Return to Transcripts main page
Laura Coates Live
CNN Reports On Trump's Trials; Tension Over Israel-Hamas War Grows On College Campuses; Muslim And Arab-American Voters Abandon Biden Over Gaza Response; Passengers Sue Pilot Over Alleged Attempt To Shut Off Engines; Director Remembers Matthew Perry. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 03, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And thank you for watching "NEWSNIGHT." LAURA COATES LIVE, of course, starts right now. Hey, Laura.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Hey, Abby. Great show, as always. And you know what? I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Maybe --
COATES: Thank you.
COATES: Do you sleep ever? No? That's not going to happen for you?
PHILLIP: I'm going to try to sleep tonight. I'm going to be watching you from my couch with my glass of wine --
PHILLIP: -- and enjoying your interview.
COATES: It'll be called "Laura Coates Lit" then. Thank you so much. We'll see you right back here on Monday, then. Thanks.
Well, listen, we know how Abby might be spending her weekend. But I don't know how you're planning to spend yours. But the former president of the United States is spending his getting ready to testify, and this time, it's under oath, tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.
It's almost here. Donald J. Trump is going take the stand on Monday in the quarter of a billion-dollar courtroom drama unfolding in New York. That means he's going to face questions about the business that he loves so much that he put his name on it. And this one is really hitting him where he lives or actually really where he used to live.
And so, he packed up and went down to Florida, because if the judge rules against the Trumps, they could be forced to pay back millions, and I mean a lot of millions. Perhaps more importantly to them, they could lose their business license in New York. And the former president, well, he is reacting exactly the way you would expect him to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This trial is a disgrace. This trial is a disgrace. Should have never been brought by this judge -- very partisan judge with a person who's very partisan sitting alongside of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you might get yourself a gag order. He's already been fined twice, once for 5,000 bucks, second time for $10,000. Maybe it's chump change, as my dad used to say, for the former president.
But today, the judge expanded the gag order to now Trump's attorney, the one standing behind him, because it is written order citing hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls and voicemails and emails and letters and packages, not from the attorneys, of course, but in the wake of Trump's and his attorney's comments about the judge's staff.
Well, never a good strategy to upset the judge, because remember, this is not a jury trial, this is a bench trial, meaning it's that judge who's going to decide the case.
Meanwhile, it's turning into a bit of a Trump family reunion in the courtroom. We heard from Don Jr., heard from Eric Trump taking the stand this week, accused both of them of knowingly participating in a scheme to inflate their dad's net worth to obtain financial benefits like better loan or insurance policy terms.
Eric Trump is using that common refrain, calling the trial a witch hunt. Wonder where he may have heard that before. And he's also -- well, he's blaming New York for what's happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD J. TRUMP, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION: This is a big charade that is a huge waste of taxpayer money. And it's the very reason everybody is moving out of New York State. And I was actually one of them. It's sad. It shouldn't happen. I love this state. This state is absolutely going to hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Number one son, Don Jr., testifying that he was not involved in the preparation of his father's financial statements. He is blaming their accountants instead, saying that the accountants worked on it. That's what we pay them for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD JOHN TRUMP, JR., SON OF DONALD J. TRUMP, TRUSTEE AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I'm apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountant to do, wait for it, accounting. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: And then there is Ivanka Trump. Now, she is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday after now withdrawing her appeal of the order requiring her to testify. Former president's eldest daughter had claimed that she would suffer what she called undue hardship if she had to testify during the school week since she lives in Florida with her three children.
I think (INAUDIBLE) things that make you go, hmm, right? That's part of that. You parents out there, you obviously can imagine what your response might be. The judge did not buy it either, by the way.
But the big question tonight, what will happen when the former president himself takes the stand and answers questions, not just in front of the camera or on a campaign trail or to a journalist or anyone else, but now under oath?
To answer that question and more, I want to bring in Anthony Scaramucci, who has been exactly one Scaramucci equals to 11 days as the Trump White House communications director. We probably told him a lot about what the former president might be thinking tonight. We should point out that he is a supporter of -- and donor to the former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's presidential campaign.
Anthony, I'm so glad that you're here with us tonight. I have been really, as I told you, wanting to talk to you and get your insight. This has been quite a week. A lot is riding, as you can imagine, on that Trump brand. He has spoken about it for decades. It is how most people know him as a business owner. His children, of course, as well. Um, but he's going to have to testify now under oath on Monday. What are you thinking that's going to look like?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: So, you know, I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton had to go through this back in 1998, 25 years ago. He was a sitting president at that time. I think the president, the former president, is going to be well rehearsed. I think he's going to stick to a very tight script about what he knew and what he didn't know.
I know his lawyers are coaching him right now on perjury, Laura, and they're telling him you got to keep it tight because if you perjure yourself, that's going to be a worse crime than just the fraud. You know, that comes with criminal penalties.
So, my guess, though, is he's a stage performer, as we both know, but I think he'll perform on that balance beam pursuant to the coaching of his attorneys. I don't think he's going to go astray during testimony. I think he's aware of how damaging that could be to him.
COATES: I mean, he's going to have to be on a tight leash, whether he can stay on it or not away is the question, because it's not as if, Anthony, it's just this case. Everything he says, you can imagine the prosecutors right now from the other trials who are pen in hand, typewriters ready to transcribe whatever morsel or nugget he might say that relates to their particular case as well in different jurisdictions.
I do wonder if he can stay on that very tight, short leash under his lawyer's guidance. But his sons, when they testified, seemed to really have it down, that they were going to point the fingers. What do you make of their decision to talk about and testify, frankly, that look, it's up to the account -- they delegated this, why you looking at me?
SCARAMUCCI: So, I'm not 100% sure if that's going to exculpate them. I understand why they're saying that. They're positioning themselves as very busy business people that have delegated this sort of stuff to accountants. It's a little different from Sarbanes-Oxley, as you know, that that law requires a public company CEO to make an attestation and an affirmation on whatever is in the accounting record for the company. That's not the case in a private company. But still, they still have the culpability if the damages actually took place.
But I have a soft spot for that because, you know, if you're an executive and you're super busy and you need somebody to do your tax returns or your audited financials, you do, just due to the impossibility of time, have to rely on other people.
But what I think what is at issue here is how were those accountants directed. What were those accountants told to manufacture in those statements? And I think that's going to ultimately come out in the trial. And I think that the -- you know, I think the president is going to be the one on the hot seat.
But, you know, Laura, truth be told, 76% of the American people think that this is a politicized indictment. And, you know, in this country, today, to get 76% of the people to agree on everything -- I mean, we're having a hard time agreeing on the colors of the flag in this country, depending on which tribe you're in.
And so, we both know that the president is popular in a certain sect of the Republican Party, the MAGA sect, but he's really not popular in the rest of the country. Yet you've got 76% of the people saying, whoa, this seems a little bit of a far fetch. And then what happens to all the other real estate developers and all the other business leaders that may have exaggerated their books and records?
And I just want to make one more quick point. The law that he's being brought to trial upon is one to protect little guys from big people. This is a trial, Donald Trump, a fairly big guy, a former president against the big bank.
So, there's a lot at stake here for the prosecutors. They got to get this squared up and they got to get this right. The president knows that. And so, he's got to toe the line next week.
COATES: I just want to point out that the figure you're getting -- because I was initially wary when you made that statement. But I think you're pointing to an August Reuters poll that found that 75% of Republicans believe that Trump is facing politically-motivated prosecutions. Not particularly the widest cross-section of people.
But your point is well taken about the skepticism that he talks about. I agree with you in that the prosecutors in the case of this stature has got to dot there Is cross their Ts.
But I'm really curious about Ivanka in particular. Why do you think she does not want to testify? Is it something as simple as, look, it's my brothers. It's my father. I don't want to be on the stand when their names are the defendants. Or is something more? You were very familiar with the family. You knew her quite well. Why does she not want to be on that stand?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I have to state the obvious. You know, I like Ivanka a great deal. I got along with her and Jared. I actually got along with Eric and Don Jr. My only issue was with the president in terms of his executive management skills as president.
But I honestly think that Ivanka, just take it and put it into your own family unit for a second. If your dad and your brothers are on trial for something, do you actually want to go and testify? You know you have to go under oath. You know that puts pressure on you. You certainly don't want to say something in the court that's going to hurt your dad or your brothers. And so, I think it's as simple as that. I don't think there's anything beyond that.
And also, she has been very public about wanting to stay out of the political process this time. You know, if the president returns to the presidency, I think she has been very clear that she's likely not to return to the White House. So, I do take her at her word. But also, as a brother who has a sister and has a large family, I certainly wouldn't want to be in her position. And so, I think it is pretty prima facie understandable.
COATES: Really quick, when you have met and worked with, of course, Don Jr. or Eric Trump, are you convinced that they really were as hands-off or not as intimately involved as they're saying they were on the stand?
SCARAMUCCI: So, I actually do. I think -- I think the president is the one that really has to be questioned here. It's my -- it's surmise that the president is really the one that was guiding most of this action. Not that those guys aren't bright and not that they weren't good executives in that business, but I don't think they were the ones that were driving the choreography of a financial statement. And so, if that did happen, this is where the prosecutor is going to have to prove that it came from the top.
COATES: Well, so far, they've got that summary judgment motion where the judge seemed to think that they are involved. We'll see what happens on Monday. Anthony Scaramucci, so much more to get to. Thanks for stopping by.
SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here. Thank you.
COATES: Look, we've all seen how what's happening in the Middle East is really bringing the war home. How the hate that's spreading all around the world is actually being felt here, maybe close to where you are. Well, next, I'm going to talk to three students who say what they're seeing and what they're hearing on college campuses is not free speech.
COATES: Students at Cornell University were engaged in a community day today in the wake of extraordinary stress as a wave of antisemitism threatens campuses there and, frankly, all around this country.
Three university students penned a new essay in "The New York Times" titled "What is Happening on College Campuses is Not Free Speech." They say in part -- quote -- "Although one may think antisemitism has an impact only on Jews, history shows that it poisons society at large. Universities, they write, have a moral responsibility to counter hateful violence in all its forms. When they fail to do so, they fail us all" -- unquote.
Here with me now, Jillian Lederman, a senior at Brown University, Gabriel Diamond, a senior at Yale, and Talia Dror, a junior at Cornell University. Thank you all so much for being here. You know, I have been really eager to talk to the students involved and students who are on these campuses who are most impacted. We all are talking about it sort of from a 10,000-foot view, but I'm so glad that you're here to paint the picture and this op-ed really thought-provoking.
I'm going to begin with you, Talia, because -- I do want hear from all of you, but I know you are a junior at Cornell. We've been focusing a lot this week on what's been going on following the arrest of a fellow student accused of posting online threats to kill, to kill members of a university's Jewish community. In fact, classes were canceled today. What was today like for the students?
TALIA DROR, JUNIOR, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Yeah, Laura. First of all, thank you so much for having us today. We really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. Um, I mean, like you were saying, tensions at Cornell for the past week and, obviously, way before that have been very high.
Um, I know today, students really took the opportunity to be with their friends and engage in discussions about what has been going on and finding solace within those conversations. And that's a lot of what we wrote about in our article, how open discussion is really the way to further educational goals rather than intimidation.
COATES: Gabriel, on that point, we talked about open discussion. Um, this has been quite a minefield for a lot of people to try to, on the one hand, climb a very steep learning curve in a relatively short amount of time to understand the nuance of what has transpired over decades and generations, let alone the horror of what has happened since and on October 7th. [23:20:03]
What are you finding have been the most helpful types of conversations to have?
GABRIEL DIAMOND, SENIOR, YALE UNIVERSITY: Well, I think there are two types of conversations that we need to be having. I think the first is within the Jewish community and talking about how we can really come together. And I think I've seen a lot of campuses that Jewish students and faculty are really coming together to show support and unity.
And I think the other conversations we need to be having are across (INAUDIBLE), across with non-Jews, with people whom we disagree with, and really trying to actually learn from one another. And this is the purpose of a university, right? It's to learn, it's to challenge your mind, it's to learn to think. And right now, we're seeing that students aren't able to do this because there's a culture of intimidation, and on some campuses, even escalating into violence and incitement to violence.
COATES: You know, I've wondered about that in terms of -- I'm glad you mentioned the kinds of coalitions because certainly, for example, when it was in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, there was the expectation and demand that this was going to be a cross-cultural conversation about what was happening, about the temperature across the country and beyond.
One need only look to civil rights era and freedom rioters to know that the idea of who was attacked and assaulted and even killed on these buses were not just Black Americans hoping for a change. It was a cross-cultural experience as well. So, I'd been curious about what the experience had been like on college campuses.
Jillian, we have heard people say that they are shocked at the temperature on campus. I mean, that what's happening is perhaps a tragic microcosm of what might be happening more broadly. Are you shocked or did you feel the simmering of a lot of this beforehand on your campus?
JILLIAN LEDERMAN, SENIOR, BROWN UNIVERSITY: I think we're all shocked. I think that in the wake of what happened on October 7th, a lot of us were expecting this to be a moment of moral clarity where there was a tragedy that occurred that was inflicted by terrorists against Israeli civilians and that the entire world would come together to condemn what happened.
What we're seeing on campuses across the nation is the very opposite of that. All of us are on the executive board of Hillel International's Israel Leadership Network, which is a group of students from -- one each from 150 plus campuses across the country.
And what we're hearing directly from students who are part of that network is this culture of intimidation, is students constantly protesting, horrifying terrorist attacks, harboring terrorist sympathies, really creating this culture of intimidation and, in some cases, violence against students on campus. That is something that has absolutely shocked us.
COATES: So, I mean, how -- let me ask you this, Gabriel, before I turn to you, Talia. How should universities respond to make students feel safe? I mean, is there something more that ought to be done? Does it feel like they're being too reactive?
DIAMOND: Yeah, I think there's a lot that can be done. I think right now, some universities are looking to be, as you said, very reactive. They're looking to issue statements. They're looking to essentially play catch up with what's going on. Whereas they should be getting ahead of this. They should be looking to discipline and in some more extreme cases to get rid of professors that are essentially promoting these beliefs that are -- not just beliefs. These are evolving into incitement to violence. They're saying, you know, glorifying the martyrs. They're talking about free Palestine from the river to the sea. And when they say from the river to the sea, they're talking about from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which is essentially calling for the elimination of the Jewish state.
COATES: And you've written in this piece, all of you, the idea of these statements not being what you believe to be free speech, that it was worthy of the protections of allowing people to simply speak their minds with no repercussions. This seems to be much more nuanced in your writing. I encourage to read the full piece to hear your full explanation for that.
Talia, the former president, Barack Obama, was giving a speech advocating for peaceful coexistence. And it revealed in that discussion that people within his foundation have had to, what he said, sort through their differences on the issues. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The issue is not a wish for different outcomes, an end to the killing, peaceful coexistence between two sovereign and free people, but rather different assessments of the path that we need to take in order to get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: What does that look like to you, that path, Talia?
DROR: Yeah, absolutely, Laura. I mean, I think it all goes back to what I was saying before. Everyone has very strong passions about this subject, some of it being very personal to some of us. We might have family in the Middle East. We might be deeply affected by this.
And it's time for people to simply respect each other, engage in dialogue, be able to respect each other's opinions. And in doing so, really find common ground, because that is possible. There is absolutely common ground. We just aren't able to find it right now because we can't engage in those discussions because of the current tension and hostility on our campuses. COATES: Jillian Lederman, Gabriel Diamond, Talia Dror, may you show us all the way. After all, they say that you truly are all the future. Good luck on that journey. Thank you so much.
DIAMOND: Thanks for having us.
COATES: Up next, more fallout here at home. Arab-American and Muslim voters, well, they've got a message for President Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I did vote for Joe Biden in 2020.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Do you plan to vote for him in 2024?
UNKNOWN: I do not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: There is anger in the Muslim and Arab-American community. It is mounting over President Biden's stance toward the Israel-Hamas war. Many threatening him that their votes in 2024, well, they're at stake. Others already outright refusing to vote for him. And the warnings are coming from people also in Congress, like Rashida Tlaib, who's going so far as accusing Biden of supporting Palestinian genocide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one.
CROWD: From the river to the sea!
TLAIB: We will remember in 2024.
(ON SCREEN TEXT): Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: That anger, not only from progressive lawmakers. Everyday voters are -- well, they're also upset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IMAM HASSAN JAMA: Every decision and action has a price tag. And the decision you made and the path you took, the price tag is we will boycott you and we will campaign against you.
SAM BAYDOUN, WAYNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER: If the election was to be held today and President Biden is on the ballot and we have to go out and vote today, I can't promise you that he will get five votes from Arab- Americans in the city of Dearborn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Dearborn. Michigan City continued to be the center -- excuse me -- of Arab-America. So, how could it be this for President Biden? Well, we'll take a look. The blue you're seeing on this map represents Muslim American voters. In addition to Michigan, many live in the key battleground states of places like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
I want to bring in Ahmad Ramadan, a former Biden administration advisor and executive coalitions director for the Michigan Democratic Party. Ahmed, thank you so much for coming.
You just heard that person say they can't guarantee he would get even five votes for Biden in this area. First of all, the anger that's there, what is the -- I know it's nuanced. I know it's not going to be just a singular issue, singular answer. But what is fueling the resentment and anger towards Biden specifically?
AHMAD RAMADAN, EXECUTIVE COALITIONS DIRECTOR, MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: So, thank you for having me. For the Arab-American community, overwhelmingly and historic numbers voted for the Biden-Harris ticket in 2020, especially in Michigan and the demographics there, which helped him get to the White House and helped that ticket win.
They felt -- they knew him on a personal level. So, if you ask anybody from the Arab community, they tell you, we knew Joe, we know Joe, like because of his compassion, being the consoler in chief.
And then this conflict that happened after October 7th is what shifted things drastically. They felt like they were either like backstabbed. They are not getting that same compassion or -- that the Israeli side is getting and they're not being seen, which is an issue that they had with President Biden.
And they just want to share their stories and they want to be heard. Like I had one of the community members share the story of, after seeing every single day of this war, a six-year-old child, that is the only survivor in a 12-member family, and he was the one that had to identify the bodies of his whole family.
RAMADAN: So, these are the stories that really like become personal to the community. So, we have to make sure that we're also representing them.
COATES: So, how does the administration course correct this juncture? Because, obviously, you know, Blinken, Secretary Lloyd Austin, over there, trying to, we understand from different sources, they may be behind the scenes, suggesting a different approach in terms of a ceasefire otherwise for the humanitarian crisis that sprang out of control. But it sounds like there might be a more particularized route not just for political reasons, but for the community you speak about to feel like they actually are seen by this president. How could they course correct at this point?
RAMADAN: So, there have been small steps in the right direction compared to when the conflict first began. There's like the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, released a -- she sent a letter to Secretary Blinken asking for the Palestinian-Americans stuck in Gaza and the West Bank to bring them back home safely that weren't able to leave. There was also Senator Durbin with 12 other senators asking for a ceasefire.
The number one issue that people right now in the Arab community and the Palestinian community are struggling with is they want to a ceasefire. They want to end the killing. You know, you have thousands of people, innocent civilians, dying the same way that they were in Israel on October 6th or 7th.
COATES: Well, you look at -- I mean, even you mentioned, obviously, the president. But other members -- I mean, you've got a congressman, Ryan Zinke, who is pushing a bill that would literally expel Palestinians from the United States.
Former President Trump as, you know, someone who was a proponent of what he wanted to be called the so-called Muslim ban as opposed to what people actually saw it as. So, if there is no support or waning support of President Biden on a ticket that's what, 360-something days away now, then who?
RAMADAN: So, I don't want to say that there's no support for him yet. It's going to be harder to make the case for the community the longer this conflict drags out. We want to make sure that we're getting the Americans and Israel and the hostages out safely, but we also want to stop the innocent killing of the Palestinians, especially the children, the innocent people being bombarded in refugee camps.
RAMADAN: So, we want to make sure that we're able to stop that bleeding. But also, the bottom line is 2024 is a year away, like you said. So, there is -- the honest truth is that the community isn't really thinking of the political side of things yet. They just want to end the mourning that they're going through. Every single day that this war or conflict drags on, they're mourning more and they are not being able to think about how they can start regaining some of that trust for the president.
COATES: I mean, you've seen the numbers from Christopher Wray, the FBI director. I mean, the Islamophobia, the antisemitism, the hate crimes on the rise. And so, clearly, the priority is not, gosh, who will I vote for in 2024 as opposed to how do I protect my family today. And I guess that's the nuance that's missing in particular as well. RAMADAN: Yeah. Some of the initiative that was done on task force for islamophobia and antisemitism, that is helpful, but it's also -- it's all triggered by, you know, the conflict happening overseas. They all, you know, play an effect here in the United States and the communities as well.
And the Arab community hasn't seen these numbers of hate crimes since 9/11, which more than 9/11 right now. There are people really struggling in the community to make sure that they're safe and their kids are safe when they go to schools and campuses.
COATES: Ahmad, this is quite a wake-up call. I wonder if they will understand it.
RAMADAN: I hope so.
COATES: Thank you so much. Ahmad Ramadan, thank you so much.
And up next, remember this off-duty pilot, the one that admitted to taking magic mushrooms and tried to then cut the engines at some point for the plane mid-flight? I'm going to talk to one of the passengers who is now suing after this.
COATES: So, tonight, three passengers are suing Alaska Airlines for emotional distress after an off-duty pilot allegedly tried to turn off the engines mid-flight last month. The passengers say that Joseph Emerson, who was flying as a standby employee passenger, should never have been allowed in the cockpit because they say he was suffering from depression and a lack of sleep.
The lawsuit says the incident left them struggling with anxiety, insomnia, and fear of flying. Emerson is facing 83 felony count of attempted murder. He has pled not guilty.
Joining me now, Paul Stephen, who was on that flight and one of the three passengers suing Alaska Airlines, along with his attorney, Daniel Laurence. Thank you so much for being here. You know, when we first heard about this story, it was unbelievable to think about.
And Paul, in a statement, Alaska Airlines said that it's reviewing the incident and said -- adding -- quote -- "The pilots and flight attendants operating Flight 2059 responded without hesitation to ensure the safety of all onboard. We are incredibly proud and grateful for their skilled actions."
So, talk to me about what it is you experienced on that flight.
PAUL STEPHEN, SUING ALASKA AIRLINES: It was 30 to 40 minutes of terror. Twenty minutes into the flight, the flight attendant in a panic came and told us that there was an emergency happening. We had to divert down to the nearest airport. We had no information as to what and why, and the plane took a dive down and to either the left or the right. The descent was so steep that the plane was shuddering.
And it was at that time, I didn't know if it was the plane, if it was the pilot, if it was the personnel, the passengers. But I looked to my right and I looked behind me, to the folks next to me, and all we saw in each other's face was terror. And it was at that point where I looked at the window and I thought this is going to be the time where I'm going to die.
COATES: Your experience, when you describe it, sounds absolutely terrifying. It's interesting, too, because, obviously, on a flight full of people, people may have different experiences. I spoke with another passenger who was also on the flight, Aubrey Gavello (ph). I want to just play a portion of what it is that she told me. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUBREY GAVELLO (ph), ALASKA AIRLINES PASSENGER: I didn't know anything was wrong until the flight attendant came on the loudspeaker and said that we had a situation and we needed to land the plane immediately. We didn't know where we were landing and we didn't know what was wrong. But she assured us we were safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now, that's her statement and what she's had to say. Obviously, you're a different person. But she says, as you just said, you didn't know what was specifically wrong until that announcement. What do you make for the difference in terms of perhaps your experience than hers here?
STEPHEN: Well, Aubrey (ph) and I have been in communication. She's mentioning the second time the flight attendant came on the PA. My mention was the first. In the first one, there was no mention of what the situation was. The second one, she clarified that there was a medical emergency and that it was not a plane or a personnel issue. That was what Aubrey (ph) was referring to.
COATES: So scary to think about all this going down. And as you mentioned, the nose dive aspect of it and your belief that this was somehow going to be end very differently. What are you ultimately hoping will be accomplished by this lawsuit?
STEPHEN: For myself?
COATES: For yourself, for the other passengers. Are you hoping for it to be specific or more broad?
STEPHEN: Yeah. You know, for me, you know, I've been reading a lot about Joe Emerson (ph) and I -- he looked like he lived a fairly normal life.
[23:45:00] I think the part for me is the pilots have a big responsibility in an airplane. They are -- they have to take care of us when we're on their -- we're in their care, and they should have the opportunity to seek help without retribution.
I think in this case, there could have been a fear that he had something -- was afraid of losing a job or whatnot. I don't know. But I would like to see the doors open where there's an open policy, that they can communicate any troubles that they're having, get the help they need, and be able to keep flying us safe.
COATES: Daniel, there are only three defendants in this -- excuse me, plaintiffs in this action right now. Given what he is saying now and the experience, do you expect to have more join in?
DANIEL LAURENCE, PARTNER, THE STRITMATTER FIRM: Well, thank you, Laura. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of the three people who have hired us to pursue the matter. We've filed it as a class action. It's up to the court to decide whether all of these people who are in the same plane at the same time, under the same circumstances, should all have that matter tried together. We think they should. If the court denies that, they'll be pursued individually.
We already, since we filed this action, have numerous other passengers contacting us and telling us similar stories. Those passengers were in the FlightAware app, were actually in contact, and could hear the air traffic control that was telling the pilot to describe what the -- quote -- unquote -- "threat level" was, and the pilot saying we have them under control.
So, there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. We have (INAUDIBLE) not only for emotional distress but also -- and frankly, primarily, our clients are interested in finding out, having the airlines tell us truthfully what they did, if anything -- this is omitted from their public relations statement -- what, if anything, they actually did to evaluate Mr. Emerson and his fitness to be in the cockpit, and what policies and procedures they have or should have.
We'd like the court to mandate some kind of check that would challenge people, just like you're challenged by a police officer if you're stopped, just like you're challenged if you go across an immigration border, just like you're challenged in almost every court. Just ascertain that this person is fit to be in the cockpit. That's a matter of discretion with the airline.
LAURENCE: It's not a matter of (INAUDIBLE).
COATES: Well, Paul Stephen, Daniel Laurence, I tell you, anyone who has ever flown is immediately leaning in at this very moment. Thank you so much.
STEPHEN: Thank you.
LAURENCE: Thank you for having me. COATES: Nearly a week since Matthew Perry passed away and as fans mourn, a friend's director says Matthew was like a son to him. That director joins me next.
COATES: You know, it has been nearly a week, one week since Matthew Perry's death, and some of the most moving tributes have been about how he helped people facing addiction. And over his lifetime, the "Friends" star was so candid over his own struggles with drugs and alcohol abuse.
And tonight, a new endeavor has been created to honor his legacy. It's called the "Matthew Perry Foundation," and it was launched by his loved ones, and it aims to help others who are struggling with addiction.
Joining me now is James Burrows, who directed the first four episodes of "Friends' and spent a lot of time with one Matthew Perry. James, I'm so glad to meet you tonight. It's so fascinating to think about in a world where -- I mean, really, the attention span of so many is sometimes like that of a social media net, right? People are continuing to flood social media with recollections about him, with Chandler Bing. You were there at the very beginning. Why do you think he's able to still resonate with so many people after all this time?
JAMES BURROWS, DIRECTOR OF "FRIENDS": Because he was an actor who took a great part that was written by Martin and David and made it an extraordinary part. You don't often see that. I think all six of them did that. All six of those cast members were able to extend the character beyond any expectations.
And Matthew had a gift of -- he would hit a particular word in a sentence that emphasized that word that nobody else had any idea of doing that. And I guess the most famous one is, can it be any more exciting? So, that was -- you know, that was his skill. He put his own spin on it.
COATES: It's so fascinating. That is one of the phrases and the catchphrases everyone thinks about. And you're right, when the words initially are just on the script, I mean, it's the actor who has to bring it to life, has to leap off the page, and then for it to have the staying power and to really create a character in so many ways. You know, do you recall, was Matthew more like Chandler or Chandler more like Matthew? Were they kind of one in the same?
BURROWS: I think there's -- There's probably 60% Matthew and 40% Chandler, because once he started playing the part, the writers could write to that. They could write to his particular skill and his particular manifestations in his physical comedy. So, once we heard Matthew read that part in reading around the table for the first episode, we knew there was something special there. COATES: The cast is really like a family, and they have been very explicit about that. I wonder if you've been in touch with any of cast members about what this extraordinary loss has been like to even try to process.
BURROWS: I've -- I've talked to Schwimmer and I've talked to Matt LeBlanc, and the three girls were -- when the news happened, they were together, and they were just basket cases. But I -- we texted back and forth. And I haven't heard from them in a little while, but I assume they're -- hopefully, they're recovering.
COATES: To think that the universe had them together in that moment when they heard that news, what was it, what must be going through David and Matt's minds right now?
BURROWS: Yeah, I know. It's -- you know, they -- the cast called me "Papa" because I was there at the beginning. And for me, it's like losing a son.
And for them, it's like losing a brother because in the early days of me doing that show, I tried to create a family where the six of them loved one another because I figured that would come across the screen, and they became extremely close. They were like -- you know, they were like one person with six hands. And so, it was -- it's devastating for them.
I'm not sure that the three girls were together because I only texted. I can't corroborate that. But I know Jen text back, said she was talking to Courtney and Lisa.
COATES: James Burrows, I'm so sorry for your loss. Truly I am. And I thank you so much for joining us.
And thank you all for watching. Our live coverage continues after a short break.