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Star Prosecution Witness on the Stand in Zimmerman Trial; Aaron Hernandez Investigated in Another Murder Charge; Mandela in Critical but Stable Condition; President Obama Visits Senegal; Paula Deen Loses Sponsors

Aired June 27, 2013 - 12:30   ET




JEANTEL: That's not what I said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't hear her.

JEANTEL: That's not what I said. That's your opinion, sir.

WEST: All right.

JEANTEL: That's what you thought I said.

WEST: On the paragraph where Mr. De La Rionda asked you, did he ever say the guy got out of the car ...

JEANTEL: Keep reading it, sir.

WEST: And I said -- and I -- the transcript says that you said, you want that, too? And you're saying you didn't say that?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: Do you remember what you said instead?

JEANTEL: No, sir, but I did not say that.

WEST: You do specifically remember that when Mr. De La Rionda asked you did he ever say the guy got out of the car, that you did not say in response, you want that, too?

JEANTEL: No, sir. I did not even say, do you want that, too? No, I did not say that, sir.

WEST: OK. Could we play that portion, please? I think we have (inaudible).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sentence only. WEST: Let's just play ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to object to the rest of it. I apologize. (Inaudible).

WEST: Let's play that part first (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Improper impeachment for the manner in which it is being played is my objection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: what is the purpose for it being played, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the jury can hear for themselves whether or not Ms. Jeantel gave the answer that she just denied giving.

She said those were your notes, not hers.

WEST: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what transcript both sides have. I have somebody's transcript, and there is supposedly a difference in the transcripts.

WEST: Mr. De La Rionda's transcript has the witness' response the same way that I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you show me what page it is on because I don't know whose I am looking at.

WEST: Let's just let the jury hear what ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I've asked a question. Could you tell me, first of all, whose transcript do I have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I gave it to you. It is ours. It does not have an answer on it because it was added in earlier. So what you have just has asterisks. It's not going to help you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you please tell me what page?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-thousand-fifteen, Your Honor.

May I approach? (Inaudible).


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: All right I want to bring in our legal analyst Sunny Hostin here who's been watching this.

And, Sunny, I imagine this is important, the transcription and the tape, because they're going to the heart of fact whether or not she is really credible or she's contradicting herself, correct?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's most important because her testimony is so important. She has been very consistent, Suzanne, in saying that from her vantage point, from her ear witness testimony she believes that George Zimmerman was following Trayvon Martin and approached.

Now, George Zimmerman is saying this is self defense, I shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense, but under Florida law if George Zimmerman, in fact, was the initial aggressor, was the person that followed, pursued, approached, then the self-defense claim he has is weakened so tremendously, perhaps just takes it sort of off the table. That is why this defense is going at her in the manner that they are going after her.

But I've got to tell you. I just stepped out of the courtroom to come and speak with you, Suzanne, and this courtroom is with her at this point, yes.

Yesterday she was combative and seemed to be very ill at ease. It doesn't seem that way in the courtroom now. The jurors are leaning forward in their seats. They're hanging on her every word. They seem to be understanding what she's saying, and she again has been very consistent today in terms of what she believed happened.

MALVEAUX: And, Sunny, real quick before we take a break here, is there anything that she said that in the moments before he was shot dead in her testimony here that makes it sound like there is a question in terms of who started the fight and whether or not he was the aggressor?

HOSTIN: Yes, sure, because the defense is saying that -- because of the way that she speaks she isn't the most eloquent person. I think we can all agree on that, that it's unclear as to whether or not she is saying that Trayvon said, get off, get off. And so, again, that goes to who was the initial aggressor, so the defense thinks that this transcript will say something else. But, again, she is on the witness stand and she's saying (inaudible), that's not what I said. I said it was Trayvon Martin.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And, Sunny, contrast her demeanor today to yesterday for those who didn't catch it.

HOSTIN: It's so very different. Yesterday she was very combative. She seemed sort of like a petulant teenager for those viewers that have teenagers at home. She seemed like that, very difficult, a bit rude, combative.

Today she's different, so different that this defense attorney asked her, wow, you seem so different today, what is it? Did you speak to someone? Because I think the notion is perhaps she spoke to the government. Perhaps she spoke to an attorney who said, hey, Rachel, pull it back. Be a little more respectful. But her response to all that was, no, I just got some sleep.

HOLMES: All right, Sunny, thanks so much. Sunny Hostin there. We'll check back in with you later as we continue to monitor this dramatic testimony in the Zimmerman case.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: And welcome back to continuing coverage of the trial of George Zimmerman.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst, also defense attorney, Mark Nejame, who joins us from nearby Orlando. And, Mark, I'm curious your take on this testimony today, both what you've heard, but also the manner in which it's being delivered.

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think she is doing much better today than yesterday. I think the state has challenges with this witness. They have stated from the beginning that she was an essential part of their case, and she was, in large part, a cornerstone of their case, and I think that they've got troubles any time the state has a witness who seems to lack this measure of credibility.

Remember, she's an acknowledged liar. She's admitted that she has been less than truthful on several occasions, but now she is asking everybody to believe her. And one has to ask themselves very simply, is this a witness who you can believe beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt in order to sustain a conviction?

I think that's a challenge, and I think that the state is going to need to modify their strategy a bit and go in a slightly different direction so that when they eventually tell the jury that they want a conviction that they're not going to rely on her as much as they initially hoped to.

MALVEAUX: And, Mark, you say she's admitted lying in the past and she says, why do I need to lie about that, sir, earlier today. Has she lied about the kinds of things, serious things, that would call into question her credibility, or are these small things?

NEJAME: Well, we don't really know that, do we? Here's -- she says that she lied about her age. We know that. We know that she lied under oath about where she was and concerning supposedly being in a hospital. And now we've got different statements laid upon each other, which they're suggesting there are some real discrepancies there.

We don't really know. The issue is, does she have a real clear memory of this? Does she -- is she able to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, and Sunny is in the courtroom and she's observing the jurors, and I think it means a lot because I go back to the Casey Anthony jury.

Most of us really believed that she was going to be convicted, but we weren't there watching the jurors and their faces and their expressions and how they were following, so that does make a big difference. But if they're more engaged today, maybe they are believing, or maybe they're just simply blocked out and now they're listening to her, but they recognize that her testimony is really all not that credible.

I don't think anybody could say that she's a strong witness. I think that the state hopes the best that they can do is salvage her and make her a somewhat credible witness.

HOLMES: All right, Mark, appreciate that. Mark Nejame there, defense attorney, also CNN legal analyst, we'll come back to you later.

Meanwhile, we'll take a short break. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: All right, want to bring you some other news now that's just coming into us.

We have a source in New York from our New York bureau telling us that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now being investigated in connection with a double murder in Boston's South End. This taking place in July of last year, allegedly.

Now the source is telling us that Boston police department has located and impounded a silver SUV that was policed at the scene of the murders, and Alina Cho is following this as well.

Alina, so they're linking this vehicle with Hernandez. This is completely separate to the other murder charge.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, we are just getting this information right now and you detailed much of it.

But just to reiterate for those people joining us, CNN has just learned from a law enforcement source that, in addition to the murder charge that was leveled against him in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in the Massachusetts area near his home, CNN has learned that he is now being investigated for a double murder that happened in Boston's South End in July of 2012.

Now, again, we're just getting in the details, but here is the best way to explain what we know at this point. Apparently, police have located a silver SUV placed at the scene of this double murder, and they had been looking for this car for nearly a year.

They found this car, and it turns out, according to police, that Hernandez was renting this car at the time.

Now let me tell you what's happening right now. We're at the Fall River courthouse which is about 15 minutes from the county jail where Hernandez is staying.

In about an hour's time, there will be a bail hearing here. This will be the second hearing in two days, essentially an appeal to the judge's decision yesterday to not grant Hernandez bail.

Defense attorneys will argue, as they did yesterday, that he is not a flight risk, that there has been so much media attention surrounding this case that there is no way Hernandez could go anywhere, frankly, without everyone following him.

Defense attorneys will also likely argue that he has a fiancee and an 8-month-old baby and most of all they will argue that he has never -- that he has no criminal record and that he has never been accused of a violent crime. Again, that bail hearing is expected to start in just about an hour.

MALVEAUX: And, Alina, this is Suzanne. I want to ask you this question, because of course you think about the timing of all of this, discovering this vehicle now, about -- you said about a year they were looking for this vehicle.

Can we make the assumption that they found this because this comes out of the investigation, the murder investigation into Odin Lloyd?

CHO: I suppose it is entirely possible, Suzanne. Clearly investigators are fanning out all across the area. We're hearing reports of raids and searches being conducted in all parts of this Massachusetts and the Connecticut area, for that matter.

And so it is entirely possible that because there is this spotlight on Aaron Hernandez and everything that he has been doing over the past several years that it was found as a result of that. It is also -- it could be completely coincidental. We simply don't know. It is just too early as we are just getting this information now.

MALVEAUX: All right. Alina Cho, thank you. Breaking news, obviously.

HOLMES: Unbelievable, yes.

MALVEAUX: Unbelievable development.

HOLMES: Yes, this coming from a source close to that investigation and obviously more to come on that. We'll keep an eye on that and let you know.

MALVEAUX: And we're also watching the George Zimmerman trial, the star witness we're now just getting word that they are in recess for lunch, so it has been riveting throughout the day, the testimony of their star witness there. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now to South Africa, where officials are releasing -- this is new information about Nelson Mandela's health. They actually say that Mandela has improved. He is now in critical but stable condition, they are saying.

HOLMES: Yes, still critical but it's better than going the other way. Late yesterday we did learn that the former South African president was on life support. He still is, we're told. Outside the hospital in Pretoria, crowds turning out in bigger numbers. They have been coming almost hourly to honor a man considered a hero of democracy and civil rights around the world.

MALVEAUX: Supporters there are bringing balloons. You see them there, laying flowers, tribute memorials. Mandela's family, they are concerned but they also express some hope. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAKI MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S DAUGHTER: We still have this hope because when we talk to him, he will flutter, trying to open his eyes and open his eyes. When you touch him, he still responds, and I think for us, as his progeny, as long as Dada (ph) is still responding when we talk to him, when we touch him, I think that gives us hope.


HOLMES: Hope there, as you say.

President Obama, of course, is in Africa. He's actually in Senegal right now. But like many people around the world, his thoughts and prayers also with Nelson Mandela.

MALVEAUX: We've got a news conference with the president of Senegal, the president reflected on what Mandela means to society in general but also to him personally.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a personal hero, but I don't think I am unique in that regard. I think he is a hero for the world. And if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we will all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages.


HOLMES: All right. Jessica Yellin, traveling with the president in Senegal. Jessica, the president I think was responding for a question from you actually when he talked about Nelson Mandela. Tell us a little bit about the influence that Mandela had on him.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Michael. Yes, the president recalled that the very first political rally he ever attended was an antiapartheid event when President Mandela was still in jail and President Obama was then only 19 years old.

He said that he has personally always been struck by Mandela's embrace of his own captors after his release and has been inspired by Nelson Mandela throughout his own career.

He actually wrote about him in his own book, "Dreams from My Father," Michael.

MALVEAUX: And, Jessica, I understand that the family while in Senegal visiting Glory Island, and it's this historic place; many presidents go -- and I covered President Clinton. It is an emotional experience when you go there. Tell us the significance of the site.

YELLIN: Well, Suzanne, it is -- Glory Island, it's the location of the Door of No Return, the site that held many Africans before they were forced onto ships and sent overseas into slavery. The president and his family just visited there now, and I want to tell you what he said, unusual for him.

He said that as an African-American president, he said, it was exceptionally, quote, "powerful to be there," and he said that it offers, quote, "even greater motivation in terms of working for human rights around the world." It also gave him more intimate understanding of what it was like essentially to be a slave.

So clearly a remarkable experience for him and apparently he stood in that Door of No Return, where you just look out at the sea with just endless horizon for quite some time, and there will be video coming in of that, Suzanne.

HOLMES: Yes, historic place, that's for sure.

Jessica, of course, you can go overseas but you can't escape the domestic news. He was weighing in also on developments back home. He spoke about Edward Snowden, but he also talked about the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.

YELLIN: Yes, and I asked him about this. The president said that the ruling on same sex marriage was -- both those rulings were a victory for American democracy and basic fairness. And he said that he believes gay couples who live in the 37 states in the U.S. that do not recognize same sex marriage should also get federal benefits. Here is what the president said.


OBAMA: It is my personal belief -- but I am speaking now as a president, as opposed to as a lawyer -- that if you have been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple.


YELLIN: But there are hundreds of laws on the federal level that deal with marriage and all of this still has to be resolved by the lawyers, so he says he has his people working on it, Michael, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Jess, thanks. We appreciate it. We'll be back to you as well for the rest of the trip.

Coming up, a triple dose -- this is bad news for Paula Deen today -- more companies dropping endorsement deals with the celebrity chef. We're going to talk about where does this leave her empire?


MALVEAUX: The queen of Southern cooking taking a new fall today.

HOLMES: Boy, isn't she? More companies cutting ties with the celebrity chef Paula Deen after she admitted to using the N word and also tolerating racial jokes at work.

MALVEAUX: Pamela Brown joins us from New York with some new details. What are we learning now?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there seems to be a domino effect taking place here on the heels of being dropped by The Food Network as well as Smithfield Foods and Walmart.

Now we're learning three more companies are giving the embattled chef the boot. Target says it will be phasing out Paula Deen inventory. Home Depot is announcing today her kitchen and cookware items will no longer be sold online.

And now the diabetes drug maker, Novo Nordisk, which Deen controversially promoted since announcing she had type 2 diabetes back in 2012, announced today that it will also be suspending its partnership with Deen.

In a statement the drug maker says, "Novo Nordisk and Paula Deen have mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now while she takes time to focus her attention where it is needed."

HOLMES: Yes. What is left for her now?

BROWN: That's a good question. A lot of people are wondering, is this the end for Paula Deen. But you look at other celebrity examples, and this, Martha Stewart and others, who have been able to sort of repair, rehab their image. We've learned that Paula Deen has actually hired someone, an image consultant, a crisis management consultant by the name of Judy Smith.

In fact you know the TV show, "Scandal," on ABC, Smith is the woman based -- that show is based on. So we've learned that Deen has hired her and is certainly trying to repair her image in the wake of this. In fact, she just sent out a tweet moments ago, saying, "I want to express how deeply your kind words have moved me the last few days. Thank you, everyone, and love to all."

Also want to mention her cookbook, by the way, just shot up to number one on This cookbook isn't going to be released until October. It was ranked in the 1500s recently and now has shot up to number one. So I think that is a reflection that Paula Deen has a very loyal fan base despite losing all these big endorsements from these companies.

MALVEAUX: All right. So yet to shake out and see just how she ends up doing after all of this (inaudible). Some people coming to her aid, others just leaving her in droves.

Well, we're going to leave it there.

"CNN NEWSROOM" starts after this break.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: This is CNN NEWSROOM. I am Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington. And we begin with breaking news.