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Militant Group Has Possible Ties to Boston Bomber; President Obama Makes Jokes at White House Correspondents' Dinner; The Jacksons Vs. AEG Live; Six Months Since Superstorm Sandy

Aired April 29, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Clamming up. No more clues from the Boston bombing suspect since he's been read his Miranda rights.

Plus, the man claimed to have radicalized one of the brother is now speaking. Hear from the mysterious Misha.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Manhunt for a child killer. Police in California looking for the stranger who stabbed an 8-year-old girl in her own home.

And a triumphant milestone now just hours away. New York's new World Trade Center building about to become one of the tallest in the entire world. It's nice to report that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Nice to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman in Boston this morning. It is Monday, April 29th. About half past the hour right now.

Let's bring you up to speed on all the latest developments in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

First up, take a look at this man. He is reportedly a key part of a militant group called Abu Dujan. Today, Russian special forces took him out. This just happened overnight. We're just getting this news.

That militant group has possible ties to alleged Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

All this as investigators work to reconstruct Tsarnaev's actions in Russia. The FBI is joining forces with Russian security officials to piece together his every move during a six-month visit back in 2011. And even though investigators believe the brothers were self- radicalized online, they're still looking to the possibility that other people in Russia or, perhaps, in the U.S. may have been influences or even accomplices. Among the people they're looking into or at least investigating right now, the mother and Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell, who converted to Islam when she married Tamerlan back in 2010. The bombing suspect's father has now postponed his trip to United States. He told Russian state media he's in the hospital because his blood pressure spiked. It's been two weeks now since the Boston terror attack and more than two dozen people are still in the hospital right now. Those people, of course, recovering from their wounds here.

There's new developments inside the prison hospital where bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is being held. He is locked up in a tiny cell about 40 miles west of Boston. And Pamela Brown is live there in Devens, Massachusetts with the latest on the investigation. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, John. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived here at Federal Medical Center in Devens early Friday morning. And we have learned from a prison official that he is now talking and interacting with medical staff. He is currently living in a 10x10 foot cell, tucked away in a restricted area here at this facility, reserved only for high-risk inmates.

He's being observed through video surveillance 24 hours a day. Accommodations are spare with only a toilet, sink, and bed within his cell, a slot for food, and a small window. As authorities investigate how and why the attacks were carried out, the justice department's role in the investigation is under intense scrutiny. According to sources, Tsarnaev has stopped giving substantive information ever since being read his Miranda rights last Monday.

Attorney General Eric Holder says a judge was just following what the law says, but one Republican congressman says we could have learned so much more if interrogators had more time. Here's what they had to say.


BROWN: Can you comment on the suspect being Mirandize and whether that was appropriate?

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I mean, the decision to Mirandize him is one that the magistrate made. And that was totally consistent with the laws that we have. We had a two-day period that we were able to question him under the public safety exception. So, I think everything was done appropriately, and we got good leads.

REP. PETER KING, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's absolutely disgraceful because that interrogation could have ended up saving many American lives. We don't know what full consequences are going to be. Who else is involved, who was involved then, who could be involved in the future? We may not know because of Eric Holder.


BROWN: Now, even though Tsarnaev is speaking, we don't know if that means he's also talking with interrogators or his attorney for that matter -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown reporting from Devens, Massachusetts today.

We have another development to tell you about right now. The Islamist said to have radicalized and brainwashed Tamerlan Tsarnaev is reportedly speaking out. The "New York Review" talked to the man known as Misha at his Rhode Island home. At least, that was the "New York Review" says. They say he's 39 years old and lives with his parents.

Misha told "The Review" that he had not been in touch with Tamerlan in about three years and that he's been cooperating with the FBI. Misha also insists that he had nothing to do with the bombings and investigators, he says, are about to clear him -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you very much, John. And we're following a developing story this morning in Northern California where police are investigating the stabbing death of an eight-year-old girl. Leila Fowler was discovered on Saturday by her 12-year-old brother inside their home in the rural community of Valley Springs. That's about 60 miles southeast of Sacrament. Look at that beautiful little girl.

Investigators say the parents of the children were not home at the time. They say they don't have a specific suspect but are looking for a white or Hispanic male who's considered armed and dangerous.


CAPT. JIM MACEDO, CALAVERAS CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT: We're searching, you know, extensively into attics, storage sheds. It is a difficult area to search. It's rural, remote. the grass is tall right now.


SAMBOLIN: Well, police also say they collected finger prints and DNA from inside the house. And hopefully, they'll have the results within a week.

And new this morning, a Mississippi man due in court today. He's accused of sending letters to President Obama and two others tainted with the deadly poison, ricin. Forty-one-year-old James Everett Dutschke, a martial arts instructor and former political candidate was arrested over the weekend. He is charged with possession and use of a biological agent.

Dutschke allegedly sent the tainted letters to the president, Mississippi senator, Roger Wicker, and, also a local Mississippi judge.

And a proud day for New Yorkers and for the nation. In just about six hours, construction crews will raise the spire to the top of the freedom tower in Lower Manhattan. And once that is installed, one World Trade Center will stand at 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere, and the third tallest in the world. The spire is raised at noon eastern after more than six years of construction. That will be a beautiful sight. So, it's payback for President Obama. The commander in chief got a chance to give his critics a few well-placed dings Saturday night at the annual White House correspondents' dinner. Conan O'Brien was the emcee and lots of stars were in attendance at the nerd prom as it is known. Here's some of what the president had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even after all this time, I still make rookie mistakes. Like I'm out in California where the fundraiser having a nice time. I happen to mention that Kamala Harris is the best looking attorney general in the country. As you might imagine, I got trouble when I got back home.


OBAMA: Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?


OBAMA: You remember a few months ago, my administration put out a photograph of me going skeet shooting at Camp David? You remember that? And quite a number of people insisted that this had been photo shopped. But, tonight, I have something to confess -- you were right. Guys, can we show them the actual photo?


OBAMA: We were just trying to tone it down a little bit. I went to the opening of the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It was a wonderful event. That inspired me to get started on my own legacy, which will actually begin by building another edifice right next to the Bush library. Can we show that, please?


OBAMA: I'm also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library, and some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I'd rather keep it in the United States.



SAMBOLIN: All right. That was good.

And still ahead, the legal showdown over the death of Michael Jackson. A civil trial pitting Jackson's family against the promoter of his ill-fated comeback concerts is about to get underway. We're going to be live in Los Angeles for you.

You are watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. In just a few hours, in Los Angeles, in a courtroom, the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial begins with opening statements. And Jackson Family claims AEG Live, the company that promoted Michael Jackson's 2009 comeback concern is liable for his death. Billions of dollars are at stake.

CNN's Casey Wian is live right outside of the courthouse for us. And Casey, what can we expect to hear today?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, as you mentioned, we expect to hear hoping statements from attorneys for Michael Jackson's family and then attorneys representing AEG live. The key question in this case is who employed Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death?


WIAN (voice-over): Michael Jackson was in the last weeks of rehearsal for what was to be his grand comeback. The exhausted 50-year-old insomniac died in 2009 from an overdose of sedatives and the surgical anesthetic, propofol. Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson the fatal dose in an effort to help him sleep. He is in prison.

Now, the company that promoted the comeback tour, AEG Live, is fighting legal claims by Jackson's mother and children that it shares responsibility for the singer's death because it hired and supervised Murray.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think as his mother caused his death?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. All I know is they used propofol and they shouldn't have used it. They're using the wrong setting. That's all I know and that's what caused his death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The just of the plaintiff's claim against AEG is that you control Dr. Murray and you used your control over Dr. Murray to pressure him into taking unnecessary and excessive risks with his patient, Michael Jackson, leading to Michael Jackson's death.

WIAN: AEG Live's attorney says there was never a signed contract with Murray, and that Jackson was the only one who controlled him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was chosen by Michael Jackson. He'd be there at Michael Jackson's behalf. He'd be Michael Jackson's doctor alone. That this was only being done because Michael Jackson asked for it. Michael Jackson was the only person who could get rid of him at will.

WIAN: Potential witnesses include Jackson's teenage children, Prince Michael and Paris. producer, Quincy Jones, could testify about the billions of dollars Michael Jackson would have earned if he had lived, money his heirs now want from AEG, a multibillion dollar sports entertainment and real estate conglomerate.


WIAN (on-camera): The trial is expected to last between two and four months. Now, Jackson's family attorneys want to call Dr. Conrad Murray to the stand. But his manslaughter conviction is under appeal, so he has said if they do call him to the stand, he will plead the fifth -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Casey Wian live outside the courthouse in Los Angeles, thank you.

And coming up next, he didn't get picked in the NFL draft, but the son of a legendary quarterback is getting another chance to impress all the scouts with his dad's old team.

So, if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us anytime on your desktop or your mobile phone. Just go to


BERMAN: Welcome back to Boston, everyone. I'm John Berman. We are standing in Copley Square, which is the site of the memorial for the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks, about one block away from the finish line. And I want to show you something really special here. What you're looking at right there is one of the message boards.

You can see every inch of that giant piece of paper is filled with notes, remembrances, comments from some of the people who flock here from the city and really, they're people leaving messages from all around the world. There are four of these giant pieces of paper there right now. And parks officials told us over the weekend they've had to switch these out six times so far.

They roll them up and they take them away where they save them, no doubt, for something special they have planned later on. But it just shows you how many messages people want to leave here. you know, hundreds and thousands of notes from people all over the world who are really sharing in this incredible experience. It's a very, very special place.

We are here in Boston. We're covering the latest developments in the recovery of the city but also the investigation. Let's bring you up to speed on that, because we have a new development this morning. We learned that Russian special forces raided a militant group with possible links to Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They took out this man reportedly a key part of that group. These are new images of the operation in Dagestan.

And you can see the building going up in a fireball right there. Again, this is part of a special forces raid there by Russian authorities. This comes as the FBI and Russian security officials try to piece together Tamerlan Tsarnaev's movements during his six-month visit to Russia back in 2011.

They still think that he and his brother were self-radicalized watching online videos, but that has not ruled out the possibility that others in the United States or Russia may have influenced them or helped them in some way. Investigators right now are looking into the mother. They're also still trying to talk to Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell, who converted to Islam when she married Tamerlan back in 2010.

Meanwhile, Tsarnaev's father has now postponed his trip to the United States. He told Russian state media that he's in the hospital because of a blood pressure problem.

Those are just some of the latest developments here in Boston, Zoraida. Let's go back to you for more news back in New York.

SAMBOLIN: So many new developments. Thank you, John.

Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Looking for signs of life five days after that catastrophic building collapse in Bangladesh. It's good that they're still looking because four people were pulled from the wreckage of the crumbled nine-story garment factory complex yesterday. So, the death toll now stands at 378.

A rescue operation is ongoing, even though they say the chances of finding more survivors is fading fast now. Three factory owners and two government engineers have been arrested. The building's owner was also arrested as he tried to flee the country.

And today marks six months since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the east coast, can you believe it, causing massive coastal damage in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. Tens of thousands of people remain homeless due to the storm. And New Jersey residents and business owners have until Wednesday, May 1st to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA or a loan from the Small Business Administration. So, time is running out there.

No Kobe, apparently, no chance. The Los Angeles Lakers swept out of the first round of the NBA playoffs by San Antonio. Tony Parker leading the Spurs with 23 points in a 103-82 victory last night sending the Lakers packing in four straight. Did you watch the Miami Heat? Also breaking up the broom yesterday, sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks with an 88-77 win. I watched that when Lebron James scored 17 points in a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to ice it.

And the Celtics proving they are, indeed, Boston strong. They held off the Knicks 97-90 in overtime to force a game five and stave off elimination.

And the Golden State Warriors are one win away from advancing to the next round after beating the Denver Nuggets, 115-101. They took a commanding three to one lead in their best-of-seven series. Ooh, it's exciting.

So, he did not get picked in the NFL draft, but the son of legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Joe Montana, is getting a chance to impress his father's old team. Quarterback, Nate Montana, has accepted an invitation to participate in the 49ers three-day rookie mini-camp. That's next month.

His agent says he had invitations from three teams, all on the same weekend. So, of course, he chose his dad's team, the 49ers. Good luck. So, it's a soggy start to the week as the South's heavy rain now moves north, and flooding continues to be a problem for some parts and we also want some warm weather. So, let's go to Jennifer Delgado in the weather center in Atlanta. What can you tell us?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, the beautiful weekend wasn't enough for, Zoraida. You want more?

SAMBOLIN: Give me more. Yes.

DELGADO: Give you more? Oh my God. Well, I'm going to give you more, more rain to return as you head out on your Monday. You can see it on the radar extending from the south, from Alabama all the way up to areas including New England. Now, we are seeing some thunderstorms moving through areas like Columbia, South Carolina, as well as in the Charleston.

And we will continue to see those showers popping up because in some parts of the southeast, we could pick up about another two inches of rainfall. Up towards the northeast, it is going to be quiet. But, we have some video coming out of Houston, and this video is incredible. Zoraida, take a look at this.

This is flash flooding setting up when all this heavy rainfall came down on Saturday. We're talking six to eight inches. And this, of course, is the number one weather-related killer as I take you over to our graphic to give you an idea how the rainfall that was down there. Right. You'd never want to drive to those situations, because of course, it puts first responders as well as your life in danger as well.

And then, we're still following the flooding in Fargo. We're expecting it to crest tomorrow. It looks like it's going to be just about two feet below what was a record set back way back in 1990. On a wider view today, severe storms in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa. Very slight chance. Rain still in the forecast for Houston, but not too much.

But I want to point out to you, look what's going to happen with the temperatures today. We're talking nearly 80 degrees for a high in Denver, Wednesday, 37. Zoraida, tomorrow, I'll be talking about snow chances for Denver.


DELGADO: Yes. This is not a mess up, not a Jennifer blooper. It's going to snow.

SAMBOLIN: Lovely. Well, we can't wait for that news. Thank you so much.

DELGADO: Right. You wanted warm temperatures.

SAMBOLIN: Maybe something will switch around and, you know, we'll bypass the snow. But thank you. Appreciate it.

DELGADO: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Still ahead, "Iron Man 3" doesn't hit the theaters in the United States until this coming weekend, but, the first summer blockbuster is already living up to its billing. Details when EARLY START come back right after this.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-six minutes past the hour.

Trending online this morning, Michael Jordan got hitched over the weekend in Palm Beach. His (INAUDIBLE) and long-time girlfriend, Yvette Prieto, said their vows in front of about 500 guests including Spike Lee and Tiger Woods. About 2,000 people were at the reception under a huge tent at a golf club right near Jordan's mansion. Usher was one of the wedding singers.

And "Iron Man" rules the world. The superhero's sequel with a colossal oversees debut. "Iron Man 3" made more than $195 million at the international box office, beating out last year's global blockbuster, "The Avengers," which opened with $185 million. It's a good head start for "Iron Man 3" which makes its U.S. debut this weekend. Don't know how much they'll make here.

So, it's called nerd prom where celebrities and political heavyweights mingle with journalists each year in D.C. And Conan O'Brien emceed the White House correspondent dinner Saturday night. You heard President Obama a little earlier giving his critics a little payback, then it was Conan's turn.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": The president is hard at work creating jobs. Since he was first elected, the number of popes has doubled.


O'BRIEN: And the number of "Tonight Show" hosts has tripled.


O'BRIEN: Congratulations! Now, in the past, we've had really scary enemies like Saddam Hussein and Hitler. Now, suddenly, our nemesis is a pouty teenage boy who dresses like Rosie O'Donnell at the Emmys.


O'BRIEN: Kim Jong-Un doesn't understand that we aren't afraid of him. What that guy doesn't get is that we already have an unstable peninsula that will ultimately bring down America, it's called Florida. The president and I are a lot alike. We both went to Harvard. We both have two children, and we both told Joe Biden we didn't have extra tickets for tonight's event.