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United States on Alert For Terrorism; Media Leaks, Medical Records on Agenda in Kobe Bryant Case

Aired December 19, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: "In Focus" tonight: New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The U.S. is on the alert for possible terror attacks during the holidays.
Plus, media leaks and medical records on the agenda in the Kobe Bryant case.

And he has confessed to killing dozens of his patients at 10 different hospitals in two states. How was it possible for Charles Cullen to escape detection for so long?

Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you wrap up the week with us here tonight -- all of that ahead.

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

There are signs, as we just mentioned, of new terror threats for major U.S. cities over the holidays.

And Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to dismantle his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs -- that word late today from President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

We have team coverage tonight from the nation's capital with Suzanne Malveaux, David Ensor, and Kelli Arena.

We begin tonight with Suzanne at the White House -- Suzanne, the latest?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, it's an extraordinary story.

We're told that it started about nine months ago, secret discussions, negotiations between the United States, United Kingdom, and Libya, teams that were located at various cities, including diplomats, as well as intelligence agents, sometimes even Moammar Gadhafi himself involved in those discussions. Also, CIA agents on the ground inside Libya sites. They took photos and samples of these alleged weapons programs.

The president this evening saying this is all a part of a larger strategy to convince world leaders that it's not worth it to have weapons of mass destruction, that they will be isolated from the rest of the world, and that, if they give up those programs, that they will have a better relationship with the United States.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He communicated to us his willingness to make a decisive change in the policy of his government. At the direction of Colonel Gadhafi himself, Libyan officials have provided American and British intelligence officers with documentation on that country's chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic missile programs and activities. Our experts in these fields have met directly with Libyan officials to learn additional details.


MALVEAUX: I should also let you know, a senior administration official says that there's no indication yet that the U.S. is going to lift its own sanctions against Libya. It's too early to tell. I should also let you know that an official saying that these weapons, there is no indication that they're Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Now more from the story, David Ensor.


Well, one thing that's very interesting that U.S. officials are saying tonight. And that is that the Libyan nuclear program, the program to try to develop a nuclear weapon, was further along and more advanced and larger than they had previously realized. U.S. officials, U.S. intelligence officials, along with the British intelligence, were taken to 10 different nuclear sites.

And they say that the Libyans were enriching, processing and enriching uranium in a number of those sites. So this was a more advanced program than had been realized, although there certainly was no nuclear weapon yet there. There was also a sizable stockpile of chemical weapons in Libya, which officials have been shown, and a plant in Rabta, where mustard shells and other weapons were produced.

The Libyans have told the Americans and British that they're not producing any more chemical weapons, but that will remain to be checked some further. On the biological front, there are some dual- use facilities, facilities that have a more benign purpose, but could be used to develop biological weapons, the Libyans saying that they don't actually have any.

And, again, as Suzanne mentioned, this extraordinary development. After all the history the U.S. and Libya have had, the difficult history, CIA officials actually meeting with Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli -- Paula.

ZAHN: David Ensor, thanks so much for the update.

Now on to new rumblings of terrorism here in the United States. Homeland security officials are checking into possible threats to some of America's big cities over the holidays. Although officials tell CNN there is no specific threat, there is heightened concern. Justice correspondent Kelli Arena is following the story for us tonight -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Paula, that concern is due to the volume of threat information coming in. Officials are sorting through it all. And so far, they say there's no reason to raise the national threat level, but that is a situation that is reassessed daily.

Specifically, officials say, the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. have been frequently mentioned as possible terror targets.

Today, we spoke with D.C.'s mayor, Anthony Williams.


ANTHONY WILLIAMS, MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: We're told from our law enforcement people to be on watch, be on guard, that there's a heightened risk over the next days, an indeterminate period, but over the next days.


ARENA: Counterterrorism sources stress that there has been no information regarding specific targets in those cities and, if they had any information that was any more concrete, the public would surely be warned.

Now, as for the mode of attack, intelligence sources suggest possible suicide bombings against so-called soft targets, like airports or shopping malls. But it doesn't get any more specific than that.

Now, adding to the concern, a new audiotape released today allegedly from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. He is Osama bin Laden's No. 2 man. The tape makes a direct reference to possible strike on U.S. soil.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Two years after Tora Bora, thanks to God, we are still chasing America and its allies everywhere, even in their own home.


ARENA: Now, interestingly, despite that warning, Paula, other information suggesting the U.S. may be hit. Intelligence officials say they're more concerned about al Qaeda striking overseas, rather than here in the United States -- back to you.

ZAHN: Thanks for setting the record straight tonight, Kelli Arena.

So what are some of the nation's cities doing to guard against a possible attack? And what are they doing differently in this post- 9/11 world? That's "In Focus" tonight.

Joining us now, John Timoney, the chief of police in Miami. Bill Daly of the Control Risk Group is an expert on terrorism and a former FBI investigator. And Gil Kerlikowske is Seattle's chief of police.

Welcome to you all.


ZAHN: Bill, I'm going to start with you this everything.

We have seen the threat level go up and go some nine times. Some Americans are just outraged every time they hear about a heightened sense of security here or a threat here at home. What do you make of this?

BILL DALY, TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, first of all, people need not be concerned this is some type of schizophrenic behavior on the part of the government. It is an actual gauged evaluation of intelligence data. And it does change. And, to me, this shows that it's a dynamic process, that they are looking at things and they're looking to determine whether or not we need to raise the threat level up. Right now, they're saying no. But that could change, depending upon any specifics that come out of this chatter that we hear about, this kind of nonspecific contact between possible terrorists or known terrorists operations.

And that's what we have to be concerned about. And that's what would raise the threat level up.

ZAHN: Chief Timoney, after 9/11, Miami has gone on a heightened state of alert. Over the holidays, if you were running one of these major urban police departments, either in D.C. or New York or L.A., what would you be doing to beef up security?

JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE CHIEF: The obvious targets are the signature buildings and institutions, or the utility companies, are the most obvious targets.

But in the holiday period, particularly in places like New York or even in middle America, with the great big shopping malls, where large numbers of people congregate, they offer an inviting target this time of year for a terrorist. It gives them symbolism, particularly around a religious setting, and also a high body count. And that's why, even without the chatter, that most smart police chiefs manage to get out additional visible uniformed presence with additional instructions throughout the holiday period.

ZAHN: Chief Kerlikowske, Seattle was one of those cities you heard mentioned in some of the potential threats in and around the millennium. When you heard this broad, unspecified threat today, what did you think?

GIL KERLIKOWSKE, SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF: Well, we keep up some very good and regular briefings with all of our federal partners. They provide a tremendous amount of information. And we've gotten it very quickly. And just really, if it's significant, we're notified. We have lots of extra officers out during the holiday season. We have a number of functions in our downtown corps. And, of course, every year, we have one of the world's greatest attractions at the Space Needle, when it comes to celebrating the end of the year.

We have changed the footprint of our security significantly for that event. And, as you remember, several years ago, Ahmed Ressam was arrested coming across the border with explosives. And although his target was not Seattle, it was going to be Los Angeles. I think it has put us always on a heightened sense of alert.

ZAHN: We heard just both Chief Timoney and Kerlikowske talking about the added security they put in place, even though they are not even represented in this broad and specified threat. Can these cities afford to do this time after time again?

DALY: This is the difficulty, Paula, is that these are great measures to be taken. And if both chiefs can do that, that's wonderful.

And here in New York, with a lot of the resources that have been put towards these efforts, we have a lot more people on the street. But other places don't have those resources. And the federal government isn't doling out money to local and state authorities to be able to beef up security. So every time there's a level or a change in status and some concern about security of this country, they're mobilizing local resources. And it's costing a lot of money.

ZAHN: Chief Timoney, is money a problem in Miami?

TIMONEY: Oh, it's a problem everywhere.

However, you can't allow that to interfere with what your responsibilities are regarding putting additional police officers. So we put them out there. And, hopefully, later on, those arguments regarding money with the feds can happen later on.

But whether it comes or it doesn't come, we still have an obligation, particularly at the holiday period or when the threat level is raised to a higher level, a higher color. We have the obligation to put additional resources out there, whether or not we get backup from the federal government.

ZAHN: And Chief Kerlikowske, a final word on some of the tough decisions you have to make when budgets don't necessarily provide the funding for the kind of changes you have to adapt to here.

KERLIKOWSKE: Well, you're right. John mentioned it. We're going to do what we have to do.

And our mayor has actually directed us to make sure that this is the best protected city. And we're taking all of those steps. The Pacific Northwest has been hit hard during the economy. Thankfully, it looks like it's turning around. But public safety is his No. 1 priority, my No. 1 priority. And we're going to take all the measures that are needed to protect this community. ZAHN: Thank you all, Bill Daly, and Chiefs Timoney and Kerlikowske. Happy holidays.


ZAHN: The race to the White House. John Kerry may be picking up steam. Can he push past Howard Dean?

And Kobe Bryant back in court as his accuser's past and medical history take center stage.

Plus, we go far away from violence in Baghdad to show you a neighborhood where business is booming.


ZAHN: Moving on to the presidential race, as the New Hampshire primary gets closer -- it's less than 40 days away -- the voters who haven't made up their mind become more and more important.

National correspondent Kelly Wallace has been talking with them about this week's attacks and counterattacks among the Democratic contenders.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Manchester, there's one place no presidential candidate and no candidate's spouse would miss.




WALLACE: So here, we brought together four undecided voters at the end of a week when Democratic candidates stepped up their attacks on front-runner Howard Dean.

(on camera): How are the attacks going to influence what you might ultimately try to do?

SHARON CALLAHAN, UNDECIDED VOTER: Their attacks on Dean won't affect me. I'm still going to vote based on how they feel about their issues, their individual issues.

WALLACE (voice-over): Sharon is a publications and public relations director and mother of two. Cory, a 25-year-old community organizer, says he's turned off by the friendly-fire.

CORY TALIAFERRO, UNDECIDED VOTER: This is what Republicans do. Democrats, I'd like to see a little solidarity.

WALLACE: Laura and Simoes have a 2-year-old and together run a strategic communication agency. JAYME SIMOES, UNDECIDED VOTER: The more they attack each other, the more they weaken each other. Whoever comes out, comes out bloody and scathed and is going to have a hard time facing Bush in the general election.

LAURA SIMOES, UNDECIDED VOTER: Wouldn't it be refreshing to see one of the Democratic presidential candidates compliment somebody else's policy choice, somebody else's position on an issue? I would probably stand up and take more notice.


ANNOUNCER: We live in a very dangerous world.


WALLACE: We asked about this ad running in New Hampshire sponsored by a Democratic group featuring a picture of Osama bin Laden and raising questions about Dean's foreign policy experience.

TALIAFERRO: I thought it was horrible.

J. SIMOES: I don't make voting decisions based on political advertisements; 30 seconds isn't going to change my mind.

L. SIMOES: I want to hear more about the issues.

WALLACE: Issues like the environment, the economy and foreign policy. But another factor, these Democrats say, who has the best chance to beat President Bush.

L. SIMOES: I feel like I have a responsibility to think about that issue. What will happen after New Hampshire?

WALLACE: Recent state polls show Dean with a more than 20-point lead.

(on camera): But, at the same time, the polls show that between 10 percent and 20 percent of registered Democrats here in New Hampshire still have not made up their minds.

(voice-over): And the primary is just a little more than five weeks away.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


ZAHN: We turn now to our regular contributor, "TIME" magazine's Joe Klein, for a look at where the campaigns stand heading into the holidays.

Good evening.

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Paula.

ZAHN: So when do these undecideds in Iowa and New Hampshire make up their minds?

KLEIN: At the very last moment in the past.


KLEIN: The last week in Iowa and the last week in New Hampshire are spectacular. More things happen in that week than have happened so far.

ZAHN: And what drives them? Are they really inured to the final 30-second campaign message?

KLEIN: No, no, no. The ads don't mean anything in Iowa and New Hampshire.

ZAHN: They really don't.

KLEIN: It's how many times you've met someone. Someone in New Hampshire once told me, I won't for a guy unless he appears in my living room. It's true.

And so that kind of personal contact is what decides it, which is why John Kerry is going to do a 24-hour campaign day on Tuesday.

ZAHN: Well, that makes sense.

KLEIN: Please.

ZAHN: Because isn't there some internal polling going on suggesting some pretty significant shifts?


Well, Dean is well ahead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Governor Howard Dean. In Iowa, apparently internal polling that the candidates do themselves and leak to us shows that Kerry is moving up and challenging Dick Gephardt for second place in Iowa. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Joe Lieberman is moving up and challenging Kerry for second place there. Dean is well ahead in both places.

ZAHN: What's happened to both of those candidates that would drive those numbers? I know you thought John Kerry did an impressive foreign policy outline at the Council on Foreign Relations. Joe Lieberman?

KLEIN: Well, Joe Lieberman has had a terrific week. It started with -- a terrific couple of weeks. It started with Al Gore endorsing Howard Dean, and everybody felt sorry for Joe Lieberman, and it kind of energized him.

He has been sharp as a tack ever since. And he has really been lambasting Dean in a very aggressive way about Dean's position on the war, especially since Saddam Hussein was captured. So he's looking very sharp and very active at this moment.

ZAHN: You know what I love what you just said about the internal polling, the internal polling that these candidates leak to you. Of course, whenever you ask them about any other independent polling that is done: We don't buy into that. We don't listen to that. None of that is accurate.


ZAHN: Let's talk about the big diplomatic coup for President Bush, with Moammar Gadhafi now saying, let the inspectors come in, and basically giving them a road map to what he has had for years.

KLEIN: It is a diplomatic coup not just for President Bush, but for the world. This is the disarmament that everybody wanted to see from Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And it remains the greatest mystery why, if he didn't have weapons of mass destruction, he didn't do what Gadhafi did today, which is to say, here are our programs. Here's where they are. Come and inspect them. Come and look throughout the whole country. And we're going to help you out, because we want to be part of the world community.

Saddam Hussein never did that. He kind of was winking and pretending that he still had some, which is one of the great mysteries of this whole thing. Another thing to note is that I think it's this Sunday is the 20th -- the 15th anniversary of the shooting down of Pan Am 103 -- shooting down -- the bomb planted by Libyans in Scotland.

ZAHN: I've seen a number of family members quoted tonight who are absolutely outraged by the diplomacy that led to this decision tonight. They still don't believe he'll come clean.

KLEIN: Well, we'll see.

ZAHN: Joe Klein, thanks so much. Have a good weekend.

A young waitress returns from work and is never seen again, the international mystery over a missing teen.


BENJAMIN BEN-YITZHAK, FATHER: You want to know what's going on with your daughter, where is she, if she's alive, if she's dead, if she's well, if you'll ever see her again.

RAPHAEL BENNET, BROTHER: I mean, just not knowing is harder than anything else.


ZAHN: Also, a former nurse says he killed 40 patients. He worked as 10 different hospitals. Why didn't anybody know about what he was hiding in his past?


ZAHN: We turn now to the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl from Los Angeles who vanished four months ago in Israel.

Dan Lothian has the details.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a straight girl. She doesn't go out with boys and stuff.

LOTHIAN: The sister.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very kindhearted.

LOTHIAN: And the best friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dana is a very strong girl.

LOTHIAN: Who, for now, can only be found in pictures and videotape.

BEN-YITZHAK: You want to know what's going on with your daughter, where is she, if she's alive, if she's dead, if she's well, if you'll ever see her again.

BENNET: I mean, just not knowing is harder than anything else.

LOTHIAN: Born in Israel, raised in Los Angeles, 18-year-old Dana Bennet is at the center of an international mystery, vanishing without a trace more than four months ago in the Tiberius region of Israel, where she had recently graduated from high school.

EREZ LESHEM, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: It's not a case of a runaway kid. It's not a case of a kid that was involved in drugs and strayed away.

LOTHIAN: The story was big news in Israel, the headline: Teen returning from waitress job at local restaurant gets out of taxi near uncle's home and disappears. Suspicion she has been abducted by terrorists.

Hundreds of Israeli police and volunteers launched a massive search, joined by Bennet's mother, who lives there, and the teen's father and brother, who traveled from their home in San Francisco.

(on camera): Bennet last spoke to her father by phone not long before she disappeared. He says nothing seemed unusual. She was excited by wrapping up her stay in Israel and looking forward to possibly attending college here in California.

(voice-over): But she's nowhere to be found. Her medication for her recent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor was left behind. The only clue, a signal from the teen's cell phone in the desert 30 miles from where she vanished.

Erez Leshem, the private investigator with a background in counterterrorism and intelligence, has been hired by friends of the Bennet family to help revive a case described by some as hitting a dead end.

LESHEM: Somebody out there knows something. There's a piece of evidence out there that has not yet been found.

GAL BEN-NAIM, FAMILY FRIEND: It's very disturbing.

LOTHIAN: Gal Ben-Naim, a financial consultant is helping in the effort to raise money to keep pressure on the investigation. He's motivated by Bennet's father.

BEN-NAIM: I really need to help him, because what happened if I was in his situation?

LOTHIAN: There's also a Web site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this can stay a hot subject in people's minds, I think there's a much greater likelihood that there will be success with it.

LOTHIAN: Even local synagogues are appealing to their congregations for help.

RABBI ELAZAR MUSKIN, YOUNG ISRAEL OF CENTURY CITY: It has all the right elements of calling out for help. And the people are responding.

LOTHIAN: Bennet's best friend says every new day brings more pain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of my nights have been just crying, crying myself to sleep.

LOTHIAN: Family members feel tortured, too.

BENNET: It's a very slow painful process, and it doesn't quite get better.

LOTHIAN: But they have faith.

BEN-YITZHAK: We're going to keep looking for her as long as we can, forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're going to find her soon. They're going to find her. Just wait. Just wait.

LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, Los Angeles.


ZAHN: He is the nurse who claims he killed more than 30 patients, moving from hospital to hospital. Why wasn't he caught?

Also, when completed, it will be the tallest building in the world, the design unveiled today for the Freedom Tower to rise on the site of the World Trade Center. We'll be talking to the master site planner. And, on Monday, Sir Ian McKellen stops by to talk about the final chapter of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now at the bottom of the hour.

A surprising and sudden end to decades of tension with Libya. Moammar Gadhafi will scrap all plans for weapons of mass destruction and allow U.N. Inspections, that word today from President Bush.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Leaders who abandon the pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them, will find an open path to better relations with the United States and other free nations. With today's announcement by its leader, Libya has begun the process of rejoining the community of nations. And Colonel Gadhafi knows the way forward.


ZAHN: Pentagon sources say the ambush of a convoy carrying Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in Iraq, was probably a random incident. No one was hurt when a roadside bomb went off and small arms fire peppered a convoy on a Baghdad highway at the beginning of this month.

A ten-minute video reportedly from the second highest figure in al Qaeda was broadcast on Arab TV today. The voice on the tape pledged to target Americans in their homeland. The U.S. has not confirmed that is the voice of Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

The nation's cable companies, raising their rates on January 1. Consumer's union say the average monthly bill for basic service will be about $44. Since deregulation, the cable industry has increased prices by about 45 percent.

A Florida state attorney tells a court Rush Limbaugh's medical records should be unsealed because they are vital to a criminal investigation. Limbaugh, who was treated for an addiction to prescription pain killers is being investigated to see whether he illegally bought narcotics. He says his medical records should remain private.

Finally, the baseball that may have cost the Chicago Cubs their chance to play in their first World Series in decades will be destroyed. The owners of a Chicago restaurant who actually bought that ball at auction for $106,000 have now ended up saying they will destroy the ball, because it will create closure for Cubs fans who saw their hopes slip away when a fan deflected the ball in the playoffs.

On to another story now, investigators say a former New Jersey nurse claimed he killed as many as 40 hospital patients over 16 years. One hospital where Charles Cullen worked says it never knew he had been fired twice before. There have been similar cases around the country. How does this happen? And what's being done about it?

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, Sharon Jones suspects her aunt, Helen Dean, was killed with an injection given by Charles Cullen, and Peter Harvey is the attorney general of the state of New Jersey where Cullen worked. Welcome to you both.

Mr. Attorney General, as you know, people are absolutely outraged by the story. They don't understand how a guy could have worked at ten different hospitals, move to two different states without having his previous records checked. Whose fault is that?

PETER GARVEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW JERSEY: Well, it's one of these gaps in the system that is going to have to be repaired and quickly. Ultimately, I think it's going to require a federal remedy, because each state can pass laws but those laws don't apply in other states. So you need national coverage.

Right now in New Jersey, for example, there's a statute that requires a health care facility or an HMO hospital, to report any doctor to the board of medical examiners where that doctor has resigned, been fired, or had his or her privileges revoked.

ZAHN: Does that happen with nurses?

GARVEY: No, there is no companion statute for nurses. There is a regulation that covers nurses, and the regulation says that if one nurse observes another nurse engaging in conduct that is suspicious and that violates the Nurse Practice Act or its regulations, that conduct is reported to the nurse board.

But, again, I think you need a statute that really allows hospitals to report this conduct to other hospitals. What hospitals are afraid of more than anything else is suit. This is a typical employment situation where one employer does not want to communicate to a prospective employer anything more than the fact that a person worked there and they worked there from a certain time period.

ZAHN: Sharon, we mentioned at the top that you have been convinced for years that Charles Cullen killed your aunt. When you hear the attorney general talk about how this could happen, how bitter does it make you?

SHARON JONES, SUSPECTS AUNT WAS VICTIM: Well, we were always very upset that we were not able to bring charges against this man, we knew that he was in the room, we knew that he injected her with something. He was not to be on the floor that day. He was assigned to another floor. My aunt even pointed him out that that was the man that had stuck her with something. And there was no shot ordered that day.

Even her oncologist was there at the time of the incident and checked her chart and there was proof that there was no injection ordered. But yet the hospital did not pursue it vigorously.

ZAHN: And who did you tell, once you suspected he might have been responsible for her death?

JONES: Well, my cousin, he involved the coroner's office for Warren County, as well as the prosecutors office, and there were two detectives that were working on it.

ZAHN: But it never went anywhere?

JONES: They could not prove what he injected her with. And as I said, again, the investigation was not pursued, I feel, as vigorously as it should have been. The hospital was not the most cooperative in the beginning, so we had a difficult time there.

ZAHN: And I don't know if you share that characterization of the activities of the hospital, but you well understand the liability the hospital felt. Would it make sense to you for a hospital not to pursue this vigorously? Is there any excuse for that?

GARVEY: Well, I can tell you this. There's no excuse for any hospital not reporting to a county prosecutor and being fully cooperative with any county prosecutor or an attorney general where they have information that someone is harming patients intentionally or killing them intentionally.

But understand, I think what hospitals are afraid of more than anything else is lawsuits, and they are going to get them here unfortunately.

These hospitals, every one of them, will be sued probably by people who died in those hospitals. I suspect you're also going to see people whose loved ones died and they're unsure whether or not it was attributable to this particular defendant, and they're going to file suit here.

But what hospitals seem to be more worried about and where I think they need federal protection ultimately and perhaps some state protection is where a hospital suspects a nurse or doctor has engaged in inappropriate behavior, they should be able to report that to state or federal regulatory authorities.

A prospective employer should be able to contact a state or federal regulator and say, what do you know about this particular nurse? What do you know about this particular doctor?

And they should have some qualified immunity, some protection from suit where they make that inquiry, because otherwise, here's what's going to happen. Someone who doesn't get hired is going to sue their former employer for defamation of character and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. That's the reason why today, hospitals say, no, Mr. X worked here from this date to this date, this was his position, and that's all we're saying.

ZAHN: It's very complicated all the way around. I want to thank both of you for joining us tonight. New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey and Sharon Jones. We hope the truth ultimately will bring your family some comfort.

JONES: We hope so. Thank you.

GARVEY: Indeed.

ZAHN: Kobe Bryant was back in court today. His lawyers want records of his accuser released to the public. Will it peel away laws protecting the privacy of rape victims?

Also, deciding the fate of Lee Boyd Malvo. Will the D.C.-area sniper get life or a death sentence?

And we'll be talking to the master planner of the Freedom Tower, the final design of the soaring replacement for the World Trade Center which was unveiled today.


ZAHN: Those the cameras followed Kobe Bryant today as he left court in Eagle, Colorado, the focus was squarely on the young woman accusing him of rape. It was a crucial hearing that will no doubt shape the trial. Also tonight, the fate of Lee Boyd Malvo. A jury resumes deliberations Monday on -- eventually see him -- on whether the D.C.-area sniper should live or die. Joining us now, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Welcome.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Happy Friday to you, Paula.

ZAHN: Happy Friday. Oh, we're not quite there yet. Let's move on to one of the motions filed today in Eagle, Colorado, quote -- "proof that the accuser makes herself a victim through purported suicide attempts in order to gain the attention of her ex-boyfriend is essential to the defense's theory that the accuser made false allegations in this case."

TOOBIN: Tough issue. Tough issue. You know, let's say -- we don't know for sure, but let's say she did try to commit suicide twice. Does that make you more likely to make a false allegation of rape?

ZAHN: Not necessarily.

TOOBIN: Personally, I don't know. I think this is a genuinely difficult issue. Because, yes, it indicates some history of mental illness or mental problems, but I'm not sure it relates to truth- telling about rape. That's just a peculiar difficult issue, and I think the way the judge is going to handle it, at least initially, and there were signals about that in court today, is he's going to review the records himself and then decide whether to turn them over to the defense.

ZAHN: All right, this was just one motion we just talked about.

TOOBIN: Right.

ZAHN: There were some 16 filed today. One asked that defense be allowed to actually violate the Colorado rape shield law. Is there a precedent for that? TOOBIN: Well, there is precedent for allowing investigation of specific sexual contact that may be relevant to this case. For example, in this case, as you recall, there was semen found on her underwear that was not Kobe Bryant's. That relates to her sexual history.

That is so directly relevant to the facts of the case that I think the defense will be allowed to explore at least in some detail what she was doing when she claimed Kobe Bryant was raping her.

ZAHN: You're a former prosecutor. Help me understand what the prosecution is up against when they are asking that the false allegations of rape that this woman may have made in the past remain private. Are they going to win that one?

TOOBIN: See, I think that's frankly shocking. I mean, I think that is...

ZAHN: You think that is relevant.

TOOBIN: Look, you know, false allegations of rape, if she has made them in the past -- and that is really not clear at this point -- but if she has, I think the prosecutors have an ethical obligation to make that absolutely clear. Because, come on, that's what this case is all about. This is a one-witness case, essentially.

ZAHN: So what does the judge do with it?

TOOBIN: I think the judge says you are entitled to explore that in complete and total detail. That's what this case is about. If she's done it before, that's got to be relevant.

ZAHN: So based on everything you hear coming out of this courtroom, how does it look for the prosecution?

TOOBIN: This is going to be a tough case. I mean, there is a lot to work with here for the defense, but then there is always the question of, why did she make this accusation if she wasn't raped? Putting all this aside...

ZAHN: She might have been aware of exactly what she was getting herself into legally, but...

TOOBIN: That's true, that's true. But you know, everybody knows it's trouble to make these accusations. So yes, there are a lot of problems for the prosecution's case, but it's a long way from -- it's also a long way from trial. This is going to be months of litigation.

ZAHN: Let's turn to Lee Boyd Malvo trial. They started the death penalty phase today, or excuse me, I should say, the penalty phase today. Seven victims' families made statements. Some of them called him evil, some of them called him insane.

TOOBIN: Seven victims' families. I mean, fortunately we live in a society where killing seven or 10 as the ultimate number is, people hear, is still pretty extraordinary. I just think the volume of murder here, the sheer number of cases is so extraordinary, that even though he was 17 when these crimes were committed, he's facing an uphill battle in this case.

ZAHN: What about the rawness of these statements? How does it impact the jury? That's got to impact...

TOOBIN: It impacts them plenty, that's why...

ZAHN: I'm not talking about the numbers, but just...


TOOBIN: Just the pain and the pain that these people have gone through. I mean, I've sat through several penalty phases in death penalty cases, and it is so agonizing to see the pain in these people. And you're talking about so many of them. I just think it's almost insurmountable for the defense.

ZAHN: Do you think Lee Boyd Malvo will be executed?

TOOBIN: I think he has got a lot better shot of avoiding it than Muhammad did, but I still don't like his chances.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks for joining us.

TOOBIN: Have a good weekend.

ZAHN: You, too.

The final design of the Freedom Tower was unveiled today. It will soar over the site where New York's World Trade Center once stood. We will interview its master planner.

Plus, a look at Baghdad during the holiday season. Bill Hemmer takes a tour of one neighborhood that's coming back to life.


ZAHN: Two years ago, terrorists attacks destroyed two of the world's tallest buildings, New York's World Trade Center towers. Now there are plans for the tallest building on Earth to rise in their place, a monument to those who died in the 9/11 attacks.


ZAHN (voice-over): The grand and soaring design of what will be the world's tallest building emerged from behind a plain white curtain this morning, with barely a flourish. It is called the Freedom Tower and was deliberately designed to be in symmetry with the Statue of Liberty. And in honor of our nation and democracy, it will be exactly 1,776 feet tall, the crown jewel and a commercial hub in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.

The Freedom Tower will define the city's skyline when it is finished in 2008 as the World Trade Center did before. The 70-story skyscraper will include another Windows on the World restaurant and will have its own windmills to generate electricity.


ZAHN: The World Trade Center towers were once the world's tallest buildings, as we mentioned, and their loss left a poignant emptiness in the Manhattan skyline. The new design unveiled today will try to fill that gap. The man who conceived of the Freedom Tower joins us now. Daniel Libeskind is an internationally known architect. His last highly acclaimed work was the Jewish Museum in Berlin. We're delighted to have you here.

DANIEL LIBESKIND, ARCHITECT: Thank you. Great to be here.

ZAHN: The design that the public saw today is the result of some really bad feelings, I guess, that came out between you and a rival architect?

LIBESKIND: Well, it's a work that involves a number of people, but obviously the master plan and the architecture, architect (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Mr. Childs, and the master plan, which I'm in charge of, has to really go together, because the tower has to be part of a civic space, part of a memorial, part of the skyline of New York. It has to glow with meaning. It's not just any tower anywhere in the world. It's a very special place, a sacred place, a place which has to be optimistic as well.

ZAHN: But in reacting to the design today, even one of the 9/11 family groups had this to say about the tensions between, you know, Mr. Childs. "We are encouraged that these two architects managed to come to a compromise. Libeskind got to keep his spire, Childs, his windmills." Do you regret, though, that it became so nasty at one point?

LIBESKIND: No. I think working together on such an important project will always be a creative challenge. It's not just a tall tower in the world, it's a tower with meaning, it's 1,776 feet high, it means somebody about our liberties, about our freedom, about the Declaration of Independence.

The fact that the tower is an apogee, a high point of a spiraling set of skyscrapers, which center on the memorial, which also create the relation for the Flame of Liberty at the Statue of Liberty, just to the south of it. Those are important things. The fact that the antenna is not just a mass, it's just not a little pinky on a building, but a powerful symbol of the Statue of Liberty. There are inscriptions in the tower which are important not only to me, but I think to America and to the world.

ZAHN: What did you have to give up from your original design? And was it hard for you to compromise? I think we have some pictures that might show the audience what your original conception was.

LIBESKIND: No, I don't think I've given up anything. The conception of the tallest tower in the world, with a particular idea to it. It was not just a tall building, it was a building of offices (ph) up to 70 stories, an ecological component, and the of course the spire of the Statue of Liberty.

And the fact that the building is part of a neighborhood, it's not just a stand-alone tower, it's part of an entire neighborhood, and of course the memorial as well, so it has to speak to the memory of the heroes of 9/11, who perished that day, but also speak to the future of New York and its optimism.

ZAHN: I can't think of a time when a project probably was under so much scrutiny, particularly from people who live here and people who are fearful to even go downtown. A survey showed that 62 percent of the folks surveyed said they didn't want to work high up in a tower because of their fears. How did you confront that? Was that something that you took pretty seriously in design?

LIBESKIND: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Because no one works above the 70th floor?

LIBESKIND: Exactly. Actually, it's 62 floors...

ZAHN: Sixty-two.

LIBESKIND: ... ultimately (ph), and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) public spaces, restaurants, and of course amenities for the public.

And I thought, yes, that's a realistic tower, that's a tower that can be made less vulnerable, we can make it very safe. It's a traditional tower, it doesn't have sky lobbies, it doesn't have the infrastructure of the old World Trade Center.

At the same time I was determined to restore the skyline of New York with a soaring spire, which is -- and I come to New York, and I come to the world that we are not about to bow our heads, that we're going forward, we're not about to become a horizontal city. We are a free people, and this symbolizes not only for us but for the world that democracy is strong and powerful.

ZAHN: When it comes for the plan for the memorial, do you think anyone is any closer to coming to a design that the victims' families will be satisfied by?

LIBESKIND: Well, as you know, the memorial is judged as we are speaking, and the jury has a tough task to select the right memorial, but it will, and I think what is so amazing that a year ago, just yesterday a year ago, we all stood at the Winter Garden and presented a different master plan. This master plan, which has moved ahead so incredibly, has now a Freedom Tower, 1,776-feet high tower, it has now a memorial which is going to be selected. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is working on the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) terminal. So all the pieces of this grand compass (ph) are coming together in a way which is inspiring, which is unified and at the same time allows for individual expression for different architects.

ZAHN: When the building is ultimately built and someone looks up at it, what do you want them to think? LIBESKIND: I want them to feel at once the memory of the heroes of 9/11 who perished, who are there at the foot of the slurry (ph) wall, which is exposed at the memorial, and at the same time to soar, to think of what it means for the resurgence of democracy, of New York City, of America, and what it means to the free world.

ZAHN: Daniel Libeskind, you must be proud to feel so much a part of this project. Thank you for spending some time with us this evening. Good luck.

LIBESKIND: Thank you so much. Thank you.

ZAHN: We're going to take a look at the holiday shopping season in Baghdad. Believe it or not, Santa is hanging out there. We're going to show you one of the most thriving business districts in the city.


ZAHN: Finally, tonight, we take you to Baghdad, a side of the city you have not seen before, it's a slice of life from the corner of the Iraqi capital that is rebuilding and even sharing in the Christmas spirit. Here's Bill Hemmer.


BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not exactly a shopping spree.


HEMMER: But it's pretty darn close. Along Karada (ph) street, the sidewalk shops are about as far away from the violence as you can get.

(on camera): It's 8:00 on a Thursday night, and at least in this part of Baghdad, business isn't so bad.

(voice-over): But one has to wonder, what happened to the war?

"If you're talking about the war," this man says from behind his hot dog stand, "that's against the state. Our living is with the people."

And the people are slowly coming back to this district.

"Our business, thank God, is going well," he says, "and we're stable."

And maybe the biggest business is happening inside here. Less than 3 percent of Iraq's population is Christian, but you would never know it in Hesham Rahman's (ph) store, and he's Muslim.

"During the old regime," he says, "we had a very closed society, and people would seize the celebration for a holiday. Whether they were Muslims or Christians, it did not matter." Now, add a strong international presence, and Santa hasn't sold this well in years.

Other districts may not have the same rebirth in sales, but it is happening here. Still many insist it can get better.

Back at the hot dog stand, that's exactly what they're talking about.

"There's still no security," he says. "We used to be able to work past 2:30 in the morning. Now we have to close up at 10:00."

And close they did on this evening, but not before the merchants on Karada (ph) street had a pretty good night.

Bill Hemmer, CNN, Baghdad.


ZAHN: Nice to see some of those changes happening there. We want to thank you all for being with us tonight. Appreciate your spending some time with us. On Monday, we'll be joined by one of the stars of "The Lord of the Rings," I think you'll recognize him, Sir Ian McKellen. He's going to take us behind the scenes of the movie and show us some of the special effects that we're all expected to be dazzled by.

And for those of you celebrating Hanukkah tonight, we wish you a happy first night of your holiday.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Thanks again for dropping by tonight. Have a good night. Have a good weekend.


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