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THE SITUATION ROOM
Country Reacts to Zimmerman Verdict; Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman?; What Zimmerman Jury Faces Now; Russian President on NSA Leaker; Moral Monday Protests in North Carolina; Helping the Raven
Aired July 15, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, protests, prayers, and pressure on the Justice Department to bring new charges against George Zimmerman. This hour, the anger and the tough choices after the not guilty verdict.
Plus, one of the Zimmerman jurors makes plans to tell her story, but right now, there's enormous secrecy and fear surrounding those six women.
And we're awaiting the results of an autopsy and drug test on the "Glee" star Cory Monteith after the 31-year-old actor's shocking death.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
In churches, on the streets, online, Americans are venting their opinions and emotions about George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict. For Trayvon Martin supporters, the outrage seems to be hardening with each passing hour since the jury's decision Saturday night.
Many protesters are focused on the possibility of new charges against Zimmerman for Martin's death, but the former neighborhood watch volunteer's supporters say justice was served and it's time to move on.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in Sanford, Florida, watching this case for us. He has been since the beginning.
What's the very latest, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here in the community of Sanford, which really for the last 18 months has been living through the tragedy of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death, there was some concerns initially that there could be a violent reaction. So they had planned accordingly.
But during the process, they realized that rather than rely on police and force, it would be better in this community to rely on their faith, and that's what we saw today.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAVIDGE (voice-over): In the town at the epicenter of the controversial verdict, Sanford residents gathered for a noon service to promote healing. There were prayers for the families of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.
(on camera): Does it help the community?
GWENDOLYN LAWRENCE, SANFORD RESIDENT: Yes, yes. It helps the community keep the peace.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A day-and-a-half after the decision, many here remain divided but are not surprised that through it all, the community has remained calm.
JEFF TRIPLETT, MAYOR OF SANFORD, FLORIDA: This is not going to be what defines us, either during the trial or the day after the trial.
SAVIDGE: That's not the case everywhere. In Los Angeles, protesters angrily demonstrated against the not guilty verdict, triggering a number of arrests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel great right now. I feel great right now.
SAVIDGE: In New York, they marched in Times Square. A handful even gathered outside the Department of Justice in Washington. In Orlando Monday, the NAACP national meeting held a moment of silence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pray for our nation, which is joining for a moment in a moment of silence.
SAVIDGE: It would be wrong, Wolf, to say that back here in Sanford everyone is in agreement with the verdict. They definitely are not. It is still a divided community, even though the trial has come to an end.
BLITZER: Martin, what else are city officials doing to maintain the peace?
SAVIDGE: They're very aware here that this community remains a touchstone to many people who are connected to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death and the outcome of this trial.
So the church service, like the one that was held today, there will be ones held on every Monday for the next coming weeks and anyone is allowed to attend. They also point out that if people wish to come to this community to demonstrate, they are welcome, as long as they are peaceful and inclusive of everyone else's thoughts and ideas -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Martin Savidge on the ground for us in Sanford, Florida. Thank you.
More than 800,000 people have signed petitions urging the Justice Department here in Washington to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. The NAACP has been leading the push for federal action. The attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, says his department is investigating and committed to uncovering the truth.
CNN's Athena Jones is here in THE SITUATION ROOM looking at this part of the story.
It's a difficult part of the story, I must say, having done some research into the legal aspects of what's going on.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. The Justice Department is still deciding whether to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. And while officials are facing a lot of public pressure to do so, it's far from certain that they will.
A. JONES (voice-over): Anger and calls for federal action in response to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case.
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are also mindful of the pain felt by our nation surrounding the tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, last year.
A. JONES: In remarks to one of the largest black sororities in the country, Attorney General Eric Holder said the rule of law will dictate how the government proceeds.
HOLDER: I want to assure you that the department will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law, and we will never stop working to ensure that in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community, justice must be done.
A. JONES: Justice Department prosecutors have been working with the FBI and Florida officials on a parallel investigation into the case since last year, reviewing evidence, interviewing witnesses, and talking to people who know Zimmerman. But officials face a high bar when it comes to charging him with a federal hate crime.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: They're going to have to prove, A, that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense, and that, B, in fact, his motivation was racial hatred. To think that the Justice Department will be able to prove racial animus, plus a lack of self- defense, it's a real mountain to climb for federal prosecutors.
A. JONES: One of the most famous hate crimes cases came out of the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, New York, and in that case federal prosecutors convicted two African-American men of killing an orthodox Jew.
And some of the best known civil rights cases were brought under a different law because they involved police misconduct. When Rodney King was beaten by four Los Angeles police officers in 1991, the officers were acquitted in state court. Federal prosecutors later won convictions against two of them for violating King's civil rights.
A. JONES: And as you mentioned, Wolf, as of this afternoon, more than 800,000 people had signed petitions calling on the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. That's according to the NAACP. We know those cases aren't tried on the basis of public opinion here in the U.S., but these protests and petitions we have been seeing around the country are a clear sign of just how much anger we could see if Zimmerman isn't ultimately charged.
BLITZER: A lot of politics involved. A lot of pressure under way right now. Athena, thanks very much.
Let's bring in our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and our legal analyst the former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and defense attorney Mark NeJame to assess what's going on.
Sunny, what do you think? Do you any the Justice Department has enough there to actually not just go ahead with a charge, a civil rights charge of a hate crime against George Zimmerman, but to win, to win that case in court?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we don't know what they have. We know that they have been conducting this parallel investigation for at least a year. They have worked with state prosecutors, so they have that information.
They have the information that also there was an acquittal in this case. And my understanding is that they have interviewed many witnesses. So we don't know the strength of their investigation. We don't know the strength of their evidence. And so I think it's too soon to suggest that they don't have enough to go forward.
I will tell you this. The bar is pretty high for this type of prosecution. And federal prosecutors don't necessarily like to take these kinds of cases to trial without real evidence of racial motive, racial bias, and so unless they have that kind of evidence, I suspect they won't bring a case. But at this point, we don't know what they have.
BLITZER: Because, Mark, there are some who say there is that kind of evidence supposedly out there that for whatever reason the state prosecutors in Florida decided not to use. They didn't bring up the whole racial issue in the whole three-week trial in Florida. But what's your sense? What does the Justice Department have at least as far as we know?
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, from what we have heard, and there's no way to substantiate this, that there's about 30 witnesses that the FBI and the government has, in fact, spoken to considering their parallel investigation.
And we know that we had a very aggressive state attorney's office. And we have hate crime laws in Florida. If, in fact, they could have assessed that there was a hate crime, one surely would have had to believe that they would have brought that forward. In fact, the state attorneys, when they were giving their press conference, made it a point of saying that this was, in fact, not about race.
So because the standard is so very, very high, as it relates to a hate crime and because so many question marks do exist, and many things didn't come out on both sides, as I understand it, that I think that it's an insurmountable mountain for the government to, in fact, climb, and in fact, if they were to try to do that, I think that for them to not be able to prove a case would prove all the worse for the government.
I think that we need to move forward in addressing things such as the laws on the books, the firearm issues, and matters such as that so we can find some good out of this horrendous tragedy.
But to simply go ahead and try to now make a hate crime that the government I think most experts would agree would have next to an impossible time proceeding with is not the right direction to go in.
BLITZER: Jeff, you used to work for the U.S. attorney's office. You were a prosecutor. What do you think?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's tough. And remember, the opening statement of the prosecutor in this case was about Zimmerman's hostility, Zimmerman's anger.
That was the evidence that the government tried to put forward here. That was a big part of the government's case. And for whatever reason, the jury didn't buy it. So the U.S. attorney, the United States Justice Department is going to have to decide what's different, what can we bring to this case that the United States government -- that the Florida state government didn't bring, and why would we win when they lost?
It's slightly different under the law, but it's not that different. And, you know, the question is what would be different at a trial? At this point, I don't know what would be different.
BLITZER: We're going to continue this. But one of the things some of the Trayvon Martin family lawyers have suggested is there are a whole bunch of other 911 calls that George Zimmerman made and they insist all of them involved what they called suspected black males walking around the neighborhood there in Sanford, Florida.
All right, guys, don't go away, hold on. We have got more to discuss, including Trayvon Martin's parents, their grief and their legal options. Will they file a civil lawsuit against George Zimmerman for the wrongful death of Trayvon Martin?
And huge protests at the North Carolina Capitol. It's been happening now every Monday for weeks. The governor now is responding.
BLITZER: Trayvon Martin's mother describes the moments after George Zimmerman was acquitted as her darkest hour. The teenager's parents are still trying to come to grips with the verdict.
I spoke with their attorney Daryl Parks a little while ago here in THE SITUATION ROOM, and I asked him if his clients will move forward with a civil lawsuit against the man who killed their son. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: They have that right.
But, right now, Wolf, the big issue is the whole -- the jury verdict that came down. And so it's too fresh to make that type of decision. They're not some money-hungry people trying to profit off of their son's death. That's not the type of people that they are.
These are very good, hardworking people who live down in the South Florida-Miami area. They will make that decision at the appropriate time. Right now, though, they believe their son's legacy has been dealt an injustice and they are happy and encouraged by the fact that so many other people feel that this is an injustice and that our government should answer in some way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's go back to our legal panel, Jeffrey Toobin, Sunny Hostin, Mark NeJame.
Jeffrey, you covered the O.J. Simpson trial. He was acquitted on the murder charges, but then there was a wrongful death lawsuit that the family filed. He was convicted on that. Are we going to see a similar thing develop now?
TOOBIN: Well, we could.
And, of course, the big difference between a civil and a criminal case is that in a criminal case, the burden of proof is very high. It's proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the plaintiffs, Trayvon Martin's family, would only have to prove preponderance of the evidence. More probable than not.
And jail wouldn't be on the table, but money damages would. The question, of course, is in addition to sort of the legal issues is would it be worth it when George Zimmerman doesn't appear to have any money to speak of? Would lawyers spend all this time, all this money for a symbolic judgment against him? They might. But that's obviously something to consider.
BLITZER: What do you think, Mark? What's the downside of the family doing this?
NEJAME: Well, just having to relive all of this again, going through the pain and agony of having to relive yet another trial and another case.
But there's some more aspects to it. And that is that George Zimmerman in a civil case does not have any Fifth Amendment privileges. So if, in fact, there is more of a moral aspect to it than a financial one, it's very possible that, unless he went for default judgment, which would just have a judgment answered against him without testifying, that they could be wanting to have him on the stand so that at least that could come out under oath during the course of a case.
There's also another issue, and that is that George Zimmerman has a pending case, as we understand it, against another network for slander, defamatory statements, libel for editing the tapes, considering the beginning all this, which some would allege is what helped ignite the fire about this case where the tapes were allegedly altered.
If, in fact, there's a substantial recovery there, there would at least arguably be a pool of money for the Martin family to go after, Trayvon's parents to be able to go after as heirs to his estate. So, there's a lot of moving parts in this, and I think that their attorney, who I think is excellent, Daryl Parks, I think he said it well. Right now they're having to absorb what's going on. There's a big national movement on top of that.
And then I think they will sit down and evaluate all these different areas and then decide which direction they're going, because it is a very big, long, tedious ordeal to be going through another lawsuit and that surely has to factor into their decision.
BLITZER: That other network that they filed that lawsuit against is NBC.
Let's talk about that. Sunny, what do you think the family will do or should do?
HOSTIN: You know, I think certainly they're looking at their options, and it's not unprecedented, as Jeff said, for a family to file a wrongful death civil suit and to be successful. We saw that with the Goldman family.
And I think in many respects, families feel that it is some sort of justice. They have power over a defendant for some time, because if you have the power to take every bit of money that someone will ever make for the rest of their lives, that does give you a sense of power. But I think another point, Wolf, that we're missing is that we still have that stand your ground statute in Florida, and if, perhaps, he invokes it civilly, I'm told that he may even have immunity to civil litigation.
I spoke to Mark O'Mara about that this afternoon. So that's yet another piece of this that I'm sure the family has to think about. If you do all of this, are you then going to -- you know, is George Zimmerman going to be immune from suit?
BLITZER: I want all three of you to weigh in, but very quickly, because we have very little time, on what Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney, told our Vinnie Politan from our sister network HLN. She was asked by Vinnie,, do you have one word to describe George Zimmerman? And then she paused for what seemed like a long time and then she said, very low-key, one word, murderer.
Actually, we have the sound bit. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One word to describe George Zimmerman.
ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Murderer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Zimmerman.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Lucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You heard her say -- and I will start with you, Jeffrey -- murderer, even though he was found not guilty by this jury in her state.
TOOBIN: What a politician's answer. Why don't they do a better job trying cases and a little less playing word games with reporters? I just think that's bogus and ridiculous.
HOSTIN: I don't know. I mean, I think this prosecution certainly felt that they had enough evidence to seek a second-degree murder conviction.
And when you're a prosecutor and you feel that way, and you feel that you lost your case, yes, you still see that person as a murderer. So perhaps that was her way of saying that.
NEJAME: I think it's basically a lot of denial and a lot of twisting and turning and spinning. They should have never brought a second- degree murder charge. Everybody knows that. Almost everybody knows that.
HOSTIN: I don't know that.
NEJAME: They thought they had a case that they needed -- I said almost everybody. I think that if in fact they had a solid case, manslaughter was the way to go.
I think they contaminated the case by twisting facts, trying to prove second-degree murder, such as who was on top of who, when they knew right from the beginning the real facts and the real story. I think they went ahead and misled the public in many ways and gave false hope to many people in many ways and by overcharging this case, they went ahead and in large part lost the case because of their, in my opinion, arrogance of twisting the facts in this case when they should have just gone straight up to a manslaughter and gone in that direction, rather than all the smoke and mirrors that they tried to get in, that eventually they even backed away from at the end -- before the trial even ended, by use of the dummies and the switch-around.
So, no, I think this was simply, as was stated, I think it's politicians acting like politicians rather than as prosecutors.
BLITZER: All right, guys. We're going to continue obviously our analysis what goes ahead. Thanks so much, in the meantime, for joining us, Mark, Sunny, and Jeffrey.
Up next, President Obama walks a very careful line after the Zimmerman verdict. We're taking a closer look at the legal and political pressures on his administration right now with the new co-hosts of CNN's "CROSSFIRE." Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, they are disagreeing on what is going on.
And did "Glee" star Cory Monteith die of an overdose? Officials moving ahead with an autopsy and drug tests right now.
BLITZER: Happening now, new demands of justice for Trayvon Martin. The legal and political pressure on the Obama administration now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted.
Plus, jurors in the Jodi Arias murder trial tell us what the Zimmerman jurors are going through right now and how it could get worse if they go public.
And huge protests against a Republican-led state government. Is North Carolina the new Wisconsin?
I'm Wolf Blitzer, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The White House says President Obama won't personally get involved in deciding whether to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. The president issued a carefully worded statement yesterday, urging Americans to respect the not guilty verdict in Zimmerman's murder trial. He also called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy.
It was a less emotional take on the case than we heard from the president in his now famous remark shortly after Martin was killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin.
You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's talk about the president's role in this case, the politics at play, and more.
We're joined by two of the new co-hosts of "CROSSFIRE," the new show on CNN that will start airing this fall. The former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is joining us, as well as the former Obama White House official Van Jones.
Newt, I'm going to call you Newt now that you're a colleague at CNN.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Does that mean I can call you Wolf?
BLITZER: You can call me Wolf. You call me that. Or you can call me Mr. Blitzer, I will call you Newt.
All right, should Eric Holder file a civil rights hate crime charge against George Zimmerman?
GINGRICH: Wolf, I think it would be an absurdity. I think it would be a miscarriage of justice.
The standard for a hate trial is higher than the standard for murder. A jury of six people spent five weeks listening to all the case, all the arguments, and concluded there was not a case there. This is a tragedy. It's a tragedy that Trayvon Martin is dead. But the jury concluded it was not an act of murder. It wasn't even an act of manslaughter.
To think that the Justice Department can come in and cross this much higher threshold, I think would be absolutely an abuse of justice rather than the behavior of injustice.
BLITZER: All right, let's see what Van Jones, a graduate of Yale Law School, has to say.
Go ahead, Van.
VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, look, I think we need to let the process go forward.
There is, I think, a basis for continuing an inquiry here. It does seem that there was a pattern and practice on the part of Mr. Zimmerman of focusing in on minority kids when he began to become this neighborhood watch hero, possibly in his own mind. That pattern and practice could be the basis for real concern here.
I do want to say this. You know, the president of the United States has gotten a lot of criticism for the statement that he made about if this young man -- if he had had a son, he would look like that young man. I think the criticism has really been unfair.
I do think that in that moment, you had a need for him to make a human connection across the board with all Americans. It's almost come to the point now if this president acknowledges his racial or ethnic background in any way, he is criticized. And I don't think that that's right.
(CROSSTALK) V. JONES: If you look at what he actually did --
BLITZER: Go ahead.
GINGRICH: The key part here --
V. JONES: Just -- just to complete -- just to complete my thought. What he actually did in making that statement, he talked about all Americans, and he had the Department of Justice look into it and he has since stood back and played no role. And by repeatedly criticizing him for one half of a fragment of a sentence, it's almost as if the president of the United States is somehow inserted himself into the actual trial. He never did that.
GINGRICH: Look, I just think it's important at the very end of the president's statement, as you just played it, Wolf, the president says we should get to the bottom of this. Well, under our system, we had a prosecution with full power of the government, the attorney general has indicated he and the FBI have been talking for the last three weeks.
You have to presume that every possible effort they made to help the prosecution, they had five weeks in a jury trial. They had six jurors sworn to do their duty. These six jurors listened to this case. Deliberated for 16 hours. And they said while it is a tragedy, it is not murder, it is not manslaughter, that in fact, they believe George Zimmerman had reasonable grounds to believe his life was in danger and it was self-defense.
Now my only point is for the Justice Department to try to jump in on top of that would be absolutely a travesty of justice. It would be putting -- it would be exposing Zimmerman to a second round of risk, which is deeply against our system, and there's no evidence that they could pass that threshold any more than the prosecution.
BLITZER: All right. Van, go ahead and respond.
V. JONES: Well, listen, first of all, we've been down this road before. Please let's not forget that the first trial for the Rodney King case, where you had those four LAPD officers who almost beat a black motorist unarmed to death, were initially acquitted. And then you had the Department of Justice look into it and they found that there was reason to move forward and they did move forward and they actually wound up with convictions.
Now that was under the color of law, those were actual police officers and not neighborhood watch people. But we do have a tradition in our country, where there are -- when something like this happens, there are multiple levels of review. We've had one level of review. The Department of Justice should look into this. It made a big difference in the Rodney King outcome finally.
We also -- should be a civil case explored. I just think that we need to respect the entire system. We -- I think done a good job respecting this jury's decision at the state level. But there are other levels of our system that should be allowed to go forward. BLITZER: We only have a little time left, but quickly to both of you, Van, you first. Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney who led the prosecution, even though she wasn't necessarily in the courtroom, she just told our sister network HLN's Vinnie Politan that one word to describe George Zimmerman, and she called him "murderer." Does that respect the system?
V. JONES: Well, her job was to bring forward a prosecution, if she did not believe he was a murderer, she shouldn't have charged him with second-degree murder. So I think that it's consistent with her role and her function, her duty. I think obviously if I were Mr. Zimmerman, though, I would take offense and I think probably most Americans think that that was ill-considered on her part.
But I understand her trying to be consistent. She might be criticized if she were to say he was not a murderer, having just charged him with murder two.
BLITZER: Does that respect the system, Newt?
GINGRICH: No, that doesn't respect the system. You have a prosecutor going out of her way to say in effect that six jurors are wrong, the judge is wrong. The process is wrong. If she had a good enough case, why didn't she bring it? If she lost the case, to call a person who has been declared innocent a murderer is inflammatory, put in --
JONES: Not innocent. Not guilty. There's a difference.
GINGRICH: I think it's very dangerous.
BLITZER: Yes. Well, she didn't say -- she didn't use those two words, not guilty. She said murderer when she was asked by Vinnie, one word to describe George Zimmerman, even though a jury acquitted him and said he was not guilty.
Make a final point, then I've got to go.
V. JONES: She may not have been respectful of the jury. I do want to point out there was all this fear that the black community and black youth would be disrespectful of the outcome and riot, and there was almost no violence at all. Please let's give respect to the young people across the country who have shown respect for this process and I think that the media owes them a big apology for assuming that just because they were black and mad, they were going to riot.
V. JONES: No riots in America. Respect from the young people.
BLITZER: We never -- we never assume that. That has been -- not this part of the media, at least, in this room, THE SITUATION ROOM.
Our thanks very much, Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, the new co-host of "CROSSFIRE" that starts later in the fall. Up next, should the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman go public? And what happens if they do? We're talking to jurors in some other high-profile cases.
BLITZER: We learned today that one of the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman is planning to write a book about the experience but there's still a lot of secrecy about the jurors' identities because of concern of their -- for their safety.
CNN's Brian Todd has more on the six women of the jury and what they may be facing right now.
What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there is a lot of concern about their safety, their privacy. A lot of potential fallout for these jurors because of the backlash against their verdict. We spoke with jurors from other highly charged cases, some of whom say for these six women on the Zimmerman panel, life may not be the same again.
TODD (voice-over): So far, this is all we've heard from them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Juror B-37, is this your verdict?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TODD: The six women who acquitted George Zimmerman are still anonymous. We don't know when Judge Debra Nelson might lift an order which keeps the jurors' names secret, but it seems now that like George Zimmerman the members of this panel are dealing with significant public backlash.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The system is not broken. It's the people that are involved with the system, like the jurors themselves.
TODD: What's in store for members of the Zimmerman jury if their names are made public? We spoke to jurors from other highly charged cases.
Tara Kelley was an alternate on the jury that convicted Jodi Arias of murdering her ex-boyfriend. She says it's a completely different world once your name is out there.
TARA KELLEY, ALTERNATIVE JUROR, JODI ARIAS TRIAL: You know, I had people Googling me and stalking pictures off my Facebook of my kid and my family. And if you're on social media, it can get pretty ugly.
TODD: Diane Schwartz was a regular juror in the Arias trial. She says much of her post-verdict experience was positive with cards and letters of support.
(On camera): What is the biggest change in your life after a case like this?
DIANE SCHWARTZ, JUROR, JODI ARIAS TRIAL: For us, not being sequestered, we all became very careful with where we went, who we talked to, what we did, because everyone wanted to talk about the trial.
TODD (voice-over): Julie Zanartu, part of a panel that convicted Scott Peterson in 2004 of killing his wife and their unborn child, has a similar story.
JULIE ZANARTU, JUROR, SCOTT PETERSON TRIAL: I would go to work, a lot of people would want to ask me, oh, you know, all about -- you know, they wanted to know everything. You know, what was this like? What was that like? You know, just like random people that I never really even talked to before.
TODD: Zanartu says others on her jury got death threats.
Judge Gregory Mize, who's presided over more than 200 jury trials in D.C. Superior Court, is concerned about the Zimmerman jurors' safety. He says they may also go through what's called vicarious traumatization, being so connected with the facts of a tragedy that emotionally you feel like you've gone through it yourself.
JUDGE GREGORY MIZE, CENTER FOR JURY STUDIES: The jurors are hearing some very disturbing things over and over and over again. You add that to their not going home, they're going to their sequestered location at a hotel, you add all of that up, it's rough.
TODD: Judge Mize says very often the courts will offer jurors help for that with counseling, information packages or debriefing with others who have dealt with that kind of trauma in their professional lives like first responders -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What -- what about physical protection if needed for one of these jurors, or a couple of them?
TODD: Right. Well, Judge Mize said if need be, the courts will offer protection for them. The courts would work with the marshal services, with the local sheriff's offices if they have information about a credible threat to their lives. But he said it's not open-ended. They can't get it forever. And even the stress of 24-hour protection is stressful on the juror. So it's something you have to watch.
BLITZER: Let's hope that doesn't happen.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very, very much.
Revealing remarks by the Russia President Vladimir Putin today about the NSA leaker Edward Snowden. We're going live to Moscow.
BLITZER: The Russian president Vladimir Putin says the NSA leaker Edward Snowden is, quote, "shifting his position when it comes to meeting Russia's terms for asylum."
CNN's Phil Black is in Moscow where Snowden is still holed up.
What's the latest, Phil?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, these were President Putin's first comments on Edward Snowden since the fugitive declared his intention to seek political asylum in this country and Putin began by blaming the United States for Snowden's continued presence in this country. He said it was America's actions that had trapped him here. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (Through Translator): The moment news arrived that he was in midair, our American partners actually blocked his further movement. The United States had intimidated other countries so that nobody wants him. That's how they blocked him on our territory. This is some kind of Christmas gift for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now President Putin admitted that Russia had previously offered Snowden asylum here but he turned it down because of that condition which said that he'd have to stop all political activity here. Putin said he insisted on that condition because he was worried about damaging relations between the United States and Russia.
But he now senses that Snowden is beginning to change his position on that condition, although he says it's not entirely clear. Crucially, for Snowden, Putin didn't rule out the possibility of being allowed to leave that transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport to settle here for a time. But he did say that as soon as there's a chance he can travel to another country, naturally, he will do so -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Phil Black reporting the latest from Moscow. Thanks, Phil.
A quick update, by the way, on a story that shocked a lot of folks over the weekend. The coroner's office performed an autopsy and toxicology tests today on the body of the actor Cory Monteith. The 31-year-old star of "Glee" was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. We're not expecting results, we're told, for several days.
Up next, big protests at the North Carolina state house. There's growing anger at the Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Our Jim Acosta asked him about the balance.
BLITZER: Thousands rallying, protesting at the North Carolina state house for weeks. Today, they heated up due to a controversial abortion bill and it's all part of the protest dubbed, Moral Monday.
Our national political correspondent Jim Acosta is in Raleigh. He is joining us now.
Jim, what's going on in North Carolina?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Washington no longer has a monopoly on partisanship and political rancor. Take what's happening at the Moral Monday's protest here in Raleigh, North Carolina, where in the last 15 minutes, hundreds of protesters filed into the state house behind me. Many of them expect to be arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Moral Monday and it's dedicated --
ACOSTA (voice-over): Every week for three straight months and 700 arrests later, demonstrators are still rallying at North Carolina's Republican dominated state house to send a message.
GAYLE RUEDI, PROTESTER: You know it's just wrong. What they did with unemployment is wrong. What they did with Medicaid is wrong. What they're doing with abortion.
ACOSTA: They're calling it Moral Mondays. A day to stand against a key part of state's GOP agenda.
BEN CLARK (D), NORTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Overall, there tends to be a movement as we would call it, backwards.
ACOSTA: Ever since they won control of both the governor's office and the legislature for the first time in more than a century, Republican lawmakers have cut unemployment benefits, health care for the poor and moved to change voting laws. Just last week the House approved new rules for doctors performing abortions. Guidelines the governor indicates he'll sign into law.
Try to ask some Republican lawmakers about the protests and they take a pass.
MITCHELL SETZER (R), NORTH CAROLINA STATE ASSEMBLY: It's the people's house. We're always glad to have company.
ACOSTA: But conservative activists are firing back online where they posted some of the mug shots of the liberal protesters. Also not backing down, Republican Governor Pat McCrory who unveiled new plans to cut taxes just before the latest Moral Monday protest.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I have stepped on the toes in my first six months in office of the right and the left. And the media. Maybe that --
ACOSTA (on camera): You seem proud of it.
MCCRORY: Maybe that means I'm doing something right.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats say McCrory broke a campaign pledge. Not to add new restrictions on abortion access.
(On camera): Legislation that's made it --
MCCRORY: Absolutely not.
ACOSTA: Restrict -- add some restrictions on --
ACOSTA: On conference. That's going to be a promise kept.
MCCRORY: Absolutely it's a promise kept.
PROF. ANDY TAYLOR, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY: I think there are people all over the place who sort of say, you know, it doesn't help if you have this much disagreement.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Political science professor Andy Taylor says North Carolina has joined the list of such states as Texas and Wisconsin where conservative leaders are making gains no matter the protests. And that goes for Moral Mondays.
TAYLOR: The real key is, is it going to have an effect on the legislative agenda in Raleigh. And that's an open question.
ACOSTA (on camera): And so far --
TAYLOR: And so far I don't think that's the case.
ACOSTA: But these Moral Mondays, protesters say they're going to keep on demonstrating even though they know that they're not going to have a major impact on the laws that are being passed in this legislature. That, they say, is what the next election is for -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta in Raleigh for us. Thanks very much.
And we're just getting in some videotape, ABC News' Barbara Walters sat down with Trayvon Martin's parents and got this reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: When you finally got a chance to talk to your son in the courtroom, after the verdict, what did he say to you?
GLADYS ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S MOTHER: He -- I hugged him. I kissed him. And he said, thank you, mom. I want to go home.
WALTERS: Are you concerned for George's safety?
G. ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I do. Yes.
WALTERS: Why? What do you think could happen?
G. ZIMMERMAN: It's a lot of death threats on -- you know, in the social media.
WALTERS: Are you concerned about death threats? Have you had death threats?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN SR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FATHER: We had an enormous amount of death threats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: My apologies. That was obviously George Zimmerman's parents. Barbara Walters of ABC News speaking with George Zimmerman's parents.
We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: A raven in distress landed at the White House for help.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When porcupine meets bulldog, it's the dog that gets bullied with a face full of quills. To remove them, dogs can be knocked out. But what if it's a raven that needs to be plucked?
GERTIE CLEARY, RAVEN RESCUER: This is going to hurt.
MOOS: This wild raven with quills in its face landed on Gertie Cleary's face in Elms Dale, Nova Scotia.
CLEARY: I just want to help.
MOOS (on camera): They say ravens are extremely intelligent. This one was smart enough to let a human help.
(Voice-over): With her daughter holding the camera -- Gertie went after the first quill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's one. Yes. Good job, mom.
MOOS: While that went well.
CLEARY: Let me get the other one. I know, I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's screaming at you. I don't think he is trying to, like, bite you.
MOOS: Easy for the one not plucking to say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There we go. That's two.
CLEARY: It reminded me of a child with a splinter. And when you pull a splinter out, they holler and screech and pull their hand away. MOOS: When a vet put a quill under the microscope, you see the barb that's make it so painful to pull out.
(On camera): Are you surprised at how much attention it's gotten?
CLEARY: Well, I am because I didn't think it was such a big deal. I was just helping this poor creature.
Let me get that last one. I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Good.
CLEARY: I got it.
MOOS: Gertie removed a total of four quills. Three in the raven's cheek, one in its wing.
CLEARY: When I pulled the one out of the wing, he fell off the fence I pulled it so hard.
MOOS (voice-over): They named the raven Wilfred. They gave him dog food and tuna and water. Wilfred flew off. Now when Gertie hears a raven calling at her --
CLEARY: I just say, is that you?
MOOS: It takes a plucky lady to pluck a wild raven. Ask Edgar Allan Poe recited by Vince Price.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take thy beak from out my heart.
MOOS: Make that, take thy quill from out my cheek.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quote the raven never more.
MOOS: Jeanne, CNN.
CLEARY: Got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
CLEARY: New York.
BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.