Return to Transcripts main page


"Too Early To Conclude Pilot Error"; Fort Hood Massacre; Florida Alligator Attacks Teen; Caught On Camera; Fiery Crash Caught On Tape; The Biggest Lawsuit; Mariah Carey Rushed To Hospital; Clooney Single Again?; Latvia Joins Euro; Buffett's $2 Billion Gift To Gates

Aired July 9, 2013 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Vinnie, I think you're killing me. I think you're beating me to death I'm screaming with horror. I shoot you, but you're still coming after me but I stop screaming. Makes sense to you? What do think the jury believes on that?

VINNIE POLITAN, HOST, HLN'S "AFTER DARK": No, I don't think that makes sense number one and number two, there's another part of that that came up yesterday. He shoots him and believes Trayvon Martin is still has a weapon, still a threat, thinks he missed him with the shot that he fired and he re-holsters his gun and puts his gun away, and then approaches Trayvon Martin, that makes no sense whatsoever.

CUOMO: Vinnie Politan, Danny Cevallos, thank you very much, as always intelligent and insightful, appreciate you being here.

OK, so you heard the experts and getting the sense of the dynamic. Why am I asking the question that way? That's the way the jury will discuss it amongst themselves in a room. That's why we do it that way and right now you have to say the defense is laying out their story of who the real George Zimmerman is effectively.

How will it continue today, how the prosecution will counter on cross- examination and in their own rebuttal case, which remember the prosecution can come back after this, that's what will decide the story of this and what the jury takes into the room, OK -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, thanks so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a murder-for-hire plot captured on videotape, a Michigan woman tries to hire a hitman who turns out to be an undercover cop.

Also a gas station erupts in flames when a car crashes into the gas pumps, one of the customers catches on fire. We have the story behind this very dramatic video.


CUOMO: Hello everybody and welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, July 9th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by news anchor Michaela Pereira and she has the top news happening right now. MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you and good morning to you at home. Making news, the NTSB says it's too early to say a pilot error caused Asiana Flight 214 to crash at San Francisco International Airport, but the agency says the pilots' lack of experience at the controls of the Boeing 777 will be a factor in the investigation.

It is not clear if the pilot or the plane's computer was handling the landing. The NTSB also saying the plane's approach was 35 miles an hour slower than normal. And this is new, amateur video showing the chaos just seconds after the crash. You see emergency chutes inflate and terrified passengers evacuate.

Top Egyptian security officials defending army and police actions that had deadly consequences, clashes in Cairo killing more than 50 people. They say the army and police were defending the republican guard headquarters from attackers. Meantime, state media reports interim leader, Adelaide Mansourm, has issued a constitutional declaration giving himself limited power to make laws and outlines a time table for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Jury selection is said to begin in the court-martial of Nadal Hassan. He is the former Army major accused of killing 13 people during a 2009 rampage at Fort Hood. Now complicating matters, Hasan is representing himself in the military trial. He will be questioning potential jurors and eventually could actually cross-examine some of his own victims on the witness stand. Hasan is facing the death penalty.

Teresa Heinz Kerry has been upgraded from critical to fair condition this morning. The wife of Secretary of State John Kerry was hospitalized Sunday after experiencing symptoms consistent with a seizure. No details are being released. We are told Secretary Kerry, Heinz Kerry's son and other family members are at her bedside.

Terror for a Florida teen, he was attacked by a 10-foot alligator. It bit him in the head while he was swimming in a state park with a friend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically we were floating down the river kind of swimming and then out of nowhere a gator came up behind me and basically bit me in the head you know and at first I didn't know what it was. My reaction just started swinging and took off swimming as fast as I could to get away from it.


PEREIRA: Apparently the teen need 19 stitches and 15 surgical staples to close the gash in his head. He certainly knows the gator bite could have been much, much worse, amazing.

Are you ready for cutie overload? The newly announced from the queen's zoo an endangered tiny deer it's a pudu born in May, it weighs a single pound. At its biggest it will only measure 18 inches, can weigh around 20 pounds. These little fellows can be scrappy. They bark when they sense danger and can run in a zigzag pattern to escape predators.

CUOMO: They bark but then they run away, that's how it works.

BOLDUAN: Like me.

CUOMO: That's right. I've seen you do that. I'm like what, and then you take off.

PEREIRA: She's fast.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, here's video you have got to see to believe. Young Michigan woman is behind bars before pleading guilty to trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband. Why did she want him dead? They're incredibly bizarre negotiations were captured by police video. Poppy, your name I don't know why is that the hardest thing to pronounce. Poppy, what is the back story?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is unreal. I've never seen anything like this. It is a murder-for-hire sting, a 21-year-old Michigan woman caught on camera allegedly plotting to kill her own husband. She can be heard in the surveillance video saying it was easier than divorce. Look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

HARLOW (voice-over): The woman in the Batman sweatshirt is no superhero. According to prosecutors, she thinks she's hired a hitman to kill her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know I'm just going to take it down there and shoot him right in the face.

HARLOW: But the hitman, he is actually an undercover Michigan state police detective and according to this surveillance tape released by prosecutors he's meeting with 21-year-old Julia Merfeld.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrible as it sounds it's easier than divorcing him, didn't have to worry about the judgment on my family or breaking his heart.

HARLOW: Instead of breaking his heart she plans to hire someone to shoot him and make it look like a robbery. She even giggles as she tells the undercover officer she'd prefer the hit to take place outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it would be messy in the house. I could always have them clean out my car by the end of the mess.

HARLOW: In this meeting with the undercover detective she seems to question the plan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a bad idea for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm willing to do it, you know, for whatever your reasons are, I don't really care. I just want the money.

HARLOW: Police reportedly set up the sting after they were tipped off by Merfeld's co-worker, Carlos Ramos, who says he went to authorities after she first tried to get him to carry out her plot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When she brought it up about what she wanted done. She was laughing so I figured she was just joking. The more she got into detail about what she wanted done and when she wanted it done. That I -- I went to the authorities and said, you know, this is what's going on.

HARLOW: In the video, she says she planned to pay the hitman thousands of dollars, money that would come from her husband's life insurance policy.


HARLOW: Merfeld entered a guilty plea last month for solicitation of murder. She will be sentenced on July 30th. Watching more of this video, guys, she even talked about wanting to have a friend move into the home afterwards, so didn't want a murder to take place inside of the home.

BOLDUAN: I just don't understand, she says it's easier than divorce because she doesn't have to deal with the judgment of her family.

CUOMO: Or breaking his heart.

BOLDUAN: But she will now be dealing with some much more serious judgment.

HARLOW: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Carlos Ramos, good man, coming forward and of note the husband doesn't want her to get jail time.

HARLOW: That's what our affiliate is reporting that in court the husband said that. We'll see what happens. The sentencing is in a few weeks, July 30th. We'll see what happens between the two of them and what happens in terms of how much time. It looks like she could face a minimum sentence of about six years in jail.

BOLDUAN: OK, we will follow up on that one for sure. Poppy, thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, this man is now on fire at a gas station. How did he save his own life? We'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: And filming music videos can be dangerous work apparently. Why singer, Mariah Carey, had to go to the hospital, that's coming up in our pop four.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Take a look at this terrifying accident caught on tape at a Tennessee gas station. It's the Fourth of July. The car goes in there, blows up the gas station, the bystander was injured, two cars destroyed. This morning police are saying it could have been worse. Michaela has been working on the story. Just to see it is too much.

PEREIRA: The wild video was caught on a gas station surveillance tape. It is hard to believe in Clarksville, Tennessee, a car goes barreling through a gas pump setting a man on fire.


PEREIRA (voice-over): It is not a scene from this summer's blockbuster action flick. This explosion at an Exxon gas station was captured on the Fourth of July by surveillance camera in Clarksville, Tennessee. Look again as the driver enters oncoming traffic, careening through a gas pump, taking it out and setting a man on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see him rolling back and forth, which is what we teach not only children to do but adults as well.

PEREIRA: Here he is right before the crash, walking with another man, when the car comes barrelling towards the two of them there's no time for him to react before the explosion engulfs him in flames. But fire officials say it was his stop, drop and roll technique that saved his life.

MAGGIE LAWRENCE, ASSISTANT FIRE MARSHALL, METRO FIRE DEPARTMENT: He did everything properly. I was very pleased to see that he did not panic and run because if he had panicked and ran it would have fed the fire. He would have been burned I'm sure a whole lot worse than what he was.

PEREIRA: Porter is in critical but stable condition, suffering from burns on 40 percent of his body. According to Clarksville police the man behind the wheel says he blacked out and the crash report indicates there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol at the scene of the accident.


PEREIRA: The driver was not injured in the crash and although the crash indicates no evidence of drugs or alcohol, blood test is pending. Chris Porter though that stop, drop and roll. We remember that in elementary school and the quick thinking of the gas station attendant who came in with an extinguisher and put the flames out.

BOLDUAN: The guy blocks out, aims directly at the gas pump, horrible situation, amazing video.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, George Clooney could be flying solo again. Get excited, Chris.

CUOMO: I am. He's a handsome man.

BOLDUAN: What we know about his split come up in our pop four.

CUOMO: If I weren't married. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's time for our pop four with Nischelle Turner. Good morning, my dear.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I think I'm in such a good mood because of our number one story today.

BOLDUAN: Tell me right now.

TURNER: I will in just a moment. I'm going to lead up to it. Our number four story this morning, a former "Biggest Loser" contestant is being sued for gaining the weight back. According to the suit, Costa agreed to do promotional work for a marketing company, but they claim seven months after the ink dried, she gained too much weight for them to use her in appearances.

BOLDUAN: That is tough. You know what, I don't know how I feel about that, but I love that show. It's a win-win. You win the contest and are losing weight in the meantime.

TURNER: They also say she signed an agreement with one of their competitors.

BOLDUAN: They were looking for an out.

TURNER: There was a little something more to that, something extra.

All right, Mariah Carey is our number three story. The singer was rushed to the hospital after dislocating her shoulder. She fell while shooting a video for the remix of her song "Hash Tag Beautiful." According to her rep though, she's doing fine and her husband, Nick Canon, directing that video.

Our number two story, Randy Travis in critical condition this morning, the country singer was hospitalized for viral cardiomyopathy. It's a weakening of the heart muscles due an infection. He's been in the hospital since Sunday. Best wishes to him.

Our number one story this morning, America's number one bachelor, he's single again. George Clooney, we're talking about. According to "People" magazine, George Clooney and his girlfriend of two years split after she realized she eventually wanted to have a family, he did not. The sources say the split was friendly. They quietly separated a few weeks ago.

They are still friends and talk every day. I say I could be next, but here's the thing, it kind of feels like every woman that dates him has a shelf life. Don't you know that going in? He's a bachelor, doesn't want to be married again.

PEREIRA: Good luck. The guy that states Stacey after George, you've got to be like --

TURNER: Do you have a house in Italy?

BOLDUAN: Going to be fabulous. Stacey is going to be fine.

CUOMO: If he wants a family, he's what she wants. I have been feigning attraction to George Clooney all morning, but switch back to the real me, I think they have to leave him alone. Do with your life what you want. If you're not hurting anybody, leave him alone.

BOLDUAN: He doesn't seem bothered by any of it.

TURNER: He doesn't. He likes being a bachelor and his life.

BOLDUAN: Do you, George? We got to go, guys. We got to go. All right, Nischelle Turner, you can find her, call me, I'll tell you how to get her.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, an incredible survivor story, three young siblings tell us how they escaped the San Francisco plane crash. It is a NEW DAY exclusive. They tell an amazing story.

CUOMO: And this is big, big, big, the craze to a new level, croissant/donut combination. Two words, Oreo.


BOLDUAN: All right, that music means it is time for the rock block. A quick roundup of stories you will be talking about today. First up, Michaela.

PEREIRA: First up in the papers, the "Star Ledger" features rock star Jon Bonjovi giving back, giving a million dollars to his home state Sandy Relief Fund.

From the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette," Hillary Clinton honoring fashion icon Oscar De La Renta, a new exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Center features famous outfits by the designer including one of her pantsuits.

From "The Guardian," prime and prejudice has been recreated as a statue in London, marking the launch of Britain's new TV channel drama. I was distracted by the fact there was a statue in the lake.

BOLDUAN: Why not? It works.

CUOMO: Poppy, you have some business news for us?

HARLOW: Yes, earnings seasons kicking off officially. Stock features pointing higher this morning ahead of the open. The Dow, NASDAQ, S&P 500, all finishing in the black yesterday. S&P 500, actually less than 2 percent below an all-time closing high.

Meantime, Latvia, now the 18th country to join the euro officially. It won approval to begin using that currency starting on January 1st. The government had to meet budget and debt deadlines to be accepted.

Warren Buffett donating just $2 billion worth of stock in his company, giving that money to the Gates Foundation ran by Bill and Melinda Gates. Focuses on, of course, alleviating global poverty and he signed a pledge to give away all of his stock by the time he died.

BOLDUAN: The $2 billion with a "b."

HARLOW: Not million.

CUOMO: Amazing, great organization, too.

BOLDUAN: Finally, let's get to Chad Myers in the weather center for what you need to know this morning.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Skies pretty good across the east coast. Airplanes doing very well, Minneapolis, slowdown. We showed you this last hour, 2,000 planes, now up to 3,000 planes going up to a high around 6,000 later today. Still hot in the northeast, 87, tomorrow cooler. Atlanta, you get to 84. Rain showers across a lot of the northeast. That is going to be that way most of the day today. We're going to have rain across parts of the Ohio Valley, right into Buffalo, New York.

BOLDUAN: It is summer, it is hot, and it is really hot. All right, Chad, thank so much. Now at the top of the hour, which means it is time for the top news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for all your prayers. I'm looking forward to my brand new life.


CUOMO: Breaking overnight, speaking out, the Cleveland three kidnapped as girls in Cleveland, then rescued, talking for the first time.

BOLDUAN: NEW DAY exclusive, some of the youngest survivors of Flight 214 speaking out for the very first time as we see this dramatic video of passengers escaping the wreckage.

PEREIRA: Surprising twist, the judge rules that the jury can hear that Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system the night he was killed. This as his father takes a stand. We break it all down.