July 9th, 2009
10:59 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Grave-selling scheme?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/09/iran.protests.anniversary/art.tehran.protests.gi.jpg caption="Protests by Iranians, such as this one on June 15, have been defended by the reformist figures."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

A modern-day grave digging case has been uncovered in Chicago. Employees at an historic cemetery in one of the city’s suburbs allegedly dug up more than 100 graves as part of an off-the-books scheme to resell burial plots to unsuspecting customers. How did they get away with that? Many prominent African Americans, such as lynching victim Emmett Till, blues legend Dinah Washington and some Negro League baseball players, were buried in the famous cemetery.

And Chicago residents have seen a rash of violence plague their Windy City over the past year. We’ve been following reports of crime and shootings closely – on July 4th there were approximately 22 to 63 incidents of gunfire and eight deaths. Why is there so much bloodshed in this city? And how are people in Chicago dealing with the crime? Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited an ER in the city recently to see how the hospital staff is coping with the large numbers of victims of this unabated violence. Within minutes of his arrival, two people showed up to the ER with gunshot wounds. The doctors told him this was just a ‘routine’ night. Check out his report from inside the ER tonight.

As demonstrations continue in Iran over the recent election, today marks the tenth anniversary of the country’s student protests. In 1999, students speaking out against the regime shut down a reformist newspaper and were beaten and arrested in a bloody government crackdown. Today, an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people crowded the streets in Tehran to commemorate the anniversary. Iranian pro-government Basij militia members dispersed the crowds – sometimes with force – according to people on the scene. We’ll bring you the latest on the situation.

President Obama and his G8 buddies agreed to work to reduce global warming today. They’re also reaching out to leaders from ‘up-and-coming’ economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt) to urge them to tackle global warming as well. Is it just me or does this distinction make it sound like the world has been divided up into varsity and junior varsity leagues?

President Obama is also expected to push for further international financial stimulus packages at the summit today – yet another sign that the economic crisis is still a major concern for the global economy.

And Randi Kaye will bring us the latest on the investigation into Michael Jackson’s death. This case seems to get more complicated by the day. The Los Angeles county coroner’s office has drawn up a list of doctors who treated Jackson and will question them about the medications they prescribed to the star. The exact cause of his death is pending results from a toxicology report – which are expected to be released in the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday we learned from two sources close to the family that Jackson’s sister, Janet, was so worried after visiting the emaciated singer in 2007 that she tried to stage an intervention with assistance from her brothers. Randi is digging deeper on all of the details – including more about his children and where he might be buried.

What are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Lawana

    what will happen to the doctors that gave him all these medications?

    I think that they should be punished...

    July 10, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  2. lynne

    You forgot to mention that Chicago has the highest tax percentage in the country–10.25%. It's appauling.
    The mayor is corrupt, the last 2 govenors are in prison for corruption. The new govenor wants to raise the taxes more.

    July 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  3. Lampe

    AnnF: I beg to differ with you. When Obama took the oath of office they became his problems. So now they are his responsibilty.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  4. Jeannette Kucan

    We have been become a very sick and disturbing society. Reselling grave plots what is wrong with people????? The dead are not even safe from sick,disturbed people.Who ever did this should get the worst punishment!! I think they need to spend the rest of their lives in the worst mental institution. Jail is to good for them!!

    July 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  5. Diana Maria

    About those graves...
    My niece called me last night and told me the story. My husband's mother is or was buried in Burr Oak cemetery and also my brother's wife. Both families are upset and getting no answers. What the hell...?

    About M. J. and his children...
    Leave them alone.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  6. Cindy

    The Chicago Tribune is now reporting that over 300 bodies were dug up in that cemetery not 100. It seems like they really had a scheme going. Now I really would like to know what they did with the bodies and caskets. That's a lot to get rid of.


    July 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Ann F (IL)

    Everyone knows that the state of Illinois has some less desireable traits, especially those of us that live here. By the way, Obama leaving has nothing to do with the condition of the state, he wasn't responsible for all of these problems, he just brought the spotlight to them.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  8. Larry

    Biding time til Jackson, Sharpton, Oprah, etc make it a national story. Obama leaves Chicago and it falls apart.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  9. Joanne Pacicca

    I agree Teresa. Also, to put everything about MJ's children in perspective, would adoptive parents without addictions and fame be put through this genetic soup chaos?

    He did love them, they are wonderful children. As you said, he did not love himself enough to beat addiction.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  10. Larry

    Why is there such a fuss over a simple paternity test? Look who ended up with Anna Nicol Smith's daughter, not the guy we always saw at her side Howard K. Stern but some nobody. Howard should have been given custody or her mother.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  11. Teresa, OH

    @Cindy: I agree with you on the grave diggers/ money grubbers getting prison time.

    And I also agree with you somewhat on MJ's childrens bio-father.
    The only way it would be an issue IS in fact, if the bio-father wanted to be part of thier lives and was somehow shut out. I dont think the world should find out who their bio-father is UNTIL the children know first. MJ does appear to have been an incredibly loving father... it's too bad he didn't love himself, though. One thing I am seeing CLEARLY through all this media coverage on MJ, is he was a master manipulator... which is OK if thats what he felt he needed to do to survive.

    Why SJP isnt getting hounded is because, frankly, no one cares about her the way we did about MJ. True dat.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  12. Cindy

    So if they were digging up the graves to resale the land in Chicago I just want to know what were they doing with the body's that they were digging up? Were they just throwing them out somewhere on another piece of land like trash? Those people are ridiculous and really need to be given some serious time in prison.

    I can understand wanting to know how Jackson died and I am all well and good with you all looking into that but when it comes to the kids I really think you all are crossing the line!! To be speculating on who is their father and hounding Jackson's dermatologist about it is ridiculous. Regardless if Michael used his sperm or not to have the children they are his. He loved and nurtured them in good time and bad. Any man can sleep around and make a baby but that still doesn't make him a dad. Why are you all hounding on this? Sarah Jessica Parker just had twins through surrogacy. I don't see you all hounding her and asking if they used her egg and her husbands sperm to make those babies! So why is that any different!? Lay off the kids! You are exploiting them for ratings and that is ridiculous!!


    July 9, 2009 at 11:17 am |