tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 31, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm PDT
we found out that economic growth slowed down in the first quarter of this are year, slowing down to 1.9% from 2.2%. also found out that jobless claims spiked. manufacturing was weak as well, and i think what you're seeing is investors in a wait and see mode, waiting for the big jobs report coming out on friday. >> looking out for it. thank you, allison. appreciate it. want to get right down to it. federal appeals court rules against the defense of marriage act and in favor of same sex couples. just a short time ago the court in massachusetts ruled the act unconstitutional. defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and it bans federal recognition of same sex marriage. the court says the act discriminates against gay couples. i will ask massachusetts congressman barney frank what he thinks about the decision when he joins us later in the hour. the dramatic escape from house arrest in china made headlines. today chinese activists chen guangcheng is speaking out. he is currently studying in the united states after his escape from detention and the council
of morn relations talked about the danger faced by his family and what he calls the lawlessness in china. >> what i am most concerned about is also the most important question is the state of law in china, it is still very much being tram pelled on and more specifically after i left my home the local authorities have been having retaliating against my family in a frenzied way. please think about this. >> just in to cnn a couple minutes ago the syrian government is denying any involvement in the massacre that left more than 100 people dead in the village of houla. a government spoexz man in damascus blames what he calls armed groups, not the syrian military, for going house to house and slaughtering entire families, mostly women and children. it was last friday. you're about to see an up close look inside the village where it happened. itn's alex thompson.
>> the u.n. warned you're past the last syrian army check point and then it is no man's land and space out the vehicles as we go across and if shooting starts, do a u-turn and get the hell out, you're on your own. it is a chilling mile long straight drive through the broken empty buildings. watch for the dead horse rotting in the street on the right and past that and the abandoned personnel carrier of the syrian army and you are into rebel held houla. they want to scream and shout and chant and show us fragments of shells. i have scarcely seen people so desperate to tell their story. u.n. observers simply embraced before they can observe anything at all. they're chanting the release,
the anger is palpable in this place and very few people from the arab side and certainly never a journalist here since they over took this town back on friday. from that moment we were taken away and swept up and led from house to house where everyone has a story to tell and when it comes to the men that carried out the massacre here on friday, this is the same one. this man who didn't wish to give his name speaks for everyone here it seems. you know where these militia came from. >> yes. >> which villages did the militia come from, tell me that. >> kabul, and the gang. >> you think these are aloewhites. >> yes, 100%. >> how do you know they're sheer? how do you know?
>> they wear black cloths and we are writing on the foreheads. >> it is a sheer slogan in this region. houla is on the plain, overwhelmingly suni and the killers came down from the hills to the west where the villages are sheer and alowhite, and this is kabul named again and again as a village where the killers have come from. so, too, houla to the northwest named by different people at different times in different locations as being a place where the killers lived. time and again they showed us the videos of the massacre aftermath. we can't show pictures of children decapitated by knives, women with faces shot away, and tiny mutilated bodies of toddlers. survivors scarred by all of this
constantly brought to our attention like three-year-old sadara wounded by shrapnel but her mother is dead. for now, though, time is up for the red crescent and the u.n. we had to move out. south back across no man's land and away from this stricken place. alex thompson, channel 4 news, houla. barney frank is about to become the first member of congress in a same sex marriage. we'll talk to him about that and his plans to retire from congress. the official portrait of george bush will be unveiled this hour at the white house. we'll take a look at his legacy and my tour of the white house art collection. >> it was paint the by samuel morris who invented the telegraph. >> here is what we're working on this hour. >> barney frank is about to become the first member of congress in a same sex marriage. i will talk to him about it and his plans to retire from congress. the official portrait of
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1kr. barney frank leaves after 32 years in the house. he is joining us to talk about his legacy. i do want to get your thoughts on a story that broke regarding the defense of marriage act. a federal appeals court in massachusetts ruled the defense of marriage act unconstitutional. it defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and the court says the act discriminates against same sex couples. is this part of a sea change, do you think, taking place in this country when you look at that are you heartened to see that? >> yes. i was pleased but not surprised. it does not say that anybody anywhere has a right in america to marry someone of the same sex. it says very carefully done by excellent lawyers at the gay and lesbian advocates in boston where a state has recognized
marriage, whether it is between people of the opposite sex or same sex, the federal government cannot discriminate. in america marriage is always been defined at the state level. what the defense of marriage act said in part and it is the only part up in the decision is the federal government will say, yes, if you're a man and a woman married and you will get social security benefits and joint taxes, et cetera, and if you're two women marrying, you don't. what the district court judge said and the three judges unanimous at the circuit court said that's not right. you have to treat people equally and it is a denial of fundamental federal doctrine of equal protection and the argument that president obama made when he said earlier he wasn't going to defend the law and vindication of his position. >> what do you make of what's happened here? there does seem to be a sea change regarding same sex marriage. president obama coming out in support of it. you were really a pioneer as openly gay in congress. did you ever imagine it would
gain so much support that you would be still in congress and see this kind of change happening? >> i was hoping it would happen and happening more quickly than i wanted it to, not as quickly as it should. we're talking about a premise that never had rational basis in the first place and i think what's happening is reality defeats prejudice. for many years those of us gay and lesbian and i was in the category until 25 years ago when i volunteered that i was gay when it came up, we were hiding and so these inaccurate vicious stereotypes about us were all people knew. as we have become honest about our sexuality, we don't discuss our sexuality any more than straight people do and there is a difference. when we talk honestly about our sexuality, it is called coming out. when the heterosexual majority does it, it is called talking. we all talk about our sexuality, and that's helped defeat the prejudice. marriage is an example.
wherever marriage has been in effect for any period of time, the opposition to it dies away. same sex marriage, because it is clear it doesn't hurt anybody. >> do you fear there will be a bab lash? we heard from several pastors of churches throughout the country really some fiery rhetoric, some of them even threatening to kill gay people in the community. is that a concern at all that you might -- we might see something like that? >> i am not in fear with that. yes, there is a backlash. there always has been whether it was african-americans, women, any group that has decided they're no longer going to accept second class or third class treatment and that fights for its rights will excite some opposition. as long as you're willing to be supined, people will be much nicer to you. what we found, however, is this one, those who express those views clearly in the minority and especially generationally. what gives me the most optimism is this. if you ask people under 30, it is clear they don't understand what this is all about. they don't understand why we're two other people who happen to
be in love should be of any negative concern to them and that's why this thing is changing. that and as i said the reality. take don't ask don't tell. a year ago we had prediction from my conservative friends that if we allowed gay and lesbian people to serve in the militarily openly, they have been serving for years, it would cause chaos. it has been in effect for months and nobody noticed. this is what we see. the reality, people get to see what gay people are like and lesbians are like and that the prejudice is shown to be baseless. >> talk a little about your record and your legacy. 32 years in congress. what are you most proud of? what do you hope people remember you by? >> i guess i hope that it is the same question. i am not sure it is. i can't be sure that what i am most proud of is what people will remember me by. obviously the financial foreign bill was very important and i worked very hard to try and promote affordable rental housing. i think it was misunderstood. for most of my career i am focused on trying to build rental housing for low income people and we were sidetrack and
had too many others were pushing into homeownership which wasn't appropriate. i feel good about having helped diminish not unfortunately abolish altogether the prejudice against us and i am proud that in 1998 i was on the judiciary committee then when newt gingrich tried to impeach bill clinton in one of the great acts of hypocrisy, and we were able to defeat that and i think it was a great success for democracy and i am proud now finally the country is focusing on the need to reduce excessive military expenditures and tell the european allies they should defend themselves and not expect us to restrict medicare or social security or programs in the quality of life at home so we can subsidize the defense budgets >> when you look at the election and the campaign season here, what do you think president obama has done right, that he has gotten right and what do you think he needs to work on? >> what he clearly has done right is help turn around the
mess of the economy. he inherited the worst economy since the great depression. interestingly, because he was trying to be somewhat bipartisan, he did himself a political damage by not stressing how bad things were. i think that's part of the reason people said, oh, well, didn't move quick enough. the american economy today of all the economies in the advanced nations in the world, japan, europe, we're doing the best and doing the best because we're mixing policies. we have been retarded by conservative opposition. we have created in the united states since the beginning of the turn around late in 2009 maybe about 4 million private sector jobs. unfortunately we have lost over 600,000 jobs from state, local government, teachers, fire fighters, police officers because the right wing has cut back on that. i think he dealt with the economy well. >> do you think mitt romney has a good record? do you think he is an adequate regard as the governor of massachusetts and also a businessman to lead forward. >> no, no, he was a terrible governor of massachusetts.
i represented among other areas southeastern massachusetts, a working class area where there had been national economic trends and we had a number of things we were trying to do to help the fishing industry and to get commuter rail built from the cities from new bedford to boston and to support other institutions and it was as if that area didn't exist. he became governor for one reason, to run for president, and he was seriously neglectful of the area of the state that i represented that most needed his help. we also of course got a little whiplash because mitt romney, the liberal, was running against ted kennedy in 1994 and then mitt romney the moderate ran for governor but by the time his term was ending he was mitt romney the conservative running for president and got a little dizzy watching the road runner go through the paces. >> will you actually campaign? will you help president obama this go round? >> very much so. i am not a great fan of campaigning for myself, but campaigning for others is important. yes, i will work very hard for the president. let me be honest, there is one
area where i disagree with him. i think he is staying in afghanistan longer than we should and for a higher military spends and even the contrast with the republicans is extraordinary. we have republicans that say we have to reduce the deficit and not raise taxes by a penny and significantly increase military expenditures. people want to invade syria or support an invasion of syria and people want to stay in afghanistan longer and didn't want to get out of iraq and the contrast, yeah, i think the president should be doing less in terms of making america the world's military helper but the republicans and romney in particular are just totally wrong on this. >> do you think he should do more in syria, very quickly? >> no. i don't think every problem in the world is subject to american solutions. if we were to go in in a military way and directly or indirectly to another muslim country, it would be damaging. if there is a problem any mayor why does it have to be the american taxpayer or military to
bail them out? the arab league should be involved. the europeans should be involved. we're carrying the brunt in afghanistan. this notion it is always america's job and everybody else can slack off, it is unfair to us and unfair to think about all that's gone on america can now go on and take on frankly a third or fourth military intervention in a muslim country and be fairly judged. yeah, there are terrible things going on and the man is a thug. there are a lot of other countries in the world and my colleagues that act as if everything that goes wrong is america's fault and we have been to the ones to solve it and if we don't solve it it is our fault, they're doing the country a intangible disservice. >> i want to ask about the remark you made created a little dust up about the hoodie at the graduation ceremony recently and you later apologized. >> i didn't. excuse me, i didn't apologize. >> okay. let's play the bit here and maybe you can explain on the other end. >> honorary they give you one of these and i think you now have a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you.
i think you will feel, i hope, pretty protected by that. >> if you can explain the remark. i am sorry if you did not -- if i misspoke. >> i think one of the worst issues we have in america is racial prejudice, and i think the incident in florida where the young man was murdered and simply innocently walking home to where he had a place to be or walking to a place where he was staying and part of the reason he was murdered, wearing a hoodie and looked suspicious, that's the kind of terrible attitude and i think the humor is a way to attack it. it was the third time i used line and the first two times i got an honorary degree myself and i said i wonder if this is a hoodie i can wear on the floor of the house and i think efforts to show how damaging that prejudice is, and i think this antihoodie thing, you know, i suppose some people may say the anti-hoodie sentiment is from people burned on the facebook
ipo and it is more of a conflict of racial profiling and, yeah, it was a very distinguished guy getting academic honorary degree which comes with a hood and i am not apologizing at all for trying to make fun of and ridicule and hopefully diminish this attitude that says, oh, my god, the man has a hoodie, he must be suspicious? there were some people thought you were making light of it but that was a misunderstanding. >> no, no, humor is an effective political tool. the notion that you can't make a hood joke, maybe it wasn't the funniest joke in the world, but make i was rid kulg the attitude and the notion i guess you could say that satire is making light of things, i don't think so. i think it is an honorable position and debate and the third time i said it and frankly nobody i have talked to in my own district or elsewhere has said anything about it. it is largely a media creation.
>> and congressman, i understand you have a wedding planned as well. you're going to be married soon. is that right? >> yep. kim and i, my husband to be, jim ready and i will be ready and married during the summer and that means that i will spend the last few months of my congressional career as a married gay man and i will have the great pleasure of my spouse who is very popular with my colleagues and already well known to them, but i think i said reality defeats prejudice. i think jim and i as a married couple interacting as we will, going to the white house balance in december and as another married couple, i think it is one more fight in the effort to diminish prejudice and give people an alternative reality to the silly stereotypes they sometimes see. >> all right. congressman, thank you very much. 32 years, quite a legacy. thank you once again. mitt romney is in california to talk to the voters there. we'll go live next.
those countries that use the euro, that supporters hope will be prosecute prevent a crisis like the hundreds hammering greece and spain right now. richard quest is joining from us london to talk about this. richard, first of all, help us understand this a little bit. what are the irish voting for today? >> it is called the fiscal compact. that's what we know it at. it is a 20-page treaty and what it does is the new rules of the road. it is setting out the ways in which the members of the eurozone will relate to each other, budgets, sanctions, deficits, structural deficits, and in fact some would say this is what they should have been doing for the last ten years. anyway, better late than never. the problem is ireland is the only eurozone country that is actually putting it to a referendum. the rest are doing it through national parliament or ratification processes and
ireland needs the money because if ireland says no today, then effectively it is lifeline will be cut off. i mean, it is a bit like vote how you like but we know how you will vote. you get the idea. ireland is expected to vote for the referendum today. >> what's taking place in ireland? are we seeing this as a banking and debt problem or has it really reached a crisis yet? >> ireland is the poster boy and poster child for austerity. they took their medicine like a good patient and they have taken it and taken it and taken it and in fact in some cases they're pretty angry that other countries are getting wiggle room like greece while ireland continues to really suffer, but what they did is they got rid of all the bad debts and the banks and hired them off and made major cutbacks and large sways of the economy is in trouble and things are turning around. i was talking to the irish man yesterday and they say things are getting better and the
situation is definitely looking up. however, they are terrified that a spanish problem or worse greek problem will eventually hit everybody just as you and i were talking yesterday because if you're on the other side of the atlantic about to feel the wash of the waves, imagine poor ireland and how that will get hit. >> have to let you go there. we are going straight to the white house. we're seeing president obama there and they're just starting the ceremony. this is the official unveiling of the portrait of former president george w. bush. >> the association is honored to be part of today's historic ceremony and played a role in arranging for the magnificent portraits about to be unveiled. the white house historical association was founded 50 years ago by first lady jacqueline kennedy with two specific missions. the first is to educate and inform the public about the history of the white house and the distinguished group of americans that inhabited it.
in this regard it is an exciting time for us as we mark our 50th anniversary campaign for white house history. to the north of the white house with he have just launched the new david rubenstein national center for white house history. next year to the south of the white house we will open a newly redesigned white house visitors center. it will give the millions of visitors to washington each year a chance to gain a broader understanding of life in the white house. if we can just acquire something on the east and west we'll have the place surrounded. the other mission of the association is to provide funds to preserve the white house public rooms and enhance its incomparable collection of decorative and fine arts. over the five decades and ten presidents since our founding, the association is proud to have provided nearly $40 million in financial support for refurbishing and making important acquisitions for the white house. through the portraits of our presidents and first ladys, it
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to president obama at the white house and the official portrait being unveiled right now. >> to all the members of the bush family who are here, it is a great privilege to have you here today and to president and mrs. bush, welcome back to the house that you called home for eight years. the white house is many things at once. it is a working office. it is a living museum. it is an enduring symbol of our democracy. at the end of the day when the visitors go home and the lights go down, a few of us are blessed with the tremendous honor to actually live here. i think it is fair to say that every president is acutely aware that we are just temporary residents. we're renters here. we're charged with the upkeep until our lease runs out. we also leave a piece of
ourselves in this place. today with the unveiling of the portraits next to me president and mrs. bush will take their place alongside men and women who built this country and those who worked to perfect it. it has been said that no one could ever truly understand what it is like being president until they sit behind the desk and feel the weight and the responsibility for the first time. that is true. after three and a half years in office and much more gray hair i have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the presidents that came before me including my immediate predecessor president bush. in this job no decision that reaches your desk is easy, no clois you make is without costs. no matter how hard you try you're not going to make everybody happy. i think that's something president bush and i both learned pretty quickly. that's why from time to time those of us who have had the
privilege to hold this office find ourselves turning to the only people on earth who know the feeling. we may have our differences politically, but the presidency trance sends those differences. we all love this country. we all want america to succeed. we all believe when it comes to moving this country forward we have an obligation to pull together, and we all follow the humble heroic example of our first president, george washington, who knew that a true test of patriotism is to willingly and graciously pass the reigns of hour to somebody else. it is certainly true of president bush. the months before i took the oath of office were a chaotic time. we knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow americans were in pain, but we wouldn't know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been and still over
those two and a half months in the midst of that crisis president bush, his cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways, george, you went out of your way to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible. president bush understood that rescuing our economy was not just a democratic or republican issue, it was an american priority. i will always be grateful for that. the same is true for our national security. none of us will ever forget where we were on that terrible september day when our country was attacked. all of us will always remember the image of president bush standing on that pile of rubble bull horn in hand conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the american people but also representing the strength and resolve of the american people. last year whether we delivered
justice to osama bin laden i made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years across two administrations. it is why my first call once american forces were safely out of harm's way was to president bush because protecting our country is neither the work of one person nor the task of one period of time, it is an on going obligation that we all share. finally, on a personal note, michelle and i are grateful to the entire bush family for their guidance and example during our own transition. george, i will always remember the gathering you hosted for all of the living former presidents before i took office and your kind words of encouragement and plus you also left me a really good tv sports package. i use it.
laura, you reminded us the most rewarding thing isn't the title or the power but the chance to shine a spotlight on the issue that is matter most. the fact that you and george raised two, smart, beautiful daughters first is girls visiting their grandparents and then as teenagers preparing to head out into the world, that obviously gives michelle and i tremendous hope as we try to do the right thing by our own daughters in this slightly odd atmosphere that we have created. jenna and barbara, we will never forget the advice you gave sasha and maleah as they began their lives in washington and they told them to surround themselves with loyal friends and never stop doing what they love and to slide down the bansters occasionally and play sardines on the lawn and meet new people and try new things and to try to
absorb everything and enjoy all of it and i can tell you that maleah and sasha tack that advice to heart and it really meant a lot to them. one of the greatest strengths of our democracy is our ability to peacefully and routinely go through transitions of power. it speaks to the fact that we have always had leaders who believe in america and everything it stands for above all else. leader and their families who are willing to devote their lives to the country they love. this is what we'll think about every time we pass these portraits just as millions of other visitors will do in the decades and perhaps the centuries to come. i want to thank john, the artist behind the beautiful works and for his efforts and on behalf of the american people i want to thank most sincerely president and mrs. bush for their extraordinary service to our country and now i would like to
sit down. behave yourself. mr. president, thank you for your warm hospitality and madam first lady, thank you so much for vieding our rowdy friends to my hanging. laura and i are honored to be here, mr. vice president, thank you for coming. we are overwhelmed by your hospitality and thank you for feeding the bush family, all 14 members of us here. i want to thank our girls for coming and i thank mom and dad, brothers, sister, in-laws, aunts and uncles and i appreciate you taking your time. i know you are as excited as laura and me to be able to come back here and particularly thank the people who helped make this
house a home for us for eight years, the white house staff. i want to thank fred ryan and the white house historical association and bill almond, the white house curator. i am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the white house collection. it now starts and ends with a george w. when the british burned the whougs as fred mention mentioned in 1814, dolly madison famously saved this portrait of the first george w. now, michelle, if anything happens, there is your man.
i am also pleased, mr. president, that when you are wandering these halls after you wrestle with tough decisions you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask what would george do? i am honored to be hanging near a man that gave me the greatest gift possible, unconditional love. and that would be number 41.
i want to thank john howard for agreeing to use his considerable talents to paint my likeness. you have done a fine job with a challenging subject. the portrait there is a painting by hd. kerner called a charge to keep. it hung in the oval office for eight years of my presidency. i asked john to include it because it reminds me of the wonderful people with whom i was privileged to serve. whether they serve in the cabinet, on the presidential staff, these men and women many of whom are here worked hard and served with honor. we had a charge to keep and we kept the charge. it is my privilege to introduce the greatest first lady ever,
sorry, mom. would you agree to a tie? a woman who brought such grace and dignity and love in this house. >> thank you, all. thank you, everybody. thanks, everybody. thank you, all. okay. that's enough. thank you very much. thank you, darling. thank you, president and mrs. obama. thank you for your kindness and
your consideration today and it was really gracious of you to invite us back to the white house to hang a few family pictures. i am sure you know nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of the former occupants staring down at you from the walls. this is not the first time i have had the opportunity to confront an artistic likeness of myself. a few years ago just after the 2008 election a friend sent me something he found in the gift shop of the national constitutional center in philadelphia. it was a laura bush bobblehead doll. he said he found it on a clearance shelf. i am flattered and grateful to know that this particular work has a permanent home and thanks to the masterful talent of john howard sanden, i like it a whole lot better than i do that bobblehead doll.
thank you very much, john howard sanden. you're terrific to work with and thanks to elizabeth and your family who have joined you today. thank you very, very much, john. of course it is meaningful to me as a private person to know that these portraits will be on view at the white house, that my portrait will hang just down the hall from my mother-in-law and that george's portrait will hang very close to his dad's. what's more meaningful is that it is meaningful to me as a citizen, this was our family's home for eight years and it was our home but it wasn't our house. this house belongs to the people whose portraits will never hang here, the ordinary and not so
ordinary people whose lives inspired us and whose expectations guided us during the years that we lived here. in this room are many of the people who stood by us as we faced the tragedy of september 11th and who worked with us in the years after. thanks to each and every one of you for your service to our country. i hope others will see in this portrait what i see, a woman who was honored and humbled to live in the white house during a period of great challenge and who will never forget the countless american faces who make up the true portrait of that time. thank you all very much. thanks so much and thank you, michelle, if you want to come up.
>> we're watching president george w. bush and former first lady laura bush, the official unveiling of the portraits at the white house. we'll be right back. ok! who gets occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating? get ahead of it! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day helps defend against digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. hit me! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'.
who are back at the white house joining the obama family there for the festivities and the celebration. meanwhile, romney and republicans taking aim at president obama over a failed energy company. they got millions in loans backed by tax dollars. >> it's also a symbol of gross waste. we look at this building behind us. this is not the kind of building that's built by private enterprise. this is the kind of enterprise -- the kind of building that's built with a half a billion dollars of taxpayer money. it's not just the taj mahal of corporate headquarters. you probably heard inside there are showers that have lcd displays that tell you what the temperature is of the shower water. >> jim acosta is joining us on the phone. he's with the romney campaign event that just ended. so, jim, obviously, this is meant to show kind of a black
eye, if you will, on the obama administration posing in front of this particular place, the solyndra plant that went bankrupt. lots of taxpayer dollars here. do you think, first of all, it's effective? and secondly, why all the mystery around it? there was no advance warning where you guys were going to go. >> right, exactly. this trip was steeped in mystery and secrecy, suzanne. let's talk about that first because it was very interesting to be a fly on the wall for all of this. i was riding on the romney press bus while we were en route and romney aides came on board the bus and this was after a good 12 to 24 hours of not telling the press where this event was going to be held today and then the 5ids came on the bus and said, okay, guys, off the record we're heading to solyndra, and, oh, by the way, off the record mitt romney is going to be getting on the bus in a few moments where he will be taking the drive with us out to solyndra. mitt romney got on the bus. didn't say very much, just sort
of exchanged pleasantries. i think the romney campaign is trying to make a point here, suzanne, and that is the president's stimulus plan, they say, did not deliver the robust recovery that the white house had promised. >> jim, got to leave it there. thank you, jim. appreciate it. 1 out of 4 homes selling right now is a foreclosure. we're going to tell you if it's a good sign or a bad sign for the economy. you inspired a ron howard production. with your photographs. ( younger sister ) where's heaven ? ( older sister ) far. what will you inspire,
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where an agent can help you find the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? it's a dream come true for former high school football star who was falsely accused of rape. brian banks will get to try out for the nfl's seattle seahawks. the news comes a week after a judge threw out the rape conviction. california innocence project had presented new evidence showing that banks' accuser lied. served five years in prison. john paul stephens is taking aim at his former conservative colleagues at a speech during the university of utah. he blasted the five conservative justices who backed a controversial ruling allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of federal elections. he says the court will have to decide if the ruling applies to foreign groups and he predicts that will cause the law's foundation to quit.
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actually in the first quarter. the average price of a home not in foreclosure, $220,000. it's like getting a house on sale, more than 25% off. suzanne? >> alison, thank you very much. cnn "newsroom" continues right now with kate bolduan. good to see you. >> thank you. i'm kate baolduabolduan. a house vote we're expecting any minute that would ban sex selective abortions, a very hot topic. we begin with a major court decision. a federal appeals court in boston today ruled the defense of marriage act uncongressional. doma defines marriage as strictly heterosexual. it denies benefits to gay couples and that's one reason the court in boston says it cannot stand. cnn's senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin is joining me by phone to get caught up on the significance here.
hey there, jeff. we know there are similar lawsuits that have been filed and are pending across the country. tell me how significant today's ruling is. >> it's a very important one. this is a very respected court, the first circuit court of appeals, a very respected generally conservative judge, michael boudin, who wrote the within, and it's a very simple legal issue. the defense of marriage act says that the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriages even in states where it's legal. so hin this case you have a married couple, two women, who are as married as any other couple in massachusetts, straight or gay, and they do not get the same tax return rights that straight couples get. you know, they can't file a joint tax return. they can't inherit money in the same way of straight couples and the court said that is unconstitution yap, that is a
form of discrimination, it's a violation of states right to establish marriage as they see fit and this is clearly going to the supreme court. >> that was exactly what i was going to follow up on, it's a states' rights versus federal authority issue. it's a major issue the supreme court takes up. it's clear the supreme court won't be getting involved in this anytime before election day, but you and i often talk about things in political terms of how it's playing. this is sure to be an issue on the campaign trail, right? >> it is, and, you know, it's important to point out that this is not a court saying that states must have same-sex marriage. that's not what this case is about. this is simply about whether the federal government can refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. you know, i don't know if this case will be a hot point of debate between obama and romney, but it is part of the general
debate over same-sex marriage, and clearly you have two individuals and two political parties that stand miles and miles apart on the issue of civil unions and same-sex marriage and also whether this law is unconstitutional. the obama administration won this case. they joined the plaintiffs in saying the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional. governor romney has said he believes it is constitutional, and that debate will certainly continue. >> right. and we're talking about a federal law here, but when the supreme court does get involved, as we would expect that it eventually will, do you anticipate that it will also hear the separate challenge to state laws banning same-sex marriage? >> well, i think they are very different cases. and i don't think the -- certainly the proposition 8 case which is very much a challenge to whether states can ban same-sex marriage, i don't think that case is getting to the supreme court anytime soon.
that's tied up in a lot of other legal issues. the doma case, the defense of marriage case, that is now ready to go to the supreme court and i think that will get there first, and i think gay rights supporters feel a lot more confident in the defense of marriage act case than they do in the same-sex marriage case. it's a lot easier for the court to say this is simply a form of discrimination, a violation of state's rights. that is very different from saying every state in the union must allow gay people to get married. i think that would be a much tougher sell in the court, and i think many gay rights supporters are glad that the defense of marriage act case is going first because they think it's an easier case to win. >> so another potentially landmark case heading towards the supreme court. >> going to be a big year. and then we're still waiting, of course, for the obama health
care law to be ruled on, and that should be the end of this month. >> you and i will both be watching that -- next month. we're still in may. we will be watching that closely. jeff toobin, thanks so much. let's get you caught up on everything else making news this hour. it's called "rapid fire." let's go. in egypt a state of emergency that's been in effect for decades has finally been allowed to expire. it gave police broad leeway to arrest citizens and hold them indefinitely without charges. a very personal emergency for two tourists in egypt. they were kidnapped today at gunpoint. the gunman demanded the release of a man arrested yesterday on drug charges. one of the men told cnn the pair were still in the custody of their captors though they believed their release is imminent. sometime this hour we're expecting a vote on a bill being considered right now on the house floor. the bill would ban abortions based on the sex of a fetus. it's called the prenatal nonkris
criminal nation a -- nondiscrimination act. critics call the bill is political ploy in this election year. and the former rutgers university student who used a web cam to spy on his gay roommate has just arrived at a jail in new jersey. dharun ravi was found guilty after his roommate, tyler clementi, jumped to his death from the george washington bridge. ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail. very different story. the spacex dragon capsule pair chuted in the ocean today. first private spacecraft to travel to the international space station was cut loose after a five-day visit. it returned to earth with some science samples and some old space equipment. the next mission is scheduled for september. we've got a lot more to cover in the next two hours. take a look.
it's a story you just can't make up, and who would want to? a porn actor suspected of killing an acquaintance, dismembering his body, then mailing out the severed limbs. today a manhunt across two continents. plus, banning big sodas in the big apple. mayor michael bloomberg takes a hard stand on soft drinks. now many are asking what's next? and it's the picture of the day. not one, but three presidents at the white house. we'll tell you why. hey, the new guy is loaded with protein!
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29-year-old canadian whose resume includes working in porn movies. they are really only identifying the victim as a white male. interpol has been called in because people think he may have made a run for it and could now be in france. so i want to bring in a reporter, john lancaster, he's been following this story for canada's cbc. john, thank you for joining me this afternoon. tell me, first off, this is obviously the first time a lot of our viewers will be hear being this. what led police to suspect magnata in this. >> reporter: this was a suspect who wanted to be identified. let me take you back to tuesday up here in canada. a human foot arrives at the conservative party headquarters in ottawa, the nation's capital. a couple hours away in montreal, quebec, police have been called to a low rise and low rent apartment complex in the city there where residents had discovered a human torso inside a suitcase left on the side of the curb for garbage pickup.
police when they were investigating in montreal, that discovery of the torso, residents came from outside -- came into that building and said on the second floor there's a foul smell coming from one of the apartment units. what police saw they described as something out of a horrific film, some kind of "b" level horror film. they said it was clear someone had been murdered and dismembered in that apartment. there was all sorts of evidence left behind on the furniture, on a bed there, in the bathtub, even in the fridge and freezer inside that apartment. they quickly identified the suspect, a 29-year-old resident as the tenant of that apartment, and within hours they discovered even something more horrific, that the suspect had allegedly not only videotaped this crime but posted it online for anyone around the world to see. so clearly the suspect wanted to be identified it seems. >> and, john, let me jump in then. what do we know about any possible motive here?
>> reporter: well, all police are saying right now is that the victim in this case, a young man, he's believed to be asian, in his early 30s, was known, possibly a former lover of the suspect. they believe possibly he was lured back into that apartment under some pretense, and the suspect allegedly fulfilled some kind of bizarre fantasy it would allegedly seem, and that is the motive. we know this suspect created an almost larger than life persona online, he bragged about being a film in the modeling world and the adult film business, both of which were untrue. he had himself linked to dating a well-known serial killer in canada, something else that wasn't true. he posted horrific videos of him allegedly torturing and killing cats. he was clearly someone who wanted this bizarre form of notorie
notoriety. certainly it seems now he's got it. >> bizarre and more and more gruesome the more you hear about it. really quickly, why france? why do canadian authorities think he may have run to france? >> reporter: well, he's probably more familiar with the u.s. if you look at some of the bizarre photos he's posted online, he's posing on the hollywood walk of fame, penn station in new york city, even as far away as moscow, but we do know that about five years ago the suspect was arrested by police, spent a little time in jail for some credit card fraud. that would make him inadmissible to the u.s. we know that border is pretty tight these days. perhaps he figures europe is a better place to go, perhaps less heat on him. he can blend in a bit better there. who knows? we've heard reports he could be heading to thailand. he's been there before, too. we know he blogged about this, that he said it took four months to make yourself vanish and that's what he's done right now. >> truly an amazing story.
hopefully they'll be hot on his tail soon. thank you so much. other stories we're following, the presidents bush returned to the white house for a private lunch and a public unveiling, and we are just moments away from a house vote on a bill that would ban sex-selective abortions. that's also coming up next. he was just... "get me an aspirin"... yeah... i knew that i was doing the right thing, when i gave him the bayer. i'm on an aspirin regimen... and i take bayer chewables. [ male announcer ] aspirin is not appropriate for everyone so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. so he's a success story... [ laughs ] he's my success story. [ male announcer ] learn how to protect your heart at i am proheart on facebook. you tell us what you want to pay, and we give you a range of coverages to choose from. who is she? that's flobot. she's this new robot
a quick update on a story we've been following throughout the day. the house was voting on a ban on sex-selective abortions, and just now we've gotten word that that vote failed in the house. the vote was 246-168. the reason that number is significant and might be counterintuitive to you is that this voted needed a two-thirds majority to pass. it did not meet that threshold, so this vote failed on that ban. be interesting to see how that conversation, if it will be brought up again.
i will tell you this, we will be talking to the chief sponsor of that measure, trent franks, congressman trent franks, in the next hour. you do not want to miss that. iowa want to get you caught up on another story we're watching. we witnessed a poignant moment at the white house. the president hosted his predecessor, george w. bush for the officialing unveiling of bush's presidential portrait along with that of former first lady laura bush. we had the opportunity to hear from mr. bush, haven't seen him much since he left office. his sense of humor is definitely still intact. listen to this. >> i am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the white house collection. it now starts and ends with a george w. when the british burned the white house, as fred mentioned, in 1814 dolley madison famously saved this portrait of the first
george w. now, michelle, if anything happens, there's your man. [ laughter ] >> our dan lothian is joining me now from the white house. a lot of former bushies were in that room. tell me what was your take on the event today? >> reporter: you saw former secretary of hud, mel martinez, andy card, the former chief of staff, also karl rove, dana perino, the former spokesperson here at the white house, and, of course, the extended bush family here gathered for this special day, which, of course, all presidents get a chance to do which is finally at some point come back to the white house after they leave and watch the unveiling of the artwork of not only the president but also of the first lady. the one person though who we did not see here today was vice
president dick cheney. unclear why he wasn't able to make it, kate. >> very curious, indeed. i'm sure people will be reading into that as well as the body language. but honestly, given all the pomp and circumstance and honestly civility in the room, you would almost forget president obama speaks quite often and quite often in less glowing terms of the economy he inherited from president bush. we put together just a little sampling of that. listen to this. >> it was a house of cards, and it collapsed in the most destructive, worst crisis we have seen since the great depression. to the hpolicies that created this mess. the worst economic calamity since the great depression. >> given all that, was there any tension in the room. >> reporter: not that we could see. we have been asking aides about this over the last couple days in the white house. yes, the president has hit the former president on the economy saying that this is something that he inherited. he's also criticized the former
president on foreign policy and national security issues as well. what white house spokesman jay corny pointed out today is, look, they are clearly -- they have their differences, but they are part of this elite group of former presidents, and they very much respect each other. you heard president obama talk about how when he was during that transition period, that former president bush was very helpful in providing him with some guidance as he took on this new challenge. take a listen. >> the months before i took the oath of office were a chaotic time. we knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow americans were in pain, but we wouldn't know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been, and still over those 2 1/2 months in the midst of that crisis, president bush, his cabinet, his staff, many of
you who are here today, went out of your ways, george, you went out of your way, to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible. >> reporter: and it wasn't just official business. president obama saying that former president bush and his wife played a special role in giving them counsel on how to deal -- raise their daughters here in the white house and even the former first lawyers ga eer the current first daughters a lot of advice on how to deal with this time on the white house and come out on the other end in one piece. >> very, very interesting. see, they can all get along when they need to. >> reporter: that's right. >> dan, thanks so much. we'll talk to you soon. so if you want a super size soda next year, you may have to avoid new york city. mayor michael bloomberg wants to limit the size of carbonated soft drinks. the industry says the mayor has it all wrong, that sodas don't cause obesity. the president of the american
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breaking news to bring to you right now. we are hearing that the jury in the john edwards trial, the corruption trial, has reached a verdict. i want to see if we can go to greensboro, north carolina, right away where our joe johns has been there throughout this whole trial and has been waiting there for the eight days of deliberation. joe, quick, tell me what you know. >> reporter: hi, kate. that's what we know. we are told there has been a verdict reached in this trial. we don't know what that verdict is. we're told we're going to have to wait probably ten, perhaps even 15 minutes before we know what the verdict is. of course, not guilty, guilty a possibility also. there's clearly a question as to whether it's a full verdict, partial verdict, or what have you. there's six different charges in this indictment, and if you want me to, i'll just go very quickly through them. >> yes. >> reporter: so you know what they are. the actual verdict sheet that the jury has gotten starts with
charge number two that came out. this is accepting illegal campaign donations in 2007 in a woman named rachel "bunny" mellon. she, of course, is a rich woman from upperville, virginia, just outside of middleburg, and she donated something like 175 -- $675,000, maybe even $725,000 to john edwards, and it was ostensibly for a personal reason, that was the testimony in court. the question here in this trial is whether it was actually a campaign donation to try to keep the political hopes of john edwards alive. the second count is another rachel "bunny" mellon count of more donations in 2008. the third count on this list is a donation from a man named fred barron who is a very rich asbestos lawyer who is from texas. he died not long after all of this transpired in 2008. he gave quite a sum of money as
well. again, the question about whether these were illegal campaign donations. the next charge is a 2008 george along the same lines involving fred barron. the charge after that is a false statements charge. this is relating to false statements being made by the edwards' campaign to the federal election commission. the question, of course, whether john edwards was responsible for those false statements. the last one is a conspiracy charge. that sort of sums up everything. that was the first charge in the indictment for all those people who follow legal things that closely, the first charge in the indictment was put all the way at the bottom of the verdict sheet because the judge thought it would be easier for this jury to sort of figure it out from there. so they've been deliberating now for nine days. this is the ninth day of deliberations. actually something like 17 days of testimony, kate, 500 exhibits, 31 witnesses.
so we've seen a lot of action here over the past couple days, and we'll keep you informed when we know what the verdict is and whether they've covered all of the charges or just some of them. >> and obviously fast-moving developments as you're getting this and bringing it right to us. you said it was 17 days of testimony. tell me quickly while we -- what could be happening -- what are we waiting for right now? are we simply waiting for jurors to get back into the courtroom? i know our producer is in the courtroom. how long are you anticipating it's going to be before we hear the actual verdict? >> reporter: well, the way we heard it was 10 or 15 minutes. that was probably 5 for 7 minutes ago i would say, and these things tend to take a little bit longer than some people expect. what's pretty clear though and what we do know is that john edwards himself walked into the courtroom. i saw him just a little while ago.
even before that abbe lowell, his defense attorney who had been wandering around on the plaza reading a book, slitting in the shade a bit ago, i saw him walk into the courthouse as well. i saw kacate edwards. people have made their way into the courtroom. the attorneys were given sort of a short leash, 15 minutes or so and you might have to be back here. the other interesting thing i think of note is it started looking like this jury was a little closer to getting some type of resolution around lunchtime. normally during this process essentially what they've done is they've taken a break, they walked out of the jury room and gone over to another part of the courthouse, had lunch, and then returned to deliberations. today was different. today this jury decided that they would all stay in the jury room, continue their deliberations, sort of a working
lunch, if you will, and that is basically what they did. so they took the hour and not long after that hour, in fact, did we hear them sending a note apparently out to the judge saying we've reached a verdict. >> okay. let's do this -- sorry. i was going to say, let's do this. stick with me real quick, joe. i want to -- i think we have our legal analyst paul talin on the phone. stick with me. obviously we're not going anywhere on this. paul, are you with me? >> yes, i am. >> paul, so obviously this is fast-moving developments. we have been waiting as the jury has been deliberating on this for days now. what is your take? you have been following this closely along with all of our viewers, and we anxiously await the actual verdict. but while we are waiting, what is your take at this point? >> well, it's always difficult to read the tea leaves on jury deliberations, but the usual playbook is fast verdict is an
acquittal. when they get into middle time ranges, it's more likely probably to be a prosecution verdict. when they're out for a very long time, hung jury, sometimes an acquittal. but i think the edwards' case we have to throw away the playbook because in cases involving politicians, juries have a natural disrespect and distrust of politicians, and i think sometimes even very weak cases result in convictions where politicians are involved. so i think even though this jury has been out for a very, very long time and a lot of people thought it would be hung or maybe there would be an acquittal, you can't rule out the possibility, of course, that this might be a conviction. one of the things that i was thinking about when i heard that they had asked to be able to deliberate through lunch was basically if you're going to find somebody not guilty, why do you have to deliberate through lunch? i mean, you just check off the
not guilty boxes and come back to the courtroom. usually when there's some sort of guilty finding, they're arguing about the details and which count would be the appropriate count. but this jury has been a tough one to read. you know, they've been appearing in court dressed in odd outfits, at least the alternates have, and a lot of other strange things have been going on so i wouldn't presume to read what they're going to do. that's sort of a general overview of jury deliberations in criminal cases. >> i want to dig into that a little bit more. let's take a quick break. paul, if you could stay with me, we'll get back to joe johns who is on the scene in gronsboeensb north carolina. cnn has confirmed the jury has reached a verdict in the trial of john edwards. we're awaiting that word, what the verdict is. we'll bring it to you live when it comes. stick with us. we'll be right back. almost tastes like one of jack's cereals.
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we are awaiting word on what that verdict is right now. our own joe johns is in the courtroom. we were just speaking with him. he's now in the courtroom awaiting that word as well. i want to bring back in our legal analyst paul callan. paul, we were speaking right before we went to the break about how long this jury has been deliberating, and some of the, i guess we could call them strange things that have been going on in these eight days. a lot of our viewers may not have been following the day to day. talk to me a little bit about the unique nature of what's been going on the past eight, nine days. >> yes. an awful lot of strange things have gone on during the case, including this group of alternate jurors who would dress with the same color red, gray, yellow every day. they would alternate. there were claims that one juror was -- well, some reporters described her conduct as
flirting with john edwards. later that reporter withdrew that claim and said that it was just inappropriate eye contact and smiling at john edwards and that this was inappropriate. there have been questions propounded to the judge that have caused at least three, four closed session conferences with the lawyers and the judge regarding undisclosed juror problems. so we're going to hear, i think, a really interesting backstory about what's been going on with that john edwards' jury during these more than 47 hours deliberations. >> and that's one of the questions a lot of people have. will we ever learn what was going on in those closed sessions? they kept popping up and just very unique as we've been following the minutia of these day-to-day deliberations. will the public ever find out what was going on in those closed sessions? >> i think we will know because those question and answer periods were transcribed by court reporters because if there's a conviction in this
case, that will be part of the appeal, whether the judge handled these questions regarding juror conduct properly. so that would be a matter of public record. i think we're going to get to see everything that went on. now, in terms of what went on in the jury room itself, well, that's really up to the jurors. they can consent to be interviewed by the press and they can reveal everything or they can maintain their privacy and refuse to answer questions. in my experience in high-profile cases in the past, most jurors certainly do agree to talk to the press, and eventually the truth comes out about what went on during jury deliberations. >> as we await this verdict, one thing that you hear corruption trial, it sounds kind of straightforward, but when you're dealing with campaign finance laws, this is some pretty dense, tough stuff that these jurors are facing with this trial, right? >> oh, yes. this was an extraordinarily complex, and it's an extraordinarily difficult decision that jurors are
grappling with. i think members of the public pretty much if you just are paying casual attention to this trial, you know that, you know, john edwards had a mistress, and she became pregnant, and allegedly he used campaign money to hide her from the press, and that's pretty much i think for the public what it's about. but the jurors are parsing over very difficult questions such as the people who contributed the money, there's a woman named bunny mellon who was the major contributor, krshting contribut excess of $700,000 and the claim was she contributed that money for his personal use, not for the campaign use. a second individual named fred barron, who was a leader of the trial lawyers in the united states, and, remember, john edwards before he became a candidate, was one of the most successful trial lawyers in america, so he had a group of supporters among the trial
lawyers. barron was contributing money and the edwards campaign said these funds were not for campaign use and, therefore, no kr50i78 w crime was xhilted. the claim was andrew young, who was one of mr. edwards' top campaign advisers, misused the funds and did things with the funds that mr. edwards was unaware of. so lots of questions that these jurors had to analyze. >> lots of questions that they needed to analyze. the analysis is not going to end here. it's only just beginning. paul, let me try to fit in a quick break. we have our team standing by. paul callan on the phone with me, joe johns is in the courtroom in greensboro. our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin will be joining us as well as our john king. we're going to fit in a quick break. we'll bring you back more breaking news in a verdict being reached in the john edwards' corruption trial. be right back. active naturals wheat formulas restore strength for up to 90% less breakage in three washes. for strong, healthy hair with life,
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she'll be bringing a good perspective on that. i want to first go to john king. john, you know more about this man than probably many people do. pretty amazing that we're talking about the verdict, kind of his fate, and where he was and could be and where he is today, right? >> it's the fall that you mentioned. in some way it's a tragic spake spearian drama in the sense that when john edwards came to washington, he was the new democrat from north carolina, young attractive, a public speaker who held a seat held by a conservative republican. democrats took that as not only do we have a young rising star in a party we are making inroads in a state where we struggled for so, so long. he goes from that, a young senator, to being, because of his appeal, because of his potential to change the map, if you will, he's suddenly his party's vice presidential nominee and then that made him a
leading contender for the democratic nomination in what turned out to be a field of stars. hillary clinton ran for the nomination. the young senator, barack obama, who ironically how did barack obama become a national figure? at the very convention that nominated john edwards to be the vice presidential nominee. not yet senator barack obama gives a keynote speech and then rockets into national stardom. when you look at the trajectory of john edwards, he went up so fast and because of this allegations almost regardless of the verdict, back down to earth. a very humbling ending to the political career of john edwards. >> sorry, john. i'm just hearing we are being told right now in my ear that the jury is entering the room which we would assume means that we will be getting this verdict very soon, but you said this fall, it is really, really amazing as well as how public it was. the "national enquirer" and how salacious the details were.
i want to move to jeff toobin, our senior legal analyst. he's with me in new york. jeff, i want you to help me break this down. a lot of our viewers have not been following this from the very day-to-day -- from the beginning of this on the day-to-day. this is actually a pretty complex trial in terms of campaign finance law. where do you land on where you think the verdict is going to be and kind of what this argument and this verdict really is hinging on? >> well, the facts of this case, what's unusual about this case is that the facts, the core facts of this case, are not really in dispute. everybody knows that bunny mellon, the virginia heiress, and ted barron, the texas lawyer, give hundreds of thousands of dollars to support rielle hunter who had john edwards' baby. that's not disputed. both sides agree on that. the question really comes down to john edwards' intent. was his failure to report those hundreds of thousands of dollars
as campaign contributions, was that a criminal act? that's what this case is really about. edwards' defense is, i thought this money was to be used for protecting my family, protecting my wife from the truth, deceiving my wife. the prosecution is saying, no, that money was to preserve and sustain the presidential campaign. so edwards' intent about what that money was for is really what this case is about. >> now, let me quick check with the control room. bear with me, everybody. is our joe johns ready yet? i see him in one of the monitors because i saw him running out of the courtroom. is he ready yet? okay. so we'll continue. i know he's miking up -- hold on? okay. i'm going to hold on and wait for joe johns to bring this to us. tell me when he is ready so we
can get this verdict right away. joe johns just ran to the camera coming out of the courtroom. joe, what do you know? >> reporter: count three only. they reached a verdict on count three only. this is a six-count indictment. and that is the only count that they have apparently agreed upon and reached a unanimous verdict. they didn't deliver that unanimous verdict in the courtroom. the judge instructed them to go back into the jury room and apparently was going to talk over with the lawyers precisely what they're going to do now. count three would be one of the -- well, it depends on how they're doing this. if they're looking at the indictment, count three is a count relating to -- is a count relating to bunny mellon. this is one of the two counts that the rich woman from vi who gave hundreds of thousands of
dollars to john edwards. the issue, of course, is accepting illegal campaign funds from her. so that's what we know. i mean, there were five other counts in this indictment that they either still have to work on, and i know jeffrey toobin can probably tell you, kate, better than me. but i have seen it before in federal cases. typically if the jury hasn't reached a decision on any of the other charges, at least as to those charges, the judge has the og option of issuing an allen charge. an instruction to the jury that you need to work a little bit harder. i'm going to send you back to deliberate some more. we have a graphic on that and i can talk to you a little bit or you can ask jeff toobin about it if you so desire. >> thank you so much. you're doing a great job. if this case wasn't complex and dense in the facts of the case and the fact we're dealing with campaign finance law, it sounds like the verdict is equally as
come ples and confusing. we're not quite there yet is the laymen's terms of what i'm gathering. let me bring in jeffrey toobin. we know the jury reached a unanimous decision on count three. this is the count dealing with allegedly illegal campaign contributions by bunny mellon. i think it's somewhere in the area of $725,000. but from what i'm gathering, we don't know yet which way the jury has decided on that. is that what you're hearing as well? >> absolutely, yes. no, joe johns got right to the point. we don't know whether it's guilty or not guilty and that's obviously what we we aall want know. this is a mess. this is not how trials are supposed to end. >> for our viewers, why is this a mess? the verdict is difficult to understand. >> i assure you the legal term for this is a mess. juries are supposed to resolve an entire case. they are supposed to reach
verdicts on every case -- on every count before them. now, if they reach a partial verdict, it is possible for the government to accept the verdict, whatever it may be in that count, and then go back and retrial the defendant on the remaining counts. but that is a cumbersome, expensive, inconvenient, some people would say unfair way to end a criminal trial. so everyone involved, certainly the judge, wants to get a complete resolution of this case in this trial, not an extended trial, and what makes the situation particularly messy and difficult to resolve is that often when you have a hung jury, it's a hung jury on all the counts. and that at least you can just sort of start over from scratch. if you have a partial verdict, that makes retrying the case even more difficult and complicated. it's not to say it's impossible,
but it is more difficult for everyone concerned to have a partial verdict than no verdict at all. again, i don't want to assume too much, but what most judges would do when informed that, we, the jury, have reached a verdict on one of six counts, the judge would invariably say go back to work. keep trying. you know, there are lots of good reasons to resolve this now, and i am certain the judge is not going to just dismiss the jury and say, well, that's all -- >> i will tell you, jeff, you are essential in understanding a lot of stuff a lot of times, and you are very essential today because i'm going to need you to analyze when this all comes down. we have some additional information i want to bring to our viewers, that the judge is -- has told -- the judge is taking a five-minute recess, that the defense is asking for a
mistrial. the prosecution though wants the jurors to continue to deliber e deliberate. obviously wants to work more on that. i want to now go back to joe johns who was in the courtroom, hustled out, and is now with us from right outside the courtroom in greensboro, north carolina. joe, what are you hearing now? >> reporter: right. that was actually what i wanted to tell you. the judge essentially has been asked by the prosecution to send those jurors back into the jury room to try to get resolution on the other five charges. the defense, of course, has taken a completely different tact. they want to know now what the decision is on the one charge, on that count three, and as to the others, the defense has actually asked the judge to declare a mistrial. so that is what the judge has to sort of ponder, and if past practice is any indicator, what she does typically is take five
minutes, sit there and think, and then reach a decision as to what she's going to do next. but it's pretty clear that this is kind of an unusual situation because they've only got, you know, a decision on one count out of six. the defense is probably feeling pretty good about that even though they don't know what that decision is. >> right, and that's a good point especially since they're now in their ninth day of deliberations. stick with me for a second. i want to head back to our john king who has been following this as well. john, jeff toobin called this in legal terms, this is a mess. one thing i found kind of surprising, i think many court watchers did throughout the trial, is that john edwards himself did not take the stand, rielle hunter did not take the stand. you'd almost think john edwards, him being a well-known attorney himself, would want to take the stand and kind of have his day and his say, right? >> he has a very strong lead defense counsel,abbe lowell who
has handled tough cases for years. and a lot of people who know john edwards think, yes, his dna and his reflexes give me a chance with that jury because that's how he made his name, as trial lawyer, persuading juries to go his way in big cases. my understanding is abbe lowell made a per sway tiff case that the risks would outweigh the benefits. they thought the facts aren't really in dispute. the question is was the money hush money out of a campaign or was it funneled through a campaign. was it about having a viable presidential campaign or just having john edwards keep this from his family members, specifically his late wife. and so the legal questions got to the point where i am told that abbe lowell said we do not want to put you on the stand, that would turn this more into theater and add more risks to it. there are very complicated legal questions here. the jury is clearly after nine days of deliberation asking a lot of questions, asking for the exhibits. clearly having a very hard time
with this one. so we look at the legal questions. there's not really a political question here. john edwards is done. he's done politically, but there's a personal toll. there's a personal toll. this family, we've seen cate edwards going in and out of court every day. there are two other lunger children. they have lost their mother and they are going through this. there are some people who are asking why did the government prosecute this case because john edwards has no viability in the future. there are others say why didn't john edwards take a plea deal? on that front, the plea deal question, the plea deals put before him i'm told all required some jail time and giving up his law license and he was adamant he wouldn't do that. >> i think you make a great point about the personal toll. obviously, we are awaiting, to remind our viewers, for more information about the verdict. the judge has taken a five-minute recess. one thing that often gets lost in kind of the spotlight of a trial and kind of the pomp -- i don't know, the circus around it is the personal toll. cate edwards has not only -- and
her siblings have not only lost their mother and seen the down fall of their father, she has endured being in the courtroom with him almost every day. there was some question if she would even take the stand at one point because she seems to be such a strong voice, if she was going to make the case to kind of save her father. >> and there was one day when she left the courtroom quite emotionally when they were getting into testimony about, i believe, i could be wrong about this, but i believe it was about what did elizabeth edwards know and when did she know it essentially and cate edwards left the courtroom. i don't pretend to know cate edwards. i met her a few times in the 2004 campaign, perhaps in the 2008 campaign may have encounsel tred h -- encountered her. just remarkable poise and a bubbly personality, a very friendly person. someone who was always asking questions about what we did in our business when you met her. she wanted to know about politics and events and the mek anythings of