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Barbara Walters Set To Retire; Verdict In Abortion Doctor Trial; Wounds Healing In Boston; FBI Defends Boston Investigation
Aired May 13, 2013 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROLE SIMPSON, FORMER ABC NEWS ANCHOR: She's not going to retire until summer of 2014. And I think she is going to be doing all kinds of things that she loves to be doing and ABC is going to facilitate that. She'll be doing specials. She's going to do her Oscar special. She's going to be the - doing the 20 most fascinating people of the last decade or something like that. So she's going to have plenty of exposure and I think ABC is hoping that's going to boost ratings on a lot of programs that she will be doing.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hopefully, she is on that list this time. Carol Simpson and Howard Kurtz, thanks to both of you.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": She's on my list.
BALDWIN: Right, she is. What an idol? Thanks to both of you.
When we come back, we will take you to Philadelphia. As we have just heard now, this jury in Philadelphia has reached a verdict with regard to this abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, a man who's been accused of murdering babies, facing first degree murder, could face the death penalty if he is convicted.
We're going to talk what this could mean for him and a background on this whole trial. How this whole thing came to light in the first place. That's next.
BALDWIN: There is an abortion doctor in Philadelphia that is about to learn his fate. His name is Kermit Gosnell. This is a photograph of him because we have just learned this jury in this trial has now reached a verdict on all these 250 plus counts. They're going to be reading all 19 charges and we have Sunny Hostin who is sitting inside that courtroom listening. We'll talk to her here momentarily.
But again this is a man who according to prosecution routinely performed illegal third term abortions and that he failed to counsel these women 24 hours ahead of time. That's the prosecution. This is all regarding this facility you're looking at, this Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.
The defense has maintained that no babies were born alive during those abortions, again, the verdict being read inside this courtroom. Here's a little more from Suzanne Malveaux on the charges he faces.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Gosnell's abortion clinic is now closed, but the allegations of what happened inside are shocking. Babies allegedly murdered after induced labor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A baby had been born and was on a cold steel table and murdered by taking scissors, putting them into the neck and then cutting, severing the spinal cord. It's homicide. It's murder.
MALVEAUX: A scathing grand jury report alleged 72-year-old Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his staff likely murdered hundreds of babies with what he called, quote, "snipping to insure fetal demise." Accurate records were never kept. So in January of 2011, Dr. Gosnell was accused of murdering seven babies born alive some as late as eight months into pregnancy.
Last month after the prosecution presented its case, the defense convinced the judge to drop three murder charges against him. The grand jury report also details a litany of gory health violations where he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs and perforated their wombs and bowels.
This woman who had an abortion performed by Gosnell believes she contracted a serious infection from deplorable conditions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've seen blood on the table he had the utensils on.
MALVEAUX: Gosnell also faces an additional count of murdering an adult, this 41-year-old woman who died of an anesthetic overdose during the second trimester abortion. All the more horrifying, Dr. Gosnell's abortion clinic, the Women's Medical Society had been in business since 1979. So how could this have gone on for so long with no one complaining to state authorities?
It turns out there were complaints, but the state did not shut the clinic down. The Pennsylvania Department of Health did official inspections as far back as 1989 and repeatedly found health violations, but never ensure they were corrected. The grand jury report also said, quote, "The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week old baby.
They also received official notice of the 41-year-old woman's death for which Gosnell now face as murder charge. None of that got the Department of Health to investigate. The grand jury report states back in 1993 because of political reasons, the Department of Health stopped inspecting abortion clinics completely.
The Pennsylvania Department of State through its Board of Medicine received a complaint a decade ago from a former employee of Gosnell that according to the grand jury report laid out the whole scope of his operation, the unclean, unsterile conditions, the unlicensed workers, the unsupervised sedation, and the underage abortion patients. They did assign an investigator who interviewed Gosnell, but incredibly they never inspected his clinic. The complaint was eventually dismissed. It all finally came to an end not because of botched abortions but because of drugs. The FBI raided his office on allegations of illegal prescriptions of OxyContin and other painkillers that brought him money hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
The feds were horrified with the conditions they've discovered in the clinic. These photos show the unsanitary conditions. They even found remains of aborted fetuses. Dr. Gosnell pleaded not guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a person that was providing a service in Philadelphia that did not do the things that the grand jury said that he did. He did not execute viable baby. That's not the reality of what was going on here.
MALVEAUX: In the fallout of this case seven staffers from Pennsylvania's Department of Health and Department of State have since left their jobs or been fired for their allege mishandling of the Gosnell case. Officials say they've overhauled their investigative and communications procedures so that this never can happen again. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Atlanta.
BALDWIN: So you just heard some of the gruesome allegations that have been outlined in this grand jury report. Again right now inside this Philadelphia courthouse, these 19 charges are being read aloud at this very moment. As soon as we hear which way those charges go and the verdict with regard to this abortion doctor out of West Philadelphia, we will bring it to you live here on CNN. We will be right back.
BALDWIN: I know there is such tremendous interest in the fate of this abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell. I'm reading your tweets. I know you want to know his fate as do we. But again, this is still happening inside the courtroom. We do not yet know.
Again, what we know is that this jury here in the Philadelphia courtroom has reached a verdict on all of these 258 counts this man here is facing. So these 19 charges, it takes some time. They're being read inside the courtroom at the moment.
As soon as we find out, we will get Sunny Hostin up on TV. She's our CNN legal analyst who is sitting in this courtroom listening to all of this. She's been covering the trial. We will bring it to you as soon as that happen I promise.
Let me talk about Boston because it was four weeks ago now today downtown Boston was under attack. Three people were killed, more than 140 were wounded. Today, one of the bombing suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is locked away, still recovering from gunshot wounds sitting inside this prison hospital. His brother's body is now buried as we've learned in the unmarked grave in Virginia and for three weeks, I was in Boston covering the story and I was there live on television during the moment of silence one week after the bombings. You know, just standing there with so many people you get goose bumps.
You see these people who just start coming, lining up along Boylston and you witness this incredible scene. This was the first responders standing around at the first explosion site. People in this city, they were lining up paying their respects that one week out. Here is the memorial.
The people of Boston, you know, they are getting back to their day-to-day lives. The victims are re-adjusting as well. Many of them without a leg, many with scars that will change their lives forever, but today to mark four weeks, two brothers who each lost a leg in that attack are talking about their trauma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JP NORDEN, BOSTON BOMBING VICTIM: That day was, you know, indescribable. It was mayhem.
PAUL NORDEN, BOSTON BOMBING VICTIM: Yes, we think -- all of the other friends of ours that got hurt, but we still got to focus on ourselves getting better first. Just rehabbing and getting stronger so we can move on with our lives and then get -- we got to get fitted for our prosthetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: CNN's Deborah Feyerick met with another survivor and has the latest on the criminal investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am so blessed to be here one month if you've seen my legs a month ago.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jarrod Clowery was near the finish line when the second bomb detonated like Boston, he's recovering.
JARROD CLOWERY, BOSTON BOMBING VICTIM: Physically, my right leg hurts all the time. I'm blessed to have my legs and my arms and my life. Three of my friends lost their legs. They have a huge long road.
FEYERICK: Four weeks ago, brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly launched their deadly strike as people cheered on runners. Investigators are still piecing together the motive and details about how the attack was executed. Tamerlan whose body remained in limbo for days and days was finally laid to rest last week in Virginia.
Dzhokhar is remains in a prison medical prison facility charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. Two college friends are in jail charged with obstructing justice after trying to destroy firework canisters believed to contain explosives.
Another friend is charged with lying to investigators. Russian officials had asked the FBI in 2011 to investigate Tamerlan, but a source says the Russians never released texts Tamerlan sent his mother expressing a desire to join extremist groups. The FBI did not alert Boston police.
In Congress last week, Boston's police commissioner was asked if more information would have led police to keep an eye on Tamerlan Tsarnaev?
COMMISSIONER ED DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE: That's very hard to say. We would certainly look at the information. We would certainly talk with the individual.
FEYERICK: Along Boston's Boylston Street business has returned to normal. But the memorial not far from the finish line reminds us people of the three who died and the hundreds wounded just four weeks ago. What matters most for Jarrod Clowery is honoring the courageous people who saved him and his friends.
CLOWERY: What I seen was the worst of humanity, boom, and the worst thing you could see, the worst cowardest act like, and then it was immediately followed by the best humans can do.
FEYERICK: Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Boston.
BALDWIN: That was Boston four weeks ago, but I want to take you to Philadelphia where this man is learning his fate right now inside of this courthouse. This is Dr. Kermit Gosnell. He owned and operated this clinic, this abortion clinic called the Women's Medical Society for 30 years in West Philadelphia.
And this man faces hundreds of counts, but specifically four counts of first degree murder. So if convicted he could face the death penalty. After the break, we're going to bring in Paul Callan. He is a CNN legal analyst. We'll ask Paul in the next couple of minutes as we all learn the fate of this man, I want to ask him what he will find most surprising. Back after this.
BALDWIN: Once again in case you're just joining us, a jury in Philadelphia now has reached a verdict on all 258 counts involving this abortion doctor owned and operated this clinic in West Philadelphia for three decades. So as I speak they are reading these 19 charges inside this Philadelphia courthouse.
Again this man, according to the prosecutor said that he routinely performed these illegal third-term abortions. One as late as eight months according to the grand jury findings, but the defense says that is absolutely false. Paul Callan is one of our CNN legal analysts joining me now. I should just tell everyone we have Sunny Hostin inside this courthouse. Look at the media presence there. So many people have been following the trial in Philadelphia. So, Paul, as we sit and wait for this verdict to come out to us, what are just some of your first initial thoughts?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALSYT (via telephone): One of the more interesting aspects of the case has been frankly the media coverage of it or maybe lack of media coverage. We've had some reporters here at CNN who have been covering it, but a lot of the media sort of looked the other way.
I think in part because this case has been -- it's such a graphic and horrible case in terms of the description of the deaths that people have a hard time even looking at it, looking at the facts to have case. You know, there's a charge that four newborn infants were murdered really as a result of late term abortions and early term abortions being performed.
There's -- the other very, very important count, there's a third- degree murder count involving the death of a 41-year-old mother who received allegedly lethal doses of sedatives and painkillers. There was graphic testimony about the doctor's clinic being filthy and -- I mean, it sounded like something from a third world country.
CALLAN: It didn't sound like, you know, western medicine and it sounded like poor people being discriminated against. You know, but, on the other hand the defense said, this is -- this man has been targeted. It's an elitist, targeted racist prosecution by a doctor who is serving poor people in Philadelphia.
So both sides strenuously argued their case in front of the jury and that the jury has been deliberating for a very, very long time. I mean, they've been out for about a week and a half, which is an extremely lengthy period of time for a murder prosecution. So that's sort of the general view of it -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Yes, you know, Paul, I remember when the story broke and you talk about a dirt of media coverage. We were one of the few shows I remember that booked on this and did the story once upon a time because I remember the gruesome details. But what a lot of people may not realize is that this story came to light -- this was cracked open not because people thought that was happening inside this abortion clinic, Paul Callan. But it was because federal investigators went inside this clinic because of allegations of him selling narcotics, right, and little did they know what they would find.
CALLAN: Yes, that's right, Brooke. And it opened Pandora's Box and they started looking in a detailed way of his medical records and the operations of the clinic. There's also a larger sort of political question that lingers when there's any kind of a case involving abortion. And, you know, that is that, you know, people thinking this is anti-abortion people trying to put out of business a doctor who is trying to provide, you know, this care and treatment to women. Whereas, of course, the opponents of abortion say, this is horrific, and this man deserves to be convicted. There's that sort of fight going on.
I think that in the end a lot e of people didn't want to look at it. They were kind of pretending this case wasn't taking place. Obviously, we're looking at it very closely today because the stakes are very high for the doctor and for people who live in Philadelphia.
BALDWIN: Let me hit pause on this conversation right now. Paul Callan, stay with me, again a jury reading all 19 charges aloud inside the Philadelphia courthouse as it pertains to the future of Kermit Gosnell. Have to take a quick break. We're back, breaking news, in just a moment.
BALDWIN: Once again all eyes on this trial here in Philadelphia as we have learned after much, much deliberation in this Kermit Gosnell case, this abortion doctor out of West Philadelphia, we have now learned that the jury has reached a verdict on all 258 counts involving this man, 19 charges reading through them very slowly and carefully inside this courthouse.
We have Sunny Hostin inside. As soon as we get worded on his fate, again if convicted of any of these first degree murder charges, he could face the death penalty. More breaking news after the break.