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New York Prosecutor Weighs Historic Trump Indictment In Hush Money Probe; Xi And Putin Wrap Day Two Of Talks With No Sign Of Ukraine Breakthrough; Fox News And Dominion Face Off In Court With $1.6 Billion At Stake; New Video Shows Deputies Pile On Top Of Man Moments Before His Death; Dentist Charged With First-Degree Murder In Wife's Poisoning Death. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 21, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll have a live report coming up from Moscow.
And a Virginia grand jury just indicted all ten people charged in the death of an African-American man in custody. This as we're getting a new look at the victim shackled and pinned to the floor just moments before his last breath.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight officials here in Washington and in New York City are gearing up for something this country has never seen before, the possibility that a former president of the United States may soon be indicted and arrested.
Our Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid has details.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This was the day former President Trump claimed he would be arrested on charges related to a hush money probe but there is no sign yet of an arrest or even an indictment. Still, law enforcement continues to prepare for possible protests.
In Washington, D.C., barriers erected around the Capitol, in New York, police officers told to be in uniform and ready for deployment. So far, officials say there are no credible threats despite online chatter calling for civil war if Trump is indicted.
Today, small groups gathered outside Trump tower and Mar-a-Lago. There has been no word from the Manhattan district attorney after a last- ditch effort by Trump to avoid charges, Attorney Robert Costello appearing before the grand jury Monday to attack the witness at the center of the investigation Michael Cohen.
ROBERT COSTELLO, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: My obligation is to bring the truth to both the district attorney and to Trump's lawyers, that's exactly what I did.
REID: Costello previously represented Cohen.
COSTELLO: If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it. But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence.
REID: It is unclear whether the grand jury will hear from more witnesses as it investigates a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump. She was paid by Cohen in the final days of the 2016 campaign. REPORTER: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No. No.
REID: Now seven years on, the D.A. is looking at whether Trump may have falsified business records when reimbursing Cohen for the payment.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: This case is not going to be predicated on any one individual but rather it's going to be predicated on the documents, the evidence, the text messages, the emails.
REID: Cohen has made countless public statements about the investigation.
COHEN: The D.A.'s team are spectacular. They are well versed. They are well informed and we just will continue to cooperate each and every time that they ask.
My goal is to allow Alvin Bragg and his team to do what they need to do.
At the end, the grand jurors have an opportunity to ask questions as well and I'm looking forward to that.
REID: While he usually says he can't talk about what happens in the grand jury room he's been advised to stop talking about the case on T.V. after drawing the ire of prosecutors for appearing on T.V. Monday night to rebut Costello's testimony.
COHEN: If, in fact, that I waived attorney/client privilege, I'd like to know when, how, where. I don't recall waiving anything but, again, this is -- I don't know what he's talking about.
REID (on camera): As the world waits to see if Trump will become the first U.S. president to be indicted, prosecutors here in Manhattan do have a deadline as the statute of limitations for this case expires in May. Wolf?
BLITZER: Paula Reid reporting for us. Paula, thank you very much.
Now to the truly extraordinary effort to defend Trump that's being waged by Republicans in Congress. CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju is joining us from Capitol Hill right now. Manu, we've heard House Republicans go on the attack against the Manhattan D.A. investigating Trump. What are you now hearing from Republican senators?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senate Republicans also, Wolf, raising questions about the Manhattan prosecutor questioning whether he has a political motivation but also acknowledging, as House Republicans do, that they do not know the full scope of potential charges against Donald Trump. They have not even seen the full evidence, but, nevertheless, still contending that this is in their view a misdemeanor or should not rise to the level of a felony, even as they readily acknowledge they don't know the full scope of everything that's involved here.
Now, I asked a number of members about the allegation here that Donald Trump may have falsified business records to cover up an alleged affair through hush money payments, many of them sidestepping questions about that allegation, even as they went after the prosecutor himself.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SC): So, we'll wait and see what comes out, but it does seem and I know a lot of our members are asking the question about whether or not prioritizing an old case in light of everything else that's going on in Manhattan is the right response, the right way to go on this. So, there's a lot of questions being asked about it but we'll see when it comes down.
RAJU: Do you support House Republican efforts to call Alvin Bragg up here to testify?
THUNE: I'm not going to get into what the House is doing there.
SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): Nobody has ever done this. This is unprecedented, going after a former president of the United States that is running for president. And, you know, from the outside, looking in, it looks like, you know, the Democratic Party is going after their political rivals. It might not be what's happening but it looks like that.
RAJU: But what if he broke the law.
TUBERVILLE: If you broke the law, you got to pay the price. But, I mean, I haven't looked into it enough.
RAJU: So, a number of these Senate Republicans, Wolf, are not saying they support what House GOP leaders are pushing for, which is to get testimony from Alvin Bragg himself, to get the Manhattan district attorney to come to Capitol, testify, turn over records and documents, even as that criminal probe is still unfolding. People like John Thune, others like Shelley Moore Capito, Bill Cassidy, several senators like I just spoke with just simply would not align themselves, so they'll let the House act the way the House will act. One Republican senator, though, did get a lot of attention today, that's Senator Rand Paul, who tweeted the indictment, of course, in his view would be a disgusting abuse of power, and he went on to say the D.A. should be put in jail. And, Wolf, our colleague, Ted Barrett, just asked Rand Paul about that. What is he alleging that could cause the district attorney to go to jail, he declined to comment and said he'd let his tweet speak for itself. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Manu, thank you very much, Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill.
Let's get more right now on all of this. Joining us, our legal law enforcement and political experts, and, Dana Bash, I'll start with you. Donald Trump's prediction that he'd actually be arrested today has at least so far been proven wrong but he's using this waiting game to clearly blast the probe in his words as a disgusting witch hunt. Is he trying to influence the D.A., his supporters or both?
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: All of the above, absolutely all of the above. And you mentioned his prediction didn't come true. The prediction that he put out there was absolutely -- he didn't put out that he was going to get arrested and he would get booked and all the things he warned about today, because he actually had inside information. That's clearly not the case.
He did it because he did feel like the heat was on him and that perhaps the D.A. was getting closer and he wanted to ignite the people who support him and get them fired up and it has worked.
And so we have to remember that for him, a legal strategy and a political strategy are one and the same and that is absolutely what he is trying to do, tried to do over the weekend and is continuing to try to do by fanning the flames and getting his supporters riled up.
BLITZER: Yes. Norm Eisen, the Manhattan district attorney, as you know, is clearly weighing a truly historic indictment. Can you walk us through the law in question here?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, the case is New York books and records case, which are crimes that are pretty routinely prosecuted. I did an analysis on the Just Security site today. D.A.s all across the state do this when you put false entries in your books and records.
Donald Trump said that these hush money payments were legal fees. Well, that is an open and shut case as a misdemeanor. That's the base case under New York law. And then if you make those false entries to advance or cover up another crime, that becomes a felony. And I think while there's some complexities that the D.A. has a strong felony case here because these payments benefited the Trump campaign.
Those kinds of benefits are routinely prosecuted as well. Michael Cohen pled guilty to a campaign finance violation. So, that elevates the misdemeanor up to the more serious felony charges. That's the legal theory and I think it's a valid one.
BLITZER: Andrew McCabe is with us as well. CNN has learned, Andrew, as you know, that Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, has been urged to stop talking publicly about the probe.
Were his public comments potentially hurting his credibility and, in turn, the case? ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's
entirely possible and that's likely what his attorneys are worried about. There's a simple rule of thumb among attorneys, every time your client makes statements publicly, they run the risk of creating problems for themselves or problems maybe for the investigation in which they're participating as a witness.
So, as a general rule, it does not surprise me that his attorneys are directing him to keep his mouth shut, to keep his head down and not get in the way essentially of this very complicated and high-profile law enforcement operation.
BLITZER: Abby Phillip, House Republicans are showing their willingness clearly to use their power to shield the former president. Are you surprised by the length some of them are actually going to defend Trump?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: No, I'm not surprised at all. And, in fact, certainly, the House is going to be the place where you're going to see the most vocal efforts to defend Trump. But I think what's happening here on Capitol Hill really does have a lot to do with the nature of this particular case that Trump faces.
I think a lot of Republican, even the ones who don't love Trump all that much, think it's politically more difficult to not defend him given that this is a case that they describe as based on something that is older in nature, that they don't think is as serious as an issue especially compared to some of the other cases, the one in Georgia that deals with the election lies around the 2020 election, the January 6th case that he's potentially facing.
So, I think a lot of moderate Republicans who want to distance themselves from Trump are having a hard time doing it on this case and they feel like they have no choice because they know Trump will really go hard against them if he sees any weaknesses in his support on the Hill.
BLITZER: And, Dana, it's interesting, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is warning about the implications of this case, telling CNN and I'm quoting him now, let me read to you, the quote, there's many reasons not to support Donald Trump. There's many reasons why he should not be president again. But you've got to be very careful. The court system should not be perceived to be involved in the political process. What's your reaction?
BASH: This is one of those cases -- yes, this is one actually, a rare case maybe where Joe Manchin is saying out loud what most Democrats are saying privately, that that -- you know, going back to your original question about whether or not the former president is trying to influence not just politics but also the case, yes, he is. And it certainly is waking up a lot of Democrats. Joe Manchin is saying it out loud that they are very concerned given what Abby just described, all of the very, very fundamental issues, legal issues facing him that maybe this is an unnecessary distraction when it comes to sort of their eyes on the ball.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stand by. There's more news just coming into CNN right now.
There's new movement in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation. Our Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz is joining us with details. Katelyn, what are you learning?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Wolf, there are new court filings today that we can't see exactly what they are, but they show us that Donald Trump's legal team is still trying to block the testimony of his defense lawyer, Evan Corcoran, from a grand jury. He's been trying to keep back conversations he had with Trump. This is an appeal that has been confirmed by both Kaitlan Collins and I today.
And the reason -- this appeal was very expected, but the reason that it's important right now is because there is a clock ticking. And so Trump's team has goon to a federal appeals court. They're asking for emergency help to step in and stop Corcoran from having to go back to the grand jury and testify about his conversations with Trump in this Mar-a-Lago documents case. It's also a reminder, Wolf, that there are many criminal investigations bearing down around Donald Trump, not just what the district attorney in New York is looking at but the Mar- a-Lago case and others, as well. Wolf?
BLITZER: Yes, the January 6th investigation, very serious investigations, indeed. All right, Katelyn, thank you very much.
Just ahead, we're going to tell you what were learning right now about online chatter the feds are monitoring linked to Trump's potential arrest.
BLITZER: Right now, we're following new moves by law enforcement officials actively preparing for a potential indictment of former president Donald Trump.
Our Senior Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz is joining us from New York right now. Shimon, so what are you hearing from your sources about these security preparations that are clearly under way?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. No, Wolf, as you said they're clearly under way. There are discussions between the Secret Service and the NYPD and court officers here in New York. So, there's a lot of discussions. I mean, the key thing right now is they're not finding anything that's significantly worrying them. You know, there's a lot of online chatter, people talking about things they want to do, trying to get people to mobilize. But they're not seeing any of that. There were calls for protests today and yesterday and certainly the numbers are not there in support of Donald Trump out there on the street at this point. But right now for law enforcement, they're just monitoring everything.
And the key also in all of this is the Secret Service here, Wolf, their priority to the former president. And even if he is arrested and brought in and having to go before a judge, they need to make sure they could do this safely. And that's what's going on right now behind the scenes in many of the discussions is how to get him in safely and get him out so that to make sure he is safe and obviously the surrounding area.
So, we're going to see some additional officers as we get closer but everyone right now, Wolf, is just waiting for word on whether or not there's going to be an indictment and then the process from there will go forward.
BLITZER: Shimon Prokupecz with the latest on that, thank you very much.
Let's discuss what's going on with the former homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for joining us. What do federal officials need to be doing right now to prepare for any possible threats if former President Trump is criminally charged and indicted?
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Wolf, as we speak, I'm sure that there is a five-party discussion going on right now in preparation for what looks like a court appearance by Donald Trump late this week or next week. His personal lawyers, the Manhattan D.A.'s office, the Secret Service, as was just mentioned, the court officers who are responsible for the immediate security of the courthouse and the larger picture, the NYPD.
I'm sure that the Secret Service is monitoring the threat environment. I'm sure that the NYPD is monitoring the threat environment. I have to say that the New York City Police Department is very good at this kind of thing. They are responsible with the Secret Service for the security of the U.N. General Assembly in Manhattan every year, and the court officers and the NYPD are accustomed to seeing high-profile criminal defendants come into 100 Center Street in Lower Manhattan for an arraignment, for a surrender.
And so this one is clearly unprecedented, but they know what they are doing. I have a lot of confidence in the NYPD, in the court officers and the Secret Service.
A point that I think needs to be emphasized here is that the Secret Service is responsible for the physical safety of their protectees, not responsible for avoiding political embarrassment or things like that, that has to be a discussion between the Manhattan D.A.'s office and his personal lawyers.
You know, should he be photographed? Where should he be photographed? Will he be photographed being fingerprinted? Will the mug shots be released, for example? That's not something for the NYPD and the Secret Service to be negotiating. That's more between his lawyers and the Manhattan D.A.'s office.
But all in all, I am confident that the NYPD and these other agencies will have this well in hand. The NYPD knows how to monitor social media, knows how to collect intelligence, as does the Secret Service.
BLITZER: So, will this be a test, Mr. Secretary, of whether lessons have been learned since the January 6th attack?
JOHNSON: Yes, very clearly. You know, we see barricades going up in the U.S. Capitol, for example, 230 miles away from where this court appearance will take place. No one wants a repeat of January 6th. No one wants to be caught unprepared. And so I'm sure that security will be high for this event, perhaps even higher than is necessary.
BLITZER: And you speak with authority and experience, not only as the former homeland security secretary but also the former general counsel at the Department of Defense. How much weight do former President Trump's words actually carry around any developments in this probe?
JOHNSON: Wolf, I thought it was significant, revealing and troublesome that in the statement he put out on Saturday morning about the possibility of being arrested, and he said, protests, take our nation back, the word peacefully never appeared in that statement. Even though after January 6th, one would think that he would have the good sense to add that word.
You know, the defense that he will have if he's charged with inciting an insurrection on January 6th is that someplace in that rambling speech he gave on January 6th where he called for his supporters to go to the Capitol, he used the word peacefully somewhere in that speech. That word does not appear in this statement. I think it's revealing that it does not appear in that statement and very troublesome.
BLITZER: Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, thanks so much for joining us. We always appreciate having you here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
Coming up, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping wrap up day two of their closely watched summit in Moscow. Do the talks yield any major breakthroughs on Ukraine?
BLITZER: Tonight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he's ready for dialogue with China. In recent weeks Beijing has floated a vague peace plan for the war with Russia, but Zelenskyy is adamant he is not open to a ceasefire. This as a top Ukrainian official tells CNN plans are under way to set up a phone call between Zelenskyy and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. We'll watch and see.
Meanwhile, in Russia, all eyes are on a second day of a very high- stakes summit between President Xi and Vladimir Putin.
Our Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance has the latest from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With a drum roll, a grand entrance for the Russian leader.
And it's the Chinese president now on center stage. At the Kremlin, pomp and ceremony underlining the crucial importance to Moscow of this visit. President Putin is isolated and sanctioned over Ukraine but he still has Xi Jinping at his side, the Chinese diplomatic and economic lifeline vital as Russia is cut off by the west.
We're ready to support Chinese business, replacing western enterprises that have left Russia, Putin says.
The two leaders also spoke of a new gas pipeline to China and signed more than a dozen deals to further connect the two countries. Like it or not, Russia and China are becoming increasingly aligned.
And it's not just raising concerns in the west. (INAUDIBLE) in Moscow hints at a deep seated Russian mistrust with Chinese expansion. On the one hand, Xi's visit is good, she says, but knowing their eastern ways we should be careful.
On Russian state T.V., there's a similar warning, China can have only one ally, this guest tells the host, China itself.
But it's the war in Ukraine, not the wisdom of embracing China, overshadowing this summit. There's been no mention of China providing military aid to Russia but the Kremlin says a controversial Chinese peace plan was thoroughly discussed.
A senior Ukrainian official tells CNN talks are now under way to get the Chinese and Ukrainian leaders on accord. But there are serious doubts. Xi Jinping who calls Putin his dear friend is enough of an honest broker to bring the warring sides together or that China, which is itself at odds with the U.S., really wants peace between Russia and the west.
CHANCE (on camera): Well, Wolf, President Putin tonight saying that he believes that this Chinese peace plan could be used as a basis to bring the war in Ukraine to an end. But he also expressed doubts that the other side would be ready for a deal, saying the plan could only be presented once the west and Kyiv are ready for it. Wolf?
BLITZER: Matthew Chance reporting from Moscow, thank you very much, Matthew.
Also tonight U.S. defense officials tell CNN that two highly anticipated weapon systems are set to arrive in Ukraine much sooner than expected.
CNN National Security Reporter Natasha Bertrand is joining us now live. She's over at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, that's where Ukrainian troops are training on the Patriot air defense missile system. Natasha, what's been happening at Fort Sill to help speed up this critically important delivery?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Wolf. Well, essentially the 65 Ukrainian soldiers that have been training here at Fort Sill over the last ten weeks have proven extraordinarily capable at learning this very complex system in a way that U.S. trainers did not necessarily anticipate.
So, now what U.S. defense officials are telling us is that because the Ukrainians have been able to learn this system so quickly and so in- depth, they now believe that the U.S. will be able to send that Patriot system to Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Now, these Ukrainian soldiers who have been training here, they are prepared to graduate essentially from this course in the coming days. And what we have heard just nonstop all day here from defense officials is just how impressed they have been with these Ukrainians who many of whom have a lot of air defense system experience from their time back in Ukraine, right? So, they have been able to learn the system very quickly and now we are hearing that in much sooner than previously thought, these air defense systems will be this Ukraine likely in time for that anticipated spring counteroffensive, Wolf.
BLITZER: And I take it, Natasha, the U.S. is also now moving up the time line for delivery of those badly needed Abrams battle tanks. What can you tell us about that?
BERTRAND: Yes, Wolf. So, the Pentagon announcing just today that the U.S. is going to send the older model of those tanks to the Ukrainians, which will allow them to get those tanks to Ukraine faster. These are older models that the U.S. essentially already has in their inventory, so they don't need to be built. They're also simpler, so it will take the Ukrainians less time to actually learn them and train on them, so expecting them to be in Ukraine as early as this fall, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very interesting and very important, Natasha Bertrand at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, thank you very much.
Let's get more analysis right now from the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, and retired U.S. Army Major General Spider Marks.
He's a CNN Military Analyst.
And, General, let me start with you. How significant is this accelerated time line for delivery of the Patriots and the Abrams?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES SPIDER MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, any piece of equipment like this that can get into the fight sooner rather than later is a significant move. The limiting factor here is the number of Patriots that will be deployed. This will probably provide what the numbers are, will probably provide a point defense for Kyiv, and that's a good thing. But still, Ukraine is such a large country. We'd need far more batteries of this type of capability. And then having the M1 come in, that is a significant capability. But you need the numbers and also the training has to be in place as was discussed. And then all of those elements need to be synchronized.
So, a single capability is not a game changer used in concert with all those other capabilities of a three-dimensional battlefield and how to fight operationally makes a significant difference.
BLITZER: It certainly does. Ambassador Taylor, beyond all the highly publicized optics of the Putin/Xi meeting so far, has Putin secured any concrete Chinese support for his war in Ukraine?
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: If so, Wolf, he hasn't said anything about it. There's been nothing coming out of that conference, of that summit that would be of benefit to the Russian military, nor has there been anything come out about any kind of a discussion of a peace plan.
You know, China is not your most likely mediator between Russia and Ukraine. We've seen China as and Xi as particularly supportive of Putin. So, that's not a recipe for success.
BLITZER: And, General Marks, I know you say China views all this from a transactional lens. Do you think President Xi is willing to risk western sanctions by providing lethal weapons to Russia?
MARKS: No, short answer. He has too much to risk by doing that. First of all, this would be good money after bad. Putin is losing in Ukraine. He doesn't want to back that. You reinforce success not failure. And also he doesn't want to lose the European economic and the financial relationships that he has right now. All of that would be completely blown out of the water if he supported -- openly supporting Putin with military goods, services, advisers.
BLITZER: Ambassador Taylor, what message will Ukraine's President Zelenskyy need to deliver to Xi Jinping if they get their first ever phone call set up?
TAYLOR: President Zelenskyy will want to reinforce a couple of the points that are in Xi's proposal, that is sovereignty of nations, that is territorial integrity. And that means that President Xi -- I'm sure president Zelenskyy will encourage this -- will demand this as the price for sitting down and have a discussion, President Xi needs to tell President Putin get your troops out of the country and then there can be conversations. President Zelenskyy has been very clear about that.
BLITZER: Ambassador Taylor, General Marks, guys, thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, drama in the courtroom today as lawyers for Fox News and Dominion clash over the network's embrace of election conspiracies.
BLITZER: In court today, attorneys for Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems faced off over a lawsuit with $1.6 billion on the line. The judge in the case peppering Fox with very tough questions about the network's embrace of election lies.
Let's dig deeper with our Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy and CNN Media Analyst Sara Fischer. Oliver, Dominion lawyers today claimed the Murdoch's let Fox hosts, quote, run wild. What stood out to you today from the hearing?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I thought, Wolf, actually what stood out to me is what the judge was saying during this hearing, and he was peppering Fox News with some pretty tough questions about their coverage in the wake of the 2020 election.
At one point he asked Fox, he said, how can you be fair if you are knowingly providing false information to the audience, and at another point in the case or in the hearing today, he asked the Fox about the choice to amplify some of those false conspiracy theories in the wake of the election, saying that he thought it would be a better story actually perhaps to have poked holes in Trump's conspiracy theories.
So, you know, this offers a window into his thinking as he potentially decides to rule one way or another on this case. Of course, Fox has asked this case to be dismissed in its entirely. Dominion has said it has proven actual malice and asked the judge to rule in its favor. Both sides want to theoretically avoid a trial. Unclear whether the judge will rule one way or the other in totality but he could issue some rulings ahead of a potential trial and perhaps his line of questioning offers some insight into his thinking in the case.
BLITZER: Yes, his questions were very, very powerful.
Sara, Fox lawyers now say they won't try to prove Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election here in the United States but will defend the network on different First Amendment grounds. That's notable, isn't it?
SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: It is notable and we heard some of that today. Basically, they were saying they should have the right to neutral reportage, which means they can report something as long as it's in a neutral manner if it was an assertion made by a third party, essentially saying, look, we're reporting on what Donald Trump and other were saying about Dominion but we ourselves weren't passing judgment.
But to Oliver's point, I think the judge was very skeptical of that argument, basically alleging how could you say you were neutral when there is a mountain of evidence that shows that you knew this wasn't the case.
BLITZER: Oliver, this hearing comes as a Fox producer is now alleging that the company's attorneys coerced her into providing misleading testimony. Tell us more about the explosive lawsuits she has now filed.
DARCY: That's right, Wolf. Abby Grossberg filed these last night and allege Fox News' legal team, that they were coercing her and intimidating her to provide misleading testimony to Dominion's lawyers and that ultimately it resulted in some misleading testimony being given that was helpful to Fox News, not so much to her.
So this is a really explosive allegation she's making as this hearing got under way today. Fox is, of course, denying this. But I spoke to -- I spoke to her attorney last night and he said they have ample documentary evidence in all forms that support a broad swath of her claims.
So as the Dominion hearing is playing out, it will be interesting to watch and see how this also moves forward in the court system.
BLITZER: It certainly will be.
Oliver Darcy and Sara Fischer, thanks to both of you very much for joining us.
Coming up, a wave of new evidence around the death of a Virginia in the custody of sheriff's deputies and medical staff for that matter. We'll bring you crucial surveillance videos that have just been released and 911 calls. That's next.
BLITZER: Virginia prosecutors are releasing new surveillance video of the encounter between sheriff's deputies and the man who died in their custody.
CNN's Brian Todd is breaking down the evidence for us, and a warning to our viewers, the footage you're about to see is disturbing.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Handcuffed and leg shackled, Irvo Otieno is brought into the intake area of Virginia's Central State Hospital with some difficulty. Within minutes, he is on the floor. For the next 12 or 13 minutes, he will be held down by deputies and staffers, sometimes with a deputy on top of him. At points, his position changes or the officers reposition their grip.
There is no audio, and for much of the video, Otieno is not in full view.
At least once a deputy seems to use his knee to restrain him. Later, he is turned on his side. A person appears to administer an injection, and then CPR.
It is not clear exactly when he died or his official cause of death.
Today, seven deputies were indicted by a grand jury for second degree murder as were three hospital staffers.
ANN BASKERVILL, DINWIDDIE COUNTY COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY: The victim in this case was not fighting back or anything. There was no legitimate purpose for holding him down on the ground.
TODD: 911 calls show how a hospital staffer described the incident.
HOSPITAL STAFFER: Used to be aggressive, right? So they're trying to put them in restraints. Then eventually he didn't -- he's no longer breathing. They're doing CPR right now, and there's no pulse anymore.
TODD: Also just released, jail video that the prosecutor says shows Otieno before he was transported to the mental facility. It shows commotion around the slot in the door of his cell. The prosecutor alleges Otieno is handcuffed, yet even so pepper spray is sprayed through the door slot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was pepper sprayed while he was in the cell alone, not posing a danger to anyone.
TODD: Six officers then enter the cell and the prosecutor alleges blows are delivered. Nearly 15 minutes later, he is carried out in handcuffs and deputies load him in an SUV to drive him to the mental facility. An attorney for one charged deputy says the cause of death could have been something else like the injection, and says Otieno was violent, aggressive, and noncompliant.
CALEB KERSHNER, ATTORNEY FOR DEPUTY RANDY BOYER: The officers who were there had to hold him and constrain him given not only his resistance previously but out of concern for others given his mental state.
TODD: But Otieno's mother says that's not what the video shows.
CAROLINE OUKU, OTIENO'S MOTHER: My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes on the video.
TODD (on camera): The attorneys for the deputies and the security guards charged have all denied that their clients committed any wrongdoing. One attorney for Deputy Randy Boyer has come out and said today that it was the employees of Central State Hospital who were supposed to handle the intake and the restraint of Irvo Otieno that day and that they failed. A hospital spokeswoman would not comment on that allegation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, thank you.
Just ahead, a very disturbing story out of Colorado where a dentist is accused of murdering his wife by putting poison in her protein shakes. We'll have details. That's next.
BLITZER: Investigators say a Colorado dentist murdered his wife by putting arsenic in her protein shakes after making a series of suspicious internet searches including, and I'm quoting one now, how to make poison.
CNN law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wild has more.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty- three-year-old Angela Craig was hospitalized for the third time in a month last week after complaining of a severe headache and dizziness. She was put on a ventilator, rapidly declined, and was declared brain dead soon after.
JIM CRAIG, COLORADO DENTIST: My name is Dr. Jim Craig, and I practice at Summerbrook Dental Group.
WILD: Now police say her husband, a Colorado dentist, killed her by poisoning her with toxic chemicals he bought online. Police in Aurora, Colorado, say 45-year-old James Toliver Craig showed intent to end his wife's life by searching for ways to kill someone undetected by giving her poisons that align with her hospitalized symptoms.
Investigators say Craig bought arsenic as well as potassium cyanide. Police laid out a chilling time line that began March 4th, when arsenic was delivered to the Craig's home. Two days later, Angela headed to the hospital complaining of dizziness and difficulty focusing her eyes, symptoms consistent with arsenic poisoning according to the police affidavit.
Angela texted her husband that day saying, I feel drugged. Her husband James texted back: Just for the record, I didn't drug you.
Investigators say Craig used a computer at his dental practice to research poisons. Police say his search history showed phrases such as how many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human, and top five undetectable poisons that show no signs of foul play.
Police say around the time Angela was hospitalized again from March 9th to March 14th, James Craig ordered potassium cyanide online, the highly lethal drug was delivered to his dental practice, so concerned a staff reported what they found.
Charges are set to be filed formally Thursday while the case has rocked their community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just makes me sick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doesn't seem real.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't seem like something that he could ever do to her.
WILD: Whitney Wild, CNN, Chicago.
BLITZER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.