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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Russia Not Ending Snowden's Asylum; Planet Hillary, President Tomorrow?; Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Aired January 24, 2014 - 11:30   ET

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


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This case is a legend in American criminal history. And the fact that the authorities believe it's not fully solved even now is just amazing.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Former federal prosecutor, Edward McDonald, played himself in "Goodfellas."

LORRAINE BRACCO, ACTRESS, "GOODFELLAS": I don't know anything.

EDWARD MCDONALD, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Come on, you don't know anything. Don't give me the "Babe in the Woods" routine, Karen.

CARROLL: In real life, McDonald investigated the heist, now the 67- year-old is an attorney at a private firm. Decades later, he still remembers the media frenzy surrounding the heist.

MCDONALD: They were fascinated by it. And what was happening was that a lot of the people who were allegedly involved in the -- in the robbery in some form, in some way, were turning up dead.

CARROLL: McDonald says at least eight people connected to the heist were murdered before they could be brought to justice. Just last summer investigators found human remains digging in a basement in Queens. Under the former home of the late Jimmy "The Gent" Burke, portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film.

It has been widely speculated Burke was the mastermind of the heist, but it was never proven. He was arrested on unrelated charges and died in prison. Again Asaro is 78. If convicted he, too, will see his last days behind bars.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: Ashleigh, what is unclear from the indictment is what specifically led investigators to Asaro after all these years. For now, Asaro remains in custody as do the others while a judge decides what, if any, bail will be set -- Ashleigh.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Jason Carroll, thank you. And you just know we will find that out at one point in this continuing story.

Just one day after NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, held an online chat, Russia has come out to say, you are welcome, Mr. Snowden. You can stay here as long as you like.

So what does that mean for America trying to get him back? We're going to get that LEGAL VIEW next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Edward Snowden can apparently stay in Russia as long as his heart desires. Because that's the new message today from a top Russian official speaking to world leaders in Switzerland. That announcement comes just one day after the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, said that if Snowden wants to come back to the U.S. and enter a guilty plea, well, he can do that. The Justice Department would, quote, "engage" with his lawyers.

Holder did not specify what that charge should be. And therein lies the rub. And at just same time that Eric Holder was speak, Snowden himself was in an online chat from Moscow. And he answered a tweet from our very own Jake Tapper. He said that, coming back to the U.S. would be, quote, "best resolution," end quote but that it's, quote, "unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws."

I think he's using protection in very light terms there.

I want to bring back in our legal panel, HLN analyst Joey Jackson and CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara.

First, to you, Joey Jackson. A guilty plea, Eric Holder says. Come on back and just enter a guilty plea.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Come on down.

BANFIELD: We'll give you a ride from the airport. Guilty to what?

JACKSON: Well, think about it this way. Remember, back in June, he was charged with three felonies according to the felony complaint. One of the felonies had to do with disclosing national security information, the other felony national intelligence, and the other one theft of government property.

All of which are quite serious, all of which could mean he could spend his life in jail. So to your question, I don't know what his lawyers would agree to. I mean, maybe theft of government information. But I don't think and I don't take that Holder statement as an open invitation in that I don't know that his lawyers would be willing at this point with all the pressure and all the exposure to have him subject himself to the jurisdiction of the United States.

BANFIELD: So, Mark O'Mara, you're no stranger to legal parlance. In common parlance, that sounded to a lot of people like wow, plea discussion. But entering a plea does not mean plea bargaining, does it?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It doesn't. And I think -- although I don't like what Snowden did and I think he did it the wrong way, I think what he should have done was have gone to one of the senators or congressmen who have been critical of the NSA and at least given them the information rather than put it on a laptop to Russia or China. Having said that, I do think that with this special case, because there was so much more information available, that they should enter into negotiations that they normally don't. Even though they want him back first, they should continue negotiations with the -- with the lawyers and let's get him back here, more particularly, let's get the information he still has protected and then deal with it that way.

He doesn't need to spend --

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: But don't you think -- look, any kind of discussion with his lawyers, Mark, just for the sheer volume of the coverage, the intensity of the coverage, the impact that his leaks have had on our national security, on our policy-making, et cetera, et cetera. We don't even know if people have died because of this. We have no idea if someone within the CIA ranks may have died because of this.

What kind of penalty could you possibly foresee as any kind of discussion if this man were to come back and plead guilty?

O'MARA: I think he -- needs to spend several years in prison for what he did because --

BANFIELD: Several?

O'MARA: -- what he did he did the wrong way.

BANFIELD: Like many, many or?

O'MARA: Yes.

BANFIELD: What do you mean? How many?

O'MARA: No, I think several, like five or 10 or thereabouts.

BANFIELD: What?

O'MARA: I don't want to give him -- and here's why. I don't want to give him the break that that sounds like we're giving him. But if, in fact, he does have a pocketful of state secrets, of national security secrets, that he's willing to get out, then he is a dangerous combatant that we need to bring back into the fold and deal with. I don't want to treat him lightly, I don't like what he did but if he information that could still hurt us, national security takes precedence.

BANFIELD: So here's what I say to that, Councilor. And I'm actually going to bring in that other councilor, Joey Jackson, right beside me.

That's stuff out. I hate to say.

JACKSON: It's out.

BANFIELD: But most people think he gave files to Glenn Greenwald, and who knows what corruptions happened and who knows what kind of -- other kinds of hackings happened.

JACKSON: Yes. He certainly did.

BANFIELD: So what -- honestly.

JACKSON: And here's other issue.

BANFIELD: What's the upside to the U.S. government at this point? Really, to protect from further leaks?

JACKSON: Well, to Mark's issue, that's what an upside could potentially be. But the United States government does not generally engage in any types of plea bargains with people who bribe them. I'll tell you what, you offer me a plea bargain, and I won't expose other information that I have here.

In addition to that, Ashleigh, I think this is very politically charged. On the one hand you have people who say, he's a hero. My goodness, he exposed all the things the government was doing, that were illegal and improper. On the other hand, he engaged in very serious treason. And he's a traitor to his country.

And you have two major schools of thought. And in the face of such political tension, and both sides have very good point, I don't know that there'd be any plea discussion or bargain or penalty that would be agreed, that would be appropriate to either side.

BANFIELD: And just ask Target and T.J. Max how safe they think their files are.

JACKSON: It's true.

BANFIELD: And how safe he could possibly think his files are at this juncture.

JACKSON: Not at all.

BANFIELD: And whether that's even something he could ever promise anyway.

Guys, thank you. Joey Jackson and Mark O'Mara, it's always great to have you and have a wonderful weekend to both of you.

So will she or won't she? The speculation of Hillary Clinton seeking the presidency in 2016. And it gets front and center attention in a really creepy, creepy-looking cover on "The New York Times" magazine coming out this weekend.

Going to get the political view from Wolf Blitzer and we're going to get the aesthetics view because, you know what, optics are important.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: This news just in to CNN, the Republican National Committee has voted to tighten up some of its rules. Its presidential nomination schedule. If that sounds boring to you it should. Because what they're going to do is they're going to move the GOP convention from late summer to before summer to June.

There is a really good reason for this. The goal is to shorten all that time that the Republican presidential wannabes just go after each other and chew each other up, eating their own effectively. They also want to really maximize the amount of time that a nominee can go after the other guys, the Democrats.

And this much is certain. The Republican convention of 2016 will be the earliest in either party since the year 1948. So if you got sick of all that politicking, that's good news. And if you absolutely loved it, you'll just have to TiVo it and replay it.

So some people love it and some people some hate it, and some people just think this was bound to happen. Not a Hillary Clinton campaign for president 2016 but instead, a cover like this one.

Planet Hillary on this Sunday's "New York Times" magazine. The story inside discusses the gravitational pull of the former first lady, the former U.S. senator, the former secretary of state and potential candidate for the role that she lost to Barack Obama back in -- 2008.

Wolf Blitzer knows that universe as well as anybody else, and before I even ask you the first question about that magazine cover, I want to ask you about this new poll that's come out. Voter's picks. This is Democratic voter's picks for 2016. And it is astronomical.

I'll just stick with the theme. There's Clinton at the top, 65 percent. And the person next to her comes in at 8 percent, Joe Biden. I think this is a simple question. Is it case closed in terms of who is supposed to be the nominee for the Democrats for the next term?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: It's -- she's certainly the frontrunner. It's hers to lose right now. But it's happened before, remember in 2008. You go back to 2006, two years before the election, in 2008, the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, he wasn't even on that list of potential presidential candidates.

So there's still plenty of time for someone to emerge and challenge her if that person is so inclined. I don't know if there is somebody so inclined. She has a lot going for her within the Democratic Party, within that Democratic base. History to a certain degree, we've now had the first African-American president. If elected, she would be the first woman president of the United States.

A lot of people will find that very, very attractive. So she's got a formidable record, she's got a formidable base out there. But it's not a done deal yet.

BANFIELD: And again, I'm going to hold off on the -- what I think is an appalling front cover imagery. Look, women are subject to so much more scrutiny than men are in TV, in politics, what they wear, what their makeup is, how much they spend, and all the rest, it's such a big old issue, right or wrong. And then that comes out, which she's -- it's very unflattering of the former secretary of state.

I'm going to ask about that in a minute, but first, her reputation. She's sort of got competing reputations. And I wonder what this battle is going to be for whatever team she may employ. One is that this extraordinarily popular for much of her term as secretary of state, very organized and very well-liked all around the world. And then the other is this magnet for drama, which has also followed her throughout her career.

How are they going to accommodate for that on a team if she had such team?

BLITZER: Well, she's -- obviously if she decides to run, if she hasn't made that decision yet, my own inclination is she almost certainly will unless -- unless there is some health reason or something along those lines that precludes her from doing so.

Remember about a year or so ago, she did have a blood clot in her brain. And that's a serious problem. I think by all accounts, right now she's feeling great, she's doing great, she looks great. So my sense is, based on everything I'm hearing from people who know her a lot better than I do, she really would like to be the first woman president of the United States, the next president, succeeding Barack Obama, but she hasn't formally made -- finally made that decision.

I don't think she will until after the midterm elections. But there's so many things happening right now, pushing her in that direction. So many Democrats pushing her, all these organizations now for all practical purposes endorsing her. So it's going to be hard for her to say no. But as I say, she's got some time.

BANFIELD: So --

BLITZER: She is a formidable person. She does have a lot of drama as we all know going back 20 years.

BANFIELD: Yes. Definitely.

BLITZER: But at the same she's got a lot of achievements.

BANFIELD: She does.

BLITZER: She was the United States senator from New York.

BANFIELD: But the question is, Wolf --

BLITZER: She was the secretary of state for four years.

BANFIELD: The question is, and I'm just going to have to wrap it quickly and bundle it into that photograph or that morphed, whatever it is, planet image, on the front page. She is going to have a lot of work to do with image. And how her image is spun by whatever team she might employ. And a cover like this, she's not going to like this. Nobody is going to like this.

How do you deal with the kind of image that gets out there that surely her critics are going to promulgate?

BLITZER: I don't think she's all that worried about that. Between you and me, I've known her now for 20 years, I don't think she really takes that kind of "New York Times" Sunday magazine cover all that seriously.

The article itself describes her. And I think when you go through the whole article, you see all the players, the new ones, the old ones, the old Clintonites, the new Clintonites, if you will, the relationship she has with her -- with her husband, certainly the relationship with Chelsea, her daughter.

People will -- they either like her or they don't like her.

BANFIELD: OK. All right.

BLITZER: I think she's got a great shot at getting the Democratic nomination. But then, she's got to win the general election and that certainly is by no means a done deal either.

BANFIELD: There's a lot of talk ahead on this for sure.

Wolf, thank you.

Be sure to watch Wolf this afternoon at 1:00 and then at 5:00 Eastern as well for "THE SITUATION ROOM."

So he says he just wanted to give a lesbian couple their dream of a child. But now judge says that the man who acted as sperm donor now has to pay child support. What? Can you legally do that? Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: A sperm donor in Kansas is caught in the middle of a child support case, and he actually might have to cough up some money here. Again, he's a donor.

William Marotta donated sperm to a lesbian couple so that they could have a child. But when they separated and then one of them stopped working and applied for the state for some financial help, well, the state came after Marotta and asked for child support. And now a court has ruled he has to pay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM MAROTTA, SPERM DONOR: If the state of Kansas have the ability for two women to put their name on a birth certificate, I don't think I would be here now. If the state of Kansas allowed same-sex marriages, I don't think I would be here now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Here's the weird part. Marotta says that he signed a document that waived his parental rights. But here's where it's complicated. Since there was no doctor present for the actual artificial insemination, the state says that it considers Marotta the dad.

Think about it for a minute. Of course, he's the dad. His DNA would show that.

Let's bring in Joey Jackson to clear this all up.

JACKSON: Yes, to clear it all up.

BANFIELD: Yes --

(LAUGHTER)

So here's what I don't understand. He doesn't deny he's the dad.

JACKSON: Right.

BANFIELD: He said that was all part of the plan. That we signed a document saying, I'm good, it's all up to you now. What difference does it make, to quote Hillary Clinton, how the person was inseminated when the agreement was signed?

JACKSON: It's a great point. But there are rules and there are regulations, right? And the state has an interest. And the state says that you need to have a doctor present, right?

BANFIELD: Yes.

JACKSON: To do these inseminations because the state wants to ensure the health and safety of everyone. The state wants to impose regulations. The state wants to avoid the argument as to whether or not it was a consensual relationship or did I agree to waive. So in order to do that, there are these rules.

Now at the end of the day, though, Ashleigh, I think that it's form over substance. In the event that there was an agreement between the parties, I'm not going to be the dad, I'm just going to provide you with the mechanism by which you get pregnant, the sperm. And I have no other responsibilities. The fact that there was not a doctor present, to me, is form over substance.

And the general gist of this, which is I will give you my sperm to have a baby, should be honored. Apparently a judge doesn't agree with me, though.

BANFIELD: So this is one state, and there are many states.

JACKSON: Yes.

BANFIELD: And everybody has, you know, nuances in their state's law. If anybody is watching out there, and there are so many thousands of people who consider artificial insemination, sperm donors, et cetera.

JACKSON: Sure.

BANFIELD: What boxes do you have to check to make sure that you never end up in a circumstance like this?

JACKSON: Absolutely, and the boxes are the rules. OK? Because at the end of the day, as you mentioned, we are a big society. We have these 50 states and every state is allowed through their governor and elected legislature to make the rules that are most appropriate. In this particular state, the rule was that you have a doctor to ensure the insemination is safe and sound and all is good.

BANFIELD: You might not need that in California or another state.

JACKSON: Exactly. Now in the event that you don't follow that rule, it becomes a problem and you have an issue like here, where you have someone who didn't bargain for this. He simply wanted to provide the sperm.

BANFIELD: He's doing a favor.

JACKSON: Now -- he's doing a favor. Now you pay child support? It's interesting. If we took a poll, I wonder how many people would think he should pay child support versus --

BANFIELD: I bet you all the taxpayers in that state.

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Yes, absolutely.

BANFIELD: Right.

JACKSON: The taxpayers, right.

BANFIELD: I don't want to be on the hook for this. It's such a weird case.

JACKSON: It really is.

BANFIELD: And I feel bad for the guy.

JACKSON: But it's not over yet. I think through the appellate process and that's (INAUDIBLE).

BANFIELD: Possibly relief.

JACKSON: Yes. Maybe we'll see the policy that, look, at the end of the day, maybe he doesn't have to pay after all.

BANFIELD: Supreme Court?

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Who knows if it goes that far but it could.

BANFIELD: Have a good weekend.

JACKSON: And you. Even better one.

BANFIELD: Even better.

JACKSON: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: We'll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: A Texas court could decide the fate of a pregnant woman today. Her family says she is brain dead and that her fetus is developing abnormally. They say they want to remove her ventilator, but the hospital says that it's following state law and keeping her on the ventilator because she is pregnant. An argument that is in much dispute.

In California, another woman is accusing a former teacher of sexually abusing her in middle school. That teacher quit her job after a first alleged victim confronted her by telephone and then posted the whole thing -- the whole conversation on YouTube. The second woman's attorney says they hope that this case will prompt changes in the system so that it doesn't happen again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUIS CARRILLO, ATTORNEY: What we want is that anything that a child or a parent says about a teacher or administrator complaining about conduct toward their child should be recorded and reported in a document that is kept in the files of the teacher administrator for 20 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Officials with the school district have declined to comment on any of the allegations up until now.

He is known as the most hated man on the Internet and the king of revenge port. And now Hunter Moore is facing charges including felony hacking. The 27-year-old is accused of breaking into people's e-mail accounts to steal nude photos and then post them online. Charming.

Moore founded the Web site that encouraged jilted men to post illicit explicit photos of their exes. 25-year-old Charles Evans is also charged. Keeping it classy.

Thanks for watching, everybody. Have a great weekend. "AROUND THE WORLD" starts right now.