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Man Now Facing Charges for Shooting Black Teen Who Went to Wrong House; Today, Historic Dominion V. Fox News Set to Begin; Supreme Court Weighs Fate of Common Abortion Pill. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 18, 2023 - 07:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This Morning continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two felony counts filed in a shooting of a black teenager in Kansas City, Missouri.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect told police that he was, quote, scared to death due to the teen's size.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you there was a racial component to the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's inexplicable. There is no way you can justify this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's about to happen in this $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox over election lies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're expecting to be right back here at 9:00 A.M. for jury selection and opening statements in this case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Fox, it might be worth it to see this in front of a jury and see if they can get a lower down amount than what they would have to settle for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Florida's governor escalating his right against Disney, suggesting competing directly with the mouse.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): What should we do with this land? Maybe you need another state prison. Who knows? The possibilities are endless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to win a fight with American people against the Walt Disney Company.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has gone from kind of going after a headline to something that convolutes the entire Republican message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Calls for justice for Jayland Walker after an Ohio grand jury declined to indict eight officers in his shooting death. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They believed that at that moment in time when he was running from that car, he still had his weapon on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The system had utterly failed them again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our hearts are hurting. Our hearts are heavy.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You were convicted of fraud. You spent nearly four years in prison. Why would anyone want to do anything with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This time around, I am just focusing on my skill set. I'm doing marketing. I bring people together.

LEMON: I think anyone would be a fool to believe you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have two options. I could crawl in a hole and admit that everything I did was wrong or I can at least try.


HARLOW: I can't wait for that interview.

LEMON: That interview was Fyre.

HARLOW: Fyre, nice one. Nice one.

LEMON: But we've got a lot of news. Good morning, everyone. Welcome in. We've got a lot of news from Russia to Kansas City, to right here in New York, where I interviewed the Fyre Festival person, the fraudster, as he's been called, but a lot of big news happening. We're in the middle of, as I said yesterday, a very big news cycle.

HARLOW: We are. And let's start in Russia. Because happening now, Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich is in a Moscow courtroom. He is appealing the terms of his pre-trial detention, asking to be placed under house arrest instead of jail while he awaits trial. He did not appeal his arrest or the actual merits of the case today. His appearance in court comes nearly three weeks after he was arrested on espionage charges, an allegation that he and the U.S. government vehemently deny. The State Department has deemed him wrongfully detained.

Right now, you're looking at live pictures that is outside of the Moscow courthouse. You can see a microphone set up. We don't know who's planning on speaking after this hearing. Of course, when they do, we'll bring it to you live.

LEMON: That story capturing the world's attention, and this one capturing the nation's attention. A white homeowner is now facing charges for shooting a black teenager who rang his doorbell. Now, Kansas City Police say that he opened fire on 16-year-old Ralph Yarl through his glass front door. That was last week. Yarl says that he went to the wrong house to pick up his younger brothers, and the homeowner started shooting almost immediately when he answered the doorbell. The teenager managed to run away after being shot twice, including once in the head. Now, he is home from the hospital. The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, says it's inexplicable that police release a suspect on the night of the shooting.


BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF 16-YEAR-OLD RALPH YARL: To have black people rang the doorbell and then have a white citizen shoot him in the head first and then shoot him a second time, I mean, there is no way you can justify this.


LEMON: So, the homeowner told police that he feared for his life and thought it was a break-in. But the teen's family says that Yarl is a harmless and sweet kid and honor roll student and the leader of the marching band.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov live at the scene for us this morning. Lucy, good morning to you. The suspect himself told police that he started shooting within a few seconds of opening that door.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Don. This is the door, the home where this incident unfolded. The 84-year-old homeowners said he was going to bed. He heard the doorbell ring, went to check to see who it was, didn't recognize the teenager and opened fire. No words were exchanged.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant, Andrew D. Lester is charged with the Class A felony assault in the first-degree. The defendant is charged with armed criminal action.

KAFANOV (voice over): Two felony counts filed after a black teenager is shot and seriously wounded in Kansas City, Missouri.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I can tell you there was a racial component to the case.

KAFANOV: It was on April 13th when 16-year-old Ralph Yarl intended to pick up his younger siblings and rang the doorbell at 115th Street instead of 115th Terrace, one block difference with major consequences.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's still even today is complete shock that anybody would do that.

KAFANOV: According to a probable cause statement, Lester told investigators he was scared to death by Yarl's size and his inability to defend himself at age 84. He also told investigators he was in bed when he heard his doorbell ring and grabbed a handgun before answering the door. He stated he believed someone was attempting to break into the house and shot twice during exterior storm door within a few seconds of opening the main door, a police detective writes in the court document.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that you opened a door and then shoot the person on the other side and it's a kid.

KAFANOV: In an interview with a detective on Friday, Yarl said he pressed the doorbell and waited. He stated at the male inside took a long time but finally opened the door holding a firearm. He stated he was immediately shot in the head and fell to the ground. Yarl was shot twice with bullets striking him in the left forehead and right arm, according to the probable cause statement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My nephew is alive and he is healing. It is not the story that that individual intended for us to tell.

KAFANOV: Yarl was released from the hospital and is recovering at home. A GoFundMe page set up by his aunt had already exceeded $2.5 million goal.

Anger and cries for justice have spread in the community, and the prosecutor says his office is looking forward to obtaining a just result. If convicted on the assault charge, Lester could spend the rest of his life in prison, the prosecutor says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We understand how frustrating this has been. But I can assure you that the criminal justice system is working and will continue to work.


KAFANOV (on camera): And you heard relatives there, this could have been a very different story. The teenager is lucky to have survived, but he faces a long physical recovery, not to mention the emotional and mental trauma from this tragic, tragic incident. Guys?

LEMON: No doubt, Lucy. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

And straight ahead in our next hour, we're going to speak with Ralph Yarl's, Faith Spoonmore (ph), with more on how the team is doing this morning.

HARLOW: There's also a similar case in Upstate New York, where a homeowner has now been charged with murder. Investigators say he shot and killed this woman, she's 20 years old, after she pulled into the wrong driveway.

Brynn Gingras is following the case. Share her name with us and what's going on.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kaylin Gillis, 20 years old. As you said, this happened in New York over the weekend. That is a rural part of the state. It's important to kind of keep that in mind. Because what happened was, according to the sheriff's department, is Kaylin, along with three of her friends, they were in a car looking for a friend's house when they didn't have GPS because of cell service in that area.

They pulled into the house of this suspect, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, didn't get out of the car, didn't have any interaction with Monahan, and started to actually leave the house, the driveway, when Monahan, according to authorities, came out, got on the porch and shot two shots at the car hitting the car and hitting Gillis. It took the friends a little, while five miles they had to drive in order to get cell phone service to call 911. Paramedics arrived to the area where they were able to park and they tried to resuscitate Gillis, but she died there at the scene.

Now, the sheriff actually knew the Gillis family. It seems like he knew Gillis herself, and he talked a little bit about her saying how she was just a lovely young woman from a lovely family, and he talked more about the senselessness of this tragedy. Take a listen.


JEFFREY MURPHY, WASHINGTON COUNTY, NEW YORK SHERIFF: They're young adults. They were in the area looking for her friend's house. It's a very rural area with dirt roads, it's easy to get lost. They drove up this driveway for a very short time, realize their mistake and were leaving when Mr. Monahan came out and fired two shots.


GINGRAS: Now, Poppy, as you said, he is charged with second-degree murder, Kevin Monahan. He didn't have great interaction with the police. They showed up at his door. He didn't want to leave, an hour standoff there. They finally took him into custody and his behind bars this morning.

LEMON: And now what for the investigation? He said he's behind bars but what's next?

GINGRAS: Yes. So, they're still investigating this. Like I said, no interaction with the police, according to authorities, didn't say anything to sort of incriminate himself, but we're looking to see who his lawyer is going to talk to him or her, and he has a court date coming up.

HARLOW: What a tragedy. Brynn, thank you for the update, thinking of her whole family, just 20 years old.

GINGRAS: Absolutely.

HARLOW: This morning, one of the biggest media trials in American history will begin, Dominion Voting System's landmark defamation suit against Fox News. The Delaware judge overseeing this case announced it will start today without ever explaining why there was the delay, right, why didn't start yesterday as planned?

Dominion is suing for $1.6 billion in damages. A Fox spokesperson yesterday claimed Dominion had actually lowered the amount they were seeking.


But Dominion says, no, they're still looking for $1.6 billion in damages.

Today, the judge will seat the jury, 12 jurors, 12 alternates, then we can see opening statements. And if there's time, the court could begin to hear testimony today from witnesses. Quite a list of witnesses, Chairman Rupert Murdoch, as well as several prominent Fox News host, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, could be called to testify.

Joining us outside the courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, CNN Media Analyst and Axios Media Reporter Sara Fischer. Sara, good morning to you. So, what are we going to see today? No settlement morning, not yet, although it's 7:10 A.M. I suppose there's time.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: That's right, Poppy. We still have two more hours so there could be a last minute settlement. But if not, we're expecting as reporters to be let in around 8:00, 8:30, as you mentioned, will start with the finalization of the jury selection before we get into opening arguments and possible witness testimony.

This is a landmark case. You see there's tons of press around here. There's getting a lot of attention here in Wilmington, Delaware, because it has huge implications for the First Amendment and it has big implications for how Fox might handle its coverage in 2024.

What we're going to be watching for two today is whether or not we get any clearer indication of which of some of those big witnesses that you mentioned will be coming here to the court. It might be as soon as today. It might be for the rest of the week, but the trial is expected to last six weeks, Poppy. So, we might be here waiting for a little while.

LEMON: Interesting. So, a lot of high profile people. Obviously, they're concerned about optics, Fox's, as any company would be. A tent has been set up, we understand, outside the courthouse there, apparently to shield high profile figures as they enter and leave the court. How concerned do you think Fox is about the details that might come from this trial and pictures of their anchors, video of their anchors entering and leaving a courtroom, not necessarily something that they want out there in the zeitgeist?

FISCHER: No, they're definitely trying to protect their top executives and top talent. But Fox has one thing on its side, which is that the judge in this trial, Judge Eric Davis, has said that he will not allow courtroom cameras, which means that we're not going to get any viral video from this case the way that we did with Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, almost recently, Gwyneth Paltrow. So, any pictures that you might see coming from this are only going to come from that talent walking in and out of the building.

To your point, they've erected a big tent, so it looks like we're not going to be able to see them. That's meant to protect them, and it's also meant to protect people like Rupert Murdoch, who don't want to be seen here having to take heat for some of the things that happen on its air. I also expect one of the more contentious things to happen is when we get those executives inside testifying as witnesses, we already have a sense of what some will say. Again, Rupert Murdoch did have to testify in some of the pretrial hearings but others we've never heard from. You know, we have leaked text messages from folks like Tucker Carlson, but we hadn't heard him take the stand. I'm curious to see what he would have to say.

HARLOW: We all are. Sara, thanks very much for your great coverage. I hope it gets under way soon.

LEMON: So, now the Supreme Court could decide the fate of the common abortion drug, Mifepristone, as soon as today. Justice Department took the emergency dispute over the drug to the Supreme Court late last week after parts of a lower court ruling in Texas were set to go into effect over the weekend, restricting access to it.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issuing a temporary stay on that ruling Friday to give the justices more time to consider the issue, but time is running out. The challengers have until noon today to submit filings to the court. After that, a decision on the issue is imminent. All of this as the hold on the lower court ruling is set to expire Wednesday at 11:59 P.M.

For more now, we'll bring in CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic. Joan, good morning to you. So, walk us through where things stand this morning.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Sure. Good morning, Don and Poppy. The Biden administration has made its defense. It got a five-day postponement of everything. It has -- its arguing that if the lower court orders take effect, there will be regulatory chaos.

The challenges are going to come in, as you say, by noon today, and then I expect the Biden administration and the drug manufacturer Danco to try to submit some quick reply briefs. And then, as you say, the Supreme Court has, by its own deadline, until 11:59 Wednesday night, to act or the lower court orders dramatically restricting access to the drug will take effect.

I actually think the Supreme Court will try not to wait until nearly midnight tomorrow night and will act sooner than that.

HARLOW: So then what, right? What will the Biden Administrations do? What's their strategy seeing where this goes and the challenger's strategy?

BISKUPIC: Sure. There's a really strong point being made in the new Biden filing that came in last week, and that's about what any kind of hybrid orders affect is on this.


The Fifth Circuit tried to say, okay, the FDA original approval from 2000 stands but not all these other provisions since 2016 that made the drug more available, created an option for a generic version. And what the FDA, Biden Administration representing the FDA, is saying is that that has actually caused even more confusion and what's available. If these lower court orders stand, there will have to be new labeling. Effectively, the drug would have to -- would almost be unavailable for a while, while that goes on, and there would be no generic.

So, what it's tried to do is paint a picture that says don't mess with FDA authority and regulations at this point, take the time to hear this case because you can't do anything on the fly here the way the lower courts did. Meanwhile the challenges are going to say, Poppy, what the FDA did in the beginning was flawed. It will point it will assert some errors in the scientific determinations and friend of the court briefs who will file on their side are going to talk about the harms to women. They're going to argue that, something that the FDA has said is purely speculative and, frankly, just doesn't exist. Poppy?

HARLOW: We'll see where they go by midnight tomorrow, if not sooner. Joan, thanks very much.


LEMON: Thank you, Joan.

I want to get to this, because happening right now, take a look at these, you're looking at live pictures. This is the Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich inside a Moscow courtroom. This is where he is appealing the terms of his pre-trial detention. Again, live pictures, you see him there behind plexiglass, appearing to sign papers. Here, this is a pre-trial sort of for his detention. He is appealing his pre-trial detention. He is writing notes here and speaking with representatives. Again, live pictures coming from a Moscow court. It is 2:16 P.M. there.

He has been speaking to his lawyer from behind that plexiglass. The U.S. ambassador to Russia also in that courtroom, she is in the light blue suit. We're going to keep monitoring the situation for you. But that is the latest coming out of Russia as it relates to the Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich.

HARLOW: Meantime, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu is showing a stark warning to his fellow Republicans that they cannot win the White House on their own. He's going to join us live here at the table to talk about it, also maybe run for president.

Plus this --


LEMON: People really are going to say, don't any shame? And you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tons. And like I've cried alone in solitary confinement for ten months. I've ruined the lives of family and friends. So, it's going to be a 20-year mountain to try to climb and I might not make it.


LEMON: Remember him? Well, that is failed Fyre festival organizer Billy McFarland. He wants to do it all over again. Why he says this time will be different, that's straight ahead.



HARLOW: Right. With the 2024 presidential campaign approaching, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has a message for his Republican Party. He is speaking at the net. Here he is, watch this, speaking of the National Rifle Association's annual conference. This was Friday.


GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): But, man, when we're always yelling at each other, we're not going to get it done. Just to talk about the politics, I get nervous about 2024. If we don't have those independents, if we don't have those folks back on the team, those disenfranchised voters, it ain't going to happen for us. We can yell and scream all we want, but we want winners, we want winners for tomorrow. And so we got to be inspirational. We've got to be big again, bigger than ourselves.


HARLOW: Got to be bigger than ourselves.

Joining us now is the man himself, also possible 2024 presidential candidate, we will get into that in a moment, Republican Governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu. Governor, it's so nice to be at the table. Good morning.

SUNUNU: Great to be here, great to be in New York.

LEMON: Can I just ask you the first question? Why would you speak at the NRA? Why did you speak there?

SUNUNU: Why would I speak at the NRA?


SUNUNU: Well, there's 80,000 individuals there, and why not speak at the NRA when you have the opportunity to go and stand in front of thousands of people and talk about the record of success of New Hampshire, not just in terms of firearm and all that, but where we want to take the party. Obviously, there's a lot of Republicans at the NRA. Obviously, I'm very strongly considering running for president. So, there's a voter base out there.

And I think there's a big message that has to be told that isn't being told enough, which is how do we get bigger? How do we make this party bigger? How do we bring that disenfranchised voter back on the team? We lost pretty big in 2022. I don't care what folks say. 49 U.S. senators is not enough and we lost some governorships we probably should have one. So, I can try to make the team bigger and any opportunity to talk to.

LEMON: Are you concerned about alienating voters that you may, especially the independents that you were talking about their by speaking at the NRA convention when you see what's happening with gun violence across the country and --

SUNUNU: No, no. Look, it's very easy to politically conflate the NRA and gun violence and mass shootings and all of this. I get it. I mean, look, I'm a governor. A mass shooting, no one is immune. Mass shootings and all these issues could happen at any point in time. But when you look at New Hampshire's record of success, we're one of the most flexible when it comes to the Second Amendment and firearms regulations, and yet we're still one of the safest states in the country.

So, my message is it's not just about the gun laws and just about passing more laws and patting ourselves on the back and trying to take a win, that's not what gets it done. You've got to deal with mental health issues. You've got to deal with the core of those issues and violence. And I think, again, it's very easy to get caught up in that political discussion, some of the places where the most restrictive gun laws in the country have the highest rates of gun violence. So, you cannot make that direct correlation.

LEMON: Would you consider, because in your state, you haven't been very good on gun rights? Look, there's a lot of blame people around --

SUNUNU: I think we've been great on gun rights, actually.

LEMON: Okay. Well, basically, in 2020, you signed a law, was it House Bill 1178, that basically hamstrung people who are trying to create sensible gun laws in your state. So, I'm just wondering if you have no concern about --


SUNUNU: Of course, we have concern on the violence every day.

LEMON: -- about sensible gun laws and --

SUNUNU: Of course. Look, so, folks talk about, let's say, a red flag law. Okay. Let's take a place like Chicago. They have one of the most restrictive red flag laws in the country. They have some of the highest rates of gun violence. I think a red flag law has been implemented less than a dozen times in the past couple of years. So, it's easy to say, yes, we'll just, you know, take the guns from those with mental illness, but it's much harder to actually implement. The realities of that are much more --

LEMON: But it's not just about taking gun laws. This is what I'm trying to -- this is House Bill 1178. You created a new statute prohibiting any representative of your state or political subdivision from taking action involving any federal firearms law that is not consistent with your state law, basically hamstringing anyone who wants to create in your state sensible gun legislation and try to get -- SUNUNU: No, no. Yes, what we said is if we pass a firearm regulation in the state, we follow the firearms regulation in the state. If Joe Biden wants to pass an executive order taking guns and restricting guns, that's a federal issue. Well, let the feds take care of that. We have our state laws.

I'm a big state's rights individual. States come first. States are much more important and should be much more powerful than the federal executive orders that are arbitrarily written by the president, so that's simply what that's saying. The feds want to pass laws and rules, then they can take care of that. We'll pass our laws and rules and we'll take care of it in New Hampshire.

HARLOW: I want to move on to some other topics as well. I would note that one of the arguments some that disagree with you on gun laws make is that a lot of the states that's around New Hampshire have stricter gun laws. They say that that as part of the reason that you have fewer gun deaths in the state. But I want to talk about a lot of other topics.

SUNUNU: Okay, sure.

HARLOW: So, one thing that I think is fascinating is your argument about we need more. We need not just Republicans, we need independents. I wonder if you think Ron DeSantis is doing a good job of inviting independents into the party by taking on Disney, you know, the private sector, going after it in this way that he continues to do and signing the six-week abortion ban. Because you've been -- you were talking to Erin, fascinating interview last night, you're pretty critical of both.

SUNUNU: Yes. No, I am. Look, I think Republican leadership across this country gets too wrapped up and I think we can say the same for Democrats but I'm a Republican, so I'm going to take our side on it. We get too wrapped up in talking in our own echo chamber, telling each other things we want to hear as opposed to saying why aren't the independents coming on board? Why are why are young Republicans disenfranchised and not participating in the conversation?

So, I wouldn't pin this just on Ron or former President Trump. I think both of them have issues that -- and a lot of us do, where we get in politics. We like to hear. We like to say something. And then hear someone reaffirm, it's like an endorphin rush or something, politically. But at the end of the day, that's not what gets our message out. That isn't an empathetic ear. What's the issue that a young voter wants to hear about?

I think that young Republicans now they care about the environment. They're not climate change crazy. They're not socialist and all that kind of wacky green new deal stuff, but they want to know Republicans are making smart, fiscal responsible investments in the environment.

I think Republicans should own the homeless issue. Homelessness is a disaster in a place like California. You can't blame a single Republican for that. The left-wing liberals have to take full accountability for the inhumane treatment of individuals, homeless individuals in California. I have the lowest poverty rate in the country. It's not by accident. We do hard work to make sure we get folks' treatment and housing and all of those sorts of things. So, I think there's an opportunity there to grab on issues that people want to talk about.

LEMON: Let me just jump in before we run out of time. Because it seems like you were answering the first question that I asked, that's what I said, when I talked to you about why I speak at the NRA, where you're saying you want to bring people in. You just don't want to speak to an echo chamber, and that's what I feel like sometimes the NRA is.

So, since you're talking about those issues, about homelessness, let's talk about abortion, because you're talking about owning that. It seems like now Republicans are owning the abortion issue, and I'm not sure if it's going to be good for them. Time will tell. But this is a clip from CNN last night that I want to play. Watch this.


SUNUNU: It should be really clear. The court said states need to -- can be making this decision. It's a states issue. It's not a presidential issue. It's not at the national level.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: So then you're cool with DeSantis saying six-week ban.

SUNUNU: Oh, I'm not cool with that at all. It's awful, awful message.


LEMON: You say that you think that Florida's six-week ban on abortion is wrong, but at the same time you said that you respect the state's decision to have its own laws. It's kind of like your half in and half out on this. Can you explain?

SUNUNU: No, no, no. States should make their own issues. The voters can talk to the legislatures, their governors and decide where that's going to go.

On the issue of six weeks, I think that's not the right issue. We in New Hampshire have a 24-week ban or 24 weeks of choice, which most states have, same as New York or Massachusetts, places like that. That seems to be where most of America is. But states have to make their own issues and decide their path.

In terms of the messaging, look, every time the Republicans are talking about abortion, we're losing, right, because we don't do it well as a party, right? I think the next generation of Republican isn't -- that's not a top priority for them. I think we need to talk about things that matter, like inflation and homelessness and mental health access and drug -- opioid and drug treatment, recovery programs. Those are the things that impact families every single day.

And every time we start trying to wrap ourselves as a party around the axle on where we should be on abortion, look, it should be a states issue.


It should be -- it is effectively out of the hands of the federal government, then we shouldn't be doing national abortion.