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Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy; Explaining Jolie's Cancer Gene; Chains, Barbed Wire and A Barbie Bicycle; Ariel Castro's Dark Past; AP: Justice Dept. Subpoenaed Phone Records; Luxury Brands and "The Great Gatsby"

Aired May 14, 2013 - 06:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, new this morning. An off-screen shocker. One of Hollywood's biggest stars, actress Angelina Jolie, making a stunning revelation that she has had both her breasts removed.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Chains, barbed wire, and a Barbie bicycle. Disturbing and revealing new images from kidnap and rape suspect, Ariel Castro's backyard.

SAMBOLIN: And devastating developments in the stabbing death of eight-year-old Leila Fowler. New information about her brother's troubled past as he faces a murder charge now.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin, Tuesday, May 14th. 6:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get started here.

New this morning, it's a stunning revelation by Angelina Jolie, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, that she's had a preventive double mastectomy because she carries a gene, the BRCA gene, that dramatically increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancers. So, she talks about the entire process in a very candid new op-ed.

Nischelle Turner is live with details from Los Angeles. Nischelle, everybody is really shocked, and I would imagine rallying around this very brave woman.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, shocked and supportive this morning of Angelina's words in "The New York Times" op-ed. You're right, she got very raw, very candid, went in to depth about her journey and what she's been facing over the last few weeks.


TURNER (voice-over): Actress, activist, advocate, mother, Angelina Jolie is many things, and Tuesday the actress added pro-active survivor to the list. In an op-ed piece for "The New York Times," the actress talked about her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after testing passive for BRCA-1, a gene that increases a woman's risk of certain cancers.

Jolie writes, quote, "My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys look awesome tonight.

TURNER: The Oscar-winner began her preventive process in February, at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills where singer, Sheryl Crow, was treated for her breast cancer in 2006. Now, nine weeks later, she says the final surgery has been completed and her breasts have been reconstructed with implants.

Cancer is something Jolie knows only too well. Her mother died six years ago after a decade-long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 56. Jolie talked about her in a 2011 "60 Minutes" interview.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: She didn't have much of her own career, her own life, her own experiences, her own, you know, everything was for her children. I will never be as good a mother as she is. I will try my best.

TURNER: At 37, Jolie doesn't want the same legacy for her six children, writing, quote, "I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer." Jolie says she wrote "The New York Times" op-ed to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy, but it is one I am very happy that I made.

Adding, she chose not to keep her story private to let other women know they have options if they, too, are high risk. It's a bold and public step from a woman who is well-known for her privacy.


TURNER: She also talks about how she does not feel any less of a woman, or feel any less feminine by making the decision to have her breasts removed, which we do know is a very big decision for a lot of women facing this same situation -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: You know, I am facing a double mastectomy. I'm going to have it actually on the 28th. I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I'll tell you that's the toughest decision for me. So I'm really excited that she's talking about it. She said I feel empowered that I'm in a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity. You know, it's nice to hear somebody else talk about it and have that support of a lot of women around you.

So the last time we saw Jolie was on the red carpet months ago. My big question, I guess, you know, did we see her covered up after the surgery? Do we know anything about how she recovered from it?

TURNER: Well, it's interesting. First of all, let me say we are all so supportive of you and I'm glad you're being able to talk about it as well.

SAMBOLIN: I know. Thank you. TURNER: We give you so much love. You're going to kick cancer.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I am.

TURNER: We saw Angelina Jolie just a few weeks ago. You know, we hadn't seen much of her in the public for awhile, but on either April 4th or 5th she did attend a woman in the world summit and she had on this green, flowy Saint Laurent gown and I remember people at the time commenting how covered up it was, not like the Angelina Jolie we usually see on the red carpet. It was very demure.

And we know now, since she said the last treatment she had was on April 27th, that's when she had the total reconstruction of the breast. That she was in the middle of this procedure when she was on the red carpet. So that definitely could be a reason why she still looked beautiful, believe me, but it was a very different Angelina Jolie that we saw.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's a very long process that you have to go through. And I'm so grateful that you're bringing us this story this morning. Nischelle Turner live from Los Angeles. Thank you.

BERMAN: You know, talking about it obviously so important. I think your openness has made it easier to talk about and digest for everyone around here, including me. I think Angelina Jolie's talking about it is going to be something that affects millions of people around the country.

And a lot of people are asking questions today. One of the big questions is, you know, who should get screened, when should you get screened, what are the issues here?

Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now from Atlanta to talk more about this cancer gene and the tests that Angelina Jolie took.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, because when you hear this story, you think, gee, if Angelina Jolie got tested, maybe I should get tested. So let me explain sort of what doctors recommend. If you have breast cancer in your family, talk to your doctor about whether you should get this test or not, it depends, you know, sometimes just even just your mother had it you should get tested.

Other doctors will say your mother and a couple sisters or an aunt or first degree relative versus farther away relatives like an aunt or a grandmother it all depends on your individual situation. But this is not a test that everyone needs to run out and get. If you don't have breast cancer in your family, it's not a test that you need to run out and get.

But, if you do, as we've seen with Angelina Jolie, it can make a huge difference. You can do something. You have this gene that gives you a really, really high chance of getting breast cancer in your lifetime, you can do something about it. You can get your breasts removed, and reconstructed -- John. BERMAN: So explain to me, Elizabeth, how the mastectomy process works. Is it a sure way to get rid of all the risk?

COHEN: You know, it's interesting. Because Angelina Jolie says she now has a 5 percent chance of getting breast cancer. It's not zero. It's 5 and so, there's still a chance. They don't take absolutely everything. So you still could get breast cancer. But still 5 percent is really, really low, compared to, for her, it was 87 percent chance. So that's a drastic difference.

SAMBOLIN: And one other thing we wanted to discuss, Elizabeth, is this 50 percent risk that she has of getting ovarian cancer. A lot of times a lot of women have chosen when they do have this BRCA gene they get the double mastectomy and remove their ovaries, as well. Do you think that that will be another option for her, what other treatments are available?

COHEN: Well, it could be. When you read her piece in the "Times," she sort of leaves that open. She said she wanted to do this first, since the risk was higher for breast cancer, but she leaves it open whether she's going to get her ovaries removed, as well.

In some ways, getting your ovaries removed is a bigger deal because it puts you into menopause and so you've got this whole hormonal situation to deal with, as well. So it may be that she just, you know, you're not going to do both right at the same time. It may be something that she's putting off for another time. But that is the cancer her mother died of, ovarian cancer, so I imagine that it's really weigh --

SAMBOLIN: Weighing on her.

COHEN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: She loves a big family so you've got to feel for her making that major decision. That incredible team has helped me deal with my stuff as well.

So thank you, Elizabeth Cohen. They've been really great with me. It's like all this research right in your own home.

COHEN: Well, we love you and we want you to -- you're going to do so well.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to be great.

COHEN: You're going to be great.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Elizabeth. I just want to stress once again that talking about this is not easy for a lot of people. I think probably men more so than women in some cases, but talking about it is crucial and could save so many lives.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it can. It can. Thank you.

All right, we're getting a disturbing new look into the backyard of Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. Photographs snapped by a neighbor last weekend and now obtained by CNN revealing horrifying evidence of torture and abuse along with a pink Barbie bicycle back there as well.

Pam Brown is live from Cleveland this morning, kind of surprising that all these things were in his backyard?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Zoraida. You see the front of his house, is a crime scene. It's boarded up and then the backyard is full of dingy items. Full of debris and junk and in it, there are items like chains and barbed wires, and these items are giving us clues into possibly what went on inside the house of horrors, and how Ariel Castro kept an eye out for unexpected visitors.


BROWN (voice-over): Chilling new photos give us a glimpse of Ariel Castro's backyard, taken over the weekend by a neighbor. The backyard resembling a junk yard, spools of barbed wire, and probably the most unnerving, chains. The neighbor said he saw hundreds of thick, heavy chains in the yard.

And then this mirror, hanging on Castro's back door that may have allowed him to see if someone was coming up his driveway, possibly using it to prevent any surprise visitors and finally, a pink Barbie bicycle, fit for a little girl, a bicycle that may have belonged to Amanda Berry's daughter, fathered by Ariel Castro. And moments after this cell phone video was shot of Amanda Berry's rescue --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got Onil Castro and Ariel Castro in custody down here at McDonald's.

BROWN: Just released police dispatch reporting that revealed the arrest of Ariel Castro. And we're now learning more about him. From six different police reports filed about Castro since 1989. He had an argument with his wife in which she allegedly, quote, "slapped her across the face several times, grabbed her and slammed her against the walls."

In 1994, a neighbor claimed Castro attempted to hit him with a shovel, and threatened that he was going to take care of him. When arguing over a chain link fence. Castro remains jailed on suicide precaution, being monitored every 10 minutes by guards locked up in solitude, receiving no visitors, no friends, no family, and no mail. Life in those respects not unlike what Dejesus, Knight, Berry and her daughter endured for years.


BROWN: And we have learned from the sheriff's office that Castro has only received professional visits from his attorneys. He remains on restriction, which is reserved only for high profile inmates. That means he cannot interact with other inmates in jail.

Evidence is still being collected in this investigation. The medical examiner's office was at his house yesterday taking panoramic pictures inside all of the rooms as the evidence is being collected a grand jury will decide what other charges he should face.

SAMBOLIN: And all sorts of bizarre behavior from him as he's behind bars. We understand that he's walking around naked, that he's using remnants from a carpet to floss his teeth, just totally bizarre. Pamela Brown we appreciate your live report today from Cleveland.

BERMAN: It's 11 minutes after the hour. New information this morning about the 12-year-old brother of Leila Fowler who is now under arrest for the stabbing death of his sister. A fellow student and a school administration source say the boy was suspended for five days earlier this year after he brought a small pocket knife to school.

The boy is not being named because he's a minor. He's now being held at a juvenile detention center and legal experts say because of his age, he cannot be tried as an adult in California.

Police in New Orleans targeting a suspect in the Mother's Day parade shooting that wounded 19 people. They're telling 19-year-old Akein Scott to turn himself in. He was captured by surveillance camera video firing on the crowd in the city's Seventh Ward. Several witnesses also identified Scott. Police say it's possible there may have been more than one shooter, however. Three of the people wounded are now in critical condition.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, claims that the government is spying on journalists and now threats of legal action, as well. We have all the details coming up next.


BERMAN: New this morning: is the government, our government, trying to intimidate reporters, infringing on freedom of the press?

"The Associated Press" is threatening legal action for what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion by the Justice Department -- the claim that the government was snooping on the news organization.

Our Brian Todd is following this story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "The Associated Press" says the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records, of reporters and editors for "The A.P.", records listed incoming and outgoing calls, the duration of each call for the work and personal phone numbers of "A.P." employees, according to that news agency.

"A.P." says the seizure recovered numbers for its employees in its New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut, offices, and the main number for "A.P." reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.

"A.P." says the Justice Department notified them of the seizure on Friday, the 10th. Now, there is nothing to suggest actual phone conversations were monitored. The CEO of "A.P." is furious and he let the Justice Department know it. Gary Pruitt in a letter to Eric Holder says, "These records reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by 'The A.P.' during a two-month period, provide a rod map to the news gathering operations and disclose information about 'A.P.'s' activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know."

Now, Pruitt wants Justice to return all of those records and destroy the copies.

On Monday afternoon, we got this response from the U.S. attorney's office, quote, "Regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media."

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the move as did Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: They had an obligation to look for every other way to get it, before they, in fact, intruded on the freedom of press.

TODD: So what is this specifically about and why would the Justice Department have sought those phone records? "A.P." says government officials have said in public testimony that the U.S. attorneys office is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information obtained in an "A.P." story from a year ago this month about a foiled terror plot. That story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: And our thanks to Brian Todd for that report. A lot of serious questions raised right there.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, massive product placement in the blockbuster movie "The Great Gatsby." Will it have you buying up luxury brands?

BERMAN: Or just dancing?

And much more to come on Angelina Jolie's revelation that she's had both her breasts removed. We learned this overnight. How the Oscar- winning actress hopes to help other women facing the same prognosis.


SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business this morning.

We're still counting the record highs on Wall Street. How many ways can we count? The S&P 500 hit one yesterday. Today stock futures pointing a little lower.

BERMAN: And now to the product placement of all product placements. We're talking about "The Great Gatsby." The big budget film is going big on luxury names, we're talking Prada, Brooks Brothers, Tiffany.

And, Christine, they're striking gold.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This takes it to a whole new level.


ROMANS: -- beautiful, the film looks beautiful, and the product placement is there for all toe see. Luxury names plastered all over this film. Tiffany's supplied the jewels. Brooks Brothers supplied the suits. The champagne is from Moet Champagne, the dresses are Prada.

But this isn't your typical product placement. These are full-fledged partnerships. Some of these companies want you to see the film and go, shop.

Tiffany has a line, has a line of Great Gatsby jewelry. That diamond headbands that Daisy Buchanan wears, you can get one for $200,000, Zoraida. Brooks Brothers is doing the same with the good rollout of suits, hats, bow ties, shoes.

Experts say in this case, the brand is an integral character in the movie.

BERMAN: Really? A lot of lines?

ROMANS: Not unprecedented, but this is unusual, and it can be difficult to do gracefully and elegantly.

We spoke to Sonia Misak, a global marketing consultant.


SONIA MISAK, GLOBAL MARKETING CONSULTANT: With luxury brands, it has to be really, really subtle to work. And also to be integrated you have to believe that this actor who is an aspirational figure would also live with that brand out of the set of the movie, as well.


ROMANS: It's a fine line, making it seem natural and not an advertisement, especially when I'm sitting here, telling you that it's big advertisement. To get there, "The Great Gatsby" went for brands that were popular in the '20s, brands that F. Scott Fitzgerald bought. Moet Champagne tells us that it didn't pay to be in that movie. Of course, all of these brands signed on in hopes that the investment would go far beyond the box office.

BERMAN: Yes, it's not altruism.

ROMANS: No, it is not altruism. But, you know, I mean, look, James Bond and his Breitling watch. I mean, when you look back at films, especially big bold budget, box-office films, you can see product placement, this takes it --

SAMBOLIN: I just went into Brooks Brothers because I was looking for a suit with my son, sure enough, the Great Gatsby, everywhere. You feel like you walked into the film.

ROMANS: So, in your "Road Warriors" this morning, if you're traveling, you reserved a nonsmoking room, you think you're avoiding smoke pollution, but guess what? You're probably not.

New research from San Diego State University found cigarette smoking anywhere in a hotel exposes everyone who is staying in that hotel to smoke, even people in nonsmoking rooms. In a random sample of budget to mid-range hotels in California, the study found nicotine levels in the area 40 percent higher in nonsmoking rooms in hotels that allow smoking.

Researchers recommend staying in hotels that are completely smoke- free. The good news is that a 2011 study by "USA today" and American -- AAA, the American Automobile Association, found there are more than 12,900 hotels and motels now completely smoke-free in the country.

SAMBOLIN: Tweet that list out.

ROMANS: I know. That will take me all day.

SAMBOLIN: What's the one thing we need to know about our mon know?

ROMANS: Surprise. This generation is saving earlier for retirement than any generation before them. This shocked me. Merrill Lynch said young people with savings of at least 50 grand started putting their money away at age 22.


ROMANS: Their parents started at age 35. Hey, don't count them out just yet, as underemployed and held back by student debt. This generation, not the narcissistic entitled brats we thought they were. They're saving money earlier --



ROMANS: I'm teasing. You know, that's the conventional wisdom.

BERMAN: I like to call them our demo. That's what I like to call them.

Twenty-four minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: We love them. That's great news, though. (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Still ahead, Angelina Jolie's shocking revelation. She has had a double mastectomy. This news breaking overnight. How her mother's health battles shaped that bold decision.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, O.J. Simpson back in court, pleading for a new trial. He looks really different.

Why his personal testimony may be the key to his case.