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Al Qaeda Unmasked; Chen Wants to Leave China; "One Million Mom" Vs. JCPenney; Paralyzed Player Drafted By NFL

Aired May 3, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

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

It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get started.

BANFIELD: We're just hours away right away from the release of bin Laden files -- documents, digital files, recordings all found the night the terror leader was shot dead, coming up. You're going to get a sneak peek.

ROMANS: Junior Seau, another NFL great gone too soon, this time from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.


LUISA MAUGA SEAU, MOTHER: He never said something for me. Junior!


ROMANS: Oh, his mother overcome with grief. Fans asking if the game he loved contributed to his death.

BANFIELD: A hero throws a tackle in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The Iraq war vet trying to stop a suspect with a knife who took a woman's purse.

ROMANS: But up first, al Qaeda unmasked. In just four hours, the world gets to see a massive stack of documents from Osama bin Laden's compound. For the last 12 months, the documents were analyzed by intelligence officials and this morning, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, they'll be posted online.

We're told the information includes digital, audio and video files, printed materials, recording devices and handwritten documents.

Nic Robertson live in London this morning.

Nic, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen previewed those bin Laden documents. In them, Osama bin Laden says we need to extend and develop our operations in America and not keep it limited to only blowing up airplanes. It's terrifying.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely terrifying. One of those documents, he says, specifically to his sort of underlings, if you will. He says, it would be nice if we could nominate a brother to look after a huge plot in the United States.

And we've seen in recent years the Najibullah Zazi plots to blow up, to explode bombs inside New York City. That plot was foiled.

This is very clear, clearly now coming through bin Laden's own documents, that the United States remains a target but they that they have to look at other ways of attacking it. Rails network are one of those ways, Christine.

ROMANS: OK. Check out this bin Laden quote, Nic. "The Americans have great accumulated expertise of photography of the region due to the fact they've been doing it for so many years. They can even distinguish between houses that are frequented by male visitors at a higher rate than normal."

Pretty sketchy and paranoid, right?

ROBERTSON: Totally paranoid. This is bin Laden's concern about al Qaeda's training camps in the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Waziristan area.

We know also from the documents as well, he gives specific advice to his son, 20-year-old son Hamza who's believed to be living in that area. He says he needs to move, get out of that area, and only move when there's a lot of cloud cover, because he knows the ability of drones and satellite surveillance to track people there.

He also says at one point, one of the documents, that he's considering pulling most of al Qaeda operatives out of that area because it's becoming too dangerous, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Nic Robertson in London -- thanks, Nic.

Stick around next hour, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen joins us. He's one of the few people outside the government who's already seen some of these documents, actually.

BANFIELD: We're also hearing from the U.S. ambassador this morning, the U.S. ambassador to China, about this sudden about-face in Beijing regarding human rights hero, Chen Guangcheng, who after leaving the embassy yesterday, this morning is now pleading with President Obama to help him get out of that country. He says he doesn't feel safe there and that a deal that was struck between a U.S. and China is not going to protect him or his family.

He also says he feels abandoned by America after spending six days holed up in our embassy in Beijing. Chen says his phones are being tapped and that his wife is being threatened by Chinese authorities.

He spoke to CNN's Stan Grant from his hospital room yesterday.


CHEN GUANGCHENG, CHINESE DISSIDENT (through translator): I would like to say to him, please do everything you can to get our whole family out.

I'm very disappointed with the U.S. government. The embassy kept lobbying me to leave, he says, and promised to be with me at the hospital. But this afternoon, soon after we got here, they were all gone.


BANFIELD: For our part, the U.S. ambassador is responding to this. The U.S. ambassador to China's name is Gary Locke. And he told CNN this morning, quote, "At all points, we were intent on carrying out his wishes and insuring we could put together something that met his needs. He made it clear from the beginning that he wanted to stay in China. We asked him if he wanted to go to the United States. He said no."

ROMANS: All right. Questions about whether the game is to blame for the death of a future NFL Hall of Famer this morning. Former NFL linebacker, Junior Seau, was found dead yesterday in his home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. He was only 43 years old and leaves behind four kids. His grieving mother overwhelmed at a news conference yesterday.


LUISA MAUGA SEAU: He never said something for me. Junior! Why you never telling me? I pray to God. Take me, take me, leave my son alone.

Thank you. Thank you so much for everybody. God bless you guys.


ROMANS: Still not clear whether any possible brain trauma played a role. This may have been the second time Seau tried to kill himself. Back in 2010, he drove his car off a cliff and survived. There were suspicions back then but police later concluded it was an accident because of lack of sleep.

At 6:30 Eastern, we'll speak to former NFL running back Jamal Anderson, who knew Junior Seau. Were all of the collisions over the 19 pro seasons just too much? We're going to take a look at that.

BANFIELD: Also, we're hearing from the mother of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion now that 13 people have been charged in connection with his death. Eleven of them are facing a felony hazing charge which carries a maximum penalty of almost six years in prison. Two of them will face misdemeanor charges, though.

Champion's mother told CNN's Anderson Cooper she was disappointed with these charges.


PAM CHAMPION, SON WAS VICTIM OF HAZING AT FAMU: I was very, very disappointed. My husband and I both, you know, we had anticipated something that was a little more harsh.


BANFIELD: The prosecutors say, unfortunately, this case does not support murder charges. The police say Champion collapsed and died back in November after a brutal band hazing ritual.

ROMANS: Tears and testimony marking a dramatic day in the trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards. His daughter, Cate, reportedly leaving the courtroom crying yesterday, just as testimony began about a fight between John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. In the courtroom, Edwards turned to his daughter and mouthed the words, "I don't know what's coming. Do you want to leave?" That's when Cate exited the courtroom, wiping away tears.

That fight took place in 2007 at an airport. Elizabeth Edwards was battling breast cancer at the time a tabloid just reported Edwards was having an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.

BANFIELD: History made on the diamond in Anaheim last night. L.A. Angel pitcher Jered Weaver through a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins. Very overpowering fashion you might say, striking out nine batters in a 9-0 win. By the way, if you're counting, it is the second no-hitter in the majors in less than two weeks. That is something else.

ROMANS: All right. Still ahead, he says he just wanted to make an NFL linebacker Ray Lewis proud. A guy comes out of nowhere, levels a thief in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Wow.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: All right. Eleven minutes after the hour. Let's get you up-to-date.

Chen Guangcheng wants out of the China and the activist is pleading with President Obama to help him. He says a deal between the United States and China won't protect him or his family, a deal we told you about yesterday. He claims his wife is being threatened and he feels abandoned now by the U.S. after spending six days holed up in our embassy in Beijing.

BANFIELD: In a little less than four hours, the world is going to get inside al Qaeda and inside the mind of Osama bin Laden, because some of the documents that were seized in the raid on bin Laden's compound last year are set to be posted online, 9:00 a.m. sharp Eastern. They're being released by the Army's Combating Terrorism Center, at the U.S. Military Academy.

ROMANS: The NFL has suspended four players for their part in a bounty system that paid cash for devastating hits. The harshest penalty going to New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who will miss all of next season, pending an appeal. Three other players receiving shorter bans. An NFL investigation found that Vilma put a $10,000 bounty on two aging quarterbacks, Kurt Warner and Brett Favre in the 2009 playoffs.

BANFIELD: Speaking of hard hits, watch your screen. You do not want to miss it. Somebody just decided to level a woman who stole a lady's purse and took down a Wal-Mart parking lot in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The man named Shawn Cox, an Iraq war vet, came out of nowhere into the picture to make the tackle. But the suspect had a knife and stabbed him in the neck.

ROMANS: Are you kidding?

BANFIELD: Yes, as they scuffled on the ground. Then the suspect actually got away. The next day, the victim showed up at the hero's door to say thank you.


MARIE WHITELEY, PURSE-SNATCHING VICTIM: I really appreciate you helping me. Not many people would do that.

SHAWN COX, TACKLED KNIFE-WIELDING PURSE SNATCHER: I served a tour in Iraq. So, I guess that made things right in my head to help people like that.


BANFIELD: Look how great he is after being stabbed the day before. It's incredible. The police say the thief took off in a Dodge pickup and is still at large.

ROMANS: A college student from San Diego is suing the Drug Enforcement Agency for $20 million after being left handcuffed without food or water for nearly five days in a cell. Twenty-three-year-old, rather, Daniel Chong was one of nine people detained last month after DEA agents raided a suspected drug house. He was never charged with a crime.


GENE IREDALE, CHONG'S ATTORNEY: He screamed hundreds of times for help. He began to dig into the walls, thinking he could get water that way.



ROMANS: The acting special agent in charge of the DEA's San Diego office has apologized to Chong. He's ordered an investigation and says he is deeply troubled by this incident.

BANFIELD: Twenty million dollars worth of being troubled.

ROMANS: Right.

BANFIELD: So, this has been a dream since he was just 6 years old. See that guy? Daredevil Nik Wallenda has been given the green light to walk a tight rope across Niagara Falls. Yes, that. He's going to attempt this feat on TV on June 15th. It's a stunt that required a policy change by the state park commission and approval by the New York state legislature. This will be great stuff.

Daring Wallenda.

ROMANS: I know. Very cool.

BANFIELD: The legend continues. This will be great stuff.

ROMANS: I know.

Let's get a quick check of today's weather.

Good morning, Rob Marciano.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A gorgeous date if you're going to tight walk across Niagara Falls there. That's going to be something.

BANFIELD: Can you imagine?

MARCIANO: Does he go from Canada to America? Or --

BANFIELD: Very good point.

ROMANS: He had to get permission from the U.S. side. So, I bet it's from the U.S.

BANFIELD: Who checks his passport on the way? Daring, daring officials, right?

ROMANS: Border patrol alert.

Hey, good morning, guys. South of the border, well south, we're looking at record highs again yesterday. Temperatures into the 90s. A lot of folks felt like it was, into the end of June, as opposed to beginning of May. Midland, Texas, 98 degrees, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 92 degrees.

And we've got some showers heading through the New York City area which, by the way, didn't see temperatures that warm. I can tell you that. But you will see temperatures rebound after this little pulse goes through. Showers will be prevalent not only there but also across parts of the western Great Lakes.

Chicago, 80 degrees again yesterday. That's the ninth time this year you've reached 80 and that's the most this early in the season since they've been keeping records. So, the June-like warmth continues there.

And also some tropical showers down across parts of the South where they had flooding across Mobile.

Here's where we think the severe threat will be, from Buffalo back to Chicago, Kansas City later on today. We had one report of a tornado yesterday. But it did do some damage and the heat again is on.

And the Pacific Northwest will see rain and cool temperatures. You want to cool off? Go to Seattle, 49 degrees there for the high temperature in the Emerald City.


ROMANS: Thank you, Rob.

BANFIELD: Good for Seattle this time of year.

ROMANS: That's true.

All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour. Let's get an early read on water cooler worthy stories this morning.

Discovery news reveals a new scientific claim that -- study claiming shooting, playing those violent shoot 'em up games actually improves your firing accuracy in real life. That study comes on the heels of --

BANFIELD: Because we need that.

ROMANS: -- of a disturbing revelation in Norway, in that massacre trial. The defendant Anders Breivik says he practiced shooting by playing the game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." Breivik shot and killed 69 people in that 2011 attack.

In this study, the subjects were given either a violent or nonviolent video game to play. And then they shot at mannequins with a training pistol. Those who played the shooting game, Ashleigh, were more likely to hit their targets.

BANFIELD: It doesn't surprise me. But there's this controversy for so many parents who really don't want their young kids, you know, playing those games.

ROMANS: You know, poll position didn't make anybody a better driver.

BANFIELD: And they are rated. I mean, they are definitely rated. You got to monitor your kids out there, folks.

All right. Here's another for you from the "San Francisco Chronicle," they got a story of a city transit worker. You might consider this person a hero. But his boss has decided to fire him, because he gave a needy teenager a year's worth of free tickets.

Apparently, a 16-year-old boy could not afford the bus fare to ride to and from school. It costs 15 bucks a day. So, the bar agent gave him $300 worth of paid but unused tickets.

Well, the transportation official said that unfortunately is a violation of the transit system's policy.

However, we do have a silver lining on this one if you're upset by this. Apparently there was a woman who heard the story. She contacted the teenager's school and she says she is going to pay for his transportation every day until he graduates. So there you go.

ROMANS: "Vanity Fair" has an exert of a new biography on President Obama. Its author tracks down his old girlfriend.

BANFIELD: Oh, that's not fair.

ROMANS: Obama dated Alex McNear in 1982. She says, quote, "He was interesting in a particular way. He really worked his way through an idea or a question, turned it over, looked at it from all sides and then came to a precise and elegant conclusion."

Obama has serious relationship with Genevieve Cooke when he lived in New York. She said he was intriguing, guarded. When she said, "I love you," he said, "Thank you."

BANFIED: Thank you.

ROMANS: That's why she's an ex-girlfriend.

BANFIELD: That was in the "Sex in the City" right here.

ROMANS: Her diary entry from after the breakup foreshadows a marriage to Michelle. "Obviously, I was not the person that brought infatuation. That light, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere."

You know what? This thing about -- I don't know, the thing about old girlfriends or old boyfriends, I mean, come on.

BANFIELD: I don't want anyone digging up any of mine.

ROMANS: Ancient history.

BANFIELD: Ancient. Unfair, too. I think it should be off limits.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, just head on over to our blog, Get a lot of information there.

ROMANS: All right. The sky high baggage fee. Oh, yes, another airline fee you won't believe. Coming up, a check bag that costs more than your ticket on one carrier.

You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Hey, welcome back. It's 21 minutes now past 5:00. And we are minding your business this morning.

U.S. markets closing mixed yesterday. Dow coming off that four- year high. You're so excited about yesterday. S&P also both closing lower, midweek. Get that nice one arrow with the NASDAQ making some gains.

What's that about?

ROMANS: Well, you know, there have been stronger than expected earnings reports. Right? Corporate profits giving the markets a boost. But that quarterly earnings season is over now and we're turning our attention to the big April jobs report that comes out tomorrow. And there are not high hopes that we have a lot of jobs growth.

BANFIELD: It was bad last month.

ROMANS: Probably more than 100,000 but not high hopes it will be really big.

And also a big story to tell you about, more baggage fees.

BANFIELD: More baggage fees.

ROMANS: Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines says it's raising the prices for bags in general. Listen to this -- right now, they charge $45 for big carry-on bags. You purchase that right at the airport gate when you're about to board. That number is going to go up to $100 per bag in November.


ROMANS: Now, this applies to big carry-ones that go in the overhead compartment. Anything in the overhead compartment, 100 bucks. Smaller bags like a purse or briefcase, a diaper bag, those are still free.

But this is how Spirit and other cheap airlines make their money, right? You can have a $9 fare on Spirit. They make their money by this whole a la carte method where you pay for what you use. The bottom line is, just travel with a purse.

BANFIELD: No kidding. But isn't it cheaper to check your bag?

ROMANS: It's cheaper to check that bag. If you look at the baggage fees, I'm going to tweet this out, put it on Facebook. If you look at the baggage fees for all the different airlines, it is cheaper to just check the bag. In some cases -- if you're doing it at the last minute, what's the point?

In some cases it's easier to mail it, to mail the bag.

BANFIELD: I think it might be. I have FedExed some bags before that was $78 and were quite large and heavy.

ROMANS: Yes. And some of the airlines actually have a deal with the package deleiver people to get this stuff there on time.

BANFIELD: One hundred dollars, you can carry your own weight. And someone else --

ROMANS: Well, you know, we don't need all this stuff. Why do we have all this stuff? Why do we care all this stuff?

Now, I travel with really small children, so I do need all this stuff, and I do need two bottles and diapers and all that stuff. But --

BANFIELD: Oh, Lord. OK. So, what's the thing -- if there's one thing that you can tell me, what's the one thing I need to know.

ROMANS: Refinance your mortgage if you can. The one thing you need to know today, mortgage rates are near record lows again. We're going to need another read on the latest mortgage rates today. But the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate, 3.88 percent. For a 15- year, this is a popular refinancing tool, 3.12 percent.

Later today, we're going to get an update as I said about what this week's rates are. But this is the time to refinance if you can.

A lot of you can't. You're under water and you can't. Or you can't afford to have the appraisal or the assessment. I get it. If you can, you should.

BANFIELD: It's expensive.

ROMANS: Every day, someone is saying to me, oh, should I take a look at refinancing? I say yes, yes, yes.

BANFIELD: A couple thousand dollars. If you want to get the appraisal and you could pay some closing fees et cetera --

ROMANS: Appraisals was like 600 bucks.

BANFIELD: Oh, you got a good one.

Hey, just quickly, for those who think if I wait longer, it will go down further.

ROMANS: It might, but it might not. Now is the time to get the money out of the house if you can. I know for four months or so you've been trying to do it, you were worried that you were missing the moment.

BANFIELD: Turned out to work in my favor.

ROMANS: There you go.

BANFIELD: It must just be you. You're a good luck charm.

Twenty-five minutes past 5:00 in the morning on the East Coast.

And still ahead on EARLY START: it's a conservative moment. A group called the One Million Moms. And it is launching a boycott over this ad. Can you tell why? Look real, real close. Wedding bands.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on EARLY START, he never saw it coming. A losing lacrosse player takes out his frustrations on another with a sucker punch seen round the world.

You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. I'm Christine Romans, in for Zoraida.

Here's what's happening at half past the hour:

In just a few hours, files seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will be posted online. We're told this document dump includes audio and video files, and some of bin Laden's handwritten notes.

Questions this morning about the mental health of NFL great Junior Seau after he was found dead in his home yesterday. Police say the 43-year-old former linebacker shot himself in the chest. A handgun was found near his body.

An angel on the mound, L.A. Angels pitcher Jered Weaver no-hit the Minnesota Twins late last night in Anaheim, mowing through the lineup in a 9-0 win -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Congratulations there.

BANFIELD: Like deja vu, isn't it, Christine? Heard that story before, it's a week ago.

JCPenney's May catalogue is attracting some pretty serious controversy. I want to show you the ad. Take a good look. Do you see anything unusual? What you do see is a smiling lesbian couple, both women wearing wedding bands. And the ad says Wendy and her partner, Maggie.

Well, the conservative group, One Million Moms, which is considered by some to be anti-gay is accusing the retailer of taking sides and is now calling for a boycott of JCPenney. And it is not the first time that One Million Moms has gone after JCPenney. They criticized that store back in February for naming openly gay talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, as its spokesperson.

Branding strategist, Peter Shankman, joins us now to talk about how this will affect JCPenney. So, this is round two. Any expectations that round two will be successful when round one really wasn't?

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING STRATEGIST: Round one wasn't successful at all. And there's really no expectation to expect that round two will be any different. JCPenney, if their heart is a company that generates profit and makes money, if there was any indication that round one was successful and hurt their bottom line, they would not have continued with the same promotion. You know, Ellen was -- the million moms, who by the way, number about 46,000 or less --

BANFIELD: Oh, so, it's fairly small.

SHANKMAN: Yes. It's very, very small -- if they've been successful at all and there had been some sort of monetary loss for JCPenney, they wouldn't have continued with this campaign, but this is almost -- this throws it right back in their face and says, you know what, not only did we do it last time that successful, we're going to do it again.

BANFIELD: But is this, perhaps, also a sign of the times where a major corporation like JCPenney might actually see the banks for the buck is in all of this press coverage, bad or good. At this point, it's not bad to be considered aligned with the gay movement.

SHANKMAN: No, it's not at all. And these ads have been going on in France.


SHANKMAN: But it's a sign of the changing times. These ads are going in France, in Europe, all the time, and no one has any complaints over there. When Ellen stood up and said, why she was doing this, about three or four months ago, on her show, that clip immediately went viral and attracted millions and millions of hits who, otherwise -- to people who otherwise didn't know about the story.

BANFIELD: And you know, for those of you who didn't get a chance to see it, she really -- it wasn't as though she was trying to be a spokesperson for gay Americans, more she was trying to say, here's what I am. And what were the kind of values she was trying to espouse?

SHANKMAN: Yes. That was -- she said no, the Million Moms think they know what I stand for. Well, here's what I stand for. I stand for love, I stand for tolerance, I stand for respect for other people. And it was a wonderful, wonderful speech that she gave. And it really -- it sort of killed the Million Moms argument right there.

How do you defend that? And so, to come back and do it again, I think, is a phenomenal move on JCPenney's part. And I don't see this doing anything to hurt JCPenney sales. And if you look on Twitter right now, the trend is very, very much in JCPenney's favor.

BANFIELD: In their favor for those --

SHANKMAN: Yes. Very much so.

BANFIELD: For those speaking out against the Million Moms speaking out.

SHANKMAN: Against the Million Moms Group. Correct.

BANFIELD: And actually, I don't know whether this was a cause or an effect or just coincided, but my guess is that it wasn't coincidental that all of these people showed up at JCPenney stores after this movement was launched by the Million Moms to protest the Million Moms.

SHANKMAN: Of course. You know, and I think it's interesting. They're taking this as a way to protest against intolerance. The Million Moms, they're calling for -- they're conservative group that's trying to return to family values, but what they're doing in a lot of people's eyes is promoting intolerance.

BANFIELD: But who showed up in greater numbers, because the Million Moms were asking people to show up --

SHANKMAN: The buyers, people who came in to spend money at JCPenney showed up in much greater numbers. And there's actually a lot of the tweets that I was looking at right now currently say, you know, going to JCPenney this morning, definitely spending some money (ph) at JCPenney this morning. Can't wait to buy at JCPenney --

BANFIELD: As a result of this.

SHANKMAN: Exactly.

BANFIELD: So, all right, that's a boost in a certain group of people, but what about just those standing who made news headlines and go on video like we just showed you. Those were those who were standing up for Ellen. How about those who really feel very seriously about this cause?

They don't like that this is the kind of family values that JCPenney is espousing, rightly or wrongly. How about their numbers? Are they making a difference? Are they getting the headlines when they go out and protest?

SHANKMAN: From what I'm seeing, they're not making a tremendous amount of leeway in making a difference. Again, I think if they had, JCPenney wouldn't have gone to round two so publicly. So, you know, there's not a lot of noise coming from that side of the camp, and the noise that is coming is being drowned out in much greater numbers by the audience that's going into shop.

BANFIELD: So, while I have you on this topic, is Mike and Ike really gay divorce or is just Mike and Ike going their two separate ways, because it seems like this is becoming a theme.

SHANKMAN: I think it's just been going two separate ways. It is one of those things that you look, you just sort of like, you know, it's too early. You know, this has to be --


BANFIELD: You mean 5:34 a.m. on the East Coast?

SHANKMAN: Exactly.

BANFIELD: Well, it's fascinating you would say it has to be a better story, because I wonder if that is the story that these kinds of things, these ads are going to become more normal and that those who are speaking out against them, again, rightly or wrongly, they have their right to their voice, but are they becoming smaller in number?

SHANKMAN: I think they are. You got to remember, 10, 15 years ago, there was a campaign against Bert and Ernie, you know, on "Sesame Street," because people thought, oh, they're two gay characters. And then everyone -- and even then we were thinking, OK, that's a little crazy, but the numbers of people coming out against that kind of protest weren't as big.

BANFIELD: Wasn't Newt Gingrich at the same time talking about the purple Teletubby?

SHANKMAN: Of course, Twinky or Pinky, whatever his name was.

BANFIELD: Tinky-Twinky.



SHANKMAN: So, you look at it now --

BANFIELD: He had a purse.

SHANKMAN: At this point, we're almost -- we see that kind of -- it's not about family values. We see it as preaching -- or people see it as preaching intolerance. And if they preach intolerance, that's when people stand up against. They're not saying you have to live your life as a lesbian couple, you have to live -- they say live your life as a tolerant person.

BANFIELD: Well, it will be interesting to see if the Million Moms now get more traction, because they had the boost from their prior campaign to see if it has any effect on this campaign and then in turn whether it has an effect on JCPenney, so we might have to have you back.

SHANKMAN: I can do it.

BANFIELD: Thanks for being here. It's nice to see you. Appreciate it.

SHANKMAN: My pleasure.

BANFIELD: Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Ashleigh.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the handling of rape cases in Missoula, Montana.


ROMANS (voice-over): Officials are looking into allegations that up to 80 cases of rape and sexual assault were not investigated thoroughly by local authorities because of gender bias. Eleven of the cases involve students at the University of Montana. A Missoula prosecutor says the allegations are false.


FRED VAN VALKENBURG, MISSOULA COUNTY ATTORNEY: I have no reason to believe that, in particular, the Missoula Police Department has, in any way, violated anyone's constitutional rights.


ROMANS: Justice officials say they're working to find out if the university and law enforcement have the necessary policies to protect women in the community.

The pastor who said in a sermon that parents should punch their sons for acting girlish is now backtracking from those words. Sean Harris is the senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Here's what he said Sunday.


SEAN HARRIS, PASTOR: Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up! Give them a good punch.


ROMANS: Harris is now apologizing for his word choice.


HARRIS: If I had to do it again, would I say it differently? Yes. Yes, I would. And everyone in the congregation on that morning understood that there was no intent in any way, shape or form that I meant to break a wrist.


ROMANS: Harris says he is not backing down from the message of the sermon saying, quote, "God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I'm not going to compromise on that."

A high school lacrosse player in Florida has been suspended for sucker punching another player. The video shows Jake Champion (ph), during a heated playoff game in Ft. Lauderdale. The player he hit was knocked out for less than a minute, later appeared OK. Champion has been suspended from classes for at least the rest of the week.

BANFIELD (voice-over): That's it? Just suspended from classes? Holy Moly.

All right. Next story, much better. Dream come true for a paralyzed college football player named Eric LeGrand. The Rutgers University player was injured back in 2010 in a game, but he defied all expectations that he was going to be a paraplegic on a ventilator for the rest of his life. And instead, he was breathing on his own within five weeks.

He even stood with the help of a metal frame, and this week, his former coach at Rutgers called to tell him that he has been drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


ERIC LEGRAND, NFL DAFTEE: -- you have a 90-man roster? You're going to pick me? He goes, this is something I wanted to do. I talked to the GM, talked to everybody. Thanks, coach, I don't even know what to say right now, you know? It's a dream come true for me. I always wanted to go to the NFL. May not be the circumstances that I want, but, you know, I'm there.


BANFIELD: Way to go, Eric LeGrande. Now, we do want to tell you, this contract is ceremonial. It doesn't include any money. As you can see, he is still in a wheelchair, so he cannot play, but, it's not clear yet exactly what kind of role Eric is going to have with the team. We know this, though, he's with the team.


ROMANS (on-camera): Cool story.

BANFIELD (on-camera): I know.

ROMANS: All right. It happened at a time before cell phone cameras, the space shuttle "Challenger" disaster. This is how we all remember it right there. Now, new amateur video surfaced from that day. We're going to talk to the family who shot it, next. You're watching EARLY START.


ROMANS: Good morning, Orlando. Sixty-eight degrees right now and obviously quite dark. Partly cloudy when the sun comes up, 92 degrees later on.

On January 28th, 1986, the space shuttle "Challenger" disaster devastated a nation. Just 73 seconds after launch, it exploded. "The Huffington Post" has now obtained new exclusive amateur video from that historic date. And what we're about to show you, it might be tough for some viewers to watch, since it shows the destruction, the moments of destruction of the "Challenger."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, and liftoff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful, oh, beautiful, Chris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no! Oh, no! Something went wrong. They're coming back.


ROMANS: "Something went wrong, they're coming back." Of course, they never did come back. All seven astronauts aboard the "Challenger" died that day. Tricia Hunt, niece of Hope (ph) and Steven Brastek (ph) who shot that video joins us now along with Tim Stenovec of "The Huffington Post."

You know, it's so interesting Tricia, because we've seen for years the same pictures, the same pictures of that moment. And here, years later, you've got these new images that bring it back to us but show it to us from a different angle than we have seen before.

You were looking for wedding videos, hunting through your aunt and uncle's home for wedding videos, had a huge collection of videos, and that's how you happened upon this?


ROMANS: They had a lot of this stuff, right? They were avid takers of video of the launches?

HUNT: I have multiple copies of different launches. They moved down to Florida in about 1984. And I think they went to every launch possible and made videos of almost every one.

ROMANS: Let's listen to Hope and Steven's reaction when they realize what has gone wrong here. And please note again that we're showing you the final moments of the "Challenger," so this might -- it might be troubling. So, these are the final moments. Listen in particular to the two people taking the video and what they're saying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no! Oh, no! Something went wrong. They're coming back. Oh, no. Stay with it, Steven. Stay with it. Oh, no! Oh, my God, help them.


ROMANS: And then they began praying for the astronauts. You can here someone say stay with it, Steven, knowing that they were watching history, I assume. Why did they never make this public?

HUNT: I don't think they realize that it was not a common thing for people to have copies of it.

ROMANS: It's so interesting, because even people here at CNN looking at this tape say this is among the best video we've seen of that day. We live in an era now of cell phone video when you get multiple angles and multiple views of everything. This really was a very interesting and unique moment.

For your aunt, in particular, she was a school nurse. She was rooting for Christy McAuliffe. Let's listen a little bit to the tape and then tell me about her connection with Christy McAuliffe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four, three, two, one, and liftoff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Chris. Go, Chris, go. Oh, beautiful, Chris. There you go, Chris! Go, Chris, go.


ROMANS: It almost brings tears to my eyes. She's cheering her on.

HUNT: Yes, she is. I think both as a woman and a fellow New Englander. She was very proud that she was the school teacher, as well.

ROMANS: And that's why so many of us who were not in the space program or weren't even space nuts were really connected to that launch. That was what the point was. The point was to put a real person, an educator on.

HUNT: Yes.

ROMANS: You know, I want to bring in Tim here, because this "Huffington Post," she brought this to you guys.

HUNT: Yes.

ROMANS: What was your first reaction, Tim, when you saw this?

TIMOTHY STENOVEC, NEWS EDITOR, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, my first reaction is we've all seen the video of the "Challenger" exploding. We've all seen it break apart. But what we haven't seen is this through the eyes of somebody who was there. And I think what this video does is it gives us really an experience of what it was like to be there on that day.

ROMANS: The reaction.

STENOVEC: Just to hear the reaction. For me, you know, when I was first show this to -- when I first watching this and I was watching it with our senior science editor, he asked me, did she know Christa? Was this a member of Christa's family? Because when you hear her cheering for Christa, it's almost like they knew each other.

It's almost like a member of her family was going into space, and I think that's among what's most compelling about this video is that there was a connection between the two educators. ROMANS: And that's so amazing. Tricia, tell me a little bit more about your aunt and uncle and what they would think about all of this hoopla now about their video after all these years.

HUNT: I think she would be overwhelmed, but I think she would also like it to refocus things on NASA. She would like to see that program continue. But she would be overwhelmed, I think.

ROMANS: Well, it's so nice of you to bring it to us. Tricia Hunt, thank you so much. And also Tim Stenovec (ph), thank you so much for joining us. It's really nice to see you. Thanks for putting it on a web (ph) so we can all see it, news editor of "The Huffington Post." I'll try to get it out -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right. Thanks. That is so fascinating. Christine, that was incredible to watch.

It is now 47 minutes past 5:00, and we are not far off from getting an unprecedented look inside the world of al Qaeda like you have never seen before.


BANFIELD (voice-over): 9:00 a.m. eastern time this morning, some of the documents that were seized in the raid on Bin Laden's compound last year are going to be posted online for you to see. They're being released by the Army's Combating Terrorism Center. It's located at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He's a human rights champion and he's a Chinese dissident. Chen Guangcheng is now pleading with President Obama to help him and his family get out of his country, China. Chen says his phones are being monitored, his wife is being threatened, and that a deal between the United States and China won't actually protect any of them.

Chen spent six days holed up in the U.S. embassy in Beijing after escaping 18 months of house arrest.

Over 100 healthcare professionals in seven different cities have been arrested and charged with bilking Medicare and the tally? $452 million. This is the biggest Medicare fraud bust in history. Yes. Wow. The arrests, apparently, coming in from Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Tampa, Detroit, and Baton Rouge.

Here's a better story about medicine. How about this? A brand new Facebook feature launched, and boy, what a frenzy for organ donation. The feature sends users to a link to a state and national donor registries, and it launched yesterday. And guess what? Already just California says that it has seen an 800 percent increase in the number of people signing up for organ donation.

ROMANS (voice-over): This is so important. It's so important. I mean --


BANFIELD: Five hundred million Facebook users logging on every day.

ROMANS: That's right.

BANFIELD: If just a small percentage of them decided to click that link and say I'm OK with it, I'll sign up. Imagine.

ROMANS: All right. I know. It's changing the world.

All right. Up next, the mom under fire for allegedly taking her -- under fire. That's actually a good use of the word -- taking her five-year-old daughter to a tanning booth.

BANFIELD: Look at that. Look at the picture. Unbelievable. It doesn't look real.

ROMANS: OK. She faces a judge, potentially a decade in prison. You're watching --

BANFIELD: You're watching -- what is it that you're watching? You know what, every paper in New York has it on the front cover this morning. Every paper. You know, the big tabloids they've got this woman's face. She looks like she's come out of a fire might be why.

ROMANS: You're watching EARLY START.


BANFIELD: Isn't it hard being beautiful?


ROMANS: I don't know where this is going.

BANFIELD: I knew I was going to put her on the spot. I tell you where it is. Samantha Brick (ph) is one pretty lady, according to her. Yes, according to Samantha Brick (ph), a freelance writer for the "Daily Mail." She wrote a column about how hard it is, look at her, being so beautiful. She says "it's not just the endless attention that I get from all the men who tell me I look so pleasing."

Again, there are the pictures. It's the jealous women who have supposedly frozen her out of promotions and being a bridesmaid because they don't want to be overshadowed at their weddings. Well, a 14- year-old British teenager had a nice response to that and decided to post a reality check on YouTube. And can I just say, it is dripping with sarcasm. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're arrogant and self-centered. And I think it's wrong of you to do that. Personally, I think you look like a cross-eyed Barbie doll. This isn't really an issue here. I think you're arrogant and self-centered because you have a total lack of any grasp on reality or empathy.

I mean, I would compare your intelligence to that of a three- legged dog on cocaine, but then, I'd have to issue an apology to (INAUDIBLE) canines. I mean, do you really think that you have the slightest shred of intelligence or knowledge or wisdom?


ROMANS: Oh, calling the EP of "30 rock," hire that kid as a writer.

BANFIELD: Is that incredible?

ROMANS: He's good.

BANFIELD: Did I tell you, 14?

ROMANS: All right. That kid is good.

All right. A woman appearing in court and pleading bronze. Really. The mother accused of causing burns to her young daughter by taking her into a tanning booth pleaded not guilty yesterday to a child endangerment charge. Patricia Krenzel (ph) claims the whole story is a like that her five-year-old little girl got sunburned outside on a very warm day.

And it wasn't. It was 90 degrees. Krenzel (ph) admits she took the girl to the salon, but she waited outside the booth and compared it to taking her daughter along on errands like going to the grocery store. She could face a decade in prison. Her husband telling one of the local papers, I know she's tanned. She likes the tan. She doesn't have a problem.


BANFIELD: People, just stop what you're doing and look at your screen at this very moment at that suntan and ask yourself if the woman has a problem. You know, look, she has an argument in court. Without question, she has a case. She can win that case by the facts on the case, but this has become the story.

ROMANS: How old is she? Forty four?

BANFIELD: She's 44.

ROMANS: Forty four.

BANFIELD: And she has also said, you know, I'm kind of addicted to tanning.

ROMANS: OK. So, this little girls needs to wear SPF 30, red hair, fair skin. The moral of the story here is that skin cancer is not cool and --

BANFIELD: And in some states, it's illegal for anyone under the age of 14 to go tanning. Again, she does have a case. Let me just make that really clear. She has a case. There are some facts that there were no witnesses, too. So, it could be true that the child had nothing to do with the tanning salon. But that picture, I can't get over the picture.

ROMANS: I'm just speechless.

Still to come on EARLY START, an early preview inside al Qaeda. We'll hear from one of the few people outside the government to see the documents seized from Osama Bin Laden's compound hours before the public get its first look. You're watching EARLY START.