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Hernandez Indicted on Murder Charges; Bus Overturns in Los Angeles; San Diego Mayor Could Quit Tomorrow; Manning Seeks Hormones to be a Woman; McCain Says Intervention is Easy
Aired August 22, 2013 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You have a great afternoon. Thanks very much, Suzanne.
I'm Don Lemon, in today for Brooke. Thanks for joining us.
Let's start with this. Former NFL star, Aaron Hernandez, due in court right now. A short time ago, a grand jury indicted Hernandez on murder charges. The 23 year old's future officially transformed from privileged athlete to accused murderer, awaiting trial. Hernandez is charged with the execution-style murder of Odin Lloyd, the man who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiance. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.
Here are the key dates in the Hernandez case. Pay close attention here. June 17th, the bullet-riddled body of Odin Lloyd is found less than a mile from the home of Aaron Hernandez. And then on June 26th, police arrest Hernandez. Hour later, the New England Patriots cut Hernandez from the team.
We're going to go over all of this for you as we await this hearing. Let's bring in our legal panel now, former criminal prosecutor, Faith Jenkins. She joins me right here in New York. And then criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky joins us from Atlanta.
Good to see both of you.
Faith, I want to turn to you now. What happens next for Aaron Hernandez?
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: So now Aaron will appear in court. He has now been formally indicted by a grand jury. The prosecutors are going to file that indictment with the court and he's now going to be arraigned on those formal charges. For a first-degree murder case like this, I expect that he will not be granted bail by the judge and the case is now going to move forward into the second phase, which is going to be some motion practice, discovery, and then it will proceed from there.
Now that he's going to be kept in, likely, because of the first-degree murder charge, you're probably going to see the case advance more quickly through the process now as it moves forward through the system.
LEMON: So he's going to remain? He's not going anywhere? He's not going to be set free? He's there.
JENKINS: No, not on charges like this, first-degree premeditated murder. The prosecutors think they have a pretty strong case. Circumstantial evidence, but strong nevertheless.
LEMON: All right. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thereby removing the - the need for a (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) for Hernandez has not yet been arraigned in the superior court?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes (ph) not (ph). We're looking to set a date for arraignment today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've not seen these indictments and (INAUDIBLE) we're happy to address them in superior court. But at the present, my understanding is (INAUDIBLE) this court. We do have two motions we'd like the court to hear. Thus - I think they're significant. One of them relates to what we consider to be serious prosecutorial misconduct in this case, and I think it's important that the court address that before we wait another week or two or however long we have to wait to get to the superior court.
There's also a discovery motion we'd like addressed. And, third, we'd like to address the status of the gag order, which was put into place by Judge O'Shea (ph) when this case first was arraigned in this court back on June 26th. And we want to address the status of that gag order going forward until we see the superior court. Because we're very concerned that the - that Mr. Hernandez's right to a fair trial not be further undermined or tainted by some explosion of publicity from the district attorney's office pending further order with respect to that gag order.
So those are the three matters we'd like the court to address this afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Sudo (ph), will you be speaking for the commonwealth?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not, your honor. These motions were served upon my co-counsel, Mr. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, your honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speak in order (INAUDIBLE) those three concerns (INAUDIBLE) second motion --
LEMON: We do have some technical issues there and we'll get back to that just as soon as we can. You can hear, as I go to Darren -- is it better now?
Darren, let's talk about it. They said that they wanted to address three things. Number one, they said serious prosecutorial misconduct. Number two, a discovery motion. Number three, the status of the gag order placed on June 26th. What's going on here?
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. Well, so those are some major issues that now are in front of the judge. And basically what the defense is saying is, look, we've got these three serious areas of concern. We need a hearing on these issues now. That there's some time sensitivity that requires the judge to rule on them today as opposed to waiting for the next court appearance, which will be happening in a matter of weeks.
And here's the most important thing for viewers to appreciate about this latest grand jury indictment activity. What this means is that there will be no probable cause hearing. And that's an incredibly important event for lawyers who are involved in these cases. It's the only time that the defense would have had to cross-examine witnesses prior to doing it live and for real in front of the 12 jurors that will ultimately be deciding this case. So that's an important opportunity for the defense that's now been taken off the table because the prosecution chooses to pursue the tactical maneuver of going to the grand jury and securing this indictment.
LEMON: And, Faith, as we look at the courtroom here again, there's - there was a bit of technical difficulty. We're still on it. Aaron Hernandez, sitting there by himself with the court bailiff, or at least a court officer, behind him. He knows that he is in serious trouble. You can see it on his face, obviously.
JENKINS: Right. I mean this is the highest level crime you can be charged with. You're talking about first-degree premeditated murder here. There's no death penalty for this case. That won't be the outcome for him in Massachusetts. However, he is looking at life in prison without the possibility of parole. And this is someone who's gone from being a superstar in the NFL, multi-millionaire, and now all of that has been taken away prosecutors say because of his own actions and decisions and they believe they can prove motive, opportunity, and all of those things, the elements of first-degree murder -- the elements of first-degree murder and move forward with a strong case against him.
LEMON: I want to stick with this for a little bit as we, again, look at Aaron Hernandez in court here.
Let's talk about what prosecutors said or what the defense said here. Serious prosecutorial misconduct. Is this ordinary procedure or are these things that could change the outcome or how this trial goes for Aaron Hernandez?
KAVINOKY: Well, the idea about prosecutorial misconduct can be extremely serious. And obviously, at this early juncture, this is a fast-breaking story, we don't know the nature of their complaint. But it's possible for the judge to issue sanctions that can run anywhere from a stern warning or an admonishment, all the way to dismissing the case, depending on the severity of the misconduct.
So if, for example, the prosecution has violated its duty to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense, the prosecutor, since they're in the business of serving justice and not just winning, has an independent duty to turn over anything that's helpful to the defense or bad for the prosecution. If, for example, they've breached that duty and that has somehow prejudiced the defense, the judge could throw the entire case out.
Now, we don't know at this point whether there's anything so severe that's occurred, but, obviously, the defense is mightily concerned or they wouldn't have brought this motion and they wouldn't be articulating that there is this urgency that the judge hear it today. Whatever it is that's happening, Don, is something that requires the judge to rule right away At least as far as the defense is concerned, it simply cannot wait.
LEMON: All right. As long as this hearing is going on, we're not going to go far away, but we're going to have you guys stand by, Darren and Faith. Thank you very much for this portion. We'll get back as soon as something happens there.
I want to move on, because we have some breaking news to tell you about. It is out of Los Angeles. It involves a tour bus that is overturned and we're told some passengers are trapped inside of that bus. Traffic appears to be backed up for miles. I want to get now to Tory Dunham.
Tory, what do you know?
TORY DUNHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Don, these pictures are really dramatic if you take a look at them. This is really a two-fold issues because, as you mentioned, traffic is backed up we're hearing for some 15 miles. But there are also dozens of emergency workers there on scene. And the latest information we have from the L.A. County Fire Department is that there are about 30 to 40 people who were on that bus. It overturned on the side of the freeway there. At this point, there have been medical helicopters which have landed on the freeway. We're told they've taken away seven patients, that 11 ambulances are taking away additional patients.
Now, at this time we're waiting for more information on exactly how serious these injuries are. But you can tell that the authorities there on scene are taking this very seriously. It's a huge backup at this point.
And, Don, one other thing to point out, if you look at the side of the bus, it looks like it's registered to a company called Dayzin (ph). We know that that's a local company here in the L.A. area. But beyond that we're hearing reports that this was a bus filled with people headed to a nearby casino.
And just one more thing to point out as well. See all the traffic there? This is at the eastbound 210 where it meets the eastbound 605. That's just northeast of L.A. in Irwindale. And again, some 15 miles backed up there as emergency workers deal with these injuries and also try to clear the scene as well and investigate. The cause still under investigation at this point, Don.
LEMON: All right, Tory, thank you very much. We'll keep an eye on that one as well. In the meantime, some other news developing right now.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner may resign tomorrow. This comes after 18 women, so far, have accused the 70-year-old Democrat of sexual impropriety. Our affiliate KGTV reports Filner will resign if the San Diego City Council accepts a mediation agreement that he has negotiated. The details of that agreement remain secret as of now. The council is to meet tomorrow in a closed-door session.
His alleged victims say Filner made sexual suggestions and touched them inappropriately. Look at all of those women there. The mayor has admitted he, quote, "failed to fully respect women" who work for him and with him. Let's go to CNN's Casey Wian, live now if San Diego with the very latest.
Casey, break this down for us. When might we know for sure?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we're not going to know for sure until tomorrow afternoon. That's because these mediation negotiations have been going on for the previous three days. The parties reached an agreement last night that we now know includes a proposal for Mayor Filner to resign if the city council accepts this deal. The negotiations were over a lawsuit filed by one of -- by Filner's former press secretary, the very first woman to come out and publically accuse him of inappropriate sexual advances.
The city law requires that the city council get 24 hours notice. So that's why we're not going to have this council meeting to vote on this proposed settlement until tomorrow afternoon, 1:00 local time. That meeting will be in closed session. Once the city council has taken action, then they are expected to come out and provide details of the settlement. We do not know any of those details right now, so we're basically waiting to see what the city council does when it sees details of this proposed settlement tomorrow afternoon, Don.
LEMON: Casey, thank you very much. And I should say, tell our viewers, our legal panel is going to debate this coming up here on CNN.
Another developing story now. A lot of news going on today. Bradley Manning can no longer expose government secrets, but that's not keeping the leaker from launching a jaw dropper today. His attorney announced on "The Today Show" that the man just sentenced to 35 years for releasing documents to WikiLeaks wants to be a woman. He released this statement from Manning. "I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible." The government may end up footing the bill for this. His attorney told NBC, if necessary, he will sue to get Manning those hormones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID COOMBS, BRADLEY MANNING'S ATTORNEY: Well, I don't know about the sex reassignment surgery, that Chelsea hasn't indicated that that would be her desire. But as far as the hormone therapy, yes, I'm hoping Ft. Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Ft. Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right, forced to do so. Let's bring in now our senior medical correspondent Miss Elizabeth Cohen. She joins me now.
Elizabeth, what does this kind of hormone therapy involve and how much does it cost?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it involves taking two or three different types of hormones, Don, over the course of your lifetime. And it's not actually all that expensive. It's about less than $100 a month. And the hormones, when you're going from male to female, will do things like give you softer skin, will decrease the amount of muscle that you have, will promote breast growth. But, again, it's a lifelong commitment.
LEMON: So Army officials say in a statement, Elizabeth, that while inmates at Ft. Leavenworth have access to mental health professionals, the prison does not provide hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery. So what's the reasoning why the prison should provide this treatment?
COHEN: The arguments that people have given, and this has come up before many times, is, look, this person has a psychological issue and some would see that as a medical issue. So if you had a diabetic in your prison, you would give them insulin. So some people would say, you have someone with a psychological problem, they want to be another gender. They think of themselves as being that other gender. They want hormones to treat this issue. So that's the argument that's been used.
LEMON: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent, thank you very much.
LEMON: We'll follow this story as well.
Up next here on CNN, another scare at another school. New today, a gun goes off in an elementary school and we're told a five-year-old boy - a five-year-old brought a gun in a backpack. This as we hear the chilling call that's got everyone talking. A school worker essentially negotiates with a gunman as he stands in the school armed for war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALLER: We all go through something in life. No, you don't want that. You going to be OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone.
LEMON: A gunshot went off at an elementary school in Memphis this morning. Police say a five-year-old kindergarten student brought a gun to school, and while waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria, the gun discharged accidentally inside the child's backpack. Luckily, no one was hurt, but an investigation is underway on just how this happened.
This comes just two days after that terrifying school scare at an elementary school near Atlanta. We now have that dramatic 911 call that school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff made as she acted as a negotiator between the alleged shooter and police. Police say Michael Hill was armed with an assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammo. Tuff didn't have a weapon. She only had her faith, prayer, and a relatable story about a personal struggle. Listen now to the breathtaking moments when she got Hill to drop his gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: DeKalb police, what's the address of your emergency?
CALLER: Yes, ma'am, I'm on Second Avenue in the school and the gentlemen said tell them to hold down the police officers are coming and he said he's going to start shooting, so tell them to back off.
DISPATCHER: OK. One moment.
CALLER: Do not let anybody in the building, including the police. Do not let anybody in the building, including the police.
DISPATCHER: OK. Stay on the line with me now. Where are you?
CALLER: I'm in the front office. Oh, he just went outside and started shooting. Oh, can I run?
DISPATCHER: What do -- can you get somewhere safe?
CALLER: Yes, I got to go. You know, he's going to shoot me (ph) coming back. Oh, (INAUDIBLE)
DISPATCHER: Put the phone down.
OK. She said that she's getting the police now to tell them to back off for you, OK? OK. OK. Stop all movement now on the ground. Stop all movement on the ground. He said - he said to tell them to back off. He doesn't want the kids. He wants the police. So, back off. And - and what else, sir? He said he don't care if he die. He don't have nothing to live for. And he said he's not mentally stable. So we're not going to hate you.
DISPATCHER: OK. Ma'am you're doing a great job.
CALLER: So let's do it before the helicopters and stuff like that come. So - they're here? You hear them? OK. So what - you want to go ahead and want me to tell them to come on in now? OK. He's getting everything out of his pockets, ma'am.
CALLER: OK. He said the gun may come back and say it's stolen, but it's not. He knows the whole story about the gun and he'll let you all know that.
CALLER: Do you all want him to take his belt off?
DISPATCHER: That's fine. Just take all his weapons off.
CALLER: OK, she said that's fine, take all your weapons off. Your - he said he don't have no more weapons.
CALLER: OK. So you going to - OK, he's on the ground now with his hands behind the back. Tell the officers, don't come in with any gun - don't come in shooting or anything, but they can come on in and I'll buzz them in.
CALLER: So hold on, just sit right there, and I'm going to buzz them in, OK, so you know when they're coming, OK? OK. So just stay there calm. Don't worry about it. I'm going to sit right here, so they'll see that you're trying not to harm me, OK? OK.
CALLER: It's going to be all right, sweetie. I just want you to know that I love you though, OK, and I'm proud of you. That's a good thing that you've just given up and don't worry about it. We all go through something in life. No, you don't want that. You going to be OK. I thought the same thing. You know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me. But look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK. Tell them to come on. Come on. OK, he just got his phone (ph). That's all he's got is his phone (ph). It's just him. OK. It's just him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by.
CALLER: Let me tell you something, baby, ain't nothing (ph) so scared in all the days of my life.
DISPATCHER: Me either. But you did great.
CALLER: Oh, Jesus!
DISPATCHER: You did great.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: And you really don't want to miss this. Tonight on "AC 360," a very special reunion. The 911 dispatcher meets that brave school bookkeeper you just heard from. Both played a major role in stopping another school shooting bloodbath. That's tonight, "AC 360," 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Here are the pictures coming out of Syria. Very difficult to watch. More than 1,300 reported dead in an alleged chemical weapons attack as the pressure builds. Will the United States get involved? Senator John McCain says it is an easy decision. That's next.
LEMON: So this is just in to CNN. The president has just ordered the urgent gathering of additional information to try to assess whether chemical weapons were used this week inside Syria. Remember, the video of the alleged attack? Disturbing, shocking. So if you need to turn away, do it now. But I urge you to at least listen to this report from CNN's Arwa Damon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The videos, even by Syrian standard, are among the most disturbing of this three-year conflict. Bodies with no apparent wounds. Many children, some limp, others listless or gasping for air. The voice narrating this clip in Arabic cracks as he repeats, "only God can bring us justice."
Those who survived, helpless. Doctors said that among the symptoms were constricted pupils, rapid pulse, and difficulty breathing. One activist we spoke to said that his vision blurred, he lost control of his limbs and collapsed to the floor, gradually recovering hours later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, the suspicions are hard to fathom. Could a regime desperately clinging to power really unleash chemical weapons on its own people? Today on CNN, John McCain said, yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Where does this stop? When does the United States, with very little cost, stand up for these people and stop this horrific -- you can't look at those pictures without being deeply moved. Are we going to just let that go on?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So this is a red line that the U.S. says, if crossed, would be reason to intervene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: In a matter of a couple of days, with using standoff weapons, we could take out their runways, take out the 40 or 50 aircraft that they're using, which is dominating the battlefields in the towns and the cities, and we can supply the right kind of weapons to the rebels to establish a no-fly-zone by using moving patriot missiles up to the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. So let's discuss this more. Joining me now, CNN International's Hala Gorani, and then also in Damascus, our Frederik Pleitgen.
Right now the U.N. is in Syria, they're investigating a separate suspected chemical attack that happened earlier in year. So I'm going to go to Fred first.
Fred, McCain says it would be easy to intervene without even putting U.S. boots on the ground in Syria. You're there. Do you agree? I mean what the -- logistically, what are the problems, what are the dangers?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly would be dependent on what sort of thing would have to happen for that intervention to actually come through. What does the U.S. actually want to achieve with an intervention here in Syria? Do they want to even out the battlefield or do they want to take out the Assad regime? Certainly if you don't put boots on the ground, simply a no-fly zone or something like that probably wouldn't even even out the battlefield.
One of the things that we have to keep in mind is that this is a very well-organized army that Bashar al Assad have. They have tanks, they have armored personnel carriers, they have a lot of people and, of course, they have Hezbollah fighting on their side on many battlefields as well.
It really is difficult to see how a no-fly zone would make much of a difference on the ground here because right now it seems as though the rebels, in many parts of the country, are on the defensive. And one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that something like, for instance, supplying the rebels with weapons might not make much of a difference, either because there are already so many weapons here in Syria, the rebels already have much of what they've been calling for. They're also getting some of these more modern weapons. So anything that is less than putting American boots on the ground, I'm not sure how much of a difference that would make, Don.
LEMON: Well, and, Hala, you know, why would the regime conduct chemical weapons attacks right under the noses of U.N. investigators? And might it be conceivable that the rebels used the chemical weapons in an effort to frame the Assad regime?
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT, CNNI: I think that's a question people had yesterday until experts weighed in, Don. I spoke with one in particular out of London, Wynn Winfield (ph), who told me, listen, this attack, given the casualty rate, and we're looking at probably 1,300 people dead in a single series of attacks in one day, given the potency of the chemical, and we don't know which one was used, that this is most probably a military attack. That this isn't something that someone mixed in a back room kitchen somewhere and threw in a single shell. That this must have been more organized.
So why would the regime do this, as you said, under the noses of inspectors? Well, several reasons. Perhaps because right now the sense of impunity that the Assad regime has. That the international community has signaled in many different ways over the last two and a half plus years that it will not intervene. That this is a message to the rebels and a message to the world that they will do, at this stage, what they want.
LEMON: That's something we're going to be paying close attention to. This is not about to end yet.
LEMON: Thank you very much, Hala. Thank you very much, Frederik Pleitgen, as well in Damascus.
Coming up next here on CNN, UPS announcing a big change in employee health insurance. A spouse may be kicked off the medical plan. The company blames Obamacare. But is this the whole story and could this impact your company? Stay right there.