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Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Sentenced to Life in Prison; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Proposes Ban on Large Sugary Drinks; Florida Hispanic Voters Examined
Aired June 2, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're in the CNN Newsroom where the news unfolds live this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
It is 8:00 at night Cairo, Egypt, right now, and protesters are cramming into Tahrir Square again. These are live pictures of protestors. Demonstrators started gathering this morning right after an Egyptian judge sentenced former president Hosni Mubarak to life in prison for his role in the killing of hundreds of anti-government protesters last year. The protests got loud after two of Mubarak's sons were acquitted on corruption charges. Six of his former aides were also acquitted.
I want to bring in now Samer Shehata, a professor of Egyptian and Arab politics from Georgetown University. Good to see you. First off, reaction of what we're seeing unfold in Tahrir Square once again as that decision of the court. What does that signal to you?
SAMER SHEHATA, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Clearly, many millions of Egyptians are unhappy because they feel the sentencing was light, that this was not just. Remember, 846 people were killed during those 18 days. That was the figure produced by the official Egyptian committee that investigated the killings during the revolution. And 6,000 were injured. They feel that Mr. Mubarak, his minister of interior, and the six other high-ranking individuals were directly responsible for those deaths. Remember, those six high-ranking officials were acquitted. So they feel this was not justice and that the sentence should have been harsher.
WHITFIELD: Is it bittersweet that there was a court process that involved Hosni Mubarak, they wanted to see him brought to justice, but the outcome wasn't necessarily what a good majority of people were looking for?
SHEHATA: Well, that's completely correct. Certainly no verdict, no ruling would have satisfied all Egyptians. At the same time, people were, as you know, intensely fixated on the court proceedings, the idea that Mr. Mubarak who had ruled the country for 29.5 years as an authoritarian dictator, really, was in a cage put on trial, held accountable, was something that was mesmerizing.
At the same time, you know, this shows us that the Egyptian revolution has not been completely successful. We know, for example, that the prosecutors were not helped with -- did not have full cooperation from the Ministry of Interior that could have supplied more hard evidence as to what actually happened during those 18 days, whether orders were given or not, what the minister of interior said to Mr. Mubarak, and so on. There was reluctance to cooperate with the prosecution to defend their own. So clearly this also shows that not enough change has happened in Egypt in the 16 months since the revolution.
WHITFIELD: It also looks a bit half glass empty, half glass full, because you've had democratic elections taking place. Now there will be a runoff election, and that involves one of the cabinets, you know, who -- candidates who represents the brothers of --
SHEHATA: Muslim Brotherhood.
WHITFIELD: Muslim Brotherhood, but then this coinciding. Might this interfere in any way with the runoff election?
SHEHATA: Well, there's been a great deal of speculation how one particular verdict or another would impact the elections. If Mr. Mubarak was acquitted there's no question that would have angered millions of Egyptians and that they would have more likely then voted in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood anti-regime figure.
This verdict is a kind of, as you said, glass half full, glass half empty situation. So the regime candidate, Mr. Mubarak's last prime minister, who was in the runoff, can say, look, the revolution has succeeded. Mr. Mubarak is now in jail for the rest of his life, and let's move on, and elect me as president.
As I mentioned, I think many Egyptians, those who favored change, who decried corruption and authoritarianism are unsatisfied with this verdict and are likely, I would think, to be skeptical at the very least about Ahmed Shafi, Mr. Mubarak's last prime minister who is running in elections against the Muslim Brotherhood candidate.
WHITFIELD: Professor, thanks so much, Georgetown University. Appreciate that, joining us.
Back here in the U.S. now. Confessed shooter George Zimmerman could return to jail as soon as today. That's because a Florida judge has revoked his bond and ordered them to surrender no later than Sunday afternoon. Originally his bond had been set at $150,000 after he pled not guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But the judge now says Zimmerman lied about how much money he had and was unfairly reaping the benefits of a low bond. Prosecutors argued Zimmerman had thousands of dollars of donations from a PayPal account but pretended that he was broke. They say recorded phone conversations between Zimmerman and his wife prove that.
All right, the first day on marking the Queen's diamond jubilee celebration begins with a bang. All right, a 41-gun salute was fired at the Tower of London while other similar salutes echoed across the United Kingdom marking the 60th anniversary of the queen's coronation. Hundreds of thousands cheered as the queen and Prince Philip arrived at a racecourse near London, her first official engagement of this four-day celebration. And coming up next hour, our own Brooke Baldwin will be joining us live from London with a preview of the event celebrating the Queen's reign.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg, his proposed ban on sugary drinks stirs up some controversy. Is this ban really necessary? Dr. Sujatha Reddy tells us how much sugar we really are drinking and brought some of the samples right there. I bet a lot of these products are very familiar to you.
WHITFIELD: All right, the Center for Consumer Freedom is speaking out today against New York Mayor Bloomberg's proposed sugary drink ban. The "New York Times" printed this ad from the consumer organization, which depicts Mayor Bloomberg as a nanny. The caption says, quote, "You only thought you lived in the land of the free."
So this all started earlier this week when Bloomberg announced a proposed ban on sweet drinks larger than 16 ounces. That's smaller than most medium and large drinks at popular fast-food chains. Dr. Sujatha Reddy is a physician at Premier Care for Women right here in Atlanta with us now with a few samples, just in case you don't know what 16 ounces or more of a beverage actually looks like. So when we talk about this ban that the mayor is proposing, at the bottom -- bottom line is he's saying people are consuming too much sugar and that is contributing to the big weight problem. Is he right about that argument? Is sugar a big no-no? Is it bad for us?
DR. SUJATHA REDDY, PREMIER CARE FOR WOMEN: I think in the quantities that most Americans consume it, yes, I think it is bad for us and part of the obesity epidemic. People might say you don't want government telling us what to do, why do we need to drink all of these large quantities of sugary beverages?
WHITFIELD: You brought the equivalency of these drink, 20 ounce coke, Pepsi, and this much sugar is in each bottle?
REDDY: Yes, 2.5 grams of sugar in each, about for grams per teaspoons, the same in a complete 20 can of red bull, 16 teaspoons equivalency.
WHITFIELD: And fast food and coffee shops won't be affected. This is a vente.
REDDY: Chocolate mocha, Frappuccino.
WHITFIELD: So yummy, but, oh, my gosh.
REDDY: That's 87 grams of sugar, which is 22 teaspoons. It's important for feel see. It wouldn't be in the ban. You're getting about this many teaspoons of sugar when you have one of these.
WHITFIELD: The alternative, water, zero calories. But there are other alternatives. People want to have flavor. So if you have a diet drink? REDDY: These are diet beverages and this is a diet energy drink with no sugar in it. Obviously from a health perspective from a purely sugar perspective, this is better. There is no sugar in this. You can make the argument, we were talking earlier, artificial chemicals and sweeteners, given the obesity problem from a sugar perspective, I do feel these are better.
WHITFIELD: if I'm a person who drinks a beverage like this every day. 16 teaspoons of sugar every day I'm ingesting, over what period of time am I eventually investing like a whole pound of sugar?
REDDY: This is four pounds of sugar. In a month, if you have one of these, or this a day, it would translate into five pounds per month.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness.
REDDY: Which would be, add this to your diet, two pounds of weight gain from just the sugar calorie as month, a five-pound bag of sugar a month, 60 pounds of sugar a year if you had one a day.
WHITFIELD: It's all about moderation. Just because we make it available doesn't mean you have to drink it, consume it every day meaning you're still responsible for your own weight gain. That's your point of view?
REDDY: Absolutely correct. If you could have one of these not every day, every once in a while, way better than every single day.
WHITFIELD: Dr. Sujatha Reddy, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
REDDY: Take care.
WHITFIELD: The jurors in the John Edwards trial are speaking out on why they could only reach a decision on one count against him.
WHITFIELD: The jurors in the John Edwards trial are breaking their silence. The federal corruption trial certainly had its share of drama before Edwards was acquitted on one of the six charges. The judge ordered them back to the jury room in an effort to get them to come up with a decision on the other charges. Ultimately, the jurors were deadlocked. In an interview last night with our Anderson Cooper, the jurors explained why that happened.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All three of you believe that he was guilty on some of the charges. Why -- what did you think he was guilty of? Do you know?
DAVID RECCHION JURY FOREMAN, EDWARDS TRIAL: As it related to him being guilty, I think the charges were very clearly defined by the prosecution, and the instructions were defined by the judge. So we applied the rule of law based on the judge, Judge Eagles, and also the evidence that was able to support at least my opinion in some of the cases where there was guilt.
COOPER: So you think he did do something wrong, but they just couldn't prove it? They just didn't have the evidence to prove it? Is that accurate?
RECCHION: That would be my assessment.
LADONNA GLASS, EDWARDS JUROR: We actually wished there was more evidence and actually able to follow the money to John Edwards, but that wasn't the case.
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WHITFIELD: Prosecutors now have the option to retry Edwards. Most legal experts say that is unlikely.
He is a performer who doesn't mind making listeners a little uncomfortable.
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WHITFIELD: James McMurtry shares some of his inspiration with us.
WHITFIELD: He's well-known artist with an even better dad. Singer, songwriter James McMurtry is the son of author Larry McMurtry who wrote "Lonesome Dove "and "Terms of Endearment."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James McMurtry, your songs are not classically pretty. They're very gritty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've read when you were growing up your dad listened to a lot of Dylan. Was that an indoctrination at all?
JAMES MCMURTRY, SINGER/SONGWRITER: I didn't care for bob dylan as a little kid. I was a Johnny Cash kid.
MCMURTRY: I don't mind if people are a little uncomfortable at times. Can't punish them too long too, hard, just a little sting now and then.
MCMURTRY: I first put that out right before the 2004 elections as a demo.
MCMURTRY: I think it just came around at the right time and a lot of people heard themselves in it.
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WHITFIELD: So why pay full price if you don't have to? In the next hour of the CNN Newsroom, shopping smart with coupons, easy ways to slash your grocery bill.
WHITFIELD: Jobs and the economy are priorities for Hispanic voters, and other issues like immigration are taking a back seat this election year. A recent NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll suggests President Obama were count on Hispanics in movie, 61 percent picked Obama over Romney. CNN's John Zarrella has been talking to Latino voters in the state every candidate craves, Florida.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Patrick Monteiga enjoys as good cigar and a game of darts at his favorite hangout in Tampa. But Monteiga, the publisher of a small weekly newspaper, is not your traditional Cuban-American. He's a Democrat, not a Republican. Monteiga says the issue that will decide how many his Hispanics in Florida will vote is not what you think.
PATRICK MONTEIGA, LA GACETA PUBLISHER: Immigration at the end of the day doesn't affect many voting Hispanics. School affects them. Social security, Medicaid, Medicare, all these other issues affect them, jobs, jobs, jobs.
ZARRELLA: Experts say stereotyping Florida's nearly 1.5 million registered Hispanic voters as focused on only hot button issues like gay marriage, communist Cuba, or immigration is just flat wrong. Ruben Perez says, there's no question about it.
RUBEN PEREZ, YAYA'S CUBAN CAFE AND BAKERY: Small batches, you're going to receive a product roasted every week fresh.
ZARRELLA: Perez owns as restaurant, food stands, and a small coffee roasting business in Orlando. He hears and overhears a lot.
PEREZ: It boils down the economy, getting people to work.
ZARRELLA: And getting them out to vote. The Interstate 4 corridor between Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach is split nearly 50/50 Republican and Democrat, with a large voting block of Cuban-Americans in Tampa and Puerto Ricans in Orlando. Perez himself is 50/50, half Cuban and half Puerto Rican.
PEREZ: It's amazing. When you ask, I'm tired of it. So whatever political party can get those particular folks out to vote probably can win or lose.
ZARRELLA: That may come down to which candidate does a better job at courtship.
SUSAN MCMANUS, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA: The issues are clearly economic, like they are for everyone else. But Hispanics really like to be appealed to. They love for candidates to come to their fiestas, to events at their churches, and to speak a few words in Spanish, but not look fake about it.
ZARRELLA: Sure, there are specific issues that will sway some. Cuban-American Hernandez says one was the Obama's administration granting Raul Castro's daughter permission to attend a conference in San Francisco.
WAL HERNANDEZ, CUBAN EXILE: I don't like Obama before, and now worse.
ZARRELLA: Experts say some hot button issue could gain enough traction between now and November to turn Florida's Hispanics vote one way or the other. Absent that, it will be, as Patrick Monteiga says, jobs, jobs, jobs.
WHITFIELD: Thanks, John Zarrella.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for joining us. "THE ROYALS: QUEEN ELIZABETH, A DIAMOND REIGN," starts now.