them to vote with us.


ANNOUNCER: The battle over U.S. troops in Turkey, when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns.



CHUNG: Other than Britain and Australia, which have pledged their support, is the U.S. going to have to go it alone if President Bush decides to invade Iraq?

The U.S. has been trying, so far without success, to get a key ally, Turkey, to allow up to 40,000 U.S. troops there. Why? Because Turkey borders Iraq to the north and the U.S. is already able to invade from Kuwait in the south. So an invasion from Turkey would trap Baghdad right in the middle.

The problem is Turkey wants money for letting U.S. troops in. Billions more than the $26 billion package the U.S. is offering. And today, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that $26 billion is the final offer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POWELL: I reaffirmed to them yesterday morning in a phone call to the prime minister that our position was firm with respect to the kind of assistance we could provide with respect to the level. There may be some other creative things we can do, but the level was our ceiling and I know that they are in consultation now within their government, within their council of ministers, and I expect to hear back from them before the day is out.


CHUNG: Well, as far as we know, he didn't. Turkey's parliament called it a week, went home without addressing the issue.

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it, it's doable even without Turkey. How?

We've got CNN military analyst, retired Major General David Grange with us from Chicago. General Grange, how does Turkey fit into the U.S. battle plan?

MAJ. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, Turkey provides access to northern Iraq, and it allows us to attack Saddam's regime from multiple directions and it's part of military doctrine. You don't want the enemy to have to only fight in one direction. You want to force the enemy to fight in multiple directions. It gives you a better chance of success.

You can usually cause the enemy to capitulate much quicker, at least cause him to look over his left and right shoulder during the fight, so he's concerned about being encircled. And so it gives us some great access by air and ground.

And of course, the issue is the ground access that we would need.

CHUNG: So if the U.S. is not able to come to an agreement with Turkey do we have a Plan B?

GRANGE: There's always a Plan B, and that would be to do a forced entry somewhere in northern Iraq with paratroopers or air assault with helicopters to establish what's known as a lodgement, an airhead, and let's say a remote air field, and then expand that and bring in fixed wing aircraft that would offload heavier combat weapons systems like tanks and infantry fighting vehicles so you have a heavy and light force mix.

And so you would be able -- you could do that very quickly, but it would take some time to build up the heavy part of the force.

CHUNG: So ultimately, it would be not only slower but not as effective?

GRANGE: Well, you have some risk. You have some risk that you have a lighter force that may encounter heavier enemy formations. But they could secure an area very rapidly like, let's say, the oil fields in the north, bridge crossing sites, destroy command and control centers of Saddam. Those type of things could be done quite easily. But the use of Turkey would really give you a robust capability to provide overwhelming force to cause the war to end, I think, much more quickly.

CHUNG: General Grange, I think any red-blooded American would say this is completely outrageous. We provide billions of dollars in aid to Turkey. Why is Turkey insisting on more money and a deal in writing?

GRANGE: I believe money is part of the equation. That's the part that's being talked about quite a bit right now.

I think there's some other things involved with the attitude of their people. The majority supposedly do not support the war.

We've always given quite a bit of aid, security assistance to Turkey as well as some other countries in the region like Israel, Egypt, and Greece. So it's a hefty bill. It's not just buying off Turkey to gain access. It's also to provide support to this country that's in a key geographical location, not only during a war, a possible war with Iraq, but for future operations in this area.

CHUNG: Bottom line, General Grange, do you think an agreement will be reached?

GRANGE: I think it will. Turkey is critical to NATO. It's a very good ally of ours. I've worked with the Turkish military on many occasions. They're very -- they're a very effective military. And I think that we're going to get support, at least air and special operating forces, and hopefully some -- at least some limited ground option from the Turkish government.

CHUNG: All right.

General Grange, I thank you so much for being with us.

Here's a question: the president says Iraq is a threat to its neighbors. The U.S. is trying to negate that threat. So shouldn't Turkey be paying the U.S., not the other way around?

Well, in fact, Kuwait is the only nation bordering Iraq that has said yes to hosting a large U.S. invasion force. And traditional U.S. allies in Europe have been building diplomatic opposition to an invasion.

Why is the U.S. Unable to muster support from its allies in and out of the gulf?

James Ruben was assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, and he joins us now from London.

Jamie, why is this happening at the 11th hour?

JAMES RUBIN, FMR. ASST. SECY. OF STATE: Well, I think we're paying a price here with Turkey for not having a full mandate from the United Nations. The opposition in Turkey to a war with Iraq is running something like 95 percent of the population, that's huge. The opposition in many European countries is also extremely large. Those numbers change if there is a second U.N. resolution.

We've always known that having a U.N. mandate, having the endorsement, the blessing, the legitimacy of the United Nations makes a difference. In the case of Turkey the difference is an incredible amount of money that we may have to put up front that we probably wouldn't need to pay as much if we had a U.N. mandate, which is just a down payment of the kind of money it's going to cost us after the war is over if we don't have a U.N. mandate and allies to help us conduct the peace operations and the cleanup that will be necessary there.

CHUNG: Now, Jamie, the conventional wisdom is that if the United States does invade Iraq That allies will fall in line.

Do you think that's still true?

RUBIN: Well, I think fall in line is the key question, Connie.

I think there will be many countries who oppose this conflict if we go forward, who will keep their minds quiet and their opposition quiet during the period of the war. They won't want to be saying anything that would jeopardize the likelihood of American victory or even suggesting they didn't want an American victory. But when the war is over and the bill comes due for the peacekeeping operations, for the potential chaos that might follow after this war, I think then you're going to hear a lot of other countries stepping out and saying, "we told you so, I told you so." So a lot of this depends on how quickly the war goes, how successfully it proceeds, and what happens afterwards. But many countries will acquiesce, but I think only a few will be fervent supporters and send troops and equipment.

CHUNG: Now, can you tell us why the United States seems to be so increasingly isolated?

RUBIN: Well, I think that what we're seeing here is the price that we're paying for two years' worth of policies that have tended to ignore the rest of the world. After September 11 the NATO Alliance offered support for an operation in Afghanistan, and the secretary of defense said he wasn't interested in that. There have been a whole series of treaties the Bush administration has regarded as unwise, and they've dismissed those concerns.

So after two years of saying they are less concerned than much of the rest of the world with international institutions like NATO, like the United Nations, it's kind of hard to cite the United Nations now as the reason to go to war. On the other hand, there are real issues, and those issues are other countries simply don't see the same risk that we Americans see from the possibility of chemical and biological weapons. We're not prepared to tolerate the risk after September 11, and many European countries and Middle Eastern countries have lived with these risks for a much longer period of time, and will tolerate a higher level of insecurity than I think Americans will after September 11.

CHUNG: All right. Jamie Rubin, I thank you so much for being with us.

RUBIN: Thank you, Connie.

CHUNG: Right now, our "Look at the World in 60" starts off with an update on the war on terror.


CHUNG (voice-over): Eight people have been charged with supporting and financing a Palestinian terrorist group. Blamed by authorities for the deaths of more than 100 people. Those arrested include Sami al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida. Al-Arian's attorney calls the indictment, quote, "a work of fiction."

Israel divided the Gaza Strip into three security zones, restricting the movements of Palestinians. The measure comes a day after Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel in retaliation for a raid in Gaza.

South Korea was put on high alert when a North Korean fighter jet briefly violated its air space. The incident comes as tensions remain high in South Korea over the North's nuclear program.

Heavy fog halted recovery efforts at the site of Iran's worst air crash in history. Three hundred and two people were killed on Wednesday when an Iranian military plane went down in bad weather.

At least 16 people are dead in the Southern Philippines after two separate bomb attacks in a village raid. Security forces are blaming Muslim separatist rebels for two of the attacks.

ANNOUNCER: Next, the teen whose school told him, get your politics off your chest.



CHUNG: Here's a story that has people on both sides of the war debate buzzing. A 16-year-old high school junior showed up at school wearing a T-shirt with a picture of President Bush on it, a T-shirt that called the president an international terrorist. Administrators at Dearborn High school told him to take it off, turn it inside out, or go home.


The student, Bretton Barber, said he was told the shirt promotes terrorism.

A school spokesman explained it this way.


DAVE MUSTONEN, DEARBORN PUBLIC SCHOOL SPOKESMAN: We have the obligation to determine if that message is going to be disruptive to the learning environment.


CHUNG: School officials have not said how the T-shirt disrupted learning and declined to appear tonight. But student, Bretton Barber, joins us now, along with Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan.

And I thank you both for being with us.


BARBER: Thank you.

CHUNG: Bretton, can you hold the T-shirt up, so we can take another look at it?

BARBER: Sure. Absolutely.

CHUNG: And while you hold it up, tell me, why did you decide to wear it?

BARBER: Well, I have a very strongly held belief about the war. I certainly don't feel that we should be going to war. I have been very involved in the anti-war movement. And, also, I certainly feel that students should have the right to express themselves at public schools. And they certainly have that right.

CHUNG: But do you believe that President Bush is a terrorist?

BARBER: Well, personally, I feel that, if we go to war with Iraq, there is the potential for many innocent people, innocent civilians, men, women and children, to be killed. I also am very concerned with the terrorism that a war in Iraq could spark in this country.

CHUNG: You're being quite the politician, Bretton. Do you believe that President Bush is an international terrorist?

BARBER: Well, personally, I feel that I wore the shirt to emphasize the message that I don't support a war in Iraq. And I feel that this shirt really sent that message strong and clear.

CHUNG: All right. Did you believe that the shirt would cause quite a stir?

BARBER: No. I wore the shirt to school just hoping that it would make people aware of my and maybe stir up some conversation at the -- about the war. I certainly didn't think that it would come to this or that the administration would ask me to take it off or turn it inside out or go home.

CHUNG: Well, when the vice principal came up to you and confronted you about the T-shirt, what exactly did he say?

BARBER: Well, first of all, I'd like to say that I did wear the shirt for three hours before the vice principal approached me. And that was three hours of class time with no disruption, no problems.

Just, actually, the only thing that happened was that I got comments and compliments on the shirt. Then, at lunchtime, the vice principal came up to me and said that, just like one cannot wear a shirt that promotes drugs or alcohol, I could not wear this shirt because it promotes terrorism.

CHUNG: Well, that kind of makes sense, doesn't it?

BARBER: Well, my response was, well, how does it promote terrorism? And he said, well, I think that's pretty obvious and I don't really need to give you a reason for that. So, the school terrorist has yet to explain how the shirt promotes terrorism. And I certainly don't understand how the shirt promotes terrorism.

CHUNG: Do you believe that this is actually stifling your freedom of speech?

BARBER: Absolutely.

There was a constitutional case that went to the Supreme Court in 1969 about kids wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War in their public schools. And in the majority opinion, it was clearly stated that students do not shed their constitutional right to freedom of expression or speech when they walk through the schoolhouse gate.

CHUNG: Do you think that you'll wear the T-shirt again and give it a go?

BARBER: At this point, I've been informed that, if I do wear the T-shirt again, I will be sent home. So I don't plan on wearing the T- shirt again until, certainly, Kary Moss and the ACLU talk to the school. And she could probably tell you a little more about that.

CHUNG: All right, just very quickly, Kary -- I'm not giving you a lot of time -- but can you tell us, are you going to be filing suit?

MOSS: Well, right now, we're hoping that we don't have to. We're hoping that the school district will acknowledge that the students who go to Dearborn High School have the right to express their political opinion. We'll have to wait and see what they do.

CHUNG: All right, I thank you, Bretton Barber and Kary Moss. We appreciate your being with us.

MOSS: Thank you.

CHUNG: And still ahead: What's worse than a dirty cop? How about a dirty cop who works for the mob? You'll meet him right after this.

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead: A small plane goes down and the heroic effort that followed to save those on board -- when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHUNG: Michael Corbitt was a cop and eventually chief in suburban Chicago on a force that he says was largely corrupt. So why wasn't he doing something about it? It turned out that Corbitt was part of the problem. His rise through the ranks was because of the mob. And along with others, he was taking money from the mob.

His real boss was Sam Giancana, one of the country's most notorious mob bosses and head of the Chicago outfit. In addition to running from the law, Giancana also did backdoor deals with the law, like negotiate a $150,000 deal with the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Now his nephew, also named Sam Giancana, but not in the same business, has teamed up with Corbitt on a new book, "Double Deal," that makes some explosive allegations. And they join us tonight.

Thank you so much for being with us.


SAM GIANCANA, CO-AUTHOR, "DOUBLE DEAL": Thank you for having us.

CHUNG: Michael, your story is just incredible. I mean, I was blown away. Just right in the beginning, you were recruited by Sam Giancana to join the police force.

CORBITT: That's correct.

CHUNG: And you rose to a police chief.

CORBITT: That's correct.

CHUNG: So, before we move into the really meaty part of your story, I notice that you came in with a bodyguard.

CORBITT: That's correct.


CORBITT: I have a contract on my life.

CHUNG: Seriously?

CORBITT: Probably several, seriously.

CHUNG: But does it have anything to do with the book that you've written?

CORBITT: Oh, absolutely.


CORBITT: This book is an expose that's going to probably get some people indicted and maybe get some people killed.

CHUNG: You eventually went to prison, but you refused to go into the witness protection program. You refused to rat on the mob. Why are you telling your story now?

CORBITT: I'm telling my story primarily from revenge, for revenge. I want to get even with the people who left me in the lurch that I was in after the 35 years of being associated with them. And, also, these same people who were my friends put a contract on my life immediately after I was indicted.

CHUNG: How did you know that they put a contract out on your life? Because I know the feds told you that, but you didn't believe them, right?

CORBITT: No, I didn't believe them. They read me a transcript of an overhear of a wire that they ran on a certain individual.

CHUNG: And it was a friend of yours?

CORBITT: It was a friend of mine. It also happened to be the godfather of my son. Several years later, while in prison, they came to me and played the tape to me.

CHUNG: And what did the tape show?

CORBITT: Well, the tape showed that a friend, a guy who I'd been friends with for 35 years, associated with, family friends, who traveled all over the world together, who -- we raised each other's kids. And my son Joey, who was a Down's syndrome child, was very close to him, he became his godfather.

And then, when he was 5 years old, if he is in the car with me when they kill me -- that was the statement that was made on the phone -- he's got to go, too.

CHUNG: Your son?

CORBITT: My son.

CHUNG: So, you're saying that your friend was willing to whack you and your son?

CORBITT: And my son. He was giving instructions to a guy, a hitter, who was supposed to do the job. And the hitter kept saying: This is your driver. This is your friend. What are you telling me? He said: Hit him. And he said: What about he's with his son all the time?

If he's there, hit him too.

GIANCANA: I think that's particularly important, because that just demonstrates how important Michael was to the organization. He was associated with them for so many years. He knew what was going on, on the inside. He personally witnessed some historical kinds of events.

CHUNG: Such as -- let's go into one of them, because they're incredible. In 1966, Sam Giancana was released from custody from the feds. CORBITT: That's correct.

CHUNG: And you claim in the book -- and you had to verify this, Sam.

GIANCANA: That's right.

CHUNG: That it was because LBJ, the president at the time, ordered it.

CORBITT: That's right.

CHUNG: How could that be? Why?

CORBITT: They needed a somebody, a conduit for the Israeli military to fund a gun-running operation. Sam Giancana agreed to do it and fund a gun-running operation for $1 million to the Israeli army.

CHUNG: And ultimately, Sam, did that -- were those guns used?

GIANCANA: From what we understand, that money was forwarded to Israel for purchases of arms. And within a year, the Six Day War occurred. And this was at a time when Israel was facing increased tension from Jordan, from Syria, and from Egypt.

CHUNG: Now, the CIA and all the federal agencies that you're dealing with in your book say that you just fabricated all this stuff; you made it up; it's not true.

CORBITT: But that's not true.

GIANCANA: That's really been the company line, though, for years. And I think that the CIA and the government, it's been proven over time that they did work in various ways. They dealt with the devil many years, whether you talk about Ferdinand Marcos, the shah of Iran, Noriega. There was denial that the government was involved in many of those.

CHUNG: And one last question: Who do you think's going to play you in the movie that they've got to make?

CORBITT: Oh, they're going to make a movie. I just hope it's not Danny DeVito.


CHUNG: Thank you, Michael.

Thank you, Sam, so much, too, for being with us.


CHUNG: Coming up, you'll meet rescuers who were led to this plane -- look at this -- thanks to a TV show from the '70s.

Stay with us.


CHUNG: Our "Person of the Day" yesterday was a pilot whose quick thinking and storehouse of TV trivia, if you can believe it, might very well have saved her life and the life of her passenger after her small plane went down near a canyon outside Los Angeles.

Tonight, you're about to meet some of the rescuers who were able to find her because of what she said in this harrowing 911 call.


CHUNG (voice-over): A desperate 911 call.


BEKA LIKENS, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: Oh, gosh. We are hurt so badly. Please help us.

OPERATOR: You're in the mountains?

LIKENS: Yes. Please help us.


CHUNG: Thirty-two-year-old pilot Beka Likens (ph), along with her 52-year-old student, Tony Shin (ph), teetered on a mountainside north of Los Angeles after the Cessna Likens was piloting crashed. They waited there in agony, waiting to be rescued.


LIKENS: My leg is broken.


CHUNG: Both of Liken's legs and her arm were shattered. Her passenger was critically hurt. Rescuers scrambled and deployed Black Hawk helicopters in search of them. After 15 minutes, the rescuers couldn't find them, the location was so remote.


LIKENS: ... why the helicopters cannot find us?

OPERATOR: It's an awful big area, Miss. We have everything available up there looking for you right now.


CHUNG: Likens, in excruciating pain, was somehow able to stay on her cell phone, finally providing rescuers with a vital clue.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) LIKENS: Do you know The "Little House on the Prairie"?


CHUNG: Likens was talking about the famous mountainous area where "Little House on the Prairie" was filmed. Rescuers pilots immediately knew where she was and changed direction. Shortly afterwards, the Cessna was found with its nose buried in the ground.


OPERATOR: We are hurt so badly.


CHUNG: Once they found the plane, it would take L.A. County firefighters and medics three hours to maneuver through the rugged terrain. A makeshift pulley system was used and the two were safely pulled out and flown to a local hospital.


CHUNG: And joining us now from the L.A. County Fire Department, pilot Tony Moreno and paramedic Mark Miller. We also have with us Eddie Blair, a friend of the crashed pilot.

Now, Eddie, I know you've visited your friend in the hospital. How is Beka? I know she can't speak, but how is she doing?

EDDIE BLAIR, FRIEND OF RESCUED PILOT: She's doing a lot better. I just saw her about two hours ago. She's aware of what's going on. She's in surgery now. She has about seven hours of surgery ahead of her now. They're going to do some reconstructive repair on the inside of her mouth and the side -- for her jaw area.

CHUNG: So what is the extent of her injuries?

BLAIR: She has two fractures, her ankles and her arm. And her face has a lot of broken bones.

CHUNG: And what's her prognosis?

BLAIR: She'll come through. It's going to be a lot of hard work ahead of her still. She'll probably be down for at least two to three months, I would imagine.

CHUNG: Now, you've known her for a long time. Were you surprised at her incredible strength to get through this?

BLAIR: No, I'm not surprised. Beka's a really, really tough girl. She brings a lot of courage to the team over at the club that we hang out at. And just the courage of her coming overseas by herself and wanting to make a living here in the United States is courage within itself.

CHUNG: Tony, I didn't know that pilots in your area do know where "Little House on the Prairie" is filmed. But were you surprised that she had it together and that she was so clear, even though she was in pain, and she was able to tell you where she was?

TONY MORENO, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: I was somewhat surprised. But there's a number of pilots in this area that know where the movie locations are and where the sets are. And that helped us tremendously in locating her.

CHUNG: Tony, how did and how do you think she knew where "Little House on the Prairie" was shot?

MORENO: I believe she knew it just by -- she's in this flying club. And these locations are known to most of the people that fly in the area.

I grew up here and I've flown in the basin all my life. And I flew for the news and I know the area well. And I knew where these sets were. And I live in Simi Valley, by the way. So that was another indication.

CHUNG: I see. Were you amazed that, even though she was in such pain, she was able to tell you where she was?

MORENO: Absolutely. She did a great job on her cell phone by continually giving information to our dispatchers. They were feeding that information to me. And I was trying to piece the puzzle together exactly where she was.

And when she mentioned she was on the side of a mountain near that set, I knew she probably had to be east of the set towards Oak Mountain. And we flew there and she was right out our window.

CHUNG: Isn't that amazing?

Now, Mark, I know that you were one of the first rescuers on the scene and you had to really hike a long way to get to her. What was her reaction and her passenger's reaction when you finally got there?

MARK MILLER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: They were relieved to see us, for sure.

John Rodriguez (ph) and the other guys from L.A. City were there with me. And we all got down there about the same time. They were both glad to see us, as you can hear from the 911 tape. They felt like they were down there for quite a while before we could find them. But once we got there and were able to start treatment, it was just a matter of time before we got the appropriate equipment to us to get them up the hill.

CHUNG: Terrific.

Well, Mark and Tony, good job, and Eddie. Thanks for being with us, all of you.

Right now, another bit of TV trivia tops tonight's "Snapshot."


CHUNG (voice-over): Long-time anchor Jane Pauley is stepping out of the NBC spotlight. Pauley announced she's leaving the network after 27 years to try new things.

The Colorado mom who left her six kids home alone while she traveled to Italy with her boyfriend, she faces some tough questions from police.

Trista Rehn is off the singles market. ABC's "Bachelorette" chose firefighter Ryan Sutter in the show's finale. He immediately proposed and she immediately said yes.


RYAN SUTTER, CONTESTANT: Anything. You're the boss. You choose.


CHUNG: They weren't even talking last year, but long-estranged superstars Simon and Garfunkel will soon hit notes of harmony again. The singers will reunite for a series of concerts and are working on a world tour, after a 33-year split.

Anti-French sentiments sizzling in the kitchen: A North Carolina restaurant owner has renamed his french fries to freedom fries to protest France's anti-U.S. stance in the showdown with Iraq.


ANNOUNCER: Still ahead: our "Person of the Day," not wanting more than she paid for -- when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues.


CHUNG: If you've ever had to watch commercials at the movies after the listed start time of the film you paid to see, a lawsuit has been filed on your behalf by today's "Person of the Day."

Miriam Fisch is an Illinois high school English teacher. On February 8, she went to see a 4:45 movie, "The Quiet American," ironically enough. But when 4:45 came, no movie. Instead, she got four commercials. She had had enough. According to "Variety," moviegoers sometimes have to sit through 10 minutes of commercials, paying their own money to watch commercials that bring theaters more than a quarter-billion dollars a year.

The Loews chain had no immediate comment, but a movie advertising executive told "Variety" Americans are already used to movie ads. Well, for everyone who's ever rushed to make a movie only to find they had shortchanged something else in their life just to watch some ads, Fisch's lawyers have set up a Web site: And she's suing to force movie listings to tell the real time movies start.

So, for trying to win back those few precious minutes in our lives, Miriam Fisch is today's "Person of the Day."


Transplant; High School Student Forced to Remove Anti-Bush Shirt>

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