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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 2, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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good evening again. topping the hour, he says he did not pull the trigger yet the gun still fired. alec baldwin breaking his silence on the shooting of the movie set "rust" that killed halyna hutchins and injured the director. he said he was blocking the scene on how to hold an antique revolver when the prop gun that somehow had a live round in it went off. this is the subject of a criminal investigation. we're going to discuss with our legal expert shortly as well as a movie armorer. first, alec baldwin talking the incident with abc's george stepha stephanopoulos. >> i said in this scene i'm going cock the gun. do you want to see that? she said yes. she said, tilt it down a little bit like that. i docked the gun. i go, can you see that? can you see?
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can you see that? then i let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. i let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. >> at the moment. >> that was the moment the gun went off. >> it wasn't in the script for the trigger to be pulled. >> well, the trigger wasn't pulled. i didn't pull the trigger. >> so you never pulled the trigger? >> no, no, no, i would never point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger. that was the training. >> you just had the gun and you pulled. >> i pulled the hammer. i'm just going, how about that? does that work? she said yeah, that's good. i let government hammer, bang the gun goes off. everyone is horrified. they're shocked. it's loud. they don't have their ear plugs in. the gun was supposed to be everitive. i was told i was handed an empty gun. nothing with a flash round at all, nothing. she goes down. i thought to myself, did she faint?
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the notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me till probably 45 minutes to an hour later. >> 45 minutes to an hour this. >> she's laying there and i go, did she get hit by wadding? sometimes the blank rounds have a wadding inside, that packs -- like cloth that packs the gun powder. sometimes wadding could come out and it feels like a poke. nobody could understand. did she have a heart attack? because remember, the idea someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even a reality. >> did you go up to her? >> i went up to her and immediately we were told to get out of the building. i stood over her for 60 seconds and she laid there kind of in shock? >> was she conscious? >> my recollection is yes. >> criminal defense attorney sarah ansari joins us, joey jackson, veteran hollywood
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armorer scott rasmussen. alec baldwin was saying he had the hammer of the gun pulled back as far as it would go without being fully docked and then just let it go. isn't that how a gun is fired? you don't need to pull the trigger if the hammer hits the round. is that correct? >> well, on the type of weapon that's a single action, in order to get it to fire, you pull the hammer to the rear and then you would pull the trigger. on his gun, the way he described it, just there in that little segment, it sounds like possibly the trigger was in the rear position as he was pulling the hammer to the rear. and if that were in fact true, as soon as he let go of the hammer it would fire the weapon, because the hammer would fall forward. >> so i just want to play that part of it again just for our viewers because this is really an important point. >> so then i said to her, now in
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this scene i'm going cock the gun. i said, do you want to see that in and she said yes. so i take the gun and astart to dock the gun. i'm not going to pull the trigger. she said tilt it down a little bit. i cock the gun and say, can you see that? then i let go of the hammer and the gun goes off. >> scott, you're saying the trigger would have already -- if the trigger was already pulled back and he had the hammer in his hand and was pulling it back and then just let it go, that would fire the gun. >> yes, the trigger keeps the hammer from falling. as you pull the hammer to the rear the trigger engages on it and when you pull the trigger it disengages law schooling the hammer to fall forward and igniting the cartridge. if the hammer is to the rear and he's pulling the hammer back and lets go, that's the only way
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that gun could fire is if the trigger is already to the rear. >> if he decided not to just let go of the hammer but to have slowly put the hammer back, the gun would not have fired, is that right? >> correct, yes. if you gently allow the hammer to fall forward, it will not set off the cartridge. >> so, sarah, as a criminal defense attorney, i'm wondering what you make of what alec baldwin was saying there -- he did not pull the trigger. i guess the question then, is he liable because he released the hammer as opposed to slowly bringing the hammer back to its original position? >> well, look, anderson, i'm not a gun girl, but based on what scott's saying it really doesn't matter that he didn't pull the trigger because of the position of the trigger. so at the end of the day, it's about his mishandling of this gun, right? and his liability with respect to that. so we're looking at criminal
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liability and civil liability. he is absolutely certain he's not facing any criminal liability and i would say, never be so sure. there's still statute of limitations in new mexico. they can file charges at any time, although historically these types of shootings on hollywood sets have been accidents. there's always a first time. but ultimately, if he in fact did not cause the firing of this gun or did not mishandle this gun in a grossly neglect way that rises to the level of criminal negligence under new mexico law, then his liability is limited to civil. but if, you know, he's deemed to have -- you know, we heard him anderson talk about asums. i believed it was a cold gun. i didn't need to check it. good for george clooney, but i didn't need to do that. i just have to rely on what the armorer told me. if he's proceeding on ass assumptions and has toe duty to check that, then he is exposed.
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so i think there's a little bit of trying to clear himself from all liability. he couldn't even use the word neglect here, less alone gross negligence. >> joey i want to go to you for legal advice, but back to scott quickly. just in your expert opinion, was it irresponsible the way mr. baldwin was handling the gun in that instance of not -- excuse me, not putting the hammer slow by back and just releasing the hammer? >> in my opinion he mishandled the gun. >> what should he have done? >> he should have checked the weapon to make sure it was absolutely a cold weapon. that's the first mistake of his. and then him pulling the weapon -- the hammer back and asking halyna about how far back and did she want to see that, that's not what you do on set.
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you're told what is required of you in the scene. you rehearse it, you go through it with camera, and then you shoot it. what he's describing to me is not good safety. >> joey, what do you make of this? >> there's a reason that attorneys say to their clients not to speak, and i guess there's a public relations imperative because he wants to get out ahead of this, and i'm sure he feels miserable, but you set yourself up for disaster when you do something like this, why? there's two tracks and sarah indicated what they are. there's the criminal act in which you could be charged criminally for the mishandling of the firearm. there's the civil aspect in which you could be civilly liable and that relates to money. and you're talking about how you handle the firearm. this gets out and you're going to be cross examined. you're going to do a deposition and be asked questions under oath. you already made statements as it relates to you handling that
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firearm. it's fair to say you didn't mention that you checked the firearm, is that right? you have aindependent obligation to do? in you spoke about how you redocked the hammer and released it. you knew it would create pressure. but that's what you did and you were pointing it at another. at the end of the day i think word is going to be parsed and it's not going to be -- you have a sheriff that's investigating this case, not only as to him but everybody else. what was ammunition doing in the gun? what was it going on the set? who checked the weapon? when did they check it? did they check it adequately in apparently not. what were live rounds doing there. what was your obligation as a producer on the show? u giving this long winded interview. i don't think you should be doing it. i think it does come down to mishandling of the firearm. there's no question it's m mish mishandling. the issue is whether it's
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criminal or civil, which is limited. >> he said it's job of the armorer or prop person, not the actor. what do you say to that? >> he's partially correct and partially incorrect. the armorer's responsibility is to ensure that weapon is to be on set the way it's suppose to be, whether it's shooting blanks or not shooting. the actor is responsible for ensuring that weapon is checked before he gets it. in order, the armorer's responsibility is to bring to weapon to the actor, demonstrate the gun is empty, if they're going to put car ttridges in it shake them. they rattle. they have a bb in them. then load it with dummy rounds. then the armorer, points the gun at the ground, docks the hammer for all six cartridges to demonstrate it's a safe weapon.
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when the actor can check it himself, which i encourage the actor do or he can acknowledge and say i witnessed you did this and it's a safe weapon, and that apparently was not done. >> i want to play another clip from the interview where alec addressed the budget from the movie, the lower budget contributed to the tragedy. let's watch. >> when people say cutting costs, i don't say this with any judgment or cynicism -- spielberg wants to save money. tom cruise wants to save money. everybody who makes movies has a responsibility not to be reckless and careless with the money that you're given. those are men who make movies that cost $205 million and i'm making movies that cost $5 million. >> the question is were costs being cut at the expense of safety and security? >> in my opinion, no, because -- now, i did not observe any safety or security issues in the time i was there at all.
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>> it's poimportant to point ou alec baldwin was a produce on this film, so that's a whole other layer of responsibility. >> as a producer he has superior authority, superior duties, right, and responsibilities that he's obviously failed here. now he carefully says in this interview, you know, i'm a creative producer. i didn't have any stake in the financial aspect of this production or the hiring decisions. so when you really take this interview in its totality, he's really carefully just stripping away at any possible fact that's bad for him. he's not liable as an actor. he's not liable as a producer. >> hmm. appreciate it. appreciate your expertise, thank you. coming up next, the president's new anti-covid measures with a heavy emphasis on boosters but also the reluctant people to roll up
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their sleeves. also, former white house chief of staff mark meadows after reportedly writing in his book the former president tested positive for covid three days before his first presidential debate last year, meadows is saying now, well, something kind of different. we'll tell you ahead.
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no shortage of covid news tonight. president biden unveiling new covid fighting measures amping you will calls for everyone who's eligible to get a booster to get one. pfizer asking for expanded authorization to younger people can get boosted. and as expected, seven new cases of the omicron variant of the virus, five in new york state. joining us now, dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university skoofl health. cases in new york, minnesota, colorado, and with one yesterday in california. how difficult is it for people to stay calm as more cases certainly are likely to be announced in the coming days and
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weeks? seems like it has been here for some time as cases are identified? >> andserson, thanks for having me back. absolutely. there's no question in my mind we have community transmission of this variant now in the u.s. the fact that it's in different parts of the country -- california, minnesota, colorado, new york -- suggests that there's probably places in between those places where there's spread. the key questions about omicron still remain, right? how well our vaccines hold up, are they going to cause more severe disease, will it spread quickly under a context where there's a lot of delta variant around? still don't know the answers to those questions. that's why i think people should continue to pay attention to those questions. but we are going to see more cases ahead. >> the president outlined this plan today to fight covid this winter, including asking private insurers to reimburse the cost of at-home tests, given that testing has been something the
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country's struggled with since the start of the pandemic, is this a game changer in any way? is this just an obvious step to take? >> i think it's a step forward. look, the tests are still way too expensive. in europe you can get them for about a buck apiece. in the u.s. it's $8, $10, $12 a test. for the whole family if you want members to take it on a regular basis that's prohibitive. we've got make tests widely available and we've got to bring the prices down so everybody can get them and you don't have to go through your insurance, ideally. i think it's a step forward, but not a game changer. >> how difficult would that be to get more of them out there, to have them be cheaper? >> i think the administration is trying. i think the problem here, to be perfectly honest, is the administration did not put a lot a time and energy into testing making sure we had enough tests during the spring and summer.
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they put all of their energy on vaccines. don't get me wrong, i love the vaccines. huge part of the strategy, but i think they took their eye off the ball. now they're trying to play catchup on testing. they are making progress. they've got to do more. >> dr. jha, appreciate your time as always. thank you. more on the obstacles to getting people boosted let alone vaccinated to bring this all to an end some day. the effects are turning up in new polling and for that we turn to harry enten with more. so what are you looking at? >> look, if you look right now where we are as a country, look among adults, what do you see? north of 80% of folks have gotten at least one dose. when you look at the fully vaccinated and that drops down to a little north of 70%. now look at those who have gotten the booster. it's less than 20%. obviously the race to get people boosted up has only just begun, but even if you look at the polling -- there's new polling from the kaiser family foundation.
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what does it show? 53% of adults say they have gotten or will likely get the booster, and that's only a little changed from last month with 50% -- or two month ago, october, 50%. we've got first doses but when it comes to boosters we're a long ways off. >> also break down politically by state, red state/blue state. >> it absolutely does. if you look among those fully vaccinated, over 50% of republicans are, but with democrats it's significantly higher. and you have about a 0 point gap. now look at the boosters. you see an even wider, this huge partisan gap -- north of 40 percentage points. and if you look among republicans, only a little bit north of 33% -- i believe it's 36% on that poll that say they are going get the booster. if you look at the death rates right now, you see they are much high nor red states than blue states and i think these numbers give you an idea of why that is.
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>> andy slaf it, former white house adviser said the administration underestimated the delta variant and clearly trying not to make the same mistake with omicron. how do they view how the administration is handling this? >> president biden won last year for one reason and one reason only s and that's because voter not like the way president trump handled the coronavirus. if you look back at february, overwhelming support for the way joe biden was handling the coronavirus. but today more people disapprove than approve, and if you look at the folk who is approve of the job, they're the democrats, they're vaccinated. the folks this administration has to reach, the republicans and unvaccinated, you look at the numbers, what you see is only about 15% or les of both of those groups approve of the president's job of handling the virus. >> what about support for vaccine mandates? >> 50/50 split.
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lightly more folks are for it than against it. if you look at the polling, vaccine mandates, fewer people today support vaccine mandates than did in october or september. >> harry enten, appreciate it. up next, new cnn reporting shows how mark meadows pushed agencies to pursue false election claims. e fewer ulcers than plain aspirin. try new vazalore. aspirin made amazing!
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former white house chief of staff mark meadows' new cooperation with the january 6th committee could give the committee a window into how the president and allies -- legal affairs correspondent paula reid joins us with new reporting. what can you tell us about what meadows was up to. >> reporter: it reveals how meadows reached out to top security officials in an effort to connect them with trump allies who were pushing claim of voter fraud. sources tell cnn meadows did this because he wanted to please the former president who was hyperfocused on ejecting the baseless theories into official government channels. meadows' attempts to -- officials at the justice department are well documented but we learned he reached out to officials at the fbi, pentagon, and office of the director of national intelligence about
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various election fraud claims. anderson, at one point he said he presented them with what he said was potential evidence of a massive conspiracy by china to hack the u.s. election by using thermostats to change the voting results. >> wow. so how could this impact the house select committee's investigation that's going on? >> reporter: this is certainly going to be of interest to the committee. next week meadows is expected to appear for a deposition with lawmakers. but it will be of significant interest to the committee is the fact that he continued to push these theories even after officials had established that the election was valid. so i think that's going to be of significant interest to the committee, the way he was trying to undermine confidence in the election results, passing along election fraud information from outside advisers like mike flynn and sidney powell and saying he was doing it all at trump's behest. his attorney did not respond to cnn for the story.
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you can read the full story on >> fascinating. paula, stick around. i want to get perspective from normizen who was special counsel to the democrats in the former president's first impeachment trial. eisen, do you think this puts him in any kind of legal jeopardy? >> anderson, i do think it puts him in legal jeopardy. we have lost in the united states against election fraud, and that is the apparent activity that is at least alleged here, and the january 6th committee is driving forward to get to the bottom of i it. you know, you can't act as a go-between. on the one hand, outside groups that are pushing patently fraudulent claims and government officials who have the
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responsibility to make decisions about these matters. so i think some of the worst possible conduct we've seen since white house chief of staff for richard nixon, h h.r.halderman. we all know what happened to him. >> schiff who's one of the nine member of the committee, said if meadows discussed the events in his book, he waives any claims of privilege. is that right? is that true? >> that is true. you know, we talk about these legal theories -- executive privilege, attorney/client privilege. privilege simply means the legal right not to talk about something. but anderson, once you've talked about it publicly for profit to get a book advance and sell copies of that volume, you've waived those legal protections. so meadows is in a very perilous
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spot here and a critically important witness as this 1/6 committee is doing such a good job of driving forward every day pushing towards the truth to make sure that these kinds of activities, these apparent election fraud conspiracies, can't happen again. >> paula, we know meadows has agreed to an initial deposition by the committee after a long tame of back and forth. what have the expectations of how forthcoming he may be? >> the committee is cautiously optimistic. he's arguably the best witness for the committee both because he was in such close proximity to the president but also based on reporting and other reports his efforts to undermine confidence in the election outcome. as a former congressman he doesn't want to be charged with contempt. it hurts our reputation, but it's expensive and sources tell me he doesn't have to war chest
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like steve bannon has. as former chief staff, he has more protections than any other witnesses but we've seen so far, the committee nor biden house appear willing to assert those or raise those or defend those. it's an ongoing investigation. i have a lot of question about emails he has been sharing so far. what does he have that the archives doesn't have. anything that's material to january 6th should be in possession of the archives, so a big question about whether they're going to get significant cooperation from meadows. i'm skeptical. >> investigator eisen, do you think meadows is trying to -- >> no doubt, anderson, he is tiptoeing on the tight rope. but, you know, he lives in the real world. he sees the erosion in the courts where the former president's executive privilege
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claims are being thrown out, because he's not president anymore. he doesn't have the power to inforce those. i'm sure he's going to make it as difficult as possible, but it does seem he's turning over documents, and he could be a very critical witness, because, of course, the big question, the reason that the former president and so many others are fighting so hard is there's information that it will appear they don't want to come out. some of it may be in these meadows documents. so we'll have to see the committee as they tell us more and more about what they found. >> appreciate it. thank you. breaking news from the interex of covid and politics. the senate, moments ago, following the house in approving emergency funding to keep the government going only after efforts to block it after they
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had a chance to defund a requirement, that employees get tested for the virus. up next, how former vice president pence could make a run for the white house in 2024 even if his old boss gets in the race. what republicans who work for both men say ahead. enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair.
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tonight perhaps the biggest question in republican politics isn't mired terms or if the will unrun again. it's if his own former vice president will run against him. he's spending time in new hampshire, south carolina, and ohio. pence's actions upholding democracy on january 6th made him a vil ton some in the modern republican party to some, but maybe not to everyone. some share their thoughts in an article in if the can atlantic" with peter nichols and he joins us now. what are the chances you think
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mike pence's vice presidential ambitions are greater than his fealty to the former president? >> i think he's been wanting to run for president for a long time. may have discussed the possibility back in 2012. pence was considering the best path to the presidency then. so ambition dies hard, and it's not easily quashed, so i think 2024 might well be mike pence's last and well chance. he'll be 65 years old and there are younger fresher faces coming along in the republican party, if you look at glenn youngkin and his victory in virginia. he may have to run against his former boss in donald trump. >> even if his former boss isn't running, given what he did on january 6th and going against the former president, you know, can he win in primaries? and i know you spoke to mike pence's former chief of staff about this idea of the former
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vice president being called to serve. he kind of refers to it as a biblical call. >> he talks about it, if he feels he's called to serve he'd do it independent of what anyone else does, meaning donald trump. there are people in the republican party who have worked with both trump and pence who say it's ludicrous. we quoted mick mulvaney, trump's former chief of staff, saying, mike pence is a nice guy, but what is mike pence offering that 15 other republicans in the field are not offering? mike pence can say he was vice president. but we saw in 2016 that republican voters don't necessarily care about experience. they elected donald trump. so it's really not a credential that seems to matter anymore in the modern republican party. >> again, just to get to the primary process and set yourself apart, mike pence is not exactly a stirring orator or a, you know, entertaining figure like the former president is to his
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base. >> well, i think that's an important point. you wonder, like, what -- it's very hard to detect a pence for president movement out there. like, where are the pence die hards who are going to trudge true the snow in iowa and new hampshire in january and february to try to win primaries for mike pence? you just don't see it. it's possible there might be some more moderate republican who is appreciate he upheld joe biden's victory in the last election, but those same people may well feel he enabled trump over four years, catered to trump's wins, did trump's bidding and they might be resentful over that. so again it's very hard to see a lane for pence. >> the people who trudged through the snow to go to a mike pence rally might be going to scream at him because of what he did on january 6th. they seem to be the ones who are the die hards who would be really motivated against mike pence than anybody really -- you can't imagine somebody carrying a banner with the name pence on
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it, you know, running through the streets. >> yeah, i spoke to some people close to pence about this, and they insist that some in the maga movement remain loyal to pence, they like pence. pence get a -- there are a lot of people -- candidates, republican candidates who want to campaign with pence. pence is popular at fundraisers. but there's a big difference between that and, you know, trying to build a coalition, an electoral coalition. it's just hard to see what it is. pence mating attract some christian conservatives, perhaps, possibly some moderate republicans. maybe if trump doesn't run, a small fraction to the maga movement. there were people on january 6th who were supporting trump and walking through the halls of congress wanting to hang mike pence. well, you don't -- you're not going to get vote out of that group. >> peter nicholas, it's a fascinating article appreciate its. coming up, a witness temperatures about what we saw
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the sex trafficking trial of jeffrey epstein's long time confidant begins tomorrow. ghislaine maxwell could stepped the ohs of life behind bars if convicted. a former housekeeper told the -- many, many, many girls went through the home. he claimed women could sit around the pool often topless around epstein and maxwell and said an employee demanded when it comes to epstein and max bel and their guests you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing unless asked. she's the author of perversion of justice, the jeffrey epstein story. i'm wondering what you make of what's come off the trial so
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far, particularly the testimony, the atmosphere at epstein's home. >> well, i think it was a good move calling alessi, this houseman today, because it follows after they had one of the victims testify yesterday, jane, and alessi to some degree corroborated what the victim said yesterday in that she was at epstein's house with maxwell when she was only 14 years old. and alessi recalls seeing her, so i think part of that was to corroborate what she had testified to the day before. >> and the house manager specifically recalled not just her. he specifically recalled two girls coming to the house he believed they were underage, one am them jane us a just mentioned, who testify. defense tried to undermine jane's testimony from 20 years ago. did the house manager's testimony change much other than
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placing her there? >> it didn't. really what it did was i think give the jury a feel for how dysfunctional or how strange this whole situation was. i mean, imagine you're a houseman and one of and one of your jobs is to call women and have them come, a different one every few hours to give epstein massages and go out to the pool and bunch of women without clothes on. i think they're drawing a picture of the culture that existed at palm beach mansion. >> prosecutors brought in expert on traumatic stress to testify on grooming. how effective do you think that was? >> it's hard to say. she was limited what she could
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testify to, maxwell's attorneys raised a number of objections about the expert and she never evaluated any of the victims but spoke generally about trauma and how predators groom children. i think it was educational if they weren't aware of what grooming was, not everybody does. but that's what prosecutors are saying that epstein and maxwell did. >> they took time, whole process of getting her to the position she would do what they wanted. we talked about jane, first of four alleged victims scheduled to testify. you've talked about the testimony of the last victim as perhaps very important. why? >> well, jane was young, allegedly recruited by epstein
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and maxwell and groomed, but she wasn't part of the pyramid scheme that epstein was operating. wasn't a recruiter or one of the people integral to making it work. last victim added to case six months to a year ago, she was part of that system that allegedly maxwell set up. and started by recruiting one girl and asked that girl to recruit two more and went on and on. will be interesting to see what the other victim says about how this whole operation worked. >> you broke this story open. wondering with all the extraordinary work and reporting you did, what is it like to see it play out in court? >> you know, i'm a little worried about the case. i'm hoping it's going to get
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stronger as it goes on. i think that the prosecutors are very good, but you know, maxwell has very aggressive attorneys, really grilling at least from what we've seen so far, really grilling the victim. and already had the pilot on, he didn't help the prosecutor's case at all. he never saw any sex or anything, didn't know of underaged girls on the plane. he didn't help their case. >> and they led with him, right? >> well, he lived on the property -- >> i mean they led with him, first witness they called, wasn't he? >> i'm sorry, yeah, he was the first. it was surprising they called him. i guess they wanted to establish the plane trips and fact there
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was travel involved because it is a sex trafficking case. >> julie k. brown, again, i appreciate it. thank you. growing concerns over chinese tennis star peng shuai and what the chinese officials are saying now. (gasps) ♪ did it work? only pay for what you need ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ spider-man no way home in theaters december 17th ♪ i'm a reporter for the new york times. if you just hold it like this. yeah. ♪
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- san francisco can have criminal justice reform and public safety. but district attorney chesa boudin is failing on both. - the safety of san francisco is dependent upon chesa being recalled as soon as possible. - i didn't support the newsom recall but this is different. - chesa takes a very radical perspective and approach to criminal justice reform, which is having a negative impact on communities of color. - i never in a million years thought that my son, let alone any six-year-old, would be gunned down in the streets of san francisco and not get any justice. - chesa's failure has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco.
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- we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it. recall chesa boudin now. update on chinese tennis star peng shuai who disappeared from public view more than two weeks following sexual assault allegations against a former communist party official. the tennis association took action on her behalf. >> reporter: concerns about the safety of peng shuai are ramping up tonight, despite a second call she had with the international olympic committee. ioc said that peng reconfirmed she was safe and well, but didn't provide audio or visual images of the call and women's
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tennis chairman told cnn he believes the ioc is letting itself be played by the chinese government. >> we feel strongly this is being orchestrated. >> reporter: the wta took the strongest stance yet, organization suspending all tournaments in china, potentially costing it hundreds of billions of dollars. >> ioc is being given a master class by the wta on how to basically punch a bully in the nose. >> reporter: the world's number one ranked men's player is back the wta's move. >> i think it's a very bold, very courageous stance from wta. >> reporter: in a since deleted social media post in early november, peng publicly accused former vise premier of coercing her into sex, she was censored
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by the regime, after international outcry, state-controlled media released so-called proof of life videos of peng but analysts are concerned about her condition. >> if you don't think she's under psychological pressure from the authorities given embarrassing charges against a senior chinese official, you're crazy. safe to say she's under very tightly controlled circumstances and does not have the ability to communicate freely with the outside world. >> reporter: experts say one nightmare scenario has to do with the wint olympics beijing is hosting. >> increasing the pressure to at least not have diplomatic presence at the beijing olympics. time for don, "don lemon