tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC October 3, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
the judge says she is acquitted of murder. after nearly four years, the prison doors open. her hometown rejoices. but outside the courtroom, what did italians yell at her family? underdog. that's what president obama declared himself in an interview with george stephanopoulos just hours ago. protection. could working up a sweat short-circuit the cancer cells in all our bodies right now? and solutions. a new idea today from the man who made latte a household word. what if all of us together gave loans to bring jobs and bring america back? good evening. it was truly an electrifying moment as amanda knox literally was bowed over by the news that her conviction for the murder of her roommate had been overturned, and she is free after nearly four years. the american exchange student
confined to a cell in italy, just one hour outside each day passing the hours, we are told, reading 1,000 books in all, and tonight, amanda knox is reunited with the family that's kept constant vigil. in fact, her parents brought an empty suitcase as a measure of their faith that their daughter would be bringing her few possessions from prison home to seattle where, by the way, the city is rejoicing tonight. and no one has covered this story in more depth than our own "20/20" anchor elizabeth vargas. she has been on the case since day one, and she is in perugia to report again for us tonight. elizabeth? >> reporter: good evening, diane. the four-year odyssey for the knox family is finally over. a member of the knox family has been here every single day since her arrest nearly four years ago in perugia, italy,
for the murder of her british roommate meredith kercher. they never wavered in insisting on her innocence and tonight in a dramatic hearing they got the acquittal they've been waiting for. the tension grew with every one of the nine hours of deliberation. then well into the night, the appeal judge summoned knox from the 13x13 foot cell that has been her home for so long. her family walking hand in hand made their way to the 15th century courthouse taking their place as amanda sat trembling before the judge speaking deliberately in italian, the judge rejected claims knox and her former italian boyfriend were part of a lurid sex murder. a stunning moment. the words amanda knox and her family had longed to hear. >> translator: both defendants have been acquitted. >> reporter: and when those words sank in, the 24-year-old broke down slumping in her seat sobbing. she was free. her conviction and 26-year sentence overturned. the courtroom erupted in cheers. her jubilant family embracing and still absorbing the news.
their four-year odyssey to clear their daughter in the murder of 21-year-old meredith kercher finally over. outside the courtroom, there was outrage. as knox's family made their way out of the courtroom, her younger sister and best friend deanna stepped up to the microphone. now a joyful family spokesman. >> we're thankful that amanda's nightmare is over. she suffered for four years for a crime that she did not commit. >> reporter: then her lead attorney who had defended the seattle student from the start, over 100 hearings and a crushing guilty verdict two years ago. >> today she was scared. she knew that the day was important. it was before life in jail and complete dismissal, therefore, she was very scared. >> reporter: amanda knox was hustled back to prison for the last time. she was finishing some routine paperwork before being flown out of the country back to her home in seattle. this day of judgment started with knox's emotional plea in court to be freed.
her voice shaking so much, the judge told her she could sit if necessary. she said, "i am paying with my life for something i didn't do. i didn't kill. i didn't rape. i insist after four years, after four hopeless years my innocence. i want to go home. i want to go back to my life. i deserve freedom." when amanda knox arrived back in the prison tonight, diane, she was greeted with cheers from those inside the prison. she's become quite popular in her four years there. they nicknamed her bambi. she sent some time with the prison chaplain tonight saying good-bye, who has been a close confidant of hers but she is out of prison tonight and will be on her way back to the states within hours. >> unimaginable, i am sure, and thanks so much for your reporting on all this, elizabeth vargas reporting from italy tonight. but i want to bring in abc's chief legal analyst, dan abrams. dan, what is the final word on this?
did an american student fall into a kind of alice in wonderland world of italian legal -- >> look, i think the court did the right thing. once the dna evidence was discredited, there was no link to the murder. with that said, amanda knox made false statements to the authorities about this investigation, significant false statements. she says they were coerced. and if they were, then, yes, it's alice in wonderland. if they weren't, then there are real reasons to question why she was dishonest with the authorities about significant matters. >> but the judge today clearly indicated what he thought. >> that's right. when looking at the totality of the circumstances, that simply was not evidence to hold her for murder. >> and could they bring her back for the civil suits that could still be tried by her former roommate? >> they won't be able to bring her back for the civil suits. in theory, if the prosecutors appeal if they can to the highest court and they win, they could ask for extradition and in the end i don't think they'd get it. >> all right. dan abrams, we thank you.
and just one note. we never know what lies ahead in life. we were struck by two pictures. take a look at this. this is amanda knox, age 20, about to head off to study abroad in italy. no idea she would return home as this after nearly four years behind bars. and we turn now to politics and a kind of storm cloud on the 2012 horizon for president obama. a new abc news/"washington post" poll shows a majority of americans believe he will be a one-term president. "good morning america" anchor george stephanopoulos sat down with the president this afternoon to ask him about that and an exclusive interview with yahoo! and abc and more on an exciting new partnership in a moment. but george kicked it off today with the president and your questions online. it was all live on the web. >> reporter: we have a brand-new poll out at abc. it's just coming out later today showing the majority of
americans, 55%, think you'll be a one-term president. are you the underdog now? >> absolutely, because, you know, given the economy, there's no doubt that, you know, whatever happens on your watch, you've got -- >> reporter: you embraced that pretty quickly. >> you know, i don't mind. i'm used to being an underdog and i think that at the end of the day, though, what people are going to say is who's got a vision for the future that can actually help ordinary families recapture that american dream. >> there's so many people that simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. >> right. >> reporter: how do you convince them that they are? >> well, i don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. they're not better often than they were before lehman's collapse, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we're going through. i think that what we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy. but the unemployment rate is still way too high, and that's why it's so critical for us to
make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work. >> reporter: and for the first time, president obama had to answer for solyndra, the solar panel company which failed despite $500 million in government loans from the energy department. president obama had held it up as a model for green jobs and clean energy. do you regret that? >> no, i don't because if you look at the overall portfolio of loan guarantees that have been provided, overall it's doing well, and what we always understood was that not every single business is going to succeed in clean energy, but if we want to compete with china, which is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into this space, if we want to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidizing the industries of the future, we've got to make sure that our guys here in the united states of america at least have a shot. now, there are going to be some failures. >> reporter: and you were getting warnings not to back that company up. >> hindsight is always 20/20. >> reporter: diane, white house
e-mails released by congressional investigators today show there was a fierce debate inside the white house at the time over whether this program really did make sense. >> we'll be watching for more in the morning on "good morning america." thanks, george. and as we said, george helped launch today a big, new chapter. we at abc news teaming up with yahoo! to help inform you and the 100 million people who count on yahoo! online to bring a dynamic new delivery of the news including exclusive content and interviews like the one george brought us with president obama. there is so much more to come from the powerhouse team at abc news and yahoo!, and we hope you'll be checking in for the big things still ahead. and a question, is there about to be a nationwide movement building right now to point a finger at wall street on greed? it started here in new york where hundreds of protesters now occupy a park near the big financial houses and more protests are spreading across the country.
abc's dan harris on what is happening and what the demonstrators say they want. >> reporter: with 14 million americans out of work and wall street profits still stratospheric, it was a fuse ready to be lit. it started with fewer than a dozen college students, but when video of a police officer pepper spraying female protesters went viral, the movement grew. this past weekend 700 people were arrested when they stormed the brooklyn bridge. now major unions are joining in, as are celebrities like susan sarandon and alec baldwin, and similar protests are popping up across america. so you want to see more of this and not just here? >> absolutely, yes. >> we're mad. we're angry. and we're standing up and saying something about it. >> reporter: this is a surprisingly functional little city. let me give you a tour. it starts here with the information desk for people who are newly arrived. behind that, this whole area back here, this is the media area filled with bloggers and other people getting the word
out, and it's powered by donated generators, and this is the food station. it's all free and all donated including some cookies that came in today from a grandmother in idaho. the one thing they don't have, a clear focus. experts say social movements often start small and disorganized as happened with unemployment protests during the great depression. so if i'm tempted to write these kids, mostly kids, off as people having a good time in a public park, i should rethink that? >> yes. >> reporter: because there is potential here? >> there is potential here especially now that it's being legitimized. >> reporter: they may not have concrete demands, but they say their makeshift city is a model for how america should live, and they're not leaving any time soon. dan harris, abc news, new york. and now the american milestone reached this week. afghanistan officially becoming america's longest war at ten years, longer than vietnam, and there is now a new commander,
general john allen, tasked with winning a war after so many others could not reach the finish line. abc's martha raddatz, who spent so much time covering the war in afghanistan, takes us to meet the new man. >> reporter: the biggest challenge facing general allen, the one that makes him the most angry is attacks on his troops by fighters coming from pakistan. the explosives are coming from pakistan. >> many of them are. >> reporter: the majority? >> probably at this point. >> reporter: doesn't that make you mad sometimes? >> yes, it makes me mad. >> reporter: given how much money we've given to pakistan. >> it makes me mad every day. it makes me mad every day, but, look, i gotta deal with what i can deal with. >> reporter: but dealing with that threat is getting harder. allen's popular predecessor, david petraeus, had 100,000 troops to work with. by this time next year, allen will have 40% fewer forces. the american public now looks at this war, the economy is faltering, and a lot of them are
saying, is this worth it? >> it is, martha. it is. >> reporter: osama bin laden is dead. al qaeda is decimated. so what are we still doing here? >> we came to this region for two things. one was, of course, to go after al qaeda, but the other reason that we're in afghanistan is to ensure that the taliban don't unseat this government and don't return to power. >> reporter: whatever you think about this war and the tough fight general allen has ahead of him, he knows well the terrible pain these ten long years of war have brought. >> whenever i hear of someone who's been killed, my first thought is that there's a family at home asleep that doesn't know yet that their loved one is gone or will never be the same again. and then, of course, writing the letters, and when i address those letters to the children, those are the toughest letters to write. >> reporter: what do you say to the kids? >> that your father was a hero. that your mother was a hero and
they died in a great cause. >> reporter: general allen simply doesn't buy the notion that americans don't support this war. he believes that deep down they know it is more important than ever. diane? >> thank you, martha, reporting, and as she has so often from afghanistan. and still ahead on "world news," could it be that exercise could shut down the cancer cells lying dormant in all our bodies? and the man who gave the nation a caffeine jolt today has a brand-new idea for a jobs jolt to bring america back. it's your fault. naturally blame the mucus. well...i can't breathe. did you try blowing your nose? of course. and nothing came out. ...and nothing came out. instead of blaming me try advil congestion relief. what you probably have is swelling due to nasal inflammation, not mucus. and this can help? it treats the real problem of your sinus symptoms, reducing swelling due to nasal inflammation.
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and in healthy living tonight, compelling new information about the crucial role exercise may play for all of us against the fight of all kinds of cancers, and abc's linsey davis has the report. >> reporter: breast cancer changed this woman's life, and now she's being proactive with something else she believes to be life changing, exercise. >> being a breast cancer survivor, you don't ever want to go, you know, through that experience -- if there's anything i could do to help myself not to go through it again i'm all for it. >> reporter: and so you think that going to the gym just might be doing that. >> absolutely. >> reporter: physical activity has previously been linked with a lower risk of breast and colon cancer, but now scientists are beginning to understand why. for starters, the more fat cells you have in your body, the more
insulin and estrogen, which can both help cancer cells grow. >> the activity can actually change the surrounding cells. it can change potentially surrounding estrogen levels, insulin and other chemicals that can serve like food for tumor cells. >> reporter: exercise also helps reduce stress and inflammation, both of which can help cancer cells grow. a study of 4,000 women found those with the highest level of physical activity had half the risk of dying compared to those without exercise. another study found the greatest benefit occurred in women who walked three to five hours a week at an average pace. >> we certainly have abnormal cells that circulate in our body, and our bodies are programmed to find them and get rid of them, and exercise may be one of the many things that helps our body do this. >> reporter: lu-ann certainly doesn't need any more incentive to hit the gym. linsey davis, abc news, new york.
and when we come back, does your makeup change how capable people think you are? watch. >> and now the surprising fact about this day in history brought to you by united health care. did you know on this day in 1863 president lincoln established thanksgiving as a national holiday. his message was delivered in what is now called lincoln's thanksgiving proclamation. for more information on what happened on this day, go to abcnews.com/worldnews. dnews. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job.
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announced that new $5 a month fee to use a debit card? senator dick durbin of illinois sent a message today. >> bank of america customers, vote with your feet. get the heck out of that bank. >> and are consumers doing it? weighing in? bank of america's home page was down again today, and that's the third time in four days. the bank will not comment on why. and an intriguing new study tonight finds when women wear ma makeup, it changed the estimation of not just looks -- well, here's a test for you. who looks for intelligence competent, the one with makeup or the one without? they're the same woman, but subjects chose the woman wearing the professional makeup, and how about this woman? who do you think looks more honest and likable? again, the one with the makeup was chosen, but there is a tipping point. women who wear a lot of makeup are rated less trustworthy.
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and finally tonight, bringing america back. new ideas for creating jobs and american vitality. and here now is abc's "20/20" co-anchor chris cuomo. >> of course. >> reporter: first we met the rosenbergs in long island, who found their own solution after bob was downsized from his marketing company. they took all their savings and got funding through the small business administration to create the moolala frozen yogurt store. then came taskrabbit, the ebay for odd jobs that matches unor underemployed with available work in their community. now, starbucks' ceo is trying to bring america back. >> i want to make a difference. >> reporter: starbucks is in partnership with the opportunity finance network, a non-profit that funds small businesses around the country. starbucks is coffeeing up
$5 million to start, and if you donate $5 or more online or at any of its participating stores, you get this nifty bracelet and help loan money to small businesses like your local florist, a baker, a grocer, creating jobs across the country and filling the void left by banks that won't lend. why aren't the banks getting it done? they make lots of money. they're charging us fees out the wazoo. they're paying each other big bonuses. why aren't they spending that money on us? >> because of this crisis of uncertainty, and the people who are in a position to make loans are afraid to give loans because those loans are being written down as a result of high risk. >> reporter: isn't this sad that schultz and starbucks has to sell bracelets to fund businesses in america? i mean, what the hell is going on here that this is what's necessary in the wealthiest country in the world? >> there's a lot about america that one can conclude is sad right now, but i don't want to look at it that way.
i'm an optimistic entrepreneur, and i want to create positive change. >> reporter: the hope is a caffeine-like jolt to the economy. one more way that people step up to bring america back. chris cuomo, abc news, new york. >> and we're always on at abcnews.com, and we'll see >> harvest time in the napa valley. tonight the potential impact of the first rain storm of fall. >> neighbors heard screaming and later gunshots. tonight domestic violence and a police conpron taigs leaving two people dead. >> and in sacramento, the issue pits cash-strapped california against low-income patients who demand medical care. the case that went before the u.s. supreme court today. a plea from a thousand mothers for an end to the violence that has taken the lives of their children.
>> good evening, everyone. i'm care quo lynn johnson. >> i'm cheryl jennings. the first rain of autumn fell today. not a lot of rain, but certainly enough to slow traffic and change plans for some people. and on pier 39, folks bundled up and we've seen umbrellas open up in just about every bay area city at some point today. spencer christian jous us thousand with a look. >> we've got wet weather covering virtually all of the bay area, it's been light rainfall. light to moderate now. there are areas receiving steadiest rainfall at this moment. east bay, we're seeing rainfall from fairfield to concord and san ramone, light to moderate and little pockets of rainfall have developed in the last hour, looking south ward and through santa cruz we have light to moderate rainfall in most areas but there are pockets of briefly heavy rainfall. rainfall totals so far,