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Woman and Child Held as Slaves; Taliban Talks Suspended After Overnight Violence; Wild Weather out West; Serena Williams Weighs in on Steubenville Rape Case; Miami Heat Stay Alive; Deporting the Statue of Liberty?

Aired June 19, 2013 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A real life house of horrors, a woman and her daughter turned into modern day slaves. Kept in line with pit bulls and pythons, abused for years. We are live with how they finally found their freedom.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And Serena Williams stirring controversy about what she said about the high school girl raped in Steubenville, Ohio.


ROMANS (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Thirty minutes after the hour right now.

ROMANS: We're following breaking news from Afghanistan this morning. The Taliban claiming responsibility for an attack that killed four U.S. soldiers. The Pentagon officials say the four Americans were killed by rocket or mortar fire inside Bagram Air Base. The admission by the Taliban coming just as the Obama administration planned to start the first formal peace talks with the Afghan insurgents.

And Afghanistan is now suspending its talks at the U.S. on a new security agreement. Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, saying there have been too many, quote, "contradictions between acts and statements by the U.S. government."

BERMAN: New this morning. Investigators breaking their silence about what they say brought down TWA flight 800. That flight long the subject of conspiracy theories. It crashed into the ocean off the coast of Long Island back in 1996. 230 people died. The official cause was said to be a gas tank explosion caused by an electrical short circuit.

But six of the original investigators now saying in a new documentary that the explosion was outside of the plane.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was convinced that the part had been damaged by a high explosion because of the entrance hole and the exit hole.


BERMAN: They want the NTSB to reopen the investigation. The agency says "while the NTSB rarely reinvestigate issues that have already been examined, our investigations are never closed and we can review any information not previously considered by the board."

ROMANS: Lawmakers are going to get a closer look today at what the White House is calling the successful side of the NSA's spying programs. The NSA sending to Congress a list of some 50 plots it says were foiled in part with information gathered from phone records and online snooping. NSA head, General Keith Alexander, told a Congressional hearing Tuesday that the programs are critical to keeping the country safe.


GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, NSA DIRECTOR: These programs are critical to the intelligence community's ability to protect our nation and our allied security. They assist the intelligence community efforts to connect the dots.


ROMANS: But Alexander admitted that many of the plots were foiled with foreign internet surveillance not by collecting phone records.

BERMAN: President Obama is in Berlin today where he will deliver a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. Very famous spot. The same spot were President Reagan famously told Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to tear down the Berlin Wall. Mr. Obama expected to ask the Russians to cut their nuclear arsenal, promising U.S. reductions in return.

ROMANS: All right. Now to Ohio where three people are charged in a truly disturbing case. They're accused of holding a mentally challenged woman and her daughter captive in subhuman conditions for more than a year. CNN's Pamela Brown following the story. She's live this morning in Ashland, Ohio. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, Christine. I want to warn you, we're about to share some very disturbing details in what's a pretty confusing case. It all started as a simple shoplifting case and turned into so much more. A mother, a daughter, allegedly forced to endure unspeakable horror and held against their will.


BROWN (voice-over): Inside this house, an Ohio woman and her child deprived of their freedom, dignity, and basic needs for a year and a half, according to federal authorities.

ERIC SMITH, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: These individuals deprived this woman and her child of the most fundamental of American rights, freedom. This case is nothing less than a case of modern day slavery.

BROWN: Twenty-six-year-old Jordie Callahan, his girlfriend 31-year- old Jessica Hunt and their friend, Daniel Brown, all charged with imprisoning a mentally disabled woman only identified as Essie and her child. Prosecutors say Essie was forced to do household chores and threatened with pit bulls and a python. And according to a law enforcement source, she and her daughter were, sometimes, forced to eat dog food.

SMITH: You're talking about people who were locked in rooms and forced to work all the time. People who were threatened and beaten and injured.

BROWN: According to court documents, Essie was also threatened at gun point, one of her alleged captors took out his knife and threatened to cut her finger off. Medical records show Essie she visited the emergency room at least three times between 2011 and 2012 with a variety of injuries.

Ashton police say they were tipped off after Essie was arrested for trying to steal a candy bar. When police showed up at the home, Callahan allegedly showed them video of Essie beating her daughter, but Essie says she was forced to do so by Callahan and Hunt. On Piers Morgan's show, Callahan's mother denies the allegations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girl that's supposedly victim went wherever she wanted to go, whenever she wanted to go.

BROWN: This comes on the heels of another disturbing kidnapping case in nearby Cleveland, the shocking rescue of three women held for a decade by Ariel Castro. Both of these cases of alleged abuse stunning their neighbors, left wondering how this could be happening in their backyards.


BROWN (on-camera): And authorities believe part of the motive in this case was that the suspects wanted to take Essie's government benefits that she had from disability. Now, there could be more charges to come and also more arrests. We're expecting at least one more arrest in this case. As for Essie and her daughter, they're said to be doing OK with the help of a victim's specialist with the FBI.

But certainly, this community here is reeling, again, the second case here in this Cleveland area in six weeks of captives allegedly being held. Very disturbing.

ROMANS: We certainly wish her and her child the best as they cope with this transition. Thank you so much, Pamela Brown.

BERMAN: Thirty-six minutes after the hour. It's a busy day at the trial for George Zimmerman. He's the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with the murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Jury selection is continuing, but the court will also hear from an expert about the 911 tape from the shooting. Prosecutors argue you can hear Trayvon Martin shouting for help on that call, not Zimmerman.

ROMANS: Now, to the wild, wild weather out west. Strong winds pushing a fire dangerously close to Yosemite National Park in California. Officials believe the fire in the foothills west of Yosemite started by an unattended campfire. The Carstens fire has burned nearly 1,900 acres. It's threatening now hundreds of homes right now. It's 40 percent contained.

BERMAN: Officials in Arizona say people are also to blame for a fire that's burning out of control near Prescott, Arizona. Humans to blame. It's consumed some 5,000 acres and forced the evacuation of at least 300 homes. Firefighters say it's about zero percent contained right now. The exact cause still under investigation.

ROMANS: And it's back to business as usual at Denver International Airport. Look at that after a surprise arrival on the runway. A tornado touched down briefly at the airport with winds clocking at nearly 100 miles an hour. No reports of damage or injuries from the twister, but certainly, quite a story to tell if you were at Denver International yesterday and had to look out and see that.

BERMAN: I can't imagine just standing in the airport, looking at the runway and saying, hey, look, there's a tornado on the runway.

ROMANS: I think a lot of people weren't standing there at one point. They were going -- running to the bathrooms, going to interior space, just getting away from the glass and watching that thing. Unbelievable.

BERMAN: There were some delays.


BERMAN: Indra Petersons is tracking the weather for us. It looks like more rain today, more weather like this.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, mix of good and bad news. We have this dome (ph) of high pressure. That's good news for us because that means we're not going to be dealing with the rain. But there's exactly dome (ph) of high pressure that's pushing out the rain in northeast is also blocking out any rain chances over on the west coast where they really need it around the four corners area and of course out towards California.

So, kind of that mixed bag there. Look at the temperatures now. Notice how warm they are with that high pressure building, and we're talking about mid and upper 90s, even some triple-digit heat expected and really warming. And every time you see those temperatures rise, we know what else happens, the relativity goes down, folks.

We're not seeing that moisture in the air that they need, of course, bad news from firefighters. Notice Yosemite going down to 19 percent by the afternoon today. Of course, for that reason, we have those fire watches, and now, we're only going to be staying there for the next couple of days.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Indra. Indra Petersons.

Tennis star, Serena Williams, in (ph) controversy this morning. Williams talked at the "Rolling Stone" about the rape of a 16-year-old in Steubenville, Ohio. Telling the magazine, "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you don't take drinks from other people."

Going on to say, "She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know maybe she want a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless, they slipped her something, then that's different." Two members of the Steubenville high school football team were convicted of the crime, convicted of rape.

The case drew nationwide attention because of how the teens talked about it, bragged about it on social media. Williams is in England preparing for Wimbledon. No comment from her or her agent.

BERMAN: Interesting.

Coming up, a nine-year-old boy takes on a carjacker to save his little sister. This is an act of heroism. It is simply amazing. We'll tell you about it after the break.


BERMAN: On the loose this morning, a suspect in Atlanta area carjacking where a young boy fought back. Nine-year-old Brannon Brown and his five-year-old sister were in their car. Their mother got out for a minute. That's when a man tried to get in.


BRANNON BROWN, BROTHER: He came running up, jumped in the car, and he like put it into reverse and tried to back up. And I shoved it back into park.


BERMAN: Good for him. Brannon was able to get out, but his sister was still inside. The carjacker drove off eventually the little girl go a few miles away. Police now looking for the suspects. Both kids said to be OK, thankfully.

ROMANS: Wow! That would give you a pause when you run in the dry cleaner for just a second. Take a look at these pictures from Mexico.

BERMAN: Oh, my goodness.

ROMANS: Yes. A volcano erupting in Mexico City. It was so loud the explosion was heard up to 15 miles away. Popocatepetl (ph) is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Some 4.5 million people live nearby, and they're being told to stay vigilant.

BERMAN: On the subject of volcanic eruptions, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan join us now. Hey, guys. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, good morning, good morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It stings, it stings when he comes --



BERMAN: How do you know I'm talking about you? I may be talking about Kate.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Of course, I always think, of course, it has to be talking about Cuomo, not me.

CUOMO: I want to go along (ph) news on your right now. We've got a lot more this morning on what could be a bombshell from former investigators of TWA flight 800. We all remember it going into the Atlantic, off of the coast Long Island. We thought it was about a fuel tank. Now, new questions that maybe the report got it wrong.

So, we're going to talk to the man who got them to come forward and find out from investigators what they think really happened.

BOLDUAN: And we also have, guys, brand-new video of Paris Jackson testifying in the wrongful death trial against her father's concert promoter. This has obviously been a big case that many have been following. What she says about the people surrounding Michael Jackson in his final days. It's very interesting. We'll have more on that coming up.

CUOMO: And I've been saying for years to John Berman, Kate, that this caramel macchiato frappe lachatino that he gets at Starbucks --

BOLDUAN: Lachatino.

CUOMO: -- is high in calories. He has said no as he buys ever bigger belts, but today, we will have Dr. Gupta in here to take us through the calories at Starbucks.

BOLDUAN: I would venture (ph) to guess that Christine Romans. What is your drink, Christine?



ROMANS: I drink tea. Straight tea.


BOLDUAN: Berman you're going to get a knee.

CUOMO: What is that thing you get, JB? The mocha frappe --

BERMAN: So I have latte vente something -- BOLDUAN: Yes. Welcome to New York City, everyone.


BERMAN: All right. Kate, Chris, can't wait to see you a little bit later. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, guys. Coming up, the Miami Heat staying alive, squeaking by the San Antonio Spurs in overtime. You know, our friend, Chris Cuomo, was up a little late last night watching this incredible three-point shot that saved the season. That's ahead in the "Bleacher Report."


ROMANS: What a game last night between the Spurs and the Heat. Miami survived in overtime thriller to force a winner take all game seven tomorrow night. And Andy Scholes, I have to say Berman says there was like the best shot in the history -- what did you say?

BERMAN: No. I say that Ray Allen may be the best shooter, pure shooter of all time.

ROMANS: Hyperbole (ph)?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: That's a good assumption right there. It's probably true, I would say that. And you know, after we saw those four straight blowouts, we're finally treated to that nail-biter last night in game six. You know, the Spurs were just seconds away from winning it all, but that's when the Heat came up with a couple of huge threes. Miami, they're down five with under 30 seconds to go.

Lebron James without the headband in the fourth quarter knocks down the three. That cut the Spurs' lead to two, then down three in the closing seconds, Lebron misses. Chris Bosh gets the offensive rebound, gives it to Ray Allen. And as you said, guys, one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history. He knocks it down. That sends the game in overtime.

The Heat would take a three-point lead in OT. The Spurs would have one last chance, but Chris Bosh blocked Danny Green. Heat escaped with a 103-100 win. Lebron finishes with another triple double, 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: It was, by far, the best game I've ever been a part of. The ups and downs, the roller coaster, the emotions good and bad throughout the whole game. To be a part of something like this is something you'll never be able to re-create once you're down playing a game and I'm blessed to be a part of something like this.


SCHOLES: All right. The U.S. men's soccer team took another step forward in their quest to qualify for the World Cup, taking on Honduras last night, 73rd minute, maybe in (ph) Johnson, nice cross to Jozy Altidore. He buries it. Altidore now scored four straight for the U.S. and that would be enough. U.S. goes on to win the game 1-0.

Right now, they sit on top of their group standings. Next World Cup qualifying game for the team is September 6th against Costa Rica.

Well, according to the British newspaper, "The Mirror," the now retired soccer star, David Beckham, had a chance to play in the NFL. It's been reported that an NFL scout reached out to Beckham before he retires from soccer to give him a tryout as a kicker for an unnamed NFL team.

Beckham eventually turned down the offer and ended up playing his last season in France. Top right (ph) for the NFL whose female viewership would have increased just a little, I'm sure.

Well, the guys from "Dude Perfect" are back with the new trick shot video. And guys, this maybe their best one yet. Check out some of these amazing shots. This is on top of an air traffic control tower. That's a football. He sinks it. Look how high that is. Just incredible. After the football shot, guys grab a basketball, the same exact thing.

That is about 5 1/2 minutes of these different trick shots they do. Get the mini involved. Play action fast. You know what I want to know, guys? I want to know how many footballs and basketballs they had to take up to that top of that air traffic control tower and how many shots it took before he finally end up making it.

BERMAN: I can watch this forever. This is amazing.

ROMANS: You can't watch it forever. We have --

BERMAN: I know. But you can do this. The thing you don't know about this is Christine Romans is a good shot. She can hit all these shots.


ROMANS: Other kind of good shot.

BERMAN: Love to see it. All right. Andy, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Andy.

All right. Coming up, one of America's most beloved monuments targeted for deportation. The campaign to send the Statue of Liberty back to France.

BERMAN: Bonjour!


ROMANS: All right. Immigration helped to the client more than 125 years old. She's about 300 feet tall, greenish, a real torchbearer. We're going to let Jeanne Moos tell you more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know that French lady out in New York harbor? Somebody wants her deported.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No habla Espanol.

MOOS: In fact, she's getting grilled by immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you speak English?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course. I was to say --





MOOS: The campaign is gathering momentum. Ship her back to France before she has an anchor baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preserve American culture. Deport the statue.

MOOS: This reminds me of the glory days of freedom fries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I see your entry papers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have any. I came here in some crates by boat.

MOOS: Give me your tired, your poor, your gullible?

ISHITA SRIVASTAVA, PRODUCER, BREAKTHROUGH: Our goal was never to trick people. It was really to do a spoof and use satire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have an education?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have over 120 years of experience in my field.

SRIVASTAVA: There were people, like, oh my God, I almost believed it.

MOOS: Ishita Srivastava is a producer for a human rights organization called Breakthrough that's trying to break through the immigration debate with humor. They created a fake campaign with fake Twitter accounts and called themselves Legals for the Preservation of American Culture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an icon of American freedom.

MOOS: The campaign to deport the statue is really in favor of immigration reform. The statue's grilling is supposed to represent what immigrants experience. Cartoonist, Mike Lockovich, had the same idea last year. He was here illegally and got deported back to France.

(on-camera) But Lady Liberty could suffer a much worse fate than deportation.

(voice-over) How about decapitation? That's happened to Liberty in movies ranging from "Cloverfield" to "Deep Impact" when she lost her head to a giant tsunami. Charlton Heston found her beached in "Planet of the Apes."


MOOS: After all the liberties that have been taken with this lady, what's a little fake deportation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you prove that you're not taking a job away from an educated American statue?

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: No doubt in my mind that Lady Liberty is an American citizen. I mean, in 1986, there was a big legalization rate. She had been here already. No question Lady liberty was a part of that --

BERMAN: Part of the MC.

ROMANS: At the MC of 1986 (ph).

BERMAN: That's an excellent point.

ROMANS: She can't be deported.

BERMAN: Excellent point.

ROMANS: That's my official ruling on this.

BERMAN: With that, we'll bring in "New Day" anchors, Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan who will not be deported.

BOLDUAN: Oh, you (ph) always wondering -- Chris?

CUOMO: I'm a citizen.


CUOMO: I'm legit. I've seen the pictures.

BOLDUAN: Good. Good to know. Good to know. I mean, I guess, it is good that one way to get into a serious topic often is through humor. I mean, I think we see that on "The Daily Show" every day. So, it's one way of doing it. OK, guys, we've got a lot coming up, lot coming up this hour. President Obama delivering a speech this morning at Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate. Will he address the scandals surrounding his administration, including the NSA surveillance programs?

CUOMO: And speaking of that, we have the director of the NSA giving his testimony. You're looking at it right now. This was what was new. Programs work. That was his point. That there have been plots, dozens foiled by the programs that are now under scrutiny. Question is, is this something that allows us to know that we need them or is this a way to deflect the current scrutiny. We're going to go through that with you.

And, Paris Jackson testifying at her father's death trial, even though she's still recovering from a suicide attempt. There's -- we're looking at there. She gives her testimony as part of the Jackson Family's lawsuit against a concert promoter. But it was good for people to see her. And, that's going to be a big part of the news that we have. But it is now very close to the top of the hour, which means it is time for the top news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was convinced that the part had been damaged by a high explosion.

CUOMO: Bombshell revelations. The infamous TWA flight 800 not an accident? Investigators of the crash come forward saying something else may have caused the disaster.

BOLDUAN: Shocking crime, a mother and daughter held against their will, forced to work in servitude for two years, now finally free. Three people are charged. How did they get away with it?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Yosemite on fire. A massive wildfire moving in on one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations. 1,500 people now evacuated.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.