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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Admits for the First Time that Michael Cohen Represents Him in What He Calls the Crazy Stormy Daniels Deal; Bill Cosby Guilty On All Three Counts In Indecent Assault Trial; CNN Special Report: Could Medical Marijuana Save Opioid Addicts? Aired 11- 12a ET

Aired April 26, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast live with all the new developments tonight. President Trump admitting for the first time today that his fixer, Michael Cohen represents him in what he calls the crazy Stormy Daniels deal. He also says Cohen only handled a tiny fraction of his legal work. Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, is here. I am going to talk to him about this in just a moment.

We also got the latest in the stunning verdict today in the case against Bill Cosby. The disgrace comedian found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. One of Cosby many other accusers is here along with Attorney Gloria Allred.

Now, I want to bring in Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti. Michael, thank you very much. The day started early for a lot of people including you and the President and me, because I got up and watched it. I couldn't believe it was happening. This is the President on the Fox and Friends. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, a percentage of my overall legal work a tiny, tiny little fraction. But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. And, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why is he --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And here's what he said aboard Air Force One, weeks ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: Well, you'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney, and you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: How important was this interview to your case?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Well, I think it was very important. Even the Fox and Friends, I think it was critically important, Don, because, yes, the President once again, you know, opened his mouth and inserted his foot. I mean, he made a critical mistake in the case, because he is not disciplined and he doesn't think through his comments before he makes them. I mean this is very damaging admission made by the President.

It absolutely contradicts not only what he said on Air Force One, but also what Michael Cohen said weeks prior as well as people that claimed to be representing Michael Cohen. People like David Schwartz. I mean this is critical mistake on behalf of the President. It's going to assist investigators and criminal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. It's going to assist me in our civil case, and I think it's going to add to the foundation, Don, that we have as it relates to our effort to depose the President.

LEMON: Were you watching live? As this unfolded?

AVENATTI: I was actually on MSNBC on "Morning Joe." And I was prepared to answer questions about Michael Cohen pleading the Fifth yesterday which in and of itself was huge news.

LEMON: And then this happened.

AVENATTI: And they cut in and they showed it live.

LEMON: And you --

AVENATTI: I mean, I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I mean, there's been a lot of great things that have happened to us in this case over the last six or seven weeks. I think this is at the top of the list.

LEMON: Here's the President tweeted today. He said, I love being on Fox and Friends this morning, great show. And your response was, see, we can agree on things. Do you think it implicates the President in to your case? AVENATTI: I think there's no question that it implicates the

President. But look, people that say that we are just out to take out the president, I mean, look, we don't hate the President. I agree 100 percent with the tweet that he said. It was great to see him on Fox and Friends, Don.

LEMON: What does it mean for Michael Cohen, this interview you think?

AVENATTI: Well, it causes considerable problems for Michael Cohen, because Michael Cohen has claimed just the opposite. In fact, his attorneys is in Federal Court today claimed just the opposite. Namely they want to have a very expansive attorney-client relationship with each of this supposed clients, including Donald Trump, because they want to protect as much information as possible. Meanwhile you have the President going on national television talking about how Michael Cohen did very, very little legal work. I mean, that is a big problem.

LEMON: But this is not proof that the President knew about the hush money, about the payment, this interview. You're not saying this interview says that.

AVENATTI: Well, I'm saying that we're very close to that point. I mean the President has previously claimed -- Michael Cohen has claimed the President knew nothing about the agreement, knew nothing about the $130,000 and basically knew nothing about this entire quote thing with Stormy Daniels.

[23:05:05] Well, we know that is not true, because, how does Michael Cohen represents the President in connection with the Stormy Daniels crazy thing, if he doesn't -- if the President doesn't know anything about it?

LEMON: The Judge today appointed what is called a special master, right? Barbara Jones, to help determine what materials seized in the FBI raid or protected by Attorney-Client privilege. Do you think that was the right move?

AVENATTI: You know, I do. I mean Barbara Jones has impeccable credentials. I mean, she is unimpeachable. She has a wide range of legal experience. She was a very prominent federal Judge before going into private practice. She served as a district attorney here in New York for many years. She is probably the best person for the job, one of the best that you could possibly pick in the country. I think she is going to do a great job, and I think Judge Wood, who's in and of herself very experienced and those are exactly what she is doing. I think she made the right call and here's why.

Because the scrutiny associated with this case, it's better to err on the side of caution, it is better to err on the side of not being able to be second guess as it relates you decisions. And I think that was the right call.

LEMON: You said to end this program last night that you were going to file a motion to intervene in the Cohen proceedings, right. The Judge didn't rule on that today. Why is that so important to your case? AVENATTI: Well, we filed the motion as a formal procedure mechanism

to have a seat on the table, to make sure that these documents are protected, my client's documents as well as attorney-client privilege documents. I think ultimately the motion will be granted or we will resolve the issue with the government. So I'm confident that we're going to get to where we need to go.

LEMON: One more thing I want to ask of you, because you filed a response to the Michael Cohen's, Fifth Amendment declaration date. What does that mean and what happened?

AVENATTI: Well, that issue is now fully briefed. President Trump and Michael Cohen are doing everything in their power to delay our case. They do not want the American people to learn the truth about what happened in connection with my client's agreement and the $130,000 payment. We, on the other hand are doing everything in our power to aggressively pursue that case.

So, now that matter is fully briefed before District Court Judge Otero, and he is going to make a call. He is going to call more or strike as to whether the case is stayed. I am confident it is not going to be stayed and we are going to march forward.

LEMON: Michael, thank you very much.

AVENATTI: Thanks Don.

LEMON: I appreciate you joining us. I want to bring in now CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates and also Jack Quin, a former White House Counsel to President Clinton and Kan Nawaday, a former federal corruption prosecutor.

It is good to have all of you on. You heard the interview here with Michael Avenatti. What's your reaction, Laura, first?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think it's accurate that the special master in this case is probably in a very unique and qualified position to do exactly what she is supposed to do, which is to take on a role of a neutral person without a dog in the fight and to review the matter for privileged material. The lawyer is getting a little murky for people to understand that, the Stormy Daniels case is quite distinct from what is happening right now in Manhattan.

That is criminal probe after a federal seizure of evidence from the home office and the business and hotel room of Michael Cohen. It has implications for what may happen in the NDA case, but they're not synonymous. And this particular special master is going to have to compartmentalize a great deal and a lot of funds and namely with that part, that is their part.

LEMON: So Kan, Kan, you worked in the Southern District of New York, The U.S. Attorney's Office, right and you know the team prosecuting Cohen. So what do you make of the judge appointing Barbara Jones as a special master? Avenatti said, he thinks it was the right move. What will she be doing? KAN NAWADAY, FORMER FEDERAL CORRUPTION PROSECUTOR: I totally do agree

that that was the right move. You have a situation here where the appearance of fairness is extremely important, given the public scrutiny in this case. And what Judge Jones, would be task in doing is vetting the privilege issue. As a neutral arbiter of that issue so that, it's clear to public and to everyone that no sides are being picked, no one's being favored. There will be no filtered team staff by government lawyers and agents.

And on the other side the defense isn't going to get a first crack at it either. It's going to be Judge Jones, who's going to be dealing with privilege issues, and that is going to again give the appearance of fairness to both sides in this, frankly, very extraordinary case.

LEMON: I got another question for you. You know this legal team prosecuting Cohen, so what can you tell us about them? They're pretty young, right?

NAWADAY: They are. But they're professionals. They're fantastic prosecutors. I've had the honor to serve with each and every one of them. One is a gang's prosecutor, who I worked with in the Southern District of New York. So don't let their youth scare you. They are professionals, and they're going to do the right thing. They're going to follow the trail. Where it goes and if it goes nowhere, then it goes nowhere.

LEMON: All right. Jack, your turn now. You say appointing a special master is unusual in most cases. Why is that?

JACK QUINN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, you usually don't need one.

[23:10:00] But, you know, in this case I think the Judge Wood, wants to bend over backwards. I mean just look at what the President did in that interview in terms of attacking the FBI.

He has done everything he possibly can to delegitimize the prosecutors and the FBI here. So this was a very, very, I think, shrewd and important and justified move on her part as Kan says, to, you know, make sure that there's no argument here that there was bias involved and it's not the FBI who's going to be taking the first cut at these documents. It's a former federal judge who's got a stellar reputation. That was a good move on her part.

LEMON: Laura, you just heard Michael Avenatti said that Cohen's request to delay the lawsuit should be denied. How strong is this case with that?

COATES: Well, you know, it weak, comfortably speaking. Because, here's the thing, Don, we know that they are going to be some overlaps between the criminal probe that may be happening in New York and the civil action happening in California. A judge recognize that somebody is exposed to both civil and criminal liability, that any defendant who's reasonable will try to ensure that they will not implicate themselves further by giving testimony in the criminal case or the civil case in a way that is going to hurt them in the long run in the other case.

So they may be much more empathetic towards the (inaudible) in this case. However, you are unique in this position, because right now there actually is a civil case happening in California. There's not even an indictment yet in New York. But I think the judge is going to look at these issues and say, well, if you're not going to have a productive case in the civil matter until you have it more flushed out in the criminal side, let's stall a little bit for the sake of the economy of the courts. And that may be a very strong argument to make.

LEMON: Hey, Jack, let me ask you, because there's a special master and then, you know, it was ruled that the President or his team, they get to review the documents. But they're not reviewing the actual documents. These are copies, correct?

QUINN: Yes, they are copies. But, you know, one of the most important things that happened today was that the President, you know, effectively said this is not going to take very long. He did want mean to, but he is so minimized Michael Cohen's role as an attorney for him and minimized the -- I'm not sure why he was doing what he was doing, but he really undercut Cohen's position in this case and that of Cohen's lawyers.

You know, all I can think of, frankly, was that, you know, maybe this relates to the fact that the President, saw slippage on the Hill, in terms of support, on the Republican side for this protect Mueller legislation. He seems to be pushing Michael Cohen away. I'm not sure why, but I just couldn't help but get that feeling.

LEMON: Well, Kan, even his -- the government used the interview in their filings today saying, I know that President Trump reportedly said on cable television this morning that Cohen performs a tiny, tiny little fraction of his overall legal work. These statements by two of Cohen's -- three identified clients suggest that the seized material aren't likely contain voluminous privilege, further supporting the importance of efficiency here. So, they are saying -- most of the documents will probably not contain something that is privileged. So, you know, he undercut his own case.

NAWADAY: I think that is somewhat correct, Don. At the end of the day, it's hard to say what effect those statements will have on the case. And the reason for that is, that at the end of the day, we don't know the full scope of the government's investigation. We don't know what the government knows. So it's hard to say what effect those statements actually had on the case and will have ultimately on the facts of the case. And we're all going to learn what those facts are as the case unfolds.

LEMON: We certainly will. I want you to stick around, everyone. When we come back, I want to talk about President Trump's unhinged interview today and how his words were used by federal prosecutors just a few hours later.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The President distancing himself from his long time attorney

Michael Cohen. His so-called fixer has been by Trump's side for over a decade now, but here's what the President told Fox News today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. And you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why is he --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Back with me, Laura Coates, Jack Quinn, and Kan Nawaday. So Laura, as I mentioned before, the government cited the President's comments on Fox News. Saying that the documents are unlikely to contain voluminous privilege documents. How damaging was that interview for Donald Trump?

COATES: It was extremely damaging for Michael Cohen in particular. It was damaging for the President of United States, because he seemed to be unhinged and off the rails and almost shouting and he had to be cut off by the Fox News anchor. Which is very, very odd in of itself. However, why it's so damaging for Michael Cohen is that for the second time in as many weeks, he is being called out in the court saying, that one, you don't actually have three clients. One of them, aren't even claiming to be your client, talking about Sean Hannity.

The second time is that he said that there may be thousands if not millions of pages of documents related to his legal attorney-client interaction with the President of the United States. Now with that statement, with that dismissive tone the President essentially said, it's but a tiny, tiny fraction which contradict the notion you have all these documents waiting.

And yet and still the court heard that statements and said I'm going to give the special master a period of four weeks to go through everything, to reconcile what may be confidential or privileged and to come back to the court and I do not want any delay. That suggests to me that she also was not buying the argument -- there are as many documents to look at. And she is trying to expedite the entire process.

LEMON: Jack, the president also clearly said, Cohen represented him on the Stormy Daniels deal. And said that they were no campaign funds going to this. Did the President admit to knowing about the deal at the time? Was that an admission do you think?

[23:20:00] QUINN: Well, certainly he mentioned that he is known about it for some time. Yes, he clearly knew -- you know I think he may eventually argue that Cohen had this sort of generalized portfolio, this authority to represent him as a lawyer in these cases involving women accusing him of -- of inappropriate behavior.

And, you know, he is trying to have it both ways and distance himself from Michael Cohen just as, by the way, he is trying to distance himself from somebody when he said in that interview -- the first time to my knowledge, there was no collusion with Russia and me. It used to be there was no collusion. Now it's "and me." It looks like he is, you know, going to let somebody fall off the boat on that one, too.

LEMON: Well, my ears perked up when he said that Michael Cohen represented him on, I think, he said that crazy Stormy Daniels story. I'm like, whoa, that is a first. I wonder what his lawyers are thinking. Kan, here's Trump arguing today on Fox, that Cohen is really a businessman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's got businesses and from what I understand they're looking at his businesses. And I hope he is in great shape. But he is got businesses and his lawyers probably told him to do that. But I'm not involved and I've been told I'm not involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But Cohen has worked for the Trump organization for about ten years. And yesterday, Trump's lawyers said that the president is personally ready and available to review the documents, see so.

If Cohen only did a tiny, tiny little fraction of work for the President and this is all about Cohen's businesses, why would the President personally offer to go over the documents?

NAWADAY: You know, Don, it's hard to tell. Again, from what I said before, because we don't know all the facts. And so at the end of the day it's hard to know and you really can't know what all the facts are and what the implications of the President's statements will be to the case.

And I think Jack and Laura will agree with me that at the end of the day that most formal federal prosecutors and defense lawyers we typically try to impress on our clients that when there's an ongoing criminal investigation the thing to do, the best course is not to say anything, because we don't know what the government knows. We don't know the scope of their investigation. So I think at this stage it's hard to tell what the impact of those statements are either way.

LEMON: Laura, you know, you don't have to know Michael Cohen. You can have the sound down and you can see that he is under considerable pressure. I think you on television today, as he was leaving his hotel and heading to court. You know, it's been said that he said that he would take a bullet for this President. But according to the Wall Street Journal, Trump hasn't always treated him well. The people close to Cohen say he expected to be named a campaign chief by Steve Bannon, but Steve Bannon was brought in and then he expected to be named Chief of Staff, but Reince Priebus got the job. Does he sound like someone who's going to stay loyal to this President?

COATES: Well, loyalty from the President's mind according to all the reporting, seems to be a one-way street and it is not pointing in the direction of Michael Cohen. And the statements that the President made this morning also re-emphasized the notion that he is way prepared to distance himself as appropriate and potentially throw you under the bus as we saw from the off-the-cuff remarks on Air Force One and now it's changing again.

I think the question everyone has in their mind is, if this person does not feel there will be reciprocity in that loyalty, will that somehow encourage the person to be a cooperator, if there were to be a case against the President of the United States? Now, we know according to Donald Trump, Rod Rosenstein already told the President that he was a not a target of the investigation involving Michael Cohen.

So if that is the case the idea of a cooperation agreement, the idea of loyalty of Michael Cohen to the President of United States, may not be even an issue. But certainly from a friendship perspective that bus that ran over him today had the word Trump on it.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: On the tires. Not Goodrich. So listen Jack, Jennifer Rueben writes in "The Washington Post," this is, every FBI subject was loose- lip and oblivious as President Trump made me to build more Federal Prisons. She makes the case that the best source of evidence for Mueller is Trump. Is she right? Could those words of the president play into an obstruction case?

QUINN: Absolutely, I mean, look, you know, the threats with every passing day are less veiled. You know, when he says -- and as for the Department of Justice, you know, I'm staying away, but that won't last long or words to that effect, I mean he is got a threatening tone towards the prosecutors. He as we all know, he has been clearly dangling consideration of pardons in a variety of ways.

[23:25:00] I think the combination of those two is really a toxic miss -- mix, and I think he is on as a result, you know extremely thin ice in terms of an obstruction charge. At least in the context of an impeachment proceeding. He is very close to the edge here if not over it.

LEMON: Thank you all.

COATES: By the way, if this is the time the President is not involved in the DOJ, then we are all not seeing the tip of the iceberg. He has been extremely involved in the FBI and DOJ so far. If the President has not yet begun, he is in for a very rude awakening.

LEMON: All right. Thank you all. I appreciate your time. When we come back a stunning verdict. Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault, but that is just one case. I'm going to speak to one of the dozens of other women accusing him. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A stunning verdict today. A jury finding Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for attacking a woman named Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. Cosby is out on bail tonight, but faces up to ten years in prison on each count.

So let's bring in now attorney Gloria Allred, who represents dozens of Bill Cosby accusers and Victoria Valentino, who accuses Bill Cosby a sexual assault.

Thank you both for coming on this evening. I know it's been a very emotional day for both of you, especially you, Victoria. You were in that courtroom today. What were you thinking and feeling as this verdict came down against Cosby?

VICTORIA VALENTINO, FORMER PLAYBOY PLAYMATE WHO ACCUSES BILL COSBY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: Well, actually I was outside getting a breath of fresh air and went running back to the courtroom only to see crowds outside on the sidewalk. And I knew something was up.

And then I went in and I was blocked from going up the stairs into the courtroom. And I was told I could go around the back way through the elevator. I got up there and I had to stand outside while the verdict was read, in the hallway.

And I was so upset I couldn't see straight. But everybody said verdict, verdict, and then guilty. And, you know, you get this rush of emotion and you just don't know what to do with it. You know, you don't know whether to dance, cry, laugh, you know. I mean, all of those things maybe at the same time. It was powerful. It was powerful.

LEMON: And speaking of that, Victoria, I just want to play some video, if we can put it up now. And these are women who were leaving the courtroom after they heard the verdict. And there you are, rushing up to hug them. And clearly so much emotion and shock after it was read. Did you ever think that you would see this day, that Cosby would be held responsible for what he did?

VALENTINO: Not really. I -- I was pretty much gearing up to face another mistrial. I was stealing myself and trying to figure out exactly how I was going to handle it emotionally and then what to do then. You know, I'd been waiting around as if I was standing on one foot wondering where I was going to put down the other.

And I didn't want to continue that. I wanted to know where I was going from here. And this is resolution. In spite of all the appeals that are being threatened, we know now that the law and justice and the jury and everybody who has been supporting us all along, you know, has -- we've done it. We've just done it.

LEMON: Yes, and we saw that --

VALENTINO: And it's wonderful and it's amazing.

LEMON: We saw that today in the emotion. And I was watching live and it was overwhelming. And even I was overcome. A surprise reaction. How's Andrea doing and the other women, Gloria?

GLORIA ALLRED, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY REPRESENTING BILL COSBY ACCUSERS: OK, well, I haven't had a chance to speak to Andrea and I don't represent Andrea, but I just want to commend her as a woman of courage for testifying not just once but twice in two criminal trials. But I also want to commend my three clients who testified as prior bad act witnesses in this second criminal case.

That's Chelan Lasha, that's Janice Baker-Kinney, and that's Lise-Lotte Lublin. They were attacked viciously by the defense. They were -- you know, they had things said about them that would attempt to discredit them. They had their reputations attacked, their motives challenged. But they stood up to it all.

LEMON: You think they made a difference with the jury?

ALLRED: I do think, yes. In fact, at the end of the first criminal trial where one other of my clients and accuser Kelly Johnson testified, I was very proud of her as well. But that case ended in a deadlock. And I said after that, we need to have more prior bad act witnesses. In other words, other accusers be permitted to testify.

And fortunately, this judge who is the same judge in the first criminal case, did allow five to testify this time. And I felt that would make a difference. I do believe it made a different because it demonstrated to the jury that Mr. Cosby had a plan, a design, a scheme to drug and assault women.

And also that he couldn't have been mistaken about whether Andrea consented or not because if someone has a plan to incapacitate a woman by drugging her and then sexually assaulting her, then he knows she's not consenting.

LEMON: As I was watching, one of the women said that the justice system is beyond -- behind the culture. And where we are in the culture right now? I bring that because this is the first conviction in this "Me Too" movement. Do you think this is just the beginning, Gloria?

ALLRED: I think it's very, very significant. I do. And of course, my clients, the 33 accusers, were coming out.

[23:35:00] We were doing press conferences almost every month before the charges were filed about a year later. And this is long before a hash tag "Me Too." But in the hash tag "Me Too," people can go on the Internet. They can challenge the person they say abuse them and then there can be consequences.

But it's the wild west. No one is under oath. There are no standards. There are no rules. But in the court of law especially in a criminal case, there are very strict rules of evidence. And strict rules about what an accuser can testify to or not. But these women did it. They did it under oath. They did it under very challenging circumstances. They demonstrated courage. And the great thing is, I now have the answer to my question. The question was, how many women does it take to accuse a rich, powerful famous man to have even one woman believed? The answer in this trial, Don, was six. Five prior bad act accusers and Andrea Constand.

LEMON: Victoria, listen, I'm going to give you the last word here.

VALENTINO: Yes.

LEMON: Because it has been many years since Bill Cosby assaulted you. It took a real toll on your life. Do do you feel like you have some closure right now? How do you feel?

VALENTINO: Well, I hate the word cloche. I would like to think of it as a resolution. But I also think of it as more of a beginning. Because now we have opened the flood gates. We have a tsunami happening. You know, this is all about women's ability to speak out and face their accusers and not stuff it like we have for a lifetime, for generations throughout history.

And women have just had enough. And I think we were the grandmothers of the hash tag "Me Too" movement. We -- we spoke out. And we were not crucified. We were not assassinated. We didn't shrivel up and die on the sidewalk. We weren't imprisoned. We were liberated and empowered. And we gave voice to other women who have not yet found their voice.

LEMON: Yes.

ALLRED: I want to thank Victoria and I also want to thank CNN, Don, because CNN early on helped women to have their voice.

LEMON: We started on this show doing specials and having the women on. We had Barbara Bowman --

ALLRED: Exactly.

LEMON: -- and all those brave women who came forward.

VALENTINO: And me.

LEMON: And you, Victoria, yes.

ALLRED: Exactly. And even before --

VALENTINO: I was on your show. It's been a long journey.

LEMON: I remember you guys walking to the studio and we had the pictures of Cosby up and you had such an emotional experience. You guys starting crying and hugging each other. It was really impactful and made really an imprint on our lives and us here at CNN. Listen, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Thank you, Victoria.

VALENTINO: Oh, thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, Gloria.

ALLRED: Thank you, Don. Thanks.

LEMON: More on this case. We'll be right back.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The man they used to call America's dad found guilty today on three counts of aggravated and indecent assault. I want to talk about this Cosby verdict now with CNN Analysts, Areva Martin and Joey Jackson.

Good evening to both of you. Joey, you have been following this trial really closely. Were you surprised?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I really was. I really thought that the defense did a lot to go after the credibility and attacked Andrea Constand in significant ways. Tom Mesereau pointed out a dozen lies that she had told regarding various issues, the interactions with Cosby, when she met him, how she knew him, when she called him, when she didn't.

And so I thought based upon that that there was a big chance that Bill Cosby would walk out of this. But I think at the end of the day, Don, the five other accusers, the five prior bad act witnesses, you know really made a difference.

LEMON: Yes.

JACKSON: The jury based it certainly upon the facts of the case. But I think the five accusers and the prior bad acts had a lot to do with his conviction.

LEMON: Listen, for those of us of a certain age, would we ever have thought that Cliff Huxtable -- that you would see that headline, Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault, right? Areva, how about you? What do you think.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, it's pretty shocking on so many levels, don. You have this iconic figure. And even though this case isn't about race, you know, everything in this country is about race. So it's not just an iconic figure, it's an iconic African- American man that so many people, you know, across all color lines look up to and revered.

So to have him convicted on three felony counts of sexual assault is somewhat mind-blowing. But I have to say the women that have stood up and have said this is enough, that women should be believed, that women should not be silenced who have been sexually assaulted and attacked, we can't say anything but bravo to those women for having the courage to do this. And whether you are African-American or not, if you are a sexual predator, you should be prosecuted and convicted.

LEMON: Right. So, Joey, many of the men accused of sexual harassment have faced legal and professional repercussions, but not criminal conviction. Is this a turning point? JACKSON: Yes, I really think it is. I mean, think about what we have seen and experienced over the last several months. Powerful people who thought that they were really immune, right, from any type of attack have fallen. I mean, you know, look, it's been so significant.

And so I really think that we have reached a watershed moment in our history really where, you know, you can't get away with violating women without their being any repercussions at all. And so, you know, "Me Too" and the whole movement has been significant.

And so, yes, I know and I get that what happened inside that courtroom was about Bill Cosby, but it was about so much more. And so I think moving forward, you're going to see people deterred like you've never seen before in terms of keeping their hands off and knowing what no is no.

LEMON: Joey, listen, quick -- hold on, Areva. Quick because we are going to run out of time.

[23:45:00] I just have to ask you about this moment, Joey, because you're there now. Bill Cosby, the D.A. pleaded Cosby be jailed immediately, saying he was a flight risk because he owned a private jet. And then Cosby screamed out in court, he doesn't have a plane, you A-hole. He doesn't know. So what do you make of this outburst? What was this all about?

JACKSON: I think it's about a person who's frustrated and a person who was very passionate about, you know, hey, I didn't do it. And I think that passion ran high. He's 80 years old, Don. He could face the rest of his life in jail. And the fact is that I think he let the emotions get the best of him and that's what that was all about.

LEMON: Areva, I got 20 seconds here. Appeals?

MARTIN: Absolutely there will be an appeal, Don, but I think it's an uphill battle. I think he has a greater chance to try to convince this judge not to send him to prison for 30 years than he does having this jury's verdict overturned.

LEMON: Yes. You guys are fantastic on this. Thank you so much. We appreciate you being there at the courthouse, Joey. And Areva, as always, we appreciate your legal expertise. Thank you so much.

When we come back, could medical marijuana be the answer to America's opioid crisis? Our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join me next with what he has found after investigating for the past five years.

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LEMON: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta puts medical marijuana under the microscope in the award winning series "Weed," back with a new episode, tackling a very timely and controversial subject. Could medical marijuana be the answer to America's opioid crisis?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A hundred and fifteen Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. More than car accidents, breast cancer or guns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally everyone we know knows somebody who has died of an overdose.

GUPTA (voice over): And two and a half million Americans are currently struggling with opioid addiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suicide (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take some aspirin sometimes. And top it out.

GUPTA (voice over): A solution some believe is this. Cannabis. It's controversial to many.

(on camera): Is cannabis a gateway drug?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Go. Well, I guess I will start with it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us. I have two questions, is it a gateway drug and is it the answer? First, is it a gateway drug?

GUPTA: I don't think so. And people think of a gateway drug, they think that your body somehow has changed, your brain has changed somehow to make you then crave harder and harder drugs. I don't think there's evidence of that. Do people who start with marijuana sometimes take harder drugs? Yes, but not because of a physiological change in their body that makes them crave those things.

I think it could be a solution with this opioid epidemic in part because it could help do many of the things that opioids do without putting people at risk of overdose. That's the big thing. You know, you have so many people dying of overdoses that take opiods. There's not been any confirmed overdoses due to cannabis.

LEMON: Yes. So you said you think it can be a solution, then what's standing in the way of it?

GUPTA: Well, right now, in this country, it's still considered a Schedule 1 drug. It's illegal at the federal level. You know as many people do, this has been a back and forth federal and state sort of issue. So there are many states who have legalized this for medicinal purposes, but it's still illegal at the federal level.

If it's Schedule 1, it means two things. It means several things, but two important things. One is that it has a high abuse potential which just isn't true. I don't think anybody says that. And two, it's basically listed as having no medicinal benefit. Also not true. So it shouldn't be illegal any more.

LEMON: OK, so you've written a letter to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions. What are you asking Jeff Sessions to do? GUPTA: Well, there's a few things. One is that -- what everyone will say is that we need more research and data into this and that's true. But if it's a Schedule 1 substance, it's basically already been declared by the administration as having no medical benefit. It is a true Catch-22. We're saying it has no medical benefit, we're not giving research dollars for it. By the way, in order to change that, we need research. It can happen. That's number one.

Number two is, I really think, Don, and I've written this in the letter, that if you had to design a substance to help lead us out of this opioid epidemic, something that could treat pain, something that could treat withdrawal if someone's coming off of opioids, something that could help heal the brain in an addict's brain, that brain disease, it would look very much like cannabis. And cannabis already exists.

LEMON: So, who are you? Because I remember on this same network, we would argue about medical marijuana. And I said, we know we need to change the stigma, but you changed your mind about medical marijuana. Are you advocating this?

GUPTA: I think as a medicine, this is something that's never probably gotten its fair shake. I mean in the past, the reason you and I had disagreements on this in the past is when I would look at the evidence, Don, I wasn't particularly overwhelmed by it.

But what I realize is that the government wasn't funding research to look at the benefits. They were just looking at the harm. So if you look at it from the macro level, you'd say, there is nothing here. It's all basically does it cause this problem, does it cause this problem.

Once you started to look at non-federal funded labs, when you start to do leave the country, look at other places, a different picture started to emerge. I think it can work for people. And sometimes I think it's the only thing that can work.

LEMON: This is "Weed 4," right? You've been doing this for five years. What has surprised you the most?

GUPTA: I think with regard to this most recent research, we spent a lot of time on this one, is the impact it could have on this opioid epidemic. I mean, this is the worst self-inflicted epidemic we've ever had in our country.

It has plateaued our life expectancy in this country. You've heard all those stuffs. The problem is it's just getting worst. The 2017 numbers are coming out now. They're worst than the 2016 numbers.

[23:54:59] We're going in the wrong direction, and yet we have evidence now in states where they have legal medical marijuana, overdose deaths have dropped in those states by 20 percent. That's tens of thousands -- it could be 10,000 lives could be saved. So, that really surprised me and compelled me I think to do this reporting, but also the fact that it can help heal the brain. You can't tell people to just say no if they're no longer capable of doing that. You can't do it. And yet you have the substance out there that could help their brain heal in a way that they no longer have those same cravings or same tendencies.

LEMON: Sanjay, thank you so much. Fascinating. Can't wait to see it. Don't miss Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Weed," Sunday, April 29th. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

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