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Investigation Continues on Boston Bombing; Closing Arguments for Jodi Arias Trial; Interview with Nick Reynolds and Lane Brenner
Aired May 2, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": His dead brother's wife is under very close scrutiny.
The question today, who else among Dzhokhar Tsarnaev family and friends in the United States or around the world may be ensnarled in this sprawling investigation?
It was in this hour yesterday that we first learned that the feds had brought obstruction of justice charges against two of Dzhokhar's college friends from Kazakhstan. A third who's a U.S. citizen is charged with lying to federal agents.
Sources also tell us the wife of the dead bomb suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke with him by telephone the night that police put out both brothers pictures and identified them as suspects.
This is Katherine Russell. It's a picture from a shoplifting bust back in 2007.
I want to stop here and bring in my CNN colleague, Deborah Feyerick, who is in New Bedford. It's about 40 miles south of where I'm standing.
Deb, what exactly are we hearing about Dzhokhar friends and what they allegedly did in New Bedford that has led to so much trouble for them?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah, a lot of trouble. And this is the campus, the UMass Dartmouth campus. This is where the three friends -- the four friends, I should say -- last saw each other. And it's where the three other friends came after Tsarnaev had been named as a person of interest that the FBI wanted to speak with.
What we can tell you is the way it plays out is that one of the boys, the American student, texts a gentleman by the name of Dias Kadyrbayev. He then texts Tsarnaev and says, hey, guess what? You look an awful lot like the guy that the FBI's showing a picture of.
Well, Tsarnaev texts him back and say, you know, "Laugh out loud," which is a joke, and then says, you know, you better not text me and go to my room and take what you want.
And one of the friends realizes that, wait, maybe he's not going to see him again, so the three friends decide to go to the dorm room and, according to the complaint, they watch a movie. But then they realize that he's left his backpack.
It is a black backpack, allegedly, and they look inside. There are fireworks containers and they are empty, which means the powder's been removed. And so one of them, Dias, decides that he's going to take the black backpack and that's when they take it to their home and they toss it away, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: You know, Deb, we've also heard from the father of Dias Kadyrbayev, speaking in Russian from Kazakhstan. I want to play a little bit of the interview that he gave on Kazakh television. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURAT KADYRBAYEV, FATHER OF DIAS KADYRBAYEV (via telephone): I can say about my son that he finished school with excellent grades. He was good at math. He helped others. When he saw that help was needed, he always accommodated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So the status, Deb, about their enrollment at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. There's been a lot of questions about that.
FEYERICK: Well, there is because they met here when they were freshman back in 2011 and so they were students here together.
But today we got a message from the university saying that the only person who was enrolled as a student was one of the Kazakh. He has now been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
BANFIELD: And we're learning more about Katherine Russell as well and what she may have or may not have known and what she may or may not have told investigators.
What are you hearing, Deb?
FEYERICK: What we're being told is right after the pictures were released -- and this is really crucial for the FBI. When they released those pictures, that was Thursday, April 18th.
They released the pictures and there is a record of a phone call being placed from Katherine Russell to her husband, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Not clear whether they knew what the content of that telephone call was, but one of the arguments is that Katherine Russell should have called law enforcement, to not have called her husband first.
Arguably, some say, look, you know, there is husband-wife privilege, so they're looking at that very closely because they want to understand how deeply involved Katherine Russell was in this whole thing, what she knew about her husband, what she knew about his associations, whether she saw any suspicious activity that was emanating from her husband, up and until the time of the bombing.
Ashleigh? BANFIELD: All right, Deb Feyerick reporting for us live in New Bedford this morning, thank you for that.
You know, in cases like this, there is the law, and then there are the facts and a whole lot of skills that might be best learned in something like a poker game.
My next guest has mastered it all, I should say. Alan Dershowitz is a world renowned litigator, author, Harvard professor. He joins me live here now.
I'm just curious as to your thoughts. You were here as this news was breaking yesterday. The net is getting wider, three more suspects.
Katherine is on the outside of this right now, but do you expect at this point we're going to hear about other arrests?
ALAN DERSHOWTIZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, the three arrests actually narrow the net a little bit. It suggests that they had no prior plan, that they didn't have any idea about how to escape. They had to make a decision at the last minute.
So I think we're not going to see very much more developing from the three people who were arrested. It's the wife of the older brother. That is the key to any further investigation.
If anybody knows anything about what happened earlier during his six months away, it is she.
Now she may know nothing. And there's a chicken-egg problem here, too. If she was part of any conspiracy, then that phone call that she made is criminal. It's called an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
But if she was not part of the conspiracy, then the call itself may be entirely innocent, depending on its content.
The only person who knows its content is she, and if she tells the truth, it will depend on what the truth is whether she did anything wrong.
BANFIELD: Investigators aren't telling us. My thought is that they're not telling many people at this point what is the content of that telephone call when she called her husband.
At that point, he's still alive and he is a wanted man and it is well known at this point he's a wanted man.
Is it her duty to respond, though? Is it her duty to call investigators and say, I know where my husband is and you can find him here.
DERSHOWITZ: Certainly, it's her duty as a citizen.
BANFIELD: It's a citizen duty. Is it her legal duty? DERSHOWITZ: Unless she's part of the conspiracy, it's not her legal duty. Now there is this misdemeanor statute that goes back to the founding of the republic called "misprision of felony," knowing about an ongoing crime and not reporting it.
And, of course, in this case, had she reported it, the life of the MIT policeman might have been saved and also the injury to the other policeman. So, morally, she is very responsible for not having done the right thing.
Now she'll say, it was my husband, I had a duty to him. There is a spousal privilege that applies. It doesn't apply when it's part of a crime, but that, of course, again begs the question.
If she didn't commit any crime, if she's just listening like a good wife, then her moral duty is different than her legal duty.
BANFIELD: Well, and let's just say, Katie from Rhode Island had a very big transformation. She not only wears the hijab, but she wears almost full abaya chador, so she may have very much been under the influence of her husband.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, that may affect it in two different ways. Even if she's under the influence, that doesn't affect her legal ability, but she may not have known because he may have kept her from knowing.
BANFIELD: And that's where I'm curious and where the investigation will go.
Professor Dershowitz, thank you very much for your insight as well, always appreciate it.
As we continue to follow what's happening in Boston as well, I also want to let you know, with regard to Katie, there's a lot more coming up as we continue this work.
And Piers Morgan is going to ask exactly what could Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, have known. And join "Piers Morgan Live" tonight at 9:00 Eastern as he continues to delve into that very question.
I'm going to switch gears somewhat, but only because we are nearing the crux of an extraordinarily long trial, a four-month murder trial. It has been rife with sex and lies and shocking testimony, and it is finally coming to a close.
The million dollar question, that young woman, Jodi Arias, did she plan to kill her ex-boyfriend? Is she guilty of first-degree murder?
We're going live to Phoenix, next.
BANFIELD: After four months of soap opera-like testimony, much of which you really had to hear in order to believe it, it is finally time for closing arguments in the Jodi Arias murder trial. She's already admitted to killing her ex-boyfriend. So it's been the job of her legal team, her defense lawyers, to convince that jury that she didn't plan to do it, but that instead it all happens in a fit of self-defense.
And if they're successful, she could actually beat the charge altogether. But if they aren't, she could actually face the death penalty instead.
CNN's Ted Rowlands looks at their case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I do.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jodi Arias was the defense star witness, spending 18 days on the stand trying to save herself from a possible conviction and death sentence.
ARIAS: I really thought he had intentions to kill me.
ROWLANDS: Arias insists it was self-defense when she killed her ex- boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June of 2008, saying he attacked her after she accidentally dropped his new camera while she was taking these photos of him in the shower.
ARIAS: He lifted me up as he was screaming that I was a stupid idiot, and he body-slammed me again on the tile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You immediately go get that knife at that point, correct?
ROWLANDS: Despite days of grueling cross-examination ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never told us that he had any knife there, did you?
ARIAS: No, I wasn't asked.
ROWLANDS: During the testimony, Arias never seemed to deviate from her version of what happened, rattling off specific dates and details of her life.
The one thing Jodi Arias claims she can't remember is the actual killing of Travis Alexander.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any memories of slashing Mr. Alexander's throat?
ROWLANDS: Some of the toughest questions came from jurors who were allowed to submit them to the judge. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it that you have no memory of stabbing Travis?
ARIAS: I can't really explain why my mind did what it did.
ROWLANDS: Since her arrest more than four years ago, Arias has told three different versions of what happened, first, claiming she wasn't there.
ARIAS: I wasn't there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be honest with me, Jodi.
ARIAS: I was not at Travis's house.
ROWLANDS: After police confronted her with evidence proving she was there, Arias told police she and Alexander were victims of a home invasion robbery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After all the lies you told, why should we believe you now?
ARIAS: Lying isn't typically something I just do.
ROWLANDS: The defense case also featured the X-rated details of Arias' sex life. Jurors saw nude photos and even heard a phone sex recording between her and Alexander.
The defense used two expert witnesses. A psychotherapist testified that she believes Arias was a victim of domestic abuse and a psychologist testified that the holes in Arias' memory were likely because of PTSD.
ARIAS: When I came out of the fog, I realized, oh, crap, something bad had happened.
BANFIELD: And our Ted Rowlands joins us now, live.
Look, Ted, it is no secret that there are a lot of attorneys out there who say that cases can be won or lost at closing arguments. They can also be won or lost at opening statements.
I just wonder what the feeling is around that courthouse after four months of just grueling trial testimony.
ROWLANDS: Well, I tell you, it's very imperative today, the closing arguments, because this has been a four-month long trial, Ashleigh. This is the opportunity for both sides to take those details that have come up over the past four months and weave them into their version of events.
A highly anticipated day, 40 people outside the courthouse trying to get in from the members of the public, only five seats. They have a lottery. A lot of people very anxious to see what transpires today and watch these attorneys at work.
BANFIELD: And then just remind me of the technical aspect of what's going to happen. If I understand it correctly, every jurisdiction is a little different, but this judge will charge the jury with the jury's instructions and then they get to hear the actual arguments, but then when do they choose who's actually going to be on the panel and who's going to be on the outs as the alternates?
ROWLANDS: They will do that last. They'll identify the alternate jurors after everything else is done. They're going to start with the jury instructions. The prosecution will go first with the closing arguments, then the defense, then the prosecution will get one more bite at the apple and have the final word here. And only then will the jurors that are not on the panel learn that they will be alternates. They will remain in the courthouse in case they have to be involved in the penalty phase.
BANFIELD: Well, you've got a busy day ahead of you. That's for sure. And that's going to be some interesting action in that courtroom.
Ted Rowlands reporting live for us, thank you.
I also want to remind you that you can watch the closing arguments wall to wall, in fact, today on HLN and also on CNN.com. And then also tomorrow from the disturbing phone sex recordings that came out in court to her stunning testimony that had jaws dropping each day she was on the stand, the riveting courtroom drama continues to pull back the curtains on the violent death of Travis Alexander and the prosecution of Jodi Arais. You can watch the Anderson Cooper special report, "SEX, LIES, & AUDIOTAPE: THE JODI ARIAS TRIAL" tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
And as that jury in that case prepares for an awesome task, there is another jury in Philadelphia that has been working very hard to deal with the story of an abortion doctor accused of a gruesome and unthinkable set of acts. We're waiting to hear his fate. Will there be a conviction and will he or won't he get the death penalty? We're going to take you live to Philadelphia next.
BANFIELD: The jury is still out in the trial of an abortion doctor accused of running what some call a house of horrors. Dr. Kermit Gosnell is charged in the deaths of four babies and also a 41-year-old patient. The trial was filled with gruesome testimony of babies even allegedly killed with scissors. The deliberations now in this case are into their third day.
And joining me live now, CNN's legal analyst Sunny Hostin, as well as criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos. And Sunny, if you could give us an update on just the proceedings at this point. Are they keeping very mum? Is anyone talking, any of the lawyers, as these jurors continue this tough task?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's a gag order in this case. So while we have seen the lawyers coming in and out of the courtroom, they aren't speaking to us, Ashleigh. I will tell you this -- the jury has asked a couple of questions, but most of the questions have had to deal with Dr. Gosnell's codefendant, Dr. O'Neill. And so I don't even think they have reached the charges related to Dr. Gosnell, and there are about 19 charges, about 258 counts against this doctor.
I do want to give you a little bit of color in the courtroom, or from the courtroom, Ashleigh, because we've covered some of these trials together. In the middle of the courtroom, Ashleigh, in the well, as an exhibit that has been there from the entire beginning of the case, is the actual examination table plus the stirrups from Dr. Gosnell's office. So this jury has looked at the dingy medical equipment from the very beginning. It's something I've never seen before, but it just gives you an idea of what this jury has had to deal with in this case, day in and day out.
BANFIELD: That is odd. Danny Cevallos, weigh in for me, if you will. I have in courtrooms and covered cases where jurors weren't even allowed to revisit some of the physical evidence. Even after sending note to the judges, they're been denied an opportunity to either see, touch, or feel new evidence -- or even rehear some testimony. And certainly some of them can't even bring their own notes into the jury room.
Why do you suppose it's been allowed that this equipment, which some could say could be prejudicial, has been on view of everyone in the courtroom since the beginning?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, it is very compelling to have that evidence, as Sunny said, right in the middle of the courtroom. But that is only a scintilla, a fraction of the horrific evidence in this case. Certainly having it for the jury to look at all this time is probably not good for the defendant. But we're talking about pound of pictures of horrific -- if you read the grand jury report, which actually included graphics in it, this jury has been exposed to photographs that you can't unremember. I've seen them. I've read the report.
So I think in light of all the gruesome evidence, the actual stirrups and the other items in the middle of the courtroom, are probably the least of the defense's worries when it comes to potentially influential evidence that this jury is seeing. I mean, remember, the photographs in here -- and I've seen them -- are of fetuses or infants, whichever they are, with the back of their neck snipped. You can see the wound. You can see fetuses or babies, whatever the jury determines they are, in the garbage. It is the absolutely gruesome. And frankly, the stirrups, although unusual, or the other items, are probably the least gruesome, least compelling evidence for this jury.
BANFIELD: All right, Danny Cevallos and Sunny Hostin live for me.
I just wanted to bring your attention to something that I've been seeing a lot here. Let me step out of the way so you can see these T- shirts behind me. It's pretty clear what the message is. It's "Boston Strong," and that's a message that's taking the country by storm and raising a lot of money as well for the Boston bombing victims. You see these two youngsters? They are the creators of this T-shirt. I'm going to tell their story and why it's really been terrific and shocked even them how successful it's become, coming up next.
BANFIELD: You have heard it said over and over, "Boston Strong." That became a rallying cry for this city immediately after the marathon bombings and it also became a show of unity and defiance that really swept right out of Boston and right across the country. Now hats and T-shirts and other products with that slogan are helping raise a lot of money for the victims of this bombing.
And joining me now are Emerson College kids who came up with the idea of the popular blue and yellow "Boston Strong" T-shirts, and they are appropriate decked out in said T-shirts. This is Nick Reynolds and Lane Brenner.
First of all, let me start with you, Nick. It was you and your friend Chris Dobbins who, in the dorm room or wherever it was, you came up with this literally overnight.
NICK REYNOLDS, CO-CREATOR, BOSTON STRONG T-SHIRT: Yes, we were watching the news, I think like everyone was, on Monday, and we were feeling really helpless. We really couldn't -- felt like we couldn't do anything. And so around 9:00 that night, Chris turned to me and h was like, "Hey, how about T-shirts?" And we started to run with the idea. We did some research, designed the T-shirt, and put it up online, and started getting everyone we could on board.
BANFIELD: When you said we did research and designed a T-shirt, this was like within hours.
REYNOLDS: This was within hours, absolutely.
BANFIELD: And you weren't talking about project that went for days. I mean, you had this out.
REYNOLDS: Absolutely. We were up by 10:00 p.m. that night. We had sold 60 T-shirts before we went to bed at like 1:00 that night.
BANFIELD: And then, Lane, you weren't part of the original creation team with Nick and Chris, but you kind of live nearby and all of a sudden it was all hands on deck and had to join the team.
LANE BRENNER, BOSTON STRONG T-SHIRT COMMUNICATIONS MGR: Yes, about probably 10 minutes after they created it, they created the name and the idea of the T-shirt, I just kind of hopped on and said, "All right, well, how can we get to the masses? How can we make this a really big deal?"
BANFIELD: You're a communications major.
BRENNER: I am, I am.
BANFIELD: So you brought your smarts to the table. BRENNER: I try. I try. Yes. So it's been really great. We have our -- we've been tweeting and using Facebook and Instagram. We've been creating Vines, so we're trying to just get the image of Boston Strong out there.
BANFIELD: Well, that has definitely bled off of the Emerson campus, because I'm seeing people walk all over the place in these T-shirts. How many have you sold?
REYNOLDS: We've now sold a little bit under 50,000 T-shirts.
BANFIELD: And how much - let's just repeat that - 50,000 T-shirts. And you're in college?
REYNOLDS: We're in college..
BANFIELD: Just wanted to make sure everybody's clear. How much money has that raised for the - is it going to One Fund?
REYNOLDS: It is going to the One Fund and we've raised a little under $750,000.
BANFIELD: For those of us who are math challenged, that's three quarters of a million dollars that you've been able to do from your dorm room. That's just remarkable. What's your goal?
REYNOLDS: Our goal is a million. The biggest donation to the One Fund is a million and we'd love to match it.
BANFIELD: OK, all right, sold. The pitch would be go to - what is it? -- inktothepeople.com?
REYNOLDS: Yes, inktothepeople.com is who's selling our T-shirts.
BANFIELD: Ink to the People, and that's all words, no numbers. Inktothepeople.com, you can find the T-shirt and 100 percent of the proceeds go to One Fund.
BANFIELD: You know, good luck to you guys and thank you for doing that. And you know what? When you get of college, you're not going to be unemployed for long, I'll tell you that. Great to meet you both.
BRENNER: Thank you so much.
BANFIELD: By the way, the Boston Strong T-shirts aren't the only items of clothing that have been bringing in big sums of money, in fact, for the One Fund. And that One Fund is the mayor's idea as well as the governor to help the victims of the attack.
You might remember the "B STRONG" hat. You might even have one by now. We were showing these to you previously on the show on Monday and I spoke with Bobby D'Angelo, who's the co-owner of 47 Brands. That's the company that makes those caps.