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Sinkhole Victim's Brother Upset Over Demolition; Stock Prices on Downturn; Casey Anthony Heads to Bankruptcy Court; Macy's and J.C. Penney Battle Over Martha Stewart; Jodi Arias Back in Court

Aired March 4, 2013 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's nice to have you here with us.

This is the most delicate demolition you will ever see. A big crane with a long reach brings down a house that covers a deadly sinkhole. Our live cameras are watching it as it unfolds. All the while, they are trying to salvage the contents of this home.

Also, Jodi Arias' lawyer tries to salvage a shaking defense after days and days of withering cross-examination.

And Martha Stewart is back in the legal suit over Penney's, the retail change that is, but the dollars that are at stake are simply huge.

And we begin this hour in the brittle earth just east of Tampa, Florida. That's where Jeff Bush slid to his death in a sinkhole that opened up directly under his bedroom last Thursday night. His body will stay where it is. The authorities say it is just simply too risky and dangerous to try to find and recover him. They are, however, taking great pains to recover some of the most cherished belongings of the family that lived in this house for 40 years.

Today, Jeremy Bush, Jeff's brother, is grateful, but also a little angry.


JEREMY BUSH, SINKHOLE VICTIM'S BROTHER: They said the ground is too unstable to do anything, but they got all of this heavy equipment on there, pulling stuff out and everybody is cheering for everything coming out of the house. I've had enough of the cheering over the stuff and the memories that's coming out of the house. Now, let's try and get my brother out. That's what I want.


BANFIELD: Jeremy Bush had followed his brother's screams and then jumped into the sinkhole trying to save him, but then needed to be rescued from it himself.

Our CNN's George Howell is live on the scene. He's watching as this house comes down, and it's painstaking. It's piece by piece. But, George, do we even see evidence of that sinkhole that's inside yet? GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, we do, and, you know, let me show you where. Right now you can see where the arm, the 80-foot arm of this track hoe is situated. Just a few minutes ago, we saw that arm go down, go down into what seemed to be the cavern. Maybe we'll see this here in a moment.

What they're doing is they're trying to make sure they prevent any new debris from going into that hole, so they send that arm down. They pick up any new debris. They bring it back. But, again, it was quite interesting, quite incredible, quite frankly. to see that arm go so far, and from what we know, it could be 50-feet deep. It could be 20- to-30 feet wide. It's a big, big, big cavern under there.

You see the foundation of this home still standing, Ashleigh, but the question is, what is that foundation standing on? Is there -- there's a concern that the foundation itself could collapse into the hole, so you do find, as you mentioned, a very delicate process to remove this debris, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: It's just hard to believe that they can't recover the body. How precarious is the earth? I'm thinking about the homes on either side of this home or even in the entire neighborhood. How bad is this?

HOWELL: Well, put it this way. There have been helicopters overhead and we learned just today there was a restriction for helicopters because they didn't want the helicopters to vibrate the ground. They were concerned that that could make the hole open even more.

So, the land we're looking at over here, they're even concerned about that track hoe where it is. It's a very delicate operation, and in some cases, they have crews tethered to make sure that nothing happens if that ground gives, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Unbelievable. George Howell, thanks and keep us posted on the progress they're making of taking that home apart. It's just really awful and just terribly sad for the family.

Stock prices headed in the wrong direction after the opening bell, this following China and Europe's lead.

I want to take you straight out to Alison Kosik who's at the New York Stock Exchange. Is this worries about global growth? Is this putting the talk of that record we were waiting -- I thought we'd hit it by today. Are we on hold?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I know. You'd think, right? So much for that Dow record, at least for the moment, Ashleigh.

You know, one trader puts it this way, telling me, you know what? The market's kind of tired at this point. You look at the movement higher that happened even last week. It wasn't really strong or robust.

Now, taking some of the wind out of the Dow's sails at this point is China. China announced it's putting the brakes on its overheating housing market. It's basically trying to keep a bubble from forming in its housing market as its prices continue to go up.

So what the government announced its doing is its instituting bigger restrictions on home buying and higher loan rates and that's essentially stifling growth in a country that happens to be our biggest trading partner that's been growing like crazy, helping the rest of us.

So, you know, those growth concerns, they are weighing on stocks today, Ashleigh. Those forced spending cuts, yeah, that's actually having an impact today. All of that finally had a chance to marinade over the weekend for investors.

You know, even though the stock market hasn't had much of a negative reaction to Washington's inaction, now, you're seeing a little bit of that happen on the screen, you know, seeing some of that red because the realization is hitting that, unless these cuts are reversed, you're probably going to see an impact on economic growth here in the U.S.

The Congressional Budget Office has come out at least a couple of times, saying if the cuts are in place all year, it will reduce economic growth here in the U.S. by more than a half a percent. And that's pretty hard because the economy, it's already barely growing. We got the number for the last three months of last year showing that growth, economic growth, was only .1 percent. That's barely positive.

So, you know, it's a big reason why it's taking a bite out of economic growth is that hundreds of thousands of workers, they're going to have to go on unpaid leave as well. Those furloughs are going to impact the economy and the job market which is already stagnating itself. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: All right, Alison Kosik, keeping a watch for us. I keep hearing this. There is nothing else, the "TINE" effect, and that's why the stocks are supposed to keep going up and up and up, but we'll watch that today. Alison, thank you.

So, we got some video for you. Well, well, well, look who's back? It is none other than Casey Anthony. Hard to make it out. Look at the swell of press, photographers, cameras around her. This is her arriving in court, but this time it's bankruptcy court. It is not a death penalty trial and this time it's in Tampa.

This just happened moments ago. It's her first public appearance since 2011. And, according to our affiliate, Central Florida News 13, she's claiming about a thousand dollars in assets and nearly $800,000 in liabilities. That's what you call a bad balance sheet.

The court papers list her as unemployed with no recent income. May I remind you that some of the highest bidding was said to be upwards of several million dollars for the first interview with Casey Anthony, but she hasn't given that big payout interview. Perhaps the bankruptcy proceedings might precede any big payout like that.

But there you go. That's the first sign of a woman who captured our attention two years ago during her death penalty trial. She was, of course, acquitted. Several of the other charges that she actually served time for were overturned and she's also been known as one of the most hated women in America.

There you go, bankruptcy proceeding and the throng of press continues to follow her.

As you saw not to long ago, the president naming three people to fill key positions in his administration, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz, nominated as Secretary of the Energy Department; Sylvia Burwell, picked to lead the Office of Management and Budget; and Gina McCarthy is the choice to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. All, of course, still face that Senate confirmation. Tough day. Sorry.

In New York, we have a story for you and it is really a tragic ending to something that took a lot of people by surprise this weekend, a horrible hit-and-run case, a baby boy delivered by C-section shortly after his father and mother were killed on their way to a hospital yesterday. They were in a taxi, but the taxi was broadsided by a speeding BMW.

Police, this morning, said, unfortunately, although the baby was delivered successfully by C-section, that baby has since died. Hundreds of people turned out yesterday for the funeral of the orthodox Jewish parents. The two people who were in the BMW fled the scene, and the investigation to find them continues today.

Fifty years after it was closed, Alcatraz has claimed another victim. An athlete from Texas died yesterday in what's called the "Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon." It's a mile-and-a-half swim followed by an 18- mile bike ride and eight-mile run. The organizers say the man, who was 46-years-old, apparently suffered a heart attack early on during the swim. It is believed to be the first death in the event's 33-year history.

The Queen admitted to a London hospital, but she didn't stay very long. We've got a live report on what the problem was and Queen Elizabeth's current condition. It's coming up, straight ahead.


BANFIELD: Former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman is back home and he's gushing about his new BFF. That's best friend forever.

And there he is, North Korea's youthful leader Kim Jong-un.

Rodman showed up in Pyongyang last week, courtside with him during an exhibiting basketball game.

And then Rodman said this -- and I quote -- "I love him. The guy is awesome."

Rodman returned to the U.S. and had an actual personal appeal from President Kim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: He want Obama to do one thing, call him.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOUS, ABC HOST: He wants a call from President Obama?

RODMAN: That's right. He told me that. He said, if you can, Dennis, I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war. He said that to me.

STEPHANOPOULOUS: Did you say why don't you pick up the phone and call President Obama?

RODMAN: No, you know, it's a different story. It's a different story because guess what? The kid is only 28-years-old, 28.


BANFIELD: Diplomacy can look all sorts of ways, can't it?

He was actually booked to be interviewed today by our own Wolf Blitzer, but Mr. Rodman has decided to cancel. There's been a lot of criticism over what he's been saying.

And, by the way, he just is the latest in a very long list of famous people whose celebrity has been used to give a veneer of legitimacy to naughty leaders, Charles Lindbergh and Adolph Hitler, in fact, for one, and the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Fidel Castro, and, more recently, Mariah Carey, Usher and Beyonce were all paid to perform for Moammar Gadhafi's son. Nelly Furtado was also paid to perform for Gadhafi's family, but she decided not to keep the money.

In Vatican City, right now, cardinals are gathering for their second meeting of the day. They are not choosing a pope, not yet anyway. Four days after Pope Benedict the XVI retired, the cardinals are discussing when to start their all-important conclave.

They can't escape scandal even now. Just yesterday, the only British cardinal admitted unspecified sexual misconduct and also asked for forgiveness. Keith O'Brien of Scotland already had resigned and had already declined to take part in this conclave.

The Vatican isn't commenting on any possible church investigation, but does say that Pope Benedict had been informed of Cardinal O'Brien's transgressions.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, all smiles now as she left a London hospital just a short time ago. She spent the night there for treatment of a stomach bug, and here's how she looks as she's leaving, pretty darn good if I do say so.

Buckingham Palace says the Queen, who's 86-years-old, by the way, is, quote, "in good health."

Max Foster is following the developments in London. You know, if I remember correctly, I think I heard one broadcaster over the weekend say that the queen hadn't been to the hospital in years and that her health has been terrific. So, how bad was it this time that she needed to be admitted overnight?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's one that you have to sort of read the ruins really on these sorts of things.

As you say, she hasn't been in the hospital for years, 10 years to be precise. Last time was for a knee operation. And also combined with this was the fact that she canceled a week's worth of engagements, including a very high-profile visit to Rome this week. She was really keen to do that.

She has canceled that and that's a really big deal for her because she doesn't like to let people down. She's very much about sticking to her public engagements and she did cancel a lot of them. She was meant to be in hospital for a couple of days and she left after one day, so that does sound positive.

We have this odd problem, though, with the statements that are coming out because they keep talking about her having the symptoms of gastroenteritis. They're not saying she actually had gastroenteritis. So we still don't know, Ashleigh, exactly what she had, but does seem, as you say, to look fit and well now.

BANFIELD: Yes, it's not going to get past royal watchers that there are two living heirs right now, immediate successors to the throne, and third one on the way, given some, you know, technical change-ups in the colonies. Is there any talk of the queen stepping down?

FOSTER: Well, there is talk of it, to be honest, and certainly stepping back because she is 86 years old and she's clearly suffering from what would be a minor illness for someone who was younger. She can't necessarily keep up with all of the engagements she's got.

The other issue she has, though, is she does absolutely dedicate herself to her public work and she wants to do as much as possible. You've got this other situation where the queen of the Netherlands has abdicated, handed over to her son, who she thinks is younger and fitter to do the job, and also the Pope even resigning, the first one in hundreds of years. So people are saying, actually, in modern times perhaps a British queen can step down as well. But I don't think she'll be entertaining the idea, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: And as a Canadian-born American, it's not just the commonwealth that watches -- I don't know what it is about the royal family, but it is a worldwide obsession. Max Foster. Thank you. Live for us in London.

Two giant retailers fighting to sell Martha Stewart's stuff. It is a multi-million dollar deal that centers on the word "exclusive".


BANFIELD: Fifty years after the civil rights movement began in Alabama, entertainer Bill Cosby says racist attitudes still persist. This morning on CNN's "STARTING POINT", he said education is a vital first step to change those attitudes. Have a listen.


BILL COSBY, ENTERTAINER: On our part, as professors, presidents of colleges all over, and in public schools, we need to get the education of the correct history that happens so that people can say, yes, this really did happen.


BANFIELD: Great seeing Bill Cosby.

Half a billion dollars, half a billion dollars -- all for Martha Stewart pots, pans, sheets and towels. I'm not kidding here. These numbers are incredible. Macy's Department store and J.C. Penney are really duking it out over who gets to sell all of Martha Stewart's treats.

This comes eight years to the day of these pictures, you might remember. This was when Martha Stewart left prison in Alderson, West Virginia, after she had been convicted to lying to investigators about selling stock.

CNN's business anchor Christine Romans joins us from New York. This is -- I just have to put it this way. Isn't there enough Martha to go around? I mean, really, they have to have two chains duking it out? She sells so much.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDNET: Well, I'm telling you Macy's says that Martha Stewart stabbed them in the back. Look, Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren has testified in this big case against Martha Stewart, saying, look, we have an exclusive agreement to carry Martha Stewart's Home Goods in the store, and then went behind our back and she signed a deal with J.C. Penney, our competitor.

We've already heard from Terry Lundgren on the stand. We're going to hear from Martha Stewart tomorrow.

Many observers say it's Macy's, really, that after Martha Stewart eight years ago to the day came out of prison, it was Macy's that said, look, you're going to be rehabilitated. Your brand is bigger than ex-convict. It is domestic diva Martha Stewart. And this has been a good seller for Macy's. And Martha Stewart went and did a deal, again, without telling Macy's, did another deal with J.C. Penney to sell her stuff at J.C. Penney stores as well and Macy's is saying nuh-uh, so she is back in court, this time a civil agreement about who can sell her wares.

BANFIELD: Do you think that you and I would ever a segment together on a corporate disagreement like this when it really all comes down to contract law? I mean, honestly.

ROMANS: If it weren't Martha Stewart? No.


ROMANS: She peddles perfection and her business dealings are very messy, and that's why the story is so interesting, right? I mean, here's someone who, her name and brand mean something -- to almost anyone who knows Martha Stewart, her brand is simple and clean. Good lines, right? And when you look at the business dealings between Macy's, J.C. Penney, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, it's not so simple, clean, bright colors --

BANFIELD: And stock investigators.

Hold that thought for a second, Christine. I want to bring in our legal panel since this is kind of like contract law. It's kind of cut and dry. Sunny Hostin and Randy Zelin, isn't it all about the contract? Sunny, let me start with you. Shouldn't it just state in black and white whether you can be exclusive or not?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No question about it. And the lawyers for Martha Stewart -- I mean, let's face it, she's got the best money that can buy -- they're saying that there's a loophole in contract, that someone just didn't, perhaps, do their job years ago when this first contract was entered into, and that there is an exclusion so that she can do this deal.

I mean, J.C. Penney bought about 70 percent of her company. This is a big deal to Martha Stewart, and I can't imagine that she went in it blind. This woman is a force to be reckoned with, she's smart and savvy business woman, and she's got the best lawyers.

BANFIELD: Yes, this couldn't have been an accidental deal. Randy Zelin, I just want to read a comment from Martha Stewart's company. And I'll read it verbatim. "This is a contractual dispute. The contract is written to allow MSLO," Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, "to sell a broad range of products in J.C. Penney with no restrictions whatsoever in a MSLO store inside J.C. Penney. Our objective is to bring our products to as many consumers as possible."

Randy, I'm going to ask you, I never notice it until someone says it -- sometimes there's a store within a store. You've seen the Verizon stores and is it about doing that, having a Martha Stewart store inside a store, which still guarantees the exclusivity to the other guy?

RANDY ZELIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's all about real estate, and real estate is not limited to real property. Real estate, it's all about getting the name out, being in the store, having the real estate within the store.

But let me tell you what nobody is really saying here. It's Martha Stewart and J.C. Penney both saying, you know what, we stand to make so much money -- ah, a litigation, maybe we lose, maybe we pay lots of fees in lawyers, but we're still going to be so far ahead of the game that it is well worth our while to litigate.

BANFIELD: I honestly was copy editing the billion thinking no, no, no, it couldn't be possibly be $500 million. It couldn't possibly be half a billion until I realized it totally is half a billion dollars worth of this deal.

Christine Romans, Sunny Hostin, Randy Zelin, thank you all. Appreciate that.

Jodi Arias, the woman accused of -- and there's no gentle way of putting this -- slaughtering her boyfriend, she's back in court today. Also back in court, another liar -- they're admitted liars, by the way -- Casey Anthony. That's right. That's Casey Anthony peeking out today from under the cover of her attorney. She's headed into bankruptcy court. What will this mean for her?


BANFIELD: After 13 grueling days of laying out her side of things and getting grilled by prosecutors, an accused murderer named Jodi Arias gets back onto the witness stand today.

So far she admitted to brutally killing her ex-boyfriend, but her excuse is I had to do it. It was self-defense. Yet is there anything that comes out of this woman's mouth that anyone can believe? She is a remarkable liar, admittedly. She's been telling us different stories about what happened in that Mesa apartment.

Version one, I wasn't there, didn't see it, didn't know anything about it. Version two, I see you have evidence against me. OK, I was there, but I was attacked in a home invasion. There were two people there and they were debating whether or not to kill me. I escaped with my life.

Well, we know none of that is true. She has told us none of it is true. But knowing that she is this master of deception, it's kind of interesting now to watch as she weaves her web of lies, especially to a reporter from CBS's "48 Hours". Truly, it's nothing short of Oscar- worthy. Have a look.


JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: They were both taller than me. They were covered, their hands had gloves. They had long-sleeved shirt on. They were in all black. He was wearing jeans, but they had ski masks on. I saw Travis was on the floor in his bathroom on all fours and as soon as this guy left, I just got up and charged her.


ARIAS: Yes. And she fell over him.

MAHER: Did she have a weapon?

ARIAS: She had a knife in her hand.

MAHER: Had he been stabbed?

ARIAS: I can only assume yes but I didn't see her stabbing him. He had some blood all over the floor and there was some just coming down on his arms, and I started pulling on Travis. And I said, "Come on." And he kept saying, "I can't." And finally he said, "I can't feel my legs."