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Banks Allowed to Take Money from Marijuana Businesses; Air Travel Disaster on Valentine's Day; Al Roker's Apology to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; Richard Parker Charged for his Parents-in-Law Death; New Investigation of Bullying in NFL; Michael Dunn's Case: Jury's Still Deliberating

Aired February 14, 2014 - 14:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And good afternoon, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. Breaking news right now. Making money from legal marijuana just got a whole lot easier thanks to the federal government. The Justice and Treasury Departments just announced new rules allowing banks to legally take money from state-licensed marijuana businesses. Now, these new rules let banks do business now with legal marijuana shops without being prosecuted. That was the concern. And you remember marijuana is still illegal under federal law and some banks are refusing to take money from legal marijuana businesses in places where it's legal like Colorado and Washington State. Here with us justice reporter Evan Perez. So, Evan, let's talk about how significant this policy change is for marijuana businesses. Because this was the number one concern when we were talking about it going legal the day before.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right. That's right, Kyra. This is a big deal for the businesses. And especially in those two states where marijuana is now legal for recreational use. Washington State and Colorado. One of the big worries has been that they can't go to any particular bank to take their deposits. They can't get loans. So their businesses have been basically cash businesses. Which creates a big problem for law enforcement. They are basically sitting ducks for anybody who wants to rob them. So, this is a big deal. It gives a little bit more comfort for those businesses that they will be able to stay in business, to bring their deposits to a bank and perhaps the banks won't get in trouble for accepting their business, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Sure. I mean it was a concern for law enforcement and the IRS as well. You know, if you are not doing business with the bank, but there is still other pretty big legal issues that remain for these legalized marijuana businesses.

PEREZ: Well, yes. Exactly. I mean just as you said it's still illegal under federal law. So, you know, this is kind of a halfway point for these businesses to comply with the state laws and the federal laws to get some kind of legal reassurance, but at the same time, you know, the rules of them being announced by the Treasury Department, says that the banks still have to report transactions with marijuana businesses. They just are required to do it in a particular way. And the Justice Department is not making any legal guarantees either. As long as the businesses stay away from some eight priority areas, which is keeping the drugs away from kids, you know, keeping it from being trafficked across state lines where it's not legal. Those are the areas that the feds say that they are going to concentrate, but, you know, there is still the possibility that they could get in trouble, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much. We will stay on top of that story. The other story that we're talking about is the travel along the Eastern seaboard right now. It is crippled. Brought to its knees by this ice storm that has encased cities from Atlanta all the way to Maine. And airports are still scrambling to clear the backlog of delayed travelers. Now, unless you are the president, and its wheels up at Joint Base Andrews. No problems. But for the rest of us, some 7,000 commercial flights were canceled yesterday and then add to that more than 1300 additional flights grounded so far today. Now, thinking the roads are a better option, think again. This is the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 100 cars and 18 wheelers piled into each other just outside of Philly, the stretch of the wreckage, well, expanding several miles. 30 people were injured. Here's the big picture. Forecasters say that this Valentine's Day system will dump more snow on the northeast this weekend, from Pennsylvania to New York to New England. Better brace for it. So, before you meet up with your sweetheart tonight, remember that the storm may be delaying those dozen roses or the dozen kisses or however you are going to celebrate. Rosa Flores is at LaGuardia Airport so far, celebrating there at New York City with all the other folks that have been delayed, canceled and waiting to get on to a flight. So, what are the terminals like right now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On that note, Kyra, there was a cupid not too long ago, I had to add, here in one of the terminals. So, you know, people are keeping their spirits high, of course, but they are not feeling the love on this Valentine's Day. The number of flights canceled was just up to 1400 and the number of flights that have been delayed up to -- let me check, 3500 at this hour. Now, the delays here at LaGuardia Airport are at an hour. Now, that's down from an hour and 35 minutes just an hour ago. Now, let's take a look at the misery map. Because there is a lot of misery around the United States today when it comes to flying. Take a close look at the very top of the list at Charlotte International in North Carolina followed by Chicago O'Hare and then you've got Newark and then Denver. So, Kyra, if you ask me, Mother Nature is single this Valentine's and she is probably, I don't know, feeling that her boyfriend is in one of these airports and she wants him to be miserable.


PHILLIPS: We've got to find some love somewhere with all of this. And there shouldn't be too much concern about the flowers. Apparently most of the flowers are delivered through Miami. So, that's good news for folks that - who are bringing in bouquets through that. OK, but, you know, on that note of business, I mean let's talk about the cost of these storms on business. I mean it's definitely still making an impact on this Friday.

FLORES: You are absolutely right. And let's talk first about passengers. Because you know, if you are stuck at the airport, that means that you are also buying more food. If you are canceled, then you are probably spending money on the hotel and our great producers here at CNN did the math for us. And they tallied up like you mentioned. So, there is 8400 cancellations just between the last two days. If you add up the last month, that's 75,000 cancellations. And hear this for a grand total of $3 billion just for the consumer. And this is an extra spending for hotels and meals. Now, I know that a lot of people don't feel a lot of sympathy for the airlines, but for the airlines, it's lost revenue of $200 million. So, it definitely adds up, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Yeah. Well, it can be sometimes be romantic being holed up somewhere. It's what you make of it, right, Rosa?

FLORES: That's right. You've got to make the best of it. Even if it's at the airport. You know, you see a little cupid here, maybe a rose here or there. You make it happen.


PHILLIPS: Rosa, thanks. Weatherman Al Roker is apologizing to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio one day after sliming him on Twitter. Roker was furious over the mayor's decision to keep schools open despite a snowstorm yesterday. Here's what he wrote on Twitter. "I knew this a.m. the mayor's office would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range de Blasio forecast. One term. Well, de Blasio had a pretty quick response for Roker.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: I respect Al Roker a lot. I watched him on TV for many, many years. It's a different thing to run a city than to give the weather on TV. So, I am comfortable with our decision making.


PHILLIPS: OK, oh, well, today Roker tried to make up with the mayor admitting that one tweet was a low blow.


AL ROKER, WEATHERMAN: I will say the one tweet I do regret. I'm very passionate about the weather. I made a prediction that there would be only one term for this administration. I apologize for that. That was a little above - below the line, but everything else I still stand by.


PHILLIPS: Well, on Twitter chat today, Roker added that it's all about safety for New York children.

So, the son-in-law of a Tennessee couple killed by a package bomb is charged with planting the deadly advice just outside their home. We have learned that the son-in-law is a convicted arsonist. 49-year-old Richard Parker faces two first-degree murder charges. Tennessee authorities say that Parker was convicted of arson in 1993 and actually served four years' probation. His father in law, 74-year-old retired attorney Jon Setzer died when that bomb exploded Monday just outside their home in rural Tennessee about 30 miles from Nashville. His wife Marion died of her injuries Wednesday night. A sheriff says that the suspect lived next door to his in-laws' home, the home that you see her in shambles right after the explosion. Now, authorities are not revealing any possible motive at this time. But I do want to bring in a man who knew the Setzers very well. Mike Ripski, pastor for the late Jon and Marion Setzer joining me now. Pastor, I appreciate you being with me.


PHILLIPS: And just to clarify. Because there has been a lot of different articles written about this family. How many kids did the Setzers have and who exactly was the suspect married to?

RIPSKI: Jon and Marion had four children. Three girls and a boy. Part of their story is that they had another boy who at age 3 was killed in an incident with a dog. And I think how they came through that experience made both of them very sensitive, compassionate, very special people. The oldest daughter Laura was married to Richard and they had a house where they lived with their four boys behind Marion and Jon. They built their house first, I believe, and then Jon and Marion moved from Nashville to the Lebanon area to be close to them.

PHILLIPS: So, is the daughter then and the son-in-law Richard Parker, are they divorced or are they still married?

RIPSKI: No, they were living as a family.

PHILLIPS: OK. How is she doing? Has she come to you for counseling or have you talked to her at all?

RIPSKI: Well, Jon and Marion about a little over two years ago came to the First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, about the same time I was appointed there as pastor. They had been members of another United Methodist church in Nashville for several years, but the distance of going back to that church led them to begin to attend the church closest to their home. Their daughter Laura and Richard and their family were members of the Church of the Nazarene, First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville. And so, I don't know that family well. I am not their pastor. Kevin Alnut (ph) who has been much more involved with the family than I have been is their pastor.

PHILLIPS: Well, did the Setzers ever mention any problems with the son-in-law to you? Did you ever meet with them as a family or even counsel possibly just Jon and Marion?

RIPSKI: I did not. My last memory of Marion was last Sunday morning. She was in worship at our 11:00 service. Jon has been ill for several months and has been too weak to attend worship, but Marion has been a very regular and very active in other ways. In fact, she was in worship Sunday school on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, she was at a Steven ministries meeting. Monday morning before this happened, she was at a women's bible study. On Sunday morning, she came up to me and she said I still intend to get with you. She had said about a month or so ago, you know, I want to set up a time for an appointment to come by and see you. She had not been able to do that. And she indicated that she is still ...

PHILLIPS: So, she was wanting to see you? She obviously had something on her mind.

RIPSKI: She was wanting to see me. She did. I don't know what it was. Of course, my mind goes to did she want - did she have some sense, was there something going on that she wanted to talk to me about? I will never know and I'll regret our not having been able to get together.

PHILLIPS: Well, and now we unfortunately won't know what exactly was she wanted to talk to you about. But you were there for them. And as Christians believe, they are now resting with the angels. I guess that's the only peace of mind that you can take away from this as a pastor with regard to this couple.

RIPSKI: That is true and the gifts that they left us. They were just extraordinary people who touched so many different lives with the grace of God.

PHILLIPS: Pastor Mike Ripski, we sure appreciate your time today.

RIPSKI: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's the big buzz at the Olympics right now. High tech suits supposed to give you speed skaters a competitive edge in Sochi, but there is a big problem here. Reports that those suits may actually be slowing the skaters down. The company Under Armor made those suits. We're talking live in the vice president. Plus, the report into bullying inside an NFL locker room is done and there are bombshell developments. More players accused of bullying and they were not just targeting teammates. That's next.


PHILLIPS: Ex-NFL star Darren Sharper was charged today with drugging and raping two women. One in October and the other last month. That's according to the district attorney's office in Los Angeles. He is expected to be arraigned today. And that's not all. The five-time pro-bowler faces rape investigations in New Orleans and Las Vegas. Well, the NFL may never be the same again after a report today about bullying in the locker room. The report by the investigator Ted Wells says that Jonathan Martin was relentlessly harassed by these three men who all played on the offensive line with him. John Jerry, a guard who was drafted in 2010, Mike Pouncey, also a guard, drafted one year later who played in the pro bowl just last year and, of course, Richie Incognito, the player most vilified for the alleged abuse. The report actually says that Martin wasn't this trio's only victim, but that another player, even a trainer were also bullied. CNN's Joe Carter joining me now with more. Pretty damning report.

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really. Really bad. I was surprised. It's 148 pages. So, Ted Wells was very thorough in this investigation. And it took a lot longer than we expected. We expected the results to come back last week. But I tell you, the most damaging part about this is that the harassment was so persistent and it was so damaging that Jonathan Martin not only felt like he had to leave the team, but he contemplated killing himself not once, but twice in 2013.

PHILLIPS: And we heard some of those voice mails.

CARTER: Those voice mails.

PHILLIPS: They were awful.

CARTER: Were awful. And, you know, and Incognito's side tried to combat that by releasing several text messages between the two that showed that there was an engagement, that shows that there was a friendship. Ted Wells' report says that it got so bad for Jonathan Martin that he felt like he had to engage with them, he had to join in to hopefully lessen the amount of harassment that he's receiving. You know how that is. That's text book victim versus bully. OK, well, I will join and I'll kind of be like them. So maybe it's a little bit less on me. Some of the other damaging things, as you said in the intro, it's not just Jonathan Martin. There was another offensive lineman and it was a trainer and the kind of abuse that it was, was on a consistent daily basis talking about their mother, talking about their race, talking about their families. Talking about their sexuality. So it comes from all different angles, hitting them where it hurts most. Embarrassment. Jonathan Martin in this report said that he has a history of a lack of self-confidence. That during junior high and during high school, he felt that he was a lesser of a person. So, maybe that contributed to the fact that he didn't feel self-confidence - some of the other players. Because we know, we all know that the workplace environment in the NFL much different than the workplace environment, perhaps, her at CNN. But still, to the point where somebody felt like they hadn't only removed themselves from that environment, but also contemplated taking their life not once, but two different times.

PHILLIPS: You know, there is a lot of workplaces that could be pretty nasty and a lot of things that go on behind closed doors, but I think it's interesting, you know, in sports, guys are rough, they are tough. They give each other a hard time. So, I don't think a lot of people were surprised by this, but extremely disappointed. And I think this is going to completely change policy. Yes? I mean are we hearing from the Dolphins? Are we hearing from Incognito or the other two?

CARTER: Well, as far as the players go, we've not heard from either of the three players. The Incognito, John Jerry or Mike Pouncey. The Dolphins did release the statement, and basically they are saying that we want to review this, that they want to, obviously, look if detail before they respond to some sort of, you know, punishment, relative to the findings. They asked, the NFL, to conduct this independent review and the Dolphins felt like it was important to take a step back and thoroughly research these serious allegations and obviously as an organization the Dolphins believe that they are committed to a team- first accountability and respect for one another. But you would have to think that given Roger Goodell's history, given his heavy handedness towards anything that goes against rules and policies in the NFL, you have to think that there are definitely going to be some punishments that are going to be laid out for the three players that are involved.

PHILLIPS: And there should be certain lines you just can't cross.

CARTER: It's surprising. You know, in this - one of the other things that really jumped out to me here is that Jonathan Martin, 300 pounds, 6'3". Big enough and strong enough to play in the NFL felt helpless. He's felt - he said he felt so helpless by these verbal assaults that he was unable to stop them. Because he felt like a true pushover. And so that's when he felt like - maybe I will join them and maybe then they will accept me. But they got to the point where just - he had to leave the team and then obviously, felt that ...

PHILLIPS: He's the better person. He needs the real - you know, he wasn't the one doing the bulling. It was these other three. So.

CARTER: 148 pages. It's a lot to go through, but I think this story, we have some resolution, but I think there's still more to come.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Joe.

And coming up at 3:00 Eastern, I'm actually going to talk to a former NFL player. What did he see in the locker room and does he think this is a normal behavior? And should it -what should be done? Tune in for that the next hour. Well, right now the jury is deliberating in the so-called loud music murder trial. They are trying to determine if Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis in cold blood or in self-defense. But while we wait for the verdict, Dunn's attorney is speaking out, driving home one of the arguments that he made in court. Stay with us.


PHILLIPS: Happening right now in a courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, a third day of jury deliberations in the so-called loud music murder trial. Michael Dunn could face life in prison. Remember, he opened fire on an SUV full of teenagers during an argument over blaring rap music. Well, three of those bullets struck and killed 17- year old Jordan Davis. Dunn says he fired in self-defense. He told the court that Davis and his three friends were armed and threatened him. Investigators did not find a weapon inside the teenager's SUV. And this morning, defense attorney Cory Strolla told our Chris Cuomo that witnesses said they saw the teens trying to stash a weapon after that shooting.


CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mr. Dunn never raised his voice, never cursed, never used derogatory words, racial slurs and never even showed the sign of anger. It was actually Jordan Davis who escalated it and when my client didn't react and actually went to talk to him, that's when it got worse. And that's when he grabbed a weapon and put it against the door. And my client still didn't reach for his weapon.


STROLLA: I'm sorry?

CUOMO: What weapon, counselor? What do you mean he grabbed the weapon? Who says he grabbed the weapon? What proof is there there was a weapon?

STROLLA: Well, you are almost asking us now to disprove there wasn't. Because again, if you watch the trial, the SUV drove over 100 yards away. It was going for over three minutes. We have independent witnesses saw them get out. When the witnesses called 911, their exact words are they are trying to stash something from the vehicle. Then they drive all the way back to the gate gas station and alleged re-drove back just to call for help. Meanwhile, they are in a safe plaza apparently with witnesses around them. They had no idea that two people were on the phone with 911 watching them.


PHILLIPS: All right, let's bring in our legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin. So, Sunny, what do you make of Strolla's argument about the teens having a weapon? Could this be why the jury is still deliberating?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know he's - the defense certainly made that argument here, but there is just overwhelming evidence that there was no shotgun. There is also overwhelming evidence that Jordan Davis was not getting out of the car. In fact, he remained in the car, but Michael Dunn is the only person to say that he saw the kids with the shotgun. And I have got to tell you, I think many of us here are surprised that these deliberations are still going on. The rule of thumb is usually about one hour of deliberations per day of trial. They are now, I think, into maybe the 15th hour of deliberations.

PHILLIPS: Can we read anything into that?

HOSTIN: Well, our sense is that there is some friction in the jury room. Yesterday, loud voices were heard, apparently, coming from the jury room. And so, I think they are certainly struggling as to whether or not Michael Dunn's testimony was credible. And that actually does make sense here, because in a first-degree murder case, I don't recall the last time that a defendant took the witness stand. Michael Dunn took the witness stand, gave his version of events. They were very different, of course, from all of the testimony that was given by all of the boys in the car as well as the forensic evidence and the testimony of witnesses and the medical examiner. So, I think this jury is certainly struggling with his credibility in his version of events.

PHILLIPS: Well, we are on standby and we are watching it with you. Sunny Hostin, thanks so much.

HOSTIN: All right.

PHILLIPS: As you know, it's Valentine's Day and a lot of people are looking for love. But when it comes to online dating sites, there is more to it than just posting a photo and writing a little something - something about yourself. We're going to show you how you can actually increase your chances of finding that perfect match. And U.S. speed skaters struggling to the finish line. Reports say it may be because of a design flaw in their suits. We are actually talking live to the V.P. of Under Armor, the company that made those suits.