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Zimmerman Trial to Wrap Up Today; Severe Weather Wreaks Havoc; Arsenic in Apple Juice Now Regulated; Interview with Justin Carter
Aired July 12, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And then we have this NEW DAY exclusive that Kate's been following all along. This teenager, he makes a bad joke on Facebook. No question about that, OK. Police find out about it, take it as a terroristic threat, put him in jail for over four months. He's now out, and you'll have him. Talking to him and his family about what it means and how he goes forward from here.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And where the case goes from here, yeah.
MICHAELA PERIERA, CNN ANCHOR: And doesn't it sound like something our parents say "turn the volume down." Well, you might want to do it after our report. How we use our headphones and earbuds may be causing us more hearing loss than previously thought. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us live. We'll talk about all that coming up.
CUOMO: And by the way I knew it.
CUOMO: I knew listening to the stuff meant something, that's why my having no taste in music has an advantage.
Right now, let's get to the George Zimmerman trial. It is closing argument day for the defense. The prosecution went yesterday, focused on inconsistencies in George Zimmerman's version of events poking holes in his story. They also kept the focus on how this whole event started, blaming it on Zimmerman's assumptions. Today the defense's turn, they'll be starting soon this morning. Let's get to CNN's George Howell in Sanford, Florida, for the very latest. Good morning, George.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENS: Chris, good morning. So now there's the new lesser charge that was added, manslaughter, so it comes down to defense attorney Mark O'Mara for the next three hours today he will be able to try to convince this jury that George Zimmerman is not guilty of second-degree murder, that he's not guilty of manslaughter, and then the prosecution will have the last word in rebuttal.
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SANFORD, FLORIDA: The attorneys will now present their final arguments.
HOWELL: Closing arguments the final stage in the trial against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions.
HOWELL: Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda went into great detail pointing out inconsistencies in Zimmerman's story from the national television interview he did to the video re-enactment conducted with police. The prosecutor then picked apart Zimmerman's account of what happened.
DE LA RIONDA: Why is he able to yell if the defendant claims the victim was -- how he's going to talk? Or is he lying about that? Look at the gun. Look at the size of this gun. How did the victim see that in the darkness?
HOWELL: In closing, De La Rionda even elicited a reaction from George Zimmerman.
DE LA RIONDA: Unfortunately the only photographs left of Trayvon Martin are those M.E. photographs, and they still have other photographs, and you saw some of them, the football in his younger days, but they can't take any more photos. And that's true because of the actions of one person, the man before you. The defendant, George Zimmerman. The man who is guilty of second-degree murder.
HOWELL: Before closing arguments even began --
DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Just when I thought this case couldn't get any more bizarre, the state is seeking third-degree murder based on child abuse?
HOWELL: Defense attorney Don West didn't mince words during the hearing on the state's request to include a lesser charge of third- degree felony murder as one of the options for jurors to consider. West called the state's strategy a trick.
WEST: This is outrageous. It's outrageous that the state would seek to do this at this time.
HOWELL: In the end, Judge Debra Nelson ruled against that option, but will allow jurors to consider manslaughter as a possible alternative to second-degree murder.
HOWELL: We expect court to start up around 8:30 this morning, eastern time. That's when we expect the prosecutors and defense team to go through a hearing, clear up a few issues before we hear from the closing arguments of the defense team. Again, Mark O'Mara could have three hours to do that. Then the prosecution will have one hour for its rebuttal and then this case is turned over to the jury, Chris.
CUOMO: George, that's right. The advantage to the prosecution is they go first and they finish last. The defense gets to hear what they're saying, figure out how to respond. The pretrial conference will be about the instructions. The instructions are so important. We're going to tell you why with an insider look at how this Zimmerman trial may end. Our dream team legal panel, CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin, defense attorney Danny Cevallos, and legal analyst Sunny Hostin all here to break it down for you.
BOLUDUAN: Another big story we've been watching all week is the weather. People across the country have been through the ringer this week. Raging wildfires, floods, mudslides, just one thing to another from coast to coast. Chad Myers is taking a look at this wild week in weather.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yesterday we showed you cars getting washed away. Today we are inside that car with the video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
MYERS: This morning, we're in the driver's seat during a raging mudslide trapped in mother nature's grasp. Watch as cars are swept off the road floating down the highway caught in the swift Manitou Springs mudslide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god! I just got turned around by a whole flash of mud. I can't even see out my windows now. I don't know what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is happening.
MYERS: Stuck on the mountainside for four hours. Josh Shroyer had to crawl out of his driver's side window to escape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't have time to think. I just held on for dear life practically. The water hit. My car just started floating and I was desperately trying to steer.
MYERS: From the north to the south the story is flooding. Pittsburgh is recovering from a flash flood that has left the entire city water- logged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going through the jungle.
MYERS: While residents of near Myrtle Beach try to adjust to their new normal, while boating a mile to get to their homes floating above nearly 13 feet of floodwaters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It came up so fast I didn't have time to do anything. One day I had land around the house and the next day I was just in the water.
MYERS: And while the east is soaking, the west hoping for rain as wildfires rage, the Carpenter One fire singeing nearly 30,000 acres after lightning ignited the games that brightened of the sky ominously close to the famed Las Vegas strip.
MYERS: And even this morning, flooding around Washington, D.C., a very slow commute for you there, even Annapolis having flash flood warnings at this hour, another day of random weather across the country. One more thing, guys, I don't know if you know but the sun is going to set on your highway today if you're going from the east to the west on your interstate the sun's going to be right in your eyes, a clean windshield, sunglasses and a visor will help.
BOLDUAN: Beautiful but wear your sunglasses. That's neat. Thanks, Chad.
CUOMO: Strong tip also, that's very good because I'm the guy who gets blinded.
BOLDUAN: Chad bringing his A game.
CUOMO: He did. Thank you very much.
All right, the developments in the investigation into flight 214, we know it as the one that made the deadly crash in San Francisco airport. We know the runway is going to be opened back but the thrust here is what we're learning about why it happened in the first place. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live at San Francisco International Airport with the latest. Miguel, what have we learned?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Chris. We know that that plane is going to be cut up into pieces and stored here locally. The runway will have to be prepared. There are big gouges in it so that will take some time to do as well. All of that as we are learning pretty much minutely what happened in that cockpit in the seconds before the crash.
MARQUEZ: This morning, new pictures. The remnants of a charred flight 214 after it slammed into the sea wall. The debris, giant rocks, pieces of the tail section, and the landing gear littering the runway.
And now we have the fullest picture yet of the flight's final moments. Around 50 seconds out the first officer sitting in the jump seat comments about the sink rate, that's the speed at which the plane is descending. At about 35 seconds out and 500 feet up the pilot told investigators he saw a bright light and in response looked at the controls in the cockpit, including the speed indicator.
DEBORAH HERSMAN, CHAIR, NTSB: At about 500 feet the air speed was approximately 134 knots.
MARQUEZ: The 350-ton plane was already below the 137-knot speed to which the pilot believed he had set the auto throttle, and for the first time we are hearing nine seconds before impact 100 feet above the ground one of the pilots expressed concern about the aircraft's speed.
HERSMAN: And almost immediately after that is the first comment regarding speed since we started sharing information on starting at 500 feet. MARQUEZ: And we are now learning there were two call-outs for a go around seconds before this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. Oh, it's an accident!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're filming it, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God!
MARQEZ: A plane crash so significant NTSB says it will put everything it can into finding out what caused this crash.
MARQUEZ: NTSB investigators say they want to understand what happened here because if there are any concerns mechanical or workflow or anything that happened on that plane that can warn other pilots they want to do that. They want to finish this investigation within 12 months. That's quicker than they expected the 18 months they thought it would take to get this thing done. They also said they can make recommendations at any point along that process. Back to you guys.
CUOMO: All right Miguel thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: Breaking overnight the FDA is proposing new guidelines for the amount of arsenic that can be in apple juice. This is a story that definitely has gotten a lot of attention over the last year. It comes after public pressure from consumer groups concerned about the effects of arsenic on children.
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us now with the details. A lot of parents are going to be paying attention to this, Sanjay, because a lot of people were worried over I think it's been more than a year we've been talking about the low levels of arsenic in apple juice. What is the news we're hearing today?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right a lot of people concerned. I have three small children, we paid a lot of attention to that as well. What they're saying now is they're basically setting this limit now of ten parts per billion for inorganic arsenic. You don't need to know the number but that's the same limit in place already for bottled water and the consumer groups have been saying for some time is look, we should treat apple juice much in the way we treat bottled water. there's a lot of kids who are drinking lots of apple juice so let's set some limits and that's what's happening.
Arsenic, as you may know, there's two forms, organic and inorganic. Inorganic is the concerning type. In the short term, you're worried it can cause headaches and problems with the skin. It's more of the longer terms issues with this inorganic arsenic, potentially related to cancer if consumed in large quantities. That's what touched off a lot of this, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Do you think this has been a false alarm? Some parents say any arsenic in my child's apple juice is too much. Is there -- should parents be worried at this point?
GUPTA: If you look at the existing apple juice even without these particular limits.
GUPTA: If they tested them, 95 percent already fell below this particular safety standard of ten parts per billion so I think for the most part if you look at that safety standard for the most part you are probably okay.
I think for those who say look any amount of arsenic is potentially problematic, it's important to distinguish between organic and inorganic. It's the inorganic that's potentially problematic in higher doses, and this is a lower safety standard than in the past. They haven't had one for apple juice. This is an important first step.
I should just point out as well because we talk about it on your show all the time, kids under the age of 6 years old should only be drinking six ounces of apple juice a day anyway because of its potential relationship to obesity. Kids under 6 months of age probably shouldn't be drinking this juice at all. That's probably frankly a larger concern for a lot of parents than the arsenic.
BOLDUAN: Yeah, that's what I'm just thinking. That's the more important news probably, absolutely. Dr. Sanjay Gupta great to see you. Thank you so much for that.
GUPTA: You got it.
CUOMO: Parents don't hear it, by the way. It literally bears repeating. We think we're giving kids fruit juice and that's good for him, sugar is sugar. It really is an important point. I've been learning it the hard way now for ten years with my kids.
A lot of news let's get over to Michaela. We've been talking about flooding a real problem in China.
PERIERA: A real issue in western China. Let's talk about that now. More than 200,000 people have been evacuated following the worst flooding the region has seen in half a century. Severe rain triggered a mudslide in Sichuan province, leaving 31 people dead. That flooding has crippled highway and train service throughout the region. More than 160 people are missing and more than 5,000 homes have been destroyed. We'll keep an eye on that for you.
More bodies have been recovered in the runaway train disaster in Canada bringing the death toll to 24. Twenty-six other people are missing and presumed dead, likely incinerated in that inferno. In an exclusive CNN interview the railway chief said he traveled to Lac- Magantic to listen and explain. He didn't expect the intense anger and heckling he received Wednesday and that he won't go back until he is welcome.
Former Penn State president Graham Spaniard launching a libel and defamation case against former FBI director Louis Freeh. Freeh issued a report for the school that was critical of how Spaniard, late coach Joe Paterno, and others handled the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Spaniard was eventually charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and endangering the welfare of children. A preliminary hearing on those charges is set for later this month.
In just a few hours, the Iowa Supreme Court expected to decide whether a dentist had the right to fire his longtime female assistant for being too hot. We brought you this story here. The court ruled in favor of Dr. James Knight last December, but justices withdrew their decision last week and announced they're reviewing the case again. Knight fired Melissa Nelson in 2010 after ten years of service claiming she was too irresistible to work with and a threat to his marriage.
And finally, What do you get when you combine a dangerous twister and deadly sharks? You get the imaginary, Cuomo because you thought it was real, Sci-Fi Cannel movie "Sharknado" which was apparently so bad it was good. You that? When it's so bad it's good?
Twitter blew up last night, people commenting about this made-for-TV movie which featured a tornado dropping sharks all over the place. Apparently the Red Cross of Oklahoma also used this as an opportunity to warn people about real tornadoes, minus the man eating sharks.
CUOMO: Now look --
PERIERA: Of course. Talk to me. I know you've got a theory --
CUOMO: This is a low moment for me and I was feeling good, I got a blue pocket square on felt today was going to be great. When I saw the shark first I went whoa, was that real? It stings.
PERIERA: It was not a strong moment in Cuomo's life.
CUOMO: I've been duped by the Shark Week commercial where they have the seal hanging and the shark eats it.
CUOMO: I've been in real tornadoes, I've never seen a shark.
PERIERA: If it had been, how would you prepare yourself for Sharknado?
CUOMO: Sharks falling? Well, the defensive position always. Keep your pace wide.
PERIERA: I want to know if he's prepared.
BOLDUAN: That will be our segment for tomorrow.
CUOMO: Sharks have nothing on me. I'll take a shark on the land any day.
BOLDUAN: I'm going to move on. Is that okay?
CUOMO: Yes, please.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next, the NEW DAY exclusive. The 19-year-old from Texas who was arrested for a Facebook posting is now out on bail. He says it was a joke. Prosecutors are calling it a terroristic threat. We're going to talk to Justin Carter and his parents coming up next.
CUOMO: Beginning at about 8:30 the George Zimmerman trial its final phase we're going to take you through what could happen with the defense. In front of me I am holding the judge's instructions to the jury. They will be important. I'm not just using them to covered my shamed face about the shark thing. We'll take you through what the judge is going to do when they instruct the jury. This could be a big decision for the lawyers in the case. We'll take you through all of it with our legal team when we come back.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY everyone. Major development in a story we've been following closely. 19-year-old Texas boy jailed for something he wrote on Facebook. He's finally out on bail this morning. Justin Carter was arrested in February for a post about shooting up a school. He says it was just a joke. Prosecutors call it a terroristic threat. We'll talk to Justin and his parents exclusively in just a moment.
But first here's a look at his story.
BOLDUAN: After nearly four months behind bars, Justin Carter is out of jail. His bail was set at $500,000 and the Carter family couldn't afford it but an anonymous donor could, posting the bail and getting Justin released this week.
JENNIFER CARTER, JUSTIN'S MOTHER: It's very hard to hear your child hopeless.
BOLDUAN: The 19-year-old is charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony, after comments he made online. His parents call it a misunderstanding.
JACK CARTER, JUSTIN'S FATHER: I just want my kid back. He's my best friend. And I miss him so much.
BOLDUAN: Carter's troubles began after playing an online video game. In a post-game conversation on Facebook, another player called him, quote "f'd up in the head." Justin then wrote the following, "I'm f'd in the head. all right. I think I'm-a shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down, and eat the beating heart of one of them."
JENNIFER CATER: He has consistently stood by the fact that he was just joking. He had no intent of harming anyone.
BOLDUAN: Justin is now home instead of being in solitary confinement, but he still faces a long legal battle ahead and up to ten years in jail.
BOLDUAN: Justin's parents have said that Justin followed up with those comments with these comments "lol, jk" meaning "just kidding." We've reached out to the district attorney on the case who could not comment because it is a pending case. They said they're not going to comment until the case has concluded.
Joining me now, exclusively, are Justin and his parents along with their attorneys Donald Flanary and Chad Van Brunt. Thank you guys all so much for being here. Thank you for getting up so early to talk to me.
Justin it's great to see you out of jail, number one, but you just got out yesterday, and I wanted to ask you how are you doing?
JUSTIN CARTER, TEEN ARRESTED FOR SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS: I'm really happy, I'm doing really good right now.
BOLDUAN: I know that you must be careful because you're still in the middle of legal action and you want to be careful not to cause any problems for your case but we have to ask you, did you, were you intending at any point to make any actual threat?
CHAD VAN BRUNT, ATTORNEY FOR JUSTIN CARTER: Kate, I'll have to answer that for him right now. Clearly the intent is obvious from the context of the statement and as we've said from the start, any clear reading and full reading of the context of that statement would make it obvious that this was just a sarcastic joke. As things developed through the trial or if we get to trial, anything like that, it's just going to be abundantly clear if it's not already.
BOLDUAN: Chad -- Justin I did see you shaking your head when we were airing that piece when you heard me read that comment that was posted online. When you hear even me read that comment you say it was a joke what do you think now?
JUSTIN CARTER: I just think that it got taken out of context and it's been blown out of proportion.
BOLDUAN: Did you ever think a comment like that would land you in jail?
JUSTIN CARTER: No. I did not.
BOLDUAN: So now what do you think today, after what you've been through and been behind bars for some four months, now standing with your family but still facing a very uncertain future, what are you thinking today?
JUSTIN CARTER: Well, right now I'm just taking it one step at a time. It's been so much to take in all at once after being deprived of so much, you know, and I'm just really elated now I'm out to enjoy everything.
BOLDUAN: I've spoken to both your mother and your father before you got out and both of them told me in various ways it was an inappropriate joke, it was sarcastic, you did not intend any harm at all, and it was a misunderstanding. You know people at home are going to be wondering, why did you say it?
VAN BRUNT: There's a response obviously to a comment between two people that he was, somebody called him crazy, and in the context, it's a response, "yes, I'm so crazy," and he got elaborate about it and a little bit distasteful maybe, but it's just obviously a sarcastic response to being called crazy.
BOLDUAN: Jennifer, Jack, you've both been very emotional when we've spoken to you about the fact of what your son and family is going through. Jennifer what is it like to have him home, at least for now?
JENNIFER CARTER: Well, for now I'm over the moon happy. I -- It's been hard sleeping. I just want to spend all my time talking to him and looking at him and there's been a lot of hugs going around and crying, but happy tears. And we're just so, so very happy that he's just outside and we don't have to worry anymore about him being hurt or not knowing what's going on with him anymore and for any parent, that's just such a relief.
BOLDUAN: And Jack, when you and I spoke, Justin was in jail because you guys could not afford the half million-dollar bail that was up against him. The reason he is out today is because of an anonymous donor. What was your reaction when you found out that someone was posting that for him?
CARTER: Disbelief. I still kind of don't believe it, even though he's standing here. I had to sit down. I even asked Dawn if it was a joke. I was just completely taken aback. It's just such an amazing thing.
BOLDUAN: Now, Mr. Flanary, I want to ask you a question. Obviously, what's next for the case, what's next for Justin and what is he facing? Because A lot of people say if this is a joke the fact he was offered a plea deal, eight years in prison and the fact that he can now face up to ten years if convicted, he's got a lot up against him right now.
DONALD FLANARY, ATTORNEY FOR JUSTIN CARTER: That's right, Kate. We think that it's outrageous that someone not unlike anyone in this country who is online who says something that may be inappropriate, but is not criminal gets charged with a crime. This is a serious felony. The things that he said were clearly sarcastic. We can tell it's sarcastic from the comments, so we'll be filing a motion to dismiss the prosecution because it violates his first amendment as applied to him. Going forward on this case is not the right thing to do.
BOLDUAN: We're going to be following it closely and Justin just to button this up, I'm sure you will approach social media never the same way, to say the least. What would you have done differently? I know you've probably been doing a lot of soul searching over the past few months.
JUSTIN CARTER: Well, I certainly would have thought a lot more about what I said and how permanent my writing is and everyone's writing and I just want to make it clear that people should be very, very careful what they say and it's being recorded all the time if you say it on any website anywhere and you can get in trouble for something that's not something you should get in trouble for. And I just want people to be warned.
BOLDUAN: All right, well we'll be following this case closely. I know a lot of our viewers have been very interested in the outcome of this case and what's going on with you so we'll be in touch. Justin, Jack, Jennifer and both of your attorneys, thank you for coming in to speak with us this morning. Appreciate it.
JUSTIN CARTER: Thanks.
JENNIFER CARTER: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: To say the least, Chris, every family's nightmare to have something like this happen to them but again they say it's a joke, the district attorney has a very different opinion about that.
CUOMO: Tough lesson to learn, that's for sure. Thanks for that, Kate.
We're going to take a break now. When we come back on NEW DAY, court will be in session in the George Zimmerman trial at about 8:30. We're getting you ready for what will unfold. Coming up, how the defense will counter the prosecution's closing argument and what we have for you this morning are these potential instructions to the jury. We're going to show you the rules that the jury will use to make their decision.
Plus my 10-year-old daughter is listening when I tell to you turn down your headphones I mean it because I'm right. Who says so? Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Report that says loud music in your headphones can lead to hearing loss and angry parents.