tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN April 23, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
iran says it has cracked our downed drone. how much of our highly classified information did they really recover? we'll look at that. the latest developments from the trayvon martin case. the police chief resigns but the city will not let him go. and a woman donates her kidney for her boss, then gets fired. let's go "outfront." good evening, i'm tom foreman in for erin burnett. outfront tonight, iran goes on the attack in the drone war. the iranian government claims it has cracked the code of the u.s. military's all-important flying drones. the iranians have been dissecting the computer control system, the electronic brain on that unmanned drone they captured four months ago and now they say they have collected all sorts of presumably highly classified information about when and where that drone flew, how it was controlled and much,
much more. but u.s. defense secretary leon panetta says the iranians are bluffing. >> i would seriously question their ability to do what they say they have done. >> the iranians have countered with specific information saying, for example, they know the captured drone was used to spy on osama bin laden's compound just two weeks before he was killed. and it's worth noting president obama himself asked the iranians to return that drone. >> we have asked for it back. we'll see how the iranians respond. >> the stakes in this poker game are very high. the brooking institution said ten years ago the military had only a handful of these droughns, now there are more than 7500. they are relatively inexpensive. the air force says a top predator drone capable of carrying two missiles 800 miles cost about $5 million. they can safely go where we would rather not send pilots and we have reliable, secure control
of them or at least we have had that up until now, maybe. joining us to discuss this are chad sweet, a former cia official and co-founder of the chertoff group and cnn national security contributor, fran townsend. fran, let me ask you first, is it possible that they have actually cracked the code? >> well, there are two different things that they would be interested in. one, the stealth material that is on the outside of the drone, could they reverse engineer that? probably they could. but the most sensitive piece is this electronic brain, as you referred to it, the inner workings that are encrypted and safeguard highly classified material. that's what i think panetta is saying he finds unlikely that they could do. i think that's right with one caveat, tom. i do worry iran has a relationship with china and russia, both of whom have got advanced cyber capabilities. but if they work together with them, if they share the technology that they recovered from the drone and worked with the chinese, they do have
capabilities that might allow them to crack the encryption. >> chad, what do you think? >> i think that fran is right to point out that on their own it would be unlikely that they could do this. however, i think with the assistance of the russians or the chinese, they certainly could. we saw, for example, on the takedown of bin laden, one of our stealth helicopters unfortunately did have the tail on the other side of the compound wall so when the navy s.e.a.l.s exploded the rotary wing aircraft, the tail was preserved. the pakistani military was so upset they threatened to show that to the chinese. in this case as fran said, this is an example of where if they have outside assistance, they would be capable of potentially at least reverse engineering the aircraft. but let's remember one of the advantages of this platform is that it doesn't have any personnel, so unlike gary powers who was shot down over the soviet union or like the bush
spy plane under -- when fran was in office and myself, the beginning of the bush administration, the chinese spy plane that was shot over hona island, there were several men and women held in chinese tar tore there. there are no pilots involved here. and the data they are claiming to have captured, that's been all transmitted back to the united states. it's not kept on the craft. >> let me ask you a question about this. this bothers me about this, chad. we still don't have a real answer as to how this thing even landed intact. >> well, tom, the claim is that the iranians say that they actually were sophisticated enough to take control of it. but i think on our side, we assessed that they may have -- may have at the most advanced stage perhaps spoofed the gps system. there's a py code that if they were successful in jamming, they might have been able to make it default to an unencrypted system called ca, but more likely this
probably had a technical problem. these are expensive aircraft, so you don't want to just tell them self-destruct because they lose signal. >> let me bring it back to fran here, though. fran, it seems to me the big worry here, though, is until we know for sure what happened -- our troops and our surveillance, but potentially the worst case scenario is they turn our own weapons against us. we launch these things and they start flying them. >> that's right, tom, and there's a third possibility which i worry in the more immediate near term and that is counter measures. that is if they understand how we collect information from these drones and the kinds of information we're interested in, could they what we call in the intelligence community fly a false flag. that is mislead us intentionally about what we were collecting. say their nuclear program, which we're now in negotiations about. remember, we had all these problems with the intelligence
analysis in iraq. what you don't want to be is intentionally misled on the iranians on the state of their nuclear program and cause policy makers to make bad decisions. >> so, chad, if they don't really have this information, why would they claim that they works other than that's what the iranians do. >> well, it's interesting. they have had this platform for several months now. if you look at the timing, it's interesting. their proxy state, syria, is about to implode. we're also at a maximum inflection point at the economic sanctions and we're at heightened tensions with israel and iran. so it's interesting that one of the spokesmen said they have been approached by the russians and chinese but they have, quote, not yet given it to them. so it does perhaps underscore some sort of back signal that maybe they're interested in using this as a bargaining chip to negotiate. >> we'll have to find out if they really do have the information they claim to. chad, fran, always good to have you here. more on that story coming as the days go on. a state legislator is set to be sentenced on corruption
charges, get this, on the same day that he's expected to win the state's democratic primary. facebook is going to go public. a number of things you probably don't know about the world's largest social net working site but you'll want to know. and latino voters could decide this year's presidential election. we've all heard that. what are the three keys mitt romney must pull out if he wants to win their support? that's coming up. stay with us. but, you know, with every door direct mail from the postal service, you'll find the customers that matter most: the ones in your neighborhood. print it yourself, or we'll help you find a local partner. and postage is under 15 cents. i wish i would have known that cause i really don't think i chose the best location. it's not so bad. i mean you got a deal... right? [ bird cries ] go online to reach every home, every address, every time with every door direct mail. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms.
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this is the kind of story political parties just love. in pennsylvania, a state legislator is set to be sentenced on public corruption charges on the very same day that he's expected to win the democratic primary. bill deweese has been tried an convicted of five felony counts of stealing from taxpayers but that's not stopping folks from voting for him. >> he's been in this for 36 years. the things that he has done for this community, he loves his job. he loves his community. he has brought money in to us when we've needed it for parks, for water lines, for whatever the case may be. who better to do this job than
someone who loves their job, and he does. he absolutely loves his job. >> yeah, and some of the voters love him too. deweese says it's a witch hunt and we haven't seen the last of him. he has represented southwest pennsylvania for 36 years. that's where miguel marquez is tonight. tomorrow is both sentencing and primary date for this guy. he's still on the ballot, so how is this going to work? >> reporter: well, it's going to be a heck of a wild day for bill deweese. he is going to resign his seat in the legislature tomorrow at noon. at 1:30, an hour and a half later, he will be sentenced on those five felony charges. he is going to ask or his lawyer is going to ask for leniency. he's going to ask to be out on parole and do community service, but he's expected to get time in jail through all of this. by 8:00 p.m. tomorrow eastern time, he will be elected. no one is running against him, that's how liked this guy is. no one bothered to run against him even though he was facing these charges all last year.
he will win the primary tomorrow night at 8:00. so he will go from legislator to convicted and sentenced felon to in the primary election and he is not, not going to withdraw his name from the ballot in november. tom. >> well, it's an interesting point you raise there. my understanding is -- we should point out that there were legislators on the democratic and republican side all caught up in the same scandal about how they were using public money but he was one of the key figures. he's not withdrawing but he's also appealing this decision right away. he could still wind up actually in office? >> reporter: yeah, within minutes of that sentence coming down, he's going to ask the judge for an appeal. he's expecting that one to be turned down but he has two more shots believes. one with the superior court and then with the supreme court in pennsylvania. he's going to leave his name on the ballot until he has no moves left. but he does believe or there is a chance talking to political experts here that he could
literally be in prison and be elected as a state official in november and then perhaps one of his appeals come through in the interim and still take his seat in january when it comes back around. tom. >> that's just a wild story, miguel. thanks for following it for us. oscar winning actress and former "american idol" contestant jennifer hudson took the witness stand today in the case against william balfour who is accused of killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. it was heart breaking to watch. hudson struggled to hold back tears as she told the court she never liked balfour who was married to her sister. we did not like how he treated her. i told her over and over again not to marry william. none of us wanted her to marry him. balfour, who also testified today has denied all charges. if convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence. ted rowlands has been in the courtroom all day. ted, what's the latest there? >> reporter: yeah, tom, what a
day it was. first you had the opening statements from both sides, which in any case is riveting and then the first witness out of the gate is jennifer hudson. we just finished hearing from julia hudson, jennifer's sister. riveting testimony, very emotional testimony. julia hudson got on the stand and talked about finding her mother dead and talked about the horror of realizing her 7-year-old son, julian, was missing an then three days later she found out that he was dead as well. prosecutors asked her to describe the relationship with her husband at the time, william balfour and she talked about specific threats that he made to her on previous occasions before the murders. several times, up to a dozen times he told her that he was going to kill her but he was going to kill her family first and that she would, quote, be the last to die. >> just a terrible, terrible thing. i know jennifer hudson talked about her relationship with her mother. i can't imagine what the atmosphere in the courtroom was like during that.
>> reporter: well, it's an expanded courtroom because of all the interest here. you could hear a pin drop. it was so silent. not only were the jurors riveted, but every single person in the courtroom was absolutely transfixed when jennifer hudson described not only her relationship with her mother, but the relationship that she and her family had with william balfour. she said she slept with her mother every day until she was 16 and talked to her mother every hour almost every day. the morning she died, she said she had a strange feeling because she woke up and she didn't have a text from her mother. >> thanks so much, ted rowlands. facebook is headed to the stock market. the company is likely to start trading under the symbol fb next month after a long wait. today we got another look at some of the numbers behind the world's largest social networking site.
the site now has 901 million active users. there are 3.2 billion likes or comments every day. there are 300 million photos uploaded per day. the company earned on average $1.21 per user during the first three months of the year. our number tonight is 60. that is the percentage of internet users in the u.s. that use facebook. 60%. to give you some perspective, facebook is used by about 85% of internet users in countries like chile, turkey and venezuela. it's such a low number, the 60%, that facebook still identifies the united states as a key source of growth for their business. i bet when they go public there will be big business going on here. still outfront, the latino vote. you've all heard it, it could decide this year's presidential election. that's why mitt romney is hanging out with marco rubio. the question is, will he become his vp? if so, would that make the difference? we don't know but we'll find
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he's 40 percentage points behind president obama among latinos. what he hopes will help him is hitting the trail with marco rubio. what likely won't help are his tough words on immigration during the primary season, especially when it comes to the controversial arizona immigration law, which the supreme court will take on this week. romney called it a model for the nation. >> the right course for america is to drop these lawsuits against arizona and other states that are trying to do the job barack obama isn't doing. which -- and i will drop those lawsuits on day one. i'll also complete the fence. i'll make sure we have enough border patrol agents to secure the fence and i will make sure we have an e-verify system. >> among other things, the arizona law romney was talking about requires police officers to check the immigration status of any person detained in the state for any reason. it requires illegal immigrants to carry their registration papers at all times and it makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to apply for work in
the state. our political panel joins me now. john avalon is here, contributor david fromm and jamal stevens are in washington. david, let me start with this basic premise. does romney need to walk back on those statements about immigration law or is this being misread? >> it's being misread. there are statements that romney will need to walk back but we have to be very careful about overinferring from organized latino groups say to the voting behavior of actual american latinos who are eligible to vote. for that group of people, the overwhelming issues are economic. american latinos tend to be somewhat poorer than average, they tend to be more likely without health insurance. they have been hit very hard by the collapse of the mortgage and housing industry. so their concerns are going to be about housing. their concerns are going to be about health care and not abandoning the uninsured. it is a big, big mistake and we did this during the bush years
to think that you can have no economic agenda that's relevant to latinos and make it up to them by offering those latinos who are not eligible to vote permission to enter the country and stay, however they entered, you're chasing the wrong problem and in fact making your political and policy problem bigger. >> john, talk to me a little bit more about this. this also involves a huge generalization about the latino vote. i've talked to plenty of latino voters who say they want to be tough on immigration because they came in through some proper channels or whatever, have been here a long time. this is not a monolithic bunch of people. >> that's exactly right. we're talking about 16% of the american population. there's a huge diversity within that. families who have been here much longer than my family has been in america, for example. also different ethnic communities and different nationalities, with the question being whether marco rubio will have an appeal to mexican americans. david makes an important point. i don't think the republican party ignore there's a real
problem with the latino vote and it's rooted in policy. george w. bush made a conscious effort to consciously reach out to latinos. well, now mitt romney has a 40% deficit. that can't be outright ignored. it needs to be proactively addressed. >> jamal, let me ask you about the president. the president is doing very well in these numbers right now. however, you know as well as i do that republicans are loading up out there, that if he brings it up too much, to say yeah, yeah, yeah and this is the guy who promised comprehensive immigration reform and he hasn't done it. >> you're absolutely right. the president isn't exactly on the firmest footing with the latino voters because he hasn't been able to get all the things done that they want to get done. he does have some arguments to make. sotomayor on the supreme court is a very big deal. he's made some efforts to trying to to get the dream act passed. this gets to david's point a second ago. the economy is certainly the
most important issue for most american voters and specifically for loo teatinos. the problem is if they don't trust mitt romney as a general politician, it's going to be very hard for them to trust him to do what they want in the economy. so if he doesn't find a message that resonates with them on immigration, that says you can trust me, i'm not out to get you, i'm not looking for ways to punish you to appeal to my base, then he may have a chance. but as long as they think that he's selling them out to appeal to the base of the republican party, it doesn't matter what programs he comes up with. >> let's get a quick round of yes and no before we go. david, marco rubio, if he's on the ticket with mitt romney, does it help, yes or no? >> i'm strongly inclined to doubt it. >> john? >> i think yes, it brings florida and possibly new mexico and arizona, at least puts them in play. i think it's a smart move. >> jamal, what do you think? >> i think not that much. it may help him with the cubans in florida, not necessarily with puerto ricans or central americans who are also in florida and may not help with mexican americans out in the southwest. >> it's going to be a talking point for a long time.
john, david, jamal, thank you all for being here. still outfront, a sex scandal widens. >> it is reckless, dangerous behavior that could endanger the security of the president. >> a police chief quits. >> chief lee is paying for the sins of past police officers. >> overshadowing the process. do you guys have any crossovers that offer better highway fuel economy than the chevy equinox? no, sorry, sir. we don't. oh, well, that's too bad. [ man ] kyle, is that you? [ laughs ] [ man ] still here, kyle. [ male announcer ] visit your local chevy dealer today. right now, very well qualified lessees can get a 2012 equinox ls for around $229 a month. aspirin is just old school. people will have doubts about taking aspirin for pain.
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we start the second half of our show with some stories we care about where we focus on our own reporting, we do the work and found the outfront five. up first, defense secretary leon panetta is throwing cold water on the iranian government's claim that it has cracked the code of the u.s. military drones. iranians have been dissecting the computer control system, the electronic brain, on that unmanned drone they captured four months ago. now they say they collected highly classified information. brookings institute pete singer tells "outfront" ten years ago the military had only a happenedfhappened handful of droughns and now there are 75 house. the pentagon says another member of the military is now linked to the growing prostitute scandal in colombia. the military member was assigned to the white house communications agency and admitted to his superiors of being involved in misconduct, quote, of some kind. we also learned that a 12th secret service agent linked to a
scandal brought a woman back to the same hotel president obama was staying. they tell dana bash it was a separate incident and not tied to the prostitution scandal. john edwards' criminal trial began today. edwards is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts for allegedly using campaign funds to hide an extramarital affair. edwards' former aide, andrew young, took the stand. prosecutors say he helped funnel money to help support edwards' mistress. jeffrey toobin told "outfront" edwards defense team will attack young's credibility. citing an attempt to talk with three other witnesses. number four, one search for clues in the 33-year-old disappearance of etan patz has ended. according to paul brown, there were no obvious human remains found in new york city basement
where officials have been searching for some days now. a source told cnn that a field test on what they thought was a blood stain turned out to be negative. the stain, some possible strands of hair and a piece of paper were sent to the fbi labs in quantico, virginia. etan patz went missing in 1979 and was the first child to have a picture on the side of a milk carton. heart-breaking story for that family and just continues that way. it's been 263 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? entitlement costs are a big issue facing lawmakers. today we learned social security will pay for 75% of its benefits starting in 2033. that's three years earlier than previously estimated. so that's good news. he was in, then he was out. now they say he has to stay in. the police chief in sanford, florida, handed his resignation to the city commission in the wake of the chaotic trayvon martin shooting case. but today after a con
contentious meeting, the commission decided to keep him on the job. they voted 3-2 to reject the chief's resignation. bill lee temporarily stepped down earlier, amid criticism of the department's handling of the martin case back in february, but not everyone felt that lee was totally to blame. >> chief lee is paying for the sins of past police officers. police chiefs. he has been here -- he has been in office ten months. how do you steer a boat that big, mr. mayor? how do you steer a boat in ten months to a complete turn-around? you don't. >> yeah, heated meeting. it came on the same day that the shooter, george zimmerman, was released from jail on bail. there he goes. today zimmerman's lawyer entered a not guilty plea in the shooting on his behalf. zimmerman says he shot martin in self defense. david mattingly was at that commission meeting today in sanford. what made them decide to block this resignation, david? >> reporter: well, the deciding
vote came down to mayor jeff triplett and he decided that he wants to see how the investigations that are going on into the police department and how this department handled the investigation into the killing of trayvon martin before he makes a decision. so that means that the police chief is still not going to be on the job, but he's still going to be on the payroll, at least a couple more months, until those investigations are complete. >> and very briefly here, the problem had a lot of problems with other cases before this one but those were under a different chief, right? of this the guy that was reforming things. >> reporter: right. what this case did, the trayvon martin case, what that did was bring up all of this long-term problems that the black community here has had with the police department. a perception that there are two standards of justice here. one separate standard for the black residents of this city. so that brought up a lot of deep-seeded animosity that's been around here for a long time. that's what the city is trying to address right now.
you saw some of that coming out at the split meeting here with the commissioners. but this city has a lot of work to do after even this case works its way through the courts. >> before we run out of time here, tell me a little bit about zimmerman's release. did he just walk out, was that all there was to it? get in the car and drive away? >> reporter: well, when you look at that video, you see a rather large man walking out with him. that was his bail bondsman. as they left, zimmerman was actually wearing a bulletproof vest under that jacket he was wearing. the sheriff's deputies actually helped them make their disappearance off into the night that night by setting up a couple of roadblocks. that just allowed them to get away a little bit faster. for you we hear from zimmerman's attorney that they have set up multiple locations for zimmerman to go to and they're going to be shuttling him from one place to another just in case there are people out there looking, trying to find out where he is. zimmerman has that possibility of going out of state if he wants. the court has allowed that to happen. but his lawyer won't say whether
zimmerman will be in state or out of state. he's going to be dealing with him on the telephone. his lawyer has already entered a not guilty plea to that second-degree murder charge. so zimmerman won't even have to appear in court for that arraignment. >> fascinating details. david mattingly, thanks so much for being on the case with us. i want to go to natalie jackson, one of the lawyers representing trayvon martin's parents. let me start with the police chief. what's your reaction to chief lee staying on for now? >> well, first let me tell you i was born and raised in sanford, that's how i got involved in this case. and i feel that if chief lee recognized the need to turn in his resignation so that this city can heal, then the city commissioners should have accepted it and moved forward so that the city could move forward and unite. >> so beyond that, what about the release of zimmerman last night, middle of the night. i know a lot of people weren't expecting it for several days. >> well, one of the reasons i am glad that the news is talking
about the problems that are systemic in sanford is george zimmerman -- this family is going to respect the judicial system. they believe in angela corey. they believe she would not have brought these charges if she did not have the evidence and they're going to allow the judicial system to run its course. the bigger question is how did we get here. and that's what sanford city commission and the police department and the chief needs to deal with. you have -- you have an issue in sanford where you have leaders but no followers. and you cannot -- there's a divide. and the leaders need to get together and they need to figure this out or there needs to be stronger leaders in place. >> as an officer of the court, obviously you want to see this process go forward in a reasonable way, and yet you also know what it's like to have a client, like mr. zimmerman, who is under death threat, who you're worried for. if you had a message to even the people out there who are very much against george zimmerman in all of this, when you see these pictures of him leaving in a bulletproof vest and going into
hiding in effect, if you had a message to the people that are angry at him, what would your message be tonight? >> that is not the world that we live in. that's not the america that we live in. we live in an america where we have a justice system. we dongt have vigilante justice. all the people making threats against him, we are doing exactly what we believe that george zimmerman did to trayvon. you are not becoming a solution. you are now becoming the problem if you're making a threat against george zimmerman. >> as you watch this process move on over the past few days, there was so much call for weeks there for justice to progress. do you feel that justice is progressing now? and what are your chief concerns at this point? >> well, we feel that, you know, there is -- he has been arrested so he has been charged. we feel that, you know, justice is moving at this point. this is what this family wanted. they wanted to see that their child mattered. you cannot just kill someone and go home and people say that's enough, it's over. so the arrest has been made.
what we would like to see moving forward is just that everything is done fairly and equally. this family has not asked for any special privileges. they want a fair and equal trial without nemedia grandstanding, outposturing, without pressures from outside influences. we understand that outside influences had to get the arrest. at this point it's time for the justice system to do its job and make sure that it's equal and fair for all. >> all right -- >> including george zimmerman. >> absolutely. natalie jackson, calming words there. nice to hear from you tonight. we'll be checking in as the case moves on. outfront next, a woman donates a kidney for her boss, then she is fired. you want to hear this. and how much is a mcdonald's soda worth to you? it could cost one man $5,000 and five years of his life. we're not kidding. and we'll tell you how.
race from paris. i asked him about the major issues in this election. >> reporter: tom, the old axiom here is the french vote with their heart in the first round and head with the second round so the second round they will approach things very logically. if they approach it logically, the things that everybody say are the big issues here are unemployment and buying power. both have been high during the years of sarkozy's presidency. he has got the disadvantage here because he's got to run on his record, which is not particularly good on either one of those issues. he will say in his own defense, of course, there was a worldwide economic crisis on and he had to do the things that he did and take the steps that he has taken. however, there will be another advantage and he'll promise all sorts of things and has already begun that process. >> thanks much, jim. to afghanistan, u.s. forces stationed omt border of pakistan and afghanistan are trying to keep tensions between these two nations from growing.
nick paton walsh is in kabul. >> reporter: the afghans see themselves as under attack from the insurgents but also the pak pakistani military. they have four times since june last year returned fire into pakistan. when we were there, we saw a pakistani soldier get off a u.s. army helicopter and arrive at that base, suggesting perhaps that there are crisis points being reached that might require greater liaisons between the americans and pakistanis but all eyes are on what happens when the americans start to withdraw, leaving behind an afghan army that views the pakistani military as one of their adversaries. without the u.s. there with its technology, power and diplomacy, there are concerns a new element to this conflict could spring out, tom. let's check in with anderson cooper. breaking news tonight. we are able to report details
about the woman at the center of the secret service sex scandal. the woman who wouldn't accept alleged underpayment at a hotel in colombia. we're going to show you who she is and you're going to hear from cnn investigative reporter drew griffin, who's been on the ground all weekend diing on the story. also george zimmerman walked out of jail wearing a bulletproof vest. we'll talk to his attorney, mark o'ma o'mara, about his client's whereabouts. he said zimmerman will stay on the move rotating locations for his own protection. and police chief bill lee offered his resignation. the city council has turned that down. those stories plus the ridiculist at the top of the hour. we have all had some horrible bosses, but we're joined now by a woman who said she suffered the ultimate injustice. debra stevens said she agreed to donate her kidney to help her sick boss. but, she says, just months later she was fired.
so the question is, is this a boss from hell or is there more to this story. debra is here along with her lawyer. thank you both for being here. this happened just outside new york here. debra, first of all, how did you make this decision to do this? not many people take such action. >> that's just part of who i am. i would do it for a lot of people. i knew that she needed it. i knew that i could help her have a better life. >> you didn't donate the kidney directly to her but the chain of organ donation and that moved her up the list. >> you have to have a good kidney to give away in order to get a good kidney for yourself. >> how were you fired? how did this happen and how quickly? >> fairly quickly. my surgery was august 10th of 2011. and i was fired -- i was no longer working by april 11th of 2012. but in the meantime i had been transferred from my job at the auto group working with jackie, a job that i loved. >> jackie being the boss that
got the kidney. >> right. >> and what did they say? >> they told me they were going to transfer m because it was too personal. i don't know for who, not for me. i just wanted to go do my job. so they transferred me to another location. i was just devastated over it, partly because -- a big part of it was because she had been treating me so badly for the months before. you know, as soon as she came back to work after her recovery, she just demonic. >> all right. we called the company involved here, the atlantic auto group, and they gave us a statement. we respect all our employees and the good work that they do. it is unfortunate that one employee has used her own generous act to make a groundless claim. atlantic auto treated her appropriately and honorably and acted fairly at every turn. leonard, i'm guessing you don't buy that. >> not at all. we contacted the company. we said that deborah was being harassed, she was being discriminated against, she was transferred 50 miles from her home, she was denied overtime of the and we complained. in fact deborah went to human
resources and they did nothing. and as a result of our complaint, she was fired within a few days. we filed a state division of human rights complaint. we cross-filed with eeoc. and it's our intention to commence a federal action within -- >> hold on a second. you were fired after contacting a lawyer and the lawyer contacting your company. >> correct. >> so i mean a lot of companies out there might say, well, we had to fire you, you were initiating a legal action against us. >> i think that's called retaliation. >> yeah? >> i think so. >> but you think that that's really where this grew out of. this has to be -- i've got to tell you from the outside, you look at this and you think i must be missing something. because it just seems kind of impossible that it played out this way. >> well, i will tell you that i didn't remember to forget something. i didn't just conveniently remember to forget something that might have happened in this picture. it's just as confusing to me as it is to you, clearly. it was a bad experience.
it was. something that was given from my heart and i have to say, that's not even the biggest piece of this. that's one part of it. i went to work every day and worked hard and did a great job. and to just be destroyed by this person, whether she was trying to prove a point i wasn't going to get special treatment after what i had done or whatever. >> did you have a relationship with her before this? >> she was my boss. >> you weren't pals or anything? >> no. >> and what was the first moment at which you said something's not working out here? >> right after she came back from her recovery. i came back in september. she returned to work the end of october, somewhere around there. she just started getting ugly with me almost immediately. >> i want to bring in paul cowan who i know has thoughts on this. what do you make of this? >> i was amazed when i heard
this today. it was the front page of the new york post. it was the talk of offices across new york. and, you know, someone donates their kidney to the boss then when they come back after the surgery and they're sick as a result of having done this thing, they get fired. it sounds like the perfect storm of an employment discrimination case. a perfect case. but like all perfect cases, there's another side to the story. i start to see the outlines of it from the atlantic automotive that's being sued. they're saying basically, you know, this is a dispute between two employees. between miss bucia and miss stevens. we, the employer tried to accommodate when miss stevens asked to be transferred, we transferred her. then she complained that she was being mistreated by employees at that office. and we then sent her another letter now to her attorney
saying if she wants to go back to the original office in westbury, we'll move her back at the same pay and the same position and she declined that. so what are we supposed to do under the circumstances? the employer's basically saying this is a dispute between two employees. we've tried to settle the problem but that's all we can do. that's the defense they're going to offer in this case. so, you know, how it plays out in front of a judge and a jury we'll have to see. >> let me ask you one more thing about this. is there anything that debbie could have done to protect herself? frankly it's just astonishing to me such a thing occurred. it's also astonishing to me you would enter into an arrangement without taking a step that this wouldn't happen. >> it's hard to protect yourself against something like this. first the law requires that in the aftermath of a surgical procedure like this, you have to be accommodated by your employer. now, the employer here says that
miss stevens never asked for special treatment or to be accommodated. but anybody who has surgery has a right to recover. and obviously there's going to be some down time. you can't be fired for that. the law protects you for that. i don't know how she could have protected herself. the back story is jury's going to look at is was there a problem before the surgery? was there a relationship between the two employees? or is this entirely the fault of the woman who received the kidney. >> hold on one second. hold on one second, paul. i want to ask a question. debbie you looked shocked there. do you have a last thought? >> i'll let my lawyer handle that one. >> i don't think debbie asked to be transferred. she loved her job and wanted to stay there. i think that management transferred her. that's one of her complaints. that's what we contacted them about. we said why are you punishing her? she did a good thing. she has certain medical problems. she had to be out a few days.
why are you treating her in this manner? and their response was hey, we're going to fire her. >> the lawyer for the automotive group named michael morrow says in a letter that he wrote to mr. leeds, as for the position she's currently in it must be recalled that miss stevens asked for the transfer and was granted it. i don't know the truth of this, but that's what they're saying. they're saying she asked to be transferred. they transferred her, she didn't like it in hempstead. now they're saying you can have your job back in westbury. but she doesn't want it back, she wants to bring a lawsuit. i don't know that it's true or not. >> paul, as always thanks for your insights. i want to thank you leonard and debbie for being here. i have a feeling we'll hear more about your case. we appreciate you coming in and introducing our audience to it. an astonishing story to tell. we'll find out how the facts stack up.
thanks for being here. still outfront, a man faces five years in prison for stealing a soda from mcdonald's. five years in prison for this. we'll tell you why next. or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business, it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities. that's why we extended $6.4 billion in new credit to small businesses across the country last year. because the more we help them, the more we help make opportunity possible.
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his computer, an identity thief is able to use your information to open a bank account in order to make your money his money. [whoosh, clang] you need lifelock, the only identity theft protection company that now monitors bank accounts for takeover fraud. lifelock: relentlessly protecting your identity. call 1-800-lifelock or go to lifelock.com today. a man in naples, florida, remains in jail tonight facing felony theft charges after an incident at a local mcdonald's restaurant. the accusation, he stole a cup of soda.
according to the police report, he asked the manager of the fast food restaurant for a free cup of water. only he didn't take water. he filled the cup with soda. the manager of the restaurant confronted mark over the theft. they argued. police were called. mark was hauled off to jail charged with disorderly conduct and petty theft. at least until they looked up his previous arrests. why? it seems mark is no stranger to the florida authorities. look at this gallery of pictures here. since 2001 he's been arrested multiple times on public intoxication, discoorderly conduct. that was enough to up the fine to a felony. now facing up to five years in prison. erin burnett will be back here with benjamin