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Governor Christie Faces New Allegations; Keeping The Super Bowl Safe; Ex-Scout Leaders Charged For Toppling Rock; Gunfire Wounds Eight In Bangkok Protests; How To Keep The Super Bowl Safe; Justin Beiber's Plane Searched; Meat Loaf Defends Justin Bieber: Knox: I Won't Go "Willingly" Back To Italy; U.S. Seeks Death Penalty In Boston Bombings; Omaha Gets Free Publicity From Manning's Shouts
Aired February 1, 2014 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dream big.
ISAAC LUFKIN, CLASSICAL HIGH SCHOOL PLACE KICKER: I want to see if we can go undefeated for four years straight.
HARLOW (on camera): Is he destined for greatness in one way or another?
BOB PALAZZO, CLASSICAL HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: I think he's already achieved it. He's overcome things that I don't know if I could overcome and he's managed to bring our whole program to another level.
LORI LUFKIN, ISAAC'S MOTHER: I knew it before he was born. He will be great and he will be everything that everybody said he wasn't going to be.
HARLOW (voice-over): And in so many ways, he already is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And hats off to Isaac. He is truly an incredible young man. It was an honor to meet him and to help tell his story. We will certainly be watching and hoping that Isaac one day does make it to the NFL just like he dreams of doing.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the sky's the limit. I love him. Thanks so much, Poppy.
All right, we've got much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. We get a restart, right now.
Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here are the top stories that we are following this hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, the New Jersey bridge scandal deepens as a former ally of Governor Chris Christie levels new accusations against him. Hear the allegations and the governor's reaction straight ahead.
And a supersized security operation underway right now as the big game draws near. We'll show you what police and the military are doing to protect tens of thousands of Super Bowl fans.
And Amanda Knox is vowing to fight extradition to Italy after an Italian court convicts her again of murder, but will she eventually end up behind bars? Our legal guys weigh in this hour.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is adamantly denying new allegations that he knew more about those controversial lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, making those accusations now, a former Christie appointee who oversaw the lane closures.
Erin McPike joins us now from Washington. So erin, what exactly is this former Port Authority official claiming?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, his name is David Wildstein and it was Wildstein who carried out the order to close the bridge earlier this year, the access lanes. You may remember Christie's deputy chief of staff, Brigitte Kelly, e-mailed to him time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee and he replied, got it. Well, he resigned in December over the scandal and the Port Authority already refused once to pay Wildstein's legal fees.
So his lawyer wrote a letter Friday urging them to reconsider and in that letter, the attorney claims that evidence exist tying Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures while they were closed. A direct contradiction to what Christie has been saying publically over the past month.
But it's important to point out there's no indication of what that evidence is or if Wildstein himself even has it, so that revelation may be less damaging than initial reports suggested yesterday because it doesn't necessarily state that he knew about the underlying scandal at the center of the allegation.
Well, in response, the Christie administration doubled down in a statement Friday evening and that reads in part, "Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along. He had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein's motivations were for closing them to begin with."
Now as the governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when reported by the press and as he said in his January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th.
Well, there's still some lingering confusion about the governor's timeline because there have been a few discrepancies, but he's sticking by the bottom line that he didn't know about the closings ahead of time, however, if Wildstein's bottom line is true, and that is still a very big if at this point, the "New Jersey Star Ledger" has an editorial this morning calling for Christie to resign -- Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, Erin McPike, thanks so much in Washington. Keep us posted of any newer even newer developments.
All right, now, we're just hours away from the biggest football game of the year. And while fans are getting ready to enjoy the Super Bowl, thousands of security officials are focused on trying to keep it safe.
Alexandria Field is joining me live now from Super Bowl Boulevard where folks there are really excited, but it's also very serious business for this very complex security plan. Tell us more.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Hi, Fred. It's going to take about 4,000 security officials and law enforcement officials to secure the big game tomorrow. Most of them will be on the ground, but some will be up in the air including U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. They put us on board a Blackhawk helicopter to show us exactly what they'll be doing.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protecting Metlife Stadium and patrolling the spectacular air space around it. It's expected 180 million fans will have their eyes on the field while U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents take over the skies above it.
We took a ride on one of three Blackhawk helicopters that will form part of Super Bowl XLVIII's defensive line, a 10-mile perimeter, a strict no-fly zone. If anyone breaches that perimeter for any reason, they expect to see a Blackhawk up close.
(on camera): It's sort of a scary experience if you are up here flying and you unintentionally breach the perimeter.
PHIL PETRO, AIR INTERDICTION AGENT: Exactly. You know, unless you have been trained in the military, it is highly unlikely you ever flown in formation with another aircraft. You have never been within 500 feet of another aircraft when you are flying.
FIELD (voice-over): In the case of an air space intruder, a Blackhawk would be first to intercept flying alongside the offending aircraft and escorting it to the ground where federal agents would be waiting.
PETRO: They are going to first be shocked to have a large aircraft like this come up very close to them and then secondly, they are going to come to the realization that something is wrong.
FIELD: On our tour, we got our own surprise, although, this was a welcome one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chinook and Blackhawks, amazing.
FIELD: A fleet of military helicopters appearing in the distance and then heading for Metlife Stadium where military aircraft will perform ceremonial Super Bowl duties on Sunday, an exception to the no-fly rule and a stunning one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will hold it here for a few minutes.
FIELD: The border agents say they basically plan to stay on the perimeter. That's where they will be patrolling. So they won't be hovering over the game itself. They won't be catching a glimpse of the action on the field, but Fred, they do tell us they have AM radios on board, so they may catch a couple of plays.
WHITFIELD: I'm sure they'll try. Thanks so much, Alexandra Field, appreciate that.
All right, so could weather play a role in tomorrow's game? Well, perhaps not like some people had feared initially. Jennifer Gray is with us with more on the forecast. Yes, it will be cold, but like record breaking?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It will be chilly, but considering where the game is being played, it could be so much worse though we are actually for the forecast. In fact, tomorrow's highs in East Rutherford, New Jersey, are going to be about 47 degrees with winds out of the west at about 6 miles per hour. Your official game time forecast, temperatures will be around 43 degrees at kickoff, feeling like 37. Of course, dropping off a little bit as we go throughout the game.
Possibility of a little bit of drizzle, but that's it. Northwest winds about 5 to 10 miles per hour. So, the game day looks pretty good. We are going to see the snow though that we've been talking about all morning long in Midwest right around Chicago. That's finally going to start to push on out.
Chicago getting anywhere from 6 inches to 8 inches of snow, the surrounding areas and look at that. We are going to see the snow continue and then push out as we go through the evening hours. The Midwest has had a very snowy winter and Fred, Chicago experiencing their third snowiest winter on record.
WHITFIELD: My gosh, I feel like everyone feels that this is the longest winter season ever.
GRAY: When is it going to end?
WHITFIELD: Look, are these whiteout conditions in Detroit?
GRAY: I think this is Detroit, yep. We are having extremely snowy conditions there. Of course, the snow should be pushing out of that area as we go through the late evening hours as well. So yes, Chicago, Detroit, both in the bull's eye today.
WHITFIELD: OK, thanks so much. Jennifer, appreciate that.
All right, two ex-Boy Scout leaders caught knocking over ancient rock was pretty funny. Well, police did not think it was that funny. And now, action is being taken.
And the political scandal surrounding Governor Chris Christie's administration deepens, a former ally turning against him. The possible legal impact of these new allegations next.
WHITFIELD: Two ex-Boy Scout leaders are now charged with third degree felonies after pushing over a rock in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park and then posting it on YouTube. Remember this? Not so funny. That was not just any rock. Park officials say it was ancient one that was millions of years in the making. The two men are accused of defacing a state park.
Let's bring in Nick Valencia for more on this. So, they thought it was funny, initially, but it became very serious.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The district attorney didn't think it was very funny at all and that's why there were charges. Yesterday, they were charged late on Friday, charged with third degree felonies and it's a mess for them. Once this video was put online, it took on a life of its own.
These are Boy Scout leaders, ex-Boy Scout leaders, supposed to set the tone and temperament of leadership. They were leading a Boy Scout troop through Goblin Valley Park there in Utah and they have a very interesting defense, saying that the rock was precariously positioned.
And they were fearing for the safety of someone that could have walked by. This could have crushed somebody they argue, and you know what? They are defending their action. They are saying that they would do it again.
WHITFIELD: Really? Well, it's interesting that they would -- would make that attempt on that kind of defense when the video, the tone says they were joking. It was fun. It was like just a challenge. Nowhere at least on the videotape that people have seen on YouTube does it express a concern for passersby.
VALENCIA: Exactly and this is a serious offense, Fred, third degree felony and if they are convicted, five years, $5,000. That's what they could face. So, yes, it's not going to be very funny if that happens. The court date is in March. So we'll see what happens after that.
WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Nick. Appreciate that.
VALENCIA: All right, Fred, you got it.
WHITFIELD: All right, now to New Jersey where Governor Chris Christie is facing new allegations involving the political scandal that has rocked his administration. A former Port Authority official claims he has evidence that shows Christie had knowledge of the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge while they were happening back in September.
David Wildstein oversaw the lane closures and resigned after allegations surfaced that he and a Christie aide ordered them closed as political payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey. Wildstein's lawyer makes the new accusations against Christie in a letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Governor Christie's office released a statement last night saying in part, quote, "Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along. He had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened.
All right, joining me from Washington now, former federal prosecutor, Michael Zeldin. Good to see you.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: How are you, Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: I'm doing pretty good. So, it is alleged that there is evidence according to Wildstein, but that evidence is not produced. What's it going to take to this investigation to a new level or is it already there just based on the allegations in your view?
ZELDIN: Well, the letter is sensational, but not substantive.
That is you're in a Jerry McGuire moment of show me the evidence, which is to say he says evidence exists, which can show that Christie had knowledge during the period of lane closings in September, but it doesn't say who has that evidence and what that evidence is. So, it's a show me the evidence, let's see and that presumably will come out in the subpoenas either issued by Paul Fishman, the United States attorney who is investigating this criminally or the special super legislative committee that's investigating it politically.
So one way or another it's bound to come out then we'll see what actually it is that gives rise to Wildstein's allegation that the governor knew during the period of the lane closings.
WHITFIELD: If you were involved, what would you be able to demand at this juncture based on that information or lack thereof in that letter?
ZELDIN: Well, you would want all electronic communications that relate to the whole topic of the bridge closings. That's e-mails, other correspondence, memoranda that exist within the written format of the office, all the communications between the governor's office and its campaign and the port authority. And then you'd develop a sort of dossier of information based on that regular written regulation and then you see what they say in oral testimony.
WHITFIELD: Is this enough to lead to a subpoena of Governor Christie?
ZELDIN: Yes. It is. The question would be timing and usually, you build these cases from the foundation and you move your way up and Christie would probably be at the highest rung on that ladder, so you're telling wait a bit to see what evidence there is so that when you have the governor in either a grand jury or under deposition or in legislative committee, you're doing it in one fail swoop.
Remember during the white water matter, there was some criticism of Mr. Star for bringing the first lady to the back. The first thought, couldn't you have just organized your thoughts at one time so she just comes in one time? I think that would be the appropriate thing to do in the case of a sitting governor, which is wait until you know all you need to know so that you can ask him the information. But we'll see what the legislator says and what the U.S. attorney says. They may think differently than me.
WHITFIELD: Michael Zeldin, thanks so much, appreciate that.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, more than 80,000 people will be flocking to Metlife Stadium tomorrow. It's easy to see how something dangerous could slip by unnoticed perhaps. An expert who has worked security at four Super Bowls tells us how authorities make sure that doesn't happen next.
WHITFIELD: Well, that's gunfire erupting on the streets of Bangkok today amid protests ahead of Thailand's Sunday election. A hospital says at least six were wounded when gunmen opened fire on police and pro-government demonstrators for about a half an hour. Witnesses say at least eight shooters emerged from the ranks of anti-government protesters trying to stop the election.
In this country, the biggest football game of the year is tomorrow. And while fans prepare for Super Bowl parties, security officials across the board are getting ready at Metlife Stadium and beyond. There will be 700 state police troopers in and around the stadium, 3,000 private security guards and hundreds of federal employees including FBI agents on hand. People getting to the game by bus and trains will be screened and there will be extra Coast Guard boats on the water as well.
I'm joined now by Carl Herron, a former FBI crisis response agent, who has worked four Super Bowls in that role, Miami among them, New Orleans, also big cities, but those cities are very different from the New York City, East Rutherford, New Jersey, area. What are the most paramount security concerns that you see given that this is, you know, a landmark city, a landmark location.
CARL HERRON, FORMER FBI CRISIS RESPONSE AGENT: Yes, I think the biggest concerns would be the open areas as we discussed earlier where the security cannot really be as a around the venue out the stadium. And this context with everything has been happening, you know, last year, we had the Boston marathon bombing and then the things that have happened in Russia. So, with this threat environment, it's a little bit different and with the security will be enhanced and by it being this New York City, an attractive target, an icon for the United States.
WHITFIELD: The tri=state area, I mean, clearly it's huge. It wouldn't just be Metlife Stadium. It wouldn't just be Super Bowl Boulevard that would be the most vulnerable locations, but in your view, how might security be approaching the potential vulnerabilities outside of these more concentrated areas, just for the sake of anyone who might want to make a statement?
HERRON: I think what you'll have and which has been stated, you will have security outside those areas that could be law enforcement. Then there will be the different areas where they would be testing for different things, be it a dirty bomb or suspicious activities, backpacks left around, those are the type of things that outside of that secure perimeter that they would be looking for.
WHITFIELD: And granted the precaution has been taken in the Times Square area, we had live pictures moments ago. I think we can pull those up again, live pictures of that Super Bowl Boulevard right there, 13-block area, we're talking about especially on a Saturday, any weekend. It's already concentrated with a lot of people. What makes it different this time in terms of how NYPDs together, to make sure nothing is overlooked.
HERRON: I think when this planning for this event probably started a year out. The planning is for any type of scenario. And that could be from an active shooter, that could be for a suspicious package, any other type of two legged threats. The difference now is where you would look for one of those threats singular.
Whereas they might be in a combination, such as the Boston bombing, where there were backpacks left and the two individuals were armed also.
WHITFIELD: And we're talking about it's cold. People are wearing lots of layers, wearing coats. People going into the stadium may want to bring blankets, just things to carry. That makes it a little more I guess taxing or difficult for security to kind of zero in.
HERRON: Yes, it makes it where -- things can be concealed. But I think along with law enforcement and with NFL and their policy, implementation of both of those and screening the items that are being brought in can help reduce that.
WHITFIELD: All right, Carl Herron, thanks so much. Good to see you.
HERRON: Thank you. Good to see you again.
WHITFIELD: All right, Justin Bieber, let's talk about what's going on with him. This time, his plane got a little extra attention when landing in New Jersey for this Super Bowl weekend. What authorities say made them suspicious.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Pop star, Justin Bieber just got more unwanted attention from law enforcement. This time, customs officers said they smelled pot on his private plane after it landed in New Jersey from Toronto. They even brought in dogs to search the jet, but then they found nothing. Bieber is in New Jersey for tomorrow's Super Bowl game.
Well, one man who is defending Justin Bieber is rock star, Meat Loaf. He spoke with our "Showbiz Tonight" host, A.J. Hammer and as you can imagine, Meat Loaf was not at a loss for words.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, HLN'S "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, Fred, Justin Bieber appears to be taking a bit of a breather after what seemed like an international alleged law breaking spree over the past couple of weeks.
Justin, of course, was arrested in Miami Beach a week and a half ago charged with DUI and resisting arrest after police say he was drag racing. This past Wednesday, Justin turned himself into Toronto authorities for allegedly attacking a limo driver late last year and there's still that case of allegedly egging his neighbor's house in California. A lot of people are saying this all sounds like Bieber is just spiralling out of control. When I spoke with music icon, Meat Loaf, in a brand new interview for SBT, he was defending Justin Bieber. Here's what he told me.
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MEAT LOAF, ROCK MUSICIAN: The kid is 19 years old. Granted, his parents didn't give him a great foundation, but he's 19. He's not doing anything that another 19-year-old wouldn't be doing. Believe me there's not a 19-year-old alive that if he didn't have the money, he wouldn't have a Ferrari. I'm going to defend him. I mean, he needs a foundation. That's what Lindsay Lohan didn't have. Where Ronny Howard did --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All these people surrounding him need to say no.
LOAF: Yes, but it comes back along before that. His parents pushed him and didn't give him a foundation, so now he's 19 and he's not doing it. So, but I -- what I find wrong is yes, somebody should say no to him and somebody should help guide him and Usher who brought him in should sit him down and say, look, dude, let's do this.
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HAMMER: Obviously, that would be great if Bieber did have people around him now to help keep him things in check, but of course, any rationalization for why he may behaving the way he's not in any way excused. On a separate note, pleasure to see Meat Loaf, who's excited to be at planet Hollywood. It's called "Rock Tails and Cocktails." Starts on February 13th. Paradise by the dashboard light and so much more waiting for you, Fred, in Vegas.
WHITFIELD: I can't wait. Thanks so much, A.J. Watch A.J. Hammer on "Showbiz Tonight" Monday through Thursday, 11:00 p.m. Eastern on HLN.
All right, Amanda Knox says she will never go back to Italy willingly after being found guilty again of murder, but could she be sent back there and thrown in prison? Our legal guys are next.
WHITFIELD: Amanda Knox says there's no way she's going back to Italy willingly.
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AMANDA KNOX, CONVICTED OF MURDER IN ITALIAN COURT: 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.
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WHITFIELD: The American woman has been convicted again of murdering her roommate in Italy more than six years ago. Erin McLaughlin has details.
ERIN MCLAUGLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Guilty once again. The Amanda Knox murder trial far from over after Knox was last night slapped with her second conviction for the murder of British student, Meredith Kercher. This is the third time an Italian court has heard the case. Knox was released from prison in 2011 when a judge overturned the original conviction due to errors in the investigation. She returned to the United States and made no appearance at this trial.
A woman believed to be Amanda Knox was whisked away by family members outside her mother's home in Seattle. Knox released a statement saying I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. Now, the court has sentenced Knox to 28 and a half years in prison.
Knox's ex-boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, was also convicted of murder on Thursday. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail. He was on hand to hear the verdict. The Kercher family is keeping the focus on the victim at the center of the case. They say the new verdict gives them hope.
LYLE KERCHER, BROTHER OF MEREDITH KERCHER: No matter what the decision and when it is finally upheld or not, you know, nothing's going to bring Meredith back. Nothing will ever take away the horror of what happened to her. The best we can hope for is of course finally bringing this whole case to a conclusion. And a conviction and everybody can then move on with their lives. MCLAUGHLIN: Next up, a fresh round of appeals and many unanswered questions. Will Italy request her extradition from the United States and will the U.S. grant it?
THEODORE SIMON, AMANDA KNOX'S ATTORNEY: In Italy under their system, you're still actually presumed innocent until that third final stage. The prosecution asked for a questionnaire or provision arrest warrant today. It was rejected. The court recognized she was lawfully in the United States.
MCLAUGHLIN: But Knox says she's fearful of her future.
KNOX: It would feel like a train wreck, they would order my arrest and the Italian government would approach the American government and say, extradite her. And I don't know what would happen.
WHITFIELD: That was Erin McLaughlin. So, what is next for Amanda Knox? Avery Friedman is joining us from Cleveland and Richard Herman in Las Vegas, our brilliant legal minds here. Good to see you, gentlemen. So, Richard, you first. I mean, is this a situation where Amanda Knox just has kind of watch her back no matter where she goes because at any moment, she could be extradited? What is the likelihood she could be returned to Italy given this second now conviction?
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You heard her say there was no way she would go back.
HERMAN: Because let me tell you something, Fred. We're waiting for the final decision to come from the judge, which will start the appeal period. It will probably take at least a year for all the appeals to be heard, but in if conviction is upheld and sustained on appeal and extradition proceedings are brought.
The United States has a treaty with Italy. The United States would have to honor that treaty and have her arrested, begin the extradition and return her to Italy. I don't know how they could not. Her conviction was in the first trial. Granted, there were subsequent trials. The Italian justice system is far different than ours, but it is legitimate. We signed a treaty with them. If this conviction is upheld, I believe the United States has to return her to Italy.
WHITFIELD: So, Avery, are you in agreement? If upheld, it's inevitable? She would be extradited?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Let me tell you something, Fredricka. Chris Christie will be extradited before Amanda Knox will. Left out of this -- why that is and no one really has been talking about this is that in an extradition proceeding, the State Department has unbridled discretion. We heard Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor say well, she's not going to be extradited because she's good looking.
Well, I don't think that's a criteria on the end of the formula, but the fact is if the State Department chooses, despite the 2010 bilateral treaty, if they don't, if they don't care to extradite her, they will not.
WHITFIELD: So, what would be the criteria then, Avery, under those circumstances where the State Department would say, you know, we believe that this case does not merit extradition? What is the criteria?
FRIEDMAN: Well, there are none, but it would seem to me they have to articulate criteria, she's tried in absentia. We don't buy that in the United States. There's double jeopardy. We don't buy that in the United States. There are all sorts of justifications and the fact is, if the government doesn't want to extradite, it's not going to.
WHITFIELD: But if we're talking about all those circumstances happening in the U.S. law, then it would be based on U.S. law. But she's an American citizen abroad and Italy says -- we do it here. Wouldn't that have to be honored, Richard?
WHITFIELD: As bad as it is.
HERMAN: As the song goes, this is how we do it. They would have to do it, Fred. Dershowitz said they would extradite her, the United States would extradite and I believe that. Not because she's good looking. It doesn't have anything to do with that. We're trying to extradite Snowden because he was an NSA leaker. Here, she's convicted of murder. They're going to want to extradite a murderer.
How could the United States and a country we have a treaty with, say no to this? How could we have any respect in the world if we rejected this? How could we possibly expect anyone we want to extradite back to here? I don't think we have a choice. If this conviction is upheld based on our relationship with Italy, we will have to return her to Italy.
FRIEDMAN: I don't agree.
HERMAN: It's not double jeopardy.
FRIEDMAN: Theoretically, hold on, hold on. There are soldiers in Italy that there's an attempt to extradite, that's not happening right now. You cited Edward Snowden. It's a completely discretionary. Italy will insist on extradition.
HERMAN: They will.
FRIEDMAN: They let her go on bond, really think that Italy expect that she was coming back? Not in a million years. It's just never going to happen.
WHITFIELD: Interesting. HERMAN: We'll pick this one up.
WHITFIELD: It definitely sounds like it's in its infancy in terms of the debate or the argument as, you know, what are the real possibilities that she would sent or that she gets to stay and we're going to be talking about that again. Avery, Richard, thanks so much. We're not done with you, however. There are other things we want to talk to you about. Some victims of the Boston bombings, suspect say that he deserves the death penalty. Will federal prosecutors be able to make their case on this one? Our legal guys will be weighing in on that as well next.
WHITFIELD: All right, the death penalty is now on the table in the case against the surviving Boston marathon bombing suspect. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is facing 30 charges, 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 more than 250 other. They are also accused of killing an MIT police officer.
Pam Cross of our affiliate WCBB talked to one bombing about the decision by federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
MARC FUCARILE, MARATHON ATTACK SURVIVOR: A lot of people that day especially the ones that he killed, I think he deserves it.
PAM CROSS, WCBB REPORTER (voice-over): Marc Fucarile does not mince words. He has reason, 17 surgeries, a leg lost and a hundred days in the hospital. He was near the finish line when the second blast went off.
FUCARILE: I prefer the death penalty because I prefer people know that if you terrorize our country, you're going to be put to death. I strongly believe that's how it should be.
CROSS: His fiancee wears his Boston Strong band every day. He says the terror deeds the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of changed so many things.
FUCARILE: It hasn't been easy. Nor has it been easy for the parents that lost children that day. So, this is almost kind of too easy for him. I still haven't walked for more than you know, a day, in a prosthetic, you know, and it's almost a year later.
CROSS: Fucarile spent months away from his young son.
JEN REGAN, FIANCEE: I want to be able to put him to bed at night knowing that I can tell him he is no longer with us. That those two men that did this to our city are not breathing anymore.
FUCARILE: Life's good, you know. It's going to get better. It's going to be a road, a long road, for the rest of our lives.
WHITFIELD: So much emotion there surrounding the story, but the decision to seek the death penalty is a legal move with lots of repercussions potentially. Our legal guys are back, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland and Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor joining from Las Vegas.
OK, Avery, you first on this one. Recent "Boston Globe" poll showed that only 33 percent of Massachusetts residents actually support the idea of the death penalty, so will this be an uphill battle?
FRIEDMAN: Well, it will be an uphill battle on the assumption that the United States is going to get that conviction. It will.
When we move into the penalty phase, I mean, these are very important issues that the defense team has to think about. On the other hand, Fredricka, Judy Clark is Tsarnaev's defense lawyer. She's represented Jared Laughner, Smith, Ted Kosinski, she is the best of the best and the likelihood of this case going to jury trial I think is less likely than not. I think a deal ultimately has to be worked out and that's what Judy Clark is going to do.
WHITFIELD: So Richard, you have to wonder whether there will be the argument of change of venue. How could you have this trial in Boston, still so scarred by what took place?
HERMAN: But if you're a defense attorney, 30 percent of the people are against the death penalty, that's kind of something that you like, but they bring on a death penalty case like this, Fred and sometimes as a strategy to make an ultimate resolution where the defendant waives all future appeals, lifer in prison. That's that package deal they are looking for.
However, this crime was so violent and the repercussions as you saw from the videos before are just so devastating with police officers getting killed, young children getting killed, right in the heart of Boston. It is an extremely powerful case. Now, mitigating arguments were made to the attorney general to try to suggest don't bring a death penalty.
Those were rejected by Holder, who by the way personally is against the death penalty. He said no, it's going to be a death penalty case. Only three federal death penalty convictions since 1964, that's a fact. It's not a question of whether we're for death penalty or not. It's on the books. It's legal. Will we follow through with it or is it just a strategy?
FRIEDMAM: There was a deadline here. Not that Eric Holder wanted to make a decision, he had to. George O'Toole was the federal district judge to whom the case is assigned gave the government a deadline. That was this week. So, Holder had to make a decision. Frankly, I think he made the right one.
WHITFIELD: So, Avery, do you believe it is realistic to think there could be some leniency for Tsarnaev's camp, that perhaps there could be a plea? There that could be a lesser sentence in exchange for some kind of cooperation? How realistic do you believe that would be?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I don't think there should be any leniency. At the same time, if Tsarnaev has information on a broader basis, then certainly, if I'm the Department of Justice, I want to get that information. But remember, one of the defenses here, Fredricka, is that Tsarnaev's older brother had great influence and the willingness factor is questionable right now. She's arguing he wasn't really, he was under the influence of his older brother. That's where this thing is pushing toward a plea agreement.
HERMAN: And Fred, I think that's the only angle that worked in a D.C. sniper case where they claim the brainwashing took place of the younger individual. I think that's the only angle they can take here to try to humanize him. Otherwise, this could be a fourth federal excuse since 1964.
WHITFIELD: All right, powerful step, thank you so much, Avery and Richard. Always good to see you. Thank you so much.
HERMAN: We're taking the Broncos, Fred.
WHITFIELD: OK, Avery, you got a pick?
WHITFIELD: OK, very good. We shall see. I'm going to go with the sentimental favorite, at least sentimental in my view, Seahawks.
HERMAN: All right, there we go.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, guys. Appreciate it. Our brilliant legal minds here, you can catch them at about this time every Saturday giving us their take on the most intriguing legal cases of the day, week, month, you name it.
OK, so why does Denver's quarterback, Peyton Manning, yell Omaha so much? A mystery to some but not to those in the city of Omaha.
WHITFIELD: Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, call of Omaha, has everyone guessing. What does it mean? But one thing is certain, the city of Omaha is sure enjoying all the attention. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Omaha's Henry Dorlynn Zoo has lots of penguins. This is its newest one. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We named it Peyton after Peyton Manning.
SIMON: It's the latest example of the city relishing in this. Denver's quarterback with a mystery call at the line of scrimmage, 75 times during the playoffs, Manning has been shouting Omaha throughout what is sure to be a hall of fame career. But apparently, a more powerful microphone on the field has made it more noticeable and it's become a big talk in the sports world with everyone guessing what it means.
PEYTON MANNING, QUARTERBACK: It's a run play that, but it could be a pass play or a play action pass depending on a couple of things. The wind, which way we're going, quarter and the jerseys that we're wearing, so there's your answer to that one.
SIMON: In Omaha, the answer has been not to fumble a good opportunity, to bring eyeballs to the city and its businesses.
(on camera): Omaha is where I grew up and one thing I can tell you is folks here are very proud of their city and are eager to show it off anytime they get the chance, so naturally, they are enjoying this moment in the spotlight courtesy of Mr. Manning.
(voice-over): The Omaha Chamber of Commerce estimates the attention has provided $10 million in free advertising for the city.
TODD SIMON, OMAHA STEAKS: First off, it's just plain fun to hear your city being talked about over and over again.
SIMON: That's Todd Simon. Yes, there is a relation. He's my cousin and co-owner of Omaha Steaks, which has been in my family for five generations. It was one of the companies that donated $100 each time Peyton called out Omaha. Omaha shutouts generating almost $25,000. The money is going to Mannings Foundation to help disadvantaged children.
TODD SIMON: We've been able to create a lot of extra buzz and do something great at the same time.
SIMON: For the Super Bowl, it's now up to 17 companies. Omaha's mayor says the attention has made her a broncos fan.
MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT, OMAHA, NEBRASKA: We hope he will say it repeatedly in the Super Bowl and when he wins, he says he's going to Omaha instead of Disneyworld.
SIMON: And Omaha isn't along in trying to take advantage of -- an online gambling site in Canada is taking odds on how many times Manning will signal using the city's name during the Super Bowl, "Omaha World Herald" columnist, Mike Kelly.
MIKE KELLY, "OMAHA WORLD HERALD": My big fear is he's going to come up the line of scrimmage at the Super Bowl, look at the defense and say, Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo.
SIMON: Either way, Peyton the penguin, will keep his name. Dan Simon, CNN, Omaha.