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Entries in Interview (16)

Thursday
Jul192012

George Zimmerman Prosecution May Use TV Interview as Evidence

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- George Zimmerman's television interview in which he said he had few regrets about the night he killed teenager Trayvon Martin has been entered as possible evidence in his upcoming murder trial.

In a wide ranging interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Zimmerman, appearing articulate and calm, said he neither regretted carrying a gun that night nor pursuing the 17-year-old Martin.

"I feel that it was all God's plan," he told Hannity. When asked if there was "anything you might do differently," Zimmerman responded, "No Sir."

Thursday morning the prosecution entered the tape of the interview into discovery and could attempt to admit it as evidence in Zimmerman's trial on charges of second degree murder.

Zimmerman, 28, has maintained that he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin attacked him in Sanford, Fla., on the night of Feb. 26.

Towards the end of the interview, following commercial break, Zimmerman pivoted towards the camera and addressed it directly, saying he misunderstood Hannity's earlier question about whether he had any regrets that night.

"I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that would have put me in the position that I wouldn't have to take his life," he said.

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Granting the interview will likely haunt Zimmerman, veteran legal analyst and defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh told ABC News. "He has impeached himself publicly, this is going to be a huge problem for him …  and the prosecutors must be extremely pleased. ... He was making inconsistent statements that they can use in a trial against him."

And some are now questioning whether Zimmerman has begun disregarding his attorney's advice.

After his interview with Hannity Thursday, Zimmerman abruptly cancelled an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, which his attorney Mark O'Mara had set up.

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Walters said on The View Thursday that she arrived to do the interview Wednesday and found a "stubborn" Zimmerman dressed in a T-shirt and demanding certain conditions from her that she was unwilling to agree to. Walters would not specify what Zimmerman asked for in exchange for the interview, but said that she would never agree to it.

She noted that Zimmerman's attorney had promised her an interview earlier in the week and said Thursday that O'Mara "wanted him to do the interview."

Walters said that it was Zimmerman who reneged on the promise after she flew down to Orlando for the appointment. She said that Zimmerman told her during their conversations that he was in "desperate" need of money, as he had apparently already spent the bulk of the more than $200,000 raised through donations since April.

Minutes after Walters' discussion of Zimmerman on The View, Zimmerman made a surprise phone call to the studio and asked to be put on the air via phone. Walters declined Zimmerman's request and said on air, "Mr. Zimmerman, if you could not do the interview yesterday, I don't think we should do a quick one today. In the future if you feel differently, we will consider it."

Zimmerman also decided to reactivate his fundraising website, TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com in order to raise more money. He created the website in April without telling his attorneys at the time, but later took it down after hiring O'Mara as his lawyer.

A representative for O'Mara said that the attorney had acquiesced to Zimmerman's request to re-launch the website over which Zimmerman would be granted editorial control. It would be primarily used to solicit donations.

Zimmerman has been described as "erratic" and difficult by his former attorneys, who quit after saying that Zimmerman would not listen to their advice.

Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said in April that they were withdrawing from the case because they had lost contact with Zimmerman, who refused to answer their calls, texts and emails. Sonner said that Zimmerman had independently been talking to Hannity and calling the Florida State Attorney Angela Corey against his advice.

Zimmerman turned himself into authorities shortly after his attorneys quit, and was subsequently charged. He is now represented by O'Mara.

O'Mara did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul182012

Border Patrol Applicant Admits to Molestation, Bestiality in Job Interview

Yuma County Sheriff's Office(YUMA, Ariz.) -- Cody Slaughter may have been a little too forthcoming while interviewing for a job with the border patrol.

The 22-year-old from Somerton, Ariz., was arrested last week after U.S. Customs and Border Protection notified the Yuma County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) that during a July 2 "pre-employment screening" Slaughter admitted that he had molested a 2-year-old girl eight years ago, had sexual interactions with a dog, horse and pig, and had a history of drug use.  Slaughter later confirmed his statements to sheriff investigators, YCSO Maj. Leon Wilmot said in a police report.

Slaughter was arrested on charges of one count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor when he was 14 and three counts of bestiality between 2004 and 2012, but he was released on July 10 because the Yuma County Attorney's Office had not yet filed criminal charges against him.

Prosecutors have sent the case back to the YCSO for further investigation, and Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Roger Nelson said charges will likely be filed eventually, the Yuma Sun reported.

Justice of the Peace Jorge Lozano told Slaughter that charges could still be filed later, in which case he would be summoned back to court, the Sun reported.

According to the police report, the YCSO obtained a search warrant based on Slaughter's statements and searched his house.  Investigators recovered "several items that directly link the suspect to his prior statements and admissions," Wilmot said in the report.

The state has one year to file a misdemeanor charge and up to seven years to file other charges, Lozano said, according to the Sun.

Slaughter did not respond to multiple calls placed on Monday and Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Rielle Hunter Says She Doesn't Believe in Infidelity

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Rielle Hunter and John Edwards have ended their controversial affair after she released a tell-all memoir that contained negative comments about his marraige Elizabeth Edwards, who is now deceased after losing her battle to cancer.

Hunter said today that one reason they split up was because she was "no longer interested in hiding."  The former mistress dropped her bombshell during an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.

"We are a family, but as of the end of last week John Edwards and I are no longer a couple. Not at all," she said. When asked if she still loved Edwards, Hunter replied, "I do."

Stephanopoulos asked if Edwards still loved her and she said, "You have to ask him. I think he does. I mean I feel that he does."

The interview began with Stephanopoulos asking Hunter, who gave birth to a girl named Frances Quinn with Edwards, whether knowing what she knows now, would she do it all again.

"Would I do that again?" repeats Hunter almost incredulously. "No way. Absolutely not."

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Hunter's announcement came out the same day her revealing memoir What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me was released.

The book revealed that Edwards had several mistresses before her, but it also angered people for her harsh criticism of Edwards' wife Elizabeth, who was dying of cancer at the time of their affair. Elizabeth Edwards has since died of the disease.

Hours after the GMA appearance Hunter sat down with the five female hosts on the ABC talk show The View where she insisted: "I'm a mom, I'm not a mistress," and "I'm not a big believer in infidelity."

Her comments got a very pointed reception on the show. Host Whoopi Goldberg asked Hunter how she could "trash a dead lady," referring to Elizabeth Edwards.

Hunter describes Elizabeth Edwards in her book as "crazy," and a "venomous" "witch on wheels" who is given to fits of "rage."

"I wrote the book to tell the truth," Hunter replied. "What I was told about their marriage along the way, my experience of that – I was truthful about."

Hunter was also asked if she didn't believe in infidelity how she could approach the former senator when they first met with, "You are so hot."

"I didn't feel that was a come-on," Hunter said, adding that the comment "just flew out of my mouth." Hunter said the couple has been worn down by the scrutiny and pressure brought on by their high profile affair that began while Edwards was running for the 2008 presidential nomination.

"For me, for my part in it, it's because I'm no longer interested in hiding, hiding our relationship," she said. "I don't know if you've noticed, but we've had a lot of media scrutiny. It's complicated and it's hard. It wears you down after a while."

Hunter, 48, wouldn't say whether one of them made the break.

"That's private. We decided together to end it. It's hard. It's painful," she said.

She rejected a suggestion that the relationship may have been a mistake.

"I know many things in the relationship were a mistake but I don't regret loving him," she said.

Hunter said that people should read the book before criticizing her.

"There is so much misinformation and distortion about this story and people form opinions without knowing what really happened," she said.

"The public persona of John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards -- and me, for that matter -- are so wrong. I think that it helps that we all are real humans and we all are not perfect," she said. "I don't think it serves the kids, including my own daughter, to have people that their father is a demon, when he's not, and that Elizabeth was a saint, because she wasn't, and that I'm a homewrecker. It doesn't serve anybody."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Rielle Hunter: No Regrets About Following Her Heart

ABC/ PHIL ELLSWORTH(NEW YORK) -- Some see her as the woman who brought down former presidential candidate John Edwards, but Rielle Hunter, who in 2008 gave birth to Edwards’ daughter Quinn, told ABC News 20/20 anchor Chris Cuomo that she is something very different.

“First and foremost, I’m a mom,” she said in an exclusive interview Cuomo, which will air this Friday.  “And I’m also a woman who fell in love with a married man. I’m not the first woman who has done that and I’m not going to be the last.”

Hunter has penned a revealing memoir with many new revelations about her relationship with Edwards. What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me, to be published June 26, details how she got caught up in one of the biggest political scandals in recent history, the status of her relationship with Edwards and his involvement in the life of their now 4-year-old daughter.

People magazine obtained exclusive excerpts from the book, including Hunter’s description of how Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth Edwards, reacted after learning of the affair:

“Elizabeth requested all the tapes (I’d made of the campaign). She locked herself in a room to watch,” Hunter wrote. “On one tape she saw Johnny walking into a room and his reaction to seeing me. She apparently told him that he never once looked at her the way he looked at me. So she took that bit and put it on her computer as a screen saver in order to watch it over and over again.”

Last month Edwards was acquitted on charges of accepting illegal campaign contributions from a supporter. The Justice Department will not retry the case.

As for her and John Edwards?

“I’m still in love with John,” Hunter wrote. “That didn’t’ go away, shockingly enough. Marriage? I have no idea. I’m not a big fan of the institution, but never say never.”

In the end, Hunter says she has regrets, but not about following her heart because she has her daughter Quinn, whom she calls the love of her life.

Watch Chris Cuomo’s exclusive interview on ABC’s 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

ABC News Exclusive: Facebook to Help Find Organ Donors

Rick Rowell/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Conversations over the dinner table with his med-student girlfriend helped Mark Zuckerberg formulate his latest big idea — harnessing the power of Facebook to help eliminate the critical shortage of organs for patients desperately in need of life-saving transplants.

And it was his friendship with Apple founder Steve Jobs, whose life was extended by years following a liver transplant, in part, that spurred the 27-year-old Facebook founder and CEO to help put that idea into practice.

“Facebook is really about communicating and telling stories… We think that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends. And that can be a big part of helping solve the crisis that’s out there,” Zuckerberg told ABC’s Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview at Facebook’s headquarters.

Starting Tuesday, users in the United States and U.K. will be able to add that they’re organ donors to their Timelines, and if they’re not organ donors, they can find links to official organ donation registries and instantly enroll.

“We want to make it simple,” said Zuckerberg. “You just put in the state or country that you’re from, so that we can help link you to the official registries.”

In the “health and wellness” section of users’ timelines, users can list their status as organ donors and explain the decision to their friends, in an effort to raise awareness about the need for donors.

More than 112,000 Americans are awaiting organs, and 18 people die every day from the lack of available organs, according to Donate Life America, a non-profit alliance partnering with Facebook.

Zuckerberg, 27, has made a fortune on the idea that people want to share everything – from photos, to the intimate details of their romantic lives. Yet, Zuckerberg himself is famously private, keeping details of his personal life – not to mention a much-anticipated Facebook IPO — under tight wraps.

In conversation with Roberts, Zuckerberg kept the door on the IPO tightly shut – citing the government-mandated quiet period before the IPO — and saying only “we try to keep very focused on the long term… We’ll be judged by how good the things are that we build and whether people like them.”

But he revealed some small details of his personal life, lighting up when talking about the dinnertime chats he had with girlfriend Priscilla Chan that helped lead to the donation initiative.

“She’s in medical school now,” Zuckerberg said of Chan. “She’s going to be a pediatrician, so our dinner conversations are often about Facebook and the kids that she’s meeting.”

Chan told him stories about patients she meets “getting sicker as they don’t have the organ that they need.” But there were other stories too, of children who ultimately received transplants. Stories, Zuckerberg called, “unbelievable.”

From Chan he learned of one boy in need of a heart transplant. His skin had turned blue from lack of oxygen, but within weeks of receiving a transplant he was out again playing sports.

“How can that not make you happy?” he asked.

Chan inspired Zuckerberg to try to learn Mandarin Chinese in one year. That venture, he admitted, was unsuccessful, but he picked up enough to natter with Chan’s elderly grandmother.

Zuckerberg said he was further prompted to make Facebook an important tool to encourage donors to register following the death of Steve Jobs, whom he called a “friend.” Though Zuckerberg never talked with Jobs specifically about a Facebook donation tool, he said many of the people involved in the project were inspired after Jobs’ death.

“That definitely, I think, was something that we all had in mind as we were building this out… His story is just one of many, of people who both were able to have an organ transplant that made his life longer and he was extremely thankful for that,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook was initially developed by Zuckerberg while still an undergraduate at Harvard. The site was initially conceived as place for college students to socialize. Recently, however, Zuckerberg said he’s been surprised by the power of the network and the way users use its tools creatively in times of crisis, like finding loved-ones following tornadoes in the Midwest or the tsunami in Japan.

“People are using the same social tools that they’re using just to keep in touch with people on a day-to-day basis to solve these important issues,” he said.

The technology behind the donation application, Zuckerberg said, is a “pretty simple thing.” But the ability to link people across hundreds of miles and save their lives? That, he called, “amazing.”

Both the company and organ donation advocates are hopeful the new tool could change the landscape of the organ donation process.

“I think it’s possible that we will see an impact over the next couple of years, where we would imagine eliminating the transplant waiting list,” said Dr. Andrew Cameron, Transplant Surgeon at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

Obama to ABC News: Somalia Rescue Made Me Think of Own Daughters

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama on Thursday expressed sympathy with the father of the American hostage rescued by Navy SEALs Tuesday, saying the ordeal made him think of his own daughters.

“I cannot imagine what he went through – given Malia and Sasha – and for him to be able to stay strong and then for our incredible men and women in uniform to do what they do, it makes you proud about this country,” Obama told ABC’s Diane Sawyer.

The president said he had not spoken to Jessica Buchanan, who was held hostage for three months, but said it was important for him that she connected with her father.

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Obama on Thursday revealed new details of the Navy SEAL operation, which was going on as he was making his State of the Union speech.

“On this one, they were moving so fast that I actually had to give the order and the directions and then they were out,” he said. “It was not a situation where I could actually talk to the folks who were directing the operation, and it was still ongoing while were in the middle of the State of the Union speech.”

Watch World News tonight at 6:30 p.m. EST for Diane Sawyer’s interview with President Obama.

Before he made his speech, the president was seen telling Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “good job” in reference to the Navy Seal operation.

“He does a good job generally, but we were very specifically referring to the operation in Somalia because at that time we knew that she had already been recovered along with the Danish hostage and they weren’t yet back to Djibouti — the American base — but we knew at that point that they were safe and that everybody had successfully achieved the mission,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

Giffords’ Resignation ‘Right Decision,’ Mark Kelly tells ABC News

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- A day after wife Gabrielle Giffords resigned from Congress, Mark Kelly told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff that “it was certainly the right decision,” despite the difficulty of stepping down from her position.

“Over the past month or six weeks, she came to realize that she was not going to be in a position to run for re-election,” Kelly said. “The goal had been for her to get back to work and run for re-election but she was aware that wasn’t going to happen. She knew that she had to continue with her rehab.”

Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, appeared on the House floor Wednesday to deliver her resignation letter, a little more than a year after being shot in the head.

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“This past year my colleagues and staff have worked to make sure my constituents were represented in Congress,” the Tucson native, 41, wrote in her letter of resignation. “But if I can’t return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. representative who can give 100 percent to the job now.”

Kelly, a former astronaut, said Giffords planned to remain politically active and that she hoped a moderate like herself would fill her vacant seat.

For now, Giffords is spending five to six days a week in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Kelly said she still struggled with communication but was finding progress with intensive speech therapy.

While Kelly said he was certain his wife will return to public service, he said he will not be running in 2012.

“No way,” he said. “I will not be on the ballot. … I’m never one to close any door -- there’s no point in doing that -- but no one needs to worry about me gathering those signatures.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec122011

Cincinnati Basketball Brawl Could Lead to Charges

ESPN/ABC News(CINCINNATI) -- An Ohio prosecutor is considering criminal charges in the wake of Saturday’s bench-clearing brawl between cross-city basketball rivals Cincinnati and Xavier.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said he would review the game to determine if criminal charges such as aggravated battery are appropriate. The two schools suspended eight players on Sunday over the incident and now their coaches are struggling to make sense of what happened.

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, appearing on ESPN, threatened to keep his players benched if they don’t apologize publicly: “They’re going to sit in front of a camera and say how sorry they are and how grateful they are for getting a second chance.” Cronin suggested the episode was personally humiliating. “I’ve never been this embarrassed.”

The most egregious punch was thrown by Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates, who smashed Xavier’s Kenny Frease in the face, leaving him with a swollen black eye. Cincinnati suspended Gates, junior Cheikh Mbodj and freshman Octavius Ellis for six games each. Freshman Ge’Lawn Guyn was suspended for one game. Cronin said the four suspended players will have to earn their way back on to the team.

“They have no idea of how lucky they are to even be on this team, at this school, let alone to be on scholarships,” the angry coach said.

But Xavier players defended their actions after the game. At a post-game news conference, star guard Tru Holloway complained of being “disrespected” by Cincinnati players before the game. “We got a whole lot of gangsters in the locker room, not thugs but tough on the court.”

Those words led to a one-game suspension as Xavier coach Chris Mack clearly was unhappy with Holloway’s remarks. “It was the wrong choice of words and it’s a problem and our fault for putting them up there (at a news conference) in the first place,” Mack added.

Xavier suspended three other players: Dezmine Wells, who was ejected, along with Landen Amos, and Mark Lyons. The fight led game officials to call the game with 9.4 seconds left and 8th-ranked Xavier leading 76-53.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct272011

Exclusive: Madoff 'Can Live with' Fraud Victims' Anger, but Not Family's

Mario Tama/Getty Images(BUTNER, N.C.) -- Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was forced to "let...go" of his wife almost a year ago and is plagued by "horrible nightmares" as he sits in a North Carolina prison, he told ABC News' Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview.

Though he said he "can live with" the anger of people he defrauded out of billions of dollars, and he is adjusting to the rhythms of life in prison, even at 73 years old, he is troubled by anger and turmoil within his own family.

"Not seeing my family and knowing they hate me" is the worst thing about being in prison, he said. "I betrayed them."

Asked what he'd like to say to his grandchildren, he said, without apparent emotion, "I am sorry to have caused them pain."

As he sat across from Walters during a two-hour conversation at the Federal Correction Complex at Butner, N.C., on Oct. 14, Madoff often seemed to be trying as much as possible to feel no pain himself.

Madoff said he passes the time by reading, recently finishing a book about Wall Street robber barons.

The man who ran a Ponzi scheme of more than $60 billion has held six or seven different jobs in prison, he said, and he makes $170 a month.

He said he is relieved to be free from years of fear he'd be discovered as a fraud and finally has overcome thoughts of suicide.  

Repeatedly throughout the interview he told Walters that he was guilty of the crimes that put him in prison, saying "I deserved to be punished. I deserved to go to jail."

"I feel safer here than outside," Madoff said. "Days go by.  I have people to talk to and no decisions to make...I know that I will die in prison.  I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear.  Now I have no fear -- nothing to think about because I'm no longer in control of my own life."

Though Madoff has people to talk to in prison, his family situation is far more complicated.  He has not spoken to his wife, Ruth Madoff, since after the suicide of their son, Mark Madoff, on Dec. 11, 2010.  And Mark Madoff's widow, Stephanie Madoff Mack, has told ABC News she holds Bernie Madoff responsible for her son's death and, "I'd spit in his face," if she ever saw him again.

Madoff told Walters that his wife used to visit him at the prison weekly and they spoke on the phone daily.  In order to visit Butner, N.C., Ruth Madoff would drive 12 hours alone, stay at a motel overnight and drive 12 hours back to Florida, which was hard on her.

But after their son's suicide, the couple had an emotional final meeting at the prison at which Ruth Madoff "asked me to let her go, which I understood," Madoff said.

Madoff told Walters he has not reached out to his wife since that final meeting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep132011

Gabrielle Giffords, Husband to Appear on ABC TV Special

Tom Williams/Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, will appear on an ABC Television Network special in November in what will be their first interview together since Giffords was shot and seriously wounded during a meet-and-greet event in Tucson last January.

The special airing on Nov. 14 at 10 p.m. ET will occur one day before the publication of the couple's memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.

ABC World News anchor Diana Sawyer hosts the program that will follow Giffords' and Kelly's lives together before and after the shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including the Arizona Democrat who suffered a bullet wound to the brain.

Giffords' recovery has been described as miraculous given the extent of her injury, although she continues to undergo rehabilitation and is likely to for some time.

Her actual participation in the interview with Sawyer will largely depend on the progress of her recovery.

Giffords appeared in Washington last month for the first time since the shooting to vote on the debt ceiling bill that eventually passed Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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