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Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Case; Obama Talks Economy; Police: Bieber Smelled of "Alcohol"; White House Downplays Obama's Pot Comments; Dow Slides Lower at Open

Aired January 23, 2014 - 09:30   ET


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Say that the baby also -- or the fetus suffers from hydrocephalous, which is fluid on the brain, and also has an undetermined heart problem as well. And this is exactly the position that family members from Marlise Munoz have said that they do not want to - and never wanted to be in.

The statement also goes on to say that, quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness.

Now, the family and the attorneys for Munoz filed an emergency hearing request about a week and a half ago. That hearing has been scheduled for this Friday afternoon in Ft. Worth. It's not exactly clear what will happen at that hearing if a final determination will be made. But what the Munoz family is asking for is that the ventilator be cut off and that the body of Marlise Munoz be returned to the family for proper burial.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Such a difficult story, Ed. So I know that there's going to be a hearing, right, on Friday. And they're going to decide things.


COSTELLO: But if the hearing rules in the hospital's favor, does that mean that the hospital will keep her alive until the baby is born?

LAVANDERA: Well, this, you know, the fetus is about 22 weeks, roughly, right about now. It could take to about 25 weeks, according to medical experts that we've spoken with, to say whether or not this fetus could be viable on its own outside of the womb. But, I mean, it's so hard to say exactly where this would go beyond all this at this point. And it's not exactly clear if we will get a final determination at this hearing on Friday or if this will be the first chance for the hospital and the attorneys for the hospital to make their case. So far they have not put out any public writings. They say that they are following the law and have said that in various statements that have been released over the course of the last month and a half. But I'm not entirely sure if we're going to get a final determination on Friday or if the judge will listen to the arguments and then take some time to make the decision.

COSTELLO: All right, Ed, we have Sunny Hostin, CNN's legal analyst, to help us parse some of those questions.

So, Sunny, I'll pose that question to you. This hearing that is supposed to take place, Ed just said there may be no decision. The judge may have to think about things, which makes it even more painful for this family.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's true. I mean they have filed sort of for an injunction, an emergency injunction. They want the judge to make a decision. And typically with these kinds of cases, judges do - in these kinds of motions, judges do try to make decisions fairly quickly, though, Carol. And so while we can't say on Friday we will have a determination, I think the judge, in a case like this, will work pretty hard to try to get the family an answer under the law pretty quickly.

COSTELLO: If the baby is born -- and many medical experts say even if the baby is born, it will be born dead. There's no easy way to put any of this, so I apologize to all of you out there. But if the baby's born alive, the family will have to care for this child who is bound to have many problems. What will the parents do? Is there any - any way they can get the hospital to pay, since the hospital's really making all of the decisions?

HOSTIN: Yes. Well, it's not - well, this is a tragic case all around. And I think it's not unusual, but it certainly is rare. There have been cases where women that have been brain dead have given birth to children. Some have lived and have been healthy. Some have not. And so I don't think anyone knows what the outcome will be at this point. The hospital says that it is following the law as it stands in Texas.

And I've got to tell you, I've reviewed the law, of course, in researching this case and discussing this case and reporting on this case for so long, and the law, in my view, is pretty murky. And I think this case is in the right place because the law needs to be clarified. And that will give the hospital and the family guidance as to how to proceed.

COSTELLO: So the law needs to be clarified. And it's come to this to clarify this law at the expense of the Munoz family. It just doesn't seem right somehow, Sunny.

HOSTIN: Well, I -- I know. I know. You know, this case certainly has sparked just national attention and people feel really strongly about this case on both sides. There are those that are saying, you know, what about the life of the baby, what about the life of the child here? And there are those that are saying, you know, this is really a case about women's rights. This is a case about a woman having the right to decide what happens to her family -- to herself and the right of a family to determine what happens to a loved one.

So, you know, I think, though, when you have issues like this that are divisive and issues where the law isn't clear, again, the right place for it, Carol, is in a court so that the courts can determine what the law should be, especially in this context because, again, what we're talking about is a woman who didn't have an advance directive in writing. Her husband is saying they had these discussions, not about being put on a life support system when you are pregnant. So in context, they didn't have this discussion. And, unfortunately, in Texas, the way the law is written is that even if the woman has this advanced directive in writing, the law sort of trumps that. And the law says, if you are a pregnant patient, you can't be taken off of life support.

But, really, the question I think for many people is, is a brain-dead person a patient? And which patient is the law talking about? Is the law talking about the mother as the patient or the child as the patient? And so again, very murky, very nuanced area of the law.

COSTELLO: Right. And just to remind people, she was 14 weeks pregnant. So the fetus couldn't survive -- it couldn't survive outside the womb, right? So we're not even talking about --

HOSTIN: That's right, 14 weeks.

COSTELLO: Right. I just want to make that clear for everybody because I think that sometimes we kind of pass over that fact. But, Sunny Hostin, I'm sure you'll be back when, hopefully, this is decided on Friday. We'll see.

HOSTIN: Yes. Yes.

COSTELLO: Sunny Hostin, many thanks.

HOSTIN: Look forward to it. Thanks.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, you may be surprised to hear just how many people in the United States think the economic system is rigged. We'll talk about how President Obama could address that during next week's State of the Union.


COSTELLO: All right. We told you at the top of the show that Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach. We have a bit of video to show you now courtesy of TMZ. This is the scene of the alleged crime. You see Justin Bieber's yellow Lamborghini there. You can't really see the star in these pictures, but that is the car. Police stopped him when he was allegedly drag racing down the streets of Miami Beach. They also believe that Justin Bieber was drunk. They gave him a Breathalyzer test at the scene. We don't know what the results were. Apparently there were other people involved in this incident, namely one of his rapper friends, and supposedly this model who was in the car with him. Justin Bieber is now in police custody and we expect police to file charges against the singer shortly. When we get more information on this, of course, we'll pass it along to you.

Also in the news today, President Obama will meet more than 200 mayors from around the country. He's expected to talk about how his economic agenda can help cities. Now, the mayors are in Washington for the U.S. Conference on Mayors, and it's likely the president won't have an easy sell. Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, who will not attend the conference, summed it up this way for "The Huffington Post." He says business leaders need to skip the federal government and negotiate directly with local leaders.


MAYOR KASIM REED (D), ATLANTA: One of the conversations that we're having here is, we're encouraging businesses to partner with subnational leaders. Stop worrying about what you can do with the federal government and deal directly with the mayors. If somebody wants to partner with the city of Atlanta, they need my support and the support of eight city council people. Well, 70 percent of the GDP of the United States is in cities. So if you're going to have a healthy country, you need healthy cities.


COSTELLO: And, by the way, Congress isn't doing much. CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here to talk more about this.

I mean, Kasim Reed's right.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think there's - there's a real issue here in this country overall about economic mobility. And I think this is an issue that President Obama is going to address in his State of the Union, in talking with mayors. And it's going to be a key theme for him going forward and for Democrats going forward.

Look, you've got a majority of this country which believes that they're not able to get any richer any faster. And it's difficult for them to climb the ladder. Not only that, you've got - you've got a new Harvard study out this morning which says that over the last generation, you're not any more likely to pull yourself up by your boot straps if you're in a low economic level than your grandparents were. So you take all these things together and the mayors and the president, many of them, are on the same side in this issue.

COSTELLO: And they were talking about the same poll here. There was a poll in "USA Today" too that showed 65 percent of Americans say the gap between rich and everyone else is growing wider.

BORGER: Right.

COSTELLO: And 60 percent say the economic system unfairly favors the wealthy. Now that crosses both political lines, right?

BORGER: It does.

COSTELLO: So, in other words, the majority of Americans think the system is rigged against them.

BORGER: A majority of Americans do, which is why it's such a salient political argument. And, you know, on top of that, this whole notion of economic mobility that I was just talking about, Carol, is what everybody sort of grew up in America believing, which is that even if your family is poor, you can pull yourself up by your boot straps and move up that economic ladder more quickly. Now we've discovered, according to this Harvard study, that mobility hasn't changed in 50 years, OK? And that's a real problem, too. So it's not only economic inequality, but it's this question of mobility. So you're not able to move up that ladder any faster. Put all these things together and it's a very salient political argument.

The question is, Carol, who do you blame? If you're a Republican you say, you know what, big government programs like Head Start and all the rest haven't really helped. If you're a Democrat you say, you know what, you need to make these programs better so that they can help. So you do need government to help. And that's the argument we're going to have going into the next election.

COSTELLO: All right, Gloria Borger, many thanks to you.


COSTELLO: I've got to head live to Miami Beach now, Gloria, because the Miami Beach Police are holding a press conference on the arrest of Justin Bieber. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he noticed what he believed at the time was two Lamborghinis, one red and one yellow, drag racing on Pine Tree Drive going northbound. The officer called it off on the radio. He made a u-turn and tried to catch up to the vehicles and was able to stop the red vehicle, which turned out to a red Ferrari. The vehicle that Mr. Bieber was driving, the yellow Lamborghini, continued north and made a left on 41st Street traveling eastbound. Another officer was able to stop Mr. Bieber. And upon approaching the car, when he opened up the window and confronted Mr. Bieber, he smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverage.

Mr. Bieber, at that point, was not cooperating with the officer's instructions. The officer asked him to exit the vehicle. He was questioning why he was being stopped. Ultimately, he eventually did step out of the vehicle, but would not follow the officer's instructions. The officer, at that time, did place Mr. Bieber under arrest for resisting without violence, for not following his instructions.

He felt at that time that Mr. Bieber may have been impaired. He was brought to the Miami Beach Police Station where a DUI investigation was conducted. It was determined that he was impaired. During the investigation, Mr. Bieber made a statement that he had consumed some alcohol and that he had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription medication.

He is currently here at the station. He's going to be transported to Miami-Dade County Corrections. Once he was here at the station, he was very cooperative. We did not have any issues with him. And, you know, he will be arrested. The charges are going to be DUI. He also has a no valid driver's license out of the state of Georgia. And the resisting arrest without violence charge. And that's all I have to say. I don't know if there's -- I'll take a couple questions and Detective Hernandez will be doing it in Spanish.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard he was cussing out all the cops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be releasing the A Form which details the interaction between the officer and Mr. Bieber. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how much alcohol he was drinking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have the levels. You know, it's a combination, when you have narcotics, marijuana and alcohol, it's the impairment -- being impaired while driving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he was?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that -- I know it is a prescription medication.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know he had been out partying? Where had he been?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where had he been? Had he been partying on the beach?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know where he had been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that A Form say about his interaction with the officers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to release it. I mean it's very specific. I don't want to read it, I mean at first he was a little belligerent questioning, use something choice words questioning why he was being stopped and, you know, why the officer was even questioning him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you read it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would he mind if you read it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, we're going to let --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how fast he was driving?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The officer estimated he was anywhere up to 55 to 60 miles an hour. I remember the officer was coming in the opposite direction. Pine Tree Drive is a two-lane in each direction. It's a residential area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the speed limit there? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 30 miles an hour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did acknowledge that he was using -- that he did take a prescription medication and that he used -- that he had been smoking marijuana and that he did consume a beer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know -- I don't know the specific of the meds. He did not have it on him. Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- he was drag racing? How are you drag racing at 55?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well they were starting from a stopped position you know and they were accelerating up to a high rate of speed, you know, and going almost double the speed limit, if you will, in that area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The officer saw them go from a stopped position and then accelerate?


Ok. I'm going to let detective Hernandez do in Spanish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't Pine Tree one way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's divided, yes. It's two lanes going north and two lanes going south.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, chief.

COSTELLO: All right. While they say the same exact thing in Spanish, we're going to -- we're going to break away with this.

But a kind of shocking developments in this case. Justin Bieber, according to this police officer, was drinking alcohol, smoking pot and taking prescription drugs. He was behind the wheel of a Lamborghini that was traveling above the speed limit through a residential neighborhood in Miami Beach.

Supposedly, according to police, he was drag racing with another Lamborghini. And they were traveling up to speeds up to 60 miles per hour -- the speed limit on those streets 30 miles per hour. The officer also said Justin Bieber was a little belligerent when police started asking him questions, used a few choice words. The police officer said he wasn't sure what prescription drugs exactly Justin Bieber was taking. And you are looking at a shot now of the Lamborghinis, the red one and yellow one allegedly involved in this incident.

You have to wonder whether Justin Bieber will be going back to Canada at any point because, of course, he has a visa to work here in the United States. That visa could well be revoked. And also the other interesting thing that came out of this presser is that he didn't have a valid driver's license. And the license he had was out of the state of Georgia.

So we'll be parsing through all of this throughout the day on CNN. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Pot enthusiasts rejoice to hear President Obama say that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol in "The New Yorker" this week. And now the White House is down playing that comment.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President's position on these matters hasn't changed. I think he was making couple of points. One: that we ought to use discretion appropriately in our prosecution priorities, prioritization -- A. B, when it comes to marijuana use, he made clear that he sees it as a bad habit and a vice and not something that he would encourage. And this is a quote. "It's not something I encourage. And I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time and not very healthy."


COSTELLO: Twenty states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational marijuana. Now states like Alaska and Oregon are considering doing that too.

Joining me now is Patrick Moen, a former DEA agent who now provides legal counsel for a marijuana investment firm. Good morning Patrick.


COSTELLO: So I want to ask about the President's comments because it made a lot of waves. The President says marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol. You fought drugs a long time. Is he right?

MOEN: Yes I think he is.

COSTELLO: Former Representative Patrick Kennedy a Democrat say he's wrong and I'll tell you why. He says that "Marijuana is stronger today than it was back in the day and that we need to be careful when we say things like that."

MOEN: Well it is true that the typical concentration of THC marijuana is higher today. But cannabis is still a safe product when used responsibly by adults. Certainly a comparison to alcohol or even prescription drugs.

COSTELLO: So you're saying if marijuana is regulated it's no more dangerous than alcohol, but if people buy it on the street it might be more dangerous than alcohol? MOEN: Sure. That's of the consequences of a black market. Is that there is no quality assurance. And so as we move into the new emerging legal market, one of the keys is going to be safe access to quality tested products. And that's going to be the responsibility of the new industry, the new businesses that are sprouting up to provide access in that way.

COSTELLO: What's really interesting, there's still a black market in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal to use recreationally. Some people thought well the illegal drug trade as far as marijuana is concerned would simply dry up because marijuana is legal in Colorado now.

MOEN: Well, I think that it's very early certainly. I don't think anyone expected the black market to be stamped out on day one. It's going to take some time. But as the production quality increases on the legal side and the businesses start to scale, prices will come down. The legal industry has to be competitive with the black market in order to push the black market out.

But I believe that all other things being equal that most Americans will choose a safe experience of purchasing quality, safe cannabis at a retail store than on the list of transaction on the corner.

COSTELLO: Patrick Moen, thanks so much for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.

MOEN: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: All right. This is not good news. The Dow Jones is making a big drop right at the open. It's down nearly 154 points. You see that there. Alison Kosik is following this from the New York Stock Exchange. Why is this happening?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Carol the bear is coming out to play for a few reasons. For one there was a down beat report out of China on its manufacturing that's pushing investors to sell. And what it showed is that manufacturing in China contracted that it didn't grow.

And China matters to all too because it's one of our biggest trading partners. So if China is not doing well, that affects us.

Also we're seeing stocks much lower today just in the first half hour of trading because investors are really looking for signs that the economy is strong enough to keep bull market running that we saw happen last year. And so they're also looking to companies for that. You know we're knee deep in the middle of fourth quarter earning seasons. So investors really aren't getting much comfort from the company angle either. A lot of these reports coming out from these companies are mixed at best. Investors were hoping for more and that's some of the reasons why you're seeing the Dow down 159 points at the moment -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right we'll check back with you Alison Kosik live from the New York Stock Exchange.

The next hour of NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you for joining me.

Justin Bieber now the latest pop star to fall from grace. The 19- year-old singer was arrested early this morning on suspicion of street racing and DUI. Miami Beach Police say the singer was taken into custody just after 4:00 a.m. while driving a rented Lamborghini. Police say Bieber resisted arrest and admitted to police he had been drinking and smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel of that car.