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Russell Crowe Arrested; Stopping Identify Theft; Restraining Order Tragedy, Shock Shirts

Aired June 6, 2005 - 20:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien. Paula has got the night off.
We start tonight with a superstar with talent and sex appeal and who just can't seem to stay out of the headlines.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): The explosive Russell Crowe, one of Hollywood's hottest talents, with a temper to match, a life that sizzles on the screen.

RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR: He is a rough-and-tumble Aussie. He's also an artist.

O'BRIEN: And off.

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR: You can take your cynicism and you can put it where the sun don't shine.

O'BRIEN: Tonight, Russell Crowe, from "Gladiator" in chains to suspect in cuffs.


O'BRIEN: Today in New York, police hauled Oscar winner Russell Crowe off to court. He's charged with assault and the criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly throwing a telephone at a hotel concierge, who was hit in the face. The judge let Crowe out on his own recognizance, told him he's due back in court on September 14.

The actor's publicist says that Crowe was frustrated because the hotel clerk wouldn't help him put a call through to his family in Australia, that he lost his temper and threw the phone against the wall.

This is not the first report of bad behavior by Crowe. He got into a brawl in a London restaurant about three years ago and reportedly got abusive with a British TV executive earlier that year.

Ironically, today's charges came just after his latest movie opened. In "Cinderella Man," Crowe plays a heavyweight boxer with a heart of gold.

Paula Zahn has tonight's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" profile.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Russell Crowe can't miss. Since his 1995 Hollywood debut in "The Quick and The Dead," he's garnered not one, not two, but three consecutive Academy Award nominations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Russell!

ZAHN: In 2001, he took home the Oscar for "Gladiator." And although he came up empty-handed at the 2002 awards, Crowe is once again back in the ring, this time as a heavyweight boxing champ in "Cinderella Man."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Go home to Mae and the kids, Jim.

CROWE: Go home with what? Go home with what?


ZAHN: Set in the darkest years of the Great Depression, the film is inspired by the life of once-promising heavyweight boxer Jim Braddock. Forced into retirement, Braddock takes a string of dead-end jobs, but never gives up his dream. In this film, Crowe takes boxing to a whole new level, literally recreating the legendary boxer's moves on screen.

CROWE: The film and the way that I move in the film is as close as I could get to recreating him. I'm not doing a generic boxer. I'm specifically doing James J. Braddock.

ZAHN: With more than 40 movies on his resume, Crowe is at the top of Hollywood's A-List, commanding $20 million per picture. But through the years, this Australian import has seemed anything but interested in the attention.

ANNE-MARIE O'NEILL, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: He doesn't conform to the Hollywood stereotype of how a movie star should be.

CROWE: Mate, I don't do my job to garner praise or garner awards. So, you can take your cynicism and you can put it where the sun don't shine.

CYNTHIA SANZ, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE": You think of Russell Crowe as this sort of party boy. I mean, he's not really the sort of sensitive type. You think he's tough, and he gets into fights. But I think, at his heart, he's really very romantic.

ZAHN: Russell Crowe, a romantic? Judging by the headlines, you bet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Crowe!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ZAHN: On April 7, 2003, after 39 years of bachelorhood, Crowe married longtime girlfriend Danielle Spencer on his birthday. The intimate ceremony was held on his Australian ranch. And as 100 guests looked on, the notorious bad boy shed more than a few tears.

ZAHN: It seems Russell Crowe is as complex as the characters he plays on the screen.

HOWARD: He's a really interesting paradox, because he is a rough- and-tumble Aussie. He's a rock 'n' roller. He's a motorcycler. He has a farm. He loves his farm. He's also an artist. He's an interesting combination, and I think that's probably what makes him so sort of fascinating to watch.

ZAHN: Russell Ira Crowe debuted back on April 7, 1964 in Strathmore Park, New Zealand. You could say he was born into show business. His parents were film caterers, and his grandfather was a decorated World War II cinematographer.

The family moved to Sydney, Australia, when Russell was four. And within two years, he made his first TV appearance on the series "Spyforce. "

TIM EWBANK, BIOGRAPHER: Wandering around those TV and film sets at an early age, he lost all fear and he also saw how it worked.

ZAHN: At Sydney Boy's High School, Russell's no-fear attitude helped him on the cricket and rugby field, but it was his talent for mimicking others that got him noticed.

EWBANK: He's got a great ear, and even now, he can mimic most people.

CROWE: How wonderful. I'm talking to the BBC.

Now, move your hand over here. Now, move your hand over there.

Hello, how are you?

ZAHN: The family headed back to New Zealand in 1978. Russell was 14. Putting his acting career aside, he picked up a guitar and a new name.

O'NEILL: In his mid-teens, Russell started a band. He named himself Russ le Roq. And he was this Elvis look-alike with this hair, this big Elvis hair, really bad clothes. And he wrote his own songs, and one of them was called, "I Wanna Be Like Marlon Brando. "

ZAHN: Russ le Roq would soon drop out of high school to pursue pop star dreams. But when his singles went rocketing to the bottom of the charts, he took up with the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Eddie for more than 400 performances.

EWBANK: I think he suddenly realized when he got up on stage and he wasn't just the singer in a band, that acting was really what it -- what he really wanted to do. ZAHN: In 1987, Russell headed for Sydney. He would audition and hone his craft performing in the streets of Kings Cross.

Finally, in 1990, he got his big break. He was 25, cast in a small film called "The Crossing." During the filming; he would meet and fall in love with his co-star, actress Danielle Spencer.

EWBANK: The film opens with an incredible scene of them together. And he kissed her very, very passionately. And I think she sat up and really felt that, you know, there might be something more to this.

ZAHN: There was. The two would date on and off for the next 13 years.

Crowe's star would rise quite quickly in the land down under. But it was the controversial film "Romper Stomper" that would garner Russell Crowe his second Australian Film Institute Award and make him a star.


CROWE: I want people to know that I'm proud of my white history and my white blood.



CROWE: I'm not going to fight.


ZAHN: When our story continues, Hollywood's sexiest leading lady brings Russell Crowe to the Wild Wild West. But to many involved in "The Quick and the Dead," his arrival is anything but welcome.



O'BRIEN: Russell Crowe's arrest today in New York on an assault charge is making headlines around the world. And you would expect that from a popular Oscar-winning actor. But only a decade ago, Crowe was barely known outside of Australia.

Once again, here's Paula with tonight's "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" profile.


ZAHN (voice-over): By 1994, just about everyone in Australia knew the name Russell Crowe. Following his star-making turn in "Romper Stomper," his next film, "The Sum of Us," stunned everyone.


CROWE: I like doing it with blokes, dad. And I don't think that's ever going to change, because I don't want it to.


EWBANK: I mean, to jump from playing Hando, this vile, vicious character, to playing a gay rugby-playing plumber in "The Sum of Us" was an extraordinary leap.

ZAHN: Crowe's gift for transformation quickly caught the eye of one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Sharon Stone. But his big-screen Hollywood debut would be anything but quick.




EWBANK: A lot of the studio's heads didn't want him to be there.


SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: I saved your life last night.


LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE": All kinds of people were saying to her, "Are you kidding? No way, no way." She said, "No, no, no, he's the guy."

EWBANK: She stuck to her guns and she was proved right.

ZAHN: She was right. And two years later, Russell Crowe would come on strong.


CROWE: Where's the girl?


HOWARD: I think "L.A. Confidential" is probably the first time that I was really sort of aware of the name Russell Crowe in a performance.

ZAHN: Concerned he was being typecast as the tough guy, Crowe took a 14-month break. He would retreat to his farm in Australia to read, write, play the guitar, and search for the perfect script.

It came in the form of "The Insider," playing a middle-aged corporate whistle-blower.


CROWE: You manipulated me into this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: Gaining nearly 50 pounds, audiences were stunned by his appearance as the former tobacco executive. His 1999 performance would garner his first Academy Award nomination.

CROWE: Forty-eight pounds I put on to play that role. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How'd you do that?

CROWE: Cheeseburgers and bourbon, mate. Ah, it was heaven.

ZAHN: Kevin Spacey took home the Oscar that year, but Crowe once again, would make a remarkable transformation.


CROWE: At my signal, unleash hell.


ZAHN: Emerging six months later, 40 pounds lighter, with muscles to spare, he did unleash hell at the box office in Ridley Scott's epic "Gladiator." The film grossed nearly half-a-billion dollars, catapulting Crowe to Hollywood mega-star, a mega-star with reports of a mega-ego.

O'NEILL: Russell Crowe's reputation is as someone who's tough and arrogant, somewhat surly, a bit of a brute, someone who gets into bar brawls.

CROWE: Mate, I'm not thinking about that, you know. I'm thinking about going down to try Trader Vic's and having a drink.

EWBANK: Yes. He certainly likes to party. He likes to drink. Women find him very attractive.

ZAHN: And so would the tabloids, linking him to everyone from Jodie Foster to Nicole Kidman. Crowe denied all of the romances, except one.

CROWE: With Meg, we were doing the job and the personal thing was just separate, separate altogether.

ZAHN: June 2000, news of an affair with "Proof of Life" co-star Meg Ryan would explode in the headlines.

O'NEILL: Both of them seemed to be totally in love with each other. He took her to Australia. She met his family. He showed her around his beloved farm.

ZAHN: And in December, a white tent on his property fueled rumors of marriage to Meg Ryan. The rumors were way off. That same month, their six-month relationship was actually coming to an end. Reports would vary as to who broke actually it off.

CROWE: She is a magnificent woman, a marvelous person and a great actress. So that's -- you know, I don't... LARRY KING, HOST, ""LARRY KING LIVE": Sounds like you're friends.

CROWE: Absolutely.

ZAHN: But, amid the cloudy headlines emerged Crowe's silver lining. In March 2001, Crowe took home his first Oscar. The "Gladiator" was stunned.

CROWE: If you had asked me, you know, right up until the minute, I would have put a lot of money on Tom Hanks.

ZAHN: Flash-forward one year later. Crowe did it again.


CROWE: Find a truly original idea. That's the only way I'll ever distinguish myself.


ZAHN: His role in "A Beautiful Mind" got him his third Academy Award nomination.

ROZEN: I think there were two factors at work here, in his not getting the Oscar. One, I'm not sure the Hollywood community was ready to canonize him yet, to go, yes, you are the new king. So that was a factor. Two, Denzel Washington was really, really good.

ZAHN: Oscar aside, it was his increasingly high-profile companion, fellow Aussie Danielle Spencer, who had fans abuzz. Crowe's former band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts, allowed him another outlet to share his joy.

EWBANK: He's written some very nice songs, and several of them are very much about his longstanding girlfriend, Danielle. She's seen the lows. She's seen the highs. You know, she's seen him when he was absolutely nothing. She's -- was at his side when he won an Oscar.

ZAHN: On April 7, 2003, she was by his side again, this time as Mrs. Russell Crowe. This union, 13 years in the making, seems to have tamed the edgy superstar. But don't be fooled. The rambunctious Aussie can still pack a punch.

Russell Crowe returns in the highly buzzed-about boxing epic "Cinderella Man."

ROZEN: This guy is pretty much batting close to 1,000 as you can get in Hollywood..

ZAHN: Some says Crowe's performance has Oscar written all over it. But if you ask the actor, his most cherished role is now dad.

CROWE: I have a great relationship with my boy. And it's just so special now. I can't imagine how much fun it's going be when we can have a chat. We have a chat now, but he doesn't use a lot of words.


CROWE: Really mate? Is that what happened?

ZAHN: Father, lover, fighter, rocker, biker, farmer, movie star of global magnitude, the young Aussie who penned the song "I Wanna Be Like Marlon Brando" seems to have gotten his wish, and then some.

ROZEN: Right now, I think, any director casting a movie, if they could get Russell Crowe in it, they would be ecstatic, because he is that rare combination of a big old movie star who can actually act.


O'BRIEN: Celebs and bad behavior seems to be going around here in New York. Actor Christian Slater was arrested last week, accused of groping a woman in a store in Manhattan. He's due back in court next month.

Still ahead, a crime that affects thousands of people each day. Are you worried about somebody stealing your identity? Well, you won't believe what we found in the garbage.

Then later, a $30 million question. Could police have done more to protect these three little girls?

But first, it's about 17 minutes past the hour? It's time for Erica Hill at HEADLINE NEWS to update our top stories.

Hey, Erica.


A big ruling today on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Supreme Court decided a federal ban on medical marijuana trumps 10 states that do allow it. Congress could change that, but it doesn't seem likely. And Oregon now says it will temporarily stop issuing medical marijuana cards to patients.

Jurors in the Michael Jackson case ended their first full day of deliberations without a verdict. Fans waited outside. Jackson, though, stayed away from court today. He remained at Neverland Ranch, which is about an hour away. His father, Joe Jackson, did show up, looking for his son. He left after meeting briefly with defense attorneys.

And Mark Geragos, by the way, finally breaking his long silence since leaving the Jackson trial. He will be Larry King's exclusive guest tonight, taking your phone calls. That's at 9:00 Eastern.

North Korea and the U.S. are talking again. Both sides held a meeting today in New York, in an attempt to kick-start negotiations to end North Korea's nuclear program.

And a week after Natalee Holloway vanished on Aruba, Dutch marines, FBI agents and government employees are continuing to comb the island for the 18-year-old from Alabama. Police have been questioning two hotel guards, arrested in connection with the case. So far, though, still no trace of Holloway.

And Soledad, researchers now say a drug-resistant bacteria that causes infections in hospitals, we're learning, can live for weeks on bed linens, computer keyboards, even fake fingernails. Isn't the gross? Yes, just another reason for frequent hand-washing. Very important.

O'BRIEN: Yet another reason, right? Erica, thanks a lot. We'll see you again in about half-an-hour.

It's time for you all to vote on the person of the day. Here's a look at the nominees this evening -- Monty Python's Eric Idle for bringing "Spamalot" to Broadway and winning three Tonys; Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal for being the youngest man in 16 years to win a Grand Slam event, the French Open; or the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, now working privately to get the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission implemented.

You can vote at We're going to let you know who wins a little bit later in the hour.

Well, there is more than one kind of rat digging through your trash. And one of them might be trying to steal your identity.


PERRY MYERS, MSI DETECTIVE AGENCY: We've got someone's bank account number.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look at what we have here.

MYERS: An Illinois driver's license.

OPPENHEIM: OK, this is a pay stub. And on it, I have a Social Security number.


O'BRIEN: Next, trashing your identity and what you can do to stop it.

That's ahead.


O'BRIEN: In tonight's stolen identity report, close to four million may be ripe for identity theft. Here's why. Citigroup, the world's biggest bank, says UPS lost tapes containing millions of customers' personal information. This is only the latest data disappearance involving a huge company. And it's the largest breach of customer data reported so far.

But it doesn't take a corporate foul-up for crooks to get your information. Keith Oppenheim shows us just how easy it is.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This year, nearly 10 million families could have their most powerful possessions stolen.


OPPENHEIM (voice-over): A seemingly nice guy strolls to a curbside garbage can, warning about the danger of identity thieves.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Pay stubs. In today's world...


OPPENHEIM: But in this TV ad for Fellowes shredders, the twist is, the nice guy is really the bad guy who takes the trash and ultimately his neighbor's identity.




OPPENHEIM: That got us thinking. If we hit the streets of Chicago at 4:00 a.m., before the garbage trucks arrive, how much personal data could we actually find?

MYERS: Good garbage, something that is going to be information that people really shouldn't be throwing out in the trash.

OPPENHEIM: Perry Myers is a private detective in Chicago and expert on identity theft. He took us to places in the city to collect garbage that thought would contain critical information.

(on camera): What you're doing here is not illegal, right?

MYERS: No, it's not illegal.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): As in most of the United States, as long as the person collecting trash is on public property, which we were, garbage is for the taking.

MYERS: This looks like this came from an area we would be interested in.

OPPENHEIM: Myers took us to public alleys where we had access to dumpsters for medical offices, car dealerships and private homes. At one residence:

MYERS: Well, we've got someone's bank account number.

OPPENHEIM: We immediately spotted a credit notice, complete with an individual's name, date of birth and Social Security, the building blocks of getting a credit card in someone else's name.

MYERS: It doesn't take much to just go ahead and apply for credit and get the card and start charging.

OPPENHEIM: In about two hours, Myers selected about a dozen bags of refuse. We brought them to his offices, where we sorted and sifted, looking for information an identity thief would want. It didn't take long.

Look at what we have here.

MYERS: An Illinois driver's license.

OPPENHEIM: What can somebody can do with that -- a copy of someone's license like that?

MYERS: Well, create a new identity.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Myers said a new identity can be created even when even some of the information is missing and that all of key documents we found had enough for the experienced thief.

(on camera): OK, this is a pay stub. And on it, I have a Social Security number.

MYERS: A Social Security number on this piece of paper, the credit report on here.


MYERS: I do not see a date of birth yet. Got an income.

OPPENHEIM: Got social and name and address.

MYERS: And their bank and their bank account number.

OPPENHEIM: Their bank account number.

(voice-over): In all, we came across 15 documents with 19 names. Some had Social Security numbers. Others had dates of birth. Two of them had both.

Myers believes all of them could have been converted into stolen identities. One name came from residential trash. The rest came from medical offices and car dealerships.

The lessons?

MYERS: One is that businesses that take your credit information are not guarding it and protecting it the way they should.

OPPENHEIM (on camera): So, identity theft can still happen, even if you shred all your documents and you take care of your personal life well?

MYERS: Correct, yes, because it's not always in your hands. OPPENHEIM (voice-over): And because of that, Myers' advice is to check your credit at least once a year and to shred personal documents into finer pieces that can't be pieced together. For the record, that 's exactly what we did with all the sensitive documents we found in the garbage.


O'BRIEN: CNN's Keith Oppenheim reporting.

There is more ahead tonight on identity theft and what you can do to protect yourself. Security expert and former check forger Frank Abagnale will be Aaron Brown's guest tonight on NEWSNIGHT. If Abagnale's name sounds familiar, that's because he was the subject of the movie "Catch Me If You Can." That's NEWSNIGHT at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Coming up next, a violent husband, three little girls and a grieving mother who blames the police for their deaths.


JESSICA GONZALES, MOTHER: As far as I'm concerned, they did nothing.

CHIEF TONY LANE, CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO, P.D.: To say that we did not take the appropriate action at the time, again, is absurd.


O'BRIEN: Stay with us for a case that could change the way police departments do business.


O'BRIEN: When you call 911, you expect action. But what if police ignore your call for help? And what if the lives of your children were at stake?

The woman you're about to meet says that's exactly what happened to her family with tragic results. Here's senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin.


JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Rebecca, Katheryn and Leslie. Three peas in a pod. Inseparable sisters full of life, love and promise.Their lives cut tragically short, police say, by their very own father.

UNKNOWN MALE: This is a crime scene. We've got possibly three dead children inside of the vehicle.

TOOBIN: The events leading up to their murders are now at the center of a legal firestorm which pits the girls' mother against Castle Rock, Colorado's police department. And the United States Supreme Court is about to render a decision that could have dramatic consequences for law enforcement throughout the country.

It started in 1999 when Jessica Gonzales filed for divorce from her husband Simon. He moved out, but according to Jessica, continued to pursue her and his behavior became frightening.

GONZALES: He was breaking into my home. He was changing my front- door locks. He was coming out of dark corners. He was stalking me on the phone. We were possessions to him. We were not a family. We were his possessions.

TOOBIN: Jessica was scared so she obtained a restraining order against Simon, limiting his access to weekend visits and a mid-week dinner with the girls, which usually happened on Wednesday nights. But on Tuesday evening, June 22, Rebecca, Katheryn and Leslie vanished.

GONZALES: As a mother, you get that feeling of unease. And maybe you don't know why but you recognize it.

TOOBIN: Shortly before 6 p.m., Jessica made what would be her first of six contacts with Castle Rock Police.

GONZALES: I told them I had a restraining order and that as far as I knew I thought it was Simon but I wasn't sure and I needed them to help me find the children.

TOOBIN: Castle Rock Police say they dispatched two of their four squad cars to search for Simon's truck. Shortly before 8 p.m., still no word from the girls. The police paid a visit to Jessica.

GONZALES: I gave them the restraining order at their very first visit to my home. They glanced at it very, very quickly, said it was a mid-week visit, big deal, he's the father. They didn't see a problem with that.

TOOBIN: But Castle Rock Police Chief Tony Lane remembers it differently.

CHIEF TONY LANE, CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO, P.D.: I am going from the reports, from the tapes, from documents and from the officers' statements that this did not happen. They were not shown a restraining order.

TOOBIN: About 40 minutes later, Jessica finally reached Simon on his cell phone and immediately called police.

911 OPERATOR: Castle Rock 911.

GONZALES: Hi. This is Jessica Gonzales again.

911 OPERATOR: Hi, Jessica.

GONZALES: Hi, um . . . the girls aren't back but he finally answered a call and they're at Elitch's.

911 OPERATOR: With who?

GONZALES: Their father. I told Simon, you need to get the girls home. Whether he will or not, I don't know.

911 OPERATOR: All right. I'm gonna let 'em know and they'll probably come back to your house. OK?


911 OPERATOR: Thanks.

GONZALES: See ya, sweetie.

911 OPERATOR: Bye-bye.

TOOBIN: The Elitch Six Flags amusement park was about a half hour away in Denver. Jessica insists she asked police to go there and find her girls.

GONZALES: And I said, look, there's one way in to Elitch, there's one way out. How hard would it be for you to take the description of the truck that I've given you three times and find my children, bring them home. Their response was, it's out of our jurisdiction.

TOOBIN: Police claim to have no record of that request.

LANE: She never requested that we go to Elitch looking for these girls or even that the girls were in any kind of danger. So it was unrealistic to expect another law enforcement agency to go to a amusement park and look for a man and three children among thousands of people.

TOOBIN: At 8:49 p.m. police called Jessica.


OFFICER BRINK: Hello. Is this Jessica?

GONZALES: Yes, it is.

BRINK: Hi. This is Officer Brink.


BRINK: I was just up there. What's the deal?

GONZALES: I told him to bring the girls home.

BRINK: I haven't even seen a restraining order on this whole thing.


BRINK: But you even allowed him to come up there because of the kid exchange, correct?

GONZALES: Exactly.

BRINK: OK. So there's no violation there. GONZALES: No.

BRINK: Well, unfortunately, there -- it doesn't sound like there's anything criminally that I can go after him for.

GONZALES: No, I just -- I was just so worried.

BRINK: Yeah. But hey, at least you know where the kids are right now.

GONZALES: Yeah. Thank you for your help.

BRINK: All right. Take care.



TOOBIN: About 10:00 p.m., the girls were still not home. Jessica called police again.

911 OPERATOR: Castle Rock 911.

GONZALES: Hi. This is Jessica Gonzales again.

911 OPERATOR: Hi, Jessica.

GONZALES: Hi. My kids still aren't home. I'm a little wigged out. I don't know what to do.

911 OPERATOR: If you don't hear back, Jessica, before midnight, give me a call back and we'll take care of it.

GONZALES: Yeah. I'm just freaking out. I know Elitch's closes like at eleven.


TOOBIN: By midnight, Jessica was starting to panic. But according to police, Jessica didn't express those feelings to them.

LANE: Jessica herself made the statement that Simon would never hurt these girls, so we didn't feel that they were in any imminent danger.

GONZALES: Hysterical, patient, cool, whatever my demeanor was, shouldn't have mattered. They needed to listen to my words. As far as I'm concerned, they did nothing.

TOOBIN: Chief Lane insists that's not the case.

LANE: The two officers that responded to the call divided the town up and started looking for Simon's truck. And they looked at restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, even Simon's apartment. But to say that we did not respond, to say that we did not take the appropriate action at the time, again is absurd. TOOBIN: Police never found Simon Gonzales but he found them, pulling up to the police station around 3:20 a.m.

UNKNOWN MALE: Shots fired! There's a pickup truck out front. Extended cab. I've returned fire. We've got a man down!

TOOBIN: In a matter of seconds, it was over. Simon was dead. Inside his truck, police found the bodies of Rebecca, Katheryn and Leslie, shot, they say by their father, in the head and chest. That memory haunts Chief Lane.

LANE: I have six children of my own, so I can't imagine how much of a devastation it must have been for Jessica.

GONZALES: I didn't see them from the day they were gone until they were in their caskets like everybody else.

TOOBIN: But Jessica's story was far from over. Her grief was about to turn to anger.

GONZALES: Castle Rock is responsible for my children's deaths.


O'BRIEN: This is not an isolated case. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that 70 percent of the restraining orders against stalkers are violated.

Next, Jessica Gonzales does something that could affect all those victims. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: Six years ago this month, Jessica Gonzalez's world was shattering. The man she was divorcing murdered their three little girls. She claims they died while police ignored her desperate calls for help. But despite her tragic loss, she turned her anger into action and her crusade could mean some big changes for police departments all over the country.

Once again, here's Jeff Toobin.


GONZALES: I went through a few years after the children died of guilt. Wondering, you know, as a mother, how I could have failed my children. And in hindsight, I didn't fail my children. I didn't.

TOOBIN, (voice over): On the one-year anniversary of their murders, Jessica filed a $30 million lawsuit against the Castle Rock Police Department for failing, she says, to follow a Colorado state law mandating the arrest of anyone who violates a restraining order.

GONZALES: Now as it sits right now, restraining orders are more of a hazard to people that are in possession of them.

TOOBIN: Jessica's attorney, Brian Reichel.

BRIAN REICHEL, ATTORNEY FOR JESSICA GONZALES: The whole idea behind the mandatory arrest law is to remove police discretion and ensure that restraining orders are consistently enforced, and to allow the courts to sort out the dispute and not the police officers on the scene.

TOOBIN: The town of Castle Rock says a $30 million judgment could be financially crippling.

GONZALES: People pay attention when it hits their wallet. I mean whether they have that kind of money or not, it's not my concern. My concern is, is that they need to wake up and say, you know what, we are responsible.

LANE: I don't think anything we did or did not do that night would have prevented this tragedy from happening. Simon is the one that killed these girls. Simon is not here to stand up for his accountability. And I think that certainly she's focused her -- a lot of her anger on the police department. But I think it's misdirected.

TOOBIN: In 2002, a federal district court sided with the Castle Rock Police, ruling that Jessica had no right to sue them. But two years later, a federal appeals court overturned that decision, calling the Castle Rock Police's response that night a - quote -- "sham."

LANE: Yes, I've received emails that I'm a murderer, that the blood of these girls should be on my conscience, that I ought to be tortured, that I'd been -- names I can't repeat, obviously, on camera. I don't like getting those kind of emails.

But I will say this. We can't protect society from the Simon Gonzales' of the world out there. We can't predict human nature.

TOOBIN: Castle Rock appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. Now they're deciding if Chief Lane's police department violated Jessica's 14th Amendment rights by failing to protect her property, which Jessica claims was the restraining order itself. If they rule in her favor, Jessica can sue the city.

LANE: I would create a huge liability on law enforcement -- not only law enforcement but emergency services, social services, other organizations. We would probably have to have a special unit just to handle the restraining orders.

TOOBIN: The U.S. Department of Justice, which supports the Castle Rock Police, said that a ruling in Jessica's favor would divert - quote -- "resources from more serious crimes."

GONZALES: I don't believe that there's any crime more serious than children being in danger. That sends the message that women and children are unimportant to them and that we're still at the bottom of the totem pole.

TOOBIN: The ACLU and the National Coalition for Domestic Violence petitioned the court on Jessica's behalf and warned that a decision against her will make restraining orders meaningless.

GONZALES: If police departments are not going to uphold restraining orders, then they need to either quit giving them out as false security or give us something that we can do on our own to protect us ourselves.

LANE: Those girls died, unfortunately, because of a deranged gunman. But the lessons learned in that were, I think, very instrumental in us providing better law enforcement to this community.

TOOBIN: Whatever the Supreme Court decides, Jessica will continue to keep the memory of Lou, Kat and Becca very much alive.


O'BRIEN: That report from our Senior Legal Analyst Jeff Toobin.

The Supreme Court decision is expected any time in the next few weeks.

A quick reminder now, there is still time to vote for the "Person of the Day." The candidates are "Monty Python's" Eric Idle, whose musical "Spamalot" won three Tony Awards; Spanish teenager Raphael Nadal, the youngest French Open winner in almost two decades; or the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, which is continuing the work of the 9/11 Commission aiming to make the country safer.

You can vote at


O'BRIEN: Still to come tonight, a t-shirt maker who's got something to offend just about everybody.


AARON SCHWARZ, TSHIRTHELL.COM: And this is our most popular shirt.


SCHWARTZ: A lot of men have gotten free lap dances from the "I support single moms" shirt.


O'BRIEN: Oh, yes. And it gets much worse than that. Coming up, the story of why he's actually cleaning up his act -- at least a little bit.

But first, time for another look at the latest headlines with Erica Hill of HEADLINE NEWS.

Hey, Erica.

HILL: Thanks, Soledad. You might remember last summer's desperate search for Lori Hacking, the missing, pregnant, Salt Lake City woman. Today, her husband Mark Hacking, was given a six years to life sentence for her murder. Lori Hacking's remains were found in a landfill last fall. Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Hacking told the judge he doesn't know why he did it but he feels tormented for murdering the woman who loved him unconditionally.

The last time Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the White House it was to support the president's Iraq policy. When the two leaders meet tomorrow, poverty in Africa will be high on the agenda. Blair is asking the U.S. and other countries to double economic aide to Africa. The administration is resisting so far.

At this squalid Florida, labor camp, a new twist on what federal agents say is modern day slavery. Homeless men and women, who were allegedly promised drugs and alcohol, then held captive to work in potato fields near Polac (ph), Florida. Four suspects are facing charges.

Cruise ships and disabled passengers getting a lot of attention from the Supreme Court today. The high court ruled foreign ships must provide some reasonable way to accommodate disabled passengers if they do business in American waters.

And last November's disputed election for the governor of Washington State may be settled at last. Today a court upheld Democrat Christine Gregoire's win. She beat her GOP opponent Dino Rossi by nearly -- by 129 votes. Nearly 3 million votes were cast in that election. And tonight he announced he won't challenge today's ruling.

And that's the latest at this hour from HEADLINE NEWS.

Soledad, back to you.

O'BRIEN: All right, Erica, thanks.

So who was your pick for the person of the day? Eric Idle, whose "Spamalot" just won three Tony's; Spain's Raphael Nadal for winning the French Open at 19-years-old -- he's the youngest man in 16 years to win a Grand Slam event; or the members of the 9/11 Commission, now working privately to see that their recommendations have been put into affect.

Forty-nine percent of you chose Eric Idle.


O'BRIEN, (voice over): Eric Idle has plenty of reasons to look on the bright side of life, including three brand-new Tony awards for his musical "Spamalot." Idle is one of the six original members of the "Monty Python" comedy team.

UNKNOWN MALE: I love it. I'm having Spam, Spam, Spam.

O'BRIEN: It's been 30 years since their send-up of a Camelot legend of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" hit the silver screen. While the musical is lovingly ripped off from the movie, it isn't just a case of, bring out your dead, lines.

UNKNOWN MALE: And remember, gentlemen, what happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot.

O'BRIEN: Idle, and collaborator John Du Prez, threw in new material, as well as the old flying cows. Sara Ramirez won a Tony for her performance as the Lady of the Lake.

SARA RAMIREZ, ACTRESS: If you come with me now, I'll show you how.


O'BRIEN: Veteran Director Mike Nichols won a Tony for bringing the whole glitter and mess to the stage. And "Spamalot" won for best musical.

UNKNOWN MALE: Let's not thank Eric Idle, who started it all, who was the genius behind it.

O'BRIEN: Thanks or not, it's no Idle thought. Tony Winner Eric Idle is the "Person of the Day."

We'll be right back.



O'BRIEN: There's no such thing as seven words you can never say on a T-shirt. And because of that, there's at least one man who's made a fortune selling shirts with funny, and usually offensive, slogans -- slogans so vial that there are lots that we just can't show you. And the ones we can, well, be warned, you might not like them.

But now, he's had a change of heart. After, he says, he was poisoned.

Jeanne Moos has the story.


MOOS (voice over): You may be less than tickled by these T- shirts. From "Help Stop Rape Consent," to "I Surfed the Tsunami," they deserve to go to T-shirt hell, which is where you can find them on the Web.

SCHWARZ: This is our most popular shirt.

MOOS: Really?

SCHWARZ: A lot of men have gotten free lap dances from the "I Support Single Moms" shirt. MOOS: T-shirt Hell is one of the most popular T-shirt sellers on the Internet. There are baby shirts with adult humor, ranging from "Potty Head" to "They Shake Me." For reasons of taste, we can only show you the more tepid T-shirts.

SCHWARZ: "I Only Support Gay Marriage If Both Chicks Are Hot."

MOOS: Do you?

SCHWARZ: I support gay marriage across the board.

MOOS: It figures Aaron Schwarz would have an open mind. Wide open. He's been called the Howard Stern of T-shirts.

Have the T-shirts made you rich?


MOOS: He has a file of letters asking him to cease and desist. The Anti-Defamation League didn't like the T-shirt proclaiming "What About All the Good Things Hitler Did?" The folks at Pizza Hut didn't appreciate what he did to their name. Even 9/11 wasn't off limits.

SCHWARZ: That's been our all-time worst (ph) shirt. Thousands and thousands of hate mails, death threats.

MOOS: But it took an actual brush with death.

SCHWARZ: My mouth was starting to foam.

MOOS: TO change Aaron's taste in T-shirts.

SCHWARZ: They said it was a --- it was a drug-induced poison overdose.

MOOS: Aaron was hanging out one night with various people, some of whom he didn't really know. After he got home, he started having seizures and convulsions.

SCHWARZ: My body. My hands were like this. My body was shaking like this.

MOOS: This is very hard to believe.

SCHWARZ: OK. I feel uncomfortable because I feel like you're -- a number of times you've made comments that you're -- it's hard to believe the story and stuff like that but you want . . .

MOOS: And off Aaron stalked, searching for paperwork to back up the story -- paperwork from the ambulance.

SCHWARZ: A receipt from that night.

MOOS: Bills from the hospital where he was told a toxicology report showed he'd been poisoned. Perhaps by a substance in his drink. SCHWARZ: I was going through a moment where I thought I was going to die. I thought, what's the one thing that I'm doing wrong in my life, that could be considered wrong. It was the T-shirts.

MOOS: Convinced someone had poisoned him over his T-shirts, Aaron wants it known that he's taking down his most offensive shirts, a section called "Worse Than Hell." Their removing them has prompted angry fans to refer to him as . . .

SCHWARZ: Dear gutless.

MOOS: And tail-between-your-legs-sellout.

SCHWARZ: They're offended that we're no longer offensive.

MOOS: Partly out of guilt and partly out of fear, Aaron says he'll donate 30 percent of his profits for the next two years to charities that help those he's offended. Still the remaining T-shirts are bad enough. As Aaron told disappointed fans, your mom will probably still refuse to put your T-shirt Hell T-shirt in with the rest of the laundry.

SCHWARZ: Afraid it will corrupt the socks.


O'BRIEN: That was Jeanne Moos.

Thanks for joining us. Primetime continues now with Larry King and his exclusive guest, the man who defended Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson, Attorney Mark Geragos.



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