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Teen Defendant Expected To Testify; Suicides Possibly Linked To Leak; Outed Users File Lawsuits Against Cheating Site; Authorities Foil Drug And Porn Drop To Prison. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 25, 2015 - 16:30   ET




BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Our world lead now. U.S. service members on vacation fought off a would-be attacker on a train. And today, that attacker, Ayoub El- Khazzani, was charged with attempted murder. But those two words barely hint at the disaster this alleged terrorist wanted to unleash on passengers destined for Paris.

The Paris prosecutor told reporters today the Moroccan citizen was attempting to kill a whole train full of people and he brought along 200 rounds of ammunition for his twisted mission. The prosecutor also said the suspect psyched himself up while on the train right before he made his move by watching jihadi videos on YouTube.

According to Paris officials, El-Khazzani has now invoked his right to remain silent.

A dire terror warning from U.S. intelligence officials tops our national lead today. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security recently sent out a bulletin to law enforcement across the country raising the alarm about ISIS luring American women in droves to join the terrorist group on the battlefield.

Let's get right to CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown.

Pamela, what did this bulletin say?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, John, this is an emerging trend that is baffling law enforcement and the U.S.

And so the FBI and DHS sent out this new warning saying that American women are increasingly becoming a key part of ISIS' fighting force overseas and in the homeland.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jaelyn Delshaun Young.

BROWN (voice-over): Jaelyn Young, daughter of a police officer and a Mississippi State University chemistry student who graduated high school with honors, is the latest female ISIS recruit here in the U.S. She was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly trying to join the terrorist group in Syria.

Young represents a growing phenomenon, according to the FBI. In a new warning to law enforcement nationwide, the FBI says -- quote -- "Some female violent extremists have recently demonstrated an interest in engaging in operational roles, to include preparing to carry out attacks in the homeland and traveling to Syria to fight."

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Before, they wanted women to come and be their wives and the mothers of their children. And now what we're seeing is, they are luring women and attracting women to come fight. It has the element of surprise. We simply don't expect women do this.

BROWN: Out of the more than 50 alleged ISIS supporters charged in the U.S. so far this year, at least seven have been women, Keonna Thomas from Pennsylvania, who allegedly wanted to become a suicide bomber, and two women in New York arrested for allegedly acquiring bomb-making materials to kill Americans.

More than 500 Western women have made it into Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups, according to one top Australian official. These three British high schoolers ran away from home last May recruited by ISIS.

JULIE BISHOP, AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Of the thousands and thousand of foreign terrorist fighters who have traveled to Da'esh-controlled areas, as many as a 550 are women from Western Europe, from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

BROWN: The FBI says ISIS has tailored some of its slickly propaganda videos like this one to target women, showing young families living a privileged life.


KAYYEM: They're creating these videos that are a little bit like the real housewives of Syria, right, that you're -- you get these cars and you go to parks and you have these beautiful children. The reality is that it's brutal and violent and these women will be the victims of rape and assault. It is a horrible existence, and chances are, you are going to die.


BROWN: And officials I have spoken with say social media sites like are playing a big role influencing women, particularly girls between the ages of 13 and 22. Pretty disturbing -- John.

BERMAN: Very. All right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much.

Also in our national lead, the teenager accused of rape at an elite prep school expected to take the stand in his own defense. Will he continue to deny having sex with his accuser after his classmates testified that he did? That's next.



BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The national lead. Another dramatic day of testimony in the case of a New Hampshire prep school student on trial for rape. Owen Labrie has not yet taken the stand in his defense, but that could change tomorrow. Today, a detective who interviewed the then 18-year-old testified that Labrie insisted he had a moment of divine inspiration which stopped him from having sex with a 15-year-old student, but his friends testified differently.

So was the encounter part of a senior salute at the elite St. Paul's Prep School? Did male students compete to have sex with younger girls on campus?

CNN's Boris Sanchez was inside the courtroom, joins me now live from Concord, New Hampshire.

Boris, what else did Labrie tell detectives?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In that investigator's testimony, John, he told them -- he maintained that he did not have sex with his accuser.

He admits that they fooled around. As you mentioned, he even admitting to putting on a condom. He said that was -- quote -- "a teasing thing," but, as you said, he then goes on to say he had a moment of divine intervention that led him to stop.

I want to you listen to how the investigator in the case describes the rest of that interview. Here is a sound bite from her in court today.


DET. JULIE CURTIN, CONCORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: He said that they kissed and he made a comment, "I should have stopped before." And then he continued talking and said that there was a lot of playfulness and contact back and forth. And the word tease had been thrown around. And he described a consensual encounter.

He said their clothes came off, but that her underwear never came off. He said that was just a fact.


SANCHEZ: As you heard, Owen Labrie told investigators that her underwear never came off.

Well, today, we heard from a medical expert who analyzed a semen sample discovered on the accuser's underwear. And they confirmed that at least a fraction of that semen sample contained DNA that belonged to Owen Labrie. The prosecutor rested shortly after that. The defense is due up in court tomorrow. We spoke to them and asked them if Owen Labrie would testify. They should it was likely, though they didn't indicate specifically say when he might take the stand -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. She specialized in sex crimes when she was a federal prosecutor.

Sunny, great to have you here.

Look, Owen Labrie told investigators all along they didn't have sex. he -- or the testimony from him or in reports is that they didn't have sex. He's sticking by that. The detectives testified that today. But his friends who did take the stand said that he told them they did have sex.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That is true, and I think a lot of people are talking about that and thinking that that was very helpful to the prosecution.

I sort of disagree with that, because what boy hasn't bragged and lied about how he did -- what he did with a girl? So I think it's very possible that there may be jurors that think, well, you know, maybe he just lied to his friends. Maybe he wanted to sort of be this big guy on campus that fulfilled this senior salute. So I don't think that piece of evidence in and of itself will be that helpful to the prosecution.

And I think this is a difficult case for the prosecution because in any sex crimes case, John the linchpin of the case is the credibility of the victim. And that really is the bottom line, especially when you don't necessarily have forensics. You don't have sort of evidence of a forcible rape.


BERMAN: Well, let's talk about forensics, because that did come up in Boris' report. There was a test of the underwear. Compelling to you?

HOSTIN: No, not really.

And, again, this is because I have tried these cases before. I know how difficult they are to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And, again, I think it is going to go to the credibility of this victim.

Remember, she went to the school nurse, asked for emergency contraception, but said that there was a consensual sexual encounter. She also sent these e-mails back and forth or text messages with this defendant that seemed very cordial. I think the average juror may have trouble with that.

It also will depend, I think, on his testimony.

BERMAN: Well, let's talk about that. You say up until this point, the prosecution's case is not open and shut. Does that mean that the kid, Owen Labrie, should take the stand? Do you think he should take the stand? Or do you think that there is enough of a chance the prosecution hasn't proved this case already, that he shouldn't take the risk?

HOSTIN: When I was a prosecutor, I wanted the defendant to testify. You always want the defendant to testify, because more often than not, they don't do that well.

But you're talking about a pretty smart guy, a guy that got into Harvard, like yourself, John, and a defendant who has been there every single day listening to the testimony. I suspect that he could possibly do quite well on the witness stand.

And, again, if they believe him and don't believe all of her story, it could be a win for the defense if he testifies. I just -- I can't imagine that he will testify because it's so very, very unusual.

And I don't think the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt but who knows. I don't want to bet on it you because I could be wrong, but again, I just -- it just doesn't generally happen about.

BERMAN: Well, Sunny Hostin, great to have you here with us. Look, whatever happens, whether he testifies or not, a huge deal, if he does testify, of course, that will happen tomorrow and we will cover it as it does.

Coming up, multiple deaths potentially connected to Ashley Madison hacking scandal. Why police are investigating as the lawsuits pile up?

Plus, drones used to deliver drugs, porn, and even guns to inmates behind prison walls and that might just be the beginning that's ahead.



BERMAN: All right, we're back with the Money Lead. Potentially deadly consequences of the Ashley Madison hack, police say they are looking into whether users of the cheating website killed themselves after their names were leaked. Others are now filing lawsuits against the company.

CNN Money tech correspondent, Laurie Segall joins me now. Laurie, what do we know about the suicides?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that Toronto police said at a press conference that they are investigating two suicides that they believe are linked to the Ashley Madison hack. Here in the United States, a San Antonio police captain committed suicide days after his information was leaked and we confirm that. So you're really seeing this is not a victimless crime -- John.

BERMAN: No, I mean, people made a lot of jokes in a lot of places, but people put their trust in this web site for better or for worse and it turned out not to be justified. So now there are these lawsuits that are filed. What are the lawsuits seeking? What are they saying?

SEGALL: Yes, we have four different lawsuits in the United States and Canada, cases filed in California, Texas, Missouri, also they're looking at alleged breach of contract. And what that potentially means is people thought that they paid for their data to be deleted and it wasn't deleted, inflection of emotional distress, negligence.

One Canadian law firm is actually seeking $578 million in damages. And this is an interesting one, John, there is also a suit in Texas where they are commenting on how a company memo was leaked that said people knew that there were vulnerabilities and people complained, but they still didn't do anything.

So a lot of damages here and this is just the beginning. A bunch of lawsuits just popped up today, Friday, over the weekend. A lot of people getting together to fight this.

BERMAN: Secret cheating website not so secret. Laurie Segall, great to have you here. Thanks so much.

Drones delivering drugs and porn over prison walls, authorities say they foiled one plot, but is it just the beginning of unmanned drug mules in the sky? That's next.



BERMAN: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm John Berman in for Jake today. Forget tunnels or concealed packages. All the rage in prison smuggling these days, drones. It's the first bust of its kind in Maryland.

Two men were arrested for allegedly planning to drop off delivery of hand gun, drugs, and porn using an unmanned drone, though, this plot never got off the ground, I supposed literally. It's just another new way criminals are using these aircrafts for illegal activities.

Let's get right to CNN's aviation and government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh. Rene, how often is this happening?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's happening enough to make police very uneasy. Growing concerns tonight about illegal cargo being delivered by drones. The flying technology sold in malls for just a couple hundred dollars is emerging as a new tool for criminals and tonight law enforcement is struggling to figure out how to make an interception.


MARSH (voice-over): The plot, deliver these packages of synthetic marijuana, tobacco, hand gun and pornography to this Maryland prison via drone. STEPHEN MOYER, MARYLAND SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: This is the first case in Maryland where a drone is suspected in a contraband delivery plot. You can't make this stuff up.

MARSH: But police spoiled the plot before it even got off the ground. The first in Maryland, but not the first time criminals have used the flying technology to make illegal deliveries.

In Ohio last month, a drone dropped off 64 grams of marijuana and 6.6 grams of heroin in the prison yard at Mansfield Correctional Institution. In South Carolina, Brinton Lee Doyle was sentenced to 15 years for trying to fly a drone loaded with marijuana and tobacco into this maximum security prison.

And this drone crashed in January, attempting to smuggle nearly 7 pounds of crystal meth across the U.S./Mexico border.

MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF AGENT: I think law enforcement at large is concerned drones will be used to deliver things that they shouldn't be delivering or they might be used by drug dealers and even a concern would be that at some point people might use these to drop explosives or things like that.

MARSH: About 700,000 drones are expected to be sold this year. And it's predicted drone sales will reach 1 million by 2018. In July, the Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement agencies around the country about the potential danger of drones in the hands of criminals.

HORACE: This is a no-brainer. We don't want unauthorized access to prisons by anyone under any means with any technology. And I think until it becomes a big enough issue, you will continue to see the problem.


MARSH: Well, technology to intercept drones is out there, but it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. And there are questions about how effective some of that technology is. So for now police keeping their eyes around prisons for this new problem, but it's not just prisons struggling how to intercept these unauthorized drones, it's also the federal government struggling as we speak.

BERMAN: Yes, no doubt, Secret Service too. All right, Rene Marsh, thank you so much.

So you can see this boy visiting an art exhibit when the group starts moving, he loses balance and spills his drink and punches his fist through that painting, the painting that he just punctured worth $1.5 million.

Event organizers say the piece of art is 350 years old and thought to be the only one signed by the artist. Now it is also adorned with this hole. Luckily it is insured and it will undergo repairs. As for the 12-year-old, he will not have to pony up any money. We're still waiting to learn how long he will be grounded.

Be sure to follow the show on Facebook or Twitter. Tweet us @theleadcnn. That is all for us. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."