tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS December 29, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by cbs .>> garrett: tonight, a guilty verdict in the sex trafficking trial of ghislaine maxwell. the british socialite found guilty on five of the six counts of recruiting and grooming teenaged girls to be sexually abused by one-time financier and convicted sex offender, jeffrey epstein. plups the decades-long prison sentence maxwell now cases. severe weather alert. southern states from alabama to the carolinas at risk of thunderstorms and tornadoes. pediatric hospitalizations on the rise. the u.s. sets a new record for covid infections. >> delta and omicron are twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers. >> garrett: travel nightmares continue. airlines cancel flights for the
sixth straight day as covid-related staff shortages cause turbulence for travelers. >> i was supposed to have a flight out of here. he houdiplomatic talks: president biden to speak with russia's vladimir putin amid tension over ukraine. remembering harry reid, tributes and remembrances following the death of the former democratic leader. >> thank you for the friendship and support over the years. >> garrett: unifying america, now a new jersey school is building trust between students and police. an epic career: the n.f.l. world salutes former coach and broadcaster john madden. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell reporting from the nation's capital. >> garrett: good evening, everyone. thank you for joining us. i'm major garrett in for norah. we'll have the latest news on the continued spread of covid and the threat of tornadoes across the south, but we begin with breaking news. the guilty verdicts against ghislaine maxwell, found guilty
late today of luring teenaged girls to be sexually abused by her former boyfriend and convicted sex offender, jeffrey epstein. jurors deliberated for five days before finding maxwell guilty of all but one count. cbs' jericka duncan was inside the courtroom when the verdict was read. jericka, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, major. a number of reporters still standing outside the courthouse behind me, waiting to hear from either the prosecution or the defense. but many already releasing a statement from those accusers calling this a joyous day, saying they feel vindicated. and even the u.s. attorney who oversaw this case said maxwell is guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable. ghislaine maxwell sat silently and took a deep breath as the judge read the verdict. the british socialite and former girlfriend of accused sexually predator jeffrey epstein was found guilty of five of the six charges, including the most serious of grooming and trafficking of young girls.
she faces up to 65 years in a federal prison. the prosecution argued that maxwell was epstein's partner in crime and critical to his alleged sex trafficking operation. throughout the two-week trial, jurors heard from four alleged victims who claimed maxwell recruited them for epstein, and that she normal used and sometimes even participated in the abuse. in their testimonies, accusers recalled an often-emotional and graphic detail being paid for giving epstein sexual massages and being flown on epstein's private planes to one of his many estates. the defense relied on the argument that maxwell was being made a scapegoat for epstein after he killed himself in 2019, just before standing trial on his own federal sex trafficking charges. maxwell did not testify in her own defense, telling the court she did not need to because the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. but ultimately, jurors had a
different view. >> this is a great day for these women to feel vindicated. and, of course, a terrible day for ghislaine maxwell, because she will have to face many, many years in prison. >> reporter: and maxwell also faces perjury charges. the attorneys for maxwell say it's unclear just yet if they plan to appeal this case. major. >> garrett: jericka duncan, thank you. several states in the south are at risk of severe weather tonight, including possible tornadoes, hail, and thunderstorms. late today, this twister touched down in the city of bainbridge, georgia, about three hours south of atlanta. no word yet on injuries. cbs' lonnie quinn is here with the forecast. lonnie. good evening. >> reporter: hey, good evening, major. you know, december 10, the weather world was talking about this rare tornado outbreak. here we are now finishing december, and the possibility for tornadoes out there again tonight, anywhere from louisiana into portioning of the tennessee valley.
the computer models show us as this line pushes to the east and holds on to its strength, so that tornado watch in effect until 10:00 p.m. central time tonight. what is it that's behind all this? it's a textbook clash of air masses. you've got record warm warmth, hottest december day for portions of mississippi today. on theons side of the jet stream, you have record cold. farther west, how topsy-turvy our atmosphere today. kodak, alaska, hit 67 today, warmer in kodak than beverly hills. speaking of beverly hills, the los angeles area picks up big rains today, two to four inches of rain. but my eyes tonight, for the big weather story will be on the deep south into the tennessee valley,s that chance for tornadoes again tonight. and even if you don't get tornadoes, straight-line winds will be out there and it could happen again new year's eve for that same area, major. >> garrett: what you're watching tonight, lonnie quinn. thank you so much. now to the covid surge and the alarming spike in hospitalizations among children.
nationwide the number of children in the hospital with covid is up 74% in the last month. today, the world health organization warned that the combination of the delta and omicron variants could create a tsunami-- that's a quote-- of infections. nikki battiste reports from new york which just shattered a record for daily cases. >> reporter: as omicron cases skyrocket, more kids are falling ill. >> our numbers are rising. and i'm not sure that we've seen the worst of that yet. >> reporter: already across the country, the average number of currently hospitalized kids with confirmed or suspected covid is up 74% in the past month. in 13 states the number of children hospitalized with covid has more than doubled. much of that jump has taken place during the holidays. how are you and your colleagues feeling as kids get ready to go back to school next week? >> yeah, i think we're bracing for having a very busy january. >> reporter: the good news is that scientists say the data so far shows omicron is causing
milder symptoms in children than the delta variant, and new york officials say that every child between 5 and 11 years old recently hospitalized with covid was not fully vaccinated. >> i really do hope that parents understand that the best thing they can do to protect their children from severe illness is to get them vaccinated. >> reporter: also today, an explaination from the c.d.c. director on why the agency's new guidelines of a shortened isolation period following a covid infection did not call for getting a negative test. >> we did not include a testing requirement in isolation because we were not clear-- it was not clear what we would do with the information when we had it. and because the f.d.a. has not authorized that antigen test for that use. >> happy new year! >> reporter: in times square, preparations are still under way for new year's eve, and nationwide, there's a similar dilemma. dilemma. for families with unvaccinated
children, children too young to be vaccinated who want to celebrate the new year and get together with friends and family, what's your advice? >> with this particular variant, the omicron, it is much more contagious so it make those things more challenging to do safely, especially in an indoor space. >> reporter: and here in new york tonight, there's an even greater push to protect children from covid. the state reported nearly 70,000 new positive tests in the past 24 hours. that's a 65% increase in just one day, and, major, that's a new record. >> garrett: records all over the place. nikki battiste, thank you so very much. holiday travel chaos continued we're sorry to say for a sixth straight day. the toll so far, more than 6,000 flights canceled since christmas eve with covid-related staff shortages the main culprit. cbs' errol barnett is at reagan national airport, and he has the latest. >> reporter: with every major airport in the country experiencing cancellations and delays tonight, it's an unhappy end to a difficult travel year.
>> it's covid. i mean, nobody can control it. >> it's been very frustrating. >> reporter: the omicron wave and bad weather led to nearly 1,000 cancellations today and more than 4600 delays. on average, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled every day since christmas eve. >> my family had been waiting in airports for three days straight, and we just decide to cut our losses. >> reporter: nick napoli and his family from brooklyn are stuck in seattle. they were supposed to make it to denver to see his parents, but that leg has been canceled. >> we were hoping to get the family together for holidays in denver, and, unfortunately, that's not going to happen this year. >> reporter: and how do you and your wife feel about that? >> we're very disappointed. >> reporter: airline crews and staff calling out sick with covid have devastated flight schedules. the c.d.c.'s decision this week to cut icealation and quarantine times in half will allow the airlines to bring back staff more quickly. >> it's outrageous to me. >> reporter: but flight
attendant union president sara nelson says that could put even more people in danger. >> this guidance was put in place at the behest of corporate america. it was not put in place for public health initiatives. and, frankly, that makes our jobs even harder. >> reporter: now, the flight attendants' union has reversed its position on a vaccine requirement for domestic travel. it now supports the idea, given this dramatic surge in cases. president biden said recently he would impose such a rule, major, if his health advisers recommended it. >> garrett: errol barnett, thank you so much. the white house said president biden and russian leader vladimir putin will speak tomorrow with ukraine at the top of the agenda. the call was requested by putin. cbs' jan crawford is at the white house. jan, good evening. >> reporter: well, good evening, major. so the white house says it doesn't know why president putin requested the call but thinks it's important for president biden to engage with him one on one, especially when there are now upwards of 100,000 russian
troops gathered along the ukrainian border. now, a senior administration official today is calling this a "moment of crisis," saying it will take a high level of engagement between president biden and putin to address this and find a path of desquealation. this will be the second call that these two men have had this month. tomorrow, president biden is expected to tell putin that tensions must be ratcheted down, and that for that to happen, russia must pull back its troops. if russia does invade, the white house says the consequences will be severe, including punishing economic sanctions, additional military assistance to ukraine, and bolstering nato allies in the region. but there are no plans for u.s. troops on the ground. now, national security aides for president biden and president putin will continue these discussions in geneva on january 10 when they'll be meeting there. major. >> garrett: jan crawford for us tonight at the white house. thank you.
tonight in washington, former senator and longtime democratic majority leader harry reid is being remembered as a skilled deal maker, a friend, and above all, a fighter. president biden called him a man of action and a man of his word. reed died last night after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. he was 82. flags over the capitol are now flying at half-staff in his honor. a quiet back-bencher at first, harry reid earned a reputation later as one of the most tenacious lawmakers in congress. >> i didn't make it because of my athletic prowess. i didn't make it because i'm a genius. i made it because i worked hard. >> reporter: a form amateur boxer, reed was willing to draw partisan blood. his motto, "i would rather dance than fight but i know how to fight. reid grew up in searchlight, nevada. the family cabin had no indoor plumbing. reid hitch hiked 40 miles to high school.
there he met his wife of 62 years, landra gould. >> she's been the being of my existence in my personal life and my public life. >> garrett: reid was elected to the u.s. house in '82. he encouraged 47 man senator barack obama to run for the white house. on tuesday, mr. obama released a letter he recently sent to reid, "i wouldn't have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support and i wouldn't have got most of what i got done without your skill and determination. early in the obama presidency, reid forged deals on a great recession economic stimulus, pay equity for women, and the landmark affordable care act. >> i want the people in the state of nevada to know that i am so grateful, and i have done my best. i haven't been perfect, but i've really tried my hardest. >> garrett: funeral plans are expected to be announced in the coming days. now to a new jersey school that is trying to bridge the gap between police and a student body that often distrusts those
on patrol. cbs' meg oliver has more on the trust-building effort in our ongoing series "unifying america." >> reporter: it's a grueling day of competition from pedaling and punching, to swimming, and it's all about trust. the day started at the crack of dawn at st. benedict's prep in newark. >> so what we're going to do is pair people up. >> reporter: ...where a new partnership was born between students and the new jersey state police. >> raise your hand if you feel nervous when you see a law enforcement officer. >> reporter: in an effort to break down misconceptions, the school pairs students, like 16-year-old seth da matas, with trooper mike guenther for a day of intense bonding. when you first met your partner, what was your first impression? >> he was a little bit smaller than me, of course. >> reporter: smaller but the
5'7" trooper can bench almost twice his new partner's weight. do you trust law enforcement. >> not as much, no. >> reporter: why not? >> because of the recent stories and basically the influence that i'm growing up in as a dark-skinned man-- dark-skinned male and tall. i'm not programmed to trust the police. >> reporter: when you hear that, how does that make you feel? >> that's why we're here today. you know, we're here to build relationships with the community. >> i am unbelievably proud of all of you. >> reporter: it's a relationship headmaster father edwin leahy wants to nourish to improve the fabric and future of their community. what are you hoping your students walk away with today? >> i hope that they-- that they talk, kids talk to kids in their neighborhood and say, you know, what? they're not what you think they are. and i hope that the police begin to think about some of these kids they've encountered who have a face and a name when they have to deal with somebody in a difficult situation. >> reporter: a face and a name. and a family. >> a face and a fame, brothers and sisters, parents, or children. yup. all of that. >> two, three...
>> reporter: an exhausting experience that hopefully helps strangers continue seeing each other as partners. ♪ ♪ ♪ this morning, they came up to you and put their arms around you. how did that make you feel? >> it was awesome. it honestly was probably one of the highlights in my career in a very long time. >> reporter: meg oliver, cbs news, newark, new jersey. >> garrett: relationships and fabric. still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," we were one of the n.f.l.'s most-recognizable ambassadors, john madden. and tonight's powerball jackpot nears a half a billion dollars. you ever think about the storage operation a place like this must rely on? -no. they just sell candles, and they're making overhead? you know what kind of fish those are? -no. -eh, don't be coy. [ laughs ] [ sniffs, clears throat ] koi fish. it can be overwhelming. think a second. have we seen this shirt before? progressive can't save you from becoming your parents. but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto with us.
>> garrett: police have arrested a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash monday in broward county, florida that killed two children and hospitalized four others. authorities say the suspect, 27-year-old sean greer, was driving on a suspended license. a judge ordered him held without bond. two of the children injured remain in critical condition. the final powerball drawing of the year takes place tonight. it is a big one. the jackpot has swelled to $4,041 million, and if you're the lucky winner and choose a cash option, you will walk away with more than $317 million, that's before taxes. still, not a bad way to ring in the new year. up next, remembering an n.f.l. legend from coach to broadcaster to video game namesake.
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>> garrett: you know, it's hard to describe all the things john madden did so well-- the hall of fame football coach and longtime broadcaster died tuesday. few people in n.f.l. history had a bigger impact on the game, his influence, and his humor were felt on and off the field. cbs' james brown on madden's incredible career. >> reporter: i first knew of john madden when i saw the passionate young coach leading the oakland raiders, the bad boys of the n.f.l., in the early 1970s. madden was a players' coach who did not have many rules. he simply said, "be on time, be prepared, and play like heck when i tell you to." that led oakland to seven afc titles and a super bowl championship in 1977. >> and the raiders have won. they are the world champs. >> reporter: madden then took his love of the game to the
broadcast booth. >> hi, i'm john madden. pat summerall and i have been with both the teams all week. >> reporter: teaming up with the unselfish pat summerall to call games on cbs, and then to fox and nbc sports for 30 years, earning 16 emmys along the way. >> we call it just b.g.d. just big guy defense. that's all. >> reporter: john madden never stopped coaching football. for millions of americans, he took a complicated game, made it fun and easier to understand. >> they bring from the outside and, boom, two up the middle. >> reporter: he became a national pitch man, endorsing several products. >> boom! tough acting tinactin. >> reporter: and later a video hall of famer. >> are you kidding me? >> reporter: he kicked off a revolution in the industry, krcreating a game with ea sport, the groundbreaking football franchise, "madden nfl." his voice, his smile, were infectious and his fear of flying were legendary. when john madden pulled up into
the stadium in his tour bus "the madden cruiser" everyone knew that this was the game of the week. the game was john madden, and we were all better having the opportunity to work with and learn from him. james brown, cbs news, new york. >> garrett: and we'll be right back. to the world. your family story is waiting to be discovered, and now you can search for those fascinating details for free—at ancestry. got lingering odors? grab febreze small spaces. and now you can search for those fascinating details press firmly to activate... and small spaces continuously eliminates and prevents odors... ...to freshen up any small room... ...for up to 45 days. febreze. ♪la la la♪ hi, i'm steve and i live in austin, texas. i work as a personal assistant to the owner of a large manufacturing firm. i've got anywhere from 10 to 50 projects going at any given time. i absolutely have to be sharp. let me tell ya, i was struggling with my memory.
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news." for norah o'donnell i'm >> we greet each other, said, "hello," exchanged phone numbers. >> judge judy: and i assume at some point it became more than a chatting relationship. >> it did. >> a little bit. >> announcer: their romance was going smoothly. >> she struck me as a really kind, sincere individual. >> announcer: then the money started flowing. >> judge judy: how much did you give her for moving expenses? >> six hundred. >> judge judy: what next? >> three hundred dollars to pay for a bond. >> judge judy: so i assume you were arrested for something. >> announcer: "judge judy." you are about to enter the courtroom of judge judith sheindlin. david leeson is suing his ex-girlfriend, amanda ferguson, for a series of unpaid loans. >> byrd: order! all rise! this is case number 103 on the calendar in the matter of leeson vs. ferguson. >> judge judy: thank you. >> byrd: you're welcome, judge. parties have been sworn in.
you may be seated. >> judge judy: mr. leeson, where did you meet the defendant? >> at her place of employment. >> judge judy; and where was that? >> at jack in the box in san antonio. >> judge judy: how long did you work at jack in the box? >> a year. >> judge judy: you a married man, mr. leeson? >> no. i'm not. >> judge judy: and you? >> no, ma'am. >> judge judy: okay. tell me the date that you met and how you met. >> approximately second, third week in november prior to november 15th as a customer of jack in the box. and we greeted each other, said, "hello," exchanged phone numbers. >> judge judy: and exchanged phone numbers? >> mm-hmm. >> judge judy: why would you do that? >> i was interested. >> judge judy: you were interested her socially? >> yes. >> judge judy: and if you gave him your phone number, i assume you were interested in him socially. >> yes, ma'am. >> judge judy: when did you next see the defendant? >> probably 3 or 4 days later. >> judge judy: where? >> at my home. >> judge judy: how did that work out? she came to your home? >> yes. >> judge judy: you picked her up? you went to his home? >> yes, ma'am. >> judge judy: what time? >> early evening. >> judge judy: and what did you do? >> we -- we visited. we talked. >> judge judy: and that's it? >> that's it. >> judge judy: is that correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> judge judy: when did you see each other again? >> probably a few days, a week later.