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Killer Storm Barrels North; Afghanistan Releases 65 Prisoners; How NSA Leaks Happened; Kentucky Same Sex Marriage; Self Defense or Murder?; Bus Driver Fights With Teen; Paula Deen Comeback?

Aired February 13, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're continuing to follow the breaking news this morning, a monster storm slamming the northeast after paralyzing the south. Thousands of flights cancelled at this point. Schools closed from Alabama to Maine, and now ten deaths being blamed on the storm.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There is a state of emergency right now in the Carolinas. That means the governments can use special assets like the National Guard, which has raced to the rescue of thousands forced to abandon their cars on ice-choked roads there. Even a bigger problem, about three quarters of a million people without power this morning.

This will be harder and take longer to fix. Icy roads, slow crews to these downed lines, thick with ice, all over the south. Let's go to Brian Todd, who is driving through the snow in the D.C. area. Not recommended, Brian, but realistic. What are you seeing there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, seeing a steady down pouring of snow, sleet, freezing rain. It's been pretty steady all morning causing real problems on the road. We're going to switch the camera from me to the camera out the front windshield here so you can see what we're looking at. This is I-95 heading north into D.C., about 12 miles south of the district line, some traffic starting to back up here.

Now, the state of Virginia says it has deployed 2,500 crew members, 12,000 pieces of equipment, snow plow trucks, salt trucks, all over the state. But when you see this camera here and you see what we're up against here on a major highway, I-95. This is what they are up against. You've these trucks deployed, but they can't really keep up with the rate of snow and sleet and freezing rain that is falling, and it has been steady all day.

It's slow going here on I-95, but people are moving, but again, with the rate of snowfall and everything, it's going to be tough to keep up, and we did come across a gentleman who had spun out. He did a 180 right off I-95, and we were able to hook him up and pull him out of his jam. His name is Edward Martinez. He was grateful we were able to get him out. That's the kind of thing that you are seeing across the region this morning as we get into the heart of rush hour -- Chris. CUOMO: I like you knowing how to locate the tow there loop on the back of that Ford and help the guy out. Good for you, Brian, and also a good product placement with the CNN logos all over the place in the vehicle. Be safe.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brian.

TODD: Got to show the flag.

BOLDUAN: That's right, buddy.

Let's straight over to meteorologist, Indra Petersons now tracking this extreme weather, she is live in White Plains, New York. So what should people be looking out for? We know it came overnight for some and it's still heading this morning to others. What should people be looking out for, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, I think what people need to realize is we're going to start to see a transition as we going in through late morning. You can see out here in the White Plains right now, no shortage of snow plows. I am telling it just seems like every 15 or 20 minutes, we see another plow comes on by. That's the good thing. They are prepared in this area.

But as I was mentioning, around 10:00 or so, so close that freezing line. We're going to start to transition more into a sleet. What you're dealing with right now is very heavy, wet snow. It will start to be more of that sleet kind of snow and even some rain. What I'm concerned about people will think the storm system is kind of winding down. Not going to be the case.

At times the sleet and rain could even be heavy and on the back side of the system you're going to see even more snow make its way through. It you're in the D.C. area, we are talking about two inches per hour. That's what we saw this morning. Heavy snow right now in New York City even Boston looking for upwards of four to even eight inches of snow.

D.C. and New York could see even a foot of snow. The higher amounts are going to be inland. Coastlines shift back. Also keep in mind, strong winds are going to be out there. We are talking about 30 even 40 mile-per-hour gusts out there. Definitely not the day to be driving, you do not want to be out on the roads. It looks like at least at this point everyone is staying indoors -- Kate.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I'll actually take it here. Two inches per hour I think that is the number that stuck with me right now, Indra, just incredible.

All right, let's take a look at some of your other headlines right now. Despite serious objections from the U.S., Afghanistan has released 65 alleged Taliban fighters from jail. Many of the former prisoners have links to attacks that killed American troops, and the U.S. says releasing them poses a serious threat to allied forces. Tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan are already escalating over President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a security agreement. We now have an even better idea of NSA leaker Edward Snowden accessed classified documents. An agency memo now unclassified and obtained by NBC say he use add co-worker's password. The co-worker saying he input his password into Snowden's computer at Snowden's request. That employee recently resigned.

NBC also reports an active duty member of the U.S. military and a contractor no longer have access to NSA facilities after they were implicated in actions that may have helped Snowden.

Another legal victory for supporters of same-sex marriage, a federal judge striking down part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban. The judge ordering Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in some other states. Kentucky's attorney general says his office is still reviewing the ruling.

U.S. attorneys are dropping a citation against the husband of a Utah woman who died base jumping over the weekend. Amber Bellows plummeted 2,000 feet to her death when her parachute failed to open. Her husband of just two weeks, Clayton Butler, also jumped, but was unable to reach her body. He had to hike two hours to notify officials. The citation was for parachuting in a national park. The U.S. attorneys have declined to prosecute.

A follow up now to a story that we brought you earlier this week, newly released surveillance video of a 10-year-old Colorado girl crashing her mom's SUV into a DMV. The video was obtained by our affiliate, KUSA, in Denver. The mother tells police she left her 12 and 10-year-old daughters inside the parked car. The younger girl has been ticketed for careless driving. Thankfully, no one was injured. Scary moments there, Chris.

CUOMO: That was, Mich. That's something.

All right, this morning, the jury resumes deliberations in the loud music trial. Wednesday both sides gave passionate closing arguments. The prosecution hammering home the point that there was no gun found in the car carrying victim, Jordan Davis. The defense counters by saying, well, you could not stand silent for 3 minutes to prove the teens had time to stash any weapons.

So this is going to be a complicated case. Much more than people think. Let's bring in legal analyst, Sunny Hostin. She has been in the courtroom joining us now from Jacksonville. Sunny, the first point here that I want to get across is sitting in the courtroom, tell us, looking at that jury, what do you think resonated for the prosecution and the defense?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I can tell you, Chris, that closing arguments both from the prosecution and the defense were very, very strong yesterday. The jury was paying rapt attention, but the big moments of the day did come when Assistant State Attorney John Guy gave his rebuttal closing argument. He's a very passionate advocate. We saw that in the Zimmerman case. We certainly saw it again yesterday. He talked about Jordan Davis. He put the victim in this case just dead center, and said that to the dead we owe the truth. There wasn't dry eye in the courtroom. Jordan Davis' parents were crying. Their family members, friends also crying, and I did see several of the jury members put their notes down, put their pens down and look directly into the gallery, directly at the family. I think that was the big moment yesterday.

CUOMO: Strong reporting. Important and insightful and understanding where the jury's mind is. Let's talk about the jury for one more beat before we play some sound of actual arguments. A diverse jury, two African-American females in their 20s, an Asian female, a Hispanic male, the rest of white, seven women, five men. A complex makeup, as a former prosecutor, how does this jury play, do you think, in terms of the sympathies involved?

HOSTIN: This is the jury that you want for a case like this. I think if you're the prosecutor. I mean, certainly you have two African- American women. They're about in their late 20s, perhaps early 30s. There was a doctor, female doctor, on the jury. She is one of the alternates. I thought she would have been a very good juror for this jury, but the mix, nevertheless, is very good.

It's very different from the Zimmerman jury. I know we keep on comparing that case to this case, but there are, I believe, some similarities. In Zimmerman, only six jurors, not very diverse, 12, because this is a first-degree murder case, and I think, really, this is a very diverse juror, not in terms only race and also gender but age. Age is going to be an important factor here.

CUOMO: Strong point. Now, I believe if there's a shocker verdict in this, the shocker verdict would be an acquittal. If that happens, it's going to come down I believe through this shadow of a possibility that's being used. It reminds us in frightening fashion of the former case there with Casey, the mother, where Jose Baez stood up at the beginning of that trial and said, you will see that there was abuse.

And that the father was involved and there was never any proof put on but it planted a seed with the jury and sure enough, the defense in this case, like in the Casey case is saying there was no gun. They was a gun. They just never found it. I want to play some sound. Listen to the defense at the closing, because this could be the shadow of a possibility that may plant a seed with the jury. Take a listen.


CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: How many times did the state ask their witness, was there a weapon in that truck? Was there a gun in that truck? Was there a weapon -- truck -- truck -- truck, never asked about the plaza, never asked about underneath the cars in the plaza, never checked the bushes, never checked the dumpsters. But you know when the detective alleges they did it, five days later.


CUOMO: That's called a shadow of a possibility in the law. There is no proof there was a gun, but they're saying, well, maybe there was, and it was just a botched investigation. The prosecution had to counter very strongly here because it's all about planting doubt. Listen to what the prosecutor did to counter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me be very clear. On November 23rd, 2012, when this defendant shot and killed Jordan Davis, there was no gun in that Durango. There was no stick. There was no bat. There was no lead pipes. There was no gun. What was in that Durango --


CUOMO: Sunny, let me leave you with this. We're expecting a verdict here in this case probably today. It's been a fairly quick trial. If this is an acquittal, how big a decision will this be for the community? It doesn't have the wattage that Zimmerman did. It benefits somewhat from being the second in a line of these cases in some places, but what do you think happens if Dunn walks?

CUOMO: It is going to be significant. I can tell you that while I've been in the courtroom, there have been pastors here. The courtroom is packed, many, many people from the community. One gentleman told me yesterday, what do you think, Sunny? What do you think is going to happen? I said, I just really don't know. He said we can't go 0-2. We can't go 0-2. The community cannot withstand that. I think that speaks volumes.

CUOMO: I think that's a strong point to end it on, Sunny. We'll see what happens. Obviously, the interest is always in seeing justice prevail, but this case has a lot of overtones for sure. I know it is cold out there, Sunny. Thanks for suffering through it for us and we'll check in with you later on. Appreciate it -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thanks. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a violent fight between a Wisconsin bus driver and a high school student cost the driver his job. Now he wants it back. Was it self-defense or was the driver being reckless?

Also ahead, a second chance for the queen of southern cuisine, Paula Deen, getting a big boost trying to get her brand back on track. Will it work?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. An update for you now on that Wisconsin bus driver who was fired for fighting with a teen who was on his bus. Now Scotty Wells, that's the bus driver, fighting to get his job back. The incredible video shows the bus still moving as the driver fights it out with a 15-year-old. The bus hitting several parked cars. Was it self-defense or was it reckless? Jean Casarez is here to look more into this case -- Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is really serious because this young teen is now facing criminal charges so he could have a record from this and the bus driver saying, I need and I want my job back. The devil may be in the details. Watch this.


CASAREZ (voice-over): A Wisconsin bus driver is out of a job after a violent fight with a passenger on board his bus. The whole thing was caught on tape. The shocking video shot inside a bus packed with high school students shows the heated moments before a violent altercation between the Conotia Transit bus driver, Scotty Wells, and a teen passenger last month. The video seems to show the testy encounter was not the first time the two had exchanged words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's you. I've been waiting to see you. That's for your mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, when you got off the bus the last time.

CASAREZ: Reportedly Wells told authorities he asked for their teen's information after allegedly experiencing issues with him on previous rides. The teen is seen in the video taking a seat, but a few moments later, he approaches the front of the bus, and pulls the first punch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When that border goes, that bus pass is no longer any good. Get the heck out of here.

CASAREZ: But perhaps more shocking, watch here. As the bus still moving with no one behind the wheel, crashes into three parked cars, one with people still inside. The teen is facing felony charges for assaulting Wells and reckless endangerment. Wells declined to comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can talk to my union representative.

CASAREZ: His union rep is fighting for him to get his job back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My issue with the bus drive is that, when he defended himself, he put others at risk, and he put them at peril by defending himself while the bus wasn't in park.


CASAREZ: And the other side of that story is, as the bus driver, he had to ensure the safety of all the other students on the bus, and let's look at the facts, because that's important here. All of the kids had gotten on the bus. It looks like he put the bus in drive, and then he was attacked. We know his glasses were broken when the student attacked him. He, then, attacks back, but forget to put the bus in park.

So, Chris and Kate, the bus just keeps going at a very slow rate, but we do know there was one person in that parked car. No injuries, though at this point.

BOLDUAN: It shouldn't have to happen that's for sure, Jean.

CUOMO: It did happen though. I argue the side of the bus driver. I say supervening cause in the law meaning something happens that changes the analysis of what's reasonable under the situation. Of course, he forget to put the car back in park, he was in the middle of an altercation. That's going to be his defense.

Should he have participated in that early banter? No. It's a problem. It won't change the legal analysis in terms of him defending himself. I think he has a really strong case for getting his job back. He really does. The kid threw the first punch. It was a dangerous situation. He had to deal with it.

CASAREZ: He had a duty to take care of the other students on that bus.

CUOMO: Yes, absolutely. That's going to be the balancing test there, but we'll see what happens. Jean, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Let's take a break here on NEW DAY. As always, feel free to tweet us with the hash tag about this as well. Paula Deen, her multimillion- dollar recipe for a career comeback. How the celebrity chef plans to find her way back into her kitchen and into your hearts. Will it work? Tweet us.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Paula Deen is cooking up a comeback. The celebrity chef lost her Food Network show and sponsorship deals after the lawsuit that accused her of racism. Now her once tarnished brand is getting a huge multimillion-dollar boost. CNN's Nischelle Turner is here. Explain for us.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, we all remember what happened definitely, but Paula Deen has been laying low since December when she found herself in hot water over lawsuit from a former employee during which she admitted she had used the "n" word. Now this is a bit of a gamble for Paula Deen because the question is, is it too soon for a comeback, or is it just the right time for her to mix up something new?


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: Here we go. How is this, y'all?

TURNER (voice-over): If Paula Deen has things her way, she'll soon return to being known for cooking up delicious southern meals.

DEEN: Is that heaven, kids or what?

TURNER: And not for cooking up controversy. Private investment firm, Najafi Media, is reportedly investing between $75 million and $100 million into Paula Deen ventures, which will encompass deals on all things Deen including restaurants, cookware, food and TV shows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paula Deen has a brand. She has a very loyal audience. So I think that investing in her, assuming nothing else is unearthed, I think it's a pretty safe bet.

DEEN: Do you mind if I double dip?


TURNER: Deen's image suffered a devastating blow last summer during a lawsuit from a former employee who accuse her of racism and discrimination. Deen was on the defense after it was revealed she used the "n" word in the past. Many of her endorsers responded to the public outcry by quickly dropped her.

DEEN: I want to apologize to everybody.

TURNER: Despite two tearful online apologies, the Food Network pulled the plug on her shows and other deals including QVC, Wal-Mart and Sears were quickly canned as well. The lawsuit was dismissed after an agreement by both sides, but the damage was done. Deen still apologizing at her first public appearance following the scandal last summer.

DEEN: It was an opportunity to learn. I learned a lot about myself and I've certainly learned a lot about my business.

TURNER: But experts say enough time has passed that the public may be ready to embrace her once again.

PETER SHANKMAN, BRAND AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT: Look at any celebrity, who has come back after disaster, they've apologized. They've appeared contrite and gone on TV to express their apologies. They've gone away and then they come back. We tend to welcome them with open arms.

DEEN: Hi. I'm back.


TURNER: Now what Paula Deen has going for her is that incredibly loyal fan base. She's got more than 1 million followers on Twitter, more than 4 million on Facebook. Her company says her magazine subscriptions have gone up by 40 percent in the last year. So many of her fans have stood by her side all this time and they could likely embrace what her next steps are in the comeback.

BOLDUAN: On that question, can she come back, according to her fans, she already has.

TURNER: Well, you know, they never left her. So we'll have to see. It was the sponsors, but it wasn't the people who support her.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Nischelle.

Coming up on NEW DAY, that monster storm, winter storm slamming the northeast after hurling through the south, power lines were down, 800,000 people in the dark. Everything you need to know coming up at the top of the hour.