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THE SITUATION ROOM

George Zimmerman Trial Continues; Interview With Texas State Senator Wendy Davis

Aired June 28, 2013 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And a shocking new report. The police who protect millions of visitors to America's monuments, guess what? They have lost track of thousands, thousands of weapons.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the word. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Two of George Zimmerman's former neighbors gave some of the most dramatic and crucial testimony in his murder trial today. They told jurors what they saw and heard on that dark and rainy night in Florida when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

One of them even took photos of Zimmerman's bloodied head and nose when he encountered him right after the shooting. Both spoke to the key question of whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense, but not necessarily in the way we might have expected from prosecution witnesses.

Martin Savidge has been covering the trial for us in Sanford, Florida.

Martin, a very dramatic day today.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was, Wolf. I mean, the past two days have been focused on what was called the prosecution's star witnesses. Today, though, as you point out, these were key witnesses crucial to the case, especially for the defense because it seems that at least in two accounts, the stories they tell bolster what George Zimmerman has maintained, that it was Trayvon Martin that was on top of him beating him, and thereby he had to shoot in self- defense to help save his own life.

Jonathan Good was one of the first to testify. What was interesting is that he really is I guess you could say an eyewitness, he claims, that he was on his patio 10 to 15 feet away, saw the two struggling and could have identify them from the color of the clothing, and then later he of course knew them by name. And he described exactly what he saw, and, well, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: What you saw was the person on top in MMA-style straddle position, correct?

JOHN GOOD, WITNESS: Correct.

O'MARA: That was further described, was it not, as being ground and pound? Right?

GOOD: Correct.

O'MARA: What is ground and pound as you define in?

GOOD: That's usually what takes place in that type of position.

O'MARA: Sure, so MMA, to the extent that you're aware of it, MMA is mixed martial arts?

GOOD: Correct.

O'MARA: You knew it enough to start giving technology like ground and pound to what you saw. Right?

GOOD: That was the first thing that came to my mind, yes.

O'MARA: That the person on top was ground and pounding the person on the bottom?

GOOD: That's what it looked like, yes.

O'MARA: So, explain what ground and pound is in your mind.

GOOD: The person on top being able to punch the person on the bottom.

But the person on the bottom also has a chance to get out or punch the person on top. It's back and forth.

O'MARA: Sure. And which is the dominant position?

GOOD: It would be the top position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Pretty dramatic stuff, Martin, when we hear about that.

The state also tried to get at Zimmerman's state of mind with a different witness. Tell us a little bit about that.

SAVIDGE: That was Jonathan Manalo. And as you point out, he was the next one to take the witness stand.

What is interesting about him is that he is the very first person that George Zimmerman interacts with in the seconds immediately after he has shot Trayvon Martin and what the state was trying to get to in their testimony with him was what was Zimmerman's state of mind, and that is crucial for second-degree murder because it plays into that. So they really wanted to get a sense of what was George saying, what was he thinking. Here's what the witness said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONATHAN MANALO, WITNESS: OK. I had a connection with her right away and I said, your husband is involved in a shooting. He's been handcuffed and is going to be held for questioning at the Sanford Police Department.

And around that time, he kind of cut me off, and he says, just tell her I shot someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say he cut you off, the defendant cut you off?

MANALO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he told -- he said what, now?

MANALO: Just tell her I shot someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you respond to that?

MANALO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say?

MANALO: OK, well, he just shot someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saying to his wife?

(CROSSTALK)

MANALO: Yes, I was saying it to his wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of what he said that, how would you describe the defendant's demeanor?

MANALO: Like I was taking too long to say what I had to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Wolf, what was going on there was that the witness, George Zimmerman, was handcuffed at that point and he asked could the witness, the man that night, call Zimmerman's wife, which he did for him.

But what the state I think is trying to point out is wasn't that kind of an odd thing where he just blurts out, and says just tell her I shot someone? But then the defense came back and said, well, actually, he said a number of other things besides just that. But it was at least an attempt to point out state of mind.

BLITZER: Yes. What a dramatic way though to wind down week one of this second-degree murder trial.

Martin, don't go too far away.

I want to dig deeper a little bit right now with our CNN legal analysts. Sunny Hostin is a federal former prosecutor. Joey Jackson is a criminal defense attorney.

I'm going to play, Joey, another little clip. This is John Good, this is the neighbor who says he was an eyewitness to what was going on. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .. injury right around here?

LINDZEE FOLGATE, WITNESS: I can see that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as up as here. You see that?

FOLGATE: It appears to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as down low as here.

FOLGATE: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As what you testified before, sort of the same?

FOLGATE: It appears to be, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm sorry, Your Honor. I'm not identifying the exhibits. That's number 66 that the witness is testifying concerning.

And do you see this area right there of swelling, from this bridge here down to this ridge? Can you see that?

FOLGATE: It's hard to tell in this picture from a side view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Can you see this injury here? And can you identify what that is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection as to leading from this aspect in terms of testifying -- Mr. O'Mara testifying his injuries here without this witness saying that there is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sustained as to the word injury.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, that clearly wasn't John Good, the neighbor who was watching, says he was watching what was going on. That was testimony from Lindzee Folgate, a physician assistant who treated George Zimmerman the day after the shooting.

But the same question, Joey, to you. If John Good says he was there, he was only a few feet away and he believes he saw Zimmerman on the bottom, Trayvon Martin on the top beating him up, if you will, what does that say to you?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's huge, Wolf, and let me just go into this. Now, this was Folgate, the clip that you showed, the physician's assistant. The defense was cross-examining her on the issue of injury and talking about the issue of injury, what they were doing, the defense said was highlighting the injury, but more importantly, corroborating what George Zimmerman said happened that night in the actual medical report.

Now, if you look, Wolf, at that and you juxtapose that next to John Good's testimony and he's talking about MMA style and the person's on the bottom, and you also look at the screen, someone was yelling help, help, help. Well, the jury, Wolf, can infer that the person yelling help was the person in the bottom. And what that does is it corroborates the defense of self-defense.

BLITZER: It sounds, Sunny, like that was pretty important testimony that helps George Zimmerman.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's no question that it was important testimony. It was the most important testimony for the defense and many are people saying, well, why would the prosecution put this type of witness on the witness stand in its case in chief?

The prosecution doesn't want to be seen by this jury as trying to hide the ball, trying to hide evidence. You can't run away from the facts when you're a prosecutor. You put it all out there and you try to shape the narrative so that it fits your theory of the case, but no question about it this was a good witness for the defense.

But let me point out that this witness did say that while he saw Trayvon Martin on top of -- or who he believed was Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman near the concrete, he then left and went inside and seconds passed between them, between the time that he saw that and then called 911 and then when Trayvon Martin is shot, he's shot and lands in the grass, far away from the concrete, so we don't know what happened between when this witness left and when Trayvon Martin was shot. That's one point.

The other point I think -- and we will see that coming from the prosecution, I'm sure -- the other point that I think, Wolf, is really important is what were the extent of his injuries and that's where you're hearing all of this. You're hearing about the extent of the injuries and the prosecution's going to say they're not really that serious.

And the last thing that I think is really important to mention also is that this John Good is the only witness out of all the neighbors that we saw on the witness stand that says it was George Zimmerman on the bottom. Every other witness says, no, it was Trayvon Martin on the bottom.

And so I think when you look at this case, this is a complicated case. It's like putting together little pieces of a puzzle. Ultimately, the jury may still find that when the puzzle is complete, they may not find John Good's version of events credible, but again this was still a very good day for the defense. BLITZER: A good day.

All right, guys, hold on for a moment. I want both of you to stand by because there's a lot more to discuss. Other elements that came out at the end of week one, we're going to continue our special coverage of the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial ongoing in Sanford, Florida.

We're also following other important news this hour, including some record-breaking temperatures out West, 115 degrees and higher. It could be a very dangerous situation all weekend.

Also this hour, I will speak live with a state senator in a Texas brawl with Governor Rick Perry over abortion rights and his personal attacks on her. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This week, the Texas State Senator Wendy Davis staged an 11-hour filibuster preventing passage of a bill that would have tightened the state's restrictions on abortions.

Her filibuster attracted a huge crowd at the Texas State Capitol Tuesday night. The story also went viral on the Internet. In the space of a week, Senator Davis became a hero to some and a target for others, including the Texas governor, Rick Perry. Here's what the governor said about her yesterday while speaking to a group of anti- abortion activists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The fact is, who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can't grow to live successful lives?

In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And the state Senator Wendy Davis is joining us now from Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, specifically.

Senator, the governor's office issued another statement today because I know you were angry at him for making those personal comments about you yesterday. The governor, the statement says, "was praising Senator Davis for her success despite coming from difficult circumstances and that should be an inspiration to others."

What's your response to this?

WENDY DAVIS (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Well, as I said yesterday, and really, Wolf, I didn't have an angry response to it on behalf of myself.

I think it just demonstrated the typical attitude that Governor Perry has expressed toward this issue. He's demeaned the high office that he holds by saying things like that. But the larger picture is that it's symptomatic what really is his perspective on women and the very personal liberties that are guaranteed to us by the Constitution and his desire to see big government intrude upon those very private matters.

BLITZER: We invited him to join us and, hopefully, he will come in next week to join us, but if he's watching you now, what would you say directly to Governor Perry?

DAVIS: What I would say directly, Governor Perry, if you truly care about women's health, let's do something to make sure that we are protecting them. Let's make sure that we are preventing unplanned pregnancies and that we are committing resources to make that happen.

Let's make sure that we are working for age-appropriate sex education in our school system. And let's stop demonizing women who face very difficult choices in their life. Let's make sure that we don't close down 37 of the 42 clinics in Texas and leave women with nowhere to go and put them in a situation where their health will be at risk, because what we do know is that closing down the ability to access that service unfortunately does not take the need away or women's confronting that issue away.

I agree with what the American College of American Gynecology and Obstetrics has said on this particular bill. They believe it endangers women's health because it's putting us back in an era that we have been before. And we know what happens when women in impoverished settings who can't access care turn to.

BLITZER: As you know, there's a huge debate in the country over abortion rights for women. And that debate is obviously continuing.

Legislation that you filibustered would have panned nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. And a recent poll, United Technologies/National Journal poll, asked whether or not people support this; 48 percent said they would ban -- they would support banning nearly all abortions off 20 weeks of pregnancy -- 44 percent opposed, 8 percent unsure.

So this is a fiercely, fiercely debated issue right now. There's two sides to this story.

DAVIS: Oh, there certainly is. And let's face it. No one likes the idea of an abortion that's that late.

But, sometimes, women find out unfortunately later in their pregnancies that they're facing some very serious issues, either for their own health or because there are health issues for her pregnancy. And women confront those very difficult personal choices, personal challenges.

I think the larger issue really is about the sanctity of personal decision-making, privacy and liberties that are assured to women by the Constitution and respecting and keeping big government out of the decision-making.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Sorry for interrupting.

DAVIS: That's all right.

BLITZER: But the governor says he's going to call another special session that starts July 1.

DAVIS: Yes.

BLITZER: Are you going to filibuster again?

DAVIS: It starts on Monday. The opportunity I had to filibuster this bill was really from some mismanagement of the calendar by Republican leaders that gave us the opportunity to do that.

I think, this time, unfortunately, the consequence of that will be that they are going to work to cram this bill through as fast as they possibly can with as little public discourse as possible. What we saw in terms of the outcry at the Capitol this week was that women want their voices to be heard.

And they were demanding that they be heard. In the filibuster, I had the opportunity to read some very personal stories from women who were willing to share those so that they could be a part of that conversation.

BLITZER: We're out of time, but a quick yes or no. Are you going to run against him for governor?

(LAUGHTER)

DAVIS: I don't know. I got to go to work on this bill for a little while.

BLITZER: Sounds like a maybe to me then. All right, we will see.

Senator, thanks very much for coming in.

DAVIS: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, the father of the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, offers the government a deal to get his son home. Stand by for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The father of Edward Snowden is trying to strike a deal for the government -- with the government, I should say, for the NSA leaker's surrender.

CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Edward Snowden is apparently hiding out in a Russian airport, his father is publicly defending him.

LONNIE SNOWDEN, FATHER OF EDWARD SNOWDEN: He has, in fact, broken U.S. law, in the sense that he has released classified information. And if folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact, he has betrayed his government, but I don't believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States.

JOHNS: And suggesting the accused NSA leaker might voluntarily give himself up and return to the United States, but any return would have conditions attached. A letter from Lonnie Snowden's attorney to the Department of Justice says Snowden might return if he is detained or imprisoned prior to trial, not subject to a gag order and gets to pick the trial venue, the court, in other words, of his choosing.

A former federal prosecutor who has handled several national security cases says, at the Justice Department, these conditions are likely dead on arrival.

DAVID LAUFMAN, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It's an interesting letter to read. I dare say my former colleagues at the Department of Justice probably got a chuckle when they saw it. I think this is -- this letter is a dead letter when it gets to the department.

JOHNS: Asking for what you want to get a suspect to give himself up is part of the game, but David Laufman says the government isn't only looking to prosecute here.

LAUFMAN: Well, one of the challenges the government faces in national security prosecutions is the risk that going forward in the prosecution itself will further compromise the disclosure of intelligence information. That's always the challenge in these cases and, in this case, it will be a big challenge, too, if he is returned to the United States.

JOHNS: Which is a big if. Lonnie Snowden says he has not spoken to his son since April.

SNOWDEN: I love him. I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him. I don't want to put him in peril.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: It's an unusual letter, but a source close to the case tells CNN it was a message intended to reach Edward Snowden himself, as well as Justice Department officials, to try to put options on the table, including Snowden's possible return to the United States, that may not have been considered seriously. He's also said he's concerned whether his son may have been manipulated by the WikiLeaks organization, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Well, there is a lot going on in this case, and we will continue to follow it. Joe, thanks very much.

Still ahead, we're going to try to read between the lines of that blockbuster testimony today in the George Zimmerman trial. Which side made a stronger case?

And a very dangerous situation unfolding out West, as temperatures really soaring.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now; five days of powerful testimony. We're going to tell you what George Zimmerman, where the murder trial stands at this moment, what lies ahead.

Also, a historic heat wave out west, temperatures soaring to 115 degrees and higher.

And the iconic Muppets Bert and Ernie, they become poster boys for same-sex marriage on a magazine cover after the Supreme Court's landmark rulings.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Over a year after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, we got some really detailed accounts of what happened that night in Florida. Two of Zimmerman's former neighbors were among the witnesses at his murder trial today.

John Good told jurors he saw some of the tussle -- his word -- some of the tussle and that it appeared that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and that he was punching him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: In terms of describing the individuals, are you able to describe their faces or anything or just clothing descriptions?

GOOD: Well, going back to when they were vertical, I could tell the person on the bottom had a lighter-skinned color.

O'MARA: What you saw was the person on top in MMA straddle position, correct?

Explain what ground and pound is in your mind.

GOOD: The person on top being able to punch the person on the bottom.

But the person on the bottom also has a chance to get out or punch the person on top. It's back and forth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: MMA, mixed martial arts.

Also testifying today, a neighbor who took photos of a bloodied Zimmerman shortly after Martin was shot. Jonathan Manalo was asked about his conversation with Zimmerman during those tense moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You also asked him what happened.

JONATHAN MANALO, NEIGHBOR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he said, "This guy was beating me up and I shot him."

MANALO: "I had to defend myself, and I shot him."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry.

MANALO: "I was defending myself and I shot him."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, "This guy was beating me up. I was defending myself, and I shot him" is what he told you.

MANALO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without hesitation.

MANALO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And from what you could tell at the moment, it seemed completely true.

MANALO: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Let's bring in our CNN legal correspondent, Jean Casarez, and our CNN legal analyst, the criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame.

Jean, the testimony was riveting today. Who got the better deal as far as your assessment is concerned?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in the midst of the prosecution's case, but this was a very, very strong day for the defense.

Let's start with Jonathan Manalo, who you just heard from. He was the first person to get outside right after the shooting. It was really not even a minute later.

And the court is allowing res gestae, or excited utterance statements to come before the jury. And this neighbor said what happened, and George Zimmerman said, "This guy was beating me up and so I had to shoot him." And that is allowed because of the trustworthy nature of it. John Goode, another neighbor, eyewitness. He was the one that was out there right at the pinnacle point of time before the shot. And why is this important? Because the defense has to show that George Zimmerman believed reasonably he was going to die or have serious bodily injury. He saw in three stages: them horizontal on the grass, and then shimmying over to the cement, and that is when he says the gentleman on the bottom -- we now know George Zimmerman -- was yelling for help.

And then the Officer John Goode -- Officer Tim Smith took the stand, and he said that when he arrived just a minute after it happened that George Zimmerman said, "I was yelling for help and no one came to help me."

BLITZER: All right. Mark, let me play that clip, that little exchange that the -- that Bernie de la Rionda, the prosecutor, had with the neighbor, John Goode, who says he watched what was going on. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE DE LA RIONDE, PROSECUTOR: My question is, did you ever see the person on top kick the person on the bottom and actually slam them into the concrete?

GOODE: No.

DE LA RIONDE: Did you ever see the person on top slamming the person on the bottom's head on the concrete over and over and over?

GOODE: No.

DE LA RIONDE: Did you see, at any time, the person on top grab the person on the bottom's head and slam it into the concrete?

GOODE: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, so as much John Goode presumably helped the defense, you saw the prosecutor trying to chip away.

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, the prosecutor did the best job he could with the cards that were dealt to him. He played it as well as he could.

The fact is, as a lot of people are asking him, well, why would the prosecution put on this witness who was apparently more of a defense witness, and the answer is very simple. Because the defense was going to call him, so this is the best way for the state to go ahead and diffuse it as best they could, to put their best spin on this, and that's what they did. They wanted to put some blocks there so that maybe there were some questions and maybe Mr. Goode was not quite as reliable as he was otherwise appearing.

But the fact is, is that this is the state's case. They needed to put him on, because if they didn't, the jury would be suspicious: why are you not telling us the whole story.

So I think it was a good move by the state, but I don't think that they could stop the credibility that Mr. Goode seemed to present to everybody who was listening.

BLITZER: You know, Jean, the pictures, showing the blood, showing the damage to his head, that were brought in, this evidence today, especially when those six women, who are members of the jury, when they have to assess whether or not he acted in legitimate self- defense, those could be pretty powerful, all those pictures, don't you think?

CASAREZ: And Wolf, they were so focused on them. They were on the big multimedia screen.

But here's the amazing thing. The neighbor, Jonathan Manalo, took the two pictures showing the most significant blood right after it happened, and you know why he took those pictures, Wolf? Because law enforcement was asking another neighbor, can you I.D. the two people?

She says, "I don't want to go over there. Can somebody take a picture?" That was why those pictures were taken.

When the EMT arrived, they cleaned up George Zimmerman's injuries. Law enforcement never documented them. Those are the only pictures to show the original blood.

BLITZER: The trial resumes on Monday. We'll have extensive coverage next week, as well. Week two of the second-degree murder case involving George Zimmerman.

Guy, thanks very much. We'll have you back next week.

Just ahead, a new arrest in the murder case involving the former NFL player, Aaron Hernandez. Two of his friends are now in police custody, as well.

And a four-star U.S. general under investigation for allegedly giving away classified information.

And the historic melting. The heat wave out west.

But first, daytime television star Kelly Ripa shows a way to impact your world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH KELLY & MICHAEL": Hi, I'm Kelly Ripa, and we can make an impact on ovarian cancer.

(At some point, someone along the line, either in your family or in your neighborhood, will be diagnosed with this disease, and if it's caught early enough, it is entirely treatable. But there's so little known about it. A childhood friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and unfortunately, succumbed to the disease because she didn't recognize the warning signs until it was too late. And that's when I really got involved.

Join the movement. Impact Your World: CNN.com/impact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Major news in California. Breaking news. A federal appeals court has just now lifted its order blocking same-sex marriage in California. It's a direct result of the historic decision by the United States Supreme Court earlier this week on proposition-8. That banned same-sex marriage in California.

It's a direct result of the historic decision by the United States Supreme Court earlier this week on Proposition 8. That banned same-sex marriage in California.

Today's order just released by the ninth circuit court of appeals simply says this: "The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately, effective immediately." Effective immediately.

Earlier in the week, after the Supreme Court decision, I interviewed the attorney general of California, Kamala Harris. She said she wants same-sex couples to be allowed to get married in California very, very quickly. She didn't know how long it would take the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay on those marriage -- on those kinds of marriages as a result of the Supreme Court decision.

But now, we know the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has moved very, very quickly. The stay is lifted, and that sets the stage for same-sex marriage to resume in California.

A retired high ranking U.S. Marine general now at the center of a huge controversy involving leaks of U.S. secrets. James Cartwright used to be the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Now, he's being investigated by the Justice Department. Here's our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retired Marine Corps General James Cartwright, once one of President Obama's closest advisers, now under Justice Department investigation for supplying classified material to a "New York Times" journalist.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the former vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is being scrutinized for divulging details to David Sanger for his book, "Confront and Conceal." The book details the Obama administration's efforts to confront national security challenges, including Iran's nuclear program.

NBC News reports Cartwright is being investigated for allegedly providing secret details about a U.S. program he helped run to infect an Iranian nuclear facility with the Stuxnet computer virus, an operation so sensitive, he once described it as an act of war if used against the U.S.

GEN. JAMES CARTWRIGHT (RET.), U.S. MARINES: So the question then becomes are those centrifuges critical to our national activities. If in the judgment of the national leadership that's true, then it becomes an act.

STARR: CNN has not confirmed Cartwright specifically is being investigated over Stuxnet, and he has not been charged.

Cartwright's attorney said, "Any suggestion that he could have betrayed the country he loves is preposterous."

CNN contributor Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration colleague of Cartwright's, thinks it's inconceivable the general would leak such vital secrets.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's really shocking to me because this is not the sort of thing -- this was not a shoot-from- the-hip guy, not a sort of -- not a self-aggrandizing soldier. I mean, he's a real -- a real patriot.

STARR: Steven Aftergood, an advocate for reducing government secrecy, says reforms are needed to deal with disclosures of classified information short of criminal prosecution.

STEVEN AFTERGOOD, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: The vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is not a disgruntled mid-level bureaucrat. He's just at the very top of the pyramid, and if he is accused of leaking classified information, then anybody could be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: And so you know, Wolf, in these cases, the question always comes up here in Washington: could there have been political motivation? Did somebody in the White House encourage Cartwright to leak this information to make the White House look tougher on Iran? We don't know the answer to that, but what we do know is David Sanger had multiple sources for his work -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara. Thanks very much.

Meanwhile, a new arrest, and new details of the evidence of the murder case against the former NFL player, Aaron Hernandez. Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is in Attleborough, Massachusetts. What are you hearing, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.

Major developments tonight coming from the district attorney here, announcing that two people who he alleges were with ex-football player Aaron Hernandez the night that Odin Lloyd was murdered are now behind bars, but those two men are not yet charged with murder.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMUEL SUTTER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have those three individuals that were in the car at that time that Odin Lloyd got into the car, we now have them in custody.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Earnest Wallace was last seen driving a car investigators say was rented by Aaron Hernandez hours after Odin Lloyd's murder. A car allegedly swapped out for one believed to have been used the night of the murder. Police say Hernandez drove the new rental back to his house with two so-called confederates.

VOICE OF WILLIAM MCCAULEY, BRISTOL COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Shortly after arriving back at the house, the two confederates get back in the car and they leave.

CANDIOTTI: After seeing this wanted poster calling him armed and dangerous, Wallace told police he wanted to surrender where he lives, in Miramar, Florida. He walked into a police station but refused to say anything else, invoking his right against self-incrimination.

Another man, Carlos Ortiz, charged as a fugitive in connection with the murder investigation, was sent back to Massachusetts from Connecticut.

Investigators say there's surveillance video showing Hernandez, Ortiz and Wallace picking up victim Odin Lloyd at his house and getting into a silver Nissan Altima at the house at 2:32 a.m.

CNN has obtained security camera photos taken three minutes later, at 2:35 a.m. The photos, that are extremely grainy, show a light-colored car driving down the victim's street. It's unclear whether this is the silver Altima, and investigators won't discuss it. The people who own the cameras tell CNN police spent hours looking at this and other videos taken that night.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: Now, the man who turned himself in in Florida is expected to be extradited back here to Massachusetts sometime soon.

The other man, who is already in custody here in Connecticut and had a brief hearing today, a lawyer representing him said that he had no comment as to whether Mr. Ortiz may be involved in Lloyd's murder, and at this time, the man is only charged on a firearms count -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Susan Candiotti reporting the very latest on this case. Thanks very much.

Up next, a very dangerous situation out west as planes are at risk right now as the temperatures soar into triple digits.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news. BLITZER: Gay marriage once again legal, right now this very minute, in California after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay, the stay that allows gay marriages now to go forward.

In fact, the attorney general of California, Kamala Harris, she's at the San Francisco City Hall, and she's participating in the marriage of a couple right now. In fact, not just any couple, a couple that was directly involved, actually two couples directly involved in the case before the United States Supreme Court that ended the ban on same-sex marriage in California by lifting the ban on the California Proposition 8.

So Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California, getting -- is in city hall right now. And she's officiating, I assume she's officiating. But she's at least observing at the marriage of these two same-sex couples who are right at the heart of this case before the United States Supreme Court.

So once again, same-sex marriage has returned to the largest state in the United States, California. Very historic week on gay rights here in the United States.

Other news we're following. Let's stay out west where a dangerous and blistering heat wave is beginning today. Casey Wian is joining us right now.

Casey, pretty hot out there, right?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN (voice-over): Planes are grounded at Bermuda Dunes Airport. Flight school owner David Shapiro says record high temperatures make flying these small aircraft too dangerous on a relatively short runway.

DAVID SHAPIRO, FLIGHT SCHOOL OWNER: Well, basically, what that means is we'll be out of business this afternoon. It's just going to be too hot to fly.

When the temp is 110, 115 degrees, the air is thinner. The thinner the air, the less lift on the airplane. And less you have a really long runway, diminished lift can be a big problem.

Here, the runway's about a mile long. And you know, we could get it off the ground. It's not that we can't. You just shouldn't.

WIAN: At Palm Springs International Airport, the runway is twice as long, and the airport is designed for high temperatures.

TOM NOLAN, PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: It is hot, no doubt, and this is an anomaly. It's rare that it gets to 120 degrees. But when it does, we're well prepared, Casey. We lengthen runways. We strengthen the pavement. We're well prepared to handle any time of heat. WIAN: In fact, Nolan says it's actually an attraction for tourists.

NOLAN: The Europeans love coming to our desert. People from Canada. I checked the manifest today. We have people from Spain, from Germany, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Toronto. You can see in the aircraft behind me, passengers coming in, enjoying the mountains, the golf, the spas.

The bottom line is: no matter how hot it gets this weekend, no flights are going to be canceled. We'll be fully operational. We're ready for it, and we'll have lots of people flying in.

WIAN: With blazing temperatures throughout the west, air conditioners are humming. Frozen treats are being scooped, and construction workers are adjusting shifts.

GREG EXCELL, ELECTRICIAN: Sometimes we'll change our hours where we start much earlier and start getting off about noontime before the real heat of the day hits.

WIAN: In Las Vegas, the National Weather Service says it's expected to hit 115 Friday, 117 Saturday. Phoenix 118 today, 117 Saturday.

One way to cool off? Leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to San Francisco to visit family.

WIAN: And back in Palm Springs, my car thermometer read 118 degrees at 11 a.m. this morning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Now the current temperature: 117 degrees. It's gone down just a little bit. It's expected to be 120 here tomorrow.

But I want to show you something, Wolf. If you look at this tarmac where I'm standing, we did a temperature reading: 140 degrees here on this tarmac. Very, very hot conditions. Big concern for pilots, Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly is. All right. Casey, thanks very, very much.

We're following the breaking news out of California. Same-sex marriage ceremonies, they have begun, as a result of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifting the stay on same-sex marriage. We'll have more on that right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: All right. We've just got the confirmation, official statement from Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California. She is now participating in some gay, same-sex marriages out in California.

Let me read the statement that she just released following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifting its stay on Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriage in California. There you saw the Supreme Court set the scene for this earlier in the week. There's David Boies and some of the other plaintiffs in the case. They won that case. Same-sex marriage now going forward in California.

Here's the statement from the attorney general, Kamala Harris: "I am thrilled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California. Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day," she said, "and for their fundamental right to marry. Finally," she says, "their loving relationships are as legitimate and as legal -- and legal as any other." That statement from Kamala Harris, the attorney general.

And as I said, she's now at the San Francisco City Hall. And she's participating in two marriages, two of those couples, the same- sex couples that were involved in the case.

Let me just point out that this is a, historic moment in California, indeed around the country as this Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the decision has gone forward, lifting the stay.

Very traumatic moment indeed. And it was all put in motion -- all put in motion by the United States Supreme Court decisions ending Defense of Marriage -- the Defense of Marriage Act on the one hand but also allowing same sex-marriage effectively to go forward.

Kamala Harris was here in THE SITUATION ROOM with me earlier in the week. And she said this would happen quickly. Indeed it has happened very, very quickly.

By the way, the Supreme Court's landmark decision on same-sex marriage also having another impact involving "Sesame Street." Look at this: the Muppet Bert and Ernie are seen celebrating the rulings on the cover. There they are, on the cover of "New Yorker" magazine. It's reigniting some speculation out there that the two iconic characters are gay. That's been rumored for years.

PBS still insists it isn't so. It says that Bert and Ernie are puppets. They don't have sexual orientations.

That's it for me this hour. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.