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Hoffman's Death; Escaped Murderer; Dylan Farrow's Alleged Abuse; Snow in Northeast

Aired February 3, 2014 - 14:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern in "The Situation Room." NEWSROOM continues right now with Brooke Baldwin.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer, thank you.

Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Great to be with you on Monday.

Not great news if you're looking at the Dow. Dennis (ph), show the good people here. Look at that, down 268 points as we are two hours away from the closing bell. Why, you ask, are we seeing these numbers? A worse than expected report on factories in the U.S. So, the bad streak continues into this new month. Here we are in February after just a really rough January. We will keep an eye on that for you today.

But first, Philip Seymour Hoffman's career was filled with awards, recognition and an Oscar-backed reputation for playing really just tortured souls. And now, in his death, we are getting a better, fuller picture of the addiction that gripped his life. Two law enforcement sources say the apartment where friends found Hoffman Sunday contained nearly 50 packets of heroin and much more. CNN's Jason Carroll is live for us outside of his apartment, a very snowy Manhattan this afternoon.

And, Jason, what else did investigators find?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Very sad day in this neighborhood, Brooke, as you can imagine. They found a number of things, used syringes. They also found bottles of prescription drugs. But I also want to explain just briefly how we got to this point.

According to investigators, the last time someone saw or spoke to Philip Seymour Hoffman was 8:00 Saturday night. It was a family member. That family member telling law enforcement that apparently he seemed high. Earlier Saturday, at about 2:00, his former partner, Mimi O'Donnell, the wife of his three children - the mother of his three children, spoke to him at about 2:00. She said he seemed high then.

Then it was Sunday. He was supposed to pick up his three children. When he missed that appointment, his good friend David Katz (ph) came here to check on him. He found him in the bathroom lying on the bathroom floor. He had a syringe stuck in his left arm. Katz immediately called police. And by the time police got here, they found a number of things, 50 bags of what they believe to be heroin, branded ace of spades, which is apparently a popular brand of heroin that's gained popularity in the U.S. as of late. Also, 20 used syringes. In addition to that, several bottles of prescription drugs. Various types of drugs for addiction treatment, anxiety, another type of drug called methocarbmoll (ph). That is a muscle relaxant.

As you know, Philip Seymour Hoffman had had a history -- a long history of addiction and he had been sober for 20 some years. It was just I think last May that he checked into a 10-day drug detox program. A program that he successfully completed.

And I pulled a quote from him that I remember he said. He said, "it was all that drugs and alcohol. It was anything that I could get my hands on. I liked it all." The quote, obviously, that a lot of people, Brooke, are reading today and listening to is the quote from Hoffman's family. That quote saying, "we are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone."

And when you think about this man, you think about his career, all the films. I mean winning the Oscar for "Capote." One film in particular that comes to mind is "Boogie Nights."

BALDWIN: Yes. Of course.

CARROLL: And, you remember he played that - played in that move with, yes, of course, with Julianne Moore. And that was a move that was also about the porn industry and drug addiction. Very quickly I want to read a statement from Julianne Moore. And she said, "I feel so fortunate to have known and have worked with the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman. I am deeply saddened by his passing."


BALDWIN: Checking e-mail yesterday, all these quotes coming in from these a-list actors. People in mourning clearly over such a textured and rich career. Jason Carroll, thank you, in Manhattan.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, he was a father of three, an Oscar and Tony winning actor who abused drugs and more before he hit it big. Last year, he relapsed after 23 years of sobriety, this is according to TMZ, and then put himself in rehab. He talked to CBS in 2011 about his past substance abuse, how he, quote, "liked it all," as Jason was referring to. And then one day he knew he had to stop. Take a listen.


PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, ACTOR: You get panicked. You get panicked. It was - I was 22 and I got panicked from (ph) my life. It really was. It was just that. And I always think, God, you know, I have so much empathy for these young actors that turn 19 and then all of a sudden they're beautiful and famous and rich. I'm like, my God, I'd be dead.


BALDWIN: You heard Jason Carroll reporting family members, friends telling investigators that Hoffman appeared high as recently as Saturday. Jeff Deeney, let me go straight to you, a recovering addict, social worker. You just wrote this wonderful piece for "The Atlantic." And let me just quote your lead line essentially saying, not that it's ever a good time, but you write, "it's a particularly bad time to be an injecting heroin user." Jeff Deeney, welcome.



BALDWIN: Let me just refer, just to get everyone caught up here with, again, what Jason Carroll was reporting, that the drugs that were found in his Greenwich Village apartment, take a look at the graphic we have, you know, prescription bottles used to treat blood pressure, addiction treatment drug, one for ADHD, another for anti-anxiety and a muscle relaxant which Hoffman did not appear to have a prescription for. And then there was this, close to 50 little envelopes branded with ace of spades, containing what is believed to be heroin. Several empty baggies branded ace of hearts.

Jeff, I want to ask you about heroin branding in a second, but when you first see this list of drugs, what is your first thought?

DEENEY: Uh-huh. It sounds to me like he was out on a run, as addicts on the street would say. Bingeing, loaded up with the various things that he was using. And it sounds like he was a little out of control.

BALDWIN: You are in communities where people are buying and selling heroin. You say it is particularly dangerous right now because of this bad batch. It's fentanyl tainted heroin. Tell me about that.

DEENEY: Yes, it's really bad right now. The street supply of heroin has never been more uncertain, I think, than right now. When you get a batch of heroin that's been mixed with fentanyl, it's really difficult to estimate the potency. It can be strong enough to overdose even a habituated addict who normally knows what dose they needed to get high. And it's been --

BALDWIN: Do you know what you're getting when you buy heroin, Jeff?

DEENEY: Oh, no, you never - well, you never buy - you never know what you're getting when you buy any drug off the street. I mean you're getting a little glassing (ph) envelope with some powder in it and it contains who knows what. But, you know, this bad batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl has been sort of bouncing around the Mid Atlantic from Camden to Philadelphia out to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. And so it's hard for people to know exactly what they're going to be using when they're using because you can't really track or predict when these extra potent batches are going to pop up.

BALDWIN: So then if you don't know what you're getting, and you're always taking that risk, then what is the significance of these brand stamps, the ace of spades, the ace of hearts. What is that?

DEENEY: Right. Well, that is to tell buyers which product on the street is good. It's an East Coast thing, not so much in the Midwest or the West Coast. But on the East Coast, heroin is sold in little glassy (ph) envelopes and they'll be stamped with a brand so that you know which corner is selling which kind of heroin. And the thing that is really sort of twisted is that when you have a rash of overdoses on the street, a bunch of people die all at once in one area, I mean people want to know what they were using. And actually they want to know so that they can seek that out.

BALDWIN: Don't they want it? Because it's more potent, is that correct?

DEENEY: Sure. Yes. Absolutely. You know - you know you're going to get good product. If it's something that's killed a bunch of novice users. If you're a heavy user, that's what you want because it's probably going to get you through the day.

BALDWIN: So are you telling me, because of the news with this, you know, alleged overdose over the weekend with Philip Seymour Hoffman, there are people on the street who want to get their hands on his heroin?

DEENEY: In New York City I wouldn't be surprised. I don't know. I haven't seen a bag by that brand going around in Philadelphia and there's sort of different supply lines to supply each city. But I wouldn't - yes, I wouldn't be surprised. Though, at the same time, you know, he had a lot of heroin in his apartment, honestly.


DEENEY: I mean he had 50 bags. There were five empty bags apparently right next to him when he was found dead, which means if you're using five dime bags of heroin at once, you're using a considerable amount of heroin. And it's very easy for you to overdose regardless of whether there's fentanyl in the production or not. That's very dangerous.

BALDWIN: Jeff Deeney, I have to let you know. I feel like there's a whole other conversation and I just want to push people to your article in "The Atlantic," just talking about safe injection sites because it's so, so key, I think, as we have this conversation. Jeff Deeney, thank you so much.

And got some news just into us here at CNN. A totally unrelated story here. We've been following this escaped convict. Police say they have found a car they believe was driven by Michael Elliott. This is the convicted murderer serving four life sentences who escaped from prison Sunday. It sparked this nationwide manhunt.

Corrections officials discovered Elliott was missing from the Ionia Correctional Facility in central Michigan last night. A short time later, police say he abducted a woman and her car using a knife or some kind of box cutter. And then when the pair actually stopped for gas in Elkhart, Indiana, that woman, good for her, she was able to escape.

<14:10:00> She locked herself in a bathroom. She called police. But Elliott, as I mentioned, serving four life sentences for killing four people back in August of 1993.

George Howell is on this -- out of Chicago.

And, George, police say they have now found the car. What else do we know about his whereabouts?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, absolutely, they found that car in Shipshewana, which is just east of Elkhart. And, in fact, when you look at a map, you can see that Elliott did not get too far and, in fact, you know, they know where that car is on State Street right now. There is a perimeter that has been set up as investigators basically look for evidence, get more information and look for him in that neighborhood. We understand that no other cars have been stolen in the neighborhood, so there is a search for him there. Neighbors have been told to be on the lookout, Brooke. And the West View Schools -- we know West View Schools in that area have been put on lockdown as a safety precaution as they continue to look for it.

BALDWIN: What about this woman, George, that was abducted. She managed to escape? What is she saying?

HOWELL: Well, there's a story to tell there. From what we understand, again, as you pointed out earlier, from Ionia, from that city, from the city of Ionia down to Elkhart, Indiana. That's where they drove. And we understand that he went into the gas station to prepay for gas. That is when the owner of that Jeep, she pulled out a cell phone and called a dispatcher. And that dispatcher basically told her to ask her captor if she could go to the restroom. The dispatcher then said go to the restroom, lock the door and don't come out. Brooke, that's what she did. She went in that restroom. And when Elliott went to knock on the door to tell her to come along, she said I need more time, I need more time.

I want you to listen to just a bit of that audio. You can hear it for yourself here.


DISPATCHER: He didn't say where exactly, he just said somewhere far?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he (INAUDIBLE). Yes, occupied. Yes. In a little bit. Sorry. Taking me longer than what I thought.

DISPATCHER: Is that him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He's knocking on the bathroom door saying let's go.


HOWELL: So we understand that she is back in Ionia. So that is good news. But again, this neighborhood in Shipshewana being told to stay alert. Also, Brooke, we learned that a BOLO, a BOLO has been put out in the state of Tennessee. We did hear information earlier today that Elliott could have contacts in Tennessee. Well, now a BOLO has been placed in that state, along with Shipshewana. So we'll continue to stay in touch with authorities as they search for Elliott.

BALDWIN: The woman's lucky he left her in the car, George Howell.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: George, thank you so much, in Chicago.

Coming up next, Woody Allen is denying this new round of accusations that he molested his adopted daughter years ago. But this time the accusations are coming straight from her and Dylan Farrow is calling out other celebrities working with him.



BALDWIN: Acclaimed Hollywood director Woody Allen has been dogged for decades by allegations that he sexually molested his adopted daughter. Now, nothing was ever proven, but here we are 22 years later and all these accusations have resurfaced. But the person leading the charge this time, Allen's adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. She wrote an open letter that was posted online by "The New York Times" and in vivid detail she recounts what she says was a life tainted by sexual abuse. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, speaking out and renewing allegations of sexual abuse by the Hollywood filmmaker. In an open letter published in a "New York Times" blog, she gives a graphic account of what she says happened in their Connecticut home. Quote, "when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led my into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me." Quote, "he talked to me when he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we'd got to Paris and I'd be a star in his movies."

Late Sunday, Allen's representative responded. Quote, "Mr. Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful. At the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court-appointed independent experts. The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation, that Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality and that Dylan Farrow had likely been coached by her mother, Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed."

The allegations first came to light in 1992, but the letter and recent tweets are putting them back in the spotlight and back in the court of public opinion. Mia Farrow displayed her contempt for her ex in January as the 78-year-old Allen was being honored by his peers at the Golden Globe Awards, tweeting, "a woman has publicly detailed Woody Allen's molestation of her at age seven. Golden Globe tribute showed contempt for her and all of you survivors." Farrow's son Ronan followed suit, making no effort to veil disgust for his father. "Missed the Woody Allen tribute. Did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age seven before or after Annie Hall?"

It's all part of the complicated story that is Woody Allen's personal life. The couple separated after 12 years with Mia Farrow discovered Allen was having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi, who is now Allen's wife. The same year Dylan told her mother Allen had allegedly touched her inappropriately. Allen has consistently denied the claims and was never charged.

But the allegations have tainted his image for two decades. Now Dylan, breaking her silence and admonishing some of Hollywood's most celebrated by name, for, in her words, turning a blind eye by continuing to work with Allen. Quote, "others are still scared, vulnerable and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message Hollywood sends matters for them." She goes on to write, "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse."

Allen's lawyer responding, quote, "it is tragic that after 20 years, a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces after it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities."


BALDWIN: Deborah Feyerick reporting.


And now the timing, the timing of Dylan Farrow's open letter has Woody Allen's camp fuming. Allen's attorney said his client will respond. And then he went on to say this. Let me quote him. "The one to blame for Dylan's distress is neither Dylan nor Woody Allen."

So what is this? Is this a retrial in the court of public opinion?

Sunny Hostin, let's talk about this, our CNN legal analyst here.

And what do you think of these claims? And then, also, there has to be a statute of limitations here. I mean we're talking 22 years later, right?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, it's true that the statute of limitations on something like this would have run. And it's something that I sort of argued against for quite some time because when I think of child sex abuse, I don't know that there should be a statute of limitations.

But, you know, having prosecuted child sex crimes, Brooke, and having interviewed many child victims, I do find her story credible in that she describe this grooming that we often hear of from child victims. He says that he used to put his thumb in her mouth. She says that he would put his head in her nap while naked. He would also get into bed with her with his underwear. I mean when you, you know, hear that kind of description, that does sounds like grooming.

You remember we heard a lot about that in the Sandusky case.

BALDWIN: Of course.

HOSTIN: And so to say that these are just incredible - an incredible story, I don't know. It seems to be a classic case of grooming and then sexual abuse. So I found her letter to be very brave, very courageous and very credible.

BALDWIN: So the letter that was what was printed in "The New York Times." On the flip side, here you have the Woody Allen camp. I mean could they sue for defamation. Is that possible?

HOSTIN: You know it would - it certainly is possible, but it would be ill-advised, especially because part of proving a defamation claim, Brooke, is that he would have to prove that these allegations were false. That they were untrue.

BALDWIN: And how would he prove that?

HOSTIN: And so he put this entire thing back in a courtroom. And again, I found her letter to be very, very credible.

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, thank you.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Now this.

Well, the Super Bowl was a bit of a dud, but at least this -- this rocked, the half time show. It was hot. You will get the inside story on Bruno Mars' and his rise to stardom, coming up.



BALDWIN: Well, much of the East Coast just can't quite catch a break from all the snow and the ice. New York City, Boston, they're among the major cities just getting slammed with heavy snowfall today. We're hearing some areas could actually get 10 inches.

The snow missed the Super Bowl. My goodness. What a difference a couple hours makes. This is the scene at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, this morning after the big game. A lot of fans trying to get out of town. That's not going to be easy. You have hundreds of flights across the country, they're canceled so far. Many of them, as you can guess, at airports in the New York, New Jersey area.

And, Chad Myers, in the thick of things in the snow. What is that, like a mini snowman in your hand?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I made - I made you a little perier (ph)-sized snowman. That's how big he is. I don't have a little -

BALDWIN: Thanks.

MYERS: I don't have coal that small, so I couldn't put in the coal for his eyes, Brooke, but that's for you.

BALDWIN: Very nice. Thank you, my friend. How does it feel out there?

MYERS: You know, it's not cold. You know, I was out in Plymouth last week and it felt like 30 below zero. It doesn't feel that way here. It's 30 above, but the heavy, wet snow is here. They're pushing it off the streets, pushing it off the sidewalks here. And this is a salted area, so it looks pretty wet and not white, but a little bit earlier was very, very white.

And I think tonight, as soon as we start to get sunset, we're talking 4:00 or 5:00, all of this, especially the roads, are going to freeze. These ruts are going to be ice ruts and it's going to be very slippery to walk on.

And I just took a walk down the street and literally you can't tell where the slush starts and the snow stops and how deep it is. Because when you splash onto the street, right at the curb, some of the splashing is four or five, six inches deep. So it's well over the ankle deep shoes that you probably wore to work today.

The problem really is the almost 600 flights out of New York City, let's say 120 people a flight. That's 72,000 seats that didn't leave today.

BALDWIN: Oh, brutal.

MYERS: People that came to the city for the Super Bowl and they are still here from the Super Bowl. That's not so bad I think if you're a Seattle fan. You just continue the party. But if you're a Denver, I think you just want to go home and go back to work.

BALDWIN: Yes, I think so. Not fun.


BALDWIN: I heard you use the highly technical term of like walking on a slushie (ph). Very nice, Chad. This is why we love you.


BALDWIN: Chad Myers at Columbus Circle for us in New York. Thank you, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Now this.

Yes, so the game, not much of a game last night, but the Super Bowl's biggest star, this guy, Bruno Mars. We will talk about his meteoric rise. Plus, the other hits and misses coming up next. You're watching CNN.