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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
NSA Chief Defends Surveillance Programs; Officials: Two Held Captive In Ohio For Two Years; Ex-Irish Mob Boss on Trial for Murder; Italian Court Wants To Take Another Crack At Trying Amanda Knox
Aired June 18, 2013 - 18:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "OUTFRONT" next, the NSA says they've stopped dozens of terror attacks by snooping. And they described a few of them in detail today. So here's the question. Would Americans have died if it were not for these secret snooping programs?
Plus police say they have uncovered another instance of people being held captive for years in Ohio. This time it was a mother and a daughter. And we're going to have the latest on that for you tonight.
And then Amanda Knox, an Italian court citing what might have happened the night her roommate was killed. A major development that could totally change Knox's life. For a special report, let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, terror attacks foiled. Today the head of the National Security Agency told Congress the top secret surveillance programs, like the ones recently leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, were key to thwarting specific terror plots against the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENERAL KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: In recent years these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across a globe to include helping prevent the terrorist -- the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Over 50 times since 9/11. But among those 50 events, according to General Alexander, there were at least 10, quote/unquote, "homeland-based threats," including a plot by a Kansas City man to blow up the New York Stock Exchange and a plot to bomb the New York City subway system in 2009. But could these plots have been foiled using other methods or, and this is the big question, did the government need to snoop on citizens' phone calls, e-mails?
OUTFRONT tonight, CNN national security analyst and former CIA operative Bob Baer. Bob, thank you for coming on because you know so much about this. You've heard General Alexander testifying today, saying these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies, 50 plots thwarted since 9/11. How important were the surveillance programs, do you think? ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Erin, you know, if you listen to his words carefully, he said they aided in uncovering these plots. He didn't say that they were solely led to the uncovering of these plots. And it's important in those words, you know, perhaps there was a warning from overseas, from another intelligence service than we turn the programs on a certain individual, and confirmed the information.
So without the details, you know, I'm very skeptical of this, whether it was actually key to thwarting 50 plots. You know, you just really need to look at this. We're not going to get to look at it. But I'd feel a lot better if congress independently, you know, had investigative committee look at it.
BURNETT: Yes, absolutely. You're right. To point the nuance of exactly what words they choose because that appears to be very crucial. I mean, you know, if everyone's looking for transparency here we don't really seem to be getting it because General Alexander was asked by Mike Rogers just how much capability authorities actually have and I want to play that exchange for you, Bob.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the technology exist at the NSA to flip a switch by some analyst to listen to Americans' phone calls or read their e-mails?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the technology does not exist for any individual or group of individuals at the NSA to flip a switch to listen to Americans' phone calls, or read their e-mails?
ALEXANDER: That is correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now that was a pretty definitive answers, but today, Bob, Senator Rand Paul said that the president's director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was quote/unquote "flat-out lying" when he told lawmakers in March that the government wasn't collecting data on millions of Americans. Is Alexander lying now when he says the technology flatly does not exist to flip a switch and listen to phone calls?
BAER: Erin, again, we're parsing words. Flip a switch is probably true, but the technology exists. We have it in Afghanistan. We used it in Iraq as well where you can go in and you can listen to cell telephone calls. It's the technology is very good, and the National Security agent is brilliant at this. And yes, they could whether it's going to take a day or two to put it in place, I can't tell you. I don't know enough about it, but yes the technology does exist. A switch, no.
BURNETT: All right, well, Bob Baer, thank you very much. Of course, you know, Bob didn't say this but I'll say it, I think it was pretty clear from the way Representative Rogers asked his question that he was asking whether the technology exists, not whether it was a switch or not.
So obviously we're still looking for answers from General Alexander. OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, he sits on the Intelligence Committee, which held that hearing today at which General Alexander testified. Thanks so much for taking the time, Congressman. It's always good to see you.
Let me start off because we just had that little exchange there with Bob Baer that you heard where Congressman Rogers had asked does the technology exist to flip a switch and listen. The answer was categorically no. Bob Baer obviously saying the technology does exist. It's just not technically flipping a switch. It's a different kind of technology. If that's true does that frustrate you that you sat there and heard answers so definitively that could be wrong?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: You know, it's very frustrating talking about this topic generally because so much of it is classified and only now are we beginning to declassify portions enough to have a -- an informed public debate about it. But you're absolutely right. It's very hard to talk about this intelligently when so much of it is kept under wraps and some of it kept under wraps of necessity. Some kept under wraps probably in an overdue precaution.
And you know, I've urged the NSA to declassify more. They are declassifying more. I think some of the most important information has come out in the last week and that is that, of this, you know, tank, this tank of metadata that contains so much it's only been queried 300 times during 2012. That is an important fact to get out to the American people and I don't think it compromises our security to have that kind of information in the public domain.
BURNETT: Right. So you're saying they're collecting it, but not necessarily culling through it and using it. I understand the point. What about the 50 attacks that General Alexander talked about today that he says were thwarted because of the NSA gathering this metadata? Do you think the nuance here that the gathering all this metadata of who was calling whom, of all these phone numbers, was critical in stopping those attacks or not? Just a small part and they could have stopped them anyway?
SCHIFF: Well, I think what the general has said that of those 50 thwarted attacks 90 percent of them were stopped in the 702 program, the program called prism that only 10 percent were stopped in the metadata program, and of the 10%, you're right, I think the agencies have been a little ambiguous about whether they were the definitive cause of stopping these plots, whether they had a contributing role, whether these plots might have been stopped in the absence of information.
Some is impossible to say in the sense that if we didn't catch it through the metadata program, we might still have caught it. So you can't say that it necessarily has saved lives, but you add up the plots, you add up the sheer number of plots over time, and I think you can reasonably conclude that not only have they improved the security of the country, but they've probably have saved American lives or will.
BURNETT: And obviously as you're aware Americans are frustrated here. You know people disapprove of how the president is handling surveillance, 61 percent, more than did when President Bush had his NSA scandal when only half of Americans disapproved. Now, you heavily criticized the Bush administration's surveillance programs when he was in office and then Senator Barack Obama did, as well. I wanted to play just a brief clip of some of the criticism this president made about President Bush in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists, without undermining our constitution and our freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And then, of course, Congressman, that was a very different President Obama about a week and a half ago when his own NSA story blew up. Here he is then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy, and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congressman, what's your point of view on that? I mean, has the president basically learned once you're the boss and if a terror attack happens on your historical record that all of a sudden there are some tradeoffs that he thinks this country must make on privacy for security.
SCHIFF: Well, I think it's a couple things. I think first what was going on in the last administration was warrantless wiretapping of Americans and I remember asking the former Attorney General Gonzales did he believe that the commander in chief under his Article II power had the power to surveil on Americans in the United States without a warrant or without court authority, and basically he said he wouldn't rule it out.
That's a very different view than this president. These programs are under court supervision. They are not warrantless in the way they were in the last administration. But the president is now, as commander in chief, and not simply as a member of one of 100 senators, ultimately responsible for the security of the country, and that is a different job than the one he had in the Senate.
But I do think he has a point that there is a balance between privacy and security. He thinks he struck the right balance in his administration and a very different balance than under the Bush administration.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman Schiff, always a pleasure and thank you for taking the time, sir.
Still OUTFRONT, two people held captive in an Ohio home, sounds familiar, but this is a new story, and a very different one. We bring it to you next.
Plus the roommate of Amanda Knox, did she died not by murder, but in a sex game gone wrong?
And in the Whitey Bulger case a former hit man who testifies against Bulger and took part in 20 murders says he was a nice family man. Not what his nickname would suggest. Nickname was the executioner.
And the new treasury secretary cleans up his signature to go on the dollar bill. Can you read it?
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, held captive in Ohio so for the second time if two months we're hearing people being held captive against their will in Ohio. This time, a woman and child allegedly held for two years. According to federal authorities, the disabled woman and her daughter were allegedly held in an apartment in Ashland, Ohio, where they were forced to eat dog food and treated like slaves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPECIAL AGENT ERIC SMITH, FBI: Suffice it to say these victims were repeatedly exposed to subhuman living conditions such as frequently being denied meals, access to bathroom visits. They were physically punished for toiletry accidents and they were threatened not only with weapons, but also vicious animals to include pit bulls and pythons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pit bulls and pythons. The mother and child were also forced to do manual labor and three people have been arrested including Jordie Callahan, Jessica Hunt and Daniel Brown. OUTFRONT, Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. And thank you very much for taking the time to be with us. What can you tell us about the victims in this case and obviously these allegations are horrific to contemplate?
STEVEN DETTELBACH, U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO: Yes, one of the things that's so troubling about this is that according to the charges, you know, the defendants took advantage of the victim's physical disability and her love for her child. The most human of all things and used that to basically hold these two people as modern-day slaves. It's very troubling.
BURNETT: And -- and, can you tell us a little bit more about how these two, the mother and daughter, came to be held captive and what their living conditions were like? DETTLEBACH: Well, look, according to the complaint that was filed in court the living conditions were simply, you know, subhuman. Talking about people who were locked in rooms, forced to work all the time. People who were threatened and beaten and injured, people who were exploited. People who had their money and benefits stolen, sort of used as pawns to get drugs. And the worst part of all this is, you know, they tried to rob the victims of their basic human dignity. So almost everything they did was to prey on them, prey on their vulnerabilities and exploit them.
BURNETT: And what kind of charges are you looking at here? I mean, obviously when you think about the Ariel Castro case, he was holding these women captive for a decade and was raping them and abusing them and holding them in awful conditions. But what we're hearing here is absolutely horrific as well. If Ariel Castro could go to jail for the rest of his life, what about these people?
DETTLEBACH: Well, these charges are different. As you said, that case is being handled by the local authorities as a kidnapping case and a sexual assault and rape case. This is a case where we've charged forced labor in the federal system and obstruction of justice. And the investigation is ongoing, but the gravamen of this offense, Erin, is that these individuals held these people and forced them to provide labor and services against their will for the benefit of the captors.
BURNETT: All right, Steven Dettlebach, thank you very much. As we said, U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio.
Well the U.S. Treasury has unveiled Secretary Jack Lew's new signature. You know, I've met Jack Lew. He's a really nice guy. And I would have thought he had a really normal signature. But one of the things I liked the most about him was that he had an utterly bizarre signature. Some people called it horrible. I liked it because it was strange. Even President Obama joked about his signature. Saying that it was -- well, he just teased him about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had never noticed Jack's signature.
OBAMA: And when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him.
OBAMA: Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: See, I liked it because it's hard to forge, that squiggly thing. But anyway, Mr. Lew, Secretary Lew, he totally succumbed to the pressure. And now, I mean you know, you still can't totally read it, all right? But it's a little more normal. This is how it's going to look on the dollar bill when you get Jack Lew's signature.
But here's the thing. Should the signature be appearing on dollar bills at all? That brings me to tonight's number: $4.4 billion, which is how much the U.S. government could save over 30 years if the U.S. ditched the dollar bill and instead used a dollar coin. This is a dollar coin, right now available only to collectors. Okay, I got a problem with it, I'll tell you in a minute. But anyway, that savings is even after you strip out the cost of switching over. You know when you have to switch the machines and phase out the bills, which is still costly, but you're still going to save $4.4 billion.
But here's the thing: Americans don't care, they don't want to save the money. This coin is part of a series of $1 coins with images of presidents, which was introduced in 2007. But nobody wanted them. And I'll tell you why, because all they are is the size of a quarter and the width of a quarter but colored gold. All right, so it's like you can't feel the difference. It's all about touch.
In December 2011 then-Treasury secretary Tim Geithner told the mint to go ahead and stop with the coins and said they were about $1.4 billion in a surplus dollar coins just sitting around that nobody wanted to use. Well, let me tell you, people like to pick on Europe, but they do it better. See, this is a two euro coin. It's got different colors. It's fatter, it's thicker. I put my hand in my wallet, and I can tell it's real money, not skinny. So, we could do it -- just make it feel different than a quarter. OK.
OUTFRONT next, Amanda Knox and an alleged erotic sex game gone horribly wrong. Could it be the thing that convicts or clears her of the murder? A big development in Italy tonight.
And later, why is the number one song in the United States causing so much controversy? Why is it a song that you would never want your child to listen to?
And road rage caught on tape.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT: was it a sex game gone horribly wrong? That's what Italy's supreme court wants to find out. Today the court explained its reasoning to retry Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend with the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox was acquitted by an appeals court in 201,1 but the high court in Italy overturned that ruling and said the jury didn't consider all the evidence, including an initial theory from the prosecution that Kercher was killed during a twisted sex game.
Now a new trial could start as early as this fall. And obviously going ahead with this retrial is bad news for Amanda Knox's camp. OUTFRONT tonight, our legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Paul Callan. This is bad news. Obviously they were hoping to try to avoid any sort of a retrial.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, this is very bad news. They've seen it coming, but this a 74-page opinion that really ripped apart the appellate court which ordered her acquittal. So Knox, you know, fans are very, very upset at this point.
BURNETT: All right. So explain what happened here. They're saying originally the prosecution had this theory of a sex game gone wrong that then was not pursued and was not part of the case, was not part of the ultimate appellate acquittal. So why did they abandon this theory, and is it now going to become completely the center of everything?
CALLAN: Explaining the Italian court system is no easy task. She's been tried twice. At the first trial, the prosecutor starts out by saying this was a sex game gone wrong. That's the motive for the killing. That went so badly during the trial that by the end of it, they abandoned it. And they came up with this sort of lame motive that it was just a couple of roommates who hated each other. You know, Amanda didn't do the dishes and wasn't cleaning up the apartment. And so the motive kind of disappeared.
So when the appellate court then came in and took a second look at the case, they had real problems with the motive issue. So now enter the supreme court, the highest court, they say you know, there was strong motive evidence here and you should have considered that.
BURNETT: All right. So it's unlikely she's going to return to testify. If she's in the U.S., why would she do that? But if she's convicted at a third trial of this murder, will the U.S. extradite her to serve her time in prison?
CALLAN: I think that's a fascinating question. And a lot of people say oh, the U.S. will never send her back. But bear in mind, if a hit man for the mob flees to Italy, and the U.S. says we want him back --
BURNETT: They'll say no because you didn't give us Amanda.
CALLAN: Right. You say we have a kangaroo court system, and what do you do? You have a nice rule for nice-looking girls from Seattle? They don't get extradited to the United States when three levels of courts in Italy have found them guilty? It's going to be a tough argument for the U.S., and I frankly don't know how it's going to turn out. It will be more politics than law in the end.
BURNETT: Wow. Fascinating, and everyone's watching. Paul Callan, thank you.
And still OUTFRONT: a man with the nickname "The Executioner," speaking of the mafia. Took the stand today despite taking part in 20 murders and hit jobs, he says he's just a nice family man. I'm sure Tony Soprano would understand.
And the jury who will try George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. What does the racial makeup mean for this trial? Everything or not? We're going to ask a lawyer for the Martin family.
And a deadly landslide.
And that's tonight's shout-out: road rage in California. Two men in suits duking it out at a light in Los Angeles. According to CNN affiliate KABC, it's still unclear what actually started this, but watch. Things got very heated when one driver jumped on the other driver's back. These guys are in suits getting ready to go to work. Tried to prevent him from leaving, put him in a head lock - oh, there go those shirts and ties! Probably more exercise than these guys look like they've gotten in a long time. According to KABC, one of the drivers was arrested on battery charges.
And our shout-out goes to the other drivers who were much more -- had much more decorum and cleaned up this silly fight between two guys in suits who need to hit the gym.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories where we focus on our reporting from the front lines. And I want to begin tonight with Chrysler which made a U-turn today after making a big stink. The company is totally turning around, and said it will recall 2.7 million jeeps.
You may remember last week the whole country was talking about the fact that Chrysler said, no way we're not going to comply with federal regulators on this recall. The company still claims the affected Jeep Grand Cherokees and liberties are safe. But in a Kelly Blue Book survey, 64 percent of people, buyers, said they would not consider a vehicle from a company that chose to ignore a suggested recall.
Well you know what? Chrysler is smart. You got to listen to your buyers. So they went ahead and did it anyway. And now, they've softened their stance a senior analyst at KBB says the company should escape any negative impact to their brand. Sometimes, you got to know when to fold them.
Well, we have dramatic video from India where 36 straight hours of rain has wreaked havoc on the country. I just want to show this picture. I mean, it's just incredible when you see what's going to happen here to the entire building just based on the monsoon and the rain falling in. At least 60 people have been killed in the rains according to "Reuters" which are at least twice as heavy as usual. I mean, look at that, and the whole building in with a giant splash. And obviously there are lives lost here.
Monsoon rains can clearly be dangerous, but they're also vital to agriculture in India. According to a USDA report, monsoon rain irrigate more than half of India's farmland, good monsoon rains boost yields and reduce costs of production.
And some very sad news we want to share with you tonight because we have just learned of the death of a reporter named Michael Hastings. "BuzzFeed" confirms Hastings died in a car accident early this morning in Los Angeles. He was the reporter who wrote famous profile of Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. That profile which ultimately led to his resignation.
"BuzzFeed" editor-in-chief Ben Smith said the staff is devastated by the news and called Hastings a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story. It's a tragic story no matter how you look at it. But perhaps even more so when you consider this -- Hastings was only 33 years old.
Reading between the lines is what the Wall Street will be doing tomorrow. The Federal Reserve is going to release the results of a two-day meeting. Nobody expects they're going to stop pumping money into the economy but we know they're going to do it at some point.
So, Wall Street is going to be reading between every line to get a sense of timing, a sense of nuance. RBC capital markets put it this way the markets will be looking for a distinction between applying less pressure to the gas pedal and hitting the brake. It's that balance that Ben Bernanke is trying to get right.
And meanwhile, there's speculation about who's going to succeed Mr. Bernanke. In an interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said Bernanke has already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to. Ben Bernanke's made no secret of the fact he wants to go home.
It has been 684 days since U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, there is more good news on housing. The government report shows the pace of home building rose 7 percent.
Our fourth story OUTFRONT, evidence mounting tonight against ex-mob boss James known as Whitey Bulger.
Prosecution star witness and former hit man John Martorano took the stand again today. For the first time, he said Bulger wasn't just an accessory to murder but the former head of Boston's Irish mob pulled the trigger. That's a significant development here.
And in a sweeping federal indictment Bulger is accused of drug dealing, extortion, and 19 murders committed while he was a prized FBI informant.
OUTFRONT tonight, Kevin Cullen, a reporter for "The Boston Globe" and author of "Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice."
What exactly did Martorano say when this big revelation came out that according to him Whitey Bulger actually pulled the trigger?
KEVIN CULLEN, REPORTER, BOSTON GLOBE: That was the killing of a guy named Eddie Connors. Eddie had helped them set up a guy named Spike O'Toole. After Spike was murder Eddie was bragging about it and the Winter Hill Gang decided he had to go.
So, the hit team came over, Johnny Martorano who usually was a hands- on guy himself. He was the driver he claims and he says that he took Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, Whitey's partner in crime, and they actually laid an ambush ready and Connors when he went to a phone booth supposedly to talk to Holly Winter, the head of the gang, they opened fire on him. John Martorano admitted under oath that he did not see Whitey pull the trigger. That he was over the hill, and that Whitey and Stevie ran up to the car after he heard the gunshots and said he's gone.
BURNETT: Did Bulger's defense team when they were trying to defend against this actually putting the gun in Whitey Bulger's hand but John Martorano was able to do today did they do a good job defending him?
CULLEN: Well, I think Hank Brennan, one of Whitey's lawyers, did a very good job on cross-examination of Martorano. If only by portraying him as venal and as a vile a guy as he is. I mean, there was this almost comical exchange about John not admitting that he was a serial killer, because he said serial killers enjoy killing and he never enjoyed killing.
The one thing that the defense really has a problem with and this is just indisputable, John Martorano put himself in those murders. They did not have him on any murders until he actually volunteered to give them up as a way to get back at Whitey. He was so angry at Whitey and Stevie Flemmi for being informants with the FBI that he was the one that volunteered to give the murders and put them in murders and put himself in murders, as he said today from the stand, the racketeering indictment he was facing when he got grabbed by Steve Johnson of the state police here in 1995, he might have done two, three years, tops.
And then he put himself in a murder, and -- in 20 murders. He admitted to 20 murders and he ended up doing 12 years which is a sweetheart deal by any definition. As the prosecution will argue, they had Whitey. They had nobody in any of these murders. They were all unsolved murders until John Martorano came forward and admitted that he did them.
BURNETT: And what about Whitey Bulger. Obviously, he's sitting just a few feet away from John Martorano as he's been testifying. You've had a chance to watch his face.
CULLEN: He will not even give Johnny Martorano the satisfaction of looking at him and staring him down and thinking that what he is saying is bothering him. He's just ignoring him.
BURNETT: Kevin, thank you so much.
CULLEN: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: All right and now to Sanford, Florida, where the judge is one step closer to seating a jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Today, the judge narrowed the pool of potential jurors down to 40 and we do know a little bit about this group.
Of course, I'm going to cite the "Orlando Sun Sentinel" who's done the reporting on this. Of the pool of 40, it's going to get winnowed down to six total, but of that pool, 22 are white, six are black, two are Hispanic, one identifies as mixed race and nine are not racially identified at all. There are 24 women and 16 men and they skew middle aged. Now, Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic, and as you are aware, has admitted to shooting black teen Trayvon Martin last year. He says it was self-defense. He has pleaded not guilty.
Attorney Benjamin Crump is representing the family of Trayvon Martin.
Ben, it's always good to talk to you. Let me just start off with the way this is now. Now, look it's 40. We don't know what the group of six is going to end up being. But, obviously, right now 22 of the 40 are white, only six are black.
If this final pool of six is not 3-3, can you get a fair trial?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: We believe we can, Erin. Trayvon's parents and I sit in the courtroom every day and we watch the demographics of the jury and we listen to every answer that they are honest and truthful because as long as they're honest and truthful, we believe they'll be fair and impartial, and we know if we get a fair and impartial jury, based on the evidence, George Zimmerman will be convicted.
BURNETT: Now, let me ask you about Zimmerman's racial background. And I think it's fair people have talked about how important race is in this case, you know, and some have said this would be different if Trayvon Martin was white. But George Zimmerman is Hispanic. Is that relevant, as well? He's not white.
CRUMP: Well, you know, they say white, Hispanic. People have to decide for themselves how much emphasis to put on ethnicity. What we do know from jury selection, there were many prospective Hispanic jurors who came and answered questions, saying they believed George Zimmerman was guilty, and they were Hispanic.
And so, that's all we can ask for, that people are honest, and fair, and say we're going to base our verdict on the evidence, and nothing more. And if that's the case, Erin, it doesn't matter who's on that jury. The evidence is there to hold him accountable for killing an unarmed teenager.
BURNETT: And there have been people out there, Ben I know you've already, you know you've responded to this at times but there are people out there who say look if there isn't a guilty verdict, there's going to be, you know, there's going to be riots on the streets. People keep saying this. And I think you believe that just saying that in and of itself would be -- is racist.
CRUMP: Well, what I do believe is this. All the evidence is there to convict George Zimmerman, so, I think somebody should start asking the question, when they return a just and fair verdict and it's a guilty verdict against George Zimmerman, how are the Zimmerman supporters going to act? Nobody asks that question, even though Trayvon parents get so many threats and so many nasty things said to them, nobody's asking the question about the Zimmerman supporters, and their reaction to the guilty verdict.
BURNETT: So, what do you, do you think will happen? Do you think if there's you know there's a verdict one or one way or the other do you think that the American public will accept it and move on? Or do you think that there's going to be anger and violence?
CRUMP: Well, Erin, I think this is a very emotional case. And -- but that's why it's so important that this has to be very fair, it has to be very transparent, so everybody can see the case unfold, and they can accept the verdict. Because they said it was fair and it was transparent and everybody got equal justice.
And the other point, Erin, everybody's talking about this voice analysis that she -- the judge is going to rule on tomorrow.
BURNETT: Right, the 911 tapes, yes.
CRUMP: Yes, ma'am. A big point on that, that people are not asking or talking about is the best voice expert on a person's voice is them. George Zimmerman told detective Serino three days after the tragedy when the 911 screams were played for him that that didn't sound like him.
So, he's the expert here. And I believe once the jury hears this evidence, they're going to hold him guilty of killing Trayvon Martin. The evidence is overwhelming.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Benjamin Crump. Always appreciate talking to you.
And still OUTFRONT, is the number one song in the United States of America promoting race? And the husband of Nigella Lawson turns himself in to police after images of him seeming to choke his wife are published. That story next.
BURNETT: And we are back with tonight's "Outer Circle" where we reach out to our sources around the world. Tonight, we go to London where police met with Charles Saatchi, the husband of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson about an incident in which he was photographed grabbing his wife's throat. He's obviously one of the wealthiest men in the world.
I asked Matthew Chance what happened in the meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, British police have now cautioned the husband of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson after he was photographed in a London restaurant grasping the neck of his wife. Charles Saatchi, a 70-year-old millionaire advertising executive, and art collector, says he voluntarily went to a police station to receive the caution because it was, quote, "better than the alternative of this hanging over all of us for months."
There's been no comment still from the 53-year-old Nigella Lawson on the incident which shocked Britain, after the photographs were published at the weekend. Charles Saatchi had initially described the images as showing a playful tiff. There was no grip he told a London newspaper, adding that Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Now checking with John King for a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360."
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Erin. Hello to you.
We're keeping them honest tonight with an exclusive. The IRS scandal may be wider than just the targeting of the Tea Party group seeking tax exempt status. Ahead on the program, Drew Griffin's investigation reveals the IRS targeted an individual who spoke out against the government. That alarming story ahead of a whistle-blower suddenly audited for speaking out.
Also ahead, the Colorado wildfires have killed two people, destroyed more than 500 homes and bushed 16,000 acres. Officials now investigating how the fire started and treating it as a possible crime scene.
So, how do you track down an arsonist? With hold fashioned detective work. Thelma Gutierrez has that story.
All ahead at the top of the hour -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. John, see you in just a few minutes.
And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: the power of a song, specifically this song. This terribly disgusting song, "Blurred Lines", by Robin Thicke. One of the most popular songs of the summer, in fact, the most popular right now, number one on "Billboard's" hot 100. I hate to say this but I have to let you listen to make up your own mind. So here goes.
BURNETT: And there's plenty of things in there that I can't show you. That was the G-rated part. Yes. Listeners seem to think it's catchy and has a good beat. OK, again it's number one. The numbers speak for themselves.
But according to the "Daily Beast", it's also quote, I want to emphasize I'm quoting someone else here, "kind of rapey". Trisha Romano writes, "The song is about how a girl really wants crazy wild sex but doesn't say it, positing the age-old program where no means yes to a catchy, hummable song."
OUTFRONT tonight, well, two men shaking their heads, I assume that the woman is not but I do not know. There she is -- no, not shaking her head like her comrades.
All right. Dean Obeidallah is joining me, Stephanie Miller and Reihan Salam.
OK. Reihan and Dean, you're both sitting there and shaking your head when I said it's a bad song, you're rolling your eyes at me. There's a second version of this video where the women are all naked.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Seen it.
BURNETT: I'm sure you have seen it.
OBEIDALLAH: I'm doing research before I come on. I didn't enjoy it.
BURNETT: I'm sure, I'm sure. OK.
So the things continue here. You know, I know you want it. But you're a good girl. I know you want it. I'm not going to read all the words. They get much more --
BURNETT: Direct than that. Is this promoting rape?
OBEIDALLAH: Honestly, I don't think so at all. And I would not joke around at all if it was. I'm involved with a group that counters domestic violence against women.
I think it's playful. I think it's the song, it's upbeat and catchy and it's fun. Sure, it degrades women a little bit. Yes, Robin Thicke even admitted that in an interview with "G.Q." last month. Have you watched "True Blood"? The guy has his shirt off every scene. So, are they not degrading men there?
I mean, it goes both ways. Sex sells. If this was at all advocating rape or violence against women, I would be outspoken against it.
BURNETT: Reihan, what is this wide-eyed innocent doe look you're giving me?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I mean, you know, this song -- you see the video so there's a man with a syringe who seems to be maiming, injecting the syringe into a woman's bottom. There's a woman holding a lamb affectionately in her arms as if the lamb is possibly her lover.
This song is about fantasy, it's about role play. It's completely bizarro.
BURNETT: Now, you're talking about having sex with lambs.
SALAM: But, dude, this song is nutso. That's the whole point of it. It's a grand role play in craziness. It's totally, totally weird.
And the thing is that that's one of the delights of our culture, the idea is that you have the normal way one lives and then you have musicians, artists and others who actually realized a fantasy life for us and that's part of why songs like this can be fun and entertaining, and why they become viral. So, I think you need a space for fantasy and play in our culture.
BURNETT: I like the use weird but I would use deviant. OK.
SALAM: Sure, deviant is fair.
BURNETT: Stephanie, a blogger writes on a Web site, a feminist in L.A., "The majority of the song has the R&B singer murmuring 'I know you want it' over and over into a girl's ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase doesn't exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity. Seriously, this song is disgusting, though, admittedly, very catchy."
What's your take? By the way, let's just put it out here. Number one in the "Billboard" 100 means a lot of teenagers and kids are listening.
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Erin, I got your back on this topic, sister.
Are our two friends there, Dean and Reihan, running for Republican Congress or what's happening? Are we discussing degrees of rapeyness? I mean, really? If this was a legitimate song about rape, would a woman's ears have a way of shutting that whole thing down? I think it's offensive.
I mean, Erin, I don't know if you saw where the guy blows smoke in her face and she goes like this, and then he says, you know, I know you want it. I'm like, really? I want cancer from second-hand smoke? I don't know it because it's a catchy tune? I think it's offensive.
SALAM: You don't become number one in the "Billboard" charts without having a lot of women enjoying the song. That doesn't mean that the song is reflecting an admirable message. But the thing is that role play is a part of sexual practice in our culture, OK? And this kind of playful, this idea of having a sense of humor around these things that some find creepy and gross, that's exactly why it's fun. It's transgressive. And the more we talk about this, this is feeding into fixed agenda, OK?
He knows that there are so few taboos left in our culture that testing the boundaries of those, that's the point of the syringe and the lamb, Erin. It's totally weird and that's why it's fun.
BURNETT: Right, I see your point.
But, Dean, a song that repeats "I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you want it."
BURNETT: How is that -- look there are songs in rap land, I'm not naive person here, but this is something that's number one that's going to be heard by a lot of girls. Would you want your daughter hearing that? OBEIDALLAH: I think it would be troubling if they heard it. I don't think it's popular because of the lyrics. I think it's popular of the catchy sound and people are having fun.
And you know, it has a theme here. The real theme, Robin Thicke, women, you want the nice girl in the street and the freaky girl in the bedroom, Usher said the same thing in 2008. This is a theme we've heard song after song playing into the male fantasy.
SALAM: I really can't stay but baby it's cold outside --
BURNETT: You talking about the Christmas song. It's cold outside --
SALAM: It's persuasion.
BURNETT: OK, but that's romance.
SALAM: Exactly, these two people in the song are a couple. It's not someone talking about a stranger --
BURNETT: Not a syringe in their butt.
SALAM: It's not cat calling someone on the street. It's kind of playful persuasion that happens in relationships.
MILLER: Sorry, Erin. Erin, you played the trump card today, the daughter card. They are call good with it until it's their daughter. They're like, no, of course --
BURNETT: That's true.
MILLER: It's disgusting.
SALAM: That's Dean -- I expect if I did have a daughter she would be a human being able to make choices and she'd be able to engage in fantasy and play, the way a lot of adults do.
MILLER: Right, right.
SALAM: Reihan has (ph) a daughter.
OK, thank you, guys.
BURNETT: All right. Always a pleasure and we love them.
OK. Now, to tonight's "Outtake" where every night we take a look at the headlines outside the headlines. So, tonight is game six of the NBA finals and I will admit I'm not a basketball fan as anyone close to me knows. I do like some basketball players, though, and I love cool sports shoes. So, today, when we found out that LeBron James and Nike might have a new version of the shoes, we got excited until we saw it. This is one ugly show.
These pictures are from kicksinthecity.com and the red thing in the middle looks like an animal, maybe a camel. The starting price for shoes like these ugly things is 160 bucks. Are you kidding?
It also says LeBron James is a two time champion in the shoe, which he is not. He would need to win tonight's game and seven to be crown add champion again. So, he's selling an ugly shoe that says something that is not true.
That's not the only brand gone bad today, I'm sorry to go all Andy Rooney on you today, but it was a bad day. Oreo is rolling out with pride a watermelon Oreo. No, that is not cute, that is not tasty, that is gross.
And Starbucks where I only go in the summer because I want a sweet frappuccino to boost my day, is now going to start posting calories next week, reminding me apparently that my once joyous frappuccino experience is the equivalent of stuffing a Big Mac in my face in the middle of the afternoon.
Yes, thanks, guys. Three nasty brands.
Up next, our trip to Iran. We took personal pictures and pulled them together to tell you something very different about that trip.
BURNETT: Before we get to tonight's essay, one footnote to the Whitey Bulger story. Some of our earlier reporting inadvertently misidentified photos of convicted ex-FBI agent John Connolly as mobster John Martorano and CNN regrets the error.
And before we go tonight, some of our favorite personal photos from Iran. We did hit some snags. We were watched every step of the way. This is our team arguing with the man who works for the supreme leader, 15 minutes of haggling papers him wanting to come along with us.
Now, I want to emphasize he was polite. At a mall, at a bizarre it was much less civil with government and self-appointed police spying on us and videotaping their fellow citizens talking to us to try to turn them in.
Women in Iran, another thing that we were very focused on as women there, they must cover their head, but they do so in every way as you can imagine. Many showing as much hair as they can get away with. Some covered were totally covered up top to bottom. This was conservative rally, you can see that. Others though in bright colors, you can see at the bottom there underneath the personal photos line, she's wearing bright pink tights to match her hijab.
And then there was this lady, we saw her twice in totally different neighborhoods. We call her an ayatollah lady because, yes, she really did love the ayatollah and wanted to go on and on about it.
Speaking of the supreme leader, in all seriousness, the two supreme leaders of Iran since the revolution of the supreme leaders in the theocracy, pictures are everywhere including at the airport where on our way out of Tehran, we saw this, the two ayatollahs in prime position of authority and then flanking a giant Samsung logo because, yes, we told you how Samsung was everywhere around Iran. But this was above and beyond and it brought home just how supreme money really is.
And, finally, in honor of many wonderful moments that we had, the Americans, the Australians, and the Iranians on our wonderful team in Tehran.
Thanks so much for watching.
"A.C. 360" starts now.