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Zimmerman Jury Selection Begins; More Rain for the East; Another Limo Fire in California; Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference; Protester at French Open

Aired June 10, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: At long last, the trial begins for the case that has captivated the nation. A neighborhood watchman accused of killing an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in the street.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Extreme weather from coast-to-coast turning deadly this weekend. Is there any relief in sight? The full forecast ahead.

BERMAN: And lock your doors, hide the kids, bear theft auto. That's right, the bear that is breaking into vehicles. He's caught on camera and it's all coming up, just for you.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Twenty-nine minutes after the hour right now.

ROMANS: This morning, the NSA leaker is unmasked. Twenty-nine-year- old Edward Snowden, a defense contractor who once worked undercover for the CIA. In a 12-minute interview from Hong Kong, he explains why he revealed U.S. government secrets, saying the NSA gets intelligence however it can, wherever possible.

That phone and Internet surveillance began narrowly focused overseas, but more and more is happening within the U.S. He said he could have wiretapped anyone, even the president, if he had the personal e-mail.

The Justice Department has officially launched an investigation into the unauthorized leaks. And intelligence committee leaders both in the House and Senate said Snowden should be prosecuted.

BERMAN: Jury selection begins today in the trial of George Zimmerman. Of course, he is the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The killing ignited a bitter national debate about guns, race, and the trial very much to do the same. CNNs George Howell in Sanford, Florida for us this morning. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning. Just to give you a sort of sense of the scope of this case, it will take some 500 people to narrow that down to just a panel of six jurors and at least two alternates for this case. The challenge here is to find a group of people who have not been heavily influenced by the intense media coverage, more than a year of that on this controversial case.


HOWELL (voice-over): Was it a case of murder or self-defense? Those are the questions jurors will face in the case against George Zimmerman. February 26, 2012, the then neighborhood watch captain called police to report a teenager who he described as suspicious. Watson questioned is whether Zimmerman pursued after a dispatcher told him not to. The one thing that is clear, there was a confrontation.

911 calls record someone in the background screaming for help, then you hear the fatal shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. I think they are yelling help, but I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think he's yelling help?


HOWELL: The victim was 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, his admitted killer, was taken into custody for questioning but then released because investigators accepted his claim that he fired the gun in self-defense. The days that followed left this community in an uproar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't understand why he's not arrested. Investigations can go on forever. And the family worries. I worry. The more time that passes, this is going to be swept under the rug.

HOWELL: State attorney, Angela Corey, charged Zimmerman with second- degree murder. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara eventually got a judge to grant Zimmerman a $1 million bond, releasing him to house confinement with a curfew as he awaits trial. Zimmerman has been in and out of court several times for pretrial hearings, in one case, taking the stand, himself, to speak directly to Martin's family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And, I did not know if he was armed or not.

HOWELL: In the days leading up to trial, prosecutors ask that certain evidence like these pictures of Trayvon Martin not be admitted as evidence released. The focus now is on jury selection.


HOWELL (on-camera): So, this long awaited trial is just about to get started today. We know that from the defense team, just a week ago, over a week ago, they announced that they were running out of money. But, defense attorney, Mark O'Mara tells us that they've raised $85,000. They are prepared to move forward with this trial. Again, even if a judge denies the delay of trial, John, that was filed this weekend.

BERMAN: George, you mentioned jury selection begins today, and of course, how difficult it will be to find an impartial jury, one that may not know about this case. How are the different teams approaching this?

HOWELL: Well, here's what we know, and there are some things about this process that are unclear, but we know this. At least today, they will bring in at least 200 potential jurors, then Tuesday, 100 jurors, Wednesday 100 jurors, and Thursday 100 jurors. But, the challenge is this, we don't know whether those jurors will, you know, answer the questionnaire and come back a day later, whether it will all happen today.

And keep this in mind, there are also a few pretrial motions that still have to be wrapped up. So, you know, the plan at this point from what we can tell is to get it all said and done this week. But clearly, John, it could take longer.

BERMAN: Right. It's a start it may not be a fast start. George Howell for us in Sanford, California. Great to see you this morning, George.

ROMANS: Jury selection resumes this morning in the murder and racketeering trial of Boston (ph) mob boss, James Whitey Bulger. And we're expecting the 83-year-old Bulger to be in the court for those proceedings. About 150 potential jurors whose questionnaires satisfied both sides will be further evaluated today. He faces 32 criminal charges, including 19 for murder.

BERMAN: It's one of the most amazing cases you'll have to see.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: The man accused of holding three women hostage for a decade inside his Cleveland home is getting ready to plead not guilty to hundreds of charges. Gina De Jesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry were rescued from Ariel Castro's home on May 6th. On Friday, Castro was indicted on 329 criminal counts in the case, including rape and aggravated murder.

His attorney says Castro who is being held on $8 million bail will plead not guilty to all the charges when he's arraigned next week.

ROMANS: The cleanup continues in much of the northeast after tropical storm Andrea made it a wet weekend. Flooded streets made travel difficult. Wet basements were in abundance. Some areas have now received more rain in three weeks than they usually receive in three months. And I emptied that dehumidifier, I don't know, eight times.


BERMAN: There's nothing worse than an abandoned wet basements. And there's even more rain to come in much of the east. Indra Petersons is keeping an eye on that for us. Great to see this morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good to see you, guys, as well. Yes. Like we didn't see enough rain already from, yes, tropical storm Andrea. But now, we're looking at again another low that was in Iowa starting to bring a cold front across to the east. So, with that, even a threat for severe weather from Maryland down to the Carolinas, and yes, a lot of wet weather.

I mean, a whole lot of wet weather. We're going to be talking about enough rain out there to really produce moisture almost entire eastern sea board. I mean, look at all this. It's accumulating several inches possible, especially out towards New England. Another way to look at those is the water vapor satellite. It kind of shows all that moisture out there really kind of kicking in from the south.

So, all that moisture from a gulf that warm, humid, sticky here, all that stuff that we don't really like, yes, that's what's going to be pooling in over the next several days. But in contrast, on the west coast that we're dealing with, it's high pressure. Fire danger out there in really those temperatures soaring. There you go. There's that water vapor loop and notice how dry it is.

That's the reason we're talking about that fire danger. Not helping that temperatures are well above normal, some places a good 20 degrees above normal with temperatures in the triple digit, so 103 temperatures gusts out there even as high as 50 miles per hour. So, definitely, those fire conditions are out there. Take a look at these right now. The computer is a little slow there. You go Salt Lake City looking for 100 degrees when the average is just 81. No wonder. And by the way, that heat is going to be spreading to the east. First, hot and muggy, then hot.

BERMAN: Hot and hot.


ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

BERMAN: Thank you so much. Weather is not only an issue here, but overseas as well. Thousands of Germans forced out of their homes by a broken dam. The threat of rushing flood waters. Rain has just been assaulting the eastern part of that country, all over Europe, actually, for days. The Elbow River near Magdeburg is about four times its normal levels.

About 23,000 people have evacuated the area. Another dam is reportedly on the verge of breaking. So, this could get worse. Flooding across Central Europe has claimed at least 15 lives. Analysts think the damage in Central Europe could cost billions of dollars. That's money they don't want to be spending right now.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. OK. Possible signs of a new thaw between North and South Korea. The two sides agreeing to hold high level talks that might restore economic ties. "New York Times" reports the agreement to hold talks came after a marathon 17-hour session of haggling over the agenda. The two sides will talk about reversing the suspension of joint industrial complex and restarting economic and humanitarian projects.

BERMAN: The Obama administration is considering a plan to allow thousands of refugees who fled Syria to resettle here in the United States. 1.6 million Syrians have escaped their homeland during this bloody two-year civil war. This weekend, Geneva, U.N. officials diplomats, and non-government relief groups will meet to discuss international resettlement plans. Germany has already pledged to taking 5,000 Syrian refugees.

ROMANS: All right. A group that oversees organ transplant is meeting today to consider changes to its national donor policy giving top priority for lung transplants of people 12 and older. Eleven-year-old Javier Acosta is one of two children at a Philadelphia hospital desperately, he desperately needs a lung transplant. His mother says her son is running out of time.


MILLIE MARTINEZ, 11-YEAR-OLD SON NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: Simply put, if Javier does not receive the transplant, he will die. (INAUDIBLE) He's 11, and he's very sick. I don't think I have to remind you guys, his brother was 11 and passed away waiting. So, I think he would definitely benefit from receiving a transplant right now.


ROMANS: The other child of the Philadelphia hospital in need of lifesaving lung transplant is 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan. Just last week, a federal judge issued an order making Sarah an exception to the 12 and older rule. That order is set to expire on Friday.

BERMAN: This just for Christine Romans who said she loves a good demolition. Good-bye, Building 877. You will be missed. The building on Governor's Island just east of the Statue of Liberty used to be home to Coast Guard members and their families. It's been emptied, though, for 17 years, and it was time to go. Go, it did, in style. The island now be turned into a park. This was the first implosion in New York City since July of 2001.

ROMANS: Can I explain why I love a good demolition?

BERMAN: Please tell me why?

ROMANS: Because demolitions are progress. They are American progress and engineering ingenuity at work. Don't you think?

BERMAN: You're terrifying --


BERMAN: You are a terrifying person.

ROMANS: Terrifying?

BERMAN: Destroy to create. We must destroy to create.

ROMANS: You put it that way, it sounds terrifying, but I like a good demolition. So, there you go.

Coming up, all that's left of a limo that once held a group of elderly women. Everyone escaped OK. Everyone escaped OK, but we're going tell you what has them shaking this morning.

BERMAN: And what does the future hold for Apple? The once darling of the tech world falls on hard times.


BERMAN: There has been another horrifying limo fire in Northern California, but this time, everyone got out alive. Take a look at what is left of this limo. Ten women, most of them in their 90s, were on their way to celebrate a friend's 96th birthday Sunday morning when their 2009 Lincoln town car limo, it burst into flames. Caretaker, Mary Chapman, was inside the limo and helped the ladies escaped with just seconds to spare.


MARY CHAPMAN, SURVIVED LIMO FIRE: It's very fresh because when I looked out, there were red flames all over the place and black smoke. And then, now, you can see the result.


BERMAN: Police are investigating the cause of this fire. The limo's owner thinks he already knows.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm speechless because this is a new car. OK. I can see. Look at my tires, brand-new tires. I keep great records of the cars. This was a fire that happened (INAUDIBLE) between. It's a manufacture defect.


BERMAN: Five weeks ago, another limo burst into flames on the San Mateo bridge. Five women, including a new bride, were killed in that accident.

ROMANS: A Houston doctor is now accused of trying to poison another doctor, her former lover. Police say Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo tried to poison Dr. George Blumenschein in January by putting ethylene glycol in his coffee. Ethylene glycol is a sweet-tasting chemical that is used to make antifreeze.


DR. MUHAMMAD ITRAT HOSSAIN, ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL, HOUSTON: It's a killer. It can kill it by its color. It doesn't have any odor. It's a sweet taste. So, it could be very dangerous depending up on how much the person took.


ROMANS: Blumenschein was admitted to the emergency room with kidney failure 16 hours after drinking the coffee. Investigators say he had ingested enough poison to kill an adult. Both doctors work as oncologists at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center. The hospital says Dr. Gonzalez-Angulo is currently on paid administrative leave.

BERMAN: In just a few hours, Apple's Annual Worldwide Developers Conference gets under way in San Francisco. And as always, there's speculation about what the company may have up its sleeve. But this year, there are also questions about Apple's future.

CNN's Dan Simon with more on that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we are calling it iPhone.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone, it was years ahead of what anybody else was doing. Six years later, the landscape has dramatically changed.

Can they be as dominant as they once were?

BOB O'DONNELL, VICE PRESIDENT, IDC: I'm not sure they can be as dominant as they once were. I don't think anybody can be quite as dominant as Apple once was. I think we see the pie of influence is spreading.

SIMON: That's why today is so important for the company to show consumers that Apple is just as important as ever. First off, in the highlight of the event, they'll be showing off the latest operating system that powers your i devices. Some of which have become stale according to technology analyst like Bob O'Donnell.

O'DONNELL: So, the things that they innovated on are now standard and common place. The trick is, can they come up with new things or continue to evolve their existing products and ways that continue to completely set them apart?

SIMON: Apple is also expected to introduce a new music streaming service to compete more directly with services like Pandora and Spotify. Also expect updated laptops. But a new phone and tablet are not expected until later in the year, products they need to regain steam.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, wow. Can I share, too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, yours doesn't do that.

SIMON: Samsung has stolen a lot of the buzz with its clever commercials on space also once dominated by Apple. Wall Street hasn't been kind as Apple's growth has slowed. Its stock is trading about 35 percent lower from its 52-week high. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, was recently pressed about the company's fortunes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a sense that you may have lost your cool. That somebody else has got the cool, that Samsung has got the cool. Is Apple in trouble?

TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: Is Apple in trouble? Absolutely not.

SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


BERMAN: They better hope, absolutely not.

ROMANS: But Apple, what have you done for me lately and what do you do for me next? That's what investors want to know.



BERMAN: All right. Forty-seven minutes after the hour. And coming up, what is that on the court at the French Open, mon dieu. Why a man crashed the play (ph) slayer in hand. This was scary.

ROMANS: And the little guy wins at a box office surprise brought Americans to the multiplex. We're going to tell you which small budget film was tops this weekend?


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. So, Pope Francis being very frank. The pontiff telling school kids that he never wanted to be pope and joking that only someone who hates himself would want the job. He also said he's not living at the papal apartments because he doesn't think the isolation is good for him. Pope Francis has been living at the Vatican Hotel. One of his (ph) room service (INAUDIBLE).

ROMANS: Some frightening moments at the French Open when a shirtless protester carrying a burning flare jumped on to the court during the man's finals. The man was quickly tackled by security staff, wrestled to the ground. Earlier in the match, four people started screaming in the stands before they were led away by security. It's believed that those protesters oppose France's new law allowing same-sex marriage.

BERMAN: It's actually really scary, because running on the court with the flare. There was a small fire that started off in the corner there after that where you see Rafael Nadal while it's happening was clearly sort of stunned and a little scared.

ROMANS: Usually don't be a distraction quite like that.

BERMAN: No. And there's some bad history in tennis matches in Europe. So, they had to take this very seriously.

Officials in New Orleans are 100 percent sure they found the body of missing school teacher, Terrilynn Monette. Her car was pulled from a Jefferson Parish bayou on Saturday with a decomposed body inside. An autopsy is expected to confirm that it is Monette. She went missing March 2nd and was last seen leaving a bar after a night out with friends. So far, police are not ruling out the possibility of foul play.

ROMANS: -- holding out so much hope for finding her alive. More sinkhole worries in Florida. A Bob Evans restaurant in the Tampa area was evacuated after workers saw gaping cracks that may be evidence of a sinkhole. Look at that. Engineers and emergency officials are taking a close look at the cracks which are on the walls, on the floor. The restaurant is only about four miles from the home where a giant sinkhole opened up back in February, killing a man in his bedroom.

BERMAN: Coming up, how is this for a surprise? Make a movie for $3 million, sell 36 million in tickets? Business reporter, Christine Romans, that's a good return on your investment, right?

ROMANS: It sure is. That's what every -- that's the jackpot every filmmaker wants to make.

BERMAN: We will tell you why this small film was tops at the box office.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-six minutes after the hour. Taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning.

A small budget shocker at the box office despite bad reviews from critics and also moviegoers. "The Purge" beat out the big guys this weekend. The Ethan Hawke tale about the one night a year when all crime is legal stole the thunder from "Fast and Furious 6" and "The Internship," taking in some 36 and a half million bucks. It costs only three million to make. That's nothing. The latest "Furious" film fell the second place for the first time in two week. "Now You See Me" was third. And the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson comedy, "The Internship," was fourth.

ROMANS: Broad -- excuse me -- Broadway took center stage last night as the Tony Awards were handed out at a New York's radio city musical --

BERMAN: Neil Patrick Harris.

ROMANS: Yes. Show stopping opening number from him, bigger than previous years. He was joined on stage by the cast of many current Broadway shows. As for the awards, the feel-good musical Kinky Boots, remember? We had her on the show actually recently featuring songs by Cyndi Lauper. That was the nice big winner.

It took home six Tonys, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography. The award for Best Play went to the comedy "Vanya and Sonia" and "Masha and Spike."

BERMAN: Christopher Durang, a long time player had a great one. Finally -- something for that.

So, take a look at how far bears have evolved. They can now, apparently, open car doors.

(LAUGHTER) BERMAN: Danger. At least this bear can. Take a look at this. A couple in British Columbia recorded the scene. Of course, it is now viral. This bear -- are we sure it's not someone in a bear suit? We sure that's not like --

ROMANS: -- some kind of a monkey.

BERMAN: Yes. That's like skip from down the block at a bear suit opening the door. No, they actually claim that's a real-life bear --

ROMANS: It is. Look at that.

BERMAN: -- who is going in and out of the car. Apparently, bear proofing their house now is going to have to include locking the pick- up truck. That's crazy. I don't know if the bear can pick locks, so it can't go that far, but the bear can open the doors.

ROMANS: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: It's only like weeks now until world domination from the bears.


ROMANS: All right. EARLY START continues right now.