Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Solving the Mystery of Princess Diana; National Guardsmen Charged With Border Smuggling

Aired June 13, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Here are some of the stories we're bringing out in the open.

What kind of hospital would let a bleeding woman die on the emergency room floor? Wait until you hear the frantic 911 calls.

And you're not going to believe who is accused of smuggling illegal immigrants. They're the very people who are supposed to be guarding our border.

And she was one of the world's most glamorous, most watched women. But, tonight, some new secrets about Princess Diana are out in the open.

We start off in Iraq tonight. Even though the bloodshed and bombings there are constant, what happened today is totally different and very dangerous. Suspected al Qaeda bombers in Samarra hit one of the holiest shrines for Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority.

An attack last on the same place year started what most people acknowledge is now a civil war. And, tonight, Iraq is bracing for a new eruption of violence.

I want you to clearly see exactly what we're talking about. This is the Samarra mosque. Notice the big golden dome and the two small towers, the minarets, on each side. This picture is after the first bombing in February of last year. The big dome is shattered, its gold covering gone, but the two minarets remain on either side.

Well, today, this is all that is left after today's attack. It is from a different angle on the opposite side. Look past the small clock tower, and you can still see the big shattered dome. But, on either side, the two minarets are now gone, destroyed.

CNN's Karl Penhaul is the only Western reporter in Samarra. He joins us with this exclusive live report.

What can you tell us about any search for suspects tonight, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, where we are now, in fact, is about half-- mile that way across to the destroyed ruins of the mosque.

And that mosque was very heavily guarded by Iraqi security forces, in fact, two cordons of security. The outer cordon was made up of Sunni and Shia Iraq security force members. The inner cordon was made up of Shia mosque security protection services.

And General Benjamin Mixon -- he's the U.S. forces commander for this northern region of Iraq -- says, he believes that, because of that tight security, that this was, in fact, an inside job, either insurgents posing as security guards or official security guards who had accomplices and comrades in the insurgency and allowed them to pass to come in to place the explosives, and then to detonate them.

This is what he was telling me.


GENERAL BENJAMIN MIXON, U.S. REGIONAL COMMANDER IN IRAQ: We have indications that it was an explosion that occurred from the inside. Therefore, it is apparent that somebody involved let some people in there. There will be an investigation done concerning the explosion itself. We have no indicators, though, that it was indirect fire.


PENHAUL: And those investigations that General Mixon referring to he expects to heavily concentrate on whether this was an inside job -- Paula.

ZAHN: And what is the expectation about this potentially sparking even more violence? Any reprisals yet?

PENHAUL: Well, not in Samarra itself. That is calm, according to the U.S. military officers who have been out on the street there.

But, yet, certainly across Baghdad, the backlash was swift. In southwest Baghdad, a Sunni mosque was burned down. And, south of Baghdad, two mosques were bombed by suspected Shiite militias. That only goes to show that what goes on in Samarra doesn't stay here. It does very firmly reverberate through that -- throughout the whole of Iraq -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, what does the Iraqi government plan to do about this, Karl?

PENHAUL: Well, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did come very quickly to the site of the bombing. He checked it out. He toured the city to see what the situation was.

Immediately that he came here, 15 members of the Iraqi security forces assigned to guarding the mosque were arrested. They have been hauled in for questioning. And what Prime Minister al-Maliki also announced was that another brigade of Iraqi army soldiers would be sent to Samarra, along with hundreds more police, all in an effort to keep the peace, to try and keep a lid on any possible flare-up of sectarian violence -- Paula.

ZAHN: Karl Penhaul, thanks so much for the update. Appreciate it. And now that we have looked at that scene in Samarra, here is the big picture. Iraq's population is nearly 27 million. About 60 percent are Shiite, about 35 percent Sunni.

With the violence since the bombing of the mosque last year, Iraqi and U.N. officials estimate that nearly 100 people a day are being killed. Because of the violence, as many as four million Iraqis have become refugees. Half of that total, two million people, have already fled the country altogether.

CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, is here now to help us understand why the bombing of this mosque is such a deeply disturbing event to Muslims.

Whether it's an inside job or an outside job, whether you're a Sunni or you're a Shiite...


ZAHN: ... this is a very holy place.


I mean, there's -- there's two problems. One is, it is their very holy shrine. The other is, it disrupts their daily life, because their life is so much revolving around the mosque.

As far as how holy it is to them, I mean, it's basically like bombing the grave site of two revered saints in Islam. I mean, Islam doesn't have saints, per se. They have imams. And the imams are the descendants of Mohammed. And there were two of them buried at this site. That's why the mosque is there. And, so, there's an emotional impact for these people who go on pilgrimage to this shrine and pray to these saints, these imams.

ZAHN: So, what would be the motivation for blowing it up?

GALLAGHER: Well, you obviously get a bigger impact, don't you?

I mean, we would hope that religious places are neutral places. And any time that a church or a mosque is hit, you are going to make bigger news and you're going to make a bigger impact. So, I think, for the people that have to try now to continue their daily life without their mosque, it's hard to understand. It's not just a place they go one day a week. It's call to prayer every day. Those minarets are the places that the call to prayer used to happen.

I mean, now it's kind of a recorded thing anyway. So, the fact the minarets aren't there, they can probably still hear their call to prayer, But, nonetheless,, there is a huge symbolic significance to the fact that they are no longer there.

ZAHN: And the scary thing is, of course, the Iraqi government is fully expecting this will spark a whole new round of violence.

GALLAGHER: As it did last year, yes. ZAHN: Delia Gallagher, thanks so much.

GALLAGHER: You're welcome.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

U.S. troops face danger and death every day in Iraq. But, while some of them are fighting over there, they are losing custody of their children here at home. Tonight, we are bringing their outrage and their desperation out in the open.


CORPORAL LEVI BRADLEY, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I immediately broke down in tears right there. If they said that, if you got out of the Marines today, then you could have your kids back, I would be out in a heartbeat.


ZAHN: Coming up next: Fight for your country or lose your kids? Why are these brave men and women facing such a terrible choice?

Also, American border guards accused of secretly smuggling in illegal immigrants into this country.

And why didn't a hospital help a woman who was bleeding to death on the emergency room floor? You have got to hear the 911 calls to believe what happened to this woman.


ZAHN: Nearly 10 years after her death, could there possibly be any new surprises about Princess Diana? Wait until you hear what we're bringing out in the open in just a little bit.

One of the most painful, heart-wrenching ordeals a parent can ever experience is a custody battle. And I want you to try to imagine how do you fight for your child when you are 7,000 miles away fighting for your country.

Deborah Feyerick brings it all out in the open now through the story of a U.S. Marine who was in Iraq when he got the shocking news about his child.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now can I drive it?


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When he left for Iraq, Marine Corporal Levi Bradley was sure of only one thing: His little boy, Tyler, would be home safe in Kansas, well looked after by Bradley's own mom. That's the deal he had made with his estranged wife, Amber. In a signed letter, she gave him sole custody, with the understanding they would work out the details during their divorce proceedings when he got back.

But, while he was away, Amber, who refused our interview requests, had a change of heart. She wanted Tyler, and couldn't wait.

(on camera): Did you feel ambushed by this?

L. BRADLEY: Yes, I did.

FEYERICK: You had an arrangement.


FEYERICK: She was not honoring that arrangement.


FEYERICK (voice-over): And Corporal Bradley was about to discover there was virtually nothing he could do about it.

L. BRADLEY: Why should we be able to go defend our country, then, when we come back, having nothing here waiting for us?

FEYERICK: There are 140,000 single parents in the military. And, like an untold number, Corporal Bradley was left fighting two wars, one in Iraq, the other in family court.

(on camera): You are fighting for your kids over the phone?


FEYERICK (voice-over): This despite a federal ruling intended to freeze civil court proceedings during deployment. It's called the Service Member Civil Relief Act. And it's supposed to give active- duty service members a minimum 90-day extension.

Bradley's attorney applied for a delay under this act, but the custody hearing went on without him. The judge ruled the act does not apply in child custody fights, citing, instead, an obligation to consider the best interests of the child.

(on camera): Marine Corporal Levi Bradley was 7,000 miles away from this courthouse here in his hometown of Ottawa, Kansas, while, inside, his mom and lawyer were trying the best they could to defend him.

At the end of the day, it was his mom who called to break the news.

STARLEEN BRADLEY, MOTHER OF CORPORAL BRADLEY: I couldn't hug him. I couldn't hold him, because he was so far away, you know? And, to tell him that kind of news, when he's expecting his son to stay where he was safe, and, then, all of a sudden, he was gone. L. BRADLEY: I immediately broke down in tears right there.

FEYERICK (voice-over): The judge awarded his estranged wife joint custody, and then ruled it was best for Tyler to live not with his paternal grandmother, but with his mom, who was also pregnant with the couple's second child.

(voice-over): You have your ex-wife. You have the judge. You have lawyers. But the one person not in that courtroom...

L. BRADLEY: It was me.

FEYERICK: And do you think you could have made a difference?

L. BRADLEY: Yes, I think that I would have made, if not a lot of difference, at least a bit of difference, on how things were -- how decisions were made.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Corporal Bradley appealed, but, as this official court recording shows, the lawyer for his soon-to-be-ex-wife argued, his deployment was not an issue.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't believe he had relevant evidence to add to the case, because he had been away from the family unit so much of their married time.


FEYERICK: So, how does it happen? Judge Dennis Duggan from the National Council of Family Court Judges has seen a spike in these type cases since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. He says, with teleconferencing and e-mail, it's easier to have a parent's presence in court.

JUDGE DENNIS DUGGAN, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FAMILY COURT JUDGES: Unless a soldier is somewhere in a foxhole, today, the Army -- the military can get them to a telephone. And that's all we need.

FEYERICK: Bradley's lawyer disagrees. She says, they weren't asking for special treatment, just an equal playing field.

JEAN ANN UVODICH, ATTORNEY FOR CORPORAL BRADLEY: He here is defending his entire country, but we're not allowing him to come home and defend himself.

REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R), OHIO: I don't think it's in the best interests of a child to teach them that we penalize our men and women who serve and volunteer for their country.

FEYERICK: Ohio Congressman Mike Turner is now trying to pass a bill that would block any custody change while someone is deployed.

(on camera): If somebody were to say to you, quit the Marines, you get your kids back, what kind of a choice is that? L. BRADLEY: I would -- I would take it. If they said that, if you got out of the Marines today, then you could have your kids back, I would be out in a heartbeat.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Ottawa, Kansas.


ZAHN: And there's another thing to add to this story. Corporal Bradley says he has no immediate plans to fight the terms of the custody arrangement. He just wants to spend as much time as he can with his son before he redeploys to Iraq in September.

A serious scandal along the U.S. border with Mexico is out in the open tonight. Listen to this.


PHIL JORDAN, FORMER DEA SPECIAL AGENT: When these guys sell out, I mean, we have got a problem, because that's our first line of defense.


ZAHN: Coming up next: allegations of U.S. guards smuggling illegal immigrants across our border. How far does this corruption go?

And we're also taking you to a hospital where a bleeding woman died on the emergency room floor. Why was she essentially ignored to death?


ZAHN: Out in the open tonight: three National Guardsmen on border protection duty in Texas charged with trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into this country.

One of those Guardsmen is an Iraq war veteran who earned a Purple Heart. All three were arrested after Border Patrol agents found 24 illegal immigrants in a van of one of the soldiers' -- one of the vans the soldier was driving.

Tonight, as Ed Lavandera reports, for the first time, we are hearing from the family and the attorney of one of those accused.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sergeant Julio Pacheco, a decorated Iran war veteran from a family of eight children, his attorney describes the family as humble and poor. They live in a wood frame house. It's the kind of background organized criminals look for in border agents.

PHIL JORDAN, FORMER DEA SPECIAL AGENT: That would be a guy that they would test or try to recruit. LAVANDERA: Phil Jordan is a former DEA special agent who worked the border region in El Paso. He has seen cartels and smugglers recruit young enforcement agents looking for fast cash.

JORDAN: They can do the same thing that we do to them, put somebody undercover to see if the guy will bite.

LAVANDERA: At this point, there's no evidence that Pacheco and two other National Guard soldiers were working for Mexican smugglers. But federal investigators say Pacheco, Private Jose Torres, and Sergeant Clarence Hodge smuggled illegal immigrants on eight different occasions.

This criminal complaint alleges, Torres organized the moving of illegal immigrants past border checkpoints. Pacheco allegedly sent this cell phone text message to Torres last week: "We need to take 24 people to make that happen, and you will get $3,500. Does that sound good?"

Torres allegedly replied back, "Twenty-four will be tough to fit, but I will try."

Pacheco's attorney says, he's not guilty. His family says, don't rush to judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He served his country. He got wounded. Like I say, he got issued the Purple Heart. He put his life in front to serve his country. He is not going to discredit like that. He's not that type of person.

LAVANDERA (on camera): The Department of Homeland Security reports that, since 2004, there have been about 280 corruption investigations of federal agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Last year, there were 66 cases. So far this year, there have already been 52.

(voice-over): These two Border Patrol agents were paid $186,000 in bribes to help smuggle people into Southern California. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to six years in prison.

And this customs agent pleaded guilty to allowing hundreds of illegal immigrants to drive through his checkpoint. In exchange, he was paid almost $70,000 and given a Lexus.

Federal officials say, these cases are not the norm.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It's a regrettable and, fortunately, rare fact of life in law enforcement that, every once in a while, a policeman or a National Guardsman or someone else winds up getting corrupted.

LAVANDERA: But Phil Jordan says, it only takes one corrupt agent to allow a potential terrorist into the country.

JORDAN: There's no greater government to work for than the United States government. So, when these guys sell out, I mean, we have got a problem, because that's our first line of defense.

LAVANDERA: Which makes the accusations against soldiers like Pacheco, Torres, and Hodge all that much more disturbing.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


ZAHN: Time to go to tonight's "Out in the Open" panel: Faye Wattleton, president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, Mark Smith, constitutional attorney and a conservative commentator, also with us, Darrell Ankarlo, host of a radio talk show on KTAR-FM in Phoenix, Arizona.

Glad to have all three of you with us .

Before we go any further, let's look at what this program was set up to do. Look at some of these statistics. Operation Jump Start was launched last year by President Bush to help secure the southern border. And, essentially, what happened is, they redeployed some 6,000 National Guardsmen.

But, since then, they have helped out the understaffed U.S. Border Patrol catch thousands of illegal immigrants and seize some illegal drugs being smuggled across the border.

So, Darrell, these are allegations now of human smuggling by our National Guard. If that is true, is this temporary solution a joke?

DARRELL ANKARLO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know, Paula, I was talking to one of the National Guardsmen when I was there on the border a few weeks ago. And he told me, he actually sees a redeployment of the some of the National Guardsmen away from the southern border.

Apparently, it served its purpose for a period. And now we have got the president saying we're going to send more; we're going to do more. It's a joke, because what we're doing is, we are making it very predictable. The same guys take care of the same areas day in and day out. So, the organized criminals, the drug cartels, they look for these guys. And they say, OK, I have gotten to know him. I have developed a relationship with him.

And then they suck them into this -- this mission. And it's a sad commentary about what is going on, on our southern border here.

ZAHN: It is a sad commentary, but, when you look at the numbers, you're talking just about a couple of bad guys in a sea of really hardworking, devoted protectors of the United States' security.


FAYE WATTLETON, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: We're talking, also, about an enormously porous border. I mean, we are not talking about five miles worth of border. We're talking about hundreds of miles, both on the southern border, as well as the northern border.

And the fact that there is going to be corruption, I think, is a given. And the government needs to do everything possible to create deterrents to this kind of activity.

ZAHN: Are you worried about this?

MARK SMITH, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: You know, I'm really not, because, whether you are a bank or CNN or any organization out there, you are always going to find a few bad apples, and especially when you're dealing -- remember, although these gentlemen work for the National Guard, we are looking at a Border Patrol Agency that has over 12,000 Border Patrol men.

So, inevitably, any organization, you're going to find a few bad apples. To me, there is no evidence of rampant corruption on the southern border. And a few bad people doing bad things should go to jail, but that should not deter our efforts to protect our southern border.


ANKARLO: But it -- it's more than a few, though. It's more than a few here, though. We're talking hundreds at this point.

WATTLETON: But it's a few in comparison to the numbers. But it's a few compared to the number of people who are there on the border protecting the borders.


SMITH: I don't know where Darrell get hundreds. I mean, we have three people here that are part of this criminal complaint. You are looking at a Border Patrol group of over 12,000, plus the National Guardsmen. Investigations do not mean guilty people. Just because there have been hundreds of investigations...


ZAHN: But the numbers are going up.


SMITH: Well, there...


SMITH: ... more investigations.


SMITH: But investigations often don't lead to any criminal charges, because they investigate and find out nothing has happened.


ANKARLO: But the fact is that the investigations are under way.

And the other fact, I -- I rode with the Border Patrol agents for a solid day. We went into Mexico and split the border for a week and tried to understand this, really, you know, down and dirty with them. And I talked to one agent, and he said there are a number of complaints that are out there, and they are rising on a daily basis.

And I said him. I said, will you work with these people?

He said, they are dishonorable to us and what we're trying to do.

And I say that to these three gentlemen, the one who was wounded in Iraq: You're dishonorable. You should give up the Purple Heart. We should dishonorably discharge you from the military for what you have done.


ZAHN: But what do you say to President Bush, who, in a speech, repeatedly has said that these changes in beefing up security, no matter how you are bringing together the National Guard or the Border Patrol, is making this country safer?

WATTLETON: I think that what we should say to Mr. Bush is that you should be somewhat cautious about seeing that as a solution.

We, in fact -- as the economy is tending to slow down, we are actually seeing a decline in the border crossings, in the illegal border crossings. So, this is a very complex issue that is not susceptible to a single answer.


ZAHN: You get the last word.

SMITH: We have 40,000 NYPD officers in a small little area of New York City. We're talking about 12,000 Border Patrolmen for over 2,700 miles on the southern border. We need a lot more Border Patrol people on the southern border.

ANKARLO: Absolutely.

SMITH: That's what President Bush should be told.

ZAHN: Something I think we all can agree on.

WATTLETON: And we need to look at the economy issues.

ZAHN: All right, Faye Wattleton, Mark Smith, Darrell Ankarlo, thank you all.

We are about to change our focus quite a bit and take you to a hospital where a bleeding woman died on the emergency room floor. People are absolutely outraged by this. Why didn't anyone help her? Please stay with us. You are going to actually hear some of the 911 emergency calls. They are unbelievable. Also out in the open: parts of the Princess Diana story we never knew until now -- more on that when we come back.


ZAHN: Out in the open in this half-hour, secrets you never knew about Princess Diana. Was she that empathetic woman who helped AIDS patients or a manipulator who used the media to make a lot of people look bad?

And there's new outrage tonight at Paris Hilton and the family. What have they done now?

Stay tuned.

I can't tell you how mad I was when I saw -- I can't tell you how angry I was when I heard this story. A woman goes to the emergency room because she's vomiting blood. According to the people with her, she gets absolutely no help. They are so desperate they actually call 911 to send an ambulance to take her to another hospital and you're not going to believe what happens then. Ted Rowlands brings this shocking story out in the open in tonight's "Vital Signs."


CALLER: I'm in the emergency room. My wife is dying and the nurses don't want to help her out.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Edith Rodriguez was on the ground, according to witnesses, throwing up blood at Martin Luther King Jr. Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles. Her boyfriend, through an interpreter was so desperate to get help he called 911, even though he was already at a hospital.

DISPATCHER: OK, what do you mean she's dying...what's wrong with her?

CALLER: She's vomiting blood.

DISPATCHER: OK, and why aren't they helping her?

CALLER: They're watching her, they're not doing anything, OK. They're just watching her.

ROWLANDS: Eight minutes later, another call comes in to the same 911 center from someone else at the hospital.

DISPATCHER: What's your emergency?

CALLER: There's a lady on the ground here in the emergency room at Martin Luther King.

DISPATCHER: Well, what do you want me to do for you, ma'am?

CALLER: Send an ambulance out here to take her somewhere where she can get medical help. DISPATCHER: OK, you're at the hospital, ma'am. You have to contact them.

CALLER: They have a problem, they won't help her.

DISPATCHER: Well, you know, they're the medical professionals, OK. You're already at the hospital.

This line is for emergency purposes only -- 911 is used for emergency purposes only.

CALLER: This is an emergency!

DISPATCHER: It's not an emergency. It is not an emergency, ma'am.

CALLER: It is.

DISPATCHER: It is not an emergency.

CALLER: You have to see how they are treating her.

DISPATCHER: OK, well that's not a criminal thing. You understand what I'm saying? We handle...

CALLER: Excuse me, if this woman al lout dies, what do you mean this ain't a criminal thing?

ROWLANDS: Less than a half-hour later Edith Rodriguez was dead. Her brother, Eddie Sanchez, says he's angry that his sister wasn't given the help that she need.

EDDIE SANCHEZ, BROTHER: You go there to get help and nothing happens. It's like you get ignored like if you're nobody.

ROWLANDS (on camera): According to the coroner, Edith Rodriguez died of a perforated bowel. There was a surveillances camera here at the hospital which recorded the last 45 minutes or so of her life. And according to witnesses, she spent it on the floor vomiting blood. More than a month after this took place, it is still unclear why nobody was there to help her.

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, L.A. COUNTY SUPERVISOR: The video is a lot more alarming than the audio.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): L.A. County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has seen the tape, which because of ongoing sheriff's investigation, hasn't been released.

YAROSLAVSKY: Not one person out of a couple of dozen, including citizens and staff and doctors and nurses didn't lift a finger to help her, just ignored her. Even the janitors who were cleaning up the vomit from around the woman who was on the floor did a very elegant job of cleaning up the vomit, but didn't do a thing to help her. It was just indescribable. ROWLANDS: The sheriff's department is investigating how dispatchers handled the two calls. According to a supervisor, they've never had a call for an ambulance from a hospital. They are concerned, however, that one of the dispatchers may have been rude.

The chief medical officer and a nurse are no longer employed as a direct result of what happened. Since September of last year the hospital has been undergoing a forced restructuring because of a long history of problems. While no one from the hospital would talk to us about this case, a letter sent yesterday to the county board said in part: "We have served thousands of patients well and a few very poorly." Hopefully none as poorly as they seem to have treated Edith Rodriguez.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


ZAHN: And now I want to turn to one of Edith Rodriguez's sisters, Carmen Rodriguez joins me tonight from Victorville, California.

Thanks for being with us. Why do you think hospital staff refused to help your sister?

CARMEN RODRIGUEZ, SISTER DIED IN ER: You know, we're still waiting for an answer from them and we sat there that day that she died and passed away. Nobody could answer us. Nobody had a question -- we wanted that surveillance, we wanted the records, we wanted to find out what happened and no, we just got the runaround. Well, we can't, we don't, we can't release this. We still want to know why. Why? Because she was a human being. She was one of my younger sisters. And you know, it's heartbreaking, I guess, for us and we just buried her yesterday -- to see -- hear the 911. This is the first time we've heard the 911.

The 911 operator, such -- you know, there's no words to describe, you know, how we feel right now. We're just devastated that -- the way she was treated and the way she was left there like an animal. You know? She's a person. You don't do that. Even animals are treated better. Why? We still want to know why and we still haven't got answers.

ZAHN: And I know the pain is so raw and so fresh, but has the hospital given your family any explanation why she was treated the way she was?

RODRIGUEZ: No, no, not to this day. We're still waiting. We had to get an attorney, my nephew's got an attorney to get some answers because we kept getting the runaround and now we're going to be doing probably the same thing, too. Because we still haven't got any answers from them. Not even from Yvonne Burke's office or Antonovich's and Villaraigosa's office. We haven't heard anything from them and we've called and left messages, but to this day we still have no answers.

ZAHN: Now, I understand one hospital official apologized to some members of your family. Is that true?

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, he apologized to my nephew and my brother, but it's too late. You know, when they could have done something, they should have. They should have helped her. All she wanted was help. She wasn't asking for anything else, just help. And instead she was left there like a nobody.

ZAHN: What a terrible...

RODRIGUEZ: But she is somebody. She was our sister. She was our sister, the baby of the girls from 12 of us. She's the third of the youngest. So, for us, it's -- we're going do something.

ZAHN: What a terrible, terrible story. We send our condolences to your whole family. Carmen Rodriguez, thank you for your time tonight.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you so much.

ZAHN: When we come back, we are going to turn our focus to Princess Diana. She died almost 10 years ago, so you'd think there'd probably be no secrets left to come out. Right? Well, check this out.


TINA BROWN, AUTHOR: When the picture came out of her on the boat with Dodi, instead of calling the journalists and saying -- I mean, why call the journalists at all, but anyway, instead of the photographer and saying: what the hell were you doing photographing me in my swimsuit on vacation? She said, you know, why was this photo so grainy?


ZAHN: Out in the open, next, Tina Brown and her revealing, even shocking new book about Princess Diana.

And guess who's getting special favors and generating a bunch of outrage again? Guess who. Well, she doesn't look like that tonight.


ZAHN: It's hard to believe we're just about two months away from the tenth anniversary of Princess Diana. And even now she is still making headlines. In London today, a new judge took over the official British inquest into her death. And in an interview this week, Prince Harry said he will never stop wondering about what happened in the Paris tunnel where his mother died.

And there's another book out about Princess Diana and we are brining that out in the open, now. This one makes some pretty surprising claims like saying Diana and Prince Charles had sex before marriage. She was supposed to have been a virgin. That would have been scandalous at that time.

And joining me now is Tina Brown, former editor of "Vanity Fair" and the "New Yorker" and author of "The Diana Chronicles."

Always good to see you.

BROWN: Good to see you, too, Paula.

ZAHN: There are thousand of books out there about Princess Diana. We know she was an incredibly complicated woman, full of contradictions. What can you reveal to us tonight that is brand new?

BROWN: There's so many things in the book. I talked to 200 people and I looked at her entire life in the round. And I was able to get aspects of her life from all over that was new material. For instance, I don't think people realize quite how bleak her childhood was, for a start. I got some wonderful new details, too, about the divorce. I mean, there's a great moment when Diana goes to see Prince Philip, I learned, before the divorce negotiations began, and Prince Philip says to her, "Unless you behave yourself, my girl, we'll take your HRH title from you." And Diana said to him, "Philip, my title is much older than yours," which I thought was a sort of delicious sort of comeback.

ZAHN: It is striking, the number of examples you've put in this book about how manipulative she was.


ZAHN: ... and how on one hand she was sweet and could be incredible empathetic with people with tremendous challenges, on the other hand she was very happy to pick up the telephone and tell the press where Princess Fergie was with her liver in the south of France.

BROWN: Well, that's what made Diana such an interesting heroine to write about, because there was genuinely authentic compassion and kindness and incredible connect she had with the sick, which was never fake. And yet she could also have this instinctive flair for the media that was incredible. You know, she knew every journalist's name, she knew where they lived, she knew what they wanted, she knew how to get to them, she knew how to play it. She was really phenomenal in that regard.

ZAHN: And she actually tipped the media off to the big kiss with Dodi Fayed on his yacht.

BROWN: Yeah, and she -- there was a wonderful -- I mean it amused me, tremendously, that when the picture came out of her on the boat with Dodi, instead of calling the journalists and saying -- I mean, why call the journalists at all, but anyway, instead of the photographer and saying: what the hell were you doing photographing me in my swimsuit on vacation? She said, you know, why was this photo so grainy?

ZAHN: The other interesting thing that you talk about in this book is the extent to which she exaggerated things. I want to put up on the screen a small excerpt from the part of the book where she is talking to biographer Andrew Morton, "I threw myself downstairs when I was four months pregnant with William, trying to get my husband's attention, for him to listen to me. But he just said, 'You're crying wolf.'"

Yet you say, "The last think she would ever have done was hurt her unborn child. One of Diana's aides at the time told me that she remembers Diana saying, 'Very embarrassing. I slipped down the stairs and landed at the Queen Mother's feet.'"

Why would she lie?

BROWN: I mean, you know, the fact is is that she did have a lot to complain about. There was a lot of suffering in her marriage, a lot of pain and a lot of hurt and rejection. But, you know, it wasn't always as she said it was. So, you know, it wasn't true that she tried to kill herself that day and in fact, poor Charles far saying, "you're crying wolf," and sort of stalking off, actually he canceled his riding that day and took her for a picnic on the beach at Norfolk, as I learned from another aide. So, it was like -- this was a total rewrite, you know?

ZAHN: She was also cunning, insolent, and incredibly manipulative.

BROWN: Yeah, but that's why she was fun.

ZAHN: She was fun.

BROWN: She really was. I mean, she was great fun to write about. She was a minx, you know? As well as everything else and she played it for all she was worth. But you have to remember that her only weapons were media, her only weapons against this powerful establish which was then aligned against her was media.

And her feeling was either I explode and take my story public or implode. Either I let the world know what I vile deal I've had, having supposedly to smile and pretend while my husband's in love with somebody else. Stuck in this castle with everybody dissing me and jealous of me and, you know, all the things they were doing to her.

They were trying to rub her out, is the fact. And she thought, I'm not going to lie down with it, I'm not going to do it. But she only had the weapon of the media to fight back. And I do admire her for that. I mean, whatever trouble she caused -- and she did cause trouble -- she shook the monarchy to its roots, but it also needed to be shaken.

ZAHN: With glee.

BROWN: With glee, but it needed to be shaken up. And they have changed because of her, tremendously.

ZAHN: Well, "The Diana Chronicles" is really a fun and fascinating read. Tina, good to see you.

BROWN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Congratulations.

BROWN: Thank you.

ZAHN: I appreciate you stopping by.

There was another side to Diana's story that is only now being told. CNN has uncovered new details about her childhood and how her early years shaped the rest of her life. It's the inside story you've never heard before, a CNN PRESENTS special, "Growing up Diana," which airs in August and Soledad O'Brien has been working very hard on this project, and she joins me now.


ZAHN: Nice to see you back here with us.

O'BRIEN: Yeah, we've had some great access to a lot of Diana's childhood friends and they've told us -- these are people who do not talk and have not talked very much about Princess Di. We had a chance to tour her home, peek into her bedroom. One of the things you discover is that Diana literally lived right in the shadow of royalty. I mean she rented, her family home was rented from the royal family.

She played with the princes. They came over and swam in the pool. Many thought, in fact, that she would marry, one day, Prince Andrew, same age, same interests, but of course, that was not to be.

We talked to one of her teachers at her boarding school, and she told us about this crush, kind of unusual crush that Diana had developed, that no one really necessarily believed would happen, but of course it would lead to Diana marrying the future king of England. Listen.


PENNY WALKER, DIANA'S MUSIC TEACHER: I do remember her coming into school after an (inaudible) weekend saying, "I've met him, I've met Prince Charles." And she was just bubbling over. She had his picture up on the wall.

O'BRIEN: As a teenager?


O'BRIEN: A teenage crush?

WALKER: Ooh, it went on for a long time for a crush.

O'BRIEN: Did other girls have pictures of Prince Charles tacked to their walls?

WALKER: No, they had pictures of other people.

O'BRIEN: Like rock stars? Pop stars.

WALKER: Well, whoever they were passionate about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: So, clearly she always dreamed about becoming a princess, and Lord know, read enough romance novels that she's have the material to get her there. But of course, the reality is once she got there, she was woefully unprepared. What did you learn about that whole process?

O'BRIEN: Well, it was interesting how some of her childhood friends actually pitched in to help her out. We talked to James Coulter (ph), he's a doctor, he knew Diana from the time they were late teenagers. And he said how she would send him these systems of speeches because he was able to figure out that the speeches would make -- would be in words of how she would connect to people. And so, for example, her very well-known speech about HIV/AIDS, he wrote that.

You know, when people talk about Diana being manipulative, he said it was exhausting to be Diana's friend in that way, and their friendship eventually fell apart.

ZAHN: Yeah, but what a nice friend to have in a time in her life when she was all but abandoned by the...


O'BRIEN: Nobody else was helping her.

ZAHN: It's pathetic that she didn't get any official help. Well, we look forward to seeing your whole project coming up at the end of the month. Soledad, thanks so much for dropping by tonight.

O'BRIEN: My pleasure, thank you.

ZAHN: You'll see "Growing up Diana" on August 18 and 19th at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

On to a different kind of celebrity, now. Guess which famous prisoner just got a visit from her parents? And whose parents, surprise-surprise, went straight to the front of the line. Yep, a new Paris Hilton outrage out in the open, next.


ZAHN: Well tonight, yes, this young thing is back in jail. Paris Hilton still getting special treatment, at least that's what a couple visitors to the L.A. Jail say. According to them, just yesterday, Hilton's parents breezed right past other jail visitors who were waiting for hours to see their loved ones. Here's the explanation from a sheriff spokesman. He says, high-profile prisoners normally have visiting time during lunchtime while the visiting room is otherwise empty. And he says, that's what happened to the Hiltons. Whatever.

More special treatment accusations are the last thing Hilton and the L.A. Jail need. Here to bring it all out in the open tonight is "Village Voice" columnist, Michael Musto, author of "La Dolce Musto."

How you doing tonight? MICHAEL MUSTO, VILLAGE VOICE: Hi Paula.

ZAHN: So, let's talk about how it is that Paris' family and her ex-boyfriend breeze by everybody else at a time when everybody is scrutinizing them? Why would they do that?

MUSTO: This is consistent with the way Paris has been treated from the beginning. Her sentence was cut in half because she showed up for her court appearance, albeit a little bit late. Then when she complained prison was a little claustrophobic, I don't really care for it -- they busted her out of there and gave her home imprisonment. Most people don't enjoy the small paces of prison. They're not jumping up and down, "oh I love it!"

ZAHN: Sure.

MUSTO: So, but she didn't like it so she's gets out. Now she's back with a whole new attitude, except her friends and family get to come in like it's a disco and they're on the VIP guest list.

ZAHN: Well, wouldn't you think they'd be smarter than they are right now? I mean, at a time...

MUSTO: Are you listening to yourself, Paula?

ZAHN: No, no, no, but I'm just thinking at a time when she's made this little (INAUDIBLE) I'm going to change my life and I'm not going to play the dumb person anymore, I'm 26-years-old, I'm going to grow up -- what about her parents, shouldn't they be playing along with this...

MUSTO: She didn't need it. This is a woman who apparently complained about having ADD, but she can't a-d-d. This is this is the person who, overnight, in jail, found god. You know, I have a feeling she'll abandon god the second she gets out and she'll be back to driving without a license.

ZAHN: Or she could write a best-selling book.

MUSTO: Oh, first she'll have to learn to read one.

ZAHN: I want you to look at some numbers along with our audience, now. Hilton was sent to a medical ward where it costs $1100 a day to house a female inmate, compared to $99 per day in the general population, so taxpayers are paying more than 11 times more for Paris to serve her sentence as anyone else's. Is this celebrity justice?

MUSTO: I know, but it's money well spent.

ZAHN: Yeah, oh, money well spent?

MUSTO: We will all chip in. We'll just take up a collection. Keep her in there. I think California would love to have its taxes go up.

ZAHN: Because you just want to write about it. MUSTO: This is finally taxation spent in a good way, because we're keeping her behind bars.

ZAHN: Seriously though, you are hearing from people who say this is absolutely obscene. Had this been anybody else, she wouldn't even be in jail. Albeit how ridiculous her behavior has been

MUSTO: That's true. There are so many different -- she's gotten both ends of the celebrity stick, here. I mean, she probably wouldn't even be in jail if she weren't Paris Hilton. But I think when we factor in how much money it costs to keep her in there, or keep her in the medical ward, that's unfair. We just have to give her the just sentence, which it's already too late to do that, and just stick to it.

ZAHN: I want to close with what her lawyer has been having to say, "The staff here is giving her excellent medical care. She's being treated the same as every," the same, "as everybody else in jail. She is receiving no preferential treatment."

But doesn't have a history of medical problems they have to pay attention to? You mentioned claustrophobia and you mentioned ADD...

MUSTO: Well, we're not allowed to even know what the medical problems are, they're that dire and that personal, but look, Paula, if you look around in prison, you don't see celebrities at all. You don't see Robert Blake, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, so it really is slanted in favor of celebrities. If one does get in there, like Paris Hilton, they're going to get red carpet and that's what she's getting in there. I want to go. It sounds like fun.

ZAHN: I'll write about you when you go. I wonder how much it will cost to house you. Michael Musto, thanks. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: That's it for all of us here. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Appreciate you're being with us. Hope to see you tomorrow night. Good night.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines