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Marine Wants to Play Football; New Book on Jodi Arias Case; Chris Christie Signs Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy.

Aired August 19, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Some other news to bring you this hour. In Centennial, Colorado, there is a hearing in the James Holmes case. You'll remember he's the man accused of killing 12 people at that movie theater last summer. A FOX News reporter found out that Holmes sent a psychiatrist a notebook with some violent drawings all before the shootings took place. But she's not going to reveal her sources and this has caused a real problem. Jana Winter is actually in the courtroom so the judge can extend her subpoena until next month. So it is not over for her. Without that extension, that subpoena would have expired today. Stay tuned.

The partner of Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the "Guardian" newspaper who broke the story about the secret surveillance programs in the United States, that partner was detained in London for nine hours. Strange, you think, right? David Miranda was just passing through Heathrow, too. Wasn't even staying there. Just passing through on his way home to Brazil. Before the authorities released him -- by the way, on the deadline because they weren't allowed to keep him longer than nine hours -- they took his laptop, they took his cell phone, they took his video game consoles and his USB sticks. Glenn Greenwald is saying they will regret the action, going after families and loved ones, and he says he's going to publish documents on the British spy system. Specifically, because of this? We don't know. He says he's going to do it.

An Ohio man who bought a gun-storage safe on the Internet got quite a shock when he opened up that safe because inside, not what he thought -- figured to be empty, but it wasn't. This is what was in the safe. Apparently, 10 big packages of pot. $420,000 worth of it. The safe was made in Mexico. It was shipped to a warehouse in Ohio. All those other missing links, can't tell you. And the DEA, they're investigating. They're not saying now either.

College football season is just two weeks away. One Marine is waiting to hear if he's actually going to get the chance to play. His name is Steven Rhodes. He spent five years serving this country. Now he wants to protect the end zone. He is with us live. He's going to talk to us live. We're going to find out what the NCAA is doing. Steven joining us next.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to THE LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. There's pretty big excitement that's building for the start of college football season. Know there's a lot of fans out there. There's one college freshman fresh out of the Marine Corps who is ready to take the field at Middle Tennessee State this season. But, no. He's been sidelined by the NCAA. It's all over some recreational games that he played while he was on base.

"Bleacher Report's" Andy Scholes joins me now.

Fill me in on this exactly. I was unaware that if you just kind of played a couple of games with a bunch of guys wearing matching T- shirts and you get a coach, that this is actually a problem if you want a football career at least in college.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHERREPORT.COM: Yeah. Apparently, it is a problem, and it could cost you playing college football. Rhodes, he was playing for fun in a Marine recreational football league. League -- it was very unorganized. Sometimes they would even go six weeks without a game. But they did have refs, uniforms, and a scorekeeper. And that's why the NCAA says he has to sit out this season. According to NCAA bylaws, student athletes that do not enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged one year of collegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition. That's the two big words there, "organized competition." That rule has no exceptions, even for someone serving in the military like Rhodes.

The NCAA did respond last night after this whole story blew up on Twitter saying they've done an initial review of this situation, and no final decision has been made -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: OK. Listen, that sounds -- in light of what's going on, cray - cray.


Sorry for the vernacular. But, Andy Scholes, thank you for that. I think I understand what the spirit is, I just think it's being inappropriately adjudicated.

Andy, thank you for that.

By the way, joining me live from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Steven Rhodes.

Steven, welcome to the program and thank you very much for joining us.

First and foremost, thank you, sir, for your service to this country. That should be first and foremost in everybody's discussion when it comes to you.

Last night, the NCAA tweeted that their decision isn't final. That sounds like good news, but I don't know how good it is. Do you know anything more today?

STEVEN RHODES, U.S. MARINE: I don't actually. I haven't heard anything else about it other than them just saying that they're looking more into it.

BANFIELD: So looking more into it, I mean, do you have representatives? I'm guessing that your college really wants you to play and really sees that this is sort of a misapplication of rules that are legitimate rules. I mean, you don't want people taking out a couple of years after school to get tough in the game and then all of a sudden join a bunch of freshmen the next year. But you're a different case. Are you getting help in trying to get there?

RHODES: Yes. MTSU is helping out a lot, our compliance department, with -- they've been working on this a lot. And things are looking hopeful. Things are looking hopeful.

BANFIELD: Tell me about what you did on base. Like what kind of games that you played and how serious this recreational football was.

RHODES: It was basically, you know, it was just like an intramural league. Whenever we had time, you know, we could play. If we didn't, workload didn't permit, didn't play. But it was just something to take out a little stress, to build camaraderie between troops. And give us some -- some physical fitness. That's about it.

BANFIELD: Were they good players? I think I read somewhere that they were everywhere, between 18 to 40. God forbid someone, you know, age 40 would be on the field. What was the caliber of the players you were with?

RHODES: They were good players. I mean, they were good, talented players, you know, here and there. But as a whole, it wasn't -- it wasn't on a competitive level.

BANFIELD: So the issue is that you had -- you had referees, you kept score. And you wore uniforms. Is that accurate? Is that pretty much what this comes down to? That puts you into this actual NCAA bylaw?

RHODES: Yes. That's correct. It's just because we had uniforms and we were -- officials.

BANFIELD: Officials?


Not quite what you're used to. You're so gentle with your words, Steven.

Quickly, we've got a lot of people backing you on this? Do you have people out to get -- look, you're one of our heroes. You served our country. I can only imagine you got thousands and thousands of supporters. Then on the other side of the coin, anybody who says, stick to the guns, rules is rules?

RHODES: Well, you know, I just keep hoping and praying and believing that everything will work out. You know, my faith is in the Lord, so I know that everything will work out. MTSU is behind me 100 percent. And they're working day and night trying to get this solved. I believe everything will work out in my favor. BANFIELD: Yeah, I believe you shouldn't be penalized for serving this country. That's just my opinion. But I'm sticking to it.

And I started this interview by saying thank you, Steven Rhodes, for your service. I'm going to close this interview with you saying, thank you, Steven Rhodes, for your service to this country, every minute of those five years. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper fi, young man.

RHODES: Fi. Thank you for that.

BANFIELD: You keep us posted, Steven.

Joining me now to talk more about this and the machinations, our legal panel, Paul Callan and Mark Nejame.

This is the most obnoxious thing. I get it. I get that there have to be rules, but don't you look at these cases separately, or is it too bulky a process, Mark?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The NCAA has been full of controversy the last couple of years. My firm was recently against a case. We shrug our shoulder and shake our head in disbelief. Look, they've got unintentionally an act. I'll call it the Anti-Patriot Act. That simply does -- it punishes our service people. It -- that's all that's happened. This young man can't get a scholarship, is being penalized for having been in the service and playing ball unprofessionally. So they need to fix it. It's that simple. They shouldn't have this controversy. They should understand what this really means and the message it's sending. There is a chance to dig themselves out of a hole and they should do it rather than punishing this young man.

When you look at him, he's beaming. He served our country. He's getting a scholarship, and he wants to go ahead and get into something that allows him to move forward in life.

BANFIELD: We should be thanking him, not making him sit out.


BANFIELD: Paul Callan, far be it from me to understand how the NCAA works or unwinds some of its work. As I get it, it's not that easy to change these bylaws. But is it easy to seek relief in some way?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is because you don't have to change the bylaw here. This rule 14.2.3 wasn't intended to apply to the U.S. Marine Corps --

BANFIELD: Did you quote this rule by be?


CALLAN: I did. NCAA rule --

(CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: Are you the biggest nerd I have ever come across in law?


CALLAN: I'm sorry. I was on the debate team in high school. It's really embarrassing.

BANFIELD: I can't quote the numbers.


CALLAN: In any event, that rule doesn't say, A, that it applies to the Marine Corps. And the Marines when they're training you, they're going to use organized activities to make sure that our soldiers act together in an organized way. And I think if I were arguing this, I would say that's not really a league. That's very, very different from something that you would be doing in the outside world. It's related to military training, and the rule should not apply.

BANFIELD: OK. Quickly, and I'm going to throw this out there because obviously this is going to be adjudicated in some way and there are those who say rules are rules, they're written this way, he falls into those three categories, and they're pretty specific -- uniforms. I said refs, but I think he said officials in some way. And the uniforms, refs, and -- what was the third thing?

CALLAN: Guns? No.

BANFIELD: I feel like Rick Perry.


BANFIELD: I feel like Rick Perry.


Oops. Keeping score.

Thank you, Christina, our E.P., for keeping me honest.

Those are the rules. It's frustrating, but if rules are rules, can you make these exceptions?

NEJAME: Sound like a lawyer, that's overly vague and ambiguous. You can create a whole bunch of scenarios that would fit into that. That would exclude a range of people simple because it got under their radar because he was in the military and doing this -- having fun really while he's serving our country. No. They're simply being a little bit too strict, too stringent.


NEJAME: I was going to use another word. I'll leave it alone.

BANFIELD: Should any one think --

NEJAME: It starts with "A."


Ends with "L."

BANFIELD: Should anyone think he had an unfair advantage? Sometimes they went six weeks between games. Wasn't as though he was getting regular --


CALLAN: They found a way to leave Jerry Sandusky at Penn State for all those years. They can find a way to let Rhodes get eligibility.

BANFIELD: Good point. Good point.


BANFIELD: Paul Callan, I love that you're a nerd. Nothing gets by you.


Paul Callan and Mark Nejame, debate team.


CALLAN: You better take that nerd thing.


I will get so much harassment because of this.

BANFIELD: You know what? It's now going to be part of your graphic superimposed.


BANFIELD: Paul Callan, total nerd.

Stay with us, guys. I've got a couple of other things I want you to weigh in in a moment.

Not the least of which is this one, but for months, I know you and many of your fellow Americans and people around the world tuned in to Jodie Arias murder trial like it was a soap opera. She was convicted of brutally slaughtering Travis Alexander. Everyone hung on to these sordid details. Now she waits to hear her fate because it ain't over yet. Our Jane Velez-Mitchell has unearthed new details never before released. Some are really astounding. She's going to join me next and tell you what they are.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to the "Legal View." I'm Ashleigh Banfield. The woman whose murder case gripped this nation is getting closer to meeting the new jury that will decide if she lives or dies for her crime. Jodi Arias was convicted of the gruesome murder of her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Despite the cruelty that she displayed in killing him, the jury couldn't decide on killing her. A new jury is going to have to decide that question. And the hearing that's coming up next is a week from today.

In the meantime, my HLN colleague, host, Jane Velez-Mitchell, is out with a new book. Take a look-see, "Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias." It goes on sale tomorrow. She goes behind the scenes of this trial. We get details that we've never heard before now.

Which, by the way, I read through some of these details. I covered this trial with you and didn't know about this. How did you find this?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN: Ashleigh, you and I were in the courtroom. Personally, I think -- certainly most of the nation believed she was lying through her teeth, as did I. My blood was boiling. I said, you know, Travis can't speak for himself. Let's get the real story out there. Let's tell his side of the story. Because I got to tell you, the prosecutor was precluded from using a lot of information that they had because it was overly prejudicial. We don't have any constraints.

And I'm going to bring it to you. New information. And the big headline is "She stalked before." Ashleigh, she tried to act like she was a normal person until she met Travis Alexander. She stalked another boyfriend years earlier using the exactly same pattern. She gets jealous, then she starts using espionage, goes into his private conversation, then she confronts him. Then they break up, then she moves across state lines and moves next door to him and then proceeds to date somebody in his inner circle. That's exactly what she did to Travis.

BANFIELD: I was just going to say it mimics a lot of what Travis dealt with before he was killed. This other revelation that she may have been blackmailing him leading up to this murder, the whole premise of the murder was he was about to go away to Cancun with another girl and that may have set Jodi off.


BANFIELD: What is this blackmailing issue?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: this is something that the prosecutor couldn't bring up at trial. Maybe it doesn't believe it. But I make a compelling case in this book that she was using that cell-phone sex tape that she recorded on May 10th less than a month before she killed him as blackmail material. Nine days before she kills Travis, they have a huge argument that goes on for pages and pages and hours and hours on various social media, and neither one ever mentioned what they are arguing about. Travis said, "You betrayed me. You're the worse thing that ever happened to me my entire life." Now what could be so bad? He told friends she hacked into his Facebook again but she had done that so many times. It had to be something else. What would you and I argue about that neither one of us over the course of hours would mention what the subject is? Blackmail. Because the blackmailer doesn't want to bring up the subject and the blackmailee doesn't want to bring up the subject.

But at one point, a friend of Travis, who was looking through that interaction trying to find something because she thought Jodi was going to get off the hook, finds a reference that Travis makes and Jodi responds, I'll call a lawyer then. Why would she call a lawyer? Well, there's illegalities involved of recording somebody's voice when they don't know they're being recorded.

BANFIELD: Depends on the state.


BANFIELD: Can I tell you something? I worked with you during the Zimmerman case and you were working day on Zimmerman and night on this book.


BANFIELD: It's only been three months or so. You're the hardest working woman I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are. I'm second.

BANFIELD: No way. I don't come anywhere close to you.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, thank you so much. The book is called "Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias."

I am amazed that you could get this out so quickly and amazed at some of the content. I don't know where you got it but --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are shockers in there left and right, I've got to tell you.

BANFIELD: You are a reporter's reporter, girl.


You get the goods.

Thank you.



BANFIELD: Thank you. Nice to see you as well. Thank you, Jane.

Can going to a therapist stop someone from being gay? Governor Chris Christie says not so fast. He's siding with the medical experts who are saying not so fast. But could his decision help him or hurt him on any possible chances for the White House? Got that ruling coming up on the "Legal View." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Chris Christie has signed into law a ban on something called gay conversion therapy for minors. It's a controversial practice. The aim is to turn gay children into straight children. If that sounds crazy to you, it sounds crazy to the American Medical Association and it also sounds crazy to the American Psychological Association, among other medical associations. They say it's not helpful. They say it's harmful. But there are people who support it and say there's no danger in talk therapy.

Our Poppy Harlow and CNN's political director, Mark Preston, have been following this story on the two different angles.

Poppy, I want to begin with you.

What did the governor, Chris Christie, just do, and what did he sign?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been following this closely. Back in June, the New Jersey legislature passed this bill. It's been sitting on Christie's desk for a long time. It says no licensed therapist in the state of New Jersey can perform therapy on a minor to try to turn this from being gay to straight. As you said, the American Medical Association says it's dangerous. So does the American Psychological Association, Psychiatric Association. And the World Health Organization says it represents a serious threat to the health and well being of people.

But the question was, is Governor Christie, a Republican, a centrist Republican, going to sign this? The real question is should the government tell parents how to parent and what therapy their kids can get.

I want to play you some sound we just got from Governor Christie today, on the campaign trail, asked about why he signed bill. Listen.



CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: I think the signing statement speaks for itself. I put the statement out. I did sign the bill. I think the statement speaks for itself.


HARLOW: So he says the statement speaks to itself. Let he read you part of what Christie wrote in signing this. He said, "The American Psychological Association can found trying to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks, including but not limited to depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self esteem and suicidal thoughts." He went on to say, "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefit that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."

But people on the other side are very angry. We talked to, for example, parents and friends of ex-gays. They say it's going to hurt parents and young people who will be denied their right to get the therapy that they choose.

BANFIELD: Chris Christie is siding with the medical experts and it's probably a good thing to do.

Hold that thought for a second because obviously you and I and everybody who watches a little bit of television knows he's a centrist Republican, like you said.

And that he's possibly, Mark Preston, in the running for 2016. Where does this fall into 2016? This is only the second state to ban this kind of conversion therapy. Is this getting it out of the way early?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: There's something to be said for Chris Christie to support this legislation. He can fall back on what the science has told him. He also governs a blue state of New Jersey. Chris Christie doesn't fall in line behind all over Republican principles, especially not conservative principles. We shouldn't be too surprised that he signed this legislation today. Of course, it is all viewed through the prism as 2016. I was talking to a Republican strategist here in town, this well-known Republican strategist this morning, and the Republican strategist described Chris Christie as playing the perfect game of walking the fine line being a pendulum, so to speak, on issues where not only could he get the support of gays or some gays anyway, but at the same he's also going to sign legislation that has infuriated liberals just last week on guns, for instance. So if Chris Christie is walking this very fine line, he might not play well in a state such as Iowa, South Carolina where those primaries tend to be really run by social conservatives, but he could do well in Florida.

BANFIELD: You didn't mention last week's medical marijuana, too. I think this conversation will continue.

Mark Preston, thank you. Nice to see you. Haven't seen you in a long time. So it's really great to see you.

And Poppy Harlow, as always, nice to see you as well.

HARLOW: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thank you for your reporting.

I am done. That's all the time I have, although I could go on and on and on. Instead, I'm going to pass things to AROUND THE WORLD, which starts now with Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes. Have a great day.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Emotional moments in a South African courtroom. Oscar Pistorius wipes away tears as the court indicts him for the murder of his girlfriend.

And Glenn Greenwald broke the story about the U.S. secret surveillance programs. Well, now he says that British authorities tried to intimidate him by detaining his partner for nine hours at a London Airport.

And for the first time since his son was born, Prince William talking about fatherhood and changing diapers and going back to work.