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Florida State Investigation; National Championship At Stake; Rob Ford Tried To Buy Crack Weird"; Pilot Whales Stranded; Celebrity Chef Testifies

Aired December 5, 2013 - 07:30   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- goal if Mr. Megs chooses not to charge.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Lots to talk about here. John is here and let's bring in our legal analyst, Joey Jackson, HLN legal analyst, to talk more about this as well. There's two parts to this. Let's focus on probably the most important part, exactly what happened in this case, not the sports element of this. Joey, what do you think about this case?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, interestingly enough as John mentioned earlier, I would think that if there was going to be an arrest that's what where the focus would have been as opposed to a press conference. What it comes down to is the issue of consent. Was it consensual or is it not? There's no mystery to identity because there's a DNA sample that apparently matches him.

So it's a matter of the investigation, you speak to different people. If there are any, with regard to what they witnessed it, was there a time line of that evening? What were the events that led up to it? Was there any force, what ended up happening?

BOLDUAN: The time line is a bit of a mess in this case it seems like.

JACKSON: You know, the calendar in some regard what happened from the incident report does seem to indicate, Kate, that it happened December 7th, which was a Friday --

BOLDUAN: Last year.

JACKSON: Yes, of 2012. We're not at December 7th. So what happens is, is that between 1:30 and 2:00 she's alleging that it took place. Of course, it was reported at about 3:30. It seems to me that the report was made pretty much right after it occurred as to the identity of her pointing him out that it was him, that didn't happen until January, a month thereafter.

BOLDUAN: After that, DNA evidence was not collected until 10 months later --

JACKSON: Sure. BOLDUAN: On this case and just last month it was handed off to the state's attorney to take it up.

JACKSON: And interestingly enough, let's be clear about this, her family, Kate, her family, that's the victim's family says make no mistake about this, this was a rape plain and simple. At the same time, of course, you have, you know, the star football, the athlete, his attorney saying are you kidding me? This is about consensual sex. There's nothing improper about that. This investigation needs to be concluded, which it has been and he needs to be fully exonerated. So as normal, there are two competing packages here.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The state attorney that shows priority, right? That's unusual. The state attorney is taking on this case. What do you make of the dove tailing and timing here of, one, it took a long time by standards of this time of case and it's coming out close to these crucial events.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Monday is the deadline for the Heisman Trophy voting.

CUOMO: In Heisman voting, it's not just what happens on the field.

BERMAN: It's not football. It's character and everything else that goes into that vote there. People think this could be crucial.

BOLDUAN: It goes without saying that this is blockbuster in the college sports world.

BERMAN: It's number one team in the country. He is the best player on the number one team in the country. That's the sports angle. Again, there are people and lives here.

CUOMO: Why do it now?

JACKSON: You know what, Chris, I think there's a great reason to do it now. Look, if there's something that happened and there are criminal charges, he should be held accountable. No question. However, in the event that the investigation exonerates him, he should be clear and it should not affect his ability to earn the Heisman Trophy should he be the candidate that's desired by the voters.

So, there is a real interest. If he did it, hold him accountable. If he didn't, let him move on and let him have his athletic career back. That is the timing that's very important.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Can we talk about it? Again, we don't know this, let's talk about the alleged victim in this situation.


PEREIRA: If charges aren't filed, what recourse -- is there any recourse she has.

JACKSON: You know what, Michaela. There could be. What ends up happening is you either have criminal recourse, of course, which her family would desire. She's alleging this happened to me and I want justice. At the same time, if there's no criminal prosecution you have the civil remedy.

That is he could be sued as a result of an attack which she alleges occurred without her consent and they could take it to civil court which becomes a monetary issue as opposed to an imprisonment issue, which would ultimately affect his life.

As to the charges, this is a second degree felony, which carries 15 years. This is serious. There are aggravators, if you could show it was coercive, forcible, that could aggravate it to make it 30 years. This is a huge, huge deal.

BALDWIN: The final point, John, the future here in terms of --

BERMAN: Florida state has a policy, if you're charged with a felony, unless there are extraordinary circumstances you're not allowed to play. If he is charged today it would be highly unlikely you'd see him on the field this season.

CUOMO: Just charged. It does not mean in our system that you're going to be found guilty of a crime.

JACKSON: Great point, Chris. It's about due process. When people are charged, just like the victim, she's entitled to make her accusation. If it's true, there needs to be accountability. Just an accusation does not mean guilt, as you point out.

CUOMO: This is an unfortunate set of circumstances anyway it comes out. If the allegations are true, we know which road it goes down. If they are untrue, no charges, it comes out later, is he still colored by this? You have to believe the answer is yes. You can't unring the bell.

JACKSON: That's the problem. You know what? In the event it's not true, it's something that follows.

CUOMO: Or that there are no charges. Even if it comes out where it's untrue -- which is unusual, it tornadoes out that the allegation is recanted, it's rare but still, the reputation is what it is.

BOLDUAN: There going to be some announcement today, 2:00 Eastern. John, Joey, thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on "NEW DAY," wiretaps, extortion, even gang affiliations, new revelations in the bizarre world of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Will this be the final straw, the final cry for help?

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, time is quickly running out for some stranded whales, dozens of stranded whales in the Florida everglades. The frantic efforts to save them, is happening right now. We'll go live to the scene.


BOLDUAN: Let's get a check back in with Indra. The music says it all, a winter wonderland, but still got a mild break here.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have a warm front that's been kicking through the region, bringing us light showers into the northeast. Temperatures in the 50s, which we have to enjoy, because I want to show you what we are expecting as we go through this weekend, let's talk about the three-day temperature drop. Pittsburgh, 61 expected today. Saturday down to 29 degrees. They are not alone.

These temperatures are really diving down to 30 if not 40 degrees below normal across pretty much the entire country. The system continues to push farther to the south and the east. Biggest concern today, we've been talking about this, is the freezing rain threat. The evening hours tonight, we talk about that threat of freezing rain from solution -- excuse me, Southern Illinois back in through east of Dallas.

With that, that threat continues to grow as we go in through the weekend, even spreading into the Ohio Valley, stays with us all the way through Friday evening, exiting offshore by Saturday. But that's only the first wave of this. Let's talk about this first wave. Rain not the story but in the southeast where it's warm, maybe about 1 inch to 2 inches of rain expected.

We talk about snow. We'll be talking about pretty much the heaviest snow through the Midwest here. But it's the freezing rain. That will be the big concern. We're talking anywhere from Paducah to east of Dallas, the threat of over half an inch of freezing temperatures here and possibly no power - Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: All right, Indra, thanks for tracking it for us.

Toronto's crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford is in even deeper trouble. The question is, is he any closer to getting help? New documents released overnight suggested he used marijuana, and heroin. That he hung out with Toronto gang members and suggests he tried to buy the cell phone video showing him taking the drugs.

Jean Casarez joins us now. Jean, how do we know about this? And is it true he tried to buy the video because that what obviously be a different category of wrong doing.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This appears to be an amazing coincidence. Let's start from the beginning. The Toronto police were trying to launch a probe against a gang in Toronto that dealt and sold drugs. And so what they did was they went to a judge to get a wiretap, of course, a search warrant, right? The judge grants them that search warrant. So all these phones are tapped, 59 phones were tapped and they start listening to the conversations with the alleged drug dealers.

All of a sudden they start talking about the mayor of Toronto. They find that the mayor of Toronto may be involved with this drug gang, at least purchasing drugs from them. One of the headlines from these hours and hours of tapes on March 27th, one of the gentlemen, Abdi, was talking about this video, the mayor's name was not mentioned, but police believe it was that video that we've all seen. The video that shows him smoking -- taking drugs, and so the alleged drug dealer is saying, you know, he offered me $5,000 and a car for this video. And they were being sarcastic, that it's worth so much more, so Mohammed, another challenged gangster, said I'm going to go to him and get $100,000 to $150,000 for that video. That was the beginning. Then in May is when the video was released.

CUOMO: Ironically it's bad for the mayors, bad for these guys, extortion, add to the charges for them. It all winds up going towards what this picture says for this man. Is there any indication the pressure is getting to the point where he is going to seek an exit, seek help, do what obviously needs to be done.

CASAREZ: You know, that's the question is left to be answered here. We do believe he'll do a radio interview today, a previously scheduled radio interview. We'll see if that's canceled or not. The devil is in the details, of course. Anything can be said. The police are looking for corroboration and prosecutors are looking for that. There could be major charges that come from this.

CUOMO: Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the criminal justice system to make somebody see they have a problem and give them a very harsh alternative to go one way or another.

CASAREZ: April 20th, that's a critical date, a date that the mayor's cell phone was stolen. We don't know exactly why because they already had that video, but it was the day he told his entire staff I've lost my cell phone and it was in the hands of those alleged drug dealers. The video corroborates what that phone call said about we have a video and we'll release it if we don't get money.

CUOMO: Jean, thank you very much for the details.

CASAREZ: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: To Florida now where there's a race against the clock to rescue stranded whales in that state. Dozens of pilot whales are caught in shallow waters off Everglades National Park. Many have already died and experts say the outlook for the rest of them is not looking good. CNN's John Zarrella is there live for us this morning with the very latest. What are you hearing, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we know now that the U.S. Coast Guard has joined this effort. There is a cutter out there to enforce a perimeter around the whales as well as some more smaller coast guard vessels to help in the effort as well. But as you mentioned, it is not looking good and time is running out.


ZARRELLA (voice-over): From the air, the pilot whales look like black pearls spread over the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, surrounding them in boats, rescuers, biologists, Everglades National Park rangers and volunteers. The whales have been stuck in shallow water for at least two days now. The outlook is not good. LINDA FRIAR, EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK SPOKESWOMAN: There isn't a whole lot we can do. We tried this technique called herding. You can imagine what that is, trying to get the boats around them and nudge them out by sound or moving them around. It wasn't effective the first round. Last I heard they were trying a second time.

ZARRELLA: From the water, we could see the rescuers trying to herd the whales, keeping them from heading to the beach where some have already died, moving them toward deeper water. Wildlife officials say there were about 50 whales that stranded themselves. Biologists say they don't know why.

FRIAR: There may be hope they are moving away from that area. The challenge is to get them to go out into deeper water they're all freely swimming now.

ZARRELLA: The frustrating part is park officials say is the whales keep circling back. If the whales can't or won't make their way back into deeper water, rescuers say it's only a matter of time before they go into stress and their bodies begin to shut down. At that point they'll have to be euthanized.

Some are already exhibiting signs of distress. How much longer they can survive, no one is sure. The rescuers will remain out there until they're saved or all hope is gone.


ZARRELLA: Now, the dilemma, of course, is these whale pods are like families. They are families. When some of them are in distress, stranded on the beach and die like those have already done, these other whales that are out there are very, very reluctant to leave -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: As you said, exhausted all the same. Thank you so much, John, for the update.

CUOMO: It's horrible to see them there.

BOLDUAN: There's not much they can do.

CUOMO: They'll keep trying. You get lucky. Sometimes they find their own way. We'll keep watching that up for you.

Coming up on NEW DAY, celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson become on the stand a day after testifying about her drug use. It's a trial that's becoming more about her personal live than the actual case itself. We'll fill you in, going to London live.


BOLDUAN: If you are a new parent or a parent at all we have a few new parents in the studio, a Northern California couple has given birth to a rare set of identical triplets conceived without the help of fertility treatments. They were born November 22nd in Sacramento and said to be doing very well. Doctors tell the "Sacramento Bee" that the odds of having identical triplets without fertility treatments would be? What do you think/

CUOMO: One in 100 million.

BOLDUAN: You're not supposed to read the notes. That's unfair.

CUOMO: That's my guess, am I right?

BOLDUAN: One in 100 million. Those parents have got a lot of fun on their hands.

PEREIRA: Look at those three.

CUOMO: Healthy babies, nothing better than that. You know what they're hopeful. We have twins in our family. We'll put them on the same schedule. It's not going to happen. It's more to love. They have a whole family in one shot.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. They're one and done,

PEREIRA: One and done.

CUOMO: All right, Celebrity Chef" Nigella Lawson is back on the stand this morning. She admitted to using cocaine when she testified Wednesday at the fraud trial of two former assistants. Today she's facing even more tough questions, however. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in London with the very latest.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Nigella Lawson, the defense continuing to grill Nigella Lawson about her cocaine use and her reluctance to appear in trial. She responded saying she'd rather be honest than, quote, "bullied by lies." This trial has been full of personal allegations against the celebrity chef and her former husband, Charles Saatchi.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): For a second day, Nigella Lawson is surrounded by the media in a trial that was not supposed to be about her. After all, two of her former personal assistants are the ones charged with fraud, but Lawson claims the case has become a witch hunt, a trial in which she has no counsel and she says no rights. On Wednesday she testified about her alleged drug abuse saying that she is not a drug addict, though she admits to using cocaine during two separate life phases.

First, when her late husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and then again in July, 2010, when she said then husband Charles Saatchi subjected her to "intimate terrorism." "I did not have a drug problem" she said, "I had a life problem." She certainly has problems With Saatchi. She testified he threatened to destroy her if she did not appear at the trial and clear his name.

Her parents to the art collector broke down earlier this year after infamous argument outside a trendy London restaurant, photographed with his hand around her throat. Saatchi was later cautioned by police, for the first time Lawson talked about what exactly happened. She testified the argument was about a comment she made when she saw someone walking by with a baby.

"I said I was looking forward to having grandchildren" she told the court. He grabbed me by the throat and said "I'm the only person you should be concerned with." Saatchi testified Friday he was holding her head by the neck to make her focus. He didn't say why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nigella becomes this great international success with her TV show in America, whether Charles goes back to being a great art or PR guru this is the only thing people going to go, that's why I know them. Sad, but true.


MCLAUGHLIN: Questions remain as to how all of this will affect Lawson's career. She is due to appear for a second season as a celebrity judge on the ABC Show "The Taste" -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Erin, thanks for that.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, tracking the winter storm heavy snow, dangerous ice and arctic temperatures taking over parts of the country and it's just getting started. Is it coming your way? We'll have the latest track.

CUOMO: And all across the nation, fast food workers are walking off the job, demanding a livable wage. We'll hear from workers in a live report.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that can't find a place to be indoors that's obviously a real problem.


CUOMO: Freezing point, a dangerous ice storm making its way south after dumping heavy snow across the heartland. We will show you the points south and east in the path.

BOLDUAN: Fast food workers across the nation staging hundreds of walkouts. They want higher wages. Will that money come from your pocket?

PEREIRA: Jailed for a joke, an American citizen imprisoned in Dubai after posting a comedic video online. We'll speak with a family live about their desperate efforts to free their brother.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

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

BOLDUAN: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December 5th, 8:00 in the east. The next round of extreme weather expected to be a major ice storm across the southern plains into the Ohio Valley and temperatures dipping to 40 degrees below average for many places across the country. We're covering this story like no other network can. Let's start off this hour with Ana Cabrera in Denver. What's it look like, Ana?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. It is looking like lots of snow and really cold. You can see really Colorado is totally covered in snow this morning. The roads slick as people are getting going in their commute and then we've got those bone chilling temperatures, so cold.

In fact Denver hit a record for December 4th, hitting negative 13 degrees last night and we're only going to see single digits for highs today. This is just the beginning as this polar express continues to spread.