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Weiner Still Staying in Race; Manning Faces Sentencing Today; On The Lam; Hurricane Season Going Strong; A-Rod to Fight Any Punishment

Aired July 31, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The New York mayoral candidate unveiling a new campaign video as the woman he was sexting reveals intimate new details about their relationship.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Prison break caught on camera. This morning, the manhunt for a dangerous inmate who orchestrated the perfect getaway.

BERMAN: Judgment day for the woman who planned her husband's murder in front of a camera. Her last-minute plea for leniency.


PEREIRA (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning. About 30 minutes after the hour right now.

PEREIRA: Well, to hear Anthony Weiner Tell it, he has not even begun to fight yet. Weiner said he is not quitting the New York City mayoral race over his sexting scandal. He drives home the point in a video message on his campaign website. The people who want him to resign, Weiner says, don't know him or New York and that, quote, "quitting isn't the way we roll in New York City."

Meantime, Anthony Weiner's former sexting partner, Sydney Leathers, says her online relationship with Weiner has proved he has not changed. She was dishing the dirt on Howard Stern's radio show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like, this is absolutely insane. I cannot believe this man would really do this again, you know, the second time around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's shocking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could he be so foolish? And then, I was like, just roll with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PEREIRA: Weiner's communication director is apologizing now for what she said about a former intern for the campaign. Left-leaning news organization talking points memo says Barbara Morgan used quite a string of curse words to describe the intern who wrote a tell-all article in the New York "Daily News."

In that article, Olivia Nuzzi (ph) described the campaign as an experience and full of people they're only to make a connection with Weiner's wife and hopes that that might help them get close to her boss, Hillary Clinton. In a statement to CNN, Morgan said she was sorry, writing, "In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation. It was wrong and I'm very sorry."

BERMAN: A lot of accuse getting hotter for San Diego's embattled mayor. The city council there is now telling Bob Filner he should pay his own legal bills as he fights allegations that he sexually harassed women. The council voted unanimously to sue the mayor so the city will not be held liable for his actions. That, as an eighth accuser, is now coming forward.

College administrator, Lisa Curtain, says Filner touched her wedding band during a meeting and what happened next shocked her.


LISA CURTAIN, 8TH FILNER ACCUSER: He then asked me if it could come off while I was in D.C. and if I would go out with him. I said I really don't think so. And at that point, he pulled my hand closer to him and he reached over to kiss me. I turned my head at that moment. And on the side of my face, I got a very wet, saliva-filled kiss, including feeling his tongue on my cheek.


BERMAN: That sounds a lot less than charming. She said she told the college she never wanted to meet with Filner alone again.

PEREIRA: The sentencing phase begins today in the trial of army private, Bradley Manning, convicted of espionage for giving a trove of secret government documents to WikiLeaks. He was acquitted on the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy. Manning is already facing decades in prison after admitting that he mishandled classified data. It could be weeks before his sentence is announced.

BERMAN: The man who admitting holding three women captive in a Cleveland home for years is paying to tear that home down. Details of Ariel Castro's plea deal show he's given just over $22,000 to the county so the home could be demolished. Any left over money will go to a non-profit set up to support his victims.

He's set to be sentenced tomorrow to life in prison plus a thousand years. He'll never get out. The three women and the six-year-old girl he fathered with one of the women escaped that home in May.

PEREIRA: A non-guilty plea from a University of Pittsburgh medical researcher accused of poisoning his neurologist wife with cyanide. Dr. Robert Ferrante (ph) was in court Tuesday. Prosecutors say he laced an energy drink with the poison and then encouraged her to drink it. his lawyer says Ferrante is devastated by the charges.

BERMAN: A defense this morning of the two Florida sheriff's deputies who shot an unarmed man in his front yard. This happened near Pensacola, in Escambia County. The county sheriff says that Roy Middleton (ph) did not push his hands up, and that's why the deputies opened fire.

But Middleton says he did raise his hands and the deputy shot anyway. He's recovering in the hospital right now with a leg wound.

PEREIRA: Authorities in Kansas City are still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong at a day care center. A car went flying through the wall of that center. Two children were pinned under the car that had been parked outside. It was rear ended by an SUV and then pushed into the building. All told, three children and one adult were injured. Their injuries are described as not being life threatening.

BERMAN: State and federal investigators are still trying to determine what caused the massive explosion at a propane gas plant near Orlando in Florida. Eight workers at the Blue Rhino plant were injured, at least four of them critically. Officials say there were 53,000 20- pound propane tanks at the facility and most of them exploded. People as far as ten miles from the plant reported feeling their homes shaking from that blast.

PEREIRA: A real mystery to tell you about. In Michigan, a 25-year- old medical student is dead. Authorities are seemingly stumped. Paul Dewolf (ph) was an aspiring surgeon and an air force officer who friends described as energetic and full of life. He was found dead of a single gunshot wound in his fraternity house bedroom. Nothing in the room had been touched and no weapons had been found.


JASON HALTERMAN, FRIEND: Paul was probably the best person that I've ever met in my entire life. It's hard for me to believe that Paul would have any enemies. I don't know a single person that didn't like him.


PEREIRA: Police believe he was killed in cold blood. And as the investigation continues, authorities are now stepping up the patrols near the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.

BERMAN: It's troubling.

On the loose this morning, a man in Arkansas police call armed and dangerous. He was in custody until this weekend when he broke out of jail in a really dramatic fashion. As David Mattingly tells us, it was all caught on camera.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look quick. In less time than it takes to tell you what happened, Arkansas inmate, Derrick Estell (ph), was out of jail, out the front door and off to who knows where. It happened Sunday in Garland County, Arkansas and the only thing authorities are sure of, Estell got past deputies because he was not acting alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had their back turned at that time.

MATTINGLY: Authorities say Estell was being held accused of stealing a car back in March, leading police on a chase that ended in a standoff. The Garland County sheriff says this time, he dove past deputies through an intake window when an accomplice distracted the guards. He ran out with a deputy in hot pursuit through the parking lot to a waiting car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently, we're investigating several, several leads we've received.

MATTINGLY: One of the leads, pretty obvious, this man, William Harding (ph), is suspected of distracting the guards and providing the getaway car. He's now in custody. They're also looking for this woman, Tamara Upshaw (ph), suspected of being the driver. These mug shots from June when she was brought in for skipping bond on a theft charge.

Authorities found that getaway car abandoned just a few minutes away with the couple nowhere in sight. Estell already had a prison record of theft and burglary. He was facing a multitude of new charges after his arrest in March. That list is sure to grow after his escape in broad daylight.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


PEREIRA: The homeless in Hawaii may get some government help to return to the mainland. The state is launching a new pilot program to pay for homeless people to get a flight out of Hawaii and back to their families. Advocates say it will help reduce the homeless population and ease the burden of government services but some including the state health department warned it could actually encourage people to buy a one-way ticket to the island when the state pays their way back.

BERMAN: A big settlement from a college student who was left alone in a DEA holding cell for five days. Daniel Chong (ph) will get $4.1 million to settle his lawsuit against the government. He was picked up in a drug raid back in 2012 then put in a cell and seemingly forgotten about until nearly a week later when an agent found Chong severely dehydrated. He'd been drinking his own urine to survive. Chong was never charged with a crime. He's now back in school.

PEREIRA: Well, hang on to your big sodas. An appeals court is knocking down New York City's plan to ban sugary drinks than 16 ounce -- bigger than 16 ounces saying the city health department didn't have the power to make that rule. Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls the decision a temporary setback and is promising to take it to the state's highest courts.

BERMAN: Always running out of legal options there. Let's take a look now at what the weather holds for today. Indra Petersons is here with the forecast.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's hurricane season, so we know we're going to continue to watch the tropics today. In the pacific, we have Gil, now, a tropical storm at 15 miles per hour, but what's so interesting here is not only with Gil but behind it, a 60 percent chance for another storm to develop. Even more interesting, I wanted to overlay Gil on the path of Flossie.

You can literally tell it's expected to strengthen in 48 hours. But behind that, even more important, it's taking the same path as Flossie. So, we're definitely monitoring this, especially considering the Hawaiian Islands were right in that direct path of Flossie, itself. Other things going on, well, we have a low making its way now through the Mississippi Valley. So, with that, the warm sector should produce some thunderstorms into the southeast.

Yes, your break is over. One to two inches of heavy rain still possible in your forecast for you today. And that same front is going to be quickly making its way across the Midwest and eventually into the northeast. So, with that, we're going to be talking out all that beautiful weather, yes, it's not going to be lasting very long.

So, first, we're going to start here pretty much in the Midwest, eventually in the Ohio Valley and then by Thursday, we're going to be talking about rain as far as the northeast. But again, pretty quick moving as far as rain amounts, anywhere from half an inch to an inch. Heavier amount seems like the trend here in Pennsylvania expected tomorrow.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Indra.

PETERSONS: Enjoy today.

BERMAN: Let me show you someone right now who is not your typical NFL cheerleader. Twenty-eight-year-old Megan Welter (ph) got the job last year working the sidelines for the Arizona Cardinals. She's also a military veteran. She's an army lieutenant who spent 16 months leading a platoon of soldiers in Iraq.


VOICE OF MEGAN WELTER, ARMY PLATOON LEADER TURNED NFL CHEERLEADER: Our biggest threat to the base was incoming mortars and rockets. My job was to make sure that the war fighter, that soldiers that were actually out doing combat missions were able to communicate.


BERMAN: Megan says her Iraq tour was a sink or swim experience. Obviously, she swam. Now, she says she's living a dream cheering for the Cardinals. Good for her.

PEREIRA: Great smile.

Coming up, she tried to hire a hit man to kill her husband. Now, that husband is telling a judge what he thinks his wife's punishment should be.


BERMAN: A woman in Muskegon, Michigan, now sentenced for trying to hire a hit man that was really an undercover police officer. Julia Merfeld admitted she wanted to have her husband killed in videotaped conversations said it was easier than divorcing him. But of course, she apologized. And her husband came to her defense.


JULIA MERFELD, WIFE: I know that what I did was wrong and I take full responsibility for it. It could have been worse, the crime that I attempted could have been carried out, and that, alone, honestly, is the worst punishment anyone should ever have to endure. And I will endure it for the rest of my life every single day.

JACOB MERFELD, HUSBAND: I wholeheartedly forgive my wife for all she has done and this act of hatred. Before this, she's been a wonderful person, a wonderful wife.


BERMAN: He asked the judge to keep their young children in mind and let her go with a life sentence, but the judge said Merfeld will have to spend at least five and a half years in jail. That is one understanding husband right there. I don't want to make light of it, but she tried to have him killed.

PEREIRA: So -- do they stay together and does he sleep with one eye open? I mean --

BERMAN: You think you have problems. I mean --

PEREIRA: No, really. It puts everything in perspective. With that, let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day," shall we? One eye open at the very least.

BERMAN: Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, a happy couple --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I like that. Mickey, what were you using there? Was that the method?



PEREIRA: I couldn't speak because I was so shocked!

CUOMO: I like it. (LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: I like that you went with it.

PEREIRA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Here's my question of the day, I want to say this in one of our opens this morning. Seeing red over leafy greens. Why do I want to say that? Well, they've traced this stomach sickness which is really significant for people, right? It's drawing more states, more people, kids, adults. They now know that it's package lettuce.

They won't tell you what the brand is. We all know who they is, right? Some states know. But the government isn't releasing it. Why? It's unclear. We can't get answers. Nobody wants to talk to us about it. So, I want to say seeing red over leafy greens.

So, my question to you, the audience is, what do you think, is that silly or do you think it kind of is provoking the point that we want to get to? Let us know. Tweet me before the show. Be fast because if you don't like it, I have to change it.

We're also going to talk about the TSA investigation today. Why? We give these people all this money and trust, and what do they do? Not good things as you're going to see. What do they call them epidemic they're saying now, it's epidemic, the problems they have (ph) with the TSA. So, we're going to talk about that.

And then, we're going to go through the Manning verdict as well. It's a big deal. It's a big deal. Everybody was -- some people say he's a hero. Other people say he was a spy. He hurt the country. He's not convicted of any big crime. What does it mean? We'll go through it.

BOLDUAN: We're also going to talk to a state representative. Why are we talking to a state representative? An Illinois member of -- member of the Illinois State house, his name is Mike Boss (ph), and he is known for, I guess, you could call it, some pretty passionate speeches. You're seeing a little bit out there. He's become a bit of an internet sensation, and now, he's seeking higher office.


CUOMO: That's enough to be in Congress right there.

BOLDUAN: He's going to be joining us live. We're going to talk to him about what gets himself fired up. It will be fun.

CUOMO: That's right. They'll take that out of him in Congress. Once he gets in, he'll lose. They'll take that out of him.

BOLDUAN: Probably more to be angry about. We've got lots for coming up. Oh, and by the way, we're also going to be speaking with Denzel Washington.

BERMAN: Oh, by the way.


BOLDUAN: He will be joining us. You know him. he needs no introduction. We're going to be talking to him about a lot. His new film he's in with Mark Wahlberg. He's going to be very fun.

PEREIRA: I'm trying to decide if I'm going to fess up about my most embarrassing -- spotting Denzel Washington moment or not. I'm weighing the consequences of embarrassing myself in front of you two.

BERMAN: It was when you were on a date with him --


CUOMO: Or just the one when he got the order of protection against you?



BOLDUAN: Very awkward.

CUOMO: He would not look directly at you.



BERMAN: All right, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll see you guys in a bit.

PEREIRA: You got it.

BERMAN: We will be right back.

PEREIRA: Oh, we will.


BERMAN: While the baseball world awaits a possible suspension for Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod says that he still wants to be a role model for real. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, John. Well, despite what Yahoo! sports reports has overwhelming evidence that proves A-Rod used performance-enhancing drug, the Yankees third baseman steadfast in his stand that he will fight any punishment that comes his way. A-Rod's on the cover of this week's "Sports Illustrated."

In the article he says, "I have two daughters at home, and I'm sensitive of that. And above all, I want to be a role model, continue to be a role model, especially to my girls." Now, according to reports, major league baseball officials told the players association that A-Rod and eight other players will be suspended by the end of the week for their connection to the biogenesis clinic.

Yesterday, a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge ruled that Major League Baseball can, in fact, sue the now closed clinic for providing players PEDs. That's a big win for MLB because now they can use the legal system to force witnesses to give them information on who they supplied banned substances, too.

Well, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Tony Stewart, was having a little fun racing a Sprint Cup dirt track race Monday night. When battling for the lead, check it out, he hits the side, his car flips end over end, five times. Check it out here again. Amazingly, Stewart walked away just fine from this crash, and he was back out on the dirt track again last night.

Astros at the Orioles last night. Bases loaded for the Astros. Check it out. Jose Villar (ph)comes out of nowhere to steal home taking, look, beyond (ph) massive lead pitcher, Wei-Yin Chen not even paying attention --


BERMAN: -- get the play, too.

SCHOLES: I know. The pitch so late hits him in the head, Villar, crazy fast, incredible play there by the Astros shortstop

Arguably, the biggest drawback, John, for going to live sporting events has to be those long lines you have to wait in to get a beer and to go to the bathroom. Well, guess what? Now, there's an app for that. San Francisco 49ers are incorporating new technology into their new stadium that allow you to get on your smartphone and see which beer stand and bathroom have the shortest line.

This is definitely a game changer in my mind, because I don't know about you, John, but whenever a touchdown is scored before the extra point, I'm running up the stairs to get to the bathroom before everybody else does.

BERMAN: And I'm in the beer line. That just tells us, you know, about each of us here, Andy. All right. Andy, I appreciate it. Great to see you this morning. We'll right back.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. So, she is out of rehab. Lindsay Lohan departed Cliffside in Malibu on Tuesday afternoon after serving her court order 90 days for a probation violation. TMZ says she'll head back to Los Angeles where she'll stay with a so-called sober coach for several days. This was Lohan's sixth stay in rehab. It is not clear when she might return to acting.

That is all for EARLY START this morning. Now, for the very last "NEW DAY" of July, I give you Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan. Take it away, guys.

BOLDUAN: But then we have August and it just gets better from here. CUOMO: Though, we probably should have designed commemorative hats.

BOLDUAN: Oh. Darn (ph) it.

CUOMO: Note to self for the next month.

BOLDUAN: We'll try it out.

CUOMO: Look at the time. Getting there to the top of the hour, here on "New Day," that means time for the top news.


CUOMO: Salad sickness. That mysterious disease striking hundreds now linked to prepackaged lettuce. But where is it coming from and what can we do about it?

BOLDUAN: Full court press. President Obama heading to Capitol Hill today. A rare visit to Congress. Will they get anything done before they take their summer break?

PEREIRA: Escape. The brazen prison break caught on tape this morning. The manhunt. He is considered armed and dangerous. Arkansas police are doing everything to get him back.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning, good morning. It's Wednesday. Welcome to "New Day," the July 31st, last day of the month. Big deal. Six o'clock in the east. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

PEREIRA: Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Lots going on this morning. Coming up, the verdict in the Bradley Manning trial, the man behind those WikiLeaks revelations was cleared on the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy. But, he was convicted on many other charges and we'll get into what this means not only for him but also the other folks who revealed classified information like, of course, Edward Snowden.

CUOMO: Plus, shocking allegations against the TSA. You know them. The agency that's supposed to keep you safe in the skies. Well, now, they are accused of some 9,000 instances of misconduct, theft, sleeping on the job, you know, what else could be there? We're going to get into it and find out what can be done to stop it.

PEREIRA: And, take a look at this video, this very well could be the angriest legislator in America. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the damn time!

PEREIRA (voice-over): Punched the air, flying paper. I don't know what it. He punched the paper at any rate. This (INAUDIBLE) had made quite a YouTube sensation. Mike Boss from the great state of Illinois is looking to lead the state house. He's headed to the United States Congress.


PEREIRA (on-camera): What kind of fire can you expect him to bring to the U.S. Capitol? We'll talk with him coming up live in the show.