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Cristiano Ronaldo: In or Out?; Shelly Sterling Seeks Witness Protection Under; Jailed Marine Gets Third Lawyer; Crisis May Lead to Iraqi Change in Leadership

Aired June 19, 2014 - 06:30   ET


ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, I don't know if we should make much of the ice bag, as you said, another big one on his knee, and left practice yesterday seven minutes early. He did the same thing before Portugal played Germany. He ended up playing in that match.

But, Chris, the new development in this whole situation is that Ronaldo's doctor reportedly said he needs to shut down and not play in the World Cup the rest of the way or else he could risk a career- threatening injury. Now, of course, Ronaldo said he's going to get the last word. If he gets the word, he's probably going to end up playing on Sunday.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, give us a little insight here. I've been getting read in. Now, there's a theory afoot that the U.S. has a good shot or maybe better shot than they would otherwise because the Germans spanked Portugal so badly that their spirit may be broken.

That's a little foreign to us here in terms of U.S. sport. Usually you take a beating, you want to come back stronger. So, what's this about?

SCHOLES: Well, we just saw that happen to Spain, right? They got spanked by the Netherlands, and what did they come out? They came out yesterday and laid an egg to Chile? So, there might be something to that.

Now, Ronaldo, he's got a lot of criticism in the past about his play in the World Cup. He only has two goals in 11 matches. But either way, Chris, you know, their spirit might be beaten and they might not have a 100 percent Ronaldo out there who's their biggest weapon.

You know, he can take over the game by themselves like a few people. You got, of course, Argentina, Lionel Messi, the Netherlands have Arjen Robben, and Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, guys that can single-handedly take over games in the World Cup.

At least we won't see them at 100 percent in the U.S. And, you know, we should all be thoughtful of what Ronaldo's injury, is and maybe send messages that they should sit this out and not risk career- threatening injury.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's about the long term. Don't think about the short term.

CUOMO: We wouldn't want to do anything to mar his otherwise physical perfection that I have to hear about at this table.

BOLDUAN: Gone two days with only images of him with the shirt off.

CUOMO: I know. I think women would be more worried about him if he had a pimple, you know?

BOLDUAN: Not, according to some.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's talk about what happened in the tournament that was really impressive. You referred to it a little there. Chile, they came at it. They're going against the reigning champs, and it wound up being really such a shocker match. Again, it's the world cup, reverberates and the significance of the whole country involved.

Tell us what happened.

SCHOLES: We're seeing video from these fans before the game, guys. These guys didn't have tickets and they were just standing outside like, wait, let's try to rush the stadium and get in. They went through the media entrance, got in, went through the media center.

These guys knocked down a couple of walls, throwing over big-screen televisions before security finally caught up to them, 85 Chilean fans were detained and now they're going to be kicked out of Brazil in the next 72 hours for trying to do that, but either way, guys, getting kicked out. They got in the stadium for a little bit. I'm sure they are leaving Brazil happy. As you said, Chile beat Spain 2-0. Spain, the first World Cup defending champions to be knocked out in their first two games, a very disappointing World Cup for them.

Chile, on the other hand, they're celebrating moving on to the next round. I've got World Cup fever, I'm sure you guys do, too. I'm going to watch all the games today once again. I can't wait.

BOLDUAN: Proof over and over again, soccer fans are like no other.


SCHOLES: You can't hold them back, not even fences and security can hold them back.

CUOMO: It's bigger than sport. It really captures a national identity in a way most other sports don't. Also, I've learned something watching this World Cup more than the others. Used to be a little bit of a hater about the celebration, scored a goal. You know, they are so into it, and now I appreciate the game more, it's so hard to score -- thanks, Andy, by the way -- that I get why they celebrate so much.

It's so hard to score in that game, and when you do, I think they should take more time to celebrate.

BOLDUAN: Have you ever tried to run a soccer field once?

CUOMO: I could run. It's the same size as a rugby pitch.

BOLDUAN: I would celebrate just for running it.

CUOMO: It's the same size as a rugby pitch. So, I got the physicality of it but the technicality side is so hard. I get it. I get why it's so exciting.

BOLDUAN: You finally Chris Cuomo over.


BOLDUAN: Exactly, late to the game --

CUOMO: Goal --even the announcer says the word goal longer than any word is said, you know?


CUOMO: News -- you know, you wouldn't do it. That's all."

BOLDUAN: There you go. That's how we're going to start the show from now on.

CUOMO: Got to practice.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, new developments in the case of a U.S. marine who's been jailed in Mexico now four months. We're talking to the mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, coming up.

CUOMO: And witness intimidation now being thrown around in the Donald Sterling saga? Whom is he allegedly trying to silence? His wife is asking a court for protection. We're going to tell you why.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

This morning, a new twist in the saga surrounding Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers. Is Sterling now intimidating witnesses?

CNN has learned that Shelly Sterling will appear in court to ask a judge to issue an order protecting witnesses from Donald Sterling and his legal team.

Let's talk more about this with Mel Robbins, CNN legal commentator and analyst, and Domenic Romano, a friend of CNN and sports and entertainment attorney.

Domenic, Mel, thank you so much.

Domenic, what do you think is going on here? I wonder who is being intimidated or who do they think is going to be intimidated, or is this a legal tactic? DOMENIC ROMANO, SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY: The story is

bizarre and it keeps getting stranger. According to allegations, Sterling's attorneys and Sterling himself have been leaving messages to these doctors that determined that Sterling was mentally incapacitated that are threatening and disparaging, telling them to put their insurance carriers on notice, tell their attorneys that there's going to be a fight and the determination was improper, according to reports.

BOLDUAN: Is it likely to have an impact? Do these doctors say that now they don't want to testify or have any part -- or be deposed in this suit?

ROMANO: It might have a chilling effect and that's the problem.

CUOMO: Yes, but it could also be completely unfounded, and it's a tactic to try to neutralize Sterling.

Mel, weigh on this.


CUOMO: You know, we've all been involved with litigation here, having the benefit of lots of debt and law school. So, when you hear something like this, I think Mel is going to intimidate my -- you got to show it or you just dismiss it.

ROBBINS: Yes, come on. Well, first of all, it is against the law if California Penal Code 136, it's actually called dissuading or intimidating a witness. And what he's doing is calling these doctors and saying, hey, you don't have my permission, this is a HIPAA violation, which is not rally that big threat for a first-time violation. They can fine you for as little as 50 bucks and as much as, you know, $50,000.

I think what he's doing is being annoying. He's harassing witnesses. It could have a chilling effect so Shelly is just going to church -- church, which is becoming their church, the court.

She's going to court, and she's basically saying rein him in. Shut him up. Tell him to stop harassing our witnesses. It's like a slap on the wrist, a small restraining order and they'll move on, because, of course, what's happened, and this is the bigger story, he's trying to revoke the terms of the trust because he doesn't want her to be in charge of the family trust.

CUOMO: Well, that he can do, right? Let's talk about that, Domenic.

You know, this is a little -- always been a little complicated. His ownership of the franchise, that's the league's to give or take, but how he deals with his particular valued asset, that's up to him.

ROMANO: That's exactly right.

CUOMO: Assuming it's a irrevocable trust.

ROMANO: Correct, and assuming that the determination for whatever reason was incorrect. But, again, these are reports.

CUOMO: We know how those go.

BOLDUAN: We know how that goes. You're on TV. It's obviously true.

So, let's expand to other big sports story in legal terms, we're talking about this morning. Mel, I think you two are both on the same page on this one. The Washington Redskins, they have had their trademark protection withdrawn for being disparaging to Native Americans because of the mascot.

What does this mean in the real world because this legal battle is clearly far from over?

ROBBINS: Well, what it means in the real world is very simple. It means nothing with regard to whether or not they change the name. It's just symbolic and now you've got the federal government agency saying, guys, Redskins, very offensive term, derogatory term. We're not going to give you protection.

It's a huge win for people who make counterfeit jerseys because now they are not going to be sued under some sort of federal trademark violation. They might be liable under Virginia law because states offer some sort of protection for business marks.

But, look, you know, this is a slow march towards what will probably happen at some point, which is they'll change the name. The owner is buckling down but does this ruling mean they will change the name? Of course not.

BOLDUAN: Why did the owners seem so confident? Why does Dan Snyder seem so confident in his position? Their attorney said, we've seen this story before and just hike last time, it's not going to change ownership and it's not going to change the name?

ROMANO: I think the key word is "seem". They're putting on a brave face. I disagree that this is insignificant. This is a very different decision from the first one which was basically reversed on appeal on a technicality.

Look, there's a perfect storm going on. You've got 50 senators that have come out against this. You've got the president of the United States saying what he would do if he was the owner would be to change the name of the team and you've got public opinion starting to shift. The appeals court determined that 30 percent of Native Americans found this term a racial designation on the basis of skin color offensive, disparaging.

ROBBINS: But you know what they don't have, Domenic, and this is why I disagree with you. They don't have an inside player. Unlike the situation with Sterling, you don't have -- you don't have a situation here where you've got somebody inside the NFL, a player, a sponsor, a coach, a major star that's been offended, that's championing something different happening.

CUOMO: Or the league. ROMANO: But you don't know that yet.

ROBBINS: Yes, or the league. You got people in the bleacher screen.

ROMANO: It's only a matter of time.

ROBBINS: Yes, that's true.

ROMANO: It's only a matter of time before somebody wakes up and says it's wrong. It's wrong to use the "R" word just as long as it would be to use the "N" word, a racial designation to define a minority group. And when someone starts to speak up, public opinion is already shifting on this, you're going to see a change here, and it will come probably sooner than you think.

CUOMO: But not hearing from the league is relevant.

ROBBINS: Yes, hugely relevant.

CUOMO: I've got to tell you, 30 percent is not an impressive number to me.

ROMANO: This is big business, right? We're talking about merchandise. If this is upheld on appeal, the NFL and Redskins are going to have a very difficult time controlling that trademark, especially as you mentioned, products coming in from abroad, and that's going to affect their bottom line. It's going to have an economic impact.

BOLDUAN: A lot of money when you talk about the merchandise that they sell.

ROMANO: Significant portion of their revenue.

CUOMO: That's true, and we do know that the owner supposedly registered the name Washington Warriors.

ROMANO: That's right.

CUOMO: So, they are creating an option.

BOLDUAN: They got a back up.

ROMANO: Hatching a contingency plan, perhaps.

CUOMO: That's what they're doing.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

Thank you so much. Mel, thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the family of a Marine jailed for months now in Mexico may finally have some good news. We've been staying on this story. He's still being held in isolation. He still isn't getting treatment for his PTSD. We're gonna talk to the sergeant's mother. His name is Andrew Tahmooressi. His mother's gonna be on NEW DAY in an exclusive. Please follow this story with us.

BOLDUAN: Also, tonight, CNN's original series, "The SIXTIES" returns at 9 p.m. with a look at the Vietnam war. Here is your sixties minute.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will prevail in Vietnam!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourteen thousand American dead. The war in Vietnam has become the most divisive in 100 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Vietnam did was introduce us to a new kind of America, one that was not pure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't expect to do your job and feel pity for these pity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Vietcong and the north Vietnamese (ph) didn't play by our rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people are being killed. And they're being killed why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's worth fighting for, and I don't think we can get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You started to distrust your own leaders because you started to say, well, they're lying to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can assure you that we intend to carry on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David Miller obviously turned his back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lyndon Johnson realized he was no longer in charge of the war. The war was in charge of him.

ANNOUNCER: "THE SIXTIES," tonight at 9 on CNN.


CUOMO: Welcome back.

As you know, I hope, a decorated U.S. Marine has been jailed in Mexico for more this two months, all for what he calls a mistaken left turn that sent him across the border. Since then Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi has endured some of the worst abuse the Mexican prison system has to offer, so bad it led him to try to kill himself.

Now he's got his third lawyer, maybe he's going to get a hearing soon. Maybe things are looking up. We're very qualified in this because we just don't know what's going on down there.

We're joined by Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi's mother Jill. Jill, again, sorry to see you under these circumstances, but thank you for joining us to take the opportunity on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: You did get a chance to see your son, a little bit of a silver lining here. You got to spend some time with him. Tell us about that. How did he seem? How did you feel about it?

TAHMOORESSI: It was bittersweet because when I saw him on Friday he was once again without legal representation, so going into almost 90 days in Mexico without any shred of evidence in his file to help support his innocence, that he unintentionally entered Mexico. So it was bittersweet in the sense that as a mother I felt like I had failed him twice.

I had selected two attorneys that just could not provide the strategic level of defense required, but I was also encouraging him at the same time that I believed that with the help of Phil Dunn, a criminal defense attorney in California who this time helped me interview legal teams last Wednesday and Thursday in Mexico, that I was confident that the third time was the charm.

CUOMO: He's still in isolation, right? How do you feel that he is physically and emotionally because he is dealing with a significant PTS?

TAHMOORESSI: Absolutely. He was in San Diego and diagnosed with PTSD and, yes, and he is not able to get therapy for his PTSD in Mexico because they are not equipped to handle foreign combat associated PTSD.

I will tell that you a pastor still visits him twice a week, so he does get inspiration from his faith. However, legitimate psychological care is denied in the Mexican prison system because they are not capable of providing that type of therapy.

CUOMO: All right, now, assuming that there is no strong proof that exists that suggests your son was there for nefarious or illegal reasons, you know, gun-running or whatever the Mexican authorities are suggesting at this point, this comes down to what the United States is doing to reclaim one of its citizens that's being unlawfully held, let alone a veteran, let alone a decorated veteran. John Kerry told us on the show that they were helping.

You circulated a petition that needed to get a certain number of signatures. You are exceeded it; like 123,000 people signed on, which means the executive should take notice of a situation. Have you heard anything from the president's office? Have you heard anything from the State Department?

TAHMOORESSI: I have not. I was responsible in following up on that platform, "We the People" that President Obama established for the American people's voice, and did I reach the 100,000 signature threshold. But that was May 30th, and I go on every morning. The first thing I do when I wake up, I go online, and I've not received a response yet on that White petition site, so that's frustrating. CUOMO: Nothing from the State Department either?

TAHMOORESSI: No, except at the local level. They -- they -- they are supporting Andrew's, you know, well-being needs at the local level.

CUOMO: Hillary Clinton was interviewed, and she said she would be doing more than; it's not enough just to have the local support there. Do you agree with that?

TAHMOORESSI: Absolutely. I loved her statement that she would have been burning up the telephone wires from the beginning.

CUOMO: So this is your opportunity. NEW DAY has a big reach here with CNN. What do you want to say first to Secretary Kerry and the State Department?

TAHMOORESSI: Please, please talk once again to the attorney general who has the ability to dismiss this case based on absolutely no grounds to continue holding Andrew. Please talk with them with -- with Jesus Krom (ph) once again. And please, President Obama, if you could reach out to counterpart President Nieto and help him to understand that he's a decorating Marine anguishing in his -- in his jail, and please, he needs his freedom. He needs his liberation restored so he can have a productive life back in America.

CUOMO: What does it mean to you that the U.S. government has not responded to your pleas when they have to be, and you know they are, aware of the situation?

TAHMOORESSI: Well, I am still very grateful for the legislative branch. There are so many representatives. Andrew will be visited this weekend by three, Representative Duncan Hunter has just been leading the charge and demanding the release of Tahmooressi, so I remain hopeful just knowing that the legislative branch is being so supportive.

CUOMO: And now, look, a part of this that's hard for to you talk about, but I think it's just too important to ignore, how long do you think your son can last inside? He did not sound good when we spoke to him. The way he discusses why he hurt himself was very troubling. You know, his reason for it was a little irrational, as you know. He's not taking any kind of medicine. This is not the kind of condition that gets better. And I'm not trying to scare you. You know much more what's going on medically than I do. What's your concern about how long can he do it?

TAHMOORESSI: Right, as a nurse, I know what anxiety disorders are like, and he's extremely anxious. He's in a foreign country, and honestly he has no reason to believe that he's not among the foreign enemy. So, yes, I'm absolutely concerned for him. There's a great urgency for him to be released so that he can get the care that -- that's required. I mean, he served honorably, and he served with respect. And I believe our country needs to respect that service help get him home.

TAHMOORESSI: You've been a very responsible advocate for your son, but the key word there is son. I know this is tearing you up as his mom. I know this is difficult for you. You can count on us, and there are others in the media as well, who have been trying to help. We're not going to let this story go away, Ms. Tahmooressi. We promise you that.

TAHMOORESSI: Thank you so much, Chris. I appreciate it, and so does Andrew. I'll let him know when he calls me this morning.

CUOMO: Please stay in touch with us. We're here for you.


CUOMO: All right.

Now we're going to stay on that story, as I said, because until we have evidence that these allegations are sustainable, this is someone being held for bad reason, and he's someone who deserves our report. That's one big story. And we have other veterans who are in the news this morning to talk to you about. We have the situation in Iraq, and we have the World Cup to talk about, so let's get to all of it right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the thorniest decisions facing this country right new.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maliki has to be convinced to retire.

SEN. HARRY RIED, D-NV: After a decade of war, the American people have had enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ahmed abu Khattala undergoing questioning for his role in the attack.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SEC. OF STATE: We want to know who was behind it.

REP. PETER KING, R-NY: The intelligence that could save American lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should not be able to desert your fellow Americans without consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The main question in the Bowe Bergdahl controversy, is he a deserter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about somebody's service. The benefit of the doubt belongs to Mr. Bergdahl.


BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. The crisis in Iraq may lead, may lead, to a change in leadership there. The Obama administration signaling this morning that Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki should go and that Iraq needs new unifying leadership in place. This as ISIS militants and Iraqi forces are reportedly continuing to fight for control of the country's largest oil refinery.

We've got complete coverage for you at this hour. Michelle Kosinski is live at the White House, and we also senior international correspondent Nic Robertson following developments from the ground from Baghdad.

Michelle, let me start with you. So, U.S. officials now are saying that they believe that Maliki needs to go. They don't believe that he is the man that can lead unify -- this unification process politically in Iraq. What more are you learning from the White House?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, this is -- yeah, this is starting to emerge now. I mean, you asked the administration directly that question, does al Maliki need to go? Does the U.S. have confidence in him? And they will not answer the question. They basically say, well, it is not for the U.S. to decide. That needs to be up to the Iraqis.

But you ask them virtually any question surrounding making a U.S. decision about what to do in Iraq on time line, on details, and they make it sound like in their responses that something needs to happen first on the part of Iraqis politically, as well as militarily. So they are sort of saying it without saying it.

But now -- now there's some top U.S. officials are telling us, as well as top members of Congress, that they feel al Maliki needs to go. How is this going to happen? Because the U.S. doesn't want to appear as though it's orchestrating a regime change there. It really does need to be the will of the Iraqi people, so that's the political element of this that is happening behind the scenes well before obviously a U.S. decision on military action there, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's very interesting which one needs to come first before the next step can take place. That's a huge question on the U.S. front.

Nic, from the ground in Baghdad in Iraq, how strong is Maliki's hold on power right now? Is this possibility even realistic that he would -- he would leave?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's got a strong grip on power. He pretty much has sway over the military and security forces in the country.