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Egypt on Edge; Where is Edward Snowden?; Key Obamacare Mandate Delayed One Year; Holiday Travel Forecast; Yarnell Hill Fire 8 Percent Contained; NTSB Reaffirms TWA Flight 800 Downed by Fuel Tank Explosion; Assessing the Prosecution in the Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 3, 2013 - 08:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He's still very afraid. The state of Florida is trying to take away his liberty.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like it could not have come at a better time in my life.

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, July 3rd, just before the Fourth of July. It's 8:00 in the East. I'm Chris Cuomo.

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

Coming up this hour: the George Zimmerman trial begins in just 30 minutes. We're going to bring it to you live. Of course, how will today go for the prosecution? Critics thought they were out, but they might be making a comeback in court. CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin and defense attorney Danny Cevallos and Tom Mesereau will be joining us to break it down.

CUOMO: And the story we first brought you yesterday, 19-year-old in jail. Serious allegations. On Facebook, he posted he was going to have a school shooting. Prosecutors think this was real and called it a terroristic threat. What does his mother think about it? And the effort to try to free him after months in jail.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And royal baby watch. The royal baby could arrive any day now. So, the question is, what will the prince or princess look like? We're going to take a look at the science predicting what traits the baby will get from Will and Kate and maybe some of other relatives.

CUOMO: That will be fun.

But we begin with breaking news: Egypt on the brink of a meltdown. We're just a couple of hours away from a military-issued ultimatum to the Egyptian Mohamed Morsi step down, or a risk being forced out into country's ongoing political crisis. The deadline: just about 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Twenty-three people were killed overnight in clashes between protesters and Morsi supporters in Cairo.

CNN's Reza Sayah is keeping track of all the fast-moving developments in Cairo -- Reza.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, there's absolutely no sign of this conflict being resolved. That's why the temperature is rising here. We're not talking about the weather.

You can feel this country is bracing itself for a showdown. We're not quite sure what that means, but that showdown in some areas in Egypt has led to some ugly scenes.


SAYAH (voice-over): Overnight in Egypt, anticipation turning into violence. Hundreds wounded. Others shot to death as supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fought at Cairo University. This clash the most recent uproar surrounding the embattled Islamist president, hours away from a deadline to solve Egypt's messy political conflict or risk a military takeover.

For the president's critics, the ultimatum makes the end of Morsi's rule seem tantalizingly near, in many ways so is the Egyptian revolution part two. It was two and a half years ago that Egyptians toppled Dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In came President Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood freely and fairly elected, but increasingly hated by liberal and moderate Egyptians who accused him of hijacking the revolution with an Islamist agenda and pushing aside opposing voices.

Months of demonstrations culminated Sunday with millions marking the president's anniversary with nationwide protests, demanding his ouster. When the protests didn't end and escalated into deadly clashes and attacks targeting the brotherhood's headquarters. Egypt's armed forces delivered its ultimatum. Washington followed with a push for the president to call for new elections.

However, in a televised speech to the nation tonight Morsy gave no indication he plans to step aside.


SAYAH: In that speech last night, President Morsy saying he's prepared to die to protect the legitimacy of democracy. The armed forces responding saying they're prepared to die to protect the people. New developments about an hour and a half ago: the campaign that started the latest mass demonstrations against the president with some harsh statements against Washington. Remember, Washington supported President Morsy's election. This campaign accusing Washington of trying to impose its will on Egypt for the interest of Israel -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Reza, thank you. Just appears it is approaching a breaking point. Thank you so much.

We move on to more breaking news at this hour. A bizarre twist in the hunt for the NSA leaker Edward Snowden, his plane is back in the air after he was forced to land in Austria because there were rumors Snowden was on his plane.

It turned out, Snowden was not and it is believed he is still in Moscow's airport.

Atika Shubert has been tracking the latest drama.

And sure is bizarre twisted drama, Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it's really become a bit of a diplomatic disaster. Basically, President Morales is over the air in Spain. He's going to make a refueling stop at the Canary Islands.

Yesterday, he was supposed to be making that stop in Portugal, but when he was denied flying through both Italy, France and Portugal, he had to land in Austria. Once he landed there, he was kept for about ten hours there. In fact, all six people were taken out of the plane, had their passports checked and then they voluntarily allowed an Austrian police officer to walk through the plane, no sign of Snowden.

But as you can imagine, the Bolivian government is furious. In fact, the vice president said this is basically kidnapping by imperialism. So, some very tough words there.

BOLDUAN: Atika, thank you so much. We'll be watching those developments, as well.

But I also want to talk more about this bizarre story. Let's bring in CNN's chief national correspondent John King to talk more about this with us.

So, John, we've got to first talk about Edward Snowden and this bizarre -- this bizarre situation involving the Bolivian president. I mean, what are the politics at play here, would you say? What signal does this send the world in how they're dealing with tracking down one man?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is firm, obvious proof, Kate, the pressure the Obama administration has put on people around the world. Now, France, Italy, Portugal, three key NATO allies, three countries in Europe with very close relationships with the United States, both diplomatically, military. So, this is proof positive. The administration has been criticized saying how did Edward Snowden get away, how did he still under provision, and then criticize why can't you get Russia to turn him over? Why can't you get China to turn him over?

They have not been able to get him on a plane back to the United States. This now shows Mr. Snowden has said about 20 countries maybe, I'll get asylum there, about either half those countries have said flatly no or physically on our soil to get your asylum.

So, you have to score this one for the Obama administration in the sense that Edward Snowden's options are dwindling and countries around the world, the president of Bolivia is mad, guess what, other countries take notice, too. They see this pressure.

CUOMO: Well, let me ask you this. I was one of those, John, saying what happened to our mojo, no one's listening to us? But I'm 180 on it. This is a democratically elected president, you ground his plane.

I mean, is this what we come to? Is it right?

KING: Well, is it right? It's a great question. It's not in a court of law.

And there's no question some diplomats at the State Department are going to have to do some work with the president of Bolivia saying, we're sorry but -- we're sorry, but this was a top priority. You know, there were some rumors, some nugget of information he might have been on that plane. We're sorry it happened, but we take this very seriously.

Look, this is now a game of chicken, if you will, a game of patience and the clock is ticking and, again, we had this conversation a few days ago and looked like Mr. Snowden was going to end up in Ecuador, end up somewhere. We still don't know. And, Mr. Snowden has to be sitting there and watch this saying, I'm running out of options.

BOLDUAN: And, John, I've to ask you about this announcement coming from the administration about the president's health care law, pushing back implementation of one of kind of the central elements. You know right away people were crying foul saying this is all politics.

Do you think this has to do with implementation or do you think there's also a little bit of play that this will possibly help spare Democrats from facing up to some trouble in the polls come the midterms in 2014?

KING: There is zero question from a policy standpoint, the business community, many others were complaining that the regulations that they had to go through to implement this next year were too complicated. That it was going to cause a lot of headaches for those businesses.

But here's the political side of it. If it it's causing headaches for the businesses, it's going to cause headaches for the consumers.

Kate, Chris, pick up the phone and call any Republican strategist anywhere in the country and ask them what they thought the single, biggest factor would be in creating an intensity gap in 2014, and getting the Republican base fired up: Obamacare.

They thought, even as the law was being implemented, there will be hiccups, if not problems, or worse. This was their central turnout strategy. Yes, they think the IRS controversy helps. The six-year itch history helps with the Obama administration.

But Republicans were basing their turnout strategy on implementation of Obamacare in 2014. Now, it's pushed passed the midterms into 2015. So, the administration says this is all about policy and this also will have huge political impact.

BOLDUAN: Huge political impact is absolutely right.

John King, it's great to see you, John. Thank you so much. Have a good Fourth. Thank you. We'll talk to you very soon.

As one Republican, you should have seen the statements coming in to everyone's inbox as this was announced yesterday. As one Republican put, they are jumping right on and saying it. The administration has to admit Obamacare isn't ready for primetime.

CUOMO: Well, I was multitasking while you were talking to John. And on Twitter, they are all over this, saying, see? This isn't the proof they can't implement it.

BOLDUAN: They're going to -- both sides are going to -- Democrats may try to pull it away for political purposes, for the midterms . The Republicans, even though they might have a little fire, they're going to try to use this to try to fuel turnout, too.

CUOMO: All right. Let's move on. We're looking at the weather from Florida to Maine. The East Coast is getting slammed with storms and flooding.

Big question, will all the wet weather stick around to put a damper on your holiday?

Indra Petersons is in the weather center with the latest.

What do we know?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Wish we had better news, but this pattern is literally not budging. We're going to be continuing with the heavy rain. And I keep saying, we have already seen record rainfall for the month of June, all up and down the entire East Coast.

What are we going to do? We are going to be adding more rain to that and heavy rain especially into the south. Three to five inches of rain close to the Gulf and two to four out towards the Carolinas, and now, the only piece of good news, out towards the Northeast and scattered showers. So, a little bit more scattered in nature there.

But either way, of course, flood advisories are going to be out there, especially as the rain is expected to continue even through the weekend. Yes, Fourth of July, but also through the weekend.

What we are watching, though, is that dome of high pressure is moving closer to the coastline. And remember, winds go clockwise around that high. So, what that actually does is pull the rain further inland and the immediate coastline so that is a hint of good news will see more of a clearing.

As far as where is the good and where is the bad? Well, the good is, yes, right along the sliver of the actual coastline, we're seeing better weather. So, Boston, 91, down through Charleston, 86, and clear skies, the bad. Right around the Ohio valley and right around the Gulf. That's where the heavy rain will remain and we're talking about the triple-digit heat out West.

But like I said, a sliver, people care about the beaches on both beaches. Good.

BOLDUAN: All right. Indra, thank you so much. Keep an eye on it for us.

The holiday won't be a complete wash for some folks. AAA says fewer drivers will be clogging the roads this summer. And even better, there could be less pain at the pump, just depends on where you live, and, of course, when you leave.

CNN's Pamela Brown is joining us with more on this. So, give us some good news.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you may think higher gas prices are just as much a part of the Fourth of July holiday as hotdogs, fireworks and American flag, it turns out, that's all in our heads. This year, prices at the pump hit the lowest point in five months, giving the 34 million drivers that are expected to hit the road a little something more to celebrate.


BROWN (voice-over): Whether you drive a gas guzzler or not, it's a good bet you're paying extra attention to prices at the pump. You plan on hitting the road this Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never really know what's going to happen, goes up and down all the time.

BROWN: Good news. Right now, they're going down. The national average for a gallon of gas is just below $3.50 a gallon.

MICHAEL GREEN, MANAGER, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AAA: It's often a myth that gas prices rise going into a major holiday. It turns out that's really not the case. In fact, this year, gas prices have dropped for 20 days in a row.

BROWN: The reason, gas supply is up, while consumer demand is down.

GREEN: One, the economy remains quite weak. Two, people are driving more fuel-efficient cars. And, three, people aren't driving as much as they used to.

BROWN: Still, AAA says this year's prices are the third highest on record for Independence Day, right behind $3.57 a gallon in 2011. And a long way from the sticker shock we experienced in 2008. Gas prices of more than $4.

Be prepared to dish out more on your holiday road trip if you're driving in West Coast states like California and Washington. The cheapest spots, southern spots like Alabama and South Carolina. Still, some would rather stay at home than fill up.

(on camera): Are you driving anywhere for the Fourth?

MAURICE JENKINS, DRIVER: Yes, I'm going to drive my significant other crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's as far as I can afford to get with these prices.


BROWN: And drivers in these eight states, Connecticut, California, Maryland, Kentucky, Nebraska, Georgia, Wyoming and North Carolina will have to pay extra at the pump with newly implemented gas taxes.

And, by the way, as our Poppy Harlow is reporting, crude oil is going up $100 a barrel because of the unrest in Egypt. So, that could impact current gas prices, but it will likely take a while. But we'll see.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll watch it.


BOLDUAN: If you're hitting the roads, be careful, everybody.

CUOMO: Have a happy Fourth, if I don't see you.

BROWN: Thanks. You, too.

CUOMO: You probably will.

BROWN: You probably will. I have a feeling.

CUOMO: A lot of news this morning, let's get to Michaela. You know, big trouble out West, still, right?

PEREIRA: Yes, absolutely. Let's bring you up to date on the headlines.

Firefighters are chipping away at the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona. It is now at 8 percent containment. Investigators from across the country are on scene, trying to piece together what happened there. Fire officials say the only crew member to survive this, man, Brendan McDonough, was a lookout for his team. They say he saw the fire change course and radioed it ahead to his team to warn them. New this morning, a Texas House committee votes to move ahead with new abortion restrictions. Now, the bill, which limits when and where women could get abortions go to the full house. A similar measure restricting abortion rights is also being considered in North Carolina. That legislation would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers.

Senior NTSB accident investigators who worked on the crash of the TWA Flight 800 are standing by their original conclusion that a fuel tank explosion brought that plane down. This contradicts a new documentary featuring interviews with several key officials who also took part in the investigation. They claim evidence suggests one or more missiles could be to blame for the 1996 crash off Long Island.

The amusement area New York's Coney Island expected to reopen today. It was shut down after -- Tuesday after the Astor Tower was spotted swaying. Luna Park managers say city building inspectors found nothing wrong.

And some big names in competitive eating. Joey Chestnut (ph) and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas will weigh in today for the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest In Coney Island. Working on a competitive eating name for Cuomo.

Check out some stunning video we want to show you from Russia. A vehicle getting swallowed up by a sinkhole. There is goes. A landslide triggered by heavy rain and flooding had left the cars in that parking lot literally on the edge of a cliff and there it goes. My goodness. Hope they had insurance.

CUOMO: Nobody hurt? Anybody hurt that we know?

PEREIRA: I don't believe anybody was in the vehicle. It was just parked empty.

CUOMO: Good. Remember when it happened to me?


CUOMO: It never happened.


BOLDUAN: I don't think I forget that kind of thing.

CUOMO: But I did like that there was legitimate concern expressed. It was really just a test.


BOLDUAN: We're just making it up as we go, as you can tell. Thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, if you thought the prosecution in the George Zimmerman case was down and out, not so fast. We'll tell you what has this case seeing a bit of a turn around. CUOMO: And we have a very provocative question that right now has a Texas teen sitting in jail. Tasteless joke or terrorist threat? We're going to talk to the mom of this kid who's behind bars for a comment he posted on Facebook.


CUOMO: Welcome back, everybody, to NEW DAY. It's just minutes until the George Zimmerman trial will get under way. Now, yesterday, the prosecutors had a better day. There was a little bit of reversal of fortune, but they still have a long way to go to make their case. They're spreading doubt on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman story about what happened that night, but have they made a case beyond a reasonable doubt?

They had the medical expert come on. But, what really is going to make the difference in this trial? How far along is the prosecution? Let's get some perspective from Tom Mesereau, a very decorated attorney in his own right, criminal defense but a very big portfolio. Thank you for joining me from San Francisco, Tom. It's great to have you on the show.

TOM MESEREAU, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you, Chris, I appreciate it.

CUOMO: So, let's start with this first allegation that I made, that while the prosecution had a better day yesterday, they are still far off from putting out a case that seems beyond a reasonable doubt. Your take?

MESEREAU: I'm not so sure about that. You know, when the media overwhelmingly predicts a result, I step back and I'm trying to be cautious. The media overwhelmingly predicted O.J. Simpson would be convicted. He was acquitted. They said Robert Blake would be convicted, he was acquitted. They said Michael Jackson would be convicted, he was acquitted.

I remember a number of media commentators suggesting Scott Peterson might walk because he couldn't prove the time of death, the cause of death, the place of death. He's on death row. They said Casey Anthony would be convicted, she's acquitted. Now, I'm watching this media on slot saying the prosecution's dead. I'm not so sure about that.

You know, this jury may say, look, this man showed up there with a gun, a deadly weapon. He was responsible for it. He violated the homeowner's association's rules that you don't confront. He disregarded the police admonition, don't confront. He got into a fight with this boy who was walking, you know, home with no weapon or anything provocative about him.

They may say he's responsible somehow. And my understanding is in Florida, if you're convicted of the lesser included offense of aggravated manslaughter of a minor, you could be sentenced to almost the same amount as second-degree murder. So, yes, the prosecution has stumbled here and there, but prosecutors often stumble in criminal cases and get convictions.

I don't think it's over at all and I think it's very premature to say the defense is going to walk him out of there, they might. But they also very well might not.

CUOMO: Well, I think it's a very interesting observation because, yesterday, that's exactly what was going on. Everybody said, boy, the prosecution has had it. The defense is turning all their witnesses against them. There's clearly so much doubt of the prosecution's theory. They can't get a conviction. And we actually called it even. We said we have to see what happens.

And sure enough, the prosecution was able to rehabilitate their witness, one of the investigators and get him to say, yes, Zimmerman's actions could be consistent with ill will, which was very big for second-degree murder. They had a medical examiner come on and say, I don't see those injuries on George Zimmerman being life threatening.

Now, how important is that to hear for a jury? Of course, you can't unring the bell with what they've heard the investigators say the first time. But, from a jury perspective, how important is it to hear those kind of things?

MESEREAU: Well, it's very important. You know, as Yogi Berra said, "it's ain't over until it's over." And that's, you know, very true of criminal trials. You can't score them like a baseball game. Basically, everything gets to the jury in a holistic fashion. One witness interacts with another witness.

I think they're going to make a compelling closing argument that this man was a vigilante cop, racially profiled this young boy, is responsible for bringing a deadly weapon to that location, and I think, to any extent that you discredit his statement to the police, you are looking at the possibility of a conviction. And as I say, a lesser included offense conviction is a serious one. It's going to be a felony. It could be manslaughter.

My understanding he could do probably less than two years of what you'd get in a second-degree murder conviction in Florida. So, I think it's still a case the prosecution could win, although, I have to admit the defense has done a very good job. The lawyers are excellent. And I think the prosecutors have made mistakes. But as I said before, they often do when they get convictions anyway.

CUOMO: Well, especially when you look at the standard for manslaughter, it's that in lay speak, you know, for regular people, not lawyers, that Zimmerman knew that there was a great threat. He went there. There could be some type of danger, some type of injury, and he did it anyway. He didn't listen to the instructions and someone wound up dead. That could be enough in a juror's mind to say, he was reckless.

MESEREAU: It really could. Now, one thing I am boggled by is the fact that the prosecution brought in the statements that Zimmerman made and in the process of probably presented a situation where he doesn't have to testify to cross examine. You know, in the Robert Blake homicide case, the prosecutor foolishly brought in his Barbara Walters' interview, allowing the defense to bring in another portion so he didn't have to testify.

In the Michael Jackson trial where I was laid (ph) criminal offense counsel, the prosecution brought in the Martin Bashear (ph) interview, allowing me to bring an outtakes where it vigorously protest of his innocence. So, I didn't have to put Michael Jackson on and the prosecutors seem to be doing the same thing in this case. And again, it might be a mistake of sorts, but they may win anyway.

CUOMO: That's an important point. We're going to live it there. Tom Mesereau, thank you very much. Tom referring there for all of you to the huge decision the prosecution had to make about whether or not to bring in the Zimmerman interview with police, as we've been discussing here.

Now, there's going to be another hearing beginning within minutes, and we're going to be following it all because you never know what's going to happen day to day. That's why we're following it so closely -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Chris.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a Texas teen is behind bars for questionable some say threatening Facebook post. His mother is going to be joining us live to tell us why she thinks the police have got it all wrong. She says her son is not a terrorist.

Plus, when it comes to good looks, William and Kate's baby has a pretty good gene pool to work from, but what exactly will the royal tyke look like? Using some new technology to show you, straight ahead.