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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Kyle Rittenhouse Acquitted On All Charges; Kyle Rittenhouse Acquitted On All Charges; Biden Physician Says President Is "Fit For Duty" After His First Annual Physical In Office; CDC Recommends COvid- 19 Boosters For All Adults; Defense Atty. Likens Rally Supporting Arbery Family To A "Public Lynching" Of Three White Defendants. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 19, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I can't wait to watch this. I hope everybody does. "The Hunt for Planet B." Tomorrow night, Saturday night at nine o'clock right here on CNN.
Thanks so much for joining us. It's time now for Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Tonight, the impact of the not guilty verdict and killings that never should have happened. There is no debate about that, and tried under local and national pressures that amplified every aspect of the case in the dual tragedies at the heart of it.
First the killing of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer, then the violent unrest which followed, that drew then 17- year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to the scene with an AR-15 style rifle, which he ended up using to shoot and kill two men and wound another.
Two tragedies that brought us here made Rittenhouse a right-wing folk hero, social justice villain, and fueled no end of debate over vigilante justice, gun rights, race, and policing. In short, everything jurors were supposed to ignore as they consider the evidence and apply the law and reach their decision.
Here is President Biden's reaction shortly after the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I stand by what the jury has concluded. The jury system works and we have to abide by it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In a moment, our own legal and political team weighs in on the trial and the issues it raises. We'll also hear from a witness for the prosecution who was there that night.
First, CNN's Sara Sidner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kyle Rittenhouse. Now a free man --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not guilty.
SIDNER (voice over): Overcome as the jury acquitted him on all five counts in his homicide trial.
JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Is there anyone who does not agree with the verdicts as read?
SIDNER (voice over): Defense attorney, Mark Richards saying the wait for a verdict had been torture, but his client is relieved.
MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: He wants to get on with his life. He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today. He wishes none of this would have ever happened, but as he said, when he testified he did not start this.
SIDNER (voice over): The prosecutor responding, "While we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected." The family of one of the victims, Anthony Huber, saying, "We are heartbroken and angry."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Hannah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Hannah.
SIDNER (voice over): Huber's girlfriend's spoke outside the court.
HANNAH GITTINGS, GIRLFRIEND OF ANTHONY HUBER: We know that this system is a failure. I think the question most of us are feeling right now is what can we do next.
SIDNER (voice over): The Governor has called for calm as a small crowd and Kenosha continues to react to the news --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That young man is a man among men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty. Guilty.
SIDNER (voice over): A spokesman for the Rittenhouse family echoed the plea for peace.
DAVID HANCOCK, RITTENHOUSE FAMILY SPOKESMAN: The family calls for calm -- calls for calm. I mean, this was not an injustice.
SIDNER (voice over): The unanimous decision did not come swiftly. Weighing a life sentence for 18-year-old Rittenhouse, the jury deliberated for almost four full days before delivering the verdict.
SCHROEDER: All right, members of the jury, it is for you to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of each of the offenses --
SIDNER (voice over): The jury ultimately had to answer one question: Did Rittenhouse kill two men and maim another as a form of vigilante justice or self-defense?
The defense seized on the testimony of Gaige Grosskreutz. Video shows Rittenhouse shot and destroyed Grosskreutz's right bicep in the melee. Still, the survivor gave perhaps the most compelling argument that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.
COREY CHIRAFISI, ATTORNEY: When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired. Right?
GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, ONLY PERSON WHO SURVIVED BEING SHOT BY KYLE RITTENHOUSE: Correct.
CHIRAFISI: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun -- now your hands down pointed at him that he fired, right?
COOPER: Sara, I know you're also learning more about when the jury signed off on certain verdicts.
SIDNER: Yes, it's really interesting. These are the jury verdict sheets that I'm holding up and taking a look at them, what you notice is that the second day of deliberations, they had made a decision of not guilty on a couple of the cases, the killing of Anthony Huber, they had decided was Kyle Rittenhouse was not guilty on and in the case of this unidentified man that was called "jump kick man" in the case that there was a not guilty verdict there.
There was a gun --- Rittenhouse shot off his gun, he missed, but put him in danger. So they were not guilty the second day, and then the third day they had decided that Gaige Grosskreutz, who you heard from there, a not guilty verdict in the shooting of him.
It wasn't until today, the fourth day of deliberations that they really got down to decide, okay, we now think that he is not guilty. Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty for this shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and the endangering of a reporter who was near him at the time, so clearly they took longer to decide whether or not Kyle Rittenhouse was guilty of the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum who was the first person by the way who was killed that night by Kyle Rittenhouse.
The jury deciding that indeed, on all five counts, Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty and is a free man tonight -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. By the way, in the intro, I said, Jacob Blake was killed by police. That's inaccurate, he was shot and partially paralyzed. Joining us now, CNN senior legal analyst, Laura Coates; CNN political
commentator, Van Jones; CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Paul Callan; and CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, are you surprised with the verdict at all given how this case unfolded?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Not really. This was always a tough case for the prosecution. I thought the reckless endangerment case was the strongest one, the least serious count.
The unfortunate message of vindication and making a hero of Kyle Rittenhouse is appalling, but the actual verdict in this courtroom based on this evidence is a defensible one, I think.
COOPER: I mean, you heard Sara Sidner's report, the jury returned a full verdict today. I mean, the whole argument of his -- which seems to be the prosecution argument, which was by his very being there, he was provoking things and therefore, the self-defense doesn't apply. But clearly, the jury said they didn't buy that.
TOOBIN: And there were problems with the prosecution theory. Think of the three people that he shot. Rosenbaum chased him.
COOPER: One of them was attacking him with a skateboard.
TOOBIN: The other one attacked him with a skateboard. The third, the one we saw in Sara's piece, pulled a gun on him. Those are good potential grounds for self-defense. That is not a terrible self- defense case and that's what the jury believed.
COOPER: Laura, how much do you think the defense prevailed versus the prosecution failed here?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the prosecution, because they have the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion has to be noted to have failed. But remember, a lot of the defense witnesses came in, of course, Kyle Rittenhouse was the person who was the most compelling, but as Jeffrey noted, the person who was the sole survivor of this particular altercation, actually, he was a government witness.
But his testimony were to the benefit of the defense because he presented some compelling reason by which someone could reasonably believe that Kyle Rittenhouse thought he was in fear of his life. And remember, this comes down to the jury instructions. I know it was by far for so many the most boring aspects of any trial or a jury trial and certainly, and watching them all unfold. But the jury instructions is what actually I think dictated this particular verdict.
Remember on the self-defense notion, they were instructed they had to view it not to the hindsight of who they are sitting today, objectively, but instead through the someone who has an ordinary intelligence as somebody who was in Kyle Rittenhouse's position judging it that way. And as far as the notion of whether he provoked it, I think it's a
failing argument in a culture like Wisconsin or any other state, where you have a pretty lively gun culture that does not equate itself with being criminal. Just possession alone does not make you a criminal for gun ownership. But the idea here was they had to thread a very thin needle here. The idea of not alienating gun owners, but also saying that his presence alone with the gun was not going to be enough to be a provocation, and I think they had a really steep battle and climb for the prosecution for that reason, and the low threshold for self- defense in Wisconsin.
COOPER: Paul, Rittenhouse's defense attorney said today it wasn't a close call whether or not to put him on the stand. It also was interesting. He said that they basically had mock juries and they tried with one jury, no Rittenhouse on the stand, the other with him on the stand, and they always did better with Rittenhouse on the stand, so it wasn't even a close call.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That doesn't really surprise me, Anderson. You know, you hear a lot about defense attorneys never put their clients on the stand. But in truth, if you have a client who does not have a prior criminal record, and self-defense is the key issue in the case, most often you will put him on a stand because you've got to convince the jury that he acted properly in using deadly physical force.
And this testing with mock juries, very interesting. Usually, defendants obviously don't have the kind of money to help mount that kind of a project. But it's very valuable information for attorneys to see how jurors would react. And of course, these jurors bought self- defense, hook, line and sinker.
They had plenty of opportunities because you had multiple victims to say, well, maybe it was self-defense in one case, but not in the others. But they stood back and looked at this entire fact pattern and said, you know something, each time he encountered somebody, he acted in self-defense.
TOOBIN: And another reason defense lawyers don't put their clients on the stand usually is that they have made false statements. They have lied to various people about what went on. Kyle Rittenhouse didn't really lie to anyone. There were a few small things, but not of any substance and the idea that he went to the police right away was helpful to him.
COOPER: Van, President Biden today said, quote, "The jury system works and we have to abide by it." Do you agree with that? And I'm wondering what your message is to those out there who see this verdict as unjust.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I do respect the jury system and I appreciate what the President had to say. But there's a reason that people are upset, and there is a bigger context here. This idea of white vigilante violence is something that we have to
wrestle with, and it may not be done in one single court case, but we've got a pattern now where white men feel that they have the right to enforce the law themselves.
When you look Ahmaud Arbery. When you look at this case. When you look at Trayvon Martin. When you look at the white mob that attacked the Capitol, that somehow there is a group of people that think that they have the right to take the law into their own hands. They can leave their home with guns, and they can enforce their vision of the law on other people. That is a big problem.
And whatever we could say here talking about the legalities of it. There's a context right now on social media, that people who are celebrating this, many of them are just good folks who believe in gun rights. But there is a dark edge of people celebrating this that sees this as a greenlight for this type of activity.
And I think, we've got to take a good look in the mirror now. Do we want to in total continue to allow and to encourage this activity from only one section of society? You don't see other groups going out with guns imposing their vision of the law on other people, but this group continues, too.
TOOBIN: This is why I always thought the criminal justice system is a lousy way of creating or even explaining social change because the mission of the criminal justice system is so narrow. The only issue in this case was, did Kyle Rittenhouse commit these specific crimes? They didn't address the larger question because it wasn't the jury's job of what was he doing there in the first place?
And should 17-year-olds or anyone be running to situations like this with guns and trying to enforce the law on their own? That is a horrible thing that has led to this tragedy, but that's not what the jury was deciding and that's the paradox of this case.
COOPER: We are going to pick this up after the break. We are going to speak to a trial witness about the video he took and everything he saw that night.
And later, President Biden's first annual physical. What it reveals about some conditions you might have noticed and wondered about, whether it's all about throat clearing or the way he sometimes walks, we'll be joined by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
COOPER: We are talking tonight about the trial that came to a close today, settling the question of Kyle Rittenhouse's guilt or innocence under Wisconsin state law, but only really that question.
Video was at the center of the trial and was used by both prosecution and defense to make their cases. Koerri Washington took the stand about this video he shot of Rittenhouse running past a crowd carrying a fire extinguisher and this video where you can hear the shots that killed Joseph Rosenbaum.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
COOPER: Joining us now is Koerri Washington. So Koerri, I'm wondering what your reaction to the verdict is?
KOERRI WASHINGTON, RITTENHOUSE TRIAL WITNESS: Well, my reaction is, you know, a lot of people including myself, I guess kind of figured it would go this way. You know, there was a sliver of, I suppose, hope or a chance that people thought -- I thought that maybe there would be maybe even a lesser charge convicted. But you know, there -- in the back of my mind, I kind of figured things would go this way.
COOPER: You testified during the trial. I'm wondering what sort of impact you think your testimony and video may have had?
WASHINGTON: Honestly, I'm not too sure what the input of my testimony would have had on the jury there. You know, there are a few key things I was asked about, you know, how I felt being around the defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse at the time, things I noticed about him.
Yes, so --
COOPER: I mean, that was actually -- that was my next question, which is, you know, since so much of this was about was his very presence a bit provocative to people around, what was your impression when you saw him?
WASHINGTON: So my impression when I saw him, like I said on the stand was he seemed like a young nervous person in a situation that he didn't -- he didn't come off as someone that was necessarily attached to anyone there whether it be the larger group of, I guess, you would say, counter protesters or militia type members or people looking to protect their property or the people that were there to protest, or you know --
So to me, he stood out especially what he was wearing, having, you know, the AR-15 with him, but then like I mentioned, the blue gloves and the chain smoking, you know, in a situation that we were in, little things like that definitely stand out, you know, when things are very turbulent.
COOPER: Did he present himself as a medic? I mean, did what -- you know, you saw -- in your video, he has a fire extinguisher at one point, what was your impression of who he was?
WASHINGTON: As far as I knew, I didn't look at him as a medic, I kind of every -- I honestly didn't look at anyone that was there as a medic, personally. Now, after the fact that, you know, there's a video of him saying, you know, asking for medical. So I mean, if that's what he claims he was doing, you know, that's what it is.
But me being there on the ground, I didn't see any of that personally, and it kind of really seemed like people were more focused on stopping people from doing things that they didn't like opposed to trying to help people that were injured.
COOPER: Did -- were you -- when you saw him there, did you -- were you concerned about him? I mean, were you frightened of him? I mean, he's a young man walking around with a weapon.
WASHINGTON: To be fair, a situation like that, you're going to -- you know, you kind of have your -- you have heightened awareness already. You're looking around, any person in that situation could potentially, you know, be someone that is doing something to harm or to help you. You never really know in a situation like that. You know, so much lawlessness kind of going on at the time.
But overall, the grasp that I got from, you know, just the general area and what was going on was that, you know, there wasn't really a need for, you know, people to involve themselves in the situation, because, overall the police seem to have things under control to a certain extent.
Now, of course, there were things that could have been stopped. But you know, at a certain extent, it's up to the police. That's why we pay for the police and that's why they were there on the scene and arrived on the scene as quickly as possible.
COOPER: Koerri Washington, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
Back with me now, our analysts. Paul, for you, how important was the video footage of what happened to Rittenhouse's claims of defense?
CALLAN: Well, the video was critical because I think the jury in the case, you know juries look for heroes and villains when they're looking at a criminal case, and you're going to find in favor of the hero and against the villains.
Well, you know this case, they all look like villains on this terrible night in Kenosha. It was a dark dystopic sort of scene where people were burning things, breaking things and he puts himself in the middle of all of this.
Rosenbaum threatens to kill him, threatens to rip people's hearts out, and then jumps in his direction. He shoots Rosenbaum. He is next encountered by, you know a man with a handgun, who says he's a medic and that's Grosskreutz. Grosskreutz as he was lowering his hand aims the gun at the head of our defendant in this case, somebody else strikes him with a skateboard using it like a baseball bat. And there is even somebody named "jump kick man" who the prosecutor tried to minimize his role by saying he only kicked him in the head.
So where are the heroes and where are the villains? They're all villains. Nobody believed -- he didn't belong in the street that night and these other people who were doing damage, they weren't true protesters. The protesters had been there the two previous nights. This was a night of villainy, really in Kenosha.
And I think the jury when they looked at it, they decided, you know, he really -- his life was in danger and he acted in self-defense. And I think we make a big mistake if we make this into a morality play about white power or vigilantism or anything else.
I mean, the victims here were, as far as I can tell all whites and they were all shot by a white kid, who by the way, had his head patted by the police, and they gave them water essentially saying you're a good kid for coming out here to try to defend Kenosha.
TOOBIN: Oh, but come on, Paul.
CALLAN: So, the police there holds responsibility, too.
TOOBIN: Oh, boy. Do you really think he's a good kid?
CALLAN: I am telling you what the police --
TOOBIN: Do you think the cops were right to say he is a good kid.
CALLAN: I am telling you -- Jeffrey, I am not telling you he is a good kid. He is a bad kid, but the police -- the police handed these kids with guns, water and encouraged them.
CALLAN: So what's a 17-year-old kid going to think? He sees that endorsement.
COOPER: Laura, go ahead.
COATES: Let me say the part that I think was the "Atta boy" that people responded to during the trial was the testimony of Kyle Rittenhouse when he said that he approached the officers, told him, "I just shot someone," and they said eventually, "Go home. Go home. Go home." And he did. That was the part that I think people had a visceral reaction to, even within this particular trial.
But remember, one of the main parts of the justice system obviously is, we prosecute with an eye towards deterring future crimes and here, because there is an acquittal, there is a valuable -- a viable concern at this point that people might look at what this acquittal means to them and project that they are able to now be on the scene of a protest of any unlawful behavior, and then you serve the role of law enforcement in the event they don't think the law is doing enough to actually stop it.
And I think people --
CALLAN: Laura, that would be --
COOPER: Let her finish.
CALLAN: That would be unfortunate. I'm sorry.
COATES: Well, let me --
CALLAN: Go ahead, Laura. COATES: I'm going to finish my point and I think that the people
have to look at this issue and say to themselves, hold on, Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal is not a carte blanche or a blank check for you to now go out with an AR-15 and try to be present at protests or people who have hijacked protest for whatever reason, and try to usurp the role of law enforcement. Every case is different.
This one came down to, to Anderson's question, the idea while the rest of the nation was looking at this and seeing for the first time the perception of chaos, this jury pool was picked from the community of Kenosha, and they also remember what happened not too long ago for them.
They don't have amnesia. They don't have to recall from a long period of time. They may themselves have felt the same level of perception of chaos. They may themselves have even armed themselves in events like this, and remember the warnings of curfew, et cetera.
I say all this not to excuse Kyle Rittenhouse for being there, but because the people of Kenosha in this jury pool, clearly we're not persuaded by the idea of his presence alone, somehow was provocative, given the full context of things.
But I go right back, finally, Anderson, I go right back to the jury instruction that said that if it was real -- it can be reasonable, even if mistaken. If that's the -- if that's the result, then that is the verdict.
COOPER: Van, one of the prosecutors in the case told the jury before deliberations, quote, "So many people look at this case and see what they want to see." Unquote. I think that's certainly true. It's probably true in many cases, certainly the jury took their time and did seem to -- I mean, we don't -- we haven't heard from the jurors themselves.
But you know, it took them a number of days. It wasn't an immediate reaction, it seemed. You know, they seem to have done their job and took this very seriously.
JONES: Look, I don't think anybody is criticizing the jury. Again, President Biden himself called on the country to respect the verdict.
I think the problem is, you can't find anything this kid did that was wrong? He is standing out there with a gun he is not legally allowed to have. There's no gun charge. I know kids who are doing time right now in Los Angeles for gun charges.
You can't find one thing? He wasn't jaywalking? You can't find anything in this kid that was wrong. And so what you're now saying is, everything he did from the point of view of the criminal law was okay, and Laura is correct. You can look on social media right now. There are people who are taking this as a greenlight that it is okay to bring guns to protests, to play cops, and you have to take it on both sides.
If you -- if he has a reasonable defense on self-defense that has been decided by the jury, but there's a problem here when a kid can do this much harm and get no -- get in trouble, not at all, and you've got a bunch of other kids in jail who have done very little compared to him.
COOPER: Van Jones, Laura Coates, Paul Callan, and Jeffrey Toobin, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead, we'll examine the potential fallout of the jury's decision, what it may mean for the next confrontation to Van's point involving folks showing up with weapons to a protest with -- or any kind of public demonstration with two law enforcement authorities, ahead.
COOPER: Still on determined after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict is the legacy of this jury's decision and what it means for future protests armed vigilantes and legal and law enforcement officials who have to police a nation deeply divided over the meaning of today's events.
Two perspective now, CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey, a former D.C. police chief and Philadelphia Police Commissioner, and Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge, who's now a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School.
Judge Gertner, we've talked a lot through the trial. I'm wondering what you made of the verdict.
NANCY GERTNER, FMR FEDERAL JUDGE: I wasn't surprised, like your other analysts have been I also was not surprised. But what's troubling is the not so much the fact that the jury reached this verdict, but the implications of it. It's almost as if the justification to use when you carry a gun, it sort of justifies using it. So much of this case was Rittenhouse responding to people trying to take the gun away from him, which could as much be trying to disarm him as to threaten him. So. the implications for other cases are very serious, that is troubling.
COOPER: Chief Ramsey, what's your reaction to both the verdict and from a law enforcement perspective about any message it may send to others who might want to come on to an event like this?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, I wasn't surprised at the verdict. But when I look at it, I look at it in terms of preparation for the police, because whichever way it goes, the police are going to have to be able to respond in case there's any protests that may take place as a result of the of the verdict, as far as what this could mean in the future with people bringing guns to protest. I mean, that didn't start with Kyle Rittenhouse. This has been going on now for a couple of years at least. And police have been seeing it more and more. I mean, when you think back to when the State Capitol in Michigan was taken over many of those people were heavily armed when they went inside the state capitol.
So you're starting to see it more and more. Bringing guns to a demonstration or a protest is just a recipe for something bad to happen. And it's unfortunate, but I think we're going to see more of it.
COOPER: You know, Judge Gertner, it's interesting about this day because you were told now if there's an active shooter situation, that if you can't run and you can't hide to fight, if somebody thinks that somebody's walking around an event like this with a AR-15 style rifle is an active shooter and attacks them thinking they're trying to stop a shooter. I mean, it should this give pause to somebody doing that now.
GERTNER: I think definitely gives pause. Think about it this way, when a police officer says the person I'm arresting tried to disarm me then you know that person's up to no good because police officers have a right to wear guns to carry guns. But now in a situation where a private person carrying a gun, and you try to disarm him with respect to him, that becomes a justification to shoot back.
I mean, what it does is it makes people, you know, sort of step back from anybody with a gun, even a 17-year-old with an AR-15 lest going for the gun to disarm them be used as an excuse for shooting. Now, I think it's incredibly dangerous. And the issue is less how this verdict happened, than the way it's going to play out in future months.
COOPER: Chief Ramsey, I know, you're concerned about what this case says about gun laws in the country. On Monday, the judge allowed the misdemeanor weapon charge to be thrown out. What do you think the country should take away from this trial is related to firearms?
RAMSEY: Well, that'll be interesting to see. But we have very poor gun laws. In fact, for all practical purposes, we really don't have any meaningful gun laws. For example, you've got a 17-year-old kid, he's got a AR-15, or assault weapon. You can buy a gun in this country, and there's no requirement for you to get any kind of training at all on how to handle that gun, or any training on the law in terms of when you can actually use that gun against another person. And everyone has their own idea about when you can use deadly force. I mean, that's something that police have hundreds and hundreds of hours of training on, and the average person buys a gun gets zero gets nothing.
And so, there's a lot that needs to be done. Not just trying to control firearms, but just making sure that they are in the hands of responsible people who really understand when and where and how they can use it.
COOPER: Well, Judge there's also having a gun, which I mean, it's legal. I have no problem with that as long as you do it according to the law. But do you need to bring that gun to a, you know, an environment where there potentially is violence at the very least, you know, high stress and demonstrations? Is that really a good -- is that that just doesn't seem like a wise idea, particularly if you're somebody who's 17 years old and has had no experience in this kind of a certain circumstance? GERTNER: Well, that was like -- there was a kid what the prosecutor was saying, which is that if you were there to guard businesses, why did you now walk down the middle of the street carrying an AR-15. And his response to that, which unfortunately, was sort of hyped in the closing was, you know, I didn't think the police -- were I wanted to help the police. I didn't know what they were doing the notion, we got a really serious problem if a teenager is going to basically, you know, supplant the police because the police aren't doing enough --
GERTNER: -- that goes to both his training which is non existent, and it goes to what the police were doing. So, we've got a lot of work here.
COOPER: Yes. Chief, Charles Ramsey, appreciate it. Judge Nancy Gertner, appreciate it as well.
Still to come, the health of President Biden who received his first physical exam while in office, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the results that were released.
COOPER: There's more breaking news report this Friday night this time on the health of President Biden who received a physical exam today. His first since taking office, is the oldest first term president in history. I want to talk about the results with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is also author of the fascinating new book, World War C Lessons From COVID 19 Pandemic And How To Prepare For The Next One.
So Sanjay, what can you tell us about the results of this physical?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, we had some idea of some of the President's past medical history. We also know that he's the oldest first term president. So, putting those two things together, there were specific things that I think they were sort of targeting. We know that he has this history of reflux, for example, we know that he has a history of atrial fibrillation. They were focused on the fact that his gait, his walking Anderson seems to have changed a bit. They described it as being less fluid, stiffer gait. He ultimately takes this medication for his cholesterol, and he had a colonoscopy. So those are sort of the major things that came out of that.
And there were there were a few findings he has reflux is still persistent, which is why they think he's been coughing a lot. You may hear him clearing his throat a lot during speeches, that seems to be the cause of that. As far as his gait being changed, they think he's developed some arthritis in his in his lower back. But the other big things, his atrial fibrillation appear stable, is a history of having his brain surgery having aneurysms operated back in the late '80s. That appears to have not changed. And, and then again, this colonoscopy for which he was sedated, had a colonoscopy and also had an endoscopy as well.
So, those are the major things that they sort of put into the report, Anderson.
COOPER: Obviously, there's been a lot of focus on his cognitive abilities, questions raised by opponents and others. In 2018, the former president had a test that measured mental acuity was that part of today's test?
GUPTA: It doesn't seem like it I read pretty carefully through the doctor's report, and there was in the mentioned neurological exam, but that was more in terms of testing, motor strength and sensation and things like that. President Trump had something known as the Montreal cognitive assessment. It's sort of a screening test for dementia. And, you know, that there was no mention of that sort of thing here. It is a constant point of discussion.
I can tell you within the geriatrics community, I wrote this book last year about brain health and one of the things that kept coming up was should sort of these types of screening tests, cognitive screening tests be more commonly done, and there's many in that community who believes starting at age 65. There should be some sort of screening that's done. Dr. Ronald Petersen, who runs the Alzheimer's Clinic at Mayo has been somebody who's talked about that.
But as far as we know, for President Biden, we didn't see any kind of tests like that performed.
COOPER: We should also point out that the President's fiscal made history today, he temporarily turned over presidential authority to Vice President Harris, which is the first time in American history that a woman had the power of the president. So an interesting day in history.
I want to turn the fight against COVID Though this today, the CDC, FDA endorsed booster vaccines for all Americans 18 years and older. What does that tell us about where we are in this in this fight?
GUPTA: Well, I think it tells us a bit about what the vaccine are doing and they seem to have be very protective still but waning a bit in terms of that protectiveness it could be because of time like how much time is passed between since people have gotten their shots, it could just be because of this Delta variant. But as we go into the winter and cooler and drier months, people are concerned about the contagiousness of this virus growing even and might that have a greater impact.
What is interesting, Anderson is that if you look at where things stand now, most adults were already eligible for boosters, either because of age or because of pre-existing health conditions, close to 90% of adults were already eligible. But it was confusing, a lot of people didn't know they were eligible. I think what today's announcement has done is sort of streamline that and basically said, everybody who's an adult is eligible for the booster. They took it a step further, even instead, if you're over the age of 50, you should get a booster. So, you know that that's sort of where we are.
But I want t to show you what I think are interesting graphs that tell the story. In the United States, if you look at people who get hospitalized for COVID, they are still vast majority of them are -- that's the red line, they're unvaccinated. The green line at the bottom up until the end of September relatively flat, but it started to tick up. If you look at Israel -- Israeli data sort of over the fall going up to November 1, it really -- I think important picture emerged here Anderson.
So unvaccinated on the left, they are still the vast majority of people who end up with severe COVID. But there was people who had received two doses of the vaccine that were increasingly developing severe symptoms. But if they got boosted, you can see the benefit there.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay. Appreciate it. Thanks so much.
There's another high profile court case that we're following defense attorney in the trial of three white men accused of killing black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, has asked again for a mistrial. Why he says rallies in support of the Arbery family on the courthouse grounds and mount to a in his words public lynching. Next.
COOPER: There's another trial involving accusations of vigilante justice that we're keeping an eye on, that is the Georgia trial of three white man accused of killing unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Closing arguments are set for Monday.
Today the attorneys debated legal instructions that the judge will give the jury before deliberations, one defense attorney again asked for mistrial. He claims that demonstrations including the prayer rally by hundreds of black pastors on courthouse grounds Thursday amount to quote, a public lynching, end quote of his client.
CNN's Ryan Young joins us now from the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. So, can you explain what else happened in court today Ryan?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, when you think about this, Kevin Gough was using those strong words. When you think about this, this is the south, the idea that he would compare this to lynching really struck people in a weird way. And he was at the center of almost everything that was involved in court. Of course, he moved for a mistrial. The judge denied that, but there was also this story that came out because Attorney Lee Merritt says he actually approached the prosecution about getting a plea deal and was denied. That really set him off today. But take a listen to this exchange in court that was quite explosive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Just because they haven't put a gallery up -- they haven't put a podium up that side with a hangman's noose on it doesn't mean that this isn't a trial despite the best efforts of this court. This isn't a trial it's been affected by mob violence of a woke left mob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: When you think about this, Anderson, you're talking about maybe four to 500 preachers that showed up and they were really just talking about the Lord and praying outside and there was a march here. There was never any talk of any violence. So a lot of people were surprised by the strong language that was used in court. And of course, this is not the first time that Kevin Gough has done this.
But we should keep in mind Anderson, Monday is the big day for closing arguments. We believe it could be Tuesday, by the time the jury gets the deliberations on this. But once again, explosive comments in court touching on the racial sensitivities of this case, there really has everyone sort of scratching their heads.
COOPER: Ryan Young, thanks for the reporting.
As the country waits for a verdict there perhaps no one is watching the trial more closely than the people living in the city of Brunswick, which is in majority white, Glynn County.
Our Gary Tuchman is there.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, where Ahmaud Arbery was killed, where he lived is just a few minutes away. And that neighborhood is where we met Anthony Clinch and his three-year-old son.
(on-camera): You live right near where Ahmaud Arbrey lived.
ANTHONY CLINCH, GLYNN COUNTY, GA RESIDENT: Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): How do you feel about the way this trial is going so far?
CLINCH: I feel like it's going pretty good. I feel like justice will be served and as we were looking for.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Inside Lady K's Kitchen in Brunswick, we meet Jean and Brenton (ph) to friends having breakfast.
(on-camera): The jury is 11 white people, one black person. When you heard about that, but it's your thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, we're all human. And hopefully everybody can close the eyes and open the ears and the heart and listen to the trial and listen to the case and understand the situation and then move forward. TUCHMAN (voice-over): Learning to better understand is the thing we heard from many here in Brunswick and the rest of Glynn County, Georgia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think there's a lot of pain in this community. A lot of us are seeing things that we haven't seen before that other people have experienced that we haven't seen. And so, that that pain is coming to the surface and I think we need to be healed and we need to see just to serve.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Kristie Cameron is Lady K, the owner of the restaurant. She believes justice will be served. But --
KRISTIE CAMERON, OWNER, LADY K'S KITCHEN: I just feel like it's a big band aid that has been ripped off and I'm hoping that the truth it's shined upon and we just take notice of all the things that's been taking place for a long time.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): And what has been taking place for a long time?
CAMERON: Hidden racism
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Hidden and not so hidden racism, both topics of conversation among people we talked with. In the wealthy predominantly white Glynn County enclave of St. Simons Island, resident Kathleen Hambright tells us.
KATHLEEN HAMBRIGHT, GLYNN COUNTY, GA RESIDENT: Well, naturally I want justice. I want justice. I want some relief for this poor family and relief for our county and for this region.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Throughout this county people were very agreeable when we asked that they would talk to us. However, in this neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was killed, we did encounter some reticence and reluctance.
(voice-over): Some people claim the media was stirring up trouble and making people in their mostly white neighborhood look bad. This woman who lives nearby is angry at the media, but providing we did not show her face agreed to tell us this.
(on-camera): How do you feel about this case?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrible. What they doing is terrible. Absolutely terrible. They shouldn't have done it. I mean.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): I mean you live in the neighborhood --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): -- where he lived, near where he was killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) and it's very devastating. Unbelievable for the subdivision right over there. TUCHMAN (voice-over): And so very sad.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Brunswick, Georgia.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: The news continues. Let's hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.