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Chris Christie Faces New Allegations; Security Tight Ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl Game; Amanda Knox Found Guilty, Again; David Wildstein's Attorney Says Christie Knew About Lane Closures; Super Bowl Weather; Utah School Tosses Some Kids' Lunches Into Trash

Aired February 1, 2014 - 06:00   ET



GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I had no knowledge of this of the plan, the execution or anything about it.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: What did he know? And when? That's what many are asking this morning after a new letter challenges the accuracy of some of Governor Chris Christie's comments in that two hour-long news conference. The claims and the political implications, ahead.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And one day away from the big game. I know a lot of you consumed with party planning but law enforcement has a laser focus by now on protection. Did a white powder scare show us now massive the security presence and threat really is?


AMANDA KNOX, FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER: I will never go willingly back.


BLACKWELL: But Amanda Knox may not have a choice. A U.S. treaty with Italy means she could serve 28 years in prison or create an international firestorm that pits nation against nation.

Your NEW DAY starts now.


PAUL: Well, it's 6:00, and I hope you're not waking up to an alarm clock, because Saturday should be a day of no alarm.

BLACKWELL: Just when a little birdie sits on your shoulder, a tweet in your ear. Just me.


PAUL: I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, 6:00. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. PAUL: And we want to with new allegations of the New Jersey bridge scandal threatening Governor Christie's second term and really his larger future he just seems to keep getting worse at this point.

BLACKWELL: It does and it centers around this man, his name is David Wildstein. He's the former New Jersey Port Authority official who carried out a Christie staffer's order to close lanes to the bridge. Now, his attorney is suggesting that Christie knew about the incident as it was unfolding, although, Christie said in public on several occasions that he did not.

PAUL: Erin McPike is live in Washington now.

What have you learned this morning, Erin?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, there's tricky wording in one paragraph of a three-page letter Wildstein's attorney sent to the Port Authority yesterday. So, I'll read that to you now.

"Evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference."

Now, we should stress here, this doesn't say Christie knew about the underlying alleged reason which is political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for reelection last year.

Now, it doesn't even say directly that he did, in fact, know about the lane closures, specifically, ahead of time. It simply says evidence exists that ties Christie to knowledge of it. And that's what makes this latest revelation murky.

Well, Christie administration responded in their own statement, saying, "Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor had said all along, he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened, and whatever Mr. Wildstein's motivations where for closing them to begin with. As the governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was 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 8t. The governor denies Mr. Wildstein's lawyer's other assertions."


CHRISTIE: I knew nothing about this, and until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure. But even then, I was told this was a traffic study.


MCPIKE: Now, in case anyone's forgotten it was Christie's deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly who e-mailed "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority. And Wildstein replied, "Got it." But up to this point, none of the documentation that the New Jersey legislature has reviewed in their investigation ever mentions Christie.

So, New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is leading the investigation, told CNN yesterday afternoon that he'd like to see this so-called evidence and he's concerned that its very existence was leaked to the media before the investigatory committee got a chance to see what that purported evidence is.

Now, the second claim in the letter is Wildstein contesting accuracy of statements Christie made about him and that he could prove those are wrong. But that could prove just their different recollections of their own relationship which dates all the way back to high school. So, take a listen to what Christie said about his former high school classmate.


CHRISTIE: David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances in high school. We didn't travel in the same circus in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of time. We went 23 years without seeing each other.



MCPIKE: So, still a lot of details to flesh out here, Christie and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Erin McPike, from Washington for us this morning -- thank you.

PAUL: So, while all the Christie news was breaking, all of this stuff, the New Jersey governor made a surprising appearance with the self-described king of all media, this was brief, but a seemingly upbeat Christie dropped by Howard Stern's star-studded birthday party with the midtown Manhattan. He made a couple of joke and introduced the man he calls the real representative from New Jersey. Listen to this.


CHRISTIE: Don't be disappointed I'm not the representative of New Jersey who you want to see right now. The representative of New Jersey you want to see right now, it's not wait, it's not Bubbabooey.

No. The representative you want to see is one of New Jersey's favorite sons one of my good friends and a great artist, ladies and gentlemen, Jon Bon Jovi.


(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Christie spent about 30 minutes at Stern's birthday bash, we're told. And it sounds like they had a good old time with that crowd.


PAUL: So, yes.

For a few hours yesterday, Super Bowl organizers, they really faced kind of a nightmare they were dreading. I mean, they're on guard for this.

BLACKWELL: Yes, envelopes with suspicious powder at several hotels near the side of the big game in an office in New York. It turns out the powder was harmless. But, really, this was a terrifying prank.

PAUL: Yes. It was a jolt, regardless, for authorities who are really determined to make sure that everyone in town for the Super Bowl is safe and sound.

CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti has more for us this morning.

Hi, Susan.



It's all quiet now but it was anything but for several hours on Friday when letters containing a suspicious white powder were received at six hotels around the area of the Super Bowl site in East Rutherford, New Jersey. And authorities quickly sprung into action, the Joint Terror Task Force, calling it a routine response. But, of course, they had to check these letters out and they discovered after testing them that all of them were nontoxic, including one letter that was sent to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at his offices in downtown New York City.

However, authorities say on initial tests it proved that this white powder was something that was not hazardous. Of course, they'll be conducting more tests to find out exactly what was. In one instance, we're told the substance was cornstarch.

Naturally, this investigation will not conclude before they try to determine who sent the letters and why. The content of the letter sent to the former mayor included the phrase "always in my thoughts", certainly not a threatening phrase.

The response to this was called routine but it just goes to show the sense of heightened security there is surrounding the Super Bowl event. And authorities say they will continue to respond to these things as they normally do. In this case, no problem -- Christi and Victor.


PAUL: All right. Susan, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Well, of course, the threat here was not real. But it was a wake-up call for all of us, exposing how vulnerable places like hotels could be.

PAUL: Yes. You know, the first thing I thought of was, it's a good distraction, if somebody did want to do something. And it's a distraction that police just can't afford to have, what, two days before one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

So, let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. He's with us from Washington.

Tom, good morning to you.


PAUL: Good morning. First of all, let me ask, is something like this serious enough to force officials to postpone kickoff, say, if it would happen again today?

FUENTES: No, I don't think it will be. I think they'll treat it the way they did already, the security envelopes and send it for testing and then do precautionary tests of anybody that handled the powder. Several individuals, postal workers and others yesterday actually went to the hospital just as a precaution, just to be checked in case they had, you know, any evidence of being sick, and for decontamination.

This was quite a serious matter. I mean, just two years ago, in 2011, a New York man was convicted in Newark, New Jersey, for mailing a powdered -- same type of hoax, mailing powder to a New Jersey newspaper and he was convicted under the federal statute for that. After that was investigated by the New Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was the FBI and other agencies, as well as postal inspection service has a special unit, dangerous mail inspections unit, that also works on these cases.

So, it's a very serious matter. That individual was convicted. And anybody convicted under a couple of statutes that apply to this can do anything from five to 10 years in prison. And huge fines as well for doing it.

BLACKWELL: You know, I look now at the resources that were diverted to these hotels, and so much has gone into making sure that New Jersey, and New York, are safe.


I wonder if someone who is pulling off this hoax diverts all those resources to distract all of the officers, so they can attack. So there can be a real attack.

FUENTES: I don't think that's the problem, Victor. The -- you know, the hundreds and thousands of law enforcement officers that are currently in the New York City/New Jersey area, in preparation of the Olympics, the command posts that they have established, they have plenty of resources.

So in that sense -- yes, it's a diversion. But the greater problem is that the individuals that handled these envelopes and got the powder on them, you know, initially, you don't know what's in those envelopes and even though the field testing has said they're safe. They still have to go for additional scientific testing, which may take up to a week to actually verify that they're safe. In the interim, going back to 2001 when letters containing anthrax were mailed, people that handled them, some people died.

So, if you get that powder on you, you're wondering in the days ahead, are you doomed to death. And so, that's a legitimate fear for everybody that handled that material, and that's why this is such a serious matter.

PAUL: All right. Hey, Tom Fuentes, we always appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being with us this morning.

FUENTES: You're welcome. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's take a look at your money now.

Wall Street is saying good-bye to a brutal January. The Dow tumbled more than 5 percent last month, marking its worst January performance since 2009. Blue chip stocks index finished Friday down 150 points. Concerns over weak corporate earnings and slowing overseas continue to keep investors on edge.

All right. You know what we're talking about now, it is a Saturday morning that means J.B., Justin Bieber, a little more trouble for the Biebs.

PAUL: You're on J.B. terms.

BLACKWELL: We're like that.

PAUL: Yes, right.


PAUL: Big time. Officials at a New Jersey airport did search his plane. We're going to tell you what they were looking for after the break.



BLACKWELL: J.B. -- although you don't believe we're on those terms -- Justin Bieber, unfortunately, he is in trouble again. This time, because federal officials smell pot on his private airplane.

PAUL: So they searched. Remember, the 19-year-old, pop star's jet, after it landed in New Jersey. So, that's, of course, why Bieber was in town to watch the Super Bowl, tomorrow.

And our Nick Valencia is following that story for us.

So --

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a bad couple weeks for this guy, huh?


PAUL: To say the least.

VALENCIA: Like every time we turn around, there's something new about Justin Bieber. This time, he allegedly had pot on the plane. There was a flight attendant on board, called the ground officials to notify them. They searched the plane with two drug dogs but they couldn't find anything. So, he was let go after five years.

I mean, the reason he was flagged over is because he has these two pending criminal charges. He's got the DUI case pending in Miami. He's got this assault charge coming from Canada, he was in Toronto, on his way to the Super Bowl. More trouble for the Biebster.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, when you break it down, you've got the street racing -- the accusations of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, egging a neighbor's house, hitting a limo driver, you wonder who in the inner circle might have any control over this guy. Because isn't this dad part of his constant entourage.

VALENCIA: Yes, he's on the payroll. He's on the entourage. He's always seemingly around Justin Bieber who was there in Miami when he got pop there for the alleged DUI. Also in Toronto. So, you would think there would be somebody to reel him in, but dad maybe kind of an enabler.

He tweeted this week, Justin Bieber supporting his father, saying he's my superhero, he's my batman. He's always been there for me since the beginning. So --

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: And we'll leave it at that, Nick Valencia.

VALENCIA: And we'll leave it at that, yes, Justin Bieber again.

PAUL: Thank you very much. Hope he can get it together, really do.

BLACKWELL: So this has been a huge problem for --

PAUL: Poor Victor. The snow and ice that paralyzed parts of the South. He's out there on the side of the road talking about it all week.

BLACKWELL: Yes, snow bunnies come in brown, too. Standing out there in the cold.

The warmer temperatures finally coming, finally on the way. But don't hold your breath if you live in the Midwest, or Northwest, the Northeast. Another winter storm is on the way.

So, this is what it looks like in Denver. At least they're moving on the road.

PAUL: Yes, I know. They know how to drive in the snow, don't they?

BLACKWELL: They sure do.

Snow and freezing rain hitting the area once again. So, how bad is this next storm expected to be. Another storm, really, Jennifer Gray?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's never ending. And I feel your pain, Victor, I was one of those people stuck in the car for 12 hours.


GRAY: It's crazy. But, yes, people up north, they know how to handle that a little bit better. We do have a winter storm warning, though, in effect for, yes, Chicago, you are getting it again. And this is going to be a one-two punch because you're getting it today and get it again possibly in the next couple of days.

So, look at the radar. The snow already pushing in Chicago. We have freezing rain through portions of St. Louis and possibly some sleet.

What we're looking at as far as snow totals four to eight inches of snow in Chicago today. So, quite a bit. Four to six in places like Detroit. And then some areas around the great lakes seeing two to four. So, we'll time this out, and you can see the low pushing through, should be leaving Chicago for the most part, by the time we get through the late afternoon, and then left with just a little bit of rain, some snow for the Northeast.

But then Sunday, 8:00 a.m., you can see New Jersey, completely quiet. And it stays quiet throughout the day. That's why we're forecasting a dry Super Bowl which is good news for a lot of you.

But look at these temperatures, it's going to stay cold, 30 degrees, your high temperature today in Chicago. By Monday, 18, your high temperature, guys, cold.

PAUL: Still warmer than it's been. Jennifer, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: There's this guilty verdict maybe you heard against Amanda Knox. And it could set off a monster extradition battle. Italy is trying to bring Knox to justice for murder and Knox is fighting to stay out of prison.


KNOX: I will never willingly go 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.



PAUL: Well, guilty again. Amanda Knox is vowing to fight her conviction in the murder of a British student to the very end.


KNOX: I will never go willingly back to the place where I -- I'm going to fight this until the very end.


PAUL: It's so emotional for her, as you can imagine. I mean, this is her speaking out yesterday, one day after a second conviction could send her to prison in Italy for more than 28 years if this goes through.

So, I know you're wondering what happens next and should the U.S. extradite her. Well, I talked about that case with HLN's Jane Velez- Mitchell.


JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HLN: She says she's going to fight this with everything she has. She will not go willingly back to Italy. And who can blame her, this is a travesty of justice. I mean, she was acquitted. And then they said, oops, never mind, let's do it again. And now, they convict her? That would be double jeopardy in the United States. It would not stand here.

But, you know, this Italian justice system the way it's played out anyhow, it seems like less of a trial and more of some kind of a bizarre stage play. If you go back to the beginning, the prosecutor created out of thin air a theory that this was a satanic orgy gone wrong with no evidence to support. He was found guilty of prosecutorial misconduct. Right there, that should have been enough to throw all of this out the window. But it just goes on and on.

And the sad part is, that Amanda Knox's family has spent down to their last penny all their money fighting for their daughter. Now, they've got to keep fighting, there's no closure, this cloud of possible extradition down the road hangs over her. Even though experts say it's unlikely, it's a nightmare.

PAUL: Exactly. The thing is if the conviction holds up even after, you know, an appeals process, what is your take? Should the U.S. extradite her?

MITCHELL: Well, I don't certainly think the United States should extradite her, I think that would participate in a farce, in a travesty of justice.

<06:25:01> MITCHELL: And most experts say because of the whole double jeopardy issue the fact that she was found innocent, not guilty. And they say that she was actually found innocent is how they phrase it over there, that there's no way after that she could be found guilty, that violates our constitutional concepts. And, therefore, they would not participate in sending her back to serve time.

But here's really one of the really agonizing things. Amanda Knox is concerned about her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito who was stopped in Italy after this latest conviction near the border with Austria and was told give us your passport or at least you cannot leave the country.

So, what would happen if this conviction stands, then Raffaele would have to serve decades behind bars while Amanda Knox remains free in the United States. I know that would certainly anger people in Italy and it would seem like just even more an egregious miscarriage of justice. They should both be free.


PAUL: So, you can watch Jane Velez Mitchell our sister network HLN, weeknights at 7:00 Eastern, because you know she's got a lot to say.

BLACKWELL: She's all over this case.

And still to come on NEW DAY, President Obama one-on-one with Jake Tapper.

PAUL: And he was taking some tough questions, like why his recent comments about marijuana don't jibe with his administration's policy.



PAUL: Hope the coffee is smooth for you this morning at 6:30 exactly. Welcome back. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Here, five things you need to know for your new day. Up first, the former New Jersey official is making new claims against Governor Chris Christie. It's all part of a scandal over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. David Wildstein's attorney said in a letter that evidence exists to contradict Christie's claim that he did not know about the closures until after they happened. But no evidence has tied Christie to ordering the lane closures, which many suspect was political retaliation.

Number two, police are hunting for the person who dumped garbage bags full of human body parts along roads in Burrell, Michigan. Investigators think the victim is a white male, but there is an autopsy that was scheduled for yesterday and police say they are investigating a report of a woman seen dumping the bags out of a light-colored SUV. Three now, an Oklahoma teenager and four of his friends are now charged in the murder of a teen's father and younger brother. Police say that 18-year-old Thorsten Gunther Rushing shot the victims while they watched TV. And he say he and his friends then concocted some elaborate lie about home invasion. All five have pleaded not guilty.

PAUL: Number four, the FBI says the white powder found in several hotels near the site of the Super Bowl is just harmless. Authorities are running tests, though, to learn more about it, and that powder was also found at the Manhattan office of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani along with a strange letter that included the line, quote, "you're being my best friend." No injuries have been reported or illnesses, thankfully.

BLACKWELL: Fans lucky enough to go to tomorrow's big game can expect the break from the winter weather. Temperatures are expected to be in the '40s. That's your break. In the '40s. But if you're heading to the stadium, don't leave home without your hat, your gloves, there's still a chance of snow. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray. Let's talk about the snow.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, it's still going to be chilly, but it's definitely not going to be as bad as we previously were thinking. Temperatures are going to be in the '40s today, across the areas in New Jersey by 6:00, 39 degrees dropping to 37. Now as we go through Super Bowl Sunday, temperatures are going to warm up into the mid-40s as we go through the middle part of the day, 44 degrees by 6:00, here's your official Super Bowl forecast. Seahawks and the Broncos, kickoff temperature, 39 degrees, feeling like 35. And you could see a couple of little snow showers here and there. But we're really thinking it is going to be mainly dry, guys, so it is going to be a nice forecast for the northeast.

PAUL: It will be even nicer for those of us sitting in the comfort of our living rooms watching.

GRAY: Yeah. It's very good point.

PAUL: Thank you, Jen.

So, we want to get you now the CNN's exclusive interview with President Obama. And this was his first since this week's State of the Union.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The president sat down with Jake Tapper for a wide range of interview, talking about everything from immigration reform to security at the Sochi Olympics.

PAUL: And he went into detail about marijuana policy as well. Jake Tapper joining us from Washington with more. Good morning, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi and Victor, I sat down with the president exclusively for the first interview after his State of the Union address. I asked him about his views on decriminalizing marijuana and if his personal beliefs are lining up with the government's official stance. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Another big issue in this country right now is to be 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. That contradicts the official Obama administration policy. It goes on the website of the Office of the national drug control policy. And also the fact that marijuana is considered a scheduled one narcotic along with heroin and ecstasy, now do you think you were maybe talking just a little too casually about it with Remnick in "The New Yorker," or are you considering not making marijuana a schedule one narcotic.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, first of all, what is and is not a schedule one narcotic is a job for Congress.

TAPPER: I think it's the DEA.

OBAMA: It's 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, in my belief, based, I think on the scientific evidence that marijuana, for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, 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 had been applied unevenly. And in some cases, with a racial disparity. I think that is a problem.


TAPPER: And you can see more of the interview on


TAPPER: Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jake Tapper, thank you. And again if you want to watch more of this exclusive interview, you can go to the website. Or it's on tomorrow morning at 9:00 on "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley.

PAUL: So, let's talk about -- I mean, this has a lot of people just shaking their heads. Officials at a Utah elementary school, I mean they are apologizing, but this is only coming after dozens of students had their lunches literally just pulled out of their hands and tossed into the trash.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and here's the reason. The students did not have enough money in their accounts to pay for the food.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: She took my lunch away, and she was like, go get a milk, and I'm like OK, and when I come back opening the milk and to go online and gave me an orange And she's like, you don't have any money in your account so you can't get lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were lots of tears and it was pretty upsetting for them.


PAUL: It's embarrassing for kids.


PAUL: School officials say that they notified parents in advance that the student accounts have a negative balance. Parents, on the other hand, saying that they were never told about it. But I think a lot of people are thinking, but you threw the food away. Why didn't you just give it to them?

BLACKWELL: Then let them it.

PAUL: Yeah.

BLACKWELL: I mean the food didn't go to some other student. So the cafeteria manager and her supervisor are now both on paid leave. Of course, we are going to hear more about this.

PAUL: Sure. Sure. So, actress Sienna Miller was with her boyfriend at a club when she called Daniel Craig to say she loved him.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, that's not just Hollywood gossip. It's actually, the latest testimony from a court case that is gripping the U.K.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. Thanks for starting your day with us here at "New Day Saturday."


BLACKWELL: And let's say good evening to the folks in Hong Kong, bright, active evening there. Coming up 20 minutes before 8:00. Folks there celebrating the Chinese New Year. Live look right now, very colorful skyline as we've said. And for much more on the news making headlines around the world, let's head over to Christi.

PAUL: All right, Victor. We want to start in Italy with convicted former American exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, for a second time in this (inaudible) murder. What are they saying there? CNN's Erin McLaughlin is outside the courthouse in Florence. Good morning, Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an absolutely devastating week for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Convicted once again of the brutal murder of 21-year old British student Meredith Kercher. While the court here in Florence clearly sided with the prosecution's version of events, we won't fully understand its thinking until they issue their written decision, which is expected in about 90 days. From there, the defense has 90 days to appeal the decision to Italy's Supreme Court. The very same supreme court, which overturned their 2011 acquittal. So, things are not looking good for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Back to you, Christi.

PAUL: All right, Erin, thank you so very much. And we want to go to London now where a scandalous Hollywood encounter is now part of a major court case. The British tabloid is accused of hacking after Daniel Craig's voicemail just to get a juicy scoop. CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is there. Hi, Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christie, the actress, Sienna Miller testifying here by a video link from New Orleans in what has been a particularly salacious chapter in this long-running phone hacking trial. The last few days it's been focused on an alleged affair between Sienna Miller and 007 star Daniel Craig back in 2005. At the time, of course, she was the girlfriend of actor Jude Law. Reporters of now defunct tabloid, "The News of the World" says he got the story by hacking Daniel Craig's phone and recording an intimate message left by Sienna Miller, Miller saying that it was indeed the kind of message she might have left. Back to you, Christi.

PAUL: All right, Matthew, thank you. Let's go to Honk Kong now together, shall we? Where a wealthy tycoon is dropping his $65 million offer for a male suitor who can win over the heart of his lesbian daughter. CNN's Monita Rajpal is in Hong Kong. She's got all the details on this. Hi, Monita.

MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, it's a personal family matter that's playing out on a public stage. Hong Kong real estate tycoon Cecil Chao is offering millions of dollars to any man that can win his daughter's heart. But the so-called marriage bounty isn't so simple. His daughter is in a committed lesbian relationship. In an open letter to two local newspapers, Gigi Chao edged her father to accept her sexuality and her partner. The wealthy property developer made headlines back in 2012 when he offered $65 million to the man who would ask for his daughter's hand. An offer he recently doubled. Well, the latest twist, Cecil says all offers are off the table, for now, anyway. Back to you.

PAUL: Monita, we appreciate it, thank you. And we want to stay in Hong Kong here. Overnight, thousands of people celebrated the Chinese New Year. And CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is there. Hi, Kristie.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, it's that time of year, the Lunar New Year. A red package of money will be handed out, lucky food like fish and dumplings enjoyed at family gatherings, and dragon dances will to the streets of Hong Kong and around East Asia as the entire region celebrates the Year of the Horse. Some experts here in Hong Kong say with this being the year of the wood horse and wood being very combustible, expect a lot of scandals, conflicts, arguments. So saddle up, it could be a wild ride this lunar new year. Christi. PAUL: All right. Kristie. Thank you very much. Victor, I know, even my kid got a note that we're celebrating the Chinese New Year apparently here in Atlanta. They're supposed to wear red to school on Monday.

BLACKWELL: It's the year of scandal and - and ..

PAUL: Well, I don't know.

BLACKWELL: The wooden horse?


BLACKWELL: I've got to look it up. I've got to look it up.

PAUL: Yes. So, we'll have a lot to talk about apparently.

BLACKWELL: We will. All right. Thank you, Christi.

Seahawks fans just swooping in, Broncos fans charging into New Jersey and New York. It is Super Bowl time. And Andy Scholes is live right in the middle of it all. Andy, good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Victor. I'm here on Super Bowl Boulevard. This is basically an NFL fan dream world. We'll have a preview of the big game when "NEW DAY Saturday" returns.



PAUL: Good morning. Are you in New York City? Oh, well, it looks like you are going to thwart any snow that might be heading its way. Looks like the temperatures are going to be too warm and your Super Bowl should be clear.

BLACKWELL: Very nice.

PAUL: Cold but clear.

BLACKWELL: We're going to head to New York in just a moment.

First, you remember that bizarre fiery interview between Dennis Rodman and Chris Cuomo on CNN's "NEW DAY." I'm sure you remember it. Well, now, a sober and calmer Rodman sat down with Cuomo at his rehab facility.

PAUL: Yeah, and remember, he's in treatment, Rodman is, after his latest trip to North Korea. And he really opened up about his regrets, his battles with alcohol. And there was controversial statement about dictator Kim Jong-un. Chris is joining us now with more on this exclusive interview. Hi, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, we came to this rehabilitation facility in New Jersey for a simple reason, Dennis Rodman asked us to. He said he needs to talk this part of this healing process. He wants to go through some things that bother him about the last interview. He wants people to know his real feelings about North Korea. He says he has some regrets. And most importantly, perhaps, how he's going to face an issue that's plagued him for 20 years, his addiction to alcohol.


DENNIS RODMAN: I've been in rehabs, but for me this rehab is like - I don't have to drink. I came to the realization 15 years ago. I don't really have to drink. You know, I don't need to go in a bar, a restaurant and drink alcohol. That's not my job. You know, I do it for recreational purposes. That's it. Like most people in the world, when they go into a bar, to restaurant, you know, 90 percent of the people in the world have a drink. It could be a glass of wine. It could be - you know, it could be anything just (inaudible). You know. And for me, it's more like, I love to have a good time. I love to be around people to have a good time.


And for me, yes, I've been so many times to that, you know, hey, I drink, and people know that. Am I an alcoholic? Absolutely, I can't deny that.


CUOMO: Well, there you have it, Dennis Rodman has a lot to say about a lot of things. He does seem to have some regrets about the life he's lived, both in terms of his own sobriety, his own parenting and of course, his statements about North Korea and the ruler there. However, it's also pretty obvious he still has a really long way to go. Back to you, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right. Chris Cuomo. Thank you.

PAUL: Well, we just really hope he gets it together at the end of the day.


PAUL: I really hope that for him.

BLACKWELL: To sit there in rehab and say, I don't need a drink, you know, like most people, I just have one casually.

PAUL: Yeah, that's not good.


PAUL: That's not good. And, you know, it will be interesting to see if Chris Cuomo really does get the invite to North Korea that he gave him. We'll see what happen. Let's get back here and talk more about New York and New Jersey.


PAUL: And the Super Bowl. Because I know you got your big screen TV. You've got your game face on already. It's that close.

BLACKWELL: Game face is on. You know, it's always one of our favorite weekends here. It's the favorite Sunday of the year for a lot of people, and this is a live - not live, it's a look at MetLife stadium. Because the sun is not up yet. Denver Broncos who battled the Seattle Seahawks. There CNN's sports Andy Scholes is across the Hudson in New York on the official Super Bowl Boulevard. Andy, I know there's a lot of excitement there. Maybe not this hour, but people are ready?

SCHOLES: Yeah, not a lot of action going on right now, guys. But during the day, this is the place to be. You know, they transformed 13 blocks on Broadway and Times Square into basically an NFL fan's dream world. It's called Super Bowl Boulevard. You do all kinds of fun stuff, you can go down a huge toboggan, run, kick up deal, go get pictures with Lombardi trophy and much, much more. Now, the game guys is getting closer and closer. The excitement is building. We're about 36 hours away from the Broncos and Seahawks hitting the field at MetLife Stadium. One of the hot topics this week here in New York has been marijuana use in the NFL. Now, it's ironic that the only two - the two teams that made the Super Bowl come from the only two states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. That's, of course, Colorado and Washington. Now, during his annual state of the league address yesterday, Roger Goodell, he spoke about this issue, and he answered a question we've all wanted to ask.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I am randomly tested and I'm happy to say that I am clean.


GOODELL: We'll continue to follow the medicine. Our experts right now are not indicating that we should change our policy in any way. We're not actively considering that at this point in time. But if it does, down the road sometime, that's something we would never take off the table if it could benefit our players.


SCHOLES: One of my favorite stories this week comes from the Broncos' Mike Adams. "If Denver wins the Super Bowl," he says he's not going to Disney World, he's going to keep his helmet on and pads and walk home from MetLife stadium. Now, it's not too far, home for Adams is Patterson, New Jersey, it's about ten miles away. Still, a very long way to walk after playing a whole football game. Now, according to, Sunday's Super Bowl is on pace to be the biggest bad football game of all time. And one Yale economics grad, well, he is going to put $600,000 on this game. But he's going to do it in a funny way. He's betting on the weird prop bets that you can make during the Super Bowl. Now, his name is Rufus Peabody, he does the math on his crazy prop bets like will Richard Sherman get a taunting penalty during the game? And he said he expects to win about between five to ten percent on his $600,000. That would be a pretty good returning. You know, you could bet on all kinds of things on the Super Bowl, what color Gatorade can get poured on the winning coach. How long the national anthem is going to be. Lots of fun stuff you do for this game.

BLACKWELL: I'm going with orange for the Gatorade color.

PAUL: I'll go with free mint to be different.

BLACKWELL: Rufus Peabody is his name. A name I will never forget. Andy Scholes there on the Super Bowl Boulevard. Thank you.

PAUL: And you know, look - thanks, Andy. You know, like a lot of us, we just want to see the ads.


PAUL: I mean not to take anything away from the Super Bowl, but come on.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And you know, we're going give you a sneak peek of those all morning long. We want to start with one right after the break.

PAUL: In the meantime, we should point out that the (inaudible) the Super Bowl is much more than a game, obviously. Up next, one CNN reporter gets a behind-the-scenes look at how police are keeping people safe before kickoff.




JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks are from the only two states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Which means after the game, fans of one team will be happy, and fans of the other team will be really happy.


DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: You go down to Times Square now, and it's Super Bowl boulevard, and they've turned it into an amusement park. You can have your picture taken with the Lombardi trophy. And what a success, they put it out there two days ago, and it was -- lasted right around noon it was stolen. But it was up until that time --

JIMMY FALLON, TALK SHOW HOST: A zoo in Utah said that its ape named Eli has chosen the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, which means Peyton Manning now has two Elis quietly rooting against him.


PAUL: And just a reminder, this is Jay Leno's last week.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Jimmy Fallon taking the step up bringing the show back to New York.

PAUL: Going to be interesting.

BLACKWELL: Looking forward to it.

PAUL: To see what Jimmy has to pull himself into the game and how Jay Leno's going to get himself out of it. There will be something there.

BLACKWELL: So you mentioned before the break how much folks love the ads. Love everything between the play. So all morning, we're going to show you some of the ads that are set to air during the Super Bowl.

PAUL: Let's talk about this one for Oikos Greek yogurt, here it is for you, and it delivers on that kind of "Full House" reunion that you didn't even know you wanted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got something on your - right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoops, I did it again.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take off your pants, big boy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard the man, take those pants off, that's going to stain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt. Fuel your pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, please, don't leave me alone with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wasn't good for us, anyway.



BLACKWELL: They look exactly the same.

PAUL: I was going say, they look great, don't they?

BLACKWELL: Exactly the same.

PAUL: Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your "New Day" starts now.