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New Evidence in Georgia Teen's Death; Weather Outlook; Chris Cuomo's Kiddie Cabinet; "Vegetable" Saved My Life"; Interview with Robin Quivers

Aired October 11, 2013 - 08:30   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And more about that objective one eyewitness to the death of Kendrick Johnson. The school district's attorneys say they do not have to release it because it's considered an academic record and, under Georgia law, academic records are exempt from open records requests.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's not helpful. Victor, thank you very much for the reporting. Appreciate it.

Let's look a little deeper into this now. Let's bring in Sunny Hostin, former federal prosecutor, of course, CNN legal analyst.

Fair assessment of the situation, does it seem that something is certainly off?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It does. I mean when you look at it, apparently the body wasn't taken to the coroner's office for many, many hours. The coroner wasn't even notified for about six hours. And then you have this investigation that said this was positional asphyxiation. I have never seen a case with these facts sort of be determined that it's positional asphyxiation and that it's an accidental death. It --

CUOMO: That means he got crushed by being in that tube.

HOSTIN: Right.

CUOMO: Somehow he got into the tube and then it crushed him.

HOSTIN: And the facts just don't make sense when you think about being rolled in a mat, leaning towards your shoe. It just seems to me, Chris, and I've looked at a lot of cases as a prosecutor, because you're trying to determine what really happened, this just doesn't make sense.

CUOMO: If you're in a mat, somebody put you in the mat.

HOSTIN: It would appear that way.

CUOMO: Usually, when we find people and they're enveloped this way, it's because that's how they were disposed of. HOSTIN: It would appear that way. And I've got to tell you, when you look at sort of the shoddy police work that occurred here, and that's what I think, it begs the question, what really happened? Why was the manner of death determined to be accidental when you have all of these questions. I mean I think a first year investigator would have found differently.

CUOMO: Now this is -- is this clumsy with a cover-up what we're hearing about with the organs? Because what the funeral home says doesn't make sense. If they say, well, we didn't get the organs either, that's one thing.


CUOMO: But they say they know how they were disposed of. That means somebody told them something.

HOSTIN: Exactly. I mean it just doesn't make sense. And again it begs the question, I mean if you have this manner of death being accidental, but the investigation was done in a way that seems to be inappropriate, the organs were handled inappropriately, what really happened? Is it a cover-up? And I've got to tell you, the fact that the investigation was closed so quickly again sort of makes my spidey sense tingle.

CUOMO: Right.

HOSTIN: I'm thinking, is it a cover-up? What really happened here?

CUOMO: Well, we're putting the energy and effort into this and thanks to Victor Blackwell and the whole team that's working on it because we don't want it to be another case that gets ignored for the wrong reasons. However, what's frustrating that effort is, well, then what did happen? There's nothing in the known universe of motive. Nobody was out to get him from what we understand so far. You know, there was no grudge. There was no altercation. There's just this one document that the school hasn't released yet, which I'm sure authorities will get.

HOSTIN: Well, yes, but then you also have this second autopsy that says this wasn't an accident, it was blunt force trauma. Now I think - and Ben Crump --

CUOMO: To his carotid artery.

HOSTIN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Which is also something that shows intentionality.

HOSTIN: Exactly. And I've spoken to Ben Crump, and now he's involved, of course, of the Trayvon Martin case fame. And I think what he wants to do now is get the manner of death changed from accidental to homicide. That in and of itself will re-open this investigation.


HOSTIN: And I think that is really the right place to go. This investigation needs to be reopened.

CUOMO: Have they developed anything yet, though, for a theory of what happened here or are we just -- we're waiting to know and we just don't believe what it is right now?

HOSTIN: Exactly. I think they want the investigation reopened. They want the autopsy results to be changed from accidental to homicide and they want more answers. I mean this family wants more answers. And I've seen so many cases and covered so many cases and prosecuted so many cases, I'll tell you, something is wrong here. It doesn't make sense.

CUOMO: I trust your judgment.

HOSTIN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Sunny Hostin, thank you for being here. There are a lot of questions that have to be -- kept being asked. We're doing it here on NEW DAY. It's going to happen tonight as well. Kendrick Johnson's parents will be live on "AC 360" to tell their story. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

Mic, over to you.


Coming up next on NEW DAY, Mr. Cuomo's opus is what we're calling it. Chris convenes his kiddie cabinet once again. Six of the smartest fourth graders you'll ever meet. This time they weigh in on the debt ceiling.

Also, she says vegetables saved her life. Howard Stern's radio sidekick Robin Quivers is here, there she is, talking about her battle with cancer and the inspiration for her book.


PEREIRA: It is a Friday edition of NEW DAY. So glad you could join us this morning.

Let's give you a look at what the weather is going to be like for the weekend.

Indra, bad or good?


PEREIRA: It depends on what you like, too, right?

PETERSONS: Right. And it's improving in New York, which matters to me, so that is good. We went from two-hour delays to 29 minute delays at LaGuardia, and we're supposed to see that continue to get better. That's the good news.

Philadelphia on the other hand, this is where we say it depends, right, Michaela, now 41-minute delays. So their delays are actually increasing. All of this thanks to the storm that we know is still out there.

Looking at some rain pretty much around Pennsylvania, kind of down through Maryland. It's not really the rain, though, it is the wind that is making the trouble spots here. Dome of high pressure is close to an area of low pressure. With that, we also know we get some strong winds in there. So some northeasterly winds are gusting there on the East Coast right now. Even up to highs of about 30 miles per hour, and that's kind of causing those issues.

The other problem that's been (ph) blocking the high, it is blocking literally this low or this storm from moving out of the area. So that's the problem. That's the reason it's going to be lingering for the next several days. However, it does get better each day. Each day we'll see a kind of decrease and the hint of rain kind of taper down.

One to three inches kind of pretty much right around Maryland, even in through Jersey. Everyone else in the Mid-Atlantic, just (INAUDIBLE), about an inch of rain. So not too bad. It's getting better, most importantly.

So, there you go.

PEREIRA: You like that. Getting better.


CUOMO: Stick around for this, Indra. You're going to like this, all right?

So, when the government shutdown first happened, we were trying to get perspective on it. We were talking to a lot of you and I also went out and did the kiddie cabinet. A bunch of fourth graders at the Immaculate Conception School in Queens. Why? Because we wanted to show that some of this was so simple. That even being a child, you understood what was really supposed to be happening. And you know what, you responded very well. So, guess what, we also talked to them about the debt ceiling, which they saw as far more important. Here's what the kiddie cabinet had to say.


CUOMO: Here's what's coming, the debt ceiling. You got a credit card? You know what a credit card -- you don't have any cred - you know what a credit card is?

KIDS: Yes.

CUOMO: Of course. When you have $10 on a credit card and you spend 10, what happens?


CUOMO: That's it. When you run out of how much you have, that's it, spending stops, right?


CUOMO: Not in government. In government, they have to keep paying. So what they do is they raise the ceiling, they raise the roof on how much they can borrow to pay for things that matter, OK? If they don't raise the ceiling, what do you think is going to happen if that happens? Jonathan.

ST. URBAN: The government would be shut down for good forever.

CUOMO: That's going to be a problem, right? If they don't raise the debt ceiling, then they're not going to pay their bills. We're going to default. Now what happens? Yes.

ST. URBAN: They're going to spread out the -- how -- they're talking about how they didn't pay the bills to everybody.

CUOMO: That's right. They're going to tell everybody that the U.S. government didn't pay its bills.

SMITH-CONSTANT: Also if you don't - if you don't pay your bills then like everything's going to go up like for everything for your bills and then all of a sudden you live on the street and you'll be wondering why - why didn't I pay my bills.

CUOMO: Congress has really one main job. You got to make sure there's enough money for all the different things. And then you fight over how much money for what you do. Now, if you cannot agree, the two parties cannot agree, how do we solve it? Jonathan.

ST. URBAN: We could compromise and we could agree somehow that it will make us feel better and more calm.

CUOMO: Karl, what do you do if you're president and Congress won't compromise?

KARL HODGE, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: I would tell them to get along just not because people are losing - are going to be losing their jobs and it's going to be your fault.

CUOMO: What's the message to Congress, Nicole?

SMITH-CONSTANT: Like don't be a follower, because don't follow people's bad decisions. Do what you feel of your -- what do you feel is bad, then don't leave (ph) people to that bad situation.

CUOMO: Prabhigt?

PRABHIGT KAUR, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: You should like help the people who voted for you and had trust in you.

CUOMO: What's the warning? What do you want them to remember down there, young Karl?

HODGE: Remember that it's your fault and if people are getting hurt, think about it.

CUOMO: Jocelyn?

JOCELYN HARRIS, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: I'd like to remind the government that if all six of us -- and we're only fourth grader -- and we can figure out what they should do about it and they can't, they should be reminded to act like adults and work it out.


PEREIRA: Jocelyn bringing it home.

CUOMO: Yes. Look, on one level you say, oh, don't talk to kids about this.


CUOMO: They don't understand. But that's the point is that they do understand. That even kids are taught by adults, and somehow we forget, what you're supposed to do in a crisis.

PEREIRA: Yes, that's amazing.

CUOMO: How you're supposed to work. And we lose sight of it. And that's really a metaphor for what's happening.


PETERSONS: Be an individual. My favorite word she said, be your own individual.

PEREIRA: I know. Don't follow bad decisions and compromise. I love that fourth graders already know that better than Congress does.

CUOMO: Don't be a follower. Just because people are making bad choices, you don't have to make the same choice.


CUOMO: And how about Karl, pointing the finger of blame.

PEREIRA: He is already strong. He is president - I originally thought I wanted him -- I said Karl for Congress. I revise that. I think it is Karl for president.

CUOMO: He's too good for Congress.

PETERSONS: We're doing something right in the next generation. That's great.

PEREIRA: Can we do more of these kiddie cabinets? These are fantastic.

CUOMO: Hopefully they don't forget, though.


CUOMO: What we have to figure out is, when do we lose -- how do we lose this? How do we lose what we know when we're 10? PETERSONS: When we're teenagers and go through puberty.

PEREIRA: Is that what it is? It's the hormones that kick in we forget everything?

CUOMO: It's science.

PEREIRA: Oh, no, not with that again.

CUOMO: Anyway, what do you think of the kiddie cabinet? What do you think of their ideas? What do you think about what's going on with the latest of the deal process in D.C.? #newday. Tweet us. Let us know.

PEREIRA: People have been tweeting today. Good to see.

Next up on NEW DAY, what a treat for us right here live in studio, the one, the only Robin Quivers here to tell us how vegetables and her co- host Howard Stern saved her life after she was diagnosed with cancer. We'll talk with Robin.

They smell good, don't they?

CUOMO: You can have them.


PEREIRA: Don't look now, but Robin's right behind you.

CUOMO: Robin Quivers is here.

PEREIRA: She's walking behind us.

CUOMO: She looks great.

PEREIRA: Doesn't she look good?

CUOMO: She feels great. She has a great message.

PEREIRA: (INAUDIBLE). How are you?

ROBIN QUIVERS, CO-HOST, HOWARD STERN SHOW: Hello. I'm fine. How are you?

PEREIRA: Really good. Really good.

QUIVERS: Thank you.


PEREIRA: Don't look now, because Robin is right behind you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Robin Quivers is here, she looks great.

PEREIRA: Doesn't she look good.

CUOMO: She feels great, she has a great message. PEREIRA: How are you?

ROBIN QUIVERS, AUTHOR, "THE VEG-UCATION OF ROBIN": Hello, I'm fine, how are you?

PEREIRA: Really good. Really good.

QUIVERS: Thank you.


PEREIRA: Yes you're stuck with us Robin. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Robin Quivers, Howard Stern's long-time radio partner recently revealed details of her difficult struggle and battle with cancer. Doctors pronounced her cancer free several months ago and she credits eating vegetables with saving her life. She joins us live this morning, she's got a new book and I love the title "The Vegucation of Robin." It is so good to see you. You look healthy.

QUIVERS: Well thank you.

PEREIRA: How do you feel?

QUIVERS: I feel great and it's really good to feel great again because you know during that whole struggle you weren't feeling good every day all day. It was a lot of hard work and, you know, recovery is tough.

PEREIRA: That's the part that you sometimes forget. The recovery is just as tough.


PEREIRA: Take us back a little bit.


PEREIRA: You talk about the fact that you were obviously taken aback by this. And you were -- could you tell us how that all came about.

QUIVERS: Well first of all I changed my diet in 2007 because I was having some other health issues and I was tired of being sick and tired.


QUIVERS: And so I started an investigation and discovered that there was something about the way I was eating and the way I was feeling so I eventually became a vegan and changed my life. I went from a person who was in pain all the time, tired, lethargic, only sleeping and working to a healthy, active person again.

CUOMO: Had to be the food?

QUIVERS: Had to be the food. CUOMO: You eliminated anything else it could be?

QUIVERS: Because that's the only thing I changed. That was the only thing I changed. I changed the way I ate and I went from being a person who couldn't walk a block to a person who ran a marathon at the age of 58. I don't think I could have run a marathon at 20. And so I was really in good shape. Unfortunately I didn't know I already had cancer.

PEREIRA: So this comes, the cancer diagnosis comes in the middle of your sort of life-changing, lifestyle changing, change in your life.

QUIVERS: Absolutely and at first I thought well, why did I do all those things because I got cancer anyway.


QUIVERS: It was supposed to protect me. We don't know why these things happen and we don't know where they come from and we don't know how long it was there so you got to get over that right away. You don't know why you got it and there's no reason someone else gets it and you don't. There's no why did it happen to me. It just happens.


QUIVERS: In our day and age. And so at that point you have to figure out what to do about it. And what I realized going through this was that yes all those things I had done to change my life helped me to survive this and to reach the level of being cancer free.

PEREIRA: You were really, really sick.

QUIVERS: Really sick, yes I had a grapefruit sized tumor in my pelvic and it was leaning on everything. It didn't really give me any symptom except to be really tired until it was so big that it was leaning on my bladder and I could no longer pass water. That was the moment that I found out it was there.

PEREIRA: My goodness. They did surgery they -- but your prognosis -- what did they say about at that time?

QUIVERS: Well at time I had no diagnosis even going into surgery. They said we're going to put in a scope and if we find that you're -- you've got it everywhere, we're just going to close you up and bring you out. So just hope for a long surgery and so I went to sleep not knowing what was going to happen.

CUOMO: Holy cow.

QUIVERS: And then, 12 hours later they were wheeling me out of surgery and I still didn't know what happened because the doctors had been operating for 12 hours. They went home and now I had to wait until the morning to discover what they had done and if I was ok.

At that time they thought they had done a good job and they've gotten everything but then there was some metastasis to some lymph nodes and so at that point you don't know if it's gone other places and they said we're going to try to prolong your life by giving you some additional treatment.

CUOMO: And people when they become survivors when you decide I have it, I'm going to beat it, they always tell us and I'm not enough, it becomes the people around you as well.

QUIVERS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

CUOMO: What did it become for you?

QUIVERS: The first person I called just to get some advice was Howard, my long-time cohort, and the moment he heard that I had a problem he said "Robin, what are we going to do?" And it became a "We" project.


QUIVERS: He was there for me at the end of every appointment, "What did they say, what do you need? What are we going to do? What do you need next?" And then after surgery, when I really -- I was not capable of doing much for myself and I was hearing all kinds of dire things about my possible prognosis and I called him and he said, "Why are they saying these horrible things to you? We're going to get you the best doctors, the best advice, the best advisers," and he just went to work and he did everything for me.

PEREIRA: The "we" aspect of that is -- is so powerful.


PEREIRA: You know because it feels so solitary. It is happening to you.

QUIVERS: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: I want to talk about some of the other things that you actually put in the book that are -- that I think are really interesting. You pushed the idea of eating fresher, eating greener, cooking food for yourself. In today's busy days and with how expensive food can be for big families that's harder to do. How do you help people get around that?

QUIVERS: I think that we have come to believe that cooking has to be a long process, that you can't prepare meals when you have time off and then store them in the fridge so that you have something fresh to just pop into the oven or whatever that it's already pre-prepared. We can do things to make food more convenient and cooking vegetables is really quick. It doesn't take a long time.

PEREIRA: It's true.

QUIVERS: The thing that I also push in the book is that every diet needs more vegetables. I'm not trying to advocate that anybody become vegan.


QUIVERS: What I do advocate is that you look at your situation, are things the way you want them to be? Do you feel as good as you can? Are you enjoying life the way that you should and getting out of it what you want? And if those things aren't happening for you, maybe you ought to look at what you're doing and what you're taking into your body, because we need nutrition.

PEREIRA: Yes we do.

QUIVERS: We need building blocks to build the best and strongest bodies and I do believe it was because I was so strong that I got through this so well.

CUOMO: Now the good news is you're ok. Right? Where are you today?

QUIVERS: I'm cancer free. I am cancer free. I eventually wound up with some doctors who did know what I had and they did have a protocol for it and that was the treatment I got and a couple of months ago I was declared cancer free.

CUOMO: Thank God.

PEREIRA: And I understand you did some things to celebrate you buy yourself a little present?

QUIVERS: A little present, what did you hear?

PEREIRA: I heard that you just maybe might have done something. Did you do anything special for yourself to celebrate?

QUIVERS: I bought a new house.

PEREIRA: That's the prize.

QUIVERS: That's a big present.

PEREIRA: That's a big present. I was being facetious. Robin, thank you for sharing your story. Thanks for sharing your tips and what worked for you, it's so good to see you looking so well.

QUIVERS: Thank you.

PEREIRA: Stay happy, stay healthy.

QUIVERS: It's a pleasure to be here.

PEREIRA: Really a delight.

CUOMO: "The Vegucation of Robin". That's the book.

PEREIRA: I love the title.

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

QUIVERS: My pleasure. CUOMO: All right now yesterday speaking of heroes, right, Robin became a hero for herself and Howard became a hero for her we announced the top ten CNN Heroes of 2013. You get to help decide who will be the CNN Hero of the Year. How to do it, here's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": Now that we've announced the top ten CNN Heroes of 2013 I want to show you how you can choose who should be CNN Hero of the Year and receive $250,000 for their cause. This is the main page of

Now down here you'll see all the top ten CNN heroes. Here's how you can vote for your favorite as an example I'm going to randomly click on Chad Pregracki over here. Now you can read a story about his work cleaning up American rivers, the same kind of information will come up if you pick any of the top ten CNN heroes.

Now once you've decided who inspires you the most, right over here you click on "vote", a new page will come up, it shows you all the top ten heroes. Choose the person you want to vote for this time I'm going to say Tawanda Jones over here, again just as an example, her photo will show up down here under your selection, then just enter your e-mail address, type the security code and click on the "vote" box down here to cast your vote.

Now you can vote once a day every day with your e-mail address and through Facebook. Just go to And then rally your friends by sharing your choice on Facebook or Twitter. If you're on the CNN mobile app, phones or tablets, you can check out this year's top ten in our CNN heroes section.

We'll reveal your 2013 hero of the year during "CNN HEROES AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE" a CNN tradition that promises to inspire.



CUOMO: So, did you have fun?

PEREIRA: I had a great time. Did you have fun?

CUOMO: Every day. You?


PEREIRA: How about you? We didn't ask you.

CUOMO: Hope you did -- this is -- what could be better than this for me.

Hope you had a good time this morning as well. It's all we have here at NEW DAY but the good stuff is coming now. We go to "CNN NEWSROOM" with the one and only John Berman, distractingly handsome. PEREIRA: How did that happen?


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Distractingly handsome. I'll try to keep it tame here. Thank you so much Chris Cuomo, Michaela Pereira, Indra Petersons. "NEWSROOM" begins right now.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN's "NEWSROOM" I'm John Berman sitting in for Carol Costello today.

And this morning Americans awaken to new hope that Washington is inching toward a deal to resolve the debt crisis and avoid perhaps economic disaster that really could be just days away.

Both President Obama and House GOP leaders are said to be upbeat about their White House meeting, they called it useful, and the early makings of a Republican plan to raise the debt limit.