Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

New Tape Emerges in Syracuse Child Sex Abuse Scandal; Pakistan Cuts Off NATO Supply Routes; Egypt Holding Elections; A Royal Rescue; "The Scariest Moment of My Life"; Election Day in Egypt; Pakistan Blames NATO for Attack; Syracuse Fires Bernie Fine; Arrested Students Back in U.S.; Shoppers Log On For Savings; Forecast Says Shoppers Spent $398.52 this Weekend; Revealing Retailer Tricks that Make You Spend

Aired November 28, 2011 - 06:59   ET



ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Another child sex abuse scandal exploding this morning. Syracuse has now fired assistant associate basketball coach, Bernie Fine, after a new phone conversation is surfaced between the accuser and Mrs. Fine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And it's what they fought for. Egyptians heading to the polls today for the very first time since protesters toppled Hosni Mubarak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would drag us back, and then, they started hitting us and very quickly pulled their shirts over our heads.

CHO: An American student saying he was roughed up while in Egyptian custody. Derrik Sweeney and his mom will join us live with more on the most frightening experience of his life.

ROMANS: And royal rescue. Prince William saves two people from their sinking ship on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHO: And good morning. It's Monday, November 28th. Carol and Ali are off today. I'm Alina Cho along with Christine Romans on this AMERICAN MORNING. Back from ten hours a night of sleep, one week of vacation. You're ready to go.

ROMANS: Back to the grind. Here I am.

All right, we begin with a developing story for you. Syracuse University associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine has been fired, this after explosive allegations of sexually abusing two former ball boys. After the firing, the head coach earlier had defended Fine, issued this statement. He said, quote, "The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward and that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or insensitive to the victims of abuse."

ESPN has released a secretly recorded conversation in 2002 between Fine's wife Lori Fine and one of the coach's accusers. CNN's Deb Feyerick is live with more. And Deb, you say this is a real game- changer in this case with these allegations?

DEB FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is, because, really, what you're hearing, you're hearing the alleged abuse described by the coach's wife. Right now police are in the process of vetting the tape to make sure of its accuracy, though it does appear it was, in fact, the coach's wife.

The accuser is Bobby Davis. He lived in the home for several years. He made the recording he said he made the recording after a decade of abuse ended. In it you can hear the coach's wife Lori Fine not only acknowledging she knew about the abuse but that she even allowed it. What you're about to hear is both graphic and very disturbing.


LORI FINE, BERNIE FINE'S WIFE: And I know everything that went on with him. Maybe not that he's aware of, but he has issues. He is depressed and (INAUDIBLE)


FINE: I think that the thing he did, but somehow his own mental telepathy -- (INAUDIBLE)

You know what, go to a place where there's gay boys, go somewhere where there's gay boys. You know, get your rocks off and have it be over with. You know? He isn't interested in me, and because I care about you and I don't want you to see you be treated that way. And it's like -- (INAUDIBLE) because it's like, it's just wrong. You were a kid. You're a man now, but you were a kid then.


FEYERICK: Now, the tape was never given to police, nor was it given to the university when they conducted an investigation on initial charges back in 2005. Instead, Bobby Davis gave that tape both to the sports channel ESPN along with a local paper. And at the time Lori Fine told the paper that she was aware that some of the conversations had been taped, but she says they were edited together in order to appear more inflammatory.

And now Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang, both accusers, both say they were molested and sexually abused by Bernie Fine. They also say they both had a relationship with the coach's wife, though Bobby Davis appears to have gotten the worst of it.

Now there is a third accuser who stepped forward. He says that ten years ago when he was just 13 years old, he was molested by the coach in a hotel in Pittsburgh the night before a big game. However, the man's father has stepped forward and says, nope. The story's not true, and that the man himself is also facing teen sex abuse charges.

Lori Fine has not been heard from since this tape was made public yesterday, but her husband, Bernie Fine, did issue a statement saying that he hopes that the investigation that's going on now by police is both quick but also, in his words, "credible."

Again, the release of this tape really the game-changer. There may not have been witnesses before. The entire Syracuse community was in back ever the coach, saying this is not the man that we know. They came out in support of him. They proclaimed Bernie Fine's innocence. However, now that this tape has surfaced, in fact, it's just -- it's hard to look away. It's hard not to listen, really. Christine?

ROMANS: Deb Feyerick. Thanks so much. Alina?

CHO: Thanks Christine.

Joining us now is Jon Wertheim. He's a senior writer for "Sports Illustrated." You've covered Penn State and you've been covering this obviously very closely. Penn State was vilified for its scandal involving Jerry Sandusky. How do you think Syracuse handled this?

JON WERTHEIM, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": These are two different scandals. It isn't an institutional scandal the way Penn State was. Syracuse investigated this, they didn't have the tape, which makes a difference, and the school itself had a fairly forceful statement last night. I think Jim Boeheim, the coach, might be in a little trouble for his reaction, but I think so far the school, what can they do?

CHO: Jim Boeheim flip-flopped a little bit. Let's take a look what he said. In the beginning Boeheim said there was, quote, "no story, no truth." He went on to tell ESPN "It is a bunch of a 1,000 lies, and I believe they are looking for money," the alleged victims. "I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe."

Now, last night he said he deeply regretted saying anything that might have been insensitive. So the big question is, is Jim Boeheim going to become Joe Paterno or can he salvage his job?

WERTHEIM: Well, I think the critical difference is today no knowledge Jim Boeheim knew anything much less was involved in any sort of alleged cover-ups. I think we need to make that distinction. But we've seen him already retreating from remarks. Go ahead and support your longtime friend and employee. We all get that. But then go on the offensive and say this is extortion and they're lying, not only in this context, but the chilling effect that has on --

CHO: I think a lot of people were surprised by that. You know, support is one thing, as you mentioned, but he really took it one step further, didn't he? WERTHEIM: Right. And if you read the end of his statement last night, he sort of says I regret that anything I said may have had this effect on other who may have been -- and I think that's where he needs to apologize. But I think his job is going to be OK.

CHO: You've covered Penn State. A lot of people naturally want to make that connection between Penn State and what's going on in Syracuse. I know that you say that there are critical differences, but is that fair? I mean, in some ways, this story may not have come out, had it not been for Penn State, right?

WERTHEIM: Right. Look, on its face you have two longtime assistant coaches. They are married. They are roughly the same age. The two men accused were men and boys using sports as a lure. I mean, on the face there are a lot of eerie similarities.

But if you step back, big differences between the two -- a jury report and eight different delegations and 40 counts in the indictment versus these cases in Syracuse.

But, no, if one good thing comes from Penn State, as trite as it sounds, it's emboldening other people to come forward and we're taking these accusations more seriously, investigating more thoroughly, then sure, something good --

CHO: That's right, because I think what a lot of people said when Penn State came was this isn't an isolated incident. Let's see what happens. Now we have Syracuse. Perhaps we'll hear about more. Of course let's hope not. But you're absolutely right.

Jon Wertheim, senior writer at "Sports Illustrated," Jon, thank you.

WERTHEIM: Thank you.

CHO: Christine?

ROMANS: All right, Alina, it's election day in Egypt. People are heading to the polls right now, many for the very first time. And thousands of Egyptians continue their occupation of Tahrir Square. It's been a bloody weekend in Cairo. Egypt's military council is warning there will be dire consequences if the country can't overcome its political crisis.

Ivan Watson is live in Cairo. Polls have been open now, Ivan, for more than six hours. The early reports are that things are well organized and things are going smoothly. What are you seeing there?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, Christine, it's really surprising. There were fears that these elections would have to be postponed because of the deadly street fighting earlier this week.

But all the polling stations we've been to have long lines wrapping around the block, this one as well, of people very eager to cast their ballots. And they certainly have a lot of choices. At places like this polling station, more than 100 candidates and political parties for people to choose from.

And many have told us what's so remarkable about that is in the past people were basically being bussed in to vote for the ruling party ever the former president Hosni Mubarak. Many people telling us this is the first time they're voting because it's the first time they feel they have a real choice in the matter, a choice in the future.

The elections, this is just the beginning of a long electoral season because the parliamentary elections here are split up into three rounds in different parts of the country. They're not going to get the results in Egypt for the lower house of parliament until mid- January. Christine?

ROMANS: Meantime, Ivan, there's still concern about a military that is still controlling the country and, some say, tightening its grip on public life there.

WATSON: Well, there is a big political debate. As you can see, we've got soldiers that are guarding the entrance to this polling station as well as others, and the top military commander has been visiting polling stations. The Tahrir Square demonstrators want an end to military rule. The military insists it's trying to pave the way towards civilian elected democracy as soon as possible. They pushed up presidential elections to this summer, and they say this is the first step in that transition process.

And I think a lot of the people here would argue the same judging by the number of people that have come out. There have been complaints of irregularities. We've seen people, I can't see anybody now, but they're distributing leaflets right now, this boy, for candidates. That's technically breaking the campaign rules. We've seen candidates driving around with megaphones on their cars. That's also technically breaking campaign rules, but it doesn't seem to be diminishing enthusiasm of voters.

And the military extended the first Election Day. Voting will continue tomorrow to let people who don't get a chance to vote to still get a chance to cast their ballot. A lot of people walking around with that trademark sign. Here you can see a guy distributing leaflets. Take a look over here. Can I have one? Leaflets for one of the candidates. Again, breaking the campaign rules, but that seems to be the way the voting's going today in Egypt, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Ivan Watson, thanks. Nice to see kids. You saw the soldier helping a woman and a little girl. You saw -- it's nice to see young people involved in democracy, too. Thanks.

All right, three American college students are back in the United States this morning a few days after an Egyptian court ordered their release. They were accused of throwing Molotov cocktails during an uprising in Tahrir Square. Georgetown University student Derrik Sweeney denies they did anything wrong, telling CNN Egyptian authorities beat them, separated them, threatened to shoot the, but he actually fainted when he was confronted.

At 7:30 eastern we'll be joined live by Derrik Sweeney. His mother is going to come too, Joy. Derrik says he'd consider going back to Egypt someday. We're going to ask his mom how long she'd like to wait before that happens again.

CHO: Meanwhile, Pakistan is choking off vital supply lines into Afghanistan this morning after blaming NATO for an airstrike over the weekend that killed 24 of its soldiers. Angry Pakistanis burned American flags and even an effigy of President Obama. Just this morning our Reza Sayah spoke exclusively to Pakistan's prime minister who said right U.S.-Pakistan relations are on shaky ground.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is your prediction that this relationship will continue with Washington?

SYED YUSUF RAZA GILANI, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: That can continue on mutual respect and mutual interests.

SAYAH: Are you getting that respect?

GILANI: At the moment, not.

SAYAH: You're not getting that respect?

GILANI: If I can't protect the sovereignty of my country, how can we say it's a mutual respect and mutual interests?


CHO: NATO hasn't offered a full apology yet, the NATO secretary general only saying that the incident was tragic and unintended, but there are reports that NATO forces may have come under fire first.

ROMANS: The president of Afghanistan announcing a second group of locations in his country where security operations will be handed of from NATO to Afghan forces. It's a key development in the drawdown of U.S. troops from the region and a key test for the Afghan military, which will soon be responsibility for security in over half of the country, including an area considered one of the most dangerous insurgent strongholds in Afghanistan.

CHO: The Maryland man at the center of a missing persons case in Aruba is heading back to the United States. Gary Giordano will be released from jail on Tuesday. An Aruban judge ordered his release after prosecutors failed to charge him with a crime. Giordano is linked to the disappearance of his travel companion, Robyn Gardner, who is also from Maryland. Prosecutors say they are still looking for evidence and will head to court Wednesday to fight his return.

ROMANS: OK. And today is the day to point and click your way to savings. That's what the retail industry wants to you do. It's cyber Monday, a day dedicated to online deals and free shipping. It's estimated sale could hit a record $1.2 billion this year according to one online tracking firm. And the steep discounts also helping retailers this black Friday. The national retail federation reports shoppers spent $52.4 billion over the holiday weekend, up 16 percent from last year.

CHO: If you're willing to fight the crowds, I guess.

ROMANS: Where are people getting this money? I keep saying.

CHO: It's a little card like this, called a credit card, or two.

ROMANS: And savings, pent up demand.

CHO: Still to come this morning, Newt Gingrich picking up a critical endorsement in New Hampshire, but will it be enough to help him overcome Mitt Romney's double-digit lead in the granite state? We'll tell you.

ROMANS: He's the second in line to the British throne and a real-life hero. Details on Prince William's weekend, his rescue, straight ahead.

CHO: And an animal alert, a runaway ram in Miami. Take a look at that. How police were finally able to capture him.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. Oh, that's a house! Or maybe it's a school. No, it's a play yard. We'll figure it out. It's 15 minutes after the hour.


CHO: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Monday.

Oh, I just had a little hot dog (ph) -- can't get over it.

ROMANS: I gave you that hot dog.

CHO: You did. It's 18 minutes --

ROMANS: It's good.

CHO: -- after the hour.

A daring rescue effort in the Irish Sea and one of the brave heroes is none other than Prince William, second in line to the throne. He helped save the lives of two Russian sailors in their sinking ship.

CNN's Dan Rivers is live for us in London. And, Dan, this mission isn't over yet, is it?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not. It's still going on. We're told by the Coast Guard here that it started again at 8:00 A.M. this morning London Time, about, what, four hours ago now. They're still looking for five missing crew members from this cargo ship after Prince William was involved in rescuing two of them.

He was copiloting a Sea King helicopter search and rescue helicopter which he's been part of that squadron based up in Anglesey, North Wales since early last year. This is the kind of thing that he's trained for for a long time. And he's been desperate to be part of and now he's right on the front line, as it were, out there in really terrible conditions, risking his own life to -- to pluck people from the sea.

So this call came in at 2:00 A.M. on Sunday morning. He was scrambled out. He copiloted the vessel -- the helicopter, and you can see from the dramatic cockpit footage, it was really pretty bad swell out there. They plucked these two guys from the -- from the life raft. Sadly, one crew member has been found dead and they're still looking for the other five.

Now, we don't know if Prince William is still involved or if he's off ship. They haven't given out that information at the moment. But he's part and parcel, he's at center of this squadron -- 22 squadron based off of RAF Valley and this is what they do week in, week out.

CHO: CNN's Dan Rivers live for us in London. Dan, thank you for the update.

Well, it's a ram on the run. Check this out. The animal ran around almost six hours in a Miami park. Six hours. It even broke up a Little League baseball practice, but the ram tired itself out finally with all that running around, and eventually was captured by officers.

Here's the interesting part. There's no word yet on exactly where the ram came from or how it got loose. So it just materialized.

ROMANS: At a Pit Bull's game. And it's South Florida. It's usually, you know, we're talking about somebody's --

CHO: Crocodile or large snakes.

ROMANS: -- or an alligator in somebody's -- in somebody's pool.

All right. Still to come this morning, three American students arrested in Egypt during the Tahrir Square uprising. They're back home this morning. We're going to ask one of those students, Derrik Sweeney, why he says he wasn't sure he was going to survive this experience.

CHO: Can't wait for that.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Jeras is here with a quick look at today's traffic forecast. Hey, Jacqui. Good morning.


All of our travel trouble really focused on the southeast this morning. We've got a lot of rain widespread from the Panhandle of Florida, stretching all the way into the Ohio Valley. The rain will be heavy at times, but take note of what happens as we progress through time on the back side of this system. That rain changes over to some snow.

We've got winter weather advisories in effect from Memphis, towards Tupelo and even into Birmingham. A few inches will be possible, but much of it will melt very, very quickly, as the ground temperature is too warm. It is a slow-moving system. So everybody in the northeast, we're OK today. Your rain arrives tomorrow. And, yes, rain, not snow.

That's the latest on the forecast. AMERICAN MORNING back right after this.


ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Shoppers start your search engines. It's Cyber Monday. That's that holiday the retailers have made up to get you to spend more money that you didn't spend already this weekend. According to the industry group the National Retail Federation, 123 million bargain hunters are expected to logon, looking for deals today on this one-day shopping event. It's projected to bring in about $1.2 billion. That would be a record for Cyber Monday.

Today's bargains will follow a record-breaking Black Friday and holiday weekend. Retailers took in a total of $52.4 billion from Thursday through Sunday. That's what the National Retail Federation said. That's up about $7.5 billion from last year according to the trade group. No idea where people are getting that money. It's probably from savings accounts and credit cards. So look for credit card delinquencies to rise early next year.

And Wall Street would have to work hard to make up for last week's more than 500 point drop. Right now, Dow futures are up more than 200 points that's because of those strong Thanksgiving holiday retail sales. Also some sparks of optimism this morning about Europe moving forward to fix its debt problems. Europe getting it under control is the real key here.

Later today, investors will be watching for developments out of the E.U./U.S. Summit in Washington. President Obama and European leaders are expected to discuss ways to stop debt problems from spreading to even more countries in the region.

Optimism may be up slightly but there's still a persisting concern about the health of the European Union. Ratings agency Moody's has had a warning this morning that all E.U. nations are at risk for a downgrade unless the region gets a handle on its credit and banking problems very soon.

Also the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD, which includes the U.S. and 33 other nations, it predicts growth among its members will be slow next year to 1.6 percent.

And that welcome news for all of you heading back to work over -- after the holiday weekend, gas prices down for the 18th straight day. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular is now $3.30 a gallon.

All right. AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this quick break.


DERRIK SWEENEY, FREED STUDENT: (INAUDIBLE) which means spy. That moment was really unreal and I was the scariest moment of my life.

CHO: An American student held captive in Egypt back home in the U.S. and talking about his ordeal live on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Monday. Here are your top stories at half past the hour. Egyptians are heading to the polls today.

Many of them for the first time as thousands of demonstrators continue their occupation of Tahrir Square. It's Election Day. The process of picking a new parliament is scheduled to last into March.

ROMANS: And angry Pakistan saying it will re-assess its relationship with the United States and NATO. Pakistan blames NATO for the chopper attack on an outpost that killed 24 soldiers. The report suggests that Pakistan may have provoked the attack.

CHO: Syracuse University has now fired associate men's basketball coach, Bernie Fine. He's accused of sexually abusing at least two former ball boys.

ESPN aired a secretly recorded conversation between the coach's wife and his initial accuser. On it, potentially damning evidence suggesting that Laurie Fine knew about the allegations.

Earlier we spoke to Jon Wertheim, he's senior writer at "Sports Illustrated." He's watching both the Penn State and Syracuse sex abuse scandals and talked about what's different in each case.


JON WERTHEIM, SENIOR WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Two long time assistant coaches, they're married. They're roughly the same age. The two men accused were men and boys using sports as a lure.

I mean, on the face, there are a lot of eerie similarities, but if you step back, the big difference between, you know, a grand jury report and eight different allegations and 40 counts in the indictment versus these cases in Syracuse.

But no, I mean, I think one good thing comes from Penn State, it's emboldening other people to come forward and we're taking these accusations more seriously, investigating them more thoroughly.


CHO: After the firing, head coach Jim Boeheim who had earlier defended Fine said he deeply regrets the statements he made about the allegations.

ROMANS: Three American students who were arrested in Egypt during the violent uprising in Tahrir Square, they're back in the United States this morning. They were ordered freed by the Egyptian court and they're denying charges they threw Molotov cocktails at security forces during the protests.

Insisting the accusations against them were lies. One of them joins us now, Georgetown University student, Derrik Sweeney and his mom, Joy, they are live with us live from Jefferson City, Missouri this morning.

Welcome to both of you. Nice to see you. Derrik, it's so nice to see you there standing in next to your mom. Just a week ago, one week ago exactly, you were finishing up a pretty horrible night of detention and now you're finishing up Thanksgiving weekend.

I mean, it must be an absolute whirlwind round trip for you. Tell me what you're feeling?

DERRIK SWEENEY, AMERICAN STUDENT ARRESTED IN EGYPT: It's kind of surreal transition to think that where I was -- just trying to imagine where I was a few nights ago, where there was real uncertainty about what would be happening with the rest of my life. And at one point, you know, whether I lived, and to be back here now, it's extraordinary and lovely.

ROMANS: Now you mentioned whether or not you would live. I want to show this picture. When I first saw this picture as an American and a mother and just as someone with compassion, I saw the look on your face.

You're on the right here. I mean, it looked to me like you were afraid for your life. I mean, you had no idea -- tell me what was happening to you right there?

SWEENEY: Right at that moment, there were about 15 to 20 military or police, excuse me, I believe, Egyptian policemen with guns standing in front of us. And they had just pulled out a bunch of gasoline and bottles and put them in front of us.

And I was -- I thought that there was a good chance they might try to execute us or kill us perhaps that night, and I did not know whether anyone else would ever know about that.

ROMANS: They showed these pictures of Molotov cocktails. How did you end up there? Why do you think that the police or the plain clothes who pushed you into the Interior Ministry, why did they choose you guys?

And what were you or the other people with you, were you doing anything that could have, you know, could have given them reason to pick you up?

SWEENEY: Well, I honestly believe that they chose to apprehend us because we were obviously foreigners basically the color of our skin and our eyes. And we were the only ones that I saw in the area that appeared to be foreigners, and we were just standing on the street.

There's actually the video from the Egyptian authorities that they claim shows us throwing some sort of fire bombs, and I would like to refer to that video because it shows us standing there on the street.

We were on the street next to a very large protest, and then shortly after we had run away, when cops fired something into a crowd. And then shortly thereafter, these guys dragged us in and then after we were dragged into a building they took our bags and came back with these bottles of gasoline.

ROMANS: Remind us why were you there? You're a student. You were doing a semester abroad. At the time, I want to ask your mom, too, but I'll ask you first, Derrik.

So at the time, before you -- the Arab spring happened, I mean, all of these exciting changes and developments in the country, and you still decided were you going to go for it. You were going to for it. You were going to spend the semester there, why?

SWEENEY: Yes. Well, we were actually waiting for approval from the State department or a word from the State Department that they were going to issue a travel warning. I was not actually sure whether I was going to be able to go until May.

But I -- the fact that it was in such political turmoil and transition I will admit made me want to go much more. And I just feel that it's an extraordinary time to witness democracy, the birth of a democracy, and the development of human liberties and freedom that I find so excellent.

ROMANS: Joy, he says excellent. As a mom, did it give you pause he was going to a country where there was so much political upheaval and -- you know, I mean, things were really turning over there?

JOY SWEENEY, MOTHER OF DERRIK SWEENEY: You know what? I knew why he was going there. I knew he was going to observe. I knew he was going to learn, and I knew that he was a very bright person, and would make good decisions.

I spoke to him three hours before he was apprehended and he told me he was safe. So, yes, I was concerned, but, no, I really felt that, I trusted in the love and God's good care that he would be OK.

I have a son in Afghanistan right now that I pray for every day. I have a daughter in Paris who's there by herself, also a student.

And so, you know, with three kids all over the world, not to mention my daughter here who could get injured in a car accident. You know, things happen everywhere in the world. So I just had to know that he would be safe. ROMANS: And he is and so for that really glad - -- just quickly, Derrik, are you going to go back? You'll go back sometime in the future, do you think?

SWEENEY: Yes. I still think that Egyptians are great people generally and I hope one day to go back to Egypt.

ROMANS: All right. Derrik Sweeney and his mother, Joy. Thanks for joining us from Jefferson City, Missouri. Nice to see you guys. Thanks.

CHO: Great interview. I wonder if at one point he realized that video ever the three boys was shown around the world. I bet it didn't take long.

ROMANS: And you know, the other thing is that when I first saw the video, I thought, oh, that kid is so scared. I mean, you know it's serious. They know it's serious.

CHO: Well, he fainted. It's unbelievable, but his mother seems to be very open and understanding, if he wants to go back.

ROMANS: He's not going to back for the rest of the semester. He's back in the United States now and he'll finish out the rest of that semester here.

CHO: And leftover turkey, too. I hope.

Time running out for more Wall Street protesters. Hundreds of "Occupy Los Angeles" protesters were told to take their tents and leave their camp outside city hall overnight, but more showed up. Many of them haven't budged at all, but it's been mostly a peaceful standoff with police.

ROMANS: Over in Philadelphia, the deadline also came and went for "Occupy Philly" protestors to dismantle their camp. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside city hall with arms locked right at the 5:00 p.m. deadline yesterday. They were bracing for a police sweep.

CHO: Up next on AMERICAN MORNING, it is Cyber Monday.

ROMANS: Please not more, spend your money, spend your money, spend your money.

CHO: Well, you know what that means. It means that even if you're at work, time to shop online. Shop until you drop. And we have some tips on how to find the best deals out there, in case you're looking.

ROMANS: It's good to spend the money we don't have again, why? It's a holiday tradition. That's right.

CHO: It's 39 minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHO: Good morning, New York City. It's cloudy and 58 degrees heading up to a balmy 66 with sunshine. It's a great day in New York City.

Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Well, if you didn't want to battle crowds on Black Friday or over the weekend, today is the day for you. It's Cyber Monday, the day to shop online if you haven't started already.

Right now in case you haven't checked you're in box is probably filled with coupons and promo codes. Joining me now is some of the best deals and steals out there is Latoya Drake, she's a digital expert with AOL.

Good morning. It's nice to see you. Over the four-day holiday, Americans spent an estimated $52.4 billion. That's up 16 percent over last year.

Online shopping on Thanksgiving Day alone was up 39 percent. But, you know, I happened to go online yesterday to just browse a little bit, and there were some pretty good deals out there already. Aren't the lines a bit blurred? Is there really a Cyber Monday anymore?

LATOYA DRAKE, AOL DIGITAL EXPERT: You know what? You make a great point. With Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we saw retailers extend those deals into Thanksgiving Day and then the following day as well.

So we're seeing the exact same thing happening with Cyber Monday. A lot of e-tailors are starting those deals early. Amazon and Toys "R" Us for instance started yesterday and a few others retailers are doing cyber week.

So it's not just Cyber Monday anymore. It's really cyber week. So you'll see Wal-Mart and Target and the like really extending those deals and rolling out new deals each day, really hoping to, you know, break into those records.

CHO: I mean, I guess, it was bound to happen. When you see brook and mortar retailers like Macy's opening up at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, it's -- people want to shop when they want to show.

DRAKE: And people showed up.

CHO: That's right. Now having said that, I want to get to what people really care about, which is the best deals out there. And you say one of the first places you should go is a great site, it's an aggregator. It's called

DRAKE: Exactly, very easy to remember. If you're new to Cyber Monday or not new at all, is a great place to start. And what they've done is really aggregated deals for over 700 e- tailers. They really make it easy for you.

CHO: One-stop shop?

DRAKE: They list all of the deals out there. It's easy for you to click to those deals. So you're really not clicking around, searching around. You have everything in front of you, if you just want to know who's doing what and where can I get there.

CHO: It links right to the web site.

DRAKE: Links right there.

CHO: This is a good one, That sounds pretty good.

DRAKE: Exactly, you know, consumers say free shipping is something that really sweetens the deal for you. If you're on the fence about making a purchase decision, free shipping does it for you.

So has thousands and thousands of free shipping codes free and clear for you to use. We know that a lot of e-tailers have spending thresholds. Well, gives you those codes.

CHO: Lastly, This one is really interesting, isn't it?

DRAKE: It is. One of growing trends that we're seeing is cash back. A lot of people get cash back with their credit cards. This site gives you cash back on online purchases. How it works, if you start your transaction there and click to say Best Buy from Fat Wallet, you'll get anywhere from 1 percent to 3 percent back on your purchase. Macy's, for example, you get 4 percent back on that purchase. If you're already online shopping, spending the money, why not put a little bit of change back in your possibility.

CHO: I'm curious to know, you actually went into the stores this weekend. Didn't you?

DRAKE: I did. I did.

CHO: What happened? Did you buy anything?

DRAKE: I took my chances and I was after the things that really nobody wants. I wanted the luggage. I wasn't looking for a TV or DVD player.

CHO: Oh, OK.


DRAKE: But where I was, I didn't see a ton of crowds. People were well-behaved. I didn't experience any Black Friday violence.

CHO: Oh, OK.

DRAKE: But I'm equally excited about Cyber Monday, because I don't have to get into the stores. Really, an easy day to shop online.

CHO: And shop for yourself, which is what a lot of people are doing, right? It seems they're waiting to buy the gifts a little later. Procrastinators everywhere.


DRAKE: Exactly. If you need to shop for yourself, people have been saving up money. What we're seeing this year is a precision shopper. The person who's very thrifty, looking for great deals, willing to do the research in advance, willing to go online and click around the clock or wait in line for some of the deals. Whether that's shopping for yourself or someone else, we're seeing people want though fantastic deals.

CHO: Or watch an item all the way through, and say, they still have it in my size, I'm going to get it now.


DRAKE: And consumers will need to be careful in watching, with watching too long. In many cases --

CHO: They're gone. That's right.

DRAKE: -- a lot of the great deals may not be here in two, three weeks from now.

CHO: The second markdown.

LaToya Drake, digital expert with AOL.

Thanks so much for those tips.

DRAKE: Of course. Thank you.

CHO: Christine?

ROMANS: All right, still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, think you're immune to the tricks retailers try to pull to get you to spend more money? Think again. We'll reveal new ways stores are brainwashing you to spend, spend, spend. Today's "Romans' Numeral," $398.52. Here's a hint, 'tis the season to shop. Really?

Forty-seven after the hour.


ROMANS: It's 48 minutes after the hour. Here are your morning headlines.

It's election day in Egypt. Voters are heading to the polls as thousands of demonstrators continue their occupation of Tahrir Square. The process of picking a new parliament is scheduled to last into March. And the head of Egypt's military council is warning in will be dire consequences if the country can't overcome its current political crisis.

A man charged with trying to assassinate President Obama is headed to court today for a preliminary hearing. 21-year-old Oscar Ortega Hernandez is accused of firing gunshots at the White House. The president was in California the day of the shooting.

Syracuse University fired associate men's basketball coach, Bernie Fine. He's accused of sexually abusing two former ball boys. The announcement coming after ESPN aired a secretly recorded phone conversation between his wife and his initial accuser, which suggests she knew about the alleged abuse.

And a university of Utah professor and father of two young children accused of watching child pornography on his laptop. He is set to be arraigned today. It allegedly happened onboard a Delta flight to Boston on Saturday. Police say another passenger saw what he was watching, took a cell phone photo. A 47-year-old Grant Smith watching the video then told the crew.

The family of a Florida A&M drum major who died after a suspected hazing incident now plans to sue the school. They're holding a news conference later today.

Occupy protesters are staying put, so far, in Philly and Los Angeles. Both camps now under an order to leave after deadlines came and went last night. So far, no reports of any violence.

And we're on track for a strong opening when the markets open a little more than an hour and a half from now. Right now, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 futures are up by more than 2 percent after a very rough week.

OK, Millions of bargain hunters are expected to log on for today's Cyber Monday deals. Cyber Monday, it's that retail industry generated holiday to get you to spend more money. Analysts predict shoppers will spend a record $1.2 billion.

A big win for the United States in golf's World Cup. Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland came out victorious in China, ending an 11-year drought for the U.S. The pair won by two strokes by shooting a five under par, 67. Germany and England tied for second.

That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING is back after the break.





CHO: You're looking live there in Los Angeles, happening right now. Police are moving in on Occupy L.A. protesters. An arrest deadline was extended until 4:30 a.m. west coast time. So far, it's been mostly a peaceful standoff with police. But again you're looking live there at what's going on in Los Angeles with the Occupy protesters and police in an apparently it's a peaceful standoff so far. Earlier, we had been reporting that police were trying to get those protesters to pack up their tents and leave the area around city hall. Apparently, that didn't happen. And even more protesters moved into the area. But again, live pictures of Los Angeles. We'll be watching the story throughout the day.

ROMANS: Meantime, you know how hot under the collar I am about the retail industry.

CHO: I know.


ROMANS: I'm very hot under the collar about the retail hype machine. This morning's "Romans' Numeral," the number in the news today. And the number is $398.62. That's how much the National Retail Federation says the average holiday shopper spent over the holiday weekend.

CHO: That's right.

ROMANS: They say that, altogether, shoppers spent some $52.4 billion. Now, of course, that tally may not be 100 percent accurate, because economic journalist, Barry Riffolds (ph), writes it's not clear because the data is not available yet. How can they know so soon?

CHO: This is what people are reporting, so it's like exit polls.


ROMANS: Exactly.

CHO: The numbers haven't been able to shaken out yet.

ROMANS: It's what people say they plan to spend. Anyway, he is writing a blog this morning that's gone viral that's saying, no. There are more people who are in the stores. This, we think, is true, from all of the sort of shopper track and polling, more people are in the stores. We just don't know yet how much yet they spent. We do know that the traffic appears to be up. And, you know, me and the retail shopping machine, I mean, I feel like we're partying like it's 2005. What happened then? We had a big bubble that burst, right?

CHO: And earlier, I was asking you, playing devil's advocate, why is this such a bad thing? Isn't it good that retail numbers are strong? And you say really all you have to do is look at who is shopping --

ROMANS: That's right.

CHO: -- to figure out what the problem is. ROMANS: And Marshal Cohen, from the NPD Group, even said people are on the edge. And the people who are shopping, a lot of times, are people on the edge. And we could see credit card delinquencies again in a couple of weeks. And so, I mean, you have the money to spend, spend it. If you don't, don't.

CHO: Right.

ROMANS: Anyway, in today's "Smart is the New Rich," we'll look at some of the tricks that stores use to get you to buy.

I spoke with Martin Lindstrom, the former marketing insider and author of a book called "Brand Washed," and he says in some cases, it's like a Vegas casino really, stores are. It's about how you walk through a store.


MARTIN LINDSTORM, FORMER MARKETING INSIDER & AUTHOR: If we walk counterclockwise throughout the store, we actually spend 7 percent more. And not only that, we actually are seeing now the supermarkets are putting in speed bombs into the floor so that the tiles are starting to vibrate slightly. It makes us slow down. And as we do that, we spend 6 percent more.


ROMANS: Think about that the next time you go to the store. The speed bumps or things that you have to go around to make you stop and spend more money.

Now, Lindstrom says when it comes to holiday shopping, always pay cash and bring large bills. Why? He says we have a physical relationship with cash, and you need to be really tempted to break the big bills.


Another way to keep costs down, don't bring the kids.


LINDSTROM: I think one of the best advice is not to bring your kids with you. We know today that if you bring your kids with you, you're going to spend 26 percent more. There's also another good advice, and it sounds stupid but actually it works very well, and that's use your music player or your iPhone and play some music, really high frequency, because that makes you rush out of the supermarket very quickly.



ROMANS: Or my kids make we rush out very quickly, but that's another story. If you want to find a babysitter while you shop, that helps. If you find an item that you love, wait 48 hours to buy it.

CHO: I have that rule.

ROMANS: I know, mine is actually three days.

CHO: The 48-hour rule.

ROMANS: It's a good rule. The desire to buy it will often disappear in the meantime. And watch out for marketing gimmicks. For example, if the retailer says it's an investment or it's the last chance. Are you listening, holiday shoppers? You don't want to buy an item for that reason. Or even using the nostalgia factor. Don't fall for those things. He says making you feel like you can buy the good old days, especially in a tough economy, is enticing to customers, and it's just another trick that retailers will use to get you to buy, buy, buy, buy. Even the retail industry is saying it worked over the weekend. So we'll have to wait and see the numbers.

CHO: There's only one left. Buy it now.

ROMANS: There are going to be in are sales. I promise. There will be more sales.

CHO: Your top stories are next.

Also ahead, actor, Kal Penn, of "Harold and Kumar" fame, is back in Hollywood. He's left the White House. While taking this little political break, he's working on something new, and he is stopping by our studios, live.

It's 57 minutes after the hour.