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100-Foot Sinkhole Swallows Condo Unit; James "Whitey" Bulger Guilty; Kept Off List for Heart Transplant; Powerball Winners Come Forward; Bizarre Murder-For-Hire Charges; Interview with Nancy Latham; Paula Deen Lawsuit Win; Oprah Talks Zurich Incident

Aired August 13, 2013 - 07:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. It is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, August 13th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I am Kate Bolduan and we are here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

Coming up in the show, a NEW DAY exclusive. We'll hear from Nancy Latham. Her estranged husband, a banker from South Carolina, now charged with targeting her in a murder-for-hire plot. You'll want to hear this.

CUOMO: Oh and this is a good one. You know you thought about this. So-called near death experiences. Scientists are looking at it now, doing research. They believe they can figure out what may happen in the brain moments after the heart stops.

BOLDUAN: Amazing.

CUOMO: Right?


CUOMO: It's something we think about, let's be honest. And maybe if they can show something, that will be interesting. So we'll go from the mysterious to what is known and give you the top news right now. Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Good morning to you and good morning, everyone at home.

Making news this morning, Hannah Anderson back home with her family in San Diego as she begins the long road to recovery from what her father calls a horrific ordeal. Authorities say the 16-year-old did not know her mother and brother had been killed allegedly by her abductor until she was rescued by FBI agents who gunned down James DiMaggio.

One building collapsed, another sinking this morning, casualties of a 100-foot wide sinkhole that opened beneath the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Florida, about ten minutes from Disney World. About three dozen guests safely evacuated. Engineers are trying now to get a handle on the extent of the damage. Lawyers for Boston crime boss, James "Whitey" Bulger plan to appeal his conviction for 11 murders and dozens of other mob-related crimes. In all, Bulger was found guilty of 31 of 32 counts against him stemming from his time as head of the notorious Winter Hill gang in the 1970s and '80s. He was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run. The 83-year-old Bulger could get life in prison when he's sentenced in November.

An Atlanta teen needs a heart transplant in order to survive. His family however claims that doctors won't put Anthony Stokes on the transplant list because he has a history of non-compliance and trouble with the law. The hospital says it is working with his family and that there are very specific guidelines that determine who is eligible for a transplant.

The 16 Ocean County New Jersey garage workers will step forward this afternoon to claim 1/3 of last week's $448 million Powerball jackpot. They have been dubbed Ocean 16. Each of them will pocket about $3.8 million, not a bad day at the office. The holder of the third winning Powerball ticket is yet to come forward.

All right, here's an interesting challenge, dog versus leaf blower. It's a benign looking puppy when you don't see him like that. He looks like he would bite off the end be of the host if you get close enough.

BOLDUAN: He's cute.

PEREIRA: One thing for sure, he is not backing down from a challenge even if it really is only a leaf blower. I'm a little afraid. I can't look at that. He's a nice looking pup.

BOLDUAN: Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

CUOMO: You have to respect his resilience. Every time it turns on it's like a new day for him.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Thanks so much, Michaela. There you go. Wake up, everybody. All right, here is a bizarre story for you. Murder for hire case is underway in South Carolina. Police have charged a wealthy former Bank of America executive who is plotting to have his own wife killed. Chris Latham appeared at a bail hearing Monday in federal court. He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges. In just a moment we will speak exclusively with his wife and daughter. First let's get to CNN's Pamela Brown who has much more on this story.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is bizarre, Kate. Chris Latham, a wealthy Southern banker and his wife were in the midst of a bitter divorce. But instead of settling, investigators say Latham he wanted his wife of more than 20 years dead. He came up with an intricate plot to make it happen. During his court appearance Monday, Latham's wife and daughter pleaded with the judge to keep him behind bars.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BROWN (voice-over): One well to do respected executive banker in Charleston, South Carolina, now Chris Latham has traded his cuff links for happened cuffs, behind bars for allegedly planning to kill his estranged wife, Nancy, with the help of his live-in girlfriend and three others. At a hearing Monday, the judge declined to grant him bail after his attorney argued there's no evidence he made direct threats against his wife. At a prior court appearance, Latham traded a chilling glance with her.

NANCY LATHAM, SUSPECT'S WIFE: We've been married for 24 years and how do you reconcile the idea that this person hired someone to kill you?

BROWN: It's the latest in a string of murder-for-hire cases. Remember this 21-year-old woman who hired a hitman to kill her husband?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a loaded gun in the house?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it would be messy in the house.

BROWN: In this case her husband stood by her, but she was still convicted and sentenced to a long prison term. In this latest case, they say Latham offered his accomplices a $5,000 down payment and a package with photos, maps and her schedule. The plot unraveled in April when Charleston police pulled over the car of one of the alleged accomplices and found the hit package, a gun and a box of ammunition. Latham has denied any involvement in any murder for hire scheme.


BROWN: And earlier this year, Latham filed a protective order against Nancy saying she wanted to harm him. That something Nancy denies. Latham and his girlfriend pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges. The trial is expected at the end of the year -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Pamela, it's a bizarre story. It gets complicated. So let's bring in people who know what's going on here. Joining us exclusively here on NEW DAY is the intended target of the alleged plot, Nancy Latham along with her daughter, Emily Latham and Nancy's lawyer, Matthew Yelverton.

Thank you very much. I know this is not a discussion that you really want to have, but it's important for people to understand. So thank you for joining us all of you.



CUOMO: So let's get into one of the folds in this story, Nancy. Your husband was not initially charged, right, when this story came out. You took some legal action and it wound up moving the investigation and then he wound up being arrested. Tell us what motivated your suspicion that he would be involved.

NANCY LATHAM: From the very beginning we had been questioned by the authorities and at that point from the line of questions and the things that we had been asked about that were in the hit packet, we knew with some certainty that he had to have been involved.

CUOMO: Divorce is ugly. Yours has certainly been that way, but could you wrap your mind around the idea that someone you started a family with, that you were in love with, would want to do something like this to you?

NANCY LATHAM: You know, I really couldn't. There are days when I think I'm living in some alternate universe and I keep waiting for somebody to kind of shake me out of it. Granted, our divorce was ugly. My family court attorney continually told me, just, you know, be quiet, take the high road, let him say whatever he wants and then we'll have our day in court.

CUOMO: Now the case isn't over yet, the divorce case obviously. Now you have this parallel case going on, this criminal case. You know what your husband says. He says this is about you leveraging the divorce case, putting pressure on him, being vindictive because of what's going on in the divorce. How do you respond?

NANCY LATHAM: My response would be that the evidence obviously is contrary to that. There has been a lot of smear -- there's been an enormous smear campaign that they're trying to run and I understand that because if I had done something illegal, I would certainly try to deflect from that. So I understand what they're trying to do. I certainly don't appreciate it. I think it's relatively horrific that they are still trying to push accountability elsewhere when the evidence shows otherwise.

CUOMO: Emily, I see you sitting there. You're obviously upset by this. This has to be especially difficult for you because this is your dad we're talking about. You had to have got up at court, you looked at the judge, your father was in the room and you said that you felt scared for your life. I know that was very difficult for you. Why did you feel that you needed to speak up?

EMILY LATHAM, DAUGHTER, CHRISTOPHER LATHAM: I felt that it was important that people knew how I felt. Also, I was there representing my sister and we've just been so scared. This is not an easy experience for anyone involved, but it's just caused so much turmoil for us that I knew I had to speak so that the judge could hear how it's really been affecting me and my sister.

CUOMO: The allegations, just the suggestion is frightening, but do you really believe your father would do something to hurt your mother or maybe even you and your sister?

EMILY LATHAM: I feel that people are capable of things that we don't know, and I've grown up with this man. He lived with us for the first 17 years of my life and it's just been so difficult trying to figure out what he would like to do, what he would not like to do, what he is going to do next. And I really just don't want to risk the chance that he could do something to hurt me or my family.

CUOMO: Now, Emily, you and your mom, Nancy, you guys went into hiding before this trial because you were worried about this. You believe that the motive here fundamentally, Nancy, is money, right? That's what this comes down to for you?

NANCY LATHAM: It -- it has to be. I can't imagine any other reason. You know, for four people that I have never spoken to, that I have never met, that I have never had a conversation with to have such detailed information about me and to be involved in this, the only thing that I can wrap my brain around is that it had to be tied into our divorce.

CUOMO: Now, Matthew, let me bring you in here. Matthew, because you're the attorney who brought the civil action that helped push this investigation forward, I know that the authorities don't want you to give too much about the case because it's an active investigation, but this is not a he said/she said, right? There is information that led to identification of these other people and implication of Chris, Nancy's husband in this as well, right? What can you tell me?

MATTHEW YELVERTON, LAWYER: That's right. Just to clarify one point, this was not initiated by Nancy. This investigation was initiated by the U.S. Attorney's Office and ATF. So while we did file a civil suit on Nancy's behalf, that was after an investigation was already well underway. At this point we're continuing an investigation into the civil suit into how these two Bank of America employees formulated this plot and we're exploring all legal options against the conspirators as well as Bank of America.

CUOMO: All right now, I get that. I read through the papers and I understand why you're trying to extend liability here to the bank because it was going on in its midst. Let's get back to what really is so troubling about this situation. Do you feel from what you know of the investigation that there is real proof, that there was a plot afoot, that there were steps taken toward murderous intent and that Chris, Nancy's husband was part of the plot if not leading it?

YELVERTON: Chris, I'm not privy to all of the information that the U.S. Attorney's Office has. What I will say is that the grand jury heard the evidence and indicted and yesterday a judge heard the evidence and declined to grant bail or grant a bond to Mr. Latham. So I think those speak for themselves. There's definitely evidence otherwise we wouldn't be postured as we are today.

CUOMO: Nancy, your husband's attorney says, he could have fled. He's known he's a suspect for some time. There's no proof here. He didn't run. That does give you any comfort?

NANCY LATHAM: No, it actually does not. For the time period that my husband remained in Charleston, he actually did so with Wendy Moore, who was incarcerated at the time and currently is. The woman that they found living with him, he was raising her two children all the while still married to me. So I can't begin to understand why he did that, but that's perhaps one of the reasons that he did not leave town, that he felt some obligation to her and her children.

CUOMO: All right, Nancy, thank you for that explanation. I know this is a long road on two different fronts now. I'm sure this is a turn nobody ever wanted to see. Nancy, thank you for coming on. Matthew, thank you for laying out what you could. Emily, I'm sorry you have to be on TV this way. I know this is difficult for you. I know it was important for you to stand up and I appreciate you being on the show.

EMILY LATHAM: Thank you.

YELVERTON: Thanks for your professionalism, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, good luck going forward -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, southern chef, Paula Deen has won the lawsuit that accused her of racist business practices, but can she win back her reputation? We'll talk about that.

And also coming up, we'll meet an eye surgeon who wants to meet the girl of his dreams, and he is willing to work for it. Set him up on a date and he'll give you free Lasix surgery.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Are things finally looking up for Paula Deen? The celebrity chef saw her empire crumble after she admitted to using a racial slur in the past. Now those racial discrimination claims have brought the slurs to light had been dismissed. Whether fans can dismiss the controversy though is another question.


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I want to apologize to everybody.

PEREIRA (voice-over): Some good news for Paula Deen in the case that brought down her multi-million dollar empire. The embattled TV chef has been cleared of the racial discrimination claims filed in a lawsuit by a former employee. On Monday a judge ruled that a former manager of Deen's Savannah restaurant couldn't be the victim of racial discrimination targeting African-American employees because she is white, writing at best plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It was a very big victory because summary judgment motions are incredibly rarely granted. It tells us a lot about the strength of the plaintiff's claims, that they were very weak.

PEREIRA: Deen's reps tell CNN they were pleased with the ruling. As Ms. Deen has stated before she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone. It was in the deposition for this lawsuit that Deen first acknowledged using the "n" word and so Deen was stressed into a second trial of sorts, this time in the court of public opinion.

DEEN: The day I used that word it was a world ago. It was 30 years ago. I had had a gun put to my head.

PEREIRA: Deen and her family went on the defensive. BOBBY DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: Our mother is one of the most compassionate, good hearted, empathetic people you've ever known.

JAIME DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: It's completely absurd to think that there's an environment of racism in our business.

PEREIRA: The scandal led to a devastating domino effect as Deen was dropped from deal after lucrative endorsement deal.

CEVALLOS: The sad truth is that even if you are wrongfully sued in America, your best recourse ultimately is to just lick your wounds and move on.


PEREIRA: Well, Deen's legal troubles are certainly not over. The woman who filed the lawsuit claims she was also the victim of sexual harassment at Deen's restaurant. The judge has not decided if that part of the suit will go forward. So certainly some damage has been done, but this part she has been cleared.

CUOMO: It was really never about the lawsuit. You know, the controversy was obviously about what Paula Deen said in that deposition. That's what's been so difficult, especially for her boys to deal with. Not implicated in the suit anyway.

PEREIRA: But coming to mom's defense.

CUOMO: Of course.

PEREIRA: As one does.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela. Coming up next on NEW DAY --

CUOMO: You've heard about near death experiences. Of course, you have. Well, you know, people say I almost died. I saw this light and then this happened. Well, guess what? Now there's some science injected into the situation. Researchers are investigating what happens to the brain during the body's final moments.

BOLDUAN: And Lindsay Lohan has a new movie. "The Canyons" but if you haven't heard of it or seen it, you're not alone.

CUOMO: Whose favorite song is this?

BOLDUAN: It's mine.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is time for the "Pop Four" and our Nischelle Turner.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: This is a good music day. I'm loving it. All right, let's get to this "Pop Four." Are you guys ready? Some disappointing news for Lindsay Lohan is our number four story. Her latest movie, "The Canyons," has made only $30,100 in the last two weeks, ouch. That is the Box Office earnings for it, by the way. Now to be fair, it only has a limited release at this point, so there's still a chance video on demand figures can boost the earnings, but the reviews have not been good.

Number three story, George Lucas has a new person in the family. They had a baby girl via surrogate named Everest this past week. Big congratulations from all of us.

All right, massive ratings for "Breaking Bad" season opener. That's our number two story popping today, the mid-season premier earned 5.9 million viewers, that is more than twice the amount who watched the season five premier last July.

And our number one story today, Oprah saying she's sorry the handbag hoopla in Zurich got blown up like it did. She told CNN last night at the L.A. premiere of Lee Daniels "The Butler." She does maintain the incident did happen, but she said she purposely did not mention the name of the store and she's sorry she even mentioned it was in Switzerland.

She said it's not an indictment of the store or the country, just the one person who did not want her to see the bag. Lady O, is saying, "Listen, I don't want to blame Switzerland or the store, I want to tell that person to be accountable for what they did."

CUOMO: Oprah speaks and creates geopolitical messes.

TURNER: The whole country apologized.

CUOMO: I can't get my kids to apologize.

TURNER: That's what she said, really? If someone makes a mistake in the United States, does the whole country have to apologize? No. Interesting.

CUOMO: That's how big Oprah is.

TURNER: All of Switzerland said, I'm sorry.

BOLDUAN: I'm so sorry.

CUOMO: At once, put me on the currency. Put me on the flag next time you do something like that.

BOLDUAN: That's what you would ask for.

CUOMO: Big head of Oprah in the middle of the Swiss flag.

BOLDUAN: You're not getting an apology like that.

TURNER: That mine, Nischelle? You over exaggerated a bit. I love it.

CUOMO: Saltalamacchia.

TURNER: I love you, Chris Cuomo. CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, these near-death experiences, we hear about them all the time, we are mystified by what may or may not have happened. Well, science has an explanation for us. They are going to tell us what it's about and we'll tell you.

BOLDUAN: Also coming up, Hannah Anderson's father says the 16-year- old kidnapping survivor faces a very long road ahead as she begins to heal from that horrific ordeal that she experienced. A live report at the top of the hour.