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A Diplomatic Way Out?; George Zimmerman Questioned; New Jersey to Pass Medical Marijuana Bill; "Boston Strong" License Plates; Video Confession Leads To Charges

Aired September 10, 2013 - 08:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rafael Nadal has won the U.S. Open for a second time.

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


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It's Tuesday, September 10th, 8:00 in the East.

We have a lot developing at this very hour, including that proposed deal and breaking news. That proposed deal over Syria's chemical weapons, Russia saying now that Syria has accepted the deal and agreed to put those chemical weapons under international control.

It's really a remarkable chain of events when you think that may change the tone of the president's speech. Tonight, he's going to be making that -- taking his case directly to the American people. So, can the U.S. really avoid a military strike through diplomatic measures? It did not seem possible just 24 hours ago.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Literally just a day ago, it didn't.

And we have a very emotional NEW DAY exclusive for you. A woman tricked into taking an abortion pill by her boyfriend. He has pleaded guilty in the case. But are the charges enough? We're going to talk to the victim live and hear the story behind the case and her feelings about what justice would be.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And a new study is adding fuel to the controversial fire surrounding mammograms. When should a woman start getting screened, before or after she turns 50? We're going to take a look at the latest research that's turning recent beliefs about mammography on its head and try to cut through that confusion.

BOLDUAN: Through that.

But, first, let's start this hour with breaking news. Moments ago, Russia is saying Syria has accepted a deal to turn over its stockpile of chemical weapons and place it under international control. This comes just as President Obama is preparing to address the American people tonight about his plan for military strikes against Syria, potential diplomatic breakthrough that could change the entire situation.

This, as a new CNN/ORC poll shows Americans has serious reservations about President Obama's leadership on Syria. Less than one in five say they completely understand the president's policy, and almost 80 percent say the U.S. should not act as, quote, "world policemen".

We're going to be covering this story like no other network can. We'll start with Brianna Keilar live at the White House this morning.

Good morning, Brianna.


I think we should caution that Syria's foreign minister is saying that they are on board with this proposal to give up their chemical weapons to international control. That when you talk to Syria observers, they will tell you that that man, Walid Moallem, the foreign minister, isn't necessarily the core of the Assad regime. So, you can't really take it to the bank as Bashar al-Assad himself accepting this deal. There's a lot of skepticism that he would turn over his chemical weapons and this proposal as of now that Russia is trying to broker, there are no specifics, there is no timeframe.

But even so, I think the White House is welcoming this sort of slowdown to the process as a, if you will, diplomatic off-ramp.


KEILAR (voice-over): In a six-network media blitz, President Obama spoke about his latest plans for dealing with Syria, telling Wolf Blitzer --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we can accomplish this limited goal without taking military action, that would be my preference.

KEILAR: Earlier in the week, it seemed a military strike was the only option on the table for the U.S., until this -- Secretary of State John Kerry making a seemingly off-script comment that turned into a possible option, providing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a way out of a military strike.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: They could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done, obviously.

KEILAR: A U.S. official quickly chalked up Kerry's statement to, quote, "a rhetorical argument" but Russia saw a real game plan in what some considered a gaffe, encouraging Syria to take action saying, "We are calling on the Syrian authorities to not only agree on putting chemical weapons storage under international control, but also for its further destruction."

Syria responded just an hour later. Their foreign minister saying, "I declare that the Syrian Arab Republican welcomes Russia's initiative."

OBAMA: It is a potentially positive development. I have to say that it's unlikely that we would have arrived at that point where there are public statements like that without a credible military threat to deal with the chemical weapons use inside of Syria.

KEILAR: But even as support seemed to grow, some question if this is the answer.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: If the regime immediately surrendered its stockpiles to international control, that would be an important step, but this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction.

KEILAR: A sentiment shared by the president.

OBAMA: We don't want just a stalling or a delaying tactic to put off the pressure that we have on there right now.


KEILAR: Now, think of it this way -- the Obama administration, up until yesterday, was sort of cruising down the expressway to a military strike. This latest development, this offer of a proposal from Russia and Syria, you can think of it sort of as maybe pulling off on the side of the road.

But when President Obama makes his case tonight to the American people, he will still make his case for military action, we're told by a senior administration official, and he will at least be saying that it's the threat of military action that has yielded this potential avenue -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Brianna, thanks so much.

Let's talk more about this. For that, let's turn to Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international correspondent, and, of course, the host of CNN International's "AMANPOUR".

Christiane, a lot to talk about this morning. I mean, we keep talking what a difference a day makes in these negotiations.

You hear just now from Brianna the development that Syria has kind of officially said they're on board with this proposal to give -- to put their chemical weapons under international control. Of course, there's some caution there.

But what do you make of the development?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think if this does work out, as is being floated around now in the international community, it would be precedence setting and it would have far-reaching implications for all sorts of weapons of mass destruction that owned by other countries. This is an amazing moment. Obviously, people are taking it with the due skepticism that it deserves.

But there are ways of determining whether this is a serious proposal, that Syria immediately accepts international observers to come in and look at their sites and secure them, that the process immediately begins for securing them and putting them under international control. Already, the French are bringing a resolution to the U.N. precisely for that today. And this is a rare moment in 2 1/2 years of the civil war that everyone is on board -- Russia, China, the other three members of the Security Council, U.S., Britain, France, and all other members are on board, including Syria.

Again, we have to see whether it's going to work.

But, look, Kate, the United States does not want to take a military strike. It's been sort of forced into going down that road but there have been many detours, President Obama taking it to Congress was one detour. This is another one.

If this does bear fruit it's a major international achievement, a major precedent-setting and I think the president would be right that it is only diplomacy backed by the credible use and the credible threat of force that yields these kinds of breakthroughs.

BOLDUAN: And John McCain, even on the show just earlier, who you would think -- I mean, he has been one of the staunchest supporters for arming the rebels and for military action in Syria, he even said while he's skeptical that you cannot pass up this opportunity if it's real and he even went as far to say -- I thought it was interesting -- that it shouldn't be difficult. You could do it very quickly, in figuring out if this is a serious proposal or not.

AMANPOUR: Precisely, just as I was saying. I think, also, there is -- there's an apples and oranges situation here. John McCain is rightly very, very concerned about the entire civil war. There are 100,000 people that have been killed.


AMANPOUR: Whatever happens with these chemical weapons, whatever happens with securing them or not, even if there's a U.S. strike to punish Assad, it will not affect, I don't believe, materially the dynamic of the war. So, that's a whole other issue.

But in this matter of international law and prohibitions and norms and conventions against weapons of mass destruction, of which chemical weapons are some, this is an important red line. We talk about red lines all the time. The president said it's not just mine. It's the world's.

And it's true. You can't use weapons of mass destruction with impunity. It puts all of us at risk.

And I think that's going to be the challenge for President Obama in his speech tonight. BOLDUAN: And also, while politically convenient -- I mean that in a good way. People want to avoid military action if at all possible, when at all possible.

Isn't it also practically and logistically very difficult to pull this off quickly in terms of securing the chemical weapons, getting the experts in to identify that all of them have been handed over? It's fraught with risk.

AMANPOUR: I think it's fraught with risk. It's obviously a long process.

But if Syria is genuinely on board, they control it. They control the sites. They control the area. They control the stockpiles.

If they want to do this and avoid a strike, which I think they do -- even in Charlie Rose's interview, President Assad said, "I would do anything to stop," as he put it, "another crazy war in the Middle East", to a direct question, would you give up these chemical weapons and put them under control?

So, they can. There are ways of knowing very, very quickly whether this is a go or not, or whether it's merely stalling tactics and whether it's, you know, just a typical -- another way of trying to, you know, stall for time.

BOLDUAN: And understandably.

I mean, Nic Robertson was reporting that he spoke with a rebel spokesman in Syria who said that they don't believe it. They think he's just playing for time.

But there's understandable skepticism but there's way to confirm it.

AMANPOUR: And the rebels would say that because they've seen this before. They have had chemical weapons used against them, not just once but a dozen times as least. And they also want some kind of game-changing intervention to change the playing field, to change the battlefield. That doesn't look like it's going to happen at this point.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll see. We keep saying it every day. It seems to be true every day, a crucial day in this conflict. We'll see what happens, especially tonight when the president speaks.

Chris Christiane, so good to see you.

AMANPOUR: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.

A programming note, of course, to remind you -- President Obama will address the nation this evening, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You heard in a conversation with Christiane, just what is at stake and how important hearing from the president today and right now -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate.

We want to tell you about the frantic 911 call from George Zimmerman's wife. Shellie Zimmerman claiming her estranged husband threatened her with a gun. Police say they are still investigating the incident. One thing is certain, though. This is far from Zimmerman's first run- in with the law since his acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case.

CNN's Victor Blackwell is live in Lake Mary, Florida, with the latest.

Good morning, Victor.


And some would have expected George Zimmerman to live a really low-key life, take a low-key profile after that acquittal, but this is his third run-in with police in the two months since that acquittal. But this is the most serious, with allegations of threats with a gun.



SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S WIFE: I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really scared.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): That's Shellie Zimmerman speaking with a 911 operator Monday during an alleged altercation with her estranged husband, George Zimmerman.

According to the Zimmerman's attorneys, Shellie Zimmerman and her father, David Dean, were taking items out of the home the couple once shared.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: George was not aware of it. So, when George showed up to see a trailer and truck outside the house, it was concerning to him. There were some conversations between George and her dad.

BLACKWELL: However, text messages between the Zimmermans appear to show George Zimmerman was aware his wife would be at the home and Shellie Zimmerman says there was more than a conversation between her husband and her father.


S. ZIMMERMAN: He had accosted my father and took my iPad out of my hands and smashed it and cut it with a pocket knife.


BLACKWELL: According to Lake Mary police, Mrs. Zimmerman called for help when George Zimmerman allegedly reached for what she thought was a gun.


S. ZIMMERMAN: He's in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and he keeps saying, "Step closer". He's threatening all of us with his firearm.

911: "Step closer" and what?

S. ZIMMERMAN: And he's going to shoot us.


BLACKWELL: Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law in the two months since he was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. In July, he was issued a warning for speeding in Texas. Last week --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stopped you for speed, 60.


BLACKWELL: He was issued a $256 citation in Florida.

Monday, Zimmerman was questioned and released, no charges were filed. And it's unclear if Zimmerman really had a gun.

OFFICER ZACH HUDSON, SPOKESMAN, LAKE MARY POLICE DEPT.: Nobody inside the house saw him with that weapon or with a weapon. He said he never had a weapon on him. Nobody can place him having the weapon on him.

BLACKWELL: That's not what Zimmerman's attorney told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Did Zimmerman have a gun in the car?

O'MARA: He had a gun with him, yes. He was allowed to and absolutely --


BLACKWELL: Officers say they never checked his car because they did not have a warrant and they don't intend to get one.

Now, we will likely get a clearer picture of what did and did not happen at that home Monday because there was dash cam video. As you saw in the second traffic stop, officers in Lake Mary, some of them wear body cams and there are surveillance cameras inside and outside the home. Police are looking at those now to determine if either Shellie or George Zimmerman will face domestic battery charges in the future -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: What a mess. All right. Thank you so much, Victor. We'll check back in with you.

There is clearly a lot of news is developing at this very hour. So, let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: All right, Kate. Good morning, Chris. Good morning to you at home.

Making news: a wildfire continuing to threaten the San Francisco Bay Area, forcing the evacuation of 100 homes, crews are attacking the "Morgan Fire' from every direction. It has burned more than 3,700 acres and right now is at 27 percent containment. Another California fire, the "Clover Fire", grew to 2,500 acres overnight, 20 structures have been destroyed or damaged there.

A Detroit man back in custody after a violent escape from a courthouse. Abraham Pearson allegedly stabbed an officer, handcuffed him and ran off wearing the officer's uniform. Authorities say Pearson was found last night walking around Detroit. He now faces 11 more charges, on top for the carjacking and robbery ones. He was supposed to be sentenced on yesterday. The officer was treated and released from the hospital.

New Jersey residents could be getting easier access to medical marijuana. The state's general assembly passed a bill allowing edible forms for some children and removing the limit on how many strains can be cultivated. The major still needs approval from Governor Chris Christie. He hasn't committed to signing it, but indicated he would if the new standards were met..

The Boston strong motto gaining traction in Massachusetts. The state legislature is considering a measure to put it on license plates. Proceeds would go to One Fund Boston to assist victims of the Boston marathon bombings.

And Rafael Nadal is the men single's champion at the U.S. Open. He defeated top seeded, Novak Djokovic, in four sets. Nadal's 13th grand slam title, bouncing back after a first round loss at Wimbledon. He takes home $3.6 million for that win. This was the third time Nadal and Djokovic met in the U.S. Open final. They split the previous two matchups. Ladies and gentlemen, that is your U.S. Open.


BOLDUAN: That is your U.S. Open. Both Serena and Rafael Nadal coming back from really big injuries.

PEREIRA (on-camera): Yes.

BOLDUAN: This is their comeback.

PEREIRA: Inspirational.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It makes it even more impressive.


BOLDUAN: If you ever see me on a tennis court, you would know how impressive that is.


CUOMO: Just because you know Serena doesn't mean you -- BOLDUAN: I know. I try.

CUOMO: Let's get over to Karen Maginnis. She's in for Indra Petersons, and she's keeping tracking the forecast for us, specifically, watching for the first hurricane of the season. So, are we going to see it here?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is not going to be Gabrielle. It looks like it could be Humberto, but it may take it a little while. We'll have to watch it. This is very late into the season. But Gabrielle, we thought it was down for the count, but now, it has regained intensity and is expected to move across Bermuda, picking up the winds just a little bit maybe around 50 miles an hour by early Wednesday morning.

So, we're not looking at this particular system to reach hurricane intensity. And typically, by this time of year, we do see at least one or two hurricanes. But this one, our tropical storm Humberto has the greatest likelihood of becoming a hurricane, perhaps, as early as this afternoon and supporting winds right now of 65 miles an hour, we think going into Wednesday, a category 1, possibly becoming category 2.

But then, as it begins to move into some cooler water, we'll watch it weaken again. So, we've got some time before we see that development of hurricane intensity, but if it makes it through to tomorrow, it could be the latest we've seen since 2002. Back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Karen, thanks so much for that.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, truth and consequences. First, the YouTube confession that stunned the nation. An Ohio man in court today after admitting he killed another man while drunk driving.

CUOMO: Then, we have a NEW DAY exclusive for you. A man admits to tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking an abortion pill. This morning, she's here to share her story and her heartache.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The Ohio man who made a stunning online confession, admitting to driving drunk and killing a navy veteran is now behind bars. Matthew Cordle turned himself in on Monday and faces serious prison time. But should his extraordinary confession lessen his punishment? That's the question. CNNs Pamela Brown is in Columbus, Ohio, with the latest. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. That is the big question. You know, just days after releasing that YouTube confession, which has already garnered more than a million views, Matthew Cordle turned himself in yesterday. He was accompanied by his attorneys and was followed by a swarm of cameras when he went to the Columbus, Ohio, police station.

He has now been officially charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This video will act as my confession.

BROWN (voice-over): After surrendering to the public last week in this online confessional --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzoni (ph).

BROWN: Matthew Cordle officially turned himself in to authorities Monday morning, this time staying silent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We advised him not to make any statements.

BROWN: Authorities placed handcuffs on him and led him to a back room in the Columbus, Ohio police station amid a rush of cameras. Prosecutor, Ron O'Brien says Cordle was already a suspect in the drunk driving case that killed 61-year-old Vincent Canzoni (ph) back in June. He says officials were waiting for more toxicology results before charging him.

RON O'BRIEN, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: With or without the video, this defendant would have been charged as he was today by indictment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ended up going the wrong way down the highway, directly into oncoming traffic.

BROWN: Cordle's attorney says he tried to convince his client not to post the video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think to some degree, it brought him a little bit of peace. I know he's been feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.

BROWN: A video that was a shock to Canzoni's family.

CHERYL OATES, VICTIM'S EX-WIFE: It's a gut wrenching coming from a mother looking at that young boy, and he just doesn't understand the damage that he did.

BROWN: But cordle says he wanted to send a powerful message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm begging you, please don't drink and drive.

BROWN: Well, some speculate whether the highly produced video was intended to suade the judge.

BRUCE WEINSTEIN, PH.D., THE ETHICS GUY/HUFFINGTON POST CONTRIBUTOR: Whether he's sincere in his confession, whether the video is seen by millions of people, these are beside the point. The thing to remember is that he got drunk and killed a man. It would be a shame if the story became about the video rather than about the crime that he committed.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN (on-camera): And Cordle will be arraigned today at 1:30 pm eastern time. His attorney tells us that he will plead not guilty initially just as a matter of procedure and then will turn right back around and plead guilty to the charges he's facing. And his attorney also tells us that he's had no prior felony convictions and no DUIs in the past.

Of course, that could influence his case. And we'll just have to wait and see whether that video has an impact as well -- Chris and Kate

BOLDUAN: All right. Pamela, thank you so much for that update. Clearly, we clearly will follow it. We'll continue to follow it. It's so compelling.

CUOMO: Right. I think it means more to the public than it will within the confines of the court.

BOLDUAN: In his legal case.


BOLDUAN: Probably right. Maybe that's the way it should be.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a NEW DAY exclusive. We'll hear from the woman whose then boyfriend tricked her into taking a pill that caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Her ex went on trial, has been convicted on felony charges. So, what does she want to see happen now?

CUOMO: And also, listen up, because we want to tell you about a big switch today in the field of women's health. Those guidelines for mammograms you've been told, well, they're changing. We'll tell you what you need to know now.


ANNOUNCER: This is new day with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, September 10th. A shocking case in Florida. A man pleading guilty to tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking an abortion pill. She later miscarried. We're going to talk to her live in a NEW DAY exclusive.

BOLDUAN: We'll hear what she has to say.

And plus this, just in time for back to school, a so-called layaway angel pays off the layaway accounts of some 16 people, but helping far more than just that. The surprising reason why she did it. It's today's good stuff.

CUOMO: And it is a good one, but we do have a lot of news for you, so let's get to Michaela for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

PEREIRA: Here we go, at number one, President Obama will make his case directly to the American people in a primetime address tonight from the White House. CNN will carry it live, nine o'clock eastern. This as Syria says it will accept a proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Americans, meanwhile, have their doubts about President Obama's leadership as he pushes for a strike against Syria. In a new CNN/ORC poll, American split on whether the president is a strong and decisive leader.

Conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws will be addressed on Capitol Hill today. The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider whether states can keep marijuana legal despite federal ban.

Diana Nyad will defend herself today against critics of her Cuba to Florida swim. She'd been criticized by some from using a protective suit, a violation of so-called English channel rules.

And at number five, Apple's annual September event kicks off in less than five hours. The tech giant expected to unveil its new gadgets including new iPhone models.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to visit for the very latest -- guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. Thanks so much, Michaela.

So, President Obama speaking with CNNs own Wolf Blitzer as part of his push to try to win support for U.S. military strikes in Syria. The president also, in the interview, addressed the new diplomatic twist presented Monday by Russia. And as we learned earlier this hour, is now being accepted by Syria. He tells CNN that a deal wouldn't have presented itself if the U.S. wasn't ready to strike.