Return to Transcripts main page


"Loud Music" Murder Trial Verdict Watch; Pistorius-Steenkamp Pics Released; Accidents on PA Turnpike; Flights Canceled for Weather; Winter Hits Businesses, Too; CEO Says U.S. Poor Are Rich in Other Countries; Dunn Jurors Continue Deliberations

Aired February 14, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: A rich venture capitalist says if you don't pay taxes, you shouldn't get to vote. And those who paid the most taxes, the wealthy should get the most votes.

MICHAEL PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Having sex a little less lately? Seems like a personal question. Maybe you are asking your husband to do many household chores. This is a controversial study. We're going to try to get to the bottom of it on Valentine's Day.

BERMAN: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. So glad to have you with us.

@ THIS HOUR, those stories and more.

BERMAN: This is the winter that keeps on giving in a bad, bad way. The snow days, the flight delays, the flight cancellations, they are adding up, costing the economy millions, millions of dollars.

PEREIRA: A third day of jury deliberations in the so-called "Loud Music" trial is under way. Jurors are deciding right now whether Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis in cold blood or if he killed him in self-defense.

Dunn is a 47-year-old white man. Davis was black and 17. He was shot dead in a dispute with Dunn over loud music. It all went down at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, back in November, 2012.

Dunn faces up to life in prison if he is found guilty of first-degree murder.

BERMAN: The son-in-law of a couple killed by a package bomb is being charged with planting the device. Forty-nine-year-old Richard Parker lived next door to his in-laws. Police say he is the only suspect.

Investigators say they found a note that may have been attached to the bomb. They are not discussing what that note said or a possible motive.

Jon Setzer died instantly when the bomb went off Monday at his home near Nashville. His wife Marion died at the hospital two days later.

PEREIRA: One year ago today, the shocking news came from South Africa. The "Blade Runner," as he was know, Oscar Pistorius, had shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

We're now seeing some of these pictures of them for the very first time. They were apparently taken not long before her death.

Now, for his part, Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. His murder trial starts next month.

In a statement today, he said, quote, "The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

BERMAN: We should say these pictures are being provided by someone close to Oscar Pistorius. It's clearly a message they want to send out that they were a very loving couple, this coming just weeks before that trial begins.

PEREIRA: Valentine's Day.

We've got to take about this major, major accident, a trio of them really, that are causing very real problems along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

BERMAN: Look at that.

PEREIRA: (Inaudible) cars, big rigs, they're all mangled together. Right now, eastbound lanes are shut down.

Our Margaret Conley is trying to make her way through the traffic. She joins us by phone.

Margaret, you are trying to wade your way through the traffic. I know one of the other big concern is emergency crews are trying to get their way to the scene and are being stymied by the backup.

MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Chaotic, Michaela, is how the state trooper that we talked to described the scene.

There were many injuries, so far no fatalities. We were, our team, headed east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike towards New Jersey. There are three accident areas right around where we were. We were at Exit 343. The accident was at Exit 350.

Twelve to 20 vehicles were involved. That's the estimate right now from the state trooper. They have investigators on the scene. We're probably not going to get those exact numbers until this weekend, Saturday or Sunday.

The second accident area was westbound between Exits 351 and 343. Two to three cars were involved in that accident.

And about 10-to-15 miles behind us was another accident. A Medevac helicopter came in and pulled out one person. We know that injury is non life-threatening.

We did see, between all of these accidents, a local report saying that five of these injuries are hospital-trauma cases. Now, where we were, we were headed eastbound on the other side. We saw ambulance taking off in the opposite direction. We had official cars trying to squeeze by. Everyone was trying to pull over so that they could get by on our side.

We were actually asked to turn around, so we've made our way out of there, but the larger trucks that are all backed up on that road right now, they're not going to be able to get out of there as fast as we were. We're told there could be a three-to-four-hour delay for them.

BERMAN: Wow. Margaret, we are looking at live pictures right now, remarkable live pictures right now of just yards, miles, this endless traffic jam, people getting out of their cars and walking around.

That appears to be at least one of the accidents that took place right there. You can see those cars simply smashed together.

Now, over the last week or so, Margaret, we have seen other pictures of cars stopped on the road, people walking around, giving up. That was because of the weather.

Any sense the weather, the storms we have had in this part of the country, any sense that had anything to do with these accidents?

CONLEY (via telephone): Yeah, I asked the state trooper that because we had seen a lot of snow, power outages. There was ice. There was rain.

But he said, no. Right now, these accidents are not attributed to weather. He said, There are blue skies -- which there are -- and these accidents were caused by irresponsible drivers, people driving too fast and following too closely.

And I called him back, I spoke with him about 10 minutes ago and asked him again if weather is a factor, because earlier this morning, there was some ice on the roads. This accident happened around 8:00, so maybe everything melted down.

But he said he stands by that, and there is going to be an investigation this weekend. And that's when we will get more information.

BERMAN: Oh, wow, we are seeing more of these pictures right now.

PEREIRA: It just seems to go on and on and on.

BERMAN: On and on and on, and many of the cars look like they're involved in accidents, some of the cars just stopped, the people walking around.

Margaret Conley, thank you so much. Stay comfortable, because you may not be going anywhere for quite some time.

PEREIRA: And, again, the other concern is that emergency crews aren't going to be able to get through this. They're going to have work hard.

Look at cars going the wrong direction, being spun around, some fender benders, some far worse.

BERMAN: Now, as Margaret said, it doesn't appear be to the weather that caused this mess, but as everyone now knows, the weather has been making huge problems for a lot of people up and down the East Coast.

Let's talk about what the storm is doing to the economy right now, all the planes, all the travelers holed up at airports or hotels, all the businesses that can't open because people can't get to work.

PEREIRA: And then add to that the parents that are staying home because their kids aren't in school, the places that can't do business because they have lost power.

The list of loss of lost productivity and dollars goes on and on and on.

BERMAN: Believe it or not, there are some winners in this frozen standstill.

You know we are all over this story. We've got reporters on the scene, Rosa Flores at LaGuardia here in New York, Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.

PEREIRA: Rosa, let's start with you, because we know that flight cancellations, this has been a bad winter for travelers trying to fly anywhere. We are talking thousands of flights so far canceled already today, right?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you are absolutely right.

And thank goodness, Michaela and John, for these little things, for phones and computers, because we all get them. We all get those notes saying, oh, yeah, by the way, your flight has been canceled or it has been delayed.

And that's why we don't see a lot of people at airports like we did back in the day, because folks stay home once they know that their flight has been canceled.

And when we are talking about cancellations, we're talking about 1,300 cancellations around the country and 1,600 delays.

Now, the delays here at LaGuardia Airport, according to the FAA, that's about an hour and seven minutes, so it's not too bad, but if you look at Misery Map around the country, LaGuardia is at number five.

We were at number six earlier. We are rising in the Misery Map. And let's just say that if your love is in the air, then that's probably a good thing, considering all of the flight cancellations.

John, Michaela?

PEREIRA: A Misery Map? I think that's the first time I've heard that.

All right, thanks so much, Rosa. We appreciate that. BERMAN: Yeah, Rosa's got a little bit of a misery tour.

She was on the side of the road looking at the traffic and the difficulty getting around on the ground.

And now she is at the airport talking to people who can't get anywhere by plane.

Thanks so much, Rosa.

Let's turn now to Alison Kosik on Wall Street. This whole week, it seems to be a wash for a lot of businesses, except maybe hotel bars. You know, right?

PEREIRA: I hadn't thought about that.

BERMAN: And any teenagers you had to pay to shovel the driveway.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Snow boots and shovels doing real well.

You know, it's true, though. When you think of storms that come this big, business kind of comes to a virtual standstill. It affects the economy big-time.

Let's talk about more airlines, JetBlue, for one. JetBlue's already said that weather's going to shave off 30 million bucks, right off its first-quarter profits. Likely to see more of the same from other carriers saying that, too.

So you think about this trickle-down effect. Workers are losing money, too, if they had to call in or call out. I mean, they don't have any money to spend.

People aren't shopping. You've got McDonald's, Whole Foods, G.M. Ford, Walmart, all saying their sales are being hit by the way.

So, we are also seeing this hiring slowdown. A big problem is you are seeing people not necessarily going out looking for jobs. You're not seeing companies hire for jobs during this time, as well.

One more big problem, you know what today is? Today is Valentine's Day, Michaela and John. It's the Super Bowl for florists, not a great time, though, for the weather to be hitting in such a strong fashion.

Some florists in the New York area are telling us all their deliveries actually have made it because the weather is getting better today, but we also talked with ProFlowers.

This place has completely stopped taking new orders in the region. It is reaching out to customers to warn them that deliveries might be delayed. You know, it's kind of like fumbling in the end zone.

One other place we talked to, real fast. 1-800-Flowers has dubbed this Operation Love Storm, 1-800-Flowers getting deliveries out -- trying to get deliveries out before the storm hit and now kind of playing catch-up, as well.

PEREIRA: I'm a silver-lining person. At least you don't need extra refrigeration for the flowers because we know that they are delicate.

Alison Kosik, thanks so much. Happy Valentine's Day, darling.

KOSIK: Sure.

PEREIRA: Hopefully -

KOSIK: You, too.

PEREIRA: -- things are looking up soon, weather-wise.

BERMAN: Operation Love Storm?

PEREIRA: I know.

BERMAN: Let's put on some Barry White music right now. That sounds kind of awesome.

All right, coming up, one person, one vote, that's how elections are supposed to work in the United States, but what if your vote was based on how much money you have.

One rich guy, who's been making a lot of headlines lately, says that's exactly how it should be. If you don't pay a lot of taxes, you shouldn't get a lot of votes.

PEREIRA: And on this day, we know Valentine's Day isn't all roses and Cupids for everyone, so with that in mind, we bring you this mash-up about heartbreak singing us through the decades.

Shall we start with the '60s?

BERMAN: Let's start with the '60s.




PEREIRA: All right, @ THIS HOUR, good to have you back.

The co-founder and CEO of a fashion company, you know Nicole Miller, a fellow named Bud Konheim wants the 99 percent to just stop whining.

BERMAN: He says America has become a nation of complainers, and those upset about income inequality here are actually rich by global standards.

PEREIRA: In fact, yesterday, he told CNBC that that middle- and lower- income Americans should be grateful that they don't live in China or India.


BUD KONHEIM, NICOLE MILLER CO-FOUNDER AND CEO: We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world, and so we're talking about how whoa, is me, whoa is us and whoa is this and -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Our one -- our 99 percent are the one percent in the rest of the world.

KONHEIM: The figure is even bigger than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree. Thank you.

KONHEIM: So, here we are, incredibly wealthy. Nobody really -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of capitalism.

KONHEIM: Exactly. And here it is. Money is all over the place and the guy that is making, oh, my god, he is making $35,000 a year.

Why don't you try that out in India or some countries we can't even name, like a China, any place? The guy is wealthy.


BERMAN: So the message, if you are making $35,000 a year is -

PEREIRA: You're rich.

BERMAN: -- move to India. Although, the commute to New York or Chicago could be a drag, right?

PEREIRA: It'll cost ya for $35,000. Look, the fact is, most people in this country are doing OK. And the most people that aren't doing OK, they have at least a safety net to help them. But there's a whole lot of people in this nation that are falling through the cracks, that are having to make tough decisions about, you know, which bills are going to be paid, if they are going to make their mortgage payment, if they, you know -- it's just so the unfair that he makes a comment like that.

BERMAN: And there's a whole lot of people who want to be doing better are finding it awfully hard to do that.

PEREIRA: Yeah, how do you get ahead?

BERMAN: And that's what their concern is.

PEREIRA: How do you get ahead?

OK, would you like another outrageous comment?

BERMAN: Give it to me.

PEREIRA: I got one. Remember the venture capitalist that compared vilification of the rich to the Holocaust? Remember that? Tom Perkins wrote a letter, just to refresh you, to the "Wall Street Journal" last month saying, quote, "I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 1 percent, namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American 1 percent, namely, the rich."

BERMAN: So Perkins later admitted the comparison went to far. But now, he is at it again. Yesterday he said our democracy should be based on tax brackets and income.


TOM PERKINS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: Well, the Tom Perkins system is, you don't get to vote unless you pay $1 of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. If you pay $1 million in taxes, you can get 1 million votes. How is that?



PEREIRA: Joining us now is Heritage Foundation chief economist, Stephen Moore. Good to have you with us at this hour.


PEREIRA: I'm curious, what do you make of Perkins tax comments?

MOORE: Oh, I think it was a silly thing to say. And I'm not sure how serious he is being there.

You know, I do agree a little bit with what he was saying. One of the problems we've had in the United States over the last 25 years is a smaller and smaller share of Americans are actually paying any income tax. And I do agree that we should have a country that people who vote should pay some tax, even if it is a very little amount. So everybody has some skin in the game.

But that's not talking about taking the vote away from people. It's changing our tax system so that everybody is paying at least something. And I think most Americans would probably agree with that.

I mean, here's the point I would make about the comments by these two CEOs. I think there is some truth to this idea that we're blaming a lot of the problems that the middle class and lower income people are facing, especially people on poverty on rich people.

And the truth is, rich people, for the most part, the people in the top 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent, they are the people who create the jobs in this country. They're the people who sign the paychecks. And we -- it doesn't help poor people to try to tear down the rich. What we want to do is have people climb the economic ladder rather than, you know, pointing our spears at people who have been successful.

BERMAN: Yeah, but it doesn't help rich people to tear down the poor either, Stephen. MOORE: Well, that's a good point. I think I agree.

BERMAN: As you said, there has been an interesting intellectual discussion about whether everyone in the United States should pay at least some kind of taxes. We heard that a lot in the Republican primaries in 2012.

MOORE: Yeah.

BERMAN: That's a separate argument than saying what Perkins admitted was an outrageous comment, but he didn't apologize for it, which is that rich people should have more votes. He is saying that rich people aren't just worth more economically but somehow worth more as Americans, worth more from a moral standpoint there. And I think that's what bothers people so much.

MOORE: Yeah, that's offensive, I agree with you. I mean, I'm not going to defend that statement.

Look, I do think people who are rich for the most part, the people who have done it the right way by start a business, by working hard, by pulling themselves up by their boot straps and employing people, I mean, those are people that we should hold up as kind of what we all aspire to be.

But the idea that they should get more votes than the rest of us, as a member of the middle class, I try not to be somewhat offensive myself.

PEREIRA: Well, you know, I'm just -- like, let's sort of zoom out of the picture a little bit. Stephen, do you have any idea what you think his endgame could be here? Because you look at this statement he made comparing the 1 percent to the Holocaust victims. He retracts later and apologizes. Then he comes out and says something outrageous and gets some laughs in the forum where he is speaking. But he doesn't really ever apologize to that.

Is he just a man of a certain age thinking he can say whatever he wants? He has all this money, nobody cares.

MOORE: Well, I don't know him personally. I know when I worked at the "Wall Street Journal" just as of a month ago, you know, we didn't agree with everything in his letter, by any means. And we wanted to publish that letter because it was provocative.

But I think we ought to remember, again, that tearing down the rich and saying the problems with the poor is that there are so many people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and Tiger Woods that are making money, I find that be objectionable.

I think we're -- there is kind of a war against the rich right now in this country, at least politically. And I'm not sure that's going to help people in the bottom classes.

We have a good piece in the "Wall Street Journal" today that shows that actually people, if you took all the money from the rich people, all of their money and gave it to the poor, you would still have a lot of poverty in this country. What we gotta do is raise people up.

BERMAN: Nevertheless, you know, Joe Biden talked, says that he wants to keep the focus on income inequality.

It's very much, you know, an international discussion right now with Pope Francis talking about it too.

Stephen Moore, thank you so much for being with us. Please, come on back.

MOORE: You have to focus on mobility. Mobility! Rising people up.

PEREIRA: There you go. You're getting heated. We will talk about that another time.

It reminds me of that -- remember the childhood lesson that your parents taught? You don't need to pull Billy down to make yourself feel better. It is the same kind of idea. We all rise up instead of --

BERMAN: Tom Perkins doesn't know much about little Billy, is I think what the problem is.

PEREIRA: He doesn't.

All right, ahead at this hour, it is third -- day three, rather, of jury deliberations in the so-called loud music murder trial. Jurors are now deciding whether Michael Dunn killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in cold blood or if he did it in self-defense. We are going to speak to two attorneys straight ahead.


BERMAN: All right, this just in to CNN this hour. It's the official report about what was going on with the Miami Dolphins. You'll remember that Jonathan Martin, an offensive lineman, left the team after what he said was a pattern of harassments, taunts, bullying from another player, mostly Richie Incognito.

Well now, attorney Ted Wells, who did the official investigation for the NFL and the Dolphins into this incident has issued his report.

Let me read you a little bit about what he says. He says, "The report concludes that three starters on the Dolphins' offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed not only at Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and also an assistant trainer."

It goes on to make another important statement here. It said, "Martin's teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him any lasting emotional injuries."

So they say that there was harassment, but it may not have been meant to cause any lasting harm.

I should tell you the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, has also put out a statement on this report. He says, "We have just received the report from Ted Wells and will review it in detail before responding relative to the findings. When we asked the NFL to conduct this independent review, we felt it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team first accountability and respect for one another."

We will look into this a great deal more, tell you what is in this report, and we'll keep you updated throughout the day.

PEREIRA: All right, so today is day three of deliberations in the so- called loud music murder trial. Jurors are now deciding whether the defendant, Michael Dunn, is guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

BERMAN: Dunn says he opened fire in self defense after an argument over loud music at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida.

PEREIRA: Two CNN legal analysts and defense attorneys joining us right now. We have Danny Cevallos and Paul Callan, who has also served as a prosecutor. It's interesting to have both of you here on this day to talk about this.

We are watching this jury and the fact that they are deliberating. But there've been so many questions from them. They've asked for additional information. They've asked for surveillance video. Does this indicate to either of you -- and either of you jump in here -- that this could potentially be a hung jury?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'll jump in. The questions and asking to see evidence is not unusual at all. And I am sure Paul would agree. Jurors are curious. And a lot of times, they don't ever understand why evidence wasn't introduced. They have questions.

The lawyers know why certain evidence didn't come in. But no one ever tells the jurors. So you often get questions about, "Hey, can we see this? Or can we take a look at this transcript." So this doesn't surprise me at all. And it doesn't really lead to a conclusion this is a hung jury.

PEREIRA: Yeah, it's important to remember these are not professional legal minds like the two of you are. These are a jury of their piers.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And you know, reading the tea leaves of the questions, you have to understand, lawyers, when we try these cases, these questions come out and it's, "Oh my God, that's a good question for the prosecutor or a good question for the defense.". The lawyers try to read the tea leaves.

I've tried a lot of murder cases as a prosecutor and a defense attorney, and I gotta say, it's tough to read them. And I'll tell you why. Sometimes you'll get a question, sounds like you're losing the case. For instance, the jury will come out and say, "Could you recharge us on self-defense?" And the prosecutor is going to say, "Oh, my God, we are losing the case." Sometimes there are two hold-out jurors and the rest of them are trying to say, "Listen. Just listen to the judge's charge one more time and you'll know we're right." And then shortly there after, they come in with a verdict.

So don't get too into what a particular question is as an indicator of verdict. It is not always an easy thing to predict.

BERMAN: The evidence they wanted to look at, again, the video from the gas station to get a sense of how the shooting went down. They also wanted some evidence as it related to the trajectory of the bullet. They wanted a letter written from the defendant which outlined the case.

And then they wanted something that actually raised my eyebrows a little bit. They wanted an easel. They wanted a white board easel. And that made me wonder, you know, we never know for sure what goes on in the jury room. Could this be an activist jury that wants to start drawing diagrams and charting their own course in this case?

CEVALLOS: And I think that's a possibility. I think most people might conclude they're struggling with the different definitions of homicide because they are tricky.

But these questions, again, this is astrology when it comes to reading what their questions mean and where they go. And Paul hit it right on the head. Don't marry yourself too much to the meaning of a particular question, because the ultimate verdict may be totally opposite to what you concluded based on that question.

CALLAN: Let's go to the white board for a minute because I think that's an interesting question. I don't know that I've seen a jury ask for a white board like they have here.

But I'm betting -- I was going over some of the testimony. Here's one of the things that Dunn said on the witness stand. He said that when he saw this gun pointing at him and was about to open fire, he was aware of the fact that his girlfriend might have been behind him coming out of the convenience store.

So he's trying to put into the jurors minds, not only was I defending myself, I was defending my girlfriend. So I'm betting they're going to be trying to diagram, where was the car? Was the girlfriend really behind him? Does all of this make sense in terms of the trajectory? So you know something? It's a great question. I would be diagramming this stuff myself if I were on the jury.

PEREIRA: Paul Callan, Danny Cevallos, thank you so much. We will be watching and waiting for that verdict to come down. Thanks so much.

CALLAN: Thank you.

PEREIRA: Ahead at this hour, seems like it's kind of springish in Sochi. It's icy in Atlanta. What is going on with the weather? It seems a little weirder than normal. And is weird the new normal, John? I'll ask you that question. BERMAN: Is weird the new normal?

PEREIRA: We're gonna take a close look.

BERMAN: Come to my house.