Return to Transcripts main page


Sterling and the Other NBA Owners; Western Observers Freed by Pro-Russian Militants; Jobless Rate Drops; Mystery of Flight 370; Terrorist Group Kidnapping Young Girls in Nigeria; Amanda Knox Convicted by Italian Court Again; Joel McHale Hosts White House Correspondents' Dinner

Aired May 3, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you all for starting your morning with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

Violence boils over in Ukraine in one of the bloodiest stand off so far. And as the body count rises, so do fears this morning of an all- out civil war.

PAUL: She says he owes the nation an apology. He says he should have just paid her off. Donald Sterling and his alleged girlfriend both speaking out for the very first time since that infamous audio was leaked.

BLACKWELL: And trashing, some would say, ribbing, President Obama straight to his face. Believe it or not, that's one man's job tonight.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD: Do you think this gives you a respectability that you didn't have before?

JOEL MCHALE, ACTOR: Absolutely not.


PAUL: All right. Teeth are brushed, you're out of bed maybe, or maybe you're still. That's fine. You just lay there and enjoy the morning. It's only 7:00 on a Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: And who says the teeth are brushed at this hour?


Most folks still haven't the breath from last night and it's all right with us. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: That does not apply to you.


BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, it's 4:00 on the West Coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

First up this hour the woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal, she is speaking out. V. Stiviano is the woman heard on the audio recording with Sterling as he made those inflammatory statement about African-Americans that triggered a firestorm that's led to Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA.

PAUL: She's speaking in this new "20/20" interview with Barbara Walters. And she calls Sterling a close friend and she's coming to his defense now. Listen.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Is Donald Sterling a racist?


WALTERS: Have you heard him say derogatory things about minorities in general? Blacks in particular?

STIVIANO: Absolutely.

WALTERS: You've heard him say derogatory things?


WALTERS: Don't they sound racist to you?

STIVIANO: I think the things he says are not what he feels.


BLACKWELL: Well, what V. -- Stiviano, rather, apparently started during this recording of Donald Sterling, the NBA owners are expected to end. They are the ones who will vote on whether the 80-year-old billionaire should be forced to sell the Clippers.

PAUL: Well, many say look, this is a done deal. Challenging Sterling, though, could put some of the owners themselves in a bad light.

CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick has researched some of that for us.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is arguably one of the most elite clubs in the world. Thirty NBA team owners, about half are self-made billionaires. One is a Russian financier, another head of the largest online retail mortgage lender. Some have broadcast interests or made a fortune in technology. Others have lots and lots of real estate. There's a handful of bankers and at least one former basketball player, one industrial machine dealer, and one owner of a popular cruise line. All are expected to vote on the fate of disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling, including Sterling himself. Marc Edelman with Baruch College specializes in sports law and anti- trust.

MARC EDELMAN, SPORTS LAW SPECIALIST: It is primarily ego. It is boys for boys. It is fantasy basketball with billions of dollars at stake.

FEYERICK: The owners have not said when or where they will vote or whether they will meet in person when the time comes.

(On camera): Is it possible that Donald Sterling could bring up issues on some of other owners and says what makes them more fit than me to run a team?

EDELMAN: As a matter of comparison he certainly could or could attempt to. And as Mark Cuban had said, it's always a matter of a slippery slope.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Miami Heat owner Mickey Harrison was publicly crushed after he turned up courtside in 2013 while passengers on one of his Carnival cruises suffered days without food or facilities. In 2009, Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos was heavily criticized for anti- gay comments. While others have been accused of their own extramarital activities.

Still, bad behavior itself is not grounds for terminating an NBA team owner. Regardless of whether Sterling fights back or not, if he is forced to sell, after taxes, he will still end up hundreds of millions of dollars richer from his original $12 million investment.

As for the new owners, whoever it is, whether it is Oprah or movie mogul David Geffen or Magic Johnson, a name change may be the first order of business.

EDELMAN: The Clippers are signified with losing and are signified with racism, and they're going to be -- whoever buys it, my gut, is not going to take that with them. They'll start anew.


FEYERICK: And publicly the majority of the owners have said that they support the move to kick Donald Sterling out. It will take 75 percent of them to vote in favor of that move. However, if history is a gauge, Donald Sterling is likely to fight back. It is going to be a very interesting battle -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Deb Feyerick, for us in New York. Thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Deb.

All right. We need to talk about what's happening in Ukraine where the escalating violence is stoking even more concerns this hour. That the country is on the verge of an all-out civil war. These are just some of the latest pictures we're getting into the CNN. The bloody battles hitting Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian rebels spread to the port city now of Odessa. And we know four people were killed in street fighting there. Thirty-one others were killed when a union hall, as you see here, was set on fire.

BLACKWELL: Yes, meanwhile a group of Western observers held by pro- Russian separatists have now been freed.

The chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has more for us.

Jim, good morning.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, the situation on the ground in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating rapidly. Two helicopters shut down by missiles more armed clashes between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Russian paramilitaries. And now the U.S. administration has set a new standard for sector wide sanctions against Russia.

And that is the continuation of disruption like this that interfere with Ukrainian election scheduled for May 25th. And right now the outlook for any improvement is not good.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Every day, Ukraine looks more and more like a country at war. Here, residents cheered after two Ukrainian helicopters are shot down. Both pilots were killed.

And here, pro-Russian militants crash with Ukrainian police. The new violence comes as Ukrainian forces launch their most intensive efforts so far to push pro-Russian militants from one more eastern city that has slipped from their control. But ethnic Russians resisted, blocking Ukrainian tanks and demanding they not advance any farther.

Still struggling to devise a policy to de-escalate the crisis, President Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington. Together, they set a new trigger for broader sector-based sanctions against Russia, any interference, they say, with crucial elections later this month.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If, in fact, we see the disruptions and the destabilization continuing so severely that it impedes elections on May 25, we will not have a choice but to move forward with additional, more severe sanctions.

SCIUTTO: Until now, such penalties against Russia's energy, arms, and banking sectors have been reserved for a full-scale invasion. Russia, however, remains undeterred. Russian officials say Ukraine's military operations in the east effectively scuttle a deal reached in Geneva last month to defuse the crisis, and they called for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council to highlight alleged threats to Russians inside Ukraine.

To reassure the West's increasingly nervous Eastern European allies, NATO is now considering expanding and extending new military exercises in the region. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, however, all members of the alliance, not just the U.S., must share the burden.

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We must not squander this opportunity or shrink from this challenge. We will be judged harshly by history and by future generations if we do.


SCIUTTO: The administration is pushing back hard against a narrative that you're hearing more and more from Russian officials. And that is ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are somehow under threat and that the armed militants you're seeing there are actually peaceful protesters. The president saying, quote, generally local protesters don't possess missiles to shoot down helicopters -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: There's this teenager who was caught with this alleged plan to attack his family and a school. Maybe you've heard about this. Also his arsenal to carry it out. Well now, authorities say he is making new threats.

PAUL: And the job market, boy, did that pick up some steam with one of the best hiring numbers in years. But you know what, the economy, that as a whole, is far from healed.


BLACKWELL: A teenager accused of plotting to attack his family and a school has made new threats. A Minnesota prosecutor says that John David LaDue made death threats to staff at his juvenile detention facility. LaDue is in custody after authorities uncovered his plot along with a stockpile of guns and bombs to pull it off.

Plus a quick-thinking neighbor saw LaDue acting strangely and called police. And LaDue is now charged with four counts of attempted murder.

PAUL: Well, this might be some good news for you, the American economy is gaining some steam. Certainly the latest jobs reports show 288,000 jobs were added to the payrolls last month. That's the strongest gains in two years.

BLACKWELL: That helped pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in several years as well. But there's a downside to this.

PAUL: Yes, Michelle Kosinski is following the story from the White House.

Michelle, what did President Obama have to say about it?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This was interesting. I mean President Obama even started his press conference yesterday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by talking about American jobs growth. But he did have a caveat.


OBAMA: The grit and determination of the American people are moving us forward. But we have to keep a relentless focus on job creation and creating more opportunities for working families.


KOSINSKI: That is because even though these numbers look great, I mean, 288,000 private sector jobs added just last month, enough to lower the unemployment rate down about half a percentage point to 6.3 percent, the lowest it has been in years, part of that is because so many Americans, nearly a million of them have just left the job market either from leaving their jobs or by giving up looking for one. And that is enough to cut out a chunk of the growth we saw in the first quarter.

Another reason some economists are not too thrilled is because wages also have pretty much stayed flat. But overall, many do believe this is very good news. I mean, when you look at larger unemployment data which includes those people who have given up looking for a job because they can't find one and there's people who are working part time, but went to work more hours, those numbers are the lowest they've been in some 20 years.

Also, President Obama took a chance to hit out at Congress for not acting to raise the minimum wage -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Day 57 and still no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But this morning right now, Bangladeshi ships are searching thousands of miles from the original search area. We'll tell you what they found, why they are there and why some saying this is a distraction despite the search.


BLACKWELL: It's been almost two months since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. And so far, not a single piece of debris has been found in the Indian Ocean.

PAUL: It is baffling to everybody. Thousands of miles away, though, two Bangladeshi ships right now are searching the Bay of Bengal after an Australian company claims this week to have found possible traces of a plane under water. Not necessarily the plane that they know, but a plane.


PAUL: And so far an initial search of that region has turned up with nothing.

BLACKWELL: Well, yesterday Malaysian officials said it's highly unlikely the Boeing 777 went down there, but the possibility is not being ruled out.

PAUL: Meanwhile, Australia, China, Malaysia, they are all meeting on Monday to discuss the future of the search, which everybody is wondering, where do you go from here?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Malaysia is dismissing the claims that officials have not been forthcoming with information on this investigation. In fact this week officials faced some pushback from families after an initial report on the plane's disappearance was made public.


HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, ACTING MALAYSIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: It must be stressed that the report made public yesterday is a preliminary report. Nevertheless, as I've repeatedly stressed since the beginning, we really have nothing to hide.


PAUL: We have CNN safety analyst David Soucie and airline accident investigator Shawn Pruchnicki.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being was. This report was five pages long. That was it. And there were obviously some -- there were some overt absences in this.


PAUL: I mean, no information about the plane's maintenance history. No information about the engine performance data. No information on air traffic control staffing. Are we ever going to get that information and how pivotal is it to this investigation, David?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, right now the preliminary report again is designed just to have the facts, it's just the things that are pertinent to the investigation itself. And remember, they don't have any aircraft wreckage so if they had any aircraft wreckage records the preliminary report would describe the wreckage, describe the twisted metal describe where the aircraft landed specifically, that sort of thing.

So because they don't have information I wouldn't expect to have much more than what's in the report. I don't think that there's anything missing except for the fact that there's some crucial things that have been mentioned all along, for example, the telephone -- the telephone connection that was made during the -- during the subsequent hours of the flight.

And a couple of other pieces of information about where they got some specific information. So there are a few things missing. It doesn't indicate to me that there's anything being hidden, though, which is what the families are accusing the Malaysian government of.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: But, Shawn, what about the basic information like maintenance records, as you said? You know, some conversations that might have been had? Engine performance data? We should expect more than that. I mean, how preliminary is acceptable on day 57?

SHAWN PRUCHNICKI, AIRLINE ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: Well, I mean, this is exactly the problem. I think that -- I agree with what David says. I think there should have been more in there. And I find it baffling. I don't know why they didn't put that information in there. We don't need wreckage to have some of that basic information.

The basic background of the crew, now that has been put out by the media and I was quite surprised not to see that in the report. But, you know, cargo, what cargo was on board the airplane and deferrals, I think would be exceptionally interesting and was quite surprised that that's not on there.

All that information is ground based. It was all available and should have been in the report.

PAUL: Yes. Let's point this out. At 2:03 a.m., Malaysia Airline says it confirmed Flight 370 was over Cambodia air space based on an exchange of signals. The airline later revised this message saying that information was based on an automated flight tracking system. How do you confuse those two?

SOUCIE: Well, the operations, remember, is getting information. Their job, operations is to anticipate. Their job is to find out what's coming in, what information do they have, where is the next leg and how do we prepare for that next leg. Is there something that we need to do to support that aircraft flight? So they're always thinking that much ahead.

The same thing happened with Flight 447. When Flight 447 was reported missing, they anticipated that it was further along. So you get dots, you get -- you get progress marks in your tracking as you're in operation, saying here is where it's going to be next. So when you first get that call, when you look, they say where is the airplane, you say, well, it's here. Because that's where they expected it to be. Because it wasn't there raised flags. And that I think was part of the flight following and flight emergency process that they have.

BLACKWELL: And Shawn, we learned that it was a four-hour gap. There was a four-hour gap between the last communication with the pilots, between the pilots and ATC, and sending some jets up, the military to look for Flight 370.

How Richard Quest says that some time span -- to pass some gap is acceptable. But how egregious is four hours? Put it into perspective for us.

PRUCHNICKI: Well, I agree with what Richard said. I mean, I think -- you know, four hours is too long. And -- but you have to understand that, you know, why that might have gone that way. And I suspect what happened is, first of all, there's this, you know, when you lose track of an airplane, when an operation center loses track of an airplane, an airplane accident is not the first thing that comes to mind. There's many other reasons why you might lose track of an airplane for a while so, you know, 45 -- especially in oceanic operations, you know, going from one country to another, you know, maybe an hour, two hours, you're making phone calls during that time, you're talking to air traffic control, you're trying to call the different facilities, trying to find the aircraft.

So there is going to be a certain investment in time. But I would think that after -- when it gets to about the two-hour mark and we still -- the aircraft still hasn't shown up, then we're starting to get, you know, really much more concerned. But even coordinating a rescue effort or making those phone calls and getting those forces mobilized eats up another, you know, chunk of time.

So, four hours, yes, that's a pretty long time. But it's not -- I think what's important for the viewer to understand is when an airplane disappears or appears to be not on track at the moment.


PRUCHNICKI: You know, this is not a ten-minute event. OK. It takes many hours to start figuring this out. To really start convincing yourself, have they really lost this airplane or is there a technological understanding -- explanation why this might be.

BLACKWELL: Well, Shawn Pruchnicki and David Soucie, like with many chapters in this story, this one just presents more questions.

Thank you both for giving us some answers.

PRUCHNICKI: Thank you, Victor.

SOUCIE: You're welcome.

PAUL: Thanks, gentlemen.


PAUL: So we have a look at the epic legal battle that could be brewing if Don Sterling wants to go after the NBA's wishes against him, I should say, and keep his multimillion dollar NBA franchise. Can he even do it?


PAUL: We have an update on mortgages for you. Rates rose this week. Take a look.


PAUL: Hopefully the coffee is doing its job this morning. 7:30 right now. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Here are "Five Things" you need to know for your NEW DAY. PAUL: Yes, number one, in Afghanistan, at least 2700 people are feared dead in this massive landslide. Look at the pictures we're getting here. Local officials say rescuers will not dig out hundreds of people buried underneath the stones and mud and are declaring the site a mass grave. They are appealing to international organizations to help survivors including the 700 families evacuated from the nearby areas.

BLACKWELL: Number two, a deadly virus from the Middle East has spread to the U.S. for the very first time. The CDC says a man from Indiana has contracted the MERS virus, which stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Officials say the man recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and has been isolated. Experts say now that the virus poses a very low risk to the general public.

PAUL: Number three, a House committee has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry over documents regarding Benghazi. Four Americans people were killed in the Libyan city, remember, in 2012. Well, an e- mail just released by court order the detailed talking points about the tragedy has sparked outrage among Republicans since the State Department failed to release it when initially ordered. So far no response, though, from John Kerry.

BLACKWELL: Number four, Virginia Senator, Tim Kaine is throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton for president -- if she runs.

PAUL: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: She's got to do that first. Well, the endorsement of the Democratic former governor could be a boom for Clinton. Kaine was among President Obama's first public supporters. He's expected to make a short speech this morning, enthusiastically praising credentials of Mrs. Clinton at a party event in South Carolina.

PAUL: And number actor Ben Affleck banned from the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas because he's, quote, "just too good at Blackjack."

BLACKWELL: He's too good.


PAUL: This is according to a source close to the star. Not clear whether Affleck was really kicked out for card counting, which is frowned upon by casinos. No word that that was the case. But the casino has not yet commented to CNN. As we have tried to get a response.

BLACKWELL: Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling is not just facing a scandal over his ownership of the NBA franchise of course.

PAUL: Yes, now the "New York Post" and ESPN are reporting that the 80-year-old billionaire is battling cancer. Listen to players reacting to the news Thursday night after their loss to the Golden State Warriors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLAKE GRIFFIN, FORWARD, L.A. CLIPPERS: If that is true, you know, my thoughts and prayers are with him. I mean, nobody deserves to go through something like that.

CHRIS PAUL, GUARD, L.A. CLIPPERS: Yes, that's the first I have ever heard of that and it's truly unfortunate.

DOC RIVERS, HEAD COACH, L.A. CLIPPERS: Didn't know it until just now. You know, I don't have a reaction to that. You know, I hope it's not true.


BLACKWELL: Well, the same day, reports of Sterling's cancer broke publicly, the NBA's push to force him to sell the Clippers took another step. A committee of 10 owners voted unanimously to move ahead with the process.

Joining us now for more, Brian -- Frederick, rather, a professor, excuse me, of sports industry management at Georgetown University. Also we have Scott Soshnick from Bloomberg News Sports business writer.

Good to have both of you this morning.


PAUL: Good morning, gentlemen.


BLACKWELL: Brian, let's start with this. Sterling knows what he's doing in the courtroom, of course. He's had a long history of contentious litigation. What are his options here? I mean, could we have seen just the start of a massive legal battle?

FREDERICK: That's really up to Donald Sterling. And nobody has a good sense, I think, on what he wants to do at this point. I think we are in for a long legal battle. I think this is going to be messy. And that's unfortunate for fans, it's unfortunate for the league but I think he will fight this.

PAUL: I want to ask you a question that we talked about a little bit ago. What is the plausibility that he would try to sell to a family member or to a friend?

FREDERICK: Well, I don't know if he'll be able to sell to a friend, but I think he would definitely sell to a family member and try and keep it within the family. Again, it's up to what the league wants to do. It depends how many owners are on board with trying to remove him. And that is another question that is anybody's best guess because some owners may not want to go along with this because it would set up precedent for them and they may not want to go down that slope. BLACKWELL: Scott, what did Commissioner Silver get right in this instance? Because there are some people who question the strength of the response from the league and the players. What did he get right and did you see any mistakes here?

SOSHNICK: Well, the most important thing he got right is, as the new commissioner, he has the support of the players. He finally listened. There was sometimes a contentious relationship between David Stern and the players. He was considered more of an owner's commissioner. Adam has always had the reputation as being very player friendly. He consulted Lebron James when it came to the New Jerseys that were uncomfortable. He's just more willing to listen to input. So the players were thrilled that he took their feelings into account and acted so seriously and quickly because he knew he might have mutiny on his hands.

PAUL: All right. Brian, there's this new CBS/"New York Times" poll I want to talk about. Most Americans, 55 percent think that the lifetime ban imposed on Sterling was the right move, 25 percent think it's too harsh, 9 percent think it is too lenient.

Public opinion, you think, going to keep pressure on the NBA to push this thing through?

FREDERICK: Yes, well, I think -- I think it's that same poll actually says that the public is for the suspension but not as much for actually stripping him of ownership.

PAUL: Right.

FREDERICK: So the public itself is a little bit divided on the question of ownership. And you know, it's an interesting question because this is not the government coming in. This is the group of owners, this cartel of NBA owners essentially that are deciding hey, we either want Donald Sterling in our club or not. And at this point most don't because he's clearly toxic for the brand and toxic for the league.

And so, you know, the public, they'll try to appease the public. But at the end of the day, they are worried about the bottom line for their own franchises and for the league.

BLACKWELL: And, Scott, Newt Gingrich, of course a politician, host of "CROSSFIRE" here on CNN, had a suggestion that the team should be sold to the fans, like a non-profit much like the Green Bay Packers. What do you think about that?

SOSHNICK: I think it's nice entity for a talking head to throw out there. And his idea it's not going to happen. This team needs stewardship, steady stewardship moving forward. And the best hands would be a deep pocketed owner with some broad base of support with some limited partners like you saw with the Oprah Winfrey group. That's the way the league is going to go here.

They will do everything in their power to strip this team from Donald Sterling, whether he tries to sell it to a family member or whatever. But they want it out of his hands. And they'd like to have some say as to where it goes. But as a negotiating point, might they let Donald Sterling control the sale? I think they would. I don't think they want part two to be two-part of a sale. They'd let him be the one to sell it, but they are going to very monitor closely because they surely want to be able to know who is going to own this team, moving forward.

BLACKWELL: Is the sale to a family member enough of a clean start, Scott?

SOSHNICK: No, they'll never let it happen. Again, three quarters must approve any short of owner transfer in the NBA. It's not going to happen. They'll view it as Donald just moving it to a family member and still having say in how the franchise is run. They want him totally removed from any and all operations of that team.

PAUL: All right. Brian Frederick and Scott Soshnick, thank you both so much for being here.

SOSHNICK: Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

FREDERICK: Thanks, guys.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

Hundreds of girls kidnapped and outrage that the government has not done enough to save them. But social media is now making a difference in Nigeria. That's where this is happening. We've got that story for you.


PAUL: Forty-one minutes past the hour. Now really absorb this. Think about this. Your daughter is kidnapped. The authorities know who did it and still she is not back in your arms after more than a week. This is the experience of hundreds of families in Nigeria and Secretary of State, John Kerry, just a short while ago, said that the United States is ready to intervene and help here.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let me be clear, the kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime. And we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes.


BLACKWELL: And now the Nigerian families are resorting to social media, Twitter, Facebook, to get the story out. And it's making a difference.

Here's Jake Tapper.


TAPPER (voice-over): The streets of Nigeria are teeming with protesters, furious that their government isn't doing more to find close to 200 school girls kidnapped in the dead of night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a young mother. So I can't imagine any mother going through this. It's disheartening. It's shocking.

TAPPER: Militants with the Islamist group Boko Haram seized the girls, more than two weeks ago in a far northeast corner of the country, a hotbed for the group. Boko Haram was designated a terrorist group by the U.S. government last November. Forced on to trucks, the armed men originally took about 230 girls into a dense forest along the Nigerian border. This young girl was among a few dozen who managed to escape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through Translator): My friends and I jumped from the vehicle and ran back home because we realized they don't look innocent to us.

TAPPER: There are still some 200 girls in captivity, with reports that they have been forced to convert to Islam and have been sold as child brides for as little as $12 each.

ANTHEA BUTLER, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I would say it's slavery. And moreover, it's sexual slavery.

TAPPER: This is the latest horror from Boko Haram, whose name means Western education is sinful. The militants have been terrorizing the country as they try to establish a radical Islamic state in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government says they are committed to freeing the girls but their inability to do so thus far has pushed locals to social media. The #bringbackourgirls has galvanized a global response.

BUTLER: For Nigerians on social media, this became an important way to connect not just with other Nigerians in the -- you know, in the U.S. and around the world but also to get the word out about what was really happening with the kidnapping of the girls.

TAPPER: Anthea Butler is an associate professor of religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

BUTLER: This has made mothers go out into street, marches have begun. It's a different day now because I think a lot of the people in Nigeria are on board. The government may not be yet. But the people of Nigeria are.

TAPPER: This weekend, more protests are planned across the United States. And a rally at the Nigerian embassy in Washington, D.C. is set for Tuesday.

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: And we've got some clarity on the numbers here. I just received from our producer. The total number that we're getting from authorities in Nigeria, 276 girls, who were kidnapped last month, 53 of them escaped and that leaves us with the number of 223 who are still missing.

PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) and prayers to those families.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

PAUL: Hopefully something can be done here.

And boy, speaking of families who have had our thoughts and prayers a lot lately, let's talk about South Korea and take a look at this new cell phone video. This is so hard. It captures the terrifying final moments inside the ferry as it sank.

BLACKWELL: And the student who shot this was one of those who died on board. In the video she can be heard calling out for help, comparing the sinking ship to the Titanic. She even says, we're doomed. I think I should leave the last words before I die. The video cuts off shortly after. And so far at least 236 people are confirmed dead from that situation, 66 still missing from the Sewol ferry.

PAUL: Another story we've been watching this week, Amanda Knox, she is talking about what she calls a wrongful conviction for murder and why she says she will never really be free from this whole thing.

CNN's exclusive interview for you, next.


BLACKWELL: I didn't kill my friend. Those are the words of Amanda Knox in an exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo after an Italian court convicted her of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher.

PAUL: The court also convicted her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, but said it was Knox herself who delivered the fatal stab wounds, and Knox sat down with Chris Cuomo for her only interview following the verdict and to discuss what life has been like since she left that Italian prison.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: This started in 2007. It is now 2014. For you, in your life, is it present day? Are you able to be present in this day? Or are you still trapped in 2007?

AMANDA KNOX, ACQUITTED ON MURDER CHARGES: It's definitely a limbo. I -- my entire adult life has been weighed down and taken over by this tremendous mess. This -- this -- I mean, on the one hand, I have my life in Seattle. I get to go to school. I get to be with my family, my friends. And I'm so grateful to have them. They really help me get through this, and to know there are people who believe me.

And then, on the other hand, there's this huge weight and there's this huge struggle and trying to learn each step of the way what is -- what's so wrong and how I can fix it. And I guess -- I guess I'm just -- I guess I'm just one of the lucky ones.

CUOMO: How so?

KNOX: Well, because I'm actually -- I'm actually supported by people. And people have looked into my case, as opposed to have forgotten me.

CUOMO: If the case is affirmed by the Supreme Court, if you are found guilty in final fashion, but the United States decides not to extradite, your life goes on, you can live here, you can be in the United States, but will you ever really be free?

KNOX: No, absolutely not, no. That's not a livable -- that's not -- especially since, right now, me and Raffaele together are fighting for our innocence. And I -- like I said, I truly believe that that can happen. It's only speculation that convicts us. It's evidence that acquits us. And I'm holding -- I'm holding firm to that in hopes that what you're suggesting might happen doesn't.

CUOMO: You're holding out hope?

KNOX: Yes.


BLACKWELL: Well, legal experts say that it's unlikely that Knox will be extradited to Italy.

PAUL: But, you know, she mentioned her boyfriend then in the meantime he is speaking out as well, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper that he and Knox, yes, are innocent.


RAFFAELE SOLLECITO, EX-BOYFRIEND OF AMANDA KNOX: I have nothing to hide. I have a clear conscience. I am open-minded. There is really nothing against me. I didn't do anything wrong.


PAUL: Sollecito's attorney, by the way, said this latest conviction will be indeed be appealed, they believe.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's turn to Washington now. A lot of very important, serious people will be in the room laughing together at the expense of this man.

PAUL: A lot.

BLACKWELL: The president of the United States for tonight's White House Correspondents' Dinner, and CNN will carry the star-studded event live. Up next, will the commander in chief be able to hold his own with the event celebrity headliner?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: Well, from the State of the Union to stand-up spotlight all in a day's work, right? President Obama is going to dust off his comedy styling tonight when politicians and Hollywood celebs gather for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

BLACKWELL: But will the leader of the world be able to go joke-for- joke with the event's marquee entertainer.

Erin McPike joins us now from Washington.

Erin, Joel McHale, host of "The Soup" on E! is tonight's headliner. I think he's funny. What is this Shtick as it's called?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, Joel McHale was actually just on CNN just yesterday and addressed that very thing with Jake Tapper.


TAPPER: How does one prepare for the White House Correspondents' Dinner? You just watch C-SPAN?

MCHALE: No, I don't. Just -- I just won't do any political jokes at all. I'll just stick strictly to Kardashians, strictly to things on E! A lot of "Bad Girls Club." A lot of single mom stuff from MTV. And I think people will get it.

TAPPER: You think this crowd watches those reality --

MCHALE: Definitely. I think they love "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." I think everyone can relate. It's universal. Don't you think?



MCPIKE: Well, that may be a good idea because several years ago, Stephen Colbert, I think we're supposed to call him Stephen Colbert now that he's moving to CBS, well he actually was the comic relief for dinner during the Bush administration and made a lot of jokes about President Bush and that actually fell flat into the room. So maybe a good idea to leave jokes about the president up to the president himself.

PAUL: Well, speaking of the president himself, I mean, we know that he was just outside yesterday the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obviously very focused on the situation and the crisis in Ukraine. It does make you wonder how that transition is going to go from something that is so pivotal like that to something --

BLACKWELL: Lighthearted.

PAUL: I guess, supposed to be funny and nonsensical.

(LAUGHTER) To some degree as well.

MCPIKE: Well, let me first point out, Christi, that the dinner is actually to award White House correspondents for their very tough coverage of the president. And in fact, as a point of pride for us here at CNN, Jake Tapper actually won an award at the dinner three years running, which was unprecedented and actually our own Brianna Keilar who you both know very well will receive one of those awards tonight.

And it's also to award scholarships to aspiring journalists who hope to document the White House and hold future presidents accountable. But I will point out that in 2011, to answer your question, Donald Trump was at the dinner and President Obama certainly yukked it up and made fun of him just hours before the raid went down that killed Osama bin Laden. So he's certainly able to multitask very well. We know that very well.

PAUL: All right.

BLACKWELL: Also an opportunity for journalists to meet famous people.

MCPIKE: That's correct.

BLACKWELL: Let's just put it on the table.

PAUL: And congratulations to Brianna.

BLACKWELL: That's true. Congratulations to Brianna and Jake.

PAUL: Congratulations.

Hey, Erin McPike in Washington, thank you so much.

MCPIKE: Of course.

PAUL: And I want to say thank you for, you know, spending a little time of your Saturday morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.

We are not stopping. That's the vow from Ukraine as it battles pro- Russian militants from the street and from the air.