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Clippers Coach Banned for Life; Company Claims Wreckage Seen; Two Deaths in Tallahassee; Severe Storm in North Carolina

Aired April 30, 2014 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: An arena jam-packed with emotion. The L.A. Clippers playing late into the night after an historic play from NBA leaders themselves, banning the team's owner for life for his racist remarks. This morning, what is next for the team? And when could a new owner be in place? We'll break this all down live.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Death toll rising as severe storms barrel through the Southeast. People waking up this morning to neighborhoods destroyed, left under water. This is not over yet. Indra Petersons is tracking what you need to know this morning.

BERMAN: New questions this morning in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after a company claims they have conducted their own search and found signs of the jet thousands of miles from where investigators are now looking. We are live with the very latest.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. 5:30 on the dot. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. This morning the L.A. Clippers say they are moving on and doing it in a big way. Winning game five of their playoff series just hours after their owner was forced out over racist comments.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.


ROMANS: The NBA commissioner telling Donald Sterling he must pay the league $2.5 million. He can't have anything to do with that team. He can't even show up at games anymore. As the league moves to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981. Players, fans and the coach, all calling it the right move.


DOC RIVERS, COACH, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: This last, you know, three or four days have been very difficult for everybody involved. And no matter what the race is, it's been difficult. I felt the pressure on my players, you know. Everyone was waiting for them to give a response and, you know, I kept thinking, they didn't do anything. You know? Yet, they have to respond.

And so Adam responded. And I thought that was the sigh of relief that we needed. Is this over? No, it's not over. But it's the start of a healing process that we need.


ROMANS: Fans embraced the decision holding signs, pledging support for the players, demanding a new owner.

Entertainment mogul David Geffen and former Philadelphia 76ers owner Pat Croce, they've said they are interested in buying the Clippers. Magic Johnson, the subject of one of Sterling's rants, so far he said he's not trying to buy that team.

So we've been talking to a lot of experts, you know, in sports investment banking, right? They say this could be worth upwards of $1 billion. So far Sterling has not commented publicly. But the team posted this on its Web site, and all over the court during the game, "We are one," saying they support the commissioners decision.

BERMAN: I want to bring in Andy Scholes of the "Bleacher Report."

Andy, give us a sense of the reaction around the league. So many people glued to Adam Silver's announcement.

ANDY SCHOLES, THE BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, that's right. They certainly were. And, you know, the decision to ban Donald Sterling was met with thunderous applause around the league. And in the end, it was really a no brainer. You know, the vice president of the NBA Players Association Roger Mason Jr. indicated that all of the players were ready to boycott all of last night's games if they were not satisfied with Sterling's punishment.

The "San Jose Mercury News" reported that the Warriors had planned to walk off the court after the tip off if Silver did not drop the hammer on Sterling. But of course now that wasn't need. Everyone was very happy with Silver's decision.

Lebron James tweeted, "Commissioner Silver, thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league. Great leader, #biggerthanbasketball." Magic Johnson, who's been at the center of this controversy from the beginning, tweeted, "Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver's ruling," adding, "Now let's hope that the other 29 owners do the right thing."

And one of those owners, Mark Cuban weighed in after the ruling, tweeting, "I agree 100 percent with Commissioner Silver's findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling."

And guys, now the ball is in the owner's court. A 3/4 vote from the owners will be required to force Sterling to sell the team. Commissioner Silver said he expects to get the support he needs to make that happen.

ROMANS: How big a relief, Andy, do you think this is for the -- for the Clippers' players?

SCHOLES: You could definitely tell. I'm sure. It looked like the weight of the world was lifted off their shoulders. In game four, you know, this controversy, clearly a distraction for them. But last night, the smiles were back. And the fans, as you can see, were pulling behind them.

Blake Griffin throwing down the tomahawk jam early on, really getting the crowd into the game. You know, it looked like the whole team had an extra skip in their step. Now this game was close all the way into the fourth quarter but the Clippers were able to pull out the win and cap off what was certainly a very, very emotional day. They now lead the series, 3-2, as it shifts back to Oakland for game six.

And guys, the Thunder lost to the Grizzlies last night in overtime game. And the Spurs are struggling. So the Clippers arguably are playing the best basketball in the Western Conference and could go on to go all the way to the NBA finals. And that would be certainly an impressive ranking considering what they've gone through.

BERMAN: You know, there's thrilling basketball happening right now. And hopefully we can all focus on the basketball now.

SCHOLES: Get back to that.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes, great to see you this morning.


BERMAN: Appreciate it.

Want to turn now to the other big story developing overnight, dangerous weather hitting a huge part of the country, really, right now, with heavy rain, torrential rain in some cases set to fall on millions of people from the Gulf Coast all the way up to New England.

ROMANS: North Carolina, already feeling this after a tornado touched down in Stedman, that's east of Fayetteville. Those winds tearing up homes and trees.

There could be a lot more rain and wind today. This is not over. After many cars and roads were left under water by flash flooding. Police had to move in to rescue some people from their cars.

BERMAN: The same storm has left at least 35 people dead in six other states, including Arkansas where 15 people were killed. Families today searching through what's left of their homes and remembering what it was like when those tornadoes hit.


JAMES GUIDEN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: There was five seconds after I come here in the tub, that the walls did this. We watched the whole thing just all around us. We were praying the whole time. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. The same story in southern Tennessee. Authorities blame a two-mile wide EF-3 tornado for this damage and for the deaths of two people southwest of Nashville. That twister destroyed an elementary school. It ripped apart homes and businesses. It has left thousands without power this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I heard was a loud boom. And we went to the window and it was just shooting up like a geyser.


BERMAN: That scene from Mobile, Alabama. Heavy rain caused the ground there to drop creating a sinkhole you're looking at. And the geyser that that woman was talking about, the water also moved a shed, just moved it on to the street nearby. This coming a day after a tornado in the northern part of the state left three people dead.

ROMANS: All right. Pensacola under water this morning. Take a look at these pictures. Torrential rains leaving roads -- they look more like rivers. There was one death. A drowning. The police are pleading people to stay home this morning. Pleading with them, do not try to drive in that water in Pensacola this morning. That danger this morning still there for millions.

Indra Petersons is here with the forecast and what you need to know today.

Hi, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. You just read my mind, I want to say it over and over again.


PETERSONS: Turn around, don't drown. Six inches of water, that's all it takes to wipe you off your feet. Two feet of water, that can carry even away a large SUV.

Now take a look at what is going on into the southeast especially. It's something we called trainy (ph). It seems like the rain never ends because the system tries to make its way off to the east. We still see that moisture in the clouds forming right off of the Gulf. This is a six-hour loop, where some places are seeing five inches of rain in an hour, 11 inches of rain over, you reported that, for Pensacola and now towards Mobile.

Now take a look at the 24-hour loop here. You can see the moisture. This does not stop forming off the Gulf. You see that wind coming off the Gulf. It's all it needs. It's that moisture. They really allow these thunderstorms to stay in place.

Yes, it's going to be spreading even to the northeast. We're already seeing the rain there. Most of you seeing about two to five inches of rain, but in some of these heavy rain slots, over eight inches. And again we already talked about Pensacola and Mobile already receiving about 11 inches, and most likely even more.

That's only one side of the equation. The other side is a severe weather. It is not over with yet. We're still talking about a slight risk south of D.C. sending all the way back down through Florida this morning. That means severe thunderstorms, of course, especially as we go through the afternoon. But already some warnings even out there this morning.

Another thing we're adding to the equation today, strong winds. So definitely some travel delays could be out there. Thirty, even 40, sometimes 50-mile-per-hour gust could be out there, out there this morning, even lasting through the afternoon.

As the system has been here so long slowly tries to exit offshore, it will eventually do so by the weekend. So temperature wise, it's definitely cold in the northeast. But behind the warmth front, you see those temperatures pop up. By tomorrow, very warm, more rain, and then clearing out and kind of backing off for the weekend. But turn around, don't drown, I can't say it enough. Please do not try and drive through those flood waters.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Indra Petersons.

BERMAN: Another story we're following this morning. Officials in Australia, they are dismissing the new claim that a private company says they may have spotted Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 deep beneath the Bay of Bengal. That of course thousands of miles away from the search zone where satellite data seems to indicate that the jet went down.

Our Miguel Marquez live in Perth, Australia this morning.

Miguel, officials there skeptical to say the least.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To say the least there, John. Our Anna Coren just spoke to the company up in Adelaide. This is a company called GeoResonance.

We have a better idea of what they are actually claiming. They say that they did not capture the images by satellite or plane. They're saying that they were provided to them by a third party. And it was their processing of those images that came up with the images that they provided to the media, images of titanium picked up, of aluminum, of copper, of all these different elements they say were picked up, they claim, 800 to 1,000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean.

The problem is that every expert that we speak to -- spoken to say that it's just not possible. That they don't know of technology that can do that. They don't it's possible physically to do that. The company is saying that this is a technology, a proprietary technology developed during the Soviet era and that they don't want to let anybody, investigators, other experts in the field, they don't want to open the door to anyone seeing their technology. The only thing they will say is that we believe the plane is in this position here. You guys, the Malaysians or the Australians, you go find it. The Australians believe that they are searching in the right place. Malaysia says they're open to investigating it. But it's going to be extraordinarily difficult for them to launch now a second search with submersibles to go down there and check this out. It's just -- it's going to be really, really tough -- John.

BERMAN: No. Not when they're stretched thin already. And by the way, the Bluefin not in the water today with the water conditions too severe.

Miguel Marquez in Perth, great to see you this morning.

ROMANS: Inmate executions halted in Oklahoma after a prisoner was left alive and shaking for nearly 40 minutes after he should have died. What went wrong? After the break.


BERMAN: All right. Breaking overnight in Oklahoma, new calls for a new approach to executions, that after a lethal injection went very, very wrong.

Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack 40 minutes after being injected with the drug cocktail that was supposed to kill him. Witnesses say he was talking for some time after the injection and he was conscious.


ROBERT PATTON, DIRECTOR, OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: We began pushing the second and third drugs in the protocol. There was some concern at that time that the drugs were not having the effect so the doctor observed the line and determined that the line had blown.

COURTNEY FRANCISCO, REPORTER, KFOR: Right before they closed the curtain, he said, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he had full body upper movement.

FRANCISCO: He was struggling to talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was able to lift his head and his shoulders from the gurney.

FRANCISCO: He was struggling to talk, but those were the words he got out, "man, I'm not," and something's wrong.


BERMAN: Oklahoma has called off a second execution for at least two weeks as it reviews its procedures.

ROMANS: This morning investigators trying to figure out a motive behind a shooting at a FedEx sorting center near Atlanta. The gunman who injured six people before killing himself identified as 19-year- old Getty Kramer who witnesses say was armed like a soldier with ammunition draped across his chest.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw him standing there and the knife was on the ground. He had dropped his knife. He had bullets strapped across his chest. I mean, he looked like he is heading into war. As soon as I saw him, I ran the other way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of loud pops but I just thought it was some noises. I didn't think anything of it. And then somebody was running through saying he's got a gun, he's got a gun, run. And that's when we ran.


ROMANS: Police the gunman also had at least one Molotov cocktail that he did not use. This morning four victims remain in the hospital, one in critical condition.

BERMAN: A new law in Tennessee could land pregnant women who use drugs in jail. The governor has signed the controversial new law which makes it a misdemeanor if a woman uses illegal drug that cause harm to her unborn child. Critics say women with addiction issues need treatment, not jail time.

ROMANS: A federal judge saying no to Wisconsin's photo I.D. requirement for voters. The judge ruling that having to show I.D. at the polls puts an unfair burden on minorities and the poor. And telling the state it must seek judicial approval on any changes to the law. At least one state lawmaker calling the ruling politically motivated and Wisconsin in planning to appeal.

European stocks basically flat right now. Dow futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. The CEO of T.D. Ameritrade making headlines this week, saying Americans are getting back into the stock market. He says all the press around the best-selling author of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys" did not scare investors out of the stock market.

Michael Lewis said the stock market is rigged. Instead T.D. Ameritrade, that's the online brokerage where Americans trade stocks, saw a record number of people they say trading on his site the past quarter. He said there's been a surge of so-called mom and pop investors getting into the stock market, the more Americans are borrowing money to buy stocks.

BERMAN: We've seen that before.

ROMANS: We haven't seen it in a long time, though.

BERMAN: But it's not a good sign, occasionally.

ROMANS: Well, borrowing to buy stocks sometimes makes them, sometimes it doesn't. Depends on the person.

BERMAN: Only if you can afford it. All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo.

ROMANS: We can't afford it.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: JB, the only -- if you can afford to lose it is what you mean.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right. Exactly.

CUOMO: Because you are gambling. Some people want to make it seem like the stock market is fair but it is not. It is a casino, isn't that, Christine Romans? Save your answer for later.

ROMANS: Here we go again.

CUOMO: On "NEW DAY," we're not going to take that topic but there's a lot to talk about this morning. There's information for you about the new theory on Flight 370. But the headlines are taking us into the room you're looking at right now.

A botched execution in Oklahoma. It really went terribly wrong. We're going to spare you a lot of the details, but the discussion is about, well, what do they do next? How did they get it so wrong? Is it that hard to kill somebody? And what's all the debate about? Do we want the death penalty? Do we want it as long as it's nice? Does that really make sense? We'll take you through it.

Also, the NBA has banned the owner of the L.A. Clippers for life. But will Donald Sterling go quietly? Will he be able to fight it off? Will the league be able to come up with the votes from the owners that they need to get? We have reaction from a lot of big stars that you're going to want to hear. NBA greats will be here. We have Kevin Johnson, we have Isaiah Thomas. So it'll be a great discussion to have and see whether or not this penalty can stick, my friends.

ROMANS: Do you gamble in a casino? I'm just wondering.

CUOMO: Yes -- yes, I do, Christine. And I'll tell you, I've been forced to play the game for the security of my children's future. But I feel that there are inequities in the game that could be controlled but they're not because money often wins over morality. Money often wins over morality.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is the motto on "NEW DAY."

BERMAN: I feel like there's a lesson somewhere in there? We'll find it.

CUOMO: I'm just saying, some people love to forward the game, other people love to fight it.


ROMANS: All right. Chris Cuomo giving me a lot to think about this morning in just one -- CUOMO: What is in that coffee?

ROMANS: All right.

BERMAN: All right.

ROMANS: Thanks, Cuomo.

All right, happening now, gunfire in the streets of Ukraine. Pro- Russian demonstrators taking over government building, taking the name and anyone who tried to stop them. We are live with the very latest, next.


BERMAN: All right. New developments to tell you about this morning in Ukraine where pro-Russian militants are now in control of another stretch of that country after seizing another provincial capital and taking over more government buildings. Police, they did little to stop them.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is live in Slavyansk, in Ukraine this morning.

Nic, what's the latest you are hearing?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this morning, according to the self-declared chairman of the -- sort of opposition, Donetsk People's Republic that are controlling a lot of towns where I'm standing in Donetsk. They took another police station over in another town saying look, if the police are not with us, they are enemies and we'll do operations like this.

And that comes off yesterday's significant move when a coordinated number of protesters backed up by militants moved against building in Luhansk. That's a whole separate region from where I'm standing now. The capital city effectively orbit the administrative capitols where the minister building was taken over, TV station and a police station, apparently, shooting reported outside of that.

Tense scenes from a town really which had bypassed and a lot of the turmoil, up until this point. But the geography here, John, that's what's important because I'm in Donetsk, but between Donetsk and the Russian border is Luhansk and now you have sort of a potentially joined up, but if geography here connected with Russia, many worried about what comes next.

European and American sanctions making very little difference on the ground. And in fact the protesters leader, Denis Pushilin, and frankly laughed off the fact that it's now owned European unions, I haven't got any money or property in Europe. Doesn't bother me at all -- John.

BERMAN: Those sanctions seemed to having little effects so fat.

Nick Paton Walsh, in Ukraine. Thanks for being us this morning. ROMANS: All right. So it seems to offer everything else. Right? Wal-Mart from strollers to guns to a flu shot. So why not insurance? Wal-Mart's new partnership in money time, next.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START.

It's Money Time. Stocks rose yesterday. Futures lower right now. Big day ahead for money news. In a few hours we're going to learn how much the U.S. economy grew in the first quarter. Likely less robust than the prior quarter. Later this afternoon, the Federal Reserve is expected to detail more slowing of its stimulus measure, a sign the economy is improving.

This after an important read on housing showed the recovery in housing cooling. Now home prices are up almost 13 percent over the past year, but first-time home buyers are having trouble finding houses for sale. And those higher prices mean some of them are getting priced out.

Wal-Mart getting into the auto insurance business. Wal-Mart linking up with It's a site that lets the customer compare rates for different policies. Wal-Mart, it's not going to sell insurance directly, but it's going to promote this partnership in its stores and online. And if you live in any of these states, you've probably already seen the roll out. It's going to be nationwide in the coming months.

One stock to watch today. Twitter. The company released its earnings statement last night. Wall Street ruled it as fail. Twitter is gaining users, now has 255 million people on the site but it's not gaining fast enough, growing fast enough, and it's still losing money. More than $130 million last quarter. The stock down 9 percent after the close yesterday.


ROMANS: So watch that. One expect it to be a rough trading day today.

BERMAN: Real, real issues, it seems.

ROMANS: All those social media companies had a really crazy year. I mean, all of those stocks --


BERMAN: This looks huge profits, Twitter, investors seemed to be saying can't crack the code with the advertising issue.

ROMANS: Can't crack the code just yet. But that is, you know, that is the conundrum for all of those social medias out there.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for being with us. I mean that for you and all of you.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.