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Testimony Resumes Soon After Emotional Day; Asiana Flight Attendants Called Heroes; NTSB Responds to Criticism After Crash; Hostility Deepens In Egypt; Breaking Their Silence
Aired July 9, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, good morning. I'm Wolf Blitzer in for Carol Costello this morning. We want to welcome you to this special edition of NEWSROOM. You're looking, by the way, at live pictures right the now from the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial as attorneys argue over the use of animated re-enactment of the shooting.
They're showing the judge, right now, Judge Debra Nelson, the re- enactment. There you see in the middle of the screen, Daniel Schumacher, he put it all together. They wanted to show it up on the big screen. They couldn't figure out how to do that. They've got some major technical glitches there.
So you see the lawyers, they're making the arguments, the prosecution resisting this animation. They don't want it to be released as evidence. The defense, on the other hand, they do. The jurors are not in the courtroom. The judge, Judge Debra Nelson, she is clearly frustrated, angry that it's taking so long, more than an hour and a half right now.
They started at around 8:30 a.m. this morning Eastern Time. It's now after 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time and the judge not very happy that this is taking so long. She wants those jurors in the courtroom as soon as possible, so they can resume calling witnesses. We'll see what happens.
The judge is now taking a look at that animation. She's seeing it. We, unfortunately, are not seeing that animation. Now, let's discuss what's going on. George Howell is on the scene for us. He's our reporter. He's been there. She is no-nonsense. She doesn't want the jurors, these six women, five of them mothers.
They've been gone from their families for a long time. She wants this trial to move on. She's not very happy about it taking so long for them to make their arguments, pro and con, in favor or opposed, to this computerized re-enactment, if you will.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, absolutely, just a few minutes ago, she said she's got a jury waiting to come in. She wants to move this process along. But, again, she's watching, she's looking at this computer animation right now. The prosecution does not want it in the case. It's apparently based on the theory of Vincent Demaio. He is a well-regarded forensic pathologist, part of the defense's case.
The prosecution does not want that to become evidence and they are pushing to keep this animation out of the case. Just yesterday, Wolf, we heard from a long list of witnesses who really all seemed to be character witnesses, vouching for George Zimmerman's voice on that 911 audio tape. And we saw the defense team put Tracy Martin on the stand, to explain what he told investigators, that that was not the voice of his son. Listen.
HOWELL (voice-over): One after another after another, defense witnesses hammered home the same answer when asked who was screaming on this 911 call.
911 DISPATCHER: So you think he's yelling "help"?
911 DISPATCHER: All right, what is your --
MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: Do you know whose voice that is in the background screaming?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely, it's Georgie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was George.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I heard the tape, my immediate reaction was, that's George screaming for help.
O'MARA: Whose voice is it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman's voice.
JOHN DONNELLY, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that is George Zimmerman. And I wish to God I did not have that ability to understand that.
HOWELL: It was John Donnelly's testimony that even made George Zimmerman emotional. Donnelly told jurors he bought Zimmerman's clothes for trial and once taught him how to tie a Windsor knot. Defense attorneys drew on his experience in combat as a medic who routinely heard people scream to help to make their case that the voice screaming on the 911 call was George Zimmerman.
That set the stage for Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father. Defense attorneys first recalled two investigators, who say Martin told them, no, the voice screaming was not his son. Then they put Martin on the stand.
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: I didn't tell them, no, that wasn't Trayvon. I kind of, I think the chairs had wheels on them and I kind of pushed away from the -- away from the table and just kind of shook my head and said, I can't tell.
O'MARA: So your words were, "I can't tell?"
MARTIN: Something to that effect, but I never said "no, that wasn't my son's voice."
HOWELL: Defense attorneys also called up the owner of the gym where Zimmerman trained to legal cause weight. To demonstrate how a person could hold another down, Adam Pollock got on top of Attorney Mark O'Mara to show the jury, but when describing his client's skill level --
ADAM POLLOCK, GYM OWNER: He's still learning how to punch. He didn't know how to really effectively punch.
O'MARA: On a scale of one to ten, where would Mr. Zimmerman fit?
POLLOCK: Like I said, about a one.
HOWELL: Finally, Judge Debra Nelson ruled that testimony regarding marijuana levels in Trayvon Martin's system will now be admitted as evidence for jurors to consider. A critical ruling as this trial moves into day 11.
HOWELL: And back to live pictures here in this courtroom in Sanford, Florida. You can see Daniel Schumacher making the case about what he does, explaining this technology, these crime scene reconstructions, and actually showing the judge, we do expect a ruling on that today, before the jury comes in to listen to more testimony.
And Wolf, also, there was another big ruling that came down yesterday about this evidence of marijuana use, marijuana levels in Trayvon Martin's system. That's something that the jury will now hear. This comes after several witnesses took the stand, many of them friends of George Zimmerman, who had favorable things to say about him.
I talked to Darryl Parks about that. He's an attorney who represents Trayvon Martin's family, to get his opinion about how that plays out in court, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: We heard from many people the other day, talking about George Zimmerman, almost character witnesses. What does this do in light of that to Trayvon Martin?
DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY CO-COUNSEL: They weren't almost character witnesses, they were character witnesses. We sat there and listened to the Vietnam veteran. Make us relive the Vietnam War in court the other day. And all he did and used that to bolster the situation. We've heard all type of witnesses that have bolstered the character. So I think your insinuation that it was a somewhat character -- no, it was. I think you're right on point. And most people saw it as that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: So Wolf, right now, we just watch and wait to see what happens with this particular ruling. As you mentioned, the judge wants to get this process moving. She's got a jury waiting to hear more testimony. The defense wants to make their case over the next several days. So depending upon what happens with this ruling, we'll see if new evidence will be admitted to the case.
BLITZER: Yes, they've been discussing this since 8:30 a.m. Eastern, 90 minutes or so. The judge clearly frustrated it was taking so long. She wants those jurors back in the courtroom, so that witnesses can come forward and this trial can move on. All right, George, stand by. We'll get back to you momentarily.
But there's another big story we're following right now. The National Transportation Safety Board says investigators will interview the pilot who was at the controls of that Asiana Flight 214. The interview will happen later today. So far, about half of the flight crew has already been interviewed.
Also today, the flight attendants will sit down with the investigators. The flight attendants are getting a lot of praise for their heroic roles in evacuating the plane. One even carried a young boy on her back. She was one of the last to leave the aircraft.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is joining us now from San Francisco. Miguel, you have the chair of the NTSB, Deborah Hersman, with you. I understand they're not very happy right now with all the information, a lot of the pilots especially pilot unions, about all the information that is being so quickly released. And I know you want to discuss that with Deborah Hersman.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a couple of big things happening, as you mentioned. The pilot, the man who was at the helm of that plane will be spoken to or interviewed by the NTSB shortly. And also, I want to bring in Deborah Hersman here with the NTSB, the chairman of the NTSB. Thank you for being with us.
The Association of Airline Pilots is upset that so much information has come out, that you are making so much information about raw data about this crash available to the public. How do you respond to their concerns?
DEBORAH HERSMAN, NSTB CHAIRWOMAN: One of the hallmarks of NTSB's investigations is our transparency. We have a standard process for going to accident sites and providing briefings. Information that we release is factual in nature and it's not subject to change throughout the course of the investigation.
We've been very careful to caution people not to draw any conclusions. We understand that there are many advocates out there for different interests, but the NTSB is an advocate for the traveling public, and part of what we do is making sure the public has confidence in our investigations.
MARQUEZ: I guess, the lack of information can also cause speculation concern in the public. Is that sort of the balance you're working off of here?
HERSMAN: Well, absolutely. We know we've been doing this for over 40 years, that there will always be people who will step into an information vacuum and provide their perspectives. Their opinions about what's happened, we believe that it is always better to put out the correct information and factual information, so that bad information is not allowed to continue to propagate.
MARQUEZ: We know you have spoken to half of the flight crew. The pilot, the man who is at the controls of that airline, you guys will talk to him a little later today. Can you tell us how those discussions and those interviews are going?
HERSMAN: You know, those interviews are going very, very well. We're so thankful that we have crew members to interview. The pilots can provide us outstanding observations from their experiences on the flight deck. They can tell us what was happening, what they know, and what procedures they're following. We've got the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, which can give us discreet data points, but we want to get to the pilots to understand what they were thinking, what they were experiencing.
MARQUEZ: A lot of people have talked about the cultural differences in flight crews and the problems that that may cause in these situations. Is that something that's part of your investigation as well?
HERSMAN: You know, it's interesting, because there have always been conversations about multi-member flight crews and how they interact together. There have been questions about authority gradients, in different cultures and also between captains and first officers, and in fact, decades ago, that was the very genesis of crew resource management. How junior pilots can challenge senior pilots. How they communicate, how they follow procedures. So CRN is a very important part of our investigations and looking at the human performance and how they communicate and work together.
MARQUEZ: We know four pilots total were on that plane. It was a long haul flight. Do you know how many pilots were in the cockpit when the crash occurred?
HERSMAN: There are four pilots on the plane. We have relief crew, because it's a more than 10-the hour flight. It's a long flight. We have interviewed crew members who were in the cockpit at time of the crash, but we have not yet interviewed the flying pilot. We're going to do that today. Once we do that, we're going to release information about those interviews.
MARQUEZ: Can you say, it's going to be difficult to say anything right now, but can you say anything about how is it that so many pilots could be sitting in the cockpit and nobody realized that something was critically wrong?
HERSMAN: I think that's what's so important about understanding what the pilots were seeing, what they were experiencing, how much they were doing manually, how were they were relying on automation, what their expectations and understanding are, and so that information will be helpful to us, but I will tell you, approach and landing is a critical phase of flight. Everyone's got to be at the top of their game. They've got to be paying attention. And we also want to make sure that if they're relying on automation or using automation, that those tools are used appropriately.
MARQUEZ: A big issue here, the pilot that was at the controls was very experienced on 747s, a huge plane, a long-haul plane, but not so experienced on 777s. How different are those cockpits, both made by Boeing, but how different are those planes?
HERSMAN: Well, you know, the aircraft are both in the Boeing family. The 777 will require the pilot to take some specific training, and so when we look at that transition training for him, we'll want to understand that. We'll want to understand how different, not just the 74, but other cockpits that he flew. What his experience was in those, what his expectations were. Getting this initial operating experience, this, you know, really on the job experience in the 777 is really the last part of that before he's going to be a captain.
MARQUEZ: Chairman Hersman, thank you very much for joining us.
HERSMAN: Thank you.
MARQUEZ: Really appreciate it. Wolf, I'll hand it back to you, guys. We know the NSTB will also be talking to flight attendants later this afternoon, and they'll want a full picture of how that evacuation went as well -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Good work. Thank Deborah Hersman for all of us, appreciate it very much. Miguel Marquez is on the scene of the San Francisco Airport. By the way, Americans on that Asiana Flight 214 could get more money in settlements than passengers, let's say, from China or South Korea, if there are future judgments against the airline.
Bloomberg news says international law could prevent Asian passengers from suing in American courts, where victims tend to get more money. One expert says passengers will probably get settlements of more than $1 million, even if they were not physically injured.
Right now, there are deep fears of renewed violence in Egypt today, with funerals set for some of the Mohamed Morsy supporters, who were killed in clashes Monday with Egyptian security forces. At the same time, Egypt's interim leader is moving forward with election plans, angering backers of the deposed president.
CNN's Reza Sayah is following all of this from Cairo. He's joining us now with the very latest. I take it, Reza, the funerals of those 50 plus people who were killed in those clashes with security forces have taken place, but what's been the follow up, what's happening on the streets of Cairo?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is another day of uncertainty, anxiety. Some people are bracing themselves for another day of violence and the way things stand right now, I don't think anyone knows how this conflict is going to end and where post- revolution Egypt is headed. There's certainly millions of Egyptians who want to move this country forward, into a new transitional government, but there's a sizable portion of the population.
Supporters of Mr. Morsy, the ousted president, the Muslim Brotherhood, they are angry and consider the astonishing change in fortune that they have endured over the past week. One week ago, they had their president in power, Mr. Morsy was president. Within the past six or seven days, all of a sudden, they're sitting in the opposition. They're protesting.
And I think from here on out, every day is going to be a test for them. We know that they're angry, but how angry? We know that they've come out and protested. How many more days will they come out and protest? We know they're cornered and isolated. Will they find a way to increase their leverage, to stop this process with which this country is moving forward in a transitional government?
And of course the fatalities yesterday, still a lot of u unknowns. What happened, who started it? The armed forces saying it was an armed group of terrorists, the supporters saying, no, it was security forces. All sorts of unanswered questions, but this country with its new transitional government seems to be rapidly pushing forward to move ahead, even though this conflict has yet to be resolved -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And Morsy himself, we haven't heard anything, I take it he's not tweeting, he's not talking, he's under, effectively, house arrest at that republican guard building in Cairo. Is that the latest information, Reza, that we're getting about the now former president of Egypt?
SAYAH: Frankly, Wolf, it's not clear where he is. If you go by state media reports, he's still being held in custody in the presidential guard headquarters, in Cairo. And no one's seen or heard from him since he was ousted on Wednesday. There are some reports that he's only being held in custody for his own safety, for precautionary measures. But there are also other reports that he along with other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are being investigated on possible accusations that they incited violence. But no sign of the former president for close to a week now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know several countries have offered him asylum. He's rejected all of those offers, I think from Qatar, from Turkey, other countries in the region. We'll see what happens. Reza Sayah on the scene for us in Cairo, thanks very, very much.
Stay with us, we're awaiting testimony to get underway any minute now in the George Zimmerman murder trial. They've taken a little recess. The jurors have not yet been brought in. We'll have live coverage. That's coming up.
Also coming up, for the first time, we are now hearing from those three women who were held hostage and tortured in Cleveland for a decade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Their inspiring message of hope about their new lives. Stand by for that.
BLITZER: Once again, they're in recess right now. The judge just heard arguments, pro and con for the release of this animation, this computerized animation. No ruling yet from the judge, Debra Nelson, but we expect the jurors to be brought into the courtroom shortly. We'll have live coverage of that coming up. Stand by, the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial continues.
Other news, though, right now, including this, for the first time we are now hearing from the three women who were held captive for nearly a decade in Cleveland. Pamela Brown is joining us now from New York with more on this story.
Pam, you were there from the very beginning in Cleveland and all of a sudden, overnight, we get this new video on YouTube. What, it's about 3.5 minutes long. I want you to set it up for us, tell us what these three women are saying and then let's hear the video in full.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is clearly a message coming directly from the young women themselves, delivered the way that they want it, according to their attorney. These women were silenced for so long. They were in captivity for 10 years, allegedly raped and beaten over that time. And now they're speaking out. They want everyone to know that they have a voice. That they're reclaiming their lives, and they also wanted to say a simple "thank you."
AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family, my friends. It's been unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through in entire ordeal. Everyone who has been there to support us has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness. I'm getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely. I ask that everyone continue to respect our privacy and give us time to have a normal life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gina, if you could say something to each and every person out there, who contributed money to your fund, to help you, what would you say to them?
GINA DEJESUS, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: I would say thank you for the support.
FELIX DEJESUS, FATHER OF GINA DEJESUS: I would like to thank everybody who donated to the Courage Fund for these girls and everybody that donated. I would also like to thank the families, for having so much passion and faith and the strength to go along with us. NANCY RUIZ, MOTHER OF GINA DEJESUS: I would like, personally, to thank the courage fund, everybody, in general, and I'm also saying my community, my neighbors. Every single one, they know who they are, awesome. So people, I'm talking not just people, but parents in general that does have a loved one missing, please do me one big favor. Count on your neighbors. Don't be afraid to ask for the help because help is available.
MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: Thank you, everyone, for your love, support, and donations, which helped me build a brand-new life. I just want everyone to know, I'm doing just fine. I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground. Walking hand in hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don't want to be consumed by hatred.
With that being said, we need to take a leap of faith and know that god is in control. We have been hurt by people, but we need to rely on god as being the judge. God has a plan for all of us. A plan that he gave me was to help others that have been in the same situations I have been in. To know that there's someone out there to lean on and to talk to, I am in control of my own destiny, with the guidance of God. I have no problems expressing how I feel inside, be positive, learn that it's important to give than to receive. Thank you for all your prayers. I'm looking forward to my brand-new life.
BROWN: So powerful. And more than a million dollars has been raised for the Courage Fund. And that will be divvied up in four separate funds for the young women. But, Wolf, as you mentioned, I've been if Cleveland several times over the last couple of months, covering this story, learning what these young women allegedly went through and it is just incredible to see how well they are seemingly doing, incredible.
BLITZER: I know you've been in touch. The lawyers for these women, they say that, what, the women simply wanted to express their thanks for all the support, for all the help, financial contributions, if you will, that they have received. That was their sole motivation. They're not going to start doing TV interviews or anything along those lines right now?
BROWN: Right. He wants to make it clear that this was a way for these young women to give a direct thank you for everyone that has helped them out and who has donated to their fund. And also to show everyone that, look, that they have a voice, that they're strong, and that they're moving on with their lives, and that they're not going to be silenced from this ordeal. I thought it was so poignant when we hear Michelle Knight say there, that I'm not going to let the situation define me. I'm going to define the situation.
So it's a way for not only for the women to show they're in control of their new lives, but also to say a simple thank you to the public, and also, as you heard, they're asking for privacy so they continue to heal. And hopefully that will keep everyone at bay -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a story that is. All right, Pam, thanks very much. Pamela Brown reporting for us from New York.
The George Zimmerman trial, the judge is back in the courtroom right now. There you see George Zimmerman, as he has been every day. We're now in the third week of this trial. He's having a little conversation with his attorney there, Mark O'Mara, is to our back. We anticipate the judge will make a decision. I don't know if she is going to make it now or later on whether or not that animation, that re-enactment that the defense would like to see admitted as evidence is going to be allowed or not.
They spent about 90 minutes discussing that this morning. But we're watching to see if she does have a decision. We're also watching for the jurors to come back into the courtroom and for testimony to resume. We'll continue to monitor -- let's bring in Sunny Hostin, our legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, also Paige Pate, criminal defense attorney, as we await for the judge to move this trial forward.
Sunny, what do you make of this debate they had this morning on this re-enactment? The defense wants it admitted as evidence, the prosecution says, not so fast.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, you know, I'm surprised that the judge is considering it to this extent, just because it really is speculative and oftentimes judges don't allow these kinds of recreations, because you're kind of stepping into the province of the jury. The jury is supposed to determine, after hearing all of the witnesses and after looking at all the evidence, what happened that night. They aren't supposed to be viewing it through the prism of some sort of computer animation expert.
So I'm actually surprised that she's taking this much time. She indicated just now that the jury has been waiting, she doesn't want the jury to wait any longer, and so she's going to take this up, the hearing again, after today's testimony. So she's not going to rule night now. We're not going to hear any expert testimony about this animation today, clearly, but it sounds as if she's leaning towards admitting it, which is surprising to me.
BLITZER: And she says, as you pointed out, she will make a -- continue this discussion, continue the debate between the prosecution and the defense after all the witnesses are called today, once they end it, usually around 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Whenever they do that, they'll resume this discussion.
Just as yesterday, after the jurors left, they had a discussion about whether that marijuana use that Trayvon Martin apparently showed in his blood test as part of his autopsy, the toxicology report she ruled last night after the jurors were out, that she would allow that to be admitted as evidence. What's your take, Paige, on this debate over this computerized animation? Sunny, you just heard her say, she is surprised the judges even considering it seriously?