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'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Read the transcript to the Saturday show

Date: May 2, 2015
Guest: Barry Gross, John Wisniewski, Holly Schepisi, Joan Walsh, Jamelle
Bouie, Robert George, Michael Fletcher, Harry Smith, David Mixner, Andrea
Bernstein, Kevin Clark, Sonja Sohn



determination that Mr. Gray`s death was a homicide, which we received
today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal

PAUL FISHMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY, NEW JERSEY: The indictment alleges and
Wildstein admitted that these three defendants did something else entirely.
They agreed to and did used the resources of the Port Authority, publicly
sources to carry out a vendetta.


Baltimore and in New Jersey.

And good morning. Thanks for getting UP with us this Saturday morning.
One former ally of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pleads guilty in the
Bridgegate scandal. Two more key figures charged in a criminal conspiracy
to intentionally cause a massive traffic jam by closing lanes to the George
Washington Bridge. The reason given in the indictment, political payback.


FISHMAN: A deliberate and illegal scheme to reduce the access lanes from
three to one in order to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Ft. Lee for not
endorsing Governor Christie`s reelection.


KORNACKI: And meanwhile in Baltimore, the stunningly and stunningly fast
announcement that criminal charges are being brought against six police
officers for the death of Freddie Gray who died in custody. That news
greeted yesterday with celebration on the streets of Baltimore where
earlier in the week some protesters had turned to violence. The city
enforcing a 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew as a result. And as you just
heard the prosecutor in charge of that case Marilyn Mosby making the
announcement yesterday morning. That Gray`s death was a homicide. The
medical examiner has determined he died from fatal spine injuries that
occurred after he was arrested.


MOSBY: Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of
being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD


KORNACKI: Mosby says Freddie Gray should never have been arrested in the
first place. He was accused of carrying an illegal switch blade. But the
prosecutor says, it was not actually a switchblade, it was a perfectly
legal knife for him to be carrying and therefore Gray was arrested under
false pretenses. The six officers seen in these mug shots that were
released last night, all of them accused of assault and misconduct, four of
them also charged with involuntary manslaughter. Three with false
imprisonment. And facing the most serious charges, including second degree
depraved heart murder is the driver of the police van who could face 63
years in prison if he`s convicted.


terms that Lieutenant Rice and all of the officers involved at all times
acted reasonably and in accordance with their training as Baltimore police
officers. We believe that these officers will be vindicated as they have
done nothing wrong.


KORNACKI: A busy morning of developments and reaction to get to regarding
Baltimore and Bridgegate. We begin this hour in Baltimore where rallies
overnight were largely peaceful and in celebration of yesterday`s charges.
At least 53 people were arrested, a number of them for violating the city`s
mandatory 10:00 p.m. curfew.

NBC`s Ron Allen is there right now. Ron, what is plan for today in

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, more protests, more rallies, more
celebrations and just more back and forth between the police and protesters
here as the city tries to remain peaceful and go forward. People are still
digesting what happened, keeping the heads around it. And trying to make a
point. Perhaps one of the significant aspects of the entire case is the
fact that the prosecutor claims that this arrest, the very arrest of
Freddie Gray was illegal. And should have never happened going forward.
Police -- people in the community are trying to make a point of that.
Because they say that this happens all the time. The point is that, things
here so far, continue to be peaceful. And we`re hoping that that
continues. Last night the curfew was imposed at 10:00 as it has been.
There were about 50 people who were arrested.

Most of them are people who were trying to make a point though of staying
out past 10:00. We were here at City Hall where there`s a number of
arrests throughout the neighborhood near North and Pennsylvania Avenues
which has been the epicenter of things. And this become every night the
sort of almost, the stage sort of thing that happens where people take to
the streets, the police form that police lines, move in and clear the
intersection and people go home. So, it`s all happened fairly orderly so
far. And that`s the hope going forward. I think that because these
arrests happened so quickly, because the charges are so sweeping, I think
for the most part the community is satisfied. But they still want to keep
the pressure on the authorities. They say they are reforms that need to
take place. So, while the Gray case has come to a significant plateau, a
great start people would say, they still want to see justice served going
forward. And they say that there are a lot of other issues here that need
to be addressed as well. That`s the point people are trying to make,

KORNACKI: All right. NBC`s Ron Allen live in Baltimore. Thank you for
that. I appreciate it.

Now, moving to Bridgegate in the nearly 20 months since access lanes to the
country`s busiest bridge were shut down without warning for four straight
days. There have been many questions. But one has towered over the rest,
why? And now federal prosecutors say they have the answer to that
question. They are alleging that it was all an elaborate plan, it was a
conspiracy to target this man, Mark Sokolich, the mayor of the Borough of
Fort Lee, New Jersey because of his refusal to endorse Chris Christie`s
reelection campaign in 2013. Prosecutors adding that the closures which
caused massive and dangerous congestion in Fort Lee that those closures
were timed in a very specific way to have maximum impact.


FISHMAN: They chose not to execute the plan during mid-August, which is
traditionally a light month for traffic. Instead, they deliberately waited
until Monday September 9th which they knew was the first day of school in
Fort Lee to further ratchet up the injury to Fort Lee`s residence.


KORNACKI: Now, the day that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is referring to
there, the day our three former top allies of Governor Chris Christie.
Bridget Kelly, then one of his deputy chiefs of staff who wrote the
infamous time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee email. Bill Baroni who
used to be a top executive at the Port Authority. The agency that oversees
the George Washington Bridge. And Kelly and Baroni indicted on nine counts
of conspiracy are also fraud and other related charges. And also, David
Wildstein another former Port Authority executive who pleaded guilty
yesterday to lesser charges for his role in allegedly conspiring to close
the bridge.


FISHMAN: The indictment alleges and Wildstein admitted that these three
defendants did something else entirely. They agreed to and did use the
resources of the Port Authority, publicly sources to carry out a vendetta
and exact political retribution against the public official who would not
endorse the candidate of their choice. They manufacture and perpetuated a
bogus cover story to cover their tracks --


KORNACKI: And now Wildstein is key to that case that prosecutors will be
making in court. He will become their star witness against Bridget Kelly
and against Bill Baroni. Their case, the prosecutor`s case is going to
depend on his credibility. And already, Kelly and Baroni are vehemently
denying the charges. They are vowing to fight them aggressively. And they
are lashing out at Wildstein calling him a liar. But if Wildstein and the
Feds, if what they are alleging is true, then it would mean that Baroni
gave false testimony when he told a state legislative panel investigating
the lane closures in late 2013 that they had all simply been a part of a
traffic study.


a wakeup call and warning to those public servants who might consider
abusing their official positions for their personal benefit or the benefit
of others.


KORNACKI: And joining me now is New Jersey State Assemblyman John
Wisniewski, the democratic co-chair of the Joint Legislative panel that
looked into this scandal. And Republican Holly Schepisi, another member of
that committee.

So, let me start with you, you know, assemblymen, you know, you guys looked
into this, you`ve sort of been the face of this investigation in Trenton.
At least what you heard yesterday, was there anything surprising in what
the prosecutor presented yesterday?

most surprising fact was that it was, after all, about an endorsement for
Mayor Sokolich, and that it was deliberately timed to have the maximum
impact on the community of Ft. Lee. So, there was a lot of supposition,
we`ve -- on this show talked about what could the rationale be behind the
lane closures. And to find out after all this that it was petty politics
about an endorsement, that at the end of the day made no difference to the
outcome of the election boggles the mind. It really sickens you.

KORNACKI: What about you, Holly, watching this after looking into it, what
did you think?

learned anything entirely new. I do think that the plea and some of the
details of it were shocking. I mean, for David Wildstein to admit that
this was time to have the maximum detrimental impact on school age children
is, is I mean, is outrageous. But the one thing I found fascinating in
reading his plea agreement as well as the indictment against him, and his
plea was that he started floating the idea to do this as early as 2011.
And so, I mean, yes, was it ultimately tied to, I guess his displeasure in
not receiving an endorsement? Yes. But there`s a two year window in which
he admits that he was considering doing this.

KORNACKI: Had identified this as a potential lever --


KORNACKI: So, let`s take a step further back, bigger picture here. You
look at, this is all done in the name, according to prosecutors, according
to David Wildstein, this is being done in the name of Chris Christie`s
reelection campaign in 2013. This is punishment for a democratic mayor who
refuses to endorse the republican governor. This is the democratic mayor
who didn`t even endorse the democratic nominee for governor. Just refuse
to endorse the republican. It seems so wildly disproportionate. One thing
I did not hear outlined by prosecutors yesterday is, where an idea like
that comes from in the first place, just given how crazy it is?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, that`s the unanswered question. So you have David
Wildstein admitting to what happened. And implicating in his admission,
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni. You have Bill Baroni`s attorney making a
statement denying all that. And essentially still believing in a traffic
study and you have Bridget Kelly making a statement herself saying that
there are other people involved and essentially saying that at some point
in time, we`ll find out who they are. The question that`s unanswered, and
has been unanswered for the longest time, is who ultimately gave the go
ahead. I mean, I don`t believe anybody believes that Bridget Kelly came up
with this idea simply because we know that David Wildstein was thinking
about it almost two years before it happened. But clearly, there was
authorization from someone to go ahead with this scheme. We still don`t
know who that is.

KORNACKI: Yes. Assemblywoman, we had -- now we should say Chris Christie,
Governor Christie as soon as this was announced yesterday, he took to
twitter, he put out a statement saying, hey this backs up everything I said
from day one. I didn`t know anything about this as it was happening. I
didn`t have any role in planning this. At the same time the lawyer for
David Wildstein, the guy who`s just going in there and cut a deal with
federal prosecutor, he comes out of that courthouse yesterday and he
repeats to the press, he says, "Chris Christie knew about this at the time
and there is evidence to prove it." And now prosecutors -- they are
basically vouching for David Wildstein`s credibility in cutting a deal with
him. Do you believe that nobody beyond these three knew or was involved in

SCHEPISI: I think that if David Wildstein`s attorney actually had
something that would have implicated Governor Christie, it would have been,
you know, the get out of jail free card that would have been utilized.
Here you had the U.S. attorney that methodically over an extended period of
time, 20 months has investigated this, has interviewed everybody. Has
interviewed the governor himself. And you have David Wildstein facing some
very real jail time. Believe me, if he had had anything to have implicate
somebody other than the two that he implicated he would have done it.

KORNACKI: Is there a question I guess beyond literally involvement by
Chris Christie to the culture that Chris Christie may have created in the
administration? A culture around, hey, we got to do whatever it takes to
drive up the number here in this 2013 election. You got to, you know, bare
knuckle politics whatever it takes. And that`s where an idea like this
might come from, do you think there could be something to that?

SCHEPISI: Well, I think in any election situation you have everybody who
is in overdrive who, you know, are trying to please their boss. And do I
think some of that may have come into, you know, some sort of Machiavellian
Schemes of okay, somehow, someway we`re secretly pleasing him, possibly?
But to say that Governor Christie should know every single item that a Port
Authority employee or even somebody on his staff, every e-mail. I mean,
that`s just so unrealistic. It`s like saying President Obama should know
that Hillary Clinton was using her personal e-mail or that, you know, Lois
Lerner -- there are just so many different things that you could point to
on all political sides of the aisle. As examples of how, you know, we have
to have realistic expectations of what people know about and what they`re

KORNACKI: What`s your next move, Assemblyman?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, we have to look at all the facts that we have now
learned over the last 24 hours. I mean, clearly, there are unanswered
questions and there are conflicting stories. During the Fishman press
statement yesterday, we heard about for the first time unindicted co-
conspirers. When Mr. Wildstein pled guilty in court, they talked about the
effort to obtain Mr. Sokolich`s endorsement coming not out of the campaign,
but coming out of the intergovernmental affairs officer in the Governor`s
officer. Last time I checked, the governor`s office itself should not be
worrying about endorsements from mayors. That`s a campaign issue. And so,
we have to look at that. So, there are many unanswered questions. But the
fundamental issue for us is to understand how this happened so that we can
stop it from happening again.

KORNACKI: And for Chris Christie just politically, obviously the good news
for him yesterday is his name is not coming up in anything the prosecutors
talked about yesterday. The bad news is, it looks like there`s going to be
trials here and those trials are probably going to be starting right around
the time of the Iowa caucuses in New Hampshire primary. That`s something
that could be hanging over his head.

Anyway, thanks to New Jersey, Assembly members John Wisniewski, Holly
Schepisi, I appreciate you to you both coming back. Coming back, we`re
turning to the show today, it`s been a while.

There is also breaking news this morning, breaking word of a new royal baby
over in London. Palace press officers and even a town crier announcing
Kate, she is the Duchess of Cambridge has delivered a healthy baby girl
earlier this morning. The hours old princess becomes fourth in line to the
British throne now behind her big brother George, her father Prince
William, his grandfather Prince Charles. Crowds have been camping out
outside the hospital where she was born for weeks now. Hoping for a
glimpse of the new arrival when she and her parents leave the hospital.
Today they`re probably going to have to make do with any royal visitors
stopping by to greet the tiny princess who is as yet unnamed.

Still ahead this hour.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: It is my practice not to comment on
the legal processes involved. That would not be appropriate. But I can
tell you that justice needs to be served.


KORNACKI: The calls for justice extending from the streets of Baltimore to
the White House. But first, what might David Wildstein be getting in
return for pleading guilty. And what do prosecutors get from him? That`s
next. Stick with us.



FISHMAN: Mr. Wildstein who was then a director of interstate capital
projects of the Port Authority admitted in federal court this morning that
he and others orchestrated a deliberate and illegal scheme to reduce the
access lanes from three to one in order to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor
of Ft. Lee for not endorsing Governor Christie`s reelection.


KORNACKI: That was the United States attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman
in his remarks yesterday. Breaking over a year of radio silence in his
investigation of the Bridgegate scandal. And as we`ve been discussing,
Fishman announced that former Port Authority official David Wildstein has
pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and that Wildstein`s alleged
partners in the lane closings, Bill Baroni, former director of the Port
Authority and Bridgett Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to Governor
Christie are both indicted a nine counts each of conspiracy fraud in
related charges. So, what evidence did Paul Fishman need to see that he
got to that announcement yesterday? And why was David Wildstein the one
who got to strike the deal.

Barry Gross is a former federal prosecutor, he`s known Paul Fishman for
over two decades defended a client against him one time as well. And he
joins us this morning from Philadelphia. Barry, thank you for taking a few
minutes. Let me start with the basic questions what prosecutors outlined
yesterday, what David Wildstein admitted to in court, was a three person
conspiracy, Wildstein, Baroni, Bridgett Kelly to jam up the lanes, to
punish the mayor and to cover it up. If they`re all a part of it, why is
Wildstein the one who gets to cut the deal, Wildstein is the one who gets
to have maybe the reduced sentence, maybe no sentence when all this is
over. And Kelly and Baroni are the ones now on the hook for some serious
jail time potentially?

BARRY GROSS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it could be very likely be
that Mr. Wildstein blinked first so to speak. It`s very likely that the
prosecutors went to all three of their attorneys here of these three
defendants` attorneys, showed them the e-mails, showed them the texts.
Might have told them some of the testimony that they had against them. And
it was Mr. Wildstein and his attorney who decided to plead guilty to
cooperate and to try to cut his losses so to speak.

KORNACKI: And the other thing is curious here, a letter was released from
prosecutors to Wildstein and his lawyer, that that was basically their plea
offer and it was signed by Wildstein. This all took place in January. And
we`ve been hearing and people who watch this show know we`ve been talking
really since January about how, what happened yesterday, the indictments,
the plea deal, all this stuff. We`ve been saying since January, it could
happen any day now, it could happen any week now. And everybody was very,
you know, confused after a while. Why isn`t it happening? And then we
find out, it looks like this deal was cut four months ago. Is there any
explanation for that you could think of?

GROSS: Well, yes, according to Mr. Wildstein`s attorney yesterday. As was
reported, he`s cooperating with the government. So, very likely the
government agents, government attorneys have been speaking to Mr.
Wildstein for the last three or four months, have gotten additional
information from him and have added that to the indictment against Ms.
Kelly and Mr. Baroni. This is very typical. If you enter into a plea
agreement with a defendant and he decides to cooperate, you then speak with
them. Try to get as much information from them, any cooperation, any
documents, texts, e-mail anything else, and basically fold that into the
indictment. And as you can see this indictment reads like a book. There`s
a lot of information in there. And there`s a lot of information that`s put
in there to try to get Ms. Kelly or Mr. Baroni or both to blink, and the
come in and the plead guilty and also cooperate.

KORNACKI: And based on what they said yesterday, Bridget Kelly`s statement
we`ll play some of that in a little bit. Bill Baroni, to his lawyer, what
they said yesterday. Right now they`re in no mood to do that. How strong
do you think this case is that the government has put together?

GROSS: Well, it`s always hard to say because the government clearly
cherry-picked the best e-mails and the best texts here. The defense
attorneys very likely are going to look at this and may claim that these e-
mails or texts were taken out of context, that there`s another entire
story, which would play out much differently. And which would show that
Ms. Kelly and Mr. Baroni are not guilty of this. So it really takes some
time. And what`s going to happen next, is the government is going to have
to give over a lot of their discovery, a lot of the documents, a lot of the
texts, a lot of other the evidence material that they`re relying on to
bring this indictment. At that point the defense attorneys and the
defendants will look at this and will make a decision whether they feel the
government has enough to prove them guilty.

KORNACKI: All right. Yes. I mean, I am not a lawyer, I`m not a trained
in legal theory or anything. But wow, that time for some traffic in Ft.
Lee e-mails seems like it`s going to be tough to introduce enough context.
We`ll see what they come up with if this thing does go to court. Barry
Gross joining us from Philadelphia this morning, we appreciate the time,
thank you very much.

GROSS: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. And still ahead, how Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly
hope to beat these charges against them. We heard from Bridget Kelly
herself yesterday. But first, reaction to the criminal charges filed in
the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Our children, they went out there and
protests for the most part peacefully, but they had to protest in order to
get here. And they -- this creates a faith in them.




OBAMA: Well, I think the people of Baltimore want more than anything else
is the truth. That`s what people around the country expect.


KORNACKI: That was President Obama yesterday responding to questions about
the charges that are being brought against six Baltimore police officers in
the case of Freddie Gray. Obama said he would not discuss the legal
process that`s underway. But he did say that the justice system needs to
do its work and his administration would help local officials get to the
bottom of what happened.

I want to bring in the panel this morning. We have with us Jamelle Bouie
with Slate, MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh, editor at large with Salon. And
Robert George, editorial writer with the "New York Post." So, thanks guys
for joining us.

So, let`s start with, you know, we played towards the top of the show,
Marilyn Mosby who has sort of emerged politically as the star of this story
in Baltimore if you could put it that way. I`m curious what you guys make
of her move yesterday. Because on the one hand I was struck overnight by
the coverage we`ve had, Ron Allen this morning, we`ve had NBC reporters who
are down there talking about how much the mood changed in Baltimore with
that announcement.

And not just what a contrast it is to what we saw in Baltimore earlier in
the week. But what a contrast it is to how these stories seem to usually
play out when there`s a different announcement. Announcement that charges
won`t be filed. So, the mood changed completely. At the same time what
I`m hearing are concerns that maybe did she rushed this in a way that`s
going to jeopardize the case. Did she overreach with some of the charges
here and some have also raises the concern, is she responding too much to
what`s going on in the streets in terms of her timetable. And I`m curious
how you guys think about what happened yesterday.

JOAN WALSH, SALON EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I don`t know. I mean, I think she
seemed like a very sober, smart person doing her job. And I don`t see, no
one has raised any evidence to show that this was a rush, it feels like a
rush to us because we`re used to this kinds of cases languishing for so
long with no resolution, with no answers. So, you know, if somebody brings
out evidence that she went to fast or went to far, we`ll look at it. But I
think that that`s just the -- we`re not used to seeing justice move like
this. She`s getting attacked by FOX and other people for using the words
no justice, no peace. She said I heard you say no justice no peace. And I
ask you for peace while I bring justice. She was talking to the community
in a way that showed she heard, but not using that phrase, necessarily

JAMELLE BOUIE, SLATE: Looking at the timeline of the investigation, I
mean, her office`s investigation began shortly after Gray`s death, which I
guess would make it about like two weeks of investigation. And if she just
-- you know, looking at the actual transport of Gray and his arrest for
that matter, that`s actually pretty like open and shut. Like there is --
you can kind of go through the evidence there and pretty quickly see that
there really was no reason to arrest Freddie Gray. And so I imagine that
what her officers were waiting for was the autopsy report just to kind of
confirm their suspicions about what they gathered in the investigation. So
two weeks of investigating the arrests and the transport of Gray, plus an
autopsy report to confirm your suspicions, it doesn`t strike me as being
rushed. And if you look at the Rodney King case, that was 11 days between
the event and the indictment of the officers. Like this is not some
unusual amount of time to issue charges against someone can accuse of a
criminal offense.

KORNACKI: She is getting -- in FOX News -- and I`ve noticed this on the
right. She is taking a lot of heat for inserting that line, what do you
make of that? She`s heard the protesters saying no justice no peace.

ROBERT GEORGE, "NEW YORK POST": I personally didn`t have a problem with
it. I think Joan is right. I think her presentation was kind of sober and
so forth. In terms of the rushing of the charges, I mean, it`s tough to
make -- actually say that for sure. Most observers, though, particularly
in these cases involving police, they -- the prosecutors do take a little
bit more time because it is hard -- it`s always harder to make a case of,
you know, willful malice going against the police. And two weeks seems a
little bit quick. I mean, you know, we will see this. And it`s true. The
mood did change and that`s certainly good given what was going on in
Baltimore. But if you can`t -- if she`s unable to actually bring, you
know, guilty verdicts against these people, you know, it`s -- it could
switch again.

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, that term, too, I mean, I`m -- I always learn
legal terms when something -- second degree depraved hard murder. I`m
still trying to figure out what the exact definition on that is --

GEORGE: It`s Baltimore, you know, home of Edgar Allen Poe (ph).


BOUIE: -- reckless disregard, right? So, at any point during Freddie
Grays` arrest and transport, one of those officers could have said, listen,
we need to secure this guy, we need to make sure he doesn`t get seriously
injured and because no one did.

KORNACKI: So, it`s knowing that it could lead to death, not that you`re
necessarily intending it to but you know, it couldn`t and you don`t take
the precaution. Okay, now I understand it. All right. I want to get to
some of the national reaction on this as well. And this is actually, this
will air tomorrow on NBC on "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd interviewed John
Boehner and the subject of Baltimore came up. Let`s listen what the House
Speaker had to say about that.


CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Do you believe we`re in a national
crisis when it comes to the relationship between African-Americans and law

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I do. I think that if you
look at what`s happened over the course of the last year, you just got to
scratch your head. And when you hear about these charges have been brought

TODD: Charging homicide.

BOEHNER: I mean, public servants, should not violate the law. And if
these charges are true, it`s outrageous and it`s unacceptable.


KORNACKI: Any surprise -- I mean, here`s the republican House Speaker
saying there is a crisis in the relationship between African-Americans and
the police in this country. Is there a surprise that he`ll say that?

BOUIE: I mean, I just made a face of surprise, I mean, I`m a little
surprised. Part of me been thinking he`s from Ohio, recently had John
Crawford to meet Rice in Ohio. So, I have to imagine like in the back of
his head somewhere there is like, you know, these events have happened in
my state so I should probably show some concern. But I think it was
genuine. I`m not saying it wasn`t genuine. Yes. Hence my surprise.

WALSH: I mean, let`s remember, he does not come from the fever swamps of
Obama hatred. He is a main stream republican, was once of somewhat
moderate republican. Whatever he does to keep his job is one thing. But
in terms of what we can perceive in society, we do have a crisis.

GEORGE: Well, also too, I mean, I think even on the right, though there`s
a lot of criticism on rioting and so forth and certain judgments on the
African-American communities and so forth. You also have to keep in mind,
the one incident attack recently that I think is, you know, caused people
to take a different look at this, is was the shooting in South Carolina.
And when you actually saw a police officer shooting somebody in the back,
and then seemingly right there trying to cover up his own actions, I think
has caused some people to start thinking, well, you know, maybe we don`t
always automatically take the --

KORNACKI: Maybe you hit the pause button when you --

GEORGE: We don`t always take the police`s immediately. That these things
kind of happen. So, that could also factor in as well.

KORNACKI: Jamelle Bouie, Joan Walsh, Robert George, you will be back again
later in the show. Thank you for now.

Though, still ahead, a new month brings new protests in Seattle. We`ll
tell you why. That`s coming up. But first, what didn`t happen in New
Jersey yesterday is just as important as what did. That`s next, stay with



FISHMAN: Based on the evidence that is currently available, to us, we`re
not going to charge anybody else in this scheme.


KORNACKI: As compelling as the list of people who were charged in
yesterday`s Bridgegate indictments is, are the people whose names weren`t
mentioned at all. My next guest and I have been anticipating for many
months how yesterday might unfold. Exactly whose names we were going to
hear and those we might not hear and how to U.S. attorney would connect the
dots at the George Washington Bridge.

WNBC`s Brian Thompson joins us this morning. Longtime New Jersey reporter,
he`s been on this case every twist and turn from the beginning. He joins
us now. So, Brian, I mean, first of all, we have had you on starting in
January. We`ve been saying, boy, it`s coming anytime, it`s coming anytime.
Of course we find out yesterday, this plea deal apparently was cut back in
January. So there`s definitely was something going on back there. So, I
want to ask you a bigger picture question. Because we were talking about
this earlier in the show with John Wisniewski and Holly Schepisi, and the
theory of the case that prosecutors presented yesterday, in one way it`s
not surprising. That said what a lot of people have suspected. This was
payback for the mayor of Fort Lee. The mayor of Fort Lee didn`t endorse
Chris Christie and he got this.

To me, there`s still a missing piece there. And the missing piece is,
where does something that wildly disproportionate come from? Because
that`s not a routine thing. It`s like, oh, the mayor didn`t endorse, let`s
not return a phone call. That is the level you might expect. The mayor
didn`t endorse, so we`re going to cause a massive traffic jam on an
interstate highway. We`re going to doctor up a phony traffic. I mean, it
seems where does that come from and the prosecutor didn`t seem to get into
that yesterday.

did get into it was Bridget Kelly. Not with names. That was at her news
camp, I was shocked to see her speaking finally after a year and a half.
And she was very confident in herself. So, she didn`t name names. But she
said she was not the only one in that office who knew about bridge issues.
And I think she was probably -- I`m going to go out on a limb here probably
also referring to his campaign manager, Bill Stepien who was not indicted,
as his attorney predicted. We have to say that. But that we do know from
the record that he was aware of some of what was going on at that time. So
what she has to do, I think, probably and what her attorney will probably
do to help prove -- try to prove her innocence is to establish who else
knew about it, even if they weren`t indicted. Who else may have had the
idea, was it indeed Wildstein`s idea? There is some evidence in the record
that it was. But it was shared around. People knew about this. What was
the link with the political arm?

KORNACKI: I mean, do you think that leads -- my expectation based on what
she said yesterday, and even Wildstein`s lawyer said afterwards, if this
goes to trial you`ll have fingers pointing in the direction of Chris
Christie during this trial.

THOMPSON: Absolutely. And Alan Zegas, the attorney for Wildstein made
that very clear. Again, that the governor at least had knowledge of it in
Wildstein`s telling. The week that it was happening. We`ve all seen those
pictures of Wildstein and Baroni and the governor all laughing and palling
around right before the 9/11 ceremonies in the middle of this week long
traffic jam. So I think that will come out. I mean, for Zegas to make the
point of saying that at his news conference, I think absolutely, they`re
going to try to make that link. And you know, for Wildstein now, there`s
not a lot more he can do. He faces somewhere between 21 and 27 months
except as a cooperator, my guess is he`ll probably face less than a year.

KORNACKI: Yes. The prosecutors seemed to indicate yesterday they could
make it a little better --

THOMPSON: Yes. So, the tale is going to unfold and we just don`t know yet

KORNACKI: I want to quickly just get to two other things you mentioned.
Bridget Kelly also, this is some -- after this press conference yesterday,
they started a legal defense fund for her. The other thing I want to get
to, some reporting on your end in terms of another piece of this. Hoboken
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, she was on the show a little over year ago. She made
allegations about the Christie administration, about Sandy aid to her city
linking it. She said the development project. Now, you have the federal
prosecutors addressed this specifically yesterday.

THOMPSON: Well, I asked the prosecutor, I asked Fishman, what about
Hoboken. So, well, you know, we don`t comment on the status of
investigations, whether we did or we didn`t. Which he said many times.
And then a few hours later, I was given a copy of one of the clearance
letters that have been sent before the news conference. So, Fishman was
being kind of dissembling there. Before the news conference it was sent to
Richard Constable, the ex-DCA Commissioner, also sent to Mark Ferzan, the
Sandy czar, former Sandy czar. And was also sent to Lieutenant Governor
Kim Guadagno saying that we could find no evidence there was anything to
it. Now Mayor Zimmer put out a statement even before those letters went
out saying that I understand, you know, whatever the prosecutors says
today, I still stand by my story. And she has repeated that. She is
standing by her story.

KORNACKI: She is -- yes, we can show you quickly, I mean, just to give you
a taste of this. She`s been on Twitter. Reporters who have been reporting
this, she has been responding to -- I think there you go, you can see.
Matt Catch (ph) is a reporter, he reported this and she wants to make the
point, she say not criminally charged does not mean acted properly in New
Jersey deserves better. So, Dawn Zimmer still standing by her story. But
there is an important development in terms of those letters.

Anyway, Brian Thompson at WNBC, thank you as always, sir.

Still ahead, will the rallies and protests in Baltimore and the media
coverage of the events there lead to any real changes in Baltimore? And
next, why was this happening in Seattle yesterday? The worst of it having
nothing at all to do with Baltimore.



WILLIAM MURPHY, GRAY FAMILY ATTORNEY: But while the state attorney`s
office continued to do its work, the community, this community and other
communities like it all over the country, have much work to do of their


KORNACKI: That was Freddie Gray`s family lawyer reacting to the bombshell
news yesterday that six Baltimore police officers will be charged in
connection with Gray`s death. A swift and stunning development generating
a lot of attention in the past 24 hours. And over the last three weeks.
It seems like there are a lot of eruptions like these days. Sudden
saturation media coverage of places like West Baltimore, or Ferguson,
Missouri or Sanford Florida. Coverage that dominates everyone`s attention
for a while and then stops and everyone just seems to move on.

So, what does it mean for us as a consumers of news and the citizens? What
do we learn for moments like this? And what about the people who are on
the ground in Baltimore or in Ferguson or any of the other epicenters for
these media storms? Is the brief burst of attention enough to bring about
real and lasting change?

Michael Fletcher a national correspondent with "The Washington Post" and
veteran correspondent Harry Smith from NBC News are my guests. And that
discussion is next.



UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My question to you is, when we were out here
protesting all last week, for six days straight peacefully, there were no
news cameras, there was no helicopters, there was no riot gear and nobody
heard us. So now that we burned down buildings and set businesses on fire
and looted buildings now all of a sudden everybody wants to hear us is why,
does it take a catastrophe like this in order for America to hear our cry?


KORNACKI: That`s a clip that got a lot of attention this week. Join now
by Michael Fletcher and Harry Smith here in the studio in New York. And
Harry, let me start with you, because we set this up in the last segment by
saying I think people sort of recognize a type of coverage that they saw
this week, where it`s just every channel in the world descends on this
neighborhood in Baltimore, online everybody is tweeting, everybody is doing
live videos and everything. And we`re not there yet, but we`re probably a
couple days maybe a week away from everybody kind of leaving and this
becomes a past tense thing.

newsrooms across the country is already, how do we take the resources out
being, we`re going to stay calm and we`re gone.

KORNACKI: So, as a consumer of news, first of all, as people watching this
nationally and engaging with it in some way, when this happens, do we
actually learn anything from this coverage?

SMITH: Not much, except from a sound bite like that. And I think I saw
more of that this week, people actually going into the community and
hearing the voices of the people who are there. Because otherwise, those
places, at least from a media perspective, are basically neglected.

KORNACKI: And so, Michael, let me ask you about that. Because you had a
really interesting piece this week basically saying, you know, somebody who
has lived in Baltimore offering advice to the national media that`s
descending on Baltimore in many cases for the first time. I wonder now at
the end of the week, there`s the headline of your story. At the end of the
week, when you look at the coverage you sort of were exposed to this week,
what do you think the national media got wrong about Baltimore and what did
it get right?

MICHAEL FLETCHER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I mean, they talked a lot
about -- I mean, what the guy write is talk about some of the dire poverty,
I think underlies what you saw happening with Freddie Gray and what sort of
his feeling -- this kind of tension between police and certain communities
in the city. I think that point was made. In some ways what they got
wrong -- it wasn`t so much what they did but it`s just the presence of the
media to some degree becomes -- it kinds of distorts the story. You know,
people kind of perform for the cameras. The media was camp at Panda North
(ph) and that became kind of the center of the coverage. And people would
come out there -- some people sort of almost to, you know, to be part of
the action so to speak. And I don`t know how we can avoid that as the
media. But that becomes the thing. People come out there talking heads
come out there. People come out to observe the talking heads. And many
journalists aren`t even during journalism. They`re just kind of
interviewing talking heads as they`re standing that place. So, that`s what
they got wrong but I don`t know how much you do.

SMITH: You could see the first night of the curfew, some of the National
Guard is in there, there is so many cameras around. There were more media
at that one intersection than there were anybody else. And so it creates
its own sort of -- there`s a vacuum that needs to be filled and who is
going to fill that vacuum.

KORNACKI: What is the solution too? We played that clip at the beginning
from somebody who lives in Baltimore saying, where were you before, you
know, there were fires, where were you before the riots began? And I
wonder from a media standpoint how you solve it or how you think about
that. Because on the one hand, she`s raising a very legitimate point, on
the other hand, I mean, I can tell you, I see the ratings every day for
cable news. And it`s not until the riots start that people really start
tuning in. And then they have this seemingly insatiable appetite for

SMITH: Yes. It`s just sort of riot porno almost. People can`t take their
eyes off that, you know, we`re guilty I think, we`re all guilty on a lot of
different levels. The appetite for, hey, let`s dive into this. Let`s dive
into the story of endemic poverty. Let`s talk about the fact that some of
these -- so many programs, so many different piles of money have been
shoved into that corner and that corner. We`ve read a lot this week about
that very neighborhood where he`s from, where Gray is from. And the
different things that have been tried there. There`s a larger, more --
almost insidious problem there of people who are falling off a cliff. This
is -- if we`re this big giant country, right? We`re basically saying
that`s okay with us. And as a media, that`s what we`ve said is, you know,
that`s somebody else`s problem. It`s not ours.

KORNACKI: Yes. And as we say, I mean, it is a pattern, you kind of sense
there will be another one of these a few months from now. It will be some
other city, we don`t know where yet. But this keeps happening as this sort
of the new media reality. And we`re short on time this hour. We`ve got to
get to a break. But thanks to Michael Fletcher with "The Washington Post."
Harry Smith with NBC News, appreciate that.

Another full hour of discussion and analysis of everything that`s happening
in Baltimore and New Jersey still ahead. Stay with us.



heartbroken by the statement of charges that we heard today, because no one
in our city is above the law. Justice must apply to all of us, equally.

BRIDGET KELLY, FMR. CHRISTIE STAFFER: Let me make something very clear: I
am not guilty of these charges. I never ordered or conspired with David
Wildstein to close or realign lanes at the bridge for any reason, much less
for retribution.


KORNACKI: Baltimore and bridgegate.


KORNACKI: All right. And thanks for staying with us for another busy hour

We are still balancing the two big stories dominating headlines this
morning. One of which threatened to be overlooked yesterday in the
immediate reaction to those charges filed against Baltimore police
officers, six of them implicated in the death of Freddie Gray.

In New Jersey, the federal bridgegate investigation moving forward with a
key ally to Governor Chris Christie pleading guilty to his role in the lane
closures and indictments for two other officials that he claims worked with
him. They deny it. All the details and what it means for Chris Christie`s
potential presidential run are just ahead.

But, first, in Baltimore, six police officers have been charged in the
death of Freddie Gray. All six officers were booked and released on bail
last night. The prosecutor in this case, 35-year-old Marilyn Mosby says
Freddie Gray`s death 19 days ago was a homicide. And that his arrest was

But a lawyer for one of the officers says none of them did anything wrong
and police unions are demanding a special prosecutor take over the case.
Police union says Mosby had personal and professional conflicts, including
a professional association with Freddie Gray`s family attorney.

Here`s how Mosby addressed the allegation last night in "ALL IN WITH CHRIS


interest. The family -- Mr. Gray`s family attorney donated to my campaign
and supported me. I had over 700 people who donated to my campaign,
including the FOP. So, I don`t see how there`s any sort of conflict of
interest with reference to that.


KORNACKI: Much more on that ahead.

But we begin this hour on the ground in Baltimore with NBC`s Ron Allen.

So, Ron, a different tone, a dramatically different tone it sounds like on
the streets last night. And yesterday, in response to this, tell us about
what`s going on in Baltimore right now.

ALLEN: Yes, it was a very different tone last night, all day yesterday for
that matter, because everybody was, I think, stunned and relieved that
these prosecutions came down, these indictments came down so quickly and so
swiftly. You know, we`re so used to these investigations lasting for weeks
if not months.

But this happened much more quickly. It`s still a long road ahead. People
are saying this is a big first step but this is far from a conviction.

And it`s going to take a long time. There`s likely to be a trial and a
complicated legal process, because obviously, the police officers are going
to push back hard against these charges.

But the prosecutor here seems very determined. She is very determined,
clearly. And she`s unusual. She`s very young. She`s relatively
inexperienced. But she has got a very experienced staff around her.

And in her remarks she was making the points, something is different here.
This is a new day here. She talked about this was something for the young
people in this community, herself being one of the new young leaders in
this community.

So, things are different in Baltimore going forward. She seems determined
to press these charges and move the case forward -- Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. Ron Allen live in Baltimore, appreciate that update.
Thank you very much.

And turning now to bridgegate and to the forceful defense given by the two
top allies of Governor Chris Christie who were indicted yesterday on nine
counts each of conspiracy, fraud, and other charges.


KELLY: For over a year, I have remained quiet. While many of the people
whom I believed in, trusted and respected, have attempted to publicly
discredit and even humiliate me.


KORNACKI: And that, of course, was Christie`s former deputy chief of staff
Bridget Kelly. She wrote that infamous "time for some traffic problems in
Ft. Lee" e-mail. It`s communication that was addressed to this man, David
Wildstein, who was then a top official at the agency that oversees the

Wildstein entering a guilty plea yesterday on lesser charges, and he
alleges that he, Kelly, and Bill Baroni, at the time the highest ranking
Christie appointee at that agency, the port authority, Wildstein alleges
that all three of them worked together in a conspiracy to close down those
lanes on the George Washington Bridge and that they did so in order to get
back at the mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey, for not endorsing Chris
Christie`s reelection in 2013.

Baroni through a lawyer -- as we just heard Bridget Kelly herself -- both
vehemently denying those charges.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David Wildstein is a liar.

KELLY: I am not a liar. David Wildstein is a liar.

For the indictment to suggest that I was the only person in the governor`s
officer who was aware of the George Washington Bridge issue, is ludicrous.


KORNACKI: All right. Joining us now is David Mixner, a long time
activist, a friend of Bill Baroni. He`s here this morning to speak on Bill
Baroni`s behalf.

David, thank you for taking a few minutes this morning.

So, let you ask you, you`re a friend of his, you know him personally. Did
he see this coming yesterday? Did he expect yesterday that he was going to
be indicted?

DAVID MIXNER, FRIEND OF BILL BARONI: Well, he knew it was a possibility.
I mean, you know, one would have to be living on a hermit in a mountain not
to know of all this noise that`s been taking place that this wasn`t a

KORNACKI: So, what was -- what was his reaction? Because this is -- you
now have David Wildstein and Bill Baroni and David Wildstein were very good
friends for a long time. And you now have Wildstein standing up there in
court and saying this was a conspiracy. I was part of this, so was Bill
Baroni and now he`ll be the star witness against Bill Baroni.

MIXNER: Let me just say, I`ve been known Bill for six years. I have been
in public life for 54 years, working on behalf of making the world a better
place for other people. There is absolutely no truth to this document.
Bill Baroni is innocent.

I wouldn`t put my own considerable reputation on the line if I didn`t
believe that. This is a man who has devoted his life to public service,
who has shown courage consistently in his public life, coming out as the
only Republican for marriage equality in New Jersey, for marijuana
legalization, for, you know, paid medical league, as the only Republican.

But most important, it runs counter to who this person is. This is a
person who believes and has spent a lifetime from a spiritual basis to help
others. And Judge Judy -- I have to come out of the closet on something
here. Judge Judy -- I`m a Judge Judy fan. I never miss a show.

She says if it doesn`t make sense, it`s most likely not true.

KORNACKI: So, what about it, then, doesn`t make sense? I understand you
have a personal connection to him and personal loyalty there. But this guy
is the top day-to-day appointee of Chris Christie at the Port Authority.
These lane closures happened September 9th to September 13th, 2013. David
Wildstein, we have e-mails that have come out. Bridget Kelly is saying
time for traffic problems in Ft. Lee.

What do you -- if he`s not guilty of what he`s charged with, what is the
story here? Did he not -- did he have no idea that --

MIXNER: I wasn`t in the grand jury room. I wasn`t with the prosecutors.
I don`t know all the details. I know sound bites.

But what I do know is that it doesn`t make sense. That a man with a
distinguished career, including probably Bridget Kelly, would throw it all
out the window for some sort of petty revenge in a small city in New
Jersey. And I know that it runs counter to everything I know about this

Yes, I`m a friend, but I -- there`s a lot of way as friend can express
themselves to support someone. Quietly and I wouldn`t have to come on the

KORNACKI: I guess what I`m trying to ask you is, what is the defense then?
I mean, you`re offering, you`re a character witness, I understand that.
What is the defense --

MIXNER: The defense is real simple, he didn`t do it. He participated as a
staff member on a traffic study. As far as I can read from the papers, I`m
getting as much information as you are, because I`m not a lawyer, and him
and I have not talked about the details of the case.

But as far as I can read, we`ve got a lot of sound bites. You know, a
little excerpt from a memo here, a little except from a memo there. We all
know ambitious prosecutors have to come down with indictments.

KORNACKI: That sounds key then, the idea that the defense here could be
that he believed this was -- he knew this was going on, he was in the dark
about the nature of it and he believed this was actually a traffic study
throughout the whole thing?

MIXNER: Well, absolutely. I mean, he went voluntarily, without being
subpoenaed, the only one of all these people involved, before the state
legislature and testified. He knows, he`s a lawyer. He knows he could
have been charged with perjury. He wasn`t.

You know, that`s the interesting thing. This man is innocent. He`s got --

KORNACKI: He`s being indicted in part because of that testimony.

MIXNER: An indictment is not guilt. Let`s remember that. Simply because
you`re indicted is not guilt. It all will come out in court. He`ll have
his day in court. The prosecutor will have his day in court. But it
defies common sense.

KORNACKI: So, did more people -- do you think Chris Christie knew about

MIXNER: Oh, I -- look, I`m not a Chris Christie fan. Let me say that
right off the bat. I think he`s a bully. I think he would do anything to
advance his career. We saw him do what this prosecutor did today in
indicting Democrats.

There is no way in my mind that Chris Christie didn`t know about this. And
I don`t know what Mr. Wildstein`s reasons were for turning a guilty plea.
I assumed he assumed he was guilty if he pleaded guilty.

But what I do know, is that I have seen great people do stupid things. In
54 years in politics, 54 years. I`ve seen great people do stupid things
and I have seen less than able people rise to greatness.

Bill Baroni is a great person who doesn`t do stupid thing.

KORNACKI: Final question, what was reaction yesterday when he got the

MIXNER: Well, what would be any of our reaction -- heartbroken. You know,
this man has worked all his life to be a service to others and to build a
distinguished career. He`s one of the most respected people in New Jersey
politics. And now, he`s fighting for his legacy, his reputation, his
honor. In a time of sound bites and social media, how do you get that out?

And, of course, he`s heartbroken. He is strong, he`s a tough man. I`m
honored to know him. And I`m convinced with all my heart that once he has
his day in court, he will be sitting across from you, on this desk,
explaining the horror he went through as an innocent man.

KORNACKI: All right. Well, you`ve offered a strong sort account of his
character. We will see what the legal defense is here. You seem to be
suggesting that it`s that he thought this was a traffic study the whole way
through. Certainly given the testimony before the legislature that he gave
months after this, that is something he`s going to have to prove. That he
knew it was -- he believed it was a traffic study.

MIXNER: Isn`t it interesting he could have been found by perjury?

KORNACKI: He`s being indicted for it.

MIXNER: Not perjury.

KORNACKI: He`s being indicted for a lot of things.

MIXNER: Yes, he`s indicted, but he told the truth before the legislature.

KORNACKI: Well, we`ll find out in a court of law what happened.

David Mixner, thank you, though, for coming in this morning. Appreciate

And still ahead, how many Americans still perceive the city of Baltimore?
One of the stars of "The Wire" joins us to talk everything that`s happening
in real world Baltimore.

But, first, how are the bridgegate indictments complicating Chris
Christie`s potential run for president?


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I had no knowledge or involvement in
this issue, in its planning or its execution. And I am stunned by the
abject stupidity that was shown here.



KORNACKI: In a series of tweets yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie responded to the bridgegate indictments. Quoting some of them,
"Today`s charges make clear that what I`ve said from day one is true. I
had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act.
The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action
firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside
investigation and agreeing to fully cooperate with all appropriate
investigations, which I have done. Now, 15 months later, it is time to let
the justice system do its job."

And in an interview that was taped before yesterday, but that was aired
last night on FOX News, Christie reaffirmed his innocence.


CHRISTIE: There has not been one fact that`s come out over the course of
the last 15 months that`s contradicted anything I`ve said after an internal
investigation, after a highly partisan Democratic legislative
investigation, or after a U.S. attorney`s office investigation. Nothing
has come out to contradict what I said in an hour and 50-minute long press
conference the day after this became public. And nothing will because I
was not aware of it. But I am accountable for it.


KORNACKI: The question remains how much does this whole ordeal hurt Chris
Christie? And is it too much, too late for a formidable presidential run
for Christie in 2016?

The panel is back with me, Jamelle Bouie with "Slate", MSNBC contributor
Joan Walsh, editor at large with "Salon", and Robert George, editorial
writer with "The New York Post".

So, we had -- I guess, the question that I keep coming back to is when can
Christie -- is there a way Christie can ever just completely walk away from
this where people are want thinking about it, it`s not a cloud over him?

I`m looking back to that last segment we had. David Mixner is on. He`s a
friend of Bill Baroni. And he says, yes, I think Chris Christie knew about
this. You had the lawyer for David Wildstein saying yesterday there is
evidence Chris Christie knew about it.

It tells me at the very latest as this trial plays out, the name Christie
is going to keep coming up and the trial isn`t going to start until the New
Hampshire primary, the Iowa caucuses early next year.

JOAN WALSH, SALON: It`s over for him. I mean, it reminds me of the old
"Twilight Zone" episode where some person walking around and they`re dead
and they don`t know it. And somebody has got to tell them that he`s dead,
that his candidacy is dead.




KORNACKI: What he has, I`ve also said this about Christie, and I`ve always
noticed it about him, is -- I mean, politician is confident in their own
skills. Chris Christie has an unusual level of self-confidence. It`s
self-confidence that has been rewarded. He thinks he can get himself out
of this on a debate stage. That`s what I think.

GEORGE: Problem is, though, he had -- you`re right. He`s a great personal
confidence. But he had issues completely separate from bridgegate that
made it difficult for him to go forward. When Jeb Bush declared in
December, that gobbled up a whole lot of the money, the financial base that
Christie was looking at.

And things, frankly, have gotten worse on that side, because others have
gone to Scott Walker, people that could lay claim to the part of the sort
of establishment moderate Republican base. So, that was a problem already.

What bridgegate has done, it has eroded political support in New Jersey as
well. And while it`s true that nothing has come out that personally
involves him, the political damage I think is really been something he
can`t really recover from.

KORNACKI: Well, "The New York Times" today, we can put this up, the
headlines, with bridgegate charges, a cloud descends on Christie`s White
House hopes. This is from the article -- no where does Chris Christie knew
of the scheme or was involved yet. It was a crime of political vengeance,
the indictment makes clear, that was conceived in furtherance of Mr.
Christie`s political ambitions and carried out in his name.

I mean, that does seem the key to this, Jamelle, is that this was the
punishment was, you didn`t Chris Christie, this is what you get.

BOUIE: You know, not only does that look bad for anyone who is potentially
thinking of supporting Christie, maybe he wasn`t involved from bridgegate,
but if I cross him the wrong way, is he going to try to do me in?

But like Robert said, you know, there are -- there`s Marco Rubio, there`s
Scott Walker, there`s Jeb Bush, there are these people who can occupy the
same space Chris Christie in the Republican Party. And if you`re like a
voter or a donor or an activist, it`s like why Christie?

KORNACKI: And the interesting thing, too, is because I feel like if this
hasn`t happened. If bridgegate hadn`t happened, or we didn`t know about
bridgegate, my hunch -- a lot of people disagree. My hunch is Chris
Christie would be the front runner right now, or he`d be close to the top
of the pack, because I think there was so much interest -- they maybe can
connect to where this came from.

There was so much interest in the idea of a Republican who could win in
blue states, who can change the map, and I think that -- we`re looking at
that and we`re saying how wildly disproportionate like going after this
mayor of a town of 30,000 people, for not endorsing. But if you think
about it, it`s like, well, if there was this appetite national for a
Republican who can win a blue state. Then, there`s an incentive, if you`re
that Republican in the blue state, to do everything you possibly can to
drive up the margin.

WALSH: Drive up the margin, reel in every Democrat you can possibly
imagine to support you. I mean, it was all there. But, I mean, now his
best -- OK. Maybe he knew nothing. His best defense is that, I had a
bunch of people very close to me on my staff waging vengeance in my name
maybe behind my back. Presidential? No.

GEORGE: The problem is, Steve, even if bridgegate hadn`t happened.
Remember, he became very seemingly damaged goods with the base because of
the fallout of Hurricane Sandy and his supposed embrace of President Obama.

KORNACKI: The embracement of Obama. But, Jamelle, you`re shaking your
head on that one.

BOUIE: I actually don`t think -- I mean, I think that may have damaged him
a little.

But I think Christie`s big problem even without bridgegate is that like his
moments passed. The reason why I think in 2012 and 2013, even though
there`s no presidential election in 2013, that he was like, this figure in
the Republican Party. There was this desperate craving for someone who
could seem like they could go toe to toe with Democrats and being leader
and sort of really take on Barack Obama. And that`s passed.

GEORGE: It was a horrible field in 2012. You got a very, very strong
field right now.


BOUIE: All the inadequacies that existed then no longer exist now, and
because this is an open presidential election, conservatives -- even
moderate Republicans are thinking we can get someone more conservative than
Christie into office. So, why -- Christie`s whole appeal, even without
bridgegate kind of doesn`t exist at this day and time.

KORNACKI: I take the point is, I just -- my psychoanalysis of Chris
Christie for whatever little this is, what he`s thinking of is that first
debate, he`s thinking ahead to August 15th and he`s like, I can make all
these problems go away with one of those moments, one of those patented
Chris Christie moments where he gets the right question and phrases it the
right way. I swear that`s what`s on his mind, but we`ll see what happens.

In the weeks and months ahead -- my thanks to Jamelle Bouie, Robert George.

Still ahead, where does the unfolding bridgegate prosecution head next?

And up next, what should you know about this protest, it had absolutely
nothing to do with Baltimore.


KORNACKI: As we`ve been reporting this morning, the crowds that gathered
on the streets of Baltimore last night were not there for angry protests,
they were largely there to celebrate yesterday`s announcement that six
police officers have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray, one of them
with murder.

Last night, this was the scene in Seattle where police ended up clashing
with protesters. Some of them threw rocks and chairs at officers. It`s a
tradition in Seattle to hold rallies on the first day of May. That`s May
Day, usually in honor of workers` rights. Marchers held yesterday for
immigration reform and the group Black Lives Matter, both of these peaceful

So, whenever you hear today that there was violence in the streets in
Seattle last night, you should know it has nothing to do with what`s been
happening in Baltimore.

Still ahead, the star of HBO`s "The Wire" joins us to talk about the real
world developments in Baltimore.

But next, Wildstein is the star witness now for U.S. attorney Paul Fishman.
What does Wildstein get in return for that plea agreement?

Stay with us.



PAUL FISHMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY, NEW JERSEY: This is New Jersey, and traffic
is a fact of life in this state. But even in Ft. Lee, traffic is really
never that bad, and not without a reason. Sometimes, it`s a car accident.
Sometimes, it`s road work. Sometimes, it`s weather. But none of those
somewhat routine things were the cause of that particular mess.


KORNACKI: The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, alleging
yesterday that the bridgegate lane closures were an elaborate retribution
scheme, not an accident. His announcement of nine-count indictment each
against Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni may seem like a finish line. But
it`s really only the first step in a long legal process that will likely
see Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni stand trial.

David Wildstein pleading guilty to a lesser charge yesterday. He now
becomes Fishman`s star witness.

So, how exactly is the case against Kelly? She was Governor Chris
Christie`s former deputy chief of staff, you`ll remember. And Bill Baroni,
he was a top official at the Port Authority. How are those legal charges
likely to play out?

Andrea Bernstein is a senior editor for politics and policy at New York`s
public radio station, WNYC, she has been covering the investigation from
the very beginning. She was in Newark yesterday for all the drama out
there, Anna Livingston for that matter, the Bridget Kelly press conference.

Let me start with we had Bill Baroni`s friend, David Mixner, on a little
while ago. He was suggesting to me the defense were likely to hear from
Bill Baroni in all this. And it`s basically, look, the prosecutors are
alleging and Wildstein is admitting to a fake traffic study. The fake
traffic study was the pretense for the shutdown and it was how they were
going to cover it up afterwards.

And Baroni is going to be claiming I never knew it was fake. I thought
this was a real legitimate traffic study. What do you make of that

ANDREA BERNSTEIN, WNYC SR. EDITOR: Well, I think it`s obviously his chosen
path that Wildstein is a liar, not trustworthy and no one should believe a
thing he says. He fooled me.

The problem for Bill Baroni is there is all the documentary evidence -- I
mean, we know that he ignored the phone calls, for a week, from the Ft. Lee
mayor. Desperate pleas saying public safety is being endangered. Please,
please, please help me. Why am I being punished?

So we know that that happened. We know he had this mean way of referring
to the mayor as the Serbian, because he`s actually of Croatian descent.
All of that is hard to explain away if you thought it was a traffic study.
Why would you be ignoring all of this?

So, I think that`s going to be tough. But, on the other hand, obviously,
that`s the defense. That Wildstein is a liar and he, obviously -- I mean,
for somebody to do something as mean as this, on the first day of school,
is not going to make that person very sympathetic in front of a jury.

KORNACKI: Are you -- when you look at this, I mean, we`ve been speculating
for so long who would end up being indicted, who would end up cutting the
deal, these three end up being sort of the ones prosecutors focus on. Are
you surprised that it`s Wildstein that cut the deal or was he the most
likely one to cut the deal?

BERNSTEIN: No, I think that was his clear path from the very beginning, as
soon as we saw the e-mails that he had released. All he released so much.
I mean, everybody else`s strategy was to release as little as possible.

Bridget Kelly, Bill Stepien, Christie`s former campaign manager, not named
in the indictment yesterday, went to court and said we don`t have to
release this. Wildstein gave them everything on anybody, including stuff
very related to the bridge, which may be leading the federal prosecutors in
other investigative directions.

KORNACKI: And in terms of Chris Christie, we were talking about the
politics for him. But as this plays out, as we move toward a trial for
Bridget Kelly and for Bill Baroni, we had Baroni`s friend sitting here
saying, yes, I think Chris Christie knew about this. You have Wildstein`s
lawyer yesterday saying, yes, Chris Christie knew about this. You had
Bridget Kelly saying, you`re crazy if you think I`m the only one in the
office that knew about this.

What is the risk for Chris Christie moving forward in this?

BERNSTEIN: I think that -- best case scenario for him, nothing else comes
out about it. And that`s what he said I said. I`m not worried, I knew
nothing. I`ve been honest. I`ve told the truth.

However, the fact that three such senior people in his office could do this
-- I mean, this was the first day of school. And four hours to get to work
-- I mean, this was really, really bad.

The fact that they would develop this scheme, how could that happen? How
could you set up an office where people would think that would the right
thing to do? Because after all, they were doing it for the governor. They
were doing it to get him an endorsement.

And he can`t get away from that. That`s a question that I think should he
become a factor again in this Republican primary, that voters, some
opponent will ask them to --

KORNACKI: Yes, I think just the idea the nature of the administration for
the people who follow it and cover it closely, the idea that at the height
of an election campaign, that something that massive could take place in
the name of the governor`s campaign without the governor knowing, certainly
it`s possible. Prosecutors didn`t have anything to say otherwise

But a lot of people find that hard a little hard as well. That`s one of
the reasons for the suspicion.

Anyway, thanks to Andrea Bernstein, New York public radio`s WNYC.
Appreciate that.

Still ahead this hour from the streets of West Baltimore to the small
screen, how much do art and life overlap on "The Wire"?

But, first, we`re going to get reaction with the latest out of Baltimore
from the man who used to run Baltimore`s police department.

Stay with us.



law enforcement officer, and 16 years as an attorney, I have never seen
such a hurried rush to file criminal charges which I believe are driven by
forces which are separate and apart from the application of law, and the
facts of this case as we know them. These officers did nothing wrong.


KORNACKI: That was the Baltimore police union responding to the charges
being brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
The 25-year-old sustained fatal injuries while in police custody last

Baltimore`s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, alleged yesterday that Gray`s
arrest was illegal. That the knife he was carrying was not a legitimate
cause for arrest. That the officer transporting Gray to the police wagon
showed reckless disregard for his life and that officers failed to seek
medical attention for Gray even after he said he couldn`t breathe.

The Fraternal Order of Police for its part said Mosby should recuse herself
from the case and appoint a special prosecutor because she has personal
ties to the Gray family attorney and her husband served on the council.
And last night, Mosby told Chris Hayes the calls for her to step aside are


MOSBY: There is no conflict of interest. The family -- Mr. Gray`s family
attorney donated to my campaign and supported me. I had over 700 people
who donated to my campaign, including the FOP. So, I don`t see how there`s
any sort of conflict of interest with reference to that.


KORNACKI: And joining me now, former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin
Clark, and MSNBC contributor Joan Walsh, editor at large for "Salon", back
with us.

So, Kevin, let me start with you. Let me start on the question the
Fraternal Order of Police saying there`s a conflict of interest. The
prosecutor bringing these charges, her husband is on the city council. One
of the lawyers for the family has given her campaign money.

Do you think there`s anything to that charge?

is the typical front that she is going to have to deal with in the city.
She is going up against a culture. She`s trying to turn an aircraft
carrier in a river right now. They`re going to look for any issue to
derail her credibility at this point.

So, they`re going to look into a family. They`re going to look into her.
These small issues are going to grow and try to make her into an issue, not
what she is trying to get done there.

KORNACKI: So what are the reaction do you think -- I mean, is there one --
the police in Baltimore, is there one uniform reaction from the police to
what she`s doing to these charges, or are divisions within the police world
to how they`re reacting?

CLARK: What people don`t understand, police officers come from all walks
of life. And we all have our own opinions. We may not publicly express
them amongst each other, some people support what she does, some people
will never support what she does.

But what the issue is right now, is people should be concerned are the
police going to continue to work? If I`m a police officer on the street,
the leadership which we have not seen, sets the tone.

I`m a cop. We took a bat over the head yesterday. Whether we believe
those guys are innocent or guilty, the world is looking at us as a bad
department. I`m a bad guy. Do I really want to go out and risk my life
now? The police run towards gun fire. They run towards a robber. They
come to the house when somebody is beating someone.

Is what I do when I get there to resolve the issue now going to become a
question that could make me lose my job and go to jail.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting, Mosby was asked about this. This idea you
talked about last night -- let me play how she responded to that.


CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN: If you come in next week and you start hearing from
your lawyers that these cops aren`t showing up to testify on court dates
that you need to make your cases, what are you going to do?

MOSBY: You hold them accountable. That`s unacceptable. I mean, you have
to change the culture. And it starts with accountability.


KORNACKI: It`s interesting. And, Joan, what Chris was talking about
there, what Kevin was talking about a second ago, reminds me of what we saw
in New York back in December, Bill de Blasio --

WALSH: With Pat Lynch.

KORNACKI: And with the police union up here.

WALSH: And they were instructed basically not to do their job, you know,
if you`re going to put us in danger, we`re not going to protect you.

You know, I understand the fear and the resentment, especially on the part
of good cops to what they`re going through now. But it really can`t stand.
I mean, we do have to find a way to hold people accountable. This is such
a clear cut case.

This man was arrested for nothing. He was clearly harmed in police
custody. It`s not a case where there`s any doubt about -- they never
claimed that he threatened them. He had a switch blade someplace. There
was never a claim he came at us. All these things that we`ve seen, there
was no toy gun, there was no -- there was no real cause for fear that they
raised in the beginning.

And now we see that this happened inside the van. I think the threat that
police will not do their jobs, if they`re held accountable, you know, it
kind of breaks my heart.

KORNACKI: So, Kevin, let me ask you from a practical standpoint, how do
you -- if you`re the prosecutor or mayor, if you`re trying to hold rogue
officers to account, and you don`t want to have the kind of reaction you`re
talking about from the entire police force, where they feel they lost the
confidence of the leadership of the city.

How do you that? Because I understand, it seems like the police union are
always going to reflexively defend its own. Any union is always going to
reflexively defend its own. That`s what they`re there for.

So, on the one hand, you can`t expect the union is going to say, no, you
know what, take this one, take that one. But on the other hand, how do you
have accountability?

CLARK: Well, I think the issue in Baltimore is that they lost confidence
in both the mayor and the police commissioner. We haven`t seen the police
commissioner since the news broke. And I think that the police officers --
the policy is set at the top. And the culture like this thing about the
rough ride in the van, if you`re at the top in the job, you hear about
this, you have -- you can`t tolerate that.

So if that exists within the culture of the job, stop pointing at the
police officers, go to the people that are in charge and ask them the hard
questions. Did they know this was going on? And I think right now, the
police officers feel as if they`re on a ship that`s just sailing along with
nothing on it and everybody`s firing at them. And it`s no direction coming
from the top.

KORNACKI: I think there`s going to be moving up the food chain. That`s
where it gets difficult, because it`s probably a lot harder when you get to
somebody who has more power and influence than a couple officers who are on
the beat.

It`s interesting issue you raised there. Thank you to Kevin Clark, former
police commissioner, in Baltimore. MSNBC contributor Joan as well.

Up next, we`re going to talk to a star of a show, that showed Baltimore`s
grittier side years before this past week`s protest, "The Wire". It`s
right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night, moon.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, moon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. Good night, stars.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, stars.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, Popo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night, thieves.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, thieves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night, hoppers.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, hoppers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good night, hustlers.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Good night, hustlers.


KORNACKI: That`s how millions of Americans have come to see Baltimore, as
the gritty drug-plagued crime-ridden city depicted in HBO`s award winning
series "The Wire."

The show`s last episode aired almost exactly seven years ago, but it`s
depiction of Baltimore is something that has stuck in the public`s
consciousness. There were 207 homicides last year. Nearly a quarter of
all residents live below the poverty line, and 15 neighborhoods in
Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea.

But as "The Washington Post`s" Alyssa Rosenberg pointed out this week,
don`t confuse a fictional show for reality. Quoting from her piece, "`The
Wire` doesn`t explain Baltimore. Enthusiasm for `The Wire` helps explain
how fans of the show would like to feel about Baltimore. We want to
believe we have deep sympathy for and understanding of people whose lives
bear the marks of institutional racism, decades of dreadful criminal
justice policy, hopelessly inadequate education systems and a profound lack
of legitimate economic opportunity and then we`d like to feel like there`s
nothing we can really do. So, there`s nothing we are required to do."

We`re joined by Sonja Sohn, who played the detective Kima Greggs on "The

Sonja, thank you for taking a few minutes.

I just -- I wonder, the Baltimore that America saw through "The Wire" and
the Baltimore that America saw this week through the news media`s coverage
of Baltimore, everything we`ve learned this week, how much overlap is there
in your mind?

SONJA SOHN, ACTRESS, "THE WIRE": I think that, to be honest with you, I
think post Monday night, the Baltimore that you saw was rarely depicted in
"The Wire." I think you saw the city coming together on Tuesday, prayer
vigils, you know, block parties, people cleaning up. I mean, that you did
not see in "The Wire." But I think that the sort of snapshot of the
effects of poverty, I think there was some overlap between what was
depicted on "The Wire" and what we saw prior.

KORNACKI: And it is interesting. You are saying this week seems to have
ended on a hopeful note. As you say, there`s sort of a coming together. I
was seeing scenes last night of police hugging protesters and just sort of
warm feelings actually between them. So it was encouraging. It does occur
to me when you think back to "The Wire," I have to say that the message
from "The Wire" was at least a hopeless one. At least as I watched the
show, it was sort of just -- it was explaining, hey, this is the way it is.
This is how people struggle to survive the way it is. It wasn`t so much
about this is pointing to any way it could be better.

The message that the show left the country about not just Baltimore but
about cities like Baltimore, did you think it was sort of a depressing one?

SOHN: Oh, absolutely. But let`s be clear, there`s a lot of truth to that
depiction. We would not have had Monday night if we had -- if there was no
truth to that depiction. So, you know, we have the rare occasion where we
have police and community members hugging, but look what it took.

Now, there are a lot of really good people in Baltimore, activists,
organizers, teachers, community members who really care about their
communities, but they`ve not been supported and given the resources to
actually improve their communities and transform that city in the way that
they want to. So, what you saw was them riding the tide of this one city
official who stood up for their interests.

And based on just a drop, they`re able to come together in that way,
imagine what they can do if they had real resources, if the city really
backed them, if the budget reflected their needs.

KORNACKI: What do you think, people who watch "The Wire", and know
Baltimore from "the wire," you filmed in Baltimore. I mean, you filmed in
some of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore.

So, you`ve seen the finished product from your show and you`ve seen the
reality on the ground in Baltimore. What do you think the biggest
misconception is about Baltimore from somebody who has only watched the

SOHN: That people living in marginalized, poor communities, don`t care
about their neighborhoods. That all of them are lazy and they just allow
their neighborhoods to go into a sort of dilapidation. All of that --
that`s a multilayered, multi-tiered sort of development that has -- that
starts with I think the way that our city, state and federal government
treats its people and serves its people.

I think a lot of their needs have not been met. I think a lot of campaign
promises have not been answered. And I think people are -- you know, up
until this point people have got to a place of hopelessness. That doesn`t
mean they don`t sweep their stoop, they don`t dress their kids to go to
school, doesn`t mean families are not sitting down to help their children
with their homework. Not everyone is able to do that because of different
levels of dysfunction and poverty that has encroached on people`s lives,
but it`s a mixed bag.

You know, there are plenty of people who care about their communities there
in Baltimore in those marginalized communities in particular. I think
people don`t believe that.

KORNACKI: That`s a great point and a good note to end the show on. As you
say, the week at least in Baltimore ending on an optimistic note. We`ll
see what happens from this point forward. But thanks for now to actress
Sonja Sohn from "The Wire" for joining us this morning, appreciate the

SOHN: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. Thank you for getting UP with us today. Join us
tomorrow morning where we`ll be speaking to the mayors of three American
cities and the challenges they face in their own communities. That is our
mayoral roundtable Sunday starting 8:00 a.m. Eastern here on UP.

But before that, you`re going to want to stick around for Melissa Harris-
Perry. She is coming up next.

Have a great Saturday and see you tomorrow.


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