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Governor Deal Apologizes, Mayor Reed Still Blames Others; Legal for Bieber; Interview with Rep. Chris Smith

Aired January 30, 2014 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's an abandoned-car purgatory after Atlanta's rush hour from hell, tow trucks taking over where snowplows, salt trucks and public officials failed.

Also this hour, Justin Bieber's rap sheet goes international. After getting busted in Miami in Miami Beach, he's now in trouble in Toronto, charged with assaulting a limo driver.

And man was dying of a heart attack across the street from a D.C. fire station as his daughter begged firefighters for help.

Did they really tell her to call 911 instead of jumping into help themselves?

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Thursday, January 30th, and welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

The governor of Georgia is now apologizing for the crisis in his state following the winter storm there. Just last hour, Governor Nathan Deal apologized on Fox News for all of the problems.

He said his first priority in the crisis was helping children who got stranded on buses and at schools, followed by providing food, water, or a ride to drivers who got trapped on icy roads.

But some say the governor and mayor don't deserve all the blame, like Joe Bookman from "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" who writes this.

Quote, "Once again, metro Atlanta has proved itself spectacularly incapable of handling a small weather setback, in this case, two inch snowfall.

"The fact it comes three years after another such failure certainly doesn't make it easier to accept, but the appearance of incompetence and lack of preparation was offset, at least to a degree, by the way the two leaders handled themselves under fire."

In the meantime, across metro Atlanta, more than 2,000 abandoned vehicles. I did say 2,000. They are still clogging the major highways and scores on side streets as well.

And this has touched off a complex game of logistics, all aimed at getting the city rolling again.

And, now, finally, some sunny skies and rising temperatures are slowly starting to melt all the chaos that claimed at least 10 lives across the South.

But even as the cold retreats, the blame game is still red hot.

Our Victor Blackwell is live in Atlanta. So, Victor, what is the mayor of Atlanta now saying today?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mayor of Atlanta continues to assert that he has control and his office has purview over the city streets but not the interstate, which is true.

He has said the dismissals of students, the release of employees, government employees and of private companies, those should have been staggered on Tuesday. Instead, everyone was released onto the roads at once.

Now, I want to also talk about the schools, Ashleigh, because I think one of the most important questions that have been asked is why were students sent to school on Tuesday at all if, even on Monday, officials touted how prepared they were for an impending storm?

We have not yet got an answer from Atlanta public schools, although we've asked at least a half dozen times, but neighboring districts have told us that they're blaming the National Weather Service, saying that what happened was not what was initially forecast.

But, of course, meteorologists have re-racked the video and, indeed, demonstrated that they forecast two inches of snow for this area in an area that's not really used to that.

That could have -- well, not could have, it actually caused major problems, and people knew it was on the way.


BANFIELD: It's hard to believe what I'm seeing behind you, as the traffic seems to flow just perfectly, given the fact that we're looking at a picture just from yesterday with such absolute gridlock and mayhem.

I'm glad things are warming up, Victor. I'm glad things are on the way, but, clearly, that community has some work ahead of it.

Thank you, Victor Blackwell, reporting live for us in Atlanta.

This is very a disturbing story. Researchers in Florida have uncovered the remains of 55 people on the grounds of a former reform school that was notorious for brutality.

Official records have indicated that 31 bodies were buried in a makeshift graveyard at the Dozier School for Boys. That was closed by the state back in 2011.

The university professor who oversaw a two-year excavation says finding two dozen additional bodies, all of them apparently children, opens up a whole new set of questions about that school. An Italian jury is close to delivering a new verdict for Amanda Knox in the retrial for the murder of her former roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Knox is nowhere near Italy for this retrial. She's in Seattle. She and her ex-boyfriend, Raffael Sollecito, were acquitted in 2011.

But, last year, Italy's supreme court overturned that decision, and the case went back up for retrial.

We've got a live report from Italy, coming up, and we'll bring you the verdict just as soon as it comes down in that case.

I hate to even start this way, but I will. In Rob Ford news, the nominal mayor of Toronto is now being sued by his sister's ex-, all of this for allegedly plotting to have that ex- beaten up in jail.

A man named Scott MacIntyre claims that he threatened to expose the mayor's, quote, "drug and alcohol abuse and association with criminals," end quote.

Allegedly, it was that threat that inspired this now-infamous videotape rant, one of many involving Mayor Ford to go viral.

It also allegedly led to a beat down two months later while MacIntyre was locked up for breaking into Ford's house and threatening to kill him.

You following me? This is tough.

The mayor's lawyer says this suit is, quote, "without foundation." We'll see.

Another infamous Canadian -- why me? Justin Bieber, he's back in the spotlight, this time for now allegedly hitting a limo driver in the back of the head.

We're going to get that LEGAL VIEW and find out just what exactly is up for this young man now that the crimes he's accused of committing are going international.


BANFIELD: What a difference a week can make for Justin Bieber, because now three -- count them -- open cases are hanging over that young man's head.

That 19-year-old turned himself in last night in Toronto, this time for allegedly bashing a limo driver in the back of the head several times last month on my birthday. Had nothing to do with my birthday, but it was real close to New Year's Eve. I'm just saying.

Last week at this time, we were finding out details about his drunk- driving arrest in Miami.

Jason Carroll looks at Bieber's latest fiasco and the other pending cases against him.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One week, two countries, two arrests, Justin Bieber in trouble with the law, again, turning himself in to Toronto police Wednesday night amidst a crush of paparazzi and screaming fans.

The pop star facing an assault charge in connection with the hitting of a limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month.

Bieber's lawyer telling CNN, "Our position is that Mr. Bieber innocent."

Bieber himself, seemingly unfazed by the negative publicity --

JUSTIN BIEBER, POP STAR: Hey, what's up, guys? Justin here -

CARROLL: -- posting this video to Instagram just minutes before his arrival at the police station Wednesday night.

The super star now facing now potential legal battles in three jurisdictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bieber, you are charged with the following.

CARROLL: In Miami, Bieber's lawyer has filed a not guilty plea to charges of DUI, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license after he was arrested last week for alleged drag racing.

Meanwhile detectives in Los Angeles say they are tightening up the case in the alleged egging attack of his neighbor's home, with prosecutors expected to announce as early as next week if Bieber will face felony vandalism charges.

Is Bieber out of control? Some legal analysts say the outrage over his behavior has been blown out of proportion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that he's out of control. He's a 19- year-old kid with more money than he knows what to do with.

CARROLL: His detractors have had enough of his antics with over 100,000 people signing an online petition calling for the Canadian teen to be deported from the United States.

How will Bieber behaving going forward is unclear. His fans say they're confident he can handle whatever comes his way.

"Confident" just happens to be the title of the song of his latest video released just yesterday.


BANFIELD: OK. Jason Carroll, just how confident is he going to be when he has to appear in front of one of the authorities in Toronto? Or is that even the next step here?

CARROLL: Well, you know, I think that's a question that a lot of people are asking especially his detractors.

When you look at court dates that still lay ahead of the guy, on February 14th, he's got to be in Miami for the DUI arraignment, then on March 10th, he's got to be back here in Toronto to face the assault charge.

But from his point of view, from his family's point of view, his father, specifically, he tweeted out a picture today basically saying Justin Bieber is resting comfortably at this point and pretty much taking it all in stride.

BANFIELD: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought we were about to have a sound bite there. Sorry about that. All right, Justin -- Jason --

CARROLL: No, I was throwing back to you.

BANFIELD: This is getting crazy. Jason Carroll, thank you. Say hello to my peeps there in Canada.

Speaking of Canada and the United States and whole issue that's erupted between the two countries over this one little fella, more than 180,000 have decided to sign up on the official White House petition to get Bieber deported from the United States.

And the message attached to it, whoever wrote it is pretty harsh. It says, "We'd like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive and drug- abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked.

"He's not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth.

"We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."

You might physically think that you have a shot, but digitally, the guy's just out there. He's everywhere. You can't remove him from the society no matter what with Internet and all.

I want to bring in HLN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson and CNN legal analyst and defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

So, first things first, you heard Jason Carroll just reporting, guys, that he's got to make these crisscross appearances over the border, right?

He has to appear in Miami next, and then he's got to go back to Canada to appear in Toronto.

Every time you cross the border, I will attest, it's very serious. You can be denied. And people have been denied for things kind of like this before.

Have a shot at this and tell me whether this is going to matter, now that we have this Toronto case. MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, he doesn't have to show up in Miami. The arraignment can be waives so he doesn't need to make that court appearance. He's going to stay in Canada or wherever else he wants to go. After that, I don't really think the U.S. is going to deny him admission right now, particularly with the court case pending. They'll probably let him go through it.

And again, this is sort of thug-light kind of stuff.

BANFIELD: Thug light?

O'MARA: Well, he's got throwing eggs at a house, he's got a non-DUI, because this is really not much of a DUI -

BANFIELD: Hey, whoa. Back up, back up.

O'MARA: Okay.

BANFIELD: Throwing eggs at a house, yeah typically that would be silly, but this is like $20,000 which brings it into the felony category, so yes and no.

O'MARA: Yeah, and no.


O'MARA: Yeah, I would like to see what caused -- how eggs cause $20,000 worth of damage.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: In Calabasas, I mean you know, that's a different issue.

BANFIELD: How do you work that into a rap video? I egged your house. Right?

O'MARA: But it really does sort of seem like he's got a lot of little things happening. He needs to get his act together and stop acting like the idiot that he's acting like.

BANFIELD: Okay, so Joey, some of your favorite artists, I decided to bring out of the woodwork: Amy Winehouse, fantastic. I don't know how many people know this though, but she was banned from coming into the country back in 2008. Her work visa was denied because she had drug convictions, and in 2009 for assault charges against a fan.

This is what Bieber facing.

JACKSON: The list goes on.

BANFIELD: The list goes on. Lilly Allen, a singer banned in '07, work visa revoked after being arrested for assaulting a photographer in London. Mad Child, I didn't know about him even though he's one of my peeps from Canada. He's a rapper, banned in 2011 due to ties with the Hell's Angels biker gang. Just ties with them.

So when I look at this list, I think that doesn't sound implausible that Bieber could be told thank you but no thank you, stay home.

JACKSON: It all depends because remember, Ashleigh, these cases are being adjudicated as we speak. Okay? So, there's no conviction at all. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. What's interesting to me, Mark and I have seen a lot of rap sheets. You know they call a rap sheet a multi-state when you have convictions in multi states. He's developing an international rap sheet. At the end of the day, Ashleigh, it will depend on the severity of the beating, did he actually do it, was he merely present, was he a willing participant? Did he conspire? What was it all about?

BANFIELD: The story from the limo driver is that he picked up six guys and someone assaulted him from behind.

JACKSON: I wasn't Justin Bieber, it was one of the other people that did it.


O'MARA: It's reasonable doubt.


JACKSON: Absolutely.

O'MARA: I think so.

JACKSON: Especially for you.


BANFIELD: All right, Joey Jackson, Mark O'Mara, stand by if you will for me. I have a couple of other case that we're working. One of them, honestly you had to read the whole story to believe it was possible. A man collapsing from a heart attack within site of a fire department. A passerby asks firefighters for help. Get this, the firefighters supposedly said because nobody called 911, they could not do anything. There's some serious detail that matters here. We're going to show that to you and tell you coming up later.

Also just ahead, hundreds of prostitution arrests made days before the Super Bowl. Going to talk to the Congressman who's trying to put a stop to human trafficking.


BANFIELD: With Super Bowl hype and hysteria taking over in New York, you can bet the Broncos and Seahawks aren't the only ones in town trying to score. Major sporting events are known as a hotbed for prostitution, and the NYPD and the FBI are on the case.

Already reporting some 200 arrests for sex trafficking-related crimes, everything from street corner busts to high-end undercover call girl stings.

New Jersey Congressman Chris smith is co-chairman of the House Anti- Human Trafficking Caucus, and he joins me now live to talk about how bad the situation has become, what's being done to do about it. And also if maybe there might be a little bit of hype around this too because a lot of critics, congressman, say there's no uptick in trafficking. There's an uptick in prostitution, but trafficking is a whole other kettle of fish. Are they wrong?

REP. CHRIS SMITH, (R) NEW JERSEY: I think they're very wrong. Ten years ago, almost to the day, I led a delegation to Athens right before the Olympics in Greece. We urged them, I visited two shelters along with my wife where women who had been trafficked were, and they did nothing. As a result there was a 95 percent increase in trafficked women into Athens as a result of the Olympics. It becomes a magnet. Where there's an aggressive proactive strategy, and Chris Christie has put one in place. It can mitigate, it doesn't eliminate it, but it can mitigate the instance of trafficking. When it comes to young girls, we've seen already in social media there's been an explosion of ads for escort services and Super Bowl specials which is a horrific way to describe exploitation of a woman.

BANFIELD: I've been reporting this story forever, and it's almost one of those evergreens. You can go to your file, and pull out the intro, here we go again. Super Bowl is coming and the cops are out looking for the sex trade and the Craigslist ads are out and all that kind of thing.

However, if anyone has skin in the game, pardon the pun, to use this as an opportunity to get their message out on human trafficking, it would be the Global Alliance Against Traffic in (ph) Women. This organization's sole aim is to stop the trafficking of women. And even they say there's no evidence that a large sporting event causes an increase in trafficking for prostitution.

SMITH: Well -

BANFIELD: I don't get how --

SMITH: Well, Ashleigh, on Monday I chaired yet another hearing. I am the prime sponsor, the author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the landmark law that is the U.S. domestic and international law against trafficking. Even when we did it in 2000, there were nay- sayers who said oh, it's a solution in search of a problem.

We have now been able to document over the many years, with the tip report, trafficking persons report, that this is a huge - what we do see is the tip of the iceberg. So I would totally disagree with those who say that there's an exaggeration going on.

BANFIELD: But - I want --

SMITH: I also say - I had the hearing on Monday. We had the ambassador at large Luis CdeBaca of the tip office, Trafficking Person's Office. He gave compelling testimony as to huge Super Bowl, World Cup, other kinds of venues for sports being magnets and of course the state police, the attorneys general, both from New Jersey and New York, are proactively trying to mitigate this problem. It's a huge problem. So, if we trivialize it, we enable, unwittingly, we enable the traffickers - and let me --

BANFIELD: Right. I want to get to the heart of this, though. I want to get to the heart of this because I want to believe you. If this is truly a problem, it is horrifying and people like you are critical in the system to stop this from happening, but then I hear people like the Phoenix police spokesperson who says after 2008 we did not notice an increase or anything out of the ordinary.

In 2006 after the World Cup the International Organization for Migration did a study on prostitution and said all data strongly indicates an increase in human trafficking during and after World Cup did not occur.

SMITH: Okay - Ashleigh -


BANFIELD: I've got all sorts of other citations from police in 2011. Wait a second. Dallas Super Bowl, 59 people arrested for crimes related to prostitution, 46 of whom locally-based sex workers. 2011, 68 prostitution related events, two of whom related to trafficking. Last year's game in New Orleans, 85 arrests, two of whom trafficking.

Like I said, I want to believe you've got the statistics, but these aren't lies either.

SMITH: Well, here's what happens. The 2006 World Cup was in Germany. I held hearings on that World Cup. There was an estimation, or a belief that some 40,000 women were going to be trafficked from the Slavic nations, especially from Russia. I had Russian former sex trafficked women at my hearing. We brought in the German government. They were incensed anybody was raising the issue because they thought they had it at hand.

But frankly, over the course of six to eight months they took very progressive proactive -- they had three tip lines, including one for prostituted women and trafficked women. And they were rung, and the huge numbers of people who were going to be brought into the various venues of the World Cup in 2006 didn't happen because it was a proactive, aggressive strategy. When it didn't happen at the Olympics in Athens, it went up 95 percent. So, it all comes down to what do we do proactively, prevention, what do we do to arrest people and then to liberate the women and protect them.

BANFIELD: To your point, as we speak, the New York AG Eric Schneiderman is making an sweeping announcement about arrests - a ring. Now, it could be apples and oranges here, there's been an investigation going on for a year. They're talking conspiracy with drugs, and other incidences as well as trafficking, but we're going to bring that to you just as soon as we get all of information. I want to make sure we have the right reporting, and the right context and clearly the right solutions to what is truly an honest to goodness problem in the world and United States. I have to cut it there, though, but will you come back and talk to me?

SMITH: Yes. Absolutely, Ashleigh. Thank you so much. BANFIELD: Who you rooting for?

SMITH: Um, Denver.


SMITH: I like Denver!

BANFIELD: He said it! All right, thank you Congressman, nice to see you. Thank you for your passion on this as well, appreciate it.

Speaking of games, speaking of the weather, that's what we've been talking about a lot. The temperatures expected to be in the 30s. Prices for upper level tickets for the Super Bowl plummeting. People don't like the idea of being cold watching football--38 percent since the conference championship games. Those things have plummeted. It's the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in the cold weather city. I kind of feel like -- does that sound right? Average ticket price is $1600.

Besides the weather, the distance is proving too far for some Broncos and Seahawks fans to travel so the locals are grabbing up the empty seats. Those hearty locals who can sit in 38 to 40 degrees weather. I keep saying. It sat in 40 below once for a game. The whole games I did! It was the worst. Okay.

Speaking of weather again, how do you make sure more than 2,000 abandoned cars get back to their rightful owners when they're scattered along the freeways? It's a daunting task and a real one facing people in city of Atlanta today. We're going to show you what's going on to try to make those reunions happen sooner rather than later. That's coming up.