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Zimmerman Bond Hearing Today; Parents In Prison; Interview with Cornel West; A 30 Year Old Missing Child Case Reopened; Media Publishes Controversial Photos of U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan; Debate Over Grisly Troop Photos; Time to Get "Freaky Deaky"

Aired April 20, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

Our STARTING POINT this morning is George Zimmerman who is back in court in an hour, going face to face with Trayvon Martin's parents. Will the judge let him out of jail? We'll take a look.

Plus, a break in a three decade old case? A new search this morning for the nation's first milk carton child. What clues could turn up in the case of Etan Patz?

Plus, two of those Secret Service supervisors have now been forced out of their jobs over that prostitution scandal now being named. This one protected Sarah Palin back in 2008, told everybody on Facebook that he had his eyes on more than her safety.

It's Friday, April 20th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: That's the Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice." I'm not ready to back -- Will Cain's playlist. Every time a music from Texas --



O'BRIEN: I know, I know. Will Cain is back, joining our panel this morning. It's always nice to have you.

CAIN: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

Also joining us, Hank Sheinkopf. He's a Democratic strategist.

And, Alicia Salzer, psychiatrist author of a great book called "Back to Life" joining us as well.

First, a face to face meeting between George Zimmerman and the family parents of Trayvon Martin, we're expecting it in just about an hour. All are expected in the Florida courtroom for George Zimmerman's bond hearing. Zimmerman's family expected to testify. They'll testify via phone and not in person.

It's going to be the first time that we hear from a new judge who is presiding in the case, whose name is Kenneth Lester, Jr. Zimmerman has been in jail since last Wednesday when he surrendered to police.

Ben Crump is an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family and he told Anderson Cooper that he believes that Zimmerman should stay in jail.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER (via telephone): He has a right to a bond hearing. The judge after listening to both sides will make a decision. This is a non-bondable offense. The judge has discretion. It's a serious charge, Anderson.

It's a situation where on moral grounds, public safety grounds and legal grounds we think it's best that he be kept without bond until these matters have concluded.


O'BRIEN: Joining us this morning, CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin.

Hey, Sunny, good morning.


O'BRIEN: You heard Ben Crump there. He said on moral grounds and then legal grounds. How much of a weight could moral grounds have in a courtroom really?

HOSTIN: Well, it shouldn't really have any weight. This is really a legal issue. And I've got to tell you, when you look at the standard in Florida which is, you know, proof of guilt is evidence, presumption of guilt is great, that's even beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. And so, I suspect that there probably will be some sort of bond package that is fashioned for George Zimmerman.

O'BRIEN: And how much money do you think? I mean, what range? What would be a typical bond package in this kind of deal?

HOSTIN: Well, you know, this is a high profile case. This is a serious charge. We're talking about second-degree murder. And so, there may very well be a very high monetary bond.

But then I think there will also be some other conditions. His safety has been called into question here and home confinement possibly would be a way of dealing with that. And so I would imagine that there will be sort of a range of conditions in terms of a bond package if that's what the judge determines today.

CAIN: Hey, Sunny, it's Will. With hat standard you just laid out, proof evidence and presumption great which is beyond a reasonable doubt, tougher standard than reasonable doubt, do you expect the prosecution to really even try to oppose a bond? They would have to put on a lot of evidence. As a former prosecutor, would you even oppose a bond in this case?

HOSTIN: Yes, I would because it's a second-degree murder charge. It's a non-bondable offense. And the burden is on the prosecutor. Yes, that's a heavy burden.

But the prosecutor can prove that burden or meet that burden, Will, with affidavits, perhaps with detective's testimony. And prosecutors in Florida, my understanding is they do meet that burden many, many times in cases.

And so, I suspect a prosecutor like Angela Corey who is known as being very aggressive will likely try to keep him in prison.

O'BRIEN: I want to play a little bit of what Ben Crump said about this proposed meeting. I guess George Zimmerman said he would like to meet with Trayvon Martin's parents, and the family shut that down. Here's what Ben Crump said.


CRUMP: It's a situation where you think about it, he never once apologized on his Website, on any of the voice mails that he left with his friends, and never expressed any remorse during police interviews several times they interviewed him. So we question his motive at this point saying he wants to apologize.


HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Apologizing for something he wasn't convicted of wouldn't make sense. Is it about politics setting that bail or flight risk? Is he a flight risk or left in the can because it's the political thing to do and the right thing to do and will keep people feeling much better?

HOSTIN: Well, you know, bottom line is this judge, Judge Lester, is a seasoned judge. He's been on the bench for a long time. He's handled a lot of high-profile cases. My understanding is that he is not a judge who will bend to pressure, political pressure or otherwise.

So, I suspect that he will look at whether or not George Zimmerman is a danger to the community, whether or not there's a flight risk there.

But I would like to address what Ben Crump said because I also have spoken to Natalie Jackson, one of the other martin family attorneys and I know the family. I've interviewed some of the family members.

I think that what they are trying to say is they wonder why Zimmerman wants to meet with them at this late date. They also are opposed to this sort of private meeting. They want sort of full disclosure, transparency. They would be very happy to meet with him at a deposition where he goes over what he says happened that night.

But in terms of a private meeting request the day before a bond hearing, they're certainly questioning those motives. They think perhaps it's a media ploy, perhaps something else. They're not interested in that closed door meeting. They want full disclosure and transparency. And that's what they've asked for all along, I think.

O'BRIEN: All right. Sunny Hostin for us this morning -- thank you, Sunny. Appreciate it.

It's kind of like what you said, Alicia, about, you know, what they really want is something you can't get is an apology. You really want details of what happened and that might, you know, be something that has to come out in the courtroom really at the end of the day.

Let's get to headlines. Zoraida Sambolin has those for us.

Hey. Good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Soledad.

Federal agents and police are now digging up the floor and tearing down the drywall of a New York City apartment in a new search for Etan Patz, who's been missing since 1979. The 6-year-old boy was the first missing child pictured on a milk carton. A source says Patz met a carpenter in a basement the day before he vanished. Cadaver dogs reportedly picked up the scent of human remains in that building.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly joined us here on STARTING POINT earlier. He says this same apartment had been searched before.


RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: It had been searched. Obviously, it was looked at a long time ago, 30 years ago. I think what's significant now is this new technologies involved, these new chemicals, these new techniques that can be used. So, I think law enforcement, certainly FBI and NYPD are hopeful to give some comfort to the parents.


SAMBOLIN: Two supervisors who have been forced out of the Secret Service in the wake of a prostitution scandal have now been identified. This is a photo from the Facebook page of 48-year-old former supervisor David Randall Chaney. He retired from the Secret Service under pressure this week.

That's him standing behind Sarah Palin in 2008. In the comments section, right beneath the picture, Chaney writes, quote, "I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean."

Chaney is married with an adult so son.

Greg Stokes has been identified as the other supervisor forced out. He was in charge of the k-9 division.

Lawmakers are calling for more heads to roll.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Those people who are responsible had brought disgrace and it's disgusting. I haven't been briefed, but I don't se how those who are involved in this should be able to continue in their work.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: It does appear that you will have more employees leaving either today or tomorrow. Exact number, I don't know. But I do expect more employees will be leaving the Secret Service.


SAMBOLIN: Eight other Secret Service agents remain on administrative leave.

An Oklahoma woman is suing the Union Pacific Railroad, claiming one of their officers attacked her without cause. Mary Hill says she was crossing the tracks on her way home from work when Officer Allen Simmons stopped her and accused of trespassing. The altercation that followed was caught on surveillance tape.


MARY HILL, SUING UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD: What are you doing? Get off of me! I did not, sir!


HILL: I did not do that!


HILL: Let go of me.

I wasn't thinking at that time that this man wants to do harm to me. I wasn't thinking like that.


SAMBOLIN: You saw that. But Mary was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a police officer and trespassing. She was found not guilty. Her lawsuit asks for a minimum of $10,000 in damages.

It's not very cute when it's a drunk dude doing this, but when it's this little guy, the crowd giggled and awed when a little boy jumped the wall and started running around outfield at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago yesterday afternoon. A White Sox outfielder made a nice play, scooping him up in his arms, taking him over to security. We're not sure why he did it, whether he was told to or whether he was just super-excited.

But the rules are the rules. He was booted along with the rest of his family. But take a look at the smile on his face. He's got a glove. I hope he got a baseball out of the deal as well -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: My kid could be grounded.

Dayan Viciedo I think is the outfielder who scooped him up and he said he was worried, you know, the reason he grabbed him so fast he was worried he was going to get clocked in the head by a ball that could be very dangerous.

That's weird. Kid getting on the field, that's interesting to see exactly what happened there.

All right. Z, thank you.

SAMBOLIN: You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, it's no longer a matter of class and color. Poverty numbers are exploding. Sometimes swallowing up the middle class. We're going to talk to Dr. Cornel West, warning about a road to ruin in his new book, which is called "The Rich and the Rest of Us."

And then a scare in the air when a bird strike forces an emergency landing. Among the passengers was CNN's Ali Velshi. He's going to tell us what he saw and heard from inside that plane.

Here's Alicia's playlist. KT Tunstall, "Suddenly I See."

You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: A new book says that poverty is not just a crisis we're experiencing in our country, but argues that in fact we're dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe. In 2010, there were 46 million Americans who were living in poverty. That's according to the U.S. Census. And that is an increase of nearly 9 million people from just three years ago.

It's called "The Rich and Rest of Us," a property manifesto. It's nice to have you with us. This is basically based on that 18- city bus tour. What cities did you go to?

CORNEL WEST, CO-AUTHOR, "THE RICH AND THE REST OF US": Oh, we started at Indian reservation, and we went ended up there. We went to Akron, Ohio. We went to Charleston, West Virginia. We wanted to make sure we hit our precious indigenous brothers and sisters, White brothers and sisters, Brown brother and sisters, Black brothers and sisters. And we spent time with the monk in Wisconsin, so it was across the board. O'BRIEN: So, is it basically based on race when you look at poverty or because, obviously, you're renowned for writing about race or is it sort of beyond race at this point?

WEST: Oh no, it's class. It's very much class. It's a matter of unfairness and injustice and concern with each and every person. The sad thing is younger you are in America, the more likely you are to be poor. So, the people like (INAUDIBLE) and others who have been concerned about child poverty, their voice is now becoming more and more central, and that's what this text is about.

O'BRIEN: You write in this an economic uptick or recovery, and that's something, of course, we talk about all the time as we look especially at the presidential race will not solve what we witness while travelling across the country. What did you witness?

WEST: Well, we witness magnificent persons suffering and struggling, but really only to no fault of their own being caught in a system where they lost a job, lost their homes, lost their health care. Significant number middle class now moving into poverty as it were. And so, we concluded that poverty really is the moral and spiritual issue of our time. It's just not a political and economic issue.

It's a matter of what kind of country we want to be, what kind compassion we want to show. It's not a matter of throwing money, it's a matter of massive creation of jobs with a living wage and we've been living in a society in which one percent of the population, within 2010, one percent of population got 93 percent of the income growth. Something is wrong. Something is deeply wrong. We need to --

CAIN: So, professor, this is where we go our separate ways on our opinions here. So, I want to ask you this. Certainly, poverty is something that we all care about, basically, both sides of the political spectrum and all across the ethnic divides as you just described, but the answer to it is I think where we divide.

You know, I look at an economic system that over the last 100, 200 years has produced the greatest amount of wealth across the economic spectrum this Earth has ever seen. Median income has gone like this, just skyrocketed. When I hear you say you want to develop a new social economic system based on living wages, I got to be honest, I get really worried about you upsetting that growth curve.

WEST: Well, I appreciate that, but I would want to push you on this, though. I'm not sure that we care as much about poverty as you say. Look at our military. I mean, we can create these drone jumping bombs on persons, and sometimes, innocent persons. Do you know how much money goes into that drone?

But when it comes to quality housing, quality education, quality jobs especially for working and poor people -- now, you're right. For the middle classes and the upper middle class and well to do, we've done magnificent.

CAIN: But don't you think poor today are vastly more wealthy than the poor of yesterday? The poor of 50 years ago? The poor who live in other continents and other countries. The system is so valuable, and I'm just worried that your solutions might upset --

O'BRIEN: I got -- so, are you arguing that the poor today should be grateful that, at least, they're less poor than the poor people were in the 1960s?

CAIN: It's not about gratefulness. That's not what I'm suggesting as somebody just -- who's in that situation adjust their emotional state. What I'm suggesting is the system has produced a great amount of wealth. And I think, do you recognize that -- do you agree with me this system has produced a great amount of wealth?

WEST: No doubt about that. Technological innovation. Levels of productivity unprecedented. But when it comes to quality of life, that's a separate thing. We're talking about poverty. In this text, it's not just about poverty resources, poverty of imagination, poverty of compassion.

Are we more greedy now than we were in the 1960s? In the 1960s, CEOs at $35, maybe $1 for the worker. Today, they've got $500 for every $1.

CAIN: So, what's your solution? You and I disagree a little bit on what the solution might be. What's yours?

WEST: I don't think as a deep Democrat and revolutionary Christian, I don't think I have a monopoly on the truth. I want to generate a discourse, bring all of the voices together and say we can do better than this.

SALZER: I agree. I think that too many people are in denial about what poverty looks like. Most people, I believe, would be more generous if they saw a dog suffering on their front lawn, they would dip in and they would try to help, but we don't see the suffering.

O'BRIEN: Why not do you think?

SALZER: Right under --

O'BRIEN: Because you don't see it or --


SALZER: It's invisible. It's separate from us. And we really need the documentaries, the books that paint a vivid picture that take us into the lives of these people so we see what it's all about, because otherwise, we step over them.

SHEINKOPF: The credit card revolution has messed a lot of these people living on -- they're living poverty of credit. We're extending this now through the student loan bureaucracy which is now become a profit making industry into the next generation where children into their -- going into their 30s and 40s are not going to be able to create real careers because they burdened up to their eyeballs.


SHEINKOPF: Correct. And the increase of wealth in the wrong direction can ultimately result in a permanent -- William Jules, we've talked about this a long time, a permanent social class of people who can't get out from under. That has to change or we're going to be in trouble as a Democracy.

WEST: It's a matter of national security. It's a state of emergency. The legacy of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dorothy Day and especially our dear brother, Martin Luther King, Jr., this is what brother, Travis Smiley, and I are dedicated to.

We're one set of voices among others. We've got to listen to centrist, liberals, conservatives and so forth, but we're deep Democrats, which means that we --

CAIN: He says with a smile. A big smile.


O'BRIEN: The book is called --

WEST: The dignity of everyday people.

O'BRIEN: --"The Rich and the Rest of Us," a poverty manifesto has written by Travis and Smiley and Professor Cornel West who's joining us this morning. Thanks for being with us. I'm going to hold it like this.

WEST: Thank you so very much.


WEST: Thank you also very much for being part of this discussion.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Holly Robinson Peete going, perhaps, where no actress has gone before inside a maximum security prison. We'll tell you why she's there.

Plus, George McFly is in the house. He looks different in his new role. We're going to take you inside the new movie. It's called "Freaky Deaky" of an Elmore Leonard novel. He joins us coming up.

Headed to work? You don't have to miss the rest of the show. Check out our live blog at We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: That's Foo Fighters, "My Hero." You can see our entire playlist every morning on our website,

"CNN Hero," Caroline LeCroy, was honored back in 2008 for helping children stay connected to their incarcerated parents. Since then, LeCroy has expanded her program to four more states. Actress, Holly Robinson Peete, was so moved by LeCroy's story she wanted to see it up close. That meant going inside a maximum security prison in California. Take a look.


HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE, ACTRESS: When I was involved with heroes in 2008, Carolyn's messages project just touched my heart. You think about the people in this world that need help. The last people on that list are the children of incarcerated parents. That, to me, is why I'm coming out here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Approaching destination on the left.

PEETE: So, what are the total number of messages delivered by the messages project now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're right at 9,000.

PEETE: Wow! That's a lot of children that have this opportunity.


PEETE: So, tell me about this facility?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a maximum security prison. And it is the pilot for California.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. How are you? I'm Carolyn. Talk from your heart. We're going to give you a signal. Are we ready to roll? Here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, kids. I know that you're angry with me, and you should be angry with me. The difficulties that you faced over the years, that's my fault. Hold on a second.

PEETE: You can see that sadness, that guilt that they had for whatever decision they made that has impacted their children their entire lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you set these fathers down in front of that camera, they're dad.

PEETE: I can't imagine with all the things going on in these children's lives what this means to them. On behalf of all of them, thank you so much.


O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a cold case heating up. The police and the FBI scouring for some new clues in the disappearance of Etan Patz. Lisa Cullen (ph) wrote the book on the case. She's going to join us up live next. Looking at the picture out of the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford, Florida. Just about half an hour away from George Zimmerman's bond hearing. Is he going to be released today? Will he get bail? We're live at the courthouse for you coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: New developments to talk about in the disappearance of six-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared 33 years ago in New York City. The FBI and the NYPD have started searching a building in lower Manhattan. Their focus is a concrete floor in the building's basement that was allegedly laid by a handyman who had some connections with the boy. They started digging after a cadaver dog indicated the possible presence of human remains a discovery they couldn't make originally because technology just wasn't there according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who joined us just in the last hour.


RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: I don't believe we had cadaver dogs in the late '70s. Now they are specifically trained for a scent, dead body scent, quite frankly. And the FBI has them. They are well trained. And we also have chemicals such as luminol that will help with black lights to find blood which we didn't have in those days. There are x-ray machines that can look through walls which we didn't have then. There's a lot of technology that we brought to bear here.


O'BRIEN: Patz disappeared on his way to a bus stop. His case sparked a national movement to rethink how parents could protect and prepare their children. Lisa Cohen is an Emmy Award winning TV producer, the author of "After Etan," the only book written about the case, which is really surprising to me because to say the eyes of the nation were riveted on this case is really not an exaggeration. What do you think has changed? Is it really that technology has gotten so much better that that is what's bringing this case now to the forefront?

LISA COHEN, AUTHOR, "AFTER ETAN": Well, I don't know for sure. I know this was this man that they are supposedly looking into was a suspect or at least a person that they wanted to look at very early on in the investigation.

O'BRIEN: A person of interest. So he's a person they interviewed before.

COHEN: They have interviewed him before. He was a handyman who had a workshop in the basement that they are looking at right now.

O'BRIEN: Right next door practically to where the Patz live, a couple doors down?

COHEN: It's on the next block. It's on the route that Etan walked. Etan had seen the man the day before because he came home with a dollar bill and he was very excited. He said that it had been given to him because of work he completed. That is something that happened before.

O'BRIEN: You have written about this in your book. I mentioned he's not a suspect in the case. Not even a person of interest in this case but this is the basement where they are looking. You keep in close contact with the Patz family obviously. What's happening with them right this moment, because I'm sure they're now at the center of this media storm.

COHEN: I think they are under siege. There are reporter camped out outside their door. I got a little sense of what they described to me happening in the days immediately following Etan's disappearance and then for years after that every time there would be a new spark of interest in the case. You know, when he first went missing, there were hundreds of policemen combing the streets searching rooftops and looking in basements. And I believe they actually looked in this basement. But they have different technology now. The case was reopened two years ago. They are starting from zero and combing through all of the files. And he was somebody they were interested in back then. They've taken a fresh look at him and they now have a reason to at least go so far as to look through all of the remains in the basement.

O'BRIEN: We were talking earlier about how brutal it must be to every single time there's a break or there's something that happens that focus goes back on the parents who for 33 years have not had an answer about what happened to their son that day. They have no idea.

COHEN: And I think it's a real double edged sword because on one hand it's very painful for them to have to relive the details. On the other hand I know Stan Patz has been adamant about wanting to finally put this to rest and come to some kind of conclusion. I won't say closure but some kind of conclusion. And so it's been frustrating to him when the case goes cold and it feels as though no one is paying attention to it. So on one hand he's grateful for the fact that the case continues to be researched, and on the other hand, this is what happens.

O'BRIEN: Talk to me about Jose Ramos. He is in prison serving time convicted pedophile but was not convicted in any way, shape or form in the Etan Patz case but he's believed to be a suspect in that case.

COHEN: There was evidence including his confession to federal authorities and NYPD that he had in fact walked up to Etan on the street and taken him to his apartment that day and tried to molest him, and Etan had protested and Jose Ramos told authorities that day I let him go. And so he certainly had confessed to committing crimes against Etan Patz, but whether or not he is tied to these recent revelations, that's still to be seen.

O'BRIEN: Lisa Cohen is an Emmy Award winning TV news magazine producer and the author of "After Etan." COHEN: The family never wanted to do anything. And I think the idea, as Stan says, there's never an ending to the story. It was hard to write about it.

O'BRIEN: Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

There's another story we're following closely as well. It could be get out of jail today for George Zimmerman. A bail hearing scheduled to begin in half an hour. Trayvon Martin's parents will be at that hearing. Zimmerman has been behind bars since charged with killing Trayvon Martin and he's requested a private meeting with the Martins. They declined that request though. Their attorneys questioned the timing. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never once apologized on his website, on any of the voice mails that he left with his friends, and never expressed any remorse during police interviews the several times that they interviewed him. So we question his motive at this time saying he wants to apologize.


O'BRIEN: Let's get right to CNN's Martin Savidge live outside of the courthouse in Sanford, Florida, this morning. Martin, Good morning. What's the latest on this? What are you expecting?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the anticipation certainly growing. What we're expecting is of course a bond hearing to take place. What we don't know is perhaps there is already a deal struck between the prosecutor and the defense as to some sort of bond that's already been set. The reason I say that is because there is of course some proof that will have to be provided by the prosecution if they want to keep George Zimmerman behind bars. That means they might have to tip the hand of their case. If they don't want to do that, perhaps they'll try to come up with a reasonable bond beforehand. Otherwise we'll go into this hearing and the attorney for George Zimmerman is going to say he's not a risk of flight and that he's not a danger to the community and should be let out on bond and the state will argue against that. You'll have Trayvon Martin's parents there and George Zimmerman in the same room for the first time since the life of their child was taken.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Martin.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the debate over those gruesome photos of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan mugging for the camera while they literally hold body parts of dead suicide bombers. Does publishing those photos help the enemy? We'll look at that.

George McFly is in the house. Acting Crispin Glover here talking about his new movie called "Freaky Deaky," a novel adaptation. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAMBOLIN: A couple quick headlines for you. A big pay by a for Joe Paterno's estate. Penn State University paid out $5.76 million including a $3 million retirement bonus to settle Paterno's contract. Paterno left the school amid a child sex scandal. It was considered a retirement so he is still eligible for the benefits. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at the age of 85.

A flock of birds gets sucked into the jet engine causing an emergency landing in New York. A passenger was recording the whole thing on his ipad. A few rows back, our own Ali Velshi.


ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: I heard a lot of things. You heard a lot of things on planes. It sounded like a car had gone into that engine. There was a grinding. A remarkable grinding noise.


SAMBOLIN: My goodness. Here's the good news. All passengers got out safely, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: I know, isn't that amazing news when I was reading the note he sent out updating everybody but it was strange he was tweeting about it.

SAMBOLIN: He's always a reporter.

O'BRIEN: Me too but I would take those moments to pray and maybe not tweet my friends. They can hear about it on the news. All right, Zoraida, thanks.

If you publish pictures of American soldiers posing with dismembered enemy remains, do the terrorists win? They are literally the photos the White House and Pentagon didn't want people to see. "The Los Angeles Times" published them despite pleas from the defense secretary, Leon Panetta, who argued that these kinds of pictures are used by the enemy to incite violence. The latest blow to the U.S. image in Afghanistan after the photos we've talked about in the past, marines urinating on dead bodies, accidental Koran burnings, the massacre of Afghan civilians.

"The L.A. Times" says they decided to publish the photos because they say it's their duty to vigorously -- to report vigorously and impartially all aspects of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. An editorial in "Washington Times" takes issue with that decision, arguing similar to the Obama administration that troop photos only help the insurgents. True or not true?

SHEINKOPF: Absolutely true.


CAIN: Does it help insurgents? The answer to that is probably, possibly to probably. That doesn't change what I think "The Los Angeles Times" decision should be which is media outlet's purpose is to seek and expose the truth. That's what "Los Angeles Times" had to weigh. Potential danger to U.S. troops, but I don't think we should compromise what the media's role is and if you ask the media to compromise truth to help government action you walk down a slippery slope.

SHEINKOPF: We have done that before. Going back to the Second World War the media was asked not to publish American troops killed on D-Day and they did not. In the era of Vietnam War the world changed and since then it's off to the races.

O'BRIEN: Will is arguing the slippery slope theory, right, which is at what point does the government and also say don't publish this, and it's uncomfortable so don't do this. Isn't there supposed to be this very strict line between church and state and government really and media so no one is influencing the decision about whether or not a story should be published?

SHEINKOPF: The point is that line existed for a long time. It fell apart during the Vietnam War. Maybe we have gone too far and maybe not. But "The Los Angeles Times" did the right thing in publishing the photos and the government did the right thing in complaining about it. Does it help the insurgents? Without question.

CAIN: I have to say, not only am I forgiving to "Los Angeles Times" actions, but we consistently condemn people who put themselves in war and experienced conditions that we who sit comfortably in this country and criticize have not been in, the vast majority of us, and then ask them to do some inhumane as to take another person's life and walk back across the line to civilization and say that photo is awful. It is awful, but you have never been in that situation. You have never taken another human being's life.

O'BRIEN: It lacks context. Are you shaking your head?

SALZER: I'm shaking my head because I think that it's entirely possible to be in that trench, I've worked with a lot of combat veterans, and to grieve the things you have to do for a sense of a greater good. I know a lot of people that do have that line.

I just -- I regret that there's the possibility that people out there will misinterpret the intentions of America because they'll think that these people represent how Americans feel. Just like they're afraid that this -- you know I don't think that the Secret Service members with prostitutes, I don't think people should judge Obama based on their behavior.

O'BRIEN: Or other Secret Service agents as well.


O'BRIEN: We've got to take a break. Still ahead on STARTING POINT; a new movie called "Freaky Deaky" it's adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel. It premieres this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. Actor Crispin Glover and the director Charles Matthau -- he's the son by way of the legendary actor Walter Matthau -- are going to join us up next to talk about the film. We leave you a little Missy Elliott. "Get Your Freak On." You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: The longest panning shot in the history of forever; that's Alicia Keys featuring Jay-Z, "New York State of Mind".

"Freaky Deaky" is the latest Elmore Leonard novel to be adapted to the screen. It premiers this weekend at New York's Tribeca Film Festival. And like other Leonard dark comedies, the story involves extortion, revenge and tons of quirky characters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the part where you fellows run. I'm going to count to two. One. Two.


O'BRIEN: Screen writer and directors Charlie Matthau, he's the son of legendary actor Walter Matthau and actor Crispin Glover, who plays an alcoholic millionaire playboy in the film, the starring role. Nice to have you both with us it's great to have you.

You guys have worked together before.

CHARLIE MATTHAU, DIRECTOR: It's great to be here.

CRISPIN GLOVER, ACTOR: We went to school together before.

MATTHAU: No, no we worked together before but you don't remember.

GLOVER: Oh right, that's right, yes. Yes.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Why don't you remember?

GLOVER: Because I was what eight or 10 or something.

MATTHAU: Was it "Oklahoma"?

GLOVER: Yes right it was "Oklahoma". Maybe the guys go, no I wasn't been there. But we went to the same grade school together and served in some of the musicals, which my mother did some of the choreography for which helped get tuition off the -- price off of the tuition.

O'BRIEN: So then you liked his work and years later now you're working together again.

MATTHAU: I said listen in about 35 years I've got (inaudible) -- I've got something in mind for you.

O'BRIEN: Why this -- I mean, I love Elmore Leonard and I think, you know, a tons of people do and I think that his characters are so interesting and the dialogue is so interesting but there are huge challenges, I would imagine, when you take an Elmore Leonard's novel that everybody thinks they know the story really well and bring it to the screen.

MATTHAU: Well, it's very challenging. I mean, I -- I have a little experience bringing books to the screen because I did "The Grass Harp" that Truman Capote wrote but you know, Elmore is still alive so you've got to really make sure you get it right.


MATTHAU: And -- and but you know -- I think you have to appreciate Elmore. He's a national treasure. He's the greatest writer that I can think of. But you also can't be so intimidated by that that you don't bring your own story telling style to it. Because then you're not doing anybody a favor.

And the most interesting films are usually made by a filmmaker that has some kind of a point of view even if the filmmaker is a shmuck. But at least there's a point of view; it's not made by a committee. So I try to -- you know bring everything I had to it and -- and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

O'BRIEN: I like the movie a lot. I saw it yesterday; it's fantastic. It's really entertaining but here's my question. I want to get the plot and of course this is Elmore Leonard that -- that's a very complicated thing to layout.

But it involves -- you play a millionaire. A guy who comes into a lot of money which means now everybody is trying to chase you down and basically try to kill you or get their hands on your money in some capacity.

GLOVER: That's true.

O'BRIEN: Let me play a clip and then we'll talk about it on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This way you understand the Lord knows who to take out of the will. What we have to do is tell him who you want to go in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I used to believe was that red things were best for hangovers and a really bad hangover I chugged a bottle of ketchup.


O'BRIEN: Very strange. One of the challenges I think was the -- the era that you would shoot it in right. I mean, because the book is -- was set in the 1980s. Here we are 20 years later and you had to kind of rethink about when it would -- when you would set the movie. Is that correct?

MATTHAU: That's correct and actually the idea to set it in the '70s came from Elmore. It was as usual a brilliant idea. And you know, it made everything -- it made my job so much easier. And it's a -- it's a funny year. You know it's fun. It's sexy.

O'BRIEN: Great wardrobe.


O'BRIEN: Tell me about your character. Is it fun to play somebody who is really -- I think crazy and insane and nutty and wacky and strangely dressed?

GLOVER: Well, yes but you know you always have to think about specifically what that person is. I play a lot of eccentric characters but you have to come from where -- what it is that the character is wanting and needing and these things are pretty clear in the film.

But it -- but it's in the way the script is written. But it was -- it was also clear that the character was a little bit "out of it" so to speak. So -- but at the same time you still have to know what -- what you need and what you want.

CAIN: Cris are you a method actor?


CAIN: In other words, were you out of it? Did you have to put yourself in that spot?

O'BRIEN: Drinking the whole entire shoot.

GLOVER: People asked about method which gets generalized. But basically I was raised or learned the idea of getting portions of your own psychology to match what the character is that you're playing. And so, yes, you can figure out things at moments when you are out of it and let that play into the character.

O'BRIEN: Did your dad, Walter Matthau, give you advice about how to make films or advice about what to avoid? Did he short of shape how you go into doing these projects? Any projects?

MATTHAU: His advice was to become a doctor. He used to tell me his stand on abortion was that he considers it a fetus until it graduates medical school.

O'BRIEN: And yet here you are --

MATTHAU: I was too dumb to listen to him. But at least this way, the only thing I can do is make a crappy movie. I wouldn't kill anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a great movie. It's really --

O'BRIEN: It is. I enjoyed it.

MATTHAU: I hope -- can I invite everybody to come on Sunday? Sunday 3:30 at the School of the Visual Arts. 333 West 23rd Street.

O'BRIEN: Right. Right in the heart of Chelsea.


O'BRIEN: Tribeca Film Festival. That's also Chelsea.

MATTHAU: Theater 1; come at 3:00.

O'BRIEN: Come at 3:00

MATTHAU: Come at 3:00.

O'BRIEN: There's long lines always. Film is good. I give it two thumbs up. I liked it a lot.

MATTHAU: It says "Homage to '70s filmmaking --

O'BRIEN: And clothing.

MATTHAU: And clothing.

O'BRIEN: Charlie Matthau and Crispin Glover. Nice to have you guys. I appreciate it.

GLOVER: I appreciate being here. Thank you.

MATTHAU: Thank you very much.

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


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

Let's take you right inside live a Florida courtroom where George Zimmerman's bond hearing is about to take place. As you can see there are the lawyers and some of the family members for the Trayvon Martin family. We're expecting to be arriving in the court -- that is in fact -- I see Trayvon Martin's mother and father as well and along with their attorney Benjamin Crump.

Zimmerman, of course, faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of their son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. This is taking place in Seminole County in Sanford, Florida. We're expecting that Zimmerman's family will be testifying by phone. We're going to, of course, have live coverage of the hearing. And I believe that that looks like the special prosecutor in the case, Angela Corey has also just taken her seat. That's about to get under way.

We have time for one final "End Point". Alicia, I'm going to give it to you as a new guest on our show this morning. Wrap it up for us.

SALZER: This whole show feels like it's just been about people who have no sense of decorum. People who are posting things on the Internet and taking pictures of things they shouldn't and bringing prostitutes to the room and not thinking about the fact that at some point in time they're going to have to be accountable.

CAIN: You're talking about one story.

O'BRIEN: They can spend the weekend pondering it as will we. Thank you very much. We appreciate our panel.

Let's get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello; it begins right now. I'll see everybody else back here Monday morning. Hey, Carol.