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Will Parade Balloons Fly?; Cup Controversy; Nigella Lawson Drug Allegations; Tough Basket, But No Prize

Aired November 28, 2013 - 07:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: He wins 20 grand. A half-court shot at an NBA game. Why might he not get to keep that cash? We'll try to sort it out. I don't want to shoot it out with him. He can hit the shot. I couldn't even try.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The question is, is he a rigger?

PEREIRA: We'll discuss.

LT. COL. MIKE MCGREOR: I'm Lieutenant Mike McGregor here in Kandahar, Afghanistan. I just want to send a shout-out to my two sons, Caleb and Spencer. Happy Thanksgiving, buddies. I miss you. I love you.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everybody. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. There is a big controversy brewing with the Brooklyn Nets. Near the end of last night's game against the Lakers, Head Coach Jason Kidd collided with one of his players, Tyshawn Taylor. He dropped his soda. Was this an innocent accident? Maybe not.

Watch this video slowly. Kidd appears to be saying, hit me. The game going to stop while the ball boys cleaned up the mess essentially letting the Nets try to ice the Lakers were shooting free throws. After the game Kidd claimed he didn't do it on purpose and the cup slipped out of his hand. The Nets still lost to the Lakers, by the way.

PEREIRA: Justice, perhaps?

BERMAN: I'm of two minds on this. First of all, it's devious. He really appears to be saying hit me. This appears to be an effort to put a pause on the game to delay things. That would be cheating, folks. However, Jason Kidd has done, by most accounts, such a poor job coaching the Nets so far this season. This would be the first sort of aggressive coaching move that he's done all season.

PEREIRA: Yet they lost.

BERMAN: They lost. But he keeps coming up with creative ideas like this, maybe the Nets can -- I was talking to Andy Scholes about this earlier, and he thinks there basketball a repercussion. The NBA cannot allow this.

PEREIRA: Suddenly he'll be eating a banana and it going to be on the floor.

BERMAN: Tomorrow it's a hot dog.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: I was watching it from one angle. It looks like a total accident. But then the other angle catches him saying hit me.

PEREIRA: All right, let's move on to Thanksgiving-type stuff for kids. The stuff dreams are made of, a chance to see all our favorite characters. Notice I say "I," I'm a kid here. These are floating in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Look at Snoopy and the Smurfs so far, so good this morning.

There is still no definitive word yet though on whether those iconic giant balloons will be able to fly due to the wind. Jason Carroll has his finger to the air and is testing out if the wind is there or not. The music is starting.

CARROLL: Yes, the music is coming, Michaela, from the James Madison University band right behind my photographer there. They've just started to practice for the parade. So far things are looking good for the balloons. We'll have to see. We won't know until the parade is underway. In the meantime, I have a few young ladies here from West Virginia. This was on their bucket list, Michaela, that's why you guys wanted to come by here today?


CARROLL: Who came on with the idea?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a joint decision.

CARROLL: And the hats, whose idea was this?


CARROLL: I think I'm feeling the hats. They are looking pretty good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew we had to have them since we were coming.

CARROLL: Was there any concern about the balloons flying? It's still sort of up in the air. How are you feeling about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm glad they are going to fly.

CARROLL: We hope they are going to fly and they are not just coming from West Virginia, they are also coming in from Arizona as well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we are from Phoenix, Arizona.

CARROLL: Arizona and also Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here from Chicago, loving the warm weather.

CARROLL: Would you say the balloons are going to fly, yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, totally, they are going to fly.

CARROLL: A lot of excitement out here about the balloons. Everyone feeling the balloons are going to fly. The bands are already starting to play. Fingers are still crossed. Once again, the decision won't be made until the parade starts in just an hour and a half from now -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: You found friends, the music is playing. There is no wind so far, this is the perfect recipe for Thanksgiving. Thanks so much, Jason.

BERMAN: He's in the middle of it all. Journalism almost requires that Jason Carroll tries on one of those hats. So we'll keep checking back in to make sure that he did his duty.

Meanwhile, meteorologist, Jennifer Gray is in for Indra Petersons today keeping an eye on all of this for us today. What does it look like?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, a lot of pressure this morning. It is cold and it is breezy out there. We are seeing temperatures at 31 degrees in New York City this morning, 31 in Philly, 29 in D.C. waking up, so very cold all across the northeast. Right now winds in the city, 7 miles per hour. So that is way below that criteria.

Gusts near 18 and the winds are supposed to die down as we go throughout the day so far so good. The balloons will fly, but it is going to be game-time decision, of course. When you factor in the temperatures and the winds, there you get the windchill. It feels like 24 in New York City right now so very cold. Windchill factors going to not get out of the 20s throughout the entire day.

So folks along the parade route going to need to bundle up. Feels like 20 in Boston right now and, of course, all along the northeast, it feels very, very cold. Not only the northeast, but the Deep South, we're seeing freeze watches and warnings along the I-10 Corridor anywhere from San Antonio through South Louisiana, Lake Charles, New Orleans, even over towards Jacksonville, a very, very cold start to the day with temperatures in the 20s, 26 in Mobile.

In the Florida Panhandle, temperatures in the 20s to lower 30s, 30 degrees in Jacksonville this morning, 22 in Atlanta, and temperatures are staying right around 22 degrees in Memphis. But that storm system has pushed well offshore. We are going to see very, very dry air starting to sink in. So it is going to be a fantastic thanksgiving for a large portion of the country and it will just be cold.

PEREIRA: My people in Los Angeles are telling me it's going to be 75 today. I'm not talking to them.

BERMAN: They weren't saying that to be nice, I don't think either.

PEREIRA: No, I don't think so. It's only going to get worse for me. One of the world's most famous chefs, Nigella Lawson, is now facing shocking allegations of daily drug us, that from her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, at the trial of two former personal assistants. CNN's Max Foster is following developments from London.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Nigella Lawson's former personal assistants accuse her of lying to her husband about her drug use and about what they were spending on the company cars. Today Charles Saatchi will explain what he knew and when.


FOSTER (voice-over): The bitter battle between celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson, and her multimillionaire ex-husband, Charles Saatchi are taking a shocking term with new accusations of illegal drug use. In an e-mail read out in court, Saatchi accuses Lawson of using cocaine and marijuana on a daily basis, allowing two former personal assistants to walk away with more than $1 million every four years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really don't know what the truth is, but what it does do is pretty much damage Nigella Lawson's reputation. Whether or not it's true or not, we don't know, but now we have this story of alleged drug use from Nigella. And this could affect jobs that she has coming to her right now.

FOSTER: The former assistants, sisters, Francesca and Elizabetta Grillo, are now facing charges committing fraud using a company credit card. They deny the charges. But Saatchi claims Lawson's drug habit allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked. A spokesman for Lawson declined to comment. But the celebrity chef did tweet out a recipe and thanked her supporters using the #teamnigella.

The couple divorced earlier this year after photos from this restaurant of Saatchi grabbing Lawson's throw during the argument made front page headlines. Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault. According to defense attorneys for the Grillo sisters, that's when Saatchi learned of Lawson's alleged use.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have three parties at each other's throats and don't know the truth. Even if Nigella would take a drug test tomorrow and test positive for drugs, we still wouldn't know whether or not she was authorizing all this money to be spent.

FOSTER: The defense claims e-mail showed Saatchi and Lawson have attempted a manipulation of the court and that the case should be thrown out. The judge has ruled that the case against the personal assistants will continue.


FOSTER: Nigella Lawson says she's not making any comments about this case while it's ongoing, so we still haven't had her point of view. Back to you guys.

PEREIRA: Max, thank you so much for that. Next up on "NEW DAY", it was a half court shot worth $20,000. However, Cameron Rodriguez may not get to keep it. Why? He plays college basketball and apparently the rules will not allow it. We'll talk to him live, next.

CAPTAIN MARIA QUINN: Hello, I'm Captain Maria Quinn at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Happy Thanksgiving to my sweet family, my husband who is also in the Air Force, who is currently deployed, and also to my family in Seattle, Jim, Denise, Jay, Christopher and Lauren, thanks for my little goodie. And finally to my family in Philadelphia, John, Patty, Steve and Mary Kate, Merry Christmas, I love everybody and cannot wait to see you at Christmas.


BERMAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY", everyone. So maybe you have dreamed of getting pulled from your seat at an NBA game hitting the tough half-court shot, winning all that cash, the cheers from the fans, well, Cameron Rodriguez actually did. Look at this, nothing but net. This is at an Oklahoma City Thunder game just over a week ago. He was supposed to have won $20,000 with that shot, but Cameron may now not get to keep the $20,000. Why?

Because he plays college basketball for Southwestern University and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics says that winning money in the sport that you play is not allowed. So now there's an issue about whether he gets to keep all this $20,000.

Cameron Rodriguez joining us now via Skype from Wichita, he's thrilled to be up with us this Thanksgiving morning. Cameron, first of all, happy thanksgiving to you.


BERMAN: Now I want to talk about the controversy in just a second, but before we get to that, there was an amazing shot here that needs to be discussed. Just walk us through this amazing half-court shot that you made.

RODRIGUEZ: It was pretty surreal, to say the least. At first, I don't really practice half-court shots all that often, if at all, so for it to go in was as surprising to me as it was to everyone else.

BERMAN: Now, we should note here, you were not picked from the crowd to take this shot because you're a college basketball player, you were picked randomly. So when did you think after you made this that this might be an issue with your league?

RODRIGUEZ: As soon as it kind of started hitting home with the $20,000. I started kind of thinking about the implications that might come up, and stuff like that with my eligibility, and especially when I started talking to my coach and within the organization and stuff like that. That's when it started kind of getting more and more real.

PEREIRA: Well, I've got to say, I think it is pretty solid your university is actually supporting you in this. I understand that you and the university are applying for a waiver, correct?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, yes, we are.

PEREIRA: And that if the -- if it's approved, the money would be put into a scholarship fund for you, correct?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. We are currently appealing it with the NAIA to not just accept the money outright, but instead for it to be donated straight to my college, toward my tuition instead.

BROWN: Wow. And we spoke to the executive director of the NAIA Eligibility Center, and he actually said a regional committee is looking over this examining your university's request. So what do you so what do you think, do you feel you'll get this money?

RODRIGUEZ: As of now, I'm hoping for the best, but at the same time I'm kind of planning for both because I don't want to get my hopes too high and then plan for it to be accepted and then kind of be back behind again. I can easily say that $20,000 would help me a lot as a college student with a ton of student loans but at the same time --

BERMNAN: To your credit --

RODRIGUEZ: I think we'll be -- I think I'll be fine.

BERMAN: You went right to the league. You told them. Look, I won this money. You were on the up and up the whole time here. Do you think that going to help you with the league?

RODRIGUEZ: Of course, I would like to think so, but of course there was also, I'm sure there's other situations people did the same thing and it didn't work out in their favor. I'm sure it could go either way.

PEREIRA: Can we go back to that shot a minute? I'm a former player myself, many, many moons ago.

BERMAN: That's why we're doing this segment.

PEREIRA: No, but I'm imagining what the chatter is like on your team. Has this changed your standing with your fellow teammates?

RODRIGUEZ: Man, it changed a little bit that first week. I had to shoot a half-court shot here and there to end practice or something like that and we had a couple competitions, but other than that, no. We're all pretty close, pretty close family, so it was just nice having them celebrate.

BROWN: Regardless whether or not you get the money, we hope you that do, but what an incredible experience you had and something you'll never forget.

PEREIRA: I want to know what that feels like. That is so incredible, that must have felt fantastic when you saw nothing but net.

BROWN: Love to see the excitement in that video too. BERMAN: Cameron Rodriguez, thank you so much. Congratulations for hitting the shot. We really hope it works out for you. I think you have a good case here and maybe the league will cut you a break.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, I appreciate it.

PEREIRA: Is there anybody awake in your home right now? That's what I'm curious about? It feels like he's in the basement quiet as can be on Skype.

RODRIGUEZ: I'm just on campus in my dorm room.

BERMAN: There is no one is awake on campus. I know the answer to that.

PEREIRA: We hope you have a great day.

RODRIGUEZ: Probably the only one on campus.

PEREIRA: We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Take care.

RODRIGUEZ: You, too. Thank you.

PEREIRA: We love some special moments that happen when our troops return home. We have got a very special one, a big surprise for three young brothers at the Magic Kingdom, meeting with Mickey Mouse, taking part in a little card game when their dad showed up. Lieutenant Colonel Jason Liddell was just back from deployment in Afghanistan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tap and say, alakazam! Now, is this your card?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come here. Don't cry, buddy. Hi. How are you? I missed you, man.


PEREIRA: OK, not a dry eye and the oldest one trying to be so proud and so brave. Jacob, Joshua and Jackson, there might have been some tears of joy, there might have just been plain old tears, but you can imagine that's a moment they'll never forget, way to go Mickey.

BERMAN: That is the best hug you can ever get.

PEREIRA: Thankful for family.

BROWN: I get teary eyed just watching that.

BERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving to all of them. Next up for us on "NEW DAY", it wasn't a nightmare, but it wasn't easy, millions actually got to fly and drive before the holiday, but some problems do persist. We will tell you where they are.

PEREIRA: Some amazing video out of New Jersey, a police officer pulling a guy from a burning car, that heroic officer, he is here on NEW DAY. He made one family have a very special Thanksgiving.


STAFF SERGEANT CYBIL RAY: Hi, I'm Staff Sergeant Cybil Ray.

STAFF SERGEANT ANDRE HALL: And my name is Staff Sergeant Andre Hall here in Afghanistan.

RAY: I just want to say --

HALL: Happy holidays!

RAY: To Julie.

HALL: To Henry, Julian and Sunny. We love you.




UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: A little disappointing. I'd rather see them up in the air than not.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I wouldn't like it either.


PEREIRA: To fly or not to fly? The burning question this Thanksgiving morning. High winds may ground the Macy's parade balloons. The rest are very real. We are live with the latest.

BERMAN: Black Thursday, more stores open this holiday than ever before. The deals are there, but will you be? What you need to know if you plan to eat and run to the store.

BROWN: And risking it all to save a stranger, the hero cop in this amazing video saving a man from a burning car, joins us live this morning.

PEREIRA: Your "NEW DAY" continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

PEREIRA: This is "NEW DAY" on Thanksgiving Day. Good morning and welcome back to "NEW DAY". It is the 28th of November, 8:00 a.m. in the east, a happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours. Chris and Kate have the day off. We're joined by John Berman and Pamela Brown. Thank you both of you for being here. We begin with breaking news.

BERMAN: Breaking news.

PEREIRA: It's good breaking news, they're all blown up and ready to go, it looks like those giant character balloons that make the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade of a one-of-a-kind spectacle will indeed fly. Macy's just sent out the tweet that they going to be airborne!

BERMAN: They will fly!

PEREIRA: Jason, we're hearing some differing reports, however, what have you heard?

CARROLL: Well look, it's a parade so sometimes you hear one thing, sometimes you hear another, I know that you're talking about that tweet that went out, but down here on the ground they're still going to wait until they make that official decision, so I know you've got the tweet. I know we're hearing what we're hearing here.

But overall what I can tell you is that throughout this entire, throughout their past four or five hours they've been saying it's looking like a go. We've not been seeing a lot of wind gusts out here so I would probably venture to say that it is a go. I would call it a soft go, if we could call it anything at all, but things are looking good. That's the way that we can really look at the way things are happening right now here on the ground.

PEREIRA: That's the key is they have to make sure they're on the ground, the wind conditions are just right. Remind folks what the wind levels have to remain under.

CARROLL: Two numbers is what we are looking, 23 sustained-mile-per- hour winds, 34-mile-per-hour gusts. If it reaches either one of those levels that's the point where you have to ground the balloons, but I have to tell you from being out here so far, it's been pretty mild, they've got wind gauges along the parade route, those have been checking in OK, a wind sock there at the top of the parade route, you see tom the turkey way down there.

The wind sock is basically deflated all morning long. All the signs seem to indicate that the balloons are going to be a go. That's what we've been hearing all morning long. In fact, we've got applause. How are you doing? Look at this. The people are always good to hear that. We're going to get the final word, the absolute final word in just a few moments but a tweet went out basically saying that the balloons are a go. So it's looking good.