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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Hidden Weapons Found On North Korean Ship; Missed Clues About Boston Bombing Suspect; Mounting Pressure for Federal Against Zimmerman
Aired July 16, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, missile equipment intercepted on the way from Cuba to North Korea. We're going to tell you what authorities have found on that ship. We have new developments tonight.
Plus new developments in the death of Cory Monteith. The coroner revealing tonight what killed the actor.
And protests continuing across the country in reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict. The big question, will the Department of Justice file new charges? Eric Holder spoke today. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good Tuesday evening to everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, new developments on the weapons equipment that was intercepted on the way to North Korea. The shipment was discovered late Monday after a dramatic and violent confrontation unfolded on a freighter that was headed from Cuba through the Panama Canal.
Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon and, Barbara, I mean, what happened on this ship was pretty incredible, just the drama of that moment. Tell me about that and what they actually found.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, according to Panamanians they found hidden weapons equipment. The U.S. believes it's most likely a missile radar helped -- used for missiles to be targeted. It was hidden under bags of sugar from Cuba. It doesn't get more dramatic than this because that's only the beginning of it. The crew, when the Panamanians tried to stop them, the North Korean crew, 35 members of the crew resisted arrest and the captain, first he tried to fake a heart attack and then he tried to commit suicide.
It all came to light when the president of Panama tweeted a picture of the captured cargo. He went right to the pier and looked at the whole operation. It's really quite extraordinary. Cuba and North Korea, now the U.S. believes that they were really pairing up, trying to get this radar back to North Korea, possibly for an upgrade and then possibly to return it back to Cuba.
BURNETT: It's pretty incredible what you say. Also just what happened on that ship, you know, the captain tried to commit suicide and, you know, just how the drama of this went down. But as you say, Barbara, obviously Panamanian authorities seized the ship. It was in the Panama Canal, an incredibly narrow artery. But the U.S. military had been tracking it for several days. So how significant is this discovery for the U.S.? I mean, this isn't something we hear about really ever.
STARR: I mean, this is a very unusual circumstance. The ship was actually trying to get back into the canal to transit to go home. The Panamanians clearly had been tipped off by somebody. They thought maybe there were drugs on board the ship. Look, the Panama Canal, you know better than anybody, Erin, is an economic choke point, 14,000 shipping vessels transit the canal every year, billions of dollars in shipping, a huge, huge vital waterway for the U.S. economy.
So the Panamanians are actually quite strict about security there. They're always worried about a terrorist attack and they do not put up with smuggling, especially of weapons. So this is a plus for Panamanian intelligence, that they got the ship. You have to wonder who really tipped them off to it.
BURNETT: That does seem to be the big question. All right, Barbara Starr, thank you very much. I want to bring in Gordon Chang now, OUTFRONT, the author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes On The World" and Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent. Let me start with you, Gordon. You know, you hear Barbara talking about what was on the ship, the cargo, the missile radar interceptor. What does this tell you?
GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, FORBES.COM: Well, it tells us that the North Koreans are not only proliferating to Asia and the Middle East, but now they are also proliferating into our hemisphere. This is a country which is just 90 miles away from American shores. Now, if they can smuggle missile radar into Cuba, you know, God knows what else they can put there, because we do not need a replay of the Cuban missile crisis, this time with the North Koreans with their finger on the triggers rather than the soviets.
BURNETT: But Tim, I mean, how worried should this country be, should the United States be about these ties between North Korea and Cuba. Gordon laid out a possibly frightening scenario.
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Well, obviously the more that the western world extricates the North Koreans and the Cubans into a little corner. They are going to obviously conspire together. It's a concern, but what it's going to take is vigilance. I mean, this is a great job on the part of Panamanians acting on intelligence, which I believe came from America and South Korea both.
But that kind of vigilance is going to have to be increased because in order to quarantine somebody like Raul Castro and his brother Fidel and Kim Jong-Un in North Korea, we need to be watching these shipping channels, air traffic and even submersibles or something. We would need to be worry about in the area of the Korea and Cuba.
BURNETT: Absolutely. Gordon, you know, Tim is saying it could have been a tip from the United States, which Barbara reported was tracking the ship or from South Korea. But, I mean, what's amazing to me is that 85 percent of the trade around this planet goes by ship. So there are a lot of ships out there. And it's really hard to find the ones who might be up to no good. The U.S. was tracking it, but should they have been more actively involved? If it was just out in the open sea, what do you do, just track it and let it go where it's going? What are your options?
CHANG: Well, that's what we have been doing. We've been letting North Korean ships go even when we know what's on board and when we think it's dangerous. That's because the Security Council resolutions do not permit us to board North Korean ships without their permission, but we have had right to do this. You know, the North Koreans this year and three times before have abrogated the Korean War armistice.
That means there's no agreement not to use force, which means we could torpedo that ship. We have the right to do that. So clearly we have the right to interdict it and because the North Koreans have been selling ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technology around the world, this is a matter of our security and we shouldn't be outsourcing it to the Chinese and the Russians on the Security Council.
BURNETT: So Tim, should the U.S. be doing more? As Gordon says we have the ability to do more. I mean, it seems pretty frustrating at the least to think you're just tracking ships that you think may have, maybe in some cases nuclear missile material on board. And all you're doing is saying, I think it's there but not stopping it.
CLEMENTE: Well, I think using a third party like the Panamanians was a great ruse. It was a great job on America's part if we were as involved as I believe we were. That gives us plausible deniability and also allows the North Koreans not to point the finger at us. When a Panamanian customs official says I need to board your ship and the crew goes ballistic, tries to kill everyone, cut the cables, the captain commits harry carry, that's indicative that they are probably doing something wrong. So it built a great international case without us having to have our fingerprints all over it.
BURNETT: Gordon, about what that, what happened on that ship? Does it surprise you that there was a huge conflict, the captain faked a heart attack, tried to commit suicide?
CHANG: No, no, this is the way the North Koreans operate. You know, it's not just us, but of course, that adds emphasis to the North Korean actions because we are their enemy in their minds. But you know, it's just the way the North Koreans do operate. They do not want anybody on their ships. Whether it's carrying melons or nuclear weapons technology, I think the North Koreans probably would act pretty much the same way. T hey did that with the Pong Su, which was carrying heroin into Australia. This is just standard operating procedure.
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to both of you. Appreciate it. I wish I was there to see that happen.
OUTFRONT next, breaking news in the Boston bombing investigation here on OUTFRONT, missed clues that could have led authorities to one of the suspects before the attack, our investigation and breaking news. Plus the latest from the Asiana crash investigation. The flight's passengers ready to file a lawsuit. The defendant and the suit though is not Asiana.
And then new information about the death of actor Cory Montieth, authorities tonight telling us how he died.
And later OUTFRONT, a debate that has raged for years may finally be settled. Will the real T-Rex please stand up.
BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, breaking news with new details in the Boston bombing case. Were there missed clues in the Massachusetts triple murder that actually could have led investigators to one of the suspected Boston bombers before the bombing? On September 11th, 2011, Brendan Mast, Eric Wiesman and Rafael Teken were brutally murdered. Their throats slashed ear to ear, drugs spread across their bodies.
The case went cold until after the Boston marathon bombing, when it became clear that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a key suspect in both crimes. Could the bombings have been stopped? Deb Feyerick has this exclusive OUTFRONT investigation.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Allen still remembers Tamerlan Tsarnaev's reaction when he learned their mutual friend, Brandon Mast, had been viciously murdered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He kind of laughed it off saying, you know, that Brendan probably got what he deserved, making bad choices, that those were the repercussions he had to face.
FEYERICK: Tsarnaev was never interviewed by state troopers in connection with his friends' murder or the murder of the other two victims, Eric Weisman and Rafael Teken. But Allen and others we spoke with question whether the drugs strewn over the dead bodies were an effective smoke screen, distracting investigators from interviewing people who could have been Tamerlan Tsarnaev squarely on the radar.
(on camera): Did Tamerlan ever tell you police had come to speak to him? What he knew about Brendan --
JOHN ALLAN, OWNER, WAI KIU MIXED MARTIAL ARTS CENTER: No.
FEYERICK: -- about the drugs, about anything?
ALLAN: No. Around here we call it NHI.
FEYERICK: Which is?
ALLAN: No humans involved.
FEYERICK: OK, which means? ALLAN: They were three drug dealers that were murdered over drugs and money.
FEYERICK (voice-over): That at least was the perception even though only one of the three victims had drug-related charges. But four months after those murders, Tsarnaev left Boston and traveled to Dagestan where it's believed he became radicalized. Law enforcement sources questioned whether the outcome could have been different if investigators had reached tsarnaev in the first place.
Jamal Abu Rubieh saw victim, Brendan Mast, a few times a week. He owns the Brookline Lunch Diner in Cambridge where Mast often ate with Weismen and Teken. He says police never questioned him and so he never told him about a meeting weeks before the murders, which made Mess and Weisman very, very nervous.
JAMAL ABU RUBIEH, OWNER, BROOKLINE LUNCH: He sounded different. He acted different and they were all nervous. He was very serious and wasn't himself.
CANDIOTTI: Neither he says was Eric Weisman, co-owner of Hitman Glass, a high-end bond company. Journalist Bobby Black, who new Weisman, believes too many solid leads weren't followed.
BOBBY BLACK, SENIOR, EDITOR, "HIGH TIMES": Anyone who knew Eric would know that he wasn't -- in no way some kind of dangerous drug dealer. He was a college-age kid who loved weed.
FEYERICK (on camera): They didn't take the money and didn't take the drugs.
BLACK: And I think that the police writing it off as that early on possibly may be the reason they didn't investigate further, which could have possibly prevented the Boston bombings.
CANDIOTTI: Now, the murders took place in the house behind me on the second floor. This is still very much an active investigation, Erin, and a source that we spoke to who is intimately familiar with these killings defended how this all was handled saying that both state and local police handled it professionally and according to protocol -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Deb Feyerick, thank you very much.
Passengers of Asiana flight 214 are now taking the first steps in a major lawsuit against, drum roll, Boeing. Asiana, let me explain, the company manufactured the plane, it was a Boeing 777. That plane crashed onto the runway in San Francisco last weekend. Three were killed, 180 more injured.
A legal filing is asking for information about component parts of the plane. I want to emphasize at this point, though, nothing from the NTSB points to any equipment flavor - failure, I'm sorry -- as the cause of the crash. Nothing with the auto pilot, the flight director or the auto throttles.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT on the story. Now Kyung, obviously this crash just over a week ago. Authorities are still investigating. The NTSB chief so far when she's spoken, Deborah Hersman, has said no sign of any equipment failure. Is it too early for lawyers to be suing Boeing?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the lawyers, no. Getting in early is the smart thing to do here. They're representing 83 passengers, 83 passengers who were injured in some way on this plane crash, Erin.
What they are saying is that they have filed a petition for discovery. Basically they want to know who built what on the plane. Why? Because they're saying they're hearing a repeated tale among the passengers that they were trapped by the seat belts. That the seats collapsed. That some of them were injured when the emergency slides deployed inside the cabin. Here's what the lead lawyer told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA KELLY, RIBBECK LAW CHARTERED: Once we receive all the information from Boeing, we will be filing the lawsuit because we will have an idea as to who we're going after. Right now, we do not have all the defendants. We obviously know that Boeing will be named. Asiana Airlines will be named. Most likely the company that provided the training for the pilots. But we do not know yet the identity of the different component part manufacturers of the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And she says the next step will be a lawsuit. So getting back to your earlier question, Erin, why file so quickly? It leads to faster and higher amounts for the plaintiffs, these passengers in this case, Erin.
BURNETT: You've got to beat all the other lawyers who are rushing in. Well, Kyung, I know the lawyer you just spoke with is representing 83 passengers, as you just said. But what shape are they in? Are some of these people among the most injured? You know, when you're talking about the kinds of damages that they're going to go for.
LAH: We know at least one of the passengers that she's representing is one of the most injured, having severe spinal injuries and a broken leg. She says that the passengers have bumps and bruises. All of them were injured in some way. Maybe some of them have severe physical injuries, but a lot of them can't sleep. Now granted, this is just one week after the accident. But they can't eat and any sort of loud noise still alarms them. So they believe that they can win something for these passengers, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Kyung Lah, thank you very much.
And still to come, new information about the death of Cory Montieth. We found out tonight how he died.
Plus the latest from the NSA saga. We now know in which country Edward Snowden is seeking asylum.
And a massive power plant implosion. Look at this. We'll show you the full video later in the show.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, Cory Montieth's deadly cocktail. According to the toxicology report that came out today, the 31-year- old star from the TV show "Glee" died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol early Saturday morning. Canadian officials say there's no evidence to suggest Montieth's death was anything other than a tragic accident.
Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT. And Sanjay, why is that particular combination -- you can take alcohol or heroin on their own and both can be very lethal, but the combination?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What happens with both these drugs, and heroin is sort of a morphine derivative. And what we know about morphine derivatives as well as alcohol is they both affect your central nervous system. So think about your body is constantly doing things you don't have to think about. Your heart is beating on its own, your drive to breathe is there on its own. When you start to suppress the central nervous system --
BURNETT: Those things stop too?
GUPTA: In combination -- yes. Your drive to breathe sort of stops, so the typical tragic scenario is that someone taking these substances, they fall asleep and then their drive to breathe stops. And you hear about this with Michael Jackson, you hear about this in countless other cases. That's the typical situation.
BURNETT: Which is so frightening because you just don't realize it. Now, Cory Montieth had had problems, right, with addiction? He had just finished a rehab -- cycle. I don't know what the right word might be, but back in March. How common is it for a person to relapse so quickly?
GUPTA: Heroin is probably the most addictive substance on the planet. And so, it is incredibly common. And it's very hard to come by data, Erin, in terms of relapse rates. I think what most addiction experts will say is look, it's not a failure if after one stint of rehab you relapse. People often go through multiple stints in rehab.
But it is one of the most addictive substances. Keep in mind we're talking about heroin and alcohol, which either one of them in too high a dose can potentially lead to death. But when it comes to prescription drugs, painkillers, these derivatives, someone dies in this country every 19 minutes of an accidental prescription drug overdose.
BURNETT: You mean sleeping medications and things like that?
GUPTA: Yes, or pain pills. Things like that.
BURNETT: Every 19 minutes?
GUPTA: Every 19 minutes. Oftentimes it's because they combine it with alcohol. It's easy to get. It's legal. Oftentimes it's a drug of choice that's combined with some of these other things.
BURNETT: The night before Montieth died, he was out to dinner with his manager, another friend and a friend described him, he looked so good and so healthy. Those were the words. When you think of someone that's a heroin addict, you don't generally think of they look so healthy, right? But that's what they said. Would family and friends have picked up any signs that he was on such a dramatic downward spiral?
GUPTA: It is so hard in part because someone who is actively using and someone who may be actively withdrawing, they may look very similar. So it could be that they're both in a terrible sort of state, or they could both seem like they're in a pretty good place, so it can be really hard to tell sometimes. Some of the character traits, they're not eating as well, they're not sleeping as well, behavioral changes. Those things, you look for those --
BURNETT: For someone who's getting better or getting worse.
GUPTA: Or getting worse.
GUPTA: That's part of the problem. What a lot of addiction specialists will say there's probably people around who may have a pretty good idea just because they know him well, they're interacting with him on a regular basis. But you find even the closest friends sometimes just don't know for sure.
BURNETT: All right. Maybe they don't want to, so you don't look. You want to see what -
BURNETT: Yeah. All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.
Still to come, the Trayvon Martin movement. Protests continuing tonight across this country. And the big question, will the Department of Justice file charges against the man who killed him? Attorney General Eric Holder spoke today directly on that issue. Plus, what we're just learning about the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman tonight.
And was he or wasn't he a natural-born killer? It's taken over 60 million years, but tonight we may finally have an answer.
And our Shout Out: a power plant implosion. Experts in Florida demolished Florida Power & Light's Port Everglades plant earlier this morning. It's kind of a beautiful thing to watch something being destroyed. I feel sick saying that, but when it's done perfectly like that - the explosives used -- it was a 1960s-era plant. I mean, look at this. It's going to be replaced with a cleaner, more efficient one. But our Shout Out goes to the demolition experts who safely, successfully and, frankly, beautifully brought down four 7500-ton boilers and four 350-foot stacks. Rest in peace.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories where we focus on reporting from the front lines. And I want to begin with something that has just crossed our wire at CNN. President Barack Obama has someone in mind for departing Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano's job. The president today told a Univision affiliate that he would consider New York police commissioner Ray Kelly as a candidate. The president says he wants to know if Kelly is happy in his job because if he's not, quote, "he'd be very well qualified for the job." Hope you're watching somewhere, Ray Kelly, because that's about as direct as it gets. I assume you've probably already gotten a phone call.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden has finally applied for temporary asylum in Russia. A Russian lawyer tells us that he helped Snowden with the request. I want to show you the letter. There's the letter, everybody. I guess it's kind of what you'd expect from a guy who doesn't really care about specific forms. Anyway if asylum is granted, Snowden will be able to live in Russia for a year and actually travel abroad, which is significant. According to the lawyer, Snowden wants to stick around Russia.
Steve Piper (ph), though, a former ambassador to the Ukraine, tells us it would be best for U.S./Russian relations if Snowden left the country as soon as possible.
Well, a military jury has been selected in the murder trial of Major Nidal Hasan. He is the army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting spree in Ft. Hood, Texas. It's a 13-member court- martial panel made up of 11 men and two women that will decide his fate. Hasan is acting as his own attorney.
Given the strength of the government's case, though, military law attorney Lisa Windsor (ph) tells us, quote, "a guilty verdict and sentence to death appears imminent for Major Hasan." Opening arguments begin August 6th.
It will have been 1,356 days since the alleged crime took place in 2009. That is a really long time because Hasan has been getting paid that entire time.
And now, a new find proves Tyrannosaurus Rex was a predator. I was a dinosaur adorer as a child, so I care about this story. You say, wait, I already knew it was a predator, right?
Now, we didn't really know that. Pop culture like the '70s television series, "The Land of the Lost" certainly didn't make you think twice about this proposition, but for decades, scientists argued about whether T-Rex was a scavenger like a vulture killing things that are already dead, i.e. a big wuss in the dinosaur's sphere. Not a fearsome predator who rule the planet. But, now, there's tangible proof that T-Rex was a tough man. Researchers in Kansas tell us they have found a T-Rex tooth inside a duckbill dinosaur, and they say that duckbill dinosaur was alive after the attack, which means the 7-ton monster pursued a live duckbill dinosaur. Impressive, because while T-Rex was huge, those tiny arms sure couldn't have made hunting very easy.
It has been 710 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, today, Yahoo reported quarterly earnings. They were far from perfect, but in the year since Marissa Mayer took over, the stock price of Yahoo! has gone up. It's now nearly $27 a share.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: the Trayvon Martin movement. A million people have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Protests are flaring up around the country tonight. Again, a call for a prayer vigil in 100 cities is scheduled for Saturday and just a short time ago late today, the attorney general, Eric Holder, spoke in detail about the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Trayvon's death last spring caused me to sit down, to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son. Like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Will the U.S. government take legal action? That is a crucial question and far from certain from that personal anecdote you just heard.
OUTFRONT tonight, Cornell Belcher, a political analyst for us, our legal analyst Paul Callan, and syndicated radio host Michael Medved.
Good to have all of you with us.
Cornell, I want to start with you, because you just heard Attorney General Eric Holder personalize this story with that story about his son makes it something that we can all connect to and understand hopefully a little bit. Is this a case where the attorney general should transfer that personal story into a charge?
CORNELL BELCHER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's tough. I mean, I think the attorney general and the president to a certain extent are in tough places. I think it is important that for the first time I think where I can imagine -- can remember that the attorney general talking about the law in a very sort of personal way. But I think it's tough to transfer that to -- we should now sort of prosecute or we should bring a case. I mean, he's still got to go through the investigation, which they apparently do. But I know there's a lot of pressure on the White House and a lot of pressure on the attorney general to bring a case because people are hurting and they want an avenue for their hurt.
But I've got a feeling that in the end, they're going to have to find another avenue other than -- other than the attorney general bringing a case, because from everyone I talked to, it's a very high hurdle for them to cross to bring this case against Mr. Zimmerman.
BURNETT: It is a high hurdle, of course. As we've talked about on this program for a hate crime and the FBI has looked into it, interviewed more than 30 people and they have said they haven't found evidence to show that this was specifically motivated by racial bias.
Michael, when you hear the attorney general, when you see the statement from the president that he's put out, you say this is politics at its worst.
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: No, I don't. I think the president's statement was fine, and I think the attorney general's speech today was, for the most part, fine.
The one thing he felt a need to do was when he spoke personally, and he spoke very personally, he spoke about being profiled himself when he was a young man. And all of this was entirely appropriate. He was speaking in Orlando to the NAACP. He had to respond in some way.
What was not appropriate, it seemed to me, was marrying it to a condemnation of "Stand Your Ground" laws, because --
MEDVED: -- the idea that there is some kind of connection between race and racial prejudice and between inequality and the criminal justice system and "Stand Your Ground" laws is very dubious. The "Stand Your Ground" law was not a factor in the Zimmerman verdict, and people need to know that.
BURNETT: Paul, let me ask you. Attorney General Holder also opened his speech talking specifically about the verdict and that the jury has spoken. I wanted to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: We are all mindful of the tragic and unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin last year in Sanford, Florida, just a short distance from here. And we're also aware of the state trial that reached its conclusion on Saturday evening. Today, I'd like to join President Obama in urging all Americans to recognize that, as he said, we are a nation of laws and the jury has spoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We are a nation of laws, the jury has spoken. That does not sound like an attorney general setting himself up to press charges. In fact, it sounds the opposite.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It does sound the opposite. And frankly, I think this loose talk about federal charges is counterproductive to both sides. To Trayvon Martin's family, to have this hope that somehow the case is going to be reopened and there will be a second trial, it's a false hope because, in the end, they won't come up with anything new in this federal investigation.
And, on the other hand, of course, George Zimmerman has been acquitted of these charges and he's lived under, you know, these charges for such a long period of time. The specter of new indictment hangs over him.
And, frankly, you've got to be able to prove that it was a killing based on racial hatred and that, you know --
CALLAN: I don't see a systemic failure of the justice system in Florida, which is what you usually see in the cases that the federal government gets involved in.
BURNETT: Cornell, you know, the NAACP has collected a million signatures to urge the Department of Justice to file charges, and, obviously, that's a lot of people. Just as a comparison here to make the point to viewers, a movement by the Tea Party has collected more than a million signatures to prosecute Eric Holder and remove him from office, right? So, there are people on both sides very passionate about a lot of issues, you can get signatures.
Where do you see the justice for Trayvon movement ending at this pointing? If not with these charges, how does this resolve?
BELCHER: Well, that's a really good question, Erin. I was down there at the NAACP convention yesterday talking to people. Look, the NAACP is a group, historic group of organizers. I think what you look at what we have to do moving forward is I'm all for protests, I'm all for vigils, but bring organization to that.
I mean, if you want sort of do something positive in this community, you think these "Stand Your Ground" laws are wrong, bring registration forms to these protests. You know, bring registration forms to these protests. Take out -- send groups of these protesters out around those neighborhoods, around those communities and register people.
Hold politically, actually take -- speaking of the Tea Party, take a page from the Tea Party. Too often on the left, I think our protests turn into speeches. See Occupy Wall Street and a lot of sounding and fury signify nothing.
But in the end, if we take a page from the Tea Party and turn these protests into organization -- organizing and actually hold political leaders' feet to the flame here and actually challenge political leaders in primaries the way the Tea Party did, if they are not with them on this, I think that is an avenue that would be positive.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you. We appreciate it.
And with a full acquittal, George Zimmerman's defense team certainly seems to have gotten the jury that they wanted at the end of the day.
Now, last night, Juror B-37 spoke out for the first time. She spoke to Anderson and she said she couldn't help but find Zimmerman's story believable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUROR B-37: I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done. But I think his heart was in the right place. It just went terribly wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What did the rest of the jury think and what was the defense team's strategy when picking this jury?
OUTFRONT tonight, Robert Hirschhorn. He was the jury consultant for Zimmerman's defense.
Now, Robert, obviously, you just heard juror B-37 talk about George Zimmerman, that she believed his story. When you look at her biography, mother of two daughters, she used to carry a concealed weapons permit which could be significant. Her father was in the Air Force.
Now, obviously, you're looking through, you have possibly people, 400 people on this jury. You're going through her stats. When you first looked at her stats, when you first saw her and heard her, did you think, boom, I want her on my jury?
ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, ZIMMERMAN JURY CONSULTANT: Good evening, Erin. Thanks for having me.
So the process of jury selection is you don't get to pick who you want. It's a de-selection process. So, you take off the people you don't want, and the folks that are left, those are the jurors that end up serving on your jury. What I can tell you about this juror is, this was someone we were never going to strike. I had this juror -- this juror had my absolute highest rating.
And I not only look at who I think we're going to keep or we're going to strike, I also look at who the prosecution should strike and I had this juror down as a P.S. or prosecution strike.
BURNETT: So that's pretty fascinating that you would have thought if you were in their shoes that you would have put a strike against her. I mean, the jury, of course, ended up being all female and almost all white.
Did you -- was there a moment when this finished when you thought this is too good to be true? That you were surprised that it ended up being, when you looked at that list and said, wow?
HIRSCHHORN: Yes. I can tell you that what we were looking for were honest, sincere, genuine, smart jurors that didn't come in with an agenda. And when I looked over at that jury panel and saw people that had every one of those qualities, that's the first thing I noticed. The second thing I noticed is they were all women.
BURNETT: And that was good for you. Now, the jury did acquit unanimously, they had to, right? But it took more than 16 hours to get there. Here's what Juror B-37 said about the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUROR B-37: There was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there's just no way -- other place to go. We had three not guilties, one second-degree murder and two manslaughters.
COOPER: So half the jury felt he was not guilty, two manslaughters and one second-degree.
JUROR B-37: Exactly.
COOPER: Can you say -- do you want to say where you were on that?
JUROR B-37: I was not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sort of sounds like from the way she was saying that, she was not guilty. She was very confident in that, right? She was from that point of view early on.
You already said if you were on the state, the prosecution there you might have put a strike against that particular juror. Did you feel that way about any of the other jurors?
HIRSCHHORN: I certainly felt the strongest about her, Erin, and here's why. One of the things that she said in jury selection is that she would give more credibility and more believability to law enforcement. Now, typically in a criminal case, that's the kind of juror that the defense wants to strike. But we knew that the law enforcement would actually be good jurors for George Zimmerman. That these are jurors that would verify that what George told them is what he honestly felt happened that night.
So, we knew that law enforcement would be good for us and that's why this is a juror that was obviously on my radar screen as great for us, but is a juror that was a problem for the state.
The other thing I want to say is, this juror and those other nine -- I'm sorry, the other five jurors that actually served and the three alternates --
BURNETT: Right. HIRSCHHORN: -- they were courageous. This took a lot of hard work and dedication on their part.
They didn't volunteer for this job. They didn't seek this job. I think they should be commended for doing an extraordinarily difficult task.
BURNETT: All right. Robert Hirschhorn, thank you very much. Really appreciate your taking the time and explaining and being so honest about what he thought about this.
Still to come, a witness and a juror break their silence. Was the George Zimmerman jury motivated by race? You heard him say the second thing he noticed was that they were all women. We didn't talk about their race, but that could have been at the center of everything.
And America in the middle of one of the hottest summers ever, or is it? Benghazi?
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: was Zimmerman's jury motivated by race?
Rachel Jeantel, the prosecution's star witness who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just moments before he was shot and killed by Zimmerman, told our Piers Morgan she was not surprised by the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: The jury -- the juror tonight made it clear that the jury never really discussed race as being a motivating factor here.
RACHEL JEANTEL, WITNESS: Imagine. They're white. Well, one -- one Hispanic. But she is stuck in the middle.
MORGAN: Five white women on the jury and one Hispanic lady.
JEANTEL: Yes. I had a feeling it was going to be a not guilty, so --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, radio host Stephanie Miller, comedian Dean Obeidallah, and Safiya Songhai, a filmmaker and the 2008 Miss Black Massachusetts.
Safiya, let me start with you.
Do you agree, she said, look, race -- the juror said race played absolutely no role, it never came up in the room, which I have to say I found almost impossible to believe.
SAFIYA SONGHAI, FILMMAKER: Yes.
BURNETT: Did race play a role? SONGHAI: Did race -- does race play a role in our everyday lives? The second that a black person and a white person enter America and have American citizenship, they are conditioned from the second they are born to have totally different experiences.
So, I mean the idea that race played a role in the case-- yes, it played a role in the case. He's on the tape saying F-ing coons. Automatically it got racial. And did it play a role in the jury? It definitely played a role in the jury.
The situation is that the defense just had to pull out the fear that white America is conditioned to feel about black men. They're scared of black men. Not because they feel this way intrinsically because they're conditioned to feel this way.
And all the defense had to do was tap into that fear and instantly George Zimmerman is sympathetic. They're sympathetic to him and Trayvon Martin is instantly the aggressor until proven otherwise. And Trayvon Martin was on trial.
BURNETT: And, Stephanie, let me ask you about this issue, right? When you look at the jury, we were just talking about the man who worked for George Zimmerman's side in selecting and he said with that Juror B-37 he was shocked that the state did not strike her. That he would have cut her. He thought it was almost too good to be true for her to be on that jury.
This jury was six women, five of them were white. Can a person ever be objected when it comes to someone of a different race?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Well, you know, Erin, I don't know if you saw the internet going around but it said a jury of his peers and it was all Paula Deen on the jury. You know, that may be, you know, somewhat tasteless joke, but I have to say, what thinking person thinks that race didn't have something to do with this?
MILLER: What thinking person thinks that if this was a white frat kid from university of Miami walking down the street this would have ended the same way? I think we have to have an honest conversation about race, and to say race played no role is just ridiculous.
BURNETT: And, Dean, this jury did not reflect the census of Seminole County, Florida which is 65 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic or Latino, 12 percent African-American, obviously, five white women and one Hispanic and black woman is not representative.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: It's not. And to be honest, are the people racist on this jury? You can have a jury of all white people and you can have a fair verdict. But the question is, how much experience with people of color?
You live in a county where everyone is white, you're going to relate more. The juror said it last night, Jeantel, she did not find her credible. Not that she was a liar because she could understand the expressions she was using because she lives in a different socioeconomic world.
So, she discounted her credibility on her testimony. So of course, race plays a role. It doesn't mean you're a racist. You go on a jury. You bring all your baggage of life with you. You're not a blank slate and that prism of evidence comes through your life.
BURNETT: And, Rachel Jeantel, of course, so many talked about her and her appearance, right? I mean, she had heavy lidded eyes so it looks like maybe she's not paying attention when maybe she is paying attention, right? When you make judgments about people.
Juror 37 spoke to Anderson and Rachel spoke to Piers and I want to talk about the phone call where Trayvon used that language. Here's what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUROR B-37: I don't think it's really racial. I think it's just everyday life, the type of life they live and how they are living in the environment that they are living in.
MORGAN: What is your reaction to that?
JEANTEL: Well, the jury, they see their side. No offense to the jury, they old. That's old school people. We in the new school, our generation, my generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That group reacted well to her.
SONGHAI: I must say after the Piers Morgan interview, I absolutely fell in love with Rachel Jeantel and I wish she felt as comfortable in that interview as she did on the trial day.
I understand the fear that she was -- you know, the intense anxiety that she felt. This is her best friend. She was the person two minutes before he's done with life. So I completely understand that.
But the issue with the word "cracker" is that it was never a white person. It was the person who was tearing somebody's back up and sometimes that was a black person, sometimes it was a white person. I think with Rachel Jeantel, she proved her deep-seated understanding of the true history of that word. That was a surprise to me, because ultimately, it's somebody that thinks themselves in an authority figure. That's exactly what George Zimmerman thought he was that night.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all of you.
And, of course, let us know whether you think race played a role in that jury. It's something that Anderson spoke with, with Juror B-37.
And I know, Anderson, you have a lot more of your exclusive conversation with that juror tonight? ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's part two of my interview, a lot we haven't show, about 15 minutes worth of the interview with Juror B-37.
Much has been made on the role that race played in the killing of Trayvon Martin, I asked Juror B-37 about that. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So you don't believe race played a role in this case?
JUROR B-37: I don't think it did. I think if -- if there was another person, Spanish, white, Asian, if they came in the same situation where Trayvon was, I think George would have reacted the exact same way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is part two of that interview. It's going to include how difficult it was to reach a verdict exact what happened inside that jury room. A lot of new information, that's at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, really looking forward to that. And again, the jury consultant, of course, for George Zimmerman side just telling he would have struck that jury if he was the state. He was shocked she actually made the cut to the jury.
Well, every night, we take a look outside story for something we call the OUTFRONT Outtake.
So, you may have noticed it's rather hot today if you're in the continental United States, very hot. Not just here in New York, lots of places. Highs posted in Nevada, Michigan, and California. The heat wave expected to continue for the rest of the week.
Health warnings have been issued. Air conditioners are flying off shelves. Elevators are shut down in Time Warner Center. But as hot as it is, it's a far cry from the hottest temperature ever almost exactly 100 years ago. Death Valley, California, recorded three days over 130 degrees. One of the days hit 134 degrees and recently picked -- I'm using that word purposely, everybody -- picked as the highest temperature recorded on Earth.
I say picked because it didn't used to be the highest ever record holder. That honor actually went to El Azizia, Libya. In 1922, Libya recorded 136.4 degree reading, 2.4 degrees higher than the one set in Death Valley. Libyan record stood for 90 years as the world's hottest. That is until last year when Libya was stripped of its record.
After a two-year investigation by an American weather expert and the world meteorological organization which found serious questions about the thermometers and operators that recorded the record-setting temperature. So, once again, America got the record back. You might not agree with the decision, but you have to admit, two year-investigation into Libya. Nice to see someone investigating something in Libya.
Still to come, Washington, D.C. prepares to celebrate, but should America choose a new capital?
BURNETT: Big birthday news. Washington, D.C., today, 233 years old. On July 16th, 1790, President George Washington signed the Permanent Seat of Government Act which established Washington, D.C. as the American capital. Since then, it's been a rather mixed bag for D.C., while some of the district's power players regularly ranked as the most powerful and wealthiest people of the country.
On survey after survey, the D.C. scores at the bottom when it comes to education, traffic congestion and apparently sobriety. It made us wonder if Washington, D.C., with its rather depressing record is still the best choice for America's capital. After all, cities Philly, Trenton, New York, they've all served as capital before D.C.
Maybe there is a better alternative out there. Is Washington still the best choice if you can pick? If not, which city should win? Let us know on Twitter @ErinBurnett or @OutFrontCNN.
Always good to see you. See you back here tomorrow night.
"A.C. 360" starts now.