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Oscar Pistorius Trial Continues; New Pings Heard in Search for Missing Malaysian Plane; UConn Women Win National Championship

Aired April 9, 2014 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I quote from the affidavit. I heard a noise in the bathroom. So he was here on the balcony and he heard a noise in the bathroom and realized somebody was in the bathroom. That's what he said. And he then said that's what he said. But that's not your version today. Is that so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, my lady, not his version today. It was not his version then. I think in all fairness, he must just read what was the version then because in quotation is that then what was his version but today it's different. I invite Mr. Nell to read the bail application, the affidavit, to see what is said, whether it was ever said that he was on the balcony when he heard the noise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will do so. My lady, I will read the bail affidavit. Page 64, "During the early morning hours of 14th February, 2013, I woke up and went on the balcony to bring the fan in and close the sliding doors, the blinds and curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realized that somebody was in the bathroom." That's what you said?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just turned the page, my lady. If I could just read.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read it, please. Do you see that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there's something wrong with that statement today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see anything wrong with my statement today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except that you didn't go onto the balcony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't follow what he is asking me, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I've dealt with it, but I'll go through it again. I just ask you one more question. It reads, "During the early morning hours of 14 February, 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in." That's not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I concede, my lady. I didn't go out on the balcony. I picked the fan up which was on the balcony and I brought the fan in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we take lunch adjournment?

(END LIVE FEED)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, they're taking another adjournment from trial right now, a pause. That's been happening a lot for usual reason and unusual reason. The unusual reason almost always is that Oscar Pistorius is emotionally unfit to continue in the judge's opinion.

Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joining us about the Oscar Pistorius matter. Good to have you, professor, as always. Let's start with that idea, the judge overly sympathetic? Is this just a difference between South African law and U.S. law? What do you make of her giving all of these breaks to Pistorius?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think it's terribly significant. In fact, it may -- it may not even be particularly helpful to him. You know, judges traditionally are much less influenced by histrionics, by emotion, by weeping, than juries are. So much of this trial has been, at least in our perception, about Pistorius' reaction to the evidence, whether he was throwing up at the defense table, you know, crying on the witness stand. You know, judges have heard all of this before. And I think, sure, she's going to let him collect himself, but at least the conventional wisdom is that judges are going to focus much more on the evidence than the emotional trimmings, as it were.

CUOMO: The only counter that I would have to that is she's done more than allow him to collect himself. She has tacitly given a nod to the authenticity of his emotional displays. But again, there is no jury. So as long as she keeps it in perspective, as you're suggesting, it doesn't really matter how many breaks he gets.

Our next big point will be the prosecution is coming out. Clearly, they want to destroy this image of him as being emotionally disturbed by the death of Reeva Steencamp. They want to make it that he's only upset about the jam that he's. How do you think they're doing so far?

TOOBIN: I think they're doing pretty well. I think there are a lot of holes in Pistorius story. Just before the break they were pointing out that there was a small by real contradiction between his bail application, what he said there and what he said at court about whether he went into the balcony to remove fans before Reeva Steencamp and he went -- before they went to sleep. Now he says he didn't move the fans off the balcony.

Again, it's a small thing, but it shows that his story has changed. And, you know, they have not yet gotten, the prosecutor, Mr. Nell, has not even gotten to the real big problems in his story, why didn't he notice that Reeva Steencamp was not in bed with him when he started shooting at the door. Why didn't he say anything to her? "Who goes there, why are you there," before he started shoe shooting? Those are really big problems in this case, and the prosecutor Mr. Nell hasn't even started in on that yet. CUOMO: There do seem to be commonsense how do you act in that situation type scenarios for him to go through. Hey, just the idea, and you'll know this from all the trials that we've covered and observed together and apart, Jeffrey, to hear somebody have such detailed recollection of traumatic events is very unusual. Usually trauma erases detail in your mind. So that will be something that we hear the prosecutors go after. So far the biggest moment, what I would suggest, is what we will call the watermelon video.

TOOBIN: Yes.

CUOMO: Prosecutors put this video on. There's a little bit of a fight about it whether they should get it on, but they put it on, but Oscar says he wants to see it. That's it. It's Oscar Pistorius at a gun range enjoying blowing up watermelons, making some unsavory remarks about what it approximates. Why do you think prosecutors wanted it so much? What do you think it accomplished?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it gives a very different Oscar Pistorius than the grieving boyfriend that he has presented himself to the judge throughout this -- throughout this case. Here is someone who is obviously enjoying firing guns, enjoying the results of firing guns, and making some fairly insensitive remarks about whether this was like shooting the head of a zombie, shooting this watermelon.

Again, it's not definitive proof that he's guilty but it is certainly very much a different image than the one he is presented in the courtroom. And it shows that this is a guy who is very comfortable shooting guns. And after all, that's what this case is about.

CUOMO: And we have sound of the prosecutor grilling him about what actually happened and he actually happened and that he actually did kill Reeva Steencamp. I don't think it's necessary to play the sound, but why was it so important to the prosecutor? Pistorius says I made a horrible mistake, my lady. He always addresses the judge, no matter who is questioning him, a man or a woman. But the prosecutor said, no, you didn't make a mistake. You killed Reeva Steencamp. Just say yes, you killed Reeva Steencamp. Why so important?

TOOBIN: Well, because this whole trial ultimately is about who takes responsibility. Does Pistorius take responsibility for what he did? And I think this exchange at the beginning of the cross-examination was a reminder to the judge, look, there's no dispute about the central issue in this case. Oscar Pistorius shot and killed her. This is not about a mistake, at least according to the prosecution. So the prosecution was trying to put in Pistorius' own mouth the fact that he shot and killed her. And he was very reluctant to do that. He kept saying I made a mistake. Ultimate he did say it. I think it was mostly theatrics. I don't know how much the judge will be influenced by it.

But I think it does reinforce the prosecution's theme that, look, this is about a man who shot a woman. And that is the -- that was the reason why Mr. Nell tried to get him to say that.

CUOMO: You actually made it more impressive to me now than I thought it was when I first heard it, in fact so much I'm worried that I undersold it. Let's play the sound so people can decide for themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mistake was that I took Reeva's life, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You killed her. You shod t and killed her. Won't you take responsibility for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did, my lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it then. Say yes. I killed -- I shot and killed Reeva Steencamp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did, my lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now I see what you're saying even more clearly, Jeffrey. It's very important for the prosecutor to establish that this guy is running from responsibility, and look how I have to force him just to admit what is obvious to everybody.

TOOBIN: That's right. Again, this may be one of those areas where a jury might be more impressed than the judge. The judge knows -- the judge knows who shot Reeva Steencamp. That's not in dispute at the trial. This is the kind of theatrics that might be more impressive if there was a jury system. But I do think in the context of a full trial it's important for the prosecution to focus on the issue of who shot and killed her and to remind people that -- to remind the judge that we know who did it.

CUOMO: And that is true. With this fusion of emotion all the people with Pistorius they do have to level the playing field a little bit. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you so much for the perspective this morning. Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of news this morning.

New overnight, after 33 agonizing days search teams may finally be zeroing in on the wreckage of flight 370. Let's take a look at this map. Two more pinger signals picked up on Tuesday, raising hope the missing plane will soon be found even within days. Richard Quest here is back here to talk about this. This is important. They've been saying they were cautiously optimistic with two pings. They needed more pings, they said. We now have two more pings. Let's start the animation. We've got it of the two new locations of the two pings. Why is this important?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Because the more pings you get the better the location you can acquire to where the box actually is. Look at these pings and you will see what I mean. We had the first ping, two hours and 20. This one is 13 minutes. This one lasted about seven minutes. This one about five-and-a-half.

BOLDUAN: Let me stop you there. Does the duration matter to you?

QUEST: No -- yes and no. It's not so much that -- the fact is they got the pings. The second thing that's important is that the strength of the signal is getting weaker. What that tells Angus Houston is -- some people suggest it's because they're further away, but Houston says, no, he believes it's because the batteries are now starting to get weaker. The batteries are dying.

BOLDUAN: Here are four of the pings that we have in their relative location. This ranges some 15 to 17 miles from these two.

QUEST: It's about 24 miles top to bottom, about five to seven miles, 13 miles, 14 miles between them all. What's really interesting about it is that if you were to draw the arc of the various satellite handshakes, particularly that seventh satellite handshake, that's the little one, that they now believe is when the engines flamed out, the engines -- the plane ran out of fuel. It pretty much goes right the way through the last ping.

BOLDUAN: We have not heard them this optimistic. They've been very cautious for good reason. You don't want to give people false hope. Angus Houston seemed very clear that they are sure this is it. Are they sure this is one or is this two boxes, do we know?

QUEST: One. They believe they've got one. The analysis of the pings so far done difficult the Australian experts has come back as being the flight data recorder.

BOLDUAN: OK.

QUEST: Consistent. It's stable, very stable. It's very clear. It's very distinct. He says it's of a flight data recorder. But here's the really crucial point to take away this morning, I believe. They are not going to say definitively this is the plane until they have visual sight of wreckage. And he emphasized this again and again. Yes, they've got four pings and -- but they want to get the autonomous underwater vehicle, bring that in and you will exactly see what will happen.

BOLDUAN: This is the pinger locator and the path that they've been taking to locate the pings. We'll throw that up there. They want to continue doing this. How many more pings do they want?

QUEST: They want as many as they possibly can. He was asked that again and again. Well, how many do you need? How many do you need? You've got four. Because until they are absolutely certain that the batteries have died, because as he said, and I'll quote his words, there's no second chance. Once they've gone, they've gone. So you need as much information here so that when you do put the AUV under water you can actually locate much tighter area into the water.

BOLDUAN: Even though this is a lot tighter than where we were no begin with.

QUEST: Yes, it will still take them days. He really said again and again, he is not going to say that this is the plane until he sees sight of wreckage because that's the only thing that will give the family sort of certainty and the closure. And that is why, just briefly, that is why they are now searching very intensely, much more intensely, because no longer do you have to search these large areas. Now you can just search where you believe the forward drift of debris would have come from where the plane probably entered the water out.

BOLDUAN: And you've got current, wind, a cyclone blow through. So that's why it's a different place.

QUEST: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: All right, we'll continue to watch. And that's the thing that I think is fascinating is they have yet to find a debris field. This is opposite of the direction they normally go with these investigations.

QUEST: Nothing about this has been normal, from the moment at 1:07 when the ACARS did its last transmission right the way down, there's been nothing that concords to anything any of us have ever seen in an air crash investigation like this.

BOLDUAN: The search continues and intensifies because they think they really have a good lead at this moment. Richard Quest, thank you so much. Chris?

CUOMO: Even better than that, Kate, they say, quote, "We will find it." When we come back on NEW DAY we're going to talk about the officials and why they're more confident than ever that they are close to flight 370. But then the question becomes, well, how close? We don't want any false hope in this situation, especially with the families so desperate for answers. We're going to take it apart with our team of experts and see just how close is close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to our breaking coverage of the search for flight 370, and we have what officials are calling a potential breakthrough. They're actually being more optimistic than that. Why? Two new pinger signals consistent with black boxes were picked up Tuesday.

So Australians officials are now saying the missing plane could be found soon, possibly within days. Their quote, "We will find it."

All right, let's figure out why they're so confident. Let's bring in Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, former inspector general for the Department of Transportation; Mr. David Soucie -- he's a CNN safety analyst and the author of "Why Planes Crash," also a former FAA inspector.

Let's go it a little differently today, my good and savvy friends. Let's do it a little more socratically. I will be -- I'm questioning why they're so confident, David Soucie. You know, the -- the first couple of pings, they said, oh, we're only a few miles away now. Now they get more pings, and they think, well, it's a bigger search area. Where the is the confidence coming from? DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFTEY ANALYST: The confidence is coming from two places. One is that it's -- the equipment that they're using is reliable. Second of all, the fact that it is something that can't be anything else. They're ruling out other things.

They said, well, could it be a whale? Could it be volcanic activity? Earlier on, we were saying those frequencies could be produced by a number of things naturally.

But -- but Angus Houston said today that they'd ruled out that this is a natural event. It is a manmade event.

CUOMO: Further testing. If it's a manmade event, but why isn't it in Pakistan? Are we foolishly ruling out all of these scenarios, as far flung as they were? They used to be almost equal with that it went to the south, Mary. Do you believe that we now have enough reason to dismiss everything else and focus on this one area?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I do because over the weeks that we have been following this, pieces of data have come in and have been analyzed. At first, we didn't have really much to go on at all, but thanks to Inmarsat, additional information concerning the turn of the plane, information concerning the fuel burn, possible speeds, although I don't have the airspeed down exactly, but possible fuel burns.

And finally, the capstone of not the pings just on one day or two days, but now able to be replicated and be returned in to day after day, that's the reason it's that the investigation has progressed. And we have far more data now than we did a month ago.

CUOMO: The duration and strength of the signal seems to be less now. You believe, David Soucie, that's about battery life, not proximity to signal. Yes?

SOUCIE: It can be both. The proximity to signal is one thing. The fact that the --

CUOMO: I'm forcing you to take a side. I'm forcing you to weight one side over the other.

SOUCIE: Well, I'm saying that it is because of battery life, yes. Because the frequency is lesser than it should be, which can also be affected by battery life.

CUOMO: But it also could be lack of proximity. Why is it less likely that?

SOUCIE: Well, because lack of proximity is amplitude. And amplitude travels through the water. We're not talking radio frequencies here. We're talking about acoustic movement, movement of the pressures against the water. So as that goes, it propagates it. It bounces and it goes -- moves around. That's why we're so far apart on where these things are coming from. I don't think I answered your question yet.

CUOMO: You didn't. But you used science and it confused me.

(LAUGHTER)

So now I'm going to run away from you and go to Mary. Mary, when we go to this next level, I understand the issue about refraction. It moves differently in water, and that's why they have more confidence that even though it's weaker, it's not about proximity; it's about battery strength. I get it.

But what I don't get is the next frontier. The bottom of the ocean presents just as many if not more challenges as the top. Why?

SCHIAVO: That's right. Well, because the bottom of the ocean is so irregular and so very, very deep. There's actually the possibility that at some points in this part of the ocean even the submersibles won't be able to reach it, which is why I think they're making certain that they are hedging all bets and getting every ping that they can on the surface before they head down deep.

Because if it's months and months before they actually find it down deep, then they'll regret not taking advantage of every possible ping to narrow that in and make that circle of interest as small as possible.

CUOMO: For the Titanic, they were able to get satellite images of the ship sitting on the bottom of the ocean. Why can't they get those with this? Now so many years later, everything is so much more refined. Where is our satellite photos?

SOUCIE: This is after 75 years of looking for it. This is narrowed down to a certain point. So specific types of satellite can be used to determine whether or not it's magnetic, whether it's metal, whether it's rock. So that's developed over many, many, many years.

But this we're talking act a new area, and as Mary said, trying to narrow it down -- realize that if we're 25 miles, we're 3,000, 4,000 square kilometers. If you narrow that just by a mile or two, it's exponentially less mileage to cover once you get the AUVs down there.

CUOMO: Last variable that we've heard introduced that will sound odd to the uninitiated, Mary. Silt? After everything you've had to deal with you're worried about silt on the bottom of the ocean? Why?

SCHIAVO: Well, for two reasons. One, because it's going to obscure the vision of not just the sonar will be able to go through that, but they also need to take pictures. And like you said, the satellite can't take pictures. But they will have to take pictures on the bottom to bring up to see what they're looking at.

And then the silt can get in the way of any recovery operations with finding the black boxes, et cetera. They're just counting that it will really get in the way of the sonar, and that in some cases it might actually help the sonar. So it's more practicality.

CUOMO: And there's also this description of it that it's like a swamp on the bottom of the ocean. And it did remind something to me. I have a boat that sits in 2 1/2 feet of water. I dropped my iPhone next to the boat. I knew exactly where. I couldn't find it. It was nine inches down in silt. So it can be a problem. I get it. My personal pain aside.

David Soucie, Mary Schiavo, thank you very much for the perspective.

Kate?

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, locating flight 370 has been difficult to say the very least. But recovering the plane may be even more difficult. How deep could the wreckage be? Chris was talking about it. We're going to continue that conversation.

And also this. We'll go inside politics. Hillary Clinton was speaking on the west coast last night. Find out the one question that left her literally speechless.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Let's take a look at your headlines this morning.

Australian officials say they are optimistic that flight 370 could be found within the next few days. Two new pinger signals consistent with black boxes were picked up Tuesday nearly six hours apart. The first one lasted over five and a half minutes, the second one about seven minutes. An unmanned sub could soon be deployed to begin scanning the ocean floor.

Breaking news in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The prosecution trying to poke holes in the blade runner's account of what happened, pouring over every detail of his bail application. Earlier they played a clip of Pistorius cursing and blowing away a watermelon at a gun range. You can see it there. Immediately after that they showed a graphic image of Reeva Steenkamp's head wound.

Tough talk from Ukraine's interim government. An official says the chaos in eastern Ukraine will be resolved within 48 hours either through negotiations or the use of force. Pro-Russian demonstrators are not backing down after seizing government buildings in three eastern region cities and demanding a referendum to succeed from Ukraine. In the meantime, Moscow is telling the West that their troops near Ukraine's border, about 40,000 of them, are no cause for concern.

And then anything you can do, we can do better. That refrain from the UConn women who whipped Notre Dame 79-58 to win the national basketball championship, the college game we're talking about. One night after UConn's men did the same. The Lady Huskies finished the season undefeated, 40-0. You really can't be better than undefeated 40-0. It's a record ninth NCAA title for UConn coach. He is fantastic. And it's the fifth time his team has done it without a loss. Imagine that. Five undefeated seasons.

CUOMO: Will he get his due as a coach despite coaching women's basketball?

BERMAN: I certainly hope so.

CUOMO: You think that they will --

BOLDUAN: You mean, he's not going to get it as much?

CUOMO: I would hope it's not true. But I feel like he doesn't get talked about like with a Wooden or something like that.

BERMAN: Well, he just passed -- he passed summit.

BOLDUAN: Of course not. No one --people do not pay enough attention to women's basketball.

BERMAN: What he has done is phenomenal. And with one more title, he ties John Wooden, by the way.

CUOMO: Right, right.

BERMAN: I think he deserves every bit of that credit.

CUOMO: Really? It will be interesting to see. And you could make an easy argument that the UConn women's basketball team may be the most dominant team -- you know, program ever in basketball.