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Erin Burnett Outfront

Chauvin's Supervisor: Restraint of Floyd could have Ended Earlier; Paramedics Says Officers were on George Floyd when they Arrived; Floyd's Girlfriend: We Both Struggled with Opioid Addiction; Sources: Investigators Pursuing Allegations That Gaetz May Have Used Cash & Drugs in His Dealings with Young Women; Trump's Own Statements in a 2007 Deposition May Help Prosecutors Decide Whether He Faces Criminal Charges; Pfizer: Ongoing Trial Shows Vaccine Protection Lasts At Least 6 Months, Experts Say Likely Longer, Possibly Years. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired April 01, 2021 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, damning testimony from Derek Chauvin's supervisor saying there was no reason to use force on George Floyd after he stopped resisting. George Floyd's brother and family's attorney Ben Crump are my guests.

Plus, new details on the Justice Department's investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz on whether he used cash and drugs when dealing with young women. As sources tell CNN, Gaetz showed his colleagues nude pictures of women he slept with.

And Donald Trump's 2007 deposition could be coming back to haunt him. Could he face criminal charges? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, damning testimony tonight from a Minneapolis police sergeant who arrived on the scene after George Floyd's arrest. The Sergeant, who is Officer Derek Chauvin's supervisor, telling the jury that Chauvin had no reason to keep his knee on Floyd's neck after Floyd stopped resisting.


STEVEN SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Sir, based on your review of the body-worn camera footage, do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?


SCHLEICHER: What is it? PLEOGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to

the officers, they could end the restraint.

SCHLEICHER: And that was after he was handcuffed and, on the ground, and no longer resisting.

PLEOGER: Correct.


BURNETT: Chauvin's restraint on Floyd did not end. Chauvin's knee was still on Floyd's neck when paramedics arrived, and this is what paramedics today told the jury.


SETH ZACHARY BRAVINDER, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MN EMS: From what I could see where I was at, I didn't see any breathing or movement or anything like that.

DEREK SMITH, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MN PARAMEDIC: I didn't see any chest rise or fall on this individual.

ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: What his condition appears to be to you overall?

SMITH: In lay terms, I thought he was dead.


BURNETT: And, of course, we know that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for about three minutes after they said that there was no heart rate detected. All of this came as George Floyd's girlfriend spoke today. Courteney Ross telling the jury about Floyd, a person she described as a man of faith, a father, but also a man who struggled with addiction.


COURTENEY ROSS, GEORGE FLOYD'S GIRLFRIEND: Both Floyd and I, our story it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back.


BURNETT: Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT live in Minneapolis. And Sara, you were there in the courtroom today as the prosecutors really got at the core of their case, which is whether Chauvin used proper use of force.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is the heart of this case. All of the witnesses who were there on the scene brought the emotion, brought what it felt like to be there and that was incredibly powerful. But the heart of the case is whether or not these officers did the job they were supposed to do and reassess as they were dealing with this subject, as they called George Floyd, whether they were doing their job or whether they went completely overboard.

And what you heard today from the Sergeant who was there as a supervisor for the officers that evening, they did not do their job properly.


DEREK CHAUVIN, EX-MINNEAPOLIS OFFICER CHARGED IN GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH: Yes, I was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here.


SIDNER (voice-over): The jury heard newly released audio Officer Derek Chauvin talking on the phone with his supervisor to explain his version of events on May 25, 2020.


CHAUVIN: He just had to hold the guy down. He was going crazy, he wouldn't go in. Shutting off here in a moment. Wouldn't go in the back of the squad ...


SIDNER (voice-over): From the witness stand, Chauvin's Police Sergeant recalled Chauvin's description of events omitted key details.


SCHLEICHER: Did he mention anything about putting his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck or back?



SIDNER (voice-over): The Sergeant says he soon arrived on the scene to talk to the police officers involved, then went to the hospital with Chauvin and other officers to check on George Floyd.


PLEOGER: Someone approached me to let me know that he passed away.

SCHLEICHER: Do you have an opinion as to when the restraints of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?


SCHLEICHER: What is it?

PLEOGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could end the restraint.

SCHLEICHER: And that was after he was handcuffed and, on the ground, and the longer resisting.

PLEOGER: Correct.



SIDNER (voice-over): The tears were immediate for Thursday's first witness, Courteney Batya Ross.


MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: When was it that you first met Mr. Floyd?

ROSS: It's one of my favorite stories to tell.


SIDNER (voice-over): She testified the first time she met George Floyd she was upset and he, then a stranger, consoled her.


ROSS: Floyd had this great, deep southern voice, raspy. And he's like, "Sis. You OK, sis?" And I wasn't OK.


SIDNER (voice-over): Ross eventually became George Floyd's girlfriend.


ROSS: We had our first kiss in the lobby.


SIDNER (voice-over): In their nearly three-year relationship, she testified they both struggled with prescription pain pill addiction.


ROSS: Floyd and I both suffered with opioid addiction. We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.


SIDNER (voice-over): The defense honed in on where the drugs came from and the timeline of their drug use, including an overdose in hospital visit for Floyd two months before his death.


ERIC NELSON, DEREK CHAUVIN ATTORNEY: You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?


NELSON: It was your belief that Mr. Floyd started using again about two weeks prior to his death, correct?

ROSS: I noticed a change in his behavior, yes.


SIDNER (voice-over): In redirect, prosecutors highlighted Floyd's history and built up tolerance for opioid pills.

FRANK: When he took those, obviously, he didn't die, right?

ROSS: No, he did not.

FRANK: He was OK after using them?

ROSS: Yes. He was playing football, hanging out, eating.


SIDNER (voice-over): This video introduced in court today showed the moments paramedics loaded Floyd into their ambulance. Paramedics and firefighters testified they had initially been called to respond to a non-emergency patient with possible intoxication and a mouth injury.


NELSON: The information you had as you were initially responding was that there was a mouth injury, correct?



SIDNER (voice-over): The call was later upgraded and when they arrived Floyd was unresponsive.


SMITH: I thought he was dead.



SIDNER (on camera): Now, here's what you couldn't see, you couldn't see one of the members of the Floyd family, Philonise Floyd, was inside the court today and he was sitting at the back of the court. There are two chairs. One for the Floyd family and one for Chauvin's family.

No one was sitting in the seat for Chauvin's family. But Philonise was sitting there and I asked him later on, I said, "What's it like listening to this testimony for you and the family?" And he said, "This is life-changing. We are all struggling every day." Erin. BURNETT: Sara, thank you very much.

And I want to be joined now by George Floyd's nephew, Brandon Williams and Benjamin Crump who is, of course, the attorney for the Floyd family. Brandon, I want to start with you. Sara talking about how your family has been there every single day, someone from your family, I know Philonise Floyd was there today and we all heard that incredibly emotional testimony from your uncle's girlfriend, Courteney. And she was very honest and direct about their struggles with addiction, but she also talked about his faith, how much he loved his daughters.

Do you think the jury got a good and real picture of who your uncle was?

BRANDON WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NEPHEW: I will believe so. I actually had an interview, so I didn't catch all of them, all of Courteney's testimony. But if she known him the way that we know him and painted a picture of him, that's the only picture you can paint despite everything that they're saying to tear his character down.

He was a great man. He loved his family. He was very loving. He was loved and I'm pretty sure that the jure got that as clear as day.

BURNETT: That he was loving, and he was loved. I mean, it's something so basic and yet so crucial and so human in this.

Ben, what is your reaction to the testimony from the final witness who took the stand tonight? That seems so powerful to me, that Police Sergeant, the supervisor of Derek Chauvin who says the officers should have stopped restraining Floyd as soon as he stopped resisting. Obviously, they did not do so, that knee remained on Floyd's neck for minutes after they said they could not detect a pulse. How much does this testimony undercut the defense's point that Chauvin did what he was trained to do?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think it's devastating to the defense. Erin, when you hear his Sergeant, a person who knows the policies and procedures intimately of the Minneapolis Police Department to say him keeping his knee own George Floyd's neck after he was restrained, and face down was inappropriate. It's very important that this is all consistent with our principles of common sense and decency, and most of all our humanity.


You don't treat anybody like that if you have one ounce of humanity. Obviously, Derek Chauvin had no humanity and we believe the jury will see that and come to the conclusion that Brandon, his family and everybody in America who's seen this video has come to the conclusion. He was killed from an overdose of excessive force.

BURNETT: So Brandon, one thing over these past few days that we have heard again and again is from witnesses who were there. They saw this or the 19-year-old at the cash register who made the call about the counterfeit bill and now is living with guilt for making that call. They talked about how helpless they felt at the time watching this and the pain they carry today, the guilt that they feel, I just want to play some of them, Brandon, for you and for our viewers who didn't see it.


DARNELLA FRAZIER, WITNESS: I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going through your mind during that time period?



MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.

ELDRIDGE: Can you just explain sort of what you're feeling in this moment?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN, WITNESS: I can't - I feel helpless.


BURNETT: Brandon, what is it like for you to hear these witnesses, these people who were there that day who carry this guilt?

WILLIAMS: It was heartbreaking. I actually cried. I was in the courtroom on Tuesday and it brought me to tears, honestly. It was very emotional to actually be there and feel the energy and just see the hurt and see them relive that tragic moment. They hurt me and more than anything you feel for them.

If you saw the video, it's clear as day what happened and only thing you can do is just pray for those young people, especially a nine- year-old who had to witness that. And that's a child, it'll scar forever. There's no healing from. There it became fixated. So all in all it was very tough emotional day and we just want jury to understand and be aware of what happened in that video just like the rest of the world.

BURNETT: Ben, as the jury hears all of this and eventually will render a verdict, you've warned that the protests we saw last summer could be child's play, those were your words, if the process is not fair. If Chauvin is found guilty on maybe one count, not all three counts, but not everything, is there any way justice would be served? I mean, should the American public accept whatever verdict this jury renders?

CRUMP: Well, we believe in due process of the law and we don't ever want to say that anybody should be guilty until proven innocent, because they do that to too many African Americans in America. So we always want equal justice under the law and we believe as long as the process is fair, Erin, and that they give the same consideration to George Floyd that they give to this white police officer, that they will come to the conclusion that he should be held criminally liable for the death of George Floyd and we will the trust the good faith and providence of the jury to arrive at that conclusion. We believe that the evidence is there.

BURNETT: Ben, Brandon, thank you both very much.

CRUMP: Thank you, Erin.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the defense in the case is trying to argue that George health was in bad health before his arrest, but his girlfriend took the stand today and said that is not the case.


ROSS: We did sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups.


BURNETT: Plus, sources telling CNN tonight that Congressman Matt Gaetz showed lawmakers pictures of nude women he says he slept with. This as we have new details about the Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz on whether he used cash and drugs in his dealing with young women.

And news tonight about Pfizer's vaccine and how long it may protect a person from variants of coronavirus.



BURNETT: New tonight, the defense in George Floyd trial questioning his girlfriend about Floyd's drug use and how it may have impacted his behavior on the day of his death after she tried to humanize his struggles with addiction.


NELSON: It was your belief that Mr. Floyd started using again about two weeks prior to his death, correct?

ROSS: I noticed a change in his behavior, yes.

NELSON: Do you recall telling the FBI that there would be times that he would just be up and bouncing around and then there would be times that he would be like unintelligible?

ROSS: I don't recall that, but ...

NELSON: Would you disagree if I said that in the transcript - that that's in the transcript?

ROSS: No, I wouldn't disagree. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now Civil Rights Attorney Areva Martin and Elie Honig, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, our OUTFRONT legal team covering this case.

Areva, do you think this line of questioning made an impact on the jury?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Erin, I think it's the only line of questioning that this defense team has and we know they're going to hit home or try to hit home on this whole drug use. But I think the problem with the argument is Mr. Floyd did have an overdose back in March, but he survived that overdose. Mr. Floyd did use drugs, but as we heard from his girlfriend, he was able to live a normal life. He was able to engage in physical activity.

And we saw that videotape just before this incident where he's in Cup Foods and he's engaging in conversation. He's moving about. We saw him actually sitting on the ground talking to the police officers. So to believe this argument from the defense, you'd have to believe that somehow on May 25th at 8:30, the use of drugs that had otherwise had not killed him killed him on this day and I don't think that's believable.


BURNETT: So Elie, here's part of what George Floyd's girlfriend said about both of their struggles with drug addiction, which she said in both cases was because of chronic pain.


ROSS: We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.

FRANK: Over how long of a period did this struggle go on for you - for both of you?

ROSS: Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle. So it's something that we dealt with every day.


BURNETT: You've talked, Elie, about this strategy of you know that Chauvin's team is going to make a big, big deal of Floyd's drug use and so the prosecution has been doing that ahead of time. Put it out there, have everyone know everything that there is to know. How do you think it played out today? She was very direct about all of it.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: By and large, Erin, I think it was a very effective use by the prosecution of just that strategy. If you know there's a bad fact for you, you know the jury is going to hear it, get it out there first, don't let it come out on cross examination. She was a particularly effective way to do this because she humanized George Floyd as a human being. She also humanized their drug use and their struggles with opioid addiction.

The prosecution did mess up though. They made a big mistake. They did not bring out with her on direct exam the fact that he had overdosed and gone to the hospital. The first time the jury heard that was on cross-examination by the defense and it hit extra hard as a result. So they had the right idea, they didn't execute it well, though.

BURNETT: Which is a really interesting point and perhaps significant.

Areva, you make the point that while Floyd was battling addiction, he was able to do other things and the defense has not only indicated that they're going to talk about drug use, but also that they're going to say Floyd was in poor health. They're going to talk about a heart condition. They're going to say that all of those were key factors in his death that Chauvin couldn't have known.

But Floyd's girlfriend also talked about that, so she talked about addiction. She also talked about him being a very active person. Here's how she talked about that.


ROSS: Floyd liked to work out every day. He lifted weights that are far beyond anything I could lift, every single day. He did sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups just within his house.


BURNETT: How effective was that, Areva?

MARTIN: I think, Erin, that was very effective, and we see that. We see a George Floyd who's very lean and is very muscular. So this notion that somehow he would have died but for the knee on the neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds I think is a very difficult argument for the defense to make.

And particularly when you pair that with the testimony from the Sergeant today about the use of force policy and the requirement that once a subject is in handcuffs and is no longer resisting, you stop the action. You stop the restraints and that didn't happen in this case.

So again, I think it was a great day for the prosecution. They prove their case. And this witness, Courteney Ross, I think we have to give her a lot of credit, a lot of courage it took for her to give that testimony not only about George Floyd's drug use, but about her own addiction.

BURNETT: Yes, for sure.

Now, Elie, let me ask you because Areva brings up the retired Police Sergeant who was the supervisor on duty the night Floyd died. I just want to play again what he said when explicitly asked about Chauvin's use of force.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHLEICHER: Sir, based on your review of the body worn camera footage,

do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?


SCHLEICHER: What is it?

PLEOGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could end the restraint.

SCHLEICHER: And that was after he was handcuffed and, on the ground, and the longer resisting?

PLEOGER: Correct.


BURNETT: But, obviously, well before Chauvin stopped doing what he was doing, Elie, I mean, this is his supervisor. So when they say Chauvin did what he was trained to do and you hear Chauvin on tape defending that, his supervisor saying no.

HONIG: This witness is really bad news for Derek Chauvin, because this Sergeant gave us the very basic but very important principle. Of course, police are entitled to use force. Of course, they're entitled to restrain someone who's resisting. However, the restraint has to stop when the resistance stop and the key question here is not was Derek Chauvin ever justified in using force or restraint, but can they justify that 9:29.

This Sergeant said straight up, no, it was excessive force. And this isn't just some expert with an academic opinion. This is Derek Chauvin's former supervisor, so this is going to be a big problem for Derek Chauvin as this trial moves on.

BURNETT: All right. Both of you, thank you very much. We'll talk to you again tomorrow.


And next, the breaking news we are just getting about the investigation to Matt Gaetz and the Feds looking at whether he had a relationship with a 17-year-old and whether his involvement with other young women broke laws.

And Trump loved to brag about as wealth, but could those statements help determine whether he faces criminal charges?



BURNETT: Breaking news, new information tonight as to how the investigation of Congressman Matt Gaetz began. Two people briefed say the close Trump ally is being investigated as to whether he had a relationship with a woman that began when she was 17 years old, 17- year-old girl. And federal investigators are now also looking at whether Gaetz used cash and drugs in his dealings with young women, plural.

Evan Perez broke this news. Evan, look, this is all a lot of sordid stuff to be investigating. What more are you learning about all this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, this is an investigation that began as part of another that was looking into a Florida politician that Matt Gaetz is friends with, his name is Joel Greenberg.

And as part of that investigation, investigators obtained information from a witness who said that they saw Gaetz and Greenberg in the office on a weekend looking through fake IDs.


Now, that's key, because that information ended up -- or at least some of that information appears to be part of the allegations that are being brought against Greenberg. He's facing trial. He's pleaded not guilty, but he's facing charges that include sex trafficking and making fake IDs allegedly for women that he was trafficking.

Now, we don't know whether that -- those IDs have anything to do with the current investigation of Matt Gaetz, but we know that at least it comes around the time that federal investigators began looking at Matt Gaetz and possible allegations that he was involved with sex trafficking.

So, now, we have this investigation that is still ongoing. It is being led by prosecutors here in Washington, public corruption prosecutors. As you noted, one of the things they're looking at is whether he used campaign funds to provide cash, and drugs to young women that he was -- that he was having relationships with.

And one of the relationships was an underage 17-year-old girl that he was involved in. Again, Gaetz has denied that he did anything wrong here, that he had any relationship with a 17-year-old. And he says that there's some kind of extortion plot against him.

But that is a completely separate matter. This is a serious investigation that, as we have noted, began in the late stages of the Trump administration under Bill Barr and it continues.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Evan, thank you very much.

And, of course, Bill Barr knew about it, as Evan says, and briefed multiple times on it, as well, according to our reporting.

Also, tonight, multiple sources are telling us that Gaetz bragged about his sexual escapades to his colleagues in Congress, even alleging showing off photos and videos of nude women he said he slept with to other lawmakers.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT. Now, Sunlen, I just want to be clear that there's no indication that these pictures are connected to the DOJ investigation, right, which includes cash, drugs, underage women, this is a separate thing. But what more are you learning about it?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Erin. Absolutely no indication that these allegations are connected in any way, but this is certainly significant on its own.

Our Hill team tonight is reporting that the congressman, Congressman Gaetz, has garnered a reputation among lawmakers for showing off nude pictures of women, nude video of women that he claims to have slept with and often times these lawmakers are seeing these photos they say on the floor of the U.S. House. One source telling CNN, quote, it was a point of pride for him.

Now, the congressman has not responded to these allegations yet. Certainly, Erin, this adds another layer to an already very, very complex situation for the congressman, albeit separate but serious allegations.

BURNETT: Certainly, yes.

Let me ask you one other thing. Gaetz is trying to divert attention from the allegation of sex trafficking a minor by talking about a separate investigation. He's trying to conflate these whole issues, this whole, well, extortion. Evan says, these all are very different things.

Tell me what you're learning.

SERFATY: That's right. He is trying to conflate them, confuse them, make it a little bit more complex. We've seen him over the last 24 hours in pushing back on these allegations, pushing instead these claims of extortion.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It is a horrible allegation, and it is a lie.

SERFATY (voice-over): Congressman Matt Gaetz is drawing in his family.

REP. GAETZ: On March 16th, my father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away.

SERFATY: Claiming the allegations involving sex trafficking and prostitution are actually part of a $25 million extortion plot.

REP. GAETZ: The FBI and the Justice Department were so concerned about this attempted extortion that they asked my dad to wear a wire.

SERFATY: His father, Don Gaetz, backing that up, telling "Politico" he wore an FBI wire on more than one occasion.

Documents obtained by CNN show the alleged extortion involved a bizarre proposal to Don Gaetz to help his son, in exchange for money to fund a search for a kidnapped and presumed dead FBI agent in Iran.

The Gaetz family is no stranger to the spotlight. With three generations of politicians. At the center, Don Gaetz.

DON GAETZ, REP. GAETZ'S FATHER: Because of this governor, because of this speaker, now she'll be able to practice medicine in Florida.

SERFATY: A wealthy businessman with upwards of a $20 million fortune, made through a for-profit hospice company, rose to become the powerful Senate president in Florida.


D. GAETZ: Jeb Bush is the new Florida. He is the new America. He is the new Republican Party.


SERFATY: Congressman Gaetz and his father served in the Florida statehouse together for six years.

MICHAEL VAN SICKLER, TAMPA BAY TIMES SENIOR EDITOR, POLITICS: They were just a political dynasty, and they dominated that region.

SERFATY: Among locals, Matt was nicknamed Baby Gaetz, a nod to his father's early influence. But political observers who have watched both say his father's name and money have only been part of his success.

VAN SICKLER: Matt Gaetz has political gifts in this era of smash-mouth politics, that you can't ignore. I didn't necessarily see a lot of that in his father. He brings a whole set-- a new set of skills that are completely -- he's made it his own. It's not a family brand from Matt Gaetz's point.

SERFATY: Matt Gaetz grew up in this house, used to film the movie "The Truman Show", detailed on an HBO documentary, "The Swamp".

REP. GAETZ: In the mid '90s, one day, some producer just shows up in a golf cart and tells my mother they want to make a movie in this house starring Jim Carrey.

SERFATY: His mother is partially paralyzed after suffering complications while pregnant with his sister and opted not to terminate the pregnancy, according to "The Washington Post".

The congressman said that's contributed to his anti-abortion stance. Last year, the congressman announced he has a secret nonbiological 19- year-old son that he's been parenting for years.

GAETZ: I just couldn't be happier and prouder of the young man he's become.


SERFATY (on camera): And, again, Erin, the FBI is investigating a potential extortion crime, but that is not specifically related to the other investigation and two sources tell CNN there is a separate federal probe looking into whether Gaetz had a relationship with a minor, whether his involvement with other minors broke sex trafficking laws, prostitution laws. And Gaetz's lawyer declined comment for this story and Gaetz denied these allegations.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen. I want to go now to Dave Aronberg. He is state attorney for Palm Beach, Florida.

And I really appreciate your time.

So, I know that you've known Matt Gaetz and his father for a long time. You served as a state senator in Florida when Gaetz's father was a state senator and Matt Gaetz at that very same time was a state representative.

So are you surprised by all of this?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Good evening, Erin. Thanks for having me.

Yeah, I am surprised, because you don't expect anyone you know to be investigated for child sex trafficking. I mean, this is a serious crime that could be punishable by life in prison. Especially for someone like Matt Gaetz, who is fearless in attacking people. He is an online troll who will go after people and has a list of enemies a mile long. I mean, he's got a bull's-eye on his back, so it's surprising that he would put himself out there.

If you live in a house full of fine china, you don't want to be flailing around your arms. I just got to wonder what Liz Cheney is thinking about. Remember, he flew thousands of miles to campaign against a Republican leader, Liz Cheney, in her district, after she voted yes on impeachment.

Well, what's the correct pronunciation for schadenfreude in Wyoming?

BURNETT: I mean, you know, look, multiple sources, this latest reporting, and it's complicated I think, Dave, for people to understand, right? You've got child sex trafficking investigation that could involve election funds and cash and drugs in one investigation. Any extortion attempt, if there is one, is separate from those facts or whatever they may be.

And now we're learning that Gaetz was known for bragging about his sexual escapades to colleagues in Congress. So, he would, even on the floor of Congress, show photos and videos of nude women that he said he had slept with. I mean, you know, I hate talking about something like that because it's so disgusting and disturbing.

But does it -- does that surprise you at all based on how he acted when you knew him?

ARONBERG: Well, he was very brash. He was outspoken. He liked to gig people and liked to destroy them in debate. He was a very good debater and cut you with his words and pour salt in the wounds. But as far as that kind of conduct, I didn't see it. I was on the

Senate side, he was on the house side. His father was a well-respected senator. He became the Senate president. He's a bottom-down old school politician who treat everyone respected and used very formal titles around everyone. So they could not be more different.

As far as the conduct you're saying, there's always rumors around about this kind of thing, but I didn't see it firsthand.

BURNETT: Right, right. So, let me ask you about the allegations investigators are looking at that he may have used cash and drugs in his dealing with young women and now, they're looking at whether any campaign money -- federal campaign money was used.


Look, this is a lot, right, and they are -- we're going to find out what happened or didn't happen.

But how much trouble could Gaetz be in if these allegations are true?

ARONBERG: Oh, he could be in a world of hurt, Erin. I think the investigation he has to worry about the most is the one of Joel Greenberg. That's his friend who is the former tax collector in Seminole County. He's a one-man criminal enterprise.

And as more comes out of Joel Greenberg, the pressure on Greenberg to flip on Matt Gaetz will be immense, because you're always looking, if you're a defendant, to flip on the bigger fish. And if you look around and there's no bigger fish, that fish is you. And so, Matt is in a whole lot of trouble.

Child sex trafficking is punishable by life in prison. Even if they can't make a case of child sex trafficking, if you have sex with an underage girl, that's a felony in Florida punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Even if it's just solicitation of sex to an underage girl in Florida, it's punishable up to five years in state prison, and all these crimes I've mentioned require you to register as a sex offender.

BURNETT: Wow. All right. Dave, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

ARONBERG: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Dave Aronberg, as I said, is the state attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida.

And next, Trump's previous comments about his wealth actually now could be used to help prosecutors on whether to file criminal charges against the former president.

And we're learning tonight just how long Pfizer's vaccine is likely to keep people safe from coronavirus.


BURNETT: Tonight, a deposition Donald Trump gave in 2007 could now help prosecutors as they decide whether or not to file charges against him. Manhattan prosecutors investigating the Trump Organization's finances are now closely examining Trump's own claims to determine whether he engaged in illegal activity.

With the accuracy of Trump's financial records now in question, investigators could be informed by statements like this one, where Trump said, quote, even my own feelings affects my value to myself.

But Trump has often tried to push responsibilities for these decisions on to his chief financial officer, Alan Weisselberg, who is now facing scrutiny, as well.

Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT.

So, I mean, Kara, it's pretty incredible that his own words could haunt him in a criminal way. What more have you learned from your reporting about the possible legal liability Trump may face?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, what's so fascinating about this 2000 deposition is it gives you Trump in his own words under oath. He's asked how did he come up with the values of so many of his properties? And he said that he relied on Alan Weisselberg. I mean, these are Trump's words. He said of Alan Weisselberg. He shows me what he comes up with, and I'm not sure I ever said change this or that number. He shows me, we'll talk about that, he'll do it.

But then Trump also goes on in the same deposition, when he's asked did he ever inflate the value of his own assets. He said not beyond reason. Did he ever exaggerate? Trump said, everybody does, who doesn't?

You know, when asked about the property that the family owns north of New York City called Seven Springs, that one was valued at $80 million. The next year it was $150 million, nearly doubling.

And Trump was asked what caused that doubling of value, he said that was based on his opinion. He did not have an appraisal. He did not consult an ex -- outside expert.

So there's the issue that prosecutors are looking at is, you know, were any types of inflated numbers, manage that fits within the, sort of the squishiness of New York real estate and the rules that allow for there to be range and assets and some flexibility in assets or does it cross the line into illegal activity?

And this is where Alan Weisselberg is so key because Trump is saying that he relied on him, but he also was pushing his own opinion there. So this is why there's so much interest in what Alan Weisselberg knows.

BURNETT: And you also, of course, Kara, have talked about Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. We know he's cooperating with investigators.

So, you know, as Weisselberg is at the core of this, could we end up seeing him cooperate too after all this time?

SCANNELL: Well, you know, prosecutors are kind of doing their best effort here to put some pressure on Weisselberg. They've asked questions about his sons. They have interviewed his former daughter- in-law multiple times. She said she told CNN that the focus of those questions was on gifts and compensation that they had received. And "The New York Times" reported that the D.A.'s office has also subpoenaed Weisselberg's bank records.

So they're looking at kind of every nook and cranny to see if they can find any bit of leverage to apply to Weisselberg to see if he'll cooperate.

Now, it's not clear that Weisselberg has done anything wrong, so it's not an indication he will decide to cooperate. He's been with Donald Trump for 40 years. When Trump went into the office, he handed over the keys to the company to Alan Weisselberg and his two sons.

So they definitely have a long and trusted relationship. Big open question if he will cooperate here. I mean, I spoke to a former Trump employee who said they thought it was more likely that Donald Trump, Jr. would cooperate against his father than Alan Weisselberg because they're just that close. This person said they're like brothers -- Erin.

BURNETT: Which is really incredible, because there really isn't anyone that we've ever heard of that's been close to Donald Trump. I mean, it's pretty stunning, just in a lot of levels here.

Kara, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next, important new information about how long the protection from Pfizer's COVID vaccine is likely to last, and a welcome sign of normalcy now more than a year into the pandemic.



BURNETT: Tonight, Pfizer announcing its coronavirus vaccine will protect the person for six months after the second dose. Now, it's not know how much longer Pfizer's vaccine works right now, because that's all the data that we have, right? We only have data for six months.

Vaccine experts tell CNN that the protection from Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines is likely to last much longer. Of course, we'll know when we know.

Dr. Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist and CNN medical analyst who helped eradicate smallpox, and he joins me now.

So, Doctor, you know, some people look at the headline, the Pfizer vaccine lasts at six months, and they go, really, that's it? But, of course, the emphasis here is that's only as long as they have been studying it. I mean, how optimistic are you?

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Oh, I'm very optimistic. I think that six months is a floor and not a ceiling.

BURNETT: So, you know, obviously, that is going to be great if this happens.

Let me ask you about the other question, because this is a big study on the coronavirus. But now, there's all these variants, right. Here in New York where I am sitting, 70 percent of the new cases sequenced are this new variant that experts have said is both more infectious and more deadly than other variants.

Dr. Fauci explicitly told me that he is specifically concerned about that New York City variant. And so, now, there's worries about how vaccines will work against that.

Do you have those concerns? Or do you think that these vaccines really are going to be pretty much universally effective?

BRILLIANT: Erin, I'm quite worried about the variants. We seem to be getting many variants but variants of concern almost every week. And we've now had a variant that clobbers a vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine is 90 percent ineffective against the South African variant. We have other variants that re-infect people who have had the disease as in Manaus in Brazil and, as you say, with the U.K., B.1.1.7 variant, a variant that is not only more transmissible but appears to be creating greater morbidity and mortality.

No, I do think we have to have a backup plan in addition to vaccinating everybody as fast as we can. They have to get much better at outbreak containment, detecting of diseases, finding them, isolating lighting them and vaccinating them with the vaccine that matches the variant that our genomics tells us they have.

BURNETT: OK. So that point then, I know Pfizer and Moderna are testing a third shot, that's a booster, right. That adds a whole level of complexity anyway to getting people to come back and doing it. But you are saying we need other vaccines as well as? Am I not summarizing it correctly?

BRILLIANT: Well, I think it could be that the booster does it. I am hopeful that there will be boosters that vaccinate us and immunize us for everything since the last vaccine we had. But in addition, we will have dozens of vaccines and some will match better against certain variants. Just as you said, if in New York 60 or 70 percent of the virus is the B.1.1.7, we should be sure that we are having a vaccine used there that is effective against that variant and I think that as the months go by, that will become more and more important.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Doctor, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

BRILLIANT: Thank you, Erin. Nice to see you again.

BURNETT: All right. You, too. And next, well, what you are looking at here? The latest sign that

life in the U.S. is starting to return to normal.


BURNETT: Play ball. The 2021 Major League Baseball season is underway. Of course, the pandemic wreaked havoc in 2020 on the entire season. But this time, it's not just back. There are fans back in the stands. Some of them. Yankees stadium they lined up early. The team lost 3-2 in ten innings to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Most teams allowing 20 to 30 percent stadium capacity with strict mask and distancing protocols. There are some like in Texas where they will let them be full. Cleaning crews were working around the clock. In New York, the Mets and Nationals game was postponed due to COVID issues because there's concern about a fourth wave in the U.S.

The true test maybe Monday because the Texas Rangers, as I indicated, they are going to open and plan to play with 100 stadium capacity.

Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime on CNN Go.

"AC360" starts now.