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MLB To Announce All-Star Game Location; Chauvin Murder Trial Live Coverage. Aired 9:30-10a ET.
Aired April 6, 2021 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Major League Baseball appears to have a new home for this year's all-star game. According to multiple reports, the league is expected to announce Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies in Denver, as the new host of the midsummer classic.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The game was, of course, originally set to take place in Atlanta, Georgia, but the MLB moved the game and the league's draft as well -- those are big moneymakers -- in response to Georgia's recently passed law that places new restrictions on voting in that state.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us now with more.
So this is all set. It's going to be Denver, it's not going to be Atlanta?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what the reports are right now coming out of local media at this point, Jim. And, look, politicians out of Colorado seem to be all but confirming that. CNN has not independently confirmed the move but we are told that the expectation is that an announcement will come today.
And according to media in Colorado, that announcement will be that they are moving the Major League Baseball all-star game this summer from Atlanta to Denver. And the reasons are obviously beyond the high altitude at-bats we'll be seeing there.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis did issue a statement saying, like so many Coloradans, I'm excited and hopeful that Major League Baseball makes the best decision and formally chooses to play the 2021 all-star game in Denver. It would be good for baseball and good for Colorado.
Now, when this announcement started leaking last night, we did see some -- to be fair -- intellectually dishonest comparisons of Georgia voting legislation that just passed and the current laws in Colorado. Now, look, to be fair here, there are some differences when it comes to in-person voting but that's because the state of Colorado votes almost entirely by mail. It also has some of the best turnout in the entire country. They send a ballot to every eligible voter in Colorado. They also have same-day registration and drop boxes located everywhere.
They, again, have some of the best turnout in the entire country.
And so we have seen some of this fallback, some of this blowback. Again, we saw just yesterday the governor of Texas saying that they wouldn't -- he would not throw out the first pitch for the Rangers game.
SCIUTTO: Dianne, apologies to interrupt. We're going to take you back to the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, just beginning now. There's the judge speaking, waiting for an appearance via Zoom. And there he is, Morries Hall, who was in the car with Floyd when police arrested him. Confronted, rather. Let's listen in.
ADRIENNE COUSINS, PUBLIC DEFENDER: Mr. Hall has been subpoenaed as a witness in this case by both the prosecution and defense. Defense counsel in their opening statement specifically named Mr. Hall and told the jury that they intend to call him and previewed what that testimony they believe would be.
So in order to avoid any kind of delay or interruption in these proceedings, I notified all parties that Mr. Hall would be invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination were he called to testify. I then subsequently filed my notice, my motion to quash the subpoena.
Your Honor, at this point in time, Mr. Hall has no immunity. He has been provided no immunity, no protection for his testimony whatsoever. And because of that, Mr. Hall is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in several key areas of questioning that we believe he would face were he to be called to testify.
JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA DISTRICT COURT: Well, let's stop you there. You said on certain areas that he would testify to. And so there are some topics that would not incriminate him, is that correct?
COUSINS: Your Honor, the -- I cannot envision any topics that Mr. Hall would be called to testify on that would be both relevant to the case that would not incriminate him.
CAHILL: Well, that's ultimately the court's decision, correct?
COUSINS: But as --
CAHILL: And that's on a question by question basis, is that correct? COUSINS: Yes, your honor.
All right, go ahead. I interrupted you.
COUSINS: No, that's OK, Judge.
And just, for brevity, I wanted to outline those areas that I believe Mr. Hall may face questioning. The first area where he would be invoking his privilege against self-incrimination is any activities that took place on May 25, 2020, both before and after police arrived.
COUSINS: Mr. Hall's testimony in these matters would specifically put him in the position of being in very close proximity to Mr. Floyd. There's an allegation here that Mr. Floyd ingested a controlled substance as police were removing him from the car. A car, by the way, that has been searched twice and to my understanding drugs have been found in that car twice.
This leaves Mr. Hall potentially incriminating himself into a future prosecution for third degree murder. And specifically that's 609.195 Subdivision B, and that statute, as the court is well aware, covers third-degree murder liability for someone who is involved in drug activity that eventually leads into an overdose.
And that statute is broad, Judge. It does not just include the situation where, a, sells drugs to b, b then succumbs to an overdose. In fact, it includes any activity directly or indirectly unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing or administering a controlled substance classified as a schedule one or two.
So that statute is broad, Judge, and it has been interpreted broadly by Minnesota courts. Again, it's not just that a and b situation. In fact, anyone who can be pointed to as a link in the chain of distribution, someone who prepares drugs for someone else, someone who acts as a go between can be implicated in third-degree murder.
And so any of the activities that Mr. Hall would be testifying about throughout that day and including before police arrived on May 25, 2020, could potentially incriminate him in that charge, not to mention drug sales and drug use.
Additionally, the other area of testimony in which Mr. Hall would be invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege is any personal knowledge that he has of drug use by George Floyd, up until and including May 25th for the exact same reason, Judge, it leaves him open to exposure on potential future third-degree murder charge. Any testimony regarding his activities with Mr. Floyd could leave him open to potentially incriminating himself.
CAHILL: All right. I think what I'm going to do is ask Mr. Nelson to list for the court the topics and areas and whether there's something outside of what you just outlined. So maybe there is some common ground there. And so if you can just switch places.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your Honor, it would be the defense intent to inquire of Mr. Hall as to the following, certainly any events leading up to their -- Mr. Hall and Mr. Floyd's arrival at Cup Foods earlier in the day where they were, what they were doing. Mr. Hall's interactions with Mr. Floyd in the Cup Foods, including whether either party gave the other a counterfeit bill.
Whether or not Mr. Hall gave, sold or otherwise provided Mr. Floyd with controlled substances. Specifically whether Mr. Floyd, his behavior in the car, Mr. Hall previously described that Mr. Floyd was falling asleep, that it was sudden. I would ask him questions about Mr. Hall's previous statements to law enforcement that -- that Mr. Floyd had indicated he did not intend to -- or that he was planning on taking these pills later when they got home, implying that Mr. Floyd took them before they left.
Mr. Hall describes seeing Mr. Floyd go for the ignition when the police arrived, so his behaviors in the car at the time police arrived. Mr. Hall, I would intend to ask him about giving false names to police officers after they were intervened, after the police intervened.
Mr. Hall is seen on a security camera taking something out of his backpack and throwing it. I would ask him about those and what it was that he threw. And I would also ask Mr. Hall about his decision to leave Minnesota immediately after this incident and his subsequent apprehension by the Texas Rangers.
CAHILL: Well, let me focus on a couple things. I think you would agree that any questions that he answers about the counterfeit bill falls within his -- could incriminate him. Would you agree with that?
CAHILL: Also the false information he gave to the police, he would have a legitimate invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights there as well.
CAHILL: And what he took out of the backpack, that that's a legitimate Fifth Amendment privilege to invoke there.
CAHILL: Flight as a -- as circumstantial evidence of guilt, you would agree that his fleeing to Texas, if you went into motives, as opposed to simply traveling to Texas, that that could be considered incriminating, would you agree with that?
CAHILL: The use and possession of drugs by both of them during that day, that could incriminate him based on counsel's representation, would you agree with that?
CAHILL: It seems like just about everything that you want to ask him, except the following, you would have a legitimate right to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against, compelled self-incrimination. And that being how George Floyd appeared when he was back in the car and the falling asleep suddenly. Would you --
NELSON: Well, I mean I -- the --
CAHILL: And I'm sure counsel is going to see it as incriminating.
CAHILL: But --
NELSON: I -- I do not believe that that in and of itself incriminates Mr. Hall in terms of a description of Mr. Floyd falling asleep. But the implication being that because fentanyl was found in Mr. Floyd's system, that -- and it causes a person to fall asleep, that that would be ostensibly connected to ingestion of controlled substances. So, I mean, remote leap perhaps, I would argue, but not in and of itself.
CAHILL: All right.
Ms. Cousins, would you --
And, unfortunately, you don't have the benefit of having sat through all the testimony, but it appears that this would be a proper invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights for just about everything Mr. Nelson was talking about.
The one exception appears to be his observations sitting in the passenger seat of the car as how Mr. Floyd appeared, that he was falling asleep and that it happened suddenly. Very narrow. And the reason why I'm -- I say that is because we have kind of a parallel testimony from a clerk in the store who said Mr. Floyd appeared good natured, seemed to be having a good day, but he did appear to be high. I don't even think I'd allow counsel to ask whether he appeared high because that could inform some kind of opinion and infer a basis that he knew why he was under the influence.
But it seems to me that just his description -- Mr. Hall's description of -- like the store clerk -- is not going to incriminate him if there's no questioning about how he had -- why he fell asleep, why he thinks he fell asleep, that there were drugs in the car, that he knew there were drugs in the car, that there was any possession by Mr. Floyd of drugs that day that he saw.
If we totally avoid the word drugs and just have Mr. Hall say, I was the passenger in the car, which is already clear. There's video and evidence, just for your knowledge, that Mr. Hall is in the passenger seat and is removed by the police. Beyond that, if that were established that he was the passenger when
the police came up to the car, what was Mr. Floyd's condition immediately that he observed immediately before that? Would you agree that that's not incriminating if we keep all the mention of drugs or why or anything like that?
COUSINS: No, Your Honor, I do not agree that that --
CAHILL: How would that, when it did not incriminate the clerk who said he thought he was high, how would it be that Mr. Hall saying that would incriminate him?
COUSINS: Well, because first of all, Judge, the inquiry is not what evidence is in front of the jury, what testimony have they heard. The --
CAHILL: No, I'm just using that as an analogy on how that certainly didn't incriminate the store clerk by saying, well, he appeared high. Well, Mr. Hall saying, well, he appeared like he was falling asleep and it happened suddenly, without anything else, it seems to be a parallel type evidence. I was using it as an analogy.
COUSINS: I understand, Judge, but the whole point here is to prevent Mr. Hall from incriminating himself. And him even answering that question, that he was in the car, puts him in very close proximity with Mr. Floyd, in very close in time before he's alleged to have ingested drugs.
And, again, it exposes him on that third-degree murder charge. If there were to be future third-degree murder charge and Mr. Hall was charged with basically being involved in this drug activity that had caused Mr. Floyd to pass away due to an overdose, him even being in that car incriminates him in terms of behaviors of Mr. Floyd, what he observed, when he observed it.
So, no, Your Honor, I would argue that it definitely would expose him to potential incrimination.
CAHILL: Well --
COUSINS: Not to mention, Judge, that this is a car where drugs have been found twice.
CAHILL: Well, and the state has all that evidence. That's pretty clear. And I know we're not talking about -- but that didn't incriminate him. The video of him sitting next to George Floyd does not incriminate him. Or not -- has not subjected him to criminal liability, at least yet.
So you're saying beyond that that --
COUSINS: And I think that's the -- that's the key word, Judge, is "yet."
COUSINS: Is "yet." The question is --
CAHILL: But you think -- you think given his observations of how George Floyd looked would incriminate him?
CAHILL: I don't -- I don't see how that would put him closer to criminal liability just with those observations.
COUSINS: Because it then takes the onus off of the state in any future prosecutions to prove what demeanors, behaviors, attitudes Mr. Floyd was exhibiting should they decide to charge Mr. Hall with a crime. Now they've got his own testimony to use against him. That's the very definition of a Fifth Amendment privilege, Judge.
CAHILL: Well, if it incriminates.
CAHILL: Just the fact that he testifies does not make it incriminating.
COUSINS: But his testimony would be used to incriminate him in a future prosecution.
CAHILL: Well, anyway.
Mr. Frank, do you need to weigh in on this? I -- I don't think you have a dog in the fight at this point.
MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Well, I do, Your Honor, and would like to be heard briefly.
FRANK: Thank you, Your Honor.
Our dog --
CAHILL: You're not going to represent his interests, are you?
FRANK: I am not.
FRANK: Our dog in the fight is a fair trial for Mr. Chauvin.
CAHILL: Of course.
FRANK: And one trial. And what we can't have is an invocation of this privilege in front of the jury. And this questioning that the court is offering or suggesting creates a huge problem. And the reason why I cited the Caldwell case to the court is because this questioning would not exist in a vacuum.
And we have to remember, too, that the standard is -- is not just whether this evidence itself is inculpatory or implicates him, it's whether it creates a link.
FRANK: And I think that's partly what Ms. Cousins is referring to is it now puts him in that vehicle and it's testimony from he himself creating the part of that link. And as I said, it won't exist in a vacuum. There would be other questioning and we would have the right to question him about his credibility and other aspects of that interaction then that would lead, unfortunately, and potentially, to him invoking question by question in front of the jury.
CAHILL: But we -- we regularly, in fact we did in this case, in excruciating detail walked through motions limiting -- limiting what questions could be asked of various witnesses based on rules of evidence. This is not based on rules of evidence, it's based on his Fifth Amendment rights and what could possibly incriminate him. But limitations.
And you've got to admit, as Mr. (INAUDIBLE) and I can tell you, the Caldwell case is a totally different situation. That was a man who wanted to testify despite being warned that everything he said would incriminate himself and didn't care until he realized it might get him into more trouble than he thought. I think -- I think it's the complete opposite of this case.
FRANK: It's an illustration, Your Honor, of how, despite that witness trying to tailor his effort to meet a certain goal, it just couldn't be done. And it led to, unfortunately in that case, there wasn't a jury sitting there, but that invocation that's where they ended up in that case. We can't have that when we're in front of a jury. And Mr. Hall would be faced with the question by question determination of what we're arguing about this morning. That's why sort of a blanket invocation is allowed because the standard is rather odd.
CAHILL: Where is -- where -- what case law says that there is such a thing as a blanket invocation of the Fifth Amendment?
FRANK: I can't cite the court a case that has yet to use a blanket invocation, but --
CAHILL: Well, and I'll admit -- and I'll admit, I don't think there's clear Minnesota case law on it. But I'm looking at Illinois, the northern district of Illinois, Oregon, and I think Hawaii as well. A couple cases just to take a look at. Hillman (ph) versus City of Chicago, 918 F Subsecond 775, which is northern district of Illinois. Oregon versus Rodriguez, 301 Oregon Appellate 404. Shakman versus Democratic Organization of Brook County, which is 920 F Subsecond 881.
It's pretty clear from those cases, and granted they're not Minnesota, that the invocation of the Fifth Amendment right is on a question by question basis and the legitimacy of that invocation is to be determined by the court, which makes sense, otherwise somebody who just didn't want to testify could say, I'm asserting my Fifth Amendment rights.
FRANK: I agree with that concept, Your Honor. We cited the court a case where they talked about it, you know, a voir dire process. And essentially this hearing is a substitute for that process because we know from his counsel that he is going to invoke the Fifth Amendment about the very areas she discussed.
And there just is no legitimate way -- I mean there isn't really any question that all of the matters that counsel identified, and Mr. Nelson identified, are tied intimately to his interactions with Mr. Floyd that day and in the previous weeks. And it ties him. So we're not facing a question like maybe perhaps in those cases where they might just be evoking because they don't want to testify.
Here there's a legitimate link in the chain from what he's going to be asked about and quite a few potential crimes, not just the third degree murder obviously being the most important.
I mean we even know, you know, we've talked about the sense of opposing counsel has suggested that almost an alternative perpetrator. In that sense, you know, with a third degree murder, but there's also drug charges, counterfeiting, false information. And I don't know how we put on Mr. Hall to testify and ask him one question and then -- and then let him leave without having the ability to pursue, as we normally would in a trial, the credibility and the foundation for that testimony in light of all we know.
So I think that this case doesn't raises the kinds of questions that maybe are being brought up in the case as the court cited. I'm sorry, I can't speak to them, you know, personally right now. But here there's no question that the singular questions the court is inquiring about are intimately linked to George Floyd and the activities of that day, all the other areas that Mr. Nelson --
CAHILL: Well, I think if you look at the case law, it's much closer to incriminating behavior like this Shakman case. It's really clear that I would have not ruled the way they did. I would have said, that was a proper invocation. And they're like, no, it's not a problem.
FRANK: Well, that's Illinois.
Let's do this step-by-step. I appreciate your argument. I think I know where we're kind of heading with that.
This is what I'm going to propose. We're not done today with this.
I think we can pretty -- we have pretty much established, or based on what Mr. Nelson has said, there's really a very small, narrow topic that might be permissible.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask Mr. Nelson essentially to draft to -- in written question form, with the expected answer, based on whatever statements were made, on what that would be.
That way Mr. Hall can meet with lawyers and talk about, would he be willing to answer those? Then we could have another hearing, outside of the hearing of the jury, where we walk through and see if he would, number one, if I, based on my review of the examination, believe that it is a proper invocation of the Fifth Amendment rights to that or not, question by question basis. And if I say it's not a proper invocation, is Mr. Hall willing to answer, despite your ruling, Judge, he's still not going to, well, he is subject to contempt then.
But I think we get too far ahead when we kind of are being vague. Let's -- let's say what are the questions we're going to ask him. Let's walk through, outside the hearing of the jury, whether or not I would allow it and find that it's not incriminating and then based on that Mr. Hall can meet with his lawyers.
So I'm talking by Thursday I'd like that list. The state can do any indication of cross. Same thing. I'm guessing what you would want to cross Mr. Hall on as far as his credibility and all that, well, it's pretty much up to you, Mr. Frank, but I think that -- since it might widen the net, so to speak, some of yours might clearly get him into Fifth Amendment issues.
But I think we need to, if Mr. Nelson can get you that, you can write up your own list of questions and let's do it outside the hearing of the jury and he has time to talk to his attorneys before we put him on then stand cold and he has to confirm with them one by one.
So -- and it's a limited -- I'm only allowing for that, limited. And this isn't a final ruling. It's, this is the only part that I think is possibly not subject to a Fifth Amendment claim. Tell me what you want to ask. We'll run it by outside the hearing of the jury on a question by question basis. The court will make a determination and then counsel can follow up with Mr. Hall. And based on the court's ruling, are you going to testify? And we go from there.
So I don't want this to be the last and try and push through a ruling when we need to -- we need to tread carefully, obviously. Fifth Amendment right is a broad one. And I agree, the link, you have to worry about links to possible prosecution. But, at the same time, if everything's linked, then it's a blanket prohibition and that is not the case law.
So, with that, everybody's got their homework assignments.
Let's go with that.
FRANK: (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.
CAHILL: But for now, do not waste your time on all the other stuff. It's that narrow, limited area that we're going to talk about. OK?
COUSINS: Thanks, Judge.
CAHILL: It's five to 9:00. Let's see if -- we'll probably start up at 9:15 with the jury.
All right, we're in recess.
HARLOW: What you just saw was absolutely fascinating and could be critically important in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.
Here's what just happened.
The defense counsel would like to question George Floyd's close friend who was in the car with him the day that he was killed. His name is Morries Hall. The public defender for Hall says, no way, that could -- that could harm my client because he faces potential charges down the road and he has a right to Fifth Amendment protection against self- incrimination. The judge says there's no case law, Jim, that allows a blanket right to Fifth Amendment protection.
HARLOW: So, defense, go back and write us a list of what you would ask him and then I'll decide on Thursday.
SCIUTTO: Yes, it's interesting, the judge specified -- I want to get Laura Coates' view on this, that there's one sliver of testimony that he considers outside of self-incrimination and that is what Morries Hall observed of Floyd in the car falling asleep apparently suddenly, based on what we heard earlier, as relevant to the broader case.
And, Laura Coates, you heard the judge there compare that potential testimony from Hall to testimony we've already heard in the trial from the cashier in the store that was right there on the street saying that Floyd appeared high. And the judge made the point, that didn't incriminate the cashier for saying that, so this would not incriminate Morries Hall if he were to testify to something similar.
Do you agree with that point of view?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the idea here is whether the jury can compartmentalize this information, whether the jury is going to be able to parse out different aspects of this.
The judge is concerned, and the prosecution, and the defense is concerned, frankly, for this particular person is whether or not somebody who is asked particular questions can invoke the right against self-incrimination, meaning they don't want to be exposed to criminal liability or potential prosecution down the road, can I answer those questions in isolation in a vacuum and then be forthcoming about others without really undermining the prosecution's case, making the jury think, well, hold on, this doesn't make sense.
And, obviously, there is now a scapegoat.