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Cuomo Prime Time

President Trump Says We Have "Prevailed" On Testing As Deaths In America Surpass 80,000; Trump Administration Cuts Funding For Key COVID Research; DoJ Considering Hate Crime Charges In Death Of Ahmaud Arbery. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 11, 2020 - 21:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to miss her calling me after the 1 o'clock and 4 o'clock games during football seasons to confirm the results for her pool. I'm going to miss surprising her with a visit. I miss making her laugh.

I miss the way that she would smile at me when we could make eye contact across the room at family parties. I'll miss her singing "Happy birthday" over the phone to me every year. I and our entire family are going to miss our Nana. We love you.

MARGARET MACKENZIE, CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: Hi Jamie (ph), it's just Nana. I called to talk to you. I love you.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who is very much loved and missed. What an incredible life she lived! Our thoughts go out to all the families who've lost loved ones to the Coronavirus.

The news continues right now. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: As always, Coop, thank you for sharing the memories, man. Really, it's such a mind-setter for all of us, thank you.

I am Chris Cuomo. It's time for me to pick up the torch. And my show too will be committed to giving respect to the memory of those who are lost by making sure they do not die in vain. So, welcome to PRIME TIME.

Let's be clear with each other. There's no time to pretend. We have not met the moment. We have not prepared - prevailed on testing. None of the States that have reopened, none, has the capacity to test and trace the way they need to. People still can't even get tested in too many hotspots. This is the reality. And until this President starts taking desperate actions, instead of just making desperate claims, you can't expect any of us to have the confidence that we need in this country to reopen. That only comes with the truth that testing and tracing can provide.

Also tonight, we will be finding facts in Arbery's murder in Georgia. We have the man who shot the video. It is time for the real deal.

What do you say? Let's get after it.




CUOMO: Look, simple question tells the story. If we met the moment and prevailed on testing, why are governors, today, begging the President for money to test and trace? The only thing that we have the most of in this world is deaths when it comes to COVID.

Imagine the families of all the lost loved ones having to see and hear this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: America has risen to the task, we have met the moment.

But testing certainly is a very important function, and we have prevailed.


CUOMO: We've not prevailed. And also remember, last week, Trump said testing was overrated. The week before that, he said it wasn't really necessary. Now he says it's so important, and we've prevailed?

And still nothing about how to get the manpower and money to States to trace, which matters just as much. But he does get the importance when it is on him, when he is the one at risk, not you, not me. Now he gets it.

Look at the White House, testing and tracing every day, all around him, since just two staffers have been infected. And masks are now a must in the West Wing.

You saw your boy Jared Kushner right there wearing one, other staffers as well, but not the President. Why?


TRUMP: Well, if they're a certain distance from me, or if they're at a certain distance from each other, they do. In the case of me, I'm not - I'm not close to anybody.

So, obviously, in my case, I'm very far away from everyone.


CUOMO: Only thing he's not close to is the reality of this situation. That doesn't make any sense. No one gets near him? You mean like those elderly veterans he was breathing all over the other day, like the staff and the Secret Service that are around him all the time?

Look, right now, we have to be walking the walk, and taking desperate measures, to get the real information that will give people confidence to reopen, so let's focus on that. Put the noise aside. You know that stuff's not true.

Let's bring in people to speak truth. Two top medical minds, Sanjay Gupta and Andy Slavitt.

Fellas, thank you.

Andy, quickly, on the political side, the idea of what it takes for the consumer to come back out, and access the markets, the commodities, the stores, to create economic activity, why is testing and tracing key to that?



I think that the answer is if you think about what testing and tracing does, it gives us a peace of mind to know that we're not infected, and that if someone gets infected that the community can quickly figure out who is infected.

And when that happens, you'll be more comfortable getting on public transportation again. You'll be more comfortable going to work again. You'll be more comfortable acting and buying again. And those are the things that will drive the economy up.

So, testing and tracing, I think, are not just public health investments. They're really investments in getting our economy back.

CUOMO: Sanjay, you've been tracking this from jump.

And the statement I made there, that none of the States that has reopened, if you were to go to those governors, and they were honest, none would tell you, "Oh, yes, we can test and trace exactly as we need to right now, we're good," not one.

What does that tell us?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, they can't do it, and they know that the numbers of people who are - who are going to become infected, and the number of people who need testing, is going to go up, as they start to reopen. I mean, this is - this is, you know, I get the impatience, you know,

people want to open up. But there's been pretty strict, you know, and pretty easy-to-follow criteria, these Gating Criteria, none of the States sort of follow that.

You know, I'm sort of amazed that that part of this got lost in the conversation, a 14-day downward trend, having the testing in place, and then ultimately being able to trace, as Andy Slavitt was - was saying. So, they're not there. I mean that's data. I mean that's evidence.

CUOMO: Well, Sanjay, just as a quick follow on that, one of the big reasons that the States are reopening, while not meeting the criteria, is because nobody is busting their chops when they do so, right?

You don't hear the President saying, "Hey, you're not meeting the standard," and he doesn't let any of the officials on the Task Force chide anybody or wave a finger at them because he's pushing reopening, it seems, at any cost.

GUPTA: Yes, that's a problem. You know, I mean, you do get a sort of cognitive dissonance, I think, out there because the Gating Criteria, and the public health officials, you know, the Coronavirus Task Force, all along I think that they have been saying things, knowing that they're going to have to ease the country into some of this.

You know, when they announced the 15-day pause, back on March 16th, they knew it wasn't going to be 15 days, at that point. But it was a question of how to like sort of balance the messaging with - without shocking the country too much.

But, and I think the same is true here. These Gating Criteria, I think these States need to follow. They exist for a reason. And I'm nervous, you know, about these States starting to open up too early.

You know, you're going to have, you know, three weeks or four weeks, maybe two weeks or three weeks before we see the impact of that because, you know, it takes a while between exposure, and time that people develop symptoms, or need hospitalization, if they do.

But the numbers are going to go up. And I think that's going be - that's going be too bad because it's going to, I think, in many places, put us behind again.

CUOMO: Two more quick punch points.

One, Andy, this has been a pet peeve for Sanjay, and I want to make sure we get some attention to it. It's not just that we're not testing enough. Our tests aren't that great. And the President kind of teed this up for us tonight by saying "We have the best, we have the best."

Why is our accuracy rate 15 percent to 25 percent false negative? Why is that? That sounds very high to me.

SLAVITT: Well, it appears that some of the newer tests that are coming on the market, there's a tradeoff. The ones that are going to be a little bit more scalable, a little bit quicker, don't have as high an accuracy.

And look, I think Sanjay is the expert here. But if you know - if we know that it's a 75 percent or 80 percent accurate test, and we use it knowing that, then we know when we need to - if we have someone who's symptomatic, to do it twice or three times. You know, that's - that's just, you know, we just have to take that into account.

You know, right now, I think that, you know, it is a - it is a very low sensitivity test relative to other tests. Then there's a lot of reasons for that. But the truth is that we can work with that.

I don't think anybody is saying we need perfection in order to start to move to open. Again, we just need surveillance. We just need to be able to understand what's happening. We need to be able to take reasonably good guesses.

And then, the - the numbers need to tell us what they tell us. If someone is - if we - we're pretty sure someone doesn't have it, but not positive, then we should tell it to them that way, not - not overstate it.

CUOMO: Also, Sanjay, another study tonight, out about Hydrochloroquine, and what do you take away from it? Is this still an open question?

GUPTA: A little bit. But I think we've pretty much, you know, gotten so much evidence now that Hydroxychloroquine, especially in people who are severely ill, not only is it not providing a benefit, it could - it could significantly provide a harm as well, especially in people who have some pre-existing heart problems.

So, I think certainly, you know, there's two issues why. The reason it's not finally dispensed with is because you still need what are called randomized trials, right?

You need - still need to take a certain group of people, another group of people, and randomly give them the medication, or not give them the medication. These are still what are called observational studies.


The second thing is the - the other open question is, could this potentially help in people earlier in the course of the disease, not later? The evidence does not look good. I mean this certainly isn't the panacea that I think many thought it might be.

Everybody wants effective treatments. There's no question about that, Chris. But I think if you look at the data coming out of New York, 25 hospitals, your brother talked about this a couple weeks ago, the early data did not look good.

And now, when you look at this - this story - this study in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, I think it sort of really makes that case as well.

CUOMO: 1,438 patients with Coronavirus admitted to 25-- GUPTA: That's right.

CUOMO: --New York City area hospitals. The death rate for taking Hydroxychloroquine, and not, was about the same. Patients who took the drug in combination with Azithromycin--

GUPTA: Azithromycin.

CUOMO: --what we call as Z-Pak, were actually more than twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrests. So clearly, it's not risk-free.

Sanjay, Andy, fellas, thank you for keeping it real for the audience. I appreciate it.

GUPTA: You got it.

CUOMO: All right, so, look--

SLAVITT: Thank you, Chris.

GUPTA: --politics, OK, politics is hurting us here. It is setting us back even in the race to find the cure.

Why? Well the Trump Administration just defunded research that is vital to helping stop this pandemic. I'm supposed to state it as a question. But I don't get how it's an open question.

So, let's bring in, why I feel that way, the Virus Hunter working on that project, is warning that politics has no place here, and it comes at a real cost. Hear it from him directly, next.









CUOMO: Remember, no one has praised how China handled Coronavirus in our government more than Trump did.

Dozens of times, since this started, he talked about their transparency, and what a good a job they're doing, until they needed someone to blame. It didn't work for him politically anymore.

And then, his puppy dog puppets, and his cronies, came after China.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: The Chinese may have unleashed a global pandemic on the rest of us.

Funded in part by you, by U.S. taxpayers, through the National Institutes of Health.


CUOMO: Liked him better with the bowtie.

And then, it got an echo from his buddies in Congress.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The NIH gives this $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

I've called on Secretary Azar to immediately halt this grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


CUOMO: "China bad! China scary! China make virus to kill us!" even at his own briefings.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NIH, under the Obama Administration, in 2015, gave that lab $3.7 million in a grant. Why would the U.S. give a grant like that to China?

TRUMP: The Obama Administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million. I've been hearing about that.

And we've instructed that if any grants are going to that area, we're looking at it, literally, about an hour ago, and also early in the morning. We will end that grant very quickly.

But it was granted quite a while ago. They were granted a substantial amount of money. We're going to look at it and take a look.


CUOMO: "China bad! Obama bad! China and Obama very bad!" That's what they're selling you, OK. What do the facts tell us?

Well his guy, OK, who runs our National Intelligence, all right, the Director, who's main credential is being Trump's guy, says "We don't know that China created this virus in a lab."

Pompeo, all right, now, you talk about loyal to the President, Pompeo's got to be at the top of the list, "We don't know for a fact that that's what happened."

But boy, does it sound good? Boy is it satisfying to find a bad guy, right? So, they did pull money, the money that had been planned for an American company called EcoHealth, or EcoHealth that has an alliance working with labs all over the world, including the Virology Lab in Wuhan, OK?

So, Peter Daszak is EcoHealth's President, and he joins us now.

Thank you for taking the opportunity.


CUOMO: So, let's have not the sophisticated conversation that you are capable of. But let's talk to it in the terms that it is being discussed.

"China did this to get us. And if you're working with China, you're helping China. And even if you don't mean to help them, we can't risk it, got to pull the funding because we cannot have people helping China to create viruses to kill us."

Is that what you were doing?

DASZAK: Well, number one, you know, I'm a scientist, so I deal in facts, and these are the facts.

These viruses are found throughout the world, in wildlife. In some parts of the world, like China, and Southeast Asia, they're very common and very diverse. This is where they originate.

And it's people who interact with wildlife in those places that allow the viruses to get into our population. It's in our national interest, here in the U.S., to be working in those places where the viruses exist. So, that's why we do what we do.

We try and find these viruses, and try and stop them before they emerge. That's what we were doing on the ground there. That's the collaboration we had with China. What better way for the U.S. to get ready for an emerging disease than to work in the place where they exist?

CUOMO: But what about the President and his friends' concerns that China did this to us on purpose? Do you believe that there is proof of the same?

DASZAK: There is absolutely no evidence for that at all. And a wide group of experts from the National Academies, from other scientists around the world, have refuted those ideas. They've put them to bed.


There is no evidence that this was a virus that was created in a lab. There is no evidence at all that it ever was in a lab.

In fact, we've worked with the lab in Wuhan for 15 years now. We know everything they do, and we know that they do not have that virus in the lab, prior to the SARS outbreak. It's never been found prior to the SARS outbreak. CUOMO: How do you know they didn't have it in the lab?

DASZAK: Well because we found about, you know, over 500 of these bat Coronaviruses in collaboration with our colleagues in China. We arranged the field work. We managed the work that's done. We see all the data that comes through from the lab, as soon as it's done.

We've been doing this for 15 years. I've worked with this group for 15 years. I've never seen any evidence of anyone saying things that aren't true or even hinting of anything untoward from that lab. It just did not happen.

CUOMO: OK. So, what about the argument that in the interest of caution, "You can do your research. We'll give you grants. You can work all over the world, just not there. Wuhan is a hotspot. We don't trust it. Let's keep money out of there."

DASZAK: Yes. I mean I have no problem. If the NIH tells not to work with a lab, we will not work with a lab. In fact, we put in this grant last year, and what happens is you get scored. We got the top 3 percent score for priority to be funded.

NIH then puts you through a system that checks all of the potential collaborators, and they pre-approve who we should work with. So, we work with who NIH tells us to work with. If NIH says you shouldn't be working with them, we will not.

What shouldn't have happened is to take away the whole grant. Only a small portion of that was destined for Wuhan anyway. We now can't do the work we need to do.

And this work, by the way, has been used by the people who've produced the drug Remdesivir, which is the only drug, so far, that shows any evidence of working against COVID-19 in clinical trials.

So, that's directly affecting American lives. That's a real shame, and very unfortunate. And I'd like to know from NIH why they canceled this grant.

CUOMO: Why do you think it is?

DASZAK: Well they told us, for convenience, they said that it has - it doesn't fit with the priorities of NIH anymore.

Well 10 months ago, they ranked it in the top 3 percent of priorities to fund. So, I just don't understand. We've - we've written them an email. We've asked them why we've had no response at all.

CUOMO: You're a genius scientist. You know exactly why this is happening. This is about politics. Wuhan has stink on it.

And you just heard a reporter in that piece say "You're not giving money to China, are you, like that Obama guy did?" because you got to remember the source it was coming from.

And he said, "Oh, no, no, no, we're not giving them any money." Your grant was next up. It's all about giving money to China in terms

of the optics, so they pulled the money. Is there any other better reason that you need?

DASZAK: Well look, you know, we - we do our science. We want to know where pandemics originate. If pandemics originate in China, we need to be on the ground there, looking for them. We can't just turn a blind eye and hope for the best. That's not a strategy.

It's in U - the U.S.'s national interest to have people on the ground, collaborating with China, to find out where these viruses are coming from, and to stop them. Otherwise, we - we suffer, and that's what we're exactly seeing now. These bat-origin Coronaviruses were exactly what we're working on. It's exactly what COVID-19 is.

CUOMO: Now, Peter Daszak, you have said that, look, what you do is frontline pandemic prevention, by identifying the viruses and figuring out how they understand.

And if that you're not in China, specifically in Wuhan, then we are leaving a hole in a significant piece of what we know to be the frontline right now. And so, it's not just about money. It's about a material change in our ability to prevent. And I want to make sure the audience hears that.

And I - I thank you for taking the opportunity to make that case to the audience tonight. Please let us know if you get any more information about why this was justifiable.

DASZAK: Absolutely, Chris. We'll come straight to you with that. But we've not heard anything in two weeks. I don't hold out much hope. We will certainly try again.

CUOMO: All right, thank you sir. And also, a hat tip to 60 Minutes for bringing attention to this story. Thank you to CBS News.

New developments in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery, OK? More video is surfacing. But it does not help us understand the basis for the use of force in this situation.

The most crucial piece of evidence was recorded by the man we have on the show tonight, the tape of the jog that led to Arbery's death. Key witness in the crossfire, giving us his story, next.









CUOMO: All right, let's get back to Georgia. Ahmaud Arbery was killed more than two months ago there. An arrest only came after a tape was made public, showing large parts of the altercation, a tape that police had from jump.

So yes, one of the few memes that are true on social media is that it wasn't the police seeing the tape that made a difference. It was us seeing the tape. What else have we not seen? What else do we not know?

We know the Federal Government is now weighing in on whether it has a hate crime. It's a high bar. And often, those investigations wind up very disappointing. What will happen here?

Police had video from day one, remember it. What we don't understand really is why this happened, and why it was on video, in the first place? So, let's bring in the man who knows the answer, William Bryan, along with his Attorney, Kevin Gough.

Gentlemen, thank you for taking the opportunity.




GOUGH: Good evening.

CUOMO: All right, Mr. Bryan, you are known as "Roddie" to friends, correct?

BRYAN: That's right.

CUOMO: And in the police report, the McMichaels referred to a "Roddie." I'm assuming that was you, yes?

GOUGH: OK. Hey, hold on, Chris.


GOUGH: You've been a prosecutor. And you can imagine that this prosecutor that's been in this case 24 hours, she's going to start throwing stuff around her living room, if you start doing her job for her, OK? Because as good as you are, she'd probably rather do it herself.

Do you know that what we could talk about without causing problems for anybody? And I know you're trying. But this man cannot be answering substantive questions about the case. And if you feel that we've misled you in some way, I'm sorry.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, no, it's not about misleading.

GOUGH: But--

CUOMO: It's about just being clear for the audience.

GOUGH: Sure, OK.

CUOMO: I always believe that the best opportunity the media can give you is the opportunity to tell the truth in a way that helps you. That's all I'm saying. I don't know why you would dispute the notion of the man's presence--


CUOMO: --at the situation. But that's fine. Let me move on. And you, Counselor, should weigh in whenever you feel like it.

So, Mr. Bryan, how did you come to be in the car videotaping that day?

GOUGH: OK. We're not going there.

CUOMO: You don't want to talk about that either. All right, so let's do this. You are afraid of the facts of this case, Counselor, why?

GOUGH: Sir, I'm not afraid of anything. And I'm certainly not - with all due respect--

CUOMO: Sure.

GOUGH: --I'm not afraid of you. But I respect you.

CUOMO: And I respect you.

GOUGH: You are a brilliant, very capable lawyer, and you are a brilliant - you were a very good prosecutor.

And my client is a mechanic with a high school education. And if you've ever been to the high schools around here, that's not necessarily saying much, OK? And I don't mind if the Board of Education doesn't like it, you know, I'm not their friend either, OK?

But you can't be asking him questions about the substance of the evidence because, like I said, there's a young lady that's been in this case, less than 24 hours, who's going to be throwing stuff around her living room, and I don't want her mad at me, and I don't want her mad at my client.

CUOMO: I understand.

GOUGH: On the other hand, if you want to ask him - if you want to ask him about his experiences here, how he feels, I don't have a problem with that.

CUOMO: OK. Let me ask him one question. Then I want to get back to you, Mr. Gough.

GOUGH: And I have gone over this and--

CUOMO: Because you have a different--

GOUGH: Sure.

CUOMO: --latitude than he does.

GOUGH: Sure, Sir.

CUOMO: And just for the record, I do not believe that a level of education is in any way commensurate with common sense, or savvy, or understanding, everything that you need to know about this case, just through life experience. I want you to know that.

I don't care that he only went to high school. Plenty of people have done that and achieved great things let alone know why the heck they were in a car videotaping something like this. But let's put it to the side.

Mr. Bryan, what do you want the audience to know about your role, your feelings, and your sense of responsibility for this situation?

GOUGH: Is that a multiple question, Chris?

CUOMO: Mr. Gough, let him under - let him answer it. I'm sure he'll do a good job. You can always answer - you can - you can amend after. Mr. Bryan?

BRYAN: I would just like to say, first of all, I am very sorry to the family. I pray for them every night as well as my own family.

CUOMO: All right, Mr. Gough, do you think that your client should be understood--


CUOMO: --as part of the altercation that day?

GOUGH: No, Sir, no, Sir, not at all.

CUOMO: Because?

GOUGH: Because my client - my client has done nothing wrong here. He's committed no crime.

And this is a horrible tragedy. This young man has lost his life uh. And you've seen the video. On a scale of one to 10, that's just look - that's just - it's horrifying to watch. It's painful to watch, even for a - a former prosecutor like yourself, and I'm sure you've seen lots of grizzly incidents. So, this is a terrible matter.

And some people are going to have to answer for what they did. But my client was not responsible for that. My client was unarmed. My client hasn't shot anybody. My client hasn't been in so much as a fist fight since he was in high school.

And you can take a look at him. He's 5'6" - 5'7". This is not a gentleman who's out there looking for a fight or looking for trouble. CUOMO: I understand. I understand. But often--

GOUGH: And, of course - OK.

CUOMO: --as we both know, again, Mr. Gough, you're - I'm not putting your guy on trial, OK? That - that's not my job.


CUOMO: My job is this doesn't make any damn sense, this situation, and somebody wound up dead. And as we both know, the smaller you get the more likely you are the--

GOUGH: Oh we can - we can agree. We can agree that that--

CUOMO: --to use a weapon to make any kind of a show of force. So, I don't care about the size of the people involved. It's about the size of their heart and the size of their brain.

What I want to know is this. When you say that your client should not be considered as part of the altercation, I'm assuming--

GOUGH: He is not considered part of the altercation, Chris.


GOUGH: He's a witness, and that's all. That's all he's ever been.


CUOMO: OK, good. And I - and I will take that answer as guidance until I hear any different from an investigative authority, which I have not.

Now, the McMichaels seem to know him. But I want to give you a chance, Counselor, the fact that the McMichaels know Roddie or that Roddie knows them, why is it wrong to suggest therefore he knew about their intentions that day?

GOUGH: There is no relationship whatsoever between Roddie and the McMichaels.

And with all due respect, while I'm not at liberty to go into all the details, but I don't think it's any secret that the relationship between Roddie's fiancee and the District Attorney's Office here, it's utterly absurd to think that she would ever have any dealings with these people.

You just don't understand, Chris. I mean you've heard things about--

CUOMO: That's why I'm talking to you.

GOUGH: --how bad it is down here, OK?

CUOMO: First of all, I am not condemning--

GOUGH: This is the District Attorney's Office that has--

CUOMO: --I am not condemning an area.

I don't understand why no arrest was made. I don't understand why someone who recused themselves from the case went out of their way to paint a false picture of the victim. But these are not questions for you to answer.

But I don't want to impugn a character of a community or of the Police Force other than to state curiosity at their inaction, and that's why this interview was so important.

If it weren't for your client's tape, I don't know that anything would have happened here. And is that something - let me go back to--

GOUGH: Oh, I think you're right.

CUOMO: Hold on, let me go back to Mr. Bryan on that.

Mr. Bryan, I hope you understand that your decision to videotape this may be what makes all the difference in the administration of justice in this case. Are you aware of that?

BRYAN: Yes, Sir. If there wasn't a tape, then we wouldn't know what happened, or--

CUOMO: And how do you feel about that?

BRYAN: --I - I would.

I hope that it, in the end, brings justice to the family and peace to the family.

CUOMO: Mr. Gough, audience is listening now.

GOUGH: Yes, Sir.

CUOMO: What do you want them to understand about why your client was where he was, if it is not true that it was done in coordination with the McMichaels?

GOUGH: Chris, I don't think it's any secret. My client lives in that neighborhood.

He's at his house, minding his own business, and I'm trying not to complicate anybody else's job, he was at his house, minding his own business. And things happen in a matter of minutes. His life has been changed forever.

And this family, the Arberys, their lives have been changed forever, you know. And it's sometimes difficult, in these situations, to - to see the bigger picture.

Mother's Day was not pleasant for Roddie here. It wasn't pleasant for me either. It wasn't the Mother's Day I was hoping for. But, at the same time, Roddie's going to have other Mother's Days, that is if nobody takes a potshot at him.

But the Arberys will never be able to spend another Mother's Day with their son. So, you know, for them, this is - it's hard to imagine anything worse that could have happened.

CUOMO: I'll get back to the fact pattern before we end. But let me ask you a couple of side questions because of your--

GOUGH: OK, yes.

CUOMO: --your apparent perspective on this place. Why do you think somebody might take a potshot at your client?

GOUGH: Because certain people out there, for reasons that are not clear, are deliberately putting all kinds of misinformation out there, to the extent, and I can't - I can't speak for the GBI, but I'm sure that - that however well-intentioned, that is hindering and hampering and impeding their investigation.

CUOMO: Like what?

GOUGH: There's so much distraction - the people out there that are talking about my client being some kind of vigilante, they're - they're conjuring up conspiracy theories that don't exist, saying that my client was armed. Everyone knows he wasn't armed. That's never been an issue from day one.

And, you know, why people would continue to put things out like that, to suggest that somehow he's in cahoots with whatever's been going on, up on the third floor, at the Courthouse, with the D.A.'s, he's - look, Greg McMichael worked for the D.A.'s Office for many years, and he was a Glynn County police officer before.

My client does not have, quote unquote, "Strong ties to law enforcement." He doesn't have ties to law enforcement.

CUOMO: I got you.


GOUGH: And since he's been in this - since he's been in this relationship with this young lady, I can assure you that whether he realized it or not, he had no friends up at the Courthouse and--

CUOMO: All right.

GOUGH: --and all this conversation, and these letters, in this legal analysis, while his name may have come up in it, nobody up there, with all due respect, gives a darn whether he lives or dies.

CUOMO: Just--

GOUGH: So, the idea that we have anything to do with this delay, in the prosecution of this case--

CUOMO: OK. GOUGH: --we've done everything we could do.

CUOMO: Listen, I got you. And I have no interest and intrigue about local politics.

But for those tuning in, just right now, what is your reservation, again, for your client doing what he is imminently capable of doing, saying why he was where he was, why he videotaped as he did, and what he understands happened that day? Why do you not want him to say what can only help clear his name?

GOUGH: Because Chris, in America, as I believe you're well aware, we try our cases in courts of the law.

And this stig (ph) where we've come to in this country, over the years, where important cases are being tried in newspapers, and on television, and on blogs and stuff, that is not serving the interests of justice.

CUOMO: But he's not on trial.

GOUGH: And if you were a prosecutor in this case, if--

CUOMO: He is not going to be on trial, is he?

GOUGH: He doesn't control anything. He's a pawn in a much larger game. And he has no say-so in that.

CUOMO: But he is a witness, and we have witnesses on all the time--

GOUGH: And there are people out there who have--

CUOMO: --so the American people can understand maybe that there is a miscarriage of justice because the facts as they're being evinced from people who are on the ground, who saw, and heard, and experienced, give a different picture than what they're getting from authorities. They can be very helpful.

GOUGH: And when you feel that you are not being treated right, you should speak out. And if people won't listen to you, you need to speak out further.


GOUGH: And that's exactly what happened in this case. This family wanted justice. And I'm not commenting on the McMichaels. That's not my place, OK? And they've got rights, and they're presumed innocent too.

But they spoke out. They wanted justice. They weren't treated right. And they kept talking, and nobody was listening. And I know some of the people who were trying to help them. And nobody was listening.

CUOMO: Is your client one of them?

GOUGH: And these gentlemen, they have come in-- CUOMO: Was he one of the people trying to help? Is your client one of the people--

GOUGH: Mister Arbery--

CUOMO: --who was trying to help the Arberys?

GOUGH: He was helping that day, yes sir.

CUOMO: Let me--

GOUGH: But for him - but for him, there would be no video.

CUOMO: Let me - that's true. Let me ask you about the McMichaels really quickly.

Based on your understanding of the community, and the relationships involved, do you believe the McMichaels had some kind of connection to Ahmaud Arbery, at least in their own perspective of understanding?

GOUGH: Chris, honestly, I don't know. And there's been so much misinformation out there, and gossip, and speculation, I don't want to add to it.

CUOMO: Well the police report - the police report--

GOUGH: You know, I've heard so many crazy things.

CUOMO: But Mr. Gough, let's forget about community hearsay. I don't care about Chatty Cathys either. What I'm saying is, in the police report, the McMichaels made it very clear--


CUOMO: --to the police, in the moment, where they were on the scene with the victim lying in his own pool of blood that they thought they knew this guy, that they had been on the lookout for this guy, that they identified him from past experience of seeing him, and knowing him.

I don't think that surprises you, why? What do you think the McMichaels believed about Arbery?

GOUGH: My understanding, Chris, and I've been in this case for 72 hours, and I'm playing catch-up here.

But my understanding was that this young man, as he lay there, what that - well not so much as a blanket or a towel over his head, OK, but as he's there, nobody knows who he is. His family was not there. And I can only assume they were not there because they were not notified. And they were not notified because nobody knew.

Now, I can't speak for the McMichaels, and what's in their mind. All I'm hearing it is that well after this incident took place, nobody could identify him. Now, why the McMichaels do or say what they do then, or now, I can't speak to that. But if the police couldn't identify him, it may be that, I don't know.

You're going to have to ask the McMichaels or their lawyer.

CUOMO: They have been given the opportunity.

GOUGH: But my understanding was - well they're sitting in a jail cell, as far as I know, without counsel, which I'm sure for - for Greg McMichael is an experience he never thought he'd experience. But that's not why we're here.

CUOMO: All right. So, Mister--

GOUGH: But what I'm saying is my understanding is the police couldn't figure out who he was for some time.

CUOMO: Right.

GOUGH: And they should have been treating that body with respect, and that young man with respect, even before they knew who his mother and father was. I'm not saying they didn't.

CUOMO: Well no - no question about that.

GOUGH: But from what I've heard, nobody knew who he was.

CUOMO: Nobody--

GOUGH: They couldn't identify him.

CUOMO: No question about that. But I think--

GOUGH: Maybe that's wrong.

CUOMO: --there's a difference between--

GOUGH: But that' what I heard.


CUOMO: --there's a difference between his name and people thinking they knew him from earlier activities because McMichael himself says in the police report, in the moment that the police get to the scene that they knew who this guy was, and that they remembered him from something else, and that's why they took off after him, and that they had information about him being involved in other crimes that we can't track down anywhere, other than this video of him arguably trespassing on a construction site.

So, just to be clear, as we end this interview, your statement, Mr. Gough, on per - on behalf of William Bryan, also known as Roddie, is he wasn't working with the McMichaels. He wasn't called to the scene by the McMichaels. And he wasn't videoing in any way to help the McMichaels. Is that all true from your perspective?

GOUGH: He wasn't there for the McMichaels at all. I can say that. And he doesn't have any relationship with the McMichaels. CUOMO: And the one sticking point that I've heard you try to explain before but hasn't met satisfaction with me yet is when you see something that you know is wrong, even though you're videotaping it in the moment, even though things happened before the videotaping that he didn't videotape, you call the police.

I don't care about his education. Everybody knows that. You can be in high school. I've met many people, and so have you, in high school, who will eat our lunch despite all our education intellectually. Why didn't he call 9-1-1?

GOUGH: Well, first of all, he can't use the phone for a phone call while he's using it--

CUOMO: I know. But you can hang up and call 9-1-1.

GOUGH: --as a camera. Maybe you can.

CUOMO: You can stop videotaping and call 9-1-1.


CUOMO: That's an easy answer.

GOUGH: Chris?

CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

GOUGH: Chris, with all due respect--

CUOMO: Please?

GOUGH: --with all due - feel free to give the answer for me, OK? If you're asking me my answer--


GOUGH: --I can tell you that in the real world, things are much different. It's one thing to watch it on TV. It's another thing to do it in real life. And this is a--

CUOMO: Calling 9-1-1?

GOUGH: --he's not young man. But--

CUOMO: What's the difference?

GOUGH: Oh, I hope we all know how to call 9-1-1.

CUOMO: But what I'm saying is what - what point are you trying to make?

GOUGH: There was no question that 9-1-1--

CUOMO: Right now, I'm videotaping you. I think it's very important. I decide to stop-- GOUGH: My point to you is--

CUOMO: --because now I'm going to call 9-1-1.

GOUGH: Hey, Chris, if you--

CUOMO: I call 9-1-1. What's so - what's complicated, Mr. Gough?

GOUGH: OK. If you'll go back and look at that video--

CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

GOUGH: --if my client had been two seconds, two seconds later, getting where he was, there wouldn't be any video, not one worth watching, not anybody - one anybody would care about, there'd be nothing to - there'd be nothing to see--

CUOMO: I agree.

GOUGH: --other than a young man bleeding out on the - on the street.

CUOMO: I agree.

GOUGH: In the middle of the day.

CUOMO: I agree.

GOUGH: I think if you go back, and you look at the circumstances, putting aside the logistical issues about making telephone calls, while you're using your phone, I think if you go back and look at the circumstances, there was no question the police were on their way. I think the - as I understand it, the sirens were audible almost immediately.


GOUGH: And they were on the scene for what felt like seconds, but couldn't have been - couldn't have been more than a minute.

Now, you've got better access to information than I do. And maybe I misunderstand that. But I'll be honest with you, under the circumstances, I don't think that anybody would have thought there was any question as to the police were coming, OK?

CUOMO: All right, Kevin Gough--

GOUGH: And, frankly, if the police had gotten - if the police had gotten there a few seconds earlier, a minute earlier, this man still might be alive today.

CUOMO: Right, maybe, depends on how extreme the wounds were. It happened all very quickly. I'm not in the blame phase. Nobody should be.

Mr. Gough, I appreciate you taking this opportunity. And Mr. Bryan, I appreciate you taking it as well. I understand why you're afraid of getting caught up in the case, and making people upset, in the process. I get it all.

But I do want you to know this. I don't agree with your Counselor about one thing.

Mechanics, you know, my brother's a mechanic. I was raised by mechanics. I'm sure that you are more than competent. I don't care about your education.

You know what you did that day. You know why you did it, and you know how you feel about it. That has nothing to do with education. I want you to know that opportunity will always remain open to you here, and Counsel, for you as well.

I'm not going to limit your capability to help people and convey information just because of what degree you have on your wall. I just want you to know that, Mr. Bryan. I respect you, and I appreciate you being here. Counselor, you as well, thank you.

GOUGH: Thank you, Sir.

CUOMO: All right.

All right, let's take a break. We'll be right back.









CUOMO: All right, let's bring in a real former prosecutor, Laura Coates. I was not. I wasn't, you know, I was correcting enough in the record with the lawyer that is an ancillary detail.

But Laura, look, the problem for Roddie Bryan is McMichael, in the moment, identifies him as someone who tried to cut off Arbery. That's McMichael saying it. That's not - that's not Roddie Bryan. His Counselor says "That's not true. He had no role. He was not working with them."

What's your takeaway? And what do you want to know going forward in this case?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SIRIUSXM HOST, "THE LAURA COATES SHOW", ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Well the million-dollar question here is was his presence there and availability to videotape because he was coincidentally there or because he was complicit with the McMichael family in actually killing Ahmaud Arbery?

If it was pure coincidence, if he is simply just an observer, it would be odd that he was so reluctant to come forward, and at least answer some of your questions.

However, if he's complicit in some way, and we don't have enough facts to know if he is, well Georgia law says you can be complicit and actually a party to a crime if you encourage or anywhere part of it, if somehow you are involved in a criminal activity, and you can be held accountable the same way somebody who actually - actually fired the gun.

So, his reluctance is based on what he thinks the prosecutors may be looking for.

I look at this case, Chris, and say to myself, what - why were you there? Why did you know to videotape? And what did you do afterwards? How did you know them? What did you hear? What am I not seeing on the videotape? What were the things that transpired that we can't see?


For that, he needs to go before the Grand Jury, and testify, and get his answers locked in.

CUOMO: Right.

COATES: Albeit 75-plus days later.

CUOMO: Right, now, look, some of the sources I have around the state side of the investigation says he has been cooperative. He is considered a witness right now. That could change because the other side of the equation matters just as much.

Give me a quick take, the McMichaels saying in the moment, and remember, Laura, our audience doesn't understand the way you are, when you're trained, to say something in the moment.

When the cops show up, when you have just killed somebody, is better than what you say a week later. And they acted like they knew who this guy was, not Roddie, Arbery, that they knew him, that they had identified him, something else, and they knew it was him.

How important is that part of the backstory of what was in the McMichaels' heads?

COATES: Extraordinarily because - very extraordinarily, because if you say it in the moment, the law essentially says you have not conjured some reason to lie. It's considered more credible if you say it in a split second, as opposed to reflecting, and thinking about what you should have said.

And if in fact they did know him, or had some reason to believe that they believe that they actually knew him, well you've got issues of profiling, and what their motivation really was.

CUOMO: Right. It doesn't make it right what they did. But it gives you an understanding of why they did something so wrong.

Laura Coates, pro, thank you.

COATES: Absolutely.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.