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Suspect Says David Ortiz Not The Intended Victim; Warren Moving Up In Polls Amid Crowded Democratic Field; Video Appears To Show Alleged Cuba Gooding Jr. Incident. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 14, 2019 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:47] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: The suspect in the shooting of David Ortiz now claiming the baseball legend was not his intended target. Media outlets in the Dominican Republic captured one of the suspects speaking through his jail cell window, and that man reportedly told reporters it wasn't David, claiming he got confused by his clothing.

Surveillance video from the shooting shows the gunman approach Ortiz from behind and then open fire at near point-blank range, shooting the retired baseball star in the back. Nine suspects are charged as accomplices in attempted murder in the brazen ambush.

Ortiz remains in guarded condition at a Boston hospital.

CNN Patrick Oppmann is in Santo Domingo following the developments.

What more could you tell us, Patrick?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I could tell you the prosecutors immediately this morning when we contacted them denied this report.

They said the suspect of the alleged shooter during their interrogation with them told a very different story. That he admitted to shooting David Ortiz and being part of a conspiracy to kill the Major League Baseball legend. And they said this is just a story.

And this video, name, Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz, and that he's worried about being in prison and being charged with shooting one of the most popular people in this country.

And they again say they have other information, other evidence that there are several suspects who have begun talking here. And they claim it is a very complicated but well-organized hit on David Ortiz. Still no clear motive as to why.

But they said that there was a lot of planning involved and some it of took place and some of the people that they have now charged were already in prison for other crimes. And that they were involved from inside of prison with setting up this hit.

And one of the other things they said is it is just not believable that anybody in this country, a country where baseball and David Ortiz are so popular, would not recognize David Ortiz. He's just too well- known.

BROWN: That is a fair point.

Patrick Oppmann, thank you.

Is Senator Elizabeth Warren's "I have a plan strategy" having an impact? She's moments away from talking to voters at a house party in New Hampshire. And we'll talk about her positive momentum right after this break.

So stay with us.


[14:37:47] BROWN: Well, in this crowded horse race that is the Democratic primary battle, a new contestant is edging up to take a spot among the front-runners. That would be Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She's seen her percentage grow across the country.

In a new Monmouth poll of Democrats Joe Biden still leads with 36 percent but Warren has pulled into second place with 19 percent ahead of Bernie Sanders, 13 percent.

It appears President Trump has noticed Warren's surge saying she was doing better. So is he worried?

CNN Political Correspondent, M.J. Lee is with the Warren campaign in New Hampshire.

And, M.J., national polling shows Warren is now jockeying with Sanders for second place. What is her campaign saying?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, if you talk to Elizabeth Warren or any of her advisers, what they would tell you consistently is that her campaign is about two things, the first is policy and substance and the second is the grassroots organizing.

As you know very well, she has sort of branded herself this ideas and policies candidate this cycle. Her campaign said that she has so far this year put out some 20-plus proposals and plans on everything from break up big tech to taxing wealthy people and all of these ideas that are sort of shaping his political eyes in Washington as well.

And for her, you see her on the campaign trail sort of trying to explain to people in plain English a lot of complicated ideas. And trying to explain her plans for what she said is a broken Washington.

And then on the second, one thing you'll hear Elizabeth Warren talk about is why she's refusing during the primaries to not do high-dollar fundraisers. She said this is giving her more time to engage one-on- one with voters whether at town hall or photo lines on the road or making phone calls and this House party behind me here in Wyndham, New Hampshire, it is probably one of the examples that she would point to, to winning over that kind of grassroots support. Obviously, this is just a snapshot in the race right now. What we

don't know is whether she will be able to maintain this kind of momentum going forward.

But I think at this moment in the race, she would acknowledge and her advisers would acknowledge that the bets they made early on in the campaign look like they're paying off -- Pam?

BROWN: M.J. Lee, thank you so much.

[14:40:12] CNN Political Director, David Chalian, joins me with more analysis.

So what do you think is behind Warren's rise and do you think the Sanders camp should be worried?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the Sanders camp should be worried. I think all of the other camps should be worried when you see a candidate getting momentum. I think the Warren campaign, as M.J. just described, is on to something here. About both pieces, both style and substance.

So obviously, Warren is competing more aggressively in a progressive wing of the party, the left wing of the party with Sanders. So that is why Sanders may feel more of this heat than others because they're going after some similar voters.

But M.J., a couple of months ago, did a whole brilliant story about this policy -- or this position that Warren has of taking selfies with every single person who wants them.

It is not just for the selfie. They get tweeted out and they grab that person's information and build a grassroots army of people that have touched and interacted with Elizabeth Warren through the campaign and make that part of the army of supporters. So having that dual strategy on the policy front and organizing front has been what we see showing in the polling.

BROWN: And what about fundraising? She has her own strategy, as M.J. talked about, but she does lag behind Sanders on fundraising.

CHALIAN: She swore off any of that big dollar fundraising and they tried to make that sort of a message factor here, like, hey, she's -- she said it on the trail, I'm not waiting my time behind closed doors and big dollar ballrooms with big fundraisers.

She would benefit from large amounts of money infused into her campaign. But she's trying to make a point in the way she is doing it. We'll see what her second quarter numbers are at the end of the quarter.

She is -- she met with some success but not nearly like the top fundraisers and this time around Joe Biden is in the race this time and so he'll have a good number and Pete Buttigieg may raise north of $15 million in the second quarter, doubling his first quarter haul. So she has real competition in the money race. BROWN: What do you think the other factors are that could make a

difference in this contest?

CHALIAN: Oh, god, so many factors could --


CHALIAN: -- make a difference --

BROWN: This is such a broad question.

CHALIAN: -- a difference in the contest. But where we are in this race right now, on the precipice of that very first debate. This is the biggest opportunity any of the candidates have had before a big national audience to get known, to get their message clear. We pay attention to every little movement.

But this is the first time that the country at large gets to sort of hear from many of the people. And I think how the candidates use that opportunity, what they do following the debate to build on it will start really defining over the summer months what this field looks like as we head into Labor Day.

BROWN: David Chalian, thank you very much as always.

We have some new details about the sexual abuse allegations against actor, Cuba Gooding Jr. How his legal team explains new video that appears to show him inappropriately touching a woman at a bar.


[14:47:48] BROWN: Well, Oscar-winning actor, Cuba Gooding Jr., denies he groped a woman at a New York City bar and pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse after voluntarily turning himself into police on Thursday.

Now this alleged incident was reportedly recorded on surveillance video obtained by TMZ. New York police won't comment on the authenticity of the tape.

But Gooding's attorney is -- he is authenticating the video and encouraging everyone to watch it.


MARK HELLER, ATTORNEY FOR CUBA GOODING JR: I have never seen a case like this one because there's not a scintilla of culpability to Mr. Cuba Gooding Jr after I have extensively with my staff reviewed the video, look at the video and make your own choice rather than relying on the over-zealous policing in this matter.


BROWN: Well, Gooding and his attorneys say they are confident he'll be exonerated. He returns to court in about two weeks.

Chloe Melas, entertainment reporter, joins me now.

So, Chloe, walk us through the video. What exactly are we seeing?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: So in the video, this is from the magic hour rooftop here in New York City. It is a bar and lounge. And you see Cuba Gooding Jr. sitting next to his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro.

I keep saying this, I don't think people realize he's in a serious relationship, and she's sitting right next to him.

And then a woman walks up to them, this is the accuser and you see Cuba reach over towards her, put his hand on her thigh. It looks like maybe his hand goes near her chest and it is up for interpretation. And then he seems to grab the accuser's hand and bring it back toward his chest.

Like you said, Mark Heller and the entire legal team for Cuba Gooding Jr say this video right here vindicated their client. That it shows that no groping occurred and that this woman was a fan, Pamela, that was following them around the bar for over an hour, asking for photos and trying to talk to Cuba. And that she supposedly made it all up and they're very upset about this.

[14:50:11] BROWN: All right. So what is next for Cuba Gooding Jr in terms of facing charges.

MELAS: Well he has a hearing on June 26th and his attorneys tell me they are hoping that the prosecutors drop these charges because, again, they're using this video and there's other surveillance footage in their defense. And also plan to go after the accuser and press charges against her for what they say was filing a false police report.

So many layers, getting more complicated. I don't see an end to this really any time soon.

BROWN: Chloe, thank you for bringing us the latest.

MELAS: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, right now, emotional reaction after prosecutors drop criminal charges in the Flint water crisis. We'll talk to a mom who no longer drinks the water after her family got sick and her pets started dying.


[14:55:37] BROWN: A powerful story now about the bravery of our nation's firefighters. When shots broke out at a country/western bar in Thousand Oaks last November first responders rushed to the scene. By the time it was over, 12 people were dead.

But they hadn't even had time to deal with that tragedy before they were forced to go "BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY again.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has the story.


CAPT. MARTIN GONZALEZ, VENTURA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Three minutes from the time of dispatch to the minute we got on scene.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ventura County firefighters Martin Gonzalez and Damon Zielinski and were among the first to arrive at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

DAMON ZIELINSKI, FIREFIGHTER, VENTURA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We stopped, I could hear the gunshots. Almost like two different people were exchanging gunfire.

ELAM: Once the shooting stops, chaos. Some people running away, others driving up. Parents looking for their children. One father is already there, in uniform.

GONZALEZ: My girls do go there so I had to text my wife and just say hey, are the girls home. She texted me back, yes, what is going on. I said, OK. I didn't have time for anything else.

ELAM: A deputy arrives with his wounded partner in the backseat.

GONZALEZ: We cut off his clothing and got him in the back of the ambulance.

ELAM: A 29-yeawr law enforcement veteran, Sergeant Ron Hellis (ph), of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office was shot six times. Not until after daybreak do the firemen learn that the sergeant had died, killed along with 11 other people in the shooting.

Some 12 hours after the men leave Borderline, a new danger just a mile away.

ZIELINSKI: The Hill Fire was just cresting the 101 Freeway and they were shutting it down.

ELAM: And then the Woolsey Fire begins to range.

UNIDENTIFIED FIREFIGHTER (voice-over): The whole structure is on fire.

ELAM: A fire chief summons them to protect a neighborhood.

GONZALEZ: Within probably half an hour, they're like fires at the ridgetop already. Get ready.

ELAM: The backyard of one home is on fire so they stop.

(on camera): What was it like when you were in here at the time?

ZIELINSKI: Pretty smoky and the fire had already broken in through the window and impinging and the drapes were aflame and rolling across the ceiling. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I walked in here and saw the puddles and I saw

footprints and I'm going, wow, this could have been really bad. It is amazing you're here.

ELAM (voice-over): Despite this wind, the Woolsey Fire destroys 1500 structures and killed three people. On the heels of the lives already lost at Borderline.

GONZALEZ: Pretty sad.

ELAM: For the first time since the shooting, the men return to borderline to visit the memorial.

ZIELINSKI: They are friends and loved ones of people of this community and -- yes.

ELAM: For two weeks straight, Gonzalez and Zielinski continued to work while wrestling with the devastation and loss in their normally peaceful hometown.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Thousand Oaks, California.


BROWN: And we have a programming note now. Join Kate Bennett for a rare visit to the White House and special access to the East Wing to meet those who know First Lady Melania Trump. CNN special report "WOMAN OF MYSTERY: MELANIA TRUMP," airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern. And we'll get a sneak peek next hour so stay with us for that.

Top of the hour now on this Friday. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Brooke Baldwin.

And President Trump is in a familiar spot this Friday, cleaning up yet another controversy. This one over what Trump said he's willing to do to ensure he gets a second term, and that includes accepting dirt on a political opponent from a foreign country.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners or Russia or China or someone else offers you information on an opponent should they accept it or call the FBI.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I Think maybe you do both. You might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening.


BROWN: But here is the thing. There's something wrong with listening. It is against the law in U.S. elections.

Ellen Weintraub, head of the Federal Election Commission, taking to Twitter to make sure the president and everyone else knows the fact. She tweeted, "Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance is in risk of federal investigation."

And this morning President Trump seemed to soften the tone.


TRUMP (voice-over): I think it was accurately stated and I've had a lot of support --



TRUMP: Yes, I mean I've had a lot of support.

First of all, I don't think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country.

Number two, if I was, and, of course, you have to look at it, because if you don't look at it, you're not going to know if it is bad.