Return to Transcripts main page


Through Hell and Back: Cleveland Kidnap Victims Speak Out; Plane Crash Investigation; Egypt in Chaos; Trayvon Martin's Father Called as Defense Witness; Second Quarter Earnings Season Kicks Off

Aired July 9, 2013 - 05:00   ET



MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Through hell and back with a smile.

Breaking overnight: the three Cleveland women kidnapped and held prisoner for more than a decade, they break their silence. Hear their voices for the first time in moments.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Stories of survival from the San Francisco jetliner crash. New information this morning about the crash and the truly amazing rescue.

BERMAN: Massacre in Cairo. More than 50 dead, hundreds injured. Is the situation there out of control? What the president is now saying about this bloodshed.

PEREIRA: Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday, July 9th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we begin with this news breaking overnight: the three women held captive for years in a Cleveland house, they now speak. This morning, for the first time since they were freed in May, we are seeing and hearing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. In a video released by their PR firm, they talk about their strength and thank the people of Cleveland and around the world for their support.



AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with family and my friends. It's been unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal. REPORTER: Gina, if you could say something to each and every person 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.

KNIGHT: 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.


BERMAN: Such grace, such poise and such hope. Their alleged captor, Ariel Castro, is in jail right now. He's kind of really set to go on trial starting in August. Prosecutors say he kidnapped the women, beat and raped them and fathered a child with one of them all over the course of the last decade.

PEREIRA: Now into the investigation of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco.

The NTSB officials are now interviewing the cockpit crew. There were four pilots on board the Boeing 777, two flying the jet and a relief crew. Investigators are focusing now on the speed as it came in for a landing which was said to be low and too slow.

Meantime, there's dramatic new video of the airport crash scene. You can see the planes emergency chutes being deployed as smoke engulfs the wreckage.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live at the San Francisco International Airport with the very latest for us on the investigation. Miguel, good morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. We do not believe the interviews have been completed yet because, one, the pilot's main language is Korean. And they have a lot of investigators in the room talking to them en masse all at the same time. They do want to know everything those pilots were doing leading up -- days leading up to the time that they were in the cockpit, what they were seeing as they were coming in, all of this as the new video as you point out shows a textbook escape.

What we hope to understand later this afternoon, Michaela is that the NTSB should give us more information -- a readout essentially -- on what those pilots are saying to them. They want to look at everything over the last 72 hours leading up to that flight. They want to know what their sleep schedules were, how they were feeling, their health.

They also want to look at everything that happened in that cockpit. They do want to look specifically at what that plane was doing as it was coming in. They now say that it was on a normal glide path all the way into San Francisco airport.

They say 82 seconds before that plane hit the embankment here, the pilot disengaged the auto pilot. There was a slow and normal descent into the airport, but as it got closer and closer, the speed dropped dangerously.

And right before impact, it was doing about 118 miles per hour. It should have been doing about 158 miles per hour. They say the pilot at the very last minute began to add thrust to those engines. And when that plane hit the tarmac, it was actually increasing speed, but it certainly was not enough -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Yes, back to the pilots, they want -- as you were mentioning, the importance of talking to them about those 72 hours to find out, you say, were they fatigued? Have they been using caffeine or alcohol in that time?

They want to know all their behaviors up to that time to find out if they were in a good position to be landing this plane in the most professional and exact manner as possible.

MARQUEZ: Yes. And we do know, there have been three interviews up to now. The U.S. law enforcement talked to them on day one. They may have taken blood at that point to test for either drugs or alcohol in the system.

South Korean investigators interviewed them on day two, probably along with U.S. counterparts. And now, the big interview that they're going through right now -- with NTSB, other investigators all looking at those pilots.

NTSB also very quick to point out, don't look at pilot error too quick, yet. There have been three similar crashes where planes landed short of the runway. In some cases, there was pilot error involved. But in others, it was mechanical. They want to know everything before they make judgments about this.

But they say there's a lot of information out there to collect before they have a very clear idea of what happened here -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Certainly, the pilots, the instruments, their plane itself.

All right. Miguel, we'll be following this. Thank you for the report from San Francisco.

BERMAN: Also this morning, three teenagers who are on board the Asiana Flight 214 are talking exclusively to CNN about their ordeal. Eleven-year-old Sarah Jang, her 11-year-old Joseph, and their 15-year- old Esther spoke to our Sara Sidner from San Francisco General Hospital.

Esther described what happened after the planes crash landed.


ESTHER JANG, CRASH SURVIVOR: Craziness, like we were all bouncing all over the place. I just remember there being dust everywhere. I was freaking out. And then, it just stopped. And then after everything stopped, there was a relief. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Luckily, the three teens just suffered just minor injuries.

And there's much more of Sara Sidner's exclusive interview with these three young passengers coming up later on NEW DAY.

PEREIRA: Now to the ongoing chaos in Egypt, where both sides continue to argue who was responsible for the Monday's deadly shooting outside the republican guard headquarters. More than 50 are now dead and hundreds are injured.

The question: did the military open fire without warning or was it stopping a terrorist attack?

The interim president says he's now launching an investigation. At the same time, he's outlining a timetable for new elections.

Reza Sayah is live in Cairo for us this morning -- Reza.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, every day seems to be another round of this fight in this conflict, where on one side, you have the liberals, the moderates, even supporters of military rule who want to push forward with establishing a new government. They seem to be winning.

But on the other side, you have supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood, they are angry, outraged, and they're screaming for this process to be stopped, screaming for an investigation into yesterday's deadly clashes and it's still not clear who fired first, who started these clashes.

There's all sorts of conflicting reports. Yesterday, the armed forces and the police held a news conference saying it was an armed terrorist group who fired first. They showed video purportedly showing a protester firing on to troops.

But you have supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the president, the ousted president, who say, no, it wasn't us. It was troops who fire first. They have their own video purportedly showing soldiers firing on to protesters.

In the meantime, we are expecting funerals today for some of the fatalities. Expect this to be a charged and emotional day.

In the meantime, the interim president, he's pushing forth with establishing a new government. Last night, he declared a constitutional decree. And very swiftly, in about 15 days, there's going to be a panel to review the new constitution.

And in about four and a half months, if everything goes smoothly, we could have a nationwide vote for the new constitution. Shortly thereafter, parliamentary elections, and presidential elections, Michaela.

And you have to wonder, what's going through the minds of the supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood. A week ago, they have their president in place and now, Egypt seems to be on its way to establishing a new government.

But this conflict is far from over -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Yes, a plan in place is good, but reality is different story. We'll certainly be watching.

Reza, thank you.


PEREIRA: Now to the death toll from the runaway train explosion in a Canadian town near the border with Maine. We know that the death toll now stands at 13, more than three dozen people remain unaccounted for. The 73-car train loaded with crude oil exploded and destroyed the downtown area of Lac-Megantic in Quebec over the weekend. Investigators say an engine shutdown may have caused the brakes to fail, sending those cars careening for miles into the town.

More than 1,300 evacuees are now returning to their homes.

BERMAN: So, could NSA leaker Edward Snowden finally be heading to Venezuela? The president there, Nicolas Maduro, says his government has received a letter from Snowden asking for refuge, that days after the country extended an offer to the NSA contractor. Now, Maduro sys it's just up to Snowden to get himself to Venezuela. For now, he's still believed to be holed up at the Moscow airport.

PEREIRA: Well, the deadline looming to wind-down the war in Afghanistan. A senior administration official tells CNN President Obama is seriously considering pulling off troops from that country in 2014. The White House apparently growing more frustrated with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But it may be a negotiating tactic.

Both sides are trying to work out a long term deal to keep some U.S. service members on the ground there after the drawdown.

BERMAN: Teresa Heinz Kerry is said to be doing better this morning at a Boston hospital. The wife of Secretary of State John Kerry was rushed there Sunday. And a source close to the family tells CNN the 74-year-old has symptoms consistent with some sort of seizure.

Now, after tests, her condition is upgraded to fair. They hope to have good news to report today.

PEREIRA: Now, it looks like the federal government is doing a little bit better balancing its books. The latest White House projection says the budget deficit will shrink comes September by some $214 billion. Of course, it won't be gone completely. Washington is spending about three-quarters of $1 trillion more than it takes in. But the Obama administration says an improving economy, plus tax increases and spending cuts are paying off.

BERMAN: What is three quarters of a trillion dollars?

PEREIRA: Kind of like your check balance.

BERMAN: Pocket change.

PEREIRA: Yes, pocket change.

BERMAN: We have some incredible pictures to show you right now from just north of the border. Check this out. This is in Toronto, Canada.

PEREIRA: That's a road?

BERMAN: That is actually a road, I'm told. I'm sure it's a road completely under water. That city was pummeled by rain late Monday. Nearly four inches fell in just hours. About 100,000 customers are still without power.

Passengers were stuck in the subway system. Some to be rescued from stuck commuter trains. You can see that right there. It looks like a mess.

Chad Myers tracking all the weather there and here for us. Are we getting any of this?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, we talked about this yesterday how the pattern was changing and everything was going to be shifting to the north. I didn't mean north of the border, I just meant Chicago. Wow, just a bunch of rain there. And just the storms parked themselves over the area and never stopped.

A couple showers across Toronto. I'm going to show you a waterspout here next half hour that happened in Tampa and showers in Pennsylvania and Ohio as well. Kind of a couple of cool pictures.

Here's what's coming up for today. One to three inches across the Northeast. Two to four across Ohio. So, the rain isn't stopping.

A little bit of heat slowing down. Only 87 in New York City today. I say that tongue and cheek. It's still hot out there, but it isn't the heat index of 104 like there was over the weekend. Atlanta, you get to 84. New Orleans, 88.

So, here is Chantel. We talked about this yesterday. It doesn't look quite as impressive today. But it is going to get into very warm water as it goes over Barbados and into the Caribbean. This warm water is the fuel to the fire. It's putting the high test. It's that 93 octane in this thing for a while.

Seventy miles per hour by the time it hits the D.R., maybe all the way to San Juan. We could see that. That's part of the cone, all the way over to Haiti, the other part. But then, as it gets up here in the Bahamas, go left to the U.S. or right toward the Atlantic Ocean, make a gutter ball. It certainly could be a storm. The first one of the year that has the potential to get to the hurricane status.

BERMAN: It also makes me nervous when you say it's not impressive. I feel like you shouldn't taunt a tropical storm. PEREIRA: No.

MYERS: Exactly, yes. It looks very impressive, don't you?


MYERS: It's delightful. Hope it'd die (ph) today.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Chad. Appreciate it.

Thirteen minutes after the hour. I got to tell you, this story from Tennessee we're about to show you, this may make you jump a bit. And I got to give you a warning, the pictures really are a little disturbing.

A man was walking through a gas station when a car suddenly just comes barreling toward the pumps there. That is terrifying. The explosion left the man burned over 40 percent of his body. He right now is in the national burn unit.

Authorities say if he had not stopped, dropped and rolled, which you could see there to put out the flames on his left, the injuries might have been worse. He's lucky.

The driver of the other car said he simply blacked out. Right now, police do not think drugs or alcohol were involved.

PEREIRA: We are taught to stop, drop and roll. But you think your instinct would be to run, which is the worst thing you can do for flames. It feeds them.

BERMAN: Such presence of mind. You can actually see him do it.

PEREIRA: I know. Amazing. It's amazing he is alive.

Coming up, Trayvon Martin's father called to the stand by the defense. Why George Zimmerman's lawyers wanted the jury to hear from the father of the killed teenager.


PEREIRA: Seventeen after the hour. The defense in the George Zimmerman trial is set to introduce a controversial piece of evidence today. A toxicology report on Trayvon Martin showing that he had marijuana in his system the night he died. That after jurors heard from a parade of witnesses, all disputing a key prosecution claim.

Here is George Howell.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One after another after another, defense witnesses hammered home the same answer when asked who was screaming on this 911 call.


911: So you think he's yelling help?


911: All right. What is your --



MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you know whose voice that is in the background screaming?



GERI RUSSO, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: When I heard the tape, my immediate reaction was that's George screaming for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose voice is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman's voice.

JOHN DONNELLY, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: There's no doubt in my mind that was George Zimmerman. I wish to God I didn't have that ability to understand that.

HOWELL: It was John's temperature that made him. Donnelly told jurors he bought Zimmerman's clothes for trial and once taught him how to tie a Windsor knot.

The defense attorneys drew on his experience in combat, as a medic who routinely heard people scream for 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 him, 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 -- I think the chair had wheels on it, I kind of pushed 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. 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 lose 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 skill level --

ADAM POLLOCK, GYM OWNER: He's still learning how to punch. He didn't know how to effectively punch.

O'MARA: On a scale of one to 10, 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.

George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


BERMAN: And another big day ahead. Our thanks for George for that.

Twenty minutes after the hour right now.

And as pranks go, this one was really pretty cruel or absolutely brilliant. You make the call. The video shows the prankster James Williams arranging to have his sleeping girlfriend wake up to the sight of a ghost --

PEREIRA: Oh, that just mean.

BERMAN: -- coming out of the TV set.

He barely spent weeks designing a puppet replica of the creepy girl from the horror flick, "The Ring".


BERMAN: This seems like a wonderful idea.

Check out the reaction.

PEREIRA: Oh, no. Poor thing. That's awful.

BERMAN: So, as you can see, the girlfriend was so scared, the boyfriend had to stop her from running out of the house. I say boyfriend, I don't know if it's former boyfriend.

PEREIRA: Well, I'm going to say that's it's grounds for separation and butt-kicking, to be honest.

BERMAN: Everyone loves a joke. Not everyone loves the hardest --

PEREIRA: Do you know how traumatizing that would be in the middle of the night? Poor thing. She needs a hug.

Coming up, a big shake up at Barnes & Noble. What's next for the struggling bookstore giant.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

You know what time it is?

PEREIRA: It's money time.

BERMAN: Poppy Harlow here with absolutely everything, I mean, everything you need to know.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Almost everything. Cue the big headlines here for you this morning, folks.

Second quarter earnings season is kicking off, got underway last night after the closing bell. People focusing on that ahead of comment from Fed Ben Bernanke that are coming midweek.

Stocks did finish higher on Monday. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all closed in the black. You see it right there. The S&P 500 has actually risen four out of the five sessions.

Big headline out of Dell, closing about 3 percent higher after the company CEO and founder Michael Dell offered to take that company private in a more than $24 billion deal. That got a show of support from a critical group, the largest shareholder advisory firm. So, we'll see how that fares.

Meantime, the CEO of ailing bookseller Barnes & Noble resigned late yesterday following a very disappointing showing for the Nook. That's the company's e-reader that has been trying to compete. His name is William Lynch. You see him there. He stepped down after three years at the helm of the company.

Barnes & Noble reported a quarterly loss of more than $118 million. That is nearly twice the loss from just a year ago. Sales of the Nook fell 34 percent in the most recent quarter. Company shares down a little over 4 percent right now on that news.

Meantime, Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett, legendary investor, giving away just, you know, $2 billion in stock from his company going to the Gates Foundation. He's donating 17.5 million class b shares of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Gates Foundation does a number of things mainly focused on alleviating global poverty.

And you know what's interesting, guys? Back in 2006, Buffett signed the giving pledge along with Bill and Melinda Gates and a lot of other billionaires, promising to give away at least half of their wealth either their lifetime or after their death. Buffett is going to give away all of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway.

PEREIRA: He's doing it.

HARLOW: Best part of that.


BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: You got it.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.