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Venezuela Offers Snowden Asylum; 30 Killed in Clashes in Egypt; Prosecution Rests in Zimmerman Trial; Holiday Weekend Weather; Mothers Give Emotional Testimony; Responding to Egypt's Turmoil; Dwight Howard Leaves Lakers; Marion Bartoli Wins Wimbledon; Royal Baby Watch; A Profile of Mark O'Mara
Aired July 6, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, a lot straight ahead, everyone. Beginning with this -- the man accused of espionage after leaking sensitive information about the NSA could be packing his bags. We'll tell you which countries say they're ready to welcome Edward Snowden.
In Egypt, supporters of the deposed president clash with the military in the streets of Cairo. We'll have the latest on the political upheaval in that country.
And who was screaming on the 911 tape on the night Trayvon Martin was killed? The mothers of both Martin and George Zimmerman testified it was her son on that tape. We'll have the details.
All right. Let's begin with one of the most wanted men in the world, Edward Snowden. Now has two offers of asylum in south America, Venezuela's president said yesterday that his country would grant Snowden asylum, that came just after Nicaragua also said it would offer asylum if the circumstances permit.
But as far as we know, Snowden is still in a Russian airport today. Frederik Pleitgen is live for us right now in Moscow, so is there any indication where Snowden may end up?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point it seems like his best bet Fredricka seems to be Venezuela. As you said Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro came out and said that he believed that Snowden did exactly the right thing and that he in fact was going to offer him political asylum.
Maduro has always been one of the big supporters of Edward Snowden. He is, of course, also fiercely anti-American and he did have a big anti- American rant when he announced that he would give Snowden asylum. Let's listen in to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): I announced to the governments of the friendly nations in the world that we have decided to offer the international humanitarian right to protect this young Edward Snowden from the persecution that has been unleashed from the most powerful imperialist in the world against a young man who only spoke the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So, there you have Nicolas Maduro's view. Now the big question is now that he said that if, in fact, Snowden is go to go to Venezuela how is he going to do that? We believe at this point in time that he would probably try to take a commercial flight out of Moscow that would probably go through Havana. There is not a commercial flight today. There is one leaving in the early afternoon hours tomorrow, but still at this point in time, Fredricka, it still is anyone's guess whether or not he's going to be on that flight because as we also know he does not have a valid passport after the U.S. revoked his passport, so he would have to get some sort of travel document presumably from the Venezuelans -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And what about Russia? Is Russia commenting thus far on why it continues to hold him?
WHITFIELD: If it's assisting or why it wouldn't grant him asylum?
PLEITGEN: Well, the Russians commented on this very quickly and it's interesting that they did so, so quickly because it shows that Snowden is increasingly becoming a headache for the Putin administration. The head of Russia's Parliament came out with a tweet and said he think it is a wonderful idea for Edward Snowden to go to Venezuela and he also said, quote, "That Snowden couldn't live inside the airport lounge at Sheremetyevo airport, so they're really keen to have him move on.
A lot of people believe that this is really weighing on the Putin administration. At the beginning it looked really good for Putin to have Snowden here for a little while, it would show a little bit of defiance to the U.S. but really wouldn't antagonize the U.S. that much. However, the longer this is dragging you on, it's becoming more difficult.
Putin cannot hand Snowden over to the U.S. because he would be humiliated here in Russia but on the other hand he doesn't want to destroy ties with America so it's really, really becoming difficult and certainly it stands to believe that the Russians are very much hoping that Edward Snowden at some point will be on a flight to Venezuela -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right Frederik Pleitgen thanks so much, keep us posted from Moscow.
On to Egypt now where the political uncertainty is now spilling into the streets. Thirty people are dead and over a thousand wounded in clashes between supporters and opponents of deposed President Mohammed Morsy. Both sides are accusing the other of thwarting democracy. Reza Sayah joins us live now from Cairo. So Reza it has indeed been a very bloody night. What is the situation like today?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, if anyone thought this tumultuous, dramatic political conflict in Egypt was over, they probably need to think again because there's a whole lot of Egyptians who have something else in mind. They feel that their democratically elected President Mohammed Morsy was unjustly ousted. Now they're back here out on the streets in force to send a message that they're not going to take it.
Let's show you where we are. We're out front in the headquarters of the Presidential Guard (inaudible) the state media who has declared (ph) that Mr. Morsy has been held in custody inside these headquarters and starting yesterday many of Mr. Morsy's supporters, many supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood marched here to send a message. They say they're going to stay out here until they get him out and send them back to where he belongs and that's the Presidential palace.
And what we've had over the past 24 hours is that very tense face-off where on the right you see about a couple thousand demonstrators. And then on the left some barricade, behind the barricade the large wire which is (inaudible). Right now things are peaceful, yesterday it turned violent. They turned --
WHITFIELD: All right, clearly Reza Sayah's audio is fading there and you can hear the crowd and again Reza reporting there but he is actually standing outside the building where it's believed Mohammed Morsy is being held. And it's not the Presidential Palace. That's where a number of Morsy supporters prefer him to go.
All right, CNN's Ben Wedeman is also following developments in Cairo. Take a look at what happened to him and his crew while filing a live report near Tahrir Square.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This come to an end and I'm told -- we're told -- we're having some problems here. They're trying to take away our camera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And apparently the soldiers did take away the camera of the crew that Ben Wedeman was working with. Ben says that they later agreed to return it, the officials there but they returned it without any video footage inside.
All right, in the meantime, a riveting day of testimony in the George Zimmerman murder trial. The mothers of both Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin testified. Both moms saying it was her son screaming on the 911 tape on the night Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.
Martin Savidge wraps up the emotional testimony.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An amazing day to be either in the courtroom or even watching on television. It had always been anticipated of course that the prosecution would put Trayvon Martin's mother on the stand but I don't think anyone ever anticipated that you would have her and George Zimmerman's mother testify in the very same day.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Just who will the jury believe? A grieving mother who lost her youngest son or the mother who stands to see her son possibly spend the rest of his life behind bars?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Sybrina Fulton Trayvon Martin's mother stoically listened to the screams and gunshot recorded the night her son died. Then was asked what has become a key question?
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Ma'am that screaming or yelling, do you recognize that?
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: Yes.
DE LA RIONDA: And who do you recognize that to be, ma'am?
MARTIN: Trayvon Benjamin Martin.
SAVIDGE: Hours later Gladys Zimmerman George's mom listened to the same 911 call and was asked the same question.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: Do you know whose voice that was screaming in the background?
GLADYS ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S MOTHER: Yes, sir.
O'MARA: And whose voice was that?
ZIMMERMAN: My son George.
O'MARA: And are you certain of that?
ZIMMERMAN: Because he's my son.
SAVIDGE: Other family members also testified. Jahvaris Martin said he was certain the pleas for help were from his brother Trayvon. While Zimmerman's uncle said the moment he heard those screams on the news he knew who it was.
GORGE MESA, ZIMMERMAN'S UNCLE: I heard that but the moment I heard that I felt it that inside my heart. I says that is George. SAVIDGE: Much of Friday's testimony centered on the autopsy of Trayvon Martin. Though shot in the heart, Dr. Shiping Bao said it was possible the teen didn't die immediately.
SHIPING BAO, MEDICAL EXAMINER: It is my opinion that he was still alive. He was still in pain. He was still in suffering.
SAVIDGE: Bao said Trayvon's only other injury was a small abrasion to a finger which he called superficial. The defense got Bao to reveal a number of potential procedural missteps and it didn't help the prosecution when the medical examiner repeatedly said he had no memory at all of Martin's autopsy.
BAO: I do not remember anything.
SAVIDGE: The day's final drama came as the prosecution announced it was ready to rest. The defense immediately asked the judge to dismiss the case arguing the state had not proven second-degree murder. Judge Debra Nelson listened carefully then gave her answer, motion denied.
SAVIDGE: The defense will carry on Monday morning starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. As to what witnesses may be called, it could be a little bit of witness deja vu. Some of those that testified for the state actually sounded like they were testifying for the defense. They may come back and you can expect the defense will have its own experts to refute some of the science in this particular case and maybe this case could be in the hands of the jury by Thursday.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Sanford, Florida.
WHITFIELD: Wow. In the end this appears to have been a very rapid case. After the trial resumes on Monday you can, of course, get a recap of the key moments from our Anderson Cooper. He'll have an "AC360" special report "Self-Defense or Murder" Monday night 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
All right. Wet and rainy, well, it's been the story for so much of the U.S. so far this holiday break. But in the northeast, they have been getting hit with a heat wave -- temperatures soaring near 100 degrees. Karen Maginnis is here with the headlines, so let's start with the rain, who's getting soaked.
Well, you've got fountains behind you. Plus it's raining a little bit, right?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, typically during the summer here at Centennial Olympic Park you would see hundreds and hundreds of kids as well as adults playing in the fountains, but this particular year we have seen so much cloud cover and temperatures that have been running about five degrees to 10 degrees below where they should be for this time of year.
So why the heat in the northeast and so much rain across the southeast? Let's go ahead and show you. There's a ridge of high pressure that lies just off the coast, but look at these temperatures. If you were going to Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C., those temperatures are expected to be well into the 90s.
But wait until Monday. Then we can expect readings hovering of just within a few degrees of normal; generally speaking in the mid-80s. Chicago just about normal as well; Atlanta, way below normal for this time of year. So what's happening is we do have that ridge of high pressure offshore. It has built in. But we get this steady flow of moisture which is coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and has rained nearly continuously for the last several days in Panama City, Florida. They had some damage and some flooding problems reported there yesterday.
And in Russellville, Kentucky, in just about a four-hour time period they said that they saw some flooded homes there with over five inches of rainfall.
And still, Fred, there's heat across the West and the Southwest, but it's not that 120 degrees, 125 degrees. It's a little more normal. 110 degrees, 115 degrees. A little bit of a break.
WHITFIELD: A little bit a chill. The cool front moved in.
MAGINNIS: That's right.
WHITFIELD: And the folks in New York are complaining about near 100 degrees, they need to, right, check out those desert like temperatures before they really know what's hot, right?
MAGINNIS: That's right.
WHITFIELD: All right, Karen, thanks so much.
MAGINNIS: All right. see you in a little bit.
WHITFIELD: I appreciate it, see you soon.
All right. Meanwhile tankers full of crude oil are still burning after a train derailed in Canada this morning just miles from Maine. Police say the fire is now contained. They tweeted this picture in the last hour, in fact. Hundreds of people in the area have evacuated. Earlier the flames spread to nearby buildings destroying apartments. And people say some who have lived there have not been accounted for. There is no information yet about the deaths or injuries.
All right, overseas, again, as the crisis in Egypt widens, how should the U.S. react? We'll have our experts weigh in later on this hour.
And in the George Zimmerman trial the prosecution rests its case by asking these two mothers if it was their son's screams on the 911 tape; one mother testifying for the prosecution, the other for the defense. What was said coming up -- next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: FBI agents have arrested a man accused of trying to extort a quarter million dollars from Paula Deen. 62-year-old Thomas Paculis was taken into custody in New York yesterday. This mug shot is from a previous arrest back in 2004. The FBI says Paculis e-mailed Deen's lawyer two weeks ago. He allegedly demanded cash in return for keeping quiet about information he had on Deen using the n word. Deen told the FBI that she didn't recognize Paculis.
The prosecution in the George Zimmerman trial has rested. On the final day prosecutors called the mother of Trayvon Martin and the defense called the mother of George Zimmerman. Both say it was her son on the 911 tape the night Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman.
So, what can we expect when the defense resumes its case on Monday? CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez joining us live now from Sanford, Florida with more on that. So a powerful day with these two mothers -- the prosecution might they have known that one of the first witnesses would be the mother of George Zimmerman?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think we knew that because the experts had said who had testified that the only really way to identify a voice that is a screaming voice is by someone who personally knows the person and that paved the way truly for Trayvon Martin's mother and also for George Zimmerman's mother.
But yesterday also had a lot of emotion when it came to the medical examiner, this is one of the most critical witnesses for the state's case-in-chief because of a substantive nature. They testify as to the cause of death, the gunshot wound to the chest, the manner of death -- homicide which is death by another.
And Dr. Shiping Bao took the stand. He's the associate medical examiner for Seminole County, Volusia County. He's been in the United States since 1992, testified multiple times. And he testified that he believed Trayvon Martin could have been alive between one and ten minutes after he was shot and the pain and the suffering and the anguish that he could have experienced.
Now, he originally had said one to three minutes. He changed his opinion about three weeks ago, but then it all sort of turned around because when the defense began that cross-examination, it was all about his memory. Take a listen --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SHIPING BAO, ASST. MEDICAL EXAMINER, VOLUSIA COUNTY: I do not have any recall. I do not have any memory of the day of autopsy. I cannot answer your any question about that. All I hear is the notes I have. Ok?
DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Let me be sure I understand.
BAO: Without notes I cannot tell you any fact. Without notes I cannot tell you any opinion. WEST: Ok. What you're saying today to me and to the jury --
WEST: -- is that you have no memory --
WEST: -- of any of the events surrounding the autopsy itself.
BAO: Yes. I try very hard.
WEST: Is that true?
BAO: It's true. 100 percent true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: So, Fredricka, I think you can say that this witness was very honest. He admitted he remembered nothing about the autopsy at all. But when he started testifying yesterday, I saw his head was down and he was listing his credentials, where he'd gotten his education. I said to myself, I think he's reading this but I thought I must be very mistaken.
Well, he actually was reading all of that. It was his notes and that became a focal point because he hadn't told the prosecution he had notes but if you're reading from notes on the witness stand then both sides are entitled to them. That sort of was a stall in the whole thing and then his testimony got going again but the jury is left to I think wonder how much credibility should we give to someone that doesn't remember too much about this whole thing.
WHITFIELD: Well, one has to wonder what the jury would be thinking because might they just be thinking he handles an awful lot of cases so he wouldn't remember. This wasn't an especially memorable case for him if he's doing so many -- he listed the number of cases that he's doing all the time. It's only six weeks somewhere -- in the span of six weeks after that murder that Trayvon Martin's name became notable. And so he would naturally have to refer to his notes just to call some reference or memory of any case. Is that not reasonable for a medical examiner?
CASAREZ: I think that's a great point. I think that's a great point. Maybe he's the one medical examiner that's actually honest saying, you know what, I don't remember a thing about this.
Medical examiners do not testify in that way, they testify to what they know versus what they don't know or what they don't remember, so maybe they can say this is someone that has a lot of credibility because he told it the way it was.
WHITFIELD: All right. And quickly before I let you go, any idea who may be called for the defense once court resumes on Monday? We've heard from the mom and the uncle -- CASAREZ: Yes. They're going to have a forensic pathologist which is what Dr. Bao was and this is Vincent Dimaio out of San Antonio. He's a former Bear County medical examiner. And Dr. Bao actually he relied on the book written by Vincent Dimaio in discerning the gunshot wounds to Trayvon Martin. So now the defense will call him as their witness.
WHITFIELD: All right. Jean Casarez thanks so much. Appreciate it from Sanford, Florida.
CASAREZ: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Overseas now, the political uncertainty in Egypt continues as supporters and opponents of deposed President Mohammed Morsy clash on the streets. So what does this mean for the U.S.? Our experts weigh in after the break.
Also the Duchess of Cambridge is due any day now. We'll go to London to see some of the crazy souvenirs that they are selling for this highly-anticipated royal birth.
WHITFIELD: Egypt has been a close ally of the U.S. and it's one of only two Arab countries that has a peace deal with Israel. But as CNN's Vladimir Duthiers reports things are tenuous as Israel remains silent on the upheaval.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the removal of Egypt president Mohammed Morsy by the military, world leaders ranging from U.S. President Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah have all weighed in on the developments but one regional power has remained silent from the sidelines -- Israel.
So far there's been no official statement from Tel Aviv but Shimrit Meir, an analyst with the Israel Project, a think tank with offices in Jerusalem and Washington, D.C., says Israeli officials believe that Egypt's future should be decided by its people without regional influence.
SHIMRIT MEIR, ISRAEL PROJECT: Israel, first of all, needs to be in sync with the United States and this is a very important point, but it has to stay out of it. This is an internal Egyptian issue and we should let Egyptian decide their own future.
DUTHIERS: But Meir says privately many Israeli officials are encouraged that Egyptians have protested the policies Mr. Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood tried to implement -- moves that were seen as an attempt to fashion Egypt into an Islamic state from a secular one.
Meir said at the end of the day no matter how events play out in Egypt there's one concern that matters most to the state of Israel, its security.
MEIR: So, this is I think what official Israel is interested in -- security mostly and fighting terror.
DUTHIERS: But on the streets of Jerusalem the mood is cautiously optimistic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the one side I think it's a great thing that they're coming out to the streets and it's, like, it's been a big revolution and this past year where people can say their opinions out loud and especially in these countries where usually you can't see that very much.
DUTHIERS: And while Israel may not be talking officially, from the look of things Egyptians will continue to voice their opinions out loud on the streets of Cairo and across the country. Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Jerusalem.
WHITFIELD: As Egypt goes through a second revolution, the turmoil has left the U.S. in a quandary with its Middle East ally, to what extent does the U.S. get involved?
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen had worked for several presidents, Republican and Democrat. David, good to see you.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So, the President's statement, President Obama's statement, did at least a couple of things. It omitted the use of the word "coup" and it stated, quote, "the best foundation for a lasting stability is a democratic political order", end quote, as it pertains to Egypt.
So, what do you suppose is being discussed in terms of how far the U.S. might want to be involved? The meetings between the White House, State Department, Joint Chiefs -- what's happening?
GERGEN: Well, they're trying to sort out exactly what's happening and how the United States should react. So far they've been rather ambivalent and I might say that they've been very gingerly in their comments and they may be leaving both sides or all sides a little less unhappy.
Amidst this kind of crisis and bloodshed, what's really important in a White House is to keep an eye on the long-term interests of the United States. And in this case that is the emergence in the Middle East of a moderate, stable, democratic, inclusive government and hopefully the countries join the 21st century economy.
And it's not been so clear that the United States has had a steady eye on that. If I may say so, my own suggestion right now would be to follow the advice of American diplomat Martin Indyk who has been previously ambassador to Israel and is well respected. He said, "Look, keep a quiet relationship with the army and Egypt. They're the power right now. They've had the power when Mubarak was thrown out. They've got the power now when Morsy's thrown out."
I understand they're going to shape the future. But in addition I would add it's important that the United States send a clear signal that it's on the side ultimately of the people who want democracy there and want a moderate state. Morsy did not represent the U.S. values. The Islamic Brotherhood did not represent the values of the United States support. The people -- 14 million people or so who came out to protest on June 30th and helped to bring this government down are our eventual allies in all of this and we need to be very clear about all of that.
WHITFIELD: But there's still so much uncertainty. The U.S. Would be unclear about what the objective is for the military rule in Egypt right now, so then why would the U.S. want to continue its billion and a half dollar funding of Egypt especially now when there is so much uncertainty?
GERGEN: Because that -- most of that aid right now goes to the military. The military is the stabilizing force in Egypt. We cut ourselves off from the military, relationships we built up over more than 30 years and they have been our friends, especially in dealing with Israel and other things. That would really be, I think, a terrible mistake.
I'm sorry to see Senator John McCain apparently now is moving in that direction. Rather than trying to cut off the aid, we need to keep it going and offer additional incentives for the military to bring a democratic government into power as quickly as possible and to be kind to and respect a lot of the Morsy supporters. This bloodshed could lead to a civil war if we're not careful. We need the military to help reduce the bloodshed and move toward a democratic transition. And that is in our interests. And so I think to cut off the aid would be a terrible mistake right now.
WHITFIELD: You talk about the region but, you know, it's been long said "as goes Egypt so goes the region", so one has to wonder to what extent does the U.S. try to assure other allies that there is -- that this kind of unrest I guess is not contagious?
GERGEN: Well, you know, the interesting thing is if you look at a lot of our strongest allies in the region, they are generally moderate regimes. Some of them are not democratic to be sure. But they felt that the Islamic Brotherhood was beginning to pose dangers in their countries. And most of those countries today, most of the Arab countries especially the Sunni countries are quietly celebrating the downfall of Morsy and quietly celebrating especially the fact that the Islamic Brotherhood proved incompetent and not very - you know, it showed its true colors, it was not very democratic in Egypt during this last year or so. So, we ought to be listening and talking and frankly Secretary of State John Kerry is spending a lot of time on the phone doing just that.
WHITFIELD: Oh, OK. Well, since you brought him up, and I guess that's in between being on or off the yacht. I mean much ado about nothing, or should the secretary of state be allowed even during in the crisis a half a world away allowed to be on this yacht enjoying the Fourth holiday. You saw the photograph, right?
GERGEN: Well, yes, I saw the photograph, Fredricka, look. I thought the State Department spokesperson blew it by denying he'd been on the yacht. Without really fully checking it out. And then the pictures came out and they had to backtrack and say, well, in fact, he was on the yacht, but by the way, he was only on there a short time. I mean give me a break. That was not - it was not right to do it that way. But to be fair to Secretary Kerry, he has been going through a grueling time. He just came back from a 15-day trip to the Middle East. You know, "The Boston Globe" is reporting today that he's spent more time in the last four months with Israeli and Palestinian leaders trying to get new peace talks started, more time in the last four months with them than Secretary Hilton - Hillary Clinton who, of course, traveled worldwide was able to spend with them in four years. He's trying very, very hard to make sense of the Middle East. I think we ought to give him a break on this. You know, if he wants to go out with his grandson on a yacht for an hour, I - you know, more power to him, it's a good thing. He needs a break after these four or five trips to the Middle East. He's - This is a guy, you know, who is really trying to shape American interests and to bring more order and more stability and more moderation to the Middle East, so I think -- I think, you know, that he deserves a break on this.
WHITFIELD: All right, David Gergen, thanks so much. Good to see you. I appreciate it.
GERGEN: Thanks, Fredricka. Take care.
WHITFIELD: All right.
All right. The northeast, guess what, it's getting baked by this heat wave. But other parts of the country are getting soaked. The holiday weekend forecast straight ahead.
And a most unexpected Wimbledon women's final was played out in London today. We'll tell you who won after the break.
Plus, a royal baby due any day now. We don't know if it will be a boy or a girl, but we'll find out what names are topping the list of favorites.
WHITFIELD: This breaking news to bring you now, Bolivia has just said it is willing to give asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. This offer comes a day after both Venezuela and Nicaragua said they would grant asylum to Snowden. Still unclear which country he might choose.
And there's also big news to give you in the world of sports right now. All-star center Dwight Howard announced he is leaving the Lakers. Jeff Fischell is here with more in this Bleacher Reports.
JEFF FISCHELL, BLEACHER REPORT: Fredricka, thank you. You know, the Lakers don't get turned down by many superstars, but Dwight Howard says he's going to the Houston Rockets. He says that's where he thinks he has the best chance of winning an NBA title and Howard says he's betting $30 million on it. That's how much less superman will make playing for the rockets instead of staying with the Lakers. The big man announced his decision on Twitter with this, quote, "I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel it's the best place for me, and I'm excited about joining the Rockets. I'm looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best."
Kobe Bryant, unfriended Dwight Howard on Twitter, take that. And Kobe's probably happy he missed D-12's latest tweet. Howard added an Instagram picture with new teammate James Harden, he has the beard, with the message, or the message, "Houston, we have liftoff."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY MURRAY: -- (inaudible) the last 40 minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FISCHELL: That's Andy Murray throwing a bit of a hissy fit at Wimbledon. He was upset Wimbledon stopped in the middle of the semifinals so the roof could close, the umpire said it was getting too dark. The lights needed to come on. Great match. Murray, fantastic tennis. It did not stop Britain's great hope. He won in four sets. In the final tomorrow, he faces top seed Novak Djokovic, who played the longest semi in Wimbledon history to advance. A Brit has not won the men's title Wimbledon in 77 years.
And check this out, it's a Yao Ming wedding cake. It's not Yao's wedding. A Houston couple had that made for their special day. See if they just waited they could have gotten a Dwight Howard one instead. Yao's been retired actually for a couple of years, but clearly the love for Yao Ming lives on. And, Fred, my question for you, is that romantic? Hmm, I don't know.
WHITFIELD: Yes, really. I don't know. I'm not feeling the romance there, especially as the knife goes right down the center of the head, huh-uh, no, no romance, thanks, Jeff.
For the very latest news in sports, go to Bleacherreport.com.
All right. There's more sports, Wimbledon has a new women's champion today. France - from the country of France, I should say, Marion Bartoli beats Germany's Sabine Lisicki on center court. It is the first grand slam win for the number 15 seat. Our Amanda Davies is live from London. Oh, this must have been a very exciting match.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, it was, Fredricka, yes, it's been a longtime coming for Marion Bartoli at 28 years of age. But in the end, she made pretty sure work of clinching that first grand slam title. She'd been in the final here before, back in 2007. And really struggled to make an impact against Venus Williams. She certainly wasn't going to let this opportunity slip this time around. And she burst into action on center court. Taking the first set six games to one. Really even before Lisicki had managed to realize that she was here in her first grand slam final at just 23 years of age.
You have to give her a little bit of credit, though, she was 6-1, 5-1 down facing match points and through her tears on court she managed to stage something of a fight back to 5-4, but in the end Bartoli's experience and determination shone through, so she's celebrating the Venus rosewater dish. She said it's a dream that she's had since she was six years of age, and it tops off a very emotional year for Bartoli.
She split with her father who had been her coach throughout her career in February. This was the first Wimbledon tournament that he hasn't been at to watch her progress. He was here today. And after winning she very quickly run up to the players box and gave her father a very emotional hug.
WHITFIELD: Oh, I always love moments like that. That's sweat. OK, meantime, moving on to the men's, I mean I'm embracing the women's moment there. Take a moment. OK, now to the men. Tomorrow, men's final between Andy Murray, I mean, of course, it's going to be a big favorite there and Novak Djokovic, but both have incredible personalities. It's kind of hard to choose, I guess unless you're a Brit you're going for Murray, right?
DAVIES: I was going to say, you wouldn't be the only person here to gloss over the ladies final. All the papers today are covering Andy Murray back in the final for the seventh straight year. It's fair to say he's had quieter practice sessions than the one he had earlier today. He was absolutely mobbed as he approached the courts. All sorts of people wanting autographs with him. All the media wanting a quick word from him. Fans started queuing here, Fredricka, on Friday evening for tickets for Sunday morning to get in to be there what they think might be a moment of history. As we heard in the Bleacher Report there, he's aiming to become the first British man to win the title here for 77 years. It was an incredibly hard-fought semifinal day here. Both Murray's match which took four sets and the Novak Djokovic match was an incredible five-set near five-hour epic.
The question is, how much of a big part that will play when it comes to the two players squaring off on Sunday. They've played each other all the way through their careers. They used to play doubles together.
WHITFIELD: Oh, wow.
DAVIES: They used to. They know each other's games --
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy.
DAVIES: Inside out.
WHITFIELD: Oh, this is going to be good.
DAVIES: It could be anybody's game. Brad Gilbert from - it is - I love the fact - Brad Gilbert, it's one of Murray's former coaches, he's described it as a popcorn match, he said basically it's too close to call, just sit back, relax and enjoy.
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's going to be an extraordinary match. OK, we'll all be at the edge of our seats, of course. And, you know, I guess Murray's come close before, maybe this is the time. I know he's always kind of looking to the sky. We'll see what happens for him. Thanks so much. You got your fingers crossed, OK, I'm not taking sides. All right, Amanda, I appreciate it, thanks so much. Keep us posted.
All right, the world in the meantime especially those in London, again, they are watching for another reason. Many are waiting the arrival of the newest member of the British royal family. The official due date for the Duchess of Cambridge is one week from today. And the child whether it's a boy or a girl will be third in line to the throne. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is watching all of it for us from London. Oh, my gosh. People have got a lot of excitement going on. You got Wimbledon, you got a baby on the way. How do they contain themselves?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. People here pretty excited. There's the merchandise, the betting, there's even a special coin. The countdown to royal baby is well under way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: The Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth any day. London is on baby watch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first time I could see a royal baby in all my life. I'd love to take pictures to show my children, you know, and say I was there. I experienced it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be fantastic. A fantastic occasion for everyone here on that day, if one starts talking about how much it's costing. But, you know, we love a party here, so why not?
MCLAUGHLIN: Final preparations are under way at this hospital where the duchess is expected to give birth. And the world's media is poised for the big event. Ladders and tape litter the press pen outside. There are more than 150 camera positions so far. Then there are those that are cashing in with royal baby bibs, plates and cups.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The response to the royal baby has been unbelievable.
MCLAUGHLIN: There's even a royal baby training potty complete with music. London's bookies are taking bets. People here seem to think that baby will be a girl. The name Alexandra is currently topping the list with the odds of seven to two.
And what would a big royal event be without its own coin? British babies born the same day will be eligible to receive one of these, a 2013 silver penny.
MCLAUGHLIN: It's a British tradition to give a bit of silver to a newborn baby as a sign of good luck, so they've produced some 2013 of these coins every day here in the U.K., some 2,000 babies are born, so a little bit of silver, a little bit of tradition. A little bit of luck. Not just for the royal baby, but for babies across the U.K., born on that very special day, Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Oh, yes, they're going to - or, they are going to be really proud to have the same birthday possibly as the royal baby, that's cool stuff. All right, Erin, thanks so much.
All right. Here in the states a holiday weekend has been a washout for so many parts of the country. We'll find out in a moment if the weekend can be salvaged weatherwise. And then, defending an accused murderer is difficult enough, but imagine doing it with millions of people scrutinizing your every move. We'll take a close look at George Zimmerman's defense attorneys.
WHITFIELD: All right. The state of Arizona has felt all of it in just such short proximity. We're talking about hot, extreme, dry weather to this, too much rain Friday in Tucson a monsoon simply rolled through the area flooding roads and in one instance a family had to be rescued from the current. They were rescued by the fire department, so either it's lots of heat, lots of rain. It's been quite the strange weather story particularly for Arizona. Let's check in with Karen Maginnis in the severe weather center, so Arizona has really experienced the extremes on both ends.
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They really have, yes.
WHITFIELD: And they're kind of representing a lot of this country right now, though, right?
MAGINNIS: Yes. You would expect hot temperatures in Arizona, but they also are in the monsoon season now and all of that was part of the monsoonal moisture that they've seen across the region. They had a 70- mile-an-hour wind gust there. It only takes about this much rainfall for all those washes to fill up. I used to live in Tucson and the weather was fairly predictable for long periods of time, but, you know, then it wasn't. All right, we've got this pipeline of moisture which is moving up across the southeast, but look at these blocking ridges of high pressure. They have really been in place now for the better part of two weeks and what we expect is this high pressure's going to shift a little bit. As it does, that hot weather's going to prevail across northeast and New England. Still hot across the desert southwest, not as hot as it has been. There we go, with the hot, sizzling hot temperatures across the west, but not looking at the record setting temperatures like we had been.
Chicago makes it to 83 today. In Denver, 93, Salt Lake, I think you stay well into the 90s, at least for another week or so. And if you're traveling to the northeast and New England, heat advisories and heat warnings out as temperatures both for today and into Sunday, well into the 90s, but you get a bit of a break on Monday, but guess what happens when you get that break? You get the wet weather. Looks like showers and thunderstorms could be heavy at times there, and for Chicago, temperatures hovering around the mid to upper 80s, that's just about normal for them, so have a safe rest of the weekend and Fred, we'll see you back in the next hour.
WHITFIELD: Al right. Thanks good. Look forward to that. Thanks, Karen.
All right. Straight ahead, he leads George Zimmerman's defense team. So, who is Mark O'Mara? We'll learn more about the man trying to keep Zimmerman out of prison.
WHITFIELD: All right, following nine days of testimony, the defense now presents its case. Leading the defense team of George Zimmerman, Mark O'Mara, a long time Florida lawyer. CNN's George Howell digs deep into why he, who he is and what his style of litigating is all about.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's been described as brilliant. A tactician. Hallmarks of a skillful trial attorney.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: So, if we were to take pathological liar off the table as the possibility, just for the purpose of this next question, you think you're telling the truth?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
O'MARA: There's always one more thing. You have --
HOWELL: Mark O'Mara, in the spotlight like never before defending a man once described as the most hated man in America. George Zimmerman. O'Mara's resume is long. Nearly three decades of lawyering experience. Mostly as a family attorney operating out of the small unassuming bungalow in Orlando, but O'Mara was also a prosecutor, handling everything from petty crimes to death penalty cases. Outside the courtroom, Mark O'Mara leads a quiet personal life. A native New Yorker from Queens, raised catholic, he says his biggest inspiration was his father, a World War II veteran who later raised five children on a fireman's salary. O'Mara married his wife Jen later in life. They are often seen riding on his Harley together. They had no children. He's a big fan of his law school alma mater, Florida State, and an avid sports fan. O'Mara loves dogs, seen here in this YouTube video with his German shepherd, Timber. He has other skills, too, clocking time as a legal pundit for a local Orlando TV station during the Casey Anthony trial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're bringing our expert, attorney Mark O'Mara. OK, you've seen the list of the jurors (inaudible) taking a look at them. Pretty good cross section. Ages all over the place.
O'MARA: Yes, it is. I don't think there's any argument that this is not a cross section jury.
HOWELL: A friend is quoted as saying O'Mara doesn't mind taking on those kinds of cases that come with media scrutiny, like he did in 2004 when he defended a man accused of killing a nurse with his car while trying to evade police. Shamir Suber faced second degree murder, but was later convicted of a lesser charge. DUI manslaughter. It's a good thing O'Mara doesn't mind the bright lights because right now, there's no trial in the country more in the public lair than that of George Zimmerman.
George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.
WHITFIELD: And, of course, the case is being closely watched for so many different reasons. Criminal defense attorney Richard Herman and civil rights attorney Avery Friedman are as enthralled about this case as you are. The three of us will be talking about this case later on in the next hour, about 20 minutes or so from now, right? So, gentlemen, what intrigues you most about how this trial is shaping up so far? Richard, you first.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Fred, I think the last final witness for the prosecution summed it all up. He was unprepared, incompetent, inept and disgraceful and that's my opinion of the prosecution of this case.
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy. Avery, you think it's just as reflective about prosecution?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I think the focus is on the heart grabbing testimony of Trayvon Martin's mother or the heart grabbing testimony of George Zimmerman's mother, which witness will the jury find more appealing. We've got the answers for you and more coming up.
WHITFIELD: Excellent. Look forward to hearing from both of you. In about 20 minutes or so from now, Richard and Avery. Thank you.
Meantime, a massive sinkhole swallows a car. Can you believe these images? The woman behind the wheel falls when her vehicle went to (inaudible). We'll show you the remarkable rescue operation next hour.
And a teenager's online posting causes big trouble. He calls his comment a joke, but now, guess what, he's sitting in jail. The next hour "The News Room" starts right after this quick break.