tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN November 22, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
doubt. it's about seeking the truth. and it's not beyond all doubt or math mat cal certainty. no, no, no. it's just beyond a reasonable doubt. that's the burden that the state has. all right. so, the evidence. the first thing you'll want to do is determine what really happened based on the evidence, but a lot of the evidence isn't in dispute, right? we know what days where english called the police. we know when we had videos. we know this was on february 23rd. the homicide's on video for the most part, okay. a lot of these things are not necessarily in dispute. what's in dispute is were they making a citizens arrest so that they were justified in committing these felonies against ahmaud arbery and then murdering him. that's what they're arguing about here. the police arrive very quickly. you heard the shots, the defendants all made statements at the scene, immediately after. they're making statements.
they're saying stuff to the police. then a couple hours later, the defendants are all down at the glynn county police department also making statements. but here's the thing. you have to ask yourself, were these self-serving statements? think about it. the very first thing we showed you was body cam video. it feels hard. but you have to realize travis mcmichael is right behind dug ginn when he rolled mr. arbery over. that's what greg mcmichael and mr. bryan saw. then you have to think to yourself, okay, what's going on in their heads? there's a dead man in the street. travis mcmichael has just shot him. okay? the police are on the scene. there's now a video of it. so are their statements a couple hours later self-serving? you decide. the investigation starting on may 5th, 2020, followed by the arrest. first off, the credibility of witnesses is for you to determine who you believe and
don't believe. what that means is you're the one who decides whether travis mcmichael is telling you the truth or lying to you. let's talk about some of the defense witnesses. beasley, what did she do when she got off the stand? she walked over here and waved at them and walked off the stand. you all saw that. annabel beasley, dean mcmichael. sue lawrence. who is she? boy, team mcmichael. even after the shooting, they're going out on the boat with greg and lee mcmichael. they're still hanging out with them. okay. team mcmichael. mark perez. team mcmichael. up until february 11th. then what did she it will you? her husband had had it with larry english not calling the police, had had it with helping out larry english, he wasn't going to do it anymore because this was not cool. why was it not cool? because diego perez went inside
that house with his flashlight, and greg mcmichael came up and went in the house. what was brooke doing? my husband's in there. all right? well, greg mcmichael had his gun. travis mcmichael told you that. he had his gun. diego had his gun. brooked a her gun. everybody had a gun. everybody in the case had a gun except ahmaud arbery. what almost happened? let's get real. it's a miracle diego perez and greg mcmichael didn't kill each other inside that house pulling guns out. that was it. what did brooke tell you? no more. not doing this anymore. you determine the credibility of those witnesses. now, when you consider travis mcmichael and his testimony, here's some things you want to look at. the judge is going to tell you, these are the things you consider. the manner of testifying. evidence of bias for or against a party. does he have bias for or against greg mcmichael?
it's his dad, okay? motive in testifying. yeah, he wants you to come back with a not guilty verdict. it's in his best interest. think about the probability or improbability of their testimony. i wondered why he was attacking that truck on holmes. what are you talking about? i have no idea. do you guys understand what he was getting at? i guess we're back to ahmaud arbery is a carjacker. their interest or lack of interest in the case, mean dog they have something to gain or lose by coming in here and making up a story for you. their personal credibility as you observe it. that's for you to decide, not for the state to decide, not for the defense to decide, for you to decide. all right. did travis mcmichael have a motive to lie to you? did he have a motive to make up additional things that he had never said before? all right? did he have a motive to
embellish his testimony? did he have a motive to claim he now was confused on february 23rd, 202? isn't that convenient. wow. the most traumatic -- i don't dispute it was probably the most traumatic experience of his life. how did mr. arbery's day go for him? all right? most traumatic experience for travis mcmichael. so he's all confused. but did manage to write out a three-page statement and immediately put it down on january 1st, said all sorts of contextual details in that statement. did he have a motive to use talking points? okay? ladies and gentlemen, did he come up here -- how many times did he satoal ti of the circumstances to you? did he have his talking points down a year and nine months later? that's for you to decide. the defense story. the law allows you to disregard his testimony from the witness stand if you don't find it
credible. [ inaudible ] the law allows you to consider his actions at the time of the murder if you don't find him credible. intent to commit a crime. well, ladies and gentlemen, you've got to find they intended to commit these crimes, and how do you look at that? you look at the natural and necessary consequences of the act, right? natural and necessary consequences of an act. deadly force is the last resort. never point a gun at someone you do not intend to shoot. so when you start pointing a shotgun directly at somebody, what's your intention? the natural and necessary xwenss offense the act, you're going to kill this person. you're pointing at it.
you may find intention or the absence of intention upon consideration of their words, their conduct. what did they do out there? their demeanor. their motive and other circumstances. so when you look at each defendant separately, because that's what you'll do -- you'll get three separate verdict f forms. mr. brian, what were his words, his conduct, his motive if what were circumstances for mr. bryan? for greg mcmichael? for travis mcmichael? we'll talk about charges in the indictment, all right. i'm going to make a suggestion to you. this may help you. start at the bottom of the indictment. in your deliberations, start with criminal intent and false imprisonment. it's easier. work through that way, work your way up, then to felony murder, then to mall liles murder. it's just a suggestion. what have we got? criminal intent to commit a
felony, which is false imprisonment. what's an attempt? when you perform an act which constitutes a substantial stem for the commission of said crime. mr. bryan pulled out of his driveway and ran him into a ditch. mr. arbery was able to keep running. right there. criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. this is what it says in the indictment. what do you have? in violation of the personal liberty of mr. arbery, okay. guess what? we're citizens of the united states, right? we live here. we have personal liberty, because this is a free country. other people can't pull up and stop us and hold us and detain us. okay? they have to actually have seen us commit that crime in order to effectuate a citizens arrest. you go around and start stopping people, you're doing that in violation of their personal liberty. and what dounlawfully chased ah
arbery through the public streets of satilla shores in pickup trucks and attempted to detain and confine him without legal authority using an f-150 pickup truck and a chevy silverado pickup truck. we all know that's what they did. false imprisonment. this is on holmes, violation of the personal liberty of ahmaud arbery to confine and detain ahmaud arbery without legal authority. once again, did not see him commit any crime. not a citizens arrest. they are not law enforcement officers. they are not in a marked patrol car. they are not with badges on their arms. they're not in any uniform. without legal authority. chasing ahmaud arbery with an f-150 pickup truck and a chevy silverado pickup truck on the public roadways of satilla shores neighborhood and did find and detain him on holmes.
travis mcmichael said he was pinned between the two trucks. greg mcmichael said he was trapped like a rat between the two trucks. the ultimate false imprisonment. never left holmes, did he. never left holmes. aggravated assault. an assault upon the person of ahmaud arbery with a ford-150 pickup truck and a silverado pickup truck. you know how it says "and," we know mr. bryan is driving the silverado, travis is driving the ford f-150, greg mcmichael in the back of the truck. it doesn't mean "and. "it's "or." don't you love words? the way you should read this is with a ford f-150 pick um truck or a chevy silverado pickup
truck. what are pickup trucks? when used against someone they can result in serious bodily injury or death. you hit someone with a ford f-150 pickup truck or silverado intentionally? are you going to hurt them? break a leg? paralyze them? you could even kill them. we all know that. hit-and-runs. we all know this. actual injury to amahmaud may n be shown for aggrinaggravated a. you don't have to actually hit the person or injure them for it to being a valted assault. what you have to do is place that person in reasonable fear of receiving a violent injury. this is really important, ladies and gentlemen. did defendants commit acts with their pickup trucks that placed ahmaud arbery in reasonable fear of receiving serious bodily
injury? yeah. yes, they did. we know mr. bryan did. he ran him into a ditch then tried to go at him again, then another time, then backed up for him. now, what did travis mcmichael say on stand? i just pulled up next to him. i didn't startle him. he wasn't afrald of me. do you believe any of that stuff? just look at the night owl video. look at how mr. arbery tries to get away from them, and then look at them speed up after them. that's all you have to do is look at that night owl video and you'll know they put him in reasonable fire of receiving serious bodily injury. aggravated assault with the pickup trucks. aggravated assault in count six, did they assault upon the person of ahmaud arbery with a firearm, a deadly weapon? that 12-gauge pop shotgun with seven already in it. two steps. pull the trigger.
that's all you have to do. the evidence is that the defendants attempted to cause a violent injury to the alleged victim by shooting him. that's aggravated assault with a shotgun. now, i want to be really clear, okay. travis mcmichael does this with the shotgun. we see it on the video. this is the beginning of the aggravated assault. beginning of the aggravated assault. the aggravated assault continues as he steps away from his car door and blocks the road. now, what did he say to you? putting distance between me and mr. arbery. was he putting distance or was he blocking the road? you decide. then what does he do? he doesn't stay right there, does he? we can't see this, but what do we know? he makes it around that car door, right, he makes it over here, right, he's in front of his truck, and he's moving forward, closing the distance on mr. arbery, intercepting mr. arbery, and is right here with that shotgun.
it wasn't like this. it was right like this. and how fast does mr. arbery come around the corner and, boom, shoots him. that is one continuous aggravated assault ending in the shotgun blast to his torso right here. came out right here. so how was he when the shotgun hit him? like this. right? got it across the wrist, across the torso, came out right here, so he's turned like this, according to the medical examiner. felony murder. felony murder is when you commit a felony and someone dies because of the felony. classic felony murder scenario. guy goes into a convenience store to rob the convenience store. he's not there to murder anybody. he's not there to kill the clerk. doesn't know the clerk. he's got a gun, right?
what does he do? pulls out the gun, pointing it at the clerk. and the clerk is like, and what does he do? he tries to hit the gun away and starts punching the armed robber. what does the armed robber do? boom. kim kills the clerk. committing a felony, you cannot claim self-defense, you've now murdered the clerk because during the felony that you were doing, you pointed -- armed robbery, pointing a gun at somebody. you expect when you're committing felonies people are going to fight back, right? they're entitled to fight back, right? imagine if armed robbers could come in and go, well, i had to defend myself against the victim of my crime. could you imagine if that was the law? right? isn't that what they're saying? how dare mr. arbery defend himself against their four felonies? isn't that what they're saying to you? so felony murder. let's take a look at it.
what is felony murder? the state must prove that the defendant caused the death of another. check. by committing a felony. check. you have four of them. do not need to show malice, meaning intent to commit the death of somebody, like the guy showed up at the convenience store, not there to murder the clerk, did not need to show he intended the death with the felony. what we have to show is this -- that the felony directly caused the death, he pulled the trigger on the shotgun, aggravated assault with a shotgun, immediately caused the death. no-brainer. what about the other three? you're thinking, linda, what about the other three? what are we talking about here? did the other three felonies -- aggravated assault with the pickup trucks, false imprisonment, criminal attempt at false imprisonment -- did they play a substantial and necessary part in causing the death? the state's position is yes, they did. in other words, but for this felony being committed, the
death would not have occurred. it's real easy. but for the felony being committed this death would not have occurred. when does this really apply? the defendants are in the process of committing a series of felonies. they're doing it together at the same time. the defendants shoot mr. arbery during the commission of felonies. did that felony against mr. arbery ultimately contribute and lead to his death? how do we look at this? aggravated assault with the shotgun. yes. pointing that shotgun at him. having him run away around the side of the car. travis mcmichael intercepting him with the shotgun and then shooting him. definitely aggravated assault. felony murder. aggravated assault with pickup trucks. well, once again, what do we have? would he be dead if he hadn't been pinned between these two pickup trucks? think about this. if he made it up holmes and over on zellwood, he would have gotten out, right?
if he hadn't been pinned between the two pickup trucks on holmes with mr. bryan running him towards the white pickup truck, would he still be alive? yeah. their use of the pickup trucks to go ahead and commit aggravated assault on him, put him in fear of them and their pickup trucks, meant he was running away from them. you saw it. running away. did their actions -- were they such that they put him in reasonable fear of receiving bodily injury? and did that contribute to him ending up where he ended up and his death? yes, it did. felony murder. false imprisonment on holmes. that's what we're talking about. did they falsely imprison him on holmes? we've gone over it. had him pinned on holmes, trapped like a rat between two pickup trucks according to greg mcmichael, still after five minutes running away from them. if they hadn't done this, they
hadn't done this on holmes, would he be alive? ask yourselves that. if the answer is yes, felony murder. check it off. criminal attempt and false imprisonment. you're thinking, linda, seriously, okay, yeah, they pulled up to him, hey, stop, we want to talk to you. he runs away. they pull forward. they go down to the end of river. he runs away from him again. they're trying to falsely imprison him there. did that contribute to it? yes. because that's when they began their attack. they're using the pickup trucks on buford to put him in reasonable an rpprehension of serious bodily injury. mr. bryan runs him into the ditch. aggravated assault. so what's mr. arbery doing? we know, he runs away from them and runs away and runs away from them. because they have tried to
falsely imprison him on bufrld and they've used these pickup trucks to do it in a man they're's likely to cause him fear. but we don't know what was going through his head. nobody knows. that would be speculation. but you're allowed to look at it and go, were their actions such that it would put a reasonable person in fear of getting hurt? that's what you want to ask yourself. those are the felonies in the indictment. mall liles murder. what is malice murder? caused the death of another person unlawfully and with mall liles afore thought. malice aforethought is not ill will or hatred. no premeditation is required. okay? rather it's the unlawful intention to kill without justification. what's justification? it's self-defense. deliberate intention to kill is
one way you see malice murder. i'm deliberately taking your life. i'm killing you. how do we usually think about that? you're out to get somebody. opportunity husband murdered for the insurance money. you're going to go ahead and execute somebody. you're mad at somebody. you're enraged at somebody. you intend to kill them. that's deliberate intention. but there's another kind of malice, and that's implied malice. you are allowed to consider this when looking at malice. you may find malice when there does not appear to be significant provocation and the circumstance of a killing shows an abandoned an malignant heart. don't you love lawyers? what the heck is an abandoned and malignant heart, right? think about that. you just don't care. you just don't care what you're doing. you want to do whatever you want to do, and whoever you're doing it to had better be okay with it. i'm going to order you to stop
and talk to me, and if you don't, i'm going to pull a shotgun on you. you're going to run away from me? yeah? i'm going to intercept you at the corner. how dare you turn on me. bam. malice right there. remember, mr. arbery had to have engaged in significant provocation. what did he do? what did mr. arbery do? he ran away for five minutes. he ran away from them. he ran away from them for five minutes. that's what he did. his hands at his sides and the baggy shorts he had on. no weapon. no threats. no way to call for help. didn't even have a cell phone on him. ran away from them for five
minutes. the state doesn't have to prove premeditation or motive. okay? not required to explain to you why they did what they did. you know what they did. some of you may know why they did it. but the state does not have to prove exactly why they did what they did. the indictment. here's the thing. how in the world could defendant bryan be held responsible if he was in the silverado filming all this, right? how can greg mcmichael be responsible if he's in the back of the truck finally on the phone with 911 when the shots rang out? well, it's kcalled party to a crime. that's what it's called. what's party to a crime? well, ladies and gentlemen, let me ask you this. do you think that everyone
involved from the person who actually commits the crime to someone who encourages or enlists someone to commit the crime to someone who helps commit the crime should be held responsible under the law in georgia? do you think that sounds reasonable? well, guess what? the law does. the law says everybody involved is guilty. okay? a person is a party to a crime only if that person directly commits the offense. driving the trucks. pulling out that shotgun. attempting to falsely imprison. helping to track somebody by pinning them between two pickup trucks. running towards somebody a man with a shotgun. all directly committing or helping in the commission of the crime or advices and encourages. what's advising and encouraging? hey, travis, get your shotgun. that guy is outside.
not, hey, travis, i need to call 911, that guy is outside. let's get our guns and let's jump in the truck. encouraging. advising. cut him off, cut him off, cut him off! that's what greg mcmichael said. so that's what we've got. ladies and gentlemen, how do you really want to think about this? everybody gets a super bowl ring, right? the quarterback gets a super bowl ring, the guys on the field get a super bowl ring, the dude on the bench gets a super bowl ring, right? everybody is involved. everybody is responsible. that's what the law says. cooperation after the fact. now, this applies to the defendants but mostly mr. bryan, because this was brought up when he was talking with agent seacrest and everything. so, first off, cooperation after the fact doesn't erase the crime you committed.
bryan did film the murder on his phone. he gave the phone over and the video right away to the police. he made statements to the police at the scene, at glynn county. he then goes and makes additional statements to the gbi in may of 2020. he consented to having the video downloaded. guess what? doesn't matter. cooperation after the fact does not erase what you have done. okay? that would be like two teenagers shoplifting at walmart and one is telling the other, both stuffing bikinis into the bag. the fact one-hands over video of her girlfriend doing it, does that make her not guilty of stuffing a bikini in her own bag? no. you still did the crime. still are responsible for your actions. this is about responsibility. all right. we are going to transition right
now, take a breath, and we're going to transition into self-defense and citizens arrest. how's my time? a person is justified in threatening or using force another against person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend himself or a third person against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. wow. that's a mouthful, right? let's break it down. travis mcmichael had to reasonably believe that it feels absolutely necessary to defend himself, and of course he threw in his dad, which he never mentioned before at any point in time, but threw him in against the other imminent use of unlawful force. that mean mrs. arbery had to be
right there imminently using unlawful force against travis mcmichael. okay? it's the doctrine of reasonable bleaches, and the judge is going to go ahead and charge you on this. in other words, the belief that you have got to defend yourself, that it's life or death right here, right now. has to be reasonable. okay? guess who this standard applies to? take one guess who this standard applies to. everybody. it applies to you. it applies to law enforcement. it applies to military people. okay? it applies to jason bourne, secret service, cia, fbi. it applies to everybody. there is no special exception for, i was in the coast guard. there's no special exception for, i used to be a law enforcement officer. the reasonableness applies to
retired law enforcement officers just as it applies to anybody. in other words, the reasonable standard is set by society. you all decide whether this was reasonable or not. travis mcmichael's belief he had to defend himself with lethal force has to be reasonable. so we've got pointing a shotgun at mr. arbery when he's yards and yards away. had to be reasonable and necessary. but where is the imminent use of unlawful force by mr. arbery? what was he doing? he's running away from mr. bryan's truck. mr. bryan has already tried to hit him with the truck numerous times. he's trapped between two cars with no weapon, no way for anyone to help him because there's nobody out there to help him. he's not threatening anybody.
he's just running away from the man with the shotgun. look at this. take a look at this. he's not even up to those mailboxes on the side. that's travis mcmichael pulling that shotgun up. what are they going to tell you? they're going to tell you, oh, he was running toward me. i could tell he was going to attack me. is that reasonable? who brought the shotgun to the party? who took the shotgun out of the car? who pointed the shotgun? the guy's running, running away from them for five minutes. here's the thing. you cannot take the danger to yourself. that means you cannot be the initial unjustified aggressor. you can't create the situation and then go, i was defending myself. you just can't do it.
you move d to intercept. he attacked him. i'm not talking about mr. arbery attacking travel. all right. here's the concept of excessive force, and this is a big one, because here's the thing -- if you use excessive force during your self-defense, guess what? you're not just fied, you're guilty. not justified. you're guilty if you use excessive force. because it's force that exceeded kwhafls reasonably necessary. you guys ever heard the term, that saying, can't bring a gun to a knife fight? it's unfair, right? can't bring a gun to a fistfight. it's unfair, right? you can't use excessive force. you can't call someone out and go, hey, buddy, let's take it outside, you're starting it, then when that person starts to beat you up and is better at the fight than you, you don't get to
pull out a gun and shoot him. you started it. you called them out. they're better at this than you. then all of a sudden, i'm scared, i have to defend myself. that's not the way this works. excessive force. so first off, ahmaud had to be using unlawful force against them. remember the guy running down the street right here? he's using excessive force, unlawful force against them right here, right? then travis mcmichael hod to reasonably believe that he had to defend himself against mr. arbery. and they're going to get up here, and they're good, these defense attorneys are good, they're going to get up here and make it perfectly -- they're going to make this seem like, oh, yeah, this is scary. he had to pull a shotgun out on him. they'll make it seem so reasonable. put on your critical thinking caps. use your common sense after closing arguments. now the force has to be reasonable. unarmed man running with hands
at the sides, never pulled out a weapon, never threatened anybody. this is completely excessive force. even if you think, ladies and gentlemen, if you go, hey, it was citizens arrest, hey, he was rally defending himself, you then still have to go, this wasn't excessive force in order to find them not guilty. all right? what you didn't hear from the defense in their opening statement are the three instances when a person can't claim self-defense under the law in georgia. can't be the initial unjustified aggressor. this is important. you can't start this with your driveway decision unjustified because you didn't see a crime committed that day and then claim oh, i acted in self-defense. what's the justification? what are you going to hear? we wanted ahmaud arbery to stop and talk to us but he wouldn't,
so we tried to force him to stop and talk and we killed him. you can't commit felonies against someone and then claim self-defense. you can't be the armed robber in the convenience store pointing the gun and when the clerk goes to defend himself by grabbing that gun or hitting the armed robber, you can't shoot him. the law goes, not self-defense when you're committing felonies against someone. and you can't provoke someone into defending themselves against you so you can intentionally harm them and claim self-defense. think of your schoolyard bull bullies. think of the three boys walking behind the one who's the target, you know, kid who's getting abused, right? okay? you've got three-on-one. they're going down the hallway. they're menacing him, maybe threatening him, and they get him up against the locker, he has nowhere to go. he's trapped, right? what does the kid who's being bully dodd? he takes it and takes it until
he can't anymore and shoves the one bully, and that bully punches the target child. what's the bully always say? "he started it." isn't that what the bully always says? he pushed me. i was defending myself. three-on-one with one kid up against the locker. you're bullying him. he actually pushes you and you claim you're acting in self-defense when you punch him? this is law. the law knows people will go to other people defending themselves so they can claim i was acting in self-defense. you can't do that either. three-on-one. two pickup trucks. two guns. unarmed. mr. arbery was unarmed. so, what are you going to hear? i don't know what they're going to say. they're good. they're good defense attorneys. they're going to get up here and the state is so worried they ool
make it seem so reasonable that everything travel and greg did is so reasonable, i'll just ask you, use your common sense and put your thinking caps on. we anticipate they'll say the victim started it or you'll hear he was the aggressor because he was running towards travis mcmichael, but he was running away from mr. bryan, who'd already tried to hit him with the pickup truck. he was trapped like a rat. nowhere else to go. or they'll tell you, ladies and gentlemen, this is really about the front of the pickup truck. forget everything else. it feels all about the front of the pickup truck. they'll try and make it seem like, well, he attacked travis mcmichael. we can't see. what we know is his hand was like this, right? doesn't matter. you know why it doesn't matter? because they weren't committing a citizens arrest. they weren't in fear, real fear
of imminent danger from mr. arbery. they were committing the four felonies. that's what they were doing. you're going to hear, we weren't committing fellies. we were doing a citizens arrest. we were t-- yes, we pointed a shotgun in to get him to comply with our orders -- not sure anyone should comply with their orders -- to stop and talk to him, but there was no reason for him to defend himself because this was a citizens arrest. ladies and gentlemen, this is the bottom line. as i said in opening, i'll say it to you again, this was an attack on ahmaud arbery. they committed the crimes. they committed the four felonies. they attacked him. s they shot and killed him. they can't claim self-defense under the law because they were the initial unjustified aggressors and they started this. they were committing the
felonies against ahmaud arbery. they have to somehow justify their actions by claiming citizens arrest. i'll remind you once again evidence from the witness stand, they never, ever said on february 23rd, 2020, that they were doing a citizens arrest or trying to arrest him. it was all, we wanted to stop, we wanted to question him about what he was doing because he must have committed a crime that day and we were going to hold him so the police could go back and figure out what crime it feels that he must have xhipted because he was running down the street. citizens arrest. the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. if the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping, a private person may arrest him. so what are they going to do? oh, i'm sorry. i forgot to tell you this. a private person may not act on
the unsupported statements of others alone for their probable cause. what does that mean? no hearsay. nothing along those lines. in other words, my mom told me about this, where she has no personal knowledge of it, doesn't count. that's unsupported, unreliable statements of somebody else. you have to have more than stale information from an unreliable source. a private citizen's warrantless arrest must occur immediately after the offense or in the case of felonies during the escape. if the observer fails to make the arrest immediately after the commission of the offense or during an escape in the case, his power to do so is extinguished. what does that really mean?
a citizens arrest is for emergency situations when a crime really happens right in front of you and you can take action then and there to arrest somebody, because you know about it. you've seen it. you're taking action right then and there. if it's a felony, you can run after the person and chase him down. that's all this means. so it's not a citizens arrest. they never said it. none of the defendants saw mr. arbery commit any crime that day. they were detaining him for police so that they could investigate and find the crime that he must have committed that day, because what is he doing? he's running down the street. that's not the law, ladies and gentlemen. it's not the law at all. travis mcmichael, remember all his assumptions? he got up here and i wrote them all down. alben si may have seen him.
he may have broken in. maybe the owner's down there. he may have been caught. he may be trying to avoid the police. that's testimony from the witness stand. he didn't know anything. absolutely nothing. so where are we going to end up? this is where we're going toenld pup. travis mcmichael had probable cause believing ahmaud arbery stole the stuff off the english boat in 2019 because his mother gave him some gossip about stuff being stolen, and he was escaping. use your common sense. how do you escape from a crime on an unknown date in 2019 in 2020? they'll explain it to you, i'm sure. use your common sense. do you think this was all completely made up for trial especially given no one ever said it on february 23rd, 2020? ladies and gentlemen, use your
common sense. put your critical thinking caps on. that's all the state is going to ask you to do. ladies and gentlemen, i give you the defense. >> all right. what we're going to do, ladies and gentlemen, is take a short recess. let's go ahead and take a 15-minute recess. then we'll come back for the continuation of closing arguments. again, do not discuss this case amongst yourselves until all of the closing arguments have been made and you have received the final charge of the court. all right. >> listening to the judge there. we have just wrapped up -- the prosecution just wrapping up its closing argument. the judge announcing a short break before they come back with the defense. we also have with us sarah azari, white collar criminal defense attorney watching with jim and myself for the last, oh, not quite an hour, i guess, maybe about an hour. sarah, as you watch this, one of the things that struck me was this very methodical closing
argument that the prosecutor put out there. she went through each one of the charges, actually said to the jury the order in which she thought they should consider those charges. she kept coming back to two phrases, common sense and critical thinking. how effective is it when a prosecutor approaches the jury in that way? >> i thought she was really effective, erica. the defense has been factually deprived in this case from the get-go. mcmichael's testimony did not help at all. we saw the defendant become the prosecution star witness. he confirmed there was no threat, that really the only threat were the three defendants committing multiple felonies that this prosecutor laid out very clearly, refuting self-defense. you don't get to commit felonies and be the first aggressor and under the self-defense law in georgia claim self-defense. she went through this methodically in terms of the analysis. the first part was the citizens arrest. if you don't have a valid
citizens arrest, you don't get to self-defense. >> on that question, because that was also central to the prosecutor, linda dunikoski's closing argument here. she described the standard for citizens arrest as requiring a crime committed in your presence, which she says is not met in this case organization that you had immediate knowledge of a crime being committed. she said this case doesn't meet that standard. there was a moment when the defense lawyer jumped up and said, wait, the prosecutor is not accurately describing the citizens arrest law. you're a lour. who was describing it correctly? >> the prosecutor. i think the defense lawyer was -- you know, sometimes we interject to sort of break up the prosecutor's momentum in closing arguments. but really she's correct. because these guys proceeded on assumption. they said, oh, february 11th, this might have been the same guy at this house. no. that is not immediate knowledge. they didn't know where arbery
was earlier that day, let alone committing a felony offense, and they certainly didn't see it. she's very correct to say you can't proceed on gossip, on hearsay. you have to have either seen the crime or have immediate knowledge. 12 days ago was not immediate. >> the judge, when that moment happened, said to the jury, simply said, the jury will have a copy of the law. if you're interrupting by saying that she's not accurate and you know the jury gets a copy of the law, which you say is accurate, i mean, it seems like sort of an odd decision to make if that's where you're going to interrupt momentum. >> it is, but remember, this is not the same lawyer, but we've seen another defense lawyer in this case make those frivolous -- the black pastors can't be in the courtroom motions over and over again. you know, they're just grasping. they're grasping. this is an indefensible case.
it's a very difficult case for the defense. i think this judge is saying -- this judge did not admonish the prosecutor. you can absolutely as an attorney making closing arguments break down the law, break down the elements unless you're grossly misstating the law, then that would be an issue with the court. but this judge would have told her she was wrong if she feels wrong. sorry for the intrusion. [ phone ringing ] this judge did not because she was correct. he was basically saying, look, ultimately the instruction will come from me and you are to use those instructionings as the law that you're applying to the facts. >> understood. we're about to hear the defense argument. we'll bring that to our audience live. there was a moment in the prosecutor's argument that struck me as critical to the prosecution's case, and that was what she described what the accused, the three men accused of the murder of arbery, brought to this, including the weapon.
have a listen. >> travis mcmichael pulling that shotgun out. what are they going to tell you? they're going to say, oh, he was running towards me. i was going to tell he was going to attack me. is that reasonable? who brought the shotgun to the party? who took the shotgun out of the car? who pointed the shotgun? the guy is running, running away from them for five minutes. here's the thing. you cannot take the danger to yourself. that means you cannot be the initial unjustified aggressor. you can't create the situation and then go, i was defending myself. you just can't do it. >> impactful moment? does she describe the law correctly there? >> absolutely, jim, because, look, he was unarmed. that's a huge fact, right? he was unarmed.
he was running away. so who's really the threat? it's the defendants. one has a gun. one's threatening him. two are going at him with a truck. the idea here is that also remember she talked about this in the context of credibility, she said that initially he had an hour to write out a statement for the detective and never mentioned that arbery was grabbing his gun and striking him with it. then suddenly he gets before the jury and these facts come out. whenever a defendant or witness adds facts over time, that's a big red flag that they're lying. we have video here. we know exactly what happened. this was a guy who was running away from them. they had no idea whether he had committed a crime. they brought the gun. they used the gun. they xhipted multiple felonies. they were not acting in self-defense. >> sara azari, thank you. we'll bring you the defense closing arguments once those begin. up next, disturbing new details about the suv that plowed through a christmas parade in wisconsin on sunday killing least five pool.
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stood up. i threw her out of the way, then i basically yelled, "get out of the way." and my wife got out of the way, and by the time she did, the car came right past me within at least two feet. i could have touched the car going by. >> he threw his child out of the way of that car. cnn's natasha chen joins us from the scene in waukesha. what more are we learning particularly about the person of interest in this case? >> reporter: yeah, jim and erica. we know there is a person of interest in custody, and the police wouldn't answer any questions about what role that person played or anything that person said to them when he or she was taken into custody. that story that you just heard from, that man who was at the parade, it's what we're hearing from other folks as well, including people who lived in a nearby apartment building who grabbed people and pulled them into the building to get them out of the street. just to remind people of exactly what happened here, the annual
christmas parade by the city of waukesha here started in the afternoon. the parade route was along mostly main street headed west. and this red suv was actually going in the same direction as the parade. where we are standing right now is about three blocks we of where that car hit the first group of people. there are some really disturbing videos of that suv hitting a marching band, speeding right past a small child, missing her by inches. a lot of people jumped in immediately to help. right now, we know of at least five people who have been k killed, about 40 people who have been injured, and that number really rose overnight because initially there were emergency responders bringing people to six different hospitaled in the area, but officials also said that people arrived at hospitals on their own in private cars. so you can just imagine the panic and the people trying to help each other, family members
trying to figure out if their loved ones are okay. something that really stuck with me in talking to one of the witnesses was how she described parents calling out their children's names and just the screams and another witness saying that she heard thuds when there was impact between the car and people. so just really horrifying for this town right now. >> yeah, absolutely. natasha, thank you. joining us, daniel mccabe, former deputy director at the fbi. as we look at what we know this morning and how this is playing out, what are your main questions at this point? >> erica, i think everyone has the same question in terms of motive. like, what compelled this person to drive their car at that rate of speed through a crowd of people, you know, gathered to celebrate the holidays? it's just confounding. but, you know, we're not going to get an answer to that right away, certainly not until law enforcement feels more comfortable sharing some of those details.
we've heard different reporting this morning that he may have been fleeing another incident. law enforcement has not corroborated that as far as we know just yet. but it makes sense in a way based on what we saw in those videos last night. the vehicle appeared to -- even going down the parade route, it appeared to avoid some of the folks that he passed, at least initially, which is, you know, not what you typically see when someone attacks a large crowd with a vehicle intentionally. >> yeah. andrew, there are hundreds of parades like this as you know from your time in the fbi, you cannot protect against everything. not everything is a fortress. do you see any security shortcomings here given that we do know a larger threat from the possibility of vehicles, the circumstances still unclear? any shortcomings you can identify? >> it's hard to say definitively, jim, at this
point. but you're absolutely right. we have a broad spectrum of tools to use to protect these sorts of events, but every city, every town doesn't have the same resources to deploy, right? so here in the nation's capital when the president is going to walk down pennsylvania avenue after he's been inaugurated, the secret service completely locks that into what we call a frozen zone. that's not possible in every small town around america when you have a local parade. local officials will be questioning how did they block the major access routes to that route? we saw some of the barricades easily bpenetrated. maybe next year you see snow trucks or salt trucks or heavier barriers used rather than kind of warning signs and things of that nature. that remains to be seen. i hope the security officials in waukesha will take a hard look at that. >> in terms of that, too, we did
see some changes after other incidents happened where vehicles were used as weapons. there's also, you know, the fact that more people are out this year. the fact you're holding events again, i would imagine that would come into play for local sl law enforcement as they put out their messaging surrounding upcoming events so they can let people know what measures are in place. >> no question, erica. we are very focused on the enjoyment of being able to convene together as communities, as crowds in public spaces. but what we have to remember is that with those convening moments, we are also going back to the conditions that we have seen very clearly many times in the last few years, conditions that are exploited by folks who are wishing to do harm or to terrorize populations. you know, i was looking back last night. i think in 2017 alone we saw about four or five e doesn't events like that arounder the world but here in the states as well. it's a persistent concern.
>> andrew mccabe, thanks so much as always. thanks so much to all of you for joining us today on yet another busy news day. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. stay tuned. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. good morning, everyone. breaking news in the trial of three men accused of killing ahmaud arbery. we are moments away now from the defense beginning its closing arguments. the prosecution has just wrapped up its closing statements this morning, which lasted just over an hour. the jury could get the case and begin deliberating by the end of the day. over the last two weeks, jurors heard from more than 20 witnesses including the man who shot arbery, travis mcmichael. he testified that he shot the 25-year-old black man who was jogging. he shot him in self-defense, he said, after he claimed that