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Trump Says He Expects To Be Arrested Tuesday, Calls For Protests; Arrest Warrant Issued For Putin Over Alleged War Crimes; Major U.S. Banks Throw $30B Lifeline To Struggling First Republic Bank; President Biden Calls On Congress To Expand FDIC's Authority; College Athletes Strike Endorsements With Big Brands; Gershun Freeman's Family Demands Action After Deadly Jail Beating; Giant Seaweed Blob Heading Toward Florida Beaches. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 18, 2023 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And we begin this hour with major new developments involving former President Donald J. Trump. Trump saying today he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and is calling for protests. He made the announcement today on his social media post, lashing out at the Manhattan district attorney's office, which has invited him to testify before a grand jury.

The arrest would be part of their investigation into alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. Again, if there is an arrest, that's according to Trump. Trump also called for protests over his pending arrest to, quote, "take our nation back".

This development comes as sources tell CNN that law enforcement agencies in New York are also now preparing for the possible indictment of Trump.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is outside the Manhattan criminal courthouse for us. And we can also begin with CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz. So Katelyn, to you first in Washington, what more do we know about this possible arrest that the former president is announcing on his social media post?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well Fred, when and what is going to be charged, if it does -- if it is charged, we don't have the answer to that yet and neither does Donald Trump. At this point in time his team through a spokesman has made very clear that there has been no notification made to him or his lawyers that he is going to be indicted or when that indictment is going to happen.

However, Trump is very aware of the politics of this and the bluster and the bully pulpit that he has, and so he is agitating for his team to try and get his base riled up. He did say in that post about protests, asking his supporters to protest in some way. He also is sending a message to the New York district attorney, Alvin

Bragg. And if we step back for a second, Fred, the reason that there is this expectation of Donald Trump that he will be indicted in New York by the D.A. is that the long investigation into the Trump Organization and payments made to Stormy Daniels for hushing her about an alleged affair she says that she had with the former president -- those investigation, that is nearing the end.

We know that because there was an invitation to Trump himself to come into the grand jury to testify. He declined to do that. We do understand through our reporting this morning that another witness is expected to testify before the grand jury on Monday, so it does not appear they've returned an indictment at this point that would cause Trump to come in and turn himself over that quickly.

However, it does appear we are in the end stage of this and the grand jury will be reviewing the evidence. And at some point very likely voting on whether the former president of the United States should be indicted, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. All right. Thanks so much, Katelyn.

Now, let's go to Polo Sandoval outside the Manhattan courthouse. So Polo, what can you tell us about any preparations by law enforcement agencies that might be taking place, especially after the former president made that announcement via post?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, still with many questions about the when, they certainly don't want any question about the how they would handle all of this. And that's why you have this conversations that according to our colleague John Miller are ongoing among local, state and federal law enforcement officials that are in close contact with also officials at the Manhattan district attorney's office.

The crux of the conversations there, exactly how to navigate the scenario with the potential indictment and then also the choreography that would become involved with potential charges being filed against the former president.

That's why these conversations have been happening. And in the post- January 6th world you better believe that courthouse security is one of the big parts of the conversation that are happening right now with law enforcement officials privy to the discussion saying that they are preparing for potential demonstrations -- for pro-Trump demonstrators to come together here in lower Manhattan and the potential of any potential clashing with anti-Trump demonstrators.

And so this is certainly something that is top of mind behind the scenes as they prepare for the coming days and certainly also the U.S. Secret Service having their separate discussions about how it would work in terms of getting the former president to Manhattan, getting processed, getting potentially booked here when and if that indictment is announced.

And this is a routine, Fred, we should mention it's certainly not unusual for the New York state court system here, but it is certainly because of the complexities that come with this, it certainly would rise to the level of being unprecedented as we prepare for the coming days, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right, and that involving a former president.

Polo Sandoval, Katelyn Polantz -- thanks so much. We'll check back with you throughout the afternoon.


WHITFIELD: Let's talk more about this right now with Elliot Williams. He is a former federal prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst. Elliot, good to see you.

So what do you make of the former president who would say this via his social media post? Do you believe that he has any particular intel that says he might be arrested on Tuesday?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, let's look at the good, the bad and the ugly of it, right Fred?

Look, the truth is he might have received heads up from law enforcement that he had a surrender date as of whatever date, whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday, and that he had to turn himself in to law enforcement by then or face an arrest, right. Now, that's -- if this were all working normally and accurately, of course, that would be how prosecutors and law enforcement in New York would handle it. Or he is just making it up based on things that he read in the newspaper and there's no way to know either of those things. But to be clear, this is to Polo's point, there's nothing novel about a defendant getting a call from law enforcement prior to being asked to turn himself or herself in.

WHITFIELD: Ok. So then on that first point then when you say, you know, there may be a surrender date and then it might say you face arrest, you know, if you don't comply. So what is usually the gap between that, if he did receive, you know, a surrender date notice of a Tuesday, if you didn't comply right away then would that mean a matter of hours, within the same day, or days or weeks?

WILLIAMS: Oh, within a day. I'm sorry about that. It's within a day it would -- your surrender date is Tuesday. We can arrest you starting what -- you know, maybe a list of time, 5:00 p.m. and at 5:01 p.m. you're subject to arrest.

Now, they may reach out to your attorney or they may try to get you to come in, but no you are subject to being arrested by NYPD cops or whomever else as soon as that surrender moment or date passes.

WHITFIELD: Ok. So any potential indictment or arrest would stem from the probe of Trump's alleged hush money payment to former adult film star Stormy Daniels. Are we talking about a misdemeanor or a felony?

WILLIAMS: It could be either. You know, under New York state law there is a -- admitted to practice in New York. There's a misdemeanor for business record violations. He could be charged with that. If, in fact, those business, admits to sort of lying or misrepresenting on business records was in furtherance of committing a crime which here might be campaign finance or campaign violations, then it bumps up to a felony with a four-year maximum prison sentence.

But it's just hard to know and this is to Katelyn Polantz's point earlier in the segment, we don't really know other than what sort of leaked what the former president might be being investigated for right now.

WHITFIELD: All right. So I'm going to have to ask you, you know, to put into context a lot of this because the indictment and, you know, potential indictment and potential arrest of a former president for criminal charges, you know, is unprecedented.

But help people understand kind of the journey here because it has been a case, you know, for a very long time. It was the beginning of his presidency, during the campaign when a lot of this came to light.

So what does this tell you about now potentially there might be an arrest or surrender date? What does it tell you about the case potentially?

WHITFIELD: Yes, absolutely, the event of this case stretch back six or seven years. It is not like someone commits a crime yesterday and you go and arrest them.

So number one, it is a very long saga if it end up in an arrest or a prosecution over what might be a misdemeanor that happened six or seven years ago. Now, certainly there's a great deal of public interest in the matter, but it is a relatively older matter.

But again, it is significant, and although logistically complicated I think to arrest a former president of the United States, you've got Secret Service everywhere tracking (INAUDIBLE). So all of this creates a bit of a mess both legally and practically.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. Then that brings me to would Secret Service assist in his surrendering?

WILLIAMS: They should. They would receive -- again we have never seen this before -- but they would receive notification from the New York -- whether it is the state troopers, you know, the NYPD about, yes, we intend to have this person surrender himself or get arrested on this date. And law enforcement agencies talk to each other all the time about such things.

Now again, you don't ever really see the circumstance of a former president being arrested but that's how it would work if it were working correctly.

WHITFIELD: Ok. and then of course, there's a lot behind the scenes that we really don't know about. But we have at least learned that Trump and his legal team are now trying to make some changes, that Trump's team might be consider hiring a new kind of TV-friendly lawyer who can handle all of this particularly, maybe try to dictate what kind of media coverage might come with this.


WHITFIELD: So how might this play into court of opinion, you know, if it came down to a charge, if it came down to a jury trial? How might all of that potentially even influence perspective jurors?

WILLIAMS: Look, the court of opinion and the court of law are two different courts, but they both really do matter. At the end of the day what happens in court will be based on facts and law and whether prosecutors can establish that the individual committed, you know, x, y and z acts beyond a reasonable doubt.

The simple fact is we live in the real world and it is a former president being charged with a crime and there's a public relations element to all of it. The former president's statements on social media or public speeches are relevant and how his attorneys appear or perform publicly will also be scrutinized. So I'm not shocked at all that a high-profile defendant would hire counsel with an eye toward winning the hearts and minds, for lack of a better way to put it, of the public.

WHITFIELD: Yes. all right. We'll leave it there for now. We'll be talking more about it.

Elliot Williams, thanks so much.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Turning now to Ukraine and the shock waves after an arrest warrant was issued for Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes. The International Criminal Court is accusing Putin and Russia's children's rights commissioner of creating a scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy welcomed that announcement.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is a historic decision that will lead to historic responsibility. More than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of Ukrainian children by the occupier have already been recorded.

But the real, full number of deportees may be much higher. Such a criminal operation would have been impossible without the order of the highest leader of the terrorist state.


WHITFIELD: Even as the charges were announced, there has been no let- up in the war particularly in eastern Ukraine. And now the head of the mercenary Wagner Group, which has led Russia's intense fight to capture Bakhmut, says he plans to recruit 30,000 additional fighters by mid May. CNN's David McKenzie is in Kyiv for us. So David, how would the ICC

actually get Putin to face these accusations now that the warrant is out?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it is certainly very significant that this warrant was put out to accuse Putin and his deputy there of this forced deportation of children, a very serious war crime that has very serious implications, but they don't have a police force. They can't go swooping into Russia and pick up the president there. Unless there was a significant change of politics in Russia, they certainly wouldn't hand Putin over to the Hague.

So what the ICC does, it depends on other countries that are a part of the Rome Statute, the treaty that governs this International Criminal Court, to pick him up should he travel. So it further isolates Vladimir Putin with noting that, of course, Russia isn't part of the ICC treaty, and that is why they're saying they have no say in the matter, annoys the U.S. or several other countries.

And the track record of getting heads of state accused of these kind of crimes to the dock is not great for the ICC. But they say it is still important to pursue justice, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then are there other cases that prosecutors might be working on?

MCKENZIE: There are many different cases here all the time across Ukraine. You remember the awful stories here around Kyiv and Bucha and Irpin where there have been consistent accusations of war crimes against civilians in the early days of the war. That has extended with accusations of targeting civilian infrastructure.

Just since we have been here, this time in Kyiv you see that almost on a weekly basis when missiles are striking residential areas of this country. That also could constitute a war crime.

Now, you could expect and the prosecutor of the ICC hinted at more accusations coming from that court, but there are investigations and forensic experts on the ground here in Ukraine all the time looking into these horrible alleged crime by the Russian president and those that are underneath him in the chain of command. Different kinds of alleged crime have different weights of evidence against them, and so it is important, say international lawyers and human rights experts to continue gathering this evidence even as the atrocities continue, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. David McKenzie in Ukraine, thanks so much.

So that's most of what concerns the ICC issue. Now let's talk about the other issue with that mercenary group.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling is with us now. He is a CNN military analyst and former commanding general U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army. So good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So the head of that mercenary group, Wagner, you know saying that he wants to recruit 30,000 more soldiers by the middle of May. What does that tell you about its endurance, about depletion or its strength?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well Fred, first I would say the reason he has to recruit 30,000 more is because he has had so many of his former, quote-unquote, "soldiers" -- And I'll use that in quotes because they are professional mercenaries. They have very little soldierly training.

He has lost the majority of them in several other battles that have occurred lately. Up to 80 percent casualties as he has thrown human waves, one after another in the area of the Donbas against the Ukrainian forces.

Most of those have been prisoners that he has "recruited", quote- unquote, from jails throughout Russia. So it is going to be very difficult for him to recruit 30,000 more as well as to supply them with arms and equipment. And at the same time Mr. Putin has suggested he is attempting to mobilize anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 more.

So there's this great desire to have more manpower to throw at the meat grinder that they've established in the Donbas and in other places of Ukraine. You know, you have also seen a brain drain of citizens leaving Russia who are between the ages of 18 and 34 that would normally be the kind of people they would like to recruit. They're getting the heck out of the country because they don't want to go to war.

So all of these are compounding problems that are going to make it very difficult for Russia to get the kind of force that they want on the battlefield in the spring.

WHITFIELD: Ok. And on the issue of the International Criminal Court, you know, does that warrant for Vladimir Putin's arrest in any way kind of rattle the cage of Putin or his military?

HERTLING: It absolutely does. David's report was a very good one, but what I would suggest, while there is difficulty extraditing a head of state, it has been done before.

It will, I think, cause not only Mr. Putin but others who have been accused of this violation of the fourth convention of the Geneva Convention which specifically deals with the treatment of women, children, press and journalists in a country. It would certainly cause them to be hesitant in terms of visiting other countries or going outside of Russia.

While Russia says that they will not extradite to the Hague, other countries may. Even though the United States is not a signatory to the ICC Convention that was established in 1998, we could still extradite if Mr. Putin comes to the United States.

And interestingly enough, Russia is about to take over the lead of the Security Council in the U.N., which will require Mr. Putin to go to New York or send a representative.

But beyond just the formalities of arrest, Fred, you also just have the visuals of a leader of a very large country being charged with a warrant for war crimes.

So Mr. Putin has had a dysfunctional military. His diplomatic efforts around the world have failed. He has been placed as a pariah on the world stage. And now even with President Xi going to Russia on Monday, Xi's got to shake hands with a guy who has just had a warrant issued for his arrest from the Hague. That's pretty significant --


WHITFIELD: And you think that could -- and you think that could potentially change the dynamic of how China -- how China's Xi, you know, approaches, interacts with, potentially makes promises to or does business with Russia?

HERTLING: Well, I think there's a couple of things that are going to affect President Xi's relationship with Russia. First of all, he has been warned by the United States not to give kinetic (ph) or lethal aid to Russia. Secondly, he knows that he might see some sanctions and be considered a part of the partnership.

But President Xi in my view is playing both ends. He would like nothing more than for this war to continue because it gives him space to maneuver. Both the Russian military, the United States and NATO are distracted by what is going on in Ukraine, so they're not going to pay as much attention to Russia -- excuse me, to China, and that's going to lead to -- in President Xi's favor in my view.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. General Mark Hertling, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

HERTLING: Thanks, Fred. Good to be with you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead this hour, billions for a back stop. 11 big banks pledge a total of $30 billion in cash deposits for struggling First Republic Bank. So why has Moody's just down graded the bank's credit rating?

Plus, a seaweed blob twice the width of the United States is heading toward Florida. We will tell you what caused it and how it could impact the beaches in the Sunshine State.


WHITFIELD: And later, if your bracket wasn't busted already, well, it probably is now. How number 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off a historic upset and sent number one seed Purdue packing.


WHITFIELD: All right.

The credit rating of embattled regional bank First Republic Downgraded by Moody's credit rating firm. The move comes one day after the bank landed a $30 billion rescue from a group of big banks.

Moody's says while news of the rescue is positive, First Republic faces a longer term challenge of returning to profitability. But that big bank mega deal is major lifeline for First Republic.

CNN's Christine Romans has more on that.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: A remarkable effort from big American banks to save another bank from ruin. 11 banks, $30 billion -- that's how much money and how many lenders it took to shore up First Republic, preventing another Silicon Valley Bank.


$5 billion each from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citi; $2.5 billion from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; $1 million from U.S. Bank, BNY Mellon, Truist, State Street and PNC.

The mega deal from the mega banks included behind closed door talks between the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Fed Chair Jerome Powell, JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon and the chairman of the FDIC.

The goal: the rescue returns the markets to normal and convinces you at home your money is in safe hands. It capped a fast-moving week of efforts by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and bank executives trying to inject confidence and capital back into the financial system.


WHITFIELD: All right. Christine Romans, thank you so much.

President Biden is calling on congress to act and expand the FDIC's ability to hold banks accountable after this week's banking sector meltdown.

CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright joining me live with the latest on this. Jasmine, so what actually action does the president want to see taken?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Fred. Well, ultimately the president wants accountability and this comes after we saw the administration really put in place those dramatic emergency efforts. And now he is going to Congress saying that they should step in and expand his administration's authority.

I want to read you a statement that he released on Friday. The president said that no one is above the law. Congress must act to impose tougher penalties for senior bank executives whose mismanagement contributed to their institutions failing.

So really here he is going to Congress to ask for three things. First, he wants Congress to expand the FDIC's authority to claw back compensation including gains from stock sales from executives at failed banks like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Next, he wants Congress to strengthen the FDIC's authority to bar executives from holding jobs in the banking industry when their banks enter receivership.

And lastly he is calling on Congress to expand the FDIC's authority to bring fines against executives at Failed banks.

Now, earlier this week the administration really led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen put in place back stops to protect depositors in those two banks that failed last week.

And now we know that $30 billion was infused into the -- by 11 banks into First Republic Bank. But still some concerns here remain.

First, on the practical, whether or not in the future more banks will continue to fail but also on the political side. If that does happen, how will President Biden respond? We know now, Fred, that after 2008, political liability is really the name of the game when it comes to bail-outs. So President Biden here is on a tight rope as his administration really tries to continue to inject confidence into the U.N. banking system for Americans, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jasmine Wright, thanks so much.

All right.

A historic March madness upset.

But they're so happy. Fairleigh Dickinson University, number 16 seed, defeating number 1 seed Purdue University. How did that happen? We have all the details straight ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number 16 has beaten the number s. The number one to fall, Purdue. The number 16 --




WHITFIELD: Fairleigh Dickinson -- if you weren't used to the name, you are now. They pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever in college basketball.

Andy Scholes here with all of it. Oh, my gosh. This was so exciting.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It is why we love the NCAA tournament so much.

WHITFIELD: I know, surprises. SCHOLES: You never know what is going to happen. And this it was an

all-timer by Fairleigh Dickinson, it was an all-time great upset beating 1 seed Purdue. FDU -- they're actually the shortest team in the tournament, Fred. Purdue is the tallest. So this truly was David versus Goliath.

And you're 16th seed, they had just one win, 150 losses against 1 seed coming into this game. But the Knights just hanging tough the entire time. It was Sean Moore coming through in the final moments. Off a steal, he gets it back for the layup on the other end, that put the Knights up by five. Then moments later, Moore, the big three put them up by five again with a minute to go.

The crowd and the students going nuts. Fairleigh Dickinson out of Teaneck, New Jersey gets their first-ever, first round win, knocking out Purdue, 63-58.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's an unbelievable win. I mean you just did something -- that's unbelievable. They just shocked the world and it couldn't happen to a better bunch of guys, a better bunch of fans. My family, the whole place. So we are ecstatic. Unbelievable. We are staying in Columbus. I love it.

SEAN MOORE, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON: It is so great to get this done. People that we could be here and people didn't think we belonged to be here. We just showed people that we could do it, we could do in this tournament with the big dogs. We doing great right now, on going to the next, man.


WHITFIELD: All right.

SCHOLES: I love that their coach is still out of breath.

WHITFIELD: I know. I'm out (INAUDIBLE) -- I'm so excited but this is great.

SCHOLES: And look at the celebration in the locker room. So the Knights, they were 23.5 point underdogs. That made this the biggest upset in NCAA history since the bracket went to 64 teams.

And get this. Fairleigh Dickinson, they shouldn't even be in the tournament. They lost their conference title game to Merrimack, but Merrimack is still transitioning from Division Two so they're not eligible to play in the tournament this so the Knights got in actually on a technicality.

But yes, they certainly made the most of it.

WHITFIELD: They seized on the opportunity.

SCHOLES: They did. They did, Fred. And check this out. This is maybe more resonant, 16 beating on 1; Providence's Clifton Moore is shooting a free throw there (INAUDIBLE) against Kentucky. Watch this. The ball goes around and sits perfectly on top. Has to be like one in 100 million. I don't know if that's ever --


WHITFIELD: and then what?

SCHOLES: They just knocked it off. It obviously didn't count. You see the wedge all the time. You never see the ball just flat-out stop right there. That was pretty incredible.



SCHOLES: Now what was also incredible in the first round. The second round gets going later today, eight games on the schedule beginning with San Diego State taking on another Cinderella, the Furman Paladins. That one tips off in less than an hour from now.

You've got the three remaining number one seeds -- (INAUDIBLE) Houston, Alabama all in action this afternoon and this evening.

And Fred, you know, I have a bone to pick to with the NCAA. I went to the University of Houston. They're a one seed and they have to play in Birmingham, Alabama against Auburn. Do you know what the get-in ticket for that is? It's over $300 because Alabama and Auburn are playing there. So all of their fans are there.


SCHOLES: Popped online at the (INAUDIBLE) today.


SCHOLES: We'll see if that can --


WHITFIELD: But they will hear you cheering them on from miles away. That's ok. And then if they go all the way?

SCHOLES: Goodbye for the Houstons.


WHITFIELD: See you at home.

SCHOLES: But you have to get there first.

WHITFIELD: I know, I know. Well, it is a great journey. All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

WHITFIELD: All right. So this March Madness season is going to look a lot different. It already does and that's because the Supreme Court opened the door for college athletes to receive paid endorsements. So you will see more college basketball stars across some very familiar brands.

CNN Business Reporter Nathaniel Meyerson joining us right now. Nathaniel, so a big payday for the big dogs as they say. Tell us more.

NATHANIEL MEYERSON, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: that's right, Fred. So this year college athletes, they're going to be featured in more brands with big -- some of the big endorsers. College athletes have been saying for years that they should be able to receive paid endorsement deals just like the pros.

And in 2021 the Supreme Court paved the way for college athletes to receive endorsement deals through what are known as NIL deals -- name, image and license agreements.

NIL deals are up 24 percent over the past year. We see more big brands partnering with players like Trayce Jackson Davis from Indiana. He has about an $887,000 endorsement. Zack Edey from Purdue, he has about an $821,000 endorsement. Unfortunately, Purdue got knocked off by Fairleigh Dickinson last night.

And then we also see Drew Timmy from Gonzaga. He has a $626,000 endorsement evaluation. Timmy has been featured in ads from Pringles as well as Beats by Dre, the wireless headphone company. And he is part of Pringles which is a larger campaign.

And then we also see the Fashion Brand Express getting if on some of these endorsement deals. So a much different march madness this year. And expect to see more endorsement deals in the future.

WHITFIELD: Yes. These tall guys making for some really good models. You know what? I bet you some of these Fairleigh Dickinson players might soon get a couple of really good NIL deals now.

We love watching the NCAA for a variety of reasons, but it costs employers in lost productivity, right, we're just so distracted?

MEYERSON: We're very distracted during this time of year, Fred. All of the time filling out our brackets, doing the research, just to see the brackets get busted, you know, right into the tournament. And then watching the games during work hours, it is costing employers in lost productivity. Lost productivity up to $17.3 billion this year -- that's up a billion dollars from a year ago.

And that's because we have more Americans working than they did a year ago. Wages are also up. So that's increasing lost productivity, and we are spending more time researching our brackets.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. That's big money when you put it that way.

All right. Nathaniel Meyerson, thanks so much. Still ahead, this could cost a lot of places some big money. Florida

facing a double environmental threat that could put a big damper on this tourist season. Details straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. Starting tomorrow abortion under most circumstances will be a felony in the state of Wyoming. The sweeping piece of legislation only makes exceptions for cases of incest, sexual assault, when the mother's life is in danger or when the unborn child has a lethal fetal anomaly.

Anyone found guilty of violating the law can face up to five years in prison and a possible fine of $20,000.

Wyoming is also outlawing the abortion pill making it unlawful to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use an abortion pill. The punishment if found guilty, up to six months behind bars and a fine of up to $9,000. That law goes into effect July 1st.

All right. A family in Memphis is now pleading for justice months after their son died while in police custody. A warning, some of what you are about to see is disturbing.

Video surveillance taken on October 5th from inside the Shelby County jail shows Gershun Freeman lunging out of his cell at guards and then getting into a violent encounter with correctional officers, as you see right there.

Officers beat him in multiple locations inside the jail over the course of five minutes. An autopsy says Freeman died by homicide. And now his family is demanding that those involved be held accountable.

CNN's Isabel Rosales is here with more of this. So extrapolate more about this video, which is disturbing.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, incredibly disturbing. And Fred, what it shows is a brawl -- a violent and bloody and extensive brawl between corrections officers and Gershun Freeman that lasted about five minutes and it ended in his death. This case is drawing national attention in a city already grappling with the police beating death of Tyre Nichols earlier this year.


ROSALES: Now, we're going to show you other portions of this overall 13-minute video that was edited and handed to us by the Nashville district attorney's office. This is back from October 2022 when this happened.

But we want to give another warning to this. The images there are extremely graphic.

So it starts with correction officers, you can see right there opening the jail cell to Freeman to deliver food.

And then he lunges out at them and you see the officers wrestling with him, beating him and at some point knocking him to the ground. All of the other officers, corrections officers, see what starts to happen and they crowd into that hallway.

All in all about ten officers go into that hall, a big scuffle happens here. We see throughout the course of this video, several officers beating and appear to be pepper spraying Freeman to the ground.

At one point Freeman does get up and goes up to the second floor of this jail through an elevator. Several guards attempt to again -- and there it is, the escalator right there getting to a different portion of the cell.

And then they attempt to wrestle him to the ground to restrain him and we see Freeman swinging at these correction officers. They restrain him to the ground, handcuff him, lay him on his stomach. At some point he becomes limp and unresponsive and we do see medical personnel arriving there.

Now, according to an autopsy that we received from CNN affiliate WHBQ Memphis 13 News from the Shelby County medical examiner's office, they found that Freeman had multiple cuts and bruises throughout his body. The report found that probably psychotic disorder likely was a contributing condition to his death.

But cause of death here was cardiovascular disease made worse by this physical altercation. It does classify his death as a homicide, but this is an important note here, the report says it, quote, "does not -- it is not meant to definitively indicate criminal intent".

So attorney Bryce Timmons (ph), an attorney to the family of Freeman said that Shelby County jail has a serious lack of mental health resources that need to be made better for the inmates.

We also saw attorney Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, saying and calling this video alarming. Listen.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I don't know what is happening in America where law enforcement feels that they can treat mental health issues like criminal issues, especially if they're marginalized people of color, especially if they are black men.

Today we are going to start to ring the alarm in America that mental health crisis should not mean the death sentence if the color of your skin is black.

KIMBERLY FREEMAN, GERSHUN FREEMAN'S MOTHER: They go home every night to their family, whereas for me and my granddaughter, we have to see my son, her father, in a box. We want answers. Bring those people to the front of the courthouse.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROSALES: And I do want to note that the reason we saw Freeman naked in that footage, according to the family attorneys, is because he was on suicide watch.

I so want to also include this real quick, a statement from Sheriff Floyd Bonner of Shelby County saying, quote, "It is unfortunate that this case is being tried in the media before a review is complete," Fred.

WHITFIELD: I was going to ask you about that because I'm like, he is naked. So that's another level of vulnerability that we saw there.


WHITFIELD: All right. Isabel Rosales, thank you very much. We appreciate that.

And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Tourism season in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean is facing a huge threat -- a gigantic blob of smelly seaweed floating in the Atlantic, and it's washing up on beaches in the region.

Leyla Santiago shows us how the Florida shores are already being impacted.


JOE KAPLAN, RESIDENT, KEY WEST, FLORIDA: It's thick, in the summer time builds up, and smells terrible.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe Kaplan captured these images about a week ago, massive amounts of seaweed washing up at Smathers Beach, a beach he knows well because he walks it several times a week.

KAPLAN: I was shocked when I saw it that day where it wasn't even spring yet. It's still winter which is very unusual.

CHUANMIN HU, USF COLLEGE OF MARINE SCIENCE: And this is about a 5,000=mile long.

SANTIAGO: Professor Chuanmin Hu is one of the leading experts on what many have referred to as a massive blob of seaweed heading to Florida's coast.

Fair to call it a blob?

HU: Nope.

SANTIAGO: No, we can't call it a blob. Ok.

HU: I would never call that a blob. SANTIAGO: Ok. Why?

HU: Because it's not.

SANTIAGO: Satellite images he says show it's not one massive body of seaweed. Rather, a bunch of patchy clumps traveling from West Africa. It's called the Atlantic Sargassum Belt and it's considered a natural phenomenon.

Right now it's twice the width of the U.S. carrying 6 million tons of seaweed and headed to the East Coast.

HU: In June of this year, it may turn into 20 million pounds.

SANTIAGO: So let me get this straight. This, what we're seeing the last month, is 6 million tons and it's going to get bigger.

HU: Yes. There's no way to stop that. This is nature. Just like no one can stop a hurricane.

SANTIAGO: Should we be worried about that?

HU: No.


HU: The reason is the sargassum is not toxic.

SANTIAGO: But it's still pretty bad. It's a nuisance for those trying to keep beaches clean to attract tourists.


SANTIAGO: Just a few years ago, here's what it looked like in Mexico.

Officials in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, have set aside more than $200,000 to clean and remove sargassum from its beaches.

DAN MATTHEWS, MISS CHIEF FISHING CHARTERS: Seaweed is a mixed blessing. We need it. The seaweed is a nursery for all these large pelagic fish.

The negative side to that seaweed is if it comes into concentrations that I believe we're going to see, our fishing grounds are going to be completely covered with it. There's almost no point to fishing because we're going to be spending the entire day cleaning weed off our lines.

SANTIAGO: And there's as the sargassum belt heads toward Florida, another natural phenomenon is already hitting its beaches on the West Coast, red tide. It can be toxic, kill fish and cause respiratory issues.

This year's red tide concerns were enough to cancel at least one major event here in Indian Rocks where one family visiting told us --

MARGO SAGE, CANADIAN TOURIST: As soon as my son and my husband and I got out of our car, we all started coughing.

SANTIAGO: But for sunbathers like this group from Iowa, the concerns of massive amounts of seaweed or red tide were not enough to change vacation plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would rather it be red tide than raining every day.

SANTIAGO: Tourists noting friends back home --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May be pretty jealous regardless of having a little of the red tide symptoms. They'd be pretty jealous that we're here and they're not.

SANTIAGO: Because the pristine beaches of the Sunshine State are hard to resist for many, despite what may be looming offshore.


WHITFIELD: All right. Leyla Santiago, thank you so much for that.

All right. still to come, former president Donald J. Trump says he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and is calling for protests. Details straight ahead.