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Autopsy Results Released For 3 Americans Who Died at Same Resort; Kudlow in 2015 Says Mexico Tariffs Would Cause Incalculable Damage; Doctor Faces 25 Counts of Murder for Intentional Overdoses; 46 Ice Cream Trucks Seized in NYC Crackdown. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] JOSEPH SCOTT MORGAN, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF APPLIED FORENSICS, JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY: Is this a rhythm event that was brought about as a result of exposure to something? You know, which is kind of curious, this lady is 41 years old. You know, commonly when they say heart attack most people think, well, they have a blockage in their coronary vessels and this caused them to have what is referred to as a myocardial infarction. She's very young though for this to have happened to her.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And so I think what I am hearing you throw down is that might be what ultimately killed her but there could be all these variables that then would lead to said heart attack. When we talk about toxicology results, which are yet to be made public, what questions would those answer?

MORGAN: Well, you know, the thing about it, Brooke, is this, commonly when postmortem toxicology is performed you have what's referred to as a standard panel. This is going to look for opiates, things like THC, it's going to look for benzos, cocaine metabolite. All of these sorts of thing. It's not going to go to items that may be say for instance exotic like poisons. And for me, when I've been hearing the story of what is going on with this, that's what I would want to be curious about. Things --

BALDWIN: Why? Why poisoning?

MORGAN: Yes, well, for instance, with this couple, this was an acute event with these two people that you know passed away in their room. I think that there was -- there were some complaints by this woman who was alleged to have had a heart attack, some gastrointestinal discomfort, this sort of thing. I would take the toxicology results initially from the base panel they're going to do and expand this out. I'm glad that the FBI is there.

I want them -- I would like to see them expand the investigation relative to this. The mini bar has come up a couple of types in conversations. I hope that the mini bar in that room has been sequestered and is being held as evidence so everybody can examine this thing thoroughly. And I hope, I hope that all of the tissue samples that were taken at autopsy as well as the body fluids that were recovered, that were not used for the test, have been sequestered as well so that they can be retested preferably here in the U.S. BALDWIN: How awful for these families. Just we wait to get more

answers and more transparency and to your point maybe a broader investigation. At least we know the FBI is there. Joseph Scott Morgan, thank you so very much.

MORGAN: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: This afternoon Mexican officials have been at the White House trying to cut a deal before President Trump's tariffs take effect on Monday. And CNN has found that the man who is now Trump's top economic adviser strongly disagreed with the move, not very long ago.

Plus an Ohio doctor now charged with 25 counts of murder. Prosecutors say he was giving deadly overdoses of fentanyl to mostly elderly patients who came in for care. We'll talk to the daughter of one of the women who died.


BALDWIN: So far President Trump refuses to back down from the threat to hit Mexico with these huge new tariffs. We are no learning that his own chief economic adviser once predicted this protectionist policy would significantly hurt the U.S. economy. And it wasn't that long ago when Larry Kudlow said this.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: You slap a 25, 35 percent tariff on our leading trading partners like Mexico and China, we may not like them, sir, but tariffs and protectionism is not the answer. It will do incalculable damage to the American economy. OK. We will cut off our nose to spite our face. And that is not the right policy. This will backfire on America. And the rest of the world.


BALDWIN: Wow, Andrew Kaczynski is senior editor of CNN's "KFILE." How timely for guys to dig this stuff up.


BALDWIN: And this was not too long after Trump jumped in the race. And not the only time he took on tariffs.

KACZYNSKI: Not very long, Trump had just declared in June, Kudlow made these comments in July, August, September of 2015. It really is how Kudlow believes about trade. It's how he's spoken for years. He said that Trump's policies would cause another bad recession. He said they would do this horrible damage to the economy. He even linked it to the Great Depression. So it's very, very harsh rhetoric.

BALDWIN: Coming from Larry Kudlow of all people, saying it is not the answer and incalculable damage and that is on tariffs, which, by the way, are supposed to go into effect on Monday, that 5 percent on Mexico. Kudlow also went after then candidate Trump on immigration. What did he say?

KACZYNSKI: Well, that's right. And it is funny because the whole tariff thing --

BALDWIN: Is about immigration.

KACZYNSKI: It's about immigration. He claims the Mexican government is responsible for undocumented immigration. Kudlow actually just completely contradicts him on that. Let's take a listen.


[15:40:00] KUDLOW: This anti-immigration thing has gone way too far. For example, all right, we'll take a break but let me get this in. For example, Donald Trump is blaming the government of Mexico, several times, for sending us these terrible people. First of all, the government of Mexico has nothing to do with sending us anybody.

Let's remember this, before we get so protectionist, the United States and Mexico have very close relations. They're an important partner. They are our second biggest export market, our third biggest trading market after Canada and Japan, and China, rather, and literally millions of Americans go to Mexico for tourism and vacation.


BALDWIN: He's right about that.

KACZYNSKI: Yes. It is harsh stuff. And I actually talked to Kudlow a couple of days ago, I talked to him on the phone. And it was funny because I read him all the clips and he basically said, well, you know, that was then and this is now.

BALDWIN: So he's changed his tune.

KACZYNSKI: He's changed his tune. And then he said, oh well, these were hypotheticals. We don't know how the tariffs are going to work with Mexico and he added he didn't think that China policies were damaging the economy.

BALDWIN: We know that Mexican officials have been at the White House. They've been meeting again today. So far it sounds like the U.S. has been saying they haven't done enough. So we wait but still incredible from the now White House chief economic adviser. Andrew Kaczynski, great job, thank you.

Just in, the former resource officer charged for his response in the Parkland school shooting just bonded out. We have those details.

Plus I'll talk to a woman who said an Ohio doctor killed her mother with an intentional overdose of painkillers. That doctor is now facing charges -- murder charges in 25 cases.


BALDWIN: That former Florida deputy charged with failing to protect students in Parkland last year, the School Resource Officer has just bonded out of jail. Scot Peterson didn't answer any questions as he was walking out there at the Broward County facility. He walked out of jail today after his bond was reduced to $39,000. He now must surrender his passport. Peterson is facing 11 counts including perjury and felony child neglect after 11 people were killed and so many others injured on Valentine's Day last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Stunning allegations of multiple murders in Columbus, Ohio and the suspect is a man who took an oath to do no harm. Prosecutors say that over a period of about three years Dr. William Husel deliberately overprescribed fentanyl to critical care patients at the Mount Carmel Health System. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. At least 25 people, 25 died as a result of his orders.

And there may be even more charges. Investigators are apparently looking at ten other cases involving possible fentanyl overdose in Dr. Husel's patients. He has pleaded not guilty. But he faces a penalty of 15 years to life for each conviction. The families of some of his alleged victims are glad to see him going to trial.


LISA COLEMAN, FAMILY MEMBER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: We just want justice. I want him to know we're not afraid and we're not going to back down.

JIM ALLEN, FAMILY MEMBER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: I got some text that this was on the news and it just kind of -- it just kind of flooded my emotions. And it kind of -- it just slapped me in the face.


BALDWIN: Amy Pfaff said her mom died while in Dr. Husel's care and her attorney Gerry Leeseberg is representing her family and the families of the 16 other alleged victims. So thank you both for being with me and Amy, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mom.


BALDWIN: Can you just take me back, tell me why your mom first went into the hospital and then what happened?

PFAFF: She was having some respiratory illness, she was coughing. She ended up coughing so hard she passed out. We took her to the hospital. At that point they ran some tests on her. They found some spots on her liver. They wanted to do a liver biopsy for her. So she went and did the liver biopsy. And she came back from that. She was in a lot of pain afterwards. Her blood pressure had dropped and it kept dropping.

They couldn't stabilize her blood pressure. She ended up going into cardiac arrest and they resuscitated her and it took her down to the ICU. We all followed down. We waited in the waiting room. Shortly thereafter, staff came out to let us know that she was on life support and that her organs had shut down. And we needed to make a decision. And us kids decided that if her organs shut down and that is her prognosis, then to take her off life support. They said that we were able to go back and say our good-byes, and then she passed away.

BALDWIN: At what point along that awful journey did Dr. Husel come in the picture? And in that time, did you, yourself, ever meet the man?

PFAFF: I have never met Dr. Husel. I never saw him while my mom was in the hospital.

[15:50:00] Yes, so as far as I know, we never saw him back with her by her bedside in ICU.

BALDWIN: OK. We're told this whole investigation actually began when a pharmacist alerted Mt. Carmel authorities that Dr. Husel was prescribing these high doses of fentanyl to his patients, and in some cases, overriding the hospital's protocol for fentanyl. Were you aware of what -- I'm sure there were a million things going on with your mom, but were you aware of what was being prescribed for her?

PFAFF: I was not. It was all a whirlwind. Everything happened very quickly. She came back from the biopsy. Like I said, her blood pressure dropped. She coded. They rushed her to ICU and next thing I know, we're having to make a decision. We were never told she was going to be given fentanyl. It was never discussed about giving her any sorts of medication like that.

BALDWIN: Jerry, to you, have you heard anything regarding a motive, why he would have allegedly done this?

GERRY LEESEBERG, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING 17 FAMILIES IN CASE AGAINST DOCTOR: No, Brooke, we really haven't heard anything about a motive. Dr. Husel has not spoken publicly. If you look at the facts, the facts speak for themselves, and these seem to be clearly intentional lethal overdoses that were ordered by him and administered. And we cannot find any medical justification, therapeutic justification for these overdoses. So all we can conclude at this point in time is that he clearly intended for these patients to die and he intended to hasten their death by prescribing these lethal overdoses.

BALDWIN: Now most of these alleged victims, they were at the end of their lives, but officials say five of them could have recovered with proper care, and that includes Amy's mom. So a lawyer for Dr. Husel said that his client had tried to provide comfort. This is how they're seeing it. Comfort to those who were dying, not euthanizing them. State health inspectors say that he used this override function to bypass the hospital's pharmacy, gain access to large doses of fentanyl and other drugs. So, Gerry, does Mt. Carmel Health System, are they liable here?

LEESEBERG: Oh, there's no question this could not have been done and was not done by Dr. Husel himself. It involved pharmacists who had to approve the medication order requests by Dr. Husel that were clearly excessive and would have been red flagged. Dr. Husel would have had to declare an emergency override to get the pharmacist to approve the drug administration and then the drugs are released to nurses who are administering these clearly excessive lethal doses of fentanyl that they knew and should have known through their training were inappropriate.

And apparently, there was no look back or audit procedure whenever Dr. Husel declared an emergency exception that would have revealed there was no true emergency for which an exception should have been made for these dosages of fentanyl. So we have --

BALDWIN: Just so I'm clear, none of these nurses said, hang on a second, why am I giving this patient this dose of fentanyl?

LEESEBERG: Well, that's a good question, Brooke. We don't know the answer to that question yet because we've not been allowed yet to interview the nurses. The hospital conducted its investigation. And now that we filed our civil lawsuits, we will have the power of formal discovery to allow us to conduct our investigation independently and to question both the nurses and the pharmacists and their supervisors.

BALDWIN: OK. Let me read the statement from the hospital. They that they will fully cooperate. It goes on to say, quote, we appreciate the county prosecutor's leadership and his ongoing commitment to justice in this case. Following the discovery of the actions of Dr. Husel we notified appropriate authorities, including law enforcement. Mt. Carmel has made and will continue to implement meaningful changes throughout our system to ensure events like this never happen again.

I've got to leave it, but let's please stay in contact. Amy, thank you so much --

PFAFF: Thank you.

BALDWIN: -- and Gerry, thank you as well.

LEESEBERG: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just into CNN, four hikers who have been trapped on Washington's Mt. Rainier have been rescued. We have that story.

Also, CNN has new details about what life is like inside prison for former Trump fixer Michael Cohen. Stay here.


BALDWIN: Some great news. Rangers have just rescued four hikers in Washington's Mt. Rainier. The men who had been stranded near the summit by bad weather since Monday. That's when high winds destroyed their tents and other climbing equipment. The blustery weather made it difficult for ground crews to get to them. And impossible to drop in supplies. The climbers were stuck on the Liberty Ridge route, one of the more technical and dangerous routes on the mountain. All of the men are alive and are heading to the hospital to be treated for of course exposure to the cold.

And finally in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced a crackdown on ice cream trucks. Yes, it is dubbed "Operation Meltdown." Authorities today began seizing 46 ice cream trucks accused of scamming their way out of paying $4.5 million in fines for things like running red lights, parking at fire hydrants and blocking crosswalks. Operators apparently concocted fake shell companies to register trucks and evade these fines. The city is filing a lawsuit against offenders owing more than $10,000. "Operation Meltdown."

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.