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Anna Deavere Smith Talks Guns; Chris Brown Heads Back to Court; Major Policy Change Expands Gay Rights as Military Pay Raise Pulled Back; Woman Uses Obscene Gesture Towards Judge.

Aired February 6, 2013 - 13:30   ET



ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, ACTRESS, PLAYWRIGHT & ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: We have two choices, either we will arm school officials and transform walls of learning into fortresses, or we are going to keep our classrooms places that are full of openness, imagination and joy and safety. We can do the latter option, if we have the will to act. Congress must now act on a sensible plan to keep assault weapons out of our neighborhoods, out of our schools, and guns out of the hands of dangerous and compromised people.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: That was actress, playwright, Anna Deavere Smith, one of the celebrities speaking out in favor of tougher gun control. They joined with elected officials and gun control supporters to call on Congress to act.

Anna Deavere Smith joins us now.

You were part of this. Tell us why is this important to you?

SMITH: It's very important to me. Because I think that the three things that mayors against illegal guns are calling for seem to be doable. One is to fight for background checks. The other is to get automatic weapons off the streets. The third is to make gun trafficking illegal. And I think -- or at least a federal crime. I think that what we have had in front of us in the last seven months is a tragedy that all kinds of citizens are speaking out about. I was invited to come to Washington to be a part of it, I'm proud to be here and proud to be doing that.

MALVEAUX: It's an eclectic group. Chris Rock, who joined you. And there are critics that say look, look at "Lethal Weapon 4," a lot of people in Hollywood make their money off of promoting in some ways and glorifying gun violence. That's not a responsible portrayal of gun use or even calling for gun control. What do you make of that? Those who say, you know what, maybe there is hypocrisy in here to have folks from Hollywood coming in talking about gun control.

SMITH: Folks from Hollywood means a lot of different kinds of folks. I have never been in a violent movie or television show. I played the national security advisor on "The West Wing." I can only imagine she'd be beside herself with what is going on. Some people say these same movies play in Britain and they don't have the gun violence we have on the streets. As you know, they are the massacres we are paying attention to. But 33 people are murdered on the streets of the United States every day. That's pretty astonishing.

One of the guests this morning was Martin Luther King III, who reminded us that Martin Luther King represented nonviolence. What would that moment in American history have been like if we didn't have a cultural and faith call and a strong call for nonviolence as a way to settle differences, in a very bloody time in American history.

I think this is a cultural moment that calls for all kinds of people, and some of us work in Hollywood but we work other places and represent other ideas as well.

MALVEAUX: Anna, you noted you play the national security advisor on "The West Wing," but do you think there is a responsibility for people who are in Hollywood, actors, if they take a political position and say look, you know, we believe that there should be stricter gun rights, that they should not be a part of portraying the glorification of using guns in the work they do.

SMITH: I think there is an opportunity to make a difference. I feel there are plenty of actors who given that opportunity would make the choice to take this moment, particularly this moment to stand up for other kinds of representations. But I won't speak for other actors.

MALVEAUX: Anna Deavere Smith, good to see you.

I understand Tony Bennett will be on "The Situation Room." Wolf Blitzer will talk to him as well.

Thanks again, Anna. Appreciate it.

Beyonce getting slammed by PETA. Why the animal rights organization has a problem with her super bowl outfit.


MALVEAUX: I can't imagine this happening. You are in a canoe in Hawaii. And this is what they called a love tap, check it out.




MALVEAUX: By a baby hump back whale hits the front of the canoe. They were just yards from the coast of Maui, when the whale nudged in front of the boat there. It startled them, but they were able to capture the moments there. You see it. A huge splash it made. Apparently, no injuries. Good for them.

Actress Ashley Judd not sure if she will plan to run for political office. But there is a conservative super PAC, American Crossroads, that already has her in its cross hairs with this ad.


ASHLEY JUDD, SINGER: -- Obama and Vice President Biden. I think he is a brilliant man. He is now able to flower as the president I knew he could be.

ANNOUNCER: A leader who knows --


MALVEAUX: Judd is speculated about a possible run for 2014 for the Senate seat now held by minority leader, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. Of course, the actress was a prominent participant at the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Not so warm a welcome for Iranian President Ahmadinejad.




MALVEAUX: So here is what you are looking at here. He is making his first official visit to Egypt. There is a group of men who end up throwing shoes at him. You can see it. It's highlighted in a little circle, if we can get that. It's a major insult in the Muslim world. These men accused the Iranian president of meddling in Egyptian politics. They were arrested for throwing the shoes and released on bail.

In Pakistan, about an hour's drive from the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, an amusement park is now going up. Officials say the park will include a zoo, water sports, rock climbing. The hope is it will boost the economy. But some officials say money would be better spent on housing.

And Leon Panetta making a major policy change that expands gay rights. He is also pulling back a military pay raise. We'll fill in the blanks on that one.

And House Republicans are meeting this hour to address spending cuts. Their focus, try to push back those automatic cuts to the Defense Department.


MALVEAUX: Monopoly fans, check this out. Your voices have been heard voting online for your favorite tokens, the iron got the least votes, has been officially bumped now from the game. Sadly, the iron. It was a board piece since 1935. It is being replaced by this. Look at that cute little cat. The cat will make its debut later this year. The company wanted to update the game with a token that was more representative of today's Monopoly players, all you cat lovers out there. In case you are wondering, the dog got the most votes. Chris Brown heads back to court today. He is facing accusations that he lied about finishing the community service assigned to him that was after the 2009 beating of Rihanna.

Our show biz correspondent, Nischelle Turner, has been looking into this.

I guess there is now prosecutor in L.A. involved in all of this?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The D.A. is accusing him of not completing his community service. Prosecutors, we should say, are not asking to send him to jail. What they want him to do is restart his 180 days worth of community service.

The court actually gave him a unique deal for this probation. They allowed him to complete community service in Virginia under the personal supervision of Richmond police chief, Brian Norwood (ph). Instead, the district attorney says Brown was supervised by his mother. And the records that he submitted to prove the work was done were quote -- and this is coming from the D.A. -- "at best, sloppy documentation, at worst fraudulent reporting."

The motion also accuses Brown of violating his probation by getting into a fight with R&B singer, Frank Ocean, at a Hollywood recording studio last month.

Plus, it also notes some of the incidents which have become public, like when he allegedly snatched a fan's cell phone in Miami and also threw a chair at a "Good Morning, America" appearance.

Suzanne, remember, it was four years ago this Friday that Brown punched Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on Hollywood street after she reportedly found a text message from another woman.

We also did contact his attorney. He has very strong words on the flip side as well. His attorney had this to say. I'm quoting him. He said, quote, "Apparently, the district attorney's office has completely lost their minds. They are making scurrilous libel us statements and apparently have lost their ability to read their own reports."

So, you hear those words from both parties. It could be interesting court appearances this afternoon, Suzanne --


-- when they are scheduled to get underway.

MALVEAUX: Yes. I was going to say --


MALVEAUX: What was he supposed to do? What was the community service? I remember it was Virginia. What was he supposed to be doing? TURNER: We saw a number of things. Actually, one of the things he was supposed to do was pick up trash on the highway. There was video of that. He did do some of that. Some of the other things he was reportedly supposed to do was clean floors in a community center, volunteer at shelters, those types of things. He said he did those things. But then the prosecutors in the motion filed said, no, when he said he was at the community center cleaning floors, he actually was on a plane to Cancun. And he posted these pictures on his blog. And one of the cleaning companies in Richmond, Virginia, said they actually cleaned the floors. So it is certain things like that. They say some of the hours he posted, saying that he did all of this community service, don't add up, the math doesn't ad up. So there's a lot of instances in there.

They also said that he was reporting to Mark Geragos and giving him the information, which that was not supposed to be done as well. We will have to see how this plays out. Because there are definitely discrepancies.

MALVEAUX: Give us the update when you know when it all gets sorted out.


MALVEAUX: Thanks again.

Well, we've already asked them for so much. Now Leon Panetta is asking troops to make another sacrifice, a smaller pay raise.


MALVEAUX: President Obama is going to announce his nomination for the new secretary of interior. A senior administration official tells CNN he is going to nominate the CEO of the Outdoor Equipment Company, REI, Sally Jewell. We will bring that announcement to you live when it happens.

Also, right now we understand they are speaking on Capitol Hill -- these are house Republicans. They have one thing on their plate here at least for today, that is cutting the spending, especially Pentagon spending. They are trying to avoid the deep military cuts that automatically are going to trigger in about three weeks.

Defense chief, Leon Panetta, is now painting a gloomy worst-case scenario, if that happens.


LEON PANETTA, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Make no mistake, if these cuts happen, there will be a serious disruption in defense programs and a sharp decline in our military readiness. We have already begun an all-out effort to plan for how to operate under such a scenario. But it's also very clear that there are no good options.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

What is he talking about when he says no good options? What do they look like?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, no good option anywhere in the military. Let's run through a couple of them. They are talking about furloughs for as many as 800,000 civilians working for the Defense Department in the Army; cutting back on training, readiness of combat brigades; cutting back on operations for the Navy, as they try and operate around the world; and in the Air Force, reducing all critical flying hours for pilots. So the bottom line, less readiness across the board -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: We understand a military pay raise limit. What does that mean for folks in the military?

STARR: What we have learned today is that Secretary Panetta is going to recommend a 1 percent pay raise for next year. But that is less than it is supposed to be, by all accounts. According to the way they calculate these things, it should have been at least 1.7 percent. We're told that's what the pay rate was this year. That's about $130 a year difference for some junior enlisted personnel. People are really facing a tough time. They have families to support. They need all the pay they can get. If this all goes into effect, they'll see less in their paycheck -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Barbara Starr. Thank you, Barbara.

This is something we have not seen before in past years. Take a look at this. This is a few gay and lesbian couples attending a formal uniformed social function. Where is this? This is important. This is at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a couple of days ago. A West Point alumni group put out the photos of the yearly annual winter weekend on their Facebook page. And the caption, the caption with the pictures it reads, "This, ladies and gentlemen, is progress at an academy that we can be proud."

And this woman, already in enough trouble, hauled off into court. But as you see, things got a lot worse when this woman dissed the judge.


MALVEAUX: In just a few minutes, President Obama is expected to announce his nomination for the new secretary of interior. See the room there. Senior administration official telling CNN he'll nominate the CEO of the Outdoor Equipment Company, REI, Sally Jewell. Jewell would replace Ken Salazar, who announced he would not serve another term. Had a chance to speak with Ken Salazar during the inauguration weekend about what he plans to do next.


MALVEAUX: I'm not used to seeing you in this attire. Obviously, you are more relaxed, ready to move on to the next big thing. You told me you want to take care of your family, right? SALLY JEWELL, CEO, REI: I have a chapter in my life ahead of me, taking care of my family, and I intend to do that. We'll see what the future brings. It is truly -- for me, life is a joyful journey, and my joyful journey continues.


MALVEAUX: Good for him.

Everybody is talking about this still, even the late-night comedians. We're talking about the skeleton remains of King Richard III found beneath a parking lot in England. He died some 500 years ago.

Here is how Stephen Colbert describes it all.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE COLBERT REPORT: That's right. King Richard III has been found underneath the parking --


-- lot of a supermarket --


-- which explains why his famous last words were, "My kingdom for a Hot Pocket."


How did the scientists know that this was the hunchback king and not some poor 15th century Britain who starved to death waiting for a grocery store parking space?


Well, researchers observed a distinct spinal curvature that was Richard III's most pronounced physical feature. That settles it. Because once you decompose, it is impossible for straight bones to rearrange into any other shape.


Isn't that right, Richard?




MALVEAUX: That's great.

To learn more about the amazing discovery, go to




MALVEAUX: Check this out as well. Online video showing New York City in flames. This is kind of weird, actually. North Korea rockets are launching. You've got North Korean man sleeping like a baby in the background. The music we are the world. What is all of this? This is a video that was posted by a North Korean propaganda web site. Hit the web just a few weeks after North Korea's launch of a satellite. So just, we're going to talk more about this bizarre video coming up as well, but pretty strange, pretty strange.

And, of course, note to self -- watch this -- never use obscene gestures, foul language when standing before a judge in court. You think that would be apparent, right? This woman in Florida forgot that rule and, well, she went after the judge.

Jeanne Moos shows what she got her.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Do not -- repeat -- do not try this in court.



MOOS: 18-year-old Penelope Soto didn't just flip the judge the bird right off the bat, she built up to it. Charged with possession of Xanax, she and the circuit judge, Jorge Rodriquez-Chomat, got off to a rocky start at this bail hearing.

PENELOPE SOTO, CHARGED WITH XANAX: I own a lot of jewelry all right.

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: How much would you say your jewelry is worth?


It is not a joke, you know? We're not in a club now.

MOOS: Soon it started to sound like a scene out of "My Cousin Vinnie".



JOE PESCI, ACTOR: No. I don't take drugs.


RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: Have you had any kind of drugs in the last 24 hours? SOTO: Actually, no.

MOOS: And Soto had no prior arrests so the judge set bail at $5,000.


SOTO: Adios.

MOOS: But "adios" was a little too sassy.

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: Come back, ma'am. Come back.

MOOS: The judge upped the bail.

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: Count one will be $10,000.


SOTO: Are you serious?

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: I am serious. Adios.

MOOS: So Soto flipped the bird.


RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: Come back again.

MOOS: And the judge flipped.

SOTO: What's up?

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: I believe I heard you saying to --


SOTO: Yes, I did. I'm not going to deny it.

Did you say (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to me?

SOTO: Actually --

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: Did you say that?

SOTO: Yes, sir, I did.

RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: You did say that.


RODRIGUIZ-CHOMAT: I find you in criminal contempt. 30 days in the county jail.

SOTO: OK. That's fine.

MOOS: CNN's legal analyst says the punishment is on the harsh side, but still normal.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: She was way outside those rules. And she had to live with the consequences.

MOOS: Soto's public defender had no comment.

Of course, Penelope Soto wasn't the first defendant to let her fingers, I don't mean this finger, do the talking.


MOOS: At her sentencing in 2010, Actress Lindsay Lohan's eyes may have cried tears, but her middle fingernail cried F.U. Who knows if it was directed at the court or the press? The judge's spokesperson said it didn't warrant a reaction.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm holding you in contempt of court.

PESCI: There's a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What did you say?

MOOS: Just don't say --

SOTO: Adios.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --


MOOS: -- New York.


MALVEAUX: Unbelievable.

Falling through space at a rate of more than 843 miles per hour. That is how fast daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, fell when he jumped from space. That was back in October. Now, the official speed has just been released, even faster than the record keepers thought at first.

Well, that does it for me. Brooke Baldwin takes it from here. CNN NEWSROOM continues.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is the end of an era for the post office. But we're asking, should one of America's worst-run companies be privatized?

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.