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Toddler Car Death; Fired Nanny Won't Leave; Reddit Co-Founder's Father Speaks; The View Shake-up; Shia LaBeouf Arrested

Aired June 27, 2014 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. Happy Friday to you. Thank you so much for being with me here on CNN.

Beginning with this one. This is a tough one. It could be now the first sign explaining why authorities are accusing this father of murdering his son. This toddler, 22 months old, who died in the back seat of this sweltering hot SUV while the dad went to work. Sources have confirmed to our sister network, HLN's Nancy Grace, that these work computers belonging to this father, Justin Harris, are being looked at, are being investigated. And what's more, according to this source, officers found something startling. An Internet search for, and I'm quoting, this Google search, "how long does it take for an animal to die in a hot car."

Twenty-two-month-old son here, Cooper, died from hypothermia, and that source told Nancy Grace, that, quote, "it's unknown when the Internet search was conducted and whether Justin Harris did the searching." Two key questions you know they're trying to get to the bottom to here.

Also new today, a petition that urged authorities to release Harris has been withdrawn now. A note posted on the site states that based on the recent developments, this petition is no longer relevant.

Cooper Harris will be buried in west Alabama tomorrow. And that is where we sent our national reporter, Nick Valencia, to join us live. And also joining me, HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell.

But, Nick, to you first there in Tuscaloosa.

We know that this father is not allowed to leave jail, facing felony murder, you know, to attend his son's service. We know that the mother here has been silent, at least publicly. We know she's been talking to police. You've been talking to family members and friends. What are they telling you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the overarching sentiment here is that they don't want the media here. They don't like the attention and they don't like how Ross Harris is being portrayed by local law enforcement there in Georgia.

And I just came from the family home, Ross Harris' home that he grew up in here in Tuscaloosa, Brooke. His parents were there. They answered the door. They politely asked us to leave and said that they simply have no comment. I asked them what they thought of how he's being characterized in the press. They said they just simply did not want to talk.

Earlier today, though, I did speak to a family friend of the Harris', a woman by the name of Carol Brown. She says she last spoke to Ross Harris when he was 17 years old. She says she does not remember him being this kind of person. The person that's being charged with murdering his 22-month-old son. She did, however, say, Brooke, that she has the same questions as everyone else, why did Ross Harris go back to that car in the middle of the day? How could he have not seen his toddler in that back car seat? She did, however, say, though, Brooke, that there should not be a rush to judgment.


CAROL BROWN, HARRIS FAMILY FRIEND: It's just hard to imagine that that could happen. That that could have really happened. It just seems out of character for Ross. And I know people change. It's been 15 years or so since we've had contact in the church. So, you know, people change. I -- but I -- it's just hard for me to imagine that that is the Ross -- the sweet Ross Harris, the sweet little funny boy that we knew.


VALENCIA: And those we have spoken to off camera, Brooke, describe Ross Harris as a sweet and loving, God-centered man. They just don't see how this matches up with the man that they knew.


BALDWIN: That's the thing, you keep reading about this story and specifically their marriage, and I've seen nothing, nothing, not a peep that would indicate that anything was going wrong. But, listen, this is just the beginning, and who are we to know. A lot happens behind closed doors.

VALENCIA: That's right.

BALDWIN: Jane Velez-Mitchell, let me bring you in, let me bring you in, because -- to this Internet search. I think it's important that we - that we are specific in saying that Cobb County police, they will not say, you know, what they found on this particular computer is one of the reasons they arrested Harris, but they said that it is -- the chain of events does not point towards simple negligence. What do you read there?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, ANCHOR, HLN'S "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL": Yes. Well, in fact, Brooke, one officer went further, saying, in my 34 years, what I know about this case shocks my conscience as a father, a grandfather and a police officer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what was so shocking? Is it just this Internet search allegedly found on one of his computers, how long does it take for an animal to die in a hot car, OK, or is there something more? We already see indications that his story doesn't really add up. According to a lot of observers, for getting his child on this five- minute drive from Chick-fil-A to the office, coming out at lunch and going into the car and not seeing his child. And then, of course, when he gets to the shopping center, one witness told our show that he said something to the effect of, he thought his child had been choking, which didn't dovetail with how the child appeared. And that corresponds with first responders saying that what he was saying didn't make sense.

I think it has to be more than all of that. I think there has to be something that cops know. They say they have testimonial evidence. That means somebody told them something. Does this guy have a toxic secret? I wrote a book called "Secrets Can Be Murder." People are very predictable. It usually is a handful of things that make people do the unthinkable. He doesn't have money problems. That's usually one. Drug or alcohol addiction, no sign of that. I have to - I think it's fair to ask, given that his wife has said absolutely nothing at this point, what was the state of their marriage?

BALDWIN: I -- that's exactly what I'm wondering. And in talking to multiple people this week, you bring up the wife. Generally -- and each case obviously it's different -- but you have a family member, a representative from a family, coming forward and saying -- and at least we had some sound from Nick Valencia there in Alabama saying, defending this family. And I am a little surprised. Would I, having lost my 22-month-old, want to talk to me? No. I don't think I would. But other family members would come forward. And you are surprised that they haven't.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. If you feel that your husband is absolutely innocent, it would make sense to come forward and say that. Now, she has remained silent for perhaps many other reasons. We certainly can't prejudge her decisions. Now I know --

BALDWIN: Police could be telling her not to talk to us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. In the obit, which was written by the family, and I would assume, although they say never assume, that the mother of this child would have some input. It seems very supportive of him and saying essentially that he was protective of his child.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that would indicate that the mother is standing by her husband, the father of this child. But it is odd that she is not saying anything. And you really have to wonder, do police know something about a toxic secret?

BALDWIN: They have to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have to ask yourself, Brooke --

BALDWIN: They have to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What - what in human behavior would trump the love of a child? Think about that. What dynamic in human behavior would trump the love of a child? There's only a few things. BALDWIN: I can't - I can't think of one. I can't think of one. The

dots are not connecting. But I think, to your point, the police have to know something that obviously we do not. We're going to stay on it. Jane Velez-Mitchell, thank you. Nick Valencia, thank you so much, there for that funeral this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tragic all the way around.

Just ahead, actor Shia LaBeouf slapped in cuffs and a face mask after this extent inside a Broadway show? But wait until you hear what happened once he got to jail. The story does not end there.

Plus, he is the tech legend who killed himself after being charged with fraud. Now his father is telling CNN the government pushed him off the edge.

And a couple says -- listen to this one. A couple says they fired their live-in nanny, but she won't leave their house. And now a judge is taking the nanny's side. Hear why, next, here on CNN.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

You know, talk about awkward! A California family is being forced to live with the nanny the parents fired three weeks ago. Look at this video showing Diane Stretton getting served papers to get out. Notice instead of walking out the door she's walking into her room. The family says that Stretton started out as this awesome live-in caregiver, but then she stopped working for health reasons. Instead of cooking their dinners, the mom was preparing meals for the 64-year-old woman. So, not too long ago, June 6th, Stretton was fired. But as you see, this nanny isn't leaving and has threatened to sue the family if she is forced out of the family's home. And a judge just ruled in the nanny's favor because -- this is all based on a technicality.


MARCELLA BRACAMONTE, FIRED NANNY WHO WON'T LEAVE: She wouldn't do anything. She stayed in her room 90 percent of the day, so I really did try to work with her. And she just stayed in her room all day. And so I told her, you know, either you perform or you - you got to leave.


BALDWIN: If you're confused over this one, Sara Sidner is going to help us understand it. She's live outside the family home there, we hope, in Upland, California.

Sara, this is kind of nuts. How did the judge side with the nanny?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's the thing. There are rules here in California. And basically what we're seeing are tenant rules. When she got this job, she made their home, the Bracamonte's home, her home, her residence. And so now what the courts have basically said and what the sheriff's department has told the family is, you have to go through legal proceedings. You have to go through the court to try and get her evicted. And sometimes that's a long process.

This family is beside themselves. They are terrified about having this woman in their home who they've already fired, who no -- they no longer want around their children. They've even put a lock on their refrigerator door, turned off the Internet, tried everything to try and get her to move out of this house. But so far, she is still living here.

Let me let you hear what the family talked about after they were heard from law enforcement that they had to actually go to court. That firing her and telling her to leave was not enough.


M. BRACAMONTE: Because when I called the police, they were telling me it's now a civil matter and that I have to evict her. So this lady is welcome inside my house any time she wants, to eat my food any time she wants, and harass me, basically. I'm now a victim in my own home and it's completely legal.

RALPH BRACAMONTE, FIRED NANNY WHO WON'T LEAVE: Now this person is in our house, I have to go to work, my kids are still here, my wife is still here. She towers over my wife and kids. And I know that there's nothing I can do about it.


SIDNER: Now, here's a quick update, because we heard from the family and from neighbors. The nanny, Diane Stretton, has actually left the house. She left at 5:00 in the morning and has not yet returned. They are fearful that she will return and try to claim back the room that she's been living in.


BALDWIN: So I'm assuming they can't lock the door, because that would then be illegal. Can you answer that for me? And then also I'm assuming this family's going to follow all the proper eviction procedures and go about this and get her out eventually.

SIDNER: They're doing what they need to do. They say they're trying to do what they need to do to remove her from the home legally. Yes, they can't just lock the door because that goes against the rules.

I want to mention one more thing that we think is pretty important here.


SIDNER: We took a look at Diane Stretton and this particular list that exists here in California. She has been called a vexatious litigant. And what that legal mumbo jumbo basically means is that she files a lot of lawsuits that don't necessarily have a lot of merit.

BALDWIN: Ah. SIDNER: So the family is afraid that suddenly this woman could try to take their home or try to get money from them. And they are just trying to do everything they can to fight this. Remember, they've got three little kids who are in the middle of this and they want to protect them as well, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Vexatious litigant. Something to look up, I guess. Lesson to learn by. Sara Sidner, thank you so much, live in California.

Coming up, Sherri Shepherd saying she will be leaving "The View." All of this after Barbara Walters announced her own exit from the daytime talk show. And guess what? They aren't the only ones leaving. We have that for you ahead.

And Aaron Swartz, co-founder of the popular website, Reddit, killed himself after being charged with computer fraud. And now his father is speaking out to CNN. What he says led to his son's suicide, next.


BALDWIN: Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit, really a folk hero of the Internet age, and according to his father, a victim of it as well. Swartz was adamant about one thing, making online content free to the public. Charged with wire and computer fraud, he was facing up to 35 years in prison when he hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. Now his father is coming forward and speaking very candidly about this to CNN about his son's arrest, about his son's solitary confinement and what he says led to his son's apparent suicide. Laurie Segall had this exclusive interview. She joins me now.

And, Laurie, just first remind us of the charges he was facing and tell us what the father told you about these alleged crimes.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, I -- Aaron allegedly downloaded millions of academic journals from M.I.T.'s network. He believed that academic research shouldn't be hidden behind a pay wall. And his father said he believed he was innocent. But he did say to me, even if he wasn't innocent, the punishment of 35 -- facing 35 years in prison did not match the crime. Eleven of the 13 charges Aaron faced were violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. A law that many people say is completely outdated. I asked his father about this. Listen to this.


ROBERT SWARTZ, FATHER OF AARON SWARTZ: Well, at the moment, that law makes it a felony for you to give your password to HBO to a friend. That has to be changed.

SEGALL: If you believe that there are problems with the criminal justice system, which obviously you've said, do you believe that if the criminal justice system hadn't failed Aaron, do you believe he'd be alive today?

SWARTZ: Without question.

SEGALL: How does that make you feel?

SWARTZ: Like one whose gone into the abyss.


SEGALL: Brooke, I met Aaron's father about a year ago and we were sitting in a cafeteria here in CNN in New York and he just said to me, he said, Laurie, I was on my way over and I picked up my phone to call my son and then it hit me. And you can see that he still has questions and he's obviously defeated by this. But he's fighting.

BALDWIN: He's fighting. He's talking to you about it. You even talked to him about the day his son was arrested. What did he share with you?

SEGALL: You know, it's heartbreaking. He talks about how he and his son went to M.I.T. to go retrieve his bicycle and his helmet from the officer after he was arrested. The officer came out and said, this is now in the hands of Secret Service. And they were just - they were devastated. But he got into more detail and he said that how they treated him after that, it essentially broke him. Listen to this.


SWARTZ: They went into his apartment, went through all of his personal effects. After he surrendered, voluntarily, they arrested him, they strip searched him and left him in solitary confinement for hours. And after he met his bond, they kept him in solitary confinement for three or four hours with absolutely no explanation, all with the goal of attempting to break him.


SEGALL: And, you know, he did -- we should say, Aaron did battle. As he was battling the courts, he was battling with depression. And his father really believes that had it not been for the charges and the extent of these charges, his son would still be alive today, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thirty-five years. Kudos to his father for bringing awareness and sharing all of this. Laurie Segall, thank you very much.


BALDWIN: Just ahead, a long time co-host of "The View," Sherri Shepherd, she has announced she's leaving the daytime talk show on the heels of the big Barbara Walters' announcement. Remember she retired not too long ago. And apparently they're not the only hosts leaving. We'll talk about that.

And have you heard? Shia LaBeouf. Here he is leaving jail this morning in New York after causing quite a drunken ruckus at the Broadway show "Cabaret" last night. And this is not the first time. This guy has found himself in trouble before. We'll go through all of this, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Big, big shakeup on a popular daytime talk show. And just weeks after Barbara Walters signed off of "The View" comes word of a huge shakeup. Sherri Shepherd, a seven-year veteran of "The View," is leaving and another host is threatening to leave as well. Let's go to our entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner in New York.

And, I mean, and then that leaves, what, Whoopi? What's the inside scoop here?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much, 17 years, 11 hosts and now coming up there will be either 13 or 14 hosts of "The View," -


TURNER: Because, yes, both Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy are out of "The View." Brooke, this has been in the works for some months, especially where Sherri is concerned. You know, she didn't want to let anyone know that there was a possibility she would leave because she says she didn't want to disrupt or upstage or disrespect the fact that Barbara Walters was retiring and it was supposed to be her year. So she wanted to keep it quiet.

Apparently there were some talks about maybe getting a new contract, but both sides were far apart. And I'm told that Sherri actually is excited about this next chapter in her life. She's going through a lot in her personal life right now. So what I think she wants to do is kind of take a step back, take a deep breath and see what happens next.

As for Jenny, you know, she was added last year after Elisabeth left. And I have -


TURNER: And I have to tell you, though, not sure if the audience really warmed up to her. And if you remember, I thought this was an interesting pick. Because if you remember, back when she -- before she was added as a co-host, she had been a guest a couple times on "The View." And there was some really awkward interactions between her and Barbara. So when she was named co-host, I thought that was, you know, really interesting. And I'm not sure if Jenny McCarthy actually works in daytime. I think she may be better as a nighttime personality. So we'll have to see where it goes from here. They may add a man, we're hearing.


TURNER: You know, you've seen a kind of -

BALDWIN: Really?

TURNER: You've seen a stream of men come through as guest co-hosts. We've seen Jesse Palmer (ph), Bill Ransik (ph), Greg Anthony (ph), Ross Matthews (ph) all this week. But it's interesting because the one host that's left, Whoopi Goldberg, is the one host who has spoken out and said she's not really sure she wants a man on the panel. We'll have to see how that works (ph).

BALDWIN: Oh, boy, oh, boy. That will be an interesting one behind closed doors.

TURNER: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Some jobs up for grabs on "The View."

Let's talk about Shia LaBeouf arrested -


BALDWIN: At "Cabaret," at this Broadway show, puffing away at cigarettes, grabbing some actors' rear ends.


BALDWIN: What's going on with him?

TURNER: If I knew, Brooke, you and I could be rich people because I'd charge for that information. You know, this broke late last night, this information that he was arrested and taken out of a performance of "Cabaret." And I just got the criminal complaint and I will let you know a little bit of what this says. This says that during the performance he stood up in the theater and started yelling out loud at the actors during the performance. Apparently a security guard came over, asked him to leave. He would not leave. And that's when he was escorted out.