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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Steubenville Alleged Rape Case; Senate Presses CIA Over Bin Laden Movie; Chavez Battling Respiratory Failure; Same Sex Marriage Bills In Illinois, Rhode Island; What A Dunk!; Big Cabinet Shake Up; Supreme Court Justices Return To Work; Plea Deal In Washington Shooting Case?; Crapo DUI Hearing Today; Oregon Beats Kansas State In Fiesta Bowl; Look, Up In The Sky!; "Meateater" Premieres Sunday

Aired January 4, 2013 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY FOR MA'LIK RICHMOND: What I'm suggesting is that there is a question of consent. And that's what the courts are for, and the legal process, to ferret out those issues and litigate them.

What I'm also suggesting is that everyone involved here are juveniles and their maturity level and their thought process is different than an adult's. So we must have a subjective inquiry into their mindset and their thought process, and not necessarily one of an objective as adults.

What we need to consider here is that all parties are juveniles and my client's life really is in the balance. And in all ways he's an exceptional young man. He has been faced, met, and triumphed much adversity, probably more adversity most people will meet and be confronted with all their lives.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You say your client is an exceptional young man. I want to ask more about him in a minute. We have to get to the other side. The facts are, according to some of the other people involved, who have testified, these three students testified for the prosecution and they point out a couple of things.

That this victim was unresponsive, that she was -- had to be carried at times and she wasn't moving. And I want to go on. The prosecution said in open court that the two boys treated her and I'm quoting her "like a toy" and said "the bottom line is we don't have to prove that she said no.

We just have to prove that when they are doing things to her, she's not moving, she's not responsive, and the evidence is consistent and clear." What's your response to that?

MADISON: Well, there are three witnesses probably of 20 or 30 that are available, and those three were selected for a very limited purpose to establish a very low threshold in the court of law here in Ohio.

BALDWIN: Let's stay with those three and what specifically those three are saying. What is your response to that? MADISON: Well, my response is that it's out of context in a bit. There will be more information coming forward, not only from those individuals, but individuals who are associated with this young lady as well as these young men.

That day will come and one of the things that we're trying to right here is the misconception, particularly this video that has aired, which is not new to any of the parties involved. That video has been around since this case has began.

BALDWIN: Let me get to that. Let me get to that, I'm so glad you brought this up because a lot of why this is making waves right now. We know this story dates back to last August.

But it's this 12-minute video that has now basically gone viral and it involves a number of the students here and you hear these young boys, it's tough to listen to. And you hear these young boys laughing. I want to play a short clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if that was your daughter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it isn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if it was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that was my daughter, I wouldn't care, I'd just let her be dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm listening to myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In about ten years, my daughter's going to be getting raped and dead in ten years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: They are essentially joking about rape here. How do you explain that?

MADISON: I can't explain that. That is a video made in poor taste. My client is not present. He's not -- he's not -- he doesn't produce that video. He has nothing to do with it. People are going to do what they are going to do. It's rude and inappropriate. It's the extent of what I want to say --

BALDWIN: Let me ask you about this photo since you're saying your client wasn't involved in the video. This photo here, we've blurred a lot of it as you can see. This is posted by a group "Anonymous." They had threatened to release information if people involved here did not apologize.

Deadline passed, they went ahead and posted this online, it shows this girl seemingly unconscious. Carrying -- you see two people, carried by her hands and her legs. "Anonymous" says the photo is from the night of the attack.

I need to be crystal clear. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of that photograph. But what do you know about that photo?

MADISON: Well, let me say this. The first amendment is very important, and I'm a defender of that. And let me also say, I'm not against social media. It has wonderful, wonderful benefits that we all take advantage of every day.

But there is also a very ugly underbelly that goes along with that. And what you are seeing is now when you have individuals who don't have to produce their name, location, the accountability is in question.

BALDWIN: Mr. Madison, was your client in that photograph?

MADISON: Well, he is in the photograph.

BALDWIN: He is in the photograph. So you're saying is he one of the men holding either her hands or her legs?

MADISON: Well, let me just explain.

BALDWIN: Sure.

MADISON: In your question to me, you asked seemingly unconscious and that's correct. The photo is out of context that young lady is not unconscious. That young lady was capable of walking and her friends are individuals who indicated that information to the police.

And they just weren't selected for this hearing that we've had thus far, because they didn't serve the purpose of the hearing and that is the state's burden and that is their election and they may do that.

BALDWIN: So how did the students then that you're referring to, how did you explain why she would rather be carried than walk?

MADISON: Well, again, those are things we need to talk about in a court of law when it's been fully vetted. Right now, where this happened is a right to a fair trial for these young men, these juveniles, has been threatened and hijacked.

And what I must do is right the ship by making sure that there is fairness in the proceedings and that is everyone's concern and that should be everyone's concern and as this case has been hijacked away from them.

It can be hijacked from anyone else. Any person who has a case, man, woman, boy, girl in this country, social media now becomes a very real issue that we need to deal with and we need to make allowances for because the system is not designed to work that way and is completely undermining our system.

BALDWIN: Let me bring this back with your client. As you mentioned, he is 16 years of age. He is under house arrest right now. How is he right now? What is life like for him? MADISON: Well, there's an adjustment obviously. Any time one is accused of rape, whether innocent or guilty or not, there are folks that will have their opinion and we can't do anything about that. We can't do anything about what the people in this community value. That is just community.

I can't concern myself with that. What I'm concerning myself with is he has some level of normalcy to his life these days and all aspects. He's been given a wonderful opportunity and a great opportunity, a wonderful family who has done everything for him and treated him as their own.

And he was on his way to doing that. This is an issue we must deal with. It's very, very serious, and fairness is essential to making sure that we get the right decision here.

BALDWIN: We will follow. We will follow this all the way through as you look for that fairness. We appreciate it, Walter Madison, defense attorney for Ma'lik Richmond. Thank you, sir, for being with me this morning.

MADISON: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Of course, we're also going to follow this morning. We're talking to Poppy Harlow. She is there on the ground in Steubenville, all kinds of details, sides to the story. It's complicated and we'll also get the other side of the attorney general of Ohio will be joining us live a little later.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's take a look at some of the other top stories we're watching this morning. So did the CIA mislead the writer and director of "Zero Dark Thirty?" The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked CIA Chief Michael Morrell for all of the information the agency gave to filmmakers.

Senators say the movie implies that waterboarding a terrorist suspect helped identify the courier that led to Osama Bin Laden. A recent committee report stated the agency did not learn about the courier that way.

BALDWIN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said to be battling respiratory failure as he fights a severe lung infection now. In a televised statement, Venezuela's information minister describes his complication as quote/unquote, "respiratory inefficiency."

Chavez has been in a Cuban hospital since having cancer surgery more than three weeks ago. The information minister did not give details about his treatment or about Chavez's prognosis. He has not been seen publicly since his surgery.

BERMAN: Coast Guard investigators from New Orleans are headed to Alaska to inspect a Shell oil drilling barge, just run aground Monday off Kodiak Island during the storm. Shell officials say the rig is upright and stable and that there is no visible evidence of a spill. No word yet on when it could be moved. The barge is holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel and oil. ROMANS: Also, same-sex marriage bills are making news of two more states here, first in Illinois, a State Senate Committee approved the bill last night to legalize it, but they failed to put it before a full vote on the floor. Supporters hope it will pass in the next legislative session.

And also Rhode Island, Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced bills to allow same-sex marriage as well. Right now, it is legal in nine states, plus the District of Columbia.

BERMAN: A little sports action now, an early contender for the dunk of the year. You have to check this out here. Watch this. Goes into the paint, that was J.R. Smith. An insane spinning reverse ally hoop dunk last night.

Let me tell you from experience, harder to do that than it looks. It's not easy to do this. You can trust me on that. It brought the crowd at Madison Square Garden to its feet. Understandably, you can see the Knicks bench there. They almost jumped through the roof. The Knicks went on to beat the Spurs 100-83. You know, one last time.

BALDWIN: Boom. You're under the net. You can touch.

BERMAN: Watch out for your head. You just don't want to bang your head on the backboard in my experience.

Ahead on "STARTING POINT," so more to meat than just steak and burgers. Coming up, two men who are all about the hunt, from squirrel -- yes, squirrel, to caribou. We're going to meet the stars of meat eater and yes, we'll be tasting some of their yummy things.

BALDWIN: Squirrel? You're going there? OK. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a fake Superman? This sight startled some folks at the beach. It's 40 minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. We'll take a look at some top stories right now. Secretary Clinton's departure, not the only change coming to President Obama's cabinet.

Really, we do expect a big cabinet shake up ahead for this second term, high-level vacancies will need to be filled. Not just secretary of state. Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel still a contender for the job of secretary of defense.

This despite criticism from pro-Israel groups and some gay groups over past comments that Hagel made. President Obama suggested he was still in the running on "Meet the Press" over the weekend. Also Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner leaving later this month, probably sometime around the inauguration.

BALDWIN: It is back to work at the Supreme Court today. Justices are scheduled to meet in closed door sessions to go over pending appeals. Among some of the cases they could decide to hear, the adoption fight involving Matt and Melanie Capobianco who were ordered by a South Carolina court to hand over their daughter to the toddler's biological father.

BERMAN: A guilty plea maybe in the works for the man accused of firing shots at the office of the Family Research Council. Court documents filed yesterday seem to indicate that Floyd Corkins may plead guilty to some of the 10 charges filed against him.

He is accused of shooting at the FRC office in Washington in August. One person was hit in the arm. The FBI said that Corkins told people that he didn't like the politics of the Family Research Council, which is a conservative policy organization.

There's a court hearing today for GOP Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, who was arrested outside of Washington two days before Christmas for alleged DUI. Crapo has said he doesn't drink because of his Mormon faith. He was also one of the alleged called gang of eight senators who was supposed to save us from the fiscal cliff back in November.

BALDWIN: OK, we showed you another alley hoop. Here's another rare move. Returned the opening kick, never looked back. Oregon Ducks blowing by Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, final score is 35-17. But last night's game also featured this football rarity, one-point safety, which I will allow Berman to explain.

BERMAN: So this is what happened. Kansas State blocked Oregon's extra point try. They picked it up, recovered it outside the end zone, then the guy who recovered it held possession, went into the end zone, then he fumbled and they recovered their own fumble, but because they had their own possession. It ended up that there was a point that went to the team kicking the field goal.

So it was a one-point safety. I have to tell you, I have watched roughly 10,000 football games in my life and I have never seen this happen. I didn't even know there was such a thing possible. You can see right it there, Kansas State recovering its own fumble in the end zone, so Oregon gets a point on a one-point safety.

BALDWIN: Amazing. I'm fascinated.

BERMAN: Never knew there was such a thing. You are making fun of me?

BALDWIN: I'm totally making fun of you.

A viral video of Superman flying over the California coast, take a look at this. This man of steel made out of lightweight foam. This is the brainchild of an Air Force test pilot and his business partner. So it's remote controlled and powered by batteries in a fly-by propeller. He has a shortened cape and showed Jeanne Moos that Supergirl has one too. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY GRAF, REMOTE CONTROL MODEL ENTHUSIAST: It adds a lot to it and it sounds really cool when you fly by it. This is removable. I like to show off her stiletto heels on the back.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She's very shapely actually. You mean her breasts are actually landing gear?

UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Implants so she would roll on the ground and do graceful landings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Kind of a funny twist there. I thought we were looking at Superman.

BALDWIN: By the way to note, slightly smaller versions will be available in a couple of months for $500. You too can own one.

BERMAN: No joke that won't get me fired.

BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, this might. No tofu and wheat grass for these guys. This is all about the big game. Tim Ferriss and Steve Ranela from Meat Eater join us live. They are tasting some of the goods from rabbit to wait for it --

BERMAN: Squirrel.

BALDWIN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Question for you as you're eating your Wheaties this morning, are you a real "Meateater?" If you are these guys at the table might put you to shame.

BERMAN: So "Meateater" is all about big adventure, big game hunting and big meals. Experience hunter and outdoorsman Steve Rinella starts his third season this weekend taking a walk on the wild side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me hunting isn't only about the pursuit of an animal. It's about who we are and what we're made of. It's about sustenance, survival. It's about connecting to the land. It's about the purity of the challenge. It's about life. In each and every one of us there's a primal instinct to hunt and consume. I live to hunt and hunt to live. I am a meat eater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: You know, I'm a meat eater, too, but I think the whole thing is a little bit different here. Steve Rinella is here along with Tim Farris, the best-selling author of "The Four Hour Chef" and all those other great four-hour books in the series.

He travels with Steve on the show to the most remote corner of Alaska. They try to catch some caribou. There are a bunch of plates here in front of us that has some squirrel on them. We will get to squirrel in a moment because it's never too early in the morning for squirrel.

But Steve, let me start with this, who would you say the show is for?

STEVE RINELLA, HOST, "MEATEATER": I look at it two ways. One, I want to provide great entertainment to the millions of hunters out there and I want to give them, articulate back to them some of the reasons they like to hunt.

On the flipside I also like to try to appeal to the non-hunting audience. You know, 95 percent of American adults to not hunt and in some way our ability to continue to hunt relies on their perceptions of what we do so we call it hunter recruitment or hunting PR is what I like my show to do and that was one of the great things about Tim coming on. Tim was not a hunter.

BALDWIN: I wanted to ask Mr. Four-hour work week. You ever been out and about with a gun shooting deer, anything like this?

TIMOTHY FERRISS, AUTHOR, "THE 4-HOUR CHEF": Never. I've grown up as an anti-hunter. So I grew up on Long Island. We had injured deer come across our property that have been shot with bows. And I developed this early aversion to hunting and hunters. I had never had any desire to go hunting.

BALDWIN: So what happened? You go far, far out in Alaska a couple months back to shoot this and what was that like? You came close to a grizzly bear.

FERRISS: Multiple. Usually they just come wrapped in cellophane, the ingredients at the supermarket and this was reconnecting with that part of being human, procuring your own food and we also forged blueberries, didn't make it into the show.

BERMAN: You came awfully close to several grizzly bears. We have a clip of that.

BALDWIN: Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one is a full grown, mature adult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big one. Now he's running.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is sprinting. Go! Go!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Are these close calls part of the thrill of the whole thing?

RINELLA: For me, yes. Tim and I went hunting, too, which he recounts in his books, in South Carolina for deer and as fun as that is, it's a tame experience relative to this.

So I wanted to also take him out and show him what would be an extreme version of hunting and that kind of hunting in remote areas such as northwest Alaska is very immersive. There's no room to think about other things. You're constantly focused on what you're doing and that presence of bears keeps you awake. I'd rather prefer to be around them.

BERMAN: It's not just the hunting and Tim, I think you notice this also, you're not just going out there to hunt the animals. Once you get them it's also the field dressing and skinning.

BALDWIN: Which you enjoyed.

FERRISS: It's the most interesting part of the process for me. So the pulling of the trigger isn't that interesting. I don't enjoy killing animals per se, but I do enjoy really having that firsthand experience of taking what we see as an entire animal and converting it into meals, and that was really eye-opening and life-changing for me.

BALDWIN: Sort of your whole philosophy if you kill it, you eat it.

FERRISS: You should be responsible for it.

BERMAN: So we've been waiting long enough now. So please tell us what you brought with you.

RINELLA: I brought some jerky from the hunt that Tim and I went on.

BALDWIN: Alaskan jerky.

RINELLA: That's made -- homemade jerky from there so we were being Locovores up there.

BALDWIN: This is venison?

RINELLA: Caribou. By one definition venison, it's caribou jerky, not like the heavily processed stuff.

BERMAN: No, this is not a Slim Jim.

RINELLA: It's nice, it's clean. I was hunting squirrels and rabbits, he's a chef and made a squarely rabbit ragu, brought it over to me and probably horrified to know I'm giving it away.

BERMAN: This is your wedding china?

RINELLA: It is. And I'll have you know that's not the first squirrel to come across that plate.

BERMAN: All right.

BALDWIN: If you could for me because Berman is tasting it. What does squirrel taste like?

BERMAN: Chicken.

RINELLA: It can take on whatever do you with it. If you had someone over you could tell them it was chicken, they might eat it and think it was good. It has a richness different than chicken. I equate it most to like the dark meat on a turkey.

BERMAN: It's dark meat, not just for breakfast anymore, squirrel.

RINELLA: You could be one of the guys --

BALDWIN: You are putting that whole thing down.

BERMAN: I'm starving. You guys are the best. Thanks for coming.

BALDWIN: Go for it. Thanks guys, so much. As you continue eating your squirrel the third season of "Meateater" premieres 9:00 p.m. Sunday on the Sports Channel.

BERMAN: Keep reading I'm eating.

BALDWIN: Coming up here on STARTING POINT, the big December jobs report a half hour away. How did the fiscal cliff and the holiday hiring impact the economy, we'll have the numbers as they come out and Christine Romans to break down what they mean, still chewing.

BERMAN: I'm ready now plus kids do the darnedest things, how they gave the vice president some cover. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: What a Friday morning it is shaping up to be. Thank you for being with us. Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Soledad is off today. Our STARTING POINT, a fresh start in Washington between the Sandy relief bill and the looming debt ceiling, can the new Congress get anything done or are we in store for more fighting?

BALDIWN: Also social media casting a spotlight on this Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, new details surround willing the case of the two high school football players accused of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old girl and for the first time we have heard from one of the defense attorneys also the attorney general of --