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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Knox Found Guilty by Italians -- Again; Obama Speaks on Pot Legalization; Justice Dept to Seek Death Penalty for Accused Boston Bomber; A Look at Super Bowl Commercials; The Battle Against Sex Trafficking

Aired January 31, 2014 - 11:00   ET

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


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If he had prosthetic arms, it would throw him off balance for being a kicker, and he's a pretty good kicker, so we don't want to harm that at all right now.

We want to watch him go all the way to the NFL to be on the Ravens, right?

So, you know, maybe one day, he will get prosthetics, but talk about some perspective for all of us, right?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Great story. Thank you so much, Poppy Harlow.

And thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

LEGAL VIEW with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Fearing for her freedom, all over again, Amanda Knox, insisting she will not willingly go back to Italy after a court reinstates her murder conviction. So, does it mean extradition is in the cards?

Also, this hour, prosecutors say the surviving Boston bombing suspect deserves to die, calling him a cruel, depraved killer with no remorse, but is it an open-and-shut case?

And after grabbing world headlines in their first confrontation, Dennis Rodman and CNN's Chris Cuomo are at it again.

In today's interview at a rehab center, no less, Rodman made Chris an offer he can't refuse. And he makes North Korea's dictator an offer you simply won't believe.

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is Friday, January the 31st, and welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

If you are convicted of a crime in this country, in America, the court of appeals is your friend. Whatever happens, you won't be any worse off than before.

But that doesn't help Amanda Knox, whom a court of appeals in Italy just reconvicted of a murder that she and her former boyfriend had been cleared of. You'll remember the murder. It was Knox's housemate, Meredith Kercher. She was stabbed to death over and over and over in their rented villa back in '07.

Knox and that boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, both insist that they are innocent. They were both locked up. They were both tried. They were both convicted and sentenced to 20-plus years in prison.

In 2011, things changed. An appeals court acquitted them for, quote, "lack of evidence."

But, two years after that, it changed again and Italy's highest court sent the case back to a different appeals court, saying, Retry it, start over.

Those verdicts? They finally came down yesterday and Knox got a longer sentence than even before, 28 years, and she says, it hit her like a train.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX, CONVICTED OF MURDERING ROOMMATE IN ITALY: I'm going through waves of emotion in response to it.

My first reaction was, no. This is wrong, and I'm going to do everything I can to prove that it is. And I felt very determined. And my family felt very determined.

But it was only on my way here that I really got my first cry.

This really has hit me like a train. I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system.

They found me innocent before. How can they say it is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

I will never go willingly back to the place where I -- I'm going to fight this until the very end. And it's not right. And it's not fair. And I'm going to do everything I can.

Granted, I need a lot of help. I can't do this on my own. And I can't help people understand this on my own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Amanda Knox on "Good Morning America," saying that she'll never go willingly back.

She left Italy as maybe any non-Italian might after her first conviction was reversed, and now, she is living in her hometown of Seattle right here in the United States.

Sollecito, on the other hand, maybe not as fortunate, he is Italian, and he was stopped today by the police in a northern town near the Austrian and Slovenian borders.

For their part, the family of the victim, Meredith Kercher, they're saying that, quote, "We're still on a journey to the truth."

And that brings me to my legal minds, defense attorney and CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara and defense attorney Heather Hansen.

Mark, let me start with you. What are the chances, A, that this conviction will stick, B, that they are going to come after her here in the United States?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: A, it is probably going to stick, because the appellate courts told the courts to do it again.

They did it again. They even excluded some of the concerning evidence and then still convicted her.

So, now, it goes back up to the supreme court. If the supreme court says everything was OK in this last trial, the conviction stands.

BANFIELD: If I understand you correctly, what the supreme court in Italy had a problem with before is now out of the equation completely.

So, even if it goes back to them, they are sure not going to have a problem with what's not there.

Could they find another problem?

HEATHER HANSEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They could find another problem and they could send it back down again.

But I agree with Mark. I don't think that that's very likely.

I think the issue was taken out of the picture, and, so, now, they are more likely, I think, to affirm this conviction.

BANFIELD: The situation in Italy is looking bleaker and bleaker for Amanda Knox.

What about the diplomacy factor? These are two friendly nations. This is not a friendly story.

Is it likely this would be a kind of murder and a kind of conviction the Italians would say, you are coming back and, America, you need to stick by the rules, stick by the treaty?

O'MARA: Take away our connection with Amanda and just the focus that we have on her as a person, and we have to look at the extradition treaty and give it authority.

You can't not do it. We want them to do it when we want them to present people to us. We can't pick and choose.

BANFIELD: Treaty's a treaty, but you know what? There are several countries that do not have this treaty. Like I'm looked at you Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic.

We'll talk about that at another time, but those are places you could ostensibly move, live the rest of her life, happily, comfortably, right?

HANSEN: That's right.

BANFIELD: Mark O'Mara, Heather Hansen, stick around, if you will. Thank you for that.

President Obama, he says it is not up to him to classify illegal drugs, even if some of those drugs are no longer illegal everywhere in the state of the union.

I want you to hear a clip from a wide-ranging interview my colleague, Jake Tapper, conducted with the president where Mr. Obama tries to clarify his position on marijuana use, on public health and on federal law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Another big issue in this country right now has to do with the legalization of marijuana.

You gave an interview to "The New Yorker's" David Remnick and you said that you thought smoking pot was a bad habit, but you didn't think it was any worse for a person than drinking.

Now, that contradicts the official Obama administration policy, both on the Web site of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and also the fact that marijuana is considered a Schedule I narcotic, along with heroin and ecstasy.

Do you think maybe you were talking just a little too casually with Remnick in "The New Yorker," or are you considering not making marijuana a Schedule I narcotic?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, what is and what isn't a Schedule 1 narcotic is a job for Congress.

TAPPER: I think it's the DEA that decides that.

OBAMA: It is not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws undergirding those determinations.

TAPPER: Will you support that move?

OBAMA: But the broader point, I stand by my belief, based, I think, on the scientific evidence, that marijuana for casual, individual users, is subject to overuse just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge.

But, as I said in the interview, my concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied uneven and, in some cases, with racial disparity. I think that is a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: There is a lot more to this interview, and you can see a whole lot more.

It's exclusive. It's with the president. And it's today at 4:00 p.m. Eastern with Jake Tapper on his program, "THE LEAD." Encourage you to take a peek. It's good stuff.

Should the surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombing get the death penalty? Prosecutors sure want it.

We are going to get the LEGAL VIEW on it, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: The death penalty is officially now on the table in the case against the surviving marathon bombing suspect.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is facing 30 charges regarding this attack, but he is pleading not guilty to all of them.

He allegedly helped his brother, Tamerlan, carry out the bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others.

And they're also accused of killing an MIT police officer three days later while authorities were in hot pursuit.

Federal prosecutors call Tsarnaev's actions, quote, "cruel and depraved" and say he has shown no remorse.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti joins me live now. This is a state that abolished the death penalty three decades ago, fairly liberal.

How is this decision going over in a place that is so emotional about what happened?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's tough. First of all, the governor issued a statement saying he favors this decision. He supports it.

But, again, they took a poll last fall showing that most of the people in the state of Massachusetts favor a life sentence if Tsarnaev is found guilty as opposed to the death penalty.

BANFIELD: This poll was specifically geared to him, right?

CANDIOTTI: Correct. Exactly.

On the other hand, the mayor of Boston, who is personally opposed to the death penalty, also said that he supports this decision and here is why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARC FUCARILE, BOSTON BOMBING VICTIM: I think what he did to a lot of people that day, specially the ones that he killed, I think he deserves it.

I prefer the death penalty, because I prefer people know that if you terrorize our country, you are going to be put to death.

PETE BROWN, UNCLE OF TWO VICTIMS: I think if there was anything, that would filter out that he had some remorse, and there's been none.

So it doesn't make it that hard for me to accept the decision of the attorney general.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So, while the mayor has made his intentions clear, we just were showing those who maybe are even more affected, the people who actually have friends, family, might have been actually injured themselves. And I am sure they have just as strong feeling if not more.

CANDIOTTI: Absolutely. That young man that you heard from, in fact, was injured in the bombing.

And the second person you heard from is the father of the Norton brothers, you might remember. Each of them lost one of their legs as a result of what happened here.

So, this is very tough, and it is a very personal decision about where people stand on this.

But we have to keep in mind what the government did, what the Justice Department did before they made it's decision, and one of the things they did was to poll some of the victims and their families.

Some of them responded. We don't know what everyone said, but you have heard from at least some of them there.

BANFIELD: Susan, stick around. I want to bring in some other voices into this conversation, critically important, our panel, CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara and criminal defense attorney Heather Hanson back with me now.

Mark, let me just begin with you. You heard Susan talk about these range of emotions. This is a state, 30 years without the death penalty, many of them welcoming it. Obviously, very personally attached to this Boston marathon.

So, what do you do about the venue? This is kind of a tricky jury pool, isn't it?

O'MARA: You stay right in Boston and try it there even though it is opposed to some gut feelings. Here is why. It is a liberal city; 77 percent, I believe, are not in favor have o the death penalty. So that's one reason why because after all, you are not going to find some better locations to say that location is better to not want to put him to death. Take the liberal area.

Here's another reason why. Now, you get an opportunity to look even more into the juror's backgrounds and their biases and prejudices and what they know about the case, because you are right there in the heart of the center of it. You get that opportunity that you wouldn't have with a change of venue. Stay in Boston.

BANFIELD: It is hard to hear that. I remember when I covered the Casey Anthony case I kept saying, where are you going to move it to, Mars? Everybody knows about this. In the end, when it comes to law, it's not about what you know. It is about what kind of person you are and what you can do with what you know.

HEATHER HANSEN, TRIAL AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's going to be the interesting thing. If you keep it in Massachusetts, as Mark said, if you say that 77 percent of the people are not for the death penalty in this case, they have to be able to say they could implement the death penalty to be chosen as a juror. So, it may cause some real problems with jury selection in this case.

BANFIELD: Susan, is anybody in the official -- I am assuming the answer is no but I'm not going to assume anything for the purpose of this conversation. Is anyone in official position talking about using this death penalty as a plea bargain as a way to make this all go away, shut this person up, not have to put the people in the Boston and the surrounding community through any of this and lock him away for life if that's what he wants.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT: Certainly not in any kind of an official way. Everyone knows that would be a clear path to avoid the trauma of a trial for all of the victims here. If they feel the evidence is certainly very strong in this case, as prosecutors allege, that that could be used naturally as a bargaining chip as well to say to someone, okay, you want to avoid the plea, you want to save your life, go this route. But, either way, they can't lose.

BANFIELD: It's pretty strong leverage, isn't it?

CANDIOTTI: It certainly is.

BANFIELD: In that ironic way, you and I talked about yesterday, even people who hate the death penalty have gotta love the fact that sometimes you can avoid death by using death. Very strange. Susan Candiotti, it is great to have you. As always, always great reporting. Mark and Heather, have a great weekend. Thanks. Nice to see you all.

Super Bowl is a big story. I have been looking at these headlines in my paper all week long. Guess what? It is not just about the fun, the games, the food and commercials, it is also about law enforcement cracking down on prostitution, big-time. Wait until you hear what happened in New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Are we really stopping this ad? what? yes. That's David Beckham. Yes, zip lining in his underwear, folks. Okay. So he is hocking clothes for H&M, whatever. There is also this amazing ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SAGET, ACTOR: Don't you think it's about time we all get our own places.

JOHN STAMOS, ACTOR: Nah.

DAVE COULIER, ACTOR: Nah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Those are the guys from "Full House" reunited in the name of Dannon yogurt.

Then, Arnold Schwarzenegger shows off his ping-pong prowess. He has a game all fueled by Bud Lite. What an outfit. There is going to be a whole lot more, many, many more. Many of us watch the game for the commercials. There will be no dark screen. I promise you. The ads are worth millions of dollars the pop ads we said.

So I was talking about the fun part of Super Bowl and there is a lot of law and disorder too. Believe it or not, Super Bowl bust just days before the big game. A Florida mom. I'm telling you, buckle up for this one. She's admitting that she took her 15-year-old daughter to New York to pimp her out to Super Bowl fans.

Guess what? Undercover police were on it. Caught the woman. Apparently, she has told authorities and I'm going to quote her here, I thought my daughter was just going to do the fetish stuff. That's the mom's admission according to the police department. She is 15 years old. That mom is now charged with endangering the welfare of a child, to put it lightly.

The arrest also comes as New York authorities announce a major bust in their crackdown on illegal sex around the Super Bowl. National correspondent Deb Feyerick is following this story. Deb?

DEB FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, on the eve of the Super Bowl, New York officials disrupted an escort service arresting alleged pimps and madams who those officials describe as among the biggest players in New York. Like it or not, when it comes to conventions or a big sporting event, making money is the name of the game.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Go online. The ads are not hard to find.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super Bowl is going to be huge for everyone in the industry.

FEYERICK: The industry is sex. A lot of it's legal. A lot is not. As with many sporting events, all of it is big business during the Super Bowl.

"RANDY," BANANASPLIT.COM: Sports happens to be the audience for our clientele.

FEYERICK: Party promoters Junior and Randy run an adult entertainment company which legally books strippers for private parties. To me, it looks like you are selling sex.

"JUNIOR," BANANASPLIT.COM: We are selling the experience, the fantasy, simulated.

RANDY: When you compare trafficking with stripping, those are two separate things.

FEYERICK: Sex trafficking victims are often controlled by a pimp who takes the money. Pimping is legal and the strippers usually get to keep a good amount of what they earn. Abigail and her colleague, who asked we not show her face, say they can make several hundred dollars a night doing legal stripping.

Do men think they can take advantage of you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think men think they can take advantage of women a lot of times.

FEYERICK: Janmarie Brown runs the gateway's residential treatment center for survivors of sex abuse. She says the danger in promoting legal sex-themed sporting events is that it can set the stage for illegal exploitation.

JANMARIE BROWN, GATEWAYS RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT: First, it might be stripping but then it can, and most of the times it has led to them taking a it little bit further and engaging in sexual exploitation.

FEYERICK: Kimberly, a sex trafficking survivor asked we protect her identity. She says she was 14 when she was tricked and then trapped into having sex for money.

Did you find the men would behave differently at a sporting event?

"KIMBERLY," SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: They are more aggressive. They're like real forceful. They'd be drunk. Some of them take advantage of you.

FEYERICK: The Super Bowl will attract thousands of people to the New York City area. The NYPD is gearing up for a possible up tick in sex trafficking from out of state.

DEPUTY INSPECTOR ANTHONY FAVALE, NYPD VICE COORDINATOR: We have no shortage of traffickers and promoters of prostitution and exploiters.

FEYERICK: As game day at the stadium in New Jersey gets closer, groups like Polaris are working to increase awareness through billboards to reach out to teenage girls, boys, and anyone else being exploited. Police say they will be watching trafficking hotspots and warning potential clients.

FAVALE: If you come here, we are going to arrest you and shame you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Sex trafficking is a year-round problem, but law enforcement across the has made steady gains to try and stop it. Still, as long as there is a demand, there will always be a supply. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Deb Feyerick reporting live for us on this story and other stories as well.

A school cafeteria can be one of the most awkward social places for kids. So imagine if someone were to grab a child's tray and toss the food out and say, you're too poor. You can't have this. You don't have the money. Now, imagine if school officials did it themselves, the grown-ups, not the kids. This is a real story. It really happened. We are going to explain it in a moment.

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