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Egypt's Military Arrests Ousted President; Trayvon's Mom on the Stand; Oil Spikes Amid Unrest in Egypt; All Eyes are on Mark O'Mara

Aired July 4, 2013 - 09:30   ET


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People very angry at the pro-Morsy rallies. They say they felt cheated and they felt that their legitimate leader had been removed illegally.

COSTELLO: Ian -- Ian, what happens now with the government? There is an interim leader that's been put into place. Will Egypt hold new elections?

LEE: So the interim government, we have a new president now, Adly Mansour. His job is going to be to create an interim government of technocrats to really solve some of the problems Egypt faces, most notably the economic and security issues. But also he's going to be tasked with forming a new constitution or getting a new constitution together.

After that we're expecting presidential elections and parliamentary elections. Really a clean slate for Egypt and the now new president has said that these new elections will respect the Egyptian people's will and also the January 25th, 2011 revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. He says these new elections will honor those -- that revolution as well.

COSTELLO: All right. Ian Lee reporting live from Cairo, this morning.

Checking other top stories this morning. Senator John McCain is in Afghanistan. The senator arrived overnight in Kabul for an unannounced July 4th visit. He's expected to meet with U.S. troops, of course.

McCain's visit comes as the U.S. is preparing to draw down forces in Afghanistan.

A 22-year-old man facing charges after police say he tried to defraud the One Fund Boston. That's the group raising cash for victims of the marathon bombings. The man claimed his aunt lost two limbs in the bombing which could have qualified him to receive more than $2 million. Prosecutors say the aunt had been dead for a decade and the man had faked doctor's letters in his application.

A listeria outbreak may have killed one person and sickens four others. The FDA says the outbreak is linked to a cheese distributed by Crate Brothers Farmstead Classics in Wisconsin. More information including safety tips at

Now to your holiday weather. It's still very hot and dry in the west. And boy, are we getting drenched in the southeast, Chad. It's nasty.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you have a -- you have a conveyor belt now from the Gulf of Mexico. It is right over Atlanta, right over Asheville, Nashville, Knoxville, and on up even into Columbus, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh today.

Now if you look at where this conveyor belt was earlier in the week, it was from Florida right on up into New York City and into Boston. It's just been pounding with rainfall. Here at least by five inches of rain I can see in some spots in New Jersey and North Carolina. Just over the past -- like four days.

Well, that has all shifted now. The pattern has moved to the east so the pattern goes down, it grabs the jet stream, goes down and picks up moisture. As it turns the storms up here, the low-level jet and all the moisture now, the conveyor belt is to the west. So right over Atlanta, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana and into Ohio.

So what that does, that allows the heat to be in the east. The heat to be in the west. I put not as hot because it is going to be like 114 instead of 119. All right. Can you tell the difference?




MYERS: But at least it's not -- it's still not as hot. I mean, that's a truthful statement. It's just not very helpful. I should put not very helpful, rather than not as hot.

Here's the rain that you're dealing with now. I know there are runners out there in the Peachtree trying to get through this. It's just wet, it's been flooding all over the place. You may want to call ahead or at least look online to see whether your fireworks are even going to go off tonight. Many fireworks across the south are canceled because of wetness. Fireworks across the west are canceled because of the dryness and they just don't even want to put a firework in the sky in case it hits the ground and starts a fire.

So Vegas today, about 115 to 117. Even if you get to Death Valley. We were 127 by Saturday, we're 120. So congratulations, you're only going to be 120.



COSTELLO: Yes. But it's a dry heat.

MYERS: Yes. Except for Phoenix where it's not right now with these monsoon rains. It's going to come in today. They'll be fine.

COSTELLO: All right. Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome, Carol.

COSTELLO: Still ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, a brief recess in the George Zimmerman trial. But when court resumes tomorrow, jurors will likely hear from a very powerful witness -- Trayvon Martin's mother. We'll discuss that next.


COSTELLO: After a series of witnesses, detectives and forensic evidence, the state of Florida is preparing to rest its case against George Zimmerman. And until now, we haven't seen a whole lot of strong, emotional testimony. But that could certainly change tomorrow when Trayvon's mother is expected to take the stand.

Here's what she said to Anderson Cooper last March shortly after Trayvon Martin's death.


ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S "AC 360": You've heard the 911 call where you hear somebody calling out help. Do you believe that is your son's voice?

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Yes, I do. I believe that's Trayvon Martin. That's my baby's voice. Every mother knows their child. And that's his voice.


COSTELLO: Joining me now is Page Pate, a criminal defense attorney. Jason Johnson is an HLN contributor and chief political correspondent for Politics 365 and a political science professor at Hiram College. And Tanya Miller is a former prosecutor.

Good morning to all of you.



Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: OK. So we saw Trayvon Martin's mother. And certainly that's probably what she's going to be like on the stand tomorrow. How powerful will that be, Page?

PATE: I think it's going to be very powerful. I think the jury expects to hear a lot of things about Trayvon Martin. I think the jury will then start to connect with Trayvon Martin. I really think though this type of a witness may have been better for the prosecution earlier in the case. Go ahead and get the jury thinking about who this person is, this life that we have lost.

I think that would really have focused them in more on the prosecution's case. But regardless of when it happens, it is going to be powerful. COSTELLO: Yes, Tanya, you would think they would have put Trayvon Martin's mom on the stand right after they played the 911 call at trial.

MILLER: I would have put his mom on the stand first thing. I mean, you're lucky as a prosecutor when you have the ability to put the victim's mother or family member on the stand because oftentimes they don't have any legally relevant testimony to give the jury. In this case, the mother does have legally relevant testimony. I would have started with the mom, start strong always.

COSTELLO: Jason, what do you think?

JOHNSON: Yes. I completely agree but I think what's also more telling is how does the defense react to having a mom? You can't really cross examine a mother. She's going to say I know what the sound of my child's voice is like. She's going to have to tell stories about, you know, I heard Trayvon screaming once when he skinned his knee helping his younger brother. I mean those are the stories that you're going to hear and I think the defense should just leave it alone. Let it move on. There are five mothers on this jury. This is going to be huge.

COSTELLO: So, Page, if it's Don West, he's the defense attorney, he's not going to leave it alone. I can see him cross examining Trayvon Martin's mom.

PATE: You know, someone needs to chain him to the chair because honestly if the mother gets on the stand and testifies as we expect that she will, you don't cross examine that witness. You're not going to make any points with that witness.

Let the jury understand that you realized this is Mr. Martin's mother, you respect that, I'm not going to go up there and confront her. I can't gain any traction from that, no cross examination is usually the best cross examination.

COSTELLO: So were -- before the show began, we were thinking about what was the biggest moment in these eight days of trial. Because the prosecution will probably rest tomorrow. So in our mind, Jason, what was the strongest, most compelling moment?

JOHNSON: The most compelling moment it actually brought me back to the opening statement when John Guy said, you will hear in George Zimmerman's own word that he killed Trayvon Martin. And when they played the interview tape with Detective Serino and Zimmerman said, here's -- you're the 911 tape. He says that doesn't sound like me screaming. And if you don't hear your own voice screaming, and then the screaming stops when you shoot? It means you shot a guy who was calling for help. And I thought that was huge. Probably the biggest thing in the prosecution's case so far.


MILLER: I agree. I think that was huge but I think the biggest moment for the state so far has been that forensic evidence. The DNA evidence that was not there. No Zimmerman blood on Trayvon Martin's sweatshirt. No Zimmerman blood under Trayvon Martin's nails. No forensic evidence connecting Trayvon Martin to that gun. So all of these things are discrediting what George Zimmerman has said about that fight and that is very good for the prosecution.


PATE: All that's important but for the defense, let me tell you, the critical thing. When Serino said he believed George Zimmerman. Now I know the judge has said jury disregard that fact, but it has not left their minds. And when you have a law enforcement officer, someone you expect to be objective, someone jurors trust, say I talk to him, I did my job, and I believe him. That's very powerful.

COSTELLO: So many of the prosecution's witnesses kind of turned into defense witnesses. So you have to wonder after the state rests its case tomorrow, who will the defense call?

PATE: Boy, that's a tough call. And you always wait to the very end of the state's case to make that decision. You have your client, George Zimmerman, could testify. Don't think you put him on at this point. The jury has already heard his statement. You've got his story out there through these other prior interviews he's given.

So I'm not sure. Maybe they have other people to talk about George Zimmerman, to talk about the facts. But if things are going the way they have been, I think as a defense lawyer you simply rest.

COSTELLO: Well, you could put members of George Zimmerman's family on the stand.

PATE: Sure, you could.

COSTELLO: So -- and I think that actually would be helpful.

JOHNSON: It's helpful if they can speak to what kind of person he is. But I don't know at this particular point if that's going to matter. I thought that the college professor yesterday was probably the nicest advocate for George Zimmerman's character that you can put out there. This guy was a good student, seemed like a regular guy, the best friend says he was a nice person.

If you start bringing out Zimmerman's parents and his wife and everything else like that, no one -- everyone believes they're going to say nice things. That's not as moving.

COSTELLO: Well, but still, it makes George Zimmerman perhaps more human because -- I don't know, the jury really only knows him as the guy who shot Trayvon Martin and the guy who might have been a wannabe cop and overzealous. They don't really know him as a warm human being.

MILLER: He doesn't look very warm in the courtroom.

COSTELLO: No. MILLER: I think his demeanor has not helped him in this process at all. And I disagree a little bit with page. I think they should put. They need to put George Zimmerman on the stand because the prosecution effectively through the introduction of all of those statements that George Zimmerman has given in this case, they have shown that his version of events is contradictory, it's implausible and it doesn't comport --

COSTELLO: See, I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that at. I think he's been pretty consistent actually.

MILLER: He has major inconsistencies.

PATE: But calling him as a witness, how is that going to change? Then you get to see the prosecution confront him with all these inconsistencies.


PATE: He's squirming on the stand. How are you going to get around some of the things that he said that aren't clearly inconsistent? I don't think you put him through that. As a defense lawyer you don't just have to think, well, this witness will benefit me in one, two, three different ways. I also have to be concerned about cross examination.


PATE: If they trip my witness up in cross examination that's very damaging.

COSTELLO: OK. We're going to have to end it there. Another question, it will be interesting testimony tomorrow, that's for sure.

Page Tom, Jason, thanks so much. I know you two will be back tomorrow. But we enjoyed having you, Tanya. Please come back.

MILLER: Thank you for having me. I will.

COSTELLO: In just 15 minute I'm going to talk to the attorney for one of the trial's most memorable witnesses, Rachel Jeantel. His name is Rod Vereen. He'll join me in the CNN NEWSROOM coming up at -- in the 10:00 Eastern hour.

Also this morning, Egypt celebrates and the world shudders. Why the government over there may start hitting your wallet.


COSTELLO: Checking our "Top Stories" at 46 minutes past the hour, after a leadership change in Egypt, U.S. Ambassador Ann Patterson has now emerged as a target. You can see her image on a protest sign in Cairo calling her a nasty old woman. The State Department has ordered all non-essential diplomats to leave Egypt, but for now Patterson will remain in the country. We have new details about the American family missing at sea off the coast of New Zealand. New Zealand officials have released an unsent text message found in a satellite phone system. The June 4th message reads in part, quote "Storm sail shredded last night. Will update course information," end quote.

Transmission is important because it could help search teams determine where the boat was when that message was sent.

Congratulations are in order for Kerry Washington. The "Scandal" star wed 49ers quarterback Nnamdi Asomugha in a June 24th ceremony in Idaho. That's according to E News. CNN is trying to confirm the story. Publicists for the two told CNN they do not comment on their client's private lives.

The weather putting a damper on some Fourth of July fun: rain in the forecast for much of the eastern United States; parts of the Florida Panhandle saw 13 inches of rain yesterday and could see another six inches today.

If you're on the road this holiday weekend, gassing up for the trip will probably cost you more than it did last year. U.S. oil prices have surged to a 14-month high, thanks, in part, to the political uncertainty in Egypt.

Alison Kosik is tracking that story from New York. Good morning Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. And the interesting thing about watching these oil prices go higher, because of Egypt, is that Egypt is not a big oil producer. It doesn't export oil. But, it does control the Suez Canal and that's a major choke point for the flow of oil coming from the Mideast and going to the rest of the world. In fact more than four million barrels of oil move through that canal every day.

So here is the worry. The worry is that Egypt could close it and cause a huge oil delivery disruption. But reality is, it's unlikely because the Suez as a transportation hub is a big revenue source for Egypt. In fact it brought in more than $5 billion a year. The Canal in fact stayed open throughout the uprising back in 2011.

Now as far as oil prices go, you look at oil prices now. They've gone up 16 percent over the past two months. They closed above $101 a barrel yesterday at the highest levels since April of 2012. And part of the reason you are seeing those prices go up are Egypt and worries about what's happening in Egypt, spilling over into other Mideast countries.

But you look at the longer term it's about a stronger U.S. economy. And that's good, because a better economy means Americans are going to use more oil. So that is kind of the up side to seeing oil prices move a bit higher -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ok so let's talk about the possible downside. What does it mean for gas prices? KOSIK: That means we're going to be paying more. So expect to pay more for gas this July 4th compared to last year at $3.48 a gallon versus $3.34 a gallon a year ago. Now you look at prices they didn't change from yesterday they ended a 21-day streak of decreases for the national average.

But here's what AAA says, AAA says prices hit summer lows right around this time in 2011 and 2012. You see that trend but the problem is, expect to see prices start to climb -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ok. Well, at least you warned us.

KOSIK: Yes, I did.

COSTELLO: Alison thanks so much.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM, in the courtroom he sits just a few feet away from George Zimmerman. No one is more associated these days with Zimmerman than his attorney, Mark O'Mara. We'll take a closer look at the face of the defense when we come back.


COSTELLO: In a courtroom in Sanford, Florida all eyes are on Mark O'Mara. This long time Florida lawyer is charged with defending George Zimmerman. O'Mara is the lead defense attorney in a trial the entire nation is watching. So just who is he? George Howell digs deep to find out.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's been described as brilliant, a tactician, hallmarks of the skillful trial attorney.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility just for the purpose of this next question -- do you think he's telling the truth?



O'MARA: There's always one more thing you have my --

HOWELL: Mark O'Mara in the spotlight like never before defending a man once described as the most hated man in America, George Zimmerman.

O'Mara's resume is long, nearly three decades of lawyering experience, mostly as a family attorney operating out of this small unassuming bungalow in Orlando, but O'Mara was also a prosecutor, handling everything from petty crimes to death penalty cases.

Outside the courtroom, Mark O'Mara leads a quiet personal life. A native New Yorker from Queens, raised Catholic, he says his biggest inspiration was his father, a World War II veteran who later raised five children on a fireman's salary. O'Mara married his wife Jen later in life. They are often seen riding on his Harley together. They have no children.

He's a big fan of his law school alma mater, Florida State, and an avid sports fan. O'Mara loves dogs, seen here in this YouTube video with his German shepherd, Timber. He has other skills too, clocking time as a legal pundit for a local Orlando TV station during the Casey Anthony trial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we bring in our legal expert attorney Mark O'Mara. Ok you've seen the list of the jurors we've been taking a look at them pretty good cross section, ages all over the place.

O'MARA: It is I don't think there's any argument that this is not a cross sectioned jury.

HOWELL: A friend is quoted as saying "O'Mara doesn't mind taking on those kinds of cases that come with media scrutiny, like he did in 2004 when he defended a man accused of killing a nurse with his car while trying to evade police. Shamir Suber (ph) faced second-degree murder, but was later convicted of a lesser charge, DUI manslaughter. It's a good thing O'Mara doesn't mind the bright lights, because right now there's no trial in the country more in the public glare than that of George Zimmerman.

George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


COSTELLO: Coming up in the NEWSROOM, the Boston Celtics dip into the college ranks to pick a successor -- a successor rather to Doc Rivers. "Bleacher Report" coming your way next.


COSTELLO: I cannot believe we're talking about the Boston Celtics on a day that Max Scherzer is 13-0, Andy Scholes.

ANDY SCHOLES, "BLEACHER REPORT": Yes, you know, we're going to talk about this Boston Celtics coaching search first, because it was a pretty big deal. No one saw this coming, Carol.

It had been a pretty quiet search. Celtics didn't really tip their hand in what they were going to do, then out of nowhere yesterday they announced that Butler's Brad Stevens would, in fact, be their next head coach. Now, Stevens has no NBA experience, but he is considered one of the game's brightest and up and coming coaches. After leading Butler to back to back national college game appearances in 2010 and 2011, he had multiple offers to coach a bigger program, but Stevens would decline those offers, choosing to remain at Butler.

However the chance to coach the Boston Celtics is too good to pass up. According to reports, 36-year-old Stevens will sign a six-year deal worth $22 million. He will be introduced tomorrow.

There are plenty of Fourth of July traditions taking place around the country today, one of them is the 44th running of the Peach Tree Road Race through the streets of Atlanta, This is the largest 10k race in the world. More than 70,000 people register for each year, but only 60,000 are selected to run in the race.

Participants dealing with wet conditions today. Mosinet Geremew from Ethiopia won the men's race while Lineth Chepkurui from Kenya won the women's. Congrats to everyone who participated in this year's race.

So the Dodger's young phenom Yasiel Puig experienced the highs and lows of sports yesterday, He was named the N.L. Rookie of the month and the player of the month. Last night against the Rockies, check out the great catch he makes, slamming into the wall here, but he would bruise his left hip on the play. He had to leave the game. An inning later, he's now considered day-to-day.

Now, Carol, to your favorite story of the day. No pitcher in baseball is hotter right now than the Tigers' Max Scherzer. Scherzer came in to last night's game against the Blue Jays with a record of 12-0, but as any pitcher will tell you, you're only as good as your defense. Check out the catch from Austin Jackson.

That saved at least one run. Tigers would win the game. Scherzer improves to 13-0. Carol, he's the first pitcher to do that since Roger Clemens did for the Red Sox back in 1986. If you remember, Clemens went on to win the MVP that year and I would say Scherzer is on track for just about the same issue. He could do this like Verlander a couple of years ago, win the MVP and the Cy Young.

COSTELLO: Wouldn't that be fantastic? You know he has two different color eyes.

SCHOLES: Yes, he's a pretty interesting guy to look at. Kind of not know which eye to look at.

COSTELLO: I know. It is strange to talk to him. Because one is a very dark brown and the other is very light. He's a terrific guy, too. Andy Scholes, thank you so much. I really enjoyed that.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.