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Magic Johnson Fires Back at Donald Sterling; Tragic Twist in Nigerian Mass Kidnapping; TSA Warns of MERS Virus; Oklahoma City's Controversial Win Over Clippers

Aired May 14, 2014 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Attacked on national television. Magic Johnson now firing back at L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. Why he was dragged into the billionaire's NBA drama, what he knows about the woman accused of recording Sterling's racist rants, and how Sterling expected Johnson to help save him from all this. A CNN exclusive ahead.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A new twist in a tragic mass kidnapping. Girls shown on camera held captive by terrorists may not all have been taken from a school last month. We're learning some may have been abducted years ago. We are live in Nigeria as this mystery continues to unfold.

ROMANS: Breaking news overnight, the TSA warning travelers of a dangerous virus threat. Two cases already confirmed in the U.S. More cases expected. We'll tell you where health care workers are on alert this morning, straight ahead.

Good morning, a lot to go through this morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's a pleasure to have you. It's Wednesday, May 14, 5:00 a.m. in the East. This morning, he says he feels disrespected and he hasn't yet received the apology he's waiting for. Magic Johnson speaking out in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper about Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner caught up in a scandal over racist comments.

Well, Sterling went after Johnson during his sit down with Anderson, saying the NBA legend is a bad example for children and has not done enough for the black community. Johnson says Sterling is living in the stone ages, calling the situation sad. Listen.


EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: And so it was sort of disappointing. But I had to respond in terms of, OK, you don't want me to come to your games, I won't come to your games. You don't have to worry about that. But, also, I was upset because he threw minorities in, African-Americans, Latinos, into this situation. And so I had to speak up.

Look, I'm one of the leaders of the black community, so I can't let anybody attack our people and not respond. And so that is why I responded.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: When -- first of all, you said you were photographed with V. Stiviano. You're probably photographed with...

JOHNSON: Millions of people.

COOPER: Millions of people.

Do you know her? He claimed in this interview that I did with him the other day, he said you knew her, you knew her well.

JOHNSON: These are the facts, Anderson.

I never met this young lady. I took a picture with her, probably, it looked like at a Dodger game. That is it. That's all I know of her. And then he says I'm trying to set him up.

He asked me to go on the Barbara Walters show with him.

COOPER: This was, what, a week, week-and-a-half ago?

JOHNSON: This was a week ago.

COOPER: Because he met with Barbara on a Friday about week-and-a-half ago.

JOHNSON: Exactly. It was before that.

I told him I wouldn't do it. I said, the number one thing you need to do, which you haven't done, is apologize to everybody and myself. "I will get to that. I will get to that."

COOPER: So, he wanted you to go on with Barbara Walters sitting next to him?

JOHNSON: Sitting next to him.

COOPER: To kind of give him cover or...

JOHNSON: Exactly. So, I said no. Then I told him. I said, Donald, you should consult with your attorneys. I said, this thing is a big thing. And you should deal with your attorneys and let them advise you on what to do. But I said, you need to go public and apologize to everybody.

COOPER: How did he respond to that?

JOHNSON: "Well, I will apologize later. But I want you to go on this show." He was adamant about me going on the show with him.

When I saw that interview, it is sad. It really is. I'm going to pray for this young man. I hope Donald can see the mistake that he has made, and also the people he has hurt along the way.

And then what is really sad, he -- it is not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your -- and putting your conversation out here for everybody to know.

That was not me. I didn't do that. I don't know this young lady. This is between you two.


BLACKWELL: For Donald Sterling, we are now hearing more from his exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper, where he apologized and lashed out at Magic Johnson. Well, Sterling is also talking about his wife and his own behavior.


DONALD STERLING, OWNER, L.A. CLIPPERS: I think we'll divorce. I think she's already filed. I guess I was bad committing all those terrible -- I don't even want to say it, but, you know, people say how do you commit adultery? You justify things. You say, well, every man's parents or friends have a mistress. I mean, it may make you smile, but when you're so old, you don't think it's wrong anymore, if you have a little bit of fun. You don't have much time. If you have a little bit of fun, you can't do what you did before. And nobody expects that you want to be cared for. Everybody wants to be cared for.

I made such a mistake. I thought that woman really cared for me.


BLACKWELL: You can see much more of Anderson's exclusive interview with Donald Sterling tonight on "AC360", 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

ROMANS: I sat down with Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban and talked to him about the situation where the NBA owners might vote to force Donald Sterling to sell. This is what he told me.


MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLS MAVERICKS: I can't comment on Mr. Sterling, but what I can say is we're a franchise organization, right? So it's not apples to apples in taking property, and that's kind of what I've learned since my original comments. It's like if a McDonald's -- someone who was a McDonald's franchisee started talking about spitting in the french fries, right.

ROMANS: He'd lose his franchise.

CUBAN: You'd lose your franchise.


ROMANS: Mark Cuban also said he thinks the Clippers will likely sell for more than $1 billion. He thinks these are now the days of the trophy asset of a billionaire are over, these are big businesses. It will be a consortium of owners. We'll have much more from my interview with Mark Cuban in our next half hour, including what he thinks of tech stocks right now and his new app, Cyber Dust, that can make your texts interview. That whole interview is going to air this Saturday on "YOUR MONEY". You can go to right to read more about what Mark Cuban said.

BLACKWELL: A grim scene at a coal mine in Western Turkey. At least 205 workers have been killed by an explosion and fire with more than 200 trapped 500 yards down. A massive rescue operation is happening right now. It unfolds of course at the facility 150 miles south of Istanbul.

Well, authorities say nearly 800 people were in the mine when the transformer exploded. Nearly half of those have been rescued. We'll have a live report from Turkey on the (inaudible) in our next half hour.

ROMANS: This morning, we are finding new details in the search for hundreds of Nigerian girls abducted and missing for weeks. Nigerian officials say they have now identified 77 of them in this video allegedly put out by the terror group in Boko Haram. But some relatives say it's not their daughters in the video. And some of the girls shown may have been abducted years earlier.

Nima Elbagir is live for us in Abuja, Nigeria, this morning. Nima, if the families are right, does this make it even harder to track down these girls?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well any loss of time, any distraction or delay, that time is very hard to make up. If you remember, the militants already have a four to five day head start because of the Nigerian government's slowness in scrambling their operation right at the beginning of this, Christine. So it is sad for the families and it's been difficult for them to hear.

Some of those we've been speaking to in Chibok say we came together, you can imagine when there was a video, there was a rush to try and find somewhere to watch it out in this remote part of the world. And they watched and looked and scanned, and they didn't find what they were looking for. So some of them are now reaching out to the government to say what is going on? What does this mean for us?

A little ray of hope for them has been the inclusion of U.S. spy planes in the search. Because that will help speed some of this up. It's very, very difficult terrain and to be able to just get an overview of that and to be able to see in some of the burrows and hiding dens that the Boko Haram have been operating out of is going to be invaluable, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Nima, thanks for that. You can just only hope for the safety of those girls, girls recently abducted and girls apparently abducted maybe even years ago. Thanks, Nima.

BLACKWELL: Now, there are new worries this morning that a mysterious virus may be spreading. The TSA has now posted warnings at airports over MERS, this Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. And at least 20 health care workers in Orlando, they're being told to stay home after being possibly exposed to man with the illness. Alina Machado has the latest from Orlando.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Victor, this is where the 44-year-old man, the second confirmed MERS case in the U.S., is being treated this morning. Doctors say he is in good condition and is improving. This is also where one employee is hospitalized after showing possible symptoms. Now that employee is one of 20 from two Orlando area hospitals who are being evaluated for possible exposure to MERS. They have all undergone testing and have been told to stay home for at least 14 days.

Now, take a listen to what an infectious disease specialist tells us about the situation.


MACHADO: What special precautions has the hospital taken to prepare for something like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interesting. We actually have been preparing for these virus. Last year, we did actually, about a year ago, we did an exercise just to see how our system work and the example that was used was a fictitious basing with MERS. We believe -- I believe that we have been prepared well for this, but until it arrives, that's when you really know if you're prepared or not.


MACHADO: The initial testing results should be available some time this week. It could be as early as today. Doctors are waiting to learn the results before deciding what to do next. Victor? Christine?

BLACKWELL: All right, Alina, thank you very much.

ROMANS: Stocks in Europe basically flat right now but they're sitting there near six-year highs. A similar story in the U.S., futures are flat but the story is records. Dow records, three days in a row. It's a headline you might want to get used to. We asked financial planner Doug Flynn what he thought was driving the market and if we could trust these new highs.


DOUG FLYNN, FINANCIAL PLANNER: Well, the companies that make up the market are really driving the market. The earnings of those companies are also at all-time highs. It's nice when it lines up.


ROMANS: And it's lining up with earnings driving the market. We have a big week still to come especially for retailers. Macy's reports this morning. Big name retailers like JC Penney and Wal-Mart weigh in tomorrow.

We want to see what the health of the consumer is. It's a cold winter, are they opening up their purse strings and spending money again? That's what we're going be looking for in those reports.

All right, breaking news this morning after thousands were evacuated near San Diego. Now good news on the fire lines, that's next.

BLACKWELL: Parents, terrified when a bounce house, look at this, suddenly soars 50 feet into the air. Children sent flying. How could this happen? The story, next.


ROMANS: Breaking news this morning from the San Diego area where evacuation orders have been lifted for the thousands who've been forced from their homes as a huge wildfire raged through 800 acres. This morning firefighters in the state are getting the upper hand on that wildfire. Schools will be open again this morning.

BLACKWELL: It's the kind of drama you usually see on TV, but not at a TV station. A driver ramming a dump truck into the studios of WMAR TV just outside Baltimore. Witnesses say he was screaming and ranting and talking incoherently, even claiming he was God and needed to get inside. Well, the employees didn't let him in so he drove in. The employees got out safely and a SWAT team eventually found the suspect on the second floor where he was watching the whole thing play out on TV. Well, he's now in the hospital being evaluated for suspected mental illness.

ROMANS: New details this morning as police try to make sense of a deadly shooting, fire and explosion at this New Hampshire home. Investigators say there are no criminal records connected with Michael Nolan. He's the man suspected of shooting and killing a police officer and setting fire to the house after the officer arrived to look into domestic disputes. Two sets of remains are found at the home believed to be Nolan's and those of that responding officer, Steve Arkell.

BLACKWELL: "American Idol" star, Clay Aiken, will soon be a Democratic nominee for Congress. Official results show Aiken won the North Carolina primary in the second congressional district by just under 400 votes. The final tally will be certified tomorrow. The singer has suspended his campaign though after the death of his opponent Keith Crisco. Aiken faces an uphill battle this fall against Tea Party favorite Renee Elmers, who's seeking a third term.

ROMANS: Idaho could be the next state to recognize same-sex marriage. A federal judge struck down Idaho's voter-approved amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. The judge writing that the amendment violated the Constitution's promise of equal protection, but she stayed her ruling until Friday to give a higher court time to intervene. The governor is promising to appeal.

BLACKWELL: Alleged terrorist Abu Hamza al-Masri expected back on the stand in New York today after clashing with prosecutors during the first day of his cross-examination. He insisted that he's never called for innocent people to be killed. The radical Muslim cleric is accused of inspiring terrorists like 9/11 hijacker Mohmaed Atta and aiding kidnappers in Yemen and attempting to start a terror training camp in Oregon. Al-Masri has pleaded not guilty.

ROMANS: The FBI says it's received hundreds of calls about this man, William Vahey, a teacher suspected of drugging and molesting boys across four continents. Vahey killed himself in March after a maid in Nicaragua found evidence of molestation on a computer memory drive. The FBI calls him likely one of the most prolific pedophiles in history. Agents want to track down every possible victim. He was a teacher at international schools.

BLACKWELL: New details this morning about what may have driven a 12- year-old to open fire at a school last October, killing a teacher and wounding two other boys before turning the gun on himself. Police say Jose Reyes left two contradictory suicide notes about his motives, but he told a therapist he was being teased by classmates. Police don't plan to file charges against the parents who own the gun Reyes used in that shooting.

New developments this morning from Georgia where the family of Kendrick Johnson is now suing the Lowndes County Board of Education. Actually the suit is on behalf of the 17-year-old's estate and it claims the district did not do enough to protect their son from harassment and bullying. Johnson's body was found in a rolled gym mat in his high school last year. Federal prosecutors are looking into the case. The sheriff and the state medical examiner calls his death accidental.

ROMANS: Incredible pictures to show you this morning from northern New York state where two young children are now in the hospital after the Little Tikes bounce house they were playing in was caught up in the wind and flew away with the children inside. The 5 and 6-year-old boy suffered serious injuries. Both fell more than 15 feet in the air. Neighbors say, from everything they saw, the family put the toy together properly, it was staked down.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything that could have been done wrong wasn't. Everything was done properly. And that's the only thing I can say positively, that nothing was done wrong.


ROMANS: A 10-year-old girl also playing inside suffered minor injuries. One witness called what happened like a horror movie.

BLACKWELL: The weather has been rough for millions of people for the past few days. And this morning, another threat of serious weather. Drenching rain, strong winds, maybe even hail for middle parts of the country.

ROMANS: That's right and that's what some experienced about 40 miles north of Chicago -- downpours, flooding roads in Lake County. They received upwards of four inches of rain over two days.

BLACKWELL: Indra Petersons is here with much more on what we can expect today. I'm still thinking snow. INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can't really blame you. It's been a troublemaker, because it was such a cold system and it's so slow moving. We are talking about this system making its way across the country. Remember, we're talking about how cold it was? Well, there's so much instability. Look at the lightning from the northeast all the way down even into the southeast this morning. So that's going to be the concern as this slow-moving system progresses to the east.

The other thing you can't help but notice. Notice how dry it is in the west? Now the system is making its way to more and more moist air. The concern is more flooding. Heavy rain, thunderstorms in a short period of time. Looking at rainfall totals, two to three inches. Especially, it makes its way into the mid-Atlantic, it's going to pool of this moisture here. We are going to have a concern for three to five inches of rain. That is a lot for a short period of time.

Now, there's something else I want to show you as well. Normally, when you see a trough, that's the thing that brings you that system, right? That actual weather system. Normally kind of looks like this, we call neutral. Now it's tilting this way. That tells us we are talking instability. What does that mean? Talking about cold air above warm air. They want to flip. So what does that mean? The threat for severe weather in addition to that as well. You're talking about Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati even all the way dwon through Jackson, Mississippi, we are still going to be talking about that threat for severe weather including tornadoes. Temperature-wise you're going to see the change, that cold air will only continue to shift farther east as the system does progress to the east as well.

So it's not going to be as cold as snow, but it's going to be cooling off eventually.

ROMANS: All right, thanks, Indra.


BLACKWELL: A stunning, stunning turn for the Clippers and the Thunder. Oklahoma City winning Game Five in the final moments here. The Clippers say -- and anecdotally, a lot of people I follow on Twitter -- say they were robbed. Brian McFadden has the details in the Bleacher Report, next.


BLACKWELL: Did you watch it? It was a wild finish over night in Oklahoma City as the Thunder beat the Clippers. But there was major controversy late in the game.

ROMANS: That's right. Brian McFadden has more in the morning's Bleacher Report. Hey there.

BRIAN MCFADDEN, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, guys, good morning. The ending of last night's game was crazy. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game his team was robbed. So here is the play that got Rivers so upset. Thunder down 2, Reggie Jackson loses the ball out of bounds. The replay looks to show the ball goes off Jackson but the refs gives it back to the Thunder. Moments later, Russell Westbrook is fouled by Chris Paul on a three-point attempt. All is shock. Westbrook hits all three free throws and Oklahoma City steals the win. Rivers not happy afterwards.


DOC RIVERS, L.A. CLIPPERS COACH: In my opinion, let's take away replay. Let's take away the replay system. Because that's our ball, we win the game. And we got robbed because of that call.


MCFADDEN: Trending on, top seed in the East, Indiana Pacers at home against the Wizards with a chance to finish off the series. Until Marcin Gortat, the Polish Hammer. I'm not sure if that's really his nickname, but he earned it last night. He scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Wizards with the blowout win, 102-79. More games tonight on TNT, both the Heat and Spurs have a chance to close out their series.

St. Louis Rams' Michael Sam was introduced by his new team yesterday and was asked what it's like to be the NFL's first openly gay player.


MICHAEL SAM, ST. LOUIS RAMS: I guess it's great. I don't know what you want me to say. I have every confidence in myself that I will make this team. So when I do make it and when I put my pads on, and if somebody wants to say something, then you will see number 96 running down that field and making big plays for this team.


MCAFADDEN: He means business. Back to you guys.

ROMANS: I'll say. Thanks so much, Brian McFadden.

Magic Johnson on the record about the bizarre insults leveled at him by the embattled L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. You have got to see this CNN exclusive, next.