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Prosecutors Rest in Manafort Trial; Drejka in Court in Florida; Franklin in Hospice Care. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired August 14, 2018 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But the big one is, will Manafort testify in his own defense?
ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I'm going to make a prediction, no. I don't think there's any way they put Manafort on the stand. Sometimes defense lawyers posture about that a little bit, well, we might put him on the stand. He can't take the stand. There's too many hard black-and-white documents that the prosecutors would put right in front of him that he would not be able to wiggle away from.
I also think he'd probably make a poor witness. From just looking at clips of him, he comes off as arrogant and juries cans tolerate a lot of things, but arrogance does not go down well at all.
HARLOW: So one of the documents they would put in front of him is likely this e-mail, the Department of Justice surfaced yesterday, and we learned it all ties into the bank loan here, right? So we learned from the testimony yesterday that Manafort was desperate for this $16 million in loans from the Federal Savings Bank. The founder of the bank, Stephen Calk, it was testified to by the VP of the bank yesterday, pushed through those loans, said make this happen, knowing how risky they would be. The bank lost $11 million on this deal.
And then this e-mail that the Department of Justice presented yesterday shows that Manafort e-mailed Jared Kushner, of course an adviser to the president, his son-in-law, saying, oh, by the way, you should consider this bank founder for secretary of the Army. Now, he never got that gig, but what is the prosecution trying to show here?
HONIG: Yes, so that's a really important e-mail because without it there's a suggestion that this was just talk, empty talk between Manafort and Calk. He's promising things that he can't really deliver. The e-mail now shows that Manafort tried to deliver. He took this request to the inner sanctum of the Trump campaign.
HARLOW: Right. I mean it brings Kushner into all of this, too.
HONIG: It could do that as well. You know, it didn't ultimately happen, but the request is so outlandish to make this guy secretary of the Army, it's a little bit alarming.
But, yes, it could make Kushner a witness. It doesn't sound -- you know, to call him would, I think, inject a needless level of drama from the prosecutor's point of view. HARLOW: Right. Right.
HONIG: But, yes, I think there will be questions about what action, if any, did Kushner take.
HARLOW: And there is no evidence that any action was taken on behalf of the White House.
HONIG: Doesn't seem that way.
HARLOW: Elie, thank you. Good to have you, as always.
So also, later today, the court appearance for the man in Florida using "stand your ground" as a defense in a fatal shooting. We've learned that past incidents are -- there are many charges of past incidents against this man, Michael Drejka. And, next, I will speak to his victim's father, who will join me about the latest developments in this case.
[09:36:26] HARLOW: In just a few hours, Michael Drejka will have his first court appearance. This is the man charged with manslaughter after fatally shooting Markeis McGlockton after McGlockton shoved him in front of a Florida parking lot.
Now, the charges come after public pressure on the sheriff, who refused at first to arrest Drejka citing Florida's "stand your ground" law. Many legal experts look at this tape and they argue the case will come down to this part of the surveillance video. McGlockton pushes Drejka to the ground after seeing him confront his girlfriend over this handicapped parking spot. Drejka pulls a gun and shoots McGlockton in the chest, even after it appears, and you see it from the video, even after it appears that he's backing up. OK, that McGlockton is backing up. That could be key in this case.
Was Drejka retreating here is the question. In the moments that follow, McGlockton stumbles back into the convenience store and collapses right in front of his five-year-old child.
Let's go to our correspondent, Martin Savidge, who joins me now on all of this.
And, Martin, I misspoke. I should have said, was McGlockton retreating. That's the big question here that will be asked.
So walk us through what will happen today.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, he's got a first court appearance.
We haven't heard from Michael Drejka. He's really been kind of a mystery in all of this. So it's possible we may hear something today. That remains to be seen.
What changed is all of this is that the Pinellas County state attorney reviewed the evidence, in this case looking at that surveillance video, as well as talking to witnesses, and it's very clear that that state attorney saw things differently and does not believe that Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law is justifiable as a defense in this particular case, hence why there was an arrest warrant put up and he was picked up with the charge of manslaughter.
HARLOW: You know, we're also learning, Marty, and you have details on other incidents, at least two, if not three other, earlier incidents that involved Drejka that also involved a gun that are raising major questions.
SAVIDGE: Yes, this is the really disturbing part in all this because there appears to have been a pattern, there appears to have been a history, at least allegedly so.
First and foremost, the owner of that convenience store where the shooting took place said that Michael Drejka really seemed to have something about people parking in that handicapped spot who he felt didn't deserve to park in that place. He said there were a number of incidents, prior to the fatal shooting that took place, and then there was truck driver Richard Kelly, who parked in the handicap spot briefly while he ran into the store and he said, oh, he ran right into Drejka's wrath. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD KELLY, HAD PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER WITH MICHAEL DREJKA: He asked me, was I handicapped. I said obviously I'm driving a tanker, I'm not handicapped. And I asked him, was he handicapped? He stated, no. He said, my mom is.
He flipped out on me. He just totally flipped out. He called me every "n" word, saying he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me. He went back to his truck, got something out of his truck and walked back up on me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Kelly is very concerned. He now wonders what could have happened if the store owner hadn't interrupted that whole scene.
Meanwhile, that arrest warrant also points out that there are two other instances of road rage that allegedly Drejka used or threatened with a weapon. All of that pointing to history.
HARLOW: OK, Martin Savidge, thank you for bringing us up to speed.
So joining me now, Michele Rayner, the attorney for Markeis McGlockton's family, and with her, Michael McGlockton, Markeis' father.
Thank you both for being here.
MICHELE RAYNER, ATTORNEY FOR MARKEIS MCGLOCKTON'S FAMILY: Thank you, Poppy.
MICHAEL MCGLOCKTON, MARKEIS MCGLOCKTON'S FATHER: Thank you.
HARLOW: Michael, again, my condolences. I know words can do nothing, but I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your son.
And we know that he collapsed and died. You know, your five-year-old grandson was there, as well as his partner and other grandchildren of yours were there that day. How are they doing?
[09:40:09] MCGLOCKTON: As of right now, you know, when this all happened, you know, the youngest two -- you know, the youngest one was four months old.
MCGLOCKTON: The other one was three years old. And those two -- there was two -- they're -- I mean, obviously, they're too young to pretty much know what was going on. But the five-year-old, he pretty much saw it all. And first couple of days it was really tough on him. I mean we never sat him down and actually told him that his dad is gone until maybe the day of the wake.
But, up until that point, you know, we would always tell him, you know, that his dad is going to be OK. His dad was in the hospital. But the day that we had the wake was the day that he really realized that his dad was gone. So, obviously, that day it really, really broke him down.
HARLOW: Of course.
MCGLOCKTON: And, you know, it took -- it took a family effort to surround him and, you know, give him hugs and just let him know that everything is going to be OK. And ever since that day, what we've -- what we've tried to do is basically just keep him busy.
HARLOW: Yes. Yes.
MCGLOCKTON: So he don't sit down and just -- constantly just think about it. Just keep him busy to try to keep him doing different things to just he don't have to sit -- sit back and think about it.
HARLOW: Well, he's lucky -- he's fortunate that he has -- that he has you and his siblings giving him all that love, but he should, you know, never should have lost his father.
Michelle, let me ask you, as the family attorney in this case, and I know there's no civil case right now, this is the state's attorney who has filed these charges. You're representing the family as this thing proceeds. The charge of manslaughter, is that -- that's been brought, do you believe that's the appropriate charge in this case?
RAYNER: I do believe it's the appropriate charge. One of the thing that we were pushing for is that we've seen in other cases, whether it's the Trayvon Martin case, that there wouldn't be an overcharge. And so the second degree murder was, you know, first looked at, but there has to be an intent, an ill will, a deprived mind. And Florida courts have held that if an impulsive overreaction is what it's called to an attack or to use of force does not always rise to the level of second degree murder, thus you're able to not get a conviction on second degree murder. So manslaughter is the appropriate charge to get a conviction as charged.
HARLOW: OK. So let me ask your take on the Pinellas County sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, because he is saying now, look, the system worked. I didn't, you know, I didn't arrest this man, Drejka, because Florida "stand your ground," the way the law changed in 2014, you know, doesn't allow me to. I could have been liable, you know, here if I had. But the state's attorney general did these interviews with witnesses and found reason to bring this manslaughter charge.
Do you think that the system worked in this case?
RAYNER: Absolutely not.
First, the sheriff, he glossed over the initial aggressor portion of the statute. It's our position, I think the video's very clear, that Michael Drejka was the initial aggressor. And the initial aggressor portion of the statute states that if you provoke or if you incite any type of action or any type of altercation, that you have the duty to retreat. And he did not retreat. So he applied the "stand your ground" statute to someone that is not entitled to that.
And I think that also the sheriff didn't look at -- Markeis was doing what he had the right to do. He had the right to defend his partner and his family against Michael Drejka. I mean there's a portion of the video where you see, as Markeis is walking out, Michael Drejka is reaching towards Britany in the vehicle. So I don't think that the sheriff really rightly applied the law because I know, even as a criminal defense attorney here in Pinellas County, when I have clients that assert that, I speak to them at the 49th street jail. They don't get to go home and be able to have conversations with me about that.
HARLOW: Michael, I would note, after this shooting and after the sheriff said, you know, we're not arresting Drejka because -- because of "stand your ground," the NRA actually came out opposing the sheriff's position, saying essentially that he got it wrong, that he -- that he got -- it appeared he got the law wrong this time. Why do you think that is and what's your reaction to that?
MCGLOCKTON: I think my -- my reaction on that is, I totally agree with the NRA. I guess the reason been (ph) is because, you know, obviously, you know, if they looked at that tape, just like everybody else did, they seen -- they seen the wrong in Michael Drejka. Obviously everybody has their own opinions, but I mean if you've got guys like the NRA just standing behind that's not standing with I want to say the sheriff's position, I mean, it speaks for itself.
[09:45:08] HARLOW: And when you heard Martin Savidge, my colleague, report on those prior allegations against Michael Drejka, pulling a gun on someone driving to -- you know, pulling out a gun of a car someone driving too slowly through a certain zone or not going through a yellow light or the confrontation that you just heard that account of parking in a handicapped spot, again, those are allegations against him at this time, but what's your reaction to that?
MCGLOCKTON: I think it speaks for itself. I mean, if you ask me, I mean, it's a clear indication that this guy has an issue. He has issues. And I think the guy he was -- he -- I think that particular day that he shot my son, this guy was just looking for a fight. He was just looking to provoke somebody. I mean it's -- I mean, as you say, I mean, if you look at the reports, read the reports, I mean this guy, it's like he's a -- it's like he's a -- I don't know, I mean, it's like he's a -- like once he has that gun in his hand, he's -- it's almost like he feels that he's invincible or something, like he wants to be a vigilante cop or something. I don't know what this guy's problem is, but --
HARLOW: Again, we have -- just to be clear, I mean, CNN has made multiple attempts to contact Drejka. He has not returned any of those attempts and it's just not clear if he has an attorney at this point in time. So the first time we'll hear from him may be today in court.
Michele, thank you for being here. Michael McGlockton, thank you, and I'm very sorry for the loss of your son.
RAYNER: Thank you, Poppy.
MCGLOCKTON: Thank you.
HARLOW: Prayers this morning for the queen of soul as Aretha Franklin enters hospice care. We are live in her hometown of Detroit, next.
[09:51:19] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): What you want, baby, I got it. What you need, you know I got it. All I'm asking is for a little respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: This morning, the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, is now receiving hospice care at her home in Detroit. The 76-year-old's career has spanned six decades, including 44 Grammy nominations. And you can never forget those countless chart toppers, "Respect," "Chain of Fools," and, of course, "Natural Woman."
Let's go to Ryan Young. He is in Motown this morning.
A remarkable gift. A remarkable career. And I understand that she got her start singing -- singing gospel music right there in Detroit. I think at her father's church, right?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. That church is just behind us. When you talk about this woman, the queen of soul, there's so many emotions connected with it. When you heard that song coming in, it makes you smile. I can think of my mother singing her songs as well. So she has a connection with so many people. When you talk about her connection to the city in particular, look at
the church behind me. This is a church that her father actually ran. And this street is named for her father. He was a reverend, prominent civil rights, and he helped so many people across this country. He started investing in her talent of being such a singer. And you think about those Grammy nominations. She won 18 of them. But it stretches all the way across the decades.
You think about the fact that not only did she sing at the memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, but then she was at the inauguration for Bill Clinton and President Obama. So this city has a unique connection with her. In fact, with so many people walking just said they love her so much. The song, the anthem, how it stretched, when you talk about where we are now, just to think that she was on the cover of "Time" in 1968. But watch this clip and the reaction from President Obama a few years back as she was singing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): And I just want to be, I want, you make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: You know, Poppy, a lot of times we talk about and give people titles in the music industry. But there's only one queen of soul. And the fact that her music and her voice still resonates with so many people, all you've got to do is open that Apple Music and start listening to the songs and how they stretch across the generations. Songs like "Freedom." You feel it in your heart. And you can tell that people really want to know how she's doing.
And, of course, she's in hospice, surrounded by friends and family. She's a very private person. So, at this point, we don't know what she's suffering from. But she should know that a lot of people love her and are sending their heartwarming feelings toward her at this point.
HARLOW: Everyone. Everyone. That music, wow.
Ryan, thank you. Thanks for being there.
All right, also this morning, the rift between the U.S. and Turkey growing with Turkey's president promising this morning to boycott U.S. electronics. Coming up, the back and forth and back and forth between these two NATO allies.
[09:58:49] HARLOW: All right, I want to take you back to breaking news out of Italy. You're looking at these stunning images as rescue crews furiously work to try to find people and rescue the people trapped under this bridge. This bridge that collapsed in Genoa, Italy, this morning. We now know the death toll has increased to now 20 people. Twenty people officially dead, 13 injured. We are staying on top of this.
Meantime, in Turkey, the latest shot in the intensifying feud between Turkey and the United States this morning as Turkey's president accuses the U.S. of stabbing its ally in the back. Those words from the Turkish president who this morning promised a boycott of American electronics in the face of these U.S. tariffs that are deepening Turkey's currency crisis. The value of the Turkish lira has fallen 40 percent this year. And Erdogan has refused to take emergency steps to prop it up.
All of this ties back to that American pastor, this man, Andrew Brunson, who has been held in Turkey since 2016 and whom the Turkish government refuses to release. The detention of an American citizen is what sparked those tariffs from the United States, which the Trump administration doubled on Friday.
[10:00:03] All right, good morning. Top of the hour. 10:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 a.m. out west. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.
And this morning we begin with the president versus the former aide, co-star and protege, whom he now calls, and this is