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Christie Backs Marijuana for Sick Kids; RNC Votes to Freeze Out CNN, NBC; WV Judge Indicted for Framing Romantic Rival; Hannah Anderson Out in Public; Truth About Area 51 Is in Here

Aired August 16, 2013 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime, more breaking news. As we were reporting at the top of both of the hours here, we have been awaiting a huge decision from the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, as far as whether or not he would sign this bill that would ultimately, hopefully, in the sake of this little girl, this is 2-year-old Valerie (sic) Wilson, allow her to live.

Her father confronted Chris Christie just this past week at a campaign stop, and basically saying, "Please, don't let my daughter die," is what this father was saying.

And Jake Tapper has the news. Let me go to Washington.

Jake Tapper, what has the governor decided?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the governor has decided he's going to issue what's known as a conditional veto, which means he is not accepting the bill as it is. But if the legislature makes a couple changes to it, he is signaling that he is willing to sign it.

Those changes are the following. The bill as it stands would allow edible marijuana for everyone in New Jersey, everyone who registers with the program and is qualified.

The governor is saying only for children. It needs to be just for children, the edible marijuana.

The other change is that, for adults, there are doctors and psychiatrists who are registered with the prescriptive program. If you are an adult, you only need one doctor saying that you qualify in order to get the medical marijuana, and the legislation on his desk says it is the same for children.

Governor Christie would like it to be two, both a registered psychiatrist and a registered pediatrician with the program. So those are the changes he's asking for. Limiting edible marijuana just for kids and requiring one additional physician for children. But other than that, he's signaling with those modifications, he will sign the bill.

BALDWIN: Jake, let me just ask you. I know you have sources.

As you've been talking to people as you're breaking the news, do you have any idea how Governor Christie came to this decision? Any intel?

TAPPER: Not as of now. I was focused more on the policy than on the color behind it and the reasoning behind it.

What has been explained to me by sources close to the governor is that he was never opposed to the idea of medical marijuana. He just wanted to have appropriate checks.

Obviously, that's a concern for any governor who is passing a medical marijuana law or overseeing a medical marijuana law. You want to make sure it isn't abused. And that is the decision that they made, is that these two changes to the bill would make it suitable and appropriate as far as Governor Christie is concerned. Now, I don't know what the political reaction is going to be to this. He is obviously rejecting this legislation as it stands. He is vetoing it. But it is a conditional veto. Make these two changes, he is saying, and I will sign the bill.

BALDWIN: Jake Tapper, we appreciate you getting the news on the policy very much.

Let me bring in two voices. We have both our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Also joining me on the line, Marcie Seidel.

First, you heard Jake. I'm hearing the two takeaways, edible marijuana, which is what this family wanted, right, because you're not going to have a two-year-old smoking marijuana, so this means it could be a butter. It could be an oil for her to ingest. Only for kids.

And that for a child to get this type of marijuana, two doctors to sign off on it.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's a very similar approach to what Colorado has taken as well.

I know that parents in Colorado, they do need to get more than one doctor to sign off on this, and I think, you know, reasonably that seems like a pretty good approach. Also the idea that it can be an edible.

You know, in the cases of young children, you could create a tincture or something like that could be very nice instead of obviously they're not going to vaporize or smoke this.

There was another thing as well in this. That is that he also lifted this idea that dispensaries can only have three strains of marijuana. He's saying they can have more strains.

That could also be very important. That's another part of what he said here. Because you want to find the strain that is very specific for this high in CBD and low in THC. That's a crucial part of this mix as well.

BALDWIN: Marcie, I want you to weigh in on this. You hear the news from the governor. Where to you stand on all of this? MARCIE SEIDEL, DRUG FREE ACTION ALLIANCE: We think it's very important for the FDA to be involved in this entire process. They are, in fact, our system upon which we make our medicines and distribute our medicines.

They're the ones that make sure we have safe medicines, dosages are adequate and they actually do what they are intended to do.

As we sit right now looking at this, there has not been enough research to know that any of this works and it's going to work, and certainly putting a two-year-old at jeopardy, we feel a little bit unsure about having this happen.

We also know right now that there is already on the market, a THC- based -- Marinol, a pill already cannabis-based that safe and it's legal. The quality and the dosages of it are all standard, and that's available now.

So we encourage people to look at those types of things before they rush to put something on that has no standard set for them at this point, especially for a young child.

BALDWIN: A two-year-old.

Sanjay, I want you to respond to two of her points. One, we've talked about. You've done this whole documentary. You've talked so much about research, wishing there were more of it.

Two, responding to this pill that she talks about, what's the research?

GUPTA: Look, I mean, I think everybody -- that's the one point I think everyone agrees on. We would love to have more research. I think even Marcie would concede, other organizations concede, it's difficult to do that research certainly in the United States.

The organization which ultimately approves marijuana to be used as part of these studies is an organization known as NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse. Their core mission is to study drug abuse.

They're not looking as much for the benefits of these medications. I know from talking to researchers that's a really hard obstacle in order to get these studies done.

Having said that we also know in the case of Vivian, as in the case of Charlotte, the existing medications simply did not work. For Charlotte, she was having 300 seizures a week despite being on seven different medications.

They literally got to the point, Brooke, where they wanted to compound a veterinary pill for her. That's certainly something the FDA hasn't looked at either.

But in her case, thankfully for her, this high CBD-strain of marijuana did really help control her seizures. Marinol is not a good analog here. I think Marcie would concede to this. Marinol is basically isolated-THC in high doses.

You have to understand the issue. People really need to understand. We're not talking about high THC here. We're talking about CBD as a medicine.

There's plenty of research showing it is the CBD that has the medical benefit, also that you probably need a combination of both for it to be as effective as possible in the body.

BALDWIN: OK. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.

Marcie Seidel, thank you so much for your perspective.

And, again, the documentary, "Weed," tonight, 10:00 p.m., Eastern and Pacific. Sanjay, thanks.

Coming up next, the Republican Party issuing a warning to CNN and another network, it is based all on this programming planned on a former first lady, former secretary of state.

More on that controversy, coming up next.


BALDWIN: The Republican National Committee is threatening to freeze out two networks from the party's 2016 presidential debates. The organization says it's in response to not just CNN, but NBC's plans to air programs about Hillary Clinton.

CNN recently commissioned a documentary about Clinton while NBC is developing a dramatic miniseries.

Peter Hamby working this one for us in Boston today. What is the RNC doing? What action are they taking?

PETERY HAMBY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, the Republican National Committee says this is about media bias. They say that CNN and NBC are going to be airing infomercials for Hillary Clinton who would be the presumptive frontrunner for the Democratic nomination if she does run for president in 2016.

They're stirring up tons of media attention over this. They're capturing e-mail addresses, raising money, you know, playing on longstanding grievances with the quote, unquote, "liberal media" here.

But what this is really about, Brooke, and Reince Priebus has been talking about this for months, is limiting the number of Republican primary debates. In 2012, there were 20 primary debates.

BALDWIN: There were a lot.

HAMBY: Republican insiders -- a lot.

Republican insiders in Washington fretted that these debates, you know, took candidates off the campaign trail, put them on to a debate stage and forced them to make crippling gaffes in full view of the national public, over and over and over again, and damaged them in the general election.

The Republican National Committee in their post-election autopsy report described the number of debates as ridiculous. They've been trying to limit the number of debates.

They see CNN and NBC programs as an opportunity to sort of, you know, hem in the number of debates, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let me make sure we get CNN's response.

Peter Hamby, thank you very much.

CNN releasing a statement about the Clinton documentary saying, in part, quote, "The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion with most of the reporting and the interviewing still to be done.:

"We encouraged all interested parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it. Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that."

Concerning its planned miniseries about Clinton, NBC says its news and entertainment divisions are separate.

Let's listen to sound from the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: For the first time, our party rules allow us to take action on these debates, so it's time that we do what's right for our party and our candidates.

And by the way, it's the right thing to do for our voters.


BALDWIN: Reince Priebus there, speaking.

Coming up, allegations of sex, drugs and conspiracy. The person facing all these charges? A well respected judge in one state.

Police say his secretary cut off his affair with him. That's when he took action. Now he's charged with abusing his power.

We'll tell you what he is accused of doing and what he has to say about it.


BALDWIN: Well, it's not exactly every day you hear of a judge getting arrested. But that's precisely what happened to Judge Michael Thornsbury. This is Mingo County, West Virginia, only circuit court judge.

Thornsbury is accused of having an affair with his secretary. And then after she apparently cut things off with him, a U.S. attorney says he tried to frame her husband and have him tossed in jail.


BOOTH GOODWIN, U.S. ATTORNEY: Judge Thornsbury set off on a campaign to persecute his secretary's husband, his romantic rival.

In the process, he corrupted the system of justice in Mingo County for his own nefarious purposes. His campaign included a scheme to plant illegal drugs on the rival's truck.


BALDWIN: Here's a little bit more of the back story. Police had stopped his secretary's husband, searched him for drugs, jailed him. That didn't work.

The U.S. attorney says the co-conspirator actually backed out. And so this judge here is also accused of going after the husband again and then attempting to manipulate a grand jury.

He is charged with conspiring to have a man illegally arrested.

And here is how he feels about that.


JUDGE MICHAEL THORNSBURY, MINGO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The truth will be told and I'll be acquitted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you believe that you'll be acquitted?

THORNSBURY: Because I'm not guilty.


BALDWIN: "On the Case" with me, attorney Darren Kavinoky and criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson.

Listen, I know you're innocent till proven guilty. But, Darren, career ender?

DARREN KAVINOKY: Brooke, yes. This is a tough one to bounce back from. And, by the way, I mean, the heart wants what the heart wants, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Darren --

KAVINOKY: And, look, women -


KAVINOKY: -- women can be awful, too. Women can be awful, too. Jodi Arias is Exhibit A.

But men just have a way of being especially piggish about things, don't they? I mean, on behalf of everybody with a Y-chromosome, I just want to apologize on behalf of Anthony Wiener and now this guy.

BALDWIN: Can I say my male executive producer just got in my ear and said, piggish? Taking offense to that, Eric Hall, right here.

KAVINOKY: There's some evidence there's some romantic involvement, though. It's worth bringing out that the secretary, his secretary, and he have admitted to some romantic involvement.

At least his motivations for framing this guy are pure. Don't you think, Janet?

BALDWIN: Janet, jump in.

JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So the point being, this isn't about being a man. I mean, I can accept that.

But this is a judge. As someone who's in court every single day, and I have judges tell me what to wear, when to talk.

I have to stand up when they walk into the room, and they're responsible for whether my clients go to jail or prison or get set free. We just don't expect judges to act like this.

This is what makes our criminal justice system the greatest in the world, that we can walk into court and not fear that there's corruption.

I have clients say to me, will the judge do something that's illegal or not? I generally feel confident saying, no way. A judge would never do that.

BALDWIN: What about -- let's play the "if" game. If this judge is convicted, what about all the people who he has -- who've been convicted in cases before him? Does that then open a can of worms to retry their cases?

JOHNSON: I've done that. I've done that as a defense attorney. And I'm doing it right now with a federal law enforcement agent, and she had an affair and there was a record of it because she used the credit card for the state.

I'm using that to undo DUIs, not even felonies or offenses where my clients went to prison.

So, yeah, this is a can of worms. He's going to get close to 20 years in prison, I would expect.

BALDWIN: Darren?

KAVINOKY: If he's convicted.

And by the way, I agree that defense lawyers want to exploit every opportunity they can for the benefit of their client. Indeed, that is their obligation.

The challenge may be to show that whatever this misconduct was, as being related to a decision that was made, something that happened in the underlying case. It's not just, oh, this judge is now in trouble, therefore undo everything that was done during his career.

BALDWIN: Well, let me also note, according to affiliate reports, the secretary and her husband plan to file a civil suit.

Got to leave it there, Darrell and Janet. Thank you very much. Happy Friday to both of you.

Coming up here, this is an emotional and heartbreaking story, no doubt about it. Remember Summer Johnson -- Summer Thompson? She was abducted four years ago. Her body was eventually found in a landfill.

And now her mother is talking about how she is still coping four years later with the loss.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It never goes away. You just learn how to live with it better, you know, the further you get into the process.


BALDWIN: After a week of being held captive, Hannah Anderson is out socializing with her friend. She is the 16-year-old kidnapping victim rescued from a family friend who also allegedly murdered her mother and brother.

So Hannah went to a local restaurant just yesterday to attend this fundraiser with her family and just imagine, they have to now cope with not just one, two funerals and other expenses.

Her friends talked about how the 16-year-old is doing.


ALYSSA HAUGUM, HANNAH ANDERSON'S FRIEND: She's like acting strong for everyone and I think that's more of just like for her appearance, but I could tell that there's something inside of her that's upset.

Like when we're all like having a good time and once everyone stops laughing, she kind of gets this serious look on her face.


BALDWIN: When you think of Hannah's story, it hits one mother I met today particularly hard because her daughter, who was all of seven, just a couple of years ago, was taken from her.

Her name is Summer Thompson. The thing is, with her story, she did not survive. She was sexually assaulted. She was strangled at the age of seven.

And now her mother is speaking out. She is doing what she can to help other parents avoid her suffering.

Diena Thompson sat down with me earlier today.


DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF MURDERED CHILD: It made me realize that life is really precious and really short and we have to grasp at the ones around us and make them feel good.

BALDWIN: And it happened to Summer. Thank goodness Hannah is OK. They found her.

But, you know, in reading and being familiar with your story, you've said before it could happen to anyone.

THOMPSON: Anyone. Ninety-three percent of the time it's someone the child knows and trusts, and, you know, a high percentage for the parents also knowing this person.

But sometimes unfortunately our children know other people that we're unaware of, whether that be whether out riding on a bike or walking from school or somewhere they could know someone you don't. So that's how the 93 percent gets there.

BALDWIN: Her twin brother, Samuel, he just started second grade.


BALDWIN: Fifth grade, forgive me. Fifth grade. And so he wants to walk, bike to school?

THOMPSON: He wants to ride his bike, but it's hard to let go. I don't want to push my paranoias off on him, but I'm so, so very scared because this shouldn't have happened in the first place.

And the odds of it happening again are astronomical, but it wasn't supposed to happen the first time.

So it's really hard for me to differentiate between it's not going to happen, but it could happen. So just that thought in my mind really scares me.

BALDWIN: With what happened to Summer, and by the way, they caught the guy. He's gone away for a long, long time.

THOMPSON: He got six consecutive life sentences.

BALDWIN: With what happened with Hannah in the news, here you are, just about four years later, talking about this. Parents are listening.

It keeps happening, though. What do parents need to know?

THOMPSON: We need to be more proactive, rather than reactive. We need to be teaching our children these programs that all these nonprofits offer.

I work for a program the Monique Burr Foundation in Jacksonville, and they have a program called Speak Up Be Safe, and it's implemented out of 51 out of 64 counties in Florida.

But it's an actual nationwide program, but they in Florida actually deliver it free to the first- through fifth-graders in public school.



BALDWIN: Conspiracy theorists may be a little disappointed. Getting some news today from the CIA when it comes to Area 51.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The worst kept secret in history, I believe.


MYERS: Yes. Area 51 exists to the northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, right where we thought it was because Google has looked at it the entire time.

That right there is a runway. They confirmed that. That is a dry lake bed. Those are buildings. That's where the U-2 was flown 60,000 feet high. People thought it was a UFO. It was a spy plane and now they confirm it for the first time.

BALDWIN: But zero Martians and aliens?

MYERS: There are no aliens here that they confirmed yet. So far, so good. I think we're OK.

That's Roswell.

BALDWIN: Thank you.


BALDWIN: Thank you very much, Chad Myers.

And thank you so much for watching. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Have a great weekend.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.