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tv   Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield  CNN  December 25, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PST

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so why wouldn't i choose the fastest wifi? i would. switch to comcast business and get the fastest wifi with the most coverage. comcast business. built for business. terrible or hilarious? you get to decide and finally, sony's "the interview" is out in select theaters today, but it is also out on-line. but the christmas surprise that hackers warned about, is that still on the table? and speaking of surprises, a stunning announcement from the cdc, one of its technicians has possibly been exposed to the ebola virus. and whether you say happy holidays or merry christmas,
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don't worry, you shouldn't get in any legal trouble, but just in case, texas has passed a law, to make sure that you can use your greeting of cois without fear without any legal retribution. doesn't free speech cover that? come on, it's christmas. lay off, already. hello, everyone. welcome to. i'm ashleigh banfield. merry christmas, welcome to "legal view". wonderful to have you with us this morning. despite threats of violence and cyber attacks, despite almost all the major theater chains in america refusing to show it, sony's "the interview" is opening after all in about 300 theaters across the united states today and the film's star, seth rogen, and its producer, celebrated the film's release last night by surprisingly popping up at a midnight screening at a west hollywood, california, theater to thank their fans. >> we wanted to say thank you. if it wasn't for theaters like this and for people like you guys, this literally would not be happening right now.
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[ applause ] >> we really appreciate it. we hope you like the movie. >> just in the salty way you come to expect from seth rogen. the comedy premiered on-line yesterday available for download on youtube and google play store and xbox. the first time a major motion picture has ever been made available on-line before a theatrical release. rosa flores joins us live in front of a theater showing the film. i was watching you two hours ago as theater goers were coming to the box office and heading into the film. i'm guessing, since it's been two hours, they may have seen it and told you what they think. give me the story from there, rosa? >> you know, they actually just walked out of the theater moments ago. i'm actually here with mark who can gives us the skinny because we talked to mark before he walked into the theater and you paid $11, you were hoping for laughs, did you get what you paid for some. >> yes. i think i got what i paid for.
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it's a political satire it was funny and entertaining. >> now one of the big things is the controversy. you got this plot. you know, everybody was talking about it. people were scared. there were threats. by watching the movie, do you think that was blown out of proportion? was it just political satire, over the top comedy, or what did you think sp. >> it was political satire, over the top comedy, for sure. i mean, there was a real controversy because of the issues of pulling it out of theaters and threats of blowing up patrons, so there was certainly a controversy. but this was a goofy, political satire movie that is straightforwardly entertaining but it does -- it is certainly anti-north korea. i mean, it said bad things about north korea. and about their leader for sure. >> and you believe it was totally under free speech, so the controversy of just pulling this movie because of the actual
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plot of the movie was what? do you feel it was out of proportion or do you think after watching it, that maybe it shouldn't have been shown? >> i don't think the movie -- the movie itself is relevant to the issue of pulling it from the theaters. no matter what this movie was, whether it's bad or good, or over the top or not over the top, there's -- it was a really big mistake to pull it from the theaters because entertainment is entertainment and we should have the right to see it. >> mark, thank you so much. so ashleigh, you heard it. lots of laughs. we heard the same thing from other people that we just talked about. that's what they were hoping for at the end of the day because at the end of the day this is a comedy. so they got what they paid for, they got lots of laughs. >> and they're safe. it lookses like they made it in and out of the theater just fine despite threats. merry christmas. she's doing the job live for us in new york city. in the midst of this excitement about "the interview" being released it's important to
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remember the hacker group responsible for all of this, did do that, they did make terrifying threats, they promised, quote, 9/11 style attacks. if it was a joke, it wasn't funny. pamela brown reports the if fbi and local law enforcement are taking the security issues at these theaters seriously. >> the phones are ringing off the hook at the westin theater in washington, d.c. >> we're looking to add shows. so many people calling for tickets to see the controversial film "the interview." >> someone told me that you might have more tickets for "the interview" tomorrow. >> we're working on it. >> you are entering into the most dangerous country on earth. >> reporter: a flood of independent theaters across the country are stepping up to show the comedy about the assassination of north korean leader kim jong-un after major movie chains pulled out fearing retaliation from hackers. >> very simply it's intolerable
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that somebody can bully or use the threat or intimidation to keep people from expressing themselves artistically. >> reporter: just a few days ago, hackers sent an ominous message promising a present on christmas day if the movie is shown. >> you want us to kill the leader of north korea. >> yes. >> what? >> reporter: overnight the fbi sent their cyber task forces across the country a roster of more than 200 theaters screening the movie, speaking to theater owners about any potential threat from the same north korean hackers that the u.s. says attacked sony. >> the fbi understands that the north koreans are unpredictable. they've always been unpredictable. the fbi has to consider the possibility the north koreans would employ some sort of physical violence against these theaters. >> reporter: in the nation's call capital, westin theater waited for the film to be delivered. they've already talked with d.c. police. >> we're not taking any extraordinary steps.
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we are anticipating a smooth day. >> reporter: the movie is also now available online. >> it's an act of defiance by sony. after all, the hackers have said if you do release this movie, we're going to release more of your private, stolen information. >> reporter: a risk sony is willing to take as movie houses around the country get their christmas delivery of the film just in time. pamela brown, cnn, new york. "the interview" already seems to be an internet success. it's the top rental on youtube and google play. to discuss this i'm joined by cnn's senior media correspondent and host of "reliable sources" also working this christmas, brian stelts zer. i got this note saying all of the on-line streaming services had removed the view counts for "the interview" despite the fact that we can still see it's the top seller for youtube, google play and xbox, what's the story of removing the view count. >> i think in this case because
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"the interview" is paid, not free. you're on youtube, you can see a view count of any video at all that's free, but if it's paid, it's something different. it goes in a different bucket. that's why we can't see how many people are viewing it. sony has told me this morning they're not going to release any new data about how many people have rented or bought the movie because, you know, they want to keep that close to the vest for now. but we will get some box office information this weekend. i was just talking to the owner of a movie theater in virginia. he says people are already lined up for the 1:00 p.m. showing of the movie. it's not just new york where rosa is where people are eager to see it. there's 331 move owe theaters and some of them at least will have a big audience today. >> any problems in terms of the demand digitally? did anybody collapse by, you know, the volumes of people who tried to get that movie in their living rooms? >> it was shaky the at first and i think sony was expecting that. they announced the on-line streams just an hour before it came on-line. it worked pretty well on youtube, though, and after a few hours, sony's ceo michael linton
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sent a message to all 45,000 employees, it was a video that he sent out, and i thought for the first time after a month of being on the defensive he was starting to show some confidence. here's a bit of that video. >> this release represents our commitment to our filmmakers and free speech. while we couldn't have predicted the road this movie traveled to get to this moment, i am proud our fight was not for nothing and that cyber criminals were not able to silence us. >> ashleigh, i think this is the first good day sony has had in a month. this is the best christmas gift they could ever ask for. >> i got to ask, i'm not sure if you know this or anybody is going to know at this point if i want to download this movie or use my credit card to yodownloa it or go to a box office am i exposing myself to a hacking risk? if there's a terror threat for criminal violence, there's also the terror threat for hacking? >> experts say it is pretty safe. for one thing you're not dealing with sony directly. you're dealing with whoever
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you're renting the movie through. i represented it through microsoft's xbox last night. my credit card only went through microsoft. sony never touched it. same with google and youtube. google is one of the biggest companies on the planet. if anybody knows how to fend off these kinds of cyber attacks or hacking it's a company like google or microsoft. >> i'm looking above your head a little bug saying damascus, maryland, where you're coming from today. you're such a serious, smart journalist but i cannot let you go before pointing out the fact that you're doing your live shot from your mom's house. your mom's house. >> i amp. she's actually right here. we're about to open presents. she let me open one early so i could wear -- >> is that donna? >> that's me. >> hi, donna. merry christmas. thanks for letting us have your son on today. i'm sorry to interrupt your christmas. >> no problem. thank you. merry christmas to you all too. >> okay. >> i'm not going to ask you what you got, because i know that you've delayed your present opening. >> he's wearing it. >> what's that, donna?
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>> he's wearing one of his presents. >> sweater. okay. merry christmas to you and your household and i just love that you did your live shot from your mom's house. i hope she makes you meatloaf. >> watch the movie this weekend, it's not that bad. >> i may do that. i may do that. i'm looking forward to it. merry christmas. thanks for doing this. hi, donna. merry christmas to you. thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> adorable. i love christmas. so we've got another developing story that we're continuing to watch. and this one is very serious, but at the same time a little crazy. it's about ebola and as mishap at the cdc lab and a worker is being monitored because that person might have been exposed to a potentially deadly virus. how? how at a place like the cdc does that happen? got an update on that researcher coming up.
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dad,thank you mom for said this oftprotecting my future.you. thank you for being my hero and my dad.
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♪ i'll be home for christmas >> hi, this is sergeant first class webb. just wanted to give a shout out to all of my fellow members here at the 311. this will be my last christmas event with you guys.
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it's been an honor, it's been a pleasure, i'm going to miss each and every one of you. give a shout out to last section the g 6, family programs, to miss jennings upl, to everyone, who has helped me along the way. give a shout out to my families also, all the way in jacksonville, florida. i love where you guys and miss you guys. merry christmas. >> we appreciate their service more than ever at this time of year. back in the news, quite frankly it really never went away, the ebola virus. because today the centers for disease control certainly keeping a pretty close eye on one of their technicians. that technician may have been exposed to it. cdc saying it happened earlier this week, that the person in question is not sick, and not showing any symptoms, but the cdc says it's not going to take any chances. our joe johns has been following this story, watching the developments from washington. you know, it just defies logic, a place like the cdc, supposed to be sort of a at the helm of handling it making the same
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errors that have put so men in harm's way. how did it happen? >> that's true. this is going to be a long slog with ebola and human error is always going to be a factor. we're being told this is a very limited case. no risk to the general public. we don't know how serious this is because we don't know if anybody has gotten sick as a result of this accident. cdc says one of its technicians is going have to be monitored for three weeks after possibly being exposed to ebola at one of the agency's atlanta labs. apparently happened on monday, discovered on tuesday. cdc says a small amount of material from an experiment was mistakenly transferred from one lab to another lab, and it might have contained the ebola virus. the technician has no symptoms of illness. the cdc says others who entered the lab may have been contacted and have been contacted and are going to be assessed for possible exposure. so far only one person will need monitoring at this point. they don't believe anyone outside the lab could have been
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exposed, ashleigh. >> kind of a crummy christmas for that one person. >> yeah. >> that's for sure. quick question, because you and i had lengthy discussions back in june after workers were potentially exposed to anthrax because of an inactivation, a problem, they did transferring, they hadn't activated the virus. there had to be protocol changes put ins place to minimize human errors. different protocols or same thing, same mistake, shouldn't have been made twice? >> yeah. well they put them in place and the question is whether those protocols were followed. look back in june, really dozens of cdc workers potentially exposed to anthrax in that situation after a lab failed to inactivate the bacteria before transferring it to another lab and outside investigation ensued. the u.s. department of agriculture found dangerous biological materials stored in unlocked refrigerators, a general lack of lab workers following protocols. investigators said that anthrax
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was actually transferred in ziplock bags which aren't approved to carry that kind of material. the head of cdc acknowledged at a congressional hearing it was a kiss turning pattern. so yes, protocols are now in place. dr. tom frieden of cdc called that incident troubling and said the agency is taking all necessary measures and that's supposed to include destroying material, decontaminating and closing labs, letting the staff know about the incident and basically doing all the notifications they have to do in oversight, ashleigh. >> let's hope it works. merry christmas, john. thanks so much. >> to you too. >> reporting live from washington, d.c. before we move on from the story about ebola, i want to show you something this christmas day. it's a reminder many, many people are still sick and dieing from this disease. take a look at your screen. ♪ ♪ we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year ♪ >> this is an international red
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cross ebola hospital camp in sierra leone, one of the highest risk centers in the world for this disease. the health care workers spending this christmas day singing and dancing. many of them in full protective gear. they're trying to share a little bit of christmas joy with the people there, many of them who are children who are suffering with the ebola outbreak right now. by the way, the government of sierra leone made a very big announcement. it said that christmas parties and large holiday gatherings needed to be canceled this year as they try to stop spread of that deadly virus. it is uplifting to see those workers, again, "time" called them the person of the year, people fighting ebola. the obama administration is looking at a very serious move, making guantanamo bay a ghost town. little faster than first planned. why the president could be looking at accelerating the efforts to ship out those inmates next. the holiday season is here, which means it's time for the volkswagen
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the number of terror suspects who are still locked up at guantanamo bay, cuba, is
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about to go down again. and this time, by a lot. and, pretty darn quick too. that's according to a "washington post" report today that the white house wants to speed up the closure of that detention center. it's something president obama promised to do when he took office. just this month alone, ten gitmo prisoners were released and sent to their home countries or to a third country. barbara starr is live at the pentagon, also here, hln legal analyst joey jackson and dani savalless. barbara, all of a sudden why the speed? this is not -- it's not like president obama didn't say this several, many years ago, why all of a sudden right now? >> well, i think they see an opportunity right now, sources are telling us, maybe another five to ten detainees by the end of the year and five or six more in the early weeks of next year. president obama, as you say, ashleigh, continues to try and
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find a way to get the population down to the lowest possible numbers at guantanamo bay, trying to show that it is just too expensive to keep it open. he's got a lot of congressional opposition. but he really showed his hand in an interview with -- in an exclusive interview with our own candy crowley last week. have a listen to what the president had to say. >> will guantanamo bay prison be closed down by end of next year? >> i'm going to be doing everything i can to close it. >> it is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact that these folks are being held, contrary to our values and wildly expensive. we're spending millions for each individual there. we have drawn down the population there significantly. >> there's two problems with essentially who's going to be left. you have about 50, 55 detainees from yemen.
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they are cleared for release, but cannot be sent back to yemen. that country is so unsettled, al qaeda still very active there, nobody's going to send them back to yemen and make it easy for them to get back on the battlefield. you also have the very hard core al qaeda terrorists, the perpetrators of 9/11. the president believes those could go to a super max type facility, but he's got a lot of congressional opposition to shutting it down once and for all. >> not to mention the people who live near the super maxes because once they start to weigh in, that will also be a part of this. stay tuned for a moment, barbara. i want to bring our legal analysts in on this, joey and dani, one thing to say i want to close this sort of ugly prison because there's so much question about how to try all of those people who are in there, and it's another thing to go and ask other leaders around the world to take these people because their home countries are, perhaps, too dangerous to go back to. it's a third thing to say they may reoffend, they may be so angry after being locked up 13 years they want to go back to
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terror right away. what about at ones we can't release because they truly do have these connections, some of them accused of being like part of the 9/11 plot. they can't be tried, and they canned be released. that's not american. what do you do? >> it presents a very vexing problem and, you know, there are multiple problems here and you pretty much, you know, put -- line them up. of course the president speaks to the economic cost of this. millions of dollars. depending on who you listen to, it is $150 million or $500 million. the larger problem is this, in the convenient another country doesn't take them, then what do you do with these people? are they then going to be out there reoffending and be found on the battlefield as many have been found in previous times, and, you know, what exactly -- i understand the president's position completely on it, human rights abuses, our supreme court has said people there are entitled to constitutional rights but at the end of the day theres has to be a place to ensure that the united states of
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america is not put at jeopardy based upon people in that prison exposing our citizens to further risk. >> this is the problem. there's no trial process. i mean, there was this whole argument between the civilian justice system, what we would all face. >> the military system. >> the military tribunals which had questions and slightly and significantly in some circumstances different process. what are they going to do? >> everything about this legal neverland that we've created in guantanamo bay and with these military commissions, concerns people who like to think of the constitution as a pretty important document. it's true that when we're dealing with foreign nationals we have not applied the same standards that we would to our own citizens and that inequality offends our basic ideas of constitutional law. but on the other hand look the at it practically, there is one way to ensure these people don't reoffend and it's to keep them in custody for perpetuity. but that really concerns us from
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a constitutional standpoint. and we've been grappling with this problem and i think the president's approach has been, this creates more problems than it solves and we're trying to make guantanamo a thing of the past. not only does it cost a lot of money, but it really offend many views of due process. >> due process. >> even though it involves people that may be foreign nationals. >> 400 to $500 million a year is often quoted. this isn't american just to lock people up without trial. it's what we -- it's our foundation. >> it is. but then you have the other end of the spectrum, given the abuses they perpetrated on american soil. >> allegedly. here's the problem. allegedly. >> because of the due process. >> you got to find out, have evidence, not someone who set them up because they have tribal arguments over there all the time. he we could go on foreve but merry christmas. >> merry christmas. >> other work for you to do on
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this christmas gift. i'm going to take you to hawaii so you can be with the president on vacation. we'll check in with the president because folks, me may be on a golf course but he's at work. live to find out what the president is up to next. ♪ no matter who you are, if you have type 2 diabetes, you know it can be a struggle to keep your a1c down. so imagine ... what if there was a new class of medicine that works differently to lower blood sugar? imagine loving your numbers. introducing once-daily invokana®. it's the first of a new kind of prescription medicine that's used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
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so this season give something that means something. ♪ silent night holy night >> greetings i am jeanette berry stationed here in alaska. i would like to say happy holidays to my family in reno valley, california, my grandma rose in los angeles, california. happy holidays again. happy happy new year. i'll see you in 2015. >> merry christmas, sergeant berry. thank you for your service. by the way, "silent night" by
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diana ross does it get better on christmas? the president an his family are celebrating this christmas as they usually do like the rest of us. they went home. they went to barack obama's home in hawaii. and since cnn's michele kaczynski covers the white house for us coskin ki covers the white house she went to hawaii. hi, michele. we thought we would put you to work. you look like you're happy and rested. >> this isn't my home. >> what a beautiful scene behind you. get me up to speed. >> no complaints here. >> on the work that the president and actually mrs. obama, that the work they're doing while they're there? >> yeah. they're able to make this a real holiday for themselves. i mean, they're staying in a ke sequester clueded neighborhood. they -- secluded neighborhood. they rent a house here. they were able to bring sunny and bo along with their two daughters. we've been seeing the president mostly doing what he loves to do, golfing and more golfing
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including one time with the malaysian prime minister. that was something of a working golf outing because the press was able to get a little bit of video there of that because of that. we've also seen them go out to the beach which is on a military base so it's ultrasecluded. they went out bowling, hiking, and really getting away. the president, though, has had work to contend with and he has made a couple of statements on the sony hacking case. so it's not all fun and games. ashleigh? >> oh, well thank you for that. you know what, i want to take this opportunity if i can, michele, hope you'll indulge me, the president actually released a message with mrs. obama to the troops, it's heartfelt and lovely and cnn would love to play that if i could ask you to pause and have a look at the president. >> just a few days our combat mission in afghanistan will be over. our longest war will come to a responsible end. that gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect upon a all
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that these families ay s aries us. we're able to gather with our families and friends because our troops have stepped forward to service. we can come home because they're willing to leave their families and deploy. we can celebrate the holidays because they're willing to miss their own. >> it's always nice to hear that. michele, enjoy any free time you may have on that trip. it's nice to see you and merry christmas to you and your family. michele kosinski live in hawaii, looking gorgeous, i must say. this is "legal view" and it may be christmas but that doesn't mean we don't have our top countdown of legal stories. coming up after the break, law and justice, lined up. just right. back after this. ♪ ave maria
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few top stories we're watching for you at this hour on this christmas day. the united states military says a coalition fighter jet that went down in syria was not shot down by isis as that group has claimed. these pictures wept around the world yesterday published by the
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extremist group who says it did bring down the jordanian f-16 and took the pilot hostage but america's centcom says yes a plane went down, yes, evidence does show a pilot was taken hostage but it wasn't shot down. the pentagon supporting efforts to get that pilot back from isis safely. as many as 8 protesters were arrested in berkeley, missouri, last night. less than 24 hours after an 18-year-old named antonio martin was shot to death by a police officer. he had allegedly pointed a loaded pistol at the officer. police say protesters attempted to break into a nearby store, smashing windows and doors. several protesters were arrested after a christmas eve die-in, what they called it a die-in at a mall in beaver creek, ohio. nearly 100 people showed up to protest recent police shootings nationwide, many shouting "hands up don't shoot." in august police shot and killed an ohio man after he picked up a
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toy air gun at a walmart. and this was no way for any family to spend christmas eve. friends and relatives of the two police officers killed in brooklyn last weekend, came to the place where they died. that street corner is now a flower covered memorial to nypd officers, wenjian liu and raphael ramos. here at "legal view" our focus is stories about crime and justice and legal decisions that impact your life every day as well as the lives of others. this country is the country of laws and this year we had a lot, a lot to talk about. jean casarez did the work for us and looks at the top ten legal stories of 2014. >> reporter: at number 10, contamination in west virginia. a chemical called mch 9 leaks into the water supply affecting hundreds of thousands. >> i want to know he's going to grow up safe. >> reporter: at least one civil
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suit is settled. six former owe fushls from the chemical company where the leak started are charged in federal court. at number nine. >> the states are scrambling to find the drugs. >> reporter: drugs for lethal injections because they are made in the european union which recently banned their use for executions. prisps started using cocktails of drugs instead. four executions were botched including one that took two hours to finish. >> at a certain point you wonder if he was ever going to die. >> reporter: at number 8, the ray rice saga. the baltimore ravens' running back was charged with aggravated assault for hitting then fiancee janay palmer. the nfl suspended him for two games. >> i made the biggest mistake of my life. >> reporter: in august tmz released showing rice knocking palmer out cold. the nfl claims it never saw it. the league suspended rice indefinitely. and his contract with the ravens was terminated. in november, rice won an appeal and was reinstated to the nfl
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immediately, though he has no team. at number seven, the celebrity phone hacking scandal. oscar-winning actress jennifer lawrence was among several whose nude photos were hacked and shared. victims called it a flagrant violation of privacy. for its part, apple began looking into reports its popular icloud data storage system may have been compromised. the fbi is investigating. at number 6, hot car death in georgia. justin ross harris left his toddler cooper in his car while at work. it was a hot day. temperatures inside the car reached well over 100 degrees. cooper did not survive. a witness described the father's reaction. >> he was crying, he was hollering. >> reporter: investigators say harris visited websites about having a child-free life and how to survive in prisprison. harris was indicted but will not
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face the death penalty. he is awaiting trial. number five the search for university student hannah graham. >> please please help end this nightmare for all of us. >> reporter: the 18-year-old was spotted on surveillance video walking through charlottesville the night she disappeared. she is seen with a man walking behind her who police believe is jesse matthew. they arrested him in texas charging him in her disappearance. he has also been charged with attempted murder in another case. hannah graham's remains were found in october. every parent's worst nightmare. at number 4, the death of comedian joan rivers. >> i am 81 years old. i could die any second. >> reporter: rivers joked about her own death the night before shes when in for an endoscopy procedure at a new york city center in august. an investigation by the centers for medicare services showed physicians failed to identify deteriorating vital signs and
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provide timely intervention. rivers was on life support for several days before passing away on september 4th. no one has been charged in her death. number 3, 2014 is a monumental year for two big social issues. recreational marijuana became legal in colorado on new year's day. >> demand in a state we consider to be about 130 metric tons. >> reporter: pot became legal in washington state in july. this year, also had a number of safe legalized gay marriage. as shown on this map, 19 states green lighted after cases trickled through the court system. number 2. from loveable tv dad to alleged rapist the fall from grace for comedian bill cosby. decades old accusations unearthed by of all things a joke. >> i'll curse on stage.
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>> reporter: more than 20 women publicly accused the 77-year-old cosby of rape or sexual misconduct. >> the last thing i remember, i had blacked out. and cosby mounting me. >> reporter: cosby has never been charged with a sex crime. his camp has strongly denied the accusations. and the number 1 crime and justice story of 2014, simmering tension between the black community and law enforcement reaches a boil after michael brown and eric garner, two unarmed black men, are killed at the hands of white police officers. in july, a camera is rolling as 43-year-old grandfather eric garner is put in a chokehold by an nypd officer. he decided shortly afterwards. police say the chokehold officer daniel pant lay yo was not allowed by the department. a medical examiner ruled garner's death a homicide. one month after the garner incident, if ferguson, missouri, unarmed 18-year-old michael brown, was shot and killed by
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ferguson police officer darren wilson. police believe he was involved in a strong armed robbery before spotted by wilson. >> he put his hands into her. >> hands up don't shoot. >> reporter: two separate grand juries decided not to indict the police officers accused of killing darren wilson and eric garner. protests spring up around the country demanding change. police cars and businesses are burned. and just before christmas two nypd officers are gunned down sitting in their squad car. the shooter shoots himself leaving behind a trail with messages. their deaths raise questions about how we see each other and if our justice system is working. jean casarez, cnn, new york. >> and for more of the stories that jean was talking about, the top ten of 2014, logon to cnn.com. to, merry christmas,
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question mark? are you allowed to say that anymore or do you have to say happy holidays. you probably didn't think twice about wishing, could you have something happen to you? one state is actually codifying a way to prevent that. making a law too make sure that you can be merry. plus, gifts, christmas dinner and the christmas cookies, all signs that holiday season. but in his christmas message today, the pontiff reminded the world about the real reason for the christmas season. we're going to give you his tidings of peace an love and joy, coming up next. as we go to break, live pictures to bethlehem. the place of that lord's birth. ♪ hallelujah iabetes, you know it can be a struggle to keep your a1c down. so imagine ... what if there was
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hello, i'm senior airman jason, stationed in alaska. i'm excited to wish my mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law, my two awesome nephews and all my friends back home and washington, merry christmas, happy new year and love you and can't wait to see you again. >> thank you for your service.
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nice to hear those messages. pope francis used his christmas message to call for global tenderness. this is the second christmas season for francis as pope. he used his message to denounce what he called the brutal persecution suffered by christians and other religious and ethnic groups. cnn's senior vatican analyst john allen with more from vatican city. >> reporter: hi there, ashleigh. merry christmas to you first of all. pope francis today delivered his traditional christmas day message what's known as the urbi et orbi message to the city and the world, and it was clearly a somewhat somber and preoccupied pope about the state of the world we heard from today. he began by denouncing what he called a brutal persecution directed against the people of iraq and syria. he did not mention isis by name, but it was clear the reference was the rise of the islamic state. he called on the international community to mobilize so that the refugees in that part of the world could make it through a harsh winter. the pope became visibly
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emotional talking about the suffering of children around the world. he said far too many children are abused and exploited. he mentioned both victims of abortion and children caught up in conflict situations who are forcibly enrolled as child soldiers who were dying under bombardment, he said this year, there are so many tears at christmastime, that join the tear of the -- tears of the infant jesus. and he also condemned what he called the silent complicity of the globalization of indifference. at one level it was a sober wake-up call from the pope, but, of course, what's underneath all of this, is his call on the world not to treat these situations as immutable that can't be changed, but instead to get its act together and do something about them. that was the call to action and the call to peace that we heard from pope francis on christmas day 2014. ashleigh? >> john allen, thank you so much. merry christmas to you.
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am i actually allowed to say that? merry christmas? do i have to wish john happy holidays? this is a debate you have probably heard cropping up now and again over the proper season's greeting. it's been raging for years and you have probably never been concerned about being actually prosecuted for saying the wrong thing, but just in case, texas has a law on the books that allows people to give whatever greeting he or she wants without fear of being dragged into court, an actual law. the merry christmas law. you're welcome. joining me to talk about this, texas christmas law, cnn legal analyst danny savalless and joey jackson, wearing their christmas ties, looking spectacular. >> merry christmas! >> happy holidays, joey jackson, take it easy he, don't get carried away. >> we're getting carted off to jail. >> here's the thing. apparently in texas, a child came home and told his dad, look we had a holiday tree at school. well, dad was upset. it turns out that dad was also a
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legislature and so he passed a bill, got a bill passed, that essentially protects state employees like teachers at school, from any legal reprisal if they wish each students or each other merry christmas as opposed to happy holidays which is really already coextensive with constitutional law on the subject. the supreme court has already said that christmas can be secular. it has history, traditions in america, an we can -- state employees can discuss christmas without advancing or entangling themselves. >> the law is not necessary, but the legislature passed it anyway because when your son comes home and tells you anything you have to take steps against it and about it. >> but danny said discuss christmas. what about display christmas. meat where we see all those challenges that the courthouse shouldn't have had a nativity scene. >> all right. there's this clause, the first amendment, and usually we talk about it in the context of free speech, but guess what, ashleigh, there's also this
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thing called religion, freedom of religion. you have the establishment clause on the one hand and the free exercise clause on the other. and as a result of the establishment clause, we could establish any religion of our choosing. the state can't do it because the state can't sponsor religion. we have the free exercise clause where we're allowed to exercise whatever we want. the court says there cannot be a an excessive entanglement of religion and the state because the state cannot sponsor religion. so as long as everyone is allowed to practice their own religious beliefs, happy holidays, merry christmas, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, you include everything, then -- >> somebody call security. i heard that. get him out of here. get him out of here. >> as long as everything is included, ashleigh, we're all good. >> did you get straight as in law school? >> oh, goodness no. are you reading this off a card? you are so smart. the separation of church and state is this a simple way to boil down that very complex verbiage as yes, but it doesn't
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have to be a perfect separation. >> well, the supreme court hasn't really addressed seasons greetings like merry christmas. that much in the past. so in this case, it really is sort of a new area, but it's pretty what we already knew. you can wish people merry christmas if you're a school employee without fear of being sued. some legislature decided to make it official and protect them with a law on the books. it's one of those things where in my observation it feels like we've run out of problems. this was not an issue 30 years ago. we didn't worry about wishing people merry christmas or happy holidays. maybe it's a sign things have gotten so much better this what is we're focusing on in the holiday season. >> and danny wrote a great piece about this. >> particularly like the thing you said about your brother that 70-mile-per-hour snowball that's what he worried about. he didn't worry about merry christmas. you have to read it. >> cnn.com. the opinion piece is available there. i encourage it.
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a little piece of history. it's adorable. and you are both adorable for coming in with your christmas ties on. thank you. >> not nearly as adorable as you, ashleigh. >> keep it coming. >> merry christmas. >> merry christmas. >> i'm going to say it. merry christmas, i want to wish my family a merry christmas and the crew that all came in today, you can't even see them behind the scenes in atlanta they're awesome. wonderful to be with you. thank you for being with us. please stick around. our other awesome colleague brianna keilar is working too. merry christmas, everybody. bhch
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. hi, i'm brianna keilar in for wolf blitzer. wherever you're watching from around the world, merry christmas and thank you for joining us. right now, people all across the united states are packing in the theaters, observing that annual tradition of going to the movies on christmas day. but this year the tradition has an unprecedented twist. many moviegoers are defying hackers' threats an buying tickets for "the interview," the seth rogen/james franco comedy about an assassination plot against north korean leader

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