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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Rutgers Coach's Shocking Behavior; Interview with ESPN's John Barr; Sanford Wins Congressional Runoff; Day Two of Jackson Death Trial; Interview with Attorney Gloria Allred; Jay-Z, Sports Agent; Spain's Princess Cristina Faces Corruption Charges; "Finding Nemo" Gets Long-Awaited Sequel

Aired April 3, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good -- what is it, Wednesday? I almost forgot.

Good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.

Our STARTING POINT today: basketballs hurled at heads, profanity and slurs screamed during practice. Rutgers coach Mike Rice, he's in hot water after video surfaces of him abusing his players.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE RICE, RUTGERS COACH: You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fairy. You're (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, is it time for the coach to go? We're going to talk with the ESPN reporter who's been covering this story.

BALDWIN: Also ahead this morning, Connecticut lawmakers set to vote on landmark gun legislation today. All this, as the president planning to visit the community where 12 people were killed in that movie theater in Colorado. Is he regaining momentum on the gun control movement?

Plus, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson is not only speaking from prison, he's singing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON'S PHYSICIAN (singing): He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Wow. So, this is an Anderson Cooper exclusive that you have to see and hear to believe.

BALDWIN: Yes, it's definitely a wow interview.

Also, a new airline got this policy creating a bit of a stir. Should passengers be charged based upon your weight?

It is Wednesday, April 3rd. And STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

BALDWIN: Our STARTING POINT this morning, the viral video could cost Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice his job.

The school taking a second look here at its decision not to fire him, now that this tape showing him physically and verbally abusing players at practice here is everywhere.

BERMAN: So, CNN's Pamela Brown is following this developing story. She joins us now live.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. So many people fired up about this. Rutgers University officials first watched this several months ago, but it was released to the public yesterday, sparking anger and outrage over Rice's homophobic slurs and abuse towards his players. Now, the university is under mounting pressure to fire Rice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): Hurling basketballs at players' legs, even their heads.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: Grabbing, pushing, kicking, and punching them.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: And screaming homophobic slurs.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: This video obtained by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" shows Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice going off the handle and abusing his players during practices from 2010 through 2012, according to the sports network. The footage surfaced after Eric Murdock, who was Rice's director of player development until he was fired, showed it to Rutgers athletic department officials.

In an interview with ESPN, Murdock says the alleged abuse caused several players to leave.

ERIC MURDOCK, FORMER DIRECTOR OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: To see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players from point blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling -- I was in total shock this guy wasn't fired immediately on the spot.

BROWN: On ESPN Tuesday, the school's athletic director was asked why he didn't fire Rice.

TIM PERNETTI, RUTGERS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: The moment that we became aware of the video in November when it was presented by Eric and his lawyers, we immediately commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We talked to everybody in the program. We evaluated the situation, and we suspended Mike in a more significant way than coaches have been suspended in recent memory.

BROWN: Now as this video goes viral, many are calling on him to reconsider and fire Rice. Even LeBron James weighing in on Twitter, saying, "If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that, he would have some real explaining to do. And I'm still going to whoop on him afterward. Come on."

Seeing basketball coaches lose their cool is nothing new. Remember legendary coach Bobby Knight? He was known for his hot temper and throwing chairs. But it was this video showing him with his hands around a player's neck that led to his dismissal at Indiana.

BOBBY KNIGHT, COACH: Maybe I grabbed reed by the shoulder. Maybe I took him by the back of the neck, I don't know. I mean, I don't remember everything that I've ever done in practice.

BROWN: Now the question looms. Will Rice face the same fate as Knight?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: So many questions this morning. Not only will Rice be fired, but will Pernetti and other officials involved in the decision to suspend Rice face dismissal from the university? CNN's attempts for Pernetti, Rice and the University were unsuccessful.

And, John and Brooke, you know, you have to remember, this is a school where Tyler Clementi, a gay student, committed suicide after being the victim of cyberbullying. And then, of course, you'll remember the Don Imus case, he was fired, and the university led that charge after his racial slurs against the women's basketball team.

So, a lot of people saying there are inconsistency here with how the university deals with this issue.

BERMAN: That context will have to color how Rutgers chooses to go forward in the days ahead. It's so interesting to see.

BROWN: Absolutely. Yes.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks so much.

As we've been saying, you know, ESPN has been out in front on this story and ESPN John Barr is here with us now. First of all, John, terrific reporting. Thanks for being with us today.

JOHN BARR, ESPN REPORTER: Thanks very much. I'm glad to be here on behalf of many who have contributed to this. BERMAN: So, I do have to ask. You know, we talked to you before this interview, and you told us that when you first saw this video, which blew a lot of people away, including me frankly, when you first saw this video, you were on the fence about whether this was, you know, crazyville or whether this was just bad behavior by coaches that happens all the time. You were on the fence.

Why? And are you still on the fence?

BARR: Well, to be fair, you know, when I first saw the video, I saw plenty of instances where Mike Rice appeared to be just grabbing players in drills and directing them, if they were out of position, for example. I saw examples where he was raising his voice to get your attention.

But then you really look at the tape closer, you hear things like the gay slurs. You know, I don't think there's anybody who would dispute the tact in a lot of college practices, you're going to hear some salty language. The "F" bomb gets plenty by some pretty by some pretty high-profile coaches who have kept their jobs.

But, you know, I think we can all agree that a gay slur is over the line. It's even the case that coaches will give kids a hard pat on the rear end to get them moving or grab them by the shoulders to get them in position at a football practice or basketball practice. But I think we can agree that shoving a kid from behind is over the line.

So, yes, my first reaction was geez, you know, is he coaching them hard or is he over the line?

BALDWIN: Yes.

BARR: And, really, ultimately, not my job to decide. We're reporting the tape and the presence of the tape. We'll leave it to others make that call.

BALDWIN: But, you know, you know basketball. You have been reporting on basketball and other sports for years and years. And it's interesting, I was curious. So, where do you draw the line? I guess I'm hearing slurs versus some of the physicality of it.

But bottom line, how -- you mentioned other coaches dropping some, I don't know, dropping "F" bombs here and there. Certainly, this is an aggressive sport.

But how common is this kind of coaching behavior? And how common -- I mean, is this an instance where a camera just so happened to catch this?

BARR: That's a great question. And I think what we've seen in recent months is more and more of these incidents coming to light. And I don't known that means there is a heightened sensitivity to it, but we had a report recently on ESPN where we talked about coaching millennials and it's the case now where a lot of these student athletes are pushing back and not tolerating this type of behavior. How common is it? I think if you were to have cameras at every practice across the country, you might be surprised that some stuff goes on that people would be shocked about. But I think the reactions within the sporting community, you know, when you hear athletes who played at every level, like LeBron James weighing in or --

BALDWIN: But he was appalled. And hearing from these professional athletes, that was surprising for us, if it's sort of common place, the way they are reacting, shocked me.

BARR: Yes, I think -- I think what you are hearing from athletes and almost uniformly across the board, is you just can't put hands on guys that way. And that is what has outraged a number of athletes that we have heard from in the last 24 hours.

That's certainly what outraged Eric Murdock. And, you know, I should point out today on "Outside the Lines," we're going to have more information from Eric Murdock. He relays a story where Rice used inappropriate language, not in front of collegiate athletes, but in front of 10, 11, 12-year-old kids at a basketball camp.

BALDWIN: Wow.

BARR: So, you know, it wasn't just Rutgers practices, there were other incidents that raised serious questions about his behavior.

BERMAN: All right. John Barr, reporter for ESPN, as you said, you'll have more on "Outside the Lines" today at 3:00. Excellent reporting, and now causing discussion all around the country about what crosses the line. John Barr, thanks.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Also this morning, police questioning someone in the murder of a Texas district attorney. Christine Romans has that. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you two. New developments this morning in the murder of two district attorneys in Kaufman, Texas. People have now questioned a former justice of the peace who was fired for corruption and prosecuted by the two dead men. Eric Williams is his name. He said police met with him at local restaurant, they swabbed his hands for signs of gun residue. But Williams says he doesn't even own a gun and police are not officially calling him a suspect this morning.

Also developing in Texas, a manhunt for two escaped and dangerous inmates. Forty-four-year-old Brian Tucker and 39-year-old John King broke out of Hopkins County jail in Sulphur Springs by squeezing through a gate. Their prison uniforms were discarded just outside the jail. Both men, you can see their picture there, both men are considered dangerous.

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford celebrating a big political victory this morning. He's trying to win back his old seat in Congress. Sanford beat Charleston City Councilman Curtis Bostic last night in a Republican runoff. He's celebrated with his fiancee, Maria Belen Chapur. It's the first time we have seen them together in public at one of these events.

Sanford is going to take on Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch in a May 7th special elections. Here's what he told his supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD (R), S.C. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Incredibly humbled, incredibly gratified, incredibly thankful for this night, for what it means at many different levels and I just want to every one of you for your part in making it possible. Thank you very much.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Sanford admitted he was having an affair with Chapur in 2009. He is now engaged to her after divorcing his wife Jenny in 2010.

All right. Samoa Air has a new ticket pricing policy. Pay based on what you weigh. Passengers are weighed, along with their bags, and they're charged by the kilogram. In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved an international route between American Samoa and Samoa. The new pricing system makes Samoa Air the first airline to charge strictly by weight and the airline says, look, we're an industry where based on the weight of an airplane and not the number of seats.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: They ask how much you weigh.

ROMANS: That's right. A lot of countries, you go, a small charter flight, weigh the bags, they want to know how much the people weigh too.

BERMAN: Something to consider on the next trip to Samoa.

Twelve minutes after the hour right now. Ahead on STARTING POINT: Michael Jackson's former doctor speaking and singing exclusively to CNN's Anderson Cooper from behind bars, all while maintaining his innocence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: My intentions were just to get this thing away from him, and I succeeded. I was able to wean him off of it, up to three days before he passed away, there was absolutely no Propofol given to that man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Famed victims rights attorney Gloria Allred, she'll be on to show. She will react to that bizarro interview.

Twelve minutes past the hour. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE OF CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON'S PHYSICIAN: (SINGING) He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot and goodness knows he did not want a lot. He wrote a note to Santa for some crayons and a toy, it broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come. In the streets, he envied those lucky boys, but goodness knows he didn't want a lot.

I'm so sorry for that laddie that hasn't got a daddy. He's a little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

That's how I tell my story.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I mean, honestly, you can see the look in Anderson's eyes. Just a big wow. That was Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's former doctor, singing to our Anderson Cooper last night. Day two begins today in the wrongful death trial between Michael Jackson's family and concert promoter, AEG.

BALDWIN: And, last night on CNN, Anderson, in this interview, asked Conrad Murray if he expected to testify in this current case?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Have you been subpoenaed to testify in the trial? And would you, in fact, be willing to give testimony in this trial if you were?

MURRAY: At this time, I had not been subpoenaed. And, I am not interested in giving testimony in the trial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Powerhouse victim's rights attorney Gloria Allred has covered all kinds of aspects of Michael Jackson's life and death. So, good to see you here in person. Good morning.

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Good morning, Brooke. And first of all, thank you very much for inviting me to be on your show, even though I can't sing.

BALDWIN: Well --

BERMAN: It's not a requirement at CNN although apparently some people think so.

ALLRED: I'm glad to know that.

BALDWIN: -- on the singing this morning. But speaking of, let's play, just because we can, one more clip, one more clip of some of this bizarre singing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: (SINGING) He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot and goodness knows he did not want a lot. He wrote a note to Santa for some crayons and a toy it broke his heart when he found Santa hadn't come.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, Gloria Allred, you're hearing this. What's your reaction?

ALLRED: I just -- it's really sad. I mean, you've gone from the great singing of Michael Jackson to now the singing by his doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, who one day is a cardiologist and is the next day is a convicted criminal and who is spending his time incarcerated. I just think it's sad. I think -- I mean, that song is about him. Essentially, he's saying he grew up without nothing, and then he became this wonderful doctor, and now he's in prison.

And of course, he claimed his innocence on Anderson's show, and why he even did that interview is open to question. Maybe it's because he's just lonely and wants to talk. And maybe he feels he hasn't had a chance to give his side, and he wants to try to vindicate himself and his reputation and maybe even try to get out early.

BERMAN: You said he did claim his innocence. Let's take a listen to his actual words right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Given the situation at the time, it was my approach to try to get him off of it, but Michael Jackson is not the kind of person you can just say, put it down and he's going to do that.

COOPER: But as a doctor --

MURRAY: My approach may not have been an orthodox approach, but my intentions were good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So you said this was sad, this was weird. I suppose my legal question to you, is, is it a bad idea to do this kind of interview given that you're trying to appeal your conviction?

ALLRED: Well, I guess, it's from whose point of view. He did claim his innocence. So, in that way, I don't think it hurt him. But this interesting connection with the Michael Jackson wrongful death case where the jurors are now being chosen, because what he said in that interview may very well be used by one side or another in the trial.

He says he doesn't want to testify. He said that he hasn't been subpoenaed, doesn't mean he won't be subpoenaed. And this interview may be played one day for the jury.

BALDWIN: Looking ahead -- speaking of the jury, looking ahead to the trial, I wanted to ask you about the sort of the jury selection, this 29-page questionnaire, because according to reports, they're asking about, of course, his family, his music as well, his life, media coverage, whether they would have a problem deciding on a multimillion dollar case.

Taking all these questions into consideration, who do you want on that jury?

ALLRED: Well, it's interesting. It's a question of who is it that wants someone on the jury. I mean, attorneys will always say we want someone who is fair. We want someone who is impartial, but if you look at these questions and I have looked at them in detail, I can almost guess who was -- who wanted these questions asked.

Some of them were asked by plaintiff's attorneys, obviously, say they were put into the questionnaire and requested by plaintiff's attorneys, others by the defendant's attorneys. In other words, they want jurors who are going to favor their side, not just jurors who are fair and impartial. For example, if you look at the question, do you hold the opinion that lawsuits against companies are usually just an unfair reach for deep pockets?

That may be a theme of AEG, and maybe they're not just wanting to know if there's bias in a juror, perspective juror against a large, successful corporation. But in addition, they may be previewing one of their themes that they're just -- that Michael Jackson's family, mom and two kids are trying -- or three kids -- trying to go after AEG because they're just looking for a big grab at money.

BALDWIN: So, perhaps, foreshadowing little of the arguing. We will see playing on in court. Gloria Allred, thank you.

ALLRED: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks so much.

BALDWIN: Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, a beloved Pixar movie getting another go round on the big screen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I get you down, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more shot at it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Details about the "Finding Nemo" sequel. It's trending, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business." We're on record high watch after the Dow and S&P 500 closed yesterday at all-time highs. Futures are flat right now after the latest ADP employment report. That report showed private sector employers added 158,000 jobs in March. Just private sector employers. It's a little less than expected and maybe it could set the tone for Friday's report from the government, but that Friday read on jobs will be really critical.

A financial corruption scandal is hitting Spain's royal family. Princess Cristina faces preliminary charges in the scandal involving her husband. Now, no details yet on what exactly the charges involved. Princess Cristina is seventh in line for the throne. We'll follow that for you.

You might be paying more than you should for prescription drugs. Consumer Reports sent secret shoppers to 200 pharmacies to compare prices on drugs that recently lost patent protection. A monthly supply of generic Lipitor goes for $150 at CVS. At Costco, the same prescription, $17. Overall, the most expensive prices were found at CVS, Target, and Rite Aid. The least expensive, Costco and Sam's Club.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Christine.

Now, sort of another business story for you this morning trending on line. Baseball slugger Robinson Cano has fired his A-list agent, Scott Boris (ph), and replaced him with Jay-Z. Sort of. Cano is the first big client for Jay-Z's Rock Nation Sports, a new sports agency founded by Mr. Z. I supposed we'll call him.

The Yankee second basement could command close to $200 million. Robinson -- very good in a big payday when he becomes a free agent after this season. This for Jay-Z, another high-profile business venture where the rapper turned entrepreneur.

He also owns a piece of the Brooklyn Nets, but the NBA says it has no problem with Jay-Z representing athletes who are not professional basketball players.

BALDWIN: How does he find the time to do all that he does and also, by the way, be a dad?

BERMAN: It's a lot going on.

BALDWIN: a lot going on.

BERMAN: A good husband to Beyonce.

BALDWIN: Great life, by the way.

BERMAN: The long-awaited sequel to "Finding Nemo" is finally a go. Disney and Pixar now saying the next chapter in the animated story will be released in November 2015, and it's called "Finding Dory." It will focus on the forgetful character voiced by Ellen DeGeneres and said she completely understands why it took so long from the classic 2000 to get to the sequel with Pixar's animator is busy working on "Toy Story 16," she said.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, President Obama heading to the community today where a gunman opened fire inside that movie theater, killing 12, shooting 58 others. Will he be able to regain the momentum on gun control?

We'll be talking this morning with our chief Washington correspondent and anchor, Jake Tapper, also Congressman Elijah Cummings. He will be weighing in as well.

BERMAN: And what a 911 dispatcher overhears this call to rescue a woman who fell into a freezing cold river?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's just wet, and I don't know how to get in. I'm knocking on doors. There's nobody home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: She gets her mom on the case. We'll explain right after the break.

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