Return to Transcripts main page
PAULA ZAHN NOW
Inside the Mind of Eric Rudolph; Britney Spears Ready For Motherhood?
Aired April 13, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.
At long last, the end of the road for a killer.
ZAHN (voice-over): After the five-year manhunt, an American terrorist faces justice with no remorse and, for his victims, no peace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it angers me even more so. You're proud of killing people.
ZAHN: Tonight, inside the mind of Eric Rudolph.
And, oops, she's done it again, gone from sweet Mouseketeer to teenage temptress to mega-millionaire. But is Britney really ready to be a mom?
ZAHN: Back to our top story tonight.
Today was the moment of truth for serial bomber Eric Rudolph, the man who carried out terror bombings all across the South and evaded one of the biggest manhunts in American history. Well, today, some of his victims and their families finally got justice and some shocking surprises.
ZAHN (voice-over): Despite the blinds, the bulletproof vest and the extraordinary security, Eric Rudolph today got one of his last looks at the outside world.
First, Birmingham, Alabama. When the judge asked if he had bombed a clinic there in 1998, Rudolph answered, "I certainly did, Your Honor," adding that prosecutors would have just barely been able to prove it. Next came a plane ride to Atlanta and a trip to the federal courthouse, only blocks from the Centennial Olympic Park, where Rudolph planted and detonated a bomb in 1996.
He pleaded guilty to that crime, as well as bombing a clinic in Atlanta and a nightclub. The man whose wife was killed in the Olympic Park bombing told me recently he was looking forward to seeing Rudolph face to face.
JOHN HAWTHORNE, HUSBAND OF ALICE HAWTHORNE: Well, hopefully, I can I can see something in his eyes that will that will give me an indication that maybe he has some level of remorse.
ZAHN: John Hawthorne was in Birmingham and Atlanta today and didn't like what he saw.
HAWTHORNE: This guy is -- well, I'll just -- I'll just leave it at, I was very much disappointed in his demeanor and in his attitude.
ZAHN: Rudolph will be sentenced later, four life terms, no hope of parole. He'll make one last trip cross-country to Colorado and the super max prison they call the Alcatraz of the Rockies. For the rest of his life, he'll spend 23 hours a day in a 12-by-8-foot soundproof cell with a concrete desk and bed and a 4-inch wide window, a better view, more space and more life than two people who weren't in the courtrooms today, because Eric Rudolph killed them.
ZAHN: Rudolph admitted he had planned more bombings in Atlanta and told prosecutors where he had actually stashed 250 pounds of explosives in the North Carolina mountains.
And, for the first time, Eric Rudolph offered a motive for his attack at the '96 summer Olympic Games, saying in a statement it was -- quote -- "to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand."
Well, I spoke about Eric Rudolph's motives with his former sister-in-law, Deborah Rudolph.
But, first, a little background.
ZAHN (voice-over): January 16, 1997, two bombs explode at a women's clinic in an Atlanta suburb, an abortion clinic. Seven people are injured. February 21, 1997, another bombing attack on a gay nightclub in Atlanta injures four people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bomb explosion, the New Women's abortion clinic.
ZAHN: January 29, 1998, a bomb explodes outside a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic. A security guard is killed, a nurse seriously injured. A suspect is spotted. A witness catches his license plate. It is traced back to this man, Eric Robert Rudolph.
While searching Rudolph's trailer home in North Carolina, police make a startling discovery, bomb-making material they say is linked to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic terrorist bombing that killed one person and injured more than 100. But why did Eric Rudolph choose these targets? He's not saying, but someone who knows him well paints a portrait of an extremist filled with hate.
(on camera): Who does Eric Rudolph hate and why?
DEBORAH RUDOLPH, FORMER SISTER-IN-LAW OF ERIC RUDOLPH: The government would be one.
ZAHN: And why?
RUDOLPH: They control everything. And I think that he -- I think he has issues with control.
ZAHN (voice-over): Deborah Rudolph was married to Eric's brother Joel for six years. She watched Eric grow up and saw him harden into a man with very strong opinions.
RUDOLPH: A lot of people say that he's a racist. I wouldn't classify him as a racist, knowing him personally. He's more of a separatist. He believes that every -- each race should be true to themselves. He's not one that likes weak people. He does like strong people. He thinks that the strong are having to defend and support the weak. He believes that the Bible is the history of the white race and that the other races in the Bible, you know are, are just -- he would call them mud people.
ZAHN: Eric was raised by his mother, a former nun who eventually turned the family to darker beliefs.
RUDOLPH: There were always mercenary magazines laying around the house, philosophy books, newspapers, controversial newspapers, like "The Lightning Bolt" or "The Thunderbolt," different kind of papers like that. I would always see them laying around when we would go to the mountains.
ZAHN: Who bought those?
RUDOLPH: I would assume that it was something that, you know, the family subscribed to.
ZAHN: After Eric's father was diagnosed with cancer, the family's attitudes towards the government turned to hate. Mrs. Rudolph wanted to treat her husband with an illegal substance called laetrile.
RUDOLPH: They thought it was a natural way to kill or slow down cancer, made from apricot pits. They were a very self-sufficient family. And I think that that really was the topping on the cake.
ZAHN (on camera): The tipping point for him?
ZAHN: His father got sick. He wanted to bring laetrile into the country. He couldn't because the FDA told him it was illegal.
RUDOLPH: His mother wanted to treat him with laetrile. They wouldn't allow it. And she's very outspoken about it. And the children of course pick up on that.
ZAHN (voice-over): So, the family hunkered down in the North Carolina mountains, generating their own electricity and filtering their own water. Eric loved to smoke marijuana and watch movies, but not TV. Deborah says he thought that was controlled by Jews.
RUDOLPH: He would actually watch the TV and watch the credits roll. See, see, Steinbergs, this, and that. And he would just go on this. He would become very animated and go off on a tyrant, you know, just a fit about, you know, all these Jews that are in the media and on the news. And they're producers and directors and they run Hollywood and they publish, and so they control the information that we as a people are receiving.
ZAHN: As Eric Rudolph got older, he turned into a man willing to use terror to make his point.
CNN senior investigative reporter Henry Schuster has written a new book about Eric Rudolph.
HENRY SCHUSTER, CNN PRODUCER: Friends who saw Eric up to the time of the Olympic Games said that, increasingly, he would sit in the house with the curtains drawn. He would be ranting against the government. He would be watching TV and going into these terrific rages. He was increasingly paranoid about surveillance from the government.
ZAHN: So, why did Eric Rudolph choose the Olympics and abortion clinics as his targets? Deborah Rudolph thinks she knows.
RUDOLPH: I think it goes back to a race thing, again, back to this idea that the majority of abortions performed in this country are performed on white women. But yet black women, Hispanic women are allowed to have all these kids and the government is going to support them.
So, I think that was the issue with that. The Olympics, I think it is a matter of all of these people coming from all different countries and cultures and colors and races and religions all coming together in one place.
ZAHN: But Deborah Rudolph also says she saw something in her former brother-in-Law that perhaps the world will never see, an intelligence that was wasted.
RUDOLPH: I've always said that he was either going to be famous for something or infamous for something. Eric could have been a great leader of people. He could have been a great leader of men. That's how smart he was.
ZAHN: I spoke with Deborah Rudolph just last week before we learned of her former brother-in-law's intention to plead guilty and before he revealed his motive today. And when he finally reports to federal prison in Colorado, he won't be the only infamous criminal there. He will join Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef, and the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski.
When we come back, one of Eric Rudolph's victims speaks out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have waited over seven years for this. And that's all I can think about, is, he deserves to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Emily Lyons was horribly injured and nearly killed by one of Eric Rudolph's bombs.
And, a little bit later on, a story that will shock you. If you think steroids are just a problem with athletes, call the police. Some of them might know a thing or two about this issue.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, Britney Spears superstar, soon to be super mom.
But, first, just about 13 minutes past the hour. That means it's time for Erica Hill at Headline News.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Good to see you.
HILL: An FDA advisory panel has voted to recommend lifting the ban on some silicone breast implants. The panel says the Mentor Corporation provided convincing research that its implants are more durable and will last longer than previous versions. The FDA pulled silicone implants off the market 13 years ago over concerns they could leak or burst. The FDA is not bound by the advisory panel's recommendation, but it does generally follow it.
The Senate is promising to crack down on data brokers whose lax security put hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for identity theft. Executives from LexisNexis and ChoicePoint were among those testifying on Capitol Hill today. Both companies have reported recent security breaches.
For the first time since his burial on Friday, the public is getting a chance to view the grave of Pope John Paul II. Thousands of people have toured the crypt beneath St. Peter's Basilica to catch a glimpse of the pope's final resting place. It was opened to the public today. It is marked by a rectangular slab of white marble engraved with the pope's name in Latin. And the sight, a pretty familiar one, marathon runners grabbing cups of water during a race. But a new study finds the athletes had better watch out just how many of those cups they drink. In fact, one in eight runners in the 2002 Boston marathon actually drank too much water. And that puts them at risk for a condition known as hyponatremia. That's when blood salt levels are too low. One runner died even from it, so something to watch out for.
And that is the latest from Headline News, Paula -- back to you.
ZAHN: Can you imagine worrying about that, in addition to running 25-plus miles?
HILL: No, 26.2 miles to run is enough for me. I don't want to worry about the water.
ZAHN: I'm on your side. Drink away, Erica. See you in a little bit.
Time now to vote for our person of the day. Your choices, the Twinkie, yes, the Twinkie, that icon of junk food, for celebrating its 75th birthday, not the first one ever made, despite those rumors about its shelf life, not a person, but we do like to stretch the rules from time to time. The papal tailor for being prepared, displaying vestments for the new pope, small, medium and large, whoever might be filling those out, and Jeff Postell, the police officer who captured Eric Rudolph, ending a five-year manhunt.
Please vote. Go to our Web site at CNN.com/Paula. The winner at the end of this hour.
And, in just a moment, a woman who survived serial bomber Eric Rudolph's crimes, her inspiring story and why she thinks giving him four life terms in prison isn't enough.
ZAHN: Serial bomber Eric Rudolph surprised quite a people today -- or a few people -- when he said he had absolutely no regret for his crimes. When asked if he set off the deadly blast at a Birmingham abortion clinic, Rudolph told the judge, I certainly did.
And sitting less than 10 feet away, listening to every word, Emily Lyons, the woman who barely survived that attack.
ZAHN (voice-over): Emily and Jeff Lyons married on Valentine's Day 1994. Emily, a labor and delivery nurse, Jeff, a software developer, were planning their future, including a fourth wedding anniversary vacation to Cancun. That was not to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bomb explosion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bomb explosion, the New Women's abortion clinic.
ZAHN: January 29, 1998, at the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic, where Emily worked in Birmingham, had been bombed. Security guard Robert Sanderson was killed instantly. Emily Lyons was severely wounded and clinging to life. Jeff got a frantic call from the clinic.
JEFF LYONS, HUSBAND OF EMILY: Before I saw her, she was already in surgery by the time I got there. So, she was in surgery for about 10 hours that day, several different teams working on her.
ZAHN: Emily had lost her left eye. Her right eye was severely damaged. One of her legs and one of her hands were shattered. Nails and shrapnel from the bomb were embedded throughout her body.
J. LYONS: I thought I was in the wrong room when I first saw her. I walked in and there was a person with a black face, much larger because she was so swollen. Her hair was all frizzed out. And I actually thought I was in the wrong room. And then, as I started to turn, it finally sank in that, yes, this is my wife.
ZAHN (on camera): At what point did you become aware of how serious all of your injuries were?
E. LYONS: It was probably about the same time I was able to see myself, because I never saw what I looked like. I really didn't see my legs or my arms, that kind of thing. So, I didn't understand exactly.
But then, when I was able to see and the pictures were on the computer, it was like, oh, my goodness. You know, this is horrible. And nobody should have to deal with that.
ZAHN (voice-over): It took Emily a month to take these first steps. But it took an entire year for her to walk on her own.
E. LYONS: Rudolph took a lot away from me, my physical abilities, my vision, my career, friends. Even our life together is different. The dynamics are different. I used to be the one that took care of everybody, did everything, you know. And now it is, well, I can still do some things, but he still has to take care of other things, has to take care of me. And it is not right. It is a role reversal that I wasn't used to.
ZAHN (on camera): What do you want Eric Rudolph to know about what he has done to you physically, emotionally, and psychologically?
E. LYONS: To sum all that, I would tell him he was a complete failure. I was a very quiet person back then. I am not afraid to talk anymore. So, instead of taking my voice away, he gave me a voice that day.
There are good days and bad days. And I try not to let him have more of my life than he already has. So, I'm going to live best I can. Jeffrey and I are going to enjoy what years we have left. He can't take that from us. ZAHN (voice-over): Eric Rudolph faces life in prison. But the Lyons don't think the punishment fits the crime.
E. LYONS: I have waited over seven years for this. And that's all I can think about, is, he deserves to die. There is no punishment for those of us who are injured. Had the death penalty been what was selected, that would have been an added punishment for hurting the rest of us.
ZAHN (on camera): How much do you think about Eric Rudolph?
E. LYONS: He is with us every day. Every day, I get up out of bed and, you know, the joints hurt and everything hurts. And you go to the mirror and you put the one contact in. He's there. It is never going to be gone. It is never going to be over. That's when you really think about him, is first thing in the morning, that, how could you do this to me?
ZAHN: As you can see, it hasn't been easy for Emily and Jeff Lyons. And their greatest challenge, they told me, is trying hard not to dwell on the past and just living a day at a time and appreciating just that.
Coming up, a shocking story about those people who are supposed to protect us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GEOIT, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: You always want to be one up. And they have like the one-up theory. And if -- you always got to be one up on the bad guy. And steroids definitely is an advantage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Coming up next, cops with an illegal advantage.
And a little bit later on, Britney Spears going all the way from Mouseketeer to motherhood.
ZAHN: You have no doubt heard about the alarming number of teenagers who are using illegal steroids to build muscle like the sports stars they idolize. But it is a trend that goes way beyond kids and athletes. It now turns out that some police officers are using, with devastating results, steroids.
Here is CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.
DOROTHY JEFFCOAT, WIDOW: I lost my best friend, I mean, the love of my life. And... DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dorothy Jeffcoat doesn't want us to show you her face. If we did, you would see the sadness that destroyed her life, her eyes on the verge of tears, her throat gasping to choke back emotions that have haunted her since the day the love of her life was taken away.
JEFFCOAT: It has been 12 years. And I still have a bad time.
GRIFFIN: Lamar Jeffcoat (ph), an Atlanta nightclub owner, was gunned down in the garage of his home on February 10, 1993. It was a robbery attempt gone bad that went mostly unnoticed in the press until police arrested the criminals. Atlanta was shocked to learn a band of rogue police officers, weight lifting buddies in a gym, were patrolling the streets by day and robbing and burglarizing Atlanta by night.
One of them was James Batsel (ph), a body building policeman from Riverdale, Georgia. When Lamar Jeffcoat tried to defend himself, Batsel pulled out a gun and fired 15 times. Nine bullets struck Dorothy's husband. That violent outburst has never been explained. Both officers were convicted. Batsel is now serving out his murder sentence in this Georgia state prison.
But a year after the murder, Dorothy Jeffcoat got a letter in the mail that may be the first evidence of a growing problem in police forces across the U.S. today. James Batsel was admitting he was a police officer on steroids.
JEFFCOAT: "Ms. Jeffcoat, I do not want to make excuses, but I thought you should know that I was not in a rational state of mind during my crime spree. I was taking extremely large doses of steroids."
GRIFFIN: Batsel's letter goes on to say the steroids he felt altered his mental state and he would have never committed any crime if he hadn't been taking huge doses, as he says, of steroids.
GENE SANDERS, POLICE PSYCHOLOGIST: Extreme anxiety.
GRIFFIN: Gene Sanders is a police psychologist who has counseled more than 3,000 U.S. cops in trouble. He says steroid use among star baseball players may be getting the most attention, but a bigger problem is likely the police officer down the street who is using them.
SANDERS: Conservative guess, based on the number of individuals that come through my office doors, is about 5 percent, with some areas being considerably higher than that.
GRIFFIN: Sanders, a former policeman himself, says many officers tell him steroids can mean the difference between life and death.
SANDERS: It becomes not a big, you know, issue for them to go, oh, well, OK, if that's what I got to do to survive, that's what I got to do.
GRIFFIN: And that is certainly why Al Geoit began pumping his body with steroids.
AL GEOIT, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: They always, if you ain't cheating, you ain't winning. You always want that extra advantage. You always want to be one up. And they have like the one-up theory. And if -- you always got to be one up on the bad guy. And steroids definitely is an advantage as far as that comes because of the muscle mass.
GRIFFIN: Geoit was a rookie cop in rural Michigan. Patrolling alone at night, a veteran officer told him to get big and told him how. Geoit used steroids for several months. He went from 180 pounds to 220 pounds.
GEOIT: It was probably like the third week when, all a sudden, I really seen it start going up in the weight room. And then, the next week, I gained more weight in the weight room. And you just -- it just keeps going. And then, pretty soon, you're like, wow, the rush and the feeling of getting there and obtaining certain lifting weights and physical weights, it was amazing.
GRIFFIN: But his performance at work was less than amazing. Geoit began making bad decisions, having sex on duty, even on his patrol car. He eventually was caught and fired.
GEOIT: And I was making wrong choices at the time. And I would definitely attribute that a lot to steroids.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Far from alone, Al Geoit is one of hundreds of police officers across the country who have been fired or sent to jail for illegal steroid use. CNN has documented cases in 10 different states where police officers were illegally using the artificial hormones.
(voice-over): Six months ago, Norman, Oklahoma Police Chief Phil Cotten, fired four of his officers when he learned they, too, were on steroids.
PHIL COTTEN, NORMAN, OKLAHOMA, POLICE CHIEF: And you just can't break the law and be a police officer.
GRIFFIN: To psychologist Sanders, the trouble goes much deeper than just breaking the law.
SANDERS: At some point in using the drug, psychotic-type symptoms come in. And they're not predictable. That makes it even an more dangerous issue.
JEFFCOAT: I've kept it for 12 years. Why, I don't have a clue.
GRIFFIN: For 12 years, Dorothy Jeffcoat has had a lot of time to think about this letter. She's had a lot of time to think about the policeman who killed her husband, too, and his explanation that it was steroids that drove him to murder. And even though James Batsel asked for her forgiveness, she has refused to grant it.
DOROTHY JEFFCOAT, WIFE OF SHOOTING VICTIM: I mean, I know you're supposed to forgive and forget, but I don't think so.
ZAHN: Drew Griffin reporting. We want to give you an idea of the scope of the steroid problem in this country. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that hundreds of thousands of adults in our country abuse steroids every year. Coming up, a Mousketeer who discovered sex sells.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She hit on a brilliant formula. That was I will be the modern-day Lolita. I will have a nation of screaming preteen girls wanting to be me. And I will have a nation of horny old men wanting to sleep with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, guess what. It worked. When we come back, Britney Spears' amazing on camera journey from nice to very naughty indeed.
ZAHN: All right, unless you're living under a rock, you probably heard the news by now that Britney Spears is going to become a mom. The tabloids have been speculating about that for weeks. And yesterday the queen of pop confirmed it herself. Here is Kyra Phillips with tonight's PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the ripe old age of 23, she's the undisputed, precociously seductive princess of pop.
PETER CASTRO, PEOPLE: Britney Spears became a superstar because she hit on a brilliant formula. And that was, I will be the modern day Lolita. I will have a nation of screaming preteen girls wanting to be me. And I will have a nation of horny old men wanting to sleep with me.
PHILLIPS: With that toxic blueprint, Britney Spears has planted herself in the pantheon of pop. She's Madonna's mini me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
PHILLIPS: And the world can't get enough.
Four number one albums, 12 top 10 singles, $50 million in record sales, with a net worth estimated at $100 million. She's a headline-breaking, scandal-making, lip-locking machine.
We met Britney Spears a little more than five years ago and from the start, her twist on the Catholic schoolgirl was rocked with controversy.
She danced with a snake, had sex with Justin Timberlake. And as the years passed, only the jaded tabloid reader would be bored.
But in the fall 2003, in the wake of her fourth album's release, Britney buzz took a turn.
JESSICA SHAW, SENIOR WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Before in the zone, the problem was we were seeing a lot of Britney, but it was a lot of Britney in bad light. It was a lot of Britney acting out. She was flipping off the press in Mexico. She was drinking. She was smoking. She was out all night clubbing.
PHILLIPS: Then in January 2004, the biggest news of the new year. Out of the zone. She is walked down the aisle and oops, needs an annulment.
SUCHAN PAK, MTV: The Britney wedding: for a while I think we all forgot that we went to war.
PHILLIPS: But the pop tart's 55-hour Vegas marriage was just the beginning of the buzz ahead. On September 18, another official announcement. Yes, folks, she did it again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She shocked the world again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her family didn't know. Her mother didn't know. Her sister was very upset at one point because she thought she was the only one not told.
PHILLIPS: And yesterday, just seven months after tying the knot with dancer Kevin Federline, the newlyweds let everyone in on yet another little secret.
CASTRO: Britney spears is pregnant. There is a baby Federline on the way. And she's ecstatic. This is her ultimate goal.
PHILLIPS: She was born Britney Jean Spears on December 2, 1981 in the tiny southern zip code of 70444.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, which has a population of something like 2,400. It is very all American. It is blue collar. It is everybody nose everybody. It is back in the "Andy Griffith Show."
PHILLIPS: Britney's father worked construction. Her mother Lynn taught school. Money came and went. But one thing always remained.
DARLENE HUGHES, BIRTNEY SPEARS' FORMER TEACHER: Britney's voice boomed. She was so strong. And her voice was mature and developed and people would just stop and look with their jaw dropped.
PHILLIPS: From gymnastics to drama club, from off Broadway to "Star Search:" By the time she was 12, the house of mouse had asked Britney to join its club.
BRITNEY SPEARS, MICKEY MOUSE CLUB: Our final story is the shocker of the week.
STRAUSS: You had Kerri Russell (ph). You had Christina Aguilera. You had J.C., Justin from 'N Sync.
SHAW: It was a very talented little gene pool going on with those Mickey Mouse ears.
PHILLIPS: And boy, did they click.
T.J. FANTINI, FRM DISNEY MOUSKETEER: I was there for first kiss. What happened was we all decided to go over to my house and we were hanging -- it was actually the night of the O.J. Simpson chase. And then we decided to play truth or dare. And one of the dares was for Justin to kiss Britney. And lo and behold, there was a first kiss.
PHILLIPS: But in 1995, two years into the show's run, the Mousketeers found out they would no longer...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you real soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My guess is she was devastated. I mean, who wouldn't be. She was going back to Kentwood, Louisiana, for what? What do you go back there to?
PHILLIPS: Staying true to her roots, pop's future princess quietly resumed her life as an everyday student. And in the halls of Parklane Academy, a boy quickly caught her eye. His name was Reg Jones.
A standout athlete from a prominent local family, the 18-year-old quickly became Britney's first boyfriend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in love. And it wasn't because she was Britney spears. It was because she was Britney. Three years, a lot of good memories.
PHILLIPS: But the hometown romance hardly suppressed Britney's itch for the spotlight. And in the spring of 1997, the 15-year-old recorded a demo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was like this makeshift demo that they made at the house with a tape recorder. And they sent it to Jive Records. Jive Records really liked what they heard. They brought her in. She sang two songs for them. And they were just bulled over.
PHILLIPS: Over night, Britney landed a contract. And before the ink was dry, she said good-bye to Reg and Kentwood, Louisiana.
ZAHN: Coming up, the making of an outrageous superstar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:: Started getting a little concerned, like, wait a second, this isn't the sweet little pop star we thought she was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The scandals, the weddings, the albums and now a baby. Stay with us.
ZAHN: She certainly went from wholesome to sexy and outrageous. We continue our "People in the News" look at Britney Spears in just a moment. First, we got to check in with Erica Hill of "Headline News" to find out what some of the top stories are at this hour, which is 43 minutes past the hour of 8:00, here on the east coast.
HILL: Hi, Paula, good to see you again.
We start off now with word that we may know who was kidnapped yesterday in Iraq. The American Arab network al-Jazeera releasing video revealing the identity of an American businessman taken hostage taken in Iraq on Monday. Jeffrey Ake was kidnapped outside of Baghdad. The video shows him holding a U.S. passport, his Indiana driver's license and a family picture. He's flanked by armed men and reads a statement asking his family to urge the U.S. government save his life by opening talks with Iraqi insurgents and removing U.S. troops from Iraq. U.S. officials say they're doing everything they did to gain Ake's release but they reiterated their long-standing policy to never negotiate with terrorists.
The White House today voted to permanently eliminate federal estate taxes in five years. Those taxes are levied out in inherited estates, currently. They only affect estates worth more than $1.5 million. The estate tax is scheduled to make a one year disappearance in 2010. But this new measure would make that permanent. Similar efforts have failed repeatedly in the Senate.
Cigarette lighters, leave them at home. They're probably going to be piling up at airport security checkpoints tomorrow. That's when a new rule goes into effect banning the devices from all flights. Now the government is urging travelers to leave their Zippos, Bics, all of their lighters at home, because if they take it you are not getting it back.
That is the latest from "HEADLINE NEWS." Paula, back to you.
I want to know what they're going to do with the ones they sell inside the security checkpoints at the gates.
ZAHN: Hey, good question. But I'm beginning to wonder whether it matters, in my own case, what I do because I seem to get selectively searched whenever I...
HILL: Isn't that fun?
ZAHN: I'm always missing my flight every time because they always pick me. Oh, well, I've learned to live with the long lines. Thanks, Erica. "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up at 9:00. Larry, hanging out with royalty as usual. Hi, Larry, how are you doing tonight?
LARRY KING, HOST "LARRY KING LIVE": Better way -- just don't smoke.
ZAHN: Well, that's a good start.
KING: You smoke, you pay.
ZAHN: You're right.
KING: Oh, yes, the king has a queen tonight. Queen Noor, queen forever, queen of Jordan, she was married to the late King Hussein. Her biography was No. 1 on the "New York Times" best-seller list, "Leap of Faith," it's now out in paperback. She's here to talk about this and much more, right at the top of the hour. A princess Paula leads to a Queen Noor.
ZAHN: Oh, no one has ever called me that. Thank you, Larry. You don't know how much that means to me. Wait until I go home and my kids tell me the truth.
KING: Take out the garbage.
ZAHN: Exactly. And walk the dog, of course. Have a good show, Larry. See you at the top of the hour.
Coming up next, the wholesome girl next door turns into the scandalous sex pot on stage and off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there was a point where she had, you know, not been a virgin anymore and was still professing that. And it got to the point where it almost became a joke like who are you trying to kid?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Red hot romance, white hot scandal, when our "People in the News" profile of Britney continues.
ZAHN: The news that she's pregnant has certainly put Britney Spears back out there in the headlines, but the idea of Britney as a mom is quite a contrast to this sexy teen pop star image she used to breakthrough just seven years ago. Once again, here's Kyra Phillips.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The record label wanted the video to be this kind of space age, Power-Rangers kind of thing, and Britney was like no way. We are not doing that. She actually came up with the idea to do the whole kind of bad Catholic school-girl thing. PHILLIPS: In October 1998, the world got its first look at a brand new pop star. Part Pollyanna, part Lolita, Britney's debut unleashed a phenomenon.
The single spawned Britney mania, and on January 12, 1999, her first album debuted at number one. Within a month, it sold two million copies and became a global smash. Soon Britney joined red hot boy banders 'N Sync on their soldout tour. It was here she would reunite with her Mousketeer crush Justin Timberlake. And in the coming months, rumors of a relationship only added to the growing torrent of media coverage. A downpour which grew in intensity when she posed provocatively for "Rolling Stone" in April 1999.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think parents started getting concerned, like, wait a second this isn't the sweet little pop star we thought she was.
PHILLIPS: Twelve months and 10 million copies later, album number two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People expected a sophomore slump. And that did not happen with her. If anything, the snowball got bigger.
PHILLIPS: And the controversies intensified. In May 2000, Britney's sophomore disc rocketed to number one. Adding to the craze, Britney and Justin were now living together, and preaching abstinence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there was a point where she had not been a virgin anymore and she was still professing that. And I it got to the point where it almost became a joke, like who are you trying to kid?
PHILLIPS: Their red hot romance would last three years. But by 2002, Britney and her boy toy were officially out of sync. And as Justin cried himself a river, Britney announced a six month hiatus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That sort of when Britney's acting out began. Next thing you know she's off boozing at clubs all night in Miami.
PHILLIPS: On August 28th, 2003, Britney Spears returned. Once again stealing the show at the MTV Video Music Awards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you ever kissed a woman before?
SPEARS: No, I've never kissed a woman before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you again?
SPEARS: Would I again? No. I would not do it. Maybe with Madonna.
PHILLIPS: Album number four "In the Zone" landed in the store On November 18th. One toxic tune later, the 13 tracks had sold 2.5 million copies, making it the lowest selling album of her career. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was topless on "Rolling Stone", she was bottomless on "Esquire," and it sold magazines but people were also thinking, like, put on some underwear, honey.
PHILLIPS: Instead she put on a wedding ring. On January 3rd, 2004, Britney Jean Spears became Mrs. Jason Alexander, 55 hours later, what goes on in Vegas...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just received a decree of annulment. There is no marriage now.
PHILLIPS: Stays in Vegas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think one reason that she went through this wedding debacle is because it was some desperate way for her to reconnect to her roots. He was from Louisiana. And, you know, let's do something crazy.
PHILLIPS: Speaking of doing something crazy, just nine months after wedding number one, Britney Spears was doing it again. This time with 26-year-old Kevin Federline, a Los Angeles dancer who just happens to have two children with a not so ex-girlfriend. In typical Britney fashion, their top secret ring swap was mirrored in her latest video. And Mrs. Federline who released her greatest hits last November is now working on an even bigger production. After months of rumors, yesterday Britney dropped the baby bomb on her official Web site. Some say it's just the beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's going to be a baby machine. And she's going to have a broad. And, you know, they're going to get around Christmas trees during Christmas with Kevin's kids from his other marriage, and it is going to be one -- it's going to be a very "Brady Bunch" situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is head over heels in love. She says she kissed a lot of frogs, and she finally found her prince and she's found her happily ever after.
PHILLIPS: From teen titan to taboo temptress, the music, the marketing, the mania continues. And no doubt for better or worse so will Britney.
ZAHN: I'm not so sure about that "Brady Bunch" analogy, but we'll see. And if you're one who needs a regular Britney fix, she and her husband Kevin Federline hit the air with their very own reality TV show next month.
And Tomorrow, our "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" spotlight turns to Madonna and her latest transformation. The material girl and her flirtation with Cabala.
And coming up next, your choice for "Person of the Day." Did you the Twinkie on its 75th anniversary, are you popping one now? And the tailor delivering the new pope's new clothes. Or the rookie cop who caught serial bomber Eric Rudolph. Find out next.
ZAHN: So, who did you pick as our "Person of the Day" in the Twinkie celebrating its 75th birthday.
The papal tailor, standing by with small, medium and large vestments for the new pope.
Or Jeff Postell, the police officer who captured Eric Rudolph leading to Rudolph's guilty pleas today.
Your choice, Jeff Postell.
ZAHN (voice-over): You'd need a map to find Murphy, up in The North Carolina mountains. You'd probably have to ask directions to the police department, too, it is a converted storefront. Go inside and you just might run into the young man they call Hollywood, officer Jeffrey Postell is used to doing interviews.
OFC. JEFFREY POSTELL, MURPHY POLICE DEPT.: I don't deserve any more credit than anyone else does. I was just here doing what I was -- what I'm supposed to do. And that -- like I said, it is my job. And I'm just glad I was in the right place at the right time.
ZAHN: Postell was just a rookie in June of 2003 when he stumbled onto Eric Rudolph at 4:30 in the morning scavanging for food behind the Save-A-Lot grocery story. It was the end of a five year manhunt. He's told the story over and over again.
POSTELL: When I walk up behind him, I was under the impression I had somebody back there breaking and entering or prowling around. Never realized it would have been who it is now. It's probably a relief to some of the families that's been involved and also the law enforcement agencies that had been involved.
ZAHN: It was a relief in more ways than one. The FBI had posted a $1 million reward for capturing Eric Rudolph, and didn't have to pay a single cent of is. Law enforcement officers aren't eligible.
Postell, who's 23 now, says he's gotten lots of letters and job offers. But he's still with the Murphy police. And even though "People Magazine" named him one of the country's most eligible bachelors, he's still isn't married. No wife. No reward. Just the satisfaction of the job well done.
POSTELL: It's just in a day's work.
ZAHN: If it is any consolation, Officer Postell, our viewers say you're our "Person of the Day."
ZAHN: And that's it for all us here tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com