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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Vatican Holds Summit on Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy; Senate Committee Wants to Question David Geovanis; Geovanis Helped Organize 1996 Trump Trip to Moscow; ISIS Brides Blocked from Returning Home; Saudi Sisters Risk Everything to Flee Oppression. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 21, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London on this Thursday, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, facing up to the problem
plaguing the Catholic church. Pope Francis is leading an extraordinary summit to deal with the horror of sex abuse. A live report.
Also, tonight --
How can an individual who's been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false
A U.S. television star accused of staging an attack on himself in big legal trouble.
And focusing on some of the good in the world, we take a look at a man who spent years in prison and is now using football to steer youngsters away
from a similar life. It's part of our new series "LIFE CHANGERS," later in the program.
We begin with an unprecedented gathering at the Vatican of nearly 200 bishops from all around the world. What brings them together is the very
thing that is tearing the Catholic church apart, decades of widespread sexual abuse of children carried out by the priests they were told they
should trust. Pope Francis opened the four-day summit with yet another acknowledgment of the problem and with a call for what he calls concrete
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Upon our meeting is a burden of pastoral responsibility that compels us to discuss
together in an in-depth way how to tackle this evil that afflicts the church and humankind at large. The holy people of god are looking at us
and expect of us not simple condemnation but concrete and effective measures to put in place. We need to be concrete.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's get right to the latest. CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher joins me from Rome. When the Pope says concrete action, what
does he mean?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, as soon as he said that, he handed out a list of 21 reflection points to the bishops in that
room. Some of them consist of some concrete action, some are still quite general, talk about developing a protocol for holding bishops accountable
and so on, things people are still waiting for the Vatican to do. But in these point, a couple concrete actions. He says he doesn't want published,
for example, the list of accused priests until they are found guilty. That's something that's already happening in the United States. Diocese
are publishing lists of priests who are credibly accused, they say, of sex abuse. Another thing the Pope wants to do is change the minimum marriage
age in Catholic church law from 14 to 16 for girls. That's a concrete action that he wants to take, possibly a nod also to the situation in
Africa where child abuse is also part of the child bride situation. And on that point, I want to say that in this room, Hala, remember you've got
representatives from all around the world. Just this morning some of the bishops from Africa were saying, well, wait a minute, why are we only
talking about sex abuse? That's not such a problem in our country. They're saying we've got the problem of child trafficking, child labor, and
child marriage. So, you can imagine what they've got to hash out in the next four days. Just to give you a sense, Hala, of the mood in that room,
the day opens with testimony, video testimonies from sex abuse survivors. We don't have those videos. They are anonymous. But we have the
transcripts. I want to read to you a little bit of what the Pope and the bishops heard in that room this morning from one abuse survivor. She said,
I got pregnant three times, and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives.
Every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me. This is a survivor speaking about her priest abuser. So, the voices of survivors are
being heard at this meeting, Hala. We're still hearing from them that they are waiting for the follow-up.
GORANI: All right. And this is quite extraordinary and unusual, right, to have a Pope, a, acknowledge the problem of sex abuse within the children,
but also holding this very public summit where survivors, at least through transcripts, are allowed to have their say, right? I mean, how significant
will this be in hindsight, do you think, for the Catholic church?
[14:05:21] GALLAGHER: Well, we don't know. They have talked about it being a turning point. I mean, if you look at the pontificate of this
Pope, Francis came in saying zero tolerance. Really, for the first three years of his pontificate, we didn't see a lot of that. With the cases in
Chile that came out and when the Pope went there, he realized the depth of the situation in south America. And with the case that came out in the
U.S. then this conference was called. So, you're right to say it's unprecedented. They are all here. But everybody keeps repeating we need
to see where are -- there are a number of things that have to be done, obviously, but it's nonetheless important that all the bishops at the local
level are able to listen to victims, get the reports in, get the investigations done. Then the onus is on the Vatican to make sure there's
follow through on judging those cases.
GORANI: Delia Gallagher, thanks very much in Rome live for us. We'll continue to keep our eye on that summit. So important, as Delia was
saying, as to how it could affect change in the Catholic church.
Let's turn our attention to this. Take a look at this decades' old video. It shows Donald Trump and some business associated in Moscow back in the
'90s. It could go to the heart of the Russia investigation, and U.S. senators reportedly want to talk to at least one of the men in this
footage. All this as special counsel Robert Mueller is set to be wrapping up his probe. What was said at that meeting in 1996? Nina Dos Santos
joins us now with exclusive reporting on that story. Talk to us about the man in particular that U.S. investigators might be interested in talking
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: If we look at the video, it is an individual sitting in the back row with a gray tie. His name is David
Geovanis. I've learned that intelligence investigators --
GORANI: By the way, let's put up that video so viewers can see. There's a still image, which is arresting, to say the least.
DOS SANTOS: So, this is a Russian news report from the mid-1990s. The man on the right is the deputy mayor of Moscow. Donald Trump in his younger
years. And he's also accompanied by two real estate moguls. The gentleman you just saw there with the gray to silvery-blue tie in the front is a man
called David Geovanis. I've learned the Senate Intelligence Committee has been keen to talk to him for the better of 12 months. They tried to
contact him in the spring of last year, but he's remained in Russia. He's an American citizen, 58 years old, who obtained a Russian passport back in
2014. He's been a key foreign fixer in Russia since the early 1990s. He's worked for two of those real estate moguls you saw at the table near Trump
and Russian officials who donated heavily to President Trump's campaign. He's also worked for a number of years for the oligarch who is crucial to
the probe as well.
GORANI: There's the picture that I promised our viewers, which is of this gentleman, with a half-naked woman in front of a portrait of Stalin. What
is that about?
DOS SANTOS: This is an interesting picture. I've spoken to multiple witnesses under the condition of anonymity who have given evidence to the
Senate Intelligence Committee. One of them says the Senate Intelligence Committee has been provided with this photograph and that it was shown to
them during their interview. They were asked many probing questions about David Geovanis' relationship to Donald Trump going back to the 1990s and
also probing questions about potential business deals they may have discussed but also the Senate Intelligence Committee has been given written
testimony, which I myself have seen as well, suggesting this is an individual who would provide key information as to whether or not Russia
holds any potentially embarrassing information on --
GORANI: So, they want to talk to this David Geovanis person because he may know something that could mean that someone, the President or someone else,
could be compromised by information.
DOS SANTOS: Exactly.
GORANI: It's an open question that he could have answers to.
DOS SANTOS: Exactly. And I should point out, the last time that family and friends had seen him in the United States was just after the
inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017. It doesn't appear as though he's returned to America ever since then. Now, Senate investigators have
tried to contact him. I've spoken to him multiple times. I spoke to him just yesterday evening. He declined to say where he was, but I managed to
ascertain he is in Moscow at the moment. He declined to comment on the interest of the Senate intelligence committee. We of course approached the
White House. They've declined comment. The Trump organization has declined comment.
GORANI: So, you got ahold of David Geovanis.
DOS SANTOS: Indeed.
[14:10:01] GORANI: I'm sure you asked him, what do you know about the dealings of the President in Russia, what did he say? No comment?
DOS SANTOS: He refused to comment.
GORANI: Thank you very much. Nina Dos Santos.
One of the key defendants in the Russian influence investigation is due in court in a few minutes. Roger Stone is currently out of jail on bond.
That could change, though. He's being asked to explain some Instagram posts about his case and why they don't violate the terms of his release.
The Russian influence investigation is due in court in a few minutes. Roger Stone is currently out of jail on bond. That could change, though.
He's being asked to explain some Instagram posts about his case and why they don't violate the terms of his release. Talk to us about what could
happen in court in a few minutes.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: So, in about 15 minutes, this court hearing will get under way. The judge called Roger Stone in because of these
Instagram posts he posted on Monday of her. It's an image of the judge with what appears to be rifle crosshairs over her left shoulder. He's
criticizing her in the post saying that, you know, she's biased because she's an Obama appointee. He doesn't like the judge anyway because she put
Paul Manafort in jail for witness tampering. Now, the issue here, the judge called him in because she's looking at this as whether he violated
the terms of his bail, which prohibited him from any witness tampering or intimidation. That intimidation extends to the judge. So, this is one of
the big issues on the table, if he violated the term of that bail. The other issue is the gag order on the case. She gave him a lenient gag order
because Roger Stone argued he need the ability to speak because that's how he makes money, and to raise money for his defense fund. That's also on
the table here. Does she limit this? So, Roger Stone is facing the judge. He's already entered the courtroom here. We're waiting for the proceedings
to get under way. But the issue here is now what is the judge going to decide? Does she give him a warning or a slap on the wrist? Does she
impose a larger gag order, prohibiting him from speaking about the case? Or the real possibility that she could put him in prison for doing this.
She put Paul Manafort in jail for allegations that he tampered with witnesses. So, the stakes are very high here. The allegations, the action
that Stone took is actually very serious. It's something that the marshals take very seriously. The judge might have to increase security because
we've seen people react to, you know, goading and signs that are coming out from the Trump supporters. They've taken aim at journalists. So, this is
a serious issue that we'll see in about 15 minutes which way the judge is going to come down on this.
GORANI: All right. Kara Scannell reporting live there on Roger Stone's court appearance today. Could be in big trouble having posted that
Instagram post that shows the judge in the crosshairs of a weapon. Generally speaking, not a good idea, as I'm sure Roger Stone has learned.
Thanks very much.
Now to the story of two young women who pledged allegiance to ISIS. They're pleading to go back home, but the countries they came from are
rejecting them. In the UK, the British government has revoked the citizenship of one woman. She left London to join ISIS when she was just
15 years old. She's 19 now and says she wants to go back. Well, she's not a British citizen anymore. That's not going to happen. A similar story in
the U.S. Hoda Muthana was a college student when she left Alabama more than four years ago to join the terrorist group. U.S. President Donald Trump
tweeted Wednesday that he was directed -- he has directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow her back into the country.
CNN's Nick Valencia has been following this story and is live in Atlanta. Talk us to about this Hoda Muthana. Has she been stripped of her U.S.
citizenship? Does chef another citizenship?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the dispute over her citizenship. This is the argument between her attorney, who claims she's a
U.S. citizen, born in new jersey. Her father was a U.S. diplomat. Here's the distinction. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says she has no legal
recourse to re-enter the United States, no valid passport, no way to get a visa into the U.S. they maintain she was born while her father was a
diplomat to Yemen, which doesn't entitle her to birthright citizenship. For her part, according to her attorney, she's deeply traumatized by her
experience joining the terror group. She alleges she made a very regrettable mistake, that she was young and ignorant. We've seen her talk
to other media outlets. According to her attorney, she's willing to take responsibility, willing to disclose what kind of support she gave is.
According to her attorney, who we spoke to earlier, he says there's no one that resents the terror group more than her.
[14:15:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN SHIBLEY, ATTORNEY FOR HODA MUTHANA'S FAMILY: It's interesting because Hoda is not just asking to stroll on home with a free pass as if
nothing wrong happened. What she's actually asking is to be held accountable to our legal system, to have the due process that any American
citizen is entitled to. She was, in fact, born in the United States. Her father was not a diplomat at the time that she was born. She's an American
citizen, and the great thing about America is we have a legal system. When people break the law, they can be held accountable to our legal system.
Hoda is willing to pay the debt she owes to society, including facing jail time for the mistakes she's made after she was brainwashed by ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:15:10] VALENCIA: Hala, she wasn't just a part of ISIS. According to experts who follow these social media accounts, she was one of the most
prominent voices in English language calling on Americans to shed blood on U.S. soil, calling for westerners to take sides with is. She repeatedly
did that from 2015 on. She's now saying that she was brainwashed, made a mistake, and she wants a second chance at returning to the United States.
She's currently in a refugee camp in Syria. She fled last month. She was captured by U.S. forces in a Syrian desert. She's now in that refugee camp
trying to come back to the United States.
GORANI: And it's interesting. I mean, a lot of these women, when ISIS was territorial, gaining territorial and certainly was flexing its muscle, had
no issue calling for the death of Americans and westerners. Now they want to go back. The woman in the U.K. was 15 when she fled. How old was this
one when she left the U.S.?
VALENCIA: Around 19, 20 years old. She secretly left her home, got a flight to Turkey, and it's from then she ended up in Syria. What she
alleges, what she's told other reporters is that her upbringing, her Household was so strict that she essentially dove right in to her Islam
religion, so extreme, in fact, that she was radicalized over the internet around that time in 2014, 2015 and is now in Syria trying to come back. It
is a bizarre story. She's trying to get redemption. The Secretary of State and the President has instructed the Secretary of State here in the
United States not to let mother back in. She's determined to come back though, Hala.
GORANI: And by the way, we have a copy of her birth certificate. Is that something the lawyer provided?
VALENCIA: That's right. Her lawyer provided the birth certificate. You're looking at it there on your screen. It says she was born in
Hoboken, New Jersey. She was raised and spent a lot of her time in Alabama. As I mentioned, this is where the dispute is. Was her father a
diplomat at the time of her birth? If he was, it doesn't entitle her to birthright citizenship. If he was not, which the lawyer says he was not a
diplomat at the time, she is a U.S. citizen and should be allowed to come back to the United States to face due process.
GORANI: Yes, she needs to have another citizenship. You can't make someone stateless. Of course, that certainly won't be resolved in just a
few days. Thanks very much, Nick Valencia. Live in Atlanta.
Still to come tonight --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAUDI SISTER WHO ESCAPED FAMILY: We experienced family violence and hunger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: CNN speaks exclusively to two Saudi sisters who describe their dramatic escape from an abusive family.
Plus, a stunning reversal for American Actor Jussie Smollett. Self- declared hate crime victim is now a suspected hoax-ster. The criminal charges he's now facing coming up.
[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Two sisters from Saudi Arabia have told CNN of their dramatic escape from abuse at the hands of their own family. In an exclusive
interview, the women described how they fled during a holiday in Sri Lanka. With the chance of a death penalty awaiting them back home, their plan took
a dramatic turn in Hong Kong. Ivan Watson reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was supposed to be a family beach vacation. Instead, it is proof, two sisters say, of the life they lived
SAUDI SISTER: Every day it was like a nightmare.
WATSON: This holiday in Sri Lanka last September was also the scene of their dramatic attempt to escape from their family. They are 18 and 20-
year-old sisters from Saudi Arabia. For their security, they've asked us not to show their faces.
SISTER: Since we were teenagers, we experienced family violence and abuse, and we wanted to run away from this.
WATSON: Who was committing the violence in the family?
SISTER: Father and brothers.
WATSON: Under Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system, women have fewer legal rights than men, forced to cover up and unable to travel or even
apply for a passport without a husband, father, or brother's permission. Years ago, these sisters secretly renounced Islam, a crime punishable by
death in Saudi Arabia. And they began plotting their escape. On the family holiday in Sri Lanka, they saw their chance, but first they had to
get their passports from their parents.
You snuck into your parents' room?
WATSON: While they were sleeping?
WATSON: To get your passports?
WATSON: In the middle of the night, they fled to a waiting taxi and took off the long black abayas they were forced to wear from the age of 11.
SISTER: It was the first time.
WATSON: And you're smiling right now.
SISTER: Because it was exciting.
WATSON: At Colombo airport, they bought tickets and received passes to Melbourne, Australia, where they'd already arranged online tourist visas.
But when they landed at Hong Kong International Airport, the station manager of Sri Lankan airlines and a representative of an aviation services
group met them at the gate and asked them for their boarding passes.
SISTER: I showed it to him, and he grabbed it and we were asking, what's going on? Why are you walking fast? They said the plane, you can't catch
WATSON: As they walked through the airport, they were led to the desk of Emirates Airlines, and the story changed.
SISTER: He said now there's someone from that Saudi Consulate. We know at that time.
WATSON: Sri Lankan airlines sent CNN this detailed account. It alleges that this man, the Vice Consul of the Saudi Consulate in Hong Kong, came to
the airport and asked the airline to change the sisters' itinerary. The Saudi consular officials had informed Sri Lankan airlines staff that the
passengers' mother was terminally ill and the passengers were therefore required to return to Riyadh immediately. Sri Lankan airlines tells CNN
Saudi officials canceled the sisters' tickets to Australia and requested new boarding passes to take them to Dubai and then Saudi Arabia.
SISTER: When we scream in his face saying return my passport, you have to right to take it, you crossed the line, we will tell the police, he's
scared. Then we took our passport and literally run away.
WATSON: In the airport?
SISTER: In the airport.
WATSON: This isn't the first time Saudi government officials have tried to stop women from fleeing. In Thailand last month, this 18-year-old
barricaded herself in a hotel room and took to the internet, begging for help to prevent deportation back to Saudi Arabia. And this woman was
filmed by passengers in manila airport in 2017 being forced by male relatives on a flight back to Saudi Arabia.
[14:25:01] Activists haven't heard from her since. Back in Hong Kong, the sisters accuse the Saudi vice consul of intervening in their attempt to
board a later flight to Australia, eventually prompting an Australian official to cancel their visas. Australia's department of home affairs
refused to tell us why the visas were canceled, saying it does not comment on individual cases. The sisters have been stranded in the city ever
SISTER: Do you think these sisters are in danger here in Hong Kong?
MICHAEL VIDLER, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes, I do.
WATSON: Human rights attorney Michael Vidler filed a criminal complaint on behalf of the sisters.
VIDLER: We allege that they were the subject of an attempted kidnapping at Hong Kong International Airport in the restricted area. We allege that
they obtained their documents, used their documents unlawfully to cancel their boarding passes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Vidler says his team have screened airport security camera footage showing this man, the Saudi Consul General in Hong Kong, shown here at the
airport in happier times. The lawyer says the diplomat was filmed holding the sisters' passports and boarding passes at the airport on September 6th.
A big question here, why would the highest-ranking Saudi official in Hong Kong personally, allegedly, intervene in the travel of two adult Saudi
CNN reached out multiple times to the foreign ministry in Riyadh and the consulate here in Hong Kong and got no answer at all. But Hong Kong police
tell CNN they are now officially investigating what happened in the airport on that day. Sri Lankan airlines and the aviation services group both deny
any wrongdoing, saying they did not pressure the sisters into changing their flights. As for the sister, they're still living in hiding in Hong
Kong, hoping to receive political asylum. They have a defiant message for their family back home.
SISTER: I want to be a successful woman and to give them that message with my success, that they can't break me.
WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Still to come tonight, the case involving U.S. actor Jussie Smollett turns upside down. Now police say he's not an attack victim but a suspect.
Also, ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
If I didn't play for the football club, I think that I probably just would have been on a totally different path of doing the wrong things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The first of our "LIFE CHANGERS" series, we bring you the former gang member saving lives through football.
In the U.S., a stunning development in the case of actor Jussie Smollett. Last month he claimed he was the victim of a hate attack because he's black
and openly gay. Support for him poured in despite questions about his story from the get-go. And here he is today, a suspect in a police mug
shot. Just a few hours ago, Chicago police said the alleged act was actually a hoax and that Smollett staged it himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to
promote his career. I'm left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to
make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that
symbol to further his own public profile?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Smollett, who's on the TV show "Empire," is charged with filing a false police report. His bond hearing is set to start any minute
in Chicago. Ryan Young is standing by outside the courthouse. What are we expecting in court shortly, Ryan?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, we're actually on the inside. And his family members actually probably walked past us in the
last three minutes or so. What we believe will happen around 1:30, we cannot have cameras in there, the sketch artist will be on the inside
because he will get a bond. Because obviously he's not a major offender here.
But look, there's a lot of questions about this. And, obviously, the superintendent of police is not mincing words. He's not happy about this
at all, especially when you try to illicit the noose involved in this and the fact that they believe he orchestrated this entire thing.
When you think about the fact of all the man hours that have been put into this, you're talking about over a thousand police hours that were taken
away from other cases to put into this, and then they talked to two men who they thought were persons of interest. They had them for 48 hours. And
then all of a sudden, they started singing, they started giving up all the information. And they say the actor paid them $3500 to pull this all off.
GORANI: And why did he do it allegedly?
YOUNG: Well, the motive here is something that was sort of surprised all of us in the room, which was they believe that he was upset with his
payment, the salary at the show "Empire." He wanted to get some attention. There was a letter that was sent to the studio about a week before this
attack happened. That was actually drawn with stick figures, and had someone hanging from a noose. It actually had some white powder in it.
They had to call a hazmat team there to discover that the white powder was aspirin.
So you see all these warning signs that happened days in advance. But police now have zeroed in. They believe the brothers' testimony is locked
in. Now the next step is this bond hearing. We believe the actor is going to have to walk past all these cameras here to try to get out of the
I can tell you looking at this, there's probably more than 50 cameras in here just waiting to see the actor as he walks out because we haven't seen
him just yet during this whole procedure, so far.
GORANI: But as Smollett himself continues to say he's innocent that, none of this was staged by him?
YOUNG: His lawyers are saying that he's innocent until proven guilty, but he hasn't talked. He hasn't even talked to detectives at this point. He
did give that interview to "GMA." And he was obviously very defiant about what his position was. But we believe that interview is what helped
detectives, sort of, figure things out. You know why? Because they were able to go through it, they sort of look at the timeline that he gave and
break parts of his story apart.
And then when they talked to the two brothers, the bodybuilders who were also were actors on that show "Empire," they were able to break parts of
this down. There's even more evidence that we don't know about, but they lay part of it out for us during that news conference almost like a defense
team or a prosecution team would in court in terms of just trying to tell us the timeline they have been able to establish the show, the actors
involvement, at least what they believe is the actor's involvement in this all hoax.
GORANI: Ryan Young, thanks very much inside that courthouse in Chicago.
Well, Smollett faces up to three years in prison. Let's dig deeper into the legal side of all of this. Areva martin, our legal analyst, joins me
from Los Angeles.
So three years in prison would be on what charges? I mean, that's a very long time. It's a hoax basically. Why would it be such a long sentence?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Because under Illinois law, filing a false police report comes under the statute of disorderly conduct. And
it's a class four felony in the state of Illinois. And if he is, in fact, convicted of filing a false police report under this statute, that's the
prison term that comes with this type of conviction.
Now, the judge will have a great deal of latitude, and he may even be eligible for probation. What we know about Jussie Smollett to date is that
he doesn't have any prior criminal record. I think in 2006 or 2007 he may have had a DUI. He pled no contest too in the state of California. But he
doesn't have any felony or any other criminal background that would suggest that he would get the maximum of three years.
But as we heard that police superintendent articulate, Hala, the Chicago police department put a lot of resources into this investigation, a
tremendous amount of man hours from their detectives, over 12 detectives involved in this investigation, and they believe that they deserve
restitution for all of those resources that were expended on this, what they believe is a, hoax.
[14:35:06] GORANI: Well, that's actually -- that was going to be my next question because could he be forced to pay back some of what it cost them
to investigate the case?
MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. The Chicago police superintendent made it very clear that what he would consider justice in a case like this is an
acknowledgement on the part of Jussie Smollett that this was a hoax, an apology to the entire city of Chicago, and some form of restitution put
forth in tracking down those two men and investigating this case and bringing this case to the grand jury.
GORANI: And could some of his pronouncements, his denials before police came to the conclusion they believed that he was allegedly behind all of
this, could some of his denials hurt his case?
MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. Everything that he's made -- every public statement that Smollett has made, in his interview with "GMA," any other
interviews that he may have given, even thinks that he may have said on social media, all that's fair game for the prosecutors if this case goes to
And I'm not certain, though, that his attorneys want to take the risk of trying this case in Chicago. It's very clear to me from talking to folks,
following this on social media that people in Chicago feel incredibly betrayed by Smollett. They were incredibly supportive of "Empire," the
taping of that show in their city. They felt a great deal of pride with the show being there. And now they feel really betrayed. Most of them are
very angry, like we saw from the police chief.
And it's not clear to me that it would be in his best interest to go to trial. A case like this, I would expect his lawyers are already talking to
the prosecutors about a potential plea deal.
GORANI: And lastly, the brothers. So the brothers that were allegedly paid to orchestrate this whole thing and buy the noose and do this whole
hoax, they obviously could be in trouble as well.
MARTIN: Well, Chicago police chief made it very clear that at this moment they are no longer suspects. They were actually let go from custody. They
are not being charged at this time. There's no indication they will be. It looks like from the police's perspective, this was all orchestrated by
He said -- the police chief said the brothers were shocked and surprised when they got off the plane, arriving from Nigeria back into Chicago, that
they were arrested. I think the biggest issue here and hopefully the lesson learned from all three is that this hurts real victims of crime.
When you make up stories about being attacked like this, you are injuring those really serious victims who don't have the platform that someone like
GORANI: Yes, sure. Same is often said of the one out of thousands and thousands of women who make up a story of rape and the legitimate abuse
victims say, you know, this is going to be an issue for us as well.
Areva Martin, thanks so much. Joining us from L.A. Appreciate it.
Let's return now to that unprecedented summit at the Vatican where the church is attempting to address the issue of sexual abuse. It seemed at
times as though these scandals have been endless in many countries around the world.
Let's focus now on the United States, where several scandals of abuse have rocked the Catholic Church in recent times. Our Rosa Flores reports.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days before catholic bishops from around the world gather in Rome to confront clergy sex abuse,
a bombshell. Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C., was defrocked by Pope Francis on Saturday after a church
trial found him guilty of abusing minors and adult seminarians decades earlier.
The expulsion of McCarrick, once one of the highest ranking catholic officials in the U.S., marks the first time an American cardinal has been
held to account in a scandal that has dogged the church for decades.
More than 6,700 priests in the U.S. have abused tens of thousands of children since 1950 according to bishop accountability. But only a
fraction of them have been defrocked. McCarrick's dismissal is just the latest in a wave of high-level fallouts that has rocked the Catholic Church
over the last year.
DONALD WUERL, CARDINAL: Shame on you.
FLORES: In October, Cardinal Donald Wuerl then one of the world's most powerful Catholics resigned in the wake of a damming grand jury report in
Pennsylvania which accused him of mishandling cases of abuse. Wuerl denied the allegations.
According to bishop accountability, the church has released about 100 lists with the names of an estimated 2,500 predator priests and has shelled out
more than $3.8 billion in settlements and payouts since the 1980s.
The unprecedented discipline of McCarrick was welcomed by this man, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston. He released a statement about
McCarrick that said in part, "No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the church."
[14:40:13] Despite that hardline, he arrived in Rome amid a cloud of controversy. He is under scrutiny in two states for his mishandling of
abuse claims made against priests he once oversaw.
FLORES (on-camera): Should Cardinal DiNardo represent every American catholic in Rome?
MICHAEL NORRIS, SURVIVOR OF PRIEST ABUSE: Absolutely not.
FLORES (voice-over): Survivor network SNAP sent Pope Francis a letter ahead of this meeting demanding that every bishop involved in cover-up be
fired starting with DiNardo.
FLORES (on-camera): And what do you hope for?
NORRIS: From this meeting? I'm not hoping for much. I don't have very high expectations. How can they can be part of the solution if they're
part of the problem?
FLORES: CNN reached out to Cardinal DiNardo for this story while an interview was not granted. His spokesperson sent us a statement saying
that the archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement. Cardinal DiNardo is not charged with a crime. However, investigators raided his
offices in November.
BRETT LIGON, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I will tell you, anywhere that this investigation and any evidence that we gain as part of this investigation,
this search warrant or any other search warrant, if it has a material barring on the criminal conduct or on the punishment is where we will go.
Rosa Flores, CNN, Rome.
GORANI: In Bangladesh, a fast-moving fire in the capital Dhaka has claimed nearly 80 lives, 8-0. The tragedy is once again raising questions about
factory work, the storage in this case of dangerous chemicals, and poor enforcement of safely laws in old and crowded residential areas. Nikhil
Kumar has our story.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Scores of people were caught up in the massive flames as they spread through Dhaka's
Chawkbazar area late Wednesday night.
Authorities say the fire started when a fuel cylinder exploded in a car. Chemicals and plastics stored in a nearby warehouse further spread the
flames. The fire spread across a restaurant and at least five buildings, leaving two of them near collapse.
People were in shock and grief outside Dhaka's medical college hospital as they began to find out what had happened to their loved ones. Firefighters
and volunteers worked overnight to put out the flames. But even as the fire died down, the death toll continued to climb.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): How many more there are is still not yet known. When we are able to search the whole building, then we'll
know the exact numbers of victims.
KUMAR: Fire service officials said that tightly compact buildings and combustible chemicals made the fire particularly devastating. There have
been a number of deadly fires in Dhaka in recent years.
In 2010, a fire in an old building, also a chemical warehouse, killed more than 120 people. City authorities have said they worked to block storage
of chemicals in residential areas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Just two days before this happened, our mobile court team initiated raids to close these chemical
warehouses from this old part of Dhaka. Just this past Monday. We want to make this clear to everybody today that our city council is fully committed
to remove these chemical warehouses from Old Dhaka.
KUMAR: But that hasn't happened quickly enough to save these people.
Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.
GORANI: Absolute tragedy there. We're going to take a quick break. Our "Life Changer" series is coming up as well. You don't want to miss that.
We'll be right back.
[14:45:53] GORANI: The age of social media presents a new challenge for troops that are part of the NATO alliance. Researchers say fake profiles
and accounts can actually pose a pretty potentially big security threat. Tom Foreman has that story.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): True positions and strength, their names, their friends, and phone numbers. The new reports suggest all
were easily accessed through common social media apps during an unidentified NATO military exercise.
What's more, researchers wanted to know if troops could be tricked into leaving their positions, not fulfilling duties, and some were lured into
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The real life threat here, of course, first and foremost, is the ability of opposing forces to be able to
actually physically attack where they see people on a cell phone or on social media. That's the most imminent threat.
FOREMAN: How did the experiment work? Scouring news sources and official military web pages, the researcher's targeted units involved in the NATO
exercise, and through Facebook and Instagram accounts, they identified individuals. Then through impersonation, pretending to be a friendly group
or real person, honey pot pages promising romantic or erotic contacts, fake closed groups and more, the researchers enticed the troops to share
information about their exact locations, their plans, and objectives.
Researchers collected posted photos of equipment and tapped into personal data too. Sure, some social media companies have stepped up their privacy
measures, and Facebook quickly shut down some of the tricks the researchers tried.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FACEBOOK: You can turn off the data related to ads. You can choose not to share any content or control
exactly who sees it.
FOREMAN: But the report notes massive amounts of metadata can be shared involuntarily by anyone carrying a smartphone. Troops' likes, dislikes,
activities, even fitness routines like running, stuff U.S. military researchers have long noted could put their entire family at risk by making
them potential targets and would be advantageous to adversaries who are looking to kidnap or exploit U.S. military personnel.
It's not all just theory. Analysts say in Ukraine, Russia used social media to track and influence opposing troop movements. In Iraq, ISIS
reportedly used it to monitor American troops.
HALL: You've got young soldiers who are used to being online all the time. You're giving up a wealth of tactical and it strategic information.
FOREMAN (on camera): Military forces around the world, including in the U.S., have considered banning cell phones precisely because of this danger.
So far, here, the advantages of troops being in touch with each other and family and friends have outweighed the risks, but no doubt this report will
reignite the debate.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
GORANI: A court hearing has just wrapped up in Maryland for a U.S. coast guard officer who authorities say had an elaborate plan to carry out a mass
killing. A judge ordered Christopher Paul Hasson detained until his trial on gun and drug charges. Investigators say he compiled a hit list of
journalists and democratic lawmakers. Jessica Schneider has details.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Court documents providing chilling details about a coast guard lieutenant who prosecutors
say hoped to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country before being arrested in Maryland last week.
49-year-old Christopher Hasson is facing federal charges of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance. But
prosecutors say these charges are just the tip of the iceberg, writing, "The defendant is a domestic terrorist bent on committing acts dangerous to
human life that are intended to affect government conduct."
Investigators say they found this hit list on Hasson's computer containing names of prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as a number of 2020 democratic candidates, including senators
Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.
[14:50:01] The list also containing the names of several journalists from CNN and MSNBC.
Federal agents say they found 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in Hasson's Maryland apartment. In addition to a stockpile of
steroids that government says Hasson was using to increase his ability to conduct attacks.
In e-mails outlined in court filings, Hasson calls himself a white nationalist and was inspired by a manifesto written by Anders Breivik, a
Norwegian terrorist convicted of killing 77 people in 2011.
Prosecutors say roughly a month before his arrest, Hasson Googled topics including "Are Supreme Court justices protected?" "Where do most senators
live in D.C.?" and "Civil war if Trump impeached."
GORANI: There you have it. The latest with Jessica Schneider. At the hearing, the attorney for Hasson argued he shouldn't be detained because,
quote, "It is not a crime to think negative thoughts about people or doomsday scenarios."
More to come, including I meet a former gang member dedicating his life to saving others from making the same mistakes that nearly killed him. We're
focusing on some of the good in the world in the first of our "Life Changer" series coming up, next.
GORANI: Well, so often on this show, we have to bring you stories of tragedy, chaos, and violence. So we've decided to also focus on some of
the forces for good in the world with profiles of people who change and sometimes save the lives of others.
In the first of our series, I meet Bobby Kasanga. He's dedicating his life to steering others away from the choices that sent him to prison and almost
killed him. Here's his story.
BOBBY KASANGA, FORMER GANG MEMBER: So today, we're going to be working on some of your guy's touches, seeing who's at what level.
GORANI (voice-over): It took two stints in prison for Bobby Kasanga to realize his life needed a change of direction.
Growing up a member of a south London gang, Bobby was once deep in a world of crime and violence.
KASANGA: I saw so many talented people in prison and I just thought that a lot of them were misguided, sort of told me I need to create a platform for
some of these young dudes just to give them a way out.
GORANI: That's when Bobby set up a football club in East London, Hackney Wick, named after the local neighborhood. The goal, to steer young men
away from the lifestyle that nearly killed him.
KASANGA: There's a point in 2007 where things just spiraled way out of control. My older brother got shot four times in 2008, nearly died. And
my younger brother was constantly getting involved in altercations. It was a very scary moment. I honestly can't count on my fingers and toes how
many friends are dead.
GORANI: Friends like fellow footballer, Anthony Ogazi, pictured here next to Bobby. He was stabbed to death in 2008.
In the past few years, knife crime has surged to record levels in London. Eighty-three people were killed in knife attacks in the 12 months to
KASANGA: It feels like nothing ever changes and the violence is really real. And that's what I'm trying to teach some of these kids is that once
you're dead, you're dead. There's no coming from that.
GORANI: One of those kids was Jayden Mitchell Brown, now 21 years old. He says his life would be very different today without Bobby. Jaden says he
recruited him for the Hackney Wick team and went further. He also found him his first job.
[14:55:04] JAYDEN MITCHELL BROWN, FORMER GANG MEMBER: If I didn't sort of meet Bobby and play football with him and for the football club, basically
I think that I probably just would have been on a totally different path, sort of just doing the wrong things basically.
GORANI: What do you mean by that?
BROWN: Probably obviously selling drugs, you know. Because that's so easy, quick way to make money, you know what I mean? So you can only
benefit from what you're surrounded by. And so what you're surrounded by is some of the best of circumstances, and London is a crazy place.
Buckingham Palace, that's the area that they put on TV. That's your painted picture of London basically. But when you get to the real
business, it's a real hard world out here.
GORANI: Jayden has now become a role model of sorts to younger kids in Bobby's club.
KASANGA: Some of you guys may not have met Jayden before. He started playing for the team. And he scored our first ever FA cup goal this year.
He's an example.
GORANI: The semiprofessional Hackney Wick first team has a long way to go. It currently plays in the tenth league of English football. So regular
games like this one against the Wormley Rovers are important to advance to get sponsors, money, and support. And to give these young men purpose to
make picking up a ball more attractive than reaching for a knife.
KASANGA: The knife crime rate especially has spiraled way out of control. And what is now so many have no leadership. Some come from sort of single-
parent home where the father is not around. So the only people they have as role models are the local gangs is you can say, look, I'll look after
you. Here's some money. Go and sell some drugs for me.
GORANI: So you have to compete with the lure of easy money, expensive trainers, all that stuff, with a football club.
KASANGA: Yes, basically.
GORANI: How do you do that?
KASANGA: England, our national sport is football. So even the toughest of gangsters play football at a certain point. Yes, we have to compete with
these guys, but we know that where a kind you know he's selling drugs, his phone is going off all day. I'll call you back in a bit. But he's not
bothered about selling drugs, at that point, he's there playing football. We know by keeping them occupied, we're putting in stuff, putting in
messages it stops them from going the other way.
GORANI: With every hour on the pitch rather than on the street, with every goal scored, what seem like little wins to some for Bobby could mean
significant victories for the kids he's trying to help.
KASANGA: Well done, boys.
GORANI: Hala Gorani, CNN, Hackney, London.
GORANI: And check out our Facebook page as well as my Twitter account, @HalaGorani, if you can and you have a few seconds. Thanks for watching.
"QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.