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Aaron Hernandez Put into Police Car; Same-Sex Marriage Rulings Expected; Zimmerman Murder Trial; Paula Deen Defends Herself Publicly; Paula Deen Defends Herself Publicly; Texas Abortion Bill Fails to Pass; Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial

Aired June 26, 2013 - 09:00   ET


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. We've been told that it's an ongoing investigation. They're being very careful as they proceed, following every step of the various aspects of this that they're looking at. Where was he? We know that there was a relationship between Aaron Hernandez and Odin Lloyd. They were friends. They would sometimes party together. In fact, Aaron Hernandez's fiance, his girlfriend, and one of her sisters was dating the victim in this case.

So there is that connection between the two. Now as to whatever else would be going on, we don't know. But certainly searching the last couple of days not only at the house, but also at an area near the house. Remember that the body was found less than a mile away from where the football player lives.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right. All right, Susan, thank you very much for being on it. And obviously, details have to come out of this. We don't know anything except what we've told you which was that Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots' tight end, brought out in handcuffs, put into a cruiser and taken away. One of our photojournalists was there to see it.

BOLDUAN: Clearly.

CUOMO: We're awaiting word from police, from his attorneys.

BOLDUAN: Or his attorney. Yes, and a lot more, obviously, this is a developing situation. There'll be much more on this breaking news coming up with Carol Costello in "CNN NEWSROOM right now.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly. Well, thanks, guys.

Happening now in NEWSROOM decision day at the U.S. Supreme Court. Two major rulings on same-sex marriage that will affect millions of Americans. We're live outside the court where hundreds are gathering for this historic decision.

Also breaking this hour, George Zimmerman entering a Florida courtroom. Graphic evidence, strong emotions, and the star witness may take the stand this hour.

Plus, this --


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I is what I is, and I'm not changing.


COSTELLO: Teary and tenacious Paula Deen and the mea culpa everyone is talking about this morning.

NEWSROOM starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. Lots and lots of news to tell you about.

You heard on "NEW DAY" that the New England Patriots' tight end Aaron Hernandez was seen in handcuffs getting into a police cruiser. We do not know if Aaron Hernandez has been charged, but police have been investigating his possible involvement with the murder of a close friend of Aaron Hernandez. A guy whose body was found just a mile away from his home in Massachusetts.

Susan Candiotti is in Massachusetts.

Tell us what you know, Susan.

I'm sorry, let's go to Sunny Hostin. Susan is in transit. When we get Susan, we'll get her back on the phone. But let's go to Sunny Hostin, our CNN legal analyst.

So police finally moved in. They arrested Aaron Hernandez. We don't know if he's been charged with anything, but the guess is maybe obstruction of justice, maybe something more? What do you think?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (via phone): Yes, we don't know. I mean, there's no question that there must be an arrest warrant. There's no way that you can lead someone away in handcuffs from their home, especially, without an arrest warrant. And so we know that a judge had looked at whatever evidence law enforcement has and had made the determination that he can be arrested on some sort of charge.

This is the very beginning, of course, of a case. So we don't know much but there were those reports, sort of floating around that it could be an obstruction of justice charge which would be -- which would stem from the allegations that he destroyed his cell phone, that he destroyed his surveillance system.

And we have seen that several search warrants have been executed at his home. And again, I want to make it clear that it takes quite a bit of probable cause of evidence to have a judge go forward and allow law enforcement -- a search warrant of someone's home. I mean, a home is where you expect --

COSTELLO: Sunny -- did we -- I think we lost Sunny Hostin, did we? All right, so let me tell you what we know once again. The New England Patriots' tight end Aaron Hernandez taken away in handcuffs by police. Taken from his Massachusetts home. A photo journalist of CNN saw Hernandez getting into the car in cuffs.

We do have Susan Candiotti on the line.

Susan, do we know why police have taken Hernandez into custody?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): We don't know, Carol. No. But of course we have reached out to the district attorney who was in charge of this investigation and said they were being very careful about everything they have been doing thus far, reached out to, of course, police sources, as well as the lawyers representing Aaron Hernandez.

But interesting to hear how this went down in the morning, which is not uncommon. Police entered the front door, according to our photo journalist Rick Hall, and Aaron Hernandez came out, he was in handcuffs, and he was wearing a white T-shirt and shorts. Of course the next step stop would likely be that he would go over to the police department and hear what the charge may be.

If, in fact, he decides to talk with investigators, this is what we've been told. Questioning possibly could take place. That's highly unlikely given the fact that a lawyer hasn't -- representing him and the legal team. However, regardless, from there it's very likely he would have a first court appearance this day and it's possible that there will be discussion, of course, about bail being set.

COSTELLO: Now this comes as kind of a surprise, Susan, because Hernandez's lawyers, one of them, came out just the other day and said that people are making too much of this. Please, don't jump to conclusions. All kinds of humors flying around that just simply are not true.

CANDIOTTI: And, in fact, they also made the point that there have been no arrests warrant issued. Well, that's true. Our law enforcement sources have been telling us, as well, that no law -- no, excuse me, arrest warrant has been issued. Apparently, things have changed within the last -- a little over 24 hours. Of course, we have to find out why he has been taken into custody and get the precise nature of the charge.

There's been all kinds of talk about this. But we wanted to be precise about this and find out what's at stake.

COSTELLO: All right. Susan Candiotti, I know you're still on the case. When you get more information, of course, we'll have you back on the air live.

Susan Candiotti reporting live from Massachusetts.

Now let's head to Washington where it's shaping up to be quite a historic day in the country's emotional debate over same-sex marriage. Starting in just about an hour we expect the Supreme Court to rule on two of the most anticipated cases of the year. At stake, the legality of same-sex marriage and government rights and benefits. The opinions could reshape the future for millions of same-sex couples. Supporters on both sides of this contentious issue are waiting outside of the Supreme Court. You see them there on the steps. And that's where we find CNN's Brian Todd.

Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. A very highly charged atmosphere here today, much different than in previous days. And this is really the reason why. The sense that today is the day. This is the day when the Supreme Court hits its final session today. It's going to rule on the two same-sex marriage cases and this is the real difference that you haven't seen in the previous days earlier this week and last week.

Lines from the steps of the court all the way down the street. This line actually just started to move a little bit.

Our team got here a little after 5:00 in the morning and there were a lot of people here then. So a lot of people stayed overnight just in anticipation trying to get a seat in the court. Limited seating. Not sure if some of these people are going to get in. We have one of the people who's been in line since early this morning, Bobby Saferstein.

Bobby, why did you come from New York -- all the way from New York to be here for this day?

BOBBY SAFERSTEIN, AWAITING SUPREME COURT DECISION: Well, this is such a landmark case and I think it's such a historic, momentous kind of day. I wouldn't want to miss it.

TODD: All right. Bobby, thank you very much. You probably want to get back in line to save your space.


TODD: Good luck. All right.

He's one of many people in line and, Carol, we're going to show you a little bit of the demonstrators. Here's some of the diehards over here that have been here since last week. They've got some banners and signs and flags waving around here. A lot of media gathered around them. The crowd is very highly charged today because, again, they know that this is it. No more rulings after today.

The crowds have been smaller leading up to today. And our photojournalist Mark Makela is going to take you in right in here to the demonstrators. They really hope that one of these rulings is going to come down their way. The predominant -- the numbers really here are in favor of same-sex marriage and of the laws changing in favor of couples in same-sex marriages. That's really the predominant number of protesters here today -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Brian Todd, an exciting day. We expect that decision to come in just about an hour in the 10:00 Eastern hour of NEWSROOM. We'll have special coverage. Wolf Blitzer will be here and, Brian Todd, I'm sure you'll be back. It's just an amazing sight at the U.S. Supreme Court today in Washington, D.C.

Let's head to Florida now where the star witness in the Zimmerman murder trial may take the stand at any time now. I'm talking about Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, the young woman who was talking with Martin on his cell phone just before he was killed.

As you can see, court proceedings have just gotten under way and we understand the judge has also ruled on a motion to allow previous 911 calls to be admitted into evidence.

George Howell is in Florida.

George, tell us more.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, good morning. So right now you see there, Jane (INAUDIBLE). She is on the stand and we're still waiting to learn her relevance to the case as far as being a prosecution witness.

We also now know that Juror B-72 was released for reasons unrelated to this case. We understand that that was one of the male jurors. One of those alternates who was released.

I can tell you yesterday it was a very emotional day in this courtroom. There were images that were very difficult for many people, including the family of Trayvon Martin, and I want to warn you some of the images that you're about to see may be disturbing.


HOWELL (voice-over): It was too much for Tracy Martin and Sabrina Fulton, the parents of Trayvon Martin, had to leave the courtroom. Leaving jurors and the public to see this. The lifeless body of their 17-year-old son. Some images too graphic for TV.

They were shown during the testimony from Sergeant Anthony Raimondo, the second Sanford police officer who arrived at the scene, who tried to perform CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And were you able to get a pulse?


HOWELL: The state also called on police crime scene technician Diane Smith. Jurors saw the evidence she collected by George Zimmerman's handgun, clothing, Skittles and the fruit drink Martin was carrying. Smith told prosecutors she couldn't find any blood on the sidewalk where Zimmerman said the teen slammed his head, but during cross- examination, her answer left room for the defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you were walking down the sidewalk with the flashlight, the idea was to see if there was obvious blood?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was raining.

SMITH: That is correct.

HOWELL: In fact, the defense was able to turn the table on several of the state's witnesses. Like Wendy Dorival, who trained Zimmerman about neighborhood watch guidelines.

WENDY DORIVAL, WITNESS: He seemed like he really wanted to maintain his community to make it better.

HOWELL: Selene Bahadoor told prosecutors she heard what sounded like running from left to right outside her unit the night of the shooting. A detail the defense challenged her on, as it was the first time she offered that version of events publicly on the record. Mark O'Mara further attacked Bahadoor's credibility by showcasing her online behavior.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: Tell me what that says on your Facebook front page right there. Could you read that?

SELENE BAHADOOR, STATE WITNESS: Prosecute the killer of our son, 17- year-old Trayvon Martin. Sign the petition.


HOWELL: Back to a live picture here in Sanford, Florida. And you see Jane (INAUDIBLE) there. Jane, we understand, lived in the neighborhood and prosecutors will obviously ask her about what she heard, what she saw, what she did on the night of February 26th.

Also want to talk about these nonemergency tapes. These phone calls that George Zimmerman made before this alleged crime. The prosecution wanted to get -- wants to get and now will get those tapes admitted as evidence.

And keep in mind, you know, the burden is on them to prove this concept of a depraved mind. That George Zimmerman somehow wanted to. That there was a build-up and he eventually met Trayvon Martin. This was the person who would not get away. That's what they were trying to prove.

And keep in mind the defense is saying when you listen to these 911 -- or the nonemergency tapes, you're hearing the work of a Good Samaritan. Not a person who was frustrated, not a person where there was a build-up and then the result of this fatal shooting.

So, again, Carol, these audiotapes will now be part of evidence. Jurors will hear the tapes. They will hear how George Zimmerman called several times reporting what he described as suspicious people, using the word either black or African-American interchangeably. But all the people in these five audio clips, from what we understand, that's what he was doing, reporting a black male suspects.

COSTELLO: So, in other words, he called into the nonemergency 911 to say, you know, I see another burglar. Somebody else is breaking into these homes. HOWELL: Right.

COSTELLO: And the prosecution is trying to say that there was this rage build-up in George Zimmerman and he was determined to get someone for burglarizing these homes and it resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin.


COSTELLO: All right, George --

HOWELL: That's really the plan. And it seems like, you know, with these audiotapes now admitted as evidence, it is a very important point -- part of the case and also there's one more witness that we expect to hear from. Could hear from this witness today. Witness number nine. This is the girlfriend of Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with him the night of the shooting.

Again, that will be very key for the prosecution and could be very difficult for the defense because what she has to say could very well contradict what George Zimmerman has been saying about what happened that night.

COSTELLO: All right. George Howell, thanks so much.

Of course we'll take you back to Sanford, Florida, once another witness takes the stand. Especially if Trayvon Martin's girlfriend takes the stand.

Thanks, George.

A tearful Paula Deen tells the nation, "I is what I is, and I'm not bad." The celebrity chef Paula Deen in her first TV interview since scandal sent her career into a tailspin. She says she is not a racist.

Here's what she said on the "Today" show.


MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: Are you a racist?

DEEN: No. No I'm not.

LAUER: By birth, by choice, by osmosis, you don't feel you have racist tendencies?



COSTELLO: But at times Paula Deen's interview got quite emotional.

Alina Machado is here to walk us through some of the other stuff that Paula Deen. ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carol. We heard Paula Deen apologize in those online videos that surfaced last week. But this is the first time we hear her answer questions about last month's deposition in which she admitted to using a racial slur, namely the N word.

Now in that same deposition she was asked if using the N word in a joke, was hurtful. She said she could not herself determine what offends another person. Take a look at what she -- she said about that today.


MATT LAUER, NBC'S "TODAY": Do you have any doubt in your mind that African-Americans are offended by the N-word?

PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I don't know, Matt. I have asked myself that so many times because, it's very distressing for me to go into my kitchens, and I hear what these young people are calling each other. It's very, very distressing.

LAUER: You never joined in on that language?

DEEN: No, absolutely not. It's very distressing. It's very distressing for me because I think that for this problem to be worked on, that these young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect for each other. And not throw in that word at each other. It makes my skin crawl.

LAUER: I want to read you something that Columbia Professor John McWhorter wrote for "TIME" magazine's Web site. He is, by the way, African-American.

He wrote, "People of Deen's generation can neither change the past nor completely escape their roots in it, anymore than the rest of us. They can apologize and mean it, as Deen seems to. They also deserve credit for owning up to the past sins as Deen did candidly when she could easily have, shall we say, whitewashed the matter."

Do you ever wish, Paula, that when you raised your hand and swear to tell the truth in that deposition, that you'd fudge the truth? You wouldn't have been the first person who ever lied under oath. Given the fallout you've seen over the last week, do you ever wish you'd fudge the truth?



MACHADO: Now, as you know, the fallout from this has been significant. Two companies, Food Network and Smithfield Foods, have already announced they are dropping Deen. Today, she has spoke about how this has affected her.


DEEN: I am heartbroken. I'm thankful for my partners.

LAUER: Heartbroken, why? For yourself or your family?

DEEN: Heartbroken -- I've had to hold friends in my arms while they sobbed, because they know what's being said about me. It's not true.


MACHADO: Now, Deen also said if there is anyone out there who has never said something that they wish they could take back, that she'd like to meet them. Here's what she said next.


DEEN: I is what I is and I'm not changing. And there's someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and they wanted it.


MACHADO: Now, that appears to be a reference to the person who filed the civil lawsuit that started all of this. That person, a former employee at a restaurant Deen co-owns with her brother is suing Deen and others alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment and, Carol, that lawsuit, as you well know, is still ongoing.

COSTELLO: I can just imagine that interview on "Today" show will replay over and over again on television shows across the nation, and I guess it will be up to people to decide whether to forgive Paula Deen or not.

By the way, she never really said I'm sorry, but she said she did regret using the N-word. But she didn't say she was sorry about anything else.

MACHADO: I didn't hear her apologize the way she apologized in those videos that surfaced online last week. That is an interesting point to make.

COSTELLO: All right. Alina Machado, thank you so much.

An epic 10-hour long filibuster in a controversial abortion bill in Texas dies. That bill, if it had become law, would have banned abortions after 20 weeks.

Listen to the chaos on the Texas state Senate floor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I could have order, we will suspend the roll call vote until we can get order in the chamber.


COSTELLO: An insane sight.

Republican Governor Rick Perry said he might call for a special session to try to get that abortion bill through the state senate. Here's Nick Valencia with a look at that dramatic night.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chanting in the middle of the night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will suspend the roll call vote until we can get order.

VALENCIA: Chaos on the Texas Senate floor.

WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: I am in town to speak for an extended period of time on the bill.

VALENCIA: Democrat, Wendy Davis, took the Senate floor at 11:18 in the morning. The goal: filibuster for some 13 hours until midnight when the special session of the legislation would expire. The focus: a politically charged measure that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of presidency and impose very strict standards on abortion clinics and the doctors who work at them. Critics say it would close nearly every abortion clinic in the state.

Protesters on both sides of the debate filled the halls. Hour after hour, Davis spoke and spoke under strict rules of order. Three violations and the filibuster would come to an end. One by one, those violations came.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my understanding all questions have to be with regard to the body of the bill.

VALENCIA: She was cited for straying off topic. Strike two, a fellow senator helping her with a back brace. Then, after nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor.

DAVIS: I'm going through this bill analysis, because I have something to say.

VALENCIA: The filibuster was over. The drama was not. Democrats tried to run out the clock with procedural questions and the visitor's gallery erupted.

Then, Republicans gathered at the front of the chamber and started to vote on the abortion bill.

But the roll call took place just after midnight. Democrats challenged the results saying they did not participate in the vote and it came too late.

Each side claimed victory until several hours later at about 3:00 a.m. local time, the lieutenant governor took the floor one last time to announce the bill had failed and the legislative session was officially over.


COSTELLO: Nick Valencia is here now. Number one, this is quite unusual for abortion rights protest to turn out in such force.

And, number two, it wasn't just this Texas legislature that was standing and filibustering, but the crowd of people in the gallery that helped push this bill off the table.

VALENCIA: And both Republicans and Democrats are pointing to that noise, that loud noise in the final moments before the vote took place as the reason why it didn't pass and didn't make the deadline, I should say, didn't make the deadline.

But she had to do this, Carol, with no food, no water and couldn't sit down and couldn't lean against anything and incredibly grueling circumstances, physically grueling circumstances. And she also had to stay on topic for more than 10 hours. This isn't like a filibuster that we see in Washington that you can read out of a phone book or perhaps an encyclopedia.

I mean, she had to stay on topic. In the end, she got called out on technicalities and was removed from the floor and her filibuster for all intents and purposes --

COSTELLO: It worked.

VALENCIA: -- was successful. It worked, yes.

COSTELLO: And the significance of this, if that bill had passed and it became law in Texas, it would have closed down most abortion clinics in the state of Texas.

VALENCIA: That's right. And Governor Perry still has the final authority to say whether he wants to call a special session and this could start from scratch all over again.

COSTELLO: Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

VALENCIA: You bet.

COSTELLO: Just ahead in THE NEWSROOM: we'll have much more on the Zimmerman trial, including two big decisions made just moments ago by the judge.

We're back after a break.


COSTELLO: All right. Take you live inside that Sanford, Florida, courtroom where George Zimmerman is on trial for murder.

On the stand now is a neighbor named Jane Surdyka. She is telling the court what she winced the night Trayvon Martin was killed. She is describing what happened after the shot rang out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin, did you know him before at all?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know Mr. Zimmerman at all before that night?



And you end up calling, actually, having contact or communicating with an operator at 911, is that correct?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want it show you some photographs and hopefully you'll be able to see it from that vantage point. Please, let me know if you can't. Thank you, your honor.

Do you see that exhibit right there in front of you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Do you live, I'm going to kind of point -- well, I don't know if I'll do a good job of this. But kind of blow it up. Are you in this area right here, are you, is this the apartments where you were at or the townhouse you were at back in February of 2012.

SURDYKA: If that's where the courtyard is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, assuming this the courtyard to you here --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your vantage point would have been from where the arrow is towards this area right here?



When you mentioned that the person you know as Mr. Zimmerman or you describe him as a boy, where were they in relation to where the arrow is, were they, I'm sorry a -- when they were on the ground, were they in this area over here or where were they?

SURDYKA: I see it somewhere between the first and second porch to the right within that area.


Let me go down to, I'm sorry, next exhibit I want to show you is state's exhibit number four. This is -- this is not your view, correct? This is just the street level view. You understand that? This exhibit doesn't show your view?

SURDYKA: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to make sure the record is clear on that. State's exhibit number five. Is this your view or is this the street level view?

SURDYKA: No, I -- that's where the sidewalk was. The dog thing is right there where I was looking. That's the porch where I saw Mr. Zimmerman standing in front.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, right here in front --

SURDYKA: Right around there and there was a little tree there and he was standing there. I could see him clear.


State's exhibit number 10. Does that show that tree clear?


UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Now, in state's exhibit number 10. Would your residence have been back here up in the top of, obviously, the bedroom you were looking up here?

SURDYKA: Yes, that's what I saw (ph).


State's exhibit 38, obviously, as a daytime photograph, but, obviously, it's a date time photograph, but and -- obviously it's from the ground level. But is this the court yard that you were talking about in terms of where you observed what was going on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State's exhibit 41. Does this show part of your residence here, in other words, your vantage point looking towards the courtyard I'm pointing to right now?

SURDYKA: Right. You can see the chair next to the white fence and that's where my place is.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That would have been to your vantage point right there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And for the record, I have shown you state's exhibit 41 and you're talking about a window all the way up to the right hand side of that photograph, is that correct?

SURDYKA: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your vantage point in terms of looking down would have been towards the -- I'm doing an arrow here, towards the courtyard, is that correct?