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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Zimmerman Injuries "Very Insignificant"; Martin Family Confident About Zimmerman Case; The N-Word Reaction: The Good, Bad & Ugly
Aired July 2, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, and live from Sanford, Florida. Dramatic testimony today in the George Zimmerman murder trial. On the stand, Zimmerman's best friend, also, the lead investigator in his case, and the medical examiner who describes Zimmerman's wounds and Trayvon Martin's.
Also, Paula Deen and the controversial defense she plans on using in her discrimination case. Two words -- Prop 8.
And then, the "n" word, it is a topic that is trending on twitter. How our CNN special last night literally got the world talking. Let's go OUTFRONT."
Hi, everyone, nice to have you here. I'm Ashleigh Banfield in for Erin Burnett tonight. I'm coming to you live from Sanford, Florida. This, of course, the site of George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, and OUTFRONT tonight, quite the pivotal day, because of crucial testimony from the medical examiner.
Is it the kind of testimony, though, that could damage George Zimmerman's claims that Trayvon Martin slammed his head repeatedly into the sidewalk over and over and over again the night that he shot him dead?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Are any injuries in this photograph life threatening?
DR. VALERIE RAO, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: No.
RIONDA: Are any of those abrasions life threatening?
RIONDA: And how would you classify the abrasions depicted in State's 73?
RAO: Very insignificant.
RIONDA: Could those abrasions be depicted in that photograph have come from a single blow?
RAO: Single, in fact, yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: CNN's Martin Savidge is here with me in Sanford, Florida. He's been reporting live on this trial from the very beginning, in fact, since the entire case began. So let's talk about that moment and whether in cross-examination George Zimmerman's attorney was able to clean up some of that damage.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're right, Ashleigh. It's nice to see you, by the way. A huge moment there in court and it really was looking bad for the defense, because, after all, this is really the crux of what they've been saying, that George Zimmerman, having his head by Trayvon Martin, beaten repeated into the ground, felt that he was going to die.
And as a result of that, reached for his weapon and eventually shot and killed Trayvon Martin. So listening to the medical examiner describe things as she did, it sounded bad. But then, Mark O'Mara, who is the lead defense attorney gets up begins the cross-examination, and as he has done so many times with other prosecution witnesses, begins to turn the testimony. Listen.
MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: It's your position that it's consistent that George Zimmerman may have only received as little as three -- did you call -- what term did you use, smashing --
O'MARA: -- slamming, three slamming into cement.
RAO: I didn't -- I didn't use the word slamming.
O'MARA: I'm sorry. I thought it was your word.
RAO: No, I got that from the re-enactment.
O'MARA: What word would you use to describe what happened to the head that you say hit cement?
O'MARA: Impact. So it's your position that there are at least three impacts between that head and cement?
SAVIDGE: The feeling was after that exchange that Mark O'Mara may not have actually won in that cross between the witness and he, but sort of neutralized the medical examiner there as far as what could have been very damning statement, that the injuries of George Zimmerman were insignificant -- Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Well, Marty, I feel as though there's been a lot of neutralizing going on, whether it's cross-examination or whether it's an actual prosecution witness that doesn't turn out to be much of a prosecution witness. Martin Savidge has been watching this all along, and there have been no shortage of people fascinated by this. Marty, thank you.
In fact, this is being watched all around the world. And OUTFRONT tonight, our CNN legal analysts are jumping in on this as well, Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Nejame, who is sitting here with me. Thank you for being here as well as Paul Callan, and Criminal Defense Attorney Paul Martin, are with me up in New York.
OK, I want to start with you. There has been no shortage of politics that started from the moment this actual incident happened. It's been infused with race. It's been infused with politics and anger and frustration and the politics played out in the courtroom, specifically when it came to this actual witness. This medical examiner, and who appointed her. Have a listen and see how it played out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: You got your appointment to your present position because the prosecutor in this case appointed you, correct?
O'MARA: OK. So she sort of is your boss?
RAO: Not really, no.
O'MARA: But it was because of her -- I mean, she appointed you to this position, right?
RAO: She actually sent my name up to the governor. So if you want to call that an appointment, well, then, so be it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: OK, this is your state. What is going on in your state?
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is not the medical examiner. This is a medical examiner, and I think what's been lost by so many, Ashleigh, is that she has not examined the body. She didn't come in until a month later.
BANFIELD: She didn't do the autopsy.
NEJAME: She didn't do the autopsy. She looked at pictures and reports, and her -- not her boss -- Angela Corey --
BANFIELD: The prosecutor in the case.
NEJAME: Is a political appointment by the governor, Rick Scott, who also appointed this medical examiner.
BANFIELD: Is this defense attorney under cross-examination, in criminal litigation, trying to suggest you are sitting up there, ma'am, out of politics and politics alone?
NEJAME: Well, you saw how she guarded her words, and the reality of it is she's got to be careful, because credibility is everything. And, you know, she looked at a picture, and you saw injuries to cuts within inches apart of each other, and she said that likely happened from a single hit.
NEJAME: Now, common sense dictates -- forget being a medical examiner -- if you've got two injuries, separated by inches, then it's likely that it's a couple of blows, at least more than one. And to suggest that it was likely only one suggests that she's moving in the direction for the state.
BANFIELD: So, gentlemen, I want you guys to listen in, because politics aside, there's a lot of fact and there's a lot of information that's coming out from the stand, as well, when it comes to the medical issues in this case, specifically, injuries. Not just injuries on George Zimmerman, injuries on Trayvon Martin as well. Listen to this.
O'MARA: Did you notice in those pictures the cuts on Mr. Martin's knuckle, on his left hand, both on the ring finger and a slight one on the pinkie?
RAO: OK, those are not cuts. Those are abrasions. So because the cut suggests sharp force injury, and they're actually the skin is rubbed off on Trayvon Martin's hand, correct.
O'MARA: That was a yes, you did notice them?
O'MARA: OK. Are those consistent with striking somebody?
O'MARA: So we have some injuries -- the only injuries, as a matter of fact, besides the gunshot wound, two injuries on his knuckles, correct?
O'MARA: Curious, since you have a chance to look at the autopsy, were there any other injuries on Trayvon Martin at all?
O'MARA: Any bruising injury? RAO: No.
O'MARA: Any laceration injuries?
BANFIELD: Paul Callan in New York, I want to get your take on this. This was pretty surprising stuff.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it's amazing, watching O'Mara go against the prosecution witnesses and the prosecutors. It's like watching a chess grand master go up against people who are playing chequers. Here he takes another key prosecution witness and turns it around to show that the only damage to Trayvon Martin was on his hands and his knuckles, indicating, of course, he was striking blows against Zimmerman. He turns this critical witness around to the defense side, very, very effective cross-examination.
BANFIELD: OK. Another critical witness that took the stand and it was the moment I'd been waiting for, Paul Callan, and Paul Martin, I want you to listen very carefully to this, because the next question comes to you, and that's got to do with the CSI, crime scene investigation. The latent print investigator, they introduced her today as Kristen Bentsen. She works for the state. She does all of the analysis on fingerprinting, and before I play for you this moment, I need to explain exactly what State's Evidence 183 is. It's the gun. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you find any latent prints of value on State's 183?
KRISTEN BENTSEN, LATENT PRINT EXAMINER: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Whoa. No. There are no prints on the gun. Paul Martin, there are no prints of Trayvon Martin on the gun. George Zimmerman said he went for it, but there are also no prints of George Zimmerman on the gun. Paul, we know he fired it.
PAUL MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, clearly there's an inference that during the struggle that Trayvon Martin tried to grab the gun. But that's why the prosecution is bringing this out, to say it's obvious no one tried to grab that gun. But the question is, how come the prints aren't there for Mr. Zimmerman? The gun's been wiped away. So it's sort of a novelty, the whole thing about the print is going to wash itself out.
BANFIELD: Well, and it certainly did seem to wash itself out, because they went on to say, does the rain affect latent prints, and she had to concede, yes, indeed, it does. Mark Nejame, Paul Callan, Paul Martin, thank you for that. Don't go away, folks because we have a whole lot more coming up on the Zimmerman trial here in Sanford, Florida. There were so many developments here in a hot and muggy July day in Florida. Guess who comes here every day, stoically sitting in one of the front seats, the family of Trayvon Martin, and they're flanked by people who helped them.
Their attorneys, their supporters, and they're going to speak to me next about what it's been like for this family to have to sit through some of this harrowing evidence. Don't forget, it is someone's son with a bullet wound to the chest.
Also, Zimmerman's best friend takes the stand and testifies. Did he do him any harm? Did he do him any good? You'll be the judge of that in a moment.
And then we have this very bizarre and very strange and surprising new twist in Paula Deen's discrimination case. Just when you thought it couldn't get stranger. Now we infuse Proposition 8 into Paula Deen's defense. I'll explain in a moment. Live from Sanford, Florida.
BANFIELD: Our second story OUTFRONT live from Sanford, Florida tonight, reaction, reaction from Trayvon Martin's family. I'm lucky enough to be joined by Daryl Parks who represents the Martins. He has been here, not leaving their side, day after day. He talks to them before trial. He talks to them after the trial. He listens in on the testimony and he's joining me here in the mobile Sanford studios. Thanks for being with us.
DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.
BANFIELD: I watch you going in and out of court every day. I like to come up and say hello, but I don't want to pester you after that, but now I have the opportunity to ask how is everyone?
PARKS: You know, it is very tough. You have to remember they have to sit here and listen to the same testimony. Probably one of the toughest of the days was when the guy was talking about Trayvon was shot and how George Zimmerman tried to hold him down as he was suffering in his last moments. That was very tough.
BANFIELD: But they never falter, they never waiver. They're so stoic. Sometimes I wonder how are they keeping it together? What kind of counsel are you able to give them? What kind of counsel is someone else able to give them, just so they can get through this psychologically?
PARKS: The first thing you say to them, you don't want a mistrial, so you tell them, look, you have to hold a lot of it in, right? So they're doing their best to really hold it in to make sure they don't show outwardly emotions, that the jury doesn't see that. It's very tough, because every time they hear that gunshot, right, it's a reminder of his life -- BANFIELD: And they believe those screams are their baby's.
BANFIELD: And yet, I watch them, I watch them in the courtroom when those tapes play over and over again, and they don't flinch.
PARKS: Well, also, we've done some things to kind of draw their attention down just a little bit.
BANFIELD: Like what?
PARKS: Well, you can put things in the hand, like, you notice they have pads I've given them. They can write notes to me, they can write notes to themselves, right, about what's going on. As you know, in that courtroom, she doesn't even want his whispering among ourselves, whether it's the media or the family. So you have to communicate nonverbally, which is what they've had to do.
BANFIELD: So I tweeted from the courtroom the other day, I'm a mother, I have two little boys and I look over to my right and I look at Tracy. And it's hard not to mention that both of them sit together, even though they're divorced.
BANFIELD: And I wonder how Sybrina gets through her day. I tweeted out, I'm really heartbroken looking at this mother who has lost a child. I don't care about the politics or the litigation or anything else that's going on right now. I'm looking at a mother who lost her baby. And I'm heartbroken.
And immediately, I was assailed. Well, are you heartbroken for George Zimmerman's parents and George Zimmerman as well? And it feels as though you can't make a comment in this case without getting attacked from one side or the other. Do they get attacked? Do they feel the outward pressures that so many have felt in what's become such a black-and-white battle in case?
PARKS: They get attacked a lot. I mean, for example, in the course of the jury selection alone, you heard various comments about people who had misperceptions about who they are and what they are. What they are are grieving parents who care deeply about their son and who have committed themselves to making sure their son's life was not in vain. In both ways, whether it's a criminal prosecution or in the foundation efforts they're working on as well.
BANFIELD: You know, a lot of people are saying, boy, this case is going well for the prosecution. Boy, this thing's in the bag. Wow, that prosecution witness sure sounded like a defense witness. And a lot of the analysts -- not all, but a lot of the analysts are saying, I don't think they're going to win this case. I don't think the prosecutors will win this case. Do you talk to them in earnest about -- as a lawyer -- how it's going? And do you prep them for the possibility that that may not be the outcome they want? PARKS: Certainly you talk about that. But you also talk about that you hope that this jury will follow the evidence in this case. We believe if the jury follows the evidence in this case, there will be a conviction.
BANFIELD: So it's not as though you're having some epiphanies that other people watching this case who haven't been privy to the evidence all the way along, it's not as though Trayvon's parents are having epiphanies along the way, saying, I didn't see it like that. I never noticed that, I didn't know that evidence before. Wow, that makes me think differently.
PARKS: Well, I think now we're getting into the nitty gritty. For example, when you hear the tape they played today from the Hannity show, when they talk about the focus of Trayvon on George Zimmerman's face - even if you believe that version of the story, right -
BANFIELD: Put his hand over his mouth and nose.
PARKS: Right, right. It becomes very clear that his notion that as he was sliding, that revealed his gun. We now know all of the focus was both his knees on the arms of George Zimmerman, allegedly, right, and his hands on the nose and the mouth, then you quickly know then that was the focus.
So this whole notion of his gun being exposed and that being the reason -- but probably even more than that. He knew that the police was right nearby. And the testimony thus far is after he shot, within 20 seconds or so, he saw the cops coming up. He did not have to kill Trayvon Martin. And I think after all of the evidence this jury has heard, they are going to come to that conclusion.
BANFIELD: So now you're talking like a lawyer and looking at the forensics coming up as well. That will be really fascinating. You have to come back and talk to me about that, especially when we get into the real CSI issues. It's really painful stuff, especially for the family. And please give them our regards, because no matter how you feel about the case, no matter where you fall, these are parents who lost their son. And they have to listen through some really uncomfortable, painful testimony. Thank you for being with us.
PARKS: Thank you for having me.
BANFIELD: Good to see you, Daryl. Nice to meet you in person finally, too.
PARKS: Thanks. Nice to meet you as well.
BANFIELD: After so many months.
So coming up in the case, next, he helped to hide Zimmerman away after the shooting, because everybody wanted to know where's George Zimmerman? Well, it was his best friend. That's where he was staying. And that's where he was talking. Zimmerman told him everything -- at least that's what he's telling us. And he told it in court, too. Some of our viewers say now, also, the discussion in this particular state, which has been so race-based, and the use of the "N" word has been very uncomfortable. But it's also made them start thinking. We have a whole lot more reaction from the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly. From our special on CNN last night, that's coming up as well. We're back in a moment.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to Sanford and our third story OUTFRONT tonight, from best friend to potential big problem. George Zimmerman's longtime pal, Mark Ofterman, stood by him without question in the wake of Trayvon Martin's death. But then today came his testimony, and did it do more harm than good to Zimmerman's defense? Good question. Here's David Mattingly OUTFRONT with the story.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When George Zimmerman decided to buy a gun in 2009, he went to his friend, Mark Osterman for advice. Now they're face to face in court, and Osterman is in the awkward position of testifying against his friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant is claiming that the victim actually grabbed the gun --
MARK OSTERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND; That was my understanding, that he grabbed the gun. That would have been the only place available to grab.
MATTINGLY: Osterman wrote about it in a book, quoting Zimmerman, "somehow I broke his grip on the gun where the guy grabbed it, between the rear side and the hammer."
ZIMMERMAN: That's when he grabbed me by the head --
MATTINGLY: But this is not what Zimmerman told police. Listen to what he says as he walks investigators through the crime scene.
ZIMMERMAN: He reached for it, but he reached like I felt his arm going down to my side.
MATTINGLY: In multiple recorded interviews, Zimmerman never tells police that Trayvon Martin ever touched his gun. DNA testing seems to agree. There was no trace of Trayvon Martin's DNA on the grip.
O'MARA: Tell me what he did say about having to grab his gun.
MATTINGLY: Even under cross-examination, Osterman's testimony couldn't help Zimmerman.
OSTERMAN: I've only heard the story twice, and whether it was grabbed the gun, grabbed for the gun, I just -- perhaps it was just the intent. But I believed he said he grabbed the gun.
MATTINGLY: Months before the trial, Osterman, a federal air marshal, described to me in detail how he helped Zimmerman weigh the pros and cons before he settled on buying a thin, lightweight .9 millimeter. It was easy to conceal, easy to carry. And acting on Osterman's advice, Zimmerman carried it everywhere.
OSTERMAN: Always. He carried it always. The one thing I did tell him, for the reason for doing that, was if it is on your person, it can't be anywhere else.
MATTINGLY: It was on Zimmerman's person the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. And Osterman told me it's hard to answer the question -- does he feel any regret for the advice he gave?
OSTERMAN: So I would wish it had never happened. However, the reason why George had it, it was not for malice. He didn't have it to go out and commit a -- a crime of hunting someone down and harming them. It was for self-protection. And I'm glad that that firearm was used to protect George.
BANFIELD: Well, that was September 2012, and this is today. And David Mattingly sitting right beside me. So here's what I need to know. As you conducted that interview, that witness, prior to getting on the stand -- it's a year ago -- said that George Zimmerman was trying to pry -- and these are my words -- trying to pry the hand of Trayvon Martin off -- and let me use his word --
MATTINGLY: And he was very specific.
BANFIELD: Oh, was he ever? "The area between the rear site and the hammer of the gun." I have not heard such specificity about Trayvon reaching for the gun, being on it, being gripped on it and having to be pried off of it, except from this account. But not on the stand.
MATTINGLY: And that account is in his book. And it didn't come out word-for-word on the stand today. Now, I talked to Osterman about this. He doesn't really think it's all that big of a deal, not that big of a discrepancy --
MATTINGLY: -- because he is in law enforcement. He says if someone grabs for your gun or grabs your gun, he says the intent and the response is the same.
BANFIELD: Well, he had a holster to that, too, right?
MATTINGLY: Right, and he sees no difference in that.
BANFIELD: But here's the issue. If the fingers were on the gun like that -- we had latent print experts say, no prints. What about DNA? We haven't heard that yet.
MATTINGLY: Well, that was something else brought out. We knew what evidence they had prior to the trial. We knew there was no DNA on there. It was a big deal when that came out. So right now, we have now Zimmerman's story to his best friend saying this guy grabbed my gun, and then there's no evidence of it whatsoever.
BANFIELD: Overall, he has the best friend -- his book, I think, even called let's see, "Defending Our Friend: The Most Hated Man In America." So he'd even written the book about being his best friend.
Overall, grade that performance. Did he do any harm, or did he do good, or was it a wash?
MATTINGLY: There was no one single thing here that gave the prosecution what they need for a conviction. There was no big moment like that. And again, talking to Osterman -- again, he didn't feel it was that big of a deal. Nobody can get inside the minds of the jurors. You know how that works. But right now, the defense is feeling pretty good there wasn't a lot of damage done.
BANFIELD: Believe me, we try. When you're in the courtroom, you just stare over at those people.
MATTINGLY: And you wonder and you watch, and still you have cases like Casey Anthony that just completely rock the boat.
BANFIELD: They rock the boat, but if you're in that courtroom, it's a whole lot different than if you watching it in TV land, trust me. It was 80-something days in that Casey Anthony case.
David Mattingly, great work. Thank you for that.
We still have a whole lot more coverge coming out of Sanford, Florida. This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. In fact, there is a whole whack of trial still to come. We're not close to being finished with the testimony.
However, tonight, there are already concerns about George Zimmerman's safety if he's acquitted. We're going to talk about that.
And also Paula Deen, and what an unusual defense she has decided to mount in the discrimination case against her. Prop 8. I kid you not. Prop 8. Supreme Court and Paula Deen. We'll explain in a moment.
BANFIELD: Our fourth story OUTFRONT tonight: the deadly threats against George Zimmerman. All of this before a verdict has even been reached or rendered in this case. Some supporters of Trayvon Martin are vowing there will be violence if Zimmerman is found not guilty of second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting.
Let's just make real clear: his family has nothing to do with this. These are people out there in tweetland. Let me give you some of the more tamed tweets that I can put on the air. Here's one: "If Zimmerman don't go to jail, I'm gonna to kill his ass. Let me find out where he stay."
Here's another one. It reads, "Somebody should just kill Zimmerman. They're really trying to let him off." So when you see stuff like that, that's out there, should Zimmerman be really concerned for his safety, or are they just largely tweet threats, empty threats? And how do you tell the difference?
David Mattingly still with me here live in Sanford, Florida. Thank you for staying.
I know it's working late. You've been doing long hours.
Also with me is CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, who's kind enough to join us as well.
So, David, let me begin with you. You've had a chance to speak at length with the attorneys who represent George Zimmerman. How serious are they taking this? Are they really concerned and starting to make plans?
MATTINGLY: Well, they are concerned, and they're looking at the possibility of an acquittal here and a lifetime problem for George Zimmerman. Just before this trial, they had difficulty finding a place for him to stay, where he would be secure.
BANFIELD: He hasn't been to his home, has he?
MATTINGLY: He had to leave his home. He hasn't been able to work. He has -- he can't go out in public without wearing some sort of disguise and a bulletproof vest. Those are the precautions he's taking just when he decides to venture out.
BANFIELD: Again, this is America where you're presumed innocent before being proven guilty in a court of law, and yet, this is what he's been living like for over a year.
MATTINGLY: Right. And these tweets aren't a new problem. I had a chance to look at all of the mail and e-mail that he's been getting leading up to the trial. This is hundreds of pieces of communication from people in the outside world about split evenly, about half and half, for and against. Of the people who are against George Zimmerman, 10 percent to 15 percent of them say that they wish him to have some sort of harm or to die.
BANFIELD: And, you know, some of it -- a lot of it is just hyperbole. You know what, Juliette, how do you determine which ones are dangerous and which ones -- by the way, is anyone out there actually doing that job?
MATTINGLY: Yes, so just to be clear here, people who hate Zimmerman are allowed to hate him. People who even want him dead in a generic sense are allowed to do so.
So really what investigations will look at, are there specific and credible threats against Zimmerman? Let's assume he gets off and that he ends up walking the streets again, and are they specific enough to at least start what's called a preliminary investigation to determine whether that person is serious? I will tell you just from my experience in a lot of these cases, when you look at the anthrax hoaxes, or whatever else, most of these people when approached by a law enforcement official, tend to just be, like, really stupid people, sitting in their rooms, and they're going to stand down once they're approached by law enforcement. It's that 0.0001 percent.
If George Zimmerman gets off, he's a citizen. People may not like him. And if people have specific threats against him, he will probably have public resources dedicated to his safety and security, depending on how public he wants to be. And he may want to write a book. He may want to go on a speaking circuit.
BANFIELD: Sure. And he probably needs to make some money. As David just reported, he's been having trouble working. Here's the deal. We have another sort of template, Casey Anthony, in this very state, not far away from here, in Orlando, Florida, in fact, was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, and the place went ballistic.
I remember the judge -- you covered this with me.
MATTINGLY: Right. I was out there, yes.
BANFIELD: The judge in this case decided they needed a cooling-off period. I never heard this before. A cooling-off period before they even opened up the file on who the jurors were, because this is the Sunshine State, and they do shed sunshine on all public documents, if they can.
BANFIELD: So they decided that the public was so crazy after her acquittal, they needed to protect the identities of the jurors. Is that the new reality when it's a big TV trial?
MATTINGLY: Well, just remember when the -- the day Casey Anthony got out of jail, what a tremendous crowd there was, and all of the animosity that was expressed out there, and they put her in a car and rocketed her off into the night to some predetermined place and she'd been in hiding ever since.
BANFIELD: Has she ever? I mean, it's fascinating and it is also very valuable, because if she wants to write a book, she could have some money, but she's got that bankruptcy issue as well.
Hey, Juliette, thank you so much. I hope we don't have to talk to you about this when things possibly erupt here. I certainly hope that the public can keep it together no matter what the verdict is in this. It's good to see you again, since, our Boston day.
And, David Mattingly, thank you as well.
BANFIELD: (INAUDIBLE) tonight. Got another story that's coming up here that I shook my head a little bit on this, I didn't think I would be thinking Supreme Court and Paula Deen all in the same sentence, but I am, because this celebrity chef is now using what some say is the most unusual legal argument in her discrimination case. Her legal team is now citing the Supreme Court's decision to dismiss California's Prop 8 as a basis to dismiss the racial discrimination charge against her.
It's a little weird. Stay with me, though, because it may or may not add up, depending on how you look at it. I want to bring in some expert guests on this topic.
Former practicing attorney, Dean Obeidallah, and very funny man, so, it's kind of a perfect segment for you. And radio show host Stephanie Miller is going to weigh in, as well, and CNN contributor Reihan Salam.
All right. Dean, you're a lawyer.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: Yes.
BANFIELD: Man, I can't believe I'm asking you this. I never thought I'd be asking you whether standing that was determined in a decision handed down by Justice Roberts actually would enter into Paula Deen's case. But they're serious about this. Paula Deen's attorneys are serious, that the woman who's bringing the case against her does not almost have a leg to stand on by filing this case.
Explain and tell me why she may or may not have some merit here.
OBEIDALLAH: First of all, can I refer to you as Judge Banfield? Because you are so knowledgeable on the law, it's unbelievable. There should be a statue in the courthouse when this is done, the trial.
BANFIELD: Honestly, I read it off a cereal box.
OBEIDALLAH: Oh, no, stop it, Ashleigh. You know the law.
In reality, they're not at all -- so everyone is going, saying something about marriage equality to help Paula Deen? No, they're doing a procedure issue about standing, which means you have a legal right to bring a claim. There are 15 counts in the complaint -- by the plaintiff against Paula Deen and her company. Seven of those deal with racial discrimination. They're just trying to dismiss those seven.
The other claims, no matter what, will go forward on sexual harassment, breach of contract, assault, and battery. So it's just a question of does the plaintiff, who is white, have a cause of action to say she's racially discriminated against with all of the allegations, Paula Deen said, her brother, against black people. There are no allegations that because she's white. So, that's what they're getting at.
BANFIELD: So, Deen's attorney is asserting this, and this is -- I'm going to quote right from the complaint here. And it is Justice Roberts, made this observation, any person invoking power of the federal court must demonstrate standing to do so. This requires the litigant to prove that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct.
Reihan Salam, if that's true, how can you actually be -- how could you have that concrete and particularized injury if you're a white person, and you're alleging that there's racial discrimination going on by another white person?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It seems fairly clear to me you could have a very harmful and toxic environment in which race sentiments are constantly being expressed. For example, if your supervisor is engaging in racist remarks nearly constantly, then if you are someone who is a nonracist, who is troubled by this, who might want to intervene, but you fear that you cannot intervene and say something because, again, your supervisors is the one that's created this environment, it seems pretty clear to me that you are being harmed in a pretty concrete way.
And so, I actually don't really understand the logic of this claim, even at the most basic level.
BANFIELD: Yes, it seems to me that no matter what color you are, you can be offended. And it's all about hostility in the workplace and not whether you're black, white, green, or pink. You can be offended by anything going on around you.
Stephanie, I want to tell you, if you already don't know this, Walgreens put out an announcement. I particularly love the spelling of this, so I'll throw this out for you to read along, "We're phasing out Paula Deen's products from Walgreens stores."
But I think they spelled Paula Deen wrong. In our graphic, we spelled it right. But I think they might have spelled Paula Deen's name wrong.
So, here's the deal. Every time something in the news breaks about this, is she doing herself more damage? Maybe she's trying to win her case, but it's making big headlines and it's not letting this thing go away.
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Oh, I agree with you on that. For her to go on the "Today" show and said she's only said the N-word once in her life, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you if you believe that.
And I think, honestly, using Prop 8 -- let's just hope it doesn't surface she used the F-word for gay man, because then she really legally is toast without butter, Ashleigh. I agree with Reihan. I think this white woman, I think, is a hero for bringing the case. Because it clearly was an environment of really, clearly rampant sexism and racism, and you don't have to be black to stand up and complain about that, do you?
BANFIELD: Well, I will say this, this case hasn't been litigated yet, so I doesn't think we should make that claim. This is certainly the complainant's story now, and Paula Deen has her time in court to try to answer to these. She's been doing it in the court of public opinion, maybe not well, but the court of law is a different thing. She's got some lawyers out there. We'll see how they do.
Dean, Stephanie, and Reihan, thank you, guys. I appreciate it. Get the rest of the night.
Coming up next OUFRONT: it's a conversation that trended worldwide on Twitter. It was a special on CNN, but it's global. The N-word, is it ever okay to say it? My colleague Don Lemon will join us with the good, the bad, and the mighty ugly.
It's coming up on his special report. It's next.
BANFIELD: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: The N-word. Maybe more so the response from last night's special, "The N-Word", which was hosted by my colleague, Don Lemon.
Let me tell you, the response has been really nothing short of just amazing. During the hour-long special, the phrase, N-word, was actually trending worldwide on Twitter.
So, tonight, we wanted to take a look at the overwhelming reaction, and it's been nothing short of positive, and nothing short of negative, as you would expect anything else. We also want to warn you that what you're about to hear may offend you, and it may not, which is part of why this is so intriguing.
OUTFRONT: three people part of the special -- Don Lemon, my colleague who hosted it, Safiya Songhai, filmmaker and 2008 Ms. Black Massachusetts USA, and also Tim Wise, who is the author of "Colorblind."
Don, I want to begin with you. First off, congratulations. A great special.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you.
BANFIELD: A great special and a great conversation to have. You know, I'm really glad you were at the helm of it, because I think you have a very good feeling and understanding, maybe because I heard this portion that you mentioned last night when you talked about being black in America and, also, dealing with the police growing up.
Let me just play a moment of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Growing up in Louisiana, people would stop me -- my parents did very well. They'd say, where did you get that car, and they'd go, whose car is this, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: That's hurtful to even hear that.
LEMON: Yes. Well, my experience is -- isn't unique, and Tim will tell you this later, to most African-American men in the country. During that same segment, Ashleigh, I asked all of the men on the panel, had they been followed before in a store, or essentially profiled, and all of the men of color on the set raised their hands and said, yes. And both the white guys said, no, that has never happened to me before, and Tim actually relayed a story about he was locked out of his car and the police helped him get in and never checked his ID.
That would never happen to me. So I don't think my experience is unique when it comes to that. But it's sad we have to live that way.
BANFIELD: So, Tim, how about this? You mentioned last night people should never use the N-word, even if black people use the N-word, white people should not use the N-word. And as a white man, here's my guess, you were judged about your appearance and what you said on the program. Is that accurate?
TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "COLORBLIND": Well, you know, I suppose. There are always people who, in 140 character venue like Twitter, are going to attack you for anything that you say. So, of course, there are always those white folks, for instance, who are critical of any white person who speaks out against racism that targets people of color, because they feel like you're almost a traitor, you know, to the white community.
Then, there will be people of color who are also critical, not so much of me -- you know, there were some tweets last night from folks of color that said they weren't mad at me for being on the program. But I think they're complaining about the social reality that allows a white person like myself to frankly be taken more seriously when I discuss racial profiling than when LeVar Burton and Don, who did that last night, talk about the same subject.
LEMON: Yes, and let me jump in here, because I want to talk about some of the reaction last night. And then we'll get to that. One said -- I got some that loved what we did. It says, "I applaud Don Lemon CNN for forcing the discourse on the uncomfortable subject that force people to realize we are not in a post-racial society." I'm reading in Twitter language. I know I should say forces, but that's what it said.
He said, "He is talking on a sensitive subject, not saying the word is sanitizing it. The word does exist. Maybe in extremely an open honest look at it will help us move on."
And then, to Tim's point, when you talk about the people who have an issue with it, I got responses that said, "Don Lemon is the biggest uncle Tom on TV."
So it's supposed to be an insult, but it's not insulting to me. BANFIELD: All right. Safiya, I don't know how your day has been, but you were pretty profound last night. You know, you said that you use the N-word, even though you're not proud of using the N-word, so I'm wondering how people are reacting to you.
SAFIYA SONGHAI, FILMMAKER: My Facebook blew up, first of all. I was, like, I have (INAUDIBLE) after responding to so many things. But one person said to me, you know, we could do away with the word, but are we going to do away with the treatment of people as the N-word?
And so, what I remember when I was a little kid, I remember when Nelson Mandela became president and I remember thinking then, we're going to have a black president of the United States, I was optimistic and I was certain of that. And I'm just as certain that there will be a day not only is the N-word a thing of the past, but also that the treatment of people, is that negative, horrible, discriminatory violent treatment of people, because that's what the N-word really represents. But one day --
LEMON: But, Ashleigh, if I could say something to Safiya's point. She sent me an e-mail today.
And I think it's important because it's what we were trying to accomplish. And a lot of people said the same thing. She said it made me think about my use of the N-word, and whether -- did you not --
LEMON: And people in the social media and the comments actually said, even if they didn't like it, I thought it was a good show and you made me think about it.
And for me, that's it.
SONGHAI: And we should be ashamed --
BANFIELD: Listen --
SONGHAI: Every New Year's Eve, I'm thinking I'm going to let it go and it should be on the list of things that you're trying to do away with -- not because it adds weight to your body like bad food. It adds weight to your spirit. It makes you less of a person --
LEMON: And, Tim, they love you, too.
WISE: Ashleigh, if I could point out --
BANFIELD: Bill Cosby has some profound comments about that, too. Go ahead, Tim.
WISE: If I could point, I think one of the things that I notice in the reaction to my comments, there were people of color who felt bad about the fact, not angry at me but at the fact as a white man, I'm given so much more credibility about the things I say about race than folks of color.
Some of the white folks who are critical I think were most critical -- I'm talking now conservative whites were most critical of the larger point I was trying to make at the beginning of the segment which is, yes, the N-word is obviously a problem and racial slurs, but I was I said -- last night, I was more concerned and am more concerned about as Safiya said, the treatment, let's say the Supreme Court decision that's going to limit the Voting Rights Act and make it easier for states to restrict voting access for people of color, whether on purpose or just by effect. To me that's a form of institutional bias. That's a much bigger issue, right, than the use of the N-word.
That's what a lot of white conservatives were attacking me for today, basically saying that I had, you know, essentially accused John Roberts for calling 40 million black folks the N-word. That's not exactly what I said. What I said was the Supreme Court, by its actions, and certain members of Congress, by their inactions to fix what the Supreme Court has done, are going to, in effect, create a bigger problem institutionally with racism than Paula Deen or anyone using that word ever could.
ASHLEIGH: And it may be apples and oranges, and it may not be, but so many words matter and words can lead to action, and action can create words. So, it's going to (INAUDIBLE) problems. So, I think that words are critical as well as action.
But I wanted to play, something, Don, that you -- look, I was a white girl growing up in central Canada. I never experienced any of this. In fact, I only saw in Hollywood, that's what I -- to me racism was Hollywood. But when you had LeVar Burton --
LEMON: Oh, yes.
ASHLEIGH: -- describe how -- oh, my God, when he described what it was like to be pulled over -- let me just play it. Let me let him describe it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEVAR BURTON, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: When I get stopped by the police, I take my hat off and my sunglasses off. I put them on the passenger side. I roll down my window. I take my hands -- I stick my hands outside the window and on the door of the driver's side because I want that officer to be as relaxed as he can be when he approaches my vehicle.
And I do that because I live in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So, Don, here's my question, do you think black folks watching were like uh-huh, that's the way it is and white folks were just like me, are you kidding?
LEMON: Yes, well, for -- I hate to general wise but I can speak as a black person, as I've been saying, my experience is not unique with police. You can see LeVar Burton's mirrors mind and a number of African American men, most African American men who own a car around the country probably have a very similar experience and our parents teach us the way to act if you're pulled over or if you're profiled and yes, sir, you're nice and then you come home and tell me about the problem and then I will deal with it.
As an adult, you can't do that. You become outraged. As I said on the show last night, you know, I may be what some people refer to in the past as an uppity you know what because, now why the heck did you stop me? What do you want? An d then --
WISE: Well --
LEMON: Real quickly, Tim, I had the advantage now of being on this platform where somebody would go, hey, aren't you the guy on television and I'm sir and can I see your license, sir.
BANFIELD: Can I get your autograph? You're Don Lemon, right?
LEMON: Not every African-American has that advantage.
WISE: And, you know, I told the story last night about the officer who actually, like you mentioned, helped me break into my own vehicle without ever asking for ID when I locked myself out. But there is another story also in New Orleans, 1993, I'm 25 years old. I'm driving a beat up Toyota Tercel with very tented windows and an antiracism bumper sticker on the back. I get pulled over by the NOPD.
When I roll down the window and he looks at me and sees that I'm white, it had to be why he did what he did, he looks at me and says, oh, and I looked at him and said because being white I could get away with this, I said what do you mean oh? Why did you stop me? You know I haven't done anything?
When I related that story to black friends of mine in New Orleans, they said, and then what, did he pull you out and throw you over the hood and beat you? I said, no, of course. In fact, he told me how to beat the ticket that he was going to give me and he told me that I went to the courthouse and pled a section something or other, they would toss it out. And again, all my black friends just sort of shook their head in not amazement but just in absolute horror at the reality, not only of their own marginalization in the legal system, but at the real white privilege that I was receiving in that moment.
SONGHAI: And the thing about is in Twitter --
BANFIELD: Well, I remember --
SONGHAI: Yes, I was getting -- the one question I kept getting is what is the solution? Because we can have discussions forever. What is the solution?
So, I gave it a lot of thought. I think the solution is we spend one year asking the top rappers, asking the top film producers to not use -- not just the N-word, but the B-word and H-word and pretty much anything along those lines and see if it affects the bottom line? BANFIELD: Safiya and Tim and Don, thank you to all three. What a great conversation.
We will be right back, live in Sanford.
BANFIELD: Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush are in Africa. They're working to renovate a cancer clinic there and OUTFRONT was there. Got a rare interview with them.
The Bushes told our Robyn Curnow about their efforts to help African women and the former president also weighed in on Nelson Mandela and NSA leaker Edward Snowden. And you can watch the entire interview at CNN.com/outfront. It's a great one. I recommend it.
Thanks for watching tonight, everyone. It's been great to have you live in Sanford, Florida. I'm going to hand things over to "A.C. 360", which starts right now.