December 5th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Will Not be Charged in Case of Alleged Rape

UPDATE: FSU's Jameis Winston will not be charged in rape case, prosecutor says.

Asked why no charges would be filed, State Attorney Willie Meggs said, "We have a duty as prosecutors to only file ... charges if we have a reasonable likelihood of a conviction."

He added: "We did not feel we could meet that burden."

SEE BACKGROUND:
The state attorney assigned to Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston's rape case says he is holding a 2pm news conference Thursday to announce his findings, CNN's John Berman reports.

The case began in December when the woman, a student at the Tallahassee university, reported she had been sexually assaulted. A month later she accused Winston of the alleged rape.

Winston did not have consensual sex with a student at Florida State University, despite claims to the contrary by the football player's lawyer, the family of the accuser said Friday.

"To be clear, the victim did not consent. This was rape," according to a statement released by the accuser's family.

The release of the statement came a day after Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen, told reporters the sex was consensual and that his client's DNA was found on the clothing of the woman, who nearly a year ago said she was raped.

ESPN, which first reported the DNA development, said the Florida crime lab determined that the possibility it was someone else's DNA would be one in 2.2 trillion.

HLN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson said on "New Day" Thursday "I would think if there was going to be an arrest, that's what the focus would be instead of a press conference. But what it comes down to, is as any rape case does – is the issue of consent."

See more at CNN.com.

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December 5th, 2013
11:30 AM ET

Newtown Families React to Release of 911 Recordings

The reaction among Newtown families to 911 recordings being released Wednesday is mixed.

Two of the relatives CNN's Pamela Brown spoke with are unequivocally opposed to these 911 calls being made public, saying releasing the audio only pours salt into their wounds.

But another relative tells CNN the audio "helped her make sense of the details in a senseless situation."

Nicole Hockley's son Dylan was a first grader killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Hockley did not want the calls released, saying, "I have no desire whatsoever to hear the slaughter of 26 people, including my six-year-old boy. And I can't imagine why anyone else would want to hear that as well."

Though the daughter of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung, says the audio helped paint a more complete picture of what unfolded inside the school that horrendous day.

Media organizations across the county delicately debated what if anything from the tapes should be aired.

Out of respect for the families who worried their nightmare would be sensationalized for TV, many news organizations, including CNN, are choosing to air only selective parts at certain times.

Others, such as ABC News, are choosing not to broadcast any of the audio.

TIME Magazine's Jeffrey Kluger weighed in on the release of the tapes on "New Day" Thursday.

Kluger said he doesn't see the value in their release and doesn't think they should be listened to.

SEE FULL INTERVIEW:

To see how you can help honor some of the victims and their families,  please visit the sites below:

Dylan Hockley Memorial 

Sandy Hook Promise

Dawn Hochsprung Memorial Fund 

Jesse Lewis Memorial Fund 

 

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December 5th, 2013
10:29 AM ET

U.S. Man Sits In Jail For Posting Comedy Video

A young American living in the United Arab Emirates has been imprisoned since April, his family says, for posting what was intended to be a funny video on the Internet.

It was meant to be a piece of comedy, a 19-minute video that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture. In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.

But the situation isn't funny any more.

Now, the family of Shezanne "Shez" Cassim wants to bring attention to his case ahead of a hearing December 16.

"It was just for fun. He's a big fan of sketch comedy, he's a big fan of "Saturday Night Live," ...he and his friends just wanted to make a funny sketch comedy in their spare time,"  Cassim's brother, Shervon Cassim, told CNN's Kate Bolduan Thursday.

SEE FULL INTERVIEW:

Cassim's family says Shez, 29, has been charged with endangering national security, but they've not been told what about the video endangered security.

UAE authorities did not respond to CNN requests for details about what charges Cassim may be facing and why.

“He tries to put on a brave face. He said he was doing fine.. but I could sense a growing anxiety in his voice. He’s a little depressed. My impression is that he’s going just a little bit crazy in his cell,” his brother told CNN.

Cassim, from Woodbury, Minnesota, moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He and some friends made and posted the video online in 2012. He was arrested in April 2013.

According to the family, Cassim and eight friends have been charged under a cybercrimes law for endangering public order. This law, the family says, wasn't passed until after the video had been released.

Two attempts by Cassim's lawyers to get him released on bail have been rejected.

The U.S. State Department is providing consular services to Cassim, a department official said, and has attended all his court hearings.

"The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General have engaged with UAE counterparts to urge a fair and expedient trial and judgment," the official said.

The Satwa G's, the family said in a statement, were known as wanna-be gangsters, and that's how Cassim portrayed them.

"These 'gangstas' were known for their decidedly mild behavior and were seen as the total opposite of actual criminals," the statement said. "The fictional training depicted in the video teaches techniques that include the best way to throw a sandal at a newspaper (target) and, ultimately, how to use the mobile phone when in trouble."

At the last hearing, the judge in the case asked for an Arabic translation of the video, giving the family some hope that the authorities will realize that it was a parody.

"I just want my son home for Christmas," said Cassim's mother, Jean Cassim, in a statement. "He's a good young man with a great career and has never been in trouble. Now he's being held for no reason. I've been praying, going to mass and lighting candles, and that's what I'm going to keep doing."

An average of about 2,500 Americans are jailed abroad every year, and about a third of those arrests are related to illegal drugs, the U.S. State Department says. "In 2010 alone, consular officers conducted more than 9,500 prison visits, and assisted more than 3,500 Americans who were arrested abroad," the State Department's website says.

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December 5th, 2013
10:11 AM ET

Paul Walker Once Purchased A Wedding Ring For U.S. Soldier

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff" we discover actor Paul Walker once bought a wedding ring for a young U.S. military veteran shopping with his fiance in California. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

This purchase happened a decade ago when Walker noticed a young U.S. soldier shopping with his fiancee for a wedding ring in a Santa Barbara jewelry store.

"The groom was just back from duty in Iraq, and he was going to be deployed again soon and wanted to buy a wedding ring, but he said he just could not afford it," saleswoman Irene King told CNN. "I don't think the soldier realized how expensive those rings are, about $10,000."

"Walker called the manager over and said, 'Put that girl's ring on my tab,'" she said. "Walker left all his billing info, and it was a done deal. The couple was stunned. She was thrilled and could not believe someone did this."

King called it "the most generous thing I have ever seen."

Stories of Walker's incredible generosity have become a major aspect to coverage of the actor's death.

If you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport.

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