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Pope Urges Life; Freddie Gray Trials; Fugitive Captured in Mexico; Icahn Warns of Bloodbath. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 29, 2015 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): One of the few times 15-year-old Aziza (ph) really smiles is when I ask her what she'd like to do to the men from ISIS who attacked her family.

"I would stomp on their heads and kill them," she says.

This girl may have escaped to live another day, but her innocence has been forever lost.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Dahawk (ph), Iraqi Kurdistan.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And the news continues next on CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer, thank you so much, my friend.

Great to be with you on this Tuesday. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

We've got some breaking news just into us here involving this urgent situation here involving a woman in Georgia. Here's what we've learned. A Vatican representative has sent a letter on behalf of - reading the letter - on behalf of the holy father himself, Pope Francis, asking Georgia prison officials to spare the life of a woman set to be executed within just a couple of hours. This will be the first woman to be executed in the state of Georgia in 70 years.

Kelly Gissendaner is her name. She has been on death row for nearly two decades. A jury found this mother of two guilty in the 1997 murder of her husband. Gissendaner convinced her boyfriend, her lover, to actually commit the murder itself. He, by the way, is away for life in prison. The state parole board has been meeting for the past couple of hours.

So, on these developments, Martin Savidge has been monitoring this for us out of Atlanta. Also on the phone, CNN's senior Vatican analyst John Allen.

And, John, if I may actually begin with you first. As I've glanced down at this letter that has gone to this clemency board, essentially perhaps even through the archdiocese, the catholic archdiocese of Atlanta, how rare is this for them to reach out this way?


It's actually not rare at all. I mean whenever the pope visits the country that still has the death penalty and there's an execution that is scheduled, it's sort of standard practice for the pope to reach out and try to ask for clemency. I remember, for example, when John Paul, Pope John Paul, now Saint John Paul, was in the United States in 1999, he visited St. Louis. And at the time there was a death row inmate by the name of Darrell Mease, who was scheduled for execution. On that trip, then Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan was actually at the pope's mass. John Paul asked to see him when the mass concluded and asked Governor Carnahan to spare Darrell Mease's life, which he actually did. And Darrell Mease is now still alive. He was sentenced to life in prison.

BALDWIN: He did. So the letter was successful?

ALLEN: So this is kind of the standard gesture from the pope. You will remember that when Pope Francis spoke to Congress last week, he specifically asked for the abolition of the death penalty and this would be a kind of concrete extension of that position, Brooke.

BALDWIN: It is interesting, John, though, as you point out, how he did make that note at the joint session of Congress. And just reading the language in the letter, I implore you to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy. But, still, the fact the pope was just here and we're talking about this letter currently, and to your point in St. Louis, that the letter was successful.

ALLEN: Yes, that's right. There's at least one instance in which this kind of papal request has been granted. Of course, it remains to be seen what Georgia officials will do with it. You know, the Catholic Church has a long history of opposing the death penalty. It was as far back as 1969 that Pope Paul VI urged the abolition of the death penalty and every pope since has upheld the same tradition. I think the interesting thing, as you say, is that Pope Francis was just in the United States, got a rousing ovation from Congress, was widely hailed by political authorities up and down the country. This is sort of the first test, Brooke, as to whether those people who were cheering the pope's presence are also going to be willing to act on his concrete agenda.

BALDWIN: John, stay with me.

Martin, let me just bring your voice in here because I'm looking down at my clock, three hours, just about, right, that's how long this parole board - three hours ago is when the parole board started meeting this morning. What's the word as far as any potential clemency is concerned?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't really know.


SAVIDGE: I mean what we do know is taking place is that some family members, and we're talking about family members of the woman who was scheduled to die, Kelly Gissendaner, and apparently her children have spoken out and requested that clemency be granted to their mother. Now, at the same time, there have been also the submission from the parents of Douglas Gissendaner, the man who was murdered, requesting that this execution go forward. They said, first and foremost, you need to remember that there was no clemency granted to him when his murder was carried out at the request and apparently at the order of Kelly Gissendaner. So, you know, that's what they've been hearing.

[14:05:12] Right now what is happening is no longer family speaking, it's the attorneys. The attorneys are going to argue, hey wait a minute here, the co-conspirator in this case, the guy who actually did the murder, he got life with the opportunity for parole. How is it that this woman then does not get that? Instead she got the death penalty. Well, she was offered that same plea deal. She turned it down. She says at the advice of her attorney. And she went to trial and she got sentenced to death.

BALDWIN: All right, just quickly, Martin, I understand that her two adult children have been visiting her in that prison in Georgia. Have you heard anymore just, I don't know, color from the prison and this execution to confirm it is set to happen at 7:00 this evening, correct?

SAVIDGE: Well, it is. But what is, you know, quite remarkable is the fact that this is the third time this woman has had to prepare herself for her execution.

BALDWIN: That's right.

SAVIDGE: In February, she was slated to be executed. That was postponed due to bad weather. Then in March when it was rescheduled, it was postponed once more because there were concerns about the effects of the drug. It appeared to be cloudy. This the one they use for the lethal injection. So they postponed again. So now you have this third case. And that's why her attorneys have gone to other judges and said, this is cruel and unusual punishment to have a person literally prepare for death more than once, but that was actually dismissed by a federal judge yesterday, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Martin Savidge, stay in close contact with us, please. We'll talk to you again next hour.

We also know the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta holding a news conference as well in the wake of this letter from essentially the pope himself. Thank you so much. And, John Allen, thank you as well, from - a representative from the pope.

Also happening right now, a really important hearing in the case that puts an entire city on edge with every sort of development here talking about the death of Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old suffered a deadly spinal injury in April while Baltimore Police were transporting him in this police van. Riots, looting, demonstrations ravaged city neighborhoods the day of Gray's funeral. And at this moment a judge is meeting with defense teams of the six officers charged in connection with Gray's death. And we now know five of the six defendants are there in court today. Their attorneys want to delay the first trial arguing they need time to now go through this new discovery, this new evidence.

And it's not just about when that first trial will happen. Also key here, which of these officers will be tried first. Prosecutors would like it to be this man, that is because of a statement Officer William Porter made that reportedly incriminates his co-defendants.

So with that, let's go to Jean Casarez with the details.

The six officers, five of the six in this courtroom today. You know the defense attorneys want this postponement because of this, you know, I don't know statement or several significant discovery issues is how I read it from the prosecutors. Do we know what that is?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As far as the statement, I mean we heard in open court that Porter, who is one of the officers that's charged, that he said something that can be used against at least some of the other officers. It was not said in open court what that statement was, but "The Baltimore Sun" got some snippets of the officer's statements and according to "The Baltimore Sun" it is that Porter asked Gray, who was in the police van, do you need a medic? Do you need medical attention? There was a response, yes, I do. And that was communicated to Goodson, who was driving the van, communicated to some other officers, Alicia White, but nothing was done at that point.

Now, he also says that he didn't know if he was joking. He thought that Gray maybe didn't want to go to central booking. Wanted to just go to the hospital, which is a much more pleasant place to be rather than being booked. So he didn't know if he should take him seriously or not. But, Brooke, I've got to tell you, there's some real excitement around here because this is the first time that these officers have been in court and we can confirm with our producer in the courtroom, five out of six of the defendants, the former police officers of Baltimore County, are in court today for a really important hearing because it's scheduling, but yet scheduling of a trial that's supposed to begin in two weeks, right?

And in court we heard last time that William Porter, one of the officers, prosecutors wanted to try him first. The defense saying we need more time. Why? Seven thousand pages of discovery we heard in open court that they have. But even beyond that, remember when Marilyn Mosby said that she, in her office, had conducted an investigation during the time the police investigation was going on. Well, defense say they are entitled to know what that is, what investigation it was, what did they come up with. That's not work product. The judge seemed to agree with it. The last time I was in court for this hearing at the tail end. And so as they get more and more information, they may then ask for that continuance based on just the immense amount of material. So we'll see if, in fact, if they get what they want -

[14:10:13] BALDWIN: So whether they get the - whether they get the continuance or not, you know, that initial trial date is set for, as you point out, two Tuesdays from now for Officer Porter. And I just want you to explain to us why specifically it is that they would like him to be tried first. CASAREZ: Because of his statement that, do you need medical attention?

Gray saying, yes, I do.


CASAREZ: Porter communicating it. And when you have all these defendants, that statement can be used against some of the other police officers. And so if Porter is tried first and he's convicted or acquitted, then that statement can be used, they can ask him to testify against the others.

BALDWIN: We'll find out the outcome of the hearing potentially by the next hour when we could chat again. Jean Casarez, for now, thank you so much, in Baltimore.

Next, a billionaire backing Donald Trump says a blood bath is coming to the American economy. The reason is surprising. We'll speak live with this self-proclaimed rich guy on whether he agrees with that.

Also, one of America's most wanted fugitives captured thanks in part to CNN's "The Hunt." You will hear from the woman who escaped that torture chamber.

And the United States recruiting Hollywood script writers and producers, the brains behind movies like "Zero Dark 30" and "The Hurt Locker" to fight ISIS. Hear how, ahead.


[14:15:41] BALDWIN: This is CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Snatched off the streets, locked up in a makeshift dungeon, brutalized and tortured. The alleged victims of two brothers getting word that both of their captors have now been caught. After 24 years on the run, Paul Jackson was just arrested in Mexico after a story was featured right here on CNN on our series called "The Hunt."


JOHN WALSH, HOST, CNN'S "THE HUNT": I'm saddened, angry and very surprised that Paul Jackson's been able to stay out there 23 years, because he's still doing exactly what he did. Leopards don't change their spots, these type of guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Jackson is still out there victimizing other women. And I don't think he's going to let any of them live to testify against him this time.


BALDWIN: One of his victims just 17 when she was abducted, talked to CNN about the horror of her two days in captivity.


ANDREA HOOD, ALLEGEDLY KIDNAPPED, TORTURED BY JACKSON: I was addicted to drugs and so I was working the streets. And I got picked up and - by a guy and he - him and his brother ending up kidnapping me and holding me hostage in their house. I didn't know where I was. Brutalizing me for a couple days. And then I managed to find a way to get out and so I jumped through the window and escaped.

There was one window in the house that didn't have bars on the inside. And by accident I saw it and it was - I knew it was my only chance for escape.

Paul Jackson is a monster whose - he's just a monster. He has no regard for women or anybody.


BALDWIN: Joining me now, Deputy Eric Wahlstrom, U.S. Marshal Service, Oregon Fugitive Task Force who helped track Paul Jackson down.

Deputy Wahlstrom, thank you so much for joining me.

I mean you hear this woman describing him in detail. My question to you is, it was a tip after "The Hunt" aired here on CNN. A tip came in through the show, ultimately landed in your office, which ultimately led to this guy's capture down in Guadalajara, Mexico. What can you share with me about that tip?

DEPUTY ERIC WAHLSTROM, U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE, OREGON FUGITIVE TASK FORCE (via telephone): Yes, we did. Good afternoon, Brooke. And with that, after about a month or so of digging, Deputy John Moody (ph) from our office, and working with Mexican authorities, ended up narrowing him down to a location in Guadalajara. And it was on Monday morning he was walking to work. The little information I have right now is that he was going to work at an electronics store and was apprehended by Mexican authorities early Monday morning.

BALDWIN: I understand he had been living out of a hotel down there. Do we know how long he'd been in Mexico? What exactly he was doing?

WAHLSTROM: That's what we're working on right now, working with our counterparts down in Mexico to kind of come up with a story line of how long he's actually been down there. My understanding has been several years. And we're actually going to be looking at who may have been helping him, assisting him. So this is - this case is far from over. And we're just so happy to find closure for - for those victims. And I know the detectives that are still working with Hillsborough Police are very happy about the arrest and so are we.

BALDWIN: Well, you know, with the victims and reading some of their stories today in the wake of this capture, I mean obviously some of them did not make it out of these torture chambers, but some of them did. And, you know, listening to John Walsh, he said, listen, some of these ladies will not be afraid of coming forward and testifying against them and telling their stories. I'm curious to ask you, are you all seeing any kind of evidence that could potentially lead to murder charges?

WAHLSTROM: That's something the Hillsborough Police Department and the Portland Police would be looking at. That's one aspect that we're - we're in the fugitive business and that's what we're doing.

BALDWIN: Got it.

WAHLSTROM: But if we do come across something like that, definitely that would be something we would be sharing with detectives.

BALDWIN: Deputy Eric Wahlstrom, great job, congratulations.

[14:20:03] WAHLSTROM: It was a great team effort. We're so happy. Thank you so much. And the best news is, he's now in Los Angeles. We got him back last night. So, so he's back in the U.S.

BALDWIN: Twenty-five years on the run, unbelievable. Thank you so much, sir. I appreciate it.

WAHLSTROM: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And just a reminder to all of you, you can watch this episode of "The Hunt" which focuses here on Paul Jackson today. Just go to And I mean tips are critical here. John Walsh says it over and over. If you have a tip for "The Hunt," call 1-866-THE-HUNT.

Next, a billionaire who backs Donald Trump says income inequality in this country could result in a, quote, "blood bath." Why does he mean that? What are some solutions? We'll discuss, next.


BALDWIN: Donald Trump is getting a show of support from a fellow billionaire, legendary investor Carl Icahn, a man Trump has said he would put in charge of trade deals with Japan, China, is backing Trump in a new video he posted on his website. But that's not all he's doing. He's issuing some pretty dire warnings about American companies, income inequality and the, quote, "blood bath" he says is coming.

[14:25:19] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL ICAHN, BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR: I've seen this before a number of times. I've been around a long time. I saw it in '69, '74, '79. I could tell you, '87. And then 2000 wasn't pretty. And I think our time is coming that might make some of those times look pretty good. You know, I look back and I love this country, but I sure as hell don't love a lot of the politicians in it or the CEOs. I think they've taken advantage of the system. And it's just deja vu.


BALDWIN: Carl Icahn, not exactly a man of the people when it comes to the dollar signs in his bank account, painting a pretty grim picture. So let me bring in a man who's no stranger to these warnings. Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.

Nick, great to have you on. Welcome.

NICK HANAUER, VENTURE CAPITALIST: Nice to see you, Brooke. BALDWIN: So you are a pretty wealthy guy. And about a year ago you gave a TED talk about income inequality and Mr. Icahn, when you watch this video, you know, he says American workers, they're getting, his word, "screwed."


BALDWIN: The companies are too focused on making profits and boosting their stock price. Is he right?

HANAUER: He's - he's, of course, absolutely right. The share of income for people like me and Carl Icahn has gone from about 1 percent - or gone from about 8 percent of national income in 1980 to in the low 20 percent today, while the share of income for the bottom 50 percent of Americans has fallen from about 18 percent to 12 percent. And during the same time, you know, labor share of GDP used to be in the like 52, 53 percent range and now it's 46 percent. And the difference is largely corporate profits have doubled from 6 to 12 percent of GDP. And so - and all of this isn't - this isn't magical. This is all a consequence of policies that benefit people like me and Carl and don't benefit people like your viewers.

BALDWIN: So along this notion, you know, and what really made us want to reach out to you today because we remembered this memo that you wrote a year ago. You called it this - the note to your fellow zillionaires.


BALDWIN: So if I may, Nick, let me just read a piece of it. You wrote this. "And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds, wake up, people. It won't last. If we don't do something to fix the glaring inequalities in this economy, the pitch forks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality."

So you are one of many zillionaires and wondering what kind of response you got from your fellow, you know, members of the zillionaire club.

HANAUER: Yes, so when I first started talking about economic inequality, it made my fellow zillionaires usually very angry and defensive because people really hadn't thought about the question very carefully. But today there's broad -

BALDWIN: No surprise there. But then -

HANAUER: Yes, but there's broad agreement today that it's a problem. Now, what to do about it, obviously, creates a different kind of conversation because changing things will involve tradeoffs that people don't want to make. But, you know, there are two threats -

BALDWIN: Are any of them willing to make the trades (ph)?

HANAUER: Yes, some of them are and clearly some of them aren't.

BALDWIN: I appreciate your honesty.

HANAUER: Yes. I mean, you know, and what - lots of them love to believe, and prefer to believe and have talked themselves into is that the better people like me do, the better everyone else will do. This is - this is, of course, nonsense. You know, cutting taxes for the rich doesn't benefit anybody but the rich. But rising - but conversely, rising wages for typical - for the typical family absolutely benefits people at the top because the - you know, the fundamental law of capitalism is that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers and need more workers. This is why high wage places are robust economic opportunities and low wage places are hell holes.

BALDWIN: Do you think that Republicans are listening to you and those who agree with your viewpoint?

HANAUER: No. I mean I think that, you know, the Republican Party somehow has gotten itself in - essentially in hawk to a small number of immensely wealthy donors who actually don't care about the future of the company - country and certainly don't seem to care about the typical American family and have, you know, promulgated this - this trickle down idea that the richer the rich get, the better off everyone will be. And the - and certainly - sort of the other side of the coin, which is, if ordinary people do better, that will be bad for the country. This idiotic idea that if wages rise, employment will fall despite all evidence to the contrary.

[14:30:00] But you even had our - you know, our now former speaker, John Boehner, who would often say, you know, if you raise the price of employment, guess what happens, you get less of it. This is just - just idiotic nonsense and is divorced from what actually happens when you raise wages for work.