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Jurors Behaving Badly; Jonathan Greenblatt is Interviewed about Trump's Comments about Jews; January 6th Failures. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 17, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: People may have mixed emotions about jury service, but once called, your duty is to be impartial. Lately, though, we have seen a number of high-profile cases where the courtroom drama centers around the jury.

CNN's Jean Casarez is joining us with more on jurors behaving badly.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brianna, it's from coast to coast. First of all, in California, the jury considering the fate of Ruben Flores. He is the man accused of aiding his son, Paul Flores, in the alleged murder of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart. They've gone to begin deliberations all over again after one of the jurors had to be replaced last week for talking to his priest about the case. Judge Jennifer O'Keefe said it was a, quote, appropriate but difficult decision when she announced it last Thursday. The juror was dismissed after reportedly speaking to a priest recently saying he needed spiritual guidance as he contemplates his decision in the case. An alternate juror was sworn in, deliberations started over, potentially pushing back, though, a conclusion in the Smart trial several days.

And in the Florida death penalty case of Nikolas Cruz, the admitted gunmen who killed 14 students and three school staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, one juror report alleged that deliberations over the death penalty were so intense that she felt disrespect and even threatened.


MELODY VANOY, JUROR IN PARKLAND SHOOTER CASE: I felt disrespected despite the relationships that we have built. And I was, I think in the moment, really stunned because I did not expect that, you know, from those. I mean it was so -- the energy was so heated that we wanted to get out of that room. They had to take us down for over 30 minutes to just give us fresh air so we could kind of move around and separate. That's how heated it got.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CASAREZ: Now, another juror wrote a handwritten letter to the judge calling the deliberations tense and saying some jurors became extremely unhappy when she discussed her vote. Prosecutors have asked the judge to compel police to interview that juror who allege she felt threatened and investigate if a crime was committed.

Because the jury didn't unanimously agree on the death penalty, Cruz must be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

But, finally, in Miami, Florida, jury selection, it's currently underway in the case of a Trump supporter who police say attacked two men because they supported Biden. Police say Eduardo Acosta began firing a gun, chasing the two men after he noticed a Biden flag on one of their jet skis. The case has the potential to challenge the notion of an impartial jury. The defense has already dismissed at least one potential juror over her self-reported distaste for President Trump. But Acosta's lawyer, Eric Matheny, says he's not worried. He tells CNN, quote, we are looking for the most impartial jury we can find. We're confident we are going to achieve that and hopefully have a fair trial. He added the defense argument will attempt to show how political motivation was actually only a minor part of the situation when the shooting occurred.

And, Brianna, back to death penalty case Nikolas Cruz for a second in Florida. On Friday, the judge in a hearing put on the record -- listen to this -- that while the verdict was being read, a juror was trying to get her attention.


She didn't see it. And then afterwards, two jurors went to her chambers saying we need to talk with you. And she made the assumption that it was on a parking issue or having to wait too long. She knew it wasn't appropriate. She said no, can we fill out a complaint form? No. And the prosecutors stood up and said, your honor, those jurors are different than the one that called our office.

So, Brianna, what really went on there? We may never know. And the family members of those victims may never know.

KEILAR: So much drama with juries lately here, Jean. Thank you for that report.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

KEILAR: Backlash for former President Trump this morning after suggesting American Jews are ungrateful.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And the historic Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial is now entering its third week. What we can expect, that's ahead.


MARQUARDT: Former President Donald Trump drawing condemnation over the weekend for a post that he made on his social media site Truth Social that was widely seen as anti-Semitic.


Trump wrote that no president had done more for Israel than he has. And he said that evangelicals have been more appreciative for that than American Jews. Now, American Jews, according to Trump, have to, quote, get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel before it's too late, end quote.

Joining us now is the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.

Jonathan, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

First, I have to ask you what your response was when you saw Trump's post there saying that American Jews need to get their act together.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, it's sort of a mix between ugly and offended and entirely unsurprised. It is bewildering that President Trump, who has Jewish children and Jewish grandchildren continues to evoke age-old anti-Semitic tropes. He suggests that Jews have duel (ph) loyalty. He's suggested in the past that Jews are greedy. He suggested in the past that Jews have too much power. All of this is rather confusing, but it is a clear part of a pattern for someone who has welcomed anti- Semites and extremists into the public conversation, literally mainstreamed them in our politics today. These kinds of anti-Semitic comments, again, altogether shocking, just not surprising.

KEILAR: What do you think he meant "before it's too late?"

GREENBLATT: Who knows what President Trump ever means? It is like, you know, there's a whole cottage industry of people trying to parse his words. But whatever is in his head or his heart, I have to deal with anti-Semitism in America today. And the fact of the matter is that in 2021 we saw the highest number of anti-Jewish incidents on record. In the past week we've had anti-Semitic vandalism at cities across the country. We had a Jewish orthodox man assaulted in Brooklyn. We have the rapper Kanye West making wild claims about Zionists and Jews.

So, there is a larger pattern afoot. People are feeling, you know, attacked and (INAUDIBLE) in from both sides. It's incredibly concerning. So, when the president says, "before it's too late," it sounds like a threat in an environment where Jews already feel threatened.

MARQUARDT: What would you say to the knee-jerk defense that we're going to hear that the president, the former president, moved the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That, as you mentioned, he has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren who observe the Sabbath and, therefore, he can't be anti-Semitic.

GREENBLATT: Come on. I mean, look, I was there at the opening of the embassy. And I think there were some things that the president did that were certainly right. But that doesn't excuse this wrong and so many others. I mean the reality is, is anti-Semitism isn't, if you will, the domain of just one political party. We have anti-Semites on the right and on the left. We have progressives and conservatives.

But here today, right now, what we need is for people irrespective of, you know, how they vote or what political party they affiliate with to say once and for all, this is wrong. We need not just Jews, but our non-Jewish allies to recognize that in this moment Jewish people are feeling besieged. And when the former president of the United States makes, if you will, an unveiled threat, don't excuse that by harkening back to policy things he may have done years ago. Right here, right now, where Christian nationalists are running for office, where anti- Zionists are running for office, where popular rappers and entertainers evoke anti-Jewish, you know, tropes with impunity, people in all political stations should say it's wrong.

KEILAR: Well, Jonathan let me - can I ask - can I ask you about that because you mentioned now Kanye West twice. I mean he went on this anti-Semitic diatribe and now he is saying that he plans to acquire Parler, which is, of course, this conservative social media platform, favored by many conservatives anyway. What do you think of that, of him having perhaps that platform or champions that platform?

GREENBLATT: Look, Parler is a haven of hate. It's a cesspool of bigotry that resembles 4chan a lot less than Facebook. So, let's be clear, if he wants to invest his money in Parler, God bless him. I can't imagine that's going to change the game very much. The reality is, when Kanye West distorts the Holocaust and claims that Planned Parenthood is his people's Holocaust Museum, I mean, give me a break, that is galling, that is ugly and it's just wrong.


So, Brianna, I think what's understated and what you're asking are sort of implicit, is we have a problem with social media, which amplifies the worst voices. And if Elon Musk wants to acquire Twitter, I mean, I would hope he would finally exercise some responsibility and try to curb the prejudice and, you know, and dial down the heat, because at this point in time in America today, when we're more polarized than ever, when Jews and Asian-Americans and other minorities again are feeling under siege, we need all responsible people to exercise some discretion once and for all.

MARQUARDT: And Elon Musk had said that he reached out to Kanye West and that - and had a talk with him and that he understood now his comments, not that that's exactly a model for Twitter going forward.

Jonathan Greenblatt, you are absolutely right, these are incredibly disturbing comments at a very dangerous time. We really appreciate your perspective.

Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League.

GREENBLATT: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Take care.

And we now have new CNN reporting on what exactly law enforcement knew about the potential for violence prior to the Capitol attack on January 6th. CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller will join us next to discuss.



KEILAR: There is new CNN reporting this morning revealing that the Secret Service and its law enforcement partners were aware of social media posts that contained violent language and threats aimed at lawmakers prior to the Capitol attack. But despite the violent online rhetoric, none the agencies, including the FBI nor the Capitol Police, gave a clear warning about the potential for large scale violence.

CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller is with us now with this new reporting.

John, this weekend, CNN obtained a number of documents involving this threat information that the Secret Service had before January 6th. What did we learn from this that we didn't know before?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, that was Whitney Wild from CNN in Washington working with the online team broke this story. And the threat documents that were part of the nearly million documents that the Secret Service turned over to the January 6th committee told us that there was a lot of information in the possession of law enforcement, including statements from people on Parler, the site we just talked about a moments ago, saying, I'm coming to Washington with my gun, you know, that traitor Pence will have to come out of the Capitol in handcuffs or we're going in after him. Intelligence information about militia groups like the Oath Keepers with quick reaction forces that would be pre-staged in Virginia until they got the call from the president of the United States to come in to back up the protesters. Information on the numbers of people coming in. So, there was a lot of that.

The good news is that information was there. The Secret Service had it from the FBI, from the Department of Homeland Security.

The knock on the Secret Service was that they weren't sharing the information. As a guy who ran the intelligence bureaus from police departments in the nation's two largest cities, that's actually not how that works. The sharing agencies are supposed to be, under executive order one to 333, the FBI and Homeland Security. And Homeland Security never put out a threat assessment for the January 6th event.

MARQUARDT: And, John, there are members of Congress who also complained that the Secret Service have testified earlier that they didn't have any intelligence about plans to storm the Capitol.

MILLER: So, that's been a little bit of a head scratcher at the Secret Service. The director testified - the deputy director, the head of intelligence, and they even zeroed in on who exactly said what the committee is talking about. But nobody had any intelligence on a coordinated plan to storm the Capitol. What they had was intelligence on large numbers of people, armed people, militia group, white supremacists, the high potential for violence, and I think the black swan event there, the thing that wasn't in any of the intelligence, because logically it couldn't be predicted, was, no one had advance information that the president of the United States was going come out on the ellipse outside of the White House and say to thousands of people, you've got to go down to the Capitol and we're going to fight like hell to save the country. That was probably the x factor that nobody saw coming.

The Capitol Police issued an intelligence report that pretty much laid out the propensity for violence, the fact that Congress, not counter protesters this time, was going to be the target. The fact that they asked for permission to call in the National Guard at the Capitol Police and that that got the run around in the Capitol Police board and was never approved until the Capitol was under siege was another thing that I think we're all going to look at and say, maybe that could have been done better.

KEILAR: Yes. Certainly, could have been done better. That is an understatement, John.


KEILAR: John Miller - and I know you meant it that way. John Miller, thank you so much.

MILLER: Thanks.

KEILAR: Members of the K-pop band BTS are military bound. We'll have the details ahead.



KEILAR: Where have all the snow crabs gone? This is truly stunning. Billions of crustaceans have disappeared from the waters around Alaska causing the Alaskan snow crab harvest to be canceled for the first time ever. Officials say there's been an alarming decline in the snow crab population from 8 billion in 2018 to just 1 billion last year. They're citing over fishing as the cause. Scientists, though, say climate change is the significant factor in the crab's disappearance.

MARQUARDT: That's really scary.

Now K-pop super group BTS, they're about to head to the military.

The band's record label confirmed the news this morning, writing in a statement, it has been looking at the timing of the band's mandatory military service to respect the needs of our country and for these healthy young men. And it said the time is now.

Jin, who is the oldest member of BTS, is turning 30 this year. He aims to start the process at the end of the month. Military service is mandatory in South Korea, where almost all able-bodied men are required to serve in the army for 18 months by the time they are 28 years old.


The country's defense minister said in August that BTS might still be able to perform overseas while serving in the military. BTS is expected to reconvene as a group around 2025. I think that will probably make them the most popular military in the world.

KEILAR: I think so.

CNN's coverage continues right now.

MARQUARDT: Take care.