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Trayvon Martin Autopsy Results a Game-Changer? FBI Opens JPMorgan Chase Investigation; Wrongful Execution?; Openly Gay Prosecutor Denied Judgeship

Aired May 16, 2012 - 08:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back. Our STARTING POINT this morning, broken nose, black eye, George Zimmerman's medical report. The question is, does it approve that he was attacked or does it prove that Trayvon Martin was simply fighting for his life?

And he got by the shareholders. That was the easy part. Now JPMorgan CEO may have to explain the $2.3 billion trading disaster to the FBI.

President Obama's former economic point man Austan Goolsbee, he's going to join me live on whether banks have really learned their lessons yet.

Plus the secret life of a spy. Intense, stressful, probably understatements here. We're going to talk to this legendary spy. His name is Hank Crumpton. Just written a book here spilling secrets in the "Art of Intelligence."

It's addictive, it's soapy, it's sexy. We have the queen of mean here this morning from the hottest new TV show of the year. It's called "Revenge." Star Madeleine Stowe is going to join us here at the table at STARTING POINT, Wednesday, May 16th.

STARTING POINT begins right now.

You're dating yourself, Will Cain.

Will Cain's playlist, Big Head Todd and the Monsters. "Bittersweet."

Good morning, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin, sitting in all week, Soledad O'Brien gets a much-needed vacation here.

I want to welcome our panel. Will Cain, columnist at the, Margaret Hoover, Bush White House staffer and author of "American Individualism," and Ron Brownstein, editorial director at the "National Journal."

Hello to all of you.


MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": Good morning. BALDWIN: We got lots to talk about this hour. I want to begin here with our STARTING POINT.

Two dramatic and potential game-changing developments here in the Trayvon Martin case. Autopsy results, they're revealing the Florida teenager's knuckles had scrapes on them before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. This is according to our affiliate out of Orlando, WFTV.

Also new this morning, we're digging into this three-page medical report from the family physician of accused killer George Zimmerman. And it could become a key piece of evidence obviously at his upcoming trial because the day after Martin was shot and killed Zimmerman went to the doctor. According to the records, he had a, quote-unquote, "closed fracture of his nose." He had two black eyes, he had two cuts on the back of his his head and also a minor back injury.

Some of the new details here we're now learning.

Our Martin Savidge is all over the story for us for weeks and weeks. He's live in Atlanta with the latest here.

Martin, good morning.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. Yes, this is really big information here that's coming out. We're getting our first look at will become key evidence in the trial if it actually gets to a trial, I shouldn't -- I shouldn't precede that by putting the cart ahead of the horse here.

But let's start first with autopsy information coming out from Trayvon Martin and the bruising that was found to be on his hands. Now the defense team would argue see, this supports George Zimmerman's claim that it was Trayvon Martin who was the aggressor here. As George Zimmerman has said, it was Trayvon who came up, punched him in the nose, knocked him to the ground and then began beating his head against the cement sidewalk.

However, the other side then comes forward. Ben Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family says, no, this just proves that Trayvon was in a fight. Listen to what he told Anderson Cooper last night.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Trayvon was fighting for his life.

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And you're saying that's why he would have injuries on his hands?

CRUMP: Absolutely. He was stranding his ground. It was self- defense. So if somebody got a gun, I have -- I want to fight for my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE: In other words what they're saying is that it was George Zimmerman that was the aggressor here and began pursuing Trayvon Martin.

The other thing that came out is the medical information for George Zimmerman. You already talked about the two black eyes, the broken nose, the injuries to the back of the head and then the back injury. This came from his personal doctor the day after the incident. Again, Ben Crump would say, wait a minute, there's no concussion here and if it was really the fight for his life and his head being beaten against the ground, wouldn't that have happened? And oh by the way, he didn't go to the hospital that night so his injuries could not have been that severe.

What we're seeing here, Brooke, is basically the bull work of how the battle is going to be fought when it gets to a courtroom.

BALDWIN: Right. If and when it gets to trial, how the defense, how the prosecution use this evidence.

Martin Savidge, I appreciate it this morning.

Also we're talking JPMorgan here, day three on STARTING POINT. Congress taking up JPMorgan's $2 billion loss today. And really the big question is this. Did they violate future regulations specifically the Volcker Rule, goes into effect in -- July which would be banning proprietary trades?

Officials from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, they're going to testify this House Financial Services Committee about what they knew and what they didn't know. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the loss here bolsters the case for tougher rules.


TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: I'm very confident we're going to be able to make sure those come out as tough and effective as they need to be and I think this episode helps make the case frankly.


BALDWIN: An FBI source tells CNN the agency is now looking into the $2 billion trading loss by JPMorgan Chase and that is on top of investigations by the SEC and the Federal Reserve as well.

Austan Goolsbee is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He's also the former chief economist for President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Austan Goolsbee, good morning to you.


BALDWIN: You know, I was reading all kinds of different things, what you said as a result of this massive egregious loss on behalf of JPMorgan and the thing that really jumped out of me is this tweet. We're going to bring up this tweet. This is what you said recently. This is your analogy.

You said, quote, "You hold the life insurance policy on a guy who just got in a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet. It is a big deal."

Why do you feel that way?

GOOLSBEE: Well, that was in a -- that was in a conversation with somebody who was saying, well, what's a big deal? JPMorgan didn't go under so it wasn't a systemic risk. And the analogy is just if they got in a minor accident without the helmet, look, you're happy they're OK but it should make you quite nervous that you're writing insurance policies on -- for people who are taking risks that in a different circumstance could be quite dangerous.

BALDWIN: We talked --

GOOLSBEE: And I think --

BALDWIN: Go ahead, go ahead.

GOOLSBEE: The events are sort of similar.

BALDWIN: We talked a lot recently about the Volcker Rule, which, you know, and I've asked this question, would it prevented this kind of loss. I talked to Sheila Bair, I talked to Senators Merkley and Senator Corker. I talked to Elizabeth Warren who's calling for Jamie Dimon to step down from his post on the board of the New York Fed.

They all have different answers as to whether the Volcker Rule would have applied in this case.

My question to you is what does that really say about the government's ability to regulate these massive financial institutions?

GOOLSBEE: Well, I mean, it does raise some questions. I think that's fair. But in fairness to them, the -- all the details of the Volcker Rule are not yet sorted out. We've been back and forth and fighting with the financial industry about how tough those rules should be.

I would hope that the Volcker Rule since it is designed exactly for the type of event that we've just witnessed that the Volcker Rule would be tough enough to at least give some deterrence value that a bank might think twice before transforming its position like this into a hundred billion dollar proprietary bet that they'd be afraid, uh-oh, if we get into that, we might --


GOOLSBEE: The arm of the law might land on us but we certainly have to be vigilant in a world where there's so much lobbying going on that we can think.

BALDWIN: Let me -- let me let Will jump in. Go ahead.

WILL CAIN, COLUMNIST, THEBLAZE.COM: Hey, Austan. Will Cain here. I really like your analogy. The life insurance on the motorcycle accident. But it seems to me that when you talk about the faith of the Volcker Rule being able to catch problems like this, what you're saying is you're putting a lot of faith in that helmet. Why don't we just stop writing life insurance policies on the motorcycle rider?

Why would I do that? If these banks are too big to fail, why do we allow them to exist? That seems to be the only way to end the socialization of their losses. Why do we mess around with the helmet? Why do we mess around with this faith in the regulation?

GOOLSBEE: Well, the phrase too big to fail in my opinion is kind of incorrect. And it leads us to the -- to the wrong conclusion. And that is, you could break up the biggest bank. You could break up Bank of America into six different pieces and every one of those pieces would still be bigger than Bear Stearns was when it went under and really started the beginnings of the financial crisis.

It wasn't about size. And if you had 10 smaller banks that collectively are the same size risk to the system as the one big bank, you would still have the problem. So I think it's about being too interconnected, and you're 100 percent right. The only thing you do should not be the Volcker Rule. That should be combined with other things that address too big to fail, but just breaking them up into smaller pieces would not shrink the total size of this.

BALDWIN: Right. And you mentioned lobbying --

GOOLSBEE: So I don't think it'd work.

BALDWIN: You mentioned lobbying. I talked to Senators --

BROWNSTEIN: Merkley and Corker.

BALDWIN: Merkley and Corker, thank you, yesterday and they say, you know, absolutely the language here needs to be looked into as some of it potentially has been watered down. We mentioned there's this House Financial Services hearing today but I want to turn this conversation, Austan, to the death ceiling because it was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, he says he thinks the country was going to hit that $16.39 trillion borrowing limit. It's going to happen by the end of this year and House Speaker John Boehner spoke with our own Erin Burnett yesterday and really his message was, you know, cut spending or else. Here he was.


ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: Laying it out that you have to have -- you have to have the cuts and the reforms that are equal to or greater than the debt increase. But Chris Van Hollen said that's a line in the sand. Sort of --

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It is a line in the sand. BURNETT: That's the part of the ship that --

BOEHNER: It is a line in the sand because Washington has kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, kicked the can down the road, and the American people think we're crazy. They're ready for Washington to take action. I'm here. I'm ready to do it. Let's go.


BALDWIN: Kicking the can. Kicking the can. We've heard that before. I know you talked a lot about this, you know, when you were working for President Obama under the administration saying last year essentially quoting you the debt ceiling isn't something to toy with could be catastrophic.

My question really is, looking ahead how worried should we be?

GOOLSBEE: I think a little worried. Now I think the -- in fairness, the president almost got a deal with the Republicans last year that the issue wasn't would there be enough cuts, the issue was, will the plan be balanced and will there be any tax revenue or are they going to try to cut taxes while simultaneously cutting the spending?

I think the fact that the tax-mageddon, the budget sequester, and the big cuts from last year plus the debt ceiling are all coming up at the same time -- is the thing that's making people a little nervous.

BROWNSTEIN: Austan, Ron Brownstein. Real quick, Speaker Boehner said I'm here, I'm ready to act, wasn't the key issue as well last summer whether he could act, whether the president -- he seemed to have a handshake agreement that he could not deliver. Do you get -- when you get -- after the election and you have the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, does that change the dynamic in a way that forces action on the system?

GOOLSBEE: I think that's insightful. It may force action but I am still a little worried that they aren't able to come to an agreement for the -- for exactly the reason you cite, that the Republican leadership ultimately may not represent the Republican base that's voting and so if they try to get to some agreement in the end they just won't be able to do it.

Now I hope that's not true because the last thing the economy needs is another punch in the gut at the end of this year. It seems like we've been on this cycle a couple of times but the dynamics certainly feels different in that there are some things here that the Republicans don't want to happen as well as things that the administration doesn't want to happen so hopefully they can get some agreement.

BALDWIN: Austan Goolsbee, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business -- Austan, thank you.

GOOLSBEE: Thank you. BALDWIN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, life as a spy. Former CIA officer Hank Crumpton on a missed chance to kill Osama bin Laden and a warning now -- now that he's dead.

Also the get real. They have heard about the ongoing obesity epidemic in this country, right? Well, a new invention, check it out, would you want to roll around on one of these things? Could make us even lazier.

You are watching STARTING POINT.

CAIN: It's hard to hold in. I'm sorry.

BALDWIN: Back in a flash.


BALDWIN: He is a legend in the industry that thrives really in the shadows here. We're talking about life as a spy in the CIA. He's Henry Crumpton. He spent 24 years of his life in that top secret role building this reputation that successfully recruiting agents in Africa, taking on this lead role in the effort to topple the Taliban and take down al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

He was elevated to the rank of ambassador, actually, in the CIA after years and years of pretty impressive service. Ambassador Henry Crumpton's new book is called "The Art of Intelligence" here. And Mr. Ambassador, good morning to you.


BALDWIN: I want to begin actually before 9/11, because you had this mission. And the mission was to find Osama Bin Laden. So, this is summer of 1999. You are watching these pictures from these drones. You're sitting, I presume, at the CIA headquarters, is this correct?

CRUMPTON: Correct.

BALDWIN: OK. And I just want to quote some of your book because you see some individuals stepping out of these vehicles and quoting you, "the principles vehicle stopped and a tall man dressed in white exited. This was UBL. We watched as he walked into the courtyard of the large compound. And that was him, and you wanted to take him down, correct?

CRUMPTON: That's correct. We had human sources on the ground that had reported that Bin Laden would be in this compound at this time, and based on that human intelligence, we put a prober over the compound and sure enough Bin Laden showed up.

BALDWIN: Why couldn't you take him down in 1999?

CRUMPTON: Because we were dependent on U.S. military to strike and the plan, apparently, was to use cruise missiles from submarines that would take several hours to reach there. And, the White House said they needed to know where Bin Laden would be five, six hours from that point, and of course, we could not predict that.

BALDWIN: So, fast forward to 9/11, and the terror attacks. When you found out what happened when you saw what happened, you knew Bin Laden was behind that, what emotions did you experience knowing that you had seen him years prior?

CRUMPTON: Brooke, disappointment, sorrow for the loss of all those people, anger, and a sense of retribution.

BALDWIN: Also, after 9/11, after those emotions, CIA takes a lead role in Afghanistan. You're the head of this mission. Let me quote here more. "U.S. pilots wiped out most of the al Qaeda Taliban fixed targets in three days including their antiquated aircraft system." So, sir, this is a pretty quick crushing defeat, but here we are, 11 years later, and we're still there.

CRUMPTON: Well, one thing is that the Taliban had very primitive, very limited air defense systems and very few static targets. And U.S. airpower was spectacular, very precise driven by our intelligence on the ground. So, in three or four days, most of those major static targets had been wiped out.

The fighting continued on through December, but by then, most of Afghanistan from really 2002 to 2005 was relatively stable. And we failed not just the U.S. but the international community that failed really to secure that initial victory with governance, with rule of law, with development.

And, we certainly didn't address the problem in Pakistan where the Taliban regrouped and al Qaeda expanded their safe haven there. And that's an enduring problem.

BALDWIN: Well, the enduring problem, I know, as well. We talk about it all the time, Yemen, who have al Qaeda and Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. We talked a lot about recently and the talks of body bombs, the guy, al-Asiri, the mastermind here. A lot of people referring to this as Bin Laden 2.0. Are you afraid of what could happen out of Yemen?

CRUMPTON: Yes, I'm concerned. There, you've seen a recent expansion of their safe haven. They are recruiting. They are training, and they are using Yemen as a platform to launch attacks. So, some of them aimed at U.S. homeland.

BALDWIN: Of all of your years working as a spy, I'm curious as to -- and you write all about this, I know, in your book. Give me something that might shock people that, you know, in order to be a good spy, what did you do or take part of or I don't know.

CRUMPTON: I don't know if this would shock people, but I think, one of the most important elements of being a good operations officer, a good spy, is understanding of yourself and knowledge of who you are and how you would react in a stressful environment and also interpersonal skills. Listening and learning from others and having an open mind.

BALDWIN: I watched -- obviously, I watched the "60 Minutes" piece where they interviewed you and you talked a little bit about pornography and about how other parts of the world pornography really talks. How so?

CRUMPTON: Well, the case in particular was North Korea. I never met a North Korean that did not like pornography for their own use or for resale. And you see other aspects of that. And that's one of the challenges of espionage. You're dealing with all types of people with different values, different aspirations, different motivations and understanding that is a key part of the espionage business.

BALDWIN: Wow! Ambassador Henry Crumpton, we appreciate it. The book is "Art of Intelligence." Thank you, sir. It's fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

CRUMPTON: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, "Get Real." Walking so 2011. What could be the latest and laziest, let me say that, and perhaps, creepiest? Is that a proper adjective here? Creepy-looking invention. We're going to talk about that with the panel and see what they think about this if they want to roll around on one of these things.

Don't forget, you can watch CNN live on your computer, your mobile phone while you're busy at work, go to You are watching STARTING POINT.



BALDWIN: Bob Schneider, "Blue Skies For Everyone." Wishful thinking. I think we're getting rain once again here in New York today. Wishing for blue skies. There you go. Thanks for sharing, sir. Let's get real this morning, because really, how lazy can we get?

Apparently, this lazy. Check it out. This is latest compact Honda. It is called the Uni-Cub. Look at her scooting around. A personal mobility device. Remember when your legs were your personal mobility device. Oh, not so much more. It's sort of like an electric mobile office chair, maybe like a mini-Segway.


BALDWIN: Have you ever been on -- I've never done a Segway.



BALDWIN: So, this is just -- obviously, I look at this and I think come on now, like, we're all so sedentary as it is (ph), why not, you know, walk down the hallway?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Could this replace a wheelchair?

BALDWIN: I think this is just --

HOOVER: -- functionality as a wheelchair?

BALDWIN: No. I think this is just for people who don't want to walk from point A to point B and they hop on the Uni-Cub.

HOOVER: Weren't we talking about an obesity problem yesterday?

BALDWIN: Yes. Yesterday and the day before.

BROWNSTEIN: Pretty much every day.

CAIN: Did you see "Wall-E?" Anybody see the movie "Wall-E?" There it is. Real life version.

BALDWIN: Would you hop on one of these?

HOOVER: Not on your life.

CAIN: Unless you brought one right here and I could use it to --


BALDWIN: Actually, I would. Yes, actually.

BROWNSTEIN: It's more like creeping --

BALDWIN: Creeping along.

BROWNSTEIN: Creeping along.

CAIN: If you walk through the world and you consider yourself like a ten on the man scale, how far does that take you down?


BALDWIN: A negative two. A negative two, gentleman. Let me know what you think. Send me a tweet @BrookeCNN. Let me know if you would rock the Uni-Cub.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, explosives, carry-on bags with knives inside. How often do these items get pass airport security? The alarming TSA security breaches, we're going to talk about that.

Also, wow, this story here. Did the state of Texas execute the wrong man? A Columbia University professor along with the team of his students say yes. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. Half past the hour here on this Wednesday. Let's check in with Christine Romans and see some of the other top stories this morning. Christine, good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning to you, Brooke.

Court begins at the top of the hour in the John Edwards trial. We could be witnessing the final hours of this case. Edwards' daughter Cate is expected to testify this morning but no word on whether John Edwards himself will testify.

The defense is also still considering calling Edwards' former mistress, Rielle Hunter, to the stand. Edwards faces up to 30 years behind bars for allegedly using illegal campaign donations to cover up an affair with Hunter.

A new report showing the TSA may not know what it's doing when it comes to security breaches. The Homeland Security inspector general says TSA is failing to adequately report, track and fix breaches at U.S. airports like the one at Newark.

A man slipped into a security area to kiss his girlfriend good- bye shutting down the airport for hours and delaying thousands of passengers. The report found only 42 percent of breaches are properly reported and the problems are being -- corrected, rather, only 53 percent of the time.

Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers is chairman of the subcommittee investigating this. Earlier he told us the TSA's performance won't cut it.


REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION SECURITY: This is a management problem and we're trying to get to the bottom of what happened and make it smarter.

TSA is going to be a lot smarter, leaner and tougher, and we want to help them get there. But we've got to have hearings like this to focus on the problem.


ROMANS: All right. In today's "Smart is the New Rich," green shoots in housing. The value of the average home in America down 25 percent since the peak in May 2007. $7 trillion of homeowner wealth wiped out. But the relentless slide in home prices is slowing. Some surveys now predict prices will rise a little next year and housing starts for the month of April just came out up 2.6 percent. Another report yesterday showed homebuilder confidence at a five-year high. Yet another report found home affordability at the highest in 40 years.

Well, what does that mean? It means a family earning just under $61,000 a year, the median income in the U.S., can now afford a home costing more than $325,000, more than double the median price of an Augustine home right now. Monthly mortgage would be just 13.5 percent of what a family makes in that house. All right. It's still harder to qualify for mortgages, of course, but rates are at record lows. The average 30-year fixed rate home loan only 3.83 percent last year. Look at this, the 15-year, that's the popular financing tool, 3 percent. A five-year arm just 2.81 percent. A true recovery in housing, of course, depends on a recovery. Jobs, that's the part that's still missing.

All right. The U.S. has its first female Olympic boxer. We talked to Marlen Esparza when she was fighting for a spot in London earlier this year. She qualified for the 2012 games last night beating a fighter from Vietnam. Women's boxing makes its debut as an Olympic event this summer -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Christine, thank you so much.

This mystery. This is a -- this is pretty stunning. Thirty years in the making. Maybe a bit closer to being solved today. Two decades too late, really though, for the man at the center of this whole thing who many suspect was executed for a crime he didn't commit. That man is Carlos Deluna. He's the guy on the left. On the right is Carlos Hernandez.

If you look at them they do look similar even though they have -- apparently some relatives had a tough time telling them apart. But Deluna there was convicted and ultimately executed for the 1983 murder of 24-year-old Wanda Lopez. And despite the apparent confessions from Carlos Hernandez that he was the real killer, the story and all these missteps by investigators explored in the great detail in the spring issue of the "Columbia Human Rights Law Review."

And joining us this morning James Liebman, the Columbia Law School professor who led this investigation, published this stunning, what, 400-page report?

Wow. I spent yesterday reading so much into this. And my -- really my first question was, you and all these different students, some 23 years after this execution, what got you involved in this -- in the detective work to begin with?

JAMES LIEBMAN, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: Well, I had published a study in the early 2000s that showed that the courts were finding a huge amount of error in criminal -- in capital cases. A lot of people said well, maybe that just shows the courts are doing their job.

So we decided let's look into some of these cases and see if there was a real risk that there was the worst kind of error that we worry about, the execution of the innocent. We started looking at some Texas cases that put people on death row and got them executed based on a single eyewitness identification.

BALDWIN: Eyewitness.

LIEBMAN: One of the very first cases we came to was Carlos Deluna who from the very beginning said, I didn't do it, Carlos Hernandez did. And so we decided that's the case -- let's look into it, we didn't really think it was that strong a case because nobody had ever identified this Carlos Hernandez. We said let's give it a day and see if we can find him.

BALDWIN: So several hundred witnesses later, a stack of papers 10 feet high, you and your students meticulously go through all of this and you discover, and I'm quoting you, the investigation involved numerous missteps, missed clues, and missed opportunities. Run down some of them for us.

LIEBMAN: Well, this case had all of the problems that you find in cases like this. For example, there was a very bad eyewitness identification that -- that occurred at night. They didn't use a lineup where they let you choose among a bunch of people but they actually took the single eyewitness and they put him right face to face with the defendant. He was scared to death. He said he didn't want to do it. Get me out of here.

There were 50, 60 onlookers standing around. He spent 15 second. They were training their flashlights on Carlos Deluna, that his hands handcuffed behind his back, he said that's the guy, get me out of here. So that's the eyewitness identification. That's the basic evidence.

WILL CAIN, COLUMNIST, THEBLAZE.COM: I'm sorry, Professor, you went into this, you said, to find out if we've ever made that ultimate mistake, if we ever put an innocent person to death. If we ever executed an innocent person. Has it been proven that we have ever done that, that we have killed an innocent person?

LIEBMAN: Well, we asked readers to go to and read what we put out there and we believe that we've come -- we've proved that. But that's for the readers to decide. That's for the readers to decide.

If you're asking about a DNA exoneration -- that's the kind of thing that people ask about sometimes. There has never been a DNA exoneration. But the reason for that is the prosecutors will not release the DNA so there's never actually been a test so there's no exoneration but no chance.

ON BROWNSTEIN, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Professor, let me ask you. Let's stipulate that any system kind of conceived and executed by human hands is going to make mistakes. That is the nature of humanity.

LIEBMAN: Exactly.

BROWNSTEIN: So what is the implication of that? You say that this is not unique. What does that mean in your mind about using -- is this an acceptable level of risk to still implement the death penalty or does it invalidate use of the death penalty itself?

LIEBMAN: Well, that's exactly what's shocked us about this case. This is an ordinary case. A common place case. Nobody ever thought there was a real innocence issue in this. And after we took years and peeled back the layers, we found that there is an innocence issue in the case and we concluded that innocent person was executed.

If you have that happening in ordinary common place cases that nobody is paying attention to, the only way you can find it is years of investigation and years later, which we don't have the resources to do. That's a very large degree of risk. And essentially what we decided to do was put this out as a story just the facts. Let the readers read it, make their own mind up. Every bit of evidence we have is a click away from them, and let them decide exactly --


BROWNSTEIN: What do we believe the implications are of that level of risk? What does it require in response?

LIEBMAN: Well, I think what it requires is for the American public to decide whether they are willing to take that degree of risk in order to have the death penalty. There's a big debate taking place about the death penalty right now. A lot of states are abolishing it. California has a big referendum. And the public is asking itself that question. How much is this penalty worth to us in sheer dollar cost but also in terms of the risk that we execute innocent people? And I think that this -- our information that we lay out will be an important piece in that debate.

BALDWIN: From what I understand despite your 400-page report, the lead prosecutor and the -- the police detective in this case, they still stand by -- they stand by their investigation. We of course reached out to the prosecutor Steve Schiwetz. Here's what he told us. Quote, "Would you write a 400-page report and not call the defense lawyers or the prosecutors to ask questions about it?"

Did you do that?

LIEBMAN: We absolutely talked to all of those people. And you can see them on videotape. Sixty-minute videotape of one of the defense lawyers. We have the interview notes, contemporist interview notes of the others. And we have a videotape of Steve Schiwetz himself being interviewed on TV about this. And we quote him at length because we wanted to give him a chance in his own words to say what he thought had happened.

BALDWIN: What about the family of this man who you say was wrongly executed? Have you been in touch with ?

LIEBMAN: Well, we were very --

BALDWIN: Are they grateful?

LIEBMAN: We were very sensitive because this -- you know, it's opening really, really terrible wounds. But we were in contact with the single sibling of the victim and we spent a lot of time with him. You can see his videotaped interview on the -- on the Web site and you can also read a statement that he put out in 2006 in which he said he had become convinced that Carlos Hernandez committed the crime that Carlos Deluna was convicted of and his heart goes out to the family of Carlos Deluna. BALDWIN: Professor James Liebman, Columbia University, thank you.

LIEBMAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the sweet taste of "Revenge." It is one of the most gripping dramas on television. Thanks to star Madeleine Stowe. She's going to join us live this morning to diss some dirt. Tonight is the big season finale.

You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: Want to point out one story that certainly caught our eyes. On the cover actually of the "Washington Post" here. It's about this openly gay Richmond prosecutor who's been advocating for same-sex marriage and against the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, has just been denied this judgeship by the Virginia General Assembly.

In this 13-hour session, lawmakers that were supposed to appoint more than three dozen judges but the Senate decided to adjourn and avoid voting on the appointment of prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, a former fighter pilot, a Navy officer. He is raising twins with a male partner and some conservative lawmakers, they insist his positions on gay rights disqualify him from being an impartial judge.

Republicans delegate Robert Marshall has been very outspoken on this, saying, Thorne-Begland, quote, "holds himself out as being married. His life is a contradiction to the requirement of submission to the Constitution."

Thorne-Begland is not commenting directly about this apparent snob. He did put out an e-mail reading quote, "I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of the city of Richmond and the Great Commonwealth of Virginia." By the way, Virginia one of more than 30 states with a ban on same-sex marriage and gay advocacy group say the states record on civil liberties for gays and lesbians really is weak at best.

BROWNSTEIN: You know it is reminiscent of Mitt Romney having to drop a national security spokesman he hired who is also gay and it's the flip side of President Obama having really feeling compelled to embrace gay marriage. Our parties are polarized and defined largely by their cultural values.

Well, I see a lot of movement toward more support for gay rights among Democrats and Independents and much less movement among Republicans. There's enormous pressure in the party to hold the line and you see it -- you see it reflected in things like the Romney decision in this. The country is moving further apart on this as another issue.

BALDWIN: Go ahead.

HOOVER: I would just take a little bit of issue that there are Republicans that are moving in that direction.

BROWNSTEIN: There are.

HOOVER: I mean Ken Mehlman, Ted Olson, many Republicans who are senior leaders. Frankly New Hampshire just pushed back an appeal to repeal marriage because of a Republican state legislature. In New York Republicans were responsible for the win here.

BROWNSTEIN: Still two-thirds of Republicans in polling you know continue to oppose gay marriage.

HOOVER: Correct, correct, correct.

RON: And there is some movement among young Republicans. No question if you look at the polling. But overall the center of gravity of the Republican Party is that it is the culturally conservative party. That is the core of the electorate now and the core of you know -- the center of gravity of the elected officials. And it makes it hard to move on an issue like this just as Obama ultimately in the end had no choice but to join the kind of the center of his party on gay marriage.

BALDWIN: Leaving -- leaving it there again this is the cover of "The Washington Post." Read it. Let us know what you think.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, you love to hate her from the hottest new TV show of the year. It's "Revenge", star Madeleine Stowe is here. And here's an appropriate tune. Playing to you "Revenge". Good morning.

MADELEINE STOWE, ACTRESS: Good morning everyone.

BALDWIN: STARTING POINT is back in a moment.

Hi I'm Brooke. It's nice to meet you.



STOWE: Conrad, I like that you suspect me, predictable as you are. But I need you to know that others have been betraying you as well even while warming your bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom? What have you done now?

STOWE: Nothing I wouldn't do again.


BALDWIN: Actress Madeleine Stowe she plays the glamorous and mighty evil queen of mean as Victoria Grace on the hit TV drama "Revenge", wreaking havoc, destroying lives, getting revenge against anyone who wants to hurt her or her family all the while doing it with such a beautiful smile. It is TV's guilty pleasure for, I know, millions of viewers and tonight is the season finale. Good morning. And so nice to meet you and congratulations for being picked up for another season.

STOWE: Thank you. This is actually the second to last episode.


BALDWIN: Second to last.

CAIN: Why did you bury your head during that scene Madeleine?

STOWE: Because it's so not me. I mean, it's so funny but it was just an act they told me yesterday I -- I do a lot of work in Haiti and have been since 2008. And it sort of -- I get on a tear a little bit. And they say it's sort of a good witch versus bad witch. And that's the bad witch there.

BALDWIN: No, my producer, she absolutely loves "Revenge" and she you know was reading about everything you do in Haiti with the secondary school. And she was very upset that you are not evil in person as you are evil on the screen.

STOWE: Oh I'm in there somewhere.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about this whole, I guess the theme of "Revenge".

STOWE: Right.

BALDWIN: Many of us can sort of relate to wanting to seek revenge in perhaps in some -- some way in our lives.

STOWE: Well why don't we start with some personal admissions?

BALDWIN: Oh you begin. You begin.

CAIN: Let's start with you.

BALDWIN: No but it does resonate. It absolutely resonates, why?

STOWE: It does. I don't know, I mean, I think it's a pure animal instinct. You know and it's something that we either overcome or we don't. I certainly have my moments.


STOWE: We'll see if it ends up working. But I carry it in my left shoe. That's all I can say about it.

CAIN: Oh you can tease us with that and then not tell us.

STOWE: It sounds so psycho crazy. But sometimes it involves a little superstition.

BALDWIN: Okay, so you're tapping into a little something- something to bring it -- to bring it on screen. And one of the things that I know really resonates with a lot of women is the strong central characters in this -- in this series.

I want to just show a clip. Take a look. This is when I think you are talking to -- you're trying to get back at your ex-husband. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prosecutor can't build a federal case on your word alone.

STOWE: So he won't have to. You and your team are obviously incapable of finding the proof that you need but I assure you that I'm more than capable. I'm determined.


BALDWIN: How do you get it, how do you get into such an evil icky head space to play this woman?

STOWE: She's a little Lady Macbethish, you know what I mean and I tend to be a bit obsessive. So it's kind of easy to kind of slip in there.

Coming out is a little bit more of a trick. And sometimes when you are on set, you know, you have to make sure that you're not in that place because it's highly misinterpreted I think at times.


CAIN: So to get into character you tap that part of yourself which you said was in there somewhere and then it's hard to turn off as you go to interact with people?

STOWE: It sort of sounds like that. I'm always trying to think ahead the way she is. There's a part of that. It's a difficult line to walk for many, many months.

And so I take off and I go down to Haiti and have this other and I'm deeply immersed actually in a day-to-day basis with this remarkable organization led by a man who is a doctor. He happens to be a priest. And they take care of 900,000 people a year, which is astonishing through what's probably the premiere pediatric hospital in the country.

It might be the only entirely pediatric hospital with schooling. We built a school that's secondary for 3,000 kids. And this has a dropout rate in Haiti of 80 percent at sixth grade.

BROWNSTEIN: How did you connect with them?

STOWE: How did I connect with them?

BROWNSTEIN: How did you connect with them, yes.

STOWE: It was interesting. I found them through Paul Haggis, he's a filmmaker. And he does a lot of research; very, very diligent research. I don't think there's a single ground game in Haiti that's doing the amount of work that they're doing. They are building homes. Everything. It's quite staggering.

HOOVER: Has anybody in Haiti seen you in "Revenge" and do they then get that concerned or confused? Nice lady doing this good work for them actually has an alter ego.

STOWE: No, I don't know. I mean Creole and English don't translate back and forth. But this doctor and priest is remarkable because his entire team is Haitian. He's really embedded in the culture. And it's a St. Luke's organization.

I'm actually on the board of directors for Artists for Peace and Justice.

BALDWIN: Have you been giving for years and years this other whole part of you? You know, we see you on screen "Last of the Mohicans", we were talking about in the commercial break. But have you been this charitable soul for as long as you can remember?

STOWE: I've had a very -- I had a very peculiar upbringing, you know. And my father was very sick. So I think that this is just a place to -- I was ineffectual as a child. That is what I felt. And I think this is the way to kind of help.

And it's very interesting what's going on right now because USAID has been having some difficulty breaking through the culture I think. There are a lot -- there is 91 percent of the contracting work that's going to be done in Haiti is happening from Washington, D.C. from inside the beltway. That's kind of a staggering number considering that they are going to have to be dealing with this culture and Haitians should really be a huge part of this process.

BALDWIN: She's lovely and evil and wicked on screen and a very good soul here. So nice to meet you.

STOWE: Really nice to meet you. Thank you for having me on.

BALDWIN: We're going to be watching the second to last episode tonight.

STOWE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. And we're going to get to our "End Point" with our panel right after this.


BALDWIN: Last little segment here the "End Point" and Ron Brownstein, final thoughts?

BROWNSTEIN: I'm going to end with a beginning on a point of personal privilege. My son Taylor, on Friday will graduate from college and be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army. I say good luck and I'm proud of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for your service.

BALDWIN: Is that's who you were talking to on the phone at the commercial break?

Turn it on CNN honey.

HOOVER: Thank you for your son's service and thank you Eli Manning for coming and throwing me a ball proving to America that I can catch a ball and also that his brother is looking good for Denver.


BALDWIN: Will Cain.

CAIN: Are you going to pass me --

HOOVER: Yes, use it.

CAIN: I am now going to take -- not talk about JPMorgan. I'm going to talk about Madeleine Stowe instead. She tells me she was going to tell me her personal story of revenge because she wouldn't tell us on camera.

BALDWIN: She wouldn't go there.

CAIN: I'm going to go get it.


CAIN: I'm going to go found out.

BALDWIN: See what she'll be revealing.

So lovely all of you. Shall we do this all tomorrow again.

HOOVER: Let's do it.

BALDWIN: Tomorrow on STARTING POINT, Captain Sully Sullenberger is going to join us live. He's got a new book out and that should be exciting.

Thanks so much for watching. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York.

Let's go to Carol Costello. "CNN NEWSROOM" continues right now. Boom. Carol, good morning.