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Top Detective: Chauvin's Use Of Force "Totally Unnecessary"; Major League Baseball Moves All-Star Game Over Georgia Voting Law; Interview With Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA); Suspect In Capitol Car Attack Posted He Lost His Job, Believed Government Was Targeting Him With "Mind Control"; Source: Investigators Pursuing Allegations That Gaetz May Have Used Cash & Drugs In His Dealings With Young Women; Police Chokeholds In The Spotlight At Derek Chauvin Trial. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 3, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.
It's the most closely watched criminal trial in the country right now. Second and third degree murder charges facing the now former Minneapolis police officer who pressed a knee into George Floyd's neck until he died.
Jurors this week were shown videos recorded by bystanders and police body cameras of the agonizing final minutes of George Floyd's life, 19 witnesses over five days of testimony. Some of the most damning words coming from the most-senior police officer in the entire city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: What is your, you know, your view of that use of force during that time period?
LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, HOMICIDE OFFICER, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: Totally unnecessary.
FRANK: What do you mean?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, first of all, pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: CNN security correspondent Josh Campbell joins me now.
Josh, first of all, the top homicide detective in the city of Minneapolis saying what Officer Chauvin das was totally unnecessary, those are very impactful words.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, my friend. Great to be with you on you are inaugural show.
As you mentioned, impactful words from that senior police officer, and they are devastating to the defense. Those two key witnesses that were called this week, senior officers, Derek Chauvin's fellow officers, completely rejecting this notion that he was somehow acting under policy when he held George Floyd on the pavement for over nine minutes.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): The family of George Floyd kneeling in protest Monday just hours before testimony began in the trial of Derek Chauvin. The former police officer accused of murdering their loved ones.
Prosecutors open with a video that sparked a worldwide movement, capturing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck, which they say killed him.
JERRY BLACKWELL, SPECIAL ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: You can believe your eyes that it's a homicide. It's murder.
CAMPBELL: Chauvin's attorney argued the video doesn't tell the whole story, that Floyd died of underlying heart condition and --
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: The ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and adrenaline flowing through his body.
CAMPBELL: New video from the scene, an emotional testimony, seem to drive the prosecution's case.
Michael Charles McMillian the man heard on body camera video pleading with Floyd to give into police.
CHARLES MCMILLIAN, EYEWITNESS: I feel helpless. I don't a mama, either, and I understand him.
CAMPBELL: Also heard for the first time since the beginning of the trial, Chauvin himself on police body camera footage, as he defends his treatment of Floyd to McMillian.
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: I have to control this guy. He's a sizable guy. It looks like he's probably on something.
CAMPBELL: Arguably, the strongest testimony came from members of the Minneapolis Police Department. Sergeant David Pleoger, now retired, was a supervising officer on duty. He was asked if Chauvin followed protocol.
STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: Do you have an opinion to when the restrain of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?
SGT. DAVID PLOEGER (RET.), CHAUVIN'S FORMER SUPERVISOR: Yes.
SCHLEICHER: What is it?
PLOEGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint.
SCHLEICHER: And that after he was handcuffed, on the ground, no longer resisting?
CAMPBELL: The jury also heard from 35-year police veteran Richard Zimmerman, who testified it was totally unnecessary for Chauvin to kneel on Floyd's neck after he had been handcuffed, calling it deadly use of force.
FRANK: Once you handcuff somebody, does that affect the amount of force that you should consider using?
FRANK: How so?
ZIMMERMAN: Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down.
CAMPBELL: Chauvin's attorney attempted to undermine Zimmerma's credibility, arguing that Zimmerman is a detective, not a patrol officer.
NELSON: And it would not be within your normal role or job duties to do such a use of force analysis, right?
ZIMMERMAN: That's correct.
CAMPBELL: During a week of testimony, a common emotion emerged from some of the eyewitnesses -- remorse.
Christopher Martin was a cashier who suspected Floyd handed him a fake $20 bill, an interaction that initiated the police response.
The teenager was asked what he feels now about the encounter.
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, STORE CASHIER: Disbelief and guilt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why guilt?
MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.
CAMPBELL (on camera): And, Jim, to take your viewers inside that courtroom, I was in the trial for part of this week and I was seated directly behind Chauvin. He sat still throughout much of the trial, sometimes taking notes. Interestingly it was when his own video and audio were played for the jury from that police body camera, he started to fidget, his legs were moving wildly, looked away from the screen. For their part, the jury is taking this trial very seriously. They're
taking copious notes, paying attention to the exhibits, to the witnesses, no doubt understanding the gravity of the case and the verdict they will have to render at a trial watched around the world -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Absolutely, Josh. And that was a great look at what was a heartbreaking week in this trial. Josh Campbell, thanks so much for that.
Joining me now is Attorney Chris Stewart. He represents the family of George Floyd.
Chris, thanks for joining us.
This testimony has been graphic as we just saw in that Josh Campbell piece. The videos are very difficult for the country to watch. I mean, I was watching the trial this week and it is just devastating to see witness after witness breaking down on the stand in that fashion, still all these months later after George Floyd's death.
How's this been for the family of George Floyd? Having to sit through all of this.
CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY FOR FLOYD FAMILY: Painful. Their lawyers, our team had seen the videos and cried and been upset but for them to see it again and again and again is heart breaking but it's worth it if they get justice at the end.
ACOSTA: And I want do ask you about the testimony we heard and that the jurors heard before going home for the weekend. This is the senior-most officer on the minneapolis police force. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Based on the review of the body worn videos of the incident?
LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT HOMICIDE OFFICER: Yes.
FRANK: And directing attention to that moment when Mr. Floyd is placed on the ground.
FRANK: What is your view of that use of force in that time period?
ZIMMERMAN: Totally unnecessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: We saw all that heart breaking testimony all week, but that is a very experienced police officer there saying in so uncertain terms this is unnecessary. STEWART: It was powerful. I mean, think about it, Jim, this is an
actual ranking police officer, the highest in the department saying it was unnecessary, there was no threat from the crowd. This is a person you listen to. Everybody's getting ready for the experts but they're hired to say what they're saying, so listen to the actual officers.
ACOSTA: And do you think it's possible that Chauvin could be acquitted after the testimony that we saw this past week?
STEWART: It would take a juror who has not been listening, who already made up their mind before it started and who doesn't believe in justice or doesn't believe that George Floyd was murdered right in front of their eyes. But I don't think that happened. I think that they picked a good jury. Everyone was ready to listen and with this testimony it's impossible.
ACOSTA: And i want do get your thoughts on this. The prosecution played never before seen recordings of comment that is Chauvin made after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance as a part of a call to a supervisor at the time. Let's watch this footage real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: We go to control this guy because he's a sizable guy.
CHAUVIN: It looks like he's probably on something.
I was going to call you and have you come out to the scene here. Not really but we just had to hold a guy down. He was -- het was -- going crazy. Wouldn't go in the back of the squad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And what do you hope, Chris, that the jurors took away from these recordings? That is pretty critical footage there.
STEWART: Two huge things from that. Listen to how nervous he sounds. He's coughing, he's choking on his own words because he knows he's lying.
Secondly, a big thing that he says, he admitted that he thought George Floyd was on something. That affects your use of force, so now he knows this person may be under the influence of something and should be monitoring the health, the breathing, issues that come as he has him on the ground, but he didn't do that, but he can sit in court every day and take notes every single word but he can't check someone's pulse? It's ridiculous.
ACOSTA: Now, we're seeing glimpses of the defense strategy and it appears to rely heavily on Floyd's alleged drug use.
It appears to try to go after his character. This is Chauvin's defense team cross-examining a clerk from Cup Foods. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: You formed the opinion that Mr. Floyd was under the influence of something?
NELSON: And you base that on sort of I think you said a delay in his speech and response, right?
NELSON: In your interviews, you also indicated that he was having some trouble with certain words?
MARTIN: Correct. He was trying to form the words.
NELSON: Right. So he was delayed in his speech. You believed him to be under the influence of something?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: What is your response to this line of defense?
STEWART: It's the desperation defense. What if he was just mentally ill? Do you deserve to die then? What if he was drunk, do you deserve to die? In America, you don't get killed from being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, mentally ill, whatever it may be, you don't get executed for that.
So it's just desperation. I mean, look at it. They're throwing the fire department under the bus. They're throwing the officers under the bus. They're throwing policing under the bus. They're willing to say in order to get him off and desperation is not going to win.
ACOSTA: Chris, I want to ask you an important question because we'll see more of this from the defense. What is that going to be like for the Floyd family if they're watching this defense team go after their loved one over and over again to try to mount some sort of defense to get Chauvin often?
STEWART: Oh, we prepared them for it. You know, this is what happens -- this is what happens in all of these cases. You know, Walter Scott like this. It was on the news. People are watching it.
I mean, you have to be prepared for it, because they're going to throw everything but the kitchen sink. You know, they're desperate. You know, their own officers said what they did was wrong. You'll hear more officers say in what they did was wrong. America is saying what they did was wrong.
But you can't accept that he's going to have to pay the price for murdering someone. ACOSTA: OK, Chris Stewart, thank you so much for that. We appreciate
it. We'll talk to you again soon and have a good weekend. Appreciate it.
Coming up, playing hard ball, Major League Baseball pulls the all-star out of Georgia, gave them the hook, over the state's controversial voting bill and now former President Trump telling the supporters to boycott America's pastime.
We'll see how that works.
ACOSTA: And we're learning that Major League Baseball's decision to pull the all-star game out of Georgia will cost the state more than $100 million. This according to a state tourism official. The MLB is moving the game over Georgia's controversial new voting law which among other things allows state officials to take over local election boards and makes it illegal to give people food and water while they wait in line to vote in those elections in that state.
And Georgia's Republican governor just held a news conference a short while ago slamming the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: Georgians and all Americans should know what this decision means. It means cancel culture and partisan activists are coming for your business. Major League Baseball, Coca- Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not. I want to be clear. I will not be backing down from this fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now from Atlanta.
Natasha, you asked the governor specifically about this issue of voter fraud which has been peddled out time and again even though there weren't any instances of widespread voter fraud found in the 2020 election. What did he have to say?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, first, congratulations on this show.
Yes, I did ask him about that and he didn't answer that question directly. He said people have different opinions about what happened in the 2020 elections. Here's a little bit more from that exchange with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Is the timing of this based on your belief that there was some fraud in recent elections in Georgia? KEMP: I realize people have all kind of difference of opinions and
beliefs about the 2020 election. But make no mistake. There were issues that happened on the election like they do in every election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: He said it was a sad day for Major League Baseball, terrible for the organization, for local businesses here that were really hoping that this all-star game would boost them after a difficult pandemic year. He also said that Major League Baseball should have come to him about specific complaints of the law. So, I asked him if MLB had done that, was there any part of the bill to adjust. And he said that was a question with a nonexistent situation since MLB did not do that.
Of course, other critics have talked about being disappointed in this decision but also understanding where Major League Baseball is coming from. We talked to the Cobb County travel organization. They said that they estimate more than $100 million may be lost because of the all- star game pulling out of Georgia.
Someone else asked at the press conference what Governor Kemp feels about a possible snowball effect of other businesses pulling out of Georgia, he doubled down and said that he would stand up and fight this.
At the same time, you have other major athletes, politicians chiming in here. Let me read a tweet from former President Obama. He said today: Congratulations to MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There's no better way for America's pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron who always led by example.
And just to note, MLB still plans on honoring Hank Aaron.
And they said that the investments to local communities in Atlanta, those projects will still continue regardless, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Natasha Chen, thanks. And remember, they did this in Georgia as a response to Donald Trump losing the election. He lost fair and square. There were no instances of widespread voter fraud. And now, Georgia is paying the consequences for it just because there are some politicians who can't get over the fact that Donald Trump lost.
All right. Natasha, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia. She is the first black woman to represent Georgia's 5th congressional district, the seat once held by civil rights icon, John Lewis.
Congresswoman, obviously, no one wants to see your state's economy damaged but it looks like the Georgia economy will lose, as Natasha was just mentioning, $100 million because of this. As painful as it is, will it take these major corporations doing this, pulling business out of that -- out of your state to get the type of meaningful change that you want?
REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Well, first, congratulations on the show, Jim. Happy to be here today.
ACOSTA: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: I mean, I listened to the remarks from Governor Kemp and it doesn't matter how many times he repeats this over and over again. It doesn't make it true that this is anybody's fault other than his own. He had an opportunity to get this right and he failed to stand up for the people.
So, saying that Major League Baseball should have talked to him, what about the people of the state that were raising their voices? That were making sure that he heard from them? That he was not willing to listen to. That's who Major League Baseball is standing up for. And so, I always applaud activism.
And so, I know that there are two sides to this issue. So, he can say that people have differences of opinions about the November 2020 election. There's no differences of opinions. There's facts, Donald Trump lost. We recounted the votes. He lost again. We counted them a third time and he still lost.
And they rewrote the election laws in Georgia responding to Donald Trump's big lie. And so, now, here we are as a state suffering the consequences because Brian Kemp and his Republican Party is still uplifting Trump's big lie.
ACOSTA: And former President Trump still sounds like a sore loser. He issued the statement after the game urging his followers to, quote, we put this up on screen, boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with free and fair elections.
Are you listening Coke, Delta and all?
And then there was this from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. This is almost too stupid to put on television, but we'll read it because this is as an indication of how crazy this issue has gotten for some people.
I've decided to identify as Chinese, the former governor of Arkansas says. Coke will like me. Delta will agree with my values, and I'll probably get shoes from Nike and tickets to MLB games. Ain't America great?
What's your reaction to some of those responses that we're seeing?
WILLIAMS: You know what, Jim? They're trying to make a joke out of this and they're trying to minimize the issue at hand. And what I look at that's happening right now, this is our civil rights moment. If you ever wonder as a corporation, as a person which side of the civil rights movement you would have been on had you been alive during that time, this is your chance to find out.
So, there are no two sides of this issue. You are either on the side of democracy or you are not. And so, it is time for everyone in this country to stand up.
We can't change what already happened with SB 202 in Georgia but we have HR-1 right now that has already passed the House, going in the Senate right now. We have an opportunity to get this right and we can make sure that everybody in this country has equal, fair access to the ballot box.
ACOSTA: And, Congresswoman, I want your take on this. We've been following the case of Georgia State Representative Park Cannon. Let's look at some of this video.
She is now potentially facing eight years in prison if convicted of two felony charges for trying to witness that bill signing by Governor Brian Kemp. She was knocking on the door there and then put in handcuffs by the police officers.
You yourself were arrested at the state Capitol back in 2018 for protesting voter suppression and the contentious election between Kemp and Stacey Abrams, two very similar scenes three years apart. It has to be frustrating.
What is your response to what you saw earlier this week?
WILIAMS: When people show you who they are, Jim, we should believe them.
Brian Kemp has a history of voter suppression. Brian Kemp has a history of being at the forefront of having black elected officials, women, arrested at their jobs and taken to jail.
And we're not going to stand down. They can't silence us by trying to remove us from the Capitol, taking us to jail. It only gives us more resolve to keep fighting for the people.
That's what I'm doing in Congress and I'm not going to stop until I make sure that everyone in this country has free and fair access to the ballot.
ACOSTA: Yeah. I wonder what's going to happen when people start bringing folks cookies while they're standing in line to vote.
But let me move on to the situation of Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz who's under investigation by the DOJ for sex trafficking allegations.
We now have additional CNN reporting that Gaetz was allegedly showing off photos and videos of naked women he had slept to other lawmakers. This is almost too embarrassing to ask you about, Congresswoman, but apparently, some of this happened on the House floor where you're serving, in Congress.
What is your reaction to all of these sordid allegations?
WILLIAMS: Well, one, I guess this is a good thing that I never had a conversation with the congressman and probably would not be able to pick him out since we all wear masks on the floor, but this is -- this is what we've become in this country when we allow one political party to not respect the government, the foundations of our government.
The Republican Party right now needs to do a reflection on itself. Look at the leaders that they sent to Washington, D.C. Look at the issues they push across the country and most of them are not fit to serve. And they need to evaluate if they really want to be in this body.
We're at a critical moment in our country's history and we need to make some tough decisions and the Republican Party has a lot of self- reflecting to do.
ACOSTA: All right. Congresswoman, strong words there. Stay with me. We have more to discuss. I want you to stand by.
Coming up, disturbing details about the suspect who rammed his car into the officers at the Capitol? His online rantings about the FBI, CIA and mind control. We'll discuss that with the congresswoman.
ACOSTA: The nation's Capitol once again on high alert following a deadly attack after the January 6th insurrection.
This time, a man ran his car into a barricade killing police officer, Capitol Police officer, Michael Evans, a father of two and an 18-year veteran of the force. Another was injured in the attack.
The 25-year-old suspect was shot and killed by police after he ran towards officers brandishing a knife.
The motive remains unclear. But CNN has learned, just this past week, the suspect ranted online about the CIA and the FBI, claiming to be a victim of mind control.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is following the latest developments for us up on Capitol Hill.
Boris, what more are we learning about the suspect?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, investigators are working to uncover more evidence as we speak. But so far, here is what we know. It was 25-year-old Noah Green that carried out this assault on the capitol yesterday. He was living in Virginia.
And according to a social media post discovered by CNN, tied to Green, his mind in the weeks before this attack had been unraveling.
I want to show you a couple of these posts. In them, he writes about the FBI and CIA and the U.S. government creating terrible afflictions. He also talks about mind control as well.
And he posted this. It's a video of Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. And it's labeled as "The U.S. government is the number-one enemy of black people."
So far, we don't totally know his motivations. You can see that he clearly had an antipathy for the U.S. government. But investigators are trying to figure out what might have incited him. If he had any specific targets.
And if there was anyone out there that he may have been working with or that may have given him some advice or counseled his aggression in this case -- Jim?
ACOSTA: And, Boris, the attack is raising new questions about security on the capitol, and whether it was the right move to remove some of the fencing.
That, understandably, has driven everybody in crazy in Washington, but was put up in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection for everybody's security.
What happens to that discussion now, do you think?
SANCHEZ: Lawmakers for several weeks now have been complaining about the added security and all of the barriers around the U.S. capitol.
Of course, you know, if you watch closely and look at the scene of where this happened, Green's car wouldn't have been able to access that point if the barriers had still been up.
Of course, notably, there's a conversation about whether the U.S. capitol is now an active target. And that may be the sad reality.
But today, they put the barriers back up, including very heavy concrete reinforcements. And of course, thousands of National Guard on hand just footprints from the capitol -- Jim?
ACOSTA: We certainly want to keep everybody safe, including you have up on Capitol Hill, members of Congress, all the staffers up there who are working hard every day.
Boris Sanchez, thanks for that update. We appreciate it.
Democratic Congresswoman Nikema Williams, if Georgia, is back with me. She had been in office only three days when the capitol insurrection broke out on January 6th. Since then, has received threats that warrant around-the-clock security.
Congresswoman, there's a lot of folks in the press who can relate to that.
I can't imagine what it must be like to live through such a horrible ideal on January 6th, and then, less than three months later, hear of another deadly attack up on Capitol Hill.
What was your reaction to what happened yesterday?
WILLIAMS: First, my heart goes out to the family of the Capitol Police office and all of the officers who are grieving, having lost a colleague yesterday. No one goes to work thinking they won't return home.
When I had to call my chief of staff yesterday because she was in the office and ask her if she was OK. I could hear it in her voice she wasn't OK. She is there to help me serve my district, and yet, it feels like she's under a constant assault.
Yesterday, my son got out of school, out of kindergarten. Spring break started. He wanted to go for a walk in our neighborhood. Our neighbor today was, like, Carter, I saw you walking your dog. He said, that wasn't me. That was the security guard. He's holding Ginger.
The fact that I can't even walk down my sidewalk with my son down the sidewalk to walk our dog without armed security behind me because that's what it's come to in our country right now.
People are targeting members of Congress. And the very symbol of our democracy is under attack.
ACOSTA: It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.
Let me ask you this. There's been a big battle over the fencing and the razor wire around the capitol. People in the neighborhood don't like seeing it.
Senate majority (sic) leader, Mitch McConnell, says the security measures remind him of Kabul, Afghanistan. Obviously, it wouldn't be that way if they didn't have the insurrection on January 6th.
I get that nobody wants to feel like they're living in a war zone. But at this point, do you believe all the fencing needs to stay up? What could they do about all of that fencing?
WILLIAMS: After what I saw yesterday, I definitely think we need to reassess what our threat levels are and see what we need to have in place.
Because I want my staff to feel safe when they're walking back and forth from the metro to get to work. Right now I don't know what that safety looks like.
We have not received information to determine what the next steps are. We need to make sure we are keeping people safe.
My Republican colleagues can help us in that. And talking to some of the people that support them and making sure that they understand that everything they're still fighting about online and through the state legislatures was based on a lie, but they still haven't admitted that.
It's hard to move forward as a country when we have an entire political party that is still campaigning for the midterms based on a lie.
ACOSTA: As you know -- I don't have to tell you this -- we're living through an incredibly polarized time. Some have tried to whitewash the events of January 6th.
But the reality is five people have died. Officers have been horrifically injured. Members of Congress, as you were saying about your own personal situation, afraid for their lives.
As someone who has had to have security not just at work, but at home, you were talking about your family, your kids a few moments ago, what do you tell your family about where mom goes to work? Do they have questions?
WILLIAMS: My son is only 5, but he's quite precocious 5-year-old, and he asks lots of questions. He ends up explaining it to neighbors and people at school about why mommy has security and why there's an extra person in the carpool lane when I'm picking him up from school. So it has become a part of our life.
It's very sad that a 5-year-old has to deal with this reality at such a young age. But I want to make sure that when we are here and going about our day of just watering the plants in the front yard, that we are safe.
Unfortunately, this is something that I have to pay for to make sure I'm safe. I don't get security through the United States Congress. This is something I personally have to make sure is taken care of.
ACOSTA: Congresswoman Nikema Williams, thank you for sharing that part of it, too. It's so important to understand what you and your family are personally going through as well. You are human beings, even if there are folks out there who don't see it that way.
And we appreciate you spending all this time with us this afternoon. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Jim.
ACOSTA: And happy Easter.
Coming up, more on the deepening scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, including allegations of sex trafficking, cash payments, and drugs.
ACOSTA: New details are emerging on the investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and possible prostitution and sex trafficking crimes, including an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old.
CNN has obtained audiotape of Gaetz praising a Florida politician who has been charged with sex trafficking.
And CNN's legal affairs correspondent and one of our newest team members, Paula Reid, has the very latest on this story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA REID, CNN LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The federal investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz for possible prostitution and sex trafficking crimes, including an alleged relationship with a minor, now centering around his friendship with this man, Joel Greenberg.
JOEL GREENBERG, FORMER TAX COLLECTOR: It really is an honor to be here today.
REID: In addition, investigators believe that Greenberg, a former Seminole County, Florida, tax collector, recruited multiple women online for sex. And that he introduced the women, who received cash payments, to Gaetz, who had sex with them, too, according to "The New York Times."
"The Times" said it reviewed Apple Pay and Cash App receipts that show Gaetz and Greenberg made payments to one of the women and one payment from Greenberg to a different woman.
In a statement, Gaetz's office said, "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex. Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting investigations completely."
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you are dating, who are of legal age, is not a crime.
REID: But a source telling CNN investigators are examining whether any federal campaign money was involved in paying for travel and expenses for the women.
Gaetz and Greenberg have been friends for years, posting photos together.
And Gaetz even telling a local radio station that Greenberg would make a good member of Congress in 2017.
GAETZ (voice-over): If Joel were to run for Seminole County, I think he becomes the next congressman from the 7th District.
REID: The duo, according to a Florida lawmaker, leaving an unsolicited voicemail on her cell phone. She gave a recording of the message to CNN.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
GREENBERG: This is your favorite tax collector. I'm up in the panhandle with your favorite U.S. congressman, Mr. Gaetz.
GAETZ: Hi, Anna.
GREENBERG: And we were just chatting about you and talking about your lovely qualities and your --
GAETZ: We think you're the future of the Democratic Party in Florida.
(END AUDIO FEED)
REID: Additionally, information that may connect Gaetz to a fake ID scheme at the center of Greenberg's case was presented to federal investigators at a meeting last year, sources familiar tells CNN.
Greenberg had entered a plea of not guilty. Attorneys for Greenberg and Gaetz had no comment.
In addition to the federal investigation, multiple sources told CNN Gaetz showed lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he claimed to have slept with. One source saying Gaetz shared the images on his phone while on the floor of the House.
(on camera): Gaetz finds himself with few public allies.
And even though Gaetz has been one of the most-vocal Trump supporters, so far, the former president has remained silent amid his escalating set of scandals that could potentially end Gaetz's political career.
Paula Reid, at CNN, Washington.
ACOSTA: And coming up, CNN's Gary Tuchman goes to the experts to learn more about the police tactic that can easily turn tragic. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO LUJAN, COACH & TRAINER, PRO EDGE BOXING & MMA GYM: But once I change my toe position, now you can see his face squirming. If I'm like this, his face is fine. He's fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Plus, witness the powerful story of Beulah Mae Donald and her historic victory against the Ku Klux Klan. "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE KLAN" premieres with back-to-back episodes, Sunday, April 11, at 9:00 p.m.
ACOSTA: All week, prosecutors have put video of George Floyd's death front and center, including those nine and a half minutes in a choke hold.
It's the type of submission that even the most-highly trained fighters will tell you can go horribly wrong very fast.
CNN's Gary Tuchman talked to the experts. You won't want to miss this piece.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the Pro Edge Boxing and MMA Gym in Phoenix, Arizona. And with us right now is a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu. This is Coach Mario Lujan. He works here. He is a trainer.
LUJAN: Part of MMA. One hundred percent.
TUCHMAN: And why do you teach them? What is the purpose of teaching chokehold?
LUJAN: A chokehold is one way to end a fight without any serious violence and you can do it without serious injury.
TUCHMAN: OK. But you have to do it ethically?
LUJAN: You have to be responsible about it.
TUCHMAN: You have to be responsible.
Just tell me what you teach.
LUJAN: One basic chokehold we do is called a rear-naked choke. When I'm behind my opponent, I bring my forearm in front of his throat underneath the chin. My hand grabs onto my bicep to lock the position. I bring my other hand behind his head.
From here, I slowly start to squeeze. When my opponent taps, I need to release.
TUCHMAN: What's another one you teach?
LUJAN: Another basic choke is called a front guillotine. So I want to have my opponent's head in a down position. I get him in a basic front headlock. Grab my other hand. I slowly start to squeeze. Again, my opponent taps.
TUCHMAN: But that's legitimate?
LUJAN: And I've got to release.
TUCHMAN: That's ethical?
LUJAN: These are all ethical.
TUCHMAN: You've trained with police officers. You know what they go through.
TUCHMAN: They're taught to do it like this. They're not taught to do it like what was done in Minnesota.
LUJAN: No, definitely not.
TUCHMAN: With one of your associates here, the manager in this gym, I want you to show me what not to do.
LUJAN: Okay. Definitely.
TUCHMAN (voice over): When Coach Mario looks at the Derek Chauvin videotape, this is what he sees.
LUJAN: He had his knee here on his arm. His other knee was right across his neck here.
I'm being light. You can see where I'm on my toes, right here because I'm being light. I'm being nice to him.
But once I change my toe position, now you can see his face squirming. If I'm like this, his face is fine. He is fine.
But what I believe the officer should have done was this here, on the shoulder blade, ham control, right, and he's here. George isn't going anywhere, especially with three other officers here. He is stuck in this position.
I keep the head control so he can't move in certain directions. But as you can clearly see, once I change my foot position, and I start to put the pressure.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So I take it you were horrified when you saw that video tape?
LUJAN: I was like, "Oh my god."
It was completely unnecessary. He didn't have to have his knee on his neck.
TUCHMAN: What do you teach your students never to do?
LUJAN: Hold the choke. As soon as somebody taps, you need to release the choke.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Phoenix.
ACOSTA: Very important message there.
And coming up, Dr. Anthony Fauci will join me live in the CNN NEWSROOM. He is coming up as the CDC issues new travel guidance for fully vaccinated Americans. What is safe and what is not? Don't miss our conversation with Dr. Fauci. It's coming up next.
ACOSTA: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. This just into CNN, the very latest COVID vaccine data from the CDC.