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December 30, 2009

Charlie Sheen's wife says he threatened to have her killed

Posted: 02:12 PM ET

Programming note:  Brooke Mueller's attorney speaks to Larry exclusively tonight about what allegedly happened between Charlie and Brooke on Christmas Day.  Tune in tonight at 9pm ET / 6pm PT...

By Jo Piazza, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Charlie Sheen's wife Brooke Mueller claims that the actor pinned her to a bed, held a knife to her throat and threatened to have her killed, according to her statement to Aspen County police.

"I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done, and they won't leave any trace," Mueller alleges Sheen said to her as he held her down with a knife, according to an affidavit released by the Aspen Police Department.

After the incident that led to Sheen's Christmas Day arrest, Mueller told police she had told Sheen she wanted a divorce and would get custody of their two children. Mueller said he became enraged, straddling her, grabbing her by the neck and held a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her. The report notes red marks on Mueller's neck.

In his statement to police Officer Rick Magnuson, Sheen, identified in police documents by his birth name, Carlos Irwin Estevez, denies threatening Mueller with a knife or strangling her. He said he and Mueller had been having marital problems lately and that his wife had a problem with alcohol.

Sheen told police that the argument with his wife began at 3:30 am on Christmas morning and was instigated after Mueller became upset about a song that Sheen sang with his daughter from his second marriage to actress Denise Richards. Sheen said Mueller is jealous of his relationship with his daughter.

The actor claims that Mueller threatened to divorce him. He said he was upset by these threats because of his previous history.

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Filed under: Crime • Entertainment • Larry King Live


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December 29, 2009

Judge denies Bristol Palin's request to keep custody fight private

Posted: 11:21 PM ET

Levi Johnston joined Bristol Palin and her family at the Republican National Convention in 2008.(CNN) - An Alaska judge has denied Bristol Palin's request that her court fight with ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston over custody of their son be kept private to avoid a "media circus."

The daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is seeking full custody of 1-year-old Tripp, contending that Johnston is too immature to be a responsible father and that his mother's felony drug conviction makes her a danger to the child.

Bristol Palin filed for full custody in November, but Johnston is seeking shared custody. Both parents are 19. Their teenage relationship fell under an intense public spotlight after Sen. John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate in August 2008.

Court documents, now unsealed, were published online Monday by the Anchorage Daily News.

Johnston joined the family at the Republican National Convention after the campaign confirmed that Bristol, then 17, was five months pregnant with his child. The couple broke off their engagement about two months after their son's birth in December 2008.

Johnston has asked that the case conducted in public to protect himself from Sarah Palin, whom he said was "powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive." But Bristol Palin's request that the case be sealed said public proceedings "will turn this custody case into a media circus which is not in Tripp's best interest."

"In this day and age of the Internet, media stories remain available for years, even decades, after they are first published, and anything printed in the media (whether it is true or not) will be available to Tripp when he is old enough to read," Palin said in a sworn affidavit.

She said Johnston wanted a public case so he could "continue to make a spectacle of this custody dispute for his own self-promotion." Johnston was set to take part in a reality show in Alaska, she said.

"I do not believe that it would be in Tripp's best interest for Levi's reality show to be filming this case as it unfolds, or for Levi Johnston to be capitalizing off of this custody case through his reality show," Palin said.

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Filed under: Larry King Live • Politics


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Posted: 11:13 PM ET

Filed under: Larry King Live • Michael Jackson


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Heckuvajob, Napolitano

Posted: 06:11 PM ET

by Reihan Salam via The Daily Beast.com

Janet Napolitano says there's no indication the failed Detroit attack was part of a broad international effort. The DHS secretary will likely survive her "the system worked" flub. The real damage, Reihan Salam says, is to Democrats' 2010 chances now that the GOP has a new opening for white voters.

Of all President Obama's cabinet members, Janet Napolitano was until recently a good bet for the most likely to succeed. As the popular Democratic governor of Arizona, long considered a deep-red bastion of Goldwaterite conservatism, she had already demonstrated tremendous political prowess. Indeed, she was touted by many as a potential running mate for Obama or as a giant-killer who could defeat John McCain in a Senate race. As a tough prosecutor during the Clinton years, she had a pitch perfect resume for a New Democrat: tough on drug dealers, but also tough on white-collar criminals. And as governor of a state that includes a large Latino population and more than a few rock-ribbed right-wingers, she was also unusually good at finessing the always-tough issue of border security.

That is undoubtedly why the president named her as his pick for the thankless job of heading the bureaucratic ass-covering monstrosity we like to call the Department of Homeland Security. Looking ahead to 2010 and 2012, the White House had good reason to expect that immigration reform would be the issue to watch, and there was no better choice than a tough-as-nails, super-competent border state governor to mind the store. But then came the case of the explosive underpants.

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Filed under: Crime • Larry King Live • Politics • President Obama


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Tonight on LKL

Posted: 06:07 PM ET

Terror in the Air

BREAKING NEWS–

THE TERROR SUSPECT– WHO ALLEGEDLY GOT ON A PLANE WITH A BOMB– WAS

REPORTED TO THE C-I-A BY HIS OWN FATHER-

 DID THE AGENCY DROP THE BALL– PUTTING HUNDREDS OF LIVES ON THE LINE?

And, we want to hear from you...

What should come first with air travel security: privacy or safety?

Filed under: Larry King Live


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President Obama's options for airline security

Posted: 05:57 PM ET

Via Politico

By JOSH GERSTEIN

President Barack Obama has promised to tighten up aviation security in the wake of last week’s frightening attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit, but experts say nearly all the steps Obama is likely to consider come with tradeoffs that have scared off other policymakers in the past.

Obama said he’s ordered a review of the terrorist watch list system to determine why a warning the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria received from the father of alleged bomber Omar Abdulmutallab didn’t result in Abdulmutallab being barred from flying to the U.S. or given extra security screening. The president also said he’s asked his subordinates to look at why existing screening didn’t detect the plastic explosives he managed to bring on board the plane — allegedly by concealing them in boxer shorts crafted by Al Qaeda bomb-makers.

Some things likely to be quickly addressed are specific to last Friday’s attack. They include giving more weight to complaints from family members that a relative has become radicalized and may engage in terrorism. "The Saudis will tell you that’s some of the most important and reliable information you can get,” said Fran Townsend, homeland security coordinator under President George W. Bush.

There are other obvious loopholes to be closed. Officials say they’re considering an automatic review of outstanding visas for people entered into the broad U.S. terrorism database. And perhaps greater information-sharing with allies such as Britain, which, unbeknownst to the U.S., refused to grant Abdulmutallab a new student visa after he allegedly provided the name of a nonexistent school.

But broader policy changes have greater ramifications — tradeoffs that the Bush administration was well aware of. And while increasing security may seem like a political no-brainer, some frequent travelers have become so incensed at what they call “security theater” that they are recoiling at steps already taken, such as banning the use of blankets and personal items in the last hour of some flights.

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Filed under: Airline Industry • Politics • President Obama • Terrorism


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The return of terror politics

Posted: 05:50 PM ET

From Jim Acosta, CNN

Washington (CNN) - When President Obama spoke out on the terrorism scare in Detroit, Michigan, he entered a debate that had already begun over his administration's new approach to combating terrorism.

"As a nation we will do everything in our power to protect our country," Obama said while vacationing in Hawaii. "We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland."

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is being held for allegedly trying to blow up a flight carrying 300 passengers on Christmas Day. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Monday for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Yemeni soil.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially gave something of a thumbs up to the government's handling of the Detroit terror scare.

"One thing I want to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action," Napolitano said on CNN's State of the Union.

Within minutes, Republicans went on the attack.

"Earlier today Secretary Napolitano said the system worked. in fact the system did not work," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

When pressed, Napolitano later dialed back her remarks.

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Filed under: Politics • President Obama • Terrorism


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Reports: Costs, privacy obstruct widespread use of screening systems

Posted: 03:26 PM ET

Via The Washington Post

By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Spencer Hsu

Washington Post Staff Writer

When alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab casually boarded his flight for Detroit on Christmas Day, he unwittingly confirmed repeated warnings about the chronic, costly shortcomings of government efforts to create better systems to screen travelers for bombs, weapons and other threats.

The incident follows a long series of public and confidential government findings that the massive push for new high-technology systems - some of them promising almost science-fiction-like abilities to detect and communicate threats - often has fallen short, and that billions of dollars were being wasted on systems that do not work or are behind schedule.

In the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, federal officials pledged to use information technology to identify terrorists, while also creating new machines that would automatically detect explosives, sense whether passengers were lying, and scan other materials for threats.

The Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies have spent billions of dollars to develop security systems, including more than $795 million for research and development of high-tech checkpoint screening equipment.

But government watch lists failed to identify Abdulmutallab as a likely terrorist, even though his name was put in one of the most important government databases after his father had warned officials that he could be a threat. And none of the high-tech screening equipment under development by the Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate was used to screen him.

According to government reports, mismanagement of research, concerns about privacy, the high costs of installation and, in some cases, opposition from industry and Congress have hindered the widespread deployment of 10 systems at airports in the United States and abroad.

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Filed under: Terrorism


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PETN: The powder at the center of airline terror alert

Posted: 02:58 PM ET

(CNN) - The Christmas Day airline terror alert has brought focus on PETN, a substance till now largely unknown to the public.

The white powder is said to be central to the alleged plot by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to bring down a passenger aircraft, carrying 300 passengers, as it prepared to land in Detroit. But just what is PETN?

What does PETN look like?

Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, to give it its full name, is a fine white powder that resembles sugar or salt. It does not compress down very well.

How easy is to obtain?

The core chemical in PETN is hard to make or get your hands on.

How volatile is PETN?

Not very. Although it is an explosive, you have to hammer it or ignite it to make it go off. And since it is not volatile, it is perfect for a terrorist on a long haul flight.

As Sidney Alford, a UK explosives expert, explained to CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson: "It wouldn't go off accidentally. If I was carrying a pocketful of just neat powder in my pocket, it blowing up would be the last of my worries."

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Filed under: Crime • Larry King Live • Terrorism


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Why scandals don't faze Charlie Sheen's career

Posted: 02:48 PM ET

By Jo Piazza, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Will the Christmas Day arrest of one of America's highest-paid television actors spell the end of his career? When that actor is Charlie Sheen, the answer is probably not.

Sheen, 44, whose real name is Carlos Irwin Estevez, has known scandal before and has worked each of his arrests, divorces and indiscretions into the canon of bad-boy lore that has made him essentially scandal-proof.

"Charlie Sheen has bounced back from various scandals, and I don't think anyone expects anything more from him," said public relations expert Vanessa J. Horwell, founder and Chief Visibility Officer of ThinkInk PR. "Bad-boy behavior is part of his persona that's been a work in progress since the 1980s. He has bounced back time and time again."

The latest scandal to rock Sheen's world is his December 25 arrest in Aspen, Colorado, on second-degree assault and menacing charges, both felonies, and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Sheen has been married to sometime actress and real estate investor Brooke Mueller Sheen, 32, his third wife, since May 2008. The couple have twin sons who were born in March. They were reportedly having an argument when he was arrested.

A 911 call released by Aspen police on Monday revealed Mueller Sheen reporting a domestic abuse case and alleging that Sheen was threatening her with a knife.

Sheen's publicist Stan Rosenfield issued a statement following the arrest on Friday urging against a rush to judgment against his client.

"Do not be misled by appearance," Rosenfield said. "Appearance and reality can be as different as night and day. It would benefit everyone not to jump to any conclusion."

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Filed under: Entertainment


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