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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Escaped Killers Captured in Florida; Massive Fires in Australia; Stock Futures Higher

Aired October 21, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you that there will be more arrests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They plotted this before. It just wasn't an overnight situation. And somebody on the outside helped them. As I said, it's not -- all alone, they didn't do it all on their own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Two convicted killers back behind bars after forced documents allowed them to just walk out of jail. How on earth did they do this? And the big question this morning, who helped them?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And plagued with problems since its rollout weeks ago. Today, President Obama expected to answer Obamacare critics but can he offer any solutions?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL GREEN, AUSTRALIAN VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER: She wants to turn back but --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we couldn't.

GREEN: Couldn't turn back. This is a fire truck -- not a fire truck so we went through it. And it was quite scary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Wow. Look at on those flames. Australia on fire this morning. Hundreds of homes destroyed as more than 50 fires fanning flames across that country could be about to get much worse. We are live on the scene there.

Good morning, everyone. It is Monday. Great to see you this week. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

BROWN: And I'm Pamela Brown. I hope your Monday is off to a good start on this October 21st. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: We're going to begin this morning in Florida where two escaped killers are now back in custody. These dramatic arrests caught on this cell phone video. The convicted murderers walked right out of the very same prison after reportedly forging their release documents.

Now as Florida residents breathe an understandable sigh of relief this morning law officials are coming in for some tough, tough questioning mainly how on earth did this happen?

CNN's Nick Valencia reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. They have been looking for them. Those are U.S. Marshals.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the two convicted killers this cell phone video shows the moment their manhunt ended. Just 80 miles from where their escape began.

Handcuffed and shackled, Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker said little during their first court appearance after being arrested.

MARTY WEST, U.S. MARSHALL'S FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: We got information that they were here at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn.

VALENCIA: Officials tell CNN the two were waiting for a ride from Atlanta in this Panama City beach motel when they were busted. Unarmed, they were detained without incident.

At a press conference on Sunday, Florida officials address the bureaucratic blunder. The two convicts serving life sentences were accidentally released after showing forged paper work and apparently this had happened twice before. Only the inmates were caught before they got out.

MICHAEL CREWS, CORRECTION SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: It is embarrassing. But my concentration at this point is I think everyone else here is making sure that we come up with the process and a procedure that prohibits this from happening in the future.

VALENCIA: Law enforcement has launched an investigation to figure out how Jenkins and Walker duped the system and obtained the fake documents.

JERRY BAILEY, ENFORCEMENT COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW: There is speculation, an underlying speculation, that there was a source where, for a certain sum of money, that these documents could be constructed for $8,000. Whether that is true or not is -- will be determined.

VALENCIA: CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara says they must have had help.

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It has to be somebody on the inside. It just has to be. Somebody at the clerk's office, somebody in the courthouse, maybe even somebody in a state attorney's office position, a secretary maybe who can actually get that paper work done.

VALENCIA: Standing at his father's grave, Robert Pugh chokes up. While his father's killer Charles Walker was on the run he struggled reliving his family's nightmare.

ROSCO PUGH III, VICTIM'S SON: He had no remorse when he killed our father in front of us the first time.

VALENCIA: Police are now promising to hold all who contributed accountable, telling CNN that additional arrests are expected.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Panama City, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And turning now to the growing frustration directed at the White House over problems with the Obamacare insurance exchange Web site. The president today will address the complaints during a White House event.

The administration now says just under 500,000 people have put in applications through the exchanges, though, it's unclear how many have actually signed up for coverage. Senator John McCain now joining the chorus saying, enough is enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with some smart people, bring them back to Washington and then fix this problem. It's ridiculous and everybody knows that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And the administration claiming it is doing just that, promising that it is going to bring in the, quote, "best and brightest: to fix the health care site.

BERMAN: They're calling it a surge, a tech surge to help the Obamacare Web site.

At least two high-ranking Navy officers under arrest this morning accused of accepting money and access to prostitutes in exchange for sensitive information about ship locations. "The Washington Post" says a defense contractor used that information to land lucrative deals to service ships and ports and may have overbilled the Navy to the tune of millions of dollars.

BROWN: One of Iran's top lawmakers is warning the West don't push too far with nuclear negotiations. The parliament speaker says the country may actually increase its atomic work if the West pushes too hard for concessions. It was less than a week ago that Iranian negotiators met with international officials in Geneva to talk about Iran's nuclear program and the statement could point to internal distress within the government over those talks.

BERMAN: It could be a step towards ending the civil war in Syria. The Arab League plans an international conference in Geneva for November 23rd and 24th. The goal to try to convince the Assad regime and the opposition groups to stop fighting and to agree to a transitional government.

One of the big issues right now not clear if any of the opposition groups will actually attend these meetings. More than 100,000 people are believed to have been killed since the civil war began two and a half years ago.

BROWN: And staying in Syria, a suicide attack right outside the Syrian city of Hama has left more than 30 people dead. It's the latest in a spade of recent attacks there. The bomber driving a truck packed with propane tanks to a military checkpoint and detonating it. According to reports, an al Qaeda-linked militant group is now claiming responsibility. Most of the dead were civilians.

BERMAN: Six minutes after the hour right now. And a gross injustice being committed on the people of Minnesota. Check this out. That's snow.

(LAUGHTER)

And it's already falling in many parts of that state including this spot in the north central part of Minnesota. Residents saw just over an inch of snow on Sunday.

Now I am told snow in October not unusual for Minnesota, not unusual still. You don't usually see it in Minnesota until after November 1st. This is pretty early.

BROWN: A sign of things to come for us, though, right?

BERMAN: It's going to happen. But come on --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Gross injustice, as you say.

BERMAN: Barely the middle of October.

BROWN: Right?

BERMAN: I'm incensed.

BROWN: How is this possible?

BERMAN: Incensed.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: All right. What's on top for today? That's what we want to know.

BERMAN: Indra will make it all better.

BROWN: Yes.

BERMAN: Indra Petersons is here to make everything better with the weather this morning. INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not even close, guys.

(LAUGHTER)

You say a sign to come, Pam? You are on the money. This is the story. It is all this cold air that is going to be diving down and spreading east as we go throughout the week. It's all thanks to still a series of cold fronts. We started this last week and we're still dealing with it. Notice there is the one tail end of the cold front we saw just over the weekend, still spinning up light showers around the Gulf today.

Here comes the next one behind it. Even more importantly, the third one, an Alberta clipper. Why is that so important? An Alberta clipper is a fast-moving cold system. And keep in mind the second one is cold enough as it is. But there you go, the one thing to remember about the Alberta clippers is they're very moisture start. They are dry and not looking for a lot out of it. You can actually tell there's a couple of flurries.

Still kind of in those same regions there. Kind of around the lakes as well and also into the Dakotas. But it does mean those temperatures go way down. I mean, look at the Chicago expected today 11 degrees below normal. Their highs in the 40s. If that feels bad, Green Bay, 42, Minneapolis 41. That's 15 below average and through Tuesday, still dealing with the 40s.

Want to quickly bring you over to the northeast because between Tuesday and Wednesday, that is the big day. Tuesday you're talking about 60s. Wednesday, dropping down to some 50s, guys.

BERMAN: Wow.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Reality check.

BERMAN: Thirties at night maybe later this week up in the northeast.

PETERSONS: You love that, right?

BERMAN: You know, it's going to be a cold game. One of the World Series in Boston on Wednesday night. Just threw that in there.

BROWN: Yes.

BERMAN: Just putting it out there.

All right. Some people -- thank you very much, Indra. I appreciate it. And for making cold a two-syllable word. Cold.

BROWN: Cold. She just got to emphasize it.

BERMAN: All right. We have a great story here. Some people, they go to Wal-Mart for the low prices. But look at that customer right there. He clearly was in search of something else. That is an alligator, folks, stalking back and forth outside a Wal-Mart in Florida. Somewhere northwest of Orlando.

The doors were locked so the alligator could not get in. Not sure if he was looking for a sale or what. The human customers couldn't get close to that alligator. Check that out. It stayed for about an hour and then headed back to a pond nearby.

BROWN: Just taking a sweet -- I bet he was looking for a sale. You were right.

BERMAN: That's right.

BROWN: That must be what it was.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Bargain prices.

All right, coming up for us next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREEN: My wife started saying, gun it, gun it. Like speed up. That means speed up, speed up because she could feel the heat kind of -- intense heat coming through the windows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Look at these pictures. Inside a string of deadly, deadly fires. Hundreds of homes destroyed so far.

Robyn Curnow live with the very latest. That's coming up.

BROWN: And back here in the U.S., more than 20 people engulfed in flames. Look at this. But you know what? They chose to do this. The story behind this bizarre video just ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, it is that time. It is time for your morning rhyme. Tweet us with your own original verse. It really -- it can be about anything. We give extra points for creativity. The #earlystart and #earlyrhyme. We will read the very best ones on air in this next half hour.

This is Pamela's first morning rhyme morning so --

BROWN: Yes. Now I'm still thinking what my rhyme will be.

BERMAN: Make it special please.

BROWN: I will try.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: And welcome back to EARLY START on this Monday morning.

Turning to Australia now. That's where authorities are furiously trying to stop a string of severe fires racing through the eastern part of the country. Sydney is now under a blanket of smoke and there are concern that these fires are only going to get worse.

Robin Curnow live in Australia for us just outside of Sydney.

Robyn, tell us, what is the situation like right now?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. I don't know if you can see behind me. We've seen a number of fire trucks and firefighters walking past opposition here. We are at the Bush Fire Control Center. And what you see is a very aggressive and concerted effort by the authorities here to try and fight these fires even overnight. They are going to go and try and essentially burn back and get ahead of these fires so there really is concern that particularly three fires in this vicinity are so aggressive, so uncontrolled and so active still that they are going to actually join together to create some sort of megafire.

And things are going to get worse authorities also saying because weather temperatures are expected to rise, also the winds are expected to become more erratic. And just to give you some sense of how bad it has already been, the amount of land that is already being burned is roughly the size of New York City and of course these fires still out there, still raging. So really authorities and people in this area are still deeply concerned about just how much more damage is going to be done.

BROWN: You really put it in perspective there just the size of New York City. And do we know what's driving these fires, Robyn?

CURNOW: Well, again, to sort of perfect recipe of, you know, winds that are too fast, too erratic, unseasonably hot weather. Also it's been very dry winter here apparently. So the shrubs and the vegetation are quite dry. Also there's also been incidents of arson. We also know that some power lines were blown over by some of these winds also sparking the fire. So I think essentially what you're seeing is just this rather unfortunate cocktail and these fires have sort of sparked from a number of reasons.

You know, there is a real worry that, you know, the authorities are not going to be able to get on top of these fires to control them in the coming days.

BROWN: Not really working in their favor. Hoping that they will get the upper hand soon.

Robyn Curnow, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour right now and a big concern for law enforcement in this country, lasers. Apparently being shined at commercial aircraft. The FBI's Antiterrorism Task Force is now looking into a string of frightening incidents involving these lacers being projected at flights as they are taking off for landing.

This is happening with increasing frequency we're told especially around New York's three major airports. The FBI say incidents there have increased 17 percent since last year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE WALLACE, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: The lasers are not going to physically hurt the airplane but the laser can blind the pilot, at least can temporarily blind the pilot. And also just the effect of this startling burst of light into the airplane cockpit. The worst case scenario is that in a critical phase of a flight a pilot loses control of the airplane. Potentially a tragic accident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now officials say there is no apparent link to terrorism. It may just be a series of pranks being pulled by those who have easy access to this laser equipment but authorities do say it is dangerous, it's dumb, and it could be deadly. And if the people behind the lacers are caught, they could face jail time.

BROWN: An alleged extortion victim of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was poisoned by cyanide. Stephen Rakes who wanted to testify at Bulger's trial was found dead back in July but his death is not related to Bulger who was found guilty in August of murder and racketeering. A business associate of Rakes is charged with lacing his coffee with poison.

BERMAN: An alarming number of guns and blades found in a man's carry- on bag at New York's Kennedy Airport. Timothy Schiavo Jr. was arrested and charged Saturday with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Police say the 29-year-old man from Long Island was also carrying several scissors and lighters, also some matches.

BROWN: Investigators say it was just a tragic accident. So far no charges are being filed against a firefighter who ran over and killed a 16-year-old survivor of an Asiana Airline jet that crashed at San Francisco International Airport last July. A fire truck responding to the burning plane rolled over the victim. He was said to be lying on the tarmac and covered in firefighting foam.

BERMAN: All right. You want to see the best smile of all time? Not yours, another one.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: This is a really sweet story. An emotional homecoming for a mother and daughter. Seven-year-old Kambria Foster was in school last week when she went to the library with her classmates and you see it there, a surprise visitor arriving fresh from spending seven months overseas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long has it been since you've seen mommy?

KAMBRIA FOSTER, DAUGHTER OF AIR FORCE MOM: She put these things on her computer so I could Skype her. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy to see you, honey.

FOSTER: You said the 17th.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel right now?

FOSTER: Happy and kind of surprised. And --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're mad about?

FOSTER: You freaked me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The little girl is obviously mad at her mom. Don't dupe me again. But that smile was amazing. Jocelyn Foster, Kambria's mother, is in the Air Force. She'd been Southeast Asia and her daughter said she has one plan now that mom's home, to have some fun.

Look at that smile and then look at this hug.

BROWN: Wow.

BERMAN: It just feel like she's going to squeeze her mother so tight. Look at that.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I could watch that on replay over and over again and over again.

BERMAN: I love it. I love it.

BROWN: All right. Well, coming up right here on EARLY START, a huge settlement deal between the government and one of the world's biggest financial companies. The details in "Money Time" up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, folks. It is Monday. It is "Money Time."

Someone spending a lot of money this morning, Christine Romans. What's going on?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Yes. It's not me. It's Jamie Dimon.

Look, it's unbelievable the size of this fine that Jamie Dimon has agreed to. The biggest fine ever paid by a single company to settle an investigation by the Justice Department. We're talking about JPMorgan Chase. Tentatively agreed to a $13 billion civil settlement to resolve charges aimed at its mortgage securities business.

Here's -- here's how it breaks down. $9 billion in fines and penalties, $4 billion in consumer relief, that's going to include home loan modifications for people who are in their homes and have loans. It settles civil charges, does not end the criminal investigation. And that's a real sticking point here because Jamie Dimon has really pushed for a nonprosecution agreement but could not get it.

We are told that this came down to personal discussions and meetings with the Attorney General Eric Holder and Jamie Dimon, someone who is probably the most famous banker in the world. Many of the mortgage- backed securities in question have been acquired at the request of the government.

Remember back in the darkest days of the 2008 financial crisis? JPMorgan stepped in and bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. Turns out Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, wow, they had either written a lot of really bad mortgages or sold them to the government and that is the -- that is the problem. The government taxpayers saddled with it, you and I, taxpayers, paid a huge bailout for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to absorb this garbage that were written and, you know -- derivatives sold on them. Crazy.

Anyway, JPMorgan has already paid over a billion dollars in fines in connection with last year' London whale trading debacle.

Look at all of this. This is a very bad year for Jamie Dimon. In July, JPMorgan also agreed to pay $410 million to settle charges of manipulated electricity prices in California and the Midwest.

JPMorgan Chase posted a loss in the third quarter based on massive legal expenses.

When I was looking at the JPMorgan earnings report or at that point it was a loss report for the quarter, I man. I've really never seen that kind of legal exposure. So this has been just a crazy year for Jamie Dimon.

JPMorgan Chase stock, though, watching it closely this morning, see if it was going to move on these reports of this -- of this fine. Not really moving at all. But stock futures are higher. Investors starting the week at a record high for the S&P 500.

Look at this. Last week the Dow gained 1.1 percent, Nasdaq 3.2 percent, the S&P 500 up two points, 4 percent.

I would just like to show the year, too. Because you really want to see how it's been this year. Look at that. Despite your crazy elected officials in Washington, and that is not an editorial comment, that's just a fact, but the year of the Dow is up 82 percent. The Nasdaq is up 30 percent and the S&P 500 is up 22 percent.

We're going to get a bunch of earnings reports this week about -- you know, about a third, with 28 percent of the S&P companies are going to report earnings.

Two important ones I'm going watch today, McDonald and Netflix. Analysts want to look at McDonald's because of same-store sales -- you know, they want to see how well its new many offering have performed. McDonald's are losing customers this year so we really want to see what is going on there.

Also for Netflix subscriber expansion is key indicator of this company's health. That stock is up 260 percent so far this year.

BROWN: Wow.

BERMAN: Wow. Wow.

BROWN: Unbelievable.

BERMAN: That's crazy. And then when you look at the numbers, you know, up 20 percent, 30 percent. It's reminder, if you are losing money in the market this year you're doing a very bad job.

BROWN: Yes.

ROMANS: Yes. Or your broker is doing a bad job.

BERMAN: Yes. Someone is doing a bad job.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Coming for us next, a young girl living in squalor. The people who claim to be her parents stand accused now of kidnapping. Now police are asking who is this girl and where did she come from? Erin McLaughlin live with the mounting questions to this mysterious case. That's coming up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Roma family had 14 children in total and they were registered with fake birth certificates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: A young girl found living in filth. But when police began questioning the people they thought were her parents, a shocking new mystery began to unravel. We are live with this story.

BROWN: Former vice president Dick Cheney on the record revealing how he thought terrorists could try to kill him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE REYNOLDS, RESCUED BOATER: I tell you what, that is a life or death struggle out there in the water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Stranded at sea for 14 hours after their boat capsized. This, folks, is an amazing story of survival.