Return to Transcripts main page


Government Upheaval in Egypt; White House "Deeply Concerned" About Egypt; George Zimmerman Case Resumes Tomorrow

Aired July 4, 2013 - 11:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Good morning, everyone, and happy Fourth of July.

I'm Ashleigh Banfield, coming to you live from Sanford, Florida, where a sequestered jury does not get to go home, but they don't go into the courtroom today.

It is the George Zimmerman murder trial coming to the close of week two. This is the Fourth of July holiday, but, boy, do we ever have a lot of evidence to sift through and a lot of legal discussions and things you probably have not seen in this courtroom because there have been competing lead stories throughout the day yesterday when testimony was at its thickest, Egypt had its uprising, so we have a lot of testimony to get you familiar with.

First, though, we here in America celebrate independence day, as I mentioned, Egypt is beginning a new era of political uncertainty.

We're just getting word now from Reuters that Egyptian security forces have arrested the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm taking you to live pictures of Tahrir Square where you can see numerous people, but certainly not the crowds there yesterday.

Here's what's happened since then. There was a swearing in of a brand new leader. His name is Adly Mansour, sworn in as interim president. They were careful to let people around the world know he was interim, not final, all of this after the nation's first democratically elected president was toppled.

You can say coup because it happened amid the army in a massive upheaval. Take a listen to what the brand new interim leader said at this official swearing in ceremony last night.


ADLY MANSOUR, INTERIM EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (via translator): And then despite all the attempt against its independence, alongside his people defending all the principles, I would like to congratulate and greet the security forces who sacrificed their lives.


BANFIELD: Well, get used to saying President Mansour for now and maybe don't get so used to saying President Mohamed Morsy because now he's officially under house arrest. And still people are out in Tahrir Square celebrating all of this.

It's a little backwards, isn't it, the military now backing the people, where it was only a couple of years ago they were killing them in that last square?

Live from Cairo, Ian, you were there then, you're there now. Talk to me about not only the situation that the ousted president finds himself in, but members of his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, are they fleeing for the hills because there are arrest warrants up to, I think, 300 now. People want to find these people who are politically allied with the president and get rid of them.

IAN LEE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, Egypt is kind of in a dangerous situation right now, especially as you just said, there are arrest warrants out for members of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, the supreme guide has been arrested.

This puts Egypt in a dangerous situation because the supporters of the Brotherhood and of the former president Mohamed Morsy are outraged already as it is that their leader was taken from power and this is going to antagonize them even more.

A lot of people are afraid this could lead to violence in Egypt. What the government now is trying to do is form a coalition government, a government that can fix a lot of the problems that Egypt's facing, a lot of the problems that brought people out into the streets in the first place, but they are going to have to bring in the Brotherhood or at least talk with the Brotherhood.

You can't marginalize that section of society. The Brotherhood does have a significant following.

BANFIELD: And you know what else, Ian, you can't arrest them if you're planning to have a good dialogue. It just doesn't set a good foundation for that.

Ian Lee continues to watch things for us live over Tahrir Square. Thank you, Ian, for that.

Here stateside, our president, Barack Obama, is saying, quote, "The United States is deeply concerned by Mohamed Morsy's removal and, of course, the suspension of the constitution, as well."

Athena Jones is live at the White House. It may be a national holiday, but people are working. This is a critical time and a critical issue.

How is the president now reacting after that very carefully worded statement that was released yesterday?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Ashleigh. That is the statement that we have. We haven't heard new word from the president today on this issue, but he held a meeting with his national security team, talked about being afterwards being deeply concerned about the removal of Morsy, but it was a very long and carefully worded statement.

I'll read to you just a little bit of it. He said, "I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected, civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process and avoid arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters."

Of course, we've learned now from the Muslim Brotherhood, President Morsy is said to be under house arrest, so it's unclear how they'll respond to that, but I'll tell you the real issue here is the wording of all of this.

In the statement, that segment I just read to you, you'll notice the president said to return a democratically elected government, not the democratically elected government, which, of course, would suggest the need to return Morsy to power.

Another big issue here, a word we haven't heard coming from this administration is coup. They are not calling this a coup because. in the instance of a military coup, U.S. law dictates that aid to Egypt, we're talking about $1.5 billion a year, might need to be cut off, so they are not calling it a coup.

The president did say they are reviewing the law on this, so that's one of the big things we'll be watching over the next couple of days.


BANFIELD: Always interesting to see an interim president being sworn in that doesn't have military medals, but he is without question aligned with that military, so it will be interesting there.

Athena Jones, working on July Fourth, thank you for doing that job for us at the White House today.

Want to take a look at some other top stories that we're following here at CNN on this July Fourth. We have an update for you on the Madeleine McCann case. This is the case that's been baffling investigators since the British toddler disappeared in Portugal, and if you're counting how many years, it was back in 2007.

London's metro police service says it's now identified 38 persons of interest, and the detectives say that they're planning to speak to them all in relation to her suspected abduction. Stay tuned for the details on this.

Also, a search of a secret apartment, one leased by Aaron Hernandez, yes, the man with the multi-million dollar mansion had a secret apartment, and guess what was in the apartment, some interesting new evidence in his murder case.

Police found ammunition, ammunition that actually matched the caliber to kill his friend, Odin Lloyd.

They also found a sweatshirt, one that matches the sweatshirt Hernandez was pictured wearing on July 17th. That is the day that Lloyd was murdered.

Of course, by now you know police are accusing Hernandez, the ex-New England Patriots star, of orchestrating that killing.

He, for his part, through his attorneys, has pleaded not guilty, plans, so far, to fight this tooth and nail.

On July Fourth, one of America's most enduring symbols, the Statue of Liberty, feast your eyes. It is open again to all of us. Yes, tourists, buy your tickets and take the big walk up.

The reason it's open now is because Superstorm Sandy had caused a lot of damage to the docks and the surrounding grounds, dad to close it all down, do the renovations and the repairs.

Lady Liberty herself didn't suffer damage, but those repair costs to everything else totaled about $59 million. Millions of people visit the statue each year. Tickets, though, for today, as you can imagine, sold out.

And we are, of course, live in Sanford, Florida, where the prosecution in George Zimmerman's murder trial is really on the verge of wrapping up its case. In fact, we thought it might happen yesterday, but it did not.

And here's what's so ironic. George Zimmerman himself had told people he wanted to be a prosecutor, a police officer, yes, but also a prosecutor. Instead, he now sits there being prosecuted for second- degree murder.

George Howell of CNN looks at how the state of Florida is trying to poke a whole bunch of holes in the story that George tells about the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The day started with a parade of witnesses from George Zimmerman's past, from the professors who taught him about criminal justice ...



HOWELL: ... to a representative from a Virginia police department that rejected his application to be a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Zimmerman had a problem with his credit?

LIEUTENANT SCOTT KEARNS, PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that would be a reason why you wouldn't be accepted as a police officer?

KEARNS: That's the reason why we did not consider him further based on that record, yes, sir.

HOWELL: Zimmerman's past could haunt him if jurors are swayed by the picture prosecutors are trying to paint, a "wannabe" cop who went too far, then less than forthcoming about how well he knew the law on national TV.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Prior to this night, this incident, had you even heard stand your ground?


HANNITY: You'd never heard about it before?


HOWELL: Captain Alexis Francisco Carter told the court part of the course he taught covered self-defense laws with a special focus on Florida laws like "stand your ground." And Zimmerman aced the class.

CARTER: He was probably one of the better students in the class.

HOWELL: Zimmerman's defense team argued his past training and education had no relevance to this case.

Next, prosecutors called Amy Siewert, a firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Siewert testified, through tests on Trayvon Martin's clothes, she was able to determine it was a contact shot that killed him.

AMY SIEWERT, FIREARMS ANALYST: It is consistent with the muzzle of the firearm touching the outer sweatshirt and the inner sweatshirt being in direct contact with the outer one, yes.

HOWELL: The final witness, Anthony Gorgone, a crime lab analyst who examined DNA samples on all of the evidence in the case.

Attorneys focused on the question of whose DNA was found on Zimmerman's gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were able to exclude Trayvon Martin as having DNA on the pistol grip, is that correct?

ANTHONY GORGONE, DNA ANALYST: Yes, Trayvon Martin was excluded as being a possible contributor to this mixture on the grip.

HOWELL: Court resumes Friday, when we are likely to hear from a member of Trayvon Martin's family to testify about who was screaming on that 911 audiotape.

The state is then expected to rest its case and then the defense will start calling its witnesses.

George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


BANFIELD: And while you may be enjoying your day off from work on this Fourth of July holiday, the jury in this case, they don't get to go home.

They don't get to go to barbecues with their friends and families. They have to sit and stew, sequestered, thinking about all of that evidence George just laid out.

And so what do you think they are thinking? Is there a winner so far in the case?

Our legal panel's going to weigh in on what that jury might be stewing over, right after this break.


BANFIELD: Welcome back. Live in Sanford, Florida, I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

The DNA evidence in the spotlight yesterday at the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial, it's the CSI part of this trial where the mystery goes down to the molecule.

Trayvon Martin's fingernails, as well as the sweatshirt he was wearing the night he was killed and that gun Zimmerman used to kill him, all featured heavily in the courtroom yesterday. And all of them tested in the effort to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in the scuffle between those two people that night.

Joining me to figure out what mattered and what really didn't in all of that very arcane information is defense attorney Midwin Charles, who is with me live in New York City, CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez, who's live with me here down in Sanford, and is in that courtroom gavel to gavel every single day. No one knows more about this trial than Jean. And then with me is defense attorney Jeff Gold, who's also able to weigh in on critical aspects of this case.

Jean, I want to start with you, because I need you to boil down the biggest thing, if there was one, that those jurors might be stewing over today, because they have to sit and think. They can't be with their families at their homes and doing 4th of July things, they have to think about everything that happened today. What stood out the most?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I think for both sides, because both sides got something here. First of all, no DNA on the gun from Trayvon Martin, so if you believe that he touched it, at least the DNA wasn't there. Also no DNA of George Zimmerman on the cuffs of Trayvon Martin's jacket, that hoodie. In other words, if he was trying to suffocate George Zimmerman, there was no DNA that rubbed off. Now, for the defense, George Zimmerman, remember George Zimmerman never said that he touched the gun. George Zimmerman always said he felt his hand go down Trayvon Martin's as if he might be trying to touch or reach for the gun. Well, on that holster that held the gun, there was a mixed profile of DNA and Trayvon Martin could not be excluded. That's interesting.

BANFIELD: Ah-ha. I am glad you pointed that out. It's exactly what I wanted our attorneys to weigh in on. Since you mentioned it, let's play the moment. Four places on the gun for swabbed, the actual handle of the gun, the trigger, the slide, and what Jean just mentioned, the holster. Have a listen to how Anthony Gorgone, the DNA expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, how he referred to the swab from the holster and what he found and did not find.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fourth swab was taken from the holster itself. Tell us -- and that's the last part of the slide that I've shown you. Tell us, if you could, what your findings were regarding that.

ANTHONY GORGONE, DNA ANALYST: The swab from the holster tested negative for the possible presence of blood. The DNA testing gave me a mixture of DNA. I was able to resolve out a major DNA profile for the sample, and that major DNA profile matched George Zimmerman, and the statistical analysis is right here. It's the same 1 in 11 quadrillion Caucasians, 1 in 1.5 quintillion African-Americans, and 1 in 57 quadrillion southeastern Hispanics. That would be for the probability of the major DNA profile. As far as the minor or lesser contributors, I was not able to determine a DNA profile for any of those minor contributors, and when I made the comparison to Trayvon Martin, I was not able to include or exclude him from the mixture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as to the holster where you got a major, it matches George Zimmerman, is that correct?

GORGONE: Correct.


BANFIELD: Okay, Jeff, so I looked at that, and I heard there's a major profile, a DNA profile, of George Zimmerman on the holster. Of course, it's his. There's a minor profile, too, but we can't tell who. Is that the same as no Trayvon Martin?

JEFF GOLD, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. And we don't know who that is, we don't know if it's a cop. You know what, if this is what the state has, this is the kind of evidence that says to a jury they don't have a case. They are used to seeing "CSI" --

BANFIELD: Well, they have a case. They've been putting a case on.

GOLD: I don't know. A lot of people would say every single one of these witnesses has been defense witnesses and what the states is doing is merely putting all the evidence in front of the jury and letting them acquit George Zimmerman. BANFIELD: Isn't that a brilliant maneuver, put it all in front of the jury and let the jury decide. It's the way it's supposed to work. Midwin Charles, when I watch hours upon hours of a DNA expert, sometimes my eyes cross. I'm fascinated by it, but sometimes it's overwhelming. You and I get to see it all the time, so we know what's coming. These jurors might be seeing it for the first time. Is it too much for them to grasp the critical aspects of it?

MIDWIN CHARLES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think juries take their jobs seriously when they go over this kind of evidence, and I think that the language that is used by DNA experts is something that people are used to now, especially when they watch TV shows like "CSI" and "Law and Order." This is something -- testimony they expect during trials --

BANFIELD: Midwin, they get that dramatically written and beautiful tight script with language we all understand.

CHARLES: They do, but they've recognized --


BANFIELD: Do you remember your 11th grade chemistry, where you were -- I hadn't heard the word allele in 20 years.

CHARLES: Right, but I think they take it seriously. In other words, they expect this type of testimony to be part of a criminal trial, and so I think what they are going to do is take their job seriously and try to discuss amongst themselves the six women who are on the jury what is the relevance, what do these terms mean, how can we apply it to the job that they are supposed to do, which is listen to all the evidence and see where it fits in.

I think the DNA evidence is quite helpful. One of the things that I think came out yesterday that I think was a slam dunk for the prosecution is there wasn't George Zimmerman's DNA on Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman claims that Trayvon hit him 25 to 30 times. Why were there no scrapes or bruises on his fists or on his hands? I think those are the kind of --


BANFIELD: There were abrasions. There were abrasions on the left hand of Trayvon Martin. I think three fingers had what were called not cuts, but abrasions, but not on the right hand. I think you hit the nail on the head --


BANFIELD: DNA issues, that's critical.

CHARLES: Right, no DNA.

BANFIELD: Hold that thought for a minute, because I think they have a lot to stew over today, that jury. They were loaded down with some really tricky evidence. But they may still be thinking about some of the other evidence and some of the other very memorable witnesses.

I'm sure you have not forgotten in this trial the witness named Rachel Jeantel. She was fascinating and created so much conversation. She was Trayvon Martin's friend. Her testimony was gripping. People criticized her. People supported her, and so many talked about her demeanor. Well, now we know more about why she was the way she was. CNN spoke with her lawyer to get his reaction and he enlightens us to what she was doing before the trial. We're going to play this for you next.


BANFIELD: I think it's fair to say that one of the most talked about moments in the trial wasn't so much a moment, it was an actual witness with a lot of moments.

In the George Zimmerman murder trial, you would think that he would be the center of attention, as well as Trayvon Martin, the victim, but instead it was Trayvon Martin's friend Rachel Jeantel who stood out to so many. Nineteen years old, in 12th grade, this young lady became very famous very fast. Her testimony was stunning.

People across the country were gripped as they watched her and many criticized her for her demeanor, the attitude she had with the defense attorney Don West, and then also the second day she testified, we saw a very different Rachel Jeantel. You no doubt remember her answer to almost every question was "yes, sir," "no, sir," but it was said with a tone that may have spoken volumes more than the words.

My colleague, CNN's Carol Costello, had the opportunity to speak with her attorney, Rod Vereen. It happened this morning, and he's very upset about the backlash Rachel Jeantel has been getting. So much of it online, so much of it out in the open as well. And he gave us insight to Rachel. Have a look.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: There has been so much said about Rachel Jeantel, much of it not very kind. People are calling her all kinds of names. Have you talked with her recently, how is she handling this?

ROD VEREEN, RACHEL JEANTEL'S ATTORNEY: I speak with Rachel two or three times a day. We never discuss her testimony, of course. She is aware of what's being said about her in the media. She reads the blogs, she reads her Twitter, she reads Facebook, but she does not comment with regard to what they are saying about her. She takes it all in stride. She's a 19-year-old kid, she's from -- raised, essentially, in urban America.


COSTELLO: But people are calling her illiterate and worse than that, and it's not all coming from the white community. It's also coming from the African-American community. VEREEN: And that's what I find the most depressing about what is being said about her. You know, sometimes you can say, well, I can expect it from white America or Hispanic America, but you don't expect it from black America. They have been very, very mean towards Rachel, and --

COSTELLO: Give me an example. Give me an example.

VEREEN: I was listening to a radio broadcast the other day. There was some town hall meeting that was supposed to be taking place in Miami. You had one doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist, who had never met with Rachel and he sits there and says it's clearly obvious that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which I find offensive.

Other individuals talked about her hair. Lolo Jones, the Olympic star, who came out and said based on the way she appeared and acted in court, she's going to burn the DVDs of her testimony and sell it as "Madea Goes to Court." I find that very offensive.

These are adults that are doing this. These aren't the children that are doing this. These aren't teenagers making these comments. These are adults who should know better. But you know what, you can't help ignorance. They decide they want to come across and be that way, they will have to face the music when the time comes.

As many individuals as there are that come out against her, there's twice as many coming out in her favor. She's courageous, brave, her testimony was unadulterated, raw, emotional, and she gave it to them exactly how she knew it.


BANFIELD: And all of that is without question true; she was very real and very raw. I remember myself criticizing her about her tone of voice and her demeanor in the court of law. Because when you're in a court of law, It's different. You don't speak the same way you do to your friends. Have a listen at this one moment when they were discussing the possibility of her having to come back to court for a second day.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Take as much time as you want. Read the whole thing if you want. Maybe we can break until the morning.


DE LA RIONDA: What's that?

JEANTEL: I'm leaving today. No.

DE LA RIONDA: Are you refusing to come back tomorrow?

JEANTEL: To you?

DE LA RIONDA: Are you refusing to --

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SANFORD, FLORIDA: We need to keep this a question and answer about her testimony. Any other matters dealing with scheduling, I will make that decision. If you'll continue to keep reading, please.


BANFIELD: Midwin Charles, I want to come out to you and do a full whip around with all of our experts today. She got a lot of flak for that. It was rude. There's no other way to put it, it was rude, but it was also real. Give me your take.

CHARLES: It was rude, and it's true that the prosecution probably should have worked with her a little bit prior to putting her on the stand. As an attorney, you are responsible for the witness that you put on the stand and what sort of image that they portray, but at the end of the day, Rachel isn't on trial here, George Zimmerman is.

BANFIELD: Good point, good point.

CHARLES: What is on trial with respect to Rachel is her credibility. The voracity of her statements, and I found her statements about what Trayvon told her, those final moments, last moments of his life, to be quite credible. The fact that he was being followed. The fact he told her he was close to his daddy's home. I found that credible.


CHARLES: She does have credibility, and perhaps her behavior --


BANFIELD: This is a whip around, Midwin, it's a whip around, hang on, I've got two others and I've got two minutes, come on! I want you to get in on this, as well. Sometimes -- you take witnesses as you get them. I've always said that in court. You don't get to choose them, but she was unvarnished and sometimes no matter what that tells you truth.

GOLD: She was real. Two things, in substance and procedure. In substance, she said "creepy-ass cracker." That took the air out of this being a racial case, in my opinion, and number two, her demeanor is the only thing today we can associate with Trayvon Martin until his mom takes the stand. We see her challenge, we see her being rude, we think maybe that's what Trayvon was.