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Zimmerman Defense Rests; Stock Futures Sharply Higher; Diet Soda Danger; Beyonce's Balancing Act; Third Time's The Charm?; Paula Deen Superhero?

Aired July 11, 2013 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Another moment lost.

The George Zimmerman trial is nearing its end, closing arguments expected today. The big question, what will they be? Well, before we get to a breakdown, let's take a look at some of the highlights from day 12.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: The injuries on Mr. Zimmerman's back of his head were they consistent with someone doing this on cement?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Mr. Zimmerman, have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in this case?

DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: On Mr. Zimmerman's behalf that question --

NELSON: I am asking your client questions, please Mr. West.

WEST: I object to the court inquiring to Mr. Zimmerman as to his decision whether or not to testify.

NELSON: Your objection is overruled. Have you made a decision?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: And what is your decision, sir?

ZIMMERMAN: After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor.


CUOMO: All right, so the big deal here not that Zimmerman didn't testify, but that whole exchange with the judge. We'll get into that with our experts in just a second. Here to the wall, all right, the defense rests obvious to that. Not to testify, your honor. What was that about? Now, not testifying was pretty obvious here, but did he have to, given what the prosecutors had done? That's going to be a big part of the analysis. Duelling dummies, the prosecutors and defense attorneys both got on top of the mannequin to show what happened there and the question is which theory did it support better? The jury is watching them, probably their last picture of what to make of the altercation so important.

Then parting shots, OK, the defense puts on this white victim of a robbery by black men and she talks about how scary that was to her. What did that mean? Was that race-baiting or somehow painting a picture of Zimmerman, the prosecution may have a surprise witness, we'll talk about that with the experts.

Is there someone they can put on to say George Zimmerman attacked me before, changing his character complexion with them and where do we see the balance of who is up and down as we go into closing arguments, better minds than mine will give us the answers to this.

We have Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney, Sunny Hostin, former prosecutor and CNN's legal eagle. It's very nice to have both of you. First make clear to the rest of us, what was going on, Sunny, with this judge when she basically slaps defense counsel out of the way and says I want to talk to Zimmerman, I want to find out if he's testifying. Why? Why?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look it happens in courtrooms every day. The judge has the right and must actually speak to the defendant and find out whether or not his decision to testify or not testify is truly his decision made voluntarily, and so that's something that you see in courtrooms all the time.

It was sort of odd that Don West objected to the court's inquiry because it's something that happens day in and day out. And they've had a lot of testy exchanges, Chris, throughout this trial and so I think we were sort of surprised the night before, there were all of these fireworks between this defense attorney and this judge.

And you know, I've been in front of judges that haven't liked me, that have been testy but you don't do your client any favors when the judge doesn't like you so you really have to learn to back off.

CUOMO: A judge not liking you, impossible, you must be lying.

HOSTIN: It's happened.

CUOMO: Now I'll move on. Danny, did the defense do a good enough job of the suggestion that Zimmerman would have been able to reach for his gun from the bottom. That became a big thing with the dummy demonstrations. The prosecutor was pressing hard that he couldn't get the gun from this position. How do you think the defense did on that? It's pivotal for them.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's a tremendous piece of improve by Defense Attorney Mark O'Mara to take a dummy that was a prop used by the prosecution and turn it around on the prosecution themselves. They are the ones that introduced the dummy and now O'Mara look at the drama, you can see it right there, look at the drama as he smashes it into the back of the concrete.

Whatever point they were trying to make was underscored by that physical display. Remember these demonstrations in court literally sear, well, figuratively I suppose, sear the image into the jury's mind. They're very, very effective and I think both the verbal and the actual demonstration part were very effective.

CUOMO: Sunny, a lot of people on the sidelines are asking for those lesser charges shows the prosecution's weak, not confident in their case. You talk about what happens all the time, this certainly does and why is this a good option for the prosecutors?

HOSTIN: Yes, I mean, it does happen all the time. If the evidence supports lesser included offenses then as a prosecutor you ask for it. So I've been shocked so many people are saying wow that's improper, that's not fair. It's completely fair and in fact a lot of the lesser included offenses of second-degree murder, Chris, manslaughter, aggravated assault, they're mandatory.

The judge almost has to give them. That's surprising. What's important for the prosecution they get to argue the evidence in the alternative, if this jury does not believe George Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder is he guilty of manslaughter? Is he guilty of aggravated assault? It gives the jury a lot of options, almost a cornucopia of options taken makes the possibility of conviction that much stronger.

CUOMO: And what the jury won't know is that these lesser, in quote, "charges" manslaughter, aggravated battery carry hefty sentences in Florida, but the jury won't know that. It will be interesting if they think it's a compromise or leniency. A lot to see what happens when they actually deliberate. Danny, the animation, can't be used as evidence, can be used in the closing. What does that mean to non- lawyers?

Well, it means that the good part is, Danny, right, they didn't have to have it cross-examined by the prosecution and have all the weaknesses of this animation come up. So even though they didn't get it in as evidence how do you think this will be helpful to the defense in the closing?

CEVALLOS: Well, first another great piece of advocacy by the defense attorneys here. They shot the moon. They asked for the sun, the moon and the stars to get this admitted as substantive evidence and that means as evidence of what actually happened. There are two reasons to introduce evidence like this.

One evidence of what happened, substantive and the other is a visual aid to assist the trier effect. In this case, I don't think the defense ever believed they would get it in as substantive evidence. I think they're happy with using it as a visual aid in closing because remember closing arguments is their one opportunity to argue the facts and I think it will be very, very effective.

CUOMO: Sunny, we end with you, the three big points the prosecution will make in its closing, what's your guess? HOSTIN: This case is all about who started the fight. Let's remember that, and I can only imagine that that is what the prosecution is going to hone in on. The defense certainly has tried to make this case about self-defense, but that's not really what it's about from the prosecution's perspective. It's about who started the fight, who followed, who pursued, who confronted.

And if the jury believes that was George Zimmerman, then the defense has a pretty high hurdle because they've got to prove that he had exhausted all means of getting away and he was in reasonable fear of great bodily harm or eminent death and so we're going to hear from the prosecution that George Zimmerman started this fight and he didn't need to.

CUOMO: All right, Danny Cevallos, I promise I'll give your chance when the defense comes up from their closing. Sunny Hostin and Danny Cevallos, thank you very much for your analysis, great as always.

All right, so as we come back here you know what? With so much at stake and we haven't heard the closings yet you have to say, this case could go either way. It's so important on so many levels and it will come down to who can convince the six women who will be going into that room that their story makes the most sense, so much at stake -- Kate.

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

Coming up next on NEW DAY, you may want to put down that diet soda after you hear the results of a new report. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to tell us all about what those low calorie soft drinks have and what they do to you.

Also, wedding bells are ringing for Halle Berry. Nischelle Turner has that in the Pop Four.


CUOMO: We want to hear what Sanjay Gupta has to say about balancing obesity and eating, drinking regular soda.

BOLDUAN: You want to hear Sanjay talk about football!


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is "Money Time" and Christine Romans is here with all the business news you need to know.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It might be fatter today, record highs in stocks, possible record highs today. Stock futures are sharply higher after the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last night said interest rates should stay low. Stocks rallying around the world, futures are higher. The Dow needs to rise just 108 points, 108, look for that, a little over two hours and it would be a record. Do you have a sweet tooth for Iowa sweet corn? You have to wait. Wet weather delayed plantings and the sweet corn coming in late this year. A year ago it was too dry. Remember the worst since 1988 in terms of drought parching fields, killing crops. Look at these little tiny horrible, that's last year's corn. This year's corn too wet, farmers saying that the grocery stores will rely on shipments from Georgia and Missouri at least for now.

Today, July 11th, that's the date 7-11, and that means you can go to most 7-11s today and get a free slurpee. They will be 12 ounces not the usual small companies 7-11 hands out on its namesake date.

BOLDUAN: Welcome to America.

ROMANS: All is right with the world.

CUOMO: What an interesting story to have right before we talk to Sanjay Gupta about sweet drinks.

BOLDUAN: Great segue, if it had no calories and no sugar it has to be healthy, right? Here is Debbie Downer to tell us that is not the case. I'm kidding. This comes from Purdue University researchers saying diet soda can not only make you fat, but this report says it can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. So NEW DAY'S doctor thank goodness --


BOLDUAN: We call you that off camera.

GUPTA: I appreciate that even more, thank you.

BOLDUAN: But in all seriousness, Sanjay, tell us what this report, what we should take from this report.

GUPTA: This is an interesting report, quite fascinating and it's a review of studies, this was more of an opinion piece, but there's been this drumbeat for some time about diet drinks and what they're specifically doing. They're saying they look at the various studies over the last five years and find people who drink diet drinks often are increasing their risk of several things, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and the question has been why? I mean, they're drinking a non- caloric drink so why would those things be happening.

What they're starting to say is when you drink a diet drink it's somehow tricking your body a little bit. It may raise a little bit of insulin and that makes your body crave sugar, so you drink diet drinks all day long, but you're craving sugar. You didn't get the real stuff. So you go home and start to hunt for sugar. That's why you start digging into the ice cream or cake, whatever it may be. Again this is a bit of an opinion piece but you've been hearing this for some time the whole idea something is changing in your body as a result of the diet drinks.

PEREIRA: So it's not specifically the diet soda. It's what it leads to?

GUPTA: That's right and it's not even necessarily just diet soda, the artificial sweetener specifically. Another way of explaining this is that even people who are normal weight, doesn't necessarily have to do with weight, the body sort of preps itself for getting a sweet, sugary thing but it doesn't get it. It's like wait a second, I expected to get it.

PEREIRA: I still want it.

GUPTA: And now when I get it, maybe you cried wolf last time, give me a lot of sugar now before I believe you.

BOLDUAN: You're not saying there's a connection between the weight gain is the reason for the increased risk for heart disease.

GUPTA: Exactly. They said people who were not necessarily gaining weight still had increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and even stroke and it could be subsequently they didn't know how to metabolize sugar as well so even just smaller amounts of sugar had more of a detrimental effect on the body.

CUOMO: Is it such a surprise? Isn't diet soda garbage, all artificial chemicals and what makes it sweet is weird.

GUPTA: A lot of people say it's a good alternative for people trying to manage their weight, instead of drinking sugar drinks, drink the diet drinks and I help manage my weight. For a lot of people that works, but to your point these chemicals probably have an effect on our bodies and brains. The thing I find fascinating is we can trick our bodies. We think we're being clever. We'll give you something that tastes sweet as opposed to the calories but our bodies are pretty smart in that regard.

BOLDUAN: The one thing separate to this is the supposed link to cancer with these artificial sweeteners. I'm sure you get this question all the time, do artificial sweeteners lead to cancer?

GUPTA: I don't think there's any evidence of that. Look, some of these artificial sweeteners have been around since the '60s so it's not just laboratory studies. You have 40-year data to look at. There were a couple of small studies in animals that raised that red flag. Animal studies don't always translate to human studies as we found out here. The cancer thing we could probably put to the side a little bit, but the concern could this change our physiology that makes us crave sugar and not be able to process that as well. That could be more real.

PEREIRA: I'm no doctor, but if you want something carbonated have a carbonated water no sugar at all.

GUPTA: This is a multibillion-dollar industry. People want their little bit of Joe.

BOLDUAN: A little bit I think is the key.

GUPTA: Always.

BOLDUAN: That's the problem with diet drinks you think that it's OK so you can drink a lot more of it and that's clearly not the case.

GUPTA: Christine had her wallet, I got my water.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, great to see you. Don't forget to tune in to "Sanjay Gupta MD." It airs weekends right here on CNN, Saturday at 4:30 Eastern, Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time here on CNN. That's one good looking doctor. Just trying to make up ground for the Debbie Downer comment.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, incredible video of a car in Colorado swept away by a mudslide. More of this incredible footage and a look at the coast to coast extreme weather when we come back.

BOLDUAN: Plus Halle Berry five months pregnant and reportedly ready to tie the knot again this weekend. She's part of our pop four.


BOLDUAN: I do love this song. We do run the world, so glad somebody is finally a recognizing it. Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's time for the Pop Four with Nischelle Turner. Good morning my dear.


CUOMO: Surrounded.

TURNER: We're kicking it off with Mrs. Carter this morning in our Pop Four. Beyonce responding to criticism for partnering with Pepsi, this is our number four story this morning. Queen B came under fire after supporting Michelle Obama's let's move campaign. Her response, she encourages everyone to live with balance. The criticism, of course, you don't support one campaign and then support a Coke product or Pepsi product that has a lot of sugar and calorie.

CUOMO: You about the money or the mission.

BOLDUAN: It's difficult. You have to make some money.

TURNER: She made a lot, reportedly $50 million off that deal.

All right, our number three story this morning, Whitney Houston's daughter officially engaged. Bobbie Kristina announcing her engagement to Nick Gordon on Facebook adding that contrary to reports they are not related by blood or adoption.

BOLDUAN: Good to know.

TURNER: Number two, here comes the bride. Don't change your channel. According to E-online Halle Berry and her fiance, actor, Olivier Martinez will tie the knot this weekend ahead the birth of their son. This will be Berry's third marriage.

PEREIRA: Beautiful child.

TURNER: And Superman, Spiderman or Paula Deen, yes, she's getting her own comic book. This is our number one story this morning. "Female Force Paula Deen" will be released in October. It will include, by the way, her recent fall from grace. To add a little note, she will not be getting paid for this partnership. All proceeds going to charity.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Nischelle Turner.

CUOMO: Take a quick break here. Closing arguments coming up in the George Zimmerman murder trial, which side presented a stronger case? >

BOLDUAN: You hear them from miles away, at least your children do when the weather gets warm. Why one community wants the ice cream truck to stop playing that familiar tune.


BOLDUAN: We'll try not to break your heart, we promise. That music means it it's time for the rock block, a quick round up of the stories you'll be talking about. Today, first up, Michaela.

PEREIRA: From "USA Today," a Danish study on aging finds that people living into their 90s have better mental performance than people born a decade earlier, better living standards maybe a factor.

From the "Las Vegas Sun" former NFL star O.J. Simpson getting a parole hearing later this month, according to the Associated Press. He is currently serving 33 years for a kidnapping and armed robbery.

And from the "New York Times," a climate change study by the Energy Department will say power systems in the U.S. will face more breakdowns because of intense storms, rising seas and high temperatures.

CUOMO: Time now for Christine Romans. Please give these people some positive business news.

ROMANS: Great healthy news for you. Foreclosures fell to pre-crisis levels, down 14 percent since May, down 35 percent from a year ago. States with the most foreclosure filings are Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio and Georgia.

Coming to a school near you, iris scans. By the fall, several schools will ditch their student I.D.s and start using iris scanners. Great story on, all about that new trend today.

And the winner of the shortest workweek, the Netherlands, 29 hours. Denmark tied with Norway, 33 hours. Average annual wages in those countries is about $45,000. U.S. ties for highest.

BOLDUAN: Where is the U.S.?

ROMANS: Top of the list. BOLDUAN: I feel like some people on our staff work 29 hours in a day. Not us, that's for sure. Let's get to Chad Myers in the weather center with what you need to know before you head out the door.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Thunderstorms across a lot of New York, D.C., Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, all the big hubs across the east coast going to see severe weather this afternoon, already one big thunderstorm in Connecticut right now, why does it matter? Because when you put so many planes in the sky, 51 planes trying to land right now at LaGuardia, that, if you put a thunderstorm over the city, it begins to slow everything down and then all of a sudden it gets worse from there.

BOLDUAN: Check with the airlines before you head there, unfortunately. Chad, thank you so much.

We are now at the top of the hour, which Chris Cuomo knows means it's time for the top news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the jury follows the evidence, George Zimmerman will be held accountable for killing Trayvon Martin.


CUOMO: Final plea. Closing arguments start today. Could prosecutors have a final surprise witness and why did the judge go right at George Zimmerman?

BOLDUAN: Moment of impact, just released the dramatic 911 calls from passengers aboard flight 214 just after it crashed. And new questions, was the evacuation of the plane delayed?

PEREIRA: Bubba and the Biebs. Why is Bill Clinton calling Justin Beiber the shocking video of the pop star doing the unthinkable in a restaurant and why it spawned a phone call from the former president?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.