tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC November 15, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PST
me. i'm jose diaz-balart. you can always reach me on instagram and twitter. follow the show online. thank you for the privilege of your time. craig melvin picks up with more news right now. and good monday morning to you. craig melvin live from msnbc world head quarters in new york city. we start with that breaking news. a major development in the kyle rittenhouse murder trial just a few moments ago. the judge there in wisconsin dismissing one of the weapons charges against rittenhouse. this update moments before closing arguments are set to start in the high profile trial. in fact, we can tell you that the jury is receiving instructions right now. rittenhouse shot three people during protests last year in kenosha, wisconsin. two of them died. he's pleaded not. his lawyers argued he acted in self-defense. the jury just came to the courtroom to get the jury instructions. we are going to dig into what
else we could see and hear today. also nbc's exclusive interview with rittenhouse's mother. >> when you saw your son on the witness stand, what went through your head? >> fear. >> we are also going to hear her response to people who say her son had no business carrying a gun at those protests at all. also this morning, former trump adviser steve bannon turned himself in at this fbi office in washington. bannon faces two charges of contempt of congress over its investigation to the january 6th deadly insurrection at the capitol. what we expect to happen when bannon appears in court this afternoon. and in just a few hours president biden is set to put his signature on that bipartisan infrastructure bill. his signature legislative achievement so far in just a few moments. we're going to go live to a
kentucky bridge that's a traffic nightmare to show you how this bill is going to effect folks all over the country. we are going to start in kenosha, wisconsin with the kyle rittenhouse trial. gabe gutierrez on the ground there, and i'm also joined by paul henderson and charles coleman, a civil rights attorney and former prosecutor. mr. gutierrez, let's start with you there. and let's start with this dismissed charge. what did the judge say in terms of his thinking with regards to dismissing the june charge and what else does it mean for the rest of the trial? >> reporter: the jury is inside the courtroom and hearing jury instructions, but yes, as you mentioned, that breaking news just a short time ago. the judge dismissing count six. now, that was only a misdemeanor, but it is a blow to the prosecution. because many legal analysts thought this was one of the charges that the prosecution had
the greatest likelihood of a conviction. let me explain what happened. the state statute makes it illegal for minors to carry a short barrel shotgun or rifle, but the statute is written to allow teenagers to go hunting with rifles and shotguns. there was a back and forth before the jury was in the courtroom where the prosecution and the defense were discussing language. the defense motioned to the judge to dismiss the charge because the defense argue this ar-15 style rifle was not a short barrelled rifle. in other words, it was longer than 16 inches. the barrel was. the prosecution did admit it was longer than 16 inches. and the judge came back and said okay, that count is dismissed. kyle rittenhouse was facing six counts. he is now facing five counts. all felonies but that misdemeanor gun possession charge has been dismissed. >> paul, how significant is this dismissed charge? >> this is pretty significant.
and if back and forth they've gone through is typically what is expected at the conclusion of the prosecutor's case. there's typically a motion from defense about what the charges are. and this is like that. the judge has taken up based on this ruling to dismiss this misdemeanor charge. it's not really a surprise to me based on how i saw the testimony coming in. and the rulings from this judge in this case. but that is a serious blow to prosecution, because the basis of their primary case, this was really foundational. and you don't really want to have charges removed like this from the jury before they contemplate even your serious charges. it's nice to have something that you can hang your hat on for this statutory violations in a case like this, and especially in a case like this, where you're talking about the gun charge itself. and what we saw as the evidence was coming in even from the prosecution, they were struggling with these statutory
charges even to prove their foundational evidence when the defendant took the stand. from my perspective, it felt as though prosecution was not ready to cross examine the defendant himself when he took the stand and as you remember, he came on the stand from when the defense attorneys started their case immediately. and that rarely happens. it's typically a presentation of evidence before the defendant takes the stand. they flipped it and put the defendant on right away, and i think the prosecution struggled quite a bit and he absolutely was fighting against this judge and the rulings being made against him when trying to cross examine the defendant on these statutory violations about what his intent was with the gun. so the judge found it shaky enough and the judge obviously believed the defense attorney's perspective about the length of the gun to use that as a basis to eliminate it completely. that means the jury can't even consider it at all, and it may set an uphill battle.
it's really going to hinge on what prosecution can bring to the trial and closing argument, and they've got a lot of ground to cover to make sure that they address any of the remaining felony charges in order to hang on this. >> while we're having this conversation, a live look inside the courtroom there where the aftermentioned judge is giving the jury instructions. gabe, the jury came into the room 10, 15 minutes ago for those instructions. what are we hearing there? >> well, you know, this is a common part of the trial, craig, where there was this back and forth about whether the judge would allow the jury to consider lesser charges on some of the counts. as we were saying earlier, kyle rittenhouse has faced six counts, now five. they were all felonies, and there was speculation last week that perhaps the prosecution was asking the judge to allow the jury to consider lesser charges because the prosecution may have not felt confident in its case.
there are some legal experts that may wane and say it's not uncommon for prosecution to do this, but certainly there was this back and forth, especially on friday, the judge indicated that he would allow the jury to consider at least some of those lesser charges. that's what's going on right now. that will happen for about an hour or so. and then we expect a break and depending on how this shakes out and with lunch, there could be about two hours or so set aside for each closing argument. so that would put us late into the afternoon, evening before potentially the jury could get this case. >> charles, how critical are these instructions from a judge to a jury before they hear the closing arguments and start their deliberations? >> craig, they're imperative. there is something that you as an attorney when you're at trial base your entire summation on. you're anticipating how the judge is going to instruct the jury. that's going to inform how you put together your summation. because what you want to do,
whether you are a prosecutor or whether you are a defense attorney, you want to make this as straightforward and as simple for the jury as possible. when the jury goes into the deliberation room, you want them to think about exactly what you said and line that up exactly with what the judge said. so when you talk about these jury instructions, what both sides are going to be doing and what they are doing is they're making motions to try to get the most favorable and simple and straightforward instructions that are going to speak directly to their theory of the case. both from the prosecution side and the defense side. so these jury instructions are absolutely critical to how both sides are going to want to approach the case in summation. >> paul, you correct me if i'm wrong here, and gabe, i want to come to you in a second. i found kyle rittenhouse's mother, that conversation you had with her quite fascinating. i want to talk about that in a second. paul, correct me if i'm wrong. i thought at one point during the trial the prosecution asked
rittenhouse if he bought the gun for hunt and he responded no. >> that's correct. i saw when that happened. that was one of the moments that i think a lot of people leaned in that were following this specific charges that were here in this case. and i understand and knew when prosecution was asking those questions, in that line of questioning from the defendant himself, what they were trying to do to get the statutory violations. and the reason it's significant is you want 2 the closing argument to start off with the foundation that evidence you can present to the jury to lead them along the way to show and prove that he has committed at least these offenses for sure before you start arguing on your tougher offenses. and that's when it comes into play as to the prosecution's last tool of whether or not to allow lesser included charges for the case to be considered. that's why that argument actually matters. you can roll the dice and lean
in and not allow lesser includeds as a prosecutor. that means you take a gamble of either you prove all the charge or nothing of the charge. that's why she's instructions that this judge is giving right now to the jury is so important. because the decision has been made from prosecution to try and allow and include the -- that's also weighs against why the ruling out of the statutory violations as a misdemeanor is a big deal. the judge indicated that some of those lesser-included and smaller charges are not on the table, and again, the jury is not here for all of this. all they're going to hear and see is one of the charges that had been previously talked about from prosecution is removed. and it's going to be gone. and that's not how you want the jury evaluating a case as they go into evaluating what your main charges are. that's exactly what's happening. that's why it's frustrating for the prosecution. >> we should let folks know,
again, right now, the judge providing those instructions for the jury. when the closing arguments start, and again, as gabe indicated, maybe an hour or so from now, we'll take you back inside the courtroom there for those closing arguments. but gabe, let's talk a little bit more about that one on one that you had with kyle rittenhouse's mother, wendy. what did she tell you about how that family is feeling right now? >> hi there, craig. again, she says you know, that she is scared heading into this next phase of the trial. she also acknowledged, craig, that knowing what she knows now, and knowing what her son knows now, that he probably should not have gone down to kenosha that night. but she insists that once he was down there, she insists that he acted in self-defense. and i pressed her on a few things about that, about his actions that night. take a listen. >> was your son looking for trouble? >> no. kyle never looks for trouble.
he is a caring young man. and he likes to help people. and kyle going down there, he was not looking for trouble. he -- that is not in his nature. >> what do you say to people who look at this case and think, this teenager had no business bringing a military style weapon to this chaotic scene? >> a lot of people shouldn't have been there. you know? and he brung that gun for protection. and to this day, if he didn't have that gun, my sun would have been dead. >> and craig, he said she did not drive kyle rittenhouse down there. in fact, she wouldn't have wanted him to go down there, and also, craig, did speak with the attorney for gaige grosskreutz. he is one of the witnesses in this trial. he's actually the shooting survivor, the third man that kyle rittenhouse shot and
wounded. his attorney told us that it was rittenhouse who created this carnage. that this would not have happen first down he had not gone there with his weapon. and because of that, that will probably be the prosecution's argument during closing arguments. look for a keyword today to be provocation for the prosecution to argue that it was kyle rittenhouse who provoked this situation, and then this was a domino effect based on his actions. but again, kyle rittenhouse's mother reiterating that her son did this in self-defense, and she said that she broke down when he took the wans stand last week. also he's undergoing treatment for ptsd. her main message was this was self-defense. the prosecution and attorney for one of the shooting survivors here strongly disagrees and blames rittenhouse for starting this situation. >> provocation. we'll be listening for that word when the closing arguments start. charles, what else will you be
watching and listening for? >> well, this is going to be a tale of competing narratives. we are going to hear very different story told from the prosecution as we will by the defense. i think one of the jobs that the prosecution really has to do as they get into this summation is to paint the picture essentially to suggest that look, if kyle rittenhouse had not gone to kenosha, wisconsin with an ar-15 two individuals would be alive today. the defense is going to paint a very opposite narrative and essentially say look, if kyle rittenhouse had not been attacked by two people who provoked him, or who basically attacked him and accosted him, one with the skateboard, the other one who threatened him by pointing a weapon, two other people would be alive today and kyle rittenhouse wouldn't be on trial. i think the competing narratives we're going to see from both sides are really going to tell the tale of how the evidence came out, what the facts are, and put that in front of the
jury and allow them to make a decision as to which narrative they believe the most. do you believe the narrative that kyle rittenhouse was simply someone who was defending himself as he was in the process or trying to simply innocently protect businesses and put out fires? or do you believe the narrative that kyle rittenhouse went to kenosha, wisconsin looking for trouble, and that's what he found and he was intent on finding it? that's a narration the prosecution is looking to advance. when i watch that, that's what i'm looking for. i'm also going to look to see whether the prosecution is going to finally be able to tie in the different points from their long and limpy cross examination of the defendant. it was long and boring and it lost a good portion of the jury. however, they do have an opportunity to bring it altogether on summation if they can masterfully put together the different points of
inconsistencies that they were able to get out during rittenhouse's cross examination, but that all remains to be seen. >> gabe gutierrez, paul, charles, thank you. do not go far. stay close eye. we're keeping our eyes on the courtroom, closing arguments set to start in the kyle rittenhouse trial shortly. when they start, we'll take you back there live. next, more legal drama this morning. trump ally, steve bannon turned himself in after being indicted for contempt of congress. how it impacts the january 6th committee's investigation. plus governors, members of congress, mayors, folks from both parties all gathering to celebrate one major achievement. the signing of that bipartisan infrastructure bill. we'll take you live to the white house. and also to the spot considered the second worst traffic bottle neck in the nation. and that's saying something.
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counts of contempt of congress. one for refusing to appear for deposition investigating the january 6th insurrection. the other is for failure to produce documents. ken dilanian is outside the courthouse in washington d.c. ali is standing by for us on the hill. kenny, now that bannon turned himself in, what do we expect to happen in court this afternoon? >> hey, craig. well, we believe he has left the fbi field office. he may well be inside the courthouse behind us by now. what we expect is an arraignment. we're told it will be in person after first hearing that bannon might be in a different room and appear virtually. but we expect that the charges against him will be read and he'll have a chance to enter a plea. he's represented by david shoep. these charges carry a minimum penalty of 30 days in jail and a
maximum of a year for each count. there's a potential for a two year in jail sentence here if convicted. it's also worth keeping in mind that what this prosecution means is that the january 6th committee will not hear bannon's testimony. in all likelihood, unless he backs down and cuts a deal. this case is likely to take a year or more to unfold, and the committee is trying to get a report out by perhaps in the spring. so the calendar just does not match up for them. they're hoping this prosecution sends a message to the other witnesses who have been refusing to comply with subpoenas. they see that this criminal charge here and the potential for prison time with steve bannon and maybe they'll think twice. >> ali, let's talk about next steps for the january 6th committee as we show some of the other trump allies who have been subpoenaed by it on your screen there. former trump white house chief of staff mark meadows did not appear for his deposition on friday. what happens now?
>> yeah. this is exactly the thing that the committee was hoping to avoid for future people who were subpoenaed by going after bannon for not complying with the subpoena. they were hoping that all of the rest of the subpoenas they issued would be complied with. there have been frustration over the course of the last few weeks reportedly around mark meadows and his lack of substantive cooperation with the committee. that came to fruition on friday when he missed his deposition and the committee released a statement saying they were now considering contempt of congress charges against him as well. meadows for his part is arguing that he's only doing what the former president is telling him to do. which is respect executive privilege and not supply with the subpoenas because of it. there is a larger legal question right now about the role of executive privilege in this, and the meadows and bannon case are going to be different in that regard. as we have talked about, bannon was not an employee of the white house. he was an outside adviser, someone with a podcast in the president's ear.
meadows was the current chief of staff at the time. he was taking memos, setting up calls, involved in messaging meetings. central to what was going on in the white house at that time. and someone that the committee really wants to hear from. at the same time, what this kind of contempt of congress charge can do is yes, in some cases persuade people to cooperate or in the case of bannon, it can have a chilling effect where the committee will never hear from these people in all likelihood. the thing with meadows to keep in mind is that they want to hear from him, but they also want the documents as they relate to him in the national ar rooifs. those are in legal limbo right now. frankly, that's exactly where the former president wants them both on the document side and also in regard to his former aides and allies. he wants this to be as mired in the courts as possible, because the legal system moves slow, and as ken was mentioning, the committee is on a different timeline. they want all of this to happen as quickly as possible, because they're up against the midterm
2022 calendar. if republicans retake the house, this investigation goes out the window. the committee knows that. and that's why they're working ahead so quickly. >> yeah. a lot of these folks who have been subpoenaed appear to simply be trying to run out the clock. ken dilanian there. thank you, ken. ali, don't go far. we want to come back to you in a minute on another story. the legal case, the kyle rittenhouse trial, our eyes remain on that courtroom in kenosha. right now the judge continuing the jury instructions there. when closing arguments start, we are going to take you back to the courtroom and we will, of course, carry those in their entirety. next, taking care of business. in a matter of hours president biden will be signing his bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. we're on the ground in covington, kentucky at the second worst traffic bottle neck in the entire united states of america. we're going to take a look at how the money is going to help there. there.
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live look here on the right side of your screen at the tribal nation's summit. it is happening virtually this year. it coincides with national native american heritage month. this is a virtual summit happening at the white house. you can see on the right side of your screen. on the background, there's a welcome video.
foreground, there is a podium because president biden is expected to address this summit when it starts in just a few moments. meanwhile, just a few hours from now, president biden will finally sign that massive bipartisan trillion dollar infrastructure bill into law. he will also formally announce his pick to oversee that plan. former new orleans mayor mitch lan droe. the next steps, the build back better plan, those details are till very much up in the air. mike memoli is at the white house. cal perry is in front of the bridge where funding is needed. al si back with us as well. but mr. memoli, let's start at the people's house. today's signing ceremony at a crucial time. there's a poll that shows the president's approval rating down 41 %. walk us through that what we can
expect to see and hear from him this afternoon. >> well, this is an administration as you look at the poll numbers that needs something to celebrate. this is a moment they are going to celebrate. as we look ahead to the bill signing ceremony plan later this afternoon, i've been thinking a lot back to the moment a little over ten years ago when then vice president biden was at a bill signing event and whispered within the earshot of the microphone to the president about what a big deal it was that he was about to sign the affordable care act. this is a big deal for the white house. that's why they're planning a big event to mark this. the biggest investment in infrastructure in this country in 70 years. you'll see the president use the event to do two things. one to talk about the substance of the bill. he's going to talk about the hundreds of billions of dollars going to roads and bridges. the expansion of broadband access for millions of americans. millions for passenger rail investments as well in replacing led water pipes across the
country. the president also wants to talk about the way this was done. one of his big promises in the campaign was to get this legislation through. the other was to work with republicans to do it. that's why we're seeing a guest list that includes every one of the senators that republican and the house and the senate who voted for it or were at least invited. not all of them are attending. we'll see rob portman in ohio. he's been pushing for that bridge as part of the legislation. that's a moment to talk about having an opportunity to get washington back to work. it's especially important when you look at another item on the president's schedule tonight. he's going to have the virtual meeting with president xi. he's been talking throughout his presidency about how china as well as russia want to see america fail. they want to see democracies unable to deliver. this is a moment heading into that meeting where the president is showing democracy is messy but can get some things done. >> mike, thank you. and thank you for your sanitized
recollection of the then-vice president's comments from a decade ago. the bridge behind you, 60 years old roughly. we're told it's considered the second worst traveled bottle neck in america. what kind of an impact are these funds going to have there? >> reporter: it should allow for an entirely new bridge to be built. it's great news not only for the people of kentucky, for the people of ohio, but for the industry in general. and for the country. this bridge carries some 3% of america's gdp. that is an astonishing number, and look, the bridge was built in 1963. in 1985 somebody realized the emergency lanes would be used for traffic. it carries 150,000 cars every day when it's designed to carry just 85,000. it's sort of america's infrastructure in one bridge. i had a chance to speak to the governor of kentucky yesterday. take a listen to what he had to say. >> this is everything from safety, roads, and bridges that are currently crumbling that we
put our kids in the car to drive over. we can repair and repair faster. for kentucky over $640 million in water and waste water. that means we can get clean drinking water to so many families that still even in 2021 do not have it. >> now, the kentucky governor saying that this is a time when his economy, the economy of kentucky is, quote, on fire. ford is putting in new plant in kentucky. this is a key to getting goods from canada to the south. it's overdue for replacement. hopefully that money will be coming. $2.5 billion of money could be coming to replace the bridge behind me. >> all right. ali, now that the infrastructure bill is set to become law a few hours from now, the focus turning back to the build back better bill. what more do we know about the timing with regards to the president's desires to get a vote on that? >> well, craig, there were
always two sides to the infrastructure coin. right? the bipartisan infrastructure bill was the traditional things you think of when you think about infrastructure. and then the social spending package was the thing that democrats were always going to go at alone through reconciliation measure that allows them to do it with their majority. that has been a thorny process. it has not gone as quickly as some democrats in the white house wanted. and certainly, we're not close to the finish line at least not yet. the house is expected to move on an actual vote on the build back better act at some point this week. before they left for recess, they had made an agreement between moderates and progressives that said they would move forward on the bipartisan infrastructure bill as long as moderates agreed that there would be a vote sometime this week after congressional budget office scores were delivered. that's not to say the lawmakers don't have a sense of what the monetary impact is going to be here. but several moderate lawmakers demanded seeing more scoring from the congressional budget
office. some of the committees have gotten their cbo scores. some more are reporting today. that's going to give every lawmaker here a moderate and ro greszive alike, a better picture of what's in the bill, and then we expect to see them move forward on it again, at some point this week. if that doesn't happen, there could be a lot of angry progressives in this building who deal duped by their moderate colleagues. one progressive left the door open over the weekend, saying that maybe the vote doesn't come this week. maybe it comes around or just before thanksgiving. but those are the dynamics still at play here in the house. then you take it over to the senate, and it's an even lengthier process. they have to go through a bung tear scoring process as well as the birdbath which makes sure that everything that's actually in this bill adheres to the rules of reconciliation, and that goes through a conversation with the senate parliamentarian. chuck schumer saying yesterday to his colleagues that he's been working on that already in can
dem with senator bernie sanders. that is underway, but it's a lengthy process. that's nothing to say of the personalities who want to have their own input on the policy. people like manchin have problems with things in the house bill. i'm thinking of the four weeks of paid leave that house democrats put back into their bill. manchin said he doesn't support that. he concerned problems ant inflation. his argument has been why make these things bigger and bolster them further if they're already heading toward insolvency. all these things are a long way from the ultimate finish line here. >> sounds like it's going to be a while. ali on the hill. mike there at the white house. and cal for us in front of the second worst bring in america. big thanks to all of you. right now we're watching two courtrooms. kenosha, wisconsin in the kyle rittenhouse trial.
closing arguments getting underway there any minute now. also testimony underway in the trial of the three men accused of killing ahmaud arbery in georgia. one of the defense attorneys requested that reverend jesse jackson leave the courtroom, and view the trial from a separate room in the courthouse. we'll have updates from both courtrooms next. courtrooms next. instantly clear everyday congestion with vicks sinex saline. for fast drug free relief vicks sinex. instantly clear everyday congestion. and try vicks sinex children's saline. safe and gentle relief for children's noses. ♪ my songs know what you did in the dark ♪ ♪ so light 'em up, up, up light 'em up, up, up ♪ ♪ light 'em up, up, up ♪ ♪ i'm on fire ♪ ♪ so light 'em up, up, up light 'em... ♪ ray loves vacations. but his diabetes never seemed to take one. everything felt like a 'no'. everything.
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♪♪ hi mr. charles. we made you dinner. aww, thank you. ♪♪ we are back with another look inside the courthouse there. kenosha, wisconsin. the kyle rittenhouse trial wrapping up. you see a side bar right now. this is a side bar that is interrupted the judge's instructions to the jury. after those instructions, the attorneys will start their closing arguments. the judge before this was basically just laying out each charge with the definition, and now we actually see rittenhouse standing up.
i'm not sure -- can we -- do we have audio? gabe gutierrez is back with us from kenosha, wisconsin. we do not have audio from inside the courtroom. we can't tell you precisely what's happening. gabe, the last time we talked, a few minutes ago, the judge just dismissed one of the charges against rittenhouse. it should be noted it was the lesser of the charges. the least of the charges, so to speak. any other significant developments inside that courtroom? are we any closer to the closing arguments? >> hi there, craig. as you said, this is the judge where he lays out the jury instruction, and those of you joining us, a short time ago a little less than an hour ago, the judge dismissing count six, the judge possession charge by a minor. kyle rittenhouse facing five felony counts. to give you an idea of what is significant about what's going on right now, the jury
instructions, these have been hotly debated on friday by both the prosecution and defense. prosecution essentially asking the judge to allow the inclusion of these lesser charges. the judge allowed some but not all. but the judge was reading these instructions. for example, on count four, that is related to the shooting of anthony huber who was shot and killed during that night. rittenhouse was charged with first degree intentional homicide. the judge also allowing lesser charges as second degree intentional homicide as well as first degree reckless homicide. and that's the thing we're talking about here. i'll defer to a lawyer on the fine eer points and the difference with each one. basically here in wisconsin, loour you're looking at first degree intentional inside compared with second degree. the prosecution wanting to include the option for the jury to consider those lesser charges.
speculating that may be because the prosecution doesn't feel fully confidence and get a conviction on the more serious charge, but this often does happen in some of these types of cases. right now we are awaiting jury instructions to finish. after that we'll likely have some sort of break before we potentially head to closing arguments. and roughly about two hours or so for closing arguments for both the prosecution and the defense. we're expecting this to play out throughout the afternoon and potentially the jury could get this case by this evening. >> gabe, how are they preparing there in kenosha for a response to the verdict? >> well, certainly there is a lot of anticipation here in kenosha. i will say it is a very calm feeling at the moment. i mean, there is some -- a lot of people are watching this case. the governor has authorized just in case, about 500 members of the wisconsin national guard to be on stand by if local
authorities call them in. we were here, craig, when -- during the unrest last summer. in august of 2020 following the police shooting of jacob blake. this city was not prepared for that kind of unrest. it was very significant, and there was some criticism that the national guard was not called in earlier. certainly local authorities want to be prepared for that, but we have really seen not a whole lot of tensions, so to speak, outside of the courthouse over the last two weeks of the trial. yes, there have been a few demonstrators outside, but again, the governor has authorized several hundred members of the national guard to be here on stand by just in case. >> all right. gabe gutierrez on the ground for us keeping us updated on the case there in kenosha. gabe, thank you. the other big trial we're watching this morning, the three men accused of murder in the death of ahmaud arbery. moments ago a defense attorney
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this morning we're also closely following a courtroom in georgia where the trial for the three men accused of killing ahmaud arbery is underway. and just moments ago there was once again some tension in that courtroom because one of the defense attorneys requested that reverend jesse jackson leave the
courtroom and view the trial from a separate room in the courthouse. this comes after that same lawyer apologized last week for requesting reverend al sharpton not be allowed in the courtroom. nbc's ron allen is in that brunswick, georgia, courtroom following the trial for us. also back with me, former prosecutor and civil rights attorney, charles coleman. so ron, not the only exchange between the judge and defense attorney this morning. once again, the request that a black pastor leave the courtroom. what was the reasoning given, and can you walk us through what happened? >> reporter: the request now, craig, has gotten even bigger. the defense counsel are asking for a mistrial. they're saying that the presence of reverend jesse jackson and al sharpton and they're claiming their client can't get a fair trial. a picture of ahmaud arbery was displayed in court and there was an audible gasp of emotion from
someone in the gallery, perhaps one of arbery's parents and the defense objected to that as well because that person was near reverend jesse jackson. we just went through a good half hour or more of arguments back and forth about whether -- whether pastors, whether -- who can be in the gallery, so on and so forth. let me give you a sense of the back and forth. here's the exchange between kevin gough and the judge about the presence of jesse jackson. >> jesse jackson, of course. >> he is your honor, i think, we all know an icon in the civil rights movement. not just a witness to it, the personification of it. and in other circumstances i think everybody would be happy to have a their picture taken and get an autograph. in the context of this trial we object to his presence in the
courtroom. >> i find that objectionable from the court's stand point. i have said over and over and over in this trial that i am attempting to ensure that in this courtroom that the defendants receive a fair trial and i will continue to do that. >> reporter: at one point, the attorney said something to the effect of how many black pastors does the arbery family have? reverend raphael warnock the senator from georgia be here next. the judge also described some of his comments about reprehensible. it's been going on now for a couple of days. the activists who support the arbery family said they're going to invite 100 black pastors to come here during the course of this week, and as you might imagine, arbery's family has been vehement that this is insensitive or worse. for them to -- for the defense to suggest who they can have in the gallery. for context, it is a very small
public courtroom because of covid restrictions. for example, there's only two pool print reporters allowed and there's an overflow room where you can watch it on video. that's what they are saying the defense is maintaining that reverend jackson and others should go to that particular room. the whole issue has just become very, very contentious, craig, and it's hard to explain -- it's hard to express how angry people are that black pastors of all people are being singled out at a time when they see this family as grief stricken. this family is in mourning. this family is trying to get justice, and they are inviting who they want to be with them during this time. but this is not the end of it. it's going to go on. >> charles, really quickly here, we just have about 60 seconds, i mean, what kind of an impact could this potentially have on the trial? just the mere presence of a reverend jesse jackson? >> well, craig, at the end of the day, i think we need to stop
dancing around the mulberry bush about what we're talking about. this is not about absurdity, this is not about something that's insensitive, this is about racism. at the end of the day, kevin gough decided he wanted to single out black pastors when he needs to be concerned about how he's launching a defense for his client as opposed to who's sitting in the gallery of the courtroom. this is not unusual. those people sitting in the interest of watching this trial and wanting to see justice done for ahmaud arbery have a right to be there so long as they're not being disruptive to the proceedings in the courtroom. i find it insulting and problematic that kevin gough even after apologizing for this now decides that he wants to put down the dog whistle and pick up the bull horn in terms of continuing with these racist attacks and trying to dictate who should and should not be in that courtroom. >> ron allen, charles coleman, a big thanks to both of you. the sixth longest serving senator in u.s. history saying good-bye. senator in u.s. history saying good-bye
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the presidency as president pro tem of the senate. that's going to do it for me on this busy hour for a monday. stick with us for more coverage of the kyle rittenhouse trial as closing arguments start pretty soon. "andrea mitchell reports" starts next. good day, this is "andrea mitchell reports" in washington. we are awaiting closing arguments after an ongoing lengthy meeting of jury instructions by judge bruce schroeder in the kyle rittenhouse murder trial in kenosha, wisconsin. rittenhouse is facing charges including reckless homicide and intentional homicide for his actions during an august 2020 protest that left two people dead. a random selection of 12 jurors from the 18 chosen to sit for the trial should get the case this afternoon after a closing argument from the rittenhouse defense attempt and rebuttal from the prosecution. it's a day of celebration for president biden with the white house hoping today's