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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 16, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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on the broadcast tonight, breaking news. the latest tragedy for the kennedy family. the estranged wife of rfk jr. has been found dead tonight. the defense rests in the john edwards trial without killing him, his daughter or mistress to the stand. what will it mean for the former presidential candidate. >> the investigation, medical reports shedding new light on the trayvon martin case. does it help or hurt george zimmerman's claim. it is a breakthrough. good news about treating kids with cancer. and empty nest. the spectacular homecoming in california, but what has happened to the legendary swallows of san cap astronna?
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good evening. shortly before going on the air tonight, we learned of another tragedy to strike the kennedy family. mary kennedy, the mother of four children of robert f. kennedy jr. has been found dead alt the family home in new york. the estranged wife of the son of the late senator from new york suffered from public struggles in recent years including several brushes with the law, but again, another tragedyied for this prominent family. andrea mitchell has more on what we know at this hour. >> good evening, brian. mary's death, according to local reports, possibly a suicide, is only the latest tragedy to afflict a family that has known far too many.
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mary richardson kennedy, mother of their four children, was found in her westchester county home. she was in one of the buildings on the bedford new york property. she was goo years old. there had been incidents, at least one arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, three days after the kennedys officially separated in 2010. mary kennedy crashed her car and failed a sobriety test, eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. in recent years, her husband has been seen with cheryl hines, with whom he has worked cleesly on environmental causes. he was 9 years 0e8d when his uncle was assassinated. only 14 when his own father was gunned down in june of 1968.
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robert f. kennedy jr. lost two younger brothers. david died of a drug overdose in easter weekend in 1984. michael was killed in a skiing accident in aspen in 1997. then the cousins. john f. kennedy jr. lost in a plane crash. carry, and the loss of his beloved uncle teddy three years ago. mary kennedy's family said, quote, we deeply regret the death of our beloved sister mary who will be missed by those who loved her. our heart goes out to our children who she loved without reservation. the children range in age from 10 to 17. >> andrea, thanks. now to north carolina where the defense has rested in the john edwards trial without the defend, his daughter, or mistress taking the stand.
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nbc's lisa myers has been covering the trial and joined us tonight from the courthouse in greensboro. good evening. >> good evening, brian. edwards' lawyers abruptly rested their case after little more tha 23 daz and without calling any marquee witnesses. seemingly confident they have punched enough holes in the prosecution's case to avoid a conviction. when edwards arrived today, his daughter was not with him. cate was willing to testify for her father, but the defense opted not to call her. >> if you put your daughter on the stand and you're not willing to take the stand, that sends a negative message to the jury. >> john road to fame through his skills of persuasion. decided to remain free rart than be cross-examined by
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prosecutors, but not testifying also carries risks. >> the gamble is that the jury would have expected john edwards to take the stand and look at them under oath and say i never thought i was committing a crime. >> less supplirprising, the decn not to call the woman at the center of the scandal, rielle hunter, who the defense worriyi would remind the jury of all they did not like about edwards. all the demolished credibility of edward young, revealing he pocketed most of the money the government claims went to hide hunter. edwards' defense is focused on the fine points of campaign finance law. and government alleged money used to hide hunter amounted to illegal contributions to edwards, which he denies zrb some see a big hole in the government's case. >> they have to show a willful violation. that's always been a challenge, and there's no evidence that
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edwards told anyone or even thought he was committing a crime. >> closing arguments are tomorrow, and the jury is expected to begin deliberations on friday to write what will be the final chapter in a devastating fall from grace. >> with us in the studios, our chief legal correspondent savannah guthrie. how likely was it really we were going to see on the stand either john edwards or his daughter cate or rielle hunter. >> cate edwards seemed like in the realm of possibility, edwards and hunter would have been a bigger problem. it would have risen and fallen on his credibility, and the defense made the calculation they would rather focus on the weakness in the prosecution's case, specifically andrew young. they want to argue he's the one
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with the credibility problems, who can't be believed, who admitting lying and taking most of the money. but i have to believe that the defense lawyers are sweating it, here they are taking a case to a jury, a case they could have gotten a plea agreement on, but they took a gamble. now it's going to a jury, anything can happen. >> a veteran trial lawyer at the sister of this decide to go to trial in the end. there are now medical reports out tonight that seem to tell two different stories of what happened on that night in sanford, florida, the night george zimmerman shot and killed travon martin. michael isikoff reports from sanford. >> florida teenager trayvon martin died from a single bullet wound to his chest. fired from a gun at intermediate range, according to an autopsy report prepared by a medical examiner and reviewed today by nbc news.
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there was one other fresh injury on martin's body, according to the report, an abrasion, no more than a quarter of an inch in size to his left ring finger below the knuckle. as for the man with whom he struggled that night and is now charged in his death, george zimmerman, he, too, suffered injuries, according to a separate medical report prepared by his family doctor the day after the shooting, saying he had a likely broken nose, black eyes, swelling, and scalp lacerations. these reports are only a small piece of a mountain of evidence about to be made public. up to 300 pages and 67 cds of witness statements, surveill ynls videos and other material. as the evidence dribbles out, it's raising as many questions about what happened that night as answers. >> they could use it to say that
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trayvon martin was the aggressor. that's he's the aggressor, they would say george zimmerman was defending himself. >> but a lawyer for trayvon martin's family said the injuries to zimmerman prove nothing because zimmerman started the confrontation in the first place. >> what we know from the depth of evidence is that george zimmerman got out of his car with a 9 millimeter gun and pursued a teenager, so he sa said -- >> dueling narratives are only likely to intensify. michael isikoff, nbc news, sanford, florida. >> a lot of the coverage of health news so far this week has been dominated by the story of a young woman from georgia with a flesh eating bacteria, and now a second woman, a new mother, has been diagnosed, our chief medical editor, dr. nancy
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snyderman has the latest on the case. >> last week, lana celebrated the birth of her twins, but 13 hours after leaving the hospital, she was rushed to greenville memorial hospital in south carolina. >> she just kept getting worse. >> unrelated to her pregnancy, she contracted a bacterium that causes a rare condition commonly known as flesh eating bacterial infection. no one knows how she got it. >> we continue to ask be to pray for her. >> amy copeland continues to fight the same infection. the graduate student suffered a large cut on her leg after a homemade zip line snapped and she fell into a wrifrb. she's still critical. surgeons have amputated one leg and may need to remove her fingers. this could be caused by several types of bacteria, but they have one thing in common, a deadly toxin that destroys the body's
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tissues. >> it has a highway, an aggressive highway it can zoom up and spread to the rest of the body. >> these flesh eating infections are rare, between 500 and 1,000 cases a year in the u.s., but they're dispropogztally lethal. to minimize your risk, as with any cut, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic. it f it becomes red, swollen, te tender, or more painful, head to the emergency room. >> infamation is a warning sign that it's deeper and needs to have a professional eye looking at it. these are domen bacteria with uncommon consequences, but a reminder if the pain is disproportionate to the wound, you head to the emergency room because the treatment, brian, is intravenous antibiotics and
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aggressive surgical treme to get the bad tissue removed. >> rare -- >> but pay attention. >> thank you, as always. crews are fighting to contain fires in arizona burning over 27 square miles including stubborn fires in the tanto national forest north of phoenix. they're gobbling up ponderosa pine and grub along the way. as the weather channel discovered, the smoke and viper visible from space is blowing up into what they call pyrocumulus clouds over arizona. almost 1,000 firefighters are in the fight on the ground and in the air. the shoe company sketchers said to it would pay $40 million to settle up charges that its tone-up sneakers do not do for your backside what was advertised by the likes of kim kardashian, who appeared in a super bowl ad for them. people who bought them will now
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be eligible for a refund as a result sgloorb still ahead as we continue tonight, good news in the fight against cancer. a 6-year-old's remarkable turnaround. how his story may offer new hope for others fighting for their lives as well wroorb. >> and later, what happened to the famous swallows that used to come home to cap astronna. tonight, the new push to get them back. what makes the sleep number store different? you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you wanted a firm bed you can lie on one of those. if you want a soft bed you can lie on one of those." we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. wow, that feels really good! once you experience it, there's no going back. at the sleep number memorial day sale, save 40% on our innovative sleep number silver edition bed-for a limited time. only at the sleep number store, where queen mattresses start at just $699. and then treats day after day... well, shoot, that's like checking on your burgers after they're burnt! [ male announcer ] treat your frequent heartburn by blocking the acid with prilosec otc.
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it's like, ah, it's part of me. it's me again. now that i'm retiring they all have plans for me. i'm excited. in additional heth news a moving success story about a rare childhood cancer that was hard to treat until doctors tried a medicine used for something else and found a cure.
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the story from our chief science correspondent robert bazell. >> zach is an active 6-year-old. but 18 months ago, he was struck with a rare form of lymphoma. the disease usually responds to a harsh chyme otherapy regime, but the cancer returned. >> he would sleep all day. he had a constant fever. >> his bicycle, leaning against the barn. i just thought, you know, he might never ride that bicycle again. >> doctors administered an even stronger combination of drugs, but they didn't work either. then suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope. doctors here at children's hospital of philadelphia realized his tumor had a genetic mutation and it was the target of a drug that was already on the market to treat lung cancer. that drug only helps about 10%
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of lung cancer patients. >> can i feel your tummy? >> this doctor and her team were usish it to treat another rare childhood cancer. they got funding to try it in eight lymphoma patients, including zach. three days into the treatment, a remarkable change. >> he ran down the hall to the play room. i stood there like, i can't believe this. >> all of the black, which represents the cancer cells, is completely gone. >> scans show the cancer had disappeared in 7 of the 8 children. the results may soon make life very different for children diagnosed with this form of lymphoma. >> we're now rapidly moving this up front so that we can provide this therapy for newly diagnosed patients with lymphoma. >> who may never have to have chemotherapy? >> that's a realistic possibility and our vision. >> doctors have been working toward gene-based personalized
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there was not a dry eye in the east room of the white house today. it's always the most emotional of white house sar nonis when the president awards the medal of honor. made even worse by the fact it was posthumously awarded to leslie sabal jr. who died fighting for his comrades in vietnam. the room was filled with current officers, fellow veterans from the 101st airborne and fellow
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med medal of honor recipients from the vietnam war. passengers are now able to use their cell phones to make and receive calls while aloft. it's just a few planes at first, thankfully there's limited band width so just a few passengers at a time can use their phones. and the service depends on your overseas carrier. you can just hear the sound of, can you hear me now? >> there's always a coffee study that justifies just about any behavior. according to the latest study, a big one published in the new england journal of medicine, coffee drinkers are likely to live longer. >> a couple of great videos getting heavy circulation on the web. sometimes as strong as dads are, they suffer heartache. that was the case when this dutch soccer player was crushed by defeat in the league finals.
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his daughter wearing his jersey, saw it as her job to comfort her dad on the field, who can now be ble relieved by the fact he's blessed by such a great daughter. >> cats are nutorially secretive, but this kind of unmasks their secrets for good. now we can see everything. framed, of course, by their whivers, trips inside the storm drain, climbing on the roof of the house, encountering a possum, and other animals, still little explanation for any of the behavior. we have posted boat videos tonight on our website. ubnext here this evening, no place like home, so will the legendary swallows really return to capistrano? [ male announcer ] this is lois. the day starts with arthritis pain... a load of new listings... and two pills. after a morning of walk-ups, it's back to more pain,
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one a day men's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. ♪ it has more of seven antioxidants to support cell health. that's one a day men's 50+ healthy advantage. phau sights are as spectacular as the return in unison of the famous swallows of san capistrano. a major attraction for visitors, but in recent years, the swallows haven't been returning,
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and there's a new push under way to lure them back. it's known as the jewel of california's missions, san juan capistrano, 200 years of mystery renowned for its beauty and fame of the swallow. >> a song in 1940 made their annual migration legendary. >> there are still some things we can count on. one is the wallows coming back. gr for decades, they arrived in the spring and then flew back to argentina in the fall. >> the swallows interswined with our story and our rel vngs in society. we want to make sure that people see the birds and see the mission. >> today, the swallows are gone. >> i can't even see them. >> the mission underwent renovations, preservation efforts statementalized the crumbling walls but nests had to be removed, and the birds stayed
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away. retrofitting was just one of the issues. the mention used to sit on wide open prairie land, but the preservation changed that. now, tucked beneath the bell tower, biologists are using the sound of love to lure them home. >> we're playing back the birds' courtship songs. >> biologist charles brown is leading the mission. he studied cliff swallows for 30 years and believes the swallows will migrate back to capistrano. >> it may not be this year or next year, but if we keep trying, they'll realize it's a good place to nest. >> there is progress. the swallows are closing in. nesting just a quarter mile from the mission. close enough to give the faithffaith ful hope, to remind them of a time when the presidents voyaged to capistrano.
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miguel almaguer, nbc news, san juan capistrano. >> and that's our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.

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