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Town Littered with Tornado Debris; Rain for Memorial Day Weekend; British Soldier Hacked to Death; Federal Judge Ruled Sheriff Arpaio Engaged in Racial, Ethnic Profiling; Jury Unable to Decide on Sentencing for Jodi Arias

Aired May 25, 2013 - 06:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a daycare full of babies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad. We got a daycare that just got cremated.


HARLOW: New this morning, the frantic 911 calls from Oklahoma. Hear the desperate pleas for help just as this storm hit.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A teenager is found dead, rolled up in a school gym mat. It was ruled an accident. So, why is the Department of Justice now involved and why is the coroner asking CNN to, quote, "destroy" our interview with him?

HARLOW: And more severe weather from coast to coast could make it a very wet Memorial Day weekend. We have got your travel holiday forecast ahead.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. It is Saturday, May 25th.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for watching.

HARLOW: The people of Moore, Oklahoma, are moving ahead with their lives as well as they can. They are remembering those that they lost, giving thanks for all of those who survived. And today they'll attend the funerals of three victims from that tragedy. Those three you see right there on the screen, nine-year-old Emily Conatzer and Christopher Legg. They were classmates at Plaza Towers Elementary. And 45-year-old Cindy Plumley was in her home when the tornado hit.

BLACKWELL: And now we're hearing the illustrations of that chaos that followed the tornado. Police have released the first of the frantic 911 calls made as the tornado ripped through that town Monday. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get people here. We're stuck under rubble. My leg is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. We've got a call. We're getting them out there as soon as we can.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get them out there as soon as we can. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a daycare full of babies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad. We got a daycare that just got cremated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moore 911, where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tornado just hit us. We're trapped inside. There's stuff piled on top of us. We can't get out.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We just can't breathe.


HARLOW: Unbelievable. From the rubble, the community will come together today to celebrate a new beginning. It is graduation day for high school seniors in Moore, Oklahoma. The ceremonies will go on as planned.

BLACKWELL: Well, today's graduations will be an important part of the healing process. This is a chance to get away from the rubble and to focus on something other than the storm. CNN's Rene Marsh is live in Moore this morning. Rene, these graduation ceremonies offer just a short break, but there's so much to deal with. How are the people there coping otherwise?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. You know, we talk so much about recovery, but when you look around, you see the destruction, you have to wonder, how does one begin that process. I spoke with one tornado survivor who says that she's asked herself that question over and over again. She lost everything. Her house is gone. And right now all she wants to find is family photos. That is it. This is what recovery looks like for Ardella Loughmiller.


MARSH (voice-over): Brick after brick, Ardella Loughmiller digs through a mountain of wood beams, twisted metal and cement. Monday's E-5 tornado flattened her home of five years.

ARDELLA LOUGHMILLER, TORNADO SURVIVOR: When people say it sounded like a train, it doesn't do it - it doesn't even do it justice. You could hear it, whomp, whomp, whomp.

MARSH: She rode it out in this shelter. And when the tornado passed, it left her homeless and full of doubt. Doubt she could possibly recover from this.

LOUGHMILLER: I don't know where to do first. You know, I don't -- I don't know where to start. I don't know where I'll end up.

MARSH: Under all of this rubble, Loughmiller just cares about one thing. She's digging with the hope of preserving the memories of her six late brothers.

LOUGHMILLER: And all my pictures, they're gone. And my pictures are gone. But, oh, well.

MARSH (on camera): Why are those pictures so important?

LOUGHMILLER: That's all I have left. They're all gone and that's all I have left of them.

MARSH (voice-over): Strangers like Susan Krung (ph) took the day off from work to help. This is what recovery looks like in Moore, Oklahoma.

SUSAN KRUNG, VOLUNTEER: We just want to do the best we can so that these people can recover and stay Oklahoma strong.

MARSH: After hours of digging --

LOUGHMILLER: This was taken at my mom's funeral.

MARSH (on camera): Is this one of the pictures that -


MARSH (voice-over): A photo of four of her six late brothers. She hopes to find more.

LOUGHMILLER: There's just nothing I can tell you. This is all I can do.

KRUNG: God bless you.

LOUGHMILLER: Well, God bless you people too.

KRUNG: I'm going to take her smile with me home and feel really good about it. I don't even know her name. I don't know what address we're at. I don't know where I'm at. I just know that we're in the eye of the storm and we're in the eye of the recovery. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: The eye of the recovery. And for Loughmiller, you know, the impact is more than the crumpled homes that you see around us. Now whenever she hears a loud sound like a truck passing by it stirs up fear. The same kind of fear that she felt on Monday when that E-5 was headed her way.

Victor, back to you.

BLACKWELL: Understandable. And when those - those thunderstorms hit, those memories probably were brought up again. Rene Marsh, thank you so much.

You know, after a storm like this hits, the little things, the photographs, those little trinkets mean so much more.

HARLOW: The little things you find.

It's interesting, you know, Rene talked about how the sounds bring back the horror. When I was covering that shooting in Aurora, Colorado, --


HARLOW: You'll remember last summer, a little 13-year-old girl said, I can't even hear popcorn popping anymore because it brings that back, those sounds are so vivid. So, tragedy for all of them.

BLACKWELL: (INAUDIBLE) the healing starts today.


BLACKWELL: The survivor stories, as we mentioned, from Moore are just riveting.

HARLOW: And we wanted to share with you this account. It comes from one of the teachers at the destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School.


KAREN MARINELLI, TEACHER AT PLAZA TOWERS ELEMENTARY: It was horrible. Hell. You know, I don't want to get emotional, but hell crashing down. And we just started to hear glass break. Kids are screaming. Teachers are screaming. A huge, huge thing crashed down on me and it landed on my back and it smashed, you know, my pelvis almost flat into the ground.


BLACKWELL: That's Karen Marinelli. And as the tornado hit, she sent a text to her husband saying, "help me." And then after she was pinned down, she sent another text saying she thought her legs were broken. Now, she actually suffered a broken pelvis, broken lower back, two sprained ankles and she's likely to be in that hospital for the next six weeks.

HARLOW: All right, we're going to take you to Washington state now. You've probably been seeing this video. New surveillance video. This shows the collapse Thursday of an interstate bridge north of Seattle. Amazingly in this, no one was killed when that I-5 bridge fell into the Skagit River after an 18 wheeler struck it. The governor of Washington state says it will cost $15 million to fix that bridge. He has declared a state of emergency for three counties that rely heavily on that bridge for commerce. Meantime, NTSB inspectors expect to spend as many as 10 days investigating that collapse. It's really not clear now how long the bridge, which is a main artery right to Canada, how long that's going to remain closed.

BLACKWELL: All right, so what do you have planned this weekend? It's Memorial Day weekend. Some people going to salute those they've lost. Also maybe some barbecues. Some time at a parade. It's going to be a little rainy, though, for a lot of people. Will it dampen your outdoor plans, maybe mess up your road trip?

HARLOW: Meteorologist Karen McGinnis joins us now with a look at the holiday forecast.

Good morning, Karen.

KAREN MCGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning Poppy and Victor.

We are looking at some messy weather in the northeast. Yes, you've got some rain coming down. And if you plan to go into the mountains into interior New England, New York and Pennsylvania, extending on up into New England, there will be snow. Here it is late May and, yes, we've got a little bit of snow to tell you about. But the rain is really falling down. Some pretty big thunderstorms this morning in Omaha. Also extending over towards Des Moines. We don't have any watches issued for this region, but it is going to make it slow going as you're traveling on some of those interstates.

And frost and freeze advisories out all the way from Grand Rapids to Detroit, all the way down from Charleston, West Virginia. Unbelievable that this late in the game we're looking at exceptionally cold temperatures. Well, that area of low pressure will move up into southern Canada. But in its wake, even on Sunday, those temperatures are expected to remain cold. Look at the high temperatures for Chicago. Readings should be in the low 70s, but it won't be until Monday - yes, that's the day, if you've got it off it should be nice, around 71 degrees. Temperatures in Nashville expected to be around 84. And for Hilton Head, South Carolina, gorgeous place, (INAUDIBLE) country, readings will be in the 80s there.

What are - what happens as we look out for Memorial Day? A little chilly in the Pacific Northwest. Nice to the south. Once again in the mountains, you might expect a little bit in the way of some wet weather. Memphis, 86. New York City, we'll expect a few clouds here and there, but overall pretty nice at 73.

That's your weather. Back to you.

HARLOW: Thank you, Karen.


HARLOW: It is beautiful here in Atlanta this weekend. Yes, I've got to say.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it was really nice this morning. Fifty degrees on the drive in.

HARLOW: Yes, at 2:00 a.m. when we came in.

BLACKWELL: Right. No sunrise yet.

HARLOW: Happy Memorial Day to everyone.

All right, next we're going to take you to London because new overnight, a very surprising twist in the gruesome murder of a British soldier.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the man in this picture with the bloody hands and the meat cleaver says he attacked because, and these are his words, "Muslims are dying daily." Well, now, the suspect's friend is claiming the British equivalent of the CIA recently offered him a job. We've got a live report from London next.


BLACKWELL: Well, there is a startling twist in this brutal killing of a British soldier. You saw that video of the man with the bloody hands. We're hearing now that Britain's intelligence service, MI5, the equivalent to the American CIA, had asked one of the suspects to spy for them. The suspect, Michael Adebolajo, was recorded right after Wednesday' horrifying attack. Again, you see his hands there bloody. In his left hand he has the meat cleaver. Well, he and another man are accused of killing Lee Rigby, a young soldier, husband, father of a two-year-old boy. Well, CNN's Erin McLaughlin is following developments for us in London.

Erin, tell us more about the claim of this job offer.


Well, a man called Abu Nusaybah, who says he is a friend - a long-time friend of Michael Adebolajo, the alleged murder suspect, gave an interview to the BBC last night. And in that interview, he says that Michael Adebolajo told him that MI5 had approached him and offered him a job. It was an offer that he declined. Take a listen to what Abu Nusaybah had to say.


ABU NUSAYBAH, MICHAEL ADEBOLAJO'S FRIEND: He said that MI5 had come to him. I think he - on these - on his return back he had been stopped. And subsequently after that basically he was followed by MI5. You know, he said they came to his house. He mentioned that in one -- initially they wanted to ask him whether he knew certain individuals basically. That was the initial issue. But after him saying that he didn't know these individuals and so forth, what he said is they asked him whether he would be interested in working for them.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now, we know that Michael Adebolajo was known to British domestic security services. He was featured in other investigations of other individuals, terrorism related. Investigations - a security source here in Britain tells us regarding these claims that the MI5 would never comment on these specific allegations.

HARLOW: Yes, and, you know, Erin, seeing - I mean seeing what happened, seeing that video was so horrifying, so shocking to people, you question the state of mind. I wonder if the friend that we just heard from hinted at all about Michael Adebolajo's state of mind. Did he say anything about the state of mind he had before that attack?

MCLAUGHLIN: Poppy, well during that interview, Abu Nusaybah talked about a conversation he had with Michael Adebolajo around six months ago. In that conversation he said that Adebolajo described a trip he took to Kenya. While in Kenya, he said he was detained by Kenyon troops. Take a listen to what he said to - about what happened to him while he was in detention.


NUSAYBAH: He told me he was physically assaulted. He told me he was sexually threatened and he indicated, from what I know of him when he said I couldn't - you know, I feel ashamed to tell you what happened to me. As far as I understand that, you know, it's sexual - sexual abuse because there's nothing he would feel shy to tell me about except that.


MCLAUGHLIN: Now, when he arrived back from Kenya, he apparently had -- his demeanor had changed. Abu Nusaybah said that he was visibly withdrawn. Now, we have not independently verified or been able to verify these allegations. Interesting to note that after this interview, or during this interview rather, a person -- a representative inside the BBC, who did not want to be named, said that counter terrorism police actually showed up at the BBC headquarters. He was arrested following the interview. He was taken into custody. He was arrested on suspicion of other terrorism related offenses not connected to the Woolwich investigation.


HARLOW: Wow, it's fascinating to hear that from someone, you know, whose a close friend of his. Erin, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

All right. Well, for the first time, Toronto's mayor is speaking out at length about allegations that he smoked out of a crack pipe. Listen.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.


HARLOW: That is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford blasting media accounts that reporters had seen alleged cell phone video of him, quote, "inhaling from what appeared to be a glass pipe." Of course, we haven't seen that video yet.

BLACKWELL: We've got more from London now. The British police are investigating the death of a female zoo worker after she was mauled by a tiger. We've got older footage here of the tigers at the South Lakes Animal Park where that attack happened. The U.K.'s Press Association reports that 24-year-old Sarah McClay was inside the tigers' enclosure when the mauling happened. Now, she was rushed to the hospital by helicopter. Unfortunately, she died from those injuries.

HARLOW: And coming up next, chilling calls for help. The moment the deadly tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moore 911, where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tornado just hit us. We're trapped in this closet. (INAUDIBLE) on top of us. We can't get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're trapped in the closet?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We just can't breathe. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Can only imagine. Coming up, newly released 911 calls. The victims describe the storm's devastating path as they take cover. You'll want to hear these.


HARLOW: A live look this morning from Moore, Oklahoma. Debris still littering that area. That devastated area. And for those living there, a wide variety of emotions this Saturday. Joy for families and students of three high schools that will hold their graduation ceremonies today as planned, but also sorrow for the funeral victims. Three of those victims are going to be buried today.

And now, for the first time, we are hearing the terrifying 911 calls from people in Oklahoma as that massive tornado struck on Monday. We've taken the audio from some of those emergency calls, edited it to video to the twister as it bore down on Moore. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moore 911, where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the tornado at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At last we heard was 19th and Western.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. If you're able to take shelter, you need to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moore 911, where was your emergency?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is anybody injured?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are any of you guys injured? My dad (ph) can't tell. A bunch of stuff like on top of us (INAUDIBLE). I'm able to get out but I don't know if they'll be able to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Are they - what - they're trapped or they're just injured?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you guys trapped? Can you get up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're trapped. We can't get -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I can possibly get out and help him up.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they got it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can they get out at all, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just stood up (ph).



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I can -- are they trapped or can they get out (INAUDIBLE) way, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can they get out of this in any way?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got several places hit. This is very important. I need to know this now. I understand it's crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can possibly get out if we can find a way out, but everything in front of us from what we can see is wiped out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Just take a -- try to get out if you can. If something happens, if someone cannot get out and they're trapped, just call me back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But (INAUDIBLE) you have to be very careful where you walk, OK. Make sure everyone's got shoes on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, honey, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Good luck.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's people here (ph). We're stuck under rubble. My leg is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. We've got a call. We're getting them out there as soon as we can.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get them out there as soon as we can. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a daycare full of babies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad. We got a daycare that just got cremated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moore 911 where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tornado just hit us. We're trapped in the closet. There's stuff piled on top of us. We can't get out.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We just can't breathe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we just got a call from a gentleman that lives in Moore that his house is collapsed on his kids.


HARLOW: Just unbelievable. Unbelievable. If you haven't gone through something like that yourself, hard to imagine. You know that tornado destroyed or damaged some 12,000 homes in and around Moore, Oklahoma, and claimed far too many lives.

BLACKWELL: Up next, a school gymnasium, a cheerleading mat and a teenager found dead. Police call it an accident, but there's a major development in this case. Maybe something else happened. At least that's what the family believes.


HARLOW: Welcome back, everyone. It is 29 minutes after the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for starting your morning with us. We're starting with five stories we are watching this morning.

And first up, a moment to celebrate in Moore, Oklahoma. Even amid the devastation left by Monday's tornado, a bright spot. Three high schools are holding graduation ceremonies today. Officials say the two elementary schools directly hit by the twister will be rebuilt. Now, the rest of this school year was cancelled in Moore.

Number two, the man known as America's toughest sheriff is facing some tough justice. A federal judge on Friday ruled that Joe Arpaio has engaged in racial and ethnic profiling as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. The judge said Arpaio and his deputies have to quit considering those factors when they make law enforcement decisions. Arpaio who calls his strategies tough on illegal immigration denies the claims. His lawyer says he will appeal.

HARLOW: Number three, the public school district in Newtown, Connecticut will receive $1.3 million. That's an endowment from the Department of Education. The announcement was made on Friday by education secretary Arne Duncan and that money, of course, will be used to help the schools recover, rebuild after the tragic shooting that too, place in December at Sandy Hook elementary.

Also, we are following this. U.S. soldiers have put flags in front of every single grave at Arlington National Cemetery. This is, of course, in preparation for Memorial Day. There are several hundred thousand graves at Arlington. The soldiers will remain at the cemetery throughout the weekend to make sure a flag stays in front of every head stone.

BLACKWELL: Number five now, two more groups have joined the Call for Justice in Valdoste, Georgia. The national action network and the chapter of the NAACP joined rallies with the family of Kendrick Johnson. The family believes that there is more to the story of their son's death in January. The sheriff's office there says it was an accident. The family believes he was murdered. Now, we are going to tell you about this story. But I have to warn you, in the story you're about to watch, there is a photo of the teenager's face taken after he was found. It is very graphic.


KENNETH JOHNSON: I wish this on no one.

BLACKWELL: Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson knew something was wrong when their 17-year-old son Kendrick did not come home from school January 10.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, LOWNDES COUNTY 911: Come to Lowndes High School now. There is a dead body out here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lowndes High School, in the old gym.

BLACKWELL: The next day Kendrick was found upside down in a rolled cheerleading mat like these.


BLACKWELL: Investigators said it appeared Kendrick who was 5 foot 10 was reaching for a shoe that had fallen into the center of a six foot mat and he got stuck, a tragic accident.

JACQUELYN JOHNSON: He said it was no foul play. He had no bruises, no nothing.

BLACKWELL (on camera): Did you believe that?


BLACKWELL: And you still don't believe it.


BLACKWELL (voice over): They think the story about the mat is a cover up.

BILL WATSON, LOWNDES CO. GEORGIA CORONER: Well, I don't know what to think.

BLACKWELL: According to Georgia law coroner Bill Watson, he should have been contacted immediately. Kendrick's body was found at about 10:30.

WATSON: I was notified at a quarter of four.

BLACKWELL: Lt. Stryde Jones is with Lowndes County sheriff's office.

LT. STRYDE JONES, LOWNDES CO. GEORGIA SHERIFF'S OFFICER: It's a very time consuming process to basically work your way from the outside in. Once our investigators get to the deceased the coroner was contacted immediately.

WATSON: The only reason that I was questioning this is whatsoever, was I wasn't called to the scene in a timely fashion.

BLACKWELL: The Johnsons say the story doesn't make sense.

KENNETH JOHNSON: The mat is so light. You can push that, you know, just (inaudible) and it fell over.

I tried to get in it. I couldn't get no forward, my neck muscles into the mat.

BLACKWELL: Then there is this photo of Kendrick's face.

KENNETH JOHNSON: As handsome as my son was, when you see him like that is crazy. I really feel he was murdered.

BLACKWELL: The photo has been shared thousands of times online. There is a Facebook page dedicate today to the case and a local rapper has written a song.

BUNKY WHITE (singing): I see the Sheriff got all the wrong answers. He must be blind if he can't see something happened.

CROWD: We want justice! We want justice! BLACKWELL: There are now rallies nearly every day in Valdoste.

KENNETH JOHNSON: o matter who you are, how much money your parents have, the color of your skin, everyone deserves justice, everyone.

BLACKWELL: More than 100 days after Kendrick's body was discovered, scores of interviews and hours of investigation, the Georgia bureau of investigation determined Kendrick accidentally smothered to death.

JONES: We examined all of the alternatives that were presented to us, and the only one that fit the physical evidence and the forensic evidence and the testimonial evidence we received was this is an accident.


BLACKWELL: And two things you should know about that. You saw in that story Bill Watson who is the coroner. Two days or so after I had that interview with him and he told me during that interview that the body had been moved. He told that other CNN affiliates. He sent me this e-mail, it says, in part "I would appreciate it if you would destroy this interview with me. I do not want this to be shown whatsoever. I feel that our situation should not be aired." Now, of course, CNN decided that we would show that because he knew that we were on record. And he sat in front of a camera with a microphone and we set up lights and I asked him questions open ended. That's one element. The other thing is, the Department of Justice is now reviewing this case. The U.S. attorney there in Georgia says he is personally looking over this case.

HARLOW: Do we - it is a fascinating story. I know you have been following it very closely. Do we know why just now the Department of Justice is looking at this now?

BLACKWELL: Well, because he died in January. They didn't come out with that report until this month on the cause of death. So after the report came out there were this increase in rallies and protests saying that an accident just does not make sense, so after that came to light they went to the Department of Justice lobbying for this review. And now they have at least the review to determine if there will be an investigation. I do want to read something for you that came from the Lowndes County sheriff's office. This is from Lieutenant Stryde Jones who you also saw in that story. He writes to me, "We have extreme confidence in our investigation. We believe our conclusion was supported by the findings of the GBI medical examiner. And I think any independent review of the file will come to the same conclusion that we did." Now, we are going to before the U.S. attorney decides if there will be an investigation we've got former FBI agent Harold Copes coming up in our 8:00 hour to talk about some of the questions the family has ...

HARLOW: A lot of questions.

BLACKWELL: About this story. So we're going to stay on top of this.

HARLOW: Have they reacted, the family to that email?

BLACKWELL: They have not reacted to that email yet. You know, that was something that this is the first time we are reading this email.

HARLOW: Right.

BLACKWELL: We decided internally to report it. But now that there is this DOJ investigation we've decided also to now read this element of the email that he asked to destroy the interview with him.

HARLOW: Stay on top of the things ...

BLACKWELL: We've got more coming up, too.


BLACKWELL: Months of testimony, hours of deliberation. This is another big story that people are following. The jury deciding if Jodi Arias should live or die still could not come to a unanimous decision.

HARLOW: Next, HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell reacts to the hung jury and explains what does this mean next for Arias.


HARLOW: Well, the case of a high school senior arrested for allegedly having sex with an underaged girlfriend is headed to trial. 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt has rejected a plea deal that would have reduced the charges from felony sexual battery to third degree child abuse, still a felony. A deal the prosecutor has called "extremely lenient" and now the parents of the 14-year-old girl are speaking out. They are saying that their decision to file charges against Hunt, the 18-year-old has nothing to do with the fact that both of them are girls. That this was allegedly A relationship. Listen.


JIM SMITH, FATHER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: We had no alternative but to turn to the law. And it is basically a last resort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this whole story about you blame Kate for making your daughter gay, where did that come from?

SMITH: I don't know. You tell me. It didn't come from us because that is not how we feel.

LAURIE SMITH, MOTHER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: It was never said. And that's why we feel that we had to tell how we felt.


BLACKWELL: Kaitlyn Hunt's family disagrees with that claim. And if convicted, Hunt could go to prison for 15 years. Now, her attorney says that if this had happened 108 days earlier this wouldn't be an issue. We will have more on the story in our next hour.

Back to the drawing board, In the Jodi Arias trial this goes on and on and on. Right? It was supposed to be a couple of months. It's going on for many more. We'll talk about the sentencing phase. After 12 jurors that couldn't decide whether Arias should live or die. But a vote was eight to four in favor of the death penalty.

HARLOW: This is really interesting, because now we are starting to hear from some of the jurors in this. And we haven't heard from them throughout all of it. The foreman of that jury shared insight during a recent television interview about what the jury was thinking while they were trying to decide on a penalty for Arias. Listen.


BILL ZERVAKOS, ARIAS JURY FOREMAN: We couldn't allow ourselves to be emotional on the stand. We couldn't allow ourselves to show emotion, though I'm sure some came through. And I'm very, very proud of my peers and my jurors that were with us, because they did a fantastic job of holding it together. Different story once we got back in the jury room. It was a gut-wrenching thing that we had to go through and everybody had to make their own decision.


HARLOW: Well, Jane Velez-Mitchell of our sister network HLN has been in Phoenix throughout covering this trial and has this reaction. Jane?

JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST, HLN'S JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Poppy and Victor the astounding saga that is the Jodi Arias case just continues on and on. I was standing right here with a bunch of trial watchers outside the Maricopa County courthouse when word came down that this jury despite deliberating more than 12 hours over the course of three days was unable to reach a decision on life or death for Jodi Arias. And there was a gasp and everybody was looking at each other going well, what happens now.

Well, here are a couple of hints. There is going to be a status conference right here on June 20th. And then there is a scheduled penalty phase retrial date of July 18th. Now, let's make it absolutely clear. She is still guilty of murder one in the vicious killing of Travis Alexander. She stabbed him 27 times, slit his throat ear to ear, shot him in the face and she is also guilty of the aggravator of cruelty. The only thing that still has to be decided is should she live or should she die? Now, they would have to bring a new jury in to make that decision. But questions is, how are they going to find 12 people given the enormous publicity this case has generated? Then there is also the case of well, come on. Jodi Arias likes attention. She knows how to grab it. Could this open a Pandora's Box if she gets on that witness stand again, could she hijack this case again.

And then there is the subject of cost. I mean this has already cost a lot of money. This will make it even more expensive. So, there is speculation that there may be some kind of plea deal between now and when the parties are expected back in court. And that plea deal could possibly involve something like taking death off the table if the family of victim Travis Alexander is assured that no way no how will Jodi Arias ever see the light of day, that she will be in prison for life. But that is just speculation right now. We really don't know what is going to happen. Back to you.

HARLOW: All right, Jane, thanks so much. A program, a reminder for our viewers, more coverage on the Jodi Arias trial, you can watch "Jane Velez-Mitchell Show" week nights at 7:00 Eastern on our sister network HLN.

But you know, Victor, you think about the family in this ...


HARLOW: You think about Travis Alexander's family, I mean to go through all of that, then making those statements in front of the jury and still, they don't know a penalty, it has to make it that much harder.

BLACKWELL: And a question is, how much of this evidence has to be reintroduced.

HARLOW: Right!

BLACKWELL: For a jury that didn't hear it, during the trial.

HARLOW: Because they don't have a whole new trial.

BLACKWELL: And this could go on for more weeks. (inaudible) we're going to have this conversation before (inaudible) coming up.


BLACKWELL: President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, their professional relationship may be hitting the rocks. New admissions in an ongoing scandal.

HARLOW: Plus, Chris Christie, New Jersey's governor meeting Snooki making nice with her after making his dislike for her show that "Jersey Shore" very clear. We're going to show you what brought the two unlikely people together.


BLACKWELL: Ten minutes until the top of the hour. Good morning. It is good to have you with us. Live look at the White House this Memorial Day weekend. Sun coming up. Meteorologist Karen McGinnis will talk about weather in a moment. But let's talk about what's happening inside that building, a rough couple of weeks for the president. It just can't seem to get away from the scandals in Washington. Let's count them off. So we've got the IRS giving the Tea Party groups a hard time. There is some who think the Benghazi emails and the statement, that's a scandal in some people's eyes. And then there is the Justice Department going through the emails from the Associated Press and Fox reporter James Rosen. And yesterday, we learned that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the warrant to check out Rosen's emails and his phone calls as part of an investigation into government leaks. But what is the real political fallout here? So, I put that question to CNN political contributor John Avlon.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: The A.P scandal is serious. I mean you've got the Justice Department most recently identifying a journalist as a co-conspirator for publishing information about a North Korean missile launch. That is chilling. That is something that even the president recognizes is absolutely too far, counter to the spirit of several our amendments.

But I do think the IRS scandal ultimately is more damaging because it is much more resonant to the average Main Street American. You know, the IRS ever win at any popularity contest. And when you see the IRS undermining the tensed - the limiting amount of trust it already has with the American people by actively filtering or targeting conservative groups, that is serious.

That is why it was a result of bipartisan criticism. And I do think this scandal is going to escalate. This past week you saw Lois Lerner, who is the IRS executive that's in charge of tax exempt groups being put on involuntary administrative leave after she pled the Fifth in front of Congress. Now, she said look, she has nothing to hide. She was taking the Fifth to protect herself on advice of counsel. That doesn't pass the smell test.

So, there is a sense that this scandal is going to escalate further and how far it goes, will be a real thing to watch in Washington. Now, immediately playing the Nixon card saying, oh, that president is equivalent to Nixon on this, that doesn't pass the smell test or the laugh test either. But this is a serious scandal that will continue to resonate.

BLACKWELL: I want to ask you about the Attorney General Eric Holder. Because it is not the first time that his name and scandal have shared a sentence. We are talking about "Fast and Furious." Is his job in jeopardy?

AVLON: Well, Eric Holder has been coming under criticism left, right and center for a long time now. He has been one of the least distinguished unifying figures of the cabinet. But he has the president's confidence. And there is a tendency with chief executives in government and in business that sometimes when there is - when a key member of the senior staff is under attack you want to circle the wagons around him.

But at some point in the second term there is a reasonable question when is it time for Eric Holder to leave? Because he has accumulated so much skepticism about his leadership at the Department of Justice. And hasn't done himself a lot of favors. So he's got either to restore the confidence of the Congress and the American people quickly or, I think, start looking for an exit. BLACKWELL: You know, we can't have the week in scandals conversation without talking about former Congressman Anthony Weiner. He launched his campaign for mayor of New York. Everyone says that when his name comes up. He said this week that maybe more pictures will come out. If the pictures continue to trickle out during the campaign, does he have a chance at winning?

AVLON: Oh, dear God, help us for more of this. Anthony Weiner is his own worst enemy. And his ego and ambition outweighs any good sense he might have. The fact that he is telegraphing at the start of an ill-advise mayoral campaign that there could be more pictures of this junk floating around the Internet. That is not a good sign for our civic democracy in the city of New York. I mean look, just because you have nothing left to lose doesn't mean you deserve to win. And Anthony Weiner's campaign is going to be a rolling disaster. That's going add to his embarrassment. He could have reinserted himself in the politics by running for a lower seat, but no, he had to go for mayor. So watch out. This is - there is going to be a lot of fireworks. It will be great for the tabloids, but probably bad for the democracy.

BLACKWELL: Governor Cuomo said shame on people of New York they elected him and the Clintons have said they are not going to be anywhere near the campaign, so we will see what happens as we go through the campaign season.


BLACKWELL: John Avlon, always appreciate it, sir.

AVLON: Thanks, Victor, be well.

BLACKWELL: All right, sir, two New Jersey stars, Governor Chris Christie and Snooki shared a stage. They finally meet.


SNOOKI: I'm glad to meet you and ...


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): I appreciate it. (inaudible). All right?

Good to meet you.



HARLOW: I know. Two of them - and that makes good television. Two of them on the same screen. You heard Snooki there telling Governor Christie she hopes that he starts to like her and the cast of "The Jersey Shore.", which, of course, is that reality series that aired on MTV. Christie had previously called the show, quote, "negative" for New Jersey. That was back in 2011. He also cut tax credits for the production company behind this show. The two of them had that meeting in Seaside Heights in New Jersey for the reopening of the boardwalk there. I know I spent a lot of time there over the last weekend. They are really - they have come back a lot. That boardwalk in New Jersey shore post Sandy. They are getting back in business for Memorial Day.

BLACKWELL: And it's good to see that the rebuilding has started because some of those structures there were just iconic.

HARLOW: Devastated.

BLACKWELL: The roller coaster gone and all that.


BLACKWELL: So, they are starting to rebuild, speaking of rebuilding.

HARLOW: Right. Dream big, that could be the lesson learned for one high schooler this year.

BLACKWELL: He asked super model Kate Upton to go to a senior prom. She couldn't make it, but you will never guess who he went with instead.


BLACKWELL: This is a good one. A high school student gets a date to the prom with a supermodel. He is a teenager in California who tried to woo model Kate Upton into going with him, but she turned him down. But this lucky guy still got to go with another bombshell.

HARLOW: Total bombshell. You can see 17-year-old Jake Davidson, you see him right there, with model Nina Agdal on the big night. Not too shabby, at all. Apparently, a TV show put Nina in touch with Jake's mom after Kate said that she couldn't go. Nina said if Kate can't go I will go with you to prom. And guess this, all right, so the school apparently doesn't allow dates over age 21. That's policy. Nina is 21, so we hear they had to dance outside alone, but that did not get them down. Nina tweeted after the prom with Jake was awesome.

BLACKWELL: He didn't care. He probably enjoyed it.

HARLOW: Who would! She is beautiful.

BLACKWELL: All right, thanks for watching this morning.

HARLOW: Good morning everyone.

Good morning, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. 7:00 here on the East Coast. 4:00 on West, glad you are with us this morning.