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Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Claim Victory; Aaron Hernandez Charged With First Degree Murder; Trayvon Martin's Friend Takes Stand

Aired June 26, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, the Supreme Court rules on gay marriage. So is this issue over, over, over for America?

Plus NFL star Aaron Hernandez arrested. Why prosecutors say he killed his friend.

And Paula Deen cries. And cries. Will tears save her career after she used the "N" word?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, victory and defeat, two crucial rulings from the Supreme Court today on gay marriage. The court decided that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the exact same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples. That's the first one.

The court secondly also dismissed California's Proposition 8 appeal. What that does is clear the way for same-sex couples to get married in the state of California. But it wasn't an absolute victory for gay rights advocates because the high court declined to do something very important and that is to make a sweeping statement on the broader issue of same-sex marriage rights nationwide where 30 states that have their own rules, right so in those states who still can't get married.

So this was far from a blanket all of a sudden everything is fine in America if you support gay marriage. Supporters though were quick to applaud the court.


DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY FOR PROP 8 PLAINTIFFS: The United States Supreme Court in two important decisions brings us that much closer to true equality.

PAUL KATIMI, PROP 8 PLAINTIFF: Today, I finally get to look at the man that I love and finally say, will you please marry me?


BURNETT: The decenters though were just as vocal.


REP. TIM HUELSKAMP (R), KANSAS: This court has taken upon itself the attempt to redefine marriage.

REV. ROB SCHENCK, EVANGELICAL CHURCH ALLIANCE: The Supreme Court has no authority when it comes to the nature of marriage. That authority belongs to the creator.


BURNETT: So what do these rulings really mean for the gay community and this country? OUTFRONT tonight, Dustin Lance Black who won the Academy Award for best original screenplay for the movie "Milk," which is the story of California's first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, and Joel Burns, an openly gay member of the Fort Worth City Council whose video speech to gay teens three years ago went viral receiving millions of hits on the Internet making it one of the most watched videos of the "It Gets Better" campaign.

Well, thanks so much to both of you. So Justin, you know, in your Oscar acceptance speech you talked about the first time you heard Harvey Milk's story and it was really emotional and you said in part, it gave me hope to live my life. It gave the hope that one day I can live my life openly as who I am and maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. You are part of the board that fought that Prop 8 in California. Today, do you feel huge victory?

DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, WON ACADEMY AWARD FOR "MILK" SCREENPLAY: Yes. My goodness, I get teary just hearing those words again. You know, four years ago, this was a dream and a lot of people were saying it was too soon to take this fight federal. I thought of Harvey Milk who said we can no longer continue to demand crumbs of equality. We had to demand the full thing.

I got a phone call when I was making "Milk" from my big brother out in Virginia and he came out to me. It opened my eyes to the idea of federal equality because I couldn't just win here in California. I needed to make sure my wins here applied to my big brother. I know today we are one step closer to that.

So yes, I feel so jubilant that we have California. It feels so jubilant that we see a path forward to full equality now nationwide. But I also -- it breaks my heart because my big brother who came out to me passed away. You know, he will never know what this day feels like and even if he had been here it wouldn't quite apply to him yet. As jubilant as I am, as thrilled as I am, I know we are not done.

BURNETT: We are not done. Joel, how do you feel? Is jubilant a fair word to describe how you feel today? Obviously you live in a state one of the 38 that still it is illegal to be married and a same-sex couple?

JOEL BURNS, FORT WORTH CITY COUNCILMAN: That's true. I feel much the same way. It is jubilant and something to celebrate that we have overturned these discriminatory laws and that they are no longer in the books in America. There are a lot of things for people to get out of it besides what I get out of it personally, the fact I can potentially file for the first time in the 20 years I've been a joint income tax next year with my husband. I am in a state that doesn't recognize marriage equality.

BURNETT: I got to say, Joel, I only have to interrupt you for a quick second that to say you are the first person I have ever heard excited about filing tax returns. That should say how meaningful this is. Go ahead.

BURNS: It gives me more justification to make him file the taxes for me. It is not only do we get these personal things, but there's also these stories of youth, the 14-year-old in Texas of today that is 30 years younger than me that 30 years ago, when I was in Crowley growing up, I never saw an avenue to have the life that I have today with my husband. And there is an 14-year-old in Crowley, Texas and small towns all over the 37 states that do not have marriage equality that have a lot more hope in their future because of the Supreme Court rulings that came down.

BURNETT: They do. They have a lot more hope. Let me ask you, Dustin, because the views in this country have changed. And I guess when you look at the scope of history the speed with which views in this country have changed on this issue seems to be lightning speed, right. In 1978, 53 percent of Americans felt that homosexual relationships between consenting adults was morally wrong. Now that number is 44 percent. That is a huge drop in a few decades, but 44 percent is also still a high number. I mean, what are young people still going to be fighting against?

BLACK: Well, misinformation, lies, stereotypes that are very, very outdated. This has been a civil rights movement based on storytelling. It's been based on coming out. A lot of people for many, many decades have been brave enough to come out and to tell their stories. It is really the only way that connection one-on-one storytelling and sharing that dispel all those lies and myths.

Things that people are told from the pulpit are, even by their own government in many states that really injure the soul, the self-esteem of these young people. We have been moving quickly because we have learned to tell our stories and we have been brave enough to do it. That number tells me we need to be telling our stories in the south.

We need to be telling the stories in the 30 plus states that don't have equality yet. It is a call to action to say, get busy, guys, get brave, and come out at work. Come out at your church and tell your story and bring your loved one to your Christmas party. Put a real face to this thing we call LGBT equality and that will change minds. If you change minds you can change communities in the most conservative states and we can get equality in all 50 soon I think.

BURNETT: Joel, it may also change how afraid and bullied and alone some people feel. I want to play a little of that video of when you came out and you talked to all of these teens in a state and city council in Fort Worth where people thought you would never do what you did but you did. I want to play a clip of it.


BLACK: To those who are feeling very alone tonight please know that I understand how you feel, that things will get easier. Please stick around to make those happy memories for yourself. It may not seem like it tonight but they will. And the attitudes of society will change. Please live long enough to be there to see it.


BURNETT: Joel, it seems like there was like a lifetime of emotion and hurt there in what you said.

BURNS: Well, as I mentioned there will be changes in society's attitudes and those are happening very quickly. Tonight is certainly a night to celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work for the 37 states where we don't have marriage equality and keep fighting the good fight.

BURNETT: All right, Justin and Joel, thank you very much. We appreciate them taking the time. Obviously you heard how they felt. Battle still to be fought, but jubilant the word to describe how they feel today.

Still to come, an NFL star arrested for murder. Police say Aaron Hernandez orchestrated the execution of his friend.

Plus, the very latest from the Ariel Castro trial, here's the big question. Is he going to be fit to stand trial?

And then emotional testimony at George Zimmerman's trial today, the woman who actually on the phone, the girl with Trayvon Martin when he was killed tells her story of what happened in that call.

A major surprise for a group of kids at the zoo, I will show you the reaction.


BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, Aaron Hernandez charged with murder. The now former Patriots tight end, who was dropped from the team shortly after his arrest this morning is being held without bail for, quote, "orchestrating the execution of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd." The local semi-pro football player was a known acquaintance of Hernandez. Prosecutors say the two were seen together on surveillance video hours before Lloyd was murdered.

Susan Candiotti is OUTFRONT. Susan, obviously, it took them a couple of days to get to this point. They had searched Hernandez's home a couple of times and not chosen to go ahead with an arrest. They went with that today. What are some of the details you learned today?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Erin. It took more than almost nine days for prosecutors to get these charges together and show up on his door step just before 9:00 this morning to put hand cuffs on him and led him out wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

So what we learned in court today was more about what kind of evidence they have. For example, they talked about the two men getting together on surveillance video, being seen on surveillance video before the murder took place. And they claim that Aaron Hernandez is seen on videotape near where his victim lived and his sister also saw him get into the car.

In fact, they also said that the victim in this case sent a text to his sister saying do you see who I'm with, NFL just so you know. And then after that authorities say that the two men were driven and possibly more in the car were driven to an industrial area less than a mile from Aaron Hernandez's home. That is when the men got out of the car and prosecutors that is when Lloyd was shot. Here's what he said in court.


BILL MCCAULEY, FIRST ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The evidence will show the defendant had the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perpetrate the crime. He orchestrated the crime from the beginning and took steps to destroy and conceal evidence, and prevent the police from speaking to what would at least be deemed an important witness. There are strong evidence against him.


CANDIOTTI: In fact, some of the things that they also found were shell casings from a .45-caliber weapon. Erin, it appears they have not yet found the murder weapon because they kept referring to it in court as the unknown murder weapon. They have as I said found those shell casings. They also found them in a rental car that was registered to Aaron Hernandez.

They found the keys to that rental car on the person of the victim that was killed in this case, Odin Lloyd. So the prosecutors insist that they have a very strong case. The defense on the other hand calls it circumstantial.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Susan. Certainly a bizarre case developed very quickly and changed a lot.

Now I want to move on to Ariel Castro because a mental evaluation has been ordered for him. Ariel Castro, of course, is the man who allegedly held three women captive in his Ohio home for more than a decade. Although obviously he's pled guilty to most of that - pleaded guilty.

As the defendant sat in court today, Judge Michael Russo said he wanted to make sure Castro was competent to stand trial. That's the crucial thing here. Ariel Castro is 52 years old. He's pleaded not guilty to more than 300 counts, which include rape and kidnapping as well as two counts of aggravated murder, although they had indicated -- his team that they would go ahead and make a plea deal if the other side would go just ahead and remove the counts that would cause the death penalty, i.e. murdering the fetus. Prosecutors allege he forcibly terminated the pregnancies of one of the three women he kidnapped.

OUTFRONT tonight, forensic psychologist Jeff Gardere. Now Jeff, obviously, this is a crucial question here, right? Because they are saying we'll make a plea if you take some of those charges off the table. But they are going to have a psychiatric evaluation that's going to be performed tomorrow. It's going to take a week, we understand, to get the results back.

What does this kind of evaluation entail, and how could this change what he could be considered competent for stand trial for?

JEFF GARDERE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, this competence evaluation is going to be certainly a mental illness competency eval. They are going to look at whether there is IQ issues. They are going to look at neurpsychological testing to make sure that there are no organic disorders. They're going to look at psychopathology and mental status. And the most important thing that they're going to look at, Erin, is whether he is malingering. In other words, whether he will be feigning or trying to feign mental illness.

BURNETT: And what -- given what we already know, what we have reported -- and I know you were here night by night as this utterly incomprehensible story was developing, Jeff, do you think he will be found competent? Is there any way he could try to use his mental state of mind to get around this?

GARDERE: No, I think he will be found competent because we have to look at the past. This is a person allegedly who committed these crimes. He has pled guilty - or will plead guilty to some of them. Certainly he had the wherewithal to be able to hide this crime for many, many years. So therefore, I do believe he will be found competent. He will understand the charges being filed against him, and certainly he will be able to help in his own defense.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Jeff Gardere.

Still to come, will he stay or will he go? NSA leaker Edward Snowden remains in Russia. But his window to freedom could be closing.

Plus, an American teenager admits to aiding al Qaeda. How much time would he serve - or will he serve -- should he serve -- for attempting to work for America's enemies?

And Paula Deen's emotional response to the controversy she created. Were tears enough to save her career?


BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT: Snowden rejected? Apparently he is becoming a global hot potato, and nobody really wants him. But the U.S. still can't get a grip on him. It is the stuff of movies, but yes, this is real life.

So as far as we know right now, the NSA leaker is still hiding out in the main Moscow airport in the transit area between arrival gates and passport checkpoints. But Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has said he wants Snowden to go sooner rather than later. Ecuador said it would consider Snowden's request for asylum, but so far there's been no decision there. And a Spanish lawyer who has worked with Wikileaks founders Julian Assange and his global battle, well, he says he doesn't want to aid Snowden - add Snowden to his client roster.

So, there is the global hot potato. You are looking at him. Who is going to help Snowden? Jim Boulden is at the Moscow airport tonight. So Jim, what does Snowden do now? Presumably he is still there where you are in some limbo between arrivals and departures?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We think he might still be here. I mean, we got here via (ph) visa, but you have to fly back out of this country in order to go somewhere else. You can't just leave the airport. So, if he is still here in some VIP lounge or maybe in a hotel, then he waiting for another flight. We are waiting to see if in a few hours if he takes that flight to, say, Cuba, as we thought he might a few days ago, Erin. But no word yet whether the Russians have decided what to do with him. But you do get the feeling being here that they would like to see this problem over with themselves, Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly starting to get that feeling. You know, Jim, we are also hearing more about some of Snowden's past online activities, which seem to be highly relevant to what is happening right now. What have you learned?

BOULDEN: You know, a few years ago the Web site (INAUDIBLE) Technia (ph) said he posted an online on their Web site regarding what happened in 2009 when "The New York Times" was quoting leaks about cyber attacks on Iran. And they say that Snowden said and quote, "Who the f are the anonymous sources telling them this? Those people should be shot in the balls." That was something that Snowden posted in 2009 according to that Web site. Obviously his views on this has changed greatly in the past few years, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes, and I guess some would say they've changed greatly; others would say he is a hypocrite. And that is where the tension is over Edward Snowden. All right, thanks to Jim.

And now, still to come, emotional testimony at the George Zimmerman trial today. Today was a fascinating day because the woman - the girlfriend, the friend of Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with him when he died, part of that last conversation in his life took the stand.

Plus Paula Deen's emotional response to her critics: enough to save her career?

And America's dirtiest beaches. Sorry to be a downer, people, but you know what? We view it as our public duty to make sure you are safe before you hit the beach on July 4th. We'll be back.

And tonight's "Shout Out." Don't mess with gorillas. So look at this gorilla. A group of kids went to the Dallas zoo and they visited to gorilla habitat. Now fortunately for them, there was a gorilla right next to the glass. And so, what did the gorilla do? Well, the gorilla was being pleasant and they were taunting them and being nasty. Tonight's "Shout Out" goes to the gorilla for teaching the kids a lesson they will not soon forget.


BURNETT: That's right, guys.


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories where we focus on our reporting from the front lines.

So tonight, we want to begin in South Africa. An official briefed on the condition of Nelson Mandela says he is on life support tonight. South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, visited Mandela today and was told by doctors they are doing everything they can. The 94-year-old antiapartheid icon has been hospitalize since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. South Africans, though, expect the worse. It's a matter of timing. And one man said when it is his time, "We wish his soul could rest. He spent so long in jail and struggling."

OUTFRONT learned an 18-year-old American citizen has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to an al Qaeda affiliate. Authorities say Long Island resident Justin Kaliebe tried to travel to Yemen in January to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He was arrested, though, at JFK Airport in New York. In recorded conversations with undercover investigators, Kaliebe allegedly quoted al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, saying he was saving money to go to Yemen and fight jihad. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Well, the IRS can't catch a break. A new watch dog report that shows the agency wasn't keeping an eye on employees with business credit cards.

Well, here's a shocker: we know that it's common to go out and you wine and dine company guests, whomever they might be for the IRS. But in one instance at the IRS, employees ordered more than 28 bottles of wine for 41 guests. Wow. That's positively Wall Street people, spending more than $50,000 on them in a week.

Other improprieties: two employees may have tried to buy porn. Shocker.

And a woman spent more than $2,500 on diet pills, romance novels, steaks and baby bottles.

It has been 690 days since America lost its top credit ratings. What are we doing to get it back? Well, today, it was a bad news about the economy, growing slower than expected, 1.8 percent in the first quarter. Originally, it had been estimated at 2.4. So, way better.

We have been telling you how it is lately. The markets don't want the economy to grow that quickly because that means Ben Bernanke will take out the free money. So, slower economy means more free money and that's why the markets went up.

And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: a tense day of testimony in George Zimmerman's murder trial.

The prosecution star witness took the stand. Her name is Rachel Jeantel. And she was Trayvon Martin's friend. She told the jury she was on the phone with him when Zimmerman approached the teen.


RACHEL JEANTEL, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FRIEND: He said, "Why are you following me for?" And I heard a hard-breathing man come and say, "What are you doing around here?"


BURNETT: Martin Savidge is in Sanford, Florida, again for us tonight.

And, Martin, obviously, everybody was watching her. She was the person who was speaking to Trayvon Martin the last moment he was alive and as he died. What else did she say?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I have to say, Erin, from a totally non-legal perspective it was one of the most remarkable testimonies I have ever seen. And there is a lot you can talk about.

Let's talk about the specifics you mentioned. On top of saying that she claims that it was George Zimmerman, she could hear being the aggressor, she then later says that she can hear Trayvon saying, "Get off, get off." That would clearly imply it moved beyond George Zimmerman confronting the teen to now apparently assaulting the team, perhaps even on top of the teen which would fly in the face of the whole self-defense argument that the Zimmerman team has put forward.

And then, on top of that, she has also said previously and on the stand that the voice. The 911 call, the screaming that was heard in the background, who was screaming, well, she talks to Trayvon, did talk to him all the time and she says it was Trayvon. She recognizes the voice.

So, her testimony has been very damaging to the defense. However, there's been some inconsistencies and that's what the defense is going to continue to go after.

BURNETT: Yes, and we are going to talk about a lot of those, because as you point out, there are a lot of serious ones when it comes to Rachel Jeantel's story.

What about the Martin family, though? When you say this was obviously good for this side of this. Did they have reaction? They must have been thrilled when they heard her speaking. Was that visible on their faces or not?

SAVIDGE: No, well, not thrill by any means. You look over at the Sybrina and you look over at Tracy, and they were in tears, because there were times that this young lady told a very -- she has a burden on her. You can tell that. She is the last person to talk to their son. And, you know, she carries that burden.

So she is saying she couldn't go to his funeral. She lied and said she was in the hospital. She said she couldn't go to his funeral because it was too much for her. You saw the parents of Trayvon Martin starting to break down. That struck a cord with them. However interestingly it seems they were the only ones affected.

BURNETT: That's fascinating. Well, we are going to be talking to Martin family attorneys about the inconsistency when Rachel had said she was at the funeral and turns out she wasn't there. And the reason she gave for that.

One controversial point about that star witness, Rachel Jeantel, came out before she took the stand. And it actually has to do with what she wrote on Facebook and Twitter.

And David Mattingly was OUTFRONT with that part of the story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weeks before she took the stand, Trayvon Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel, was already making statements. The 19 year old was on Facebook and Twitter, showing off her fresh manicure for court and a last drink before a tough week ahead.

Three months ago, she seemed to be tweeting on the case, "Remember who caused the funeral to happen." The tweet was deleted. But just over a week ago she seems to tweet again about her pending testimony. "Deal with the bull," come with it.

Jeantel was on the phone with Martin last year when he encountered George Zimmerman. Her credibility is vital to the prosecution's case and it's under attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lied to her and said you were 16?


MATTINGLY: The online comments haven't been an issue in court so far. But more than just the defendant, witnesses, even jurors are being checked for digital fingerprints.

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's not unusual with just a little bit of discovery and a little bit of footwork, lawyers and police alike are finding out treasure-troves of information about people on their social media accounts.

MATTINGLY: And the defense has already used it. Mark O'Mara challenged this witness about a pro Trayvon Martin comment on Facebook.

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tell me what that says on your Facebook front page right there?

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

MATTINGLY: And a week earlier, the judge raised questions about posts from a potential juror.

JUDGE: Did you post something on March 21st, 2012 under the coffee party progressives?

MATTINGLY: That man was dismissed.

KAREN NORTH, USC PROFESSOR, SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPERT: One thing to keep in mind is that our private activities online in digital media are public.

MATTINGLY: USC professor and social networking expert Karen North says this could be just the beginning. High profile trials broadcast in real time on the Web are a source of instant feedback to attorneys.

NORTH: They can make decisions to tweak their prosecution or their defense to try to take advantage of what they are learning from this online discussion.

MATTINGLY: In this case, George Zimmerman's defense team actively monitors multiple Twitter hashtags. But we are told those comments have no direct effect on what we see them doing in court. The court however isn't taking those chances with the jury.

JUDGE: Did any of you read or create any e-mails, text messages, Twitters, tweets, blogs or social networking pages about the case?


BURNETT: And, David, it was just amazing, social media and the role it plays. When you're talking about what she said. But then she was on the stand today. I mean, every single thing she did, everything about her personal appearance, was completely dissected, right?

MATTINGLY: Right. And there was a lot of reactions to her reactions. They were spontaneous, something we normally don't see on the stand. So, there was a lot to be said.

The question now here is what will attorneys on both sides learn from this today? And remember, the most important focus group they have are those six jurors sitting right there in front of them. She's going to be back on the stand tomorrow. And you can bet, the attorneys are going to be tweaking their game based on the reaction that they have been seeing.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, David Mattingly. And as he said, attorneys are going to be tweaking and so much resting on Rachel Jeantel. She was supposed to be the state's star witness. Today, the defense did try to question her credibility and she was at times a bit nervous and confused.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he did instead was turn to George Zimmerman and said, "Why are you following me?"


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the first thing you heard, wasn't it? JEANTEL: I had closed the door. I had (INAUDIBLE) closed the door, and I said (ph) Trayvon, yes, what are you following me? You're right.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family.

And, Natalie, you know, obviously, you could hear, I want to talk about one of the contradictions, the crucial ones in the moment.

But, first, how did Rachel perform? What do you learn from this? I mean, yes, she was there giving her side of things. She was at times mumbling, difficult to understand, appeared a little confused.

All in, was this a win for you?

NATALIE JACKSON, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: I mean, the questions have, two-part question, how did she perform? Just from an emotional standpoint, I think if you are evaluating that she didn't do well.

But how did she perform as far as her testimony? It was consistent with what she said before. The only thing the defense can impeach her on was to inconsistencies with her going to the hospital and about her age. Her story has remained consist and we didn't see the defense touch that today.

BURNETT: All right. And that's key, and I got to say, and an honest evaluation there from Natalie Jackson.

But, Natalie, let's talk about that inconsistency because I do want to ask you about it. We talked about it before. Rachael lied under oath about her whereabouts during Trayvon Martin's family. She originally said she was in the hospital. We later learned that was a lie. She was not in the hospital. And today, when they asked her why she lied, she said she didn't want to see the body because she just talked to him, I guess it was hard for her was the implication.

But why should the jury trust her now after a lie as significant as attending his funeral?

JACKSON: Well, I think that if you're asking me personally, why should the jury trust her, because it has nothing to do with the prima facie case. But, you know, a jury, they are going to be instructed that they can take what they want from her testimony. They can discount it totally or take bits and pieces of it.

Here, I think she gave a great explanation about why she lied. She said that she didn't want to face Sybrina Fulton. And she said that it was heavy on her heart and she didn't want to see his dead body.

This girl was 19 years old. She has been harassed for a year and a half by people who don't know her. She has been called everything but a child of God.

So, you know, she is 19. No she didn't testify the way that we would have liked her to. But she was real and she was honest.

BURNETT: All right. And one other thing I want to ask you before we move on from her to something George Zimmerman said that I thought could have been really problematic, was Rachel was agitated, especially during cross examination. And that time, she said Trayvon had used a racial slur to describe George Zimmerman to her.

Now, you just pointed out, the jury can take some parts of her testimony, none or all. But are you concerned about that specific moment when she said Trayvon used the racial slur himself?

JACKSON: Well, honestly, I was when I heard the first racial slur but when I heard the second one, she said -- she characterized Zimmerman with two different opposing racial slurs. I'll say (ph) she used a C- word and an N-word, which let know for Trayvon using these words, he was categorizing either both of those words in a term it was somebody he didn't like, this creepy guy.

So, you know, the jury is going to take all of that into consideration. I don't know what they are going to do with it. When I say she is honest, she was honest. When she was asked if she lied about going to the hospital, she said yes.

BURNETT: All right. Let me ask you now about something George Zimmerman did. He had made nonemergency 911 calls to police before this night. And, obviously, this could be seen in a couple of ways. It could be seen as an overzealous guy who was trigger happy or a guy who was trying to do his best, an upstanding citizen.

I wanted to play one of the calls from August 3rd, 2011 for you, Natalie.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: My neighborhood got burglarized or robbed today, and my wife saw one of the kids that did it. And we see someone that matches the description in the neighborhood right now again.


BURNETT: Stand up community watchman or overzealous trigger happy watchman?

JACKSON: I will tell you -- there is a difference between being vigilant neighbor and a vigilante. And here, clearly, Trayvon was doing nothing wrong. He was talking on the phone. We have testimony and phone records when all -- and he was killed.

This case would not be hard, if the roles were reversed and there was someone, there was a black neighborhood watch guy who killed a 17- year-old teenager, no one would say this was a hard case.

BURNETT: All right. Natalie Jackson, thank you. It's always good to talk to you and I appreciate your time tonight.

Still to come, Paula Deen's tearful response to her critics. Will her tears save her career?

And America's young people flocking to an unexpected but yet amazingly wonderful place. And we're going to tell you where they're going.


BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, Paula Deen on the offense. The celebrity chef opened up this morning about the racial slur scandal that's threatening to end her career as a celebrity chef.

And speaking to NBC, Deen insisted she has only used the N-word once in her life. All right. I'm telling you what she said, people, and that was years ago.

She also took on her critics, saying she made a mistake.


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: If there is anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you are out there please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me, please, I want to meet you. I want to meet you. I is what I is and I'm not changing.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, two of the new hosts of CNN's "CROSSFIRE", which is returning this fall, S.E. Cupp, a conservative columnist and commentator, and Van Jones, a former Obama White House official. And we are so excited for both of you, big fans of both of you on this show and obviously this entire network.

So welcome.

So, S.E., you are sitting with me so you get to go first. You are the woman. That's the way it works on this program.

So, Deen obviously trying to save her career, S.E. No question about it. Walmart and Caesar's Entertainment have dropped her. Food Network obviously decided not to renewing her contract. Smithfield Foods dropped her endorsement. QVC says it's weighing options. Anybody would be crying in that situation.

Was that real? Did you buy that?

S.E. CUPP, HOST OF CNN'S CROSSFIRE: I don't know if it is real. I am reluctant to judge the authenticity of these people because I know they're very well-rehearsed. They're entertainers. She's got people around her.

I don't think she's doing this right. Frankly, I think she's been too conciliatory throughout this.

You make an apology. It's heartfelt. You said it was 30 years ago. You apologized for it. And you never talk about it again. But being so open and so emotional about it I think has led to this onslaught, it's open her up to this onslaught of politically correct, morally self righteous indignation that has poured out her way.

John McWhorter had a great piece in "TIME". He's an English professor at Columbia, black, by the way. And he said, look, Paula Deen is old and Paula Deen is sorry. She should get her job back. If I were Paula Deen that's exactly what I'd say. I'm old and I'm sorry. I should get my job back.

BURNETT: Van, what do you say? She said she only used the N-word once during a robbery, as S.E. said, 30 years ago. But there was the incident in 2007 where she allegedly was talking about wanting an all- black wait staff at her brother's wedding which doesn't seem to be addressed.

But here's what she said about her use of the N-word, Van.


DEEN: The day I used that word, it was a world ago. It was 30 years ago. I had had a gun put to my head, a shaking gun, because the man that had the gun to my head unbeknowing to me was my customer at the main office.


BURNETT: Van, do you buy it?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOSUE OFFICIAL: Well, let me say I believe anybody can be forgiven for anything.


JONES: I believe in second chances. I have had second chances in my life. I work with people in prison who turned their lives around and are more upstanding citizens and people I went to law school with. So, I believe anybody can be forgiven for anything.

But in order to be forgiven for a mistake, you have to know you made one. And I think the problem is when you put these interviews together, you know, she's all over the place. She's not gotten good counsel, obviously, but I think it's going to be very hard for people to believe anything that she has to say in terms of the sincerity of it when at first she says, I don't know if using the N-word might have been black people. That's just not credible.

So, I think we are in age because there is so many social media, everybody is going to have those blooper moments. I've had mine. But I think you've got to actually be able to say, I've actually learned something through this and I don't think that she's convinced anybody she's learned anything.

BURNETT: Right, which is an interesting point. She's right, everybody has said something that's awful or offensive --


JONES: Everybody has --

CUPP: He who is without sin cast the first stone, that was her point.

But to Van's point, she's not been disciplined and deliberate enough about this. And that's what I was trying to say. Shorter, to the point, "I'm sorry, it was wrong, I mean it." And then go away, stop talking about it. It's not helping.

BURNETT: Van, you were talking about forgiveness and how you'd extend it to anyone.

So let me talk about somebody else aside from Paula Deen who's asking for forgiveness. His name would be Anthony Weiner.

CUPP: No, no, no.

BURNETT: Yes, all right. Let me --

JONES: Why not? Why won't you forgive him? He didn't do it to you. You're not married to him, why do you care?

CUPP: Because I'm -- at least for a few more days, a New Yorker. I don't believe -- I don't know why we constantly do this.

BURNETT: And he might be your mayor.

CUPP: Well, he won't. Luckily, I'm moving to D.C. for the new "CROSSFIRE" show, which couldn't come at a better time because frankly New York and Anthony Weiner deserve each other.



CUPP: I don't know why you constantly do this, rewarding bad behavior. We're not just giving him another shot. We're giving him the ultimate other shot. It's ridiculous.

BURNETT: Van, he is now a topping in the polls, the other two people running. I mean, that's a sign of their weakness or his strength.

JONES: I don't know about S.E. I don't think we have leadership in great abundance in America. We can just throw it in the garbage can over dumb mistake.

S.E. was right early on. She wrote that great piece about how he's too dumb to stay in Congress.

CUPP: Right.

JONES: But, again, do we have so many people willing to serve in public life that we're going to reduce them to their worst, dumbest mistake forever. CUPP: But, .Van, he didn't do anything when he was a congressman. I mean, he's kind of a nothing politician. He didn't have a great reputation.

He only has name ID because he thinks women should swoon over his groin pictures, we're not, we're not --


CUPP: I can forgive him. I won't vote for him and put him in a position of leadership.

JONES: Well, listen, if you don't like what he did in Congress, that's one thing. The guy made a mistake. He had been humiliated in front of the world. His wife forgave him. And they are now moving forward together.

But S.E. Cupp won't forgive him.

CUPP: I'm not.

JONES: I think this is why I'm looking forward to the "CROSSFIRE" show.

CUPP: We do.

JONES: We've got to figure out why some people are so interested in other people's mistakes that they won't even forgive -- a year for penalty box for something like that. Come on.

CUPP: Van, if this were you and you had done what Anthony Weiner did, I'm not saying you ever would, but I don't know you very well yet, if this were you, would you then be so bold and arrogant as to assume, I'm going to go out now and run of mayor of New York City? Come on.

JONES: Well, I wouldn't run for mayor of New York City, anyway. I'm not qualified, A. I don't even live there. But --

CUPP: I'll vote for you before Anthony Weiner, though, I got to tell you that.

JONES: That's scary.


BURNETT: And some might vote for Houma Abedin, his wife, before they vote for Anthony Weiner, the woman behind the man.

JONES: We all vote for her.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it and, of course, a really great welcome to you to CNN.

CUPP: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. Well, every night a few weeks ago we told you about the story state of America's swimming pools and water parks because every night we tell you a story outside the main story. The specific story we told you about as you look at these joyful people was how 58 percent of our public pools contain E. coli bacteria and you know what that is. Tonight, we turn our attention to America's beaches.

The National Resources Defense Council tested the 3,000 American beaches in the 30 states along America's shores and ranked them based on water quality. And unfortunately like the pools in this country, many of them contain bacteria that cause eye infections, vomiting and hepatitis. I know, this is not what you want to hear before vacation. But like I said, it's our public duty to inform you.

Now, you might be heading to the beach of these states and you need this information. The five states with the worst beach water quality are South Carolina, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin and in last place, Ohio, because those land bound lakes get fouled up.

Still, there were pleasant surprises in the report. On average the five states with the cleanest beaches are Delaware, New Hampshire, North Carolina, funny next to South, Hawaii and Alaska.

Now, when you turn your attention to the best five star beaches in the country, the best of the best you'll see something that may surprise you, two beaches on the Gulf Coast in Alabama affected by the BP oil spill in 2010. Two oil spill beaches are still cleaner than almost 3,000 other beaches in America, which says a whole lot about the cleanup efforts in Alabama, but a lot more about the water we're swimming in.

So, as much as I love summer vacation, this summer, I'm sticking to the beach and to the deck and not to the water and never, never, ever hit the water in a water park.

OUTFRONT next, where your children are hanging out. The answer might surprise you.


BURNETT: The Nook is dead, citing poor sales. Barnes & Noble announced this week it won't produce the colored version of its e- reader anymore. Barnes & Noble can't compete with the bigger companies, Apple, Samsung and Amazon.

And as much as I like books, I never cared for e-readers. But if one of them failed, I wanted it to be because people loved printed books and maybe they do. According to the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of 16 to 29 year olds have read a printed book in the past year and it gets better than this.

It's not just books. Young people who live on iPhones also love libraries. Sixty percent of people under 30 go to the library compared to 45 percent of people over 30. Americans over 30 say it's very important for libraries, to have real librarians and books.

So, for now, it appears reports of the printed words' death have luckily been greatly exaggerated,

Anderson Cooper is next.