Return to Transcripts main page


Jury To Continue Deliberations Tomorrow; Did Boston Terrorists Get Help Building Bombs?; Iran Calls Saudi Air Strikes Criminal; Possible Hail, Floods And High Winds In 15 States. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 9, 2015 - 16:30   ET





SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors tried to prove this grainy home security video minutes after Lloyd is killed shows Hernandez holding a Glock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, the firearm shown in the video stills is a Glock pistol.

CANDIOTTI: But the defense argues that's no Glock maybe an iPad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glock pistols don't have white glows to them, do they, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they do not.

CANDIOTTI: The murder weapon is still missing. Does Hernandez's fiancee, Shiana Jenkins, throw it out? She gets immunity and testifies Hernandez told her to ditch a box inside this black trash bag from the basement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant had called you and said it was important that you go down and get this box and get rid of it, is that right?


CANDIOTTI: But on cross, she says she smells marijuana inside that bag. What may be harder to challenge is video of Odin Lloyd getting into a car with Hernandez and his two friends.

The same car going into that dark industrial park and 3 minutes and 40 seconds later, reappearing, then driving back to Hernandez's driveway without Lloyd.

A show-stopping witness is Hernandez's former boss, Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, who met privately with his tight-end two days after the murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he was not involved, that he was innocent, and that he hoped that the time of the murder incident came out, because I believe he said he was in a club.

CANDIOTTI: Yet evidence shows Hernandez was not at a club that night and raises the question, how would he know the time of the murder when it was not yet made public. Throughout the trial, Hernandez is laser sharp during the proceedings, barely glancing at victim, Odin Lloyd's family, there every day.


CANDIOTTI: Now the question everyone wants to know, of course, is when will that verdict come in, but look, this is a trial that began in January and hundreds of witnesses, hundreds of exhibits, it's clear, Jake, that this jury is taking its time before deciding whether Aaron Hernandez is guilty of murder -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: There's a lot of evidence, but it is a largely circumstantial case. Susan Candiotti, following every development of the case, thank you so much.

In other national news today, he is the only person to stand trial for the Boston marathon bombing, but did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother really act alone, just the two of them? To this day, authorities still think they had help and the FBI investigation remains open. Will new clues surface? That's next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Our other National Lead today, for many in the law enforcement community, the Boston marathon terrorist trial cannot be stamped case closed.

Yes, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of all 30 counts with the looming question as to whether he will face the death penalty for his crimes, killing Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, 8-year-old Martin Richard and M.I.T. Police Officer Sean Collier on top of maiming hundreds of others.

But there is another even more troubling question involving those weapons of mass destruction, those pressure cooker bombs. Prosecutors never definitively pinned down where those bombs were built or whether these terrorist brothers had any help in building them and they wonder if accomplices are still out there.


TAPPER (voice-over): It's the lingering mystery that haunts the FBI and others in law enforcement. Did the Tsarnaev brothers orchestrate the Boston terrorist attacks alone? The bombs themselves were built to kill, a complicated recipe of destruction available online but difficult to assemble.

In a motion filed last May, federal prosecutors asserted that interviews with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, quote, "provided reason to believe that the tsarnaevs had accomplices." ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: They're complex devices and you know, the fact that these things went off in such close proximity showed some significant planning.

TAPPER: One year after the explosions here at the marathon's finish line, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told me he suspected the brothers may have had help to carry out their plan.

DAVIS: The fact that they were able to pull this conspiracy off and kill and hurt so many people, you have to look at that very closely. There's a lot going on here and it needs to be fully vetted.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Someone who might have either assisted in making the bomb, perhaps helped test it, perhaps get the components, that's part of the investigation that's still ongoing, because they never -- they have never enclosed those questions.

TAPPER: And just days after the brothers carried out their deadly plans, I spoke to a taxi driver, Jim Duggan, who said he picked up the would-be terrorists at the train station the day before the attacks with heavy backpacks in tow.

JIM DUGGAN, DROVE TSARNAEV BROTHERS IN TAXI: I don't know if it was the pressure cooker bomb or pipe bombs, but honestly, it was a lot heavier than some wet towels and sneakers from the gym. Then the questions started to roll through my mind. Wait a minute, what were they doing here at the T?

TAPPER: Where were they coming from? With whom had they met? Duggan estimates the bags he helped them lift weighed nearly 30 pounds each and the brothers were very assertive. They did not want him to touch them.

(on camera): It would seem that this was when they picked up their bombs.

DUGGAN: Well, they had heavy backpacks with them.

TAPPER: They had heavy backpacks with them. Circumstantially, it seems like this, whether they picked them up here in Walden or got off a train from somewhere else -- this is part of recreating their steps.

[16:40:07] (voice-over): Prosecutors say Dzhokhar destroyed disposable cell phones before he was eventually caught. Why? Whom had he called that he did not want anyone to know about?

Prosecutors have said they believe, quote, "others might have radicalized them, directed them or trained them and that others might be planning or poised to carry out additional attacks."


TAPPER: I want to bring in CNN intelligence and security analyst and former CIA operative, Bob Baer. Bob, do you think the Tsarnaev brothers had accomplices, maybe even ones in this country? BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Jake, I haven't seen the investigation and I haven't really got deeply inside of it, but a couple law enforcement people have been quite insistent to me that these two didn't build that bomb alone and that undoubtedly they got help.

It's not for lack of trying they have tried to identify a third party. But they said the rewiring on the pressure cooker, deviated from the "Inspire" magazine.

They added that 35 pounds of flash powder, those guys didn't make it alone, and then there was the detonator and the command detonator, which was clearly a sophisticated device and as one of these investigators told me, these two knuckleheads didn't do this on their own.

TAPPER: Is law enforcement still actively looking for potential accomplices?

BAER: I think undoubtedly. It goes back to Dagestan, where Tamerlan spent a long time there. The question is did he disappear into the mountains of Dagestan and join an insurgency group and get training or actually get instructions from somebody out there.

But the FBI has run into dead ends, no doubt about it. If they get any leads they will pursue them and they will indict a third person if in fact there was one involved.

TAPPER: Just to be clear, to refresh the memories of our viewers, there was this "Inspire" magazine, this Jihadist magazine that had instructions on how to build a similar bomb, but this one was different and you and your law enforcement sources say that neither brother had the expertise necessarily to -- necessary to a, build these bombs and certainly not to do the rewiring that actually happened?

BAER: It's the rewiring that's got them confounded because they really improved that device considerably, and to make sure it went off and the rest of it and had the maximum detonation on it.

And these two guys, there's nothing in their backgrounds that would suggest that they could easily figure this out on their own, from experience or the rest of it.

So the possibility of someone helping them either on the ground in the United States or somebody at some point walking Tamerlan through this and letting him actually work on these devices.

And then you talk to a lot of other people that just looked at the chase after this and the fact that they used improvised devices to break contact with the police, that's something you don't pick up on the internet.

You've got some sort of training or experience or instruction. I think the chance of these guys --

TAPPER: Go ahead, I'm sorry, just finish your thought. I'm sorry.

BAER: Yes. The chances of these guys operating alone are zero. It's not that anybody's trying to cover this up. They just can't identify the other party.

TAPPER: All right, Bob Baer, thank you as always for your expertise. Appreciate it.

Up next, in the World Lead, Iran is accusing Saudi Arabia of genocide in Yemen. The U.S. responds as a civil war in that country gets worse.

Plus, a potentially dangerous storm system moving across the U.S., we are keeping a close eye on several tornado watches. That's coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. You're looking at live pictures coming in from outside St. Louis, Missouri. Look at those clouds. We're going to get to the troubling weather hitting the United States in our next block but right now, let's turn to our World Lead.

Shiite-Houthi rebels backed by Iran are on the move in Yemen, taking control of a strategic regional capital as Saudi Arabia continues to launch punishing air strikes.

Hundreds of lives have been lost in the fighting and the country's collapse increases fierce about an all-out proxy war between Sunni- Arab states led by the Saudis and their Shiite rivals led by Tehran.

Let's get right to CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who is joining us live with all the latest. Jim, Iran's supreme leader blasted Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen, calling it genocide.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, but Iran's hands not entirely clean here, either. They are of course arming the other side. It demonstrates that more and more, this conflict in Yemen is not just local, it is very much a regional war. It's a part of a Sunni-Shia divide that we talk about so often and more and more the U.S. is involved militarily.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): As Saudi bombs drop in Yemen, the human toll is visible everywhere on the streets. Today, Iran's supreme leader says the Saudi-led coalition is committing genocide in the war-torn country and should be prosecuted in international courts.

With continued American support, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies in the gulf show no sign of letting up on their operations against the Houthis, a Shia sect backed by Iran. During a visit to neighboring Pakistan this week, Iran's foreign minister said the intervention must stop. MUHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think it's important for all of us to reach the understanding that war will not resolve the problem, hasn't in Syria, hasn't elsewhere. We need to come to our senses.

SCIUTTO: But Secretary of State John Kerry is putting Iran on notice over its own involvement.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen. Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized.

SCIUTTO: All this while the war against ISIS in neighboring Iraq and Syria continues unabated. There, the United States and Iran share the goal of defeating the terror group.

[16:50:13] In Washington today, Vice President Joe Biden cast the battle by Iraqi forces as one that is moving forward.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The jury is still out. That's the truth. It's not over yet, but the momentum is in the right direction.

SCIUTTO: While the U.S. and Iran are at odds over the outcome in Yemen, the picture in the fight against ISIS is more complex.

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think both of us have the same goals and that's the defeat of ISIS in Iraq, whereas it's conflicting in Yemen. That doesn't prevent us from cooperating with the Iraqi government, which in turn is cooperating with the Iranian government.


SCIUTTO: To that Saudi-led coalition in action there, the U.S. is now sending arms. It is sharing intelligence. It has set up a joint operations center with Saudi forces. It has also rescued Saudi pilots and is refueling Saudi-led coalition war planes.

There are no U.S. war planes flying over Yemen. No U.S. troops on the ground right now, but there is escalating U.S. military involvement and you and I both know, Jake, that those military involvements in that region, they do not end quickly. This will be a long fight. The U.S. looks to be involved there for some time.

TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.

When we come back, we are keeping a close eye on severe storms in the U.S. Several states under tornado watch right now including the entire Chicago metro area. It is just awful out there. Stay with us.


[16:55:56] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. The Money Lead now, another food maker is pulling its potentially dangerous product off store shelves. Now it's Sabra dipping company, it's recalling cases of its classic hummus.

It turns out the dip could be contaminated with listeria, that bacteria, of course, is serious, particularly in young children or the elderly or people with weak immune systems. Listeria can cause fever, nausea, it can even kill you.

So far there are thankfully no illnesses connected to this possible contamination. You can find a link detailing the products involved on Just search for hummus. This is one of three listeria scares in recent weeks. BlueBell Ice Cream recalled some of its brands as well as Amy's Kitchen organic foods.

Breaking national news right now, we have a tornado warning in parts of Iowa. We also have a tornado watch for the entire windy city, Chicago. In fact, 95 million of you are in the risk zone right now for potentially dangerous storms.

If you are away from your television, come look at this, this is the view from a storm chaser's camera just west of St. Louis. Similar weather claimed the life of a woman in Indiana yesterday. She was trying to remove debris from a storm drain outside her house near Indianapolis. Somehow, she got swept down a creek that overflowed.

The CNN severe weather center tracked ten reported tornadoes, mostly in rural areas. Some of you sent us pictures of giant pieces of hail, some the size of your hand, practically.

Today's weather system stretches over 15 states. It could hit more populated cities than it has. Let's get right to meteorologist, Chad Myers. Chad, we have tornado watches going well into the night. Today's storms really starting to flare up.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And the problem is exactly what you just touched on. Yesterday, Kansas, parts of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, wide open country. Sure, a few big cities, but there are bigger cities today, Chicago, Indianapolis, Peoria, Springfield, all the way down to St. Louis.

These are the areas that are going to see the significant weather. It's going to be like a rake. We already have a number of storms, one, two, three, all the way down here. They are called super cells.

They are going to drive across Illinois, just like a rake goes across your garden. When these are on the ground, there is going to be pretty significant tornadoes. It could be F-3s today. These are pretty big storms.

So as we zoom into the Iowa storm right there, the good news with this storm at least is it's still in a rural area. But davenport, the quad cities, you are possibly next to see this storm. There is nothing to stop this storm from moving your way, nothing to affect it. When we get all the storms lined up in a big long line, typically you don't get big tornadoes, but when you have one storm just like that, all by itself, we call it a super cell, nothing to fight it. It can go for a long time and it is moving toward the quad cities right now. We will keep you advised all night -- Jake.

TAPPER: Chad, tomorrow, more storms, but also some possible record heat in some areas.

MYERS: Well, when we get severe weather like this, we have snow in Nebraska on the back side, the cold side, and then the warm front rises up on the east part of the country or the eastern part of the storm, and temperatures will be in the 80s in D.C., even making a run at 70 something in New York City in a couple of days. The warm on one side, cold on the other, that's the clash that causes this in the first place -- Jake.

TAPPER: Chad, the storm that's hitting Chicago right now, where is it headed?

MYERS: Well, the storm that was moving towards Chicago has run out into Lake Michigan. That's the good news. It moved off before it started to spin again. It originally created a small tornado near Peoria right here, but the storm is in Chicago, across Chicago into the lake and now it's gone.

That's good news, because if you get rain and you cool your air, you don't get the potential for another big storm. Now, Chicago, you get sun for a couple more hours and that's possible, you could be in for another round of severe weather in a couple hours as this line heads your way. We will be here all night -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Chad Myers, thank you so much. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadcnn. Check out our show page at for video, blogs, extras.

That is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.