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Biden And Trump Delivers Different Easter Messages; Driver Narrates Experience Moments Before The Bridge Collapsed In Baltimore; Coast Guard Working On The Collapsed Bridge In Baltimore; Mass Shooting In Indianapolis Injures Seven Children; SNL Roasting Trump's Bibles. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 31, 2024 - 17:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the "CNN Newsroom." Thanks for being here. I'm Omar Jimenez in New York. Tonight, the two candidates for president are delivering very different messages this Easter Sunday. Joe Biden is wishing Christians everywhere a Happy Easter and saying, quote, "with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security and dignity for all people."

Donald Trump, on the other hand, lashing out with dozens of angry posts in all caps on Truth Social, blasting his political opponents, prosecutors and judges, saying, in part, "Happy Easter to all, including those many people I completely and totally despise because they want to destroy America." This, of course, just a day after sharing an image of his political opponent, Joe Biden, tied up and bound in the back of a pickup truck.

Trump tonight is appearing to test the limits of his gag order in the New York money case where he's going to face trial in two weeks. Trump is also ramping up attacks against the judge in that case. Judge Juan Marchand's daughter posting a link to an article showing her picture just days after attacking her as a, quote, "rabid Trump hater." So, here now to discuss this and more is CNN senior political commentator and former senior adviser for President Obama David Axelrod.

So, David, look, a lot of times on holidays like these, we do see contrasting messages between former President Trump and others in high office. What do you make of these two very different Easter messages?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think Trump is nothing if not consistent in the fact that he -- I mean, he marked Christmas in much the same way. He takes these holidays and he turns them into prophecies of catastrophe ahead unless he's elected. And, you know, this is this is how he rolls. This is his message that the world is doomed, that the country is doomed unless he is elected and everything's going badly. And, you know, he's the strong man who can change it.

And, you know, I mean, this is sort of baked in the cake. The thing about the judge and his daughter is something we should spend some time on, though. You know what he's clearly doing, he's got a trial coming up in late April. That trial could very well end in a conviction, a felony conviction for him that carries with it significant penalties. I think he's concerned about that.

And what he is doing is what he always does, which is he is branding it. He's branding it as a vendetta, a political conspiracy. He's trying to link the judge to Biden through his daughter's political consulting firm. And he's trying to cast doubt about the whole process so that if it does go against him, that he can dismiss the whole thing as a political vendetta. And he's going to keep talking that up.

The danger, Omar, is that people listen to this. And he put the judge's photograph in his feed. And, you know, these are -- this is very, very dangerous. I mean, we saw it happen before the midterm elections, the attack on Paul Pelosi intended for Nancy Pelosi. You know, people take his word seriously. We saw it happen on January 6th.


AXELROD: You know, where he incited a mob. So, to storm the Capitol. I worry about as these trials ratchet up, as the race ratchets up, that we're going to see violence because he seems to be intent -- intending to incite it.

JIMENEZ: Well, and on that point, look, this is an election year. And as you mentioned, this is a lot of how Trump rolls. So, if you're President Biden and President Biden's campaign, how do you counter the dark rhetoric and violent threats from a political standpoint?


AXELROD: Yeah, well, look, I think that the second part is most important. I think that Biden has a role as a president and a candidate. Someone once said that good government is good politics. This is a case in which it's true. He and not just the president, but all those who support him and all those in positions to speak out should be speaking out about this.

I mean, what it does remind people is what you're buying with Donald Trump. You know, you're buying this kind of incendiary rhetoric, this dark, menacing rhetoric that divides and incites. But it's also important as president of the United States to try and calm things down.

And I think he should be very, very clear that, you know, we can compete and we can have competing visions. What we shouldn't be doing is inciting people to the point of violence and putting innocent people at risk. And that's what President Trump or former President Trump is doing with his rhetoric.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. And look, I want to -- there is this this fascinating or I think will be significant group of voters that we will see this year. It's those that are done with Trump, but of course, are not quite ready to jump on to Biden. I mean, a lot of Nikki Haley supporters come to mind.

And for one, former secretary -- former Defense Secretary Mark Esper was on this show last night. He said he's absolutely not voting for Trump. But again, he's not quite there on voting for Biden. So how do you bridge that gap from a Biden campaign standpoint to win over what we've already seen over the course of the primary process to be a substantial amount of voters here?

AXELROD: Well, I'll tell you something. Trump is helping. One of the questions is now that the race is in a general election context and Trump is getting general election coverage, are people going to be reminded of the reasons why they can't vote for him and push to the point where, given the choice between Trump, who they can't abide as a person and as a political leader and Biden with whom they may have policy differences, where do they fall?

I think Trump could push him in that direction. I do think Biden -- Jonathan Martin wrote a column in the "Politico" on Friday asking why Biden wasn't contacting more of these Republican leaders who have said they can't be for Biden.

And what he can't do is promise them that they're going to agree on every issue although certainly with Mark Esper, they probably have more in common on national security issues than Esper had with Trump.

But they do agree on the fact that democracies rest on fundamental rules and laws and norms and institutions. And, you know, there's a big difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, who very, very recklessly would tear those down.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. Yeah. And look, while there have been criticisms and in regards to Biden, while there have been criticisms and expirations of how much enthusiasm there actually is, there's no mistaking that just this past fundraising haul at the event this past week with former presidents Obama and Clinton, they raised a record $26 million there. That comes on top or I should say, adding to what has been a large fundraising haul.

So, what does that say to you? How significant is that number to you? And what does that say to you about what needs to be done over the course of this election year?

AXELROD: Well, look, it's very significant. I don't think money persuades people to vote. You know, I think people made the mistake of treating the event on Thursday as some kind of message event. It wasn't a good message event for Biden, a bunch of wealthy people at Radio City Music Hall. There were some low dollar donors there as well, and a star-studded event. That's not going to win him many votes.

But the money that he raised is significant because what that allows you to do is build organization in these battleground states. He's down the road to doing that. I think perhaps they should have started sooner, but they're doing it now.

There was just a piece -- I'm in Arizona right now -- there was just a piece here this week about how the Republican Party and the organization of the Republican Party is in tatters in this state because of divisions that Trump has helped propagate. But they have virtually no field organization here in one of the key

battleground states. I think you'll find the same is true in Michigan and several other states. Trump has money problems. He has money problems because he's not raising money.

A lot of the Republican donors have been turned off by his behavior and by the threat of these indictments and by their sense of what he would be as a second -- in the second round of his presidency. But he's also siphoning off money to pay for his legal bills, which are enormous.


I think I saw $100 million already, and the bulk of it may still yet to come. And some of the money that he's raising right now is going to go to pay those legal bills. So, that is an advantage that the Biden campaign has.

It also obviously translates into the ability to run media and ads in key states, which I'm sure they'll begin to do shortly. So, there are a lot of things that you can do if you have the resources to do it. And Biden will have it. It's really an open question as to whether Trump does.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. Yeah. Look, a lot of factors at play. That's why I'm glad we've got you here. David Axelrod, thanks so much for being with us.

AXELROD: Great to see you, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Great to see you.

AXELROD: Happy Easter to everyone.

JIMENEZ: Happy Easter. All right. Still ahead and new tonight, we hear from a man who was one of the last people to cross Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge moments before the catastrophic collapse. He tells me he's lucky to be alive and we have his story next as the work to cut and remove the first portion of the bridge wreckage is underway.

Plus, former President Trump is selling USA Bibles. We're hearing from a pastor this Easter, though, as some Christians say they're put off by this latest marketing scheme. You're on the "CNN newsroom." Stay with us.



JIMENEZ: New tonight. Lucky to be alive. I spoke with a man who says he was one of the last people to cross Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge moments before the catastrophic collapse. Now, this eerie video taken from a traffic camera shows the final vehicles crossing the bridge last Tuesday morning. Larry DeSantis tells me his pickup truck was among them. The local baker says he was commuting to his early morning shift and

estimates he made it within the final few minutes before the Dali hit one of the bridge's key supports, sending it crumbling into the river.


LARRY DESANTIS, DROVE ACROSS THE BRIDGE MOMENTS BEFORE COLLAPSE: I didn't even realize the bridge had collapsed, but I had gotten over the bridge and someone called me like maybe two minutes later and said, where are you at? That was my other job calling. I said, well, I just went over to bridge. I said, well, you know, the bridge has collapsed. And I'm like, I was really shocked. I didn't have any idea of it.

JIMENEZ: When you watch that video and you saw your truck, it must have been one of the last, if not the last vehicle to go.

DESANTIS: There was one other vehicle behind me. It was a tractor. He didn't have a trailer because I actually got in front of him right as we started to go over the bridge. And that was -- I never saw another vehicle after that.

JIMENEZ: What was your reaction when you actually eventually saw the video and just saw the whole bridge?

DESANTIS: I just couldn't believe it. I mean, it looked like a toy just, you know, falling into the water in a way that it just -- I still can't believe it. I mean, I keep looking to see, you know, see if it's still there and it's just not. It's hard to believe that just that quick.


JIMENEZ: And still almost a week later, there's a lot that needs to be done. Major developments on the ground today, including the Coast Guard says the first section of the collapsed bridge has been removed from the water. A crane is working on removing other pieces, but as you can see, there is a lot there.

Today, Maryland's governor is telling CNN, this is an intricate process that will take time. Officials have said they hope to create a temporary shipping channel around the wreckage. So at least the ships can still get in and out of the very busy port. CNN's Gloria Pazmino joins us live from the scene. Now, Gloria, you toured an area near the crash site with the Coast Guard. What did you see? What did you learn?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Omar, we got very close earlier today and we were able to take it all in. Just how massive this ship is and how complicated this operation is going to be over the next several days.

We have watched the video of the so, you can see how fast it happens. But when you get up close to the dally and you see just how massive it is, it still has hundreds of containers on top of it. Some of them are bent like an accordion. You have pieces of metal that are hanging on top of the ship. They're

going to have to remove all of that. And it's going to take a lot of work. They're going step by step to try and make sure they can make it happen as soon as possible, because as you said, they're trying to reopen a part of the port, a part of the waterway so that the port can get back up and running.

I want you to take a look at just how much we were able to see today and just to really get an idea of what's at stake here.


So, you can see we have been able to get extremely up close to the wreckage of the Dali and we're starting to really get an appreciation and a sense of just how massive this job is going to be. You're looking at 4,000 tons of steel and concrete that are sitting on top of that bow.

That is going to be the most complicated part of this operation, moving all of that debris and taking it off the ship so that they can begin this cleanup process. And then there's everything that's laying below the surface, the part that we can't see. There is more metal, more concrete, more debris in the water.


And that's going to be critical because they have to be able to make that safe for the divers whose mission it is to get back into the water and continue searching to attempt to recover the bodies of those who were lost.

But as we're sitting here, you know, now finally being able to really see it and get up close to it, you really just get a sense of the enormity of the job at hand.


Omar, we know that the families of those who were killed in this accident are waiting and hoping that the divers can get back into the water as soon as possible. They remain hopeful that they will be able to recover the remains of their loved ones.

We have spoken to some of the family members who have told us that that is their only hope, the one thing that they're holding on to so that they can get to have a proper goodbye after losing their loved ones in this tragic, horrible way.

So, divers waiting, standing by, as soon as it is safe for them, they will go back into the water and continue to carry out that mission. And that part of it is still very much in the minds of all of the people that are working in this area, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are hundreds of people that are working around the clock to make sure this gets done. They're thinking of them. They're thinking of the people of Baltimore that want to see this get cleaned up and hopefully have recovery sometime soon. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Yeah. And of course, as people remember, there are still families at the center of this all trying to process the loss of their loved ones. But of course, on the other side of things, a really big job ahead, which you just did a great job highlighting the massive scale that needs to be done there. Gloria Pazmino reporting tonight in Baltimore. Appreciate it.

Meanwhile, at least seven children between the ages of 12 and 17 are recovering following a mass shooting in Indianapolis outside of a downtown mall. Police say a large group gathered Saturday night when officers on patrol nearby heard several shots fired. This is now the third weekend in a row a mass shooting has happened in Indianapolis.

Again, the definition of a mass shooting is a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter. I want to get right to CNN's Ivan Rodriguez to bring us up to date. So, Ivan, what are you hearing and what are you learning about this latest incident here?

IVAN RODRIGUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Omar, Indianapolis police says that they rushed to the scene and found a large group of children, seven of them with gunshot wounds. Luckily, they were in the area at the time when they heard the shots. Now, right now, all of them are recovering from their injuries and no arrests have been made so far.

But we do want to show you this map showing the locations and the dates of all the recent mass shootings in Indianapolis. All of the shootings are within 25 minutes of each other, although they're not connected. On March 16th, a nightclub shooting left one person dead and five others injured. The following weekend, one person was killed and five others, including an off-duty Indianapolis Metro police officer, were injured after a shooting outside a bar early Sunday morning.

And now last night, an incident involving youth violence. Officials say more than 25 officers were patrolling the area Saturday for police to prevent this type of activity from happening. They also say any dispute should never lead to this level of violence.


CHRIS BAILEY, CHIEF, INDIANAPOLIS POLICE: It starts at home. That's the first place. You can look to the police all you want to try to solve these things. And like the chief said, we have plenty of resources in downtown Indianapolis on the weekends to deal with our issues and yet this just occurred.

TANYA TERRY, DEPUTY CHIEF, INDIANAPOLIS POLICE: Conflict should not lead to somebody pulling out a gun and trying to resolve it. The consequences are eternal, okay. We've got to learn how to talk to each other. We've got to learn how to resolve conflict in different ways.


RODRIGUEZ: Deputy Chief Tanya Terry also says they believe multiple firearms were involved, but it's unclear what led to the shooting or how many people opened fire. Although they didn't provide any information on the nature of the gathering, police have noticed in the evenings a large crowd of young people moving around the downtown area. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Yeah. Ivan, glad you're staying on top of this. Mass shootings continue to be a major issue in this country. Really appreciate it.

Still ahead, "SNL" skewers Donald Trump and his push, his new push to sell Bibles. But some aren't laughing. We're going to talk to a pastor about how some Christians say they are put off by this latest marketing ploy. You're in the "CNN newsroom."



JIMENEZ: Now, if you stayed up to watch "SNL" last night, you got a new twist on the Easter story.


UNKNOWN: What is that noise that comes from within?

UNKNOWN: Look, the stone, it rolls away.

UNKNWOWN: Is it Jesus?

UNKNOWN: Basically, yes. But if you think that this is a bad look, imagine how weird it would be if I started selling Bibles. Well, I'm selling Bibles. Look at this beautiful Bible made from 100 percent Bible. Sounds like a joke, and in many ways, it is, but it's also very real. As you know, I love Bible. It's my favorite book.

It comes with everything you like from Bible, like the story of Easter, which primarily concerns Jesus, not so much the bunny. I kept waiting for the bunny to show up. He never showed up. That's okay. So let us bow our heads, I'm not going to, and say the Lord's Prayer, which we all know very well, me especially.


Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be, be, be, bing, bing, bing, bong, bing, bong, bing, bing, bing, trespass daily bread.


And please lead us into temptation and pay our automobiles.


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Easter Bunny.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ: Now, look, SNL is playing Trump's new role as a Bible salesman for laughs. Some Christians, though, say they are put off by this latest marketing ploy, including Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, pastor at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): The Bible does not need Donald Trump's endorsement. Jesus, in the very last week of his life, chased the money changers out of the temple, those who would take sacred things and use them as cheap relics to be sold in the marketplace.

The sad thing is that none of us are surprised by this. This is what we expect from the former president. If he's not selling us steaks, he's selling us a school, uh, whose degree is not worth the paper that is written on. If he's not selling us a school, he's selling us sneakers. And now he's trying to sell the scriptures.


JIMENEZ: Pastor Doug Pagitt joins us with more. So, pastor, you describe yourself as a progressive evangelical, and I'm curious just from your perspective, what do you make of Donald Trump and this USA Bible?

DOUG PAGITT, PASTOR, SOLOMON'S PORCH: Well, thanks for having me and happy Easter to you and to those for whom that's a meaningful day as it is to me.

But look, Donald Trump is selling a Bible. It has its own sort of comedic bit to it, which we see. And the particular Bible that he's choosing to sell, this USA Bible, this kind of Patriots Bible, makes this selling of the Bible particularly problematic for me as someone who cares a lot about faith and religion and the Bible.

I've spent a lot of time preaching about it, encouraging people to read it, not just buy it. So, there's a lot to be concerned about because of the particular version of Bible that Donald Trump is selling, in addition to the fact that he chose to have a licensing agreement to raise money for the endeavors of his life by selling the Bible.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. I mean, look, it's a USA Bible as he's marketing it. It includes a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, even some lyrics to a Lee Greenwood song. And I know you touched on it a little bit there, but what in particular about those editions do you think just isn't right here?

PAGITT: Look, this is exactly the reason a lot of us are bothered, is that what Donald Trump is selling is a particular version that, as you say, includes the documents from the founding of the United States of America, something that means a lot to us.

I work for an organization called Vote Common Good. We travel the country asking faith voters to make the common good their voting criteria. We think a lot about what it means to be a Christian in America, but what we don't want is a Christian America.

And what Donald Trump is doing is acting and selling -- by selling this Bible, is acting as if the documents of the founding of our country, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, should sit inside the same book as the scriptures of the Christian religion and the Jewish religion. That blending is where the problem really sits.

I've actually known about this version of the Bible for a few years. In fact, a number of us led a protest against a publisher that was going to publish it in 2021, and we --


PAGITT: -- talked with them and met with them. We worked hard to make sure this Bible wasn't being supported by that publishing house, a publishing house that I've published my books with as an evangelical pastor.

So, a lot of us are bothered not only that Donald Trump is pitching a Bible as a sales gimmick, but that he has chosen a Bible that's pushing something a lot of us refer to as Christian nationalism, meaning he's making Christianity and a nationalism perspective blended together. And he has done it now officially by pitching this version of the Bible. So, it's the things that added in, not just the fact that he's selling a Bible.

Look, I wish Donald Trump would spend a lot of time reading the Bible, to tell you the truth. I wish he'd spend a lot of time living out the calls that he would find there. I think it would just be better for him and better for all of us if he were to hear about the things that are in the Bible.

JIMENEZ: And as I understand, I mean, you sometimes attend Trump rallies to talk to some of his supporters. As we know, he has had some strong evangelical Christian support up to this point. And I'm curious, when you go to some of those rallies, when you talk to some of his supporters, what is your message and how is it received?

PAGITT: Well, this is the kind of thing that we've been aware of for a long time as an evangelical leader myself and someone who has been really concerned, that so many evangelicals have supported Donald Trump when he was the very kind of candidate that they spoke about in the past as someone they wouldn't support, and now they're supporting him wholeheartedly.

We've worked hard to invite those evangelical voters and other Christian voters to know they have options to not vote for Donald Trump and to remain solidly in their faith, like a lot of us are doing.


So that's the work that we do. And a lot of people will tell us when we say, but what do you think about this? You as a Christian, do you think Donald Trump reflects your Christian values? They'll say things like this. Well, I don't really think he does, but his policies do or the things he supports are in line with my thinking.

So, these are not people who are even buying the idea that Donald Trump is he himself a person of deep personal faith. They don't really care. They just think they're going to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Now, here's the funny thing. Donald Trump isn't pitching a Bible because he wants people to read the Bible. He's selling the Bible as a moneymaking effort in this licensing agreement that he has with this version of the Bible. And frankly, he's trying to message to Christians as if he's the candidate that supports the Bible.

Now, I don't want any of our candidates out supporting the Bible, to be frank with you, like I think our religion and our Christianity for the good of both of our politics and our Christianity for the good of both need to make sure they're keeping a close eye on the behavior of the other, but they shouldn't be wedded together the way that they are.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, well, pastor, you got a tall task ahead of you, if that's your hope in an election year, but it sounds like you're already well on your way to making some progress in what you do. I really appreciate you being with us this Easter.

PAGITT: And I know, you know, as a guy who's here to tell people, you know, Donald Trump shouldn't be plugging the Bible. You know, I'm not going to tell him about, you know, only go to to know about this. But if they are interested in this kind of work and standing up against Christian nationalism, we'd love to know about him over at So, thanks a lot.

JIMENEZ: All right. All right, pastor, thank you so much for being with us.

Still ahead, the trial for "Doomsday" author Chad Daybell starts -- is set to start tomorrow. We're going to take a look at the gruesome capital murder case ahead. You're in the "CNN Newsroom."



JIMENEZ: Now, it was a case that captivated America. Capital murder, conspiracy and claims of apocalyptic religious beliefs. Tomorrow, Chad Daybell's triple murder trial will finally begin in Boise, beginning with jury selection. Now, he's charged with conspiring with his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, to kill her two children and his first wife. Lori Daybell, who was dubbed the "Doomsday Mom," was convicted last year in the same case and was sentenced to life in prison.

So, I want to bring in CNN's Camila Bernal. Camila, what can we expect to see this week?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Omar. So first, a very meticulous jury selection, and then a very long trial. This could last between eight to 10 weeks. You know, we followed Lori Vallow Daybell's case. And in her case, we heard from people who knew the couple, who talked about, you know, this Doomsday, very extreme religious belief. And then we also heard from FBI agents and law enforcement officials who described finding the bodies. So very gruesome details that we're expecting to hear, probably bizarre and very chilling evidence in this case.


UNKNOWN: State of Idaho versus Chad Guy Daybell.

BERNAL (voice-over): A high-stakes trial with the death penalty on the table if convicted. Prosecutors say Chad Daybell killed two of his stepchildren and his first wife, motivated by power, sex, money, and apocalyptic religious beliefs.


BERNAL (voice-over): Murder and conspiracy charges.

DAYBELL: Not guilty.

BERNAL (voice-over): All of them, the same plea.

DAYBELL: Not guilty.

BERNAL (voice-over): His wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, was convicted of the same murders in May of last year.

UNKNOWN: Answer, guilty. Answer, guilty.

BERNAL (voice-over): And on Monday, it's Chad Daybell's turn to be tried. Prosecutors say Tylee Ryan, who was 16, and J.J. Vallow, who was 7, were last seen on different days in September of 2019. Then, in October, they alleged Daybell killed his then-wife Tammy, who was initially believed to have died in her sleep. Less than three weeks after her death, he married Lori Vallow.

UNKNOWN: The search continues for two missing children.

BERNAL (voice-over): The children's disappearance captured the nation's attention in late 2019, when Daybell and Vallow abruptly left Idaho after police started asking questions.

UNKNOWN: Just tell us where your kids are.

BERNAL (voice-over): The couple was found in Hawaii in January of 2020. That June, a gruesome discovery. The remains of Tylee and J.J. were found on Daybell's property. Daybell's preliminary hearings have already given a preview of the evidence against him.

STEVE DANIELS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Eventually, we uncovered the entire body that was wrapped in this black plastic bag with a lot of duct tape.

BERNAL (voice-over): And in Vallow-Daybell's trial, prosecutors said the two believed themselves to be religious figures who had a system of rating people as light or dark and used their doomsday religious beliefs to justify the killings. During her sentencing, Vallow-Daybell doubled down on her religious beliefs.

LORI VALLOW DAYBELL, CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER, CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT FIRST-DEGREE MURDER: Jesus Christ knows that no one was murdered in this case. Accidental deaths happen.

STEVEN BOYCE, JUDGE, IDAHO DISTRICT COURT: You justified all of this by going down a bizarre religious rabbit hole, and clearly you are still down there.


BERNAL (voice-over): She was sentenced to spend her life in prison. But now the question is whether Chad Daybell's defense will also include these beliefs or if he will turn on his wife.


BERNAL (on camera): And Chad Daybell's attorney did speak out and said that his client is ready to tell his story. Now, it's unclear if that means that he will testify in his own defense, but it will be interesting to see what strategy they decide to use.

In Lori's case, her attorneys did not put up any defense witnesses, so it will be really, really astonishing to see what this defense does that's different from Lori's case and really if he either turns against his wife or continues to talk about these very bizarre religious beliefs. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Yeah, we'll see what the next chapter in this gruesome story holds. Camila Bernal, thank you for staying on top of it.

Still ahead, a flurry of conservative legislation in Alabama has some worried about LGBTQ rights in the state. We're going to go there next. You're in the "CNN Newsroom."



JIMENEZ: Alabama has been in the spotlight recently. An anti-diversity and equity and inclusion bill was just signed into law this month. Now, a flurry of conservative legislation, including bills targeting the LGBTQ community, is working its way through the state legislature. CNN's Isabel Rosales spoke with a mother who fought for LGBTQ rights.


ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a sunny spring day, an Alabama mother walks past rows of tombstones.

CAMIKA SHELBY, SON DIED BY SUICIDE AFTER ANTI-GAY BULLYING: Never in a million years did I think I would pull up at home and find my child lifeless.

ROSALES (voice-over): Camika Shelby is here to visit her only son.

SHELBY: Definitely not easy having to plan a funeral for your 15-year- old child.


ROSALES (voice-over): In 22 days, Camika will mark five years since Nigel, remembered as warm and gold-hearted, died by suicide after he was bullied for being gay.

Do you still talk to him?

C. SHELBY: Yeah, yeah. It makes it -- it's like a comfort thing because I believe he can hear me.

ROSALES (voice-over): Last year, she settled a more than $800,000 civil lawsuit with the Huntsville City Board of Education in the death of her son. Part of the deal required several district-wide policy changes to better acknowledge and protect LGBTQ students, including an update to its anti-discrimination policy, specifically prohibiting harassment based on a student's sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Now, she questions whether Nigel's legacy is at risk.

C. SHELBY: If these bills actually go into play, what was I fighting for? Who are these bills actually protecting?

ROSALES (voice-over): In Montgomery, a series of bills are advancing that opponents warn are intended to slowly chip away at LGBTQ rights. One determines gender as dictated by your birth certificate. Another bans non-approved flags, including pride flags, from flying on public property.

Then there's House Bill 130, dubbed as "Don't Say Gay" by opponents. The bill intends to broaden a 2022 law to all public K-12 grade levels and flat-out bans instruction and discussion about gender identity and sexual orientation.

REP. MACK BUTLER (D-AL): This bill just strengthens the law that's already in place and goes a little bit further, making sure that we keep a political agenda or a social agenda out of our schools and let children be children again.

ROSALES (voice-over): HB 130 would also prohibit teachers from displaying flags related to sexual orientation. Groups like the ACLU of Alabama fiercely hitting back against the legislation, saying it would rid Alabama classrooms and students of inclusive discussions.

Republican Mack Butler, who represents the town of Rainbow City, authored the legislation. He argues these conversations belong at home.

BUTLER: We just want the school to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. That's all it's seeking to purify the schools just a little bit.

ROSALES (voice-over): The lawmaker later walking back that purifying of schools' line, saying he misspoke. Camika argues his bill amounts to alienating and erasing students like her son.

C. SHELBY: It's dangerous. You are basically making it official that they don't have a safe space. School is not supposed to be a place that would make a child want to end their life.

ROSALES (voice-over): Representative Neil Rafferty, Alabama's only legislator who publicly identifies as gay, mourns the bill could seriously interfere with the school curriculum in unexpected ways.

REP. NEIL RAFFERTY (D-AL): It is a super problematic bill. It has become so vague that can even talk about Martha Washington being married to George Washington because Martha Washington was a woman, wife, right, who married a man, George Washington. So that's a heterosexual relationship.

ROSALES: That's sexual orientation.

RAFFERTY: That's sexual orientation. Now you're talking about gender identity and sexual orientation.

ROSALES (voice-over): And he questions the motivation for these bills.

RAFFERTY: These are not homegrown Alabama issues. Essentially, these are solutions in search of a problem.

ROSALES (voice-over): As for Camika, her pain and loss still fresh. But in Nigel's name, she fights on.

C. SHELBY: He's no longer here, but there's still a million of him that is here, and it does affect them.


JIMENEZ: Isabel Rosales, thank you for that reporting. And if you or anyone you know is struggling, help is available at the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.


Just call 988. We'll be right back.


JIMENEZ: The Powerball jackpot climbed to nearly a billion dollars after there was no grand prize winner in last night's drawing. It is the fifth largest jackpot so far this year with an estimated cash value of $471 million.


Now, despite there being no Powerball winner, more than 2.3 million tickets won cash prizes on Saturday. The next drawing is, and you're going to have to be careful with this, tomorrow on April Fool's Day. And remember, the overall odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, but it's also going to be April Fool's Day. So, heads up there.

And heads up on this. With all the excitement around the upcoming total solar eclipse, people are trying to cash in by polluting the marketplace with fake eclipse glasses.

Of course, looking directly at a solar eclipse without proper protection can lead to severe eye damage, even blindness. And if your glasses are fake, you're going to know really fast. Regular sunglasses don't cut it. The American Astronomical Society has a list of approved eclipse glasses. You can also find it on

And join CNN for special live coverage of the "Eclipse: Across America," Monday, April 8th at 1 p.m. Eastern or stream it on Max.