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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Bully in Miami Dolphins; Woman Stabbed in Face, Stomach Gives Birth; 11 Colorado Counties Push for Secession; Jailhouse Snitches Testify in MacNeill Murder Case.

Aired November 5, 2013 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You have heard about the alleged hazing in the Dolphins' locker room. But that may only be the beginning. Wait until you hear the latest.

And also, are 11 Colorado counties ready to become the 51st state in the nation? Believe it or not, secession is on the ballot this election day.

And a woman brutally attacked, stabbed in the face and the stomach, just days before giving birth. Now she is finally holding that precious child of hers for the very first time. And you will get the update. I'm going to take you there.

A troubling new development to start with and that alleged bullying controversy. Grown-up bullying involving the Miami Dolphins football team. Several media reports are saying that suspended Dolphins lineman, Ritchie Incognito, sent racist and threatening voice-mail messages to his teammate, Jonathan Martin. This revelation follows allegations that Martin had been bullied by Incognito. Martin has taken a leave the absence from the team. And the matter is being investigated by the National Football League.

CNN's John Zarrella has more.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Miami Dolphin Ritchie Incognito from a team promo.

RITCHIE INCOGNITO, MIAMI DOLPHINS LINEMAN: On the field, players have called me overly aggressive.

ZARRELLA: Now, it may be that Incognito was not overly aggressive on the field, but off it, as well, leading to his indefinite suspension. The NFL is launching an investigation into the Dolphins' workplace environment and whether he bullied another player, John Martin, so badly that Martin left the team.

According to ESPN and NFL.com, this is the text of a voicemail sent from Incognito to Martin. Quote, "Hey, what's up, you half (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I saw you on Twitter. You've been training 10 weeks. I'll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth. I'm going to slap your real mother across the face. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. You're still a rookie. I'll kill you." This text came out after a week after the incident in the Dolphin's lunchroom involving Martin and other offensive linemen. Martin left and hasn't been back.

At a press conference, Dolphins head coach, Joe Philbin, said he spoke several times over several days with Martin following the incident.

JOE PHILBIN, MIAMI DOLPHINS COACH: In all of my discussions with Jonathan and members of his family, at no time were there any accusations or allegations of misconduct by any members of this team or this organization.

ZARRELLA: But Sunday, a Martin representative contacted Philbin and the Dolphins with concerns over what Philbin called player conduct. That led to Incognito's suspension.

Calls to Incognito, Martin and their representatives haven't been returned.

As the HBO "Hard Knocks" video of the New York Jets shows, hazing seems part of the right of package for NFL rookies. Dolphin players insist there's a healthy and not hurtful dose of fun, not hazing.

WILL DAVIS, MIAMI DOLPHIN ROOKIE: I also thought the guys here were great because I've been here and I told my family, I came to a good team. I don't know how it is around the league but I got lucky with this team.

MIKE WALLACE, MIAMI DOLPHINS RECEIVER: As far as him as a person, I got a lot of respect for Ritchie. I love playing with Ritchie. I wish he was here right now.

ZARRELLA: Neither Incognito or Martin are with the team. And it's unclear either when or if either will be back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: CNN's John Zarrella joins me live now.

John, I'm trying to get my head around this. As I read report after report, some of these players are coming out in defense of Incognito, in support of him. Some are coming out suggesting he's got a dirty background. At this point, I'm not clear where the story stands. What is the league and player's association, what are they saying?

ZARRELLA: Your history precedes itself, as you say. And I think if you look at back at Incognito's history, yes, there are a lot of players supporting him in this instance. But when you go back 10 years, at Nebraska, he was suspends in 2003. He was suspended in 2004 at Nebraska again, indefinitely. He transfers to Oregon. He's dismissed the same year. Go up to 2009, he's now in the NFL. He's voted by his peers in a sporting news poll as the dirtiest player in the NFL. The same year, 2009, what happens then? The Rams release him after he gets two personal foul penalties and gets into it with the coach on the sideline during the same game. Now in his defense, he came to Miami, and in the last few years, he seemed to have been changing his image, resurrecting and remaking his image up into this incident.

Now, the National Football Player's Association issued a statement this morning, and, in part, it reads: "We expect that the NFL and its clubs create a safe and professional workplace for all plays. And that owners, executives and players should set the best standards and examples. It is the duty of this union to hold the clubs and teams accountable for the safety and professionalism in the workplace."

Ashleigh, one thing, as you pointed out, we found it quite surprising ourselves to see how many players were defending Incognito. But all of the players we talked to all said they would welcome one or both of those players back into the locker room. That doesn't seem to be likely.

BANFIELD: Wow. There are so many missing puzzle pieces in this story, still, John.

ZARRELLA: Yeah.

BANFIELD: John Zarrella, live for us, thank you for that.

Here with me now with this take on this very strange development, CNN's legal analyst, Paul Callan.

Paul, I keep trying to figure out, with all of the missing puzzle pieces, from the reports that we have now, is this a criminal action that you see that could come to light? Is it just a civil issue? Is there no legal issue here? How do you characterize this?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's unlikely that criminal charges would result. In theory, when you leave a threatening voicemail on somebody's phone, that could be harassment. There are various statutes that would apply. If that was an intent to harass or an intent to suggest you were going to kill the other person, that would be a crime. But prosecutors won't take this case. This -- and in terms of civil actions, the reason the NFL now has a very stated public position on this, that they don't tolerate this, they're afraid for being sued for workplace harassment, which they're.

BANFIELD: I mean, there's exposure here, Paul. It's not just the NFL but maybe the player's association and the coaches individually. If he's saying I've never heard anything about this before, isn't there big exposure?

CALLAN: They have exposure but, on the other hand, let's talk the real world here. Is this the wimp-ification of professional football? These guys -- you know, there's a New England Patriot under indictment for murder in Massachusetts. It's organized violence. And now we're looking at a history of a relationship between two players and saying this, whoa, is really horrible. That seems to be the nature of this sport. And with a wink and a nod, the NFL has been letting it go on for a long time, as has the public, which likes to watch football.

In the end, I don't think a lot is going to come out of this.

BANFIELD: Paul Callan, live for us. Like I said, there's missing puzzle pieces. Let's wait on that and have another conversation if they do surface.

Paul Callan, live for us in New York, thank you.

CALLAN: OK.

BANFIELD: When we come back, she was stabbed multiple times just days before giving birth, and her soldier husband was forced to watch this in horror while they were chatting on the computer. An update on a family that survived the unthinkable, next.

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BANFIELD: A Texas mom got to hold her baby girl for the first time. And that may not seem like such a big deal, unless you hear that she was in critical condition after being brutally stabbed at nine-months pregnant. She was attacked when talking to her husband, a soldier, deployed with the Army, and he could only watch, helpless.

Miguel Marquez has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tearful reunion.

JUSTIN POOLE, HUSBAND OF RACHEL: You OK, babe?

MARQUEZ: For the first time, 31-year-old Rachel Poole cradles her healthy baby girl, Isabella, a miracle in the wake of a nightmare. Mother and daughter both recovering in an El Paso hospital after Poole was stabbed multiple times just two days before giving birth.

The savage attack unfolded last Wednesday while Poole was face-timing with her husband, Justin, an Army private deployed thousands of miles away in southwest Asia. Police say Poole was on the phone when she was confronted by an intruder who had been inside her home. She immediately recognized the suspect, 19-year-old Corey Bernard Moss (ph), who was waiting for her, knife in hand. According to police, Poole repeatedly screamed his name to her husband over the phone as he stabbed her several times. He then fled the scene.

Her husband then frantically took to Facebook pleading for friends for help: "If you are seeing this message, find out what F'ing hospital my wife is in and tell me the F'ing whereabouts of Corey Moss. He F'ing went to my house while I'm deployed and stabbed her."

She managed to dial 911 and was transported to the hospital where she delivered her baby two days later.

POOLE: Say hello. Isabella.

MARQUEZ: Her husband, Justin, now stateside.

(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)

RACHEL POOLE: The recovery is going pretty well. We have an amazingly strong daughter, who is absolutely gorgeous. It means the world just to see her and know that that -- that she's doing just fine.

(END AUDIO FEED)

MARQUEZ: Investigators say the suspect's motive involved money that he owed to Poole for vehicle repairs. He's been charged with attempted murder. Bond set at $60,000.

JUSTIN POOLE: I want the world to continue to pray and leave messages on our Facebook pages. And everybody keep praying for our daughter to make a full recovery and praying for my wife to make a full recovery.

MARQUEZ: Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Unbelievable. And a very lucky outcome.

Our thanks to Miguel Marquez for that story.

Could the United States have a 51st state? And I am not talking Canada. Some Colorado voters are thinking about seceding, and it's on the ballot today. That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: 11 counties in Colorado are so fed up with laws there, they want to seceded and just up and start their own state. This is no dream. This measure is actually on the ballot there today.

Ana Cabrera has the story.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to northern Colorado, some 60 miles outside of Denver. No hustle and bustle of city life here.

SEAN CONWAY, WELD COUNTY COMMISSIONER: I saw the struggles that my grandparents, my grandparents went through to create what I believe is an oasis in the desert. And I see that oasis in the desert threatened.

CABRERA: Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway is a third-generation Coloradoan, raised on a ranch, fighting for his rural lifestyle and livelihood.

CONWAY: We're tired of being ignored. We're tired of being politically disenfranchised.

CABRERA: That's the measure of the 51st State Initiative. Fed up with new gun control laws, expanded oil and gas regulations, and increase renewable energy standards recently enacted at the Colorado capitol, Conway is leading the charge to form a new state. He's wrangled support from across hundreds of acres of farmland. At least 11 rural counties north of Denver now threatening to succeed, all set to hold no-binding secession votes on Tuesday.

SETH MASKET, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER: If they don't see a way to move the state back into Republican control, figure just leaving it is the only option.

CABRERA: Political science professor, Seth Masket, says the secession movement is an example of Republicans, who are the minority in this state, taking desperate measures. In Colorado, Democrats have control of the Senate, House and governor's office.

While supporters know there's no practical implication from the vote, they say it's a sure way to get attention for their cause, but not everyone agrees with this strategy.

KEN BUCK, WELD COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The best strategy for dealing with a political issue is through the political system.

CABRERA: Weld County D.A., Ken Buck, a high-profile Colorado Republican, is among those frustrated, but he plans to vote against the 51st State Initiative.

BUCK: We need to make sure we work doubly hard to get the folks who aren't listening out of office and to make sure our voices are heard.

CABRERA: Governor Don Hickenlooper says he welcomes more dialogue, saying, quote, "If this talk of a 51st state is about politics designed to divide us, it is destructive. But if it is about sending a message, then I see our responsibility to lean in and do a better job of listening."

CONWAY: If urban dominated legislatures don't begin to listen and address what I believe are the legitimate concerns of folks in the rural areas of our country, I think this is going to be a wave of the future.

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Wave of the future, but maybe not the future. Nonbinding, let's not forget.

Tune in tonight, CNN's got your complete election night coverage. The first polls close at 7:00 eastern. Pop your popcorn and prepare for a night of Wolf Blitzer. It's one of my favorite nights.

So, everybody hates a snitch, right? A jailhouse snitch. Especially a murder defendant. But maybe prosecutors really like them. That guy is about to hear a whole string of snitches parading through that courtroom. Taking you there next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Sometimes a murder trial is a little ho hum until the jailhouse snitches arrive. That's the case with the case against Martin MacNeill. The jailhouse snitches are arriving today.

Our Ted Rowlands is live in Provo, Utah.

What is parade of snitches expected to tell the court, Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a huge day in this case, Ashleigh. Five separate snitches, if you will. They're prisoners. Four are federal inmates still serving time and the other is a state inmate that met MacNeill at a county jail. They all have different stories.

Inmate number one -- their identities are being kept secret to protect them -- says MacNeill admitted the murders, how he did it. First drugged his wife, drowned her, and that he hated his wife. The others have bits and pieces of it.

Of course, a jailhouse snitch has credibility issues, by definition. One is not so good. You have two or three, maybe that gets better. The prosecution is walking a fine line here. Now, you have five of them.

It almost seems unbelievable that this guy, a doctor, a smart guy, has a law degree and an M.D., is going to be walking around admitting that he killed his wife. It's going to be a fascinating day in court. Just starting right now, at the top of the hour.

BANFIELD: Sometimes the most fascinating is a cross-examination, when you say, look, you've got to be tough when you're in prison. And sometimes, you just go all out and say things you wouldn't otherwise.

Ted Rowlands, let us know when you hear what they have to say.

Good to see you, my friend. Thanks so much.

Ted Rowlands live for us in Provo, Utah.

Want to bring in CNN's legal defense -- legal analyst and defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.

Danny, isn't it just that? That's what you do. You say if you're a defendant, I had to say stuff, I was in prison, I got to look tough.

CEVALLOS: Yeah, well, consider this when it comes to snitches. These are people that the prosecution, and in other cases, already said, this person is such a criminal, we're going to isolate him from society. This same person we think is a criminal that's in prison, we want you to believe him just on this issue. Oh, and by the way, he's motivated by the fact that we're knocking off 10 years off his sentence. Imagine if you were faced with that decision. You're not even a criminal, Ashleigh. What if someone said you could see your children five years earlier than otherwise? What would you do? What would any of us do? Would you lie?

BANFIELD: Yeah, and isn't that exactly what the defense will say? These people sing for their supper all the time, and yet, they're still humans and still telling stories, and the jurors are human, too. CEVALLOS: Consider this when it comes to credibility. Most of these snitches, their sentencing is deferred until after their testimony. Why do you think that is? Well, here's why. The prosecution has to wait and see if they like what they hear. As you said, they are singing for their supper. No question about it.

BANFIELD: But it's important, isn't it. No matter what, if you're a prosecutor and you've got a couple of people in a jail cell who have got something to say, you pull them out, don't you?

CEVALLOS: That's a big issue with snitches. Prosecutors have to use their discretion. There have been many studies show maybe they're not doing that. I don't know for sure. The prosecutor has an enormous job, a very difficult job. I don't envy the moral choices they have to make. But they have to make a decision, an independent evaluation of the credibility of these snitches, and be mindful that they do not proceed with one that lacks credibility.

BANFIELD: You know something? I got to say, all the trials that I cover, that's the moment I wait for oftentimes, is the moment the jailhouse snitches parade in and say their piece, and then get crucified on cross-examination.

(LAUGHTER)

Danny Cevallos, always good to see you. Thank you, my friend.

CEVALLOS: Thank you.

BANFIELD: That is all the time I have for you today. Thank you so much for being with us today on "LEGAL VIEW."

AROUND THE WORLD starts right now.

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of passengers and crew members scrambling to get to safety after smoke fills the cabin on board their plane. Paramedics treated people at the scene, on the tarmac in Montreal. All the details on that scary moment in a live report coming up.

Then, they criticized the U.S. for spying on world leaders, but it turns out Brazil was doing the same thing.

Plus, we're learning more about the New Jersey mall shooter. We'll hear from someone who was inside the mall during his shooting spree.

Hello, everyone. This is AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Hala Gorani. I'm in for Suzanne Malveaux, and Michael Holmes is off today.