Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Putin Versus Obama; Wikileaks' Money Trail; Court Halts Key Civil Rights Law; Zimmerman Jurors See Gruesome Photos
Aired June 25, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Vladamir Putin says Edward Snowden is a free man. Russia thumbing its nose at America so will the president do something about it?
Plus a key part of the voting rights act struck down by the Supreme Court today. What it means for the next election.
Day two of the George Zimmerman trial, shocking testimony and graphic photos tonight of the moments after Trayvon Martin was killed. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Putin 1, Obama 0. All right, so today Russian President Vladamir Putin said that NSA leaker, Edward Snowden is, quote, "a free man." Putin said Snowden is in the transit area of Moscow's main airport and despite all these requests from the United States, Putin says he isn't handing Snowden over.
Since the U.S. and Russia don't have an extradition agreement and Snowden hasn't committed any crimes on Russian soil. So how did the U.S. respond to that? Well, yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry warned of consequences, his word against Russia if the country allowed Snowden to escape. Today, well, consequences weren't on the table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are not looking for a confrontation. We are not ordering anybody. We are simply requesting under a very normal procedure for the transfer of somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, what will it take for the U.S. to get Snowden back? John Defterios is at the Moscow airport where Snowden is believed to be hiding out in the transit area. So John, you have been standing there, there you are at the airport. Is there any sign of Snowden at this point? I mean, how big is the part of the airport that you are in where he is?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, like any other modern airport around the world, Erin, this is a sizable facility, the hub of intrigue as a matter of fact. Seventy hours ago, Snowden landed here from Hongkong, but he has not been seen since. In the last 18 hours, we know a few things here. Number one, he was thought on the plane to Havana yesterday that leaves at 1400. That flight left again today at 1400 for Havana. We watched everybody board. Snowden was not on that plane. We saw the plane taxi and takeoff as well. There's no white van with the thoughts that maybe they snuck Snowden on board to that.
We did check with the one transit hotel in this -- airport facility, just the transit lounge. It only houses 40 people. We talked to the management. We talked to the front desk. They said Snowden has not been checked in here at all nor has anybody else supporting Snowden over the last few days checked into the facility.
One final note here, I think President Putin decided to break the code of silence. This was handled by his foreign minister before. I think he would look to see this behind him, to be very, very candid. He did say he is not on Russian soil, but he is this transit facility. It's a very large one. In true Russian style, you know, Erin, not difficult to hide somebody here particularly at a new facility if you wanted to.
BURNETT: Exactly. If you wanted to, I would imagine the Russians could do a lot of things. John, let me ask you -- Vladamir Putin has the not personally gotten involved stepped up to the mike and spoken. Obviously more than the president of the United States who has not yet personally intervened. Does it look like there is any chance Russia will change their tune? I mean, they're at a point where 72 hours have gone by. They've said he hasn't committed any crime. He is a free man. It's pretty hard to back down off of that, isn't it?
DEFTERIOS: Well, a couple different twists to what you suggested, off of President Putin's comments? Is he really a free man? We haven't seen him roaming around the airport facility whatsoever. He is not being treated like a freeman. A 72-hour transit is very unusual. For example, we came in 18 hours ago and we have to be out of here within 24.
So that's the rules of the game here in the Moscow airport. After President Putin's comments that he would look to see a resolution while he was in Finland, Erin, he suggested that the FBI Director Robert Mueller may have a discussion with his Russian counterpart to discuss legal issues around it.
It's the first time he suggested that. Although, although, we should underscore this, Russia holding the position they don't want to extradite this person to the United States unless they see formal charges. So far they're not charges that they think should be applying to one that wants extradition.
BURNETT: All right, John Defterios, thank you very much reporting from the main airport, as we said, outside Moscow. Where at least according to our understanding and what President Putin is where Edward Snowden is still holed up, 72 hours after landing in Russia.
OUTFRONT tonight, Gordon Lubold, the author of Foreign Policy's National Securities letter, "The Situation Report." Gordon, really great to have you on. Putin also said today about Snowden, I'll quote the president, "the sooner he selects his final destination point the better for us and himself."
Again that sounds like I want him out of my hair. Not that I will hand him over. A senior Obama administration official called Putin's comments, potentially positive. I want to ask you, some may say positive is too strong a word when Putin has thus far, not handed him over.
GORDON LUBOLD, AUTHOR, FOREIGN POLICY'S "SITUATION REPORT": Right. I mean, it's kind of seeing this as a layover in this diplomatic crisis. President Putin would love to see it kind of go away as your reporter in Moscow noted. I mean, it's not really clear that there is a play for the U.S. here to convince Russia to do anything otherwise. And the Russians themselves are eager to let him move on even if it is, on some level, enjoyable to watch this kind of cat-and-mouse game play out.
BURNETT: So, is Putin just trying to make President Obama sweat here. I mean, is there any chance at this point that he will actually hand Snowden over?
LUBOLD: I lost your audio there a little bit.
BURNETT: Is there any chance that Putin at this point would hand Snowden over. Is the whole point here of Putin basically trying to make an international public incident of "I know you want something, President Obama, and guess what? I am not giving it to you."
LUBOLD: Right. He seems to have boxed himself in -- there is no real reason for Putin to do anything other than what he said he is going to do. There is nothing really in return that the U.S. can give him that, that's at least out there or even, even, kind of -- on the sidelines. So it seems like he is -- he is not trying to create a big problem with it, but he is not eager to lift a big finger to, solve it either for the U.S.
BURNETT: Gordon, what is the verdict going to be on this when it is said and done? That Putin was acting childish or that America was weak?
LUBOLD: I mean, Putin is in a firm position, you know, it's a little bit of sleight of hand, the transit center. It's not clear. I'm not a legal expert, but it's not completely clear it is a legal safe haven or not. There is no extradition agreement between the U.S./Russia. So he can easily say that and walk away from it. This has a long-term problem between the U.S./Russia. There are a lot of other issues they're dealing with between the countries. This is a bit of a sideshow. I think it will move on after a while.
BURNETT: All right, well, Gordon, thank you very much. We shall see. Sometimes the little things someone does that make you so mad that you no longer focus on the big things with them. We'll see if this in that category or not. But Snowden's catch me if you can saga has largely been orchestrated and funded by Wikileaks.
All right, so a member of the organization's legal team has been by Snowden's side since he left Hongkong on Sunday. She is with him. The group also has been integral in helping Snowden try and find a country that will grant him asylum.
But how does Wikileaks get the money that it needs to carry out its work. We really wanted to know the answer to that question since it is detested by so many governments around the world, but clearly getting money. So Tom Foreman went OUTFRONT for an investigation.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Airplane tickets, hotel rooms, global escape plans for people like Edward Snowden. It all costs money.
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: We are trying to help him in the limited ways we can.
FOREMAN: Yet the numbers from Wikileaks suggest a rapidly dwindling supply of cash. Their record show they took in $43,000 the first half last of year, but spent nearly eight times as much. So some supporters look John Perry Barlow had set up their own web sites to funnel funds to Wikileaks. He said he sent $120,000 so far.
JOHN PERRY BARLOW, PRESSFREEDOMFOUNDATION.ORG: I care about it for the same reason that I would care about "The New York Times." I care about making sure that -- the press is free to report on what goes on inside a government that I pay for and participate in.
FOREMAN: Wikileaks financial problems are no accident. Leader Julian Assange has railed against Visa, Mastercard, Paypal for refusing to process donations from online supporters. How much unknown, but Wikileaks says in 2010, $1.7 million poured in. Political players have suggested the money companies are right to turn away, considering the allegations of illegal activity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Wikileaks has done amounts to espionage.
FOREMAN: But Wikileaks says the banking blockade is revenge for the release of sensitive documents about the U.S. military, Guantanamo, diplomatic efforts and surveillance programs. Their web site blame senior right-wing politicians for a financial vendetta or even making assassination calls against Wikileaks' staff.
ASSANGE: I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against Wikileaks.
FOREMAN (on camera): Wikileaks undeniably has fervent fans, many small donors willing to give the group money and has had a success clearing a path for them. Just two months ago, the Supreme Court in Iceland ordered a financial company there called "Valatore," which has ties to Visa and Mastercard to stop blocking donations.
(voice-over): Wikileaks celebrated and tweeted. We send out a warning to the other companies involved in this blockade. You are next. But for now, against a sea of powerful opponents, Wikileaks seems in a desperate hunt for funding with which to fight back. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to Tom.
Still to come, the Supreme Court strikes down a crucial part of the voting rights act. And critics say one part of the country is still more racist than others no matter what the numbers say.
Plus, more dramatic testimony at the Whitey Bulger trial, the family members speak out.
And then a mystery in the sky -- when a plane carrying $1.2 million landed in New York, the money which was loaded on board is gone.
And the latest from the Paula Deen controversy, fired, dropped by sponsors, but her supporters fight back today. Can she turn it around?
BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, quote, "our country has changed" with those four words, Chief Justice John Roberts and four other Supreme Court justices struck down a key part of the voting rights act of 1965. Roberts cited census data that show this. The data showed that black voter turnout now exceeds white voter turnout in five of the six states that were originally covered by the voting rights act. The Obama administration quickly expressed its disappointment with the ruling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am deeply disappointed, deeply disappointed with the court's decision in this matter. This decision represents a serious setback for voting rights and has the potential to negatively affect millions of Americans across the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, what does this ruling mean for the civil rights movement? Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin is here. All right, Jeff, so they cite the census data, saying look, essentially the Voting Rights Act worked. We've got voter turnout (INAUDIBLE) equal, so we're not going to get involved with this. But yesterday, they sent affirmative action back down, too. So it seems like they're kind of punting on civil rights.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think they're very different. I do think they really kind of punted on affirmative action case. They didn't really want to deal with it. They're leaving the status quo more or less intact for the short term.
The Voting Rights Act is very different. That is a very big deal. The Voting Rights Act changed America like almost no law in history. And one of the key parts of it was, they said, look, this part of the country, essentially, the South can not be trusted to enforce the law. So we are essentially going to -- we are going to make you come to Washington when you want to do anything, any sort of change, and we are going to have to approve it first. That process is called pre- clearance. That is now over. They say they kicked it back to Congress. But this Congress, Republican House, is never going pass the Voting Rights Act again. So this is now over. BURNETT: But when they say the country has changed, obviously some things about it, abhorrently, have not. But some things have. It looks like voter turnout in the South is among them. So why should they have to get pre-clearance?
TOOBIN: Hovering over this whole case is an African-American president of the United States. Something that was so unthinkable in 1965 that it wasn't even something that people contemplated. So that is a big part of this case.
But if you look at the statistics of who actually runs these states, and who makes the decisions about voting, and especially in recent years, you've seen so many efforts at voter suppression aimed largely at African-Americans and low income people that's what the civil rights community is so worried about about the fallout of what this may be. And you have already seen in Mississippi, in Alabama, in Texas, local officials saying we are changing the laws, and they're all in a direction to make it harder to vote.
BURNETT: Fascinating. And of course, gerrymandering happens.
TOOBIN: Yes indeed.
BURNETT: All over the country.
TOOBIN: All over the country. And that's -- and that now, the Justice Department will have to step in aggressively instead of having it come to them as a matter of course.
BURNETT: All right. Well thank you very much, Jeffrey Toobin. Of course, let us know what you think about this hugely significant move out of the Supreme Court.
Well now to the trial of accused Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger. Today it took a personal turn. There was testimony from relatives of some of his alleged murder victims. One widow giving testimony about the last time she saw her husband. He was headed to meet up with Winter Hill, which was Bulger's alleged criminal gang. But he never came home.
Deb Feyerick is OUTFRONT. As you know, she has been in the courtroom covering this trial. Deb, this victim also had ties to showbiz royalty. I mean, this case just gets stranger and stranger.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, it really is, Erin. And what is a mob trial without at least one reference to mafia darling Frank Sinatra? Today, one of the 19 victims Bulger allegedly killed was the nightclub owner Richard Castucci. Castucci was golf buddies with Sammy Davis Jr. And when Sammy got married, Castucci met Frank Sinatra, who was also at the wedding.
Now, the photo was introduced to day in court. And the widow of the nightclub owner sobbed audibly and there was a huge, pregnant pause in the courtroom today. She testified, as you mentioned, that the last time she saw her husband alive, he told her he was on his way to meet with the Bulger gang. She never saw him again. It is important because a couple years ago, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the FBI and was awarded $2 million because she was able to show the FBI -- a crooked agent provided Bulger information that her husband was informing. And that's when Bulger allegedly had husband killed. So that was a key piece of testimony that the jury heard today, Erin.
BURNETT: And Deb, before you go, yesterday you were talking about how Bulger was muttering under his breath with the f word, I'm not an f informant. I'm not - he was very agitated about the government's witnesses saying he was. Did he have reaction today?
FEYERICK: He was much less agitated today. One of the reasons is because his defense lawyer was the one in charge of the questioning. Part of their strategy is to basically look at his 700-page FBI informant file and try to convince the jury that in fact all of it was fabricated. That it was this crooked FBI agent who was basically taking bits and pieces of information and basically putting it into a file that was supposed to be Bulger's.
Well, there's a lot of evidence to the contrary. A lot of information that Bulger indeed was an informant. But what they're really trying to do is they did get a federal investigator today to acknowledge that he did not verify each piece of information individually. But also they got him to acknowledge that in fact parts of the file were likely falsified. Not the parts when Bulger is talking about other people's criminal activity, simply when he is talking about his own criminal activity and that involved his relationship with this crooked FBI agent, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Deb Feyerick, covering that trial.
And still to come, the latest developments from the George Zimmerman trial tonight. This afternoon, the jury saw some very graphic photos of Trayvon's body.
Plus, a flight from Zurich was - well, had $1.2 million on it, they say. But when the flight landed in New York, the money was gone. Clues next.
And your digital life may be killing you. Proof of what your cell phone is doing to your brain right now.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, the great plane robbery. Twelve thousand $100 bills supposed to be aboard a flight from Zurich to New York City. Just imagine if that motherload was on your flight. I would probably try to steal it, too. All right, just kidding. But until the plane arrives at New York's JFK Airport, then it is discovered the money is gone. So where did the money go? Mary Snow has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than a million dollars disappears from a Swiss International Airlines flight. What's unclear is when the $1.2 million, all in $100 bills, actually vanished. Was it before passenger flight 17 left Zurich on Saturday or after it arrived in New York? A federal law enforcement official said the cash was part of a bigger shipment. Roughly $50 million coming through JFK International Airport.
The money belongs to a U.S. bank, says a law enforcement source. Shipped in a cargo container headed to a Federal Reserve facility. The shortfall was discovered, the source says, when the shipment arrived there Monday. Former federal agent Robert Strang says huge cash shipments are not unusual.
Is it common so much cash would be on a passenger flight?
ROBERT STRANG, CEO, INVESTIGATIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP: Oh, sure. I mean, when you look under the belly of most commercial airplanes, you are going to find many things you can't believe are there. Because you are transferring money, assets -- whether it's gold bars, jewelry, other valuable items - all around the world. And that's done mostly in passenger aircraft.
SNOW: The Federal Reserve declined comment. Swiss International Airlines would only say an investigation is under way. The caper brought back memories of the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK, made famous in the movie, Goodfellas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Covered live from the scene of a heist at JFK. It looks like a big one, maybe the biggest we've ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Thieves made off with roughly $8 million in cash and jewelry. At the time, it was the biggest heist in history. But the amount pales in comparison to one earlier this year in Belgium. Eight heavily armed men burst through a fence on to a Brussels airport tarmac in two vehicles and stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a plane bound for Zurich, Switzerland. Months later, more than 30 people were arrested.
SNOW: In that Brussels heist, authorities retrieved some of the stolen diamonds, cash and luxury cars after finding them spread across three countries. Erin.
BURNETT: I love that story.
All right, still to come. How much did the guy who says, you are going to like the way you look, in the Men's Warehouse commercials actually make? There is a number for you.
Plus more shocking testimony at the George Zimmerman trial today, and the very graphic photos of Trayvon Martin which were shown to the jury late this afternoon.
And an American businessman says he is being held hostage by his own employees in China. Does it add up?
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.
We start the second half with stories, where we focus on our own reporting, from the front lines.
I want to begin with Carnival, which is holding someone accountable for all the problems on its cruise ships this year. After three decade at the company, CEO Micky Arison is getting the boot. You know the problem, the stalled Triumph where sewage ran down the walls and technical problems on at least three other ships since. The incidents hurt Carnival big time. Today, the company reported earnings plunged 55 percent.
Well, Men's Wearhouse explained today why it has fired executive chairman, George Zimmer, the founder of the company. The board says Zimmer was trying to regain financial control of the company. And the board says that's not in line with what's best for shareholders.
One question that remained, though, is whether Zimmer will remain the guy in commercials who ensures customers they're going to "like the way they look."
According to an SEC filing, Men's Wearhouse would have to pay Zimmer $250,000 a year for his likeness. It may be worth it. That's the one thing you know about Men's Wearhouse.
All right. Representative Darrell Issa subpoenaed four State Department officials as part of an investigation into the attack in Benghazi in which four Americans were killed. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Issa accuses the department of, quote, dragging its feet, writing, "I am concerned waiting weeks or months while the department prepares witnesses to be interviewed creates the risk that their testimony will have been rehearsed or coached. Issa's office tells OUTFRONT that among other things, they wants to know who denied the American mission security request in the months before the attack.
It has been 691 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, after heavy losses in recent days the markets bounced back including the Dow which rose 101 points. Triple digit on there. And there was a lot of confidence in the housing market in the U.S. A report shows home prices surged 12 percent in April, compared with a year ago.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: day two of contentious testimony in the George Zimmerman murder trial. For the first time today, the jury saw gruesome photos of Trayvon Martin splayed on the ground in the minutes after Zimmerman shot the teen. He says it was self defense. Now, we are showing you these pictures. But we are choosing here at CNN not to show you some of the most graphic images.
Martin Savidge is in Sanford, Florida, covering the trial.
And, Martin, Trayvon Martin's family was there in the courtroom. They saw the photos we showed, but also some other, much more difficult to look at photos.
How did they react?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a very, very difficult day for the family. It was difficult for everybody the courtroom.
We have all seen photographs before. But we had not seen these particular photographs. And they were quite striking. They are of the 17-year-old as you describe, on the ground, clearly dead. And even showing the bullet wound, entry wound that took his life.
So, all of that, was combined with emotional testimony from the first responders that described the last breaths that this young man took. The tragedy, sunk home clearly to the family. Sybrina Fulton, his mother, she just stared straight ahead, very stoic. You couldn't read any emotion in her face. Maybe that was pure emotion.
And then on top of that, there is Tracy Martin, that's Trayvon Martin's father. He literally got up had to walk out of the room. He didn't return until sometime later.
BURNETT: And, Martin, let me ask you, a police sergeant who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, moments after Trayvon was killed actually went on the stand today and answered questions. What did he say when he described those moments when he tried to save Trayvon?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, all of this reminded the court that there was a victim. And, of course, we knew that. But, up until now, especially in the presentation, you see George Zimmerman, he is the defendant here. He comes and goes in the courtroom.
Trayvon Martin up to this point had been a name. Then you saw the photographs. And then you heard the depiction coming from this sergeant as he works on this teenager's body. He didn't know at that time that, that the young man had been shot through the heart, couldn't be saved.
So, he and another officer, frantically worked to revive, using CPR. It didn't work, of course. But it was dramatic to hear that attempt to save a life by first responders.
BURNETT: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much. Martin as we said, covering that trial in Florida.
I want to turn now to our legal analyst, Mark NeJame, who has also been watching the trial. Mark, those graphic photos were showed today. Trayvon Martin clearly dead on the ground. And in some of them this face very clearly visible. Martin talked about the reaction of his family and how difficult that was for them and for everyone in the courtroom.
But how effective was it to show those photos to the jury?
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, as Martin says, it truly humanizes the drama that, that -- this tragic loss of a teenager. So, it can have no other impact or effect but to really touch people's hearts.
But this is done in every trial. You always show the picture of the victims. You show the -- the entry. You show the injury. It was done here.
These pictures, relative, to other cases, are not especially -- according to the law, especially gruesome or inflammatory. So you didn't even hear an objection from the defense when they were moved to be placed into evidence because they're appropriate. And they're appropriate for the jurors to recognize and see there is somebody a young man who is dead and they have a very serious task in front of them, about determining guilt or acquittal for George Zimmerman.
BURNETT: And now that they have a human face to this, in a way that they didn't before, because like all of us are familiar with those few pictures of Trayvon that we have seen so many times. But now that his death is now personal, they have to -- they have to decide who they believe.
The opening statements that we reported yesterday, obviously someone used the F-word on the George Zimmerman side, and then we have the knock-knock joke, sorry, on the George Zimmerman side, that also went over terribly in the courtroom.
How well did each side rebound today, do you think?
NEJAME: Well, I think the state could only go one place. They did just fabulous yesterday. The defense on the other hand -- couldn't have been more miserable for them. And I think the defense today really got some credibility. They started, and interestingly they had Don West, who was the subject of the horrible knock-knock joke, and that very questionable statement, go ahead and still question some witnesses right at the beginning and he did well.
And it showed that a style yesterday was similar to his style today. And I think that was a good thing to do, because it showed the jurors that he does a good job. That's just his personality. And the defense ended on a very high note today.
There were some strong, attacks, cross-examination, some credibility issues with the last witness of the day. And I think that today goes to the defense. Not as strong as yesterday, went to the state. But they gained a lot of credibility and really, it's not any smooth sailing for either one of them.
There is really a hard-fought trial going on.
BURNETT: All right. Mark NeJame, thank you as always. We'll see you soon.
Now, before Trayvon Martin was shot, George Zimmerman actually was walking through his Florida neighborhood with a bullet in the chamber of his gun ready to fire it. Now, this could be a crucial detail in his murder trial. Leaving some wondering if Zimmerman knew how to safely handle the weapon or not.
Our David Mattingly is OUTFRONT.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you are following the George Zimmerman case, you have probably heard this sound before.
MATTINGLY: That's the sound of a shot from a K-Tec PF9 handgun, just like the one caught on a 911 call the moment George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.
DISPATCHER: All right, what is your --
CALLER: There's gunshots.
DISPATCHER: You just heard gunshots?
MATTINGLY: Zimmerman carried the gun legally, but prosecutors seem to suggest he was doing more than that.
JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: It wasn't necessary for the defendant to rack it, to load a round. It was ready to go.
MATTINGLY: Zimmerman was carrying the gun with the bullet already loaded in the chamber and ready to fire.
Was this a sign he was planning to do harm when he encountered Trayvon Martin?
Gun safety inspector Larry Holt tells me Zimmerman was doing exactly what he was suppose to do.
(on camera): Was he carrying it properly?
LARRY HOLT, FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: Properly if I was ready to defend myself, you bet.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Holt said this gun is designed strictly for personal protection. One of the cheaper guns on the markets selling for between $200 to $300, made to be concealed, carried, and ready to shoot. It's called carrying hot.
So, you recommend to your students to carry this one hot.
MATTINGLY: That's because it comes with a safety feature. An extra long trigger pull that prevents accidental firing. But we also learn watching this trained marksman.
(on camera): You missed.
HOLT: I know. It's not a really accurate gun.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The Kel-Tec PF9 is only effective in close quarters, something else noted by prosecutors.
(on camera): Have you heard a prosecutor raise these points before?
CORD BYRD, FLORIDA FIREARMS ATTORNEY: No, I have not.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Florida firearms attorney Cord Byrd says state attorneys could be targeting specific jurors by trying to use the features of Zimmerman's gun against him.
BYRD: I think among most people familiar with firearms, that line of argument would be totally unpersuasive. But once again, to someone who's unsophisticated in the use of firearms possibly it could be persuasive.
BURNETT: So, David, amazing when they're trying to say, look the way this gun is designed, the way you would have to pull the trigger, that just having this gun alone would be evidence of intent to kill. Is that a line that will work with this jury?
MATTINGLY: Well, when you look at the makeup of the jury, just six members here, four of them indicate that they have family members who own firearms, that they might be familiar with weapons and not susceptible to the argument. One of the four actually used to have a conceal carry permit.
So, it looks like that the prosecution might be taking a chance here.
BURNETT: All right. David Mattingly, thank you very much. Pretty amazing all the new facts we learned about the gun tonight.
Still to come, the latest on the Paula Deen controversy which is getting deeper. A day after she is dropped by a major sponsor, her supporters are now fighting back and aggressively. So, is it possible the tide could turn in the case in her favor?
And later on the show, a story that is very dark and curly.
But, first, tonight's shout out. Pulled from the water, heavy rain led to flooding in some parts of Iowa. According to our affiliate KGAN, a man was trapped in his truck after a flash flood in Cedar County, Iowa. Rescuers got into boats to pull him out very quickly. They saved his life.
And our shout-out tonight goes to the rescue crews, who again risked their lives off to go into the water and save someone else.
BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to sources around the world.
Tonight, we begin in Beijing where an American businessman says his employees have barricaded him in his factory and are holding him hostage. Dozens of workers at Specialty Medical Supplies China say they're mad about pay. The man tells CNN the whole situation is a misunderstanding, but our David McKenzie is in Beijing following the story. And I asked him what is happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, this is where this bizarre story is unfolding. U.S. businessman Chip Starnes still stuck in this factory behind me. He says his workers in China are holding him hostage. He has been in there more than five days.
It all started because of a labor dispute. They're moving some of the operations into Mumbai, India. Some of the workers panicked saying they want their severance. He has been trying to negotiate his way. But for now, the workers are blocking him from leaving -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And thanks to David.
And now we go to Egypt where security threat is forcing the American embassy in Cairo to close. American officials are worried that anti- government protests could turn violent.
Ian Lee is in Cairo and I asked him how serious it is this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Egypt is the battening down the hatches in the lead up to June 30th protests. Opposition groups will be out in full force against President Mohamed Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. embassy will be closed, but this is a typical move from the embassy as it lies a quarter mile away from Tahrir Square, one of the main focal points of the demonstration.
And while the embassy has been targeted in the past well are not expect anything this time around. But what I can tell you is the Egyptian street is buzzing with anticipation. We're expecting hundreds of thousands if not a million people to turn out. This is the greatest challenge to Morsi's presidency.
The army issued a vague but firm warning, saying they won't allow the country to slip into chaos. What that means is anyone's guess.
But mark your calendar, June 30th will be one to watch -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Ian, we will do that.
And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: defending Deen.
So, just days after Paula Deen was fired by the Food Network and shelved by Smithfield Foods for admitting she used the N-word, her supporters are fighting back. Her sons Bobby and Jamie, worked in her cooking empire, they're both chefs. An this morning, they spoke exclusively to CNN about their mother's tarnished reputation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: I can tell you this, that word, that horrifying, terrible word that exists and, I abhor it, coming from any person, is not in my vocabulary. It's definitely not in my brother's vocabulary, it's not in my mother's vocabulary. We were not raised in a home where that word was used.
BOBBY DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: There are opportunists. And my mother has admitted, and she has apologized and as a person what more can you do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Fans are also speaking up. Several "Save Paula Deen" Facebook pages are filled with support and demands for her reinstatement.
But is this enough to redeem Paula Deen.
OUTFRONT tonight, Marc Lamont Hill and Dean Obeidallah.
Ok, great to have both of you.
Dean, let me start with you. Do you believe Paula's sons?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: I want to say that, first of all, I don't want to be called a racist, I do believe her sons. And I think that -- it's their mom. They're trying to defend her.
My whole point from the beginning of this whole thing, is, you know, what she admitted to saying is horrible. It's 30 years ago and no one else has come forward.
We see in every scandal, Anthony Weiner, more women came forward. Herman Cain, accused of sexual harassment, more women came forward. No one else has come forward. That's what I find so curious, especially as a former lawyer.
BURNETT: You'd think there would be a pattern.
OBEIDALLAH: You'd see other people coming forward and saying, you know, a year ago, two years ago.
MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I'm not so sure about that, though. Typically when people say racist things, they say it around other racist people. So, other racist people aren't going to come forward. This isn't like sexual harassment case where there's always victim. This isn't like a Herman Cain, a clown car of women popping out.
This is a whole different circumstance. I don't think the sons are lying. I'm sure she may have raised them to be perfectly reasonable, upstanding citizens who are color blind, so to speak. That doesn't mean she is.
BURNETT: That's an interesting point, if you are going to use the word.
HILL: Are you disagreeing (INAUDIBLE) racist?
OBEIDALLAH: You can. Let's look at something else, though. She taught her children, we both believe her children were not brought up in the household where the N-word was used and racist word were used why. Can't we applaud someone evolving?
Again, I'm not defending her. If currently she is using this, or the last few years, fire her from everything.
But, if not, look, we have the gay marriage debate going on. We finally have over 50 percent of Americans supporting it. In the gay community a few years ago, would you discount everyone and call them a bigot who is not supporting gay marriage?
We evolved as a country and a progressive nation, I think inherently. We should embrace evolving. If others don't come forward --
HILL: Why are you so persuaded she's evolved? I guess that's the question.
OBEIDALLAH: Because I haven't heard others come forward --
BURNETT: But she did say one of these allegations was in 2007, where she said she you would like to have a wedding where the waiters are all black.
OBEIDALLAH: She didn't do it and said why? The media would not like it.
HILL: Come on, Dean. She didn't say I won't do it because it's absurd or because it's racist, or because it's offensive, because the wide media might get upset because she has Negroes in short pants, I mean, come on.
OBEIDALLAH: But that's part of education. It goes, it's internal. Look --
HILL: She's saying, the media would blast me for it.
OBEIDALLAH: Of Arab parties, I've been called a (INAUDIBLE) N-word many times by hateful people in e-mails and tweet. If one of those people came back to me a year later and said, you know what, I'm sorry for saying that, I thought about it and I would ecstatic. I want people to move forward. I don't want them to demonize them for something that happened 30 years ago, unless you have more people coming forward saying she's doing things now or in the last four or five years.
HILL: What if somebody said I won't call you that offensive term because of the media dinging me for it, I'm going to get in trouble for it?
OBEIDALLAH: You know what? I want people to evolve. I'd like it better. They came to the terms themselves.
HILL: That's not an ethical conversion. That's a pragmatic assessment.
OBEIDALLAH: It's the beginning.
HILL: No, it's --
BURNETT: All these conversions of high profile people often by pragmatic causes, you get busted for your point of view and that's -- by the media or something and that's what makes you reconsider.
HILL: Sometimes it's shame and embarrassment that makes you put a mirror to yourself.
BURNETT: Like Weiner wouldn't have stopped what he was doing if somebody didn't bust him.
HILL: But I think he's genuinely embarrassed about what he did and I think he's made some sort of conversion.
Senator Byrd back in the day, was a member of the Klan. I think he genuinely has converted over the last 80 years. I mean, I think people can change. I'm not sure it's happening to Paul Deen in the last --
OBEIDALLAH: But I'm just saying it again, it's from a lawyer background about evidence, seeing evidence of recent bad acts, recent use of N-word or treating employees horrifically bad, or using derogatory comments at the workplace. I can't believe nobody else has come forward and I'm curious. Did she pay people up? Maybe, I don't think so.
BURNETT: Marc, let me just say something what Reverend Jesse Jackson said because I asked him about it yesterday and I thought he was pretty eloquent about it. Let me just play and get Marc's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I think at some time, we cannot use Paula Deen as a scapegoat for the errors of our culture. I do not understand the idea of eternal condemnation to anybody who makes a mistake. I don't think that's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I agree.
BURENTT: You agree?
HILL: I agree. I think this place for her to evolve and to develop. It may be, as Dean said, maybe she has. I don't assume she has.
BURNETT: You're not ready to suddenly say, OK, you said you're sorry and your son said you're OK.
HILL: Oh, your son said --
OBEIDALLAH: I didn't say free pass go to the Carnival Cruise with Paul Deen and the cruise is still going on -
OBEIDALLAH: The recipes kill more people than Dexter. It's unreasonable what is happening with her food.
She's going to the "Today" show tomorrow. If she's straightforward, honest, I think the American people are going to judge her and some will give her a second chance, some will never forgive her.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate it.
And, everyone, of course, continue to weigh in on the Paula Deen situation.
And now, I'm glad I have Mark and Dean sitting here, forcing them to watch this story because every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for the OUTFRONT "Outtake".
Chest hair -- for decades, it was the height of manliness. It was a symbol of a man's unruly, untamed spirit. I did not write that.
Anyway, actors, rock stars and regular guys flaunted it and apparently women swoon -- although definitely not at that -- maybe that one.
Anyway, then something happened. Men started waxing and going more and more with the hair less manicured look until the new symbol was a clean, shaven body. Again, I don't agree with that.
But anyway, one company is angry and want to change it and part of the self-described manliness ad campaign. A company called Wing Company tells -- oh God -- tells "The Daily Mail it's commissioned English designers to create what you're looking at now. This is a man fur coat.
The one of a kind of garment is made of 1 million male chest hairs. I look at Dean and Marc. It took 200 hours to weave it. It will retail for $3,800. You can purchase this disgusting thing and Wing Company says it will re-encourage men to adopt the values of assured men's men from yesteryear.
This is terrible. Do you guys agree?
OBEIDALLAH: I'm going to sell my chest hair for a profit, though.
BURNETT: I mean, clearly -- OK, how will this encourage men to go with hair? After looking at the coat I never want to see another hairy chest again.
HILL: Oh my God, I'm cutting it off.
BURNETT: You're cutting it off?
HILL: I only have taco meat right here anyway, but I'm cutting it.
OBEIDALLAH: (INAUDIBLE) I got a lot of chest hair. I can make profit off this really well.
BURNETT: Can you imagine what that hair coat feels like, a Brilo pad?
OBEIDALLAH: Who's the marketing company? What focus groups are doing this?
BURNETT: Where do you get the hair from? I mean, donations? Obviously Dean has plenty. What will you find on this hair coat, vermin (ph), dandruff?
HILL: Oh, gosh.
BURNETT: What kind of consistency is this? This is terrible. I'm getting sick. Please go to commercial, this is terrible. This is terrible.
BURNETT: Disturbing medical news today. A new type of dementia has been reported.
Doctors at the Balance Brain Center in Seoul, Korea, have noticed a deterioration in our cognitive abilities that is usually only found in people who suffered head injury or psychiatric illness.
And the worst part about this dementia is it is self-inflected. According to the researchers, it is overuse of smart phones, tablets and game devices that's hampering the balanced development of the brain. So, a person who spends more than seven hour as day on devices shows a significant lack of development in the right side of the brain, that's the side of the brain responsible for concentration and memory.
That can lead to emotional problems and yes, the early onset of dementia. Dementia is horrific to witness and horrible to imagine in your own life, impossible to imagine.
This is not something to take lightly. And while we're not saying you should stop using your device all together, there is a reason why, four months we've warned about the slippery slope that is technology and yes, we probably sound like a broken record, but you know what? We like records and probably a lot of you don't know what a record is but we do. And we're proud of it.
We look outside our devices for mental stimulation and that's why we here at OUTFRONT are not worried about digital dementia.
"A.C. 360" starts right now.