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Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial Begins; Boston Bombing Investigation

Aired April 30, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go, hour two. Thanks for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Boston for special coverage of the investigation into the Boston marathon attacks. Much more on that in just a moment.

But also coming up here, the first witness in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial takes the stand. We will tell you who was called to testify, and what is being said right now.

Also, huge fallout in the Christopher Dorner case. Remember, he's the guy, he's the ex-police officer who killed four people for revenge. In an angry online manifesto, it was Dorner who claimed he was unfairly fired by the L.A. Police Department. Well, today, we're now learning 40 other fired police officers want their cases reviewed now.

Plus, this:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we have come down what was the elevator shaft. We had to be lowered about 12 meters. They tell us that the tunnel here runs about 300 meters in the direction of the U.S. border. Never knew where it was going to come up on the other side.


BALDWIN: And 400 yards and a mere four feet wide. Look at this. We're going to take you inside this drug smuggling tunnel just discovered in Mexico, but, first, this.

He was a boxer with dreams of one day representing the United States in the Olympics. Entertainment tonight got its hands on this never- before-seen footage of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and one of his boxing coaches, John Allan. This video is from a 2009 documentary that was never released. We even hear Tamerlan Tsarnaev speak. Take a listen.




BALDWIN: But suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's dream ended in a hail of gunfire. And now his boxing coach is speaking out.

CNN's Brian Todd is here.

You talked to a trainer who knew him. What did he tell you about Tamerlan?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We actually talked to three other coach who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev who saw him fight at the championships in Salt Lake City in 2009 and who just saw him working out and fighting with other fighters.

And the picture you get, Brooke, is that he got close to the top. He had the talent to make it to the top.

BALDWIN: He did have the talent.

TODD: He did. All three of them say he had agility, he had a great punch, he could move side to side. He didn't really put it together. One said he didn't take direction very well. Another said he didn't have the heart. This is what Eddie Bishop said. He's a trainer who taught -- who trained a fighter who was in the same national championship tournament that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in, in Salt Lake City in 2009. He observed Tamerlan for a week at that tournament. Here is Eddie Bishop.


EDDIE BISHOP, TRAINER: Flashy guy. He had cowboy boots on, he had leather pants, flashy shirt, hat. He was -- he was eccentric. He was a talented fighter. He could punch. He could definitely punch. I notice that he was lacking a key element. He lacked heart. You can look at somebody in a ring and say that guy can punch, that guy can move. You just know the little subtle things. You know, he lacked heart as a fighter.


TODD: So Tamerlan Tsarnaev got to the national championships in 2009, Brooke. He didn't win them, just lost the bout and some of these coaches are putting together the reasons why, just didn't quite put it together at the end.

Then the next year he gets disqualified because he's not a U.S. citizen. And that is John Allan was talking about. He thinks that turned him down that dark path. These other boxing coaches think that is a bit of a reach. But we're getting a sense of setbacks in the later years, leading up to the bombings both with boxing, financial setbacks and other things.

He was not, you know, having a good run of it near the end there.

BALDWIN: So many people here in Boston obviously grasping at straws trying to understand why this would have happened, if in fact they're the ones who did do this if they're convicted. But -- so one of the trainers was saying that that did change his behavior.

TODD: That's right. John Allan said that. There are a lot of other factors too. There were financial problems in the family, putting together that they got a lot of welfare fare assistance in the later years. His wife got welfare throughout most of last year with her and her child, including the time he was in Russia, by the way. So, these are things...

BALDWIN: And his uncle effectively disowning him.


TODD: That's right, a lot of problems in the family.

BALDWIN: Brian Todd, thank you so much.

TODD: Thanks, Brooke.

And I want you to stay here with CNN for continuing coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing investigations.

Coming up on "THE LEAD" next hour with Jake Tapper, Jake is talking exclusively with the family of MIT police officer Sean Collier. Police say the Tsarnaev brothers shot the officer when he was sitting in his patrol car.


ANDREW COLLIER, BROTHER OF SEAN COLLIER: Sean was a hero. Of course, my first reaction was, I don't want my brother to be a hero. I want my brother here.


BALDWIN: Much more of Jake's interview with the Collier family coming up in the 4:00 Eastern hour here on CNN.

Michael Jackson's deepest, darkest secret, that's what the defense team in this wrongful death trial says it had no choice but to reveal. Concert promoters AEG Live say they plan to get into some -- quote, unquote -- "ugly stuff." Michael Jackson's family is suing AEG Live for negligence in his death back in 2009. Jackson family lawyers say the concert promoters are -- quote -- "ruthless guys."

As you can tell, things are already getting pretty heated in this courtroom here in Los Angeles as the first witness takes to the stand today.

Kyung Lah has been inside the courtroom all day.

Kyung, in terms of witnesses, who is the first to take the stand?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The very first person who was on the stand, we understand he's still on the witness stand, L.A. Fire Department paramedic Richard Senneff. He was a chief medic responding to Michael Jackson's house in June of 2009 when the 911 call came in that he had had a cardiac arrest.

We're getting a few more gritty details. Senneff did testify in the Conrad Murray trial, but he went into a little more detail here. He talked about what Michael Jackson looked like, that he looked like a hospice end-stage patient, that his hands and his feet were blue, that Dr. Murray was evasive, he wasn't forthcoming, and that he had said that Michael Jackson had just had a heart attack and it -- quote -- "didn't make any sense."

Something else that jurors did see is a picture of Michael Jackson arriving at the hospital. This is a picture we understand that has not been shown to jurors before. So a few more gritty details because this is a civil trial. The next person, Brooke, we're expecting to hear from, is police detective, L.A. Police Detective Oliver Martinez, and he is -- Orlando Martinez, excuse me -- he is a person who did investigate Jackson's death -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Kyung, what about family members? I know there has been some new information about the Jackson siblings that can be in the courtroom at any given time. What do you know about that?

LAH: This was actually an argument, Brooke, that happened before the testimony began.

So what AEG Live has said is that they don't want the Jackson siblings inside the courtroom. Why? Because the siblings are on the potential witness list. AEG Live is planning on calling every single one of them potentially, except for one. And so what AEG Live said is we can't exactly have them sitting in the courtroom for all of this.

Katherine Jackson, she was 82 years old, she did say that she needs at least one of her children in the courtroom. Randy Jackson has arrived yesterday. We saw him arriving today as well. She says she needs him for support and the judge at this point is saying that, OK, you can have one, but you can't have exactly five of these siblings sitting in the courtroom.

BALDWIN: OK. Kyung Lah in L.A., Kyung, appreciate it.

Now Syria. The violence there is reaching deep into the heart of the capital for a second straight day, just as President Obama makes a strongest statements yet about the threat posed by that country's chemical weapons.

So this huge bomb blast in Damascus has killed at least 13 people and wounded at least 70 more. The Assad regime blames terrorists. Rebels accuse the government of setting off the blast in hopes of gaining world sympathy. As we mentioned, at the White House, President Obama told reporters today that the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria remains a so-called game changer. And the president did not rule out any action in response to this news.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That would be an escalation in our view of the threat to the security of the international community, our allies, and the United States, and that means that there are some options that we might not otherwise exercise that we would -- that we would strongly consider.


BALDWIN: Want to talk about Syria and the potential U.S. response here as we go forward.

Frederik Pleitgen is standing by in Damascus and Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon.

Barbara, I want to come to you in a minute.

But, first, Fred, tell me what you're seeing in the capital city today, and what are conditions like there?


Well, I was at that bombing site really about 20 minutes after that bombing happened. I can tell you it was a scene of absolute carnage there. There were still wounded being carried (INAUDIBLE) people there of course very angry. A lot of them we have been speaking to said they believe that it was Islamists among the opposition who do it.

But certainly there is something of a degree of uncertainty. And I can tell you there have been a lot more of these bombings in recent times and people here are getting very, very afraid. They're really feeling the civil war come closer and closer to home, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, as they're feeling the war coming closer and closer to home, with the possible usage here of chemical weapons what are those in Damascus saying? Who do they believe is responsible?

PLEITGEN: It is a big unknown. It is really interesting when you speak to people. A lot of people on the face of it, they will tell you they obviously believe that their government is not using any chemical weapons.

They believe if anyone's doing it, that it is the opposition. But really people are not sure. They know that this regime is one in the past has done terrible things and they certainly don't believe a lot of things that they see on TV here at least in Syria.

But one of the interesting things is that the chemical weapons debate really didn't play much of a role of the discussions here in Damascus in Syria in the government-controlled part. But now certainly that's picking up a lot of momentum as people are hearing about this international debate, and especially the U.S. possibly shifting its position, a lot of people here are afraid that there could be an outside intervention and a possible escalation that would lead to even more bloodshed here in the Syrian capital, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara, to you, because we have heard from President Obama, and he basically said that if there is confirmed usage of chemical weapons, even if they're moving chemical weapons, that's a game changer, that's crossing the red line. Yet when you hear from the president today at the White House daily briefing, he was very careful in his response here. What do you hear there at the Pentagon about this? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Brooke, what we know is the White House is, you know, not looking for any kind of unilateral U.S. military action in Syria. That is not what they want.

That said, what we have learned is that here at the Pentagon, officials are stepping up the planning for just that, some kind of military option if they have to do it, because of the chemical weapons situation, because it poses such a dire threat to so many people in the region, and it basically is an international security threat if the chemical weapons are not under anyone's firm control, if they start getting used.

So what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said to his people is, OK, step up the planning, give me some options, give me something I can take to the president at the White House if it comes to that. So we're at that point. We're at exactly that point. The planning has been stepped up. Certainly, it is not the route they want to go. They're still hoping for diplomatic pressure to force Assad out, but I think everyone has to conclude that doesn't -- hasn't appeared to work in the last two years -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. So exploring options at this point in time. Barbara Starr, thank you, and of course Fred Pleitgen for us in Syria. My thanks to you both.

He went on a shooting rampage, killing four people, including two police officers. Who could forget Christopher Dorner, the former L.A. Police officer who sparked this massive national manhunt? In his online manifesto, he says he was unfairly fired. Now more fallout. Dozens of other officers who have been fired by the same police department are coming forward and they're saying the same thing. We will get the department's response next.


BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Boston.

But I want to take you to Los Angeles because dozens of fired police officers there are asking for a review of their dismissals. This comes after that now sort of infamous ex-police officer Christopher Dorner went on that horrendous rampage back in February, allegedly seeking revenge for his 2009 firing from the police department.

Dorner's killing of the daughter of a retired L.A. police captain and her fiancee sparked an unprecedented manhunt. It ended in that dramatic shoot-out, intense fire in Big Bear, and Dorner's death from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Now, it is believed that Christopher Dorner blamed the former L.A. Police captain in part for his firing some years ago. Now L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck is vowing to address concerns over these dismissals and to reassure that this is not a larger problem within the police department.

Joining me to talk about this is Joel Rubin. He did some reporting on that this morning in "The L.A. Times." And, so, Joel, welcome. So I'm clear, these are 40 different former L.A. police officers, they received letters from the department. What did they say?

JOEL RUBIN, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, just to update the number a little bit, it is actually up to about 69 officers now, former officers who were fired by the LAPD.


RUBIN: Right. The department released new numbers yesterday in which they said these are names of fired LAPD officers who have been floated either by the officers themselves or by third parties who have come forward to say, we think we were fired unfairly, and we want our cases reviewed.

This is in response to an offer that Chief Charlie Beck made in the midst of the whole Dorner saga in which he said, look, Dorner is making all these allegations about the fairness of the discipline process in the LAPD, he's calling it racist, he's calling it corrupt. I will review the cases of anybody who feels like they were treated unfairly. And if we find a problem, we will address it.

BALDWIN: So, just to be clear, Joel, these now 69, 60-something people who are coming forward, they don't at all commend the violence that was inflicted by Christopher Dorner, but they kind of agree in terms of improper dismissal from this police department, correct?


That was one of the fascinating elements of this whole Dorner incident in which of course people were saying we don't condone the violence and the murder that Dorner inflicted on the department and on other officers and on the region in general as he went on this rampage, but we do feel like, and we being a whole, a whole segment of the active LAPD and those who either retired or were fired, said, look, we could never condone the violence, but the things he was saying about the way the department treats its own has a real element of truth and we agree with that.

BALDWIN: So then how much of the L.A. Police Department and Chief Beck doing is P.R. in the wake of what happened with Dorner and how much of it is the police department taking a good long look at itself and these myriad dismissals from the past years?

RUBIN: Yes, it's a great question. I'm not sure you can tease the two apart. So much about the LAPD's relationship with the city and the minority communities that it has historically a very tense relationship with that they worked very hard to improve over the years, you know, P.R. is a very big part of the repair and the bridge- building that has been going on.

So I think Chief Beck was smart when he saw that Dorner's allegations and accusations were tapping into a much deeper vein of discontent, both for his officers and the public. I think he was smart to get out in front of it and say, hey, look, if anybody says that they have a problem, we're going to take a look at that.

Now, as far as the reviews, I think the department says they're going to do a thorough review of any officer who comes forward and presents to them a reason for wanting to have their case looked at. And don't forget, they're also doing that for Dorner's case as well. They're undertaking what they say is a very thorough reexamination of his discipline case that ended with him being fired.

BALDWIN: Well, Joel Rubin, I want to follow up with you and see how these reviews go and if any of these officers are reinstated here because of really what is the catalyst, that horrendous incident involving Christopher Dorner. Joel Rubin, "L.A. Times," thank you.

Amanda Knox now talking publicly. You know her story. College student in Italy spent four years in prison for murder before her convict was overturned. Now back in the United States, she's talking very candidly about her case and her life moving forward. That's next.


BALDWIN: As Amanda Knox waits to see whether an Italian court will succeed in retrying her on murder charges, the 25-year-old remains a free woman. And until recently she has remained silent.

But now Amanda Knox is telling her story in a new book and a pair of interviews. But will this P.R. plan work?

CNN's Alina Cho has more.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a glossy rollout timed to the release of her new book, waiting to be heard, Amanda Knox is breaking her silence on the pages of "People" magazine and a prime- time special on ABC.

AMANDA KNOX, RELEASED FROM ITALIAN PRISON: I was in the courtroom when they were calling me a devil. I mean, it is one thing to be called certain things in the media, and then it is another thing to be sitting in a courtroom, fighting for your life, while people are calling you a devil.

For all intents and purposes, I was a murderer, whether I was or not. And I had to live with the idea that that would be my life.

CHO (voice-over): Knox, then an American college student in Italy, spent nearly four years in prison after she and her Italian boyfriend were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, Knox's then roommate. Details emerged of a kinky sex game gone wrong. Knox was dubbed a femme fatale. This is how she responds to Diane Sawyer.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: She-devil with an angel face, sphinx of Perugia.

KNOX: I haven't heard those. I mean, I have heard the gist of them. And they're wrong.

CHO: In "People," the 25-year-old speaks candidly about life in prison.

BETSY GLEICK, EXEC. EDITOR, "PEOPLE": One of the things that sustains her is some family photos. And she is so lonely, she caresses it.

CHO: So lonely, she thinks about suicide.

GLEICK: She talked about, you know, would you do it in the shower? And there's a little window in the shower and it would all fogged up. So, nobody could see her and she would bleed to death and it would be a peaceful death.

CHO: Then, two years after she was convicted, a dramatic turn of events involving bad evidence. Knox was set free and returned home to Seattle.

KNOX: Thank you to everyone who has believed in me, who has defended me.

CHO: On why she's talking now, she says, "I'm not a murderer." But in the latest twist, Italy's highest court has ordered a retrial.

SAWYER: What was your reaction when you heard the Supreme Court decision?

KNOX: It was incredibly painful. I felt like after crawling through a field of barbed wire and finally reaching what I thought was the end, it just turned out that it was the horizon and I had another field of barbed wire that I had ahead of me to crawl through.


BALDWIN: A horizon, she says.

Alina Cho, you know, we know it is highly unlikely that she will be forced to go back to Italy to stand trial. How is she doing as a free woman adjusting to normal life?

CHO: Right, a normal citizen, Brooke.

As you can imagine, there is a lighter side of reentry, if you will. She tells "People" magazine that when she got back to Seattle, she actually had trouble using her iPhone. She didn't know what Twitter was. She even talked about one night being on the couch and watching "David Letterman" and the top 10 list happened to be things that Amanda Knox will ask when she gets out of prison.

And one of the questions was, who is Justin Bieber? And at that point, she turned to her family and said, who is Justin Bieber?

Now, of course, all of this book is meant to humanize Amanda Knox. Her reputation, of course, took a beating with all of this legal wrangling. Whether that will actually work is an open question. But it is sure to sell lots and lots of books. This could very well become a bestseller -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Alina Cho, thank you so much.

And just in to us here at CNN, investigators have found a fingerprint on the bomb debris from the Boston Marathon attacks. We have got more on that for you in a moment.

Plus, a tragic story out of Philadelphia. You have to hear this. The parents of this child refused to take their sick infant to the doctor. He dies. Fast-forward to now. It has happened again to another one of their children. Now the search for answers.