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NFL Player Not Called a Suspect; American Hostage in China; Berlusconi To Appeal Prostitution Conviction; IRS Also Targeted "Progressive" Groups;

Aired June 25, 2013 - 06:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with our news anchor Michaela Pereira. It is Tuesday, June 25th. Good morning.

Coming up this half hour, a lot going on.

An American held hostage in China by his own employees for five days. He spoke exclusively with CNN and explains why they're not letting him go.

CUOMO: Plus, a real shocker at Wimbledon, Rafa, Rafa, Rafa, say it ain't so. Rafael Nadal knocked out in the first round. I can't believe it. I can't believe it.

But lot of news this morning. So, let's get to Michaela Pereira for the top stories.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Very good, thank you so much.

Making news at this hour the high stakes game of hide and seek for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Right now, where he is -- a mystery. Russia's foreign minister now saying the country has nothing to do with Snowden's movements and Snowden did not cross the Russian border.

In his asylum request to Ecuador, Snowden said he fears inhumane treatment, even death if he's sent back to the U.S. He also believes he would not get a fair trial.

Immigration reform passing a major hurdle, the Senate voting to move forward with a border security proposal in the comprehensive gang of eight immigration bill. But backers of the bill didn't get the 70 votes they were hoping for as the full proposal nears passage in the Senate. It faces a rocky road in the Republican-controlled House.

President Obama cracking down on climate change this afternoon in an address at Georgetown University. He's going to announce a major federal strategy aimed at lowering carbon pollution in the country.

At the heart of the plan, new rules that limit greenhouse gas emissions from one of the nation's biggest offenders, power plants.

Quite a story here. A high school senior misses his graduation and breaks down, but is given a second chance.

Calvin Carthon (ph) had been through so much as an 18-year-old having survived a violent attack in 2009. He recovered and was very proud to be graduating from high school. Unfortunately, he misunderstood what time the ceremony was set for. By the time, he showed up at the school, everyone else was leaving, except for his principal.

That's when principal Brian Wysinger (ph) gave Calvin a private ceremony and a lesson in kindness, performing the ceremony just for Calvin and his family.

I get goose bumps telling this story. The principal apparently said his decision was really about doing the right thing for this kid, showing him that this moment is about them going on to that next level of the new chapter, and it was a beautiful act of kindness.

BOLDUAN: I got goose bumps as well during that story, very sweet and you can believe he's not going to be late for his first job interview or when he checks in at college.

PEREIRA: He really took a negative -- what could have been a negative memory and turned it into a very, very positive one.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Absolutely. Good story, thank you for that.

PEREIRA: Good on you.

BOLDUAN: Good on you.

CUOMO: Moving on now.

Finally, Aaron Hernandez's side of the story is coming out. His lawyer says there is no warrant for the NFL player's arrest and criticizes the media. Hernandez's friend was found murdered less than a mile away from his home. Police searched his house twice and spent three hours in the nearby woods just this Monday.

CNN's Susan Candiotti has the latest.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time since last week, lawyers for Aaron Hernandez are breaking their silence in writing. In a new statement saying Hernandez is being subjected to, quote, "a relentless flood of rumors, misinformation and false reports", including that an arrest warrant has been issued. CNN has not reported this.

A law enforcement source tells CNN, quote, "There is no arrest warrant. It wasn't true last week and it isn't true today." In response to Hernandez's attorney, the D.A. did not address the arrest question. Police are not calling Hernandez a suspect. On Monday, investigators equipped with metal detectors trudged through woods just outside the upscale community where New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez lives.

No word on what they were looking for or what, if anything, they found. No Hernandez sightings during the day Monday. He remains a focus in a murder investigation into the shooting death of a friend, Odin Lloyd whose body was found less than a mile from Hernandez's home.

The tight end has had brushes with the law before but nothing like this. He's been sued by a man who claims Hernandez shut out his right eye in February after leaving a Miami strip club called Tootsies. Alexander Bradley seen in a Hartford, Connecticut, mug shot from an unrelated incident did not press charges or identify Hernandez.

In his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut, Hernandez is remembered as a high school football fee phenom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was like the hero of our school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never in a million years did I think of something like that happening to him.

CANDIOTTI: The Patriots saw a bright future, too, signing a reported $40 million contract extension just last year.

AARON HERNANDEZ, NFL PLAYER: It's a blessing and hopefully I make the right decisions with it and have a good life.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, North Attleboro, Massachusetts.


BOLDUAN: Susan, thank you.

Now to a CNN exclusive an interview with an American executive, pardon me, who is being held hostage by workers at a medical supply plant in China. Forty-two-year-old Chip Starnes of Coral Springs, Florida, says the workers are holding him over a pay dispute.

CNN's David McKenzie is in our Beijing bureau with more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American executive Chip Starnes puts on a brave face but he's being captive in his own medical supply factory in China.

(on camera): Sir, are you being held hostage now?

CHIP STARNES, AMERICAN EXECUTIVE: The answer is yes, 30 or 40 of them ransacked my office, standing there for three hours on my desk staring at me. One o'clock in the morning, my G.M. and I finally had gotten them out, laid down for the next two hours, banging on the doors, windows and lights and stuff and so a lot of sleep deprivation the first 48 hours.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): His family back home in Florida say they're in constant contact, worried sick saying Starnes has a medical condition. He says he wants to leave but they won't let him.

(on camera): And so, if you were to try to leave now, you couldn't leave.

STARNES: It would be interesting to try. That's definitely crossed my mind.

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

(on camera): You and I talking and still held hostage it's surreal.

STARNES: It is kind of surreal. I don't think I've been back here in three days or so. So, the whole thing saddens me greatly.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Now, he's meeting with workers trying to negotiate his way out of the factory.

STARNES: This is not how to accomplish something. I'm at the point now we're at a standstill. I deserve the right to go back to my hotel room and I deserve to come back and address things professionally.

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


MCKENZIE: What a bizarre story. Chip Starnes, that executive, is behind me in this building, still at the factory. He says he doesn't want to hop the fence, he probably could get out of here easily. Police have left the scene and so have many of the workers. He said he that would escalate this dispute that looks like it's going to move into its sixth day held hostage in this factory.

Back to you.

CUOMO: What a strange face off. David McKenzie in Beijing for us -- thanks so much, David.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, people need to stay with us. We have a NEW DAY exclusive. Paula Deen's boys are with us to talk about their celebrity chef mom. It's going to be here later in the show. So, please, stay with us.

BOLDUAN: Also coming up, an inappropriate shakedown caught on camera. You're seeing it there. Why a cop had this one bare her bra not once but twice.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's go around the world for the news happening across the globe this morning, starting in Pretoria, South Africa, where 94-year-old former President Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition.

CNN's Robyn Curnow has more.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nelson Mandela remains on the critical list in the ICU in this Pretoria hospital, in a country where it's taboo to talk about medical details and even to talk about the death of somebody, you're seeing conversations out in the public sphere. President Zuma preparing South Africa for the worse essentially, the president refusing to confirm if Madiba Mandela is on life support or breathing on his own. He's been in here three weeks now. South Africans are becoming increasingly jittery as his condition is just not getting better


BOLDUAN: Robyn, thanks so much. Of course, we wish him and his family well.

In India, devastating floods have left more than 1,000 dead and many more stranded by the water and massive landslides. Nic Robertson is on the disaster.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The weather still continues to be a problem. On Monday, fewer sorters than what the army was hoping for. Today, they say Tuesday, there are another 5,500 people they hope to rescue from the mountains. They say they hope to get them all down within three days.

The problem is the weather, if it starts raining the cloud cover comes in off the mountains and that's going to hamper their operations. Right now, the cloud's looking good. They're going out again today.

Back to you, Kate.


BOLDUAN: Nic, thank you so much. That's clearly developing as we speak.

And in Italy, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi getting seven years in prison for abuse of power and having sex with an underage prostitute. An attorney for Berlusconi says he plans to appeal.

Ben Wedeman with the latest.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After 27 months and more than 50 hearings, the verdict finally came down for former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, seven years in prison and a lifelong ban on holding public office. This for having sex with that woman, an exotic Moroccan born dancer Karima el-Mahroug, and then calling the police station in Milan to get her released.


WEDEMAN (on-camera): He still has, however, two levels of appeals to go and legal experts say this process could go on for years. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Ben, thanks so much. It already seems like it's gone on for years. That's for sure.

CUOMO: It really does. It really does. You know what's over, though?


CUOMO: The NHL finals. You know, you all feel attached to Boston, right, because of what happened up there, but you got to give it to the Blackhawks.

BOLDUAN: Chicago was fabulous.

CUOMO: They really just snatched the victory from jaws of defeat.


CUOMO: And obviously, they took care of it in game six. Let's bring in Andy Scholes with our "Bleacher Report" to take us through it. There you are my man.


ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, guys. You know, the Bruins, they were less than two minutes away from forcing a winner take all game seven in the Stanley Cup finals, but everything changed in a matter of 17 seconds. Boston, they were up 2-1 late in the third period when Blackhawks came storming back. Jonathan Toews, nice pass to Bryan Bickell right here.

This goal ties the game. Then, guys, 17 seconds later, off of rebound, Dave Bolland finds the back of the net, the crowd in Boston just stunned as the Blackhawks shocked the bruins 3-2 to take the Stanley Cup finals.

CUOMO: Boy, oh, boy, what a finish.


PEREIRA: I know. I was going to say 17 seconds.

CUOMO: That's the nature of sports. Anything can happen at any second.

BOLDUAN: I love that Stanley Cup. That thing is huge.

PEREIRA: I got to kiss it once. It was quite a moment.


BOLDUAN: From the stories I've heard of what it can happen with the Stanley Cup.

PEREIRA: You want to sanitize it.


CUOMO: Listen, let me get you out of the situation. Andy, Wimbledon, huge surprise defeat. Rafael Nadal, what happened?

SCHOLES: Yes. One of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history, really, you know? Nadal, just come off wining the French Open. He was the fifth seed this year at Wimbledon and he lost in straight sets to the 135th ranked player in the world, Steve Darcis. The guy's at lost (ph) snapped Nadal's 22 match winning streak, and it's the first time he's ever lost in the first round of a grand slam event. So, pretty shocking developments there at the first day of Wimbledon.

CUOMO: I hope he's not hurt. I hope it was just the better man on that day. Let me move you on to the NBA draft that's going on here. A little bit of funny anecdote you have about it. What's going on there?

SCHOLES: Yes. You know, it's Thursday night, and one of this year's top picks, he's having trouble deciding on what to wear. Kentucky Wildcats big man, Nerlens Noel, you know, he has three suits in mind. And guess what, guys, he's going to let the fans decide on what he's going to wear for his big night. Now, here are your options. You've got a blue suit with a lime green pocket square, and then you got the nice slick silver suit, or you can go with the sharp blue pin stripe.

Guys, you cast your vote at And I said I was going to go with the silver as well. We can decide this right now. We've got four of us, three suits. I will go with silver.

PEREIRA: Dida (ph).

CUOMO: Dida (ph). I go blue, blue.

BOLDUAN: I go with the lime green one.

PEREIRA: Well, I think Andy and I win.



BOLDUAN: OK. Who knew Andy that you can cover fashion as well. Well done. Blue, lime, and --

(CROSSTALK) SCHOLES: I'm going to try that tomorrow.

CUOMO: Andy Scholes, thank you very much. Always love the "Bleacher Report."

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Andy.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, the U.S. does not seem to know where the NSA leaker is, but a more troubling question has been raised, why isn't anyone helping America? Senator John McCain will join us live.

BOLDUAN: Sure he'll have something to say on that.

And, also, coming up, southern chef Paula Deen has lost another major endorsement, and in a NEW DAY exclusive, her sons Bobby and Jamie Deen are here to talk about the backlash over racial slurs that's taken a big toll on their mother's career.



CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Over the weekend, fans, big fans of Paula Deen staged a protest against her firing. Yes. Deen's fans were so upset they held a hunger strike for eight seconds.


O'BRIEN: Then they took out their emergency butter.



BOLDUAN: I did not like that noise he made at the end.

CUOMO: Last part almost lost it. Funny, funny but not funny to Paula Deen's family, that's why her boys are going to be on the show today.

BOLDUAN: Yes, not funny. All that's for sure. So, we're going to be kicking off now 30 minutes of commercial free news. Let's start with our political gut check. All the stories you need to know coming straight out of Washington.

CUOMO: Got a big meeting on immigration today and the IRS scandal has come back into view. Turns out not just conservative groups were targeted. So, we're going to figure out what this means.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Let's turn to John King, CNN's chief national correspondent, to kind of breakthrough all of this stuff. So, the IRS scandal, I started thinking that that was one scandal moving to the back bumper of Washington scandals but clearly not now. If there are equal opportunity targeting, does that make it better or worse, John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It depends who you ask, Kate. Democrats are happy to see this information out there, happy in the context of saying ah-ha, see, they weren't just targeting Tea Party groups, they were targeting groups with progressive or blue or what you would think of left of center labels in their names. And so, what they're now is saying this was not an agency just targeting the Tea Party.

It was an agency that overwhelmed with all these applications for tax exempt groups and it developed a targeting system that is inappropriate but was not partisan. So, Democrats think this is a good development in terms of putting it into context. Republicans say, well, wait a minute, we still think the Tea Party groups were overly targeted. So, this one is going to go on for a bit, no question.

CUOMO: John, I got a conspiracy theory. Help me out with it, OK?

KING: Go for it.

CUOMO: I believe that this is one of the only issues where left and right are on the same side, because neither wants these groups looked at by the IRS, because this is how dark money comes into politics and this is really what it's all about, that the IRS should be looking at all of these groups aggressively because you could make a great argument they shouldn't exist because they're putting this money that's unaccounted for into politics, stealing power from the people. That's my theory.

KING: Your theory is valid in the sense that, remember, a lot of this is the fallout from that Citizens United decision saying you can -- more money. More money can't come up (ph) to politics. The Supreme Court said you can't regulate corporate donations and the like. So, you have more of these groups forming and the IRS says it was overwhelmed.

What's interesting here, though, is a lot of people say, well, if this was going on for left with center groups, with progressive, with blue, names like that, why didn't we hear that in the first wave? Congress specifically asked the inspector general of the treasury department and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether conservative groups were being targeted.

Now, imagine if your house was on fire and your neighbor's house was on fire, and you call the fire department and they show up and put out your fire, but they don't put out your neighbor's fire, because they say he didn't call. In this investigation, one would think that when they found the targeted -- conservative groups, they would have for context purposes or a little bell would have gone off, shouldn't we look at the other groups?

So, part of this here is you understand the way this has played out. Now, we're finding out they were targeted on both sides. This is why people have a hard time putting government in common sense in the same sentence.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Also happening today, a big meeting at the White House with the president, vice president, and Congressional leaders. Immigration, clearly, is going to be one of the big topics. We've watched these meetings happen over and over again when there's a big vote coming up.

Do you think on immigration it's going to help the prospects of this getting through or should the president stay out of it?

KING: Look, it's been four months since the president sat down with the bipartisan Congressional leadership and as someone who's been in this town for a long time, it's not just this president's fault. Its toxic environment goes back to the Clinton administration. Some would say even more so. I think that's a bad thing.

I think they should have more regular meetings. So, any time the president can sit down with the Democratic leadership and the Republican leadership and compare notes, that should be a good thing. On immigration, what is he going to hear? He's going to hear from the Republican leadership most likely, Mr. President, back off. Don't be out there so publicly.

If you look at Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell, they would like to get the president a bill. They don't want to give the president everything he wants.


KING: But they want to get all the criticism from Latino community on the Republican Party off their back heading into the next election cycle, but they have problems with their conservative base. So, their message to the president is likely going to be we're trying to help you or kind of help you here. Be more quiet because when you're out in public, it fires up our conservative base.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. John King, great to see you. Thanks.

CUOMO: Always good to hear when lawmakers trying to hide from the people they represent.


CUOMO: Always a great sign for the rest --

BOLDUAN: Sometimes, what's good for politics is not always good for the people is what we know so well.

Do you hear that music? Time for me to shut up and it's time for the "Rock Block," a quick round of stories you'll be talking about today.

PEREIRA: Let's put it that way, Kate.

Let's start here, in the "New York Times," recent study found charter school students are improving their scores on standardized math test. Also found charter schools are closing the quality gap with neighborhood public schools.

In the "USA Today," college students getting a bit of a break in the pocketbook, but tuition increases at many universities across the country are the smallest in years. Good news.

In the "Hartford Courant," Republican lawmakers in Connecticut trying to stop a four-cent gas tax increase said to kick in July 1. Connecticut already has some of the highest gas prices and taxes in the nation.

CUOMO: Boy, oh boy. Let's bring in Christine Romans got the business news we need. What's going to happen with the stock market?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. It looks like it's going to be up a little bit, but it's been a very bad week, so far. Stock futures bouncing back after that big sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500 all fell about one percent yesterday.

All right. An apple settlement means cash refunds. Apple is doling out money to parents whose kids downloaded games like Angry Birds and racked up big, big bills buying in-game extras without permission.

Good news on housing foreclosure. Inventory declined for the 13th straight month. A new report from LPS says delinquency and foreclosure rates are at a new post crisis low. And that's good.

BOLDUAN: This is one of the circumstances where we like low.

ROMANS: We like low.


BOLDUAN: Christine, thanks so much. And finally, Indra Petersons in the weather center with what you need to know before you head out the door.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It was a tough day in the Midwest yesterday. They saw heavy rain, even some strong thunderstorms with very strong winds out there. Gusts as high as 70 miles per hour for Chicago yesterday. With that stationary front in place, we're going to look for another day of that. In fact, the severe weather threat really from the Dakotas and now even in through New England today.

So, watch out for those afternoon thunderstorms, especially once it kind of heat things up. And oh, yes, heat, that is the story. We are feeling that, I mean, especially the north east. We're talking about heat advisories in New York today, 90-degree temperatures. That's not hot enough yet. We are going to be feeling hotter you add the humidity. And of course, we add those temperatures into the mid-90s. And yes, we talked about those triple digits on the west side. Hot all around --

BOLDUAN: Mid-90s. Still hot. Still hot. Indra, thank you.


BOLDUAN: We're now at the top of the hour which, of course, means it's time for the top news.