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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Millions in Storm's Path, Flights Delayed; FBI Arrests "Dead" Banker; Legal Pot Demand High in Colorado; "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Roberts Ruffles More Feathers; Church Groups Win Obamacare Delay.

Aired January 2, 2014 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We haven't even told you yet about the delays. More than 4,000 flights across the country are delayed. And, again, we're not at the fiercest point of the storm yet. So check if you're supposed to be going anywhere. If you don't really have to, don't.

We want to bring back in Ted Rowlands, in Naperville, Illinois, where it's really cold and snowy. And Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is at the CNN Atlanta center.

Ted, go ahead and get me up-to-date.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Ashleigh.

Well, you're looking at it. This snow has been going on since New Year's Eve day, basically continuously. The Chicago land area will get about a foot of snow in all. The biggest challenge is snow removal, the roads and people's driveways. People are out shoveling and the crews are out, obviously, plowing and salting. They have been continuously since it started. People are not in school. Kids are not in school. Most folks have had most days off this week. The commute hasn't been that bad. O'Hare, though, is the epicenter for cancellations and delays. Over 1,000 so far today and expect more as this continues.

BANFIELD: So, Ted, before I zip over to Alexandra, when I was growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, which has surface temperature colder than Mars -- no joke --

(LAUGHTER)

I had radio reports in the morning -- no lie- that exposed skin freezes in X number of seconds. It was like the U.V. index, but exposed skin will freeze. I'm looking at you, my friend, without a hat. I want to know where you grew up.

ROWLANDS: It's in the mid 20s. No, it's not bad right now. In a few hours, it's going to be in the single digits and then you will see my ear muffs and hat. But it's in the mid 20s. It's actually not bad right now. North of us, in Wisconsin, Minnesota, they're dealing with single digits and below zero temperatures where it is down-right dangerous.

BANFIELD: Yeah. ROWLANDS: But no worries. I'm good.

BANFIELD: Are you from California?

ROWLANDS: Thank you for the concern.

(LAUGHTER)

No, I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin.

BANFIELD: What?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: He's tough then.

BANFIELD: I can't believe that. I thought for sure you were an L.A. boy with that cute hairdo.

I'm going to go to Alexandra Steele now. Take a warm-up.

Alexandra, I'm making all these jokes. This is really, really serious. I know how to handle cold weather. But a lot of people don't, especially when you're talking about pets and kids and school and all the rest. Wrap it up for me, if you would.

STEELE: Let's talk about it. Where Ted is in Chicago, thus far, in the last year, they've only had 11 inches of snow. They'll double that in just this little period.

So, here is a look at where we stand now. It's rain and it's snow and it's really coming in two phases. That is the good news, especially for the northeast and New England.

Here's the look right now. New York, dry skies. Boston, flurries, very light and very powdery. But this is kind of the bull's eye for right along this New York state throughway. That's where we'll see such an inundation of snow and for the longest period of time. This is a double whammy. Two areas of low pressure are kind of transferring the energy. Tonight, you can see who is into the snow. Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Long Island, and getting into New Jersey. This is falling a little farther south than originally expected. Friday morning, here is where the snow is still. In these big cities, we're going to see the snow. In terms of accumulation, eight to 14 in Boston, six to eight in New York. Friday afternoon, Ashleigh, blizzard warnings come for Long Island and the cape. The snow will be there, but the winds will be very intense, gusting 40 miles per hour.

BANFIELD: I'm glad you're wearing your sweater.

(LAUGHTER)

I think you'll put in a long day today, too. If you didn't get the note from our boss, Jeff Zucker, we're all working extra hours. CNN will be on the story all afternoon, all evening. We're all working a little earlier, too. 4:00 a.m. start tomorrow. For anyone who is watching, Alexandra and the team will have all the details, flights, cold, snow, everything.

STEELE: You've got it.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Alexandra. Appreciate it.

STEELE: Sure.

BANFIELD: So coming up next, a man who everybody thought was dead is now in FBI custody. Look at why your screen. Look hard. It is the same guy. That, both pictures, is Aubrey Lee Price. Like the guy on the left, when police wanted him for ripping off investors for millions of dollars, allegedly, he vanished in 2012 and even wrote a suicide note. And then the guy on the right was caught, locked up in South Georgia and he is charged and facing some serious jail time. It is not unbelievable when you hear his story.

Ana Cabrera has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hiding in plain sight, Aubrey Lee Price, the man wanted by the FBI for wire fraud, vanished more than a year ago in an apparent suicide. Nearly a year after he was presumed dead, the fugitive was apprehended by police in a traffic stop on New Year's Eve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe he had the nerve to hideout so close to home, number one.

CABRERA: Price is alleged to have embezzled $21 million from more than 100 investors between 2010 and 2012. Prosecutors say, instead of investing money held at Montgomery Bank and Trust, where he worked, he created a dummy company in New York to wire the funds through phony investments and wire transfers. He wrote a 22-page confession letter to his family, saying he planned to kill himself off the coast of Florida, by jumping off a ferryboat. The letter was the beginning of an elaborate plan to stage his own suicide.

These photos show Price dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, arriving at the Key West airport, and carrying a suitcase. This is the day of his disappearance that year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a bag he is towing behind him. May be packed with investor money, for all I know.

CABRERA: Surveillance video shows him at the ferry terminal in Key West, where he led investigators and his family to believe he took his own life. But without evidence of a body, the FBI continued to look for him. That search ended Tuesday, thanks to a Glen County, Georgia, sheriff who stopped Price's vehicle for having darkly tinted windows.

The bold fugitive will now be brought to justice and faces up to 30 years in prison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: That is CNN's Ana Cabrera reporting for us.

Sadness over the death of an NFL player has now turned to anger instead, because Jovan Belcher's mother has filed suit against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that lawsuit she says the Chiefs knew her son injured his brain after a series of concussions during his four-year career but required him to play anyway. You may remember this incredible headline story. A little more than a year ago, Belcher shot and killed himself and his girlfriend.

The fight to save 13-year-old Jahi McMath's life has a new ally, the Terri Schiavo Family and Foundation. It's a group that fought a headline-making battle over who controls the right to die. A judge has declared Jahi brain dead. And the hospital in Oakland plans to take her off life support but the family wants her moved to a New York facility that's willing to take her.

It is 300 days and counting now before Toronto's next election. Toronto's controversial mayor, Rob Ford, filed papers, in fact, he did it just this morning, beginning his re-election campaign. Ford has refused to step down even after he became the focus of a crack cocaine scandal and was stripped of most of his powers and ended up as a national punch line in that country and this country.

A highly popular movie is coming to CNN tonight. CNN Films presents "March of the Penguins," the movie that melted the hearts of millions. It's a story of love and survival in the harshest place on earth, and it is fabulous. Gather the family, folks. Incredible viewing begins tonight at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.

If you're wondering why so many people are smiling in Colorado, it's because recreational pot went on sale for the first time yesterday. And one store owner is telling us it's off the rails, man. The sales are crazy! Are they going to be able to keep up with demand? I'm serious. Are they going to go out of stock? Live to Denver in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Some people wait a lifetime and others have waited for hours in the cold just for a chance to buy some weed just to smoke for fun. Now, under a new law in Colorado, they can legally do it any time they want.

How did things go on this history making first day go of buying weed legally?

Here's Casey Wian.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This married couple rang in the New Year by waiting outside the Evergreen Apothecary at 2:00 in the morning, six hours before recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado.

(on camera): Why was it important for you guys to be here so early and be first in line?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we're pioneers.

WIAN (voice-over): Some 800 people took a number at this store on day one alone, some waiting in the snow, to select their preferred strain of pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be a cross of O.G. Cush, Mandola (ph) Cush and Sweet Tooth.

WIAN: And the first legal deal was done.

(CHEERING)

WIAN: It's been a long time coming. Since the sale of alcohol resumed after the end of Prohibition 80 years ago, marijuana has been on the target of authorities. "Reefer Madness," a propaganda film from the 1930s portrays the descent of high school pot smokers into a life of crime and insanity. But attitudes and laws have since changed.

Colorado first allowed medical marijuana in 2000. It took 12 years before voters here approved Amendment 64, legalizing recreation pot use and sales over the opposition of the state's government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, this is the forefront. To be a part of history and to -- Prohibition has ended.

WIAN: Colorado residents age 21 and over can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana. Out-of-staters can buy a quarter ounce.

MIKE OWENS, CUSTOMER: I'm excited. I've been dreaming about this since I started smoking.

WIAN: There are other rules. No taking marijuana out of state, no consumption in public. The main concern for law enforcement, no driving stoned.

JACK FINLAW, CHIEF COUNSEL, COLORADO GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: If someone is drinking and driving, they're driving too fast or aggressively. If you're under the influence of marijuana, you're likely to be slow. But, frankly, we've had medical marijuana in Colorado for about 13 years. So, we're used to dealing with people who are driving and consuming marijuana.

WIAN: For new recreational retailers, the biggest concern is demand exceeding supply and the possibility of shortages and higher prices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A candy like taste to it.

WIAN: Here, it's already going for $50 per eighth of an ounce, a nice problem to have. TIM CULLEN, CO-OWNER, EVERGREEN APOTHECARY: This has far exceeded my stocks. What an exciting day. It's great to see all these smiling faces.

WIAN: Wonder why they're smiling.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Now at the Evergreen Apothecary retail store, 400 of the 800 plus people who got numbers yesterday were actually able to buy marijuana, because they ran out of time. They had to close by 7:00, according to city regulations. There's another line, those 400 and some others, will be out there for their turn.

This marijuana you see around me, Ashleigh, is destined for Evergreen. It will be ready in 60 days. Despite concern that is some businesses have of a shortage, this one says they have plenty of supply. Others aren't so sure -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: So, Casey, whenever I see people working around the tables and processing that fresh weed, they're wearing masks and gloves. Does it smell pretty strong in there?

WIAN: Actually, in this room, it doesn't smell all that strong, or perhaps I've become immune to it.

(LAUGHTER)

You can see there's no buds on these plants yet. They're about 60 days away. There's another room where the smell is a lot stronger, and those are the ones that are closer to being harvested -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: You are either really, really smart or just an excellent reporter, knowing all that about buds and weeds and all the rest.

(LAUGHTER)

Casey, thank you for doing a great job on this story. Happy New Year.

WIAN: Thank you. Same to you.

BANFIELD: Thanks.

I want to bring in our legal analysts on this one, because there's still a lot of questions. Mark O'Mara and Paul Callan are joining me on this one.

When this New Year began yesterday, and all those people were lining up, and now you can smoke and get high legally, it still begs the question, you've got to go to work. And there are still drug-testing policies that are out there and there are still employers that don't like weed and don't like drugs.

So, Mark O'Mara, where does this intersect? What are employers allowed to do in places like Colorado? MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & CNN LEGAL ANALYST: An employer like in Colorado or any other state can ensure they have a safe environment and workers will be able to work. Whether it's alcohol, pot or any other drug, I think they should be allowed for drug testing to make sure that their employees are doing what they're supposed to be doing properly. Colorado doesn't change that. It just says that when you're not working and you're not driving your car, if you're over 18, you can smoke pot.

BANFIELD: So we should look at it as the same as booze? I can't come to work drunk. They can fire me. Can they test my blood, though?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's an interesting question. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the big concerns was, if you were an alcoholic, who was not drinking, could you be barred from employment? Employers are allowed to test you for alcohol use if they suspect you're currently using. And the same thing would apply with drugs.

I don't think we're really going into any kind of a brave new world here. This is a well-tested thing about using drugs or alcohol on the workplace and at the workplace. Employers can prohibit it. It's perfectly legal. They'll do the same thing in Colorado.

BANFIELD: OK. I get you about maybe we're not in unchartered waters here. Although I feel like we really are.

Because if you drug test someone, Mark, and THC shows up in his or her blood and it was from a joint three days ago, they are not high. They are not creating an unsafe work environment. Then what do you do?

O'MARA: That's going to be the problem. You could test for pot and it could be in the system for as long as 30 days because it's fat soluble. That's going to be the real problem. If my client smokes pot a week ago and shows up for work and is tested, it will be positive, even though they're not under the influence of that drug. That could be a concern because you could then sue those drug devices for improper means.

BANFIELD: I sort brought up this analogy of why is it any different from booze? It's legal to drink, but not good to be drunk at work. But so there's no federal law that says drinking booze is illegal. How does that intersect now?

CALLAN: It does intersect. I think that's why we have seen decisions under the ADA saying, hey, you can test for alcohol but there must be reasonable suspicion of use. You're on to something that's very important about marijuana that's different from alcohol. Alcohol, there's a window. You stop drinking and you're sober in four or five hours. You may have a bad hangover, but the alcohol pretty much is out of your system. With marijuana, it goes on for a lengthy period of time. Different world in that respect.

BANFIELD: Mark O'Mara, Paul Callan, thank you and happy New Year.

CALLAN: Happy New Year. O'MARA: Happy New Year.

BANFIELD: And good luck getting back to Florida.

O'MARA: Looking forward to it.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: You did book a hotel, right?

O'MARA: Yes, I did.

BANFIELD: That's a good thing.

(LAUGHTER)

Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

More controversial comments from "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson, but the A&E Network is moving forward with the new episodes. Kind of makes you wonder if it's about keeping the viewers happy, keeping the money rolling in, or just letting somebody say what he wants to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

Forget Miley Cyrus, Alec Baldwin, Kenya and all those other people who are super famous and say super crazy things. Because television's new lightening rod for controversy is this guy, "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson. He made off-colored commented that got him yanked off of the hit A&E show "Duck Dynasty" only to be reinstated because of popular demand. But the story's not over because Phil is ruffling feathers again.

Here's Pamela Brown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SHOUTING)

(GUNFIRE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Phil Robertson, patriarch of "Duck Dynasty," starting off the New Year with a new controversy. A video surfaced from Robertson from 2009 in which he advise is men to marry women at a very young age.

PHIL ROBERTSON, "DUCK DYNASTY: You wait until they get to be 20, the only picking that's going to take place is your pocket.

(LAUGHTER)

You got to marry these girls 15, 16 so they'll pick your ducks.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: Robertson married his own wife, Kay, when she was 16, and he was 20.

MIKE PAUL, PRESIDENT, MGP & ASSOCIATES P.R.: What is the tipping point to get it kicked off the air? The answer, thus far, is nothing. There are more and more people watching the show, and more and more people who are buying their products to show support.

BROWN: The family has been the center of a media firestorm since comments Robertson made in an interview with "GQ" magazine in which he discussed his opinions on African-Americans and gays, describing homosexual as against nature, saying, "It not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

ROBERTSON: Pain's a good thing.

BROWN: A&E suspended Robertson from filming and Robertson issued an apology. After a flurry of online support, the network reinstated him to the show, saying they "decided to resume filming "Duck Dynasty" later this spring with the entire Robertson family."

Phil Robertson's son, Willie, addressed the issue of his father's official comments on FOX News during its New Year's Eve coverage.

WILLIE ROBERTSON, SON OF PHIL ROBERTSON: I think we all learned a lot and we're ready to move on. And our family's happy and ready to go.

BROWN: A lot of this may have come down to money. With 14 million viewers per episode, "Duck Dynasty" is A&E's top-rated show, and "Forbes" magazine estimates their endorsements in merchandise brought in $400 million in 2013.

PAUL: Ultimately, it comes down to audience, because the advertisers and the interest groups are all going to follow what the audience says. And what the audience has said, thus far, we like the guy.

BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: 14 million people per episode, and the money keeps moving in. Gun maker Mossberg is launching a new line of "Duck Dynasty" shotguns, semiautomatic rifles and also a pistol.

Other news, it's day two of the Affordable Care Act. Two religious organizations are getting around the contraception mandate for now, though, thanks to one Supreme Court justice. LEGAL VIEW on it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: I don't know if you saw Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's New Year's Eve dropping the ball. Minutes before she dropped the ball, she dropped a bombshell. And that is she changed the way a certain part of Obamacare works, the coverage, contraception, who can supply contraception, who maybe doesn't have to. Two groups do not have to, because they're Catholic related. What does it mean? What's the government going to do it about it?

Jeffrey Toobin, who is an expert on all things on the Supreme Court, joins me.

I don't get it. I don't get how you can exempt some organizations that are affiliated, certainly the Catholic Church, but Catholic- affiliated organizations and not others. And how does this get resolved?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's complicated. Justice Sotomayor didn't stop the implementation of Obamacare. She just, for just one group, there's a stay for a few days until the government can respond. It's not like Obamacare is off the books.

Here's the question, there are religious organizations that discriminate. The Catholic Church is allowed to hire only Catholics as priests, right? That's just --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: -- makes sense. But they are not allowed to say we're not going to install fire escapes in our churches. Some rules, they have to follow. Some rules, they don't have to follow. The question is, where does this birth control mandate fall? Is it like a fire escape in that, you know, tough, you have to apply --

BANFIELD: How far can it spider out? How many organizations out there can say, I'm not going pay for your pill?

TOOBIN: The Supreme Court is dealing with this question in a very big way in -- they're going hear the case shortly. Hotel (sic) Lobby, which is a big chain of craft stores, it's privately held, and the owners of craft -- of Hobby Lobby say they don't want to pay for certain forms of birth control because they regard it as a form of abortion. They're for-profit. Are they exempt? That's what the Supreme Court is going to decide.

I think that the nuns have a stronger case. The for-profit companies, I think, have a tough case making the case they are exempt.

BANFIELD: We'll have to talk about it tomorrow because the government has until tomorrow to respond --

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: -- and it will be an interesting response.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank you. Happy New Year.

TOOBIN: To you, as well.

BANFIELD: Thank you, everyone, for watching. AROUND THE WORLD starts now.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Get ready for a powerful winter storm with, freezing temperatures, up to a foot of snow in some place. Million of folks will be impacted. We're there to tell you exactly where.

Plus, he has been called a traitor by some, a hero by others. Now, two major newspapers are saying the Obama administration should have mercy on the NSA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden.

And rescued at last. After being stranded for 10 on a ship in the Antarctic, but the 22-member crew remain on board.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

The new mayors of Boston and New York face the first big test: how are they going to handle the monster winter storm that's about to hit their communities? We'll find out, of course. New York could get up to 10 inches, Boston even more than that. Millions more people along the east coast, they are hunkering down for a possible blizzard that could bring life to a standstill. People in the Midwest, they are already dealing with a snowstorm. The temperatures there are about to take a deep dive below zero.

We've got CNN --