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Almost 400 Bodies Found in Mass Graves at Gaza Hospital; Donald Trump Speaks to Media about his Criminal Trial; 4th Day of Testimony Begins in Trump Criminal Trial; Harvey Weinstein's Rape Conviction Overturned by NY Court; Spending Remains Strong as Stagflation Fears Hit Wall Street. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 26, 2024 - 09:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to our special coverage of Donald Trump's criminal trial. I'm Lynda Kinkade in

Atlanta. I'll have all the latest developments on our top international stories, including the growing student protests across the United States

and around the world. But first let me welcome our Paula Newton who is outside the courthouse in Manhattan hi, Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Lynda and thank you and a warm welcome to viewers joining us in the United States and all around the

world. Now the prosecution's first witness in the Donald Trump hush money trial returns to the stand when court resumes in about a half hour from


We've already seen the president enter now. Trump's attorneys will continue cross examining David Pecker, the former publisher of "The National

Enquirer". Over three days of testimony now Pecker has detailed several so called catch and kill operations to prevent allegations of affairs

involving Trump from becoming public.

Trump has denied you remember any of these affairs ever happened? The prosecution's catch and kill schemes were part of a broader effort to keep

negative stories about Trump under wraps during the 2016 presidential campaign and to try and undermine the integrity of the election.

Now Judge Juan Merchan may also announce a ruling on the prosecution's claim that Trump has repeatedly violated his gag order on the case. And

remember, the prosecution continues to say that he is in a state of really violating that gag order again and again.

The judge now says he's scheduled another hearing next week on some of those new alleged violations. We're going to throw it now back to Lynda in

Atlanta as we go to the rest of this day's top stories Lynda.

KINKADE: Thanks, Paula. Well, protests in support of Palestinians in Gaza have spread across a growing number of college campuses here in the U.S.

and some are facing crackdowns that by police take a look. This is the chaotic scene from Emory University in Atlanta where 28 people were

arrested on Thursday, including two professors. A CNN crew witnessed police using a stun gun on at least one protester who authorities say was a

resisting arrest.

In Washington officials at George Washington University asked the police to assist in relocating an unauthorized protest and cabinet and on the West

Coast the University of Southern California says it's canceling the main stage graduation ceremony next month over safety concerns.

The protests in the U.S. have brought together students from a variety of backgrounds, including Palestinians, Arab, Jews and Muslims and most of the

demonstrations are calm and peaceful. Take a listen now as children in Gaza thank all of the protesters for their support.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, the students of Columbia University.





KINKADE: Well, let's get a closer look now at those pro-Palestinian protests at Emory University here in Atlanta with 28 people were arrested

CNN's Nick Watt reports.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pepper balls fired a lot of muscle deployed against protesters at Emory in Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was an overwhelming amount of force against a group of college students.

WATT (voice-over): Two professors among those arrested. Administration blames trespassers for the tents and the unrest. These individuals are not

members of our community. They are activists attempting to disrupt our university. Emory does not tolerate vandalism or other criminal activity on

campus. This movement is mushrooming a brand new protest at Princeton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Popular university for Gaza. We are making history.

WATT (voice-over): A protest encampment popped up at UCLA after the violence and standoff across town at USC that led to nearly 100 arrests.

This private university is closed to the public and USC just canceled their commencement main stage event scheduled for May 10th which usually draws

65,000 people.


In Boston at Northeastern University police encircled the protest then backed off. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called Columbia's

decision to call in the NYPD horrific on X. Columbia decided to hold its students accountable to the laws of the school. The NYPD is Chief of Patrol

replied, maybe you should walk around Columbia and NYU and listen to their remarks of pure hatred.

Fellow Representative Ilhan Omar did visit Colombia with her daughter who's been arrested and suspended during these protests, which kick started this

movement. Talks with protesters continue if they fail, say Columbia administrators, they will have to consider options for restoring calm to


WATT: Here at UCLA a growing but peaceful protest. I think they've learned from what happened at USC where security and the police went in pretty

heavy. Here at UCLA, almost zero visible police or security presence whatsoever.

What's a bit odd dough is even if you're a student here right now, you can't walk across your campus because the protesters have put a barricade

up around their encampment and you got to register with them and wear a mask before they'll let you in. Media not allowed in. And they're even

trying to stop photo journalists from filming from outside. Nick Watt, CNN on the UCLA Campus in Los Angeles.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Nick. Well CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us from New York's Columbia University, the epicenter of these demonstrations here in

the U.S. Good to have you with us Polo. So just explain what's been happening at Columbia because as we've been seeing, there have been arrests

happening across campuses right across the U.S., both students and professors. Just take us through their demands.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and as you point out, Lynda, this is where that wave of demonstrations really this is the epicenter. And our

colleague Abby Washer (ph) reporting that overnight participants of that pro-Palestinian encampment still here on campus at Columbia University.

We're told that what the university is offering as part of these days on negotiations is simply falling short of their demands, which I'll remind

you in our viewers around the world includes two key items, which is divestment from companies with Israeli ties, and also amnesty for the

students and faculty who have been disciplined for participating in these demonstrations.

Additionally, Abby also reporting that those students were told that as part of these ongoing negotiations, that they are discussing the

possibility of a potential statement that will be issued either by the university, or by the president herself, possibly addressing the events of

last week.

You recall, the Columbia University actually reached out to the NYPD last week, asked him for assistance to step onto the campus to then assist what

was taking place here in removing an encampment that would eventually simply pop up again. So that really gives you an idea of what the current

situation is right now that's playing out here.

Initially, there was a conversation -- that talks about a possible deadline. However yesterday as we heard from organizers this is really more

of a timeline for these conversations that are happening right now as they tried to bring this to a peaceful resolution. The main objective for the

campus is really just they want that encampment dismantled Lynda?

KINKADE: Yeah. And of course, Polo, we know that the Palestine legal has already filed a federal civil rights complaint against the school, arguing

that the university is accused of discriminating against people, Palestinian students, and also pro-Palestinian protesters. You've been

speaking to students there both those participating in these protests and those who aren't. What have they been telling you?

SANDOVAL: You touched on a really important voice in all of this that is those students at Columbia University, who are in some sense, really

keeping an objective distance from these ongoing demonstrations, who are just observing what's playing out, while they're spring semester draws to a


I had an opportunity to speak to one graduate student here at Columbia; he declined to speak publicly because the atmosphere is just so politically

charged right now. But he did say that he's expected to graduate next month.

And though he supports the protests that are ongoing, both for Israel and for Palestine on campus, he does have very real concerns that this could

potentially disrupt his graduation ceremony. And think about it, Lynda, this is the class of 2024 started four years ago during the pandemic.

So as this student laid out, he's now bracing for the real possibility that his undergraduate years at Columbia may very well end the way they started

with -- disruption, albeit on very different levels, of course.

KINKADE: Yeah. All right, Polo Sandoval for us in New York. Good to have you on the story. Thank you. Well, campus protests are also happening in

Paris at a major French University with strong ties to Columbia University in New York. For the third day in a row dozens of students are chanting in

the streets.


And that's where we find our Senior International Correspondent Melissa Bell, who's joining us outside at Sciences Po University. Good to have you

there, Melissa. So we've seen here in the U.S. these protests expanding, intensifying, what are you seeing there in Paris?

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, very much a movement that comes inspired by what's happening over the U.S. and going

into what just Polo was telling you from Columbia University. We've just been hearing here outside -- school student leaders tell the students about

the latest in their negotiations with administrators.

And it's remarkably similar to what you've been seeing in New York and another American campus. What they've been saying is that so far, the

negotiations are not going well. The university is not giving them their principle demand, which is similarly to the United States, the idea that

Sciences School should boycott any companies that have ties to Israel.

In fact, what the student leaders has been saying is that the administration is trying to do as they did on Wednesday, at another site

and bring in the police to clear them out extremely controversial it was Wednesday, and so it would prove again, should that happen.

Again there also says a student leader being threatened with suspension from the school should they carry on their protest. As you can imagine

Lynda, this is more grist to their mill. And what the students say is that they intend to stay here occupying this one of the main sites of Sciences

School University -- of France's most prestigious.

This site they've been occupying since yesterday. And they say they're going to stay until their demands is met, not just keeping up pressure on

the administration of their university, but more broadly, trying to draw attention, as students have on American University to the plight of

Palestinians inside Gaza, and calling for an urgent end to the war.

KINKADE: And of course, here in the U.S. Melissa we've seen the University of Southern California move to cancel its graduation ceremony. And of

course, Columbia University has moved its classes online. What have been the ramifications there? What do you expect to happen going forward?

BELL: Well, this is only day three. It had begun on Wednesday at another site. They were cleared out relatively quickly, we understand. The

administrators telling the students as the students here have told us that the government was bringing pressure on them to move the students out as

quickly as they could.

So far, it would be the lessons inside this building occupied as it has been since yesterday evening, that haven't been able to take place. But the

university simply hasn't had a chance for now to organize any kind of distance learning and there's no suggestion that they intend to do so.

Right now the barricades remain in place all along this building. And what the students say is that they intend to keep them there Lynda.

KINKADE: Melissa Bell we will check in with you again soon. Melissa Bell in Paris thanks so much. Well, the university protests also highlighting the

toll the war has had on the school system in Gaza. United Nations experts say that after six months of Israeli attacks, 80 percent of Gaza's schools

have been destroyed. 261 teachers killed along with 95 University professors.

Hundreds more teachers have been injured with those numbers growing by the day, and it's left more than half a million children without access to

education. The UN team expressed deep concern that Israel may be committing what they call a scholastic aside, they say the destruction could have a

devastating long term impact on the fundamental rights of people to learn and freely express them.

Well, authorities in Gaza have concluded their search of mass graves at Nasr medical complex in the south of the strip. They found almost 400

bodies, including some still wearing surgical gowns. An official from the Palestinian civil defense in Gaza said 165 of them have been identified.

Israeli forces entered that complex in February in an operation that they said targeted Hamas.

Well meantime, the Pentagon says U.S. forces have begun work on a temporary pier that will be used to let ships deliver humanitarian and direct aid to

Gaza. Construction is being carried out at sea the finished pier will be connected to the shore later.

Well, I want to bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond who's in Jerusalem and our Natasha Bertrand from the Pentagon. Good to have you both with us. I want

to start with you first Jeremy with the mass grave found at Khan Yunis hospital almost 400 bodies, the IDF denying any involvement. We've heard

from the EU and the UN calling for investigations. What can you tell us?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Gaza civil defense says that they've discovered 392 bodies in three masquerades was at Nasr Hospital in

Khan Yunis. They say they've identified 165 of those bodies so far the remainders of them are unidentified at this point.


But they do say that these were found in three separate mass graves and they're accusing the Israeli military of burying many of these bodies in

those mass graves even accusing them of killing some of these individuals although we cannot independently verify those claims.

The Israeli military for its part says that it did not bury bodies in mass graves at Nasr hospital. They say that mass graves had been dug up by --

had been dug by Palestinians months ago, with the IDF Spokesman Nadav Shoshani, saying any attempt to blame Israel for burying civilians in mass

graves is categorically false.

But the civil defense says that while 100 of those bodies had indeed previously been buried in graves at Nasr hospital, the remainder of them

they say were buried there, following the Israeli military's withdrawal from that hospital.

Families of some of those who were buried in graves before the Israeli military began operating at that hospital said that when they returned,

following the Israeli military's withdrawal, what they found were that the bodies had been moved to a separate -- had been dug up and then moved to a

separate mass grave.

Now, the civil defense has provided some evidence of these bodies that they have uncovered showing decomposed bodies, including the bodies of some

children. Some of them are still in surgical gowns others have hospital wristbands on them. The civil defense said that they also identified cases

of executions, claiming that there were some bodies that had a bullet in -- bullet wounds to their heads torture marks on their bodies.

That is information that we cannot independently verify. But what is unquestionable is that there has been an emotional time for the families of

those who have been finding the bodies and helping to identify the bodies of their loved ones in these graves.

I want to show you the video of a father who identified his 15 year old son, very decomposed body, but he says he was able to identify the body of

his son based on the shirt that he was wearing, saying that's my son, I can tell from his blouse. And then he goes on to say, oh God, he's dead. He's


Now the United Nations is calling for an independent investigation into these mass graves saying that it is critical to retain the evidence that

may be uncovered inside these graves with expert forensics that can get in there and actually look at what was found. They say independent

investigators need to be allowed into the Gaza Strip. Now so far, the Israeli government showing no indication that they're willing to do that


KINKADE: It's just horrendous. And of course, Jeremy calls for a ceasefire growing. We know it an Egyptian Delegation has arrived in Israel hoping to

revive the talks and the latest round, of course, being a six week ceasefire in return in exchange for the release of some hostages. What are

the expectations for these latest rounds of push -- this push for a ceasefire?

DIAMOND: Well, there does appear to be a real attempt here led by the Egyptian government to try and reach a deal for these hostages, a ceasefire

that would allow much needed humanitarian aid into Gaza and perhaps most importantly, for the Egyptian government itself to forestall a potential

ground offensive by the Israelis into Rafah, which is right along the border with Egypt.

And Egyptian officials have long expressed concerns about such an operation and also the possibility that it could send Palestinian refugees flooding

into Egypt, something that the Egyptian government very much wants to avoid.

And so we know that Israeli officials were in Egypt earlier this week trying to work towards a possible agreement today. An Egyptian Delegation

I'm told is in Israel to continue those negotiations and also to talk security coordination with the Israelis around a potential Rafah offensive.

We don't have the timing for that offensive. But there's certainly a sense that it is looming over these negotiations. And that if these talks now

fail, that you could soon see the Israeli military beginning to order evacuations from Rafah and then beginning to send troops in there.

So no clear sense yet, of how promising these latest talks are. But certainly, it is the latest indication we've seen of another push as we've

seen these talks really at a standstill over the course of the last several weeks.

KINKADE: OK, good to hear. Thanks so much Jeremy diamond first us in Jerusalem. I want to bring in Natasha, who of course has been reporting on

this floating pier being constructed by army engineers, U.S. Army Engineers off the coast of Gaza to bring in aid to circumnavigate essentially some of

the restrictions by Israel, how will it work?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So it's a very complicated operation and it is expected to be completed by early May. And

they have actually just begun construction in the last several days. But essentially what it's going to look like is there's going to be a floating

pier a couple of miles off the coast of Gaza.


And that pier is going to be receiving aid that is going to be coming from Cyprus on commercial vessels. So those vessels are going to drop the aid

off onto this pier. And then that pier is going to connect to a highway, basically a causeway, highway that will then have trucks on it that will

drive the aid down to the shoreline.

Now importantly, one of the big things the U.S. military is emphasizing here is that there's not going to be any American boots on the ground in

Gaza. And not even Americans are going to be driving those trucks that are going to be transporting that aid from this causeway to the shoreline

because that would essentially put Americans too close for comfort to that Gaza -- to the Gaza beach.

And so what we're learning is that it's going to be a partner country that is going to be coordinating with the U.S. to deliver this aid to the

shoreline, the IDF is going to be providing security both on land and in the air over watching essentially the 1000 plus U.S. military personnel

that are going to be operating this pier in this causeway, but still, you can't eliminate the threat entirely.

And we should note that there were mortar rounds fired on the beach, right where that aid delivery zone is going to be just a few days ago by an

unidentified group really underscoring here the danger that faces the U.S. military who are undergoing this very complex and dangerous operation to

deliver this much needed aid to Gaza.

But it could at the same time be a huge boon to the amount of humanitarian assistance getting in the ultimate goal is to get up to 150 truckloads of

aid per day into Gaza via this maritime corridor, Lynda.

KINKADE: Aid that of course is desperately needed, Natasha Bertrand, for us at the Pentagon Good to have you with us. Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem

thanks to you also. We're going to take a quick break. But still ahead, America's top diplomat makes a revealing statement about China in CNN's

exclusive interview. That story next.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. America's top diplomat tells CNN the U.S. has been evidence of China attempting to influence upcoming U.S.

elections. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made those comments to CNN's Kylie Atwood in an exclusive interview earlier in Beijing.

Just going to break away from history right now Donald Trump is speaking outside a courthouse in Manhattan. Let's listen in.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- coordinates for a rig trial -- job terrible. We're doing very well in this

rig trial. Everybody knows, yesterday was a big day. But I do have to begin by wishing Melania happy birthday. She's in Florida. I'll be going there

this evening after this case finishes up this horrible, unconstitutional case when it finishes up.


We have a report that was just put out by House judiciary on the District Attorney's office which was done by Congress and so I guess it just came

out a little while ago, a few moments ago. I haven't seen it yet. I haven't read it. But it should be interesting. I think yesterday went very well in

this courthouse.

It was, should be open. The case is over. You heard what was said, and the case should be over. But you'll have to make that determination. I think we

have a judge that will never allow this case to be over in a positive way. It's he's highly conflicted, the most highly conflicted judge I've ever


And yesterday, I think in the Supreme Court having to deal with immunity, I heard the argument that was brilliant. I listened to it last night. I

thought it was really great. I thought the judges' questions were great. And all presidents have to have immunity, which has nothing to do with --

Absolutely nothing, all presidents have to have immunity.

You don't have the president -- the amount of precedent that the founders wanted. So we have another day of court and a freezing courthouse. It's

very cold in there for what purpose had laid. They don't seem to be able to get the temperature up. It shouldn't be that complicated. But we have a

freezing courthouse, and that's fine. That's just fine. Let him keep panning and that is a rig trial. Thank you very much.


KINKADE: You've just been listening there to Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaking outside the courthouse in New York where he's facing a

criminal trial, that hush money trial. You heard him there again criticize the judge saying the judge is highly -- he's highly converted, and he said

he quoted a rig trial.

And he did stop to wish his wife, happy birthday, who has been notably absent throughout his legal cases. We have our Paula Newton live outside

the courthouse in New York. Paula testimony is set to begin -- pretty shortly.

NEWTON: Yeah, I think we definitely have to pause and understand that what the former president did there was very deliberative on his part, and you

hit the nail on the head there. Remember, we are still waiting for a ruling on the gag order.

And yet he comes out before court today, and says that this trial should be over and he says this judge is the most highly conflicted judge I've ever

seen. Again, I'm not a lawyer. I'm going to assume that the prosecution again. We'll be talking about why there needs to be some kind of a ruling

about this gag order.

We now know that in fact, later next week that the prosecution had brought forward evidence saying that the president -- the former president

continues to violate that gag order. And yet, the judge is trying to schedule this. I think he is trying to listen to all the arguments from

both sides.

And obviously, it is important that the judge protect the President's right to free speech having said that though this will definitely come up again

even though he has been warned again and again and again.

Lynda, look, the problem here is that if it were you and me perhaps by now, there would have been fines but there might have actually been a day or two

in prison. At least that's what our legal experts have been telling us. But this is the former president who's in the middle of a highly contested

election campaign and for that reason, the judge obviously being extremely careful.

He will not be able to ignore though what Trump said outside the courtroom today as he's about to walk in and Lynda?

KINKADE: Yeah, no doubt highly convicted is what he called the judge as we heard. Paula Newton, good to have you there -- we will come back to you

shortly. We'll have much more on this hush money at trial scheduled to resume at any moment. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.



NEWTON: And welcome back. I'm Paula Newton outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan where Donald Trump's hush money trial continues at this hour. And

right now, testimony should be getting underway. Now you can see Trump's motorcade. They're arriving at the courthouse earlier and we certainly

heard from the former president outside the court, moments ago when he blasted the judge.

It's looking of course to be another big day as former National Enquirer Publisher David Pecker returns to the stand Pecker has already described

his process for killing negative stories about Trump. And of course, that's what's at issue here, our Senior Crime and Justice Reporter, Katelyn

Polantz following this trial.

I thank you for being here, especially as we saw the former president there just a few moments ago, I want to get to what we believe cross will look

like with David Pecker right now. But before that, what did you make of the president really coming out there and blasting the judge, when right now

that same judge is looking to pronounce on a gag order and what Trump can and can't say about this trial?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah, it's not something that most people do whenever there before a judge in a criminal

trial proceeding. But Donald Trump has done this before. And he's allowed to, there is a gag order over him in this case, that bars him from

commenting about very specific people, witnesses, potential witnesses, jurors or the jury in general, and then lower level people in the case.

But we do know that he is allowed to say things like he has been saying over and over again. There is, however, a situation right now where the

judge is looking at the prosecutors wish to hold Donald Trump in criminal contempt or in contempt in this criminal case, for as many as 14 alleged

violations of that gag order, especially talking about Michael Cohen, who is expected to be an upcoming star witness in this trial.

Talking about David Pecker who's, on the stand now saying yesterday that he was being very nice and then talking about the jury calling them liberal

democrats or liberal activists at various points over the last several days. So all of that is something that judge is going to be looking at, and

determining is Donald Trump in contempt of court.

And what should the punishment be? Is it a fine? How steep is that fine, what else? What other creative things all the way up to including some sort

of possible detention house arrest order if he wanted to do so the judge is going to have to decide exactly how Trump should face that if he is indeed

in violation of the gag order?

NEWTON: Yeah. And Katelyn, we will note that the -- as a judge actually started this hearing by saying that there would be another hearing on that

gag order at 9:30, he's saying on Thursday, so we will await that now. Katelyn, in terms of what went on towards the end of the day, yesterday, we

had the cross examination by Emil Bove is Trump's defense lawyer.

Really trying to set out David Pecker and saying that look what this man did was, in his words, standard operating procedure. What is he getting at

and what will we expect to hear in the next couple of hours as he continues to go through that argument?


POLANTZ: Yeah, it's all about checkbook journalism. That was one of the terms that entered into the testimony yesterday and it was about how the

National Enquirer did business, the defense team that is currently having the opportunity to question David Pecker again for the second day.

They are making sure they highlight for the jury that that's how the National Enquirer was operating that there were deals that the publication

was making to kill negative stories about celebrities, if that was something that the celebrities were talking to the National Enquirer about.

And then also, the National Enquirer was willing to give Trump a heads up on negative stories coming about him for years before his presidential

campaign. However, the prosecution when they were questioning David Pecker, he testified many times that things were different for Trump and things

were different, especially because of the campaign. They were burning stories, because it could be damaging to the campaign a crucial point for

this case.

NEWTON: All right, and we await here. So now the cross examination is set to get underway. Katelyn, thanks so much as you continue to follow this

trial for us. I want to bring in now Jeff Swartz -- he has served as a judge in Miami-Dade County, Florida and as a professor at Thomas M. Cooley

Law School in Tampa.

I can only imagine what it is like to try and bring in some of these real life scenarios to your students. I'm going to start with what happened this

morning. Again, the former president seemingly dismissing any kind of a gag order and saying that the judge was highly conflicted. If you're on the

bench right now, what do you do about that as a judge?

JEFF SWARTZ, FORMER FLORIDA JUDGE: Well, there are two things going on here. Number one, there's a struggle for control over who is in control of

the courtroom, and who's in control the way this litigation is going to go. That's between Donald Trump and the judge. The judge here needs to be able

to assert that this is his courtroom and Donald Trump is nothing more than a defendant in that courtroom.

Donald Trump is also trying to agitate this judge into doing or saying something wrong, that would give his lawyers the ability to go and file a

motion to have this judge disqualified because he cannot control judge Merchan. And he knows that. So that's really what's at play here. And

continuing to push judge Merchan is really not in his best interest.

This is the judge who ultimately if he is convicted will sentence him. This is a judge who's making close calls on evidentiary matters. That may not go

his way simply because he has to be able to assert control. So that's the game that's going on here. It's going to be interesting to see how judge

Merchan handles.

NEWTON: It certainly will be and especially as he says he will be -- he will be hearing more arguments about this later in the week, perhaps next

Thursday. I want to ask you now about what is happening under cross examination. We expect it to resume at any moment now and Emil Bove, Donald

Trump's defense lawyer, really set out to begin to poke holes in the testimony of David Pecker.

And a reminder, right, David Pecker said, look, this is a former president to was my friend and he said, remains my friend and said he considered him

a mentor. So if you're in the defensive position right now, how do you set about by really poking holes in what the prosecution laid out there?

SWARTZ: What they're really trying to do is establish what Pecker did and did not know in particular, as it relates to stormy Daniels. What did

Pecker know about what was going on and the payoff? Remember, he said, I want nothing to do with this, I have laid out enough money, and I'm not

your bank.

And as a result of which I'm not going to deal with a former porn star. And I think that at this point, they're trying to show that the main thrust not

so much, Miss McDougal, but Stormy Daniels dealt with Michael Cohen. And the attempt here is to, lay this all off on Michael Cohen, who either

allegedly, the coordinator. The defense did this all on his own to make his client happy.

NEWTON: And again, many have said that perhaps Michael Cohen is not the most credible witness in this instance, for the prosecution. So now, they

will be left with David Pecker. I want to ask you, though, when we talk about the defense team, saying this is standard operating procedure. How do

you address the jury with that?

What are you trying to say to them by bringing all this up because there were many other celebrities and politicians mentioned as well yesterday,

that was suggested, we're doing this he was doing that David Pecker was doing the same thing for those celebrities and politicians that he was

doing for Donald Trump.

SWARTZ: Well, he was doing the same thing and bringing that up is -- acceptable to show that he wasn't treating Trump any differently except for

that he was.


He makes a point of saying I wasn't trying to save you embarrassment wasn't trying to save your family from having to put up with what was going to be

in the National Enquirer. I was trying to help you become President of the United States. And that's where the rubber meets the road as far as Mr.

Pecker's testimony is concerned.

He's holding fast to the idea that I never heard about Melania. I never heard about Ivanka. I never heard about his family. All I heard about was

the campaign, that campaign, that campaign, and the cover up for how this money was paid, was to hide this so that we didn't have to declare it to be

a campaign contribution.

And it didn't look like you were trying to hide things from the electorate. And he's holding fast to that so far. I don't see how they're going to be

able to poke a hole in that as long as Mr. Pecker continues to answer the questions the way he is now.

NEWTON: We will certainly wait and see as I said, as we wait for that cross examination to resume here in New York. Jeff, thanks so much, really

appreciate it. And we will be right back with more news after a quick break. Stay with us.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Well on Thursday, the New York court of appeals overturned the rape and sexual assault conviction against

Harvey Weinstein. That comes four years after the disgraced Hollywood producer was found guilty of felony sex crimes and sentenced to 23 years

behind bars.

Allegations against Weinstein for more than 100 women helped launch the MeToo movement. We're joining me now is Bernarda Villalona. She is a

criminal defense attorney and a former New York prosecutor. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So this was a quieter decision for three seeing that the New York state of appeals court overturned Weinstein's 2020 conviction -- explain

the reasoning?

VILLALONA: Yeah, so I covered this trial. And I also used to be a prosecutor for 16 years in New York. And in terms of what happened is that

the New York court of appeals found that the testimony allowed from victims, alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein that wasn't charged in the

indictment that.

That wasn't supposed to be allowed into evidence that Harvey Weinstein did not get a fair trial, because it seems that the jury made a decision based

on charges or based on victims and testimony that wasn't part of the charges itself instead of the charge victims in this case.

KINKADE: So what was your reaction to the overturning of this decision? Is it comparable to any other case?

VILLALONA: I wasn't surprised by the decision by the court of appeals because this type of evidence is controversial. This type of strategy is

controversial in terms of prosecutors using testimony of evidence that has nothing to do with the actual charges and allowing a jury to hear it.


So you have to think the question is, will that would have that jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty if they did not hear from those witnesses, and I

believe it was three witnesses, three victims, would they have found him guilty? Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that the case is over.

The district attorney's office is going to have to decide whether they're going to try Harvey Weinstein on those two counts that he was originally

convicted of.

KINKADE: But it certainly impacts the victims involved in this case, of course, the accusers have said that this decision is profoundly unjust. And

these women are going to have to relive their testimony in the trial, right?

VILLALONA: Yeah, so a retrial is going to cause these victims to be re victimized, because they're going to have to relive this situation, again,

they're going to have to relive what happened to them and also go through this media scrutiny as well. But just to be clear, this decision by the

court of appeal does not reflect on the credibility of these victims.

It doesn't at all. The decision was strictly based on one of fundamental fairness, whether it should have been admissible at trial. It doesn't say

that the court of appeals doesn't believe these victims. So what happened to them? They're just saying that in terms of the fundamental fairness of

this trial, that certain testimony shouldn't have been allowed.

And I hope that victims out there of sexual assault are not deterred by this decision, and for them to notice still this MeToo movement, that their

words and what happened to them is still valid, and they should be heard that they should not be considered victimless.

KINKADE: And so what does the fact that this New York conviction has been thrown out? I mean, for Weinstein's other cases, because he is facing court

also in Los Angeles. There are similar challenges there?

VILLALONA: Yeah, so in Los Angeles in California, right now he's serving a sentence of 16 years because he was found guilty in California, that

California decision is also being appealed to the appellate court in California. So it's unknown whether the California appellate court will

have the same decision as the New York appellate court.

So that will have to be weighed and we have to wait and see what the California court of appeals is going to do. In the meantime, though, he

still continues to serve that 16 year sentence. The question will be a New York, though, is whether they are going to retry Harvey Weinstein, when

they're going to retry Harvey Weinstein?

And what the bail conditions are going to be for Harvey Weinstein, because now he no longer has a New York conviction on these charges?

KINKADE: And some suggests there are similarities. This case can be taken in terms of Trump's legal cases, especially involving the one with E. Jean

Carroll. Do you see any similarities there that it could be beneficial to Donald Trump?

VILLALONA: Well, the similarities in terms of how people comparing is the same decision making by the judge whether there's some prior bad acts, for

example, how you hearing the testimony, having to deal with Karen McDougal and having to deal with the man at the hotel in terms of whether Donald

Trump had fathered a child whether that testimony should be allowed.

And so those are the comparisons that are being made. Obviously, every judge has to make a decision as to the relevance of what evidence is

allowed. And they take that chance. And if they do allow that evidence that a court will say it has nothing to do with the current charges itself.

Also to take into account that some of the same decision making as to what evidence is allowed, and whether when Harvey Weinstein if he would have

been allowed to testify that if he would have testified he would have been cross examined or some of these things, is what precluded him from


Now, when we deal with Donald Trump, there are certain things that he's going to be cross examined on that because of these rulings that he is

allowed to be cross examined on and that defense attorneys can argue that look, he's not being allowed to have a fair trial, because it's precluding

him from being able to testify.

So again, this is same typical issues, but it's all up to the judge to decide what is he going to be allowed in? And ultimately, if you make the

wrong decision, and if there's a conviction, a court of appeals would actually review the decision making.

KINKADE: Bernarda Villalona, good to get your perspective on all of this. Thanks so much for your time.

VILLALONA: Thank you.

KINKADE: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with much more news in just a moment.



KINKADE: Welcome back. There is new U.S. inflation numbers are they could - - investors by the Federal Reserve's preferred gauge inflation. It jumped 2.7 percent for the year that ended in March, that's higher than economists

predicted and above February's number prices rose by 0.3 percent in March alone.

We're here to break it all down for us is our very own Matt Egan, who joins us live from New York. Good to see you, Matt. So inflation accelerated for

the first three months of this year largely due to those certain gas prices, mortgages, and of course rent. What does this mean for those hoping

for an interest rate cut?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yeah Lynda, this is not the report that really we would be hoping for if you're looking for an interest rate -- no doubt the

cost to borrow right now mortgages, credit cards, car loans, is really high. And the hope had been that inflation would cool off enough to allow

the Fed to start cutting interest rates.

But these interest rate cuts, it just keeps getting delayed. I mean, people had hoped for March that didn't happen. June looks unlikely, July now even

September may not happen. Now, these latest numbers, as you mentioned, shows that inflation heated up in March 2.7 percent is the annual rate and

this is harder than expected.

It is moving in the wrong direction, versus 2.5 percent in February, what's important, though, is to look at the trend. And when you zoom out and you

look at a where this metric has been, you can see that it was above 7 percent, two years ago. That's what that chart shows. So we're clearly

miles away from that meet much improvement in large part because of the Fed interest rate hikes.

But the problem is I think that chart also shows that some of the progress has really stalled out, in fact, inflation is starting to tick higher in

the last few months. And that is a concern, because at the end of the day, we're talking about the cost of living, right. So the higher those numbers

go, the more expensive life is for all of us.

And we do talk to a lot of people who are frustrated with how expensive it is to get food and gasoline. Of course, housing is a big thing. But also

there are other concerns too, like the cost to insure your car, the cost to get your pet to send your pet to the vet, baby formula. All of these things

have gotten more expensive. And so I think the concern is that some of this progress in the inflation front has sort of stalled out, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yeah, I know, overall, Matt, a pretty grim week for the U.S. economy. We also saw that latest GDP report showing that the economy

slowed, much weaker than expected.

EGAN: That's right. So that report out yesterday did show that the U.S. economy slowed down more than feared in the first quarter, it has been a

significant slowdown from the prior two quarters. And that report did rattle investors because it also showed that inflation again, remains sort

of stubbornly high.

I do think that we need to keep all of this into context, because we have heard some business leaders from Investors talk about the risk of

stagflation, where the economy really slows down and inflation remains hot. And -- there's sort of a whiff of that in some of these reports.

But we're still pretty far away from anything like that, because inflation -- while inflation is still hotter than you would want. Unemployment is

really low. And we're still talking about historically low, unemployment below 4 percent. And a lot of people would say that, you know, the demand

for workers is really strong right now.

Wages are going up. So I do think we've had a few setbacks, Lynda, in the last few days in some of these economic reports, but when you zoom out, the

economy is in a much better place than people had expected and those recession fears those have really faded.


KINKADE: Well that is the silver lining as we go into the weekend. Matt Egan, good to have you with us. Thank you.

EGAN: Thanks.

KINKADE: Well, flooding continues to cause chaos in East Africa. In Tanzania, 135 people have been killed, and at least 10,000 homes were

damaged as rain associated with the El Nino lashed the country. Floods and landslides have affected at least 200,000 people with extensive damage to

crops and infrastructure.

And in neighboring Kenya, at least 70 people have died in flooding. More than 13,000 households have been displaced. And the president there says

some people may have to be forcibly evacuated for their safety. And contaminated flood water has left some people ill in the United Arab


The region of course experience record rainfall just over a week ago. The health ministry says the limited number of cases showing symptoms of coming

into contact with mixed water. Those affected have since been discharged from hospital. And all that rain came from a larger storm that was making

its way across the Arabian Peninsula. Well that wraps this hour of "Connect the World". Stay with CNN much more news in just a few moments.