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THE SITUATION ROOM
Egypt's Military Tightens Its Grip; No-Nonsense Judge in Zimmerman Trial; Zimmerman Murder Trial Preview; U.S. Park Police Can't Find Their Weapons?; Gitmo Detainees into Book Deals and Dating Sites?; Mandela's Health Perilous at One Point; From Tiffany V.P. to Jewelry Thief?
Aired July 4, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As the military moves to consolidate its power in Egypt, huge crowds move back into Tahrir Square right now. Can Egypt hold it all together? We have full coverage coming up.
The prosecution in the Zimmerman murder case gets ready to bring out some start witnesses. Dramatic testimony lies ahead from Trayvon Martin's family members.
And locked up in Gitmo. Detainees try to break their isolation. One signs a book deal and another has a profile -- get this -- on Match.com.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
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BLITZER (on-camera): As Americans celebrate our Democracy today, a key American ally is stumbling along the path to Democracy. Egypt's military is cracking down, this, a day after ousting that country's first democratically-elected president. Mohamed Morsi is now said to be under house arrest. An Egyptian state media saying he's refused an offer to leave Egypt. Muslim Brotherhoods leaders have been arrested.
Their communication outlets, they have been silenced and the crowds, they are now back in Tahrir Square.
President Obama met today with members of his national security team to discuss the situation in Egypt, but why does Egypt matter so much to the United States right now? How much should Americans be concerned about the overthrow of an elected leader? Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is joining us right now. She's got some answers.
I know the president spent a lot of this July 4th meeting with his top national security advisers once again, Jill, because for the U.S., for the entire region, the stakes are huge.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: They are. And you know, Wolf, Americans have a big investment in Egypt, whether they know it or not.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Egypt is a linchpin of the Middle East, the largest Arab country in the world, a cultural heavyweight with 83 million people. Islamic fundamentalism, even al Qaeda, have their roots in Egypt. Egypt is America's closest ally in the Arab world. It gets $1.5 billion a year in U.S. taxpayer money for military and civilian programs.
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: If this were to be seen as a coup, then it would limit our ability to have the kind of relationship we think we need with the Egyptian armed forces.
DOUGHERTY: Egypt controls the Suez Canal, a crucial sea route for more than four percent of the world's oil supply and eight percent of seaborne trade. Egypt is one of only two Arab countries along with Jordan that made peace with Israel.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": All these things are tied together, you know? If the aid is tied to Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. So, if our aid gets cut off, what happens to the peace treaty with Israel, it's a hornet's nest. And that's why the administration is trying not to stir it too much.
DOUGHERTY: Until the military ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt also had a claim to fame, a democratically-elected president and his Muslim Brotherhood party, a message to the Islamic world that democracy just might work.
DOUGHERTY (on-camera): And there is a danger right now, and that is if the military violently repressed the Muslim Brotherhood, then they, in turn, could resort to violence -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll see if we get any additional statements from the president or his top national security advisers later in the course of the day. I anticipate we might, but we shall see. Jill, thanks very much. We do expect to hear from the president in the next hour. He'll be addressing the American people on this July 4th.
Let's go to Cairo right now. CNNs Ivan Watson has been watching what's going on. The crowds seemingly coming back big time into Tahrir Square. I anticipate tomorrow on Friday, a religious day in the Muslim world, it will be huge.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, this crowd that we're seeing tonight, perhaps, they're bolstered by the fact that Thursday night is the beginning of the weekend here in Egypt, but also, people are still celebrating, slightly smaller numbers than last night, still celebrating the ouster of the first democratically- elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi.
And, throughout the day, we saw the signs that the military was really trying to reach out to the people here at least to have very much accepted the military's move to push Morsi out of office. We saw displays of Egyptian air force planes, jets flying overhead in formation, forming a heart shape, a giant valentine for Egyptian society coming from the military.
Now, Wolf, I've gone to the encampment, the protest sit-in of the Muslim Brotherhood. They're in the north of Cairo. They're still sitting there defiant, vowing to fight back but only to use force if attacked, they say, and surrounded by a ring of steel of Egyptian military armored personnel carriers and troops blocking some of the entrances to that area, allowing people in and out.
I asked one of the spokesmen of the Muslim brotherhood, where is Mohamed Morsi himself? I believe we have some sound from that interview that we can play for you right now.
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GEHAD EL-HADDAD, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SPOKESMAN: Apparently, the men are still afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood. That's why (INAUDIBLE) in hopes that if we actually show up to the next presidential election, we might win it. I wonder how the world is going to see that.
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WATSON: That's a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing the military of trying to basically dismantle the movement by arresting a number of top officials, including Mohamed Morsi, himself, who, we are told by the Muslim Brotherhood, was being incarcerated at the defense ministry as of dawn this morning. At least three TV stations shut down. Some of the employees arrested from pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV channels.
It does appear that the military and the security forces are very much cracking down on what up until about 26 hours ago was the party in power in this country -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Is it fair to say and I know, Ivan, you've been watching both sides of what's going on, the pro and the anti-Morsi elements in Egypt, is it fair to say the one thing both sides right now seem to have in common is a lot of criticism of the United States, especially the Obama administration, for the various positions its taken? Are you getting a sense that there's criticism coming from both sides to Washington right now?
WATSON: Absolutely. A lot of anti-American sentiment certainly here in these anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests that we've seen here. A lot of the demonstrators accusing the U.S. of installing Mohamed Morsi as the president here, claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is some kind of American puppet.
And then you go to the pro-Muslim Brotherhood crowd and they are accusing the U.S. of being part of the plot to push him out of office. It's kind of a lose-lose situation as far as the U.S. is concerned here in Egypt right now.
BLITZER: Why do so many of the anti-Morsi elements seem to dislike the U.S. ambassador in Cairo, Anne Patterson, a career diplomat, so much?
WATSON: Well, you know, I think it's very easy to misconstrue and take statements out of context. I think that she's come out and had a number of meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood which clearly one significant segment of Egyptian society does not like. And, there's a long history of very close relations between Washington and Cairo and the government here, and the U.S. ambassador is seen very much as the face of the U.S. government in Cairo.
So, it's quite natural for that ambassador to become a lightning rod for frustration with U.S. policy here. There is a lot of -- how can I say this, you know, the anti-Morsi camp here, the anti-Muslim Brotherhood camp is very prickly at any suggestion that what we've seen here in the past 36 hours, 24 hours is a military coup.
And they're very quick to blame The U.S. government for any suggestion that this could be a coup, even though we've seen the military rounding up members of the Muslim Brotherhood over the course of the past 24 hours and deposing the first democratically-elected president of this country.
BLITZER: And given those hard feelings, it's totally understandable why officials here in Washington at the highest levels, are very nervous about that U.S. embassy in Cairo, which is closed right now for a good reason. They've pulled out all so-called nonessential personnel. They got those huge concrete blocks surrounding the embassy.
There's a lot of nervousness about making sure security is good at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Ivan, we'll get back to you. We'll get back to all of our reporters in Cairo. Stand by. Thanks very much.
Just ahead, can Egypt get back on the road to democracy after what is widely seen as a military coup? We're taking a closer look at what could happen next.
And later here in the SITUATION ROOM, other news, locked up in Gitmo. A detainee reaches out, get this, on Match.com. From dating sites to book deals, how prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, how they are trying to break their isolation?
BLITZER: Just getting details on the president's meeting with his top national security advisers at the White House situation room. We got a photo that the White House has just released. You see the president sitting there at the head of the table on this July 4th. All of his national security advisers, you see Chuck Hagel, John Kerry.
You see the new national security adviser, Susan Rice, with her back to us, Eric Holder, the attorney general. There is enormous amount at stake for the United States in what happens in Egypt, and the president has been spending hours focusing in on this crisis as Egypt struggles to find its way after what is widely seen as a military coup. The United States is moving quickly to try to take some actions, but it's unclear where the U.S. will go from here. It's struggling to deal with this new reality. Let's bring in CNN's Fareed Zakaria. He's the host of CNNs "Fareed Zakaria GPS." He's also "Time" magazine's editor at large. Also joining us, the Middle East, scholar, Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
These aredifficult, tough questions for the president and his national security advisres to deal with, but let me just read to you from that carefully written statement, written statement the White House released and under the president's name last night. These two sentences, it's actually one long sentence.
"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 to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters."
Fareed, as you know, there have been numerous arrests today of Morsi, top Muslim Brotherhood leaders, supporters, those in the media who support of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi. It looks as if this is a direct -- they're saying to the president of the United States, you know what, too bad.
ZAKARIA: Well, it points out how difficult it is to do a soft coup or a clean and surgical coup because coups are messy. You've got to deal with the people who are going to agitate against the coup, and the Muslim Brotherhood has enormous power on the street. It can bring out millions of people. So, the army is trying in some way there to prevent that organization from being able to contest this coup and bring out street protests.
I think what President Obama was trying to do was to say, look, if you've done this, the only way you can justify it is to say that this was a step to restoring genuine constitutional order and genuine liberal democracy. Well, that means you've got to move pretty quickly to writing a constitution, setting up elections in which everyone, by the way, including the Muslim Brotherhood, can participate.
You know, getting us back on track if you believe the Morsi government and President Morsi got us off track from genuine Democracy. But right now, the military does not seem to be doing that. You're right, Wolf.
I don't see it really as a direct rebuke to the president, but the president is right in this regard, which is if this is going to be seen as ultimately a path to genuine Democracy for Egypt, the military has to stop the arbitrary arrests, stop shutting down televisions stations and move to restoring constitutionalism, the rule of law, and political participation pretty quickly.
BLITZER: Fouad, is the Egyptian military together with the ministry of interior, which controls the police, including the secret police, are they trying right now to simply destroy the Muslim Brotherhood? FOUAD AJAMI, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, I think it looks like it, it looks like it. But you know, it's very interesting this idea that somehow the military could pull off a coup and it would not be a coup you, it would be a path to Democracy. It's really kind of idle to think this way. The military does things in in a military way. This is it. And what we're witnessing today, it's a very sad day for democratic change. Think of whatever you think of the Muslim Brotherhood. The fact is that this man, Mohamed Morsi, was elected by millions of people a year ago, a year ago to the day, and now, you take him under protective custody.
This reeks of the pass in the Arab world. The first coup d'etat in the Arab world took place in Syria in 1949. And we thought we came to the end of the military coup d'etats in Libya in 1969. It seems the pass is not dead and it seems that the military coup d'etat remains the favorite instrument of political change.
BLITZER: If there are free and fair elections, Fareed, let say in the next nine months to a year and some of the supporters of what has happened over the past 24 hours in Egypt insists there will be, will the Muslim Brotherhood, will President Morsi, for example, his political faction, will they be allowed to run in those elections?
ZAKARIA: If they're not, then the whole thing will be a complete sham, and frankly, that, will be very dangerous, because the real story here is that the Islamic political movement in -- not just in Egypt but in Tunisia and morocco and other places, but potentially, in Jordan have been joining the mainstream and joining the Democratic process. Remember, there are many parts of the Islamic political movement that have always been very distrustful of this.
They've wanted (INAUDIBLE) or they've wanted something that doesn't reek of a kind of western style of government. The Muslim Brotherhood embraced non-violence and Democracy. And so, for them to be ruled out of this process would be very dangerous. It might marginalize them. It might push them underground and it might push some parts of them toward violence.
So, that is probably the single most important thing to see is that the Muslim Brotherhood is included in whatever Democratic process is now reestablished in Egypt.
BLITZER: What do you make, Fouad, of this offer the Egyptian military apparently gave President Morsi, that he would be able to get free passage, if you will. They'd let him leave the country for either Qatar, or Turkey, or Yemen. I think those are the three countries they mentioned. He rejected that. He's now under house arrest. But what does that say to you?
AJAMI: Well, why would Morsi want to make their life so easy and cushy? In fact, this man is a believer. This man has a political idea. This man is a Muslim Brotherhood activist. And for the Muslim Brotherhood, this is all very familiar, prison, torture, detention. That's what they experience. So, when you come to Morsi and say, hey, make a run for it, live in a nice villa in Doha or go somewhere else, it doesn't quite work. That's not what the Muslim Brotherhood is about.
BLITZER: In our next hour, we're going to speak with Egypt's ambassador here in Washington, Mohamed Tawfik. He's going to be joining us live here in the SITUATION ROOM our next hour. Fouad Ajami, Fareed Zakaria, guys, as always, thanks very much for joining us.
AJAMI: Thank you.
BLITZER: When we come back, other news we're following including some new evidence revealed in the murder case against the former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez.
Plus, a major heist at one of the most famous jewelry stores in the world, $1.3 million, and goons just walked out. Apparently, you're going to find out how. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the other stories we're monitoring in the SITUATION ROOM right now.
Court documents reveal the search of an apartment leased by former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez, uncovered ammunition from the same caliber gun used to kill his friend. Authorities also found a white hooded sweat shirt matching the one Hernandez was seen wearing the night the friend died. Hernandez is charged with premeditated murder. He's pleaded not guilty.
Senator John McCain is spending this Fourth of July in Afghanistan. The Arizona Republican who made the announced visit with Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted this photo of both men with Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. They're also meeting with U.S. troops. The trip comes as the United States prepares to draw down its forces in the region.
North Korea has agreed to South Korea's offer for working level talks to reopen a suspended joint industrial complex. According to officials, the complex which has been a symbol of ties between the north and the south was shut down in May due to increasing tensions and North Korea's warning of potential war.
And take a look at this. Shocking video of a sinkhole around 20 feet deep that opened up in Toledo, Ohio, swallowing a car with a woman inside. Listen to one of the 911 calls that came in just as it happened.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a car just fell through the street. A car just fell into the street on Detroit and Bancroft. The hole opened up --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, listen, Detroit and Bancroft. What kind of vehicle?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. A tan Malibu. It's in the hole. It sunk in.
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BLITZER: The woman, by the way, was pulled safely from the car, fortunately, reportedly even without much of a scratch. Officials blame an old sewer issue.
Up next, a former substitute teacher turns into a no-nonsense judge. You're going to find out more about the woman who keeps the George Zimmerman trial under control.
And as Americans gather on the National Mall here in Washington, the police tasked with protecting our monuments can't even keep track of their own guns. That's coming up as well.
But first, our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a preview of this week's "Next List" on wireless health.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the warm-up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look good, looking good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be putting this device on Sanjay and so we measure the heart rate and respiration rate.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This weekend on the "Next List," how wireless health care could change your life.
DR. LESLIE SAXON, USC KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It's a very much more sophisticated way to assess somebody's fitness real-time and allow them to create a plan around their fitness.
NICK SWISHER, CLEVELAND INDIANS: Everything is getting more and more precise which can help you to either, you know, elongate your career or making the best it can be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm continually interested and fascinated by how much athletes, patients, everybody wants their own data.
GUPTA: Meet Dr. Leslie Saxon. Join me this Saturday, 2:30 eastern on "The Next List."
BLITZER: Happening now, a dramatic day expected tomorrow in the George Zimmerman murder trial with the prosecution expected to rest its case. Will Trayvon Martin's mother be called to testify before it's all over? Plus, locked up in Gitmo. Detainees there are trying to break their isolation. One actually signs a book deal, another has a pretty high- profile, get this, appearance on Match.com.
And we're waiting to hear from President Obama live. He's going to be addressing the American people on this July 4th. We'll have live coverage coming up from the White House here in the "SITUATION ROOM."
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the "SITUATION ROOM."
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BLITZER: The George Zimmerman murder trial is in recess on this 4th of July holiday, but first thing tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m. eastern, the court will be back in session with a no-nonsense judge presiding. The defense has asked the judge, Debra Nelson, to allow a recess tomorrow so they could depose Martin Family, Attorney Benjamin Crump, but she wasn't having any of that. Watch this.
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DON WEST, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: We certainly couldn't have taken Mr. Crump's deposition during the trial day. The court doesn't expect either Mr. O'Mara or myself to leave the courtroom, I wouldn't think, to --
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: You've left for other reasons. But now I have a jury sequestered that are going to be off on Thursday and you don't want court on Friday. That's Saturday, Sunday. I'm not doing that.
WEST: We ask the court --
NELSON: OK. End of discussion.
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BLITZER: "End of discussion," she says. She's tough. This isn't the first time Judge Nelson has given the attorneys in her courtroom a bit of a slap on the wrist. Here's CNN's crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Judge Debra Nelson is a no-nonsense, 13-year veteran of the Florida bench.
NELSON: May I finish? I will let you finish, of course.
JOHNS: Former substitute teacher married to an engineer and best known until now for her tough 30-year sentence given to a woman who pleaded guilty to kidnapping a one-day-old baby from a Florida hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My response there is that --
NELSON: I'm not finished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sorry.
NELSON: Thank you.
JOHNS: Nelson is the third judge assigned to the George Zimmerman murder trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our position is --
NELSON: I understand your position. That's my ruling.
WEST: Do we have to get any further?
WEST: Thank you, Judge.
NELSON: I'll refer you that to the court's rules.
JOHNS: She's got the lawyers and the witnesses in check.
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: One reason I've been so complimentary of this judge is that this case could easily unravel. With all the personalities. With all the media. With all the racial tensions. There's a lot going on. And to keep a tight courtroom is imperative.
JOHNS: But she has a very different style from the judge in what was perhaps the most celebrated television trial of all.
DIANE DIMOND, NEWSWEEK/THE DAILY BEAST: She's not Lance Ito from the O.J. Simpson case. I think Judge Debra Nelson has a firm control over this courtroom. She's very quiet about it.
JOHNS: In fact, Marcia Clark, the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case says Judge Nelson is more like Belvin Perry, the measured jurist who presided over the Casey Anthony trial.
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER O.J. SIMPSON PROSECUTOR: She never lets the lawyers go past the point of relevance. When there's an objection that they've asked a question that's either irrelevant or improper for some reason, she drops the hammer immediately and then she enforces her own ruling, and doesn't let anybody fly around without a net.
NELSON: I will not have any speaking objections in the courtroom.
JOHNS: Still, she has made some controversial rulings, including keeping out circumstantial evidence of character traits, such as a tendency toward violence for Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman saying they will not be part of the case.
DIMOND: This judge was very firm. The defense cannot bring in character information on Trayvon Martin, specifically that he smoked weed, that he liked to fight, that he took pictures of fighting on his cell phone. But if the prosecution opens the door to George Zimmerman's character, that stuff may come in later.
JOHNS: Nelson also ruled in favor of Zimmerman's defense by keeping the prosecution's audio expert from testifying that it was Trayvon Martin's voice on recorded audio the night he was killed. A potentially crucial witness for the prosecution.
NEJAME: It was a cornerstone of the state's case, saying that it was in fact Trayvon Martin's voice who was screaming for help, help, so she's given to one, she's taken from another, and vice versa.
JOHNS (on camera): Judge Nelson made another potentially important ruling when she said that prosecutors could introduce evidence about George Zimmerman's course work in criminal justice that would have given him an understanding of the law of self-defense which Zimmerman has claimed he did not know. The question is whether such evidence is irrelevant or if it says something about the defendant's state of mind.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk a little bit more about the Zimmerman murder trial. What we can expect tomorrow as the prosecution getting the near the end of its case.
Joining us now the criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos and Jonathan Rapping. He's a criminal law professor at Harvard's John Marshall Law School. He's worked as the founder of a public defender training program known as Gideon's Promises as featured in the new HBO film "Gideon's Army."
Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
What do you think, Danny? How important will the mother of Trayvon Martin, her testimony tomorrow and presumably she'll once again insist that the voice she heard screaming for help was -- on that audio tape was the voice of her son? How significant will her appearance be? Because we assume it's going to be the final witness the prosecution calls.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's no surprise that is his mother is going to be the last witness. She will be the most emotional and it's well planned out by the prosecution. They're ending strong with the science, which is always very compelling to jurors who watch a lot of "CSI" and then they move into the final heartstring tugger, which is interesting also because the prosecution originally wanted to introduce science about the phone call and Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman's screaming.
That was denied so the prosecution has tactically fallen back on introducing witness evidence in the form of Trayvon's mother to say, I hear the voice, that's my baby. It will have a compelling effect on these jurors. They have clearly saved their best for last.
BLITZER: And a lot of folks have been anticipating, Jonathan, that when she does testify, the defense is not going to cross-examination her. They don't see any point in doing that. What do you think?
PROF. JONATHAN RAPPING, JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL: I think that's right. I don't know that it would make sense to cross-examine Trayvon Martin's mother. I think she's going to be an emotional witness. I think what the defense can do really is save their argument for closing where they can really make clear that while this is his mother, she's never heard Trayvon Martin screaming in desperation.
The voices on that 911 tape are not regular conversational voices. While I completely agree with Danny that this is going to be emotionally impactful because it's Trayvon Martin's mother, I think when it comes down to just really swaying the case, I really think in closing the defense will be able to show that this is his mother. Of course she knows this is important.
And of course if asked her opinion she's going to say this is son, she's not going to say those are the voices, the screams of George Zimmerman. She has a bias. I think that will be brought out in closing. I don't think it makes sense to try to touch that on cross- examination.
BLITZER: I think you're probably right.
But, Danny, let's not forget that the six jurors are all women. And I think most of them are mothers, who presumably, at least from the prosecution's standpoint, will be able to relate to this mother.
CEVALLOS: Yes, well, there are many different theories about when it comes to jury selection and a lot of stereotypes that ultimately really should be disregarded when you're picking a jury. You should just go by your instinct and that individual connection with that juror. But there's conventional wisdom that females may be more prosecution biased.
However, there may be in this case because this is a self-defense case, you could also make the argument that the female jurors will be more Zimmerman biased because they are concerned about crime and they understand and maybe even prefer a neighborhood watch person following and calling 911.
So you can't really make global predictions about jurors. Ultimately it's astrology. It really comes down to the individual connection they have with that witness, particularly Trayvon Martin's mother.
BLITZER: Good point. How do you think the prosecution has done, Jonathan, so far? And they're getting ready to wrap up their case. How have they done so far over these first eight days or so?
RAPPING: Well, Wolf, I think they came in with a really difficult case. And I think in order to win this trial they had to hit homerun after homerun after homerun. And I think unfortunately for the prosecution some of the evidence didn't come in so well for them. I think what it all really boils down to is what happened during those seconds on the ground, which no one really can testify to.
And I think in fact some of the prosecution's witnesses proved to be incredibly good for the defense, witnesses that seemed to corroborate Zimmerman's claim that he was the one on the ground, he's the one whose back is dirtier. So I think the prosecution didn't hit the homeruns they needed. They've done maybe as well as they could but I think at the end of the day it's not going to be enough.
BLITZER: Is it likely or possible, you think, Danny, assuming they don't get a conviction on second-degree murder, they could get a conviction on manslaughter, even though the prosecution didn't call for manslaughter?
CEVALLOS: Yes, they could and here's why. In fact, there's some argument that that's the more appropriate charge. Because if -- if they are unable to prove that malice required, that ill will, that hatred, to support a depraved murder charge and if they disbelieve the self-defense theory advanced by the defense, then the appropriate conviction could be manslaughter.
However, they still need to meet that burden and they still get the jury to buy into those charges, which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and they must additionally disprove self- defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
BLITZER: Danny Cevallos, Jonathan Rapping, guys, thanks very much for coming in.
And don't forget, our viewers out there, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, tomorrow morning, this trial resumes. We'll have coverage here on CNN.
Just ahead, as Americans crowd the National Mall here in Washington, a disturbing study says the police who guard our national monuments can't even keep track of their guns.
And a Guantanamo Bay detainee tries to break his isolation by posting a profile on a well-known dating Web site.
BLITZER: As Americans gather at the nation's historic landmarks on this July 4th holiday, disturbing inspector general's report reveals a U.S. government agency which is supposed to protect all of us can't even keep track of its guns.
CNN's Brian Todd has details.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you can see all around me, this is a day when all eyes are on America's iconic symbols and monuments. Tens of thousands of people flocking here to the National Mall. But there are also serious new questions about the police force that is supposed to safeguard all these people.
TODD (voice-over): They're tasked with protecting millions of visitors to America's monuments each year but a new report says the U.S. Park Police does a lousy job of accounting for its own weapons. The Interior Department's inspector general says the Park Police have lost track of thousands of weapons, rifles, machine guns, handguns, through sloppy record keeping.
In its report, the IG says it found, quote, "credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms.
MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Could the United States Park Police maybe do a better job of inventory control of their weapons? Yes. But are there guns just out there on the streets because of their poor record keeping? No.
TODD: In fact, there's no indication that guns belonging to the Park Police made their way into the hands of criminals. But the report found that hundreds of guns that were supposed to be melted down never were and were left unaccounted for. And that at least two officers took guns home without permission.
The report says Park Police commanders including Chief Theresa Chambers have a, quote, "lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management."
(On camera): The Park Police didn't provide anyone to go on camera with us and said Chief Chambers wasn't available but its overseer, the National Park Service, issued a statement saying that it's troubled and disappointed by the report's findings. The Park Service director saying he, quote, "has no tolerance for this management failure," and that he's taken immediate steps to order the implementation of the report's recommendations to tighten up the weapons records.
(Voice-over): I spoke with Ian Glick, president of the Park Police's Fraternal Order of Police.
IAN GLICK, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: All the weapons are accounted for. Every weapon, every stick of ammo, everything is accounted for but it's not accounted for in the National Park Service Weapons Inventory Computer System. It is accounted for internally.
TODD: The Park Service would not respond to that assertion. There's at least one specific account in the report that's in dispute. It says a former Park Police chief carried a police-issued handgun long after he retired, which he wasn't supposed to do and that it was confiscated later by another former Park Police official.
The "Washington Post" which first reported the story identified that former Park Police chief as Robert Langston and a knowledgeable government source confirmed that to CNN. But when we caught up to Langston --
(On camera): Did a former Park Police Weapons and Tactics official ever confiscate a weapon from you at any time?
ROBERT LANGSTON, FORMER U.S. PARK POLICE CHIEF: No, there was never a weapon confiscated from me. TODD (voice-over): Langston showed us a document saying he legally transferred his weapon from the Park Police to his new job with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He says he turned the weapons in when he retired from that job.
TODD: When we asked the Inspector General's Office about that, they said they'd never seen Langston's document. That it was the job of the Park Police to account for that. The National Park Service didn't respond to that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, reporting for us on this July 4th, thank you.
They're locked away in limbo but detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, they are now reaching out to the world through a book deal and a dating site.
Our Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has the details.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're locked up behind bars but some detainees are finding ways for their words to break through the isolation of Guantanamo Bay.
Mohamedou Slahi has been detained without charges for 11 years. He just inked a book deal, a few months after Slate published some of his memoirs. Slahi describes his sometimes brutal interactions with interrogators. Quote, "if you bleeping fall asleep, I'm going to hurt you," the guard said. "Welcome to hell."
The book will likely include more descriptions like this. The guard, quote, "turned the air conditioning all the way down to bring me to freezing. He brought ice cold water and soaked me all over my body. It was so awful I kept shaking like a Parkinson's patient."
(On camera): Was it hard to get him to open up?
COL. MORRIS DAVIS (RET.), FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY CHIEF PROSECUTOR: No. The problem wasn't getting him to talk, it was getting him to stop talking tended to be the issue.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Retired Coronel Morris Davis spent months with Slahi when Morris was Gitmo's chief prosecutor. Morris says Slahi was wired into American culture and spoke fluent English.
DAVIS: When he was asked to describe his interrogations, he said, you know, he couldn't remember them all. It's was like asking Charlie Sheen to remember all the women he'd been with. So clearly, you know, they're attuned to pop culture.
LAWRENCE: In more ways than one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First dates are more exciting than anything. Hey. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.
LAWRENCE: The folks at match.com never imagined their sites getting dates for detainees but Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani says his attorney helped him set up a profile.
CNN obtained actual handwritten letters from the last detainee brought to Guantanamo Bay. Quote, "Thank you for signing me up on match.com. From what you say, plenty of fish but they ask too many questions that may be classified. How can my sign be classified? Anyway, keep me updated on my winks."
In another letter to Attorney Carlos Warner, Rahim complains that America has too many reward cards and advises the U.S. to make one card for everything.
LAWRENCE: Something that a lot of us can probably identify with. In other handwritten letters he challenges Jon Stewart to a competition on satire, and complains that the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" cut back its circulation to just a few days a week, saying, look, I need the media to get out here and this isn't a good sign.
So while these letters, these handwritten letters and writings are really their only way to communicate with the world, it is also our window to hear what they're thinking, and surprisingly, Wolf, how much American culture they have absorbed.
BLITZER: It is amazing what's going on. Good report. Thanks, Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon.
Coming up, we have new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM about Nelson Mandela's condition.
Also, a heist at one of the most famous jewelry stores in the world.
BLITZER: Growing questions about the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, after the release of a court document revealing his health declined so drastically his family was considering taking him off of life support.
CNN's Nkepile Mabuse is outside Mandela's hospital in Pretoria, South Africa.
Nkapile, what's the latest information we're getting?
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what this new information is indicating to us is just how bad things got at one point. I must stress that this court document is dated the 26th of June. That's a week ago. And at that time it states that Mr. Mandela's family was advised by medical experts at this hospital behind me in the capital, Pretoria, that they should consider switching off his life support machine. And that the family was, in fact, considering that probability instead of, this document says, prolonging his suffering. Of course, things may have changed between that time and now. And these are the questions that are being asked tonight here in South Africa, as recently as today. Graca Machel, Mr. Mandela's wife, said that he was fine. That he may be uncomfortable at times but he is not in a lot of pain a lot of the times.
The presidency coming out tonight, Wolf, denying reports that Mr. Mandela is in a vegetative state. This is what some media reports are stating tonight and saying, reiterating, that Mr. Mandela lies critically ill in this hospital behind me but that he is stable -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Nkepile Mabuse, thanks very much. We'll stay in close touch with you, we wish only, only the best for this South African leader. By the way, we're waiting right now. The president of the United States is getting ready to address the American people on this Fourth of July. You're looking at live pictures coming in from the South Lawn of the White House. We'll have live coverage. That is coming up at the top of the hour. I'm anxious to hear if he says anything at all about what is going on in Egypt right now.
The president of the United States, who spent most of the day working with his national security advisers on the crisis in Egypt. He is getting ready to speak. We'll have live coverage.
Also coming up at the top of the hour, a new Egyptian leader is sworn in. The former president Mohamed Morsy is under arrest. I'll speak live with Egypt's ambassador to the United States.
Plus, a heist at one of the world's most famous jewelry stores in the world.
BLITZER: The "Star Spangled Banner" first opened at baseball games years before it became our official national anthem. But it is rare that top military brass is on hand to perform it. Watch this.
Among those singing, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, describes himself as a rabid fan of the Washington Nationals. Me, too. He went on -- the Nationals, by the way, went on to win the game over the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-5. Hashtag that.
On a more serious note, General Dempsey spoke to CNN's Candy Crowley about the situation in Egypt. You're going to see why he says the United States and Egyptian militaries have closer ties than in any time in the past decade. The interview airs Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
An alleged jewelry thief is accused of stealing $1.3 million worth of jewelry from one of the most famous jewelry stores in the world, Tiffany. Authorities believe it was all part of an inside job.
CNN's Mary Snow has more details.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Audrey Hepburn's breakfast there helped to immortalize it as an iconic symbol of glamour. Tiffany's flagship 5th Avenue store known the world over. Tourists are constantly snapping photos from the outside.
But it's what allegedly happened on the inside that's shocking. Federal prosecutors charged a former executive, 46-year-old Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, with stealing $1.3 million worth of jewelry and re- selling it, saying, as alleged, "Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun went from a vice president at a high end jewelry company to jewel thief."
She was arrested at her home in the well-heeled town of Darien, Connecticut. Her attorney declined comment.
Prosecutors say that Lederhaas-Okun worked at Tiffany's until February, when she was laid off due to downsizing. As part of her job she'd been allowed to take or check out jewelry from the store for work-related reasons. The problem, they say, was that more than 160 pieces never returned.
(On camera): And then there is a Tiffany security policy that prosecutors say that Lederhaas-Okun would have known about. According to a criminal complaint, Tiffany's only does a daily inventory on checked out jewelry that's worth $25,000 or more. The pieces alleged to have been taken were all under $10,000.
(Voice-over): Prosecutors say everything from Tiffany diamond bracelets to rings were re-sold to an unnamed international jewelry company just blocks away.
MICHAEL GRUMET, 47TH ST. BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT: (INAUDIBLE) is the center of the American diamond and jewelry industry. It's a place people would want to go to to sell a large amount of goods.
SNOW: Michael Grumet represents New York's famous diamond district, crammed with businesses buying and selling precious gems. He says safeguards are in place to prevent stolen jewelry from being resold, but he says insiders can pose more of a risk.
GRUMET: They might have greater contacts within the industry and they might have a better understanding of how to skirt the law. But eventually it will come out.
SNOW: Exactly why it came out now isn't crystal clear. Tiffany's is not commenting on its alleged inside heist.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.