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Historic Decision; Chief Justice Cousin "Overwhelmed" by Ruling; President Visits Africa; George Zimmerman on Trial; Ex-NFL Player's Fall from Grace

Aired June 27, 2013 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel jubilation. I feel fabulous. I feel every gay word I can think of.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The Supreme Court makes history, but the battle over same-sex marriage is just heating up. What the new rulings mean for our nation. What will happen next?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Star witness, Trayvon Martin's friend's raw and tearful testimony in the trial of George Zimmerman. Did she help or hurt the case against him?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Murder in the first. Patriots' player Aaron Hernandez arrested and charged. The new evidence against him and the just released photo of him with a gun.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


BOLDUAN: Good morning, everyone. And welcome to NEW DAY. I am Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo here as always with our news anchor, Michaela Pereira. It's Thursday, June 27th, 6:00 in the east, and we've got a pack show for you today. We're going to unravel the testimony of the last person to hear Trayvon Martin alive. Her blockbuster contention, George Zimmerman was the aggressor, was on top of a prone Martin when he died. Take a listen.




CUOMO: Big question, did her testimony stand up? We'll unpack it with Nancy Grace, Vinnie Politan, Sunny Hostin, and Jose Baez, the defense attorney who won Casey Anthony her freedom. BOLDUAN: A lot coming up, but we also have a lot of political news to work through today as well, gay marriage, new details on Edward Snowden and the president arriving in Africa. Jeffrey Toobin and the host of the new revival "Crossfire" Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter joining us live.

PEREIRA: And how about this, a whole lot of fun in store. Actor Steve Carell joins us live later in the show. He's starring in the highly anticipated sequel "Despicable Me 2." Can't wait to talk to him this morning.

CUOMO: Very fun, that's going to be. But first, let's get the Supreme Court's historic ruling on same sex marriage. For some the celebrations ran late into the night, but this morning both sides in the contentious issue are back to work. The ruling only settles some aspects of the debate and opponents are rallying to make sure same sex marriage doesn't become the law of the land.

CNN's Joe Johns is live in Washington. Good morning, Joe. So where do we go from here?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's the question, Chris. Now that the Supreme Court has weighed in, the question is what happens next on same sex marriage? In the short term it's about how long it takes before couples start getting married in the state of California, but longer term it's about what this means for the marriage equality movement.


JOHNS (voice-over): All night and even into this morning celebrations for historic ruling. While others denounce what they call the death of traditional values, emotional reactions following a pair of Supreme Court decisions giving the same-sex marriage movement its biggest victories to date. The court striking down parts of the defense of marriage act that denies benefits to legally married same-sex couples and allowing same sex marriages to resume in California but what now?

JOHN EASTMAN, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: We will continue to fight in the states where we've won 37 times out of 40 ballot initiatives and I think the states will continue to defend traditional marriage in overwhelming numbers.

JOHNS: One of the lawyers that led the case for same sex marriage at the Supreme Court says, bring it on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In five years our goal is to have marriage equality throughout the country. I think that's an achievable goal.

JOHNS: Polling shows support for same sex marriage has grown over the years, 55 percent of respondents supported it in the latest CNN/ORC poll. Two years ago that number was 51 percent. Four years ago it was far less, but there's still a long way to go. As of now 12 states and the District of Columbia has voted to allow same sex marriage, 36 states expressly forbid it. Battleground California has voted both for it and against it, but now the Supreme Court has declined to rule on Proposition 8, clearing the way for couples to start getting married there.

KAMALA HARRIS, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: There's no doubt whatsoever the bells will ring and the marriages will begin.

JOHNS: Both sides in this battle have plenty of money and are highly motivated and been doing this for years. You haven't heard the last over the fight on same sex marriage.


JOHNS: Over 1,000 federal benefits were affected by the restrictions of the defense of marriage act. The administration and its officials are saying they want to move quickly to put the new ruling into effect -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Joe, we'll see what happens next. Thank you -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: The rulings that hit close to home. For many Americans regardless of their sexuality including the chief justice himself, John Roberts' cousin, Jean Padraski and her partner, Grace, can now get married thanks to the ruling on California's Proposition 8, a cousin of the chief justice. Both women spoke last night with CNN's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": So Jean, your cousin, the chief justice's majority opinion in the Prop 8 case dismissing on procedural grounds means that you and Grace and millions of other gay and lesbian in California residents will be able to get married. How do you feel?

JEAN PODRASKY, CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS' COUSIN: I'm so excited. I have told everybody that I was expecting this, but it's still a shock.

COOPER: Jean, you said a few months ago that you know that your cousin, the chief justice is a good man and wise enough to see where the tide of equality is going. On the DOMA case, are you disappointed by his vote?

PODRASKY: I have to say I am disappointed. I was completely stunned by the split, but I'm sure this is just in keeping with his conservative beliefs. So, I want to take this still as a win.

COOPER: What have your conversations been with like with him over the years in terms of who you are, your relationship, have you had those conversations?

PODRASKY: We only see each other at family functions. It's hard to say hi, John, nice wedding cake I'm gay. It's not easy to have that conversation. I have come out to him. I can't say that we've had these conversations back and forth about how does he feel about me being gay.

COOPER: The majority opinion in the DOMA case based on equal protection grounds sets the stage for another case one specifically asking for a national right to marriage equality in all 50 states. Do you believe that he could come around by the time the court might revisit the issue?

PODRASKY: Even John has used the word sea change several times. And I do believe that the next time this comes before the court it will be two years, four years, I hope he grows to accept the sea change that he has talked about himself.


CUOMO: President Obama is in Senegal this morning. He is there to promote democracy and business investment, but of course, looming large over the trip is former South African President Nelson Mandela who is gravely ill and is reportedly been placed on life support.

CNN's White House correspondent Brianna Keilar joins us live from Dakar, Senegal -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. Right now, the president's itinerary remains the same going from Senegal to South Africa and then to Tanzania. But the health of Nelson Mandela as you said very much hanging over this trip. Mandela was a big source of inspiration for President Obama as a younger man, but at this point, while the itinerary is unchanged, the White House is monitoring news of Mandela's health very carefully, of course.

And no doubt, though, they won't officially say, they are making room for contingencies and we expect when the president heads to South Africa we can see the tone of some of his events change. But this morning here in Senegal, he's on schedule meeting with the president. He'll then give a press conference with the president.

And visit the supreme court of this nation before heading to Gory Island, a former departure point for slaves. Overall, his message here in Africa is one about the economy, but he chose Senegal because it's an example of a democratic nation in Africa. The president replaced an incumbent who tried to change the constitution to serve a third term. That obviously wasn't successful so President Obama emphasizing rule of law and democratic principles here in Senegal today -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Brianna, thank you very much for the report.

BOLDUAN: As we've been watching it was a dramatic day in the George Zimmerman trial. One witness taking the stand, the last person to speak with Trayvon Martin. The 19-year-old Rachel Jentel was on the phone with Martin just moments before he was killed. Her testimony could be key for the prosecution and she faces more cross-examination again this morning.

Let's get a wrap up of everything that we know about the case so far. George Howell live in Sanford, Florida. Hi, there, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning. She came across as raw, she seemed uncoached and every word and every action could have a great impact on the outcome of this case, but given her answer to some of the questions yesterday, the question now, will this jury believe her?


HOWELL (voice-over): She's the last person to have spoken to Trayvon Martin on his cell phone the night he was fatally shot and killed. A key witness to the prosecution, whose testimony took various turns throughout the day. At first Rachel Jeantel became emotional when questioned about why she lied saying she was in the hospital and couldn't go to her friend's funeral.

RACHEL JEANTEL, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FRIEND: I didn't want to see the body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't want to see the body?


HOWELL: She told prosecutors Martin used racial slurs like the n-word to describe the man following him.

JEANTEL: -- following me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said the man looked creepy.

JEANTEL: Creepy white --

HOWELL: Jeantel says she told Martin to run, but then the phone went dead. When she called him back she said Martin told her he was still being watched then confronted.

JEANTEL: He said why are you following me for. And I heard what are you doing around here. Then I heard Trayvon saying get off.

HOWELL: Then the tone of her testimony changed when cross-examined by Zimmerman's defense team, at times appearing to have an attitude when questioned by Attorney Don West.

JEANTEL: I had told you -- you listening.

HOWELL: The 19-year-old admitted she lied about her age claiming to be 16 at the time of the shooting because she didn't want to be questioned. She says she didn't call police to tell her account because she expected police to contact her like they do on the TV shows. Then there's the issue of the audio recording, the witness made with the Attorney Ben Crump who represents Trayvon Martin's family.

A recording Crump played publicly to draw attention to the case. Jeantel admitted to defense attorneys she made the recording hastily and that didn't really want to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Crump interview don't mean nothing to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't take it seriously? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope.


HOWELL: At the end of court yesterday, Jeantel seemed a bit annoyed when she learned from Attorney Don West that she would have to return today and the questioning, Kate, could take another couple of hours.

BOLDUAN: Another couple of hours. She definitely did look annoyed at times. George Howell in Sanford, thank you so much, George.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. She's been following this trial very closely and also a former federal prosecutor and she's joining me also from Sanford, Florida this morning. Good morning, Sunny.


BOLDUAN: A lot to talk about and what happened yesterday. I want to get your big takeaway from day three especially Rachel Jeantel.

HOSTIN: You know, I thought she was certainly credible. I thought she was believable. There was no question she was be emotional. She was raw. I don't know that she appeared she was coached. I thought bottom line is that she did help the prosecution. She is not the only witness though to contradict George Zimmerman's version of events, but when you look at it, she's the fourth witness. So even if the jury doesn't believe one or two pieces of what she has to say, everything she is saying has been corroborated by other witnesses, and so when you look at it one context, I think that she really did pretty well for the prosecution.

BOLDUAN: I did want to get your take there because it's been described -- her people describing she was a tough witness. She is young. It was a raw testimony and she was difficult to hear at times, which caused some issues in the courtroom. Do you think the prosecution was happy with what she offered?

HOSTIN: You know, Kate, as a prosecutor you get what you get. She was the last person to speak to Trayvon Martin. Sure, I'm sure the prosecutor may have preferred having someone a bit more eloquent, someone a bit more understandable, but you get what you get. Given all of those things that you just mentioned, given the fact that yes, she was raw, given the fact she's young, given the fact she may appear to emotional and a bit combative, she still is who she is and in relaying what she had to say I thought she was credible.

BOLDUAN: So what should we expect from further cross-examination today? As George mentioned there could be a couple more hours with Rachel on the stand.

HOSTIN: Yes. I think we'll see fireworks in the courtroom. She isn't a shrinking violet. She will not back down from Don West. This is not their first encounter. He has deposed her before. She is agitated. She doesn't want to be there, but I will say this. I think reluctant witnesses, witnesses that don't want to be there, witnesses that are not necessarily polished, professional witnesses that don't appear that they want a book deal or anything like that, I think jurors believe them.

Jurors don't want to be there either. This is a difficult thing to do, get on the witness stand with all this media coverage and talk about something this difficult. I think even given the fireworks, I think that the jury will empathize with her.

BOLDUAN: How big of a loss real quick is it to the defense that the judge decided to allow those previous calls in the months prior to this incident, previous calls from George Zimmerman to the police, how problematic is that?

HOSTIN: You know, I think it's very problematic for the defense. I think it's significant that the judge let the -- I knew that they were coming in because they are relevant to state of mind. Remember this is a second-degree murder case and you have to get into the defendant's mind. When you look at all of those repeated calls to 911 or to 311 he says over and over again, African-American, young male, they are suspicious.

That tells a judge that perhaps there's some sort of pattern into what he was thinking, was he thinking that Trayvon Martin was suspicious simply because all of these other incidents showed that, you know, African-American males were in the neighborhood being suspicious? I think that the defense has a hurdle to get over.

BOLDUAN: All right, Sunny, we'll talk a lot more with you on this in the coming hours. Stay tuned we have a lot more on the George Zimmerman trial. We'll talk with HLN's Nancy Grace and Vinnie Politan as well as Criminal Defense Attorney Jose Baez. I wonder if the defense will try to spin it as he was a concerned citizen in this neighborhood. He was trying to help out or how they can try to adjust and throw in their favor?

CUOMO: There's no question. I think 911 tapes, the emergency call, tapes that came in yesterday are going to be the first swing of play. The prosecution thought it was for them, I thought they played just as well for the defense. You'll hear people much better saying why. Zimmerman is just one story in the line up this morning, lots of news to get to. Let's get to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's do that. Good morning to the two of you, and good morning to you at home.

Making news this morning:

An F-16 fighter jet goes down near Luke Air Force Base in suburban Phoenix. Both pilots ejected safely. They suffered minor injuries. And we're taken to the hospital on base for evaluation. No word yet on what caused that crash.

New this morning, an American businessman who said he was held hostage by his dozens of his employees in China, he is now free. Chip Starnes who runs a medical supply company says he did reach an agreement in pay dispute with 97 of his workers. He's been trapped inside the Beijing factory for six days.

New developments in the search for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The Justice Department responding to Hong Kong, saying it met all legal requirements and called Hong Kong's request for clarification on Edward Snowden's full name just an excuse to delay his arrest. Also, the "New York Times" reporting Snowden or someone using his screen name didn't always support openness. Postings attributed rather to Snowden dating back to 2009 are critical of leakers.

And the hits keep coming for Paula Deen. Two more companies have parted ways. Walmart will no longer carry her line of kitchen wares and Caesar's Entertainment which operates Paula Deen themed restaurants at four casinos is also ending its relationship with her.

In Deen's first interview since the racial slur scandal surface, she admitted she used the N-word in years ago, but insists she is not a racist.

Quite a cool sight off the coast of San Diego. A giant flipper convention, informal, of course. Thousands of dolphins swimming together at a huge mega pod along the coast there. They have been spotted for several days. Some folks lucky to see them in experts.

Marine experts say the dolphins are likely following their food to shallow water. That is such a cool sight.

BOLDUAN: Think if you're in that boat watching that come fast.

PEREIRA: Or you're kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding and suddenly, that goes by.

BOLDUAN: At least it's dolphin.

CUOMO: As a fisherman, one of the favorite mixed moments. You love to see the dolphins. They are so beautiful. But, you know, any fish --


BOLDUAN: I never thought about.

CUOMO: They are scrambling.

PEREIRA: Competition for the fishermen.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY: Aaron Hernandez held without bail now charged in what prosecutors claimed is a case of cold-blooded murder. A live report on a new disturbing photo of him, straight ahead.

BOLDUAN: And we're hearing for the first time from Michael Jackson's oldest child Prince in the wrongful death suit against AEG Live. What his father feared most about his come back concerts.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. There's a huge development in the Aaron Hernandez case. The Patriot football star charged with first degree murder. Prosecutors say he orchestrated the execution of his friend and they insisted he'd be held without bail.

CNN's Alina Cho is live in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, with the latest. What do we know, Alina?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. Well, what a difference a day makes. Aaron Hernandez is waking up in a single person jail cell this morning, no longer a free man. A little more than a week ago, he was simply a star football player, and today, he stands accused of murder.


CHO (voice-over): Stone-faced and silent, only briefly wiping his brow, Aaron Hernandez made his first appearance at an Attleboro, Massachusetts courtroom Wednesday, arraigned on first degree murder.

WILLIAM MCCAULEY, BRISTOL CO. PROSECUTOR: The evidence will show the defendant had motive, means and opportunity to perpetrate the crime. He orchestrated the crime from the beginning.

CHO: Prosecutors laid out in detail what they believe happened on June 17th, in the hours before a jogger found the body of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. A semi pro football player and fend of Hernandez shot in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home. Hernandez and Lloyd dated sisters.

Prosecutors say surveillance video taken from Hernandez's own home security system showed the player with a firearm. That cell towers tracked his moments. Text messages showed he picked up Lloyd at his home, in a silver Nissan Altima, the same make of car Hernandez. That additional surveillance video captured the car arriving and leaving the crime scene. And that shell casings found there matched shell casing found in the rental car.

As for a motive --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of them had gone to a club on Friday night, ended up spending the whole night together and there were certain things that happened during the night that he was upset about and now didn't trust the victim.

CHO: This photo obtained by TMZ shows Hernandez holding what appears to be a Glock handgun in a photo he took of himself on his cell phone. It's not clear when the photo was taken or if the weapon is in any way tied to the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a circumstantial case, it's not a strong case. This defendant comes to court without any record whatsoever, never been accused of a violent crime.

CHO: A dramatic fall from grace for the ex-New England Patriots tight end, who less than a year ago signed a contract extension worth as much as $40 million. The Patriots have released Hernandez and the NFL calls the case deeply troubling.


CHO: Aaron Hernandez will get no special treatment at the jail behind me. In fact on the dinner menu last night, chop suey, green beans and a slice of bread. He'll be treated no better and worse says the sheriff than any other inmate.

One other note, Chris and Kate, the NFL and the Patriots have already stopped selling the Aaron Hernandez football jersey. In fact, we're told they have already been yanked from the shelves -- Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: Thank you, Alina. That's the least of the deprivations he's got to worry about as the case --

BOLDUAN: But shows just how quickly things change. Alina, thanks so much.

Let's get straight over to Indra in the weather center, with what you need know before you head out the door this morning. Hey, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Speaking of things changing. We had a gorgeous weekend last weekend, not so much this weekend. Unfortunately, rain headed our way. You can actually see where the cold front is. Not too hard to tell.

You can really follow the line of storms anywhere from Ohio, all the way down to Alabama and you're going to be talking about rain. Unfortunately, it's moving east.

We have all this warm moist heat coming out of the gulf, which is cold front. Yes, we're talking thunderstorms. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they are going anywhere. So, heavy rain really heading to the Northeast for the next several days.

We're talking about three to even some places five inches of rain. This is some of the heavy rain we're dealing with not just in the Northeast. Some moderate rainfall extending down to the Southeast. That's the story as we go through the weekend. Not what we're looking for but it's better than the ridge of high pressure that's building in the Southwest and unfortunately bringing very dangerous heat to that area.

A lot of record breaking temperatures will be out there, even in Vegas, a lot of people spending their weekend in Vegas talking about temperatures going up as high as 117 by this weekend. Unfortunately, it's going to be even hotter than that once we go to places like Death Valley. We're talking about 120, some places close to 130 this weekend.

BOLDUAN: So, if you're in the East, plan indoor activities for the kids.

CUOMO: Raining in the East, hot in the West. I don't know, Indra.

We have to get to Christine Romans for the business news. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I got sunshine. My forecast is sunshine on Wall Street.

Futures higher right now after a strong showing yesterday on Wall Street. You know, it was the Dow's 14th triple-digit move out of the last 18 sessions in June. It has been wild. The Dow closing up about 150 points yesterday the NASDAQ, S&P 500 also posting significant gains.

OK, really important student loan news. A compromise could be in the works to head off an increase in student loan interest rates. Those interest rates set to double in four days.

Today, Democrats are going to hold a press conference to discuss ways to keep the rate from rising to 6.8 percent. There's indications both sides might be willing to reset rates retroactively after the July 4th holiday if they can find a solution before the July 1st deadline. The solution worth about $5,000 for students over the lifetime of their loan. So, it's real money if these rates rise, bad news.

CUOMO: How can the banks borrow money for free but our students, our future may have to borrow at 6 percent or 8 percent?

ROMANS: These are government set student loans. Taxpayer subsidized these low interest rates. But that's a very good points.

Some Democrats, Chris, who have said we want student loan interest rates to be the very same as what banks borrow which would be interesting.

BOLDUAN: I like how politics get involved.

ROMANS: Absolutely. We'll see how the politics plays out.

Also, the gloves are off between Men's Warehouse board and the founder George Zimmer. This is not going away, guys. Zimmer, remember, he was last week, he was fired. He sent an open letter the board is trying to portray him as an obstinate former CEO when he wanted to take the company private. Zimmer says, "The board refused to discuss the topic and took steps to marginalize and silence me."

This is so rare, you guys, to see.

BOLDUAN: It's so public.

ROMANS: It's so public this fight -- a founder of Men's Warehouse.

PEREIRA: And the face of it, too.

ROMANS: I know, and the voice I guarantee it, are fighting back and forth these dueling press releases, back and forth. It's very odd.

Actually, some people follow boards and corporations, it's a little unseemly. This is playing out in the media like this.

BOLDUAN: We learn some lessons there. We love it's money time. Thank you, Christine Romans. We talk to you in a bit.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY: dramatic and revealing testimony from Michael Jackson's oldest son prince in the wrongful death suit against AEG live, how it can affect the outcome of the case.

CUOMO: Have you heard the latest on Justin Bieber? Sweet little voice. But they say the pop star is being sudden by a member of paparazzi claiming he's not so sweet. Some martial arts move, flying martial arts. Not just martial arts, a karate move.

What did he do? He sounds so sweet. Listen to that sweet voice.