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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
James "Whitey" Bulger Found Guilty; Clinton Gets Political In Rare Public Speech; History of Abuse From San Diego Mayor?; The Possibilities Of Hyperloop; Al Qaeda Prison Break; Kidnapped Teen Reunites with Father; Sinkhole Swallows Florida Resort
Aired August 12, 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 ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, dead witnesses, f-bombs, and a verdict today in the trial of mob boss Whitey Bulger. The decision is next.
Plus the father of the 16-year-old girl abducted by a family friend speaks for the first time and we are getting some more details in tonight about what exactly happened during her ordeal.
And then, Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, what is the hyperloop? This is pretty stupendous, people. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, mob boss, James "Whitey" Bulger, guilty. The former mobster, an FBI informant from Boston convicted today of 31 out of 32 counts, including a role in 11 murders. Bulger is one of this country's most notorious criminals. He spent 16 years on the run as one of the most wanted by the FBI.
Deborah Feyerick has been covering the trial. She was in the courtroom. And Deb, what was the reaction to the guilty verdict and did those looking for, you know, revenge and fairness here, get what they wanted?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on who you ask. James "Whitey" Bulger portrayed absolutely no emotion. He had called this trial a sham, but he stood and he listened to the verdict as the count of guilty was read, 31 out of the 32 times. Prosecutors, Erin, they looked visibly relieved. It has taken them decades to bring Whitey Bulger to trial, and they mounted a huge case, calling more than 60 witnesses.
But as for the victims' family members, well, all 19 wanted justice, wanted resolution, but only 11 got it. The jury was not able to find enough evidence linking Bulger in at least seven of the murders. In the eighth murder, they actually could not unanimously agree. That was the murder of Bulger's crime partner, of the 26-year-old girlfriend, they could not agree.
So there was no finding in that murder. I spoke to the grown daughter of one of the victims. She said, now, as then, she believes that Whitey Bulger is and will always be the killer. But she says she wishes she had not been dragged through this process. She was clearly in a lot of emotional pain -- Erin. BURNETT: And let me ask you, I know you had a chance to speak exclusively, Deb, with one of Bulger's key mob enforcers, this guy, Kevin Weeks, which must have been just been a rather bizarre, but yet fascinating experience. What did he tell you?
FEYERICK: Yes, it really is. And you know, this is a man who was as close to Whitey Bulger as anyone. Whitey Bulger considered him like a son. And I asked him, do you hate Whitey Bulger? And he said, no, Whitey Bulger made me who I am. So those experiences added up to something, he's out of a life of crime, but listen to what he told me.
FEYERICK (voice-over): As Bulger's mob enforcer, Kevin Weeks said he buried the bodies, moved the guns and collected the cash, which book makers and businessmen to paid to stay in business. Weeks was one of the government's star eyewitnesses. Last month he came face to face with his one-time crime partner.
KEVIN WEEKS, BULGER ENFORCER: He wasn't the same guy I knew. I mean, he's a lot older, but he had no life in his eyes. He was subdued. He had changed. He just kind of lost the spark.
FEYERICK: Weeks turned against his former boss after learning Bulger, who ran a murderous criminal enterprise for 20 years, had spent much of that time as a government informant. The kind of man Bulger always referred to as a rat. During the trial, Weeks and Bulger cursed each other after a defense question about weeks' role and his regrets.
WEEKS: Basically, when he asked me, he said, you have no regrets in life? Nothing bothers you? I say, you know what bothers me, I said, we killed five people. And he said, and that bothers you? And I said, no, what bothered me is we killed people for being rats and I had the two biggest rats right next to me.
FEYERICK: Defense lawyers argued that Bulger never provided any useful information to the government. And though Bulger's argued crime partners Steve Flemi killed two women, Weeks testified he had seen Jim Bulger murder Debra Hussey with his own eyes.
WEEKS: I walked out and there was Jimmy strangling her. She had walked in the house with the Stevie and Jimmy jumped out and started strangling her, and he killed her and then she was brought downstairs and, you know, ultimately buried.
FEYERICK (on camera): Do you ever think of the look on Debbie Hussey's face?
FEYERICK: Do you remember the look?
WEEKS: Not really.
FEYERICK: Do you remember Bulger and how he reacted after?
WEEKS: He laid down and went to sleep.
WEEKS: He always did. He was nice and relaxed.
FEYERICK (voice-over): In December, 1994, Bulger fled South Boston after a corrupt FBI agent tipped him off, the feds were closing in. After a worldwide manhunt, Bulger was finally arrested in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.
(on camera): Whitey Bulger stood up and said, he didn't get a fair trial, it was a sham. He had been given immunity by a corrupt prosecutor. What do you think of that?
WEEKS: I'll equate it to this. He got a fairer trial than the people we killed.
FEYERICK: Do you think Jim Bulger ever lies awake at night thinking about the people he allegedly killed or he killed?
WEEKS: I think he lies awake at night thinking about the people he should have killed and didn't kill.
FEYERICK: If Jim Bulger were sitting across from you right now, what would you want to say to him?
WEEKS: Nothing. I'd have to shoot him because he'd be trying to shoot me if he was sitting there right now.
FEYERICK: Now, Kevin Weeks' testimony at the trial was one of two eyewitness testimonies. Also, Bulger's former hit man testified against him. It was the testimony of those two men that largely made up the murder cases against Whitey Bulger -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Deb. Killed people and would always just go to sleep.
Our second story OUTFRONT, Hillary Clinton dipping her toe into politics, again. All right, the former secretary of state just moments ago speaking publicly, this has been very rare since she stepped down from her high-profile role as secretary of state. But now, of course, she's the front-runner for 2016 for the Democratic Party.
Here she is speaking to the American Bar Association of San Francisco just moments ago. I want to get to Jim Acosta. Jim, these are some of the first political comments she's made in a long time. And she's there and she's talking, she's appearing in public. What was the big headline?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big headline, Erin, is that I think she's dipping more than just her toe in the political waters. If you take a look at the speech she gave out in San Francisco to the American Bar Association, this was pretty striking, because prior to today's speech, she had basically been going to various groups and speaking to those specific target audiences.
Tonight was very different. She said, during her remarks that she's going to be giving a series of policy speeches over the coming months. Today she talked about voting rights. And she went after some of these states that had passed voter I.D. laws in recent months, saying anybody who thinks that race is not a factor in elections is not paying attention.
She says she's going to be talking about national security coming up in this next speech coming up in September. But just to give you a sense as to how much of a departure this is for Hillary Clinton, take a listen to what she just said about an hour ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Over the coming months, I will deliver a series of speeches focused on questions like these. Today, you saw on voting rights, which threatens to block millions of Americans from fully participating in our democracy and further eroding public trust. Next month at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I will talk about the balance and transparency necessary in our national security policies, as we move beyond a decade of wars to face new threats. And later in the fall, I'll address the implications of these issues for America's global leadership and our moral standing around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And Erin, if you heard Hillary Clinton there say that the speech coming up next month in September is going to be on national security issues, that is going to be September 10th, in Philadelphia. She's going to be receiving an award there from none other than Jeb Bush. So that will certainly get the 2016 talk going.
And to think that Hillary Clinton is going to be talking about this balance between national security and civil liberties sounds a lot like the conversation that a lot of people are having around the country right now. It is going to be very interesting to watch.
BURNETT: It sure is. And that timing, of course, would certainly underline that she is running. Thanks very much to Jim Acosta.
Still OUTFRONT, waves of sexual harassment claims, but the mayor of San Diego refuses to step down. Here's the question, how many people knew about his behavior all the way along?
And then, the hyperloop, this is the stupendous story of the day. Would you get into a metal tube and goes 700 miles an hour, 700 miles an hour and it's not an airplane, but it's coming to this country.
Plus, should the government be allowed to tell you what to name your child and names that you absolutely cannot name your child.
And a sinkhole threatens to swallow a Florida neighborhood hole, an entire resort down the drain. We're going to go there live.
BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, San Diego's mayor on deadline to defend his job. Mayor Bob Filner, who has been accused of sexual harassment now by 14 different women, has until midnight tonight to formally respond to the growing calls for him to resign. Tonight, we are also learning that long before the scandal broke, Filner's behavior towards women was questioned. There may have been people who actually knew. So who, exactly, had suspicions and why didn't they say anything?
Our Kyung Lah, who, of course, has been breaking so much of this story, including his alleged targeting of women he knew to be rape victims, is OUTFRONT with an investigation.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Suzanne Morse was the host of this debate a year ago, as Bob Filner ran for San Diego mayor and eventually defeated San Diego councilman, Carl Demaio. They were discussing violence and sexual harassment. Demaio rarely looking at Filner until --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How an individual treats women in their office --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at him. He looks at him again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mayor who is going to insist on zero tolerance when it comes to the issue of sexual harassment.
LAH (on camera): See how he looks at him like that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is deliberate. That is very deliberate.
LAH: Why do you think he looked at him?
SUZANNE MORSE, HEARTFELT VOICES UNITED: I felt like he must have known something. I think that has been going on for years.
LAH (voice-over): Demaio, now running for Congress had no comment, but a Demaio staff member tells CNN allegations about Filner's harassment of women swirled in political circles during the mayoral race and the campaign tried to warn San Diego voters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I deal with frustrated travelers every day.
LAH: This airline worker in a Demaio campaign ad last year described what she called Filner's anger issues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the hostility towards me, especially when he screamed, "you can't stop me!"
LORI SALDANA (D), FORMER CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLYWOMAN: I think there was a lot of whispering, there was a lot of things under the surface. There was a, "boys will be boys" kind of an attitude. LAH: Lori Saldana heard the whispers and complained. She spent six years as a California Democratic lawmaker, a former Clinton appointee. She went to the head of San Diego County's Democratic Party two years ago, after six women told Saldana of Filner's harassing behavior. Nothing happened.
(on camera): Is it fair to say that especially politically, in political circles, that people knew?
SALDANA: It was considered abusive. It was insulting at times, and I think people need to pay attention to those kinds of reports, and take them seriously, and that, unfortunately, didn't happen two years ago.
LAH (voice-over): They're paying attention now, as the city tries to boot its mayor and ask why it had to come to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think a lot of them knew it, and that really disappoints me and the whole batch of them.
BURNETT: Kyung, it's pretty incredible what you're reporting there. How is it that no one did anything, even with Lori Saldana's complaint?
LAH: Well, we called the San Diego County Democrats, the party, and they say, well, none of these women wanted to step forward. There was no official complaint, no paper trail. So in absence of that, they didn't feel like they could do very much. Erin, what they said they did is that they talked to Filner and told him, hey, got to take care of this. But beyond that, they really didn't feel like they could do anything.
BURNETT: Interesting point and reason as to why. Kyung Lah, thank you so much. Kyung, of course, as I said, has been breaking so much on that story.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT, the Hyperloop. Okay. Bear with me, because this is the coolest story of the day, by exponential powers. It's our Money and Power segment tonight.
Elon Musk is the man who co-founded Paypal. He now has Tesla motors, and he's finally unveiled a plan to get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. It's a solar-powered elevated transit system that seat passengers in aluminum pods inside a steel tube. So, what is it? A train, an airplane? I don't really know what it is, because the speed is 700 miles an hour, which is faster than an airplane, but yet it's kind of a train. I don't know what it is.
Richard Quest is host of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. This is the coolest story of the day. Okay, what is this thing? How does it work?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: This is the document. He's either a visionary or he's barking mad for what he's come up with. But the core of this is a tube, that would be on pillars from Los Angeles to San Francisco. And inside, there would be capsule cars that would be rocketed forward, right, rocketed forward, to 700 miles an hour. And there would be a fan on the front.
And Elon Musk basically says that this is the way of the future. It is for perfect travel for those trips, this is what he says, for up to a thousand miles. Basically, 900 miles.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA MOTORS: This is low priority relative to the core mission of Spacex and Tesla. But I think it may -- I think it might help if I created a prototype and sort of helped get things going in that way.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
QUEST: Get things going. Look at the pictures and the diagrams of this. First of all, this is what they say it will look like. But --
BURNETT: It's like a helicopter-train combo?
QUEST: Exactly. It's in a tube - it's in a tube, and you sit in chairs, and there's 30 or so of you in the capsule. At the front, you have a compressor fan. I'll show you the diagram for that in a second. In the middle, you have the passengers, and in the back you have the batteries, and you're going at the speed of sound through this tube.
And here's something I know you'll want to take home and study closely.
QUEST: That is the compressor.
BURNETT: I would like to -- this is the one that makes my head spin. What is this?
QUEST: This is the compressor motor that sits at the front and allows the train to keep moving forward.
BURNETT: All right. So now, just to make it clear, you check on the web, five-and-a-half hours to drive this - it's going to 30 minutes.
BURNETT: That's incredible. If it works.
QUEST: He also says it will only cost to build this $6 billion or $7 billion. Compare that to the $65 billion for the current high-speed rail plans for California. He believes this is a viable, valuable alternative for mass transit between these two destinations.
BURNETT: And when you talk about things that could transform life as we know it, if this were to work, this would be one of them. By the way, you say $6 to $7 billion. I just want to make it clear to all of you watching, $34 billion was the estimate for California high-speed rail. They're now at double that at $70 billion, and there's still no train. So...
QUEST: But the buoyant about this is, could he do it? Let's not be down in the manger. Let's not be wet weekends about this. Has he come up with something --
BURNETT: That would work?
QUEST: Never mind -- is it visionary? In 30 years' time, will you and I be sitting on our rocking chairs, going, well, we talked about it then, and he did it.
BURNETT: I would love it if that were so. I'll pull the segment and go, look at us when we were young! All right, Richard Quest, thank you very much. Let us know what you think about that Hyperloop, whether you think it will work or not.
Still OUTFRONT, al Qaeda and its new mission. Prison breaks. So, the terrorist group has a new plan, just come out today from the number two in al Qaeda, to release thousands more inmates.
And then, a big development in the Paula Deen lawsuit. The plaintiff claims the TV star was racist. The judge has stepped in with a huge ruling late tonight.
And the glory days of summer. We're going to show you a big league catch made by an average Joe.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: al Qaeda prison break. Nasir al- Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said in a statement today that al Qaeda members in prison would be freed soon. Now, it's unclear what the plan is, but of course there have been a lot of prison breaks lately with thousands freed. And it has put the Obama administration on high alert. Those breaks have been linked to the Americans' decision to close embassies around the world.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's the year of the jailbreak for al Qaeda and Nasir al-Wuhayshi couldn't be more pleased. The man who triggered the current terror alert and the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, wants to see more. Saying in a new message, imprisonment will not be for long and shackles will not remain.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The fact that the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen is calling for additional prison breaks, I mean that, I think that has to be taken seriously.
STARR: Wuhayshi has plenty of precedent. July 23rd, Iraq. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for two prison breaks that freed more than 500, including some senior al Qaeda operatives. The U.S. believes some are behind dozens of attacks across Iraq in recent days. July 26th, Benghazi, Libya. A prison break frees about 1,200 inmates. And on July 30th in Pakistan, gunmen attacked a jail, allowing about 200 inmates to escape. Some senior militants are now believed to be free.
Wuhayshi himself broke out of a Yemeni prison in 2006. Yemen's poorest jails are why the U.S. is keeping 56 Yemenis at Gitmo, even though they are cleared to go home.
BERGEN: The basic reason is, is that there is a concern that if they're sent back to Yemen, Yemeni authorities can't really guarantee that they'll stay in prison.
STARR: The U.S. embassy in Yemen remains closed after the recent terror threat after most others in the region reopened this weekend. The new statement, another reason to continue the caution.
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: I think there's always a high level of concern about this. And any time there's a high-level statement from an al Qaeda leader, like him, clearly, it's of concern.
STARR: U.S. officials say a concern al Qaeda may want to break out operatives with computer expertise or bomb-making skills, raising the potential for new attacks even more.
STARR: And Interpol continues to call for vigilance, saying hundreds of terrorists may now have escaped in these jailbreaks. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Barbara, thank you.
And still OUTFRONT, the 16-year-old held captive by a family friend. What she knew during the ordeal and what she didn't.
And then, imagine getting fired over a conference call with all your coworkers around the country and the world listening. Well, it happened at a really well-known company today.
And the latest from the Florida community where the ground is giving way in one of the biggest sinkholes ever.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories where we focus on reporting from the front lines.
So I want to begin with the United States having the highest incarceration rate in the world. And attorney general Eric Holder apparently wants to change it. He said today, the Justice Department is no longer going to pursue mandatory minimum sentences for people who are defined as not in a gang or not in a cartel drug offenders. He says that would reduce excessive sentences and cut costs.
When we talk about cost, the United States spends $80 billion a year incarcerating more than 200,000 federal inmates. Nearly half of those people are in prison for drug offenses. But before you celebrate Holder's move, consider this -- one report shows that 71 percent of those offender who are released, those drug offenders -- those nonviolent, non-cartel offenders -- are arrested for a new crime within three years.
Is Paula Deen off the hook? A federal judge has dismissed the racial discrimination claims in a lawsuit filed against the celebrity chef. Deen's former employee claims that she was denied, quote, "the right to work free from racial harassment." Deen even admitted in a deposition that she used the N-word a very long time ago, in her words.
But the judge decided that the discrimination claims didn't add up because the former employee is white and according to the judge, that mean she wasn't actually being discriminated against. Now, that may sound strange to you, but other aspects of the lawsuit, including sexual harassment and abuse of treatment are still pending.
Well, maybe it was just bad timing. AOL's CEO, Tim Armstrong, was on a conference call. There were 1,000 employees talking about the future of the company and they were talking specifically about a struggling part of the company, a hyper local news Web site known as Patch. He told the employees, quote, "If you think what is going on right now is a joke, you should pick up your stuff and leave Patch today."
That is when Tim, who, by the way, is a really affable guy, noticed an employee taking a picture of him and lost it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TIM ARMSTRONG, AOL CEO: Abel, put that camera down right now. Abel, you're fired. Out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Eight seconds of awkward silence with those one thousand people silenced. We reached o out to AOL and the employee Abel Linz (ph), but neither has responded.
Well, a new survey out today shows that 80 percent of New Yorkers view Anthony Weiner negatively, shocking that 20 percent don't. Anyway, that doesn't bode well for the mayoral candidate's imploding campaign. Judging from the BuzzFeed Q&A, Weiner clearly is not backing away from the race or his sexting proclivities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I did these things. No one did this to me, I did this to me. I made these mistakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Weiner also admitted he is still seeing a therapist and says he hasn't been in touch with Sydney Leathers, the woman at the center of the newest sexting scandal in quite a while.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEINER: I didn't indicated anything inappropriate with her for going back a year. There were messages that were completely, you know, how you doing, what do you think of this? You know, I treated her like a friend. That is what I did.
But in terms of anything inappropriate, it was a year -- I don't have any records but --
REPORTER: And a year for anyone else also, is that right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He treated her as a friend. I would love to know how he treats a girlfriend or -- I don't know.
Anyway, the poll numbers don't seem to be phasing Weiner. He said he predicted this exact rhythm when he got into the race. We want to say in full disclosure, CNN has a partnership with BuzzFeed.
It has been 737 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, stocks were mostly down, but the tech-laden NASDAQ managed to eke out a modest gain. And the reason for that was open table, well, it helped. It's an online restaurant reservation maker and it rallied over a partnership expansion with Facebook. So, now, apparently you can book a table from your cell phone via a restaurant's Facebook page.
And now our sixth story OUTFRONT: a bittersweet reunion. Sixteen- year-old Hannah Anderson is back safely in San Diego tonight with her father after nearly a week on the run with kidnapper James DiMaggio. DiMaggio was shot and killed during the rescue attempt. A short time ago, Anderson's father spoke publicly about this for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT ANDERSON, HANNAH'S FATHER: It's time for us to grieve and move on to the healing process. I respectably ask you to give me, all of our family, and our friends, the respect and time to allow this to happen. As for my daughter, the healing process will be slow. She has been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal. I am very proud of her and I love her very much. She is surrounded by the love of her family, friends, and community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Hannah Anderson only learned about the loss of her mother and her 8-year-old brother after she was rescued on Saturday.
OUTFRONT tonight, Paul Vercammen in San Diego. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The River of No Return Wilderness area, 2.3 million acres of deep gorgeous crags and deep mountainsides. On Wednesday, four country-smart horseback riders chanced upon 16-year-old missing girl, Hannah Anderson, and her alleged abductor, alleged killer of her mother and brother, James DiMaggio.
JOHN MARK, SPOTTED HANNAH ANDERSON IN IDAHO: He might have been an outdoorsman in California, but he was not an outdoorsman in Idaho. And he didn't fit.
VERCAMMON: Little did the fugitive know, near Moorhead Lake, he'd run into Mark John, former Army ranger and county sheriff, and three other riders.
MARK: They weren't friendly and they didn't talk.
VERCAMMEN: They say the girl lacked scared and later the ex-sheriff saw Hannah's picture on television, called state police, the search was on. On Friday, authorities discovered DiMaggio's car near trailhead.
SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: The blue Nissan Versa was discovered covered in brush. The license plates had been removed.
VERCAMMEN: Detectives say Hannah had no idea that her mother and brother were found dead in the ashes of DiMaggio's house. The desperate hunt for the girl turned to the air, up to 200 agents with tactical alert skills geared up. They'd all been warned that DiMaggio burned down his home, was extremely dangerous, and possibly armed with homemade explosives and more.
Lawmen spotted DiMaggio's camp site from the air. Saturday, members of the FBI hostage rescue team got dropped off via helicopter, hiked more than two hours, snuck up. The San Diego county sheriff says DiMaggio was armed with a shoulder weapon and he fired at least one shot. The FBI agents returned fire, killing the fugitive.
GORE: Obviously, we would have liked Mr. DiMaggio to surrender and face justice in a court of law, but that's not going to be the case.
VERCAMMEN: In the untamed West, DiMaggio got a dose of frontier justice and Hannah Anderson got her freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, our baby's coming home!
VERCAMMEN: Her grandmother, euphoric and philosophical.
SARA BRITT, HANNAH'S GRANDMOTHER: The way it ended up, for both Hannah and Jim, it's fitting.
VERCAMMEN: So there thereby no sensational trial here in San Diego County. There will not be any testimony, perhaps from Hannah Anderson. There will not be testimony about whether Jim DiMaggio had a troubled childhood. This verdict was delivered not by a jury, but by a bullet, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paul Vercammen.
And hour our seventh story OUTFRONT: a sinkhole swallows a Florida resort as the tale of sinkholes in the United States gets more and more frightening. Sixty feet of earth opened up under the Summer Bay Resort. That swallowed a three-story building and part of another. This is a resort. People here were on vacation.
It happened just a few miles from Disney World.
Martin Savidge is in Orlando tonight, OUTFRONT.
And, Martin, what is the situation at the moment, we hear about these sinkholes around the country and so many in Florida. This is just a few miles from Disney World, at a resort. Is the hole still expanding from what I just described?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They believe, Erin -- good evening, by the way -- that the hole has stabilized, but they have a new measurement on it. It's now 100 feet across, not the original 60 feet, and is said to be at least 15 feet deep. Now, the good news out of all of this, despite the dramatic photos is and the terrifying moments for over a hundred guests that were inside of one particular building, nobody was injured, nobody was killed. And that is miraculous when you look at that very remarkable footage of how the building came down.
The guests did have at least some of a warning. First, the power went out , the water seemed to be acting a little funny, then they began to hear popping and cracking and then the building began to settle around them. That's when most of those guests knew they had to get out. There's a security guard who's also credited with spreading the alarm. They had about 10 to 15 minutes to get out of that building and everybody did and later large portions o of that building began to collapse. Two other buildings on the property have also been evacuated, strictly as a precautionary measure.
Again, nobody killed, nobody injured, really, really fortunate -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, miraculous, when you think about it, and the fact that you would hear cracks and actually think to get out. That's incredible.
But what about the fact that the resort didn't know? I mean, there's this feeling, when we see these sinkholes, Martin, as you know, around the country, that it's just like, oh, no one has any idea. They would have had to put foundations down and build an entire resort here and market it. Did they have no ideas about holes? SAVIDGE: It is possible. I mean, first of all, in order to check for sinkholes, you either have to use ground-searching radar, which is really not too cost effective and certainly isn't required or you have to drill a lot of holes every couple of feet. That also isn't cost effective.
It's also possible, even after the construction, these buildings were about 15 years old, that the ground could have eaten away after that point. So it's really a combination, really, of the acidic matter, that's the water running underground, and the fact that you have a limestone bedrock here and they just don't mix well. It opens a cavern and you get the hole.
BURNETT: Just incredible that people -- you just don't know. Martin Savidge, thank you.
Martin, as we said, reporting from that resort near Disney World tonight.
And still to come, another politician finds himself the butt of a joke -- emphasis purposeful, people. We'll show you the best political gaffes of all time, led by this one today.
Plus, an American court has forced a couple to change their baby's name. This is not a joke. This happened in the United States of America, right now. Good move or judicial overreach? Wait until you hear the name.
And our tonight's shout-out. One incredible catch. The Travis Roy Foundation wiffle ball tournament was this weekend and Connor Fleming made a catch you will never forget. His diving catch not only robbed a home run, it ended the game with this team winning.
If the stadium looks familiar, it is because it is a miniature version of Boston's Fenway Park, but this is in Essex, Vermont. Our shout-out doesn't just go to Connor for his catch, but also the tournament which raised $500,000 for spinal cord research.
BURNETT: And we are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world. Tonight, we go to London, where one of the British teens attacked with acid in Zanzibar last week has been released from a London hospital.
Now, this is a story we've been following OUTFRONT. Acid was thrown on the chests, throat, and hands of these two women. They were on vacation.
Erin McLaughlin is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, new and chilling details into the events that unfolded last week in Zanzibar, when two unidentified men sprayed 18-year-olds Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup with acid. Speaking from Zanzibar, their friend and medical student, Olivia Moore, told Britain's Channel 4 news that the men were smiling before the attack.
OLIVIA MOORE, FRIEND (via telephone): The two men were on a moped and (INAUDIBLE) they stopped for the girls and the two men looked at each other, nodded, and then the man in the back threw acid on the girls. And from then on, it was chaotic. There was no incident that proceeded the actual attack.
MCLAUGHLIN: Both women were thrown back to the united kingdom for treatment. Kirstie Trup was released from hospital Sunday evening. Katie Gee, who took to twitter to thank everybody for all of their support, is still being treated in a specialty burns unit -- Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Thank you, Erin.
Now check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey.
We're digging deeper tonight into the rescue of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, in the back country of Idaho who tonight is back with her father, but dealing with the horror of her kidnapping and the reality that her mom and her brother are dead. I'll talk about the first small steps of how to cope with Ed Smart, whose daughter, Elizabeth, who also abducted and survived, and then I'll speak with John Walsh, former host of "America's Most Wanted."
Also tonight, two decisions that could have an impact on race and justice in this country. A federal judge weighed in on New York City's controversial stop and frisk law, and Attorney General Eric Holder announcing a big change in federal mandatory minimum drug sentences. A lot to talk about.
I'm joined by attorney Mark Geragos, "New York Times" columnist Charles Blow, and conservative blogger, Crystal Wright.
All of that and more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: Anderson, we'll see you in just a few moments.
Well, this may be hard for some parents to take, but you know what? Your baby is no messiah. Sorry, it's true. I mean, I don't know, maybe there's one out there who is, you never know.
But, anyway, that was the message from a Tennessee judge to the parents of a 7-month-old boy who actually named their son Messiah. The parents were in court because they couldn't agree on a last name. But when the judge ruled, she ordered the parents to change the child's first name from Messiah to Martin. Now, I don't know where Martin came from, but anyway let her explain why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LU ANN BALLEW, CHILD SUPPORT MAGISTRATE: The word "messiah" is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The judge went on to say her decision is best for the child, but does her argument add up?
Radio host Stephanie Miller, syndicated radio show host Michael Medved, and Dean Obeidallah.
OK, Michael Medved, let me start with you. So, messiah isn't OK, because there's only one person who's earned that, but the name Jesus or Jesus is OK, given its popularity. So, I'm a little confused, although I understand, there's a distinction, Jesus before and after.
Did the judge make the right call?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: No, of course the judge made the wrong call. The government has a lot of control over lots of aspects of our lives, but as Hollywood demonstrates very regularly, you're allowed to give your child an idiotic name. I mean, one of the problems with naming your child messiah is what do you use as a nickname? Do you call him mess or messy? That'll be worked out, but it's up to the parents to decide.
BURNETT: Dean, what do you think? Because, I'm sorry, I'm still caught up on the inconsistency here of Jesus versus messiah. But also, who's a judge to say only one person has earned this. I thought we had a separation between church and state?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: I'm impressed there's a judge in Tennessee, first off. That just impresses me right off the back.
BURNETT: Oh, my gosh.
OBEIDALLAH: But, secondly, I'm going to be honest, I'm going to defend the judge, not for the rationale. The rationale is ridiculous. There's separation of church and state, you do not say, because there's one messiah.
That's not -- it's in the best interest of the child. That's the standard when you bring an issue before the court, and I used to be a lawyer who decided on children's issues. There are certain names that are not good names. There's a guy who named his child Adolf Hitler in new jersey. That kid is stuck with that. Or Osama bin Laden or Sean Hannity. These are horrible names!
BURNETT: Sean Hannity, that is not fair.
OBEIDALLAH: All kidding aside, one quick thing, I know Stephanie wants to jump in. In Tennessee, under the statute of child abuse, it includes not just physical abuse, but imminent mental abuse. If you're going to name your child messiah or even worse name, a more challenging name, the child lives with it, not the parent. They think it's cute and fun.
Your kid has to go every day with that and get beaten up or ostracized from society. That's the problem.
BURNETT: All right. Stephanie, Dean makes a point. But Dean, messiah is number four among fastest growing baby names in this country. So, there are lots of messiahs running around. So, when the judge -- forget the judge's rationale, even Dean's rationale, does it add up that that name would be some sort of incipient child abuse?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Well, a worm hole has opened in the universe again in that I agree with Michael Medved. The judge is clearly overreaching here. Sadly, there is no law against being an idiotic parent, Erin. You know, do they think this is going to cause some second coming panics in the state? I'm not really sure.
I think it is overreaching. I think that we're a country that has a ban on certain baby names. If we're going to start, let's start with Caleb because that name is so pretentious.
BURNETT: I'm sure we all have names we wanted ban, the kid we all hated growing up, you can't imagine naming it that.]
But what about, are there any names that would be appropriate to ban? There was, and by the way, this guy, talk about overcoming any kind of child abuse, Dick Butkus became an NFL player, Chicago Bears line backer. I honestly can't believe that's a real thing, but it is.
Look, these are real name. North West was allowed. Daisy Boo --
MEDVED: There was a Democratic Senate nominee in New Hampshire named Dick Sweat. So, let's not even go there.
But the truth of the matter is, we have an example of how to deal with this --
BURNETT: Go ahead, Stephanie.
MILLER: Third base coach -- third base coach for Chicago Dick Pole, we have Dick Trickle. Come on. You're right.
MEDVED: Adolf Hitler Campbell had a brother named Heinrich Himmler Campbell. And what this did is it led, when he had a birthday cake when it said happy birthday, Adolf Hitler, then Child Protective Services came to check it out.
Look, if you're giving your children names like Adolf Hitler or maybe Osama bin Laden, maybe that should get attention after the birth occurs and the child is named for some authorities to look for CPS. But the idea of having the government determine what names are acceptable, you talk about big government, that's the ultimate.
BURNETT: We didn't ban names, they banned Superman, Ikea. Because it was popular. Elvis, look at this, once you start banning, you ban --
OBEIDALLAH: In Iceland, there's only 1,800 names they can pick from and 1,800 names women can pick from. It's literally against the law. I'm not saying it's case by case.
If someone goes to child services, you know, this kid is being abused every day because of the ridiculous name the parents gave him. Who else is going to complaining --
BURNETT: There's one thing none of you have thought about.
OBEIDALLAH: Which is?
BURNETT: Maybe he is the messiah.
MILLER: This is America. Erin, this is America. And if we have anything, we have the right to be idiots. That's what we have the right to be.
BURNETT: Thank you all three.
MEDVED: Thank you.
BURNETT: Well, every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we call OUTFRONT "Outtake". Tonight, we go to Australia, where the opposition leader got some unwanted attention for a slip of the tongue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Not a one. However smart, however well-educated, how experienced is the suppository of all wisdom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He meant repository, something in which things could be placed for safe keeping, not suppository, which is something else entirely, although things may be safe up there too. Of course, Mr. Abbott is not the first politician to mangle a sentence.
So, we looked for some of our favorites here at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be as Barack Obama says, a three letter word, jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs. GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: He did an incredible job in the presidency, defending us from freedom.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: In my state of the union, our state, my speech to the nation -- whatever you want to call it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know his name?
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Mmedvedeva, whatever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Senator Obama supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about western Pennsylvania lately. And, you know, I couldn't agree with them more.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last 15 months, we travelled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states. I think one left to go.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: Fifty-eight. Hey, you know what, there might be 58 one day.
Anyway, still to come, a political spending scandal at the White House. But we will defend a key member of the first family.
BURNETT: The resident of the White House tonight engulfed in a political spending scandal. Not President Obama, not his wife Michelle, we're talking about Bo, Bo Jr. According to reports, the president's 4-year-old dog got his own flight when the family travelled to their vacation. The president, Michelle and the kids used Air Force One to get to their week-long vacation. But Bo took a separate aircraft, special Osprey helicopter that cost about $10,000 an hour. There's Bo boarding.
You can imagine some of the press jumped all over the story, criticizing the president for wasting taxpayer money to send a dog on vacation. Here's the thing, people, leave Bo alone. First of all, it's not like he had a private plane. He hitched a ride with White House staffers and equipment who were going already. This is a pretty nice shot.
All right. Anyway, the president says he need to continue working while he was away with his family. Bo was basically an extra piece of luggage, look at all those Secret Service guys looking -- Bo's just hanging around, so this Bo-doggle over the cost does not add up.
Second of all, if anyone in Washington deserves a vacation, it's Bo, because unlike many of our elected officials, the White House dog actually works for a living. Bo regularly meets with military families and children's hospitals. He co-hosts White House events. I mean, imagine the stress and unpleasantness of constantly having to be nice to random strangers coming through your house. In his four years in office, Bo has collaborated on books and articles, posed for White House Christmas cards, and made multiple television appearances. He even has his own campaign ad. Look at him there doing an interview.
Besides, Bo is only taking seven days offer this summer. Congress, the least productive congress in American history gets five weeks. So, I know Bo is a dog, but if anything should give you pause, it's that.
"A.C. 360" starts now.