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Michael Vick Pleads Not Guilty to Dogfighting Charges; How Widespread Is Dogfighting in America?

Aired July 26, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
We're spending much of this hour on a story the whole country is talking about. I want to warn you, though, it is extremely disturbing, not just the subject itself, but the pictures as well, as you will see.

Tonight, the star quarterback and the pit bulls. Michael Vick pleads not guilty to allegations dogfighting. We're bringing this secret, grisly sport out in the open tonight. It is bigger than you might think and a heck of a lot more popular. Why is it spreading?

And is it really being glorified in hip-hop music and culture?

Right now, I want you to see an amazing piece of video. Just listen to this crowd. This is what confronted NFL star quarterback Michael Vick just a few hours ago, not in a football stadium, but at a federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, as he walked inside to plead not guilty to charges of arranging dogfights.

Michael Vick has always attracted attention, but never like this. He has been a star player since college. A rarity among quarterbacks, he is as much of a threat running as passing. In 2001, the Atlanta Falcons made him a number one draft pick in the National Football League. His contract is worth $130 million, with product endorsements bringing in millions more.

Vick's No. 7 jersey is among NFL's top sellers year after year. But now it all may come crashing down.

Brian Todd was in Richmond today, watching the scene outside the courthouse.

We heard a little bit of what was it like. You watched it all. Describe what you saw.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, this atmosphere had been building since early this morning. You had a line of people behind me just lining this building trying to get in for the court proceedings.

That was nothing compared to the crowd that we saw out here. Protesters started gathering early this morning. Michael Vick did have his share of supporters among them, but they were clearly a minority. We saw protesters, mostly animal rights activists, brandishing some very colorful signs, one of them saying neuter Vick, one of them reading con-Vick, two children holding up signs reading, say it ain't so, Mike.

We saw other protesters with dog and other animal outfits on. And this was all the scene here before Michael Vick got here in the hours before he arrived. When he did arrive, that's what this crowd really ratcheted up their anger.


TODD (voice-over): Animal rights protesters target their rage at an NFL star as he enters a federal courthouse. Inside, Michael Vick pleads not guilty to felony charges of dogfighting and conspiracy.

His three co-defendants do the same. Vick is stoic, shows respect to Judge Henry Hudson. Dressed in a dark suit, he says only yes, sir, when asked if he understands the charges.

Later, speaking through his attorney, Vick said he knows what he is up against.

BILLY MARTIN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL VICK: "I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name. I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown."

TODD: Vick's lawyer said, with his plea, the quarterback has taken the first step toward proving his innocence.

But a veteran criminal defense attorney says there's still a possibility a trial could be avoided.

STEVEN BENJAMIN, ATTORNEY: He still held open or he did not preclude the possibility that this plea could change, that Michael Vick could accept responsibility.

TODD: Still, Steven Benjamin says most signs point to this case going to trial set to begin November 26.

The prosecutor also said he may file additional charges against Vick and his co-defendants by the end of August. Vick's Atlanta Falcons teammates, starting training camp without him, are preparing to play with a different quarterback if necessary.

WARRICK DUNN, ATLANTA FALCONS: He has to go through his situation, due process right now and in the courts. And, hopefully, he's back, but if not, we have to go on.


TODD: Michael Vick has been told by his team and the NFL to stay away from training camp for now. Another restriction imposed by the court, Vick and his co-defendants cannot leave their home districts without the court's permission -- Paula.

ZAHN: And then I understand that there might be even more charges coming. What can you tell us about that? TODD: The prosecutor said he intends to file what is called a superseding indictment. And most legal experts and others that we talked to here say that that means that other charges are possible.

What does that mean in a broader perspective here? It could mean that this is a way to get either Vick or his co-defendants, put more pressure on them to maybe turn on other defendants.

ZAHN: Well, keep on watching it closely for us. Brian Todd, thanks so much for the update.

So, what exactly is ahead now legally?

Professor Boyce Watkins teaches at Syracuse University. He is an outspoken critic on the subject of blacks in pro sports. And with me here, defense attorney Jeffrey Steinberg.

Welcome to the two of you.

Jeffrey, there has been some extremely harsh criticism of Mr. Vick in the last couple of days. I want to put up on the screen a little bit of what has been said: "Put this monster in the cage where he belongs, not on a football field."

The executive director of People Protecting Animals and Their Habitats says: "Humans, even star athletes, who exploit and hurt the vulnerable, whether people or animals, are cowards."

So, whatever happened to the whole idea of innocent, until proven guilty?

JEFFREY STEINBERG, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Paula, in this country, athletes can beat their wives, but they can't beat their dogs. Vick has got an uphill battle here. He has got an uphill battle to fight. He's got, one, the NFL has already made judgment on him. He has got a suspension that all the public knows about.


ZAHN: Well, they are not calling it officially a suspension. They are just saying he can't join the team when they work out.

STEINBERG: Well, what does that mean? What does mean, if we didn't call it a suspension? Why did they suspend him? He must have done something wrong. People don't make all these little finite decisions. They figure it out and they say, my gut feeling is, why would the NFL suspend him if he didn't do anything wrong?

ZAHN: Well, isn't that what usually happens when there's an indictment that comes down? They're buying themselves time.

STEINBERG: Not necessarily.


ZAHN: So, you think he's being unfairly treated? STEINBERG: I think he's, first of all, being unfairly treated, because he has a right to trial and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Absolutely.

But he has got an uphill battle, for two reasons. He has got -- one, he's got dogs involved. And this country loves dogs. And, two, he is in a physical sport. And the general public implicates that into general violence.

And, so, they see him smashing around every Sunday beating people up. And they think, well, this is a violent guy. Maybe he could be violent with dogs. And the transition just goes right over into he's part of dogfighting. This is a natural consequence, which it isn't.

ZAHN: Well, Boyce, I think anybody would have to acknowledge that this player is under intense scrutiny particularly because of his celebrity. And, today, the American Dog Owners Association said this: "With fight purses as high as $100,000, dogfighting is a multimillion- dollar business that must not be ignored. The NFL runs the most popular sport in the United States and therefore has a responsibility to making an example out of Michael Vick."


ZAHN: What's your reaction to that?

WATKINS: Well, I will tell you what. You know what? Dogfighting is a terrible crime. And I know that there are people that want to hunt him down like George Bush at an al Qaeda camp.

But the fact is that his name is Michael Vick, not Michael Convict. And, for some reason, Paula, I woke up in a country that we call America in which there is a judicial system that is allowed to run its course and is not allowed to be terrorized by people with their own agenda.

The fact is that we have to let the facts be laid out. And the heinousness of an alleged crime does not provide unconditional justification for your method of attempting to prosecute that crime.

So, bottom line, PETA, whoever you are, slow your damn roll a little bit, because we don't know if this guy is guilty or not.

ZAHN: We may not know the answer to that question, but look at what is at stake for this man. We talked about his $100 million plus contract.


ZAHN: And we know the endorsements could add to tens and tens of millions of dollars. And we have already some of that stuff pulled.


ZAHN: Nike dropped all their ties.


STEINBERG: He has got a $130 million, 10-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He's got all the -- over a $50 million contract with Nike for endorsements. He's got his -- the rest of his life is at stake. He's six years in prison, facing six years in jail, and a $300,000 fine from the court system, plus probation, parole, plus the reputation, plus the loss of his whole family reputation. It's a horrendous thing.

ZAHN: Before we go any further, I need to correct something. Nike has not called for -- has not dropped his contract. PETA is calling on Nike to pull their...


WATKINS: Good for them.

ZAHN: Good for them?


WATKINS: You think that's appropriate for PETA to make that kind of push before they know whether he's guilty of this or not?


WATKINS: Well, no, it's not appropriate.


STEINBERG: Not before he's guilty. He has got to be proven guilty. And why would Nike pull the endorsements? Nike pulls the endorsements for the time being. Michael Vick has to...


ZAHN: It hasn't happened yet.

STEINBERG: It hasn't happened yet.

ZAHN: PETA is calling for it.

STEINBERG: That's right. He's calling for it.


STEINBERG: It hasn't happened yet.

WATKINS: Allow the system to run its course.

STEINBERG: And Michael Vick has to just play this out and stay innocent and not do anything that's stupid and silly and not buy into the media press and not do any interviews and not do anything that in any way causes him to go sideways.

(CROSSTALK) ZAHN: Boyce, you get the last word.

STEINBERG: Yes, Michael Vick also needs a moment of clarity. He needs to understand that, if he is associated with individuals who are engaged in this kind of activity, or he's involved himself, he needs to realize that, if he makes that kind of mistake, he could end up becoming the Mike Tyson of professional football.

The fact is that every great leap you have done, every run you have made, every two-a-day practice you have put in could all be thrown away, and your mother could end up crying at the end of the day.

So, I don't know if he did this or not. I want to make that clear. And dogfighting is horrible. I want to make that clear also. But the fact is that PETA needs to back off and let the justice system do its job.

STEINBERG: They all need to back off because he's innocent until presumed guilty. This is a celebrity brouhaha. This is a celebrity media trial. And we keep doing that to all these people. And we don't know if he's guilty yet. He's still is innocent. And he's going to be presumed innocent until he gets into a court of law. And all these people who are speaking out have to be sworn in, under penalty of perjury.

ZAHN: Well, we did not indict him tonight.


STEINBERG: Well, thank you very much.


STEINBERG: That feels good to my defense heart.

ZAHN: Oh, good.


ZAHN: Boyce Watkins, Jeffrey Steinberg, thank you.

Now I want to warn you, our next report has some very disturbing images of what we are talking about, dogfighting. The Michael Vick story has brought the illegal sport out in the open, a sport illegal in 50 states.

But it's been there in communities all over the country for decades.

Our investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, takes us inside that dark, violent world now through the eyes of an officer who has been investigating dogfighting for five years.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you are watching is a family vacation like none you have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was filmed approximately an hour or so prior to the fight, in a hotel room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand up, Mark. Let me get you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person filming it is the dog fighter's wife.

GRIFFIN: The so-called fighter this undercover investigator is talking about is actually a dog owner. He's getting himself and his family prepared for the big event that brought them from Richmond, Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio.

The big event is secret, a championship dog fight. The stakes high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each fighter put up $5,000, winner take all.

GRIFFIN: They also know the loser may be left with a dog that may never recover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very common for a championship fight to be videotaped. It's a marketing tool.

GRIFFIN: In all, 40 people have come to watch, which, in Ohio, is a felony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really run the spectrum. There's actual business people who will frequent these, street people, and everyone in between. One of the fighters brought his grandkids.

GRIFFIN: All will be arrested when the raid begins, but, right now, oblivious to the police gathering outside, the ring is the only attraction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your dog wins three sanctioned fights, which means the results are going to be published in one of the many underground magazines, he's declared a champion. If he wins five sanctioned fights, he's a grand champion. At that point in time, your breeding fees can go up significantly.

GRIFFIN: This undercover detective who does not want his face shown has been on 40 raids in the last five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is largely underground, clandestine activity. People may hear about a dogfight, but they don't think, well, it happens in my community. Well, most people think of Columbus, Ohio, as being in the heartland. And this is a very prevalent activity.


ZAHN: So, the question is tonight, just how widespread is dogfighting in America today? Here is just one example. listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. GENE MUELLER, ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY: The earliest surveys that we did showed about one in five grammar school children in Chicago were actively participating in dogfighting.

GRIFFIN: Meaning they were there, saw it?

MUELLER: They were getting the dogs, bringing the dogs, and involved in the fights.


ZAHN: One in five? Drew Griffin's special investigation continues in just a minute.

And why is it that dogfighting is getting more popular? Does hip-hop really glorify dogfighting? We will also take a closer look at that allegation.

And a little bit later on, a CNN exclusive. We go one-on-one with a man who says he's treated worse than a prisoner simply because he has TB.


ZAHN: We're going inside the world of elicit dogfighting tonight.

And I want to warn you that some of the video you are about to see is horrifying.

Today, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded not guilty to federal dogfighting charges. His case has brought the underground world of dogfighting out in the open.

And, tonight, our investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, is showing us just how shockingly widespread and popular the sport is, even among children.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): The headlines didn't sign Humane Society U.S. president Wayne Pacelle.

WAYNE PACELLE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: We are seeing a huge growth in dogfighting in urban settings, tied in with kind of the gangster rap subculture with rap music and more and more, unfortunately, with professional athletics.

GRIFFIN: And, according to law enforcement, it's no longer relegated to backwoods locations in Southern states. The so-called sport of raising, training, and pitting vicious dogs against one another in near-death gambling duels is now not only more and more urban; it's hip. (on camera): Even in places you would least expect it, like this quiet neighborhood in Chicago's South Side. Three years ago, police came to this house to serve a warrant. What they found a was a dogfighting ring.

COMMANDER GEOFF SHANK, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: And we encountered what we later found out was 13 caged pit bulls. And one of the interview, people we were interviewing claimed to be called trainer. We put two and two together and realized he was a -- quote, unquote -- "dog trainer."

We called the local Chicago Police Department. They were fully aware of who this guy was, told us they would been looking for him for a couple of years. It was definitely much less than a hobby. This was this guy's lifeblood.

GRIFFIN: Commander Jeff Shank with the U.S. Marshals Service in Chicago says it's not uncommon to find fighting dogs in raids he conducts. Felons, gang-bangers, drug pushers, all have been linked to dogfighting, and more and more linked to inner city neighborhoods, many fights happening in broad daylight.

In Chicago's public schools, the problem is so extensive, school programs are being developed to try to tell children dogfighting is not OK.

DR. GENE MUELLER, ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY: The earliest surveys that we did showed about one in five grammar school children in Chicago were actively participating in dogfighting.

GRIFFIN: Meaning they were there, saw it?

MUELLER: They were getting the dogs, bringing the dogs, and involved in the fights.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Gene Mueller, the head of Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society, says inner city dog fights have become entertainment, and the dog owners have become, in many cases, role models. That, he says, is the most dangerous part of this trend.

MUELLER: Who are fighting the dogs? Well, kids are certainly involved. Felons, gang members. So we have these felons there who are fighting these dogs, for entertainment, or for gambling. That means there's money there, which means somebody has to protect the money. So there's weapons there. And hey, it's an entertainment event, so we better have some drugs there.

GRIFFIN: Left out in all of this are the dogs themselves. This pit bull, dropped off for adoption, may have a chance. It has not been used for fighting.

But authorities have little choice when it comes to dogs trained and raised for sport. Usually vicious, they must be put to death. They are the final victims, whose owners have bred them to fight and sometimes die in a growing ring of violence.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Chicago.


ZAHN: Joining me now, John Goodwin, the Humane Society's manager for animal fighting issues, and the veteran undercover officer you just saw in Drew Griffin's report, Sergeant David Hunt of the Franklin County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department. He's joining me in shadow because he is still working undercover.

Sergeant Hunt, you have broken up dozen of these fights. What's the most disturbing thing you have witnessed?

SGT. DAVID HUNT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT.: Well, obviously, the condition of the dogs after a fight. There's serious wounds typically inflicted, typically requiring urgent medical care. And that breaks your heart in and of itself, but also the fact that a lot of parents are starting to bring their children to these events, and even grandparents.

A search warrant that we did a couple of years ago, one parent brought his kids. Another one brought four grandchildren. So, the fact that we are teaching this type of activity to a whole new generation is really alarming.

ZAHN: John, talk about the sadism of this and the thrill. What is it that a parent would want a child to be exposed to in all of this?

JOHN GOODWIN, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S.: Well, certainly, it desensitizes children. It sends them the wrong message.

But there does seem to be a small segment of our society that enjoys watching animals just tear each other to pieces. And the injuries these dogs inflict on each other are terrible. I found one female pit bull in a dogfighting raid that Sergeant Hunt helped orchestrate in Ohio this year who had had the front half of her lower jaw completely broken off. I can only imagine how much pain that little dog was in.

ZAHN: And tell us about the other forms of abuse of these dogs after the fight.

GOODWIN: We saw allegations about this sort of thing in the indictment against Michael Vick and his co-defendants. Dogfighters will commonly kill dogs that lose by shooting them, by electrocuting them.

There are allegations in this indictment about these dogs being drowned or hung, because a dog that has lost has no value to a dogfighter. He's not going to match a dog that he considers a loser for money ever again.

ZAHN: Sergeant Hunt, how widespread is this? We know that it happens casually in the streets. We also know it happens on a more professional level. HUNT: Certainly very widespread across the country. And you have the different levels such as that you mentioned. But I think we're starting to see more and more of this activity come to light with increased enforcement, largely due of the efforts of HSUS in educating law enforcement across the country.

So, I think we are making a dent in it, but certainly there's a lot more to be done.

ZAHN: So, Sergeant, you have described the horrific wounds these dogs suffer, if they don't die altogether, and the disgust of your own when you have seen children exposed to this.

Describe to me what you have seen in the eyes of these professional dogfighters, the guys that are making all the money off of this.

HUNT: Well, it's really kind of an ironic situation. On one hand, they profess to love these dogs. You can take them to jail, you can threaten to seize their assets, their homes, take their children away from them. None of that matters. But, when you take their dogs, they become very irate.

But, then, as John mentioned earlier, once a dog loses, they have no qualms in killing it. So, it's a very bizarre situation with these fighters.

ZAHN: John, what do you think would really ever put a stop to this? This is something that is illegal in 50 states.

GOODWIN: Well, they say that sunshine is the best disinfectant. And I hope that if that's the case, that this spotlight that is on this issue now can at least help communities realize this is a problem and act to stop it, and maybe we can get some serious reduction in how much dogfighting is taking place in our country.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, we wish you luck in your ongoing efforts.

John Goodwin, Sergeant Hunt, thank you for your time tonight.

HUNT: Thank you.

ZAHN: It's time right now to take an even closer look at a serious allegation we just heard in Drew Griffin's reports. Do some forms of rap glorify dogfighting? Or are hip-hop's critics going too far?

A little bit later on, a CNN exclusive with a man who has a very dangerous form of tuberculosis and was locked up for nearly a year. He will describe what that was like to us coming up.


ZAHN: Our focus for much of the program tonight is dogfighting.

Just hours ago, NFL star Michael Vick pleaded not guilty in federal court to dogfighting charges. It is a cruel, brutal and illegal sport.

And, as we have seen tonight, it's the favorite pastime in some of America's poorest urban neighborhoods. It also is part of hip-hop culture. Just take a look at these music videos by rappers DMX and Jay-Z. A number of voices are saying that these and several other hip-hop artists actually glorify this cruel sport.

As "Kansas City Star" columnist Jason Whitlock puts it, the Vick story speaks to the grip the negative aspects of hip-hop culture have on young people.

Jason Whitlock joins me now, along with CNN contributor Roland Martin.

In your newspaper column, Jason, you wrote -- quote -- "I believe Vick got involved with breeding vicious pit bulls because rap-music culture made it the cool thing to do."

Where's your evidence that rap culture made this the in thing to do?

JASON WHITLOCK, COLUMNIST, "THE KANSAS CITY STAR": My evidence is basically the life I have been living and living my life with my eyes wide open and being a witness to this.

I have seen this dogfighting thing and I have seen hip-hop's influence on young people grow and grow and grow. I think anyone that deals with young people knows the influence of pop culture, knows that it's having a heavy influence on our young people. I think our evidence is just opening our eyes and looking at our kids.

ZAHN: Jason isn't the only one blaming hip-hop culture for glorifying this kind of violence. You have got the Humane Society also coming out and saying the same thing, making a connection between dogfighting and rap.


ZAHN: You don't see any link at all, Roland?

MARTIN: Look, if you have one or two or even five rap artists who use dogfighting or dogs in their videos, I'm not going to sit here and blame an entire culture somehow as the reason for it.

Here's what amazing. I grew up in...


ZAHN: But couldn't have that have a strong influence on these young kids?


Yes. But, first of all...

ZAHN: We just saw in that report that one in five kids in this Chicago area were in some way -- quote -- according to Drew Griffin's report --

MARTIN: First of all, since I'm out of Chicago, that's 80,000 students out of 435,000, so I want know actually what the evidence is.

ZAHN: Have you ever seen any dogfights in Chicago.

MARTIN: No I haven't. No. But I will say this here, I grew up in (INAUDIBLE) neighborhood in Houston. When I was a kid, before hip- hop was even created, it's only 30 years old, I saw a guy on a street corner dogfighting. I saw them in the parks dogfighting. The city didn't all of a sudden say, well it's hip-hop. It's called a -- it's street, it's rural. Let's look at the history, here. We have a history of cockfighting and history of dogfighting. Dogfighting also, Paula, has been worldwide. It goes back to the colonial area. I'm not going to all of a sudden say, oh, it's hip-hop.

ZAHN: All right. But you can't completely walk away from it this. Let's let the audience listen in to some lyrics from DMX's song "Dog Match."


DMX, DOG MATCH: "All my pups is crazy, 'cause off the leash they can each stand a match for three hours at least..."


ZAHN: You're not going to tell me that doesn't have any impact.

MARTIN: No. Right, but I'm saying is that is one artist. I'm not going to blame all of hip-hop. If there is one country artist who had a song about dogfighting, I'm not going to say -- you know what? Country music sure is glorifying hip-hop. No, that's my whole point. You can't just indict everyone and say, right, it's the whole culture. No. You can't.

ZAHN: All right, but Jason, we know that there's an expert -- yeah, go ahead.

WHITLOCK: No, what I want to say is, hey listen, is hip-hop 100 percent responsible? Absolutely not. But we don't have to sit here and kid ourselves act like Hollywood, the cigarette industry didn't use Hollywood to promote cigarette use, that hip-hop culture has been promoting a lot of negative activity that we've seen become more and more popular...

MARTIN: Hey Jason. Jason, I understand.

WHITLOCK: Hip-hop has grown. We don't have to say it's 100 percent responsible, but it is playing a role.

MARTIN: OK, Jason...

WHITLOCK: ...lie to America...

MARTIN: Then the question is this... (CROSSTALK)

WHITLOCK: Hip-hop promotes black self-destruction. Open your eyes and you can see the self-destruction...

MARTIN: Jason...

ZAHN: Hang on.

WHITLOCK: Don't kid yourself, don't kid America.

MARTIN: Jason, I'm not going to kid America. I've talked about it.

ZAHN: Do you acknowledge that hip-hop leads to what he says, the destruction?

MARTIN: No, I'm going to acknowledge there are certain artists who are within hip-hop who are negative, who are vial, and who are offensive.

ZAHN: And that is destructive.

MARTIN: Right, but when you indict the entire culture -- that's what I'm saying. We have to be very careful, as journalists...

WHITLOCK: No one's indicting the entire culture.

MARTIN: Jason.

WHITLOCK: No one's indicting the entire culture.

MARTIN: Jason. I've read more stuff and I've seen...

WHITLOCK: ...deny that the culture is having an impact.

MARTIN: Jason.

WHITLOCK: Listen, I've been involved in hip-hop since day one.

MARTIN: Jason. Jason.

ZAHN: Hang on. Hang on.

WHITLOCK: I've been impassioned about it. I've produced rap songs. So, don't sit here and say I'm anti-hip-hop.

MARTIN: Jason.

WHITLOCK: I'm not.

MARTIN: Jason.

WHITLOCK: But it is too filled with negativity. It is promoting black self-destruction. You can kid yourself, lie to yourself, do whatever you want and pretend like it's not going on, but the rest of us are living it and so are you...

ZAHN: All right, Roland, you got to wrap it up, here.

MARTIN: I'm not pretending. I'm not pretending. I'm simply saying...

ZAHN: You do believe that some is music leads to self- destruction?

WHITLOCK: He's lying and you don't have to listen to him.

MARTIN: First of all, Jason, I be on (INAUDIBLE) game a long time, even before you. Some music, some artists, but I will not indict all of hip-hop, like I will not indict...

WHITLOCK: I am not indicting all of hip-hop.

No, no, Jason plays loose with this and he wants to make it a broad issue when he needs to be more specific.

ZAHN: Well, he just said he produces rap songs and he does...

WHITLOCK: Open your eyes. Open your eyes.

MARTIN: My eyes are open, and I can also read what you wrote. And you need to be more specific with your facts. And you have an obligation as a journalist to do so. If you want to say this artist, this artist, and this artist, then do so.


WHITLOCK: I have an obligation to tell Black folks we need to quit kidding ourselves and...

MARTIN: Do not indict all artists.

WHITLOCK: ...we need to quit ingesting this garbage nonstop.

MARTIN: Don't indict all artists. Point them out, but don't indict the entire industry.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, I got to leave it there. Jason Whitlock, Roland Martin. Thank you. My eyes are wide open now. Wow!

We're going to switch gears now and bring you an exclusive update on a man who has an extremely dangerous form of TB and was locked up in a hospital jail ward for almost a year. Important development in the story to talk about, tonight.

And then a little bit later on, Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington, Michael Richards: Have Hollywood celebrities followed up on their promises to make amends for their misdeeds?


ZAHN: Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs a year, that's according to the National Hot dog and Sausage Council; I'm not quite sure how they stay on top of those numbers, but the number is good news for one former teacher who's cashing in on his hot dog business. Ali Velshi has story in tonight's "Life after Work."


ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mark Reitman holds court over this hot dog cart in Racine, Wisconsin. Instructing students is nothing new for Reitman, who was a teacher and counselor in Illinois and Wisconsin for 35 years before retiring in 2005.

And running a successful hot dog cart is old hat, too. He's had his own since 2003. So, last year Reitman decided he should share his eatery expertise with others and he opened Hot Dog University, a $300, two-day course where would-be venders learn the art of the cart.

MARK REITMAN, FOUNDER, HOT DOG UNIVERSITY: I've always romanticized with the idea of owning my own business, particularly the hot dog business. I grew up in the area where the hot dogs came from, which was the west side of Chicago. It was just like the next step of my life to be able to combine education and training and sales and my love of food, all into one thing.

VELSHI: On day one at Hot Dog U, Reitman gives lessons in marketing, licensing, and all the details of what makes the lucrative hot dog cart, like keeping the prefect pickle in stock. And using fresh poppy seed buns.

REITMAN: That's the trick to this business.

VELSHI: And Reitman takes his students behind the cart on day two for some on-the-job training.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my first hot dog.

VELSHI: So far, Reitman's business school for hot dog enthusiasts has produced 24 graduates.

REITMAN: I'm like an expectant father every time one of my students goes out and opens up a cart after they've taken the training. It's just very, very gratifying.


VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.


ZAHN: All right, I'm hungry. We're going to change our focus now. We're about to meet a man who was locked up for nearly a year, not because he committed any crime, but because he was very sick with a very dangerous, contagious disease. Why does he say he has gone from hell to heaven? And could he go back to jail? Stay with us for an exclusive one-on-one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Tonight, the most famous TB patient is finally out of the hospital. Andrew Speaker drew condemnation from all over the world back in May when he flew to Europe to get married knowing he had drug- resistant TB and could have infected passengers. Once he was tracked down, health officials sent him for treatment in Denver.

Well, today he was discharged. A hospital said he did not fly commercially back home to Georgia. He was flown in an air ambulance instead.

Now, there's another TB patient who is being treated in the same Denver hospital. This man's story is also remarkable. He has been a virtual prisoner for nearly a year. Thelma Gutierrez has been following his story and tonight she has this exclusive interview with him.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When we first met Robert Daniels he was locked in the jail of a Phoenix hospital for nearly a year. These (INAUDIBLE) steel doors under constant surveillance. The only windows were frosted. He had no fresh air, not even a mirror.

ROBERT DANIELS, TB PATIENT: I'm really being mentally killed, here.

GUTIERREZ: All this, not because he committed a crime, but because he has a highly drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. Daniels went out in public repeatedly without a mask, so a court ordered him into forced isolation. Officials said the only place that was appropriate was this jail ward of a county hospital.

DANIELS: Conditions are worse than a regular inmate.

GUTIERREZ: The American is Civil Liberties Union sued Maricopa County officials to seeking better conditions and treatment for Daniels. But before the case even went to court, the county transferred him to National Jewish Hospital in Denver for treatment.

DANIELS: This is the best thing that ever, I think, happened to me.

GUTIERREZ: For the first time in almost a year, Robert Daniels can see the world and feel the sun on his skin.

DANIELS: This is like raised from hell to heaven.

GUTIERREZ: We asked a hospital employee to shoot this exclusive look of Daniels new living quarters, because Daniels is contagious, in isolation, and visitors are not allowed. Even so, he says, here he feels like a patient, not a prisoner.

DANIELS: It's a mirror, I can see myself. It's a ceramic bathroom, it's not metal bathroom. And you can see, I have a shower, and a whole shower all to myself. GUTIERREZ (on camera): For almost a year Robert Daniels wasn't even allowed to go outside. But, here he at National Jewish Hospital in Denver, he has a balcony and because he's still contagious, we have to interview him from the balcony, just about 25 feet away.

Hey Robert, how are you doing?


GUTIERREZ (voice-over): A strange way to interview him, but the only way county health officials here would allow us to in person. Daniels is still in custody of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Department. Even outside, he must wear a mask and a guard is posted outside his door.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): The last time we saw you, in order to talk to you we had to talk to you in a jail ward.

DANIELS: It made a big, big scar for the rest of my life, being there. I am afraid as hell of going back to Phoenix.

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): On top of his legal problem, Daniels faces surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The surgery that is planned for him is to surgically remove the entire left lung.

GUTIERREZ: Daniels says here he's found support and encouragement, not only from the staff, but arguably the most famous TB patient right next door.

DANIELS: I received a couple presents from our friend Andrew Speaker, he's my neighbor.

GUTIERREZ: Andrew Speaker, who sparked national hysteria after traveling internationally when he has been diagnosed with TB says he can't fathom being locked up on top of being sick.

ANDREW SPEAKER, TB PATIENT: I told him, you know, I've been through a splinter of what he's gone through and you can't go in an operation when you think somebody's going to take out your lung and be so scared about tomorrow and being sent back into confinement.

GUTIERREZ: But that's the fate that could await Daniels if he's returned to Arizona after his surgery.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA CO SHERIFF'S DEPT: I am investigating him. He may be back here in my jail, charged this time.

GUTIERREZ: It's that fear that gnaws at Robert Daniels.

DANIELS: I'm sick. I'm not a murderer.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Denver, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: I want to change our focus once again. I want you to see a place where teenagers grow up without hope and thousands of them belong to gangs. But one former gang member has become a beacon of hope and "CNN Hero." A story we'd love for you to see.

And a little later, big name stars have found themselves on the wrong side of the law and promised to make amends. Have they rembered their promises?

We'll be back.


ZAHN: Police departments across this country are struggling to contain the growth of violent gangs, especially gangs from Central America. Well, you're about to meet a former gang member who's trying to do the same thing, but in El Salvador. Luis Ernesto Romero is reaching out to young people and helping them resist the temptations of gang life. He's tonight's "CNN Hero."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, look into the camera.

LUIS ERNESTO ROMERO, HOMIES UNIDOS EL SALVADOR DIRECTOR: I thought I going to die at the age of 20 because somebody's going to shoot me. I was living as a gang member. And El Salvador kids get into the gangs because they don't have no other opportunities.


It is estimated that there are more that 12,000 gang members in El Salvador.

Source: National Civilian Police.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When you're on the street, every moment you live, you live as if it were your last, because you never know how that day will end.

ROMERO: Something powerful come up when my daughter born. So, I start like checking, hey, what am I doing? What I going to offer to my daughter? But then I find Homies Unidos in 1997, so I started like educating myself and now, you know, I have others.


Luis Ernesto Romero "Community Crusader."


ROMERO: We teach them how to empower themselves, not smoking weed, no doing violence, not doing what they do. In El Salvador, the kids are much discriminated. They have tattoos, they be bald-headed, but when he start looking for a job, they don't give opportunity for him. We teach them how to do things in other ways.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE): Here you can see some of the bread they made, here.

They never thought they would have a bakery of their own. Now they have a bakery and they doing their own business.


More than 5,000 Salvadoran gang members have received drug rehabilitation, health services, job training, and education through Homies Unidos.

The program has helped almost 1,250 youths leave the gang life.

Source: Homies Unidos, El Salvador.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think different. I mean, we don't think going and doing violence, doing killings, we do other things. Homies' saving a lot of lives.

ROMERO: We come from gangs and now we are part of the solution. So, it doesn't matter how much I got to spend, how much time I got to be on it, I need to do it for my kids and for the other kids of San Salvador.


Do you know a hero?



ZAHN: We need more programs like that. If you'd like to learn more about Mr. Romero's work or nominate a hero, yourself, just go to our Website,

Can you believe this? It has been nearly a year since Mel Gibson promised to make amends for his anti-Semitic tirade after he was arrested for drunk driving. So, did he really follow through on his promise?


RABBI MARVIN HEIR, SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER: ...anyone ever heard from him, are there any Jewish groups? I'm not aware of any groups or survivors that he as contacted.


ZAHN: What about other stars who promised to making after they messed up? Stay with is, we'll check it out.


ZAHN: It seems like every time a celebrity gets in trouble for insulting some group, the image rehab strategy includes a promise to shape up, to apologize, and to meet with the offended people. But, how often do they follow through? Saturday is the anniversary of Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and his hate-filled tantrum aimed at Jews. So we asked entertainment correspondent, Sibila Vargas to find out what happened to his promise and so many others made by so many other celebrities.


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just after Mel Gibson's infamous anti-Semitic rant, he promised to meet with Jewish leaders. Gibson publicist says he's kept that promise, but wouldn't indicate who. Rabbi Marvin Heir of the Simon Wiesenthal Center says he's no evidence of any such meetings.

RABBI MARVIN HEIR, SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER: If you ask me if there have been any indications, has anyone ever heard from him, are there any Jewish groups? I'm not aware of any groups or survivors that he as contacted.

VARGAS: A few months after Gibson's incident, Michael Richards had his own moment (INAUDIBLE), shouting racist insults at patrons of an L.A. comedy club.

MICHAEL RICHARDS, COMEDIAN: Personal work. Deep personal work.

VARGAS: Richards promised to get anger management training, which he did. He also promised to meet with the men he insulted, but when their representative insisted on making the meeting a public one, Richards declined.

REV AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I think that people are more and more skeptical as more and more celebrities don't show real follow-up and real catrican (ph).

VARGAS: Radio host, Don Imus, kept his promise to meet with the Rutgers University basketball team after describing them in derogatory terms on the air. He lost his job. Reverend Al Sharpton, who campaigned for Imus to be fired, now says he would not be oppose his coming back.

SHARPTON: If he returns at some point, we would have to monitor to see what that means and what he will do.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: I think it's ultimately about doing the right thing.

VARGAS: Publicist Howard Bragman, tries to get fallen stars back on track. His client, Isaiah Washington lost his role on TV's "Grey's Anatomy" after using an anti-gay slur, even though he kept his public promises. BRAGMAN: He made apologies, he talked to his cast, he met with some of the gay and lesbian groups, and we taped a PSA.

ISAIAH WASHINGTON, ACTOR: When you use words to demean a person because of his sexual orientation or race or gender, you send a message of hate.

BRAGMAN: People have to truly be repentant and have to acknowledge their mistake, and then I think we'll give them a chance. But, it goes to talent, too. That's when I worry about Paris Hilton.

PARIS HILTON, HEIRESS: I want to help set up a place where these women can get themselves back on their feet.

VARGAS: Just days after promising to open a halfway house for former prison inmates, Paris was off to Hawaii.

BRAGMAN: I don't think anybody expected Paris wasn't going to go to a club, wasn't going to have fun, and wasn't going to party anymore. And Paris said: That's not me anymore, I'm not going to do that anymore. And she did.

VARGAS (on camera): Well, that's what get people wondering. You know? When you see someone like Paris, you're like, is that lip service? Is that a P.R. stunt?

BRAGMAN: I think a lot of the job is the media's job to call these people out on it.

VARGAS (voice-over): Well, we've been checking and in the last few days, Paris has attended at least one charity event. Maybe they'll follow through. Maybe she won't. Celebrities who promise to mend their ways, have a mixed report card.

Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.


ZAHN: Always getting graded, aren't' they? We're just minutes away from the top of the hour. Tonight on LARRY KING LIVE, more on dogfighting and the allegations against NFL quarterback, Michael Vick.


ZAHN: That wraps it up for all of us, tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Tomorrow night CNN contributor Roland Martin will be here with a take on politics that I think you'll enjoy. He will confront some of the issues that no one seems to be talking about, but that everyday voters care about. He's calling it "Roland Martin: Debate This!" That's coming up tomorrow at 8:00 p.m.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a good weekend. I will see you Monday. And LARRY KING LIVE starts right now. Goodnight.