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Stuck in the Storm; Ukraine Amnesty Offer; Amanda Knox Verdict Watch; Securing The Big Game

Aired January 30, 2014 - 06:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome back.

Let's get back over to John Berman for some of today's top stories.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Kate.

Making news this morning, Atlanta still trying to recover from that paralyzing winter storm. Thousands of people are being told to claim the cars they abandoned on the road. But police are warning the cars abandoned on the road might not be where people left them. They might have been towed.

Meanwhile, the city remains shut down. Atlanta's mayor says it's his fault the interstates weren't cleared and Georgia's governor is pointing fingers at weather forecasts.

President Obama takes his opportunity for message to Wisconsin and Tennessee today. This is the second day of campaign style swing- building grassroots support and trying to for his year of action pledge from the State of the Union Address. He'll speak at a G.E. plant near Milwaukee. And the issue of gun violence will also be prominent when the president addresses students at a Nashville High School. A student there was just killed.

More trouble this morning for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. He is now being sued by a prison inmate who says Ford conspired to have him assaulted. Scott MacIntyre is the ex-boyfriend of Ford's sister. Now, he says he knew about Ford's alcohol and drug abuse and Ford had him beat up behind bars to keep him quiet two years ago. MacIntyre is seeking a million dollars in damages. Ford's lawyer says the claim is bogus.

Later today, the Senate oversight committee will hold phone conferences with targeted officials regarding last month's massive data breach. This follows Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the Justice Department is launching a criminal probe into the breach. Target says that this access its systems using credentials stolen from one of the retailers vendors.

All right. You have to look at this. This is just jaw-dropping drone footage. It shows the destruction left behind when a boulder flattened a vineyard and smashed through an old barn in northern Italy. And then an even bigger boulder stopped just inches from a home next to it. Look at that.

No one was hurt amazing. That is crazy. The area has been evacuated because boulders are falling everywhere. And geologists say that more rock falls are possible -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And Italian boulders are even more powerful than non-Italian boulders. So, the situation there, you know, very precarious.

Back to the storm now. We've been telling you about the South and what's been going on about people trapped in their cars for hours because of the terrible gridlock. But hours was more like an entire day for some.

One of those people, Kawanna Anthony. She was stuck on Interstate 285 for 18 hours with that beauty, her 6-month-old baby, Michaela. The pair had no food or water. One diaper to make it through an entire night.

Kawanna joins us now with her daughter.

Kawanna, can you hear us?


CUOMO: You are an amazing mommy because -- I've been watching you with the baby on your lap now. Usually I'd be worried how many ounces are in the bottle to know how much time of quiet we have. But after what you are able to do with this little girl alone in the cold with only one diaper.

What was it like in that car for you?

ANTHONY: It was horrible. I -- I couldn't make it the whole 18 hours with the one diaper of course. So, I had to take the diaper off and make her a cloth diaper out of a receiving blanket.

CUOMO: Oh, old school. Old school.

ANTHONY: Yes, sir.

CUOMO: So what was your biggest concern when you were in there? Did you start to think no one's coming? I've called 911. No one's coming. Did you start to think that?

ANTHONY: Well, I called 911 three times and each time they told me that there wasn't nothing that they can do at the time because no one could really get to me unless I actually had an emergency. But other than that, I had to pretty much wait until they could get the roads cleared. At one time, I was told that I needed to call the DOT if I actually needed -- how long I was going to be out there.

But when I called the DOT, I didn't get an answer. I didn't see anybody for the whole entire night. With two and a half bottles of milk and trying to staying out there making sure my baby had something to eat, it was nerve wracking.

BERMAN: Well, I'll tell you, it's great that you had anything at all, that you had bottles at all. It was good luck.

And to add to the situation, you got your husband, he's stuck somewhere else, his cell phone battery dies. So you can't talk to him. You've got a 13-year-old who's stuck at school. She winds up having to come home alone.

How was all of this playing out on your emotions?

ANTHONY: It just -- it was -- I just -- it was undescribable. I'm going to put it like that because my husband was on the other side of town and his phone went dead and I couldn't get in touch with him. My daughter's phone went dead. I didn't know where she was.

And when she finally on a school bus, she decided to take them home, she -- she -- somewhere else. So me sitting on the highway and couldn't go anywhere and did not know where my family was, was nerve racking. I wouldn't want anybody to go through what I went through.

CUOMO: Well, you got lucky, lucky in quotes because this is really unlucky. A co-worker put your situation online, a Good Samaritan came and got you home. The people in charge are all pointing at each other and no one stepping up and taking responsibility. What do you want them to know as you sit there this morning with that beautiful little girl that had to go through 18 hours of bad stuff? What do you want the people in charge down there to know?

ANTHONY: I just want them to know to make sure that we can try to better plan ourselves, you know, ahead of time so that we can, you know, make sure the citizens -- not only just myself. I know there was a lot of mothers out there with children that had to deal with sitting out there with that amount of time without them eating, so make sure we're not put in that predicament anymore.

If I didn't have myself -- if I didn't have any milk for my baby, 18 hours, I mean, what would I have done? Two and a half bottles is definitely not enough. And one diaper definitely wasn't going to do it.

So, I mean, until you in that situation, you won't really know how it feels to be out there like that. So, I will just hope that they will plan it out better. Make sure, you know, if we know a storm is coming, make sure that we plan accordingly to make sure everyone gets home safe.

CUOMO: Start pointing fingers at themselves and figure out how to make it better the next time. God forbid, this ever happens again.

Hey, Kawanna, thank you for joining us. I am mesmerized by the eyes on Michaela. She's so present. She's looking at the camera. She's looking at you.

God bless. You got a good one there. You got a good one there, Kawanna. ANTHONY: All right. God bless you, too.

CUOMO: Take care. Thank you for sharing your story.

ANTHONY: All right. Thank you.

CUOMO: Look at that kid's eyes.

Kate, back over to you.

BOLDUAN: We have the cutest babies on the show.

CUOMO: I know.

BOLDUAN: I love it.

All right. Let's take a break.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: deja vu for Amanda Knox. The verdict in her retrial on murder charges could come at any moment. We're going to be live from Italy with the very latest.

And also, how do you keep America's biggest sporting event safe? We have rare access inside the FBI command center overseeing Super Bowl security. That's ahead.


BOLDUAN: Let's go around the world now starting in Ukraine where lawmakers are offering amnesty to those arrested in two months of anti-government protests. But there's a catch.

CNN's Diana Magnay is in Kiev with more.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is off sick with acute respiratory disease and fever his office says. Well, down on the barricades where it's minus 16 today, they're still chancing out with the gang. So an amnesty bill rushed through the parliament late last night is unlikely to appease them.

It says that it will release all the president's detained over the last two months in the condition that the protesters leave the government and municipal buildings they've occupied and all access roads to them, but they can stay (ph) on main Independence Square. The opposition boycotted the vote saying the conditions are unacceptable and that people showed no signs of leaving -- Kate.


BOLDUAN: Diana, thank you so much.

And the daughter of a Chinese real estate tycoon is making waves for asking her father to accept her sexuality after he offered millions to any man who could change her mind. Monita Rajpal has that from Hong Kong.


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very personal matter playing out on a public page. Gigi Chao, the daughter of Hong Kong real estate tycoon Cecil Chao, recently wrote an open letter to her father that was published in two local newspapers. In it, she urged him to accept her sexuality and her lesbian partner. Cecil Chao made headlines around the world in 2012 when he offered to pay roughly $65 million to any man who would marry his daughter. Gigi's open letter comes just a week after her a father was reported to have doubled his 2012 offer.

Kate, back to you.


BOLDUAN: All right. Monita, thank you for that.

CUOMO: That is absolutely terrible.

BOLDUAN: I know.

CUOMO: All right. Amanda Knox, what's going on today? A possible verdict.

OK, now, look, it's an extended process. It's always difficult because it's Italy. But in just a few hours, an Italian court is expected to rule in the murder retrial there. Right now, the jury is deliberating. You'll remember Knox was convicted in 2009 in the killing of her roommate, then acquitted and freed two years later. In the U.S., that would have been it.

However, there's no double jeopardy the way it is here. So, that acquittal was thrown out last year by a review court.

But where we are right now?

CNN's Erin McLaughlin live in Florence -- Erin.


Well, this morning, in the courthouse just behind me, Amanda Knox's defense team giving their final argument, asking this court for a final time not to condemn, in their words, two innocent people. The jury then retiring to deliberate. And while Amanda Knox stayed away, her fellow defendant and former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito appeared in court this morning.

His father telling CNN that his son is absolutely terrified but is prepared to face justice, justice in the face of a seemingly unending nightmare.


AMANDA KNOX, BEING RE-TRIED IN 2007 MURDER CASE: It's hard to prove that that you're innocent, that you didn't do something.

MCLAUGHLIN: More than six years since her legal saga began, Amanda Knox is again waiting to learn her fate. An Italian court is now poised to decide if Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are responsible for the gruesome murder of Knox's roommate, 21-year- old British student, Meredith Kercher.

BARBIE NADEAU, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Going in to this verdict, it really could go either way. It's going to be quite a cliffhanger.

MCLAUGHLIN: In 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher to death. The sentence, more than two decades behind bars. But an appellate court later overturned the conviction due to a lack of evidence.

KNOX: Thank you to everyone who's believed in me.

MCLAUGHLIN: After four years behind bars, Knox was free and back in the U.S. But there was more heartache. Italy's Supreme Court found the acquittal full of deficiencies and contradictions and ordered a fresh appeals trial. The ruling outraged Knox's most ardent supporters.

STEVE MOORE, (RET) FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: What we're really going to find out is whether this is about evidence, whether this is about forensics, whether this is about the law, or whether this is about politics and saving face.

MCLAUGHLIN: Unlike the first two trials, Amanda Knox has never seen the inside of this courtroom. She's watching it all from her home in Seattle. She told CNN's Chris Cuomo that she's afraid to return to Italy.

KNOX: I really want this to be behind me. I need this. I don't know how long I can defend myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask you humbly --

MCLAUGHLIN: While Knox stayed away, Sollecito, an Italian native, made several courts appearances, including an almost tearful plea for his freedom.

MOORE: Raffaele is extremely vulnerable because he's got nothing. He is potentially the victim of his own government.


MCLAUGHLIN (on-camera): This verdict not expected to be the end of this legal drama. Whatever this court decides, both sides will have the opportunity to appeal once again to Italy's Supreme Court, the very court that overturned the acquittal in 2011 -- Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: A lot of pressure in this decision, though, because if it goes in Knox's favor, it does really push this very close to the end of the process even in Italy, and until that happens, even though she's in the U.S., it really is not over for her in a lot of levels. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sure that's nothing like it's going to be over anytime soon no matter what. All right. Erin, thanks so much for that.

Let's take a break, but coming up next on NEW DAY, what measures are in place for the FBI to keep fans safe during the Super Bowl. We're going to take you inside the FBI's command center for a rare look at their operations.


CUOMO: It is money time. Chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is in our money center looking at stocks. They've been going back. Futures are OK. We need insight from you and your special place.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: My special place. Look, stocks here looking up this morning after what's been a very rough start to the year. U.S. stock futures are higher. It could change, Chris, at 8:30 eastern. That's when the government tells us just how strongly the economy grew in the fourth quarter. GDP report very important.

Google shares up in the pre-market at selling its smartphone unit. Facebook is up big this morning, too. Happy birthday, Facebook! The social media giant turned ten on Wednesday. It reported sales and profits up more than ever before. Facebook now has 1.2 billion users. Its mobile approach is paying off.

But guys, it isn't making friends as fast as it once did, and its friends are getting older. It still has a teenager problem. The stock up more than 14 (ph) percent, though. So, investors are cheering. Facebook has gained 40 percent since going public about a year and a half ago. Remember that Facebook flop of an IPO for people who bought it and held it, it's paid off -- Chris, Kate.

CUOMO: I remember you saying exactly that, Christine. That the stock would probably drop, but hold on to it long term. I remember you saying exactly that.

ROMANS: I was right.


ROMANS: Put that down in the record books and don't look at any of my other predictions.


BOLDUAN: All right. Exactly. Take and one run with it. Thanks, Christine.

CUOMO: We also have new details this morning on the super security behind the Super Bowl. A big game just three days away, of course, right here in the New York area. So, concerns about the weather are nothing compared to the focus on making it a safe event. Thousands of law enforcement, including the FBI, aren't taking any chances, stepping up security to prevent a possible attack.

Now, CNN's Pamela Brown got a look inside the FBI Command Center in Time Square in the heart of what we're calling Super Bowl Boulevard. How was it, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Chris. That's right. We toured one of several FBI command posts in the city with more than 200 FBI agents working 24-hour shifts on hand. In fact, they have been preparing for this week for more than a year. And the FBI gave us an inside look at its plans.


BROWN (voice-over): At the FBI's mobile command post just off of Super Bowl Boulevard in Time Square --

DAVE SHAFER, FBI ASST., SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We're looking at the Prudential Center in New Jersey --

BROWN: -- agents are already hard at work ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl.

SHAFER: Every single conceivable item that we could think of, hey, if this were to happen, how would we do that? We'll come up with 10 possible scenarios that some of which may be far fetch, some of which are somewhat routine.

BROWN: The FBI is one of 100 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies working in symphony to ensure seamless security and to keep the bad guys at bay.

Have there been any threats, thus far?

SHAFER: No. No. There's no threats that we're aware of whatsoever.

BROWN: More than 10 specialized teams are on standby, including bomb techs, (INAUDIBLE), evidence recovery, and diving teams, scouring the city by air, land and sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it's a chem, a bio, or rad source (ph), we have different types of packaging that we would use for that evidence.

BROWN: FBI vehicles like this one are even equipped with gadgets to detect and collect evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have special bags here for hazmat-type (ph) evidence that we may collect.

BROWN: Authorities say recent mass shooting, terrorist threats targeting the Sochi Olympics, and last year's Boston marathon bombing have shaped how they're protecting the city. The biggest challenge, the unknown. GEORGE VENIZELOS, ASST. DIRECTOR, FBI NEW YORK FIELD OFFICER: The challenge would be the lone wolf like the Boston marathon type situation where some may come out of nowhere. A person who snaps, they're not even part of a terrorist group or terrorist -- they're just somebody who just snaps.

BROWN: A greater threat may be outside the stadium with tourists flooding mass transit and attending 47 special Super Bowl events leading up to the big game.

VENIZELOS: The security is going to be intense. So, if you're thinking about it, you know, it's not going to work.


BROWN (on-camera): Now, on game day, one FBI agent said the stadium is actually probably the most secure place you could be. There is a 2 1/2 mile perimeter fence surrounding the stadium and there will be an extensive security search for fence going to the game. So, of course, you're going to want to allow yourself extra time if you're going.

But Chris and Kate, after all, you know, this is a city that handles special events all the time. Think about New Year's Eve when the ball drops here in Times Square where than more a million people go. So, the FBI says it is more than prepared for this week. Back to you guys.

BOLDUAN: More preparation, the better. And that was a good look into their operation center taking a look at what they're doing. Pamela, thank you. Yes, they did. No --

CUOMO: That was good.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, people who were forced to abandon their cars in the deep freeze are getting a chance to recover those cars today. And we're going to hear from that mother who gave birth in the middle of that massive traffic jam.

CUOMO: Plus, here's a tough question. Could you be making your child fat and not even know it? What a new study says about the age obesity can take hold. Important stuff for families.