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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  November 20, 2010 10:30pm-11:00pm EST

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right now on cnn, we take an in-depth look at a murder in beverly hills straight out of a hollywood movie. the victim, a publicist to the stars, shot to death while driving down one of the ritziest streets in the world. what happened to ronni chasen and are police close to an arrest? good evening, everyone. i'm don lemon.
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we'll speak live with people who knew ronni chasen in just a moment. but first, we want to give you your news. the u.s. remains committed to reducing american forces in afghanistan beginning next july. that word today from president barack obama at a nato summit in lisbon, portugal. >> we adopted the goal of afghan forces taking the lead for security across the country by the end of 2014. this is a goal that president karzai has put forward. i've made it clear that etch as americans transition and troop reductions will begin in july, we will also forge a long-term partnership with the afghan people. and today nato has done the same. >> the u.s. has about 100,000 troops in afghanistan. nato has a security force of about 40,000 troops from 48 countries. with thanksgiving travel getting under way, the president also weighed in on the growing protest against full-body scans and patdowns at airports. he said while he understands the enhanced security measures are
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necessary for your safety. the president says the tsa has been under intense pressure to tighten security after the attempted underwear bombing on christmas day last year. and right now, these measure, he says, are the most effective. in utah, some 130 law enforcement officers are hot on the trail of a suspect they believe shot a park ranger. they are scouring rugged terrain in grand county right now. investigators say the suspect is wounded and on foot. 34-year-old brodie young was shot three times after he stopped the suspect friday night. he is reported to be conscious and talking with officers. in ohio tonight, a coroner says three people who disappeared last week were stabbed to death before being dismembered. the remains of tina herman, her 11-year-old son and a family friend were found stuffed in garbage bags, placed in the hallow of this tree. the 13-year-old daughter was found alive in the basement of matthew hoffman's home. hoffman is being held on kidnapping charges and his attorney says that he led the
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investigators to those bodies. pope benedict xvi has okayed the use of condoms in certain cases, he says, to stop the spread of aids. this is seen as a shift away from the catholic church's absolute ban on contraceptions. he says in his book, the use of condoms is okay when the sole purpose is to reduce the spread of infection. for the first time in 40 years, they played football at chicago's wrigley field. there it is right there. it was transformed into a football stadium for the first time since the chicago bears moved out in 1970. today's game featured northwestern and illinois. officials had to run all defensive plays toward the same end zone since the other end zone was up against a brick wall. illinois won 48-27. we want to go to our special
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coverage of murder in beverly hills. funeral services will be held tomorrow for hollywood publicist ronni chasen. there are no suspects, no motive. but a whole lot of rumors are fueling this shocking story. chasen was found dead early tuesday, shot five times behind the wheel of her crashed mercedes-benz in beverly hills. she had just left a party for the new movie "burlesque." the mayor suggested the shooting could be a hit. he backed away from those comments the very next day. the police chief has been urging everyone to stop speculating, though. without much hard information, it seems everyone has a theory. for the next 30 minutes, we're going to try to make some sense of this mystery. and these people are going to help me out. they are beverly hills publicist edward lozi, who new ronni chasen. and then there's christine plesic and alan duke. alan, i want to start with you. walk us through what happened. she's driving down sunset, she's
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going to turn on whitaker. then what happened? >> well, she turns -- she's in a turning lane at a light. sunset at whittier, three blocks from the famous beverly hills hotel. she takes the left and just about maybe 100 yards or less down the road, she hits a light pole. from that intersection to there, she was shot -- either at the intersection or just before she hit the light pole. i just coincidently drove that route today at lunchtime. and i saw how it would be possible that she would have been shot at that intersection, still been alive and drove herself down. there was glass found at the intersection. they don't know where she was shot. it's a very residential area and it's only about a quarter of a mile from where michael jackson died just last year. >> alan, people heard from her
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minutes before she died. apparently she maid made some phone calls. her window was partially rolled down which leads police to think something else. but are there any clues to the messages she left from those calls? >> they were apparently routine messages left for an assistant at her office. voice mail, she would apparently routine routinely do that when she left a to-do list for those in her office. >> christine, road rage seems to be a popular theory. what are people making of that? are you hearing about that in your work? >> yeah, a lot of people are saying that to me. i think that one of the theories that i've heard is as she was driving down the road, she could have been on her phone and she maybe cut somebody off and they followed her. maybe she stuck her finger up at them or something along those lines and they got angry and shot at her.
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i think that one of the theories i think is quite plausible is that she stopped on sunset boulevard to make a left on whittier and there's this thing called a bump and rob. maybe someone came and bumped her. maybe they tried to get her to come out of the car and rob her. maybe somebody went to her driver's side window and there was another person on the passenger side. i think there must have been at least two people in the shooter car and maybe -- she wouldn't get out of the car. maybe she started going and they shot her. the guy on the passenger side shot her. >> stand by, guys. we're going to talk to ed lozi, he knows her. he worked with her. there are also theories about tensions in beverly hills because of the shifting demographics there. we'll talk about that in just a moment and we'll hear from ed lozi who knew her very well.
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our special investigation called murder in beverly hills is going to continue. we want you to be part of this discussion tonight. send us a message. logon to twitter or facebook or check out our blog. look for us on faoursquare as well. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] here's hoping you find something special in your driveway this holiday. ♪ [ santa ] ho ho ho! [ male announcer ] get an exceptional offer on the mercedes-benz you've always wanted at the winter event going on now. but hurry -- the offer ends soon. ♪ ♪ ♪
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ronni chasen, a well-connected, well-liked publicist. someone who knows every ash a-lister. she was gunned down in her car. my guests are ed lozi, christine pellisik and our very own alan duke. ed, i want to start with you. you knew her, you worked with her. i know the funeral services are tomorrow. tell me about her. >> ronni chasen is the ultimate professional. she's in the 30-year club, which many of us are, well-trained by rogers and callan, one of the great p.r. firms of the 20th
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century. i started out there in the mailroom and she was already a junior publicist at the time. but i talked with her as recently as last friday. she was handling on event at the beverly hills hotel two blocks from where she was shot for natalie portman for -- it was a lunche luncheon for "the swan," the motion picture that's coming out. some of our clients that were being handled. she was in an exclusive club, mainly oscar nominated, gloelden globe nominated. she was in an upper club and she was not old school but she was only 64. some people say, well, is that old? i don't think so. especially when i'm pushing that. but she was a trained professional. but she suffered -- she didn't suffer fool's wealth. she did have a short fuse. i think i'm going to go with
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what the beverly hills -- which is where our company is, and the mayor and the beverly hills courier who got involved with this controversy on friday, thursday, with that sort of bogus story about it was a professional hit. i know that the mayor has apologized in a way for it and there were some friction between the beverly hills police. so we're back to ground zero again. we're back to anything could go. so there's all kinds of speculations. >> yeah, the question is, though, if it was a hit, a professional hit, why would they do it in such a public place? why wouldn't they find a place that might not be seen? i want to talk to you about a successful other things. she left this afterparty for the new movie "burlesque." maybe her short fuse could have led to this, we don't know. >> it's a shame that the
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spotlight on our industry has to be around a murder. usually we're behind the scenes. we're there for our clients, we're doing the red carpets. all of us -- it's a small family, this public relations community here because we all need each other. we all have our clients going to each other's events. we all want to make sure they're taken care of properly on the red carpet and that the stories on them are accurate with the media. if that didn't happen smoothly with ronni, she would be in your face and a lot of media people know that. >> so she ruffled some feathers in her day. but does that -- would she ruffle enough feathers for someone to want to target her for something like this, ed? >> no, absolutely not. come on. she's in the fluff p.r. business. she's dealing with fantasy. we're talking motion pictures. we're not talking crisis management and legal p.r. we get hate mail for that. not that.
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i really think that without speculating again, which we've been asked not to, that this -- the wrong cards were dealt to her. she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. and by the way, that stretch of sunset boulevard is known as road rage alley. a friend of ours, christine may known him, is frank swurdlo who works for "people" magazine. and he was involved with a road rage incident three blocks from there. >> these are just your theories, i want to stress, because police aren't sure exactly what happened. >> that's exactly what i said. the beverly hills police and the mayor both cleared that up. anything could go with this story. >> ed, hold that thought. i know we have a lot to talk about when it comes to this story. we're talking about murder in beverly hills, a high-profile publicist killed in beverly hills, one of the ritziest places in the world.
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tonight we're taking a
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closer look into the murder of hollywood press agent ronni chasen. she may not be a household name in america. but everyone in hollywood knew her. alan duke, you are not buying that she was targeted, are you? >> i'm not buying any theory yet. but i can tell you that knowing the area by driving through it, i do know that there is a road rage problem there. in fact in los angeles throughout, there is the special salute that people give each other. and people i talk to who neuron nae tell me that she was a kind of a personality as -- she may give that salute. according to people i know. this is a posh neighborhood. this is about 1,000 yards as the
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crow flies from the house where michael jackson lived and where he died on carroll wood drive. you know that well, don. and it's also just a couple of houses away from from 1947 the gangster bugsy siegel was killed in a machine gun attack. there's been some very infamous events happening in this very quiet neighborhood. >> christine, why such back and forth with the police chief and all these other theories about the tensions and the demographics are supposedly changing in beverly hills and people drawing conclusions about that? have you heard that? >> the police aren't really saying anything, so it's leading everybody to speculate about what's going on. and so it's really hard for anyone to know exactly because the police chief will say one thing. the mayor says another thing. so it's really hard to figure out anything what's going on. >> so, ed, tell us about the funeral arrangements tomorrow,
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the services. does she have any kids? married? >> no, the services are at hillside tomorrow. and it's -- there's a lot of people expected to be there, of course. but some of the inside information i had from my friends at the beverly hills police and the beverly hills courier acknowledged that when knx news and city news service put it out there that they had evidence of the videocameras following her all the way down sunset boulevard through beverly hills, they have her. so she was alone. but what's so puzzling is that they actually mentioned sherry hackett, buddy hackett's wife, that the videotapes on her house were an integral part of their reasoning that this could have been a hit. that is so flabbergasting.
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and then mention that name as well. it's already been out there. to mention a name with evidence when the murderers are still out there. and sherry's not talking about it. so it's baffling. her house is about three blocks south of where the shooting was. so they're talking about that maybe the murderers, they have them on tape. that's what everybody thought thursday night when this came out. then they've canceled that whole thing out now. we're all frustrated about this. >> it is frustrating. i imagine for her family as well having to deal with the grief and not knowing and then -- because all those cameras that are supposed to protect us around all the cities we have and to not have it on tape, what's going on. alan duke, take us forward, where does this investigation go next? what happens? >> there's just a lot of legwork, hard police work going on. the police chief assured us yesterday, as recently as yesterday that they are working seven days a week, 24 hours gathering this evidence.
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as ed said, they're canvassing the neighborhood, a lot of security cameras. what they're really hoping is one or some of those security cameras would have captured some images, perhaps a car that was following ronni's car. her mercedes. perhaps even something better than that, an eyewitness coming up saying they saw something happen. they've been trying to figure out exactly where the shots were fired. 911 calls are clues there. but they still don't exactly or they're telling us they don't exactly know where that happened. so the investigation is wide open. they've not ruled in anything and they've not ruled out anything. >> have you spoken to the family, alan? >> no, i've not. the family? i don't believe she had any children. >> family members, sisters, brothers. i was wondering if you spoke to someone in her family? >> no. i've spoken to her family if you think of her family as the broader community of publicists, spoken to many of them. people like ed, in fact, who are very stunned by this.
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her family, i think, and ed probably would confirm that, were the people she worked with and the people she worked for. >> i here she was very hard working. this is a mystery. no one knows where this is going to go. i want to thank you everyone on our panel tonight. ed, christine and also our very own alan duke. have a great evening. if you guys hear anything, please let us know. >> absolutely. >> when we come right back here on cnn, a preview of a very special tribute in los angeles. 33 chilean minors are honored at the cnn heroes all-star tribute. a new phone with dolby surround sound speakers. only from at&t. rethink possible. you don't love me anymore do you billy? what? i didn't buy this cereal to sweet talk your taste buds it's for my heart health. so i can't have any? if you can deprive me of what can help lower my cholesterol... and live with yourself.
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33 chilean miners appeared on stage at the shrine auditorium tonight as cnn paid tribute to the men and some who aided their rescue. they endured 69 days trapped
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underground before they were rescued. it was the longest mining captivity in history. here's a portion of tonight's cnn tribute. ♪ look at that, very nice. all 33 chilean miners and some of their rescuers will be special guests at the all-star tribute that airs thanksgiving night. nearly 2 million of you voted. watch to see who will be the next cnn hero of the year. that's thanksgiving night at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. i'm don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. thanks for joining us. see you back here tomorrow night. "escape from jonestown, starts in 90 seconds. imes. each brita filter can take
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