Return to Transcripts main page


Global Chase For NSA Leaker; President Obama Briefed On Snowden; George Zimmerman Trial Starts Tomorrow; Aaron Hernandez's Home Searched Again; Three Killed in Canadian Flooding; Gunmen Kill Nine Foreigners In Pakistan; Rally For Captured American Soldier; New Hope For U.S. Soldier Held Captive

Aired June 23, 2013 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Thanks so much, John. Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield and I would like to welcome our viewers from around the world. These stories are topping our news this hour in the NEWSROOM.

Breaking news, the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, is on the move. He's in Russia, and Wikileaks, who is helping him, says he is headed to South America. We have live reports from around the world coming up.

And we're one day away from opening statements in the George Zimmerman murder trial. He is accused of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. Coming up, what you can expect to hear in the courtroom.

Some of Paula Deen's fans are not giving up on her despite her racial comments. We'll tell you what they're saying.

All right. Let's start with the breaking news. The man behind the NSA leaks, Edward Snowden, is heading for Ecuador. According to Wikileaks, the organization helped Snowden get from Hong Kong to Russia today. Snowden landed in Moscow this morning and now it is being said he is heading for Ecuador. The country's foreign ministry tweeted today that Snowden has requested asylum there. There have also been reports Snowden will get there by way of Cuba possibly.

There is also speculation he might head to Venezuela. The U.S. said today it is asking all of those countries not to led Snowden in. And a sourse is telling us that the U.S. has revoked Snowden's passport. There are also reports Snowden could spend the night in Moscow before he goes anywhere.

Let's go to Phil Black, who is live for us now at the Moscow airport. So, what is happening there, if anything?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, we know the flight that Edward Snowden was aboard flew in five hours ago, and we haven't seen him since. According to witnesses on the aircraft, one person got off the aircraft out on the tarmac, got into a car. His baggage was thrown into that car as well. They assumed that was Snowden; it seems pretty likely. He has not emerged from any of the terminal buildings itself. So we believe that he is in there, waiting to connect connect with a flight to his next destination. As you say, it has been affirmed he is applying for asylum in Ecuador today. Here at the airport, we have seen a number of diplomatic vehicles from Ecuador's embassy here in Moscow, including the vehicle belonging to the ambassador himself. We have not seen the ambassador, but his car has been parked here the better part of the day. So, we assume he is within the airport, within a secure area, talking, meeting with Edward Snowden. And at some point within the next 24 hours or so, he will take a connecting flight that he hopes will eventually get him to Ecuador.

The theory is that he is going to go via Havana, Cuba. That that will be the easiest, most straightforward way to go. So he will be looking to catch a flight around tomorrow afternoon local time. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Phil, the U.S. says that he has -- Snowden has a revoked U.S. passport, and that the U.S. is asking any countries, whether it be Russia, whether it be Cuba or perhaps even Ecuador, not to let Snowden travel any further. Is there any official response coming from Russian authorities there as to whether they're going to appease the U.S. with those requests in any way?

BLACK: No. There has been no statement, no reaction from Russian government at all regarding Snowden's presence in this country now. So we don't know what their view is. We don't know precisely what appeals have been made by the United States to Russia, if any. These countries have no existing extradition treaties or any sort of formal agreement for this situation. We don't know if these things are being done unofficially. And we don't know what the Russian view of that is.

So far, it would seem -- we have no reason to believe that Russia has tried to intervene in any way. And a slight complication here, I would now say, is given Ecuador's diplomatic involvement, given the fact it would appear that Snowden is receiving some sort of diplomatic assistance, perhaps cooperation and cover, does that in some way limit what Russia can do in these circumstances? I would say that Russia ultimately could do whatever it liked in this situation, though if President Putin, the Kremlin decided it was in Russia's interest to intervene, to either detain Snowden here or send him to the United States or anything in between, they would do so. But at the moment, it is unclear precisely just what their intention is or how they will react to Snowden's presence here for the next 24 hours or so. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Phil Black, keep us posted. Thanks so much there out of Moscow.

So here in the U.S., officials are scrambling to try to stop Snowden in any way. As we told you earlier, the U.S. revoking the passport, according to a source familiar with the matter. Yesterday, we heard the U.S. ask Hong Kong to detain Snowden. Now with Snowden in Russia and maybe moving on to Ecuador, as we're hearing in this reporting, the U.S. could be looking at a real diplomatic nightmare, to say the very least. Listen to what Senator Chuck Schumer had to say about this on STATE OF THE UNION today with Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: What's infuriating here is Prime Minister Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden's escape.

The bottom line is very simple. Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways. And Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now, of course, with Snowden. That's not how allies should treat one another. And I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.


WHITFIELD: Jill Dougherty joining us now. So Jill, give us an idea what the State Department might be thinking on this. Might it have been that Russia has provided Edward Snowden with a passport, and that's how he was able to leave Hong Kong and make his way to Moscow if this paperwork was sent to Hong Kong by the U.S. and if indeed his U.S. passport was revoked?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Let's say, if his passport was revoked, which we believe it was, the U.S. passport, when he got to Moscow, there's a big question, like how -- what happens? How did he get into the country? How did he leave Hong Kong? And then what do the Russians do? According to what CNN understands, the Russians -- if he did not have a passport, could send him back to the country of origin, to the United States. Or it could send him back to the country from which he came.

However, you're right. If he's given another passport, be it a Russian passport or perhaps an Ecuadorian passport at the airport, that's another issue. So we have these technical, legal things going on in all the cases, and then we have the big overlay of the political. And Vladimir Putin is a lawyer by training. He is going to try, I'm sure, to be very precise legally. But politically, I'm sure he does not have any real desire to make it easy for the United States right now because it would put him in a difficult position. It would make him look as if he is helping the United States go after this man who, some would argue, is just telling the truth about this system that the United States has.

WHITFIELD: And what more do we know about the request that the U.S. made to Hong Kong, to keep Snowden there in country, not allow him to proceed? But then Hong Kong reportedly says that the paperwork or there were questions that still needed to be answered that didn't meet a certain standard. Can you tell us more details about all that.?

DOUGHTERTY: You know, Fred, you know the word deniability? There's a lot of deniability going on in this. So, the Hong Kong authorities get this. It was actually a criminal complaint from the United States. The Justice Department says it was correctly done, that they did it the way they were supposed to and gave them adequate information. Hong Kong authorities came back and said, no, it wasn't complete. We needed more. They asked questions, and the U.S. says it was in the process of answering those questions.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong authorities throw up their hands and say, we couldn't stop him because we legally couldn't. We didn't have a finished criminal complaint. So there you have the deniability. And now, in Moscow, you might get that, too. I mean, Tom Fuentes, who is the advisor for CNN, one of the experts on CNN in these legal matters, says it might be that the United States and China agreed on the side, behind the scenes, that they should simply let him go because the Chinese would be put in a difficult situation of having to, you know, stop him, and that would be bad for China.

So, it is really complex. And it is bad for certainly the image of the United States politically in many other ways internationally.

WHITFIELD: The State Department correspondent, Jill Dougherty, thanks so much for joining us from Washington. Appreciate that.

So, we're talking about a real diplomatic nightmare as well as major security concerns over this. Let's check in with our Dan Lothian from the White House. So Dan, clearly, the White House must be very frustrated. And it must be quite embarrassed as well that the attempts were made to try to get Edward Snowden to stay in Hong Kong until U.S. authorities could somehow retrieve him and then this would happen.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly this is a diplomatic headache for the White House. You are correct in saying that the administration seemed fairly confident that in fact Edward Snowden would be back here in this country by now. One, because they were confident in the charges they filed against him, they were confident in the relationship that they have -- law enforcement relationship with Hong Kong. But also because of the agreement they have with Hong Kong to extradite these kinds of people. And so overall, they felt they had a strong case, that he would have been extradited. They even have this provisional arrest warrant as well. But Edward Snowden was not picked up.

This does created a diplomatic problem for the White House. And then enter Russia, as you've been talking about that. Not a very good relationship of late between the United States and Russia, in particular lately when it comes to how Russia has been unwilling to embrace any stiffer sanctions against Syria. And so this further complicates it.

Now, there's potentially another country where Snowden will eventually end up. We do know from Justice Department officials that in fact conversations are ongoing with all these potential locations where Snowden could end up, touching base with law enforcement officials to try to get cooperation, Fredericka.

WHITFIELD: Dan Lothian, thank you so much. Keep us posted on that, the next move the White House and what options it has.

So from the very start you heard the name Edward Snowden and parallels were being drawn between he and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Well now, Julian Assange, the founder of that group and fugitive from the law, is planning to comment on the Snowden development. Assange plans to speak tomorrow from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That's where he's been holed up more than a year now avoiding sex crime charges in Sweden. And we also understand his legal team has been traveling with Edward Snowden, trying to make all of this happen as he finds refuge, perhaps in Ecuador.

So, also -- we're also following this very huge, potentially huge domestic trial about to get underway. A ruling in the Trayvon Martin case is being called a big win for the defense. We'll preview the George Zimmerman trial on the eve of opening statements.

Plus, Paula Deen's fans come to her defense as another cable outfit is now reconsidering its ties to the celebrity chef.


WHITFIELD: All right, here in the U.S. tomorrow, opening statements begin in the high-profile George Zimmerman murder trial. He is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez explains what we can expect to see in court tomorrow.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, opening statements will be so important tomorrow morning right here in Sanford, Florida because both sides will tell the jury, this is what the evidence will show you.

On the side of the prosecution, we expect for them to lay out the elements of second-degree murder, that Trayvon Martin is dead. It was caused by a criminal act of George Zimmerman, and he did that with ill will hatred, spite or evil intent. The whole theory of the prosecution's case is that George Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin. They can use the words profiling, wannabe cop, vigilante, and confrontation.

On the side of the defense, it is all about self-defense. That Trayvon Martin punched George Zimmerman. That Zimmerman lay on the ground, that his head started to be pounded into the cement by Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, believing he was about to die, knew of only one thing he could do to save his own life, and that would be to take his gun and shoot Trayvon Martin.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Jean Casarez. Again, opening statements beginning tomorrow in that high-profile case.

All right, now to another high profile case involving a New England Patriots star, Aaron Hernandez. It's a case because they're investigating, not because charges have been filed. Investigators returned to the home of the football player a second time. They're investigating the death of a friend whose body was found less than a mile from the house. Susan Candiotti is following this story.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had plans for a quiet Saturday afternoon, it didn't turn out that way. For the second time in a week, investigators -- this time almost twice as many before - descended on his home and several cars and spent several four hours conducting a search. A local locksmith was involved, going in and out. So were at least two police dogs. Investigators wearing gloves carried equipment in cases. No outdoor sightings of the famous homeowner, but his lawyer from a firm with offices from Boston to Hong Kong arrived two hours into the search. For a flash, the football player appeared at his front door, looking outside.

Police are not calling Hernandez a suspect in the murder of Odin Lloyd, shot to death Monday. However, investigators are making the star football play a focus. Lloyd's body was found less than a mile from the Patriot tight end's home, and on Saturday, police continued to guard the scene.

Lloyd's family describes Hernandez as a friend and says the two partied at nightclubs together. The girlfriends of both men are sisters. Surveillance video reportedly shows the men together on the street where Lloyd lives hours before Lloyd's body was found.

Authorities on Thursday also searched this Providence, Rhode Island strip club in connection with the murder investigation. Police tell CNN detectives seized surveillance videos taken inside Club Desire that covered more than two days. It's unclear whether they're trying to document whether the victim and Hernandez may have been there or for another reason.


CANDIOTTI: The family of Odin Lloyd can't imagine why someone would wanted to kill him and who did it. They have no comment on whether they think Aaron Hernandez might have some answers. All they want in their words is justice.

And Fred, we have seen no police activity at the house today. We have been told investigators have been working around the clock. Presumably that work would include analyzing some of that brown paper bag evidence. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right, Susan Candiotti. Thank you so much. Keep us posted.

All right, straight ahead, she issued more than one apology. She lost her Food Network shows. And Paula Deen's troubles, guess what? They may not be over. CNN has learned another cable outlet is rethinking its relationship with Deen.


WHITFIELD: A lot of Paula Deen's fans are standing by her. The celebrity chef has admitted to using the n word. But fans say what she said years ago is over and done with, and the Food Network should not have canceled her contract. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it right? No. I mean, she could have used another term, but, hey, it was a mistake that she made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She made a mistake, and she probably shouldn't have said that. But she has apologized. I think maybe we ought to take that for what it's worth. It sounds like it was sincere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a learning lesson for her and it's a learning lesson for people that do forgive.


WHITFIELD: Deen and her brother are being sued for alleged sexual and racial harassment by a former manager at their restaurant. Our Nick Valencia joining me now. So, fans are speaking out on the streets near her restaurant and they're also speaking out on social media. What are they saying?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, for many, it's not so much about what Deen said but it's about the larger context, about race in America and how it still a very real issue. But for Deen's apologists, they've come out very aggressively on social media, criticizing the press for blowing this out of proportion.

They've also gone after the Food Network. If you remember, Fred, earlier this week, the Food Network, after 11 years, decided not to renew her contract. They call it a knee-jerk reaction for not renewing Paula Deen's contract. They say they should have given her a second chance and a pass because she's from a different era, and she comes from a time when the usage of the n word was more common, was more widespread. But having said all that, there are those here in the South and others who say there's no excuses for what she said.


TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "COLORBLIND": Here's what's troubling about that to me. Putting aside Paula Deen. because I have to be honest, I don't really care what Paula Deen thinks about matters of race. But what I do care about is folks are defending what she says and believes based on her age and that she's Southern.

Here's the problem with that. My mother is two weeks older to the day than Paula Deen. She was born two weeks before Paula Deen, and yet she raised me to know that not only are those kind of words unacceptable but in fact the history of the antebellum South is not something to glorify, it's not something to wax nostalgic about, it's something to be horrified by.


VALENCIA: That's Tim Wise, author of several books about race in America, speaking last night to CNN's Don Lemon. So, there are apologists for her, Fred, but others saying they're not buying the excuses.

WHITFIELD: And what about other sponsors? Is she standing to lose their backing?

VALENCIA: Yes, I just got off the phone with the vice president of corporate communications for QVC. That's a popular home shopping network. Take a listen to what they had to say.


PAUL CAPELLI, V.P. OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, QVC INC. (on the phone): We share the concerns that are being raised about the unfortunately Paula Deen situation. QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior. We're aware there's ongoing litigation that's examining the situation. We're watching those developments closely and reviewing our business relationship with Miss Deen.


VALENCIA: So they're re-examing it as could be others, Target and Wal- Mart, the fallout keeps going here, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nick Valencia, thanks so much.

Coming up next, back to Edward Snowden and his dramatic exit from Hong Kong, how he managed to get out and where he might be headed next and what if anything the U.S. plans to do about it.

Plus, Congressman Peter King will be joining us to talk about today's developments.


WHITFIELD: NSA leaker and fugitive Edward Snowden is on the run. Snowden left Hong Kong and arrived in Moscow hours ago with the help of Wikileaks. Ecuador's foreign ministry says Snowden has asked for asylum, and that's one of the many countries where Snowden could be seeking safe haven. We'll get reaction from Washington straight ahead.

Investigators have returned to the home of New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. It was their second time searching his home. They left the house with about a dozen brown paper evidence bags. They're investigating the death of a friend whose body was found less than a mile from the house. Police are not calling Hernandez a suspect in the case.

And opening statements begin tomorrow in the George Zimmerman trial. He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The prosecution claims Zimmerman confronted the teen, but the defense says the shooting was self-defense. Yesterday, the defense won a legal battle to exclude expert testimony on whose voice it is on that 911 call screaming for help the night of the shooting.

All right. Back to breaking news. The U.S. urging Ecuador, among other countries, to refuse to let Edward Snowden in. The big question for Washington is if and how to get Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice. Joining me with some insight is CNN crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns. Where do they begin? They tried to get Hong Kong to cooperate. That fell through. Now, what?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRSPONDENT: Well, all you can do is ask at this stage. It didn't work in Hong Kong, and the question is whether it will work in another country. As to Hong Kong, a DoJ official says they actually had an extradition request, and they say it met all the requirements of the agreement with Hong Kong. They say that Hong Kong came back to the United States with a few questions on late Friday and that they were in the process of answering those questions. They thought, they say, they were meeting all the requirements in order to get this man held.

As far as a relationship with Hong Kong goes, they say this raises questions and that they're going to continue to discuss it with authorities and also that they had what's called a provisional warrant, that's basically document that says, we think this guy is going to flee, would you please intercept him and hold him? So the next question is what does the United States do going forward, Fred? It's just not clear right now.

WHITFIELD: So the U.S. has said it has reached out to other countries like Ecuador, to even Cuba, to say, don't let him in. Do we know whether or not there is some cooperation or real ho hopeful cooperation they might receive from those countries in particular, not to allow Snowden in?

JOHNS: Those countries don't have great relations with the United States. Even with Russia, Fred, early on in this drama, it was pretty clear that Russian authorities were sending signals that they would be sympathetic to a request, say, for asylum for Edward Snowden in Russia. It apparently and very probably isn't going to get any better as they go down the line to countries like Ecuador.

WHITFIELD: All right, Joe Johns, thanks so much. We'll be checking back with you throughout the afternoon, of course. So amid the partisan gridlock in Washington, one thing that has received support on both sides of the aisle is the disapproval of NSA leaker Edward Snowden's actions. Joining me now on the phone is Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. So Congressman, first off, how in the world did this happen, in your view?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK (via telephone): Fredricka, you know, a lot of questions have to be answered here. First of all, I don't believe Hong Kong when they say the paperwork is inadequate although waiting for information. That always happens in extradition cases. There are a few more details needed and the person is held until it's resolved one way or the other.

Now and in this case the decision was made by Hong Kong and probably in the end by China that they didn't want him extradited to the United States. They wanted him out of Hong Kong and so strictly a political decision, not a legal decision was made. I think we have to hold China and Hong Kong to that in the future, same with Russia.

They wouldn't have sent him to Russia unless Putin had agreed in advance with the Chinese and with Hong Kong to allow Snowden in there and to expedite apparently whatever's happening with Ecuador. I think we should keep the pressure on Russia, let him know and I agree with Senator Schumer on this, this can't be allowed to happen. We can't allow Russia to do this without there being at least diplomatic consequences. WHITFIELD: What kind of diplomatic --

KING: -- Ecuador, Cuba and Venezuela.

WHITFIELD: Pardon me for interrupting, but what kind of consequences are we talking about when you talk about the Russian government and consequences there are?

KING: I'm talking about diplomatic consequences, trade consequences, economic consequences, you know, this is a relationship that Russia needs as much if not more than we do. We can't allow it to go ahead business as usual when Putin allows something like this to happen. So I'm talking, again, the opportunity will come over the next several months or a year where Russia will need us in something involving trade or diplomacy involving finance, where the U.S. will basically say no and we will make it difficult for Putin. He should know that now, not to expect any favors.

WHITFIELD: So as pertains to Edward Snowden, is the U.S. really in a hopeless situation, that's it's not likely to get any kind of immediate cooperation from Russia in terms of holding Snowden there and not allowing him to get on a plane. The U.S. is not likely to have any leverage as it pertains to Cuba nor to Ecuador?

KING: No. We're in a very difficult position and it's ironic because this president came in saying how he would fix the relationship with Russia. He was pressing the reset button and now on such a basic issue as this Russia is saying no. This really involves or requires a direct diplomatic involvement by the U.S. I find it troubling that the president has been so quiet on this.

Again, I'm not saying he should control it. There should be more of a presence including defending the NSA program. It seems as if we're adrift right now. These countries are taking advantage of it. Once you talk about Venezuela and Cuba, it's almost hopeless unless we really find ways to lean on them.

I think there are more than 70 fugitives from justice right now in Cuba from the United States. Ecuador has given asylum to Assange so -- and Venezuela is obviously a left wing country, anti-U.S. Those three countries really present problems for the U.S. We have to find ways to make it clear that we are going to be able to take action.

WHITFIELD: I wonder, Congressman, as I let you go, what an embarrassment this must be for the president. He just hosted the Chinese leader inside a couple weeks ago and just met with Putin, among other countries during the G8 Summit just last week and then something like this happened involving the two countries that he recently had face time with.

KING: This is definitely a diplomatic hit at the president and the U.S., but as Americans we have to support the president. I wish all Americans including Senator Rand Paul would realize Snowden is no hero. I know on CNN today he compared -- Ran Paul compared Snowden to General Clapper. You know, this kind of talk -- I don't know what's happening to our country that people are making this trader and defector into some kind of hero. At the same time, castigating true American heroes.

WHITFIELD: All right, Congressman Peter King in New York. Thanks so much. Appreciate your time. Appreciate it.

All right, making headlines here at home as well as in the U.S., the George Zimmerman trial, it's getting under way tomorrow morning with opening statements and a judge's ruling on evidence this weekend is being called a big win apparently for the defense. Television's judge Alex joining me to talk about his take on the case upcoming.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta. You're looking at video out of Moscow because the breaking news is Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, is out of Hong Kong and in Moscow. Unclear what his final destination is. Reportedly it might be Ecuador. That's where he has already sought asylum. The request has been in.

Just moments ago we spoke with New York Congressman Peter King, who expressed disappointment that the president of the United States hasn't said more about Edward Snowden. Well, we are just now learning from our White House correspondent Dan Lothian that the president -- we've been told that the president has been receiving updates today on the Snowden case according to a senior administration official.

Also saying he is being briefed by his national security staff and that quote, "We are keeping him updated as appropriate." That information coming from a senior administration official about the president being kept abreast, the president of the United States, being kept abreast of the Edward Snowden debacle.

He's left Hong Kong despite the Department of Justice's request to try and get Hong Kong to hold him there as he's facing charges of espionage from the United States. But apparently Hong Kong says the paper work wasn't adequate so they let him flee even though he has a revoked U.S. passport. More on that story as it continues to unfold.

Meantime, the other big case that will be followed this week, a trial case, the jury has been selected, sworn in, talking about the George Zimmerman murder trial, finally beginning tomorrow in Florida. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Tomorrow, both sides will lay out their cases in opening statements.

Judge Alex Ferrer, host of the television show "Judge Alex" joining me now. I know you're very familiar with this case among other things. So Judge, give me an idea what you think these opening statements need to entail to really capture this all woman jury.

JUDGE ALEX FERRER, HOST, "JUDGE ALEX": Well, regardless whether it's all woman or all male or mixed jury, the prosecution has to set out what evidence they think will be presented to make George Zimmerman guilty. They have a charge of second degree murder. Second degree murder requires that the act that killed Trayvon Martin stemmed from ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent. Without that, they don't have a second degree murder charge. Obviously George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin. So there certainly is not going to be a personal history that gives rise to that. The only thing I can think of is they will latch on to racism and claim that he was motivated by race in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

How much evidence they have to support that is a different story because we really haven't seen a lot of evidence in that vein coming from the prosecution and the defense has made noises like they have quite a bit of evidence to show George Zimmerman is not a racist. So I think race, which has been an undercurrent in the case throughout is going to become front center stage very quickly.

WHITFIELD: All right, you being in Florida, the Florida audience has been gripped by the George Zimmerman case and they are also being gripped by this new case taking place in Massachusetts at least involving a familiar face, who used to go to the University of Florida, we're talking about the New England Patriots star, Aaron Hernandez.

He has not been charged with anything, but investigators are trying to determine if he was in any way involved in the death of a friend found less than a mile from his home in Massachusetts. Police dogs have been searching his home, as they did again yesterday. They also left with about a dozen brown paper bags. So Judge Alex, what are investigators looking for, in order to either draw a link or say, no, we're looking in the wrong direction.

FERRER: Well, obviously they're looking for anything that connects him to the death. There's a lot of suspicious activity. I mean, Hernandez had turned over his cell phone. There's a lot of information that can be extracted from a cell phone, even after you deleted text messages, pictures and anything.

With the right equipment the police can extract it. The cell phone was turned over in pieces after he broke it in pieces. His video surveillance camera at home was intentionally destroyed and he had a private maid service come in with a bunch of maids and scour the house right about the time of the killing, very suspicious.

He's friends with Lloyd the victim. His girlfriend and Lloyd's girlfriend are sisters. So there's a connection. Right now, the police are looking into some video surveillance from a strip club they were attending at the time of the killing and just looking for anything they can that may give motive or some other reason to attach him to this crime.

They obviously have found something since they've been pulling bags of evidence. Whether it's probative of anything, we'll have to wait and see.

WHITFIELD: Right. And yet to be released publicly or details about the suspected murder, the way in which this young man was murdered and at what time of day or night it may have happened. Judge Alex, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it. FERRER: My pleasure.

All right, an incredible scene in Canada, where a town of 10,000 is mostly empty now. They've had to evacuate to avoid what could be the worst flooding in more than a decade. We'll go live to the flood zone straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: In Canada, three flooding victims found in a river south of Calgary. The massive flooding has forced thousands to evacuate. It has devastated the city of Calgary and surrounding areas and now the water is targeting even more communities. Paul Vercammen is in Calgary. To what degree is this threatening so many?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, let's start with Calgary first. The mayor here is striking an optimistic tone. You can get the visual as evidence, if you look below me, yesterday this police car certainly abandoned in the raging waters. The water was up to its windshield, that now improving, but you suggested other communities now in danger.

The Bow River behind me becomes the -- Saskatchewan River, they had more than 10,000 people who have had to evacuate. Also most of downtown Calgary still powerless and shutdown, they are trying to pump it out right now. Obviously they want to get back to business. The prime concern to them is two weeks away, the Calgary stampede, a big event here this summer. They say the show will go on, but it may be a little bit different -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK, Paul Vercammen, it will indeed be very different. All right, hopefully, folks, just stay safe there. Appreciate it.

Overseas, the Taliban offered to free the only American soldier known to be in captivity in Afghanistan, but they want a lot of return. We'll take you to his Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's hometown where there is new hope for his potential release.


WHITFIELD: Gunmen killed nine foreign nationals and a local guy in Northern Pakistan. The victims were from Ukraine and China. The gunmen abducted two guys and demanded to be taken to the hotel where the foreigners were staying. The Pakistani-Taliban had taken responsibility for that attack.

America's only known POW from the war in Afghanistan is a key part in possible negotiations with the Taliban. Bowe Bergdahl was taken prisoner in 2009. The Taliban suggested letting him go if the U.S. releases high profile prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. But no steps have been taken yet for that exchange. Bergdahl's friends and family still remain hopeful for his release. In fact, they held a rally in Bergdahl's hometown. Here now is Ed Lavandera.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been nearly four years since Bowe Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan, but with news that the U.S. is about to engage in peace talks with the Taliban and talk of a prisoner exchange, there is a renewed since of hope here in his hometown of Haley, Idaho that Bowe Bergdahl could soon finally be coming home.

Nearly 2,000 people attended a weekend rally in Bowe's honor where Robert Bergdahl, Bowe's father, gave an impassioned speech for his son's return. Since his son was captured four years ago, Robert Bergdahl has grown out his beard as a symbol of solidarity with his son's confinement. But he spoke directly to his son's captors.


ROBERT BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: To the people of Afghanistan (inaudible), may the peace of God and the blessings that come from God be upon you. May we somehow, after 12 long years, find peace in Afghanistan so that our soldiers and our American personnel can come home. A father does not leave his son alone on the battlefield. I do not live here, I love in Afghanistan.

My cell phone is set on Afghan time. My weather is Afghan weather. I might be standing here, but I am living vicariously through my son. I will not leave you on the battlefield, Bowe. These people here will not leave you on the battlefield. Your country will not leave you on the battlefield. You are not forgotten.


LAVANDERA: Bowe Bergdahl's parents are hopeful that this weekend's rally and their message will make its way around the world to their son, a reminder to him that he has not been forgotten and his hometown is anxious to have him back. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Haley, Idaho.

WHITFIELD: So how does the U.S. handle this suggested swap of Bergdahl for prisoners? I asked senior fellow and director of research at the Brookings Institution, Michael O'Hanlon, I asked about.


WHITFIELD: Michael, the video of Bowe Bergdahl is powerful. How does the U.S. handle this suggested swap of Bergdahl for prisoners?

MICHAEL O'HANLON, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: I think the first thing to bear in mind is that the prospects of any such swap really helping the peace talks are very low. We have to be realistic about that. The idea that this could somehow catalyze, you know, a detente between the United States and Afghanistan on one hand with the Taliban is wishful thinking to the point of absurdity.

I think that the Taliban remain very hard core, especially in their inner circles and persuaded they will win this war after NATO largely draws down their troops next year. So you have to view this primarily through the lens of a prisoner swap as to whether the humanitarian benefit of getting one American soldier home is worth the battlefield risk of having several potentially quite dangerous Taliban back on the loose. WHITFIELD: Syria, do you support the idea of the U.S. providing arms to the rebels there?

O'HANLON: Yes. I think the United States needs to provide arms to the rebels because the rebels are losing. Our previous expectations that they would rapidly win has been proven incorrect. I think much of the U.S. government, much of the U.S. intelligence community has been proven to be wrong in that assumption which was quite prevalent in 2011 and 2012.

You've also, I think, have to anticipate what it will take to make a peace deal stick. I believe it is going to require international peacekeepers on the ground, some small fraction of which will have to be Americans.


WHITFIELD: Michael O'Hanlon. So we'll hear more from Michael the next hour and what he thinks on the breaking news about the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, making his way out of Hong Kong and for now in Moscow.

Also an intelligence insider's view from former CIA Director James Woolsey, he will be talking to me about the Snowden case as well. Straight ahead.