tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 20, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, the apology. a courtroom surprise. george zimmerman takes the stand, addressing trayvon martin's parents directly about the night he shot their son. bird strikes. three planes have been hit by birds in 24 hours. one carrying the secretary of state. another was air force two, carrying vice president joe biden. held captive for years. an american father gets one phone call a week to speak with the family back home. today, he used the call to make a desperate plea to our own andrea mitchell. and pinning it, the new obsession that helps millions of women share their favorite things. "nightly news" begins now. good evening.
since the wright brothers' first flight, we have competed with birds for space in the sky. they were there first, and from time to time, they remind us of that. occasionally with dire consequences. over just the past 24 hours, three jet aircraft have been hit. in the first instance, tragedy was avoided at new york's jfk when the jet was able to circle around back. but now we have learned air force two carrying the vice president and another jet carrying secretary of state clinton have also been hit. all of them in the past 24 hours. nbc's pete williams is with us tonight with this still developing story. pete, good evening. >> brian, it happened to secretary clinton's plane while she was flying from brussels to paris. the air force landed it safety, but sometimes birds weighing only a few pounds can cripple a 90,000-pound aircraft. riveting video captures how it sounds and looks when it's bird versus machine.
>> an engine failure, the right engine. declaring an emergency due to a bird strike. >> shortly after this delta airlines flight took off yesterday from new york's jfk airport on a flight to los angeles, it lost its right engine after flying into a flock of birds. the pilot was able to turn it around and land the boeing 757 safely to the relief of the 172 passengers on board. last night, the same problem for one of the most carefully maintained and heavily protected american planes in the sky, air force two, flying vice president biden. it's been grounded after it had a bird strike on a flight to santa barbara. vice president biden continued his schedule using another air force plane. the most dramatic example came three year ago with the most famous save in aviation history. in what will forever be known at the miracle on the hudson, sully sullenberger brought his flight down on new york's hudson river after flying into a huge flock
of birds, losing power in both engines. airports have long struggled to keep birds away from airport. some fire cannons to frighten them off. others use dogs to patrol the runways. the builders of jet engines, including ge, a part owner of nbc, test their ability to withstand this problem that is as old as the jet age, by tossing frozen birds into the turbines. sometimes they come too fast and in too large a number for even the most modern jet engine to handle. compounding the problem is this fact, many of the nation's busy airports are located next to rivers, lakes, or the ocean, places birds consider their hubs, too, brian. >> what an incredible turn of events in the last 24 hours. pete williams starting us off in washington, pete, thanks. in a florida courtroom, a surprise move today from a man who has been at the center of news of late. george zimmerman took the stand in the killing of trayvon martin and took a chance, speaking directly to martin's parents at this hearing today.
about the night he shot their son. the judge agreed to let zimmerman out on bail while he awaits trial on a charge of second degree murder. and he could be free in several days. we get the latest tonight from nbc's kerry sanders. >> george zimmerman, hands shackled, entered the court room, and for the first time, he and trayvon martin's parents saw each other face-to-face. the 28-year-old who fired a single shot that killed 17-year-old trayvon martin took the stand to apologize. >> i wanted to say i am sorry for the loss of your son. i did not know how old he was. i thought he was a little younger than i am. i did not know if he was armed or not. >> by putting him on the stand, zimmerman's lawyers opened him up to limited questions from the prosecutor. >> why did you wait so long to
tell mr. martin and the victim's mother, father and mother, why did you wait so long to tell them? >> i was told not to communicate with them. >> even through your attorney, you didn't ask to do it right away? your former attorneys or anything? >> i did ask them to express that to them. >> the defense challenged the state's lead investigator, who co-authored the probable cause affidavit. it reads in part, zimmerman confronted martin and a struggle ensued. >> do you have any evidence that supports who may have started the fight? >> no. >> what did he tell the officers? >> that he was the victim in this and that it was martin that confronted him. and assaulted him. >> the affidavit also says zimmerman profiled the black teenager. >> why did you use the word profile other than notice, observe, saw, or anything besides a very precise word, profile? and by the way, was that your word? did you come up with that word? >> i don't recall. >> but investigator gilbreath
said was zimmerman told police the night of the shooting doesn't add up. >> wouldn't you agree a lot of the statement could be contradicted by the evidence, either witnesses or based on what he said? >> yes. >> before granting zimmerman a $150,000 bond -- >> zimmerman pleads. >> the judge listened as zimmerman's father testified via speaker phone about a photo taken by a neighbor and broadcast today on abc. he said it proves his son was beaten by trayvon martin and confirms what he saw the day after the shooting. >> he had a protective cover over his nose. his lip was swollen and cut. and there were two vertical gashes on the back of his head. >> by law, trayvon martin's parents were not allowed to speak in court today. their attorneys call zimmerman's apology self serving. >> when he made all of those statements to the police, why not show remorse there? if he was sincerely apologetic for killing this unarmed child?
>> among the conditions of the release, zimmerman has to wear an ankle monitor that can be tracked via gps, even if he leaves the state. brian. >> kerry sanders, heavy rainfall this afternoon in florida. kerry, thanks. >> our chief legal correspondent savannah guthrie is here with us tonight in the studio. savannah, i watched today as a civilian, and i was surprised. you watch as a lawyer, do you think they took a risk in doing this? >> no question. i was surprised, too. it's very unorthodox to call a defendant to the stand to testify like this. at this stage of the hearing, and it could backfire. here you have george zimmerman apologizing to the parents, but remember, his story is that trayvon martin beat him so badly that he feared for his very life. so why is he apologizing? he also said, i didn't know he was young. i didn't know he was unarmed. that's almost a tacit acknowledgment that he was mistaken about the facts of the case. those statements may backfire at a future trial. on the other hand, it appears
zimmerman and his defense lawyer are speaking to a wider audience. not just trayvon martin's parents, but potentially the jurors who could be out there watching and wanting to see some remorse from the defendant. >> either way, it felt like something of a moment today. savannah guthrie, as always, thank you. >> the unfolding secret service prostitution scandal that has soiled the good name of that organization continued to unfold today. amid continued indications there will be more evidence, more embarrassment and fallout, all involving the security advance team that traveled to cartagena, colombia, prior to president obama's trip there. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker is with us again tonight. kristen, good evening. >> good evening to you, brian. moments ago, the secret service announced that three more employees have, quote, chosen to resign, which means now there are a total of six that are on their way out. the rest are on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation, and it's really the result of this prostitution scandal.
secret service officials dispatched to capitol hill today to contain the fallout from the widening prostitution scandal. they told senate staffers there was not a big hooker party at the hotel caribe last week, no evidence of drug use, and a dispute between an agent and a colombian woman over money occurred because the agent claims he didn't know she was a prostitute. facebook pictures have now appeared in news reports suggesting this could be the woman in question. because there's no confirmation, nbc news is blurring her face. mark potter is in colombia. >> the woman everybody is talking about is represented by a well known cartagena lawyer. and he says his new client will sell her story. he also told reporters his client had left town but is willing to talk to investigators. nbc news has also learned, they're now poring over security camera video from the hotel caribe here where the scandal broke last week.
>> we're also learning more about the agents separated from the agency earlier this week. greg stokes, a supervisor with the canine division was recommended for removal. and david chaney, also a supervisor, retired under pressure. both have retained lawrence berger as their attorney. berger told nbc news he's representing both men. he couldn't comment on why chaney is retaining counsel, but he said stokes is going to vigorously defend himself in the administrative process that is available. chaney faces fresh scrutiny after this photo reportedly surfaced on his facebook page, showing him on sarah palin's security detail along with a comment he posted, i was really checking her out, if you know what i mean. last night, the former governor expressed her outrage. >> check this out, bodyguard. you're fired. >> palin also took direct aim at the president. >> it's a known out there that our president has poor management skills. >> now, white house press secretary jay carney dismissed that criticism as pure politics.
we also want to tell you, brian, tonight, for the first time, president obama was briefed on the situation by the director of the secret service, mark sullivan. brian. >> kristen welker at the white house again tonight on the story. kristen, thanks. >> there's news about an american held captive in cuba for years now. allen gross gets precisely one phone call a week, usually to hear the voices of his wife and daughters back home. today, he used the one weekly phone call to make a desperate plea to our own andrea mitchell who is with us tonight from washington to share the details on this tonight. andrea, good evening. >> brian, i was certainly surprised. i did not solicit this at all. i asked gross today if he had any message to send, his answer, get me the hell out of here. senator pat leahy visited him who was sentenced to 15 years for bringing communications equipment into cuba for a u.s. government democracy project. cuba said in violation of their strict laws.
today, he told me, quote, i did nothing legally or morally wrong. i have no guilty conscious. he's been pleading for parole to visit his 90-year-old mother evelyn who made a video appealing to raul castro to see her son before she dies of lung cancer. gross told me, quote, it's no longer about cuban/u.s. relations. it's about my family and me. he does get that one call a week, usually to his wife judy who sends him packages with the sunday "new york times," "the economist," and his favorite snack, peanut m&ms. judy told me tonight she didn't mind his calling me because she wants to get the word out about his plight. >> andrea mitchell who has routinely asked cuban officials about this case, after this surprise phone call today, andrea, thanks. two years ago tonight, 41 miles off the coast of louisiana, an oil well deep below the gulf of mexico had a blowout in the deep water horizon drilling rig attached to it blew up in a giant ball of flames. 11 men died. we didn't know that night it was just the beginning of something
else, the largest oil disaster in u.s. history. those relentlessly depressing pictures of the plume of oil underwater, five million barrels right into the gulf. while tourism is back and seafood has been deemed okay to eat, an environmental adviser to the louisiana governor said last week there's still 200 miles of oiled coastline, including what he called clear, retrievable oil in some places, which he added was completely unacceptable. still ahead here on "nightly news" on a friday night, the mystery that sent shock waves through a generation of parents. now the search to find missing boy capturing attention far and wide. and later, for some, it's become an absolute obsession, and it's helping millions of women share their favorite stuff.
missing before school in 1979, he became the face of the missing children movement in this country, and his disappearance became an enduring mystery. yesterday, after 33 years, the fbi and police started digging in his old neighborhood, based on new questions about what's being called a person of interest in the case. we get more tonight from nbc's ron allen. >> in new york's fashionable soho district, investigators remove the walls and cement basement floor added to this building some time after etan patz disappeared. >> we're hopeful we can bring some level of comfort to the parents. >> it's about halfway along etan's two-block walk to a school bus stop that he never finished nearly 33 years ago. back then, miller of brooklyn, new york, pictures here in 2004, had a workshop in the basement. he was questioned by police back then but never charged. sources say miller who is now
76, raised suspicions when police recently questioned him again about etan. >> i'm not saying anything further other than mr. miller denied involvement in what happened to this beautiful young boy. >> lisa cohen has written about the case. >> the day before he went missing, he came home and he was very excited because he had this dollar bill he had given him for some sort of work he had done. >> she said he told his parents he wanted to spend the dollar in a store on his way to the bus stop. they spoke to etan's father, stanley patz, yesterday. >> it's a double-edged sword for him because when this happens, there is -- there is this hope, but in token, there's this swarm of all this attention. >> it's an iconic case that has recaptured the nation's attention. in chicago -- >> it was a story that shocked chicago and the nation. >> in los angeles -- >> oh, yeah, everybody is a little more guarded with their children, of course. >> and it's brought back that painful memory for ursela, an
8-year-old when he disappeared, who like etan, walked to a bus stop in the same neighborhood to get to school. >> i hope they do find something, just an answer. the worst part is not having any shred of an answer, of anything. >> investigators say this operation could last for several more days. and they still refuse to say if it's likely they'll find anything significant. also late today, police sources confirmed another man, a friend of the handyman, is also under investigation in this case. brian. >> ron allen here in new york tonight. ron, thanks. up next here this evening, something we have always been told is bad. well, a new study says it's good for us.
hundreds of people turned out along the route to welcome corporal carnes who was escorted by hundreds of patriot guard riders from north carolina and virginia. >> we don't know for sure how he got there, but there was a kid on the field in chicago yesterday. top of the seventh inning. white sox versus the baltimore orioles, when everyone noticed someone smaller than a player. at first, he was macaulay culkin like in his capture avoidance ability. running past security before being captured by the left fielder. he and his parents were ejected from the game, which the orioles won. >>alize there's a danger this next item will be used to justify behavior by friends, family, or coworkers, but a new study out shows cursing can actually be good for you. participants have measurably lower levels of anxiety after they unleashed a few choice ones and we're told an artfully placed curse word, their language, not ours, can even promote bonding in the work place.
>> if you have ever seen the movie "hangover" you'll notice the main thought point of this true store. three young ieng englishmen on vacation in australia went on a drunken rampage at a sea world park. when they woke up, there was a penguin in their hotel room. their escapades which they managed to record with a camera phone, thankfully, also included a swim in the dolphin tank at the park. they panicked in the morning when they found the penguin in their hotel room. dumped him in a nearby canal. he was rescued by passers by. he's doing fine. the boys, not so much. they have a court date for stealing a protected animal. when we come back, the little company that could with a funny name that has millions of people pinning up a storm.
in the fast-moving world of social networking, there is a new place to be, pinterest has become the third biggest site behind facebook and twitter and the fastest growing right now, and seemingly out of nowhere. our report tonight from kristen dahlgren. >> jenny jackson could be a poster child for pinterest. >> pinterest became an obsession.
>> the 28-year-old hairstylist and photographer uses beuse s pin board for everything from recipes to decorating ideas. >> i think a good way to describe it is it's folders of things you collect and do and want to do, inspirations. >> she was recently inspired to form a group with other fanatics to try out their pinned projects. >> that looks great. i'm going to take a picture. pinned. >> the growth has been phenomenal. from 3.3 million users to almost 19 million in just six months. making it one of the fastest growing internet companies ever. >> with millions of visitors and all of those images, you might expect pinterest to have a huge high-tech headquarters. you would be wrong. this is it, a small, quiet room in palo alto with about 30 employees. >> as a kid, i was really into nature and really into science. >> co-founder ben silverman was a bug collector as a child with an idea to take collecting online. it paid off. forbes recently estimated the
two-year-old company could be worth over $7 billion. >> pinterest has the women and the buyers. they have the money, right? and they have them in huge numbers. and these people are addicted. >> the perfect target for companies. 85% of pinterest page views are from women, most between the age of 21 and 34. from the midwest, and households that earn more than $75,000 a year. everyone wants a piece of the pinning. oscar de la renta recently live pinned his bridal show. political campaigns pin, and so does "nightly news." >> we wanted to build something we were really proud of, something that was really beautiful and useful. >> it looks awesome. >> in doing that, the new internet darling with a funny name may have just hit the bull's eye. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, palo alto, california. >> that's our broadcast on a friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams.
of course, we hope to see you right back here on monday night. in the meantime, have a great weekend. good night. good evening. i'm marla tellez in for jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. swimming pool, shorts might be the combination for this weekend. we have several reports tonight. chief meteorologist jeff ranieri is tracking the conditions inside of our nbc bay area weather center. we begin with jodi hernandez who joins us live from walnut creek. maybe we should barbecue after the newscast. >> reporter: sounds good to me. what a difference a week makes. last week we were out
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