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Al Qaeda Leader In Yemen's Presidential Palace; Saudi Arabia Leading Air Campaign In Yemen; U.N. To Discuss Yemen Conflict Today; White House Goes On Offense In Selling Agreement; Al-Shabaab: Cities Will "Run Red With Blood"; New Analysis Of 150 DNA Profiles That Were Identified; Defense Claims Tsarnaev Followed Brother's Wishes; "Furious" Box Office Projections. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 4, 2015 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: There we go. There it is, live picture for you as it is happening. In the east it's going to be tough to see because of the sunrise is going to compromise your view so do not worry about it. We will have it up for you all morning so you can still catch it.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Watch it throughout the morning. There's a lot of news to tell you about this morning.

PAUL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

In just a few hour, the U.N. Security Council is meeting in an emergency session to talk about the growing violence in Yemen, this as new pictures appear to show an al Qaeda leader taking over one of the country's presidential palaces.

BLACKWELL: President Obama going on the offensive with an Iran nukes deal on the table. The administration is now trying to drum up congressional support.

PAUL: Dozens of students on board a school bus when the unthinkable happened. Look at this, a car speeding out of control coming right at them, head on. We have the incredible video that's just been released.

BLACKWELL: Good morning. It's always good to be with you, 7:00 here on the east coast. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. Happy Saturday to you.

BLACKWELL: We're starting this morning with the dramatic new developments with that conflict in Yemen. We have new images of a senior al Qaeda leader inside a presidential palace there in Southern Yeman. Khaled Batarfi and more than 200 others were freed from prison by al Qaeda militants that happened earlier this week.

PAUL: This is coming as the U.N. is getting ready to meet this morning so they can discuss a humanitarian pause in Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states in an air campaign against Shiite Houthi fighters who seized Yemen's capital.

Let's bring in CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson. Nic, what can you tell us about, first of all, what we know or don't know about this al Qaeda leader that's in these pictures today.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I mean, he is a significant al Qaeda leader in Yemen. He has been in jail for about four or five years. The fact that he was sprung from jail and is now they are making a whole set of publicity campaign of showing him inside of the presidential palace in the city.

He was formally being held in jail shows that this is a big triumph for al Qaeda. What al Qaeda will try to do is maximize the opportunities of the turmoil in Yemen at the moment to try to take control as they have done before of whole provinces and towns and used them to gain strength to put down roots to build training camps.

That of course is everyone's worst nightmare. For the Saudi officials on this side of the border their concerns is not that al Qaeda will come across the border and strike them here, but also the Houthi rebels are threatening to come and invade Saudi Arabia.

We got a chance to go to the border to see how the Saudis are preparing for that.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Used sand bags and stepped up security, yards from Yemen, Houthi rebels just across the border.

Saudi border guards show us preparations for a war they hope will not happen. They're told to be ready for anything.

LT. COL. HAMAD AL AHMARI, SAUDI NATIONAL BORDER GUARD: We will remind them that this is our country, and we have to defend with our lives. They're happy to defend themselves.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Just over there that's the Yemeni border post and riding along here with the border guards just a few months ago we did not have to wear the jackets and helmets. Now they say that the situation has changed. It's a lot more dangerous.

(voice-over): Army tanks have been brought in to back them up.

AL AHMARI: It's a case of any movement on the other side.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So it's very close about half a mile to the border.

AL AHMARI: Yes, that right.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): No sign here of an impending Saudi ground force innovation. To the east and the mountains one border guard has already been killed and several injured in a recent Houthi attack. The Yemeni rebels have also threatened to invade and attack Islam's two holiest sites. Over here, that's dismissed as just talk.

AL AHMARI: We're defending and that's talking. They're talking. OK.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A few miles away at the main border crossing is relatively busy almost like business as usual until you ask the Yemeni merchants crossing the sell their goods.

It's not stable this man tells us. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad. As we drive away from the border, more tanks and more heavy armor move in, tensions here far from over.


[07:05:01] ROBERTSON: You know just standing here in the last 2 minutes I have heard the Saudi jets flying overhead. They're continuing their airstrikes inside Yemen.

One of the towns that they're targeting is a Houthi stronghold just across the border here and just over the mountains. So it's very much still despite the call for a U.N. Security Council meeting, the Saudi air campaign still very much ongoing here -- Christie.

PAUL: All right, Nic Robertson, you and the crew stay safe there. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in CNN military analyst, Lt. General Mark Hertling. General, officials in the west consider al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, is the most dangerous branch of al Qaeda. What stands out to me is this Arab coalition is focused so tightly on the Houthis, I wonder, are they going to completely ignore AQAP and leave this territory to AQAP and ISIS that we see in the area?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Victor, the Saudi Arabian coalition is attempting to get the Houthis back to the table. What you have -- the situation in Yemen is such that both the Houthis and the previous Yemeni government were countering al Qaeda.

So you had two groups that were fighting the presence of al Qaeda in Yemen. Now those two groups that used to be focused on Al Qaeda are fighting each other and no one is paying attention to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

So they have been allowed through the lapses in security, through the lack of government infrastructure to support the jailhouses as you saw the al Qaeda escapes. No one is paying attention to them.

So the focus of Saudi Arabia is get the Houthis back to the table and try to rebuild the Yemeni government and come to a consensus there. That's the issue.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the success that they are having if you can call it that, a Saudi source tells CNN that Houthis have been removed from the presidential palace, an important part of (inaudible) already. Do you think that they'll be able to get the Houthis back to the table? HERTLING: Well, the Saudi coalition is certainly damaging the Houthi coalition. They are inflicting a great deal of casualties, but also some casualties on civilians as well. It's a dangerous situation. It's attempting to pressure the Houthis to say that we have to bring the government back together.

But so far, I mean, it's only been about a week, a little more than a week. So far it's not had much of an affect to draw the leaders of the Houthis to get back with President Hadi and bring back a government to Yemen to get these forces under control.

BLACKWELL: We see that the Saudis certainly have the resources for the fight. But do you think that the U.S. will get involved in any greater role and offering them logistical support at this point?

HERTLING: Boy, Victor, from a military standpoint, I certainly hope not. I think we're supporting the coalition with area refueling, with some intelligence, and I think that's about the limit we should go in this part of the world.

Again the pressure should be brought to bear on getting the diplomacy going again and having the two sides meet. America does not need to be doing more things in a different country there.

But we certainly do want a stable government in this critically important country so al Qaeda does not get a foothold and get ungoverned spaces again from which to launch attacks.

BLACKWELL: All right, General Hertling, thank you so much.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: Meanwhile, the White House is going on the offensive this morning trying to sell the nuclear deal with Iran to members of Congress.

BLACKWELL: Over the last 24 hours, everyone from President Obama to officials at the State Department have been calling these lawmakers and they are trying to make their case as to why these current details of the deal maybe the best option for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

PAUL: Let's bring in CNN's national correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty, who is live outside the White House right now. Good morning to you, Somlin. Who has the president specifically at this point called in order to try to get the point across about this deal?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, it's a long list. The White House knows they have a lot of convincing to do. The president is personally working the phones. He has called directly to members of Congress including the top four congressional leaders on the Hill.

He's also calling world leaders, those who are skeptical of this deal including the Saudis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been very vocal in his opposition to this deal.

On Air Force One last night, President Obama reached out to the leaders of the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar and top administration officials are also standing out well, holding an outreach to specific groups, conference call last night happening between administration officials and Jewish American leaders here in the U.S.

But there's an intense focus, of course, on Capitol Hill where a lot of skepticism is between both Republicans and members of the president's own party. When they get back from recess, they're moving forward to a bill that could potentially give them an up or down vote.

They hope on any final deal that gets worked out. The White House has issued a veto threat on this bill. They say that it's dangerous and would really undercut the negotiations.

[07:10:07] They say the alternative to this deal would be war and that's exactly the argument that President Obama laid out himself in the weekly address.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Here in the United States, I expect a robust debate. We'll keep Congress and the American people fully briefed on the substance of the deal. As we engage in this debate, let's remember we really only have three options for dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

Bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, which will only set its program back a few years while starting another war in the Middle East. Abandoning negotiations and hoping for the best with sanctions even though that's always lead to Iran making more progress in its nuclear program, or a robust and verifiable deal like this one that peacefully prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.


SERFATY: This is an aggressive full court press by members of the administration and President Obama himself, Christie and Victor, and the one that will continue in the months ahead.

PAUL: All righty, good to know. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, terror leaders are promising more bloodshed in Kenya. We are hearing as the manhunt kicks into high gear for the mastermind behind that deadly attack at the university in Kenya that left nearly 150 people dead.

PAUL: We're learning more about a woman who hid during the rampage and is just now this morning emerging a couple of days later here and talking about this horrible story. At least it's a story of survival. Wait until you hear what she has to say about how she was able to stay alive.

BLACKWELL: Plus what does 60 miles an hour coming right at you look like? You have to see this video, a school bus driver and dozens of students on board. One bus, you will see this. They all know too well, a video you got to see coming up.

PAUL: There's a look at the live picture of the first of two lunar eclipses visible this year in the U.S. This is a NASA camera and thanks to all of the folks making it possible there. The total eclipse expected to begin in about 40 minutes. There you see it.



PAUL: Stunning new developments coming to us this morning out of Kenya. Another survivor has just been discovered as, of course, these other families are mourning the people that they loved that were killed in Thursday's horrifying massacre at a college.

This woman who just came forward today apparently hid for two days in a closet after heavily armed al-Shabaab militants attacked the campus. They killed 147 people. The terror group also this morning says that it's not done yet and threatening another blood bath and warning Kenya's cities will, quote, "run red with blood."

BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about that promise and these attacks with Jonathan Gilliam. He is with us now. He is a former Navy SEAL and FBI agent.

We saw back in 2013 the attack on the mall and the numbers there and score of people killed. Now we have 150 nearly killed at this university what is learned from one event to the next? There were people arrested after Westgate. What's the value of the people who have been arrested now? What can you learn from them?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, human intelligence is always important because they'll you, you know, if you can get the information out of them, you are going to learn more about what their upcoming plans are, who actually is in the lead and you can kind of understanding who is leading the operations and what they're mind set is.

But you know, I went -- when I was flying here yesterday, I went through the history of all the attacks of al-Shabaab and what's just as important is actually having human intelligence is actually looking at how their tactics and techniques have changed and what's involved.

You know, that particular attack in the mall signified really a shift to these large soft targets where lots of people congregate and before 2013, it was really like throwing a grenade in or shooting one to four people. Now as we the numbers are up to 150.

BLACKWELL: Because they are in this competition as well. We've talked about the competition between al Qaeda and ISIS, a global Jihadist superiority. Al-Shabaab wants to be a part of this conversation too.

GILLIAM: They all do and what's interesting is if you look at the names of the different groups, they all have a significant meeting. Al-Shabaab has to do with the youth movement. The reality is it is all one ideology. It's just competing groups or specific beliefs.

But ultimately what is going to happen is even if, you know there's a mighty war between Sunni and Shia, for instance, some of these groups kind of lean one way or the other. The reality is that it's still a movement. So whoever the victor is between that rift is still going to move forward regardless.

BLACKWELL: Jonathan, let's talk about security in Kenya. We saw that there were 10,000 police recruits reportedly who were on hold because of some civil liberties concerns, but the president said let's pass them through because we need security now. What is the security situation there?

GILLIAM: Well, it's not good. It's a little bit better than Yemen it looks like, but here is the reality of security. Yemen maybe less technically advanced in the United States. We are very advance in the technology we have to fight terrorism.

But myself as a trained attacker and a thinker that thinks unconventionally it does not matter what technology you have, I will the find the way to defeat it if you give me the right guys. What is very difficult to defeat are aware humans.

If Kenya really steps up to the plate in awareness and they know these things are going to happen. They know they're a target, that's really going to be their ultimate defense. I don't see that because if you're being warned that it's going to happen and you know, that it's happened before.

And these guys are saying that there's going to be another blood bath, they have to start stepping up their awareness and thinking like the attackers so they can pre-think some of these attacks.

BLACKWELL: But can you get to those four or five guys because the report after Westgate was that there were probably four or five shooters and maybe they were all killed in the back and forth with investigators with the military. How do you get to the four or five who are planning the next one?

GILLIAM: Well, that's where the human intelligence. If you can capture somebody instead of killing them, you know, you can get information out of them. The reality is, just like I was talking awareness, sources are the best intel that you can get.

You can put satellites up and planes and all these operations, but if you get the right source, that's always going to give you the information so they really need to be pressing not just because a lot of the information warning of the attack did not come from Kenya, it came from outside sources.

Outside sources need to be stepping up their games. They know that it's a hot bed and information sharing needs to happen.

BLACKWELL: Once the intelligence community there in Kenya get it, that they have to --

GILLIAM: They have to act on it.

BLACKWELL: Jonathan Gilliam, thank you so much -- Christi.

[07:20:08] PAUL: All righty, ahead on crash at 60 miles an hour. This is what happened to dozens of students and a school bus driver, and it was all caught on the bus' camera. We're going to show you that newly released video next.

Plus we are going to show you this live picture of the lunar eclipses this morning shot from the Griffiths Observatory in Los Angeles. Thank you to the folks there and NASA putting it all up for us to see.

Total eclipse is only expected to last about 4 minutes, 43 seconds. If you cannot see it in the east because the sunrise is going to interrupt your view, keep it here and we're going show it to you when it happens. It's called the blood moon.



PAUL: It's 24 minutes past the hour. I want to share with you some of the other stories that are developing now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, an American woman has been arrested and accused of trying to join ISIS. According to court documents, 30-year-old Keonna Thomas posted statements on Twitter that lead officials to believe that she was trying to support the terrorist organization. She also allegedly conducted online research into various indirect travel routes to Syria. If convicted, she could face 15 years in prison.

PAUL: A school bus dash cam captures one heck of a scene. Look at this here, it's just been released, 60 miles an hour coming right at you there.

She cannot do anything. She can do nothing but wait. That's the view from that dash cam. Wrong way driver slams into that school bus full of middle schoolers. Thankfully none of the kids on board suffered any serious injuries.

[07:25:07] The bus driver was protected when his air bag deployed. The police say they are investigating whether that driver of the van may have had a seizure while driving.

BLACKWELL: Wow. A live look here, we have sky watchers. It's happening, 5-minute total nearly, a total lunar eclipse. We're about 25 minutes away from the total black out here. The eclipse will only last for about 4 minutes and 43 seconds. That's the shortest one of the century. While people west of the Mississippi River will have the best view or at least partial eclipse will be visible across the entire country.

PAUL: And if you're in the east where it's interrupted by the sun rise, just keep it because we'll be showing it to you throughout the morning.

BLACKWELL: Certainly will.

PAUL: Well, crews recovered the second black box from that Germanwings crash in the Alps. We will look at the answers that it's going hold.

BLACKWELL: Plus with news this week the co-pilot hid his mental illness from his employers. Could that be happening with pilots here in the U.S and around the world? Our experts weigh in.



BLACKWELL: Hiding for safety in a closet eating lotion to survive with no food or water. That's how one young woman escapes almost certain death when al-Shabaab militants attack a college in Northeastern Kenya. She emerged today two days after the attack that killed 147 people. She is now being checked out at the hospital.

PAUL: Also this morning, we have new images to share with you of a senior al Qaeda leader reportedly inside a presidential palace in Southern Yemen. We have to add that CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of these photos just yet.

But Khaled Batarfi and more than 200 others were freed from prison by al Qaeda militants earlier this week. Later this morning, the U.N. is meeting to discuss the conflict there Yemen because the country seems to just be spiraling into a state of chaos.

BLACKWELL: We are getting new details as to what we can expect in the coming days from the investigation into Germanwings Flight 9525 that crashed. There will be more analysis of the flight data recorder, which recently revealed that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz purposely used the controls to speed up the plane's descent.

Plus, investigators are also taking a closer look at other elements. Among them mobile phones found at the crash sites. Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley who is in Dusseldorf with the latest. Will, good morning.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Yes, the task force here in Germany that's been set up to look at every aspect of this crash investigation will begin its work on Tuesday. They've taken a break for the Easter holiday.

But the work to analyze the contents of that second black box and the flight data recorder does continue. The first analysis just revealed really horrifying details about those final minutes of Flight 9525.

As you said, Andreas Lubitz, he engaged the auto pilot to 100 feet. He moved the plane down towards the French Alps and then several times keep increasing the speed eventually bringing the aircraft right into that mountain range at 420 miles an hour.

Killing everybody on board instantly after eight terrifying minute where the cockpit recorder could hear people screaming in the background. It's just been an awful week of details as they continue to merge here.

The cell phones that you mentioned -- there were 40 cell phones, many of them seriously damaged, recovered from the crash site, and the work is under way now to look and see what can be extracted from those devices perhaps video.

There was a leak video claims a video had been leaked by the German tabloid, "Bild." Of course, crash investigators denied the existence of that video, but there were a number of phones, some of them had sim cards. There's a chance that perhaps there could be videos that could be analyzed and provide more clues into the final moments of this crash.

Also the very sad process of identifying the remains that were recovered, they now have 150 DNA profiles, but it will be many months before the families receive the official confirmation that their loved ones had been identified, Victor, just a difficult and continuing investigation here in Germany.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and we have to remember in the center of all this, there are those families who are hoping that maybe they can bring some part of their family members home to get some closure to this. Will Ripley, thank you so much.

PAUL: And joining us now for more, Les Abend, CNN aviation analyst and a 777 captain and also Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Thank you both so much for being with us.

I want to take a look at this investigation and where it's focused now. First of all, Will just mentioned the 40 mobile phones. Les, what do you think we can learn from those?

LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I am not sure just how much other than the fact that we can get confirmation of what the cockpit voice recorder was saying and what digital flight data recorder was saying. Who knows at that point, I mean, 8 minutes is a long time, but it takes a lot of guts to get that phone out and film something that apparently is an impending doom.

PAUL: Mary, is there anything specific you think can be gleaned from the phones?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I think that there are two things. One if there's anything on the phones the families would want it. I have worked with families that lost loved ones in plane crashes and both flights on September 11, 2011, which was, you know, murder- suicide.

And they want to know what's on those phones. Sometimes there are loved messages to their loved ones and in this case what happened to them in the final minutes will be important in their family's cases against Lufthansa. So it serves a couple of folds purpose. PAUL: Les, what about the analysis of the 150 DNA profiles that have been identified that Will mentioned as well. Where does that go from here?

ABEND: Well, you know I just more to what Mary was saying, you know, this is just sort of as I hate to use the terminology closure for the families to confirm that they're indeed the family members were on board.

[07:35:12] You know, it's just unfortunately the horrific nature of this accident is going to require that kind of scientific forensics to just verify each victim.

PAUL: Yes, you know, this investigation I have to say it seems as though, you know, almost every day we're learning some new detail, Mary. Are you impressed, surprised at the speed of the investigation?

SCHIAVO: Well, no, at first in any crash investigation things happen very quickly. In the United States for example, the NTSB does release as soon as they get it transcribed and they have some reasonable confidence with their transcription, they do release the transcript of the cockpit voice recording.

So you know, they have been a lot of concerns about the leaks about it. In the U.S., you don't have to leak. The NTSB will release it right away and then the flight data recorder, that takes a lot longer. I am surprised that they already have released information from.

And ordinarily what you have to do is take all of these different parameters and there's 500 bits of data about the equipment on board the plane and the controls, et cetera, and you have to go through it. It looks like spikes on an EKG when you read it out of the flight data recorder.

So that's been very speedy and the briefings from the investigators are very helpful. In fact they should do daily briefings, and it could cut down on the leaks. The BEA is very well known, very accomplished, and very experienced sadly there have been a lot of French crashes lately, but they're experienced investigation agency so far so good.

PAUL: Yes, you just hope that some of the information will give some sort of comfort or closures to the family members, first and foremost. Mary Schiavo and Les Abend, thank you both so much.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: A life or death decision will be soon made in the trial of the Boston marathon bomber. Closing arguments set to begin. We're going to take a closer look at the case made by lawyers for Dzkhorar Tsarnaev. Will this be enough to save his life?

Plus the cop who went on an infamous rant against an Uber driver has now apologized. Here what he had to say about this angry tyraid.

Also next hour a tropical get away turns into a pretty frightening trip. What caused a Delaware family, the whole family to land in a hospital?

And we are almost there, getting close.

PAUL: Look at that little thing left.

BLACKWELL: Total eclipse of the moon caught here by the cameras at the Griffiths Observatory in L.A. All right, just a little bit left. That's about to go.



PAUL: Closing arguments set for Monday in the trial of Boston marathon bomber, Dzkhorar Tsarnaev. The 21-year-old facing 30 criminal counts in connection to 2013's attack that left three dead and more than 260 injured. More than half of those charges carry the death penalty.

Now lawyers for Tsarnaev are not disputing his role. They argued though that he was influenced by his late brother, Tamerlan. Prosecutors called more than 90 witnesses, some of whom presented some really emotional testimony.

Let's talk to HLN legal analyst, Joey Jackson and CNN commentator and legal analyst, Mel Robbins as well. Good morning to both of you. Mel, you saw the evidence. The prosecutor's case lasted 15 days and defense just 6 hours. What do you think is the most detrimental evidence against him?

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR/LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in terms of what is going to move a jury to vote for the death penalty, it has to be what the prosecution closed with, Christi and Joey. They closed with photographs of the blown apart bodies of the three victims from the Boston marathon that left the jurors in tears and the last line of the prosecution's case, Christi, was he was only 8 years old.

Of course, referring to Martin Richards, so I think the visual evidence, the trauma and the devastation, the targeting of the Boston marathon, that in of itself just such a gruesome disgusting nature to this terrorist act, that it's going to be hard for the defense to overcome that -- Christi.

PAUL: Joey, do you think that is the most damaging piece of evidence for him because remember we also have that video of him setting that backpack down and then walking away.

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, Christie. Good morning to you and good morning, Mel. I think what the strategy from the prosecution has been all along is really threefold. I call it the strategy of triangulation. Initially, you can remember when they started off in the prosecution in the case.

They began by talking about the compelling nature of the carnage left behind. Interviewing the victims who were dismembered and speaking about those who had died. That was the one phase and you could really connect with that because there were victims here.

The whole community and the whole nation was victimized, but these people in particular. The second thing, of course, is speaking to the prosecution the radicalization and why he engaged in this activity by looking at his tweets and looking at the "Inspire" magazine for how he made the pressure cooker.

And then the final aspect of it was the aftermath, the callousness, and the purchasing of the milk and the returning of the milk, killing of the MIT police officer and the shootout with the police and the attempt to get away.

So I think doing all of those three things the prosecution really brought it home to really convey the message that he is guilty. He is guilty all of the acts that he is charged with. The next phase which we'll go he certainly and the prosecution will be arguing, would be eligible and should get the death penalty.

PAUL: OK, so, Mel, you know, the defense witnesses put all of the bomb making materials in the Jihadist literature in Tamerlan's hands specifically. One witness said that the room off the apartment kitchen rooked like a construction zone and had his Tamerlan's prints all over everything, duct tape, glass jar filled with nails, a how to book on wiring. Is that enough to solely blame the brother here?

ROBBINS: Well, no, definitely not. It's a great point, Christie, but as Joey mentioned you have video of Dzkhorar standing behind the Richard family and putting the backpack down and walking away. So he knew full well what was going on. He knew exactly what he was doing.

And when he wrote the message in the boat explaining why, he meant to do it. Now the question is there are 30 counts and 17 of which carry the death penalty. The reason why the defense is kind of picking at the details on who is the master mind versus who was the follow on left holding the bag, you may see a couple of counts get thrown out.

[07:45:10] You may see counts related to building the weapon of mass destruction result in a not guilty verdict. That's one of the reasons why they're focused on that. They're cherry picking certain counts right now because if they can get a couple thrown out, they can use that fact with the jury when they go to argue their case.

What's the defense's case in the death penalty phase? It's that this was Tamerlan's idea. Dzkhorar was a troubled kid. He was isolated. He was not radicalized. He was looking at Facebook like any other kid. He was tweeting about sleeping in the morning the bomb went off and he was left holding the bag and now you should spare him -- Christie.

PAUL: Yes, all right, so Joey, really quickly here, as we glimpse ahead the final arguments on Monday, what are the two keys?

JACKSON: Well, the key is the prosecution again will bring home their theory of the case and that's not he was not only an active participant in this case, but he's guilty of all of the things charged for the reason that I mentioned, the plotting, the carnage, the radicalization and look what he did after, how callus.

And for the defense, of course, I think they will be brief. They have already admitted, Christie, to what the liability is. He is guilty, but the defense will stake on the fact that now we get to explain why he did what he did.

That's what he left off on and that is the big brother was the one that radicalized him and compelled and controlled him to do what he did. They will get to that in the next phase.

PAUL: All right, Mel Robbins and Joey Jackson, we always so appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being with us.

JACKSON: A pleasure, Christie, have a great day.

WHITFIELD: You too, thanks.

BLACKWELL: It's a holiday weekend. Spend some time with family. You'll eat some good foods and maybe head to the movies too. If you're into action movies, there's a good chance that you will see the seventh installment of the popular "Fast and Furious" series starring the late Paul Walker. We'll take a look at how the movie pays tribute to Walker.

All right, let's check in, a live look at the moon. We're getting that red tone now.

PAUL: See. You said that it was going to be a black scene.

BLACKWELL: We have to thank the Griffiths Observatory in L.A. for the shot and thanks for NASA for putting it up for us. A total eclipse is expected to begin in a couple of minutes. We're close.




PAUL: The Box Office furiously for the seventh installment of the popular "Fast and Furious" series starring the late Paul Walker. Apparently the film is already beating even the most optimistic projections for its opening weekend. It's expected to rake in up to $140 million. I mean, at this point that should be the biggest hit.

BLACKWELL: I mean, that's huge. CNN's Paul Vercammen has more on why this weekend's opening is turning lots of heads in Hollywood.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paul Walker how tight this cast became before the release of the first "Fast and Furious."

PAUL WALKER: You hear about egos and blah, blah, blah, but everyone in this we got along really well.

VERCAMMEN: Now mention Walker to his co-stars, emotions flow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had the best spirit. He was the best guy to be around in the world. He is very missed.

VERCAMMEN: Walker died in late 2013, riding in a 600 horse power Porsche that wrecked. Impromptu memorial sprung up, 5,000 fans paid respects.

VANESSA RAMIREZ, FAN: He was a very genuine person with a big heart. He wasn't like every other celebrity.

VERCAMMEN: No doubt Walker connected with his fans so much because he seemed so anti-Hollywood, no entourage, no shameless publicity stunts. His generosity legendary, anonymously buying this $9,000 wedding ring for a newlywed soldier who could not afford it. A decade and three children later Kristin and Kyle told CNN it was a fairy tale. He was our fairy god father.

But how in Hollywood do you take a fairy godfather figure Walker and finish "Fast & Furious 7"? Roughly 85 percent of Walker's parts were finished when he died. The director says he used Walkers brothers to fill the gaps.

JAMES WAN, FURIOUS DIRECTOR: They would basically act out the scenes. They would play out the scenes like how Paul would have done it in the film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they have dialogue?

VERCAMMEN: There is also an homage to Walker in the movie, but perhaps there can be no greater tribute to a friend than naming a child in their honor. Paul Walker lives on in co-star Vin Diesel's new baby.

VIN DIESEL, ACTOR: Paul Walker was the one that told me to cut the umbilical cord as I was cutting the cord two weeks ago. I couldn't stop but thinking about Paul and his advice. When it came time to write down the name Pauline just came out. Paul Vercammen, CNN, Hollywood.


BLACKWELL: There really is no bigger tribute than that. An apology from the New York police detective who went on this rant, watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand me? I don't know what planet you think you're on right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not planning, sir. I'm here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Planning, I said planet.


BLACKWELL: What does he have to say to this driver now? His apology, that's coming up next.

PAUL: And take a look at the total eclipse of the moon. This is going to break out in song any minute.

BLACKWELL: I'll save you from it.

PAUL: You see, they call it a blood moon for a reason. It does have that red hue. If you're in the west you can probably look out and see it. For those in the east, just stick with us. Be sure to continue to post it for you as long as it's going.



BLACKWELL: Coming up on the top of the hour, let's go to New York now. A police detective is offering an apology after his rant at an Uber driver went viral. Did you see this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- you understand me, pull over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's crazy. That's really inappropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost two years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost how long?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two years. I have news for you and use this lesson, remember this in the future, don't ever do that again. The only reason you're not in hand cuffs and going to jail is because I have things to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the only reason that's not happening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because this is important enough to me.


BLACKWELL: That was NYPD Detective Patrick Cherry who has since been put on desk duty. In an interview, Cherry says that he is sorry and that emotions got the best of him.


PATRICK CHERRY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT DETECTIVE: I apologize, sincerely apologize. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want him to know?

CHERRY: That -- excuse me. That I am not mad at him. I was angry at that moment for that exchange. I was angry for that exchange. If the conversation went differently, we probably would have shook hands at the end of the encounter.


BLACKWELL: Since that original video was released Cherry has been removed from the city's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

All right, stay with us. We've got a busy morning of news.

PAUL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

New threats of violence in Kenya to tell you about this morning and promises of another bloodbath all as new arrests are made in the horrific university attack.

BLACKWELL: Adrift for 66 days, a Virginia man lives to tell the tale of his time at sea. How do you really survive for more than two months on a capsized boat?