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Laura Coates Live

Together Again, Emotional Reunions Of Hostages And Families; Fourth Set Of Hostages Freed As Truce Extends 48 Hours; Elon Musk Visits Israel After Backlash To Anti-Semitic Post; Three Palestinian College Students Shot In Vermont; President Biden Apologizes To Some Prominent Muslim American Leaders After Publicly Questioning Palestinian Death Toll; Philadelphia District Attorney Has 180 Days To Decide Whether CJ Rice Gets To Breathe Fresh Air And Free Air Once Again; Minneapolis Police Officer Convicted In The Killing Of George Floyd Stabbed Inside Of A Federal Prison. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 27, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tomorrow, Jimmy Carter expected to attend the memorial service for his late wife, Rosalynn. And he and Rosalynn were married for 77 years. They were the longest married presidential couple. President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will also attend that tribute tomorrow, along with every living former first lady, we are told.

Tonight, Rosalynn Carter is lying in repose at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where members of the public are paying their respects to her. We'll be covering that live here on CNN tomorrow.

I want to thank you so much for joining us tonight from Tel Aviv.

Laura Coates Live starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Good evening. This is a special two-hour edition of Laura Coates Live. Abby has the night off.

I want to begin tonight, not with words, but with the images and the sounds of the moments that hostages finally came face-to-face with their loved ones seven whole weeks after being ripped away by Hamas. Watch.

You know, when you watch that which strikes me, how little words are actually exchanged between those who are holding each other the faces, what it's like for a parent to see their child, the children to see their parents, it's overwhelming and believed to think about what this was like.

And tonight, a whirlwind return out of captivity for 11 more Israelis, 9 of whom are children. Doctors, nurses in Tel Aviv met hostages carried by a helicopter and a hospital. And inside, teddy bears, flowers toys, they were on standby, ready to receive three-year-old twins released into Israeli custody.

The truce between Israel and Hamas seems fragile and at best are being quite generous with that, and for now, the intention is to make it last two more days and to make sure that two more exchanges of hostages and Palestinian prisoners takes place.

Israel's government says it's received and now reviewing the latest list of those abducted that Hamas promises to return. It raises hopes if only an inch at the stop in the fighting gives way to maybe a ceasefire and eventually peace talks.


Also tonight, new details give clarity to a harrowing question, what exactly was life like for these hostages? Many of those answers are coming directly from family members of those who were taken.


MERAV RAVIV, RELATIVE OF ISRAELI HOSTAGE HELD BY HAMAS: They ate a lot of rice. Sometimes they didn't have rice so they ate only bread. It wasn't that they were eating, you know, fruit and vegetables and vitamins and whatever things that you need.


COATES: 50 days on food that you would give to a bird. Families are told to end and others over and over that their relatives lost abnormal amounts of weight over the past seven weeks, and that, for now, they can't even eat or drink normally. Every word confirming that the hostages were treated like prisoners in solitary confinement.


EYAL NOURI, CNN: Many people and they got light only for two hours a day.

You know, not to mention, they didn't have any decent facilities, like shower. They didn't shower for seven weeks. So, it's horrible condition.


COATES: Another recurring theme, sleep. It was hard to come by. When it did happen, it was on improvised beds, chairs that were pushed together or maybe tables, something you and I don't think about. Going to the bathroom was another arduous labor.


RAVIV: She told me that if you want to go to the toilet, you have to knock on the door. And only after one-and-a-half hour, two hours, they open the door and you can go to the bathroom.


COATES: Now, you know there were children there as well. And the physical toll, I mean, it's unmistakable, the mental anguish, unfathomable. And listen to this man describe his first interaction with his niece.


YAIR ROTEM, UNCLE OF HOSTAGE RELEASED BY HAMAS: She can smile, she talks to me, she hugs me. So, I feel it's the same kid. She's a little bit distant now. She's a little bit cold. She talks about things that happened like it's in third person, like it happened to someone else. She says she's saw horrible things, but she say it with a straight face. It's like she's describing a scene from a movie that she watched somewhere.


COATES: I mean, think about that disassociation, right? The stories emerging each and every hour, and they are powerful.

Let's take a step back, though, and look at the entire picture about what we've watched happen over the past several days, and hopefully what to expect looking forward.

Joining me now is Alex Marquardt, CNN's Chief National Security Correspondent.

Alex, when you hear these stories, they are unbelievable to think about. I want to talk about the numbers, though, for a lot of people who haven't been knowing about this. Set the stage for us in terms of the number of people who've returned home already.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are a lot of numbers, and they're all very important because they each tell a story, right? So, in the beginning, when this deal started four days ago, there were still just shy of 240 hostages altogether. In the past four days, 69 have been released by Hamas.

Now, the deal said over four days, 50 Israeli women and children were to be released. Some of them are dual nationals, like that young girl, Abigail Edan. She's an American citizen as well. So, that did happen. The 50 came out over the past four days.

There were a couple surprises that we weren't anticipating. There were 19 others who came out at the same time over the course of those four days. There was a Russian-Israeli man who was released yesterday. He's the only Israeli man who has been released so far, and he was actually released under a side deal that was done directly between the Russians and Hamas. And that speaks to that growing relationship between those two parties, which is very interesting.

And then you have 18 other foreign nationals. They're not Israeli. There are a lot of Thai nationals, for example, who work as laborers in Israel.

COATES: On the kibbutz?

MARQUARDT: On various kibbutzes in the agricultural sector, generally speaking, in Israel. And so we have 17 Thai nationals, and one Filipino national who were released as well. So, great news, obviously, 69, but that's only about 30 percent of the original number. So, you still have the vast majority who are still being held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

COATES: But a fraction of those who were killed on October 7th as well. But there was an exchange. It wasn't just the release. It was also Palestinian prisoners. What do we know generally about those who were released?

MARQUARDT: So, the agreement, when it broke, was that for every hostage who was released, 150 Palestinians would be released from Israeli prisons. So, you have 50 who were released. So, 150 Palestinians have been released over the past four days.

We've seen these scenes of celebration in the West Bank as these Palestinians have come home. These are also just women and children.


The vast majority who are eligible to be released among the Palestinians are male teenagers between 16 and 18 years old. Some are as young as 14 years old.

The range of charges is quite broad. There are some who are accused of being allied or taking part in illegal terrorist organizations, for having illegal weapons. But the majority, we're told, are charged with things like throwing stones and endangering regional security.

And then there's something that's very important and worth noting. The fact that there are dozens among these 150 who are held under what's called administrative detention, which is this highly criticized part of the Israeli judicial system, in which Palestinians can be held without charge, they can be held without trial for months or for years, they can be held essentially indefinitely.

COATES: I mean, a comparison here, that's the absence of due process in the United States. It's been criticized internationally as well.

A lot ahead. Thank you, Alex, for the number. It's so important. Thank you.

I want to bring in Ahal Besorai. He was born and raised on the Kibbutz Be'eri. His niece and nephew survived Hamas captivity. Ahal, thank you so much for joining us today.

I mean, just thinking about what this must be like for you and your family, to know that they have returned after seven weeks of just trying to get some answers, what is tonight like for you?

AHAL BESORAI, NIECE, NEPHEW RELEASED BY HAMAS: I think there is a definite sense of relief that they are back and sort of okay. But it's mixed with some sad news. My sister, the mom, was murdered on October 7th. The children didn't know that. We thought they were together when they were kidnapped, but they were separated from the outset.

And when they first crossed the border and united with their grandmother and older brother, the first news that they had to confront with was the fact that the mom is no longer alive. And that was a terribly emotional and traumatic moment for them.

I believe when they were captive for 50 days, one of the thoughts that kept them going was a cuddle from the mom at the end of it. And this dream had been shattered by the fact that she was murdered.

COATES: The fact that they did not know that their mother had been killed, I can't even imagine what those moments would have been like for your niece and nephew. How are they doing emotionally? I know there's the physical, but just thinking about emotionally what that is like for them, can you even describe what they're saying to you?

BESORAI: I think they are very slim, you know, so they lost a lot of weight. I think some other interviewees mentioned that. And for me, I don't think the terrorists used this as a -- some sort of a torture methodology. Probably there is a scarcity of food in Gaza and they also suffered from that.

When I spoke to them, the first time I spoke to Alma, the 13-year-old niece, she had this enormously big smile and glittery eyes when she came to the Zoom call. And this is what stuck in my head, what is behind these glittery eyes and what is deep inside her. Following this horrible ordeal, it's just very difficult for me to assess. When they talk, they come across as normal children. They recounted some of the experience that they had in captivity. Some of them are very unpleasant.

COATES: Can you describe some of those to us now, what they were going through?

BESORAI: I would rather not because there are other parents who have children in captivity and there is no need to make them worry more. But I can just say that it wasn't pleasant, to say the least. It was horrible.

They were held in a house, in a room with another lady, also from the kibbutz.


And when they decided to release them, they didn't actually tell the other ladies that they are going to release them. So, they just took them out on a ploy that they are going to the toilets and then handcuffed them, blindfolded them, took them to the car, that then took them to the place where they are being handed over to the Red Cross.

COATES: So, they had no idea that they were even being released at the time? They had no idea until they were in the hands of the Red Cross that they were going to be freed?

BESORAI: No. They were -- they tried to hide it from the lady who stayed behind all on her own, so maybe put some psychological pressure on her. It's really bugger's (ph) belief of why would you behave or do things to that extent. I know also that they were having a diary, the three of them together, and the terrorists did not allow them to take it with. And another, I think, very Italian (ph) anecdotes. So, when they were walking, this is the grandfather told me that, when they were walking to, from the vehicle of the terrorists to the Red Cross and they were holding hands, I'm told, his sister Alma, that he just felt very sorry because they were surrounded by Gazans, by civilians. He said, I feel so sorry for them because they are staying here and we are going home.

And it just shows you, you know, how beautiful a person is probably lowest point in his life emotionally, physically, that he can still think about others.

COATES: I mean, it's truly beautiful to think about and just the idea of keeping that diary to still look around in one's own plight and appreciate the goodness and what was happening. The sensitivity, it's unbelievable.

I'm happy that they have been released and I'm sorry for what they've had to endure and for you personally. This was your sister. Thank you for joining me tonight.

BESORAI: Thank you.

COATES: Up next, after his anti-Semitic post, Elon Musk shows up in Israel. Kara Swisher joins me live.

Plus, new details tonight on the shooting of three Palestinian college students in Vermont, what the suspect told police.

And Derek Chauvin, remember him, the former officer convicted in George Floyd's killing is stabbed inside a prison. His attorney will join me.



COATES: Elon Musk getting, well, a warm welcome today in a visit to Israel, which made surprise to you if you recall that just recently he raised more than a few eyebrows promoting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X.

But that did not seem to stop Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, from rolling out a kind of welcome mat.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN Contributor Kara Swisher, host of the podcasts On and Pivot.

Kara, I mean, first of all, what was he doing in Israel today?

KARA SWISHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, private plane, you can go anywhere he wants. I think he was trying to do some fixing of the problems he's been having for the last couple of weeks over the promotion of those anti-Semitic tweets. I think it caused a lot more consternation among advertisers than he thought, so he was trying to do a bit of cleanup, would be my guess.

COATES: Did he clean it up? He didn't apologize, we understand, right? Did he attempt to?

SWISHER: Yes. I don't know. He went and had some observations. I'm not sure why we're focused on him and not the hostages. He usually flies in and does this. He can try as much as he wants.

Look, he made a mistake and a very bad one. And everyone knows, as you know, the mayor of Paris today was calling the platform a toxic waste dump, essentially. And so he's trying to make it for advertisers that it's not as bad and he has empathy. And it's not unlike a political person going in and doing that.

I just don't know why we're focusing on him and not the hostages, like you just have these terrible experiences. It's not you in particular, but why he's there. I don't know why Netanyahu had him there. It sucks up media attention. It looks like he was sort of learning on the ground. Oh, look, Hamas is terrible. Oh, we should be careful about -- you know, we should help Gaza. I don't know why we need to be doing this at this moment in time. But sure.

COATES: Now, you're where exactly where I was thinking. Because the reason I am concerned about Elon Musk being there is because Netanyahu and the president, in the midst of the hostages being released, in the midst of negotiations, took the time out to shepherd him around, it seems. So, it tells you about their priorities and also the platform itself, whether it's the toxic waste dump that you allude to from the French president or otherwise, there is a lot of statements or a lot of conversations happening on it that can add to and contribute to with the rise of anti-Semitism.

So, I'm wondering can his presence being -- besides the ad-hires, can his presence being there, Kara, can it course correct some of what we're seeing?

SWISHER: I don't know. I think advertisers are onto this kind of thing. You know, when a politician does it, he's a politician of a different sort, a tech politician, I guess. It's fine. Netanyahu has helped him out of a jam when he was attacking ADL a while ago. He visited him. Netanyahu is in a jam of his own. So, you know, he's trying -- they're both trying to sort of use the reflected fame to create some good thing and I'm glad he learned about the problems there. I'm glad he went there.

But, you know, I'm not sure why it's happening except to clean up his mess, and it's his own mess. And he should apologize. He's not going to. He's not going to.


COATES: You know what occurs to me when people have, and maybe I'm being too cynical here and judgmental, I mean imagine that, but, Kara, epiphanies like this when someone visits a place that Gaza or other areas and you say to yourself, you mean you had no clue that this was happening or that there was I mean all the coverage even the last seven weeks, that an epiphany can still occur to that degree that he speaks about, I find surprising, but he has a lot of power.

And we are seeing from our Department of Homeland Security and beyond, we know there is a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. We know that a lot of the conversations happen behind that cloak of anonymity on social media. What could be done for him to be more transparent about how this is happening on his platform?

SWISHER: I think he's hiding behind the fig leaf of free speech. That's his go-to thing. In this case, look, it's clear he promoted anti-Semitic content, at the very least. I don't know what's in his heart. I don't know what he's thinking in doing this. I know it's having repercussions with advertisers, and that's what counts to him right now. And so he's trying to save his skin.

And -- okay, again, I don't know that we need to be -- this is not a new thing for Silicon Valley people to have epiphanies. I had an argument with Mark Zuckerberg about Holocaust deniers. It took him two years to remove them from the platform because he had to learn about it.

And so I don't think we should be helping billionaires learn necessarily. I don't know if that's the great goal of the world. I'm glad he saw these things. He's very lucky that he could do that, that he could fly there and meet with the head of the country. I think the focus should be on the hostages and not Elon Musk. That is really pretty much my take.

And he inserts himself quite a lot in a lot of stuff that he has no business inserting himself. And I wish he would just fix the service and keep quiet a little bit more. But he doesn't like to do it. He went down to Texas, whatever, okay. I don't know where he's going to pop up next, maybe in the Newsom-DeSantis debate, maybe he'll be sitting in the front row commenting. I don't know. I don't care at this point, honestly.

COATES: Well, really quick here on this point because I -- no, you don't have to apologize. I mean, the idea of thinking about the focus rightly being on the hostage and beyond, and yet money makes the world go round. And if his focus is on the advertisers, and that's what's going on, then maybe is the private sector, the most powerful influencer and trying to resolve what's going on is that where the focus ought to be and trying to lean appropriately?

SWISHER: I think in Israel, the focus should be on the hostages. With Elon Musk, he should be talking to his advertisers. Maybe he should have visited them and listened to them and spoke his mind and what he actually meant to say, or you know -- but this happens over and over again, whether it's on trans issues or gay issues or -- he does it all the time.

And then, you know, what was really kind of sad was on Twitter, on X, people were saying, you see, he's not an anti-Semite. He went to Israel. And I was like, okay, that's why are we talking about this? Like, why is this the topic? That doesn't prove anything. I don't know what's in this man's heart. I honestly don't and none of us do. I do know what he promotes and he should stop doing that. He'll do it again, though. He does it. He's done it before. He called George Soros names. He -- you know, he attacked the ADL. He just can't help himself. I don't know what's going on in his heart though.

COATES: Well, Kara Swisher, we know what happened on the ground today and his visits. Thank you so much for joining me tonight. Nice to see you as always.

SWISHER: Thank you. Good to see you, Laura.

COATES: Well, a suspect arrested in the shooting of three Palestinian college students in Vermont. Officers are investigating whether it was in fact a hate crime. More on the new details, next.



COATES: Tonight, we've got new details about the shooting of three Palestinian college students in Burlington, Vermont, as well as the question, why did it happen? The suspect, Jason Eaton, entered a not guilty plea today to three charges of attempted murder in the second degree, and he's being held without bail. The court docs describe a shooting that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Hisham Awatani, Kenan Abed Al-Amid and Tassin Ali Ahmad say they were just walking outside Saturday evening, speaking in a mix of Arabic and English. Two were wearing Palestinians' keffiyeh. They told police that the suspect stepped off a porch and started shooting without saying a single word.

Now, they don't have evidence yet to call it a hate crime under the law enforcement officials, and they're trying to determine what his motive really was. But the family members, they say they know exactly why it happened.


RICH PRICE, UNCLE OF SHOOTING VICTIM HISHAM AWARTAN: That these boys were, these young men were targeted because they were Arabs, that they were wearing keffiyehs. I think that is our fear. We'll support the authorities as they go through their investigation, but it certainly seems like that's our fear.


COATES: I want to bring in Democratic Congresswoman Becca Balint of Vermont. Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining me this evening. I mean, this story is unbelievable. What is your reaction to what we've learned about the shooter and how this happened?

BECCA BALINT (D-VT), REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah, this has been a devastating violent attack on these young men. And I know I speak for Vermonters across the state that we are just absolutely heartbroken by what has happened to these young men and what their families are going through right now.

And it is clear that, as you were just saying in the intro, we don't know yet about a motive, we don't know yet about the circumstances leading up to this incredibly violent attack, seemingly completely unprovoked. And you know, we're waiting for the official word from both our local and federal partners on more of the details.


But what we know as Vermonters is we want to stand absolutely unequivocally with these families, with these Palestinian Americans, and say we do not condone hate in this state, that we have to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters here in Vermont and across the nation. And we must absolutely reject the Islamophobia and fear of Arabs that is on the rise right now in this country.

But you know, the most important thing in talking with some of the family members today that they wanted me to convey to Americans is that we must continue to see them as humans. And not this --not just as a story that we're all talking about, that they were young men, you know, just walking together, friends from, you know, long ago, they've been friends their whole lives and just walking down a street in Burlington and being attacked, and they don't want us to lose the humanity of these individuals.

COATES: I'm so glad you said that because oftentimes we can talk about a story as opposed to what exactly is happening. And these are three college students walking on a Saturday night, Thanksgiving weekend to be gunned down in this manner. Anywhere in America, anywhere in the world, this should be an unbelievable story to people and yet it's increasingly familiar for what we are seeing.

Now, separately, Congresswoman, in the war, "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Biden apologized to some prominent Muslim American leaders after he publicly questioned the Palestinian death toll that's been reported by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health. What do you make of that apology?

BALINT: Well, I think the president, like so many Americans, wants to be able to convey clearly that he stands with innocent Palestinian civilians and Israelis. And it is so clear to me that this is a man who can admit when he hasn't quite hit the mark. And so I applaud that he is always trying to be better and to be really clear with Muslim Americans across the country, and most particularly Palestinian Americans, that the death toll in Gaza is absolutely devastating, that the suffering cannot continue.

And so, I welcome his apology and his commitment to doing better. And I think that's something that we as Americans all need to do is to hold this complexity and to be able to say this suffering cannot continue.

COATES: Congresswoman Becca Balint, thank you so much for your words tonight. I appreciate it.

BALINT: Thank you. COATES: Tonight, a new development on a story that CNN has been

following very closely. A man who has served over a decade in prison for a crime that experts say he could not have committed, well he might soon be freed. Hear why when Jake Tapper joins me live.



COATES: Tonight, the clock is ticking. The Philadelphia District Attorney now has 180 days to decide whether CJ Rice gets to breathe fresh air and free air once again. Rice is in year 12 of a 30 to 60 year prison sentence for a 2011 shooting that injured four people.

It's a case that CNN has followed very closely. Now, because of groundbreaking reporting by Jake Tapper, no less, his reporting asked a simple question at the heart of Mr. Rice's conviction. Was he even capable of committing this crime?

Joining me now is CNN Anchor Jake Tapper, who wrote about T.J. Rice's conviction for "The Atlantic" last year. Remember this. Jake, this is apparently a very big development tonight. What happened?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a judge overturned his conviction. We argued in that "Atlantic" cover story last October, 2022, that C.J. Rice did not get adequate counsel, that his attorney, Sanjay Weaver, who has since passed away, was incompetent and did not represent him adequately.

In September, the district attorney's office granted Attorney Carl Schwartz's habeas petition. He's an attorney that I believe my father hired, although my dad will not admit to it. And then a judge in October agreed and ordered the habeas petition be granted. And then today, a second and final judge ordered that the habeas petition be granted overturning the conviction.

So now, as you noted, it goes back to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania represented by the District Attorney of Philadelphia to decide whether to retry the case or to free CJ. And I am confident that the District Attorney of Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, will ultimately decide to free CJ Rice.

COATES: You know, you mentioned your father. It's an important reason you did so because your father was actually CJ Rice's pediatrician and brought this case actually to your attention. He didn't think it was even -- he was capable of committing this crime. So, I mean, what do you make of this happening so many years after his conviction? Twelve years, by the way, he served.

TAPPER: So, my dad was his pediatrician as you noted, and was convinced that CJ could not have committed the crime because CJ had been shot a few weeks before this shooting and said that CJ was in no position to even walk briskly, much less run after this crime.


It was two black males shooting this family. But there was a questionable photo lineup and this family picked out, this one woman picked out CJ and said he did it and you know how the justice system, and I put justice in quotes, works. And with incompetent counsel and this one eyewitness ID, and we all know how undependable witness -- how unreliable his I.D. can be, CJ was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

And after a few years of my dad complaining about this to me and how unfair it was, and him trying to do it on his own, I said, Dad, I'm a journalist. Let me see if I can do something about this. And I pitched the story a few places and ultimately Jeff Goldberg, my friend, who is the editor-in-chief of "The Atlantic", said, well, why don't you write it for us? And it turned into a cover story.

And I'd like to think that that helped with Carl Schwartz and his habeas petition -- helped get it some attention. And now, finally, the conviction's been overturned. And like I said, it's now in the hands of the district attorney's office. But I hope that they will come to the realization that a division in their office has already agreed upon that CJ did not get adequate representation.

Nobody in the shooting he was convicted on was even seriously injured, much less killed. The guy has done 12 years in prison for a crime I do not think he committed. My father, who was his pediatrician at the time, did not think he was even physically capable of committed. It is time for the wheels of justice, which have spun very slowly, to come to their conclusion and let him go.

COATES: It's unbelievable to think about this. I mean, just -- all the different steps, all of the different moments where he could have not been incarcerated. And I was wondering, Jake, as you well know, I'm sure you're thinking about it all the time, how many other people are in prison right now whose fathers did not have a persistent and completely devoted attention to a case like this, to be able to hand it off to somebody like yourself and all those that are right now in the legal system trying to make it a just one.

Jake, thank you for that story. And I cannot wait to see what happens next with CJ. Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Thank you, Lauren. And the article in "The Atlantic" makes it very clear. What is amazing about this story is how common -- how common it is. We have a legal system in this country, my dad always says, we do not have a justice system, we have a legal system.

COATES: Well, I have been a federal prosecutor. I second that emotion, Mr. Tapper. Check out Jake Tapper's show on the lead tomorrow. Thank you so much for joining us. Judge Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the killing of George Floyd. He has now been stabbed in prison. We'll talk to his attorney next.



COATES: The former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the killing of George Floyd has been stabbed inside of a federal prison just recently. We're told Derek Chauvin is in stable condition, but the circumstances are still a mystery.

I'm joined now by Derek Chauvin's attorney, Gregory Erickson. Gregory, thank you for joining us tonight. What are you learning about the condition of Derek Chauvin, your client, tonight?

GREGORY ERICKSON, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: Well, I did, as a matter of fact, finally get contacted by the federal prison system tonight and I spoke with them for about ten minutes and I learned about as much from them as I would have learned from you, meaning that she told me basically nothing.

She said that the matter was under active investigation and they weren't going to get out any details and then with respect to Derek's health and medical condition, she could not provide me any information unless and until Mr. Chauvin filled out some sort of report. And then I, of course, asked her that, well, did you ask Mr. Chauvin to fill out this report so that his attorneys and family members could find out about his medical condition? And of course, she said no.

COATES: So, do you know who stabbed him or whether he is in stable condition, whether he has had surgery, where he was stabbed, what part of his body, how many times? None of that is known to you.

ERICKSON: None of it is known to us. It's been over 72 hours since it's happened.

COATES: But what happens next? Will he be moved to a higher or maybe even a maximum security facility in light of what's happened to him?

Well, I think it's fair to say that we -- his team at my farm are going to need to be provided some sort of and his family obviously are going to be needed to provide it some sort of assurances that what happened can't happen again. Meaning, there's going to be some sort of extra protection or enhanced protocols or something like that. We certainly can't let it go back to the status quo because obviously the status quo is unacceptable.


I provided a question --

COATES: One question for you, Gregory. I don't want to cut you off, excuse me, but was he in fear for his safety before this event happened?

ERICKSON: Well, I think it's fair to say that the second that he went into the prison system because of the nature of his trial being the most publicized trial of the last 25 years, he definitely had concerns for his safety in all of you know, his attorneys, his family, everyone had concerns for his safety throughout this ordeal. And I would say --

COATES: Has he been in solitary?

ERICKSON: I know that he was in solitary initially, but obviously he certainly wasn't in solitary when this happened because if he was, I doubt that it could happen, or it'd have to be really coordinated in order for it to happen.

COATES: Is the reason and the nature of this form -- is it about medical privacy? Is that the nature of why the Bureau of Prisons is telling you that he has to fill out a form? Do you have any idea of why?

ERICKSON: That's the alleged reason, okay? I mean the reality is this. If somebody from the Bureau of Prisons wanted to present that form to Mr. Chauvin if he was able to sign it, I'm very confident that this thing would have been signed already. It's been 72 hours.

I think this is part of an attempt to keep what's happened to him out of the general, out from the media and from general knowledge until they've found out a way to how to deal with this public relations disaster.

COATES: Have you had communication with him up until now?

ERICKSON: No, of course not. I mean, we don't know where he is. We don't know how to contact him. And we've both, and, I mean I get it that's important that you're able to speak with your attorney and that's obviously a right of every criminal defendant.

But the reality is the more egregious part about this is that his family members had to find out that he had been stabbed by communications by the attorney general of this state who has no jurisdiction over Mister Chauvin at this point. And there's absolutely no reason he should have been provided any information about Mr. Chauvin's condition at all.

COATES: Do you know why he was?

ERICKSON: I don't know. And apparently according to what I'm hearing, there's some discussions related to why that information was leaked to the attorney general. But I can't speculate more than what I've said, because I just don't know how he managed to get that information before everybody else did.

COATES: There's certainly a lot more to this story. Gregory Erickson, keep us posted. Thank you so much.

ERICKSON: Thank you.