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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

BCS Championship Game Tonight; Steubenville Trial May Be Moved; Worldwide Outrage Over Gang Rape Case; Hagel to be Nominated as Defense Secretary; Driverless Cars on the Rise

Aired January 7, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. It is January 7th. It's about 29 minutes past the hour right now.

A lot of news out of Washington and it's not just football -- almost not just football.

President Obama prepared to nominate Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense today. The pick is already being blasted by Republican leaders, even though Hagel is a Republican. Questions are being raised about his support for Israel, his unwillingness to back sanctions against Iran and for remarks he made about an openly gay nominee for ambassador.

I said Republicans are raising questions. Plenty of Democrats are raising questions, too.

Meanwhile, the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back on the job. She'll be in meetings first thing and will play a big role when Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington on Friday. Today will be Clinton's first day at work since being sidelined for an illness and a concussion and a blood clot to her head.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.

Berman and the nation's Capitol are still mourning its crushed post- season dreams, and a star down. Robert Griffin III taking a bad fall. They would have left this post-season in doubt of the Washington and Red Skins and give up their two touchdown lead to lose against the Seahawks, 24-14.

And tonight, we'll find out who's the BCS champs, number one, Notre Dame, the team with a lot of heart, or number two, Alabama, the team with offensive might?

Coy Wire has played football with the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons as the linebacker, and he's joining us now. It's really nice to have you back here. This has been all the talk this morning here. RG3 left after a nasty fall in the middle of the fourth quarter. He was limping before that because of a sprained knee. So, with that knee, should he have been in the game to begin with in your expert opinion?

COY WIRE, FORMER BUFFALO BILLS PLAYER: Well, you know, in the game of football, playing through pain and adversity and being mentally tough is like a badge of honor so that he went out there and played for his team and for his city didn't surprise me and probably didn't surprise many. He wanted to give it a shot, wanted to give his team the best chance to win. You have to honor and admire him for that.

SAMBOLIN: Well, some people are wondering if that was against a doctor's advice. Sports doctor, Dr. James Andrews, very well respected, I understand, was treating RG3 said he didn't clear Griffin to play immediately after his injury, also said that he had been holding his breath yesterday because Griffin is still recovering. Some are making the argument that RG3 should have been benched to recover. Should he have been forced to sit out?

WIRE: Well, ultimately, Zoraida, you know, it comes down to that individual player. Ultimately, he's the CEO of his own individual enterprise, his own body. So, again, that he chose --

SAMBOLIN: So, it's his decision? He can actually make that decision that he's the one who wants to play in spite of the doctor saying you've got a really bad injury, and I'm concerned about this, not a good idea, don't play?

WIRE: Well, ultimately, it's up to the player, you know? If he had gone against team rules and regulations and did something that wasn't good with the coach or the GM, you know, I think that's a different story. You know, then they could possibly talk about was it conduct detrimental to the team but, you know, I think the doctor, in this case, probably said he shouldn't but didn't demand or command him not to go out there and play.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. It was really tough to watch that injury. All right. So, we don't want to forget about the Ravens. They beat the Colts yesterday, 24-9, but surprising game between Seattle and Washington yesterday until the Seahawks took over, ended Washington's star season. Were you surprised?

WIRE: About the Washington game? You know, I was until I realized it was because RG3 was hurt, right? When it came down to it, Washington just wasn't able to match points. They came out with a bang, 14-0, and then Seattle scored 24 unanswered points, but it was because RG3 was hurt, they just were not the same team.

When it comes down to it, though, Seattle's got a dynamic quarterback, a dominant defense, and a diesel running back. They'll be facing the Falcons next week in -- next round of playoffs.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, big BCS championship game tonight, Alabama, team of might, versus Notre Dame, team of heart. So, last week, you said you see Notre Dame having a great chance because of their heart. Talk to us about what you expect tonight. I expect them to win.

(LAUGHTER) WIRE: I like that you're using that word, heart, because I see this match-up as the team with heart power in Notre Dame versus the team with horsepower in Alabama, Zoraida. So, I'm with you. I'm rooting for the underdog.

SAMBOLIN: Yay!

WIRE: I'm rooting for the underdog, even though they're the -- even though they're undefeated, I should say. Alabama plays in the high powered S.E.C. conference. They've won six straight national titles, but what a better team to try to unseat the super power from the S.E.C. in Notre Dame. An iconic, not a bigger school in all of college football and more iconic school.

So, it's going to be an exciting game tonight. And I'm cheering for you cheering for them, OK?

SAMBOLIN: All right. Well, let's talk about Manti Te'o then so that we can stay with all the love here.

WIRE: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

WIRE: Manti Te'o, I mean, he's electric. He jumps of the screen at you. He's the epicenter of that defense. He's the heartbeat. He's the mind, the soul, the spirit. He's the all everything of that Notre Dame team. As he goes, the team goes. What a great story. We know about the adversity he's been through.

He lost his grandmother, then his girlfriend passed away, and he just continued to be someone to -- praise worthy, right? He was -- praise worthy with his play, with his leadership all year long. It's going to be fun watching him succeed tonight and in many years to come in the NFL.

SAMBOLIN: No, absolutely. You want to see him win. All right. So, the odds are not in our favor, I want to tell you. The Vegas odds favor Alabama by about 9.5 points. So, how about a prediction?

WIRE: Well, it's good that you and I probably aren't betting people, right?

SAMBOLIN: Well, I don't know. We may be. Off the air, I may send you an e-mail. But what's your prediction? You got a score for me? You did last week.

WIRE: This is going to be a team of defenses, right? So, I'm thinking low-scoring game. It's not going to be too high scoring, but I'll go with 21-20 the Irish of Notre Dame.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Loving that. I'm going to join you on that. So, Coy Wire, former player with the Atlantic Falcons and Buffalo Bills, we're going to talk to you at six o'clock. Berman is going to have a hand at you at that point. He does not like Notre Dame, by the way, so just prepare yourself. (CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Yes. Arm wrestle. That's a great idea with a former NFL player.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Let's arm wrestle. Thank you, Coy. Nice to see you.

All right. Turning out to some new developments this hour in the explosive rape case that's consuming the town of Steubenville, Ohio.

Lawyers for two teenagers charge with raping a young girl want their client's trial postponed and moved out of the area. This case is getting a lot of national attention and stirring up so much emotion. Defense attorney Adam Nemann sees no other choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM NEMANN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Given the publicity and what we perceive as threats to individuals, witnesses and also defendants, and defense counseling. We're concerned about safety issues at this point. And, definitely, I'm concerned about whether or not the case should be tried in this area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Sixteen-year-old defendants Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond are charged with raping a teenage girl in August during a long night of partying.

SAMBOLIN: Rescuers in Washington State continue to search the cascade mountains for a missing sky diver who disappeared after jumping out of a helicopter. This was last Thursday. A team of 130 trained mountain rescuers have been searching for Curt Rupert (ph) of Lake City, Florida. There's a picture of him there.

Authorities believe Rupert jumped from about 6,500 feet while wearing a special winged suit which allows a sky diver to soar and then glide before deploying a parachute.

BERMAN: The son of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul facing charges including underage drinking, public intoxication, and disorder with conduct after being arrested at a North Carolina airport. Nineteen- year-old William Hilton Paul was arrested Saturday morning at Douglas Airport after flying in from Lexington, Kentucky. Senator Paul's office has issued a statement asking that the family's privacy be respected in a situation such as this.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour. If you're traveling today, a lot of the storms that plagued us over the weekend are clearing up just in the nick of time. Meteorologist, Karen Maginnis, joins us with more this morning. Good morning to you. KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And good morning to you, Zoraida and John. Yes. It looks like a little bit of a January thaw taking place here. Temperatures are going to be running a little bit above normal. Yes. That includes Chicago who have seen very little in the way of snowfall, but for Texas, it means some welcoming rainfall in some areas that are seeing extreme drought.

You may remember last year's fire season, but right around Houston and Galveston, the rainfall could be heavy coming up over the next 24 to 36 hours. You could see about four inches of rainfall. And even though it is still officially winter, some thunderstorms will be rumbling around, maybe an isolated tornado or so, but some welcome rainfall expected along the Gulf Coast.

So, this is what we can expect going into Tuesday, the possibility of some heavy rain and the potential for some flash flooding. And going into Wednesday, that shifts a little bit further towards the north and to the east. And so, for Houston all the way to New Orleans look for a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

And this is what I'm talking about. Chicago, not so much snowfall all winter long. And temperatures expected in the 40s. The average high should be around 31 degrees. Look at Washington, D.C., temperatures in the 50s going into the upper 50s by Wednesday. So, enjoy it while it lasts, because you know what, John, and Zoraida, it looks like it's going to change quite a bit going in the next 10 to 12 days or so.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Do you like that?

BERMAN: Yes, a little bit.

SAMBOLIN: Makes him giddy. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much.

All right. The U.S. Supreme Court back in session hearing its first oral argument of 2013. It's tackling two cases. One involves felons illegally carrying firearms; the other case involves the right of a company to sue in a state court class action to transfer the case so that a federal court decides it.

SAMBOLIN: A California man will go before a traffic commissioner today after getting caught driving solo in the carpool lane, but he argues that he wasn't alone. He had a pile of corporation paperwork next to him. Fifty-nine-year-old Jonathan Freeman (ph) says the California vehicle imposed definition of a person includes a corporation.

He says he actually wanted to get caught, and he says he hopes he loses the hearing so that he can appeal. Freeman also says he wants people to think about the role and responsibilities that corporations have.

BERMAN: Somewhere Mitt Romney is smiling, because you know, it was more than a year ago he famously said in Iowa, corporations are people. Well, can they ride shotgun is the question, right? SAMBOLIN: That's an odd one, but we'll see how the judge rules on that, right?

BERMAN: See, I'm not sure it's going to go so well for that guy.

Coming up, development today in a case that has stirred worldwide outrage. We're going to go live in India where five stand accused in the rape and murder of a young woman.

SAMBOLIN: Also ahead, the future is now for two auto companies making big strides in developing cars that drive themselves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Overseas now to that barbaric gang rape that has caused so much outrage worldwide. It's also inspiring calls for change and inspiring Indian women to fight back against sexual attacks. Five men accused of robbing and assaulting an unidentified 23-year-old woman and her male companion on a bus appearing in court today. A juvenile court will narrow down the age of the six suspects who claimed to be 17. The details of this crime just horrifying.

The companion telling a French news agency the woman was raped and beaten with a metal bar. He survived with a broken leg. Sumnima Udas is following developments from our bureau in New Delhi this morning. Sumnima, what's the latest?

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Court proceedings basically began about an hour ago, and now, it is formally an in- camera proceeding, which basically means it is off limits to the media and the public. And the media, even if they have the information on what's going on inside, cannot report on that. Now (INAUDIBLE) is because there's a bit of a ruckus right before the suspects were brought in.

Some of the lawyers there were yelling at their colleagues, defense lawyers, saying you cannot defend those barbarians. So, the magistrate basically asked everyone who's not related to the case to -- and so, from there on, it's now an in-camera proceeding off limits to the media and the public.

BERMAN: -- conflicting reports right now about whether the woman's father wants the victim victim's name to be released.

UDAS: That's right. It's actually illegal, according to Indian law, to release the name of the rape victim, but a British newspaper did that, anyway. And we actually spoke to the brother of the victim yesterday, and he was saying that that's not actually what they intended. They actually just want a hospital to be built in their village in her name, but they do not want the victim's name to be released at all at this point.

BERMAN: Sumnima, there is so much outrage worldwide over this incident, but how is it being handled by the government in India?

UDAS: Well, the government's taken a few steps so far. (INAUDIBLE) were basically they're saying that they will be recruiting more female police officers. They will also try to organize sensitize and -- sensitization and training programs for the police. And also, one state is even planning on putting up a Web site naming and shaming all the convicted rapists.

Meanwhile, the justice of the high court here in Delhi actually sent out a letter to all the state courts saying that a (INAUDIBLE) court be set up in all those states for cases of rape and sexual assault. So, those are just some of the steps being taken at the moment.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you so much. Sumnima Udas live for us this morning in New Delhi in India. Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: It is 46 minutes past the hour. Coming up, a billion bullets? Questions about the Department of Homeland Security's eye popping ammo order.

Plus, cars that dry themselves. Two major automakers a step closer to making this an absolute reality for all of us.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans --

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: I can't speak. Christine Romans with our top story.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You can call me anything. Happy Monday morning.

President Obama's pick to be the next Secretary of Defense is former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel. The nomination is expected to be announced today. Republican leaders are already challenging the choice, even though, he's a fellow republican. They're questioning Hagel's support for Israel and his unwillingness to bank sanctions against -- to back sanctions against Iran.

Just five days after being discharged from a New York hospital, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, returning to work today. She'll meet with her assistant Secretary of State this morning and plans to play a key role in welcoming Afghan president Hamid Karzai to Washington on Friday.

Convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala will be sentenced today in New York for the 1970s murders of TWA flight attendant Cornelia Crilley and nightclub heiress Ellen Hover. Alcala, who appeared on "The Dating Game" back in 1978, already on death row in California. In 2010, he was convicted in California for the murders of four women and a 12-year-old girl, murders that took place between 1977 and 1979.

One billion rounds of ammunition, that's a staggering amount of ammo the Department of Homeland Security has reportedly ordered over the next five years. Business insider uncovered the orders. A retired military official said that's way more than 10 times what the U.S. troops use in a year of combat in Iraq. Firearms training for federal state and municipal law enforcement only requires about 15 to 20 million rounds a year.

Paramedics in Longmont, Colorado, got quite as surprised early Sunday morning when they were helping an 86-year-old woman who had fallen inside her home. Their ambulance was stolen. Longmont police say 51- year-old suspect, Robert Elmar Taylor (ph) was drunk when he got behind the wheel and went for a joyride.

Taylor was pulled over by officers a short time later charged with DWI, and then, of course, charged with stealing an ambulance.

A spokesman says 94-year-old former South African president, Nelson Mandela, starting to get back to normal, normal routine as he recovers from a recent lung infection and gallstone surgery. Mr. Mandela's spent two weeks in the hospital after being diagnosed with a lung infection in early December. He continues to receive treatment at home in suburban Johannesburg.

OK. I love this story, guys. Car makers moving closer to driverless cars. We expect some of the technology to be highlighted at the consumer electronic show this week in Las Vegas. Toyota put up a preview video on its Web site Thursday. A five-second clip showing a Lexus driverless car prototype.

California, Nevada, and Florida have already legalized driverless cars. Audi told "The Wall Street Journal" it will showcase some driverless features and cars this week at CES, including a self- parking feature. I can use that every now and then. Google has a timeline of five years of less for driverless cars to hit California roads.

Volvo is working on its road train concept. The chain of self-driving cars controlled by a lead vehicle, some experts predict by 2040, 75 percent of cars on the road will be driving themselves.

BERMAN: Now, you're an expert in this, clearly.

ROMANS: I know. My dad has actually been in autonomous vehicles, engineering in sensor technology, it's really interesting stuff. It makes a lot of sense where as a repetitive group where it's something like parallel parking, but you know, in farming, for example, imagine a tractor that could go around and do the same kind of spraying and the same kind of pattern. You have a car talks to the GPS. It's really fascinating stuff.

SAMBOLIN: "Forbes" magazine was saying that by 2040, this will take over. And it was explaining the technology. It says it will no longer need lights. There are sensors. And all the cars will have sensors and they'll talk to each other. That's a scary concept. So, if you get in an accident, who do you sue, the software manufacturer, the car manufacturer, the person owns the car --

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: All of the above.

BERMAN: Answers to everyone.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: All right. Thanks very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: That's very cool.

All right. Coming up in the next hour of EARLY START, the public gets to hear for the first time today the evidence against James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre. We're going to preview today's hearing with Anne Bremner, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, the strange case of the sperm donor for a lesbian couple getting sued for child support. For the first time, we are hearing from one of the moms.

BERMAN: Also, the two of the biggest teams in college football go head-to-head tonight. Will it be Notre Dame or Alabama?

SAMBOLIN: Yay!

BERMAN: We're going to talk to former NFL linebacker, Coy Wire, as Zoraida calls him the very handsome, Coy Wire, about the BCS Championship game, and we're going to be talking about RG3 and the NFL playoffs.

SAMBOLIN: I don't think anybody would argue that.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: By the way, but first, Joe Biden, TV star? Fans of the vice president going to unusual lengths to try to make that happen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. It is 57 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with Mr. John Berman. And we're taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning. Quite a buzz in the bayou this morning.

BERMAN: That's because there's a new quarterback in town, and his name is Montana. Sounds familiar? This guy, though, is Nick Montana. He's the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. He'll be playing for the Greenwave of Tulane in 2013. Montana is a junior. He has two years of eligibility left after spending some time at the University of Washington and mount San Antonio Community College.

Coach Curtis Johnson says bringing the son of Joe to Tulane was among his top goals for the season. SAMBOLIN: Big shoes to fill.

Joe Biden's fiscal cliff connector and now reality TV star, seriously? A Biden fan created a petition on the White House Web site for safe fan (ph) to create a show that follows the second in command around. He said it would show the lighthearted side of politics even in the midst of contentious and divisive national debate.

Biden already has some comedy shots. He made his acting debut on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" in November.

BERMAN: Joe Biden is made for reality TV.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: -- that is a reality TV goal.

SAMBOLIN: He will just keep on giving, won't he.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: "Jersey Shore" showing Joe Biden. I watch anything starring that guy. Good stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: All right. Checking out other top CNN trends, head to CNN.com/Trend.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.