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AMERICAN MORNING

Flood Waters Continue To Devastate Pakistan; Fugitive Couple Apprehended In Arizona; Roger Clemens Indicted; Economy Could Cost Some Democrats Their Jobs; 9/11 Health Bill; Misdiagnosing ADHD

Aired August 20, 2010 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Top of the hour right now. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Friday, August 20th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Acosta in for John Roberts this morning. There's a lot to talk about this morning, so we'll get right to it.

Indicted for his denials, Roger Clemens, one of baseball's greatest pitchers now facing the possibility of 30 years in prison for allegedly lying to Congress about his steroid use. Could he lose his freedom along with his reputation? Closer look at the case coming up.

CHETRY: Captured. The hunt over this morning for America's most wanted fugitives. The couple that authorities feared would not go down without a fight nabbed at a campground in Arizona, but it was an arrest that easily could have turned into more bloodshed. We got brand new details this morning.

ACOSTA: And the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan continues to grow. The number of people left homeless by massive floods has doubled to 4 million. And the United States and other countries are answering the U.N.'s call for more aid to the flood ravaged country. A live report from Pakistan is just ahead.

CHETRY: And up first, instead of the hall of fame, baseball's seven- time Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens could soon be facing 30 years in prison. Remember back in 2008 he was on the hot seat testifying before Congress and said, let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or human growth hormone. Well, now, a federal grand jury has charged the rocket for allegedly lying that day to congress.

ACOSTA: He's facing a total of six counts, one for obstruction of justice, three for making false statements, and two more perjury. Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin says he will keep on fighting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSTY HARDIN, ROGER CLEMENS'S ATTORNEY: Roger did not use steroids. He didn't use HGH, and he didn't lie to Congress about it. Roger has known from the very beginning that if he chose to publicly deny the accusations in the Mitchell Report, that this day would come.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Roger Clemens also came to his own defense on twitter, tweeting, "I never took HGH or steroids and I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the government's accusations and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court." Signed "The Rocket."

As we were talking earlier this morning, also on his twitter page, he's responding almost to every fan and friend individually, talking about how he appreciates all of their support. So the rocket is getting a lot of support.

CHETRY: Paul Callan called it a defense attorney's nightmare to have all that responding, and all of that's going into evidence as well.

ACOSTA: How do you control your client if he's tweeting? That's the issue.

And coming up in a few minutes, we'll talk more about the Clemens' case, why he didn't take the Mark McGwire track, whether he will strike a deal, whether it's too late, whether he's going to hit the showers in prison. We'll talk more with "Sports Illustrated's" David Epstein former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Paul Callan.

CHETRY: Now the devastating flooding in Pakistan. The U.N. Secretary Generals is describing the situation as a quote, "slow motion tsunami." The number of people left homeless by the massive floods is now doubled to 4 million. When you talk about those affected, the number climbs to 20 million.

CNN's Sara Sidner witnessed the chaos in the southern Punjab region. She's joins us now from Pakistan. We're talking about the medical concerns of this emergency. Are you seeing that?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are. In fact, a lot of the children suffering from very extreme diarrhea, which is causing dehydration, they become very, very weak, and it's dangerous for children who aren't having enough food to eat and are getting contaminated water. So that created quite a bit of a problem. Also, gastroenteritis and some viral diseases are going around.

We're inside of a camp which is just down the street from a children's hospital that is here in Moltan. In this particular room alone, at least people have shelter, but there are four families sharing this classroom here and trying to make do with what little they have.

Most people left their homes with absolutely nothing because, in some areas around this particular province, in Punjab province, they were told that it was going to be some flooding coming to the area. They just didn't know how bad it was going to get, and all their things have been swept away.

As far as medical treatment, though, there are teams of doctors who are checking on these victims. They're coming to some of the camps that are in this area and trying to provide medical aid. In that hospital, they are simply overwhelmed. It is the only children's hospital in southern Punjab. So they serve a population in the area of about 40 million people. And so they're dealing with about 200 children but they only have 25 beds, and they're simply running out of space and running out of medicine. Kiran?

CHETRY: As we talked about the U.S. upping its pledge to donate more money, I think $150 million now, but a lot of experts, people who are part of these rescue organizations, are saying it's just simply not enough. Do we know if more supplies, more money, and more vitally needed medical equipment are getting to these areas?

SIDNER: We do know that there are quite a few groups from different countries who are now in this very city. We know that some Japanese delegation is here, Australian delegation is here, and folks from the UAE have come here, and they are distributing food. We're hearing that Jordanian doctors are also in the area trying to help people.

And so, yes, there is aid trickling in. But if you talk to the families in particularly the camps, they will tell you that it's just not enough. They need more. The hospital is saying the same thing, the director saying that in the next three months, if they don't get help and if the pace continues like this, they'll simply run out of supplies.

So while flood aid is trickling in, it really needs to turn into a flood so that everyone can have what they need to sustain life. And then the difficult task of trying to move people back to their home or what is left. People say they don't have any money to rebuild. That's going to be a huge issue for the government.

CHETRY: Lots underwater as well, a lot of livelihoods for these people also under water. A tough situation, Sara. Thanks for bringing us a firsthand look of how difficult things are. We appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Also developing this morning, a three-week run from the law is over for an escaped felon from his cousin, who is also his lover. The multistate man hunt for John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch ended at an Arizona campground yesterday. A tip from a forest ranger led to their arrest which took place 280 miles east of the prison where McCluskey and two other convicts broke free back in July.

Police had been saying the couple wouldn't go down without a fight. Last hour we learned just how close authorities were to a bloody shootout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GONZALEZ, U.S. MARSHAL, DISTRICT OF ARIZONA, (via telephone): At about 7:05 last night pacific time, they did arrest them. Casslyn Welch had a gun on her. She had had it hidden in the small of her back. She did pull the gun out but dropped it immediately.

ACOSTA: So this could have turned out much, much worse? GONZALEZ: Exactly. And McCluskey was laying outside the camp. They pounced on him immediately, obviously, and he later said that -- and it was confirmed that he had a gun inside the tent and that he had -- if he had the time, he would have shot the officers, the deputies, and he should have shot the forest service ranger when he had an opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: Amazing how wrong it could have gone.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

CHETRY: Also we're seven minutes past the hour.

(WEATHER BREAK)

ACOSTA: The Rocket on the docket, still insisting that steroids did not give him a boost late in his career, will Roger Clemens deny it all the way to the slammer? More on the baseball legend's case and fall from grace. It is eight minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: His message to this day has been very consistent -- deny, deny, deny. Now the Rocket, Roger Clemens, one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, has been charged with lying to Congress saying he never used steroids.

It all went down more than two years ago. The bizarre testimony claims there are eight-year-old syringes and beer cans, and Clemens under oath being contradicted by his former trainer. Let's take a look back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER CLEMENS, FORMER MLB PITCHER: Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I told Senator Mitchell that I injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, I told the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: There's a lot at stake here. We want to bring in Paul Callan, professor of media law at Seton Hall University, and David Epstein from "Sports Illustrated."

Paul, let's start with you first. We were chatting about this off camera a little while ago. And I was struck by what's at the heart of this, which is we have people swear an oath to tell the truth before Congress for a reason, because there's a penalty if you don't do that. So why not indict Roger Clemens if he lied and why not send him to prison?

PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There's an important principle here, and I think it's a good question. I noticed on the blogs today, a lot of bloggers are saying, who are these congressmen going after Roger Clemens? They're a bunch of liars themselves. How dare they criticize him?

Lying to Congress is a very, very serious crime, and it's a serious crime because here you have Congress making laws that will affect the entire nation, and they make those laws based on sworn testimony that they hear.

Now, if the people are lying when they testify to the congressmen, the impact is a huge nationwide impact. So it's a very, very serious form of perjury, and it warrants prosecution in the right case. And this may be the right case.

ACOSTA: And there are two worlds colliding here, the legal world and the sports world. And David, this is another hot topic in sports, whether or not this era in baseball should have an asterisk next to it, whether it's the juiced era in sports, and doesn't this case of Roger Clemens, if proven to be true, if he's proven to be a perjurer, doesn't this warrant perhaps putting asterisks in the baseball record books?

CALLAN: Whether there are asterisks by certain people, statistics or not, it's the steroid era. Everybody knows that. That's how fans have come to think of it. That's the context it is. The numbers are out of control. So that's how everyone is going to remember it.

As far as going back and putting asterisks by specific player stats, so far it hasn't happened with Alex Rodriguez, didn't happen with Mark McGwire. It's tough to do.

But you will see some effect on the sports legacy. Mark McGwire is not in the hall of fame. In 2013 both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who are both indicted for perjury right now, are going to be up for hall of fame voting, and you might not see them in the hall of fame. And the best players in their respective positions of their era, that would be a big kind of asterisk in its own right in the record books.

ACOSTA: One of my favorite sports movies, "Eight Men Out" about the Chicago Black Sox, shoeless Joe Jackson, everybody who follows baseball and knows baseball will always look at that team as the Black Sox. And I think, isn't it safe to say that this era will always be seen as the juiced era?

CALLAN: Undoubtedly, absolutely. Statistically, it has basically put itself on an island and separated itself in the history of baseball. I think that's how fans will always look at it, absolutely.

ACOSTA: How difficult is it going to be to put Roger Clemens in prison here? We saw the Martha Stewart case, where she did -- she was accused of lying to prosecutors, to federal investigators, and she was sent to prison. We saw the video of her going in and out of that was it up in Connecticut -- in Connecticut, right?

CALLAN: Yes. Well, she was kept in her house, under house arrest for a long period of time. That's where most of the camera shots were taken. But she did wind up in a federal prison also in Connecticut, I believe.

Roger Clemens right now, and it's always hard to judge these things, but it looks like a very, very strong case against him.

ACOSTA: Really, a strong case?

CALLAN: I think so. Perjury cases are usually difficult to prove. But here you have his trainer testifying that he injected him over 20 times. You have Andy Pettitte saying that he made admissions. You have steroid allegedly being found in syringes backing up the trainer's story. So you have corroboration. And prosecutors supposedly are holding back some evidence. So there's a chance that he'll be convicted.

He's also his own worst enemy. He's tweeting.

ACOSTA: He's tweeting. Yes, we talked about this.

CALLAN: It's just the most amazing thing to me. Lawyers say to their clients, keep your mouth shut. The prosecutor has to prove your guilty.

He's out giving press conferences, making statements on the Internet. He's a lawyer's nightmare to defend.

So I think there's a chance he'll be convicted. Will he go to jail? The federal sentencing guidelines recommend about a 15-month sentence for this crime. So if the judges follow the recommendation of the law, he will go to jail if he's convicted.

ACOSTA: Well, I hope for Roger Clemens' sake -- and people are innocent until they're proven guilty. He has his day in court. Let's look at the evidence as baseball fans, as Americans. Let's see what the feds have on him, if they have those syringes.

And Paul Callan, David Epstein, thanks for talking to us about this very important story. And as a baseball fan, it's just hard to watch. It's just painful to watch. But thanks for breaking it down for us.

CALLAN: Nice to be with you.

ACOSTA: Thanks.

Well, the Clinton campaign of 1992 gave us the political saying, "It's the economy, stupid."

Right, Kiran?

CHETRY: I just figured, yes, why not? When it comes to midterm elections this fall, the catch phrase could easily be "It's still the economy, stupid." Why issue #1 could make or break some political careers come November.

Sixteen minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Nineteen minutes past the hour. Welcome back to "The Most News in the Morning."

Jobless numbers just out showing more bad news this week. The number of Americans seeking an economic lifeline at a nine-month high.

ACOSTA: And since Democrats are in control of the White House and on Capitol Hill, a sluggish to nonexistent recovery could mean political disaster this fall.

"Minding Your Business" this morning, our Brianna Keilar is tracking issue #1 from our D.C. bureau this morning.

Good morning, Brianna.

The president had called this "recovery summer" over at the White House. This is difficult news for the Democrats.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And what we did for this story was we drove about five hours south of Washington, D.C., because if you know that the economy is the number one issue this election season, just imagine how big of an issue it is in a congressional district that was already hard hit before the recession and where unemployment is as high or higher than 20 percent in some areas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR (voice-over): At Short Sugar's Pit Bar-BQ, in Southside, as locals refer to southern Virginia, you come for the pork --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had the sliced barbecue today.

KEILAR: -- and stay for the politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody comes in here, Democrats, Republicans. You know, the only place you can get along together. Well, they talk about how the economy's doing, jobs, of course. That's the big issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that it's so much jobs, as it is all the money that we're spending to get the jobs. There is no results that are coming from it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like everything is just going overseas. It's not American anymore.

REP. TOM PERRIELLO (D), VIRGINIA: How are you doing? Good to see you again.

KEILAR: This is why Democrat Tom Perriello is fighting for his political life in Virginia's conservative Fifth District.

PERRIELLO: And most of tonight will certainly be a chance to hear from you, and for me to respond to your questions.

KEILAR: In 2008, Perriello edged out the Republican incumbent by just 727 votes. Since then, he voted for the stimulus, the energy bill, and health care, all big priorities for Democrats. Now he's defending those positions and trying to persuade skeptical voters to give him a second term.

(on camera): You're asking for more time here.

PERRIELLO: We need a little more time because the other side's done a really good job of stopping some of the best parts of what we need to do to rebuild this economy.

KEILAR: Tom Perriello is in the same situation as dozens of other Democrats. They're in hotly-contested districts like this one, won by John McCain in 2008.

PERRIELLO: You can't get Social Security on the unemployment.

KEILAR (voice-over): Sleeves rolled up, Perriello presents himself to voters as working hard to find them work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you retired from?

KEILAR: Republican state senator Robert Hurt is his opponent.

(on camera): I want to see what you think of Tom Perriello's job.

PERRIELLO: Times have been tough for Virginia families. I fought to add new jobs at dairy farms, and landfill projects that turn methane waste into clean energy, jobs bringing broadband Internet to 120 public schools.

ROBERT HURT (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I think if you look at the facts, you'll find that all the statistics that he cites are related to one bill. And that's the stimulus package. And I think when you look at the number of jobs that have actually been created, it doesn't -- the ad doesn't hold up.

KEILAR (voice-over): Hurt's message is similar to many Republicans taking on vulnerable Democrats. He says Perriello is in lockstep with Democratic leaders who spend too much government money without any results.

(on camera): I mean, what do you think as you're looking at this?

PERRIELLO: People are sick of this stuff. They want to know where someone stands. What we've shown is we have an agenda on jobs. We have an agenda for reducing costs to middle class families.

KEILAR (voice-over): That's what voters are talking about here at Short Sugar's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we're all in the double digits of unemployment. We are in an especially hard hit area here. So we pay real attention to it.

KEILAR: And they will decide if Tom Perriello and Democrats will keep their jobs. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: And Jim and Kiran, this is just above the North Carolina border, there in Virginia, a very big district. This is really the red center of Perriello's district. Very hard hit, as I said, even before the recession -- closed mills, a very tough economy for tobacco farmers there.

You head a little bit north towards D.C., and it tends to be more Tom Perriello country. The economic situation tends to be better. But, of course, the question is going to be, when you look at the district as a whole, will that make the difference?

ACOSTA: Right. You know, and during the election of 2008, all of those college kids down at UVA, which is in Tom Perriello's district, came out voting for Obama and clicked "Perriello." And it's a question of whether or not the youth vote will come out this time around in the Democrat's favor.

KEILAR: Yes. And certainly that's an enthusiasm question that you see when you go to these town halls.

I have to tell you, at his town hall, it really did seem like there were more people who were in support of him than who were not in support of him. But the vocal minority certainly were the people who are very critical of him and very upset.

ACOSTA: Wow.

CHETRY: Brianna Keilar for us this morning.

Thanks so much.

ACOSTA: Thanks, Brianna.

CHETRY: Speaking of being upset, 9/11 first responders have a message for the president -- use the bully pulpit, not to focus on the Ground Zero mosque debate, but to start delivering on a promise to pass a 9/11 health care bill.

We're going to have more of their story.

Twenty-four minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to "The Most News in the Morning."

President Obama is weighing in on another Ground Zero controversy, one that's been overshadowed by the fight over building an Islamic center and mosque near the World Trade Center site.

CHETRY: Yes. The president is backing a bill that would provide health care and compensation to 9/11 first responders.

Susan Candiotti had a chance to talk with one first responder who had a message for the president.

Because this is still stalled in Congress.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing that this battle has been going on for so long.

You know, one man who's worked for years on behalf of those injured or sickened at Ground Zero is happy the president's weighing in on a long-term care bill, but John Feal is tired of waiting for Congress to act.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: John, this is you just a few hours before you were injured on September 17, 2001?

JOHN FEAL, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: That is correct, Susan.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): John Feal was a demolition foreman removing 9/11 debris. Then 8,000 pounds of concrete nearly crushed his left foot.

(on camera): How many surgeries have you had on both feet over the years?

FEAL: More than 2,000.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): He nearly lost that foot, but the victims' advocate has never lost hope for a health bill. It would help those sickened by contaminants and other illnesses related to Ground Zero.

Feal wasn't happy about President Obama weighing in on the Ground Zero Islamic center controversy, yet not saying much about a health bill for 9/11 responders. So he wrote a letter to the president.

"It is disturbing, sir, that you have the time and energy to speak in favor of the mosque, but not on the health crisis caused by the attacks."

I was challenging our president to make 9/11 responders and our bill a priority, an issue that's been neglected for nine years, for him to be our leader, to be our champion.

CANDIOTTI: Wednesday night, the White House issued a statement: "The president looks forward to signing the 9/11 health bill into law, once it passes both houses of Congress, to help the first responders whose health and livelihood were devastated by the events of September 11th."

FEAL: He says he would sign the bill if it would pass both houses, but he doesn't say he supports the bill.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I'll put in place --

CANDIOTTI: Feal wants the president to take a more active role like he did on the campaign trail. In 2007, then-candidate Obama railed against those who only supported first responders with words.

OBAMA: We love you for what you did on September 11th, but when it's time to get you health care, or buy radios or the equipment that you need, those supporters sometimes disappear like a puff of smoke.

CANDIOTTI: Supporters in Congress were fired up when the bill failed to pass a few weeks ago.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: It is a shame! A shame!

CANDIOTTI: The bill would include unlocking a victims' compensation fund and cost at least $7 billion over 10 years, according to its supporters.

Feal says he won't give up.

FEAL: This anniversary, we're going to vote like Americans, and they're going to get it done. I truly believe that, Susan. And if I didn't think that, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Over 13,000 responders are getting treatment, and about 55,000 are being monitored.

Opponents say a $7 billion price tag to pay for that care will put even more strain on the federal budget. Either way, look for another Ground Zero related hot potato when Congress reconvenes next month.

So, you know, it seems like a no-brainer, but in tough economic times, everything is becoming, of course, a battle royal.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. For every penny, there's a fight down in Washington now.

But, I mean, this is one of those stories that you just have to stay on top of until it's resolved, and it's such an important one. So, thanks, Susan. Appreciate it.

CANDIOTTI: Yes. You bet.

CHETRY: Thanks, Susan.

ACOSTA: It is 7:30, so it's time for this morning's top stories.

The nightmare is over. That's what authorities are saying this morning after catching two fugitives who've been on the run after a prison break back in July. Escaped inmate John McCluskey and his alleged accomplice Casslyn Mae Welch were arrested at an Arizona campground yesterday thanks to a tip from a forest ranger.

Authorities say Welch tried to pull a gun but SWAT members stopped her. They also say McCluskey told officers he would have killed them had he been able to use his gun.

CHETRY: Roger Clemens is still denying that he ever took steroids during his baseball career after he was indicted for lying to Congress back in 2008. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has been indicted on six counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice. All of those counts together carried the potential for 30 years in prison.

ACOSTA: Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean is set to find out if he'll be able to run in Haiti's upcoming presidential election. The country's election commission says it will decide on that today.

Our own Larry King making the news on a conversation last night with the potential candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If they turn you down, if you're not allowed on the ballot, what - what do you - does the fight go on?

VOICE OF WYCLEF JEAN, POTENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR HAITIAN PRESIDENT: We will continue to - to fight in the sense of how can we work with the new government and the administration which - to give kids, which is the - one of the number one things in the constitution, the Haitian constitution, say all kids should have privilege to a free education, and that's something that we're going to push on whether if I make it or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And Wyclef also told Larry a list of candidates that came out from "Reuters" which did not include his name, is not the official list, adding, quote, "It's looking good for us," and that will be some election to cover, if that happens.

CHETRY: Yes.

Well, the feds are cracking down on pharmacies in Utah and Illinois, saying that they're at the center of an illegal network that sends highly addictive prescription pills online to people who try to order them, no questions asked.

ACOSTA: Our own special investigations unit first followed the online pharmacy trail two years ago, but now the FBI is finally getting involved, and our Drew Griffin's tracking down the people at the center of this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He hardly looks the part of an illegal drug dealer. He drives a rundown Mercedes Benz, can barely walk, but according to the FBI, 80-year-old Dr. Robert Morrow could be a major player in a nationwide illegal internet drug trade.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Hi, Doctor?

DR. ROBERT MORROW, SUSPECTED TO BE INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL DRUG TRADE: Yes?

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin with CNN. How are you?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): A drug ring that, according to government documents, spans from Utah across the U.S. and overseas, a drug ring that has been operating for years.

GRIFFIN (on camera): We want to find out, you know, it's been alleged you've been signing internet prescriptions for people who haven't -

MORROW: I'm not - I don't want to talk about it. Get off the property. Get off my property.

GRIFFIN: Can you explain how that happens?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): According to a government investigator, Dr. Morrow's signature appears on thousands and thousands of prescriptions filled this year alone. The government alleges he's paid to write them by the owner of two pharmacies, the Roots Pharmacies in both Utah and suburban Chicago, and those pharmacies are at the heart of the illegal prescription drug investigation.

According to the FBI, Utah pharmacist Kyle Rootsaert is near the top of the operation. On August 5th, FBI agents served two search warrants on those pharmacies owned by Rootsaert, one served here in suburban Chicago, where agents seized box and boxes of records.

The federal government says illegal prescription drug abuse is staggering. Listen to this - it's now a bigger problem than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine use combined.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And these rogue internet pharmacies that say all you have to do is fill out a form, you never have to see the doctor, and we will approve your order immediately and send you addictive medications, are helping fuel that problem in a big way.

GRIFFIN: No charges have yet been filed. The FBI isn't commenting. The attorney for Roots Pharmacy owner Kyle Rootsaert tells CNN he hasn't had a chance to talk to his client about the search warrant affidavits.

Keeping them honest, we wanted to know why and how the operation had been allowed to operate for so long. Two years ago, as part of a CNN investigation, I bought Prozac and the addictive muscle relaxer, Soma, online, no questions asked. And I tracked the drugs right back here to Roots Pharmacy in American Fork, Utah.

GRIFFIN (on camera): I want to ask you about selling these drugs over the internet without prescriptions.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): We also confronted Kyle Rootsaert. He ran from our cameras and took off in this brown pickup truck.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Excuse me, Kyle? We'd like to talk to you about the internet drug business you're running out of this pharmacy.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): But it now appears Roots is on the run. GRIFFIN (on camera): This is where we actually confronted the owner of Roots Pharmacy. You can see, just yesterday, we're told, the sign has been taken off this door.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The state of Utah filed a petition more than a year ago to revoke the pharmacy's license, but a hearing still hasn't been held. Even so, the pharmacy had been operating full blast, filling 200 to 300 prescriptions a day, according to the FBI.

This little second story pharmacy, a half hour south of Salt Lake City, was a major distributor of dangerous prescriptions.

Which brings us back to Dr. Morrow. He also has a history with the state of Utah. He lost his license to dispense controlled drugs from 1999 to 2002 because he was illegally prescribing drugs. He paid a $1,000 fine.

It was part of an operation, experts tell CNN, that was worth close to half a million dollars a month and an untold number of pills.

Drew Griffin, CNN, American Fork, Utah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: A great piece by Drew, and that reporting got the attention of the authorities. We'll see what happens.

ACOSTA: Great stuff.

CHETRY: Well, younger kids in class may be over diagnosed, misdiagnosed with having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We're going to be talking about what age is right for getting your kids into school and what you can do if you have a younger child that - that has been given this ADHD diagnosis and you're not sure if it's really the case.

We're going to speak with Dr. Leonard Sax, coming up.

ACOSTA: That's an important issue for any parent.

And a homeless man who was in prison for 13 years for stealing food is now free. How did that happen? Thanks to law student Reiko Rogozen who started working on the case as part of Stanford's Three Strikes Project. We're going to hear all about that, coming up in just a few moments.

It's 37 minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

A homeless man, get this, who spent 13 years behind bars for trying to steal food from a Los Angeles church is a free man this morning. Gregory Taylor was sentenced under California's three strikes law, which requires 25 years to life for those with two previous strikes. CHETRY: Right.

ACOSTA: Controversial law. It's a controversial law.

CHETRY: Strikes - right, strikes being felony arrests and convictions. Well, Taylor's case has become a symbol of what critics say are the problem with the law's sentences.

Joining us now, law student Reiko Rogozen, who played a major role in Taylor's release, as part of the Three Strikes Project, working on it at Stanford University. Reiko, thanks for joining us this morning.

REIKO ROGOZEN, HELPED SECURE GREGORY TAYLOR'S RELEASE: Thank you.

CHETRY: In many cases, I mean, the argument's made that, you know, if somebody commits a violent crime once, they do it again. The third time, they're done. No more chances. They're in prison for life. And, on its face, it seems to make sense to many people.

In this case, you have a guy who was convicted of two prior strong-arm robberies. He didn't ever have a weapon with him. But this third time, he was trying - he was a drug addict and he was trying to get into a church to get some food.

And how is it that his case became one that - that the judge and the prosecutors would think would be a good candidate to spend the rest of his life in prison?

ROGOZEN: I'm not sure how they decided he was a good candidate to spend his life in prison. I think this is a prefect example of how people who really weren't the intended targets of the law ended up becoming caught up in the law and really had their lives ruined as a result.

CHETRY: But the prosecutor could have decided not to press charges in this case, correct?

ROGOZEN: Yes. The prosecutor does have that authority, and the judge also has the authority to, on his own motion, what's called strike a strike and sentence him as a second striker as opposed to a third striker. And, basically, that's what happened a couple days ago in the new re-sentencing hearing. The judge said, had we known all this information about him 14 years ago, I - the judge - as a judge, I would have used my discretion to strike a third strike and sentence him as a second striker.

ACOSTA: Wow. And we're looking at some video of Gregory Taylor now, your client. And tell us a little bit about him. How did he end up in this predicament? And - and how did he hold up after all of these years?

ROGOZEN: I think he ended up in this predicament because he was totally caught up in the system and unable to obtain the services that he really needed. So after his second strike, which was in 1985, he really did not have any access to mental health care and any other services that he really required, and so he ended up homeless and just is a perfect example of how people don't have access to the services that they need.

And - what was your second question?

ACOSTA: What I was going to say, how did he hold up after all of these years? Because I read that he hugged his mother, and his mother, you know, was in tears, and he basically said, it's OK, mom. I'm out now.

I mean, people don't realize what this is like, to go to prison for - I mean, obviously, this was a crime he did commit. It's not - it's not -

ROGOZEN: Right.

ACOSTA: -- like he didn't commit the crime. But this was - I mean, this is kind of a joke that he went to prison for 13 years, and it makes people angry when they hear about it.

ROGOZEN: Right. I mean, when I was interviewing the family members, I talked to his cousin who said Greg told her that - after his conviction, he told her, yes, I was convicted, and I'm going to be in jail for the rest of my life. And she just absolutely couldn't believe it.

He became, of course, as you could imagine, really depressed in prison.

ACOSTA: Right.

ROGOZEN: There is just a prospect of spending the rest of your life in prison for something like trying to steal food from a church, where he knew the people at the church and knew that if he had just -

ACOSTA: And they knew him.

ROGOZEN: And they knew him, and he knew that if he were just there one or two hours later, they would give him the food that he wanted to have. It was just - it was just overwhelming for him.

CHETRY: And did you ever - I mean, that's what's startling about this case. I mean, did you ever find out - and I know that you ended up helping win his release. As you said, this new judge that looked at the case decided to strike a strike and - and sort of sentence him to time served. He was out.

ROGOZEN: Right.

CHETRY: Why would that original judge and prosecutor think this was a good idea, to send somebody to prison for life, knowing what they knew about the case?

ROGOZEN: I think the - the climate in the mid-90s, which was right around when the time that the third strike - three strikes law was passed, was such that we really - people just thought the best way to deal with crime was to take everybody off the street and put them in - put them in prison. CHETRY: And let's look at the numbers, because we do have the numbers. In California, 8,500 people are third strike prisoners. They're serving life sentences. It says over 40 percent of them are serving life for a third strike that came that was neither violent nor serious.

Did this law need to - I mean, the - the theory behind the law is that, you know, if somebody's going to continue to commit crimes, we're not going to let them out to do it again. When things like this happen, does it water down the argument for this law? And, if so, does it need to be changed?

ROGOZEN: I absolutely think this law does need to be changed. A group called FATS, Family Against Three Strikes, have tried in 2004 to change it so that the third strike would be another serious or violent felony.

The way it works now, and - and most people don't even understand this, even in California, that the first two strikes have to be what's - what's considered a serious or violent felony. But the third strike could be any felony, so that's why we have a ton of people out there, as you said, almost 4,000, whose third strike is something like petty theft with a prior, second degree burglary, possessing 0.1 grams of methamphetamine, something like that, even - even if the two strikes that happened before were 10 years before that third strike.

And so, what we really need - things that needs to - things needs to happen is to have the third strike another serious or violent felony.

ACOSTA: Well, Reiko Rogozen, you're bringing a very important issue to light. You know, when this law was passed back in the '90s, crime was sky high, and they were trying to make examples out of people, and now we know that policy hasn't always worked, especially in this case. And we appreciate your time, and - and thanks for joining us this morning.

ROGOZEN: Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it.

CHETRY: Well, still ahead, we're talking about severe weather erupting in the Midwest, downpours in the south. The rain total is quite high. What's in store for the weekend? Our Rob Marciano is going to take a look for us when he joins us right after the break.

It's 46 minutes past the hour.

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CHETRY: We always love the two-fer shot of New York City.

ACOSTA: Yes.

CHETRY: You got Lady Liberty there and New York Harbor.

ACOSTA: The city so nice they named it twice. CHETRY: They sure did.

ACOSTA: Why not two bump shots?

CHETRY: I didn't think there would be a (INAUDIBLE) this morning from the skyscrapers there.

Seventy-six and sunny already and it's going to be a high of 88 today in the Big Apple.

ACOSTA: Loving it.

CHETRY: You sticking around or heading back to D.C.?

ACOSTA: I'll stick around for a little while.

CHETRY: OK.

ACOSTA: OK. Talk me into it. Twist my arm.

CHETRY: Twist my arm.

Rob Marciano is in the Extreme Weather Center. Yes -

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Are you sure that's - are you sure that's not a tape from yesterday? I'm pretty sure that's the exact same shot. That looked exactly the same weather-wise from yesterday.

CHETRY: I know. We've been - actually, we had a - we had a string of a couple of beautiful days. We've been lucky.

MARCIANO: String of a couple of beautiful weekends. I'm told it's live. I'm - I was kidding. Of course it's live.

ACOSTA: It is live.

MARCIANO: We wouldn't be - we wouldn't do that. No way.

CHETRY: Is this thing on (ph)?

MARCIANO: A couple of good stretches of weekend weather for the northeast, that's for sure. And - and this weekend shouldn't be bad, especially tomorrow.

But we do have a severe weather threat today that we're pushing across parts of the western Great Lakes throughout the afternoon, especially since severe weather break out from Missouri back through Iowa. Iowa doesn't need any more rain, and they're probably going to get some more here, one of the wettest summers they've ever seen and this will stretch back into parts of Wisconsin.

Michigan - Eastern Michigan, you got beat up - beat up pretty good yesterday, especially Macomb County. Again, it's over 70-mile-an-hour winds, some damage there. We might see that sort of activity later on this afternoon as the sun goes to work. You know the drill. All right, this rainfall dumped a fair amount across parts of the - the Carolinas and in some cases over a half a foot of rain. And Tennessee, as you know, yesterday got flooded pretty bad. But the Cumberland River managed to crest below flood stage, so that was good news for Nashville.

All right, heat indexes, 105 to 115 here. We've expanded the advisories and the warnings here and that will be the case, I think, across the Plains throughout the weekend, so another hot one. One-oh- one in Dallas. Summer doesn't want to end just yet.

Eighty-seven in New York. That is not too shabby. Tomorrow doesn't look bad, maybe a little rain for the Big Apple on Sunday. So head back to - well, you'll probably get some rain in D.C. as well.

Jim, Kiran, back up to you.

CHETRY: All right.

ACOSTA: All right.

CHETRY: We'll make it. Taking the train, though, right?

ACOSTA: I - I am taking the train, which should be reliable - we hope - with this kind of weather.

CHETRY: All he needs is a Snazzy Napper and he'll be fine, Rob.

ACOSTA: I need my Snazzy Napper. I could use one right now.

MARCIANO: Get a picture of that (ph).

ACOSTA: All right. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

ACOSTA: This morning's top stories are just minutes away, including a fugitive's car. A couple accused of murder while on the run now in custody. Hear about the race to get to them before they got to their weapons.

CHETRY: And will the president have to take time from his vacation to say again that he's not a Muslim? What the White House thinks of this new poll that says a lot of people don't believe that Obama, the president, is a Christian.

ACOSTA: And it's a hard knock life. Even Steven Slater's slide to fame, more flight attendants are saying they have had enough with being up in the Friendly Skies. There is even a play about it. We'll speak to the author who know from experience.

Those stories and more, coming up at the top of the hour.

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CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Fifty-five minutes past the hour right now.

It's time for your "A.M. House Call", stories about your health, and for parents, this is an important one, doctors mistaking perhaps immaturity for hyperactivity. There's a new study out and it says that nearly a million children may be misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, and the reason is actually pretty simple. The kids oftentimes are the youngest in their class. Researchers say that they're 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Dr. Leonard Sax is a family physician and a psychologist. He joins us from Philadelphia. You've written a lot about this and about making sure that both boys and girls are given the - the proper environment and opportunity early to be able to succeed. What did you think about this study that when it comes down to these kindergarten enrollment dates, that kids have a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

DR. LEONARD SAX, PHYSICIAN AND PSYCHOLOGIST: This is a - really an important study because it confirms what we suspected for many years, which is a lot of kids are getting labeled as ADD who in fact should not be labeled as ADD. These kids are just normal 5-year-olds who are fidgety and squirmy and they're getting sent to the doctor. And the problem is the doctors -

You know, Katie Kautz (ph) and I did a study. We surveyed all the doctors in the Washington area. We asked them how did kids come to be on medication, and many of the doctors said, well, I wanted - I wanted this child to be referred and - and have formal evaluation. There was a struggle with the insurance company.

So we said, well, let's try 10 milligrams of that or 18 milligrams of Concerta, see if it helps. And the problem is these medications work. They work for normal kids as well as - as for kids who truly need them, and the result is a lot of kids who are on medication who don't need to be, who should not be on medication.

CHETRY: And it's interesting. I mean, when you think about the range, when they - you talked about the cutoff dates for school. This study was done out of Michigan, by the way, Michigan State University. And when they did the study, in Michigan, for instance, the kindergarten cutoff date would be December 1st. So if you're born December 1st, you go to school that year. If you're born December 2nd, you have and entire year of maturity under your belt before you're entering that same classroom.

What is the advice to the parents, then, if their child is of - in this age frame where they probably will be one of the youngest in their class?

SAX: Well, as I always say to parents, if there's any doubt, give your child that gift of another year of childhood. Let them have another year at nursery school to splash in the pond, play duck-duck- goose, because kindergarten today is not what it was 30 years ago.

Thirty years ago kindergarten was about splashing in ponds, playing duck-duck-goose, recess. Not anymore. American kindergarten today is primarily about phonics, sitting still, paying attention, literacy, numeracy. Kindergarten today looks like first grade of 30 years ago, but the kindergarten cutoff dates have not changed and the result is that a lot of these kids who are squirmy, who are young for their grade are being diagnosed, labeled as having ADD when in fact they're just normal 5-year-olds.

CHETRY: And in addition to the overmedication and the implications of being on stimulant medication for many years, you also talk about just inhibiting the child's own love of learning because, you know, it turns much more into discipline than it does teaching at that age.

SAX: That's right. I visited over 300 schools over the last 10 years. I've been in so many of these kindergartens where the teacher's saying, Justin, why are you standing? Will you please sit down? Jason, stop that fidgeting. Damon, are you making a buzzing noise?

Look at Emily. She's being so good. Why can't you just sit still and be quiet?

And lot of the kids, especially boys, develop these negative attitudes towards school. By second grade, these boys are saying school is a stupid waste of time. I don't want to go there. And those negative attitudes persist.

As Dr. Elder showed in this study, you - this effect does not go away over time. At eighth grade, kids who are young for their grade are twice as likely to be on medication for ADD compared to kids who are at grade - normal for age level.

CHETRY: It's fascinating, and it's something certainly that gives a lot - parents a lot to think about.

Dr. Leonard Sax, great to talk to you. We appreciate it.

SAX: Thank - thank you.

CHETRY: We're going to take a quick break. Your top stories coming you way in just a moment.

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