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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 18, 2021 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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rallying after controversial comments by the defense when to expect closing arguments. also tonight deliberations in the kyle rittenhouse trial stretch into a third day. could it be heading towards a hung jury? the fda expected within hours to green light boosters for all adults will the definition of fully vaccinated change just hours before an oklahoma inmate was set to be executed, the governor commuting his sentence the celebration at the state capitol. after 56 years, two men convicted of killing malcolm x exonerated. the massive storm threatening thanksgiving travel. al roker timing it out for us. days after his summit with china's leader, what president biden said today about a potential diplomatic boycott of the beijing olympics. nbc news investigates the covid horrors in a nursing home one worker who made a grim discovery breaking his silence. and serena williams joining the
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chorus of concern over a missing chinese tennis star. the mystery e-mail raising more questions. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. the three georgia men accused of confronting and murdering ahmaud arbery as he ran through their neighborhood last year rested their cases tonight, but not before the defendant who fired the fatal shot, travis mcmichael, admitted on the witness stand arbery did not verbally threaten him or display a weapon. the prosecution working to chip away mcmichael's claim of self-defense, that he fired after arbery tried to take his gun. the racially charged case has taken some unexpected turns in recent days, including mcmichael's decision to testify and attempts by a defense attorney to keep some well-known black pastors and activists from the courtroom ron allen is in brunswick, georgia with late details. >> he did not threaten me verbally. >> all right did he brandish any
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weapons? >> no, ma'am. >> didn't pull out any guns >> no, ma'am >> reporter: the final day of testimony, prosecutors spent hours challenging travis mcmichael's claim that ahmaud arbery attacked him and that he shot and killed arbery in self-defense back in february of last year. >> didn't pull out any knife? >> no, ma'am. >> never reached for anything, did he >> no. >> he just ran >> yes, he was just running. >> reporter: mcmichael insisting he and his codefendants had been trying to detain arbery until police could arrive, suspecting he had been involved in an uptick in crime in a neighborhood on edge at one point, he accused arbery attacking the pickup truck driven by defendant william bryan. mcmichael testifying he feared arbery would come at him and his father greg mcmichael next. >> he was acting weird. he was acting funny when i was trying to talk to him prior, so i'm on alert >> reporter: the
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prosecution pushed back. >> so you're telling this jury that a man who has spent five minutes running away from you you are now thinking is somehow going to want to continue to engage with you, someone with a shotgun, and your father, a man who has just said stop or i'll blow your [ bleep ] head off by trying to get in their truck >> that's what it shows, yes, ma'am. >> reporter: outside the courtroom, hundreds gathered to support arbery's family including black pastors in response to a defense attorneys request restricting how many pastors the family can have in court. singling out two men again this morning. >> this court is authorized to exclude reverend sharpton and reverend jackson from the courtroom without a hearing. >> reporter: the judge again refused the request, at the relief of arbery's family >> i want to say thank you to all the pastors who traveled near and far to come just to be with us in this very, very difficult time. >> so, ron, now that both sides have rested their case, what's next >> reporter: the jury has got a long
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weekend. they're off tomorrow and back monday for closing arguments and perhaps the start of deliberations. all three defendants face charges that include murder and the possibility of life in prison if convicted. lester >> ron allen tonight thank you. in kenosha, wisconsin still no verdict tonight in the homicide trial of kyle rittenhouse. our gabe gutierrez is there. and the judge sending the jury home after a third day of deliberations, gabe. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, lester the jury has been deliberating for about 23 hours but still no indication they're close to a decision or whether this could be a hung jury. today once again, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse here several schools in kenosha have closed and switched to virtual learning in anticipation of a possible verdict rittenhouse faces five felony counts for shooting and killing two men and wounding a third during unrest in kenosha last year. he says he acted in
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self-defense the jury had already asked to replay video evidence in this case and the defense has also asked the judge to declare a mistrial. no ruling yet, lester. >> all right gabe gutierrez, thank you. just developing this evening, a lot more americans about to become eligible for booster shots of both pfizer's and moderna's covid vaccine. but there is still a lot of confusion out there. kate snow now with late details >> reporter: with winter looming and covid cases rising, sources tell nbc news the fda is likely to authorize both pfizer and moderna boosters for all adults by tomorrow the cdc expected to follow suit. the change potentially creating more confusion. it was august when president biden first promised boosters for every adult. >> it will be easy to show your vaccination card and you will get a booster. >> reporter: but in september, an fda panel concluded boosters were only necessary for those over 65. the governor of connecticut mocking the process today. >> cdc speaks latin.
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i can't figure out who's eligible, who's not eligible, if you smoked while you were in high school back in the 1970s you're eligible i think if you haven't been vaccinated in more than six months, now is the time to get the booster. >> reporter: connecticut more than one of a dozen states that took action on their own, putting pressure on the fda. the fda initially did not approve boosters for all adults now they are what's the change? >> pfizer submitted data on 10,000 patients, half of whom received a booster and the other half that didn't people that received a booster returned to their post dose two effectiveness levels, which is incredible. >> reporter: would you urge all adults to go try to get a booster before the holidays? >> i would if they have been six months out from their second dose. >> reporter: so what will now constitute being fully vaccinated the cdc still isn't counting boosters, but at least two governors are already saying residents must have a
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booster to be fully protected. >> and i expect that in several months it will become part of the requirements to be considered fully immunized. >> reporter: lester, the boosters work immediately. no need to wait two weeks. like we all did to find efficacy. >> i feel like i have a million questions on this topic, but let's break it down. do you have to get the booster of the original dose you have got? >> no. you can mix and match. right? so no matter what you got, you can get a pfizer or moderna booster. if you had j&j, you probably already had a booster. >> thank you. a dramatic development in oklahoma where the governor called off the execution of a man convicted of first degree murder just hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection miguel almaguer has late details >> reporter: celebrations across oklahoma erupting as news of the 11th hour clemency spread. from the capitol to college campuses, relief after the governor's decision narrowly spared the life of death row inmate julius jones. after prayerful consideration, writes
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the governor, i have determined to commute julius jones' sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. >> he's an innocent man. doesn't deserve another day in prison. but to know that he's going to live, where there is life, there is always hope. >> reporter: with jones just hours away from lethal injection, he always maintained his innocence in the 1999 carjacking that ended with paul howell being gunned down in front of his family. >> i was not involved in the planning of this robbery i was not involved in this robbery >> reporter: convincing a pardon and parol board to grant him clemency, jones legal team whose friend testified against him, christopher jordan, was likely the real killer and the man who planted the murder weapon inside jones' home which jordan denies. >> people could see very clearly that the trial was a sham, and that this is not what they want justice to look like in america and julius himself is a compelling character, a promising young man who was arrested at 19 years
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old. >> reporter: amid walkouts and rallies, celebrities, athletes and politicians showed their support along with seven million who signed a petition to prevent jones' execution. but it is not only the prosecution who says there is overwhelming evidence jones is guilty so does the victim's family. >> i am here to warn you. he is not innocent would you have this man over to your house with your family around your children >> reporter: tonight 22 years after a life was lost, another was narrowly spared. miguel almaguer nbc news. a judge in new york today threw out the convictions of two men wrongfully found guilty of the 1965 murder of civil rights leader malcolm x the men spent decades in prison but were released in the 1980s. one of them khalil islam has since died he did not need the court, prosecutors or a piece of paper to tell him he was innocent.
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just two days after that virtual summit between president biden and china's leader, a new sign of tension tonight. peter alexander is at the white house. and, peter, president biden is talking about a potential boycott of the beijing olympics. >> reporter: yeah, lester that's right tonight at the oval office, i pressed president biden whether he supported a boycott of the upcoming olympics in china, which means u.s. government officials would not attend but u.s. athletes would still go the president said it's, quote, something we're considering. but some republicans have been calling for a full boycott of the beijing games to rebuke china for its human rights abuses. the president's comments also come just days after his virtual summit with china's leader the white house said was designed to reduce diplomatic boycott would surely ignite them again >> peter alexander, thank you. in just 60 seconds, the outcry against china by some of the biggest names in tennis over the public disappearance
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of a top chinese tennis star. and big weather concerns with the thanksgiving travel rush about to begin. al roker is here
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covid worries, long airlines, high gas prices tonight add major weather concerns as tens of millions of us get ready to travel for thanksgiving al roker is tracking it for us. when and where should we be looking? >> early next week we're watching something on the coast. shouldn't be a problem. should start to weaken however, all eyes now as this storm starts to get itself together on sunday develops across the midwest bringing some lake effect snow. rain stretches from detroit to the northeast all the way down into the appalachians and monday that east coast rain in the morning, but lake effect snow starts firing up. tuesday the storm pushes away. intensifies. heavy lake effect snow continuing from
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cleveland, buffalo, syracuse scattered showers in the northeast. and airport delays probably early next week for boston for rain and wind, new york and d.c. for gusty winds, snow and wind for cleveland, cincinnati looking at gusty winds. but the good news is this should start to wrap up by wednesday by thanksgiving day, everything will be great as those balloons fly for the thanksgiving day parade >> it's all about timing, right? al roker, thank you. the tennis world is demanding answers after the public disappearance of a chinese player who accused a top official of sexual assault. serena williams among the latest to speak out. janis mackey frayer now on the e-mail raising new questions. >> reporter: tonight growing concern for chinese tennis star peng shuai, the world number one doubles champion disappeared from public view after accusing an ex-vice premier of china of sexual assault chinese state media claiming that peng is fine, showing what it said was an e-mail she sent to the women's tennis association, recanting the allegations. the head of the wta doubts that peng actually wrote it. >> we want to speak to her directly, make
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sure she's okay. >> reporter: outrage spreading across the tennis world serena williams, naomi osaka and more rallying around the hashtag #whereispengshuai. >> it's shocking that she's missing. >> reporter: revealing an alleged and largely consensual affair and included a claim that he forced her into sex. jung retired in 2018 and can't be reached for comment. >> when you search for her account, there is nothing there. >> reporter: the wta demanding an investigation and threatening to pull its tour from china. >> this cannot be swept under the rug. it can't be condoned. >> reporter: with beijing hosting the winter olympics, pressure is now mounting here to break the silence and to find peng shuai. up next for us tonight, nursing home horrors. an insider speaks out on what he witnessed as covid swept through his facility our nbc news investigation is next.
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welcome to this world. you have some big shoes to fill. lots of new introductions. ...4 ounces... so many new toys. it's not going to be easy. but, together, we got this. kaiser permanente. thrive. back now with our nbc news investigation into the nursing home where bodies of victims were found packed inside a tiny morgue for the first time tonight, the worker who made a horrifying discovery is breaking his silence to stephanie gosk. >> reporter: at the start of the pandemic, nursing homes were hit first and hard
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what happened in new jersey was especially shocking what was it like when people started dying >> horrific. there was no word for it you know, we were losing sometimes between 10 and 12 people a night. >> reporter: nicolai was 20 in april of last year, a maintenance worker in the facility this is the first time he's spoken publically about what he saw. >> easter sunday of 2020, there was 17 or 18 people in that morgue backed up. >> reporter: you had to put bodies on top of each other just to get them in that room? >> yes >> reporter: and you were physically moving them yourself? >> yes. >> reporter: and then a grim discovery in the shed outside among the gardening tools and the lawnmower, he says someone had put a body someone had put a body in the back? >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: why >> there was no room. >> reporter: nicolai said he was so disturbed he moved the
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body back inside. >> you know, to most people covid was just something to fear and hopefully not get. >> reporter: at the time, don's father was a resident at andover. >> reporter: before covid, his family was looking for another nursing home did your dad complain that he wasn't getting the kind of care he wanted >> all the time. all the time. >> reporter: but it was too late joseph died on april 9th, 2020, one of 83 residents to lose their lives at the nursing home from covid. he fears his father was put in the tiny overflowing morgue. >> my dad had to be one of those people. so i was beside myself thinking how could the place even be open. >> reporter: a federal inspection revealed the staff were not keeping adequate temperature logs the nursing home owners say the issues raised in the inspection were resolved, and they say, in part, the covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented
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challenges and our heroic staff face those challenges as best they could. it had to pay $220,000 in fines and temporarily stop admitting new patients but after a couple of good inspections, a name change and a new sign, the same owners were back in business. the owners renamed the facility woodland behavioral they also owned six other nursing homes. one of the owners was a previous executive for skyline health care, a chain that had 100 facilities, but collapsed amid accusations of negligent and financial mismanagement, which the owners denied. nbc news investigated the company in 2019. and one nursing home, inspectors discovered maggots on this resident's catheter. >> the individual that ran skyline should not ever be in charge of a nursing home again and, yet, here we are. >> reporter: david is a professor of health care policy at harvard. he says the pandemic exposed an industry
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already in crisis with a lack of resources and lack of regulation. >> different name, same practices it is really frustrating. it is not enough this is why we need accountability this is why we need that oversight. >> reporter: nicolai was fired four months after the incident, accused of improperly disposing medical waste. he says they were looking for an excuse to get rid of him after what he saw, an experience that continues to haunt him over a year later. >> reporter: you are having trouble sleeping >> unexplainable nightmares something i will have to live with for the rest of my life. >> stephanie, these descriptions are horrifying let me ask you this. does the nursing home face any other repercussions? >> potentially, lester the new jersey attorney general is investigating. we spoke with families who are frustrated by the pace of that investigation and that former employee we interviewed, well, they haven't contacted him yet to hear his story. >> all right stephanie gosk, thank you for bringing us
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that up next, diana on broadway the powerful message in a new production.
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finally tonight, the new broadway show telling the story of princess diana like you have never seen before here's joe fryer. >> reporter: it is a well known story told in an unexpected way set to music on a broadway stage. ♪ >> reporter: diana the musical is framed around the princess of wales relationship with prince charles. >> it's amazing to play a show that is so personal i am british
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the story is my heritage it's my culture. ♪ but i'm truly >> reporter: why is this story so important >> the power that she had is still felt today in so many ways. >> she could just be there and be present for people, really look them in the eye, really hear them and then try to help and i think we need that now. >> reporter: these days we're seeing her story in many forms. the movie "spencer," the tv series "the crown" and now a musical. tell us about your diana. what makes your diana yours? >> my diana sings and dances ♪ >> reporter: which has sparked questions about whether a musical is a wise way to even tell her story. >> i do think it is a story about someone finding their voice, so what better way to tell that than a musical. >> reporter: they were just days away from opening last year when broadway's voice was silenced by the pandemic in the down time, the
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cast recorded the show inside an empty theater, streaming it on netflix but nothing beats a live audience when "diana" the musical finally takes the stage. joe fryer, nbc news, new york that is "nightly news" for this thursday a reminder there is a great new episode of nightly news kids edition streaming right now where our kid correspondent lucy interviews me about what it is like to anchor "nightly news." my favorite question, why do they call you an anchor? thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night, everyone ♪
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♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪
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. next on nbc bay area news, a shooting in the east bay. a mother killed while her two kids were in the car. tonight, her family speaks to nbc bay area. >> somebody saw something. i mean, come on, guys. it was in the morning. he's going after facebook and instagram for harming kids. california's attorney general with the big announcement today. he'll join us tonight. in san jose, the jury gets to hear elizabeth holmes speak. we'll tell you why. a recording of her was played in court today. good evening. this is nbc bay area news tonight. i'm raj mathai. might be david versus goliath,


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