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Martha Stewart Case; UCLA Scandal: Cadavers for Sale?

Aired March 8, 2004 - 15:00   ET


KYRA PHILLILPS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to LIVE FROM. I'm Kyra Phillips. Here is what's happening this hour.
Martha Stewart thanks her fans and faces more fallout from her conviction in her obstruction of justice trial. Today, she met with a probation officer that will recommend a sentence to the judge in the case. And Viacom pulled her syndicated TV show from its stations.

Adding to his campaign war chest, President Bush is in his home state of Texas for two fundraisers. A luncheon in Dallas was expected to raise $1.5 million. A reception in Houston tonight expected to bring in about the same amount.

John Kerry campaigning against Florida, ahead of primaries there and three other southern states tomorrow. At a town hall mooting in Hollywood, he courted elderly voters and reminded them about the state's disputed election in 2000. He says he'll put together a legal team to monitor voting in the state this November.

Rescue crews and divers back in Baltimore Harbor trying to find three people still missing after Saturday's water taxi accident. Twenty-two people were rescued after the water taxi capsized in a sudden storm. One person later died. Five people are still in the hospital. The NTSB is investigating the accident.

Well, up first this hour, one more verdict and more deliberations in the trials of Martha Stewart. And by-the-book appearance at the federal probation office in Manhattan came as Viacom was yanking Stewart's show its CBS and UPN outlets nationwide. The board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, meanwhile, is said to be looking at disaster plans that could spell curtains for its Omni-beleaguered figurehead.

On the legal front, Stewart heads into her sentencing phase still insisting she's innocent and vowing to appeal. That's not necessary a recipe for leniency.

Joining us this hour to stir the pot a bit, criminal defense attorney Ira Sorkin.

Hi, Ira.


PHILLIPS: Good to see you, too.

Look, I want to start with these statements. It's a bit confusing to us. On Friday, when this all went down, a first statement coming forward from Martha Stewart saying, "I'm obviously distressed by the jury's verdict, but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends."

But later, Ira, a second statement issued. "I'm obviously distressed by the jury's verdict, but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have the confidence and enduring support of my family and friends." She took out the sentence, "I have done nothing wrong."

Can you explain why she probably did this?

SORKIN: Well, if she did it on her own, good for her. If she did it on the advice of lawyers, then she's got good layering. Because one of the things the judge is going to consider at the time of her sentence is what we call acceptance of responsibility.

And if you show contrition and you show that you're sorry, and you show that you regret what you did in a sincere and honest way, in the eyes of the judge, that's going to count to getting a lesser sentence. There are points given under the guidelines, the sentencing guidelines, and you can get some points deducted for what we call acceptance of responsibility.

PHILLIPS: Yes. Explain this point system. We were talking about it this morning.

SORKIN: The point system is structured under the sentencing guidelines, where each offense under the federal statutes are given a certain number of points. Insider trading, you start off at eight points. Money laundering, you could start off at 20 or 23 points. Obstruction of justice is what she was convicted of -- is 12 points.

So you start off with 12 points. And then you build up in what we call a matrix. On the left side of the matrix are the number of points.

And on the right side of the matrix, depending upon whether you're a first-time offender, second-time offender and so forth, there's a certain number of months that the judge is constrained to give you, a minimum number of months and a maximum of months. And it's very rare, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, that a judge, under the sentencing guidelines, will be able to depart from that minimum-maximum range.

PHILLIPS: Interesting. He's got -- he or she has strict federal guidelines. But the judge also having a lot of discretion here if Martha Stewart comes forward and says, OK, I'm sorry, I was wrong, I take back everything. That could mean a lot less jail time?

SORKIN: No. It won't mean a lot less jail time. It will be a fewer number of points. And we're talking here that -- probably only two points.

So if she starts off at 12 points for obstruction of justice, and there are a couple of other points thrown in what we call enhancement points, whether there was a substantial interference with justice, whether there was more than minimal planning, this has an ability to raise the number of points from 12 on up to perhaps 13 or 14 or 15. And then if you have the acceptance of responsibility, and the judge learns or believes, I should say, that you accept responsibility, then you subtract two points from the total.

And then you're left with the number that the judge has to give you under the guidelines. So there's not a great deal of discretion, even with acceptance of responsibility that the federal judge has.

PHILLIPS: So even if she accepts responsibility, bottom line is, and correct me if I'm wrong, she still is going to go to jail?

SORKIN: Unless the judge finds a basis to depart downward from the guidelines, and is convinced of such, either by the probation department that is preparing the pre-sentence report, or her lawyers, then she is constrained to give a sentence which will inevitably result in jail time. Twelve points, the minimum is 10 months, the maximum, I believe, is 16. Thirteen points, it moves up to about 13 months to about 18 months, and so on.

So going up on the guidelines, the judge has a minimum, the judge has a maximum. And I think it will be extremely difficult with the constraints that the federal judges have today, for her to depart so far downward that Ms. Stewart will avoid jail time.

PHILLIPS: All right. Real quickly, Ira, before I let you go, the appeal process, she says she's going to appeal. A juror came out after the decision came down last week saying this was a victory for the little people. Is that showing any type of bias? Could that work in her favor, what that juror said?

SORKIN: I think there's an argument you could make. But I think the appellate courts are loathe to enter into the deliberation process.

The jury was polled. The jury came down with a verdict. And I don't think that that standing alone is going to carry the day in a decision by an appellate court.

PHILLIPS: Criminal defense attorney Ira Sorkin, thank you.

SORKIN: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Iraq has taken a key step toward democracy, on paper at least. Today, members of the Governing Council put their signatures on a temporary constitution. A document that will help guide the country toward New sovereignty.

Shiite members of the council withdrew objections that derailed the signing ceremony on Friday, but say certain fine points will have to be worked out later. Iraq's foreign minister says today's milestone is a huge step toward self-rule.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOSHYAR ZEBARI, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: It's a major significance, especially it's a New beginning for Iraq. It is the beginning of redeeming the Iraq state on the New basis, on New tenet. State of laws, state of Democratic institution, the state of equality, state of bill of rights. I think this framework is essential for rebuilding Iraq.


PHILLIPS: Iran and Saudi Arabia welcome today's signing. President Bush called it a historic milestone toward liberty and peace.

Other news across America now, the independent commission probing the 9/11 attacks is preparing for its final meetings. Four public hearings will be held between now and June in Washington and New York. The panel is to issue its findings and recommendations in July.

No change. Attorney General John Ashcroft remains in intensive care at a Washington hospital. Ashcroft was admitted Thursday night with a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis. His calendar has been cleared for this week so he can continue treatment.

Jerry Seinfeld a no-show. The comedian postponed an appearance in South Carolina Saturday due to a family emergency. His year-old son fell and was hospitalized. The boy is home now and is said to be doing very well.

Want to update you on a story that we told you about last week about a Philadelphia mom and her missing daughter. The baby was presumed to have died in a fire. That is until the mom spotted her at a birthday party.

Amy Buckman with CNN affiliate WPVI says the girl is coming home today.


AMY BUCKMAN, WPVI CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 6-year-old girl has been living with a foster family in New Jersey ever since the woman she knew as her mother, 42-year-old Carolyn Correa, was charged with kidnapping and arson.

The charges came in connection with 1997 fire at the little girl's home. After that fire, officials ruled Delimar had died.

Sources close to the case say the girl's biological mother, Luz Cuevas, will pick her up at the foster home later today and bring her to her New home. Officials have apparently determined there's no further reason to postpone the reunification of mother and daughter.

After their first official meeting last week, Cuevas, acknowledged some of the difficulties ahead. She said she will work to improve her English and will call her daughter by the name to which she's most accustomed. LUZ CUEVAS, MOTHER: For now, the doctors say they have to call her Aaliyah, because she have the name for six years, you know. And then I'm going to say to her, the real name is Delimar.


PHILLIPS: Thanks to Amy Buckman with WPVI for that update.

Now the cadaver scandal at UCLA. A second man has been arrested, and there's a debate over what UCLA knew about what was going on.

CNN's Frank Buckley live from Los Angeles with more.

Hi, Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kyra. Yes, there have been two arrests in connection with this case. First, Henry Reid was arrested on Saturday. He's the director of UCLA's Willed Body Program. This is where people donate their body to science, to medical education.

He was arrested on Saturday, on suspicion of grand theft. UCLA saying very little about what the conditions were, or what exactly what involved, except to say that it does have to do with the Willed Body Program.

The second arrest that you talked about took place yesterday. This is of an alleged middleman in connection with this case. His name is Earnest Nelson. He was charged -- or was arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property. He tells the Los Angeles Times that he would come here to UCLA to the medical center twice a week with a saw to cut off body parts, and then to sell those body parts to various research firms.

He said that he was following protocol set up by Mr. Reid, the head of the Willed Body Program. As far as he was concerned in his article with the Los Angeles Times, he was doing nothing wrong. But again, he also has been arrested in connection with this case.

UCLA saying very little about the case until today. We're expecting a news conference in just under an hour here -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Frank Buckley, we'll check in with you after that takes place. Thanks so much.

Straight ahead, Jean-Bertrand Aristide insists he's still President of Haiti. His first news conference since landing in Africa.

Plus, James Bond too tall to be a spy? Seems so. But you might be eligible.

And going up? Take a ride in a moving time capsule before it goes out of business.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Just as Haiti's new president is formally installed in Port-au-Prince, the ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide says he was abducted into exile by the U.S.

More now from CNN's Jeff Koinange in the central African Republican.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his first public appearance since arriving here in Bangui exactly a week ago, Mr. Aristide was calm and composed, defiant and adamant as ever, insisting that he was kidnapped by U.S. forces and bundled into the aircraft. Insisting that what happened was a classic coup d'etat. But also insisting that he is the rightful president of Haiti.

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE, FMR. HAITIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I am the democratically-elected president, and I remain so. And it says in the name of those who elected me that I ask that full democracy should be restored in my country. We have started building a state based on the rule of law. We wish to continue to develop the state based on the rule of law.

KOINANGE: Mr. Aristide says he and his wife were forced into the aircraft and treated like animals. He says they weren't even allowed to look outside the window during the 20 or so hours they spent in the air. And that they didn't even realize their final destination until about 45 minutes before landing.

ARISTIDE (through translator): I was forced to. Force was used, as well as lies. The American ambassador had promised me that I would be able to speak to the Haitian president to talk about peace. I was bundled into a car, and I found myself in an airplane. The airport was controlled by Americans.

KOINANGE: For now, the Aristides insist that they will remain in the Central African Republic until further notice. But whether that's for a week, a month, or a year, is something not even the former Roman Catholic priest can predict.

(on camera): Jeff Koinange, CNN, Bangui, in the Central African Republic.


PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, it's a job filled with ups and downs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They take me up and they take me down. And anytime I buzz that thing they're there.


PHILLIPS: But an elevator operator is getting a lift from riders who don't want to see her shut down. And a sweet deal for the Pillsbury doughboy. But will it put him in a jam?



PHILLIPS: More news across America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have sent mixed signals on his stand about same-sex marriages. But he marched in Sunday's gay-exclusive St. Patrick's Day parade. He was joined by New Paltz mayor, Jason West, who is facing criminal charges for performing gay marriages.

Gay marriage is illegal in Washington State, but the mayor of Seattle says his city's going to be recognizing the gay marriages of city employees even if they tied the knot elsewhere. Mayor Greg Nickels says he's going to ask the city council to extend the same privileges to all married employees, gay or straight.

Accepting the shepherd's crook in New Hampshire. The Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop has officially taken over control of the Episcopalian diocese. Bishop Gene Robinson's ceremony was held yesterday.


PHILLIPS: Entertainment headlines this Monday, March 8, it's all about the movies. Audiences have a passion for Mel Gibson's biblical epic, "The Passion of the Christ." It's roaring past the $200 million mark and still number one at the box office. Not bad for what many people thought would be an art house film.

Want to see Lebron James? Don't worry about a courtside ticket. Spike Lee wants to put the Cleveland rookie on the big screen.

The two are talking about doing a film. No word yet on the script. But scuttlebutt has it, it may be a documentary on his rise in the NBA.

007 larger than life? With all the accolades leveled at Britain's most famous fictional secret agent, here's a new one. He's too tall, all the actors who have played James Bond, including Pierce Brosnan, are six feet tall or taller.

That's a no-no with (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Real agents can't be more than 5'11", so they'll blend.

It's a throwback to another time, and a dying breed. We're talking about human elevator operators. They smile, greet you, and take you to the next level, so to speak.

But in Kentucky, the state wants to trade history for technology. Elevator driver Frankie Owens takes us through the ups and downs with our favorite WAVE news crew, Eric Flack and Drew Cook.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ERIC FLACK, WAVE (voice-over): In the heart of the highlands...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a neat building that dates back to 1928.

FLACK: ... in a building called the Commodore...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know these things existed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're limited. Yes, it's very rare to find one.

FLACK: ... you can step into a time capsule, driven by people like Frankie Owens.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Frankie's wonderful. She takes us home.

FLACK: The Commodore is home to Kentucky's last manually operated elevator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a good evening.


FLACK: And it's last elevator operators.

HILDA BOSSMEYER, RESIDENT: They take me up, and they take me down, and any time I buzz that thing, they're there.

FLACK: From floor to floor.

OWENS: OK, I've got to go.

FLACK: ... the conversation is short.

OWENS: Yes, we gossip. All the time.

FLACK: And sweet.

OWENS: As soon as you leave, we're going to talk about you.

FLACK: Unless you're the news crew...

OWENS: Why me?

FLACK: ... in Frankie's way.

OWENS: You going up?


OWENS: Good.

FLACK: She's got work to do.

OWENS: I do a little eating, a little sleeping. How long is this going to take? And a little taking the people up and down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did nothing wrong.

OWENS: And then I break.

FLACK: Not always on her feet.


FLACK: But always there.

OWENS: Got to go.


OWENS: Come on, boy.

LEAH TUNNELL, RESIDENT: I just moved here. I don't know anybody. And, you know, you think, well, what if something happened? Nobody would notice. Well, the elevator operators would here.

You know your dogs don't go out? What is wrong?

FLACK: The question is, for how long? State inspectors want the Commodore to put in an automatic elevator.

TUNNELL: They've talked about that?

FLACK: This 75-year-old relic...

TUNNELL: Well...

FLACK: ... could be history.

TUNNELL: I think that's terrible.

FLACK: Literally.

TUNNELL: Why would they want to lose something historic like this?

FLACK: They would lose more than an elevator.

TUNNELL: It's a beautiful elevator. You know, the brass and everything. But the person being there, that's the big deal.

OWENS: It's a very cool job.

FLACK: Eric Flack...

OWENS: I don't think there's not a better job anywhere in town.

FLACK: ... WAVE 3 News.


PHILLIPS: Thank you, again, to Eric Flack and Drew Cook.

Now to take us through the next hour of political headlines, John King filling in for Judy today on "INSIDE POLITICS."

Hi, John.


PHILLIPS: All right. Good to see you. You all together there?

KING: I'll get it going. Thank you very much.


KING: Some strong remarks today from presidential hopeful John Kerry, and the Bush campaign quickly responded. We'll have a report from our Dana Bash on the road with the president today.

Plus, the Cuban-American voting block is so important in Florida that experts say without it, a Republican can't win the state. We'll take a look at the tug-of-war in that state that decided, of course, the closest presidential election in U.S. history.

"INSIDE POLITICS" starts in three minutes.


PHILLIPS: I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta. "INSIDE POLITICS" up next after these headlines.

Convicted felon Martha Stewart facing an uncertain future, legally and professionally. Stewart met with her probation officer today prior to her June sentencing, while her own board met to discuss possibly distancing itself from the homemaking maven.

Recovery efforts continue by air and sea for victims of a weekend boating accident in Baltimore Harbor. A water taxi carrying 25 people capsized Saturday in a storm. Twenty-one people were rescued, one person was killed. Three passengers are still missing and presumed dead.

A milestone in Iraq. Governing Council members have signed a temporary constitution overcoming three days of delays and internal disputes. The document was signed on an antique table once owned by Iraq's first monarch. But also, immediately, a top Shiite cleric criticized the document, saying it raises obstacles to creating a permanent constitution.

Now, "JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS" with John King today.


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