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Heat Wave Smothers Millions; Protests Remain Peaceful; UConn Professor Under Investigation; Struck By Lightning Indoors; "Arresting" Proposal; Florida Stand Your Ground; Florida's Mandatory Minimums; Attention Shoppers; "It's All Good"; "It Was Extraordinary"; $120 For A Tee Shirt; Consumer Protector Confirmed; Tesla Shares Tailspin

Aired July 17, 2013 - 07:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Cool music for you there. Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It's Wednesday, July 17th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by news anchor, Michaela Pereira. Coming up in this half hour, George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict has brought into focus other cases involving Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law including one involving a mother behind bars for 20 years. We'll take a look at the case that is sparking outrage and taking over social media.

CUOMO: Plus retail outlets can use your phone to keep track of what you're buying and where you're going. Do you believe that? Do they even tell you? We'll go through it. But first let's get to Michaela for the top news.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, topping the news right now. Good morning, everyone. Hazy, hot, humid conditions smothering the entire northeast as well as the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes. Millions of Americans will feel the extreme heat throughout the weekend. In the big apple utility officials say New York City could set a record for power usage today.

Protesters continue calling for justice for Trayvon Martin. In L.A., last night protests were peaceful while demonstrators held a sit-in at the Florida governor's office. In the meantime, the only juror speaking publicly about the verdict tells CNN in an exclusive interview that she believes George Zimmerman did not break the law.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": You're saying maybe it wasn't right -- it wasn't right getting out of that car, but it wasn't against the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. He started the ball rolling. He could have avoided the whole situation by staying in the car, but he wanted to do good. I think he had good in his heart. He just went overboard.


PEREIRA: In a statement, four other jurors from the Zimmerman trial said the juror who is speaking out does not represent them in any way.

A long time U-Conn music professor under investigation, authorities say five men claim the man sexually abused them years ago when they were between 10 and 13 years old. Some of the alleged misconduct happened at a summer camp. That professor is on paid administrative leave and is banned from campus. He has not been charged.

A Louisiana woman literally got the shock of her life. She was actually struck by light nipping inside a grocery store. Authorities believed the bolt hit the store, traveled through sprinkler system before exploding on a metal plate on the floor right next to her.


LAKEISHA BROOKS, STRUCK BY LIGHTNING: It went straight through me. It went like from my head down the back of my spine to my left thigh and on my foot.


PEREIRA: That woman suffered minor burns on her leg and foot, but she should be OK. Experts say that lightning can travel through many things that may surprise you including plumbing.

And finally, a man who loved his girlfriend so much he got her busted. Let me explain. Check out Marcia Valleja getting pulled over earlier this month. She had no idea her boyfriend, Ben and his brother-in- law, the cop were in behind the entire charade. Officers told Marcia she owed $2,000 in fines and if she couldn't come up with the cash, she'd go to jail. Marcia began crying, well, I would too, when cop put her in the back seat of their square car, but guess what, tears of joy soon followed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree to pay and let you go, if you take his hand in marriage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you so much.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not even funny! It's awful!


PEREIRA: Kate and I are so chagrined over this. He came up with the idea for his arresting proposal in order to win the local radio station contest. The grand prize is a $20,000 wedding. The winner will be picked later today, but I think he's a winner, he's lucky she said yes.

BOLDUAN: He's lucky she did not dropkick him. He gets the butthead award of the week.

PEREIRA: We don't have that Berman award, is it a Kate award?

BOLDUAN: Berman is away.

CUOMO: It's a picture of my face that goes with that award. I think you have to marry the woman if you are going to put her in that situation, the only way you escape it with all limbs intact.

BOLDUAN: Glad that was not how my husband proposed. We would not be married right now.

Let's get back to the big story we've been talking about. Trayvon Martin's death thrust Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law into the spotlight as well as the trial of George Zimmerman that followed. We're now bringing attention to another case, this woman. A mother serving a 20-year sentence after firing what she says was a warning shot. She says it was self-defense. Now CNN's John Zarrella has more on this story from Miami.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, social media is abuzz about yet another Florida case, her name, Marissa Alexander, and now she's got some high profile supporters, including Reverend Jesse Jackson who visited her inside jail Tuesday and is ramping up efforts to renew her freedom.

She was prosecuted by Angela Corey's office, the same office that handled Zimmerman. But unlike Zimmerman, this one involved Florida's controversial stand your ground law and unlike Zimmerman, Alexander is doing time, a lot of it, 20 years mandatory, and she didn't kill anyone. She says it was self-defense, but last year Alexander was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He managed to get the door open and that's when he strangled me, put his hands around my neck.

ZARRELLA: Alexander is talking about her husband, Rico Gray. She was in the bathroom when Gray came after her. Alexander managed to get away, made it to the garage and grabbed her gun. She fired, striking the wall. During an interview with CNN --

MARISSA ALEXANDER, FACES 20 YEARS IN PRISON: He was threatening to kill me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you went out the door, your life would have been easier.

ALEXANDER: I would have lost it.

ZARRELLA: Alexander's attorney invoked Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. She feared for her life. ALEXANDER: I believe when he threatened to kill me, that is what he was going to do.

ZARRELLA: But the court denied her immunity from prosecution. Her trial attorney, Kevin Cabin told CNN, quote, "she had a legitimate self-defense claim based on the history of abuse at the hands of her spouse." Her husband had been arrested on abuse charges and received probation for an earlier incident. He ultimately testified, quote, "I begged and pleaded for my life when she had the gun." Alexander's motion for bond pending appeal has been denied. John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


CUOMO: Our thanks to John for that. Let's talk more about the case and bring in Mark Nejame, a CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Mark, it's a pleasure to have you.

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, everybody. Good morning, Chris.

CUOMO: Good morning. Let's start with what is not "Stand Your Ground," the George Zimmerman trial, was it decided on the basis of "Stand Your Ground?"

NEJAME: A little bit of a complex question. The defense did not mount a "Stand Your Ground" hearing, which is the equivalent of an immunity hearing. Three weeks before it was scheduled before the trial, they canceled it and they believed that the judge, one, wouldn't grant it and two, it would expose George Zimmerman to rigid cross-examination by the prosecution.

However, when you read then they move forward to the trial, of course, there was an acquittal and a big part of this is when you read the Florida self-defense statute there's a little line in there that says you do not have -- that you can stand your ground and do not have to retreat if in fact we have a reasonable belief that you're going to die or suffer serious bodily injury.

It wasn't a technical stand your ground hearing, but it's incorporated into the Florida statute and basically an extension of the Castle Doctrine where basically you don't have to retreat if you're inside your home. This takes it into public places.

CUOMO: All right, but it wasn't a big deal in the Zimmerman trial, but it did put it on the radar and now we see this other case, Marissa Alexander. She didn't get stand your ground because they found that she returned and that wound up taking it off the table because?

NEJAME: Well, the judge simply opined on that pretty much what you just said that she could have gone in another direction, that she was not in immediate fear of death and that she simply overreacted by firing the gun. And once she fired that gun she fell under the umbrella's Florida's 10, 20 life laws with a gun being discharged, which is basically a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence with no discretion from the judge if you discharge your firearm. So she was found guilty under aggravated assault.

CUOMO: It was an assault even though she didn't hit anybody there was no injury.

NEJAME: Well, an aggravated battery would be the actual touching and aggravated assault is when you put somebody else in fear of. In your piece earlier, it said that her ex-husband had indicated that he was in fear of his life. So hence you have the assault and gets aggravated once a firearm is put into play.

CUOMO: Twenty years, the bullet didn't even injure anybody. The prosecutor said I offered her a deal of three years, she is the one who went to trial and now she's in there for 20 years when there is history of abuse in the relationship. How do you make of this as justice fairness under law?

NEJAME: Welcome to Florida. I've been dealing with this for 30 years as a defense lawyer. We substantial practice and we deal with these injustices frequently and this defendant was in fact prosecuted by Angela Corey's office in Duvall County, the prosecutor who is down here in Orlando who heads the office in the Trayvon Martin case.

If you listen to a representative of Coreen Brown, the congresswoman in that district they have upside down what they consider to be the ongoing mistreatment of the judicial system through that State Attorney's Office. You see that's the trouble. The prosecutor says we're offering you three years.

This is a mother of three purportedly in fear of her life. She thought she was within her rights and she went to trial and now she got 20 years. When you're the mother of three and you're in fear of your life, three years doesn't sound like a birthday party.

COUMO: That's right. Also speaks to the fact of how race factors into it. You know, she gets offered a deal. Would it have happened if she was white? And we're going to talk a little bit later on with Ben Jealous from the NAACP about the manifestation of those issues and some of these cases. Mark Nejame, thank you very much for laying out the law for us. Appreciate it this morning.

NEJAME: Thank you.

CUOMO: What a harsh sentence in that case -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, every move you make, every item you look at tracked by some of your favorite retail stores. Why some customers say the snooping has gone too far.

Also Stacy Keibler opening about her breakup with George Clooney, what she's saying, in our Pop Four.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everybody. Attention Kmart shoppers your cell phone is now being tracked. Some your favorite retailers are snooping on your shopping habits using cutting edge technology, there's video of it right there, following your whereabouts inside their stores, one store in particular have some customers pretty outrage.

CNN's Pamela Brown is taking a look at this. Say it isn't so.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Mr. Yakamoto, welcome back to the Gap. How do tank tops work out for you?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Will this future shopping experience from Minority Report soon be coming to a store near you? It's not as far-fetched as you may think. Retailers are turning to technology using video surveillance and tracking signals from your smartphone to figure out how to get you to spend more.

TIM CALLAN, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, RETAILNEXT: The in-store analytics makes it possible for retailers to understand things like where they go, where they stop and ultimately how all of that translates to sales at the register.

BROWN: Upscale department chain Nordstrom recently ended a test program that gathered pings from Wi-Fi signals on customers' phones as they browse through the store. Some were outraged after learning about the in-store surveillance. Way over the line, one consumer wrote on Facebook. Take a look at this video, the camera is set up on the ceiling near the entrance as people enter, the software pinpoints them and follow them throughout the store.

Retailnext which is one of the company's providing this kind of technology says the software is so specific it can tell exactly where inside the store a person is standing and even which direction their head is looking.

CALLAN: They know that there is a person and then know what that person is doing, but it can't really lead back to your personal identity.

BROWN: These heat maps are another tool. The red areas are spots where people stood looking at products for a long time. Still shoppers have mixed feelings about being watched by big brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they're storing data and like figuring out exactly where you are going, it's completely an invasion of privacy.


BROWN: Retailnext says that its technology is in more than 5,000 stores worldwide and that is just one company. Nordstrom says that it was just testing the program. It ended it in May and says that it didn't store any of the data nor did it have any way of identifying individuals in that program, but still I think that creep a lot of shoppers out knowing that they were being tracked by their cell phones.

BOLDUAN: A little bit not surprising though. I mean, with everything, the technology, we're getting -- Google is tracking the information that we use online. BROWN: More stores are trying to compete with online stores so the wave of the future.

BOLDUAN: It's business but you can still be outraged about it. That's for sure.

CUOMO: Let me know if you're snooping on me while I'm in your store. You can look at me from stealing something, but don't look into my device without telling me. Come on.

BOLDUAN: Just let me know.

CUOMO: Pamela, thank you very much.

Coming up on NEW DAY, plain white t-shirt goes for $120 and they're selling so fast, web sites are crashing. The man behind this fashion craze coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is time for the Pop Four with our Nischelle Turner. What's going on today, Nischelle?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I don't understand this breakup. They're gorgeous people. I don't understand why they're doing it. It's our number four story popping this morning. Stacy Keebler opening up about her split with George Clooney saying nothing really dramatic that happened proving that, yes, she is not only gorgeous, but she is one classy lady, too.

Our number three story, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard will be back for Dan Brown's "Inferno." The film follows the "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels And Demons." It will hit theatres December 18th, 2015.

Number two, talk about a graduation surprise. Tom Cruise made the day of 60 acting students by showing up unannounced and giving a commencement speech. I was wondering, do I remember who gave my commencement speech? I do, it was Elizabeth Vargas.

I have a question for you guys, would you pay 120 bucks for a white tee?


TURNER: Chris still hasn't answered. I think he might have a couple of those in his closet. Apparently, a lot of people will and they did. It's our number one story. Kanye West fashion line went on sale and sold out in a matter of minutes. The site even crashed due to the insane amount of traffic. Now the line features two plain t-shirts. They are available, again, for 120 bucks. What happened to fruit of the loom. You can get three of them for $8.99.

BOLDUAN: That is the great thing about America. You can put something out there and if people like it.

TURNER: I'll sell you two of them for $35. BOLDUAN: And I will buy one of those. Thanks so much, Nischele.

COUMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, the protest after the George Zimmerman verdict are only expected to increase and also more from the exclusive interview with Juror B37. What she says about her fellow jurors and what they say about her.

BOLDUAN: And you know what it feels like outside, just like that guy feels and that guy feels. It's hot, the northern plains and the northeast and the mid-Atlantic all in a serious summer heat wave. When will we get a break?


BOLDUAN: You hear the music and you know what it means. It means it's time for the Rock Block, everyone, a quick round up of the stories you will be talking about today. First up, Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, first up, here we are from the papers from the "Denver Post," they are worked up in the mile-high city over proposed work out fees. City officials there are considering charging groups who use Denver's public parks for exercise classes.

From the "Atlantic Wire," Edward Snowden is becoming an Olympic-sized problem. Senator Lindsay Graham is suggesting the U.S. to boycott the 2014 Olympics in Russia if the NSA leaker is not handed over.

You'll see a story in "USA Today" about Lolo Jones, not about her Olympic hurdling or bobsledding about a bar fight she may or may not have been involved in. Time now for Christine Romans with your business news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We finally have an official head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau five years after the Wall Street meltdown. Richard Cordray was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday to a five-year term.

Shares of Tesla spinning out on Monday, the stock of the electric sports car maker skidding 14 percent after Goldman Sachs reports tag the price target way below its current price.

Evidence of the stock market boom, balances on IRAs reaching a five- year high, the average balance of an individual retirement account stood at $81,000 in 2012, 53 percent increase from 2008.

Now let's get to Indra Petersons outside in Times Square for the weather.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The heat wave continues in the east coast. We're talking about temperatures in the mid-90s, but you add the worst part, the high humidity and feels like over 100 degrees. We're talking Southern New England. We're talking about Philadelphia, New York, but it gets worse than that. That dome of high pressure will spread all the way now to the Midwest, to the Ohio Valley and today even Minneapolis, yes, Minneapolis Minnesota just sweating it out in the heat. This should last all the way through the weekend. BOLDUAN: All right, Indra, thank you so much. We'll get back to you in just a minute, but we are now at the top of the hour, which means it is time for the top news.