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Mark Richards: Kyle Rittenhouse Wasn't A Militia Member; Waukesha Parade Suspect Identified; Gov. Newsom Promises "Exponential" Spending To Fight Increase In Organized Retail Theft. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 21:00   ET




GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And here, they are showing off their holiday moves, at a Christmas parade, two years ago.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Grannies are anywhere, from their 50s, to their mid-70s, according to the website. The only requirement, for membership, is to be a granny.

And they say, among them, they have approximately 100 grandchildren, and even some great grandchildren.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): They practice together once a week. And while they love the camaraderie, they say the smiles they see, while performing, is the reason why they do what they do.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies say those who died were extremely passionate, whose eyes gleamed with the joy of being a granny.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It's such a loss.

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thanks, John.

And I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Tonight, we have a big guest, to take apart this post-acquittal interview with Kyle Rittenhouse that just aired on the network, with news in its name, but it hasn't been acting like a news organization.

Even tonight, now, Kyle Rittenhouse, who wants to tell his story, who wants to be understood, for his own words, and his own deeds, not what the media likes, not what the Left likes, not what the Right likes, sat across from a man, who is known, for coloring perception, and creating animus, in society, the same animus that's feeding on Kyle Rittenhouse. And that complicates things.

And for a 17-year-old, who says they went somewhere to protect a community that their father worked in, that they felt a connection to, he's become everything that is ugly about the battle between White and Black, and right and wrong, and justice and injustice in this country.

Now, he was acquitted in this case. And people were upset because they said "Well, what about the lesser charges?" You really have to understand this, OK?

Once you decide the question, as a jury, of whether or not Kyle Rittenhouse reasonably used deadly force, to defend himself, once you answer that question, "Yes, he did," the charges are irrelevant. They are irrelevant because he is justified, under the law, in whatever the charges were.

You see what I'm saying? The jury didn't skip it. They obviously looked at the charges, right? They came out. They asked the question. They wanted to watch the video. But you have to understand that part, legally. Has nothing to do with politics. Has nothing to do with the jury. Nothing.

Once they decided he was justified, in using deadly force, to defend himself, it was reasonable, because of this or that, or whatever they feel, the charges go away. He's justified. It's important point.

Now, we have his lawyer here, tonight. And his lawyer, Mark Richards, had concerns about the prosecution. Kyle Rittenhouse talked about that a lot tonight.

Now, appreciate you being with us, again tonight.

Mark, first, what I want to know is, as his counsel, how did you feel about what your client said, and the context of which it came out tonight?

MARK RICHARDS, ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: Well, I watched a little bit of it. I think it was - it was his feelings, the way he felt treated, by the system, maybe his two first lawyers, and those types of things.

I think he - I think he acquitted himself well. I think he is well- spoken, for an 18-year-old. He knows what this is about.

CUOMO: And, in terms of what this is about, are you comfortable with the prosecution against him, being couched by his interviewer, and by proxy, by Kyle, because he's sitting there, across from the guy, that, this was about politics? This was about the media wanting to get him? This was about a mob mentality?

Do you really believe that his arrest and the prosecution was exclusively a function of politics? RICHARDS: Nothing is exclusively a function of politics. But there was definitely - I think politics played a huge factor, in the rush to judgment, in this case, and not doing a thorough investigation, before first-degree murder charges were put on paper.

I mean, he was arrested less than six and a half hours after this happened, on murder charges. They hadn't even found all the evidence. They hadn't done the interviews. And they never - once they got all the evidence, they never went back and looked at it. They just went forward.

And I think it's pretty clear, when the boss of that office, was just a ghost, throughout this trial, and all these proceedings, you never saw him. He didn't want his hands anywhere near this, because I think in the long run, he knew it was going to blow up.

CUOMO: Now, there was a lot said tonight about the first legal team.


And just to make sure, anybody who's listening to the interview tonight, or reads about it, Kyle Rittenhouse was not talking about the guy on the show right now, OK? He's talking about his original legal team, specifically a man named Lin Wood.

Now, what I thought was a little confusing tonight, Mark, and I want your take on this, is that why is Lin Wood a bad guy? He's a bad guy, because of how he handled this case, and because he is certainly one, who co-opted Kyle Rittenhouse, for political ambitions, no?

RICHARDS: Yes. And I've been threatened with a lawsuit, for what I said, on your show, on Friday night. I stand by what I said. It's my opinion. They were using Kyle to raise money, John Pierce and Lin Wood.

John Pierce, and I'll say this, because it's the truth, and we have the bills to back it up, was billing this kid at 1,200 bucks an hour, for going out and buying a shirt for him, for taking his family to breakfast or lunch. It's ridiculous.

And there might be some attorney, somewhere on the earth that's worth $1200, an hour. It's not John Pierce.

CUOMO: Now, look, one of the things that didn't come out tonight in this, it didn't come out for bad reason, has nothing to do with your client, has nothing to do with you, but it does have to do with the situation, and the venue.

Lin Wood is a suspicious character, because he has been peddling the same kind of Trumpy rigged elections stuff, as the guy who interviewed your client tonight. And does that concern you at all, about what it attaches an 18-year-old to?

RICHARDS: Well, I mean, Kyle had the common sense and good judgment to get away from Lin Wood. And I give him credit for that.

Lin said, and it's what he said to me, when he threatened to sue me, "I wasn't his criminal attorney."

If he wasn't his criminal attorney, he shouldn't have been inserting himself, in the decisions that were being made in his criminal case. And that means having him interviewed by "The Washington Post."

He denies that. But other attorneys, in the case, all know that it's true. And I'm not going to mention their names because it's just going to cause problems for them. I'm big enough. I'll take it.

But I spoke to Lin Wood's attorney, Lawson Pedigo, today. There won't be a retraction for what I said, because it's the truth. And I don't know what Lin's game is. He's got enough problems, than to start one with me, I guess. But who knows.

CUOMO: Let's give some context, to why you feel as strongly as you do. Here's what your client had to say about his former attorney.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, ACQUITTED OF KENOSHA SHOOTING: 87 days, of not being with my family, for defending myself, and being taken advantage to, being used for a cause, by these - by John Pierce and Lin Wood, trying to solicit - not solicit, trying to raise money, so they can take it for their own benefit, not trying to set me free.


CUOMO: Do you agree with that?

RICHARDS: Well I agree with the premise of it, and what he's saying.

I mean, I - the only thing I - I have a bit of a slide with, on Kyle, in that is, they still did raise the $2 million, to get him out. And that was a huge positive. It made my life, and meeting with Kyle, preparing for trial, incredibly, easier, I should say, than anything else.

When you have to go, and meet with a client, in the jail, you're being monitored. You're worried about people listening in on your conversations. I was able to meet with Kyle, in my office, in my conference room, alone.

If Kyle had been in custody, not been able to make that bond, we wouldn't have been able to do the mock trials, test out our theories. It could have been a different result. So, we're thankful that they got him out.

They did have the money to get him out much earlier. And I don't think they worked to do it, until there was some squawking by Wendy, Kyle's mother.

CUOMO: Do you believe that it is fair, to paint Kyle Rittenhouse, by way of his mom, or by himself, or the people around him, as being about what Lin Wood is politically, what Tucker Carlson is politically? That's why he had Fox following his defense? He's one of their people? RICHARDS: I don't think it is. I mean, Kyle has been through a lot. And he's, I think, feeling his way along in the world.

I've talked to him about politics. I've talked to him about things that happen in one's life. And I don't think he's a crazy right- winger. That's what I would say.


CUOMO: But you believe that those people did latch on to him, and see him as the face of something. What do you think they wanted your client to be?

RICHARDS: Well, I mean, they wanted to portray him as a militia member, who was fighting, and protecting the world, from an inept government.

And Kyle wasn't a militia member. He was, at the time, by law, a child. He was 17-years-old, young adult. And he went there to help somebody, who he felt had been harmed.

He wasn't there to send some message or be some member of some organized or unorganized militia. He was trying to help out a friend's past employer, whose business had burned down, the night before, and had two businesses left.

CUOMO: In your investigation, did you find that he had any affinity to, or affiliation with the Proud Boys, or any similar group of white- sympathizers?

RICHARDS: No. And that was one of the big things the State wanted to do. They went through all of his social media. We voluntarily opened his Apple iPhone, which was encrypted, to show that there was nothing there. And that was brought out at trial.

John Pierce took him, to that bar, where there were the people, who, I think, were Three Percenters, and were supposedly providing security.

That's a whole another story with what Pierce did, in taking him down to Miami, and introducing him to Enrique Tarrio. As soon as Kyle found out who that was, he called his mother, and he got out of Florida. And shortly after that, John Pierce was fired.

So, this kid has better judgment than many people have portrayed. He did not want to be involved in the things that Pierce wanted him involved in. I think Pierce used him, as an entree to some of these circles. And you see it in the people, who John Pierce is currently representing.

CUOMO: And you said, the last time we spoke, that if Kyle could do it over again, he wouldn't even have been there that night.

RICHARDS: Correct.

CUOMO: Why? RICHARDS: Because look at what happened to him. He went there, thinking he was going to do good, by somebody, help them out. I don't think he thought that anything like this could ever happen.

He now knows that something like this could. He almost lost his life. And if he didn't lose his life, he almost lost his freedom.

And, I talked to Kyle today. And he's processing it all. But he reiterated today, "I would never do that again." And, you know?

CUOMO: What do you--

RICHARDS: I didn't mean to cut you off. Go ahead.

CUOMO: No, no, go ahead. No, I'm here to hear you. Go ahead.

RICHARDS: Well, and - and I get all these emails, from people, who want to give him another AR-15. And that's not something we're interested in. He wants to go on with his life. He wants to be relatively quiet, and go to college, and get a degree, and be a productive member of society, quietly.

CUOMO: What do you think of those efforts, and those moves, by satellites, in this situation, saying, "Hey, let's have a Kyle sale, until Thanksgiving, a sale on guns, because we're celebrating," or the politicians, who have said, "Oh, I want to give him an internship," without knowing anything about the kid, just knowing that he was acquitted.

What kind of messages do you think that sends? Do you think that's something that Kyle endorses?

RICHARDS: I don't think it's something he endorses. I think it sends a message that certain people are morons.

They know that if they say the word "Rittenhouse," in a provocative manner, people are going to cover it, and they're going to get publicity for it. And maybe amongst some of their constituents, some people referred to, as the base, it's going to advance their cause. It's profit, again, in tragedy.

CUOMO: Are you worried about civil litigation now, different standard?

RICHARDS: Not really.

CUOMO: You don't need unanimous, obviously, a unanimous decision, from the jury. You worried about that?

RICHARDS: Not really. The facts are the same. And who are the aggressors? The one lawsuit that's currently going on, Kyle is not even a named defendant.

And any lawyer, who wants to be successful, knows that a third of zero is zero. And I just think the lawsuit against Kenosha County, and the City of Kenosha, and the law enforcement, I think it's laughable.


The complaint filed against Kyle, on behalf of Mr. Grosskreutz, doesn't mention the fact that he was armed with a firearm, when he went at Kyle. And it's based upon one statement, somebody from an AMRAP (ph) saying "We appreciate you guys."

I don't think that is enough to show that Kyle was acting, under color of law, or anything along those lines.

CUOMO: Mark Richards, you said a lot of people were commenting on what you said. And they don't like this. And they don't like that.

Just to balance it out, we had an avalanche, of people saying that you were shocking, in terms of your candor, your straightness, and being very even, in terms of what you see, and what you don't see, in this situation, and why. So, on balance, in this day and age, I think you came out of this pretty good, so far.

And I appreciate you doing this interview, and being straight with us, once again. It's an important night.

RICHARDS: Appreciate the time. I hope eventually we can fade into the dark.

CUOMO: Mark Richards, have a very good Thanksgiving.

RICHARDS: Thank you, you too.

CUOMO: All right.


CUOMO: Now, to the newest Wisconsin horror. Doesn't have anything to do with Kyle Rittenhouse. It doesn't really have to do with any of the things that we're struggling with, except one, crime, and how it's treated, or not treated.

The Christmas parade attack, in Waukesha, "He's a terrorist," he's not a terrorist. He's someone, who shouldn't have been, on the outside, and free. That's why five people are dead. That's why nearly 50 others are injured.

The driver was out of jail on a bail that was a joke, for a guy like him, with what he's accused of, and what he's done in the past. And you know who believes that? The authorities, now.

The system failed. And he is just an example of it. He's not the worst. This happens all the time. Is this proof of an overcorrection in our system?

Let's discuss with somebody, who will take the other side. Van Jones, next.








CUOMO: So, Kyle Rittenhouse is trying to get people to understand, who he is, and who he is not. He goes on TV tonight, with a guy, who says, "If Kyle Rittenhouse can save his own life, you can too." What kind of message does that send?

Well we know what it sends. That's why people are trying to have Kyle Rittenhouse gun sales. And you see that the Anti-Defamation League says it's noticed a surge in right-wing calls, to arms online, especially after the verdict. See, that's what Rittenhouse has gotten looped into.

He says, his lawyer says, "It's unfair. It's not who I am." And the response to that, on the Left, has been, "Well this is something that we have to put down. We have to put down Rittenhouse as one of these people."

And that even went all the way to a campaign ad, for President Joe Biden, who used a picture of Kyle Rittenhouse, as a white supremacist. He's not that either.

Here's his take on that.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: What did you make of the President of the United States calling you a white supremacist?

RITTENHOUSE: Mr. President, if I could say one thing to you, I would urge you to go back, and watch the trial, and understand the facts, before you make a statement.

It's actual malice, defaming my character, for him to say something like that.


CUOMO: Now look, I know what you're thinking. He's sitting across, from a guy, who gives shelter to ugly ideas of white, whatever you want to call it, on a regular basis. This guy is not Tucker Carlson. I know he was there. I know they gave access. Those are bad choices.

But I think that there's a lot of bad going on here. And let's discuss now with Van Jones.

In terms of what Kyle Rittenhouse, and this verdict means, and what it doesn't mean, what's your take?


I think the reason that you have a lot of shock, and anger, and frustration, from the Black community, and from progressives, is there's never been an African American kid, you think, of 400 years, of provocations and bad stuff that's happened, and threats against us, there's never been an African American kid that walked around with an AR-15, and shot three people, and got hailed as a hero ever. And it will never happen.

And so, there's just, from the very beginning, a sense that there are two - there's a two-tiered system here, where we don't have the right to self-defense, in the same way. I don't have a Second Amendment right, in the same way.

If Van Jones walked down the street, with an AR-15, you know what you'd say about me? "It sure was nice knowing Van Jones," because I'm not going to have a chance to explain myself. And so, you're just dealing with the pain of people.

Listen, he got a fair trial. Nobody's arguing anything negative, about the jury. Biden himself said, "Respect the verdict." People will respect the verdict.

But there's still pain here about the sense of difference. We don't have the right to self-defense and Second Amendment in the same way that others do. And you do have this vigilante edge that is grabbing onto this.

And this vigilante edge seem to think that a certain group of people, almost always White men, can enforce the law themselves, go get guns themselves, and impose the law, whenever they want to. And that is a negative.

CUOMO: I mean, look?

JONES: That's a negative.

CUOMO: Certainly, Tucker Carlson is playing at that, when he says "If Rittenhouse can save his own life, you can too." I mean, that couldn't be less of the right takeaway from this case.

By the way, that Wisconsin law sucks. And as part of this move towards stand-your-ground, that removes the duty to retreat.

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: And that you can only use deadly force after you've exhausted all other means.

Now, in deference to the outcome in this case, and why I believe it was the right decision, in terms of the correct decision, under the law, for the jury, this guy, Rittenhouse did retreat. He ran away, more than once, which gave him a veil of protection, with this jury, obviously.


Now, law and order matters. I think the message here should be everybody should get a trial like this, a judge that polices the prosecution, a jury that's open, and doesn't buy into the agenda, circling around a case, and a verdict that made sense, under the law. And it's a bad law. And the law should be changed.

That's not what happened in this other case, this Waukesha, Wisconsin case. The guy plows through a Christmas parade, in an SUV, kills five people, injures dozens of others.

The suspect had a terribly long criminal history. He'd been released from jail, less than two weeks ago, in a domestic abuse case, on a $1,000 bail that prosecutors now say, was inappropriately low.

This guy should not have been on the outside, yes or no?

JONES: Agree a 100 percent. And I mean, and that's part of the challenge here, with bail reform, and with all reform, is that - first of all, it's a heartbreaking, horrific situation.

And my heart goes out to everybody, who's affected. It's not just people that got killed, to your point. He got almost 50 people injured, and we don't know how they're going to make it. So this guy should not have been out on bail.

But here's what's going to happen. You're going to see people try and politicize it, make it be about quote, unquote, "Bail reform," which is a complete non-issue.

Bail reform has nothing to do with criminal justice. A Harvey Weinstein could spend a million dollars, and did, and go free. And somebody else with no money in their pocket has to sit in jail, for two years, waiting a trial, to see if they've been convicted. So it's a false issue.

This guy shouldn't have been able to get out with $1,000, or with a million dollars, because look at his behavior. So, I think what you've got to make sure, that happens here, this is a situation, where the system failed.

But do not use this as an excuse to say that literally tens of thousands of other people, who have done nothing wrong, except get arrested, who've not been convicted, should have to sit in jail, for years, because they don't have enough money, to come out.

Most of the times what happens, the person, I mean, the vast majority of the time, the person is released on bail. They harm no one. And they come back. And often, their charges are dismissed. That's the vast majority.

You can't legislate around the exception to the exception, as this case is. As painful as it is, it's the exception to the exception. It is not the rule. CUOMO: Well, we're going to take it on, on what's happening in San Francisco. There's no question that bail can be unfair. But you got to make sure that the remedy makes things better.

Van Jones, I know that's where your interests lie. And I appreciate you--

JONES: Yes, right.

CUOMO: --for being here, to talk to us about it.

JONES: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, now, another trial.

Why do we have so many trials going on? Well, because we have opportunities to see metaphors for where we are as a society. And it's unusual to see them bunched up like this. I'll give you that. But we're not hunting for them. We're not searching for that. They're just there.

This Ahmaud Arbery trial is another one. Closing arguments are almost over. The prosecution always gets a chance to having rebuttal. They don't have to take it, obviously. And that's what will happen tomorrow.

You had the prosecution go. The defense went. But now, they have a chance to do the rebuttal, to do that tomorrow, and then deliberations start.

It should be a slam-dunk case for the prosecution. They've got the video. They've got the law. And they've got the facts.

The defendant, who killed Arbery, admitted that Arbery didn't threaten him, in any way, before he trapped and shot him. He admitted he could have gotten back, in his car, and left, and chose not to.

The jury now has to make a decision after the rebuttal. Will they buy the defense arguments, for the three on trial? We'll take you through what those arguments are, and what gives these defendants, any chance, let alone the best chance, next.









CUOMO: Closing arguments are nearly over, in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial.

Today, the prosecution went further than it has before, on the race issue, saying the quiet part out loud, about what may have motivated, the three White men, in their pursuit of Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, out on a jog.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, PROSECUTOR: All three of these defendants made assumptions, made assumptions, about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery, in their driveways, because he was a Black man running down the street.


CUOMO: The defense countered by putting the blame on Arbery, casting him as the boogeyman.


LAURA HOGUE, DEFENSE LAWYER: He was a recurring nighttime intruder. And that is frightening and unsettling.

Turning Ahmaud Arbery, into a victim, after the choices that he made, does not reflect the reality, of what brought Ahmaud Arbery, to Satilla Shores, in his khaki shorts, with no socks, to cover his long, dirty toenails.


CUOMO: What was that about, with the toenails?

Let's bring in Marilyn Mosby, and Mark O'Mara, right now.

Mark, do you believe that the defense has a chance, of getting, any of the defendants, off on some, if not all, of these charges?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I do, for a couple of reasons. Geography matters in a case like this. This case is being tried in Brunswick, Georgia. There is a skew, in favor of the defense, as far as the racial makeup of the panel.

And more importantly, you've got "Roddie" Bryan, who I thought, to give credit, where it's due, with his attorney, did a pretty good job, of showing him to be sort of a dolt, who really didn't do all that much wrong.

So, that's going to be a difficult for the State. I even suggested I wasn't sure why the State didn't keep "Roddie" out of this trial.

But - and dad McMichael is well you got to look at him, and say "Yes, he was certainly part of the chase team," right, and that brings him into that principle theory we have.

But we said it, way in the beginning, we first talked about this case, Chris, Travis was going to say that when Ahmaud Arbery, took that left-hand turn, maybe responding to words, we'll never hear, we've never heard that the - that put the gun in play, and made it necessary, for him to defend himself.

I don't think - if it was a panel of law professors, they would all be convicted. But that's not what we're talking about.

CUOMO: You say skew. It's 11 White guys and one non-White person. That's pretty good skew.


Now, Marilyn, look, "Roddie" is the kind of guy that should have been turned by the State, frankly. And he should be a witness, in this trial. What do you think the expected outcome is?

MARILYN MOSBY, MARYLAND STATE'S ATTORNEY, BALTIMORE CITY: So, I mean I have to be really candid with you, Chris.

I think the prosecution has the advantage of rebutting each and every one of the defendants' arguments. And it will be fresh in the minds of the jury, as they begin to deliberate.

But if I'm the prosecution, I wouldn't - I would continue to not be afraid to talk about the elephant in the room, which is race.

The prosecutor has to be unafraid, to challenge the notion that Ahmaud Arbery, who committed no crime, other than running down the street, while Black, was only perceived, as a criminal, because he was Black, and because three White men were actually threatened by his mere existence, which I would argue does not reasonably justify the imposition of his death.

The prosecution should call out Greg McMichael's attorney, who, in her closing argument, attempted to vilify, and criminalize the victim, in the eyes of the jury.

I would call out the attention of the jury, the attorney's attempt, to appeal, to the ideals, and the values, and the life experiences, of at least 11 White jurors, through her coded language that would lend sympathy to her client.

She purposely talked about the need for safety, and security, and comfort, for the people, "We" care about, in good neighborhoods, where we help police. "We?" I would question, who, is she talking about, when she says "We?"

She goes on to describe how children, and dogs, and communities, based on the United States Constitution, deserve to never have to fear intruders, and rather intentionally proceeds, to call Ahmaud Arbery--

CUOMO: Right.

MOSBY: --a recurring nighttime intruder.

CUOMO: Right.

MOSBY: And had no legit reason, or business, to be on the vacant property.

She then explicitly says that Ahmaud Arbery was not an innocent victim, and calls into question why he was there in the first place, with khaki shorts, and socks, to cover his long and dirty toenails.

I can't even begin, Chris, to tell you how offensive, and disrespectful, her recitation, and characterization, of the victim, is to me.

And while the defense attorney has attempted to appeal to the ideals of the jury, it's a risky strategy, to villainize Ahmaud Arbery, in the way that she did, because there may be one or more people, on that jury that will rightfully take offense, to her explicit villainization, and criminalization of the victim.

CUOMO: Mark, the idea of referencing "Dirty toenails," is that anything other than just a dirty tactic?

O'MARA: No pun intended. That was a dog whistle to those 11, what she perceives to be, friendly White jurors--

MOSBY: Right.

O'MARA: --to again, as was just said, by Ms. Mosby, to vilify Ahmaud, to call him, without saying the words that we can never say on TV, or in a courtroom, that was what she was trying to get across to this jury. And I'm hoping that they take umbrage with it.

Again, I'm concerned that she may be talking to members of the community that she knows better than I do.

CUOMO: I got to tell you, the interesting thing that they should have learned in that trial, is a lot of people went in and out of that build site, just like they did at my build site. And they go to build sites all the time, just like I've walked into them. He didn't take anything. They didn't see him do anything.

And it's so interesting, in a case, we just came out of the Rittenhouse trial, where the message should be everybody should get a trial like that, a judge that's really scrupulous, and goes after the prosecutor, and gives everybody a hard time, and a jury that can see past the noise. We'll see, if that's possible, when we get this verdict, in this one.

Mosby, O'Mara, thank you both. Appreciate you.

O'MARA: Thank you.

CUOMO: If I don't speak to you again, I'm thankful for you both. Have a great Thanksgiving.

O'MARA: Wish you the same. Have a great Thanksgiving.

CUOMO: All right, God bless.

Now, crime, the crime, what happened, in Waukesha, with that guy, driving through, it's not about terror. It's not about terror. And it's not about "Hey, it's a Brown guy, now. Go after him, the way you did against Rittenhouse." That's got to stop, OK?

There's a good conversation to have here, which is, are we protecting communities or not, with the changes that we're making? Because this guy should have never been out on the street.

And there's a crime wave that we have to look at, sweeping San Francisco, other cities too, but San Francisco, more so. Organized retail crime, mobs, swarming into high-end stores, coordinated robberies, also pharmacies, Walgreens.

It's a growing trend, why? It's not being policed. Why? Next.









CUOMO: Look at this. I want you to see a campaign ad in the making.

This is what happens, when word gets out that you can rob, and steal, and nothing's going to happen.

Wave after wave of people pouring out of a Nordstrom, cops say 80 looters made off with luggage and bags. Went down, Saturday, in Walnut Creek, a city about a half hour, outside San Francisco. So far, only three face any charges.

Not an isolated case. Why? Well, in San Francisco, they've seen video, after video, of brazen shoplifting, scenes of thieves, walking right out the front door, arms loaded up, with stolen goods.

Chicago, last week, it was a Louis Vuitton store, hit to the tune of 120 grand, in stolen merchandise.


JASON BREWER, RETAIL INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP ORGANIZATION: It's not something that is limited to San Francisco. It's happening all over the country. San Francisco is a - is a focal point now.


CUOMO: The numbers are higher in San Francisco. And we'll talk about that in the next segment. But it's being felt by people, who would probably, never step foot, in a Nordstrom or a Louis Vuitton.

Walgreens says the cost of, quote, "Organized retail crime," is why they are closing stores, in San Francisco.

Closing pharmacies, like Walgreens, CVS, you know who that hits? It hits poor the hardest. But you see those mobs, coming in and out? They're from those communities also, or at least that's what we're told.

Now, Walgreens is closing stores, all over the country, for all sorts of reasons, OK? But the key word here is "Organized." You don't get 80 people to hit a store on one night without someone putting together a plan, right?


We've also seen where all that stolen stuff ends up. Warehouses, like this one, after the people who busted in, sell it to other people, working for bigger groups.


BREWER: We've allowed criminal networks, to create a business model, selling stolen goods online. And that is what's put this problem on steroids.


CUOMO: Well, OK, if you want to play with the steroids line? Fine. But what is the syringe? The syringe is a change in law enforcement that you don't go after these people, the same way.

Why? A lot of reasons, good and bad. The organization is fueling the idea of it, San Francisco's 9.1 percent jump in property crime from last year. That's part of the problem.

They also don't prosecute it the same way. Why? Well, the good reason is to go after higher-value crimes, rapes, murders, so the docket's not as full, with these petty larcenies. But this is the flip side of an overcorrection.

Store owners say they keep seeing the same people over and over.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of these people are chronic offenders. The police know who they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: City has become a poster child, for more lenient policing. The voters said that's what they wanted. Really? Yes, 2014, the voters, not the Legislature, changed the law there. A prosecutor can't bring felony charges, unless you steal at least $950 worth of stuff.

In San Francisco, they elected a D.A., who campaigned on no longer prosecuting lower-level offenses, for the reasons I gave you. That's a campaign promise kept. Prosecutions for theft and petty theft are down compared to the predecessor.

We'll see if voters still want that. The district attorney is facing a recall next year, one, pushed by members of his own party.

That D.A. is here, and he says it's unfair. Let's get after it, next.









CUOMO: Can't have people running in and out of the stores, stealing stuff in bulk. It's a campaign commercial, to get you kicked out of office.

That's why the Governor of California is promising what he called "Exponential" spending, to fight the kind of organized shoplifting that we're seeing, in places, like San Francisco.

Now, the District Attorney, in San Francisco, has gotten caught up, in the political rancor, over this. His name is Chesa Boudin. And we welcome him now.

It's good to have you on PRIME TIME.

CHESA BOUDIN, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FACING RECALL ELECTION IN 2022: Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks for having me on.

CUOMO: So they're coming after you for this. There's a recall. And there're even Democrats, members of your own party, who say it's the right move here.

What do you say, to your critics about the crime?

BOUDIN: Let me be clear. I am doing everything, in my power, to keep San Francisco safe, and to make sure that people, who come to our city, to commit crimes, are held accountable.

This isn't a one-person job. And it's not a problem that's limited to San Francisco. As you pointed out, a few moments ago, we're seeing these kinds of brazen robberies, and burglaries, all across the country, without regard to who's in elected office.

What we need to do is make sure that every agency plays its role. The police has the job of arresting and investigating these crimes. And when they do that, and when they bring me, and my office, arrests, we file charges, and we prosecute. And then, it's up to the judges to impose the appropriate sentence.

Everyone has a job to do. And I'm focused with my investigative resources, on detecting, disrupting, and dismantling, the organized crime networks that make fencing these stolen goods, so profitable.

CUOMO: But don't the policies here matter also? Aren't you prosecuting fewer larcenies, and petty thefts, than happened with the D.A. before you?

BOUDIN: That's simply not true, Chris. It's only true if you cherry- pick statistics, from 2020, during the pandemic.

And look, we know all of us are living through historically- challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed everything, about how we live our lives, how we investigate and prosecute crime, and even changed the kinds of crimes that are occurring in San Francisco, and across the country.

We launched a retail theft taskforce, specifically, to focus on more effective, and more efficient, ways, to intervene, in disrupting organized retail theft.

The fact is, if you look at my charging rates, in 2021, after the pandemic settled down, we're charging rates at a higher number than current district attorneys, in other counties, around the Bay Area, and at higher rates, than my predecessor, in 2018, or 2019.

CUOMO: Well--

BOUDIN: So, we're doing everything we can. And we need police to continue to make arrests and to bring us higher-quality investigations.

Take the incident, in Union Square, a couple days ago. We know that more than 30 individuals were involved. And the reality is only eight of them had been arrested.

CUOMO: Right.

BOUDIN: I'm planning on announcing criminal charges, felony charges, against all eight, tomorrow. And we're going to work with the police, to ensure they can bring the other individuals responsible, to justice.

CUOMO: But how can it not be a policy argument as well? I mean, property crime is up 9 percent. Walgreens says that the theft rates, in San Francisco, are five times higher, than their national average. Something's going on there, right?

BOUDIN: Absolutely. You're right--

CUOMO: Or is San Francisco just bringing crime?

BOUDIN: Well historical context matters here. San Francisco has led the country, in property crime, for over 10 years. That's not a new problem. And the fact is property crime dropped well over 20 percent, my first year in office. So, overall, 2021 property crime is lower than it was, before I took office.

But regardless of what the statistics show, if people in my city don't feel safe, if they can't go about their business, and live their lives in safety and comfort, then we have work to do.

And I'm going to do whatever it takes, to make sure that everybody, who lives in San Francisco, who works in San Francisco, and everybody who visits this great city, is safe and feel safe, every day that they are here.


CUOMO: There used to be a time, when crime like this was rampant - not in this organized fashion. That's what's new. And the remedy in New York and, eventually, in Los Angeles was called the "Broken windows" policy, where you have to bust the smaller crimes, because it stops people from committing bigger crimes.

Here you have it, in the form of bail reform, where 55 percent of the people, who are out, on bail, of those released, before trial, were accused of a new crime, while free. Can the correction go too far?

BOUDIN: Well, there's no question any policy can go too far. We've got to be open to following the data and the evidence. We've got to learn from mistakes that we make.

And I believe we've made a lot of mistakes, including broken windows theory. That didn't work. The evidence is overwhelming that that criminalized Black and Brown communities.

It drove mass incarceration in ways that bankrupted local governments, starved us of resources, we need, to invest in things like health care, public housing, education, job training, mental health services, drug treatment.

CUOMO: Right.

BOUDIN: Things that actually build safe and vibrant communities.

So, we're committed, in San Francisco, to following the data, and the evidence, and to intervening in ways that target root causes of crime. That's why we're expanding mental health care. That's why we're expanding diversion programs.

And that's why, when police bring us cases, involving felony conduct, we file charges, and we hold people accountable.

CUOMO: Well, Chesa Boudin, we'll be watching. And we wish good things for the people of San Francisco. Good luck.

BOUDIN: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

BOUDIN: Appreciate you. Happy Thanksgiving.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.