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Sheriff: D.A. Doesn't Want To Release Bodycam Video, Doesn't Want To "Hinder The Investigation"; Lisa Christensen Speaks Out After Chauvin's Guilty Verdict; CDC Lifts J&J Vaccine Pause. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 23, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's a problem with distinctive facial hair, Anderson.

COOPER: I wouldn't know - I--

CUOMO: Me, ear (ph).

COOPER: I wish!

CUOMO: Have a good weekend.

COOPER: All right.

CUOMO: You and the boy.

COOPER: All right.

CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Tonight, we have new information and insight into a police shooting that is being handled in questionable fashion. Why? Because we learned something this week.

We know part of the answer for policing. Whenever there is a questionable use of force, the contact must be recorded with sound and picture. And those recordings must be released to the public right away.

How do we know? Because the verdict heard, round the world, may never have happened without the bodycam video. Remember, the police initially described George Floyd's death as a "Health incident." No mention of a knee. No mention of a neck. That's why the refusal, to release the tape of a police shooting, in North Carolina, is disturbing.

All we know is that a Black man, who was said to be unarmed, was shot and killed, Wednesday, by police, in Elizabeth City, during the service of search and arrest warrants. We do have new information. There is dispatch audio that gives us

clues. And we have a witness tonight to the deadly shootout of 42- year-old Andrew Brown.

Now clearly, it can't be that there is nothing to see here. Listen to the dispatchers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, EMS has got one male, 42 years of age, gunshot to the back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a 40-year-old male with gunshot wounds to the back.


CUOMO: "Gunshot wounds to the back." Why would an unarmed suspect be shot let alone from behind?

All the police would say is that Brown had a history of resisting arrest. If they think that arguably irrelevant information is releasable, why not release the bodycams, all of them?

Now, I say "All of them" because seven deputies have now been placed on administrative leave, seven. Top of that, two others have resigned. One deputy retired, in the wake of this shooting. That's 10!

So, the big question is why no tapes, despite public outcry, despite the fact that the Governor just demanded their release? According to state law, in North Carolina, there has to be a court order, to get bodycam video released.

And from what the Sheriff said today, it is the District Attorney who won't let the videos out.


SHERIFF TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NC: The Sheriff's Office is the custodian of the bodycam footage. But the bodycam footage does not want to be released by the District Attorney, at this time, due to the investigation. He does not want it to hinder the investigation.

There is absolutely nothing to hide. The video has not been released. We're waiting on the District Attorney.


CUOMO: Nothing gives trust like transparency. How would it hinder the investigation to release the tapes? The victim is dead. The police all know what happened there and they know what is on the body camera video, because they were there. So, how would it hinder it?

The bodycam videos of the Daunte Wright and Ma'Khia Bryant shootings, in Minnesota and Ohio, were released hours after they were killed. And that mattered. In North Carolina, even members of Brown's family say they weren't

allowed to see the footage, when they met with the Sheriff today.

And yet, tonight, we will learn more. Demetria Williams was a witness. She knew Andrew Brown. She was his neighbor. And she saw the police there, and part of the action. And she joins us now on PRIME TIME.

Thank you for doing this. I appreciate it.


CUOMO: So, this is the morning after the George Floyd verdict. Am I right?


CUOMO: Set the scene for me. It's about what 8:00 - 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning? And what happens?

D. WILLIAMS: It was about 8:40, when I heard a shot, and I woke up, and ran, proceeded to run down the street.

And when I got close to his house, I seen officers standing behind his car, as Andrew Brown is trying to flee away, to leave the, you know, leave the scene, and they are shooting.

CUOMO: So, you knew it was Andrew Brown, in the car, because you know his car?


CUOMO: And he's driving away from the officers?


CUOMO: And they were actively firing at the car?


CUOMO: Was anybody firing back at them?



CUOMO: Then what happens?

D. WILLIAMS: And as they started shooting, the car started going across the grass. And it proceeded, and hit the tree, came to rest at a tree. Well by then, he was dead.

And he was slumped over, when the officers opened the car door. And they snatched him out, and started doing chest compressions on him. After that, I guess they seen that they couldn't revive him, or bring him back. He was already gone. And then they put a sheet on him. Then I seen a few officers go - come back, cross the street, and take

the rammer, and rammed his door in.

CUOMO: And they went inside?


CUOMO: Did they take things out of the house, because supposedly they had arrest and search warrants?

D. WILLIAMS: I didn't see anything.

CUOMO: Was there anybody else, who had a weapon that was firing at police, or was anybody else in the car with Andrew Brown?

D. WILLIAMS: No, sir.

CUOMO: Now, do you think that they shot him through the vehicle, or - well, that's all you saw--


CUOMO: --was him in the car. So, you think they shot him through the vehicle?


CUOMO: And--

D. WILLIAMS: Yes. That's the only way possible.

CUOMO: And you know that he was gone, because when they opened the door, he seemed unconscious to you?

D. WILLIAMS: He was slumped over. Yes.

CUOMO: And you say that he lay there for a long time afterwards, is this true?

D. WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CUOMO: What was this like for you witnessing this?

D. WILLIAMS: It was inhumane. And it was sickening to me, because Andrew Brown that everybody knew that, we call, Drew was not violent. He never toted a gun. So, to me, I think it was just like overkill. They murdered him. That was trying to flee away.

CUOMO: The Deputy Sheriff put out a statement early on that Brown had a history of resisting arrest. Had you ever seen police in his house before? Had you ever seen him run from police before?

D. WILLIAMS: No, I've never seen that. If nothing else, he always turned himself in. He always did his time, everything.

CUOMO: Now, to the extent that this was drug-related, your feeling is whatever he did, he wasn't known as a local drug dealer? He wasn't pushing any product on your street.

D. WILLIAMS: No. That I know of, no.

CUOMO: What was his reputation in the neighborhood?

D. WILLIAMS: He was a good guy. He wasn't a nuisance. He was none of that. He minds his business. He was a jokester, you know. He's not - he wasn't confrontational.

CUOMO: You know him a long time?

D. WILLIAMS: Yes, I have.

CUOMO: Did they see you see--

D. WILLIAMS: All my life.

CUOMO: All your life, you known him? Well, I'm sorry, then.


CUOMO: This is bad--


CUOMO: --anyway you look at it. But I'm sorry that someone you knew this long, in close proximity, like that, I'm sorry, I'm sorry that they're gone.


CUOMO: Did the cops see you watching them?

D. WILLIAMS: I'm pretty sure because they made - they told me, before they even put the yellow tape, after everything was happening, they turned back, and seen me, and they told me I had to step back.

CUOMO: Did--

D. WILLIAMS: Because then they was putting the yellow tape and stuff up.

CUOMO: Did they interview you?

D. WILLIAMS: And then I stood out there the whole - no, no cop interviewed me. I stayed out there from the time it happened to the time they took the yellow tape down.

CUOMO: Did you call the police, or you figured there's no need, the police are here?

D. WILLIAMS: It was a no need to call.

CUOMO: Right. They're already there.

D. WILLIAMS: They was, you know, they was there. CUOMO: But nobody called you?

D. WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

CUOMO: Nobody contact you from the D.A.'s office, or anything like that, police investigations, to ask you if you saw anything?

D. WILLIAMS: No. The SBI did.

CUOMO: The SBI, who's that?

D. WILLIAMS: But nobody - the SBI.

CUOMO: That's local law enforcement?

D. WILLIAMS: SBI? Yes, yes.

CUOMO: OK. And they interviewed you, and asked you what you saw?

D. WILLIAMS: The State and Bureau - State Bureau investigators.

CUOMO: Right. Now Demetria, if you can think back, how many officers do you think were firing at the vehicle?


D. WILLIAMS: It was several. I can't say that. I know that they did have their backs turned to me. So, I can't approximately say how many, or who, but it was several.

CUOMO: And that first shot, you don't have any idea whose shot that was? You don't know if it were Mr. Brown, shooting at the police, or the police shooting at him?

D. WILLIAMS: No, because I know he definitely didn't have a gun.

CUOMO: How do you know?

D. WILLIAMS: Because I - like I stated, he doesn't carry guns. And I was there from the time it happened, to the time, and they never recovered a gun from the car. They never even, you know, they never recovered anything out of the car.

CUOMO: How are you doing with this?

D. WILLIAMS: I'm doing!

CUOMO: You have the George Floyd verdict one day.

D. WILLIAMS: I'm doing!

CUOMO: And then this the next morning.


CUOMO: How do you reconcile those two things? D. WILLIAMS: And it hits right at home. I can't. It's disturbing, sickening.

CUOMO: On Tuesday, I got to believe you felt a different level of hope about how the system works.


CUOMO: And then what happens Wednesday morning?

D. WILLIAMS: And it made us bit - distrust them again.

CUOMO: What do you think about the fact that the D.A. won't release the tape because he doesn't want it to hinder the investigation?

D. WILLIAMS: How is this hindering the investigation when that will only speak - tell the truth, if that's what you - what happened.

CUOMO: Ms. Williams, thank you very much. I know it's cold. And I know that your head and your heart are hurting right now. And I'm sorry for that.


CUOMO: But I really do appreciate you help us put some light in the darkness here because we don't know what's going on, because they won't release the tapes. So, thank you.

D. WILLIAMS: Well he hasn't - he's not here to have a voice. So, someone has to.

CUOMO: Well, I appreciate you doing it for us. Good luck going forward.

D. WILLIAMS: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Let us know if we can help.

D. WILLIAMS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

All right, so look, that's - those are - those are very interesting. Look, I'm processing it, the same time you are. But what's the main issue? OK. Why were they firing? You have two scenarios.

They were fired upon. OK. If fired upon, absolutely, imminent threat, you can return fire. Was there imminent threat, if he's driving away? Can you shoot at someone fleeing? Yes. But you cannot shoot at someone because they are fleeing. There have to be other conditions present.

You have to believe that that person is a threat to someone else, or to you, although that's hard to argue, if they're running away from you. So, there are rules of engagement, for police deputies, firing. On a car that's moving away, is a different level of analysis.

Now, how does the law in North Carolina get changed, so that we don't have to do this?

Look, luckily, we have Demetria Williams, who's, 8 o'clock in the morning, she not only gets up, she runs towards gunfire. I mean, that is a rare form of citizenship. And she did it. And if she hadn't, we wouldn't know anything.

So, we're going to bring in the law enforcement legal pros lay out the standards, lay out this situation, about the disclosure, but also action at the scene, next.









CUOMO: In North Carolina, what we know for sure is that Andrew Brown Jr. is dead, that he was shot by Sheriff's deputies.

And there was absolutely shooting, while he was driving away, because we know he was hit in the back, from the police. And we just have a witness tell us that she saw the gunshots being fired, by multiple deputies, at the vehicle, while it was going away.

Now, the State Bureau of Investigation, that's the SBI, that was being referred to, by Demetria Williams, says "We understand the need for transparency." Prosecutors say "We know that people want to see the body camera footage." Then where is it?

Two things. First, nobody wants to see video of a man dying, OK? This isn't about snuff films. This is about understanding, OK, because statements don't cut it.

Look, that is a blessing, to have Demetria Williams, somebody who had the presence of mind, when she hears a gunshot, in the middle of the morning, early morning, to run toward it, and to pay attention, and be able to process, something like that happening to somebody she knows.

But I shouldn't be learning about this, neither should you, from neighbors, when investigators have the tape.

It's not about hassling the cops. It's about helping the cops. And right now, it seems they're stuck with a bad law. In North Carolina, the statute is clear. Recordings in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall only be released pursuant to court order. The process to get that order is already underway. But, in the police shooting cases, we could find, it generally takes

months to get that through the courts. This law isn't some relic of a bygone era, by the way. It was passed in 2016. There's a bill in the state legislature right now to change this. But, for now, we got to deal with the law on the books.


You know who could expedite it. I know the Governor is asking for it to change. The question - to have them released. Did he call the D.A., did he call the D.A., and say "Release the tapes?" This has got to be about pressure, because time is an enemy.

Now, let's diagnose and analyze what we just heard, and what we know, in some, so far. Anthony Barksdale, former Acting Commissioner, Baltimore Police, Elliot Williams, former federal prosecutor, good to have you both.

So, from what you heard, from Demetria Williams, Bark, what sense do you make of what the deputies were doing?


We're talking about a vehicle moving away. We can all remember the Sean Bell shooting, in New York, many years ago, where officers fired 50 shots.

And there is a thing that in policing, we call it contagious fire, where one fires, the other one fires, the other one fires, it can happen. And instead of being honest, and owning, owning this, they use these laws, to cover it up. And it's disgusting.

CUOMO: Best benefit to the officers, Elliot, the first gunshot that Demetria Williams heard. I know she said that they didn't find a weapon at the scene. I haven't heard about any weapon being in the scene.

But again, absent the body camera footage, best benefit of the doubt to the officers? Even if the first shot was from Brown Jr., at the police, what are you allowed to do with that person is now fleeing in a vehicle from you?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, again, the officers are allowed to make an assessment, as to whether the individual presents an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to people around him.

Now, we can start hair-splitting as to whether one shot fired or so on. But what you have--

CUOMO: We don't even know that that was from him. I have no reason to believe it was. It wasn't reported as such. The police didn't say it was. They only said he had a history of resistance. E. WILLIAMS: Yes.

CUOMO: I'm giving every benefit to the cops in the analysis.

E. WILLIAMS: Right. I'm merely playing with your hypothetical here, Chris. And then that's exactly it, right? It's sort - so number one, this imminent threat of bodily force.

And there's other circumstances, like if somebody was in custody, and broke out, and is using a deadly weapon, or was breaking out from prison, none of those things seem to be happening here.

And the police seem to want to have it both ways. They're releasing information, as you said at the top of this, about this criminal history, without any documentation of it, just merely saying that he has a history of resisting arrest, which--

CUOMO: Bark is uncomfortable.

E. WILLIAMS: --is shaky - shaky as bet - shaky at best, right?

CUOMO: I hear you, Elliot. Let me--

E. WILLIAMS: But still not voicing to further information, so.

CUOMO: Let me get Anthony back in here. What's going on, Anthony?

BARKSDALE: Chris, over and over again, we have Black men painted a certain way. They can't show the video. But they can leak that, and say--


BARKSDALE: --"Oh, he was known - he's known to resist arrest." Tell me how that's different from George Floyd, where he was painted as King Kong, high on drugs, and Chauvin had to go into this urban environment, and wrestle on the ground, with King Kong?

CUOMO: I think it - I think it hurts them.

BARKSDALE: It's sickening, Chris.

CUOMO: I think it hurts them, because so you--


CUOMO: --so you knew this guy likes to run. Demetria says, who's known him, her whole life, OK, that's what she says, "He always turned himself in. He always did his time." So, if you put those together, you know, he always runs. But you've always caught him before. It makes you even less justified in what you do.

E. WILLIAMS: Well Chris, and they're even using these buzz words, like "Prior drug convictions," and stuff like what - I mean, are we - are you talking about someone with a dime bag, in his pocket, or someone with suitcases of meth and a nuclear warhead in his trunk? Like they just put the language out there, and expect people - this is the language of policing prior to police reform. This is what officers could get away with, before the last several years, of rethinking how police departments think, and communicate with communities.


E. WILLIAMS: And for a long time they got away with it. And it's just - it just doesn't work anymore.

And you saw, in the Floyd trial, exactly what that statement you're talking about, Chris, that shifting the narrative is a tactic that just the public increasingly doesn't have the appetite for.

CUOMO: Seven are on administrative leave, two resigned, one retired, so you know there are a lot of people here, and you know they have legitimate question.

Anthony, how do you get the D.A. to expedite the court order? Because it only takes a long time, because someone's fighting on it, you know what I mean? If nobody's fighting the release--


CUOMO: --then it doesn't take months to go through the system.

BARKSDALE: Who is the boss? You nailed it, Chris. The Governor, send it down, say, "Release it." Send the - send the order down. This is absurd.


Look at Daunte Wright. Look, we know that was a tragedy. We saw an officer commit a homicide. They can decide, if it's involuntary or not, at trial. But they owned it. They released the video immediately. It happened on the 11th. On the 12th, the public, the world saw what happened.

We cannot continue to expect communities of color, or any community, to have faith, in policing, when we see stuff like this. And if you weren't the one, doing this, on your huge show, who would pay attention? Who's going to do them?

CUOMO: Anthony Barksdale, Elliot Williams, thank you for helping people, understand the context.

And remember, this isn't about playing "Gotcha" on the police. This is the best chance the police have. Let people see what they had to deal with, at the scene, because, in a vacuum, everything starts to seem suspicious. That's not about us. That's about human nature. Anything that you want to hide can't be good for you. And that's a mistake.

Gentlemen, thank you.

A sentencing date in the other big case, the verdict heard round the world, the murder of George Floyd. Tonight, we have someone, who came close to deciding Derek Chauvin's fate.

What worked for the jury? How did it seem that they were moved during the process? The only one, from the jury pool, who's talking so far, and we just heard that the Judge is going to protect the identities of the jury, for six months, so this person is going to be your best source for a while.

Somebody is talking, who was an alternate, who observed the whole process, with the jury. What worked? What didn't? And why? Next.









CUOMO: About two months from now, on June 16th, for now, we'll know how much time Derek Chauvin, the ex-cop, convicted of murdering George Floyd, will be sentenced to, in state prison.

The most serious charge, second-degree unintentional murder, carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. Nothing like that is expected, though this could be a heavier sentence because of aggravating factors.

Meantime, new insight tonight, from one of the jurors, in that courtroom, our next guest sat through every minute of the trial. She was designated as an "Alternate" before deliberations began. Her name is Lisa Christensen.

Welcome to PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: I'm doing well. How are you doing?

CHRISTENSEN: Pretty well. Pretty exhausted for the trial, and this whole week that's been going on here.

CUOMO: How much did the significance, of this, weigh on you, beyond the job in the courtroom?

CHRISTENSEN: Every night, when I would come home, I felt exhausted. I didn't think it would affect me like it did. It was pretty draining, pretty emotional. CUOMO: You've heard yip-yap, since the verdict that people, on the Right fringe, were concerned that the jury would act, because they were scared of what would happen, if they didn't convict. Did you feel that? Or did you pick up that kind of fear from anybody?

CHRISTENSEN: No, not at all. I think we understood that we were there to do a job. We took it very seriously. We were responsible. We came and did what we were supposed to do.

CUOMO: Now, the amount of time of the deliberation is not that long, but it's not that short. It was about 10 hours to go through everything. Do you believe that this was a close call for the jury?

CHRISTENSEN: I was a little surprised that it took them only 10 hours. I thought it would be at least a couple of days. I think they made the right decision. I would have said "Guilty" as well. At least in some part of it, I would have.

CUOMO: Of all charges?

CHRISTENSEN: I'm not sure about that, because in the courtroom, the Judge read the jury instructions to us. And I wasn't able to look at them again, because I was excused.


CHRISTENSEN: So, at that point in time, I've never picked him up again. But, on some level, I would have at least found him guilty. Yes.

CUOMO: The thumbnail version of the second-degree murder statute, as applied here, was unintentional murder, meaning you intended to assault and seriously injure George Floyd, and he died in the process. It's like felony murder. Does that make sense with what was in the trial?

CHRISTENSEN: It does. I think - I think it matches. The prosecutors did a good job presenting the evidence.

CUOMO: There is a sound bite from Dr. Tobin that mattered to you, and you think resonated with the jury. I want to play it for the audience. And then you can tell us why. Here it is.


DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONARY EXPERT/EXPERT WITNESS: A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to, would have died, as a result of what he was subjected to.

You can see his eyes. He's conscious. And then, you see that he isn't.

That's the moment the life goes out of his body.


CUOMO: You say this was the moment that convinced you. Why? CHRISTENSEN: Because you could - Mr. Tobin was really - Dr. Tobin was really spot-on, when he said what he said to us. He could relate it to the video. We could see what he was saying. We understood what he was saying. And it just - it just matched.

CUOMO: The idea going into it was, the video was so powerful, 9 minutes 29 seconds. It was so much time, for the officer to make different choices, than he made, even if the original one was justified.

Was the video as overpowering, from what you could pick up, from people in the jury, as well?


CHRISTENSEN: I believe it was. I'm grateful that Ms. Frazier was there. I am grateful she had the courage to start filming it, because without her, I don't think we would be sitting here today.

CUOMO: At one point, you say, you saw, literally eye-to-eye, you met eye-to-eye with Chauvin, the officer. Tell me about that.

CHRISTENSEN: I did. We were just kind of, just by sitting arrangements, we were just kind of sitting across from each other.

So, in between him taking notes, me taking notes, looking at the lawyer's podium, and then switching, looking at the witnesses, on the witness stand, you just kind of look up and, once in a while, and we glanced at each other, probably at least five or six times, I would say.

CUOMO: You got any read on him?

CHRISTENSEN: I didn't. I mean, I don't think he was trying to send any kind of messages or anything like that. It just we both looked up. And it was - it was just, from where we were sitting.

CUOMO: Why do you think he did what he did?

CHRISTENSEN: One thing sticks out in my mind. I don't know why he did what he did, obviously.

But when they took that still photo, from the video that we seen, from Ms. Frazier, and he was on Mr. Floyd's neck, kind of look like his hand was either in his pocket, or on his hip, that he looked defiant to me.

I feel like he was reacting to the crowd, and kind of giving this message like, "I - this is my job. I'm a policeman. No one's going to tell me how to do my job. I'm going to do it the way I want to do it. No one's going to tell me differently."

CUOMO: Well, now we know he didn't do his job. But you guys did, and it was not easy, especially in the climate that we're living in. And I appreciate the work that you did, for your community and the country.

Lisa Christensen, thank you very much.


CUOMO: Be well.

All right, we also have new details, tonight, on the sex trafficking investigation, into Congressman Matt Gaetz. This case started twisted, and is more pretzely now. And there's also more potential criminality that is introduced into the case because of a Bahamas trip that we know Gaetz was on.

What's the new information? What could it mean? One of the best, next.









CUOMO: Sources tell CNN, in addition to examining whether the Congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, the Feds want to know if Gaetz took gifts, specifically travel, including a Bahamas trip, and paid escorts, in exchange for his political support for medical marijuana.

Gaetz has backed multiple legislative pushes, for medical marijuana, going way back, to his days, as a State Rep, in Florida. One of the people though, who accompanied Gaetz, on that trip to the Bahamas, was Jason Pirozzolo, a Florida doctor, who founded a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Here to help us unpack it is former Deputy FBI Director, Andrew McCabe.

Andrew, I'm going to help rush your Friday night, and we're going to flip it. Tell me why I care about this.

I still think if they can't connect Gaetz to paying for sex, with an underage person, Florida, the age is 18, the federal statute is 18, how are they going to get him on this money, travel, friends thing?


I think that with all the things that we've heard, he's being investigated for the sex trafficking issue is, to me, by far the most significant and, and perilous for the Congressman.

The public corruption, bribery issue that we've heard about, what CNN is reporting today, is a very - these are very, very hard cases to make.

The bribery statute essentially says when someone gives something, of value, to someone, in a position of - to a public official, in return for the execution of an official act, then that qualifies as a bribery.

CUOMO: But there are "Buts" that people need to know, right?

MCCABE: The Supreme Court has weighed in--

CUOMO: You got the McDonnell case.


CUOMO: That you're about to refer to. The link between--

MCCABE: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: --money and favors has to be really direct. And Democrat Senator Bob Menendez had his case set a precedent that like there's no limit of money that a friend can give to another one, even if it's political.

MCCABE: Yes, it's very, very tough. You have to have like a very explicit quid pro quo.

And what the Supreme Court said, in the McDonnell case, is the official act has to really be an official act. So, in other words, setting up meetings, and making phone calls, and things like that weren't enough to qualify as an official act.

However, on the other side of the coin, in terms of the facts that we've heard here, if the official act is the sponsoring of legislation, to support legalized marijuana, for medical uses, like that is very clearly an official act. So, it's not clear to me that a case, along these lines, would be impossible to prove

CUOMO: No, not impossible. The worst part, for the prosecution, is going to be he's been into this for a long time.

So, you would have to show that he was on the take a long time ago. Otherwise, he's going to say, "Yes, this guy gave me some money now, but it's only like a 1,000 donation - just $1,000 donation twice, 2016, 2017. I've been doing this for years."

MCCABE: I'm not so sure about that, Chris, because predisposition is not necessarily a defense to the crime, right? So, if you take a gift to support legislation that you probably would have supported anyway, that's still bribery. You took a gift in return for your official act.

So, I don't - I'm not so sure that the Congressman's statement today, highlighting the fact that he's supported medical marijuana, for years, and years, I'm not so sure that that gets him off the hook.

CUOMO: I hear you. I just wanted to do it a little bit more Socratically because I'm starting to, you know, we don't know enough yet, OK?

There's a lot of stink. I think this is bad for Gaetz politically. He's lucky he's in the party that he's in. If he were in the other party, he would have been dead man walking, a long time ago.


But I haven't heard anything yet--


CUOMO: --that blows me out of the water for a federal case.

Andrew McCabe, I know that nobody's going to process the information better than you. Thank you for joining me on a Friday night.

Now, I got to remind you. Matt Gaetz had a statement on this that goes to what we were talking about.

He "is a long-time policy expert on the subject and passed legislation on the matter as far back as 2013. To suggest he needed anyone else nudging him along is risible," which means laughable. That came from a spokesperson for Matt Gaetz.

All right, a treat for you, on a Friday night. "Everything is so dour, oh, everything, vaccines, nobody wants it, nobody wants it." I want you to meet somebody, who's so happy vaccines exist. Look.


BONNIE PITMAN, REUNITED WITH GRANDDAUGHTER & SON: Oh, my God! Ah! What are you doing? Ah! Ah! I can't believe this!


CUOMO: This is what we want in our lives, a reunion that you need to see, and need to feel. Look at this La Familia! Next.









CUOMO: The CDC and FDA, just tonight, lifted the pause on Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine. Following a week and a half review, the vaccine advisors agreed that the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Of the nearly 8 million shots administered, just 15 cases of rare blood clots had been linked to the Vaccine. The FDA, however, is adding a warning label. And shots could be in arms, as early as this weekend.

Not a moment too soon, because we've shown you how these vaccines can offer some of the most heart-warming reunions, bringing us back to life, to the people we live for, including a Reporter, you can finally like, New York Times Reporter, David Gelles.

His mother hadn't seen his kids in over a year, he decided to surprise her. He flew down from New York, to Dallas, with his 7-year-old daughter, just in time for her 75th birthday. That's a son!


PITMAN: What are you? Oh, Franny! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Ah! What are you doing? Ah! Ah! I can't believe this!


PITMAN: I can't believe it! I can't believe it! My God! I can't believe it, Franny. Oh! Oh!


PITMAN: Oh, my God! I had no idea you were coming. When did you decide to do it? When did you decide, Franny?


CUOMO: Come on!

David Gelles is here along with his daughter, Franny, and his mother, Bonnie Pitman.

Boy, I'll tell you, Bonnie, you cannot trust the media. You cannot trust the media. They sneak into your house. They pop you on camera. They make you vulnerable, and for what?

What a beautiful moment! Thank you, each and all, for joining us. What did that mean to you, Bonnie?

PITMAN: Oh, my heart exploded. I have never been so surprised in my whole life.

David and I have a very close relationship. And usually, I can detect things. And usually, I talk to them every day. And Franny called the day before, but she wouldn't talk to me, so I couldn't figure out what was going on.

And then, you look up, from your desk, and there's your son, and one of my beautiful grandchildren. I first, as you could see, I mean, it was raw.

CUOMO: It was beautiful! It was beautiful!

PITMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Franny, are you OK talking to me?


CUOMO: How happy did it make you to see grandma so happy?

F. GELLES: It made me like is super-duper-duper happy.

CUOMO: How did you keep the secret? I like that you - so you wouldn't talk to Grandma, when she called, because you were keeping a secret, right?

F. GELLES: Yes, so basically, I just didn't call. And I was pretty also - it was also tricky, because I couldn't share it with many of my friends either.

CUOMO: Well you already taken a big risk because dad knew. Lucky it didn't wind up in The Times!

I got to tell you, Gelles, you're given us, in the media, a bad name, being all good to your family, like this, and showing we have hearts.

What did this mean to you, brother, to be able to, really live the dream, right now, is to get the protection you need, so you protect your mom, get family back together, and start living our memories again?

D. GELLES: This is what we've been waiting for, for a year.

My mom got her shots a couple months ago. I got mine recently. And so, the window was finally open. And my mom's been really sick this year. She spent a lot of the year in the hospital. And so, there's no way she's going to be on a plane to see us anytime soon.

And so, just really, within a few days, we just decided life is precious. We got to seize the day. And Franny and I got on a plane to be here.

CUOMO: Beautiful!

Bonnie, what do you want people to know, who are saying "You know what? I don't think I'm going to get the vaccine. I don't know that I trust it, or I don't know that it's worth it. I think a lot of this is hype." What do you say to them?

PITMAN: I say to them "Get the vaccine." Our family is together because of the vaccine. And this summer, I'll get to see my beautiful daughter-in-law, Allie (ph), and my other grandson, Clark (ph), when we all reunite. The vaccine is what's making this possible.

And I can't say it enough. I'm 75. I have a lot of chronic conditions. This made a difference in my life. And to have Allie (ph) and David get it made it possible for us to finally connect, after almost a year and three months.


So, it's been awful, the separation, it's just deafening. Even though we talk every day, on the phone, the fact that you can't physically hold somebody, to kiss them, is you know, was what was so meaningful in that moment. And that's why I cried, and Franny cried, and David even cried.

F. GELLES: I did not cry.

CUOMO: You didn't cry?


CUOMO: Franny, how old are you?


CUOMO: 7? Boy, you're smart for 7?


CUOMO: What's your favorite cookie?

F. GELLES: Chocolate chip.

CUOMO: Any particular brand, or any chocolate chip cookie?

F. GELLES: Chocolate chip cookie, any type, Chocolate chip cookie.

CUOMO: Any type? I'm sending you a bunch of chocolate chip cookies, because you made my night, and you made so many families, who are so hungry, for what you guys are now, enjoying with one another. Family!

And I'm going to send you cookies. And if you don't get them, it's because your dad took them.

David Gelles, thank you very much for letting us be part of your family. And I am so happy for you. And I'm glad that you're going to get to expand the circle, this weekend. God bless and enjoy.

And Bonnie, you look great. I wish you continued good health.

PITMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: And Franny, thank you for talking to me, and thank you for letting us see how special a moment you made for Grandma. Take care!

Thank you everybody for watching. Head into your weekend. Be the best you can. Stay tuned to CNN Town Hall, "The Climate Crisis," next.