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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
"Maria" May Be Missing Kansas City Toddler; Another Girl Removed From Dublin Roma Family; More on Nevada School Shooting; Al- Libi Due Back in Court; Juarez Due Back in Court for "Baby Hope" Murder; Berry, Dejesus to Write Book; September Unemployment Rate Down, But Lackluster; People Concerned About Economy; Facebook Removes Violent Video Ban; National Guardsmen on Trial; Utah Doctor Accused of Killing his Wife
Aired October 22, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: An illegal adoption or an abduction? A couple now under arrest in Greece charged with kidnapping a little girl known as Maria. Could she really be Lisa Irwin, though a Kansas City toddler who disappeared two years ago? And all of this as news breaks today of another little girl being removed from a Roma family in Dublin Ireland.
Facebook back on the hot seat, this time for lifting a ban on graphic content, content including people having their heads cut off.
And Grammy-winner Cee Lo Green off the hook for sexual assault, but not necessarily for slipping the drug Ecstasy to a woman while wining and dining her in Los Angeles.
Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Tuesday, October 22nd. Welcome to "LEGAL VIEW."
A little girl's pictures that's been circulating the world for more than 24 hours, take a good look. We still don't know who she is.
Even though investigators have decided to call her "Maria," she's just a little girl that was found with a Roma family in Greece. A Roma people were historically called gypsies and they've been discriminated against for centuries.
Today there's a brand-new twist in this case. Could this little girl they're calling "Maria" actually be a missing American child, and are there even more children like her?
The Greek-based group, Smile of the Child, is looking into about 10 cases now of missing children from the United States, from Canada, from Poland, from France, and all of this as we're now getting word about a 7-year-old girl also blonde with blue eyes who was just taken from a Roma family in Dublin, apparently a family that didn't look much like her.
Our George Howell is live right now in Kansas City on the American side of this story.
George, tell us about this remarkable new case and the family that lived in that house behind you, why they're getting hope.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, absolutely, and what a ray of hope for them.
But again, a possibility for nearly a dozen families, and with this new case that you mentioned, it's still unclear how that will play into it. We haven't seen a picture. But again, that could also be important for many families that that are trying to clear, that are trying to answer these missing child cases.
I just spoke with Jeremy Irwin (ph) back here. He just got home, asked him if he would like to speak here on camera with us, but initially he said, yes, but then declined. Apparently, I'm told, the family will speak later today.
But we did confirm through their attorney that the FBI is in contact with Greek officials about similarity -- similarities, I should say, between their missing daughter and the girl known as "Maria."
HOWELL: This morning, there are new questions and perhaps new possibilities. Could this young girl found in Greece actually be from Kansas City?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like she's OK.
HOWELL: The parents of Lisa Irwin, the missing Kansas city toddler who vanished from her bed after an apparent home invasion in 2011.
They reached out to the FBI who contacted Greek authorities because they believe this striking blond hair, blue eyed girl could be Lisa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no such thing as a tip too small.
HOWELL: The second anniversary of Lisa's disappearance was two weeks ago. And a new photo was released of what she might look like today, similar to the girl found in Greece called "Maria."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dream about her all the time. And this is what I see in my dreams.
HOWELL: Some things don't add up. Lisa would be 3-years-old. And medical tests indicate "Maria" is five or six, but all possibilities must be ruled out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claims -- claim is that we never abduct this child.
HOWELL: The couple claiming to be Maria's parents were arrested on suspicious of abducting a minor. DNA results confirm that they are not her biological mom and dad.
But Greek authorities are getting calls from around the world, offering leads on the possible identity of the mystery girl. So far, they're taking about 10 of those lead seriously, including some cases from the U.S., one of them, baby Lisa. (END VIDEOTAPE)
HOWELL: And again, it's still unclear exactly how this new case, this new child that was discovered in Dublin could play into this, but when it comes to the girl known as "Maria," keep in mind, according to the group Smiles of a Child, "Maria" would be 5- or 6-years-old, that according to dental records. And we know that Lisa would be just 3- years-old next month, Ashleigh.
But, again, a lot of families are looking at the this case and many others, very hopeful.
BANFIELD: I imagine they want no stone left unturned, nonetheless.
George Howell, live for us, thank you for that.
In just a few hours, we're expecting to get more information on that deadly school shooting in Nevada. Police are planning to give an update about 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Yesterday, life at Sparks Middle School was shattered when a student opened fire, killing a favorite teacher and wounding two students. The young gunman then turned the gun on himself, took his own life.
Stephanie Elam is live in Sparks, Nevada. Stephanie, we're so curious about what happened here, whether there were signs before this happened. Have we learned anything more about this young shooter?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we've learned, Ashleigh, is that this student, according to other classmates of his, was reportedly a nice kid, was a kid who would smile if you were having a bad day, that he was quiet.
But we've also heard reports that he may have been bullied. Of course, we can't confirm that or not, but this is something that we have heard, very little coming in a about the shooter at this time.
Obviously, the community is still in shock after this happened just about 24 hour ago now. So dawn has just broken here, the sun is coming up, and the community, still trying to deal with all of this tragedy, when you still have two children in the hospital in stable condition and you have the loss of life of two people, including that beloved teacher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENO MARTINI, MAYOR OF SPARKS, NEVADA (via telephone): He was a very well-liked teacher by the students and other teachers.
It's very unfortunate that someone like that that protected our country over there and came back alive his life had to be taken.
REGGIE LANDSBERRY, BROTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM (via telephone): He loved teaching at Sparks Middle School. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. He loved teaching them. He was just a good-all-around individual. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: And that all-around-good individual also being remembered because he was a Marine who had served several tours of duty, and was also known for just giving back and helping out his children as much as he could, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam for us, live, thank you for that.
We're checking some other top stories that we're following here at CNN as well. An alleged al Qaeda member indicted in the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa due back in a New York courtroom this afternoon.
Abu Anas al-Libi was seized by American commandos in Libya earlier this month. He's entered a plea of not guilty to the terrorism charges that he's facing.
A man accused of killing his baby cousin more than 20 years ago is expected to appear in another New York courtroom this morning.
Fifty-two-year-old Conrado Juarez was arrested last week and arraigned and then charged with murder after he told the police he smothered and sexually assaulted a girl known as "Baby Hope." Juarez later recanted his story and says pressured him to confess.
They're taking control and telling their story. Two of the three women held captive for a decade in Ariel Castro's house are planning to write a book about the ordeal.
An attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus is telling the Associated Press that they'll work with a Pulitzer Prize-winning team of "Washington Post" reporters on the book.
Castro hanged himself in his prison cell last month.
We are finally getting the September jobs report after a nearly three- week delay, that, of course, due to the government shutdown, and sadly to report, it's pretty lackluster.
The unemployment rate did, though, on a good note, drop to 7.2 percent. That's the lowest level since November of 2008. But only about 148,000 jobs were added and that is fewer than were added in August.
According to a new CNN/ORC poll, people don't feel very good about the economy either. Only 29 percent said economic conditions today are good. Seventy-one percent said that economic conditions today are poor.
Coming up next, Facebook, a lot of us see it, use it. We certainly know about it. And now it is stirring major controversy for taking away the ban on violent videos. And when I say violent, how about decapitations, real ones, real violence.
Parents, your children who have accounts can access these videos now. We're going to find out why and what's going on there.
Also, an elite national guard group busted for allegedly stealing $1.4 million, and wait until you hear the details of the indictment. It's coming up.
BANFIELD: I've got some rather incredible news for you, especially if you have kids or especially if you just like decency and maybe you know something about Facebook, because Facebook has decided to lift one of its bans, albeit a temporary band.
But it was a ban on violent content, like violent videos, including videos showing beheadings, real beheadings from around the world.
So that means somebody as young as 13 with his or her own Facebook account can watch that, actually can accidentally happen upon it, too, maybe even without a warning.
We have one world leader who is already weighing in on this today and really unhappy about it. And our Sam Burke has been tracking the story.
First of all, what? You told me this, this morning. I said, this must be some mistake. It's not a mistake?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not a mistake, and it was actually flagged up by Facebook's users. They saw a video with a woman being beheaded in this video.
Now, I'm just going to show you a picture from that video, just for a moment --
BANFIELD: Yeah, we're not going to show anything --
BURKE: We've blurred the woman's face. This is a clip from that video, this woman being beheaded in the video.
The users flagged this up to Facebook, and they decided that they would ask them to try and bring it down.
But Facebook said, we're not going to take this down, and that's when they flagged it up to us, to the mainstream media, and that's when we realized this ban -- when this video originally came up in May, had been taken down.
So they saw this video and said, we're going to take these down for now, a pause Facebook calls it.
BURKE: Temporary, but now they've decided that they can show it again.
I want to read you what Facebook said to us in a statement.
"Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share experiences," Ashleigh, "such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism, and other violent events.
"People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different."
So what they're saying is, if violence is being glorified, then it's not acceptable, but if it's being condemned --
BANFIELD: OK, so the difference being, first of all, all this says to me is wife gets her head cut off for cheating. It doesn't say whether they're offended by it, excited by it, whether they, in fact, did the posting.
How is Facebook to police this? What would their decision be on this video? Take it down or leave it up?
BURKE: They said they're going to judge on a case-by-case basis, but that's not enough for a lot of people, including the prime minister of the United Kingdom.
David Cameron, he said in a tweet this morning, "It's irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried presidents."
So not enough --
BANFIELD: Worried parents. Yeah, worried parents.
BURKE: Exactly, and he's a parent as well, so not enough for the prime minister of the United Kingdom.
BANFIELD: So did Facebook say anything about the potential -- a lot of parents aren't going to give a damn about warnings. They don't want that up there at all, but has Facebook said anything about potential warnings?
BURKE: They're looking into a warning system. They're testing it, it's in beta, but it's not going to be seen across the platform. Before you see a video, you might see something like that, warning, this video contains extremely graphic content and may be upsetting. But this is something they're just testing at the moment.
BANFIELD: There is a man in Britain who was put in jail, prison, for five years because he posted violent and offensive material. One of the postings was Mick Berg (ph) being beheaded. That was one of the first beheadings that we all - that was the genesis of the famous beheadings. He was in Afghanistan - he's in Pakistan actually. But he's serving prison time for doing that. And yet Facebook can do that?
BURKE: And when the judge sentenced him, he talked about how could somebody air these type of barbaric videos on a social media platform like Facebook? That's what the judge said in that case in the United Kingdom.
BANFIELD: Samuel Burke, keep us posted. It's trending too. BURKE: Everybody is talking about this.
BANFIELD: Wonder if some of the members of Facebook are going to have even more influence if they're outraged by it, or if they do celebrate it as getting your first amendment out there.
Thank you, great work, appreciate that.
Here is another one for you. National guard members indicted for stealing, and not just a little, a lot. Over $1 million. Our panel discussion on how this played out, what went wrong and what kind of prosecution do you do when you're talking about national heroes?
Also is he really a grieving husband or good looking actor. Day three of the Utah doctor who's on trial, accused of killing his beautiful wife. A live report from Utah straight ahead.
BANFIELD: $1.4 million. That is a lot of money to, I think, everybody. But it is how much a group of Air National Guard members have been accused of stealing from the American people, the very people that they vowed to protect. These are guardsmen who have been entrusted with the task of flying secret drones over Iraq and Afghanistan. Big time. But on Monday, a grand jury indicted 21 of the guardsmen including a colonel for allegedly using fake home addresses that would allow them to collect extra pay. That's money meant for servicemembers who are on short-term assignments.
Officials say that in some cases individuals pocketed more than $100,000 each over the course of three years. The indictment comes after an 18-month investigation and those charges include fraud, theft, money laundering and conspiracy. Not one of those you want on your record.
Let's bring in our legal panel. I'm joined by CNN analyst Danny Cevallos and criminal defense attorney Heather Hansen. Welcome, Heather.
HEATHER HANSEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you very much, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: So sorry we have to load you up with this story right off the bat. It's certainly displeasing to hear it. But I've got to ask you, if you're a jury and you are facing heroes, people who protected the country, do you tend to think of them differently, do you tend to give them a break? They're never highly paid to start with, but yet this is ugly behavior.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's an interesting idea, and I think that would be sussed out during jury selections. You're going to get rid of every kind of jury member that's going to be biased towards these National Guard members. Remember also this is a state court prosecution. The military are subject to prosecution not only in the civilian context, but dual prosecution in the military under the Uniform Code of Justice. There's not a separate sovereign so they can be prosecuted separately, and convicted on both.
BANFIELD: So, this is the kind of thing, when I read it, Heather, I sort of thought as though this was -- I've heard of this a lot. It's not that unusual in the civilian world for people to falsify documents, collect a little lunch money, that kind of thing. Is it more serious for them?
HANSEN: I think it's far more serious. When you compare this to the people who had their feet on the ground in Afghanistan, one of the things that the attorney general said is they're making about $1,000 a year, while these people are making $100,000 a year by frauding the government, frauding the taxpayers, and taking that money away from things that could go to help those people in Afghanistan. So I think it really hits to our moral core a little harder than it would when I just maybe take an extra lunch.
BANFIELD: I hear you. And at the same time I look at these soldiers as being so underpaid, sickeningly underpaid, for the work that they do, whether they're stateside waiting to be deployed, or whether they're actually deployed, and I just don't know if that secretly would bubble up. Even after voir dire and jury selection.
BANFIELD: What about the colonel, would he face something more dire than the underlings?
CEVALLOS: You know, it's hard to tell from the indictment because it's heavily redacted. It's not like a federal indictment where you get all of this information. But I will say this --
BANFIELD: It's weird it's not federal. This is a federal issue.
CEVALLOS: That's the thing I cannot figure out. It is charged as a -- typically the federal government, specifically the military tribunal has jurisdiction if something happened on base. So, you would have to assume all this happened on base, but like I said before, there's certainly dual jurisdiction. And the other thing is that essentially this is the old per diem racket. These people are changing where they say they live so they can collect extra money. Nickel and dime, but over a period of time, it ended up being over $1 million.
BANFIELD: And that's what's so ugly about it. Danny and Heather stay put. I got some other stuff coming up for you that I'd love you to weigh in on if you would.
How about this one? The doctor accused of killing his wife. And it's not your average run of the mill case, folks. That is the father of eight, and his wife was a beauty queen. He's not so bad himself either. It's making big headlines out in Utah. We're going to take you there live. Day three of the testimony against him. It ain't pretty.
Also later, an amazing rescue after a woman falls onto subway tracks. What would you do? All coming up next.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
Really bizarre behavior from a prominent Utah doctor accused of murdering his wife. He's back in the courtroom today, and the prosecutors are pulling out all the stops, telling the jurors that Dr. Martin MacNeill gave an epic performance the day his wife was found dying in their bathtub.
As paramedics were desperately trying to save her life, the doctor was yelling in the background, cursing her for getting a facelift just a few days before. Which is kind of strange given the fact that prosecutors say that he was the one to pressured her to go under the knife in the first place. Before we get to today's testimony, I want to bring you up to speed on this incredible case.
911 OPERATOR: Sir, what's wrong?
MARTIN MACNEILL, ACCUSED OF MURDER: My wife has drowned in the bathtub.
911 OPERATOR: Who is in the bathtub?
MACNEILL: My wife.
911 OPERATOR: Do you know how to do CPR?
MACNEILL: I'm doing it.
911 OPERATOR: Okay. Do you --
BANFIELD: These maybe the last sounds Michele MacNeill ever heard, the sound of her husband calling 911 as she lay dying in her bathtub. Now he is on trial accused of her murder in a case that's ripped this Mormon family apart. His mugshot said it all.
It's a far cry from the way things used to be. She was a beauty queen. He, a wealthy and dashing doctor. They had eight children. Four of their own, four more adopted.
But Dr. MacNeill had a secret, a mistress named Gypsy Willis. A woman he met online and who prosecutors say was the reason the doctor hatched a plan to kill his wife. They say he pressured Michele to get a facelift and then gave her a dangerous mix of drugs as she tried to recover and ultimately drowned her in a tub. Not something a 6-year- old child should ever see.
ADA MACNEILL, MICHELE AND MARTIN MACNEILL'S DAUGHTER: When I got home from school and I went to go look for my mom, and I went into her room, in the bathroom. And I found her.
BANFIELD: Michele had reason to suspect her husband of cheating. She found several late night cell phone calls all to one number. She's argued with him about it, too.