tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN March 6, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
maybe the only thing more upsetting van the video of the boston bombing, the personal stories from the people whose bodies and lives were shattered by the blast. the testimony dzhokhar tsarnaev's lawyers tried but failed to stop. and ferguson's police chief responding to cnn after that scathing report about rampant racism in his police department. and the runway scare that was mere feet from becoming the next airline tragedy. passengers tell us about the terrifying landing as investigators try to figure out who went wrong on runway 13. hello, everyone.
i'm ashleigh banfield. welcome to "legal view." we all what happened, we all know who did it. and the suspect's own lawyer admits he did it. but what most of us may not have fully understood until this long-awaiting trial of dzhokhar tsarnaev is how horribly so many people suffered when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the boston marathon two years ago next month. again and again, prosecutors who hope to send tsarnaev to death row have taken jurors and the rest of us almost unbearably close to what one victim calls pure carnage.
>> what the [ bleep ]? a bomb? >> is it safe to be here? >> probably not. >> oh, my god. >> get out! get out! >> it is simply raw video in so many ways. and please keep in mind that what you are seeing right now is not even a full and accurate picture of what happened that day because we at cnn have blurred out or edited out the scenes that we simply cannot air. they are just too gruesome and too graphic. but the jury, they see it all
without any of that editing. and then also there is this testimony. bill richard, he had to leave the side of his dying 8-year-old boy to try to save his somewhat less-wounded daughter. he told the jurors, quoting mr. richard here, i knew in my head that i needed to act quickly or we might not only lose martin, we might lose jane, too. he tried to get up and she fell. that was when i noticed her leg. she didn't have it. it was blown off. when i saw martin's condition, i knew he wasn't going to make it. it was the last time i saw my son alive. i want to read you one more bit of testimony from the trial from a man who lost both of his legs but was still able to help identify the defendant's older brother and co-conspirator tamerlan tsarnaev. tamerlan is seen here in this picture wearing the dark hat. he was killed just days after
the bombings when his brother, dzhokhar, accidentally ran over him during a shootout and escape from police. yesterday, the witness testified, quote, he didn't look like anybody that was there. he was alone. he wasn't watching the race. it didn't look like he was having fun like everybody else. everybody else was clapping. i looked at him and he stared down at me. and i just thought it was odd. i looked back and i saw a bag there unattended. my cnn colleague deb feyerick has been covering this trial. i'm also joined live by danny cevallos and joey jackson. deb, i want to begin with you. it is one thing to see some of these things on television. as i just mentioned to our viewers, they're edited and they're blurred. it is quite another to be an average member of the community who gets your jury summons and has to sit through material like that. how are things in court?
what are these jurors going through? > reporter: it's incredible. they're going through what every single person in that court is going through. they are listening to graphic detail of the injuries that all these people suffered and as horrifying as the images are, to listen to the people and what they went through after this bombing is even more painful. people are bowing their heads, they're weeping openly. we're talking seasoned reporters, seasoned law enforcement. the jury, several of them are sort of wiping tears from their face. it clearly resonates with them. not just the testimony but the physical appearance of some of these witnesses as well. a lot of them have lost one if not two legs. jeff bauman lost both legs. he's still going through rehab. and dzhokhar tsarnaev sits six feet away from the witnesses, he barely even looks in the witnesses' directions. he slouches in his chair. every now and again, he sits up a little.
but for the most parts, at least from behind, appears to be somewhat disengaged. he's not taking any notes. and the witnesses are just really emotional and listening to it, you cannot help but be moved by it. it is traumatic. and those witnesses reliving every single moment of that day, ashleigh. >> deb, stand by for a moment, if you will. i want to bring the attorneys in on this. danny and joey, the level of awfulness that is on display in that courtroom right now for those jurors, can it even be measured against any notion that these defense attorneys are going to bring forth about coercion? i heard growing up, if your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? >> exactly. >> that's pretty small potatoes compared to what these people are seeing. how on earth can they bring that forth? >> it gets worse for the defense because the judge has severely limited how much they can even mention tamerlan, the the older
brother. the prosecution is doing a good job of limiting this damaging testimony. it's impossible to hear it and not blame someone and that someone is sitting at the defense tibl table. the defense strategy may not be not to shoot for a not guilty. they actually admitted in the opening statements that their client was involved in this incide incident. they're leaning more towards saving his life in the penalty phase. >> who can save this man? after living through what these jurors are living through just in these first few days, it would take an act of god. and even then, i'm not sure it would work. can he do anything to save his life at this point? >> it's going to be very problematic. willi looking back just one moment, this is something that affected the nation, of course, in a very meaningful and emotional way.
but when you look at boston itself, this has riveted -- and think about the carnage that he exacted by the act -- his act and the act of his brother. so, yes, it is a defendant strategy to say, he was under the spell of his brother, if not for his brother this wouldn't have happened because he doesn't have a mind of his own. will it work? i don't think it will. but the defense, you see they're not even cross-examining witnesses and they even stop -- that is, the defense -- they even attempted to stop this testimony saying, we don't need this testimony, save it for the penalty phase. the judge said, no, it's very relevant because it explains exactly what happened here. >> i want you both to weigh in on the fact that that little boy died in front of his parents. there are plenty of photos that show jane and martin, the 8-year-old victim and his sister, and their parents right there with the accused killer standing within feet.
so ultimately, if you're going to make the argument, i was under the influence of my brother, the brother is nowhere to be seen in those pictures and little kids are within arm's length of that young man. how can you make the argument that you are so under the influence of your brother, little kids didn't matter? >> you don't focus on the liability phase which is what we're in now. you proceed with the idea that this is going to be a guilty verdict. but then use that influence prong for the penalty phase and argue to the jury, save this man's life, do not put him to death because he was under the influence of his brother, sure, he's nowhere to be seen in this picture. but that influence of an older sibling -- it was a pervasive thing that happened -- >> get me off the ledge, joey. >> if you're feeling that, i think you have to think that the entire jury is feeling that. there's a major sense of loss here. and to make the argument that
you're not cupablpable, you're to blame -- no, you were radicalized, it wasn't your brother. accept responsibility. at the end of the day, if the jury believes he's a monster, not only is he guilty he gets the death penalty. there may be something else at play here. did those brothers have any help in actually putting together this plot? the marathon bombing, could there be co-conspirators still out there walking among us and plotting to strike again. we'll discuss that. hey pal? you ready?
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this is a terrifying thought. the tsarnaev brothers may have had help in carrying out the bombing at the boston marathon. and those co-conspirators just might be out there somewhere plotting their next attack. cnn's alexandra field reports on how this looming mystery might end up helping dzhokhar tsarnaev's fate at his trial. >> reporter: investigators privately questioned if there were more involved. the reason for the doubts? the bombs. court documents reveal questions from the beginning about whether tamerlan and dzhokhar tsarnaev were capable of making them. these relatively sophisticated devices would have been difficult for the tsarnaevs to fabricate. searches of the tsarnaevs' residences, three vehicles and other locations associated with them fielded virtually no traces
of black powder. of the two remote control detonators used during the bombings, only one was recovered. and nearly two years later, the doubts still linger. >> these were two relatively sophisticated devices that went off almost simultaneously. they had a very, very short delay. it would be my opinion that they had somebody who was more of a skilled bomb-maker, an engineer, if you will, assist them in saying, these are the steps you need to go through. >> reporter: dzhokhar tsarnaev told police he and his brother acted alone and built the bombs following instructions from al qaeda's "inspire" magazine. investigators say the explosives were made with improvised fuses from christmas lights and remote control detonators made from model car parts. not impossible but hard to get right without testing. and the government has never said where the bombs were made or if there's evidence the tsarnaevs tested others. >> that is a big gap in the
evidentiary case. >> reporter: is it possible that police believe somebody helped these brothers build a bomb? >> in the absence of any proof that they had the capability to do it, there will continue to be investigations about whether there could have been up to five others. >> reporter: but who? no one's been named as a possible co-conspirators. in 2012, the older tsarnaev spent six months in russia. authorities have questioned how much exposure he may have had to radicals and whether he could have received training there. it's not clear if either side will suggest that there may have been a third party involved in the attack. but the defense will try to pin the blame on others. >> the defense strategy is going to be to create enough doubt within the juror's mind of dzhokhar's sort of mental state leading into this. so this idea that there might be some evil hand out there telling
dzhokhar what to do, whether it's his brother or someone who's a bomb-maker, fits nicely into that narrative. >> reporter: the trial centers on how the jury will see suspect number 2. the prosecution painting a portrait of a cruel co-conspirator and equal partner in hideous crimes, radicalized through internet research spewing the ret restrict of al qaeda, a man who planned to kill and did. but the defense will draw zpoeshg in the shadow of a mastermind older brother, younger, struggling in school, abandoned by his parents, an easy victim of deep manipulation from suspect number 1. >> the defense strategy of portraying tamerlan as the mastermind is meant to built sympathy for dzhokhar tsarnaev with the jury. he faces 30 federal charges, 17 come with a possible death sentence. defense attorneys are hoping any measure of sympathy they can garner for the younger tsarnaev could save his life.
alexandra field, cnn, boston, massachusetts. >> we'll see how these possible co-conspirators could impact the trial with danny and joey back with me. so maybe there's someone else in the conspiracy. but isn't a conspiracy still just as bad if you're in it than if you're not in it, meaning if they believe dzhokhar is in it, what does it matter someone else might be out there? >> absolutely. the reality -- in terms of legal significance, examining his actions doesn't matter there were four or five other people. the fact that he acted subjects him to the death penalty. the government has an interest in making sure anyone who participated is brought to justice and also monitoring and ensuring the safety of all america so that these people if there are any who helped with these bombs are ultimately brought --
>> i always get it when an attorney brings in any kind of reasonable doubt, anything you want to try to get the jurors to wonder about something. but the wondering that a conspirator brings in has nothing to do with guilt or innocence here. he's saying he did it. mitigating his life is what it's all about. and if there's some other dude out there, it doesn't make him less awful. >> take a step back. this is not a typical defense. it really isn't even a whodunnit anymore. in a death penalty case like this, the defense has conceded the liability. they will introduce the jury to the defendant so when it comes to the penalty phase, they know who he is and he becomes more difficult to put to death. that appears to be their strategy. remember also by going through a trial, there may ultimately be appealable issues during that trial that they can use later on. the strategy here is very different -- >> america hates this.
they're getting sick and tired of terror attacks whether they're here at home or elsewhere. and every single time there's something else that goes on, they want people to pay, period. >> of course. and he's going to become even less likable as the trial goes through the second anniversary of the bombing on april 13th. they have attempted to move this trial four different times. the judge has said, no. they've attempted to delay it, the judge said no. at the end of the day, i don't see he's found innocent -- >> i don't know where you move a trial like this. you can move it to mars and you'll still have americans who are livid. an attack on boston was an attack on all of us. thank you both. up next, what exactly goes through your mind in the moment that a plane you're on starts skidding off a runway headed for frigid, icy waters mere feet away? fortunately every single
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stopping part that proved tough. it went almost into the icy water before, thank god, it did actually skid to a final stop. and one guy who was on board spoke with cnn this morning on "new day." >> literally as soon as the wheels touched down, within two seconds, i knew there was an issue. >> you felt something? >> we didn't feel the wheels stay. >> usually you feel that. >> exactly, they grab. >> these are the pictures you took? >> yes. literally within two seconds, the wheels didn't take, we started to skid, we feared to the left-hand side of the runway. and then you're feeling nothing but rough ground. >> what are you thinking? >> an array of emotions. first of all, my buddy was on the hudson river crash a few years ago. so i thought, i'll end up in the water just like he did. >> you don't hear that often.
miles o'brien -- >> what are the odds, right? >> and what are the odds he'll ever be on a crash again. miles o'brien is a pilot and one of the smartest people i know about flying and airports and runways and all things. the old cliche is every landing you walk away from is a good one. but this one looks weird. i grew up in winnipeg and took off from a lot of icy, snowy runways. but i still panic every time. and why aren't airports in more of a panic? >> and why aren't more pilots trained in winnipeg where they learn how to do? i want a canadian pilot when i'm landing in a snowstorm. this is a tough airport to get in and out of. 7,000 feet. there's no overrun capability. it has a berm on the side -- it's reclaimed land. and that was what kept this airplane from going into flushing bay. >> they towed that airport off
and out of the way. making way to clear the runway for use back again. most of the people have said, it is a write-off. probably won't ever use that aircraft again. but what forensically will the aircraft tell us in terms of who's at fault for this? >> two little boxes will tell all. and we'll know soon. getting the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder will tell us everything. it will tell us the descent rate, what actions were taken, did the spoilers come out, did the thrust resisters come out, did one brake grab one way or another. was one side of the runway more slick? >> whenever i hear about getting those data recorders and cockpit voice recorders it's usually because we don't have a pilot to speak with or any passengers to speak with either. here we have everyone. so what's going on with the
pilots as of like 20 minutes past getting off that plane yesterday in terms of debrief, ntsb interviews, what kind of interviews are they getting? >> usually the union tells them to be quiet. that's the first step in the process. it's a very orderly thing. they will eventually be interviewed as part of the ntsb process. but the first thing to do is be quiet. what is going on at the ntsb and what will go on is they do a quick listen of the cockpit voice recorder. sometimes something very obvious comes up. and it could take them to the cause of it very quickly. maybe there was a failure of something. or maybe this was a case where it was down to minimums at the margins and maybe the technique wasn't right. >> well, i hope we do get some answers. every time i land at laguardia, i hang on tight, i put my shoes on and cinch that belt because there's water everywhere. always great to see you. >> pleasure, ashleigh.
of the justice department, that its officers systematically discriminate against and treat unfairly the people that they are sworn to serve and protect. ferguson, missouri, if a federal investigation found that your officers were racist and actively stopped black people for traffic stops and arrests, would you still have a job? this is the ferguson police chief still employed today and you'll see this only on cnn because no one else has been able to get an on-camera interview with him for his reaction to that awful federal report about his department and what he plans to do about it. but our sara sidner sure did. she tried to get a straight answer out of him. >> reporter: don't you think you should have known some of the things that came out, the racist e-mails, the numbers -- were you just trying to bilk people out of money instead of protecting them, telling your department to go ticket them? >> okay, thank you. i will be in touch. get ahold of jeff.
>> reporter: i've talked to everyone, i've given you literally every opportunity. we've been talking for days and days and days. all we want is an answer from you. >> i'll analyze the report and take action where necessary. >> reporter: does that mean you're going to stay around? >> i'll take action where necessary. thank you. >> reporter: thank you. >> conversation over. we'll get back to him on that. hopefully he'll get back to us. so that is just ferguson, missouri, population, 21,000. what about the rest of the country? what do most americans think about race relations, say, since the country's first black president took office? there's a good spot to start the poll and that's exactly what we did. cnn poll found nearly 4 of 10 people in america think that race relations have actually become worse in the obama years. 15% think the opposite is true and the rest say that relations between black america and white america pretty much stayed the same, just unchanged. the president himself spoke to a satellite radio show this
morning about exactly that, race relations in america, particularly with the ferguson police department report so fresh in our memories. >> you just saw the ferguson report come out. i don't think that is typical of what happens across the country, but it's not an isolated incident. i think that there are circumstances in which trust between communities and law enforcement have broken down. and individuals or entire departments may not have the training or the accountability to make sure that they are protecting and serving all people, and not just some. >> again, that interview was president obama's first reaction in public to that federal report that uncovered the systematic police abuse against the african-american community in ferguson, missouri. coming up, it only takes one
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things. but that's -- >> speed and altitude, how high, how fast? >> ultimately, we'll know how high he was when he collided with the tree. once the collision occurs, then everything's off because it depends on how much -- >> you obviously know a lot about aviation. what do you think about the skill of this crash landing? >> anytime a human being can survive an accident with a mechanical device, whether it be a car, airplane, helicopter, whatever, is a good day. and that's all i'm going to say. >> will all of the videotapes, or cell phone videos -- will they enter the investigation at all and if so [ inaudible ] --
>> i have not received any. and actually there is a -- on our website, ntsb.gov, there is a link where people can go to upload videos that they may have. they could help us. so i would ask for that. >> are they beneficial at all? >> they can be, absolutely. >> what can you glean from looking at a cell phone video? >> there's a lot of different things. it just depends. there can be audio. there can be angles. there can be a lot of different things. depends on the quality of it and what's shown in it. >> can you talk about the record of this aircraft, what you know about it, the history? >> i do not know much about the airplane other than it was restored. it is a restored aircraft. and my understand is that it was restored and actually was within
award-winning restoral. >> how much of a challenge will it be to get the aircraft out of here and take it to a hangar and literally take it apart if you have to? >> proposal probably be disassembled a little bit here and then transported. >> once you get there, what do you tear apart, what do you go into in the way of the frame, gas tanks, everything else? >> when you're doing an investigation, you're looking at everything, flight controls, you're looking at engine, instrumentation. you try to document everything. >> from your first glance of this crash, what strikes you here? what could be your biggest clue as to what happened? >> anytime that a human being can survive an accident involving an airplane or any type of mechanical, it's a good day.
i do not try -- it is really hard to walk into an accident and not jump to conclusions. conclusions get you in trouble almost every time. and so i'm not going to jump to any conclusions at this point. we'll wait for the evidence to come out and we'll go from there. >> would you educate the top reasons for potential engine failure in a prop aircraft? >> that's a wide area. it's a reciprocal engine. there's a lot of different systems that can happen. this aircraft is a fairly simple aircraft. it's a 1942 vintage aircraft. so there are -- there's not a lot of computers to it and everything. so a lot of it is old-school mechanical. we'll see what it is. we'll look at everything. >> what about bad fuel or fuel
contamination? is there enough fuel in the aircraft or from the remnants from the tank itself to give you an indication about good or bad fuel? >> don't have any indication that there's any bad fuel. we will look at everything. we will not exclude anything at this point. >> do you believe he clipped this tree while landing -- can you characterize what type of landing [ inaudible ] -- >> one of the headlines you might have just gleaned from this ntsb conference in venice, california, is they haven't spoken to the pilot yet and the pilot is a famous guy, indiana jones, harrison ford was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after surviving that plane crash. you heard this gentleman say anytime a human being can survive an accident with a mechanical device is a good day. and there you go as they continue to investigate that incident in venice, california. back right after this. nday dinn at my house... it's a full day for me, and i love it.
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this sunday, march 8th, it will be one year since malaysia airlines flight 370 disappeared. and for most of us, it is just simply still a stunning mystery. but the families, for them, the families of the victims, this is a nightmare that will no go away. even to this day, there's been no trace of the plane, no trace of their loved ones, even though ships continue to search the motion floor. joining me now is justin green, aviation attorney with the law firm representing 27 of the
families who lost loved ones on board that plane. just so happened to also be a military trained pilot, a former marine helicopter pilot. what is the status right now on the two prongs of what's going on right now -- compensating those family members and searching for that missing plane? >> well, let me just tell you, representing the families, the family really only care about one thing, which is the search effort. and right now, they're searching a priority area in the southern indian ocean. that priority area is supposed to be completely searched. the underwater search is supposed to be complete in may. they haven't found anything on the ocean surface. nothing on the bottom of the ocean. nothing washed up on any shore. and the families, what they're concerned about right now is whether they're going to call off the search if they don't find anything by may. >> is there an indication that might happen? >> there are indications from australia who's very involved in the search about perhaps scaling
back the search, making the decision on what steps to go forward with. right now they've decided based on an interpretation of satellite communications with the airplane that it ended up in this area of the southern indiaindian ocean, but so far, they haven't found anything. >> how big is this area? >> 60,000 square kilometers. >> that's massive. we are in the same place that we are when this story just began to die down because it was the same every day -- we had all these developments. we thought we found something, thought we'd narrowed the search. moved the search and effectively nothing more has happened? >> nothing. this very large, modern airplane, 21st century, nothing's been found. and the family groups have an organization called voice 370. and right now, they are trying to get attention to the fact that the search must continue. not only for them. obviously they care about their loved ones. but also we don't know whether something is wrong with that airplane. >> what happened. >> we don't know what happened.
was it the airplane, was it the pilots, was it terrorists? until we know what happened, if you think about prior crashes, twa 800 and the air force crash, we learned from them. we don't know what caused 370 to disappear. >> so why do you think that there's some indication they'll call the search off? the australian prime minister a year ago said, we'll search for that plane until we find it. there is no time line on this. >> it's a question of resources. i think the australian searchers would love to continue. but what they really want to see is a worldwide contribution to that search effort. right now, it's really being borne a lot more on australia's shoulders than it normally would be -- >> why not malaysia? why aren't they chipping in a lot more than australia? >> they are chipping in. >> shouldn't they be directing this thing? i know it's closer to australia.
>> australia has better resources to do the search. the families are very upset with how the malaysian government has handled this, how they've communicated with the families, the lack of what they see as commitment -- >> it started off bad. >> at the end of january this year, 2015, my clients got a call saying, hey, you should go watch what the prime minister is about to say. >> what did he say? >> he said, we're calling it an accident, we're saying that everyone was killed. now the families can go on with their lives. and they have an announcement -- the familyies put out an announcement saying, we are not going to be able to go forward with our lives until we know what happened. >> but does it help, the co compensati compensation? >> it does. the compensation is based on this idea that you have two years under the montreal convention. but the families have to go and say, my loved one is dead. they have to get a death certificate. they have to open a decedant's
esta estate. >> i appreciate the update. remarkable to think it's been a year since this happened. our thoughts go out to your clients and the rest of the families as well. >> thank you. >> tonight, you'll want to stay tuned because we've got the special "vanished," the mystery of malaysia airlines flight 370 airing at 9:00 eastern time right here on cnn. okay, listen up! i'm re-workin' the menu. mayo? corn dogs? you are so outta here! aah! [ female announcer ] the complete balanced nutrition of great-tasting ensure. 24 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and 9 grams of protein. [ bottle ] ensure®. nutrition in charge™. [ bottle ] ensure®. that's the way i look at life. looking for something better. especially now that i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. i was taking warfarin, but wondered if i kept digging,
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cnn's new series "the wonder list," bill weir travels the world in search of people and creatures like on the galapagos islands where there's a plan to save wild tortoises. >> after these fences were torn down and started charging tourists to walk amongst them, this guy is one of the richest in town. 300 bucks a day, that's nice. they're good business partners, these big guys.
i can testify. it is more satisfying seeing a giant tortoise out here than in here. >> and that's why it's "the wonder list." bill weir joining me live. a little more about what you were just saying. charging $3 a day. he gets 100 visitors a day. and it's killing the place -- >> that's not what's killing the giant tortoises. it's complicated. it actually goes back to the pirates and the sailors who would come through the galapagos and use these guys as the protein, they would put them in the hold or ship where they could live without food or water for a year. they would leave goats on the island to mix up their diet -- the goats ate every leaf on the island so the tortoises started starving to death. there's just a couple left.
and ecuador and the darwin station there brought in snippers and helicopters and they shot over 250,000 goats to save a handful of these last giant tortoises -- >> is that going to work? >> it worked. it's working. it's one example of how conservationists in these places have to play god and decide which creatures have to die in order to save others. >> what is the argument against the tourism? if that's not a problem, that guy is doing exactly what he should be doing? >> that's where the rub is. they are wrestling with -- so many people who love animals want to go there and go onto these unspoiled islands and the animals come right up to you. but at a certain point, they start building too many hotels. so it's a real tug of war between -- >> only one problem with your years.
you don't have a co-anchor. >> you want to fill out an application? >> pick me. always good to see you. can't wait for this one. this stuff is amazing. bill weir's "wonder list," sunday night, 10:00 p.m. right here on cnn. thanks for being with us. bill and i have to go because wolf is coming up right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 6:00 p.m. in london. 8:00 p.m. in jerusalem. 9:30 p.m. in tehran. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. up first, from present day atrocities to attacks on the past, isis militants are destroying more cultural treasures. this time, the target is the ancient assyrian sid of anymoni. isis has actually bulldozed virtually the entire site.