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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
U.S. & Cuba Reopen Embassies; D.C. Mansion Murders: New DNA Evidence Revealed in Hearing. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired July 20, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SCHIFF: It would be significant if this is ISIS. And, certainly, that's who Turkey believes it is.
This was, I think, a strategic target, if it was ISIS. It's near Kobani. It's directed at a Kurdish area. I think, among other things, designed to sow discord between the Kurds and the Turks and internal discord within Turkey as well. It may be a result of Turkey taking some additional steps to try to tighten up that border, or take steps against ISIS that ISIS responded to.
By the same token, ISIS may be doing this as a provocation, wanting to drag Turkey more fully into this fight. So, a lot of unanswered questions at this point, but very potentially a serious escalation and now telling how the Turks will respond.
TAPPER: And what can you tell us about what the intelligence community thinks about these reports that ISIS is now using chemical weapons against the Kurds and against other civilians in Iraq? Has that been confirmed yet? If confirmed, how significant would that be?
SCHIFF: We have received briefings about potential use of chemical weapons by ISIS.
And I can say frankly that the report of these two international human rights organization, frankly, there's nothing that I have seen to discredit those reports. So, it's very worrying that ISIS may have access to this. This is a group obviously that has a no-holds-barred ply of beheading and crucifixion. If they can get chemical weapons, and they very well may have, they will use them. If they can get worse, they will use those too, so this is a very worrying new escalation.
TAPPER: Congressman Schiff, thank you so much. We really appreciate your taking the time to be here. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: Also in the national lead, he wanted sex, he had the drugs, and he looked for nonverbal cues before making a move. It's Cos in his own words. Bill Cosby's statements unveiled in a deposition. Could this increase the chances of a criminal charge against the
comedian? We will look at that next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
In national news, a married father pursuing at least five sexual relationships outside his marriage obviously, obtaining prescription drugs to give women with whom he wanted to sleep, and, oh, yes, of course, hiding it all from his wife, that scenario is about as far from a wholesome "Cosby" episode as one can get.
But in a deposition obtained by CNN and first reported by "The New York Times" Bill Cosby admitted it all years ago. The shocking revelation was part of a 2005 lawsuit from Andrea Constand that was settled privately. She is just one of more than two dozen women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, if not worse.
Alexandra Field has been reading through the deposition.
Alexandra, does Cosby say in this deposition whether or not the women knew they were going to be taking these drugs that he bought?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Jake, he talks in detail about giving them the drugs. He also talks in detail about sexual encounters with at least five different women, but throughout the entire deposition, he says that all of it was entirely consensual, and nowhere within those 1,000 pages does he admit to any wrongdoing.
FIELD (voice-over): The deposition is nearly 1,000 pages long and what emerges is a clearer picture of Bill Cosby in his own words. Cosby answered questions based on statements from 13 Jane Does as part of a 2005 lawsuit that Andrea Constand brought against him.
She says the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted her. Cosby said the sexual encounters with Constand were consensual. "I don't hear her say anything," he said, "and I don't feel her say anything, and so I continue and I go into the area that's somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."
Over the past 40 years, more than 25 women have publicly accused Cosby of raping or assaulting them. In the deposition, Cosby says both the sex and the pills were consensual, the star saying he looked for women's nonverbal cues in response to his sexual advances.
BARBARA BOWMAN, COSBY ACCUSER: I don't believe in nonverbal cues. Consent is not the absence of a no. And when you're stuffing drugs or alcohol into a woman and then calling it sex, it's diabolical, it's disgusting, it's unacceptable, and it's rape, and that's a crime. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't make any sense. What I do know
is he's absolutely clueless, because he's -- how can you possible respond when you're drugged? You can't.
FIELD: Beth Ferrier says Cosby put drugs in her coffee, then sexually assaulted her, allegations Cosby denies during the deposition. But he answers questions about a previous sexual encounter between the two.
"She says that she stayed with you and that you began talking about her career and asking about her father who died of cancer. Does any of that ring a bell with you?"
Then later: "Did you ask her those questions because you wanted to have sexual contact with her?"
Ferrier's attorney, Gloria Allred, releasing this statement in response: "Cosby's testimony demonstrates how deceptive, manipulative and disgusting that he was."
The 78-year-old has never faced criminal charges. In the deposition, he admits to offering women, including Constand, money for education and trying to keep his wife, Camille Cosby, in the dark. "My wife would not know it was because Andrea and I had had sex and that Andrea was now very, very upset."
These revelations sickening to the women who have publicly accused Cosby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep reliving the same sick, the same sick feeling in my soul, but I have to be strong.
FIELD: The transcript reveals more about the use of quaaludes. Cosby admits giving the drug to a young woman in Las Vegas before they had sex in the 1970s.
The lawyer says: "She said that she believes she was not in the position to consent to intercourse after you gave her the drug. Do you believe that is correct?."
"I don't know," Cosby replied.
FIELD: At one point during the deposition, the attorney questioning Cosby says she feels that he's making light of a very serious situation. And, Jake, he responds by saying that that may very well be.
We did reach out to Cosby's publicist for comment. He says he's not able to comment at this point. As for Constand's attorney, she says she's Obama not able to comment because of the confidentiality agreement that was reached as part of the settlement following that deposition.
TAPPER: Alexandra Field, thank you so much.
Let's go deeper on this story right now with Christine Grillo, a former sex crimes prosecutor for the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
Ms. Grillo, thanks so much for joining me.
Bill Cosby, as you heard, adamant that he has done nothing wrong. In one account, when asked about one woman, Cosby says -- quote -- "I gave her quaaludes. We then have sex. I think she may very well have been very happy to be around the show business surroundings" -- unquote.
As someone who has prosecuted sex crimes, what was your take on this deposition and on his description of these encounters?
CHRISTINE GRILLO, FORMER NEW YORK PROSECUTOR: Well, the deposition itself, as was states -- and you can argue with -- it's absolutely disgusting. But, in and of itself, he didn't make enough admissions for that deposition to solely be the evidence to prosecute him for any crimes, for any crime of rape or sexual assault or anything like that.
He's saying things like, it was consensual. These are defenses that you see as a sex crimes prosecutor. That's most of the time the defense: They consented.
TAPPER: For nearly all of the accusers, the statutes of limitations for most rape or sexual assault charges has passed, but I'm told that you say it's not necessarily too late, that this deposition can still be brought in as new evidence, even some of the older cases. How so?
GRILLO: Well, because the statute of limitations for rape in the first-degree, there is no statute of limitations for rape in the first-degree. It's the same as murder.
There's also the criminal sexual act in the first-degree, any of the B felonies. There's no statute of limitations. So with this evidence, using this evidence, but, as I repeat, they need more than just these depositions. They're going to need more to criminally prosecute for any of the B felonies. For rape in the first-degree, you would need sexual intercourse, you would need more evidence from the victims, not just those depositions.
And -- but there is still time to do that. Now, I understand there may be some allegations that are within the five years of statute of limitations, which are less severe felonies, that there may be more evidence, and he could be prosecuted for.
I mean, the prosecutors have -- it's going to be a bit difficult. There's a lot to this case. He's denying the allegations, he's saying they consented, and they're going to have to prove that they did not consent. It's not about him -- it's not about them saying yes, he did it and him saying, no, they consented. You need to hear the evidence from both sides.
You can't just go by the depositions and basically say because these acts were disgusting and immoral and gross, which we all agree with, they don't rise to the level of criminal activity without further evidence.
TAPPER: There is this account of a woman named Chloe Goins. She's one of the Cosby's youngest accusers. She says that he sexually assaulted her in 2008 at the Playboy Mansion. She was 18 years old. Her attorney says that he believes she might still be able to bring criminal charges.
Do you think at the end of the day Cosby will see a day in court?
GRILLO: Cosby will see a day in court. What will happen now is these civil cases that were settled earlier and they had confidentiality agreements, there was an incentive for Cosby to settle these and settle them quickly and probably for a lot of money, because it wasn't out in the public.
But now because all of this is out in the public, everyone knows the immoral and horrible acts that Cosby has done, he is going to have nothing but have to go to court. He can't settle. Nobody will want to settle with him. They're going to want to sue him for as much and get from him as much as they possibly can, and now no one is going to want to settle. They're going to want to go to court. It's their turn.
They want their day in court and they deserve it.
Christine Grillo, thank you so much.
And a reminder that we reached out to Bill Cosby, and his office declined to comment.
A major discovery revealed today in the D.C. mansion murders, the evidence now adding more mystery to the case of a wealthy family and their housekeeper who were brutally killed.
Plus, the surfer who would not let a shark get the best of him, how he fought off the attack -- coming up.
[16:48:38] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Turning to our world lead, a moment few people thought they would ever see in their lifetimes. Earlier today, the Cuban flag representing not just the Cuban people, but also the communist government of that nation, was raise above its newly reopened embassy right here in 16th Street Northwest Washington, D.C., signifying that the U.S. and Cuba have restored full diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of isolation.
Ninety miles off the coast of Florida, U.S. diplomats returned to the old American embassy in Havana, where they found decades of dusts and calendars from 1961 still hanging on the walls.
But this historic thaw is, of course, not without its critics in both countries.
Let's get right to CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott at the State Department, where a new flag has just been added to the hall of flags -- Elise.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. The Cuban flag just behind me, a couple in from those columns, the red, white and blue flag on the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez got to see his flag here for the first time since 1961 -- a very emotional moment when he raised that flag above the Cuban embassy, the Cuban anthem -- national anthem playing to a crowd of 500.
[16:50:02] Not just Cuban delegation of officials, diplomats, revolutionaries, but also U.S. officials mixing together to celebrate this historic opening, Jake.
TAPPER: Not everyone celebrating, of course. I was there after the flag was raised and there were many, many protesters, somebody covered in red paint signifying blood, the human rights issues in that country.
Elise, let me ask you about the U.S. embassy in Havana. Why hasn't the flag been raised at the embassy there?
LABOTT: Well, officially, the U.S. embassy is now operating there, but no flag, in fact no real visible signs that the intersection has turned into an embassy. There was a little less security, but that flag raising will be done by Secretary of State John Kerry when he travels there on August 14th for a historic visit, first secretary of state there since 1945, Jake.
TAPPER: And, of course, a lot of big businesses here in U.S. have been waiting for this moment so they can sell Americans vacation trips to Cuba. How soon can U.S. citizens pack their bags and head to the island?
LABOTT: No spring break anytime soon, Jake. It's easier for Americans to travel on a license for cultural and educational exchanges, but a full lifting of the travel ban won't take place until the full embargo is lifted, and Secretary of State John Kerry again today with the Cuban foreign minister said it's necessary to do this to move forward with relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
TAPPER: Elise Labott at the State Department, thank you so much.
Another DNA match revealed in a D.C. mansion murders case. Could this now be the clue police need to make another arrest.
Keep it here. You're watching THE LEAD on CNN.
[16:55:47] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Continuing in our national lead today -- this afternoon, we learned more about the man accused of brutally killing a Washington, D.C. family and their housekeeper. Daron Wint is charged with murdering the Savapoulos family and Veralicia Figueroa back in May.
Today, a court hearing revealed new details about evidence found in this investigation. Police now saying they have new DNA evidence beyond just that pizza crust connecting Wint to the crime.
Let's get to CNN's Tom Foreman who was in the courtroom today -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake.
Prosecutors came in here clearly convinced that they have a strong case, DNA evidence, money found on the suspect, but this is the first time we heard from the defense. And they said, not so fast.
FOREMAN (voice-over): A daughter of the murdered couple braved the courthouse crowd to stare down the man accused of killing her parents, her 10-year-old brother and family housekeeper. Daron Wint did not look her way, but sat silently in shackles, as his legal team tried to unlock the case against him.
Target one: an assistant to the father. Police say Jordan Wallace picked up $40,000 and deliver it to the family home even while the victims were being hold and tortured inside. The defense noted that Wallace sent a picture of some of the money inside a red bag to a friend, a text that appears to have been posted an hour before the money was even in Wallace's hands.
And when the defense said the red line bag was never recovered, a detective said that is correct.
What's more, police admitted they have no explanation for a backpack found with Wallace, containing his checkbook, a passport and the registration for one of Savapoulos' sport cars valued at more than $300,000.
Prosecutors, however, say they now have Daron Wint's DNA not only on some pizza inside the house, but also on a vest found inside one of the family's cars burning after the crime.
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC EXPERT: So, we have a clear association between Wint and this home invasion. This is very strong evidence that he was present and he was involved. He may have touched the vest. However his DNA got there, it's there. FOREMAN: Despite that, one witness told police he saw someone
driving that car erratically around the time of the crime, but that man had short hair. The defense lawyer pointed to Daron Wint's long dreadlocks and said, there's no way he would have had the haircut. The detective responded, "To the best of my knowledge, no."
FOREMAN: The defense is clearly building a case here that Daron Wint was at best, a bit player in all of this, and the bigger fish out there to fry. But the prosecution is clearly leaning very hard on the Wint evidence and believe that they can get him to tumble over as they get closer to trial and hand them some of those other accomplices, if they really exist -- Jake.
TAPPER: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.
Sports lead now -- or world lead now. It happened on live television. No one could believe his eyes or her eyes -- just watch this video. A shark attacking a champion surfer off the coast of South Africa. You can, of course, see that dorsal fin approaching Mick Fanning from behind, almost as if Steve Spielberg planned this.
Before the great white and the great surfer tussle and splash in the water, and instead of swimming away, Mick says he landed a punch on the shark. Somehow his came out shaken, but in one piece.
He spoke with CNN's David McKenzie about this terrifying encounter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK FANNING, CHAMPION SURFER: If I'm going to go down, I'm ready to go down with a fight. Like you see there, you see all these different things on the beach, and you joke around with friends, but I don't know. It's just instinct, right? It's one of those things, like to fight or flight very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Instincts to try to punch a shark in the face? Of course, for many of us, it might be enough to -- Mick does not want near a puddle of water again. But, of course, Mick says he'll be riding the waves again soon.
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That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Turning it over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.