Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Tornadoes Touching Down in Oklahoma, Kansas; Baltimore Officer: Freddie Gray's Knife Was Illegal Arrest Justified; Video: Four Black Officers Held At Gunpoint By White Cops. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired May 6, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. Tornados slamming the Midwest at this hour. Oklahoma City in a tornado emergency. We have a live report next.
Plus, major questions tonight about the case against six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Why it could all come down to the knife Gray was carrying when he was arrested.
And more breaking news from the NFL. It says the Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady likely knew the footballs he was using were deflated. Will he pay a price? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight we begin with the breaking news. Tornados, massive ones, touching down across the Midwest. Kansas and Oklahoma, warnings of more to come. Oklahoma City right now in a, quote-unquote, "Tornado emergency." This is a pretty incredible image. This is a tornado we have just confirmed touched down west of Wichita, Kansas. A tornado warning as I indicated now for the whole metro area of Oklahoma City. Millions of Americans in the path of these incredibly dangerous storms tonight. And these are live pictures from just moments ago. A tornado touching down outside Oklahoma City.
People being urged to take cover. The airport there now evacuated. No passengers, no employees. And that emergency now for tornados has been extended. So, it's not just Oklahoma City. It now includes Moore, Oklahoma, that is the city that this whole nation saw flattened by a tornado just two years ago.
Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray is tracking the breaking news. And Jennifer, how does it look right now? I mean, because you're looking at a whole lot of storms it appears converging right in these highly populated areas.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely. We've been tracking these for the last several hours. And we just got word that a tornado emergency right now for portions of Norman. And so, if you are in the Norman area, take cover. We had reports of brief touchdown around 48th street, right at the north side of the campus, OU's campus. And so we are looking at very strong storms that have had a path of very destructive and very violent tornados. We've seen very large tornados with this storm. And passed through Newcastle just a few moments ago. Moore is getting very, very heavy rain. And so, we or on the lookout for these strong storms to continue on the same track, Erin.
They're just on the south side of Oklahoma City. In fact, their airport has evacuated. They sent everyone to the tunnels underneath, a safe spot. And so if you are in the Norman area, the area of 36th Avenue Northwest between there and 48th street, and especially right around West Franklin, you need to take cover. This is heading to the northeast at about 25 miles per hour. And so Norman, the area that we are watching right now. Looks like it's to the south of Moore. It's going to pass just to the south of there. Get into your safe spot. This is a fluid situation. You can see the ominous-looking pictures right there on your screen. And the scary part about this Erin is a lot of these storms are what you call rain wrapped. The tornado can be wrapped in rain. So, you look out your window, you don't see anything, but there very well could be a tornado inside there. And so, take cover if you are in that tornado-warned area.
BURNETT: Well, as you say, that's pretty terrifying. Because I mean, it's incredible when you can see them from afar.
BURNETT: But perhaps even more terrifying when you don't even see it coming.
All right. Thank you very much. We're going to be monitoring this breaking news. Minute by minute here, watching the radar, talking to our storm chasers. We're going to check back in on that. Go to the ground.
Also tonight though our other big story, major questions about the case against six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. An attorney for one of the police officers charged in Gray's death says that his knife was illegal. Now, that is crucial. Because if true, it makes his arrest completely fair. It's a major claim that could derail part of the case against the police. The attorney demanding investigators hand over that knife. Meanwhile the prosecutors, Marilyn Mosby, says in a statement and I'll quote her, "I refuse to litigate this case through the media. The evidence we have collected cannot ethically be disclosed, relayed or released to the public before trial." She is standing by her original bombshell allegation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MOSBY, PROSECUTOR IN FREDDIE GRAY CASE: The knife was not a switch blade and is lawful under Maryland law. Lieutenant Rice, Officer Miller, and Officer Nero illegally arrested Mr. Gray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Very major statement. You heard Mosby, she says the arrest never should have happened. She based her major charges on that knife being legal. So, what kind of knife about Freddie Gray carry? The answer to that question is now at the very center of this case. Athena Jones is OUTFRONT live tonight in Baltimore. And Athena,
you know, she's talking about the state of Maryland but the rules in Baltimore City are different for knives. What are you learning about this crucial question?
[19:05:02] ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin, what we're learning is that there's a lot of disagreement over whether the knife Freddie Gray was carrying was legal or not. There are also people questioning whether maybe the knife was legal in the state of Baltimore -- the state of Maryland but not legal under city ordinance here in Baltimore. But I should tell you that the motions that have now been filed, very similar motions, by two attorneys for two of the police officers in this case, those motions don't mention city code, city code in Baltimore. They both say, quote, that Gray's Knife was quote, "was not lawful under Maryland law." Now, of course we haven't seen the knife. Why does all of this matter? Well, it matters because it goes to determining whether it was legal to arrest Freddie Gray in the first place.
JONES (voice-over): Was Freddie Gray's arrest illegal? It's a crucial part of the argument made by Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby in charging six Baltimore police officers in his death.
MOSBY: The blade of the knife was folded into the handle. The knife was not a switch blade and is lawful under Maryland law.
JONES: Which is why Mosby is charging three of the six officers with false imprisonment and argues Gray should never have been arrested in the first place. But lawyers for arresting Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller say Mosby got it wrong. In motions filed with the district court, they say the knife was illegal under Maryland law, and demand that the state produce the knife to prove they're right. Neither lawyer speak on camera about pending litigation. According to Maryland state law, a knife is illegal if the blade automatically deploys with the push of a button, without manual assistant.
(on camera): Legal or illegal, all comes down to a spring?
MICHAEL FAITH, HENDERSHOT SPORTING GOODS MARKETING DIRECTOR: Absolutely, comes out on a spring essentially. This is the one that kind of gets closer to what you would call a switch blade or automatic knife. This has got a spring inside. And when you barely push that, it clicks or flicks the rest of the way open. So, it's just kind of bang.
JONES: So, spring-assisted but still legal?
(voice-over): If successful the knife argument could derail the case against the officers, says a former prosecutor who has been critical of the charges and how quickly Mosby filed them. If the knife is illegal --
PAGE CROYDER, FORMER PROSECUTOR WITH BALTIMORE CITY STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Those two arresting officers will be completely exonerated. Her whole case depends, against those two, depends upon illegal arrest.
JONES: Meanwhile the mayor is calling for the Justice Department to investigate the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether they have violated residents' civil rights.
MOSBY: I'm asking the Department of Justice to investigate if our Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches or arrests that violate the Fourth Amendment.
JONES: A similar DOJ probe of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department found serious civil rights violations. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is quote, "Actively considering whether to open such an investigation."
JONES: And one more thing, Erin. The Baltimore mayor also said today that the Baltimore Police Department will get body cameras by the end of the year -- Erin.
BURNETT: I know, very significant development as well. Athena Jones, thank you very much. Reporting from Baltimore OUTFRONT tonight.
Jeremy Eldridge, a former prosecutor in the Baltimore State Attorney's office, he work with Marilyn Mosby, the prosecutor for four years, he knows her. CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill and our legal analyst Paul Callan who served obviously on both the defense as well as the prosecution side of things.
Jeremy, let me start with you because as Athena points out, this is a crucial piece of evidence. This knife, it's really at the heart of this case in many ways. Because it is the reason officers gave for the arrest, right? They said, we stopped him because he was running, we found this knife, it was illegal. That is their justification for the knife. So if it -- for the arrest. So, if it turns out that the knife was in fact illegal, that they are in the right in the arrest, what does that mean for the case?
JEREMY ELDRIDGE, FORMER PROSECUTOR, STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE IN BALTIMORE: What it means is that the state is going to have a very difficult time proving these charges. What it comes down to is that the crux of the state's case is that this knife is illegal. When you look at the Baltimore City code there's obviously an argument that any sort of spring assistance in this knife could should show that if in fact was unlawful. And the defense attorneys have really jumped forward, very quickly filing these motions in an attempt to either litigate this at the preliminary hearing or if these officers are indicted, jump on immediately when it's transferred to the Circuit Court.
BURNETT: So, Jeremy, this one officer obviously facing full murder charges. There are two that really I know the knife is very central to. But the officer facing murder charges, second-degree murder, Officer Goodson, the man who was driving the van. If the knife was illegal and therefore the arrest justified, does it affect his case, the case against him for murder?
ELDRIDGE: Well, I think due to the fact that all of these individuals are charged together, if there comes down to be a credibility issue with regard to the charging documents, a credibility issue with regard to the state's case, it is obviously going to affect all of the officer's charges. Now, undeniably there will be greater impact with regard to the two officers that were involved in the infancy of the stop and recovery of the knife. However, undeniably, if this knife is found to be unlawful, that's going to be a giant stain on the charges brought by the officer state's attorney, it's going to change the public idea. And we haven't even chosen the jury yet so I can see the public is going to hear this information. Ultimately it may very well be considered should this case go to trial.
[19:10:24] BURNETT: And Marc, I mean, you know, you hear Marilyn Mosby, I mean, she was definitive about this issue. Right? The arrest was unlawful, the gun -- sorry, the knife -- was legal. Right? If those things are wrong and she was so definitive, how can that not hurt the credibility?
MARC LAMONT HILL, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE PROFESSOR: Oh, it absolutely would hurt the credibility of the case, of the charges documents, of everything. But it's hard for me to imagine that she would be wrong. Not because I have any particular investment in believing her or not believing --
BURNETT: -- she would say that if she had not.
HILL: Yes. I mean, she has it in front of her, I mean, it's very clear, the law is very clear. You need a spring. It's sort of a one-handed knife that can open up with spring action.
HILL: She's looking at it. The investigator. They had a week, they had ten days to look at this knife to determine whether if it was legal or not. And that is like a hairy issue here but the sense we got from the press conference was that it was clearly not illegal.
BURNETT: Oh, that's right. She was definitive, this was a black and white issue, this was not nuanced.
HILL: I just can't imagine why she had strategically put bad information out there.
BURNETT: Yes. So, the defense attorney, one of the defense attorneys is saying, give us the knife. Let us see it. She's saying I want to litigate this in the media. Okay, her giving the knife to the defense is not involved the media. Why not?
HILL: I think the idea for her, first of all, is to not have to respond to these sorts of things in the media. Because every time they make a request like that which it gets filtered through the media, now they're on the defensive again. And I think that could be -- you can speak to this -- a great defense strategy though.
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: She'll have the right -- she'll have to turn over the knife to the defense eventually. It's only a question of timing. Maybe it's premature now. But certainly as the case goes on they have a right to look at the evidence.
BURNETT: And Paul, to the point that Marc's making, she wouldn't have been so definitive if she didn't think she was right. Maybe she's wrong, or maybe there's a Gray area when you look at this knife where, you know, does the spring pop or not pop or something that's slightly nuanced. Because then it gets to the question of, let's say they stopped him, they found the knife. You have to prove, don't you, that the officer knew the knife, for a fact. And if there's a gray area, that the officer may have thought that knife was illegal, even if he's wrong, the arrest is still justified, isn't it?
CALLAN: Oh, absolutely. And here's -- I mean, you have to set the whole case up to understand what was going on. The lieutenant and the two other officers are on bike patrol. And they see Freddie gray running suddenly. So they pursue him. Now they're within their rights to do that. He's in a high-crime neighborhood. When they stop him, though, to handcuff him and take him to the station, they have to have a crime. So the knife becomes very, very important. And remember, two of those officers are working for the lieutenant. They're going to come in and say, hey, the lieutenant said there were grounds to make an arrest, how can you blame us?
There go two cops in the indictment right there. Now you've got the lieutenant. And she's looking at the knife saying, well, it's a legal knife. Well, it was described originally as a spring-assisted knife and spring-assisted knives are generally illegal. And let me just drop one other thing for you, even here in Manhattan, Home Depot and some of the other major stores that sell hardware were investigated by the Manhattan D.A.'s office because they were selling illegal knives without knowing it. And they got advice from their lawyers. Their lawyers said, looks like a legal one to me.
HILL: It didn't sound definitive.
CALLAN: If the cop on the street says, I don't know, it's got a spring, I thought it was an illegal knife, that's a pretty good defense that it wasn't a pretext arrest to punish Freddie Gray.
HILL: The narrative right now for many of us is that this was a pretext.
CALLAN: It's a pretext, they're mad because they had to chase him, he had a long record, and you know what, let's teach him a lesson. So they throw him into the van without any good grounds, they give one of those rough rides, and he breaks his spine. So this --
BURNETT: This changes it.
(CROSSTALK) HILL: Those officers, not for those -- officers.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all three of you. Obviously, as we try to get to the heart of this case some of these questions are absolutely crucial.
Next, we have new dash cam video. In this, police pull their guns on a car that had -- was full of black parole officers. Were they racially profiled? Well, those officers are speaking OUTFRONT.
Plus, breaking news. The NFL says Tom Brady likely knew the footballs he was using were deflated. So how does he stand by this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And breaking news, as massive tornados tearing across the Midwest, we'll going to go there live.
[19:18:28] BURNETT: Tonight, major allegations of racial profiling. In an exclusive interview, four black New York state parole officers tell OUTFRONT they were on official business when they were held at gunpoint by white local police officers. Now the officers as you can see from this dash cam video were driving through Ramapo, that's the name of the town, it's north of New York City. Their car was then stopped by a group of white officers. The white officers had their guns drawn. Now, those officers say the stop was justified. They say a resident had called 911, warned them about four, quote-unquote, "Big People" wearing bullet-proof vests getting out of an unmarked car.
Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a tense scene in Upstate New York last April as Ramapo police can be seen on dash cam video approaching a car filled with four passengers wearing bullet-proof vests. Guns drawn. All signs pointed to a serious situation. The video shows one person getting out of the car with his hands up. Minutes later, audio from a second dash camera reveals the situation is not what it appears.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All units that are not at that location unit, disregard.
CARROLL: The car's occupants are four New York state parole officers out executing a search warrant. Those officers say they were stopped because they are African-American.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There is no doubt. If I was Caucasian, that I would not be standing here.
CARROLL: All four officers say they immediately identified themselves to Ramapo police, were wearing their shields, and offered to show identification.
SAMUEL WASHINGTON, NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER: No matter what we did to show or verify that we were, that the aggressive treatment continued.
MARIO ALEXANDRE, NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER: I was violently pulled out of the vehicle. And I was slammed against the vehicle.
CARROLL: The parole officers filed a civil suit against the Ramapo Police Department and the city alleging their civil rights were violated.
BONITA ZELMAN, PAROLE OFFICERS' ATTORNEY: They were assaulted and battered at gunpoint. Mario Alexandre was dragged out of his government vehicle.
CARROLL: Despite the allegations, the dash cam video made public by police does not appear to show Parole Officer Mario Alexandre being slammed against a vehicle.
(on camera): Now, at what point were you assaulted or battered?
ZELMAN: Assault in the civil context of the law is being threatened with force. That's an assault.
CARROLL (voice-over): Ramapo police say, they made the stop because they were responding to this 911 call.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And I saw I guess a plain Chevy Malibu, is that what it was? An Impala car with four big people get out of it and I thought they had bullet-proof vests on and shields on.
CARROLL (on camera): The 911 caller did not identify any of you by race.
ZELMAN: We can only go at the moment from the tape that was released by the people that we are suing.
CARROLL (voice-over): Ramapo police referred CNN to the city's attorney who says the actions of the police officers involved were reasonable under the circumstances. There was a 911 call indicating suspicious activity. The attorney also says the parole officers had not notified the police they would be in town, a common courtesy, and were allowed on their way promptly after they were identified. Neither the parole officers nor their attorney would say how long they were held but they were clear on how they felt they were treated.
CARROLL: And Erin, the attorney representing the parole officers says that this would not indicate how much they are suing the police for, but they say at the very least these officers should be disciplined for what happened that day -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much. And you know, I think the chance to talk to them I think brings a lot to light here.
Let's bring in former New York City Police Officer Bill Stanton along with our political commentator Van Jones. Bill, you're next to me, let me start with you. You were shaking your head through that whole piece. You say there's no way this was racial profiling, why?
BILL STANTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Well, show me, other than people saying it's racism, show me the proof where it actually is racism. They were responding to a legal call. Four people with bullet-proof vests on. I watched that video many, many times. I see no racism. There was no words of racial epithets. There was no assault. They were doing their job.
[19:23:02] BURNETT: They were doing their job. All right, Van, as Jason Carroll mentioned in the piece, you heard him, the call to 911 that the police were responding to, the white officers didn't mention race, they just said there were big people in the car wearing bullet-proof vests. So you don't even have race in the call to 911. How is it racial profiling?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen. We will see as more facts come out. I can tell you why those officers may have felt that it was racial profiling. First of all, you have numerous incidents across the country where actual African-American police officers, undercover, have been shot by white officers. Probably what their expectation was, that the minute that they got pulled over and said, hi, we're cops, and they've got their shields on, that they would be treated like law enforcement officers. And instead, that did not happen. Apparently the behavior stayed aggressive.
Now, listen, you've got to remember, you've got to ask yourself at each stop along the way, would someone have called the police on a bunch of white guys wearing what to me look like police -- typical police tactical gear? Would they have called -- would the cops have come out with their guns right away? This every step along the way you have to ask the question, was there racial bias here? And I think it's reasonable to believe, given the pattern now, that maybe something did happen.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, Bill, he does have a point. Right? I mean, the problem with racial profiling in many instances is, it isn't clear. All right. It isn't obvious. Someone didn't use a word. But nonetheless, it happened. And the point, let me just ask you this point, the parole officers did not notify local police they were coming. Right? You heard Jason said, that's usually a courtesy, that they make that kind of call. As Paul Callan points out though there's no law mandating they do that, it doesn't always happen. And maybe in a small town there was a reason they didn't want to, maybe they knew some officers had a relationship with the person they were going after. I mean, there could be a back story we don't know is the point Paul was making. Does that change this? STANTON: Absolutely not. With respect to Mr. Jones, I think
it's racism to call it racism. Where in less than a week ago we have a police officer, not a white cop, not a black cop, a cop, that was summarily executed, shot in the head. These cops go out every day. They were responding to a call. Four people in bullet-proof vests. In today's climate of terrorism, of people impersonating police officers, they did nothing wrong. And I think it's a far overreach with the facts as they are today to say that's racism. I think that's wrong. Because what you're doing to every honest cop across the country, you're making them not want to do their job. And what's our recourse when that happens?
JONES: I mean, that is just ludicrous and offensive and just completely out of line. To say that people -- you don't know what was said or what was not said in that situation, you don't know what the standard practice is for other people who are doing the same job who are white in that area. Those people may say, listen, every single time people have had this kind of experience. So, for you to say that it's racist for someone to raise the question I just think is wrong. And this is part of why --
STANTON: No --
JONES: I'm not finish. This is part of why we have the breakdown in communication. I was trying to be very polite earlier and say it could be. And you come back and call me a racist and call these other people who are fellow law enforcement officers racist for exercising their right under our constitution. That is the problem. We've got to be able to have a conversation where we look at these ambiguous facts and try to work our way through. I think it's inappropriate for you to call us officers racist. I think it's wrong for you to do that. They have a right under our constitution to raise these claims and have them adjudicated in a court of law and that is exactly what they are doing.
STANTON: Follow the facts, that's all I say.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you being with us. And we're going to continue to follow that story and have that conversation.
OUTFRONT next --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRADY: I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: An NFL report on deflate gate disagrees. Did Tom Brady cheat? Did he cheat to get that Super Bowl ring?
And back to our breaking story, tornados slamming the Midwest at this hour. These are live pictures right near Oklahoma City. That major metropolitan area right now in the crosshairs of major storms, some of which can be wrapped in so much rain, you don't even see the funnel approaching. We're going to go live.
[19:31:13] BURNETT: We are following breaking news at this moment. Destructive tornados on the ground tonight tearing through the Midwest in the U.S. Millions of Americans in the storm's path being told to take cover.
We are seeing major reports of damage in Oklahoma and Kansas and Nebraska. And we have just confirmed a tornado touching down west of Wichita. There's a tornado emergency for Oklahoma City and Moore which, of course, is the town that was devastated back in 2013. You remember those horrible images of that school, completely devastated.
OUTFRONT now is Captain Paul Timmons. He is on the ground. He's with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Captain Timmons, I know where you are. You've described zero visibility, that there's no much rain. You're trying to get to affected areas that have already been hit by tornados. You haven't been able to get there.
What kind of damage are you seeing?
CAPTAIN PAUL TIMMONS, OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL: Pretty much just debris from homes, businesses in the area. I know that we have been able to confirm there was a semi blown over and we're trying to get update. There's debris just everywhere. And there's a lot of water on the roadway, making it also difficult to get through.
BURNETT: And in terms of the storms themselves, I understand because it's raining so hard it's not even at this point you can see when a tornado's coming, right? I mean, it's just too hard to even discern it.
TIMMONS: That's correct. It is raining really hard in the southwest part of the city right now. And visibility's almost zero.
BURNETT: And how concerned are you, Captain, about the damage? I know you're not able to get to a lot of places. But homes, businesses destroyed, people obviously at risk. Do you have any sense of how bad it is?
TIMMONS: Well, just based on past history, you have to be really concerned. Those areas have been affected numerous times in the past by these storms or storms in the past. And you have to have a high degree of concern for those people and businesses in that area.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Captain Timmons, we appreciate you taking the time. I hope you stay safe and can get there and help those people out.
Captain Timmons, as we said, on the ground, with the Oklahoma patrol, trying to get to people who have already been hit by these devastating tornados. We keep watching that breaking news.
Meantime, more breaking news: a verdict, an investigation has found the New England Patriots probably tampered with footballs ahead of that crucial playoff game in their run to the Super Bowl. The other way of putting this would mean, cheated -- cheated by making footballs easier to throw.
The report states, quote, "It is more probable than not that two team staffers released air from the footballs." And the bombshell, the name there, Tom Brady, also indicted. Investigators say the star quarterback was, quote, "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities taking place." If that's true, then Tom Brady lied to the country again and again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: I didn't alter the ball in any way. When I picked those balls out, at that point, you know, to me they're perfect. I don't want anyone touching the balls after that, I don't want anyone rubbing them, you know, putting any air in them, taking any air out. I would never do anything outside of the rules of the play.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't, you know -- I don't know what happened. I mean, I -- I have no explanation for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, will the NFL punish one of the biggest stars in football history?
Kyung Lah begins our coverage OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deflategate still grabbing headlines.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tom Brady and the pop culture echo chamber for all the wrong reasons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom, I think you're pretending to know less than you actually do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whaaat?
LAH: Is the Patriots quarterback a cheater? Or the all-American squeaky clean QB kids love?
[19:35:00] Tom Brady even being asked that himself.
REPORTER: Is Tom Brady a cheater?
BRADY: I don't believe so.
LAH: The very accusation challenges a career-long image built as a good son from sleepy San Mateo, California. On his Facebook page, he posts pictures of the goofy boy who despite a solid college football career prepared this resume for a non-football job, just in case he wasn't drafted. He was, deep in the sixth round.
No one knew his name until a sudden injury struck Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Leigh Steinberg remembers that moment clearly because he was Bledsoe's sports agent.
(on camera): Did Tom Brady's ascension surprise every sports agent?
LEIGH STEINBERG, SPORTS AGENT: I think it surprised everyone. You don't expect a sixth-round draft pick to come in and become the dominant quarterback of his time.
LAH (voice-over): He's defied expectations since.
BRADY: You only get so many time-outs.
LAH: In the commercial world, bucking the trend the fellow players, taking on very few sponsors, a deliberate snub of potentially millions of dollars. Part of an image tightly managed and controlled. His one fumble to that image, Brady dated actress Bridget Moynihan. They publicly split when she was pregnant.
Before Moynihan gave birth, Brady was already dating supermodel Gisele Bundchen, a public mess quickly forgiven by male and female sports fans.
(on camera): Is that something fans care about?
STEINBERG: The fact that he married the highest-paid model in the world -- good for him.
LAH (voice-over): But spygate soon followed. In 2007, the NFL fined the Patriots for cheating, videotaping signals from their opponents.
(on camera): How did Tom Brady come out of spygate?
STEINBERG: Untarnished. He's been Teflon-coated, movie star- handsome, rarely makes an offensive statement.
LAH: People are talking about him as a cheater.
STEINBERG: Americans don't like cheaters. If one person in the world has a real chance to have people believe him -- it's Tom Brady.
BURNETT: That was Kyung Lah reporting.
Now, Coy Wire, CNN sports analyst, nine-year veteran of the NFL.
All right. Coy, former NFL player such as you are. You heard Tom Brady say again and again, I know nothing, didn't know anything was wrong, never would do it, not in a million years. This report says that is likely not true.
How bad is this for the players, that perhaps the greatest quarterback of his generation, if not more than that, may have point- blank lied?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Erin, it's a bad look. I have to be honest. Ted Wells spent 108 days, over three months, investigating this. So, it doesn't matter whether I think he did it or not. Ted Wells said it's probable that Tom Brady was aware of what was happening, that Jim McNally and John Jastremski, the official locker attendant and the assistant equipment manager purposely deflated those footballs to gain a competitive advantage.
And to me, that is a big, bold statement that here we have this untouchable, as we saw in the package, an untouchable superstar involved in a second case of cheating. You had the Patriots with spygate years ago.
WIRE: They were videotaping other teams' sidelines. The hammer was brought down on them then, $500,000 fine to Bill Belichick, head coach, $250,000 to the organization, loss of a first-round draft pick.
And, Erin, here we are again, just years later, in the same situation, trying to gain a competitive advantage. The investigator Ted Wells said that it is probable that not only did it happen, but that also Tom Brady was generally aware of it.
BURNETT: I mean, it's incredible. And, you know, that would mean they won a Super Bowl under false pretenses. That's one of the greatest crowns in American sports. The whole world watches it.
This is a league that suspended a linebacker because he was smoking pot. OK? If you get suspended for smoking pot, which is becoming legal in states across the country, what happens when you point-blank lie about inflating -- deflating footballs, getting ready for one of the greatest games in American sports?
WIRE: That's a great question, Erin, because you look at that situation, smoking marijuana -- it's conduct detrimental to the league. Well, then, what is cheating? How detrimental is that to the NFL? The greatest sports league in the United States, one of the best in the world, if not the best. So, now, you have this scenario where Roger Goodell is going to look at this 243-page report.
If he finds it's probable that this happened and that it again is a second offense of cheating in this situation, you have to think he's really going to bring down the hammer in this scenario. We talked about what they were initially. I think they're going to at least fine the organization the $500,000 -- excuse me, Belichick was fined $500,000 that case. The organization was $250,000. And they lost that first-round draft pick.
I think they're these going to hand down that sort of fine to give perspective did players. What are the players saying? I talked to a Hall of Fame player just moments ago on my way here. And he said that there's no way Tom Brady, first of all, didn't know about this.
[19:40:02] He also said, I would take away the Super Bowl title from the Patriots and I would suspend Tom Brady four to six games next season.
WIRE: Those are big words from a star player, hall of fame player, in the NFL.
BURNETT: Those are very big words to suspend him four to six games and take away that Super Bowl title. Something that people outside sports who watch this, they can understand. That sounds fair, and pretty incredible coming from a hall of famer.
Thank you so much, Coy Wire.
And next, test run. That Germanwings pilot who murdered a plane full of innocent people tested out his plan just before the doomed trip. Did anyone at that flight know something happening?
And Hillary Clinton's e-mail use, "not acceptable." That's a quote -- bold words from a senior State Department official. Bill Clinton stepping to the plate, defending what he sees as attacks on his wife in an interview on CNN. That's coming up OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, stunning new information about the copilot who intentionally crashed the Germanwings Flight 9525. A new report reveals Andreas Lubitz rehearsed on another flight. Just hours before his plane landed and then he took off on the fatal flight, he actually tested out his plan.
[19:45:02] He, of course, ended up murdering 149 passengers and crew on board.
Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): French investigators say 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz practiced his deadly descent of a jetliner the same day he steered Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps.
Just before that deadly crash, Lubitz and the same captain piloted the plane on a different flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona. With the captain out of the cockpit, the flight data recorder shows Lubitz briefly set the plane's auto pilot to 100 feet before leveling off again.
JIM SHILLING, COMMERCIAL AIRBUS A320 PILOT: He certainly was exploring the aircraft and its ability to go up or down and not stop him from descending it into the ground. Making sure that nobody would see him. MARSH: According to the new report, the selected altitude
decreased to 100 feet for three seconds, then increased to the maximum value of 49,000 feet. Less than two minutes later, the selected altitude was 100 feet, until it stabilized at 25,000 feet. The flight never left its scheduled path, so air traffic control didn't notice the altitude changes.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Unless the plane is equipped to stream the data, and they decide to stream the data of the aircraft performance from the flight and someone's monitoring it, they wouldn't have noticed. It was clear the pilot didn't notice for another reason. The front lab was inoperative and he apparently went clear to the back. He was gone for four minutes.
MARSH: It appears it was a dry run for what he would do later on same morning on board the very same plane during Flight 9525. Lubitz waited until the captain left the cockpit, locked the door, and set the plane's altitude to 100 feet. He directed the jetliner into the mountains, killing all 150 people on board.
MARSH: And this is just a preliminary report. Their investigation is still very much ongoing. But these new details speak to how much planning was put into Lubitz's suicide flight. Not only was it deliberate, but it was also premeditated.
Now, the airline, Germanwings, refused to comment on the report. However, attorneys for the families, they just put out a statement. They say that these latest -- this latest information just highlights the fact that there needs to always be at least two people in the cockpit and there needs to be improvement as it relates to detecting and treating psychiatric illnesses among pilots -- Erin.
BURNETT: Rene, thank you.
And joining me OUTFRONT, our aviation analyst Miles O'Brien.
So, the German magazine "Bild" actually spoke to someone on that earlier flight. You can imagine how everyone on that earlier night feels now. I mean, so lucky, guilty perhaps.
But he said he did notice the pilot having to go to the back room all the way in the back of the plane. He noticed that, didn't notice the plane start to go down in any way. So, it wasn't noticeable in terms of altitude changes.
But I guess my question to you is, if someone's in there setting it from 100 feet to 49,000 feet back to 100 feet, that doesn't register anywhere, with anybody?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, the plane was already in a cleared descent from about 39,000 feet to 21,000 feet. And so for him to spin the knob below the assigned altitude of 21,000 feet wouldn't change what the plane would do. Now, if he'd gotten to 21,000 feet and hadn't changed it would have kept descending, but there wouldn't be wild gyrations based on those knob turns because the plane was already in a descent. Nobody would have noticed, including the captain.
BURNETT: But and the plane is not program -- yes, I mean, I know you just feel like everything's so automated. But it sounds like, you know, what Mary was saying, too, is there's no reporting back. There's no, OK, this guy tried to set to it 100 feet --
O'BRIEN: Well --
BURNETT: -- because if you saw someone try to do that, you'd know you had a problem.
O'BRIEN: Well, here's the thing that's kind of interesting. It is rarely used but it is used in Europe. There is a capability for air traffic control to read what you have selected, not your altitude but what you have selected for altitude, as well as your speed heading. It's called mode sierra enhanced. It is possible he was checking to see if this particular sector had that capability.
The air traffic controller, if he had seen it, probably would have said, excuse me, where are you going right now, Germanwings? And that might have been what was going on.
BURNETT: Wow. That's fascinating. And even more sinister when you think about it that he was testing to see if they did notice.
Thank you very much, Miles.
And OUTFRONT next, a senior official calls Hillary Clinton's private e-mail account at the State Department, quote, "not acceptable". That's a damning thing to say. Can Bill Clinton turn things around for his wife?
[19:53:50] BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, a State Department official with bold words today, saying Hillary Clinton's use of her own private e-mail was, quote, "not acceptable" and now, Clinton's biggest defender, her husband Bill, speaking out to CNN, lashing out against charges that wealthy foreign donors to the family foundation got preferential treatment from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT with tonight's "Money & Power".
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So far in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, she's been a solo act. But Bill Clinton's hardly out of the picture. Tonight, he's half-way around the world, still fiercely defending his wife over foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did any of those donations effect Secretary Clinton's policy? BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: No. She didn't know about a lot
of them and we had a policy when she was secretary of state that we would only continue accepting money from people that were already giving us money.
ZELENY: The campaign is trying to move on from the new book, "Clinton Cash", that questions whether any of her secretary of state decisions were influenced by foundation donors.
CLINTON: There is just no evidence, even the guy that wrote the book, apparently, had to admit under questioning that he didn't have a shred of evidence for this. He just sort of thought he'd throw it out there and see if it'd fly. And it won't fly.
ZELENY: A new CBS News/"New York Times" poll shows she may have weathered this storm even though Americans are evenly split on her honesty and trust worthiness.
Bill Clinton, famous for his political survival, sounded less than joyful about his role in this race.
CLINTON: This is going to be an endless and long campaign. In order to be effected, you probably have to be mad most of the time. I'm not mad at anybody. So I guess I can't get any votes.
ZELENY: But even as Hillary Clinton tries to get those votes, questions are waiting back in Washington from her time as secretary of state. On Capitol Hill today, Republican senators grilled a State Department official offer her use of a private e-mail server.
JOYCE A. BARR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: You're asking me if I would be concerned if a cabinet member deliberately set up an e-mail account to circumvent the laws?
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: That's correct.
BARR: In theory, yes?
CORNYN: In theory?
ZELENY: And Clinton has her own date with a congressional theory over her e-mail and the attacks at the American consulate in Benghazi.
ZELENY: Now, she has agreed to testify as early as May 18. The date has not been set yet, but, Erin, it will be an unprecedented sight, a presidential candidate taking the oath, swearing her oath, as she testifies before a televised congressional committee -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: Be sure to check out my interview with Sir Elton John. That is on the home page of CNN.com right now. We talked about his initiative to fight AIDS, IVF babies, he fought back against the designer Domenech Dolce, and also talk about the royal baby. All that on CNN.com with our interview.
Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us anytime.
Anderson starts now.