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Interview with Adam Levy; New Mammal Discovered; 'Pop Four'

Aired August 16, 2013 - 07:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A disturbing new report about security at the nation's nuclear reactors concludes, rather, that more than ten years after 9/11, the facilities are vulnerable to terror attacks, theft of bomb grade fuel and sabotage that could lead to nuclear meltdowns. This report was conducted by the University of Texas at the request of the Pentagon. However, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission disputes its conclusions.

Two teenagers hitched a ride on the back of a tractor trailer as it rolled down a highway in Boston this week. One eyewitness said he could not believe his eyes that the boys acted like they didn't have a care in the world. When the driver of the truck was made aware, he slowed down, and apparently that's when the teens jumped off and ran away. Police say not only is this illegal, but incredibly stupid. We concur.

Finally, Philadelphia Eagles rookie offensive lineman Lane Johnson is huge, but guess what? His kid has some massive mitts on him. Check this baby out. This is his newborn son, he's a week old! He looks like he could follow in his father's massive footsteps. They want that guy to catch just anything.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: His hands are already large.

PEREIRA: They are the size of yours.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: His hands are huge, or he's holding them closer to the camera.

PEREIRA: Well, one of them is. Can we show the picture again? One of them is closer to the camera, but look at the other one in the background, it looks the size of his head.

BOLDUAN: Look at his face, so cute. Babies, I love ya!

All right, coming up next on "NEW DAY," Judge Judy defends her son with some pretty tough talk. We're going to talk to him live, the district attorney about the new lawsuit that he has filed against a local sheriff. We want to hear that.

CUOMO: And also the list keeps getting longer. A great grandmother who works at city hall is now accusing embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of inappropriate behavior. And also, got to show the animal again when you got a cute one, you go with it. It is a rodent, still a new species, freshly discovered, some say raccoon plus teddy bear equals this thing. We'll tell you about it.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY," everyone. Judge Judy lashing out in defense of her son, district attorney here in New York. Prosecutor Adam Levy is suing a local county sheriff for defamation for saying that he interfered with a case. Levy will join us live in just a moment to talk about the lawsuit. But first CNN's Pamela Brown is joining us with more on the story. Hi, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Yes, you don't want to mess with Judge Judy. The tough as nails TV judge had a few tough words for anyone who tries to take a jab at her son's character. Her son, a New York district attorney, filed a $5 million lawsuit against, of all people, the local county sheriff for defamation.


JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN, JUDGE JUDY: You're a 19-year-old zero.

BROWN: Judy Sheindlin is the tough-talking, gavel-pounding judge you don't want to cross.

SHEINDLIN: Listen to me carefully.

BROWN: Her daytime TV court show "Judge Judy."

SHEINDLIN: You're an idiot!

BROWN: Now she's weighing in on a legal matter involving her own son, Adam Levy, a New York state district attorney who slapped a $5 million lawsuit against Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith for defamation.

ADAM LEVY, NEW YORK DISTRICT ATTORNEY: To read in the newspaper statements made by Don Smith that I interfered with, used my office and my title as district attorney to influence his investigation, I was outraged.

BROWN: Smith has accused Levy of interfering with a child rape case against Levy's former trainer, Alexander Hossu, back in March. According to a Putnam County sheriff, Hossu is accused of raping a 13- year-old girl on two occasions in 2010. Levy says he recused himself from the rape case as soon as he learned Hossu was under investigation. In this 30-page complaint filed by Levy, he alleges that defamatory statements made by Smith against him were published in various online publications, including "if he could have his own way, Mr. Hossu would never have been brought to justice." He says the lawsuit is politically motivated.

DONALD SMITH: It's obviously intended to influence the outcome of the upcoming sheriff's election. BROWN: In a statement, Judge Judy says this about her son, "his moral compass is dead center." She added, "when someone attacks his character professionally or personally, they best be prepared to back it up, shut up or pay up."


BROWN: It appears the two have a history of not getting along, prior to this lawsuit, on issues related to the county. The complaint alleges Smith's outward hostility toward Levy has intensified ever since 2011, but again the sheriff denies defaming Levy. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Pamela, let's hear from the man himself, the plaintiff in the case, Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy joining us now. Good to have you, Mr. District Attorney.

LEVY: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: Let's put your mom to the side, she's just the sizzle in this. Love your mom, would never want to be in front of her bench, but I'm here with you.

The obvious question is, forget about the merits of the suit. We'll get into that. Why are you doing this? Why didn't you handle this politically? Why bring the attention to a situation that you believe doesn't deserve attention?

LEVY: Well, I will tell you, because the local sheriff in Putnam County, Don Smith, needed to be held accountable for what he did to me as the sitting D.A., by accusing me of criminal acts, something that quite frankly there's no greater harm to a district attorney, to his reputation, that I worked so hard to build, than accusing me of interfering with, of influencing a serious child rape case to protect a friend and to violate the oath of office that I took in 2008. He's going to be held accountable.

CUOMO: All right, so let's go at what are the biggest allegations coming from the sheriff. He says he believes you were harboring an illegal immigrant who was part of this criminal investigation for rape of a minor. He does have his address, your address on his license. How do you explain the situation?

LEVY: The address is a red herring. The address has no issue with respect to the lawsuit. The lawsuit itself centers around the fact that Don Smith accused me, after he arrested a family friend for raping a 12-year-old, accused me of using the authority of my office to influence the investigation and to obstruct his investigation to benefit my friend. And quite frankly, it's 100 percent false. He knew it to be false, and he did it simply because he and I haven't seen eye to eye in the past with respect to law enforcement initiatives.

CUOMO: When you read the complaint, you do take time in there to say there's not a lot of evidence about this and he should have known that there was no reason for this case to go at that particular time. Why spend any of your time defending the defendant in that rape case? LEVY: Chris, I'm not defending Mr. Hossu. Keep in mind that when I learned, according to my suit, when I learned about this incident, about this case, the investigation was March 13th. I learned about it and immediately I did what I was legally, morally and ethically required to do. I recused myself and my office. I could not possibly prosecute a case against Alex Hossu, who was a family friend. I contacted the Westchester County D.A.'s office immediately, made sure that we had an assistant D.A. available to assist the sheriff in his investigation.

I then made myself available to Westchester, made my family available, and I provided Westchester County, the D.A.'s office with additional information to investigate other potential victims, if they existed. I did everything I was required to do as a D.A., and it's because there's nothing more important to me than protecting children from sex molesters. It's easy.

CUOMO: Now, and that's why this gets so confusing. The other part of the sheriff's allegation is this guy's an illegal immigrant, this is the district attorney, he's putting him up in his house.

LEVY: Listen, it's nonsense. Alex Hossu was in the country for 12 years, had a valid New York state driver's license, he was licensed by the state of Connecticut to own a business, he was married to an American woman.

CUOMO: The feds are after him, though, for being illegally here.

LEVY: No, the feds have issued an ICE hold because yes, because he's not in the country illegally (sic).

CUOMO: Not in the country illegally or legally?

LEVY: He's not in the country legally, correct.

CUOMO: Did you know that?

LEVY: Of course not. He overstayed his visa. I had no idea. Don Smith and his department, they responded last year to Mr. Hossu's house, not my house, Mr. Hossu's house. They went in to respond to a 911 call. They had Mr. Hossu right there, asking him questions, responding. They didn't know he was an illegal immigrant. How should I? It's impossible to know.

CUOMO: Well, unless the guy is a close friend of yours and you would have that kind of a discussion.

LEVY: If he told me, which he never did. He never did. It's a red herring, it's not the issue. Immigration has conducted an investigation. They have discounted all of Sheriff Smith's allegations. He's presented no evidence at all that I harbored, aided and abetted. Once again it was just his attempt to tarnish my reputation.

CUOMO: So for you, this lawsuit is about your reputation and maintaining it in a public way. There's $5 million attached to the suit. You say there's an explanation for that. You're not looking to get rich here.

LEVY: No, any money I receive from Don Smith, I am donating to the Women's Center for Battered Women and the Child Advocacy Center for children who have been sexually and physically abused. This suit is to hold Don Smith accountable for his lies, his manipulation, which in the end only adversely affect victims of sexual abuse.

CUOMO: And worth the risk of making it attention -- giving it attention like this?

LEVY: Listen, if in fact I did what he accused me of, Chris, would I be shining a light on myself? Would I be bringing this lawsuit or would I be trying to keep it down low? The fact that I am trying to gain attention for what happened is to show what he said was absolutely false.

Think about it, Don Smith, the sheriff of Putnam County, carries a gun, a badge and has the right to take away people's civil liberties. What he falsely accused me of would suggest, if he did it to me he'll do it to you. Be very careful about who you select as your sheriff.

CUOMO: Mr. District Attorney, thank you for being on the show.

LEVY: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

Well, you might think if you take one part raccoon, one part teddy bear that you might have one pretty hard to miss animal, right? Well, this little critter, though, seemed to go undetected until now. Scientists announced this new species of animal, mammal, and it turns out it has been hiding in plain sight. "Early Start" co-anchor John Berman joining us now with more. We can dispute the pronunciation of the name later.


BOLDUAN: Let's get to the nitty-gritty details first.

BERMAN: You call him a little critter. In the science community, we call this mammal history. It has been more than 35 years since we last identified a new mammal here in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, it is safe to say this little ball of fur is a big, furry deal.


BERMAN: Grumpy cat might be gripping, cute dogs captivating, but now there's a groundbreaking development in the world of adorable. Meet the olinguito. It's new, brand new, to us at least. We didn't know it existed. Researchers announced the rare discovery Thursday. It was long thought to be its sister species, the olingo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have not ever seen an animal anything quite like this. BERMAN: weighing in at only two pounds with wide, big brown eyes, even the claws are cute.

JEFF CORWIN, HOST OF ABC'S OCEAN MYSTERIES: It is not dangerous. This creature, the olinguito, belongs to a group of mammals that we call the carnivores, but it's primarily a fruit eater or eating nectar.

BERMAN: A cross between a house cat and a teddy bear has been hidden all this time, finally spotted in the high tree tops in the Andean cloud forests through Colombia and Ecuador. It's active only at night in trees so high, they are surrounded by a dense fog. You can barely see this one leaping across the rain forest.

CORWIN: So it's a place like a rain forest or an ocean habitat, where we often find new species, but we have discovered new species in the United States every year.

BERMAN: Back in 2010, the vooncera (ph), a cat-like carnivore belonging to a family of mongoose like animals, was discovered in Madagascar. But that was so 2010. We are now clearly in the reign of the olinguito.


BERMAN: That Corwin guy, who thinks he knows animals, says it differently, but we're told it's olinguito. And they only share about 90 percent of their DNA with the olingos. By comparison, by the way, humans share 99 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees and bonobos. So those things are really distant relatives here. And in case you are wondering, there are already people trying to monetize on the olinguito's cuteness. The zoo in North Carolina, the zoo down there, is selling little stuffed ones, but they are doing it to raise money to protect these animals.

BOLDUAN: Seriously, am I the only person that does not find this animal adorable? I feel like I've gone crazy.

BERMAN: Not your type?

BOLDUAN: Not my type. Anything associated with the raccoon, I get the heebie-jeebies, I think.

PEREIRA: I'm still just fascinated that they could find something new after all this time on the earth. I find that -- where was it?

CUOMO: Yes, that was my thing, that was my curiosity.


CUOMO: -- ignoring me in our morning tease from "Early Start" to "New Day," I was actually saying that. But I've been told since they didn't just spot it. It takes time to classify.

BERMAN: You want to know the fascinating thing about this?

CUOMO: As opposed to what I say.

BERMAN: These animals-

BOLDUAN: You mean there are more?

BERMAN: The new thing, my thing. These things may have been in zoos in the U.S. over the last several decades, but they did not know it was a separate species. They wondered why they weren't reproducing in zoos with the olingos. It turns out they weren't because--


CUOMO: In China they were on display as kangaroos. Which was very odd.


BERMAN: You're just trying to one-up me here.


BOLDUAN: I got to finish this, got to have the last word.

CUOMO: I have never beaten Berman in any type of verbal joust in 15 years.

BOLDUAN: I just like to sit here, and it's like a tennis match, ba dong, ba dong.

CUOMO: The tennis match where the ball keeps hitting the other guy in the face all the time.

BOLDUAN: Straight in the face. How did we get on to tennis? Anyway, thank you, John Berman. Thank you.



CUOMO: I'm standing at attention.

BOLDUAN: You are? We're going to move on. Coming up next on "New Day," thieves in New York looking for a good haul are focusing on one Park Avenue building. That's not going over too well with the residents, to say the least. We're going to bring you their story coming up.

CUOMO: As opposed to buildings who'd love to have that.

BOLDUAN: I know, many buildings love to be burglarized.

CUOMO: And these sharp-dressed men from "Duck Dynasty" aren't just good at catching ducks, they are pretty good at luring viewers too. Big ratings for the season premiere. We'll tell you about it in our "Pop Four."


BOLDUAN: Wake up, everyone. Welcome back to "New Day." It's time for the "Pop Four" with Nischelle Turner.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy Friday, NEW DAY family. It's a good feeling today. I feel good, it's Friday.


TURNER: Let's get to it. I didn't discover the olinguito, but I do have four pretty good "pop four" stories. You ready? "Gangster's Paradise" rap (inaudible), and rice. Feel my flow. Number four today, rapper Coolio putting his music catalogue up for auction. Get this, guys, to fund his online cooking show and to start a cookbook series. Something about me loves that. The bidding starts at $140,000.

CUOMO: Something the pipe cleaners used to use?


TURNER: I always wondered how he had his hair all just stand straight up like that.

CUOMO: Using fuzzy pipe cleaners. All of a sudden they are like sold out. You should have seen me then.

TURNER: What if I came in here with that, one day, Chris?

CUOMO: I respect that.

TURNER: You like that?


TURNER: Time Warner facing a lawsuit over their fight with CBS. It's our number three story. The lawsuit has been filed by viewers angry that the channels they were promised were dropped thanks to a fee dispute.

No. 2 this morning, Chris Brown's hit and run case is dismissed. The victim reached a compromise with Brown and said she did not want to go forward with the charges.

And the number one story today. Listen up, Kate Bolduan. Massive ratings for "Duck Dynasty." Wednesday night's season opener drew an audience of 11.8 million viewers. That's a heck of a lot of people.

BOLDUAN: That's why she didn't return my call on Wednesday night.

TURNER: Glued to the set.


TURNER: With 11 million, 799,000 others. Just for the reference, you know, that's more than the population of New York and Chicago combined.

BOLDUAN: I am telling people, I know stuff. And I do have to make amends, because my friends on Twitter corrected me. I said earlier that Phil, the patriarch of the family, he went to LSU. I'm sorry, he went to Louisiana Tech.


TURNER: Isn't that where Terry Bradshaw went?

BOLDUAN: Well, he was the starting quarterback ahead of Terry Bradshaw.

CUOMO: Confusing Louisiana Tech and LSU.


BOLDUAN: I am sorry. Look, I'm making a public apology. All right, there we go.

CUOMO: It's not enough. Sometimes sorry's not enough.

BOLDUAN: What do you want me to do?


CUOMO: -- what should Kate Bolduan do for this gross error in collegiate alliance?

BOLDUAN: Be kind, please.

CUOMO: It is Friday. Coming up on "New Day," while you think about that, the NSA under fire, once again. A new report says the agency breaks its own privacy rules thousands of times a year. Each year since 2008. And guess who leaked that little tidbit? I bet you know.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson appears in public for the first time since her release. We have the pictures and the story.


BOLDUAN: That music means it's time for the "Rock Block," everyone. A quick roundup of stories you'll be talking about today, or at least we are. First off, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Let's take a peak in the papers, Kate. From the "New York Daily News," Major League Baseball expanding instant replay in 2014. Virtually every call except fouls and strikes will be subject to review, with managers expected (ph) to get (ph) three challenges per game.

From "The Houston Chronicle," fishing for congregants? The pastor of a church on a fishing lake in Greenfield, Indiana, says the location is helping him reel in new worshippers. And the "Seattle Times," I am such a fan of "Downtown Abbey." We'll soon be able to purchase merchandise based on the popular British historical drama. The list includes clothes, a board game, wine, and a line of beauty products. How about that? Christmas ideas for me.

This is time for business news and Christine Romans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's helpful, thank you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Stock futures continue to stay positive this morning, but we'll have to see how things progress later on this morning, of course, because Wednesday stocks had the biggest one-day drubbing since late June. The Dow lost 225 points, the Nasdaq and S&P also down big. One note to remember, the Dow is still up 15 percent this year.

All right, companies keep paying their worst workers bonuses. A survey found that nearly 18 percent of employers don't set their bonus levels based on an employer's performance. Sort of defeats the whole idea of pay incentives.

And money to burn, the government does, literally. The Federal Reserve is literally trashing $3 billion worth of new $100 bills. Seems too much ink was used, and the lines don't measure up to Uncle Sam's standards. Burning the money in Washington. Let's get to Indra Petersons for the weather.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Looks like it's going to be a tough weekend again in the southeast. Heavy rain, three to five inches of rain expected pretty much anywhere from New Orleans all the way to Charleston, combining tropical moisture with an already present stationary front, and in the northeast, gorgeous. We are talking about 70s and even 80s this weekend. Yes, we may see some clouds this weekend, but it is all relative, right? Clouds we can handle. Temperatures below normal. We know what the southeast is dealing with, though.

BOLDUAN: All right, thank so much, Indra. We are now very close to the top of the hour, which means it is time for the top news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Community came together putting on this great fund-raiser for Hannah and hopefully her future.


CUOMO: Trying to heal. Hannah Anderson making her first public appearance since being rescued. We talk exclusively to her friends on how she's coping and new insights into the man who kidnapped her.

BOLDUAN: Breach of privacy. A new report says the NSA has broken the rules of its domestic spying program thousands of times each year. Just how far did it go? Coffee danger. A wake-up call on just how bad drinking too much coffee can be for you. A new study says it could increase your chance of death by 50 percent. Dr. Gupta here with what you need to know.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.