CNN, Jan. 3, 2002
Aired January 3, 2003 – 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I’m Connie Chung.
Tonight: a custody battle unlike any in human history. What should be done with the alleged cloned baby?
ANNOUNCER: A baby custody battle is brewing, but where’s the baby? Renewed controversy over an alien cult and what it calls the first cloned human being. We’ll meet the group’s leader and the man who’s taking him on.
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This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York: Connie Chung.
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CHUNG: Good evening, everyone.
Tonight: It’s not just a weird story. It is a story unlike any in human history. And it just gets more and more strange. It started with the claim, still unsubstantiated, that a baby clone has been born, Eve, the first human clone, according to a religious sect that believes aliens create life on Earth. The Raelian sect claims more clones are on the way.
The lawyer who filed suit is Bernard Siegel, who joins us from Miami. And the Raelian leader, who asks us to call him his holiness, and he holds that all humans are descended from clones, joins us from Sherbrooke, Canada.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being joining us.
You want to be called your holiness. I will absolutely do that.
You have not seen this baby. You haven’t met the parents. There isn’t any evidence that this baby actually exists.
RAEL, LEADER OF RAELIANS: Good evening.
I don’t think so. And I want to make something very clear at the beginning. The cloning company and
CHUNG: I know that the cloning company, you are no longer connected to it. I understand that.
RAEL: Not at all.
CHUNG: I want to know if there is any evidence. Have you seen — do you know of anyone who has met the parents or seen the baby to prove that it actually exists?
RAEL: Nothing. I know nothing. And I don’t even know the name of the company, because Dr. Boisselier created a company last year in the United States with (CROSSTALK)
CHUNG: Then, why should anyone believe that there is indeed a cloned baby?
RAEL: That’s a question. And until there are proofs, I think it is good to have doubt. And I am, like everybody, waiting for proof to happen.
CHUNG: You do doubt that there might be — might not be a cloned baby?
RAEL: I trust Dr. Boisselier. So, I think there is, because I have no reason to doubt her. And I think she was ready with this journalist, the American journalist, Michael Guillen, to create a team to check if it was really a cloned baby with genetic testing. But then this…
CHUNG: But that DNA testing will not occur anyway. And you have even recommended that it not proceed. Why? What are you afraid of?
Oh, I am afraid to separate the little child, the little baby from the mother. And I have no power on Dr. Boisselier. She do whatever she want. But I am just her spiritual leader. And I told her: Even if your reputation is at stake, to take away a little baby from the mother for stupid reasons is terrible. And I think — I told her: It is better to lose your reputation than to make that happen.
CHUNG: All right, Bernard Siegel, this is really not your business. You’re not connected with this case in any way. Why are you filing suit?
BERNARD SIEGEL, ATTORNEY: Well, as I see it, this child needs a guardian.
When I first heard this story, I was as stunned as anyone else. I didn’t see any action being taken by any governmental agency to protect the child. And under Florida law, a citizen has a right, if they have knowledge of an abused child or an endangered child, to bring an action to seek a guardian appointed. So I filed that action. And I think this child does need a guardian.
CHUNG: But, Mr. Siegel, there is no evidence that even a child exists.
SIEGEL: This company, Clonaid, saw fit to come to Broward County, Florida, and announce to the world that they had created the first cloned human being. Taking it at face value, something should be done about it.
CHUNG: Your holiness, isn’t this really a hoax?
RAEL: I don’t think so. I have every reason to believe that Dr. Boisselier really did a great job trying to (CROSSTALK)
CHUNG: Why do you have every reason to believe that this woman, Brigitte Boisselier, has indeed told the truth?
RAEL: Because I trust her. She’s a very honest person. And until now, she never deceived me or was in any way something I can have doubt about. So, I trust her.
CHUNG: Don’t you think that you and she might be, if you admit it, just seeking publicity?
RAEL: I have all the benefits and not the risk, because she has created the company. She is doing that. And she’s — her own reputation is at risk.
She’s just a Raelian. And if she was Christian, you would not talk like that to the Catholic pope. So, it is her religion. And I support her belief. I support what she’s doing now.
CHUNG: Now, you say it is a religion. However, there have been reports that you freely have sex with women followers of you. How can the American public believe that you aren’t anything but a megalomaniac who is the head of some crazy cult?
RAEL: This is pure defamation. And this is completely false.
We have many American members who come to our meetings every year. We have a huge meeting in July in Quebec for one week on a big campaign. And they have seen the truth. And you can talk to them. The national — the person responsible of the national Raelian movement in America, Ricky Roehr, who is in Las Vegas, can talk to you also.
And he has seen many, many Raelian and many, many meeting of the movement and never ever there is this kind of thing. It is some tabloid tried to make a scandal with our beliefs.
CHUNG: Mr. Siegel, some might question why you did get involved. Is it because you wanted publicity?
If someone has knowledge of an abused child, there is a legal and moral obligation to report it to the authorities and take some action. They inflicted some medical experiment, untested, unproven medical experiment on an innocent child. And that child probably has genetic defects, given the results of animal cloning, without any medical safety net.
So if there is a baby Eve, what medical safety net has Clonaid provided? Where is Clonaid’s hospital? What happens if, a month down the road, it is not really a bouncing baby girl, but a little girl that is sick, with a genetic defect, and there is no medical research to treat her and to safeguard her?
CHUNG: All right, we may be able to get more information on — is it January 22 when there is a court date?
CHUNG: There will be a court date on January 22, correct, Mr. Siegel?
SIEGEL: Yes. January 22, there is an arraignment hearing on this case.
CHUNG: All right, very quickly, Rael?
CHUNG: In 10 seconds, please.
First of all, if there is a baby, according to what Dr. Boisselier says, she was born not in the United States, conceived not in the United States. So, there is absolutely no jurisdiction from Florida or anywhere else. This was just
SIEGEL: Then they should do the DNA test. Do the DNA test, then.
RAEL: That’s not of your business.
CHUNG: Why won’t you do a DNA test, sir?
RAEL: Ah, but it has nothing to do with the custody of the child who is not in America, was not conceived in America. There is no jurisdiction about that.
SIEGEL: Then they shouldn’t use this case as an excuse.
CHUNG: All right, gentlemen, I thank you so much. I wish I could talk to you longer.