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Ronaiah Tuiasosopo Talks to Dr. Phil; Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Dies; Obama's Secretary of Energy Resigning; Jodie Arias Trial: Sex, Lies and Photographs.

Aired February 1, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll from an explosion at Mexico's state-owned oil company has risen to 32 people. More than 100 people were injured when a blast ripped through the offices of Pemex in Mexico City late yesterday. One survivor was pulled from the rubble five hours after the explosion. But crews are continuing their search for others who still could be trapped. The explosion happened in the basement of one of the city's tallest skyscrapers. The investigators still don't know why or how it happened.

A pilot loses consciousness mid flight. It happened aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from L.A. to Seattle. The co-pilot had to scramble and take over. That plane was diverted to Portland. It did land safely. And a doctor onboard was able to treat the captain until they landed and medical personnel were able to take over. The pilot's condition has not been released yet. Spokesman said he has been with that airline for 28 years.

Leave it to Dr. Phil to dig up even more details on the very strange case of a football player who fell in love with a fictional woman online. I know you know we're talking about the Manti Te'o saga. On the program yesterday, we told you that the man who says he created the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, said on "Dr. Phil" he'd fallen in love with Manti Te'o. The first part of the interview aired yesterday. The second part will air today and there are still a lot of questions unanswered.

As Casey Wian reports, there are still a lot of questions that are unanswered.


RONAIAH TUIASOSOPO, CREATED TE'O HOAX: I tried every other way to end this. I tried this lie and this lie and this lie. But nothing would work.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the self- proclaimed master mind of the Manti Te'o fake girlfriend hoax, telling dr. Phil why he decided to kill of the persona he created, Lennay Kakua. Tuiasosopo said he was in love with Te'o and ended the relationship out of revenge when he said he was in contact with other women over Skype. TUIASOSOPO: Me, Ronaiah, I was hurting. It hurt me. Like it hit me like a brick wall. I was like, whoa. You know, I've given so much into this. And I realized right then in that moment that I poured so much into Lennay that I, myself, wasn't getting nothing, and look what I was left with. I made the decision, I can't do this Lennay thing anymore.

WIAN: That started a national scandal. The well-publicized story of the tragic death of Te'o's girlfriend on the same day his grandmother died was revealed as a hoax by the sports website, Deadspin.

TIMOTHY BURKE, REPORTER, DEADSPIN.COM: It's important to remember this is a compulsive liar who pretended to be another person for several years. That he would suddenly open up and become honest with Dr. Phil, I'm not sure how much we can trust out of Tuiasosopo's mouth.

WIAN: Tuiasosopo backed up his claim about his role in the hoax.

TUIASOSOPO: Truthfully, honestly, he had no involvement.

WIAN: The Heisman Trophy runner up admitted on Katie Couric's show he lied about his relationship but only after realizing he was a victim of deception.

MANTI TE'O, BALTIMORE RAVENS RUNNING BACK: What I went through was real. The feelings, the pain, the sorrow, that was all real.

WIAN: Questions remain about Tuiasosopo's claim that it was his voice on phone messages released by Te'o.


UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: I'm going to say good night. I love you, I know you're probably with the boys, but I do love you and good night and I'll be OK tonight.


WIAN: Dr. Phil asked Tuiasosopo to recreate the voice. He initially refused, but then agreed. The show held that portion of the interview for part two on Friday.

WIAN (on camera): A spokeswoman for the "Dr. Phil" show tells CNN absolutely no payment was made to Tuiasosopo for interview or to license any imagines used by the show.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.



BANFIELD: You know, I bet when you order your french fries and then you eat them, you don't think much about how much good those french fries could be doing, do you? Cassandra Lynn does, though, all the time. She's today's "CNN Hero." Just 14 years old, and she is helping this world one french fry at a time. Have a look.


CASSANDRA LYNN, CNN HERO: When I was young, I heard about global warming and I knew there was a huge consequence for this huge problem. I got together with my friends and we found out that you could actually turn waste cooking oil into a biodiesel fuel.

Because many families in my own town couldn't afford to heat their homes, I thought, what if we could recycle waste cooking oil to heat the homes of these local families?


LYNN: We made a difference. So can you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just worried about keeping our kids warm and having heat and hot water. It was a major relief.

CASWELL COOKE, COUNCILOR: I was trying to talk about bio-diesel and just could not get anywhere with it. So she came along and did it to get restaurants to recycle their grease.

LYNN: Our bill will promote the use of alternative energy.

COOKE: The fact it was coming from kids made it hit home a lot harder. The child shall lead them sort of thing.


COOKE: She set the example for the town. And it's great that Westerly has a person we could be very proud of and tell the rest of the country, hey, look what we're doing on the shore.

LYNN: If everyone just gave a little something back and took a little time out of their day to do something for others, the world would be a better place.


BANFIELD: The world is already better because Cassandra Lynn is in it. I can say that, 14 years old, how do you like that? We love our heroes at CNN. And if you know somebody who is making a big difference in your community, somebody like Cassandra, tell us about them. Come on. They need some props. is the place to go. You can help us to shine a spotlight on their deserving work. And guess what? There's an added bonus. It can help them to do even more of the good they're doing. Go to and nominate a 2013 "CNN Hero" today. You'll feel better.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Here I am 22 years out of office, I walk down the street, people who were 8 years old when I was mayor know me.


BANFIELD: Boy, do they ever. That is the unmistakable, irrepressible Edward Irving Koch, speaking to Piers Morgan less than a month ago. Early this morning, Ed Koch passed away in the city that he rallied, redeemed, dominated, championed, in fact, and in his own words, "fiercely loved." That would be New York City. He was 88 years old. And if ever a city needed a hero, New York did when Ed Koch won his first term as mayor in 1977.


KOCH: The potholes were enormous. The trains, the subways had graffiti, crime was rampant.


BANFIELD: When he ran for re-election, Ed Koch was so popular, both parties nominated him. He won his third race with 78 percent of the vote. But then he said, quote, "Voters got tired of me." Racial tensions, ethics issues, and an AIDS epidemic did not help. But Ed Koch didn't go away. A two-year stint on "People's Court," along with books and TV and even movie reviews that Ed Koch stayed in the people's consciousness.

Ed Koch's passing coincides with the New York premiere of -- wait for it -- "Koch" the movie.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He created a second life for himself. He's been a political force. He still enjoys the battle.

KOCH: People would say, oh, you must run again, you must run again. And I would say, no, people threw me out. And now the people must be punished.

The people love that.


I still say it occasionally.


BANFIELD: The movie actually releasing today. I think Ed Koch planned this. His funeral is going to be held on Monday at a temple on the Upper East Side of New York City.

And this morning, the current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had this to say about Ed Koch.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: When we were down, Ed Koch picked us up. When we were worried, he gave us confidence. When someone needed a good kick in the rear, he gave it to them. And if you remember, he enjoyed it.


BANFIELD: And tonight you can see one of Ed Koch's final interviews. The mayor and Piers Morgan discuss Koch's choice of his own gravestone, reflect on his long life, and pay tribute to the people and the city that he loved. It's "Piers Morgan" tonight only on CNN, 9:00 eastern time.

You know, most of you will probably remember where you were 10 years ago today when we lost the space shuttle "Columbia" and the seven astronauts who were onboard as it broke apart over Texas upon reentry. I covered that story on the ground in Texas. I even saw pieces of the space shuttle on the ground. It was scattered for miles. And now NASA is marking this anniversary with tributes to "Columbia's" crew and 10 others killed in two previous fatal accidents, the "Challenger" in '86 and "Apollo." all three of those anniversaries fall within a week of each other.


BANFIELD: CNN confirming moments ago that the secretary of energy is resigning. He's the latest cabinet member to inform the president he is not planning to stay on for the next term. Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is reporting that the Obama administration has approached a number of elected officials about taking the job. But, so far, they have declined that job.

So if you've been watching cable tv, there's a pretty good chance that you've seen a case about a young woman named Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Look, it's not your garden variety murder. There are plenty of murders out there. But this one caught a lot of eyes. First of all, he's a lot bigger than she is. And apparently, the death was caused not only from the shot of a .25 caliber gun, but 27 stab wounds and the throat being slit from ear to ear. It was gruesome. And this is the woman they are talking about. She's quiet and she's demure in the courtroom, but there are photographs that had a whole other side of Jodi Arias.

Arias' defense is self defense. That's what she said. She said this was a tough relationship, that he was a sex maniac that threatened her with bodily harm. But a bullet casing and a bloody hand print and a camera may tell a different story in the courtroom. And then there are the lies, one after the other that this woman told police.

Our sister network, HLN's Alexis Weed, has a look at what could happen to Ms. Arias if she is convicted of murder and gets the death penalty in the state of Arizona.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEXIS WEED (ph), HLN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jodi Arias could join three other women sitting on Arizona's death row if found guilty as charged. A first-degree murder conviction could land Arias in line for what's recently become one the nation's busiest death chambers.

The state carries out all post-1992 convictions by lethal injection and now permits witnesses to watch prisoners put to death.

Its courts gave the green light for witnesses to observe the entire execution process, including insertion of the lethal I.V. Arizona courts also OK a one-drug doze of pentobarbital as a method for death. But the state is said to have only enough supply of the drug to carry out one more execution before it is forced to find another method.

Convicted rapist and double murderer, Dale Stokley, was put to death last month, and they delivered the lethal injection by cutting into his groin area after failing to find an artery suitable for delivering the drug. The femoral catheter procedure is standard alternative when they find problems getting an I.V. into the arm.

Arizona has carried out 34 executions since readopting capital punishment in 1992, yet none of those were carried out against a woman. The only woman to be executed in the state's history, Ava Dugan, was put to death by hanging more than 80 years ago.

And a death sentence means Arias would spend the rest of her days in a maximum custody 12 x 7 foot cell.



BANFIELD: Well that would not be fun, would it? So when you have a defense of self defense, that's the fight for your life, literally. And after the break, Paul Callan will join us to discuss the details of how this could play out.


BANFIELD: The details in the case of the Travis Alexander murder case, or maybe we should call it the Jodi Arias case, and it's gruesome, sexy and lies. And a friend of the couple testified that he had never seen the victim being hit, or the victim hitting Jodi Arias in this case, or being verbally abusive or any of the reasons Jodi says she had to kill her boyfriend in self-defense.

Let's bring in Paul Callan to talk about the case.

For starters, a bizarre scenario. this man found stabbed and shot in his shower. And there were photographs on a camera implicating Jodi Arias. In the hours before, naked pictured of the two together, but literally within minutes of the killing, minute by minute. you can't get evidence on a silver platter like this.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, you can't. The evidence is so shocking and disturbing. One of the things I worry about when I watch the prosecutor in this case kind of going crazy on the defense witnesses whipping out horribly graphic pictures of the dead body, I don't know if he is going over the top a little bit. He has a great case just on the facts if he presents them in a low-key way.

BANFIELD: You are a prosecutor. How do you do this? You have an open and shut case with plenty of sexy pictures and pictures showing a happy couple vacationing and then a story that she weaved, after many other lies, that she had to fend this guy off because he was regularly abusive, when as a prosecutor, do you give just the facts, and gauge that case and read your jurors' eyes?

CALLAN: When I presented cases like this as a prosecutor, if you got the goods, you present a low-key factual case, because the jury will be with you. The defense on the other hand, those are the ones in a terrible bind. A lot of the communicators looking at the case are saying the defense is making a mistake and calling witnesses blowing up on the stand. You know what the defense is trying to do? I think they know they're cooked. They're trying to do one thing, avoid the death penalty.

BANFIELD: It's called saving your life, really, fighting for your life.

CALLAN: You bet. And they tried to dirty up the victim, Mr. Alexander, to make him look like a bad person. But they're never developing to the point where 27 stab wounds to the neck and shot in the face --


BANFIELD: Photographs

CALLAN: Photographs and --

BANFIELD: Photographed before -- minute before and a minute after. It's so creepy.

CALLAN: And after.

BANFIELD: Let me ask you this. When Jodi Arias was asked by investigators, have you seen him lately, she said she had not seen him over a month or so. And then there was a bloody hand print at the scene, the photos of her at the time of the murder are found there. She had to change her story when presented with the evidence. And she babbled on for 25 minutes about a wild story of two intruders, a man and woman that bust into the bathroom while they were in there and held her for a while, but then let her go and said don't tell anybody, and off she went. And she said off I went, and I was too scared to say anything. I had a date with another guy in the next 24 hours. Come on. Come on.

CALLAN: This is the Charlie Manson defense. This thing has been used since the Manson killings many years ago by a lot of people in murder cases.

BANFIELD: The other dude did it. (CROSSTALK)

CALLAN: The other dude did it, or a group of other dudes did it. And particularly graphic and bloody murder scenes. That's what she tried and hoped the police would believe. They didn't because the physical investigator backs it up.

BANFIELD: The investigator himself said, are you kidding me? Is this really story you want to stick with, because this is really bad?

CALLAN: Right. We have to remember we haven't heard the whole defense yet. There's always a Hail Mary pass. And maybe something will come up that she was a battered woman defending herself and she had to slash his throat 27 times and shoot him in the face and then take pictures of it. maybe there's an explanation for that.

BANFIELD: And then --


CALLAN: Yes, I don't know, Ashleigh. I am a little skeptical. Pardon my skeptical.

BANFIELD: I'm with you on that. Pardon your skepticism. I think, wow, that does sound open and shut. And I remember O.J. and Casey and so many other slam dunkers that were not so much a slam dunker.

Paul Callan, have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl.

CALLAN: OK. You, too.

BANFIELD: We'll see you next week.

Hey, you have a great weekend as well. This case will resume Monday. We'll continue our coverage of it. In the meantime, enjoy your football.

Suzanne Malveaux is coming up next.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We are taking you around the world in 60 minutes.