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LeBron Possible Boycott; Political Life of a Clinton In-Law; Appeals Court: Actor Can See Son

Aired May 15, 2014 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he hopes people will forgive the racist comments he made and he believes that he can still keep the team.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to visit for the very latest.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now, of course, the reason he wouldn't be able to keep the team, Mic, is because the owners in the NBA association say he can't. And a big reason they may say he can't is because the players want that to happen.

So, as we learn more about the league's effort to force sterling out, some are going even further than that. In fact, the vice president of the players union says LeBron James will lead a walkout if Sterling sticks around. Is that true? What would it mean? Could it even happen?

Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "Unguarded" sat down with King James exclusively to find out. She joins us now from Miami.

Great get, Rachel. What did we learn?

RACHEL NICHOLS, HOST, CNN'S "UNGUARDED": Yes, you know, Roger Mason Jr., very strong on TV the other night, saying LeBron won't be playing if Donald Sterling owns the team this fall. So I sat down and asked LeBron. He said it's not quite that simple. It's really about whether they have faith in what the NBA is doing at the time. Take a listen.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: I think the most important thing that we understand is that Adam Silver is moving forward. And, you know, he's not just for the owners, he's for the players as well. And the direction that they're going in, we're all for it. And, you know, so we look forward to the next step, and we'll go from there.

NICHOLS: Is there a point where you feel like boycott could be an effective tool for the players?

JAMES: Well, I think at this position or at this point, the direction that Adam is going and the NBA is going, I don't think there should be a need for it. You know, we trust those guys and we know that they're going to take care of what needs to be done for our league. And we understand it's not going to be, you know, tomorrow. You know, we're - you know, the system will not work tomorrow, but the direction that they're going in, we're all for it.


NICHOLS: So basically LeBron's saying, look, a boycott is for if they think the leaders of the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver, the board of governors, aren't doing what they promised to do. If they feel like they need to make a point. And, look, he is holding the right, Chris, to still do that. He didn't come out and say, I would never boycott. But he feels that as long as they are in good faith, the NBA, going through the process of removing Sterling, they're not going to sit there and make threats and put dates on things, at least he's not, and he is certainly the most influential player in the league.

CUOMO: It's interesting, though, Rachel. I don't even know. I'd have to look closer at the union agreement. I don't know that they could even qualify this as a strike. So it would be interesting to see how they came up with the way to do it.

Let me ask you about something else while I have you. Shelly Sterling. Again, looking at the documents involved and understanding it, my take is, I don't think she's going to get very far with the league in claiming that she has an ownership stake by their definition. What's yours?

NICHOLS: Yes, absolutely. And, by the way, that's another thing that LeBron and I have talked about. He said no way do any of the players want her anywhere near that team, or frankly any other member of the family. As far as they are concerned, this is a Sterling wide issue. So when they are talking about a boycott or not or anything else, they mean for all the Sterlings.

And the NBA, as you said, is very firm. A controlling owner is an actual title. That there is a designation for that. And Donald Sterling is the controlling owner. He is the one who has the seat on the board of governors. He is the one who is approved for that position. Shelly Sterling, while she might be a 50 percent owner, is not the controlling owner. She is not the member of the board of governors. So when they oust the member of the board of governors, the controlling owner, they oust the whole ownership group.

Shelly Sterling has claimed recently in the past few days that this is sexism, that people aren't treating her as a 50 percent owner. There's an actual designation for a controlling owner. The Sterlings themselves decided that would be Donald, and the NBA is clear, the constitution is clear, if the controlling owner is thrown out, everyone gets thrown out.

CUOMO: Rachel, appreciate it. Breaking it down. Now even I understand. Rachel Nichols, thank you very much, host of CNN's "Unguarded."

Kate. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, it is a court decision with major implications for thousands of fathers. Jason Patric taking a big legal step towards seeing his son. He'll be here to talk about what this means ahead.


BOLDUAN: Tonight, Hillary Clinton jumps into campaign mode, headlining a fund-raiser in New York, not for herself, of course, but someone close to the family, Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law. Marjorie Margolies isn't just family. She's a longtime friend and ally who may have lost her Pennsylvania house seat out of loyalty to the Clintons way back when. Now she's fighting to get that seat back and calling in the big guns. CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger is in Washington with much more.

Good morning, Gloria.


Yes, she is calling in the big guns. You know, Margolies lost her seat 20 years ago with a single vote that saved Bill Clinton's presidency. And now she's attempting a comeback. And for her, and the Clintons, the story has only grown more personal.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I would be here if her son was not my son-in-law.

BORGER (voice-over): "She" is Marjorie Margolies. Her son happens to be married to Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea is now expecting a baby.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Mark and I are very excited.

BORGER: And her mom may be running for president.

BORGER (on camera): Your son has married into a political dynasty. What's that like?

MARJORIE MARGOLIES: It's - it's surprisingly normal.

BORGER (voice-over): That depends on how you define "normal." Because the back story of the two families is anything but.

CLINTON: I'm not coming here saying vote for her because 20 years ago she saved the economy.

BORGER: She also saved Clinton's presidency. It was 1993. Clinton's defining economic plan was on the House floor and about to die.

MARGOLIES: The Republicans were high fiving, saying it's going down.

BORGER: She was a holdout. A Philadelphia freshman who had won by just over 1,000 votes.

MARGOLIES: A lot of Democrats were talking about changing their vote.

BORGER: That's when the president called.

MARGOLIES: And I said, and I will only be your last vote. I know how important this is.

BORGER: He hung up and then watched her from the White House.

PAUL BEGALA, FORMER CLINTON ADVISER: So we all gather around this little one foot, you know, 13-inch screen and watched the vote. Marjorie walked down that aisle to cast that vote and Republicans stood there and taunted her and they said bye, bye, Marjorie. Bye, bye, Marjorie.

MARGOLIES: The vote was need. And I gave him the 218.

BEGALA: So I'm quite sure he knew that that was a political death nail.

BORGER: And it was.

MARGOLIES: I do not regret my vote, nor do I apologize for it.

There was a lot of hostility in that room.

BORGER: Hostility that would send her packing after just one term. Fast forward 20 years, and now her old seat is open with one big difference, the district has been redrawn and it's solidly Democratic. So she's at it again, locked in a tight primary as an advocate for abortion rights and the middle class.

BORGER (on camera): Is this a little bit the politics of redemption to a degree?

MARGOLIES: I'm not sure. I think it would be more resilience. I don't have any retirement skills.

BORGER (voice-over): She spent the last two decades on women's issues both outside and inside politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, is it there?

MARGOLIES: Well, first of all, I think it has to be addressed.

BORGER (on camera): Do you think women have a harder time still running?

MARGOLIES: When I was running in the '90s, I always got questions as to how -- who's taking care of your children? And even if the questions aren't asked, they're there.

BORGER (voice-over): In this campaign, she started as the big-name front-runner and has been attacked on campaign finances, for coasting early on, and for her use of a valuable asset, the Clintons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seems like a great guy, but everything he's talking about happened in the past.

MARGOLIES: We always knew that if they came in too much, we would be blamed for their coming in too much. If they didn't come in enough, that people would say they didn't come in enough. You're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't. They have done everything we've asked them to do. And I am running on what I have accomplished in the last 20 years and not on my affiliation with the Clintons.

BORGER: But she's not exactly running away from them either.

CLINTON: And this district will be well served if you elect her.

BORGER: Did she consult with the former president about running?

MARGOLIES: I called and he said, I think it's a good idea. But that's pretty much it.

BORGER: She's even more guarded if you dare to ask some personal questions about life in the Clinton family.

MARGOLIES: It's just -- it's an area that I will not get into. I -- they are lovely. The Clintons couldn't be any nicer.

BORGER (on camera): Are you going to talk about what it's going to be like to be co-grandmother in chief?


BORGER (voice-over): After four decades in the public eye, Margolies knows how to stay on message, even when it's Hillary Clinton.

BORGER (on camera): Is there any doubt in your mind that she's running?

MARGOLIES: She has said that she is making up her mind, and I take her at her word.


MARGOLIES: She has said that she's making up her mind, and I take her at her word. She has said --


BORGER: Well, there you have it, she clearly, as can you tell, wants to be mom when it comes to the Clintons, and she's focusing like a laser, as someone once said, on her Democratic primary, and that's next Tuesday. And, Chris and Kate, it's going to be a very close race.

BOLDUAN: Yes, she was definitely not going there on the question of being a grandmother.

BORGER: Not going there.

BOLDUAN: There you have it.

BORGER: Yes, yes, she's on lockdown. Yes.

BOLDUAN: She is on lockdown. We'll see. Well, she would be a key ally for any Clinton administration, if that would be the case in the House, that's for sure.

CUOMO: Our thanks to Gloria.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Gloria.

CUOMO: Did you see who's in the green room?


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, take a look. You know who that is. That's Jason Patric. You remember his story? He was in the legal battle of his life over his son. Well, the case just came down, and Jason has won a decision that many thought was very unlikely. Huge implications for his life and for a lot of other parents. We're going to tell you in a second. A quick break first and a handshake.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

And this is one of those legal problems that sounds complicated until you actually get into it. The fundamental question was should dads with kids who are conceived through artificial insemination be able to see their children? I mean, you'd say well, yes, of course, right? Well, it's not always that simple. According to a California judge, if the dad and mom had a long-term relationship, the answer is yes. The case, however, that we're talking about involved a notable figure, actor Jason Patric whose ex wouldn't let Jason see his boy.

Jason joins us now along with his attorney, Fred Silverberg. Welcome to you both.

So this is what happens. Let me just sum it up quickly for everybody. You go to court. The mother of the child says you're not really the father because in California, the law said unless we have an explicit contract between the two of us that we'll co-parent, you're just a donor. And the judge wouldn't even let you prove that you were the parent because he said well, you know, absent the contract, you don't get that right. True so far, right?

JASON PATRIC, ACTOR: True. That's correct.

CUOMO: So this winds up tearing your life in half. You are not a public person. You don't like getting into the media for any reason, let alone this, but you felt compelled. What did you think was being done to you?

PATRIC: Well, I was being railroaded by an arcane law and a system that has a lot of holes in it. And, you know, I had an ex that had a vendetta and had a lot of money behind her to do it. But you know, the fact was it's about the child, always about the child.


PATRIC: Gus, my son. And so I was going to fight to leave this trail for him. And in that process found out so many other parents in this sort of alienated situation. So no matter how I want my privacy to be respected, I felt compelled.

CUOMO: When people first hear this story, they say nope. There's something we're not hearing. You know, it doesn't make sense. But Fred, speak to where this law came from, this idea of an IVF donor having an express law to keep them from a child. Why was it developed, and why was it misapplied?

FRED SILVERBERG, LAWYER FOR JASON PATRIC: This law came from a set of statutes something called the Uniform Parentage Act and it's the law in about 43 of the 50 states. And the intent originally was to protect married couples who needed a sperm donor so that the donor would not come back later and say I have a claim to this child.

CUOMO: -- which sometimes happened and --


CUOMO: -- and was a real problem in the courts.

SILVERBERG: And also to protect the sperm donor himself so that he wasn't held liable for child support down the road. But Jason was never a sperm donor. And so the application of this law to his case was completely unjust.

CUOMO: The first thing I remember, the first thing that turned my head in this case was you showed me a document. You said hey, look. I could have signed away and been this person that they're casting me as right in the beginning. It says look, right here, no parental rights.

I did the other one. And I have all this proof. Here's me and my kid. Here's me and my kid. And the desperation seemed to suggest that I didn't understand how the court was doing this. How did you make sense of why the court was doing this? Just relying on the letter of the law?

PATRIC: I think that five other judges or nine other judges would have seen it differently. You know, I've never been in this situation. It's sort of a tragic thing happens to you, and you can drive yourself insane, which I did every night as to how can this happen, or you can say you know what? Something's happened. The tree fell on the house and how am I going to fix this? And that's the way I looked at it.

CUOMO: Now, I talk about it as the law, right, because I'm a lawyer. For you this is all about your son. How long has it been since you were been allowed to see your boy?

PATRIC: 64 weeks.

CUOMO: 64 weeks -- obviously well over a year. How old was he when this started?

PATRIC: Three years old -- so I've missed his entire third year. He's four now -- four and a couple months. And it's tortured me every day. As you know, when I was here, the last time I saw him, he said "I'm missing you Dada." I said I'll see you tomorrow. And I've never seen him again and every entreaty every effort to his mother to let me see my son, legal letters, personal letters, e-mails, everything, no response.

CUOMO: How constant has the pain been for you while you're waiting for this legal part to take part -- to take action?

PATRIC: Immeasurable. Immeasurable. Each day you find a different way to do it. What I did was starting "Stand Up for Gus" which became this huge movement of resources for alienated parents.

CUOMO: "Stand Up for Gus" -- it's got a Facebook page.

PATRIC: Facebook, Web site. We've raised an incredible amount of money. We've hired a lawyer in Los Angeles that will for a full year represent parents that have been tapped out by the legal system that are fighting for custody.

And I hope that's a pilot program that will go to these other places, but mainly to bring attention to this parental alienation which is what's happened to. My child was isolated and abducted. And it's a terrible form of child abuse, and it's a plague all over this country right now.

CUOMO: The pain was enough for you that when we were having this first discussion, we were having it appropriately in a bar. I mean because this was something that was just weighing on you, and you were doing anything you could to deal with the pain of not seeing the person who's most important to you in your life.

And you were holding out hope that some court would see it your way. And then you started "Stand for Gus", and they pushed back, the family, the mother of the child said you can't even use his name. And you got a big victory where they said, you know, just for First Amendment reasons, let alone the connection of this man to the child, he should be able to use it. And that was the glimmer of hope.

I want to take a break now because I want to talk about what that decision meant to you. And then the momentum that led you into this one and then what happens next because you still have to find a way back to your son.

So Jason, Fred, stay with us. We'll take a break. We'll have more on this right after. Stay with us.


CUOMO: More now with Jason Patric and his attorney.

And then it gets worse. You lose in court because of this law that was designed for something else but catches you up because of how you had the child with the mother of the child, through IVF. You then say, all right. So this law is a problem because it was supposed to protect IVF and protect the donors, but I'm not a donor, so we'll fix the law.

But then, Fred, what happens? With what seemed like an obvious change to the law, what happened with politics?

SILVERBERG: What happened with politics is the politicians didn't do what they were supposed to do. They acknowledged in the California legislature that the law was never intended to have this result. That the law came from a period of time when people didn't have children in this manner, meaning unmarried couples choosing to have a child together, using fertility treatments. And knowing that and knowing the outcome, they didn't take the action necessary. The California senate did, but the assembly didn't.

CUOMO: Why not?

SILVERBERG: Because the lobbyists that were hired essentially by the Shrivers, they worked against it, and they told them that they shouldn't be intervening in an active case and that they made the pitch that we were trying to, by sponsoring this bill, affect the outcome of the case. And what we were trying to do was affect a social problem, something that should have been addressed. This case brought light to the situation.

CUOMO: Because, as you were saying, what you learned as you went through your own personal process and pain, there are a lot of Jason Patrics out there. That's why you started "Stand Up for Gus", and they need the law changed because other states have the law as well, yes?

PATRIC: Yes, they need the law changed because there's a lot of people that are not getting married and having kids. By the way, same-sex couples. This has huge ramifications for that. And as I said, you can't turn a child away from a parent. You can't do it. And it's happening all over the place. And this is what happened to me. They just used an extreme mechanism to do it.

CUOMO: Now, you don't dispute that the relationship itself had its problems. You know, there was a break-up. But then what happened was as an extension of the anger between the two of you, this law was used to cut you out of your son's life. That's your belief.

PATRIC: No anger with me. I would have given her anything. And I said, I just want Gus to have the happy life he's always had. I was stunned by these proceedings -- stunned.

CUOMO: So you've gotten this big decision, but it is not over.


CUOMO: You now will get the chance to prove that you are not just the biological parent, but you are the parent here. Do you have any question whether or not you can prove it to the satisfaction of a judge? PATRIC: Absolutely I will, without question. They fought this. It's the reason they fought in the legislature. It's the reason they even tried to delay or appeal. Because when I go in there with the evidence I have, my three years of raising my son, the school forms are on the father, pediatrician forms, hundreds of pictures, hundreds of video. The mother teaching the child who I am, e-mails, everything that a father or a parent would have with their child, I have. I was not able to show that in court before. And now I can't wait to have that moment.

CUOMO: So that's your head. But then there's your heart. The first thing you do, Fred, is you go in and you try to reinstate visitation.

SILVERBERG: Absolutely.

CUOMO: How much are you dreaming of seeing your son?

PATRIC: It's -- it's a dream, a mirage, a distant gauze-covered memory, really. I mean he's four. I haven't seen him in 64 weeks. I don't know what his hair looks like, what his little voice is like, his language. And I have bad dreams about it all the time. But you know, it's one of those things when I'm there, I'm just going to let him bring it to me.

Because I know people talk about this being Jason Patric's story. It's not Jason Patric's story, this is Gus' story. Gus was a little three-year-old boy whose father almost dropped through a trap door and was taken away -- whose parents took away every picture of him and his father, who never spoke about him again. This is Gus' story and it's about all these other children that are facing the same thing who do not have the voice and not able to open up the true narrative to what their loving relationships were.

CUOMO: Hopefully at the end of it there's a little boy who has got a lot of love coming his way from a daddy who wants to be with him very much.

Jason Patric, Fred -- thank you very much.

PATRIC: Thank you.

CUOMO: Keep us informed about the case as it goes forward. We're going to continue following it like we have from the beginning.

PATRIC: Thank you very much.

SILVERBERG: Thank you for having us.

CUOMO: It's good to have you here today.

A lot of news this morning -- let me get you right to the "NEWSROOM" with Ms. Carol Costello who's in Washington this morning -- Carol.