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Child Watches Mother's Beating; Putin: Snowden Still in Moscow; Zimmerman's Past Could Haunt Him; American Boss Held Hostage in China

Aired June 25, 2013 - 11:30   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in Faith Jenkins, a former federal prosecutor.

We often hear about these assault cases. We often hear about home invasions, home intrusions and all the rest, but there are assaults and then they are assaults like that.


BANFIELD: Tell me the difference between that and a simple assault.

JENKINS: Well, here, the level of assault that they're going to charge in terms of being a felony is going to be on how sustainable her injuries are, how significant her injuries are. So they're going to look at that. But it's definitely a felony assault. It's going to be a burglary. He broke in the House. Even if he didn't take anything, the fact that he broke in with the intent to commit a crime, they're going to take that video, show, and say obviously he had the intention to commit a crime.

But the level of violence here, that is what is so disturbing. It's one thing when we have these cases, we have people who break into homes, they take things, but usually in most cases, they don't try to hurt the victim significantly because they just want the stuff.

BANFIELD: She wasn't putting up any resistance. It just seemed like it was a beat down. And by the way, isn't that an aggravated assault what we just witnessed?

JENKINS: Absolutely.

BANFIELD: What about the significance of the audience? Injuries aside, if she's got bruises and perhaps a mild concussion, which earlier was reported here, how about the fact that there was a 3-year- old in the room, who is never, ever going to be the same?

JENKINS: That's an additional charge of endangering the welfare of a child. That's what you're looking at because he did this in the presence of her child.

But the level of violence here, that is significant. I guarantee you, this is someone who is not new to the criminal justice system. This is someone with some kind of history, some kind of violent history because you just don't go into someone's house and do something like that to someone else without having some kind of history. BANFIELD: Or that they might be known to one another and there's a lot of history between the victim and the -- I want to put that picture up one more time. Look, we don't have a lot to go on. This is a nanny cam, but we've done the best we can to isolate a picture to show at least a front view of this man. If you think you may know who he is, have an idea who he is, if you recognize him, we do urge you to contact the Millburn, New Jersey, police department. And if that's too tough, contact your police department and ask them to give you a hand in this one. But Millburn, New Jersey. And that's where this happened. And that man, need I remind you, is still out there somewhere.

Some breaking news that we want to bring to you. And it's about the man that we've all been looking for, for days and days on end, Edward Snowden. A bit of a mystery, but now mystery no more. Turns out, Edward Snowden is exactly where we thought he was until he disappeared. Coming up after the break, why he's in Russia, why he technically isn't really in Russia, and what Russia is saying about his whereabouts, plus where he's headed. All coming up next.


BANFIELD: Want to check some of our top stories making headlines this hour.

Wall Street, that's a big plus sign, making a comeback after some pretty stinker days in the past. Right now, we're up about 102 points following upbeat economic reports, particularly coming out of China.

The Supreme Court handed down a real big ruling today limiting part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The provision in question was a provision that gave federal authorities some very serious oversight in 15 states that have a history of voter discrimination. The government had to give the OK for any voting law changes, like precincts be moved and polling stations in those areas. But today, the supreme court said that's unconstitutional, and now they're saying it's up to Congress to rejig parts of the law to reflect what we are today as opposed to what we were then, feeling that the oversight is still somewhat necessary, but definitely needs to be different.

The NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, turns out, he's still in Moscow. That is the direct word from the top from the approximated of Russia, Vladimir Putin. He said Edward Snowden's arrival was completely unexpected. His words. Putin says Snowden is a transit passenger and the sooner he leaves Russia, quote, "the better for us and for himself." The Secretary of State John Kerry has chastised Russia for not handing over Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges, but like the Russian president says, technically, he's not here, he's in transit.

I want to bring in Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

There's no shortage of political significance to the Russian president saying these things, saying not only that, but that he is a free man. Mr. Snowden is a free man, and the sooner he selects his destination point, the better, meaning get out of my hair. You're causing huge problems for us.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: It's still potentially a major problem because, as you know, last Saturday, the U.S. formerly revoked Snowden's U.S. passport. So he's not traveling legally right now unless he gets documents from Russia or another country that would give him some sort of status. The Russians know he does not have a formal U.S. passport. They also know he's been given these criminal complaints, including espionage, and he's wanted here in the United States.

It's still potentially a big political problem if the Russians, even though he's in this transit zone, let him board a flight whether for Cuba or Ecuador or Iceland or any place else or if he wants to go back to Hong Kong. Although, I suspect the Chinese authorities there in Hong Kong have no great desire to have him come back there because it's only a headache for Hong Kong. We'll see where he winds up. I suspect he'll wind up maybe in Ecuador or Iceland, but probably not for very long in Moscow.

BANFIELD: Wolf, a world traveler, as am I. I have had to secure many a difficult visa to go to certain countries, even to transit through certain countries. Yet the Russian president said he arrived in Russia as a complete surprise. Is that hard to buy, that story?

BLITZER: Maybe a complete surprise to the Russian president, but when he boarded that flight from Hong Kong to Moscow, he had a U.S. passport. I assume he flew on that U.S. passport, even though technically it had been -- made invalid the day before he left on Sunday and on Saturday the U.S. said it revoked that passport. The Chinese said they haven't received all the technical information about that. That's why they let him fly.

But you're right, to go to Moscow, I think you need a see visa. Whether or not he had a visa, I don't think. But these are legitimate questions the State Department is going to be reviewing. It could have a big impact on U.S.-Russian relations or whenever he winds up. But I suspect, for example, Ecuador or Iceland will take him. There will be arrangements WikiLeaks and others will be able to get, maybe even a private plane to fly him there.

BANFIELD: I once had a cameraman flying with me turned away because he didn't have a passport with him and it's serious. If you don't have the right documents, you're not getting on board their planes. They're the ones that have to suffer the consequences.


BLITZER: At least we know where he is right now for sure.

BANFIELD: Finally. I know. Kind of like a Where's Waldo thing.

Wolf Blitzer, thank you for that. Appreciate it.

I want to go also to this story out of Sanford, Florida, the George Zimmerman courtroom. Day two of testimony in that highly publicized second-degree murder trial. And it is his past that is becoming his present today. You're going to hear what Mr. Zimmerman said in a prior 9111 call that had nothing to do with this case. And we're going to ask our panel how it could affect this case if the judge ever allows the jury to hear it. That's next.


BANFIELD: Most people don't call 911 very much, if ever. But George Zimmerman was the captain of the neighborhood watch and he made several non-emergency calls, even before he ever encountered Trayvon Martin. This is day two of his second-degree murder trial. This is a live picture of George Zimmerman as he sits at the defense table as he listens to attorneys discuss what they know and witnesses discuss what they know.

This morning, the prosecution played 911 calls for the judge, but just for the judge, not for the jury. These are 911 calls that have nothing to do with Trayvon Martin but the prosecution says they set up context about what kind of person George Zimmerman was before all of this. And the jury may hear the calls if the judge decides they can hear them. Have a listen.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: I'm with the neighborhood watch and we've had some burglaries and vandalisms lately. And a gentleman was walking in the neighborhood. I've seen him before on trash days going around picking up trash. I don't know what his deal is --

911 DISPATCHER: Is he white, black or Hispanic?

ZIMMERMAN: He's black.


BANFIELD: Joining me now is attorney Faith Jenkins, a former criminal prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorneys office, and defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.

Faith, let me begin with you.

The meaning and significance of these calls, some attorneys would say these have nothing to do with the case. Other attorneys would say these have everything to do with the case. Why?

JENKINS: The defense is arguing these calls have nothing to do with the incident the night Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. The prosecutor is saying, hold on a second, George Zimmerman has a pattern and practice of profiling young black males. This goes to show his intent the night Trayvon Martin was killed. He had done it before. Just six months prior to this incident, he made a call about another suspicious young black male. It goes to the case in that he was profiling young black men and in this case 1 that did absolutely nothing wrong and committed no crime.

BANFIELD: So, Danny, if the jury does get to hear these tapes, do they get to hear them in their entirety, some preamble, or is it, here is evidence, here is what the guy did before? How do they put this in context?

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That is exactly the problem the judge has to grapple with. The judge has to first find that they're relevant, in other words, they tend to make a material fact more probable or less probable, but relevancy isn't the end. Then the judge has too ply 403 and ask even if it's relevant, if the privilege so great because it would be unfairly prejudicial? And in weighing that out, the judge will likely, if she does allow it, would allow the whole tape, I would expect. But I don't know that it gets to that point. Because applying the tests, these prior acts don't rise to the level of evidence which would be admissible and probably should be excluded turned rules of evidence.

BANFIELD: Faith, here's a question for you. So you've got a defendant here who is his panic, who has made a lot of calls before because his job was to be watching out for people that he thought might be watching problems and therefore calling 911 when he saw people he thought would be causing problems. But he has said in the past, some are black, some are his panic, as well. I can't tell you if he said some are white because I can't hear all the types. But you have a Hispanic guy that has called out Hispanic people as well as blacks.

JENKINS: Right. But in this case, they're looking at the other comments Zimmerman made on the tape about Trayvon Martin. He didn't just say he was a black male. He said these A-holes always get away. He called him as expletive and a punk. They're looking at that. He wasn't just describing him. But he had an attitude before him before he ever met him. That's what they're trying to bring in.


BANFIELD: So these are the tapes beforehand. These have nothing to do with the tapes the night of that has nothing to do with Trayvon.

JENKINS: Exactly.

BANFIELD: I know he's talked about the description of the man, Hispanic male, a description of the man, a black male. That's what I'm saying. He's a Hispanic male calling out other Hispanic males --

JENKINS: Let me point this out. Black people and Hispanic people can profile other black and Hispanic people. It happens all the time. They're saying this is a pattern of practice and it goes to his intent.

BANFIELD: Faith Jenkins, Danny Cevallos, stand by. Thank you for that.

I want to remind our viewers that you can watch the Zimmerman trial live. We are playing it out, gavel to gavel, on our sister network, HLN. There's a lot of fascinating stuff that happens in between all of the news when you're covering the case. The boss in China is an American. But you won't believe this. The factory workers are holding his hostage. It's pretty weird. He's not allowed to leave. He's allowed to make phone calls, he just can't leave. How legal is this? If you ever try to travel overseas, could this happen to you? And what are your rights when you leave American borders?


BANFIELD: In most instances, when workers get mad at their boss -- and don't we all -- they might grumble among themselves, gossip at the water cooler. The worse, they might confront the boss face to face to air their grievances, or they might even go on strike. In one case in China, those workers decided instead to hold their boss hostage, and he's an American.

CNN's David McKenzie went to the factory, and surprisingly he got in and found out what the dispute is all about.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American executive, Chip Starnes, is being held captive in his own medical supply factory in China.

(on camera): Are you being held hostage here?

CHIP STARNES, AMERICAN MEDICAL SUPPLY FACTOR OWNER IN CHINA: The answer is yes. 30 or 40 of them ransacked my office. Come in there for three hours. Standing at my desk, just starting at 1:00 in the morning. My G.M. and I finally got them out. Laid down for the next two hours. Banging on the doors, windows and lights and stuff. A lot of sleep depravation the first 48 hours.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): His family back home said they are in constant contact worried sick. He has a medical condition. He says he wants to leave. They won't let him.

(on camera): If you were to try to leave now, you couldn't. They wouldn't let you.

STARNES: It's been interesting to try. That's crossed my mind.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): In a bizarre twist, we are led in to view the factory. Starnes says he's been investing in China for more than a decade and wants to move some manufacturing to Mumbai, India.

(on camera): You and I talking here and you are still being held hostage. It's kind of surreal.

STARNES: It is kind of surreal. If I don't, I think I would have been back here in three days or so. The whole thing saddens me greatly.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Now he's meeting with workers trying to negotiate his way out of factory. STARNES: This is not out to accomplish something. We're at a standstill. I deserve the right to go back to my hotel room. I deserve to come back and address things professionally.

MCKENZIE: The workers say they are owed two months back pay and told us Starnes isn't a hostage but he can't leave.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


BANFIELD: In most places that would be called kidnapping.

Defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, joins me know on this situation.

OK, I don't get it. If you restrict someone's movement, it's kidnapping. Is it different in China? What are our rights when we find ourselves in a foreign country when it's not so much like our country?

CEVALLOS: You're right. That's the definition of kidnapping in the U.S. When it comes to China I'm not sure how they define it. This seems like a blend of labor negotiations and hostage. I'm not sure from his answer.

When it comes to China U.S. citizens have to obey Chinese laws. But this isn't a government action. It's a private action. The police are staying out. Neither the township or the local government have responded in China. They are not involved. The police are there to keep order.

BANFIELD: That sounds crazy. This sounds like a perfect example where local police should be involved. So if you find yourself -- and maybe you're not an employer but you're traveling somewhere, can't you call the embassy and can't they come to your assistance in some way?

CEVALLOS: The consulate cannot intervene on Chinese government action. You can receive a visit from your consular agent. You cannot discuss, under Chinese regulations, your actual case with the consul, only with an attorney that you end up getting separately. But you're entitled to a visit and that's about it.

BANFIELD: Amazing. It's incredible to see the pictures and that they're really happening. And they keep on going. He's in the same clothes he was wearing to work on Friday.

Danny, thank you for that.

Got a couple of things we want to get your way. Breaking news this hour. Edward Snowden, his mystery no more. He's in Russia. But just how long will he be there and is he about to make the transit lounge his permanent home? Find out in a moment.


BANFIELD: A couple of other top stories that we're following now. This is weird. A robbery at New York's JFK Airport. "The New York Post" is reporting that $1.2 million in cash was stolen from a Swiss Air jet that arrived yesterday. Folks aren't sure if the heist occurred before the plane took off or landed, but weird. It was in the cargo. Who packs all that money?

Turns out the IRS was not just targeting conservative groups. Democratic congressmen are suggesting the IRS went after liberal groups as well. Before we heard how they watched for words like "Tea Party," they tagged the word "progressive" and "blue" for an extra look when those kinds of groups applied for tax exempt status. Weird how it took that long for them to come out with that part of the story.

Now totally random animal story, but it's adorable, so we're going to show it to you. Gorilla's priceless response to kids who were taunting him at the Dallas Zoo. They're shouting you're ugly. Wait.


I bet he's just waiting for this to happen. Just waiting. Show them whose boss. Any minute. Yeah. That's the best. I'm sorry but that just made my entire year.

We've been watching this latest global adventure of Edward Snowden. He's been found. He's in Russia. But not for long, perhaps.

Stay tuned. AROUND THE WORLD is picking up the story right after this quick break.