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American Marine Appears in Mexican Court for Bringing Guns to Mexico; NYPD Puts Naloxone in Patrol Cars; Postwar Foreign Policy; Julie Roberts on MS

Aired May 28, 2014 - 12:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So I think we can all identify with a missing of a highway exit when you're driving on the interstate and your mind's somewhere else. And then it's a hassle, right?

Now, put yourself in the shoes of a U.S. Marine who says that innocent mistake landed him in a notoriously tough Mexican prison -- prison -- and now he's staring at 21 years behind bars in Mexico when he faces a judge today.

His name is Andrew Tahmooressi, and he says that when he reached the Mexican border crossing, this Marine immediately told the guards there he had three guns in his truck, legal, registered guns. He says he intended to turn around and go back to the U.S. when the military got involved, and then -- huh-oh -- all of a sudden, he was arrested and slapped with a weapons charge. And he's been in a Mexican jailer since. It's been two months now.

Earlier, on "NEW DAY," his mother called this experiencing terrifying.


JILL TAHMOORESSI, SON JAILED IN MEXICO: He's a two-tour combat veteran of Afghanistan. He was in the harshest of conditions in Afghanistan, so, yes, he was suffering from symptoms of PTSD, which is why he was out in San Diego, at the invite of a Marine friend.

And just March 12th, he was diagnosed positive and had started a treatment plan. But within days, he was in imprisoned in Mexico, his life threatened, four-point chain-restrained to a bed for 35 days.

So he's been brutalized and definitely a setback to his recovery from PTSD.


BANFIELD: I want to bring in Mel Robbins, our CNN legal analyst, and Rafael Romo, our senior Latin affairs editor.

First, guys, and I want this to be really clear to our audience, Mexican justice is a little different than American justice. It involves a frightening concept to people here in the U.S., where you are actually guilty until you prove that you are innocent.

Mel, that is a very strange concept. How did the Mexicans come up with that kind of constitutional law where you have to prove you're innocent?

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: It's been that way for a long time. There are a lot of things that are different between the laws in Mexico in a criminal case and what's going on here.

First of all, you've got to prove you're innocent. Secondly, there's no death penalty. And there's a lot of differences around jail and bail and all that kind of stuff as well. So what you're going to see is you're going to see him putting on a case to be able to show that this was all one, giant mistake.

You're going to see him -- for example, I think one of the key pieces of evidence here is he claims that as soon as he crossed the border, he called 911 in the United States and was told that they can't do anything. He knew he had crossed. He was nervous. He said, what do I do? They said, turn around, we can't help you. They're going to try to admit that, which I think is really compelling evidence.

BANFIELD: There's also apparently a piece of a poorly marked crossing.

Rafael, there's some -- you've been in this area. When he says a poorly marked crossing, I'm imagining he's on the interstate, and he misses the exit and, boom, the lights go on behind him. Is it that simple or is there something more to this?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It's not necessarily that simple, and what I can tell you, having been born and raised at the border on the Mexican side of the border, is that the argument that he mistakenly made a wrong turn and ended up in Mexico is going to be very hard to prove in a Mexican court, because there are signs for two miles telling you that you're on your way to Mexico and also that it is illegal to go into Mexico with guns.

And the bottom line, when it comes to this story, Ashleigh, is that, if you are going to Mexico, regardless of who you are, regardless if you're a Marine and you've given this country great service, do not take any guns.

When I go to Mexico, I don't even take toothpicks, much less guns, because Mexican law says, Ashleigh, that if you're caught trafficking guns, you're going to face anywhere from five to 30 years in prison.

And it is very important to understand the context of this case here, because Mexico is in the middle of a war with about six, very powerful drug cartels who daily, Ashleigh, every single day, manage to smuggle about 2,000 high-caliber weapons into Mexico.

And so it is in this context that Sergeant Tahmooressi got involved. It doesn't really matter who he is, where he came from, or whether his guns were registered to him, he violated the law from the Mexicans' perspective and has to pay for that.

BANFIELD: Rafael, what I can say is the State Department spokesman has stated that the secretary of state, John Kerry, has raised this issue with Mexican officials. There's very little coming out of the State Department other than that, but clearly, after today, we'll have to hear what went on. And please update us on that, Rafael.

Rafael Romo's reporting for us live, also Mel Robbins weighing in on that, as well, so to be continued on that story.

Also, coming up, this is a fascinating story from the NYPD. New York City police department is adding a big ol' weapon to its arsenal. It comes in the form of a needle, a needle that holds an antidote to save heroin addicts from ODing and dying.

Is this a miracle drug, or is this a liability? And, by the way, if it's so great, why doesn't everybody have it across the country? That's next.


BANFIELD: The city of New York is about to get more than a million dollars to try to keep people who overdose on heroin alive, and this is where the money's going, special little kits that will eventually be in thousands of New York City police department patrol cars.

Take a peek, overdose prevention rescue kits. See the needles and the gloves? That's right. They are syringes filled with a powerful medicine that can stop instantly a heroin overdoes, reverse it, reverse the effects and save the person.

The theory is that police responding to an overdose can use the kit and save a person's live. The statistics are overwhelming, too, when it comes to this. So that drug, Naloxone, people have seen it in action, and they say it is critical to fight what has become an addiction epidemic. There's a catch. Clearly not everybody agrees with this.

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What you're watching is shocking, a heroin addict named Liz, overdosing.

That night she was with Adam Wigglesworth and Louise Vincent. They both volunteer with a program in Greensboro, North Carolina, that provides clean needles and other assistance to addicts.

ADAM WIGGLESWORTH, SAVED FRIEND WITH NALOXONE: She seemed to be pretty unresponsive, and we were noticing bluing of the lips, lack of oxygen and her breathing became quite shallow.

LOUISE VINCENT, SAVED FRIEND WITH NALOXONE: Well, when someone's not breathing and they're responding to any sort of stimulus, you give them breath, and at that time, I usually administer Naloxone. GUPTA: Now watch what happens next.

WIGGLESWORTH: We gave her about 60 units of Narcan.

GUPTA: Narcan, also known as Naloxone, can reverse an overdose from heroin and other drugs like Oxycodone.


GUPTA: Another sternal rub, another shot of Narcan.

VINCENT: All right, let's go ahead and give her some more Narcan.

WIGGLESWORTH: Giving her the rest of this whole CC.

GUPTA: And, finally, Liz begins to come around.

VINCENT: Liz? You OK? You went out. We're giving you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. We're giving you some Narcan, but you overdosed. Can you sit up?


VINCENT: All right, come on.

LIZ: I can't believe that somebody cared about me enough or loved me enough to bring me back.

GUPTA: Naloxone gave Liz a second chance. She's headed to rehab.


BANFIELD: Wow, pretty stark.

Elizabeth Cohen is here with me, as is Mel Robbins.

Elizabeth, first to you, as our senior medical correspondent, what could possibly go wrong? Are there any side effects that are dangerous? Is there any downside to using this?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Ashleigh? We're told there are no downsides. Even if the person has not overdosed on heroin, you're not going to hurt them by giving them this drug.

BANFIELD: So why isn't it everywhere? It just seems to me if you're going to save people, why wouldn't we do this right across the country?

COHEN: There's always -- there's a cost issue, and I think, you know, some people might feel we're just inhabiting these people.

We're just telling them, Hey, don't worry about overdosing, you can just always get this drug and come right back to life. Now a lot of people would say that is not the right point of view, but I think that's how some people feel. BANFIELD: So, Mel, I'm always trying to think of what would be the downside, legally, especially when you start arming a cop with a medical device and asking that police officer to do a medical prevention treatment. Could -- if the person dies --


BANFIELD: Could that police officer and the department ultimately become liable for anything? Might the family suggest the death could have been the result --

ROBBINS: I highly doubt it. First of all, it's being used in Massachusetts with a 95-percent success rate.

Secondly, you have some immunity from personal liability when you're a first responder as long as you're not negligent, and jamming what is the equivalent of an EpiPen, that works 95 percent of the time, find it hard to believe anyone is going to be liable.

I think the more terrifying and fascinating piece in looking at this story, Ashleigh, is to see that the U.S. Center for Disease and Drug Control is now reporting that drug overdose has surpassed car crashes and is now only third to cancer and heart disease as a killer in the United States.

BANFIELD: You're from Massachusetts.


BANFIELD: And didn't you say the number one killer of people under 25 in your state of Massachusetts is now heroin?

ROBBINS: Yes, basically what is going on is we have an epidemic where kids get addicted to oxycodone and then they can't afford it, they can't find it and so they turn to an opiate, heroin, and use, use, use, and overdose. It's a huge problem everywhere.

BANFIELD: Well, NYPD now has this in its arsenal, and, Elizabeth, you'll have to come back and report to us if the trend continues right across the nation. It's a fascinating topic.

Elizabeth, thank you. Always nice to see you, my friend. And, Mel, as always, thank you for your insight, too.

America the mighty, that is the message from President Obama today, and it comes from West Point. He was the main speaker at commencement.

Coming up, hear from one former alum who was behind the scenes and even met with the president, and, by the way, the president is now the proud owner of his book after today.

That conversation is next.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's my bottom line. America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only or even primary component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.


BANFIELD: They call it a commencement address and so it was. Graduating cadets at West Point are beginning their military careers. And President Obama is writing a whole new chapter in U.S. strategies abroad. As you may have seen right here live on CNN, the commander in chief told the West Point class of 2014 they are probably the first 9/11 -- first class since 9/11 that will not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. He said America will never ask permission to defend its interests, but added, quote, "our most costly mistakes come from willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences."

My next guest was watching that address with interest, with some hard- won insights too. Dan Rice is a West Point graduate, an Iraq War veteran and the author of a book that was presented to President Obama today. It's called "West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage." And Dan joins me live now.

This is an intriguing notion that these graduates, as you look at them, are the first graduates who will be entering sort of a post war era.


BANFIELD: But how different ultimately is their life? How different is any graduate's life, anyone even in the military, a veteran's life in this era now as you heard the president outline it?

RICE: Well, I think it's an amazing time to have the first class graduating without potentially going to war. On the other hand, they are going to be going into an army that has an increased, what's called op (ph) temp. So the number of missions all around the world have increased dramatically while our military is downsizing. So these graduates will be challenged to the utmost. It is an interesting time to have a class graduating to go to lead (ph) soldiers that have been in combat, multiple deployments, and they'll be leading them without having their own combat deployment. So they'll challenged in that state (ph) too.

BANFIELD: What's always fascinating when you see a president, and I say a president because there have been many, making an address at West Point is there's always some significant shift or monumental announcement to make. I'm thinking about JFK predicting Vietnam in '62.

RICE: Yes.

BANFIELD: Reagan announcing the nuclear freeze in '87.

RICE: Absolutely.

BANFIELD: These wonderful concepts coming from you and, in fact, your research. And then, of course, there was George W. Bush in 2002, right before the Iraq War. And now is this sort of the book end for Obama?

RICE: It - I couldn't agree more. I think this is, in some ways, closure for President Obama on two wars. In 2002, President Bush, just eight months after 9/11, came to West Point and announced what eventually was the pre-eminent strike strategy, which led 10 months later to the Iraq War. So the class of 2002 was in the invasion of Iraq and they were in combat continuously ever since.

I would think if President Obama were to have the press label this, it would be an, I'm not George Bush speech. Everything about this speech was, I'm ending two wars. I ended Afghan - I ended Iraq and I'm ending Afghanistan now. He put together his vision of the future for the military, for the United States national security.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you something? I look at these pictures and I often wonder how the military feels about its boss, the commander in chief, no matter who that boss is. Everybody within the military has a perspective and a prism. But when you hear a comment like, you know, just because we have the hammer doesn't mean every issue is a nail, what is the relationship with the United States military -- I know it's a pretty broad question -

RICE: IT is a broad question.

BANFIELD: Generally speaking, from your very storied perspective, what is it with this commander?

RICE: From my experience and with the classes that I've studied in creating the book, the majority of graduates tend to lean towards whatever the commander in chief -- whether they're Democrat or whether they're Republican. And there are studies that actually show that. So when you're going to dedicate your life to the army and you're taking a swearing in with the president, you tend to lean towards that president, regardless of whether they're right or wrong on certain social issues. But you support the president. So I've seen, from the past classes, the classes that graduated in '62 with Kennedy, the classes that graduated with Reagan in '87, each of them tended to lean one way or the another.

BANFIELD: I know it's probably private, but I'm going to ask you anyway, what did you write to the president in the book when you gave it to him?

RICE: Actually the book was given by the seniors, the graduating class and -

BANFIELD: No. Did you write --

RICE: I did not.

BANFIELD: Oh, come on. You had an opportunity for heaven's sake.

RICE: And - so - they each handed him the book, I was told today. But it wasn't from me, it was from them, which I think is even more of an honor.

BANFIELD: Yes. Well, it's great. Hold it up so people can -- it's really heavy. I have it at home actually on the coffee table. And you can too. You know, if you --

RICE: It is a workout. It is.

BANFIELD: Bench press with it.

Dan Rice, always nice to have you. Thanks so much for coming in.

RICE: Thank you so much, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Do appreciate it, especially on a day like today.

RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

BANFIELD: Coming up, a legal battle between a fashion model and Google. Really? She's got some words for you too. The model claims that there were pictures of her turning up on searches for porn and she says this is Google's fault and that all of us have a stake in this battle. You'll hear about it, next.


BANFIELD: I, along with millions, have great admiration for Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So without further ado, here's this week's "Human Factor."


JULIE ROBERTS, COUNTRY SINGER (singing): You got one little problem, baby, (INAUDIBLE) down home.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nowhere does country singer Julie Roberts look more at home than on stage performing for her fans.

ROBERTS: You got that freedom to cry (ph).

ROBERTS (on camera): I decided at a young age I wanted to be a singer like Barbara Mandrell.

BARBARA MANDRELL, MUSICIAN (singing): When country wasn't cool.

ROBERTS: And I would pray every night when I was a little girl that I would get a record deal.

GUPTA: During college in Nashville, Roberts interned at Mercury Records. When she graduated, she was offered a job as a receptionist, eventually becoming the assistant to Chairman Luke Lewis (ph). A demo without Roberts' name on it found its way into Lewis' desk and her days of answering the phones were over. She got to work on her first record.

ROBERTS (singing): Lord, he made a woman out of me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Julie Roberts.

GUPTA: CMT was there in the moment when Roberts' first single debuted on the radio. Roberts' album went gold. She was living the dream. And then one night on stage, a nightmare.

ROBERTS (on camera): The first time that I knew something wasn't right with my health, I was on stage.

GUPTA: Roberts kept on singing but she knew something wasn't right. A few tests led to a quick diagnosis, multiple sclerosis.

ROBERTS: And I was so afraid that all would be taken away from me if I told the world that I had MS.

GUPTA: Fortunately, that hasn't happened. And these days, Roberts manages her MS with three shots a week, plus a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

ROBERTS: I have never missed a show because of MS and I will never miss a show because of MS. This is what I'm supposed to do. It's what I love.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


BANFIELD: All right, now to this. Imagine searching your name on Google or Yahoo! and then seeing your face linked to porn sites. The only thing is, you never had anything to do with porn. A well-known model and actress in Argentina did just that and now she is mad and she's suing those search sites because she says she believes her image was hijacked.

Maria Belen Rodriguez says that Google didn't do enough to prevent those websites from using her image without her permission. And now, guess what, that case is all the way up at the Argentinean supreme court, which could hand down a ruling in a matter of weeks. Google put out a statement, quote, "the search engines are neutral platforms that do not create, nor control, content on the web." But we will see what the high court in Argentina has to say about that.

Thank you, everyone, for watching. It's been nice to have you with us. Stay tuned now. My friend and colleague, Wolf Blitzer, starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, President Obama's getting ready to fly back to Washington after laying out his views on American power and the use of force.