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A Memorial for Mandela; Bride's Murder Trial; Affleck Reveals Stalker Scare; Paying Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Aired December 10, 2013 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He showed the audience here -- as I'm joined but Robyn Curnow, South African but also obviously great international correspondent for CNN. He knew trying to impress on this audience here that he knew the life of Nelson Mandela. He knew the high points, but more importantly he knew the message. And he used a word in South African that Robyn taught me today. It is ubunto. And explain what it means.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ubunto is a very African word in the sense that it means, I am me because of you. So it really speaks to the collective nature of our world and how you really can't be a Nelson Mandela unless you have all the people, these people, to support you along the way. So that sense of connectedness, that sense of purpose and society that Mandela was so keen on was reiterated again and again today.

CUOMO: I - you know, I can't get away from it. So many moments here today. It's been such a privilege to witness this memorial and see the coming together of these South African people and all these world leaders who ordinarily might not have the time of day for each other on many levels given who was here.

But this worked (ph) because the message that people need to take from this, regardless of their feelings about Nelson Mandela, is, when has the world needed it more than to hear that everybody matters to everybody else, no matter what the grievance is at this time? The message -- I don't remember in my lifetime needing to hear it more.

CURNOW: Oh, exactly. And, I mean, you look at the divisions in Washington, you look at the divisions in the Middle East, you know, and I think there's a real sense that leadership is so important and you need - and that's why I think Obama keeps on coming back to this issue that, you know, you need a leader who is a visionary, who is a people's person, and who is pragmatic and who also takes the time -- and I think this is the key - is that Mandela understood that how tough it was.

He was in prison for 27 years. There was a real, real sacrifice he made. But he held no prisoners. He didn't forgive. I mean, he didn't forget, but he forgave. And that space to say, listen, I'm going to forgive the enemy because for the better good of this country, we need to move on.

CUOMO: Which may make the revolution, the change, more impressive than anything else, to keep the oppressive party intact, you know, in a small extent. But to do that is unheard of in terms of transition. Nelson Mandela was able to do that.

Let me ask you something. Take the reporter hat off for one second.


CUOMO: Put the South African hat on. Robyn's from South Africa. What does this mean? Do you believe that this was the right way to remember Nelson Mandela, what we've seen since the news he (ph) pass on Thursday?

CURNOW: I think that this has all been very instinctive. And I think South Africans have this very deep, emotional connection to him. It's very personal. We talked about how everybody called him tata, father, kulu (ph), grandfather. So these are the ways - these are the way South Africans feel about him. So the grieving has been like there's been a death in the family.

There's been a sense of, how are we going to go on without him, but a realization he was old and that this was inevitable. And then things like today. You see this impromptu singing and this dancing. And I think that in itself is more symbolic of what Mandela was than any of these speeches. The shwadavi (ph) for life.

CUOMO: A great spirit regardless of what he had been through, showing that endurance, that perseverance. And just to think, everybody, India, China, to have Brazil, Cuba and the United States all sharing the same stage, all essentially giving the same message about the same man, regardless of the external politics. What a day that would make it on that level alone.

CURNOW: And every man to everybody and what a gift that is.

CUOMO: Beautifully said.

Robyn Curnow, it's been great being with you this morning.

CURNOW: Yes, thanks a lot.

CUOMO: Really.

Michaela, back to you in New York. I know there's a lot of other news, but this has been a great privilege to be here today. And again, that one word, ubunto, to hear it in South African and what it resonate, it means to the rest of the world, that alone is a great memorial to a man who was all about being free with everybody else.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Chris and Robyn, fantastic of you both to give us the sights and sounds, make us feel as though we are there. Also, Christiane, we appreciate that.

Right now it is time for the five things you need to know for your new day. A bone-chilling winter storm is forcing federal offices in Washington to shut down. More sleet, snow and freezing rain is on the way there and in Philadelphia and New York.

Secretary of State John Kerry making a case on Capitol Hill for no new sanctions against Iran. Iranian officials say any new sanctions would kill the agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear program.

Federal investigators continuing to rule out mechanical problems as the cause of that deadly train derailment in New York. They're revealing one more clue suggesting human error might have been to blame. The engineer failed to dim his lights when passing another train.

Ninety thousand pounds of meat and poultry products being recalled because they were produced under unsanitary conditions. The recall involves Yauk specialty meats, items produced from August 1st to December 5th.

And at number five, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton joining the White House. The Obama administration's White House - White House administration. Sources tells CNN the Democratic strategist, John Podesta will join as a staff counselor for the president.

We always update those five things to know. So be sure to go to for the very latest.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Michaela, thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, was it murder or an accident? A woman pushed her new husband off a cliff this summer. Neither side in this case seems to dispute that. But they are dueling over why. An update on the trial straight ahead.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to "NEW DAY".

This is outside our CNN studios here in Columbus Circle in New York City. While it's not time for me to swap out my metro card with a pair of snow shoes, it sure is coming down. Let's get to Jennifer Gray.

While it is pretty, it is also causing a lot of travel issues and getting around on the roads is real dangerous.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, you bet. The only good news with this system, Michaela, is that this one is going to really get on out of here pretty quickly. So, we're going to be looking at maybe an inch or two of snow within the city. Of course surrounding areas could pick up more, three to five inches. But it's already pushing in Washington. You've seen the bulk of it already. So you're actually on the back side. Getting pretty close to be ending for you. Philly, New York, still pushing into your area. And this is going to be pushing out by a little later this afternoon. Areas to the south, of course, seeing rain. So this low is going to continue to track up the East Coast. It's going to be pushing offshore or up to the northeast as we go through the afternoon hours. Of course, this is 5:00 tonight. You can see, pretty clear across most of the northeast. So that's good news. But we are still going to see accumulation amounts anywhere from one to two, maybe three to the snow inside this city, higher amounts elsewhere, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks so much, Jennifer.

Let's move now to the murder trial of the woman accused of pushing her new husband off a Montana cliff this summer. No one questions that Jordan Linn Graham pushed Cody Johnson. What's in doubt is what she was intending to do when this happened. Legal analyst Sunny Hostin and Joey Jackson joining us in just a moment. But first, Kyung Lah has the latest on this case.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jordan Graham waded through the cameras outside court. Her murder trial now underway of pushing her husband of just eight days in the back, face first, off this sheer cliff of Glacier National Park.

Prosecutors say, despite appearing in love in her wedding video, Graham was distraught. Her matron of honor back on the stand today after testifying that just a few days after the wedding, Graham sent numerous text messages expressing regret about her marriage to Cody Johnson. Graham texted to her friend, "I should be happy and I'm just not. I've never cried this much in my entire life," and even, "I don't want to live."

LAH (on camera): What it was like to be in that courtroom and see Jordan?

JENNIFER TOREN, WITNESS: All I'm going to say is it was very nerve- racking.

LAH (voice-over): Jennifer Toren, another friend, was visibly shaken after testifying that Graham had lied to her. Toren testified that one day after Johnson plunged to his death she got this text from Graham. "Some car buddies from Seattle came to the house yesterday and he went with them. I wasn't there. The last thing he said to me was that he was going for a drive with some friends that were visiting." It was a bold-faced lie to cover up that her husband was lying dead at the bottom of a cliff. It would be days before Graham eventually confessed the truth to police.

LAH (on camera): Do you have a second to talk to us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot. I cannot.

LAH (voice-over): While the prosecutor would not speak on camera, in court he said Graham planned and then lied about the murder, driven by her desire to get out of her marriage. Defense attorneys say Graham did, indeed, have regrets, but call her a naive, socially inept, immature young woman. Just 21 at the time of her husband's death. The fall, just a terrible accident. She says they were fighting. He grabbed her. She pushed him away and he fell to his death. Why the lies? A young bride afraid that the world wouldn't believe her.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Missoula, Montana.


BOLDUAN: Let's continue the conversation with Sunny Hostin, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, and HLN's legal analyst Joey Jackson.

Good morning you guys.



BOLDUAN: We talked about this yesterday and jury selection happened and they moved on to opening arguments and they wrapped up opening arguments, if you will. What it comes down to, is this murder or is this an accident? Was this self-defense? Sunny, what is the prosecution's strategy here? Because as we discussed yesterday, there are two people who know what happened. One of them is dead and one of them is on trial.

HOSTIN: Yes, I mean, I think we heard the prosecution's strategy yesterday in opening statements. And what they're saying is, listen, no one behaves this way. Look at her behavior before. We know that she was upset. She didn't want to be married. She was really second guessing her marriage. And then we know after she pushed him, both hands to his back over a cliff, she lied about it over and over and over again. No one innocent behaves that way.

BOLDUAN: Doesn't the defense have a lot to overcome here, Joey?

JACKSON: They do, Kate. They really do. However --

HOSTIN: I can't believe you just admitted that. I'm waiting to hear what you think --

BOLDUAN: That's great (ph).

JACKSON: Here's the however. The bottom line is it's very circumstantial. You don't have an eyewitness. And as you pointed out, right, there are two people who were at the top of that cliff. One of them is now the decedent. The other one is telling a story after the accident. But what the prosecution is doing is they're amping up, as Sunny and I -- we were speaking about this -- the whole issue of state of mind, the state of their marriage, the state of their relationship.

From a defense perspective, however, I think you could show, hey, it's a rocky relationship, but does that equate with murder? And isn't it not plausible, in the event that you're having a dispute, that you might, for example, move a hand off, push and, oh, my goodness. And then thereafter to address Sunny's lies that she was talking about, what you would say is, I'm panicked. Of course if I tell the story, no one would believe me, and that would account for the lies. And that's what the defense is going to attempt to exploit. Well, whether they'll be successful, Sunny, that's another issue.

HOSTIN: I just can't imagine - I think it's going to be very difficult for a jury listening to this case to believe this story. They're going to - and I think she's going to have to take the witness stand.

BOLDUAN: You do?

HOSTIN: She's got to take the witness stand. And will the jury find her to be credible? I just - I can't imagine, Joey Jackson -


HOSTIN: That that is possible.

BOLDUAN: Is that why -- unless they're playing up the -

HOSTIN: Let's remember, though, this is in federal court, right? This is my territory.

BOLDUAN: Right, because it happened in a national park.

HOSTIN: That's right. I'm a former federal prosecutor.


HOSTIN: This is my territory. This case is going to be moving very, very quickly and she is up against the resources of the federal government. She's up against very, very highly skilled prosecutors you don't always find.

JACKSON: Sure. That's a big deal.

BOLDUAN: That's an excellent point.

HOSTIN: And the FBI.

BOLDUAN: Is that why the defense is playing up the fact that she's young, naive, socially inept?

JACKSON: Absolutely, Kate. That's very important. And the other critical thing, and Sunny and I addressed this issue too off air, and that is the conduct that was engaged in after the fact in terms of leaving and not reporting it and then making up stories.


JACKSON: That's going to be problematic. But I think the fact that you mentioned, right, if they exploit that she's young, she's naive, this is someone who would do something like this -- not kill, but who would not report and panic and make up stories and make up lies. Not because she was a murder, but because it was a horrific accident she thought she would not be believed.

BOLDUAN: So the first witness for the -- that the prosecution brought up testified that she was unhappy in her marriage.


BOLDUAN: And then you have these text messages leading up to their wedding. And on their wedding day, the text message that say, from her, "if you don't hear from me at all again tonight, something happened."


BOLDUAN: I mean, it makes why this case is so fascinating.


HOSTIN: People are fascinated with it.

BOLDUAN: How is this going to play into what happens in the courtroom?

HOSTIN: I think one of two ways. Either it goes toward premeditation. I'm thinking about doing something to him or maybe I'm an abused woman. So if I approach my husband, my new husband about the fact that I maybe should not have married him, he may do something to me.

JACKSON: And from the defense --

HOSTIN: I think it sounds -- I don't believe that.


HOSTIN: I don't know that a jury will believe that.

JACKSON: But from the defense I think it explains the argument. I'm going to confront him about the fact that maybe this was a mistake; maybe I should not have married him. That explains why they could have been arguing and why her story as to the push/pull fall would be plausible. So it explains that whole issue.

HOSTIN: Plausible that she pushed him with two hands?

JACKSON: But they're on a cliff --

HOSTIN: On his back?

JACKSON: Right. I mean that's what the jury really has to determine that. But it's a big problem.

BOLDUAN: And a big point here, different from other kind of murder trials that we've watched in recent memory that have really made it on TV, this is going to move very fast, it seems like. They blew through jury selection, opening arguments.

JACKSON: Can you believe that -- Kate? In a day.

HOSTIN: Welcome to federal court.

BOLDUAN: That's right. They have to move on, as well as we do. Joey Jackson, Sunny Hostin -- thanks guys.

JACKSON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: And great to see you -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, Kate. Thank you so much.

Next up on "NEW DAY", how far is too far with the paparazzi? Actor Ben Affleck says he has had enough when their photos help a stalker get far too close. That story next.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Oscar winner, Ben Affleck, revealing why he is so protective of his children when it comes to the paparazzi. He says their pictures helped a dangerous stalker track down his family. Nischelle Turner explains.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: An angry Ben Affleck is blasting the photographers who he says constantly follow his family like in this Hollywood.TV video.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Sir, you can talk to me. Don't talk to my kid, is that clear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. No problem.

AFFLECK: Thank you.


TURNER: In a new interview with "Playboy" magazine, Affleck says a man who was allegedly stalking his actress wife Jennifer Garner and his family for years basically used a crowd of paparazzi as a cover to stand outside his daughter's pre-school. He says, "they used to take pictures of our children coming out of preschool and so this stalker, who had threatened to kill me, my wife and our kids showed up at the school and got arrested. I mean, there are real practical dangers to this."

In the 2009 incident, Steven Burkey was arrested for the record violating a restraining order when police caught him. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and later sent to a mental hospital by a judge.

Garner has been a major force behind California's new anti-paparazzi law which increases the penalties for taking photos and invading celebrities' right to privacy. She joined Halle Berry, tearfully testifying in front of the state assembly. JENNIFER GARNER, ACTRESS: I love my kids. They're beautiful and sweet and innocent and I don't want a gang of shouting, arguing, law- breaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are, all day, every day, to continue traumatizing my kids.

TURNER: She told CNN's Chris Cuomo she's hoping the new law will bring a change in her life.

GARNER: I'm looking forward to January 1st, when the law will go into effect. But, no, so far I haven't seen a bit of difference. The threat of it is not enough. There are ten cars outside my house every single morning.

TURNER: In the article, Affleck says he can handle the attention but he says his kids aren't celebrities and they deserve a little privacy. He said the tragic thing is "people who see those pictures naturally think it's sweet. They don't see the gigantic former gang member with a huge lens standing over a four-year-old and screaming to get the kid's attention."

Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.

PEREIRA: Kind of different perspective of it, isn't it?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.

All right. Coming up, we're going to head back to South Africa where Chris, of course, is going to bring us more of the Nelson Mandela memorial service. That's next on "NEW DAY".


CUOMO: We're here live in South Africa at the memorial for Nelson Mandela. And they said that it's been raining earlier, that's a way of showing that heaven was welcoming Nelson Mandela. The rain has stopped now as we are nearing the end of memorial. I guess it's fitting that it is.

And it's been an amazing moment to behold here. For the South Africa, the chanting, the enjoyment -- all the world leaders who came together despite their own differences in celebration of the man is such a powerful message.

U.S. President Barack Obama was here. The crowd went wild with his message of understanding about Nelson Mandela as a man and what his purpose was here, what he's supposed to be remembered for. I want to play you that sound now because it was really impactful and resonant about what today was all about. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa, "ubuntu". His recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye, that there is a oneness to humanity, that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.


CUOMO: "Ubuntu", that idea of interconnectedness. Nelson Mandela lived it. It's what turned South Africa around and certainly it's a message that extends all the way back to the United States.

Kate, Michaela, that's what I took away from today, a great thing to report on and witness, but that word, that message, "ubuntu" is really what we needed to hear today.

BOLDUAN: You're absolutely right. Right?

PEREIRA: May we all live with "ubuntu" going forward.

BOLDUAN: Great to witness tens of thousands of people in that stadium.

For more on our continued coverage of this historic gathering, we'll hand it off to Carol Costello in the "CNN NEWSROOM". Hey, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right -- thanks, Kate. Have a great day.

"NEWSROOM" starts now.

And good morning everyone. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

Today, the world is gathering in South Africa to pay tribute to a global icon. Thousands of mourners braving heavy rains to attend the official memorial service for Nelson Mandela; among them nearly 100 current heads of state and former leaders, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Just behind them, Archbishop Desmond Tutu; also in attendance, President and Mrs. Obama who drew a lot of attention and cheers from the crowd.

Later the president offered these words in honor of the man he has called a personal hero.


OBAMA: We know like South Africa the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took sacrifice, the sacrifice of countless people, known and unknown, to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle.

But in America and in South Africa and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done.