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CNN Tonight

Jury Finds Alex Murdaugh Guilty Of Murdering Wife And Son; FBI Says, Michigan Man Posted Threats To Kill Jewish Elected Officials; New Questions Raised Over George Santos' New Campaign Treasurer; George Santos Engages In Unlawful Activities; The FAA Will Hold A Safety Summit Later This Month; All About Work Spouses. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 02, 2023 - 22:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota, and this is CNN TONIGHT.

The jury's verdict was fast. Deliberations took only three hours. Alex Murdaugh found guilty of murdering his wife and son. His sentencing is set for tomorrow morning, and it's likely he will get life in prison. Did Murdaugh's son, Paul, helped solve his own murder from the grave? We'll explain.

Plus, a Michigan man threatening to kill Jewish officials including the Michigan attorney general, the FBI says the suspect is a member of the so-called Sovereign Citizens Movement. That's a self-declared independent nation that claims that they are immune from U.S. laws.

And a really frightening episode in the sky, turbulence so severe on a Lufthansa flight from Texas to Germany that passengers said that it felt like going over the top of a roller coaster. This event was not because of bad weather. The skies were clear. Is climate change causing more turbulence?

Okay. We have a lot to discuss tonight. So, let me bring in John Miller, Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, we also have Political Commentator Extraordinary S.E. Cupp, also Dan Harris, Host of Ten Percent Happier podcast, and Defense Attorney Joey Jackson, whose expertise will help us understand everything that we've just seen in the Murdaugh trial verdict. Guys, great to have you here.

Okay. Joey, I want to start with you. I have heard so many people in the past few hours since the verdict came in say, wow, that was so fast, only three hours. My question is what took so long? I mean, what took so long? If they all agreed that he was guilty, why did it actually take three hours? What happens when you get in the jury room?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wow, that's an interesting spin that you have on it.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You don't want to be a defendant with Alisyn on the jury.

JACKSON: Well, apparently not.

CAMEROTA: Well, why don't they just go in and go guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, okay?

JACKSON: Well, they kind of do. I think that what happens is at the end of the case, they'll all go back, right? Remember, they are instructed on the law. That is the judge instructs them as to what they have to consider, what they should consider, et cetera, they then go back and take a poll. And they say to each other, hey, what do you think, guilty, not guilty, guilty, not guilty. I think they took a poll and perhaps it was that maybe there's one or two, they're not sure, they speak about it a little bit, they reach consensus, they poll again, or maybe, because we don't know, and they'll speak, right, at some point, they'll speak, the jurors, that is. Maybe they took a poll and said, we all think he's guilty. Let's try it again. We all think he's guilty. Let's try it one more time.

CAMEROTA: Is that what they do? Truly, I've never been on a jury, though I've wanted to be. But nobody ever lets me.


CAMEROTA: I want to be.

CUPP: Good luck with that.

CAMEROTA: But is that what happens? They would really say, like maybe we need to think about it, let's try again?

JACKSON: So, look, you want to -- so, here's the way it works, right? You've sat on that trial and you've sat on that trial for a period of time. It was six weeks. And you have to believe, although the judge says don't deliberate yet, wait until all the evidence is in, reserve judgment, you have to believe that as the evidence is being processed, you're formulating opinion, you have some sense of what you want to do and how you want to vote, and so you go into the room. There's a foreperson who's in charge of the jury, and you go around the room. That's the one time when it's verdict deliberation time where now we can speak, now we can engage, now we can discuss the facts.

And so you take the poll of the temperature of everyone around you, and I assume they didn't have to do that too much because, ultimately, the temperature was that he's guilty, there being, thereby rejecting completely the narrative of the defense, adopting the narrative of the prosecution and saying, you know what, guilty as to all four counts.

MILLER: Well, there's some mechanics to it, right? I mean, you can't just go say, are we going to poll on everything. You poll on the first murder and then you poll on the second murder and then you poll on the weapons possession. And the instruction is you're going to have to go through whether he's guilty of each count and if you're going to find on all of them. So, you know, that could be three hours. But we've seen juries where they've been together so long where they literally -- and I'm not making this up -- where they stretch it out to say, well, let's deliberate at least until lunch. We'll have that last meal together, and then we'll say after lunch we have a verdict.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I was wondering about that.

MILLER: So, I mean, there's a bonding piece that goes with that.

CAMEROTA: As an investigator, John, do you think that it was that video on Paul, the murdered son's cell phone, that video that showed that Alex Murdaugh was at the scene?

MILLER: I think the video is the beginning of the domino effect of the fall of Alex Murdaugh in this case because it's the thing that probably causes him to have to testify on the stand, which exposes him to everything. Had it not been for the video, he probably wouldn't have had to make that decision with his lawyers to take the stand. And then once you get him up there, it's, okay, tell us everything you ever lied about.


Now, tell these people they should believe you today about anything.

CAMEROTA: Your thoughts?

CUPP: Well, clearly with the speed of that deliberation, there was zero reasonable doubt. There was zero opportunity for there to be a window of doubt. And kudos to the prosecution because we've seen other well-known famous cases where I had no doubt the person was guilty, Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, but the prosecution didn't close that door to reasonable doubt effectively. So, this was a bang up job by the prosecution, you know, obviously a defendant in Alex Murdaugh who had a lot of problems to overcome.

DAN HARRIS, AUTHOR, TEN PERCENT HAPPIER PODCAST: There's such an undercurrent in this case of privilege and power and money and status, and we live in a country where there's so many disagreements about whether the criminal justice system is effective and fair. And I'm just wondering whether this case might bolster people's confidence. Do you think our legal experts that that's possibly true?

MILLER: I think one of the issues here is that this is a case of -- well, I mean, first of all, it's a crazy story. It's like -- it's like Better Call Saul meets Yellowstone. It's got a lot of -- you know --

CAMEROTA: It has everything.

MILLER: -- the famous lawyer in the county, the son of the powerful.

But to your question, Dan, as an exemplar of your watching the system work, even the powerful can't get away, he came in with big guns lawyers, he had plenty of resources. The prosecution brought in their best people. The case we're going to be judged on in is not that one. It's do we give the same justice to the defendant who has the public defender, and, you know, the big gun prosecutor against him at the same time. This one was just a battle of the titans.

CAMEROTA: But, Dan, I feel like we've seen -- haven't we seen a lot of high profile cases where wealthy, privileged people get convicted? I mean, I think of --

MILLER: Claus von Bulow.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, Elizabeth Holmes, Phil Specter, Robert Durst. I mean, we certainly watched the O.J. Simpson trial, but that had a different dynamic.

HARRIS: Yes. And Martha Stewart is at home tonight comfortable, but she wasn't for a while.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, I think we do see that. Not to say that -- I mean, those are just -- they're more than one-offs, but I take your point.

HARRIS: But the wrap on the American justice system sometimes is that you get the best justice money can buy, and this case seems to be potentially a counterargument.

MILLER: There's a limit to it.


CUPP: And the prosecutor alluded to that in their press conference. They said, we hope this gives you some faith in the judicial system because we were not deterred or swayed by his money, his power, his lawyers. So, I think that is a huge factor in this.

JACKSON: Yes. S.E., what they also alluded to, the prosecutors, was the resources, the federal government helped them out significantly putting together the timeline, everything else. And so the federal government and the state government really joined together, right, to do this case.

And so it was a case, I think, where they put together a significant amount of people who had the knowledge of the courtroom, the experience of the courtroom, and the ability to get the technology and everything else we saw in this case, cell phone data, right, all of the other data to get the conviction.

CAMEROTA: A lot was made about his demeanor, and so his demeanor during the case when he was particularly emotional on the stand, and then his demeanor when the verdict was read. So, let's just look at this, I believe we have a split screen of this. So, on the right is where he was on the stand and he was broken up and crying and had to stop, and, you know, take a break for a second, and then on the left, he was quite stoic and stone-faced. I don't know what to make of that, John.

MILLER: Well, in version A, he's got a chance, and he's in convincing mode. In version B, he doesn't have to act for anybody because the game is over.

CUPP: It's done, yes. CAMEROTA: Was it a mistake for him to take the stand, for them to put him on the stand?

JACKSON: You know what, Alisyn, what happened was is that I don't think they had a choice what it came down to really is. And, obviously, we all have choices, and us defense attorneys don't like putting clients on the stand, because then the case is not about reasonable doubt, it's about whether they believe your client.

But to my point about why they may not have had a choice, he denied, denied, denied, denied, denied that he was there. And then all of a sudden there's a parade of witnesses who say, well, wait a minute, not only is there cell data connecting you, not only is there that automobile data that connects you, but there's this actual certain video. That is your voice on the video, isn't it?

So, after all these denials, he now has to get on the stand and explain himself as to why he made the initial lie. So, that's why he was boxed in, and they had to do something, they being the defense team, to clean that up and he was the best hope.

CUPP: But would you have? That's what I want to -- I mean, would you have put him on the stand?

JACKSON: Listen, you know what it is? No attorney has a monopoly on wisdom. And I can tell you that as a defense, team if everyone went in the room and all of us were lawyers, we would have such a disagreement. And, eventually, the majority would win, but they took their shot.

And, remember, in doing that, though, he's a very skilled attorney, right?


He was a person who got millions of dollars. He knew and they brought even testimony as to him being convincing and theatrical in the courtroom and emotional in the courtroom, and they felt that they can use that in order to persuade. Ultimately, the lie, the lie, the lie, the lie, the lies he told caught up with him

Last thing, when the prosecutor confronted him, they said, you know what, you took a quadriplegic's money that you settled to him, didn't you? You took a teenager's money. You took children and everyone else's money and you looked at them in the eye too and just like you looked at the jury in the eye. So, they made -- they being the prosecutors -- that connection to how he lied to his clients, his family, everyone around him, just like he lied to the jury.

HARRIS: That might have been the moment.


CAMEROTA: Dan, the poor remaining son, Buster, the poor son, he doesn't have a brother, he doesn't have a mother. They've been killed. His father is probably going to prison for life, I assume. I don't know what he does now.

HARRIS: The toxic cocktail of emotions he must be feeling because there's the grief losing his mother and brother, and then the grief, shock, horror, denial, whatever is going through his head, vis-a-vis his dad who at this point pretty much looks like was responsible for their deaths. So, that is a lot to deal with, and the question is does he have support to help him work through all of these emotions.

CUPP: Well, I guarantee someone capable of killing his wife and his other child was not thinking about the collateral damage that he would leave his surviving son, right?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Everybody stick around, if you would, we want to talk about this. A Michigan man is arrested for planning to kill Jewish officials. He's part of a growing fringe group you may not have ever heard of, that's next.



CAMEROTA: The FBI says a man threatened to kill Jewish officials in Michigan. State Attorney General Dana Nessel says she was among those targeted.

According to the criminal complaint, the suspect posted online support for the so-called Sovereign Citizens Movement. That's a self-declared independent nation that members claim makes them immune from U.S. laws.

Let's bring in now Kyle Spencer, author of Raising Them Right, the Untold Story of America's Ultraconservative Youth Movement and Its Plot for Power, and we're also back with John Miller, S.E. Cupp, Dan Harris and Joey Jackson.

John, I want to just start with this suspect's philosophy, as he spells out via tweet his philosophy on sovereignty. So, on February 18th, he says, courts do not have subject matter jurisdiction over the issue of sovereignty nor do they have personal jurisdiction over me. My status cannot be legally challenged. Any crime that has been claimed I committed, I am, number one, immune from prosecution anyway, and number two, all the evidence is fake.

MILLER: Well, there you go.

CAMEROTA: There you go, case closed.

MILLER: So, the Sovereign Citizen Movement, which kind of grows out of the militia movement, so you have the Michigan militia and then you have all the sovereign groups, and the idea is I'm declaring, you know, that I am not a part of the United States. The government has no authority over me. In this case, Jack Carpenter, our suspect here, who's charged in this case, declared a nine-mile radius around his house as the nation of New Israel and that that was his sovereign nation. And, you know, they sue everybody in court. They drive around, they don't recognize the DMV. Don't you wish you could do that? So, they don't have plates on their cars. The police pull them over, but it's no game. I mean, we've had Sovereign Citizen members, you know, kill police officers in car stops. It's a growing disturbing movement.

CAMEROTA: Well, there you have it. Because, Kyle, I'd say this guy sounds crazy but he's not alone. So, obviously, he's part of something that may be growing that lots of people have known about. And so why is Michigan a hot bed of this?

KYLE SPENCER, JOURNALIST: You know, it's interesting because we've seen a lot of these groups in Michigan, and I have -- you know, I think that we see these groups in Michigan right now, these growing group that are really kind of ignored. I think a lot of people don't realize they're out there.

But we have in Michigan like these two movements. We have these militia groups that are there and then we have these very, very powerful women in office. We have an incredibly powerful female governor, Whitmer. We have a female attorney general. We have a female secretary of state. And I don't think it's an accident that there's this growing militia movement in Michigan.

I mean, remember that Michigan is the state where a few years ago another militia movement decided that they wanted to kidnap and, you know, hold the governor ransom. So, I think we're seeing like this sort of rise of these powerful women in Michigan and then then this counterattack.

CAMEROTA: That's an interesting juxtaposition. Dan, when you were reporting for ABC, you say that you knew about this group and did reporting on them.

HARRIS: Well, just as John was saying before, you echoed this, it sounds insane that you can just unilaterally declare that the laws don't apply to you, you don't need license plates. I covered a lot of these Sovereign Citizens occupying empty homes and refusing to leave. It sounds insane, and yet this is a growing movement propelled by the internet where people are, as John said, ending up in lethal confrontations in court and making threats, and it's a real problem.

CAMEROTA: He's also, S.E., not only antigovernment, he's also anti- vaxx. Here's another tweet. This is from February 16th. This was a tweet responding to President Biden. You hired people to violate international law and kill me because I can prove you committed a felony as well as everyone who said safe and effective about COVID-19 experimental injections. Thoughts?

CUPP: Well, look, you know, I think this can also be part mental illness. I mean, there is a contingent of folks who are drawn to and radicalized and drawn to these fringe movements because they're infected with some kind of hate, maybe have some mental illness. That's not a must for this. It's not a requisite. But there's some delusion to this, obviously. We saw this kind of delusion with the Paul Pelosi attacker as well and his tweets and his view of the world, but that's why rhetoric is so important. And so when people get up and talk about conspiracy theories around vaccines or make anti-Semitic comments, whether you're a podcaster or a member of Congress on the right and the left, it has some really deleterious effects.


Because, in essence, it gives permission to people, saying, well, I'm not crazy, and I'm not the only one, someone else out there with a big microphone is saying what I think. And so I'm going to go ahead and double down on what I believe and maybe even do something awful about it.

HARRIS: Lonely minds are fertile territory for conspiracy theories. And then the problem is it makes you feel less lonely. It makes you feel connected to something larger. It gives you somebody to hate and rally against. It's a toxic combination.

CAMEROTA: Right, because you're bonding --

JACKSON: And, Alisyn, it wasn't only the statements and the comments he made, but when he was stopped, he had firearms with him and ammunition, and that's problematic. I mean, you could say whatever you want to a point, right? But then when you have these threats and you have things that are on you where you can carry out those threats, it makes it a real problem.

CUPP: Especially since he had an order of protection against him. So, that's what makes that worse.

CAMEROTA: And so, Kyle, yes, so tell us your thoughts on the intersection of the anti-Semitism, the anti-vaxx, the anti-government.

SPENCER: Yes. I think the thing about this movement in particular is that it has in the past conducted itself with this kind of paper terrorism, which is that they would, you know, go to judges and give them lots of paperwork, paperwork to police officers. It was kind of this weird thing that they did. But I think it's notable that this group is getting more violent.

And I think that speaks to the kind of violence that we're seeing increasing in our country and the cause of violence that we're seeing online, you know, the school violence, that this group is moving away from this kind of paper terrorism into actual threatening and them, of course, this guy driving around with these guns with this intention of harming a public official.

But the conspiracy theory is another thing too, because this group has historically had this is kind of pseudo historical idea about how this country works and they actually believe the founding father -- the current government took over from the founding fathers at some point in history. And, of course, we have right now this period in which conspiracy theories are all over the place and really sticky. And I think that's another reason why we shouldn't be so surprised that this group is reappearing.

CAMEROTA: And one last question, Kyle, while it's trying to attract younger people, and is that working?

SPENCER: Yes. I mean, I think one of the things that I saw a lot in my book was this effort to really normalize violence and violent rhetoric and really hostile rhetoric. And you see that on college campuses. You see it with these groups that want to push for military grade weapons to be legalized on college campuses, and you see that online.

I mean, Candice Owens, who is a very, very popular social media right- winger was online, I think it was today, calling on wanting -- telling everybody that she wanted to punch Zelenskyy in the face. I mean, this is somebody who sees herself as a role model for young conservatives. And that's very, very common for her and her right-wing friends.

So, yes, I think kind of normalizing violence among young people is something that the right-wingers particularly want to push.

CAMEROTA: Kyle, thank you very much for all of your expertise, really important context for all of us.

Stick around, everybody, if you would, because after all the questions surrounding George Santos' finances, he finally has a new campaign treasurer, thank goodness, but some people have just one question. Does that person really exist? Stay with us.



CAMEROTA: Yet another mystery surrounding truth-challenged GOP Congressman George Santos. He's apparently appointed a new campaign treasurer. The only problem, the local GOP officials in New York say they've never heard of him, don't know who he is, there's no record of him ever having been a treasurer.

I'm back with my panel. Okay, well, the mystery continues surrounding George Santos. Here, he appointed someone named Andrew Olson. Here's what we know about --

CUPP: Sounds fake.

CAMEROTA: Your verdict is in. He doesn't exist.

MILLER: Jimmy Olson's brother.

HARRIS: So, we're calling him truth-challenged now, not just lying congressman?

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, we never called him -- well, we can call him lying. I hear a lot of people call him embattled. He doesn't seem to be embattled. He seems to be enjoying this. He's having a grand old time.

CUPP: Winning the battle.

CAMEROTA: Here's Andrew Olson, does not serve with any other federal committees, has not. New York election officials say no one with that name is registered as a treasurer of any political committee in state. The address associated with Andrew Olson and the Santos campaign is a mixed use building where Santos' sister lived until recently.


CUPP: Like a boiler room. I wonder if you go and there's just like people on the phones.

CAMEROTA: People on the phones.

CUPP: Yes, exactly. I don't know. What I know is I want to run for office because apparently you're just untouchable when you do. I don't know how Donald Trump is still walking around a free man. I don't know how bill Clinton still gets invited to like DNC events. I don't understand how it's taking this long to find something on this lying liar face.

CAMEROTA: Are Republicans circling the wagons around him or just avoiding him like a pariah?

CUPP: It's not just that. Like the ethics committee is notoriously slow at this. It took them two months to even start an investigation. And at the end of it, it usually ends in like a rebuke.

You know, so this is kind of just like for show anyway. But I just don't -- I just don't get it, like how much more do you want to be embarrassed by this guy, not just Republicans but the body of Congress.

CAMEROTA: But there are real financial crime accusations that are being looked into.

MILLER: I mean, when you go through the checks, you know, in the Santos campaign and you see those, you know, $199.99 checks, that are just one penny under the thing you have to file the receipts for and at all different places for all different things, but they all come out to the same number, a penny below, it does suggest to the trained investigator within me that there might be something worth looking at further even in a criminal sense.


However, in the model of solving such mysteries, what's the same? Follow the money. But how -- it is very hard to follow the money, if you can't find the banker. And you know it appears that his campaign treasurer is in the campaign treasurer protection program, under a new identity somewhere because, like he's -- there's no there, there.

CAMEROTA: Here are some of the things, Dan, that the ethics committee is looking into. Did George Santos engage in unlawful activity with respect to his Congressional campaign? He failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House, he violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services, and then there was the sexual misconduct accusation against an individual who is looking for a job.

HARRIS: Yeah, so no big deal, right? No, I -- it helps to address S.E.'s comments from earlier. It helps if you don't have a shame gene, because it makes it easier to move through the world. I always look at every story through the lens of what does it say about human nature.

And for me, this is like an extreme version of something that we all have or most of us have, this -- we evolved as social creatures to play the game of reputation. And this guy is playing the game of reputation to like upping himself to the max, and we all to it on social media now. And so this is just a -- kind of an extreme version of human behavior.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Like fake it until you make it.

HARRIS: Absolutely.

CUPP: Yeah.

HARRIS: And it's encouraged on social media, where you're competing now against your friends and influencers and your favorite celebrity.


CUPP: And he's made it.

JACKSON: Absolutely. I'll say this, the wheels of justice often move slowly, but they do move.


JACKSON: And so, yes, we're in a situation now where he's serving the members of that district from my district.

CAMEROTA: Do you feel well served?

JACKSON: I do not feel well-served. But the reality is he's in office, right? At this particular time, the best recourse would be voters removing him. That is, however, far removed in 2024. We do have a criminal process. We have an ethics process as he mentioned that ethics process that is teethless, right? Because if it ends in a rebuke and has no real accountability or consequence then what for? But I think at the end of the day when you lie -- what is it, the wicked web you weave when first you practice to deceive? So I think that the feds can catch up with him.

HARRIS: Were you on Google in the commercial looking that up?

JACKSON: Even if the voters don't catch up with you, the FBI and Department of Justice can.

CUPP: I think George Santos is more of the, it's not a lie if you believe it, mantra.

JACKSON: But S.E., I mean, my goodness, his whole life. I mean, I could see embellishment about this or that, everything?

MILLER: At least he's consistent.

JACKSON: You got to give him that. Got to give him credit for that, yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Dan, I think it's interesting what you're saying that everybody you know is playing some per soma on persona on some level. But he's pathological, and he has many of the traits, pathological liar, which you cannot say everybody on social media is.

HARRIS: No, absolutely not. I think it's interesting as an outlier case that sheds some light on our day-to-day proclivities, not all of us. But I think many of us find ourselves in situations where is we're wearing a mask. And to much more so degrees than the case with the Congressman, but that is illuminating on some level. Just the way my brain computes things.

CUPP: But I just never understand like I'm a big reality TV fan. I watch a lot of bravo. And I never understand the people who are committing crimes and then say, yeah, I'll sign up for a reality show and invite cameras into their lives. And essentially, George Santos probably knew that there were some skeletons in his closet and more than once decided to run for public office and expose himself.

HARRIS: Don't you think when you start getting away with it, you start feeling cocky?

CUPP: And I actually think he alluded to that in an interview. He said, well, I kept getting away with it. And so, I guess I did figure I could keep getting away with it. But like it's just -- that's a pathology I'll never understand, where you know you're doing stuff that's wrong and yet you court attention.

CAMEROTA: Isn't that just call a --

CUPP: Narcissist, right?

CAMEROTA: I know you thought I was going to say something different, but no. Don't you think that's what it is?

MILLER: I think we have a failure on our end, which is -- you know, we pick people to death, to pieces in campaigns. We go through their unpaid parking tickets and this guy sailed through, and you know, where was the opposition research that was done but never unearthed, where is the -- where were the long island papers in his district saying, you know, we really got to look into this guy. Is he who he says he is? He just sailed right through because you know --

CUPP: Well, there was a local paper.

CAMEROTA: There was a local paper. There was a local paper and the editor of the local paper who was trying to sound the alarm, he had gone and spent like a lunch with him. And he came away from it saying that was the most bizarre two hours I've ever spent. And he wrote about it. [22:35:05]

MILLER: You call that smoke. But I mean, in a nationally important set of races where it really is going to come down to one or two seats for control, you would think that everything would be in national scrutiny. And this got right by us.

CUPP: Agreed.

CAMEROTA: Yes, maybe this is a teachable moment. All right, everyone, stick around if you would.

Multiple passengers have been hospitalized after a flight hit this severe turbulence without any warning. And now, the FAA is investigating what caused this clear air turbulence.



CAMEROTA: All right. The FAA will hold a safety summit later this month to discuss a series of incidents and mishaps in the skies. Here's the latest frightening episode. A Lufthansa flight from Texas to Germany was diverted to Dulles airport last night after, as you can see, severe turbulence, it sent seven people to the hospital.

Aviation expert David Souci is here again tonight. We call upon him all too often and the panel is back as well. David, how did this happen? This was clear sky turbulence, not a storm, not a thunderstorm. They were flying through. What is clear sky turbulence?

DAVID SOUCI, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Clear sky turbulence is just temperature changes. It's changes in the air temperature that creates a density of air difference. So that means that the wings go through denser air, they lift more. When they go through more separated air or hotter air, they go down. They don't lift as much. So that happens in clear air turbulence.

As you'll go through a section, very difficult to detect that, unless someone else has flown through it first and said, hey, this is going to be bouncing, it's going to be rough. But if you go through a different area, if there hasn't been a plane through there in several hours, this can happen, and something that pilots are prepared for.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about how they're prepared for that. First of all, David, I mean, it sounds really bad. The passengers said that it felt like that moment where you're going over the tippy top of a roller coaster, that feeling where your stomach, you know, is up in your throat. You're out of your seat, you know, things were hitting the ceiling. Have you heard of a thousand to 4,000 foot, the passengers have different estimates, drop through clear air turbulence?

SOUCI: Yes. Yes, I have. There was an investigation I did on a Chinese airplane that came into Honolulu when I was based in Honolulu with the FAA. We did have a fatality on that one. It was a flight attendant that wasn't buckled in. They even knew the turbulence was coming, but she didn't have time to get into her seat. And when it dropped that far, you talk about a roller coaster, and roller coasters are no more than a couple hundred feet, but this is thousands of feet.

This is a lot more dramatic than being on a roller coaster. And it happens much more quickly. The problem is that when you think about the G's, you hear people talk about the G's when the airplane pulls back up and pushes you down. So you can withstand -- your body can stand 5 or 6 G's coming back up without really making a problem. But the problem is negative G's are just as dangerous, in fact, more Dangerous because if you go down at a quicker rate and you're being pulled up like that, the body can only handle about 2.5 G's before there's problems.

So this could really have been a dramatic thing. I think some of these passengers that were injured, even though you would think well, maybe they didn't have their seatbelts on or something happened there, they were probably injured as well. Even in their seats, they could be injured with that type of a fall.

CAMEROTA: And how do pilots handle that?

SOUCI: What they have to do is slow down the airplanes. We've been on this kick about what's causing these problems, what's causing the airlines to make mistakes, what's causing air traffic to make mistakes. And again, it all has to do with speed.

You know, Southwest Airlines has just come one a way to save five minutes on boarding because that's a big deal. If they can save five minutes on boarding then that means that they're going to be able to put another airplane in the sky that day. So it's all about how quickly you can get people boarded, how quickly you can get them on there.

Now, the pilot has the discretion to -- once they take off, they can figure out how much speed they have to go across certain areas. If it's a prone area -- if it's to turbulence like this area is, it's a known turbulence area and they could tell from the temperature and the readings they had on their -- they have sheer detection on the airplane, but that they can see that something's coming. So the plan for the pilot is to slow the aircraft down.

And you think about how dramatic that would be. But if you get through that clear air turbulence quickly, it doesn't make it -- it doesn't make it better. If you can skim through it, it just makes it worse. You're higher speed and it goes in different directions quicker. What you have to do is slow the aircraft down.

But they can't do that. They're under a lot of pressure to get to that gate at the end, so they can make it back. Everything is scheduled so tight that the pilots aren't slowing things down. They need to slow things down a little bit just like we talked about, slowing down how many airplanes take off, so we don't end up with airplanes on the runway when others are landing.

CAMEROTA: David, stick around, I want to bring in the panel right now. S.E., I know you have shared with us that you've had a terrifying flight experience, a horrible flight experience where you had to be in a very shaky flight and it had to burn off fuel before you could land.

CUPP: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

CAMEROTA: Does that ever leave you after you have an experience like that?

CUPP: Well, it was awful. Yeah, we lost hydraulics on take-off. We had five hours' worth of fuel that we had to just burn off. And when you lose hydraulics, you can't really control the plane. So it was dubbed the vomit comet, you can look it up.

And you know I didn't find out until I was on the ground how dangerous and precarious this situation was. When I got History Channel's show called Engineering Disasters -

CAMEROTA: And would you be a guest?

CUPP: And would you come on and talk about your near-death experience?

CAMEROTA: Do you still fly?

CUPP: I flew that night. So when we landed, I got right back on a plane to get home. So I'm always the wet blanket in these stories, Alisyn, because I'm always like -- but flying is still really, really safe.

CAMEROTA: OK. I mean, if you say so, I have to believe it.

CUPP: I believe it. I've beaten the odds. I've already had my near experience, right? So I can say I'm good. I'm good now.

JACKSON: Lightning will not strike twice.

CUPP: God willing.

CAMEROTA: And, Dan, do you just meditate your way through these things?

HARRIS: Whatever the opposite of a wet blanket is, I will represent unbridled fear. I have no problem admitting I get scared quite easily. So I would not have gotten back on a plane that quickly. Actually, can I ask a question of David?


HARRIS: It's your show. But, David, is it true -- is S.E. right when she says that flying is safe?

SOUCI: Yes, flying is very, very safe. It's much safer than flying -- driving in a car, getting in your car, driving across town. Take 10 miles in a car, you're exposed to much more risk and we could talk about risk versus hazard later. But basically, you're taking a lot more risks, you're exposed to a lot

more in that 10 miles than you would be going across Atlantic in an airplane.

HARRIS: Vindication for S.E., iron gut.

CUPP: Told you.

JACKSON: Can I ask Alisyn a question to ask David?

HARRIS: Go right to the source.

JACKSON: Here's the reality, why are we hearing about all of these near misses lately? It doesn't seem that in the past it was to this magnitude.

CAMEROTA: No, I agree.

JACKSON: Every time I turn on, right, the television I'm learning about this flight almost landed on top of another. What is going on?

CAMEROTA: David has told -- I mean, part of it is what David just said which is that they're, you know, trying to get more flights up and out faster.

CUPP: Cutting corners.

MILLER: What you saw there was you had the airline industry in 2019, you remember when the world was still normal. Then Covid hits. Then it's, you know, a near full stop for the airline industry. They're hemorrhaging money, people are getting paid, some people aren't getting paid. Then right now, they are having more flights, more take- offs, more landings now -- it's not just recovering, they're exceeding 2019, which is I don't know if that's a business model to make up for lost time revenue --

JACKSON: But in my view -

MILLER: Everybody wants to fly, but the answer to your question is, and I'll defer to our aviation expert is that's more planes on the same number of runways and the same number of air traffic controllers, and it's more traffic. And that is more planes in the sky.

JACKSON: I get that. So there could be more demand. There could be more people who are going back to flying. But I mean, there needs certainly to be more coordination. It seems to me that we have the technology to do this. We have the ability to do this. We have the expertise like people like David who know how to do this. That's not an excuse.

CAMEROTA: No, we do have to upgrade our technology. David, I have an important question for you about this turbulence. Is it climate change related, will we see more of that kind of severe turbulence?

SOUCI: I don't -- I don't think there's any direct correlation to that. You're going to ask me to make a political statement there, I won't go there.

CAMEROTA: No, I mean, just a reality statement.

SOUCI: The reality of it is -

CAMEROTA: We're seeing more wind shear.

SOUCI: No, I don't think there is. I think there's just as much wind shear as there has been. But again, it has to do with how fast you fly through that wind shear. And I think that has more to do with it. It could very well be -- but I'm not a climatic scientist and I can't really tell you that.

But the fact is that when you go through those wind shears, if you slow the airplane down and go through them slowly and not try to bounce through them, that's what causes injuries. And they need to do a better job of monitoring that and they had the tools to do that on board the airplane to see what's coming forward. You can't guess it all the time -

CAMEROTA: All right.

SOUCI: But certainly, this one could have been avoided.

MILLER: But remember, you know, this is regulated by the FAA. If somebody was going to force that, you've got an agency that nobody disagrees is underfunded, understaffed with technology that's too old and an administrator who hasn't been confirmed.


MILLER: So we're seeing a perfect storm.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we do always come back to that every time we have this conversation. But I'm just going to tell my pilot when I get on the plane, just slow it down. Just take it slow.

HARRIS: That'll do it.

CAMEROTA: That's what I'm going to do. All right, guys, thank you very much. Stick around.

OK, there is a big perk to going back to the office. We'll tell you what that is next.



CAMEROTA: Here's a question. If you returned to the office, has your work spouse returned, too? Maybe you don't have a work spouse? Maybe you have a work bestie, the Alec Baldwin to your Tina Fey, the Ellen Pompeo to your Sandra Oh. My panel is back with me.

OK, raise your hands. How many of you have a work spouse? Oh, you all have work spouses. Aren't they great? CUPP: The best.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, who's your work spouse?

CUPP: Oh, OK. It wasn't at this network, is that OK?

CAMEROTA: Yeah, it's OK.

CUPP: I had a work knee named (inaudible). He and I shared many a show together. And it was a great relationship, especially as a woman, having a guy in your corner. To kind of --


CAMEROTA: To look out for you? To bounce things off of?

CUPP: Both. But yeah, it felt nice. It felt safe.

CAMEROTA: Who's your works best?

MILLER: Well, there's none here.

CAMEROTA: I would say.

MILLER: It was detective (inaudible) in the NYPD, executive assistant ran my life, knew all my secrets, I knew hers. And you know if Emily (ph), my wife, needed to know anything, she didn't call me, she called Jamie (ph).

CAMEROTA: That's so great. I love it. Dan.

HARRIS: Well, I -- I guess I work bigamist, because I've had many work spaces.

CAMEROTA: Polygamist.

HARRIS: Polygamist, bigamist, I don't know. I used to be an anchorman and I had a lot of co-hosts on the show on another network. And they included your current colleague (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: Yes, I wish she could be my work wife.

CUPP: I'd marry her to.


JACKSON: I had to also paralegals, tremendous -- tremendous. The first when Jenny (ph), second who I have now, Cynthia tremendous, run every aspect of me where you need to be, how need to get there, what I had to do, et cetera. And before Covid was often in the building with me here, just tremendous, so gratitude.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, for sure. I have a picture of two -- I think I have a picture of two of the best work spouses ever. These are two of the best -

CUPP: There you go.

CAMEROTA: John Berman, and you know work spouses just keep you laughing. They make you want to go to work. And that is a great thing about being in the office. It's being able to have those relationships.

CUPP: And gossip.

CAMEROTA: Yes, gossip, everything. You go into their office, they all have booze I find.

HARRIS: There's data that shows that if you have a best friend at work, you're more productive and more likely to stay at the job.

CAMEROTA: I agree. I've had that bestie at work.

All right, meanwhile, three hours of deliberation in the jury finds Alex Murdaugh guilty. This is after more than 70 witnesses testified for six weeks. But this is not the end, for Murdaugh, stay with us.