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Interview Afghan Foreign Minister; Former Model Sues Dr. Phil

Aired November 14, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: a love triangle, a murdered millionaire, more of our interview with Danny Pelosi, the electrician who married an heiress and now faces a grand jury investigation.
As the U.S. focuses on Iraq, has it lost track of the first front in the war on terror? We'll have an exclusive interview with Afghanistan's foreign minister.

And she's a former model, ex-cop, Playboy bunny, and a convicted murderer. We'll ask Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek why she's suing Dr. Phil.

Good evening. Welcome. Appreciate your wrapping up the week with us here tonight.

Also ahead, deliberations in the trial of suspected D.C. area sniper John Allen Muhammad. Our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, brings us the details.

And baseball and steroids. Fans can't resist those spectacular home runs. Do they share some of the blame for steroid abuse in the Major Leagues?

Plus, the 40-hour Senate talkathon that started as a stunt, but ended nasty. And no one giving ground on the battle over some of the president's choices to be federal judges.

Also, some new information on the case of those four New Jersey brothers whose adoptive parents allegedly starved them. We'll have an exclusive interview with the biological father of one of the boys.

First, though, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

U.S. troops have hammered targets in and around Baghdad for the third straight day in a row. Operation Iron Hammer is intended to destroy the growing resistance within Iraq. It's not clear what today's attacks targeted.

The State Department is once again warning Americans about travel in Sudan. Officials say there are indications of terrorist these aimed at U.S. and Western interests in that country. The warning says potential attacks could include bombings and kidnappings.

And a 10-block area was evacuated today when powerful winds fanned the flames of a fire at an abandoned mill in Rhode Island. Huge clouds of black smoke and sheets of flames were pushed along by the winds. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. It has been two years since millionaire banker Ted Ammon was brutally murdered at his East Hampton estate on Long Island here in New York. His killer is still on the loose. You're about to hear a conversation with a man passionately defending himself in this case. Danny Pelosi is not officially a suspect, nor has he been charged with any crime, but over the past three years, he's felt as if he's already been convicted. In fact, he is the target of a grand jury. Pelosi's side of the story is in focus tonight.


DANIEL PELOSI, WIDOWER OF GENEROSA PELOSI: For the record, I did not murder Ted Ammon, nor did I have any involvement in what happened to Ted Ammon.

ZAHN (on camera): Did your ex-wife Generosa have anything to do with the murder of Ted Ammon?

PELOSI: Not that I know of.

ZAHN (voice-over): Despite Danny Pelosi's claims of innocence, a series of events surrounding the murder raise suspicions that he and his then-lover Generosa Ammon were involved.

First, Generosa inherited double what she would have had her estranged husband Ted lived and divorced her, an estimated $80 million. Then, Ammon's death paved the way for Generosa to quickly marry Danny Pelosi. And then, just months after the murder, the newlyweds went to London. Many believed they were running from the investigation.

PELOSI: I came back. I've never moved to England. I was never running anywhere.

ZAHN (voice-over): Perhaps the most damning allegation of them all and the one that has really stuck, that Pelosi, an electrician, installed the security surveillance system at the Ammon estate and knew how to turn it on and off. It was reportedly off that night, potentially allowing the killer to make an unforced entry.

(on camera): True or false, you were involved in setting up the surveillance and the security system. What did you do?

PELOSI: False. I hired a contractor to go out to the beach house and install the surveillance system under the direction of my boss.

ZAHN: Did you have access to the surveillance system once it was set up?

PELOSI: Once the system was set up, it was on a laptop, yes. Did I have access to it? Anybody in the world who had the program to that had access to that program.

ZAHN: Did you understand the system enough that you could have turned off a security system off a laptop by remote from another location?

PELOSI: I could turn off the system by unplugging it. That was the only way I knew to shut the system off.

ZAHN: True or false, that the system was set up in a way that you could spy on Ted Ammon in the house?

PELOSI: The purpose of the system being installed, from Generosa's standpoint, was it was a typical divorce, I want this, I want that, I want this, I want that. Generosa was upset that Ted was taking certain little things -- I mean, down to a freaking book of matches. She wanted to show the judge that Ted was not obeying the court order and removing items from the house. That's why the system was installed.

ZAHN: True or false, that the two of you watched Ted Ammon in the house having sex with girlfriends?

PELOSI: Did I see images of Ted having sex at the beach house? Yes, all right, yes, in the kitchen. Did Generosa see them? Yes.

ZAHN: Why did you two want to watch that?

PELOSI: We didn't. It was all about what he was taking. It wasn't about who he was having sex with. Come on, she was sleeping with me.

ZAHN (voice-over): Pelosi says he spent millions on his legal defense and his own private investigation. His attorneys say these just-released pictures of the crime scene taken by Pelosi's team will be used to clear him if charged. How? Take the picture of a dog door. It shows how an intruder could have made an unforced entry. Pelosi also says his investigation shows there were unidentified hairs in Ammon's master bathroom and bathroom garbage pail.

And what about Generosa Ammon? She was reportedly offered immunity to testify before the grand jury, yet in a tragic twist, she died from cancer before that could happen.

(on camera): Is there something Generosa could have done at the end of her life to have proven either your innocence or hers?

PELOSI: Who knows? If she had something to say, she took it with her.

ZAHN: So we'll never know?

PELOSI: I can't comment.

ZAHN: On the day after your ex-wife Generosa was cremated, you went to the funeral home, and against what was said in the will, you took her remains, took them to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hotel, and you were seen toasting her ashes with your favorite drink and the drink she used to drink when you were courting her. What were you thinking?

PELOSI: I never stole my wife's ashes. They were given to me. I'm the husband. That was her wish. I fulfilled her wish. No one said that it was -- that it was a normal wish. But it was something that we discussed.

ZAHN: Do you miss Generosa?

PELOSI: Yeah. Yeah.

ZAHN: What do you miss?

PELOSI: I miss the spunky little woman. I miss the woman who would be ripping the attorneys apart right now for what's going on.

ZAHN (voice-over): Pelosi claims his ex-wife's attorney is going against her wishes. He's contesting her will, which reportedly cut him out of the majority of her fortune.

(on camera): Is it true the numbers that were going to be given to you were reduced because Generosa was upset with some of the spending you were doing towards the end of the marriage...

PELOSI: Wrong, wrong.

ZAHN: ... that while she was dying you were off in Las Vegas gambling?

PELOSI: My wife sent me to Las Vegas with 12 of my friends and paid for the trip.

ZAHN: Was that a different decision for you to make, to go when you knew she was suffering so badly?

PELOSI: She wanted me to have a good time. That's all she wanted. She wanted me to be happy.

ZAHN: If you had the opportunity to turn the clock back and do it all over again, would you ever have let Generosa into your life?

PELOSI: No, I would have went and got a job at McDonald's, if I could have seen this. If I would have seen this, I wouldn't be here. I don't want to be here.


ZAHN: Again, Pelosi has not been charged or named as a suspect, although he is considered a target of a grand jury investigation at this hour. We contacted Suffolk County police. They wouldn't comment on the status of the investigation nor the case. As I mentioned, a grand jury has been convened on the Ammon murder. Pelosi told us that at the advice of his counsel, he will not testify unless he is given full immunity.

On to the sniper trials. Jury deliberations in the trial of John Allen Muhammad will resume on Monday. That is the same day prosecution testimony begins in the trial of the other suspect, Lee Boyd Malvo.

For more on both cases, as well as the latest in the Scott Peterson case, I'm joined now by legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Good evening.


ZAHN: Let's start with the Scott Peterson case.


ZAHN: What's the deal with this defense move today involving Amber Frey?

TOOBIN: Well, there is apparently -- there may be an effort for Amber Frey, the other woman in the marriage, to be called as a witness by the defense. The prosecution says they're not calling her. The defense possibly may want to call her, because why not have a free shot at a witness who's obviously going to be important at the trial, cross-examine her, get her on the record?

For just that reason, courts generally don't allow the defense to call many witnesses in the preliminary hearing. So, I think it's unlikely they'll successfully call her.

ZAHN: We also heard testimony of some suspicious men in the park near Laci's home. What's the significance of that info? And you've heard that before.

TOOBIN: Well, yes, Mark Geragos has been raising the issue of a rush to judgment since the beginning of this case, that there is evidence, he contends, that other suspicious activity was going on around the Peterson home on the night that she disappeared, but the police did not investigate those allegedly suspicious characters.

That's a doubt he's seeking to plant right here. It won't help him in the preliminary hearing. But it could help him in front of the jury.

ZAHN: On to the trial of John Allen Muhammad. Deliberations started today. At one point, a tape recorder was asked for to listen to one of the 911 calls.

TOOBIN: It's a standard request by juries.

I think there's sort of an O.J. effect in high-profile cases. Jurors recognize that the O.J. jury was criticized for deciding so quickly. And even in easy cases, they tend to take a few days now. And I think the fact that one day has passed without a verdict suggests nothing of significance at all. They're just doing their job.

ZAHN: We're going to quickly move on to the opening remarks in the Lee Boyd Malvo story -- or trial. What was this child-rearing practice that was referred to as, save the eye?

TOOBIN: Fascinating opening statement in that case. The defense claims that discipline is so harsh in Central Jamaica, that, when children are sent off to teachers, to authority figures, they're sold, save the eye. That means, you can do anything you want to these kids, but don't kill them and save their eyes, don't poke their eyes out. But that's the message that the defense is trying to send, that John Allen Muhammad had complete control over Malvo.

ZAHN: All right, I understand what they're trying to say, but we also know this case is going to be heavily reliant on his taped confession. So does that kind of cancel that out?

TOOBIN: That's a problem. There's no doubt about that.


TOOBIN: But it is a compelling image.

And, again, I think what the defense in the Malvo case is really doing is setting up a penalty phase defense. Look, maybe he did fire this gun, maybe he did shoot these people, but don't give him the death penalty, because he was so brainwashed by the older Muhammad.

ZAHN: Well, have a really good weekend.

TOOBIN: And you as well.

ZAHN: I'm sure we'll be catching up with you on Monday.


ZAHN: Thanks for joining us tonight, Jeffrey.

And the New Jersey brothers allegedly starved by their adoptive parents, did one of the boys really have an eating disorder? We'll have an exclusive interview with his biological father.

Also, we'll tell you the result of the nonstop talk for nearly 40 hours in the Senate. Maybe you can guess.

And she became a cult hero, ex-Playboy bunny, former cop, convicted killer. Now Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek is taking TV host Dr. Phil to court. We'll ask her why.


ZAHN: Baseball is finally going to bat against steroids. Mandatory testing on players begins next year. The move comes after 5 percent of them tested positive in anonymous tests done this past season.

Here's Josie Burke.


JOSIE BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Baseball is still cherished as a game that can be played by men of average dimensions. Some of the sport's greatest home run hitters, Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays, stood no taller than 6 feet and none weighed 200 pounds.

After Mays hit 52 home runs in 1965, only one other player, George Foster, reached 50 over the next 25 years. And then came the 1990s. And, in short order, the game's remarkably durable record book became obsolete. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds raised the bar, ultimately to Bonds' 72 home runs in 2001.

The power explosion transformed the sport. And something else had changed. Suddenly, the men playing the game were looking very much like their counterparts in the NFL. The athletes themselves said they had earned their new physiques through weight lifting, an activity that past baseball greats had shunned. But critics believed something else was at work in baseball, namely steroids, illegal substances that can produce enormous increases in muscle mass.

While the now retired McGwire admitted to having used a bodybuilding supplement that was then legal in baseball, he, Sosa and Bonds have adamantly denied using steroids. In fact, only two former players, Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco, have admitted they took steroids during their careers.

With Major League Baseball now confirming that at least 5 percent of its active players have used steroids, mandatory testing may reveal just how many of those inflated statistics and the physiques that created them were products of more than just good exercise.

Josie Burke, CNN.


ZAHN: So players will be tested, but are the penalties strong enough to make any difference at all?

Joining us now from Princeton is "Sports Illustrated" senior writer Tom Verducci, who wrote the first major investigative story on steroids in baseball.

Welcome, Tom.

So, is the league really serious about this?

TOM VERDUCCI, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Well, they want us to believe that they are.

They're serious in the fact that this is the first time they've really done anything about this issue. But when you talk to people who know things about the other sports and the way they run their drug-testing programs, the baseball program comes up very far short. There's no testing in the off-season, for instance. And, for instance, the first time a player does test positive next year, there really is no penalty. That player is not acknowledged to the public. That player is not suspended. That player is not fined. Instead, that player is placed on what is called a clinical track, in which he will meet with medical professionals. And that's it. The penalty phase does not begin until a second positive results comes in. Compare that to the NFL. You flunk your first test and you're gone for four games. That's a quarter of the season.

ZAHN: So you're pretty much saying this is a joke?

VERDUCCI: Well, it's a start. Let's put it that way.

I think what it will do is, it will discourage some people who are thinking about using steroids about getting involved in it, because there is the possibility of getting caught. I think it will also force those who are inclined to use steroids and may be using them now to be a little bit more creative, learn how to beat the test through masking agents, get on to something like human growth hormone, which is not being tested for, or the so-called designer steroids, as we've seen with THG, where, up until two months ago, there was not even a test that would even show a steroid like that.

ZAHN: Tom, we're going to quickly go through what Atlanta Braves player Ken Caminiti told you last year, when he was using, he said, steroids, when he won the MVP award back in 1996. He was unapologetic. Is that a pretty typical attitude?

VERDUCCI: Well, you have to remember that these people are professional athletes, always looking for whatever edge they could get, whether that means spending an extra hour in the film room or possibly investigating a better body through chemistry.

So it's all about the competition to get an edge over not only just the player on the other side of the field, but possibly someone on your own team who you're competing for, for a job. So, for instance, in Caminiti's case, the payoff was, this guy did win the most valuable player award. He did become one of the best offensive and defensive players in baseball. And you could argue, in a short career, he found that to be worthwhile, because he is, as I said, a highly competitive, world-class athlete.

ZAHN: Let's go back to that graphic that we had up for a brief moment. And I want you to analyze it for us. Caminiti also told you exclusively, at least half of the guys are uses steroids. They talk about it. They joke about it with each other. Are the numbers really that high?

VERDUCCI: Well, Paula, nobody really knows for certain.

What we do know is that between 5 percent and 7 percent of the players turned up positive. They were tested only during the season, were not tested for those other substances that I mentioned. So, that is really the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of players who can, without penalty, use steroids in the off-season, for instance, even now with a testing program in place. And a lot of players do add a lot of bulk in the off-season and come into spring training with a different body than they finished the season with only five months previously. So what that percentage is, there's a lot of guesswork involved. But we know that 5 percent, or the 5 to 7 percent, is only the tip of the iceberg.

ZAHN: Quickly, in closing here, we all love to see home runs, those of us that are fans of the games, and see records smashed. Are you willing to say that the pressure the fans put on these players has anything to do with this problem, or is this all self-imposed?

VERDUCCI: Well, I think it's self-imposed.

But I will say this, that any time that offense has increased in Major League Baseball, there's been an increase at the gate as well. There's no question that the fans love to see home runs. They love to see the ball hit 500 feet. They like to see runs scored. And let's face it. Players are rewarded financially for hitting home runs.

But let's also remember, too, Paula, that steroids are being used by baseball players who don't hit home runs. It's not so simplistic to draw the straight line between home runs and steroids. There are pitchers out there using steroids because it helps the body recover from tremendous workloads. Say a relief pitcher pitches four times in a six-night span. The steroids are going to allow him to go out there night after night with very good stuff that he might not otherwise have.

ZAHN: Tom Verducci, we'll leave it there this evening. Thanks so much for joining us.

VERDUCCI: Thank you.

ZAHN: Also ahead tonight, we'll have an exclusive interview with the biological father of one of the New Jersey brothers found starving. What does he have to stay about the adoptive parents' claim the boy has an eating disorder?

And money and politics. Retired General Wesley Clark says he will take federal campaign funds. Our Joe Klein will be along on what that means for the Democratic race for the presidency.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

The nearly 40-hour-long talkathon on Capitol Hill this week paid off for Democrats. They were able to block three of President Bush's judicial nominees to federal appeals courts. In the end, it appears this unusual approach by one party has led to frustration and angry words from the other.

Here's Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the beginning, it looked more like a snooze-a-thon than a talkathon, more discussion about cots than judges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator McCain suggested we have a snoring and a nonsnoring section.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We didn't need cots. We're tougher than that. We sleep on the floor.


KARL: Democrats called it a colossal waste of time. One declared his intention to stay home and watch TV. Republicans weren't amused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go watch "The Bachelor." Go watch the continued debasement of our society. That's what you should be doing.

KARL: Democrats have used Senate rules to prevent votes on six of the president's most controversial judicial nominees, even though all six have the support of more than 50 senators.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: If they want to vote against these people, that's their right. But they need to have an up-or-down vote.

KARL: Democrats repeatedly pointed out that most of the president's nominees have been approved.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: We confirmed 98 percent of President Bush's judges and all we got was this lousy T-shirt.

KARL: As the hours went by, tempers flared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not yield.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not yield. I will not yield.

KARL: Conservative Democrat Zell Miller attacked fellow Democrats for blocking the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown, an African-American justice currently on the California Supreme Court

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: They're standing in the doorway and they've got a sign: Conservative African-American women need not apply. And if you have the temerity to do so, your reputation will be shattered and your dignity will be shredded. Gal, you will be lynched.

KARL: That prompted a stern rebuke from (AUDIO GAP) Tom Daschle.

DASCHLE: I think it was unfortunate. I think those within the civil rights leadership who have commented and have asked for an apology are right.

KARL: But, soon, Republicans were demanding an apology from Ted Kennedy, who called the president's nominees right-wing turkeys and declared his determination: SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: To continue to resist any Neanderthal that is nominated by this president of the United States for any court.

KARL (on camera): In the end, it was all talk and no action. After 39 1/2 hours of straight debate, not a single vote was changed.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Capitol Hill.


ZAHN: And when we come back, we'll turn to the Democratic presidential campaign, as John Kerry makes a move that ramps up the money war among the contenders.

And an exclusive interview with Afghanistan's foreign minister. Has the U.S. forgotten the war on terror in that country?

Next week: Private Jessica Lynch calls one American soldier a real hero. He will join us on Monday.


ZAHN: Political analyst extraordinaire Joe Klein -- I'm only saying that because he is sitting across from me -- stops by in a moment with his latest campaign scorecard.

But, first, here's what you need to know right now.

Military officials say one U.S. soldier was killed and two others wounded today when their Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The soldiers were on routine patrol in Baghdad; 44 U.S. troops have now died in Iraq this month alone.

In Louisiana, history will be made tomorrow in the state's run- off election for governor. Republican Bobby Jindal could become Louisiana's first nonwhite elected governor and America's first Indian-American governor. If Democratic Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Blanco wins, she will be the states's first female governor.

Officials in Wilmington, Delaware, have reopened a 17-story downtown office building that had been evacuated today. Inspectors found loose bolts connecting external panels to three floors in the building, but said it was safe. At least 4,800 people were forced to leave that building.

Well, it's Friday night. And that means it's time for our weekly campaign scorecard. How did the presidential candidates do this week?

I'm joined now by "TIME" magazine columnist, regular contributor, Joe Klein.



ZAHN: Let's start with Howard Dean. What kind of week did he have?

KLEIN: Oh, I would give Howard Dean two pluses for this week. He is just rolling along for the nomination.

He got the endorsement of two major labor unions. He's raising a lot of money. And even more important, yesterday, he gave a really solid speech on higher education, making college more available to poor students. And he's done too little of that in this campaign. The only reason why I might be a little bit shaky on these two pluses is that the conventional wisdom now says that he has it all locked up. And the conventional wisdom is always wrong.

ZAHN: Yes, but you're usually right.

Richard Gephardt, how did he do?

KLEIN: Gephardt, I give a solid plus to, because "The Des Moines Register" poll, which is a really reputable poll in Iowa, has Gephardt with a solid lead over Dean, Dean dropping some in Iowa, Gephardt maintaining about a six-point advantage.

ZAHN: But you kind of expected that to happen in his home state, didn't you?

KLEIN: Well, I don't know that he's going to be able to sustain it now that Dean has the service employee union power, all these people who are going to walk the beat for him.

And also, there are a lot of young people who never turned out for the precinct caucuses before who will this year. So Dean is still a formidable contender in Iowa.

ZAHN: Let's move on to John Edwards.

KLEIN: John Edwards gets a plus. Last June, he went on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert and he did a terrible job.

ZAHN: Even he admitted it was disastrous.

KLEIN: He was laughing about it. Last Sunday, he went back and he did a pretty good job.

The other thing about John Edwards is this. The Democrats in Washington are saying, he's running a pretty classy campaign. He has been kind to his opponents, with the exception of the shot that he took at Howard Dean over the Confederate flag. And they're saying that he has shown himself well and is a likely consideree for vice president.

ZAHN: What a turbulent week it was for candidate John Kerry.

KLEIN: Yikes.

ZAHN: Plus, minus? What are you going to give him?

KLEIN: Oh, he gets a minus. He would get a minus just for the stunt of riding onto "The Tonight Show" stage on a motorcycle.


ZAHN: That didn't work for you, Joe?

KLEIN: John Kerry is a serious man. This is a serious process. Do they actually need to do that kind of thing? And, of course, there were all these staff shakeups this week.

ZAHN: We'll eventually see him on the motorcycle. Would you like to reprise that scene for us tonight, Joe?


KLEIN: We didn't see him on the motorcycle?

ZAHN: No, we didn't.

KLEIN: He looked really cool.


ZAHN: There he is.

KLEIN: There he is.

ZAHN: All right, we get the point.

KLEIN: The helmet.

ZAHN: Before we move on, I want to ask you about a piece in "The Wall Street Journal" which said Jim Jordan, the campaign manager, was out because of something you did. Is that true?

KLEIN: Well, the Jordan faction claims that I convinced Kerry to fire him. This is, of course, ridiculous, although flattering. I would love to have that kind of power.

The real story in the Kerry campaign was that the fund-raisers, the prominent fund-raisers, were really distressed with Jordan for inside political sort of reasons that we don't need to go into here. But the Jordan camp has made a weeklong campaign about this firing. And all I have to say is that, if Jim Jordan is right, all you other campaign managers out there, you better be nice to me.

ZAHN: You heard it hear first.

Let's quickly move on to Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark?

KLEIN: Nothing happening with Joe Lieberman, still a minus.

Wesley Clark, double minus. Here's a guy who announced the campaign they'll as the new American patriotism. And this week, he came out in favor of the flag-burning amendment, making flag-burning a crime, which is the exact opposite of what his new American patriotism is supposed to be all about. ZAHN: I live in fear of your grade every night, Joe Klein. Be nice to me next week.

KLEIN: You're lucky I'm not grading you.

ZAHN: Yes, I know I am. Whew.


KLEIN: You get two pluses, Paula.

ZAHN: Oh, listen to him.

KLEIN: Three pluses.

ZAHN: He's in a such good mood, because he's off to the weekend.

Joe Klein, thank you.

KLEIN: To Iowa.

ZAHN: To Iowa. Well, have a good time. Enjoy all that fun food you get to eat at all the little banquets you're going to. Thanks for joining us.

U.S. troops continue to fight and die in Afghanistan, as the hunt for Osama bin Laden continues. We'll ask a top Afghan diplomat, in fact, that country's foreign minister, if the U.S. is doing enough.

And an exclusive interview with the biological father of one of the New Jersey brothers found starving, a man who spent seven years with the boy, before giving him up for adoption.


ZAHN: Today, a U.S. soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. Attacks on coalition forces there have been increasing, even as so much of the nation's attention is focused on Iraq. Today, Secretary of State Powell met with Afghanistan's foreign minister in Washington.

And Foreign Minister Abdullah joins us now.

Welcome, sir. Good to have you with us tonight.


ZAHN: Do you think the war in Iraq has allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda to reconstitute itself in Afghanistan?

ABDULLAH: I would say that, as I was mentioning two years ago around these days, before coming to Kabul, that the first phase of the war in Afghanistan, which is the conventional one, will be over in a matter of weeks, or months at most, but the next phase will be more time-consuming and painstaking.

And we are at exactly that phase at the moment in Afghanistan.

ZAHN: So how close are al Qaeda and the Taliban to prewar levels?

ABDULLAH: No, the -- what is happening today, security incidents from time to time in different parts. And then you see a frequency in it and throughout the phase.

They have lost their bases inside Afghanistan. They will not be able to reverse the situation. They cannot pose a strategic threat for Afghanistan or for the coalition forces in Afghanistan. At the same time, they don't want to admit their defeat in Afghanistan.

ZAHN: So, sir, while you're saying they don't pose a strategic threat, you've got to be concerned about these reports of their resurgence?

ABDULLAH: Of course it is a cause of concern for us. And we will have to deal with it, together with the coalition forces.

And there are areas domestically which we need to address, like changing the environment, reaching to those administratively, in as far as security institutions are concerned, and to take the construction work to those areas. At the same time, we need to continue our engagement with our neighboring country, Pakistan, which most of the incidents which are taking place are related.

ZAHN: Well, President Karzai has made it very clear that the majority of that blame should go to Pakistan. Is that the way you view it?

ABDULLAH: I think, rather than putting the blame on a country, perhaps what President Karzai meant was that Pakistan can do more in stopping those events from taking place.

For example, if Taliban leaders are free to call for jihad and hold meetings and hold press conferences in cities in Pakistan, that's not a constructive attitude. I think these things could be stopped, and it will have a positive impact on the security situation in Afghanistan. There is no doubt about it.

ZAHN: Has the Bush administration lived up to its promises to your country?

ABDULLAH: I think we are grateful for what the United States has been doing in support of Afghanistan. Especially the recent -- recently approved supplemental package for assistance of Afghanistan will enable the country to move further in stabilization efforts in different sections of Afghanistan.

And today, we were discussing at the White House and the State Department ways and means of how to utilizing this package in the best, effective, and efficient manner, in order to show visible signs of reconstruction to the people of Afghanistan.

ZAHN: Finally tonight, are there still Osama bin Laden sightings, or has the trail gone cold?

ABDULLAH: Osama bin Laden, he is not in Afghanistan. But, still, he is active somewhere outside Afghanistan.

And he is trying to connect back to the networks and to the cells which he had in the region while in Afghanistan. He wants to show that he has not been defeated, as I mentioned earlier. And this is also a message for his followers all around the world that they are not being defeated. And I think, while the resolve of the international community should strengthen, and the will of the people of Afghanistan is there. And, together, I think we will be able to overcome these challenges.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your joining us at the end of a very busy day in Washington. Dr. Abdullah, thank you.

ABDULLAH: Thank you.

ZAHN: The four New Jersey brothers allegedly starved by their adoptive parents, did they actually suffer from eating disorders? We'll have an exclusive interview with the biological father of one of them, the 19-year-old who was found weighing 45 pounds.

And a story you thought could not get any more bizarre. Onetime fugitive Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek, former cop, former Playboy bunny, now she's taking TV's Dr. Phil to court. She'll join us.


ZAHN: Now to the latest on the four brothers allegedly starved by their adoptive parents. The story broke after a neighbor spotted the oldest boy, 19-year-old Bruce Jackson, rummaging through a garbage can for food five weeks ago. The adoptive parents, Raymond and Vanessa Jackson, are charged with aggravated assault and child endangerment. They say the children had eating disorders. The Jacksons have the support of their pastor and some in their community.

Right now, though, in an exclusive interview, I'm joined by Bruce Roy. He is the biological father of the oldest boy, the 19-year-old.

Thank you very much for joining us.


ZAHN: What was your reaction when you heard that your son, this 19-year-old boy, was found rummaging through garbage and that he weighed 45 pounds?

ROY: Well, when I saw the picture on television, I wasn't sure that that was my son. When I got the newspaper and I saw the picture, I realized that was my son. And it really -- it really got to me. It knotted my stomach. It made it very hard for me to work, to eat. I just went -- I went sort of like all to pieces. I just didn't feel -- just couldn't deal with a whole lot of things at that particular time.

ZAHN: Of course you know, his adoptive parents say he had a severe eating disorder. And I wanted to put up on the screen something that a member of the Youth and Family Services, one of the case workers, had to say, in which she took notes about many of her visits to the home.

And she wrote, when referring to your son: "He has an eating disorder and depression and never developed fully physically or mentally from being bulimic his whole life."

Were you aware, in the seven years that he lived with you, of any eating disorder he might have had?

ROY: He regurgitated his food at six months.

But my son had a healthy appetite, OK? He would eat his plate and mine at one sitting. And then later on that same evening, he would regurgitate. Now, being bulimic? No. No. My son was never bulimic. So I don't know where that worker got that indication from.

ZAHN: So, basically, you're saying the case worker is lying and the adoptive parents are lying?

ROY: Oh, most definitely.

ZAHN: So, who do you blame for the situation your son finds himself?

ROY: I blame the Jacksons. And I also blame his mom.

I blame the Jacksons, because the Jacksons, if they see that he was regurgitating his food, why didn't they take him to a doctor to get medical treatment? I did when I found out about it and he brought up blood. I took him to Cooper (ph) Medical Center. They did tests. He did no regurgitation yet. He kept all his food down. They let him go. When he got home, he regurgitated again, OK?

So I don't understand why the Jacksons allowed this to go on. I watched a piece on "60 Minutes II." And they got him on film regurgitating right in front of the camera. So I don't believe that they even tried.

ZAHN: Let's share with the audience, to make sure this story is fair about your ex-wife, who you mentioned...


ROY: She's not my ex-wife.

ZAHN: Or his biological mother. Excuse me. I said that incorrectly.

What she has said about your relationship with your son. Let's listen.


JOANNE PRINCIPAL, MOTHER OF BRUCE JACKSON: He was abusive, physically and verbally. I just couldn't handle it anymore. But I would always be there for my son. I just want to make it clear that I didn't give him up. I always thought about him. I prayed for him.


ZAHN: Your reaction to that?

ROY: My reaction to that is, Joanne Principal lives in a fantasy world. Joanne Principal -- and I'm not trying to slander her. But the trust be known, she left him when he was only 5 months old.

ZAHN: And she, of course, charges that you were an unfit parent.

ROY: Well, she was never around. I was a fit parent. I even tried to keep her in his life, and she refused.

ZAHN: We tried to contact her. And we were not able to reach her.

But just a final thought on your prayers for your son.

ROY: Prayers for my son is that I want him -- I would like to see him again, so that we can rebuild the relationship we had. We had a good relationship when he was with me, OK? I was never abusive with him. I did everything I could to help him. And when I found out that he was -- when he had that -- like I said, I took him to the hospital.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your sharing your side of the story with us this evening. And, once again, we were not able to get any contact with your son's biological mother.


ZAHN: I appreciate you dropping by. We, unfortunately, have got to move on.

ROY: Oh, OK.

ZAHN: Because we're hitting this commercial break. But maybe we'll have you back another time.


ZAHN: Thank you, Mr. Roy.

ROY: Thank you.

ZAHN: She was one of the nation's most infamous fugitives, onetime Playboy bunny, former cop, convicted murderer. Now so many years later, why is Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek suing TV host Dr. Phil?

We'll ask her.


ZAHN: She is a former Playboy bunny and a convicted killer. Now Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek is suing TV's Dr. Phil for false imprisonment. She claims the show staff held her against her will. And Bembenek says, when she tried to escape, she fell and had to have her leg amputated. It's the latest chapter in a tumultuous life that first made headlines more than 20 years ago.


ZAHN (voice-over): The saga of the woman the world came to know as Bambi began one morning in May 1981. The ex-wife of her police officer husband, Fred Schultz, was found shot to death. Police quickly set their sights on Lawrencia Bembenek.

The former Playboy bunny, herself a former Milwaukee cop, was tried, convicted, and spent 10 years in a Wisconsin prison cell. Then Bambi, assisted by her new boyfriend, escaped to Canada. But when her true identity was discovered, it set off a tug of war for her return. In the end, the state of Wisconsin cut a deal with Bambi, a no-contest plea for a sentence of time served.

Yet many questions remained. Was Bambi a murderer, or was she, as she always claimed, set up to take the fall by the real killer?


ZAHN: And to talk about her lawsuit against Dr. Phil, Laurie Bembenek joins us from Portland, Oregon. And tonight, joining us from Culver City, California, is her attorney Steve Bernard.

Welcome to both of you.

So, Bambi -- or, Laurie, let's quickly set up the scenario here. You had flown in to be a guest on Dr. Phil's show. There was going to be this DNA test that was going to reveal, you thought, your innocence, and you found yourself in this hotel room. What happened? What went wrong?



ZAHN: You were originally going to be at the Renaissance Hotel. I'm sorry. Then they moved you to an apartment building, correct?


ZAHN: OK. And then what happened?

BEMBENEK: Oh, they pretty much held me prisoner. I suddenly discovered that I was in a room without a television, without a telephone, no radio. And they wanted to take my cell phone away from me, which was my only form of communication with my terminally ill father.

ZAHN: But even you admit the doors weren't locked. So why didn't you just leave?

BEMBENEK: They wouldn't let me. They wouldn't let me leave.

ZAHN: What do you allege they said to keep you there?

BEMBENEK: Well, they told me that I could not go anywhere unescorted. And I felt anxious. And I eventually had a panic attack. I felt claustrophobic. I begged them to be able to leave and just go for a walk by myself. And they told me I was not allowed to go anywhere.

ZAHN: And then you took this terrible fall, which led to the amputation of your leg, correct?

BEMBENEK: Yes. I lost my right leg.

ZAHN: And why didn't you file criminal charges then at that point?

BEMBENEK: I'd like to defer that question to my lawyer.

ZAHN: OK, Mr. Bernard, why don't you answer that, and then I want to give you a response from Dr. Phil's show to all of this.


ZAHN: Why wait to file those charges?

BERNARD: Well, after her fall, Laurie Bembenek spent approximately six weeks in the hospital. She had multiple surgeries. Her concern and focus certainly wasn't on filing criminal charges. Her focus was on losing her leg, dealing with all of the ramifications of that, her emotional instability, and her concern just to carry on with her life and deal with these injuries and the emotional impact of those injuries.

ZAHN: All right, and, Mr. Bernard, I want to put up on the screen now what the "Dr. Phil" is saying -- quote -- "We, of course, feel it is unfortunate that she hurt her leg during an apparent prank" -- that's what they call it -- "when she left her room through a window less than an hour after arriving, rather than using the front door, not 10 feet away. We think her claims have no merit."


ZAHN: What kind of a case do you really think you have, Mr. Bernard?

BERNARD: Hearing that, that this was a prank, is just mind- boggling to me. They took my client to an apartment, not to a hotel. They didn't tell her what they were doing. They surprised her. They bring her into a room with no televisions, with no telephone. They take away her source of communication. My client sees that somebody else is in the apartment and is going to be living with her in the apartment.

ZAHN: Mr. Bernard, we unfortunately have got to leave it there.

BERNARD: All right.

ZAHN: Bambi, Mr. Bernard, thank you for your time.

That's it for all of us.

BERNARD: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks for joining us tonight. Good night.



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