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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.; The Latest in the Jodi Arias Case; Obama Praises Colorado for Tighter Gun Laws; Hillary Clinton's Book to Release Next Year; Jobless Report Shows Overall Improvement; Interview with Dana Kaplan; Leno Out, Fallon In; Letterman on Leno's Departure; North Korea Planning to Launch Missile?; Interview with Jeremy Irons

Aired April 4, 2013 - 08:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everyone. I'm John Berman.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Christine Romans has a look at the day's top stories.

Hello.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to both of you again.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination at a motel in Memphis. Faith and community leaders plan to honor the civil rights icon by holding a gun violence prevention rally in Atlanta. They're calling it "Protecting the Dream."

New developments in the murder trial of Jodi Arias: we're hearing for the first time from the juror who was dismissed.

The woman, known as juror number five released a statement saying, quote, "For the past three months I have been fulfilling my duty as one of the jurors in the case of Jodi Arias.'

She went on to say, quote, "I would like to remind everyone that the time and money being invested in this trial is more relevant and important than my removal from the jury."

Also in newly released video of Jodi Arias' parents being questioned by police just after her arrest in 2008 for the murder of her boyfriend, you can hear her mother say Jodi has, quote, "mental problems."

A North Carolina family is in shock this morning. Their mom's body found in her car days after it was pulled from a ditch and towed to an impound lot. The state trooper's report Friday said no driver found in the car, but police discovered 62-year-old Carolyn Watkins' body in the driver's seat three days later when the family reported her missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't do they job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) car. That's right, the amount of time she laid in that car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they were looking for her pocketbook and the keys. And when they started searching, that's when they found her body in the car.

ROMANS (voice-over): The trooper who missed the body is on paid leave while the state investigates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: New this morning, the State of Connecticut, just over three hours away from putting the nation's toughest gun laws on the books. The overhaul comes less than four months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Early this morning the state house passed a measure that added more than 100 guns to its list of banned assault weapons. It makes buying or selling large-capacity magazines illegal. Governor Daniel Malloy is expected to sign it at noon.

Connecticut joins New York and Colorado among states that have tightened their gun laws after Newtown and the movie theater shootings in Aurora. President Obama in Denver yesterday praising state lawmakers for taking that step, saying he wants the rest of the country to follow their lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The type of assault rifle used in Aurora, for example, when paired with a high-capacity magazine has one purpose: to pump out as many bullets as possible as fast as possible. It's what allowed that gunman to shoot 70 people and kill 12 in a matter of a few minutes.

ROMANS (voice-over): The president is urging Congress to vote on a package of tougher gun laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: If you're a political junkie, you knew this was coming. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coming out with a new book. But you'll have to wait another year to get your hands on a copy. The not-yet titled book will share some of the key decisions and experiences during her time with the State Department.

Simon and Schuster says she will also share her ideas for addressing, quote, "the challenges of a dramatically changing world in the 21st century."

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong going back into the world of competitive sports by swimming. He's expected to compete in three events this weekend at a swimming championship at the University of Texas. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France medals, banned by some sanctioned events by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. But U.S. masters swimming is not bound by those rules.

Now, new data just in on the state of the job market. New jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 28,000 last week; they came in at 385,000. This could be a volatile time of the year because of the Passover and Easter holidays. But the overall improvement is undeniable.

New claims peaked in March 2009, when the market was hitting new lows. Job losses were soaring; since then, look at that. They have stayed below 400,000 except for that blip from Sandy. And tomorrow we get the jobs report for the month -- key. People will be looking to see if the sequester had anything to do with maybe less jobs growth than expected tomorrow. So looking for sequester and some cold weather to see if that's in play tomorrow in the jobs report. I'll have that for you live when it happens.

BALDWIN: All right.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Christine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (voice-over): So guns, drugs, booze and money, all inside the walls of a New Orleans prison. This shocking video from 2009 was just released during a hearing over the reform of Orleans Parish Prison. It shows inmates running just wild with absolutely no supervision or apparently security.

BALDWIN (voice-over): So this video shown during the testimony in this week-long hearing over this proposed jail reform. The prison, it's known as OPP. It has been closed but has been known for frequent violence, suicide and escapes.

Dana Kaplan is the executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, a member of Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition and she's worked with many, many inmates here who have passed through OPP.

So, Dana, good morning. Let's talk about the video. I have never seen anything like this here. One expert is quoted, who had worked with this particular place, saying, you know, this is the worst jail, worst prison he has ever seen in the whole country.

You see the video. Are you shocked like the rest of us? Or did you know this was going on for quite a while?

DANA KAPLAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUVENILE JUSTICE PROJECT OF LOUISIANA: Well, I certainly think that the footage in the video is shocking. But for those of us who have been working to improve conditions in OPP for years, it, unfortunately, comes as no surprise.

We have long been saying that conditions in the facility are unconstitutional, out of control and that the levels of violence, sexual abuse and misconduct amongst the guards and staff is unacceptable and, as was said in the trial so far, one of the highest in the country.

BERMAN: I guess my question, Dana, is how could this have possibly gone on? And you know, this came out during a lawsuit. What is the solution that your group wants to see?

KAPLAN: Well, the topic of the lawsuit is whether there will be a consent decree. And I think that there is broad consensus that we need federal oversight of this facility, that -- this has been going on for years in New Orleans. And we have not demonstrated the capacity here to address the problems in the facility.

So a federal consent decree that entails strong monitoring and oversight of the facility is certainly important, but we need to also look at the funding structure. For too long, OPP has been funded with a per diem structure, $22.39 a day per inmate. And it's created a perverse incentive to keep the jail fuller than it needs to be.

There's been very little effective accountability in terms of how those funds are spent. So we need to revamp how we're funding the facility. And then, as a city, we do need to adequately fund it at the level that it needs to be supported.

We also need to consider some long-term reforms. It's -- some people have called OPP a debtor's prison, because, historically, well, there have been so many people in there, not for serious charges, but for fines and fees and traffic attachments.

And so ultimately if we can adequately fund the facility, pay staff what they need to be paid, have a smaller facility but really ensure that we have some strong federal oversight, right now with this consent decree, that is what is ultimately needed to turn this around.

BALDWIN: I know you're saying deputies at OPP basically make the same as a cook at Popeye's, just to give a cost comparison in terms of what they're paid.

Here's my question, because we said OPP is closed. We see these inmates who were snorting some kind of substance off a Bible and gambling and drinking beer. Where are they now?

KAPLAN: So OPP is still open. The video was shot in the house of detention allegedly, and so that is one part of OPP that the sheriff has shut down, but OPP remains open, and so that is, you know, a cause of concern in that, certainly while that video was shot in 2009, we hear reports up to today that the conditions of medical neglect, of violence, are rampant in that facility.

BALDWIN: OK. Dana Kaplan, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, it is official. Jay is out, Jimmy is in, and they both have plenty to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, NBC HOST: I'll be honest with you. I had a really awkward day today. I had to call David Letterman and tell him he didn't get "The Tonight Show" again.

BERMAN (voice-over): The latest late night shuffle, next. BALDWIN (voice-over): And then we sat down with Oscar award-winning actor, actually multiple awards, as he ticked through for us, Jeremy Irons, he will talk to us about this new season, third season of the incredible drama, "The Borgias."

We asked him quite candidly, do you ever blush during all the show's nude scenes? Wait for his response; 38 minutes past the hour. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Forty-one minutes past the hour, welcome back.

At first if you don't succeed, well, NBC is trying again to shake up late night, replacing Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon next year and bringing "The Tonight Show" back to New York. Big news, folks. Fallon addressed the transition in last night's monologue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, NBC HOST: You guys probably heard the news; I'm going to be taking over for "The Tonight Show" next (inaudible).

(APPLAUSE)

FALLON: But don't worry, until February, our focus is right here on whatever this show is called.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So CNN's Nick Valencia has a closer look at Leno's legacy and another late-night shift by NBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENO: And today I accepted a new position. I am going to be the head basketball coach at Rutgers University. Thank you very much.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a touch of his trademark humor, Jay Leno announced he will step down as host of NBC's "Tonight Show," a spot he's had for over 20 years.

Stepping into the gig will be 38-year-old Jimmy Fallon, a seemingly strategic move by NBC to attract a coveted younger viewing audience.

MAGGIE FURLONG, TV CRITIC: You know, Jay Leno's getting up there in years. Yes, he has a great audience; yes they're very loyal. But they are getting older, too. Jimmy brings in the young audience, the advertiser dollar audience.

VALENCIA (voice-over): TV critic Maggie Furlong says Leno's departure will mark a new era in late-night entertainment.

VALENCIA: What kind of legacy will Jay Leno leave behind?

FURLONG: You know, Jay Leno will always be in the list with Johnny Carson and Jack Paar and these late-night guys that made "The Tonight Show" what it was today.

VALENCIA (voice-over): As part of the change, "The Tonight Show" production will leave its Burbank, California, studio and return to its original home in New York.

Fans lining up to see Wednesday's "Tonight Show" taping had mixed reaction to the news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be sad to see Jay go. We love him. We've spent years watching him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) I still don't believe it's true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's true, Mom, OK? He's kind of old, he's got to go. Jimmy, he's up and coming. You know, I love Jimmy.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Reports about a possible "Tonight Show" switchup have been circulating for weeks. Leno and Fallon hinted at the change and even joked about an alleged rivalry in a skit earlier this week.

FALLON: Jay, can I ask you something? We're still friends, right?

VALENCIA (voice-over): The friendly exchange is quite a contrast from 2009, when NBC tried to change up "The Tonight Show" by installing Conan O'Brien. The Peacock Network seems to be laying the ground for a smoother transition this time around.

LENO: I want to congratulate a good friend, Jimmy Fallon, he is a hell of a guy. He is going to do a great job.

Jimmy, don't let us slip into sixth! We're counting on you.

VALENCIA (voice-over): And for Leno loyalists, he will still be on air for another year -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Meantime, David Letterman went a little bit on the town here, talking about this late-night turnover. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS HOST: How many of you folks earlier today saw the white smoke coming out of the chimney at NBC? Anybody see that?

PAUL SCHAEFER, MUSICIAN: We have a new pope. (Inaudible).

LETTERMAN: I got a call from my mom today. She says, "Well, David, I see you didn't get "The Tonight Show" again.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: (Inaudible), Mom.

Well, top 10 things -- BALDWIN (voice-over): I love the Paul Schaefer cackle. Letterman even had a Leno-themed top 10 list last night and pointed out he will soon be the only network late-night host not named Jimmy.

BERMAN: (Inaudible) that going for him, which is nice.

Don't forget about the guy who had "The Tonight Show" not too long ago before NBC forced him out. Conan O'Brien also weighed in on the switch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O'BRIEN, TALK SHOW HOST: Now I want to congratulate Jimmy. That is a really fun gig. He is going to do a -- it is. It is. You watch, it is a fun gig.

And you know what? Jimmy is the perfect guy to do it. He's going to do a fantastic job. So congratulations, Jimmy. Congratulations yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So in case you are wondering about hard feelings, it should be noted that I don't think Conan made any mention of Jay Leno.

BALDWIN: Can you blame him?

BERMAN: It was tough, tough times.

BALDWIN: Tough times, he is moving on, and he's doing fine. And good luck to Jimmy Fallon, funny guy.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT it's a thrilling drama about power, greed, sex and family. What's better than all those things? Oscar- winning actor Jeremy Irons is next with a look at the new season of "The Borgias".

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Just in to CNN, a U.S. official telling CNN, intercepted communications indicate North Korea could be planning to launch a ballistic missile in the coming days or weeks. The North has reportedly moved a medium-range missile to its East Coast.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with more. What can you tell us about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well good morning. U.S. officials have been watching this intelligence for weeks now. That the North Koreans are planning a missile launch from a mobile system, one of this truck-mounted launchers that readily moves around North Korea. U.S. satellites can see them, but when they are on the move the satellites can't track them.

So they are also gathering communications intercepts out of North Korea, very classified information and that is leading them to conclude that the North Koreans are planning, perhaps in the coming days or weeks, to launch a mobile missile. Most likely intermediate range. What does that mean? It means it could hit a target in the region -- South Korea, Japan, Guam, not the continental United States or Alaska. That's a much longer-range missile.

But the threat to the region is so significant in putting the region on edge that's one of the key reasons we've seen the U.S. move its missile defense into the region. But you are also going to see the U.S. ratchet back on some of its own rhetoric. There's a lot of concerns here at the Pentagon by officials, that this has all gotten out of hand they say. And there is just too much hot talk about all of it they're going to ratchet it back, but that missile launch is the number one concern right now.

ROMANS: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you Barbara.

Meantime North Korea is just putting out this statement where it slams the U.S. for what it says are military moves against it, including sending a U.S. naval ship into the region and sending a defensive missile system to Guam. Saying quote, "The DPRK already declared that it would no longer remain a passive onlooker to the U.S. imperialists' frantic moves to ignite a nuclear war, but make every possible effort including a preemptive nuclear strike to defend the dignity of the supreme leadership of the country and the destiny of the nation."

Again that statement just coming in from North Korean officials just moments ago.

BERMAN: Thanks so much Christine. Of course Christine we'll be following that this morning.

Baldwin: All day long.

BERMAN: Something else for you right now, the Borgia family's rise to power is the focus of the Showtime hit TV series, "The Borgias" starring academy-award winning and every other award on the planet winning actor Jeremy Irons. Irons portrays the power hungry philandering Pope Alexander VI. Take a look at how he deals with enemies who try to kill him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY IRONS, ACTOR: If you wish to prove to us your innocence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm innocent.

IRONS: Then find for us those responsible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else then lies under suspicion?

IRONS: Everyone. Everyone who wears a red hat. Interrogate them all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm hardly an inquisitor. IRONS: Then become one. We will cleanse this Vatican of ours of anyone who even thinks to question our fitness for this most holy of offices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That voice.

BALDWIN: Oh he's so good. The third season premieres Sunday April 14th 10:00 o'clock at night Eastern Time on Showtime.

So the two of us we sat down with Jeremy Irons to talk about his portrayal of this blood-thirsty medieval pope and also we talked about how devious he is in real life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: You're the person people fight to work with. So why did you choose this role and this show, to quote you, why -- why did you want to play a fornicating pope?

IRONS: Well. Yes he did have 12 children -- but things were different then. Why I want to do it? Because I saw that a lot of the good writing was transferring from the sort of movies which I used to do, what you might call independent movies into television and the idea of playing a Borgia Pope at an extraordinary time in history and a man who was quite hard to grasp, because he was described as being an amazing administrator, a man of fantastic appetites and enthusiasm.

And yet he -- he was also blackened as being a murderer and fornicator, because he had 12 children. But at that time that was sort of acceptable as long as you didn't put it out there too much. And of course, these days, you can get -- you can't get away with anything, because everybody has mobile phones and everybody has e- mails and Facebook and all of that. We live in a very public world.

BALDWIN: Not back then.

IRONS: But in those days you didn't. I mean --

BALDWIN: You could get away with a lot.

IRONS: Yes.

BERMAN: The show is -- it's so much -- first of all it's fantastic drama, and it's so much about power and the role of power and the pursuit of power. We have a clip we want to look at.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your poisoning has rattled the grass. All the snakes in Rome have slid forth. (inaudible) may not be the rest of it.

IRONS: Well then who -- who did it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Caterina Sforza.

IRONS: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You knew nothing of this until it was upon us. Who is to protect this family, if not you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It feels like the Shakespeare meets "The Godfather" meets the renaissance.

IRONS: I don't think power is strange, mind you. I think if you -- if you look at Washington, you can see the same thing goes on. Power is power is power, no matter what clothes they are wearing.

BALDWIN: You know, you mentioned clothes a moment ago --

IRONS: Clothes.

BALDWIN: -- clothes, which is my segue to a lot of clothing removal happening on this show. We were talking to people around CNN and they said we know that show. A lot of skin. Do you ever blush or are other actors or actresses on set blushing? I know it's Showtime, but, wow.

IRONS: I am pretty careful, you know, because I'm -- an older man.

BALDWIN: A pope.

IRONS: But, no, you know, acting is about pretending. It's about getting into a situation, about concentrating, out of all the paraphernalia around you. And if you are in the mood for blushing when you have a love scene, then you're not in the right place in your head. And actors I think will just get into that.

I mean, you know, before we went on air, you two were flirting outrageously and neither of you were blushing.

BERMAN: Fully clothed mind you. Unlike "The Borgias", in which you know it's almost never clothed.

IRONS: Well, there's a lot of clothes. I wear a lot of clothes. But can do a lot with skirts, you know.

BALDWIN: Next.

BERMAN: All right. You know, I should say it's so funny because you play a pope. You played so many wonderful roles. But in my house with my six-year-old boys, when I hear your voice, I hear the voice of "Scar", you know, the bad lion from "The Lion King".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad just showed me the whole kingdom and I'm going to rule it all.

IRONS: Yes, well forgive me for not leaping for joy. Bad back, you know." (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So just on behalf of my six-year-olds whom you terrorize, thank you.

IRONS: Not a bad lion, just a lion who has a difficult lot in life.

BERMAN: Thanks Jeremy Irons. Thank you so much. It's so nice to see you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

IRONS: It's a pleasure talking to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: How great is he.

BERMAN: What a wonderful, charming and devious --

BALDWIN: Devious indeed. Flirting, you wish Berman.

BERMAN: Yes. He admitted he was trying to make us blush during the interview. It did not work Jeremy Irons. Try harder next time.

BALDWIN: "The Borgias" on Showtime. It's a great show.

STARTING POINT --

BERMAN: STARTING POINT back in a moment.

BALDWIN: Jinx.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: That's all for STARTING POINT this morning. I'm John Berman.

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for watching.

Tomorrow, we will be talking with actors Cory Michael Smith and George Wendt from the new play "Breakfast at Tiffany's". And we'll talk with five amazing women Olympians preparing for the winter games in Sochi.

BERMAN: How about that.

BALDWIN: Tune in for that.

BERMAN: All right. "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.

Happening now in the "NEWSROOM", Colorado issuing a dire warning.