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Zimmerman "Got Away With Murder"; "I'm Disgusted By Him"; Deadly Train Derailment In Spain; Train Crash Survivor Speaks; Plea Deal Offer: Prison For Life; New Hernandez Photos; O.J. To Parole Board: "Set Me Free"; Tropical Storms Developing; Pope in Brazil

Aired July 26, 2013 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Intriguing question this morning, is "American Idol," the TV program, racist? There is a new lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 former contestants, all of them African-American claiming just that. So is there a double standard on one of the country's top programs?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But first this morning to that admission from a juror in the George Zimmerman trial. Juror B29 says Zimmerman got away with murder because the jury couldn't convict him under Florida state law. Pamela Brown is following the story for us here in New York. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. TGIF.

COUMO: Thank you.

BROWN: The second juror to come forward in the George Zimmerman trial is not only speaking out, but she is also showing her face. An interview with ABC News Juror B29 talked about her feelings about the not guilty verdict that cleared Zimmerman of the second degree murder charge in the death of Trayvon Martin and why she says she owes Trayvon's parents an apology.


JUROR B29: George Zimmerman got away from murder but you can't get away from God.

BROWN (voice-over): Anguish and apologetic. Juror B29 going by the name "Maddy" told ABC's Robin Roberts that she favored of convicting George Zimmerman of second-degree murder.

JUROR B29: I'm the only minority and I felt like I let a lot of people down.

BROWN: Maddy says it was the all-female jury's interpretation of the law that ultimately led them to acquitting Zimmerman.

JUROR B29: For myself he's guilty, but as the law was read to me, if you have no proof he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty.

BROWN: Anderson Cooper spoke exclusively to Juror B37 soon after the verdict how they got to a not guilty verdict.

JUROR B37: 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.

BROWN: After more than 16 hours of deliberations, Maddy says she struggled with the proof to convict.

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: How did you go from in nine hours from feeling he was guilty of second-degree murder and not guilty?

JUROR B29: A lot of wanted to find something bad, something that we could connect to the law.

BROWN: Maddy concedes she still struggles with the verdict and the public outcry that followed.

JUROR B29: I literally fell on my knees and broke down, my husband was holding me, I was screaming and crying, and I kept saying to myself I feel like I killed him.

ROBERTS: What would you like to say to Trayvon's parents?

JUROR B29: I would like to apologize because I feel like I let them down.


BROWN: And the response to what Maddy had to say Trayvon Martin's mother released a statement saying this new information challenges our nation once again to do everything we can to make sure that this never happens to another child.

CUOMO: All right, Pamela, thank you very much.

Now coming up we're going to have more on the revelations here. We have two jurors to work with now. If you have the right experts that will really give you a window of insight into how this verdict came to be, whether it was right or wrong. We have Sunny Hostin, Paul Callan, Jeffrey Toobin will all take us through what this could mean.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Another great headline we've been watching all week, Anthony Weiner finally revealing the number of women that he believes he has sexted with saying three since he resigned from Congress and this morning one of those women is speaking out, detailing the nature of their scandalous relationship.

CNN's Mary Snow is live in New York with more on this -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, Anthony Weiner would love more than anything else to change the topic back to politics, but that doesn't look like that's going to be happening any time soon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (voice-over): The woman now at the center of the Anthony Weiner scandal says the best description of the former congressman is one he offered to her himself.

SYDNEY LEATHERS, EXCHANGED MESSAGES WITH WEINER: That he's an argumentative perpetually horny middle aged man.

SNOW: In an interview with "Inside Edition," Sydney Leathers talked candidly about her sexually suggested relationship online and over the phone with Weiner last summer, a year after he resigned from Congress and why she's speaking out now.

LEATHERS: He was making these campaign promises that he had totally changed and he was a better man now and he learned from his mistakes and I am proof that that is not true.

SNOW: Lisa Weiss who exchanged explicit messages with then Congressman Weiner in 2010 and 2011 doesn't blame Leathers.

LISA WEISS, EXCHANGED MESSAGES WITH WEINER: I understand to a point, yes, I do, because I would speak to him about politics and then he sort of turns the conversation into a sexual thing and it becomes very flattering.

SNOW: Weiner appearing with his wife by his side admitted Tuesday to a new round of lewd exchanges with women after he got caught and left office. On Thursday for the first time, he put a number on just how many women.

ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I don't believe I had any more than three.

SNOW: And as for how many all together?

WEINER: It's not dozens and dozens. It is six to ten, I suppose.

SNOW: When he launched his mayoral campaign, Weiner raised the possibility that other women may come forward. Now he says that's all behind him, but admitted he continues to get professional help and when asked if it's an addiction?

WEINER: I don't believe that it is. The people that I'm working with don't believe that it is.


SNOW: Now all of this is taking a toll on Weiner's bid to become the mayor of New York City. A poll taken after Tuesday's press conference shows a steep drop among registered Democrats. Weiner is now trailing his Democratic rival, Christine Quinn by 9 percentage points. In June, he was ahead of Quinn by 5 percentage points -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Mary, thank you very much. We'll be watching that one.

Now also this morning, we have new information for you on that deadly train derailment in Spain, this horrifying surveillance video capturing the final moments before impact. An American is among the 80 dead. This morning there are troubling, new questions about the driver of that train and in moments we'll talk to an American who survived the crash. You're looking at him there right now. He's banged up, but he's OK.

First let's get to Karl Penhaul live in Santiago De Compostela. Good morning, Karl.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. As we speak, medical personnel are still trying to identify 13 of the 80 people that were killed in this train crash. Their bodies are too mangled so far to get any positive ID on them. And also we understand the judges now have the black box from the train to see if that can shed any light on why this accident took place.


PENHAUL (voice-over): The heart-stopping moment of impact caught on security camera. It's a difficult scene to watch as the train speeds around the bend, flies off the tracks and slams into concrete. Flames engulf one of the cars, another ripped in half.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): It was horrific, it was so griming, it was so surreal. It felt like a horror movie.

PENHAUL: The crash Wednesday killed at least a third of the passengers on board in the town of Santiago De Compostela. This morning we're learning that one American was killed, Anna Maria Cordoba, a Virginia mother traveling with her family according to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. She was headed to her son who just finished a pilgrimage in Spain. Her husband and daughter were injured but survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can only imagine how horrible it must have been for their son, you know, waiting for them to arrive. It's just such a horrible story, brought home very closely to us because of Anna Maria's death.

PENHAUL: Emergency crews and fellow passengers pulled victims from the wreckage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody started running down with whatever they could and starting hitting at the cars to see if they could get the people out.

PENHAUL: Dozens remain hospitalized in critical condition, families of the dead overtaken by grief at the local morgue. Spanish officials said on state television that the tragedy appears to be linked to the train going too fast. Some Spanish media estimates suggest the train was moving at 118 miles per hour, more than double the speed limit on that tight turn portion of the track.


PENHAUL: The train driver is under formal investigation we're told. He's in police custody, but so far he's not been charge with anything -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Karl, thank you very much. Joining us now we're going to give you an exclusive interview with one of the survivors of that tragic crash, an American, Stephen Ward. Steven, thank you for joining us. Let's take care of what matters first. How are you feeling? You looked banged up, but what is your condition?

STEPHEN WARD, SURVIVOR, SPAIN TRAIN CRASH: Well, boy, my condition is improving quickly and I have nothing that is going to be permanent or not going to heal on its own so as well as I could be doing.

CUOMO: All right, now, the second thing, you're 18 years old. Does your family know you're OK? Have you contacted everybody you need to? Do you need us to help you out with any of that?

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: You're OK. Family knows?

WARD: No, I've contacted my family. They're very happy to hear from me.

CUOMO: All right, all right, good. So now let's get to what happened here. You're in Spain on a religious fellowship for the Mormon Church, right?

WARD: Yes, I'm serving a mission we call it, yes.

CUOMO: OK, so you're serving your mission, you're on the train. Did you feel that it was going very fast? Was that something you could sense?

WARD: So I saw a little screen across from me that had the speed on it, and it was very, very fast, but it didn't feel that much faster to me, but I wasn't paying super close attention. So I would have believed you if you told me we were going way too fast.

CUOMO: Take me through what happens and how you experience it.

WARD: OK, basically I was writing in my journal, I kind of looked up and saw the speed and thought it was funny, thought it might be an error or something, and then we went around a sharp turn and all of a sudden like you could tell one set of wheels left the rails. We were riding on one set of wheels for two or three seconds and there wasn't really screaming, most people were like, but no one got super scared about it.

Few things of luggage started falling off the racks and then after one or two seconds you could feel us leave the other side of the racks and the whole train rotated about 90 degrees and I blacked out before I hit the ground, which was lucky for me and the next thing I knew they were helping me out.

CUOMO: Why do you think you blacked out? Did something hit you? Do you know what happened? WARD: There was plenty of luggage in the racks up above that could have hit me or it could have been suddenly gravity was sideways. I don't know, but I say better before than during.

CUOMO: When you come to, what are you seeing all around you?

WARD: Come to is a funny word to use in this situation. I thought it was a dream for a couple of minutes. I vaguely remember someone helping me out of the car, I don't remember what it looked like inside at all. They kind of helped me out. The train had fallen to a ditch where I was and they helped me up and off to the side. I kind of looked around I was one of the first people they helped out.

They were helping other people out. They were screaming. There were bodies and smoke and after 30 seconds or a minute that I finally thought to myself, you know, I don't think I'm asleep. I think this is real and that was a scary realization. And I mean, people were helping, people were trying to get people out as fast as they could and I just sat there dumb-founded for a while.

CUOMO: Was it obvious to you that this was really catastrophic, what was going on? There are a lot of people hurt and affected by this?

WARD: I think, yes, I think I realized it. I don't think my mind really comprehended it. I had kind of a concussion so I was still just kind of the train crashed and trying to remember what had happened before, but I gradually kind of got it back up and realized I think people are dead. I think this is horrible, but I don't think I really comprehended the importance of it until later.

CUOMO: You said you felt like we were the walking dead there. Why? Because there was just nowhere to go and it was just kind of limbo?

WARD: No, I didn't really feel like the walking dead, I looked like the walking dead and many people did. Everyone was covered in blood. I've got staples all over my scalp. I was covered in blood. They scrubbed most of it off me now, but everyone was covered with blood and the blood of others. It was gruesome to say the least.

COUMO: Now this was horrible to live through, but you did live through it, thank God, and you know what it's like to get lucky and make it through something, right. Four years ago even though you were a young man, you had to fight off a rare form of cancer, right? Tell us about that.

WARD: It was a cancer called Burkett's lymphoma, it was intestinal. I had it twice. It came back once and there were bunch of times that I look like I was going to die. I beat the odds then and I'm grateful to have lived through another brush with death now.

CUOMO: So where does this situation leave you? Do you want to get home or does this strengthen your resolve you want to stay on mission in Spain?

WARD: I absolutely want to stay on my mission in Spain. I am so proud to be out here representing my church, I'm proud to be representing Jesus Christ and I'm so glad that I've been left alive without permanent injury. I very much plan on staying out here for missions are usually for two years for young man and I plan on serving the full two.

CUOMO: All right, Stephen, thank you so much. I know you're banged up. I appreciate you spending time with us. Thank God you made it through and good luck with the mission.

WARD: Thank you very much. Good luck to you as well.

CUOMO: All right, he's lucky he made it through. Many did not. We're still trying to figure out what happened in that situation and we'll bring you the details on the investigation as we get them.

A lot of other news going on this morning as well, so let's head over to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: What a tremendous firsthand account from that young man. Chris, thanks for sharing that with us. Let's look at the headlines at this hour.

Good morning, everyone. We could find out in a few hours whether Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive for close to a decade would accept a plea deal. This deal would recommend keeping him behind bars for the rest of his life sparing him the death penalty. It could be announced at a hearing this morning. An attorney for the victims, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus, say they are hoping for a plea deal because they do not want to testify at trial.

Photographs that appear to show former NFL star Aaron Hernandez holding a gun in his basement are included in newly released court documents. The surveillance photos were taken on June 17th just minutes after investigators believed Odin Lloyd was shot to death. And at the University of Florida, plaques and memorabilia honoring Aaron Hernandez's college football career are now being removed now from public display.

O.J. Simpson pleading with the Nevada paroled board to set him free. Simpson is serving a 33-year prison term for armed robbery and kidnapping and has already been behind for bars for five years. He says he has been a model inmate and claims he should be released because he was only trying to retrieve his own property and not attempting to rob someone else. Decision is expected in two weeks. Much more on this coming up in our program.

San Diego's Democratic Party calling on Mayor Bob Filner to resign after allegations he made unwanted sexual advances toward women and now, four more women have come forward claiming they, too, were victims of those advances. That brings the total number of accusers up to seven. One of the women has filed a sexual harassment suit. Filner says he will not step down and feels he will be vindicated.

And this is not the way a would-be burglar in Arkansas thought this whole scheme up. Michael Wayne Case Jr. (ph) thought he'd break into a pawn shop going down the chimney, he got stuck. When the owner came into work he heard Case screaming for help. They threw a rope down to pull him up and the cops took Case to another small space, one with bars around it.

CUOMO: Not very good.

Santa Claus is the only one who can pull that off.

BOLDUAN: And he's like I'm kind of a Santa Claus, why not?

PEREIRA: I know. It made sense in his head somehow.

BOLDUAN: I love the way that's where he got his idea.

CUOMO: Santa makes down to chimney because of magic. That's what he forgot. It's not about the size.

PEREIRA: It's about magic.

CUOMO: The power of spirit, he doesn't have it because he's a bad guy. Jail instead of giving you toys.


BOLDUAN: Exactly. Moral of the story, you're not Santa Claus.

All right. Thanks so much, Michaela.

So, this morning, we've got tropical storms on both coasts to be talking about. Indra Petersons is watching both of them and all the weather for us.

Good morning, Indra.


Good news on Dorian -- as expected it did weaken, a lot of try air is in front of it. Yesterday it had steady winds of 60 miles per hour, today dropping down to 50 miles per hour.

The biggest change we're noticing today other than all the dry air it has to get through is the path, a little bit of a change. The dry air is a good thing, it's expected to weaken but the bad side is the new path dropped it a little bit farther south, which means it could impact some of the islands.

Here's what it looks like if it holds together 45 miles per hour, a weak tropical storm on Monday north of Puerto Rico. By Wednesday, it could slam into the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. We're going to have to be watching this one closely.

On the other side of the country, though, yes, we have Flossie. And notice Flosse unfortunately is strengthening. Remember we had that Dorian weakening, this one here is strengthening. Not expected to strengthen too much but it does like it has the potential to hit the Hawaiian Islands by Monday but they're just barely above tropical storm strength. We're still early in the season and not looking at anything at least at hurricane status.

BOLDUAN: That's fine. Stay weak and stay away. That's what we need.

All right. Indra, thank you.

CUOMO: Just seeing those spiny little symbols, that's enough to make you nervous about what may come. Keep getting to Indra so you can guide us through it.

All right. We're going to take you through here to the commercial. Coming up on the other side of NEW DAY, Pope Francis making waves in Brazil, frankly doing what he said he would do, speaking out against corruption and the deep divide between rich and poor in Latin America and elsewhere. We're going to take you live to Rio de Janeiro.

BOLDUAN: Also coming up, O.J. Simpson pleading with a parole board to set him free. Why he thinks he's already served more than enough time for his crime.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.

This morning, Pope Francis will bring his message of faith to young prisoners in Brazil. The pontiff spoke at a huge rally on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana's Beach last night. As many as a million pilgrims flooded into town for World Youth Day.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Rio this morning with the latest.

Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Kate. Bon gia, I should say. The sun is finally and thankfully out here and the pope is certainly hitting his stride. The moment of the night I think was the Elvis moment where he was removing his skull cap and throwing it to the adoring crowds.

World Youth Day, about half way over, and it is moving at a fever pitch.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Pope Francis facing the biggest crowd yet welcoming hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

He first asked for a moment of silence.

Silence for a group of pilgrims whose bus crashed, killing one, so many so silent a powerful and touching moment.

The pope throughout his trip, aligning himself with the under-classes, those struggling with joblessness, addiction or poverty. In a Rio slum, he shushed rambunctious boys, prayed with them and blessed them. It is these young people he hopes to reach.

"Dear young friends", he says, "you have particular sensitivity toward injustice. Do not lose trust, do not lose hope. Situations change. People change."

With security at a maximum, it was hard at times for the pope to interact with his flock. Some nervous moments as mothers thrust their babies toward Francis in his pope mobile, like a politician, kissing quickly becoming his trademark.

And in a nod to pop culture he tossed skull cap after skull cap to the adoring crowd.

Another awe-inspiring moment, the pope addressing his fellow Argentineans. Rio's St. Sebastian Cathedral suddenly more like a soccer or football match.

No matter where he goes, the crowds grow, his voice, their faith growing stronger.


MARQUEZ: Now, a little bad news for pilgrims here, Faith Field, an area they were supposed to walk to five or six miles outside of Rio, that has been canceled, all events will now take place here because there was so much rain in the last couple of days the field was too muddy.

And the other thing that's happening tonight is the pope will walk the Stations of the Cross set up along Copacabana Beach here. And I can tell you, it will be a resilient version of the Stations of the Cross. It should be a very, very interesting show.

Chris, Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: It's been interesting so far, can't say what happens next.

Thank you so much, Miguel.

CUOMO: That's going to be an unusually emotional thing for the pilgrim -- people came to see the pope. The Stations of the Cross or the march of the resurrection of Jesus, it's a very big thing for Catholics. But he's showing, this is what he wanted to do, reach out to people, deal with the problems of social poverty and whatnot.

BOLDUAN: And he seems to have a gentle touch, quite a finesse. I mean, you get the memorable moment of tossing out his skull cap is interesting.

CUOMO: And believes in the people and so far he's showing it. So, good for all of them down there.

We're going to get a break. When we come back on NEW DAY: O.J. is saying I want out. Former football legend pleading with a parole board to release him from prison early. BOLDUAN: And did you hear the one about the bear who walked into a bar? There's more, and it's no joke. We'll let you know how this all played out.


BOLDUAN: Try to get me dancing.

CUOMO: Boy, if you knew what happened when this song plays and the camera's not on, you'd go crazy.

Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It is Friday, July 26th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. Good morning, everyone.

Let's get straight to news anchor Michaela Pereira for the top stories.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's do that.

Good morning, everyone.

Making news the death toll in Spain's terrifying train derailment now at 80 and we know one of the dead is an American, Ana Maria Cordoba of Virginia. No clear word yet on what caused the crash, but there are suggestions the train was going around that bend far too fast. The train driver is being questioned by police and is under formal investigation. However he has not been charged.

The woman involved in the latest Anthony Weiner sexting speaking out. Sydney Leathers telling "Inside Edition" the former congressman- turned-mayoral candidate deceived her when he reached out to her online.




LEATHERS: Because obviously I felt like he's saying one thing to me, saying another thing to his wife, saying another thing on the campaign trail. I don't know who the real Anthony Weiner is, I guess.