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CNN NEWSROOM

Red Sox Win World Series; The Deep Web; Joe Biden Apologizes for Obamacare Rollout

Aired October 31, 2013 - 15:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brooke Baldwin. CNN pursues answers, and today breaking news in the case of a teenager found dead inside a gym mat at his Georgia high school. Now, keep in mind this is a decision. The teenager's parents have waited months and months for. Officials in Kendrick Johnson' death ruled that it was an accident back in January, but his parents claim he was murdered.

Their lawyers demanded the Justice Department investigate their son's death and just this afternoon, U.S. Attorney Michael Moore announced his decision. He says his office will, in fact, investigate this teenager's case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, U.S. ATTORNEY: This time, however, I am of the opinion that a sufficient basis exists from my office to conduct a formal review of the facts and investigation surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson. I do this with an open mind neither accepting nor rejecting the opinions of anyone who has previously investigated the circumstances of his death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Johnson's parents and their attorneys spoke to CNN shortly after that announcement and they say they are thrilled with this decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNETH JOHNSON, KENDRICK JOHNSON'S FATHER: We're happy that an investigation has been launched. We're happy with that decision.

JACQUELYN JOHNSON, KENDRICK JOHNSON'S MOTHER: The only thing we ever wanted was the truth.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is a murder mystery we have to solve.

We believe it should be a matter of simple justice. We know the videotape will not show Kendrick Johnson climbing into a mat and getting stuck and suffocating. That was a ridiculous conclusion.

We really believe his parents have always maintained that their son was killed. And the only question we want to know is why they are covering up for whoever killed their son. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: CNN correspondent Victor Blackwell has been pursuing answers for more than six months in this case.

Here's his report on how he got here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Months of protests, sit-ins and marches have shaken the small South Georgia city of Valdosta.

Demonstrators say they want answers in the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson. In January, Kendrick was found dead at school. Investigators with the Lowndes County Sheriff's County office say Kendrick squeezed his 19-inch shoulders into the 14.1-inch center of this rolled gym mat. They say he got stuck upside down while reaching for this shoe.

After an autopsy, a medical examiner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agreed, the official cause of Kendrick's death, accidental positional asphyxia. Kendrick was suffocated by his own body weight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We examined all the alternatives that were presented to us and the only one that fit the physical evidence and the forensic evidence and the testimonial evidence that we received was this is an accident.

KENNETH JOHNSON, KENDRICK JOHNSON'S FATHER: An accident. We just didn't believe.

BLACKWELL: Kendrick's parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, believe about the shoe is a cover-up.

JOHNSON: When I went and viewed his body that Sunday, you can see something happened. You could tell he was beaten.

BLACKWELL: In June, the Johnsons exhumed Kendrick's body and hired Dr. Bill Anderson to conduct an independent autopsy. Anderson says he found evidence of bleeding under the skin near Johnson's right jaw.

DR. BILL ANDERSON, PATHOLOGIST: We were able to diagnose the fact that there was indeed blunt-force trauma to that area.

BLACKWELL (on camera): So, he took blows to the neck?

ANDERSON: He took at least one blow to the neck.

BLACKWELL: Just to be clear, you used the word several times, but in your view, this is a homicide?

ANDERSON: Yes.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Also, Dr. Anderson says Kendrick's organs were missing. Instead, he was stuffed with newspaper. The Georgia Secretary of State's Office has launched an investigation into that.

Questions about the sheriff office investigation have made the Johnsons more suspicious, including why these shoes found yards from Kendrick's body were not collected as evidence. And how did someone's blood end up on this wall in the gym?

CNN laid out these facts for former FBI Special Agent Harold Copus.

HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I don't believe this was an accident. I think this young man met with foul play.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Victor Blackwell joins me live.

And, Victor, just to watch the pictures. As we were watching the U.S. attorney making this statement, we saw what looked to be I don't know it was family or community in the town from where the Johnsons are from just on the phone, relieved, happy that finally this investigation is happening at this level.

BLACKWELL: Brooke, that's a street corner in downtown Valdosta across from the judicial center. There has been a sit-in there for eight months, six days a week, eight hours a day.

BALDWIN: Wow.

BLACKWELL: The family members have been sitting there with signs that say who killed Kendrick Johnson and they hope this announcement today gets them a step closer to that answer.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about the now unredacted surveillance video that has been released. What do we see in these pictures?

BLACKWELL: Well, we see two clips coming from surveillance cameras, one inside the gym and one outside the gym.

Let's start with the camera, the image outside the gym. We blurred the images of the other students because they're minors, but you see Kendrick Johnson walk into the gym behind another student. Now, we don't have a time stamp for that, but he appears to be wearing the same clothing on the day that he was found in that mat, that white T- shirt with an orange T-shirt and jeans and orange and gray sneakers.

There is also an image from inside the gym. We know this one is 1:09 p.m. and 47 seconds, because the stills of Kendrick running across the bottom right of that image were released and that was a time stamp there. There are three students playing basketball in the foreground of that shot. And we know that was just minutes before sheriff's deputies at least believe that Kendrick went into the mat and that's where he died.

So, a very short time between the time that image was taken and when the next class came in, a class that said they didn't see or smell or notice anything out of the ordinary. A very small window.

BALDWIN: Victor Blackwell, thank you so much.

Want to continue the conversation with Tanya Miller, defense attorney, and Danny Cevallos, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney.

Tanya, let me just begin with you here, huge, huge news with regard to the U.S. attorney's decision to investigate this. Your reaction?

TANYA MILLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, honestly, Brooke, when I heard the announcement of the U.S. attorney, I was somewhat surprised and I was surprised because we have not yet heard whether or not there is a federal nexus to what happened in that gym.

We know that something bad happened. We suspect it was murder, but even if it is a murder, it doesn't necessarily mean that the feds would have jurisdiction. So the fact that the feds are opening an investigation and announcing it to the public is extremely significant.

And it makes me really, really happy and excited because I believe that finally this family will get the answers that they deserve.

BALDWIN: Danny, though, it has been months and month and months since Kendrick Johnson's death and you hear from critics, they say the crime scene and evidence, it was bungled. Is it too late to really be able to put these pieces together?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's never too late. Murder does not have a statute of limitations, so, we understand that sometimes murders take a long time to investigate and prosecute.

But, in this case and echoing on what was just said, look, the local government concluded that there was not even a homicide. For the federal government, remember, they have limited jurisdiction. They cannot simply investigate or reinvestigate a murder. That is the state's province. However, if there is a murder, they must additionally prove that it was motivated by a racial animus.

I think that is going to be very difficult and that's why I, too, was very surprised that the federal government decided to investigate. Be mindful, that is not a promise to prosecute anybody, it's only the promise of an investigation.

BALDWIN: OK. And then what about, in a different, in addition to the promise to investigate, this coroner's inquest? Tanya, the family lawyer has now filed this coroner's inquest. What is that?

MILLER: Well, essentially, a coroner's inquest is like a miniature trial to determine the cause and manner of death. Literally, you have the coroner presenting evidence to a jury focusing on what happened to this victim, physically, what the toxicology tests say and what the investigators say, all with an eye towards deciding what caused the death and whether or not it was a homicide, an accident or some other unexplained reason.

BALDWIN: But describe, Danny, then the challenge that must be posed there because when this teenager's body was exhumed for this second independent autopsy, it was discovered he was missing half his organs and he was stuffed with newspaper.

CEVALLOS: Well, I have to say, that is a case of first impression, at least for me. But on my review of some of the practices of different funeral directors, that could potentially explain it.

But, candidly, I mean, if it is alleged that there is a grand conspiracy, remember, the organs were removed and he was stuff with newspaper -- if the allegation or the belief is that somehow the government or whoever allegedly covered this up filled him with newspaper, that starts to become a very large web conspiracy and I have to believe there is going to be some evidence, if that's what's being alleged.

Or it could just be some misconduct at that funeral home. That is just perplexing. I don't have any sort of conclusion about that yet.

BALDWIN: OK. Danny Cevallos and Tanya Miller, thank you, both, very much.

The pressure on Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, it's mounting. Requests for her to release Obamacare documents have gone from formal inquiries now to a congressional subpoena. Today the head of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Darrell Issa, announced he has subpoenaed Secretary Sebelius for paperwork related to the "troubled launch" of healthcare.gov.

The congressman just talked to CNN about what kind of documents he wants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: We have had contractors give us proof that, in fact, briefings were made in a timely fashion that showed, some of them had been aired, showed, in fact, they weren't ready and they knew they weren't ready.

Just today, Jake Carney said the president was shown this Web site ahead of time as though it was ready. So, figuring out who inside the organization knew, but failed to communicate is important. But more importantly, because there were so many other areas, including the risk of private information coming out in a Web site that isn't ready, we really need to ask those questions and see the, what's internally going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: What was the department's response to the subpoena?

Take a look for yourself and I will read it for you: "Since October 10, the committee has made five separate requests for a wide range of documents. Their timeline was not feasible given the vast scope of their request." It goes on here, "We are disappointed that the committee believes that the subpoena was necessary. However, it does not change our intent to continue to cooperate with them to produce documents as expeditiously as we are able to." Secretary Sebelius did apologize for the site's many problems during a House hearing yesterday and it lasted for some 3.5 hours. Next, she will go before the Senate's Finance Committee. That happens next Wednesday.

Also, the government announced today some more high-profile high-tech pros will help with the, we will call it the rehab of healthcare.gov, including an engineer from Google, plus some folks from Red Hat and Oracle.

Coming up it is the news, if you fly a lot, you have been waiting for this. The whole announcement of anything with an on/off switch, turn it off, you may be able to keep some devices on. We will tell you about that in the news from the FAA coming up.

Also, months after a devastating terror attack, celebrations, the emotional story of a city and its baseball team. Folks, this is the year of Boston.

And this video of a driver spinning out of control. We have the story behind the video and more coming up. You are watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: It's the announcement some of us have been waiting quite a while for.

The Federal Aviation Administration is clearing our electronic gadgets for takeoffs and landings and taxies, so approved for use right out of the gate. Take a look with me, all the way to your destination, tablets, laptops, e-readers, cell phones. Keep in mind, it has to be in airplane mode. Wi-Fi use and Bluetooth accessories like wireless keyboard.

But -- got to have a but here -- Don't break out your smartphone just yet here on takeoff. Each airline has to file plans with the FAA showing its planes can tolerate electronic interference. Also, this is probably a good thing, no chatting on your cell phone during your flight. That ban remains in effect.

We are going to take you back to Boston, the scene of the Red Sox's first World Series-ending win at Fenway in 95 years. What a game. Wow. What a celebration. Went on into the wee hours of the morning and nothing captures it better than this. You see where these folks are? These Sox fans are marking their cities and their team's resurrection at the spot where the Boston Marathon bombs exploded on April 15.

That is the finish line there on Boylston, leaning down and kissing it.

Poppy Harlow is in Boston for us, as is Rachel Nichols of CNN Sports and host of "UNGUARDED."

Ladies, good to see both of you. Poppy Harlow, I'm going to begin with you. I'm thinking I don't know if people really slept last night. I imagine most people got to bed pretty late last night, huh?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. Yes. We didn't sleep much and I got to tell you I think some of Boston is still out partying and that's not an overstatement.

This city is going nuts. And I just want to show you the front of "The Globe." This is something I'm going to bring back and keep close with me, "Tested and Triumphant." Not only the Red Sox, this entire city erupting with jubilation. We were in the middle of it. You were inside. I was at one of the big sports bars here just listening to the people and they kept saying to me, over and over, this means so much to our city, but especially this year.

It was echoed in "The Globe" where they wrote a city rises from its darkest hours. It was just in April, April 15, that tragic day of the marathon bombing here. Look how far this city has come. I think in a lot of ways this team has helped heal this city, sort of borne the weight of this city on its shoulders. Just listen to some of what the folks said last night when the victory came down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This means everything. We just want at home. We just in Boston. We just won the World Series.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're coming back better than ever. We're all together. This is the best thing that could ever happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boston strong has really been like -- been such a theme this year and everybody has really just been coming together whether it's for little things or big things, but everybody is out and everybody is excited and everybody is united.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: ... last five minutes or an hour. That lasted on and on and on.

And we have something really cool, special to show you. We just took this video. Let's pull it up, guys, 2013 banner, World Series champions. Can we pull that up for everyone to see?

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Here we go.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Beautiful.

HARLOW: Here we go. That literally just got put up. So what a day, what a moment.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Rachel Nichols, I mean, even for the players, Big Papi and all of them, this win, this transcended baseball.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, no question. Poppy talking about the connection this city had with this team after the bombings at the marathon.

You know, Patriots Day is a very big deal here in Boston. That is the day that it happened, they hold the marathon, the Boston Red Sox always play an early game and then they have a getaway out to another city. When the marathon bombing happened, the Red Sox were actually headed out of town and they got to their destination in Cleveland that night.

They weren't supposed to do anything together. But they just gathered tomorrow for an impromptu team dinner that evening just to be with each other and just to talk. This is a bunch of guys who a lot of them hadn't been on the team for a while. A lot of them had been brought in just this season and it was the first opportunity that they really just broke down with each other as people that exposed emotion and that new connection to that new city that they had. It cemented the bond between each other and it cemented the bond with the city and a lot of players said to me last night, the perception is that we as the Red Sox, we lifted up Boston in some way.

But they all said to me it was Boston that lifted up us. I want you to hear a little bit of what we got around the clubhouse and the field last night. Brooke, you will see some champagne on the lens from time to time. What can I tell you? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE NAPOLI, BOSTON RED SOX: We wanted to do anything we could possibly to help out the people, coming in here and playing for three, four hours and get their minds off it and something very special for us giving back to the people and it's just been amazing here.

DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON RED SOX: We have been through so much this year and just, you know, getting to this point, I Think it changed a lot of people'S minds and It's something that we dedicated to the whole city.

JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA, BOSTON RED SOX: It's just been special all year long, from the get-go in spring training and all the way to April when it happened. The city has been through so much and it's such a sports town. This is just the best place to play and best fans and for us to be able to do it in front of them tonight and be able to celebrate and take that duck boat ride.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NICHOLS: Brooke, you saw all the beards, of course, the very famous now beards that the Red Sox have been sporting all season in those clips. And I asked all the guys, I said, what happens now? You won the World Series. Do you get to shave? A few of them said, maybe a little trim. I know their wives are not going to be that happy.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I kind of dug it. It's a superstitious sport. Keep the beards, boys. Keep the beards.

Rachel Nichols and Poppy Harlow.

Poppy, grab me a "Boston Globe," will you? That is truly something to cherish for a long time.

HARLOW: I got it.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Ladies, thank you very much. Just a quick reminder, you have to tune in to Rachel Nichols' new show, "UNGUARDED," tomorrow night 10:30 prime minister Eastern and Pacific.

Coming up next, when you surf the Web, you probably do it on the regular Internet, right? But have you ever logged on to what is called the deep Web? It is engineered to be completely anonymous. It is a haven for thieves and traffickers, even assassins. And Washington is worried about this. We're going to dive into the world of the deep Web, coming up next.

And then this video, you have to see this, this driver under the influence spinning out of control, the story behind the video right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: You have to see this dash-cam video. It shows this terrifying crash involving a repeat drunk driving suspect out of Wisconsin.

This whole thing started when a Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy spotted this driver going the wrong way and tried to stop the car. You see the driver taking off, weaving, topping 100 miles an hour until he hits that barricade. The deputy and the driver were hurt. Both are expected to recover.

The NSA has its hands full dealing with a massive P.R. crisis. Today, they're denying these new allegations about another spying program that could have collected massive amounts of data about you from Internet search engines Google and Yahoo!, thanks to this loophole in the law.

Not unsurprisingly, the government is now a little reluctant to snoop, which is a problem, because right now there is one area going virtually unchecked. I'm talking about the so-called dark net, the deep Web. This is a place where you can buy anything from elicit drugs to hit men and all of it under the radar. Joining me now, Lev Grossman, senior writer for "TIME" magazine's cover story. It's called "The Secret Web," take a look at the cover, where drugs, porn and murder live online.

Lev, welcome to you.

Gosh, reading, reading this piece, I mean, to access this deep Web, people have to download the certain software. So, once you're actually in this deep Web, what is it? What exists there?

LEV GROSSMAN, "TIME": It looks like regular Web sites.

I thought you must have to be some sort of expert hacker to get on this thing. It's not the case at all. You download the software and it takes about two minutes and you set it up. It's free. And then you start browsing and, you know, within five minutes you're looking at stuff that you would never want to see. There's child pornography. There's drugs for sale. There's weapons. It's astounding what's there and it's there more or less in plain sight, in defiance of the law.

BALDWIN: So, when you read about these people, the nefarious activities happening, this place, as you point out, is actually created by the government more or less as a trap to catch the bad guys, but now it has gotten too big, too sophisticated to police and you write that the FBI resources now are stretched so thin, Washington is worried.

GROSSMAN: Well, the irony of this story is that it was the government who funded the design of the deep Web in the first place and they had very good reasons.

It's a very useful tool, it still is, for intelligence agents and for law enforcement and for dissidents in foreign countries, places like China, where you might not want the government to watch what you're doing online. There are a lot of very benign and very good applications for the deep Web, but, unfortunately, it's also been colonized by this criminal element.

And the government built it so well, in contrast, for example, with the recent health care Web site, they built this thing so well that they can't crack their own creation.

BALDWIN: You got to read the article. It's the cover story on this month's "TIME" magazine.

Lev Grossman, thank you very much.

GROSSMAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up, Vice President Joe Biden in an exclusive interview tells us he is sorry for the Obamacare rollout. That is next.

Plus, Republicans in the Senate blocking President Obama's nominees all over the Benghazi attack. Should survivors have to go public to testify? Jake Tapper joins me next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)