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Zimmerman Raised $200,000; Shuttle and the Skyline; Guns In Mexico Traced To U.S.

Aired April 27, 2012 - 05:00   ET


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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Zoraida is off today.

It's -- well, it's 5:00 a.m. and nine seconds in the East. Time to get started.

New exclusive details in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman could go back to jail. Find out why, coming up.

BANFIELD: Also, sickening surveillance video. A thief hurting two women in their 80s and 90s. Find out what he was after and what he's got coming up.

ROMANS: A shuttle at the back of a 747 over the New York City skyline. Space shuttle Enterprise making its final landing today over the Big Apple. If you're flying into JFK today, you might get a real interesting look. We're going to tell you how you can see a stunning piece of story. I just gave it away.

BANFIELD: But, you know, there's nothing like, you can watch those pictures over and over again. A piggybacking 747 and a shuttle? Man.

ROMANS: Sweet stuff.

BANFEILD: All right. Let's get started of the top of the hour here. Up first, a six-figure shocker in the Trayvon Martin case. Legal experts say it's something that could land Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman back in jail, believe it or not.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara dropped the bombshell last night, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper that he just found out his client has over $200,000 in online donations. But the judge was told Zimmerman had very little money when the bail was set this week.


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: He asked me what do with his PayPal accounts. I asked him what he was talking about. And he said those are the accounts that had the money from the Web site he had and that there was about $200,000, $204,000 that had come in to date.

I don't think Judge Lester is going to believe that I misled him. I told him what I knew at the time, which is exactly what I was aware of.


BANFIELD: CNN's Martin Savidge is live from Atlanta this morning. And, Martin, there was a hearing scheduled that's coming up this morning. It wasn't supposed to be about this particular issue, but a lot of people are saying it could really -- the issue today could almost only be about this money.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. There's no question this is going to dominate the conversation that takes place inside of the courtroom. Just when you think anything -- or there is something called a routine hearing, you get surprised by this. A $200,000 bombshell, as you point out.

And that's because a week ago, there we were inside the courtroom, George Zimmerman's attorney was arguing you need to reduce bond because, well, George Zimmerman has no money, he doesn't have a job, his wife has no job. The family has no money. They are basically indigent.

And then, lo and behold, he was sitting on $200,000. This was money coming in from the Web site he had set up, donations from all across the country and all around the world.

What is the impact be on the judge that granted that bond? Mark Geragos spoke about that on "A.C. 360" last night.


MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: He's setting a bond at $150,000 over the prosecution's objections, and the prosecutor is asking for a million bucks and it turns out this guy has got $200,000 in an account, you know, I know a lot of judges who would remand the guy back into custody immediately. And I'll tell you why, because one of the things is, they want to make sure somebody is not going to flee and that the bond secures.


SAVIDGE: Now the attorneys that represent the family of Trayvon Martin are saying that it shows you cannot trust George Zimmerman. It just does not look good in any way, shape or form, and as you say, it's probably going to dominate this hearing.

BANFIELD: And just really quickly before I move on, I do want to mention he was in a form of protective custody. It's my understanding that you don't often have access to the Internet. So, is there a possibility, Martin -- and I'm not suggesting that you were watching him -- is there a possibility that the defendant might not have even known what he had before going into the hearing?

SAVIDGE: You know, it is possible. We really don't know. He had two Web sites that were set up. One was the and the other was And whether he was able to monitor them while in hiding, we don't know. Whether he knew how much money was in it.

But, remember, last week over and over, the prosecution kept asking family members how much money is in those accounts? Everybody said they didn't know. Somebody must have known.

BANFIELD: And we may find out today in this hearing. Certainly a lot of questions to be asked.

Martin Savidge, thanks so much.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right. Next we're following here today, John Edwards. The defense team for John Edwards trying hard to tear down the government's star witness. Former Edwards aide Andrew Young taking the stand for the fourth day. He admitted he used much of nearly $1 million in campaign supporter money to build his dream house in North Carolina not to cover up an affair Edwards was having with his videographer Rielle Hunter.

BANFIELD: Some real ugliness coming out from Boston Bruin fans after that team was eliminated by the NHL playoffs. The series clincher was scored by Joe Ward of Washington Capital. Joel was born in Toronto to parents who had migrated from Barbados.

Some of the reaction in Twitter, though, included Ward the winning score. There were some racist tweets, like the N-word scores again, we riot. And, we lost to a hockey playing N-word?

Larry Holder, host of the "Sports Hangover", is going to be here to talk about the shocking reactions later in the hour and how the league itself has reacted to these tweets.

ROMANS: All right. The investigation into the Secret Service that started with alleged prostitutes in Colombia is expanding this morning. This after agents allegedly paid for certain favors from strippers before President Obama's visit to El Salvador in March last year.

Affiliate KIRO in Seattle broke the story, spoke to an alleged eyewitness who says the agents told him, hey, this happens all the time.


WITNESS: Conversations I heard, I mean, they bragged about it. How good was the night in X place or country. I mean, yes, that's -- I heard that more than once.

ROMANS: CNN cannot independently confirm the allegations. The Secret Service responded to the report, though, saying they are following up on these allegations in an appropriate manner.

BANFIELD: Here's one of those stories you like to hear -- 48 Philadelphia transit workers just hit a power ball jackpot worth $172 million. Why aren't we in that pool?

We're told that the winning septa employees range from janitors to accountants to managers. They had been pooling their lottery money for quite some time now. This big win creating a serious buzz in the building.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By 1:00 this afternoon, this buzz went through this 20-story office building. Did you hear? Did you hear? Is it a rumor? And people started fessing up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is, like, excited. Everybody is, like, they can't believe it. It hit on the 11th floor.


BANFIELD: Congratulations. The winning transit workers, by the way, have decided that at this point, they would like to remain anonymous.

ROMANS: This just in: gas prices dropping another 0.4 cents over the past 24 hours. The new national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.83 a gallon. That's a national average folks.

Depending on where you live, you're saying that's not what I'm paying, $3.83. The trend is down there. AAA just posted this on its Web site a few minutes ago. We're approaching the busy summer driving season. So, we'll se how that effects demand for gas. A lot of people saying and I agree that there's been a peak, but gas prices could go up again.

BANFIELD: When they were going up constantly, you said keep your tank topped up. Do we let it go?

ROMANS: Maybe a half tank now. Maybe the next couple of days it will be lower or so. They're saying top it up, top it up now. You don't need to worry about that. You can get a half tank.

BANFIELD: (INAUDIBLE) at the gas station.

It's seven minutes now past 5:00 on the East Coast.

And ahead on EARLY START: the space shuttle with skyscrapers as a back drop. It does not get cooler than this, folks. How you can see the space shuttle Enterprise's final trip, coming up.

ROMANS: And surveillance video of a thief ripping an elderly woman. Her sister's wheelchair slipping over, and the chaos.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: It will be a majestic sight in New York City this morning, if the clouds break up.

The space shuttle Enterprise will make its final flight, hitching a ride on a 747 to its new home on the deck of Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum right here in New York . The shuttle will fly over several New York City landmarks before touches down. It is set to take off from Dulles Airport at Washington, D.C. at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

And Athena Jones is there.

Good morning.


Well, you know, here we are, you can see what we can see, the shuttle behind us already attached to the 747 it's going to be flying up on. I promise it's there. You guys won't be able to see it though until the sun comes up.

You may not know, I should say, the Enterprise is the first shuttle but it never actually flew in space. Instead it was used for a whole bunch of flights, test flights and other tests over the course of about two years in the '70s after it was rolled out in 1976.

And, you know, originally, it was supposed to be called "The Constitution" in honor of the bicentennial of the United States back in 1976. But a write-in campaign by "Star Trek" fans got them to change the name to the Enterprise after the starship Enterprise in that show, that fictional shuttle, of course.

But later today, we're going to see not so much the folks here in D.C. who are treated to a wonderful sight a couple of weeks ago when we saw the Discovery attached to the same airplane flying past several monuments here.

Today, it's going to be you guys up in New York that get treated to the big show. Once the flight takes of 9:30, it's going to end up in New York, fly past the Statue of Liberty, fly up the Hudson River. So everybody on the west side is going to get a great view of the shuttle atop this airplane, as it passes the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where its eventual home in a few months and ends up at JFK Airport where there's going to be a private ceremony there.

And over the next couple weeks, it's going to be de-mated from the plane, put on a barge, and eventually make its way over to the Intrepid where they're going to build a whole pavilion around it. So, it's going to be a big show later this morning up there, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Athena Jones, and I'm going to have my eyes peeled up all the way up to the west side. And we'll see what we can see from there. Thank you so much.

BANFIELD: I can't wait for that. My kids love the Intrepid. Eventually when it gets there. Let's go together.

ROMANS: The pictures have been awesome of watching the planes -- coming off of the Intrepid deck as they're making room for the Enterprise.

BANFIELD: The big cranes, as they come up the barge, oh. Is it nerdy? I don't know the kids adore this stuff. Parents probably like it more.

It's 13 minutes now past 5:00 on the East Coast.

By the way, the last time this happened, Reynolds Wolf, the weather actually was a real scuttle for the shuttle as it was trying to make its way to New York.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Today, I think it's going to cooperate a little bit better, but they got to hurry. They can't really take their time with it, because we do see some weather that's going to be kind of rough-forming a bit further out towards the west. We'll get more on that in just a moment

First let's begin with what's happening now towards parts of the central Rockies, even into the Great Plains, we have a severe thunderstorm watch that is in effect until 4:00 a.m. local time.

And speaking for parts of Denver and parts of the Mountain State, they had some rough weather just yesterday. In fact, take a look at this video. This video actually from Twin Butte, Colorado, you have to be very careful when you say, Twin Butte, because obviously one isn't enough.

You take a look at the video here, you see the rain coming down. Actually, two tornadoes reported in the area, and, of course, you got the hail, quite a bit of hail can and will be produced in the state of Colorado, a high mountain air could make all the difference.

Let's go right back to the weather computer if we can. And as we do so, we're going to show you what's happening towards parts of the Great Lakes. We got the prevailing wind coming in from the Northwest. You see some residual snow fall.

We go from the snow to the cool temperatures around the Great Lakes. Temperatures, lows this morning in the 20s and 30s. But as we go a bit further south, you're going to run into some warmer air, especially into parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, the high in Charlotte, 80 degrees, 74 in Winston-Salem, 65 over towards Lexington.

Your national temperatures, a bit warmer as you might imagine, in spots like Texas, 90 in Dallas, 83 in New Orleans, 83 in Miami, 56 your high in Minneapolis, 57 in Portland, New York with 56. Best chance of severe weather will be in the Central Plains for today. We're talking about a potential of some strong thunderstorms, maybe some hail, perhaps even a few isolated tornadoes.

That's a quick snapshot of the forecast. Let's send it back to you in New York.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Reynolds Wolf. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right. Fifteen minutes past the hour.

Time to check the stories making news this morning for you.

A potential bombshell in the Trayvon Martin case. Shooter George Zimmerman could be headed back to jail. According to his lawyer, Zimmerman raised more than $200,000 in online donation for his defense, from that Web site we told you about. But the judge didn't know that when he set bail. Legal experts say when the judge is told about the cash today, he could revoke Zimmerman's bail.

BANFIELD: And take a good look at a new photo being released of missing Ft. Bragg soldier. Police in North Carolina are releasing this last-known picture of Kelli Bordeaux. She disappeared nearly two weeks ago. They say the outfit she was wearing in the picture is the same one she was wearing on the night she disappeared.

The 23-year-old combat medic has not been seen since she left a Fayetteville bar in the early morning hours of April 19th.

ROMANS: Nine thousand U.S. marines are shipping out of Japan. It's part of a deal the U.S. made with Japanese officials. The marines were stationed at a base in Okinawa. Residents there wanted them gone, angry over criminal activity, including the rape of a 12- year-old by three marines.

BANFIELD: Take a look at this video. It is unconscionable. Two elderly sisters thrown to the ground when a thief snatches one of their purses. An 84-year-old woman was helping her 96-year-old sister on to a wheelchair ramp on a bus in Boca Raton when a guy on a scooter came by, snatched and made off with the purse.

Both women were hurt from the fall. The 96-year-old woman has two broken ribs. By the way, that purse was filled with more than $1,200 in cash and $6,000 in jewelry.

There is a ray of light in this story. The 19-year-old suspect has been arrested. He's now facing charges of robbery and aggravated battery and get this -- it was his own father, police say, who turned him in on his birthday. Wow.

ROMANS: Can you imagine?

BANFIELD: Sweet justice hopefully in that case.

ROMANS: Happy anniversary to the duke and the duchess of Cambridge. Prince William and Kate Middleton are celebrating their first year of marriage this Sunday. Sources say the royal couple planning to spend a private weekend with friends.

BANFIELD: Is it just me? I got goose bumps on this one?

ROMANS: Really? I did not get Goose bumps.

BANFIELD: I'm a sucker. Yes, I'm a real sucker for the royals. I don't know what it was, the whole wedding thing?

ROMANS: It's a Canadian thing.

BANFIELD: I think it might be the commonwealth thing.

ROMANS: My country was built on the rejection of such things.

BANFIELD: It's my country too, now.

ROMANS: I know.

BANFIELD: I play both of it. I love it.

All right. So, it's 18 minutes past 5:00.

We are getting an early read on some of the water cooler stories that you might want to chat with your office workers, or just with friends if you talk to them today.

Let's start with "The Chicago Tribune." This is bizarre, a crazy cyber-stalking revenge story almost sounds like a script out of Hollywood. The guy's name is Kevin Lu (ph). He is accused on launching cyber attacks on anyone who has crossed him in his opinion. Problem is he has gotten it wrong a lot.

Chicago police say he's a mastermind swindler and a thief, suspected in 90 burglaries, more than $500,000 worth of stolen goods they suspect he might be involved with. They say he would unleash cyber-terror on anyone who accused him or did something wrong to him, like bosses who fired him, police officers who arrested him. He'd also make malicious allegations, basically accusing enemies of everything from rape to prostitution, getting the enemies wrong.

Mistaken enemies and going after them like this online, allegedly costing a couple and their online business by cyber bombing them with fake consumer complaints, allegedly threatening their kids.

This guy is in serious trouble, Christine. I mean, really, it's -- I said Hollywood drama, I wasn't kidding.

ROMANS: He's got some issues.

BANFIELD: Yes. And he created a web post accusing a police officer of molesting a half dozen underage children. These are the officers who are involved in trying to investigate and arrest based on those crimes that he was suspected of committing.

ROMANS: Don't cross Mr. Lu, except now. He may be in trouble.

BANFIELD: He might not have much of an opportunity.

ROMANS: All right. introducing us to an adorable 80-year-old grandmother from Staten Island. Her name is Josephine Lamberti (ph), right. She is better known as J. Dimples, Josie Dimples.

All she wants for her birthday is 80,000 Twitter followers. I'm going to follow her right now. J. Dimps says she has, quote, "old lady swag." She dances with Rihanna and says I'm really cool, stylish, I really don't act my age. Maybe 21.

So, you know, she's got, I think, what, 64,000 followers now. She wants to get to 80,000. J. Dimps getting Twitter love from reality start Khloe Kardashian, and actress Courtney Cox says, "Hey there, 80 years young." And rapper and singer Missy Elliott, "Hey, mama Dimps, I love you. Shake it. Go get your freak on.

J. Dimps says her 24-year-old grandson helped her get started on Twitter. Plus, so far, she's wrapped, 55 grand. Her Twitter handle again is @JDimps.

BANFIELD: Man, oh, man.

OK. Here's one to the moms out there. You and I were talking about this during the break. Nutella. "The Daily Mail" has a good story about sweet victory. The San Diego mom who took on Nutella and the makers of that sweet, yummy spread.

The company will be forced to pay out $3 million, not 4 bucks for everybody in the U.S. who bought a jar of Nutella from 2008 to 2012.

Here's the reason, the mom said this commercial and all the other advertising about the hazelnut spread said it was really healthy. It was a balanced part of your nutritious breakfast.

But the truth of the matter was, in the complaint she said this is not nutritious at all. This stuff is like pure fat, and actually really dangerous. Now the company has had to agree in court to actually reimburse people, because it's incredible the amount of saturated fats.

ROMANS: Two tablespoons, 200 calories, half those calories from fat. It's like a candy bar. Giving your kid a candy bar in breakfast.

BANFIELD: And good thing you said that, because you hit the nail on the head. Not just a candy bar. It's like eating three musketeers for breakfast.

ROMANS: I almost would rather have a three musketeers.

BANFIELD: I'm with you on that one. I'm one of the people who bought it. I've been eating to my kids. I think it's good source of protein.

ROMANS: Really?


ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE) the politics, the soaring costs of student loans. Both parties talking about it today. Coming up, I'm going to tell you the one thing you can actually --

BANFIELD: Forget the politics.

ROMANS: -- the one thing you can do about student loan debt.

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Twenty-five minutes past 5:00 on the East Coast. Nice to have you with us.

President Barack Obama is going to be talking student loans today back on the campaign trail. He's going to be vey pretty busy guy traveling to Georgia to talk with troops, veterans, families, warning about the risks of taking on student loans from predatory educational institutions.

ROMANS: Yes. We're going to keep watching that.

Plus, there's a vote in the House today about whether to raise interest rates on student loans. You heard a lot about this. Mitt Romney, Governor Romney and the president both agree student loan interest rates on federally subsidized loans for low and middle income borrowers shouldn't be raised to 6.8 percent, but should stay at 3.4 percent. There's going to be a vote today on that.

And a lot of talk about education, higher education in this country and whether we're doing it right and whether America is falling behind and the middle class is shrinking.

Yesterday, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger was talking about the importance of really getting an education so America can out-innovate. Listen.


ALAN KRUEGER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: In an increasingly high-tech, knowledge-based economy, we simply can't afford to fall behind other countries in education. Yet that is what has happened in the U.S.


ROMANS: The question is what are we going to do about it? Keeping interest rates low in the meantime is what they're talking about, but there's a lot of work to be done.

Kruger went on to say that the U.S. has the best educated 60- year-olds in the world, but we're in the middle of the pack in developed nations for 30-year-olds, because a lot of people are dropping out. When you're dropping out of college, you're dropping out with a boatload of loans, and that good debt becomes bad debt.

How student debt affects borrowers. I want to quickly show you something from Pew, the Pew Research Center that shows you that 48 percent say it's harder to pay your bills, make ends meet, harder to buy a house. it impacts what kind of career choices you can make. You delay getting married, 7 percent say they're not getting married or having a family because of student debt.

So, all of this debt. We never had this much student debt before. All of this student debt really affecting other parts of the economy and our ability to get into the middle class and stay in the middle class.

BANFIELD: You had a busy week financially speaking. "YOUR BOTTOM LINE" tomorrow morning 9:30 Eastern, right here.


BANFIELD: What are you covering?

ROMANS: Covering student loans. I want you to listen what kind of choices are narrowed for you further when you have too much debt. Listen to Mark Kantrowitz. He's an expert on student debt at the end of the show.


MARK KANTROWITZ: You are still going to be paying back your own student loans when your children are enrolling in college. You won't have saved for their college education. You'll be less willing to borrow for their college education because you will still be up to your eyebrows in debt.


ROMANS: That's what everyone is complaining about, that trillion dollars student debt in this country.

BANFIELD: The president just said two or three days ago that he and Michelle had student debts until about eight years ago.

ROMANS: Which also raises the question some people are saying this whole movement to forgive student debt is crazy. If you get a job, and that's the point, the whole goal, if you get a job, you can pay off $25,000 in student loan debt if you manage it correctly.

BANFIELD: Everybody does it with a car.

ROMANS: That's right.

BANFIELD: All right. So, we got this new cool thing we'll do every day because Christine's wisdom needs to be tapped every day. I ask her every day for advice.

So, it's the one thing you need to know. Christine is going to land you with it every day so you can have a great day.

What's our one thing?

ROMANS: The one thing you need to know today is don't believe the politicians about student loan debt. Don't belief the far left that says we're going to forgive all student loans, and don't believe the far right who say it's your fault that you're in too much debt. The only thing you can do is control how much you take on the front end and diligently pay it off on the back end. And work hard to get a degree that's going to match to a part of the economy that's growing.

That's the one thing you need to know today.

BANFIELD: And your children one day will know how lucky they are to have you as a mom.

ROMANS: I know. They'll be liberal arts majors and I'll be crying.

BANFIELD: It's 28 minutes now past 5:00 on the East Coast. The greatest player in NBA history is the proud owner of the most dreadful team of all time.

I love this guy, but, man, his team stinks. Charlotte Bobcats set a record that nobody, nobody, nobody ever wants.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: Thirty-one minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans in for Zoraida Sambolin. Time to check the stories making news this morning.


ROMANS (voice-over): The man accused of killing Trayvon Martin has raised more than $200,000 online, but that could land him right back in jail after his attorney told the court that his client was hard-pressed to pay his legal bills.

The defense hammering away at the key witness in the John Edwards criminal trial. Former aide, Andrew Young, admitted that he spent nearly $1 million in campaign cash to bill his own dream house, not to buy the silence of one of the candidate's pregnant mistress.

And the secret service scandal is growing this morning after a report that agents took strippers to a back room and escorts back to a hotel in El Salvador. CNN has not independently confirmed that report -- Ashleigh.


BANFIELD: All right. Christine, thank you. Thirty-two minutes now past five o'clock.

First round of the NFL draft in New York City, now one for the record books, history books, whatever book you want to talk about, but it seems most of what people are talking about is a very dark cloud that surrounding the New Orleans saints. The team's general manager, Mickey Loomis, finally responding to an ESPN report that he had the superdome wired to eavesdrop on opposing teams.


MICKEY LOOMIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS GENERAL MANAGER: I have never listened to an opposing team's communications. I have never asked for the capability to listen to an opposing team's communications. I have never inquired as to the possibility of listening in on an opposing team's communications.

And I have never been aware of any capability to listen in on an opposing team's communications at the superdome or at any NFL stadium.


BANFIELD: Of course, this follows the release of some tapes showing New Orleans' coaches paid bounties for hits on injured players. Mickey Loomis already has an eight game suspension just because of that.

Larry Holder covers New Orleans Saints for He also co-hosts a talk radio show on WIST called "The Sports Hangover." He joins me now live. Look, that was quite a strident claim and news conference that Loomis held. Did he do enough to try to offset the damage that's already been done?

LARRY HOLDER, "THE SPORTS HANGOVER" CO-HOST: Well, honestly, that was one of the questions that was asked, and he really doesn't know how he can clear his name. It's drastically different their approach as far as the New Orleans Saints and Mickey Loomis specifically about how -- about the way they were denying this eavesdropping thing.

The bounty scandal, they kind of sat back and really didn't deny it they went out and apologized. This, they've come came full force, but I don't know how you really clear your name, because either way, as far as the story goes and how this goes, the evidence one way or the other, is still sketchy as far as how to clear your name and actually how to prove that this actually even happened.

BANFIELD: All right. I want to do a bit of a segue, and I'm going to take us to the NFL draft, because the Saints actually traded away their first round pick, and they lost their second round pick because of this scandal. But, you know, it's all the talk, the draft. What's the biggest headline? Any surprises? Was it thrilling?

HOLDER: First two picks were no-brainers. Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts. Robert Griffin III went to the Washington Redskins, but you did have some movement up on the top of the draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars, they leapfrogged the St. Louis Rams, and they went -- then got Oklahoma State wide receiver, Justin Blackmon, and that was a bit of a surprise.

And then, real surprise was that the Dallas Cowboys, they needed help at corner back, and they jumped up and went and got LSU's Morris Claiborne, and Morris talking to reporters after the pick. He said the cowboys didn't even talk to them. And then, there are other reports out there that's saying that he was their number two guy on their draft board.

So, obviously, Dallas wanted him, but Morris was a little surprised. Just after watching Morris Claiborne in college, he is legit, and he is certainly the top corner back in the draft. You can't blame the Cowboys for actually going after him.

BANFIELD: OK. Another segue since I have you and you're great at all sports. Let's switch to the NHL. This one was really, really disappointing, especially for a Canadian who appreciates hockey and appreciates the talents of people like Joel Ward. Bruins playing the Capitals last night.

Joel Ward scoring the game-winning goal for the Capitals, and some really awful Bruins fans sending out some tweets that were, how shall we say, less than acceptable to just about anybody, not only following hockey but else wise (ph). Let me read some of them, and I have to, obviously -- Larry, I have to omit some words here, because they were very racist.

The first one, "The "N" word scores again. We riot." There were more than just that, though. "We lost to a hockey playing "N" word. An "N" word beat us in O.T. Are you kidding me?" This is -- it was unconscionable, but not everybody who ended up being outed with these tweets because it became big news.

Not everybody deleted their tweets. A lot did. A lot tried to hide what they did, but a lot of people didn't, and they're defending. This is really ugly, and the league has had to respond to this, Larry.

HOLDER: It's disgusting, it's despicable. Sometimes, it's the world of social media. I mean, people think they can hide behind an avatar and be Twitter tough guys and just spew ridiculousness. And, just something I can localize it here in New Orleans, when Jonathan Vilma, he was kind of front and center of the bounty scandal.

People did the same thing to him, people outside of the city. And actually, the NFL P.A.. they were monitoring who was doing that same thing. The NHL has to do the same thing, because it's-- like you said, it's irreprehensible. It's disgusting and has no part in it. You'd think by this time, we would be past this, but obviously not. It really makes you sick. It really does.

BANFIELD: Yes. And I should just correct myself, because I work all night. My last night is actually Wednesday night. It was actually Wednesday night as opposed to the real last night. So -- and one more last thing before I let you go, the number 23 has particular significance in sports today.

That would be, obviously, the number of the greatest basketball player of all time, and also the number of consecutive losses that his team just suffered. It is such a big story, the Bobcats story. What on earth happened? What's the story here? Where is this story going to go with the Bobcats?

HOLDER: Well, they did their best to try to get Kentucky's Anthony Davis for the first overall pick in the NBA draft, but they only have a 25 percent chance of getting him in the NBA lottery. But, as far as where they are as a franchise, Larry Brown who is now Hall of Fame coach, he was fired, and now, he is actually going to be the coach at SMU.

He said earlier this week that Michael Jordan had surrounded himself by basically people who were incompetent and have no idea what they're doing. And so, for one of the NBA greats to have that said about them, it's a bit surprising, but the record speaks for itself. They are one of the worst -- maybe the worst NBA team in a single season in league history.

And it's hard to see where they go, because their roster is not exactly full of any sort of superstar or even any sort of borderline star. And that's certainly a black eye for Michael Jordan going forward.

BANFIELD: It's just so sad, because he's such a superhero in that world, and this is just a real bummer for him, but let's hope for the best. Hey, it's good to see you, Larry. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

HOLDER: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Christine, back to you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Ash.

She may have looked like an easy target but 83-year-old Zita Staples is not a woman you want to mess with. Staples was out walking her daughter's dog when a man approached her, rip a chain off her neck, stole her diamond ring, and knocked her to the ground. Staples got up, chased this guy down, cornered him, and started ramming him with her walker.


ZITA STAPLES, 83-YEAR-OLD LADY: I just wanted to get my jewelry back. That's all. And I don't like to be taken advantage of. I would have felt a hell of a lot better if I was ten years younger.



ROMANS: She might have killed him if she was ten years younger. Police arrested the suspect, charged him with robbery and assault. Staples suffered cuts and bruises on her finger and neck. She said she's not brave, just stubborn. God bless you.

It's now been one year since Tuscaloosa, Alabama was ravaged by a deadly tornado, and the city is still picking up the pieces. Coming up, how Tuscaloosa is recovering and remembering the victims of that storm.


ROMANS: It was one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in our country's history, violent twisters tearing through the south. And now, one year later, victims are still picking up the pieces. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, rebuilding from that mass of tornado that hit this very day last year. More than 50 people were killed in Tuscaloosa.

More than 7,000 homes destroyed. A year later, the city is trying to rebuild. George Howell live in Tuscaloosa with more. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, good morning. We are right along the path this tornado took through the city of Tuscaloosa, and keep in mind, this was an especially wide tornado that destroyed buildings, destroyed this home that's currently being rebuilt. And as you'll see in the report, even wiped entire neighborhoods off the map.



HOWELL (voice-over): It's been one year since this EF-4 monster left its mark on Tuscaloosa. A year since we last spoke to the owner of this Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Is all this a total loss?


HOWELL: Today, Evan Smith is still working to rebuild.

(on-camera) We're talking like a year after this tornado came through here, and we're still waiting for the concrete to be poured here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's amazing. You know, in one sense, you want to be upset and think how could it take 12 months, but a lot went on in those 12 months.

HOWELL (voice-over): The first came the massive effort to remove debris, according to city officials, 1.5 million cubic yards of it county wide. Overall, 12.6 percent of the city was destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most tornadoes hit a house, skip a house, hit a house. So, this thing was taking everything out, you know, half a mile or mile wild.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were trees all through here.

HOWELL: Gary Limroth (ph) survived by taking shelter in his basement. His home had to be demolished. So, now, he's starting over. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does take a while to figure out how do you want to build back? How do you want to do it? Do you want to come back? I mean, there were a lot of people that are still across the lake that are trying to decide. Some have decided they just can't take it. They couldn't be here in the constant reminder every day of seeing it.

HOWELL: You can see the difference best from satellite imagery. This is the corner of 15th and McFarland Boulevard before the tornado hit. Here's an image of the corner just after the storm came through, there's debris everywhere.

(on-camera) This is what that same neighborhood looks like today. We're left here with an empty field where these homes once stood. The tornado was on the ground for less than six minutes, and overall, 53 people were killed here in Tuscaloosa alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be the safe room. This is poured in place concrete walls.

HOWELL (voice-over): Residents are rebuilding to be better prepared.

You worried this could happen again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, I think it's obvious that Tuscaloosa is on the path now.

HOWELL: And though, there are signs of progress --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as me and this business, I'm not better off until I get the doors open again.


HOWELL (on-camera): We are back here in Tuscaloosa with a live view of the hospital. And obviously, we are limited in showing you the full scope of this, but the tornado took this path and barely missed the hospital. That is the silver lining that many people remember, that many people talk about that day on April 27th.

But again, 53 people killed here in Tuscaloosa alone. 253 people killed here in the state of Alabama -- Chrstine.

ROMANS: Unbelievable. All right. A year later. Thanks, George.

BANFIELD: It's 47 minutes now past the hour, and that's a good time to check the stories making top billing in the headlines.


BANFIELD (voice-over): And a real shocking development in Trayvon Martin case this morning. The shooter, George Zimmerman's, lawyer says that his client has raised over $200,000 in online donations for his defense. The trouble is the judge in his case did not know that when the judge set the bail. Legal experts say when the judge is told about the cash at a hearing today, it could effect the bail, and actually, it could be revoked.

ROMANS (voice-over): A new government report says 70 percent of guns found at crime scenes in Mexico originated in the United States. Gun control advocates say those stats show a need for stricter gun laws here in the U.S. But Iowa Republican senator, Chuck Grassley, says the figure paints an incomplete picture. Most of the guns cannot be traced to U.S. gun dealers.

BANFIELD: Passengers onboard a Delta flight were quarantined on the tarmac for three hours yesterday in Chicago because of a medical scare. Men with surgical mask boarded the plane, all of it because a Minnesota woman triggered the scare. She was returning from a trip to Uganda.

The CDC says that a family member have reported concerns that the rash that she had might actually be monkeypox, a potentially contagious disease. Now, it turns out it was all a misunderstanding. That's the good news. The bad news for the passenger, though, she was actually suffering from bed bug bites.

ROMANS: So, if you were on that flight, please leave your bags in your garage.


BANFIELD: Exactly.

ROMANS: Two Houston high school students busted on forgery charges for allegedly printing counterfeit $20 bills to buy their school lunches. Lunch room workers turned them in. Police say the phony bills are print with the computer. One of the suspects was selling them to other students.

BANFIELD: This woman had a nagging cough and trouble breathing for 28 years. In fact, at one point, she was even diagnosed with cancer. She didn't have cancer. Turned out it might have been a fruit pit lodged in her lung. Look at the x-ray.


BANFIELD: Yes. Look at the x-ray. A fruit pit. She is 62- year-old Blanca Reveron (ph), and she got the news from doctors after they spotted a mass on her lung five months ago. But then, her daughter remembered a story from three decades ago when the woman accidentally swallowed the seed of a fruit called (INAUDIBLE).

A few weeks later, in a violent coughing spell, it flew out. And Reveron (ph) says that she has been breathing much easier.

ROMANS: That's amazing.

BANFIELD: Remarkable.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS (on-camera): Up next, air bear. The story behind this ridiculous photo. That's one relaxed looking bear.


ROMANS: You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD (on-camera): OK. So, at 5:53 on the east coast, it's the time that we like to do the interweb trending thing.


BANFIELD: So, that's what we're going to do. And the first one is --

ROMANS: I love this one.

BANFIELD: Adorable. It's a heart melter. Little, adorable puppy named Cactus Jack -- look at him -- he's had a brand new home, and why is he called Cactus Jack? Look at this. Not too long ago, he nearly died because he was rescued after he was found sulk to a cactus. Poor thing.

Anyway, 70 people who heard the story threw their names into an Arizona Humane Society Lottery. They all wanted to win so you can (ph) take Cactus Jack Home, and we want to introduce you now to Cactus Jack's new mommy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This story just was heart wrenching, heartbreaking. But the thing that just drew my heart to it was the fact that he just kept wagging his tail.


BANFIELD: Little cactus jack. Good luck, sweet thing.

ROMANS: All right. No tail wagging in Colorado. A bear goes to college, experiments with drugs, and then, this happens. Check out this awesome photo taken after a police hit a bear in a tree with a tranquilizer dart.


ROMANS: That is one relaxed bear. It wandered on to the University of Colorado at Boulder campus and spent about two hours hanging around before they decided it was time for him to go. He was 150 pounds to 200 pounds. A young bear wandered on there.

Campus police say he landed safely. He's been taken to the mountains, but he's got quite a hangover. Wait, is that like a trampoline that they set up -- BANFIELD: It came from the wreck center. It's the mats from the wreck center. So, they went to the student wreck center, and they pulled out these mats. And then, folks (INAUDIBLE) let him come down.


BANFIELD: Like many people in Boulder waking up and saying, how did I get here?


ROMANS: Just kidding. I love Colorado. I love boulder. I'm not making fun of you. Very serious students in (ph) Colorado Boulder.


BANFIELD: I can't even see anything. My eyes are tearing up.


ROMANS: All right. I'll keep going. It is called the holy grail of hacks. A few wizards at M.I.T. hacked a building on campus and turned it into a Tetris board. The group hickacked the lighting control for M.I.T.'s 21-storey, 290-foot tall green building, Ashleigh, and basically turned it into the biggest video game ever.

BANFIELD: That is fabulous. That picture is nothing like your bear picture.



BANFIELD: M.I.T. people are smart, and that is a fantastic prank. And I know the school was OK with it. But the bear is better.


BANFIELD: You got the better trending story. Can we see the bear again?


BANFIELD: Can we please see the bear again?


ROMANS: All right. Later this morning, New Yorkers will turn their eyes to the sky to witness the final voyage of the space shuttle "Enterprise".

BANFIELD: Ah! And look at this, as it comes out of the hangar, it's going to be headed over an iconic scene that you cannot miss. We're going to show it to you.

ROMANS: And look at this.



ROMANS: Thank you, control room.