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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

No Verdict in Rittenhouse Kenosha Homicide; House Vote on Gosar Censure; Migrants Shelter at Belarusian-Polish Border. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 05:00   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Good morning, everyone. It's Wednesday, November 17th. It's 5:00 am here in New York. Thanks so much for getting an early start with me. I'm Laura Jarrett. Christine is off today. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

We begin in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as thetown that braces for a verdict in a case that has captured national attention. This morning the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial will enter day two of deliberates as they sort through five counts and a morass of jury instructions.

The key for Rittenhouse is convincing this jury he acted in self- defense when he killed two people and injured another.

In the courtroom Tuesday, a highly unusual scene there, as the judge had Rittenhouse himself randomly pick six juror numbers from a raffle drum of 18. Those six numbers, people that the court then dismissed as alternates.

The final 12-person jury, seven women and five men, nearly all white; CNN's Omar Jimenez starts our coverage off this morning from the courthouse.


Well, after close to nine hours of deliberations, this jury could not come to a verdict on day one. But they will be back this morning.

What we saw early in the day over the course of Tuesday, though, was the jury asking for more copies of the juror instructions, instructions that deal with crucial concepts like self-defense, provocation, intent and, of course, the circumstances around the charges in this case as well.

To begin the day, though, on Tuesday, what we saw was Kyle Rittenhouse himself, drawing the names or numbers of jurors from an old-school lottery tumbler. The names are numbers of jurors that would be selected as alternates in this trial. Some saw that as unusual. But the judge made a point at the end of the

day to say that this is how he's done things in his courtroom for at least 20 years in this process.

Now one thing that is crucial or one thing that many people are wondering now is the mentality of these jurors as they will continue to deliberate later this morning. And the defense hired a consultant as part of this, to try to get to the core of it, at least, when the jury selection process was beginning.

This is a consultant who helped create the juror profile in the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, Joeellen demetrius.

And the Rittenhouse team hired her essentially to do the same thing, to find the right jurors -- how her firm described it to me -- and to give the defense confidence that the arguments that they had been making over the course of this trial were actually resonating with a jury.

And, of course, that's what matters at this point. And her influence is likely among the 12 that were selected to deliberate in this.

Outside the courtroom, we have seen protests come in and about (ph). Tuesday was maybe the largest group we've seen. But still overall pretty small. People have come against Kyle Rittenhouse, calling him a killer.

Some have praised people like Gauge Grosskreutz, calling him a hero; Grosskreutz, of course, the only survivor of those shot that night.

Others praised Kyle Rittenhouse, saying that this was self-defense and that he was a hero. And based on those groups alone and what we've seen around this case overall, I think it is safe to say that, no matter what this verdict is, whenever it comes, there will be people that are unhappy -- Laura.

JARRETT: Omar, thank you for that.

It's time for "Three Questions in Three Minutes." Let's bring in criminal defense attorney Julius Kim. He is a former assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County.

Julius, so nice to have you on EARLY START this morning.

JULIUS KIM, FORMER DA, MILWAUKEE COUNTY: Thank you. Good morning, Laura.

JARRETT: Good morning. Let's start here with how this jury was whittled down from 18 to 12 people, with Rittenhouse, as Omar just showed you, being the one to actually randomly select those jurors.

He doesn't know, you know, the names and the numbers. He's just picking them out of a hat, essentially. I have never seen anything like that.

Have you? KIM: Well, I've tried lots of cases in Wisconsin and picking a name out of a hat or a bucket or something like that or by lot is not unusual to whittle down alternate jurors. But having the defendant himself pick the names was a little unconventional.

I had never seen that before. Usually it's the clerk or the judge him or herself that will pick the names. But affording the defendant the opportunity, that was a little weird. But if the judge has been doing that the entire time, it doesn't seem like he's providing any type of favoritism to Kyle Rittenhouse here.

JARRETT: Right. It seems to be just the judge's practice and that there isn't any downside to letting Rittenhouse do it, especially since it was at random.


JARRETT: But it seems notable and perhaps just the judge adding to sort of the spectacle and the drama of this, as he knows the cameras are watching every move.

Very quickly, yesterday, I noticed the jury asked for extra copies of these instructions. These instructions, which are not easy to understand, not easy to work through, even for a lawyer, let alone a lay person. But the fact they each want these copies to actually read through and work through, if I was the defense lawyer, I would take that as a good sign.

What do you think?

KIM: I would take it as the opposite, in all honesty. The conventional wisdom here is that, based upon the video evidence, a lot of people felt self-defense was clear in the situation. I thought that a quick verdict would favor the defense in this particular case.

But the fact that they asked for the jury instructions here means that they are going to take their time and they're really going to peruse the law and try to apply it to the facts in this case. And they're going to really see if what Kyle Rittenhouse did was a crime or justified self-defense.

So it seems to me that they are not going to just do what may seem, at first, on your initial look at these videos; they're going to take their time making this decision.

JARRETT: Yes, they are taking their time. I know jury predicting is always a dangerous business that nobody wants to be in.

But typically in your experience, is it the case that, the longer a jury goes, the better it is for the defense?

Is that actually -- does that actually bear out in cases that you've seen?

KIM: It does. Every case is fact-specific, obviously. The longer a jury deliberates, a lot of times it is more favorable for the defense. But here we had strong evidence, where a lot of people saw the defense as having a very strong case from the outset.

So my gut is telling me that, the longer that this goes, there are going to be people there, fighting and trying to counterveil the evidence that they saw with their own two eyes.

JARRETT: And they also have those lesser included charges to work through if they don't find him guilty on the main charges. They can certainly look to those, which is going to take a little bit of time, I should say, to work through. Julius Kim, so nice to have you. Thank you, sir.

KIM: You're welcome. My pleasure.

JARRETT: All right, the other big trial we're following in Georgia, the prosecution has now rested its case against three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Their final witness was the state medical examiner, as jurors were shown graphic autopsy photos of Arbery's fatal gunshot wounds.

CNN's Ryan Young is on the ground in Brunswick, Georgia.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Laura. Another tough day in court for the family because they had to hear so much from the medical examiner, who was detailing all the things that they were able to collect with the evidence over the last few weeks and months, especially after the shooting.

But one of the exchanges that really stuck out to us was about the fact of his -- Ahmaud Arbery's condition at the time of the shooting. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In other words, is there anything they could have done on scene to save his life?


YOUNG (voice-over): So there were those very tough, graphic images shown in court once again. And then Kevin Gough went back again to what he's been complaining about for the last few days, the fact that so many pastors have been showing up in court.


YOUNG: He made another motion about maybe even trying to figure out who was coming to court, maybe even the court having a sign-up sheet. The judge didn't really want to hear this. But this was the pushback from Kevin gough in court Tuesday.


KEVIN GOUGH, ARBERY MURDER TRIAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This morning we did file a motion to prohibit any further conduct that may intimidate or influence jurors and otherwise interfere with a fair trial.


YOUNG: And Laura, in a little bit of surprise, William Bryan actually took the stand. Kevin goff, his attorney, was trying to have him describe the conditions at the Glynn County jail in hopes of getting him out.

The judge denied that. Of course, today we'll have more court. So as this moves forward, it will be interesting to see what the defense decides to put on in court during this trial to see how they can get their clients free from jail and out of this situation -- Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Ryan, a lot to watch there.

Still ahead for you, he used Twitter to air a violent video about a fellow member of Congress. Now representative Paul gosar likely stripped of his committee assignments. We'll have an update for you on that House vote next.





JARRETT: The House plans today to vote to censure Republican Congress man Paul gosar of Arizona and to remove him from two committees after he posted this bizarre photoshopped anime video appearing to show him killing Congress woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.

Now Gosar eventually took the video down and offered up this explanation for putting it up online.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I did not apologize. I just said this video had nothing to do with harming anybody. It's exactly what you were talking about. It's an anime. You are trying to reach out to the newer generation that likes these anime, these cartoons fabricated in Japanese likeness, to actually show them what's harmful in this world that they're missing.


JARRETT: "Trying to reach out to the younger (sic) generation."

CNN's Jessica Dean has more on what to expect today with that vote.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, the House of Representatives set to vote on a resolution to censure Congress man Paul gosar and to strip him from both committees on which he serves.

This, of course, following the video that he published and then later took down but never apologized for. We are looking at an afternoon voet for this resolution vote to censure him and also to strip him from those committees.

It is important to note just how severe a form of punishment that censuring a Congress person is. It is the most severe form of punishment. Of course, it is largely symbolic. The last time this happened was back in 2010 with Congress man Charlie rangel over multiple ethics violations.


DEAN: And even earlier this year, when Marjorie Taylor greene was stripped from her committees, she was not censured. So this is very important and underscores the gravity of this situation.

What is unique about a censure situation is that Congress man gosar will be required to stand in the well of the House and listen as this resolution is read. We know that there will be an hour of debate, divided evenly on both sides. Then they will proceed and vote.

It is required that gosar is there. Now he could not show up and the sergeant at arms could go and find him and haul him into the House of Representatives, although House Democrats have underscored that that is highly unlikely that that will transpire.

Gosar has said that he had no ill intent with any of this. But he's never apologized and Congress woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez telling CNN that she never got an apology from gosar or from House minority leader Kevin mccarthy.

That instead, Gosar really doubled down on everything and made her some sort of representative for undocumented people and that that should result in death or murder.

So it will be interesting to see if any Republicans, besides Congress man adam kinzinger and Congress woman Liz Cheney join the Democrats. That is certainly something we are keeping our eye on. Laura?

JARRETT: Jessica, thank you for that.

California Congress woman jackie speier is the latest high-profile Democrat to announce that she will not run for reelection in 2022. Speier telling CNN the decision was made for personal reasons.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES: I've been in public life now for 39 years. It's time to pass the torch to a new generation. I have a spouse at home who has put up with a weekend wife for 20 years and he's now retired and wants us to spend some time together and with our family and friends.

So it's time for me to go home.


JARRETT: She has served in the House since 2008. She is the 15th House Democrat who plans to leave at the end of the current term, compared to just 10 Republicans.

After dodging the question for months, Congress woman marjorie Taylor greene reveals she has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I haven't been making it public but I started making it public because it's such an issue. I'm not vaccinated and I believe it's up to every single American to make that choice on their own. And the government has no business to tell Americans that they should take the COVID vaccine or not.


JARRETT: The conservative Republican has pushed plenty of misinformation and conspiracy theories about vaccines. Greene has also violated House rules by refusing to wear her mask on the floor, incurring tens of thousands of dollars in fines in the process.

All right. Just ahead, migrants continue to face uncertainty at the Poland-Belarus border. As chaos there grows, we are going to take you live to a processing center for migrants in Belarus. That's next.





JARRETT: Another day of anguish and uncertainty for migrants at the Poland-Belarus border. Violence erupted on Tuesday, with Polish guards firing water cannons to push back migrants who tried to rush the border.

Now some of the most vulnerable migrants are being moved indoors. CNN's Matthew Chance is live inside one of these processing centers.

Matthew, good morning; tell us, what exactly are you seeing there and what happens in one of these processing centers?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right. We are right in the middle of this processing center.

Over the course of the past just 12 hours or so, after the violence ended, Belarusian forces and officials have been moving the migrants from that forest camp, bringing them indoors at this location, about a mile back from the border crossing with Poland.

It's still pretty rudimentary conditions that people are in but at least we are inside with some shelter from the increasingly cold weather conditions outside. You know, people have got mattresses to sleep on and they've got blankets to put over them. They are being given food. Outside, they've been given hot tea and bread. The Belarusian

officials that we've spoken to say they aim to provide these people with at least one hot meal a day. Still not very much but it's better than no hot meals a day.

And you can see, the general atmosphere here is a lot -- I wouldn't say happy but people are a lot more comfortable than they were outside in the freezing forest camp, right up against the razor wire of the Polish border.

The big question is, of course, what is going to happen next to these people?

Are they ever going to achieve their, you know, objective of getting into the European Union?

It doesn't look like it at the moment. The reaction of the Polish authorities yesterday, spraying the crowds with water cannons to push them back from any prospect of getting near to the barricades, was an indication that the Poles, at least, the European Union in general, are reluctant to take these people in.

We're being told by Belarusian officials that they are waiting for a decision from Germany about whether there is some kind of humanitarian corridor that could be opened; possibly via Poland, possibly by air, straight from here to Germany.

But that is not confirmed at all. In fact, over the past couple of days, the Germans have made it clear they don't intend to take these people in, either.


CHANCE: The alternative, according to Belarusian officials, is that these people will ultimately be deported back to their countries of origin. For the most part, that would be Iraq; the majority of people here are from Iraqi Kurdistan -- Laura.

JARRETT: Matthew, who is going to take care of that?

In the meantime, you have babies; you have children there.

Sort of it sounds like this in a holding pattern?

CHANCE: Yes, I mean, they're just in this holding facility here. As I say, the Belarusian Society of the Red Cross are coordinating the aid effort. We're told that they are receiving aid donations from the various other multinational aid institutions, like the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration.

They're the people that are funneling the aid, such as it is, directly to these people. You know, people are being given some new coats, for instance. These are the sort of coats and clothes and blankets and sleeping bags that are being distributed.

Again, they're getting that one hot meal a day. They're getting hot tea, they're getting bread. It's not much. It's not good. But it's a lot better, as I say, than they were getting out there.

Now also, Laura, not everybody is here. It's just 1,000 people in this room. You can see they're spread out across this holding facility. It's a logistics center usually used for cargo. And they've cleared out the cargo and they're using it to house these migrants, these refugees.

There are still nearly 1,000 other people still at the camp because a lot of people in that camp, a lot of the migrants are, at this point, not wanting to come -- they're refusing to leave that front line position near the fence, still carrying those hopes they're going to get through, going to get into the European Union -- Laura.

JARRETT: Good reminder, people are outside and it is freezing out there. Matthew, thank you so much for your reporting. It's been just spectacular.

All right, one bill down, one massive bill to go.

When could President Biden see his Build Back Better agenda actually pass?

That's just ahead.