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Woman Killed in Roller Coaster Fall; New Royal on the Way; Katherine Jackson Back on the Stand; Pope Francis Visits Brazil; New Details in Deadly Limo Fire.
Aired July 22, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not only is Six Flags liable this is many levels, many layers of liability. Six Flags is the manufacturer. If the plaintiff can prove that they negligently designed it there may be additional liability. Six Flags itself, if there is a problem with the roller coaster, may be liable for failing to maintain or supervise. When you have an accident on this scale with this much corporate involvement, you have what we call many potential layers of liability. The most important is the potential warning to an employee by the deceased that she felt insecure. That will probably institute legal notice to the amusement park that there was a problem.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about that. Faith, one victim says that the victim told a ride operator that she did not feel secure in her seat. How much of an impact will that have in this case?
FAITH JENKINS, ATTORNEY: It can have a huge impact because there is a requirement that these operators that someone at Six Flags investigate and look at the rides every single day, make sure they are secure before people get on. They are actually required to keep a log of the inspections. Now you have a woman who got on the ride and before she fell to her death she expressed concern. She expressed concern about her own safety in this ride and the operator apparently let her go on the ride anyway. That could have a significant impact on the liability going forward.
BROWN: Last question for you. As heard in the story more than 1,000 injures in 2011 alone on some of these roller coaster rides. Do you think there should be more oversight of the amusement parks in light of the injury and recent death at Six Flags?
CEVALLOS: Probably. One thing to motivate them to have the oversight will be lawsuits like this. It's probably the smaller traveling rides that may carry less insurance, may not be as supervised. But a corporation like Six Flags absolutely has a duty to inspect as Faith was telling us and there is going to be -- if there is going to be oversight we are going to see it with an industry like Six Flags. However, if they are allowed to conduct their own internal investigations those will be discoverable in a personal injury action.
BROWN: We will see what happens. Thank you so much.
The royal baby is on the way. We are going to take you live to London as people gather for news on the royal birth. Stay with us. A lot more ahead.
BROWN: So will it be a prince or a princess? We are waiting to find out. That is what the world is wondering as we wait for the royal baby to be born in London. Taking a live look at the wing at St. Mary's Hospital where the duchess of Cambridge was brought in very early this morning. She went into labor more than 10 hours ago. Still a waiting game.
Joining me now from Buckingham Palace is CNN royal commentator, Katie Nicholl.
Hi, Katie. I can imagine there is no much excitement right now outside of Buckingham Palace. We know that William is by Kate's bed side. Do we know where the rest of the royal family is right now?
KATIE NICHOLL, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace. She swept through the gates about an hour ago now. Flurry of activity, police cars coming down the red gravel mall. I would imagine she is just as eagerly awaiting the news as the rest of us sitting by the telephone and waiting for the call. The duchess has been in labor for just coming up to over ten hours. It is a long time. It is incredibly hot here. The staff at the hospital second to none will be doing their very best to make sure the duchess is comfortable. William will be by her side helping to remind her of the breathing exercises they learned together and reminding her to keep calm. It is a regular day for Prince Harry. He will be kept abreast of the news by his brother. Prince Charles and Camilla are on an engagement. It is business as usual for the royal family. The person who will find out first is behind the gates in residence, Her Majesty, the queen of England.
BROWN: I am guessing this is not going to be a Facebook post.
NICHOLL: No, you're quite right. It won't be a Facebook post. Quite deliberately so where everything seems to be recorded on Twitter. This is going to be in keeping with tradition. There will be a glass easel placed at the gates of Buckingham Palace. On that will be the notice of birth signed by the gynecologist giving us the weight, sex and time of birth. The couple will announce the name when they come out on the steps of the hospital.
BROWN: Last question here. This baby will be third in line to the throne after Charles and William. Is there protocol for when the royal baby will make the first public appearance other than being carried out of the hospital?
NICHOLL: There is no real royal protocol. Diana brought Prince William out when he was just eight. Possibly the royal couple will bring their baby out sooner than that. There will be an official photo call. I think this is a couple that will want to have a degree of privacy for the time being. Don't expect to see too much once we have the official baby picture.
BROWN: Still waiting to find out if it is a boy or girl and to find out a name.
Thank you so much.
Katherine Jackson gets a little testy on the witness stand. She wants to know why her son, Michael, dIED. She is back on the stand when court resumes today.
BROWN: The mother of Michael Jackson returns to the witness stand today. Katherine Jackson's testimony was cut short on Friday after intense questioning. The lawsuit against AEG blames the company because it hired Dr. Conrad Murray who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Part of the strategy is to personalize the family. Mrs. Jackson says she was hoping her grandchildren would see their dad in concert. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE JACKSON, MOTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Yes, i did because Michael never told them what his job was and they were shocked -- they were little kids, when they were at the 9/10 show. And he called me and was laughing about it. And when they got back they said, so you are a big star, huh. They were saying that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And back with us now our legal team, defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, and former federal prosecutor, Faith jenkins.
Fairth, I want to talk with you. Let's talk about the sound we just heard. Do you think it is an effective approach by the Jackson lawyers to personalize the family in court?
JENKINS: Not only is it effective but it is necessary in the case. You are talking about an icon that many people in the public believed they knew. He was a part of their every day lives so the plaintiffs want to put his family to show he is not just an icon but also a son. He is also a father. And this family lost someone who is very close to them and they deserve for these people to be held accountable if they were responsible for hiring Conrad Murray.
BROWN: Do you think the defense team risks back lash if they go too hard after Mrs. Jackson.
CERVALLOS: No. This is cross examination. The reality is that Mrs. Jackson has probably made many statements that make her ripe for cross examination. When you take a big step back Jackson's testimony is not critical to the case. They have to prove that AEG employed this doctor and that they did so in a negligent manner. Jackson's testimony here is critical as Faith says. However it is critical for humanizing Michael Jackson and showing the jury the loss that having him die caused to his family. When you take a step back, however, it is not that critical to the overall case and chief except to humanize Michael Jackson and make his loss much more real. JENKINS: In terms of what Danny just said i think you have to be careful when you are cross examining a mother of someone who has died. I think the defense attorneys are aware of that. This is a jury trial. When you come across it being too combative and hitting below the belt with someone's mother i think that can back fire on you in the end.
BROWN: She got very emotional in court.
Faith, talking about critical testimony, we heard from Dr. Murray's lawyer that he is considering testifying. How much of an impact do you think the testimony will have on the case.
JENKINS: It could have a huge impact but I don't think it's going to happen. He has a criminal appeal that he is involved in right now. He has asserted his Fifth Amendment right. They can't call him to testify. I would be surprised if he waved that right and took the stand in this case.
BROWN: We'll wait and see what happens.
Faith Jenkins, Danny Cervallos, thank you. We'll see you again soon.
Next up Brazil. Pope Francis is headed there right now. How will he be received there? Not as well as you might expect. We'll take you live to Rio.
BROWN: It's a homecoming of sorts for Pope Francis and his first international trip. The pope is going to south America. No big surprise there. It starts in Brazil where, our Miguel Marquez reports, the pope will be met with plenty of excitement and anxiety.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, Pope Francis on the road to Rio and World Youth Day. Millions of young Catholics headed here, as well.
(on camera): We just landed here at the airport in Rio. I am joined by a group from Austin.
How hard have you worked for this? What does this mean to you to be here?
SARAH BUTLER, CATHOLIC PILGRIM: We have been fundraising for about a year now. It is amazing god's work has brought us here and all of the challenges we had to overcome to get to where we are. It is such an amazing feeling.
POPE FRANCIS (through translation)): I don't know if there are young people in the square today. Are there?
MARQUEZ: In a papal teaser on Sunday in Rome, when Pope Francis asked if young people were there, the response --
MARQUEZ -- fit for a rock star. The new pontiff kicking off an ambitious effort to revitalize the church.
POPE FRANCIS: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MARQUEZ: But the people's pope heads to a country that months ago launched angry nationwide protests.
MARQUEZ: Fed up with corruption, bad public services and the price tag of global events like the upcoming Olympics and World Cup soccer.
MARQUEZ: Now with the Brazilian government kicking in some $52 million for the pope's trip about a third of the overall tab, it will be a fine line to walk. Protests are already planned. One will mark his arrival later today, another on Friday.
MARQUEZ: The need to build support for the church among young people ever greater after years of sandal with evangelical churches on the rise.
BROWN: Miguel Marquez joins us live from Rio.
Miguel, the pope is not expected to be riding in the pope mobile. He's expected to be in an open-topped jeep. I can imagine security will be even tighter in light of that. What's it going to be like there?
MARQUEZ: There's great concern about that. The top general, the military general, the Brazilian military has taken over this operation. He's expressed concern for the pope's decision to be in an open top jeep but says it's the pope's decision and we'll deal with it. The mayor saying this is the most complex they have ever held in this city, but he believes they will get through it. This will be the first public mass of the pope. A million pilgrims expected. Just massive, massive. So far a reported six protests to go along with the pope's visit here today and on Friday so far. Pamela.
BROWN: Certainly, a historic visit.
Miguel Marquez, live for us in Brazil. Thank you so much.
In other top stories, a woman who was raped and jailed in Dubai received a pardon this morning. She was arrested for having sex outside of marriage and consuming alcohol after she reported she had been raped. Her 16-month prison sentence led to international outrage. She said she will leave for Norway as soon as possible.
It was a violent weekend even for Chicago, a city that's gaining a national reputation for violence. Six men killed, 22 people wounded. The reasons vary, a fight, a gang related shooting and a memorial for a man shot dead in 2008, a 6-year-old girl wads wounded in the chest.
Rapper 50 Cent is due in court to answer for a domestic violence charge. He attacked his ex-girlfriend last month. He allegedly trashed her Los Angeles condo. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
New details are emerging about that deadly limo fire. It killed five women. Was the driver in a heated discussion on his cell phone when the fire started? Details just ahead.
BROWN: We have news on a limousine fire that killed five women back in May. "The San Jose Mercury News" interviewed the limo driver's estranged wife. She says that the driver, Orville Brown, was arguing with her on the phone while driving the limo. She said he turned up the music so the passengers wouldn't hear the argument. The passenger said she was shouting about smoke but Brown who spoke to CNN said they were asking if they could speak. The D.A. said they will look into the new information. CNN has reached out to the D.A. but we have not heard back yet. The limo driver, Orville Brown, has not commented on this new report.
Let's bring in our legal team again, defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, and attorney and former criminal prosecutor, Faith Jenkins.
Faith, i want to start with you here.
Could the driver be held criminally responsible if this report from his estranged wife turns out to be true?
JENKINS: Could be but I think the outcome will be civil responsibility. We have information he was distracted by being on the phone when this incident was happening. We know that some of the passengers were able to escape and some were not. Timing was a huge factor here. Not only was he distracted and there's evidence there were too many passengers in the back seat of this limo. Where does that responsibility lie? The limo driver and the company. The passengers don't know this. Looks like a clear case of wrongful death.
BROWN: Given the fact he's a licensed driver, does he have more of a duty to protect the passengers here?
CEVALLOS: Well, you have a common carrier issue with the limousine. Are they held to a standard of care that they have to make their cars safe, their travel safe for all of their passengers? That's going to be an issue. Also at issue is California has no less than three statutes outlawing being on your phone while driving. When it comes to civil liability, the question will become, did the driver cause these deaths. There may be an element of proof that will be tough there because they have to prove his being on the phone while illegal did it cause the deaths of those people. It raises another discussion that we've criminalized using your phone while driving but there seems to be a pass when it comes to enforcement for taxi driver and limo drivers. This will be an issue of public policy that will probably be addressed after more cases like these.
BROWN: You think there will be more responsibility there.
Faith, do you think his ex-wife telling the newspaper this story is enough to prove he was too distracted?
JENKINS: This should have come out earlier in the investigation by the state who looked into this. One of the first things they would do is look at the phone records. Now this is coming out because his wife chose to speak out about it. If he was distracted you're looking another negligence. He owed a duty of care to the passengers. Did he breech that duty? That's going to be a key question.
BROWN: You raise a good point because the D.A. office is saying it will review this and police are saying they had not talked to his wife before now.
Danny, are you surprised by this considering if she was on the phone you would think he would look through phone records.
CEVALLOS: You have to believe it. I don't know the facts, but when this driver was asked, he may not have responded that he was on the phone. Your cell phone create wake of data. It will not be very difficult to match up time of incident to when he was on the phone. Now that they have this information, it should be easy to find out the data from the cell tower and match up the times and prove whether he was on the phone at the time of the incident.
BROWN: We'll have to see if, based on this new information, if the families will sue this driver.
Danny, Faith, thank you so much.
Thank you for watching. AROUND THE WORLD" is next.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: It was being called the great Kate wait. It's now almost over. The duchess went into labor overnight and is at St. Mary's Hospital in London to give birth.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Her husband, Prince William, is with her and has one very important job today, maybe a phone call.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
NICHOLL: Prince William is under strict instructions to telephone the queen as soon as the birth will happen. He will make that call on a specially encrypted phone.
(END AUDIO FEED)
MALVEAUX: We're going live to London in a moment to begin our coverage about historic protocol in place once the baby actually arrives.
HOLMES: Plus, Pope Francis on the