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Heat Wave Bakes West; Mandela in Critical but Stable Condition; Same-Sex Marriages Resume in California; George Zimmerman Trial; Companies Cut Ties with Paula Deen; Housing Market Heats Up; Obama Speaks To Mandela Family; Unrest In Egypt Today; Seven Missing On Famous Sailboat; Temperatures Hit 110 Plus In The West; Patriots Offer Hernandez' Jersey Swap; "Impossible To Win Without Doping"; Blackhawks Parade Through Chicago; Another Feat Achieved; DOMA, Prop 8 And Voting Rights

Aired June 29, 2013 - 11:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much ladies. I love this girl power morning. Good morning to everybody. You don't usually see me here at this hour but we're starting something new as of this weekend.

And by the way, it is sizzling hot out West today. An oppressive heat wave is pushing temperatures in the triple digits from California to Nevada. We have the latest forecast.

And President Barack Obama in South Africa today. This morning he met with South African President Jacob Zuma, but will he be visiting Nelson Mandela who continues to be hospitalized? We'll tell you about all that in a moment.

In the death of Trayvon Martin, one person that we have not heard from before is Trayvon's stepmother. Straight ahead, you'll hear what she has to say about the trial and the loss of her stepson.

Hello, everyone. We're beginning with a dangerous heat wave carrying temperatures well over 100 degrees baking parts of the West. It could hit 128 degrees in California's Death Valley today and people are doing whatever they can to try to stay cool.

Alexandra Steele is live for us in the CNN Weather Center. So this is some oppressive heat, particularly dangerous, Alexandra, for the most vulnerable of our population.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, but with numbers as high as these are, it's not only that. I mean, we're talking about records that aren't just highs for the day or highs for the month, but some of these places in the desert southwest could see temperatures that they have never seen before.

And here is why. It is a jet stream extreme. So here is what's happening. On the West Coast you've got this ridge of high pressure. On the East Coast you've got this area of low pressure with this trough. But to the West with high pressure, we have sinking air, compressing air, and thus warming air. It's kind of like when you're pumping up your bicycle tire and you feel the rubber and it feels warm to you. That air has been compressed. And we're seeing it at such a magnitude and such a level.

So the extreme heat here in the southwest, at least eight states under some type of heat advisory, watch, or warning. Anywhere from Vegas to Phoenix, to Yuma to Oakland those are kind of the biggest cities impacted with it.

Right now at this hour this early hour for Phoenix it's 95 degrees. So Phoenix on the whole this time of the year averages 107 degrees. So it is warm there anyway but today 118 degrees, so flirting with 120 degrees. For Phoenix 120 has only happened three times in its history. So look at these numbers. Even by Wednesday still 110 degrees. So this heat wave not only the amplitude of these numbers being so high, but we're seeing it for such a long period of time through next week.

Also places like Las Vegas on average they should be at about 103 degrees. Look at this -- For today 116 degrees, 117 degrees. Tomorrow 117, if it hits that, it will be the highest that they have ever been, the warmest number ever. And look at Death Valley, 134 degrees that's the world record temperature; 129 degrees expected Sunday and Monday.

So Fredricka, really the magnitude of this is pretty substantial.

WHITFIELD: Yes well, hence the words Death Valley, you know. This is oppressive heat and it only is worse than we're ordinarily used to. But thanks so much and well into next week.


WHITFIELD: All right, Alexandra, I appreciate it. Keep us posted on that.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up in about 30 minutes or so from now, we're going to go live to California where the mercury is rising and rising high. We'll find out how big of an impact this kind of heat has on airplanes. A pretty remarkable fact that comes with that -- oppressive heat impacting your flights today.

The murder trial of George Zimmerman has ended its first week of testimony following a long parade of prosecution witnesses. Our Martin Savidge is in Sanford, Florida for us with the very latest. So Martin jurors have seen and listened to a lot of testimonies in the past five days which ones is most likely made the biggest impressions?


Jonathan Good by far has been one of the strongest witnesses and he took the stand yesterday. What make him powerful are a couple things. He's a neighbor. He was in the subdivision, the condo complex where this tragedy played out. And he was the closest to the two -- George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin -- as they struggled in the darkness. He was about 15, 20 feet away.

He was called by the state, meaning by the prosecution, but he really favored the defense. He was able to say that it was Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman, that at the same time he could see what appeared to be blows being delivered against George Zimmerman on the ground and he even then talked about that big question, whose voice could be heard crying for help? Here is how the defense cross-examined him.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE LAWYER: The voice screaming for help however many times that you heard it, it was just one person's voice?

JOHN GOOD, TWIN LAKE RESIDENT: When I heard it outside? I believe it was just one person's voice, yes.

O'MARA: And you now believe that that was George Zimmerman's voice, correct?

GOOD: I never said that.


O'MARA: Do you believe --

GOOD: I said it could have been his but I was not 100 percent sure.

O'MARA: I'm not asking for 100 percent certainty. I'm asking you to use your common sense and to tell us if you think that that was George Zimmerman's voice screaming for help, the person on the bottom.

GOOD: That's just my opinion.

O'MARA: Ok. Nothing further, your honor.


SAVIDGE: A little reluctant there, but he did eventually come out and say that he believed it was George Zimmerman that was crying for help. Of course, it is felt that in this particular case if you determine who is crying for help, then you are determining who was the victim and not the aggressor and of course, it is the defense team that's saying George Zimmerman maintains it was self defense, the reason he shot that teen -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right Martin Savidge, we're going to talk more about this case but from a different point of view.

Alicia Stanley helped raise Trayvon Martin from the age of three she says, until she and Trayvon's father split up 14 years later. Until now we have not hear from her. She gave this exclusive interview to CNN's "AC 360."


ALICIA STANLEY, TRAYVON MARTIN'S STEPMOTHER: I want people to know that Trayvon was a kind person. He was a loving person. He loved children, babies. You know, before this happened I really believe he had been working with children -- ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": Yes.

STANLEY: -- because he adored children. And just let people know that he's not what the media make him out to be. Like he was this thug. He wasn't that.

COOPER: Are you watching the trial?

STANLEY: I -- I'm not watching the trial. My --


STANLEY: It's -- it's hard for me. It is -- I mean, to see and hear the things that led to his death, it's hard for me. And I don't care to hear it -- I don't care to hear that. I don't.

COOPER: Do you have any doubt about what happened?

STANLEY: I have no doubt that he didn't start that fight. He didn't start the fight. What I'm saying is that he did -- it was a fight. There's no doubt it was a fight and Zimmerman had to put his hands on him to cause that fight. He was defending himself.

So for people to say, well, he tried to kill him and he this and he that, I don't think anyone would have been standing somewhere in the dark and then approached by someone they don't know and being pushed around and you're not going to defend yourself.


WHITFIELD: Alicia Stanley, the stepmother of Trayvon Martin. So much more on the legal issues in the Zimmerman trial are also straight ahead this hour.

Meantime overseas President Barack Obama is in South Africa today, but he will not be visiting Nelson Mandela out of what the President called, quote, "deference to Mandela's peace and comfort", end quote. The 94-year-old remains in critical but stable condition with a recurring lung infection.

Our Isha Sesay is live for us right now in Pretoria. So Isha South African President Jacob Zuma is speaking about Mr. Mandela's health earlier today. What exactly did he say?

ISHA ESSAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Fredricka. Yes, the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, did indeed say today that President -- former President Mandela remained critical but stable, but he also added words which people are paying close attention to, that he's hoping that he continues to show improvement and will be able to be out of hospital very soon.

I must point out that the office of the South African presidency controls the flow of information about Mandela's condition. The last official statement we got came out on Thursday which also said that Mandela was critical but stable, and Zuma reiterating that again today, but as I say, also adding these words, "We're hoping it will improve and Mandela will be out of hospital very soon."

Another piece of information worth bringing to you Fredricka is that a very close Mandela family friend stopped by at the Tribute Wall just behind me a couple hours ago. His name is Max Sisulu. Now he is the son of a very close friend of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, who was on Robin Island in prison with Mandela all those years ago.

Max said just a short time ago, and I want to read this to you, "Madiva is responding well and we're happy with the progress Madiva is making. We want to hold on to him as long as possible and as much as possible."

Those are the details we're getting on Mandela's condition today -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Ok and Isha in the meantime President Barack Obama he met with Mr. Mandela's family. I want to read part of a statement released by the President saying this, quote, "Today I had the privilege of meeting with members of the Mandela family at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa and in inspiring people around the world, including me. That's a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives," end quote.

So how important is it for the President to be able to meet with the family members while they're in South Africa?

SESAY: Yes Fred, I think it's hugely important. And I think it's something the family appreciated a great deal. Now, let's be clear, the White House had said that this meeting wouldn't happen unless the family wanted it and certainly President Obama would not be visiting Nelson Mandela at the hospital just behind me.

But we did hear a short time ago President Obama, the First Lady and Sasha and Malia were able to meet with members of the Mandela family, two of Nelson Mandela's three daughters and a number of the grandchildren were present at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg where they had this meeting and the Obamas were able to convey their profound sense of sadness and the fact that their thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right Isha keep us posted there from Pretoria. I appreciate that.

Meantime, President Obama is right now at a youth town hall meeting in Soweto. He's talking with students. I think we have a live picture coming up, with students at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus. These are images from earlier when anti-Obama protesters gathered outside the campus. A scuffle broke out, as you see it right there, but authorities were able to disperse them.

All right back here at home in this country, same-sex couples are tying the knot once again in California. A federal appeals court cleared the way late yesterday. The decision comes just two days after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against same-sex marriage.

Dan Simon is right now in San Francisco where more same-sex marriages will be taking place today. How busy is it expected to be later on?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, now that Proposition Eight is gone, the weddings officially begin, and we expect a lot of folks to file into city hall here in San Francisco, get marriage certificates, have marriage ceremonies you know to mark this noteworthy event.

The city of San Francisco says city hall will remain open all weekend. And as you say this -- this only happens after the appeals court, the Ninth Circuit here in San Francisco, lifted its hold on same-sex marriages following that momentous decision earlier in the week from the Supreme Court.

Now, the first wedding occurred late yesterday afternoon. A lot of cheers here in city hall as Chris Perry and Sandy Steer, one of two same-sex couples who sued made their way from the city clerk's office to city hall getting married. Camilla Harris was the attorney general for the state of California, officiating that wedding. And the other couple who sued, a male couple, also got married yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles and they spoke out afterwards. Take a look.


PAUL KATAMI, PLAINTIFF IN SUPREME COURT CASE: We're going to fly to San Francisco and celebrate with Chris and Sandy and the rest of the people that made this happen. And let me tell you, equal feels different.

Equal feels good.


SIMON: Now, the court's timing on this was a big surprise. Normally there's a 25-day waiting period after Supreme Court decisions and not surprising Prop 8 defenders very upset about this. A lawyer for Protect Marriage called this a disgraceful day for the state of California.

But it's unclear if they'll have any recourse or if they'll even ask the Supreme Court to rehear this case. But nonetheless, you can expect a lot of folks to get married all throughout the state of California and this happens to coincide with Gay Pride Weekend in San Francisco.

So there will be a lot of celebrating on the streets -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Pretty significant. All right thanks so much. Dan Simon, I appreciate that. We'll check back with you throughout the afternoon.

All right in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the prosecution called this young woman as the star witness. She did not want to be there -- that woman right there. Her testimony is straight ahead.

And the blows keep coming for Paula Deen. The latest on what's happening to her next cook book. It was on track to be a best-seller -- not anymore.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: It was a pivotal, sometimes awkward, often enlightening week of testimony and moments in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Zimmerman defense lawyer Don West beginning it with a knock-knock joke in his opening statement.

And earlier this week his daughter posting this photo of West scarfing down ice cream with two of his daughters; the caption says, "we beat stupidity celebration cones," with a hash tag "DadKilledIt. After the photo went viral, a spokesman for the defense team acknowledged the photo caption sent the wrong message and did not reflect West's true feelings.

West sounded his own note of dismay with this statement saying, quote, "Sometimes we're deeply disappointed by the things our children do, but we love them anyway and we move on," end quote.

Jurors in the Zimmerman trial have the weekend off to mull over the testimony they heard this week from neighbors and first responders. Among them the so-called star witness, Rachel Jeantel, a young woman Trayvon Martin was talking to on the phone at the time of the altercation with Zimmerman. She grew testy under cross-examination by defense attorney Don West.


RACHEL JEANTEL, WITNESS: I told you. You listening?


JEANTEL: I had told you what happened in the interview they had rushed on me. Are you listening?


WHITFIELD: Let's bring in CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez. Jean, Rachel Jeantel was not a sophisticated witness, but some say she was very authentic. Did the jurors seem to really connect with her or not?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: They were really focused. I mean, they were listening to every word. I didn't see a lot of notes because I think they just wanted to listen to her as she testified. And she's so critical for the prosecution because the prosecution's theory is that George Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin.

She was on the phone with Trayvon Martin right before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, and she said that Trayvon told her, "He keeps following me. This guy keeps following me." The call wasn't recorded so we don't hear Trayvon saying that. We have to believe her.

But to a point she corroborates the 911 non-emergency call that George Zimmerman made because we hear his car door opening, we hear the door chimes, we heard the wind as he is following. He admits it in the call basically. The question is did he keep following Trayvon Martin because according to her testimony, he did?

WHITFIELD: And other testimonies included neighbors who testified seeing part of the fight. In fact, let's listen to a bit of one testimony.


JOHN GOOD, WITNESS: It looked like a tussle. I could really only see one person, and I think I described it as possibly being some type of dog attack because there are a lot of dogs that walk in that back area and I could only see, you know, an object.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Ok. What then did you observe after that?

GOOD: It seemed like a tussle. They were vertical to me just like the blinds were. And then at one point I yelled out, "What's going on?" And "Stop it," I believe.


WHITFIELD: Will the defense likely be happy with John Good's testimony? Did he help establish self-defense?

CASAREZ: He helped corroborate George Zimmerman's story. Critical prosecution that really helped the defense because George Zimmerman is saying I was on the bottom, Trayvon Martin was on the top. He was bashing my head on the cement and that is what John Good testified to. And also the demeanor of George Zimmerman I think was important because shortly after the shot went out, a resident of the townhouse complex was I think there in 30 seconds and then law enforcement maybe a minute after that.

They testified that George Zimmerman made some statements, that he said, I was being beat up, and so I had to defend myself, and he told the officer I was yelling help, but no one came out to help me. Those excited utterance statements help the defense right there, but the prosecution can use the demeanor of not really caring, sort of nonchalant, like nothing had happened. That can go toward, they will say, the evil ill will and hatred that he had for this person that looked so suspicious.

WHITFIELD: All right. Fascinating stuff. We'll check back with you later on. There's so much to talk about and delve into this George Zimmerman --


WHITFIELD: -- murder trial. Thanks so much, Jean Casarez.

CASAREZ: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Celebrity cook Paula Deen, well, she spent years building a massive empire, and in less than two weeks, it all comes crashing down. Which companies now are saying "no thanks" to Deen?


WHITFIELD: Paula Deen's world of corporate partners is crumbling around her. Her publisher said yesterday it is canceling publication of her next cookbook. That came right after JC Penney and Sears said the kitchen is a little too hot with Deen.

Alina Machado has more. ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, QVC has announced Paula Deen will no longer been appearing on any of their shows for now. Sears said Friday it was phasing out all products tied to the brand. The announcements come as CNN learns Deen has hired a crisis management firm.


MACHADO (voice over): Despite her repeated apologies and her explanation on national television.

MATT LAUER, MSNBC HOST: Are you a racist?


LAUER: By birth, by choice, by osmosis, you don't feel you have racist tendencies?


MACHADO: The number of companies ending their ties with Paula Deen continues to grow after she admitted to having used the "n" word in a deposition taken for an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by a former employee.

DAVID JOHNSON, CEO, STRATEGIC VISION: She's making the issue worst every time she opens up her mouth.

MACHADO: On Thursday Target said it would discontinue Deen's products. Home Depot announced it had stopped selling her kitchen and cookware line and diabetes drug company Novo Nordisk suspended its relationship with Deen. Several others, including Wal-Mart and The Food Network also have called it quits in recent days.

JOHNSON: Your big sponsors, your big corporations are going to stay away from her.

MACHADO: Forbes ranked Deen the fourth highest paid celebrity chef last year estimating her endorsement earnings at $17 million. But it's not all bad news for Deen. Her fans have flocked to her Facebook page to show their support. There's even a "We support Paula Deen" page with hundreds of thousands of likes. Some members of the African- American community have also come out in her defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it right? No. I mean, she could have used another term, but, hey, it was a mistake that she made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She can't have a heart against black people with all that she's done.

MACHADO: Actress Stacy Dash showed her support in a tweet saying in part, "God does everything for a reason, Paula Deen. Only God can judge your heart."


MACHADO: I spoke with the vice president of the travel company that arranges Deen-themed cruises. She tells me they have no plans to cut their ties with Deen. She also says since the controversy broke, people have been calling her office to show their support for Deen and also ask about those cruises -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much Alina Machado.

So Monday don't miss a CNN special report "THE N WORD". Don Lemon hosts Monday night 7:00 Eastern time only on CNN.

All right. It is scorching hot in the popular getaway of Palm Springs and other parts of the West as well. We'll go live there to see how people are coping.

Also find out what the New England Patriots are doing to distance themselves from a former player and accused murder.

And Nik Wallenda joining me live to talk about his incredible walk over the Grand Canyon. Why was he wearing jeans, by the way?


WHITFIELD: Will a recent jump in mortgage prices slow down the housing market? In this "American Journey" report, Tom Foreman shows us areas where the housing market is going strong.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Modern luxuries combined with traditional charm. If you want to come inside and take a look, I'll show you what I mean.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like the California summer, home prices around Los Angeles are heating up fast. Agent Eric Tan says condos that were going for $100,000 a year ago are now fetching $160,000, $170,000 and more.

ERIC TAN, REAL ESTATE AGENT: The market has changed drastically. Everything has a steady trend upwards as far as the sales price and also competition for buyers.

FOREMAN: Tan works for Redfin where until fairly recently the CEO, Glenn Kelman was --

GLENN KELMAN, CEO, REDFIN: Scared to death was probably how I felt a year ago. We were really worried about the market. It had been many years since we had seen a rally and now this year we feel very confident.

FOREMAN: Confident because home prices in 20 targeted cities over the past year rose about 12 percent, and in some markets by even more. In Atlanta prices shot up almost 21 percent, in Las Vegas more than 22 percent and in San Francisco, nearly 24 percent. The general slow improvement of the economy and the re-emergence of investors who are convinced home prices have hit bottom are largely credited with making sellers so happy.

TAN: On the buyers' side it's a completely different story.

FOREMAN (on camera): True enough. In some of the hottest markets, buyers who were calling the shots just a few months ago now find themselves in bidding wars for the most desirable properties.

(voice-over): Still, the journey to a full recovery could yet see road blocks and it will certainly take time. Even with the upward trend, one study found the average home value now is about where it was in 2004. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right, checking today's top stories. President Obama met with members of Nelson Mandela's family in Johannesburg, South Africa today. He also called Mandela's wife at the hospital. Mr. Obama is also holding talks with South African President Jacob Zuma. The two leaders addressed the importance of growing trade and business relationships between the two countries.

Supporters and opponents of Egypt's president are back on the streets. State media says fighting between the two sides have left several people hurt in the port city of Alexandria. Opponents of President Mohamed Morsi are planning massive demonstrations tomorrow calling for his resignation.

A 21-year-old American teacher was stabbed and killed during protests yesterday. His family says he was just watching the demonstrations when he was attacked there.

BBC reports a sailboat missing at sea for more than three weeks now is presumed to have sunk. But the report says rescuers still believe the seven people on board, including six Americans, may have survived on a life raft. The group set sail from New Zealand on a 1200-mile journey to Australia June 3rd. Their racing ship built in 1928 got caught up in a storm. Extensive searches have turned up nothing.

And in this country a brutal heat wave is sending temperatures into the triple digits out west. It was so hot in Las Vegas yesterday more than 30 people at an outdoor concert had to be taken to a hospital. Almost 200 others had to be whisked away to the shade.

Casey Wian is live for us now in another hot spot, that of Palm Springs, California. However, being on the greens there, you make it look so cool.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, here is evidence of how hot it is here. It's 8:30 on a Saturday morning, a beautiful weekend day, look at this driving range. Not a soul here. There were people out here early in the morning. They're only expecting about 40 golfers today total. That's way less than half the number that they will normally get. It's not just golf courses that are feeling the impact, also aircraft. Small aircraft are grounded because of the heat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID SHAPIRO, DESERT WEST AVIATION: We'll be out of business this afternoon. It's just going to be too hot to fly. When it's 110, 115 degrees the air is thinner, the thinner the air, the less lift on the airplane. And, you know, we could get it off the ground. It's not that we can't. You just shouldn't.


WIAN: Now, 8:30 in the morning, as we said here, local time, you want to know how hot it is? It's 110 degrees. Look at that. We're coming up expecting to hit 120 degrees, maybe 121, which would equal the all- time record temperature for Palm Springs. Obviously, lots of concern about people staying hydrated, staying cool. Power companies say they've got extra staff on, extra crews on stand-by just in case there are any blackouts but, of course, they're urging people to really go easy on the appliances today when they can -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and go easy on the body in that heat as well. All right, thanks so much, Casey Wian, from Palm Springs.

All right, if you're dealing with that intense heat today, we want to know how you're coping. Send us an I-Report

Third round matches are on at Wimbledon this morning. Two big matches to watch out for today, Serena Williams will take on a 42-year-old opponent from Japan. And Serbian Novak Djokovic faces off with a French opponent on centre court. We'll be watching.

All right, the New England Patriots are distancing themselves even more from murder suspect and former tight end Aaron Hernandez. Jared Greenberg has that and more in this "Bleacher Report."

JARED GREENBERG, "BLEACHER REPORT": Fred, he is gone from the team and now the New England Patriots want his jersey off the streets. If you own an Aaron Hernandez number 81 Patriots jersey, now is your chance to trade it in. Days after releasing Hernandez from a $40 million contract, the Patriots understand that fans may no longer want to wear the jersey of an accused murderer.

The team is allowing fans to swap a Hernandez jersey for another member of the team at no additional cost. He was fan favorite during his three-year run in New England. However this weekend fans can go to the team store and rid themselves of a Hernandez jersey going home with a Patriots jersey that you are proud to put on your back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, who wants to hang onto a Hernandez jersey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd go and get like a Brady jersey or --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a great initiative. I think a lot of people are going to take them up on that, too. It's a smart move.

(END VIDEO CLIP) GREENBERG: Lance Armstrong not only owning up to doping these days. He says it's impossible to win the Tour de France without performance enhancing drugs. The seven-time tour winner told a French newspaper the race is a test of endurance where oxygen is decisive.

So the added help is a necessity. Previously Armstrong admitted to Oprah that doping was part of the job. All of this perfect timing and by perfect I mean the worst possible time. The 100th Tour de France got under way earlier this morning.

Look at this, a positive sports story. Two million fans took to the streets of Chicago to celebrate the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup. Friday's brutal heat did send more than 40 people to the hospital. However, that didn't stop the rest of the windy city from partying on. It's the second time in the last four seasons the Blackhawks have claimed hockey's top prize.

For more on these stories and everything else happening in the world of sports, check out I'm Jared Greenberg.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Jared. Congrats to the Blackhawks too.

All right, what does it feel like to risk your life in a daredevil feat again and again, Nik Wallenda is the man to ask. He does it for a living, you know. He'll be joining me live after this break to tell us about his nail-biting high wire walk over the Grand Canyon. Stay tuned.


WHITFIELD: Everyone agrees it was a nail-biter of a moment, but Nik Wallenda made history again. He managed to walk on a wire over the Grand Canyon at a height higher than the Empire State Building, the wire the length of four football fields with no safety net, no cables, nada.

He joined us before making this daring attempt. He did make it across the Grand Canyon, and now he's back with us to talk more about what he was thinking and all that good stuff. Nik, congratulations. That was fantastic. What a moment?


WHITFIELD: So what do you remember about your walk? You know, what you were thinking at the time. Were there gusts of wind? You know, butterflies, all of that.

WALLENDA: Yes, there was all of that. There were butterflies, of course, leading up to it. People are always amazed how calm I am leading up to it, but of course, there were butterflies. There were a lot of nerves and you know, dealing with the winds, they were what we predicted. I had two gusts at 48 miles per hour.

The cable was a little bit of an issue. It was a little more slack than it was supposed to be. It had to do with the temperature that day. My engineers had estimated the temperature to be around 97, 98 degrees, which makes that cable actually contract which make it is much tighter.

However, it was about 86, 87 degrees, which made the cable more slack by about 5,000 pounds. It was moving a little bit uniquely under my feet. Actually I'm going to talk about it Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on the Discovery Channel. We have a special Nik talks the walk.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic. As we look at these images again, I mean, you can't see it enough, and even though we know how the outcome, I still -- my heart is like, you know, palpitating for you there. And you see the wind. You see your shirt moving. You know, you see your jeans and, you know, it seems like there are moments where you might have lost some balance, but that is what that support is all about, right?

WALLENDA: Well, it really comes down to training. Here in Sarasota, Florida, I walked on a cable for 2-1/2 weeks rigged the same way with wind machines creating gusts at 92 miles an hour at one point actually. So I was over prepared. I would walk on that cable multiple times so I had plenty of endurance and I was prepared for that walk.

But there were two points where I had to kneel down to actually take the rhythm out of that cable. As you walk a cable that's not supported or stabilized, it starts to get a wave inside of it. If I didn't stop, that wave would have got bigger and bigger and eventually knocked me off. I had to stop and let that wave calm, and then get back up and walk.

WHITFIELD: Incredible. You know, Nik, come on. You look like you're getting ready to go out for a walk, to walk your dog or something, jeans a t-shirt on. I guess I envisioned you might be wearing like a full body aerodynamic kind of Lycra suit but no.

WALLENDA: It's amazing how many comments I have gotten about the jeans. You know what? I love buffalo jeans. I love the way they fit and I have been wearing them for a long time. I talk about it in my book why I dress that way. I have a book called "Balance" and it talks about my life story and the fact I have always tried to make sure people can relate to me. If I was wearing rhinestones and a fancy costume, people can't relight to that. There's definitely something unique about what I do but I'm a normal person. I eat, sleep, and bleed like the rest of us.

WHITFIELD: And you just walk 1,500 feet above the ground with ease. OK. So last time you said you tried to best every move. Are you already thinking about the next thing?

WALLENDA: I am. There are many, many other things I'm thinking about. I want to do walks all over the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the London Bridge, the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, but really the one I have my sights set on here in the U.S. next is a big walk over New York City.

WHITFIELD: Boy, OK, you just got to get New York, the city, to agree to -- I have heard -- WALLENDA: That's always part of the process.

WHITFIELD: That's the challenge, right?

WALLENTA: It is. Of course, Niagara Falls, I had to change two laws, a law in the United States that was over 100 years old that the Governor Cuomo eventually had to sign into effect allowing me to do that. So there is a lot of procedure that goes into it, but we'll get through that red tape.

WHITFIELD: All right, you let us know. We're wishing you the best. That was fantastic. Congratulations again. Once again making history, something you do as a day-to-day job. Nik Wallenda, thanks so much.

WALLENDA: Thanks. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, it was a history-making week not just for Nik but also at the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled on voting rights and same-sex marriage and affirmative action. We'll break it down for you and give you an idea what kind of challenges may be ahead.


WHITFIELD: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down landmark ruling this week that will dramatically alter the social fabric of this country. Two decisions directly affected gay rights. One opened the way for same-sex spouses to receive the same benefits as heterosexuals. The other cleared the way for gay couples to legally marry again in California.

Civil rights attorney and legal analyst, Avery Friedman is our go to guy this morning. Good to see you, Avery.


WHITFIELD: All right, so, before we get to the rulings on DOMA and Prop 8, the court also weighed in on voting rights and affirmative action, these rulings also huge. Let's begin with voting rights. What happened? The president says a mistake was made.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, many have said that. The decision of invalidating a section of the voting rights act in the minds of many really eviscerate that law, but from a constitutional perspective, both voting rights and affirmative action, of course, the other cases that we're going to talk about, reflect for the first time in American constitutional history, that two acts of Congress, Fredricka, were invalidated.

The voting rights act basically Congress is saying let or the Supreme Court is saying let Congress rewrite it with new data. At the end of the day, I don't think Congress is going to do it and I do think as you said earlier, that it will change the fabric in terms of access to the polls, especially for minorities.

WHITFIELD: Because this ruling, does it not, the interpretation being that there are no protections needed because there is no more voter suppression.

FRIEDMAN: Yes -- that's an extraordinary conclusion. Essentially, they're saying the formula that Congress overwhelmingly passed said, doesn't apply. Congress has to revisit, re -- or update the formula and then you can re-establish so-called preclearance by the Department of Justice.

Well, in the absence of preclearance, Fredricka, it's going to be very, very difficult for many people who have been historically denied access to the courts to get there. Justice Department retains jurisdiction, but without preclearance, it's going to be very difficult for some people to get to the polls.

WHITFIELD: And then affirmative action, it's a decision, but then not really a decision.

FRIEDMAN: Well, that's the best way to put it. That's exactly right. This was a 7-1 decision that said we're going to take it back to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Well, the three judges that affirmed affirmative action at the University of Texas were appointed by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. I think they're going to stick to their guns and see a reaffirmation of affirmative action, which the Supreme Court said this week is part of the fabric of American constitutional law.

WHITFIELD: All right, and now to DOMA, defense of marriage act. Why is this considered only a partial victory for gay rights advocates?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I think many thought that what we were going to see is a complete invalidation of the obstacles, which provided the right, the right to same-sex marriage. Well, the Supreme Court didn't go that far. Essentially said this violates the equal protection of people who are entitled to federal benefits and entitled to or reasonable for federal obligations. That's all that did.

It remains according to the majority, with the decision of the states, so for those states that still ban same-sex marriage, that's going to be another battle further down to road. This case this week does not create a constitutional right of same-sex marriage.

WHITFIELD: And one lawmaker is pledging to file a constitutional amendment to reinstate DOMA. Is that an uphill battle?

FRIEDMAN: It's going nowhere. It's not going to happen. This is a pretty clear reading by the court an there's going to be no support for that kind of amendment, at least for the majority.

WHITFIELD: Despite the Supreme Court rule, it will still be fairly complicated for same-sex couples, particularly when they cross state lines or there's a custody battle involved, might there be, I guess, a potential opening somewhere down the road?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I've always felt that Article 4 of the constitution required one state to recognize the decision of another state. DOMA tried to do something with that. It didn't work, but I do think that you're right, that there will be a multitude of constitutional battles that we're going to look forward the after this. But I do think that Article 4, which very few commentators have talked about, will be the key on whether or not same-sex marriages will be valid in all-states.

WHITFIELD: Feels a little lonely, just you and I talking about these legal cases because usually we have company, Richard Herman, in the noon Eastern hour. Here we go again, the three of us will be together in the noon hour, but first, let me ask you, before we get to that hour, kind of give me a summarization of how you two saw the George Zimmerman case. Richard, you first.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Fred, in honor of Wimbledon, it's game set match. The prosecution witness has assured an acquittal or perhaps a dismissal of the second degree murder charge.

WHITFIELD: Really? OK, Avery.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, you know the phrase like a good neighbor? Well, did neighbor, John Good, who is a key witness, support the defense or the prosecution? We've got the answers for you and more coming up.

WHITFIELD: Excellent. Avery, Richard, thanks so much. We'll see you again in moments. Talk about that case as well as the ex-NFL player, Aaron Hernandez and that case he is now facing. Thanks so much.

All right, meantime, the family of NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, said that they are ready to make a deal. In a second, I'll tell you what they want in exchange for their son to come back to the U.S. to face charges for leaking government secrets.