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Judge Criticized DeSantis' Firing Of Democrat Prosecutor But Declines To Reinstate Andrew Warren; San Francisco Reparations Committee Proposes A $5 Million Payment To Each Black Resident; Actor Alec Baldwin Faces Involuntary Manslaughter Charges; David Crosby Dead At 81. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis abruptly removed a twice-elected Democratic prosecutor just last year. Why? Because he refused to go after people who seek and provide abortions or provide gender-affirming care to transgender people.

Andrew Warren sued DeSantis. But now, a federal judge has dismissed that lawsuit saying this action of the governor did violate the First Amendment in Florida's Constitution. But as a federal judge, he could not rule against a state official based only on the violation of state law.

And in the wake of that ruling today, Andrew Warren joins me now. Andrew, thank you for coming. I know we talked when this first actually happened until I've been curiously following this particular suit.

The federal judge did take Governor DeSantis to task for his handling of your suspension. But he ultimately upheld it. Tell me why you think that is and what's your reaction?

ANDREW WARREN, FORMER HILLSBOROUGH STATE ATTORNEY OUSTED BY DESANTIS: Well, thanks so much for having me back, Laura. As you said, the judge took the governor to task. His findings were crystal clear. The governor violated the federal law, and he violated state law in suspending me. He said that the suspension had no legal basis, and then I was basically being suspended as a political hit job.

Now, the judge did not reinstate us, as we've asked. But what's interesting here is that he agreed with us on the facts. He agreed with us on the law. But he's saying that, as a federal judge, he doesn't have the remedy to reinstate me to office.

And what's really interesting is that the judge called on the governor to reinstate me. The governor has talked a lot about how he believes in the rule of law. Let's see what kind of man he actually is. Is he someone that means what he says when he actually -- does he actually believe in the rule of law, or is he a coward that's just going to hide behind this and not do the right thing?

COATES: Let me tell you what his reaction has been. He responded through a spokesperson, a spokeswoman, today, saying, today the court upheld the governor's decision to suspend Andrew Warren from office for neglect of duty and incompetence.

But we know that's not actually what the judge said, Andrew. The opinion does not talk about incompetence. In fact, it says there was not a hint of misconduct by you and that -- quote -- "The assertion that Mr. Warren neglected his duty or was incompetent is incorrect."

On the one hand, I suppose you feel vindicated by the judge's statement of that. On the other hand, there is still the impression that's being conveyed, that somehow this is not based on politics and, in fact, about your job performance. Because of that, do you have an intention to appeal? Is there a mechanism you will pursue to try to get reinstated in some way? What can be done now?

WARREN: Sure. Well, there are a lot of things to unpack in here. I mean, first of all, the fact that the governor's spokesperson came out and said something that is clearly contrary to what the order says, it just shows -- I mean, they live in this alternate reality. It's (INAUDIBLE) world where the judge says there is absolutely no misconduct, Andrew hasn't done anything wrong, and they say, see, exactly what we said, he did something wrong. I mean, it just shows they will say anything to promote their own radical agenda.

In terms of next steps, we're really still evaluating that at this point. But this was never a fight just about me and my job. This was always a battle for democracy, for free speech, for the integrity of our elections, to hold the governor accountable, and to have the truth come out. And that's exactly what happened here.

I mean, people have seen the truth, that the governor suspended me not in the pursuit of justice, but in the pursuit of politics, and he did so in violation of both the U.S. and the Florida Constitution.

COATES: And you are an elected official. People (ph) understand that. Normally, you're talking about -- you were a political appointee.


You weren't somebody -- you are an elected official. You mentioned the word democracy. But there is a role that the Florida Senate could play, right? I mean, it could go before the Florida Senate, which is responsible for removing office holders who are suspended by the governor.

But, as you know, Republicans have the super majority in the Florida senate. I'm wondering if you have any hope that the legislative branch might be able to assist, and you say it's not just about you personally and the reinstatement, but we look to the legislature for reinstatement.

WARREN: Well, that's one -- that's certainly possible avenue. Again, the judge made clear that there was no misconduct by me. I didn't do anything wrong except do exactly what I said I was going to do.

I mean, look, at the end of the day, this was about me standing up for issues that I believe in. This was me being transparent to the voters who elected me. These are things that any prosecutor should do. These are things that any elected officials should do.

And the governor disregarded that, broke the law, both federal and state law. And so, the question is, where do we go next to get the remedy that we deserve, to make sure that, not only am I reinstated to office, but that this can't happen to anyone ever again in the state of Florida?

COATES: And part of the reason I suppose that he wouldn't talk about this in the past, that he's reciting, as your suspension in part, was that you've signed a letter that had pledged, along with other officials, that pledged that you would not seek to prosecute anyone who sought, provided or supported an abortion. I wonder, given all that's taken place right now, do you have any regrets for making that position either known or for signing that letter?

WARREN: No, I have no regrets whatsoever. I believe that not only do I have a First Amendment right to speak out about issues of public importance, but as an elected official, I have a duty to the constituents in my county to tell them who I am as a prosecutor. And they know who I am. They know what I'm going to do.

And so, I stood up for what I believe in, I stood up for what's right. The judge vindicated us on the facts and the law today. And we accomplished what we set out to do almost all the way.

I mean, again, this was about making sure that the governor is held accountable, that people see this for what it was, a political stunt. The judge made it clear that's what it was. I'd love to be reinstated. We just have to figure the next best step to get there.

COATES: Andrew Warren, thank you for your time. Nice speaking with you again.

WARREN: Thank you. Have a good night.

COATES: Here with me now, Margaret Talev, director of the Democracy, Journalism, and Citizenship Institute at Syracuse University. Also, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams is back with us now. He is also a former federal prosecutor.

Elliot, let me begin with you here. Do you agree with the judge's opinion about the First Amendment having been violated here? I wonder about the larger issue. A prosecutor that says, listen, I'm not going to be prosecuting or seeking prosecution of people who follow or seek safe harbor under a particular law or seeking to get an abortion.

Someone talked about discretion that all prosecutors have, but there is a lot of criticism that's wielded against prosecutors who have been vocal about what they don't intend to do.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure, look, I feel like, Laura, this is the second time I'm on tonight, I feel this is my night for talking about former colleagues of mine who are now more successful than I am, because Andrew and I went to law school together.

But, look, let's be clear, there is nothing new about prosecutors and law enforcement agencies setting priorities for how they're going to carry out their jobs. Look, Laura, you know, I worked at ICE immigration enforcement for five years, and we would get blistering criticism that you're deciding not to prosecute or arrest people, which was just a lie and not true for the entire time I was there. It's the same thing he's running into there.

Now, Andrew has got a bit of a problem in that, number one, Florida law empowers the governor with a tremendous amount of juice that are other governors don't have. He's also running into sort of a (INAUDIBLE) of a governor who appears to have national ambitions beyond the state here.

Look, this idea that prosecutors can say, I'm not going to prosecute a certain thing, is nothing new. Think about a guy with the joint in his pocket. Literally, there are very few prosecutor's offices that actually would take the resources and time to do that and would spend their resources and going after the guys with the bricks of crack cocaine or the traffickers and so on.

That's discretion. That's how law enforcement works. It is silly what the governor has done here. But look, as Andrew touched on, it's all politics.

COATES: Yet, I want to make that point. During the pandemic, there are a whole host of prosecutors who are saying -- there are priorities and saying that they weren't going to go and pursue with limited police and law enforcement, and it became a conversation around so- called progressive prosecutors and there is some demonization as a result.

Let me ask you, Margaret, this was out in the public's eye --



COATES: -- before the election. I mean, if politics was truly his motivation, as the judge seems to say and, of course, the former prosecutor saying as well, there was no repercussion. He wasn't penalized for it with the voters. He won handily.

TALEV: Very handily and it's propelled him into that kind of front runner rival to Trump status of the very early 2024 race. In terms of the national political stage, Ron DeSantis is playing for the base right now. If he were to emerge as a nominee, a GOP nominee for national office, he would have a different set of calculations. He would need to appeal to some degree of the center as well as motivate the base. These culture wars have not only proved legal successes. Couple of Florida newspapers have assessed millions of dollars in legal costs to losing some of these culture wars cases, not this one, but politically have been very successful for Ron DeSantis in his home state.

And when you look at Florida voter registration patterns, you see Democrats losing a lot of ground over the last few election cycles in terms of newly registered voters losing ground to the middle while Republicans are holding steady. So, he has seen the political climate that has been rewarding him so far in Florida.

I think the challenge for DeSantis is going to be -- he has really tried to model himself as a champion of free speech rights in part of his whole anti-woke stuff. In some cases, he's not championing First Amendment rights or rights of expression. He is using his powers as allowed under the law to quash those rights.

I think that is, again, on a national stage, at some point, something is going to have to reckon with. Right now, it's working for him.

COATES: You said those words, in his state, in Florida. That becomes top of mind for so many people as we are thinking about the national stage and how this translates in other places.

Look at issues of abortion and this is the weekend, 50th anniversary to commemorate Roe v. Wade being in existence. It'll be the first commemoration since the Dobbs decision.

This is -- I wonder how this translates given the patchwork of laws that are already out there from trigger laws and beyond regarding abortion. Does this translate in terms of a blueprint for other prosecutors?

WILLIAMS: I mean, it very well might. It's going to depend on every state laws and sort of number one, how states craft their abortion laws. Two, what does the governor or the voters of the state, what capacity they have to recall people and so on.

What's really fascinating about this whole story is that we live in this country where we elect prosecutors. I think 94%, 93% of the prosecutors in America elected. But then when they sort of behave in a manner in line with the voters that put them there, they sort of run into trouble.

Now, you see it here with Andrew and the governor. You see it with prosecutors all over the country. And it's this odd scenario where we ask these folks to run for office but then ask them to sort of either behave in apolitical way or just behave in a manner that the opposing party would sort of want to work with. It doesn't really make sense.

COATES: It doesn't. I mean, the idea of, you know, in the culture wars more broadly, much of culture wars are based in -- based little, in fact. It's much more on the hyperbole, on the peak of trying to push and pour salt into wounds that maybe are hypothetical.

TALEV: Who decides what history is? The victors of history decide what history is or the popular will decide what history is. I see, although this does impact the prosecutor, the administration of justice, from DeSantis's perspective, this is much more about him using levers to navigate these culture wars.

And don't forget, this is happening, as we've been hearing and talking about earlier tonight, around the same time as this decision about -- the state of Florida's decision about this AP course and how to teach Black history in schools, and this is really all about who gets to decide what the truths are.

COATES: What does the word woke mean? Right? And I bet a lot of people can't really define it. And now, maybe one of those things like obscenity. I can't define it but I know when is see it. But like -- that is what the legal definition of obscenity from the Supreme Court.

But what is woke even mean? It's something that if, as a governor, you say it, it triggers people, they hear it, and they know we don't like that. We don't like what this prosecutor did because it is woke. People who are targeting. It's a bit of a dog whistle in a sense, maybe a vuvuzela or something, but people here it, and it speaks to many folks.

COATES: And they capitalize and there are ways in which to maneuver it in the political process. Thank you both. Stick around, we've got news tonight on a story we first brought you this very week. A judge in Illinois is granting a temporary restraining order, barring the enforcement of a new Illinois gun law.

The law caps the sale of high-capacity magazines, band switches that allow some automatic firearms to fire rounds automatically, and -- quote -- "extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders."


The lawsuit argued that the ban violated the Illinois State Constitution. Governor J.B Pritzker now saying in a statement -- quote -- "The Protect Illinois Communities Act takes weapons of war and mass destruction off the street while allowing law-abiding gun owners to retain their collections. I look forward to the next steps in the case and receiving the decision this case merits."

There's also a proposal in San Francisco to pay reparations of $5 million to each eligible Black resident and, predictably, it has sparked controversy. We will have an in-depth conversation about that, next.



COATES: Five million dollar. That's the lump sum payment that a San Francisco advisory committee on African-American reparations is proposing for each eligible Black resident. They say the proposal is meant to address institutional harms on Black residents and will be considered by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But it's already getting backlash from some on the right and those who argue there's a better way to handle reparations.

I want to bring in Sheryl Davis, executive director of the Human Rights Commission. She will present this proposal to the board of supervisors. Also, San Francisco Republican Party Chairman John Dennis. Good to see you both here this evening. Thank you for joining. I'm very interested in this topic and both of your positions.

Let me begin with you, Sheryl, here because I'm interested in how the committee actually got to this recommendation and the number in particular.

SHERYL DAVIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: Yes, thank you for having me. I would say the process with the committee has been over a year in the making. It has been informed both by a community process, it is committee-informed, community-led.

I think there are several factors that came into play. One is, first and foremost, Black folks in San Francisco who were displaced, whether through eminent domain or through gentrification, who were removed from their homes. Some people got nothing from their homes. Some people got -- homes that are now worth millions of dollars.

So, the lump sum is just a small fraction. It's not meant to address all of the harm, but it's a starting point that they have talked about, that they have been committed to, and that we've heard from community members, a lot of whom feel like that's not enough.

So, that process is informed by cost of living, by homeownership, by a lot of different things over the last year that they've looked into.

COATES: And that number, in particular, as you can imagine, people have reacted to it. They've seen a little sticker shock. You're smiling because you're probably hurting yourself and thinking, did I read this right? Was it $5 million lump sum or was it for each person? This has been a topic of concern for people.

And the question -- and I want to turn to you, John, on this because you say that this is a serious issue, reparations, broadly, but that the number and the way this is gone about is being handled in an unserious way. Can you explain a little bit about why you feel that way?

JOHN DENNIS, CHAIRMAN, SAN FRANCISCO REPUBLICAN PARTY: Sure, I mean, if you look at the people who are on the commission, I didn't look into everyone's background, number of people, they all seemed to come from a particular political persuasion. I notice that there are no lawyers on the committee which might have added to the sobering note.

I think everyone wants to make sure that if the government -- their grievances against the government, that they get addressed -- they get addressed properly. But it seems like the effort of the committee was a foregone conclusion. It was just a question of which number to which they would arrive. And it's interesting also in the report that there is no formula provided as to how they got to the $5 million.

I'd like to note as well that it's not just $5 million, there's also a provision in there, a suggestion, in the proposal, that says that every African-American in San Francisco who is eligible would get $97,000 a year for 250 years. I don't know how that became about or who suggested that, but that just seems odd.

And the total price tag, the city of San Francisco's budget is about $14 billion dollars, and it's a big spending city. We're talking about $50 billion dollars as the total cost of this package.

COATES: I want to address that, Sheryl, because do you believe that it was, did you approach this and the commission, obviously, whose job it was to look at this, as a foregone conclusion? Were you just looking at the number? It seems to me you just described a number of factors that went into figuring out how to get to this result in the end. What's your reaction?

DAVIS: I think there are a couple of things to point out, first and foremost, that the committee itself is meant to be made up of community members with lived experience that have been disproportionately impacted.

The idea and notion that the money would come from only the city and county of San Francisco is not the assumption of the committee. I think that this idea of like where the money would come from is also still in conversation.

There's also an ordinance in San Francisco, the slavery disclosure ordinance, which was created in 2006, which was focused on understanding the institutions that gained money off of the slave trade, and that they are supposed to disclose and then they have the ability to contribute to a fund that was set up to support things like this.

Additionally, the $97,000 a year is not for all eligible in terms of every Black person in San Francisco.


It is focused on folks from low income. It is a very specific carve out. I would say that, overall, it's a package that folks were thinking about, like, how do we talk about all the different approaches, the systems piece, the programmatic pieces?

Five million dollars is a lump sum. It's not in the budget yet, it's not meant for totally be taken on by the city, and it still has to go through the next draft, it still has to be presented to the board of supervisors. The mayor has not included it in her budget. It hasn't been vetted by the board. It hasn't gone to the city attorney, who would inform the city county of what their opportunities are and what they can do.

So, there's a lot more to go before we do this. This is community members saying what they think should happen based on the research that has been done. The document is 80 pages.

COATES: It is important that you acknowledge the idea of -- you just informed for all of us who is on the committee and the purpose. I just want to clarify one point. So, is the money intended as possibly an option to come from the private sector, you're saying, or those who may have benefited, historically, from the slave trade?

In a place like Northern California, people automatically think about Silicon Valley. They think about the technology industry. Obviously, far more novel than those that would've been thriving in 16 and 18 and beyond. Is that where it will be coming from, the private sector?

DAVIS: I think that's part of the conversation that the committee wants to continue having. I think that's part of what the board of supervisors would have to do. But the slavery disclosure ordinance has Wells Fargo saying that they benefited. That was their affidavit that they submitted. Bank of America is saying that they made money off the slave trade.

So, those are things that, since 2006, the city and county is trying to look at and understand what financial institutions, what insurance companies, who are the folks that have been able to benefit and prosper off of this, and perhaps, that's something the committee can look at.

COATES: John, it sounds like this is very much a work in progress and a conversation in the making that it relies on a number of stakeholders. Does that change your perception of where things stand right now?

DENNIS: No, I'm afraid not because the report is terribly muddled. It largely focuses on redlining in San Francisco, which was San Francisco City policy, which is one issue. But for some reason, one of the potential qualifications is if someone was a descendant of slaves.

Well, California entered the union in 1850 as a free state. What would slavery have to do with it? Another qualification, potential qualification for eligibility is that someone would be have to suffered from -- quote unquote -- "failed war on drugs," which is federal policy. I'm wondering why those are being brought in as eligibility prospects.

I also have to say that if you're going to start talking about redlining, what do we do for the Chinese community and the Asian communities who are impacted by policies in San Francisco? The Chinese community was forbidden to live in San Francisco many years. The board of supervisors just simply issued an apology in February 2022.

So, I think there are lots of aggrieved people, we should address those issues, but I'm terribly sorry to say, this is just not a serious approach to this prospect. And despite that, I think it actually could pass. If this goes in front of the board of supervisors, I suspect that they have the votes.

COATES: Sheryl, can you address the idea? It sounds like John is saying, at least in part and obviously you can speak for yourself, but it sounds in part the idea that if multiple groups have grievance, then perhaps we focus on the collective.

But it also sounds like if 5 million is too much or this budget is insurmountable, then it would seem as though none would benefit and there are, as you well know, historically, there have been types of reparations or provisions for certain groups in America who have suffered at the hands of the federal government and state localities as well.

What is your reaction to the idea of the possibility that this could pass given that there's not yet the budgetary numbers in place to implement it?

DAVIS: There are few things that come to mind for me. First and foremost, just having the conversation and having it pass, I think, is monumental, especially for a place like San Francisco or California, to be able to own and recognize California was not a slave state but they did have rules to return slaves. Right?

And so, to have these conversations to drill down, to go a little bit deeper, I think the other piece is that, as we've talked about other aggrieved groups, we understand that we still are bound by prop 209, which precludes us from having these conversations around race.

In San Francisco, over 10,000 residents were displaced because of redevelopment. Over 80% of those folks were Black. So, if we were to focus on that, we wouldn't exclude other groups. We will be able to say, though, that we know that it was disproportionately Black.


So, as we've had these conversations, we've had allies that are in other communities, other cultural groups that are saying, like, this -- if we make this happen, it can hopefully inform what we do for other groups as well.

So, it's not necessarily as limited and narrow as folks may think. It actually is very informative. And I think the board passing it, they would then also work on how to cover the cost of this. No one is suggesting that the city go bankrupt to do this and no one is saying that the burden is solely on the city and county of San Francisco.

COATES: I mean, John, in the bureaucracy, it wouldn't be the first time, right, that you had an acknowledgement and recognition of a particular policy or position and then figure the rest out later. How often do we hear about that on Capitol Hill, but what's your reaction?

DENNIS: Well, I just think that, again, I feel like the process was just very poorly done. Frankly, this should be I think adjudicated in the laws. I'm not a lawyer. That seems to be the appropriate venue for this kind of thing.

And I want to say this. This is kind of a problem, societal problem, that we're facing right now. It feels like in many circumstances that these sorts of policies, not just this one, but other ones, are sore of jammed down on a very political and tribal level.

And when they -- when things like this are not done properly, it creates acrimony and a bitterness that just lingers and it doesn't resolve anything. So, I would suggest that if this is -- if people want to take a serious stab at this, that they should, you know, take a different tact, take a look at what the actual issues are, what the economic impact was, the opportunity cost and address it from that manner in a fair way. This is -- this, I'm afraid is not that -- not that approach.

COATES: Well, I'm glad to have you both on to be able to converse about this important issue and to have learned, Sheryl, more about the process that seems to consider in a very holistic way the different avenues you were talking about, but recognized it's not the end of the conversation. It sounds like it was the intention to spark one and a meaningful one and a continuation of many that are happening around this country. And we're going to continue it here.

Thank you so much for both of you.

DAVIS: Thank you.

DENNIS: Thank you.

COATES: We'll be right back.




COATES: Well, new tonight, the "Rust" movie is still on track for completion. That's when an attorney for the "Rust" reproduction is telling CNN. And actor, Alec Baldwin, will still star in the lead role.

That after New Mexico's D.A. announced that she will charge the actor with involuntary manslaughter after the fatal shooting on set of cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

The attorney also tells CNN the film will include on-set safety supervisors and union crew members and will bar any use of working weapons or any ammunition. Alec Baldwin was seen out today in New York but refusing to answer questions.

I want to bring in someone who has intimate knowledge of the DA's decision. His name is Bryan Carpenter, and he is an armorer and trainer and serves in an expert advisory role in the "Rust" investigation.

Bryan, thank you for being here this evening. I must say, some are really shocked to find that it will still go on. The show must go on apparently is the phrase to use here, but there are new safety precautions, obviously, in light of what has happened and the tragedy is just unthinkable for the loves ones and family of Ms. Hutchins.

You were actually brought in on this back in, I think, November. And how have you helped in the investigation and what did you advise the D.A.? BRYAN CARPENTER, ARMORER: Well, the first thing is trying to get everyone to understand, you know, how an active set works, you know, the dynamics, how the unions and non-unions are -- the union and non- union shows operate, the specific roles of the each member on the cast and the crew, and very, specifically, the role of an armorer, an actor, a producer, prop master, and first A.D. on the set.

COATES: And how did you advise the D.A. in terms of -- did -- was there questions asked to you about who you think was responsible or who ought to have been responsible to have the duty of care as to what ammunition was present on the set or how was -- and turn into a gun?

CARPENTER: Yes. That was drilled down on very, very specifically throughout the entire investigation. And obviously, the investigation's is continuing on. They did and continue do an excellent job, as I said previously, a very unbiased, very thorough investigation starting from the beginning, working our way through interview, all of the evidence collected and it was a vast amount of it.

But, yes, as we started talking about different roles and responsibilities, specifically, on a movie set, when you're handling a weapon, is protocol in place. And like you said, previously, if you were opening the idea that they said it would continue on and then place protocols in place, safety guidelines, both safety guidelines and protocol were already there and they're already thoroughly documented and followed on almost all shows, especially shows that, you know, want to make sure that, you know, the safety and care of the cast and crew is paramount.

COATES: Is it your impression that the protocols -- obviously, we know what's happened, but is it your impression from the review that there is a singular or some group of people in particular who did not follow the protocol, who ought to be held responsible if we're in different set?


CARPENTER: Unfortunately, yes. And I have empathy for everyone. You know, I looked at this from a standpoint of my experiences on set. And I know the difficulties that, you know, one faces on a crew -- as a crew member, especially in modern film making.

It's been a trend over the last, you know -- it's -- you know, I would say, especially over the last six or seven years to push crew members, cast, crew, and the production itself to make them faster, for less money because that equates to money on the back end, you know, for certain persons that are -- that are involved in it, the studio, anybody in the waterfall of the film.

So, having said that, when you start cutting corners and trying to save money, unfortunately, that money seems to always be saved in the wrong places, such as stunts, special effects, firearms, et cetera, and that creates a dangerous situation.

Now, directly to your point and your question, when you have in a custody with that weapon, if you wanted to use that term, and you have people handling the weapon, you have a duty and responsibility of handling that weapon and an armorer who has a duty and responsibility to make sure that weapon is presented properly, is safe, is functional, is there at all times when it's being used, then you start seeing a very evident group of people that either intentionally or intentionally disregarded -- or carelessly disregarded safety.

COATES: Well, there's still lots I want to learn. We've heard from the D.A. Now, it's time for what will take place now and the evidence that may be a part of the trial.

Bryan Carpenter, thank you for your expertise this evening. We'll be right back.

CARPENTER: Thank you very much.




COATES: Anti-abortion activists holding their annual March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. today, their first gathering since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade just last year. Many of those who marched saying that while the reversal of Roe is obviously a major victory for their movement, they're still aiming to push legislation that restricts abortion at the state and federal levels.


UNKNOWN: Just because Roe versus Wade was overturned, it's turn it back to the states. But this has always been more than a political issue. This is a moral issue. Abortion is about killing. It's a moral issue, not just a political issue. And that's why we're still here, we're still fighting.


COATES: Well, nationwide, 13 states, the ones in rust color, ban abortion outright or severely restrict it. Some of those state bans, the result of trigger law that is went into effect once Roe v. Wade was overturned. And the states in the dark tan color you see, they have gestational limits on the procedure. And the green states, a little more than half the country, abortion remains legal.

New York is one of those green states, and in New York City in particular, the mayor, Eric Adams, is expanding abortion services, rolling out a plan to begin providing free abortion pills at city run sexual health clinics. Mayor Eric Adams hailing program.


ERIC ADAMS (D-NY), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: No other city in the nation or world has a public health department that providing medication abortion, we're the first. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: Well, back in August, Adams signed a package of six bills known as the New York City or the NYC Abortion Rights Act, which paved the way to make medications abortions free at city departments of health clinics.

Remembering folk rock icon, David Crosby, his life and legacy of David Crosby next.




COATES: The music world is mourning David Crosby, the legendry singer and song writer dead at the age of 81. Tonight, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with James Taylor about Crosby's legacy.


JAMES TAYLOR, GRAMMY-WINNING SINGER/SONGWRITER: You know, he was an artist, and it just burned bright always, you know, just his energy shown through. It was -- it wasn't so much that he achieved it he just couldn't be denied, you know.


COATES: CNN's Randy Kaye has more on the life of David Crosby.


RANDY KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He helped shape sound of 1960s folk rock as a founding member of the Byrds, but David Crosby will always be best known as founding member of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The wildly popular group was made up of Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. Their sound distinctive for its melody and harmonies.


In the midst of the late 60s Laurel Canyon scene in California, their debut album went multi-platinum.

DAVID CROSBY, SINGER/SONGRWRITER: It's an absolutely joy. It's what I was born to do. I love it more than anything except my family. It's the most fun you can have, and yes, I'm including sex. It's really, really a joy. You're communicating to people. You're making them feel something.


KAYE (voice-over): In 1969, Neil Young joined the group, and together they emerged as powerful cultural influence.

(MUSIC PLAYING) A clash of egos between young and Crosby got in the way though

CROSBY: It was not easy, big ego, no brains.

KAYE (voice-over): The original trio disbanded during the 1970s, but some members would regroup over the years, including coming back together to release the classic "Southern Cross."


In 1989, they played at the Berlin Wall.



CROSBY: We had the song called "Chipping Away" that just fit it. We said, hey, we're going to go there and sing that song. And it wasn't really a logical thing. It's just something we wanted to do and we did it.

KAYE (voice-over): Over the years, Crosby struggle lid with addiction. In 1982, after his arrest in Texas on drug and weapons charges, he would spend five months in prison.

CROSBY: I had to you know finish up being a completely wasted, you know, addict and then spend a year in prison to get straight. And then once I did that, I jump back in whole heartedly.

KAYE (voice-over): Cocaine and alcohol abuse took its toll, causing Crosby to have liver transplant surgery in 1994. He wrote about his addictions in an autobiography called, "Long-time Gone." Still, Crosby continued to tour after that. In June 2021, Crosby with Howard Stern and offered his philosophy on life.

CROSBY: I am at the end of my life, Howard. And it's a very strange thing. And here's what I've come to about it. It's not how much time you got because we really don't know. I could have two weeks. I could have 10 years. It's what you do with the time that you do have.

And so, I'm trying to really spend it well. Whatever -- each day that I get, I'm very grateful for and I try to do it making music because I believe the world needs music.

KAYE (voice-over): David Crosby was 81.


COATES: Randy Kaye, thank you so much. And thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.