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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Tech Chief Grilled on Obamacare Site; Baldwin's Alleged Stalker in Contempt of Court; Rob Ford Speaks at City Council Meeting.
Aired November 13, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We've got -- they don't roll out perfectly. At some point, do the Republicans risk kicking people when they're down.
WILL CANE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If who you mean by the people is the government and our bureaucrats who have famed this process, that's not the people. The people are the American people --
BANFIELD: At what point do you -- my question wasn't tell me again about the failings. Do you risk --
BANFIELD: -- being branded as someone who is over killing and then it could backfire.
CANE: Yes. I've told you this. The Republicans in charge of the megaphone over the failure of this program puts skepticism in the people's eyes. The approval rating of President Obama is plummeting. This program is a massive failure.
BANFIELD: Robert --
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First of all, the program is not in place. The bigger point that it's not in place is a failure. And the bigger concern that I have, is the Republicans when they control the House and Senate for six years did nothing to provide insurance for people with preexisting conditions or people losing their policies. The only policies that the Republicans have advocated is, in fact, turning Medicare into a voucher system for future retirees.
BANFIELD: Not withstanding the merits of all of the arguments on either site of this problem, the real numbers hemorrhaging. President Obama is at his lowest approval rating right now. There's a poll that has him at 38 percent approval. And if you look at the margin of error, he mirrors President Bush's approval rating after Katrina when people are dying. That is a big problem.
ZIMMERMAN: It's a serious problem. And the tension amongst Democrats in the House and Senate is also a serious program. If he can't get the website fixed and people can't get better deals when it's on that website, it will undermine his future legislative agenda.
I'm looking forward to what Todd Park has to say. But I do have to say, if my boss, Jeff Zucker, were taken out of this building for two days if we were in crisis, we would all be frustrated and angry.
CANE: Hopefully, he wouldn't let it get to that point.
BANFIELD: He wouldn't. I know he's watching right now.
Thank you, gentlemen.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.
BANFIELD: Thanks also to Dana Bash for bringing us the breaking news.
Other news breaking as well. This is "Legal View." So when there's a big court case involving someone like Alec Baldwin in a New York courtroom facing off against an alleged stalker. We listen in. And it turns out they both have a lot to say and, man, are they dug in.
We're back in a moment.
BANFIELD: There have been big headlines in New York over the case of Alec Baldwin and his alleged stalker from Canada. This has been a real page-turner. Because in court yesterday and today, that lady on the left of your screen has had repeated outbursts so bad that she has been ordered by the judge to serve 30 days in jail because she's being held in contempt of court. Those outbursts don't do well in front of a judge. Now it turns out she's supposed to testify in this case today. We don't even know if she's going to be able now given the contempt charge. In the meantime, this case has been nothing short of a drama that you couldn't actually write as it's and.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Alec.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Alec Baldwin was greeted by a swarm of cameras he arrived at a courthouse on Tuesday, only making this snide remark to a photographer.
BROWN: Inside, things became more dramatic as the actor faced off against his alleged stalker, Genevieve Sabourin.
GENEVIEVE SABOURIN, ALLEGED STALKER: I'm still in court because I refuse that the only option was to destroy my future.
BROWN: In his emotional testimony, Baldwin said he met her through a mutual friend. At one point, he joked back tears on the witness stand describing how she's harassed him and his wife for the past two years, sending an onslaught of disturbing voicemails and e-mails, showing up unannounced at his home in East Hampton.
On the stand, he repeatedly denied her claims that they were once lovers.
TODD SPODEX, SABOURIN'S LAWYER: She has done nothing wrong and never had the intent to harass, annoy, alarm or cause any inconvenience to Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin. She merely sought closure for a crumbling romantic relationship.
BROWN: As the Baldwins testified she made repeated outburst. "You're living," she yelled at one point. The judge, frustrated, reprimanded her for interrupting.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Her outbursts are going to be a real problem for her. This judge is assessing her demeanor and credibility. Even if she proves to the judge that they had a relationship, I don't know if that helps her.
BROWN: CNN obtained these emails, president as evidence in the proceedings. "I am less than 10 minutes away from you tonight. Say, I do, to me one," e-mail says. And in another, "I want to be your wife now, say yes."
SABOURIN: No, I'm not a stalker.
BROWN: Now that the Baldwins have taken the stand, it's her turn
(on camera): What do you plan to say tomorrow when you testify?
SABOURIN: The truth. I always say the truth.
BANFIELD: So our Pamela Brown filing that report for us. Other cameras were there as well. In fact, the CBS cameras that were positioned the outside the court room got Alec Baldwin as he was coming out saying, I'm going to choke you and what job did you do before you failed at. This is his wife as they were leaving the courthouse. He does get a lot of paparazzi. Here is the big difference. When you say things like that outside the court room, it doesn't count towards your case. When you say stuff inside the court room, you can go to jail. We'll continue to watch that for you.
We're looking at this other unbelievable case of a Missouri man who walked out of prison a free man after serving a third of his life for a murder he did not do. On his list of things to do, first, get new clothes, maybe get an ice cream. You're going to hear from Ryan Ferguson, next.
BANFIELD: OK. So I want to take you live back to Toronto. Things are getting a little crazy. In that city council meeting that we've been following live, he's speaking following just having admitted to having purchased illegal drugs. Listen in.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: Have I drank and done drugs? Yes, I have. But it's self-inflicted. And I hope, I hope that nobody, but nobody, goes through what I have gone through in the last few months.
GIORGIO MAMMOLITI, TORONTO CITY COUNCILOR: Mr. Mayor? Do you understand that there are some people on this council floor that really want to give you an opportunity and to recognize that perhaps the stress and everything else that comes along with -- with addictions, possible addictions, points to particular behavior. Mr. Mayor, do you recognize that there are a few of us that really do want to help you?
FORD: Councilor, it was not the reason I drank or did drugs was not because of stress. It was out of sheer stupidity. That's all it was. So I'm not going to blame something. I'm not going to use an excuse or cop out. I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I don't know what else I can say. I don't know what else I can say.
MAMMOLITI: There is no one else --
FORD: No one else to blame but myself.
MAMMOLITI: And there isn't anybody else to admit it except yourself.
FORD: And I have admitted it over and over. And I came out and told the world. I know I embarrassed the city.
MAMMOLITI: Let me say this to you. The only person that can admit to having an addiction problem is the person who has it.
MAMMOLITI: Mr. Mayor, that to a person that does care, I say this to you. In Ward 7, we've spent 15 years trying to get rid of gangbangers. We're trying to get rid of the influence that they bring on to our children. Mr. Mayor, in the behavior that we have seen, some of us have seen, including myself, there are pictures of individuals that don't do good to the city that you seem to have a relationship with. Do you understand that even those of us that want to help you are really concerned about these things?
FORD: Councilor, this one isolated picture in front of a garage was a one-off picture. I had never met those three men in my life. They came out and asked me to take a picture with them. And that's the god-honest truth. I have never met those people. They're in court now. I'm not part of gang bangers. I do not support them. But when someone calls out and says let's take a picture, I will take a picture. I met them once and I've never seen them again.
MAMMOLITI: Would you consider sitting down with your family, with perhaps a couple of us on council that really do want the best for you?
FORD: Councilor --
MAMMOLITI: -- and to talk about how perhaps we proceed, instead of, Mr. Mayor, instead of what's about to happen in this chamber? I don't want to see it. I don't think the city wants to see it. Mr. Mayor, listen to me. I don't think the city wants to see it. I think the best thing in this particular case is for us to talk to you and figure out what it is, if anything, we need to do to proceed in this particular case without the stone throwing, yelling and screaming and embarrassment.
FRANCES NUNZIATA, TORONTO CITY COUNCILOR: That was your last question.
FORD: Councilor, I have talked to my family. I have talked to professionals. Councilor, actions speaks louder than words. I asked for forgiveness, I've apologized, I want to move on. That's all I can say right now, Councilor. And I do appreciate your support and your sincerity.
NUNZIATA: Councilor Mihevc, question.
JOE MIHEVC, TORONTO CITY COUNIL: Thanks very much.
Mr. Mayor, the media is reporting that you are not, on the advice of your solicitor, cooperating with the police. Is that accurate?
FORD: On the advice of my lawyer, Dennis Morris, that I believe is here, he has told me do not talk to the police.
MIHEVC: Do you recognize that, you know, many of us in dealing with issues of safety and securing our warded often speak publicly or to communities that are suffering trauma when there's an incidence of violence or lack of safety that we ask the public to come forward and fully cooperate with the police? Do you not see how you, as the chief magistrate of the city, in saying that you will refuse to cooperate with the police sets the wrong kinds of signals to our community that needs to work hand in glove with the police for incidents of criminality and lack of securing their communities?
FORD: Councilor, I can only repeat what Mr. Dennis Morris told me, that I cannot talk to the police. He suggests, do not talk to the police. That's all I can say. I've answered your question. I can't get into what's before the courts now. But on -- dash on the advice of my counsel, if you want to talk to Dennis Morris, you're more than happy to talk to him. He has said, do not talk to the police. All I'm doing --
(END LIVE FEED)
BANFIELD: I've got to squeeze a quick break in here. When we come back after the break, I can't believe what I'm hearing. I'll be honest with you. When we come back, I want to try to get the piece of sound ready for you before back after this.
FORD: So I'm not.
BANFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, in what can only be described as a public intervention, the entire city council questioning mayor Rob Ford in Toronto about his addictions, his refusal to cooperate with the police, even the question did you ever purchase illegal drugs, yes. He has now just said during the commercial break, I am a positive role model for town down and out kids. I kid you not. Here he is admitting to purchasing illegal drugs a moment ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENZIL MINNAN-WONG, TORONTO CITY COUNCILOR: Mr. Mayor, do you still have a -- have zero tolerance for drugs guns, and gangs?
MINNAN-WONG: Mr. Mayor, can you tell me how that applies to you?
FORD: I just answered that question.
MINNAN-WONG: Mr. Mayor, have you purchased illegal drugs in the last two years?
FORD: Yes, I have.
MINNAN-WONG: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: OK. So there you have it. That took a long time to think through to admit. A live action continues. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
MIHEVC: My community and many people here on council to understand how you're dressing the issues. I'm not looking to embarrass you. I'm just looking --
FORD: That's long gone. Don't worry about that.
MIHEVC: -- to embarrass you any further.
FORD: Don't worry.
MIHEVC: The last thing that many people say is, take a leave of absence.
FORD: Absolutely not taking a leave of absence.
MIHEVC: Let me ask the question then because you've said you don't want to take a leave of absence. Is there some way that you can explain to us why you don't want to take a leave of absence?
FORD: There is no need for me to take a leave of absence. I'm returning my calls. I'm going to committees. I'm watching every single dime that's being spent here. I've done it for 13 years and I'm going to continue doing it for another five years, one this year and four more after October 27th.
NUNZIATA: Please, please.
MIHEVC: Do you think that taking a leave of absence and being away from here would help you address any of the problems that you may have?
FORD: I might go to Florida over the Christmas holidays with my family for maybe six days like I did last year. But I'm not missing a day of work. I never have. I never will. And again, I'm going to repeat, I'm in this council chamber probably more than any person here. No offense to anybody here, but I'll put my record against anyone else's record.
MIHEVC: Whenever you want, I'll put record to record on you. I've been here a long time.
FORD: I mean attendance records. I've only been here 13 years.
MIHEVC: I'm talking attendance --
FORD: I'm talking attendance records. I'll put my 13 years up against anybody else in this chamber.
MIHEVC: Thank you.
NUNZIATA: Thank you.
JOHN FILION, TORONTO CITY COUNCILOR: Mr. Mayor, in the past, you've voted against and spoken against board of health substance abuse programs and in a tv interview that was from some years ago that was re-aired last week, your advice for how to deal with people who had smoked crack was give them a gun. Have events, recent events taught you anything about understanding and compassion?
FORD: You're going to have to refresh my memory on which program, we've had many debates about addiction in this council chamber. It's well-known that there's a member of my family that has an addiction problem.
FILION: I'll just ask the question.
FORD: I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Counselor.
FILION: Have you learned anything about understanding and compassion?
FORD: Counselor, this is definitely been the most humiliating experience that I have ever went through in my entire life. The only other day that was worse in probably a couple days last year was when my dad died. Outside of that, it was definitely the worst week of my life.
FILION: Mayor Ford, I don't want to belabor it, but yes, it's the worst day. We understand this is painful for you. Have you learned from this experience a greater understanding of other people's problems and perhaps a greater compassion for people that have problems?
FORD: Counselor, I'm the first to help people out that have problems. I'm the first one there and the last one to leave when there is someone who has problems. And I can rattle off hundreds of people that I've sat and talked to and comforted and brought into my house and helped these people out of all ages.
(END LIVE FEED)
BANFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, I have to wrap up our coverage for the day here. I think there's another way of describing this, not just a public intervention but a public tragedy playing out. As funny as all this coverage is about this mayor and ridiculous behavior, he has two kids at home and he has a family.
AROUND THE WORLD is going to continue to cover this after the short break.