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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  July 14, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> i like that. we'll see you at 6:00. good night. on this sunday night, after the verdict that has polarized the nation. cheers and protests as george zimmerman is found not guilty. tonight reaction from all sides in this closely watched case and what's next for george zimmerman, why his legal concerns could be far from over. on the rise. at the height of summer travel season, gas prices suddenly spike, and are said to rise even higher, leaving millions of families to pay the price. tracking your mail. after revelations about the government tracking your calls, what we've learned about a similar program at the post office. and the tragic loss of a bright, young star. tonight the latest on the death of "glee" actor cory monteith, as hollywood mourns one of its own.
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good evening. last night the jury spoke and today it seems everyone else has weighing in on the not guilty verdict in the george zimmerman second-degree murder trial. from the streets to social media, even to the white house. the shooting death of teenager trayvon martin in sanford, florida, almost 17 months ago, opened up emotional questions about racial profiling and about a person's right to defend themselves. it also sparked spirited demands for justice. tonight now that justice has spoken, those conversations have maybe grown louder as thousands have taken to the streets in cities coast to coast. our team remains in place in sanford, and kerry sanders was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, starts us off. kerry? >> reporter: good evening, lester. residents here in sanford and across the nation gripped by this trial may want to know what swayed the jury to reach their not guilty verdict.
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but tonight none of the six anonymous women from this community who sat on the jury has revealed their identity. outside the courthouse the reaction was immediate. >> the whole system's guilty. >> how can you murder an innocent child and sleep at night? how can you? >> the verdict is the verdict and it can't be changed, but i think as a community we have to pull closer together and try to make sense of everything. >> nationwide protest! >> reporter: and it's not just sanford. the nation watched this trial closely. in the early morning hours in washington, anger over the verdict. >> we are all trayvon! >> reporter: and in cities like chicago and new york, the verdict touched a nerve. >> i have a young daughter and i thought to myself, if it could happen to him, it could happen to her. >> being black is not a crime! >> reporter: these gatherings
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like so many across the country were organized on social media from twitter to facebook. the verdict is dominating the conversation, where there's also support for george zimmerman. one woman writes "the justice system works. zimmerman should never have been arrested." ♪ in this florida church and in the neighborhood where trayvon martin lived, today a call for calm. >> the verdict is in, and be peaceful about what it is. conduct yourself accordingly. >> reporter: president obama today echoed that sentiment. "the death of trayvon martin was a tragedy not just for his family or any one community, but for america. i now ask every american to respect the call for calm for reflection for two parents who lost their young son." this was not the first time the president has remarked on the case. >> you know, if i had a son, he'd look like trayvon. >> reporter: the death of the unarmed teenager triggered a wave of protests last year. today similar scenes after last
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night's verdict. in oakland, protesters broke windows and set fires overnight, but there were no injuries or arrests. >> there are people who believe we live in a post-racial society. i get e-mails saying, we have a black president, what more do you want? what more do you expect? and i think the case, frankly, provides an answer to those people that race is a factor in our society. >> reporter: civil rights leaders say they're planning a rally here in sanford later this week. meantime they say they want to not only memorialize trayvon martin but they want to call on state legislators to change florida's stand your ground law. lester? >> kerry sanders in sanford. for two days the eyes of the country were focused on the six jurors in the case who spent some 16 hours weighing the evidence. nbc's ron mott now with some insight into the trial itself and where the state's case may have come up short. ron?
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>> reporter: hey, lester, good evening to you. much of the past 16 months here in sanford, florida, especially the past five weeks at the courthouse have been focused on the george zimmerman case, a case that ended late last night with eight words. rising to his feet, george zimmerman waited for his future. >> we the jury find george zimmerman not guilty. >> reporter: blinked once, twice, he was free. >> juror b, 76, is this your verdict? >> yes. >> reporter: after a quick poll of the jury, measured emotion from zimmerman's family and friends, hugs and kisses, thanks to the defense team. his wife wiped tears. moments later, zimmerman was gone, so, too, the ankle monitor tracking him for a little more than a year. his father via twitter kept it simple. "our whole family is relieved." >> obviously we are ecstatic with the results, george zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. i'm glad that the jury saw it that way.
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>> reporter: the trial and the divisions fueled by trayvon martin's killing sparked intense debate in and out of the courtroom, when everything from gun control to self-defense to race. >> trayvon martin was profiled. there is no doubt that he was profiled to be a criminal. and if race was one of the aspects in george zimmerman's mind, then we believe that we put out the proof necessary to show that zimmerman did profile trayvon martin. >> reporter: proving the state's burden, many experts say was daunting from the start. >> the prosecution may have succeeded in showing that george zimmerman was wrong to get out of the car with a gun that night, but they never eliminated reasonable doubt about self-defense. >> they were devastated. >> reporter: the verdict brought more heartache to trayvon martin's parents, who skipped the reading. his dad, tracy martin, also taking to social media writing, "even though i am brokenhearted, my faith is unshattered. i will always love my baby tray."
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today martin family attorney benjamin crump addressed the naacp convention in nearby orlando, saying his clients are weighing legal options including a civil lawsuit though for now prefer to reflect on their son. >> they are at this moment focused on defining the legacy of their child so they're taking all of that into consideration. >> reporter: the justice department has reaffirmed its open investigation into the death of trayvon martin to see if if any federal rights violations might have occurred here and tonight nbc news has learned that george zimmerman can have his gun back upon request. lester? >> ron mott, thank you. other news tonight, texas governor rick perry says the abortion bill awaiting his signature is constitutional and will withstand court challenges by those who oppose it. the contentious legislation, one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. perry, who is expected to sign it into law this week, said 20 weeks is a reasonable period of time for a woman to decide on
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ending her pregnancy. >> i happen to be one of those people that believes that the federal government should do a few things and do them well. >> um-hum. >> and allow the states to make the decisions on these types of issues. >> texas governor rick perry speaking earlier today. gas prices are back in the news tonight, after a large jump of late and they're expected to keep going higher, fueled by rising oil prices right around the time millions of americans are hitting the road. nbc's michelle franzen has more. >> reporter: at gourmet crust pizza in burbank, california, rising gas prices are eating away at james kirakosian's profits. >> it makes it harder for us and it makes it harder for customers, of course, i mean, gas prices is something that affects everybody. >> reporter: now kirakosian says he has to pass along some of those fuel costs to his customers, adding a delivery surcharge. >> unfortunately there is no alternative way. you have to get gas. you have to get the pizza out there.
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>> reporter: the price for a gallon of regular gas now tops $4 in the golden state. but filling up is starting to add up for drivers all across the country. just this week alone, a gallon of regular has jumped 13 cents. >> it's ridiculous. it's getting high. >> reporter: gas prices are already up 20 cents from this time last year. the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.60. the spike in prices at the pump are expected to coincide with the peak of the summer driving season, creating a perfect storm for drivers and families on a budget. >> gas prices being 25 cents more, no, no traveling for us. sorry. >> reporter: analysts say global crude prices are up, driven by concerns over unrest in egypt and ongoing conflicts in the middle east. >> right now, there are ample supplies of gasoline and crude oil, but there's been a bit of a scare thrown into the market that that surplus isn't going to be with us for very long. >> reporter: forecasts call for
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another increase in the next two weeks, anywhere between 10 and 15 cents a gallon, but analysts predict prices should taper off after labor day. >> i am very angry, like everybody else, but unfortunately, there is nothing can be done. >> reporter: and so kiracosian says he just plans to ride it out. michelle franzen, nbc news, new york. weeks after the u.s. government admitted it's been keeping records on phone calls americans make, we're now learning about a program at the postal service that does something similar. for decades, police have asked the post office to keep track of mail that may involve a suspect in a criminal investigation. but now word that all of the mail all of us send and receive is also being duly noted. nbc's tom costello has our report. >> reporter: it was the arrest of shannon guess-richardson that brought the postal service surveillance program out into the program. richardson was arrested last month, charged with sending ricin laced letters to president obama and new york mayor michael
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bloomberg. the criminal complaint states richardson's mail was tracked through a mail isolation control and tracking program which photographs and captures an image of every mail piece that is processed, every piece of mail. envelopes from bank and mortgage statements to medical test results to private letters and birthday cards. michael leiter was the director of the national counterterrorism center. >> this sort of information about where mail is sent and who sent that mail is invaluable to law enforcement professionals. at the same time, this information needs to be protected. >> reporter: in buffalo book store owner lesley james pickering is suing the postal service after a confidential memo mistakenly showed up in his mailbox revealing his mail was getting even more scrutiny, likely at the request of investigators. under a freedom of information request he received 33 pages, photocopies of his own envelopes. >> it's intimidating and it's frightening and i think that's what it's meant to do and what
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i'm trying to do is not be intimidated and not be frightened and to push back as much as we can. >> reporter: while pickering says he's never been convicted of a felony he acknowledges he wants profound political change, even revolution and was once the spokesman for the earth liberation front, a group the fbi labeled as eco terrorists. so far the postal service is declining to comment on its mail tracking program, but word of its existence comes just weeks after the nsa admitted it's been keeping track of the phone calls americans make and receive. >> a program that captures all the mail sent by every american to every other american is a very broad and expansive program just to capture a few bad guys. >> reporter: actually, opening mail requires a court order, but collecting data on what's on every envelope in the system, 160 billion pieces each year, for use in future investigations is now standard procedure. tom costello, nbc news, washington. tonight, hollywood is mourning the loss of a bright, young star.
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cory monteith, who rose to fame on "glee," the 31-year-old actor was found dead late yesterday. a cause of death has yet to be determined, though monteith had spoken openly about a long struggle with addiction. nbc's mike taibbi has our report. ♪ living in a lonely world >> reporter: cory monteith was a likeable star of a show so likeable that "glee" was a ratings hit for fox in its debut season in 2009. but when he didn't check out of his vancouver hotel room saturday, paramedics responded and confirmed the death of the canadian born actor. police found no evidence of foul play. >> video and fab key entries show him returning to his room by himself in the early morning hours and we believe he was alone when he died. >> reporter: monteith played finn on "glee," the quarterback turned singer who leads a chorus of put-upon high schoolers. ♪ you better shape up. >> reporter: including real life girlfriend lena michelle to unlikely star status. ♪ and she's watching him with those eyes ♪
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>> reporter: a high school dropout himself, monteith wandered through menial jobs and struggled with substance abuse before winning the audition with "glee" with a gamble with a drum solo using tupperware and pencils that he recreated on "ellen." there's speculation about whether the actor had kicked his addiction demons. he finished a second rehab stint in april but today fans searched to twitter to express their grief. among them, zooey deschanel "what an absolutely tragic loss of a very talented young man." patrick harris "what a shame, he was a lovely, kind talented guy" and rihanna, "may you fly with the angels, heartbreaking." cory monteith, dead at 31. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. still ahead, as we continue tonight, the fleecing of america a $400 billion weapons program, the most expensive in history, that critics say is not worth the astronomical cost. and later the waiting game tonight in london.
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we're back now with our series the fleecing of america, tracking waste, fraud and abuse in washington. despite deep across-the-board government budget cuts earlier this year, the pentagon's largest acquisition program ever, the f-35 joint strike fighter, has come through the budget process unscathed, despite delays and big cost overruns, outraging critics. we get more from our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers. >> reporter: the f-35 strike fighter was conceived as an affordable aircraft that could do everything. air-to-air combat, attack deep into enemy territory, hover up and down and side to side, even
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elevate and take off without a runway but today the program is seven years behind schedule, has almost doubled in cost and become the most expensive weapons program in history. price tag? a staggering $400 billion. one long-time critic calls it the jet that ate the pentagon. >> the airplane is a disaster for our military forces. it's unaffordable, and it's a gigantic disappointment in terms of performance. >> reporter: but test pilots like lieutenant colonel matthew kelly give the plane high marks. >> it is the most advanced fighter in the world today. >> reporter: what is so different about what you can do in this plane? >> the versatility is really what makes this airplane stand out. >> reporter: earlier this year the general in charge of the f-35 program publicly criticized companies building the planes
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for trying to "squeeze every last nickel out of taxpayers." but the companies and senior defense officials now report the first real progress in controlling costs, claiming costs actually declined 1% in the last year. still the planes now cost a staggering $120 million each. some believe the military's contracting system and politics have created a program that has become too big to kill or even cut back. at stake, 133,000 jobs spread amongst suppliers in 45 states. that adds up to 90 senators with a stake in the program. the pentagon says what's most important is that the f-35 will ensure continued u.s. air superiority. >> the joint strike fighter is designed and developed to be the most capable combat aircraft in the world, not just the near-term, not just this decade but for the foreseeable future. >> reporter: still the jury is
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out over whether the plane will perform as promised, and justify the high price to taxpayers. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with the stunning news they woke up to in london this morning.
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pandemonium on the diamond last night in san diego as san francisco giants pitcher tim lincecum tossed a 281st no hitter in major league baseball history and the first of his career during a 9-0 win against the padres. he was mobbed by his teammates on the mound as you can see. how does a fairly obscure debut novel that sold only a couple thousand copies in three months suddenly rocket to the top of the best seller lists around the world? when the author is unmasked as the woman behind harry potter that's how. the book is called "the cuckoo's calling" a detective novel written supposedly by an ex-military man trying his hand at writing.
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britain's "sunday times" gave the book a good review when it came out in april but some didn't think it read quite like the work of a first time author. after an anonymous tip the paper figured out the real author was j.k. rowling who said she had hoped to keep the secret a bit longer because it was pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name. the revelation caught many uk bookstores off guard with only a handful of copies to sell which are now as you probably guessed already sold out. when we come back, waiting for the other big news tonight in london.
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finally tonight, today was the day, the day a lot of royal watchers were predicting a royal delivery in london, but apparently someone forgot to tell the baby. prince william spent today at a charity polo match. kate spent the day at her mom's and nbc's mandy clark spent the day taking in all the hoopla. >> reporter: baby jitters? not prince william. he spent the day horsing around with his brother, harry, at a polo match, and his wife, kate, reportedly spending the weekend with her parents, miles from her london hospital. >> that would suggest she's at least not expecting her baby to come until next week. >> reporter: still all this enthusiasm has many placing bets on the baby, the favorite, a brown haired girl named alexandra, born today. it seems everyone has their hunch. what's the due date? >> wednesday. >> friday. >> 10:45 tonight. >> reporter: hair color? >> probably brown hair. >> ginger.
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>> blond hair. >> reporter: name? >> diana. >> james. >> alexandra. >> daniel. >> reporter: daniel, i like it. >> are you looking forward to being a grandmother? >> reporter: but kate's mom reportedly told friends the baby will be a leo, a star sign that only begins july 23rd. that has astrologers dizzy with excitement. >> the sign of leo and the sign of cancer dominate the royal family and this baby has got a mixture of both, so it's the most royal of royal babies. >> reporter: if that's not enough, the baby, some believe will also be related to american musical royalty. >> parentally the baby will be related to beyonce and jay-z's daughter, 23 cousins twice removed. not close relatives. >> reporter: the world media is camped out the hospital. >> it's total insanity every time something like this happens, we all go completely mad. >> reporter: when the baby is born, william will call his grannie, the queen.
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she'll be the first to know. then a bulletin is brought from the hospital to buckingham palace. will be displayed on an easel just beyond the palace gates stating the weight, gender and time of birth, but not necessarily the name. william and kate have up to six weeks to pick the name after the birth. they might keep us guessing for some time yet. mandy clark, nbc news, london. and that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from new york, and from all of us here at nbc news, good night. -- captions by vitac --
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today tastes so good. good evening, i'm terry mcsweeney. >> i'm diane dwyer. our breaking news is a brush fire that is burning just east of the boulder ridge golf club. we have a reporter on the way. when she gets there we will bring you a live report and a update on that. now to another developing story. demonstrators are matchings in the protest for the not guilty verdict for george zimmerman. monte has more. >> the protestors left about 45