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Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video Shown; Discussion of the Incident and Her Apology; Slayer Guitarist Dies; Looking into Online Radical Rhetoric

Aired May 3, 2013 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Boston on Boylston Street.

But I want to direct your attention to this, these massive wildfires in Southern California. We are keeping a close, close eye on the fire line and, of course, all those homes all too close to the fames. We will talk to Kyung Lah, our correspondent and crew, inside the danger zone here in just a moment.

But let's talk about Reese Witherspoon. You know, one day after the actress' huge TV mea culpa, we now have the full dash-cam video of her run-in with this Georgia state trooper, the run-in that then led to her arrest now two weeks ago. I'm going to show it to you in just a moment, but first an update on her court case. It's over. Reese Witherspoon pleaded no contest yesterday to obstruction of justice and paid a $213 fine and she didn't even have to appear in court.

Neither did her husband, James Toth. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and got one year of probation. The pleas were entered by their attorneys.

So now to the video. So it starts with a trooper pulling over Witherspoon's husband, giving him a sobriety test, and then you see a brunette Reese Witherspoon get out of the car.

Roll it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, get back in that car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, get back in that car.

WITHERSPOON: Can I say something?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, ma'am. Get back in that car. I'm not going to repeat myself again.

WITHERSPOON: I'm pregnant and I need to use the restroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, well, I need you to get back in the car. There ain't nowhere to use it out here. If I tell you again, I'm going to arrest you.



BALDWIN: Witherspoon does stay in the car for a couple minutes while the officer continues this field sobriety test.

But then the officer arrests and handcuffs her husband and that is when things get out of hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, what did I just tell you to do?

WITHERSPOON: I'd like the know what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's under arrest. If you don't get back in that car ...

WITHERSPOON: I'm a U.S. citizen. I'm allowed to stand on American ground and ask any question I want to ask.


WITHERSPOON: You better not arrest me.


WITHERSPOON: Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope. I told you.

WITHERSPOON: I'm an American citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you to get in that car and stay in there, didn't I?

WITHERSPOON: This is not ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) you fight with me. I promise you.

WITHERSPOON: This is harassment. You're harassing me as an American citizen. I have done nothing against the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you have. You didn't obey my orders.

WITHERSPOON: I have to obey your orders?


WITHERSPOON: No, sir. I do not. I've done absolutely nothing.


WITHERSPOON: I'm now being arrested and handcuffed?


WITHERSPOON: Do you know my name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't need to know.

WITHERSPOON: You don't need to know my name?


WITHERSPOON: OK. You're about to find out who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine. I'm not really worried about it, ma'am. I done told you how things work. You want to get out and get up in my investigation, that's OK.

WITHERSPOON: Yes, sir, I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, guess what, we have a law for that. It's called obstruction.

WITHERSPOON: I'm obstructing your justice.




WITHERSPOON: I'm being anti-American?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep. Go ahead and sit down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) butt first, it will be a lot easier on you.

WITHERSPOON: Interesting.

TOTH: I tried. I'm sorry. I absolutely -- I had nothing to do with that.


BALDWIN: "Do you know my name?" she asks.

Well, after her husband's arrest is complete, the officer then turns to Reese Witherspoon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a seat for me.

WITHERSPOON: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand me and understand me very well.

I have a job I have to do ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pay myself to do, my family pays me to do and so does everyone else in Atlanta and Georgia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I asked you, I asked you nicely to stay in your vehicle, did I not?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why in God's holy name did you get up out of there?

WITHERSPOON: I felt you were obstructing justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How am I obstructing justice? Do you see this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am sworn to uphold justice.

WITHERSPOON: I'm an American citizen. I'm allowed to do whatever I want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you cannot get out of the vehicle went I tell you not to.

WITHERSPOON: I can say whatever I want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can say what ever you want, but you can't get up out of the vehicle.

WITHERSPOON: I can do whatever I want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You (inaudible) my safety and that's exactly what you did. You hindered my investigation.

WITHERSPOON: If that's what you think, that's your prerogative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's OK because it will all be in the report. I'm not real worried about it.

WITHERSPOON: OK. You don't be worried about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have anything on you I need to know about, do you?

WITHERSPOON: No, sir. My name's Reese Witherspoon and you're arresting me for obstruction of justice. It will be in the national news. I just want to let you know. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine.

WITHERSPOON: I'm so glad (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine? Why on God's holy name would you have gotten up out of your car? You would have been able to drive.

WITHERSPOON: Because I wanted to talk to you like a normal person would talk to a normal person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I told you not to get up out the car.

WITHERSPOON: Absolutely. You told me not to get out of the car. And I said to you I disagree. Because that's my prerogative as an American citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and take a seat for us, OK?

WITHERSPOON: OK. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But first, OK, it will be easier on you, OK?

WITHERSPOON: This will be national news. I'm just letting you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that. That's fine. Go ahead and take a seat.


WITHERSPOON: (Inaudible).

TOTH: Why were you even doing that?

WITHERSPOON: He's arresting us.

TOTH: I understand, but you're ...

WITHERSPOON: For what? What have I done?

TOTH: What have you done?

WITHERSPOON: What did I do?

TOTH: He told you to stop.

WITHERSPOON: To stop something. OK. I'm an American citizen. I can say whatever I want to on free ground.

He does not have jurisdiction over the ground that he speaks on. He does not.

I'm allowed to say anything I want to say. I can protest any way I want to.

TOTH: He asked you to get in the car. All you should have done is let me get arrested. WITHERSPOON: Arrested for what?

TOTH: A DUI. And now ...

WITHERSPOON: And what did I get arrested for?

TOTH: You wouldn't listen to what he said to do and you kept getting out of the car.

Now you've turned it into national news.

WITHERSPOON: Would I have threatened him and put him in a position that he feels vulnerable? Honestly? Come on, honey. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She hinders my investigation. She also ...

TOTH: You just turned it really bad.


BALDWIN: Well, she said it would be national news and clearly it is.

She did try to turn things around with a very public mea culpa on morning television.

Reese Witherspoon, here she is on "Good Morning America."


WITHERSPOON: Yeah, I have no idea what I was saying that night.

I went -- I saw him arrested, my husband, and I literally panicked. And I said all kinds of crazy things. I told him I was pregnant. I'm not pregnant.

I said crazy things. And you only hear me laughing because I have no idea what I was talking about and I am so sorry.

I was so disrespectful to him and I have police officers in my family. I work with police officers every day. I know better. And it's just unacceptable.


BALDWIN: Let's talk about this mea culpa with Marvet Britto. She's an entertainment, public relations and brand strategist.

Marvet, we saw the arrest. We can talk about that in a second.

But seeing her sitting there talking to George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America," I have to say, I thought the apology seemed pretty legit.

What did you think?

MARVET BRITTO, THE BRITTO AGENCY: The apology was crafty and strategic, no surprise since Reese Witherspoon certainly has one of the most potent brands in Hollywood.

But she was sincere, she was honest and she was heartfelt for the most part. She was more honest than we've seen a lot of celebrities being.

She took immediate ownership to everything that she said and did. She even admitted to lying about being pregnant, which is unusual.

You don't see a lot of celeb celebrities coming forth and admitting and taking full ownership and even taking ownership for things that weren't really widely reported.

So it was a great strategy and a great apology by Reese Witherspoon.

BALDWIN: And, you know, Marvet, when you think about her reputation, she seems to be this all-around good girl in Hollywood which, you know, seems sort of hard to find.

When you think of the Reese Witherspoon brand, do you think it's marred at all by this?

BRITTO: Not at all. You know, she did what many Americans or many individuals would have done. She thought that she was protected by being an American, but more importantly, she was defending her husband, a loved one.

Who wouldn't do what Reese Witherspoon stepped up and did? You know, certainly, she should have listened. She thought her celebrity superseded authority, and that's where the line was drawn.

So certainly, you know, she should have gotten back in the vehicle perhaps but for her, she stepped up to protect a loved one.

And I think that she stepped forward immediately, took ownership rather than releasing a statement, which a lot of celebrities do.

She faced the music head on, and I believe that she'll move past this chapter very swiftly.

BALDWIN: She totally did. Kudos to her.

But still the whole, do you know who I am? You just don't say that.

Marvet Britto, thank you so much for joining me here on Reese Witherspoon.

BRITTO: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: He was the founding father of one of heavy metal's groundbreaking groups, but today fans are mourning his loss.

Jeff Hanneman was the guitarist in the band Slayer and theories about the cause of death are swirling online, including even rumors of a spider bite.

So we went to one of the nation's stop experts on spider bites. You will hear here reaction -- his reaction, I should say, coming up next. Also, again, watching very closely the flames and the smoke. This fire barely contained here in Southern California, the Springs Fire again.

We have a crew covering this for us in the danger zone. We'll get you live to Southern California, coming up.


BALDWIN: A heavy metal legend has died. Slayer's Jeff Hanneman passed away yesterday in Southern California.

A band spokesman says Hanneman died of liver failure. The band also notes that he had been in bad shape since a spider bit him more than a year ago.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, what happened?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what? We don't know exactly what happened, Brooke, because the doctors haven't taken to the microphone to explain it all.

But let me tell you what we know from the Slayer website and also from "Classic Rock Magazine."

So let's take a look at some of the basics here. What they say is that he allegedly had a spider bite on his arm. It appears it was more than a year ago and that he had surgery to remove dead tissue.

And he says when he got that bite he could "see the flesh corrupting" -- that's a quote -- and he was an hour away from death at that point

So that's -- you know, that's what's been out there. But again, we haven't heard from his doctors, so we don't know exactly what's happened.

BALDWIN: I don't want to know if I want to know what "flesh corrupting" really means. But when it comes, Elizabeth to this spider bite, is that linked to his death or not?

COHEN: We've been talking to experts about this and they say it is extremely unlikely that it's the spider bite that caused his death. They say that it's almost implausible.

They say, first of all, studies show a lot of people think they have spider bites when actually they don't. They have some other kind of skin thing going on, but it's not a spider bite.

Secondly, spider bites usually go away on their own and, if you do get an infection after you get the bite, that can be treated with antibiotics.

So basically the experts we talked to said, as a rule, these things can be treated and it also -- the timeline seems -- you know, it's sort of interesting. You get a spider bite and then this death comes more than a year later. That timeline sort of gave these experts pause as well.

BALDWIN: OK, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

Coming up next, our new segment, we're calling it "Hit Play," the day's best video.

Here's one of them. It is a bear in a car. Locked the doors, this bear, and then ripped apart the interior.

More bizarre videos like this one next.

And a bit later, think "this day in history" with a unique CNN twist just because we can. "CNN Classic" is minutes away.


BALDWIN: "The Lead With Jake Tapper" starts in about 10 minutes, and Jake joins me now from Washington.

And so, Jake, I know today that you have been digging on how these Tsarnaev brothers here in Boston may have been self-radicalized online. What have you learned?

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": Well, obviously, they both left footprints on the "interwebs."

You have Tamerlan Tsarnaev's -- the YouTube channel that is thought to have been his, and then, of course, other evidence that is online, including Dzhokhar Tsarnaev saying that he and his brother watched videos from radical clerics abroad, one U.S. official saying that Anwar al-Awlaki is thought to have been one of the clerics, likely was one of the clerics.

There's "Inspire Magazine." That's the al Qaeda magazine out of AQAP, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, and their bomb-making information within that. So we'll be delving into that.

And then, Brooke, there's also this other discussion about the concept of self-radicalization and whether or not that's actually real because, of course, there is an entire apparatus set up for individuals to become, quote, unquote, "self-radicalized."

That is, there are videos. There is information. There is a chat room. If that apparatus is there, is it really self-radicalization or individuals being swept into an organization, a jihadi organization?

So we'll be talking about all of this, looking into it, and also discussing the psychology of self-radicalization with a G.W. psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor.

That's all coming up in 11 minutes on "The Lead."

BALDWIN: In 11 minutes. We'll look forward.

Jake Tapper, thank you very much. And now some of the hottest videos of the day, "Hit Play."


BALDWIN: "Get layed." A message plastered across a billboard in Connecticut, 20 feet high.

It's really an ad for a flooring company, but of course, this fight has become partisan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever came up with that marketing strategy has no class, as far as I'm concerned.

BALDWIN: Controversial? Definitely. But if you need new floors, they've got you covered.

The latest buzz in Tucson? A giant swarm of bees, tens of thousands of them, and they're pretty mad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We haven't seen this much aggression in a very long time.

BALDWIN: It got so bad, firefighters were called in, crews foamed the streets and the bees finally calmed down.

An emergency landing on a highway in Colorado, a pilot begins having engine trouble and then ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drivers must have been paying attention to what was going on and seeing the plane coming in and kind of cleared the area to let that plane come in.

BALDWIN: The pilot couldn't make it to an airstrip, but walked away without a scratch.

A grizzly discovery in this guy's pickup. A driver not finds a black bear in his truck, but realizes somehow this big guy has locked both the doors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had both hands up on the steering wheel, was honking the horn with his snout and it was pretty amusing for a while.

To Oklahoma where police arrest a college student after finding pot, pills and a live alligator inside his car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The alligators are prohibited by any person to possess in the state of Oklahoma. They've been on a prohibited list.

BALDWIN: The gator, in custody. No word as to why or how these two met.

And that is today's "Hit Play."

(END VIDEOTAPE) BALDWIN: Coming up next, we're going to take you live to Southern California. This wildfire, 10,000 acres have burned since yesterday.

Kyung Lah, live from inside the danger zone, next.


BALDWIN: Want to take you back to California, to Ventura County, to be specific, and that is where we have these wildfires.

Ten thousand acres have been burning since just yesterday.

Kyung Lah and crew inside the danger zone. Kyung, how bad is it?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, take a look for yourself, Brooke.

What you're looking at are California firefighters doing what they're trying to do to control and contain the north end of this fire. I'm on the north part of the fire. What you can see there -- and take a good look -- firefighters are actually digging a trench around it.

They're using chain saws trying to work with this very difficult brush. This brush is so flammable, if you touch it, when it's not on fire, it will literally break in your hands. So these are some very difficult conditions that firefighters are working in.

And we're going to zoom out a little bit and take a look at this entire fire line. This is the north line again. And, as you look all the way through here, you can see the smoke.

The wind is pushing from the ocean inland. That's actually good news because that's cooler wind. Firefighters say that what they need now is for that wind to be consistent.

They've had a very difficult time with the swirling winds, the hot winds that have been coming in from the desert, as well as the extreme heat here in California.

And all the way over here, it's a little difficult to see, as well. This isn't that far away, but because we're separated by so much black smoke, that's -- again, that's the northern line of the fire, Brooke.

Firefighters hoping that they're going to be able to get a handle on it this afternoon here in California.

But right now, only 10 percent containment.


BALDWIN: Kyung Lah, thank you. We'll look for more of this on the wildfires coming up next on "The Lead."

Meantime, what were you doing on this day in 2010? CNN, all over a major news story.

That clip is up next in what we're calling "CNN Flashback." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Now a little bit of nostalgia, we are taking a look back at history as it unfolded live, right here on CNN on our air three years ago today.

This is our CNN classic moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to recap for any of our viewers that are just joining us.

Within the last hour and a half or so, investigating authorities made an arrest at JFK International Airport in New York of a man they wish to speak to following the failed car bombing attempt in New York's Times Square on Saturday night.

We know that this man was trying to fly abroad, but we don't know where to.

That potential suspect was the buyer of the SUV car that was found in Times Square over the weekend, fitted with a car bomb.


BALDWIN: The suspect, of course, was Faisal Shahzad, who was essentially sentenced to life in prison. We talked about it a lot here in Boston. He tried using pressure cookers that were full of fireworks.

Again, if you have missed any interviews in the last couple of weeks as we have been here in Boston, I just want you to go to the "Brooke Blog," as we call it,

And to Boston, thanks for having us. This is a tough town. I love this town, Boston strong.

Now to Jake Tapper, "The Lead" starts now.