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New Day

Five Dead, 40-Plus Hurt After Driver Plows Into Christmas Parade; Closing Arguments Set to Begin Today in Arbery Murder Trial; Rittenhouse Verdict Intensifies U.S. Division Over Gun Rights. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 07:00   ET



CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: His teammates so really quick to come to his defense, Anthony Davis saying, hey, he's not the kind of guy that does that on purpose, he would never do this on purpose. And it was pretty funny also that Russell Westbrook didn't realize that he also got a technical in his press conference afterwards, like T'd up too, so, yes, it's kind of a strange situation.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: It was a dirty play from LeBron James. Whether it was intentional I think is the issue.

MANNO: Yes, absolutely. He probably didn't mean to bloody his face as badly.

BERMAN: Carolyn, thank you very much.

New Day continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. It is Monday, November 22nd.

And breaking this morning, we are getting new information on the tragedy in Waukesha, Wisconsin. A driver plows through a Christmas parade. At least five people are dead. That number could change. More than 40 people are injured.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: There was a red SUV seen speeding through police barricades and right into the crowded parade route on the Main Street there in Waukesha. One witness describes the horror of seeing the city's holiday celebration turn suddenly tragic.


ANGELA O'BOYLE, WITNESS: The next thing I heard were screams. And I turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just past my balcony at that point. It hit at least two people right away, rolled over both of them, and then continued down the road by like People's Park, which is at the end of the block, and then kept going. It didn't stop. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: This morning, the vehicle has been recovered and a person of interest is in custody. But the police chief says their investigation remains very fluid.

CNN's Natasha Chen is live for us there on the ground in Waukesha. You have been covering this all night, talking to people there at the scene. Tell us, Natasha, the very latest here.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. The police are really focusing now on why this happened. They still have a lot of the downtown historic court blocked off. And we are next to Main Street over here, the parade route. And you can see that there -- in the distance, there is still a lot of debris, people's belongings strewn across the street, police markings there.

This is the sign of a very festive occasion where people were happy. They were gathered with families, a lot of local leaders here turned very quickly into tragedy. The moment that that red SUV made impact to the first group of people, that spot was just three blocks east of where we're standing here. And we know that the archdiocese of Milwaukee has even said that a catholic priest and catholic schoolchildren are among the injured.

Here's the mayor talking about his own experience at the parade on Sunday.


MAYOR SHAWN REILLY, WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: Today, we experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy. I walked in the parade at the beginning. I saw the happy children sitting on the curb. I saw the happy parents behind their children. I can still see the smiling faces.

A parade is a celebration for our community. Today, our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration.


CHEN: In a couple of the witness interviews that we have heard and also the person -- the clip that you played, Angela O'Boyle, whom I met, the things that stayed with me are really the descriptions of hearing parents call out their children's names in desperation in those moments, another witness saying that she really heard thuds when the car made impact with people, just absolutely terrifying.

And, of course, the police have a lot of work to do right now. They didn't answer a lot of questions last night but we hope to get some more details from them when they update the press early this afternoon. Brianna and John?

KEILAR: Yes. We are really just struck by that video as well of the little girl, where the car just barrels right by her. She looks past only once the car has passed, and she was so incredibly lucky and we know that many, many other people were not.

Natasha, thank you so much for your continued reporting on this.

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now is Angelito Tenorio. He was there. Angelito, you were an alderman from a city nearby. You are running for a different office. You were in the parade there campaigning. Why don't you tell me what you saw, what you went through.


So, yes, I'm an alderman at a nearby city, the city of Well Allis, and I'm a candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer. And I was initially marching the parade with the Waukesha County Democrats. And my family and I and my campaign manager, we had just finished the route. And we decided that we wanted to circle back to Main Street, to watch the rest of the parade, watch the rest of the performers, dancers, musicians and then grab some food and enjoy the evening.

And as we were heading back towards Main Street, that's when I saw the SUV just zooming down along the parade route.


And then all of a sudden I heard this loud bang, and immediately deafening cries and screams from people at the area, people at the parade. And it was absolutely chaotic. It was horrifying. There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of unknown. Nobody knew if this was an attack or if this was an accident or if it was a deliberate attack on the people of the parade.

And people just started fleeing, running away from the scene, leaving behind their belongings, grabbing their children, calling, screaming, looking for their loved ones. And when the crowd cleared out, that's when it looked like I saw people who appeared to be lying in the middle of the street, lying still, lying lifeless. An, quickly, first responders came in, police, ambulances came in and secured the area.

BERMAN: I'm sorry you had to go through that. I am glad that you and your family are doing well.

You say you saw the SUV driving the parade route. What exactly did you see?

TENORIO: It was zooming. And more clearly I remember what I heard. The last thing I heard was the band music, and then I heard the vehicle, almost the engine revving, speeding up. It sounded like the driver was putting pedal to the metal, speeding along the route and then I just heard a loud bang and screams and cries, people in pain, fear and agony.

BERMAN: It's a vivid, painful description you're giving there, Alderman. Who did you see on the ground? Describe the types of people you saw that were injured.

TENORIO: It's hard to tell from where I was standing, but it did look like children, kids were lying on the ground after the initial impact. It was truly a horrific scene, and the last thing we ever would have expected being at this parade.

BERMAN: There were a lot of kids marching in the parade. There were the dance groups that were kids. There were also dance groups with the elderly. Just describe what this parade is supposed to be.

TENORIO: Yes. Before the tragedy happened, there is so much excitement. Me and my group, we were smiling, waving, greeting people, there's music playing, dancers, performers. And even while we were marching, I thought to myself how impressive the turnout was in terms of participants and attendants. People wanted to gather together in person, especially after last year's parade being canceled due to COVID. People wanted to gather together and begin the celebration going into the holidays.

BERMAN: Any security visible? What was present in terms of security before or during the parade?

TENORIO: So, there were different streets that were blocked off from -- with road barricades, with the police officers. So, there were different side streets being blocked off towards the Main Street. So, that was the security I did see. And I think them being there, they were able to quickly come into the area of the scene.

BERMAN: You say you saw people being treated there. How long did it take between when you saw the car and when it was clear that there was just a huge catastrophe?

TENORIO: It took minutes. It really happened so quickly. Everything happened so fast with the crowd. The crowd fleeing, running away from the area, and then police, first responders coming in, came in very quickly to address and to help people and secure the area, to secure the perimeter.

BERMAN: You say you were with your family. Who was with you?

TENORIO: I was. I was with my campaign manager, Austin Keeler (ph), and then I was with my mom, my brother and my sister and my sister's boyfriend. And we -- after we marched, we just wanted to enjoy the rest of the evening and celebrate the holidays. But that quickly changed when tragedy struck.

BERMAN: I understand the theme for this year's parade was supposed to be comfort and joy. And I know that's got to be hard to think about this morning. But I know you and others in the community need to be offering comfort to those who were there this tragedy, looking for answers this morning.

Angelito Tenorio, Alderman, thank you for being with us.

TENORIO: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: Closing arguments about to start in the trial of the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery. We're going to talk about the legal strategy for both sides, next. KEILAR: Plus, a mob of looters armed with crow bars storm a California department store.

And three senators calling out what they call sexist coverage of their colleague, Kyrsten Sinema's clothes.



BERMAN: Just hours from now, closing arguments in the trial of the three men charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the trial one of many high profile cases making news third morning.

In Virginia, the jury begins its second day of deliberations in the civil case involving white nationalists who organized the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville back in 2017. A woman was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

The not guilty verdict in the Rittenhouse trial has triggered demonstrations in several U.S. cities. The 18-year-old is acquitted in the fatal shooting of two men and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In California, Elizabeth Holmes is expected back on the witness stand in her federal fraud trial. The founder of Theranos is accused of knowingly misleading investors, doctors and patients about her company's blood testing technology.


I want to talk about the case in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery out of Georgia first. I am joined by CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Elie Honig.

Elie, we're about to hear closing arguments. I want to get a sense of what you expect. Let's start with the prosecution.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, John. The most dramatic high-stakes moment in our entire criminal justice process is the closing argument is in a murder case. We're about to see that.

Now, the prosecutors have the burden of proof here. They have charged three defendants. We have Travis McMichael, the person who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, his father, Greg McMichael, who was standing in the bed of the pickup right next to the scene, and then their neighbor and friend, William Roddie Bryan, who was in a different pickup truck down the street.

Now, there are nine charges -- counts charged in this case. First of all, malice murder, that means simply these defendants killed Ahmaud Arbery, they did it intentionally and they did it without legal justification. Then we have two counts of aggravated assault, one, by pointing the shotgun at Ahmaud Arbery, the second, by using their pickups to chase him, threaten him and at times make contact with him. Relatedly, we then have two counts of false imprisonment, one is an attempt. That means they used the pickup trucks to restrict his movements. As Gregory McMichael said it to the police, they had him trapped like a rat.

And then, finally, there are four counts of what we call felony murder. One count attaches to each of these four felonies. And what that means is if these defendants committed these felonies, assault and imprisonment, and then Ahmaud Arbery died as a result, they are liable for murder even if they did not intend to kill Ahmaud Arbery.

Last thing that's really important to keep in mind. The jury will deliver verdicts separately for each of the three defendants, all nine counts. So, really, we're going to see 27 verdicts, the three defendants times the nine counts.

BERMAN: I was just going to ask that. Each of these three defendants will be considered separately. What do you think as a prosecutor? Do you think it's possible a jury could split them up?

HONIG: Absolutely. You could see one or two or all three convicted. You could see some of them convicted on four of the nine, nine of the nine, one of the nine, zero of the nine, 27 separate verdicts here.

BERMAN: What do you expect from the defense today?

HONIG: Yes. So, the defense has a two-pronged defense argument. The first one is this idea of citizen's arrest. The argument we've heard is they were operating under an old Georgia law, which has since been repealed, that allows in certain circumstances private citizens to make arrests.

The argument that we heard from the defendant is -- this is Travis McMichael's testimony. He said the guy that's been breaking into the houses that ran past our house, I was under the impression it was the same guy from the 11th two weeks prior.

Two big problems here, one, when they talked to the police that day, they said nothing about citizen's arrest, count on the prosecutor to point that out. Second, the prosecutor is going to argue, this is not enough. The law says, to make a citizen's arrest, you have to have witnessed a crime or have reasonable basis to think a felony was committed. The guy that's been running past, I assume, that was the guy from two weeks ago, prosecutor is going to argue that is not enough.

And then the traditional self-defense claim. On the stand, Travis McMichael testified he had my gun. He struck me. It was obvious that he was attacking me. If he would have gotten the shotgun from me, it was a life or death situation. Big problem there, here's what Travis McMichael said to the police on the day of. I want to say he did, but, honestly, I do not remember. The prosecutor is going to argue, there is a world of difference between he had my gun and I do not remember.

BERMAN: All right. Where does it go from here? HONIG: Yes, John. So, today, we are going to see closing arguments. The lead prosecutor, Linda Dunikoski, she gets to go first. She has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. We will then hear closing arguments for the lawyers for each of these three defendants. And then the prosecutor get the comeback and give rebuttal. That's a big moment. That's the final word.

Also vital to keep in mind, all three of these defendants are also charged federally. So, no matter what happens in this state trial -- it's very important what happens in the state trial, whether they're acquitted, or convicted or some mixture, they are all going to be tried in federal court in early '22. They are charged with hate crimes resulting in death, that's a life sentence, they're charged with attempted kidnapping and using a firearm during a crime. So, no matter what happens here, they have got a federal charge looming and it's worth noting, conviction rates in federal court are very high, higher than in state courts, typically.

BERMAN: Elie Honig, again, today is very important. We'll watch this closing arguments very carefully. Thank you.

HONIG: Absolutely. Thanks, John.

KEILAR: Today, America is facing new division over gun laws. On Friday, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty in the name of self- defense after killing two men and wounding a third during a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin last year.

Now, reactions have the country is divided by the outcome, from the Golden State Warriors' head coach, Steve Kerr, to conservative Congressman Madison Cawthorn, to Kyle Rittenhouse's own lawyer.


STEVE KERR, HEAD COACH, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I think the thing that I'm most concerned about is just gun laws in this country, you know, the fact that it is seemingly okay a teenager's right to take an AR-15 into an area where there is civil unrest.


That is really scary and concerning. This is America and we are treading down a dangerous path.

MARK RICHARDS, ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: To me, and I know people will go nuts when I say this, but there are too many guns in our society. I wish our society wasn't perceived as being so dangerous that people needed to arm themselves.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty, my friends. Be armed, be dangerous and be moral.


KEILAR: All right. Let's talk about all of that with former White House Communications Director under the Trump administration Alyssa Farah.

I guess, firstly, I mean, I want to know what you think about the verdict, that also if you think that it makes the country more unsafe and encourages militias.

ALYSSA FARAH, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Right. So, an important point is that something can be legally sound a decision but not the morally right decision. So, Kyle Rittenhouse should have gotten off. It was self-defense under the laws of the state. However, it raises so many questions. Why do you have a 17- year-old man arming himself to do vigilante justice, his mom supporting this? I mean, this goes back to most problems in society to be solved at the kitchen table. Why his mom thought that he needed to be there, put himself in this situation, it's terrible and it was avoidable.

But I would say this, I do worry that it encourages vigilantism in the future and I'm a little afraid of my friends on the right, and I am a Republican, lionizing him and sort of making him this martyr for the cause. This is now who we are. We are the party of law and order. We are the party of allow the police to do their job. And if they're not, then there is a way to do this that is short of arming yourself and taking up arms in the streets and allowing something like this to happen.

KEILAR: What do you think the effect is of lionizing him or the fear that you have over what the effect may be?

FARAH: Well, for one, it encourages others, but also just thinking of this young man, he is being used as a pawn right now. So, he is now appearing on this Tucker Carlson program around his trial and what happened next. And he's a 17-year-old with his whole life ahead of him who -- you know, I think there's going to be a moment where what happened, what he saw. And, yes, it was self-defense. But he killed people. And that is going to come to bear for him and be very challenging. And rather than kind of using him to earn cheap political points, maybe it's time to move on.

I actually thought Joe Biden's statement was very effective, which was to say, we've got to allow the rule of law to play out. It did in this case. But it's also time to heal and move on. That's what we should be doing. We shouldn't be putting Kyle Rittenhouse on T.V., we shouldn't be making him a hero. He's not. He got off, and we need to move on and the state needs to heal.

KEILAR: It is not something to celebrate. It's clearly something to mourn. And that's not really what we're seeing.

But you mentioned Tucker Carlson, and speaking of, two Fox News contributors, Steven Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, are quitting because of that special, which is -- I mean, it's just total B.S. that Tucker Carlson put on. And they released a statement where they were talking about this basically being the last straw. What do you think of what they're saying and what they're doing, and also do you think it's going to matter? FARAH: Well, so good for both Steven Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, who are old school intellectual conservatives, people I grew up reading liberal fascism. And Jonah Goldberg's book is really something that inspired me to be a conservative. They're both absolutely right.

Do I think it will have an impact? Probably not. I hope, though, for some of the folks, there are very good journalists at Fox News. I think of people like Bret Baier. I think of people like my friend, Dana Perino. I hope they use they use their voices internally to say this isn't just bad, it's dangerous.

What Tucker Carlson is putting out there could be straight out of propaganda from a foreign nation trying to interfere in our system because that is not -- it's not true. It's conspiracy-mongering. It is meant to divide. It is also inevitably going to help lead to things like the insurrection happening again. That's what's scary about it.

And there have to be standards for what we put on air. I mean, it should start with the truth, but it should also be, is this dangerous to put out there into the public eye without any explanation of the fact that this isn't, in fact, true. This is just pure conspiracy- mongering.

KEILAR: We talked about the celebration of violence. I mean, that's really sort of what this special did.

I wanted to ask you about three female senators, bipartisan, right? You have two Republicans and a Democrat. And they published a letter to the editor in The New York Times where they call out The Times for printing what they call sexist coverage of their Democratic colleague, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, saying that they are focused too much on how she dresses. What do you think?

FARAH: I think sit a great bipartisan moment. It's true. If it was a man, we would not be commenting on his wardrobe. Nobody is writing this about Joe Manchin and commenting on what might --

KEILAR: Obama's beige suit, I will just say --

FARAH: That is true. It was a questionable beige suit. But I'll say this. The Senate is called the world's greatest deliberative body because it is meant to be a place of bipartisan discussion where both sides work together on massive influential legislation for the good of the country.

Kyrsten Sinema embodies that.


She has put herself at risk at being criticized by the right and by the left to help try to get bipartisan agreements. That's what she should be noticed for, not what she decides to wear. I don't care wears a clown costume on the Senate floor if she's actually going to live up to what the Senate should be, which in today's age seems kind of rare. People tend to retreat into their partisan corners, which is the easiest thing to do. What Kyrsten Sinema does is brave and it's good for the country. So, I totally agree with the female senators coming out in her defense. It is pure sexism.

KEILAR: Would you really care or not care if she or anyone else, male or female, wear a clown costume on the Senate floor?

FARAH: Maybe not a clown costume, but I'm there for a denim vest.

KEILAR: All right, you have a line. Alyssa Farah, thank you so much.

FARAH: Thank you.

KEILAR: We have some more on our breaking news and disturbing new details on the SUV that plowed through the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This killed at least five people. And we are now learning where the suspect was coming from.

BERMAN: Plus, looters ransacking a Nordstrom and a Louis Vuitton store. See what happened.

What President Biden is telling his allies about whether he'll run for re-election in 2024.