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Target Shoppers At Risk; London Tabloid Hacking Scandal; Indian Diplomat Arrested; Duck Dynasty Star Suspended for Controversial Comments

Aired December 19, 2013 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST, LEGAL VIEW: the family overcome his family values faux pas?

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. And welcome to the show. It is Thursday, December 19th. This is LEGAL VIEW. Let's begin here.

Who hasn't shopped in the three weeks since Thanksgiving, whether it's for Christmas gifts, holiday gifts or just every day basic stuff? But if you shopped at Target, you just might be freaking out right about now because it is, after all, the nation's number two general merchandise retailer, so the security breach we're hearing about now of credit cards and debit card data may have affected you along with about 40 million other shoppers.

CNN Money Tech correspondent Laurie Segall joins me now to talk about this; 40 million is a lot. And this is really worrisome at this time of year, particularly. How did this all come to light?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely horrible news for shoppers, especially if you were in Target during those dates. A security blogger got a tip. Now, it went from there. Now the Secret Service are investigating.

And speaking with security researchers I know, they said the hackers probably hacked the software behind a point of sale device. So, you know, when you go right there -- you're looking at it on your screen -- when you go and swipe your card, they probably hacked the software. Because it was a very large, large-scale hack.

And you know, (inaudible) talking to folks at Target, they are in crisis mode right now, trying to figure out what exactly happened.

BANFEILD: I do all of my shopping, and Target included, online. I am not to be concerned about this if I used my credit card online with Target?

SEGALL: If you used your credit card online, you -- I would still check -- but, you know, they're saying this happened in stores. This happened at that point of sale system, and that's something to note. So online shoppers should breathe easy right now I would say.

BANFILED: So effectively, what are people in the industry saying about this? Because it's not the first time I've heard this happen, but it is a panic when you start to hear about a store like Target. I remember T.J. Maxx not too long ago having this issue as well.

SEGALL: Absolutely. I mean, when you think -- the first thing you think, how easy is it for these folks to steal our information, you know? They were able here in Target to steal information by using potentially the point of sale device. But there is another point of sale device that all of these retailers are deploying, and it's a mobile one. And I recently spoke to a hacker who actually demonstrated how easy it is to hack it. Check this out, Ashleigh.


MIKE PARK, HACKER: I'm connected to this phone wirelessly right now, so in real time I am stealing credit card data. I just have to log in. I can make a selection here. And then I can do a credit card swipe. I now have all your credit card data right in here.


BANFIELD: That was easy. That took no time at all.

SEGALL: Unreal. I mean, I just said how easy is this? And he was like, `This is really easy.' And a lot of the software is still in retailers. You know,

I mean, this is something that Target is obviously taking very seriously. The CEO issued a statement. He said, "Target's first priority is preserving the trust of our guests. We've moved swiftly to address this issue so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause." That sounds really nice.

BANFEILD: But I am not the least bit assuaged at this point if I am one of those shoppers. So what do I need to do tangibly to make sure I'm OK?

SEGALL: I know, obviously a lot of inconvenience as you can imagine for anyone who was in those stores. So first of all, check the dates. And if you were in the stores November 27th through December 15th, I would say make sure to check your debit and credit card transactions daily for the next few months.

And, you know, when we talk about checking your transactions, Ashleigh, it's not just checking for large cash, large money going out of there. We're talking even small transactions six to 11 cents. Call your bank immediately if you notice an unauthorized transaction.

Also, you know what? Call Target. They've given a number. You see it on the screen right there. You can call that number and ask. And also if you do see something, don't wait too long to report any unauthorized transactions. You know, this, unfortunately, has happened at the highest shopping time in the season, but it's always important to check those statements.

BANFEILD; And that's why probably we're at 40 million possible people affected in America. Laurie Segall, thank you for that. As always we need to be our own best advocates when it comes to this kind of thing. Thanks. Some shocking revelations this morning in the London tabloid hacking scandal. Prosecutors are alleging even the duchess of Cambridge was not exempt from having her phone hacked by that newspaper "News of the World".

It happened before Kate Middleton married Prince William, but it included several voicemails that were left for her by her prince. Some of them extremely personal, where he calls her by a pet name babykins (ph).

Nina Dos Santos is live from London with more on the story. Several messages were read out in the courtroom, Nina. What else do we know about what was said?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we also know a few messages that apparently came from Prince William according to the Press Association, which has been reporting this. And also making fun of his younger brother Harry, leaving voicemails on his phone pretending to be his then girlfriend Chelsy Davy at the time.

Just going back, Ashleigh, to the revelations that came with regards to the now duchess of Cambridge when she was Kate Middleton dating the second in line to the throne, really private, intimate revelations here, the kind of conversations that these two had during their courting days.

In one quote he says, "Hi, baby. It's me." In another, he talks about his military training exercise, saying, "Hi, baby. I'm sorry. I've just got back in from my night navigation exercise." And he says that he got lost in the woods in Aldershot and nearly got shot at with blanks after drifting into another regiment's ambush practice as well. So these are really interesting insights into the intimate conversations of royals that otherwise here in the U.K. we would never really have known.

BANFIELD: So, Nina shall the former "News of the World" editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have denied the charges that they're defending themselves of them in courts right now, but where is the case at the current pace? How does it look for these two?

DOS SANTOS: As of this very afternoon, Ashleigh, I can tell you the case has actually been adjourned until January the 6th, so it is not going to be heard until the new year, and then of course it'll pick up yet again.

It's important to point out that what we're seeing here is several newspaper executives and reporters here facing charges for conspiracy to intercept communications for those allegations of phone hacking.

But also Rebekah Brooks and her husband, Charlie Brooks, as well as her own personal assistant, are also facing other charges of obstructing police investigations with -- and that is relating to a laptop that was found in a dust bin. But of course, the case continues, and we should point out they have denied these charges.

BANFEILD: Nina Dos Santos, thank you for that. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Other news now, an independent report of the NSA's spying program is recommending keeping the program in place. President Obama ordered the review after Edward Snowden's leaks last summer. And the panel did come up with some 40 different recommendations. And they also included greater judicial oversight and some from the private sector, in fact, as well as more public transparency.

The United States is finally getting a budget without last-minute brinkmanship by lawmakers. The Senate voted 64-36 last night to send the bipartisan budget plan to the president's desk, and he has already signaled that he'll sign it; he'll support it. The plan guides the government spending into 2015, defusing the chances of a shutdown like the one in October. But wait for it, because the debt ceiling discussion comes in the new year.

When a robber stuck a gun in the face of a passenger on a Seattle bus, he was probably not expecting this to happen, not at all -- all passengers almost jumping into the opportunity to defend him and others. Passengers forced that gunman to the floor. The gunman, by the way, a recent high school graduate with no criminal record is now in jail on $350,000 bond and if convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. But don't mess with the bus riders of Seattle.


When we come back, her arrest caused an international uproar, and now the prosecutor is responding to claims that this diplomat on your screen wasn't treated fairly. Was she or wasn't she? and just how diplomatically protected is she? The legal view is next.


It's a flap that has grown into an incident with a crisis waiting just around the corner. Today the United States secretary of state, no less (ph), is expected to talk with his Indian counterpart about a woman named Devyani Khobragade. She is India's New York based deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs.

The Indian government and quite a few of its citizens are pretty angry over Khobragade's arrest last week on charges of visa fraud relating to a housekeeper. Allegedly, the diplomat told Washington she was paying her help the state minimum wage, but actually the allegations are that she was paying her far, far less.

Today on CNN's NEW DAY the diplomat's lawyer says there is a simple explanation.


DAN ARSHACK, INDIAN DIPLOMAT'S ATTORNEY: There are two contracts. One says, `Send about $500 a month to my husband in New Delhi.' And the other contract is the original contract. The balance of the money that wasn't sent to New Delhi was paid to her here in New York. All of the records support that.


BANFIELD: Ah, so this is where I bring in CNN's Deb Feyerick, who has done a lot of reporting on this, and to her left, Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst.

Deb, let me start with you with some of the details, because I think a lot of people are hearing the headlines about under-paying a domestic helper and hearing about jail, when truly the very serious charge is lying on a federal document, a visa application. But what was the story that got them to that alleged egregious infraction?

DEB FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's very interesting is the nanny came over. She had worked for other diplomatic families in the past. She came over to New York. Initially, she had signed a document that basically said, `Yes. I'm going to accept -- I'm going to accept $9.75.' Then her employer forced her to sign a second document agreeing to far less money.

BANFIELD: That is the allegation.

FEYERICK: Plus -- those are the allegations -- plus, no time off, no guaranteed paid time off at all.

BANFIELD: Can you just expand on that? Like, this was a seven day a week job, essentially, and it was sun up to sun down almost?

FEYERICK: The nanny basically -- the nanny told her lawyer that she was forced to work from 6:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night, that she was working seven days a week, that she was exhausted, that she needed time off.

Now, from what we understand, the employer actually gave her the time off, gave her Sundays off, Sunday afternoons off. But she still had to work. So about eight months into the job, she basically says this is not good for me. The nanny simply takes off.

The family doesn't know where she is. They file a missing persons report to find out where the nanny has gone. The nanny turns up in the office of an immigration lawyer, at which point the Khobragades go down. They begin to discuss what's happening. They discuss details of the financial settlement, which apparently don't go anywhere. And according to the Arshack, which is the diplomat's lawyer, the nanny was asking for $10,000, a permanent visa, plus any sort of allegations to be dismissed against her.

When I pressed on the allegations I was told that after the nanny went missing, after she turned up in the immigration office, the Khobragades apparently did a search of the apartment and discovered, allegedly, things that were missing. So they filed a police report on that as well.

So there are all these different layers about what happened and what went on. The bottom line, as you so rightly point out, is there was a crime allegedly committed because after applying for a visa successfully, based on the fact she was going to pay her 9.75, based on the fact she was going to work a 40-hour week, the diplomat allegedly forced her to sign a second document, which said, sorry. You're agreeing to something far less.

BANFIELD: And herein lies the crux of the issue. There are two sides to every story. Paul, that's why you're in business. But what is the most serious part of what Deb has been researching?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the most serious part is that both of these offenses carry jail sentences, lengthy ones. One has a five-year exposure, the other has a ten year exposure.

BANFIELD: But should you be hauled off in cuffs and thrown in general and strip searched. or should you be able to voluntarily come down and surrender yourself if there's an allegation made against you, especially if you are someone with this kind of position?

CALLAN: You know, I've done a lot of federal defense work myself. I know a lot of people who do it. Normally when a lawyer is negotiating with the Feds, they'll arrange for a voluntary surrender. But they don't have to. They picked her up obviously dropping off her kid for school. And they didn't have to do that, but they chose to get tough for a reason. I think they want to send a message they're not going to tolerate this behavior from diplomats.

I suspect this may have something to do with the scandal involving the Russian employees that was publicized a couple months ago, who were collecting welfare benefits and whatnot in the United States and the embarrassment that the U.S. government had because of that. This is such -- paying a nanny the wrong amount of money -- we don't usually consider it a federal crime.


BANFIELD: I do want to correct one thing for the record. The U.S. attorney yesterday came out very forcefully late in the day saying there were misrepresentations that had been made. The first thing he said is look. This woman was in fact treated with deference. This did not happen overnight. This was the culmination of a five-month investigation. They did arrest her near the school, not in front of the school, all right, and he said that Ms. Khobragade was accorded courtesies well beyond what other defendants most of whom are American citizens, are accorded. She was not arrested in front of the school. She was not handcuffed.


BANFIELD: She was allowed to sit in the arresting agent's car, using her cell phone to call other people at the consulate to make child care arrangements. So there were courtesies.


CALLAN: Just to show you how times have changed, 1993 Bill Clinton appointed Zoe Baird attorney general. She had to resign because she wasn't paying her nanny the right amount of money.

BANFIELD: Exactly.


CALLAN: Kimer (ph) Wood, she had to resign for the same thing. They never got indicted.


BANFIELD: Yeah, but it didn't start (ph) an international incident (INAUDIBLE) security barricades (INAUDIBLE)


CALLAN: Times have changed. We have a different attitude.

BANFIELD: I have to wrap it up there. Great work on your part. Paul, always good to have your perspective. Thank you for that.

And then to completely switch gears which is what I'm about to do. I'm going reality here. There is a reality star who is known and paid well for being a redneck on the TV and now he is in some serious hot water for anti-gay comments and racial remarks. Is that just him being him, or is that just him not allowed to do that no matter who you are? What about free speech in this country? We'll discuss that in a moment.


BANFIELD: The guys from "Duck Dynasty" are known for saying some pretty entertaining things, and they've been raking in millions doing just that. The gravy train could be in jeopardy because of a few choice words the patriarch of the family said in GQ magazine. Buckle up.

Phil Robertson, a self-proclaimed redneck from Louisiana, opened the verbal flood gates about gays and African Americans, equating being gay with bestiality and promiscuity, saying African Americans were better off before the civil rights movement.

Let that ruminate for a bit. In the wake of the Paula Deen cooking show implosion the network behind "Duck Dynasty" is jumping out in front of this crisis. A&E and has suspended Robertson indefinitely. Here's CNN's Nischelle Turner.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, in this GQ article Phil Robertson appeared to be an equal opportunity offender. It is the height of duck hunting season in Louisiana but now he will not be on camera to show off his shot. The show's network, A&E, pulled him from future shoots indefinitely saying they were, quote, "extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ."


TURNER (voice-over): The patriarch of the hit reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" sounded off.

PHIL ROBERTSON, "DUCK DYNASTY": My idea of happiness is killing things.

TURNER: But he turned the target on himself. On Wednesday, A&E suspended Phil Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander company and head of his back woods Louisiana family, from filming indefinitely for the controversial anti-gay statements he made in an interview with "GQ" magazine. In the article, Robertson says, quote, "it's not logical, my man, it's just not logical."

He goes on to explain what he finds sinful, saying, "start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he says. Robertson then refers to a Bible passage from Corinthians, saying, "don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, or the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

His words angering gay rights activists.

WILSON CRUZ, GLAAD SPOKESPERSON: I was shocked and appalled really that somebody who's on A&E's highest rated show would say something along the lines of comparing homosexuality to bestiality, among other things.

TURNER: Robertson and his family are known for preaching their Christian beliefs.

ROBERTSON: We still manage to stay true to ourselves.

TURNER: Telling "GQ" they're, quote, "Bible thumpers who just happened to end up on television." But gay rights advocates say, along with the limelight comes responsibility.

CRUZ: You have the freedom of speech, absolutely, but we have the freedom to turn off all of our televisions when you say something that offends us and the people that we love.

TURNER: Robertson released this statement after the article was released saying, "I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and, like him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."


TURNER: And not only did he make anti-gay comments, he also said in the article that while growing up in the Jim Crowe south he, quote, "never saw black people mistreated" and that he worked cotton fields with blacks and they were, quote, "singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person say, I tell you what, these dog gone white people. Not a word. Were they happy? They were godly. They were happy. No one was singing the blues."

Ashleigh, back to you.

BANFIELD: Nischelle, Yikes. Wow. And the comment that he also added to that, "I'm with the blacks because we're white trash." It was, you know, kind of uncomfortable at the very least to hear that.

Joining me now the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter, CNN's legal analyst Paul Callan and branding and social media specialist, Peter Shankman. Brian, I want to begin with you. Have at her. This is big.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN RELIABLE SOURCES HOST: You know, I didn't realize at first how big this was, but to have an indefinite suspension means this could affect one of the highest rated shows on television and it brings up culture war issues that I think everybody has an opinion about. That is why it is going to be a hot topic for days to come. And I think that is why A&E is in such a hard place right now. They probably felt they had no choice but to suspend him, but now the backlash of that suspension is intense. I've been trying all morning to get ahold of people at A&E. No one is talking. They're all in a crisis meeting, I think, trying to figure out what to do.

BANFIELD: Well, we all have Paula Deen to look at and realize just how fast things can unravel and get out of control, and how dynasties can be destroyed. Peter, from the branding perspective, when you look at this program it's about being a redneck.


BANFIELD: And if you think about what that means to be a redneck, it's kind of the stuff that he said. So is it fair to castigate him for doing what sells and what a lot of his core audience likes?

SHANKMAN: You have two sides here. The first side is A&E is run by the media elite in L.A. and New York, who were shocked. They can't associate with this, but then when you look at the audience who watch the show, while we don't necessarily agree with the things said that is something that is a belief to some of this audience.

Now, that said, people are up in arms about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech -- he can say whatever he wants. But A&E has the right to not pay him and A&E has every right to say hey, you know what? We don't agree with that and that's offensive to us and to our audience. We're taking you off. They have every right to do that.

BANFIELD: Yeah, I always love people saying "freedom of speech means you can say anything you want." Sure, it'll keep you out of jail -


STELTER: The Louisiana governor coming out this morning saying I remember when TV networks believed in the first amendment. That really felt off to me.

SHANKMAN: It has nothing to do with freedom of speech -

(CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: Let the lawyer weigh in on that because where I want to go with you on this is not so much on freedom of speech because that is crazy talk. Contract talk. They signed contracts, and there are loads of things in these kinds of contracts that say, morality clauses don't gain plus or minus five pounds. I had one once. That kind of thing. That changes the game.

CALLAN: It would if there is something in the contract. But bear in mind with these reality shows, "Jersey Shore," this one, the most popular ones are ones that involve redneck culture or, you know the equivalent on the "Jersey Shore." People acting inappropriately, stupidly, and people like to watch it like they're watching an exotic tribe in the Amazon jungle and sort of laugh at it. The ratings are high. Now you nail the guy for being himself? What are we going to have, politically correct rednecks? If you're going to run a show about rednecks they're not going to be too sensitive. Maybe it's better -


CALLAN: Maybe it is better to look at the culture as it really is as opposed to as we would like it to be.

BANFIELD: As it really is. This is a reality show. He said some things that are scripted all the time in dramas and we're fine with that and then we're not fine when it's reality?

STELTER: We do see the family pray on the show but we don't hear a lot of conversations about these issues. It might be interesting to see this come up on the show in the future. I don't know if A&E will do that.

BANFIELD: Ten seconds -- is this show going to die over this?

SHENKMAN: Well, A&E sort of screwed themselves up here. Because they came out -- Paula Deen scared them. They came out so quickly to say this is terrible. They didn't really stop and think he is the star of the show. You kill him, you pretty much don't have a show.

BANFIELD: Paula Deen scared people in television everywhere, just for the absolute speed and alacrity with which you can lose everything with just one statement and one bad follow-up.


BANFIELD: The three of you, Peter and Brian and Paul, thank you all. Appreciate the comments. And I don't think it's -- you got a huge show coming up on Sunday with this one.


BANFIELD: From one crazy talking guy to another, Dennis Rodman. He's back in North Korea. He says he is visiting his good friend the dictator. Is his mission really about basketball, or is it about something else? Or does this guy just absolutely have no clue what he's doing? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)