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Woman Wanted for Columbine Threat Found Dead; Prosecutors To Release Kraft Video; Manhunt over for Woman in Colorado. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired April 17, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's probably the likelihood that she ended up killing herself.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: OK. James Gagliano, Josh Campbell, Scott McLean on the ground, thank you all.
We have so much more to look into. This breaking news story.
Brianna Keilar picks up right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, and we begin with breaking news.
CNN sources are reporting that the woman who set off a massive manhunt is dead. The FBI tweeted just moments ago there is no longer a threat to the community. All of this stemming from the search for an armed woman described as infatuated with the Columbine school massacre, 18- year-old Sol Pais.
Our correspondent, Scott McLean, is in Littleton, Colorado. We have CNN law enforcement analysts Josh Campbell. And James Gagliano is here with us as well from New York. We also have national security analyst Juliette Kayyem with us from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
And, Scott, this is -- this has just changed in the last few minutes. Tell us what you're now hearing.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. So initially, Brianna, we had been told by the FBI they had put out an alert saying that the threat is no longer facing the community. Now we are hearing from two of our local affiliates, KDVR and KCNC that they are citing the Clear Creek County sheriff saying that the -- or the person of interest here, Sol Pais, has in fact been killed.
It is not clear what the circumstances around that are, but we know that there was heavy law enforcement activity around Mount Evans. This is an area about an hour and 30 minutes' drive from where we are in Littleton. It is really into some pretty remote areas of the mountains.
Initially we had been told that she was last seen around the Foothills area. This is far beyond the Foothills area. It's getting out more toward some -- where some of the ski resorts are. And the road where she was on, or at least we believe she was, is a pretty winding road full of switchbacks. And so it would not be easy for her to get to. She was not certainly sitting out in the open.
What's also interesting, Brianna, is police made quite clear, she didn't have any connection to this community, at least not any connection that they knew about. So where she would have been hiding out, where she would have been staying, whether there was someone who was with her, all questions that are being asked right now.
KEILAR: And at this point in time, one of the -- we -- there's questions we don't know the answers to. We don't know how she died. We don't know what type of engagement that she may or may not have had with law enforcement, right, Scott?
MCLEAN: Yes, that's true, because law enforcement seemed to be really scratching their heads last night at the press conference where they said, "Look, we don't know where she is. That's why we're laying our cards out on the table here and asking for the public's assistance."
In the last 24 hours, just this morning, we were told by the Jefferson County sheriff, that's the county where I am, that there were no credible sightings. She had not been seen on any surveillance video or any kind of electronic surveillance like that. They were trying to locate her. It is unclear how they located her in that area. Presumably, there must have been some kind of a tip to lead them out there.
But, yes, Brianna, there is absolutely a lot of questions at this point that are still very much being asked.
Another one is, on what grounds would the FBI have to actually arrest her? Obviously that's not the case right here. But they said, look, we -- they were working with the U.S. attorney to figure out what charges might apply in this case because obviously it's not illegal to buy a gun. The threats weren't quite specific. And so they said that they would try to arrest her, hold her as long as they legally could.
How it got to this point where you have a person who is dead, again, a lot of people are going to be asking this question for the next couple of hours.
KEILAR: Let's bring in Josh Campbell to this conversation here.
Josh, what is your reaction to this?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, well, there are a lot of questions we have as far as the circumstances surrounding this death. Now, we know that law enforcement considered her armed and dangerous. So there were a number of law enforcement officers from the federal, state and local level that were fanned out across the area.
As Scott mentioned, there was something that led them to this location, whether that was their own technical analysis, whether it was witness tips coming in that led law enforcement to this location. There are questions that we still have as far as the circumstances surrounding her death because we don't yet know if she was actually engaged by law enforcement or if she took her own life. We've seen instances in the past with both, where you have a suspect who's on the run, that understands that, you know, there is no end game here and they ultimately decide to take their life. Some of them opt for suicide by cop. Some of them turn their weapon on law enforcement or engage. There's so many questions right now.
The good news is, law enforcement putting out the word that the threat to the community is now gone.
KEILAR: And there had been tremendous concern when you're talking about all of the schools that had been closed, that were doing a lockout so that essentially the students were secure inside of the buildings going to class.
James, as you're watching this, what is your reaction to this news that the woman who had been wanted for a threat -- well, nonspecific threats, but still threats, and had -- when it came to Columbine and was infatuated with Columbine, had gone from Miami to Colorado, she has been found dead?
[13:05:10] JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, and I'll tell you, Brianna, the number one thing was law enforcement wanted to make contact with her. Now, here's the situation. I think we -- you know, a few other folks have spoken to this. Once they came upon her as a person of interest, I mean, she hadn't broken any law yet. And depending upon whether or not they find something on the Internet, something she said that could be considered an explicit threat, law enforcement would have had to hold her in what we call a brief investigative detention and try to determine how serious she was about some of the things that she said online. That's the only way they could have held her.
So we certainly don't -- we certainly don't celebrate the loss of a life here. Of course every life is precious. But in this instance, it would have -- it could have ended up much more horrifically. And even if law enforcement had been able to bring her in, they would have had to find some piece of evidence or she would have had to say something that they could have then used to charge her to keep her in custody.
KEILAR: We do have some new information. I want to get back to our correspondent on the ground there, Scott McLean.
Scott, what can you tell us?
MCLEAN: Hey, Brianna.
So we're now hearing directly into CNN from a law enforcement official who's obviously familiar with what happened and with the investigation, telling us that Sol Pais was found dead when police came upon her. So that implies that she was not killed by police. That she was already dead.
Obviously we know that when she got to Colorado, she had purchased a pump action shotgun and was last seen in the Foothills. This is further west of the Foothills. But, again, she had a weapon with her. Law enforcement now telling CNN that she was found dead when law enforcement came upon her, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Scott, thank you so much for the new reporting.
Juliette Kayyem, that's a new detail that we're getting in from authorities, that -- that Sol Pais was found dead. So there appears to have been no engagement or interaction with law enforcement, though very clearly authorities were looking for her and she was likely aware of that.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I would assume that she was aware of that and had nowhere to go and took her own life. I've been around and studied the Columbine killing for a long time. The suicide was -- is -- is -- was viewed by the boys -- by the killers at Columbine as sort of the last gesture until you're viewed as a hero. They had thought about suicide and, in fact, die -- or being killed by police often.
I do want to say one thing that I suspect that we're going to find out over the next 24 to 48 hours. We dealt with this challenge here just this week a couple years ago for the Boston Marathon. When you have a threat like that, can you close down a city? Can you close the schools? And I would suspect that what led to the closing of the schools and the lockdowns was that the information was sort of specific enough, even though it may not have been criminal, to kind of spook law enforcement.
And I think that -- I think they made the right gesture in this case. The community is obviously very scared in terms of the anniversary. There's a lot of crack pots around the area right now who sort of glorify the killers in Columbine, glorify the killings. And so I don't think it was just sort of, you know, what was put online and the fact that she had a gun. I would suspect over the next couple of days we will find out that there was probably something more credible that led to that immediate action of -- of sort of, you know, changing the way people live today.
There in now, though, they'll open back up.
KEILAR: Yes. And when you just look at the totality of everything surrounding Sol Pais, her infatuation with Columbine, traveling quite a fair distance from Miami to Colorado, even as you said, maybe nonspecific threats but certainly something that caused concern in the area.
KEILAR: Have you ever, Josh Campbell, seen anything like this?
CAMPBELL: So we have a lot of questions here. So we don't exactly know what it is that we're dealing with. One of -- to state the obvious, investigators can now no longer interview her to get a sense of what was actually going through her mind. Was she actually intent on acting on whatever her -- you know, the issue was that she had here, or was it -- this was someone who was musing and law enforcement got wind of that and it spooked them enough where they want to further investigate. We just don't know. There's no way to compare this to anything else yet because we don't yet have that part of the picture really filled out.
I can tell you, just because the threat is now mitigated and neutralized, this investigation very much continues. Now they're going to continue to dig into her life. We know that they've been talking to associates. We know that they've been talking to family members, law enforcement, trying to build out this picture. And now they'll be digging into her social media. Again, it comes down to trying to figure out what this motivation was, ruling out that there is no one else that was involved.
And then, lastly, law enforcement officers learned from each of these incident. So they know what to be on the lookout for as they come across people, as they come across potential threats. And you can align some of these different signals and patterns in order to stop future threats. So this is going to be a very multi-facetted investigation that does end with her death.
[13:10:03] KEILAR: No. And also, James Gagliano, when you look at this, the -- clearly there was this calculus that she was a threat. Now we know that she has been found dead. The question is going to be, was she a threat to people beyond herself? What exactly led to this death? Was this perhaps suicide? Was it, as Juliette Kayyem is hypothesizing, perhaps that she was cornered by law enforcement because they did take such an aggressive, precautionary stance when it came to these schools?
GAGLIANO: And that's why, Brianna, right now the important thing, now that we know that the immediate threat has been -- has been mitigated, if you will, the important thing now is to put together, was there a conspiracy here and -- and what she actually inclined to do? Did she have plans on doing something like -- like to Juliette's point, you know, the glorification of the mytholigason (ph) of, you know, the Columbine shooters?
Columbine was 20 years ago this Saturday. And you can actually go back as far back as 1966, 53 years ago, with the University of Texas Clock Tower shooting, understanding why we are so concerned about the safety and security of our schools. I think, in the Denver area, they made the right call today. People are certainly going to go back and forth on this on whether it was. But I think in an abundance of caution, and with the fact that the residents of the 20-year anniversary just around the corner, I think it was the right call to make. And I'm thankful now -- I'm assuming law enforcement is going through doing all the forensic analysis, talking to folks, piecing things together and just making sure that this was the end and not the tip of a spear.
KEILAR: All right, I'm going to have everyone stand by. We're going to be coming back to this as we wait to hear from authorities, the story that Sol Pais, a manhunt had been underway for her in the Colorado area after she travelled from Miami to Colorado, seen in the county in Columbine. She had been obsessed with the Columbine massacre.
We have now learned from sources that she has been found dead about 90 minutes from Columbine, in an area near Mount Evans, Colorado.
We're going to continue to follow this. So many questions to -- so many questions still out there.
And prosecutors are saying they will release video evidence in the case against Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He'd been fighting the release as he faces charges relating to the prostitution sting at a spa. We're going to stand by for details on that as well.
[13:16:46] KEILAR: Breaking news now.
Florida prosecutor say they will release the tapes of Robert Kraft's alleged solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Let's get now to CNN's Rosa Flores. She is in Miami and she has details.
Give us the latest here.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, what we've learned is that the prosecutors have filed notice with the court saying that they intend to release the tapes. And they are arguing that, according to Florida sunshine laws, they are compelled to release the tapes and that they can't hold the tapes even if arguments of constitutionality have been made.
And we, of course, know that some of those arguments have been made by the Kraft attorneys in court. We were there last week when Kraft's attorneys argued that those tapes were a violation of Mr. Kraft's privacy, that he would not get a fair trial if those tapes were released. And, further, they argued that those tapes were illegally obtained because they had questions and they believe that those tapes were illegally obtained because they had questions about how the search warrants were obtained.
The attorneys, however, that were representing the media there argued that a defendant in a criminal case does not have the right to privacy, especially if some of those acts were caught on tape.
And, Brianna, as to what is on these tapes, Kraft's attorneys themselves describe them as pornography. These tapes show the sexual acts that were captured in those massage rooms. And, of course, we know that those tapes will also show the lobby area where the payments were made.
But, again, the breaking news here is that prosecutors in Florida announcing that the tapes involving Robert Kraft and the allegations of him -- he, of course, is charged with solicitation of prostitution -- will be released at some point. From talking to prosecutors here in Florida, they say that the release is not imminent. They're -- they don't say that they're releasing it right now, but their intention is to release those tapes.
Brianna. KEILAR: So, Rosa, is what they're saying that there is video evidence of Robert Kraft in a sex act and video evident of Robert Kraft paying for that alleged sex act? Is that -- is that definitely the case, according to sources, or -- I mean clearly they have some video of sex acts, some videos of the payment. Are they -- are -- have sources said that they have video of both of these things when can relates to Robert Kraft?
FLORES: When you -- these are based on the descriptions in the documents. And -- in -- during court, both parties spoke about what is on those tapes. And, again, Kraft's attorneys described it as pornography. And that was one of the reasons why they were trying to compel the court not to release those tapes, saying that, first of all, that the description of what was on the tapes were in all of the affidavits that had been filed with the court. These are all of the police documents that have already been released, that have been public, that we've been reporting on for a while. So those affidavits describe what the tapes have.
These tapes, of course, would be extremely explicit. And that's one of the reasons why Kraft's attorneys have been arguing that the tapes should not be released.
[13:20:03] The media, however, media attorneys there that have been arguing for the release have said that, look, the descriptions are already out there. The public has a right to know given the fact that there were crimes committed at this facility.
KEILAR: All right, Rosa Flores, thank you so much for that.
I want to bring in Elliot Williams. He's a former federal prosecutor.
I want to talk about this fight over whether these tapes should be released.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Right.
KEILAR: But, first, let's discuss what this would mean if these tapes, which it appears are -- include the sex act and paying for the alleged sex act, involving Roger Kraft at the day spa, so this solicitation -- Robert -- sorry, Robert Kraft, involving this solicitation case. What does that mean for Robert Kraft?
WILLIAMS: Right. So at the center of this is this fundamental tension between the rights of people who have been charged with crimes and the public's right to know what happens in criminal cases, right? So these -- this would necessarily be embarrassing information to any defendant and it's -- you know, by its nature, it's pretty salacious. It's -- it sounds like it's some stuff that either -- neither you nor I particularly want to be looking at. But, at the end of the day, this is evidence in a criminal trial and our Constitution insures that trials, and criminal proceedings, are kept out in the open. And so -- yes. KEILAR: They're trying to say -- his lawyers are trying to say that he won't be able to get a fair trial with this. But you have lawyers who -- for the media who are saying that this is something that should be released. State prosecutors say that as the custodian of the records in this case, they're obligated to release video evidence to the media under Florida law. They're right.
WILLIAMS: Yes. So that is entirely up to a decide to decide. And, frankly, let's go big picture and think of something we've watched very recently. Roger Stone. At the heart of it was, can he get a fair trial based on the pre-trial publicity and something -- right, based on the misstatements that are out there? And a judge will weigh the evidence. The judge will decide, well, can we -- can we pick a jury pool out of the people in south Florida who either haven't seen this information or can credibly say, look, I've seen it, but I'm able to judge the facts and the law in a reasonable way and give you a fair trial?
KEILAR: Well, anyone who maybe is not in the legal community would look at this and say, well, if this is admitted into evidence in a trial, how would --
WILLIAMS: Again --
KEILAR: How would there not be, in the end, a guilty verdict?
WILLIAMS: Well, no, again, it's the question that all jurors are asked, are based on the information -- whatever you know in the world, can you give this individual a fair trial? And a lot of people say no. A lot of people will say, you know, I think this guy's guilty. A lot of people will say, I think the NFL is evil and I, you know, I could never fairly assess anyone. I think all black people are guilty. I've heard these things said in court, white people say them. So it just depends.
Now, if it's evidence at trial, if the specific videos are going to be admitted, then, yes, you probably do have a problem because then you're allowing people to draw opinions about the evidence itself. But maybe -- you know, maybe they might not seek to admit this actual tape. I don't know.
KEILAR: And -- because they're trying to say that this was not obtained properly, right? That's what his lawyers are trying. So they -- so in a trial, they would put up a fight about whether this is going to be -- whether this is going to be admitted as evidence. So the question would be, if this comes out publically, then would a jury pool who had seen it outside of court, but actually might not see it in the trial, would they be able to give him the fair shake?
WILLIAMS: Right. Exactly. And these are all arguments that are made in the course of criminal cases all the time. It was seized unlawfully. It is embarrassing to me.
KEILAR: It doesn't mean it was, though.
WILLIAMS: It doesn't mean it was. And people that. But it's, you know, it's your right to raise that against the police or against the Orchids Day Spa or whatever. So, we'll just have to see.
KEILAR: All right. Elliot Williams, stand by for us, if you will.
We have more on our other breaking news.
The woman accused in the Columbine threat has been found dead. And we are minutes away from a news conference on this massive manhunt. Stand by for that.
[13:28:27] KEILAR: Back to our other breaking news.
Sources are telling CNN that the woman who set off a massive manhunt in Colorado is now dead. She was found dead. And we're hoping to hear from officials there momentarily to learn about the circumstances surround all of this.
And the FBI tweeting just a short time ago there is no longer a threat to the community.
All of this stemming from the search for an armed woman described as infatuated with the Columbine High School massacre. Eighteen year old Sol Pais.
And I want to bring in Josh Campbell and Juliette Kayyem to talk about this.
Josh, I think it's important to talk about what led up to this because you had someone who had travelled all the way from Miami to Denver on Monday night and had been seen really not too far from Littleton, Colorado, just in the same county, Jefferson County. And there were many things that had raised the alarms -- raised an alarm for authorities, not the least of which was some kind of threat that Sol Pais made.
CAMPBELL: Just incredible work here by law enforcement coast to coast. And, you know, I think it's important that we stop and praise their work when we see these types of instances. You go back to that tip that came in to the FBI there in Miami. And we don't know exactly what that was, whether this was a tip from the public or an informant or some type of technical tip. That we don't know. But that was quickly shared with officials in Colorado.
And this is why the FBI fuses together from coast to coast with all these offices to share information so that when they get threat information at one location that may impact another, it's quickly shared. That then went to Colorado. They determined that this woman, who they thought may have been a threat, actually purchased a shotgun there in the area. And then the manhunt ensued.
[13:30:05] We saw they took that incredible step of locking down all of these schools.