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College Students Pepper Sprayed; Augusta Men Only Challenge; Trayvon Supporters AT Miami MLK Rally; Conflicting Stories Of Fateful Night; Was It Self Defense?; Sandusky In Court; Teeing Off On Augusta's Men Only Policy; Analyzing the Audio; Afghan Shooting Spree

Aired April 5, 2012 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: College students pepper sprayed at a school board meeting. Some of them were hospitalized. They say they didn't get a warning that the pepper spray was coming. Were they an angry mob or did the cops overreact big time? An investigation is now under way.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The Augusta National Golf Club still just for men this morning as the Masters tournament gets under way -- at least officially just for men.

Traditionally sponsored CEOs have been giving memberships to Augusta National, but the sponsor IBM's new CEO is a woman, Virginia Rometty. So, will she be the club's gender barrier and will it finally be broken?

SAMBOLIN: Conflicting stories still emerging about the night Trayvon Martin died and the racially charged shooting continues to spark harsh words and a lot of protest.

Trayvon Martin's parents were among the many people who gathered in Miami to mark the 44th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination as well as to remember the death of the unarmed Florida teen.

BANFIELD: In the meantime, George Zimmerman's father is defending his son's actions in a prime time television interview. And Zimmerman's attorneys also spoke with CNN's Piers Morgan where things got pretty tense.

Alina Cho is here now with all of the developments and they just come day by day, don't they?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They most certainly do and a lot of people have spoken. A lot of sort of key players in this case in the past 24 hours.

Good morning. Good morning, everybody. You know, the father of George Zimmerman and his lawyers are speaking out, as Ashleigh and Zoraida just said. So, what happened on the night in question, the night of February 26th inside that gated community in Sanford, Florida?

The night, of course, that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed? We do know that George Zimmerman called 911 after seeing someone he thought was suspicious.

The operator told Zimmerman he did not need to follow the unarmed teen. So in an interview with Fox's Sean Hannity, Zimmerman's father, Robert, who spoke in silhouette, said that's when his son started walking back to his car.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FATHER: Trayvon came from his left side, asked him, did he have a -- did he have a problem. George said no. At that point, Trayvon said, well, you do now.

He punched him in the nose, knocked him to the concrete and started beating him. George was there, yelling for help for at least 40 seconds. It's clearly him on the tape. There's absolutely no doubt about who it is.


CHO: All right, so, that tape that Robert Zimmerman is referring to is a 911 call made by a neighbor. On it, you can hear someone yelling, but nobody has been able to determine for sure whether the person yelling was Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman.

Meanwhile, Martin's family attorney, Benjamin Krump, told our Piers Morgan that he had a different take of what happened. Watch.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Could it be that he did attack, jump on George Zimmerman?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Well, I don't think we could say attacked. We could say he defended himself, because Trayvon Martin had every right to defend himself against George Zimmerman, who approached him.

And think about it. George Zimmerman didn't have a badge or anything official. He had on a sweatshirt and some jeans. We've all seen the video now.

So, we believe Trayvon Martin went to his death not knowing who this strange man was that was approaching him.


BANFIELD: In the meantime, Alina, George Zimmerman has a new lawyer and his legal adviser now, as well as that lawyer, are doing their best to get that side of the story out on TV.

CHO: That's right. And some harsh words again, Zimmerman's lawyer accusing civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of race baiting, saying that everything changed once they came to Sanford, Florida. Watch what they say.


HAL UHRIG, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: On the morning of February 26th, we had a peaceful town where everybody sat together in multi-racial congregations. They stood in line in the grocery store.

And we didn't have a seething town of civil unrest because of race relations. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton brought that to town. They turned this into a racial event when it never ever was one.

Once all the evidence is out and you understand how the law works and what the facts are, this is a pretty clear case.


CHO: And some reporting from the "Miami Herald" this morning really got our attention. They are reporting that a white separatist group plans to conduct patrols in Sanford now to ensure that, quote, "white citizens will be safe from racial violence."

The group says that that is meant to counter threats from the new Black Panther party that has offered a $10,000 bounty for George Zimmerman's capture.

SAMBOLIN: And Alina, I know earlier you had an enhanced version, yet another, of the 911 tape.

CHO: You know, we've called on a couple of experts and decided to go in house again. So we actually spoke to one of our senior audio engineers right here at CNN.

His name is Brian Stone, expert in this field. He enhanced the audio, using a plug in that really cleans up the ambient sound you hear in the background. We want you to listen again as we play that controversial portion of the 911 call. Watch.


ZIMMERMAN: Let go! Let go!


CHO: It's so hard to decipher what's being said. It is widely believed that the very first word you hear is the "f" word. What is unclear is what the second word is.

Now some people believe that Zimmerman used a racial slur. Another audio expert we spoke to earlier in the week suggested he was saying f--ing clothes.

But our CNN audio engineer believes that Zimmerman was saying f'ing cold. Now that is important because it was unseasonably cold and rainy on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida.

It was in the low 50s. It was raining, which is why it has been widely reportedly that Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie, of course, to stay dry. So Again, there is yet another version of what we believe was said on that call. It's all so hard to hear, quite frankly.

BANFIELD: Jeffrey Toobin may have said this best on CNN last night. This just speaks to the issue of not jumping ahead of the facts and letting investigators do their work before every analyst in the books jumps on television and says this is what was said.

CHO: I think it's important. That was the one takeaway that I took from Zimmerman's lawyers, when he spoke -- when they spoke out saying, listen, this case has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

And I'm not going to feed into that. Let's not rush to judgment. Let's wait for the facts. I will try this case, if it goes to trial. I think that's an important point. You're right, Critical.

BANFIELD: Alina, thanks.

CHO: You bet.

BANFIELD: It's great work. Thank you.

And we also have some new details for you this morning about final hours of Whitney Houston's life. So much has been talked about, about the singer's death. The L.A. coroner's office is finally releasing the full autopsy report.

Saying that the singer drowned, face down, in a tub of hot water that was only about a foot deep. Detectives found a white powdery substance and a spoon and other drug paraphernalia in her hotel room in the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The report does not identify the powder as cocaine, but the drug was found in her system.

SAMBOLIN: It's 7 minutes past the hour. Former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky is due in court in a few hours. Sandusky faces 52 counts for sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

He's pleaded not guilty and is currently on house arrest while out on bail. Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amandola, is asking the court to dismiss many of the charges.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live in Pennsylvania, where the hearing will take place today. How likely is that to happen, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot of legal analysts, who are at looking at this case would say, would agree, extremely unlikely. Basically what's happening during these pre-trial motions, Zoraida, it's really the opportunity for both sides to legally say what they need to say or forever hold your speak -- hold your peace, so to speak.

So this is basically an opportunity for Joe Amandola, Jerry Sandusky's attorney to get everything out there. But basically what he's trying to say is that seven of the accusers -- he says that the information and the evidence that's been provided by the commonwealth, by the prosecution is not specific enough in terms of when the allegations of abuse happened, where it happened.

So, he says with regards to those seven accusers, he says the charges should be thrown out. As you say, there are ten accusers here. He says with the other three, Joe Amandola says the evidence that has been provided is not specific enough, so he says those charges should be thrown out as well.

Essentially he's asking for all the charges to be thrown out. For the prosecution's point of view, they say they have provided enough information and that this is still an ongoing investigation and that if there is more evidence, more information to be presented that will, in fact, be turned over in a timely manner.

In all likelihood, what will happen, Zoraida, is that the judge will look at what the argument is and rule at a later point. The trial, as you know, is expected to get under way -- at least scheduled to get under June 5th.

SAMBOLIN: Jason, also in the past we heard from Jerry Sandusky, at least outside of court. Do you think we'll hear from him again?

CARROLL: Well, you know, we do know that Jerry Sandusky is expected in court today, his wife, Dottie, expected to be at his side and at least one of his sons as well.

You remember during one of the earlier proceedings when Joe Amandola came outside this courthouse, followed by Jerry Sandusky, who proclaimed his innocence.

We don't know at this point if -- Jerry Sandusky will speak outside the courthouse late on today, but I am told that Joe Amandola, will, in fact, speak later on this afternoon.

BANFIELD: All right, Jason Carroll live for us. Thank you very much.

As angry as people are about that story, there's good point that is lawyer brings up. Believe it or not, according to the law, there's very good points that Jerry Sandusky's lawyer makes, in terms of statute of limitations, who these victims are?

SAMBOLIN: So do you think he'll win some of this today?

BANFIELD: You know, look, I thought O.J. would be convicted and I thought Casey Anthony would be convicted just because of the arguments and evidence in court. I was wrong in those. You never know what a jury is going to do.

When it comes to the judge who follows the law, there could be grounds on which this judge actually does toss out those charges. They don't have several of the victims.

Pinpointing exactly what happened and exactly the date that it happened -- the date is critical, right? You got a statute of limitations. You got to know when it happened. So there are some issues there. I think it will be fascinating today.

SAMBOLIN: That's just me getting all --

BANFIELD: Geeked up. Here is another thing. Is it geeky for women to watch golf?


BANFIELD: Well, the world's best golfers are preparing to tee off at the Masters today. It's the home course and it's finding itself in the rough. Pressure building on Augusta National again to change its long-standing membership policy that excludes women like Zoraida and me because we're women.

But IBM is one of the tournament's chief sponsors and traditionally the CEOs of the chief sponsors have been granted a membership to Augusta. Now that's a woman.

IBM's CEO is a woman named Virginia Romett. So everyone wants to know if she will be the first female to wear the iconic green jacket. The club chairman, not saying so. Have a listen.


BILL PAYNE, CHAIRMAN, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: Well, as has been the case, Mike, whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the members and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement.

CHRISTINE BRENNNAN, "USA TODAY" SPORTS COLUMNIST: Why wouldn't -- if you're Augusta National, all those guys, why wouldn't you want the CEO of IBM be a member of your club? That's the dilemma for them.

More and more women in the next 10, 20 years, will become CEOs and these guys want to keep this un-equated views and ways. It's going to less than the value of the membership of their club if they keep this going.


BANFIELD: Augusta National's men only policy has been in effect since it opened in 1933.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up at 8:10 Eastern on "STARTING POINT," Soledad talks with former LBGA great, Hollis Stacy.

BANFIELD: It's 12 minutes now past 6:00. Still ahead on EARLY START, the campus cops are taking some heat. Questions over whether pepper spraying students at a protest, was unnecessary?

SAMBOLIN: And no, they didn't move Old Faithful to Washington. So what's behind this gusher at the White House? You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 16 minutes past the hour.

Chaos at a student protest in California. A campus police officer pepper sprays the crowd.


SAMBOLIN: This happened as about 100 people were protesting a tuition increase outside a board of trustees meeting at Santa Monica Community College.

Earlier this morning, I spoke with Santa Monica freshman Kayleigh Wade, one of 30 people treated after being freshman. Wade said the demonstration started out quite civilly and then the officer in this photo was actually helping students at the start of the protest.


KAYLEIGH WADE, PEPPER SPRAY VICTIM: I was in the very front of the crowd. And in the beginning, the police officer that was shown in that picture actually, was being very orderly and organized, actually. And he was trying to like kind of foster like a trusting relationship with us, you know.

He was trying to get us to hear him out and everything and, I don't know -- like once they opened the door to let a select number of students in, he like had my friend -- he like got her in a chokehold. I was in the very front and tried to get her out of that chokehold and another officer ended up pinning my arms back when I tried to help her. Several other students tried helping her and then they just pepper sprayed us.


SAMBOLIN: Well, officials say protesters overwhelmed and overran the doors at the meeting. The school's president released a statement, quote, "Although a number of participants at the meeting engaged in unlawful conduct, Santa Monica College police personnel exercised restraint and they made no arrests. Unlawful conduct included setting off fire alarms and attempting to disrupt the board of trustees meeting."

And, Ashleigh, you know, the students were upset because tuition basically is being hiked three-fold. But it's over this summer. It's a pilot program. California is in a state of crisis in education and also a state.

So, it's kind of a tough one here to figure out.

BANFIELD: You know, and optics are everything. When you see pictures like that, people just, you know, running for the hills and clawing at their eyes.

It's now 18 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. It's time to check our stories making top news billing this morning.

Christine Romans is doing the job for us.


More conflicting evidence this morning mounting in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. A lawyer for the Florida teen's family says there's proof the former prosecutor in the case met with the now former police chief to make sure that no charges were filed and the father of George Zimmerman says the evidence will show his son was acting in self defense.

Former South Dakota senator and presidential candidate George McGovern hospitalized this morning in Florida. McGovern's daughter says he's under going tests after brief spells of passing out and losing his ability to speak. George McGovern is 89 years old.

And not just another day at the White House, where a water main break caused quite a show. A construction crew mistakenly hit the main. The leak was quickly plugged.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later joked that the workers were drilling for oil as part of the president's energy initiatives. Clever, of course, conservatives were saying, yes, that's the strategy they got.

BANFIELD: Very clever on both parts.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Christine.

Nineteen minutes past the hour.

Still ahead, big bank lobbying Washington. Is it a good thing? How one big wig is explaining that.


BANFIELD (voice-over): Steamboat Springs, Colorado, has amazing views. Snow capped peaks and mountains of garbage.

The city has set a goal to be 100 percent waste-free by 2014. It works like this, restaurants use recycled products like cups, plates, and utensil, even trash cans are sealed so customers can't throw anything away. They have people who do it for you.


CHRIS JIGGENS, STEAMBOAT TRASH ATTENDANT: We look at it and we see what is compostable, what is recyclable. Anything left, food or the bio plastic that's left, we put in our compost bin.

BANFIELD: All of the trash goes to the twin enviro-composting facility where it decomposes into dirt.

Every year, Steamboat Springs turns more than 175 tons of food scraps and other compostable waste into 400 tons of soil, which goes right back to the mountains. The waste has been cut by at least 70 percent.

JIGGENS: People are on vacation. They're here for fun. And then when they see something like that and it interests them, they can bring it home. I think any bit helps.



SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Twenty-three minutes past the hour.

Minding your business this morning -- is Washington lobbying by the big banks a good thing? That's what one CEO is saying this week.

BANFIELD: Yes, we have an awesome debate that we're about to present to you.

And Christine Romans is here with the details of it.

What's your question that you --

ROMANS: Who do you trust more, lobbyists, bankers, or Congress?

BANFIELD: My mattress.

SAMBOLIN: None of the above.

ROMANS: Lobbyists, bankers and Congress.

Jamie Dimon, who runs JPMorgan Chase, also the highest paid banker, $23 million he made last year, he is coming out in his letter to shareholders saying, look, we are not going to apologize for our millions of dollars of lobbying Congress. Why? Because Congress has no clue. They are making up all these rules that are counterproductive, that some of them don't even make sense, one against the other. And we have got to spend a ton of money, because they're going to ruin things if we don't get in there and try to influence things.

And you know what? Lobbying Congress is a good thing because Congress is dumb.


ROMANS: That's basically what Jamie Dimon -- he didn't use the word dumb. But if you read the letter, you'll get the gist.

This is what he said: "You read constantly that banks are lobbying regulators and elected officials as if this is inappropriate. We don't look at it that way."

So, he's coming pretty strong as defender for the banking industry. I mean, no surprise there. As a defender for the banking industry saying, look, we give all these millions of loans and he lays out how many loans they made, we have all of these credit cards, we have all of these mortgages that we've been giving, we've got all these mortgages we're trying to fix and these guys in Washington are clueless.

So, you can try to blame your banker, but guess what? Washington is really messed up. I'm going to tweet out this letter.

BANFIELD: That is so not going to be the last word on that.

ROMANS: Well, look, and it's almost like all of a sudden, the banks have been on their heels since they took all that TARP money and all that bailout money. It was like, oh, taxpayers have to save the banks, you know, the banks have no moral authority.

The banks are trying to reassert their moral authority, in part because they paid back their TARP money and taxpayers are now making money from that bailout of the big banks.

You, the taxpayer, through the Treasury Department, invested $245 billion in that TARP, that bailout that everyone hated. This is just the bank part of it.

According to the Treasury Department, $263 billion has been paid back so far, the initial investment plus dividends, plus interest plus profits for taxpayers.

And yesterday, we heard from another bank, Atlanta's sixth largest bank, actually, Regions Financial. They paid back $3.5 billion.

You're still losing your money in the auto bailout and other parts of the big bailout. But just the bank part, $245 billion, Treasury Department says, from here on out, every dollar that comes back from bank is pure profit for shareholders -- sorry, taxpayers.

BANFIELD: That didn't look like a lot of interest to me. I just don't know what the deal was. That look like about $20 billion in interest.

ROMANS: Well, all of the money has been paid. Some banks -- some smaller banks, community banks still haven't been able to pay back.

So, now, here on out, as people start to pay back, more of that money is going to be coming in.

But you know, one of our producers made a point. She said that doesn't mean that lending is up.


ROMANS: How come I can't feel it? Why don't I, the taxpayer, feel it?

BANFIELD: That's why I said that's not the last word on this.

ROMANS: Of course not.

BANFIELD: There's a lot of angry people who have heard no, no, no, no, no on their re-fi request and everything else.

ROMANS: But I think you have a new bold banking community that says we're part of the solution, not the problem.

BANFIELD: All right. Christine, thank you so much.

Twenty-seven minutes now past 6:00. Coming up -- listen for yourself and then make a decision. Former officer helps us break down some newly enhanced recordings of George Zimmerman's voice on the night Trayvon Martin died.

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

It is time to check the stories that are making news this morning.

The newly enhanced version of George Zimmerman's voice on the night Trayvon Martin was killed, his lawyers now say it passes a stress test. Straight ahead, we'll see what the experts think of that particular claim.

And a new look at one of America's most notorious killers, Charles Manson, 77 still behind bars, is about to get another day in court.

And the journey is just about over for the so-called ghost ship adrift at sea since the tsunami in Japan a year ago. We'll tell you why the U.S. Coast Guard is bringing in the big gun.

And cat owner in Texas fights a law that quarantines pets that scratch or bite their owners after she gets the claws. Find out why she thinks it is a crime that her cat must do the time -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: George Zimmerman's father is telling his son's version of the events on the night that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, and he did so on FOX News last night. Have a look.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FATHER: He was walking back to his vehicle. Trayvon came from his left side, asked him, did he have -- did he have a problem. George said no. At that point, Trayvon said, well, you do now. He punched him in the nose, knocked him to the concrete and started beating him.

George was there yelling for help for at least 40 seconds. It's clearly him on the tape.


BANFIELD: Zimmerman's father was appearing in silhouette, Lou Palumbo, because 's worried about his safety. He says they've had death threats.

Lou Palumbo is a retired Nassau County, New York, police officer, and director of the Elite Intelligence and Protection Agency.

I always am disturbed in a story when I see someone who fears for his life because of something that hasn't even ended up in court room yet. But that's the story here. He's too afraid to show his face because he's very concerned of his safety.

But he did say one thing that's new, that his son yelled for help for 40 seconds before anybody came to his aid. Does this change the equation at all in what happens become a national dialogue about what happened that night?

LOU PALUMBO, ELITE INTELLIGENCE AND PROTECTION AGENCY: No, it really doesn't, because the bottom line is that he used excessive force. If this was simply a mugging, let's say for purpose of analogy and the perpetrator of that crime was unarmed, that would never justify you in using deadly physical force to repel the attack. Your option would have been to run or retreat. I don't want to delve into this whole issue about "Stand Your Ground" because I don't --

BANFIELD: But it is an issue, because in Florida, you don't have the duty to retreat.

PALUMBO: But experts who are very well-versed in this law have already determined it doesn't apply here. And I think we need to go back and really start to examine that law and understand the situations it could precipitate.

BANFIELD: Let me ask you this. I wasn't there. I didn't witness it. You weren't there. You didn't witness it.

All we have are competing suggestions of fact from those who are family members of those who are involved, which you can't state as fact. Those are accounts. They're hearsay at this point.

But one of the accounts that has been leveled -- and this comes from George Zimmerman's camp -- is that there may have been a moment where the gun became visible in George Zimmerman's belt.

And if -- I am suggesting only if because, again, I don't know what happened, but if it's possible that George Zimmerman thought Trayvon was going for his gun, if Trayvon might have been going for his gun, fearing his life as well, does that not then absolutely justify "Stand Your Ground" for both of these two?

PALUMBO: I think if we were going to entertain your "Stand Your Ground", it probably would apply to both of them. But I do want to point out something on the heels of the comment you just made to me about the visibility of this weapon. It was Mr. Zimmerman's responsibility to keep that weapon secreted. That's why we call it a concealed weapons permit.

If you place it on your body where it's readily visible, that's your problem that you precipitated. The whole exercise in carrying a concealed weapon --

BANFIELD: Is it on my side, covered by my jacket?

PALUMBO: It should be.

BANFIELD: If I fall over and my jacket opens up and then it's visible, is that no longer concealed weapon and is that your fault?

PALUMBO: No, it's still a concealed weapon, but I'd have to further examine the garments that were worn by Zimmerman which we already know/

BANFIELD: A loose jacket.

PALUMBO: Understood. Maybe he need to have it zippered d to make sure it didn't open.

BANFIELD: So, here's the other question when it comes to carrying a gun. There's been a lot of discussion about whether a neighborhood watchman should be carrying a gun and if the organization says no, this is not the kind of job for unarmed patrol, but Zimmerman camp says he was on his way to Target, that he wasn't on patrol, but that he spotted something he thought was suspicious, that's up for debate as well.

But does he -- is he then required to get out of his car and put that gun in the trunk and secure it so that he can go and check something out on the lawn of one of his neighbors?

PALUMBO: In theory what he could have done is exactly that.

BANFIELD: Could have, but is he required to?

PALUMBO: I would say under these circumstances, yes. He has already established for us in a 911 call that he was --

BANFIELD: But he is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

PALUMBO: Not in this capacity.

BANFIELD: Again, he's not in a capacity. I'm playing the devil's advocate because the devil is in the details on this one.

PALUMBO: The bottom line is that he made a 911 call and he volunteered for us the fact that he was following him. That put him in the capacity right there, his overt act of following him. At that point, he should have unloaded that weapon and safeguarded it in his vehicle if he thought there was any chance whatsoever that he might need to encounter Trayvon Martin.

BANFIELD: Are you saying morally or legally?


BANFIELD: If you have a concealed permit license to carry, at what point does the law kick in that says you must put it away to go and seek someone out to see if there's something wrong that's happening?

PALUMBO: I'll explain it to you. In the state of Florida, you may be in possession of a concealed weapon, for example. But in order to carry that weapon concealed in a work-type environment or capacity, it's a separate licensing process.

BANFIELD: That's a work capacity.

PALUMBO: Correct.

BANFIELD: If he's not in a work capacity.

PALUMBO: He put himself in a work capacity.

When we're off-duty law enforcement agents, the minute we see a bank robbery go down and we decide it's necessary to take action because there's imminent danger to people, we go on the clock.


PALUMBO: And the same thing applies to him. And I know that he may not have had that presence of mind to understand that.

That's why we all need a little more education for people carrying concealed weapons other than randomly giving them guns.

BANFIELD: Let me jump in to another new development in the case and that's this voice stress test that came out yesterday. It's now been made clear by George Zimmerman's attorney that police in Sanford, Florida, administered a voice stress test, which I have not heard of prior to this. I've covered a lot of court cases. Of course, it's not the kind of evidence that comes in as evidence in the court of law.

But it is, as I understand it, the same kind of tool as a polygraph test.

PALUMBO: Well, let's be fair about this, first of all. It doesn't have the same regulation that polygraph examiners have or the examination itself. It's relatively recent over the past few years. Simply stated, the test is an analysis of the stress in your voice. Your voice has muscles, tremors take place and they examine through those tremors.

BANFIELD: To see if you're being truthful, right?

PALUMBO: To see if you're truthful. The test is valueless. It's inadmissible in court.

BANFIELD: As are polys.

PALUMBO: As are polygraph exams.

To me it's dangerous from the standpoint of an attorney to allow any client to take an exam that can only harm him. They can't go in to court and say I took a VSA --

BANFIELD: But to our knowledge, at this point, George Zimmerman never asked for an attorney, never called for an attorney, and did this on his own without an attorney present.

PALUMBO: Well, this is a man who's been around the law enforcement environment for a quite some time. He should know about the Miranda rights, the Miranda warning.

BANFIELD: If he got them.

PALUMBO: Well, you're right about that. Bottom line is, were the police even required to give them to him? You're only --

BANFIELD: We could go on for an hour about this.

PALUMBO: Yes, we can. Every time you pop something, I'm going to give you an explanation.


PALUMBO: You're only required to give somebody Miranda warning, and Mirandise them if you're going to interrogate them. In other words, if I take you off the street --

BANFIELD: Well, there's some issue about that as well, if you're being put in custody. There have been a lot of arguments. Casey Anthony case in particular was a big issue, because Casey Anthony was in the back of a cruiser, was in cuffs and she wasn't Mirandised.

PALUMBO: Every case stands on its own merit.


PALUMBO: If you voluntarily get into a vehicle and in a process of transporting you to a police precinct, you start to speak, I haven't Mirandised you, it's admissible.

BANFIELD: Like I said, I go on for an hour, but I'm getting the hard wrap because we've already talked so long.

Thanks so much for coming. It's always good to talk to you.

PALUMBO: My pleasure.

BANFIELD: Lou Palumbo, joining us.


SAMBOLIN: It is 38 minutes past the hour.

Ahead on EARLY START: Helter Skelter revisited. Charles Manson has a new look as he seeks parole for his infamous crimes.

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Forty-two minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

The Taliban claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. It may be the latest fallout from the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians allegedly by Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Bales will be tried here in the United States.

Army criminal investigators have now completed their first visit to the outpost where Sergeant Bales served and the two villages he allegedly massacred.

Bales' attorney says a lack of evidence will work in their favor.


JOHN HENRY BROWNE, LAWYER FOR STAFF. SGT. ROBERT BALES: There's no crime scene. There's no DNA. There's no fingerprints. There's no confession.

It's -- you know, the Afghan people traditionally, I understand, and understandably, bury their dead very quickly. So, it's going to be a tough case for the prosecutors.


SAMBOLIN: CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon.

That is not going to be warmly received by the people in Afghanistan. But, Barbara, aren't there reports of some soldiers saying that Bales did go back to the base and he did say that he killed some people and then he went back?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zoraida, that's right. That has come out, that other soldiers say they saw and spoke with Bales when he came back to the base in between going to the first village and the second village.

This is what investigators are looking at -- more than two dozen Army criminal investigators on this case now. They've been to the village for the first time to try and collect whatever evidence and interviews they can. But it is weeks after the event. So, there will be chain of custody issues, a lot of difficulty in collecting evidence.

But they are doing it and they are conducting interviews. And there will now, in fact, be a sanity review for Sergeant Bales. They will look at his mental health, try to evaluate his mental health situation and determine if he, in fact, is competent to stand trial -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's talk about something that happened right before that, and that was the Koran burning. Apparently the investigation has been completed. So, what happens now?

STARR: Two investigations, actually, completed now, we have been told. The joint Afghan/U.S. investigation and the U.S. Army investigation, both sitting with General John Allen, top ISAF/U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Those riots that broke out, the violence after that, still very much on his mind and on the minds of the Afghan government.

He has to decide what to do. Will he discipline those involved? Will he do anything about it? Will there be criminal charges? Not very likely, we're told. But sensitive for when the decision comes out about what to do about all of this because of the violence that erupted in the days after the incident.

SAMBOLIN: Barbara Starr, live at the pentagon for us. Thank you very much.

It is 45 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. Soledad O'Brien is joining us live now with a look at what she's got coming up on "starting point." it looks like you're really to the wire.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: I have a great necklace this morning and I spent the last 15 minutes trying to get it on my neck.

SAMBOLIN: I think it just fell off.


O'BRIEN: But I'm going to put it right over here and tell you what's coming up this morning on our show. We're going to talk to Stedman graham. He joins our panel and he has got a new book out and he says the most important thing to do to be successful is to figure out your identity.

He has got advice on how to get out of the box, be more successful. We'll talk to him this morning. He will join us for the full two hours.

Also, tax dollars for tweets. A Philadelphia city councilman pays an outside contractor nearly $30,000 to send Twitter and Facebook updates on his behalf. Taxpayers are footing that bill. We're going to share some of those tweets with you this morning and tell you why the councilman says it's a good idea.

Also we're going in depth on the topic of interracial dating, stories of white parents forbidding daughters to date African-American boys, black parents questioning their sons to have a -- about having a white girlfriend.

Anderson Cooper and I talk to some of the kids and the parents. We'll tell you what they have to say. That's all straight ahead this morning. We'll see you at the "STARTING POINT" at the top of the hour.


SAMBOLIN: Forty-nine minutes past the hour, time to check the stories making news this morning. Here's Christine Romans. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida and Ashleigh. New arguments are erupting in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The lawyer for the Florida teen's family says there's proof the former prosecutor in that case met with the now-former police chief to make sure no charges were filed. And the father of shooter George Zimmerman says the evidence will show his son was acting in self- defense.

A week before his next parole hearing, California prison officials released new pictures of Charles Manson. Manson is now 77 years old. Looks a lot different from the last photos three years ago when his head was shaved. The tattooed swastika on his forehead is still there. He has been denied parole now 11 times.

New pictures this morning of that ghost ship that's drifting off the coast of Alaska right now. The U.S. Coast Guard plans to sink it, but they will inspect things first to make sure it's safe. Authorities say it's a hazard to other vessels in the area. The fishing ship was swept away by the tsunami in Japan over a year ago.

All right. Holy Bruce Wayne, actor Adam West, who really fired up the "Batman" franchise with his role on the iconic, but short-lived TV series in the 1960s, is finally getting a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. It will happen later this morning. Fans of the show "Family Guy" also know Adam West as the voice of Quahog's mayor. There you go.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't know that.


BANFIELD: Oh, there's nothing like. Oh, I watch it all the time. I'm a Seth McFarlane junkie. Absolutely. Thank you for that, Christine.

You're looking surprised.


You didn't know I watch "Family Guy"?

ROMNEY: I'm surprised you watch television at all with the hours you keep.

BANFIELD: You know what? It's on -- I have to admit -- it's on DVR and I only catch it on occasion now. I used to watch it a lot more before doing this show.



BANFIELD: Speaking of this show, nine minutes now before the top of the hour. And just ahead, sad days for Rainy Day. Find out why this cute little kitty is stuck behind bars. Why jail a little kitty cat? We'll tell you.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, dancing himself to jail. The crook with all the wrong moves, coming up next.


BANFIELD: It's 6:55 on the East Coast. And a woman in San Antonio, Texas, is fighting a law that's forcing her to quarantine her own kitty cat after her kitty cat scratched her. The cat is called Rainy Day. And Rainy Day has to be confined to her bedroom.

Her owner, Catherine (ph), can only feed her and change her litter box. But the law apparently is meant to protect against rabies and says if you're bit or scratched by your own pet and it pierces the skin, you got to quarantine it for 10 days. But Rainy Day's owner swears that cat didn't mean to hurt her.

CATHERINE (PH): She went to jump down, and her back claws caught my finger as she was jumping down. It wasn't like she was trying to hurt me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to treat every bite or scratch as if it could have transmitted rabies until we can exclude that.

BANFIELD: OK. Well, that's an official point of view, and Rainy Day's owner is saying that the authorities only learned of the injury after she went to the doctor to treat her scratch. By the way, owners who don't abide by that law face fines.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It's time to take a look at what's trending on the InterWeb's Google, moving one step closer to turning people into their smartphones. Look at this. The company that brought us the driveless car is now giving us a sneak peek of what life would be like wearing Google glasses.

BANFIELD: Sharp, aren't they?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, they're very handsome, yes. You can literally look up anything, talk to anyone and post all of it on the web in the blink of an eye, folks. Here is what a video conference would look like through the shades.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to see something cool?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sure. Is that a ukulele?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep. OK. Here it goes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's beautiful.


SAMBOLIN: Boy, the technology.

BANFIELD: That's nice, isn't it?

SAMBOLIN: So soon now we'll just all be cyberborgs walking around like Arnold in terminator II. Where is he? There he is.


BANFIELD: Hi, Arnold. Who is that guy.

SAMBOLIN: I remember this scene. I thought it was so cool at the time.

BANFIELD: Yes, I just don't want you to --

SAMBOLIN: (Inaudible) while they're driving.

BANFIELD: Or walking down into subway stations or, exactly, riding your bike.

TERMINATOR II: I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.



BANFIELD: All right. So moving on to another story, a kind of embarrassing story for a Big League team. The Baltimore orioles lost a spring training game. But it's who they lost against that makes it embarrassing. Are you ready? It was the state college of Florida, a team called the Manatees. A state college. The Orioles lost to a state college.

SAMBOLIN: There's more to this story.

BANFIELD: I know. OK, I'm getting there. I'm getting there. They lost 2-1. But here is the deal. The Orioles had actually provided the pitchers and a catcher and most of the Baltimore starters were actually off the field by the fifth inning. So it was definitely weighted in the college's favor but the college had won a previous game against a major league team, too.

SAMBOLIN: Rigged. Rigged.

BANFIELD: (Inaudible) pretty good. Go, Manatees.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Police are hoping you can help identify an alleged burglar by his dance moves. The city of Galveston, Texas, released surveillance video showing that man right there busting a move -- this was in full view of the cameras.

Police say last week the man and two accomplices broke into one of those Duck Tour vehicles used to give guided tours of the city. And then I guess he decided to bust a move and (inaudible) caught.

BANFIELD: Right outside the scene of the crime he's doing this. That's what you officially call a cockalorum.

SAMBOLIN: Which would be -- ?

BANFIELD: Can you hear the crew cheering because (inaudible)? A cockalorum is a boastful and self important person. It's our word of the day. It took me two hours to get it in, but I did it. And by the way, I think he's a great dancer. He didn't need to break into anything. That's where his career should be. He's a good dancer.

SAMBOLIN: Unfortunately, it's not.

BANFIELD: Unfortunately, he made a bad choice. That's Early Start, news from a to z. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts right now.