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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Angelina Jolie Announces She Had Double Mastectomy; White House Criticized for Subpoenaing Associated Press Phone Records; O.J. Simpson in Court Again; High-End Product Placement in "Gastby"

Aired May 14, 2013 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Our STARTING POINT, a stunning revelation overnight -- superstar Angelina Jolie revealed she had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. Details about her drastic decision in moments.

BERMAN: Then chains, barbed wire, the disturbing items found in the Cleveland suspect's backyard. They paint a vivid picture of the nightmare that three women reportedly lived through for ten years. We are live in Cleveland.

It is Tuesday, May 14th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

ROMANS: New this morning, the stunning revelation by one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie revealing that she's had a preventive double mastectomy because she carries a gene that dramatically increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancer. This is really about so much more than Hollywood and celebrity.

It's also about medical decisions faced by millions of women. Nischelle Turner is following developments for us this morning from Los Angeles. Quite a shocker.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Christine. Shock and a lot of support this morning for Angelina Jolie who has invited the world into her journey. Now, she called the op-ed piece "My Medical Choice," and she really went in depth about her difficult health decision.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TURNER: Actress, activist, advocate mother, Angelina Jolie is many things, and Tuesday the actress added proactive 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 positive for BRCA1, 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TURNER: She says her children often ask her about mommy's mommy, and she would tell them about her mother and her battle with ovarian cancer. She also says that she's going to post her regimen on the website of the Pink Lotus Breast Center here in southern California. This is where she was treated. She says she also hopes it can be helpful to other women, Christine.

ROMANS: And she begins that piece writing about mommy, mommy, and how not all of her children were able to meet her mother. And they talk about, her mother died of ovarian cancer back in 2007. How did that influence her decision to get this procedure?

TURNER: Well, it definitely did. You know, she talked often about her mother and how close they were. You heard her there in the piece with "60 Minutes" talking about how strong her mother was. She definitely says that that influenced her, because she knows that there was a history there. That's why she was tested. And, you know, the good thing that's how she found out that she did have the faulty BRCA gene.

So you know, a lot of people have been offering her support this morning, Christine. Hollywood is definitely reacting. Actress Nia Vardalos took to Twitter early, and she said "A moment of quiet respect for Angelina Jolie's candor and all women's bravery in facing this choice." Elizabeth Banks also tweeted "Much respect and for sharing in a classy way." And then she went on to post why Angelina Jolie on why she had a double mastectomy and how it can save lives. Also Giuliana Rancic, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and also had a mastectomy, she tweeted, "Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy. Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women." So a lot of reaction out there already very early this morning.

ROMANS: And she mentioned her children, her fiance, Brad Pitt, in the piece as well, a big support system for her.

TURNER: Yes, absolutely she does. You know, her next movie that she's doing is a Disney movie that tells the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Her daughter Vivien has a role in that film with her. So this will be the first time they are acting together.

Just about a month ago we did see Angelina Jolie on the red carpet. We hadn't seen much of her lately. She had been spending a lot of family time, her and Brad Pitt with her children. She appeared at this Women of the World summit, and there we see some video of her there. I remember she's wearing like an olive green, flowing Saint Laurent gown. At the time I remember people commenting on how covered up it was, and it wasn't like the Angelina Jolie we usually she on the red carpet, that she was very demure. You see the came over her.

Now we know this was back in early April, on April 4th, that she was in the middle of all of these procedures, that she hadn't had that full breast reconstruction yet. She had that an April 27th. So here we see her and we know that she is right in the middle of the process of having a double mastectomy.

ROMANS: Not all women make these choices. She certainly, certainly is very beautifully illustrates why she made this choice.

TURNER: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BERMAN: I've seen a lot of people talking about this right now. It could affect millions of women potentially. Coming up in a little bit we're going to talk about the science behind this, and the test, and it can be controversial, for this so-called cancer gene. So stay with us for that.

ROMANS: Our special medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will join us to explain the science behind all of that.

Also this morning, we're getting a disturbing look into the back yard of Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. Photographs taken by a neighbor and obtained by CNN revealing a pink Barbie bicycle in the midst of some horrifying evidence of torture and abuse. We're also learning a lot more about Castro's dark past. Our Pam Brown live from Cleveland this morning. Just seeing the pink Barbie bicycle just turns your stomach. Such a sad story, Pam.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. It's a picture of innocence there in the midst of everything else, really a treasure trove of evidence in the backyard of Ariel Castro's home. We're seeing in these pictures barbed wire, chains, items that could give us clues into what possibly went on inside the house of horrors and how Ariel Castro kept an eye out for unexpected visitors.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: 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 cellphone 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 he 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, no mail, a life in those respects not unlike what Dejesus, Knight, Berry and her daughter endured for years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And according to our local affiliate here in Cleveland, WOIO, Castro has been exhibiting some bizarre behavior inside his cell. He's been walking around naked, using loose strings of the mat to floss his teeth and really just bizarre behavior here. And this is according to logs inside the jail that was documented by guards. Every 10 minutes guards must document everything he's doing from eating to sleeping.

ROMANS: Pam Brown for us live this morning in Cleveland.

BERMAN: We're also following a story that gets right to the freedom of the press and also possibly intimidation of reporters. We're following these reports that the Justice Department secretly obtained phone records of associated press editors and reporters. The AP calls it a massive and unprecedented intrusion into its news gathering. And they are threatening legal action. CNN's Joe Johns is following the story for us. He's in our Washington bureau. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. The Associated Press says the government subpoenaed this information two months of telephone records for five reporters and an editor we know of at the AP. The government has not said why it needed the information, but it's apparently an attempt to investigate unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

An investigation was promised after a story surfaced in May of 2012 about an alleged bomb plot that failed against a U.S.-bound plane. Members of Congress from both parties are asking about it.

Now, the one thing I think we also have to point out is that the Justice Department has issued a very measured statement. It essentially has said that it followed all of the procedures before taking such a step. This statement was issued by the United States attorney in Washington, D.C., who was appointed to investigate the story. It says "We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, DOJ policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations. Those regulations," it says, "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."

So the tone is measured here among members of congress, and the department of justice. We don't know a whole lot about it. But we do know DOJ promised an investigation into this issue and apparently they're delivering.

BERMAN: Joe, as we said, it does raise a lot of questions this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

ROMANS: And President Obama says he will hold the IRS accountable if reports that the agency targeted Tea Party groups turn out to be true. Acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller is set to testify this Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee as Republican lawmakers demand more transparency from the Obama administration. CNN's Brianna Keilar live at the White House for us this morning. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine. You could definitely say the White House has had a very tough last several days, buffeted by these controversies involving the bombing attack, the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate in September, the IRS, and now this latest involving the seizure of phone records from the associated press reporters and editors.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: As a series of controversies boiled over in Washington, President Obama left town.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I sure want to do some governing. I want to get some stuff down.

KEILAR: Headlining New York City fundraisers with Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel amid news the Justice Department seized phone records of Associated Press reporters in an investigation of leaks, accusations they down played terrorist involvement in September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, and claims the IRS targeted conservative groups looking for tax exempt status.

OBAMA: I will not tolerate it. KEILAR: Just hours before, Obama addressed the IRS scandal.

OBAMA: If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it.

KEILAR: The agency's watchdog is expected to release a report this week that will show the IRS targeted applicants who made statements that, quote, "criticize how the country is run." This as e-mails became public showing the administration changed CIA talking points on terrorist involvement in the Libya attack just before the presidential election.

OBAMA: The whole issue of this -- of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow. Suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. There's no "there" there.

KEILAR: But Republicans see opportunity, and they're accusing the president of hiding the truth.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: Where is the outrage all along as things like this keep happening? The pattern is becoming one in which this administration is not transparent and they don't seem to care if the right things are done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Now, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, at least on the story involving the seizure of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, says that Congress will fully investigate the situation. To that end, Christine, there was already a previously scheduled hearing on Wednesday before that committee that Attorney General Eric Holder is set to testify at. He is going to be asked very tough questions, no doubt, tomorrow when he does. And the truth is, for Republicans, these issues, these controversies, are really just gifts that keep on giving for them.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. A strategist I follow this morning was e-mailing how it's been a very bad week already for this administration and it's Tuesday.

BERMAN: Thanks so much.

ROMANS: It will continue to be so.

BERMAN: On defense on the AP, on the IRS, and on Benghazi, a tough, tough week. The question is, what will it do to the overall agenda?

ROMANS: Absolutely.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, as O.J. Simpson tries to get his convictions tossed out, we get our first look at the disgraced football star in four years. There he is. Will we get to hear him testify? BERMAN: Then he's accused of killing three people and wounding scores of others in the Boston Marathon bombing. So why are so many women fawning over Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The disturbing trend coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everyone. We're getting our first look now at O.J. Simpson after 4 1/2 years in prison. You've got to see the difference right here. Look at that. His face much, much fuller.

ROMANS: He looks like he's walking kind of slowly, too. Like maybe some bad knees.

BERMAN: Arthritis or something. Put on a lot of weight, the hair gray, obviously. When he takes the witness stand in a court hearing in Las Vegas he will point the finger at his former attorney who he says botched the case that resulted in his conviction.

ROMANS: I couldn't see if there could be shackles there too. Maybe that's why he was shuffling, but anyway Simpson is now seeking a new trial. CNN's Paul Vercammen live in Las Vegas for us. We've seen him. We may hear from him this week, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Christine and John. They say Simpson could be on the witness stand for up to two full days and the strain of prison time seemed to show on his face, but he is no doubt thrilled to be having his day in court.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: Heavier and grayer, disgraced football legend O.J. Simpson slowly stepped into a Las Vegas courtroom after 4 1/2 years in prison for kidnapping, assault, and armed robbery. The new Simpson legal team is presenting 19 claims it says show he was so poorly represented in the 2008 kidnap trial by Yale Galanter that he should get a new trial.

New lead attorney Patricia Palm argues Simpson was never told about an offered plea deal and should have taken the witness stand. Gabe Grasso assisted Galanter in 2008, and emphatically told the court Monday he wanted Simpson to testify then.

GABE GRASSO, FORMER SIMPSON CO-COUNSEL: O.J. is a very eloquent person. And he can explain himself very well. And so I thought he would be a great witness.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson's lawyers also tried to show the former Heisman Trophy winner had been drinking alcohol, which impaired him from seeing his cohorts carry guns into the confrontation. The new Simpson team argues that Galanter knew about Simpson's plans to get back some of his memorabilia. Simpson's daughter Arnelle took the stand saying she was with her father and Galanter at dinner the night before the incident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was your dad drinking alcohol that evening?

ARNELLE SIMPSON, O.J. SIMPSON'S DAUGHTER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall overhearing any conversation about your dad's plan to go look at his property the next day?

A. SIMPSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who did you hear talking about that?

A. SIMPSON: My dad was talking to you.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson is waiting to testify in this hearing.

PATRICIA PALM, O.J. SIMPSON LEAD ATTORNEY: This will be his first time to be able to tell what happened and, you know, instead of hearing it in bits and pieces and, you have to remember the evidence in this case was extremely conflicting from all the witnesses.

VERCAMMEN: Simpson may take the stand as soon as Wednesday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: And Simpson's defense team telling me they think that he will be their star witness. Christine, John?

ROMANS: All right. Paul Vercammen, thanks, Paul. We're looking forward to that.

BERMAN: In legal news, police in New Orleans have a suspect in their sights for the Mother's Day parade shooting Sunday that left 19 people wounded, three of them critically. The suspect, 19-year-old Akein Scott is still at large but multiple people have identified him. Police say Scott has a criminal record that includes drugs and firearms charges. Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward in this case.

ROMANS: A Saudi man arrested over the weekend at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for traveling with a pressure cooker and allegedly lying to federal agents about why he had it. Hussein Al Kwawahir claims he was visiting his nephew and bringing him the pressure cooker as a gift because the ones sold in America don't work as well as the ones made in Saudi Arabia. There were also issues with the suspect's passport. You recall pressure cookers were used in the Boston marathon bombings.

BERMAN: A lot of people saying it's a curious thing to travel with. Ahead on STARTING POINT, massive product placement in the blockbuster film "The Great Gatsby." Will it have you buying luxury brands, and looking like Leonardo DiCaprio? You're watching STARTING POINT.

ROMANS: Or just drinking champagne.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Good morning, welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans minding your business. the record run, well it could end today. Futures indicating a lower open for stocks. The S&P 500 hit an all- time high Monday, despite talk the federal reserve is discussing how to safely stop its economic stimulus program.

Several major retailers joining forces to increase safety standards in the country of Bangladesh. This comes after that building collapse last month killed more than 1,100 people, most of them young women making clothes that hang in your closet. Now, H&M, Zara, PVH, that's the company that owns Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, they're signing on to a five-year plan that calls for independent safety inspections, and the reports must be made public. The companies currently hire their own inspectors, the results aren't usually publicized, and Bangladesh, the E.U. trade commissioner said it is modern slavery for the young women who are making the products that hang in our closets and European products.

Now to the produce placement of all product placements: "The Great Gatsby" products, Brooks Brothers, Tiffany, (INAUDIBLE), they're plastered all over this movie. This isn't your typical product placement, though. These are full-fledged partnerships. Tiffany and Brooks Brothers have launched entire Gatsby lines so you can shop what you see in the movie. The brands clearly an integral character in the movie. A move that can be difficult to do. We spoke with Sonia Misak of Global Marketing Consultants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: It's interesting for that authenticity "The Great Gatsby" went for brads that were popular in the 20's, brands that F. Scott Fitzgerald bought, companies are undoubtedly hoping the marketing blitz translates into sales. I guess you could buy your wife a lovely Tiffany headband for $200,000.

BERMAN: Yes, if my kids don't want to go to college I certainly could. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, Angelina Jolie's shocking revelation about surgery to prevent breast cancer. An important story to so many women. Just what is this cancer gene she talks about and what women should know about it. It's personal for us here.

ROMANS: And Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is accused of a deadly terror attack but he's developing a strong and passionate fan base. That's right. Women who are attracted to this suspected killer.

BERMAN: And then, speaking about attractive, Prince Harry visiting the Jersey Shore. Will he be able to keep up with Chris Christie? You're watching STARTING POINT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)