Return to Transcripts main page


Zimmerman Trial Day Seven; Interview with Jasmine Rand; Interview with Mark O'Mara

Aired July 2, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Ashleigh, thanks. Good evening, everyone.

You've seen it with your own eyes. George Zimmerman's bleeding scalp and bloody nose. The big question, were those injuries life- threatening? Were they even serious? The prosecution's medical examiner weighs in at the trial today and our experts weigh in tonight.

Also, in the hour ahead a 360 exclusive, defense attorney Mark O'Mara joins me talking about his cross-examination and even critics concede has been highly effective in response to some of the questions that the prosecution is raising about his client's credibility.

Later, a story of survival emerging from the Arizona inferno. How a single member of that elite team of firefighting Hotshots made it out alive when 19 others did not.

We begin tonight with the Zimmerman trial and a key day for the prosecution. David Trott try and knock down the notion that George Zimmerman fired the shot that killed martin in self-defense during a life-and-death struggle and not a garden variety brawl. Central to that prosecution effort, refuting Zimmerman's claims that Trayvon Martin repeatedly slammed his head into the sidewalk.

Now in a moment our own forensic expert weighs in along with our legal panel, but first Martin Savidge that and some of the day's other big developments in court.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors switch from using George Zimmerman's words against him to using his injuries.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Are the injuries to the back of the defendant's head consistent of having been repeatedly slammed into a concrete surface?


SAVIDGE: The medical examiner testified that Zimmerman's wounds were not life-threatening and didn't reflect a person whose head had repeatedly been slammed against the ground. The key reason Zimmerman has given for shooting Trayvon Martin. DE LA RIONDA: How would you classify the injuries to the defendant's head?

RAO: They were not life threatening. They were very insignificant. They did not require any sutures to be applied to Mr. Zimmerman, so as I would refer to them insignificant injuries.

SAVIDGE: On cross-examination defense attorney Mark O'Mara implied Valerie Rao owed her job to the special prosecutor in the Zimmerman case and then walked Rao back from some of her findings.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And if I get it right, it's your position it's at least consistent that George Zimmerman may have only received as little as three -- did you call -- what term did you use? Smashing or --

RAO: Sorry?

O'MARA: Slamming. Three slamming into cement, correct?

RAO: I didn't -- I didn't use the word slamming.

O'MARA: I'm sorry, I thought it was your word.

RAO: No, I got that from the reenactment.

O'MARA: What would you use to describe what happened to the head that you say hit cement?

RAO: Impact.

O'MARA: Impact. So it's your position that there are at least three impacts between that head and cement?

RAO: Yes.


RAO: Concrete.

SAVIDGE: Earlier, Zimmerman's best friend took the stand. It was Mark Osterman who first convinced Zimmerman to buy a gun. He also housed George and Shelley Zimmerman for a time after the shooting and wrote a book about the case.

DE LA RIONDA: You wrote a book and were you quoted what the defendant George Zimmerman told you, correct?


DE LA RIONDA: And you recall on that book writing, "Do you have a problem?". That's what he said Trayvon Martin said?

OSTERMAN: Right, correct.

SAVIDGE: In that book, Osterman says Zimmerman said Martin tried to reach for the weapon on his hip, actually touching the gun.

O'MARA: The defendant is claiming that the victim actually grabbed the gun, correct?

OSTERMAN: That was my understanding, that he grabbed the gun.

SAVIDGE: But a latent print technician testified she found no trace of Trayvon Martin's prints on the slide of the gun, but conceded rain or other factors could wash prints away.

O'MARA: So that fingerprints may have existed on an item that you would lift a latent from and there'd be no latent whatsoever, correct?


O'MARA: Even though the gun has been handled by one, two or three people.

BENSON: That's correct.

SAVIDGE: Osterman also wrote Zimmerman jumped on the teen's back after the shooting and held down his hands, fearing Martin might still be a threat. But investigators say the teen's hands were bound folded under his body.

DE LA RIONDA: Do you recall in that photograph the victim's hands being underneath his body?


DE LA RIONDA: Did someone say that that was inconsistent with the defendant's statements that his hands were straight down and put his hands out?

SERINO: That positioning, yes.

SAVIDGE: The day began with the jury being told to ignore a key moment of Monday's testimony.

DE LA RIONDA: In terms of the truth and voracity of what the defense said.

SAVIDGE: That moment when defense attorney O'Mara got the Sanford Police Department's lead investigator to say he believed Zimmerman told him the truth.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


COOPER: A lot to get to tonight. Let's start with the medical evidence. Joining us tonight is forensic scientists, Lawrence Kobilinsky, at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Also legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and Jeffrey Toobin. Sunny was in the courtroom today. And criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works and Sometimes Doesn't." One of Jeff Toobin's favorite books.

Lawrence, we just heard what the medical examiner say -- say that Zimmerman's wounds were not significant. You disagree with that?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, I think, first of all, she's judging based on a photograph. She didn't examine George Zimmerman and it is true that the wounds appear to be superficial. However, you know, she's not a neurologist. She's -- if she was actually a practitioner taking care of human beings, she probably would have asked for radio graphic evidence that there wasn't some underlying trauma to the brain, maybe a hematoma.

Yes, they appear superficial but it doesn't take away from the fact that he was slammed or pushed, shoved up against the sidewalk and sustained injury, and it -- to him, it felt like he was -- his life was in jeopardy. I think that's a possibility.

COOPER: Sunny, Zimmerman has said several times he was repeatedly slammed on the concrete by Trayvon Martin. Medical examiner which we've just been talking about disagrees. I just want to listen to what -- more of what she said today.


O'MARA: Dr. Rao, using your definition of slamming, your common understanding of slamming, are the injuries to the back of the defendant's head consistent with having been repeatedly slammed into a concrete surface?

RAO: No.

O'MARA: Why not?

RAO: Because if you look at the injuries, they are so minor that to me, the word slam implies great force and this -- the result in injuries are not great force.

O'MARA: What type and extent of injuries would you expect to see if the defendant's head had been repeatedly slammed into a concrete surface?

RAO: So if somebody's head is repeatedly slammed against concrete with great force, I would expect lacerations. I would expect a lot of injury that would bleed profusely that would necessitate suturing and so I don't see that in this picture.


COOPER: Sunny, do you think her testimony was a clear win for the prosecution?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I mean, this information is so important, Anderson, to the prosecution because George Zimmerman is saying that he was in imminent threat of death or he feared great bodily injury. Well, they have to prove that, that that isn't true, and if they can prove that those injuries were insignificant, that an objective person wouldn't feel that they were in, you know, imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, then -- and if the jury believes that, then his self-defense claim is really on shaky grounds. So this evidence is extremely important.

COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, are you saying that you cannot tell based on those photos -- the medical examiner examining just from the photos, whether or not those were enough lacerations to explain being slammed multiple times?

KOBILINSKY: I think you can actually take a fall, bang your head against the sidewalk, and come down with this kind of hematoma situation. I think it -- certainly, the wounds appear to be superficial. But that doesn't mean there's not some underlying trauma more serious. But more importantly --

COOPER: But if your head is slammed repeatedly on a sidewalk, wouldn't you have more lacerations as the medical examiner said?

KOBILINSKY: I think not necessarily. I think while your head is being slammed, you're trying to push up against it. I'm not convinced that -- that what she is saying, her observation negates what he -- what George Zimmerman is claiming.

COOPER: I want to bring in Mark and Jeff.

Mark, from a defense standpoint, how do you think the prosecution did today? I mean, you -- you would argue -- I mean, you've been very critical of the prosecution making their case thus far. How do you think they did today?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Let me -- let me just tell you something. Larry has hit this, in fact I think he's being somewhat circumspect because there -- this is almost silly. There are prosecutors all throughout this country who would take those exact injuries and are charging people with assault with a deadly weapon, with great bodily injury in courtrooms across this country.

This is what I said about this case. They've turned the law in the courtroom on its head. This is more like a defense witness who looks at a photograph and says, well, I wasn't there but I'm opining it was -- it wasn't a very big -- or a large impact. It's nonsense. I defended cases where my clients have been charged with murder for one hit, hitting the sidewalk and the person dies with infinitely less photographic evidence than what we have here.

This is nonsense. I'm just telling you, this -- I -- in fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd think the prosecution is throwing this case, that they really don't want to win it because so far I have not seen anything that makes any sense to me for a murder prosecution.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's -- it struck me as more of a wash because especially on cross-examination. This medical examiner said well, it could have -- yes, it could have been repeated strikes. Yes, it could have been multiple punches from Trayvon Martin. Yes, it could have been several hits against the sidewalk, so she didn't know what happened. So I just don't think the jury can conclude much of anything based on her testimony.

GERAGOS: Yes, but wait, Jeff. Jeff, isn't a wash in a criminal case where the prosecution is trying to prove the case? You know, as I always say, the tie goes to the runner. The tie goes to the defendant. This is more like defense evidence. It's not what prosecutors are doing in normal criminal courtrooms. I mean, the way is abysmal this prosecution.


TOOBIN: I think you're exaggerating. I think you're exaggerating that it's that bad. But I didn't it was --

GERAGOS: I'm just telling you based on my --

COOPER: I want to -- I want to talk a little bit more about this forensic evidence. The testimony by the latent print examiner, I haven't really heard that title before. Does it really mean anything? That latent prints were not found on the gun? Because the friend -- the alleged friend of George Zimmerman are saying that Zimmerman told him and he wrote in his book that Trayvon Martin tried to reach for the gun, wouldn't there be prints on that gun?

KOBILINSKY: Well, first of all, actually the answer to that question is no. Generally speaking guns are not good media to recover latent prints and in fact even George Zimmerman's prints apparently were not recovered. It was raining and rain could cause problems for the latent print examiner, but I think the reason that that expert had to be bought on is because jurors expect science in a case like this.

They really want to see what science can do when apparently, science can't do very much with this situation. I think it was a total wash. I didn't tell us anything one way or the other.

COOPER: We're going to have a lot more from our panel, from Mark Geragos and Lawrence Kobilinsky, Jeffrey Toobin, Sunny Hostin, at 10:00 tonight, about an hour and 15 minutes, 10:00 for another AC 360 special report, "Self-Defense or Murder: The George Zimmerman Trial." For an entire we'll go in depth on this trial.

Much more on the trial in the hour ahead, though, including a 360 exclusive interview with the defense co-counsel, Mark O'Mara, and a close look at whether or not Trayvon Martin grabbed George Zimmerman's gun. We'll also talk to a family attorney for Trayvon Martin's family.

Let us know what you think, follow me on Twitter right now. Let's talk about the case on Twitter during the commercial break.

And later with the clock ticking in Egypt, counting down to a possible military coup, the protest has turned deadly. President Obama has gotten involved. A live update from the scene of this potential explosive crisis when we continue.


COOPER: Whatever you think of George Zimmerman's guilt or innocence, you can't help but notice the anguish on the face of Trayvon Martin's parents. Now in addition to facing the man who killed their son, they have to trust the prosecutors to doing the best job they can. It has not been easy for the family obviously. Can't be easy either for the lawyers representing them, watching the state seemed to struggle with some of the witnesses and perhaps with the case itself.

I want to talk it over with Martin family attorney, Jasmine Rand.

Jasmine, how do you think the prosecutor has done so far? I've talked to a lot of analysts, former prosecutors, defense attorneys who think that they are having a tough time proving second-degree murder at this point.

JASMINE RAND, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think the prosecution has done exceptionally well in this case. From the very beginning they told us that they were going to show us Zimmerman's tangled web of lies. And that's exactly what we're seeing unfold before us now. Detective Serino was a very strong witness for the case and he started to unfold some of Zimmerman's inconsistencies.

COOPER: I don't know anybody, though, who thinks that Detective Serino was a strong witness for the prosecution. Just about everybody who's been discussing this case, certainly on my program and elsewhere, have said that they have never seen a police officer testify so favorably for the defense, the police officer who's been called by the prosecution.

RAND: I think what we also have to remember is that Detective Serino, whether or not this information gets to the jury, it's important for the American people to know Detective Serino himself recommended manslaughter charges for George Zimmerman.

COOPER: What does that tell you?

RAND: That tell me that there were a lot of inconsistencies in George Zimmerman's story and that he did not find George Zimmerman's version of what happened credible. And we've heard him say that today and we also have to remember that we can't consider Detective Serino's statement and testimony in a vacuum. You have to compare it with what we hear the other witnesses say to really uncover George Zimmerman's inconsistencies.

COOPER: But the fact that Detective Serino himself did not think that a second-degree murder charge was warranted, doesn't that also tell you that given his look at the evidence he actually thought that as he's testified on the stand that Zimmerman was pretty credible in the things he said, that his story actually held up?

RAND: No, not at all, because as Detective Serino said, he was also in kind of the initial stages of his investigation and Bernie de la Rionda pointed out today that Detective Serino had not considered all of the evidence that the Jacksonville State Attorney's office has now considered. COOPER: Trayvon Martin's parents obviously have been in the court every day. They sometimes seemed quite emotional during the trial. How are they doing at this point? I mean, are they confident with the prosecution's case thus far?

RAND: They are confident with the prosecution's case. It has been very -- an emotionally toiling time for them. I think to have to hear their son crying for help repeatedly, I think that's a different kind of pain. Hearing your child scream for help and not being able to do anything to help him.

COOPER: I just want to go back to the two police officer's testimony. There was a lot of talk yesterday, even some suggestion that perhaps their testimony because it was, in a lot of people's opinions, not -- clearly not yours, but so favorable to the defense that this was some sort of payback, almost, for difficulties between the law enforcement and the prosecution.

RAND: You know, I didn't perceive it that way. I think that's all pure speculation, and I think that we are going to see the prosecution bring the tangled web of lies home during the closing.

COOPER: But you talk about a tangled web of lies but that's not what the police themselves were saying, the police who investigated this. I mean, in cross-examination by Mark O'Mara, it seemed pretty clear that the police officers felt like George Zimmerman's statements basically held up. There were a few minor inconsistencies coming -- he said that Trayvon Martin came out of the bushes, the location of Trayvon Martin's hands, et cetera.

But overall, the police seemed relatively satisfied with what George Zimmerman had told them time and time again.

RAND: I think that these were not minor inconsistencies. Some of the big inconsistencies we've heard where Zimmerman claiming that he was so severely injured that he had to pull out a gun and kill Trayvon. And that's certainly not what we heard from Detective Serino. Detective Serino said he didn't believe George Zimmerman was punched 25 to 30 times.

We heard the medical examiner say today that George Zimmerman's injuries are not consistent with someone who's been punched even over a dozen times, that it's more consistent with someone that was punched only once. And at maximum had his head hit on the concrete at one time as well. So I think that these -- all of these witnesses are bringing into play Zimmerman's inconsistencies.

COOPER: Jasmine Rand, appreciate your time. Thank you.

RAND: Thank you.

COOPER: She's an attorney for the Trayvon Martin's family. Always we try -- whenever possible -- to present all sides. Joining us once again tonight only on 360, Zimmerman defense co-counsel Mark O'Mara.

Mark, this morning Judge Nelson threw out an exchange between you and the lead Chris Serino that -- that took place yesterday in court and I just want to play that for our viewers.


O'MARA: So if we're to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility, just for the purpose of this next question, do you think he was telling the truth?



COOPER: How important was that answer to your case?

O'MARA: Well, you know, I respect the judge's ruling, but I think that a chief investigating officer in a case when he has to try and determine credibility of witnesses, including the defendant, the suspect, then I think he should be able to give some insight as to what he thinks when he's doing his investigation. But it was sort of a comment on the credibility of another witness and we have a rule that addresses that.

COOPER: I talked to an attorney for the Martin family who said they were pleased with the testimony given by the lead investigator but every other analyst that I have talked to on -- former prosecutors, former defense people, current defense attorneys, they all say they have never seen police officers testifying so favorably for a defense witness.

Are you pleased with how the cross-examination has gone, with what the police, particularly the lead investigator, have told you?

O'MARA: What I'm very happy about is, I think most of the witnesses that we've talked to have told the truth. And if they're telling the truth and it's favorable to the defense, so be it. As long as they're telling the truth, then we'll find justice at the end of the trial. I'm surprised that Martin family attorneys who think that Chris Serino's testimony was somewhat favorable to the prosecution, because it truly seemed as though most of what he was saying supported self- defense.

COOPER: Tomorrow morning Judge Nelson is expected to rule on whether or not George Zimmerman's criminal justice course work, in particular about Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. If it can be admissible. I know you don't think it shouldn't be, why not?

O'MARA: Well, a couple of reasons. I think that if they start bringing what was in George's background, his past to the table then it really brings in what Trayvon Martin brings to the table, all of his violent acts that we know about and some of the fighting that he was involved in. If that's not going to get on the table, then I think whatever George may have done in the background should be on the table as well.

And they're suggesting that George heard something about stand your ground in some course work where they have no idea whether or not George was even present in the class and he didn't get a good grade in a course either. And some textbook that had information that has nothing to do with Florida law.

COOPER: There have been inconsistencies in some of the statements that George Zimmerman has given. He talked about Trayvon Martin coming out of the bushes, the positioning of Trayvon Martin's hands have been raised. To you, are those not consequential?

O'MARA: Well, certainly whether or not he came out of the bushes or he came out of the darkness, I don't think that somebody who went through a traumatic event that George did, even as Chris Serino has said, is going to be expected to remember everything the best that he can. So I'm not too worried about that type of inconsistency.

The idea about George having gone out and held his hands out at some form for five or 10 seconds until Mr. Manalo showed up I think is quite consistent with the fact and I think the medical examiner who probably talk about it, that he -- Trayvon Martin easily just brought his hands back in. Even John Good -- Guy suggested in his opening that Trayvon Martin was clutching his hands.

Why would George make something like that up in the second that he had to do it, unless it actually happened? It makes much more sense that it happened, where Trayvon Martin clutched his hands back.

COOPER: It seems the trial is moving fairly quickly. Is the timeline going faster than you expected or about what you expected it to be?

O'MARA: A bit faster than I expected. I think that the state may be done tomorrow or Friday and that means we'll start either Friday or Monday, and we'll probably take most of next week. It's hard to say, maybe not. There are still some decisions the court has to make about admissibility of certain evidence. If that's allowed, that could easily extend the testimony by a couple of three days.

COOPER: How is your client feeling about how the trial is going? Can you say?

O'MARA: Well, he's still very afraid. I mean, if the state of Florida trying to take away his liberty and put him in prison for the rest of this life, he's had to live in hiding for a year. So he's very worried, he's very stressed. He's glad he finally has his day in court but, you know, this is very real to everyone, most importantly to George Zimmerman. We have the state of Florida trying to suggest that he killed Trayvon Martin in some ill will and hatred when the evidence support self-defense.

COOPER: You've now -- because of these audio tapes and videotapes of your client talking to police, he's been able to essentially give his version of events without being cross-examined. You cannot see at this point putting George Zimmerman on the stand, can you?

O'MARA: I always make that decision -- the first decision point is whether or not I believe the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If I think they've proven that in their case in chief, then I'd make the consideration of whether or not to put any client on the stand. And I always make that sort of dynamically. I have not gotten to the point where I've convinced myself that the state has done what they need to do to get this case to a jury. If they come up with something in the next day or two I may revisit that decision.

COOPER: At this point, do you see having to mount a lengthy defense here?

O'MARA: We have a lot of witnesses that we want to present to the jury, to let -- to counter some of the innuendo or suggestions or allegations thrown out there by the state. So we're going to put on a case.

COOPER: Mark O'Mara, appreciate your time. Thank you, Mark.

O'MARA: Sure thing.

COOPER: Well, for more on the story, of course, you can always go to

Up next, we're going to learn about the type of gun that Zimmerman used when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. And we'll see what prosecutors may be hoping to prove about Zimmerman's use of that particular kind of weapon.

Also ahead, we remember the hero firefighters who gave their lives protecting the people of Arizona, including two cousins who perished while doing what they love to do.

Also the latest from Egypt ahead.


COOPER: As we reported at the top of the program, George Zimmerman's best friend took the witness stand today testifying as a prosecution witness. Mark Osterman has worked in law enforcement for two decades. He's the one who apparently convinced Zimmerman to actually purchase a gun. Here's part of his testimony.


O'MARA: And it was actually you who assisted him when he decided that he needed a firearm, correct?


O'MARA: And did he tell you the reason why he wanted to get a firearm?

OSTERMAN: He -- he asked what would -- whether he should or shouldn't to start with.


OSTERMAN: I recommended that he should, that anybody who's a non- convicted felon should carry a firearm.

O'MARA: That's your sort of life philosophy? OSTERMAN: That's my opinion, correct.

O'MARA: Being armed is better than not being armed?

OSTERMAN: Police aren't always there.


COOPER: Well, the type of gun that Zimmerman purchased is easy to carry and conceal. Osterman advised him to always carry it so Zimmerman had it with him the night he encountered Trayvon Martin.

Our David Mattingly tonight on what we know about this particular kind of gun and what prosecutors may be trying to prove about Zimmerman's use of it. Let's watch.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listen. If you're following the George Zimmerman case, you probably heard this sound before. That's the sound of a shot from Kel-Tec PF-9 handgun, just like the one caught on the 911 call the moment George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: All right, what is your --

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: There's gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: You just heard gun shots?


MATTINGLY: Zimmerman carried the gun legally, but prosecutors seem to suggest he was doing more than that.

JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Was it necessary for the defendant to rack it, to load a round. It was ready to go.

MATTINGLY: Zimmerman was carrying the gun with a bullet already loaded in the chamber and ready to fire. Was this a sign he was planning to do harm when he encountered Trayvon Martin. Gun Safety Inspector Larry Holt tells me Zimmerman was doing exactly what he was supposed to do.

(on camera): Was he carrying it properly?

LARRY HOLT, FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: Properly, if I was ready to defend myself, you bet.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Holt says this gun is designed strictly for personal protection, one of the cheaper guns on the market selling for between $300 and $400, made to be concealed, carried and ready to shoot. It's called carrying hot.

(on camera): You recommend to your students to carry this one hot?

HOLT: Absolutely.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): That's because it comes with a safety feature, an extra long trigger pull that prevents accidental firing, but we also learned watching this trained marksman, that's not all it does.

(on camera): You missed.

HOLT: I know. It's not a real active gun.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The Keltech PF9 is only effective in close quarters, something else noted by prosecutors.

(on camera): Have you ever heard a prosecutor raise these points before?


MATTINGLY (voice-over): Florida firearms attorney, Cord Byrd, says state attorneys could be targeting specific jurors by trying to use the features of Zimmerman's own gun against him.

CORD BYRD, FLORIDA FIREARMS ATTORNEY: Most people familiar with firearms, that line of argument would be totally unpersuasive, but once again to someone who is unsophisticated in the usage of firearms, possibly it could be persuasive.

MATTINGLY: And it could be risky. Of the six Zimmerman jurors, four have family members that own guns. One used to have concealed weapons permit.


MATTINGLY: Keltec handguns are popular in this part of Florida. The home office is only 60 miles away from where George Zimmerman used to live. We contacted Keltec for information on the PF9, they did not reply. David Mattingly, CNN, Sanford, Florida.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That's one of the things everybody watching in the next couple days, how the prosecution tries to use that fact about the guns. Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Obama administration is postponing a key provision of the affordable care act. The Treasury Department says the requirement that businesses provide their workers with health insurance will be delayed by one year. Penalties will now begin in 2015. Business owners had expressed concerns about the complexity of the reporting requirements.

Edward Snowden's options for asylum are shrinking. Eleven of the 21 countries he's applied to have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three have said no outright. Bolivia and Venezuela have signaled they may give the NSA leaker asylum. Former Chicago Bulls basketball player, Dennis Rodman, told "Sports Illustrated" he deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his outreach to North Korea. Rodman, you may recall, met with dictator, Kim Jong- Un, earlier this year during his controversial trip to the country.

COOPER: We'll see about that one. Susan, thanks very much.

Again, a reminder at 10:00 tonight, we're going for the full hour in depth on the George Zimmerman trial as an AC 360 special.

Coming up though, tonight, what we've learned about the Granite Mountain Hotshot who made it out of the Yarnell fire alive on Sunday alive. He was the only one on that team to come out, an excruciating experience for him obviously.

Also ahead, an incomprehensible loss for one family, Robert and Grant Caldwell were among the Hotshots who died, they were cousins, two young men with their whole lives ahead of them and the latest from Egypt ahead.


COOPER: In Arizona, hundreds of firefighters trying to get control of the deadliest wildfire in the state's history, the one that killed 19 members, the Granite Mountain Hotshots over the weekend. The 8,400- acre Yarnell Fire is zero percent contained right now. Four military planes were flown in today from Colorado to try to help battle the flames, big C-130 cargo planes that can drop massive amounts of water or fire retardant over large areas.

Tonight we now know the name of the 20th Hotshot, who was on the burning mountain Sunday, the only one to come out alive. His name is Brendon McDonough. He was serving as a look out when his teammates were overtaken by the fire.

CNN's Kyung Lah joins me now. So what do we know about Brendon? I can't imagine what it is like for him to have survived this and lost 19 of his brothers?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just like you might imagine, Anderson, he's having a very, very tough time. He's telling people in his inner circle, he's not speaking publicly about this, but on his father's Facebook page, he posted these pictures of his son a firefighter. His father writing, proud of you, son, glad you're alive.

He is telling though his friends, a widow of a crew mate, one of the crew mates that died that he is feeling guilty. Now McDonough was assigned to a lookout position that is separate from the rest of the crew. He was up in a higher position. He was watching the fire. The fire got too close to him. He had to move. He hid a trigger point.

As he was moving, he was radioing the crew and at that point, then he lost contact with his crew. The fire department very clearly stating in a news conference in the last couple hours that he did exactly what he was supposed to do, that this was a weather event, extraordinary weather that the fire department is talking about that led to the deaths of these 19 firefighters.

We spoke with a firefighter who came here to this memorial site. He fought fires with McDonough and said he can't imagine who he is going through. Here is what he told us.


REGGIE DAY, SAFETY SUPERVISOR, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: It's going to be tough. He lost his crew and he's -- you know, I don't really know what to -- I couldn't put myself in his shoes. I couldn't do it.


LAH: McDonough did release the statement through his job the fire department saying quote, "Brendon would like to express his appreciation of that and that of his fallen brothers for the outpouring of support towards his organization and the firefightering community in general. He would like everyone to know that he is physically healthy and everybody can appreciate that he's working through the process of dealing this with loss and that could last for some time." He is telling friends, Anderson, that this could take weeks, months. He is never going to forget about this.

COOPER: Forecasters saying that winds could reach 80 miles an hour there. Officials just held a news conference. What is the latest on the actual fire?

LAH: What I can tell you is that it is zero percent contained. You can see for yourself though there are ominous thunder clouds behind me. The winds are very erratic. That has been the biggest problem with fighting this fire, and that's what the -- they are looking at. Something we want to point out, Anderson, is that for the very first time in that news conference they did announce some sort of shift.

There has been a tone shift. The firefighters are saying and overnight they are hoping to announce some progress, zero percent containment now, but hoping very soon that they will say that they have made some sort of progress in knocking this fire down.

COOPER: All right, let's hope so, Kyung. Appreciate it.

We're learning more about the 19 young men who died Brendon McDonough's fellow Hotshots. The people who knew and loved them are now mourning them say they wouldn't want to remembered as victims. They knew the dangers of their job. They were heroes every time they faced a fire and will be remembered as heroes, as they should. It doesn't, of course, soften the pain of the loss. One family lost two young men in the fire. Gary Tuchman now reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Caldwell was 23 years old, so proud to be a Hotshot fireman. When he died, he was still a newlywed. Claire Caldwell is now his widow.

CLAIRE CALDWELL, ROBERT CALDWELL'S WIFE: He was an inspiration. He changed my life. He made me want to be a better person, too. He was seriously the best person I met in my life, and I got to marry him.

TUCHMAN: But the family's grief doesn't end there. Robert's first cousin, 21-year-old Grant McKee was also killed in the fire. He was engaged to be married. Mae Hoffmann is the grandmother of both of the young men. Lorrie McKee is their aunt.

LAURIE MCKEE, ROBERT'S AND GRANT'S AUNT: It's really hard. It seems so surreal that they will just come back, don't you, mom?

MAE HOFFMANN, ROBERT'S AND GRANT'S GRANDMOTHER: Just kind of hope that I could wake up and it would be a really bad dream.

TUCHMAN: There is so much pride for what Grant and Robert did to protect people. Their relatives were always concerned when they didn't hear from them for hours of end while they were fighting fires, but family members knew Grant and Robert were doing what they loved, however, now the pain is so immense.

HOFFMANN: I had hoped that both of my boys died from smoke inhalation because I figured that would knock them out quick and they wouldn't know anything, and then she told me yesterday that my daughter, Linda, Robert's mother asked where his dental records were and I figured if you need dental records, that means -- so I guess they were burned.

MCKEE: We don't know.

HOFFMANN: We don't know.

TUCHMAN (on camera): We don't know yet, but you should take great comfort in the fact that your grandsons, your nephews died heroes.

MCKEE: Exactly.

TUCHMAN: And you'll always know that that will always be their legacy.

(voice-over): Claire says Robert was also her personal hero.

CALDWELL: He was the most beautiful, self-less, caring, self-less, I want to exaggerate how much he cared about people, everyone. He was so compassionate. His goal in life was to help people and we talked about it all the time. We talked about if he died, he would be missed and he said that's how he wanted to die.

TUCHMAN: Claire has a five-year-old son from before she met Robert. She said Robert loved him as much as she did. A testimony to the great man he was.

CALDWELL: I won't forget him, ever.

TUCHMANN: Mae Hoffmann says her husband, the grandma, died not that long ago, a man her grandsons loved very much, a man who would be beyond proud of both of his grandchildren.

HOFFMANN: I like to think that when -- when they went to heaven, that he was there to greet them and I like to think of that. You know, I just imagine all that stuff, I see my mom, my dad, my husband, everybody -- when we all get to paradise.


HOFFMANN: And I like to think that the boys are already in paradise.


TUCHMAN: Clara tells me that she and Robert were married in November. They discussed him quitting the Hotshots so he could spend more time at home, but she knew this job was so important to him. And she tells me that two weeks ago, they went out to dinner together and she looked Robert in the eyes, and said, you don't have to quit. You love this job too much -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's so devastating and your story, such a great job of humanizing those two people. Appreciate you telling us about them. We'll try to learn more about the 19 as the days go by.

Up next, more deadly violence in Egypt and tonight the embattled president is defying the issue with the military with the clock ticking down to the deadline. The latest from Cairo ahead.


COOPER: Well, tonight Egypt's embattled president appears ready for showdown with military over its ultimatum saying he's willing to shed his own blood. The next 24 hours, of course, could be critical. Mohamed Morsy went on television a short time ago and defiantly said he's Egypt's legitimate leader chosen by the people in a free election, won't step down and won't bow to the military's ultimatum. He called for it to be withdrawn.

Now the military has given him until tomorrow night to make significant changes in his government that will satisfy opposition demands. Our media reports said if he doesn't, the military will throw him out, suspend the constitution and dissolve parliament. Protest today across Egypt turned violent. At least 11 people were killed including seven in clashes at Cairo University.

In Alexandria, supporters and opponents of President Morsy attacked each other. There's a lot to talk about tonight. Things are happening quickly. Ben Wedeman is in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Ben, I know it is loud where you are and a lot going on behind you. President Morsy tonight really saying that he is digging in saying he has a mandate and he has no intention to leave. He's willing to shed his own blood. What is the reaction on the ground there? What's going on?

BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reaction here was very negative after the speech. We heard a lot of boos and a lot of things going off down there, people very unhappy. This was very much a speech to his base and they will feel very reinvigorated. It's been a rough couple days for the Muslim Brotherhood with these massive protests. But what the faithful and the Brotherhood saw was for the first time in Egyptian history, an Egyptian president basically standing up against the army, the most powerful institution in this country.

We don't know as yet how the army is going to react, but it certainly raises the temperature already quite a lot. As you mentioned, there are clashes in Cairo, seventh people dead. This city is bracing for perhaps a very difficult night -- Anderson.

COOPER: So Ben, who are the people behind you in Tahrir Square? Are they people who didn't vote for Morsy the first time or are they people who have become disenchanted with him while he's been in office? What exactly do they want and who are they?

WEDEMAN: It's a mixture of people, and let's not forget that 52 percent of the electorate, those who voted, voted for Mohamed Morsy in that election. That's why he won. But a lot of people were voting for him because they didn't want to vote for his opponent from the regime. Others, in fact, are old regime loyalist.

I'll tell you something, Anderson, there aren't a lot of revolutionaries that we saw in this square two and a half years ago. These are people disaffected with Morsy. They are angry over the falling standards of living, fuel crisis, electricity cuts, the rising crime in the streets of Cairo.

So it's a real mix of people, but that is definitely unhappiness is on the rise. One opinion poll published says that 63 percent of those polled said they've seen their standard of living fall since President Morsy came to power a year ago --

COOPER: If the army steps in and forces him from power, what happens then? That's the military coup, isn't it? What would then occur?

WEDEMAN: Well, we shouldn't assume immediately they will force Morsy from power. That's a very delicate act to do, given that he was, in fact, legitimately elected and the worry is, of course, how the United States would react if that were the case. So certainly -- they may come up with -- fudge a solution that he stays in power, but they compel him one way or another to bring in opposition figures, to call for early presidential and parliamentary elections, to redraft the constitution. There is a raft of things the army would like him to do and people would like him to do, but what we heard in the speech this evening was he's not about to do it.

COOPER: How much longer is his term? I mean, he was democratically elected with the majority of the vote. How much longer is he supposed to serve?

WEDEMAN: He's supposed to serve for three more years and in his speech this evening, he yet again said, I made mistakes and I will try to correct them. He promised to open up with a dialogue with the opposition. But those were sort of the side bars of this speech. The main part of the speech addressing his base, as you said, ready to shed blood to defend the legitimacy of the office he was elected to a year ago.

COOPER: And the U.S. is calling on Morsy and the opposition to resolve the situation politically, does that seem possible at this point?

WEDEMAN: Well, you know, the clock is ticking, Anderson, 14 hours until that deadline runs out. What we may see with the mobilization with the opposition and the Brotherhood supporters is sort of a card game where they throw the cards on the table saying this is what we can mobilize. So the army will take them more seriously, when and if they actually get down to talking. But the army may not react very favorably to this act of defiance by Morsy. It's the first time in Egypt's history where an Egyptian president stood up to the Egyptian army.

COOPER: Well, it will be fascinating. We'll be watching it. Broadcasting live, of course, Ben Wedeman, thanks very much. Stay safe. Coming up, "The Ridiculist," we'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist" and tonight we're adding anyone, anyone out there who may doubt that Cher is awesome. I'm launching a pre-emptive strike against of these Cher skeptics because she's awesome not because she's a global icon or back with a new single, no, she's awesome because she puts up with me and my borderline creepy behavior. I know Cher not in the singing way, but I do kind of know her and a few nights ago she was on Bravo watch what happens live and you try keeping a 46-year-old gay man away from Cher --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm assuming that you had, my gosh it's a doorbell. Come on. My gosh, it's Anderson Cooper, everybody.


COOPER: I literally rushed down here -- I got off the air at 11:00 and I'm like I have to see Cher. I show up unannounced, blathering like the over eager fan I am and she was totally cool. So what did I do? Did I calm down and sit there quietly like a normal person would bask in her legendary sparkle? No.


COOPER: You watched C-Span a lot and used to call in to C-Span -- the anchor would be on the air and there would be a voice saying like we're taking calls and be OK I'm calling from Malibu. And they would be like is this Cher? I'm like yes.


COOPER: Yes, I did my Cher impression in front of Cher. Seriously, I don't know what is wrong with me, but I will say in my own defense, who else would have the nerve to do that? Not another Cher super fan that will remain nameless Wolf Blitzer. I'm a part time Cher impersonator available for birthdays. Nobody told me there would be a graphic. Take that down, please, no, no, man. Back to Bravo the other night, even my terrible Cher impression didn't turn her against me. She didn't turn her role in moon struck or slap me across the face or snap me with her thong from the turn back time video, but unfortunately, that wasn't my only bizarre moment.


COOPER: My mom always wanted a girl. She had four boys so she called you her fantasy daughter so I grew thinking am I related to Cher? Is Cher my sister?


COOPER: At that point, Cher's security started talking and motion towards me. I thought she would let me come live with me and braid her hair, which I totally would do. All you doubters out there, take note, please God, don't show that graphic again. It's not just her talent, she actually does a lot in very quiet ways, the fact that Cher puts up with me, Anderson Cooper, creepy fan girl and that's what makes her so awesome and that's what puts you on the "Ridiculist."

That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.