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CNN NEWSROOM

900 Plus Killed In Egypt's Crisis; Jury Selection In Baby Killing; Hawaii Logs 9th Shark Attack Of The Year; Good Samaritan Stabbed To Death

Aired August 19, 2013 - 14:30   ET

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


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BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Just about the bottom of the hour, and at least seven weeks after its first democratically elected president was brought down, the death toll in Egypt continues to go up. A warning, the pictures you're about to see are tough to look at, but this is part of the story that is Egypt today. Militants in the Sinai area near Egypt's border with Israel ambushed and killed 25 Egyptian soldiers.

That is just one day after 36 members from the opposing side, supporters of the president, were killed in what government officials called this attempted jailbreak. Total death toll here, about 900 people in the past week including civilians. Look at this, body after body. Security forces, many blame the military for the bloodshed.

Remember, that is the same military the country looked to when dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. One Egyptian demonstrator writes this on cnn.com today, and I'm quoting, "we hate to see blood and that is why we witnessed by the Egyptian army is unprecedented. We have never seen such massacres before in Egypt. All of Egypt is in shock."

I want to go straight to Cairo to our senior international correspondent, Nick Payton-Walsh. It is dark. It is quiet because of the curfews. Are protesters still defiant? Set the scene for me.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. Brooke, we have seen a significant ebbing in protests in the past 24 to 48 hours, starting yesterday when two key marches were called off. What we have today, as you said, seen the violence in the Sinai, some of that tenuously related to the Muslim Brotherhood, but the gory pictures of what state media said were executed soldiers about to go home on leave have been prominently displayed on televisions here, bolstering the government would say its argument that it's fighting terrorism across the country.

You mentioned the jailbreak that seemed to have gone terribly wrong according to different reports yesterday. We are speaking to relatives of people who were killed in that particular instance, relatives say reporting distorted corpses, intense suffocation. One man in fact arrested from the mosque crackdown herded into a stadium where he posted a Facebook status update, telling his parents he was OK and then it seems he was in the convoy transferring prisoners, suffocated by tear gas.

So that violence continuing but what the key thing we're seeing at the moment is a government narrative getting more dominant in which they're simply saying they're fighting terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood at this moment, even condemning the violence in the Sinai, but seemingly lacking the same enthusiasm it had seen in the past few days to get people out on the streets -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. Continuing the conversation, another senior international correspondent in studio with me, Ivan Watson, who has spent quite a bit of time, here you were in Egypt. This looks like July 3rd. You were there witnessing when all of this happened. Now fast forward to all of this. As a journalist being there, all the spin from both sides, how do you cut through it, find the truth?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very difficult because Egypt is so polarized right now. I mean, one of the striking things about that time, when the coup, it was the first I had covered when it was taking place, was that the supporters of the military, the people who wanted to overthrow the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president, they were pretty antagonistic. They did not like the foreign media.

And they were in Tahrir Square, which is where the revolution began in the first place years ago, a place where I had felt very safe in 2011, and that had changed. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was being pushed out of power, we felt very comfortable going into their encampment. They welcomed us. They wanted their story to get out.

When you say how do you cut through all this? It's not the first time we've heard a government accuse the faction that it doesn't like of being terrorists. This is a strategy I have seen in country after country across the Middle East, where the government in power will accuse its critics of being terrorists and that authorizes them to use torture, fire machine guns, whatever.

BALDWIN: So this gets to what do we do as the United States. We've talked in the last week about this aid package, $1.5 billion that the U.S. gives to Egypt, whether or not we should continue. When you look at the big picture in other oil-rich countries who are giving billions to Egypt, it's a drop in the bucket. I just want to play some sound. This is Senator John McCain saying the U.S. should end it. This was on "STATE OF THE UNION."

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SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We have no credibility. We do have influence, but when you don't use that influence then you do not have that influence. We could be cutting off the aid, the spare parts and maintenance of this military equipment that we've given the Egyptians is important to their capabilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Out of that, I just want to quote part of a piece. I read this fascinating piece, "Time" magazine talking about, the title, "Egypt No Longer Matters." pointing to the '60s and '70s. One of the phrases he used, Egypt was the fulcrum of the Arab world, pointing to the intellectual center and juxtaposes where they are today, this economic basket case. The bottom line was why should Washington care when it seems like he calls it the experiment, the Arab spring, seems to have failed?

WATSON: Well, I mean, he has a point there, but Egypt is still the most populous Arab country. So there are Egyptians everywhere in the Middle East. Everybody has connections to it. If you see an Arab from another country, for Iraq, for instance, when he goes to Cairo for the first time, he's blown away because the TV shows and movies he's been seeing his whole life, those streets are right there. So there's a real pull.

It's like when Americans go to New York for the first time. They recognize that city. When it comes to cutting aid, OK, so we're having a debate in the U.S., should we cut aid to this regime that has gunned down hundreds of its own citizens. It's very important to note that Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, their top diplomat announced today that they're basically doubling down on their support for the post-coup regime in Cairo.

The foreign minister came out and gave a statement, he said the kingdom is serious and will not back down when it comes to supporting the Egyptian people, and we're going to not shy away from providing a helping hand to Egypt. So even if we cut that money, Saudi Arabia basically signalling in very strong terms, they'll fill in with money from oil-rich countries in the Persian Gulf, which happen to be very close American allies.

BALDWIN: So bottom line, if we decide not to give them the money, no big deal for them.

WATSON: It also shows that, you know, how the regional players are really filling in kind of this U.S. leadership has diminished because of all sorts of reasons over the last decade, 15 years, and how regional countries are filling in and perhaps not doing things that our government would like to see there.

BALDWIN: Ivan Watson, a treat seeing you in person. Thank you so much.

Coming up, jury selection beginning today in the trial of a teenager accused of shooting a baby in a stroller in front of the baby's mother. We will talk about that, next.

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BALDWIN: Jury selection begins today for the trial of a teenager charged with shooting and killing a baby boy in his stroller. The 18- year-old Demarkis Elkins is one of two teens charged in this killing. The crime happened last March in Brunswick, Georgia, but all the pre- trial publicity forced Elkins' trial to move 300 miles away to suburban Atlanta. Sherry West said she was pushing her 1-year-old son along in his stroller when two teens tried to rob her. She told them she didn't have any money and one of them allegedly shot -- did shoot the boy in the head. West, who was also shot in the attack, spoke to CNN about the defendant.

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SHERRY WEST, INFANT SON KILLED IN STROLLER: That I hate you and I don't forgive you and that you killed an innocent human life and that I hope you die for it.

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BALDWIN: Joining me, Attorney Danny Cevallos and Criminal Defense Attorney Philip Snyder. So welcome to both of you and Philip, let me just begin here. When you hear the story, what's the defense strategy, especially when you have all this pre-trial publicity? Emotions are very high.

PHILIP SNYDER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The defense strategy is clear. I have a 6-month old daughter. The second I heard this case I said, my God, how could this person do this. The focus for the defense is try to push it away from the emotion, bring it simply the fact can this person, the only real witness to the crime, can they make an identification of these two children.

BALDWIN: Danny, what do you think?

DANNY CEVALLOS, ATTORNEY: Well, the defense has had a lot of different theories. The defense has put forth a whodunit theory citing gunshot residue found on the parents' hands and in fact some other evidence they may try to make this a who done it. The other thing too is that the person who will ultimately testify against the shooter is the other co-defendant, who is being tried later. So the defense has its work cut out to shred this person who, if he participated in a robbery, then the prosecution's gotten in bed with the devil to try to secure a conviction against the shooter.

BALDWIN: On the flipside, we knew the gun was found in a marsh a couple of miles away. Elkins mom, aunt and sister, they are all in trouble for hindering the investigation. How may that change things, Philip?

SNYDER: Well, the thing that changes, it shows they have been trying to cover up the identity of the person who shot the gun. That could be very substantial because again, the defense's case, although it's could it be him, could it be them, it boils down to one witness's identification who picked him out of a line up. It's significant they are trying to cover up the location of the witnesses and location of the gun.

BALDWIN: Gentlemen, thank you both.

Up next, the summer has seen a spike in shark attacks, four off Hawaii in the last month alone. Why is that? Are sharks acting more aggressively or is this typical shark behavior? We will talk with a shark expert about what to look for if you like to surf or snorkel or get in the water.

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BALDWIN: There are some concerned swimmers in Hawaii right now. Nine shark attacks have been reported thus far this year, four just in the past month. The most recent, just yesterday at a popular surfing spot on the big island. A 16-year-old surfer received gashes in both legs from an eight foot shark.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was coming down the waves and the shark came from the side, took him out by the leg. That's all I seen, right from there. I tried to help him but I was too late already. He was already by shore. I couldn't cope. I was shaking already so close to a shark attack.

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BALDWIN: At least we can tell you that the teen is reported in good condition, but just four days earlier, a German tourist lost her arm to a shark while she was snorkelling in Hawaii. Chris Coco is the manager of Animal Husbandry at the Georgia Aquarium just down the street. Thank you so much for coming over. We just started looking at the numbers and wondering, are these sharks acting more aggressive or is this typical shark behavior?

CHRIS COCO, MANAGER OF HUSBANDRY, GEORGIA AQUARIUM: I think the numbers are typical and all last year, there were 12 attacks documented in Hawaiian waters so nine this time of year is not too far off those numbers. As a matter of fact, nationwide the numbers are a little higher than usual, but you have to look at long term trends as opposed to one year's jump or decline.

BALDWIN: What are they looking for, the sharks?

COCO: Sharks typically mistake human surfers or swimmers for food such as a sea lion or seal. It's very easy to be mistaken for when you're in a wetsuit, some kind of marine mammal food item.

BALDWIN: Hawaii is a beautiful place. Lot of people go there. It's still the summer. What do you tell people if you're thinking about hitting the surf?

COCO: I think you need to pay attention to local news and local authorities and take the guidance of folks on the beach who know the area really well, and maybe not swim at night. That's probably a good idea. Some animals are more active at night and feed close to shore. Good common sense and pay attention to your surroundings.

BALDWIN: Here's what I really want to know. When you hear about these attacks, they often say they will find the shark, you know, that was the cause of what had happened. What do they do with the sharks, dare I ask? COCO: It's difficult to not want to go out and find the shark. So if you find the shark, you may not know it is, but sometimes you do and in many cases, it's disposed of just to remove it from the equation.

BALDWIN: Chris, thank you very much. Appreciate you coming in.

Coming up, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hacked. Find out about the glitch that could impact your online profile next.

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BALDWIN: Some of the hottest stories in a flash. Rapid fire. Roll it. The White House today responding to the detention of a man flying home to Rio De Janeiro from Berlin who was detained nine hours in London's Heathrow Airport Sunday, that man, David Miranda, he is the partner of the "Guardian" reporter, Glen Greenwald. Greenwald is the journalist who exposed NSA secrets leaked by Edward Snowden. Miranda is back in Brazil minus his laptop, minus his cell phone, which were confiscated. The White House says it was informed of Miranda's detention, but did not ask Britain to hold on to him.

The man who created Facebook learned about a flaw firsthand. Someone hacked into Mark Zuckerberg's private facebook page just to prove he can, exposing the site's flaw. The hacker found a glitch that allows anyone to post on a stranger's wall.

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KHALIL SHREATEN, SECURITY RESEARCHER: I condemn this report. I never asked them that I want 4,000 or 5,000. OK, I found a vulnerability.

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BALDWIN: Facebook encourages hackers to test the site and pays them for any problems they expose.

The CIA now admits it helped overthrow Iran's prime minister in 1953. That is a first. The admission comes in a newly declassified document. The CIA pulled off the coup through propaganda and the secret use of other leaders in Iran. Iran had threatened to nationalize oil production, which would have severely hurt the U.S. economy.

You know the old saying, always keep your eye on the ball? This might be why.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chandler throws and Pam Oliver, wham.

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BALDWIN: The camera captures the moment and we watch it again. Pam Oliver was beaned on the head. I know it looks painful. Apparently she laughed it off. The Colts' backup quarterback tossing around the ball before a game against the Giants, one of the passes clearly went astray. The football player apologized with a hug and a tweet, hug and a tweet Sunday night.

He is the embattled San Diego mayor accused of sexually harassing more than a dozen women but in a couple minutes, a rally organized by those who support Bob Filner will begin. We're live at that event and hear why they say he should stay put as mayor of San Diego.

Plus, breaking news on CNN, we are getting word a Disney star has died. More details after this short break.

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BALDWIN: What would you do in this situation? A man who was just trying to break up a fight ends up stabbed and killed on a Dallas street. Police called him a Good Samaritan. Budd Jillet of CNN affiliate KTVT has the story.

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BUDD JILLET, KTVT REPORTER (voice-over): Police say he was merely trying to break up a fight involving the other man seen here.

MAJ. JEFF COTNER, DALLAS POLICE: He's de-escalating the fight. He is a Good Samaritan. He's trying to get everyone to rationalize and go about their business.

JILLET: But according to police, a third man grabbed Cowherd from behind.

COTNER: There's a person that also restrained, physically restrained Mr. Cowherd so that the attacker could wound him.

JILLET: Cowherd was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved. Investigators describe him as relatively new to Dallas, an engineer, scholar with family in Houston.

STEPHANIE SHAW, RESTAURANT OWNER: I don't feel concerned. I don't feel threatened or unsafe.

JILLET: Police and businesses along Lower Greenville scrubbed the area's image in recent years, attracting family-oriented businesses, not merely clubs and restaurants, but the stabbing isn't worrying to patrons.

CASEY HENSON, RESTAURANT PATRON: Things happen, people get in fights. It was unfortunate.

SHAW: But I mean, you know, it's not a bad place to be. Not a bad place to spend time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Budd Jillett, KTVT reporting. Police have charged 23-year- old Julian Martin Jr. and the second man, 23-year-old Jerry Brown, with murder.