Return to Transcripts main page
CNN News Central
Bodycam Footage Released of Philadelphia Police Shooting; Full Georgia Grand Jury Report Released. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired September 08, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: A final full report from the Fulton County special grand jury unredacted and released. Jurors listed 39 people they thought should face charges for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: That is more than double the number who were actually charged in the end.
We're going to break down some of the big names among those ultimately unindicted and why this matters.
Plus, a Philadelphia police officer has turned himself in after a deadly shooting, as the district attorney releases unedited body camera footage of that incident, something the victim's family wanted the public to see in its entirety. We will have the latest.
SANCHEZ: And the FBI chief issuing a stark warning about Russian spies in the United States. He says the number of them operating here is still way too big.
We're following these major developing stories and many more, all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.
Today, we have brand-new information about the scope of the Georgia election interference investigation into Donald Trump. And the key takeaway, the sprawling RICO case against the former president and 18 others could have been much bigger. We're talking twice as many defendants.
It's all in the special grand jury report that was released today. The special grand jury could not indict, but could recommend indictments. The report shows the panel recommended charges for 39 people.
SCIUTTO: Among those who were named, but who avoided charges, were three Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Georgia's two ousted senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
Our team of reporters is covering this from all the angles. Also with us is former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman.
Sara Murray, first, walk us through some of the bigger revelations here, including the folks who were named at least, but not charged. SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, first of all,
obviously, the special grand jury felt that there was a broad array of wrongdoing among people who did not ultimately face charges.
They said 39 people should face charges. So that's huge. I think the biggest name alongside Donald Trump that they recommended was Lindsey Graham, sitting South Carolina senator, who talked to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state. Raffensperger came away from that call feeling like Graham was asking him to throw away votes, something Graham has denied.
But there are a number of other Trump advisers, people like Michael Flynn, people like Boris Epshteyn, who were able to dodge charges in this case, but who the special purpose grand jury felt had committed some kind of wrongdoing.
And I think this really gets to the difference between what you as an average person sitting on a special grand jury, sitting on a grand jury might think is wrongdoing, might think is violating the law, versus what a prosecutor believes they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt if they decide to take these things to court and take these things to trial.
SANCHEZ: On the question of Senator Lindsey Graham, let's take you now live to Capitol Hill with Melanie Zanona.
Melanie, we're just hearing now from Senator Graham. What's he saying?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, we are hearing from Senator Lindsey Graham for the first time since this news broke. He weighed in at a press conference in South Carolina.
I'm going to play that for you in a little bit, but, first, I want to provide some context, because it all boils down to this conflicting account between Brad Raffensperger, who's the Georgia secretary of state, and Senator Lindsey Graham in this phone call that they had.
Now, Raffensperger has suggested that Graham was pressuring him to throw out legal mail-in ballots and that it made him very uncomfortable. But Graham has flat-out denied that. He said he was just inquiring about the mail-in ballot system, the signature verification system, just trying to figure out how it worked.
And he also said that he wasn't even talking about the 2020 presidential election, that he was talking about the pair of critical Senate run-off races that occurred in January 2021. But let's take a listen to what he said moments ago in South Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I called around different states, including Georgia, as a sitting United States Senator, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
I eventually certified the election in all states, including Georgia. I didn't find any evidence of mass voter fraud. But I did have concerns about the mail-in ballot systems in Georgia and other places. This is troubling for the country. We can't criminalize senators doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill.
It would be irresponsible for me, in my opinion, as chairman of the committee, not to try to find out what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: Now, it's unclear why charges were recommended or what those charges were. It's also unclear why the district attorney didn't bring those charges as part of her indictment in the election subversion case.
Perhaps it was because the jurors were actually split in those recommendations, or perhaps it was because of Graham's testimony himself. He did testify before the special grand jury, though he initially did try to fight that in court. And, afterwards, he said he fully cooperated and was not expecting to be charged.
And, again, as you heard, he is denying any wrongdoing in this incident.
SCIUTTO: Nick, question for you as you look at this. Does the fact that the DA charged fewer people than the grand jury recommended indicate that she raised the bar, in effect, for indictment?
And could that strengthen her case at trial?
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, first of all, the bar for indictment is a lot different than the bar for conviction.
The bar for indictment is simply probable cause, more likely than not that someone committed a crime. For conviction, you have got to get 12 people to unanimously find that the person committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There's a lot of reasons why they could have taken these other people and decided that the evidence just wasn't that strong.
Now, in the case of Lindsey Graham, it wasn't as though this conversation between him and Brad Raffensperger was on tape, like it is with Donald Trump. If, in fact, it had been on tape, there may have been a different decision here. But the fact of the matter is this was a he said/he said kind of situation.
They didn't seem to have any other evidence beyond that one phone call, as far as we know. And I just don't think that there was the evidence. The fact that the grand jury voted, oh, I don't know, 13-7 to recommend an indictment -- and that's the most people you had that were against indicting anybody -- as a prosecutor, I would always look at what the grand jury thought about the witnesses, about the evidence.
And, certainly, in the circumstances like this, where you didn't have close to unanimous consent by the grand jury that Graham had committed a crime, I'd be reluctant, if that was my only evidence, to go ahead, indict and go to trial and risk losing a conviction.
SANCHEZ: CNN's Kristen Holmes is also with us.
So, Kristen, what is Donald Trump saying about all of this?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, shortly after this came out, this report was released. He started lashing out on TRUTH Social, none of it really surprising, talking again about how this was political, this was a witch-hunt.
But there is a little bit of context there. So, first, I will read to you at least part of the post here.
He wrote: "The Georgia grand jury report has just been released. It has zero credibility and badly taints Fani Willis and this whole political witch-hunt. Essentially, they wanted to indict anyone who happened to be breathing at the time. It totally undermines the credibility of the findings," and, of course, continues and then ends with "election interference."
The one thing I will note is, I talk to a number of Trump advisers, and they're pointing specifically to the fact that Lindsey Graham was on this list. For some reason -- and I can't quite get to the bottom of it with them -- they believe that this shows that this grand jury was willing to indict anyone, because he was still a sitting U.S. senator.
There's something about that they seem to think undermines the entire report. Again, not clear why they believe that, but the fact that this person was still in office and even Trump himself was not, and many of these people are former advisers, former -- formers, but the fact that he was a sitting U.S. senator, for some reason, is really...
SANCHEZ: So, they're pointing to that as saying that Fani Willis wanted to indict anyone, but she didn't actually indict him.
HOLMES: Absolutely, yes, that is true.
SCIUTTO: Key point of fact, as they say.
HOLMES: Right. And that's why, again -- and they're saying this is the grand jury report, but, of course, they weren't actually indicted.
So, unclear, again, where that connection comes from, but I do -- I was told that, before he put this out, and that's clearly where this is coming from, when he says he wants to indict anyone who happened to be breathing. That's clearly what's going on here, and that's what these advisers are telling us.
SCIUTTO: Which has been a consistent Trump argument about any of the charges against him, that it's a witch-hunt.
SCIUTTO: So it's not outside the umbrella of claims he's made prior.
SCIUTTO: Nick, some of the grand jurors, we can tell from the footnotes here, voted against inditing the fake electors because they were doing -- and I'm going to quote from one of the footnotes here -- "what they were misled to understand as their civic duty."
I wonder -- and, again, these are some grand jurors. They did not vote with the majority on this. Does such a finding help or hurt Trump, in that could he also argue that he thought he was doing his civic duty? Or, on the flip side, does it point a finger at him because the grand jurors, in effect, saying they were doing what the boss told them was their civic duty?
How do you read that legally?
AKERMAN: I mean, legally, I just read that to mean, that's what the boss told us to do.
What these people are saying is, they did not have the criminal intent or knowledge of what was going on, that they were told that this was being done in case, just in case, the Trump campaign won its election fight in Georgia, its court fight, and that the election was reversed legally. That's what they're saying.
And I think, for some of those people, that is probably a valid defense and is probably true. I mean, how many of these people actually knew that this was all very surreptitious and that it was going to be done using the vice president to try and get him to accept those votes over the valid votes that were certified by the state of Georgia?
I don't think most of these electors were that close to this to understand what actually was happening, which is why, at the end of the day, Fani Willis decided to give most of these fake electors a pass and grant them immunity to testify against the people who did know.
So that's what's going on here. And it's the same defense that's been raised in other states, with some varying degrees of success, but it certainly is a valid defense if someone didn't have the actual knowledge of what the whole purpose of this endeavor was.
SANCHEZ: So, Nick, we get a full roster of those that had indictments recommended for them and how the vote tallies came from the special grand jury.
Notably, some of those who were not indicted received just as many votes as those who were. And I'm thinking specifically of Boris Epshteyn here. He had 20 special grand jurors voting, recommending an indictment, one voting against one, and yet he was not indicted. Does that have any special significance to you?
AKERMAN: Not really.
I think, at the end of the day, what Fani Willis did was to look at those recommendations. And the ultimate question was, can I convict those people beyond a reasonable doubt? People looking at this might have said, well, gee, it seems like they must have been guilty. They had to be guilty. They were talking to certain people or at certain places at the right times.
But, at the end of the day, the prosecutor is the person who has to put themselves on the line and know that they have admissible evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. It very well could be that that's what happened here. And I think it probably was.
SANCHEZ: Nick, Sara, Kristen, Melanie, thank you all so much. We're going to stay on top of the latest details and bring them to you, and responses as we get them.
Still to come on CNN NEWS CENTRAL: The Philadelphia DA's office has just released new bodycam footage from a deadly officer-involved shooting, that officer now turning himself into police. We are live with the very latest on that case.
Plus, Florida once again attempting to change its education system, this time by trying to offer a new college entrance exam, one that would serve to -- as an alternative to the SAT and ACT. Why this is sparking controversy.
Stay with us. We're back in just moments.
SCIUTTO: Just-released police bodycam video, and it's disturbing. It reveals the final moments of the 27-year-old man you will see here. His name is Eddie Irizarry.
He was shot and killed by a Philadelphia police officer, this back in mid-August. This morning, the officer who pulled the trigger, Mark Dial, turned himself in on multiple charges, which include murder. At first, police said that Irizarry was outside his vehicle when he was shot, but you can see clearly in the video that was not the case. He was sitting in the front seat of his car.
Today, the district attorney released bodycam video from the officers on the scene. One more reminder, this is graphic. We were just watching it. It's hard to watch. It begins as Officer Dial is about to exit his own vehicle. He then approaches the suspect's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me your hands! (SHOUTING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will (EXPLETIVE DELETED) shoot you!
Four thirteen, shots fired, shots fired, 100 West Willard. Get your hand up...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) 100 West Willard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move the car. Mark, move the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move the car. Move the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Car (INAUDIBLE) 100 Willard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, first car (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Like we said, it's difficult to watch. You can hear him moaning there at the end.
CNN's Brynn Gingras, she's watched the full footage released of the officer bodycams.
And, Brynn, listen, those moments there, the police approached the vehicle, multiple shots fired through the window, very quickly, it seemed. Tell us what you learned by watching the full range of videos that we have at this point.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, Jim, that's key there, is quickly, is what you just said. And that's what's so striking about this bodycam video.
You actually don't hear the audio kick in because of the way the technology works. So you don't hear all the same warnings that we did hear not long ago when we saw that surveillance video from a restaurant of the incident that the family got out there after police gave a different account of what happened on that August day.
But it's quick. As soon as those officers get out of that vehicle to respond to this traffic stop, within about five seconds, to our count, the shots are fired, six shots fired at Eddie Irizarry while he was sitting in that car.
And, allegedly, according to police, they believed he had a weapon or showed a weapon, instead of putting his hands up. And, in fact, he had two knives in the car, but no gun that was threatening one of those officers.
So, again, just to back up, in case viewers are just catching up, this is very different and -- than what the initial account of what we heard from Philadelphia police. And that initial account was that he was out of the car threatening police, he wasn't taking commands, and that's why shots were fired.
But you can see here that's a very different story from that police body camera footage. And that's exactly why the Irizarry family wanted the full extent of this video to be showed to the public. That officer was suspended after police came back out and sort of gave a mea culpa, we didn't give the account the right way the first time.
And now he is fired from the police department. And now he's charged with a number of charges, including murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment. He is no longer a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department.
He has turned himself in. He did that this morning. I want you to hear from his lawyer about what his account is of all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MCMONAGLE, ATTORNEY FOR MARK DIAL: We intend to right this wrong. This decision today puts police officers in peril at a time when they're dealing with perhaps the most violent time in our city's history.
We intend to right this wrong and bring him -- this young man home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: Now, the other officer involved in this who responded as well, there are no charges against him, but a life lost, Jim, Eddie Irizarry, 27 years old.
His family said he had just moved, actually to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico, and he didn't speak much English, and they believe that he didn't understand the commands that were being yelled at him when this shooting took place on the Philadelphia streets.
SCIUTTO: Well, we should be conscious that, as the family releases this video and we see it, that they're seeing their loved one die here. That's what's happening on camera.
You say you have watched other videos where you were able to hear warnings. What warnings exactly? And is the expectation they could have heard them through a closed window of that car, which had appeared to be closed as it happened?
GINGRAS: Yes, there's other video.
So, again, when Philadelphia police put out this statement of what happened, they said Irizarry was outside the vehicle. Well, then the family's attorney came across restaurant surveillance footage showing the entire scene happen. And it was very clear when they released that to the public that Irizarry was inside the vehicle.
And in that video, you can actually hear some warnings from police, saying -- "Put down the weapon was one of the warnings." And then it's just different from what you see in the body camera footage, because that audio doesn't kick in. So it's important to watch all of the video that is out there, not just the body camera footage, because you do hear some warnings.
But, again, what you pointed out, Jim, is how striking in that footage from the bodycam footage how fast they are outside the vehicle and then already shooting. And, yes, there were warnings, but, again, five seconds, not very long.
SCIUTTO: Brynn Gingras, thanks so much for covering it -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Yes, let's dig deeper now with CNN senior law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey. He actually ran the Philadelphia Police Department from 2008 to 2016.
Chief Ramsey, thanks so much for sharing part of your afternoon with us.
You have seen the footage. What stands out to.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, there are a lot of things that stand out. First of all, this did happen very quickly, but it's not so much the time span, because these things can go down very, very quickly.
It's whether or not the officer was justified in the use of deadly force. And from the video that I'm looking at, it does appear that this is a problematic shooting. You look for three things. You look to see whether or not it's necessary, is it proportional, is it objectively reasonable?
I don't see anything that would put the officer in immediate danger, which would be the justification for the use of deadly force. And so, obviously, that jumps out.
The, also, initial statement given by the department as to what took place is contrary to what you see in the video. He was inside the car, not outside the car. If he's only armed with a knife, obviously, with windows rolled up, door closed, that's no immediate threat.
Now, what the officer may have saw or what he thought he saw, if he thought it was a gun or something like that, I don't know. But, obviously, this is not a justified shooting, in my opinion.
SANCHEZ: So, as we look at the charges that Officer Dial is facing, murder, among several others, do you find them appropriate, given the evidence that you have come across.
RAMSEY: Not the murder. There's no premeditation there that they're going to be able to prove.
Voluntary manslaughter, to me, seems reasonable. I'm not an attorney, but I don't think they're going to go anywhere with an actual murder, first-degree murder charge. The other charges, yes, that's not something that I think would be unusual in a case like this. It's just very unfortunate all the way around.
These things do happen, unfortunately, on occasion, but this is one where the use of deadly force, from what I have seen thus far, does not appear to have been justified.
SANCHEZ: Chief Ramsey, we also heard from Dial's attorney saying that these charges put other officers in danger, in great peril, his word. Do you agree with that?
RAMSEY: No, I don't.
Listen, policing can be a very dangerous job. There's no question about that. I served as police commissioner in Philadelphia for eight years. I had eight officers killed in the line of duty. Five of them were shot to death. So I'm very sensitive to the dangers that police officers face.
But, at the same time, if the officer is going to use force, any kind of force, and, in particular, deadly force, it has to be appropriate. It has to be justified. It has to be necessary before you resort to that level of force. That's part of your responsibility as a police officer, period.
And so I understand the dangers, but I think the comments made by that attorney of putting everyone in jeopardy as a result of this is just a lawyer trying to make something for his client, but that's just not something I can buy into.
SANCHEZ: Chief Charles Ramsey, always appreciate your perspective, sir. Thanks.
RAMSEY: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Of course -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: In the latest chapter of Governor Ron DeSantis' ongoing fight against the College Board, Florida is on the verge of allowing an alternative to the SAT. We're going to show you exactly what's in it.
And Elon Musk says that SpaceX's next mega rocket launch is ready to go, but the FAA is telling him, not so fast.
Details just ahead on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.