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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Rutgers University Under Fire; "Person of Interest" in Texas D.A. Murder; Korean Tensions; Hillary Clinton Returns to Spotlight; WSJ: Apple Working on Next iPhone

Aired April 3, 2013 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A college coach crossing the line. The shocking abuse of his own players caught on camera. Could it cause him his job?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CONRAD MURRAY (singing): He's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The sad song of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray singing the blues in a CNN interview, saying he's a scapegoat in the King of Pop's death.

BERMAN: That's strange.

Pedal to the metal. A suspect in a stolen cab with the cops in hot pursuit at speeds topping 100 miles an hour.

ROMAN: Almost perfect. (INAUDIBLE) to pull one of baseball's rarest feats watching the bid for history slip right through his legs.

BERMAN: Oh, so close.

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Zoraida is off today. It is Wednesday, April 3rd, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we're just going to start with this video that has shocked so many people overnight. It has the university facing some tough, tough questions this morning.

This video shows Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice physically and mentally abusing players at practice. You can see Rice grabbing, shoving, even kicking players. He hurls basketballs at their heads, and you can hear him shouting obscenities, including gay slurs.

Athletes and fans across the country have just been dumbfounded by these images. Rutgers officials first saw the video last December. What did they do about it? Did they fire the coach? No. The athletic director suspended the coach for three games -- three games. A punishment that has fueled some outrage this morning.

And CNN's Pamela Brown is following these really shocking developments. Good morning.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shocking is right, John. Good morning to you. As you said, the university became aware of this video back in December, but it was released to the public for the first time yesterday, sparking shock and outrage over Rice's homophobic rants and physical abuse toward his players. Now the university is under mounting pressure to fire Rice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): Hurling basketballs at players' legs, even their heads.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: Grabbing, pushing, kicking, and punching them.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: And screaming homophobic slurs.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

BROWN: This video obtained by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" shows Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice going off the handle and abusing his players during practices from 2010 through 2012 according to the sports network. The footage surfaced after Eric Murdock, who was Rice's director of player development until he was fired, showed it to Rutgers athletic department officials.

In an interview with ESPN, Murdock says the alleged abuse caused several players to leave.

ERIC MURDOCK: To see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players from point blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling -- I was in total shock this guy wasn't fired immediately on the spot.

BROWN: On ESPN Tuesday, the school's athletic director was asked why he didn't fire Rice.

TIM PERNETTI, RUTGERS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: The moment we became aware of the video in November when it was presented by Eric and his lawyers, we immediately commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We talked to everybody in the program. We evaluated the situation, and we suspended Mike in a more significant way than coaches have been suspended in recent memory.

BROWN: Seeing basketball coaches lose their cool is nothing new. Remember legendary coach Bobby Knight? He was known for his hot temper and throwing chairs. But it was this video showing him with his hands around a player's neck that led to his dismissal at Indiana. BOBBY KNIGHT, COACH: Maybe I grabbed reed by the shoulder. Maybe I took him by the back of the neck, I don't know. I don't remember everything that I've ever done in practice.

BROWN: Now the question looms. Will Rice face the same fate as Knight?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And CNN's attempt for a comment from Pernetti, Rice or the university, and we were unsuccessful. Of course, we'll be following the story throughout the morning and we'll bring you the very latest, certainly a developing story here.

BERMAN: Pamela Brown, our thanks to you.

I should you say, you know, LeBron James, Ray Allen, and other NBA stars have been following this. They've been tweeting overnight saying they're shocked by this too. So it's not like athletes are saying, it's OK. This happens all the time.

BROWN: This is commonplace, exactly.

BERMAN: Everyone is saying they're very, very surprise here. Thanks, Pam.

ROMANS: All right. New developments this morning in the murder of two district attorneys in Kaufman, Texas. Police now have a person of interest, a former justice of the peace who was fired for corruption and prosecuted by the two dead men.

Eric Williams says police met with him at a local restaurant and swabbed his hands for signs of gun residue, but Williams says he doesn't even own a gun. Police are not officially calling him a suspect.

BERMAN: Meantime, new developments in another deadly shooting involving a prosecutor in Colorado. Police in the small town of Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, say an intruder was shot dead Monday night inside the home of a deputy district attorney and her sheriff's deputy husband.

CNN's Jim Spellman live in Denver with the latest. Jim, what's going on here?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here's what we know at this point, John. It was just before midnight Monday evening when a 911 call was placed, reporting a stranger at this woman and her husband's door, causing a disturbance. That woman is a deputy district attorney up there in Hot Sulphur Springs.

Her husband a sheriff's deputy in Grand County, Colorado. There was some sort of altercation, and right outside of their front door, this man was shot. It wasn't clear whether it was the woman or by her husband, shot in the head as well, as well in the torso. He's dead. They're still investigating exactly what happened. Early reports are that he was not armed. We do know that a lot of people in prosecutor's offices and police around the state here after the murder of prison chief Tom Clements were definitely on high alert. But at this point, no indication why this man was at their door or what led to this altercation, John.

BERMAN: All right. Obviously, Jim, there's been a lot going on in terms of law enforcement officials lately with officers killed in Colorado and Texas. Do authorities right now think there's any link in this case?

SPELLMAN: There doesn't appear to be a link at this time, they say, but they're working on this guy's background. He apparently was only in Hot Sulphur Springs for about a week, have moved there from Michigan looking to work. We did a public record search and we'll able to find a 2007 arrest, basically for fleeing police in a car chase. But that was it for this man.

And, again, apparently, early indications are he wasn't armed when he showed up at their door. So, a lot for police investigators up there to work on.

Since it involves a prosecutor and a deputy sheriff, they brought in police and prosecutors from elsewhere in the state to conduct this investigation. We'll see what they find out, John.

BERMAN: All right. Jim, our appreciation. Thanks to you this morning.

ROMANS: All right. Tensions building between North and South Korea this morning. North Korea making good on its threat to block South Korean workers from entering or leaving a joint industrial complex. The move comes a day after Pyongyang announced it would restart a shuttered nuclear power plant. The North's increasingly hostile behavior, promising harsh criticism, even threats from the West.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I reiterate again, the United States will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and defend our allies, Korea and Japan.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: If we have solid evidence that North Korea is going to take action, then I think we have the moral obligation and absolute right to defend ourselves by taking -- I wouldn't even consider that preemptive. To me, that would be stopping an attack that's about to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: This week, the United States positioned two warships and sea based radar platform near the Korean peninsula to monitor North Korean military activity.

BERMAN: Well, jury selection continues today in the civil trial over Michael Jackson's death. The man convicted in the criminal proceeding, Jackson's former doctor, Conrad Murray, is speaking, and I suppose you can say singing exclusively to CNN.

Murray is currently serving four years for involuntary manslaughter. In a telephone interview with Anderson Cooper from jail, Murray said he did his best to get Michael Jackson off Propofol, the powerful sedative that led to his death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Yes, indeed, I did order Propofol to his home but I was not the one that brought Propofol into his home. I met him at his own stash.

I did not agree with Michael, but Michael felt that, you know, it was not an issue because he had been exposed to it for years and he knew exactly how things worked. And given the situation at the time, it was my approach to try to get him off of it, but Michael Jackson was not the kind of person you can just say put it down and he's going to do that.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: But as a doctor, though --

(CROSSTALK)

MURRAY: So my entire approach may not have been an orthodox approach, but my intentions were good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Murray says he regrets not testifying at his own trial. He's now appealing the conviction. In kind of a strange moment during this live interview, Murray serenaded our Anderson Cooper with a song that he says tells his story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY (singing): He's a little boy that Santa Claus forgot, and goodness knows he did not want a lot, he wrote a note to Santa for some crayons and a toy, it broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So that song, in case you're wondering, is Nat King Cole's "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot."

ROMANS: OK. A man in a stolen taxi taking police in south Florida on a wild rush hour ride through two counties. This high speed chase started in Miami, where the driver lost control on the Florida turnpike but kept on going.

That's right. After hitting well over 100 miles an hour and a brief chase on foot, police finally caught the suspect. They found marijuana and other drugs on him. This morning, 33-year-old Lazaro Ricardo Castellano (ph) is facing multiple charges, including grand theft auto and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Louisville's Kevin Ware is back on campus in Kentucky this morning after being released from an Indianapolis hospital. The 20-year-old sophomore suffered that horrifying compound fracture of his right leg during Sunday's Elite 8 game. Ware is expected to be off the court for about a year while his Cardinals continue on to the Final Four in Atlanta this weekend. Ware is hoping to go with them, but he needs clearance to travel from team doctors first.

BERMAN: So, what a night in baseball. One of those -- oh, so close moment. Texas Rangers Yu Darvish retired the first 26 Houston Astros he faced last night. Now, for those keeping scores at home, that puts him just one out from a perfect game to start the season.

The $107 million star had 14 strikeouts, he appeared just completely invincible until up came little known Marwin Gonzalez (ph), a career .234 hitter.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPORTS ANCHOR: Gonzalez with a base hit!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Right up the middle. A clean single right through the legs. It breaks up the 24th perfect game in history. So Darvish was pulled. They brought in a relief pitcher, and the Rangers did go on to win, 7- zip.

ROMANS: And he gets to keep his $107 million.

BERMAN: He still gets the money, but did one of ways, just brutal.

ROMANS: That was a wonderful, oh, wow.

All right. For a woman who talked about enjoying her private life just a few months ago, Hillary Clinton is spending a lot of time in the public eye, doesn't she? A sign perhaps? We're trying to read between the lines, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START.

Let the speculation begin, or I guess continue, or increase -- you pick. Hillary Clinton making one of her first public appearances since leaving the State Department. She shares the stage with Vice President Joe Biden last night at an awards ceremony in Washington. Just the sight of the former First Lady is refueling speculation about her possibly run for the White House in 2016.

CNN's Erin McPike has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here she comes again. Just two months have gone by since Hillary Clinton left the State Department, saying she wanted to finally enjoy life as a private citizen, but it didn't take long to get her out of the sweats and back into the spotlight.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We see too many countries where women still face violence and abuse.

MCPIKE: Clinton made her first official appearance Tuesday night, speaking at the Vital Voices Global Awards ceremony, an event that honors women.

On Friday, she'll headline a women's event in New York, and later this month, a housing event in Dallas, her first paid speech for an undisclosed sum.

In June, she heads to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids in Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember when she was a senator, she would get upwards of 100,000 requests a year for everything from speeches to appearances to press conferences to interview requests.

MCPIKE: But her rollout as a private citizen has all the makings of an agenda, despite promising this just weeks ago.

CLINTON: You know, I am out of politics right now. And I don't know everything I'll be doing.

MCPIKE: But it seems like no one really believes her. Is it really a coincidence that around the same time she's making her first big outing, the Ready for Hillary political action group launched this, urging her to run?

On staff is a group of fund-raisers, some who worked for her first presidential bid and others tied to her big donors.

(on camera): It looks like what was a definite, I'm not going to do this again, has changed, and she's 50-50, so we hear from some people around her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people aren't just getting ahead of themselves, they're getting ahead of her. Really, 60 days is the blink of an eye. We're talking about an election that's 1,300 days away.

MCPIKE (voice-over): But the Clinton watch has left her potential opponents in limbo, worried she would hog the limelight, the money, the enthusiasm. One of those potential candidates, Vice President Joe Biden, also came to Tuesday's event, perhaps to size up her intentions as much as the rest of the political world.

Erin McPike, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: I have to say -- I love the speculation. I love the tea leaf reading. It's really fascinating to see Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden on stage together. Hmm.

ROMANS: We've got two, what, 2 1/2 years of talking like this?

BERMAN: It's exciting. Thank goodness.

All right. Seventeen minutes after the hour. Let's bring you up to date.

A stunning video shows Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice shoving, grabbing, and throwing balls at players, including their heads, during practice. He also uses gay slurs. Rice was fined and suspended back in December for what the school calls inappropriate behavior. Now the school is reviewing its decision not to fire him.

ROMANS: An alleged plot to rig the upcoming New York City mayoral race detailed in an unsealed criminal complaint. State Senator Malcolm Smith out on bond, accused of trying to bribe his way out of the ballot to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The complaint details payment of thousands of dollars in an effort to persuade Republican leaders to put Smith on the Republican ballot in November even though he was a registered Democrat. Five other New York political figures from both sides of the aisle also charged.

BERMAN: These are brazen charges even in New York.

Pope Francis paying his respects to the late Pope John Paul II. The pontiff made a visit last night to John Paul II's tomb to mark the eighth anniversary of John Paul's death. The pope spent time kneeling in silent prayer at the tomb, located in the chapel of St. Sebastian. Pope Francis also prayed at the tomb of Pope John XXIII and St. Pius X.

ROMANS: A small plane turned a busy south Florida highway into a runway. An instructor and a student pilot were conducting a training exercise when they were forced to make an emergency landing on the median of U.S. 27 in South Broward. Both men walked away unhurt. The FAA is investigating. It's the second small plane to make an emergency landing on U.S. 27 in the last month.

BERMAN: A sequel to the animated blockbuster "Finding Nemo" is finally a go. Disney and Pixar announcing that Ellen DeGeneres will reprise her roll as Dory in the new film titled "Finding Dory." This film is due out in November 2015.

ROMANS: All right. Just a day after their late night duets, Jimmy Fallon appears a lot closer to replacing Jay Leno as host of the "Tonight Show." A source close to the deal tells "The Hollywood Reporter" it's a go, and that Fallon and NBC have reached a deal. It's not clear when the transition would happen, but Leno's contract is up in September of next year.

"The Hollywood Reporter's" Kim Masters broke the story, told Piers Morgan she doesn't think they'll wait that long. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM MASTERS, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Well, I think they want to start him a little before then. If you're Jay Leno at this point, how long do you want the farewell to last? If you saw the video last night, of Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno together, it seemed to me at the very end, Jay Leno was kind of hinting that he's accepting this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: At the head of the line to replace Fallon on late night, "Saturday Night Live weekend update" anchor Seth Myers.

BERMAN: A great Red Sox fan, by the way. And I don't technically get a vote, but if I did, I'd be voting for Seth Myers.

ROMANS: Just to make clear -- Jay Leno is number one, right?

BERMAN: Yes, he is.

ROMANS: Millions watch him every night, right?

BERMAN: Indeed.

ROMANS: He works six days a week?

BERMAN: Indeed.

ROMANS: He has tons of fans, right?

BERMAN: Indeed.

ROMANS: And NBC wants to make room for the next generation?

BERMAN: Not for the first time either, for the second time.

ROMANS: That's the extent of what I know about the late night wars but I don't know.

BERMAN: Television --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: He's number one.

BERMAN: I'm told television can be a strange business.

ROMANS: Yes, I'm told that, too.

BERMAN: So, if you skipped out on the iPhone 5 saying I'll wait for the next model, coming up, the scoop on the next one, including the answer to the all important when.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We're minding your business this morning. Another record setting day on Wall Street. This time not one all time high but two, double rainbow here.

ROMANS: I know. Both the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs. Record highs yesterday, insurance stocks surged. Big move for insurers after the government said it would boost the amount it pays those insurers for the Medicare Advantage plan.

Stocks futures this morning, we have Dow futures up just a little bit, pointing to a higher open. We still have, of course, several hours to go.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is entering the 21st century. It now says it's OK for companies to release important news on Facebook or Twitter instead of public filings of press releases. This came into question after the CEO of Netflix tweeted the news last year that online viewing hit 1 billion hours, sending Netflix shares soaring.

Usually, that's something that comes from a stuffy press release or a government filing. Now, the SEC is saying, all right. It's OK to have a company release good news via social media.

The next iPhone could be on its way. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting that Apple will start producing a refreshed iPhone sometime this quarter, and that could mean a summer release. Also, a smaller, less expensive iPhone could be launched this year after Apple recently said its profits were squeezed by the popularity of its cheaper, older model iPhones.

Apparently, Apple is experimenting with a different color or different kind of case that would differentiate it from the full price version.

A new airline policy causing a stir. Samoa Airlines has expanded its practice of charging passengers based on their weight, John, and the weight of their luggage.

BERMAN: Why me?

ROMANS: The company says -- because you travel with so much baggage. It says, to keep things fair, it will quote, "you are the master of your airfare. You decide how much or how little your ticket will cost." Samoa Air has been using the policy since last fall. But now it's expanded to international flight. The company says families like it because kids weigh less.

And, apparently, you know, you put down, you estimate the weight of you and your height, your weight, and the weight of your bags. Before you check in, you're kind of checked against it to make sure you were fair and honest. That's what you're charged by.

BERMAN: Maybe that's something we all need to consider next time we travel to Samoa.

ROMANS: Who knew you had to go on a juice diet before you took an airline flight?

BERMAN: All right. Emotions running high in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Coming up, why a juror left the courtroom crying?

Stay with us.

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