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Minnesota Attorney General Warns Winning A Conviction Will Be Hard; Court Hearing For Three Charged In Ahmaud Arbery's Murder; New Suspect In 2007 Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 4, 2020 - 05:30   ET



JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY (via Cisco Webex): Moving forward as to whether or not a jury convicts. That's the open question and that's what the prosecutor was concerned about in talking about history not being kind in that regard.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there you have it.

I mean, Josh, Minnesota has convicted one police officer, as far as we know, in its history. So -- though police officers have -- there are often complaints against -- well, there are certainly a record of complaints against some of them. As we know, one of these officers had something like 17 complaints -- one conviction. And so maybe that's why the attorney general said it was going to be hard.

What's your impression of why this case would be particularly hard?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (via Cisco Webex): Yes, Alisyn. Well, any case -- any investigation involving an officer in an alleged wrongdoing, the fact of the matter is that the law is often on the side of the police officers.

You think about juries. Experts say the juries are often biased in favor of police officers as well. And this is why the attorney general was saying this is going to be so difficult.

There's also case law on the side of officers. The Supreme Court ruling that police officers can use deadly force if there's imminent threat of danger or some type of deadly harm. They also are held to a different reasonable standard, they call it, as far as using their judgment.

And I think it's important to note objectively that police officers are often in very dangerous situations. If you think about it they go places that people don't when they're trying to fight crime. And so what often happens and what we hope is the case is that you have officers who are well-trained, who have good character, good judgment, and that they're executing that judgment as they carry a weapon on behalf of the United States.

But we know that there are bad cops and there are bad actors, and that is what -- that is what the attorney general is trying to thread here -- is trying to make the case that look, we know that not all police officers are bad. But in this case, the video clearly shows that you have an officer with someone's knee on the neck of George Floyd. And then, the other officers as well that -- obviously, that we suspected -- the attorney general suspects are involved.

So again, the larger group of police officers -- experts will tell you and obviously, data would suggest -- are not bad apples so to speak, but there are officers who do commit crimes and they are prosecuted, but very difficult as the statistics show. As you mentioned, only one officer in the history of Minnesota has ever been convicted.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. What's different about this case than many of the others is the nine-minute duration of the knee on the neck, and the two-minute-plus duration of the knee on the neck after George Floyd wasn't even responsive.

Plus, we now have information coming from a witness. This witness telling "The New York Times" -- let me read both quotes, Joey, because I think they're both important here.

"He was from the beginning," this witness says of George Floyd, "trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way. I could hear from pleading, 'What is this all for?'"

And then if you're looking for this in the control room, graphic P20 -- "He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying. I'm going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd's case (sic) because he's such a king. That's what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry before seeing a grown man cry (sic)."

Legally speaking, counselor, here, given the duration, given this likely testimony, how could you prove that George Floyd was a threat to these four officers?

JACKSON: Yes. I think that certainly, this is different, John, to your point. I think it's quite different.

Historically, the saying in the community in circles, right, in law, is that if they're arrested as police they're not indicted. If they're indicted, they're not convicted.

We saw that with Philando Castile, right there in Minnesota in 2017. The occurrence, of course, in 2016; the acquittal of the officer in 2017. We saw it with Eric Gardner and he's not even indicted in New York.

But I think this is different and I think it's different as it relates to the testimony that you just read. Why do I call it testimony, John? Because that's what it is.

He'll be brought before a court of law and he'll be asked in front of a jury what did you see? And he'll say those compelling words. You know, to see a grown man cry before I saw a grown man die, that's compelling. In addition to that, John, it will also be shown to the jury (audio gap) the video. Nine minutes on a person's neck? How reasonable is that? It's quite unreasonable, particularly when three of those minutes are in a state of unconsciousness. That is, George Floyd is in a state of unconsciousness.

So I do agree that this prosecution will differ. Having said that, I am still not overly confident and I share, of course, the state attorney general's view that it's an uphill battle but if ever a conviction could be had, I think it could be had in this case.

BERMAN: All right. Joey Jackson, Josh Campbell, thanks so much for being with us.

There is a court hearing today for three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We have details, next.



CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news right now. Three New York City police officers are hospitalized, injured in what police say was an unprovoked attack in Brooklyn.

Police say two officers were on an anti-looting patrol when a man walked up and stabbed one of those officers in the left side of his neck. Two other officers were shot in the hand. None of the injuries is thought to be life-threatening at this hour.

The suspect is in critical condition.

Police released this photo of the knife they say was used in the attack.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is reportedly heading to the hospital at this hour to see the officers. We will bring you an update as soon as we get more details.


BERMAN: This morning, the three men charged with murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery will have a preliminary hearing. Georgia's governor has a strong warning for anyone who might try to disrupt the proceedings.

CNN's Martin Savidge, who has been covering the story from the beginning, live outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Martin, what can we expect today?


Yes, usually preliminary hearings are considered to be routine and fairly brief. This is not going to be either one of those according to the officials we've been talking to. In fact, the D.A. -- the fourth D.A. in this case says that her team has blocked out the entire day. Now, all three defendants will be in the courtroom, they just won't physically be there. They'll be there by a video link from the Glynn County courthouse. All of their attorneys -- all five -- two for each of the father and son, as well as one for the other man who is William "Roddie" Bryan, who took that video that everyone's seen -- they'll be in the courtroom.

It's expected that you'll hear testimony from one of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents outlining the basics of the case. Then the defense attorneys will be allowed to cross-examine. Remember, the defense attorneys for the McMichaels said early on that they were going to introduce a different narrative for the public. So we'll be listening to see if there's any building blocks in that defense there.

And then also, it's possible that here in Georgia, defense attorneys can call witnesses of their own. It's very rarely done however, one of the attorneys representing Mr. Bryan says he will call maybe five witnesses. We don't know who they are but we could speculate it could be law enforcement and maybe some of the first responding officers. Also expected in court, Wanda Cooper, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery.

We should point there is a protest that's going to take place outside of the courthouse here. Every protest I have covered here has been absolutely peaceful but given the agitation across the country these past few weeks there are concerns about what they call outside agitators.

And you've already mentioned the governor. He says that any security forces that are needed can be called upon, all the way up to the National Guard, to protect these proceedings -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Martin Savidge, thank you very much for all the reporting.

There is a major new development this morning in the case of Madeleine McCann. She's the 3-year-old British girl who disappeared on vacation with her family in Portugal back in 2007. A 43-year-old German man is now a suspect in this case.

CNN's Isa Soares has all of the developments.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Madeleine McCann has been gone for 13 years -- the little blonde girl with blue- green eyes. Now, there's a new suspect in her disappearance. He's a German pedophile, authorities say -- a 43-year-old man who is currently a long jail sentence.

The suspect who was previously been convicted for sexually abusing children was living in the Algarve in the south of Portugal when Madeleine McCann vanished from her bed there.

As they hone in on the suspect, police are appealing for fresh information on two vehicles leading to him -- this distinctive camper van and this Jaguar car, which police say he registered in somebody else's name the day after Maddie disappeared. Critical for the case, too, this phone number which police said dialed

the suspect's phone on the night of Maddie's disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There may be people in the past who may have got fearful to come forward to the police. My message is to anybody that has information, did he speak to you in confidence and tell you what happened that night?

SOARES (voice-over): Little Maddie, then almost four, vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal on the third of May 2007 while her parents dined at a nearby tapas bar. Her twin siblings were asleep nearby. Her disappearance has led to an exhaustive investigation with over 600 individuals scrutinized and four suspects identified and discounted.

On the 10th anniversary of her disappearance, not much has changed for her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

KATE MCCANN, MOTHER OF MADELEINE MCCANN: It's a huge amount of time. In some ways, it feels like it was only a few weeks ago and other times it's felt really long. Our hurt of Madeleine being out there is no less than it was almost 10 years ago. I mean, apart from those first 48 hours, nothing actually has changed since then.

SOARES (on camera): Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann, who turned 17 just a few weeks ago, have issued a new statement. This is what they say.

"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth, and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."

Later on today we will hear from the German police who is working with the Met police and Portuguese police. German police, at this stage, say they are treating this as a murder inquiry.

Isa Soares, CNN, London.


CAMEROTA: We pray that that family can find some justice.


He is a future Hall of Famer, but Saints quarterback Drew Brees is facing furious backlash from teammates and other NFL players over his comments about the protests. We have the details in the Bleacher Report, next.


CAMEROTA: The nationwide protests are raising concerns about the spread of coronavirus. This morning, cases are dropping in 18 states. They're holding steady in 13 others. But they are rising in 19 states, including Florida. CNN's Nick Valencia takes a closer look at how that state is faring one month after reopening.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even while Covid-19 cases continue to play out in Florida, the governor sounds like he's already taking a victory lap, dismissing ominous predictions from federal health officials while declaring in late-April Florida was open for business.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Our fatality per 100,000 fortunately, I think is much lower than most people would have predicted just a -- just a couple of months ago.


VALENCIA (voice-over): The Florida governor not missing any opportunity to tout his state's stats when it comes to combatting the virus.

DESANTIS: We get more test results back in a single day sometimes than some of these smaller states have done throughout the entire course.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Florida is doing more testing and has done a good job at isolating infected people, says Dr. Carlos Del Rio of Emory University. According to Del Rio, Florida has done a good job by sticking to public health fundamentals.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EMORY UNIVERSITY: The three i's of -- for pandemic control are information, identification, and isolation. If you do those three things you're going to be doing a very good job.

VALENCIA (voice-over): And so far, the numbers suggest Florida has. CNN took a closer look at the data from the first few weeks since initial reopenings in Florida. With 21 1/2 million residents, Florida currently has around 57,000 cases, far fewer than places like Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, which are smaller in population but have more confirmed cases.

While the numbers have mostly held steady since the first parts of Florida began to reopen, Florida still ranks among the top 10 states impacted in the nation. That's with some of the state's most populated areas not yet fully reopened.

On Monday, riot concerns delayed the opening of Miami area beaches, making it difficult to get a complete picture of the state by the numbers.

CNN took a closer look at the data from the first month since initial reopenings in Florida -- just over a month, since May fourth. And in just over a month since partially reopening, there has been an increase in new tests per day between May fourth and June second. At the same time, the overall percentage of positive test results was trending down roughly a week ago but has since seen a small bump in the last few days.

DEL RIO: It's really difficult to make a full assessment because you can easily have one outbreak here or there and that will change things around.

VALENCIA (voice-over): And scenes like this are cause for more concern. A recent rise in pneumonia-related hospitalizations in Florida has led some health officials, like Del Rio, to believe it may actually be misdiagnosed Covid-19.

VALENCIA (on camera): There is a rise in pneumonia cases in Florida. How much does that have to do with coronavirus?

DEL RIO: We have enough testing. And this rise in pneumonia, we need to be sure that those are people that have been tested and the test was negative. Pneumonia could actually be another name for severe coronavirus and we need to understand that.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Nick Valencia, CNN.


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to Nick for that report.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, this morning, under fire for comments about players taking a knee in protest of injustice.

Coy Wire with more now in the Bleacher Report. This has been a remarkable few hours, Coy.


One of the faces of the NFL, Drew Brees, normally seen leading New Orleans out of the tunnel on game day is now facing major backlash for comments he made in an interview with Yahoo Finance yesterday.


DREW BREES, QUARTERBACK, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.


WIRE: Now, Brees went on to say that he envisions his two grandfathers who fought during World War II when he hears the anthem.

LeBron James one of many athletes surprised by Brees' comments, tweeting, quote, "You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee? Has absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of the flag and our soldiers who keep our land free."

Malcolm Jenkins, a teammate of Brees, posting an emotional response on Instagram.


MALCOLM JENKINS, SAFETY, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Unfortunately, you're somebody who doesn't understand their privilege. I'm disappointed, I'm hurt because while the world tells you that you're not worthy, that your life doesn't matter, the last place you want to hear from are the guys that you -- that you go to war with and that you consider to be allies and to be your friends. Even though we're teammates, I can't let this slide.


WIRE: Now to the NBA.

Houston Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha knows about police brutality firsthand. The Swiss native suffering injuries, including a broken leg by New York City police and was wrongly arrested back in April of 2015. Sefolosha told me that he could see himself in George Floyd.


THABO SEFOLOSHA, 15-YEAR NBA VETERAN: I think every black man in America, in my opinion -- you know, from the 14 years I've lived here -- can feel that way. It's -- again, it's that ultimate bullying. So I think it's just an abuse of power that you're seeing in preschool, middle school bullying. And it's at such a high level that the people have to be fed up and something has to be done about it.


WIRE: John, pausing several times, I could see lip quivering, holding back emotion. Clearly, it's weighing heavy on his heart, as it is for so many people, John.

When the season does return he says that he hopes that players can continue to help shed light on this issue.


BERMAN: Look, this was a gut punch for athletes across the globe in several sports when Drew Brees said what he said and we're going to hear from a number of them this morning.

Coy Wire, thanks so much for being with us.

So, a stunning rebuke of President Trump from former Defense Sec. James Mattis. What Mattis said about the president as a leader and a person. What it all means, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We felt that the proper charge would be second- degree murder and that it would be proper to charge the other three with aiding and abetting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is still a level of skepticism.