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CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS

Limbaugh admits to drug addiction; Iranian Human Right's Lawyer Shirin Ebadi Awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Bush Tired Of Bickering Amoung Staff

Aired October 10, 2003 - 17:00   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's happening right now a bombshell, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says he's a drug addict. He tells his listeners he's going into rehab and taking himself off the air.
Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): Fallout from a dramatic day in court, did a lawyer cross the line in the Kobe Bryant case?

She stood up to the ayatollah, my exclusive live interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Insider's account, hear from an influential player in Las Vegas on what really happened at the Siegfried & Roy show.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: It's Friday, October 10, 2003. Hello from Washington, I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

We begin with new developments regarding the radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The conservative commentator told his listeners today he's addicted to painkillers.

Our Deborah Feyerick is following the story and has the latest -- Deborah.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it was with his trademark bluntness that Rush Limbaugh told his radio listeners that he is addicted but he said he is no victim and he takes full responsibility for his problem.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): In his most comfortable forum, Rush Limbaugh capped a two week public nightmare with a soul-searching admission.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know that I have always tried to be honest with you throughout these 15 years and open about my life. So, I need to tell you something. I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read in the past week is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.

FEYERICK: The conservative radio host told his listeners he's twice tried to break his dependence on painkillers by checking himself into medical facilities for treatment. Now he's planning on giving it another shot.

LIMBAUGH: Immediately following this broadcast I will check myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold that this highly-addictive medication has on me.

FEYERICK: Limbaugh went even further admitting he's under investigation in connection with a police probe of black market prescription drug sales. That investigation was confirmed by CNN's Susan Candiotti last week. Experts on addiction say Limbaugh will have a tough time trying to combat his immediate problem.

LIMBAUGH: It is the form of addiction with the highest recidivism. The biology, the biological grips of the disease is profound. The withdrawal is miserable and painful and it takes a long time to recover.

FEYERICK: The reporting on Limbaugh's painkiller connection began with a very different story. September 28th on ESPN's pre-game NFL show Limbaugh said Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNab was overrated, given the benefit of the doubt because he's African American. Limbaugh resigned from ESPN a few days later. At about the same time, reports of his painkiller use cropped up. It has clearly been a difficult two weeks.

LIMBAUGH: I'm not making any excuses and I don't intend to. You know over the years athletes, celebrities have emerged from these treatment centers. They've come out to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. They've gotten a lot of praise for doing this. Well, I want you to know that I'm no role model.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Limbaugh would not comment about the police investigation, though he did say that not everything that's been reported has been right. He also tells his listeners that the show will go on. He will be bringing in a series of guest hosts as he seeks treatment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Deborah any reaction, immediate reaction from his employers, the radio stations?

FEYERICK: Well, he would have had to have told them that in fact he was going to be checking into a rehab in order for them to bring in a guest host. Clearly, he's a very valuable commodity. A lot of people listen to his show so they're going to make the accommodations necessary to make sure those listeners don't turn away.

BLITZER: And he had signed about a year ago about a $250 million contract to continue doing that daily show. Thanks very much, Deborah Feyerick, for that report. And joining us now on the phone to talk more about highly addictive painkillers are two guests. Dr. Michael Flemming is a family practitioner who treats patients for pain. Dr. Wilson Compton is of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Compton, let me begin with you and give us some perspective. We heard that these painkilling drugs are very addictive. What kind of problem does Rush Limbaugh have?

DR. WILSON COMPTON, NATL. INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABISE (via telephone): Well, I can't comment specifically on Mr. Limbaugh's situation because I'm not a physician who has examined him.

But, in general, addiction to Oxycontin is very consistent with addiction to other opiate pain medications and in the same classification are heroin, morphine, Demerol and other medications like that. One set of data shows that in the year 2002, just under two million persons had used Oxycontin non-medically at least once in their lifetime.

BLITZER: And the purpose of trying to get these kinds of painkilling drugs on the black market instead of going through a doctor and a physician would be what, because a doctor would try to keep him off these kind of drugs?

COMPTON: Well, typically when somebody has developed an addiction they're not able to get their medications always from a physician and so they rely on the black market to feed their habit.

BLITZER: Walk us through what a person, forget about Rush Limbaugh for a second, but someone who is addicted to these kind of drugs, the process they would need over the next weeks, months, indeed years to get off the drug.

COMPTON: I actually think you're mentioning a very important factor which is the first days and weeks of coming off of an opiate medication are the most physically difficult because you go through physical withdrawal. You have such symptoms as yawning, aches and pains. It's a lot like having a serious case of the flu.

Once that's alleviated in some ways the more difficult part takes place where people need to treat addiction as a chronic illness and think about it over the long haul so that even once you're no longer physically dependent on the substance there's still a great deal of psychological dependency, people can have cravings and urges to use these drugs even months or years after they stop using them.

BLITZER: It sounds like someone who is an alcoholic has to worry about alcohol all of his or her life but this clearly could be much more serious.

COMPTON: Well, it's very similar to the process we see in alcoholism where people do need to pay attention to it for many years or, in fact, most of the rest of their life.

BLITZER: And once this person, forget about Rush as I said, gets through the rehab process how do you deal on a day-to-day basis to make sure psychologically you don't go back to it because, as he said, he went through drug rehab twice but it didn't work.

COMPTON: Well, I'm not sure how Mr. Limbaugh would handle it but typically for patients what we encourage them to do is follow up with ongoing after care. This can include community support. You know there are narcotics versions of Alcoholics Anonymous. There's NA in the community and that's one type of support. There can be ongoing follow-up with a treatment program or with professionals and that's typically what would be recommended.

BLITZER: Dr. Wilson Compton of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, thanks very much for your expertise.

Let's bring in Dr. Fleming now, a family practitioner. He's joining us on the phone from Shreveport. How common in your practice, Dr. Flemming, is this problem?

MICHAEL FLEMMING, FAMILY PRACTITIONER (via telephone): It's not very common in the practice of a family physician but it's certainly that I've seen.

BLITZER: And what do you -- give us your perspective on the problems that Rush Limbaugh is facing ahead of him.

FLEMMING: Well, as Dr. Compton said, this is a very difficult thing to go through. The withdrawal is difficult and so the immediate period is very difficult but it's the long term period that becomes more tenuous because as with addiction to many other substances, and you mentioned alcohol and that's the same, there's always the problem with recidivism.

BLITZER: Is it fair to say that people who are on these addictive drugs, who take them, can function on a day-to-day basis? As you know he's been doing his radio show on a daily basis clearly with this problem hovering over him.

FLEMMING: Well, as was said earlier I really can't speak specifically about Mr. Limbaugh's case but I can tell you that I have seen patients that absolutely appeared as normal as could be that one would have never guessed that this was a problem who have been on these medications. They develop such tolerance that the effect it would have on your or me is not even visible.

BLITZER: In other words, they're not necessarily walking around in a very high state all the time. They can deal with this and it alleviates the pain problem that he might have been going through or she might have been going through but they can really think clearly and cogently and not let others know that they are on drugs right then and there.

FLEMMING: Exactly. What I have tended to see is that they tend to not -- people that are going through this appear very normal but they tend to not have the restraints on themselves. They may say or do things that they might not otherwise do because they have some self control but it would be very difficult to tell. BLITZER: That would raise the possibility of why Rush Limbaugh said what he said about Donovan McNab on that ESPN problem but that's another matter. I want you to give our viewers doctor some advice right now because there are probably people out there who either have a similar problem that Rush Limbaugh has or knows someone who does what immediate steps can -- what they should be doing.

FLEMMING: They should immediately go and have a very heart-to- heart talk with their personal physician, someone that they know and that they trust so that they can begin to get help. This is an incredibly serious problem and that needs to happen right now.

BLITZER: And how common are these? How available are these drugs on the black market based on your experience doctor?

FLEMMING: Unfortunately, my experience is that they are quite available on the black market. These are -- people are able to get these and that just makes it all the more serious problem.

BLITZER: Dr. Michael Flemming thanks very much for joining us on this important subject. I suspect a lot of Americans, a lot of people around the country and indeed in Canada, elsewhere, are getting a better appreciation of what is a very, very serious problem. Thanks very much for that.

And, we'll have details, more details on Rush Limbaugh's problems. That's coming up later this hour.

Also, details of an alleged violent crime but that's not all that came out during Kobe Bryant's first public hearing. The name of his accuser was used over and over. Did his attorney go too far? We'll ask our legal experts.

And, Steve Wynn gets a firsthand look at a tape showing what happened the night Las Vegas performer Roy Horn was critically injured. He'll join us and tell us precisely what he saw on that videotape.

And later, peace out of turmoil, we'll have an exclusive. The winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize joins us to talk about her remarkable win, a win that surprised the world. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back.

Now the latest on the Kobe Bryant case, images of a violent rape that's what came across from the shocking testimony in Bryant's preliminary hearing yesterday but the graphic detail of the alleged assault was just the beginning and many observers are questioning whether the lawyers crossed the line.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): Trial or no trial this case is already bitter. The debate today whether the prosecution went too far in extracting the alleged victim's account of what happened in such graphic detail.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The day was damaging for Kobe Bryant.

BLITZER: And whether defense attorney Pamela Mackey crossed the line in her cross-examination by possibly violating rape shield laws. Details from Detective Doug Winters of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office of what the accuser told him made many observers shudder even when told secondhand, accusations of groping, of Bryant putting his hands around the alleged victim's neck, then forcing himself on her recounted for a national audience by reporters.

TOOBIN: The images that most people will take away that the jury pool will take away, from yesterday's testimony is of a rape, a violent rape.

BLITZER: Pictures were shown of injuries to the woman's jaw and genitalia and the detective testified that blood from the woman was found on Bryant's tee shirt.

But the defense seemed to send its own message. Mackey got the detective to say there were no marks, bruises or scratches on the accuser's neck. She used the alleged victim's name six times in court but said it was an accident.

Then the bombshell, Mackey asked the detective if the woman's injuries were "consistent with someone who's had sex with three different guys in three days." That brought an objection, an abrupt end to the hearing, a closed door meeting in the judge's chambers and legal vitriol.

PAMELA HAYES, ATTORNEY: It's appropriate in terms of cross- examination because there was an allegation that there was vaginal injury. What she was trying to do was find out whether or not sex on different occasions with different people could create an end result where there would be injury or trauma to the vagina.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don't care what Pamela thinks about the value of cross-examination. I don't care what anyone says about his fair trial rights. You do not fortuitously violate the rape shield law based on silly questions about her having had sex with three people based on no good faith argument.

BLITZER: Some believe Mackey should be sanctioned for her performance. Others see patterns in these cases and say this defense is hardly different.

TOOBIN: They are trying to portray this woman as unstable, promiscuous, and someone who simply can't be trusted.

BLITZER: And this was just an early round. The preliminary hearing isn't even finished yet. Part two comes next Wednesday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: So, did lawyers on both sides go too far? I'll ask former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman and criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt. That's coming up later this hour.

Also, we're continuing to follow the latest on Rush Limbaugh's bombshell. He tells his listeners today he's addicted to painkillers. He's going off the air, going into rehab. We'll get more on that.

In addition to that we have other stories we're covering. War and peace, the Israeli army takes on a new operation and makes an underground discovery. I'll speak live with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on his new book "The Case for Israel."

And she just won the Nobel Peace Prize, now she'll tell us exclusively about that surprise and her life's work. We'll have a live interview from Paris. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Much more coming up on the problems Rush Limbaugh is facing right now, breaking news that we've been reporting. He is addicted to painkillers. He's checking into a rehab, taking himself off the air for now, more on Rush Limbaugh's problems coming up.

Let's check some other important news we're following right now. Long, simmering disputes within the Bush administration over Iraq are said to be, said to be boiling over right now and with the election just over a year away an internal war could have some serious ramifications.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): Every administration in Washington always has disagreements and intrigue and the Bush administration is clearly no different. Insiders confirm there has been a running dispute over Iraq policy at the highest levels for some time.

In a nutshell, it pits Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and is hawkish allies against Secretary of State Colin Powell and his more dovish ones at issue right now, whether President Bush is taking steps to bring order to his team with one eye looking ahead to his reelection campaign.

His National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice has been instructed to take greater charge of day-to-day Iraq policy, something that had largely been in the Pentagon's hands.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's the normal work of the National Security Council. I'm very familiar with it having been a national security adviser deputy and that's all I have to say about it. I don't find it anything surprising, shocking or surprising or shocking.

BLITZER: Vice President Dick Cheney, a hardliner on Iraq and a Rumsfeld ally, is not backing down at all from the case for war.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our mission in Iraq is great undertaking and part of a larger mission that the United States accepted now more than two years ago. September 11, 2001 changed everything for this country.

BLITZER: The "New York Daily News" quotes Bush sources as saying the president is unhappy with the internal fighting between Rumsfeld and Powell and says that's why Rice is now taking over greater responsibility. White House officials dispute the account but long time observers say all the bickering must stop quickly for the president's sake.

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: What the president needs to do now is disown the story, bring in his top team, knock heads together and get peace in the family. What's going on in Iraq on the ground is far more important than the scuffling.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And we'll see what happens on that front if that scuffling continues or abates.

More blood was shed today in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel sent dozens of tanks into the Rafa refugee camp on the Gaza- Egyptian border. The mission dubbed operation enchanted day sought to find arms smuggling tunnels. It was successful according to the Israelis.

The incursion uncovered two tunnels running from Rafa into Egypt. Israeli forces trying to destroy them fought gunmen for hours. Palestinian sources say seven Palestinians were killed and dozens were wounded.

On another front Palestinian officials say the peace process is doomed if Israel is allowed to extend the security fence deep into West Bank territory. The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations is calling for a U.N. Security Council vote on a draft resolution on the matter Tuesday.

Alan Dershowitz is joining me now with his view on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Professor Dershowitz is well known as a professor of law at the Harvard Law School and noted appellate lawyer and columnist. He's written a new book entitled "The Case for Israel." Alan thanks very much for joining us.

The security fence that the Israelis are building, the State Department and Secretary Powell, who is a strong supporter of Israel, says it would be one thing if they built that fence along the old so- called green line that separated Israel from the West Bank but parts of that fence are going deep into the West Bank and significant Palestinian populations are going to be sealed off in effect. Can you defend that policy of the Israelis?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AUTHOR, "THE CASE FOR ISRAEL": I don't try to defend all Israeli policies. I think that a wall, for example the wall on the Gaza-Israel line is a good one. It stopped terrorism. I think any wall is a tragic necessity but I can't defend and wouldn't try to defend extending a wall to the Ariel settlements or any other settlements. People should have the right to disagree with particular Israeli policies. The whole thesis in my book for the case for Israel is criticize Israel the way you would criticize any other country, just apply a single standard and don't demonize, don't try to de-legitimate Israel.

Don't call it the worst human rights offender in the world. Reasonable people could disagree about where the fence should lie and you should have the right, as Israelis do. Many Israelis disagree with that policy.

BLITZER: It's a very divisive policy within Israel itself.

DERSHOWITZ: Yes, it is.

BLITZER: A debate over that security fence. Well, what's the point of the book "The Case for Israel"?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, it's terrible that I had to write it. Nobody has to write the case for Canada or the case for Sweden or even the case for France. The fact that I had to write a case for Israel demonstrates how much demonization is going on on college campuses today, at the United Nations.

If a space alien were to land on a college campus or at the United Nations they'd think there was only one horrible offender in the world today, Israel, not Syria, it serves on the Security Council, not Libya, it's on the Human Rights Commission.

Israel has been condemned more than any other country at the United Nations and yet it has one of the best human rights records in the world and certainly the best in the Middle East. It has killed fewer civilians than any country facing comparable dangers by any single standard.

BLITZER: But you know the argument.

DERSHOWITZ: Of course.

BLITZER: That for 36 years, since 1967, Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza, in effect has had three million or whatever number of Palestinians...

DERSHOWITZ: Right.

BLITZER: ...under Israeli military occupation and the argument is Israel should simply withdraw, let the Palestinians deal with themselves and have an independent Israeli state, an independent Palestinian state.

DERSHOWITZ: Israel has tried that so many times. In 1937, the (unintelligible) commission they accepted it, 1947 the division they accepted it, 1967 they accepted Resolution 242 and the Arabs said no recognition, no peace, and no negotiations. In 2000-2001 they offered a state. You can't simply reward terrorism. The United States cannot with one hand fight terrorism, on the other hand to urge Israel to reward terrorism.

BLITZER: But what if Israel were to unilaterally withdraw right now from the occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza, have their independent state roughly to pre-'67 lines, build their security barrier along that fence and say, you know what it's over?

DERSHOWITZ: You know in my book, "The Case for Israel" I make a proposal much like that. I say that Israel should schedule the dismantling of the settlements and the withdrawal but condition it on Palestinian best efforts to stop terrorism and dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

I think if you see mutually the two groups, each creating incentives to the other, it would work but you cannot reward terrorism. That would bring it to our neighborhoods as well.

BLITZER: The book is entitled "The Case for Israel." I want you to stand by if you don't mind Professor Dershowitz. I want you to talk about some of the legal problems Rush Limbaugh may be facing as a result of what we learned today but stand by. We've got more to talk about on that.

We are also following some other news. Our top story, of course, the bombshell that came out today, Rush Limbaugh addicted to prescription painkillers. He says he's going into rehab. Will there be fallout for his public admission and what are the legal consequences?

And the night a Las Vegas legend was critically injured former Mirage Casino owner Steve Winn got a chance to see the videotape of the incident, something none of us has seen. He'll join us live to tell us precisely what he saw. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: As we told you at the top of this hour, Rush Limbaugh today acknowledged he's addicted to painkillers. He emotionally explained to listeners on his radio show how his dependence began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I first started taking prescription painkillers five, six years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post-surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful, and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck now, due to two herniated disks, pain which I'm still experiencing because of that.

Now rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. And this medication turned out to be highly addictive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Once again, Alan Dershowitz is joining us. He's here in our Washington studio. And joining us by phone in Philadelphia, the syndicated radio talk show host Armstrong Williams.

Armstrong, let me begin with you. This is quite a surprise, quite a bombshell, about Rush Limbaugh admitting he's addicted to these painkillers. What does it say to you about Rush Limbaugh?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST (via telephone): Well, Wolf, it's absolutely shocking, you know. We sort of had an indication that this is what it was, you know, described it as painkillers. Everyone knows what it is, he's addicted to drugs, depend on these drugs and he's tried to medicate himself, cure himself from the pain that he's been experiencing for some time.

You know, you've got to have sympathy for him and keep him in your prayers but this is a very bright man that understands the consequences of his behavior given what he advocates and promotes on his shows. The sad thing about it is that he would sort of endanger his own life, even there are reports that his may have contributed to his hearing loss. That he may have started the painkillers before he started going deaf.

So it's very sad. I mean, obviously he's checked himself in. He's doing the responsible thing now. And there's no telling what happens going to happen with his show. Obviously he has to go on hiatus. It goes to show us the human qualities and frailties, guys like us, when we get on the swear preach these things and preach one thing and our lives indicate something else, it's a tough pill to swallow but hopefully people will find compassion for him and hope he has an expedient recovery.

BLITZER: Armstrong Williams speaks, of course, as himself being a conservative radio talk show host. Armstrong, I want you to listen, and Alan Dershowitz, I want you to listen to another excerpt from what Rush Limbaugh told his listeners earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

LIMBAUGH: Over the past several years, I've tried to break my dependence on pain pills and in fact, I've twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. But I recently agreed with my doctor about the next steps. So, immediately following this broadcast, I will check myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold that this highly addictive medication has on me.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, you once were a liberal talk show host but you're also a professor of Law at Harvard. He's got a personal problem, a sad problem, as all of us can sort of empathize with Rush Limbaugh, whether we agree or disagree with his political views. But he has a legal problem as well, because there's an investigation going on into the distribution of these prescription drugs.

DERSHOWITZ: No question. Look, I have great personal sympathy for him. You have to understand, though, the checking in is a legal tactic. That's not something his doctor told him do. It's something his lawyer told him to do. You always check yourself in when there is an investigation of that kind. It's not coincidence that he checked himself in after he was publicly exposed. He is vulnerable to criminal prosecution. He tried.

BLITZER: You can't simply say he was doing this for legal purposes.

DERSHOWITZ: This time he's going to stay. This time you'll see that the legal sordid (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will have an impact on his willingness to stay, because every good lawyer tells your client to check in and stay in and be a good patient now that you're vulnerable.

The real legal issue, is one of standards, there are a lot of double standards here. On the one hand generally people who illegally buy prescription drugs are not prosecuted where as people who illegally buy cocaine and heroin are prosecuted.

On the other hand, famous people are sometimes prosecuted for crimes that others are not in order to send a powerful message. And the real question is, what standard is appropriately applied to Rush Limbaugh? My own view is he ought to be treated like others who are tried for prescription drugs. If we want to change the standard in the future, fine, but don't single him out.

BLITZER: What about that Armstrong Williams, do you think there should be a separate standard for a celebrity, a personality like Rush Limbaugh? Should he be treated by the law as every other American might be treated?

Unfortunately, I think we've lost Armstrong Williams. He was on a bad cell phone connection for us. But this is a serious legal problem, a personal problem, a human problem for Rush Limbaugh.

DERSHOWITZ: It is. It's an open and shut case legally. If they choose to prosecutor him they will...

BLITZER: Normally they would prosecutor the distributors, the people who sell these illegal drugs as opposed to those who might buy them.

DERSHOWITZ: Remember, the conservative view has been go after the Johns in prostitution cases, go after users in drug cases. Rush Limbaugh himself, has railed against people for not going after the users when they're cocaine and crack addicts. So the hypocrisy argument is go after him. But I think, legal standards should prevail over hypocrisy, even if it means that he gets away with it.

BLITZER: Armstrong are you back on the line with us?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I'm here.

BLITZER: I want you to have the last word. Give our viewers your perspective now on the legal issue if there's an investigation that's going forward and it involves Rush Limbaugh. Do you think that he should be held up to a higher standard because he is a personality, a celebrity, in his own right? WILLIAMS: You know, the law is what it is and Rush Limbaugh should be held to the same standard as any other citizen that may have violated and who may have caused others to violate the law. The standard should be no different.

Obviously he tried to hide the situation. Obviously it got the best of him. It's totally had him out of control. As I said, my heart goes out to him, but obviously he understands the consequences of his behavior.

But one good thing about this, and let us not forget this, Rush Limbaugh may have been deceptive but in the end when someone blew his cover, he did not try to run and hide, he did not try to cover or lie. He was -- he said to his audience he would come clean on his broadcast. It may be a little too late, but at least there's social redeeming value in what he's done.

And obviously he seeking help. He's going to be off the air for some -- an indefinite time. And all we can do is keep him in our prayers. But let me emphasize, there is no question Mr. Limbaugh should be held to the same standard any other American that may I have violated the laws on the books.

BLITZER: Armstrong Williams, thank you for taking some time with us. Alan Dershowitz, once again, thanks to you for joining us.

Let's move on. Up next, the winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

A friend of Siegfried and Roy explains how a curious big cat and enthralled audience member may have put Roy in harm's way.

More on the Kobe Bryant case right now more on that shocking preliminary hearing that unfolded yesterday in which his accuser's name was mentioned multiple times along with very graphic details of the alleged assault. Did the lawyers cross the line?

Joining us now from Denver to talk about in that, two guests. The criminal defense attorney Craig Silverman and his colleague, Jeralyn Merritt. Two well-know criminal defese attonrys.

You were there, Craig, yesterday inside that courtroom. You watched it all unfold. Did either or both sides cross the line?

CRAIG SILVERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the prosecution didn't do anything ethically questionable. They seemed a little unprepared. Pam Mackey with her last question was walking a fine line. There's a rape shield statute in Colorado. It tends to apply to a trial situation more than a preliminary hearing. But you can bet that the judge was concerned about that tactic.

BLITZER: What about that, ?

JERALYN MERRITT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't think Pam Mackey did anything wrong. The rape shield statute that Craig just referred to specifically says that you shall notify the court 30 days before trial. It does not say anything about hearings. The issue here is who caused her injuries if there were such injuries? And if the defense has evidence someone other than Kobe caused the injuries they're entitled to bring it out even at a preliminary hearing.

BLITZER: What about that, Craig?

SILVERMAN: Well, it's an interesting question. Normally at a preliminary hearing there isn't worldwide media. The reason you don't allow it at a trial is for fear that you're going to prejudice the fact finders, members of the jury. But now, through the press, they're all learning about this allegation and accordingly we have prospective jury members who are thinking that this accuser is very promiscuous.

BLITZER: The defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, Jeralyn, also mentioned that the alleged victim's named six times in the course of that hearing. Was that appropriate?

MERRITT: Well, the judge had asked her not to. So in that sense it may not have been appropriate. I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

If you think about it, that rule is one the media imposed upon itself. And the statute in Colorado that pertains to not disdisseminating the name of the sexual assault victim really pertains to juvinile sexual assault victims. I don't find anything that applies to adults.

I don't think she did anything wrong. She said it was an honest mistake and she'd try harder.

(CROSSTALK)

SILVERMAN: I was there. Even people in the listening room had a different perspective. I was sitting about ten yards from Pam Mackey and she physically recoiled as she said the name because she did not mean to say this woman's name. I take her explanation at face value.

That last question about three men and three days, that was deliberate. But using the accuser's name, she doesn't gain anything by that. So I think that was just pure accident.

BLITZER: We got a preview of what's going to happen, assuming this goes to a full trial, Jeralyn, it's going to get ugly. And this accuser, the alleged victim, she's going to really be attacked. She's going to be hammered if you will, by the defense attorneys.

MERRITT: Absolutely she is. The reason is because she is saying it was consent -- it was not consentually and Kobe is saying it is. There were only two of them there.

So the defense has an obligation to find anything that might attack her credibility. And also to show that the encounter didn't happen the way she has told the authorities that it did.

And there's also going to be a lot of medical evidence I suspect and questions about what do these exact injure injuries mean. You needed a microscope to see them. And there were no bruises on her neck. There's going to be a lot of expert testimony, as well.

BLITZER: Craig, there was blood apparently on his shirt that they found, her blood, DNA, showed was on his shirt. That sounds very potentially damaging.

SILVERMAN: Well, it is. That's why Kobe Bryant had to had to admit to sex. The bleeding came from the postiror forshed area. And there's no doubt she was blooding. It also found on her underwear the next day.

The question is, what caused the blooding? According to the defense they may have some evidence that it wasn't just Kobe Bryant but it some other activity that she had engaged in which might have at least contributed to the bleeding.

MERRITT: Wolf you can have vaginal tearing with consensual sex and non-consensual sex. The fact there is slight vaginal tearing you needed a microscope to see doesn't necessarily mean it was for sex. Experts are going to battle it out.

BLITZER: We're going to have to leave it right there. This conversation will continue next week presumably, Wednesday, Part II of that preliminary hearing takes place in Eagle, Colorado.

Up next, I'll talk exclusively to the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. She's in Paris. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: World leaders are hailing this year's surprise winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She's an Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to win the coveted prize. Ebadi was a judge before being forced to step aside by the 1979 Islamic revolution. The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls her courageous.

We're honored now to have the new Nobel laureate to join us live from Paris. Shirin Ebadi, congratulations to you. Thanks very much for joining us. Tell us, in your own words, what this means to you after so many years of struggling in Iran for human rights.

SHIRIN EBADI, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE: It means that the Iranian women's situation is not good and we must change some of our laws which violated women's rights.

BLITZER: Can women have more rights in Iran under the existing Islam regime led by the Ayatollah?

EBADI: I think it is possible because if we have correct interpretation of Islamic law, we can be Muslim and can have more better laws.

BLITZER: As you know, President Bush has called Iran one of the members of the so-called axis of evil. What do you recommend as someone who lives in Iran, deals with these problems on a day-to-day basis what should the United States and people all over the world be doing to help you in your struggle for human rights in Iran especially for women?

EBADI: In Iran, there are many people who believe peace, who believe human rights and don't forget these people.

BLITZER: I was going to say, is it possible for the reform to emerge with Iran without external pressure?

EBADI: It is our duty to work for human rights in Iran. And we must do it ourselves. But it is very useful for us that you say our news to your people.

BLITZER: We will report the news and we will congratulate you once again, Shirin Ebadi. It must be thrilling to win the Nobel Peace Prize. And congratulations to you. Indeed, congratulations to the people of Iran whom you represent. We appreciate your joining us from Paris tonight.

And new information about the night a Las Vegas legend was critically injured. The former Mirage casino owner Steve Wynn got to see that videotape of precisely what happened that awful night a week ago tonight. He joins us live to share what he saw. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy fame is still in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after being attacked one week ago by one of his tigers during the duo's famous Las Vegas show. Joining us now by phone is Steve Wynn, the former owner of the Mirage hotel, the one who brought Siegfried and Roy there in the first place and he remains a close friend of both.

Steve Wynn, thanks very much for joining us. You're one of the few people who actually saw the videotape of what happened. Tell our viewers what you saw on that tape.

STEVE WYNN, FRM. MIRAGE HOTEL OWNER, (via phone): Well, I'm looking at screen and you saw Roy walk out with the tiger on his right and stop and makes a speech. That's exactly where this happen happened at the clip you just showed.

And instead of the cat laying down he just sort of looked to right and turned his body to the right instead of straight ahead. And the cat was out of position. Roy went over to get the cat to get up and get back in position and that was a series of events that led to Roy tripping over the right front paw of Monticore and falling backwards.

At a point when there were several guys on stage to help Roy like right there on the camera, he got in between his legs and he tripped over his right paw.

When he fell down, the cat seemed to be confused and he didn't attack him at all. The tiger attack is a very specific thing. It involves a serious bite and a shaking. That's how they do it. Monticore saw Roy laying on his back with his head toward the curtain and feet toward the audience and he leaned over, picked him up, walked offstage with him and followed the exact path of the blocking that he follows every night for the past seven years in going offstage. And he got to his cage, which is the transport cage that take them to go to his big run.

BLITZER: There is speculation, Steve, the cat may have been spooked by I woman supposedly who had big hair, that was not far away. What did you see on the tape?

WYNN: Well, there's people ringside. You know, it's hard in the long shot to see. But there are men and women sitting at ring side. And the cat seemed to go in the direction of people at ringside and be interested in what was going off at the right which caused him to be 90 degrees out of position.

And you know, whether the woman had big hair or little hair, I think is not relevant to the fact that Monticore was side tracked and looked to the right. Nothing particularly exciting about that until Roy went put him back in position and that's when the business with the -- him trying to move the cat and the cat resisting and then Roy falling over.

BLITZER: And that was the result of what was clearly seen?

WYNN: Right. Roy wasn't attacked. If the cat attacked Roy, he would have been dead in three seconds. There isn't -- except for the puncture wounds, where the cat picked him up on the side of the neck, there isn't a scratch on Roy. The cat did not try to kill Roy.

And when he walked off he tried to take him into...

BLITZER: Steve, we have to leave it right there. We're out of time. We'll continue this conversation maybe next week. Steve Wynn, formerly the owner of the Mirage hotel. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We have to apologize. We wanted to bring you a segment on Clint Eastwood and his new movie. We'll bring it to you Monday. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.

END

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Lawyer Shirin Ebadi Awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Bush Tired Of Bickering Amoung Staff>


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