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Michael Jackson Trial Blame Game; Passenger Attacks Muslim Cabbie; Boy, 5, Shoots Sister.

Aired May 2, 2013 - 11:30   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: By the way, the Boston Strong T-shirts aren't the only items of clothing bringing in a lot of money for the One Fund. You might remember the "B" Strong hats. We were showing you these on Monday. I spoke to Bobby D'Angelo, the co-owner, 47 Brands, the company that makes those. We spoke to him a short while ago. As of today, those sales are a little over a million dollars. He was about 750,000 when he was on our show as well. He got that sale up to over a million. Hopefully, our college kids will be able to do that as well.

A big deal this morning in lower Manhattan as One World Trade Center took another step toward being one of the tallest buildings until the world. We're showing you pictures of the efforts to raise the spires. 1776 is about to become another very important moment in American strength and resolve. More on that in a moment.


BANFIELD: Live pictures for you now in New York City where One World Trade Center is one step closer to completion today. As you look live, the construction crews are raising the top sections of the spire on the top of that tall building. The building will be 17,076 feet tall. That would be the third tallest in the world. Surely coincidental this is happening today on the second anniversary of bin laden. 1776, one of America's most important dates and wonderful to see this coming into fruition live on your television.




BANFIELD: A lot of people know that song. That was Chris Kelly during what's believed to his last performance earlier this year in Atlanta, Georgia. Kelly half of the 90s rap group Kris Kross. He later died at an Atlanta hospital. He gained stardom in the 90s for the rap single "Jump." They were famous for wearing their clothes backwards. His death is being investigated now as a drug overdose. They were around 13 back then. Chris Kelly was just 34 years old. The Michael Jackson wrongful death trial is turning into an all out blame game, and it seems to boil down to this, did Conrad Murray work for the pop legend or AEG Live.

CNN's digital entertainment reporter, Alan Duke, is on the phone from Los Angeles, and also defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, is going to try to join us in just a moment.

Alan, we have heard about the long list of celebrities, but that's not how this trial began.

ALAN DUKE, CNN DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (voice-over): This is the gruesome part of it. We heard from the doctor who did the autopsy on Michael Jackson. We heard the gruesome testimony in the criminal trial of dr. Murray. That is an important part of this trial so the jury understands just what happened to the pop star.

BANFIELD: And tell me a little bit about some of the evidence that we're going to have coming up in this case and what they've already introduced and why it is so critical to proving such a key point in the allegations.

DUKE: Well, they have to prove that AEG hired or supervised or retained, not necessarily all three of those, Dr. Conrad Murray. One of the detectives testified it was his initial theory in the investigation that dr. Murray was motivated by financial gain. He was in severe financial distress. His clinic -- his home was being foreclosed on. That is why he cut corners. That's key because that is what the Jackson's are trying to say, that dr. Murray was being paid so much he would do whatever and they're saying it was under the influence of AEG Live.

BANFIELD: It's been proven in court. He's serving time for that crime. Now it is in essence who hired him.

Alan Dukes, covering it live. Thank you.

An American citizen taxi driver, also a veteran of the Iraq war, a passenger in the back of his taxi attacked him and broke his jaw. The reason, he says, because he's Muslim. We'll have the details for you next.


BANFIELD: It is an outrageous incident that appears to be directly linked to the marathon bombings in Boston. A cab driver says one of his passengers accused of being just like the Boston suspects and then attacked him and fractured his jaw. He is a United States Army reservist who risked his life for all Americans by serving in the Iraq war. He says the attack happened in the Washington, D.C., area and he recorded it on his cell phone.


ED DAHLBERG, ATTACKED CAB DRIVER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they're blowing people up all over the world.


DAHLBERG: Will you denounce it? Will you say that that was bad? No, you won't.

SALIM: Sir, whatever you say, it's recorded. DAHLBERG: I don't give a flying (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SALIM: I'm going to call 911 right now.

DAHLBERG: Do you think it was right for the terrorists --

SALIM: I'm going to call you right now.

DAHLBERG: -- to fly plans into the United States --

SALIM: I'm going to call you to the police.


SALIM: OK. Whatever you're saying is recorded and -- now you're punching me? You're punching me?

DAHLBERG: Do you think it was proper for the United States --

SALIM: You, you -- now you're punching me, right? You're punching me, right? Why are you punching me?


BANFIELD: Salim is a naturalized United States citizen who emigrated from Somalia 15 years ago.

He was also a guest last night on Piers Morgan, alongside his attorney. Here is what he said when he was asked how he feels about what happened to him.


SALIM: That's right. I was really offended. After I served the country, I sacrificed my life, this country. I love America. I'm a soldier. Like this guy the way he was accusing me because I'm a -- Muslim. That's really, really hurtful. It hurts a lot.


BANFIELD: Ed Dahlberg, of Clifton, Virginia, has now been charged with misdemeanor assault. And in a statement from his attorney he denied hitting Salim. The Washington D.C. Council of American-Islamic Relations is urging the Virginia prosecutors to designate this attack as a hate crime.

CNN's legal analyst, Paul Callan, joins me live from New York City.

Paul, first and foremost, why the difference? What would make a difference between that misdemeanor assault and a designation of a hate crime? How would that change the game?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Very important difference. It goes from a misdemeanor to a felony. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison. Felonies are punishable by up to more years in federal prison. It is a far more serious charge in a hate crime. BANFIELD: You can hear the victim in this crime saying, why are you doing this, and the suspect now saying, because you're a Muslim. Is that cut and dry what many people call slam dunk?

CALLAN: That is as close to a slam dunk as I can imagine in a criminal case. I am a little bit surprised this wasn't charged as a hate crime right away. You don't often get hate crimes with the evidence is recorded on a phone. It is clearly a hate crime, if in fact he struck the victim. His attorney is saying he did not strike Mr. Salim. Mr. Salim says he was struck and was injured. But certainly the expression of racial and religious hatred is clearly demonstrated in the cell phone. So good evidence to use in court and if it's an injury, it's a felony under Virginia law.

BANFIELD: Let's just remind everyone this is a United States veteran who fought for this country in Iraq.

Paul, thank you for your insight as always.

A 5-year-old boy gets a gun for that birthday present and now his 2- year-old sister is dead because of the gun. A tragic accident devastated the family. That conversation is ahead.


BANFIELD: A tragic story out of the Kentucky to tell you right now. A 5-year-old boy shot his 2-year-old sister as his mother stepped out of the house for a few minutes.

Our Martin Savidge joins me live.

Martin, what is the back story? What happened here and how are the authorities treating this case right now?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Ashleigh. They are treating it very carefully right now. They're treating it knowing they have a family that's been devastated by all this.

This was on Wednesday in Cumberland County, Kentucky, a rural part of Kentucky. It was during the day. A mother, home watching her two children. She steps out of the house to empty a mop bucket and in that instant she hears the gunshot. She races inside and sees that her son shot his sister with a rifle he received for his birthday.

When I heard this story, it physically makes you ill. You can't imagine what the family is going through.

The uncle did try to put it into words. Here is what he said.


DAVID MANN, UNCLE: I mean, it is just tragic. It is something that you can't prepare for.


SAVIDGE: That is certainly true. There is no way you could prepare for something like that -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Martin, what's the story here in terms of how investigators are looking at this case? Is this something where they are amassing evidence for perhaps a negligence issue when it comes to the parents? There was a report this gun was left in a corner and that there'd been a shell that had been left in it that they didn't know about. What are they looking at when they're trying to deal with evidence?

SAVIDGE: And clearly that is the first thing they're looking at here. Was this some sort of case an instance of bad parenting? That's an issue that many we know that gun control is a very sensitive debate that's going on in this country right now. And there are those who point to this and say, aha, this could have made a difference. But those who say it would not make a difference at all. In other words, background checks wouldn't have changed the tragic outcome.

This is Ben Ferguson. He was on Piers Morgan last night. He's a conservative talk show host. Here's how he framed it.


BEN FERGUSON, CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOST: If you want to, you know, legislate parents being dumb or not dumb, you figure out how to do it and we'll see if it works, but you can't blame the gun for the situation where you have a dumb parent.


SAVIDGE: And getting back to the investigation, authorities right now as this great quote put out by one of the spokesperson for the county sheriff, "The water here is so muddied as a result of the grief, as a result of what this family is going through that they have to give it a day or two to just settle down before they can even begin to investigate exactly what went wrong" -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: You know, I have a 5-year-old. And I have had a 2-year- old. And I'm just curious as to what kind of gun the purchase would have been for -- as I understand, I may be wrong, Martin, but this is a birthday present that this child had received prior. He's 5 now, but he may have been 4 when he got the gun. What kind of gun was it?

SAVIDGE: This particular rifle is known as a cricket rifle. A cricket is a weapons manufacturer this kind of gun made specifically for young shooters, for children. It's designed to appeal to them in a number of ways, smaller in size, easy to handle, there's red and blue or pink.

Remember, of course, in much of the United States there is a proud history of hunting in rural areas of this country, the passing down of the use of firearms that's almost a rite of passage here. So many believe that if you teach a child properly how to use a weapon that, of course, you alleviate any potential dangers coming in the future. This would be a clear case where something went horribly wrong.

As you pointed out, who would leave a loaded gun knowingly in a corner in reach of a child? That is the terrible mistake here. And unfortunately it's a mistake that this family will live with for the rest of their life.

BANFIELD: For the rest of their lives. 2-year-old and 5-year-old. I grew up with a gun rack in my house and my parents were rigid about the rules and the storage and the ammo. It's just so tragic.

Martin Savidge reporting for us live. Thank you for that. Very sad story.

I want to draw your attention to a woman named Linda Ambard. She was running in the Boston Marathon and she was near the finish line when all of a sudden bombs went off. She'd been running in honor of her husband who died when he was attacked while fighting for the United States in Afghanistan. Linda's going to join me live to talk about the run and what she's doing to make sure that terrorists do not win in her world.


BANFIELD: As Boston stands strong in the face of this huge tragedy, there is one runner among the many who is determined to keep going despite what happened to her that day and what happened to her husband two years ago. Her name is Linda Ambard. Her husband was killed in an enemy attack while on duty in Afghanistan. And she has been running marathons in his memory ever since as a way to find meaning in her life and as a way to just keep going. She was a quarter mile from the finish line when the bombs went off. And her dreams of honoring her late husband dissolved into smoke and fear and shattered glass and people running for their lives.

Linda's standing with me here today.

And I'm glad that you're standing with me here today. And I know this must have been just so confusing when all of this began. What were you thinking as this was happening? Were you thinking more about your safety? Were you thinking more about the attack in which your husband was killed?

LINDA AMBARD, AUTHOR & MARATHON RUNNER: I was scared. I was very scared. It brought fear back into my life. I didn't know what was going on. I just sat in the Dunkin Donuts store and sobbed my eyes out. I didn't know what was happening. I knew there were bombs going off. I knew there were terrorists at the finish line and I didn't know if it was going to happen again.

BANFIELD: So despite the confusion you knew this was terrorism?

AMBARD: I knew. And it started to be bandied around by other people that they thought it was a bomb. I just knew. At first I thought it was a cannon going off. Actually, the person next to me thought it was a cannon going off. And I was like that doesn't make sense and it clicked right then.

BANFIELD: So close to the finish line, you were stopped, redirected and that was the end.

AMBARD: We didn't even get a chance to be re-directed at that point. People started fleeing the opposite direction of the way we were running. And they were fleeing and screaming, we all joined the onslaught backwards.

BANFIELD: You have five children.

AMBARD: I do have five children.

BANFIELD: And telephone lines were jammed.

AMBARD: Yes, they were.

BANFIELD: And they had no idea if you were OK.

AMBARD: For four hours they couldn't get a hold of me. And I have a daughter living overseas. I have a son in Alaska, two in Colorado Springs and one in Washington, D.C.

BANFIELD: You know, Linda, you are probably one of the most humble people I will ever meet. She is not telling you something. Four of your five children are in the military.

AMBARD: Four of five of my children are in the military serving.

BANFIELD: So this must have not only really hit hard for you, but for them as well not having been able to reach you knowing that your husband was killed in an attack in Afghanistan and knowing they're in the military too.

AMBARD: It brought fear back. And that's the biggest thing that the terrorists brought into my life is fear. I didn't have fear before terrorism hit me in April of 2011.

BANFIELD: You chose to turn around what happened in your family with the death, the murder of your husband, into running marathons in his honor. You've run a number of them. This was the big one. You'd been allowed in because of this, because of this mission of yours. What's happening with the mission? What are you doing?

AMBARD: I'm going to press forward. I hope to god I get back to finish the Boston Marathon. I hope they invite me back. I'm certainly not fast enough.

I want to say one more thing. It's not just about my husband. It's about every single person that didn't get to come home that wanted to come home. All the things that flash across the tv screen and all the families we're waiting for because every one of those men and women had dreams and hopes and were loved. And that's what this is about for me.

BANFIELD: You have had more of your fair share of this. But I love that you say that you're not going to be terrorized by fear before. And I want to shake your hand.

AMBARD: I want to be here next year.

BANFIELD: Thank you for being with us. Congratulations on just seizing this and making it yours and not theirs. Great to hear. And our best to your kids, and to all of them.

AMBARD: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thank you, everyone. That is the spirit. Spirit.

Thanks so much for watching, everyone in Boston.

I'm going to pass this off to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer. CNN NEWSROOM continues.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much. Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington.

Up first, investigators in the Boston bombings are zeroing in --