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Swimming for Sixteen-Month-Olds; FDA Approves First Non- Hormonal Treatment for Hot Flashes; Decision on Zimmerman Videotape Expected Today; Social Media Finds Lost "Daddy Doll"; 19 Firefighters Killed Battling Wildfire

Aired July 1, 2013 - 08:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Just a few ticks after 8:30 here on Monday, July 1st. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with news anchor Michaela Pereira.

This is a live look right now at the Florida courthouse where Week 2 of George Zimmerman's murder trial will get underway in just minutes. The judge is expected to decide whether the jury will see a key video that shows Zimmerman describing what happened just hours after he shot Trayvon.

But first, let's get to straight to Michaela Pereira with a lot of the other headlines.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a lot of headlines to get to at this hour and certainly a somber one to begin with.

In Arizona, they are mourning the loss of 19 hero firefighters. The nation joining in that mourning. An elite hot shot team killed battling an intense wildfire. This group was on the front lines near the town Yarnell outside of Phoenix setting up barriers in an effort to stop the flames from spreading. The out of control fire has burned nearly 6,000 acres. One member of that 20-person team was in a different location and survived.

A Cirque du Soleil performer in Las Vegas has died after falling 50 feet during a high-flying performance. The show, Ka, at the MGM Grand has been suspended indefinitely. Witnesses say it appeared the experienced aerialist flipped free of a safety wire. The mother of two had been performing for more than 20 years.

Texas lawmakers meet this afternoon to again consider an abortion law that, if enacted, would be one of the restrictive in the U.S. The special legislative session comes less than a week after State Senator Wendy Davis staged a filibuster that helped prevent a vote on the bill. Before today's session begins, Davis will lead opponents of the bill in rally at the state capital.

College students and your parents, you're about to get case of sticker shock. The rates for federal Stafford loans double starting today. That's because Congress left for vacation without reaching a compromise that would have left student loan rates alone. There is hope when lawmakers return after the July 4 recess they'll come up with a plan retroactive to July 1st.

Want to show you some video, pretty amazing, and also stirring up some controversy online. Let's introduce you to little Elizabeth. She's swimming across a pool in only one breath. She was just sixteen months old. She takes lessons through a program designed to teach swimming to very young children.

We spoke to her father who tells us that safety is always his priority.


ADAM CHRISTENSEN, ELIZABETH'S FATHER: When I watched her in there, every time she went face down, I was like, oh my goodness, she can't breathe. I was just worried to death. But the instructor assured us she was just fine. The instruction is not teaching them how to swim but rather engaging their reflexes.

There are a lot of aspects in the video that I understand where people are very worried, like for example there's nobody in the pool with her. Well, if you watch lifeguards, you'll notice they are not in the pool because it's easier to jump in to save somebody when you're on the side of the pool rather than wading through the water. They downright tell you do not use flotation devices. The whole point of the program is to get the students to lay down flat on their back or on their stomach. Flotation devices teach them to stay upright, and f you're upright, you sink down to the bottom.

We didn't teach her ourselves. We wanted a professional, somebody who was certified to do that. But we still are able to recognize warnings signs when they are fatigued. As you can see in the video, she's not coughing or choking. She's gasping, but that's normal. She's trained and she knows all she have to do is flip over. I love my little girl and I would never do anything that would hurt her, and I certainly wouldn't force her to do anything that she does not want to do.


PEREIRA: Dad says she loves the water, swimming two to three times a day and now dives four to five feet underwater to pick up toys. And she swims with her eyes open. You can see, she's eyes wide open underwater.

CUOMO: My friends with kids are all already all over me about, wow, I wish my kid could swim like that. Amazing stuff. Let's get over to Kate now. It's not perspective we need, right, Kate? We need a doctor.

BOLDUAN: Enough of our opinions. Let's talk to a doctor about this. Is it really safe to let a 16-month-old swim on her own? Here to weigh in, Dr. Jennifer Caydke. She's a board-certified family physician. Doctor, thank you so much for coming in. I mean, the video is amazing and clearly Elizabeth looks perfectly fine and happy to be in the pool. What is your take on this? Sixteen months old. She was trained by a certified swimming instructor. What do you think of these survival swimming skills for children at that age?

DR. JENNIFER CAUDLE, BOARD-CERTIFIED FAMILY PHYSICIAN: Well, the question about is this child safe to be doing this in swimming really has to do with the individual child. Now, if the child didn't know how to swim, they weren't properly trained, clearly this is not a good idea. But in the video, we see this little one swimming across the pool, so she clearly can swim.

You know, it's amazing, babies and infants can have amazing talents and skills. And that's something to be really allotted (ph) and taken into account. And we also have to take into account the fact that the parents did say on the YouTube video, one is a nurse, one was trained in lifeguard skills. They have CPR training. We really have to look at that entire context and that whole picture to actually determine if this is right for a child or not.

BOLDUAN: Do children at that young age have that instinct to come up to gasp for air?

CAUDLE: They can. They absolutely can. And, again, this depends on the personal child; it depends on their experiences; how they're trained; their family environment. There's so much that goes into this.

But I have to say, I watched that video and it is quite amazing and quite compelling. As a physician, I always like to err on the side of caution and safety. This is the thing I think about. I personally would like a parent or guardian to be very, very close to that child just in case. But safety is of utmost important, and to really evaluate it, we have to look at the entire picture.

BOLDUAN: Yes, every family has to be careful, but that little one seems to be enjoying it very much.

I want to move on to a very different topic but one that is no less important. The first FDA approved non-hormonal drug to help treat hot flashes. This is music to the ears of millions and millions of women. What's your take on this drug?

CAUDLE: Well, let me tell you this. If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me hot flashes were the most horrible thing in world, I would be a very rich woman. Hot flashes affect so many women.

BOLDUAN: They're the worst. I think I was having them yesterday.

CAUDLE: 75 percent of women who are in menopause have hot flashes. They're these rushes of hotness, sometimes can make women sweat or have palpitations They can happen during the day, at nighttime.

BOLDUAN: What's this drug going to do to that? CAUDLE: Well, this is the issue - that first of all, in terms of drug treatments, we've only been limited to hormonal treatments. In other words, the only medications that we have right now that are FDA- approved to treat hot flashes are based in hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of both.

BOLDUAN: And that's caused some concern. There have been some increased risks for cardiovascular issues.

CAUDLE: Well, I'm so glad that you know that. The drugs work very well, but there are these risks. And just as you mentioned, risks of increased cancer, actually, heart attack, stroke, even blood clots. So the fact that we have a non-hormonal FDA-approved treatment I think is a big deal. I really do.

BOLDUAN: A safe alternative.

CAUDLE: A safer alternative or, let me put it this way actually, an alternative that's appropriate for more women. Because it's about finding the right drug for the right woman.

BOLDUAN: All right, good news for many women today. Doctor, great to see you. Thank you so much.


CUOMO: All right, Kate, thank you very much. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back on NEW DAY, we will be live in Florida for George Zimmerman's murder trial. This is an unusual piece of video you're seeing right now. The day after the crime, before George Zimmerman had a lawyer, he gave a full interview to police going through the crime scene. Was he Mirandized? Did the police do everything right? If so, it could be the biggest piece of evidence in this case. We'll take you through it when we come back.


CUOMO: Day 6 of the George Zimmerman trial beginning in about 20 minutes. The lawyers have been in conference with each other. They have finished negotiating a very key piece of evidence, which is going to be this taped interview that George Zimmerman did the day after the crime.

You're looking at it right now. Very important. Why? Well, it's the immediate after. He takes them to the crime scene. He hasn't been lawyered up yet.

OK, so very powerful -- if the jury gets to see it. We're going to bring in our experts right now to discuss what we think may be going on: CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin; criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos; and former sex crimes prosecutor and law professor at New England Law Boston, Wendy Murphy.

Thanks to all of you for being here. You hear what Kate and I can discussing. The question is, if the lawyers have come to an agreement, this are had to be a big issue. Is the presumption that it came in? Sunny.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I suspect so. Again, we've been talking all this morning about whether or not the prosecution should put it in. But obviously the lawyers have agreed on whatever issues there were and it's possible that it will come in.

CUOMO: Anybody disagree? Anybody think the lawyers could have come to a meeting of the minds on an issue like this and agree it doesn't come into the trial, such valuable evidence?

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Probably not. I'm going to guess probably not because --

CUOMO: Go ahead, Danny.

CEVALLOS: Because in this case, each side has parts of this tape that they want in. The prosecution wants it because any time someone gives a statement, there will be inconsistencies no matter how clear it is. On the defense side, there are clearly exculpatory elements to this videotape. It's not a traditional videotape where a defendant steps on a land mine when talking to police officers. In this case, Zimmerman appears to corroborate his story with at least one of the other witnesses.

So it's highly likely that the tape, or at least part of it, is coming in. If they've reached an agreement, it's likely they can both conceded certain points. So some of it may come in and some of it may not.

BOLDUAN: Well, clearly they were arguing at one point for it not to be in. What is the argument, Danny - you guys have been discussing this morning - what is the argument for not putting in? If it's such a key piece of evidence, why wouldn't you want it in?

CEVALLOS: Well, there's -- assuming just for now that the defense did not want it in at all, the argument there would be, for some reason, that his constitutional rights were violated. I get asked this all the time. I got arrested; they didn't read me my rights. But it's important to know the Miranda rights really only apply to custodial interrogation. So if you're found with a gun in pocket, they don't need you to say, "I had a gun in my pocket." They observed you with gun in my pocket.

So in this case, the question is going to be was he in custody and did they read him his rights? And this is a piece of smart police work. Often, police officers will consider a person not a suspect. Because when you're not a suspect, the Miranda rights may not apply. You're just talking.

CUOMO: Well on here, Danny, they wound up not charging him with anything initially. They thought this was textbook stand your ground.

All right, well, you're bookended by former prosecutors there so let's bring in Wendy Murphy. This is the meat of the matter today, probably the biggest determination, biggest decision, that has to be made in this trial. So I put it to you to start the discussion, Wendy. If they are going to use this tape or not -- if you're the prosecution, this is your big call -- what do you think they do with this tape?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: You know, I think that the only thing they can do is just play it as is and let the chips fall where they may. I actually think this tape is excellent for the defense. So in some ways, the strategic decision about the tape, to me, the thing that matters most to a jury, is who is putting it on.

Because when the prosecution puts it on, the jury is maybe going to be predisposed to see it as something to the prosecution. If the defense puts it on, they're maybe going to hear it differently and perceive it as good for the defense.

To me, the most important thing about this tape is not even the content. It's the fact that a man without a lawyer was so willing to go through the details right after the crime and spill everything and seemingly willing to say whatever the police wanted him to say. That carries a tremendous amount of credibility because most people who kill a human being clam up, lawyer up, and don't go on videotape.

CUOMO: Right, strong point. But as Sunny has made, I'm going to have to make a point for you because we've got to go Sunny. He -- the questions is did he keep his story straight and maybe he didn't and becomes an asset for the prosecution.


CUOMO: Thanks to all three of you. Sunny Hostin, Danny Cevallos, Wendy Murphy thanks for being with us. The trial starts in about 15 minutes. Right?

BOLDUAN: Yes and we're going to bring it -- bring it straight to you. But still first, other news we're going to get to coming up next on NEW DAY, lost and found. A Good Samaritan uses the power of social media to return a precious keepsake to a little boy whose dad is serving in Afghanistan -- the viral effort to reunite a boy with his doll coming up next.

CUOMO: That's the good stuff.



BOLDUAN: It's time.

CUOMO: It is time for "The Good Stuff" everybody. Today's edition: Little Noah Gossett. Take a listen.



NOAH GOSSETT: Warghanistan. Too far.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Too far is right. That word is also known as Afghanistan, that's where his daddy is doing his fifth tour. Now to help him and his younger brother Judah deal with the absence they have their own daddy dolls custom dolls with their father's face on it. They take it everywhere they go. Everywhere that is until Judah accidentally left his daddy doll behind in a shopping cart.


CUOMO: Judah heart broken of course but here is where social comes in, here's "The Good Stuff." The person who finds it knows what type of doll it is. Goes to Facebook puts it on and it gets shared 26,000 times.


CUOMO: Eventually word gets back to Noah's mother and --


RAYNALIN GOSSETT, HUSBAND IS SERVING FIFTH TOUR IN AFGHANISTAN: My idea of you adding that somebody did the right thing and so many people who cared enough to share it and want to actually get it back to us.


CUOMO: Faith in humanity restored. Just what Michaela was saying and that is the truth. You saw the little picture of the face. That's daddy's face. They got their doll back. That's the closest thing to daddy they have while he is serving the rest of us and our freedoms in Afghanistan. Thank God he is returned. He's supposed to return this fall. That's what the boys are waiting for. But they got their doll back.

PEREIRA: That's so great. They've got a beautiful, beautiful little (inaudible).

BOLDUAN: That's very sweet. Good job everyone.

CUOMO: For families like that, for those kids those dolls mean so much when their parents are away. So that was so great that somebody brought it back. Hey you got good stuff, bring it to us. Go to Twitter, go to Facebook we'll give you the hash tag NEW DAY --

BOLDUAN: And the hash tag NEW DAY.

CUOMO: Go to

BOLDUAN: You got them all, we'll be right back.

CUOMO: Wasn't that nice?

PEREIRA: It's very good. It was an excellent story.

CUOMO: Good stuff. BOLDUAN: That's good stuff.


CUOMO: That's it for NEW DAY for Michaela, Kate and Chris. It's great to be with you. Now time for "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello; Carol, you have the Arizona wildfires. You have what could be the biggest day in the Zimmerman trial. Lot of news for you -- good morning my friend.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Good morning to. Have a great day. Good morning, everyone.

BOLDUAN: Good morning Carol.

COSTELLO: Good morning.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.

We begin this special early edition of NEWSROOM with breaking news. The tragic deaths of 19 elite firefighters in the Arizona mountains. Thanks so much for joining us. I am Carol Costello.

An out of control wildfire killed the entire crew last night. They were part of a large fire fighting effort battling the Yarnell Hill fire between Phoenix and Flagstaff. This elite group -- you're looking at them -- from the city of Prescott was responsible for digging a fire break and creating an escape route when the fire simply overtook them. The fire has burned more than 6,000 acres and destroyed 100 structures and this tragedy has decimated the Prescott fire department by 20 percent.


CHIEF DAN FRAIJO, PRESCOTT, ARIZONA FIRE DEPARTMENT: The families are in terrible shock. Fire departments are like families and so the entire fire department, the entire area, the entire state is being devastated by the magnitude of this incident.


COSTELLO: Kyung Lah joins us live from Prescott, Arizona. What happened?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what they are trying to figure out. As best as they can get here, the firefighters say it was simply very tough conditions. Winds, incredibly erratic, monsoon-like and it basically, the firefighters were simply overcome, overtaken by those flames.

The reaction here in this town is extremely strong. Take a look at this morning's newspaper here in this region. It's summed up in one word, "Tragedy", as this region tries to cope with the loss of this elite team of firefighters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAH: The Yarnell Hill fire began moving at a ferocious pace on Sunday, suddenly changing direction, claiming the most firefighter lives since 9/11, trapping 19 firefighters with no way out.

FRAIJO: We're devastated, we just lost 19 of some of the finest people you'll ever meet. I mean right now, we're in crisis.

LAH: The firefighters were part of the Prescott Fire Department hot shot crew; getting their names because they work in the hottest, most dangerous parts of a wildfire. Confronting wildfires up close and setting up barriers to stop the destructive spread.

FRAIJO: These are the guy that will go out there with 40, 50 pounds of equipment and walk five miles. They will sleep out there. These are quality people

LAH: The crew was tasked with digging a fire line and creating an escape route. The flames hadn't even touched Prescott. But like many other fire departments across the state, the Prescott team jumped in to help fight the blaze.

The fire which began Friday has burned at least 6,000 acres and at least 100 structures destroyed. Forced to evacuate some residents had only minutes to grab their belongings. Others witness their homes burn as they fled the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went up to get the wife because the fire was getting close and I woke her up and got the evacuation notice and we had no time. We got the dogs. We got the wife and it's gone.

LAH: Officials believe lightning may have sparked the fire. The area has been experiencing severe drought conditions.


LAH: Firefighters here say that the members of this hot shot crew did deploy their fire shelters, those small tent-like shelters they can dive in. This is a move of last resort -- Carol.

This community now trying to not just cope with the loss of these firefighters but also an out of control wildfire that's still nearby -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Kyung Lah reporting. And Kyung mentioned these shelters these firefighters were using when the flames overtook them. These emergency shelters can protect firefighters only for a short time. The shelters don't last very long. They're the last line of defense firefighters have in dangerous (inaudible). You see they look like little tiny tents. They're individualized. When you're inside of these things, you can withstand temperatures of up to 200 degrees but the fire was so hot the firefighters were overcome.

Meteorologist Indra Petersons joins us now. And Indra, you've trained with these shelters before. Tell us about them.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMC METEOROLOGIST: Right. When you cover a lot of wildfires we train with these shelters. Like you said, they look kind of like a blanket. Almost like this aluminum blanket that you put over you in an absolutely last minute defense.

Keeping in mind though timing is everything; if you put it on too early, keep in mind it heats up so quickly inside and the oxygen when it's warm is more spread out. You can only hold your breath so long. You don't want to put it on too early. But of course, you put it on too late and the flames can overtake you. You do need to have this on before the flames come your way.

The only thing that's keeping you cool here is the actual ground. We're actually trained to dig a hole right by your mouth so you can actually try and breathe through the ground where it's a little bit cooler.

And there's two types of heat. The radiant heat about 95 percent of that is reflected. But form the flames itself, that comes over -- 100 percent of that is absorbed. You can imagine how hot it is. You actually have to hold on. You want gloves on your hand because once your hands burn you can't hold it down when the fire comes above you and hope that you make it through those flames.

COSTELLO: Why do you suppose they didn't survive?

PETERSONS: You know, unfortunately, one of biggest things is suffocation. A lot of times you don't have enough oxygen, you can't hold your breath long enough. And sometimes it's so hot, we're trained not to lift it up. But if you lift it up, sometimes you get all those toxins and, unfortunately, that can be fatal as well.

COSTELLO: Indra Petersons, thanks so much.

It's just past the top of the hour now. The first witness is about to take the stand in the George Zimmerman trial. Our coverage starts now.