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Firefighters Make Progress in Arizona; Interim Egyptian President Sworn In; Key Moments in Zimmerman Trial; TV Star Gets Married in Secret; Much of Gandolfini's Will Goes to Son; Statue of Liberty Reopens for Fourth of July

Aired July 4, 2013 - 10:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And I know there was a touching moment on Wednesday when the vehicles used by those firefighters, they were driven back home.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They are called buggies, and they have two of them; ten men to each one so this pretty much where they live. Those buggies came into town and people were just moved to run out there and salute them, but the moment of silence didn't just happen here, it also happened down at the fire line. Take a look at what happened.


CLAY TEMPLIN, FIRE INCIDENT COMMANDER: We did have a hard day today with our fallen comrades' vehicles going down, we also had an operational pause today where we went ahead and considered those tasks we're asked to do, the environment we operate in, the hazards we face, the risks we assess, and how we mitigate those, and that's important for all of us as we move forward and take a moment to make certain that we are doing everything properly when it comes to attacking these fires.


ELAM: And as they continue to work on that fire like you were saying it is important to remember that with these thunderstorms that have been coming in the afternoon is the chance for lightning and that is how this original fire started last weekend -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh gosh, I hope it's just rain. Stephanie Elam reporting live from Prescott this morning.

The George Zimmerman murder trial resumes tomorrow and there's talk about a possible game-changing moment for the defense.

Up next, our panel joins me to talk about key testimony in the trial's first eight days.


COSTELLO: Good morning. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Checking our "Top Stories" at 33 minutes past the hour. Egypt has a new leader this morning, Adly Mansour has been sworn in as Interim President comes a day after the military opposed Mohamed Morsy, but the move isn't being called a coup just yet, at least by the U.S. government. That's because if it is labeled a coup, then the United States would have to cut off billions of dollars in aid it sends to Egypt.

Some major progress in the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 elite firefighters; it is now 45 percent contained after burning 8,400 acres. Fire officials believe they can have the blaze fully contained in about a week. Fallen firefighters will be remembered in a special memorial service Tuesday in Prescott.

Senator John McCain is in Afghanistan. The Senator arrived overnight in Kabul for an unannounced July 4th visit. He is expected, of course, to meet with U.S. troops. McCain's visit comes as the United States is preparing to draw down its forces in Afghanistan.

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

Tomorrow, the State of Florida is expected to wrap up its case against George Zimmerman and in the past week and a half, there have been several critical moments, from that 911 call, to a dramatic demonstration of how -- Zimmerman may have fired his gun. Among them, the hoodie that Trayvon Martin was wearing on the night he died, a single hole marking the place where the bullet entered Trayvon Martin's body.

Here for some perspective, Page Pate a criminal defense attorney, Jason Johnson, HLN contributor, chief political correspondent for "Politics 365" and political science professor at Hiram College and Tanya Miller, a former prosecutor. Welcome to all of you.




COSTELLO: And thanks for coming in on Fourth of July, I appreciate it. So, the Judge gave the jury a break on the Fourth of July, but trial will resume on Friday. The lawyers have been arguing, hey, why don't we just, like, take Friday off, too, but Page, the Judge said, no, I want to get this trial done.

PATE: The judge has sequestered the jury. So obviously this Judge is very attentive to the needs of that jury and this Judge unlike some other judges we've seen in high-profile cases, wants to keep this trial moving forward and she's doing a very good job of that I think right now.

COSTELLO: I think that would be helpful for the jury. MILLER: Absolutely, absolutely, I agree 100 percent. I mean I think this Judge is doing a great job keeping this trial on track. She's very matter of fact, she knows the law, she keeps things moving and that's always good when you're a jury and you're sequestered.

COSTELLO: Ok so let's step back and take a look at moments, the moments that stood out during eight days of testimony and I'll start with you, Jason.

JOHNSON: Well you know what's interesting I couldn't help but look at your interview with Rachel Jeantel's lawyer. And Rachel Jeantel was such a huge part of this trial. And it's fascinating to me, if we had learned about the girl that you found out in the interview and her relationship with Trayvon Martin, I think that really would have made a huge difference in this case. Find out that Trayvon was a kid who didn't make fun of her. It would have humanized him because they still don't know him.

So I think Jeantel was one of the big part of the case, we don't know if she'll help or not, but she was the biggest part.

COSTELLO: The part of that interview that shocked me, frankly, was that nobody prepared Rachel Jeantel for this -- for this testimony she was about to give. How is that possible, Page?

PATE: Well, it's possible because she's not on trial. She doesn't necessarily have a lawyer. We have learned that she did get a lawyer, but he was saying he came into the game a little too late. As a prosecutor, you're not going to script your witnesses, you'll spend some time with the witnesses, of course, but you can over-prepare them, as well. I do think she needed a little coaching, not about what to say, but perhaps how to say it.

COSTELLO: So -- so in the end, Tanya, how effective will her testimony be? Because right now, nobody thinks it was very effective -- virtual nobody, I should say.

MILLER: Well I don't know about that. I mean I disagree with that. I think that she came across as credible when she needed to be. The thing that makes her most credible, for me, is that she was willing to say things about Trayvon that didn't necessarily help the state's case, unlike when you saw George Zimmerman's friend, he clearly had a motive. He clearly had an agenda. He's writing a book, he's trying to make a point.

Rachel Jeantel was really just doing her best to tell what she knew and what she -- what she heard and so I think that makes her credible.

COSTELLO: Yes it's not such an easy time for her now after her testimony either.

MILLER: Unfortunately.

COSTELLO: I know because her lawyer also told me she's taking one day at a time and she really should stay off the Internet. Another effective witness, Detective Chris Serino, he was the lead investigator and he talked about Zimmerman's honesty, let's listen to that.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Is there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?


O'MARA: As a matter of fact, everything that he had told you, to date, had been corroborated by other evidence you were already aware of in the investigation that he was unaware of.

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: Ok. 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 was telling the truth?



COSTELLO: Ok. So the prosecution had that statement stricken from the record. The Judge told the jury, just ignore that ever was said, but I don't think that's possible, Jason.

JOHNSON: I don't think it's possible, as well. But what I thought was interesting is after -- after a strong start and then sort of fading off at the end of the week, I think that was probably the prosecution's strongest day, because they really highlighted the fact that, ok, so you just said you believed him yesterday, but we're going to make you go back over this tape and you clearly seem to have more questions about George Zimmerman's testimony right after it happened than you do a year later. And I thought the prosecution did a good job of pointing out where Detective Serino was skeptical.

COSTELLO: But Tanya it took them a day to do that.

MILLER: Absolutely. Look, I think this was an egregious violation of the evidence rules by the defense, and the prosecution let them get away with it. He didn't object when he was supposed to object. The jury never should have heard Detective Serino's opinion about George Zimmerman's honesty. That's a big no-no.


PATE: I was wondering why the prosecutor didn't object, but then I thought about it, do you really want to object in front of the jury to your own officer's testimony about what he thinks about the case? The jury is then going to think you're being defensive. Why, Mr. Prosecutor, can't we hear what this officer thinks about the case? So you know Zimmerman's lawyer O'Mara knew exactly what he was doing, either he gets the question in and the officer answer's yes I believe him or the prosecutor jumps up and tries to defend and keeps the jury from hearing that critical piece of evidence.

COSTELLO: Ok so possibly on the stand tomorrow, Trayvon Martin's mother. And you can be sure they're going to play that 911 call and ask her to identify who was screaming.

Anderson Cooper interviewed Trayvon's -- Trayvon Martin's mother last year. This is what she said about that 911 call then.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC360": You've heard the 911 call where you hear somebody calling out help. Do you believe that's 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: Ok, I was trying to tell them to turn my microphone on. And it's finally on. So that's probably though, that's going to be the emotional demeanor of Trayvon Martin's mother. How -- I mean you've got to believe that's going to be unbelievably effective, Page.

PATE: Well, I expect it'll be effective. I expect it will be emotional, but will it be enough? You know the prosecution made a very good opening statement in this case and they promised a lot. The question the jury has to answer is, did they deliver? And you know, ties go to the defense. So if the prosecution hasn't put in the evidence everything they said they were going to put into evidence, no matter how emotional the testimony may be, it's not enough for a conviction.

COSTELLO: I don't know. That jury's made up of all women. Several of those jurors are mothers.

JOHNSON: A mother telling the pain of losing her son, a mother telling stories about who she knows Trayvon Martin to be, and ultimately a mother who sort of sits forward and says, look, I have remained poised. You see me in this courtroom as well, you've seen how I'm devoted. Now look at George Zimmerman, how detached he's been and look at me who's managed to control myself despite my pain. I think that resonates with a jury, as well.

COSTELLO: All right Jason, Tanya, Page, thank you so much. I appreciate you being here on the Fourth of July.

Coming up next, our Fourth of July weather. It's all over the map. We'll check in with Chad Myers to find out who's hot, who's not and what parades will be rained on.


RANDY SCHLENZIK, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Hello from Kabul, Afghanistan. I'm Chief Foreign Officer 4 Randy Schlenzik (ph) Nebraska Army National Guard and I would like to wish everyone in Ralston, Nebraska, a happy Fourth of July, especially the McGraphs, the land of hogs, the com stocks, and the Ralstons. Happy Independence Day everybody.



COSTELLO: From brutally hot and dry, to drenching rains that have washed out parades and fireworks displays, those are the extremes covering much of the country this Fourth of July. Chad, don't rain on my parade. I just wanted to say that line.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Where are you going, Carol?

COSTELLO: Nowhere, I'm staying here.

MYERS: You have to go about 200 miles away from Atlanta to get anything dry. Boy it's just been a mess there, hasn't it?

COSTELLO: It has. It's been awful.

MYERS: You know I call my mom, my mom lives in Marietta area, they have three and a half inches of rainfall yesterday, I thought wow that's a lot. Then I looked at some of these pictures here, out of Florida, inlet beach, 14.74 inches of rain in 26 hours and it's still raining -- it's still raining here. It's just been awful.

There's a not so good, not so bad shot, I guess. That's just outside of my old office right there in Atlanta. It still is my office, but I won't be for the next nine days while I stay up here.


COSTELLO: From brutally hot and dry, to drenching rains that have washed out parades and fireworks displays, those are the extremes covering much of the country this Fourth of July.

Chad, don't rain on my parade. I just wanted to say that line.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Where are you going, Carol?

COSTELLO: Nowhere, I'm staying here.

MYERS: You have to go about 200 miles away from Atlanta to get anything dry. It's just been a mess there, hasn't it?

COSTELLO: It has. It's been awful.

MYERS: You know, I called my mom; my mom lives in the Vinings (ph), Marietta. They had three and a half inches of rainfall yesterday; I thought well, that's a lot. But I looked at some of these pictures here, out of Florida, Inlet Beach, 14.74 inches of rain in 26 hours and it's still raining. It's still raining here.


MYERES: It's just been awful. There's a not so bad shot, I guess. That's just outside of my old office right there in Atlanta. Still is my office, but won't be for the next nine days while I stay up here. I get to fill in for Indra while she goes on vacation. That's the only way I can get on your show, is if I can fly away from Atlanta and come to New York. So there you go.

COSTELLO: Well, I'm glad you're with me. I am. You now, back in the day Chad and I anchored a show together and it was fantastic. So I'm always glad to see Chad.

MYERS: It was good stuff, Carol, yes. Hot in Boston today, hot in New York. The rain showers stay away. Here's where we've been. It has rained in Florida all the way to Boston all week long. That has now changed. Yes, it's still hot in the west, not quite by a couple of degrees, but hot weather now in Boston, New York, all the way down even into Florida.

New York, Boston, you're going to be warm. You're going to be all these numbers here, two to three inches of rainfall yesterday, now the sun's going to come out and you are going to warm up. Let's take a look what we have for you. Boston, 94 -- It's going to feel like 103. New York, 87 -- it's going to feel like 99. Atlanta, 75 -- it's going to feel like 75.

So technically, 28 degrees cooler in Atlanta than it's going to feel like in Boston, so that's where we are at this point in time. It's going to be wet in the middle. It's going to be hot in the east, hot in the west, and although it gets better, Vegas today, you're still over 113 to about 114 degrees -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ok, I'll light my little sparkler because I don't think there's going to be a fireworks show here.

MYERS: You can probably have a sparkler in Atlanta, but out to the west, it's been so dry, they don't even want you to do that.

I know, I know. I feel for them. If only we could like blend the two systems together, but alas. Thank you, Chad. Happy Fourth.

MYERS: See you tomorrow. You, too.

COSTELLO: Kerry Washington knows the public spotlight, but a life- changing moment for her may have taken place away from the cameras. Yes, a secret wedding.


COSTELLO: Hollywood star sneaks off and gets married.

James Gandolfini's will has finally been released.

CNN's Nischelle Turner joins us now. I guess I shouldn't have said released, but we know what's in it.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And I love how you started that off, Hollywood star goes off and gets married. Very cute -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I love Kerry Washington.

TURNER: Me too. I do. Actually, I love both of the people involved in this story, because who she married is one of my favorite guys in the NFL. You know, this doesn't really happen these days, and I'm talking about a celebrity going off and getting secretly married, let alone to another celebrity.

Yes, Kerry Washington married Nnamdi Asomugha, sports fans know that name. He's currently a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, but he was most famous when he was with the Raiders -- three-time pro- bowler, four-time all pro and all-around by most people's accounts good guy.

They got married on June 24th in Blaine County, Idaho. They've been reportedly dating for about a year, very quiet.

The sports Web site (ph) was the first to get wind of this news, and Carol, you know, Kerry is so secretive about -- and I don't even want to say secretive, she's just very, very private. Whenever anyone asks her about her private life, she always says, no, I don't talk about that. You know I don't talk about that. She keeps it close to the vest.

Here's a little story, and it doesn't say much about my reporting skills, I guess, but at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year, I saw both of them, I talked to her. And then here comes Nnamdi, and I'm like what are you doing here? Well, I didn't put two and two together. And he was like, "Oh, I'm just here." Well, he was there with his lady and I never knew it.

COSTELLO: Talk about a beautiful couple, though, wow. Good for them.

Ok, let's talk about James Gandolfini and his will.

TURNER: Absolutely. You know, his will was just made public on Wednesday, and we learned he was actually really generous to his family and friends. He left much of his $70 million estate to his teenage son Michael. Michael received all of his father's clothing, all of his father's jewelry.

He was also the beneficiary of a $7 million life insurance policy that was owned by a trust that was set up in his name. This trust also has the option to purchase James Gandolfini's Greenwich Village condominium here in New York.

Both Michael and his half sister, Lilliana, she's only eight-months- old, they both receive a 50 percent stake in the property that Gandolfini owns in Italy. That's also held in a trust that's available when his daughter turns 25. And his widow, Debra Lynn, she got all of his tangible property. The will says that he made other provisions for his wife that he didn't put in the will. He also left large sums of cash to his nieces, his sisters, his godson, and his assistant and a friend.

COSTELLO: We'll miss him. We still miss him.

TURNER: Yes, indeed.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much. Nischelle Turner.

A special day for an American symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty reopens to visitors eight months after Liberty Island was damaged by Sandy. We'll take you there live.


COSTELLO: Ok, so imagine you're driving down the street and a 20- foot-deep sinkhole opens up. It happened in Toledo, Ohio. A woman was inside that car. She's driving down the road and it swallowed her car. The road swallowed her car. Fire crews had to be called in to help rescue her. Listen to the call that 911 operators received.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a car just fell through the street -- a car just fell through the street by Detroit and Bancroft. A hole opened up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, listen. Detroit and Bancroft. What kind of vehicle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. A tan Malibu is in the hole. It sunk in.


COSTELLO: It's like, why ask me what kind of car I'm driving? I'm in a hole, come and get me. Unbelievably, this woman was not injured. Police believe a broken water main caused the street to crumble like that, but wow is that scary.

Ok, let's talk Fourth of July and the Statue of Liberty because the Statue of Liberty has reopened to visitors after Sandy damaged Liberty Island eight months ago. Pamela Brown is there.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lady Liberty is once again ready to face the masses yearning for a closer look at one of America's most iconic figures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be here at the Statue of Liberty on its opening day on the Fourth of July, it's just amazing. It's really -- it just makes your heart swell. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone's been waiting for so long to be back here. I think it's beautiful. We all see pictures, but to be here makes everything more real.

BROWN: Superstorm Sandy forced Lady Liberty's closing just a day after her 126th anniversary. While the statue itself emerged unscathed, storm surge sunk almost three-quarters of Liberty Island, leaving bricks ripped up, docks destroyed, and debris everywhere. Adding insult to injury, the statue had just reopened the day before the storm after a year of renovations.

CNN got rare access inside for the reopening all the way to her crown. The track up a steep 377-step narrow spiral staircase leads to spectacular views high above New York's harbor.

The 305-foot-tall statue was a gift from France symbolizing the friendship between the two countries and their shared love of liberty. Dedicated in 1886 after ten years of construction, more than 3.5 million people worldwide flock here every year.

Park officials worked around the clock to make sure the island reopened just in time for this Independence Day.

DAVID LUCHSINGER, SUPERINTENDENT, STATUE OF LIBERTY: Coming here and seeing visitors from all over the world standing out in front with tears in their eyes or excitement because she's not only our Statue of Liberty, she's the world's Statue of Liberty.


BROWN: And Carol, visitors are pouring into the island. They've been coming here since just before 9:00 this morning Eastern time and will be able to stay here until about 4:45 this afternoon. There's really just such a sense of excitement among the visitors we've been speaking to today.

There's also a ribbon cutting ceremony taking place with New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as well as some other public officials. One public official put it appropriately, he said, he hopes that this is the last time they have to open, close, and reopen the Statue of Liberty. Hoping this is it -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I hope so, too. What a beautiful shot.

Pamela Brown, thank you and happy Fourth of July.

Thank you for spending part of your holiday with me, I'm Carol Costello.

"CNN NEWSROOM" continues after a short break.