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AirTran Flight Diverted; Wildfires Raging in the West; Fort Hood Trial to Conclude Any Day; Muslim Brotherhood Leader Arrested; U.S. Aid to Egypt Pulled; What's Killing The Dolphins?; Vanderbilt Rape Case

Aired August 20, 2013 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, a passenger tries to open the exit doors while in flight. The plane gets diverted and we'll tell you who was onboard and able to restrain him.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Brave survivor. She's the 12 year old who survived a bear attack not once, but twice, even playing dead. She joins us live.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Photo controversy, tech titan, CEO of Yahoo! So why is this magazine glamour shot causing so much controversy? We dive into the debate.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

ORLANDA CABRITO: It's pretty scary. Once evacuation came through, it's reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just have to see.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 20th, 8:00 in the East. I am Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: I'm Chris Cuomo, here with news anchor Michaela Pereira.

Big story this morning, a sex assault scandal rocking a top university, this time, five Vanderbilt football players had been arrested in connection with an alleged rape, but that's not all they are accused of. They apparently tried to cover this all up.

BOLDUAN: Also come out (ph) as a mystery is puzzling scientists and beach goers. Along the east coast, dozens of dolphins have washed up dead on shore. So what could be causing this? We're going to take a look. PEREIRA: And take a look at this handsome fellow, the royal palace releasing the very first official photos of the royal family with the royal baby. What exactly about these photos is raising eyebrows? We'll discuss.

BOLDUAN: We will, but first let's get to some breaking news this morning. An AirTran flight from Baltimore to Austin, Texas had to be diverted to Memphis last night after a passenger tried to open one of the plane's emergency exits midflight.

CNN's Rene Marsh is joining us from Washington now with more. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate, I just got off of the phone with the FAA and they have confirmed with us this morning that AirTran Flight 265 was the one that had to be diverted to Memphis and it did land safely around 6:30 last night. Now, local affiliates are reporting that the passenger who tried opening the emergency exit door was put into a police car and taken away.

The plane with the passengers onboard then was able to take off and head to its final destination, which was Austin, Texas. Now it is worth noting that it is virtually impossible to open those exit doors while a plane is in flight, just simply because it is so pressurized within the cabin. The only way that that would be possible is if for some reason the plane did lose pressure. But again, that is the status there. Everyone onboard was able to get to their destination safely, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Scary, scary trip and a pretty long delay I'm sure. Thanks so much for the update, Rene. We'll check back on you.

CUOMO: Whether you can do it or not, you don't want people trying. That's for sure.

We're going to head out west now, because fire crews are fighting the good fight there. Here's what they're up against - some 49 wildfires raging right now in 11 western states. One of the worst, the Beaver Creek fire in central Idaho. Hundred and sixty square miles already up in smoke. Thousands had fled their homes.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in Haley, Idaho, with the latest. Good morning, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. You know, with more than 100,000 acres burned, you can imagine firefighters are using every resource at their disposal to get things under control. This fire is just at nine percent containment, with plenty of areas left to burn.


SIMON (voice-over): Fire continuing to ravage one of the country's most scenic spots. A drive through the mountains and you can understand why many celebrities like Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis choose this area to build multimillion-dollar vacation homes and why some insurance companies call in their own firefighters to help prevent a calamity. But as a Red Cross official told me --

NICOLE IRWIN, CEO, IDAHO RED CROSS: Many people think this is an affluent area, and it is, but there are many people who are affected by this that are from different socioeconomic backgrounds and that's who's staying with us.

SIMON: Staying in a shelter like this high school where we met Orlanda Cabrito.

ORLANDA CABRITO: I think not knowing I think the outcome if we're going to be able to go home of if we're going to have a home, I think that is the most nerve racking.

SIMON: The Beaver Creek fire is a true beast, spreading across in the area larger than the city of Denver. Surrounded by bone dry trees and brush, it's clear this fire could keep burning a very long time. The key is to keep the flames away from homes, but the wind has a way of pushing the fire in different directions.

BETH LUND, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FIRE AND AVIATION MANAGEMENT: We have plenty of resources right now and it's just a matter of having people at the right place at the right time, which I believe we do at this point in time. It's just a lot of work to go ahead and get this thing contained.


SIMON (on camera): Well, rain is in the forecast and it could come as early as this evening, but with rain you have a mixed blessing that could produce thunderstorms and lightning and there's a concern that that could ignite even more fires. Kate?

BOLDUAN: A long day ahead. Dan, thank you so much.

Thousands of miles to the east, it's rain, not fire that's causing all the chaos. A stalled front threatening to soak everyone from the Carolinas to the Florida panhandle. Anymore rain there could trigger flash floods. Indra Petersons has been tracking the severe weather that just does not want to go away.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It literally will not let up. And just imagine, it's raining, what do you do? You go to your apartment, right, want to hang out. Well, this is what happened in Statesboro, Georgia. They go to their apartments and so much rain has inundated the area that now they had rain go into the fair road apartments and then their furniture was literally rolling around in the rain.

Their cars, as you can see, that water rose all the way up to the level of those car doors. This is not the only place this is going on. I mean, take a look at the map. We're talking about flood warnings stretching anywhere from the Florida panhandle as you said, all the way into the Carolinas. And where you see the bright green, that is flood warnings. That means it is imminent and it's already occurring in those areas and of course we have more watches posted because even more rain is expected into the forecast. Let's talk about what has been happening. Well, look at down the rain is seen since just June. Anywhere upwards about 20 to 30 inches of rain, well above normal is that because you know, yeah, the southeast does get rain. It's a lot -- very humid out there, but take a look, we're talking about 10 to 15 inches above normal for this time of year already.

And unfortunately, that stationary front is going to stay in place where we're going to be talking about another 2 to 3 inches even 4 inches rain possible as we go even all the way through Thursday. That front is literally is going to stay right in place, so no hope for now.

BOLDUAN: All right. Indra, thank you.

Let's move now to court martial of admitted Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan. He may testify before the end of his case which could come to a close any day now. Remember, he is representing himself in this court martial. He's charged with murdering 13 and wounding 32 in the 2009 massacre on US Army base.

Let's get to CNN's Ed Lavandera, who is in Fort Hood, Texas this morning, had been following the case all the way through. Good morning, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, Nidal Hasan has already admitted he was the gunman. His own assisting attorneys believe he's trying to get himself the death penalty so the only real question at this point now is what will Nidal Hasan's so called defense strategy be?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Almost four years after the Fort Hood massacre, Nidal Hasan will be center stage. He's expected to try to justify why he killed 13 unarmed fellow soldiers and wounded more than 30 others.

RICHARD ROSEN, MILITARY LAW EXPERT: There's no telling what he's going to do when he gets on the stand, if he testified, which is suspect he will to tell a story which essentially admits to the fundamental crimes and then gets an excuse for doing so.

LAVANDERA: For the victims' families, Hasan's testimony could prove to be a painful sideshow. Hasan, who's an Army psychiatrist, has been told he cannot argue he killed American soldiers because in his view they were preparing to fight Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since Hasan is acting as his own attorney, he will write out a series of questions for his standby attorneys to ask him.

GEOFFREY CORN, MILITARY LAW EXPERT: A defendant, I believe, has the right to -- we know he has the right to represent himself and he has the right to do it poorly and I think he has the right to ask for capital punishment.

LAVANDERA: Which leads shooting survivors like Christopher Royal anxious for Hasan to go away.

CHRISTOPHER ROYAL, FORT HOOD SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I won't allow him to consume any more energy from my life than he's already done. And so I have released him, I've forgiven him completely and it's not up to me to punish him.


LAVANDERA (on camera): And Chris, prosecutors only have a handful of witnesses left on their list. We're told they could be done by midday, then it would be Nidal Hasan's turn and we're told that right now he only has two witnesses on his list so whatever his defense strategy will be, it won't take long. Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Ed, thank you very much for the reporting.

Now, moving on, new developments to tell you about in Egypt this morning. A key member of the Muslim Brotherhood is now under arrest. The group spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, was arrested in Cairo for inciting violence.

And now the Obama administration has pulled the plug on some military aid to Egypt. Foreign Affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is live in Washington with that. Good morning, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris. You know, they're pulling the plug but they're doing it very carefully and there is a reason. Right now the administration is undertaking a major review, full review of the aid that the United States gives to Egypt and that of course is about $1.5 billion.

And what they're doing is they are not saying that they're ending the aid. After all the administration doesn't want to come down on either side of that at this point, although it does want to send the message to Egypt. So what they're doing is reprogramming while everything is under review.

There's no decision again to permanently end it, but it avoids, President Obama having to take that step saying is it a coup, isn't it a coup, which would then trigger a need, a legal necessity to end the aid. So again, we're talking about $1.5 billion overall. Most of that is a military aid. Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: All right. Jill, thank you very much for the reporting. A complicated situation, because you have such human causalities there and human rights issues on the ground, what you're going to do with the government, not easy to lead in these situations.

BOLDUAN: Not easy to lead and it's a murky situation they've found themselves in - not giving the aid, withholding it, not declaring in a military coup. It seems -- it's obviously a tough political situation they've got to get themselves out of.

CUOMO: One story we're following this morning. A lot of other news as well, so let's get right to Mickey.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's do it. Take a look at headlines now - newly released court documents detailed Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's injuries before his capture. A trauma surgeon testifying at a court proceeding said Tsarnaev had multiple gunshot wounds, including one through his mouth that led to a skull fracture. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty in the marathon bombings, which killed three people and wounded 260.

James DiMaggio who allegedly kidnapped Hannah Anderson after killing her mother and brother left $112,000 in insurance money to Hannah's grandmother. He named her as the policy's beneficiary. DiMaggio was killed by FBI agents during Hannah's dramatic rescue in the Idaho wilderness. According to DiMaggio's sister, he wanted the money to go to Hannah and her brother Ethan because he thought the parents' relationship was too unstable to leave the money to them.

A Florida mom claims a pop warner football league will not let her son play because he is too fat. Linda Hernandez says her 6-year-old son Michael was crushed when the annual pop warner weigh-in revealed that he was 20 pounds over the weight limit for his age. The head of the league said he never used the word fat and the child had to be banned for safety reasons.

And finally, Yahoo! CEO stirred up a little controversy with this new photo spread in "Vogue". Take a look at Marissa Mayer. She is reclining upside down in a lounge chair wearing a Michael Kors dress, wearing a pair of Yves St. Laurent stilettos. Some critics say it's not the image a woman in the corporate world should be presenting. Supporters, however, argued being equal means a woman can be smart and feminine.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: She was laying the wrong way on the chair. Does that count?

PEREIRA: He's got an engineering concern.

BOLDUAN: I like that observation.

CUOMO: That's what guys see.

PEREIRA: Have you looked at magazine layouts? Women don't usually pose like that.

CUOMO: But they can pose with their head on the right side of the chair.

BOLDUAN: That is what we love about you. I love that.

PEREIRA: It was the safe thing to say. It was the safe thing.


PEREIRA: And easy.

BOLDUAN: But let me be the one that has an opinion. It's fine. She's very successful and can wear a nice dress. It's OK.

CUOMO: It's good enough for me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: But can i wear a nice dress and get away with it?

BOLDUAN: Well, you should see what happens off camera.

CUOMO: We're on TV.


CUOMO: All right. So here's the news for you. The White House is welcoming the newest member of the First Family. Wait for it, it's a puppy named Sunny. She's Portuguese waterdog, same breed as her big brother, Bo, who's there. He's the one with the white paws getting chased.

BOLDUAN: They call it a tuxedo.

CUOMO: Is that what they call it? He can still be taken seriously.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Athena Jones is live at the White House with this one. Good morning, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good morning, Chris. A while back the First Lady said she hosted a doggy play date for first dog Bo because he wasn't getting enough dog interaction. Well, now with the addition of a second dog to the White House family, that's all about to change.


JONES (voice-over): If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog, as the saying goes. President Barack Obama and the first family did just that, again. Meet Sunny, the 1-year-old Portuguese waterdog from Michigan who now calls 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. Sunny is the same breed as her big brother, Bo. Bo joined the family soon after the Obamas first arrived at the White House in 2009.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.

JONES: Just last week the White House tweeted a picture of Bo in the Oval office in a reference to the movie "Mean Girls" that was retweeted over 20,000 times. This is just the most recent image of Bo at White House events like the Easter Egg roll or guarding the Christmas decoration. Presidential pooches have a long and storied past at the White House, some simply inseparable. Bush 43 and Barney, Clinton and Buddy. Bush 41 had Millie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The presidency is a very lonely undertaking. I think there are very many moments in the White House where what you really want to do is take your pet for a walk.

JONES: But it doesn't always go well. Lyndon Johnson picked his beagle up by the ears and animal lovers howled. Some former presidents like Teddy Roosevelt turned the White House into a zoo with a wider range of animals. And Woodrow Wilson used sheep to trim the White House lawn during World War I.


JONES (on-camera): And in honor of the new pooch, the Obamas have made a donation to the Washington Humane Society -- Chris, Kate.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much, Athena. Appreciate it. Good for them with a new dog.

BOLDUAN: The thing like -- Sunny and Bo seem -- they're already acting like brother and sister. Jumping each other, biting each other. You know, just like it should be.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, more dolphins -- this is a sad story -- more dolphins washing up on beaches up and down the eastern seaboard, but the big question is why. It's a mystery. We're taking a look.

CUOMO: And troubling news from the sport world and beyond. Vanderbilt star wide receiver caught up in an alleged sexual assault. We're going to tell you what prosecutors have to say about his involvement.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Three more dolphins found washed up on beaches along the Jersey Shore this weekend, and they are just the latest. It's a disturbing pattern that has marine biologists not only concerned but stumped. Michaela Pereira tracking these developments for us. What do we know about this?

PEREIRA: Well, it really is a mystery. It certainly is puzzling scientists all up and down the east coast. More than 200 coastal bottleneck dolphins have died and washed ashore at beaches in New Jersey and Virginia. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are trying to figure out what's happening.



PEREIRA (voice-over): It is a sight that tourists love to see.


PEREIRA: But this summer, a different scene is stunning beach goers.

KARA CLARK, VIRGINIA BEACH TOURIST: As we went by, it appeared to just be belly up. So, it looked like it was not -- like it was a dead one.

PEREIRA: More than 200 dead bottleneck dolphins have washed ashore on the eastern seaboard from New York down to Virginia. Officials at the Virginia Aquarium says their state normally sees an average of seven dolphin strandings in July and August, but this year, teams recovered 48 dead dolphins in July and 75 this month so far, including 25 just this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-five dolphins in one weekend is something we can't handle. And if continues at this rate, we're going to have to ask from our outside help.

PEREIRA: They are now working with NOAA to investigate this marine mystery, collecting samples and noting similar ailments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're seeing lesions in their respiratory system. We're seeing animals that having joint problems. We are not seeing animals that are feeding normally. A lot of them are thin.

PEREIRA: Scientists are investigating a range of possible causes from pollution to the return of a virus that killed more than 700 dolphins back in 1987.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that they're dying from a number of different diseases may indicate that there's an awful lot out there in the water that we need to be concerned about.

PEREIRA: It is a mystery scientists hope to solve before the problem spreads.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have some riders (ph) back here if you want to take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As they migrate south, we may see high mortalities in other states.


PEREIRA (on-camera): Now, if you happen to see one of these stranded dolphins, do not touch it. NOAA says to stay away, call for help. They actually have a hot line for stranded and entangled marine life. Let's give you the number, 866-755-6622. The reason this is even more of a concern is that dolphins are seen as sentinels of ocean life. If they are at risk and something mysterious is killing them, what is happening to other marine life and how are they being affected, too?

BOLDUAN: And it's really, when you showed that chart in your piece, it's not just one or two more.


BOLDUAN: That's significantly more. That something is going on. We'll find out.

CUOMO: Hopefully, they figure it out. We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, a star wide receiver on the Vanderbilt University football team now under arrest in connection with an alleged sexual assault on campus. The latest twist in a disturbing case.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, our first official look at the royal Baby Prince George, the first official photos we're getting. Kensington palace releasing the photos and they're nothing like your typical royal family portrait.


CUOMO: We're more than halfway there. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 20th. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

PEREIRA: Good morning, everybody.

BOLDUAN: Coming up in this half hour, a 12-year-old Michigan girl lucky to be alive this morning after she was attacked, not once, but twice by a black bear. She's going to be joining us live in just a few minutes with that wild story.

CUOMO: And coming up tomorrow, we have an exclusive one-on-one interview with Mr. Facebook himself, founder, Mark Zuckerberg, tomorrow, as I said, right here on NEW DAY. You will want to hear what the young man has to say.

A lot of news this morning as well this morning. So, let's get to five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. Michaela has --

PEREIRA: All right. Here we go. The Obama administration holding up some military aid to Egypt. The White House says the program now under review. Officials say there has been no decision to permanently halt aid to Egypt.

At least 49 major fires burning in the 11 western states. Firefighters in Central Idaho making encouraging progress on one of them, the Beaver Creek fire.

More wet weather in forecast, meanwhile, for the southeastern U.S. showers and thunderstorms continuing with the chance of flooding from the Florida panhandle up through the Carolinas.

Ft. Hood massacre suspect, Nidal Hasan, could take the stand in his own defense today. Prosecutors wrapping up their case against the army psychiatrist who allegedly killed 13 fellow officers at the base in 2009.

And at number five, better late than never, the 1972 Miami Dolphins will be honored at the White House today. The only unbeaten team in NFL history missed out back in 1972 because President Nixon was immersed in, well, the Watergate scandal.

We're always updating the five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.

CUOMO: I can't believe it took that long, only perfect team in history.

BOLDUAN: I know. Scheduling.


PEREIRA: Better late than never.

CUOMO: Yes. It's better than late never.

That's one kind of football story. Now, we have a different very one. It's surely not about football at all if you think about it. A star player on the Vanderbilt football team now faces felony charges accused of helping his teammates cover-up an alleged rape on campus. Vanderbilt wide receiver, Chris Boyd, turned himself in to police on Saturday. Four other Vanderbilt players are charged with rape for an alleged dorm room attack in June.

Alina Machado has more on this in the CNN Center in Atlanta. Good morning, Alina. What do we know?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. The website for Vanderbilt's football team says Chris Boyd is on the official watch list for a national award given to college football's top wide receiver, but his future is now uncertain as he faces a very serious criminal charge.


MACHADO (voice-over): Chris Boyd, the star wide receiver for Vanderbilt University's football team is now charged with a felony for his alleged role in covering up an alleged on-campus rape.

DON AARON, METRO POLICE SPOKESPERSON: He is alleged to have given certain advice to other defendants as part of an attempted cover-up.

MACHADO: Police in Nashville, Tennessee say Boyd's teammates raped a 21-year-old student inside this campus dormitory in June. Brandon Branks, Cory Batey, Jaborian McKenzie, Brandon Vandenburg are all charged with aggravated rape and sexual battery. They have since been dismissed from the Commodores football team and suspended from the school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty shocking, especially from Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt's such a good school as far as D-1 football.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, it's kind of sad. You know, these are the guys we look up to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I don't think it's fair to really take what happened in the past two weeks and reflect that on the rest of the team.

MACHADO: School authorities began their investigation after noticing four football players acting suspiciously on a dorm surveillance video.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are shocked and saddened by the allegations that such an assault has taken place on our campus.

MACHADO: Authorities filed additional charges against two of Brandon Vandenburg's friends, Miles Finley and Joseph Quinzio of California for their alleged roles in the cover-up. Police continue to work the case and say their main focus is the victim.

AARON: Everything we're doing here is for her so that she can have justice.


MACHADO (on-camera): Three of the four former football players charged with rape are expected to be in court tomorrow morning. Boyd, meanwhile, is free on bond. He has been suspended from the football team while the legal process runs its course -- Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right. Alina, thanks so much for that update. Thanks.

CUOMO: All right.

Now to impact your world.