tv Politics Nation MSNBC February 12, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
we deserve better. >> reverend, good to have you with us. thanks for coming in. "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts now. >> thanks to you for tuning in. i'm live tonight from harrisburg, pennsylvania. tonight's lead, the jury has the case. right now 12 jurors in the loud music murder trial are shut away in the jury room deliberating the fate of 47-year-old michael dunn charged with first degree murder, seven months after george zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of unarmed trayvon martin the dunn trial has re-ignited the debate over florida's controversial stand your ground law. this case began at this
jacksonville, florida gas station in a night in november 2012. michael dunn got into an argument over loud music with four teenagers. sitting inside a parked suv. dunn fired ten shots at the vehicle. 17-year-old jordan davis was killed. dunn says the killing was in self-defense and that the teen threatened him with a gun. this case centers on one question, will the jury believe mr. dunn was really in fear? today during the closing arguments the state repeatedly focus td on the fact that no gun was ever found. >> on november 23, 2012 when this defendant shot and killed jordan davis there was no gun in that durango. there was no stick. there was no bat. there was no lead pipe. there was no gun.
he makes no mention of the firearm. there were no shots every fired at this defendant. i think he said, well, there was one gun for them so he was shooting at all of them. but as i stated earlier, there was no gun in that durango. it didn't happen. there was no gun. >> the police blamed police for not finding the gun. >> did the detectives close the plaza down? no. did they secure the scene? they haven't call k-9 to find the gun. why didn't they search the plaza where the suv was?
never asked about the plaza, never asked about underneath the cars in the plaza, never checked the bushes, never checked the dumpsteres. you know when the detective alleges they did it? five days later. >> at the heart of the case is the stand your ground law that says you can use deadly force if you feel threatened. the defense pointed out it is the state's responsibility to show mr. dunn was not in fear of his life. the state has to prove it wasn't self-defense. >> a danger facing michael dunn need not have been actual, that the appearance of danger must have been so real that a person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of the force that ehe used. michael dunn must believe that
the danger was real. that's the standard. that's our law. and whether you like the law or don't like the law, you have to use the law. and that blanket, that flag wraps around this man until the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not self-defense. >> but with jordan davis's parents sitting in the courtroom prosecutors urged the jury one last time not to forget the victim in this case. >> he was shot when leland bronson was franticly pulling his best friend away from this defendant, away from the gun that ultimately killed him. >> jordan davis, jordan russell davis, 17 forever. as they had done so many times
the two young men were side by side. and because of that defendant it was for the very last time. >> the jury was left with that final point, a jury in a court of law is now deciding whether michaelal dunn should be held criminally responsible for that death. if convicted dunn could face life in prison. back with us tonight is former prosecutor faith jenkins and florida criminal defense lawyer, ken patowitz. you thought michael dunn was in trouble last night. at the closing arguments today what do you think? >> i think he still has a big problem. he is in big trouble. the reason is kind of like a key. this jury has the key to unlock the truth here.
and the unlocking comes from the mind of mr. dunn. when he gets into that car after firing ten shots and he drives away and he says nothing to his fiance. he says nothing about a gun or seeing a gun or seeing a weapon. and that right there, i believe, is the key for this jury to unlock what was in the mind of mr. dunn and to show that he really wasn't reasonably in fear and not in fear and therefore he is guilty to one of the murder charges, first degree murder or the lesser included crimes of second degree murder or manslaughter. >> faith, you hear in the summations or final arguments by the defense, they played very heavily to the jury on the elements of the stand your ground law and that he could act with deadly force if he had reasonable fear. he absolutely said there was a
gun but there has never been a gun found. there has never been anyone to corroborate a gun outside of dunn himself and his girlfriend said he never mentioned a gun who road with him from the scene. is this enough in stand your ground for him to say this without corroborating evidence at all that he had reason to be in this fear. is it enough to say i had that fear? >> it is enough. he can say and argue that he was in fear but the second step is it has to be reasonable. the problem i think here is his defense attorney, he was really backed into a corner because dunn got on the witness stand and said there was a gun. not i think i saw a gun or i saw something that looked like a gun. he said there was a gun. when he gave closing arguments he had to go with that despite no corroborating evidence and despite his fiance being the
best witness for the state to say there was no gun because dunn would have told his fiance there was a gun. i think the state hammered down why this is pre-meditated first degree murder. dunn didn't say don't shoot. he said how dare you talk to me like that. and then all the steps he took, ten steps to get the gun, unlock the glove compartment, fire it, aim it and how direct and accurate he was at aiming at those kids bodies. he didn't shoot at the tires or the air, he shot directly where the kids were sitting. they made a compelling case for pre-medka pre-meditated first degree murder. >> during closing arguments dunn's defense attorney made that clear. he doubled down on him. watch this. >> michael dunn was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in a place where he had
the right to be, a public parking lot, asking for a common courtesy, saying thank you, trying to tell the guy i said thank you. he had no duty to intrigue and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force including deadly force. >> that is a high standard, ken, for them to prove. >> absolutely. when you don't have the facts on your side you have to go to the law. this defense attorney did a very good job, i believe, in representing his client. he focused on where they through were inconsistencies in testimonies. he focused on the fact that there may have been a gun and the gun was potentially discarded during the minutes when the vehicle was away from the scene of the shooting. the reality is the defense attorney has to go back to the stand your ground law and
hopefully argue to the jury that his client was merely defending himself and standing the ground. the problem, again, when the jury takes a look at the facts it is reasonable to expect everyone would expect that he would say to his fiance as he drove away after firing his gun ten times and not calling 911 it would be reasonable to say i saw a gun and that is why i fired. he didn't say that. so the defense attorney can argue all he wants stand your ground. if the jury looks at the evidence common sense dictates there should be a conviction in this trial. >> faith, you could also call this the three-minute defense case because a key argument from the defense was that the teen stashed a gun somewhere when the suv briefly left the gas station parking lot immediately after the shooting. watch this. >> that truck was gone for three minutes. there was no weapons found in that truck in that three minutes. where was that truck?
it left the scene. did the three gentlemen in the cartel the police where they stopped? nope. did they tell the police they got out of the car and started getting stuff out of the back or stagging stuff as was put on 911 that night? no. >> is it reasonable for the jury to say, well, there is some reasonable doubt about the raising of the three minutes? >> well, they wanted to focus on the police investigation and how poor it was because they didn't accurately investigate the scene that night. well, the reason why is because dunn fled the scene and never told them about the allegation that a gun was pointed at him until the very next day. so the police didn't have the opportunity or the mindset or the wherewithal to know there would be a gun in that location allegedly. and then, as you can see what the prosecutors did on rebuttal
they said where was dunn in those three minutes? he left and went to the hotel and had a pizza and walked the dog and a rum and coke. those kids fled because they were being fired upon and came right back to the scene because they knew that is where they could get help. >> now, when you look at the fact that the prosecution hammered away at the words that michael dunn used to describe these teens, words like gangster and thug, watch this and tell me the significance of the prosecutor focusing on dunn's use of these terms. >> gangsteres, that's a telling word, label, that he used to describe the people, gangster. s jordan davis, 17-year-old high
school student is a gangster now because the music was up loud. thugs. he said in his interview, thugs waiting for the thugs to come back. really? you have met them now. it's your call. are any of them thugs or gangster? >> so tell me the significance of the prosecutor continuing to hammer away at the use of the term thug and gangster to the jury? >> it is extremely significant. it shows that what was in the mind of the defendant. he was angry. he was upset. he decided to come judge, jury, executioner and went for the gun and started firing ten times as the vehicle attempted to leave and pull away with the teenagers inside.
it shows ill will, spite, evil intent which is the basis for second degree murderer and could be argued that it shows why there was a motive for premeditation and first degree murdererer. motive is not an element of the crime of first degree murder. every jury wants to be able to piece together the story so that they can understand when they come back with that verdict and make sure that it speaks justice. they hear clearly the words spoken by the defendant go to motive and ill will. >> well, the jury is deliberating right now. and we'll be watching this story closely as well as watch again, florida in the stand your ground law and like laws that is similar to stand your ground around different states in this country. thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you.
coming up, was there a cover up? developing news tonight in the christie bridge scandal. new obamacare numbers just in. and it's a serious dose of reality for republicans and great news for the president. and the right wing trend of comparing president obama's administration to nazi germany. and more from the republican leader. >> but you can't impeach the first black president no matter how corrupt or how lawless. >> big show ahead. stay with us. [ female announcer ] who are we? we are the thinkers. the job jugglers. the up all-nighters.
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developing news in the christie bridge scandalal. msnbc has obtained copies of new subpoenas served confirming that investigators are focused on a potential cover up and christie's former number two at the port authority who resigned in december as the scandal heated up. right after the lane closures he sent an e-mail to another official saying, quote, there can be no public discourse. and in november he gave hours of
testimony about how it was just a big traffic study. >> at all times during the week of the study the port authority police department monitored traffic on the george washington bridge. >> that story has fallen apart and say they are focused on who knew what and when. specifically lawmakers demanding earlier versions of comments on or changes of the statements read by william braaroni. these subpoenas reveal that the claims about a traffic study lie at the heart of the investigation.
joining me now is jonathan. thank you for being here. >> thanks, rev. >> this lies at the heart of the investigation. what do you make of this development that investigators are now focusing on the cover up as a central part of their inquiry? >> keep in mind they tried to push forth this ruse that there was a traffic study for the longest time. remember governor christie spent a lot of time trying to bluster his way through the controversy early on by saying look, a traffic study. i put the cones out there myself. now we have found out through the first document dump that this traffic study was fake. and there were stories a few weeks ago, the times seems to speed along here. it was a few weeks ago when we learned that another christie allyl within the port authority
had prepped bill barronne getting him ready for the testimony. talking about a traffic study that we now know is fake. >> now, jonathan, after testifying about his, quote, traffic study, barronne text david wildstein to find out what christie officials in the state capitol thought. he wrote trenton feedback? david wildstein responded good. baronni wrote just good? wildstein assured no, very happy. why would trenton be so concerned about his testimony about a traffic study? >> that's a very good question. and the other question is, who is the they? one thing to keep in mind throughout all of this, governor christie was up for re-election. so clearly folks in trenton -- and we know through the first
subpoena of documents that the governor's campaign staff, key people within his re-election campaign were also looped in on some of these e-mails. of course, bill baroni is wondering what trenton thought. i'm also certain that there are folks within the re-election effort who also might have weighed in. again, we are still talking and still trying to figure out how close does all of this come directly to governor christie. and so far it is not there. even by asking what does trenton think, is it the chief of staff, communications director? we don't know who trenton is in that regard from bill baroni. >> he resigned roughly three weeks after his testimony. here is what governor christie said at that time. listen. >> senator baroni offered his
resignation and i accepted it. this was nothing that i hadn't planned already a. he offered his resignation now and i accepted it because i thought it was appropriate given the distraction that is going on. >> so the governor is saying that baroni wanted to change before the scandal and then the bridge scandal sort of came along like it's some big coincidence. >> and a big coincidence that happens to be a very convenient excuse. the governor clearly at that time and clearly now doesn't want to make it seem like a big deal that people within the administration are leaving. but as we saw with his reaction to the bridgett kelly e-mails that with each subsequent revelation as it gets closer and closer to him the harder it is going to be for the governor to continue to claim that he had no knowledge whatsoever because it puts him in this vice that we have talked about many, many
times. either he is a master mind and knew about the things from the very beginning or is completely clueless and doesn't know what his staff is doing. >> i'm going to have to leave it there. thank you for your time tonight. >> thanks, rev. coming up president obama makes a big move on the minimum wage. also some obamacare news that republicans may not want to hear. and rush limbaugh is doubling down on a nutty new conspiracy theory about the president. you will want to hear this one. stay with us. hey guys! sorry we're late.
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of action and he means it. >> while congress decides what it is going to do, and i hope this year and i am going to work this year and urge this year that they actually pass a law, today i'm going to do what i can to help raise working americans' wages. so -- [ applause ] >> today i'm issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour. >> congress should raise the minimum wage for everyone. for now the president is leading by example. >> let's not forget not only is it good for the economy, it's the right thing to do. there is a simple moral principle at stake. if you take responsibility and you work as hard as these folks
work, you work full time, you shouldn't be living in poverty, not in america. we believe that. >> we do believe that. right now the annual salary for a minimum wage worker is just over $15,000 a year. that's not enough to raise a family. and despite what some republicans say, many minimum wage workers are supporting their families and they are struggling to do it. raising the minimum wage isn't just good policy, it's good politics. >> a majority of americans not just democrats, not just independents but republicans, too, support raising the minimum wage. it's the right thing to do. [ applause ] >> let's give americans a raise right now. >> it makes no sense for any politician to be against
something so popular and the president isn't buying anymore excuses. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> angela, can the president basically shame republicans into doing the right thing? >> i don't know. these folks have no shame. i don't know that he can shame them into doing much. we know he can continue to use executive action and take things into his own hands. he mentioned the fact that it is a moral imperative to continue to address this income ineequality. we know the first thing he did was sign the lilly ledbetter act into law. this is somethingt that is a passion for the president. he knows the income equality issue is major and the rich continue to get rich while the poor get poorer. >> you know, i took note that you and some other economists signed a statement that answers somethingt that has concerned a lot of people because
republicans always give the same reason for blocking minimum wage. they claim it would kill jobs. >> its if we increase the minim wage a lot of people will lose jobs. >> you guys want to pay $20 for a hamburger at mcdonald's? >> isn't it reasonable that somebody working 40 hours a week should be able to live above the poverty line? >> the minimum wage is mostly an entry level wage. the last thing we want is fewer jobs for younger people. >> you and hundreds of others of economists signed a statement saying you support raising the minimum wage and it says that it is not a job killer. now, we can have different
opinions, but we ca cannot hav different facts. >> the fact which comes from high quality research which has taken extremely granular close looks at the impact of hundreds of minimum wages have found the benefits of the increase outweigh the cross and prove to workers contrary to what mitch mcconnell said are not just kids with entry level jobs. the average age of someone affected by the proposal the president has put on the table, the national proposal is 35 years old. the typical minimum wage worker brings home half of their family's earningsism their families depend on the earnings. the share of low wage workers with some college education has
gone from something like 30% to closer to 50%. we are no longer talking about an entry level job for kids. by the way, anyone hearing my voice just knows this is true just by living and shopping and going to the kinds of stores and restaurants where people earn living wage. the problem is that the insulated folks in the bubble called washington, d.c. are still at the beck and call of the industries who are trying to hold down labor costs. this is pure politics and not economics at this point. >> talking about the politics of it, it is hard to think something more popular than raising the minimum wage, 90% of democrats support it. 71% of independents support it. even 53% of republicans support it. i mean, can democrats use this as a campaign issue this year in the mid term elections? >> they should, rev, as well as
the general concept of income equality. we know from polling data that the country supports this. we know that today chris christie said somethingt that flies in the face of that. so hopefully with bridge gate and foot in mouth gate he will continue to end his 2016 hopes. people have to remember you have to elect people that represent your interests and don't represent just your hopes. the elitest mentality that continues to kind of run the beltway and hold what the president's initiatives are hostage in congress, that has to go. i hope democrats do wise up and use this as a tool to say the american dream should be accessible to everyone. opportunity isn't something that just should be paid for. we need to give you access first. leveling the playing field is essential. hopefully that can be a part of the message for mid terms and 2016. >> i want to go back to policy for a minute. we went over politics with angela. i want to go to your point
because the president also made the point that most minimum wage workers are not teenagers, like you just said. listen to this. >> they are not teenagers taking on their first job. they are adults. average age is 35 years old. a majority of lower wage jobs are held by women. many of them have children that they are supporting. these are americans who work full time, often to support a family. and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economic productivity they would already be getting paid well over $10 an hour. >> now, i raise that because everywhere i go -- and i travel a lot -- that is the people i see working and not getting the raise they need. we talk about the average worker is 35 years old. 64% are women and 28% have
children. we are talking about adults, women taking care of families. how can republicans justify keeping their wages so low? >> well we, you know, where you stand in washington depends on where you sit. and i think what's happening here is that the industry contributing to the careers of the politicians who oppose this are clearly not working off that set of facts that you just heard the president articulate. but are thinking -- we have to do everything to suppress our labor costs and boost our profitability. this is not about helping low wage workers from the republican side. >> i'm going to have to leave it there. thank you for your time tonight. >> thanks, rev. coming up, the ugly trend coming from some on the right
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the latest example comes from congressman daniel webster. he compared the consumer protection bureau to the secret police in nazi germany. >> this is more collection of data on individual citizens who have no cluet that this is happening. >> let me get this straight. an agency designed to help people is like hitler's police force? apparently fox news contributor ben carson agrees. he also thinks that obama officials are, quote, acting like gestapo. that is almost as ridiculous of the belieft that progressives are like the nazis. >> progressives didn't care until the jews died. it was because of the universities and progressives, this was their thing. they were all anti-jewish just as much as they are anti-jewish
now. >> one of the real goals of the second progressive movement is to fundamentally change who we are. most of those people did not believe in what hitler was doing but did they speak up? did they stand up for what they believed? they did not. and you saw what happened. and if you believe that the same thing can't happen again, you're very wrong. >> it's all part of the larger talk that has been ramped up from some on the right, that somehow this president is also dictator, just like hitler. >> this is sheer brazen lawlessness. >> this is what tyrants are made of. >> he has all of the earmarks of
a marxist dictator. he does. he doesn't like anybody to challenge him. >> i'm afraid president obama may have the king complex sort of developing. >> did you happen to see the size of the flags behind obama? those flags are getting bigger and bigger and bigger every speech he makes. you know that is what dictator do. >> the president is not a dictator. and progressives are not nazis and lazy arguments like this aren't getting us anywhere. joining me now are karca karen and joe madison. joe, why has this become a talking point from the right? >> because they are stupid and don't tell you exactly anything that backs them up. look, to even put in the same sentence nazi and progress cives
an oxymoron. they came for the catholics, labor union members and jews and homosexuals. does this sound like progressives? and then, of course, he ended, and i'm paraphrasing the great quote by saying then they came for me and no one was left. it is ann oxymoron to suggest. i feel sorry for dr. ben carson. there is one part of his brain where he is a brilliant surgeon and another side of his brain where he simply does not understand what he is saying. and all he is doing is just saying these things to really appeal to the fringe of the
fringe. >> and he is a pretty good surgeon that i respect. i disagree with some of what he said. karen, the comparisons of this administration to hitler and the nazis have been previously seen on posters at far right protests. you know, is this the kind of talk that is now becoming more and more mainstream? >> well, i think they are trying to mainstream it. again, all of this hyperbolic rhetoric, all of this kind of lawlessness rhetoric and end of days rhetoric about how health care is going to destroy the country and all of this very dramatic rhetoric part of their effort to undermine the legitimacy of the presidency and undermine the legitimacy of what
we are fighting for. i was chuckling sort of listening that anybody would say any of that with a straight face is just outrageous. we are talking about health care for people. we are talking about making sure people make a wage from which they can raise their family. we are talking about the banks again. that's what we are talking about. >> it's really like lazy like they are just tired and just run down these kinds of vicious ugly things rather than deal with policy or the results of policy. i mean, for example, rush limbaugh argued that yesterday that president obama might not leave office in 2016 in order to further implement health care law. i mean, bless his heart, listen to this. >> what evidence do we have that
obama is leaving? well, rush, the constitution says -- yeah, and constitution also says he can't do what he is doing here. the text of obamacare specifically prohibits what obama is doing. so when you make jokes about obama having to leave office in 2016, why? >> i mean, they are actually floating these things out here, joe. >> look, and then in the next breath they want to impeach him. so they don't think he is going to leave. and then they want to impeach him. let me tell you. to compare what obama is doing to the nazis is an insult to those who survived that era. it is an absolute insult. and they are the ones who ought to -- first of all, you cannot
compare what nazi germany did to people of that era to what is going on today. so if it wasn't so stupid and crazy it is an absolute insult to those who survived nazi germany. >> no doubt about it. >> there is no doubt about it. you mentioned impeachment. they are dealing with the word of impeachment. there are 15 members of congress that have floated outidea -- out the idea of impeachment. the leader of the republican party, rush limbaugh doesn't think the president can be impeached. listen to his reasoning. >> you can't impeach the first black president, no matter how
corrupt or how lawless. so what did dr. king say, he dreams of the day when we judge men by the content of their character instead of skin color. and skin color is everything now. and it is acting as a paralyzing agent. >> all i can say is relying on rush limbaugh then we are in serious trouble. >> i think that concludes it right. i'm trying to point out the ugliness and viciousness. and what htrying to make it som
else that it wasn't as vicious and moniical as it was is insulting to not only the survivors but to all of us. >> karen finney, joe madison thank you for your time. >> and be sure to watch "disrupt" with karen finney weekends at 4:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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finally the fight to protect voting rights. i'm here in the epicenter of the voting i.d. battle in 2012. that law has been struck down but the fight continues in 2014. already this year lawmakers in 19 states introduced bills to scale back voting rights. just yesterday in ohio a key panel approved a bill that would limit early voting, end same-day registration and put new limits on absentee ballots. these republican lawmakers
looking to roll back laws where people waited as long as ten hours to vote. you cannot stand up for the principles of democracy. you can't praise dr. king, mandela and others that champion one man one vote and do everything you can to make it difficult for people to vote. you can't have it both ways. we are going to make sure you don't try. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts recognize now. bonfire of john boehner. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington i'm going to get to the latest christie development, the huge