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Jury Finds Alex Murdaugh Guilty Of Murdering Wife And Son; GOP Decries Biden Administration Retirement Investment Rule As Woke; TN Resident Sues County Over 'Whiskey Fungus' From Jack Daniel's Barrel Houses; Former HQ Trivia Host Brings The Questions. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 02, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Guilty on all counts. After a six-week trial with more than 70 witnesses, it took a South Carolina jury less than three hours of deliberations to decide that Alex Murdaugh is guilty of killing his wife and son. His sentencing is set for tomorrow.

We're back with S.E. Cupp, Dave Aronberg, Patrick McEnroe joins us, and Natasha Alford as well. So, Dave, you are an attorney, what do you think sealed the deal and allowed the jury to decide this in three hours?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY: The jury saw right through this conman. He lied from day one. He lied to his family. He lied to police. And then when he got caught in a lie because of his son's video, he changed his story on the spot. The jury didn't believe his new story. And ironically, it was his son, Paul, who solved his own murder.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we've been saying that. So, Paul's cell phone captured the audio of Alex Murdaugh at the kennels that night when he said he wasn't. Didn't he know in discovery -- I mean, don't they present these things in discovery where he would have been tipped off that they had this video? Why was he caught in that lie? Didn't he know that they have the cellphone video?

ARONBERG: They knew later. They found it months later. But when they found it, I think he thought he could get away with it because maybe it wasn't clear that his voice was on it. But then when his own witness says that his team called, admitted, yeah, 100 percent, that's Alex's voice, he was in a lot of trouble. He had to come up with the opioid excuse, the opioid made me paranoid, which the jury didn't buy.

CAMEROTA: Just to remind everybody, let's listen to some of the lies that Alex Murdaugh had to admit to on the stand.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): The second that you're confronted with facts that you can't deny, you immediately come up with a new lie. Isn't that correct?

ALEX MURDAUGH, DISGRACED FORMER ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) established, I have lied many times. Maggie asked me to go to the kennels with her. And I wasn't going to go. I said, I'm not going to go.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): And how long after she left did you suppose to go down there?

MURDAUGH: It was very quickly.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Did you get on the golf court to do that?


UNKNOWN (voice-over): All right. You had to go walk to where it was?

MURDAUGH: Well, yeah. A few feet, but I did that, yes.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): How long did that take? (INAUDIBLE) 46 now. How long did that take?

MURDAUGH: Seconds.

UNKNOWN: Just seconds? All right. What did you do after that?

MURDAUGH: Got back on the golf court. Did I get on the golf court and leave that second? Probably not. But then I get on the golf cart and leave very quickly.


CAMEROTA: I don't know, Natasha, I found that when he was speaking in court, he'd have sort of a folksy, aw shucks demeanor that I thought -- that didn't scream liar to me when I was listening to him.

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Maybe that was strategic. Right? He was doing that because, you know, this is an experienced professional. And the entire system seemed to be working in his favor for many years.

I think we got the sense from watching the prosecution at the end that they were welcomed by this community. It seems that this is a community that felt that justice should have been delivered long ago, but Murdaugh thought he was, you know, above that.

So, I get the sense that he was doing what he always did, and this time, it just didn't work.

CAMEROTA: That's such a great point because it came out in trial that he had stolen millions from people.


And there were bodies, other bodies, that pop up around this family in suspicious circumstances.

PATRICK MCENROE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: Well, I mean, as Natasha just said, spot on, because when I was here about a week ago, I was getting myself familiar with this situation, and I listened to Murdaugh on the stand, I've said to you, Alisyn, and to your panel at the time, this is a guy who has gotten away with everything throughout his entire life: the power, the privilege, the family.

And the chickens came home to roost because, to Natasha's point, and I think the reason the verdict was delivered so quickly, was because these people there knew it. They knew exactly what this guy had been doing for many years, not just murdering his wife and his kid, but swindling people and lying to people and manipulating people throughout many, many years.

CAMEROTA: S.E., we've been talking about how this is an example of how there's justice for all. They're from a wealthy privileged family. They could afford the best attorneys. He had been getting away with it for years. But this shows that, you know, rich people can go to prison. But haven't we seen that before?

I mean, are we making too big of a deal on that? I think there's many high-profile cases, from Phil Spector to Robert Durst. We've gone through the list. Don't rich people go to jail a lot?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, sometimes money and fame can make you an example, right, and put a bullseye on you. I'm not saying that those people weren't guilty but, absolutely, that can draw attention and make you an example for a judge or a prosecutor or even a jury.

But I think -- well, I agree with everything that Natasha and Patrick just said. I think we should also be careful not to intimate that this jury had some bias against the Murdaugh family because they maybe knew who they were.

MCENROE: Uh-hmm.

CUPP: I think they did their job. And the prosecutor's burden is high. Right? But that burden of reasonable doubt, that could've squeaked in anywhere. And it just didn't. It didn't in any of these moments of the trial.

For them to come back so quickly meant no reasonable doubt. Not one juror said, well, I'm not convinced on this one thing. That's enough to hang a jury or to have an acquittal. And that didn't happen. I just think it was so damning.

CAMEROTA: What do you think what's going on there for those three hours? I mean, three hours, since you're someone who's knows his way around the courtroom, does that mean they all got in there and said, like, okay, we know he is guilty, but let's give this some air of legitimacy and sit around for three hours? Was there one person who's on the fence? What does that mean, three hours?

ARONBERG: They go in there not talking about it with each other, and they say, let's take a vote. I think that they had 11 or 12 hands right off the bat. And then the next biggest question is, do we wait long enough to get free dinner?


ARONBERG: Because at some point --


ARONBERG: Yeah, they're going to feed you. You know, Patrick said something interesting. He said the chickens came home to roost. Think about how close this case came to unraveling if Bubba -- you know who Bubba is?

CAMEROTA: No. Who's Bubba?

ARONBERG: Bubba is the family dog. If Bubba hadn't eaten that chicken, Alex's voice would not have been on the recording that Paul recorded, and I don't think Alex could have been tied to the murders.

ALFORD: Can I -- can I add something to this question of, you know, does this prove that we finally have justice? Only when certain victims were killed, right, did things come together. Right? And again, this is not to speak to whatever process it took to really, you know, build this case, but there were certain victims who were helpless. Think about all the people who he stole money from.


ALFORD: The young man who was a quadriplegic who had his settlement money stolen from him. Those victims, they didn't see justice. Right? In this case --

CUPP: They had to wait.

ALFORD: -- they had to wait. Exactly. Exactly. So, you know, the system worked in this instance, but I think it's a moment of reflection across the board. What other ways did the system fail? Can we make sure that justice is enforced across the board?

CAMEROTA: Fair enough. I agree, it took a long time for justice to catch up.

CUPP: He had to kill people.

CAMEROTA: I guess so.

CUPP: He had to kill people.

CAMEROTA: His own of family. They died around him. The housekeeper died under suspicious circumstances. Then, of course, his son was going to be, I guess, on trial for the death of the -- in the boat accident.

ARONBERG: Stephen Smith -- don't forget Stephen Smith, the young man who was killed, treated as road kill, essentially. But now, they're looking at the family because there may have been something nefarious going on. He was a young man who was killed in the middle of the road. And so, this is just a crime family, it seems like.

MCENROE: Just to follow up quickly on S.E.'s point, which is spot on, this wasn't -- this wasn't the main reason he was convicted. But I think it was a factor. I think it was a significant factor because when I listened to the experts like Dave and others that you've had on in the last couple of hours, they all say, you know, there was -- if you really look at it, there could have been reasonable doubt.


There could have been a juror or two that said, wait a minute, there's no 100% proof here. But I think the history was part of why that decision happened and why it was so emphatic.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, because there was enough, there was some room, I think, for reasonable doubt because, where were the bloody clothes?

ALFORD: That's right.

CAMEROTA: And where were the murder weapons? That shows that premeditation. How did he clean that up? And in fact, it was his other son, Buster, who had to testify on his father's behalf about why his father would have showered that night and changed his clothes. Here is Buster on the stand.


BUSTER MURDAUGH, SON OF ALEX MURDAUGH: He can take them -- he can take them a lot. I mean, yeah, working out there, if he goes outside and sweats a lot, comes back in, takes a shower.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Was that normal routine for him?

B. MURDAUGH: It was.

UNKNOWN: And did he sweat a lot?

B. MURDAUGH: Yeah, it's hot out there in the summertime.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Was he a lot bigger than he is today?

B. MURDAUGH: He was.


CAMEROTA: Poor kid. This poor kid.

MCENROE: This guy did -- he did a lot of things right in planning this and plotting this. He was methodical. He was very smart. He just didn't get everything right.


MCENROE: Which he needed to get out of this. CUPP: Maybe a dumb question, I thought you can't be compelled to

testify against or for a family member? Was that the case here or did he volunteer to testify in favor of his dad?

ARONBERG: He was called as a witness from the defense side. So, that's why he voluntarily testified.

CUPP: That didn't automatically open him up to scrutiny from the prosecution as well?

ARONBERG: Yes, you got to cross examine him. But the only privilege that exists is spousal privilege. There is no son-father privilege.

CUPP: Oh, okay.


CUPP: Okay. Yeah. Glad I asked. For the viewer. For the viewer.


CAMEROTA: Yes. And my point is that he was willing to testify for his father, we assume, because he believed his father.

CUPP: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: And now, his father is probably going to prison for life tomorrow. And he -- you know, his mother, son died at the hands of his father. What an -- the collateral damage of all of this violence is so awful. Do you think that it was wise to put Alex Murdaugh on the stand?

ARONBERG: No, in retrospect, because when he testified, he changed his story that he had for two years. And then his explanation, I was paranoid of law enforcement because of the opioids, well, number one, if you're that paranoid that makes you lie, then maybe the opioids also made you paranoid enough to kill. And so, that was a problem. It gave the state an additional motive.

Remember, the state's hardest part of proving their case was putting motive. Even though they don't have to, the jurors want to know the why. He handed the state an additional and powerful motive.

CAMEROTA: So, his motive was he was covering -- I mean, what he handed them. When they came up with was that he needed sympathy and was covering up his financial crimes. And then by testifying, you're saying he handed them. I'm so erratic because I'm an opioid addict?

ARONBERG: In his own words, he said opioids get me energized and make me paranoid. Well, energized and paranoid, paranoid enough to kill? Energized enough to kill? So, I thought his testimony really worked to his disadvantage.

CAMEROTA: Have any of you served on a jury?

ARONBERG: No, they wouldn't allow me.

CAMEROTA: They wouldn't allow me. I want to, I want to meet out justice.

CUPP: Because of what we do -- I mean, I was dismissed several times because when you, you know, do this for a living, it's hard to imagine that you could be -- I don't know, unbiased.

CAMEROTA: People are always trying to get out of jury duty. I want to get in.

CUPP: Me, too,

MCENROE: Get me in there.

ALFORD: Practically, we need more diverse juries in this country. Right? We talk about the arc of justice and there being a time where you can just go into a courtroom and you already knew what the outcome was based on the jury. You didn't see gender diversity. You didn't see racial diversity. So, I think it's more than just being there to be a part of the process. It's literally how you ensure justice for all.

CAMEROTA: There is no way he doesn't get two life sentences here, right?

ARONBERG: No way. In fact, the judge tipped his hand. You saw at the end, he said, overwhelming evidence. He said it twice. He didn't have to say it at all. So, this guy is going to give him two life sentences. And then he's got 99 other counts, which is pretty much already pled guilty to on the stand. And so, he's not going to see the light of day ever again.

CAMEROTA: And why wasn't the death penalty an option here?

ARONBERG: The prosecutors decided to take it off the table. Perhaps they thought they couldn't get it and it would complicate matters, make it harder to get a conviction perhaps, open up to greater appeals.

And so, this guy -- he had 99 counts of financial crimes that he took the stand when he testified in his own defense and admitted to them. So, even if they didn't find him guilty for these crimes, they were going to automatically find him guilty for the other crimes. And so, he was going to get life no matter what.

MCENROE: Dave said in the beginning, this guy is a conman. By taking the stand, I believe it was like a slap in the face to me, to that community, and to those jurors who are from there.


I think, to go back to my initial point, that was a huge mistake. I think that even made that part of it even more important for the jury and why they said so quickly this guy is done.

CAMEROTA: Will the victims ever get the money? ARONBERG: There's a receiver already in place to get money from the

estate over to them. There's not that much left. And so, I don't think the victims will be made whole, but they will get a measure of justice saying this guy incarcerated. Finally, get the justice he deserves.

CAMEROTA: Okay, friends, thank you very much. Everybody, stick around. Is there too much wokeness in American capitalism? A lot of Republicans this so. We're going to tell you about the investment rule that now has them fired up. That's next.


CAMEROTA: President Biden may soon issue his first veto. Congress sending a resolution to his desk this week that would overturn a rule allowing managers of retirement funds to consider environmental and other factors when picking investments.


This is the latest salvo in the GOP's assault on social conscious corporations or, as they say, woke capitalism.

We're back with Dave Aronberg, S.E. Cupp, Patrick McEnroe, and Natasha Alford. Natasha, is anti-wokeness jumping the shark? I mean, every day, something else is woke? It's like teaching black history is woke, gender issues are woke, diversity is woke, Disney is woke. Now, the environment is woke?

ALFORD: Yeah. Have you noticed this pattern? If it has three letters, all of a sudden, you can kind of re-branded. So, CRT, ESG, this effort to -- again, to control the narrative and hope that your audience doesn't understand the nuance. Right? You pick this law that's really, really wonky and specific, and long as you can tie it to wokeness, people will just say this is a problem.

It's interesting, Senator Mark Warner when he was defending the Biden position, he was saying there are senators who don't even know how to read a balance sheet, who are somehow against this approach to investment.

So, it speaks to this larger culture war approach that isn't really about what is best for American society. Considering environmental issues in your investments, the Biden administration is not legislating that, they're just saying that you have a right to choose that.

You know, when climate change hits and the business is literally underwater, right, that's a problem. So, people who want to make investment decisions related to the environment or to care about the environment, I think they have every right to do that.

MCENROE: Starting from 50,000 feet above and following up on the Natasha's comment, I've always felt that in the last 10, 15 years, over the last 50 years in our country, companies and corporations have taken too much power. They've got too much control. They decide who gets elected. They have too much weight. Now, you get a situation where when you have a change in technology that you know is coming, whether its coal being antiquated, then you have the governor of West Virginia, you have the -- you know, in Texas, the legislators, they're upset about oil and gas becoming obsolete, we should go more to different kinds of powers.

With companies, okay, getting to the money side of it, follow the money, follow the capitalists, follow the people that look long term, what's going to make us money?

Now, all of a sudden, you've got these red states jumping into the fray saying, wait a second, you're going to be getting rid of the companies and the industries that we've supported because that's what we do? I mean, things change, the economy evolves, some jobs don't work anymore. That's hard for people to digest in certain parts of the country. That's the reality.

I look at it like -- actually, this is where companies and corporations do the right thing. They're looking long term, what's going to be sustainable? What's going to work? I'll buy a car that's battery-operated now because initially, when they came up, they're too expensive, I'm not going to buy one.

Now, guess what? The technology is involving and getting better. Now, it's like okay, maybe I'll buy one of those Teslas.


CUPP: Well, I'm usually the first to jump on this, you know, GOP has gone crazy and everything is a culture war. I don't think this is a culture war. I don't think ESG is woke, but I do think it's political. I think it's political activism. It happens to be toward the left.

CAMEROTA: Why is it just environmentally sound? Why is that political activism and not just that it is good for everybody?

CUPP: Because I think it's prioritizing political activism over growing the retirement accounts of 150,000 Americans. That's the argument that Joe Manchin and Jon Tester made to Deemocrats who also went along with Republicans in vetoing this.

I don't think this is like the biggest threat to society. But I am pleased Republicans are talking about policies and not Mr. Potato head, that's one. And two, I think there is a debate to be had about how political the government gets when it comes to your retirement accounts and how that money is invested. So, I'm not as on the Republicans as I normally would be.

MCENROE: Are they threatening the big banks? Isn't that the point? To me, I feel like they're threatening them by bringing up --

CUPP: Who they?

MCENROE: -- the legislators in the states. They're saying they're threatening by going after the funds, the retirement funds, because they want you to stick with companies that they like in their state, rather than -- you know.

So, the banks are actually not investing in things that they don't think long term are going to be workable over 10, 20, 30 years. And then states -- the government, they're saying in the states, oh, no, you have to invest in these. We want you to invest in these. Otherwise, we're going to take away letting our banks work for our state.


ALFORD: Oil, gas, fossil fuels, those industries.

MCENROE: Exactly.

CUPP: But I think, to Natasha's point, this isn't -- this isn't mandatory. This is just allowing companies to do that, which I think also makes my point that it is meaningless, that is toothless, and so then it just feels political.

ARONBERG: This whole thing is such weak sauce. It's to allow money managers to consider -- I mean, it doesn't do anything.

CUPP: Right.

ARONBERG: This is just a talking point for people who want to campaign on wokeness. As someone who lives in Florida, that's the state where woke goes to die, according to our governor.


ARONBERG: I don't know what woke really is, but it's dead and buried.

CAMEROTA: It's a lot.

ARONBERG: It's a lot.

CUPP: It's almost everything now.

MCENROE: It's changing every week.

CUPP: It's true.

ARONBERG: It's buried somewhere under South Beach. Whatever it is, this is just a political thing. That's why Jon Tester and Joe Manchin voted with Republicans, because you know what they have in common? They're Democrats, both up for reelection --

CUPP: In republican states.

ARONBERG: -- in republican states.

CUPP: Sure, absolutely, absolutely. But I do think there's an economic issue here. There is something a policy to debate. So, I'm a little reluctant to lump it in with all the other insane stuff.

CAMEROTA: That's what -- Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming said, what has happened here is the woke and weaponized bureaucracy at the Department of Labor has come out with new regulations on retirement funds.

I'm just taking his lead --

CUPP: Oh, I know how they're marketing it.


CUPP: But I'm cutting through that and saying, at the heart of it, there is a real policy here. I think there is an argument. I don't think we need to hit every nail with anti-woke hammer. I think we can consider that there is a real issue here.

ALFORD: Right. But there is one party that is saying you have the choice to consider the environment, social responsibility, if you want to, and that's the Democrats, whereas you have the GOP saying, we want to prohibit that from being a consideration. Which one is more concerning?

CUPP: Listen --

ALFORD: People telling you what you can and can't do?

CUPP: You will not get --

ALFORD: Managers can make those choices.

CUPP: You will not get me to argue with you that Republicans have become incredibly anti-science. And obviously, climate change has become the new slippery slope. They won't consider almost anything. You get no argument from me there. But I don't think that having a meaningless, toothless, you're allowed to consider it, kind of piece of legislation, is actually doing much for the environment either.

And so, I think if we had two parties that actually wanted to talk about policy issues and not just yell at each other and demean each other, we could have a really good conversation about how to be more environmentally conscious. This is it.

MCENROE: S.E., don't listen to me on this. Listen to Larry Fink, the CEO and founder of BlackRock, one of the largest investors of banks in the world. Quote in his letter that he wrote over a year ago, "We focus on sustainability not because we're environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and judiciaries to our clients."

CUPP: That is their right.


CUPP: Absolutely.

ALFORD: And the GOP is saying that they can't necessarily take those things into consideration.

MCENROE: Right. That is their point. ALFORD: As a person who worked at hedge fund before, I can tell you, it's all about the money.

CUPP: Yes. That's the number one consideration.

MCENROE: Follow the money.

CAMEROTA: All right guys, hold on. Everybody, stick around because we want to talk about Jack Daniel's. Imagine living near the Jack Daniel's barrel house. That sounds cool. According to my next guest, they're suing their county, alleging that fungus from the alcohol vapors is encrusting their (INAUDIBLE).

CUPP: Gross.





CAMEROTA: All right, one Tennessee county dealing with a severe case of whiskey fungus. You heard me right. "The New York Times" reports that a dark city crust covers almost everything in Lincoln County, from homes and cars to bird feeders and street signs. The fungus thrives off the ethanol vapor from the nearby Jack Daniel's distillery.

Our next guests say they've had enough. Christi Long joins me along with her husband, Patrick, and their attorney, Jason Holleman. Guys, thank you so much for being here. We've never heard of this whisky fungus before. Christi, just tell us how it affects your life. What does it look like?

CHRISTI LONG, SUING LINCOLN COUNTY, TN: I think you did a great description of that. It's very crusty. It takes over your plants and your leaves. It just keeps building and building and building until it just strangles your plants. You're seeing it right there. It's just crazy how it just takes over the plants, the trees, the buildings and the rocks.

PATRICK LONG, SUING LINCOLN COUNTY, TN: It even strips the paint off the car.

CAMEROTA: It strips the paint off your car. How long this has been going on, Patrick?

P. LONG: Well, it has been going on since distilleries were first created. Right? They used to find moonshiners by looking for trees that were covered in black fungus. It's just with the way bourbon and whiskey have exploded over the past decade. We're up to over 100- barrel houses now, the Jack Daniel's zone. The sheer amounts of ethanol that are being produced are just off the charts. Jack Daniel's is actually the single largest polluter of ethanol in the entire country today.

CAMEROTA: Is that right? I had no idea. And so, Christi, did you know this when you were moving into this neighborhood and to your home?

C. LONG: So, I knew there were two of the Jack Daniel's barrel houses. These barrel houses are 86,000 square feet. They hold 66,000 gallons of barrels of whisky. Imagine that by your home.


The plan and what they're trying to push through is an additional 20 more. We already have seven, so there will 20 altogether. Can you imagine what we have now? As you can see, this is not just my property. We have generations of farmers. Our area is agriculture. There are so many farmers out there and people on thousands of acres of land that are being taken over by this black fungus.

CAMEROTA: So, these pictures, Patrick, that you've sent us, everything that we've seen, in other words, it looks black or gray on your mailbox or on the swing set. That's fungus, basically?

P. LONG: It is. That shot there is our barn. It's about 100 yards from one of the closest barrel houses. The reason we did the lawsuit was because the county had sort of made a deal with Jack Daniel's to allow them to waive all zoning and planning and permitting.

One day, they started building additional barrel houses. We had no idea that they were going to be 20 within a half mile of our location. So, we're asking for air filtration to be installed, using common systems that are well known in the industry to prevent it.

CAMEROTA: That sounds reasonable. Let me bring in your attorney, Jason Holleman. Mr. Holleman, let me read to you Jack Daniel's statement on the whiskey fungus. They say -- quote, -- "The company complies with our local state and federal regulations regarding design, construction and permitting of our barrel houses. We are committed to protecting the environment and the safety and health of our employees and neighbors." Your response?

JASON HOLLEMAN, ATTORNEY: That's just not accurate, and we now have a court ruling that determined that it was not accurate. In Lincoln County, before a commercial structure can be built, it has to have a site plan approval from the planning commission and it has to have a building permit that's applied for and issued. And then before a structure can be used, it has to have (INAUDIBLE) permit. In this case, none of those approvals occurred.

CAMEROTA: So, in our final minute, Christi and Patrick, is that what you're asking for? Are you just asking for some filtration and some air systems or do you want --

P. LONG: That's it. That's exactly, Alisyn. It's kind of mind- boggling. Right? The air filtration systems we're talking about are approximately $200 to $300,000 each per barrel house. They would completely eliminate all fungus and completely eliminate the massive amounts of ethanol, which do have health hazards associated with it. We're actually asking the commissioner to require it. If they don't, we're asking the EPA to act because Jack Daniel's is actually violation of the Clean Air Act at this time.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Go ahead.

C. LONG: If they would put the systems on, Alison, our county wins, we get the tax money, Jack Daniel's wins, they become the hero of taking care of our environment, and then District Six, the district where my home is, it also wins. Our homes will continue to be beautiful. Just add filtration. It's just that simple.

CAMEROTA: We will continue to follow this. I'm so glad you brought this to our attention. We did reach out to Lincoln County. We haven't heard back from them. We'll stay on this because it doesn't sound unreasonable, what you're asking for. Please, please keep us posted on what their responses. Thank you all for being here with us tonight.

P. LONG: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Okay, next, something much lighter. Are you a fan of trivia? Then you might remember the viral game show app, HQ Trivia. We've got the former host here, next, and he has brought some questions for us. We'll talk to you in a minute.




CAMEROTA: All right, before (inaudible) or spelling bee, everyone with a mobile device was playing HQ Trivia. Now, the new CNN film, "Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia," reveals the crazy story behind the revolutionary game show app that went viral, and then crashed and burned in record time. Here's a preview.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Three, two, one.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): HQ Trivia was everywhere.

UNKNOWN: You could actually win real money.

UNKNOWN: It just got so popular. The app is not ready to work.

UNKNOWN: And it crashes.

UNKNOWN: That's when the cracks started showing.

UNKNOWN: Russ and Collin (ph) were polar opposites.

UNKNOWN: There was jealousy.

UNKNOWN: It leads to chaos.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is the original host of HQ Trivia, Scott Rogowsky AKA the "quiz daddy." In a minute, he's going to quiz all of us here in the studio. Scott, great to see.

ROGOWSKY: Hi, Alisyn. Thanks for having me here.

CAMEROTA: What a -- what a crazy story. In 2017, this app started with a couple hundred players, and within seven months, it had two million. And so, what was the appeal? What was so great about this game?

ROGOWSKY: I was the appeal.


End of the answer (ph).

CAMEROTA: Right. Next question.

ROGOWSKY: It was a confluence of things. A lot of it was the fact that this was new technology at the time, so to speak. It was a livestream, interactive game show where you could be a contestant. You're not just watching TV like people watch "Jeopardy" and shout out answers from the coach, right? You don't have to be by your couch.

You weren't locked into a fixed position. You could go walking around town, grocery shopping, going to ball game. Wherever you are, you can play this game when it was going live. And you could actually win. You are contestant, and you can win money. You're not just hearing on someone else watching them win money. You can win money. We were giving out -- end up being, I think, $7 million in total.

CAMEROTA: That's very cool. Okay.


And then, almost as soon as it hit the two million-person mark, the numbers started declining. And so, what was going on behind the scenes that was during that declining was contributing to that decline?

ROGOWSKY: I think you have to watch the documentary to get the full story. Again, it was just multiple factors. A lot of it had to do with the fact that there was tension amongst these co-founders. And it is a familiar tale. Right?

These young guys in tech get a bunch of money from investors, and they may have great ideas. They may be brilliant coders or designers, they can create logos and brand, but can they actually run a company when it comes down to -- can they manage employees? In this case, it turns out the answer is no. They can't. There was one guy in particular who was running things. He took this company which had so much promise and potential. I mean, we were valued at $100 million within a matter of months. Two years later, this guy took devaluation to zero, went bankrupt, just was not cut out for the job.

CAMEROTA: Well, I can't wait to watch the special. It has very -- the promos are very cool and really intriguing and look really kind of spicy. Okay, Scott, you're going to show us. You're going to give us a taste of how fun this is. So, you're going to quiz us on some stuff.

ROGOWSKY: It has been a while, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I don't think you're rusty. I don't believe it.

ROGOWSKY: I left four years ago.

CAMEROTA: I don't believe it.

ROGOWSKY: But you want to get down to the nitty-gritty? You want to get some quizzing done here?

CAMEROTA: Let's do it.

ROGOWSKY: All right. Late night quiz. This one for you, specifically, Alisyn, but everyone can answer. You've got some paddles there?

CAMEROTA: Oh, yeah, we have our paddles.

ROGOSKY: You got the paddles, okay.

CAMEROTA: Everybody is ready.

ROGOWSKY: Perfect. This is about your home state of New Jersey, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So, I should know.

CUPP: Bias.

ROGOWSKY: New Jersey is home to more "what" than any other state in the country? Diners, gas stations, or tanning salons?

CAMEROTA: Oh! This is such a tough one because they have so many of those. All of those. They're so good. I guess I'm going to -- I want to say diners, but I'm going to say gas stations.

BROWNSTEIN: Why do you want to say it? You should've said it. If you want to say it, you just say it. It was diners.


BROWNSTEIN: It is correct.

CAMEROTA: The reason I say is because they still have full-serve gas stations. You can't pump your own gas, so I thought like that is the answer.

ALFORD: That was a logical answer.

MCENROE: I always fill up my gas, it's much cheaper. It's cheaper.

CAMEROTA: Let me tell you something. Diners are great there also. Okay, next.

BROWNSTEIN: All right. Next question. This is for, you know, just a general interest. This is actually one of the most savage questions we ever asked on the show. This dumped 87% of players when I first asked it. Which of the states touches the Appalachian Trail? Kentucky, Connecticut, or South Carolina? That's also how you pronounce Appalachian. I believe I'm doing it right.

CAMEROTA: You guys think Connecticut?

UNKNOWN: Connecticut.

CAMEROTA: I mean --

UNKNOWN: Yeah, Connecticut.

BROWNSTEIN: This is savage. Remember, it's not going be the obvious answer. It's not going to be the obvious answer. S.E. is on the ball. It is Connecticut.

CAMEROTA: Oh, that's good, S.E.


CAMEROTA: It's so good.

CUPP: Thank you.

UNKNOWN: Of course, that is obvious.

BROWNSTEIN: Most people are choosing Kentucky there, right?


BROWNSTEIN: You think Appalachian (INAUDIBLE) Connecticut (INAUDIBLE). There you go.


BROWNSTEIN: Okay. Final question. Here we go. Another tough one. Eighty-one percent of players got this wrong. Let's see who can get it right. Which of these is a very common symptom of heat stroke? Muscle cramps, high temperature, or weal pulse? Things are heating up here. Final question. You got your answers locked in, loaded? It is going to be B, high temperature.

CUPP: High temperature?

BROWNSTEIN: High temps. CUPP: Doesn't even make sense.


BROWNSTEIN: Heat stroke, your body can go to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

CAMEROTA: You have outsmarted us. Except for S.E., virtually everyone. That was really -- that was fun. Now I see the appeal, Scott.

CUPP: I can't wait (INAUDIBLE).

BROWNSTEIN: Check it out. Sunday night. That is this weekend. Yeah, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

CAMEROTA: Okay, we will be doing that. It is the rise and fall of HQ Trivia, only on CNN, Sunday night. The all new CNN film, "Glitch," Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN. Scott, thank you so much. That was really fun. Great to have you here.

BROWNSTEIN: Appreciate you. Thanks, guests. Good night.

CAMEROTA: We will be right back.




CAMEROTA: Okay, so, because we've played our trivia game, we didn't get to talk to the panel about what is happening in Lincoln County, Tennessee where the entire county is covered in this fungus because of the Jack Daniel's distillery.

This is crazy, I had no idea. They provided -- we have this very cool couple, Christi and Patrick Long. They were giving us photos of their mailbox, their roofs, their trees, their barn. Everything is covered in fungus. There is a simple fix, Dave. It seems like they had a case.

ARONBERG: Yeah, I think they have a good case. I think this is something that insurance can cure. Why don't they just get some fungus insurance? if it doesn't exist, there is a new idea.

CAMEROTA: It is too late. It is already covering -- I mean, Jack Daniel's has to do something about this, don't they?

ARONBERG: I think you're right. Jack Daniel's needs to pay, and then in the future, it needs to get insurance for it (ph). So, this is all incorporated in the cost of your Jack Daniel's bottles. And by the way, I've been to (INAUDIBLE), quaint little town. It has been a dry county, Lincoln County, since prohibition.

CAMEROTA: So, it is dry --

MCENROE: Wait a second, it is a dry county? CAMEROTA: It is a dry county and they are dealing with a fungus from Jack Daniel's.

MCENROE: I mean --

CUPP: They don't even get to drink it.

ARONBERG: You can make it but you can't drink.

MCENROE: I was thinking about having just a little taste of that after the great show tonight and just get home.


And now, I'm thinking about that fungus. That is crazy.

CUPP: Where is --

ARONBERG: They can't even drink it in that county?

CAMEROTA: They can't drink it in that county.

CUPP: I was asking you, could this be a class action like in Erin Brockovich PG&E?

ARONBERG: It could be for all residents. I don't know how many residents are in Lincoln County, but it could be.

CUPP: The pollution and all of that, right?

CAMEROTA: All right, friends, thank you very much for that. I still suggest you have whisky. Then, need to tell you about this programming note. Ever wonder what it is like to take on Vladimir Putin? Erin Burnett speaks with one of the daughters of Putin's toughest critics, Alexei Navalny, as he serves out his years-long prison sentence. CNN Primetime "Navalny and the Cost of Standing Up to Putin" airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And we will be here right after that at 10 p.m. along with Bill Maher's "Overtime" at 11:30. Thank you so much for watching, everybody. Our coverage continues.