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Teen Girls on Trial for Threatening Tweets; Interview with Mike DeWine; Defense Psychologist, Arias Has PTSD; Iraq, Ten Years Later;
Aired March 19, 2013 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Carlos Diaz, thanks so much.
I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us today.
"CNN Newsroom" continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Thanks so much, Carol, and hi, everybody. It's good to have you with us today.
This is a case that caught fire on social media and, thus, we return to Steubenville, Ohio, where two teenage boys were convicted of rape on Sunday and where two teenage girls are now expected in court today after allegedly threatening the victim.
Yes, the suspects allegedly threatened the life of the victim of rape. It happened in a tweet, in a Facebook post that the sheriff read to our Poppy Harlow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF FRED ABDALLA, JEFFERSON COUNTY, OHIO: One says, you ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you, (INAUDIBLE) it's going to be a homicide.
I take this seriously.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Of course.
And the next?
ABDALLA: And the next is, I'll celebrate by beating the (INAUDIBLE) out of Jane Doe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Verbatim. To be clear, the first one was a tweet, and the 16-year-old girl who allegedly sent it is now facing an aggravated menacing charge, while the second was a Facebook post, and the 15- year-old girl who allegedly sent it is facing a menacing charge, aggravated menacing and menacing.
The sheriff says that he is now monitoring all social media for any other possible threats that might come or may be out there now.
Mike DeWine is the attorney general for the state of Ohio and joins us now live. Attorney general, after the verdict, you said that this is not an societal problem.
This is -- this is not a Steubenville problem; this is a societal problem, that too many people, and I'm going to quote you, "have a cavalier attitude about rape."
Apparently, some people did not quite get the message. What is going on in the state of Ohio? And, if you care to elaborate, across the country.
MIKE DEWINE, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, we had two individuals who clearly didn't get the message. They went up right after the verdict, or close in time after the verdict, and, you know, as you just reported, one threatened the life of the victim. The other threatened to do bodily harm to the victim.
And you know, we have the First Amendment. People are allowed to be obnoxious and they're allowed to say crazy things. That's fine, but they can't, under Ohio law, threaten to kill someone, and we had to take action.
BANFIELD: It even goes further than that. It's just so dreadfully obvious to most people who are watching right now that you just don't do this. You just can't do this. It's morally wrong. It's reprehensible. It's illegal.
And we thought we had a teaching moment yesterday when we saw the process. We watched it all unravel throughout the last two days.
Is this really the state of the union among kids today, or is this an aberration, what these two girls allegedly have done?
DEWINE: Well, you know, my wife and I have eight children. We have now 19 grandchildren. I don't know that this is -- you know, certainly, it's not where every young person is today. We know better than that.
But I do think, and what I said Sunday is, this -- if we think this is a Steubenville, Ohio, problem, we're wrong.
Rapes like this, very similar to this, that arose out of the social setting, occur every Friday night, Saturday night, and other days of the week, not just in Steubenville, but across this country.
And we do have this cavalier attitude among some people, and some young people, about rape.
You had a situation where, you know, some of the people involved and some of the people who witnessed this didn't even think what they saw was rape.
Oh, I thought -- one quote was, one of the witnesses, oh, I thought, you know, it had to be violence. Well, this violated this young lady.
And I think that the other thing that is so disturbing, we talk about the social media, this is a victim who was violated, was raped, has had to go through the process, but she continues to be victimized in the social media, time after time after time, and as recently as Sunday afternoon after the verdict.
BANFIELD: This is where I'm going. This is my concern. This is why I had to have you on again today.
I've heard you implore people to not be like this, for children to not behave like this, to not treat sex like it just doesn't matter, and to not treat people and young people like they just don't matter.
And yet, when I looked at some of the statistics on the 13 cell phones that the police were looking at, I was astounded to see that just 13 cell phones yielded 396,270 text messages, 308,586 photos, and 940 videos.
This is not to say that the entire mass of what you're seeing on your screen had to do with this case, but the social media is so unbelievable to so many people, young and old.
I'm wondering if the tooth paste is out of the tube when it comes to how cavalier these young people are behaving and what they're doing and what they're saying, or if we need to legislate, which is where you come in, or if we just need to implore parents to work harder, or all of the above?
DEWINE: Well, maybe a little bit of all of the above. I'm not sure it's additional legislation. We have a lot of laws on the books.
I think it gets back to parents, the responsibility we all have, as parents, the responsibility we have to teach our kids common decency.
You know, you talk about the texting. You know, kids text a lot today. It's phenomenal.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with that. I mean, it's a little distracting. I find it, personally distracting when kids are constantly texting, but they can be texting something that is just benign and just fine.
BANFIELD: Of course, notwithstanding. Notwithstanding.
But we know the bullying. We know the attitudes. We know the cruelty that now goes on, the verbal cruelty that goes on among social media.
DEWINE: Yeah, look, I think what we have with the social media and the digital media, and all the telecommunications we have today is a big megaphone, amplification.
We see it -- I see it in my office on consumer fraud. Somebody used to be able to commit consumer fraud and they would do it in their own neighborhood or their own town.
Now, they can rip off people in 45 states because they go up on the Internet.
BANFIELD: Do we need to make an example of these two young girls? I want to get back to this case in particular. It's just so distressing. Do we need to make an example of these two girls, who at this point are alleged to have sent out these extraordinary threats to this young rape victim?
Is this another teachable moment? Can you make it even more so?
DEWINE: I think the teachable moment was when they were arrested yesterday. I mean, I think that sends a message, and the sheriff was very eloquent, as you just quoted him, and showed him.
You know, people who want to continue to victimize this victim, to threaten her, we are going to deal with them, and we're going to go after them, and we don't ware whether they're juveniles or whether they're adults. You know, enough is enough.
We've had enough of this, and people need to put it behind them. They need to move on.
They can have their own thoughts, their own beliefs, but they cannot threaten this victim, who has been victimized time and time again. We're not going to tolerate it.
BANFIELD: I sure hope we're at the end of this and I fear we are nowhere near close the end of it, and certainly with a grand jury convening, I know we're not at the end.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, thank you. I know this was a very last-minute request and you were able to fulfill it for us. I do appreciate you time, sir. Thank you.
DEWINE: Thank you.
BANFIELD: I want to share with our viewers now a statement, a brand- new statement that comes from the victim's mom in the Steubenville case and it came to us last night.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEUBENVILLE RAPE VICTIM'S MOTHER: My family and I are hopeful that we can put this horrible ordeal behind us. We need and deserve to focus on our daughter's future. We hope that from this something good can arise.
I feel I have an opportunity to bring an awareness to others, possibly change the mentality of a youth or help a parent to have more of an awareness to where their children are and what they are doing.
The adults need to take responsibility and guide these children. I ask every person listening, what if this was your daughter, your sister, or your friend?
We need to stress the importance of helping those in need and to stand up for what is right. We all have that option to choose. This is the start of a new beginning for my daughter. I ask that you all continue to pray for her and all victims, and please respect our privacy as we help our family to heal. Thank you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BANFIELD: I know yesterday, when we covered this story at length, we talked about this case as potentially a teaching moment. We just talked about it as a teaching moment with the attorney general of Ohio.
One of our guests yesterday said, essentially, don't hold your breath, and it was very sad to hear that.
So I had to have her back, considering it sounds like she was right. Kathy Redmond is the founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes. She herself became an advocate after being a rape victim.
And Lisa Bloom is an legal analyst from Avvo.com.
Kathy, I was so upset when I heard you say, don't expect this is going to be the moment that changes everything.
And then along came the tweet and the Facebook posts last night and I thought of you immediately. You were right.
KATHY REDMOND, FOUNDER, NATIOINAL COALITION AGAINST VIOLENT ATHLETES: I didn't want to be, but I've been doing this for such a long time, and I see these patterns repeat over and over and over.
And when you add the social media, you've really added a very toxic combination of the messages that girls get, the messages that boys get, lack of parental involvement.
Add social media to the mix and kids that don't have a filter, you'll get this. And that message that these girls sent went to so many other rape victims.
And it also went to so many other possible predators who would prey on those rape victims.
BANFIELD: Lisa Bloom, jump in here, if you will.
I just asked the attorney general, is it potentially another teaching moment, I say with trepidation, considering, having gone through this just 24 hours ago.
These are serious charges. Aggravated menacing and menacing are not to sneeze at, but what does it mean for juveniles?
LISA BLOOM: Well, imagine how tough it was for this rape victim to come forward, knowing that girls in her school are going to drag her down, testify against her at the trial, as they did, calling her a liar, and now threatening her life. I applaud her courage in taking the stand for six hours.
But Ashleigh, it's a mixed bag because the reason why this case was prosecuted was because of the groundswell on social media.
And when we talk about social media, we're talking about girls and women, ordinary girls and women, who took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and demanded this prosecution happen.
It did happen, demanded that law enforcement prosecute this case. They did prosecute this case. And we got a guilty verdict.
So. I applaud women across this country who stood up for this girl who could not speak for herself at the time she was being raped, and objected loudly to what happened.
I think there's a lot of progress going on in this country on women's rights, and specifically on rape and sexual assault.
BANFIELD: So, Kathy, you have been through this. What's out there for the victim once the courtroom doors close?
I mean, we've heard the threats. Does she have any protections? Does the state look at her? Does someone make sure that someone doesn't act on these threats?
REDMOND: No. No, the victim is out there really on her own and by herself.
And we see with social media, of course, we just heard the positives, but we see some of the negatives. That is that kids are on social media all the time. They don't have a filter. They're throwing out these messages. They're constantly throwing out threats. And there really is no protection for victims.
And I'm very appreciative for Mike DeWine for the work that he's done to make examples of these people because that's so important.
But it's important that I can troll Twitter all the time and look at athletes, high school athletes who are being heavily recruited, look at their Twitter posts, and it's got some of the craziest messages that I've ever seen.
And if they don't think that those colleges are watching what they're posting, that they're watching what current athletes are posting, that professional organizations aren't watching that, they all are.
And this is where prosecutors are getting leads for sexual assaults. That whole vacuum, that whole area is where -- an area that we haven't been before, when it comes to sexual assaults, but an area that teens are so into and so on right now, that there is no filter.
But, of course, again, those unhealthy, toxic messages are out there, and they're getting to the girls and the boys, and these are the things that contribute to that rape culture.
BLOOM: Sorry. And it's also a parenting, Ashleigh, as you say. And I wrote a couple books about this, one called "Swagger."
It's very important for parents to monitor kids' social media. It's our responsibility, until they're 18-years-old, to monitor what they're saying on Facebook, Twitter, elsewhere.
And guess what? If they're not saying appropriate things, we as parents have the right to take down their access to online social media. In fact, I would say it's our responsibility because they can be criminally prosecuted, as these two girls are.
So, parents, please, you have the right to the user name and password of every website your kids go on. Prosecutors don't have that right, but we as parents have that right, and I think that's our responsibility in the digital age.
BANFIELD: It starts -- without question, it starts in the home. And, Kathy, I hope I don't see you again, but I fear I'm going to see you again because, as we said, we've got another grand jury coming. Kathy Redmond, thank you.
And Lisa Bloom, I'm going to see you again in just a couple of moments, if you could stand by for just a moment.
I want to check some other top stories. With the official start of spring just a day away, take a look at your screen. That's winter not going out like a lamb, at least not in New England and parts of the Midwest.
We had some pretty heavy snowfall and that triggered a lot of snow -- school closings because of snow from Massachusetts to Maine.
That storm is also causing huge flight delays in the New York City area and that's a domino effect.
Up to 12 inches of snow is forecast for New England through Wednesday morning.
The bells of Buenos Aires, peeling for a native son turned pope, a lovely sound. And just a few hours earlier, six days after his election, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio -- my best effort, folks -- he was formally installed as Pope Francis -- much easier -- leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
And you can see him receiving his papal ring, which is, by the way, secondhand and not solid gold, in keeping with the pope's already famous disdain for worldly trappings.
There's another big departure from the customs of his predecessor. Pope Francis greeted his flock from an open-topped SUV, kissing babies. You can't kiss babies through bulletproof glass, so this is what he decided.
And in his homily, the pope held up St. Joseph, whose feast day is today, as the model of a loving and faithful protector of God's creations.
President Obama is preparing for his first presidential trip to Israel and he's leaving this evening, expected to talk with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Middle East peace, Syria, Iran. It's a pretty thick list. The president is also going to stop in the West Bank and Jordan.
Jodi Arias has a pretty good memory when it comes to her sex life with her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander, and pretty graphic detail, in fact. However, she can't remember some very, very important facts, like the number of times that she stabbed him, slashed his throat, shooting him in the face, when it happened, how it happened, exactly. A psychologist for the defense explains why this memory seems, at least seems, conveniently foggy.
BANFIELD: Now to phoenix, where Jodi Arias' defense is trying to convince a jury that she just cannot remember all the details of the killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. The defense psychologist returns to the stand in just two hours. No one is denying that she shot him and that she stabbed him, 29 times, in fact, when you include the defensive wounds, but she says her memory of that night is foggy.
What she does remember, however, some extraordinarily explicit details of their sex life and that he threatened her, she says. Our Jean Casarez, correspondent for "In Session" on TruTV, has been in the courtroom, watching all of this unfold. And also with me, Lisa Bloom is back, legal analyst for Avvo.com, and Emmy-nominated TV judge, Glenda Hatchett, who is a former juvenile court judge.
Let me begin with you, Jean. This is an expert who spoke with Jodi Arias and to whom Jodi Arias also lied, which I find really, really tough to digest. If that's the fact, then is his opinion in this case relevant when he himself has been lied to by the defendant?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION," TRUTV: You know, Ashleigh, that is the whole point. You and I have seen so many expert witnesses take the stand, and when they are cross-examined, the whole point is to impeach them so their opinion is not valued by the jury. And the ultimate opinion of this witness, this forensic psychologist, is that Jodi Arias suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He looked at a number of things, but he administered the standardized test that you administer to determine if someone is afflicted by this. And as a question on that, if you have been assaulted by strangers, she answered yes, and her answer was, because intruders came to Travis' home and assaulted her. That's a lie.
BANFIELD: Oh, boy.
CASAREZ: And he realized that was a lie later on, and he had to admit, you know, maybe I should have re-administered that test. So his ultimate opinion, Ashleigh, of post-traumatic stress disorder, was absolutely invalidated in the minds of many, because of that lie on that critical test.
BANFIELD: There's been so much lying, inside and outside of this courtroom, it seems, that there seems to be also a lot of frustration. Some have reported that the looks on the jurors' faces have been frustrated, others have been clearly frustrated in the gallery, and it turns out there was frustration for the judge also, because yesterday, the prosecutor had to be reprimanded, stop yelling at the witness.
Judge Hatchett, that's not good. If you're a prosecutor, if you're a defense attorney, if you're trying to plead your case, you can't yell.
GLENDA HATCHETT, EMMY NOMINATED TC JUDGE: No, you can't yell. You cannot yell. I realize that he's passionate, but there is a line, Ashleigh, and we all know that, that you get to the point where it becomes counterproductive. The jury may start believing that he's bullying the witnesses. I mean, he's got to really scale that back. I mean, I understand that he's got to be aggressive and I thought he did a great job in this cross-examination of this witness yesterday. I mean, he tore him apart. But you've got to tone down the yelling. That's just not appropriate.
BANFIELD: Lisa Bloom, here's one of the reasons I love you so much. You have done so much work in domestic violence, and then you come into this courtroom and you look at this witness and I don't want you to have to read the tea leaves on this case, but knowing what you know about how victims of domestic violence can get foggy memories and lie, do you believe Jodi Arias in her 18 days of testimony?
LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVVO.COM: No, I don't believe anything that she says. I wrote a blog post about this on Avvo.com. This is an insult to true victims of domestic violence, who have fought so long and so hard to get some recognition. She's lied about so many things. And by the way, I'm a pretty aggressive person in the courtroom. I've been admonished by judges to tone it down. I would never want to be admonished by Judge Hatchett, that's for sure, but it does happen. And tempers are fraying (ph), this case has been going on since January. I think this prosecutor is doing an magnificent job and one little admonition from the judge is probably not going to make that much of a difference.
BANFIELD: I've been thinking all along, every single time I cover a death penalty case, especially when a woman is involved, and there aren't that many, the first thing I think to myself is, it's just not going to happen. They're not going to look at that woman and condemn her to death. And personally, I'm not so sure this time around. I have ten seconds for both of you, starting with you, Judge Hatchett, do you think they can do it this time?
HATCHETT: I think they can do it this time. And let's remember that this prosecutor has someone on death row who's a woman. There are only three women in Arizona who's on death row and he prosecuted one of those cases.
BANFIELD: Lisa Bloom, what do you think?
BLOOM: Ten men on the jury. I think it is possible. This is a death- qualified jury. They have all sworn oaths they could do it if the facts were there.
BANFIELD: I'm going to throw this out there, and maybe I'll eat my words, but I think this will be a short deliberation. I have been wrong on the many times before - Casey Anthone O.J. Simpson. Jean Casarez, thank you. Lisa Bloom and Judge Hatchett they're going to rejoin me a little bit later on in this hour. And remember you can watch the entire trial today, we have it live on CNN.com and HLN as well.
Thousands of American men and women who fought in operation Iraqi Freedom lost their lives or came home forever changed. It's been ten years since that war began. Three soldier's stories. You will not believe their change.
BANFIELD: Seven marines were killed during a training exercise in Nevada. Several others were also injured at the Hawthorne Army Depot. There are very few details coming out of the base other than there was a traffic accident associated with these deaths and that the exact cause is still under investigation.
That depot is a high desert training facility for the military.
There's been another arrest in Pakistan, connected to the killing of American journalist, Daniel Pearl. You might remember that Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded on the internet, the tape passed around by militants back in 2002. Pakistani officials arrested a man this week who they believe facilitated that kidnapping. So far, one man has been sentenced to death in the Pearl case. Three others are serving life sentences.
Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush went on national television to announce the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He unleashed the extraordinary force known as shock and awe. Remember this? Massive air bombardment of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Ten years later, Saddam is now dead, but Iraqis are still being killed. The targets of political and sectarian bloodletting, at least 48 people killed just today in a wave of bombings across that country.
Here are the stats. The war killed 4,488 Americans, a much greater toll for the Iraqis. More than 134,000 killed. The war has cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Of course, the question that always goes along with that, was it worth it? The latest Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans, 53 percent, say sending U.S. troops to fight in Iraq was a mistake. Forty-two percent agree with the decision to send our troops. CNN's Martin Savidge was in the front lines of the invasion. He was traveling with the Marines and he recently caught up with some of these he met way back when.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole!
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you're embedded, you get close to war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting hot. Let's go!
SAVIDGE: You also get close to the war fighters. I was with the first battalion 7th Marines. And ten years later, I'm out to find the men of Cat Team Red. The last time I saw Tony Riddle, he was leading a team of Marines and too young to buy a beer. Now he's 31 and out of the corps. His home is decorated with war mementos, including commendations for valor.
I think remember this event. It stands out, because I could have gotten killed in that ambush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go!
SAVIDGE: We have better memories. His daughter, Taylor, was born while we were in Iraq. Now she's nearly 10. But Tony's marriage was a casualty of war. And relationships since haven't fared much better.
TONY RIDDLE, U.S. MARINE CORPS, RETIRED: The same Tony that went over there didn't return, at all.
SAVIDGE: He struggles with PSTD, and is still bothered by memories like the two Iraqi girls killed by an artillery strike Tony called in.