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Gina DeJesus Expected Home, May Speak to Press; Jodi Arias Trial Nearing an End; House Hearing on Benghazi Attack.
Aired May 8, 2013 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And may never speak at all publicly, that's fine.
BANFIELD: If they want to speak publicly and helps their good being, they need to know this is not just happened to them.
NANCY GRACE, HOST, NANCY GRACE: Ashleigh, I'm not talking about speaking publicly. I don't give a fig if they never give an interview or speak to the press.
GRACE: I'm talking about putting these guys behind bars for the rest of their lives, which is where they need to be.
BANFIELD: And as we go to break, Nancy, I'm very thankful for your perspective and insight and years of inside knowledge of how these prosecutions actually go forward.
A young woman at the center of this story right now, Gina Dejesus, as she makes her triumphant return home after almost 10 years in captivity. There is a throng of people, obviously those in tears in the streets. We have witnessed neighbors, friends and even though who never knew these girls, now women, crying as they hear the successful return of these three women to their families. I mean, successful is a marginal description at this point. The trouble, the difficulties that lie ahead for these three victims is just, it's indescribable. But at least we can report this. In moments, at this location, Gina Dejesus will make her return home to her family after being released from the hospital after suffering 10 years in captivity.
Back right after this.
BANFIELD: We are live once again. Our aerial pictures over the home of Gina Dejesus at this hour, 1:35 in the afternoon, that young woman who spent almost 10 years in captivity is going to make her return home to her family. You can see the house is surrounded in balloons and signs and toys and gifts from neighbors, friends and even those who never knew her. People have come out to show that they love her and support her, that they didn't forget about her. You can see the neighbors who have amassed at the yellow crime-scene tape that they have roped off to try to give her her space as she returns home, just as her friend and co-captive, who also spent nearly a decade behind those walls in that horrible house of horrors, Amanda Berry, made her triumphant homecoming over an hour ago.
Gina Dejesus is about to join her family having been released from the hospital. We're told by her older sister, Myra, that, "For all of the hell she's gone through, Gina is in good spirits." That's a quote from Gina Dejesus' older sister, telling CNN that her sister is in good spirits.
We also have been reporting, CNN learning that both Amanda and Gina were in fairly good condition, definitely thinner and malnourished and that physically able to be released from the hospital and good enough condition to come home. The third co-captive unfortunately, Michele Knight, still in the hospital undergoing treatment. She was the longest of those three to be held captive.
As we await Gina Dejesus's homecoming, we continue to cover this story as they put out the barriers is the thing we saw happen at Amanda's home, a crush of journalists there and sadly created a really difficult melee couldn't hear her.
I'm coming to you live from Phoenix, Arizona. There is another very big story that's been developing in this community as well. In fact, a four-month-long trial is about to come to an end, the trial of Jodi Arias.
Our Jean Casarez, HLN correspondent, and also Paul Callan, our legal analyst, join me live now -- oh, I apologize. We're in the official verdict watch now here in Phoenix. And that verdict could come down at any moment. And let me remind you this is a death penalty case.
Jean Casarez, you are able to actually get a read on these jurors, their comings and goings in this now day four of deliberations, the eight men and four women. Give me an update as to what they've been doing, how long they've been deliberating and what their day is like.
JEAN CASAREZ, IN SESSION & HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, we just learned the jury actually has started deliberating already this morning. They're about 40 minutes into it at this point. Started a little bit before 10:00 this morning. Everyone was assembled. We understand a lot of men just have T-shirts on, so they're really dressed down today. Also I can tell you Juan Martinez, the prosecutor in this case, was seen on the fifth floor with the victim's advocate, which is interesting. They were leaving the fifth floor, but deliberations begun once again today.
BANFIELD: And very short breaks, deliberating through lunch yesterday, I believe, you may have mentioned as well, Jean, earlier in one of your reports.
Paul Callan, hold for a moment. I want to ask you about a question about this as well, but not before a quick update about Cleveland.
The motorcade carrying Gina Dejesus, they've got motorcycles, they've police, motorcycle protection and they've got several vehicles apparently not far away. I'm definitely keeping the live eye as this happens.
And at the same time, on verdict watch on Jodi Arias.
Paul Callan, a lot of people jump to a conclusion at four days, my, this is going on a long time. But in a four-month case, the number of trial days, the number of exhibits, and the gravity of the charge they're facing here, first-degree murder, carrying with it a death penalty, this is not long at all.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, it's not long. And the jury's got an awful lot to consider. Somebody's life is at stake. Someone's life has been lost. The defendant is facing potential death penalty in this case. So I'm not surprised. And, you know, what lawyers look at who have tried murder cases in situations like this is what's going on in the jury room? Are alliances being formed? That's what you want to look at. You want to try to look at your jury demographics and split and see is there a group of jurors who may hold one position and another large group who will hold another position? And if you have alliances of say three, four or more jurors advocating one position, they can hold out for a long time to try to get their view to prevail. And they can be arguing about whether it's first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, we of course don't know what's going on in that jury room. But that's generally how it plays out. If only one or two jurors have questions, they usually don't have the power to fight back against the other ten. So that's what I'd be looking to see.
BANFIELD: And I think, you know, leading up to this there's just such a profound amount of evidence that is in the prosecution's column against Jodi Arias. The evidence in her favor seems to be her own testimony, her own words that are not necessarily backed up by hard evidence in this case. And as an admitted liar, you know, at least twice over liar, that's pretty tough evidence to overcome on the prosecution's side.
Jean Casarez, when you're talking about the amount of evidence that they're dealing with as I understand a lot of it actually in the room with them as they deliberate, the number of hours, we're only at I think if I'm doing quick math just around 14 hours of work. Just to go around the table if that's what they chose to do to see where they started with their positions and then to go over the charging documents, their instructions and then to begin to revisit evidence from, I don't know, two, three months ago, that's a lot of work to do. So we're really not that far into this, are we?
CASAREZ: Think about it, there are over 600 pieces of evidence here. But there's a couple things happened in the end could make for an interesting deliberation. The defense, at the last moment, got in manslaughter, sudden quarrel, heat of passion. They've learned about this relationship for four months. Of course, there's the legal aspect to that. But what has the relationship between Jodi and Travis been all about? Sudden quarrel and heat of passion. That could be throwing a wrench into things.
There's also the issue of premeditation. That's the most important thing they have to look at. We know she killed Travis and the prosecution show she intended to kill Travis. The pictures show it all. Premeditation, that's going to be an issue there.
BANFIELD: Just remind our viewers, again, even those who followed the case closely couldn't possibly have watched the number of trial hours that played out over the course of the last four months.
And, Jean Casarez, there is an enormous amount of evidence that was brought up on what 19 days on the standby the accused herself, but very little hard evidence to corroborate her story that she had to act in self-defense and kill in self-defense as a battered woman.
CASAREZ: Right, but the primary piece of evidence for premeditation is that gun. That gun that was in her grandparents' home that suddenly the same caliber shot Travis, but prosecutors say he was stabbed first. If you're going to premeditate a murder with a gun, why do you stab first? That sounds like something that happened out of the blue.
BANFIELD: And I keep going back to all of that other evidence as well, loading up a car, a rented car with gas cans, turning license plates upside down, driving through the night, leaving cell phone messages after the fact as though nothing had gone wrong at all. I mean, there's just so much evidence. I think a lot of people even forget some of the most compelling evidence there's so much of it. I'm going to ask the two of you to hold tight if you would as we continue our verdict watch on the case of Jodi Arias, which could come down at any moment.
On the right hand bottom of your screen, you're also going to notice we are still awaiting the homecoming of Gina Dejesus. Any moment now the police motorcade that was reportedly quite close or getting close anyway bringing her home, escorting this young woman home after a horrifying ordeal beginning at the age of 14. We are going to bring you back here live in just a moment.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage. I'm Ashleigh Banfield, reporting live.
We have several stories breaking all at the same time. On your screen you're seeing a number of images with regard to the triumphant return home of the three victims of this just remarkable series of crimes that have developed in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the last 48 hours, we've been learning about a house of horrors in which three young victims were held for in essence a decade, an entire decade held against their will after disappearing off the streets of Cleveland in three successive years. Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michele Knight all now free after a decade of captivity.
Amanda Berry having returned home to her home in Cleveland, to her sister's home in Cleveland amid a throng of well-wishers, hundreds of people, neighbors, friends, strangers all returned home to witness her triumphant homecoming. And I may remind you the homecoming of her now daughter born in this terrible ordeal, a 6-year-old daughter who was also brought home when she returned. She was brought by a police motorcade, and you can see one of the officials taking that young daughter, carrying that young daughter in the back door of that home. Amanda Berry also returning home.
Police having originally told us she wanted to make a public statement and speak to the public, whether her mind was changed, whether that was just erroneous information, she did not. Instead, choosing her sister, Beth Serrano, as her representative to very hastily come out and give a very quick news conference, very quickly just to give the statement that they need their privacy, that they wanted some time before they actually put together any kind of public statement, but her sister at least speaking to us publicly.
And now we expect this scene to almost play out almost identically over at the home of Gina Dejesus. However, we have been told that Gina does not want to speak publicly at this time. And at least her -- that her aunt will be coming out to address the media and public to let us know where things stand with that family. But you can see how the neighborhood is growing so quickly. And this is almost exactly what happened over at Amanda's home within an hour hundreds of people had shown up.
Somewhere down in that crowd that has amassed outside of Gina Dejesus' home, our Poppy Harlow actually witnessing those arriving, and the situation as it's unfolding.
Poppy, I want to find you and get you to report whatever it is you're witnessing.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Ashleigh. We're on the phone. We're going to be up live as soon as possible for you, but I think we have some aerial shots we can show you of the Dejesus home where I spent all day yesterday with some of the family members of Gina.
At this hour, we are told by Councilman Matt Dome (ph), a local councilman here who knows the family very well, that Gina will be coming home. She will be coming home, he said, around 2:00. That would be in the next 15 minutes or so.
The crowd has been growing here progressively as you said throughout the past few hours. Well over 100 people here now. Friends, neighbors, press outside waiting to hear -- waiting to see Gina come home for the first time in nine years. We are told that Gina will not be making a statement. We are told that one of her family members will. It's unclear who that will be. We have been hearing primarily from Sandra Louise (ph), who is the aunt of Gina, who has been the family spokesperson throughout this. So we may hear from here after Gina comes home.
Interesting, though, Ashleigh, has been this poster with Gina's face on it. Her face is a 14-year-old girl, when she was last seen in front of the home. We're told by neighbors it has been here the entire time she has been missing, and it is still up here now. It is flocked with balloons and other welcome home signs. So this is a family that told me yesterday, they never gave up home looking for Gina, who was 14 years old when she disappeared.
BANFIELD: I hope those images of those balloons and those messages are a welcome sight to Gina Dejesus as she returns home momentarily. But nothing will be more welcome than the sight inside that family home, and the treasures she may remember from when she was 14. Let's just remember here, she disappeared back in 2004 at the age of 14. Last seen using a pay phone as she was on her way home from school. This was the middle of the day that she was snatched off the streets, not far from where she lives. In fact, what is so remarkable is all three of these captives were snatched from the same street.
We're going to take a quick break as we await her return. And when we come back, hopefully, we'll be able to catch this live as she comes back. And thank god for that, Gina Dejesus safe and back in the arms of her family in just moments.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to our live continuing coverage out of Cleveland, Ohio. A live picture coming to us courtesy of our affiliate, WKYC, at the home of Gina Dejesus, one of three young women who were just freed from captivity within the last 48 hours, captivity that lasted roughly a decade for all three of these young women, who, as teenagers, were snatched off the streets not far from their home.
Gina will be coming home to her family and hundreds of well wishers, friends and neighbors, and media who gathered outside her home. We're going to watch that live as police keep a careful presence outside, maintaining the order. And we also have got the aerial shot that shows you how many neighbors have showed up to cheer her on as she comes home.
As we await the motorcade, I want to turn our attention to Washington, D.C., for a moment where my colleague, Jake Tapper, is standing by.
Jake, it is a very, very busy breaking news day. There are so many stories that have been breaking, not the least of which an extraordinarily important House hearing on the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. If you could get our viewers up to speed on everything that has been transpiring on Capitol Hill, it would be much appreciated.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing began this morning. There are three so- called whistleblowers. The State Department argues that they're not whistleblowers since they were allowed to tell their stories to "The Independent Review." But both the Republican and ranking Democrat on the House committee have referred to the three men as whistleblowers.
One of them has testified before. Eric Nordstrom, he's the former regional security officer for the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya. He's been talking about why -- questions he has about why diplomats in Libya were not given enough security, despite repeated requests for security.
There is also the former number-two at the embassy, former deputy chief of mission, Gregory Hicks. He's been talking quite a bit about what was going on. One little bit of news that he expressed earlier was that the reason why the compound in Benghazi was there, and why the ambassador, Chris Stevens, who was killed the night of September 11th at that post, the reason why he went there, according to Hicks, is because Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, wanted it to be a permanent post in Benghazi. And she wanted a report by the end of September, 2012, on the environment in Benghazi, on the political environment and the security environment.
In addition, Hicks talked about when he watched the Sunday shows and saw the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, talk about how this was a spontaneous demonstration against the anti-Muslim video that got out of hand and not a terrorist attack. That was contradicting the president of Libya, who had said it was a terrorist attack.
Let's take a listen of some of the exchange with Mr. Hicks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, LIBYA: At about 3:00 a.m., I received a call from the prime minister of Libya. I think it is the saddest phone call I've ever had in my life. He told me that Ambassador Stevens had passed away. I immediately telephoned Washington that news, afterwards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's Greg Hicks, the former number-two at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. An emotional moment at the beginning of the hearing, Ashleigh, talking about the human cost of the scandal.
It has become a very political debate on Capitol Hill, with Republicans using it to exploit the Obama administration. Democrats acting as if there is nothing to see here, nothing to discuss. But the truth is, behind this, there are four human lives, four Americans who were killed on September 11th, September 12th, 2012. And there are serious questions remaining about why there wasn't enough security in Libya, and the administration's insistence initially that this was not a terrorist attack in those last couple of months before the 2012 presidential election -- Ashleigh?
BANFIELD: A lot of critical information that still needs to be disc discovered in this very intricate process.
Jake Tapper, thank you for that. Later on this afternoon, you'll have a lot more on this on your program, "The Lead," at 4:00 p.m. eastern.
My colleague, I thank him, Jake Tapper, for that.
In the meantime, we're continuing to watch that image on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. The homecoming imminent at any moment now, expected for Gina Dejesus. She spent 10 years roughly behind the closed door of the home of now a man who is expected to be charged with a myriad of different charges related to the captivity of three young women, Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, and Michele Knight. We have had one joyous homecoming already earlier on today. Amanda Berry, now 27, returning home to her sister's home, and bringing with her a 6- year-old daughter born in captivity. Gina Dejesus about to come home at any moment. We'll bring it to you live after the short break.
BANFIELD: We're continuing our live coverage out of Cleveland, Ohio. I'm Ashleigh Banfield, reporting live for you on the Jodi Arias verdict watch as well.
But our biggest story this hour, right now, that scene right there outside of Georgina, the name of Gina Dejesus' home in Cleveland. Now 23 years old, she went missing at age 14 back in 2004. And this will be her homecoming. After being released from captivity, not even two days ago, 48 hours ago, and having spent time in the hospital, she is about to roll down those streets and through those crowds who have come out to cheer her on. These are neighbors, these are friends, some of them may even be strangers from the Cleveland area who have just come by to wish her well and to give her their homecoming thoughts as she sees those balloons and toys and signs, all of these gifts that have been brought over to her home in the last just day. We have seen this crowd over the hour nearly quadruple in size. And it is very reminiscent of what we witnessed about an hour and a half ago, the homecoming of another young woman held captive, Amanda Berry.
Jean Casarez, look, court coverage in trials aside, you and I have had our fair share of cases that are horrendous. This one will rank among them with absolute certainty. But it is so important for us to focus first on these victims and what they know and how they can help.
CASAREZ: Sure. And the psychological aspect of going back to your family, I mean, that has to be immense within them. Maybe it will help law enforcement. Maybe it will help trigger things because law enforcement wants to have names now from them. Is there anybody else that knew about this for a decade?
BANFIELD: Not only that, the details, the facts, those things that will lead to hard and fast charges against one or all of these brothers. This is -- their testimony is going to be critical. Their information is going to be critical, right, Jean?
CASAREZ: It is going to be extremely critical. Because they will want to corroborate the forensic evidence that they're getting from computers and cell phones and text messages and e-mails and fingerprints from the home --
BANFIELD: So much.
CASAREZ: -- with their statements.
BANFIELD: This investigation is just beginning. But for now, Gina Dejesus will be coming home and, as Jean said, a momentous occasion for her and this community as they begin to try to heal from the horrors that developed in a home not far away.
I'm going to thank you so much for watching. And I'm going to turn it over to my colleague, Brooke Baldwin, who is going to carry the torch from here as we await that homecoming -- Brooke?