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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Trump: "Disgrace" Judge Not Putting Gag Order On Michael Cohen; Family Of Black Airman Killed By Florida Deputy Releases New Video From Moments After Shooting; American Soldier Detained In Russia Prompts U.S. Investigation Into Russian Intel Agencies. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 10, 2024 - 21:00   ET




NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The deputy is now on paid administrative leave, while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.


VALENCIA: The State Attorney's Office in Okaloosa County tells me that they're going to wait for the FDLE, to finish its investigation, before they decide whether to pursue charges.

And earlier, I got ahold of the Chief Assistant State Attorney there, Greg Anchors. And he's seen the video. But he refused to comment, when I asked him to. He also added that it's just too early for them to do anything with the case, saying that there's no expected timeline, for the FDLE, to finish their investigation.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.


The calm before the Cohen, Donald Trump about to come face-to-face with his former fixer, now arch enemy. What to expect when it all goes down, starting on Monday? But before then, an extraordinary warning from the judge, today, about Michael Cohen's big mouth.

There are also new questions tonight about the killing of a Black U.S. service member, shot by police inside his own home, seconds after the Senior Airman opened the door. That moment is captured on camera, and it's shocking. That Airman's mother is here tonight, along with their attorney, Ben Crump.

And if a solar eclipse wasn't enough for you, an extreme solar storm is hitting the planet, right now. It is the biggest in more than two decades with the potential to wreak havoc on our power grids and our GPS systems. Also, putting on a spectacular light show.

I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

It has all been leading up to what is coming on Monday. David Pecker; Hope Hicks; Stormy Daniels; Madeleine Westerhout, who was Donald Trump's former White House gatekeeper, wrapping up her testimony today; all of their testimony is laying the groundwork for you know who.

Michael Cohen expected to take the stand, when the Trump hush money trial resumes on Monday, and speak to the very payment that he helped negotiate before the 2016 election. Remember, he went to prison, in connection with this payment.

And buckle up, because if this week was any indication, it is going to be a scene. And Cohen himself appears to be leaning in.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY AND FIXER: I'm kind of looking forward to it because, again, can't be finished with something unless you start it.


COLLINS: Today, the Trump team asked the judge to place a gag order, on Michael Cohen, to stop him from doing what he is doing right there, talking about this trial.

They specifically pointed to this TikTok video, of Michael Cohen, on Wednesday, taunting the former President, wearing a T-shirt, as you can see here, where Donald Trump is in an orange jumpsuit, and standing behind bars.

The judge denied the request by Trump's legal team. He said that he can't gag witnesses, only the defendant here in this case, and even that's a limited gag order.

But he did give Michael Cohen an extraordinary warning, through prosecutors, telling them to tell him to stop making any more statements, about this case, or about Donald Trump. He told them quote, "That comes from the bench." In other words, stop talking.

But that message to Michael Cohen did not go far enough for the defendant.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no gag order to Michael Cohen. What the judge did was amazing, actually. Was amazing. Everybody can say whatever they want. They can say whatever they want.

But I'm not allowed to say anything about anybody.

The judge is corrupt. And the only thing he gives us is to make him look a little bit good. He gives us nothing. Now what he just did now is a joke. It's a disgrace.


COLLINS: Of course, a reminder, Donald Trump is the only defendant here, which is why he is the only one under a gag order.

If everything goes according to plan, the prosecution says that they could rest their case as soon as next week.

But first, we have to get through Monday, and what that week is going to look like.

My legal sources tonight, are veteran New York defense attorney, Arthur Aidala; CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, and a former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig; attorney and jury consultant, Renato Stabile; and also, retired New York State Supreme Court Judge Jill -- Justice Judge Jill Konviser.

And it's great to have you all here.

I mean, Elie, it kind of feels like we're like in the calm before the storm.


COLLINS: Like the eye of the storm, of like, we're just. Today, there was kind of like this apprehension, looming over the courthouse, of waiting for Michael Cohen.


COLLINS: Knowing what that could entail for Monday.

HONIG: Yes, it was a catch-our-breath-day, right? We had Stormy Daniels. Then today, we had a bunch of paralegals and phone company representatives. And then Michael Cohen's coming in Monday.

I don't think I've ever seen a witness quite like Michael Cohen, in a couple respects. It's mostly going to be bad.


HONIG: Number one, I've put on really bad guys, as witnesses, done far worse things than Michael Cohen's ever conceived of. But I've never put on a witness with as much of a credibility problem as Michael Cohen has, who has lied to as many people for as long a time, in as brazen a way as Michael Cohen.

Also, his bias. That photo we just saw, of him wearing a T-shirt--


HONIG: --with Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit? That alone could be disqualifying. Juror--

[21:05:00] COLLINS: That was like three days ago.

HONIG: It's outrageous -- right, exactly. After he said, by the way, I'm going to stop corking off about this case.

A juror could look at that and say, that's it. I don't -- I don't credit you, because you are desperate, for Donald Trump to go to prison. That right there is bias.

But let me just say this. There is a redemption path for Michael Cohen. If the jury believes what Michael Cohen says, which is, when I turned on Trump, I became a new person. I've turned a page in my book. I'm telling you that yes, I did these bad things then. I'm telling the truth now. There is some appeal to that narrative too.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, the prosecution is hoping that is what he is exactly going to say. It is really important. And there is no leeway, like there was with Stormy Daniels to say, she wasn't really critical to this. Michael Cohen is critical to making their case.

AIDALA: Well, what Elie and I totally agree on is he is the case. In other words, hypothetically, he doesn't show up Monday, and then the People say we rest our case? We agree that the judge would have to dismiss it, like there's not -- there hasn't been that piece of evidence that number one, connects Trump to the bookkeeping, and number two, connects him that we did this to commit a second crime, because that's what they need.

The fact that the shirt with him behind bars exists is bad. But Kaitlan, the fact that it exists like 48 hours ago, is insane.

And just one other thing, I want to talk about with credibility. And Judge Konviser will really elaborate on this.

When the judge charges the jury, when he gives them the law, he's going to say, if you found that the witness lied to you, about one thing, you can infer, you're allowed to infer, you're allowed to disqualify all of their testimony. And I think the defense is going to have the ability, to show that Cohen lied about a lot of things.

COLLINS: I mean, how--

JILL KONVISER, RETIRED JUDGE, HAS KNOWN JUDGE MERCHAN FOR MORE THAN 15 YEARS: That charge also says if you found -- you find -- if you find that someone lied about something, you can discount their testimony. The charge also says you can dismiss the part that you do not credit, and credit that much of the rest of it that you do credit. So, it's a balance.

COLLINS: So basically, take out the bit.

KONVISER: It's a balance. You can't do that.

COLLINS: And you look at the rest.

KONVISER: And that's what the -- that's what the judge will do. That's the -- that's the textbook standard--

AIDALA: Yes, that's right.

KONVISER: --and to charge (ph).

COLLINS: But Judge what about what the -- Judge Merchan did here today, at the end, where he was like, I'm not going to put a gag order on Michael Cohen, he's a witness here.

But to deliver a message, from the bench to a witness, is that rare? How often does that happen?

KONVISER: It's exceedingly rare. But this case is different for so many reasons. We've talked about that. You have a witness mouthing off.

And as Elie said, he's put on some bad guys. We've all seen guys cooperate in criminal cases, who have three murder -- three murder convictions or admitting to do horrible things.

This guy has an impulse problem. He's a lot like Donald Trump. They can't control themselves. And that's probably why they were, in bed together, for all those years, figuratively.



STABILE: --as a defense lawyer, don't you love that he keeps talking? Don't you want it?

AIDALA: He loves.

STABILE: I mean, you don't want a gag order. Please keep doing it. Keep doing it. Do it all weekend, because it's just more ammunition for the cross-examination, so.

COLLINS: That's a good point. His--

STABILE: The defense is loving this.

COLLINS: Todd Blanche is so frustrated in court. He's like, how are we supposed to do this, when Michael Cohen keeps talking?

You're saying it could actually work to their benefit?

STABILE: I think it is going to work to their benefit, because they have so much to go after him on.

And look, his job on Monday, and Tuesday, when he gets cross-examined, is whenever you get cross-examined, you're going to take punches. And he, I hopefully, he's been trained well enough to absorb those blows.

He just can't get knocked out, right? It's like a boxing match. You're going to get punched in the face on cross. But he can't fight too much. He has to just absorb all of the things, all of the lines, and just say yes, yes, yes, and keep it moving.

COLLINS: I mean, what does -- what does the prosecution hope that he does in order? You're a jury consultant. You've worked with a lot of juries before. To make him appeal to that jury, that's sitting this far from him?

STABILE: Well, I don't know that he'll ever be appealing. But if I were advising him, and if I were prepping him, I would say, look, you have to just take it, don't fight. Don't try and minimize. Don't try and deflect. Don't try and justify all of the lies, all the things you did. Just say yes. Because it takes the air out of the cross- examination.

When you give one-word answers, when you just say yes? There's no place to go. You know that, right?

AIDALA: Yes, no, and in other words--

STABILE: You're just -- it's over.

AIDALA: --were you convicted?


Did you lie?

And he's just going to say that yes, yes.

Did you do time in Otisville?

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

KONVISER: That's the best-case scenario.

STABILE: That's the best-case scenario. Who knows if--

HONIG: But listen. We already know -- we already know he's not going to do that. And I'll give you an example.

KONVISER: Isn't that great?

HONIG: But I'll give you a specific example. He pled guilty in 2018 to four sets of crimes, including bank fraud and tax fraud.

Now, Michael Cohen loves this narrative that I only ever committed crimes with and for Donald Trump.

Not true. Tax fraud, bank fraud had nothing to do with Donald Trump. Had to do with his Taxicab Medallion business, his own personal taxes.

So the answer, as Arthur recommends, should be, did you plead guilty to bank fraud?


Were you guilty of bank fraud? Yes.

That's not what he's going to say. Because he was examined on this civil case--

AIDALA: No. He can't help himself.

HONIG: --he goes, no, I'm actually not guilty. I actually lied under oath, to Judge Pauley when I pled guilty. It's like lies upon lies.

KONVISER: Right. The next question is how many times did you lie? Were you lying this time? Were you lying that time? Until at some point, the scales are going to tip.

HONIG: A federal judge--

KONVISER: And they're just not going to accept it.


HONIG: A federal judge, Jesse Furman, who I used to work with, at the Southern District, a liberal guy, and a Barack Obama-appointee, issued a ruling a month or two months ago, saying either Michael Cohen committed perjury, here in this court, or across the street in the state court, one or the other.

COLLINS: But what's remarkable is -- about what you just said is that Michael Cohen blames it all of his guilty pleas or his convictions on Donald -- places on Donald Trump.

Donald Trump does the exact opposite. He says, well, I had nothing to do with anything about why he went to prison.

HONIG: Right.

COLLINS: Which is also not accurate.

HONIG: Yes, that's what -- look, there's some potency to that argument for the prosecution. You go -- it's not quite accurate to say -- I know people say Michael Cohen already went to prison for this. It's not quite for this. He pled guilty to federal campaign finance law. Has nothing to do with state falsification.

But generally speaking, he went to prison already, in small part, for the Stormy Daniels pay-off. Why should the boss escape? There's some appeal to that.

COLLINS: But Arthur, is there any benefit to Michael Cohen having everyone talk about his credibility and lack thereof leading up to this? He knows it's coming. It's not like he's going to get on that stand and not know where it's going.

AIDALA: Look, Michael Cohen, and I don't say this lightly, he's got a screw loose. That's the sweetest way. And he knows he loves the attention.

COLLINS: Now, I'm going to get a phone call, because he was called that (ph).

AIDALA: No. No. OK. But he loves the attention. He loves it.

Look what he's doing. None of us here have ever seen a witness, who's going to be testifying in this huge trial, from O.J. Simpson, all those years ago, to Bill Cosby recently, doing all of this media, before they go on to talk about it, like it doesn't exist.

He can't get enough of him seeing himself on TV.

And one last thing, Kaitlan. It's going to be interesting, who does the cross-examination for the defense? I don't believe it's Susan Necheles.

COLLINS: It's got to be Todd Blanche.

HONIG: Yes. It's Todd Blanche.

AIDALA: Right. And he's got a very different style than Susan does. He's going to -- I think, I think he's going to be a lot more laid back than Susan's aggressive kind of bang-bang-bang, she did with Stormy.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, he's got to be thinking of the jury, when he's the--


COLLINS: Trump would love for him to do Susan Necheles' rapid-fire style.

KONVISER: Yes. Oh, yes.

STABILE: I mean, I think--

HONIG: That's more effective.

STABILE: I think Michael Cohen is the type of witness, where you can do exactly that. I think he's going to go super-aggressive after him, because he's going to hold him in ultimate contempt. I think the jury wants to see it. I don't think they're going to have a lot of sympathy for Michael Cohen. So, I think it's going to be maybe even more aggressive than what you saw with Susan Necheles.

COLLINS: But judge, how does -- how does Judge Merchan handle that? Because there were moments, in the Stormy Daniels testimony, where he was clearly uncomfortable with some of the lines of questioning, where they went, but also with the cross-examination.

Is there a way that he's watching for that here? I mean, can they go too far on Michael Cohen's credibility?

KONVISER: Well, he's always watching. But in terms of cross- examination, that's fair game.

A judge does have to take a step back and say this is -- this is the main witness in this case. This is a credibility contest. And this is the opportunity the defendant has, to press him on everything. And pretty much, the judge will stand down.

The judge will be much more focused on the questions, posed by the prosecution, to make sure they don't run -- they don't run afoul of the rules. But the defense, cross-examine? That's their -- that's their field.

HONIG: OK. Can I try to make the argument for Michael Cohen, the prosecution?

COLLINS: Why not? It's Friday night.

HONIG: Because this has become a--

COLLINS: Go ahead.

AIDALA: Right.

HONIG: Yes, this has become a four-on-zero pylon.

AIDALA: I'd appreciate it.

COLLINS: Everyone at home has been drinking their--



HONIG: Here -- here's what -- and I've made this similar argument, right?

You're going to say, folks, Michael Cohen is not a saint. In fact, he's a sinner. He told you that. He's done some bad things. He's owned up. In fact, he went to jail. He did time for what he's done. And when he flipped in 2018, he turned a page. And since then, he's been on the straight and narrow.

And by the way, folks, you don't have to take Michael Cohen at his word, for any of the important facts he testified about, because all the important things he told you about, are backed up by texts, by checks by documents, by testimony from other witnesses. We're not asking you to love Michael Cohen. You just have to let him guide you through the evidence.

KONVISER: That's a great -- that's a--

HONIG: That's the -- it's a--


KONVISER: That's a great argument, Counsel. And that would have worked a few days ago, before he shows up with a shirt--

HONIG: Yes, I don't have an explanation for the T-shirt.

KONVISER: --with a guy--

STABILE: Exactly.

KONVISER: --with a guy in an orange jumpsuit. I mean, that's just -- it just doesn't work that right.

Of course, the prosecution is going to say you don't have to like him, don't take him to dinner. We're not asking that. You have to understand why he's telling the truth on these limited issues and compare it and corroborate it with all the other witnesses. That's the only thing they're going to do. That's the only thing they need from them.

But the jury can't despise him--

AIDALA: No. I mean, and to think the word, hate?

KONVISER: --because they're not going to go their way.

AIDALA: I mean, you don't really hear the word, hate, that much. Stormy Daniels says she hates Donald Trump. They should be able to get out of Michael Cohen, I hate Donald Trump.

COLLINS: But isn't it obvious?

AIDALA: Yes, right.

COLLINS: And also, vice versa, the jury--

AIDALA: But that's not normal. Right.

COLLINS: The jury saw tweets today from Donald Trump saying, if you need an attorney, I highly recommend you don't go to Michael Cohen for your legal services, even though that's exactly what Trump did for decades.

AIDALA: Right.

KONVISER: Right, exactly.

AIDALA: You know what all of us here can tell you though, Kaitlan, that's like not normal, like normally, witnesses don't come up, and say I hate the defendant. I hate the defendant. Maybe in a divorce case, but not usually in a criminal case.

So that's, I mean, that guy's a defense attorney, you're like they have expressed to you, they were honest about how they feel about this person. They're willing to say anything, so that that T-shirt, that Michael Cohen wears, wore and that shot -- and that shot we showed you, comes to fruition.


KONVISER: Right. Don't misunderstand. Emotion is a part of every criminal case, right? And it depends on who your witness is, and what the facts are. But you don't usually get this vitriol. You get a rape victim, who is

just devastated, and in pain, having to sit there, and go through it. Or a mother, whose child was shot, and having to say, I went to the morgue, and this is what I had to do. And it's just emotionally charged.

But this is -- this is different level. This is such a -- such disdain for each other, that we don't know how it's going to play out.

STABILE: Look, but also, he's showing such a lack of respect for the system. Because you have to imagine. You know the prosecutors were saying tone it down. His lawyer is probably telling him tone it down. And he just has no regard.

COLLINS: Yes. And the prosecutor said they asked him multiple times. Safe to say that nothing is normal about this. We'll see what it looks like, on Monday, when court resumes.

Elie, Arthur, Renato, Jill, thank you all.

Elie will be back in just a moment, to help us tie together the key moments from a whirlwind week so far. It was a lot to keep up with. He'll show us how it's all been designed, to set the table for what's to come on Monday.

Also, Rudy Giuliani's radio show was just canceled, over his continued 2020 election lies, as those legal troubles keep mounting.



COLLINS: The stage is set for the star witness, Michael Cohen, to testify against Donald Trump, on Monday, in what is guaranteed to be explosive testimony. It's unclear what it's going to look like. But we know it's going to be crazy.

But also, don't discount what the jury heard just this week. It was also explosive testimony. It's going to be on their minds, all weekend.

When Stormy Daniels, of course, got on the stand, she sparred with Trump's lawyers, over her alleged sexual encounter with the former President.

Prosecutors as they tried to draw a clear line between the actions of the Trump Organization employees and Trump himself.

I want to break down those key moments, the new evidence that we saw this week, all of this that is on the jury's mind, as they head into this weekend, and wait for Michael Cohen to take the stand on Monday.

Elie Honig is back here with us.

And Elie, obviously, the Stormy Daniels testimony was probably the most searing of anything we've heard so far. But when you are a -- you're a juror, and you're going home, and you're thinking about what are the main takeaways from that? Obviously, no one knows what they're thinking.

But what's your sense, as someone who has been in and out of courtrooms, your whole life?

HONIG: So, definitely the most memorable moment, in a memorable week. I mean, you were in the courtroom for Stormy Daniels. I mean, you'll remember that 30 years from now. The jurors will certainly remember it, a few weeks from now, when they're deliberating. To me, the key moment was her cross-examination, because that's really when the story gets told.


HONIG: And Donald Trump's team started really effectively, on cross- examination.

The very first thing they asked her, right out of the gate -- right out of the gate. Do you hate this defendant? Do you hate Donald Trump? And she said, yes, I do. I mean, right there is bias. That's a straightforward answer. Give her credit, it's an honest answer. But you can argue to the jury, she hates him. She has every incentive.

The second day of cross-examination, which I guess was yesterday morning, though, I think things fell apart for Trump's team. I think they strayed from the solid basis they have.

And when they started examining her, about her career in the pornography industry, I felt that really missed the mark. I don't think there's any relevance to it. It felt like they were just trying to smear her, in a way that was unfair. So, I think they actually sort of lost the thread when they went to that part of the cross- examination.

COLLINS: Can prosecutors use the I-hate-Trump part, though? It's like well, yes, she does.

HONIG: Oh, yes.

COLLINS: Like we can see that from her tweets and from his tweets as well.

HONIG: They can use the I-hate-Trump word, and they will with Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen.

I mean, think about it. Imagine if the person, who hates you most in this world? No one hates you. But imagine--

COLLINS: Of course.

HONIG: --if the person, who hates you most in the world, and tweets about you all day, that's how much they hate you. Imagine if your fate rested in their hand? You can say that to the jury. Absolutely fair game.

COLLINS: Yes, I've got a few of those on Twitter. I don't think I would want my fate to rest in their hands.

But for the Stormy Daniels, and the biggest takeaways, there was also a Trump Organization employee, who was on the stand before her.


COLLINS: People would have probably forgotten his name by now, given everything that happened this week. But it was Jeff McConney. And he was actually really instrumental, because he was this Trump Organization employee. And you found his testimony to be pretty compelling.

HONIG: I did, because this is what the case is about. For all the hush money and porn stars, this is a business records falsification case.

There was a moment, when McConney testified about an email, that was exchanged within the Trump Organization, where McConney said essentially, let's chalk it up, put it down as lawyer fees, put it down as legal fees.

Here we go. "Please pay from the Trust. Post to legal expenses. Put 'retainer for the months of January and February' in the description."

Now, that right there is the essence of the crime. It doesn't quite get them all the way there, because on cross-examination, McConney was asked but Trump didn't give you that order. You never even really spoke to Trump. And he said, that's right. But that's a big fact for the prosecution.

Another really important piece of evidence, it's a handwritten notes. I think it's government exhibit 36, and in case anyone wants to look it up. And what this does, it's Allen Weisselberg's handwriting. Jeffrey McConney said I recognize that handwriting, I worked with the guy for 30-something years. And--

COLLINS: And lunch every day for 35 years.

HONIG: Exactly. And he -- and what this does is this shows exactly how they calculated the $420,000 that Michael Cohen was reimbursed. And Michael Cohen's going to say exactly what this shows. So, this piece of evidence will back up Michael Cohen in an important way.

COLLINS: Yes. And Elie, before you go, Rudy Giuliani is also making news tonight.


COLLINS: Obviously, we've been talking about Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen.

His other former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is in the news, because he's basically seething over his suspension, from a local radio station, here in New York, which also canceled his daily talk show. And the reason was because he was pushing more lies--

HONIG: Yes. COLLINS: --about the 2020 election.



RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Maybe there was a policy. Maybe there wasn't a policy. I sure as heck never saw the policy.

For the last three to four years, I've been saying the same things.


I just want to be free to tell people the truth. And you want to stop me, don't you?


COLLINS: So, he's saying that the station fired him, because he wouldn't comply with their overly broad directive, as he phrased it, to not talk about the 2020 election, which he is like, I've been talking about for three and a half years, which is true. But also, this guy has been indicted in Georgia and in Arizona.


COLLINS: And for his efforts to overturn the election.

HONIG: He just won't stop. He won't let go of these lies. And he's costing himself everything.

Like you said, he's indicted twice. He's listed as a co-conspirator. He's been sued, he's been found liable for about $150 million. What else? He's lost his law license, wherever he used to practice.

And there's a line -- there's a brief submitted today, by the lawyers, for Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, the two women who was found guilty of -- they're not guilty. Liable for defaming. And it's just this perfect three-word sentence. The lawyer wrote, "Enough is enough."

Unfortunately, there's not a heck of a lot the court can do. They can -- because he's already been found liable for $150 million. The lawyer in this case, asked the judge to prevent Rudy Giuliani, from speaking. He can't do that physically, or really legally.

Look, Rudy is just a disgrace to the profession. I don't have any more polite way to put it. I wish I did. The way he has clung to these lies has cost him his job, has cost him his reputation, and may someday cost him his liberty, if he ends up getting convicted in these cases. I want to feel bad for him on a human level. But I just can't bring myself to do it.

COLLINS: Why do you want to feel bad for him?

HONIG: I don't know, I'm soft, I guess.

But no -- when I think about what he did to Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, I do not want to feel bad for him.

COLLINS: Hey, that was in the--

HONIG: That's disgraceful.

COLLINS: --$150 million. And he has not paid $1.

HONIG: Anything. And he's trying to hide his assets now.

And these two women are civic servants. They were counting ballots. And he has destroyed their lives. They've testified about it.

So, I guess I take back my sympathy.

COLLINS: I mean, it is remarkable, though, to sit here and look at this week of just, you know, this isn't related to why Donald Trump is in court, right now.

But to see the fact that Donald Trump's former attorney is going to get on the stand, and testify against him on Monday.

His other former attorney is complaining about his radio show getting canceled, because he won't stop lying about the election, when they asked him not to.


COLLINS: And also, owes $150 million in damages to election workers.

I mean, the danger of being an attorney, and Donald Trump -- I mean, they made their own choices. But it is remarkable to see that.

HONIG: It's a -- it's a perilous job.

And I guess I'll close out this long week that we had by saying this. I do have faith in the system. I do have faith in our processes. And what we've seen in that court is, as extraordinary as it is, to see former lawyers and Stormy Daniels take the stand. At bottom, this is a trial. This is what trials look like.

What you saw that day is what I saw every day for 14 years. This is a judge doing his job. These are prosecutors, by and large, doing not perfect but good jobs. Defense lawyers, same thing. The jurors seem to be attentive. This is our system. Let's let it play out.

COLLINS: And just to say, for all the times that Donald Trump comes out and says this is a corrupt judge, corrupt judge, which he basically does every day?


COLLINS: I have been in that court several times, now. The judge is incredibly fair to Donald Trump. He is sitting there, watching the proceedings closely. He steps in, when he needs to. He's not only scolding the defense. He's also chiding the prosecutors at moments. HONIG: So, I've said before, I think the judge has a conflict of interest, because he did donate $35, small amount, to defeat Donald Trump. He should have recused himself. But that's a separate issue from is he doing a good and fair job. That's a completely separate issue.

I have been very impressed by the job, Judge Merchan is doing here. He's running a fair, efficient courtroom. He's giving both parties a fair trial.

COLLINS: Elie Honig, thank you.

HONIG: Thank you.

COLLINS: Get some rest before Monday.

HONIG: See you next week.

COLLINS: Ahead, an important story that we're following here, on THE SOURCE, after a Black U.S. airman was shot to death, in his own home, by a Florida sheriff's deputy. Roger Fortson's family, accusing the deputy, of entering the wrong apartment. The attorney representing his family, Ben Crump, joins me next.



COLLINS: One Florida family has more questions than answers, tonight, after a new body cam video shows a sheriff's deputy, fatally shooting a Black man, a Black U.S. Airman in his own home.

This is 23-year-old Senior Airman Roger Fortson. He was in his apartment last week, when his family says that he heard a loud knock on the door. It was a sheriff's deputy, responding after they got a call for a disturbance in progress, according to the police. Police say that they responded to the correct address, a claim that, I should note, Fortson's family rejects.

Facing mounting pressure, from his loved ones over his death, a Florida sheriff released the body camera footage.

I do want to warn you that what you're about to see is disturbing. But it's important.



DEPUTY: Sheriff's office. Open the door.


DEPUTY: Sheriff's office. Open the door.

Step back. (GUNSHOTS)

DEPUTY: Drop the gun. Drop the gun.


DEPUTY: Drop the gun.

FORTSON: I don't have it.

DEPUTY: 312. Shots fired. Suspect down.


COLLINS: Fortson's family says that he was FaceTiming with his girlfriend, when he opened that door, and when he was shot.

That video was first shared with CNN.

And I want to warn you that this, this other angle, from the FaceTime recording, is also disturbing. But we want to show it to you tonight.


FORTSON: I can't breathe.

DEPUTY: Do not move, stop moving. Stop moving.


Hang on man. We got an EMS coming for you, don't move.


COLLINS: The deputy, who shot Fortson, has been placed under administrative leave, as Florida officials have opened a criminal investigation into this, and hopefully providing answers to a family that is desperate for them tonight.

I'm joined tonight, by the civil rights attorney, Ben Crump, who is representing the Fortson family.

And Ben, it's great to have you here, because Roger's mom, Meka, she was supposed to join us tonight. But she is now attending a memorial for her son. And understandably, no one can even imagine what this time is like for her, right now.

And I just wonder. I know you've been speaking with them. How's she doing?

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR ROGER FORTSON'S FAMILY: Well, Kaitlan, she's completely devastated. They are still in disbelief. His little sister, his angel, 10-years-old Harmony, and his little brother, Andre's (ph) 16. Everything he was doing, he would tell everybody he was doing for them, to give them a better life, a better chance, at the American Dream. I mean, he was living out his dream as a United States Air Force

member. He wanted to be a pilot. And so, he was doing everything right, Kaitlan. I mean, he was a model citizen, a model airman. I mean, everybody, all his colonels, everybody just talks about how remarkable this young man was. And they are in disbelief that Roger is really gone, especially in this way, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: I mean, it's almost unbelievable, and to see the body camera footage that has now been released. And I know that you were very vocal, on urging them to release that.

When the authorities are saying that the deputy here was reacting in self-defense. I mean, this is a service member, with no criminal record. He's carrying a weapon that he legally owned, in his own home. And I just have a hard time understanding how it's self-defense, given this airman was in his home, with his gun, when they approached him.

CRUMP: Yes, besides the video, that's what's so disturbing, to his mother Meka Fortson, because she's saying, you all put out this narrative that he was killed, in self-defense, almost suggesting that he was doing something wrong, that he was doing a criminal act, when he wasn't.

They try to make him out as a bad guy. But he's a good guy. I mean, everything about him, he's an American patriot.

And when you look at that video, Kaitlan, I mean, he opens the door, and they say, step back, and he steps back. He's compliant. And then, for whatever reason, without provocation, I mean, he executes Roger. I mean, he shoots six bullets, point-blank range.

And you saw Roger never moved his right hand. He was a trained military gun user. He knew about safety. And you see his left hand go up, to almost say, I'm not doing anything. He respected authority. He respected police. He complied, even when he's on the ground, after he's been shot.

And the officer is telling him, drop the weapon.

He says, I did, I don't have it.

COLLINS: Well and--

CRUMP: He never said drop the weapon, until after he has shot him.

COLLINS: Exactly. The shots are fired before the command is issued.

And so, what is the latest that you've heard from the sheriff's office? Have they -- have they made any assurances about one, answering your questions, or providing any more information about their investigation?

CRUMP: They haven't, Kaitlan. After the video was released, we raised serious questions about are they trained to deal with law-abiding citizens, who are exercising their Second Amendment rights? Because he never should have shot him, like that, just because he had

a weapon, especially in the State of Florida, where we encourage citizens, to have the Second Amendment protections of having a gun.

And then, furthermore, they were at the wrong apartment. When you watch this whole video, you see, when they get there, the woman, we believe she's from the leasing agency, she -- they asked her where's he at? They say, I'm not sure there's domestic disturbance.

We know Roger was on FaceTime, with his girlfriend, in his apartment, by himself, with his little dog. There was no disturbance there.

And then, they asked her again, and she says, after two taps, saying, I'm not sure, she says, apartment 1401.

And they go there, and then we see what transpires.


Thank God his girlfriend was recording on FaceTime video, because they continue to stain his reputation, as his mother says, talking about they were in the right apartment, and then also talking about it was self-defense.

COLLINS: Well, and Ben, what you just mentioned there, is my question also, on this, because this story has been out, for several days now. The video was released yesterday.

Have you or the Fortson family, heard anything from the NRA, from Governor DeSantis, or from any of these prominent House Republicans in Florida, who talked about that concealed carry bill that the DeSantis just signed into law not too long ago?

CRUMP: We have not heard anything from the Governor of Florida.

We have heard from Congresswoman Lucy McBath and Congressman Matt Gaetz, they both reached out to the family. It's Gaetz's district, and it's McBath's district, where he lives in Atlanta, Georgia. And everybody has said to a one, that they should not be staining his reputation.

But nobody from the NRA has said anything, because obviously, for whatever reason, this officer shot him, when he saw the gun. And America has to decide whether they shot. Many people believe they know why he's shot. But he hasn't said why he shot, and the NRA hasn't stepped up to defend this Black United States member of the Air Force rights to the Second Amendment. We are still waiting.

COLLINS: Are you saying that you believe that he was -- he was shot, because he was a Black man?

CRUMP: Well, there are questions that say, why did he shoot? And if he was a White citizen, if he was a White U.S. Airman, would have been shot, you know? We would never know.

But obviously, when you think about Botham Jean, the young Black man who was shot in his apartment, by the police woman; Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson; there are innocent Black people who are just incredible young people.


CRUMP: I mean, were doing everything right, that lives were taken away. And you have to scratch your head and say, would they have done this, if these were young White people?

COLLINS: Yes. Ben Crump, please give our regards to Meka, and tell her that we are thinking of her and her family. And we will do everything we can to help you all get those answers. Thank you for coming on, to talk about this tonight. And of course, he will be remembered as a patriot, because that's what he was.

CRUMP: Thank you very much, Kaitlan Collins.

COLLINS: Thank you, Ben Crump.

We'll continue to monitor that story. We'll continue to bring you updates here on THE SOURCE.

Also tonight, we are watching closely what is happening, extreme solar storm, something that you don't typically see if it is considered massive in strength. It could also potentially cause major problems, for your GPS system. More details ahead.



COLLINS: We're following a breaking story, on THE SOURCE, here tonight, as a solar storm is putting on a spectacular display.

This video is just in from Ipswich, England, the Northern Lights currently being supercharged, due to a series of storms on the sun. The auroras may be visible in this country for the next few nights, as far south as my home state of Alabama.

The solar storms could mean power outages, though and satellite problems. So, they are also being monitored tonight.

My source tonight on this is Paul Sutter, who is an astrophysicist and an adviser.

Paul, welcome back to THE SOURCE.

This Space Weather Prediction Center, which some people may not even know, is this division of government that we have, is now ranking this storm as a G5, which is the highest that the scale goes, and means that it's the first G5 that we have seen since 2003.

What is this actually going to look like?

PAUL SUTTER, ASTROPHYSICIST, NASA ADVISER: Yes, for just about everyone, this is going to be a delightful, wonderful event. We have an opportunity here, to witness the power of our own sun, in a completely different way.

What this means is as this storm, this storm of charged particles in electricity and magnetism, washes over the Earth, our aurorae, our Northern and Southern Lights will be much stronger and reach much further south than they normally do.

So, if you have an opportunity tonight, or tomorrow night, or even Sunday night, go outside, get away from city lights, and look to the north. If skies are clear, and the aurorae are present, you will see a greenish glow on the northern horizon. If you can't see with your naked eye, just take a picture with your phone. And your phone has a better time of picking up that greenish glow.

COLLINS: OK. So it's--

SUTTER: Normally we can't see it this far south.

COLLINS: It's not actually going to look like what the Northern Lights would look like. It'll -- you're saying it'll be a little bit of a different hue, or how bright it will be? What are they looking for?

SUTTER: Exactly. So, if you're in a pretty rather southern-ly latitudes, say, that Mid-Atlantic in the United States, the best you're going to see is a greenish glow on the horizon.

The further north you get, the more spectacular your view is going to be. So, if you're in Upper New England, or the Midwest, like Northern Minnesota, going into Canada, you might get a much more spectacular display, where you can see the billowing curtains of plasma, as these particles slam into our atmosphere. You might get a better show. But you have to go north.

COLLINS: OK. So, for a lot of people, especially those up north, this is going to be beautiful, and something really cool to see.


But what I was thinking of, and I had read about this in "The New Yorker," when they published this really fascinating report, just a few months ago on this, is basically the repercussions that a major solar storm could wreak on our planet, and what that could look like, you know? And it was basically talking about our transmissions grids, GPS systems, satellites, backup ground-to-air communications, all of that could really be under threat.

SUTTER: Absolutely, especially with a significant storm like this, like you mentioned, we haven't seen in two decades.

A storm like this primarily affects anything that is long and can carry electricity. So, our power grid itself is susceptible to huge voltage and amperage shifts. Long oil pipelines can carry big currents and can damage equipment on either end.

And then any satellites in orbit are susceptible. So, any communication from ground to satellite, the positioning of satellites, that might get degraded, we might see some damage. We might see some effects in our GPS systems over the next few days.

These storms have real impact, which is why we have offices, like the Space Weather Forecasting Center coordinate it against multiple government agencies, to monitor for exactly these kinds of events.

COLLINS: How do they monitor it? What is -- what is monitor -- how do they know when it's going to be? I mean, we all know kind of what the National Weather Service looks like, how they monitor when a hurricane is approaching. How do you know when it's going to be possibly really disruptive to everyday life?

SUTTER: Absolutely. So, we have a fleet of orbiting satellites, constantly monitoring the sun. We also have ground-based observatories that are constantly monitoring the sun. And we look at the sun, for signs of increased activity.

And when we see a lot of sunspots, we know there's the potential for these big storms. And then when we watch, we can see flares coming off this on, big bright flashes coming from these sunspot regions. That's when we know a solar storm might have been launched. And then, we can see that launch coming off of this sun, and we get a warning of a few hours, up to a few days, before the storm hits the earth.

COLLINS: Paul Sutter, I mean, it's fascinating.

And everyone should read that report in "The New Yorker," because it really sheds a lot of light on this, for those of us who are living in the unknown of it.

Thank you, Paul, for joining us.

SUTTER: Thank you.

COLLINS: And I should note, CNN is going to have special coverage of this severe solar storm. You'll be able to see what everyone else is seeing, if you're not in one of those areas up north that he was just talking about there. That's at the top of the hour on "NEWSNIGHT WITH ABBY PHILLIP." So, make sure you stay around for that.

Up next here, on the source, though, we have the mother of the U.S. soldier, who was just detained in Russia, joining us tonight, as she is fighting to bring her son back home.



COLLINS: A U.S. soldier has been detained in Russia, prompting an investigation by the Pentagon, into claims that Russian intelligence agencies may have targeted him.

A Russian court claims that Staff Sergeant, Gordon Black, will be held until at least July 2nd, for what they say is quote, suspicions of theft. That arrest comes after he left his U.S. Army unit, in South Korea, nearly a month ago. He then traveled to Russia, without the necessary clearances from the army. Of course, the State Department has warned all Americans against traveling to Russia. Black's mother says that he went there to visit his girlfriend, a Russian woman that he has known for years. And she believes that she lured him there.

Our source tonight is Melody Jones herself, that mother of detained U.S. Staff Sergeant, Gordon Black.

And Melody, thank you for coming on to talk about this. I can imagine it's a difficult time.

And I just wonder, what is the latest that you've heard from either the Pentagon or the State Department about your son?

MELODY JONES, MOTHER OF U.S. SOLDIER DETAINED IN RUSSIA: I've heard nothing, except what you guys see.

COLLINS: Oh when was--

JONES: Nobody's contacted us.

COLLINS: And so, you last heard from them, if I remember correctly? And please tell me if I don't. Last week. And they contacted you to tell you that he had been detained. Is that accurate?

JONES: Yes, yes.

COLLINS: And do you--

JONES: That is the last time.

COLLINS: Go ahead.

JONES: Go ahead.

That's the last time we've heard anything from them.

COLLINS: And what was -- what did they tell you then? Did they understand why he was being detained, besides what we heard the claim about the suspicions of theft?

JONES: No. He did not go in details, or nothing. He said he's being detained, and I'll send you an email. Right.

COLLINS: And what do you know about why he was -- why your son was traveling there?

Because as you know, of course, the State Department is telling all Americans, don't go to Russia. And the Pentagon says, he hadn't been authorized to go, which obviously, raises a lot of questions, about the trip and the danger in a trip like that one.

JONES: Right. I told him not to go, me and his stepfather both. And he's 30, going to be 35, in September. So, it's kind of hard to convince him sometimes. But he had a girlfriend there that he was going to see. COLLINS: And you haven't heard from your son either. Have you?

JONES: No. No letters, nothing.

COLLINS: I imagine--

JONES: No short phone call.

COLLINS: I imagine you're worried about him.

JONES: Oh, yes, of course. We both are. We get very little sleep because it's kind of hard to lay down to sleep when you worry all, and your mind just keeps going.

COLLINS: Yes. I can't even imagine--

JONES: You can imagine.

COLLINS: --getting a good night of sleep.

And we heard from Paul Whelan, an American, who was saying that he was worried that--



COLLINS: --he was worried about what this could mean.

Obviously, that's something we'll monitor very closely.

And Melody Jones, if you hear anything, please, please let us know.

JONES: I will do that honey.

COLLINS: Thank you. Thank you for coming on, and for joining us, tonight.

JONES: No problem.

I had something else I wanted to touch on, real quick.

COLLINS: Go ahead. But we just only have a few seconds.

JONES: Oh, OK. The Army kept sending him there, knowing this was going on, the violence and stuff. And they kept sending him back to South Korea. So, I just wanted to touch on that real quick.

COLLINS: Melody Jones, we'll continue to stay in touch with you. Thank you so much for joining us, tonight.

JONES: Thank you.

COLLINS: And thank you all so much, for joining us.

CNN's special coverage of that solar storm starts right now on "NEWSNIGHT."