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James Gandolfini Dead At 51; In Defense Of Surveillance; Stocks Sell-Off; Boy Charged in Half Sisters Death

Aired June 20, 2013 - 06:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We talk to those who knew him best. His "Sopranos" co-stars and celebrate his amazing and ground-breaking career.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: New details on the government's use of drones in the U.S., that Patriots' player reportedly interviewed by police about a murder. And Lebron one on one with our Rachel Nichols, an interview you have to see.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY, everyone. A lot of people waking up this early morning to a lot of shock. I'm Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo along with Michaela Pereira, as always. It is Thursday, June 20th, 6:00 in the east. It's a very sad day in Hollywood, but really all over the country, everybody who loved "The Sopranos."

BOLDUAN: That music brings back so many memories for so many people. James Gandolfini was the star of HBO's first huge hit, "The Sopranos" and he became famous for doing the impossible making a mob boss, an admitted killer, likeable.


JAMES GANDOLFINI: To my health, to be in this beautiful spot, with people that I love, I couldn't ask for more.


CUOMO: In that scene, a little look at the humanity that defined the character, but more importantly the man and one of the reasons James Gandolfini became such a respected actor in Hollywood. Overnight tributes pouring in from around the world, the 51-year-old actor died Wednesday. Reports point to potential heart failure while on vacation in Rome. He was there with his teenage son. We'll tell you he also has an infant daughter.

Nischelle Turner has been tracking this throughout the night and has all the latest details -- Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. He was a star. He was a consummate character actor, became a star leading man late in his career. Fans and friends shocked at the news this morning. His colleagues calling him one of the best in the business.


TURNER (voice-over): The sudden death of James Gandolfini rippled from Italy to the Jersey Shore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe it. I'm in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want to take him back. I mean, he was such a young man and such a nice guy.

TURNER: The Emmy Award winning actor's death confirmed by HBO, the network where he shot to fame as the tough talking mob boss, Tony Soprano, on the hit drama "The Sopranos."

GANDOLFINI: I couldn't ask for more.

TURNER: The HBO representatives said the 51-year-old actor may have had a heart attack, though the official cause is not yet known. The news blind-sided his closest Hollywood friends, "The Sopranos" co- star, Steven Van Zandt tweeting "I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all-time."

The show's creator, David Chase, mourned the loss in a statement saying, "he was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes."

Gandolfini was vacationing in Italy where he was scheduled to attend a festival in Sicily later this week. The press-shy star made one of his last public appearances at this charity event for the Stella Adlor Acting Studio in New York City just last week. Among his last film roles was playing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in "Zero Dark Thirty."

GANDOLFINI: You guys ever agree on anything?

TURNER: He may have enjoyed global fame, but he never strayed far from home, New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He put New Jersey on the map, all positive, you know. He just made Jersey better than it already is.

TURNER: One of his best known fans, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said in a statement saying, "It's an awful shock. James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano."

The ice cream shop in Bloomfield, New Jersey, which served as the diner setting for the final scene of "The Sopranos" was overflowing with fans after news of the actors death spread.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TURNER: Now while the cause of death is still not known. The morgue nurse director at the Polo Clinico in Rome says there will be an autopsy performed tomorrow morning.

BOLDUAN: We'll be talking much more about this throughout the show. Gandolfini had a wide ranging career, appearing on Broadway and the big screen, but it was his iconic role as Tony Soprano on television that made him a household name.

Miguel Marquez joins us from Los Angeles with more on what really is an extraordinary career. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely extraordinary. He came to acting late and the son of a bricklayer and a custodian at a high school. His mother was the head lunch lady at the high school and his passing at 51 has come at a massive shock.


GANDOLFINI: I'm in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you're mobbed up. It's a stereotype and it's offensive and you're the last person I would want to perpetuate it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Tony Soprano, a mob dad with a mob spot, the size of New Jersey for his daughter.

GANDOLFINI: There is no mafia. All right, look, you're a grown woman, almost. Some of my money comes from illegal gambling and whatnot.

MARQUEZ: It would be a nasty piece of work for fame, violent, even racist.

GANDOLFINI: I've had business associates who were black and they don't want their son with their daughters and I don't want theirs with mine.

MARQUEZ: In the hand of James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano, the thug, became human, familiar, vulnerable, maybe in spite of ourselves likeable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know not all impotence is the result of medication.

GANDOLFINI: You're saying there's something wrong with me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When is the last time you had a prostate exam?

GANDOLFINI: I don't even let anybody wave their finger in my face.

MARQUEZ: In 2000, when he won his first Emmy for the role --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to James Gandolfini.

MARQUEZ: His reaction says it all, the son of a bricklayer makes good, his acceptance speech humbled, almost shy, classic Gandolfini. GANDOLFINI: I can't explain this except the academy has an affinity for slightly overweight bald men.

MARQUEZ: Nominated six times for his portrayal of Tony Soprano he won three. Here's how the former bouncer and nightclub manager described the character on his first win.

GANDOLFINI: He tries to do the right thing and screws everything up. It's kind of like a Ralph Cramden "Honeymooners" thing, just more dangerous.

MARQUEZ: The New Jersey native had range, spot on as then CIA Director Leon Panetta in "Zero Dark Thirty" and all too believable as New York City mayor in "The Taking of PLM 1, 2, 3."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone just hijacked a train.

GANDOLFINI: Another idiot with a gun.

MARQUEZ: He could even play wickedly funny, nominated for his role as a Brooklyn parent in "God of Carnage."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your virtue went straight out the window when you decided to be a killer.

MARQUEZ: Or the general in the British comedy "In the Loop."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's the Pentagon?

GANDOLFINI: It's picked up a little, they're talking invasion reasonably seriously.

MARQUEZ: His interest in the military went beyond fiction producing two HBO documentaries about the effects of war on the men and women who fight them. He visited troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here he is from a USO Tour in 2010.

GANDOLFINI: I like coming out here to the bases. I think it's a good change of pace for the guys and ladies, and I know that it makes me appreciate the whole thing more.

MARQUEZ: Twice married with two kids, Gandolfini mostly stayed away from the limelight. He spoke to James Lipton in 2004.

JAMES LIPTON: Finally, if heaven exists what would you like to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

GANDOLFINI: Take over for a while, I'll be right back. No, no, no.

LIPTON: That's it, you dare not change it.

GANDOLFINI: No. It's too good. It's too good, think of the possibilities.

MARQUEZ: Gandolfini who spent part of his young years in Naples, Italy, was set to receive an award in Sicily when he died. Saying goodbye won't be easy.


MARQUEZ: Now David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos" also said that this guy was a genius, he was a natural genius. So much genius he told James Gandolfini was in his sad eyes, he also called him Mozart. Even said he wasn't easy at times but he was a brother to him, clearly a guy that will be missed by everybody who worked with him, and just comes as a shock that he is gone. Back to you guys, Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Miguel, thanks so much. I mean, you really see just there what a great career he had.

CUOMO: Right. And of course, the people who knew him, they've lost a husband, a father, a friend, and they're, of course, baffled by how this happened. We told you his managers think that James Gandolfini had a heart attack, but an autopsy isn't set until tomorrow and maybe it will explain what really caused his death.

Let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us. Again, we don't know but there's a fascination because he was only 51 years old. We seem to have a bag of mixed factors. He had been taken care of himself recently, looked good, his friends said. Some smoking, drinking and admittedly by James himself drug use in his past so what do we see?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Still 51 is young. The average age of a first heart attack is usually somewhere in the mid-60s. No question all the things you mentioned is going to possibly accelerate that. Yesterday we talked about weight, possibly being a risk faction in and of itself, but you want to know high cholesterol, high blood pressure, all of the things that obviously we don't know and his doctors may know and may have contributed to this.

As far as the other sort of risk factors, even past drug use could potentially be a risk factor years later, that's something as well. This autopsy could answer some of those questions. Could this have been a neurological problem, an aneurysm? We simply don't know. By the time he got to the emergency room he had already passed away.

BOLDUAN: Does that tell you anything right there?

GUPTA: It tells me it was a very sudden death and it's more involved than it sounds. If someone has a heart attack, for example, Kate, that means there wasn't enough blood flow to the heart for a period of time. What causes sudden death is arrhythmia, the heart goes into an abnormal rhythm and that can cause sudden death.

BOLDUAN: Also reading what he's been up to recently, he had a lot of projects working on. Clearly from someone looking in from the outside doesn't look like someone who was sick or had an illness slowing him down, does that tell you anything?

GUPTA: As someone becoming increasingly lethargic symptoms, coming in and out of the hospital, that would paint a different picture. When you have sudden death you think of sudden cardiac arrest first and foremost on the list, but you're right, all of these things become a little bit more likely.

In Italy and in the United States, if a death is unexpected, unnatural or suspicious, it warrants an autopsy usually, which as you mentioned is happening here as well and that might help answer some of the questions. It may not say for sure, even after that. Part of that, they'll do toxicology to find out if there was anything in his blood system at the time.

BOLDUAN: So many questions and obviously such a young age.

GUPTA: It still gets you really.

CUOMO: It does. Gone at this age, so much in front of him, he has a young kid, daughter and teenaged son.

BOLDUAN: He was with his son. Sanjay we'll talk much more about this coming up in our next hour including some interviews with some of his "Sopranos" co-stars. They'll be joining us live. You don't want to miss that.

CUOMO: We're going to turn now to another big story that we're following though, the FBI saying it uses surveillance drones inside the U.S. Why and how, our questions in the air as well. So let's get to CNN's Athena Jones at the White House with the latest. Good morning, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. President Obama touched down here in Washington just a few hours ago. Even though he tried to assure the American people the government isn't listening in on their phone calls and that there are checks and balances in place to govern these surveillance programs that's hardly the end of the story.


JONES (voice-over): President Obama returning early this morning from overseas and still facing questions about government surveillance programs that have spooked Americans. He's promised more answers.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What we're going to be doing when I get back home is trying to find ways to declassify further some of these programs without completely compromising their effectiveness, sharing that information with the public.

JONES: But after revelations about government access to phone records and e-mails, his FBI director now facing questions about limits on the agency's use of drones on American soil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have very few and limited use.

JONES: The Coast Guard uses drones for surveillance on ice sheets in Alaska and the Department of Homeland Security uses them to watch the borders. Law enforcement official tells CNN the FBI has used unarmed drones just over a dozen times like to monitor the scene during the rescue of a 5-year-old Alabama boy taken hostage. The advantage, they aren't as loud or easy to see as a helicopter.

SENATOR CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Since you do use drones, that the FBI has the set of policies, procedures and operational limits on the use of drones and whether or not any privacy impact on American citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we are in the initial stages of doing that.

JONES: Critics like Senator Rand Paul say that's putting the cart before the horse.

SENATOR RAND PAUL: I am a little concerned that we're going to use the drones and then we're going to develop rules for them.


JONES: Now today the Senate Select Intelligence Committee holds another closed door briefing on intelligence matters. So we'll look to see what comes out of that hearing and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is now asking for more information from the Justice Department about all of this. He sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers to questions like how many drones does the FBI have and when did it begin using them -- Chris.

CUOMO: And will they be used to spy on people will be in there as well. Athena Jones, thank you for the reporting. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: It's a busy news morning. So let's get to Michaela for more stories developing this hour. Hi, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Good morning, Kate. Good morning, Chris. Good morning to all of you. In the headlines this morning, tough questions expected today as the Senate hearing looks into how people with security clearances are vetted. The hearing prompted by the Edward Snowden NSA leak expected to outline some serious problems, falsified background checks, inadequate funding, lack of oversight. Five million people have security clearances, 1.4 million have top security clearances.

New developments in the forced labor case out of Ohio. Fourth suspect has turned herself in for allegedly keeping a mentally disabled woman and her daughter captive. The female suspect is scheduled to appear in court today on forced labor charges. Investigators say that for more than a year, the victim was forced to perform manual labor and threatened with dogs and snakes to keep her and her daughter compliant.

Police will partly revisit New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez's home as they investigate the death of one of his acquaintances, the body of 27-year-old Odon Lloyd was found about a mile from the football player's home. But "Sports Illustrated" reports that Hernandez is not believed to be a suspect. Meantime, Hernandez is also dealing with a lawsuit that claims he shot a man back in February.

To the NHL Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Brent Seabrook shot at 9:59 at overtime gave the Blackhawks the 6-5 victory last night over the Bruins. The best of seven tied at 2-2 apiece. They play game 5 Saturday night in Chicago.

Really an incredible save in Brooklyn, New York. A toddler fell two stories from a fire escape, bounced off an awning and reportedly right into the arms of the daughter of all star catcher and legendary Yankees manager, and also Dodgers manager, Joe Torre. Neighbors say she was not surprised that the toddler was unsupervised.


REPORTER: The children went to the building?


REPORTER: Unsupervised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they did sometimes.

REPORTER: Were you surprised to hear it was their child that fell out of the window?


REPORTER: How come?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew it was going to happen.

REPORTER: You knew it was going to happen?



PEREIRA: The boys parents have been charged with reckless endangerment. Child Protective Services took the couple's three other kids into custody. Remarkable she happened to walk by, see this happen and position herself in the awning and when he bounced, landed into her arms.

BOLDUAN: I just don't know how -- that's amazing how that happened.

PEREIRA: Guardian angel.

BOLDUAN: How you can keep your cool under that situation is truly amazing.

CUOMO: Great catch by her, but one she should never have to make. It's easy to say watch your kids, we know it's hard.

PEREIRA: He worked hard to get through there, it wasn't a simple fall.

CUOMO: They are being charged. We'll hear more about that. Thank you very much, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

Coming up on NEW DAY: we want to you be the judge on a situation. We're going to tell you the story of a 13-year-old boy facing murder charges in Louisiana for the death of his 5 1/2-year-old half sister. Wrestling may have played a part in this. We'll tell you the story.

BOLDUAN: And the pressure on. LeBron James and the Miami Heat going into the deciding game seven of the NBA finals. Rachel Nichols would be nowhere else. She talks to King James about his now iconic head band.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It is money time.

That means Christine Romans is here with all our business.

And, Christine, the markets did not like what your man Ben Bernanke had to say yesterday.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They did. Bernanke said the economy is getting better, that means the Fed is going to stop all the stimulus eventually. Not right now but eventually.

Dow futures this morning down 80 points, big sell-off yesterday, the Dow, NASDAQ, S&P all swooning by more than 1 percent. The Dow was down 206 points.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed was prepared to, here's that word again, "taper" its purchases of bonds as the economy improves. He signaled the stimulus program could end by next year. That could hurt the stock market, raise interest rates, raise your borrowing costs, you would definitely feel it.

A stunning turnaround for General Motors. For the first time, J.D. Power and Associates says G.M. is the car company with the best quality. All four G.M. brands, GMC, Cadillac, Chevy, Buick, they were ranked above the industry average. Remember, G.M. filed for bankruptcy back in 2009. So this is a milestone for General Motors.

A faster version of Wi-Fi is on the way. The new technology will enable users to transfer, imagine this, a high definition movie to a tablet in less than four minutes. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and routers from Cisco will be among the first to use this new high speed Wi-Fi.

Apple says its future products will use the faster network, full movie, high definition under four minutes to a tablet. That would be nice.

CUOMO: Just like sports, faster is better.

ROMANS: You're right.

BOLDUAN: Almost anything in life I think today, seems faster is better, at least that's what people think. That's for sure.

Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Now to a very tough case out of Louisiana, and we've been talking about it a lot. A lot of mixed emotions and opinions about this case. A 13-year-old boy is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his 5-year-old half sister. The boy told police he was practicing WWE style wrestling moves on her.

CNN's Nick Valencia has the latest from Atlanta.

Good morning, Nick. What are we learning, what more are we learning about this case?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Kate. It is a tough case.

Thirteen-year-old being held for allegedly killing his half sister, mimicking wrestling moves he'd seen on TV. Now this is not the first time we've heard a case like this, but it's still startling.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't know why, that's my question, I don't know why.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Shocked and stunned. The mother of a 5-year- old girl allegedly killed by her 13-year-old half brother. The boy, a reported fan of professional wrestling. That world of choreographed body slams, thrown elbows and choke holds. The mother had left the teen to baby sit. Authorities say the teen told them he used the child to practice those wrestling moves.

COL. JOHN FORTUNATO, JEFFERSON PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE: He slammed on the bed, slammed over his knee, elbowed and things of that nature, and pounded upon, suffered significant internal injuries and obviously succumbed to those injuries.

VALENCIA: The sheriff's office said the boy told him he knew TV wrestling was fake and during the interview with his mother present appeared to take pride in what he was doing and showed no remorse.

The World Wrestling Entertainment, a professional wrestling organization that televises its matches, issued this statement: "The facts of this case clearly point to a lack of parental supervision. It is illogical to conclude the repeated brutal and ultimately fatal beating of a 5-year-old girl could be confused with imitation of WWE action seen on TV."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defendant is guilty of murder in the first- degree, as charged in the indictment.

VALENCIA: The case is reminiscent of that of Lionel Tate in 2001. The Florida teen was convicted of using wrestling moves that killed six years old Tiffany Eunick.

Although his sentence was later voided because he wasn't mentally evaluated before the trial, at the time, 14-year-old Tate was the youngest person in the U.S. to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Back in Louisiana, the 13-year-old, if convicted, would be younger. He's been charged with second-degree murder. His mother will not be charged.


VALENCIA: I want to make it clear to our viewers. The mother is not expected to be charged and the act itself comes down to whether or not this 13-year-old intended to hurt his sister. Local sheriff put it into perspective yesterday and when he says you really have to look at the maturity level of the child you put in charge to babysit -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Nick, clearly so many mixed emotions about this. This really is a tough case. You see the video of the makeshift memorial at the House. What are you hearing from people in Louisiana?

What are they saying about this case in that community?

VALENCIA: Well, listen, the prosecutors and actually the police department, they're convinced that this child intended and had the propensity to beat up his sister and intended to do this. He showed no remorse in the interrogation, in fact took great as we mentioned in that piece great pride in executing these wrestling moves.

Now, under state law in Louisiana, if you're 14 years old or older you're mandated to be charged as an adult. It's unclear if prosecutors in this case will be seeking adult charges for the 13- year-old.

BOLDUAN: All right. Nick Valencia watching this for us -- thanks so much, Nick.

VALENCIA: You bet.

CUOMO: The interesting thing not just to hurt his sister, to cause great bodily harm. This is a homicide charge. It's a 13-year-old. It's a confounding thing legally and morally.

So, let's figure out what happens. To do the analysis and bring in Sunny Hostin, CNN legal analyst, former U.S. prosecutor.

These are always troubling because we're involving kids. Kids can do very bad adult type violent things. On these facts, do you see the quickness of the move to murder charges?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't, I don't, because we're talking about second-degree murder and as you just mentioned that you have to prove sort of the intent, what was in his mind? Did he really intend to cause his sister this great bodily harm?

CUOMO: I'm going to do this to hurt you badly.

HOSTIN: This kid is the one that called 911 and so I don't know how you sort of marry that to intent but I will say this, Chris, and I've been talking about this at home with my friends and husband.

Thirteen-year-old -- you're going to leave a 13-year-old to watch a 5- year-old? I think the mother should be prosecuted for child neglect. Why put your child in that kind of situation? I wouldn't have a 13- year-old watch my dog.

CUOMO: OK, fine. Separate question though because you either go after the mother or you don't. As the authorities, this is about the boy.


CUOMO: Very intent. Lionel Tate in Florida comes to mind, 12 years old, wrestling moves on the sister, same thing happens, they convict him, overturned because they didn't do a psychological evaluation on him.

What is your gut instinct when they talk to this 13 years old boy with a psychologist, a boy who freely told them he was doing the wrestling moves, he knew that wrestling was fake, but he enjoyed doing this, that he saw his sister changed after a while so he called 911.

What do you think they'll find here?

HOSTIN: I think they're going to find a 13-year-old. I think they're going to find someone whose brain just hasn't developed. I talked to Sanjay Gupta about this all the time. The brain doesn't develop into an adult until the age of 25. They just don't have the impulse control at 13.

When I was prosecuting cases, I prosecuted child sex crimes and I was always very careful about sort of the state of mind of a child, and again, a 13-year-old just doesn't in my view have the wherewithal to be able to watch a 5-year-old, a child. I think that's what they're going to find here.

CUOMO: And even if he did, this kid exhibited behavior the way he talked about it, he seemed to not have the emotional connection. He was forthright. I think they'll find some other things.

HOSTIN: Maybe some problems.

CUOMO: Leave us with this, sunny, prosecuting of kids for murder, do you see it in any other country the way we see it here?

HOSTIN: I don't think so. I don't think so. We do see it here an awful lot and I don't know what that says about our culture. Does it say that we're raising kids in this violent culture? Does it say we don't believe in the rehabilitation of our youth?

CUOMO: Is there a propensity to punish? We'll figure it out. We're going to follow this case. Sunny Hostin, thank you very much. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. I do not envy the judge having to handle this case, that's for sure.

Going to take a turn to some weather -- wild weather out west, wildfires, the most widespread right now near the Prescott National Forest in Arizona, hundreds have been evacuated and it is at zero percent containment. Indra Petersons is tracking it for us.

Indra, what are you hearing about this wildfires?


They didn't get all the rain they were hoping for during the winter. You get toward spring and summer and take a look at the blazes. I mean, it doesn't take much. It is so dry fires can spark quickly and unfortunately as heat and winds pick up, they're spreading even quicker.

Let me show you what's going on. As far as the conditions today, 90 degrees, no critical fire danger in that area today. But temperatures at 90 degrees may be normal but not good if there's a fire present. Humidity low at 8 percent.

I do want to show you that there is some hope in the forecast.