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Confusion About Miranda Rights; What One Bomb Can Do; Bombing Suspect's Mother Speaks Out; Ricin Suspect Released From Custody; DHS Secretary says the System Pinged Suspects Travel.
Aired April 23, 2013 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm please to be joined by retired Superior Court Judge Isaac Borenstein in Boston. He's done hospital visits over his 22 year career as a judge.
ISAAC BORENSTEIN, RETIRED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: My pleasure.
CUOMO: Let us begin with the idea, confusion and frustration about Miranda rights. Give them right away. If you don't give them, then this prosecution is astray. What is the basic understanding of leeway with Mirandizing a suspect?
BORENSTEIN: Any suspect, including the suspect in this case, is entitled to Miranda rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the right against self-incrimination. Everybody is, who in is custody and integrated by law enforcement. The legal process -- contrary to what newspapers said today, the legal process began yesterday. The legal process began when he was take noon custody. Because there is a constitutional right against self- incrimination, and Miranda is a part of that, if being interrogated by law enforcement. The failure to use Miranda, assuming it was not used, and it should have been, means statements are subject to being excluded from use in court.
BORENSTEIN: There are exceptions to Miranda. You've heard the famous one, the public safety exception that might apply.
CUOMO: A window of 48 hours. Obviously --
BORENSTEIN: There's no time.
CUOMO: Doesn't have to be?
BORENSTEIN: No case from the Supreme Court of the United States that has set a time period for that. There's one case, New York versus Quarrels where the statement made by the defendant without Miranda was almost immediately after his arrest about a gun that he had just discarded.
BORENSTEIN: That's the only case the Supreme Court has decided on.
CUOMO: There's leeway. There is obviously in this situation, there were -- they don't know everything they could know about who went into the planning, was it coordinated, why did it happen? The idea that, they didn't give him Miranda, none of this is worth anything is naive, right?
BORENSTEIN: I don't know if it's naive. It's a good question to ask. But it's not the whole story. There are very important things going on, including, even if you're not going to use statements against him in court --
CUOMO: That's the point. You don't have to use it in court to be important.
BORENSTEIN: No. Because there may be bombs out there not detonated that place the public in danger. It may be weapons out there. There may be co-conspirators out there. Who knows?
CUOMO: When you hear he had not been Mirandized that doesn't mean it's gone afoul, that this prosecution is astray. This is not unusual given the circumstances.
BORENSTEIN: It's one very important piece of a number of other important pieces. Don't forget the other issue, involuntariness of statements under the 14th Amendment as opposed to Miranda under the Fifth. Whatever statements this man made when he made them, Sunday, let's say, was he in a condition to make them, were they voluntary, freely given, or coerced either because his physical or mental condition was such? That's another thing that's not getting a lot of play in the press is there's a separate set of rights that he has, which is that no one is subject to involuntary statements being made by them.
CUOMO: So, what you understand from what you've read, your experience, nothing's been done wrong here. This is not an unusual type of questioning of somebody that, before Miranda, you're asking him about things that surrounded a bombing?
BORENSTEIN: It's part and parcel of an important process of law enforcement to question suspects.
CUOMO: Now, what is your gut on, he's a U.S. citizen or combatant, right? You could go either way. He's going to be charged as a citizen. How meaningful a distinction is this?
BORENSTEIN: It could be meaningful but that's moot because the administration said we're not going to treat him as enemy combatant. He's going to be treated like any other U.S. citizen.
CUOMO: How does that change the game?
BORENSTEIN: Well, now the process that anybody would be subject to, the criminal justice process. He has lawyers that are very good lawyers. They're very good prosecutors. He got a fair judge who went to the hospital room yesterday and dealt with issues of detention, his first appearance. He gets hopefully the best that the criminal justice system can offer to somebody fairly and impartially.
CUOMO: Do you see this as a reflection of things being done the best for him? This is in his best interest as opposed to the alternative?
BORENSTEIN: I don't know enough but it appears every effort is being made, and was yesterday, to be as fair and impartial with him as one could be. Judge Bowler's a very good judge. So she was very careful in what she did.
CUOMO: Your Honor, thank you very much for being with us.
BORENSTEIN: My pleasure.
CUOMO: Appreciate it very much.
Again, thank you very much for being with us.
We'll take a break. When we come back, three people killed, more than 260 others wounded. And all that's left of the bombs, melted, shrunken piece of a pressure cooker. We'll look at one little bomb can do and how experts are using it to educate and protect innocent people, when we come back.
CUOMO: Welcome back. Building of pressure cooker bomb like ones used in Boston is easy and cheap. Literally, all it takes Internet access and less than 100 bucks. This is just a matter of fact. The bigger fact is the explosion they can cause are very serious, just like the one you just saw. Learning how isn't the point of the next story. That's something you have to understand. CNN commissioned bomb experts at a testing facility in New Mexico to build and detonate a pressure cook bomb. The point, to learn more about what these bombs do, perhaps how to prevent them from doing so much harm.
Here is CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this remote desert testing ground, experts from New Mexico, techs replicate and explode bombs used by terrorists. On this day, a sense of urgency.
(on camera): After Boston, what are you worried about? Could this be the future of domestic terrorism?
VAN ROMERO, NEW MEXICO TECH: Well, you always worried about copycats, more and more people going to be using this?
MATTINGLY (voice-over): This is a pressure cooker bomb, similar to the bombs in Boston, and we're about to set it off.
(on camera): Going to do a countdown? MATTINGLY (voice-over): In the wrong hands, we already know how deadly the bomb can be and we're not taking any chances.
(on camera): For safety reasons we've had to retreat to this mountaintop here. We are now over a quarter of a mile away from where we left that pressure cooker.
(voice-over): But that's still not far enough to avoid flying shrapnel. So we're watching from inside a bunker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three, two, one.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Wow. That white smoke looks like what we saw in Boston.
MATTINGLY: I could feel it all the way up here.
ROMERO: The shockwave will travel all the way.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): But down below, is the real shock.
(on camera): At this point, we're looking for fragments.
(voice-over): One bomb turned into thousands of weapons, scattered more than 100 yards.
This was part of the pressure cooker, now mangled and razor-sharp.
(on camera): No wonder so many people got hurt.
(voice-over): Instead of nails, we filled the pot with nuts from a hardware store. Shot out like bullets, they pierced plywood, some melted from the heat.
(on camera): Look at the back of it. How fast were these things moving when they went out of there?
ROMERO: They can travel 1,000, 2,000 feet a second.
MATTINGLY: A second. Faster than sound.
ROMERO: Right. They'll move faster than the speed of sound. These will get in front of the shockwave and hit you before the pressure wave does.
MATTINGLY: You're hit before you hear it?
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Here's what the blast looks like using a high-speed camera.
(EXPLOSION) MATTINGLY: An intense ball of fire less than 20 feet across. But watch the white rings in the desert floor. That's the shockwave. Engineers studying this blast say there's a lesson in here for first responders.
(on camera): Let's say I'm a first responder. What do I need to be aware of when I come up on a scene like this?
ROMERO: A lot of shrapnel around. It's hot, sharp. You could easily cut yourself. There could be unexploded ordinance, parts of the bomb still left over that didn't explode when it was supposed to explode. That could go off at any time.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): But for potential bystanders, out of the demonstration, there were only words of caution: By the time you hear the boom, you could already be hit. Awareness of your surroundings could be the only defense.
David Mattingly, CNN, Socorro, New Mexico.
CUOMO: Some perspective on this. As we're learning every day, stopping someone before they can commit an act like this is very difficult. More difficult than we even imagined sometimes. However, what made the difference at the marathon was how people responded after the bombs went off. Tremendous energy, tremendous know-how, and triage. And the more they understand about these bombs and what they can do, the better first responders can limit the impact and that's part of the equation how we stay safer.
We're going to take a break. When we come back, emotions of anger, disbelief, heartbreak from the mother of the Boston bombing suspects. She speaks out to CNN. What she says, when we come back.
CUOMO: Welcome back to Boston. Among the many new developments here, in what happened at the Boston Marathon bombings, the mother of two suspects says there's no doubt in her mind that her sons have been framed.
She spoke to reporters, including our Nick Payton Walsh, in the Russian republic of Dagestan.
Nick, help us understand this. What exactly is her point? What's her -- what's the mom saying?
NICK PAYTON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Complicated night for her in many ways. I spoke to her in late evening. She was pretty much sure this was a case of mistaken identity and it was not Tamerlan Tsarnaev, her eldest son, who the FBI shot dead. As evening drew on, she saw pictures online, social media and recognizes the dead body. Deeply traumatic for her, of course, struggling to absorb the enormity of the charges leveled against both of her sons. But at the end of the day, she does not believe they were guilty of this. She believes some conspiracy is at play here. Part of that she says is Dzhokhar's inability to speak in hospital. She said they denied him the right to speak to make it impossible for him to put the truth out there about what really happened.
She is, she says, speaking to Russian authorities today at some point and was also very angry at any suggestion of extremist links between her sons and particularly here in Dagestan.
CUOMO: -- accept the wrongdoing of her kids, especially as a bit of a remote issue here. But is there anything that the mother can offer up to substantiate her feelings about her sons, when she last spoke to them, what disposition she had? Something she heard about what was going on in their lives contradictory to the understanding of investigators is? Anything other than emotion as a mom?
WALSH: Very little, as she said to me, would suggest she had had any factual basis to support American charges. She has said in other media reports there was contact between the FBI and her son at an earlier stage, and they were looking in to him after a Russian can.
She described one phone call the day before the manhunt caught up with her son, Tamerlan, in which they spoke. The sons rang her. They said, "Mummy, I love you." They talked about the cat. Very normal conversation. She described and, of course, ended with, they miss her, how much they loved each other. That was the second phone call that week. In fact, we know from the aunt that she rang both sons after the Boston blast, check to see they were OK. They both said they were far away from it and they were at work. A normal relationship they describe. She says she was incredibly close to Tamerlan, the elder son. And, of course, massively distraught by learning and convinced of his death last night.
CUOMO: Nick, thank you very much for the reporting on this. Really baffling how someone could take such an extreme term and behavior, and those closest to him seem completely oblivious to it. Another part of the mystery of this situation.
Again, thanks for that, Nick.
Back here in Boston, the big question is, which way the investigation will go. There's still so much unanswered, so much information that authorities are hoping are inside the mind of the suspect they have in the hospital. The more he can speak, the more they can learn. We'll take a look at what possible charges are and directions and choices that have to be made by federal prosecutors to make their case, when we come back.
CUOMO: Welcome back. The man charged with sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and others has been released from federal custody on bond, according to Reuters. Paul Kevin Curtis was released today after a hearing was canceled. Curtis, from Mississippi, also is accused of sending the deadly toxin to these state offices that were being investigated. The question is, what does this release mean, why did it happen? Joe Johns is live with us now with the latest.
Joe, how do we make sense of this?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I tell you what, it is quite hard to make sense of it right now, Chris. As you said, Paul Kevin Curtis, charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and other officials, released suddenly from custody on Tuesday. This information comes to us from the United States Marshal Service in Mississippi. The Marshal Service did not know and could not provide information on the circumstances of the release. Only that Curtis was no longer in federal custody. And this comes just hours after Curtis' detention and the preliminary hearing into his case was canceled. This was in the third day of testimony. And now there is a press conference involving federal prosecutors and the defendants, defense lawyers. That's scheduled for later today.
Curtis, you'll remember, had originally been charged with threats against the president and other threatening communications, allegedly even sending a ricin-laced letter to a Mississippi Senator. Very serious charge. Could have gotten 15 years, $500,000 in fines. We're trying to find out what is happening with this case, and certainly don't want to speculate until we know more.
Again, Paul Kevin Curtis is the colorful Elvis impersonator who was arrested for allegedly sending ricin-laced letters to the president. A Mississippi Senator, a Mississippi judge, released from federal custody. And so far, the Justice Department is declining to comment, but we are expecting a news conference later today.
Back to you.
CUOMO: Joe, not to get ahead of it, but the speculation is going to be, is this some type of indication of how strong the case is. Released on bond, wasn't released on his own recognizance. That's the curiosity and I look forward to hearing what you get on it.
Thanks, Joe. Appreciate it.
Now I want to bring you up to date on something else we were talking about earlier. We were talking about what was known or not known by our government when the suspect, who is now deceased, went over to Russia. Did they know? There is conversations between Senator Grassley and Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, about whether there was a ping on their system, whether they knew, was it a spelling check, what did they know, how did they follow up. Very serious questions, not just to look back, would have, could have, should have. It is could this have been prevented, how do we do better going forward so we can be safe. Very fundamental conversation.
Jim Acosta was reporting earlier, has new information. Just wrapped up an interview with Senator Graham. He says the FBI called him to correct some information they gave him after the secretary testified. OK. About the ping on their database. Jim Acosta reports, the FBI says obviously his trip was not undetected as they told the Senator. He is now asking, the Senator is, why Homeland Security didn't alert the FBI, calling that an oversight of a pre-9/11 mind set. He also says, and Jim Acosta reports, the Russians did contact U.S. Officials about the suspect after the initial exchange of information with the FBI. So this is a situation in flux. We're trying to understand more.
Let's bring back in Tom Fuentes.
Tom, new information. I know you just heard it. Let's take a half a step back. The supposition that, well, we needed to hear more from Russia, first of all, the FBI does have people on the ground in Russia who can do the United States' work, correct?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR & CNN ANALYST: That's correct. My last five years in the FBI, that office worked for me. I ran the international operations of the FBI, and was responsible for the 76 offices around the world that the FBI has, including the one in Moscow, Russia.
CUOMO: Now, this is obviously not about just simple blame. Everybody wants this to get better, and understanding what we can, to plug holes going forward. When you're hearing this, in the context of this discussion that is going on down there in Washington, is there a suggestion here that is worth pursuing that we weren't doing something the right way here, that has to change?
FUENTES: Well, you're right, Chris, that is, you know, something to be asked and looked at and examined. But I think at this point, the Senators are going to be briefed in about 30 minutes by the head of the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and continuing a brief with Department of Homeland Security, so I think the exact details of this -- you know, I would wait to hear that. We don't know exactly who is telling who what in the hallway on the Hill. I would like to hear the results. Of course, it's going to be a closed briefing, but I think Jim Acosta will hear afterward a little more detail of what the information was based on. So you're right, they have to -- they have to look at what information occurred, or was received in 2011, what happened in the response to the Russians, what happened since then, what was the status of Tamerlan, to whether the systems were pinged or triggered or maintained to monitor him. So those are questions that I think we need a detailed examination and a detailed explanation after that. I just -- I don't know where we're at with that, to be able to verify one thing or another at the moment.
CUOMO: Absolutely. Tom, no question to get ahead of it. That's why we have you. Once we get the facts in, you can get them into context.
Obviously, the whole concern here was, were we going to ask those questions, were we going to look, you know, because initially it just seemed like, well, there was nothing that could have been known. Now it seems to be a little different. Right questions will be asked, and that's how we learn and move forward and get better.
Tom, thank you very much.
When we get more information, we'll give it to you.
First, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we have breaking news for you about Wall Street. A tremendous plunge in the stock market. But then, a phenomenal recovery after a tweet. We'll give you the story after the break.
CUOMO: All right, welcome back to the top of the hour, everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo, live in Boston as part of CNN's continuing coverage, special looks into the investigation of the Boston terror attack.
But first, we have some news developing out of Wall Street. Stocks plunging for a moment, radically, but then quickly recovering. Why? Because of a tweet. I'll let this reporter explain it. Take a listen.