tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC July 7, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
>> building a better bay area. moving forward. finding solutions. this is abc7 news. ♪ >> hello, you are watching "getting answers." we asked experts your questions everyday at 3:00 to get answers for you in real time. today, brittney griner's guilty plea in a russian court. will this mean prison time? will it pave the way for a prisoner swap or another deal? an expert in international law will join us with insight. also with rising monkeypox cases in san francisco, public health officials are spreading awareness and vaccines in the lgbtq community. our media partners from the san francisco standard will be here with the very latest. san francisco has a new district attorney or will as of tomorrow following voters'
recall of jason putin. it was up to them to make an interim appointment, and this afternoon she did. tonight phil m. joins us, brooke is the name, who is to? >> she's a former prosecutor at the district attorney's office, a homicide prosecutor from san francisco. and she rose through the ranks and had a falling out with just about do know about a question whether or not to accept an insanity plea in a murder conviction that she had one in court -- won in court as part of the verdict. she left the office as well as other prosecutors and wound up becoming the spokesperson actually for the republicans -- against voting. she faces reelection in november. there are a lot of pieces at play here.
>> what is the message the mayor is sending with this pick, picking someone who worked on his recall? >> the message being sent is one thing, the one being received is another. the message the mayor would like to be sending is that she has spent a lot of time on this decision. she met with a lot of community people to find out what it was that they wanted out of a prosecutor. san francisco is in the midst and the forefront of the judicial reform movement. a movement against mass incarceration and cash bail where you have to bill yourself out with money and poor people cannot do that. it is a movement towards diversion rather than jail time. it is also a movement that has created controversy with people feeling like there is a growing sense of lawlessness in the city and in the state as a matter of fact. so there is a debate about this. she was looking for someone that could continue as a sort of a progressive area but not go to
the extremes. just up would say there is no cash bill as a poster saying some people should be in jail. some people shouldn't. that is one of the things pair with the second thing she's got to do is pick somebody that could get reelected. because chesa boudin commended 44% of the boat so she still a formidable presence and she feels that this one is someone i can do both of those things. not change necessarily the overall direction of the judicial reform movement. but some of this -- chesa boudin had been a public defender. there is a feeling within the judicial reform movement that if you go are going to change things, you need to change him from inside. if you're going to steer the bus in a direction, you need somebody that knows how to drive the bus. the mayor feels she has found somebody that can steer it in the direction that most san franciscans wanted by dryvit as well -- but dryvit as well --
drive it as well. >> she also sent some other things interestingly. i saw an article, a conservative news outlet featuring her interview she dealt with bill marr before the recall. she said he has tried to catch lawlessness as reform and believes gangs don't exist. that they are a social construct. thoughts about that? >> the first part, lawlessness under the guise of reform, that was a persistent criticism of his office, and of other prosecutors who followed him in the state -- opponents of it. the mayor was saying what the office needs is accountability. people need to be held accountable. that same maher interview also featured abc7's video of the shoplifter loading up in the walgreens, than bicycling out
past the security guard. the message being that you can do this with impunity in san francisco. that was the message that was sent out to the world. . that is what the world saw. they are the ones that said, what is going on here? is there law in san francisco? we're working on it. the other part is the gang enhancements. boudin was against gang enhancements. he didn't believe in them being treated as special criminals. at least not younger gangs. he did away with a lot of the enhancements. she didn't like that. these are the kinds of directions we are possibly going to be seen. >> do you think the message is that law is back? >> law and order by what definition, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, ok? because law and order is -- is that richard nixon, donald trump? they have commandeered that phrase.
things are not necessarily that easy. this is progressive. they say let's do away with mass incarcerations -- while san francisco already before boudin was not locking people up. gascon and harris were big on not holding people long before their trial. a lot of things they were pushing were already being done. but as one aide said is he pushed it over a cliff and some people's estimation other than riding it along the edge. >> have you seen any reaction from movers and shakers? >> i have not seen reaction from boudin, it happened a little while ago. the mayor was looking at four possibles in the end.
stephani is a supervisor here in san francisco. an elected official and deputy da herself in customer accounts of -- custer konta county. in the end she looked for that political and policy equation that looks like it is going to hold. i'm going to have to be honest here, it didn't hurt matters as an african-american woman from san francisco. you and i know how politics work in the san francisco area that who gets what and how it moves tends to have an impact. >> so jenkins will be sworn in tomorrow. boudin's last day. this could be a short term because november election, you expect them to run, what do you think will happen? >> that will be the big
question. boudin has until august to make up his mind on whether he wants to run. it will be a tough one out of the gate because of the recall. to reassert himself so quickly. otherwise you're probably going to have a matchup of the same thing, 55-45. in november, i want to note, it is interesting, we talk about the impact the bay area or things have or how they go, we had the district attorney recalled, we have the new one being named, we are having a discussion of what direction and how this is perceived. meanwhile, in southern california, in los angeles, today they submitted signatures to recall there district attorney, george gascon, former da from san francisco moved to los angeles and became da they are and is now facing a possible recall -- the signatures are in, they think they have the numbers. it remains to be seen if it qualifies for the ballot. that's going to be another interesting run. >> thank you so much.
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>> brittney griner pleaded guilty in a russian court saying she did not intend to carry vaped cartridges containing a small amount of cannabis oil into the country. it's been a five month ordeal since her arrest getting to this moment. but what now? joining us live is an expert on international law and professor at uc hastings college and law professor.
thank you for your time. >> thanks for having me. >> why that do you suppose she pleaded guilty today? is this a necessary first step to coming home? >> that's definitely what her legal team believes. the unfortunate reality is that russia is not operating in a normal way with this prosecution. that is why the state department has determined that she is being wrongfully detained. i think the assessment at this point is that she needs to get to the other end of this criminal process, so that she can appeal for a pardon of her sentence and be sent back to the u.s. >> the charges she pleaded guilty to, what kind of prison time could not bring her? >> my understanding is that in russia and drug smuggling offense can carry up to 10 years in prison. unfortunately we have seen other americans prosecuted often on allegedly trumped up charges, so it's really difficult to
predict. she's got another hearing on july 14. but i think her hope is that they can get this over with as quickly as possible and move to negotiations about how to get her out of russia. >> the particulars of this case, we don't really know. but what is happening typically behind-the-scenes, that we may not be able to see? what do you suppose is happening now? >> all indications are that there is a fair bit of diplomatic activity for quite some time and i assume that that will continue. we saw trevor reed coming home in april. which was a huge relief to his family who had been waiting for him for almost three years. the reality in these situations is when you travel to a foreign country, you are in that country's jurisdiction. you are within their legal power. just as anyone who comes to the u.s. could be prosecuted for violating u.s. law, that's the position these americans are in. however, when there is a wrongful detention, the u.s.
does not simply sit back and accept that. so we work actively both through as i understand that official and unofficial channels to figure out what it will take for russia to give her that pardon and send her back on a plane home. >> let's take a look at one option often mentioned. that is a prisoner swap. who could be swapped for her, realistically? victor bout has been mentioned. in a russian arms dealer serving 25 years for conspiracy to sell weapons to terrorist organizations. do you suppose that is a realistic option? >> i think it is pretty dangerous, to think of a specific name -- all of that is a conjecture, definitely understandable that people are looking through, wondering which russian prisoners might be in u.s. custody at the moment. but the problem when we start think about these kinds of trades is, as many people have pointed out, we don't want to
create a situation where picking up a u.s. employee oratory store visitor becomes a get out of jail free card for any foreigner imprisoned in the u.s.. so it's a really fine balance between making sure that the individual rights of every american are guaranteed, even when they are overseas. and not essentially creating a pathway to permutation of lawfully imposed sentences in the u.s.. >> effect of the matter is that happens quite a bit in international injury politics if you will -- north korea,, there was the journalists, it took former president clinton actually going there in a high-profile way to get them home. of course the army deserter, taliban prisoners. tell us if this is something that will continue to happen. >> everybody loses but it is
unnecessary pathway to getting people home. you mentioned north korea. the tragic situation that he came home only after having suffered devastating injuries. the reality is there are millions of people who travel across borders every year. so these high-profile cases are not actually that frequent, when you consider the volume of travel. each one of them is so devastating and draws such attention that i'm sure this will not be out of the public eye until there is some resolution. >> what are the good options? if you asked the american people, do you want to present or swap? a lot of people say no, but when you ask, do you want grain or home, somebody else, they say yes for obvious reasons, on a personal level. what other options might there be here? >> unfortunately, this wrongful detention determination means
the u.s. government has a set -- has assessed she is being used as a political pawn. whatever the merits against her, the assessment is that they were brought in order to create diplomatic leverage. russia is in a prolonged war in ukraine right now. russia is not at war with the u.s. we still have an ambassador in russia also working on this case. but the tensions are very high. we have unprecedented economic sanctions against russia right now. so there are a range of things that russia wants from the u.s. beyond the release of specific individuals that could eventually come into play in a situation like this. >> the u.s. and the biden administration is not going to change international policy towards russia with regard to the ukraine war, or sanctions or anything for one person would it? >> one would certainly expect not. but vladimir putin has not proved to be a particularly russian -- --
particularly rational actor in these circumstances. >> some people as you pointed out if the war against ukraine was not happening, perhaps you would not have been taken, she is so high-profile. to them she is a pond to be used. given this climate, is there good reason for americans perhaps to not be in certain countries right now? >> absolutely. the real tragedy here is of course that president putin knew he was a week away from invading ukraine and the u.s. had in fact released intelligence suggesting that we thought an invasion was imminent. but of course nobody knows until that happens. we've also got paul w. also wrongfully detained in russia since 118. -- since 2018. the increase in trade and business between countries like
china and the u.s. and russia is supposed to help stabilize international relations, but dealing with authoritarian regimes, there is always an element of risk everyone should be mindful of before traveling to those countries. >> everyone is hoping for a good outcome in her case. professor, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we will take a short break. when we come back, look at san francisco's response to monkeypox.
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the standard senior editor. nice to have you back, peter astrid. >> great to be here. >> what kind of action is the department of public health taking no? where they focused on? ? >> they are being really proactive. the case count more than doubled in the prior seven days. they are issuing new guidelines to businesses that may have the clientele that presents people with high risk populations, asking them to put up signage and hallways and bathrooms. they are working hard to get more vaccines distributed to their community partners. >> what kind of place as would those be seeing the signs going up? >> one person i spoke to is the proprietor of eros, a bathhouse that recently moved to the tender line from its longtime home in the castro. then for community partners, we are talking about placers like the clinic on castro street catering primarily to the lgbtq population. >> what events are coming up
that may be adding urgency to the public campaign? >> because this dramatic increase in the case counts seems to have coincided with pride week, all the parties and festivities that go along with the pre-dance on -- the parade and celebration, there are no worries at other celebrate -- that other celebrations later this summer could see similar spikes. so the department of public health is taking a very proactive stance, in working with the producers of those events to make sure that they are able to give out information on where to get tested and also setting up monkeypox vaccination booths on site. >> ok. as we look at the jump in cases, obviously that is bad in terms of transmission -- but it is also good, i guess, that is a reflection of awareness and more testing. do you think that is part of it? >> right, we want to be careful and not celebrate the numbers as
positive, but there is a kind of silver lining of sorts -- like, monkeypox, the name alone is evocative, like a medieval punishment from god. but nobody wants to get this. i think the greater awareness is now what is going to add to a more urgent and conservative public health effort. >> the other big parties obviously vaccines -- part it is obviously vaccines. ramping up production, and quickly, distributing them is an issue. took about that being a stumbling block and where we are with that. >> right now the vaccine supply is very low. i spoke to the lead for monkeypox at the department of health and they said they are getting their first kind of large shipment of vaccine doses this week. so far it seems the state allocation has been on a county by county basis. not quite attuned to wear the
hotspots of the upper regard. so you see places like contra costa county was not even one confirmed case, they are still getting vaccines. so what they are doing is setting up a clinic that is open to all. that means you don't have to be a resident. you can just go there and get vaccinated. they are being good community partners and neighbors. >> sounds like infrastructure exists for the vaccine hopefully soon. >> because the focus of the outbreak seems to be among the lgbtq population, this is a community that has experience with prior viral outbreaks, mainly hiv-aids, so in decades to encourage people to get tested and reduce stigma, the infrastructure is largely already in place. >> stigma is important to talk about. because doctors keep warning, while current cases happened to be primarily in gay men, that
could easily change, right? that is not why monkeypox exists. >> right, it is not a sexually transmitted infection -- that is important to say. however, if the outbreak goes unchecked. it is likelier and likelier to become endemic and from there we'll spill into the general population. -- will spill into the general population. >> this is a community that really knows how to take care of one another and monitor health, if you will, being very proactive. >> that's exactly right. anecdotally, in group texts i am in, on social media, you see people really stepping up. people are talking about how the outbreak in san francisco echoes the one currently in washington and new york city, where the supply of vaccine was exhausted within hours. berlin, too, widely considered the world capital of queer nightlife, has an outbreak of its own. people are rapidly becoming aware. it seems like we may get a herod
of this -- get ahead of this. >> thanks so much for the information in the article. >> thank you. >> you can check out more of the san francisco standard's other original reporting on their website, sf-standard.com. answers" continues in just a moment. a reminder -- you can get our live newscasts, breaking news whether with our abc7 bay area streaming app available on apple tv, and were to be, fired tv, and roku -- fire tv,
this interactive show, "getting answers." tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. wnba star brittney griner's surprise plea while on trial in russia. brittney griner carrying a picture of her wife while walking into court today, pleading guilty to drug charges, telling the judge, quote, i had no intention of breaking any russian law. griner arrested for bringing vape cartridges of hashish oil into the country. the charges carrying up to ten years in prison. and after writing president biden, telling him she's terrified, u.s. officials hand delivering the president's response. back here at home, new details tonight about the suspect charged in the deadly parade shooting in illinois. abc news speaking to his father, who claims he had no warning this was going to happen. why he says he h