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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Kerry Seeking "Credible Negotiations" With North Korea; Snowstorm Hammers Northern Plains; Search for Hiker Suspended; Chavez's Choice Wins Venezuela Election; Comfort Food; The Master; Charges Coming in Texas DA's Murder; Tax Audit: Where You Live Matters

Aired April 15, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: North Korea knows what it has to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State John Kerry leaving the door wide open for the young leader from North Korea, Kim Jong-un. Will he agree to nuclear to talks or will he risk a war by launching a missile?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Missing in the mountains, a hiker buried by a deadly avalanche and searchers right now rendered helpless by treacherous conditions.

BALDWIN: And take a look at this. Makes you cold looking at it. Minnesota, welcome to Minnesota mid-April, folks. Snow, ice, howling winds, when it's supposed to be beautiful and warm and spring.

BERMAN: Generations of Australian shame erased. Adam Scott becomes the first Aussie ever to win the masters, and he does it in simply electrifying fashion. You can see the electricity right there, the lights blinking on and off.

BALDWIN: Is that what that is?

BERMAN: That's what it is. That's the electricity of his win at Augusta. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

BALDWIN: And good morning, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Zoraida is off today. It is Monday, April 15th, Tax Day. 6:00 in the morning on the east coast. First up, though, want to talk about this international effort here to defuse North Korea's nuclear threat. The U.S. is now renewing its call for quote/unquote "authentic and credible negotiations."

But Secretary of State, here he was, John Kerry, making it clear in Asia over the weekend that North Korea has to make the first move towards scrapping its nuclear plans. Jim Clancy is in Seoul this morning with the very latest.

Jim, let's begin sort of with these photos we're seeing of this young leader, where was he and what was he doing?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you talk about an early start. He had an early start on his grandfather's birthday. His 101st celebration of Kim Il-Sung's birth, is being held, it's a holiday today in North Korea.

And the young descendent of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Un, was there at the stroke of midnight at the Great Hall where statues of his father, and his grandfather, are on prominent display.

Along with the bodies inside glass encased caskets. So he made his first appearance in about two weeks there. Meantime, in South Korea, not nearly so much celebrating. There was a protest today. Listen to a little bit of this.

Conservative groups in South Korea are, you know, adamantly opposed to the North Korean regime, and they remember some of the hardships that have been imposed upon them as a result. They don't necessarily want to even see negotiations with the North.

They prefer to see the regime toppled and North Korea was very bitter in response to some of the criticism that it has faced -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jim, let me ask you about Secretary Kerry, you know, has listed the conditions in which the U.S., possibly the U.S., would be sitting down to discuss, maybe denuclearization, of course, of North Korea. Was he specific? What did John Kerry say?

CLANCY: Well, you know, Kerry was specific. I mean, he let the North Koreans know that, you know, the shot clock is running, so to speak, and they're going to have to consider what's essential to the talks themselves. Denuclearization and getting rid of their ballistic missile systems. Listen --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: What I simply did was repeat that we are open to talks. But the conditions have to be met where the north has to move towards denuclearization, indicated seriousness in doing so by reducing these threats, stop the testing, and indicate it's prepared to actually negotiate on denuclearization. Those are the conditions and that's what we need to see met.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: The question is, what's going to be the response? We're waiting and watching to see if there's going to be anything that happens on that front. We don't expect it in the next 24, maybe 48 hours as this birthday celebration goes ahead. But they've got time to think about it. That's what it's going to take to get back to the table.

BALDWIN: You point out though shot clock running down. Jim Clancy in Seoul for us. Jim, thank you.

BERMAN: All right, 3 minutes after the hour. Happening right now, make it stop! Snow in parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Nearly a foot and a half of snow has already fallen in some areas and more is expected.

Plus, there's another spring blizzard taking aim at Denver right now, Denver having a heck of a month. Bonnie Schneider is live at the weather center for us in Atlanta. What on earth is going on here?

BALDWIN: Well, Denver is not seeing the winter end, John and Brooke. We are looking at potentially the snowiest April for that city ever. We'll see how much we get from this storm system, but we are on the way.

Right now, heavy snow is falling right along the Canadian border in North Dakota and Northern Minnesota and heavy thunderstorms further to the south where temperatures are warm as they sweep across Lake Michigan we're going to see that rain work its way to the east.

So the storm warnings are posted and we have 6 to 10 inches on top of what we already have in parts of the plains. And then further off to the west, here's what's happening in Colorado, very heavy snow further north and west of Denver.

But Denver, 3 to 6 inches, starting tonight, going straight into Tuesday so this is a big snowmaker, let's put this map in motion and you'll see our forecast models show heavy snow across much of Colorado, especially the mountains and Wyoming and then the threat for severe storms.

We had it all weekend long last night in South Florida. Today, we'll be watching for it right in the heartland. That's where the bull's- eye is today. We could see tornadoes and thunderstorms break out in this region pretty much the first part of this week -- John, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Bonnie, thank you. All this talk of snow here, pretty treacherous conditions in Washington State. Now rescuers are out and about, waiting for the first light to see if it's actually safe to resume their search for this missing hiker who was buried by an avalanche at Granite Mountain.

This was actually one of two avalanches Saturday in the Cascade Mountains. The second on nearby Red Mountain killed a female hiker. The avalanche on Granite Mountain dragged three snowshoers more than 1,200 feet down this mountain.

Two men in their 30s survived. A third man, 60 years old, his name is Mitch Hungate, who is described as an experienced hiker, remains missing this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARILYNN HUNGATE, MISSING HIKER'S WIFE: He's just a very, very strong individual and we really hoped that somehow he would break free and find his way off the mountain and we didn't want him to come down to an empty parking lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: The search for Hungate was suspended on Sunday because of these dangerous conditions.

BERMAN: All right, so elections don't get much closer than this. The man Hugo Chavez picked to succeed him has won Venezuela's presidential election but only by a hair. It's so close his opponent wants a recount. Nicolas Maduro won 50.66 to Henrique Capriles' 49.07 percent. The country's top election official said the results are irreversible.

BALDWIN: And check calendars. It is Tax Day, time to cut the old check to the IRS. If you owe the IRS money, you need to get your return postmarked by midnight tonight. This is not all gloom and doom, folks. A lot of retailers and restaurants are offering tax deadline deals today only. Some are even offering to pay the tax on what you buy, and Berman is clearly most excited about this one.

BERMAN: Yes, curly fries.

BALDWIN: You go to Arby's, you get free curly fries.

BERMAN: Makes up for no tax breaks.

BALDWIN: Curly fries. Done.

BERMAN: I don't see what the problem is. All right, so the man from down under on top of the world this morning after a simply fantastic finish at the Masters. That in ecstasy right there is Adam Scott. He made the putt of his life. It was a-12 footer on the second playoff hole. He beat Argentina's Angel Cabrera. He as you can see took home the green jacket.

BALDWIN: CNN's Jared Greenberg live in Atlanta this morning, a huge ending, sudden death round two.

JARED GREENBERG, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, not just the curly fries getting people excited this morning. Seven times Australians finished second at the Masters. Adam Scott has now made the nation forget about all of those disappointments.

The runner-up two years ago in Augusta needed to come from behind to make some history. The 32-year-old had the patrons on his side. On 18, Scott appeared to have secured his place in the butler's cabin. What a shot. He goes to sign his scorecard thinking he would win his first green jacket.

However, experience down the stretch is a funny thing and that's exactly what Angel Cabrera had. The argentine earned the green jacket back in '09 and he was fantastic forcing a sudden death playoff with Scott. So come on out of the clubhouse and get ready for a playoff.

On the second playoff hole, Cabrera, for birdie and he leaves it on the lip. He cannot believe it didn't go down. So Scott a chance to win and Scott with the anchor putt, you bet you.

A second straight year, the Masters goes to a playoff and it's one that a country and a continent will cherish forever. CNN's Rachel Nichols with the 2013 and first-time Masters champ.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MLAE: It's an amazing journey, the whole golfing career and I've played a lot of majors and to finally get one means a lot. I've knocked on the door a couple of times recently and to get over the hurdle hopefully is the start of something to come.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you see when you look at this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a happy man right there when I look at that. It's quite a feeling to make a couple putts to win the tournament. It's what every kid dreams about so for it to finally happen is amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GREENBERG: Making this all more intriguing, Brooke and John, on the bag for Adam Scott, Stevie Williams, the former caddie for Tiger Woods.

BALDWIN: You were talking about that.

BERMAN: You notice that? You notice that? That was great. All right, Jared Greenberg, thanks so much. Now Australia has Adam Scott and men at work. It's like an embarrassment --

BALDWIN: Win-win, baby.

BERMAN: All right, so there could be a giant break in the case of a murdered Texas D.A. and his wife. Coming up, the potential evidence found in a storage unit that detectives are now honing in on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START this morning. A possible break in the murders of a North Texas district attorney, his wife, and an assistant D.A., Mike and Cynthia McClelland were gunned down in their home last month.

Prosecutor Mark Hasse was fatally shot back in January. Now former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams is being held on $3 million bond after his arrest this weekend for making what they call a terroristic threat.

Now, authorities are not calling him a suspect or a person of interest, but they have searched his home, and a storage locker rented for him. CNN's Ed Lavandera is following developments for us. He is live this morning in Dallas. Good morning, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, Eric Williams was prosecuted almost exactly a year ago and it was Mark Hasse, the first assistant district attorney who was gunned down at the end of January, who prosecuted that case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This house belongs to a former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace named Eric Williams. On Friday, investigators spent hours combing through the house. Then on Saturday, those investigators descended on this storage unit 15 miles away.

Several local media outlets report investigators found 20 weapons inside the storage unit that was rented for Eric Williams. And investigators also discovered this Crown Victoria, a police-style vehicle.

Local media also report this type of car was seen in the neighborhood the night the McLellands were murdered. Eric Williams is now sitting in jail. Over the weekend, he was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat.

He's being held on a $3 million bond. Williams and his lawyer have vigorously denied any involvement in the Kaufman County murders and insist they've cooperated voluntarily with investigators.

ERIC WILLIAMS, CONVICTED BY MCLELLAND AND HASSE: My heartfelt condolences go out to both the McLelland family and the Hasse family, because they were in public office, doing the right thing, and for some reason, that we're not aware of, they paid the ultimate price for that.

LAVANDERA: Williams' connection to Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland dates back to last year. He was convicted on two felony counts of burglary and theft by a public servant. This video played at his trial shows him stealing computers from a county building and here he is during a police interrogation.

INTERROGATOR: So basically you just took the monitors and the memory --

WILLIAMS: I mean, that's what I can remember.

LAVANDERA: It was a big scandal in a little town. Prosecutors Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland were front and center on the case. This is a picture of both men from the courtroom during that trial.

Denise Bell covered the trial "The Forney Post" newspaper.

DENISE BELL, THE FORNEY POST: It was a mega-trial for our little community. The sense of it was a big trial.

LAVANDERA: After the trial, McLelland told reporters that Williams conviction was a sign the good old boy network is gone and elected officials should be held to a higher standard. Hasse ripped into Williams calling the disgraced justice of the peace a dishonorable liar and then he was using Kaufman County as his own piggy bank. Williams lost his job and his law license and was sentenced to two years probation.

Denise Bell says she spoke with Mike McLelland in the weeks before his death. She says after Mark Hasse's murder in January, McLelland was worried about Eric Williams.

(on camera): Did McLelland tell you that he believed Eric Williams was responsible for that murder?

BELL: Yes.

LAVANDERA: He did.

What exactly and in what context did he tell you this?

BELL: In a context of be careful, Denise.

LAVANDERA: He told you to be careful?

BELL: Yes.

LAVANDERA: Why would he tell you to be careful?

BELL: Because I sat in the front row and covered this story for 10 days.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Despite Eric Williams now getting so much attention, investigators have still not officially named him as a suspect or filed murder charges against him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And, John, if you remember, Eric Williams has been getting a great deal of attention from investigators the night the McClellands were murdered, as we reported a few weeks. Just hours after their bodies were discovered investigators went straight to Eric Williams just a few hours after those bodies were discovered and asked him for a gun residue test and that was done in the parking lot of a Denny's restaurant in Kaufman County.

So, John, a great deal of attention being paid to this man right now.

BERMAN: Yes, no doubt. So, the question is, what else are we hearing from his representatives? From his attorney?

LAVANDERA: Well, it's interesting. For several weeks, we've been in constant communication, routine communication with his attorney. But over the last couple of days this weekend, we've -- with the searches at his home, the storage unit, and his arrest, and we've heard no response back from his attorney.

BERMAN: Interesting. As we say. All right. Ed Lavandera for us this morning -- thanks, Ed.

BALDWIN: Seventeen minutes past the hour. Solar power, was pretty much nonexistent in Israel until a light went off in one man's head. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us about his bright idea on "THE NEXT LIST."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be the 40-megawatt solar field. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They told him he can never do it.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: It is a disruptive idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, someone's got to bring solar energy to this place. I was like, please not you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be the field with the best security in the whole world because we have two armies guarding it.

GUPTA: Yosef Abramowitz and his real first solar field on "THE NEX LIST."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatever he can envision, he can figure out how to make it happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's stunning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he can see it, he can do it. It's incredible.

UZI LANDAU, FORMER ISRAEL ENERGY & WATER MINISTER: Well, like a bulldog, he just put his teeth in something and doesn't give it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yosef Abramowitz on "THE NEXT LIST," this Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BERMAN: That sounds very cool.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BERMAN: A lot less cool, on this Tax Day the last thing you probably want to think about is an audit.

BALDWIN: No.

BERMAN: Indeed. Coming up, why your zip code might be a bigger red flag than your deductions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Twenty-two minutes past the hour here. Minding your business this morning. China -- yes, your business and your business. China the world's second biggest economy is slowing down and that is hitting stock prices at home. Futures pointing to a lower open today.

China, growing at a 7.7 percent annual pace. That is down from last year. Take a look at how that compares to the U.S.

BERMAN: Meanwhile it is Tax Day. If you want to avoid an audit pay attention because where you live counts. Alison Kosik here with that.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, zip code matters. And are you shocked? People actually, what? Cheat on their taxes? Oh, my goodness.

BALDWIN: Never.

KOSIK: Here's what's interesting. It turns out that there are people in certain states that are more likely to cheat on their taxes. So the IRS is on to that and they're more likely to pay close attention to those places. Drum roll, please.

According to the "Associated Press". Here are those cities, you see them there, San Francisco, L.A. Houston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. A national taxpayer advocate study, what it did was it focused on small business owners because they got more opportunity to cheat on their taxes.

BERMAN: Shame.

KOSIK: Shame, shame, shame, because they got a lot of write-offs. You may not report all of their earnings.

There's a common theme with some of these cities, though, they have high incomes. And IRS data show as a business's incomes go up, so do its chances of being audited. Now, the IRS looks out for businesses that take unusually large deductions in proportion to their income. I like how the head of Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce said it. He said, it's just a matter of them, meaning the IRS, going to where they think the money's at.

The people who own construction companies are most likely to be audited because that's an historically attacked business so a lot of that is tough to verify. Here's the good news -- only 1 percent of tax returns are audited every year.

Now, when it comes to individual taxpayers, look at some of the red flags. If you've got foreign assets, a home office and taking some weird deductions. Or if you're rich, you can count on being audited.

BERMAN: Weird deductions. That giraffe. Do not write-off a giraffe.

KOSIK: Right. Do not do that. The zebra.

BERMAN: So, what's the one thing we need to know about our money.

KOSIK: OK, $2,755. That's how much the average tax refund is this year and in the faster you file the faster you get it. But if you don't have your paperwork in order yet, file an extension, the form 4868. If you don't file an extension you could be fined every month about 5 percent of the amount you haven't paid. Hopefully your taxes are all done.

BALDWIN: They are.

BERMAN: Indeed. Thanks so much, Alison.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Alison.

BERMAN: Good advice there. All right. So he's the Florida police firearms instructor fired for using paper targets that resemble Trayvon Martin. Today, he's talking about what he was thinking. That's coming up.

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