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Justice For Families of Sniper Victims?; Jonestown Massacre 25 Years Later

Aired November 17, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: "In Focus" tonight: John Allen Muhammad guilty on all counts. Will the verdict bring any peace to the families who lost loved ones in the deadly sniper spree?
Twenty-five years after the Jonestown massacre, the memories of the tragedy are still burned into the American psyche. Tonight, exclusive: A survivor of that terrible day breaks her silence.

And his first live national interview, we'll meet the soldier who Jessica Lynch calls her hero.

Good evening. Welcome to a brand new week here.

Also ahead tonight, the battle over John Hinckley Jr. and whether the man who shot President Reagan will be able to leave a mental hospital unescorted to visit his parents.

And the Army has 290 Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq as it investigates the latest crash this weekend that killed 17. What should be done to make the fleet safer?

Plus, protests have already begun as the Brits gets set for President Bush's visit tomorrow. We will look at the grim state of public support for him in Britain.

Also, Rush Limbaugh back on the air after drug rehab. What did he mean today when he told his listeners he can no longer live his life by making other people happy?

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

President Bush says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq even after a provisional Iraqi government takes over. The president's comments today came after Iraq's Governing Council said over the weekend that a new government should be in place by the end of June.

Arnold Schwarzenegger took the oath of office today to become California's new governor. He said he was humbled, moved and honored, and calling Californians to put aside the rancor of the past, a reference to the state's bitter recall election.

A defeat for the defense today in the Scott Peterson preliminary hearing. The judge ruled the state can now use DNA evidence to show a hair on Peterson's boat probably belonged to his pregnant wife, Laci. Peterson is charged with murdering her and their unborn child. The suspected mastermind behind the D.C.-area sniper shootings was found guilty of capital murder today. The same jury that returned that verdict must now decide if John Allen Muhammad lives or dies.

"In Focus" tonight, the verdict against Muhammad.

We begin with Jeanne Meserve, who is standing by in Virginia Beach this evening -- good evening, Jeanne


Life and death the question now before the jury, after John Muhammad was found guilty on all four counts, including terrorism and capital murder, both of which carry a possible death penalty. Muhammad betrayed absolutely no emotion, though a couple jurors seemed to struggle to hold their emotions in check. And the sisters of one of his victims sobbed in the courtroom.

Afterwards, the family members of several victims said they were pleased with the verdict.


VIJAY WALEKAR, BROTHER OF SNIPER VICTIM: Yes, I always had faith in the jury that they would convict him. But anything can happen at the last minute. So I just held my fingers crossed waiting to see what happened. And when they finally came up with all the four counts that he's guilty, I was very much relieved.


MESERVE: The trial has already moved on to the question of whether Muhammad should die for his crimes or spend the rest of his life in prison. Prosecutor Richard Conway characterized Muhammad as the worst of the worst, and said, he before you not showing a shred of remorse.

However, defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro characterized Muhammad as a man of worth and value who had friends and admirers. He said, "Your decision will put John Muhammad in a box of one sort of another. One is made of concrete. One is made of pine" -- Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: A pretty compelling way to state that. Jeanne Meserve, thanks for the update tonight.

For more on the sniper verdict, we're joined in the studio by regular contributor and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Good evening.


ZAHN: So let's talk about the six hours that it took the jury to make this decision. Does that indicate to you that they had their minds made up well in advance of going into this room? TOOBIN: Well, I wouldn't put it that way.

I think the case is just simply overwhelming. Yes, if they stopped to evaluate all 136 witnesses, it probably would have taken longer than six hours. But this was just an enormously powerful case, overwhelming evidence. They probably just took one or two votes and recognized they were all in agreement and just decided to render their verdict.

ZAHN: If you don't mind standing by, Jeffrey, I want to come back to you in a moment.

Right now, the jury convicted, as we said, Muhammad of murdering Dean Harold Meyers. And his brother, Bob, now joins us also from Virginia Beach.

Bob, thank you so much for joining us tonight.


ZAHN: Do you think Mr. Muhammad should be given the death penalty?

MEYERS: Yes, I do.

The basis of that is that I really do believe that capital punishment is appropriate in some cases. And this case is among the most heinous. Maybe if it just included one victim. But, certainly with so many, it certainly is in a category that would be appropriate for capital punishment.

ZAHN: I don't think any of us could possibly understand what it must be like to be in your shoes tonight. I know you've been asked to make a victims impact statement. Can you share with us this evening anything you might say?

MEYERS: Well, actually, my understanding, if I do do that, will be in response to questions. So I'm not really sure exactly what will be asked of me.

But should that opportunity come, I'm sure that I'll have the opportunity to extol the virtues of my brother and the impact that his loss has had on our family and will continue as long as we all live.

ZAHN: Your brother Dean is considered a great patriot. He served in Vietnam. He was a very generous citizen when he came home from that war, completely torn physically and emotionally by it. How much is he on your mind this evening?

MEYERS: Oh, very much so.

Whenever we're in Virginia Beach and are involved in the trial, the thoughts are even more enormous than they normally are. But he's always in our thoughts. And we always, I'm sure, will have that open wound of what happened to him. Even though we might have the opportunity to take steps closer and closer to closure, my sense is, it will be perpetually elusive.

ZAHN: Bob, if you don't mind standing by, I want to bring Jeffrey into our conversation.

You heard Bob say, the death penalty would be the right thing to do for John Allen Muhammad. What is it the defense has to do to keep him off death row?

TOOBIN: Well, this was kind of a mystery, because we never really knew what the defense strategy was. They only called six witnesses, a few sort of very fan tangential witnesses, at the guilt phase.

But here in the opening statements in the penalty phase, we saw that there will be a great deal of focus on John Muhammad's background, the fact that he was an orphan. His mother died very young of cancer, raised by a sibling, terrible conditions, and the fact that there was no witness who said that Muhammad fired the gun. Those two things, the defense hopes, gets just one juror. And, remember, that's all they need, one juror to say, look, life in prison is OK, death penalty, no.

ZAHN: And, Bob, just a final thought tonight, what it is like for you and the rest of the victims' families as you await this decision?

MEYERS: Actually, there's some anticipation of it.

But speaking for myself, I'm willing to wait for the process to be fully played out. And it's OK if it takes a little time. What I think is most important is that the result is the correct one.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your joining us after such a long, painful day.

Bob Meyers, again, good of you to drop by.

MEYERS: Thank you. Thank you.

ZAHN: And the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan may be one step closer to gaining some freedom. John Hinckley Jr. has been in a mental hospital since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity more than 20 years ago. But a hearing is under way now to determine if Hinckley is healthy enough to go on unsupervised visits to his parents' home.

Joining us from Washington is Michael Sokolove, a contributing writer to "The New York Times," who's just written a major article on Hinckley. And back with us, Jeffrey Toobin. The guy who hasn't moved in the last five minutes.

Welcome, Michael.

What happened in court today?

MICHAEL SOKOLOVE, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, John Hinckley's lawyer began laying out the case that has essentially recovered his sanity and that he is no longer a danger to others or to himself.

He called him the least dangerous person on the planet, which is certainly an overstatement. But, more importantly, he called the first of many psychiatrists who will testify that Hinckley's psychosis and depression have been in remission now for over a decade.

ZAHN: What is it that most of us don't know about John Hinckley today?

SOKOLOVE: Well, I think that one thing, certainly, that he had a girlfriend inside Saint Elizabeth's Hospital for quite a while, a woman who was also very mentally ill, who had shot her young 10-year- old daughter while her daughter was sleeping.

They developed a relationship, John Hinckley and this woman. They considered themselves engaged for a while. They no longer do consider themselves engaged. But she is the one that brings him the cat food to feed the cats at Saint Elizabeth, which is one of his pastimes in this big, nearly empty mental hospital that he inhabits.

ZAHN: Help us understand tonight, Jeffrey, what it is the judge has to decide here. Basically, you have to have the government having to agree with the medical experts


ZAHN: Well...

TOOBIN: What it means to be found not guilty by reason of insanity is that, in effect, you are required to stay in prison until you are no longer insane.

The legal system has never satisfactory come up with a definition, A, of what insanity is, and, B, when you're better. But it's up to Judge Paul Friedman to evaluate all the evidence he gets and say whether Hinckley is free enough to go.

ZAHN: And you worked for that judge at one point.

TOOBIN: I did. Paul Friedman and I were prosecutors together. He was my boss. He's a very smart, he's also a very cautious guy.

And I anticipate that the result here will not be a smashing victory for either side. But Hinckley has been allowed gradually more freedom. He's had supervised visits off-campus, as it were. I anticipate there will be more gradual movement in that direction. But he's not a guy to make dramatic changes, I don't think.

ZAHN: And, Michael, finally, I'm going to put up on the screen something Ronald Reagan Jr. told you -- quote -- "He was just trying to impress a girl. I don't think that's changed. I think he's still the grown-up baby that he was."

Just a final thought on what this all means?

SOKOLOVE: Well, I think Ron Reagan Jr. is representing the thoughts of probably most Americans. There's certainly no groundswell to release someone who shot the president. On the other hand, the law is very clear in saying that, first of all, he's not guilty and, second of all, when he's considered well, he's free to go.

ZAHN: Michael Sokolove, thank you for sharing your piece with us this evening.

SOKOLOVE: You're welcome.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, thank you for sitting so nicely there this evening for us.


TOOBIN: I'm good at sitting nicely.

ZAHN: And it has been 25 years since the Jonestown massacre. Why did so many people kill themselves at Jim Jones' People's Temple. I'll talk to a survivor who is breaking her silence after 25 years.

Also, what kind of welcome awaits President Bush in Great Britain? From the looks of things so far, not very warm. Well, you can't tell by that picture. We'll let you see some of the other ones.

And a conservative voice returns, Rush Limbaugh back from rehab, back on the air.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think what I went through in these last five weeks is as important as the first grade, and maybe the second grade.




MICHAEL DURANT, FORMER U.S. HELICOPTER PILOT: There's no air traffic control that's guiding these aircraft to stay away from each other. And when you're trying to fly low-level tactics in a challenging environment like that is, the potential, unfortunately, does exist for a midair collision.


ZAHN: Michael Durant speaks from experience. The Black Hawk helicopter he was piloting was shot down in Somalia 10 years ago.

The Army's Black Hawks are soaring symbols of American might, but they're also vulnerable; 17 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Saturday in a midair collision between two Black Hawks. It's just the latest deadly crash involving the choppers which play a crucial role for the United States in Iraq.

Here's our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of the 620 Army helicopters operating in Iraq, almost half, 290, are Black Hawks, the workhorse of the Army fleet since they began replacing the venerable Hueys used during the Vietnam War.

With a range of 368 miles, the UH-60 Black Hawk can fly much farther than the old Huey and can carry much heavier loads, along with a full squad of 12 combat troops. And with armor that withstands .23- millimeter shells and armor-protective seats for the pilot and co- pilot, the Black Hawk is vastly more survivable than its Vietnam-era predecessor.

Still, as anyone who saw the movie "Black Hawk Down" remembers, they can be brought down by a single rocket-propelled grenade if it hits a critical spot. It's an Achilles heel that has proven even more deadly in Iraq, with four recent crashes possibly caused by ground fire, including Saturday's, when two Black Hawks collided near Mosul, killing 17 U.S. soldiers, although mechanical failure has not been ruled out in that crash.

A week before that incident, the Army's acting secretary ordered a review to ensure the most effective defensive systems were on all U.S. helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding a handwritten post- script, "This is urgent."

(on camera): But Black Hawks already have all the latest protective systems. And there may be little the Army can do, except to employ the standard defensive tactic, namely, vary routes, fly at night when possible, and stay low to minimize the time an enemy can target them.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


ZAHN: And today in Iraq, two U.S. soldiers were killed north of Baghdad. As the casualties grow, so do the questions about security in Iraq.

To find out what it feels like right now to be there, we get the very latest from CNN analyst Ken Pollack, who has just arrived in Baghdad.

Ken, thanks so much for joining us.

I know this is your first trip there. What is your sense of vulnerability?

KENNETH POLLACK, CNN ANALYST: Well, in all honesty, Paula, I'm in a fairly protected facility right now.

And Baghdad, the security environment seems a little bit -- it's very mixed. There are definitely parts of the city that are off- limits to Americans. Yesterday, we were actually up in Sadr City, which is the main Shia slum, a very nasty place. The security folks I was with were getting very nervous that we were up there and really wanted to get out as soon as they could.

There are other parts of the city which are pretty calm. And, in fact if you go into the green zone, which is the U.S.-protected zone in the heart of the city, you would have a hard time even realizing you were in Baghdad.

ZAHN: Why is that? Describe to us what it might look like.

POLLACK: Well, it's a bit of a surreal environment.

Everything inside the green zone is very well-protected. It's very peaceful. There isn't the same kind of noise that you get in the streets of Baghdad. People walk around. They just seem to have a very different walk about them. They just feel safer inside the green zone. And, of course, the green zone is also where Saddam's loyalists do try, as best they can, to disrupt activity.

So fairly frequently, a few times a night, they will lob -- I'm sorry -- a few times a week, at night, they will lob mortar bombs into the green zone facility. But the green zone is so large, it rarely does a whole lot of damage. And so, within that green zone, American personnel feel very protected.

But, of course, what you also hear from Iraqis and other Americans is that, by staying in that green zone, the Americans are really cut off from the vast bulk of the Iraqi population.

ZAHN: And what are Iraqis telling you in general about this timetable that is being openly talked about here, the provisional government perhaps taking over as early as June. Do they think that's workable?

POLLACK: Well, first of all, let me be careful, because, of course, no matter how many Iraqis I speak to, it's only a small sample of the whole Iraqi population.

But what I can say is that, at least here in Baghdad, talking to people across the political spectrum, I have heard a good bit of concern. Most Iraqis really don't care for the U.S. presence here, but they also recognize that their society right now is still pretty unstable. And they seem to be mostly very fearful that, if the United States were to pull out, civil war would erupt. And, as a result, all of these announcements by the United States over the last week or so really have a lot of Iraqis on edge a little bit.

They don't know what they mean. And they are very fearful, despite the constant reassurances from President Bush. They're still very fearful that, really, what this means is that the U.S. is looking for an exit strategy.

ZAHN: And what is the reaction there to Saddam's latest tape?

POLLACK: Well, again, being careful not to generalize too much, recognizing that I'm only speaking to a small segment of the population, Saddam's tape itself does not seem to have had a major impact.

To the extent that it does seem to affect Iraqi thinking, to the extent that I hear about it from Iraqis, I'm hearing it kind of fed into these larger concerns about the other statements made by President Bush, made by the head of the CPA, Jerry Bremer. They see it as possibly another sign of what could happen if the United States does withdraw, that Saddam is still out there. He still has forces loyal to them. And while he clearly isn't nearly as possible as he once was, this could be the sign of a future civil war if the U.S. pulls out.

ZAHN: Ken Pollack, always thanks you for your insights.

And the Jonestown massacre 25 years later. I'll be talking with one person who barely made it out alive and is only now breaking her silence after 25 years.

And 14,000 British bobbies on duty to help protect President Bush in London, unprecedented security, as tens of thousands of protesters are expected to greet him.


ZAHN: Thousands of protesters are expected to confront President Bush, or at least try to, as he begins a four-day state visit to Britain tomorrow. They may have trouble getting anywhere near him. More than 10,000 police will be on duty. Even so, today, one protester got her message across.

Chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dubbed fortress London for President Bush's visit, tight security in the British capital has already been breached, albeit by a lone woman armed with no more than an upside down U.S. flag bearing a message to the queen of England. "Elizabeth Windsor and Co., he's not welcome," it says.

But once the president touches down, police insist, kid gloves will be off, 14,000 police officers, nearly three times the number they announced just last week, concrete barriers, positions for rooftop marksmen, metal detectors just some of the added precautions. What about shutting down London, as the U.S. Secret Service wanted? No way, says Scotland Yard. Besides, says London's mayor, the U.S. could learn a thing or two from the British.

KEN LIVINGSTONE, MAYOR OF LONDON: We haven't had a prime minister assassinated in this country for 190 years.

AMANPOUR: Police confirmed they have received no specific terrorist threat against President Bush. Perhaps the biggest disruption will come from anti-war protesters, who brought out one million people before the Iraq war and who estimate tens of thousands will turn out during the presidential visit. A new poll here says 60 percent of Britons consider Bush a threat to world peace.

(on camera): None of this seems to faze his host and staunchest ally, Tony Blair, who, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, says this is the best time for the president to make a state visit. Perhaps, though, it's the normally staid "Financial Times" newspaper that captures the reality: "Blair faces hangover when the party ends and his guest is gone."

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.


ZAHN: And he led his followers to the jungles of South America, ultimately to their death -- Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy 25 years later. We're going to talk with someone who lived through the violence and is speaking out for the very first time.

And think you know everything about Jessica Lynch? I'll be talking to the soldier Jessica says is her hero in his first live national interview.



LIMBAUGH: Many people feel and think that, when you go to a rehabilitation center for addictions or other things, that the people in there turn you into a linguine-spined liberal. And that's not true.


ZAHN: Rush Limbaugh's radio listeners got their first taste of post-rehab Rush today. We'll hear more of what he had to say.

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

The government is imposing some new air security measures. Officials say screening will start as soon as possible for freight carried by both cargo and passenger planes. The inspections will cover domestic and international flights.

And take a look at this dramatic rescue. It took place in Texas. Dangerous weather is pounding the state. High winds, heavy rains, possibly tornadoes caused a lot of flooding, damaged buildings and uprooted cars. Very lucky man indeed.

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, more than 900 people died as part of a mass murder, and suicide in a small enclave in South America. Most were followers of a charismatic religious leader names Jim Jones. Among the dead was a U.S. congressman who went to Guyana to look into reports on what was going on.

Charles Feldman looks back at the shocking events of Jonestown.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because of Jonestown drinking the Kool-Aid has become synonymous with blind loyalty. 25 years ago, South American nation of Guyana, more than 900 followers mostly U.S. followers of cult leader Jim Jones were ordered or forced to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid punch, turning their dream of heaven on earth into a hell a few could have imagined. A U.S. congressman who led a delegation to Jonestown to investigate claims that Jones' followers were being imprisoned and abused was shot dead. Jones himself was discovered later with a bullet in his brain. To this day, no one knows whether it was suicide or murder.

As soon as she got out of high school, my aunt sent her to Jonestown. We never, ever heard from her again.

FELDMAN: Jynona Norwood, a California pastor was lucky in a way. Her distrust of Jim Jones prevented her from going to Jonestown, but her family paid an enormous price, nevertheless.

JYNONA NORWOOD, LOST RELATIVES AT JONESTOWN: Twenty-seven people in my family died in Jonestown, including my mother. The youngest person in our family that died was 3-months-old.

What could the babies do?

FELDMAN, (on camera): The history of the world is filled with those who seek utopia, but no one realized at the time that Jim Jones' sick mind was prepared to annihilate his own followers as a price of admission.

(voice-over): Jonestown, of course, did not happen in a cultural vacuum, few things do. In 1978, the U.S. still was convulsed by the Vietnam War and the swirling current of peace and the civil rights movements. The search for alternatives to organized religion was in high gear. Can another Jonestown massacre happen? In a way, it already has.

NORWOOD: I don't think we have really learned anything from the massacre at Jonestown, because the Waco's are still happening. Heaven's Gate is still happening. You know, September 11, is still happening.

FELDMAN: Yet that event so long ago, that mass act about inhumanity seems to fit within a category all by itself. Jonestown was a place that was supposed to uplift the soul. Instead, it has brought about a quarter of a century of soul-searching.

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.


ZAHN: More now on Jonestown from three people who will always have a connection to that terrible, terrible day.

In Sacramento state Senator Jackie Speier. She was with Congressman Leo Ryan on that airstrip when the shooting began. She laid there 22 hours for waiting for help. Two bullets are still in her body. This is the first time she has spoken about it on television in 25 years.

And in San Francisco, the woman you met minister Jynona Norwood, and Deborah Layton. She left Jonestown six months before the mass suicides and murders, and now speaks to college students about cults and has written "Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple."

Thank you all for joining us tonight.

Jackie, I'd live to start with you. We mentioned you joined Representative Ryan on his trip to Guyana. You almost lost your life. Describe to us what happened.

JACKIE SPEIER, CALIF. STATE SENATOR: I was loading passengers on to the two planes, many of them wanting to leave Jonestown, and all of a sudden, the shots range out. I wasn't even really familiar enough with them to know what was happening. People ran into the brush, some under the plane. I ran under the plane, along with Congressman Ryan and tried to hide by a wheel, pretending that I was dead. Then they came among us and shot us as point-blank range. The congressman was shot 45 times and I was shot five times.

ZAHN: Did you think you were going to die there?

SPEIER: Of course I thought I was going to die. I was 28 years old thinking my god, I thought I had my whole life in front of me, and this is it. And then, as the time went on, and I was still alive, I thought I'm just not going to make my grandmother live through my funeral if I can avoid it. So I dragged myself to the plane's baggage compartment and someone pushed me inside. Of course, the plane was going nowhere, because there was bullet holes through the engine and wheels. And eventually I was taken out and placed on the side of the airstrip where I spent 22 hours without medical attention.

ZAHN: You had a premonition that things may go badly, didn't you?

SPEIER: I did, in part because I had done all the research, I had interviewed many defectors, listened to a lot of interviews and I really thought there was danger there, so much so I made the purchase of a condominium that I was buying in Arlington, Virginia, contingent on my surviving the trip.

ZAHN: Just eerie to even think about it.

Debbie, you joined the cult when you were 18-years-old, and I know you initially thought this Jim Jones had the potential to bring races together for embracing humanitarian issues.

At what point did you realize you might be in trouble?

DEBORAH LAYTON, AUTHOR: I'd love to say I knew it right away. At 17, I was so excited about joining something that seemed like the Peace Corps and Jim Jones was so well-known in San Francisco. He was head of the San Francisco Housing Authority and director of the Human Rights Commission. And it wasn't until I was about 20 and I was a financial secretary and I was flying to Panama and Switzerland, not because I was a math whiz, but because I was innocent and malleable. And it was flying home that I became frightened, and thought maybe, maybe something was wrong here, and maybe I should call somebody and run away, but I didn't know who to call. I mean, Jonestown now has coined the definition of a cult. Had I run then, no one would have actually listened, I don't think.

ZAHN: And you learned about what Jim Jones called "white night" calls. What were those?

LAYTON: Once I traveled to Jonestown with my mother, towards the very, very end, taking her to what I thought was a paradise. And movies that we saw coming up from Jonestown were beautiful. I saw verandas and homes and flowers. When my mother and I arrived there, I realized we entered a concentration camp. There were guards there with guns. And at night we worked from 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 at night in the fields, and then we only were given a few hours of sleep at night, and then sirens would come in the middle of the jungle.

We were wired up only for sound for Jim Jones' voice and sirens. And we would be waken from deathly sleep and told to run to the pavilion, that the mercenaries, the American Government was in the jungle there to kill us. And as preposterous as it sounds now, I knew I wanted to escape Jonestown the minute I got there, but I believed Jim Jones, when he said that there were people in the jungle, I heard gunshots there, and we did have suicide drills, many.

ZAHN: Jynona, you talk about the heartbreak of losing some 27 members of your family, including almost a brand-new baby.

Why weren't you taken in by this?

NORWOOD: I had a sinking feeling that something was wrong with him. I never trusted Jim Jones when my family -- which was his first family to join out of San Francisco. My grandmother built his church. He used to brag about that all the time. And he came and sent Pastor Archie Iams (ph) and many of his other associates to tell me that I was to be the assistant youth pastor because I had my own ministry. And I could not get with him. I never trusted him. I had a bad feeling about him, and I begged my family, please leave this church. This man is dangerous. Listen to some of the things that he's saying and the things that he demands that you do.

He was dominating. He was manipulative. And if you did not do what he said -- asked you to do, you were threatened and punished, punishment and reward. And so, he coined me as a quack, you know, there's something wrong with her, you know, she's one of those fake believers and Christians. If she will come with me, she will be great and mighty. And nothing he could offer me did I like, because I never could trust him. As much as I wanted to join people's temple, because my whole family was in there except for a couple uncles, I couldn't do it.

ZAHN: Jackie, you have waited 25 years to tell your story on national television. As you look back on the horror of what we all witnessed, simply by even looking at the pictures there, what is it you think we have learned?

SPEIER: Well, in many respects, we haven't learned enough. The likelihood of another Jonestown occurring is just as great today as it was 25-years-ago. There are still over 1,000 cults operating in the United States, and around the world. And we, in determines of the government, have always looked the other way because of our great appreciation for the first amendment, and freedom of religion, we have allowed many of these cults to operate outside the law, and yet we've never taken action to make them responsible for their acts. So issues like tax evasion or social security fraud, or sexual abuse, all took place at Jonestown, and yet the government never took action.

ZAHN: Well, we thank all three of you for sharing your stories with us this evening. Jackie Speier, Jynona Norwood, and Deborah Layton, we very much appreciate your time. Good luck to you all.

And this man stepped into the ambush that nearly took the life of Jessica Lynch, in his first live national interview, we will meet Patrick Miller the soldier Jessica Lynch says is the real hero.

And Rush Limbaugh fresh out of drug rehab, back on the air, will his listeners forgive him for his addiction.

And tomorrow Martha Stewart's case back in court. We'll have the latest for you.


ZAHN: After the media coverage, TV movie and her new book, millions know the story of Private First-Class Jessica Lynch, but even with her capture and time as a prisoner, and rescue she says she's no hero. She gives that credit to a 23-year-old army mechanic. Army Private First Class Patrick Miller was in Lynch's convoy, took fire, was taken prisoner.

To tell his story, he is here now for his first live national interview. What an honor to meet you. Welcome, private.


ZAHN: I wanted to start off by talking about what Jessica Lynch has to say about you. She said, "Patrick is a brave soldier, risking his life as he did to save others. I am proud of his courage." You came tonight with a silver star that you were awarded for your heroism.

MILLER: Yes, ma'am.

ZAHN: How do you view yourself? And actually I would love for you to open it and share it with your audience tonight. That's got to mean an awful lot to you. Hold it up to the camera so we can see.

When you got that, what did it mean to you? MILLER: I really -- it's nice to be awarded medals and stuff, but for me, I am not -- I didn't join the military to win medals and that kind of stuff. I joined to -- because that's what I wanted to do at the time.

ZAHN: And you certainly did your job that night. It is true that during this whole encounter, eight Iraqis were shoot. You admit you weren't much of a marksman, in fact, you had a jammed weapon that night.


ZAHN: How did you survive?

MILLER: There's a forward assist that pushes the bolt forward. My round, it would fire, but -- and it would eject the casing, but it wouldn't push the next round all the way into the chamber, so I had to push on the forward-assist to get the bolt to push the round all the way into the chamber.

ZAHN: And once you survived that, of course you were captured, taken prisoner, and I understand you did just about anything you could do to drive your captors nuts.

What did you do?

MILLER: A little bit of everything. When they first captured me, they found my can of chew and tobacco, and asked me what it was, and I guess they don't have chewing tobacco over there, so I told them it was candy.

ZAHN: Did any of them try it?

MILLER: Yes, a couple tried it.

ZAHN: Did they get sick.

MILLER: Ended up throwing up, seeing their breakfast again.

ZAHN: That must have delighted you.

MILLER: I was trying not to laugh too much, because it was just -- I didn't know what would happen if I started laughing at them for throwing up.

ZAHN: Don't you feel you are lucky to be alive and the fact that you could at a point where your life was at risk, and you could have died at any moment that you could laugh at a little trick you pulled.

MILLER: You -- it was one of them deals you had to laugh inside. You couldn't really laugh like at them, because you didn't know what they would do and that kind of stuff. And it was that then the radio frequencies that were in my Kevlar, I told them they were prices for power steering pumps.

ZAHN: And they believed it? MILLER: They believed it and threw them in the fire, the little fire they had going.

ZAHN: They were pretty stupid, weren't they?

MILLER: Apparently.

ZAHN: Well, you were lucky that they weren't swifter than that. Private Miller, we really salute your bravery and we're delighted to honor your heroism this evening. Good luck to you.

MILLER: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks for sharing your story.

And Rush Limbaugh is back on the air waves. That's not Rush that's Private Miller.

After a stint in drug rehab, will he face criminal charges over his painkiller addiction?

And the President Bush is about to leave for Britain to meet the queen. But will the subjects roll out the red carpet for the American President?


ZAHN: For the first time since October 10, radio listeners were able to hear Rush Limbaugh live. The conservative host returned to the air today after five weeks of treatment for an addiction to painkillers.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You can boil it down to one real simple essence. I can't be responsible for anybody's happiness but my own, and if I allow somebody else the power to determine my happiness, then -- well, that's something I don't want to do.


ZAHN: Joining us to talk about Limbaugh's return, from Washington syndicated columnist and commentator Armstrong Williams. In Boston tonight, Howie Carr of WRKO Radio. Welcome, gentlemen.

Hello. So, Armstrong, what did Rush mean by that, living through other people's expectations?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: You know, it could be he was dealing with something in his personal life. I just think that over the last month, he has had an opportunity to think and reflect on some things and work some things through. Obviously he's still struggling to sort of put his drug situation behind him, and we know that's a challenge.

And I just think he just wants to stop trying to please other people and do what is in his best interests and reconnect with those people who are the reasons as to why he's had this success all along. I just think that he's done some soul-searching, and that's always good, Paula.

ZAHN: I guess it is for all of us, but Howie, this is the question I have for you. He also talked about the issue of hypocrisy and how what he's said in the past isn't necessarily counter to what he has preached. How do you think his listeners are going to react to this transitional period?

HOWIE CARR, WRKO RADIO: I think there was a poll that came out today, Paula, that said -- I think Gallup Poll, 50 percent of the conservatives still have a favorable opinion, but 35 percent of the conservatives don't. That's a bad sign. I think if you look at people who have been outed, people who have set themselves up as moral arbiters, whether it's Laura Schlessinger, Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett, they have never been able to quite reach the heights that they had before they were shown to have feet of clay. And in Rush's case, he admitted today he's been basically a junkie for the last seven or eight years, and I think still he faces criminal jeopardy here, or he would have told us more about what -- about his complaints about the "National Enquirer's" breaking of the story.

ZAHN: Armstrong, do you have less respect for him now after what has happened to him?

WILLIAMS: Of course not. I mean, I think most Americans have tremendous respect for him. He's human, he has flaws like all of us. I think, you know, you can have all the polls that you like. I think most people will have given him a chance to come back. I think people are watching him with a careful eye. I think people are really praying for him, rooting for him, because I mean, he reminds us of all of us that sometimes -- sometimes we don't always practice what we preach, but he's taken responsibility for his actions, and he realized that he doesn't want to be a hypocrite anymore, he wants to do better. Maybe he's learned from the days of Oprah. You remember how Oprah used to generate her ratings so long ago, but then she decided she did not want to go to that denominator anymore, that she wanted to rise above that.

ZAHN: Will that work, Howie?

CARR: No, I think he's -- I think the problem he's got here is that so much of his show, Paula, is built around or has been built around entertainment, and a lot of that is making fun of people, whether it's bums with, you know, "Ain't Got a Home" song, or you know, Barney Frank, the congressman, played "My Boy Lollipop." I mean, who really, you know, who was more of a disappointment to their constituents, I mean, Barney Frank who fixed a few parking tickets for his gay lover, or Rush Limbaugh buying tens of thousands of illegal drugs out on the street.

ZAHN: We will close with that question tonight. Armstrong Williams and Howie Carr, and let his listeners decide. Thank you both for joining us tonight. London is getting ready for the arrival of the American president, but it looks like it will be less than a warm welcome. Can George W. Bush mend any fences with the British people?


ZAHN: President Bush is heading to Britain tomorrow for a state visit. Where is the welcome mat? Though best of friends as nations, there's not a whole lot of love in London for the commander in chief. Joining us from Washington, Victoria Jones, the managing correspondent for Talk Radio News Service. From Philadelphia tonight, we're joined by our own contributor Michael Smerconish. Welcome, both.

Victoria, let's talk facts here. Latest polls showing 60 percent of Brits thinking President Bush is a threat to world peace. What kind of a hill does he have to climb here?

VICTORIA JONES, TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE: Oh, there is no hill that he can climb here. He just has to get through the next three days and hope that he'll be shielded from it, which he mostly will be. They do think he's a threat to world peace, because he started a war, but let's be really clear. They love the USA, they love American movies, they love vacationing here. They love Americans. They just don't like Bush and they don't like Blair.

ZAHN: Can they have it both ways, Michael? That you love Americans but you hate the American president?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Paula, there are malcontents all over the world that I am sure they will be coming out in great numbers in the next couple of days. Thank God for the United States, or they'd have no ability to protest. They'd be eating sauerbratton (ph) at Wimpie's if it weren't for the United States of America.

ZAHN: And finally, Victoria, there have been some pretty nasty headlines in the British newspapers, accusing the president of being chicken for backing out of a joint appearance in both houses of parliament? Did he chicken out?

JONES: Yes, I think he did chicken out. I don't think he chickened out of the carriage ride, by the way. That security-wise could not happen. Yes, he did. He's not used to that kind of a reception. He got some of it in Australia. This would be like Australia on steroids. I think he did, but I think politically it was a smart move for him.

ZAHN: Michael, in the end, how does this all play out for the president?

SMERCONISH: I think it plays out just fine. "The Guardian" is reporting tonight that more Brits want him to make the trip than don't want him to be there. So don't be dissuaded by a handful of folks, maybe a large handful, who come out. They should be working instead of protesting. I don't know how they get away with it.

ZAHN: Finally, Victoria, if you're involved with some last minute strategy, anything you'd suggest the president do tomorrow?

JONES: Yeah, just smile, don't act arrogant or like a cowboy. Smile, act humble, act like you're pleased to be there and having a good time. The Brits will love him if he does that -- well, kind of.

ZAHN: Well, kind of. That says it all. Victoria Jones, Michael Smerconish, thank you both of your perspectives this evening.

And we want to thank all of you for being with us tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. We will be back tomorrow night. Same time, same place. Hope you'll join us then. Until then, good night.


Massacre 25 Years Later>

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