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O.J. Making Case for New Trial; "No Confidence" Vote for Boston Fire Chief; Boy Accused of Killing Sister Due in Court; Technology Helps Children Heal; Wall Street on Winning Streak; Holder Question About A.P. Phone Records; David Ortiz Raises Money for Boston Marathon Victims; Source: 2 "Rogue" IRS Employees Blamed.

Aired May 15, 2013 - 13:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Inside a courtroom in Las Vegas, O.J. Simpson is making his case for a new trial. He's currently serving a 33-year sentence for armed robbery, assault and kidnapping. Simpson says he received bad legal advice from his lawyer four years ago.

Let's listen to what he said just a little while ago during this hearing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So at this dinner, what's the conversation between you and Mr. Galanter?

O.J. SIMPSON, CONVICTED FELON: Yes. Well, we talked about the wedding, Tom getting married. This came up, what was going to happen tomorrow. I explained to him what I was going to try to have Charlie do, to go in to verify it was my stuff and to try to get more -- see if he could get more personal stuff out of the guys. I didn't think these guys would have everything laying around. And I was hoping that maybe one of my watches or rings or something would show up.

Someone mentioned, I think C.J. mentioned -- my daughter mentioned, the suit, was the suit going to be there. I said if that suit's there I'm going to take it and burn it. And, Yale -- this is what I remember -- said, you are not burning that suit.


SIMPSON: Told me I was not going to burn that suit, to bring that suit to him. I said, man, these guys, they inflate everything. If this suit was worth what they're saying it was worth, they would have sold it a long time ago. He said, no, and he implied he knew somebody that he knew was interested in buying it.


We're going to continue to monitor this hearing that O.J. Simpson is having. He's trying to reopen his case.

Today is also one month since the Boston Marathon bombings. Two more patients have been released from the hospital. Rose Anne Stoya (ph) discharged from Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital yesterday. Boston firefighters escorted her to her home. She lost part of her right leg in the bombing. Paul Norton also released from Boston hospital yesterday. He and his brother were severely injured in the attack. They each lost a leg.

Meantime, the city's fire chief is being criticized for the way he handled the bombings.

Jason Carroll has a closer look.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are some very serious allegations being made against Boston's fire chief, Steve Abraira. The allegations coming from 13 out of 14 of the deputy fire chiefs. They basically say that he was shirking his responsibilities the day of the Boston Marathon and that he failed to assume command. These allegations being made in a letter of no confidence that was mailed to Boston's mayor.

Let me read you part of the letter. It says, "At a time when the city of Boston needed every first responder to take decisive action, Chief Abraira failed to get involved in operational decision-making or show any leadership. You can unequivocally consider this letter a vote of no confidence in chief Abraira."

I spoke to Chief Abraira this morning at his home. He basically feels a lot of this is infighting coming from his deputy chiefs. He feels these allegations are being made against him because he's an outsider. He came in from Dallas about two years ago. He said he made some departmental changes to bring the department up to national standards that were not popular. And he says, as a result of that, he is constantly being criticized by some in the lower ranks.

He responded by saying, "in their estimation, they believe that if you don't assume command, you don't have responsibility there for what goes on. I tried to explain to them, if I'm on the scene, I'm still responsible. That's it. But they don't believe it."

Chief Abraira also made it clear to me that he said at least four deputy fire chiefs were here at the scene and handled the situation well. He says it's his responsibility to step in only if his deputy chiefs aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing.

The mayor also weighing in on this, basically saying that he has full confidence in the fire commissioner, whatever happens.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Boston.


BLITZER: For the second time this month, a U.S. servicemember, who worked in a sexual assault prevention program, has been accused of sex crimes. We're taking a closer look at these serious allegations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: In California, a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his 8- year-old sister is due in court next hour. Leila fowler was stabbed multiple times in her family's home late last month. The children's mother called 911 to report that her children were afraid because a man had broken into their home.

Here's a portion of that call.


911 DISPATCHER: Hi, 9-1-1, how can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED MOTHER OF ACCUSED 12 YEAR OLD: My children are at home alone and a man just ran out of our house. My older son was in the bathroom and my daughter started screaming.


BLITZER: Says he will be tried as a juvenile.

It's a growing problem for the U.S. military, the number of allegations of sexual assaults within its ranks now on the rise. And it also now appears another scandal is breaking, this time at Ft. Hood in Texas. A soldier assigned to coordinator the Sexual Assault Prevention Program is under investigation -- get this -- for sexual assault. A Defense Department official says initial indications show that at least one person may have been forced into prostitution- related activity, but the matter remains under investigation. The sergeant first-class has been suspended of all duties.

U.S. officials are remaining tight-lipped right now about Russia's claim that it detained an American spy. Russia's foreign ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in Moscow this morning to talk about the situation. Michael McFall (ph) left a short time later without any comment to reporters. Russia claims this man was trying to recruit a double agent, whose name is Ryan Fogel, and he's a political officer at the U.S. embassy. Russian officials said Fogel had a spy arsenal. Video shows a number of wigs, recording devices, cash and plastic bags with documents. Russia has ordered Fogel's expulsion.

Video games, touch screen computers, interactive pod beds, sounds like an arcade, right? Actually, it's a children's hospital.

CNN's Carol Costello shows us how they're finding new ways to treat pain.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paige Plotkin is doing some high-tech rehab. Interactive video games are just one of several innovative techniques being used at the newly open pain medication care complex in Washington.

DR. SARAH REBSTOCK, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: This is where we engage video and gaming technology. COSTELLO: Plotkin was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome when she was a freshman in high school. Games like this are engineered to target areas of a patient's body while distracting them from discomfort.

(on camera): How do you feel as you do this?

PAIGE PLOTKIN, PATIENT: Not as -- I'm not thinking of the pain as much as I usually do for sure.

COSTELLO (voice-over): While Paige pushes herself, the system is providing real-time feedback to her physical therapist who can adjust treatment on the fly.

UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICAL THERAPIST: You're going to have to lean on that foot, back and forth.

COSTELLO: The game room isn't the only techy twist you'll find at this facility. There's no more waiting room. Here it's dubbed the "learning oasis," complete with touch screen computers.


COSTELLO: And patients rest in a pod bed that measures biofeedback. Lights change along with body temperature. And music and aroma therapy can be added to help them cope with pain and stress as they sleep.

REBSTOCK: We hope, over time, we will develop more games and more technology that allow us to keep moving forward in this area.

COSTELLO: Carol Costello, CNN, Atlanta.


BLITZER: U.S. stocks right now back in record territory after hitting another high on Tuesday. Take a look at this. But how can we be doing so well when the Eurozone apparently in the terrible recession right now. We'll take a closer look.


BLITZER: Wal-Mart and the Gap say they will not, repeat not, sign an international deal to increase safety standards in Bangladesh. The five-year plan calls for independent safety inspections and reports to be made public. Companies currently hire their own inspectors and results aren't usually publicized. Wal-Mart says it's inspecting all of its 279 factories in Bangladesh and will make the results public. Meanwhile, gap says it wants to sign the agreement, but it does not want the pact to be legally binding. Right now, PVH, which is the company that owns Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, is the only company to sign the agreement. Most of the companies that have signed are from Europe.

Turning now to Wall Street, where investors remain very much on a roll, stocks are on record highs, but just how long will the market keep this kind of momentum up?

Alison Kosik is joining us from the New York Stock Exchange right now.

Alison, how is the U.S. market reacting to the news that the European Union is back in recession?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Interesting you ask that because the broader market, as you can see, is taking it in stride. We are seeing some individual stocks, Wolf, getting hit by the news. Tech company, Hewlett Packard is one of those. Shares are down almost 3 percent. H.P. is one of the many companies who, during the first- quarter earning season, reported it had weak sales in Europe and that hurt their overall sales.

Funny thing is not much seems to be able to put the brakes on this rally. The Dow, S&P 500, they're both headed for yet another record high. Look at the Dow. It's closed at a record high, 19 times so far this year, going for number 20 today -- Wolf?

BLITZER: People are making money in their 401Ks and elsewhere.

All of the optimism, Alison, on Wall Street, what's it based on? I ask the question because there are concerns, as you well know, that a lot of this could come crashing down.

KOSIK: That's a good point. Traders never like it when they see this trade going, you know, straight up or straight down. Investors have actually been looking for some kind of pullback for months, but the rally just keeps showing little signs of slowing down.

Now, keep in mind stocks are being in part propped up by the Fed's stimulus dollars, but also higher corporate profits are also keeping stocks higher, and that strength is what will hopefully keep the market from falling too far too fast when the trend does inevitably turn lower.

And just because the trade continues to move higher for the folks down on the floor, who are actually trading these stocks, you know, one trader says it this way, he says, greed keeps you from selling, and the record highs make it hard to find stocks to buy. So, believe it or not, some traders are having a hard time finding the wiggle room they usually have -- Wolf?

BLITZER: We'll see if that negative trend in Europe spills over here. We'll monitor that closely.

Alison, thanks very much.

Here in Washington, on Capitol Hill right now, the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, is facing serious questions about those phone records the Justice Department seized from the Associated Press and he's facing questions on a wide range of other issues as well. Holder is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

Here's what he said just a few moments ago about those A.P. phone records. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: A lot of criticism, in fact, the head of the RNC called for my resignation in spite of the fact that I was not the person involved in that decision. But, be that as it may, I was recused in that matter, as I described I guess in a press conference I held yesterday. The decision to issue this subpoena was made by the people who are presently involved in the case. The matter is being supervised by the deputy attorney general. I am not familiar with the reasons why the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was because I'm simply not a part of the case.


BLITZER: We're going to continue to monitor the hearing up on Capitol Hill. We'll keep you updated, of course, on the latest developments.

Feces, profanity and urine sprayed at them on the job. For the first time ever, guards at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are talking exclusively to CNN about guarding Gitmo's most dangerous detainees. The interview that will leave you speechless. We will air it later today in "The Situation Room," 5:00 p.m. eastern. We're on the ground at Gitmo.

Plus, Boston Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, is turning some of his colorful language into help for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. You're going to find out how. That's next, right here in CNN NEWSROOM.


BLITZER: Shortly after the Boston bombings, the Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, had a message to the terrorists. This is our, his words, "blanking," city. He didn't say the word "blanking." But now Ortiz is using that colorful language to raise some serious money for the bombing victims.

Joe Carter has the "Bleacher Report."

JOE CARTER, BLEACHERREPORT.COM: Yes, Wolf. Basically, David Ortiz is taking that memorable quote and printing it on baseball bats and selling them for charity. We remember that moment, just after the Boston bombings, when Ortiz stood in front of the Fenway crowd and had no problem saying exactly what was on his mind. Now, Ortiz, and the company that makes his current bats, are partnering up to make these bats. Not only does the bat have the quote, it also has a silhouette of Ortiz pointing to the sky and the words "Never forget" and "Boston Strong." Now, unsigned bats are going for 125 bucks. Autographed ones are going for $500. You can purchase them on his web site, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the bombing victims.

Let's talk basketball. The New York Knicks, they're in trouble after last night's loss, 11-point loss to Indiana. The Knicks are down 3-1. Carmelo Anthony had 24 points. Smith had 19. The rest of the Knicks, ice cold. Indiana's George Hill, on the other hand, had another solid game. He's been the driving force behind the pacers playoff success so far. The most competitive playoff series is the Spurs and the Warriors. Last night, anything but competitive, because the old-man Spurs ran the floor like they were in their early 20s. They hammered Golden State, one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Beat them by 18 points. San Antonio is now in control, 3-2. Game six shifts back to Oakland, and that's Thursday night. For all things NBA playoffs, go to

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

We're getting news just coming into the CNN NEWSROOM. I want to bring in CNN's Drew Griffin.

Drew, the IRS scandal is escalating. A lot of officials up on Capitol Hill, they want names. They want to know who was responsible for targeting Tea Party groups, conservative organizations, for specific treatment in order to get tax exempt status.

You're learning some new information. Tell our viewers what you're picking up.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Not the names yet, but the number of employees apparently involved, Wolf. Two employees. This coming from a congressional source who is telling us that the acting commissioner of the IRS apparently identified two employees who, quote, according to the IRS commissioner, "were off the reservation." The congressional source is telling us the acting IRS commissioner has pinpointed these "two rogue employees" -- that's a quote -- in the agency as being principally responsible for overly aggressive handling of Tea Party requests for tax-exempt status over the past two years.

In a Capitol Hill meeting, the acting commissioner described the employees, as I said, "off the reservation." Not clear to us, Wolf, exactly what the quote/unquote, "rogue behavior" involves.

We do have another source that is familiar with Miller's discussions with congressional investigators who said that Miller disclosed the two staffs her already been disciplined. And a second source said miller emphasized the problem with the IRS handling of the tax exempt status were Tea Party groups was not limited to just these two people.

Wolf, we do know that the acting commissioner did meet with the Senate Finance chair, that's Max Baucus, Senator Max Baucus, on Tuesday to discuss an appearance before Congress. We were able to -- able to track down Senator Baucus in the hallway, who told us he did not learn as much from that meeting as he would have liked. But he did tell the commissioner that it was in his best interest to be totally cooperative, that often the cover-up is worse than the initial allegations.

We did reach out to the IRS, Wolf. We're waiting for any kind of comment. We'll pass that along.

But right now, we're learning that apparently two employees, two IRS employees, pinpointed at that Cincinnati office, as being possibly the main targets in this entire IRS scandal.

BLITZER: I suspect a lot of Republicans, especially -- but there are a bunch of Democrats outraged by this as well. They're going to suggest this may just be the tip of the iceberg, if you will. They're going to want to see who else could be implicated in this.

I know you're working it, Ted Barrett, our Capitol Hill producer, our entire team. We'll get more information, share it with our viewers.

Thanks very much.

Drew Griffin, on the scene for us, reporting.

O.J. Simpson takes the stand, trying to get himself a new trial. The imprisoned football legend, trying to get his robbery, assault and kidnapping convictions thrown out. He was convicted, spending 33 years in jail. We'll listen in to his testimony throughout the day.