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George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty; Protests over Zimmerman Verdict Continue Across Country; Interview with Mark O'Mara; Interview with Martin Family Attorney Benjamin Crump; Snowden Has More Documents; Dramatic Rescue of Boy Swallowed by Sand Dune
Aired July 15, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, anger and calls for change. Coast-to-coast protests against the George Zimmerman verdict. Most peaceful, but some clash with police.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Not over yet. The justice department now investigating. Could they file charges against Zimmerman and could Trayvon Martin's family sue? We hear from both sides this morning.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A young TV star found dead. His TV star girlfriend in mourning. How did "Glee's" Cory Monteith die?
CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.
CUOMO: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Monday, July 15th, 7:00 in the East. I'm Chris Cuomo.
BOLDUAN: Good morning, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by news anchor, Michaela Pereira.
Coming up this hour, we're following all the developing news surrounding the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict. Overnight, huge protests engulfed major cities from New York to Los Angeles, even leading to some arrests. the Marches and rallies showing a growing anger over Zimmerman's acquittal in Trayvon Martin's death.
We're covering this important story from all the angles. You just saw some of our reporters like no other network can. Several reporters in Sanford, Florida, as well as Washington, D.C. We're all over it.
CUOMO: We're also talking to the people who know George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin best, including Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, George Zimmerman's brother, Robert, and his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
PEREIRA: And we certainly are keeping an eye on all the other major news that's developing, including new information that Edward Snowden may have an NSA blueprint.
Also, a grueling heat wave bearing down on the East Coast. And we want to tell you the story about a little boy recovering after he was swallowed by a sand dune.
CUOMO: He was six years old, right? I can't wait to hear the parent's story.
But we'll begin with news that protesters demanding justice for Trayvon Martin have been taking to the streets overnight in New York and Los Angeles. What started out peacefully ended in some places after clashes with police. About a dozen people arrested in New York and protesters in Sanford, Florida, where the trial took place, continue to be out in force. That is where Alina Machado is this morning. Good morning, Alina.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Protesters and protests here in Sanford, Florida, have remained peaceful and calm, a sharp contrast to what we've seen in some parts of the country.
MACHADO: Overnight, thousands of protesters from New York to Los Angeles to the nation's capital out in full force, reacting to this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.
MACHADO: In New York's Times Square, a solid showing of protesters united, arm in arm. One young man braved the sweltering heat in an all-black hoodie. But demonstrations in Harlem turned into scuffles with police, and reports of people taken into custody. And in Los Angeles, mostly peaceful marches interrupted by protesters throwing batteries, rocks, chunks of concrete, and a separate gathering on the 10 freeway shut down traffic. The LAPD responding by shooting bean bags at demonstrators.
In Oakland, California, protesters were seen smashing a police car. Demonstrations elsewhere were mostly peaceful. In Sanford, Florida, the anger was palpable in the Goldsboro neighborhood, a largely African-American part of town.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, I'm just too emotional. I'm just sick and tired. I'm just done.
MACHADO: But community leaders were anxious to turn disappointment into constructive action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps we can take this anger and move it into a positive vein, because if nothing else, this snapped our necks back.
MACHADO: Starting today, several churches here in Seminole County, Florida, will be opening their doors for community prayers every Monday afternoon. The first session will be taking place at the church behind me and several community leaders, including the police chief and the mayor, are expected to attend. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, Alina.
BOLDUAN: All right, and also this morning, the Justice Department is looking into a civil rights case against George Zimmerman, potentially. They're investigating whether or not hate crimes charges are warranted, this after powerful reaction to the verdict from Trayvon Martin's grieving family. His parents were not in the courtroom for the announcement of the verdict, but they are publicly expressing their shock. George Howell standing by live in Sanford, Florida, this morning, with more. Good morning, George.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning. Yes, they were not in the courtroom, but they did make their responses well known over twitter. I want you to see some of these responses. First, from Sybrina Fulton, talking about the verdict here. Where she says, "Lord, during my darkest hour, I lean on you. You are all that I have."
Another tweet from Tracy Martin. He says, "Even though I am brokenhearted, my faith is un-shattered. I will always love my baby Tray."
And a statement from the White House, I want to read this as well. "We should ask ourselves as individuals and as a society how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, it's a job for all of us. That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin."
And we also hear from Zimmerman supporters who also call this a tragedy, but they say when you look at the case, when you look at the facts, there was so much reasonable doubt, that they were not surprised that the verdict was what it was. But we're hearing reaction from all over the country, including Sunday where in many churches they talked about this verdict and protests where people on either side voiced their opinions.
BOLDUAN: All right, George, I'll take it. Thanks so much. One thing, as George pointed out, and I think is also worthy of pointing out again, what you hear from the grieving family of Trayvon Martin, as well as you heard it from President Obama, is calling for calm. It's an important conversation and there are conversations to be had going forward. But calm is needed now.
CUOMO: And that's getting to a place where we can find how to move forward. It's going to take some time because this is the emotion of the moment. And part of that is addressing what is going on in George Zimmerman's head during this. A lot of people want to know how he felt about it.
So we actually had the opportunity to talk about to George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, and he insists that George Zimmerman does regret taking Trayvon Martin's life. But he claims his client had no other choice. When we sat down and spoke, he addressed a range of questions, and he was anxious to address the raw emotion and anger set off by this explosive verdict. Take a look.
CUOMO: Mr. O'Mara, thank you very much for taking the opportunity to be on NEW DAY. Let's begin with what is all around us. The reaction, a lot of it outrage to the not guilty verdict. You surprised by that part of the reaction?
MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I'm a bit surprised that there is outrage because we would hope that everybody would look at this case as being a very fair trial with both parties represented well where most, if not all of the evidence came out, and the jury took their time, deliberated, and came up with a fair and just verdict. So my hope that those people, even though they're frustrated, will accept the verdict.
CUOMO: Address the basic concern. Your client, George Zimmerman, wound up killing Trayvon Martin, and yet there is no legal responsibility and people can't understand it. What are they missing?
O'MARA: What they're missing is that George had an absolute right to be where he was and he also had a right to see where Trayvon Martin was. People say it was improper profiling, but the reality is I think George had a reason to be concerned. It was Trayvon Martin who was the aggressor, at least by the forensic evidence, because Trayvon Martin did not receive any injuries but the gunshot wound 45 seconds after George Zimmerman was screaming for help.
So I understand people's frustration, but it would seem to be that Trayvon Martin overreacted to what he perceived to be something going on, and he overreacted in a violent way.
CUOMO: Do you think this case is an example of the law needing to change? That stand your ground makes it too easy for violence to perpetuate? That the law should be, you get to use equal force, not lethal force, in situations like this?
O'MARA: I had a problem with your stand your ground law that would allow people not to retreat and to use deadly force when you have the opportunity to retreat. But that has nothing to do with this case at hand. I don't believe that the law should be changed to say, you can only resist force with force, because once you get to the point that great bodily injury may occur, then you should be able to protect yourself, your life, and, by the way, the life of another.
If somebody is beating on you, if they're smashing your head against concrete, and that gives you fear for great bodily injury, that is a well-founded, 500 or 600-year-old standard that says, you can resist that with force up to and including deadly force.
CUOMO: Does George Zimmerman regret having to take Trayvon Martin's life, having to kill him that night? O'MARA: Absolutely. Absolutely. He's human. He did not want to take any person's life. The fact that he had a gun with him, gave him the opportunity to protect himself.
CUOMO: His brother, Robert, said that while he doesn't regret it because he did what he had to do and he was right then, so he's right now. Do you think his brother is being a little sensitive to the legalities of language here, because you say he does regret it?
O'MARA: I think it is semantics. George did what he did because he had to, not because he wanted to. And that's the difference we have to be careful of with the semantics of doing something because you want to or because you have to.
CUOMO: Just because the prosecutors didn't meet the burden according to the jury, that doesn't necessarily mean that George Zimmerman did nothing wrong that night, profiling a kid, taking an interest in someone who was doing nothing, having a weapon with a bullet already chambered in a situation that was unknown. Does he feel any sense of moral wrong?
O'MARA: I think he regrets having to take a life. He was put in a position where he had an untenable choice, continue to get beat maybe killed, or kill. And he made that decision. To look at things like, why did he have a chamber -- a round chambered, Chris, I think you would agree, every person who has a gun for self-defense, if you don't have a round in the chamber, it's a paperweight.
CUOMO: Does he regret, though, picking out Trayvon Martin? He was wrong, right? This kid was not doing anything wrong. He belonged there, he had a right to the place and space where he was also. Does he regret even singling him out that night?
O'MARA: Well, let's look at the circumstances as he was viewing them. He saw somebody who happened to be in the area where another person had just burglarized a home. Yes, and it was a young black male. Was that a focusing, a profiling? It was a suspicion. We don't know what Trayvon Martin was doing right or wrong. All we know is that when he was doing what law enforcement seemed to be telling him to do, which is keep an eye on him, that it turned violent, only because of what Trayvon Martin decided to do, not George Zimmerman.
CUOMO: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I'm sure you share the hopes of all that we find a way to move forward after this verdict and that any wounds can be healed in time.
O'MARA: There's still a lot of conversations. I have, and we have a lot of conversations to have. I've been an advocate for the fact that black youth, black youth in America are not treated well by the criminal justice system, and we need to have that conversation. My fear is that we polarize the conversation because we attach it to a self-defense verdict that they have nothing to do with.
CUOMO: And we appreciate Mr. O'Mara taking the time to deal with the questions coming from that perspective of what was wrong with this verdict. Kate?
BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thanks so much. Let's continue this conversation, though. I want to bring in the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, Benjamin Crump.
You've been with the family throughout this whole process, Mr. Crump, and I really appreciate you joining us this morning to talk about this. It's been clearly a long weekend for everyone. First, I want to ask you, of course, about Trayvon's parents. We know that the family is heartbroken. We haven't seen them publicly since the verdict, but what we have seen are protests in major cities, even arrests, many people coming out, outraged, supporting Trayvon's family. What did they make of all of this today?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Well, Kate, the family as you said, just was devastated with the verdict, and they thank all the supporters for disagreeing with the verdict, because they do believe Trayvon had every right to walk home from that 7- Eleven and not be profiled and pursued, and not be killed.
With that being said, they went through the grieving process, they've cried, they've prayed, they went to church Sunday morning, and when Sybrina Fulton came home from church, she said, "Attorney Crump, this verdict will not define Trayvon. We will define Trayvon." And I was so inspired by her. They've been so dignified and graceful throughout this, you know, just terrible situation that has been laid upon their doorstep.
BOLDUAN: Now, you have said that the family is considering further legal action. Can you tell me more about that? Are they considering -- will they be filing a civil lawsuit against George Zimmerman?
CRUMP: Well, we'll be talking about all of that in the days to come. Right now, they are trying to make sense of this criminal verdict. As Sybrina Fulton said, we have to roll up our sleeves, because even though we've come a long way, we've got a long way to go to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else's child, especially after this verdict.
And, you know, what Sybrina and Tracy are concentrating on is the Trayvon Martin Foundation, because that's what they can control. They can't control the court system. They're putting their faith in a higher authority, and they're putting their faith in God to get them through this.
BOLDUAN: And no one can put a limit on the grieving of parents who have lost a son, that's for sure.
One thing that is happening right now that we know is that the Justice Department is investigating. Do you think that the Justice Department should be pursuing federal civil rights violations, charges against George Zimmerman?
CRUMP: Well, I know based on what came out in the trial and the defense's strategy was that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin, because there had been a black teenager to have, on a previous occasion, to burglarize one of the townhomes. And so it was almost to suggest, because you had the action of one person in an ethnic group, that you can now indict the whole race and you can stop any black teenager who was walking through that neighborhood. That's profiling. And there's a big question, if that is allowed. And so I think the Justice Department should look at that.
I know the Supreme Court had decisions that profiling was illegal when the police do it. So the question is, how about when a quasi-police or a private citizen profiles somebody just because of what they're wearing and how they look, to say that "I have a right to profile you and follow you." And we don't know what happened from there, but we know he got out of that car to follow Trayvon Martin. He said it himself.
BOLDUAN: Now, as you mentioned, the defense team -- I mean, George Zimmerman's team, they have been particularly critical of what they call is a public smear campaign created by people assisting the Martin family. They're basically saying that people outside of the process, of the legal process, are the ones injecting race into this case, and race was not a part of this legal matter before the court. What do you say to that?
CRUMP: Well, I can't speak for anybody else, but as for myself and my legal team, we have been zealous advocates for our clients, the family of Tracy -- Trayvon Martin, and they've been very zealous advocates for their client, as lawyers should be. And we're not going to personally attack them for their strategies. We will talk about the messages and the irresponsible messages. Everybody has a right to do that.
But we have to be very professional and we have to make sure that we are aboveboard, because people are going to follow our lead. Our supporters will follow what we do, their supporters will follow what they do, so we have to be responsible. We have to make sure we tell everybody to accept the rule of law. And as Mr. Martin has said, and what we continue to tell all our supporters, Trayvon cannot rest in peace if we are not peaceful.
BOLDUAN: And I think that is an important message to end on this morning. Benjamin Crump, great to see you. Thank you so much for taking time to speak with us this morning. I really appreciate it.
CRUMP: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Of course. Of course.
Still to come later this hour, our interview with George Zimmerman's brother, Robert. What he has to say about George's reaction to the verdict and his newfound freedom. A lot to discuss this morning.
But also a lot of other news developing at this very hour, so let's get straight to Michaela for the headlines.
PEREIRA: All right, Kate, thanks o much. Making news this hour, NSA leaker Edward Snowden said to have some more bombshells, including inside information that could be a nightmare for Washington. Phil Black is following the very latest for us from Moscow. Phil?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, good morning. Glenn Greenwald from Britain's "Guardian" newspaper says that Snowden has much more information, enough to do more harm to the United States in a single minute than any other person before.
Now Snowden himself has hinted at this before, saying he has extensive knowledge of America's intelligence and surveillance operations, both electronic and otherwise, but he has said that in response to claims that he is working to actively damage the United States, because he said that if he really wants to do that, he could do that in a much bigger way than what we've seen.
Snowden remains at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where despite his announcement on Friday afternoon that he would be seeking asylum in this country, Russian officials say they have still not received any official request from him. The request process usually takes about a month or so, we are told, involving a number of Russian government departments. (AUDIO GAP)
Even if he puts his paperwork in today and gets this process started, he's looking at a significant stay in this Moscow airport. Michaela?
PEREIRA: It will be interesting to see how Washington reacts. Phil Black reporting. Thanks so much for that.
An autopsy later this morning could provide answers about the tragic death of actor Cory Monteith. The 31-year-old former "Glee" star was found dead in a Vancouver, Canada, hotel room on Saturday. Police say there is no indication of foul play. In the last several years, Monteith talked publicly about his struggles with addiction. Back in April of this year, he checked himself into a treatment facility. A year earlier, he told "Parade" magazine that he felt lucky to still be alive. We'll have much more coming up the our next half hour.
An attempt at a world speed record ends in tragedy. Bill Werner was trying to go 300 miles per hour on a souped up motorcycle. He lost control traveling at 285 miles per hour and crashed on a runway at a former air base in Maine. Werner was conscious and talking after the crash, but he later died at a hospital. Hundreds of spectators were there when it happened.
A suspicious man spotted allegedly taking pictures of Secretary of State John Kerry's home is now under arrest. After Boston police questioned the unidentified man, they arrested him for having an open container of alcohol. They also say they found a pellet gun in his car. Kerry was visiting his wife at a rehab hospital at the time. You'll recall she suffered a seizure earlier this month.
And I'd like to present you with the grossest beauty treatment perhaps since those little fish ate dead skin off people's feet, remember that? Well, these are live snails placed on your face, crawling around, leaving their icky little slime trails on your face. And the slime is what you pay for, people. It's supposedly very good for your skin. A spa in Tokyo just started offering these snail facials; they cost $250. I will keep my $250, thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: How does she look so calm when she has snails crawling on her face?
PEREIRA: Was she sedated? I'd have to be.
CUOMO: I love the snail facial, said no one ever to anyone.
BOLDUAN: Biggest hit, snail facial.
CUOMO: All right, we're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, swallowed alive by a sand dune. We're going to bring you this incredible rescue story. A 6-year-old boy almost lost his life on an Indiana beach.
BOLDUAN: And also, how this adorable pooch made it to safety. Much more ahead.
CUOMO: That's a great song choice. New York City, last night there were protests here, but this morning, it is, by definition, a NEW DAY.
Welcome back, everybody, to NEW DAY. Here in the northeast, we definitely don't want to soak up the sun even though it was a good song for other reasons. We're hiding from it. It's an oppressive heat wave that's coming through with temperatures feeling like they're in the triple digits.
Let's figure out what's going on with Indra Petersons. What's going on, Indra Petersons?
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEORLOGIST: I've got that face again, like, I'm always the bearer of bad news. Now remember, in June, we were well above normal for rain. Here we are in July, where we wanted the sunshine. Well, now we're getting too much of it. This is the averages now for the month of July, you can already tell in the northeast about 5 to 6 degrees above average already, and the heat wave now on the way, expected to last all the way throughout the week. We know those temperatures are going to go up as well.
As far as 20 million people talking about this excessive heat today. From Boston all the way down through Philadelphia today, we're talking about not only temperatures 10 degrees above normal, but on top of that, we add that humidity. So we're talking about it feeling like 100 degrees today. And day after day, that's what makes it so hard.
I mean, look at the temperatures in the morning, about 78 degrees. That's our starting point. Now we add about a good 15, 20 degrees to that and this is what it's going to feel like. New York today looking for -- feel-like heat indices of 100. Philadelphia, 101; DC, 100. Even Albany looking for 95. That is definitely hot.
Now, what we are going to talk about, though, of course, is heat not just out in the northeast, but also the southeast, even in the Ohio Valley. So really a huge chunk of the country today dealing with this heat. So one of those things I want to remind everyone is, please, do not think you can run into the store very quickly and leave a child in the car. This is how quick it is -- 80 degrees outside, 10 minutes, it will feel like 99 degrees in the car. Once it's 95, 97 degrees, you can imagine how hot and how dangerous that really is.
BOLDUAN: All right, Indra, thanks so much. Everyone knows it, but when you see how fast that temperature jumps, that's something to pay attention to. Thanks so much.
All right, we have an incredible story of survival right now, following a dramatic rescue in Indiana. A 6-year-old boy swallowed up by a massive sand dune. He is in critical condition this morning. He was saved, though, by emergency crews that dug him out.
Pamela Brown is joining us with the latest on the story. Everyone goes to these dunes. Everyone kind of in the Midwest right there goes -- I went to them as a kid. This is terrifying.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is terrifying. It's terrifying. This was actually in a restricted area where this little boy was playing. It was supposed to be a fun family vacation to the beach. It turned into a horrifying nearly four-hour nightmare for a 6-year-old boy and his family. Those terrifying moments captured on a chilling 911 call.
BROWN (voice-over): It's every parent's worst nightmare.
911 OPERATOR: 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm at the Mount Baldy Beach and my friend's son, he got stuck in a sand dune and he's like under the sand and they can't get him out.
BROWN: Authorities say 6-year-old Nathan Woessner was suddenly swallowed by a sinkhole on the Indiana sand dunes lining Lake Michigan.
911 OPERATOR: Can anybody see him or is he completely covered by sand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My husband and his dad are trying to dig him out.
BROWN: Dozens of first responders rushed to the 11-foot mound of sand burying the boy. With excavation equipment in hand, they raced against the clock.
BRAD KREIGHBAUM, HELPED RESCUE BOY IN SINKHOLE: We tried to just stay focused, you know, and the first two hours was complete misery.
BROWN: More than 3 1/2 hours ticked by, and then finally, signs of life. KREIGHBAUM: At that point, everybody was really frantically, by hand, trying to dig him out. Once I had a hold of his head, just supported his head and I was talking to him, you know, just like I would talk to my own son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of felt for a pulse. Your heart wants you to feel that and your heart wants you to hear that breath.
BROWN: Woessner, unconscious but still breathing, was pulled from his vertical position in the sand and rushed to the hospital. In the end, it may have been a single air pocket that saved his life.
KREIGHBAUM: When we pulled him out, he really didn't look good. The only thing you can think of is, you know, that could be your kid. We weren't going to give up.
BROWN: Any parent, I'm sure, feels that way. The hospital tweeting Nathan Woessner released this update. It says, "The child remains in critical condition, but when he arrived, he was able to respond to simple commands and he has responded well to mechanical ventilation."
Good news there. And we learned in this story that, actually, on the way to the hospital, he started crying in the ambulance. So welcome relief, of course, for the rescuers and his family.
BOLDUAN: So scary. It's such a popular area. I mean, when you hear that story, it just terrifies me because as a kid, you run on the dunes. The parents hang out on the beach and you just run the dunes.
CUOMO: Can you imagine, three hours? You have to think the worst, right?
BROWN: They thought it turned into a recovery mission for a while.
BOLDUAN: I mean, five minutes.
CUOMO: I know, but I'm saying, for them to have to deal and watch the people digging him out and the idea that that kid comes alive. I mean, obviously, nothing's more important in a parent's life than their child, but now after something like this, the gift is just so precious.
PEREIRA: A good sign of him crying in the end.
CUOMO: We'll stay on him. We're going to want to see --
BROWN: And of course you want to wait to hear what the parents have to say.
BOLDUAN: All right, Pamela, thank you so much for bringing us that. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're continuing to follow the latest developments in the George Zimmerman case. George Zimmerman's brother said race had nothing to do with it. And also, he said that Trayvon Martin caused his own death. A stunning interview with Robert Zimmerman, straight ahead.
CUOMO: And no one seems sure how he got there, but we can tell you firefighters finally managed to save this pooch from a 6-inch window ledge. Kind of looks like a lion, like a little stuffed lion.
BOLDUAN: A mini-lion?
PEREIRA: Those chows.
CUOMO: But it's a dog stuffed there between the window ledge and one of those child-restriction grates. Obviously not dog proof.