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Chauvin Invokes Fifth Amendment Right, Chooses Not to Testify; First Court Appearance for Ex-Officer Charged in Wright Killing; Trial Resumes for Ex-Cop Charted in George Floyd's Death. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 15, 2021 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST: That if you lower the size of the lungs, you must get a decrease in the size of the hypopharynx.

[11:30:07]

All of the studies show that.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: And then are there studies then that look at whether the pressure on the neck narrows the hypopharynx?

TOBIN: No, mainly because when we do search, we try and do research on studies that might be puzzling, that you would be expecting a bit of a surprise. If you think about sticking your fingers into your neck, you know you're going to narrow the hypopharynxe. That is not kind of research that somebody is going to want to do, and so common sense that you would know that that is going to happen. I mean, you can do it on yourself if you want.

And as soon as you put pressure here, you can immediately sense that your upper airway is narrowing.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Tobin, that is all. We wanted to clarify with you this morning.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Any cross?

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If I may have two minutes, your honor?

CAHILL: Sure. Let's do a stretch break in place.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN NEWSROOM: All right. So it looks like prosecution has finished the rebuttal with Dr. Tobin. And now we have another cross-examination coming from the defense team.

Let me bring in Laura and Chief Ramsey. A lot of moving parts this morning, Laura, what did you hear and what just happened with Dr. Tobin.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, let me tell you, I actually did this in my mind, like a phew sound, because prosecutors all across the country were literally bingeing on Rolaids and Tums, because you never want to actually have that one question too many. This was a very, very tight line that he had to walk here. One slip up, one off the cuff reference to those newly discovered data would have ended this particular case in a mistrial.

Instead, what he did is strategic and he was great at doing this. What he did was focus on what the data had been entered into evidence, which was, look, what is the existing data about the oxygen level tell you about what the carbon monoxide level could not have been? That is the only way to have done so. Once he was through with that testimony, he moved on quickly about the different neck structure and then he sat down, which is what he has to do.

I still wonder though if the jury is thinking to themselves, why are we focusing on this? Is there some a reason that I should be focusing on it? But, apparently, they wanted to make a decision and say, look, we had to be comprehensive and holistic and not a stone left unturned. This was the strategy. Whether it was a good one, we'll wait and see.

BOLDUAN: And that's exactly right, right? Was it worth it will be answered when the jury has its say, I guess you can say.

But, chief, one thing we do know is the prosecution and who they brought back for this rebuttal was, hands down, their best witness. You've noted this. We sat through this together, and the way that Dr. Tobin walks through really clinical things in a very accessible way.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: If there is anyone whose face or testimony I would want to leave in the mind of the jurors, it would be Dr. Tobin. There is no question about it. I mean, he was by far the most impressive witness from either side. And so having called him as a rebuttal witness made great sense.

I was with Laura. I mean, I'm not an attorney, but I was holding my breath as well, because that is such a fine line. And I would imagine Jerry Blackwell is going to be careful in his closing arguments too, not slip up, just to make sure. I mean he's got this now and just don't lose it.

BOLDUAN: Guys, let's try to get in a quick break. We're going to head right back into the courtroom when it begins. Chief, Laura, are sticking with me. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:00]

BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everybody. We will be heading back to Minneapolis in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. In just a moment, this court is about to resume.

Let me bring back in Laura Coates and Chief Charles Ramsey to also, in this moment, just talk about in the moment where we are, because we've learned has already happened just this morning. The defense rested its case this morning. Derek Chauvin decided invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. He will not testifying in his own trial, on his own behalf. And now prosecutors are in this phase of rebuttal. And we're in this kind of holding pattern as we wait to see what happens next in the courtroom.

But coming up next is going to be the end, the big moment with closing arguments, Laura. And I think it's important to kind of take stock of what is the strongest argument that both sides have made as we now are rounding out the end of the trial?

COATES: Yes. The closing arguments is the biggest part of a trial. Remember the theories of primacy and recency. The first thing you hear and the last thing that you'll hear you will remember the most.

[11:40:01]

Everything that happened, well over 30 witnesses, all the trial days that we have seen, let alone the deer (ph) days that jury has already been exposed to, it's been a long trial for these jurors.

And you're going to have to remember what happened, the moment that need to stick out. This is where the prosecution and the defense are going to have to make sure they hone in on those very impactful, emotional moments.

They're going to want to take us on a journey through that lens of that star witness, that nine-minute and 29-second video. They're going to talk about that nine-year-old. They're going to talk about the girl who actually videotaped it. They're going to bring us back to that MMA fighter. They're going to bring us back to the 50-plus-year-old man crying on the stand. They're going to bring us back to the girl and talk about opioid use. They're going to talk about the police chief and how he was so adamant about not only firing or (INAUDIBLE) come in, but also about what the policy should be. We're going to go through almost this is your life moments sort of thing.

And the prosecution is going to be using the different aspects of testimony and drawing attention. Remember, when a prosecutor asks a question or a defense attorney makes a statement, that's not evidence. They will pick and choose which things are going to be a part of their actual closing. But they have got to be very careful, Kate. Everything they say during closing has got to be tied to a specific fact that was elicited by a testifying witness.

Remember in, the minds of the jurors, nine minutes and 29 seconds, the voice of George Floyd, what they will not have is any explanation given from the mouth of the defendant, Derek Chauvin. And they will not be instructed that they cannot infer or draw any negative inference from that until after the closing statements.

BOLDUAN: Laura is giving us something really important, Chief, which is this trial -- there have been so many experts. There have been so many officers that came and testified. The police chief testified. I mean more medical experts than I'm going to count or list out right here testifying. And we're ending this trial in a place of speaking about a lot of medical jargon, as you were just discussing. But this trial began in the most human of ways, hearing from the bystanders and what -- and the grief and guilt that they still feel from what they witnessed that day.

RAMSEY: First of all, I mean, Laura hit it right on the head in terms of what has to be presented during closing arguments, but it also made me remember years ago, of course, Johnnie Cochran, if it doesn't fit, you must acquit, that one moment in that trial that he really harped on over and over again.

Here, you have nine minutes and 29 seconds. And every time you go through witnesses, whether they were at the scene, experts or whatever, keep reminding the jury, was this reasonable, use of force for nine minutes and 29 seconds? You can argue whether or not a minute may be, minute and a half or what have you, but nine minutes and 29 seconds. That, to me, is the key to keep pinpointing, to keep them thinking about that.

And if you do that, then I think there is a strong chance that the verdict will come out in favor of the prosecution.

But I really think it is going to be interesting, probably more interesting to see what the defense does as well.

BOLDUAN: Well, and, you know, I'm wondering as this -- there have been really surprising moments that as we watched come from the witness stand and as it's played out. Laura, are closing arguments already written? Are these guys and gals already ready to go? Or is this now -- do they change it in real-time?

COATES: Prosecutors really tend to shine on a closing argument. And that's the moment to connect to the jury. And I would say if they're writing something down and reading from a script, they are not on good ground.

What they will have to do here instead, Kate, remember, as much of the story that needs to be told, they're going to have to instruct these jurors on which aspects, of which charges they have met their burden. There will be a portion that's far more technical, not in the pulmonlogy or cardiology sense but just in terms of, look, I charged two counts of murder, I charged one count of manslaughter. What did I need to prove in each?

They're going to be walking through with precision so that jurors don't have to guess, okay, well, they have talked about this idea of depraved heart. What evidence do I have to connect there? When the jury goes back to the deliberation room, they're going to have to have that closing argument in mind that proves the case for them, line by line, element by element. They've got to do it.

BOLDUAN: Big moments ahead, as you both were laying out, and big moments that we have already seen.

[11:45:03]

We are waiting for court to resume and we will take you there as soon as it happens.

Coming up also, in just a matter of hours, the former police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, she will be making her first appearance in court today. Also, of course, that played out just miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial. We're going to have the very latest on that investigation coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:50:00]

BOLDUAN: Later this afternoon, the former police officer charged in the death of Daunte Wright will appear in court for the very first time. Kim Potter is now charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing the 20-year-old during a traffic stop.

Joining me right now is CNN's Adrienne Broaddus. Adrienne, what are you hearing about this court appearance?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, initially, this hearing could be brief. It will be on Zoom because, keep in mind, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. And as you mentioned, the former officer who spent a great deal of time building her career here at the Brooklyn Center Police Department has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. That's a charge that carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Potter is 48. On the day she shot and killed Daunte Wright, the criminal complaint says she was training a rookie officer. A BCA investigator examined the holster, or the belt that carries Wright's handgun. According to the criminal complaint on that day she pulled the 9 millimeter handgun from her right side, pointed it at Wright, firing one round --

BOLDUAN: We're in Minneapolis, they're back in session.

NELSON: -- monoxide testing that you referenced, you would agree with me that the most common technology available in hospital laboratories for analyzing the blood is the multiple wavelength spectrophotometer, also known as the CO-oximeter, correct?

TOBIN: Right, yes.

NELSON: Now, in terms of your testimony relevant to the research, you referenced that there were 12 to 20 studies -- and correct me if I'm wrong --

TOBIN: Yes.

NELSON: -- than an increase in pressure on the lungs would increase the narrowing of the hypopharynx?

TOBIN: Not quite.

NELSON: Okay. Can you just say it again.

TOBIN: Yes. I mean, it is that if you decrease the size of the lungs that you would get narrowing of the hypopharynx.

NELSON: And that research would be in physiological journals?

TOBIN: It could be in physiological journals. There are some journals that would be a blend of physiology plus clinical but it's primarily going to be in physiological-oriented journals.

NELSON: And those physiological-oriented journals, are they included within the general search for medical literature?

TOBIN: I mean, if you go into PubMed, it would be included in PubMed, yes.

NELSON: And you have not produced any of those 12 to 20 articles for the state or I to review?

TOBIN: I mean, I listed several articles in my report of January the 27th. There are several articles in that. I can tell you them if you want it.

NELSON: Specifically that stand for that proposition?

TOBIN: Regarding the relationship between lung volume and the hypopharynx.

NELSON: I have no further questions.

CAHILL: Anything further?

BLACKWELL: No, your honor.

CAHILL: All right. Thank you, Doctor, you may step down and you are excused.

TOBIN: Thank you very much.

CAHILL: Mr. Blackwell?

BLACKWELL: Your honor, the state of Minnesota rests.

CAHILL: Mr. Nelson, anything further?

NELSON: No, your honor.

CAHILL: Members of the jury, the evidence is now complete for this case. Next step for you is to listen to closing arguments and then retire for deliberations. That will occur on Monday.

The attorneys and I will still be working. We have a few administrative matters and legal matters to take care of, most importantly going over the law that I will give you in my instructions, and that takes quite a while. And so we are not going to change our schedule. We're not going to close tomorrow. We're going to close on Monday.

And so with that, remember, you will be sequestered. We have some of your questions and we're going to try and answer as many of those as we can.

I think the one thing that you need to know today as you leave is how much do I pack? If I were you I would plan for long and hope for short. Basically, it's up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count. And so because that's entirely up to you, whether it's an hour or a week, it's entirely within your province. So that's how I would do it if I were you.

We'll also give you some information probably Monday as you retire as to other questions that don't require your immediate attention.

[11:55:01]

And we will also be probably giving you some hints as far as technology.

We will be operating under the rules that are currently in place regarding audio and video evidence, and that is specifically that you will be provided with a laptop computer that has all the audio and video -- in fact, pretty much all of the exhibits in this case on the computer and with a large monitor to play them.

You will not have to come back into the courtroom each time you want to look at the audio or video, which is the old rules, which involves a lot of back and forth. We're not going to do that. We're just going to give you that computer with the arrangements so that you can view it as you deem appropriate as part of your deliberations.

So with that, I wish you a good long weekend, and we will see you Monday morning. Let's -- we will convene at 9:00 A.M. for closing arguments and final instructions. Thank you so much.

All rise for the jury.

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John King in Washington.

A dramatic morning and we are now at a very dramatic moment in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

The prosecution and defense now have both rested. That happened this morning. The defense first, the prosecution called a rebuttal witness. Now it has rested. The judge giving the jury now a long weekend. He says he will instruct them and closing arguments then will come on Monday and then the deliberations in the trial of Officer Chauvin will begin.

Let's discuss what we heard, quite a bit this morning, major developments with our Senior Legal Analyst and former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates and our Law Enforcement Analyst, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

Laura, we've talked over the last three weeks about the cycle of a trial. This is a very dramatic moment. Now, the jury goes home for a couple days. It will get Friday off, it will come in on Monday and it will hear closing arguments and instructions from the judge after the drama.

You always talk as a prosecutor, moments that stick with the jury, the defense rests, prosecution calls a quick rebuttal witness, it rests. Where are we?

COATES: Remember, the drama that we all saw in the court of public opinion watching the televised trial, the jury did not see this drama. All they've seen today is the recall of the extraordinary expert, Dr. Tobin, the pulmonologist, to talk about a very discreet point about carbon monoxide.

KING: I'm sorry, Laura. The judge is speaking to Mr. Chauvin, so we need to go back in.

CAHILL: Any questions made by the attorneys as far as proposed instructions that constitutes a motion for me to give those instructions to the jury. So there's no need for your lawyer to object to anything, because if I don't give anything your lawyer says, that's essentially denying the motion for that proposed instruction, the same thing is true for the state. Any of their proposed instructions memorialize their request, there is no need for an additional objecting to whatever I decide with the final instructions.

So with that, also, we have all been talking about the appropriate way to deal with questions from the jury. Occasionally, jury questions will arise. I think our preference is that we not move the jury around if we can avoid it and also that we not have people coming and going from the government center, since you will not be required to stay here the government center while deliberation is occurring.

Accordingly, our plan is that we do any questions by Zoom. If you recall earlier when I brought back several of the jurors who have been selected to talk about the possible effect that Minneapolis City settlement had, that's how we would do jury questions. In other words, they would be able to see us. We would be able to see them. And when I say we, I mean, the parties, yourself.

But the jury, because they are anonymous, would not be broadcast to the outside world and that would be our plan for how to answer questions. Any questions that come to me from the jury, the first step is to talk to all the lawyers, get their input on what I -- how I should answer it. Very often, it is rereading certain instructions, but in any case, I will talk to all the lawyers and after talking with them, formulate what my answer is going to be. That will be on the record but it will be by Zoom.

Are you fine with that arrangement, since you don't have to be here, we would want you to be part of the Zoom so you've got to be subject to getting in front of a computer, basically? Are you fine with that?

CHAUVIN: I am, your honor.

CAHILL: All right. Anything else as far as -- before we go into the charge conference?

BLACKWELL: Not from the state, your honor. CAHILL: Okay.

NELSON: No, your honor.

CAHILL: All right. Then we are off the record until Monday at 9:00 A.M. Thank you.

KING: All right. That's the judge then deciding. Sorry about the bouncing ball but the judge deciding after instructing the jury to go home for the weekend that their big work would begin on Monday, a brief conversation with the lawyers and specifically with Derek Chauvin, the defendant.

Let's bring back Laura Coates and Chief Charles Ramsey.

Laura, the judge there, were the very important procedural matter, it's sort of the housekeeping matters but critical housekeeping matters that you'll have the closing arguments on Monday, you'll have the judge's instructions to the jury about the law, what they should and should not consider, and then, inevitably, questions come up from the jury, and the judge is trying to walk through there.

[12:00:08]