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Sins Of The Saints; Sanford Rejects Police Chief's Resignation; George Zimmerman Out On Bail; Secret Service Scandal; Deion Sanders "Pressing Charges" Against Wife; Nugent Guilty Of Killing Too Many Bears; Sidewalk Swallows Chatting Teen; K-9 Ends Police Standoff; Hudson Family Murder Trial; Apple to Release Profits from First Quarter; "Shark Boy" in Texas; Murdoch Testifies In UK Hacking Scandal; Lilo As Liz

Aired April 24, 2012 - 05:59   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START here on CNN. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're very happy to have you this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east, so let's get started.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): First bounty gate, now spygate on steroids? The general manager of the New Orleans Saints accused of bugging the superdome to listen in on visiting coaches. There's talk of criminal charges, but Mickey Loomis is saying a report -- that report is 1,000 percent false.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Another shocker in Sanford, Florida. The man who let George Zimmerman walked free after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin is still getting paid this morning. The city is refusing to let its police chief resign.

SAMBOLIN: Jennifer Hudson in tears, testifying against the man accused of killing her mother, her brother, and her nephew, saying, "where he was, I tried not to be."

BANFIELD: And he would not come out, so they sent Rambo in. Take a look, jumping into the van, police dog taking a suspect down literally by the butt. Look closely. We're not kidding. All of this after a high-speed chase. People hanging out of the windows. The video is something you do not want to miss.

SAMBOLIN: The NFL team that put bounties on opponents is denying allegations it spied on them as well. The New Orleans Saints are challenging a report by ESPN alleging that their general manager, that guy there, Mickey Loomis intercepted radio communications between opposing coaches for nearly three seasons.

Loomis firing back with a statement saying, quote, "It just didn't happen." The Saints' GM is already facing an eight-game suspension for his role in the team's bounty scandal.

So joining us live from New Orleans this morning is Larry Holder, he covers the Saints for and co-hosts a talk radio show in WSIT in New Orleans called "The Sports Hangover."

Thanks for being with us again. So I want to make a couple of things clear here. It's an anonymous source that's familiar with Saints game-day operations that actually talked to ESPN.

The FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office are aware now, they say that they're looking into it. You have covered the Saints for six years. What do you think is going on here?

LARRY HOLDER, CO-HOST, "THE SPORTS HANGOVER" ON WIST: It's curious because every other day covering this team this off-season has been chaos, another bombshell has dropped. And I can understand that the Saints are coming out and vehemently denying this.

And it's a different approach than what they did during the bounty scandal because there it seemed like the NFL they had all their evidence, and it was done. The NFL said, look, you're guilty.

These are accusations, and the Saints are trying to defend themselves saying they are trying to have legal actions against ESPN. So we're far from over with this story. I'm sure things are going to be developing.

But it's extremely disturbing because you guys said it, spygate to another level when it's literally bugging another coach's box and trying to listen into plays.

SAMBOLIN: But Larry, we don't have any tape-recordings or anything, right?

HOLDER: Exactly. And that's one of the reasons that this story -- is still kind of up in the air because ESPN in their report even said that they have no evidence that Mickey Loomis even used a device. We're still -- it's still a work in progress as far as the developing story.

SAMBOLIN: I find this interesting. You said you have a source at the Saints that told you this wasn't true. And the reason why is that it would be impossible for the NFL not to know if there was eavesdropping going on. Could you explain that?

HOLDER: Right. The NFL, they have a frequency coordinator who tests every line during each game. And according to the source, he says that they would know in the NFL if the Saints were doing this, that they would have been caught already.

Now, this is coming from the source within the team now. The Saints have been proven by the NFL that they have lied about certain things with the bounty scandal. So you can only take that so far with this story as it develops.

SAMBOLIN: And, you know, we mentioned the criminal charges in the beginning. You know, this scandal, of course, hurting the Saints but in particular, Mickey Loomis. So what do you make of those criminal charges? Do you think maybe he'll be fired?

HOLDER: You would think he might have been fired already because of the bounty scandal, but in New Orleans and the Saints, it's curious that it seems like Mickey Loomis and, say, Sean Payton, they're bulletproof.

That might not be the case with a lot of other NFL organizations. It would not surprise me if Mickey Loomis survived this as well especially how much the Saints are willing to go to bat for him saying he's 1,000 percent innocent and that sort of thing.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Larry Holder, thanks for joining us this morning. I'm sure there will be more unfolding.

And at 7:30 Eastern, Dan Marino will join Soledad O'Brien on "STARTING POINT." We'll ask the former Dolphin quarterback about bounties, eavesdropping, tomorrow's NFL draft and his new partnership with the AARP.

BANFIELD: It's now 4 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast. And what a difference a month can make. Back a month ago, Sanford, Florida's, city commission gave their police chief, Bill Lee, a vote of no confidence for his handling of the Trayvon Martin investigation.

So let's fast forward to last night when they voted to reject his offer to resign. Lee had been under fire for his decision not to arrest and charge George Zimmerman immediately after the fatal shooting. The supporters say they cannot make him a scapegoat.


PATTY MAHANY, SANFORD, FLORIDA CITY COMMISSIONER: Chief Lee is paying for the sins of past police officers. He's police chief. He has been here -- he has been in office 10 months. How do you steer a boat that big, Mr. Mayor? How do you steer a boat in 10 months to a complete turnaround? You don't.


BANFIELD: All of this as George Zimmerman walking out of jail, charged with second-degree murder, but out on bail and whereabouts this morning unknown. His attorney, Mark O'Mara, says his client is relieved.


MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He's doing well. He's very glad to be out. Trying to get settled in, still worried about his safety, but, you know, talking to his family and feeling much better than being in.


BANFIELD: CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Sanford, Florida, following this story for us pretty much every single day since it has been breaking across the country.

We should mention, Martin, right off the bat that while Patty Mahany who was heard just a moment ago, she was not the -- it was not a unanimous decision on the city council. They were split, weren't they?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It was divided. It was a 3-2 vote that eventually made the decision to keep the chief in place. You know, it shows you that even after so much time, the Trayvon Martin case still raises huge passions within this community.

Chief Bill Lee had only been on the job 10 months when the whole Trayvon Martin case erupted. And as you say, a month afterwards, he stepped down as a result of the no-confidence vote that he was given.

Yesterday he decided to sort of make that temporary step-down a more permanent solution. That's why he wanted to hand in his letter of resignation. But the same city commissioners that gave him that vote of no confidence then turned around and said, you know what, we're not accepting your resignation.

And that turned out to be quite a surprise for many. For the lawyers for Trayvon Martin, they say that the city really missed an opportunity to move on.


NATALIE JACKSON, LAWYER FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: I feel that if Chief Lee recognized the need to turn in his resignation so that this city can heal. Then the city commissioner should have accepted it and moved forward so that the city could move forward and unite.


SAVIDGE: And, of course, all of this took place on the same day that George Zimmerman came out of jail on bond and then has disappeared. His whereabouts, though, continue to be monitored by Florida authorities -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: So, Martin, just one clarification. I'm not sure if anyone really knows this or not, but a lot of that vote last night was based on the severance package to give to Chief Lee if he were to step down?

SAVIDGE: Correct.

BANFIELD: Can it be said in any avenues that maybe this was a money decision? They didn't agree on the severance package therefore the whole thing got tossed out, or was this a political thing only?

SAVIDGE: Well, I think it's a bit of both. I mean, you have to understand that there are finances involved here. The chief continues to get money even though he's not being the chief.

Somebody else is going to have to be brought in and this is probably going to continue for many months. So I think the city manager said, look, financially, it would be better for him to resign, and we get a new chief.

And that way we don't pay two people for the same job. But apparently, the city commissioners didn't see it that way and it will continue.

BANFIELD: And they're still looking -- I mean, they've got an interim chief right now who is a captain as I understand, but they're still looking possibly for his replacement?

SAVIDGE: That's right, yes. In fact, the city manager says they'll go ahead with that search.

BANFIELD: Messy. All right, Martin Savidge, thank you for that live in Sanford, Florida.

And coming up a little bit later, 7:00 this morning with "STARTING POINT" and Soledad O'brien, she's going to speak with the Sanford City Manager, Norton Bonaparte about all of this and the implications for the upcoming possible trial.

SAMBOLIN: It's 8 minutes past the hour. Coming up, Jennifer Hudson relives the horrors of her mother's death. The star takes the stand in the murder trial of the man accused of killing three members of her family.

And some dogs chase cars. Others chase carjackers. Take a look at that. An unusual ending to a California car chase and let me tell you this. You're going to want to see this outcome. It's quite funny and it's quite satisfying.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. It's 11 minutes past 6:00 in the morning on the east coast. Time to check our stories making top billing in the news headlines with Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, ladies. The Secret Service sex scandal grows. Defense Department officials say a 12th member of the military has admitted, quote, "misconduct" while in Colombia ahead of the president's trip there.

At least 24 people now, 12 Secret Service members and 12 military personnel, are being investigated for the incident involving prostitutes in Cartagena.

The wife of former football great Deion Sanders under arrest for allegedly attacking him. Authorities say Pilar Sanders was charged with domestic violence. Her arrest coming just hours after Sanders tweeted he was filing a police report against her for assault.

Ted Nugent pleading guilty to hunting down too many black bears in Alaska. This goes back to 2009 during taping for his show, "Spirit of the Wild." Prosecutors say footage shows him shooting two different bears while the law only limits hunters to one bear per year supplies.

Even though he only wounded one of the bears. This comes right after the Secret Service investigated him for a rant against president Obama. Nugent could avoid up to a year in jail if he -- if the judge accepts that plea deal.

An incredible surveillance video coming in from China. Watch this. Can you see it? Whoa! It shows a teen girl walking and talking on her cell phone and just being swallowed up by the sidewalk, almost like she went down a trap door.

A cab driver who witnessed the shocking incident rushed to the hole found the girl lying at the bottom of an 18-foot well. The area apparently weakened by underground water. Firefighters rushed to the scene and then pulled her up.

All right, they keep coming up with new variations of the police car chase in California. This one starts with a girlfriend of a man who robbed a credit union, hopping into a stolen minivan with cops on their tail.

It ends with the girlfriend -- she gave up quickly, but the driver refused to get out of the van until a police dog, shall we say, convinced him. Chasing him out, cash falling out, and the suspect falling to the ground as the dog attached to his leg. Yes, that's cash.


ROMANS: For an expanded look at all the top stories, head to our blog, There you go. Man's best friend, criminal's worst enemy.

BANFIELD: That's why I said that was such a satisfying story to get bitten in the butt. You know, sorry.

ROMANS: Alleged credit union robber.

BANFIELD: Exactly. With the cash all around rim.

SAMBOLIN: He'll have his day in court and that video will be played. Thank you, Christine.

It is 14 minutes past the hour. Singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson broke down in tears as she gave testimony in the trial of the man accused of killing her mother, her brother and her little nephew.

William Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia. Hudson was the first witness prosecutors called yesterday. Ted Rowlands is live in Chicago with more on this incredibly emotional testimony.

I know that there were a lot of concerns about how the jury would react to Hudson. So what impact did she have in that courtroom? TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think clearly, Zoraida, having her as the first witness, having her sitting in the courtroom after she testified, does have an effect on the jury because whenever you have a victim family member in the courtroom during a trial, it helps the prosecution because there's empathy from jurors to that victim's family.

So having Jennifer Hudson in the courtroom only pushes that even further. And she was very good on the stand, very emotional. She broke down several times, as you mentioned, talking about what happened to her family and about the relationship. She showed real anger when talking about the defendant, William Balfour, here saying that she urged her sister not to marry Balfour. And her whole family didn't want this relationship to continue because of the way that Balfour treated her sister. So, very effective yesterday for the prosecution was Jennifer and her sister, Julia.

SAMBOLIN: I've got to tell you, Ted, I was following this story when I was living in Chicago. You know, for three days, we were wondering what happened to her nephew, Julian King, and they finally found him in an SUV, and he was dead. And all fingers pointed at Balfour.

How is the defense handling this case here?

MATTINGLY: Well, you would think that there's a lot of physical evidence in this case because there were three dead bodies, and there were two different murder scenes, and there was a transportation of a body in Julian King in an SUV, but there isn't. And the definition seized on that. That was their theme in the opening statement, saying that, yes, William Balfour may have made threats, but there's no physical evidence tying him to these murders.

And they also harped on this theme that Jason Hudson, Julia Hudson and Jennifer Hudson's brother, was a drug dealer and that his business is the reason that this all happened. We'll have to wait and see. But this is not a slam dunk for the prosecution by any stretch of the imagination.

SAMBOLIN: No, I know that theory was floating around early on as well. Ted Rowlands live in Chicago for us -- thank you very much.

BANFIELD: Sixteen minutes now past 6:00. And coming up next, the most valuable company in the world about to report another monster, monster quarter. Will Apple be juicing the markets?


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best thing is getting to make hopefully thousands of people laugh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I listen to you. I talk to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not the same, mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is ready to see you now, Mr. Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we get to the theaters, we put glow tape all over the stage so that nobody falls to their death during the show. Then we do the top of the scene and then cut to the bottom of the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think I'd like this movie, but I actually liked it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best thing is getting to perform sketch comedy that was written by your heroes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like Tina Fey and Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no set. It's just four chairs and whatever props happen to fit in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my boa to show that I'm a lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me it's always special when I look around the audience and se some kid maybe seeing his first live comedy show. You get to go across the country and inspire people.



BANFIELD: Twenty-one minutes now past 6:00 a.m.

Hi. Welcome back. Minding your business this morning.

Apple will report its earnings this afternoon after the closing bell and oh, to get in on the germinal stages of that stock.

SAMBOLIN: And you know who's all over this.

BANFIELD: That's word of the day. Zoraida, you have to acknowledge the word of the day. If I hold up, you have to acknowledge it. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Bravo, Ashleigh, bravo.

BANFIELD: Difficult challenge every day.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm telling you, the word of the day, the applause, I would applaud you if you bought it at $5.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

ROMANS: No one ever gets tired of looking at the five-year chart of Apple shares because this is a stock that has rewarded its investors so handily. I mean, the stock is up dramatically, 371 percent over the past five years. It's had a little bit of a dip lately, which has some people saying ooh, it's time to get this again. And others saying the big run is over.

We won't know unless we keep watching it, but we know earnings are expected to come out today. And profits for the first quarter forecast at $9.2 billion.

Imagine, a tech company printing as much money as an oil company. I mean, this is a huge company, $9.2 billion would put it roughly in line with Exxon Mobil. It will report after the close.

Everything that this company has done -- well, it's been good for the economy. About 30 percent of S&P 500 earnings are because of Apple. And the 10 percent run-up in the S&P 500 this year, about 1.5 percentage points of that is Apple. So it's been a big driver of the economy.

But if you look at the carriers, the wireless carriers who actually are trying to process all the demand from those smartphones on their networks, it's not quite so great for them. Verizon over the past five years down about 5 percent, its stock. AT&T, the first carrier of Apple --

SAMBOLIN: That's not surprising.

ROMANS: -- down 25 percent. You must have AT&T.

Sprint and Nextel down 89 percent.

So there's a lot of talk about how -- what Apple, what has been very good for Apple, for its investors, for Apple the company, it's taking bites out of everyone else's Apple to do well. So we'll look for those earnings after the close.

BANFIELD: That doesn't make sense, doesn't make sense.

When everybody gets these devices and then gobbles up all the bandwidth, you would think --

ROMANS: They have to invest money in their networks to be able to handle it. And I'm saying, you can't not have it. But when you have it, it's very -- you know, it's changing --

BANFIELD: They're charging me, you know?

ROMANS: I'm telling you, just think, five years ago, how different the whole system -- I mean, we're doing things on our phones today that we wouldn't have even thought of five years ago. And we have kind of this creaky old infrastructure that's trying to keep up.

So, there you go -- Apple shares, there are people calling for $1,000. There are other people who are -- we call them contrarians on Wall Street, who are saying this recent little pull back shows you that the Apple bulls have been wrong.

But, look, there have been people buying Apple all the way up, and they've been right. Everything this company touches, it changes.

Is that pipeline -- is that pipeline going to keep churning out new products every year, every six months? And are they going to continue to wow us? What's next? Are they going to keep upgrading what they've got?

SAMBOLIN: We've been talking about it, you know, the smaller iPad. We were just talking about it the other day.

BANFIELD: Didn't I see some headline yesterday, the iPhone 5 going to blow your mind or something like that?

ROAMNS: I know, but then there's a worry that that could be a little later than people have thought.

Apple's got a lot of pressure and a lot to live up to when you have $9.2 billion earnings and a stock that's up 300 percent over five years.

BANFIELD: Oh, to have the pressure.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly.

BANFIELD: Christine Romans, thank you very much.

It's 25 minutes now past 6:00 on the East Coast. We love this one. Still ahead, shark boy. Shark boy live.

We're going to speak with the 9-year-old fishing phenom who was behind these incredible pictures we brought you yesterday. He's going to be with us with the latest catch of the day story.


SAMBOLIN: It is 28 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. He's still getting paid. City officials in Sanford, Florida, have refused to accept the resignation of the city's police chief. The man who decided not to arrest George Zimmerman the night Trayvon Martin was shot.

FBI's search dogs now joining the search for a missing 6-year- old girl in Tucson, Arizona. That's the picture of her. The dogs picking up something inside the home of young Isabel Mercedes Celis that caused police to get a search warrant.

Deputies in Richland, South Carolina, are looking for the burglars who turned this gun shop into a drive-thru. They made off with about 30 assault weapons and pistols. That was early Monday morning.

And we showed you the amazing video, a little boy and his father reeling in a shark from their little kayak off the Gulf Coast. The kid lovingly known as "shark boy" has become a web sensation, and he will be joining us live here shortly -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: It's now 29 minutes past 6:00.

And the Florida police chief who insisted that he could not arrest George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin tried to resign, but the city leaders there have rejected that offer to resign. Chief Bill Lee Jr. had stepped down temporarily a month ago after that same group of city commissioners had voted no confidence in him.

But at yesterday's heated hearing, not everybody thought that he was the one to blame.


PATTY MAHANY, SANFORD, FLORIDA CITY COMMISSIONER: Chief Lee is paying for the sins of past police officers, these police chiefs. He's been here -- he has been in office 10 months. How do you steer a boat that big, Mr. Mayor? How do you steer a boat in 10 months to a complete turnaround? You don't.


BANFIELD: The Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, had this to say about that decision. And I'm quoting, "If Chief Bill Lee recognized that his resignation would help start the healing process in Sanford, city leadership should have accepted it in an effort to move the city forward."

Midwin Charles is a criminal defense attorney and she joins us to talk about this and also, some other implications in this case.

Nice to see you this morning. Thanks for coming in.

MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good to see you. Thanks for having me.

BANFIELD: Do you think there's anything to this political fight going on with the city, some of them agreeing that he should go, others not agreeing that he should go, that actually could work its way into the criminal case?

CHARLES: I don't know if it could work itself into the criminal case, but what it does, it kind of removes a sense of integrity in the police department for the people of Sanford, and I think that's part of the bigger problem. But what will come into the trial is what sort of investigation did they do? How did they gather facts in order to prove or disprove this self-defense claim that George Zimmerman is clearly going to use.

BANFIELD: So if it's not such an issue for the criminal trial, what about for the civil rights investigation?

CHARLES: It could be. It could be, because remember, civil rights investigations by the federal government are two-pronged. One, they look to see whether or not the aggressor committed a hate crime. And two, they look to see whether law enforcement abused their power by not doing the proper investigation as a result of the victim's race. So, it could come into play, but it would take a very long time because oftentimes the federal government would step in after the criminal trial.

BANFIELD: All right. So then let's go one level separate. A civil case, because if this ends up as a civil wrongful death case, is there anything to what we're seeing play out at the city counselor's level that could play into a civil case?

CHARLES: I don't think so. I mean, if there would be a wrongful death case here, it would be against George Zimmerman and not necessarily the Sanford Police Department. So I don't se how that would play into anything.

BANFIELD: Let's move on to the whereabouts of George Zimmerman. I mean, this is the guy everybody wants to know his story. They want the big interview. That's likely not to happen at this point since he's facing second-degree murder charges, and those are awfully serious.

What does he have to do if he wants to leave the state of Florida?

CHARLES: Well, I think if he has to leave the state of Florida, which his attorney, Mark O'Mara, alluded to during that bail bond hearing, they are going to coordinate with whatever state it is he wants to go to because clearly law enforcement has to be alerted. They have to make all sorts of arrangements for him. So I think the two states, whatever state he's going to, will have to work together.

BANFIELD: So let's just say Virginia for the sake of discussion because he's got family there. He's lived there at some point. The folks in Virginia, do they have a right to know other than the police and law enforcement, do the people of the state where he's going have a right to know that he's coming there?

CHARLES: I don't think so. I really don't think so. Because remember, all of this is done for the protection of George Zimmerman. If anyone knows where he is, that kind of obviates the need to protect his privacy.

BANFIELD: It would seem, right.


BANFIELD: But at the same time, if you're one of those people living in the state, you might want to know if an accused second- degree murderer is living amongst you.

CHARLES: Oh, but there are so many already, right?

BANFIELD: Thanks for that.

CHARLES: I mean, just think of the number of people facing second-degree murder charges in the state of Virginia that are out on bail.

BANFIELD: Out on bail. It's fascinating to think of it that way, but you're absolutely right.

CHARLES: Yes. I mean, this is not -- people need to remember that this is everyday occurrences in the criminal justice system. This just happens to be the case that has rose to national prominence, and we all know about it.

BANFIELD: And everyone's watching.

CHARLES: People make bail every single day, $150,000 is not unusual. Oftentimes, it's even less.


CHARLES: For murder cases.

BANFIELD: But not so much first degree. When you're facing that kind of potential life or death sentence, it's often they don't make bail.

CHARLES: You know what? It depends on facts because they look at flight risk, they look at past criminal history. They look at the facts of the case.

BANFIELD: Remember Phil Spector.

CHARLES: Exactly.

BANFIELD: He was out during that entire time.

CHARLES: Exactly.

BANFIELD: Next quick question for you, and that is the discovery dump. I like to call them discovery dumps because I remember in Casey Anthony -- I hate to keep bringing that story up, but it was a huge Florida case.

CHARLES: Well, yes, yes.

BANFIELD: Discovery dumps are huge in Florida because it's the sunshine state for all different reasons, and we're expecting a discovery dump on Friday. So why is it that Mark O'Mara continues to ask to keep a lid on this, and prosecutors, too, want to keep a lid on the discovery process?

CHARLES: You know, I think Mark O'Mara is taking note of the Casey Anthony trial. Remember, I think that that was such a media circus, and all eyes were on that trial, and people would take information and try to dissect it themselves. And everybody wanted to be a prosecutor in that case. Everybody wants to be a defense attorney, an investigator.

And I think what he's trying to do is hamper that down. I think Mark O'Mara has experience in dealing with media. He has experience in trying these kinds of cases. And he knows how things can kind of spiral out of control and can possibly hurt his defendant. At least in terms of how the defendant is perceived.

BANFIELD: Trying to protect that jury pool, which is so critical in this case.

CHARLES: Exactly.

BANFIELD: Midwin, always good to see you. Look forward to your next visit.

CHARLES: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thanks so much.


SAMBOLIN: It is 35 minutes past the hour. Up next, we have shark boy. His legend is growing from the shores of the Gulf to a reality show in his future, perhaps? The kid known for reeling in some big game is going to join us live.

But, first, let's get a check of today's weather with Jacqui Jeras.

Good morning to you, lady.


We're looking at a lingering storm system into the Northeast, that late-winter season storm is hanging on. So expect occasional rain and snow showers but nothing compared to what you've had. In fact, most of your day will be on the dry side. But the wind is going to be strong. So if you're traveling today, yes, we're expecting a whole heck of a lot of delays because of that.

Major delays in San Francisco due to low clouds. The wind for you in New York and Boston and Philadelphia, Detroit and Cleveland also getting gusts up there, around 35 miles per hour or so. It's flip-flop weather. Not talking about the sandals here.

Look at the temperatures across the Rockies and into the Plains, 88 today in Denver -- a lot warmer than it's going to be in Miami down there in the 70s.

That's the latest forecast. EARLY START is back right after this break.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning, Atlanta! It is 42 degrees right now. But later, you're going to get a lot of sunshine. It's going to be 68 degrees.

Somebody on our staff is homesick for Atlanta. So we wanted to show you this beautiful shot this morning.

And a 9-year-old boy in Texas getting national attention for an unusual pastime. Why? Look at this.


KEVIN STEVENS: There you go. All right, shark boy. Keep him up. Keep him up.

Do what? There he is. A nice little blacktip. So they're here.


SAMBOLIN: A nice little black tip. That is Hunter Stevens, or shark boy, as he is called with his dad, or by his dad. That was on Sunday. They were catching a blacktip sharp off the coast of Galveston. It's his first of the season.

Hunter and his dad, Kevin, are with us from Houston.

Thank you for joining us.

Hunter, I'm going to start with you. So, judging by your reaction, it seemed exciting for you. What were you thinking as you were reeling in that big shark?

HUNTER STEVENS, CAUGHT SHARK FROM A KAYAK: I was thinking it was a fish the whole time, but then when it came up, it was a nice, big shark.

SAMBOLIN: Now, you were on a kayak, right? At least that's what we were reporting, that you're on a kayak. Is this just a little kayak in the middle of a big ocean?

H. STEVENS: No, it's a big kayak.

SAMBOLIN: A big -- are you worried at all when you have a shark on the reel that perhaps you could fall over?

H. STEVENS: I never get worried with a shark or anything on a kayak.

SAMBOLIN: And why is that?

H. STEVENS: Because I know that none of the fish out there can hurt you.

SAMBOLIN: Did you just say that the shark is not going to hurt you?

H. STEVENS: No. They're very nice creatures if you don't hurt them.

SAMBOLIN: Oh. So, Dad, you were telling him to hold the line tight, not to let the shark pull you over. So it's a legitimate concern I have here, right?

KEVIN STEVENS, FATHER OF "SHARK BOY": Well, it's a slight risk, but I think you'd be more likely to get struck by lightning than fall over and get bit by a shark on a kayak, although we did hook on to a shark, we don't set the drag heavy enough for it to actually pull him over. That -- I was actually just joking with him.

SAMBOLIN: OK. And where's mom in all of this? Does she know that you're out in a kayak? Fishing for sharks?

K. STEVENS: She was at the beachfront -- yes, she knows we do it. We don't just fish for shark, but that's typically what we catch this time of the year. She sits on the beachfront and watches from a distance.

SAMBOLIN: And, Hunter, are you surprised by all of the attention that you're getting?

H. STEVENS: Yes, I'm very surprised.

SAMBOLIN: And why? Don't you think it's unusual for a little boy to be fishing for sharks?

H. STEVENS: Well, this isn't our first time.

SAMBOLIN: Oh. Well, tell me about your first time.

H. STEVENS: Our first time we actually caught a little bit bigger of a shark. It was seven feet.

SAMBOLIN: Well, you know, somebody on Facebook wanted to know why a fascination with sharks? Can you answer that question?

K. STEVENS: Why do you like sharks?


SAMBOLIN: Oh, I'm sorry, yes, why do you like sharks?

H. STEVENS: I like sharks because I know that they're nice, and they're very, very beautiful. And they are amazing creatures to watch. They're almost like dinosaurs when they eat and mate are very cool because you can learn more information about them every day.


And, Kevin, you said that this was the first of this season. How many sharks do you likely catch in a season?

K. STEVENS: Well, it depends. Last year it wasn't that great. We caught about 50.

SAMBOLIN: And do you typically catch and release? Because that's another big question that folks are asking on Facebook.

K. STEVENS: Yes. We always catch and release.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Here's another one of your videos because I know that Hunter said this is not the first time. So I want folks to watch this because it was a bigger shark, and then I want to ask you a question about it.


K. STEVENS: There he is.

H. STEVENS: Yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes, daddy.

K. STEVENS: There's the shark.

H. STEVENS: That's a big boy.

K. STEVENS: Keep the video on him.

H. STEVENS: Got him. Beauty, huh?

K. STEVENS: Yes. There he is.

H. STEVENS: Oh, yes.

K. STEVENS: Let me get his teeth up.


SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness! How big was that one?

H. STEVENS: Seven feet.

SAMBOLIN: Seven feet! What were you thinking when that happened?

H. STEVENS: We were -- that was my first year at kayaking. So I was nervous. I was nervous, scared and happy, combined in.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So, I've -- first of all, how big are you compared to the size of that shark? Do you know how tall you are?

H. STEVENS: Probably four-and-a-half feet.

SAMBOLIN: OK. So, a lot smaller than that shark. So, I've got to get back to this concept of being on a kayak. And dad, this question is for you. Is this safe to do?

K. STEVENS: If you know what you're doing, it's safe. It's relatively safe. You know, every adventure has a little bit of a risk to it, but it's not something you do -- you don't go out and buy a kayak and go off the beachfront and fish for sharks, I'll tell you that.

So, you need to know what you're doing. You need safety first and take all the precautions like, you know, number one, wear a life jacket.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. That's very good advice. So, what's next? I hear, perhaps, a reality show?

KEVIN STEVENS: We have something in the works. It looks like it's actually going do -- they've been working on it for a while, but it looks like it's actually going to happen. So, you'll have to stay tuned.

SAMBOLIN: This is the beauty of live television. Hunter's a little tired so he was yawning there. And Kevin, I've got to congratulate you because I know that you instilled this passion in your child, and at the end of the day, that's what we always want to see is that passion shine through.

So, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck to you, Hunter. When you catch the bigger one, come back, OK?


SAMBOLIN: All right. Nice talking to you both. Thank you. Ashleigh, back to you.


BANFIELD: I'm changing his name from shark boy to shark man. That's a great kid. Holy Moly. Shark Hunter, Soledad O'Brien --


BANFIELD: We've been sitting to this whole interview together -- he's so cute and sleepy.


BANFIELD: Could you imagine doing that with your child, though, on a kayak?

O'BRIEN: No. And if their dad took them out on a kayak --

BANFIELD: I'd kill him.

O'BRIEN: Pretty much.


O'BRIEN: Pretty much.

BANFIELD: That's the mom in us.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes, yes.

BANFIELD: So, you got a big show coming up.

O'BRIEN: Yes, lots coming up this morning. We're going to talk about the police beating that was caught on tape. Remember, it sparked the Los Angeles riots. That was 20 years ago. It put police brutality and questions of race relations into the national spotlight. Rodney King has written a book about it. He's going to join us live, talk about his book.

Also, we'll talk to a mom who says the school district isn't doing enough to protect her daughter from a bully, so she's had to take it to court. We'll tell you what she's doing.

And former NFL quarterback, Dan Marino, will talk with us about accusations of spying made against the New Orleans Saints and much, much more. We're going to play word association with him.

If you're going to head to work and you can't make the show, you can check out our live blog, which is Otherwise, we'll see you right at the top of the hour.


SAMBOLIN: It is 50 minutes past the hour. Time to check the stories that are making news this morning. Here's Christine Romans. Good morning.



ROMANS (voice-over): Special K-9 dogs from the FBI are being used in the search for a missing six-year-old girl in Arizona. Isabel Mercedes Celis (ph) was reported missing Saturday morning. Investigators think she may have been snatched from her bed in the middle of the night. Police say that a scream that was removed from a window at the time at the home appears to be suspicious.

A key figure in a British media scandal testifying under oath this morning. James Murdoch insists he was not aware of the scale of the illegal phone hacking at the now defunct "News of the World" tabloid.


JAMES MURDOCH, NEWS CORP. EXECUTIVE: I wasn't in the business of deciding, you know, what to put in the newspapers. So, it was really there, and then, I was given, you know, assurances by them that sometimes proved to be wrong, that I'm sure we'll go into with respect to the risks that they were taking.


ROMANS: Murdoch's already appeared twice now before the judicial inquiry. His father, Rupert Murdoch, is scheduled to testify tomorrow.

Shocking photos of a horse that looks like it's being dragged behind a truck, but the horse's owner says that is not what happened. He says he was trying to get this horse back in its barn after it got loose. When the horse resisted, he tied a rope to its neck and tied that rope to the truck. The owner says the horse bucked and fell over.


CULVER MODISETTE, HORSE OWNER: It was a bad moment. You know, I'm sorry it happened. It wasn't premeditated. I had really no choice. I had no other way to get it up.


ROMANS: He went on to say neighbors chose to take pictures rather than help him get the horse back in the barn. The horse is now back safe at home suffering only minor scratches and cuts. Police are, though, considering filing criminal charges.

Wild video. A truck slams into a gun shop in Richland County, South Carolina. A police looking for the people who rammed a vehicle into a gun shop, and then, they took off with half of the store's inventory. Deputies say the bandits stole 30 assault weapons and pistols and caused $100,000 worth of damage.

And actress, Lindsay Lohan, is set to portray a Hollywood icon in a Lifetime TV movie. Lohan will star as Elizabeth Taylor in the film "Liz & Dick" based on Taylor's roller-coaster romance with actor, Richard Burton. Can you see the resemblance? Filming begins in June. It's expected to premiere in the fall.

Two very famous women, one who had a very long career. Lindsay Lohan, it will be interesting to see if her career will be as long as Liz Taylor's.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Change her hair to black and spitting image.

ROMANS: It really is.


BANFIELD: I don't see it at all. Isn't that interesting? Maybe because the story behind the women is so diametrically oppose (ph). Christine, thank you.

ROMANS (on-camera): You're welcome.

BANFIELD: Up next, they advertise it's a burger to die for. Apparently, another close call, too, at the heart attack grill. Get it, burger to die for? You won't believe what happened. You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: So, this is a great chance to take a look at what's trending on the interwebs, and we've got a real-life captain's log for you from the one and only, William Shatner. Captain Kirk sending a message to six astronauts who are 240 miles above us at the International Space Station.

It is really a shameless plug for his album, yes, he has an album. It is cover songs of all the space-themed songs called "Seeking Major Tom." Now, this is Shatner, folks, and Shatner is a rock star, so we thought we'd play a little bit. Take a look at his message.


WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: I wish you really good luck, good health, get some good work done, and we'll look forward to you coming back. And I hope you enjoy "Seeking Major Tom."

(SINGING) And I'm floating in a most peculiar way.


BANFIELD: Can you hear him singing? "And I'm floating in a most peculiar way." So, there you go, a message to you folks up in space.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It isn't really singing, right. It's like talking.

BANFIELD: Yes. He talks his songs out.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. So, when your owner dresses as a doctor and your waitresses are dress as sexy nurses, you're going to get some unwanted attention when this happens.


SAMBOLIN: It is the heart attack grill in Las Vegas, a place that gives free meals to people over 350 pounds. It has lived up to his name once again. The grill's owner says, this time, a woman suffered an apparent heart attack and collapsed while eating a double bypass burger Saturday night.

She was rushed to a hospital. She is expected to recover. A man in his 40s also had an apparent heart attack while chowing down on the 6,000-calorie triple bypass burger back in February.

BANFIELD: And they have the quadruple bypass burger, too. We haven't yet had --

SAMBOLIN: Which is what you get when you have it.

BANFIELD: I wonder what casualty is coming next.

OK. So, where's everybody going? Hey, where's everyone going? A company in the UK accidentally fired every member of its staff last Friday. It was an accident, but here's what happened.

Reuters says 130 worldwide employees of the company Aviva Investors, which, by the way, is the UK'S second biggest insurer, they all logged on to their computers and checked their morning e-mails and saw shocking news, an e-mail to them ordering them to hand over their company property, their security passes before leaving the building.

That's a bit of a painful message. It went out to people in 16 countries, including the United States, but apparently, the e-mail was meant for only one employee who was leaving the firm. Human resources realized the mistake, but it didn't -- they didn't do that until 25 minutes had passed.

So, they sent out another e-mail unfiring everybody except for the one person who had to hand over the security pass.

SAMBOLIN: That's a big, awkward moment there.


BANFIELD: Can you imagine what you would -- you know, all the people, what they said to their bosses?


BANFIELD: Well, if I'm fired, then --


BANFIELD: -- oops. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: All right. That is EARLY START, the news from A to Z. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Nice having you with us. STARTING POINT with Soledad O'Brien starts this minute.