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President Obama Visits South Africa; Immigration Bill Passes Senate; Interview with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Aaron Hernandez Suspected in Second Murder Case; Zimmerman Trial Recap

Aired June 28, 2013 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in America, generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Landmark vote. The Senate passes sweeping immigration reform. The House now takes it up. Its fate uncertain. Millions of lives hang in the balance.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The blistering back and forth with the star witness in the trial of George Zimmerman. Did the defense help its case by taking this teen on so aggressively?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And too hot to work? The woman fired for being too irresistible. Her male boss worried he'd cheat with her. The court said it's legal but a new twist this morning.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem so different from yesterday. Did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I went to sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a female in agony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're having a baby.

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


BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Friday, June 28th. I'm Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo, joined by our news anchor Michaela Pereira. It's 7:00 in the east. We're in the middle of 30 minutes of commercial free news. Coming up this hour, an ambition immigration reform bill cleared the Senate and now in the House, the future there very much in doubt. We'll get reaction from congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen about the upcoming battle.

BOLDUAN: And a battle it will be.

And then another tense day in the George Zimmerman trial as the defense tries to break down the star witness's credibility.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you weren't worried about telling him the truth, the whole story?


BOLDUAN: Lots to break down there. We're going to do that with what both sides are doing with HLN's Vinnie Politan and defense attorney Danny Cevallos.

PEREIRA: And a worrisome story here about a family that has gone missing at sea. There could be new hope that they could be found off the coast of New Zealand on an historic tall ship or sailboat. They're concerned about where they might be.

CUOMO: We'll have the latest on that search. But right now President Obama is headed to Johannesburg for the second stop on his African tour. South Africa's attention is clearly focused on anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who remains in critical condition this morning. And it is not clear if President Obama will get to visit him. CNN's Robyn Curnow is live in Pretoria. Robyn, what is the latest?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Chris. Concerns about Nelson Mandela's failing health already overshadowing President Obama's trip to South Africa. He's expected to land here later today.


CURNOW: President Obama travels to South Africa today, a final pilgrimage to a personal hero. Inside this hospital, Nelson Mandela rests, his condition listed as critical but stable. But to those who have gathered outside --


CURNOW: -- a sense that this may be the time to say their good-byes. For President Obama, today is a chance for him to say his.

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

CURNOW: A legacy Michelle Obama urged children in Senegal not to forget.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Surely you can honor his legacy by leaving a proud legacy of your own. That's how I've tried to live my own life.

CURNOW: There's no confirmed visit for the Obamas with Mandela. They've made it known they'll come if the family wants them to. On Thursday they visited Gory Island off Senegal's coast to see a final departure point for slaves headed to the Americas.

OBAMA: For an African-American, an African-American president to be able to visit this site, I think gives me even greater motivation in terms of defense of human rights around the world.

CURNOW: But today may be their most emotional visit yet.


CURNOW: OK, and meanwhile South Africans continue to gather here outside the hospital. You can hear them singing hymns, saying prayers, leaving flowers.

CUOMO: All right, Robyn, thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Another leak bombshell this morning, this time involving a high-ranking former Pentagon official. The Justice Department is investigating retired marine general James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Let's go live straight to the Pentagon where Barbara Starr has details on this. A shock to many when they read this, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, good morning, Kate. A jaw-dropper even for the Pentagon. James Cartwright when he served as the number two until 2011 was a close adviser to President Obama, an expert in nuclear weapons and cyber warfare, by all counts, everyone will tell you, a brilliant mind, now under investigation by the Justice Department. A source telling me it is for material that appeared in a book written by "New York Times" journalist David Sanger called "Confront and Conceal" about Iran's nuclear program. Cartwright said to be under investigation potentially for leaking information about the computer virus Stuxnet that by all accounts the U.S. used to try to slow down Iran's nuclear program.

This is one of the crowned jewels of U.S. intelligence, absolutely unprecedented that a four-star general even retired would be under investigation for this type of leak. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Barbara, thank you so much. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning.

CUOMO: A strong bipartisan showing of support for immigration reform, the biggest overhaul in a generation passed the Senate 68-32. But now it moves to the House where passage is less certain. Chief Congressional correspondent Dana Bash is live in Washington. What do you see down there, and good morning? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Most lawmakers are on their way home for a July 4 recess. And the House speaker has already planned a meeting for when they return from recess for how they'll deal with immigration reform. That really signals that a lot is going to depend on what they hear from constituents. And a lot of people who are supportive of this are concerned that conservatives are not going to hear positive feedback.


BASH: The speaker of the House presides over the next step for immigration reform. He was noncommittal at best.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We're going to go home for the recess next week and listen to our constituents. And when we get back we're going to have a conference on July the 10th to have a discussion about the way forward.

BASH: Immigration politics is tricky business for House Republicans, prone to pressure from conservative constituents to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. John McCain gets it. He almost lost the 2008 GOP presidential nomination for supporting immigration reform.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: To our friends in the House, we ask for your consideration and we stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you.

BASH: Supporter Marco Rubio may be a future White House Republican hopeful.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: I support this reform not just because I believe in immigrants but I believe in America even more.

BASH: The Cuban-American used his closing argument to beat back conservative critics by humanizing the issue, talking about his own immigrant parents.

RUBIO: Well before they ever became citizens, in their hearts they had already become Americans.

BASH: But the Republican split was on display, opponents saying they just don't believe supporters who promise the border would be secured before illegal immigrants can earn legal status.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: We need a bill that puts security before legalization, not the other way around.

BASH: Despite the divide, senators agreed the vote was a big moment. They took the rare step of voting formally from their desks.



BASH: And the vice president presided. JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The yeas for this bill are 68, the nays are 32. The bill as amended is passed.


BASH: Now, 68 votes in an otherwise polarized senate is pretty significant. And 14 Republicans joined all Democrats and independents in voting yes. And now a senior Democratic source I talked to, Chris, said that what their plan is now to really encourage traditionally pro-Republican groups like the Chamber of Commerce to get on Republicans in the House to support at least something to get this to what's called a conference where the two can start to talk about it, and also to get the president in high gear. He was really pulling back as the bipartisan bill was moved through the Senate because he didn't want to interrupt that. Now they are hoping he gets his political operation up and running because, at the end of the day, this really is something that is going to be his legacy if he can sign it. Chris?

CUOMO: Dana, thank you very much. You heard Chuck Grassley, it's now moving into a place where this is about border security first, not a path to citizenship.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk more with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a House Republican from Florida and member of the House foreign affairs committee. It's great to see you.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, (R) FLORIDA: Thank you, Kate. Congrats on the new show.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. You just heard in Dana's report 14 Republican senators joined Democrats to pass this immigration overhaul in the Senate. Do you support the bill?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Yes, I do support it, but I do understand that that bill is not going to move in the House. We're hoping that any bill will pass in the House so we can go into conference with the Senate and out of that conference report it will be a balanced bill, someone that will be as conservative or as liberal as anyone else and say this does have border security and we are a nation of laws and also of fairness and opportunity. And I think that bill strikes that balance, but it's not going to move in the House.

BOLDUAN: Why isn't it going to move in the House?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, Speaker Boehner has always said that security, we've got to make sure that the American people trust and believe and we can prove to them that there will be border security. Remember that a while back, none of us were here then in '86, Ronald Reagan, a great leader, he had this bill also, and that was one of his legacies, and he said they all said it wasn't going to be repeated again.

But here we are, we have 11 million people undocumented, and that means that the border security element was not dealt with. So the House is really very strongly in favor of border security first, and we will be passing many bills that are just on that. And my fear is this, that the more conservative members of our party will vote no because they worry about getting any bill into conference even though they may agree with the border security bill, and many Democrats may vote no because they want to deal with the 11 million undocumented first. So if those two coalitions come together that will bring any bill down.

And that's what I'm worried about. We need to get to conference and see if we can negotiate, compromise. We won't get everything we want, but I think it will be a fair bill for America's people and economy.

BOLDUAN: Some of your Republican colleagues, more conservative Republican colleagues, most Republicans in the House actually they represent conservative districts with very small populations of Latinos living in their districts, and their constituents mostly strongly oppose any pathway to citizenship. So if it's not advantageous for them politically and if doesn't work for them and their constituents, how do you convince them to go along with this?

ROS-LEHTINEN: That's going to be very difficult, and that's why we're going to do border security bills. And that's why those conservatives should look at the bills that are coming out of Bob Goodlatte's Judiciary Committee. And we're hoping they can say if you're for border security this bill is to verify your employment and make sure there's going to be no more entry illegally into the United States. This won't be repeated again, and that they're not empty promises, that there are really triggers that are going to be enforced, and vote for the bill.

But I worry that those two blocks will come together and we won't pass something. But that's in the future. I remain hopeful that folks will represent their district, as well they should, and at the same time look out for the interests of America and understand that this bill is going to be positive for the economy, good for workers, people will pay taxes, they'll pay penalties. They won't be getting in front of anybody who has come here legally. It's a pretty balanced bill but we'll do our own, I understand that. I hope that both sides give our measures an opportunity to be discussed with our constituents as well as be debated in the House in an open process, because we are very open in the House.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, great to see you, thank you very much. She says she is hopeful, but what people need right now is certainty. Is it going to happen, isn't it going to happen. Immigration is strictly politics.

CUOMO: Looks like what is going to happen conference with the Senate when the House passes its own bill.

BOLDUAN: And the finish line is pretty far away.

CUOMO: Absolutely, absolutely.

Moving on now, Massachusetts police return to the home of Aaron Hernandez looking for more evidence. The former NFL player is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his friend, but investigators are looking at him for a double murder, a separate case in 2012. CNN's Alina Cho is live in Massachusetts with the latest. Alina, good morning.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning to you. There certainly has been no shortage of developments in the past 24 hours. In fact, Boston police, who had been searching Aaron Hernandez's home behind me, just left at about 5:30 this morning. They are looking at how Hernandez may have been involved in this unsolved double murder. That's on top of the murder charge he's already facing in the death of Odin Lloyd.


CHO: The most stunning development since this story first broke, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, already charged with one murder, is now being investigated in connection with a double murder last year in Boston's South End. Late last night, Boston police searched Hernandez's home, possibly looking for clues. Law enforcement sources tell CNN police recently recovered a car that was placed at that crime scene, a silver SUV Hernandez allegedly rented at the time of the murders.

And in yet another twist, the "Boston Globe" is reporting the man Hernandez is charged with killing June 17th, 27-year-old Odin Lloyd may have known about Hernandez's connection to last year's murders, another piece of a complicated puzzle that is now Aaron Hernandez's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most respectfully your honor I'll ask --

CHO: On Thursday Hernandez appeared in court again. His attorneys pleaded for bail for a second time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Hernandez is not just a football player but is one of the best football players in the United States of America.

CHO: Denied. Massachusetts state police issued this bulletin asking for the public's help to find this man, Earnest Wallace, who is described as an accessory after the fact in Lloyd's death.

And then there's this, another man held in connection to the Lloyd murder investigation was identified, Carlos Ortiz. But no indication at least not yet of whether Ortiz was with Hernandez on the night Lloyd was killed. What is clear is Hernandez remains here in the county jail, locked up in a cell, similar to this one, where he spends 23 hours a day alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He leads a life where he walked into a stadium where thousands of people revered him and were cheering for him, to going through our door and simply becoming a number.


CHO: No longer number 81 for the New England Patriots, Hernandez is now just a number at the county jail, that is where he is waking up again this morning. And one other note, Chris and Kate, Puma which had been Hernandez's biggest sponsor announced yesterday in light of the investigation it is dropping him. Chris and Kate?

CUOMO: Thanks Alina. We saw what happened to Paula Deen. Imagine how sponsors are going to will react to this with Aaron Hernandez.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, this. I said it last time, I mean -- -t seems like every week we find out something more, his troubles are just beginning. He's going to have a long trial.

There's a lot of news developing this hour. Let's get to Michaela for the latest.

PERIERA: Let's do that. Making news at this hour, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicted, rather, on 30 counts in the Boston marathon bombing, among the charges using weapons of mass destruction, killing four people in addition. The indictment says Tsarnaev was inspired by al Qaeda and left a confession in the boat where he was found hiding. He reportedly wrote that he didn't like killing people but couldn't let the deaths of innocent Muslims overseas go unpunished.

New this morning, two men charged with the vicious murder of British soldier Lee Rigby are expected to appear in court this morning. Michael Adebowale is expected to attend the hearing as is his alleged partner in crime Michael Adebolajo. A trial date is expected to be set.

Former justice of the peace and his wife were indicted on charges of capital murder in the killings of two Texas prosecutors and the wife of one of them. The Kaufman County sheriff says Eric Williams was the triggerman, his wife Kim the getaway driver. Eric Williams is also charged with making a terroristic threat.

The wreckage of a small plane carried famed Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni and five others has been located off the coast of Venezuela. Now recovery crews are attempting to bring that plane up. It crashed six months ago, presumably killing everyone onboard. An American ship with sophisticated radar help is on its way to find that plane.

To Milwaukee. Police officers pull a speeding car over. They really thought that the driver might be drunk. Turns out, though, that the driver was actually rushing to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. They were not going to make it, so the cops, well they instantly became midwives.


XAVIER BENITEZ, MILWAUKEE POLICE: I could see she that was actually giving birth. I mean, the head was fully crowned and everything, and at that point, I yelled across to my partner, we're having a baby.


BOLDUAN: Oh my gosh!

PERIERA: Congratulations, apparently mom and baby Isabella are doing very well. That was an exciting shift for those two. BOLDUAN: They're like, not one (ph) it's a girl! You see there on the video. Oh my goodness. Thank goodness for them that they were there and could help.


CUOMO: Never been so happy to see the cops those two. Come on in. Come, come.

BOLDUAN: Please, help, catch.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, courtroom fireworks on display at the George Zimmerman murder trial. Yesterday could have been the biggest day so far. The prosecution's star witness and defense attorney trade jabs during cross-examination.

CUOMO: And the simple truth, she was just too hot. An Iowa dental assistant fired for being too attractive, but now a legal twist may give her a chance at a second case, just because you have the right to do it doesn't mean it's right to do it. Think about that over the break.

BOLDUAN: Just because you have the right to be so good looking Chris Cuomo doesn't mean you should do it.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Tension in the courtroom as George Zimmerman's defense team cross-examine a key prosecution witness. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Jeantel clashed with attorneys over whether she's telling the truth about the night Trayvon Martin was killed. CNN's George Howell is in Sanford, Florida, with more. We could not take our eyes off the television when she was testifying.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, absolutely hard to do it. She admitted to lying about why she didn't go to the funeral. She told jurors that certain words that many people believe to be racial slurs, she didn't. But when it came to this concept that it was her friend, Trayvon Martin, who started this fight, Jeantel fought back.


HOWELL: Day four in the trial against George Zimmerman started as Rachel Jeantel take two, a key witness for the state who appeared Wednesday to be emotional one moment, combative the next. What a difference a day makes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you okay this morning?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem so different than yesterday. I'm just checking. Did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday? JEANTEL: No, I went to sleep.

HOWELL: A more subdued Jeantel endured more than three hours of meticulous questioning from defense attorney Don West who challenged the 19-year-old's account of what she heard when she was on the cell phone with Trayvon Martin a little more than a minute before the fatal shooting.

JEANTEL: Trayvon got hit.

DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You don't know that, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon got hit.

JEANTEL: He could have, he had to --

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon didn't at that moment take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please lower your voice.

WEST: Do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

HOWELL: But moments later when asked the same question during the grilling, the teen held firm to her account of who attacked who.

WEST: I thought in fact you said it could have been for all you know Trayvon Martin Smashing George Zimmerman in the face is what you actually heard.


WEST: Yes, just earlier today.


WEST: By you.

JEANTEL: You didn't get that from me.

HOWELL: The next witness, Jenna Lauer, the woman whose 911 call captured the exact moment Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara questioned her about who she thought was screaming on the tape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he's yelling help?


MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did it seem that the screams of somebody who was getting beat up?

JENNA LAUER, WITNESS: They were being hurt somehow, yes.

O'MARA: Maybe somebody who was having this done to them?

LAUER: It's possible.

HOWELL: The final testimony of the day came from a witness who says she heard the gunshot and saw two people on the ground, Selma Maura testified with the help of a Spanish translator that she remembered seeing the man on top wearing a red and black jacket, the same jacket George Zimmerman was wearing.

O'MARA: There was a person crouching down over another person?

SELMA MAURA, WITNESS (through translator): Correct.


HOWELL: Chris, court is set to resume again at 9:00 a.m. We expect to hear from more neighbors and possibly investigators about exactly what happened the night of that shooting.

CUOMO: All right, George, we're getting closer and closer to the critical moment of establishing what happened and the events that led to Trayvon Martin's death. So how did this day figure out? Let's take a look here. We have a tool for us today.

The prosecution, yes, sir, no, sir, big moment for them, why? That means Rachel Jeantel was more composed, didn't have the same attitude as day one. What will that mean to the jury? We'll find out in a second.

If the jacket fits, now you hear this from Selma Maura. Okay, the neighbor testifies the man on top was wearing a red and black jacket. And what we're going to talk about with the attorneys is the idea that after the gunshot the man on the bottom didn't move, the man with the jacket got up. Could that have been Zimmerman? Big point for the case.

For the defense, you don't know that huge moment with Rachel Jeantel, goes to her credibility about whether or not she can establish Trayvon Martin was the victim throughout, that he didn't start the fight so it was Rachel, probably the biggest flash point of the day from my opinion. Why? Because race has always been about George Zimmerman in this trial, but all of the sudden the defense suggests that Trayvon Martin, not Zimmerman, inserted race into the confrontation. Did that mean anything to the jury?

Then this is the big moment, who had the advantage on that day? I can't answer that question but I know two smart gentlemen who can. Let's bring in Vinnie Politan, former prosecutor, host of HLN's "After Dark" and Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen thank you very much for being here. Let's start with Rachel Jeantel. Yesterday, Vinnie Politan, a good day for her in terms of prosecution, or did the defense make more points?

VINNIE POLITAN, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, here's what I think the strength was. You've got Don West doing this cross-examination, right, he's a seasoned lawyer, and this is a 19-year-old girl who is obviously not as educated as he is and he's coming across as a grumpy old man trying to beat her up and I think he went overboard. He took it too far especially when he humiliates her with the letter that she can't read, she can't read cursive. I think he came across as being a grumpy old man who just went too far in his attempt to try to destroy her credibility. I think he hurt himself and his own case.

CUOMO: All right, so even though it's not about him for the jury they'll judge him in assessing her so that's where Vinnie's point comes in. So, let's get to you though Danny, on the substance of it though. Getting Rachel Jeantel to say I don't know whether or not it was Trayvon Martin who hit first or not. I can't tell. How big is that for the defense?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There are a lot of points that the defense made with Rachel Jeantel. And remember the rules of court are slanted against the witness. In other words when Rachel tries to argue with Attorney West, it's never going to come out well for her. That's the problem. Being combative as a witness I don't think ever plays well with a jury and ultimately Attorney West got her to admit several times that either she lacked the ability to perceive in certain key instances or that she willingly changed her story. These are huge concessions and I think this witness was not particularly good for the prosecution. I have to give the advantage in this case to the defense, and as to Attorney West's demeanor, he's cross-examining her. The nature of cross-examination can be hostile.

CUOMO: But it's an art, though, Danny and that's the question. It's subjective. Everybody is going to have their opinions. We're talking about Rachel Jeantel. I'll call out a different moment for the moment of the day that I want your take on. Selma Maura saying there was a gunshot and after it the man with the black and red jacket, the man on top moved. The man on the bottom did not, seems to establish, Vinnie Politan, that the person on top of the fight, the person in control was George Zimmerman, and that will mean a lot in terms of self defense analysis. Your take?

POLITAN: Oh, absolutely. If George Zimmerman is on top and you have a witness who has the guy with the red jacket and it is clear that he's wearing a red jacket, Trayvon Martin's got the dark gray hoodie on, it's clear who's in control. How are you going to claim self defense if you are on top of the person that you're shooting? You have a gun, they don't have a gun.