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CNN NEWSROOM

March on Washington: 50th Anniversary; Jury Recommends Death Penalty for Nidal Hasan

Aired August 28, 2013 - 15:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And we're awaiting the president of the United States to speak.

You can see he and the first lady are standing there next to the bell as Heather Headley, a gospel and R&B singer, is performing now. That bell is from that church, 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963. The three little girls who died were Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.

And it happened just a month, not even a month, after the March on Washington. And, of course, when that happened, many around Dr. King said we have heard from you, we have heard from the nation. The nation has showed up here. But what will be the people who are against us? What will be their response? What will be the Klan's response?

And that response was to bomb a black Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama.

I want to bring in my guests here again, Van Jones, who is commentator here on CNN, an analyst, and also the new host of "CROSSFIRE," and Sheila Jackson Lee, Democratic congresswoman from Texas.

We were in the middle of a story as we were talking about the folks who are standing here and about John Lewis and everyone speaking directly to people, directly to young people and old, saying if you think things haven't changed, walk in my shoes for just a little bit.

VAN JONES, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I just want to say a couple of things. When you talk about young people, you think about his young children. The one that did not speak, Dexter, was there as well.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You don't see him much.

JONES: You don't see him very much. You saw the young firebrand of the little baby daughter. You saw the III. But Dexter has played an important role in that family.

He is the one when he saw his mother suffering the lack of funds stepped up to make sure that the King papers were respected, the King speeches were respected. He's a quiet power in the family. It was so good to see Dexter there.

LEMON: When you use that speech or any of his speeches, you must go through Dexter first.

JONES: Yes. If you want to use -- make money off of a King speech, you have to go through Dexter. He needs to be respected.

LEMON: He did that for his mother.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: His mother suffered.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Dr. King did not leave his family in wealth.

JONES: Yes. People act like Dr. King was a rich man. Dr. King gave away money. He didn't even accept the Nobel Prize money. He gave it away.

So when he was shot, his children suffered financially. Dexter, who has not been celebrated today, he stood up for his mother. I was so proud to see him there. I was so proud to see the young granddaughter there. She was afraid to hear the bell ringing just being a child. This is a real family. And they have suffered for America. And so they should be honored.

LEMON: Van and Congresswoman, sit tight just for a second, because we have some developing news I want to get to, my colleague here in Washington as well, and that's CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf, I understand you have some breaking news. It's involving Nidal Hasan, his sentencing.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Nidal Hasan has been sentenced to the -- has received the death sentence, unanimously recommended by a military jury, Fort Hood, Texas. Nidal Hasan murdered 13 fellow soldiers back in 2009. He wounded some 31 others -- 32 others.

Now a jury has unanimously recommended that he be put to death, the death penalty for Major Nidal Hasan. He did not challenge that death sentence. In fact, he seemed to suggest he wanted it. He wanted to be a martyr for the so-called cause that he was promoting, an Islamist cause.

Clearly, he was influenced by the Islamist movement. So the president -- Nidal Hasan gets the death sentence. If, in fact, he is -- gets the death sentence, he will be the first in some 50 years.

Here's the president at the Martin Luther King commemoration.

(LIVE COVERAGE OF OBAMA'S REMARKS AT 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH ON WASHINGTON)