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CNN NEWSROOM

Filner Watch Day 26; Tear Gas Used on Cairo Protesters; Rodeo Clown Controversy; Father: "Don't Let My Daughter Die"; "Lovelace" Heads to Silver Screen; Immigrants Wanted in St. Louis

Aired August 16, 2013 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR PEGGY SHANNON: Well and that is really an important issue, because it's really not about sex, it's about power. It's about the arrogance of power, the sense of entitlement, that he is a person in power and that he can do whatever he wants to any woman who is there, it appears.

And this is particularly serious because it's an employment situation. It's like the lawsuit that I filed originally which, you know, I think encouraged the other women to keep coming forward on behalf of Irene McCormack Jackson was employed as his director of communications.

I mean he is interfering with their right to equal employment opportunity by treating them as though his -- they're his sexual playthings. The mayor and the city hall should be respected and it should not be a sexual playground that a person in power like the Mayor can just play in any time that he wants to and take advantage of these women.

The case of my client, Peggy Shannon, the great grandmother, she was worried that maybe she would lose her job if she didn't go along with whatever the mayor was trying to do. She, of course didn't, but she was worried that if she got on the wrong side of him that she would lose her little job.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: So, the entire city of San Diego seems to be mortified by all of this now. There are many calls for the mayor to resign, yet he refuses. Why do you, Gloria, think the mayor refuses to step down?

ALLRED: Well, of course, we have our ongoing lawsuit and not only has he refused to step down and that is really important to our client Irene, she wants justice for the people of San Diego and she also wants justice for herself. Justice requires him to step down.

We're proceeding with our lawsuit. There is a motion to change venue. Apparently the mayor had enough confidence in the people of San Diego to ask for their vote to get elected, but he doesn't have enough confidence in them to decide, to have a jury decide our sexual harassment lawsuit. He's seeking to move it to another county, Imperial County which is near Mexico and it's almost 200 miles from my office. We're going to resist that. He did not appear for his deposition on August 9th. I'm looking forward to questioning him vigorously under oath on behalf of my client. He's not going to be able to make vague promises and speeches in a deposition, he's going to have to answer precise questions that I ask him and I want those answers and it's going to be under penalty of perjury.

COSTELLO: Gloria Allred, thank you so much for being with me this morning.

ALLRED: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Before we move on, an invitation for Mayor Filner. I would love to hear your side of the story, Mr. Mayor. We've reached out by e-mail and phone and now on air. I would love for you Mr. Filner to come on in the NEWSROOM or on camera, I will even fly to San Diego. So the invite is there. The ball is now in your court.

All right we want to take you to Cairo, Egypt right now. Because we thought it might be calm there, but we suspected something may happen because the protesters, those who support the ousted leader of that country, Mohamed Morsy, they're calling it the Friday -- they're calling it the day of rage, or the Friday of rage.

Reza Sayah is in the streets of Cairo. What's it like there right now Reza?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol it's ugly, I hate to say it, but this conflict seems to be intensifying. We're at the scene of another intense face-off between security forces and supporters of the former president Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood. In this face off is involved some intense gun fire. Where that gunfire is coming from? It's not clear but we can tell you we've seen at least two protesters injured, they appear to be shot. Let's walk up and tell you exactly where we are. We are on a small street that runs perpendicular to the cornice (ph). This is the road that runs along the Nile River. And if you turn to corner behind us, on the cornice that leads to a major square called the Rameses Square. Thousands of supporters of the ousted president were marching. That was their final destination but about 200 yards miles up that road, you'll find about 20 heavily armed police officers and they blocked their way.

So for about a half hour, they were stuck and at some point, they fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and then you had gun fire, at least several people here injured. This is all part of a day called Friday of rage in response to the bloody crackdown on Wednesday launched by the government against two pro Morsy sit ins that have been going on for six weeks. Hundreds of people killed. This is the Brotherhood's effort to show that they're still fighting, that they're still here and they're not going away. And as we're talking, again, sporadic gun fire we don't know where it's coming from, we can tell you that in similar clashes, we've seen supporters of the president and opponents of the president both armed and of course we saw on Wednesday, these are security officers, police officers who do not hesitate to shoot unarmed protesters.

So that's where things stand right now. This is a country in turmoil and at least for now Carol unfortunately there's absolutely no sign of this conflict ending.

COSTELLO: It's just so sad, already more than 500 people have been killed, thousands of people injured. Reza Sayah reporting live from the street of Cairo this morning.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: The rodeo clown. See, the story has become such a hot topic you actually know what I'm talking about. But just in case you don't, a reminder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama. Hey, I know I'm a clown, he's just running around acting like one, doesn't know he is one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Ever since the rodeo clown asked the crowd at the Missouri State Fair, if they'd like to see President Obama get run over by a bull, the rodeo clown has become both villain and hero. Missouri's Republican Lieutenant Governor condemned him. State Fair officials banned him for life. The Missouri NAACP called for an investigation and the head of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association resigned over the controversy.

And now a new twist Republican Congressman Steve Stockman is welcoming the rodeo clown to his home State of Texas with open arms and other conservatives are rallying around to the rodeo clown's defense. The "Wall Street Journals" Peggy Noonan writes that "The President himself should come to the rodeo clown's aide. Noonan thinks should "Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy and hopes those politicians damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and just relax."

May I be blunt this whole controversy is being blown way out of proportion and -- and it's just kind of stupid now. Here to tell me I'm wrong or I'm not, Jason Johnson, he's a political science professor at Hiram College and James Richardson, he is a Republican blogger.

Thanks to both of you for being with me and being willing to talk about the rodeo clown. So James it boils -- it boils down to this for me, the Missouri State fair hired this guy to perform at the rodeo, they didn't like what he did, and as an employer, it is their right to fire him. And this has nothing at all to do with free speech.

JAMES RICHARDSON, REPUBLICAN BLOGGER: It's their prerogative to fire him but I would say that, you know, there were obvious elements of this stunt that were inappropriate and I think even supporters of the clown's free speech would concede as much.

But people go to the rodeo with the expectation of ridiculous, crude and often outrageous behavior. I mean these are performers that are working in mud and cow dung after all. So you know, you go there with the expectation to watch something outrageous and frankly President Obama has not been made uniquely or unfairly targeted as the butt of a presidential joke. I mean in 1994, a rodeo clown in Pennsylvania had a bull charged an effigy of former President George H.W. Bush. That clown -- he wasn't fire, you know, there wasn't a national outrage so there are obvious differences here, that primarily one being race.

COSTELLO: Look at James his face over there. Look at his face.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, HIRAM COLLEGE: I think this is so crazy, look it's obnoxious, it's obnoxious. Ok you like baseball Carol, you ever see the Nationals, where they have the presidential run around and stuff like that.

COSTELLO: Yes.

JOHNSON: Making fun of the presidents is perfectly cool. The issue is when you have politicians like Representative Stockman who want to make this something else. Now if I'm going to the state fair, I want fried Twinkies, I want cotton candy and I don't really care about politics. And everybody who is running this fair they are like look, we don't want this, we don't want this kind of attention in Missouri.

So they have every right to fire this guy and the politicians who want to make hay about it and turn it into an unnecessary issue, that's the problem.

COSTELLO: And frankly James that people were upset about George H.W. Bush's getting run over -- effigy getting run over by a bull, nobody came out and why didn't they come out then and like rally around this rodeo clown? Why are they making a big deal about this --

RICHARDSON: The thing is --

COSTELLO: -- and just because it happened in the past, doesn't mean it's right now.

RICHARDSON: It's not just that Steve Stockman that's making this an issue it's also people on the left. And really it's complacent agitators on both sides of the aisle that are trying to turn this nonissue into the outrage -- you know they would rather spend a week bickering about a clown than talking about the nature and scope of our involvement in Egypt. Or thing that actually matter, I mean we're at right now talking got a man in makeup.

COSTELLO: And James is right, because the Missouri NAACP got in the middle of this for what reason?

JOHNSON: I think they got in the middle of this because there are always these elements. Look you see it in Arizona, you see it in some of the protests. If you hate Barack Obama -- if you hate Obama because he's black or you don't like the Affordable Care Act that's fine. Just do that at a protest, don't do it at something where $400,000 of state money is being spent because there are Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives and everybody who's there. And I think the NAACP or any other organization I don't think it's because they're liberal, I think they are saying hey, that's tax money and you're not supposed to be doing that with tax money.

COSTELLO: Well and the other thing like all of this conservatives are coming out in support of this rodeo clown. They're rallying around this rodeo clown. Is that really what they want to do?

RICHARDSON: Well you know I --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: A rodeo clown? Really?

RICHARDSON: Congressman Stockman is a freshman Republican and there are a few better ways to make a name for yourself in a large Congress, in a large conference than to say and do outrageous thing. You know I think that that's an element of that to make a name for himself in the house.

But I don't -- I don't think it's necessarily wise to rally as a movement behind this guy who by all rights did something imprudent.

COSTELLO: I like that. Jason Johnson, James Richardson, thank you so much for discussing the rodeo clown this morning.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, something serious now, a two-year-old's life hangs in the balance as the New Jersey Governor weighs a decision on medical marijuana for children. We'll talk about that straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: In New Jersey, a father desperate to save his daughter pleads with Governor Chris Christie to allow children access to medical marijuana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: These are complicated issues. I know you think it's simple. But it's not.

I know you think it's simple and it's not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't let my daughter die, Governor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: This is the man's daughter, Vivian. She suffers from a form of epilepsy that isn't responding to the usual medications but does respond to medical marijuana. Ashleigh Banfield is following the story today on her show "LEGAL VIEW". It's not a simply thing, is it?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: No. No, you know what, Carol -- it's actually really heartbreaking to look at this. And while it seems very simple to that father, it's his daughter who's dealing with epilepsy, and many have said all she needs is a little of this medical marijuana. Others have said it's maybe not that proven either.

No matter what the case, it all comes down to a bill here in New Jersey. It has to do with kids and medical marijuana. And Chris Christie has said he'd answer by today. So we're all waiting to find out what he's going to say and what it means for this little girl and many, many other patients just like her. So I think we're all here with baited breath, Carol.

But you can't look at that and not feel something about this argument, no matter what you feel about marijuana, right?

COSTELLO: Right, and just to make it clear, this little girl suffers from epilepsy. She has terrible seizures, many, many times a day.

BANFIELD: Hundreds.

COSTELLO: Hundreds and marijuana seems to stop some of the seizures from occurring.

BANFIELD: So you know -- and Carol let's make it really clear to the viewers here. They're not talking about getting their daughter high, it has nothing to do with the THC, it has to do with the other properties in marijuana, which they extract and then if they can deliver to an oil or some sort of an oral kind of medication that those kids can actually see a benefit.

COSTELLO: Ok. Well, I'm excited to see what you have to say with it -- say about it, rather, in 10 minutes.

Ashleigh Banfield, thank you so much.

BANFIELD: Thanks a lot Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Linda Lovelace is synonymous with the porn industry thanks to her role in the film "Deep Throat". Now a new movie takes a look at the actress's life away from the cameras; her struggles and her complex relationship with the business that made her famous.

Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner has more for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDA LOVELACE, ACTRESS: Who are you? What do you want?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: The year was 1972, a pornographic film came out that would cause a sensation. The movie was "Deep Throat" starring Linda Lovelace, a newcomer noted for a particular sexual skill.

Darwin Porter, author of the new book, "Inside Linda Lovelace's Deep Throat" recalls what made the film so unusual for its time. DARWIN PORTER, AUTHOR, "INSIDE LINDA LOVELACE'S DEEP THROAT": It had a plot, not a great plot but a plot. And It had certain comedy overtones to it, too.

TURNER: Attempts to ban the film only made it more of a must-see. And "Deep Throat" went on to earn a reported $600 million. It even inspired the name Bob Woodward gave his secret source during the Watergate investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much can you tell me about "deep throat"?

TURNER: Now more than 40 years after deep throat came out, a new movie tells a story of the film's star and it's not a happy one.

AMANDA SEYFRIED, ACTRESS: To me, it's a movie like any other movie.

TURNER: Amanda Seyfried plays the lead roll in "Lovelace".

SEYFRIED: I did a lot of research and it's eye opening, the stuff that she went through. Nobody wanted to believe that she was a victim because she was a porn star.

TURNERS: The film presents Lovelace as a passive young woman coerced into doing porn by her then husband, Chuck Traynor.

LARRY FLYNT, PUBLISHER, "HUSTLER": She was just being used, I think, every step of the way.

TURNER: Larry Flynt describes the circumstances around the making of "Deep Throat" as pathetic. The legendary "Hustler" publisher wasn't involved in the production but he says he knew Linda and her husband.

FLYN: That type of coercion actually took place. She was very much being controlled by Chuck. It wasn't something that she would wake up every morning and say I can't wait until I get to work again. That wasn't the situation.

TURNER: Traynor died in 2002 just months after Linda suffered fatal injuries in a car crash. In a 1986 interview with CNN she was asked if she had done porn of her own free will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody held a gun to your head, did they?

LOVELACE: Well, that's just it. Someone did hold a gun to my head. I was in constant fear of my life.

TURNER: Lovelace later remarried and settled down. She repudiated "Deep Throat" and became an anti-pornography advocate earning praise from feminists. But her position on porn changed in the last part of her life, says author Darwin Porter.

PORTER: She started attending porno conventions and started selling "Deep Throat" memorabilia, so it was almost a turn around.

TURNER: Flynt says Lovelace's landmark film came along at a key moment, when porn flicks were going from dirty little secret to something more mainstream.

FLYNT: You've seen a very budding industry there. It was no longer something that was in the seedy back room of some adult bookstore.

PORTER: She did launch a billion dollar industry and she is the queen of it all, a very unlikely queen, but history sometimes selects very unusual people to put on thrones.

TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Still to come in the newsroom, is this the new gateway to newcomers to the United States? St. Louis lays out the welcome mat for immigrants.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: In today's "American Journey", immigration may have gouged deep battle lines in Washington but that's not the case in at least one city deep in the nation's heartland. St. Louis is opening its arms to newcomers and expects their new immigrant-friendly goals to pay rich dividends.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Welcome to FroYo, hello.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frozen yogurt is a hot commodity amid the summer heat of St. Louis and nobody is happier about that than Jason Jan. When he came from Malaysia 15 years ago, he hoped to open a business and now he has a string of places like this. And nothing but praise for his adopted home.

JASON JAN, BUSINESS OWNER: It's a great city to raise my kids and most importantly, it has been very immigrant-friendly.

FOREMAN: That is a message local leaders are desperate to get out, ever since a study found this area lags far behind other cities in attracting immigrants. The nonprofit international institute here serves 70,000 a year but that's half as many as expected in a town this size.

The institute is now a key component in the Mosaic Project, an ambitious plan to make this area much more inviting to immigrants.

CHARLIE DOOLEY, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: St. Louis wants to be an open and welcoming community. And this is what we're going to do.

FOREMAN: So the city is helping immigrant groups connect with loans, opportunities, education. This is not just a feel-good measure. A study found immigrants are more likely to open businesses, create jobs, raise wages and pursue higher degrees than the general population. As for Jason Jan, well the jobs he's created may be permanent, he's applied to become a U.S. citizen.

Tom Foreman CNN, St. Louis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.

BANFIELD: Hello everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is Friday August 16 and welcome to the "LEGAL VIEW" where we dig in to the day's top legal stories and the top stories in the news as well.

And we want to start with this one -- a desperate dad saying that marijuana may be the only thing that can save his two-year-old daughter's life. And he is pleading with his governor -- the only, the one and only New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He wants him to help by signing a bill that makes medical marijuana available to children, including his child. The governor has been thinking about it and he has promised to make a decision by today.

CNN's Rosa Flores looks at this emotional confrontation. And I do want to warn you that some of the images and scenes that you're about to see may be difficult to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what the hold up is. It's been like two months now or almost --

CHRISTIE: Sir it's because -- these are complicated issues --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very simple.

CHRISTIE: I know you think it's simple and it's not --

(END VIDEO CLIP)