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Koran Abuse Report; James Earl Jones Interview; Michael Jackson's Moment of Truth; James Earl Jones Returns to Broadway

Aired June 3, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Thanks for joining us tonight, as we wrap up the week here tonight.
The fate of a celebrity known around the world is now in the hands of a jury.


ZAHN (voice-over): Michael Jackson's moment of truth, blazing talent, bizarre behavior.

TOURE, CNN POP CULTURE CORRESPONDENT: Every few months, you would see him and you would go, whoa, that's -- you're looking weird, dude.

ZAHN: A global superstar now faces an uncertain future.


ZAHN: Today, after 60 days of testimony, 91 prosecution witnesses, 50 defense witnesses, after dancing on the roof of a car and shuffling into court in one's pajamas, it's finally up the other jury to decide whether Michael Jackson is guilty of 10 charges, including four counts of child molestation

The jury got the case about four-and-a-half hours ago, after both sides finished their closing arguments. Outside the courthouse in Santa Maria, California, the crowds of fans and foes was larger than usual, as was the number of people hoping for a lucky lottery ticket for a seat inside the courtroom.

Joining me now from Santa Maria, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who was in court for closing arguments, has been there for much of the trial, and from Los Angeles, Marcia Clark, who prosecuted O.J. Simpson and now contributes to a new magazine called "Justice." She's written on the Jackson case for the first issue, due out in a couple of weeks.

Good to see both of you.

Jeffrey, if you're sitting in the same seat at the jurors tonight, what would be weighing heavily on your mind as you try to make this judgment?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I would be thinking about something prosecutor Ron Zonen said. He said, if you knew about a middle aged man who sleeps -- slept with an 11-year-old boy for six months consecutively -- and that was the evidence about one of the earlier alleged victims -- the first thing you would do is call the cops. You wouldn't even think about it. You would know that this is wrong. It is just absolutely wrong.

And I sat there thinking, you know what? That's what I would do. I mean, it was just a very effective summation by Ron Zonen. And, you know, Michael Jackson's oddity and his obsession with children may finally catch up with him in this case.

ZAHN: Well, Marcia, what did you think of the closing argument of attorney Mesereau? There are a lot of people who thought it was much stronger than they had anticipated.

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think he did exactly what one would predict that he was going to do. He danced around the courtroom with the mother of the accuser, saying she that was tainting everything and you can't believe this case because you can't believe the family beyond a reasonable doubt, very cleverly grouping them all together, as though the child's credibility was premised on the mother's credibility, which is not the case.

I think the prosecutor did an effective job of separating them. But, of course, the problem with the accuser's mother is one that was injected into the trial by the prosecution, shouldn't have been, was not necessary, was, in my opinion, a very damaging thing to have done. And I'm not sure the prosecution is going to overcome it.

ZAHN: But, Marcia, if you're sitting on the jury, wouldn't you be troubled by the fact that this woman has been painted as nothing more than a two-bit con artist? Wouldn't you be concerned about the influence she might have had on her young child?

CLARK: Sure. Absolutely. That's exactly the problem. That's exactly why she shouldn't have been introduced into the case and premise -- have a charge premised on her.

It is one thing, Paula, if she has witnessed a molestation act herself or seen things that went to the heart of the case. But to file the conspiracy charge premised largely on her testimony, knowing that she is as unreliable a witness as she is -- and they did know from day one, according to my sources. From day one, they were fighting with her, dealing with her, and her -- her difficulties as a witness. Why would you premise a charge like that on her?

And why give the defense that gift of being able to dance them around the courtroom defending her credibility, when they could have made it nice and clean, have just the accuser on?

However I will say, they ended very nicely with that rebuttal videotape. It was an amazing, brilliant move, not an unpredictable move, which is why I'm surprised that Mesereau and his team seemed to be scrambling, not knowing what to do. It should have been predicted from day one that the prosecution was going do this.

ZAHN: Sure.


ZAHN: Jeff, did that tape work for you?

TOOBIN: You know, the video -- well, you know what? I had heard from people who had seen it. I didn't see it when it was introduced the first time.

It had the boy talking to the police for the first time about the molestation and him embarrassed. And I heard from people who saw it. Boy, it was so persuasive. You know, when I saw it in court, I thought, well, maybe. I was not entirely persuaded that this was an authentic complaint from a child. It could have been an acting job.

And I was expecting something somewhat more persuasive. But, again, that's such a subjective judgment. And I thought the prosecution did the right thing with leaving that image in the jury's mind, because, if they believe the boy, nothing else matters. Michael Jackson is going to prison.


ZAHN: Oh, go. Go ahead, Marcia.

CLARK: Yes. I'm sorry, Paula.

I was just going to say, the thing that was most credible to me is, after everybody is dancing around about the mother, the mother, the mother and how she set everything up and she made everybody dance to her tune and she was like a puppet master, the truth of the matter is that, at the end of that tape, when the little boy turned to the police officer and said, please don't tell my mom, it was a very compelling moment and I think really put the kibosh on the defense claims of being manipulated by the mother.

ZAHN: That may be true.

TOOBIN: I'm really not sure I buy that. You know, there is -- this boy has had -- gave very questionable testimony in the past.

He apparently in the J.C. Penney case, which was a lawsuit that she filed earlier. You know, he contradicted himself on the witness stand in several important ways, which Mesereau brought out today. So, I think Mesereau understood that he couldn't just put it all on the mother. The boy has significant credibility problems, too.

He denied that any untoward activity took place with Jackson to his teacher. So, he's got problems as a witness, too. It is not just the mother.

ZAHN: Marcia, do you think it will be at all disarming to this jury that you had the prosecutor in his summation saying, look, when you look at the duration that this kid was up on the stand and the mother and the rest of the family, that there weren't that many inconsistencies and, oh, by the way, you know, the mother is lucky if she can connect two sentences together that make sense?

CLARK: I think that was an effective argument.

I think, you look at mother, you say, wait. She's just not that well controlled. The puppet master that can make it all happen as well as she could and hold everybody together for as long as she supposedly did? I think that's a good argument. I think the other good argument he made was that the lion on the Serengeti goes after the weakest of the herd.

And that's exactly why you have this kind of victim, this kind of alleged victim, who is with a parent who is going to not watch out for them carefully. Most parents you ask, are they going let their child sleep in this man's bed? No. Not to begin with, they're not. So, who is it that Michael Jackson would have access to? Of course, it would be someone who is -- is from a dysfunctional family, from a mother like this, who doesn't keep it together very well.

ZAHN: Right.


ZAHN: As two former prosecutors, I need a simple one-word answer here.

Jeffrey, based on everything you have heard in this courtroom, everything you have read, would you acquit or convict Michael Jackson?

TOOBIN: I would certainly acquit on the conspiracy count. You got me on the molestation.

ZAHN: I got you what?

TOOBIN: Got me. I don't know. I really -- I just think it is too hard. I'm wimping out on you, Paula. I just know.

ZAHN: Marcia Clark?


CLARK: I'm not going to wimp out on you, Paula.

I agree with Jeffrey on the conspiracy charge. I think that they can't -- I don't think that was proven well. I think that probably there will be at least one count of furnishing alcohol with the intent to seduce the minor. The other counts will probably go down as the lesser included of just furnishing the alcohol. And there probably will be one or two counts of molestation that will be -- that they will convict on.

ZAHN: Well, thanks for providing with us that answer, Marcia. I have never looked at Jeffrey Toobin as a wimp before. And I'm not too -- after that...


ZAHN: After that waffly answer either, Jeff.

TOOBIN: But just -- we'll all know at the same time, because the judge today said that the verdict is going to be announced live on audiotape worldwide.

ZAHN: Well, that will be...


ZAHN: A first for all us courtroom watchers.


TOOBIN: Yes, indeed.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, Marcia Clark, thank you for both of your perspectives.

TOOBIN: All right.

CLARK: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: This trial is the milestone in a musical career that has gone through a spectacular rise and fall. Michael Jackson was growing up in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children, when his father, a steelworker, turned five of the boys into a band, the Jackson Five.

They had a string of number one hits, with Michael out front. But what we didn't see and only learned about much later was about the pressure and the pushing.


RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, "HATING WOMEN": He would always complain, my father didn't love me enough. My father made me into a performance machine. I mean, I'm not saying anything new. This is all in the public domain. My father was too strict. He was too much of a disciplinarian. He made me rehearse too much. I would see kids on the monkey bars and I would cry, because I couldn't have a childhood.


ZAHN (voice-over): Michael went solo in the late '70s. His second album, "Thriller," earned seven Grammys and turned him into a worldwide superstar.


TOURE: Michael was not a phenomenon with "Thriller." He was beyond phenomenon. We had to invent like a new word. The record flew out of stores. It could not be stopped.


ZAHN: And it wasn't just records, Michael's music videos, like "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and "Thriller," were must-see TV of the 1980s.

But Michael Jackson's arc of celebrity was about to take a darker turn. That part of the story is tonight's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" profile.


ZAHN (voice-over): When Michael Jackson joined his brothers on stage for their 1984 reunion tour, nothing would be the same. Seemingly soft-spoken Michael was retreating into a world of his own.

JOHN NORRIS, MTV NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT; Michael had begun to exhibit a certain, I think, aloofness and a tendency to kind of withdraw from the world.

ZAHN: By 1985, the pop star's plastic surgery began to take shape.

TOURE: Every few months, you would see him and you would go, whoa, hey, you're looking weird, dude. But I think it was about '85, '86, I was like, wow. He's not going to be able to get any weirder than this. And then, two years later, I was, like, I was wrong.

ZAHN: In 1986, a photograph of Michael asleep in an anti-aging chamber rocked the tabloids. In 1987, his interest in the Elephant Man's bones, Bubbles the chimp, Liz Taylor, and an array of strange disguises set tongues a-wagging.

ZAHN: Jackson's follow-up to "Thriller," the album simply called "Bad," hit the stores in 1987.

M. JACKSON (singing): I'm bad, I'm bad, you know...

ZAHN: The pop star's eccentric behavior hardly deterred the album's record-breaking five No. 1's.

M. JACKSON (singing): Who's bad?

ZAHN: "Bad" went on to sell eight million copies and Jackson went on to change his image once again. Taking cue from "Bad's" title, he became a crouch-grabbing tough guy, a far cry from his gentle off-stage persona.

And yet, the money kept rolling in. In March 1988, Jackson finalized the purchase of a 2,700-acre ranch, the cost, $28 million.

NORRIS: There's a reason it's called Neverland Valley, you know, his fixation on the: I won't grow up. I'm a lost boy. I'm Peter Pan.

BOTEACH: He repudiated the adult world. For him, it was a world of betrayal. He would said to me, Shmuley, you know why I'm the biggest star? Because I'm so much more creative than others. I'm so much more playful. I experiment more. They don't. They're rigid. They've calcified. They've hardened. They've become adults. They've grown up. ZAHN: And with Neverland, came the children.

J. RANDY TARABORRELLI, BIOGRAPHER: Michael began to sort of surround himself with young boys. And much to, I remember, the chagrin of people who were working for him.

M. JACKSON (singing): Dangerous...

ZAHN: Three years later, in the fall of 1991, "Dangerous" was released. Long awaited, the buzz was big. And as a result, it's lead single, "Black or White" shot to No. 1.

M. JACKSON (singing): Don't matter if you're black or white.

ZAHN: Coincidentally, fans were wondering about Michael's much lighter skin tone. Was he black or white?

PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: If you believe the fact that he -- you know that he has this congenital skin condition, that's why he's so white, then fine. But a lot people think that he has bleached his skin. With Michael Jackson, you never know what the truth is.

ZAHN: Jackson's strange appearance soon began to overshadow his music. He became more reclusive, retreating further into Neverland, where he continued to surround himself with children.

Then, in 1993, disturbing allegations surfaced concerning his association with children. A 13-year-old boy filed a lawsuit accusing the singer of sexual molestation. Jackson denied the accusation on TV.

The case was eventually settled for nearly $20 million and the suit was dropped in 1994. But Jackson's reputation was seriously damaged. Less than a year later, Jackson made headlines once again when he married Lisa Marie Presley, the 26-year-old daughter of Elvis.

TOURE: It was quite obvious to all of us from the beginning that it was a sham, that it was a publicity stunt and it was just kind of disgusting and silly.

ZAHN: The marriage collapsed less than two years after the wedding. Presley filed for divorce in 1996. But later that year, Jackson sent shockwaves around the world when he remarried. The singer tied the knot with Debbie Rowe, the nurse of his dermatologist.

Rowe gave birth to their son, Prince Michael Jackson, in 1997. The couple divorced in 1999, just a year after they had a baby daughter, Paris Michael Catherine. Jackson was granted full custody of the children. In 2002, Jackson was front-page news again when he dangled his newborn son, Prince Michael II, from a balcony of a Berlin hotel.

TOURE: He thinks he's being loving. I mean, you know, it's sort of like the anti King Midas, like, everything he wants to do just gets screwed up. ZAHN: Just a year later, Jackson was catapulted back into the limelight when he was featured in the Martin Bashir documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." In the show, 44-year-old Jackson admitted to letting children sleep with him in his bed at Neverland.

M. JACKSON: It's not sexual. We're going to sleep. I tuck them in. We put -- I put little, like, music on and do a little story time, read a book.

ZAHN: Uri Geller, author and self-proclaimed psychic, became friends with Jackson five years ago. He said he urged the singer to keep children out of his bedroom.

URI GELLER, AUTHOR: Michael Jackson doesn't listen to anyone. And he's his own man. I was the only person that had the chutzpah to scream at him and tell him that this business of inviting children to his bedroom is wrong. And Michael just stared at me. He cannot comprehend the severity of such an invitation.

ZAHN: That documentary triggered the bombshell news that pushed the faded pop star back into the spotlight. Just nine months after the show aired, the 13-year-old cancer patient featured in the documentary accused Jackson of sexual abuse.

Although Jackson denies the abuse allegations, he was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child molestation. Whether Michael Jackson is found guilty or innocent, will we ever know what motivates the man who has transformed himself so many times during the last three decades?

GELLER: No one knows Michael Jackson really but Michael Jackson himself. I once asked Michael here in this house, I looked into his eyes and I said to him, Michael, are you lonely? And he looked up at me. It was like a 10-second stare. And then he said, Uri Geller, I'm a very lonely man. And I think that said it all.


ZAHN: Well, despite his legal troubles, Michael Jackson's music still sells more than a quarter of a million albums so far this year, roughly a million in both 2003 and 2004. But Jackson hasn't put out a new album since "Invincible" in 2001.

And that brings up an ugly, controversial question. Are Michael Jackson's enemies in it for just his money? Coming up next, the alleged conspiracy and Jackson's biggest financial prize.


ZAHN: Michael Jackson showed up late to court twice during his trial. But, today, he got there on time, despite having made a trip earlier to a hospital near his Neverland Ranch. Jackson, of course, has denied the child molestation charges from the beginning.

And one reporter who has been in court for most of the trial is "Vanity Fair"'s Maureen Orth. In the magazine's current issue, she reports that Jackson claims the case is a grand conspiracy designed to strip him of his music-publishing catalog, which includes 251 Beatles songs and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Maureen Orth also writes about Jackson in her book "The Importance of Being Famous."

Always good to see you, Maureen. Welcome back.


ZAHN: So, is there any truth to this conspiracy?

ORTH: According to the people who are the alleged conspirators, absolutely not.

But it is a very convenient way for Michael Jackson not to really have to take responsibility for what he's going through right now. He has had people in the past, though, who have done a lot of self- dealing around him. And he does feel that they are out to get his major economic asset, his Sony catalog. But he thinks somehow that Sony music, its ex-president Tommy Mottola, and Tom Sneddon, the prosecutor, etcetera, are all out to really get his catalog. That's why somebody has paid off the mother to make these charges.

ZAHN: So, do any of those dots connect? I mean, I get sort of the Tommy Mottola connection with Sony. He once ran it. But connecting it with Tom Sneddon, I'm not sure where that came from.



Actually, my source on all this is a conspiracy investigator that the Jackson family called upon. And he actually went out to Neverland and drove around with Michael in an old pickup truck for several hours. And they had many phone conferences.

And many of the things he told me that he and Michael talked about -- he told Michael to change his persona, get a romance, give up sleeping with little boys and all these things. And he was kind of wondering about the conspiracy. And a lot of this stuff, Jesse Jackson told Michael, you know, I'll help you out. I'll put a positive spin on things. And Michael went on his radio show.

And a lot of this stuff this man told me that they had discussed, I later listened to with Michael on Jesse Jackson's show.

ZAHN: You write quite extensively in this latest article about Michael Jackson's health. How is he?

ORTH: Yes.

Well, looking at him every day in the trial, we could see him shrink before our very eyes. He's very, very thin. And some days, he's just catatonic-looking. He just sort of walks in, in a glaze. And I've seen him pop stuff into his mouth in the corner of the courtroom sometimes. And he -- in a number of court papers that have been filed and things that I write about, he really has, by the admission of his own attorney, Tom Mesereau, a continuing prescription drug problem.

He's also -- we have heard witnesses say he was drunk in Neverland more than four times a week with the current accuser, him and his brother. So, he has a recurring problem with drugs and alcohol that is unchecked, I believe.

ZAHN: And you also talk about the enablers in his life.

ORTH: Oh, yes.

ZAHN: And the people who are accused of applying him with drugs and with alcohol.

ORTH: Well, he has a lot of doctor friends, he said.

I talk to a medical worker who treated him in 2002. And he said he travels around with a huge black suitcase that has a collapsible I.V. pole, preloaded syringes, I.V. bags, and thousands of pills and whatever he wants. And, also, the employees who work for him who have seen what they've testified to, in terms of allegations with young boys, as well as his drunken behavior, etcetera, he just, because he's a big celebrity, is -- lives in this cocoon.

And he is totally enabled. And everybody wants something from him. So nobody really does tell him the truth. I mean, I was interested to hear what Uri Geller said, because very few people tell Michael Jackson the truth.

ZAHN: Well, we have a close member of his team coming up right after my interview with you. We'll see what she has to say about all this.

Maureen Orth, thank you so much for your time tonight.

ORTH: You're welcome.

ZAHN: Appreciate you talking about your new piece in "Vanity Fair."

As Jackson, his family and friends wait for the verdict, I'm joined tonight by Jackson's friend and spokeswoman Raymone Bain.

Always good to see you. Welcome back.

First of all, your reaction to some of what Maureen Orth is reporting, that Michael Jackson is a man who is dependent upon drugs. Even Tom Mesereau has admitted that he has a prescription drug problem. And then there is an alcohol dependency charged in this piece.


RAYMONE BAIN, JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Well, first of all, Paula, thanks for having me on.

Let me deal with Uri Geller. It is my understanding, I just heard Uri Geller say that Michael Jackson didn't listen to anybody. It was Uri Geller who introduced Michael Jackson to Martin Bashir and who encouraged Michael Jackson to do a seven-month interview with Martin Bashir. So, I really think Mr. Geller should go somewhere and sit down and be quiet.


ZAHN: You're not suggesting he was setting up Michael Jackson, are you?

BAIN: I'm not suggesting that. But this man just said on your show that Michael Jackson doesn't listen to anybody. Well, he listened to him. He's the one who said, I think you should conduct this interview with Martin Bashir for seven or eight months. My goodness. What kind of -- who would suggest that to a friend, seven or eight months to let some journalist follow you around?

And he's now saying, Michael doesn't listen. Well, he listened to him and it was to his detriment. So, we would like to respectfully request that maybe Mr. Geller should be quiet for a little while and just sit back and be quiet.


ZAHN: Let's come back to the broader issue of how Michael Jackson lives, because there are a lot of people who feel, because of his celebrity and because of some of the reclusiveness that he has endured over the last couple of years, that he does live in a cocoon.

BAIN: Well, let me just deal with Ms. Orth.

Tom Mesereau did not say Michael Jackson was hooked on prescription drugs. Tom Mesereau has said publicly in court that Michael Jackson drinks socially, that is something that he has done, and that he had put in cans, so that kids would not see him. He has never said publicly that Michael Jackson is addicted to prescription drugs. She should be ashamed of herself.

I have read "CSI: Neverland." And I'm going to tell you, Paula, I am appalled at that, too. This is the same lady who, like, three or four years ago, said that Michael Jackson spent $100,000 to bathe in cow's blood to kill two or three people. And Michael Jackson can't stand the sight of blood, nevertheless bathe in it.

It would behoove all of them to just sit back. I don't understand why people are trying to make so much money and so much fame and fortune off of Michael Jackson. They claim they detest him. They claim that he's this weird individual whom they can't stand. But, yet, all of this is about money. It is about Maureen's article, Maureen's book, Uri Geller getting out here 15 minutes of fame. Everybody is trashing Michael Jackson.


ZAHN: The alleged web goes further than that, because there have been accounts that Michael Jackson actually admitted to his former ranch manager that he had a prescription drug problem.

BAIN: That's not true.

ZAHN: Or Tom Mesereau mentioned that.

BAIN: And I would like -- no, he did not.

I would like to see that script, because Tom Mesereau did not say that. I would like to see that transcript from court, because he did not say that. He said publicly that Michael Jackson drinks socially. But Michael Jackson is doing fine, Paula. He has a great faith in God. He has a great faith in the justice system. He's at Neverland with his family. He's going to be waiting out the jury's decision.

He feels, as I've said, that his -- throughout the last several months, that his defense team is doing an excellent job and have done an excellent job. Tom Mesereau's closing arguments were fabulous. And Michael is there with his family at Neverland. He's feeling fine. And he's just waiting now for the jury to come back with a decision.

ZAHN: And we are waiting right along with him and members of both of the prosecution team and the defense team.

Raymone Bain, thank you so much for your time tonight. We appreciate it.

BAIN: And thank you for having me.

ZAHN: Our pleasure.

Still ahead tonight, Darth Vader's voice returns to Broadway. We catch up with James Earl Jones in just a little bit.


ZAHN: Still ahead, he's the voice of Darth Vader, but he's also has a hit on Broadway.

Also, the man who some people blame for sparking a worldwide firestorm of anger directed at the United States. This on the heels of a late report out of the Pentagon tonight confirming some incidents of misuse and mishandling of the Koran. We'll get to that in a little bit.

But first, it's just about 32 minutes past the hour. Time for Erica Hill of HEADLINE NEWS to update the top stories. Hi, Erica.


We're actually going to pick up right there where you left off, talking about the furor over abuse of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, as you mentioned, heating up again. Tonight, the Pentagon confirmed an American soldier kicked a detainee's holy book. Korans were soaked by water balloons and splashed with a guard's urine. The military, though, vigorously rejecting reports that a Koran was flush down a toilet. The Army is having trouble keeping enough soldiers in the ranks and the Pentagon now taking steps to reduce the number of soldiers who are dismissed for reasons for things like for fitness or unsatisfactory performance. Problem soldiers will now get an additional review before they are dismissed.

Some mixed news about the economy this Friday. Unemployment fell to 5.1 percent, that is its lowest level since September of 2001. But the number of new jobs generated in May was far less than analysts expected. 78,000 compared that with 274,000 last month.

And everyone out of the water. It is a "Jaws" festival in Edgartown, Massachusetts. The movie that made everyone afraid to go in the water was filmed there 30 years ago. In the movie, of course, Edgartown is called Amity. But festival in Edgartown. That's the latest from headlines.

ZAHN: And those little foil shark hat things they're wearing, that would really protect you from one of those big guys.

HILL: Oh, yeah, I think you're fine. Just throw that on, hop in the water, not a problem.

ZAHN: Scare them right away.

Thanks, Erica. See you in a half hour or so. Well, it couldn't be a half hour, because I would be running into Larry's show. See you in 20 minutes.

Who is your pick for person of the day? Dr. Luis Rubio for operating on little girl with mermaid syndrome and for hoping that she'll be walking in less than two years.

Rescuers in Australia for saving 159 stranded whales.

Or the winners of Chicago's Lakeshore Marathon and the other 527 runners for literally going the extra mile, because the course was mistakenly a mile longer than it should have been. Ouch.

Vote at The results a little later on in the this hour.

Coming up, the man many people blame for stirring up anti-U.S. passion in the Muslim world. He isn't a cleric or an insurgent, but a one-time sports hero who is making waves around the world. Meet Imran Khan, a name you'll want to remember next.


ZAHN: Breaking news out of Washington. The developing story we're following tonight. The U.S. military says that an investigation has confirmed the mistreatment or mishandling of Korans at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

That investigation was the result of a report later retracted by "Newsweek" magazine that a Koran at Gitmo was flushed down a toilet. That report sparked worldwide outrage thanks to a media savvy Pakistani lawmaker who is gaining worldwide attention.

If you don't recognize his name, you might recognize his face. It is Imran Khan.


ZAHN (voice-over): Muslims believe the Koran to be literally the word of God. And reaction to any report of a Koran being desecrated is unpredictable. May be anger, riots, bloodshed.

IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTANI PARLIAMENT MEMBER: When I read a news item published in "Newsweek" that a holy Koran was flushed down the loo by interrogators, you know, if I don't speak about it, who is going to speak about it? Because if I'm standing up for human rights, this for a Muslim, is the ultimate insult, humiliation.

ZAHN: After decades of exposure to anti-western rhetoric of the Muslim world, Imran Khan was ready to believe the worst.

KHAN (through translator): Demand an apology. We should say there should be an inquiry. And if such a thing is happening in Guantanamo Bay, it should be punished.

ZAHN (on camera): And that simple action of your waving the magazine, a lot of people say sparked the riots, which led to the deaths of more than a dozen people.

KHAN: Even if I say, okay, I regret -- of course you regret people dying. I still don't think that was because of me, that was because of the article.

ZAHN (voice-over): Almost everything Imran Khan says or does is followed in Europe and Asia. It has been that way since his days as a playboy athlete superstar who paled around with British royalty.

KHAN: The common people want a change.

ZAHN: To when his life took a more serious turn.

(on camera): Your life story is so fascinating. Could you quickly connect the dots from being Oxford educated, becoming this super star cricket player, to marrying a billionaire's daughter to now becoming a political activist.

KHAN: Actually..

ZAHN: Because I'm dizzy.

KHAN: Well, I began to realize that we are ruled by a parasitic elite, you know, who enriches itself. And there's no concern about what happens to the people. And there was no rule of law.

So I decided that one thing we need in Pakistan is justice, an independent, credible judicial system. And so that's what I'm doing in politics now. ZAHN: Khan caught the world's attention when he led Pakistan's national cricket team to its only World Cup victory. He was also known in London as a playboy, until 10 years ago, when he married Jemima Goldsmith, the daughter of a Jewish billionaire. She converted to Islam and learned to speak Urdu, but their marriage faltered, and they divorced last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very smart (INAUDIBLE), and then we set up another one when you come.

KHAN: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: About the time he retired from cricket in 1994, he founded a cancer hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, in memory of his mother, who had died of the disease a few years before.

KHAN: I managed to take my mother out for treatment abroad. But for the vast majority of the people, it was a death sentence. And when cancer destroys, it destroys not just the victim, but it actually -- the whole family is bankrupted by the end. So I thought I'd build a cancer hospital.

ZAHN: The hospital opened his eyes to the plight of his impoverished countrymen, and inspired him to get into politics. His familiarity with both Western and Muslim culture gives him a distinctive view of the anti-American feelings in the Muslim world.

KHAN: The problem is when you make it a war against Islam rather than terror, then you help terrorists. At fringes of society, the fanatics, you help them, who are not scared of dying.

ZAHN (on camera): But they said that hate and anger has been there for centuries and will never go away.

KHAN: This is such nonsense. Look, if people didn't -- if there was such hatred against the U.S., then people wouldn't be dying to come to the U.S. I mean, it's, you know, if you open up the visas, probably a lot of them would turn up here. So it's not obviously that, you know, there is no problem with the people of U.S.

ZAHN (voice-over): According to Khan, for most Muslims there is no problem with the American people. But there is a problem, he says, with U.S. foreign policy.

KHAN: When you deal with terrorists who you think are terrorists, why humiliate them, according to their culture or their religion? Why humiliate them, you know? This whole issue of Koran, or before that a woman soldier with naked prisoners, or shaving their beards off, because then that whole thing is perceived not a war against terror, but a war against Islam. And when you -- and that's what the terrorists want, because then they get more recruits. It's a never-ending war.


ZAHN: Imran Khan is now back in Pakistan. He continues to urge his fellow Pakistanis not to hate the American people, but to protest U.S. policies that are offensive to the Muslim faith. And, again, the Pentagon confirming tonight after office hours that an investigation has confirmed that incidents of mishandling the Koran at Guantanamo Bay have happened.

Coming up next, the man whose voice you'll recognize if you're a "Star Wars" fan, or if you're a fan of CNN. Listen to it.



ZAHN: Sometimes a voice says it all. James Earl Jones has won two Tony Awards, could win another one on Sunday, and has appeared in more than 100 movies. But it is his powerful, unforgettable voice that echoes through our memories. And you may not even realize it -- he has also played a defining role in CNN's 25-year history, which we're celebrating this week.


ZAHN (voice-over): James Earl Jones is best known from films and television. But acting on Broadway is his first love.

(on camera): How hard is it to play to that top balcony up there?

JONES: You know, actually, I'm looking down most of the time. Except during the (INAUDIBLE), I do look up there. To thank them for coming, yes.

ZAHN (voice-over): When I visited Jones on the stage of "On Golden Pond," it was obvious this is where he feels at home.

JONES: I love standing in a -- behind a dark curtain every night, which is, you know, preparation. After you loosened up your voice with butter, gutter, butter, butter, gutter, butter, gutter, those...

ZAHN (on camera): That's the magic? (INAUDIBLE) Butter, butter, butter, butter -- what am I saying?

JONES: Butter, gutter, butter, gutter, butter, gutter.

ZAHN: Butter, gutter, butter, gutter, butter, gutter.

JONES: The B's and the G's and (INAUDIBLE), you know.

ZAHN: Your grandfather describes your voice as as beautiful as a bell.

JONES: Yeah.

ZAHN: That's a wonderful thing to say about somebody's voice.

JONES: That's nice, isn't it? (INAUDIBLE) grandpa. ZAHN: But there was something he heard in the register of your voice, the tenor of your voice that touched him.

JONES: Perhaps every child has that. Before it gets cluttered, you know, with all kinds of concerns and fears.

ZAHN (voice-over): James Earl Jones knows that from personal experience. His parents divorced before he was born, leaving him with his grandparents. His early years on the family's Mississippi farm were happy. But when he turned 6, his grandparents decided to move north, intending to leave young James with another relative. He refused, and eventually moved to Michigan with the rest of his family.

But all that left him so traumatized that he developed a severe stutter, and barely spoke for almost eight years.

(on camera): Why did you spend so much time in silence as a kid?

JONES: Because stuttering was so embarrassing and really painful. I mean, I'd set out peels of laughter in Sunday school when I'd read my verses.

ZAHN: That couldn't have felt good.

JONES: Oh, no, it hurt. It does hurt, yeah. But I now accept it when people laugh, you know.

ZAHN (voice-over): When Jones was 14, a high school teacher recognized his love of poetry and encouraged him to speak again. His love of words eventually led him to the stage.

JONES: I started my Broadway debut in this theater, the Court Theater. The play was "Sunrise at Campobello," about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And I remember walking on stage one night, and my line was "Mrs. Roosevelt, dinner is served." I got to m, m, m, m. I couldn't get any further.

And the audience sat there. They knew what was happening. They waited for me to get it out. I'm very grateful for that. This is the only time I've stuttered on stage.

ZAHN: Surprisingly, the boy who was once embarrassed to speak publicly went on to have a successful stage career, performing in roles like "The Great White Hope," "Othello," "Master Herald and the Boys" and "Fences."

JONES: I am your father.

ZAHN: But the role that won Jones worldwide recognition was not on stage, but the big screen.

JONES: I became a commercial actor because of that guy. People wanted the voice of authority, you know, from Darth Vader. And...

ZAHN: So in spite of all those years of toiling in the theater, it was George Lucas who made you commercially viable with this... JONES: I think so, yeah.

ZAHN: ... great gift of a voice you have?

JONES: Yeah, yeah.

ZAHN: So when you in your mind's eye try to figure out what Darth Vader was supposed to sound like, where did that come from?

JONES: Well, I was able to look at the screen and see the image of him. That affected me, that dark figure. That had an impact on me. The key to Darth Vader is a narrow band of expression. No inflections. He's not human.

ZAHN: Jones was paid just $9,000 for his voice work in the first "Star Wars" film. But the movie opened the door to a lucrative voice- over career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Start rolling. This is line one, take one, please.

ZAHN: Including right here at CNN.

JONES: You saw it on CNN.

ZAHN: In 1990, in celebration of CNN's 10th anniversary, the network was looking for a strong, recognizable voice of authority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jones, can I get one with a little bit more emphasis on the word "this," please?


ZAHN: James Earl Jones was the first person who came to mind.

JONES: Bringing you the world for 25 years, this is CNN.

ZAHN: He's been the voice of CNN ever since.

While Darth Vader and his voice-over work brought Jones fame, his stage roles brought him professional satisfaction.

JONES: I still can't get over how pretty she is, and how handsome I am.

ZAHN: He recently received a Tony Award nomination for playing Norman Thayer in "On Golden Pond." He's already won two Tonys.

(on camera): It is interesting to me that in this production of "On Golden Pond," most of the cast is black, and yet you didn't edit out some of the more inflammatory, bigoted remarks directed against blacks or Jews. Is that uncomfortable for you?

JONES: I didn't want to change that. Norman's jokes are pretty cruel. You couldn't get him any crueler than using race. And to remove that, I thought, would take some of the cruelty out of that character. And I didn't want to.

ZAHN: Your character, Norman Thayer, is also a guy who is obsessed with his own mortality. Is that something you think about much?

JONES: I'm not worried about death, but Norman taunts death. He says, bring it on.

ZAHN: He doesn't want to go.

JONES: Doesn't want to go.

ZAHN: He's not ready.

JONES: Doesn't want to go. Hadn't done it all yet.

ZAHN (voice-over): Now in his mid-70s, James Earl Jones is happy and busy, and still looking for challenges.

(on camera): Have you done it all yet?

JONES: No, no, no, no.

ZAHN: What's left?

JONES: I'm not sure if I want to do it all, because, you know, death is OK. It is something that happens to all of us. And that's kind of glorious, isn't it?


ZAHN: Some words of wisdom from the voice behind Darth Vader and CNN.

Coming up next, your pick for our person of the day.


ZAHN: So who is the person of the day? Once again, the nominees tonight, Dr. Luis Rubio, who hopes his patient, the girl with mermaid syndrome, with her legs fused together, may actually be walking on her own in two years. The Australians who rescued 159 stranded whales. Or the winners of Chicago's Lakeshore Marathon, who with 527 others went the extra mile because the course wasn't marked right.

Sixty-two percent of you chose Dr. Luis Rubio.


ZAHN (voice-over): Milagros Cerron, the 13-month-old Peruvian girl known as the Little Mermaid, because her fused legs resemble the tail of a fish, is now being called the little miracle.

Milagros, whose name actually means miracles in Spanish, was born with sirenomelia, a rare birth defect more commonly known as mermaid syndrome. There are only three known cases in the world. Most who had it have died soon after birth because of organ damage.

Dr. Luis Rubio led a team of surgeons operating on Milagros, separating her fused legs, a complicated and risky surgery. Four-and- a-half hours later, success, as the surgeons were able to separate the little girl's legs above the knee. They were also able to retain movement in both of her knee joints.

SARA ARAUCO, MILAGROS CERRON'S MOTHER (through translator): I feel happy, very happy. I had faith, and that faith is becoming reality.

ZAHN: For that gift to her family and for his dedication, you have made Dr. Luis Rubio the person of the day.



ZAHN: Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend.



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