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Government to Crack Down on Employers of Illegal Immigrants; Dangers of Distracted Driving

Aired April 20, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what making headlines at this moment.
Human rights protesters swarm the streets of Washington for the visit of China's President Hu. And there was a very embarrassing incident at the White House -- much more on that just ahead.

A shocked audience hears Attorney General Gonzales describe child pornography he has actually seen on the Internet. He told the Center For Missing and Exploited Children that child porn is getting worse. He wants tougher penalties for Internet providers that don't cooperate with the government.

In Riverton, Kansas, authorities say they have foiled a plot to attack the high school. They say that a tip on the Web site led them to the discovery of guns, knives, and ammunition, and five student suspects. Today happens to be the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

Now on to the controversy that has put one of the nation's top colleges in turmoil: charges of rape filed against two members of Duke University's lacrosse team. Tonight, there is new information from a man who was on the scene right after the alleged assault happened. He says he witnessed an angry exchange between the students and the woman who claims she was attacked.

And there are also new revelations tonight about what kind of evidence the police are hoping will help them make their case.

Jason Carroll filed this report for tonight's "Outside the Law."


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We now know what investigators were looking for when they showed up at Collin Finnerty's dorm room at Duke University Tuesday, the same day he and his teammate Reade Seligmann were arrested for sexually assaulting an exotic dancer.

A copy of the search warrant revealed said they wanted to find clothing related to the suspect and the alleged victim, photographs of the party where she was allegedly assaulted, and a white 6-inch shoe the young woman says she lost that night at the lacrosse team members' home, located just a few miles from Finnerty's dorm.

The warrant doesn't say whether any of those items were found. (on camera): The warrant, released today, does show investigators retrieved a news article on the case from Finnerty's dorm, as well as an envelope addressed to him from a woman from another school. In a previous search, they did confiscate some of his electronic equipment.

(voice-over): Defense attorneys met with Reade Seligmann and his father today. They maintain, he was not at the party when the alleged assault took place. They also say they have documented time-stamped evidence and eyewitnesses to prove it, including Mose Mostafa, a cab driver who says he remembers driving Seligmann and a friend to this ATM, the Cook Out restaurant, and then to Seligmann's dorm that night.

Mostafa also remembers going back to the lacrosse house a little after 1:00 a.m. to pick up four more players, just as their party was breaking up.

MOSE MOSTAFA, TAXI DRIVER: The second fare, I remind -- reminded, because there's some kind of trouble or -- outside the house at that time.

CARROLL: This is in line with what both defense lawyers and the district attorney's office say, that there was a commotion outside the house after the two dancers hired for the party had finished performing.

At 12:53 a.m., a 911 call the defense suspects may have been made by the second dancer came in complaining about racial slurs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's me and my black girlfriend. And -- and the guy, just like a white guy by the Duke wall, and he just hollered out "nigger" to me. And I'm just so angry, I didn't know who to call.


CARROLL: Mostafa says he only remembers seeing a woman who appeared angry outside the house. The four players who got into his cab said very little about that woman.

MOSTAFA: But he -- one guy, he said, she's just a stripper.

CARROLL: The defense says it will prove all this happened long after both Seligmann and Finnerty left the house. And sources close to Finnerty's defense say his legal team is gathering evidence to show he may have left the team's party before the two dancers ever showed up.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Durham, North Carolina.


ZAHN: Now, we're going to learn more about the woman at the very center of this case, the woman who brought rape allegations against the Duke lacrosse players. She's not speaking out, but her cousin has agreed to talk with us tonight. She joins us from Raleigh. She wants to be known only as Jackie.

Jackie, thanks so much for being with us.


ZAHN: Jackie, I know your cousin is in seclusion. You got to speak with her a little bit earlier this week. Now the defense team is claiming that the two men who have been accused of raping your cousin weren't even at the party at the time she alleges the attacks took place. Is she convinced she identified the right suspects here?

JACKIE: I have not spoken to her since those allegations came out, but I'm pretty sure she is. She is very confident in the men she chose, yes.

ZAHN: And, yet, police report, when they found her in a parking lot shortly after the alleged attacks took place, that she was drunk. Isn't it possible that she might have gotten it wrong?

JACKIE: Anything's possible.

But I believe in my cousin. I know what kind of person she is. And she has no reason to just come out and say that, if it's not true.

ZAHN: Jackie, you say you know what kind of person she is. The defense team is spending an awful lot of time out there bringing anything negative about her to the public's attention.

But the one thing your cousin can't ignore is the fact that she was charged with stealing a taxicab and almost running over a sheriff's deputy. Does she understand how that compromises her credibility and that's going to come back to haunt her in this case?

JACKIE: Yes, she understands that. But that's something that happened in the past, and that's irrelevant to this case.

I understand that people -- the defense attorneys, they're hired to do just that, to damage her credibility. I think it's unfair, because these boys are basically being seen as the golden boys, because they go to an Ivy League school. And, as far as I know, one of them has been charged with a hate crime as well. So, just like his hate crime has nothing to do with this, her past shouldn't have anything to do with what she's going through right now.

ZAHN: Jackie, the one thing that your cousin is going to have to deal with are the questions surrounding her integrity. You even have people out there accusing her of being motivated to make these charges to make money.

Your reaction to that?

JACKIE: Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

ZAHN: Are you -- do you find it hurtful that they're saying that?

JACKIE: Of course. I mean, anyone would. If this was your cousin or your niece or -- or your daughter, of course it's very hurtful. But I also find it very hurtful that she was victimized in that house, she was raped, she was beaten. I find that even more hurtful. Words can't -- they're just words.

ZAHN: Jackie, appreciate your perspective tonight. Thank you so much for being with us.

JACKIE: Thank you.

ZAHN: And, right now, we move on to the other big story tonight, turning now to Washington and a superpower summit at the White House and, suddenly, shouts from a protester. The ceremony continued anyway.

But there are lots of other stumbling blocks ahead for the relations between the United States and China, two giants competing for oil and trade and money. And, right now, China is growing twice as fast.

White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux just filed this report.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a bright, sunny South Lawn, East met West, as President Bush welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House.

The carefully-orchestrated and negotiated opening ceremony, meant to prop up U.S.-China relations, turned into an embarrassment -- first a diplomatic gaff, an announcer referring to China as the Republic of China, which is the formal name for Taiwan.

Then a credentialed visiting journalist began screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush, stop him!


MALVEAUX: Shouting for President Bush to stop Hu from killing and persecuting members of the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government.

Mr. Bush whispered to his guest, "You're OK," as uniformed Secret Service agents hauled the demonstrator away. Later, Mr. Bush privately apologized to Hu, calling it unfortunate.

But hundreds massed outside the White House continued their protest of China's human rights policies. The public embarrassment comes at a delicate time for both leaders, who are trying to cool tensions over numerous issues, starting with America's $200 billion trade deficit with China, which critics say has cost the U.S. millions of manufacturing jobs. Mr. Bush insists, he's pressing Hu to turn that around.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the president said earlier, exports to China are up by 21 percent. And that means jobs.

MALVEAUX: Amid calls from Congress to punish China with tariffs, Hu is pledging greater cooperation.

HU JINTAO, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We understand the American concerns over the trade imbalances, the protection of intellectual property rights and market excess. We have taken measures.

MALVEAUX: But they are far from close. Senior administration officials did say they were heartened by China's plan to encourage its people to save less and spend more, which the U.S. hopes will mean a more robust market for American goods.

President Bush also called for greater cooperation from China on addressing the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

(on camera): But there were no breakthroughs on how to get Iran or North Korea to comply. And senior administration officials acknowledge that there is no quick fix in how to deal with the imbalance of trade between the United States and China.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.


ZAHN: And now our countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on -- about 18 million of you logging on to our Web site today.

At number 10 on our list, the California Supreme Court today threw out a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former assistant on the hit sitcom "Friends." The suit alleged that the assistant was the target of explicit language used during script meetings.

Number nine, a game for kids with a very adult surprise, photos of nude women. The games were sold at a Winn-Dixie near Orlando. Parents who bought them, as you might imagine, were pretty darn outraged. The store says it was all an accident. Lots of explaining to do there, huh?

Numbers eight and seven just ahead, as well as the government's latest attack on one of the most controversial issues in the country right now.


ZAHN (voice-over): On the CNN "Security Watch," a new way to tackle illegal immigration. Don't just go after the illegal workers. Hit the bosses who hire them, too. The "Eye Opener" -- the main cause of all those car crashes, now it's official. If you're a little drowsy or a little distracted, amazing videos will show you the dangerous consequences -- all that and much more when we come back.



ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, a devastating car crash and the shocking connection to a woman who stopped and took pictures of the aftermath.

And, on the CNN "Security Watch" tonight, people who hire illegal immigrants are feeling the heat tonight. That's because Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff issued a clear warning today. The government will come down hard on businesses that exploit cheap labor by hiring illegal aliens. And he promised, the crackdown will intensify month after month.

It has already begun with a wide-ranging sweep that snared more than 1,000 suspected illegal workers and managers of the company that hired them.

Here's Homeland Security correspondent Jeanne Meserve.


MESERVE (voice-over): The raids on IFCO Systems, a company that makes pallets and crates, are startling, not just because they are the largest workplace enforcement action ever, with more than 40 searches in 26 states, and not just because nearly 1,200 employees were detained, more than were rounded up at job sites all last year.

They are notable because seven current and former managers of the company were arrested and charged with conspiring to transport, harbor and encourage illegal aliens to live in the U.S. The company says it is cooperating with investigators.

Government officials say the raids are part of a new effort to crack down on businesses that systematically violate immigration law.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: And, so, those are the employers, the bad actors, that we have to target. And we have to make sure that the assets and the proceeds of their illegal activities are forfeited and seized, so they can't profit from this kind of business activity.

MESERVE: According to the government affidavit, more than half of IFCO's employees used invalid Social Security numbers last year. Some belonged to children, others to dead people. Officials say, the Social Security Administration sent IFCO 13 warning letters about those discrepancies.

Across the country, 127,000 letters were sent last year to other employers with significant numbers of workers whose names and Social Security numbers did not match government records.

(on camera): Immigration and Customs Enforcement says these letters can be a tipoff that a company has a large number of illegal workers. But their investigators don't have access to the information, even though it's generated by another federal agency.

JULIE MYERS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOR U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: The problem is, we don't know, on a timely basis, where Social Security is seeing big problems, where, as in IFCO, they're finding thousands of employees that have bad Social Security numbers. If we had this information, we could target our work site enforcement efforts more appropriately.

MESERVE: The Social Security Administration says, by law, it cannot share the information, because it is confidential. Some advocates for immigration reform say the law should have been changed a long time ago.

DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: And the only reason why it hasn't been done is bureaucratic cowardice, inertia, an unwillingness to do the job, and the aggressive lobbying of employers, who want to be able to hire illegal aliens, paying on Social Security numbers. That has got to change.

MESERVE: The Department of Homeland Security wants the law to change, as it tries to find a way to curb employers' appetite for illegal workers and stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: And, when we come back, the immigration debate and more, as two top radio talk show hosts square off right here.

Also, it sounds like something right out of "The Godfather." We are going to see how it took police 40 years to track down the don at the head of a $6-billion-a-year criminal empire.

First, though number eight on our countdown -- a brand- new study showing nearly 80 percent of car crashes involve drivers who simply weren't paying attention to the road. Wait until you see some of the amazing pictures that we have for you tonight. We will show you just how dangerous it is to play with your phone and your BlackBerry and mess around with the radio.

And, then, at number seven -- in Mexico, authorities say a priest assigned to a parish on the outskirts of Mexico City has confessed to killing his pregnant lover right after Easter mass. Police say that, so far, he has given no motive at all -- numbers six and five when we come back.


ZAHN: So, what has America been talking about today? Well, listen to talk radio, and the topics range from what happened at Duke University to what happened to shake up the White House.

Joining me now, two top radio show hosts from Air America Radio, Randi Rhodes, the goddess of gab, now in New York, and, then, from Dallas tonight, award-winning talk show host and author of "What Is Wrong With America and How to Fix It," Darrell Ankarlo.

Great to see both of you. Welcome.



ZAHN: So, we are going to start with the Duke rape scandal tonight. This is a story that is making tremendous headlines. Every single day, we're learning more and more about the investigation.

Darrell, what are your listeners saying about it?

ANKARLO: Well, I'm of the opinion -- and I think a lot of my listeners are -- that this lady needs to have her name out there right now.

She went into a party that you knew was going to be a drunken beer fest. She's a stripper. We have got 46, 47 guys whose names have been run through the mud, and you have got a lady who is hiding here behind the cloak of privacy.

ZAHN: Now, wait. Wait. Hang -- hang on a minute here, Darrell. Are you saying, because she's a stripper, she's somehow less of a victim here?

ANKARLO: No, no, no, no.

ZAHN: It's not common practice to ever release the names of alleged rape victims.

ANKARLO: Understandable. Understandable. We had the pictures released. I think NBC released the pictures today. The question comes...

ZAHN: With her face obscured.

ANKARLO: Yes, I understand.

But the question comes into play -- I had a stripper call the show today. And she said: Look, I was a stripper for years and years and years. First thing we know, as strippers, we don't go to these private parties without some sort of backup, some sort of a plan to get out, because, if you do, you're looking for trouble. So, you have to ask some questions about that.

ZAHN: All right.

ANKARLO: What kind of trouble was being looked for? ZAHN: Randi, are your listeners blaming the victims, because that's, basically, read between the lines here, is what his listeners are telling...


ANKARLO: Questioning. Questioning the situation.


ZAHN: Questioning, and question the integrity.

RHODES: Don't get mad at me, but my listeners don't care about this. I mean, rape is unfortunate, and everybody understands it happens, and it happens all over the place. It happens to our troops. It happens in -- walking down the street.

We don't -- we're not following gossip. We're doing real news. We're -- we are focused on the fact that, on June 2, they're going to explode 700 tons of a simulated nuclear bomb in the nuclear test site in Nevada. I mean, I do, you know, real talk radio. It's -- it's entertaining, but we don't do gossip. We don't -- we don't deal...

ZAHN: This isn't gossip.

RHODES: This is gossip, Paula. This isn't...

ZAHN: This is an explosive story that has divided a community. It's issues of race....

RHODES: This is not news. It's not news.

ZAHN: ... issues of gender.

RHODES: Rape happens all the time. It happens all the time.

I bet you one out of four women watching this show right this second have a story of rape in their past. It's not anything that needs to be discussed in this -- in this -- in this manner. This one person...

ANKARLO: And, believe it or not, Randi, I...

RHODES: ... got raped, and it's a shame.

ANKARLO: I agree.

RHODES: But -- but it...

ANKARLO: By the way, I agree with Randi.

Believe it or not, I do agree with you, Randi. This is not a giant story. I think it's becoming a media-made event, a lot of it because of the background of the lady, or ladies, involved, the color of the skin, and the prominence of the people who make a lot of money by sending their kids -- or who send their kids to Duke. ZAHN: Yes. Those are issues that are kind of hard...


ZAHN: Hard to ignore.

RHODES: You know, I honestly -- I -- I couldn't even tell you the color of her skin. I couldn't -- I can't even tell you one thing about this story.

We really do try very hard to educate our listeners about the war. We have got two wars going on. We're about to invade Iran, according to this president.

ANKARLO: We have got three, three, not two, three, Randi.


RHODES: We are in our third war in Iraq. I mean, we are about to go into Iran.

ANKARLO: No, no, no, no, no, no.

RHODES: And...

ANKARLO: Randi, Randi, we have 2.8 million people invading this country every year from our southern border.

RHODES: They're not terrorists.

ANKARLO: That's not a war? Oh, my gosh.

RHODES: That, I will talk to you about.

ZAHN: Well, on that subject today...

RHODES: Let me -- let me ask you this. Let me ask you this.

ZAHN: No, no, no. Let me ask you this.

RHODES: All right.

ZAHN: Today, we -- we got more details about this huge government crackdown on illegal aliens...

RHODES: Right.

ZAHN: rounding up 1,000 of them and some of the bosses who hired them. What are your listeners saying about this? Window dressing on a much larger problem, or do they give the government any credit at all for clamping down on illegal immigration?

ANKARLO: Who are you asking, me or Randi?

RHODES: She's asking me.

ZAHN: Well, Darrell, let's -- I'm looking at Randi.

RHODES: I will tell you, the -- the immigration issue is one that shows the complete and utter lack of leadership by our leaders. We have this 2,000-mile border, and you don't have any cooperation from Mexico. I mean, I wonder who, you know...

ZAHN: Was it a good step that 1,000 more were rounded up?

RHODES: You know, rounding up people costs us just as much as -- as not rounding them up and letting them have welfare. Do you know what I mean? It's like a half-dozen of one, six of the other. It doesn't really matter.

We need serious border security. I can't believe, five years after 9/11, we don't have border security. And the idea that we -- that, you know, we don't, and the idea we don't have port security is bizarre to people. And nobody understands...

ANKARLO: I lost the feed here.

RHODES: ... if this corporatism or racism, but we do know that the brown people are the ones that are being used as the pawn in this.


RHODES: Now, corporations love getting the cheap labor, so clamp down on them.

ZAHN: All right.

RHODES: Fine them some obscene amount of money, so that it's absolutely taboo in this society...

ZAHN: All right.

RHODES: ... to hire people illegally. Do that.

ZAHN: Darrell, you get the last word tonight.

CNN's latest polling showing that the majorities of Americans are either somewhat sympathetic or very sympathetic to the plights of illegal aliens.


ZAHN: What are your Hispanic listeners saying, Darrell?

ANKARLO: Yes. We're compassionate. We all believe that people -- I know I would -- Paula, Randi, I think you would, too. You would be looking for a better future, a better hope, if you're making $2 an hour.

At the same time, my Hispanic, Latino listeners are saying: I came here. I went through the process. I came here legally. And I'm angry that people are breaking the law, whether it's from Mexico or Canada or 52 other nations around the world. That's what they're upset about. That's what I'm upset about. And I agree with Randi.

RHODES: Be upset with the corporatists, who are making a killing...

ANKARLO: There's no question, no question.

RHODES: ... and driving down wages for the middle class by hiring these people.

ANKARLO: There is no question.

RHODES: There needs to be some enforcement...

ZAHN: All right.


RHODES: And we need border security.


ANKARLO: And that's the issue from today.

ZAHN: And we need to bring the two of you back to debate with us more often.

RHODES: June 2.

ZAHN: Interesting discussion.

RHODES: ... in Nevada. Keep your eyes on June 2 in the desert.


ZAHN: We will circle it on our calender.

ANKARLO: There you go. Thanks, Randi.

ZAHN: Randi Rhodes, Darrell Ankarlo, thank you both.

ANKARLO: You got it.

ZAHN: Really enjoyed that.

Much more ahead tonight, including the man behind a $6-billion-a- year criminal empire, a character straight out of "The Godfather." How did authorities finally track him down, after 40 years of pursuit?

Plus, a young woman witnesses the aftermath of a violent car crash and videotapes it on her cell phone. But that's only the beginning of a devastating story.

Also ahead:


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kathleen Koch. Do you do anything while driving besides driving, talk on the phone, adjust the radio, look at the kids, maybe? Whether you do those things, or worse, or keep your eyes on the road, you're definitely going to want to hear about the results of a new study coming up. It could save your life.


ZAHN: And we have the video to prove it. Can't believe what happens when people take their eye off the road for a second or two.

But, right now, number six on our CNN countdown -- countdown -- is a story we told you a little bit earlier. President Bush expressed regret to China's President Hu after a heckler interrupted a welcoming ceremony at the White House. She was summarily removed.

Number five -- a search going on near Antarctica for an American missing from a research ship. Joshua Spillane worked as a crewman on the ship, which is owned by Raytheon. Company officials say he may have fallen overboard -- number four on our list when we come back.


ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's what's making headlines at this moment. Just minutes ago, word of a powerful earthquake that shook Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. The U.S. Geological Survey says it was a magnitude 7.7. The epicenter was about 4,000 miles away from Moscow.

Seven-time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong is trading his bike for running shoes. That's right, he says he's planing to run the New York City marathon this fall, but no talk of any serious triathlons in his future, he says.

And baseball may be played by millionaires but the Yankees have become the first team to be worth more than $1 billion. Not to rub it in, but the Forbes list puts the Boston Red Sox a distant second.

All right, everyone knows you're supposed to keep your eyes on the road when you drive, but really, who hasn't messed around with the radio or a cell phone and what are those cup holders there for anyway? Now take a quick look at this. We trained our cameras on Hollywood's Sunset Strip and in just 15 minutes, look at what we saw.

Driving on the phone, of course. All right, making a call while making a turn. Catching up on some reading. Yes, that's right. And look, ma, no hands. And look again, no hands and not even looking where you're going. You're going to be amazed when we show you just how dangerous, even deadly, these everyday distractions can be.

A new study proves it with incredible video taken of drivers who were unaware they were about to have a serious traffic accident. Kathleen Koch has tonight's "Eye Opener."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's become such a part of daily driving that Americans don't even try to hide their bad habits behind the wheel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I use my cell phone, I'll read, I'll do crossword puzzles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hand on the wheel, one hand looking down, dialing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they start screaming, you know, if you're driving down the highway, you've got to do something for them.

KOCH: But new research has found nearly 80 percent of crashes involve just such types of distracted driving, within three seconds before the incident.

CHARLIE KLAUER, VIRGINIA TECH TRANS. INST.: Most of the studies that have been done in the past, nearly all of them, deal with just looking at how driving behavior or how different types of distractions actually degrades driving performance. This is the first study that actually links those types of behaviors to crashes and near crashes.

KOCH: It was a mammoth study. One hundred cars packed with cameras and sensors, driven by 241 people in the Washington, D.C. area for more than a year. They knew the cameras were there, but it didn't take long to slip back into some bad habits.

Researchers caught one driver on a cell phone nearly striking a child on a tricycle. Another driver putting in a CD almost loses control of his car. Later this same man, very drowsy, runs off the road.

In another case, the driver looks down at something in the car, swerves to miss the vehicle in front of her that stops, and then hits a telephone pole.

All together, the cameras captured 82 crashes and more than 8,000 close calls.

And for the first time, researchers were able to tell which bad habits were the riskiest. They found reaching for a moving object increases the risk of a crash by a factor of nine. Drowsiness by four. Reading or applying makeup by three times, and dialing a handheld device like a cell phone by nearly three times.

(on camera): The most common distraction, not surprisingly, was the cell phone. Researchers found the identical number of crashes were caused whether dialing, talking or listening.

(voice-over): Study results will be used to design better collision-avoidance warning systems and make stereos, navigation systems and other interior features more driver friendly.

KLAUER: We need better design of these types of technologies so that drivers can keep their eyes forward on the roadway much more than they are able to now.

KOCH: Researchers hope proving a direct link between bad behavior behind the wheel and crashes might persuade drivers to change their ways. Others believe drivers have to be forced to behave by more laws banning distractions like cell phones.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: And here's a scary thing for any of us who has teenagers, like I do. The most easily distracted drivers happen to be between the ages of 18-to-20. They are four times more likely to have a distraction accident than older drivers, yet another thing for mothers and fathers to freak out about.

Much more ahead. We're going to take you inside a 40-year search that's finally over for one of Italy's most notorious mobsters. It's a story straight out of the movies.

First though Erica Hill has the "Headline News Biz Break." Erica?


ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, a 40-year manhunt ends for a mobster from Corleone. It sounds like the movies, but this one's a true story.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm John Zarrella. For 15 minutes last Sunday morning, a young woman stood here and watched a car burning not 30 yards away from her. Then she took out her camera phone and recorded it. What she didn't know was that one of the people in that car was her sister. I'll have that story coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.


ZAHN: I can't even imagine how she must be feeling tonight.

Now our countdown continues with No. 4. The upcoming release of six Branch Davidians. Thirteen years after a deadly shootout and standoff with federal agents in Waco, Texas, the men will be freed sometime over the next two months. They were convicted of manslaughter and weapons offenses. We're going to have No. 3 right after this.


ZAHN: Right now, we're going to introduce you to a young woman who stopped by the side of the road because there had been a bad accident. It turned out to be a deadly, terrible wreck. And while she waited for the traffic to clear, she took out her cell phone and taped the scene. What she didn't realize then about those frightening images would turn out to be devastating.

John Zarrella has the story.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): Police in North Lauderdale say the crash scene was one of the most horrific they ever responded to. Four young adults, all in their 20s, died when the car they were in went off the road, hit a tree and exploded in flames. A fifth passenger survived, as did two teenagers in a second car involved in the crash.

(on camera): Where were you standing?

MARIA RAMOUTAR, WITNESS: Like right where the yellow tape starts right there.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Early last Sunday morning, shortly after the crash, Maria Ramoutar was coming home alone after partying with her sister and friends. She saw the police lights, the road blocked.

RAMOUTAR: As I'm coming up, I see this car on the side of the road on fire. And I was literally the first car that stopped.

ZARRELLA: Ramoutar stood behind the police line, just watching and waiting for the road to open so she could go home.

RAMOUTAR: After 20 minutes of just watching that car burn, I was like, wait until my parents see what I just saw. So I took out my camera phone and I started recording it to show them what I encountered.

ZARRELLA: The image is not very clear. You can make out the flashing lights of a police car, and to the right, a bright, white glow, the burning car.

What Ramoutar did not know until later that day was that in that burning car, she captured here for 10 seconds on her camera phone, was her younger sister, Andrea, and her sister's husband and three friends.

RAMOUTAR: I found out it was my sister, and I didn't do anything to help her. It must have been like 20 minutes I sat there.

ZARRELLA: Maria Ramoutar is carrying a great weight of guilt, guilt that she just stood and watched.

RAMOUTAR: I considered the other people in the car like my brothers and sisters. Not one sister I lost, I lost two.

ZARRELLA: In reality, there was little she could do. By the time Ramoutar pulled up, the Volkswagen was engulfed, totally unrecognizable. The second car sat off to the side.

Police are still trying to put together what happened, but don't believe alcohol played a role. (on camera): Police say the two cars were stopped at that light behind me, and behind them was a sheriff's deputy. That deputy says that the two cars took off at a high rate of speed. By the time he caught up to them, they had already gone around the bend, and the Volkswagen had crashed and was on fire.

(voice-over): Every day, the families have been coming here to the scene, trying to make sense out of senseless death.

(on camera): How many times have you been over here?

RAMOUTAR: Only yesterday was the only day I didn't come by.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The base of the tree that took the impact from the car has become a memorial to the four who died. Flowers, pictures, messages.

For Maria, what happened that Sunday morning will always remain with her, a haunting image captured on her camera phone.

John Zarrella, CNN, North Lauderdale, Florida.


ZAHN: What a terrible, terrible loss.

When we come back, you would swear this was a movie. After a 40- year manhunt, a mobster finally caught. Where is he from? A little Italian town that happens to be called Corleone.

At the top of the hour, Senator Edward Kennedy is Larry King's guest. They will talk about the president, immigration and the senator's brand new book.

But before we move on, number three on our countdown. Julia Roberts' Broadway debut featured plenty of fans and some pretty stinging reviews. She's starring in the play "Three Days of Rain." But given Roberts' star power, it's pretty much bound to be critic- proof. The tickets are sold out and have been for a long time. Number two and number one in our countdown straight out of the break. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Right now, a story straight out of the movies, but this one happens to be a real one. They say he was one of the most powerful men in Italy and the world and one of the deadliest captured by a SWAT team of masked police. Today, accused Mafia superboss Bernardo Provenzano honored the code of silence when questioned in an Italian prison. Alessio Vinci has this look at the real-life Don Corleone.


ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police gathered at Palermo's police headquarters to get a glimpse of Italy's most wanted criminal, shouting "bastard and murderer." For more than 40 years, Bernardo Provenzano was a legend, a ghost. The last known photograph of his face was this mugshot taken almost 50 years ago. But police officers who spent decades looking for him had no doubt.

GIUSEPPE GUALTIERI, PALERMO POLICE OFFICIAL (through translator): When I looked him in the eyes, I saw the old Provenzano from the early days, from his first mugshot, the days of violence and murder. The strength of his look betrayed his apparent calm.

VINCI: It took a DNA test to be sure the man captured at this farm outside the town of Corleone really was the boss of all bosses.

(on camera): Provenzano is now sitting in a high security jail far away from here, in mainland Italy. Officials say he has not said much since his arrest, nor do they have high hopes he will reveal any big secrets. An old Mafia saying goes something like this, "if I am innocent, I have nothing to say. And if I am a Mafia boss, well, I have nothing to say either."

(voice-over): Corleone is forever linked to the glamorous world of "The Godfather" films and the characters of Mario Puzo's novel. But the story of the real-life Mafia boss is much different. Bernardo Provenzano was born in Corleone in 1933, and after World War II joined the Sicilian Mafia as an enforcer. His brutality got him the nickname "Bernie the Tractor" and eventually, the job of top boss of an international empire built on illegal drugs, construction corruption, extortion, and of course, murder.

In 1992, two anti-mafia judges were assassinated in Palermo. That's when the police began a serious search for Provenzano. The killings, for which he has been sentenced in absentia to life in prison, provoked an unprecedented crackdown. Hundreds of Mafioso were arrested. But the boss himself always managed to escape, thanks to a wide network of associates and informants who tipped him off, sometimes just minutes before authorities moved in.

MICHELE PRESTIPINO, PALERMO DEPUTY PROSECUTOR (though translator): Provenzano took advantage of a protective network that was very efficient. It included moles within the police or even with the judiciary. These men have since been identified, arrested and are now on trial.

VINCI: Provenzano began to believe that violence could be counter-productive. He shifted mafia strategy to more discreet and more lucrative businesses.

Always in hiding, Sicily's No. 1 mafia boss ran a powerful criminal organization with earnings estimated at close to $6 billion a year, from this small, smelly farmhouse just outside his hometown. His desk, a little crumbling table.

In Corleone, Provenzano was protected by a large family, old friends and local residents. Today, even with the former boss behind bars, most people here refuse to discuss what they might have known about his whereabouts, or even acknowledge his existence. The Sicilian code of silence, omerta, helped Provenzano stay clear of police manhunt. Afraid that police could intercept phone calls or computer messages, Provenzano issued orders through hundreds of little notes, known in Sicilian dialect as pizzini, written on this old typewriter police found on his desk.

Some pizzini contained requests to his family just a few miles away in Corleone. Others carried precise instructions to his lieutenants. Many of the messages were in a code that investigators are now trying to decipher. The key could be in a Bible found in Provenzano's hideout that police say contained numerous annotations.

A police investigator who has seen dozens of the notes agreed to show us how the mafia boss carefully prepared his messages, making them easy to hide and making sure they moved as fast as possible to be hard to intercept.

He needs to remain anonymous because he is working on cases linked to Provenzano. But authorities say this communications system ultimately did Provenzano in. Investigators followed a suspect they thought was a mafia messanger to a farmhouse outside Corleone and then set up a surveillance camera from a nearby hilltop.

From a distance, police also were watching the house of his wife a mile away in Corleone. From there, they noticed that bags of fresh laundry would travel through town, going from messenger to messenger. When they finally followed a bag all the way to the farmhouse that was now under surveillance, Provenzano made his biggest mistake.

GUALTIERI (through translator): We saw a hand reaching out to pick up the bag. It was strange, because that part of the house was supposed to be empty. That's when we realized that the phantom of Corleone was no longer such, but actually a person in flesh and blood.

VINCI: They moved in on the great mafia don, done in by clean shirts. Provenzano's arrest has hurt the Sicilian mafia, but it hasn't destroyed it. Now there is fear that it could lead to a leadership struggle and renewed violence. Alessio Vinci, CNN, Corleone, Sicily.


ZAHN: And we're going to move on now to a different kind of story about a man who left a career in banking for a whole lot of shoe leather. Jennifer Westhoven has tonight's "Life After Work."




JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Nolan looks like your typical retiree, spending his golden years outside, smelling the roses after 30 years in banking. But this is no ordinary walk. John Nolan is walking cross country. NOLAN: Last fall in November, I was looking through a local Web site and there was an advertisement through a national running club for walkers to walk across America. And I read the application and it was extremely interesting. So I filled it out and sent it in.

WESTHOVEN: John is the oldest of 12 people walking across the country to promote physical fitness in a three-month hike, Steps Across America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready, set, walk.

WESTHOVEN: The walk is backed by corporate sponsors. John and his teammates set out on the first leg from New York. The finish line, Los Angeles. Each two-person team must walk a leg, up to 20 miles, and hand off to the next pair in the cross country relay.


WESTHOVEN: So John won't walk the whole way himself. But 20 miles every few days is no walk in the park. So at 65 and happily retired with his wife in South Carolina, the big question is, why?

NOLAN: I think this is a great opportunity for me to talk to people in my age group and say, "Folks, you can still do it. Put on your walking shoes and go out. Even if it's around the block, start somewhere." And I think at my age, there will be a lot of people out there looking up and saying, "Well, if he can do it, maybe I can try it."

WESTHOVEN: Jennifer Westhoven, CNN.


ZAHN: Good for him.

Coming up at the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE." His guest tonight, Senator Edward Kennedy.

Now No. 2 in our countdown. We covered it just a short time ago: the government's crackdown on employers who hire and harbor illegal immigrants. More than 1,000 people arrested in raids yesterday.

No. 1, the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound, famed test pilot, Scott Crossfield, has actually died in a plane crash. He was flying from Alabama to Virginia yesterday when his single engine Cessna went down. Searchers found the wreckage today just north of Atlanta. Scott Crossfield was 84.

We'll be right back.


ZAHN: A recap now of a story we told you a little bit earlier now, that 7.7 earthquake in Russia's far east. The epi-center was about 4,000 miles away from Moscow, just north of Japan. Officials now say there was some damage and there may be casualties.

That's it for all of us. Thanks so much for being with us tonight. We'll be back tomorrow night to wrap up the week. Have a good night.


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