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Laura Coates Live

RNC Pulls Resolution Declaring Trump As The "Presumptive 2024 Nominee"; Trial Begins For Mother Of Michigan School Shooter; Grandmother Exonerated For A Crime She Did Not Commit; Three Kansas City Chiefs Fans Found Dead Days After Game. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 25, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The plan that would have named Donald Trump the presumptive nominee for the GOP, tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

News -- sorry. Good now, great. News today has been stunning. The Republican National Committee was considering -- I mean, seriously considering a resolution that would declare Donald Trump the presumptive nominee, and just like that.

After we've only heard from -- remember, it has only been two states. We do have 50, and territories, of course. So, in essence, that would mean that Iowa, New Hampshire would get to decide who is the nominee, leaving everybody else, even those who wanted to vote totally out of luck, until the whole thing blew up in their faces, that is.

Trump ally and RNC Committee man David Bossie withdrawing the resolution tonight. But here's the thing. A source tells CNN the Trump campaign had initially backed the idea, and the former president himself was, well, on board. Not surprisingly.

Then all of a sudden, he changed his tune when the backlash began, posting on social media tonight they should -- quote -- "do it the old-fashioned way and finish the process off at the ballot box." All caps, of course, followed by -- I mean, maybe Captain Obvious would have written that at some point in time. Of course, you follow the old-fashioned rule. It's called a democracy. But, you know, who am I?

The Haley camp, not surprisingly, less than enthusiastic about the whole thing because she's still running. Quote -- "Who cares what the RNC says?" That's their quote. Going on is just the RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, organized a debate in South Carolina.

Let's go to CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten at that magical wall. Harry, look, you know the RNC was poised to declare Trump the presumptive nominee. This would really be unprecedented, of course, at this point in the race, right?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It'd be unheard of. It'd be unheard of, Laura. There's no other word around it. All right, competitive GOP primary end dates when there was a presumptive GOP nominee.

March 4th, back in 2008, it's the earliest in the last decade and a half. It's also the earliest on record in the modern primary era. And, of course, keep in mind, Laura, that at that particular point, we had already run through Super Tuesday. We had already run through most of the delegates.

Other dates more recently, 2012 April 25th, 2016 when, of course, Trump clinched back in that particular cycle, it was May 3. So, Laura, the idea that we'd have a presumptive nominee in January is, frankly, off the maps and not anything I would have ever heard of at least before this year.

COATES: And, by the way, only a tiny fraction of primary voters had even had a chance to even cast their votes. We've had Iowa, we've had New Hampshire, not exactly the rest of the 48 states or representative of every state in this nation. Can you put that into perspective, about the relative number of people who have actually participated so far --

ENTEN: Yeah.

COATES: -- and what would actually be ignored if they actually do declare that now?

ENTEN: Yeah -- I mean, you said it, right? I mean, just take a look at the map. The contests that have taken place so far, in red in Iowa, in red in New Hampshire. There's a lot of gray on this map, Laura. A lot of gray.

You mentioned those 48 other states. You might also mention the District of Columbia. How about some territories that also haven't had their contests so far? Don't forget about Guam.


I never forget about Guam, Laura.

COATES: Don't forget about Guam.

ENTEN: Don't forget about Guam. Republican delegates, so far, only 62 have been allocated, just 62. The vast majority still up for grabs, 2,367. I'm not necessarily a math major, Laura, but 2,367 seems a lot larger than the number of 62 that have been allocated so far.

COATES: I mean, can you imagine if it were the actual general election and someone said, okay, we've got results from two states, we're good, we're going to declare a presumptive victor? And, by the way, there is somebody else still in the race, a la Nikki Haley, who's saying, excuse me, what about the remainder? And, of course, as you mentioned, Guam.

But is it surprised you, Harry, that Trump thought that many in the GOP establishment would actually support this decision?

ENTEN: No. You know, Trump likes to sell himself as an anti- establishment candidate. But the fact of the matter is, if you look at major GOP endorsements from governors or members of Congress, look at this, Donald Trump has 121. Back at this point in the 2016 cycle, he had zero. He had zero.

Look how many Nikki Haley has so far. She has just three. Trump may like to sell himself as the anti-establishment, but at this point, the establishment loves Donald Trump.

COATES: Wow, lovely pronounced that loves, too. Harry Enten, thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COATES: Well, now, I want to bring in people I love, Republican strategist Rina Shah and former RNC communications director Doug Heye. I'm so glad that both of you are here.

Look, Doug, I mean, sources say that Trump at first was on board, right? But then he started to backtrack when he got the backlash. The fact that this was even on the table, was it a miscalculation on their part?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It was a miscalculation if it leaked, and it leaked because David Drucker at "The Dispatch" was able to report this. If it hadn't leaked and gone to the winter meeting, it probably would have passed.

COATES: Really?

HEYE: And what this would have been, a huge change in what we call at the RNC Rule 11, which is a rule of neutrality, and is a rule of such neutrality, think this would surprise a lot of people.

The RNC cannot support Mike Johnson in his reelection for Congress as Republican speaker of the House. If he has anybody running against him in a republican primary, say some crackpot who thinks that the aliens not only have been here but are coming back and bringing Elvis with them, the RNC has to be neutral unless the Republican Party in Louisiana, the two RNC Committee members and the state chair, all file a rule 11 letter.

That's true of Senate candidates, House candidates, certainly true of the presidency as well. And then allows -- it would allow the RNC in an unprecedented way to have joint fundraising campaigns with the Trump campaign, the Trump campaign needs that, so does the RNC, would allow the RNC to serve as an anti-Nikki Haley propaganda arm and digital and data arm as well. It would be a huge deal. And that was the miscalculation, was that they could do this in secret.

COATES: You know, just thinking about what that would entail, I mean, the secrecy of it, the fact that it would disenfranchise voters as well. I mean, only New Hampshire and Iowa are just two of the 50.


COATES: The idea that would be the deciding factor. And as you saw from Harry, how early this would be in the process. What about the idea for voters who see this and say, what about us?

SHAH: you know, I find it really, really rich because the crowd that loved to scream election interference at, frankly, anything over the past four years is now trying to interfere in an election, when there's one of their own who actually stands on pretty good footing despite the Iowa and New Hampshire results.

And I have heard the most reductive, most facile arguments in support of Donald Trump come from Ronna McDaniel's mouth. And I think that is shameful for her. I think it's not the place that a party chair needs to be in. And I think there needs to be a reckoning. I think there need to be Republicans who say, you are stepping so far out of line that you are actually making this party a smaller and smaller tent.

There are Americans who are so frustrated with Joe Biden that they are willing to look at the Republican Party, give it an honest shake, after the Trump era. There are people who could not stand Trump that are willing to say, will this party make my life better? I have heard those arguments from Nikki Haley, and yet you have the entire GOP apparatus ready to act in the interests of the mafia boss.

That is what Trump has tried to behave as, and the adults in the room got involved, and he finally has a really solid operation around him, stacked with Bush people, I must add. That's very scary. And they, I'm sure, said to him, put this kind of statement out.

COATES: Nikki Haley is actually fundraising on this already.

HEYE: Sure, she's done well, but the reality is, yes, Trump 2.0 has a more professional staff.

SHAH: Right on.

HEYE: But all things about Donald Trump, we know requires a word he used in his statement, devotion. All things must be held to Caesar. And so, if you come up with an idea, Donald, we've got a good idea, so you're not going to have to deal with this mess, you know he's going to like it. It may not be the best idea of all time. And the vetting then in this case happened publicly.

I think part of the irony here is, look, the RNC needs some help with fundraising. The Trump campaign needs some help with fundraising.


If this had gone through, it also means that Ronna McDaniel's job would be in jeopardy because she would either be shown the door by Donald Trump or she would have been layered over and basically sent to the role as the guy with the stapler in office space. Oh, you can have an office in the basement, we'll move you a couple days later.

So, this wouldn't have been a good idea for anybody, including the Trump campaign, because of the arguments of democracy and unfairness and ultimately the swamp and things like establishment.

COATES: But say -- I mean, the very next moment, if Nikki Haley jumps out of the race, if she does, if she decides not to or she's not successful for some route, they then could do that. They then could call him the presumptive nominee.

HEYE: Um, sure. You know, at that point, you -- if you have anybody running, right? So, you -- anybody on any ballot. You still have to remain objective. And that's why there's the political reality here. There's the mathematical one that Harry went through. And yes, two numbers don't necessarily compute there.

But the rules of the RNC to be neutral, it's why then we have a congressional committee and a senatorial committee that don't have to be neutral. They can play in primaries however they choose or not play in those. The RNC, their rule 11 neutrality is sacrosanct, and this would have been unprecedented.

COATES: Rina Shah, Doug Heye, thank you both so much. Really, really fascinating.

Look, emotions are running high in the trial of the mother of the Michigan school shooter. Her son, Ethan Crumbley, pleaded guilty to killing four students and injuring seven others. Today, the prosecution alleges -- quote -- "She didn't pull the trigger, but she is responsible." We'll break down the arguments next.




COATES: The trial of the mother of Michigan school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, getting underway today. Jennifer Crumbley, along with her husband, James, faces four charges of involuntary manslaughter for the alleged role they played in their son's shooting rampage.

Now, they are standing trial separately, but both have pled not guilty to their respective charges. If they are convicted, they face 15 years in prison.

To break down the arguments that were in court today, I've got my own prosecutor and defense attorney here with me tonight, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson, along with civil rights attorney and legal affairs commentator Areva Martin.

Now, Areva will act as the prosecutor in this case and Joey will act as the defense. I want to hear your sides of the arguments, and I'll also ask how you really feel when those masks come off.

Areva, begin with the prosecution. That's your role tonight. So, what is the opening statement that you would make for us in this case as to why Jennifer Crumbley ought to be prosecuted for the crime that was carried out by her son?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Here's what I would say, Laura, if I was the prosecutor in this case. I would say that the evidence in this case will show that Ethan Crumbley's mother, Jennifer Crumbley, didn't pull the trigger, but she is as responsible for the death of those four innocent students in that Michigan high school as her son is.

It will show that even though typically a parent is not held responsible for the intentional actions of their children, there are exceptions to this rule. And in this case, the evidence is so overwhelming and so heinous that this is that exception.

The evidence will show that this defendant ignored flashing red lights and waving gigantic red flags. The evidence will show that she knew her son had a very severe mental health issue. He complained to her repeatedly about hallucinating, feeling isolated, feeling alone, hearing voices, and having visions of using violence against others.

It will show that despite knowing all of this, this defendant put her own selfish desires over the needs of her son. She would not take him to a medical facility, she wouldn't take him to a doctor or a hospital, but she found time in her schedule to have an affair outside of her marriage and to care for her horses.

And if she had provided her son with the kind of time and care that she provided those animals, and the time she dedicated to that extramarital affair, those four students in that high school would be alive today.

Take a listen to what the prosecution said in that courtroom today to establish those red flags.


MARC KEAST, ASSISTANT OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: This drawing, this math worksheet, was sent to her November 30, 2021 at 9:30 in the morning. She was sent this by her son's school counselor when he requested an immediate meeting with her at the school that day. He requested that meeting because this drawing, those words, suggest both weapon and injury.

You will learn that these kinds of meetings, when they occur with parents, can last an hour or longer. This one was abruptly ended by Jennifer Crumbley after just over 11 minutes. You'll learn that after the meeting, when they left, they didn't embrace him. You'll learn that their home is just down the road from the Oxford High School. They didn't stop by the house to look for the gun.


COATES: You know, this is a very important point that Areva has made, and that thought really does show people a little bit more. Prosecution, thank you so much.

Joey, I want to turn now to the defense's opening statement because, of course, you have the presumption of innocence. Why shouldn't Jennifer Crumbley face prosecution for her son's crimes?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We cannot be a society that predicates guilt upon simple blame or predicates guilt upon vengeance. This case is not about horses, it's not about affairs, it's about a tragedy that occurred that should not have. But we do know that potentially it could have been prevented.


But to blame the mother for this when she did not have the knowledge of what her child was doing is just wrong and it's a bridge too far. The fact is that we're not here to assess perfect parenthood, we're here to assess accountability. And in looking at the issue of accountability, parents have challenging jobs. Life is a challenge in and of itself.

Does a parent know everything their child is doing? Should a parent be accountable for every mental health malady that they do not know the extent and the severity of? It takes a village.

And to blame the mother for her not knowing or having the understanding as to the extent of her child's injuries is not within the realm of the criminal justice system.

Take a listen to what the defense had to say with respect to that issue in the opening statement.


SHANNON SMITH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR JENNIFER CRUMBLEY: She will tell you that when she saw the materials in this case, she learned that her son had not been her son for months, that he had been manipulating her, that he had been hiding things from her, that he had been sending text messages, alarming text messages to other people.


COATES: We are at the very beginning of this trial. Both of you have put on the mask and played the role of either prosecution or defense, illuminating some of the arguments we're going to hear. And, of course, there will likely be testimony from the defendant in this case. She's asking for her son, I think, as well to testify.

So, let's both of you take off the mask for a second. I want to get your insight from all of your vast experience, beginning with you on this, Joey.

I mean, Crumbley's parents are being tried separately. What does that signal to you when you first heard that? Is that going to be a pointing of the fingers, hoping the benefit of the doubt is given to one, not the other?

JACKSON: Yeah, Laura, you've seen this, Areva, you've seen this as well, where defendants point fingers at each other. That's exactly what's happening here. I think the defense is taking the posture that the father is to blame in as much as he purchased the weapon, got the gun, and that was not with the knowledge of the mom. You'll hear the mother. In addition to that, Jennifer blame the school for failing to alert her. But what it comes down to very briefly are a few issues. One is foreseeability. Is it foreseeable that if you're this careless, that something like this can happen? And I think the jury could conclude -- could conclude that the answer is yes. It also comes down to notice. Are you on notice? Areva in her compelling opening statements quote that issue.

There are serious maladies here and should you not as a parent have been aware of them and have addressed them, it's important. And then have you acted reasonably under those circumstances? And if the answer to that is no, then the issue of accountability could very well, Laura, lie with the mother, Jennifer, and she could be in significant problems in this case.

COATES: I mean, Areva, the jury is comprised of men, women, parents in particular. You got to imagine that her taking the stand when she ultimately does is going to be very significant in trying to build out that case. What is going to strike you and strike a court for you in this case?

MARTIN: I'm going to be looking how the jury responds to the issue of the gift of the gun. I think that's going to strike, Laura, at the heart of so many jurors. I think a lot of parents are going to be sitting there thinking, oh, my God, I don't want to be held accountable for everything my children do.

But when they hear that this mother had information about her son's emotional state, and despite there being some contradictions about what that evidence is, it's very clear that she knew her son was going through something very significant.

And then to take a 15-year-old kid going through something like that into a gun store, buy him a gun, and then go to a shooting range where you shoot the gun with him, post on social media, bragging about taking him to that shooting range, I think that's going to be very compelling evidence in favor of the prosecution.

COATES: Well, we will see. The trial is getting underway. We're going to continue to follow this story. It is very important. It's the first time we're seeing parents be held to account potentially for the actions of a mass shooter in a school setting in particular.

Joey Jackson, Areva Martin, well done bringing out these issues to give us a greater understanding. Thank you both.

Coming up next, our series we are doing here on LAURA COATES LIVE, Exonerated. I'll speak to a grandmother who spent nearly 18 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Her tearful and emotional story, next.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: Tonight, we want to introduce a new series we're doing for you here on LAURA COATES LIVE, exonerated. We'll tell you the stories of the many people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes and have spent decades, in some cases, in prison.

People like Rosa Jimenez, who spent nearly 18 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. And thanks to the "Innocence Project," she is now free.

So, what exactly happened in this case? Well, back in 2003, Rosa was a young mother living in Austin, Texas. She was babysitting 21-month-old Bryan Gutierrez, something that she regularly did for children that were in her community, when Brian began choking and later died. Now, when paramedics arrived, they found a wad of paper towels in his throat.


Rosa Jimenez, a pregnant mother of a two-year-old with no criminal record, was ultimately charged with murder. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison. But that's not all. When she was behind bars awaiting her trial, she gave birth to her son while shackled and was given only five hours with him before he was taken away. Now, for the next 18 years, Rosa would not be allowed to touch her children.

Here's the thing, there was no expert testimony during her trial. And frankly, once experts heard the details of the case, they were shocked. By 2020, more than five judges, more than five judges had determined the child's death was most likely an accident.

She was released on bond in 2021, just in time to attend her daughter's wedding. It took two more years for her to be exonerated. And that same day, while she was fighting to clear her name, she became a grandmother.

Joining me now, Rosa Jimenez and her attorney, Vanessa Potkin, who was also the director of special litigation at the "Innocence Project." So happy to see both of you.

Rosa, just in reading your story, just in hearing about it, it is truly stunning. But let me begin with this beautiful notion that on the day you were exonerated, you also became a grandmother. Tell me about those moments when you not only found out that your name was going to be cleared, but your daughter had just gone into labor. Oh, you're crying, sweetheart. Tell me why. Wait.


COATES: What's on your -- what are you feeling right now?

JIMENEZ: Um, you brought back all these memories of, um, having my child in prison and, um, then Joey at the same time having my grandbaby when I got exonerated. So, I got emotional.

COATES: Well, I can understand, even thinking about, that it's difficult not to be emotional hearing about it. When you hear -- heard me describe even a portion of what those more than a decade in prison years have been like, can you believe that you're on the other side of this?

JIMENEZ: It was really hard for me to believe that I was going to get out. One, because when I went to prison, I didn't speak English at all, and I didn't understand what was going on around me at that moment.

I knew I was going to jail, I knew I was pregnant, I knew an accident had happened, but I really didn't comprehend. My mind couldn't wrap everything around. They were talking and I couldn't understand what they were saying about the whole situation. So, it was very difficult, very hard for me to even rest my mind around it.

They told me that they were going to take my kids. My daughter, they took her to CPS. It was really hard. It was super hard. Then finally, when I started understanding English a little bit inside prison, then I have my son, I have faith that I was going to go home.

But then after so many years, judges telling them, hey, she's innocent and nothing happened, you start losing faith inside. And then you start wondering, hey, is this going to be my life to the day I die? And you just start questioning, wondering, and sometimes even questioning your own faith, you know? And it's sad.

And so, when finally, Vanessa told me, hey, you're going to get out, I remember we weren't at the detention center and she's like, you are free, and I was like, I don't believe it till they open those doors. Till they let me out, I won't believe it. I'm still sitting here inside. Any moment, they can come.

When I finally got out and I went to a place that they have for me, I couldn't sleep for a couple days. I was -- in my mind, it was like if I fall asleep, I'm going to go back to prison, I'm going to wake up in that place. And I don't want to wake up in there. So, I'd rather not sleep and stay up. And that happened like three days in a row. And then finally, I was like, I need to go to sleep.

And then -- it was really hard. It was really hard to believe that I was outside. But now, I have my grandbaby, I have my daughter.


My son is being hard, but we are trying to reconnect. We don't know each other, but we are trying.

COATES: I understand, while you were in prison, you weren't able, although you could see your children at times, you weren't able to actually touch them. Is that right?

JIMENEZ: That's right. I was not able to touch them because of the nature of the crime.

COATES: Has that been difficult in trying to reconnect with them at this point in your life? JIMENEZ: Oh, yes. Right now, my daughter lives with me in here and we hardly talk to each other. We try but it's like -- we are two strangers. I left when she was one year old, and then I've come home and she's 19 years old. You know, she doesn't know me.

And the times -- you know, she went to visit me probably six times in 18 years. And talking on the phone, they couldn't afford phone calls. So, can you imagine having -- you know, living with her here is very -- it has been difficult, very difficult.

COATES: How about with your son? How are things going with him?

JIMENEZ: We were living together for like a year when I got out. I tell Vanessa this all the time, that when I came home, I wanted everything back. Everything that they took from me, I wanted back. And it's a big mistake. You know, I wish -- I hope that they have some type of class inside that they can tell you, like, hey, take it slow, because it was a big mistake bringing my son in my home, not knowing him at all. It was a disaster. You know, we don't know each other.

Like I say, I had him in prison. You know, never -- he doesn't have no memory of me whatsoever. So, it's like bringing a stranger to your home, you know, and hoping that they will acknowledge you as their mother and calling you mom. And to these days, that haven't happened. You know, they don't call me mom. So, you know, that's hard. You know, they call me Rosa. So --

COATES: Really?

JIMENEZ: -- it's just like two strangers. Yes, yes. And I have tried so much. I got married and my wife tries, you know, like trying to make a bridge with them. You know, I'm living here with my wife and she opened her home for my daughter, you know, because she wants us to have a connection, to reconnect, to have a relationship.

But it's like, I don't know, like they not open for it or like -- sometimes I feel like they don't want to betray the people that raised them.

COATES: Vanessa, so many questions are going off in my head, so many red flags, even beginning with the fact that she did not speak English before going into prison. My immediate question is the representation. How was she aware through police interrogations, through the court process? How was she aware of what was happening? I mean, have you gotten back to look at that point in time to determine how this could have even happened?


COATES: Uh-hmm.

POTKIN: During her interrogation, she was, you know, questioned by an officer who was Spanish-speaking, but he weaponized her children, her child against her. And basically, at the time, Rosa, you know, had a one-year-old daughter, she was breastfeeding, and basically, you know, said, you know, if you tell me what I want to hear, then you can see your daughter, and really just, you know, tried to get an admission from Rosa, which never came because this is something that, you know, she didn't do.

Throughout the court process, imagine how difficult it is for somebody who speaks the language. It's a foreign, you know, process and relying on your counsel.

Unfortunately, you know, Rosa's lawyer just didn't fulfill his basic duties. So, he never consulted with an expert who could have taken a look at the evidence way back in 2005 when she went to trial. And so, the only expert he consulted with just didn't have the relevant training or experience to weigh in on the issue.


You know, in Rosa's case, the paramedics who responded to the scene of the choking had just never seen anything like this nor had the emergency room doctors who, you know, treated the child when he first came in. And so, they just jumped to the conclusion that this was so unusual, atypical, that it must have been intentional. But just because something is atypical doesn't mean it's intentional.

And ultimately, when the "Innocence Project" took on Rose's case, we submitted the medical evidence to the top pediatric airway doctors at several of the nation's top children's hospitals. All of them independently reviewed the evidence and came to the unanimous conclusion that this was a tragic accident and no murder had occurred.

COATES: I mean, Rosa, I can't believe that this was the experience for 18 years. I mean, just -- I remember, I nursed both of my children. I have a daughter and a son for a year each. And just thinking about where you are in your bonding when you are breastfeeding, where you are in developing that relationship, to have this happen at that moment and to know mother to mother that another child had lost their life, this must have just been so overwhelming for you in that moment and every day since.

And now, I understand you're fighting a different battle, even though you have been released and exonerated. This battle is now one for your health and your life in a different way. What's happening and what is the road ahead now for you?

JIMENEZ: Um, I'm -- right now, I'm doing dialysis. I'm in a treatment three times a day for four hours each treatment when I go in. Um, when I got out from prison, they diagnosed me that my kidneys were not functioning properly, and then they told me that I was going to need a kidney eventually.

So, I moved to New Year to find a kidney. But, so far, it's no luck on that kidney. We are praying that somebody can be touched and be willing to help me to live my life. You know, I'm here struggling to live, you know. If I don't go to a treatment, I can actually die because my blood had to be filtered constantly. So, I pray that somebody would be able to help us. Not just me. I want to -- yeah.

COATES: Go ahead, Rosa. No, please, finish what you were saying. It was important.

JIMENEZ: I was robbed of being with my children, both of them. And now that I have the opportunity to be a grandma, I want to be there for my grandchildren. You know, I'm only 41 years old. You know, my grandbaby is just barely five months old. And, you know, I pray that I can see her going to her wedding, to her graduation. I want to see -- I want to experience the things that I didn't with my kids, that I was not able to because I was robbed of that experience.

COATES: Vanessa, how can --

POTKIN: Rosa --

COATES: -- people learn -- can you tell me, Rosa -- Vanessa, how people can help?

POTKIN: Rosa has been evaluated for a kidney transplant at (INAUDIBLE). Now, she -- the hospital is ready to do the transplant, and all we need at this point is a living donor, somebody who's willing to donate a kidney. If people would -- are interested and could go to the website, --, they can learn more about the living donor process. And really, that's what we're looking for right now, somebody who's willing to be a donor.

Innocence Project fought along Rosa's side, helped her get her freedom back, but now, she's in the fight for her life, and we're looking for partners to make sure that she can fulfill all those things that she just talked about.

COATES: I mean, Rosa, you and I are about the same age, and I just can't believe the parallel tracks and -- but for the grace of God, as they say, go, I and so many others, to not have an injustice inflicted upon them as it was for you.

I'm so sorry that we met this way, but I am so happy to know that you have been exonerated and that you have a chance, just all, frankly, any of us ever asked for in life.


Thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it. Vanessa, you as well. Rosa, I'll be thinking about you.

JIMENEZ: Thank you.

COATES: We'll be right back.

POTKIN: Thank you so much.


COATES: The mysterious deaths of three Kansas City Chiefs fans puzzling investigators and tormenting their families. The men were last known to have gone to a friend's house earlier this month. They were found dead a couple days later outside the house. Police have not yet said how the men died and are waiting for toxicology results. Here's CNN's Whitney Wild.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than two weeks after 38-year-old Ricky Johnson, 37-year-old David Harrington, and 36-year-old Clayton McGeeney were found dead in the back of a Kansas City home, there are few details, and frustration is growing.

Adriana Juarez, who shares a child with Ricky Johnson, says she feels too many questions remain about how long it took to find the three friends.

ADRIANA JUAREZ, FORMER PARTNER OF RICKY JOHNSON: How do you not know there's three dead bodies?

WILD (voice-over): According to CNN affiliate KMBC, the three men visited a friend's home, a rented house in northwest Kansas City, after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers on January 7th.


Two days later, a worried fiancee who hadn't heard from her loved one looked for him at the home. According to police, when there was no answer at the door, she broke into the basement of the residence and found a dead body on the back porch. When police arrived, they discovered two more bodies in the backyard.

CNN is not naming the friend because he hasn't been accused of a crime or charged in the deaths. His attorney, John Picerno.

JOHN PICERNO, ATTORNEY: In the early morning hours, Jordan, around 2 a.m., he believes, he got sleepy. He said, I'm going to crash on the couch. He said goodbye to his buddies. He thought that they left out the front door.

WILD (voice-over): Kansas City Police are waiting on autopsies and toxicology reports to determine how the men died. At this point, police consider this a death investigation, not homicide, noting it is still the case that no foul play was observed or suspected. Johnson's niece, Stephanie Walling, said they want answers and some sense of closure.

STEPHANIE WALLING, RICKY JOHNSON'S NIECE: I never thought it would get as much attention as it has. I mean, I'm hoping that with the attention that it is getting, that it will get us closer to getting answers.

WILD: It can take a month or more to get toxicology reports and autopsy reports back, Laura. But every moment these families wait is simply gut-wrenching. Laura?


COATES: Whitney Wild, thank you so much. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



COATES: Before we go tonight, be sure to check out the new CNN Original series, "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart." It traces her explosive rise to success, staggering fall from grace, momentous comeback, and establishment as a true American icon. Here's a preview.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Martha was about finesse, excellence, and perfection.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): There is no media personality, businesswoman, celebrity chef like her. She was sort of like an original influencer.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): All of those magazines and television shows.

UNKNOWN: I think our standards are higher because of Martha.

UNKNOWN: She's everywhere. Martha Stewart living.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Her career starts to take off like a rocket.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Martha is continually underestimated by male executives. You would read about it in the press, criticizing her. She wants attention, she wants power. She just doesn't want to stop.

UNKNOWN: Martha Stewart is among those under investigation for suspected insider trading.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not because of who she is, but because of what she did.

UNKNOWN: Martha fell fast and hard.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): The comeback was beginning before she ever left.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): She loves to be clever, she loves to surprise, and she loves to defy.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): If you'd asked me, would there still be interest in Martha Stewart 20 years from now? I would have said absolutely not. Why did I underestimate Martha Stewart?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart," Sunday at 9:00 on CNN.