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Interview with Samantha Power; Kerry Fights For Rights Treaty; Stalking Charges Dropped; Plane Crash Survivor Finds Purpose

Aired November 21, 2013 - 07:30   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What's wrong with the first step being one they take? Because that obviously would help quell the paranoia, right, from what we see in Syria, who knows what they're doing with the weapons, whether or not they are going to comply, applying it to Iran, let them take the step. Let them have the inspectors come in and show that they are actually shutting down what they want shut down. Then we'll talk about what we do. What do you think of that?

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You know, they have their own issues with us after decades of not having a relationship and so forth. They want to know we can deliver on the back end of the deal. So we feel like we're getting a very good deal here if we can secure this, which is to offer very modest, temporary and very reversible relief in exchange for being able to see whether they're prepared to take that first step.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Where are we on the modest relief? I've seen wildly different figures in terms of relief on the sanctions, from 50 billion to 6 billion.

POWER: I'm not going to get into the specifics, especially while our great negotiators are at it right now in Geneva, but I will say that the larger numbers are wildly exaggerated and your lower number is closer to what we're talking about but moreover, again, we can slap that back on immediately. We're keeping the crippling sanctions architecture in place, including the one in our neighborhood here in New York, which has been so biting and crippling, which is the multilateral sanctions architecture at the U.N.

BOLDUAN: One thing that might not be on a lot of our viewers' radar, but something you and I have actually talked about in the past is the U.N. Disabilities Treaty. It's back in the headlines now. Secretary Kerry is going to be testifying on this very issue. Why is this issue important? Because the last time it was talked about, it failed and really surprising fashion in the Senate. You have Bob Dole on the floor, lobbying for support, but Republicans could not get on board, they were not convinced that it was the good thing to do. Why is this important?

POWER: Well, right now we live in a world where Americans with disabilities enjoy considerable accommodations and protections. Life isn't perfect, of course, but the United States is the gold standard on disability rights, laws, accommodations. Internationally that's just not the case. There's such a drop off when you leave the United States. There are some exceptions in Europe, et cetera, where they've made progress, but the vast majority of countries around the world offer nowhere near these protections. As a result, Americans including our vets with disabilities really have to kind of bound their horizons in a way that able bodies people do not.

So what we seek to do by joining this treaty is to raise the standards elsewhere so that we basically project and export American values through this international instrument.

CUOMO: What's the push back and how do you address it?

POWER: The push back is what about American sovereignty. We address it by telling the truth, which is that nothing in joining this treaty would affect American law. We know we're the gold standard. We're seeking to export our values.

BOLDUAN: What would you say to Senator Mike Lee, who is kind of carrying this charge in the Senate right now? Former Senator Rick Santorum, he really spoke out strongly against it last time around. What do you say to them?

POWER: Well, first I say that his vast bipartisan support, Senator Barasso, Senator McCain, Senator Ayotte, Senator Kirk who himself now has incurred a disability. These are the champions. Bob Dole is not somebody who will ever sacrifice American sovereignty. He's given so much for this country. The veterans groups have come out in support of this.

You go to Capitol Hill these days, you see wounded warriors going door to door to talk to their senators. These are people who are not going to sacrifice American sovereignty. We're all in agreement that we have the gold standard in disability standards, but we don't think it's fair for our people with disabilities or persons who live with disabilities abroad to not enjoy those same rights. We're seeking to make the rights universal.

CUOMO: The philosophy takes you back into the other issues we've discussed this morning is that there is a perception among lawmakers that we cannot trust these other ones. The American way, let's stick with what we do and let everybody else move first before we do it. That's something you'll have to battle on several fronts.

POWER: Yes, but I think -- I mean, this is a perfect form of American exceptionalism. The Bush administration negotiated this treaty. It takes our standards and enshrines it into an international instrument. And then it gives us a weapon to go to other countries to try to get them to raise their gains.

BOLDUAN: It might not be on a lot of people's radar. Maybe it should be. Let's hope people are paying attention to it now. Ambassador, it's great to see you. Thank you for coming in.

POWER: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Good luck with everything. POWER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a major about face in the Rebecca Sedwick bullying case. The girls charged with a felony for basically tormenting her to death have now been cleared. Why? We'll talk to the man who brought those charges in the first place.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, he survives two plane crashes, two that took the lives of his family. How does he go on? We hear from Austin Haft for the very first time. He has an inspiring announcement about his future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: I hope so. I hope that's true.

BOLDUAN: Hopefully that's the case. Let's check in with Indra to get a check of what the weather will be looking like.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is for one day, right. Then everything changes as we go towards the weekend at least for the eastern half of the country. It all has to do with what is out west. What is out west, it makes its way east by the weekend. So here we go. What is out west? We are talking about some heavy snow. Take a look at Colorado today, looking for over a foot of snow there even the sierras, out towards California, seeing a little bit.

Now the same system that's producing that snow is going to producing some heavy rain. Let me show you why. Again, notice the stream from Hawaii all the way into the west coast, especially when you look at the four corners into the southwest. It's really fueling all that moisture in there. With that they'll be talking about flooding concerns as they go through the weekend.

I mean, notice even six inches of rain possible into the southwest. So that will be a big story as we head through the weekend. The other side of it, another cold front making its way through the Midwest today so with that we're looking at some light showers for the most part, stronger around the gulf, but only about an inch of rain with this guy as it makes its way east.

The timing it looks for the northeast Friday night through Saturday, look for the light showers. It's what's behind it that is really going to be changing this weather pattern. Of course there's the light rain we talked about, 2 to 3 inches around the gulf, one of the inches around the Midwest.

Here are the temperatures I want to show you we are talking about 50s in New York on Friday, Boston 40s, Philly 58, now again, we are dropping you right down in through Sunday, where temperatures go way down. Look at this, 20 degrees below normal. We are talking about highs in the 20s and 30s. If that's not bad enough we'll be adding wind to that picture as well. Yes, the first half looks good, guys.

CUOMO: Got to tell you, Indra, when you have a big smile on your face and you talk about the temperature dropping it's kind of a mixed message.

PETERSONS: You told me I have to embrace it. This is embracing.

CUOMO: Smiling, bad news, don't go together.

Criminal charges have just been dropped against two young girls in Florida. Remember the shock that two girls with be one not even a teen yet charged with a felony for cyberbullying a classmate, Rebecca Sedwick. It happened so relentlessly that she committed suicide later on.

Attorney Jose Baez who represents one of the girls now claims his client was the victim of, quote, "a reckless sheriff." In a moment we'll talk with that sheriff, Sheriff Grady Judd, but first a look at this tragic case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO (voice-over): A shocking turn of events in the Florida cyberbullying case that made national headlines.

JOSE BAEZ, LAWYER TO 12-YEAR-OLD JUVENILE: The State Attorney's Office is dropping the charges because there are zero evidence.

CUOMO: Two young girls only 12 and 14 who investigators said bullied 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick to death with messages like, why don't you go kill yourself, will no longer face charges.

TRICIA NORMAN, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I just don't understand how anybody could be cruel to another human being like that.

CUOMO: Both girls, charged with aggravated stalking after Sedwick committed suicide in September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bullying is a national epidemic.

CUOMO: Now Jose Baez, the youngest girl's lawyer, says his client is the victim after Sheriff Grady Judd publicly identified both juvenile suspects and showed their mug shots.

BAEZ: Arresting a child and accusing her and going on national television and saying that she's responsible for the death of her ex- best friend is unconscionable.

CUOMO: The sheriff fired back.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: I obviously disagree with Mr. Baez. When you commit a felony, your name and face is public record.

CUOMO: Baez is demanding an apology from Judd, claiming the way he handled the case was, quote, "reckless" and threatening to sue.

BAEZ: Sheriff Grady Judd wanted to give me some legal advice on how to practice law. Well, I've got advice for him. He should get a lawyer and a darn good one because he's going to need it. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Joining us now is Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida. Mr. Sheriff, thank you for joining us this morning.

JUDD: Good morning, Chris. How are you doing?

CUOMO: I'm doing well. Thank God. Tell me, what do you know about why the charges were dropped?

JUDD: Well, Chris, understand in the state of Florida, these kids are in the juvenile system. And when there's a diversion, then the formal charges are dropped. These children didn't get off scot-free. It's not over. We accomplished, we worked with the State Attorney's Office and got exactly what we wanted.

These kids weren't charged with the death of Rebecca Sedwick, but as a result of their bullying and she was a very fragile child, ultimately she jumped to her death. These children, both of them, are in diversion and counseling programs, which is what we want. And the formality is for the charges to be dropped.

The other alternative is to go to juvenile court to drag everybody through the process, to get the same exact results. So this was a negotiation, a negotiation between the State Attorney's Office and the defense attorneys. And quite frankly, we did exactly what we set out to do, had there been no arrest, there would be no counseling for these two girls who bullied Rebecca Sedwick.

And that's what we were after. Quite frankly, the defense attorney is trying to move the focus off of his client and he's not successfully doing that. We accomplished what we set out to do and that's to look out for the best interest of the juvenile defendants and we think this is best.

CUOMO: So are you saying that it was never your intention obviously you'd have to hand it over to prosecutors, but it was never your intention to have these young women put on trial, these girls put on trial and treated like adults?

JUDD: Trial is the last result in the juvenile world. We made arrests based on probable cause. There is clear and convincing evidence. There were confessions from both of the kids, but the whole focus is, what's in the best interest of the juvenile defendant. And what's in their best interest, I said it early on, was counseling and that's what we got for them.

So we accomplished exactly what we meant to. We worked with the State Attorney's Office and it's a procedure that now the counseling has -- is in place, the kids, one of them, especially Mr. Baez's client recognizes her shortcomings and the fact she bullied Rebecca. We accomplished what we were after. It's a legal procedure and we're very, very excited about the outcome.

CUOMO: To play to Mr. Baez's point, any regret about the exposure you gave these two girls? Putting out their faces, making them somewhat of face of this problem, would you do it differently again?

JUDD: In the state of Florida, they are public record. It is against the law for me not to release their names and photographs. But it's the media that decides whether or not they publish that information. That's a question you'll have to ask of yourself. If the same set of circumstances occurred today, I would make the same arrest. I would make the same press release and how you all dealt with is up to you.

CUOMO: Usually as you know, sheriff, the media responds to what the authorities do. The bigger issue here is do you have any concerns about what the message is now that the situation delivered? One of the reasons that I was so interested and much of the media was interested in the coverage, it seemed like somebody was finally getting punished for causing the death of another child through bullying. Is the message as strong now?

JUDD: Yes. The message is clearly as strong. They received the punishment that we anticipated. These kids didn't have a previous criminal record. They were charged with a third degree felony in juvenile court. And as a result of negotiations between the State Attorney's Office, the sheriff's office and our agreement and they went -- the state attorney's office went forward with the defense attorneys, we got the result that's was in the best interest of these children.

That was counseling and diversion. It would have served no useful purpose to take these kids to juvenile court, to accomplish the same thing, to open up medical records, to open up medical records of the deceased child. We don't need to lose focus that we have a dead child here and we would end up with all kinds of exposure to the defendants and to the victim child here that didn't need to happen, because we accomplished exactly what was in the best interest.

Are we going to continue to be tough on bullying? Yes. When it rises to the level of stalking, we're going to make arrests in the future. We're going to put it out there for you to publish because stalking and bullying and cyberbullying is a nationwide concern.

CUOMO: And Sheriff, lastly, as you properly note, what matters most here is the victim and her family. You've been in contact with them? Are they OK with how everything is being dispose of in the system?

JUDD: They are. We spoke with one of them, one of our detectives and the assistant state attorney before it was filed and the process was completed. She accepts that. She understands that the juvenile system deals with what's in the best interest of the juvenile defendant. We accomplished that and I can tell you, our stance has not changed one bit.

CUOMO: Right.

JUDD: If you bully, if it rises to the level of stalking, we'll arrest you.

CUOMO: Sheriff Grady --

JUDD: We'll make it known to the community.

CUOMO: Sheriff Grady Judd, it's an important message. That's why we covered it and we will continue to. Thank you for coming on today.

JUDD: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, he survived a plane crash ten years ago. Then two years ago, he survived another. Austin Hatch lost most of his family in those crashes. So what keeps him going? His incredible announcement, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Have you ever wanted to live on an island? Well, how about this one? A spectacular site off the coast of Japan, a volcanic eruption creating a brand new island that literally rose out of the sea. Japanese officials say it's about 660 feet in diameter. Volcano experts say it's possible that the volcano could disappear, but there's also a possibility it could stay permanently. At least for the moment, it's now part of the ring of fire, hence the Johnny Cash song, in the South Pacific.

PEREIRA: Indra likes hot weather.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's true.

CUOMO: Let's send her there.

BOLDUAN: Let's do it!

PEREIRA: Get a suntan.

BOLDUAN: Awesome nonetheless.

PEREIRA: We have a story for you, talk about keeping the faith, a young man named Austin Hatch. He is a former high school basketball star speaking out for the first time. He survived two deadly plane crashes that collectively killed his entire family. Let that sink in for a second. Hatch says despite the tragedies and devastating injuries, he can feel God's hand on him and he thinks he has a bright future.

Nischelle Turner is here with more on this story. So quickly break down so he himself survived these two horrific plane crashes.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Right. Chris brings us the good stuff every day. I'm calling this the tough stuff. This is a resilient young man. Go back to 2003, the first time Austin was in a plane crash. His father was the pilot, killed his mother and two siblings. Fast forward eight years to June of 2011, yet another plane crash where his father was the pilot, his father and stepmother were killed in this plane crash.

Two weeks before the crash Austin had committed to play basketball at University of Michigan. At that point in time in the plane crash he got a traumatic brain injury, punctured lung, broken collarbone, in a medically induced coma for eight weeks, but you saw him on the screen, he's here, recovering, practicing with his new basketball team, he moved to Pasadena, California, with his uncle and he's back.

He doesn't know if he's going to be able to play competitively again but he's practicing. Guys, we have done so many tough stories lately about sports and its culture and what it means but listen to what this young man said the sport of basketball did for his recovery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AUSTIN HATCH, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: Basketball is sort of, has given me something to shoot for and been my goal where when I woke up in the coma, from the coma, excuse me, in Chicago, I told people, I'm going to play basketball again and there are people who doubted me, and I basically just say you know, thank you for your opinion, but I'm going to prove you wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: I love that, and he is, slowly but steadily recovering, back practicing with his team and guess what? Coach Beeline announced last week his 2014 scholarship class for the University of Michigan. Austin Hatch is going.

PEREIRA: He had to learn how to walk, talk, breathe, stand up, run, all over again.

TURNER: Everything.

PEREIRA: And to get to that point where now he's --

TURNER: His high school coach, Coach Adam said during the press conference. That Coach Beeline said to him when he first met him, are you ready to participate in a miracle? There's going to be a miracle here.

BOLDUAN: Not even the physical recovery, I am more concerned about the emotional and mental recovery of going through something like this and he seems after something like that, you get to choose two paths it seems. You can either do good or you can fall apart and he chose the harder one.

TURNER: He said he feels God has a hand on him and there's a plan for his life. This is interesting and profound for an 18-year-old kid that he feels like this crash was his test, and that it reveals a man's mission. What did he say? It reveals the man's real character in the midst of hardship.

CUOMO: Long story of job and lucky he has family around him.

TURNER: He did say he'd like to meet someone who has been through similar, someone he can talk to and relate to. He doesn't know if there's anyone out there, but feels he needs someone to share with.

PEREIRA: Thank you for sharing that.

TURNER: Absolutely. Good luck to you, Austin.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, this cargo jet won't be going anywhere, any time soon. Why? It landed at the wrong airport, but the runway at the airport where it landed is too short for it to take off. Question, if you have an answer, how do you move a gigantic plane that can't fly?

BOLDUAN: A Florida congressman is headed to rehab after getting busted for cocaine use. Will the fact he's going to rehab enough to satisfy his critics who are already out there? More on that in just a couple of minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Giant 4241 heavy, confirm you know which airport you're at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we think we have a pretty pulse --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Happening now, a giant cargo plane stranded in Kansas after landing at the wrong airport. The runway too short for it to take off. And on a JetBlue plane, the emergency --