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UGA Football Star Charged In Deadly Crash Turns Himself In; Michigan A.G. Says She Was Target Of Plot To Kill Jewish Elected Officials; U.S. Intel Agencies: "Very Unlikely" Foreign Adversaries To Blame For Havana Syndrome. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 02, 2023 - 07:30   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR, HOST, "CNN POLITICAL BRIEFING" PODCAST: -- news organization's mission is to sell lies to its viewers.


CHALIAN: -- and the owner of this company --

LEMON: Right.

CHALIAN: -- just under oath said that that's exactly --


CHALIAN: -- what some of its hosts were doing.

So it's hard to fit it into a traditional news organization. I think it's been a long time since it's been that. It is, though, part of the lifeblood of the Republican Party and we've seen its grasp on Republican voters.

And I just think Paul Ryan is right to note that whatever this next iteration of the Republican Party is Fox is probably going to have to figure out how to be a part of that.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, they absolutely are. And you saw Rupert Murdoch talked about that, too, talking about the transition away from Trump and what that looked like after he lost the election.

David Chalian, you're the best.

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys. So good to be with you.


CHALIAN: I appreciate it.

LEMON: Good to see you, David.

Well, we have to talk about an NFL top prospect turning himself in to police after being charged in a fatal car crash that killed a teammate and a team staffer. New details next.


HARLOW: Welcome back.


University of Georgia football player Jalen Carter surrendered to police late last night. He has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and racing. This all stems from what was a fatal car crash in Athens, Georgia last month that killed his teammate and a team employee.

Nick Valencia has been following all of it this morning. Nick, what can you tell us?


This shocking development coming just minutes before Jalen Carter was expected to speak to reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Overnight, Carter turning himself in to police, but this bombshell revelation may seriously draw into jeopardy Carter's future as a potential number-one pick in next month's NFL draft.


VALENCIA (voice-over): New details emerging from the car crash that killed University of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and team employee Chandler LeCroy. University of Georgia star defensive lineman Jalen Carter was at the scene and spoke to police the night of the accident.

Carter and LeCroy appeared to be racing at high speeds when the LeCroy lost control of the vehicle in the early morning hours of January 15 following celebrations for UGA's second consecutive national championship.

DANIEL DEWITT, GEORGIA BULLDOGS FAN: It's just heartbreaking coming off of a celebratory week. The entire Bulldog Nation is at a -- is at a loss.

VALENCIA (voice-over): According to documents reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter left the crash scene, apparently before the police or emergency medical workers arrived. When he returned an hour and a half later he gave shifting accounts of the wreck as an Athens police officer questioned him about whether he had been racing the car that crashed.

LeCroy was driving at about 104 miles per hour in the 40-mile-per-hour zone, and her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit in Georgia.

According to the Athens-Clarke County Police, the evidence demonstrated that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drive in opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists, and drove at high rates of speed in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other.

Willock was in the car with LeCroy and was thrown from the car and died at the scene. LeCroy died later at the hospital.

Willock's parents were celebrating their son just hours earlier. They received a text from one of UGA's coaches of the accident.

SHARLENE WILLOCK, DEEN WILLOCK'S MOTHER: He's not going to get married. He's not going to have kids. He's not going to live his dream.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Carter is now facing misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing. In a statement after the warrants were issued Carter wrote, "It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me. There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated."

The UGA star is projected to be a top NFL draft pick and is set to appear at an NFL event in Indianapolis Wednesday. An empty podium stood where he was supposed to speak.


VALENCIA: And UGA's head football coach Kirby Smart responded to the charges against Jalen Carter, calling them deeply concerning, especially as the community continues to grieve the loss of Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Nick Valencia, thank you for the reporting.


LEMON: So let's discuss more. Joining us now to talk about this is senior college football writer for The Atlantic (sic), Nicole Auerbach. Nicole, thank you for joining us. This is a fascinating story. Your reaction to Carter turning himself in? What do you think about this?

NICOLE AUERBACH, SENIOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER, THE ATHLETIC, STUDIO ANALYST, BIG TEN NETWORK, HOST, "COLLEGE SPORTS TODAY" ON SIRIUSXM (via Webex by Cisco): Well, I think this was the only option for him moving forward. I think he had to handle these misdemeanors and deal with them before he can really deal with his NFL future.

And that's what was so stunning and shocking about a bombshell like this dropping during the NFL Combine. This is the biggest job interview that these players are ever going to have. And then you have something like this happen. That causes a lot of concerns.

And you have to go handle this. And they are just two misdemeanors so there's a number of different legal outcomes, but you have to make sure that there are no other charges that are going to come -- potential civil suits. There's a lot of legal issues that he needs to work through before a team will feel comfortable drafting him and spending a lot of money to make him the face of their organization. HARLOW: Nicole, one of the main points you've made is about accountability, right? Yes, misdemeanors. Yes, questions to answer. But you maintain there is still a lot to be known about just accountability and responsiveness, especially in a critical moment like this.

AUERBACH: Yes. I would like to know, and I think a lot of people would like to know a lot more information about that night. What led to -- led up to the incident, led up to the racing.

And also, again, that information about did Jalen Carter do when the police needed to talk to him. Did he leave the scene as the AJC reported before he came back? And what were all of those decisions? Because you're talking about trusting someone to be the face of your NFL organization and you need to who they are as a decisionmaker, their maturity -- all of those types of issues.

And also, what happens when tragedy strikes? How do you handle that? How do you become accountable for your actions in that situation?

So I think a lot of people have a lot of questions about everything that unfolded that night and need to get some answers.


COLLINS: Yes, a lot of questions.


So can we -- can I ask you then what exactly does this mean for the draft then because it kind of seems very -- he's supposed to be very high up in the draft, right? So what does it mean? Does it just sort of throw everything not really into chaos but it certainly moves things around.

AUERBACH: Well, we have seen with the NFL that if you're a good enough player sometimes it doesn't matter what happens off the field. You've seen that with Deshaun Watson. We've seen that with other players who have had red-flag situations or even documented cases in the criminal system that have been given chances at high-profile, high-paid situations in the NFL.

Jalen Carter could be that all-pro type of defensive tackle. I mean, he is an incredible athlete, incredible specimen. There's a reason that people have been thinking he could be the number one overall pick. The question is, is this situation going to stop someone from doing that?

And I think you're probably going to see more teams vet him, thinking that maybe he does fall a bit in the draft. But he's going to have to answer all of those questions.

And one of these organizations, between now and the end of April, is going to have to talk themselves into being comfortable with all of this. Answering -- getting the answers to the questions that they need and feeling comfortable drafting him. Someone will -- we just don't know if there will be a draft impact right now. But when it's this type of player -- when the player is good enough we have seen people take that chance. It's a high-risk, a high-reward situation.

LEMON: And Nicole, will you forgive me? I said The Atlantic. I meant The Athletic. The cameras in the studio may as well be on the other side of the Earth sometimes. They're so far away I can't read it.

Thank you. It's a pleasure. Thank --

AUERBACH: No problem.

LEMON: Thank you for joining us. Have a great day.

COLLINS: A new U.S. intelligence report this morning says it is unlikely that mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome is caused by foreign adversaries, but what could it have been? We're going to talk to Sanjay Gupta and an attorney who represents dozens of people who have experienced Havana Syndrome. That's next.



LEMON: So this is just into CNN. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel saying that the FBI confirmed to her that she was the target of the heavily-armed defendant who had threatened on social media to kill Jewish elected officials in the state.

And she tweeted this. "It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my hate crimes and domestic terrorism unit takes plots to murder elected officials."

We're going to have much more on this breaking news at the top of the hour -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Also this morning, a new intelligence review has found that it is, quote, "very unlikely" that a foreign adversary is to blame for that mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome. As you know, hundreds of U.S. diplomats, intel officers, and other government officials have reported strange and sometimes debilitating symptoms that prompted a government-led investigation.

Some of them said that they had symptoms consistent with head trauma, like dizziness or extreme headaches. And in some instances said that it shortened their careers, caused real suffering, or even led to large medical bills.

Now, a years-long investigation has determined there is no credible evidence that an adversary developed any kind of weapon that caused those injuries. Instead, there's not really any explanation for these incidents. In the wake of the report, the administration is stressing that the findings don't call into questions the employee who reported these health issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NED PRICE, SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: The findings that the intelligence community have spoken to today in no way call into question the experiences, the symptoms that our colleagues and their family members have reported in recent years.

For the part of the secretary, he has repeatedly met with individuals who have suffered -- who have reported these incidents. He knows that their pain is real. He has heard their stories. He has --


COLLINS: For more on this I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has looked extensively at Havana Syndrome. And the national security attorney Mark Zaid, who represents dozens of clients who have experienced Havana Syndrome.

And Mark, given that you have all these clients that have experienced this and say this is a real thing, what do -- what do they make of what they heard from the administration yesterday?

MARK ZAID, REPRESENTS CLIENTS WITH HAVANA SYNDOME (via Skype): Well, good morning. Thank you to have me on.

They feel betrayed -- very much betrayed. These are very seasoned intelligence, military, law enforcement, diplomatic community officers. When we've been telling the government -- multiple agencies of evidence that goes well beyond what the public knows, and they feel that this has been completely ignored and whitewashed. And this is something we're going to continue to push until we get much deeper into the truth.

COLLINS: And Mark, you've sued to actually get this full report. Is that right?

ZAID: Yes, correct. We actually sued for this a year ago. This report -- it hasn't been an investigation that's been going on for over years or a period of time because we have been told that it had been finished a year ago but the CIA challenged how the DNI was going to report on it and sent it back into draft form. So we are waiting for the actual complete report to be released to us through the court proceedings, which we hope to be sometime later this month.

COLLINS: Did any of your clients get a heads-up from either the CIA director himself or anyone in the administration on these findings before they became public?

ZAID: The short answer would be yes -- you know, within hours or the day before some of the clients who do have relationships with senior officials were notified. And, in fact, there were going to be stories in the press. I heard lots of rumors of it for the last couple of weeks. But that held off until these individuals could be spoken to. But there's so many that obviously, the government was unable to contact everyone.


COLLINS: Yes, there's hundreds of them.

And Sanjay, you've looked extensively at this. You had this documentary on it that was a really good look. It was "IMMACULATE CONCUSSION: THE TRUTH BEHIND HAVANA SYNDROME." And you found these were very real things that people were experiencing.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, HOST, "CHASING LIFE" PODCAST: Yes. I think there's no question if you look at it from a medical standpoint. I think everyone agreed -- the physicians who examined these patients and obviously the patients themselves -- that something happened to them and it was a very specific thing. A constellation of symptoms that was most consistent with concussion but there was no blow to the head or something that preceded it. So that's why it was called the immaculate concussion.

I think sort of -- as Mark was saying, when we talked to people that we had interviewed for the documentary they were very surprised by this report.

One of the patients, who is a doctor himself and was a CIA officer, Dr. Paul Andrews -- he said look, I mean, they've still not investigated the original Havana patients thoroughly. And what he said -- "They keep deflecting doing so," specifically. He never released any of his medical records and they've not spoken to me, so I do not know how they reasonably reached any medical opinions. That's what Dr. Andrews said.

So I don't know that there was any new intelligence that was gathered. They still haven't spoken to many of the patients.

The other thing is when you read the report they say look, this could have been caused by other things like environmental causes, infectious diseases. That was surprising because obviously that was considered initially. The issue was that if you have an environmental sort of cause, how was it so targeted than to specific people?

The National Academy of Medicine looked into this at the time. Dr. David Relman chaired the committee -- the investigative committee and here is what he said.


DR. DAVID RELMAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: We considered a number of possibilities -- everything from a chemical exposure to an infection, to external stimuli like electromagnetic energy. And we said OK, there is precedent for microwave energy causing sound in the head that others don't hear. And that was one argument that said maybe let's walk down this path and see if we can fill out a possible story -- a plausible story for microwave energy, and that's what we did.


GUPTA: So it wants conclusive, to be clear, but they did consider again these other possibilities which were raised again as part of this report as almost like new possibilities. So he presented those findings to the State Department and that was several years ago. COLLINS: But what about other -- the idea that there was a weapon -- like some kind of energy weapon that was part of this? Because that was the suspicion that a lot of people who felt this had. That's what they wanted to know more about.

GUPTA: Right, and if you read the report they say hey look, there's no evidence that weapons like this can even exist. And I think that part of the report surprised us the most -- Jessica Small and I, the producer of this documentary. And I -- you know, we dug into this deeply, talking to people who work on these technologies all over the world.

James Giordano is a neuroscientist and ethicist who was called by the State Department to investigate this. We talked to him yesterday specifically about do these weapons exist. Can they exist? And what he said -- very interesting. The science and technology capable of developing these devices of this sort of viable and evident as based on existing U.S. patents. Meaning the United States has access to these sorts of technologies. The other countries that he says also have access are China and Russia.

But I dug into this a little bit more deeply with him when we were making the documentary. Here's how he framed it.


JAMES GIORDANO, CHIEF OF NEUROETHICS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: This was occurring throughout the late '60s, early '70s.

GUPTA: This type of technology has existed for that long?

GIORDANO: Yes, sir.

GUPTA: That's kind of -- that's kind of remarkable.

GIORDANO: What's important to understand there is technology has marched onward, and so the increasing sophistication and capability of the devices has, quote, "improved."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The active denial system --

GUPTA: One more recent example of a directed energy weapon was created right here in the United States as seen in this Defense Department video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Long-range, non-lethal, crowd control. It's a directed energy weapon.

GUPTA: In 2007, the Air Force Research Lab released the active denial system, a weapon designed to project invisible millimeter waves which induce a non-lethal but painful burning sensation. Watch closely as the invisible energy is directed to easily disperse a crowd.


GUPTA: It's kind of -- it's kind of amazing to still watch that video. Point being though, Kaitlan, the technologies do exist -- I think there's plenty of evidence of it -- and they exist even here in the United States.


COLLINS: Yes. You can see why there are still major questions about this.

Sanjay, thank you for explaining to us what it is. Mark, thanks for telling us how your clients are feeling and how they're doing and keep us updated if you get access to that report. Thank you, both.

ZAID: Absolutely.

GUPTA: You, too.

COLLINS: All right. Up next, the FBI has just informed the Michigan attorney general that she was actually the target of a plot to kill Jewish elected officials. We'll give you the latest on that plot next.


COLLINS: Good morning, everyone.

News just into CNN this hour. Michigan's attorney general the target of a murder plot. According to the FBI and confirmation from the attorney general herself, a heavily armed man threatened on social media to kill Jewish elected officials in the state. We have the breaking details on that ahead.

LEMON: And an alarming discovery at a Pennsylvania airport. A suitcase packed with an explosive discovered before it was loaded on a plane. What we're learning about the suspect and the device that was allegedly hidden inside.