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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Massive Thanksgiving Storm Heads East; Connecticut to Release Final Sandy Hook Report Today; Bode Miller Child Custody Fight Continues; Yale University on Lockdown; Severe Weather Threatens Holiday Travel

Aired November 25, 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 HOST: Ohio's attorney general making a big announcement any moment now in the Steubenville rape case; this, after disturbing video and conviction of two football players. But just how much worse can this get? You might be surprised.

Also the sad and shocking details of the Sandy Hook elementary shooting revealed today -- the report that took nearly a year to put together.

And skier Bode Miller's coast-to-coast child custody fight playing out right now in real time in a New York courtroom. And butting all single mothers and their rights on a slippery slope.

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Monday, November 25th. Welcome to "LEGAL VIEW" And first up, what's on everyone's mind this Thanksgiving week. That -- rain, sleet, snow already ruing a lot of travel plans for millions of us folks.

Sorry to bring you the bad news. But if you're hitting the highway, you could be heading right into the thick of it. Watch what happens when you get real unlucky. This is Oklahoma City -- an SUV rolling right over as cameras behind them roll. Similar scene in Lubbock, Texas. Of all places, the icy road caused another SUV to flip on its side as well.

Our Nick Valencia is live in Dallas, not a place where we usually talk about that kind of weather, but this is really a bummer for those flying.

Already 400 flights have been canceled, and I also want to just let everyone know, Nick, as we're going to talk to you, our meteorologist Chad Myers is working hard, gathering the last of all the most recent data in the CNN Center in Atlanta.

He's going to tell us where all of this is headed, but right now, what's going on in Dallas, and how is that sort of dominoing across the country?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly what it's doing. It's dominoing across the country, causing a ripple effect.

And what's happening here at Dallas-Fort Worth airport is really a snapshot for what travelers are experiencing this holiday week. I want to bring in Kyle (ph) and Danielle Miller (ph). You guys were actually affected by the weather. What happened? Tell me about it.

KYLE MILLER (PH), TRAVEL AFFECTED BY WEATHER: Sure. Yesterday, we were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and we were a celebrating down there. A friend got married.

And we got to the airport and found out our flight home to Columbus, Ohio, was canceled. So we made it to Dallas, thankfully, and American Airlines took care of us.

Freda was great last night. She helped us find a hotel room and got us situated, and we just found out we're going to be able to get home today. So that's great.

DANIELLE MILLER (PH), TRAVEL AFFECTED BY WEATHER: Yay!

VALENCIA: So Columbus, Ohio, you guys maybe sort of used to this sort of weather maybe towards January a little bit more.

What do you think of the weather outside right now in Dallas?

D. MILLER: I don't think this is Texas weather.

VALENCIA: It could be a lot worse. It's -- they're expecting it to be a little below freezing.

But you said, still it affected your flights and you had to stay here.

K. MILLER (PH): Yeah. Yeah.

D. MILLER (PH): Yeah, we're glad to be getting home.

VALENCIA: Well, we're glad you're getting home.

And this, what's happening to Kyle (ph) and Danielle Miller (ph) happened to so many, 300 flights canceled yesterday, Ashleigh. Another 180 flights for all airlines here out of this airport canceled today.

So if you are traveling, check in with those advisories and be safe out there.

Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you for that. Keep an eye on things. Let us know if any other cancellations come up.

I want to scoot over to Chad Myers, who I only wanted to come to you when you had the very latest, because I'm going to be honest with you. I'm reading these headlines, Chad.

They -- oh, there's a low in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and I'm hearing Charlie Brown's parents. You're probably not going to travel.

So here's the deal -- yeah, I know. It's devastating, this week, to hear it, and it's not small and isolated. It is big. CHAD MYERS: It is. I-95 will be wet. That's some good news, not so white. But when you get to 81, 85, 87, 75, 85, snow and ice covered up and down the mid-Atlantic states.

Right now the ice is in parts of Arkansas, snow on the north. Why am I talking about ice? Because this low that you're talking about in the Gulf of Mexico will bring up warm air and moist air. And it will be wet, not frozen.

But if you just step outside in Chattanooga, in Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, it's below freezing. This rain is going to try to get down into this cold air. And if it rains down into the cold air, it will make ice.

So as this system runs up the East Coast, we will see that continue to push the ice into Pittsburgh, into Wheeling, into Roanoke, into big areas through here where people are either going to be trying to go across the country this way or up and down the country this way.

This is the problem as the low grabs the moisture and throws it into the cold. Washington, Raleigh, all the way down to D.C., all the way down -- even into Jacksonville, all wet.

That's some good news, but the wind will be blowing 40 in New York City. If you're flying, that's not working well. A lot of planes will be cancelled here.

Notice the snow is on the back side. The rain is on the east side. There will be quite a bit of snow, but I'm not really worried about the snow.

I think everybody in Buffalo or Cleveland can handle it. Eerie can handle four-to-eight inches of snow. It's that half inch of ice that you just can't drive on.

Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Oh, Chad Myers, I was hoping, and this is going to sound weird, not to talk to you this week, honestly.

MYERS: I'm sorry.

BANFIELD: I have two family members flying in, so I'm hoping. I'm going to cross my fingers for that.

Thank you, I guess I must say, Chad Myers. Thank you. Appreciate it. Keep an eye on things for us, if you would.

Happening right now, we're following a breaking story. Ohio's attorney general is busy because he's announcing some brand-new developments, possibly even brand-new charges related to the Steubenville rape case.

Now, if that rings a bell, it might be because it was a picture that went viral of a victim being carried, almost catatonic at a high school party. Yes, I said high school. Apparently so drunk she has no idea what even happened that night. The two football players who were involved were convicted last spring.

We're following this news conference, and we're going to talk to the attorney general, Mike DeWine, a little later on in this hour, and bring you all the news that he is about to announce, as well, whether in fact there are be additional adults or even young people charged in that case.

Because, remember, about 16 people refused to talk to the police. Not everybody can do that, especially if you're a teacher or a coach, so there's a couple of things we're watching in that story.

Another story that we've been not only following for a year, but following very closely today, the horrific rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one year later.

The state's attorney's office is going to release its report today, and we're expecting to learn a lot more about the details, not exactly which details, whether it's the tick-tock of how things played out in that school or something else, but that's coming at 3:00 Eastern today.

You'll remember that day in December last year in Newtown, Connecticut, 26 people killed, 20 of them children.

Our Alexandra Field is following this story. She joins me live now today.

It's one of those stories, even when I just say the headline, I get chills. I almost don't want the update. It devastated the country. It devastated people where I live. This is 20 minutes down the road from where I live.

What are we thinking they're going to tell us today, and will anything make any difference at this point?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone wants answers, Ashleigh, though will it make a difference? That's a question for everyone to sort of weight personally.

It's important to hear some of these details. It's also painful to hear some of these details.

What we know is that we're expecting a report should be about 50-pages long. It's going to be released by the Danbury state attorney's office, and it will summarize this year-long investigation into the shootings at Sandy Hook.

To date, a motive has never been specified that could lead us or help us understand why Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at her home before traveling to Sandy Hand Elementary School, shooting and killing 26 people, before killing himself.

For a year, investigators have been working to put together answers. Today, we could learn what kind of answers they might have.

What we do know is that this report is expected to include a timeline, Ashleigh, that would track Adam Lanza's movements on that morning of December 14th.

BANFIELD: Which is so strange, Alexandra, because typically, and let me be clear, this is not a typical crime.

But, typically, in any kind of crime that gets national attention, we would have a lot of those details, especially the forensics of it, fairly soon after the incident.

But here we are a year later, and I know that this has been just utterly painful for so many people in that community, the families of the children. Some of them are already reacting.

FIELD: Absolutely. The families have seen this report. They were privy to it first, as they should have been. They have seen the details of this report and they've had some time to privately reflect on the information that's come out.

We want to share with you one statement, a very powerful statement from the family of Victoria Soto. You'll remember her. She was one of the heroes of that day, a teacher who died inside the school trying to protect her children.

Her family writes, "So, yes, we have read the report. No, we cannot make sense of why it happened. We don't know if anyone ever will.

"We don't know if we will ever be whole again. We don't know if we will go a day without pain. We don't know if anything will ever make sense again."

Ashleigh, those words, they are something that probably resonate pretty deeply with all the families affected by (inaudible).

BANFIELD: I think anybody who followed that story will feel like nothing will ever be the same again.

To see the president crying on television, nothing is the same, I think, for so many people.

Keep on it, and let us know what the final report tells us, what some of the highlights are, if you would. Thanks, Alexandra.

FIELD: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Nice to see you. Sorry, under these circumstances.

Just ahead, we're keeping an eye on a story that we brought you months ago, a mother, a Marine, and the Olympic skier boyfriend, and a child they had together and now the custody battle that is ensuing, coast- to-coast, Sara McKenna versus Bode Miller.

And if you think this doesn't apply to everyone in this country, think again. This could be precedent setting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Gold medal skier Bode Miller burned up the slopes in the 2010 Olympics, but his relationship with the mother of his 9-month-old child is as cold as the snow itself.

Their bitter custody fight continues in court today, and it has some pretty important implications for the rights of pregnant women right across the country.

CNN's Zoraida Sambolin has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Conceived in California and born in New York City, this baby boy, now 9-months-old, seen in this photo, is at the heart of a high-profile, bicoastal custody battle.

His father, Olympic skier and gold medalist Bode Miller, briefly dated this woman, Sara McKenna in California. McKenna became pregnant and decided to keep the baby, despite her relationship with Miller turning sour.

After extending Miller an invitation to the ultrasound, which McKenna later shared on Facebook, he sent her this text.

"You made this choice against my wish and gave my no say. You are going to do this on your own."

At seven months pregnant, the former Marine and firefighter moved to New York City to study at Columbia University.

She spoke to CNN's Ashleigh Banfield in June.

SARA MCKENNA, FIGHTING FOR CUSTODY OF SON: He never actually wanted very much to do with my son.

And he initially asked if he could sign over his rights, and he would pay off his child support in a lump sum.

SAMBOLIN: Instead, Miller filed for custody. Concerned that McKenna was fleeing California for a more sympathetic venue to gain custody herself, he requested she return to California.

In May, a New York judge agreed, saying, while McKenna did not abduct the child, her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible. Custody was granted to Miller.

The ruling raised questions about the rights of mothers-to-be.

KENNETH EIGES, SARA MCKENNA'S ATTORNEY: Whether or not the proceeding was started in California or not, it makes no difference.

New York is clearly the home state, and this state is where the case should be heard. SAMBOLIN: This month, a New York appeals panel reversed the controversial ruling. Family court will resume today to re-examine parental custody of this baby boy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Again, CNN's Zoraida Sambolin, reporting for us.

And joining me are criminal defense attorneys Joey Jackson and Heather Hansen. And, trust me, even during that report from Zoraida, you and I were having a big argument.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A discussion.

BANFIELD: I know. I think this is the argument that's playing out across the country right now. What? How is this happening?

But let's make it really simple for everyone. There's the issue of jurisdiction. Where do you fight the custody battle, New York or California?

And then there's the issue of the custody itself.

So, Heather, start with me, why was jurisdiction an issue when that baby was not born yet? Can't you go where you want when you're pregnant?

HEATHER HANSEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you should be able to go where you want, and ultimately, that's what the appeals court said. You can go where you want when you're pregnant.

But Bode Miller had filed for paternity recognition in California.

BANFIELD: Because that's paternity. Let's just be clear. Not custody. Just, I want to know if I'm the daddy.

HANSEN: That's right, Ashleigh. But once you've opened that door in California, arguably, jurisdiction is now in California, and you cannot switch it to New York without good reason.

BANFIELD: Sorry. Jurisdiction for custody? Even though that issue was paternity? They're --

HANSEN: Sure. They're both family court decisions, made by family court judges, probably the same judge.

And, so, once the case has been started in one jurisdiction, you can't just pick up and move it no another jurisdiction, in general.

Here, as we've seen, the mother's right to move and be educated here in New York outweighed that particular decision.

BANFIELD: So, Joey Jackson, I'm watching you on the CNN, earlier this morning. And I hear the question --

JACKSON: And you agreed with everything I had to see. BANFIELD: Usually. Usually, I do. But this morning I didn't. And I'm not a lawyer, so I think you're going to win this one. That is that the issue that Bode texted her "you're on your own, you did this on your own, you're on your own with this." Shouldn't that give her the right with the baby in utero to a free will move to where she wanted to study on a G.I. bill at an Ivy League school? I mean --

JACKSON: Us lawyers never admit when we're wrong. You know? Come on!

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: You have a great point. Here is what the issue is. Remember, she was scolded severely, the mother was, by the family court judge in New York, saying --

BANFIELD: She called her reprehensible, right?

JACKSON: Exactly. The conduct of you moving was reprehensible. Here's where you have a very legitimate point. Because what the argument would be is he said, hey, look, I don't care what you do. Right, you made this decision. Go it on your own. I'm not abducting anyone. I'm doing what I needed to do, having a Columbia education on a G.I. bill, I'm leaving. You didn't dispute the fact that I was going to go. In fact, you said go do it, and so I think it raises a good point as to whether or not she was in her legal rights to do that.

HANSEN: But Ashleigh, I don't even think the text matters. I mean whether he sent that text or not --

JACKSON: That's what I said this morning.

(CROSSTALK)

HANSEN: And I'm trying to support you here, Joey. Because I think that ultimately she has the right to go to New York and get her education. It's a constitutional right that a woman has. Whether he sent that text or not. That text certainly --

JACKSON: But it is complicated, Heather, by the fact that the father says you can't go anywhere, this is my child. To Heather's point, she's right on the law. Right?

HANSEN: Right, and again, the law says in custody arguments the child is not a person until it's born.

BANFIELD: And there - that's - this is a fascinating case. I'm shocked we haven't had this until now or maybe we have and it's been quiet, hasn't made big headlines.

JACKSON: This isn't going to be quiet. This is going to go up through the different courts.

(CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: Olympic gold medalist with a marine who is stunningly beautiful, and is being educated in this Ivy League school. Thank you both. Do appreciate it. I've got lots more I want to ask you later on.

In the meantime, I do have some breaking news that's just come in to me. This is coming to us out of Yale University. Apparently students and faculty at that school are on a shelter in place order right now. Staying inside. Doors are locked. All of this after a report that there is a person on campus with a gun.

Earlier the university posted this. What you're seeing right now on your screen, this following information: New Haven police have received an anonymous call from a bone booth in the 300 block of Columbus Avenue reporting a person on the campus of Yale University with a gun.

There've been no confirmations or sightings of this person yet. Yale and New Haven police are in the area and the Yale police department are advising those on campus to remain in their current location until they have additional information. They're also saying please note that students on November recess as of last Friday, according to their academic calendar, will mean that there may be far fewer students on campus than might have been otherwise. We're watching that story. Report of a person with a gun on the campus of Yale University. And we'll watch that for you and let you know just how that - how that shakes out.

A lot more coming up right ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: This just in. I just want to get you up to date. Students and faculty at Yale University are right now on a shelter in place order. They're staying inside, locking their doors, all of this because a report of a person with a gun on campus.

Now earlier, the university posted the following information. New Haven police have received an anonymous call from a phone booth in the 300 block of Columbus Avenue reporting a person on Yale campus with a gun.

No confirmations of these sightings. And Yale and New Haven police are in the area. The Yale police department is advising those on campus to remain in their current location until there's additional information. And then they also say please note, students are on November recess as of last Friday, according to their academic calendar.

I want to tell you one other thing, and I found this a little chilling. When they put out the alert message to the text -- the text message as an alert to everyone's cell phones, it came out in bold, this is not a test. Yale alert message, this is not a test. And then also in bold, shelter in place, this is not, in bold, a test. So clearly they want to make sure that everybody gets that and doesn't ignore that. Again, no confirmation, but a phone call that there is someone with a gun on campus. We're going to continue to watch that.

Also have other big news that's happening around the world right now. The Iran nuclear agreement. Stunning for so many reasons. Who could have imagined an accord of this magnitude being reached with that country that George W. Bush included in his "axis of evil" speech. And the great Satan, Iran's favorite putdown for the United States, but, and this is a big but, this is only a six-month deal with a possible extension, if all goes the way it is supposed to be.

So the basic thing is this, Iran is going to stop you're uranium enrichment at a lower level than what's needed for nuclear weapons, at least that's what it's supposed to do. And then also, Iran is supposed to dilute the uranium stockpiled that could be used for nuclear weapons. The country also agrees to daily monitoring of nuclear facilities by international inspectors. And in return, Iran gets what it wanted. It gets to continue enriching uranium, again at those lower levels, though. The easing of some of the most strict international sanctions that have really crippled Iran's economy. Both on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats are expressing skepticism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: We had a chance to deliver a body blow. The sanctions actually worked. But this interim deal gives the Iranians $7 billion in cash and it leaves in place one of the most sophisticated enrichment programs around.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: I'm disappointed by the terms of the agreement between Iran and the P-5 plus 1 nations, because it does not seem proportional. Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions. That is not a proportionate agreement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: No surprise that not everybody is agreeing on this one. The president, by the way, is calling the deal a success. He says it will help prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. Stay tuned to this space, though. It's going to be big news for days and days, weeks and weeks.

Two world leaders meeting for the first time today. On the right, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the left, the pope. Both scheduled to have a closed-door session together at the Vatican. Their agenda is expected to focus on Syria.

So if you are traveling this week or know someone, anybody traveling this week, heading east, or to the west or to the north or south, there's a good chance you're going to see problems in the way of the weather man. Snow, rain, ice, and sleet. Severe weather coming your way. And we have the expert, Chad Meyer who has all of the latest details and how it may affect you. Stay tuned. You'll want to hear this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BANFIELD: This show might be called LEGAL VIEW, but this week, the only thing that really matters to just about everybody is the weather, and it's yucky. We're keeping on top of it because it's dangerous. It could be coming your way just in time for our Thanksgiving holiday. This guy scraping a window, all the ice off a car. That's normal when you're not in Texas. That guy is in Texas scraping ice off his window. So November in Texas, is this the story already? This thing is actually moving, this weather system, it's getting very dangerous across the country. Ten people have been killed since Friday.