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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Cruz Faces GOP Backlash; Closing Arguments in Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial; Will Obama Meet Iran's Rouhani; Autopsy Shows Gruesome Details; Story Behind Police DashCam Video.

Aired September 24, 2013 - 11:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They don't like what you are putting them through, these are fellow Republicans.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: Well, you know, individual politicians can choose to say whatever they want and launch whatever personal insults they want. In the House, Republicans including those who have criticized me, voted to defund Obamacare. In the Senate, the votes are fluid.

BASH (voice-over): Among many, grass-roots conservatives, Cruz is a hero. But in the Senate, on relationships, he's rubbed GOP veterans the wrong way. John McCain called him a whacko-bird. A name Cruz is now embracing.

CRUZ: If they want to insult me, they can knock themselves out. My substance is on stopping Obamacare. Why? Because it's hurting the American people.

BASH: Now he's warning Senate Republicans, support his filibuster.

CRUZ: Any Senator who votes for this cloture on this bill is voting to give Harry Reid the authority to fund Obamacare with just 51 votes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: But minutes later, Cruz's own Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced he won't support the filibuster, meaning Senate Democrats will be able to keep the government running for two months and not defund Obamacare. But Cruz does have the procedural tools that drag this out until Sunday, one day before the deadline. Then it will be in the House Republican's court whether or not to shutdown the government -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Dana Bash for us on Capitol Hill.

I want to show you some pictures. I'm not going to show you the whole story because I want you to determine what you see here as a cruiser chases that man, was he hit or not? You will be shocked by this one and why it matters so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: Whenever we talk about Michael Jackson two things come to mind, spectacular performances and spectacular headlines. Perhaps one of the latest headlines is about to be written because we are finally, after about five months, about to maybe get some kind of a verdict in that case where someone is trying to lay blame for the death of that man.

Casey Wian has a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SINGING)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Jackson never got the chance to perform what was supposed to be his ultimate come-back tour in 2009. He died of on overdose of the powerful anesthetic Propofol administered by Dr. Conrad Murray. In 2011, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison. Now a different jury must decide whether concert promoter, AEG Live, must pay potentially billions of dollars to Jackson's heirs because they claim the company negligently hired Murray.

BRIAN PARISH, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Michael Jackson didn't die from (INAUDIBLE). Michael Jackson died because a physician, who had agreed to accept $150,000 a month, violated his ultimate Hippocratic Oath. He was placed in that conflict of interest by AEG and there's no question about that in this case.

WIAN: AEG Live says Murray was never its employee and that he was entirely controlled by Jackson.

MARVIN PUTNAM, AEG LIVE ATTORNEY: The people in Michael's life worried about his Propofol use as early as 80s or 90s. By the 90s, he was using it to sleep at night in hotels. This is a complete contradiction for a plaintiff to claim, which is this idea that this was a sudden new thing in Michael life that happened for the first time with Dr. Conrad Murray.

WIAN: For five months, the jury heard testimony from his 83-year-old mother Katherine, his wife Debbie Roe, and by video tape two of his children.

15-year-old Paris Jackson survived a suicide attempt during the trial. Other dramatic moments include the playing of Jackson family home movies never before seen publicly, and the testimony of a Harvard doctor who said a physically deteriorating Jackson did not get REM sleep for 60 straight days while receiving Propofol from Murray.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Closing arguments are expected to begin in an hour. They're expected to go for at least two days. Jurors have to decide whether AEG Live actually hired Dr. Conrad Murray. You would think that would be a simple question. The problem is there was an employment contract. Dr. Murray signed it. AEG never signed it. Michael Jackson never signed it. That's the key issue the jurors have to decide -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: If it were a simple question, it wouldn't have taken five months to litigate. Casey, it's been pretty miraculous.

Keep on it for us. Thank you for that.

Casey Wian live for us in Los Angeles.

Can I be honest with you for a second? The last time the United States was warm and fuzzy with Iran, I was 12. Don't bother doing the math. It was a long time ago. Today, perhaps some overtures that we may be headed back that way. Our secretary of state may actually be having meetings. Imagine. Could there be a meeting today between President Obama and the Iranian president? Believe it or not, it's possible.

Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: As we're following the break is news from the United Nations President Obama actually raised the prospect of the United States and Iran meeting, high-level meeting, diplomacy. This came during his address to the U.N. General Assembly. If this meeting actually happens, and hey, if President Obama meets President Rouhani today in New York, this would be the time there are talks between the two countries since the Iran hostage crises in the 1970s. Here are the specifics. President Obama is directing the secretary of state, John Kerry, to lay the ground work. Here's what he actually said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATED: We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate do pursue a more moderate course, and given President Rouhani's stated commitment to reach an agreement, I'm directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government, in close cooperaton with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China. The road blocks may prove to be too great but I believe the diplomatic path must be tested.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: At the same time, President Obama reaffirmed America's strong support of Israel, saying it would never compromise Israel's security. And he said the U.S. remains committed to the position that the Palestinian people have a right to live in their own sovereign state.

In another big story we've been following, the 4-year-old girl at the center of a long and high-profile dispute has now returned to their adoptive parents. This developed last night. Her name is Veronica. Her father, a Native American, has been ordered to return her to the adoptive parents. They live in South Carolina. That couple adopted her at birth back in 2009 but in 2009 but the father came forward and challenge this and invoked the Indian child welfare act and a judge ruled in his favor in 2011. This June, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in and sided with the adoptive parents. Mr. Brown had refused, however, to hand over that child, that is until the last 12, 14 hours. So pretty remarkable development. We'll keep you posted on what happens there.

The nation watched in shock when Hannah Anderson was kidnapped and rescued last month. Now, as she's trying to rebuild here life, there is a report out today that states how these two people died, her mother and her brother. Believe me, the details are simply chilling. We're coming back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Gruesome new details about the brutal deaths of a mother and her 8-year-old son in California. This was a crime that captured the nation's attention. It was a family friend accused of killing Christina Anderson and her son Ethan and kidnapping the 16-year-old daughter, Hannah. After a week-long search, Hanna was found unharmed but her abductor, Jim DiMaggio, was shot dead by FBI agents. Now the autopsy reports on Christina and Ethan has been released.

I'm joined by Stephanie Elam.

Stephanie, I was reading through these. I've read a lot of autopsy reports and covered a lot of murder cases, but the details of how these two people died, particularly when we're talking about an 8- year-old child are almost unbelievable.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is really, really chilling to sit and read, I have to agree with you. Very disturbing, especially when you read Ethan's report. Let's start with mom, that would be Christina, or Tina. The autopsy found she died from blunt-force trauma to the head. She was hit no less than 12 times in her head with something. She also had her ankles bound in plastic ties, duct tape around her mouth. The other thing was her neck had a cut on it that they think actually may have happened after she was already dead and the fact that with both Ethan and Tina there was no soot inside of the airways, which leads them to believe that they were both dead before the fire started.

As far as Ethan is concerned, his body was so badly damaged that it was unrecognizable. To this end, they still cannot determine for sure what actually caused Ethan's death because he was so, so badly burnt there. So they have obviously ruled both of these incidents a homicide and they were able to tell that it was Ethan because of DNA. For Tina, they did it through finger printing. But there wasn't any of that, obviously, for young Ethan -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: It's just so distressing. I'll be honest, it's 8:00 in the morning, 8:48 on the west coast, and we can't even outline some of the more disturbing parts of that autopsy report. It's a distressing final chapter in a final story.

Stephanie Elam, live for us in Los Angeles. Thank you for that.

I told you earlier in the program about dashboard video that's coming from a police cruiser as they were chasing a man on foot. They were trying to stop this man for a seatbelt violation. It didn't go as planned. Take a look at the video and you tell me if you see police officer trying to hit that man or hitting him at all. What you do see is the car stopping on top of him. There are so many implications for this. You're going to find out in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: So I just want to give you a quick warning before we begin this next segment. Up until now, I've shown you two clips of that chase where they were looking for that suspect and ran him over. In the next piece of video, you're actually going to see it happen. If you have children in the room, now might be a good time to move them. If you find it too disturbing, avert your eyes. There's your warning.

But a Florida family, the family of the man that was hit want you to see this. This is Marlon Brown. He died last spring. The police that was chasing him ran him over and he died. His death ended up ruled an accident and a grand jury looking into it did not -- did not -- indict the police officer for vehicular manslaughter, and that has Brown's family angry. They also hope that the dash cam video you're about to see in full will prompt a federal investigation into this.

Our Randi Kaye takes us step by step through the chase that took this man's life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are watching the final moments of a man's life, caught on police dash cam video. It's 12:30 a.m. on May 8th, and Marlon Brown is running from police in Deland, Florida.

(on camera): A Volusia County sheriff's deputy tried to stop Brown earlier for not wearing his seat belt. From there, Deland police officer, James Harris, and another officer pick up the pursuit. Each in their own patrol car, they spot Brown down there at that intersection. They tail him all the way here until he makes the left on South Delaware Avenue. It's a dead end.

(voice-over): Brown suddenly pulls his car over, jumps out, then takes off running through a vacant lot. Officer Harris stays on him.

Eric Latinsky is his lawyer.

(on camera): He was chasing a man down with a 4,000-pound car. He had to realize there was a risk here.

ERIC LATINSKY, ATTORNEY FOR OFFICER HARRIS: My client, his drive toward the back of the lot where he can stop and exit his vehicle. He is not attempting to strike anyone.

KAYE (voice-over): A warning. What happens next is hard to watch.

One final glance toward the oncoming police car and Brown disappears beneath it. It all happens so fast, Brown is only on foot for about six seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: I think he's underneath the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) car.

KAYE: They attempt to get the car off Brown.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: We have to pick this car up now.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Can we pick it up?

KAYE: By the time fire rescue crews arrive to lift the car, the 38- year-old father of two is dead.

Crystal Brown is Marlon's ex-wife.

CRYSTAL BROWN, EX-WIFE OF BROWN: You look in that video, you don't see a swerve. You don't see -- you don't even hear, oh, my god, as you impact.

KAYE: The medical examiner said Brown died from chemical asphyxia. The weight of the car cut off his oxygen. The M.E. also found no evidence that he was struck by the vehicle. No skull fractures or pelvic fractures, ruling that Brown slipped and fell, and only then did the police car come to a stop on top of him. He ruled the death accidental.

BROWN: I don't buy it one bit. You see Marlon sitting up directly in front of the car. You see the car upon him.

LATINSKY: He lost his footing and he fell down because of the wet turf and the loose dirt. That's the same thing that made it difficult to stop the car.

KAYE (on camera): Do you believe your client tried to slow down?

LATINSKY: Oh, absolutely.

KAYE: Just weeks ago, the state attorney general announced that a grand jury decided not to indict the officer for vehicular manslaughter.

Frustrated and angry, Crystal Brown and her attorney made the dash cam video public. They hope it will force an independent investigation by federal agencies.

(on camera): Testimony from an expert on police practices was also included as part of the evidence. That expert found that Officer Harris had been driving carelessly, given the wet grass and the darkness. He also said that the officer had violated the department's policy of non pursuit except after a forcible felony.

Deland police chief, William Ridgeway, fired Harris the same day he watched the dash cam video.

Marlon Brown had been in and out of jail for drugs and fraud. He was just released the month before he died. Friends in the car with him that night told police he fled because he was so afraid of going back to jail.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Deland, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: So I want to hash this out with CNN's legal -- defense attorney and analyst, Joey Jackson.

First, there are so many questions on this.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, wow.

BANFIELD: It's tough to watch.

Does that matter whether that man was hit or that man slipped and fell in any kind of litigation or pursuit of criminal justice?

JACKSON: It could, Ashleigh. Then it could go to intent. A car striking someone, you could analyze it and say he struck him and it was an intentional act. However, for what this officer was facing at the state level when the grand jury did not indict, he was facing more of a reckless driving. There's a policy with this police force that says you don't do this. You don't pursue someone unless they're getting away in a forcible felony situation. That served as the underlying basis. The issue becomes whether or not the officer engaged in any criminal activity. From the perspective of that grand jury, Ashleigh, they determined he did not.

BANFIELD: Benjamin Crump, Trayvon Martin family attorney, actually said the words on television, this was an execution. Those are pretty strident words. I can only ask this. You're an officer, driving a car and you know there's a mounted camera. Is it plausible that you would go after someone and execute them on camera?

JACKSON: You really wouldn't think so. I understand that there are tensions here. Obviously, there's a family who is suffering. No one deserves to die, particularly like this. But it does not at all appear it's an execution. It appears as though it's some type of accident. The issue is whether or not it's accidental from a criminal perspective because of reckless driving or is it an accident to the extent that they didn't see because he slipped under the car?

BANFIELD: No matter how you define it, it is a tragedy all around.

Joe Jackson, thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: That is all the time we have for LEGAL VIEW. Thank you so much for being with us.

AROUND THE WORLD starts after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: It's the handshake, perhaps the meeting everyone is waiting for. Will the president sit down with Iran's president? The White House says it has left the door open for a meeting.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, explosions and gunfire are still being heard at that mall in Nairobi. We're live in Kenya, where hostages could still be trapped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing that would prepare you. That feeling of, this is it, you're going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: The terrifying moments and hours the survivors went through inside of that mall. You'll hear about the attack in their own words.