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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Mandating Health Care; Zimmerman's Account Of Killing; Feel The "Hunger"; Neighborhood Watch Killing of African-American Teen Continues to Garner National Attention; Interview with Florida State Attorney Angela Corey; A Journey of Rehab; Differing Accounts of Trayvon Killing
Aired March 27, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody.
Our STARTING POINT this morning, the health care law on trial. Today is the main event, controversial mandate at the heart of President Obama's plan reform.
Also, new details in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. A leaked police report described the violent fight led George Zimmerman to pull his gun and maybe pull the trigger.
And President Obama pulling a Joe Biden?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: A private conversation between world leaders caught on an open mic. Will people never learn? Seriously? Never learn?
The president today making a joke about it. But the former governor, Mitt Romney, is accusing him of telling the Russians one thing and telling the American people another.
Also, trying to relate to kids. Madonna cursed out by a deejay for this shout-out to a young dance crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADONNA: I have a few questions for you. How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Apparently, that's a reference to the club drug ecstasy? The crowd goes wild. The deejay mad about it. That's interesting.
It's Tuesday, March 27th. STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: That's off my playlist, Pink, "Raise Your Glass."
Our panel this morning: John Fugelsang is a political comedian. Will Cain is a columnist for TheBlaze.com. And Keli Goff is a contributing editor for TheLoop21.com, also rocking the ponytail this morning, which I appreciate.
KELI GOFF, THELOOP21.COM: In solidarity, my sister.
O'BRIEN: Exactly. Exactly.
Our STARTING POINT this morning is the Supreme Court and the centerpiece of the president's health care overhaul is really what's on trial before the Supreme Court. It's going to happen in roughly two hours or so. And it will focus on the question: can government force people to buy something they don't necessarily want?
It goes back to the Commerce Clause in the Constitution from 1787, which says this: "The Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states and with Indian tribes."
Supporters of the individual mandate say making people buy insurance is constitutional because it falls under that Commerce Clause. Opponents say, no, you can't regulate inaction. A decision to not buy health insurance doesn't count as commerce. Supporters' answer to that, all those uninsured people create a $43 billion bill in unpaid medical bills and that impacts commerce.
Joining me this morning is South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. Jeff Toobin is back as well. He is CNN's senior legal analyst. It's nice to see you, sir.
So, I will start with you this morning. You are one of the people who was interested in bringing this lawsuit. Why do you think you can win on this case?
ALAN WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, what you just read was the Commerce Clause and in that clause it says Congress should have the power to regulate commerce. This is the first time in the history of our country that a law was passed where Congress created commerce by shoving people into it, by forcing them to enter into a contract that they may or may not want or need, and then regulate them after they shove them in.
Congress was very specific or rather the drafters of the Constitution were very specific when they drafted that clause. If you look right below that clause, Congress is given the power to create money, to coin money and then regulate it; to provide for a navy and an army and then regulate it. They never once gave Congress the power to create commerce, only to regulate it.
In this case, they are effectively creating commerce by compelling people to enter into a contract, they may not want.
O'BRIEN: And the argument on the other side and I think Jeff Toobin is with you, would be that they would say, actually, it's not creating commerce, it's regulating commerce. I can hear protesters. That means Jeff Toobin is with us.
You just -- the argument is the same interpretation of that Commerce Clause.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Are you talking to me?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I am, Jeff. Sorry, I know the noise had --
TOOBIN: Yes, the idea is that if you choose not to buy health insurance, you are making an economic decision that has implications for the whole country. If you choose not to buy health insurance and you get hit by a car, you're going to be taken to the hospital. You're going to be treated. Somebody is going to pay for that.
That is an economic decision that has an effect that Congress is allowed to regulate. That's the argument. That there is no such thing as being outside the commerce of the health care market. That's why Congress has the right to regulate it.
O'BRIEN: So, it sounds then that it's not just about, Mr. Wilson, commerce being created. It sounds like commerce is created is what the other side would say.
What makes you have hope for your side in the arguments that you heard yesterday, sir?
WILSON: Well, real quick, the argument that I just heard about this being a health care market is a misnomer. It's a health insurance market. Not eating cheeseburgers or choosing to eat a cheeseburger or choosing to breathe even affects the health care market and the aggregate. So, if they define it as a health care market and not a health care insurance market, they can regulate any and very aspect of anyone's life so long as they are breathing or eating.
Yesterday's argument were specifically on the Anti-Injunction Act which basically said that if this is not a tax, then it's not barred -- the court is not barred by Anti-Injunction Act from hearing the rest of this case. It's kind of funny where the government two years ago for political reasons said this isn't a tax. This is a penalty.
Now, because it's constitutionally convenient, they are arguing that it is a tax and they can tax, they can regulate -- not regulate, but they can tax under their authority in the Constitution.
So I feel very good that the justices had a lot of concerns about whether or not this was actually a tax and not a penalty.
O'BRIEN: So, Jeff Toobin, I'm going to ask you to expand on that for me, because we heard a call to requirement. We've heard a call to command. We've heard a call to tax. We've heard a call to penalty. We've heard a call to provision.
Why does nuance in that word really matter?
TOOBIN: Well, I think it mattered yesterday because of this very obscure law, the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act said in effect you can't challenge the legality of a tax until you actually pay the tax. And here, the law doesn't go into effect until 2015. The argument is, if it's a tax law that doesn't go into effect until 2015, you shouldn't go to court until 2015.
One of the -- one of the arguments that was made yesterday is that whole law is irrelevant because this isn't a tax. It's a penalty.
I actually think those sorts of labels disputes are not terribly meaningful. And I don't think the court thinks they're very meaningful.
One of the things Chief Justice Roberts said in the argument yesterday is, look, this is -- you know, you are paying money. Regardless of what you label it, you are going to have to pay money if you don't get health insurance. I think that's the appropriate analysis. It's not labeling. It's sort of what is the function, what is happening in the real world.
And under this, under the Affordable Care Act, if you choose not to get health insurance, you have to pay a certain amount to the government instead. Whether you call that a tax or a penalty, I don't think is terribly significant. But that is what you have to do in fact in the real world.
O'BRIEN: We're going to give it to Alan Wilson for our final question because I know Jeff Toobin is having a really hard time hearing over those protestors.
You called this, sir, the most important case of a lifetime. Why?
WILSON: Well, just that. This case will determine if we have a government of limited powers or a government with unlimited powers.
If the court rules that Congress can in fact regulate inactivity for anyone who basically breathes, then there's no end to what Congress can compel -- compel you to do. And fundamentally, this is forcing people in the contracts.
Contracts are supposed to be between two parties who are mutually agreeing to do something together. In this case, you're being forced into a contract. There's nothing mutual about that. And that is a fundamental protection.
O'BRIEN: Alan Wilson is the South Carolina attorney general, and we thank you for joining us this morning. We certainly appreciate it.
WILSON: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Jeff Toobin is with us as well at the Supreme Court where protesters are kind loud.
All right. We got other headlines to get to this morning. Zoraida Sambolin has those for us.
Hey, Z. Good morning.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you.
A developing story in Florida. Police say they wrapped up their investigation into the suspected hazing death of a member of the Florida A&M University band. Investigators have interviewed more than 40 people about the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion. That was in November.
The drum major died within an hour of being beaten in a ritual called crossing bus C. The case is now in the hands of the Florida attorney general.
And day two of Pope Benedict's historic visit to Cuba will bring him to Havana. He was greeted in Santiago yesterday by President Raul Castro. The Pope calling on Cubans to build a renewed and more open society. Cuba was once an atheist state, that is the only second papal visit there.
And gas prices rising for 18 days straight now. AAA says the new national average for gas, $3.90 a gallon up, that's up one-tenth of a cent. Gas prices, they're up almost 20 percent so far this year alone, inching closer to that $4 a gallon mark nationally. That is a point where analysts say people start adjusting their spending habits.
And now, let's check in on markets. U.S. stock futures trading mostly flat, down slightly right now. Investors are feeling nervous, ahead of a report on housing and consumer confident. Both are out a little later this morning.
And NASA putting on a light show early this morning, launching five rockets into space in a matter of minutes from the launch pad in Virginia. Each rocket producing its own glowing cloud at the edge of space. It was visible to parts of the East Coast. Those chemical tracers released to study high level jet stream winds.
And a dance music deejay is blasting Madonna, accusing the Material Girl of endorsing drug use. The controversy surrounds Madonna's appearance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami this past weekend, and her shout-out to the crowd. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADONNA: I have a few questions for you. How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Molly is a slang term for the main chemical in ecstasy. While the crowd cheered, DJ Deadmau5 went on a Facebook rant, also on Twitter, calling her an idiot and saying some other things that we can't repeat on morning television.
So, Madonna responded on Twitter, which she rarely does, with a picture of her in mouse ears saying, quote, "From one mouse to another, I don't support drug abuse and never have." Madonna was apparently referring to the song "Have You Seen Molly" that was actually written by a friend and is on her latest album, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: She was just promoting her album. That's all but resolved. It was ultimately about Madonna self-promoting.
SAMBOLIN: As it always is.
O'BRIEN: Yes. All right. Z, thanks.
SAMBOLIN: You're welcome.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: former Navy commander tells Congress about his experiences with racism. He's going to join us in a little bit and talk about the Trayvon Martin case.
Also, one of the biggest actors of our time and one of the biggest blockbusters in history, Donald Sutherland, joins us to talk about "The Hunger Games."
We leave you with John's playlist. Little Jackie, "The World Should Revolve Around Me."
You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: So, what happened the night that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed? There's some new information that paints some very different pictures of the confrontation and the two men involved. According to George Zimmerman's version, which is being reported by the "Orlando Sentinel," Zimmerman is said to have lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him.
Two exchanged words. Martin has been accused of punching Zimmerman and slamming his head into the sidewalk. We also learned that Trayvon was suspended from his high school after an empty plastic bag with marijuana residue was found in his book bag. And these details come out national outrage continues to grow one month after the shooting.
There have been more than a dozen rallies held from Los Angeles to Detroit to Atlanta. Barry Black is the Senate chaplain. He held a hoodies on the Hill gathering last week. It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us. You told a story about walking around your neighborhood in 1987. And I want you to describe -- retell that story for us again which you shared with folks on Capitol Hill. BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Well, I thought about the story, Soledad, when I heard the 911 tapes where George Zimmerman said this guy looks like he's up to no good. And all of a sudden, it brought it back. And I wondered to myself, what does that look like?
I was walking in my neighborhood in 1987 when a patrol car pulled around the corner, and without asking me any questions or for any identification at all, the next thing I know I was up against the patrol car being frisked. And I remembered the conversation my mother had with me as I approached puberty about how you should respond to authority.
She was almost encouraging me to be obsequious. And so, I wouldn't take my hand off of the car. I told the officer my I.D. is in my sock, and you get it. I am not taking my hand off this car. But I also remember the rage I felt and had to contain. The officer took my green military I.D. card, and then, with incredulity, said to me you are a navy commander?
Now, you know, I was 39 years old. I said with a sigh, what does the card say? And so, you know, it was an experience quite interestingly that I never talked to my wife about. It was just something that I absorbed and continued --
O'BRIEN: Why not?
BLACK: Because I can think of instances in my life where I've been guilty of parking while Black, driving while Black, jogging while Black, and walking while Black. I parked in an admiral's spot at the Bolling Air Force Base. I was a two-star admiral. I was in civilian clothes. A car screeched to a stop and a lieutenant colonel, I could tell by the insignia on the window, got out and chewed me out for parking in an admiral spot.
Son, you don't do that. I know it's a long walk and on and on. And I said with a sigh when I looked at my I.D. card this morning, I was an admiral. He blushed and said, well, good for you and that was all that was to it. So, these are things -- it's very interesting. There's an experience of living in this nation that many African- American males feel or experience that most people are total totally unaware of. And you don't even talk about it.
O'BRIEN: Does it fill you with rage? You know, my little brother -- and I think everybody's brother, right, at some point, had this experience. He was a medical student. Same thing. Stopped by the police, they dumped at his bag, made him lie in the street. Classic you know how it goes.
And he was so angry afterwards because he sort of vaguely kind of sort of fit kind of a description, and obviously, it wasn't him. And he was just so angry. And he was angry for such a long time. I remember being just stunned by his rage. Did you feel rage? Do you think people are just, you know -- have this underlying anger about this assumption that they're up to something if they're not?
BLACK: When I was younger, I definitely felt a tremendous amount of anger. I felt insulted. The older I get, the more I actually feel, sometimes, pity. When you're being frisked by someone who, in terms of rank seniority in the military, is, you know, significantly lower, and yet, you know, you have to put up with it without any kind of interaction, without any kind of conversation, you just look like a suspicious character.
Some neighbors called and said a suspicious person is walking around in the neighborhood, maybe chasing homes. Yes. That makes you rather angry, particularly, when you have read many of the sociopolitical documents that formed the foundation of this great nation.
O'BRIEN: Barry Black is the Senate chaplain. We appreciate you talking with us this morning, sir. Thank you.
BLACK: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, we talk to Angela Corey. She's the special prosecutor who is going to be investigating the Trayvon Martin case. Also, you can join our CNN town hall, "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." I'll be hosting that.
It airs on Friday, 8:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN. If you want to be in the audience for that town hall, by the way, you can go to our website and sign up at CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT.
Coming up next this morning, one of the biggest actors of our time is in one of the biggest blockbusters in history. Donald Sutherland talks to us about "The Hunger Games."
Plus, every student equipped with a big brother. A school that's now embedding school uniforms with a microchip to track children. That might make my job easier. We're going to leave you with Kelly's playlist. Fleetwood Mac "Gypsy." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: The movie "The Hunger Games" had a record box office opening this weekend, taking in $155 million in U.S. ticket sales. That would make it the best opening ever for a non-sequel movie. It's based off the bestselling young adult novel called by same name.
And the film is set in post-apocalyptic America called Panem where teenagers are forced into an annual televised battle to the death. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not going to pick you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Primrose Everdeen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Present! I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Donald Sutherland plays President Snow in the film, and he joins us. Nice to have you with us. Did you love the books? My daughters are here because they love the books, and they were dying to come and be part of this interview.
DONALD SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: I didn't know anything about them. I was given a script by Gary Ross, which so moved me and so excited me and energized and enthused me. It seemed to me that it had the possibility to be -- a generation changing catalyst that would move young people to take control of their destiny.
O'BRIEN: Tell me about President Snow, because he's kind of head of a very evil bunch of people.
SUTHERLAND: Hey, hey, evil bunch of people?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I think so.
SUTHERLAND: What have we got today, you know? Where are we? This is the -- the, you know, it's apocalyptic, but the apocalypse is very close at hand. You know, they kill people in "The Hunger Games," but that's so they don't kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you look at the death list in "The New York Times," those are kids, you know? They're 20. They're 20 years old. Their lives are sacrificed.
So, instead of having that, they have a war games called the Hunger Games. They kill 23 of the 24 selected every year. And the reason being that, it offers hope.
O'BRIEN: Well, you have a clip of that that I want to play. And, I'm told that this is something that's not in the book.
SUTHERLAND: No. Neither of those scenes in the --
O'BRIEN: Yes, but let's play the clip first, and then, we'll look and discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUTHERLAND: Why do we have a winner? Hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope?
SUTHERLAND: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine as long as it's contained.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Why did you want that in the film? What does it add to the story that's not in the book?
SUTHERLAND: It just explains how the rationale behind that particular kind of menace that is politics, you know? How extraordinary to have the vision to know that if you kill 23 and leave one alive that you're offering hope to people and how clever to know that hope is a spark and it's great. But if you allow that spark to become a flame, that flame becomes a revolution and you burn.
O'BRIEN: So, if it's an allegory, what's the message for young people?
SUTHERLAND: Take control of your destiny. Don't allow yourselves to be complacent. Don't ridicule Occupy Wall Street or whatever. Don't -- have a good look at why people are standing, we're standing up in Egypt and Libya and in Syria. Why people standing crowds protesting a government knowing for well that some of them will be decimated, shot to death by arm soldiers.
O'BRIEN: Do you think American young people just don't care or did you think that the social media --
SUTHERLAND: When you look at what happens all the activity that we went through in the 1960s in the very -- it was all co-opted by corporations, and we became a brand name. And, people became complacent and then felt that they couldn't do anything, but you can do something. They can kill people. They can jail people, but they cannot jail or kill an idea and the germ of that idea is contained in this film.
O'BRIEN: It's a great movie. Thanks for coming in to talk to us. We appreciate it. Pleasure is mine.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, what does Herman Cain have against bunnies? Have you seen his new ad? It's been yanked from YouTube. I think it's been returned, though.
Also, Trayvon Martin's family is now confirming why he wasn't in school the day he was killed. Roland Martin spoke to the family. We're going to talk to Roland about that. And also, we'll talk to the special prosecutor who's now been assigned to the case. That's straight ahead. Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: -- Martin's family is now confirming why he wasn't in school the day he was killed. Roland Martin spoke to the family. We'll also talk to Roland about that. And also we'll talk to the special prosecutor who has not been assigned to the case. That's straight ahead. Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We'll get right to headlines with Zoraida Sambolin. Good morning.
SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. The highly charged Trayvon Martin case has one of New Orleans finest in hot water. Officer Jason Giroir was suspended without pay for an Internet post in response about a rally supporting Trayvon. The post at a local TV station's website reads, quote, "Act like a thug, die like one." The New Orleans police superintendent called the comments "insensitive, harmful, and offensive."
Another new ad from Herman Cain that will have you scratching your head this morning and petting a bunny. It was temporarily yanked from YouTube yesterday. It is for his new movement SOS, or Sick of Stimulus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is small business. This is small business under the current tax code. Any questions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: The bunny there was meant to be a metaphor for the tax code. The video was flagged and taken down, and then it was put back up. Herman Cain tweeted that it was a violation of free speech.
And bitter disappointment for the United States soccer team. They won't be going to the Olympics. El Salvador scoring a goal in the final seconds of the qualifying match in Nashville last night to knock the Americans out of the games. It's only the second time since 1976 that the U.S. will not be playing Olympic soccer.
Listen to this, tracking kids with microchips -- 20,000 grade school students in Brazil are wearing uniforms embedded with microchips that will send parents a text message if the students cut class. The local government has spent $670,000 designing and manufacturing the smart shirts. And they plan to expand to all 43,000 students. Are you signing up, Soledad?
O'BRIEN: I know it's in Brazil. I work a morning job. So do you. Now I can check, she made it in. All good.
SAMBOLIN: I love it. I love it. Wait until they figure out how to get rid of the microchips.
O'BRIEN: That will take about a day. Thanks.
The Trayvon Martin case now. It gets more and more complicated with every day with new accounts of what happened the night that Trayvon was killed. CNN has learned that Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school after a baggy with a marijuana residue was found in his book bag. We're also getting George Zimmerman's account of what happened that night. According to what's been leaked to "The Orlando Sentinel," they have a police report, apparently, Zimmerman told police he lost sight of Martin and was returning to his SUV when Martin approached him. The two exchanged words, he said, and then Martin is accused of punching him and climbing on top of Zimmerman and slamming his head into the ground.
Additionally, ABC News is reporting that Zimmerman told police that Martin tried to take his gun. Angela Corey is a special prosecutor investigating the Martin case and she joins us this morning. It's nice to see you. Thanks for being with us. What's the first thing that you are going to try to determine in this case? ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Well, we're going to get to the bottom of all of the facts in this case. I met with Trayvon's parents last night and promised them they would have the answers about the facts and circumstances of this case.
O'BRIEN: So in details I was just reading, some of the information leaked to Orlando sentinel and what ABC News is reporting, what in those details is important to you as a prosecutor that you will be looking into?
COREY: Soledad, we'll look into everything. And it's a shame that information on criminal cases comes out too early. Our rules of evidence here and our rules of professional conduct require that we not put forth the facts until we're ready to make our charging decision. But we understand the Martins need to have the answers, but at least be informed about every status and every next step in the case, and that's what we're doing right now. We will be looking into al of the accounts that are being posted at this time.
O'BRIEN: We had Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman's on the air earlier this morning. He said something which I thought was kind of interesting. Let me play it for you and we'll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE OLIVER, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Unfortunately at this time I'm not able to discuss that. Basically it fills in the gap between what happened when Trayvon and George came face to face and by the time the gun went off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So he described it as when the gun went off. Are you investigating the possibility that in fact it was just an accident that the gun fired when there was a struggle?
COREY: Soledad, we look into that in every shooting case. We do extensive investigation and test the firearm for trigger pull, functionality, and everything.
O'BRIEN: What happened to the autopsy results on Trayvon's body? What do those autopsy results say about that young man since obviously he can't tell us what happened. What do they show? Was he bruised and injured?
COREY: We can't comment on that now. I can tell that you our medical examiners here do a thorough outer body and internal procedure related to the autopsy to document every injury. Every injury will be photographed and described in details. It's one the sadder things we deal with but necessary for the proof in this case. Also, his clothing will be examined by the Florida department of law enforcement. So every item of physical evidence to which we have access will be looked at, analyzed, and preserved for any future tests that may need to be performed. O'BRIEN: And when do you expect that would be made available? Is that something that happens in the next couple days or weeks or a month?
COREY: We just got assigned this case Thursday night. My two top homicide prosecutors have been down there on and off since Friday morning working diligently, mainly speaking to witnesses, going back over the statements that were documented in police reports, and basically just thoroughly looking into everything. They are doing a great job. It's what they do every day here in Jacksonville. They will do the same thing for Trayvon's parents.
O'BRIEN: So on the 911 call, there is a section of that tape, about two minutes and 20 seconds that sounds like a curse and then sounds like a racial slur. Also, there is, we know, that George Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch that wasn't registered. It was self-appointed if you will.
What kind of role do both of those facts have in the prosecution? Does it matter if there was a curse and racial slur in a prosecution or if you are someone who volunteered to be in a neighborhood watch but are not following rules that official ones have?
COREY: A very astute observation on your part, because we do look into that. Everything he did and said that night is critical and also why he was there would be factors that we would be looking into. We're going to document that. One of the things I asked our lawyers to look into was, are there neighborhood watch rules for people who choose to participate in that program? Remember, it is a neighborhood watch program.
O'BRIEN: So what do you think are the chances that in fact George Zimmerman will go free or that he'll ever be arrested?
COREY: I can't tell you that at this time. But I can tell you that I have an ace team working on this case, and what I promise Trayvon's parents last night is any question they have, we answered as many as we could yesterday, we'll answer every other question we have. They will have access to every report when our rules are discovery allow us to release all of those reports.
O'BRIEN: The stand-your-ground law in part let's "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity has no duty to retreat and has a right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a force-able felony." I can't help but think that this could also describe -- I know it's been described as what protects George Zimmerman, but it sort of describes Trayvon Martin too. He had a right to be where he was. Meet force with force.
COREY: Yes. Yes. And that's part of our issue as prosecutors withstand your ground law. It makes our job more difficult. Justifiable use of deadly force as it existed before this provision was a very complicated law. It gave us a great burden as you know. This is an affirmative defense the defense gets to put forth in these cases, and we have to rebut every aspect of that portion that you just read.
O'BRIEN: Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the Martin case, thank you for your time this morning. We appreciate it. Yes, we'll look into that. I know that's the answer you give to Trayvon's parents as well. Thank you.
COREY: Thank you so much.
O'BRIEN: You bet.
Ahead this morning, I'll speak to Roland Martin. He's been speaking to Trayvon Martin's family. STARTING POINT is back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: In today's "Human Factor" eight years ago, Eliette Markhbien was riding her bike when she was hit by a car and it left her with a traumatic brain injury. She had trouble communicating so she turned to drawing and painting. And now that work in shedding light on people who are going through the same experiences that she went through. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has her story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight years ago Eliette Markhbein was hit by a car and flung into the air.
ELIETTE MARKHBEIN, HIT BY CAR WHILE RIDING BIKE: While I was in the air, I was seeing Central Park on my left and I was seeing people on the sidewalk going "My God, my God."
GUPTA: At the moment she slammed into the ground, Markhbein successful career as a journalist was over. She had a traumatic brain injury.
MARKHBEIN: My helmet it was cracked in two like a ripe melon.
GUPTA: Words that once came easily were now garbled. And the pain radiating throughout her body became a daily sensation.
Markhbein needed an outlet.
MARKHBEIN: I just naturally started to, you know, take paper and pencils and color things and draw things and I didn't have it to the eye. My mind functioned seamlessly when I was doing art.
GUPTA: Eventually art was not just a respite from pain but a new vocation.
MARKHBEIN: This is Trish Millie, she's a Central Park jogger.
GUPTA: Eight years after her accident, Markhbein is still coping with her injuries, still feeling cathartic when she paints. Her latest work now hanging in a New York Gallery depicts people who also had a TBI. And through intensive rehabilitation of the mind and spirit also overcame.
MARKHBEIN: Do not ever lose hope. You will recover. You will do something with yourself. It's this long, it's painful but there is hope.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Coming up next on STARTING POINT, Trayvon Martin's family is now confirming why he wasn't in school the day that he was killed. Roland Martin has spoken to the family. We're going to chat with Roland straight ahead.
You're watching STARTING POINT; short break and we're back right on the other side.
O'BRIEN: We'll be talking about this all morning. There's new information in the death of Trayvon Martin. CNN political analyst Roland Martin has been talking with Trayvon's family. He hosted a town hall yesterday in Florida along with the attorneys who attended.
Roland, I know you've had a chance to speak to Trayvon's mom and dad. How are they doing and what do they have to tell you?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, I'm obviously very emotional. I mean, you saw that last night not only at the community forum but also at the town hall. And they have made it clear that they want answers in this and they want an arrest.
What really angered them was this report as to why he was suspended and what they say and what also the attorneys say. I talked to Natalie Martin this morning on the (inaudible) morning show for my segment and she said the circumstances of this case will be determined by what happened on the night of February 26th, not what happened previously when he was in school.
O'BRIEN: And you're talking of course about some details that were released about Trayvon. He's been suspended a couple times from school for truancy, graffiti and then a baggy that had a marijuana residue was in his backpack and he was suspended for that.
O'BRIEN: His mother had said that -- that was damaging --
MARTIN: And the family called it -- the family called it character assassination. Yes, I mean, the family they say, look, you are trying to -- do a character assassination of our son and what they have said also the attorneys is that you are trying to flip this to say ok, Trayvon was the problem here. When what they keep going back to is what happened on that night? Why did George Zimmerman say he was suspicious? What was he doing walking back from a store?
And so Zimmerman didn't know that he wasn't in school. Didn't know that he had been suspended and so their point is how is that -- germane to what took place on that night.
O'BRIEN: When I was talking to the special prosecutor who has now been assigned to the case. So much of what she said was you know we're going to look into that. We're going to look into that, we're going to investigate that. We're going to look into that.
When we spoke to Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman earlier today --
O'BRIEN: -- one of the things that he said was listen, as an African-American man who is a friend of George Zimmerman, this is not about race.
MARTIN: Well, here's the question that I would have for Joe Oliver. Why did George Zimmerman call him suspicious? What was the basis of that? See this is where it all starts. This all starts with him seeing this young man, making a phone call and then saying he's suspicious. Then he pursues him.
And so then -- see here's the problem for George Zimmerman. You can't be the hunter and the hunted. You can't say I'm pursuing somebody but then all of a sudden say oh now it's self-defense because if I'm Trayvon Martin and I see some guy driving an SUV and all of a sudden they're following me, there's an issue.
Well, here's what the attorneys also say. You have a time line that exists with a phone call that Trayvon Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend from 7:12 to 7:16. And you can match that up with the time line of the 911 calls. And according to the police report, they arrived on the scene at 7:17.
And so you have a girlfriend who says she hears Zimmerman approach. She says according to the attorneys that she said Trayvon just run. He says no. I'm not going to do that. And so how does Zimmerman deal with that as well? And you also have to examine --
O'BRIEN: Obviously much --
MARTIN: Where it was of course --
O'BRIEN: I'm sorry, I was going to say that's what the special prosecutor said.
MARTIN: And the problem here Soledad is this -- right and this is -- the problem here is self-defense really is a legal argument. And so that's what you make in a courtroom as opposed to making it outside of a courtroom. The family has said we want him arrested, we want this adjudicated and so this should be conversations that a jury should hearing as opposed to determining at the scene of a crime.
O'BRIEN: All right, Roland I've got to ask you this. The former head of NAACP is accusing Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson of exploiting Trayvon's death. To quote, "Racially divide the country", he said this, "His family should be outraged at the fact that they are using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions". That's Reverend C.L. Bryant.
I should mention he has a new movie out about a runaway slave --
MARTIN: Right. Here's what I would tell Reverend C.L. Bryant. How much attention did this story get before black bloggers and folks in social media began to drive the story. Would you even have a special prosecutor right now had the attention not been placed on it? I would say absolutely not.
And I would say where is Reverend C.L. Bryant? Where is he fighting for justice? As simple as that.
O'BRIEN: Roland Martin updating us on what's happening there in Sanford. Thanks Roland, appreciate it.
MARTIN: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
"End Point" is up next with our panel. Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: We leave you with our "End Point" this morning. Will Cain -- want to start it off for us.
CAIN: Yes. This is a massive day in American history -- a huge, important day in American history. Today we explore not whether there are limits -- not what the limits on American government are but whether there are even any limits on the American government.
O'BRIEN: We're looking at the Commerce Pact of the 1700's. It's riveting.
All right. Keli, what have you got?
GOFF: "End Point", I know Jeffrey Toobin is watching the Supreme Court case on health care like the Super Bowl. But the reality is they did a poll of former law clerks and they are all pretty sure that actually the law is not going to be struck down as unconstitutional according to the clerks who work for the judges.
And the last thing is that the Trayvon Martin case reminds us all that we have a right to wear hoodies wherever we want to without being shot.
O'BRIEN: John, you get the final word.
FUGELSANG: Americans are forced to pay for Iraq, forced to buy Goldman Sachs, forced to give billions of subsidies for oil companies but we can't be forced to buy insurance. That's wrong. There you go.
O'BRIEN: All right. We'll leave it there.
Let's get right to "CNN's NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. That begins right now. We'll see everybody else back here at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Hey, Carol. Good morning.