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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Affidavit: Zimmerman Profiled Martin; Interview with Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey; The GSA Spending Big Bucks; New Film about Sammy Davis Jr. Being Produced; Case Involving Police Killing of Elderly Black Veteran Examined; "Good Self, Bad Self"

Aired April 13, 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: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

Our STARTING POINT this morning: North Korea makes a splash but not in the way they wanted to. They deposited a long-range rocket into the ocean. President Obama says the move is provocative and won't be tolerated. The U.N. Security Council is deciding how they'll react today.

Also, after weeks in hiding, George Zimmerman makes his first court appearance. Prosecutors say he's profiled Trayvon Martin before he shot and killed him. We'll look at where the case goes from here.

And we talked about the clowns. We talked about the parties. Now we'll tell you about the government agency, the GSA, how they had a starting role on our show lately, using taxpayer money to reward, yes, to give the jackass award of the day. Yes, I know. We'll update you on what's happening there.

And super mayor to the rescue. I love this story. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, he was on the panel not long ago, runs into a burning building to try to save his neighbor. He had to go to the hospital. We'll tell you what happened and check in with him and talk to him live straight ahead.

It's Friday, April 13th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

O'BRIEN: I love starting with Mary J. There's no more drama, too, because we've kind of having it out on this panel this morning.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I love it. It's a great conversation.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain, are you loving it this morning?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm happy.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am in between you two.

O'BRIEN: Exactly.

Abby Huntsman doing double duty today. She's a panelist --

FUGELSANG: We're both just trying to impress, Abby.

O'BRIEN: She's also like this. She said, break it up, boys, as we fight, fight, fight.

Our STARTING POINT this morning, though, takes a closer look at the affidavit that put George Zimmerman behind bars. Now, according to that affidavit, Trayvon Martin was, quote, "on his way back to the town house where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman." There's also the 911 call where prosecutors say, quote, "a police dispatcher informed Zimmerman that an officer was on the way and to wait for the officer."

It goes on to say, "Zimmerman confronted Martin, a struggle ensued and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest."

Joining us this morning, criminal defense attorney Jose Baez takes a close look at this case.

Nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. We certainly appreciate it.

JOSE BAEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good morning. And thank you for having me.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

So, a lot of people have said, including Alan Dershowitz, talking about how this affidavit is thin. Do you think it is thin and do you think it's thin for a reason? Or do you think it's so thin that actually this could lead to this case not having a conviction at the end?

BAEZ: Well, I always had issues with this prosecution being able to get a conviction mainly because you had law enforcement and a prosecutor, an independent prosecutor, come across and say there wasn't enough for probable cause. So, all of a sudden after a little political pressure, you're going to have a new prosecutor come in and re-interview some witnesses and then all of a sudden come up with probable cause, or actually more than that beyond a reasonable doubt. So, I think, I would agree with Mr. Dershowitz, Professor Dershowitz, and obviously say this is a very thin affidavit.

O'BRIEN: Well, in all fairness, some of those witnesses were never interviewed in the first place, so they weren't really re-interviewed. It seems like there was a lot of public pressure to get other stories out. For example, the girlfriend of Trayvon Martin whose testimony we have not seen in full. But from what we hear she was on the phone, et cetera, et cetera. That was a young woman who was never interviewed by law enforcement at any point until there was public pressure her story came out.

Do you think there's enough for a second-degree murder conviction in this case from what we know?

BAEZ: I think that's a long shot and extreme long shot.

If I can comment on the girlfriend's potential testimony, I think one of the issues that the defense is going to attack immediately is the lack of time that it took for her to come forward. She's on the phone with her boyfriend. It later turns out and it is widely disseminated that he has been shot and it's not for several days when one waits for the police to contact them and this is her boyfriend.

So, I think that's an important angle that the defense will attack and wonder if that testimony has been tailored in any way. So, I would look for that from the defense immediately to attack that, because by far that is their strongest piece of evidence.

O'BRIEN: And the lawyers have said she's a young girl. She's a minor. And she was afraid. Actually had to have her arm twisted to come forward because she was fearful, is what they had said.

Will, you want to jump in?

CAIN: Yes, I wanted to ask Jose because he has some agreement here with Alan Dershowitz. But Professor Dershowitz has gone even farther. He's called this affidavit irresponsible and unethical. And he's even said that he doesn't think it will make it past a judge.

So, what are the odds in your opinion, Jose, that this never even makes it to trial?

BAEZ: Well, there's going to be a hearing on the "Stand Your Ground" law where I'm certain the defense is going to claim immunity from prosecution. There are quite a number of arguments that are going to be put forth. But what makes it difficult for the defense is that the burden is on the defense. They have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence which means 51 percent and if they can prove that Mr. Zimmerman acted in self-defense, then this case goes away 100 percent.

But the problem with that one, there's a critical problem, that it looks like that only way they'll be able to do that and do it successfully is if Mr. Zimmerman testifies. What that does is it gives the prosecution a -- if they're not successful, it gives the prosecution an entire amount of testimony and cross examination long before the trial, and it could ultimately affect him should this case go to trial. So, that's going to be a critical hearing on the "Stand Your Ground" law.

O'BRIEN: If ultimately this is going to come down to what happened in that one or two minutes that really only two people were intimately involved in and one of them is dead, right? So the only person whose story could reveal what happened, excuse me, is George Zimmerman. Is the goal to just keep him off the stand at all? I mean, if you never hear from him and you just sort of have reasonable doubt, would that be your strategy in this case?

BAEZ: Well, it's very early and of course I haven't seen the evidence and I don't know what's going to happen in the future. Always -- there's always something in the process of a case and in discovery that affects your strategy and sometimes even in the trial.

Having said that, if I were going to put that hat on right now, I think that there would be a good possibility that he testifies during the preliminary hearing for the "Stand Your Ground" law and if that's not successful, then he may not take the stand. They may anticipate that he's going to and he may not, which is of course his right, and the jury will never hear that specific portion unless there's certain statements in there that he makes that might be in the prosecution's favor.

O'BRIEN: What does the prosecution strategically have to do? I mean, obviously, here's a guy who's had some tangles with the law before. Can they connect those cases after anger management classes one was dropped. Can they connect that to this particular case prior bad acts kind of thing?

BAEZ: You can only if they are similar crimes. There has to be something -- it's called Williams Rule in the state of Florida. And what that basically means is it's called similar fact evidence. You have to prove certain things like motive or bias. And, you know, I don't think that these past incidents have any relevance as to what happened with Trayvon Martin on that specific evening.

So this prosecution will have a major uphill battle. Now, if he were convicted of a felony, the only thing that they would be able to get out would be that he was convicted of a felony and how many times he was convicted of a felony. It doesn't appear to be the case here. So, in all likelihood the jury will never hear that.

But this case is going to be won and lost in jury selection. In fact, I would suspect that jury selection would be probably three to four times longer than the actual trial itself.

O'BRIEN: Which would be how long would you guess jury selection would take?

BAEZ: Three weeks to a month. With all of the exposure that this case has gotten, I would anticipate a change of venue motion. I think it would be insanity to try it in Seminole County, especially with all of the -- it's not just the coverage because the Supreme Court has come out and said that national coverage is no reason for change of venue.

But you've got something beyond that. You've got a community that is heated up and fired up, and they've blocked off the police station. They marched up and down the street.

There's no way in the world you're going to get a jury of Mr. Zimmerman's peers that are fair and balanced in this situation and not tainted by the entire situation.

O'BRIEN: Jose Baez, thank you for the walkthrough on the legal system in Florida. Really appreciate that.

BAEZ: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.

O'BRIEN: It's my pleasure always.

Let's get right to Kate Bolduan. She's got a look at our other headlines.

Hey, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Soleadad. Thank you.

This morning, the U.N. Security Council will consider how to respond to North Korea's rocket launch that turned into a dud. The rocket fired last night but broke up moments after launch and landed in the ocean. Despite the embarrassment for North Korea, President Obama still calls it provocative.

And an all-night armed standoff comes to an end this morning with two suspects found dead. The man and woman faced off with police at a home in Greenland, New Hampshire. Police had come to the home earlier in the night as part of a drug investigation. The shootout broke out and the police chief was killed. Four other officers were injured.

Police believe the suspects were killed in either a murder/suicide or double suicide. Gunned down Police Chief Michael Maloney (ph) was days away from retirement and -- get this -- there are only 10 officers in that town.

It turns out money was a big problem for Rick Santorum. He says it's one of the reasons he dropped out of the GOP presidential race. Santorum tells FOX News fund-raising got too tough after he lost the Wisconsin primary. He also says he has not spoken with any of the remaining candidates about giving his endorsement.

And it's a cardboard dream come true. You have to love this story. We first told you about Caine's arcade yesterday. Nine-year- old Caine Monroy built his arcade completely out of cardboard in his dad's auto parts story in East Los Angeles. It was subject of a short film that's had 500,000 views on YouTube.

Well, now, Caine's arcade is getting a valuable upgrade. TMZ reports he's offered his choice from a group of real pin ball tables, one of which sells for $3,000.

I will wonder, though -- will he increase the prices? One of the cutest part of that film is you can get the fun pass for $2, 500 turns.

O'BRIEN: I think it's like four turns for a dollar. For $2, 500 turns.

BOLDUAN: I love that kind of bargain (ph).

O'BRIEN: I love that kid. They raised $90,000 for his college scholarship.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I love that story.

O'BRIEN: What a great kid.

All right. This morning, we talk about a hero maker who deserves a key to his own city which he probably has. Newark Mayor Cory Booker literally saved the life of a woman who's trapped in her burning home. He came home to find his neighbor's house in flames, raced inside. The security detail is saying don't do it, ran up the stairs because he heard a voice. This is almost like out of a movie.

Heard someone crying on the second floor. Grabbed her out of her bed, carried her to safety and ended up suffering from smoke inhalation. So, he was hospitalized.

But he's doing OK this morning. And he's joining us by phone.

Mayor Booker, nice to talk to you. How are you doing? How are you feeling?

CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY MAYOR (via telephone): Very good. Just very grateful this morning that I'm OK and everyone else is as well.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I bet.

All right. So, I was giving the dramatic retelling of what happened. But I think I was fairly accurate.

The house was on fire. You run in. What happened?

BOOKER: Yes, we ran -- we ran in. I have to give credit to members of my security detail that were there, Santos Duran and Alex Rodriguez. They were getting everybody out of the house. They noticed the fire before people there. As we were ascending the stairs, the last woman coming out was screaming that her daughter was still in the building. I ran up to the top of the steps with my security detail behind me.

Something exploded and sent a lot of flames and my detail grabbed me and tried to drag me out of there. We got into a bit of an altercation. Unfortunately, I was able to convince them to let go of me and just jumped into the kitchen which was on fire and was able to make my way through there to a back bedroom where the woman was hiding and it was a touch and go moment. I was able to grab her and get back through the kitchen. That's when she sustained some burns and I got some minor burns and got her out of the house.

O'BRIEN: Your security detail, Officer Rodriguez, said he thought when you finally went back in and the house was on fire, that that was it. The next day he would be reporting for another detail because you might not make it out. He wasn't kidding.

How dangerous do you think -- do you think you were close to maybe not coming back out?

BOOKER: Yes. I mean, I had a feeling today of a sense of just gratitude. I said I think I've gotten a lot more religious because when I got through the fiery kitchen, the room I came into was just full of smoke. I couldn't find the woman. I looked back behind me and the kitchen was becoming more and more of an inferno. At that point I thought to myself this is.

And fortunately she called out for me. I was able to feel my way and find her and then just made the choice. I said we have to go back through that kitchen and was able to carry her that back through. She didn't have many clothes on. My clothes protected, it got thinnish. But her back got burned up. My hand holding her got burned.

O'BRIEN: All right. We're glad to see that she's OK and that you're OK for totally selfish reasons. We want you back on the program and on the panel.

BOOKER: I appreciate that.

I was accused by my staff that I'm conflicted, I can't do anymore firefighter negotiations, because these guys are real heroes and do this on a regular basis.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I would bet. You do that for a minute and you're like, wow, that's a very tough gig.

Mayor Booker, we're glad to see you're all right in all seriousness. Thank you for talking to us by phone. I love that you're tweeting.

You know, he's a phenomenal tweeter.

FUGELSANG: Great tweeter.

O'BRIEN: So the fact that he's tweeting that it's all OK. We appreciate that as well.

Stay safe. No more fires for you.

BOOKER: Thank you. All the best.

O'BRIEN: All right. You, too.

FUGELSANG: And he shovels your walk when it snows.

O'BRIEN: Yes. And he shovels your walk -- I got to get Mayor Bloomberg. Come on, Mayor Bloomberg. Step it up.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a government agency giving out more awards, more embarrassing details of waste at the GSA. The agency that's actually in charge of saving taxpayer dollars. $300,000 to relocate an employee to Hawaii.

Also this morning, Sammy the fly girls, homey the clown, fire motion bill (ph), "Living Color" is back. We're going to talk after some (INAUDIBLE) straight ahead this morning. First though, Abby's playlist. Flo Rida, "Good Feeling." Flo Rida. I'm sorry. I always mess it up for you. Flo Rida.

(CROSSTALK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We've been telling you all week, and I think part of last week, too, about the lavish spending by the Government Services Administration. It's an agency that's really in charge of saving the government money.

First, there was news of that 2010 conference in Vegas that cost more than $800,000, then came the videos, embarrassing videos of government workers bragging about spending taxpayer money, and then, just when you think it can't get any worse, it is getting worse.

Jonathan Strong is the reporter of the "Roll Call," and he's been investigating the scandal. Nice to see you, Jonathan. Thanks for talking with us. There are some new details emerging, and you've been, obviously, sort of following this. Showing examples of wasteful spending. Give me some of those details.

JONATHAN STRONG, REPORTER, ROLL CALL: Right. Yes. So, in this latest example, we learned at these conferences, apparently, if you hold an award ceremony, you can bill taxpayers for your dinner events. And so, GSA officials began inventing superfluous awards so that they can hold dinner events at every conference they were having, and it got to be a running joke.

And at one point, they stopped even pretending and they bestowed a jackass award on one employee, and this was the justification for taxpayers paying for their dinner event at one of these conferences.

O'BRIEN: Because, literally, you could write off the expenses for the meal. I want to play a little clip of this very thing. A GSA employee who's not named talking with the inspector general investigator about that jackass award here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF DENHAM, (R) CALIFORNIA: They spent nearly $500,000 already on different things from iPods to a number of different things like mouse pads. I mean, the list goes on and on and what they're the spending money on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: I'm sorry. You know, that's the wrong clip. And in fact -- let me read it to you. So, the GSA employee says this, "Well, I just remember one year like someone got the jackass award for doing something stupid, and the inspector says the jackass award got everybody food, and employee says, oh, yes."

And the guy says, "well, just because it was an award?" And the employee says, "I mean, there was a bunch of them. There was a bunch of goofy awards. What everybody finds sort of offensive and most offensive about all this it feels like it was widespread and kind of everybody at every level was in on this. Is that what you found?

STRONG: Yes. That's what I thought the importance of this was. I mean, obviously, it's funny. It's kind of priceless that they would call it that, this agency under fire for wasting taxpayer dollars would award itself a jackass award.

At the same time, on a more serious level, this does show that every employee was a little bit complicit in this in a sense that they all knew that this was an abuse, and everyone was in on the joke and laughing about it.

O'BRIEN: I was just playing a clip that was a Congressman Jeff Denham, and he chairs one of the subcommittees that's looking into this. And now, I'd like to go back, if you guys will, and play that clip where he talks about the internal rewards program. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENHAM: They spent nearly $500,000 already on different things from iPods to a number of different things like mouse pads. I mean, the list goes on and on on what they're spending money on. But then they have no accountability for who these prizes go to and how they're given away. It's a reward system where employees are basically giving them to one another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: That's Congressman Jeff Dunham. So, clearly, there's an effort to score points and attack the administration in some of this investigation, but who ultimately do you is accountable? Is it the current administration? Is it past administration as we talk sort of about tracking this for awhile? Is it Congress which has oversight of the GSA? Is everybody to blame? What do you think?

STRONG: Well, you know, the president gets to appoint the leadership for each federal agency, and that's the reason why just historically the blame and the credit for what a federal agency does tends to come to his doorstep.

At the same time, one of the things we're learning about this is that there was kind of a culture of corruption at GSA and that this, you know, nearly million dollar Las Vegas conference with some of these colorful expenses, it wasn't the first time that some of these abuses occurred. And so, it was something that kind of was a problem that was growing at the agency over several years.

O'BRIEN: Where do you think it ends? Every day, are you and I going to be talking about the next video, the next scandal, the next -- we didn't get to the relocating costs of somebody for $300,000 which was insane in Hawaii. Where does it end or every day is going to be a different trip --

STRONG: You know, these expenses are so flagrant that when I first saw them, I thought, man, I can't believe they tried to get away with that. At the same time, since I wrote this story, I've been getting e-mails from people who say, hey, I've got a family, you know, relative who's at this agency and this kind of thing is happening, too.

So, I think that it would be fertile ground for Congress to look at conference expenditures across the federal government right now.

O'BRIEN: Yes. I think it's the blatancy that really is very troubling. Thanks for joining us this morning. Certainly, appreciate it. That's Jonathan Strong of "Roll Call." You were going to say something?

CAIN: I was going to say, you asked Jonathan a question, where is the blame eventually land? Does it land on the administration, the actual GSA administrators? But if Jonathan is right, he's getting e- mails about other agencies. We need to look at basically government in general and how efficient it can be.

O'BRIEN: Oh, that's what he's saying.

FUGELSANG: It's not big government, it's good government. And you know, Halliburton may have ripped off the Pentagon and taxpayers for a couple billion in Iraq, but at least, they didn't film it.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, J.Lo, what do they all have in common? "In Living Color." Now, another original actor, Tommy Davidson, is going to join to talk about what's next. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Doesn't that take you back when the great actors coming out of "In Living Colors." Tommy Davidson joins us. He's about to be honored for the ground breaking show. Nice to have you.

TOMMY DAVIDSON, COMEDIAN, ACTOR: Thank you. Nice to be here. Nice to be back in New York.

O'BRIEN: Ground breaking Award, I think, is what they're giving you for the TV land awards ceremony. The show was on from 1990 to 1994. I was surprised.

DAVIDSON: To 1995, actually. 1991 to 1995, something like that.

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIDSON: It was a while back.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: It's so long ago. It was created by Keenan Ivory Wayans.

DAVIDSON: Yes. Yes.

O'BRIEN: And, what do you think made it so ground breaking?

DAVIDSON: It was actually funny.

(LAUGHTER)

FUGELSANG: I think he's right.

DAVIDSON: You know, there are a lot of shows that are on that got laugh tracks and "Saturday Night Live" had had its run. You know what I mean? So, it was time for something new. And it was time for America to look like America really looks like with Blacks and Hispanic and with Asians all together on one show. Like America really looks like.

So, I think that was the appeal. Wait a second. That looks like everybody. That looks like us. This is real. And it took us all the way into the hip-hop era and just took us further.

O'BRIEN: It launched careers of Jim Carrey, J.Lo. Remember J.Lo? She was a fly girl?

DAVIDSON: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Jamie Foxx.

DAVIDSON: Jamie.

O'BRIEN: David Alan Grier.

DAVIDSON: David.

O'BRIEN: As well.

DAVIDSON: Yes. It just keeps going. Rosie Perez (ph).

O'BRIEN: Right, right, right.

FUGELSANG: And Fox Network. I mean, it really helped Fox bring in a whole new audience and bring in a whole new comedy audience.

DAVIDSON: Yes. It did. It did. Fox turned into a huge network after us.

CAIN: You know, I'm curious. You talk about the timing when it got so big. Your explanation is actually, I think exactly right. I was a kid, and "Saturday Night Live" was like in a lull. It wasn't doing well, and you guys come along and you were funny.

And was there any kind of frustration among cast members that help bring like we're not getting on "Saturday Night Live." We're not getting on some of these other outlets. Let's make our own?

DAVIDSON: Yes. I think that's what made the show. I think, you know, Keenan was smart. Keenan (ph) went out and got all the hot acts that he knew at the time, put them together like the X-Men, and just said, let's go. He was so ready when the time came. We didn't know if it was going to get picked up. It finally got picked up after six months of us sitting around, but we knew what it would do, and once it got picked up, we were like Super Bowl -- O'BRIEN: Was there pushback, too? I mean, did people -- you know, because you've covered a lot of issues. And even with the race stuff, there had to be people who were uncomfortable. With a laugh track you want to control.

DAVIDSON: I think that's the good thing. We broke a lot of barriers. We didn't care about what people thought. We cared about what was funny and entertaining people. And I think that we were genuine about that and that's why the show was successful.

O'BRIEN: We have a clip of you doing an impersonation of Sammy Davis, Jr.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even impressionists can do Sammy.

DAVIDSON: Check it out, babe. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Keep your eye --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. It is you. No one else would take credit for singing the theme song from "Barretta."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: You purchased options for this, right?

DAVIDSON: Yes. That's quite an accomplishment. It's a long way coming, long way coming. It's one of the greatest entertainers of all time, probably the greatest entertainer of all time. He broke all of the race lines. And he's an amazing individual. It's time to do a film. I acquired some intellectual property and now we'll move from there forward. It's a good time for me.

O'BRIEN: You'll be Sammy?

DAVIDSON: Yes. Oh, yes.

CAIN: Drama or comedy?

DAVIDSON: I'll say more on the drama side. His life was one of -- he had a very compelling life. Ties with the mob. And there's a rat pack.

O'BRIEN: Accident. Lost his eye.

CAIN: Jewish faith.

O'BRIEN: As a black dude. Story. Drama. There we go. We're getting there. He married the top white actress in Hollywood when blacks couldn't eat ice cream in the diner. His life represents what America has become.

O'BRIEN: When do you think we'll see that on the big screen?

DAVIDSON: I think very, very soon. You know, I'm in that time in my career where things are happening for me. You know, I've been a part of a team for a long time.

O'BRIEN: You talk like you're 75 years old.

DAVIDSON: I'm 48. That's like 75 in white man age.

O'BRIEN: Will there be a reunion? There's so much material to work with today. I wish could you get back together and play around with it a little bit.

DAVIDSON: Obama would say I can't deny or confirm. I think that they're going to get together. They are like the X-Men and they did a good job bringing them together and Tommy Davidson is the beast in x men so it should be good.

O'BRIEN: It's nice to have you. Congratulations on the award and the movie. Let us know when it's coming out.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, she was there when Monica Lewinsky and Clarence Thomas and Senator Larry Craig, the list goes on and on and on, all of them found themselves in the middle of a major crisis. That new TV series "Scandal" was inspired by the real life crisis management expert Judy Smith. Ms. Smith will join us coming up.

And a case that, one family says, is similar to Trayvon Martin's case. A retired marine shot and killed in his own home by police who were responding to his medical alert device. We'll talk to that veteran's son straight ahead. You're watching STARTING POINT. Short break. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. This is a developing story that we're following. A grand jury hearing is now under way to find out why 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain, who was a Vietnam veteran and resident of the White Plains, New York, was shot and killed inside his home after his medical alert pendant was accidentally activated. Police say they responded to the alert and that Chamberlain attacked the officer with a hatchet once they entered the apartment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CHONG, WHITE PLAINS PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER: The officers first used an electronic taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect. While the officers were retreating, the officers then used a shotgun, a bean bag shotgun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Eventually the officers fired on chamberlain. Two bullet shots and they claimed it was self-defense. Family members say video and audio recordings taken from multiple sources at the scene tell a very different story, a story in which the police taunted and abused chamberlain even using the "n-word" talking through his door before they fired the lethal lawn. Chamberlain's niece and neighbor stood outside while the events unfolded. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONYA GREENHILL, NIECE OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I heard them ask if he had any family. I said from the steps, yes, he does. No one responded to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Mr. Chamberlain would have been 69 years old yesterday. Joining us this morning is his son, Kenneth, Jr., and also his attorney Randy McLaughlin. I guess the thing that people find so surprising is that there is actually audio and video evidence in this case. Often you hear these stories and it's a he said or police said and the other side is but in this case there's evidence. Have you had a chance to see this evidence?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR., SON OF POLICE SHOOTING VICTIM: I was given the opportunity by the Westchester County D.A.'s office permitting myself and my attorneys to view the video and listen to the audio.

O'BRIEN: Video from the hallway camera?

CHAMBERLAIN: From the taser. I haven't seen any video from the hallway yet.

O'BRIEN: The taser has video the minute you basically get ready to use it, Take the safety off. What did the video from the taser show you?

CHAMBERLAIN: The video showed my father standing approximately maybe eight to 10 feet away from the officer with the taser in his hand and it showed my father with his hands down with just boxers on.

O'BRIEN: Any weapon in his hand?

CHAMBERLAIN: We couldn't see a weapon. Immediately they fired the taser. I guess one of the prongs went in but the other one didn't so you kept hearing an officer say, "hit it again, hit it again, hit it again." And then finally you hear an officer say shut it off.

O'BRIEN: There's also an audio recording, Randy, that I guess triggered once you hit that life alert device. How critical is that going to be in this case? It's now before the grand jury?

RANDY MCLAUGHLIN, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: I think that audio is critical. What the audio does is records the entire confrontation from the moment the police showed up almost until the moment he was shot. The audio is cut off right before he is shot, sometime before that, but it records most if not all of the incident.

And what it shows is I don't think police officers knew they were being recorded. As you said earlier, most of the time in these cases you don't have any independent recording of what's going on, what's transpiring. Here you do. And I think this case is a tragedy of errors from one moment to the next. From start to finish, this police department, these police officers did everything wrong.

O'BRIEN: One of the things that's so sad and I know you've had a chance to listen to the audiotape is literally the taunting that the officers who are outside of your father's door were doing to your father, 68-year-old Vietnam vet who had pretty serious medical problems. Part of the reason he had the medical alert device. Tell me a little bit about that back and forth that was going on.

CHAMBERLAIN: Well, I have told people before that in 45 years, that was the first time that I had ever heard my father pretty much begging for his life, asking the officers why they are doing this to him. He's a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Could they please leave him alone? He's saying "I didn't call you. I don't need any assistance." You hear the officers as he's asking them one of them why they doing this to him. They use an expletive saying they don't give an "f," and then use the "n-word."

And immediately when you hear these things, I was very clear not to make this a racial issue in the beginning. I said I'm not going to do that. It's a police misconduct thing. But when you hear expletives and you hear a racial slur, you can't help but look at it from a racial standpoint.

O'BRIEN: He told them he was a Vietnam vet, right?

CHAMBERLAIN: He said "semper fi" a few times. He said you're a marine, huh? Then you hear them say hoorah. The officials have said that it wasn't said in a derogatory way, but they were taunting him. You were telling officers were saying they wanted to get in to use the bathroom. That's not the word that they use but for national television I won't say what they said. But everything was unprofessional in the whole way they approached my father.

O'BRIEN: What happens now? The case is in the second day of hearings. It has had two days of hearings for the grand jury and you still have a number of people to be interviewed. When do you think that the case will go into trial? There's an officer at the center of the case.

MCLAUGHLIN: The first question is whether or not there will be an indictment. We believe that after a full and fair hearing at the grand jury, that there should be an indictment. This is a homicide, an unjustified homicide. There were officers there. What did they do to prevent or to protect this man who was in his home minding his own business at 5:00 a.m.? This afternoon with the grand jury we'll take a witness to the grand jury, a family member who was actually present during the altercation and heard and saw much of what happened.

O'BRIEN: You know what the saddest thing is and we had a chance to talk about this story is that ultimately police came because the life alert was triggered. They were there really to help save his life. If he had a medical emergency, they were going to be the ones to break down the door and try to save him and get him to safety. Of course at the end of an hour and 15, 20 minutes, it just they were the ones who ended up killing him. CHAMBERLAIN: Something went wrong. And I don't know if it comes down to training. I don't know if it was just those officers' mentality. I don't know. But all I know now is that my father is no longer with us.

O'BRIEN: Randy and Kenneth, thank you for talking to us. We'll continue to follow this story because I think when that audiotape becomes available and when that videotape is released by the D.A.'s office, it will be it is fascinating to hear and see what's on that tape and what's on that audio. Thank you very much for being with us. Our condolences again about your dad. Such a sad story.

We're going to take a short break. Back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: This is my anthem. Are you voting for me here?

CAIN: I'm voting for you -- if you guys dancing.

O'BRIEN: That's Gloria Gaynor. "I Will Survive." I'm just -- just reading. Gloria Gaynor, "I will Survive". I think that is going to be my anthem this morning. You can catch our playlist every morning at CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT.

Coming up next, if you're caught up in a scandal, a terrible, nasty, nasty scandal this is the woman to call if you are. It's a new TV series "Scandal" is inspired by the real life scandal expert, Judy Smith. She's going to join us to talk about how to get out of a crisis if you are in one.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

This is an inside look at the sometimes dirty world of politics in Washington, D.C. and more importantly the person who cleans up the mess. It's a new ABC series; it's called "Scandal." You had a chance to see this?

(CROSSTALK)

Will Cain, come on get with it. You can actually watch it on ABC player. It's life of a crisis manager handling situations like a woman who claims she's having an affair with the President. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes get a little job, meet a boring boy and meet some friends because in this town your career is over. You're done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you doing this to me? I'm a good person. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know who else was a good person? Monica Lewinsky and she was telling the truth but she still got destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you get subpoenaed in front of a grand jury you can testify as an officer of the court that I was working on my own. I didn't blackmail or threaten her. If you don't get subpoenaed, this never happened.

It's handled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Ok. I'm in love with Kerry Washington right there.

JUDY SMITH, CRISIS MANAGEMENT EXPERT: She's a tough cookie. Isn't she?

O'BRIEN: The inspiration of this character, Kerry Washington, is you Judy Smith whose client list reads like a who's who of people who are in deep trouble who needed some help. You got a new book as well it's called, "Good Self, Bad Self". And of course it's the bad self that you're helping people deal with. How close is that show to what you do? How cool is it that they picked Kerry Washington to play you?

SMITH: Oh let me just say hands down she's amazing. I mean, she's an incredible actress. The show has been inspired by my crisis work. But I tell everybody at the outset that no, I didn't have an affair with the President.

O'BRIEN: So that's a new show.

SMITH: And that's the key point.

O'BRIEN: I was going to ask that.

SMITH: I know. Yes I want to get that straight right off the bat. But you know, I mean, it's -- you know Shonda Rhimes (ph) who's creator of the show has done a great job. She has taken that sort of high wire act of crisis and drama in our lives and she's dramatized it for television.

And you've got to have -- it's TV. You've got to make it interesting.

O'BRIEN: Walk me through the steps.

SMITH: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Someone calls and says and probably somebody in politics at a high level says "I'm in trouble". What do you tell them? What do you do?

SMITH: First thing I tell them is you need to tell me the truth. Sometimes it's very hard for people to face into that as we've seen in so many examples here in Washington. I mean with Wiener, for example, who really did not believe that those were the pictures maybe his mom but otherwise not too many people. I think the other thing that's important in a crisis really is you have to know the facts. Not the facts really as they would like for them to be but really the facts as they really are.

O'BRIEN: Monica Lewinsky was one of your clients.

SMITH: Yes. Yes she is, I mean that was really an interesting time. It was one of those tough situations where you are really trying to make sure that your client does not go to jail and then you have all of this presidency and the weight of that surrounding you as well.

O'BRIEN: Do you ever have to represent somebody who you really personally dislike? Like you're fighting to clear their name or get them to a safe place and you are like and yes you stand for everything I despise?

SMITH: Well, it's not even a question of like, honestly. There are some cases that I just won't do.

O'BRIEN: Like what?

SMITH: And -- well you -- it's like obscenity with the Supreme Court. You sort of know it when you see it. But there are some things that I just decide that is not for me.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, DAUGHTER OF JON HUNTSMAN: Judy I'm curious.

SMITH: Yes.

LIVINGSTON: You talked about Monica Lewinsky and Wiener and how the times have changed and now with this Twitter world kind of taking over everything.

SMITH: Yes.

LIVINGSTON: In the conversation, has that changed your role and how are you handling these situations when you can't always control what's getting out in the public?

SMITH: Right. That's a really good question because I think with all of that it's made it really so much more difficult to deal with crisis. I mean, as we've seen, somebody can put something out on a blog or -- and it's not true or either it's framed where you don't have all of the facts.

And you have someone like the President and White House out there not denying it but supporting it and someone gets fired. And then they get to be asked to get rehired. You know what I mean? So it's -- you have to move quick but at the same time you want to be very careful about things.

CAIN: What is your job though? Is your job to make your client -- SMITH: What do I do?

CAIN: No. I mean but you have your job and a client comes to you, what is your job? To make that client look as good as possible amidst the crisis?

SMITH: No. No.

CAIN: To get the truth out.

O'BRIEN: Get him out of it.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: The truth, the truth, the truth. What our job really in crisis management is we work with corporations and individuals and we really try to solve problems large and small. In that process though, we are very mindful and we try to protect the person's reputation and their brand. But you really have to do it in a way that is not only organic but believable.

FUGELSANG: Right.

SMITH: I mean people have to -- people expect the truth. The other thing I always say in crisis is that the American public is very forgiving. And when you tell the truth and you fess up and you say you made a mistake, people are usually forgiving of that.

O'BRIEN: Everybody loves a redemption story.

SMITH: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Judy Smith, it's so nice to have you. Good luck with your book. It's called "Good Self, Bad Self". Of course, she's the one who deals with the bad self trying to bring it over to the good self. Nice to have you.

SMITH: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

SMITH: Thanks a lot.

O'BRIEN: "End Point" with our panel is up next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: It's Friday and in honor of Will Cain's beard, we're going to let him start "End Point" for us. You want to come to town, I think the beard is about to go away.

CAIN: That might be true. I'm going to share the last question I asked Judy Smith, scandal expert, before she left. I said how much of your job, quite honestly, is obscuring the truth. And she said it isn't because the truth inevitably comes out. Exhibit one, Anthony Weiner. O'BRIEN: The truth will set you free.

HUNTSMAN: How long have you been trying to grow that?

CAIN: What do you mean trying. Trying where it's usually --

O'BRIEN: Oh, Abby, yes, yes, yes.

CAIN: Looks good.

O'BRIEN: Girl power today.

HUNTSMAN: I'm going to give it to Mayor Booker. I think he really demonstrated a heroic act last night and it's exactly what politicians should be doing.

O'BRIEN: John I'm going to cut you off because we're out of time.

We've got to get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" --

CAIN: You'll get used to it.

FUGELSANG: I am all right.

O'BRIEN: I'll see everybody back here on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Carol, good morning.