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tv   Around the World  CNN  July 15, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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welcome to "cnn newsroom." i'm wolf blitzer in washington. the george zimmerman verdict is in but the whole saga is far from closed. in fact, we expect the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, to talk about the verdict and the investigation in a major speech. he's getting ready to deliver this hour. we expect it to begin in about 30 minutes. we'll have live coverage. also outside the justice department right now an organization representing some 34,000 black churches is planning on having a rally. the national black church initiative, as it's called, is pushing the government to prosecute george zimmerman under federal civil rights laws. in sanford, florida, right now, people are prepared to gather for a prayer event. pastors and other leaders are asking people to remain calm. protests are happening but they have been mostly peaceful.
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los angeles police started making arrests, though, before dawn this morning after a gathering on sunset boulevard that was declared an unlawful assembly. another demonstration on interstate 10 ended with police firing beanbag rounds to break up the crowd. l.a.'s mayor used his twitter feed to urge demonstrators to, quote, practice peace. new yorkers marched 30 blocks through the city yesterday ending up in times square. police were keeping an eye out but the protest was peaceful. one thing many of the protesters around the country are demanding, federal prosecution of george zimmerman over the death of trayvon martin. and those calls potentially, potentially could be answered, although it will be a high hurdle to overcome. the justice department is now considering whether or not to file federal civil rights charges against george
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zimmerman. our george howell is in sanford, florida. he's been covering this trial for us. if the federal prosecutors do, and still a big if, if they do decide to charge zimmerman with hate crimes if you will, they'll have to prove he acted out of what's called racial hatred. that's a pretty tough thing to prove. >> wolf, you are absolutely right on that. and we're getting this from the naacp president ben jealous. ben jealous has information, presumably from african-americans who have been in that neighborhood, who say in his words, who have been targeted by zimmerman. race may have been a factor. may have been involved in this particular case. so jealous said that he's reached out to eric holder, reached out to the department of justice and officials on that team to see if indeed they could move forward with more legal action. but again, you'll have to remember, mark o'mara made this point very clear. when it comes to self-defense in the state of florida, and that
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statute, there's a line about stand your ground that basically gives a person immunity. if you act in self-defense, you can have immunity from criminal, from civil prosecution. and o'mara made the quote, he said, we will seek and we will get immunity. he said that in the press conference following this verdict. >> and the attorney general himself, eric holder, who is getting ready to speak out on this zimmerman trial on the not guilty verdict, he, himself, said a year or so ago that if you're going to go forward and use civil rights laws, hate crime, declare this a hate crime if you will because of race or whatever factor, that's a very, very tough hurdle to overcome. and experienced federal prosecutors have made that point. we're anxious to hear what eric holder is about to say. do we know where george zimmerman is right now? >> you know, wolf, no. it's like the where's waldo. no idea where george zimmerman is. when you hear from his attorneys, you understand why. zimmerman, for the last 16-plus
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months has received death threats. he has to take hiding -- go into hiding for his own safety. we do know, wolf, that his life is certainly different this monday. he's not wearing that ankle bracelet anymore, the gps ankle bracelet. he no longer has the 10:00 p.m. curfew that he had from the state. so now he is truly a free man but in hiding. certainly for his safety. >> do we know for sure that the actual gun that he used, that shot and killed trayvon martin, has now been returned to him? >> we don't have that entirely confirmed from my reporting at this point. we do know that it was in the custody of the state. we are waiting to get word on that. >> if you hear anything about that, let us know. george howell, reporting for us from sanford, florida. in the aftermath of this not guilty verdict, the prosecutors are speaking out. bernie de la rionda, the lead prosecutor and his boss angela
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sat down and talked about the case's strengths and the weaknesses. listen to this. >> you know, we're stuck with the evidence we have. it's the truth. we don't get to pick our witnesses. we have to deal with what we've got and do the best we can. >> there was a wealth of hard, cold physical evidence, dna and everything else that showed that george zimmerman lied in his statements to the police. >> there was no sort of narrative that this jury could follow, that america could follow. >> the problem you have in a trial is you can't say jury, don't speculate and then ask them to speculate. and so we're left with a defendant's story and what we attempted to do as best we could was prove his story was false. therefore, why would he be lying about something minor like trying to get an address. i thought that was blatantly a lie. when i was arguing to the jury, i saw them nodding their heads.
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>> what was the deciding factor, and was it a group decision? >> yes. and the problem you have is that there was enough evidence, even though i would argue it was insignificant or very little, that there was self-defense. you had john good. you had other people. so they were going to be able to get an instruction as to self-defense. and once we knew that was coming on, we felt we needed to put his statement on and just disprove it. >> you can see a whole lot more of that interview with the prosecutors. airs later tonight on "hln after dark." that's 10:00 p.m. eastern on hln, our sister network. we're also hearing from the defense. george zimmerman's lead attorney, mark o'meara sat down with our chris cuomo and said he understands people's frustrations and their anger over the case, but he also says zimmerman acted, in his word, responsibly. >> perhaps many people don't equate what happens to you when you get beat up with the proper justification for taking someone's life. >> and that's a frustration that
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people have. and i share it with them because this is my life and i deal with this every day. when you have to look inside somebody's head, and in this case, they had to look inside george zimmerman's head. as he was on the ground with somebody unknown on top of him, doing basically whatever they were doing him and him not returning any blows, you don't know that the next shot on concrete isn't going to be the one that sends you unconscious. you are allowed to react to your reasonable perception of potential injury, and i think anybody in that set of circumstances screaming for help for 45 seconds would say that they acted reasonably in stopping the attack. >> because at that point, legally, you are allowed to use lethal force to protect yourself? >> george zimmerman did not want to shoot anybody. i think it's a testament to the fact he didn't want to shoot anybody, that he went through 45 seconds of screaming for help before he did. >> o'mara also says he's surprised there was outrage
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after the verdict because he had hoped that people would see the trial as having been a fair trial. let's bring in our cnn legal analyst. also joining us faith jenkins. she's a defense attorney, a former prosecutor. all right. the prosecution says it did the best it could given the evidence available. you just heard them say that. now we're hearing calls for the justice department to file hate crime charges if you will. once again, we're expecting the attorney general eric holder to speak out about the verdict in a few minutes. we'll have live coverage here. mark, let me go to you. what do you think? do you think it's realistic to assume the justice department will file hate crime charges, civil rights charges, against george zimmerman? >> no, wolf, not at all. the fbi was here from the very beginning once this case became publicized. and one can only presume when the fbi was here that it went to the middle district, which is this area's civil rights division for a review. people are trying to analogize
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this to the rodney king incident where the feds came in and a civil rights case was brought. there you had police action. here you have a disagreement as to the facts that happened and a jury spoke. i cannot in any way, shape or form imagine the feds coming in on this. quick aside. your last segment. the gun has been returned to george zimmerman. >> the actual gun has been -- is now in his possession once again. all right. thanks for updating us on that. faith, what about you? you think eric holder might -- this is obviously a decision he would have to make, the attorney general of the united states, might go ahead and file these charges? >> despite there being evidence of racial profiling here, and one of the reason yes george zimmerman identified trayvon was because of the way he looked and how he was dressed, i think there is evidence of that. but that's racial profiling is very different from committing a race motivated murder, which is what you really have to show in order to have these hate crime charges. you have to show george
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zimmerman. one of the reason he's shot trayvon martin was based on his race. i just don't think that happened here. i think he made a lot of wrong assumpti assumptions. a lot of mistakes and assumed things about trayvon that simply weren't true but i don't think they'll be able to prove he shot him in part because he was african-american. >> what do you think about the possibility of a civil lawsuit, a wrongful death civil lawsuit? a lot of us remember what happened to o.j. simpson after he was found not guilty. a few years later, the family filed a wrongful death civil suit and they won. they collected some money, not a whole lot, but they collected some money. you think the george zimmerman family could be expecting -- that george zimmerman could anticipate a civil lawsuit if you will? >> yes, i think they can. and the standard in civil court is very different from criminal court. you are looking at a preponderance of the evidence, a much lower standard. but mark o'mara elude ealluded
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other day that he'd seek immunity from a civil lawsuit. that tells me they'll probably ask for a stand your ground hearing. if they were to win a stand your ground hearing, george zimmerman is immune not only from criminal liability where that case is already over but also from civil liability. so there's a chance he could be immune from any civil lawsuit that could be filed against him. >> what about that, mark? what do you think the possibility of a civil, a wrongful death lawsuit being filed against george zimmerman by trayvon martin's family? >> there's a lot of considerations. anybody can file suit against another and clearly trayvon's estate, his parents have a claim for wrongful death. the question is, do they want to keep this going? there's no fifth amendment protection to george zimmerman if, in fact, that happens. so if it proceeds then he'll have to take the stand, which i think many people might want. as far as any money, we know he's broke right now. with that said, he has a significant claim going on against another network for them editing some tapes and there could be a significant award
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that comes from that which would then make him have a net worth and it may be worth them proceeding against him. as it relates to -- but one has to remember the time, the emotion, everything else and another circumstance where trayvon and his death and all that will be continuing to be lived out, that's a family decision that has a lot more to do with money than it does, has a lot more to do with emotion and their personal opinion than money. with that said -- sii'm sorry. >> no, finish your thought. >> on the stand your ground situation, it's going to be unique application. i've never heard it being used within a civil context. the way the law reads you have to have a stand your ground hearing before the trial. and clearly the defense waived that three weeks before they were -- this trial was scheduled to start. that would have immunized them against civil liability but they clearly waived that. why? they did not want george zimmerman to take the stand in anticipation of a trial three weeks later and then have that
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testimony being used because i think they felt at that time they would not prevail. there's a lot of tactical decisions. i don't see a stand your ground at this point being able to block it, although o'mara clearly alluded to it at his press conference. we need to get into it more, but it's an anticipation of the criminal case which would have blocked civil liability and that was waived. >> mark nejame, don't go too far away. faith jenkins, thanks to you as well. we'll continue with you as well. as we mentioned, we're awaiting the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. you are looking at a live picture there. he's getting ready to speak at the washington convention center. it's the 100th anniversary of the delta sigma sorority founded at howard university here in washington. we expect him to say something about the zimmerman trial. we'll have live coverage. stay tuned for that. also does the nsa leaker edward snowden really have documents that could bring the
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these are live pictures from the washington convention center. the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, will be speaking fairly soon. and we anticipate he will say some words about the zimmerman trial, the verdict, the not guilty verdict. he's speaking before the 51st national convention. it's the 100th anniversary of the sorority, the delta sig sigma feda sorority founded at howard university in washington, d.c. they are going through some preliminary motions right now. once he starts speaking, we'll go there and hear what the attorney general has to say about the verdict. other news we're following, including this. there's a warning coming from the journalist who broke the story of the nsa surveillance program. glen greenwald of "the guardian" newspaper says edward snowden has information that would be dire for the united states if released. he says snowden knows how the nsa is built and operates from top to bottom. our own phil black is in moscow. he's been covering the story for us. snowden has been waiting to make
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it to a country offering some sort of political asylum. do we know if he has any opportunities? has the russian government agreed to give him temporary asylum? >> well, wolf, just in the last hour or so we're hearing the first comments from russian president vladimir putin since edward snowden announced on friday afternoon that he would be seeking temporary asyl num i this country. vladimir putin considers the snowden situation still unresolved but hopes he will leave russia once he gets the chance. putin has spoke ben blaming the u.s. effectively for the fact snowden is trapped within russian territory. he says that's because snowden was only in transit through russia when the united states tracked him here by revoking his passport and intimidating other countries, preventing him from traveling onwards from russia. he has reiterated this condition
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he's set for snowden to have any chance of receiving temporary asylum here. and that is that he must stop any sort of work which potentially is aimed to harm the united states. or could in any way further damage russia's relationship with the united states. he said that specifically for the first time. so from these first comments we're hearing from the russian president. he's not ruling out the possibility of helping edward snowden. but it certainly sounds like he doesn't want him to stay here permanently, wolf. >> president obama called president putin last week and this was clearly high on the agenda. we'll see what kind of impact president obama may have had on president putin. on this other issue of other information that edward snowden may still have access to, that if something were to happen to him it would be released, it would cause dire consequences for the united states. so what if anything, do we know about that? >> well, we don't know the details. glen greenwald, the guardian
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journalist hinted at his extensive knowledge of the nsa. what he calls an instruction manual for the way it was built, the way it operates. the things that 4 it -- how it does the things it does. the sort of information that would give people the ability to evade that sort of surveillance and potentially rep layicate it. he's talking about extensive knowledge, thousands of documents there. he also makes the point that snowden doesn't want this information to be made public. he's made that as a deliberate choice and he's quite determined for that not to be the case. but at the same time, he has also hinted at some sort of mechanism that could kick in, should something violent and unexpected happen to snowden. the possibility that some of this information could be released in that sort of event. but he hasn't gone into any sort of retail about just how that would come to be. >> phil black in moscow with the latest. thanks. now an update on another notorious leaking case. later today the defense in the
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bradley manning court-martial will ask the judge to acquit him of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy and several lesser charges. his attorney says prosecutors have not proven the case. manning is the u.s. army private who gave government secrets to wikileaks to expose what he considered wrongdoing. the government says disclosing those military and state department documents harmed u.s. national security. an autopsy today will tell us what killed the actor cory monteith. ♪ that's him as finn on "glee." vancouver police found him dead in his hotel room on saturday. they say he was not the victim of a crime. monteith had a well known struggle with addiction since his teens. still his death stunned fans. "glee's" director called him the glue that kept the show together. monteith was only 31 years old. up next, a high-ranking u.s. official arrives in egypt as the
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new interim government there begins coming together. we're going live to cairo. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] some things are designed to draw crowds. ♪ ♪ others are designed to leave them behind. ♪ the all-new 2014 lexus is. it's your move.
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the white house press secretary jay carney speaking about the not guilty verdict in the zimmerman trial. let's listen in. >> to foster compassion and understanding in our communities and to stem the tide of gun violence as well as how we can prevent future tragedies like this from happening. >> even though the jury in this case has spoken, the justice department is still considering whether to file criminal civil rights charges. does the president feel like that decision needs to be made quickly in order to have some kind of finality to this case? >> this is a decision made by the justice department, by career prosecutors, and all questions about how that process is undertaken should be directed there. and that is not something the president involves himself in. as the justice department said yesterday, they first acknowledged last year they have an open investigation into trayvon martin's death. and they are continuing to evaluate that evidence.
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>> but did -- since the president did speak about this case last year in pretty personal terms, did he have any personal reaction to the verdict? does he have any personal feelings on the need for the justice department to make a decision on this quickly? >> well, he has no opinion to express about the disposition of how the justice department would look at this. he did speak about it in personal terms, and i think his statement yesterday reflects how the loss of a young person is a source of great anguish and pain for the parents of that person, for the community where that person lived, that young person lived, and for the whole country because the loss is greater when a young person dies because the potential of that life is so unfulfilled. so i think that's how the
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president viewed it then and views it now. >> just quickly is there any reason president george w. bush is not coming to the event today? >> i think you would have to ask the bush family. i know he -- i should say this, having covered president george w. bush and i'm sure as you all know, he's enormously proud of his father, of course, and his father's presidency but in particular, this remarkable program that president george h.w. bush initiated. and the current president, president obama, has recognized the importance of this program and the role that president george h.w. bush has played in fostering a spirit of community service in this nation. it's so important. and, you know, this organization that he started has contributed significantly to fostering that sense of community service. it's now a much more common thing in our country, i think, to hear about and for young
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people to get involved in community service. and i think the president believes that president bush 41 deserves a large portion of credit for that. >> i know you're not going to comment on the civil rights case, but i'm curious if the white house is feeling any pressure because the number of civil rights leaders calling for a civil rights case is mounting. there are 600 signatures on an naacp petition. some, let's see, more than 15,000 in just 24 hours on a white house petition online. does the president feel some pressure on this administration to bring a case against zimmerman? >> cases are brought on the merits. and the merits are evaluated by the professionals at the department of justice. and the president expects, as in every case, that the process
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will be handled in the way it should be at the department of justice. and certainly not here. >> he is -- >> go ahead. >> he is an attorney. does the president believe that this -- that there are merits to the case? >> again, i would point you to the president's statement for his reaction to the verdict and his statement about the verdict. and the broader issues that he think thinks we might all reflect upon. he will not comment on a department of justice investigation or on a decision that the department of justice will make about how to proceed, if to proceed. >> he said that we're a nation of laws. does he feel the florida stand your ground law should change? >> i mean, this is a state law that you're referring to. and again, within the context of this case, i just don't have any comment from the president to provide to you. that's something, again, that
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would be more appropriately re -- answered by the department of justice. >> finally, is there any concern about what kind of message the verdict sends? >> i think the president's statement reflects his views about the verdict, about the tragic loss of trayvon martin for his family, his community and for the country. the fact that his loss reflecs s symbolized the loss we see daily in this country of young people to gun violence. and, you know, that's why i think the president's statement contained within it the elements that i described. >> jay, should the martin family be encouraged to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit rather than wait for a decision by the justice department regarding civil rights investigation? >> april, i am just not going to comment on any kind of decision like that that the martin family would have to make. >> well, okay. well, has the president -- when is the last time the president talked to eric holder,
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particularly about this case? >> i'm not sure that i know the answer to that question. i don't believe that this is something the president views as discussion he would have with the attorney general, especially on the substance of the case or decisions the department of justice would make. that is something the department of justice makes and they have talked about this and put out statements about it. and they will make assessments and decisions on the merits and on the evidence. >> well tomorrow eric holder, kathleen sebelius and shean donovan will be in florida addressing the naacp. and one of the issues is on gun violence and according to the naacp, black maleses agents 15 to 19 were twice as likely as white males of the same age and 2 1/2 times as likely as their hispanic peers to be killed in gun-related homicides in 2009. and kathleen sebelius, eric holder and shean donovan will be addressing those issues. what does the white house have
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to say as you can't push for gun legislation? >> the president has made clear his feelings about the failure of the senate to act on common sense legislation that would have improved upon our background check system. legislation that has enormous support across the country in blue states and purple states and red states and that the senate should have approved. the fact of the matter is, and the president has spoken about this, he will ton work with members of his administration to advance the cause of reducing gun violence. using the powers that the administration has. but will also continue to try to impress upon congress the need to have congress act on this important problem and to reflect the will of the american people when it comes to common sense
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steps. steps that respect our second amendment rights. rights that the president supports. and that simply in the case of the background check legislation as we discussed quite intensively for a period earlier this year, would simply build upon and improve an existing system. so that those who should not have access to firearms, because they're convicted criminals or have a serious mental instability, are prevented from obtaining them. it's a pretty simple proposition. so the president will continue that work and i'm sure that the cabinet secretaries that will be speaking in florida will talk about the need to continue that work. you know the president's package of steps to reduce gun violence included a number of 23 if i'm not mistaken, executive actions and there's been significant progress on almost all of those and the president will continue to press for those to be completed. >> the irony, your top cop in
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florida at this time on that situation, the verdict for george zimmerman -- >> i'm sure the attorney general looks forward to having that conversation. the issues surrounding gun violence in this country remain. they remain a priority for this administration. so i don't want to anticipate what remarks he or the other members of the cabinet might make but these continue to be important priorities for the president and his administration. >> eric holder will be speaking momentarily here in washington. he's speaking at the washington convention center. we expect him to speak about the not guilty verdict in the zimmerman trial. there you saw the white house press secretary jay carney speaking out as well saying the white house wants everyone to calm down right now. the president not getting directly involved in what eventually will be a justice department decision, a decision by the attorney general whether to file civil rights charges against george zimmerman.
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the white house press secretary saying that's strictly up to the justice department. gloria borgeer, our chief political analyst is with us. gloria, i want to play a clip because jay carney didn't want to get personal in terms of the president's reaction now but he was very personal shortly after the whole -- the whole killing, what happened, in sanford, florida, erupted. this is what the president said then. >> if i had a son, he'd look like trayvon. and, you know, i think they are right to expect that all of us as americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. >> this is, obviously, an extremely sensitive issue for the white house, the justice department, the federal government as a whole to deal with right now. and they are trying to be as cautious as they possibly can be.
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>> they are trying to walk a fine line here, wolf. this is an african-american community in this country. it's very upset. this is an african-american president and african-american attorney general. as you just showed, the president showed his own personal reflection early on in this case. saying if he had a child if he had a son, his son would look like trayvon. what they are trying to do right now, though, wolf, is say the country should remain calm, that it means that this verdict at the very least needs to open an important conversation or continue an important conversation in this country and privately what i think the justice department is trying to do is figure out whether they can actually bring further action. and the bar is very high for that, wolf. if this were just a political matter they might say, sure, let's do it. we can do this. but it's a legal matter and the justice department doesn't like to bring cases that it can't
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necessarily win. >> yeah, if they were to bring these charges and lose in a federal court, that would be, obviously, pretty serious situation. gloria, we're going to continue this conversation. we're standing by. we're awaiting the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. he's getting ready to speak at the washington convention center. it's the 100th anniversary of a major sorority of the united states, the delta sigma theta sorority. founded 100 years ago at howard university. a lot of sorority sisters are here in washington and they are anxious to hear what the attorney general has to say. f!] [clicks mouse] there's doughnuts in the conference room.
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to fill out his cabinet over the next few days. and the u.s. deputy secretary of state is there in cairo right now. nick payton walsh is joining us from cairo. william burns is meet with egypt's interim government. what are we learning? >> reporter: we know he's met with the interim prime minister. we know also he met with the chief of the military, the minister of defense. we're looking to see what came out of that meeting. but bear in mind he's the first high-profile u.s. official to come here, probably the first profile western official to come since the ouster of president morsi. and the issue really, of course is that the most strident comments we've heard about the events in egypt is a demand for the release of former president mohamed morsi. we heard last week from the state department but only today he hear prosecutors repeating, it seems, orders for the arrest of key muslim brotherhood officials because of alleged involvement in violence that led
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to these protests around me. so real concerns, i think, that washington is, of course, trying to reassure a key ally in the region here of their relationship by coming to visit so early, but the real issue is how will this spawn the issue of the release of former president mohamed morsi be dealt with? is william burns, an arabic speaker going to be pushing reconciliation. still on the streets digging in an interim government which is pushing ahead with announcing its cabinet to get that road map going. its promising supporters to get the country back on its feet. >> we know there had been arrest warrants issued for at least seven muslim brotherhood leaders today. what about morsi himself? is he under house arrest? is he formally arrested? is he being detained? has he been charged with any crime? what do we know about him? >> i think we know a lot because of what we don't know. we simply know he's being held at an undisclosed location.
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the government insists he's in good condition. we heard over the weekend from state media that prosecutors will be looking at complaints alleging that somehow mohamed morsi is involved in spying or the involvement of the killing of protesters. we simply don't know where those complaints came from or how they might translate into the law. but this is the point here. the one many will be looking to the interim government for reconciliation with the brotherhood. the brotherhood will have nothing to do with that administration and are not talking themselves about reconciliati reconciliation. we're not seeing anything other than a continuing crackdown from the military and the interim government here. so the question simply ahead is how do the interim administration get those pro-morsi protesters to go home, to clear the key roads in the center of cairo that currently occupying and how do they stop the brotherhood from going back to this position as an underground movement isolated from government, even after the time they spent running this country, although their critics say quite incompetently.
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>> this is a critical moment right now. and there could be huge rallies once again. there could be a lot more violence or if tempers calm down there could be an easing of all those tensions. >> certainly. people are looking at it tonight because both sides have called their supporters back on to the streets. behind me, tahrir square, which was really full of millions of people around demanding the ouster of morsi has for the last few days been pretty quiet, almost empty. we've been seeing traffic seeming to begin to move around it. the question asked as to whether the fuel for the protests to oust morsi has dissipated, that those supporters got what they wanted and are staying at home. that's certainly what their organizers are saying. the key question remains whether the pro-morsi crowds gather or stay quietly where they are. the army has been dropping leaflets on them over the weekend assuring them of their safety if they stay where they are. they are blocking roads and now it does appear we did meet one
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of their key senior leaders in the crowd over the weekend. he is sought by an arrest warrant. he was moving amongst them absolutely freely. calm and dismissive about the allegations against him. so the question really is, do the authorities move on that crowd? do they move into a packed area full of staunch supporters whose leaders say they'll stay there until the death, frankly, until morsi is put back into power. or do they look to the political route to try and calm the situation down. >> nick, we'll see close. nick paton walsh in cairo. here in washington, the attorney general of the united states getting ready to address a major sorority. there you see live pictures from the washington convention center. the attorney general is going to be making some comments about the not guilty verdict in the george zimmerman trial. live coverage coming up right here in the "cnn newsroom." a contractor before er ud and didn't know where to start. at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare
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we're getting ready to hear from the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. he's going to be speaking momentarily on the not guilty verdict in the george zimmerman trial. we'll have live coverage coming up. i want to bring in jessica yellin, our chief white house correspondent who has been doing some reporting on this. jessica, we've been watching what's going on. we saw you asking the white house press secretary jay carney some pointed questions. clearly this is a very, very sensitive subject for this president, for this administration. we should get a little direction now from the attorney general which way they are heading. >> well, wolf, i think the administration is under a lot of pressure right now, though they won't say so explicitly because the civil rights leaders are calling for the justice department to bring this case. but the simple truth is on the law, it's a very tough case to make, especially given what the
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jury in florida has found. you've heard the white house now defer the details to the attorney general. i do not think you'll hear the attorney general say whether or not he believes that the facts are there. he's not going to spell it out one way or the other. he's going to say that they will investigate this appropriately. but big picture, i believe that you'll hear them talking about the need to sort of roll this frustration and anger into a push for greater laws to protect people from gun violence, and you've heard the attorney general in the past talk about the deaths of african-american males in particular in society. he's talked about that when he's talked about trayvon martin in the past. and even if he doesn't say so today, i expect you'll hear those kinds of comments from him in the days to come. and so i think what you're going
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to see is a careful sort of walking a fine line here, reassuring the african-american community they are taking this seriously, looking at the underlying facts but trying to set some cold, hard realities and real expectations that this may be a tough case to bring. wolf? >> stand by, jessica. gloria will be watching this as well. gloria borger is standing by with a lot more to discuss as we await the attorney general of the united states. here's a question -- what could a federal case against george zimmerman actually look like? i'll speak with a former federal prosecutor and ask what it would take for federal charges to go forward. once again, you are looking at live pictures from the d.c. convention center. sorority sisters, it's the 100th anniversary. 100th anniversary of the delta sigma theta sorority founded 100 years ago at howard university here in washington. they are all getting ready, as are we, to hear the attorney general. (girl) what does that say?
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and i have a massive heart attack right in my driveway. the doctor put me on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go talk to your doctor. you're not indestructible anymore. we're expecting to hear from the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, momentarily on the george zimmerman verdict. we'll have live coverage of that. as we await the attorney general, let's bring in our legal analyst sunny hostin. you are a former federal prosecutor. here's a question that i have about what happened in florida. would it have made -- would it have made any difference if the state if the prosecutors in sanford, florida, had simply
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gone after george zimmerman on manslaughter charge as opposed to the much more serious second-degree murder charge? >> you know, i don't think that it would have made a difference, wolf. bottom line is that they had that charge. the jury had that charge in front of them. i think that, quite frankly, there was enough evidence to support a second-degree murder charge. having been in the courtroom every single day. there was always enough evidence of that. the only issue i think was whether or not the jury would believe a claim of self-defense. now a claim of self-defense is a defense not only to second-degree murder, but also to manslaughter. and so to suggest that this prosecution team somehow overcharged, i think doesn't really reconcile with the law. clearly there was enough evidence for second-degree murder here. >> mark you made an interesting point a little while ago about george zimmerman and his ability potentially to file a lawsuit to
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get some money, if you will. he's already filed one, i take it, against another network for defaming -- allegedly defaming him. does he have other lawsuits that he potentially could file to collect damages? >> not that i see. i think his biggest claim is against the network. if he is sued on a wrongful death claim, there's a possibility, depending upon what unfolds during the course of the case that he could recover expenses, out of pocket expenses. you'll see the defense go ahead and request from the state of florida a reimbursement for their expenses. their out-of-pocket expenses. they aren't entitled to attorneys fees. when there's an acquittal, they are entitled to get back the money used for certain expenses and costs, such as experts, depositions, those types of things. but could we get to a second about the overcharging or would that be okay to respond to sunny on that? >> go ahead. >> of course they overcharged. you are seeing the prosecution -- >> would it have made any difference if they would have just come in with a manslaughter
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charge as opposed to second-degree murder? would the outcome have been any different? >> absolutely. the outcome could have been different but they absolutely ruined their manslaughter case by trying to glibring in facts y could not prove and turned out to be unprovable. they had to switch their entire prosecution goal midway in the trial and finally acknowledging that it was in fact, george zimmerman who was on the bottom, which is not how they started with their opening argument or their witnesses. they completely blew it by overcharging and twisting the facts to try to fit it neatly into something they wanted to sell everybody on and they knew it going in. they knew they had the pathology report. so, no, they caused this to happen, in my opinion. >> mark, stand by. sunny, stand by as well. we've got a special guest i want to bring in. the push is clearly on for a federal prosecution of george zimmerman. thousands of people have signed a petition on the white house website calling for a civil rights prosecution of george zimmerman by the united states
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department of justice because of the death of trayvon martin. once again, we're standing by to hear from the attorney general. he's getting ready to speak. but will the justice department follow that advice? mark is the president of the national urban league, the former mayor of new orleans. he's a good friend of ours. mark, thanks very much for coming on. >> thanks, wolf. >> you are a lawyer. you grew up in a city where there were serious race issues that have always been out there over many, many years. so do you believe realistically the attorney general, eric holder, has enough to file a civil rights suit, a charge against george zimmerman? >> what i would say is based on what i think the attorney general will say today that he has committed to going forward with the investigation. and i think it's easy for us to say there are -- there is or is not enough evidence. but one of the things that a federal investigation may in
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fact, yield is additional evidence and additional take on the existing evidence that was uncovered in connection with this case. and i do believe there's sufficient grounds when you look at all the circumstances for a charge that george zimmerman engaged in a hate crime, number one, or number two, in actions which violated the civil rights of trayvon martin. trayvon had the right to be on that street. he had a right to traverse that neighborhood. it was george zimmerman who instigated the confrontation which eventually led to trayvon martin's death. so what i would do is applaud the idea that the justice department is going to proceed. and i would say to listeners, the idea that the justice department would conduct a civil rights review after the state court proceedings is not unusual. in thene

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