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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, January 14th

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

January 14, 2014

Guests: Sal Rizzo; Michelle Cottle, Goldie Taylor, Linda Stender, Georgia

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, jammed up in New Jersey. This was supposed to be a big day
for New Jersey governor Chris Christie. His state of the state address,
his day to roll out his vision for the year. Instead, the cloud of scandal
hangs above him.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Now, the last week has certainly
tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result,
we let down the people we`re entrusted to serve. I know our citizens
deserve better, much better.


SHARPTON: Mistakes were clearly made.

Today, many new questions. Here are the days of the lane closures.
September 9th to September 12th. Today, we`re learning new details about
who Chris Christie was with as this unfolded. "The Wall Street Journal"
uncovered this photo, taken on September 11, day three of the fiasco. It
shows Christie and the official who arranged the bridge closures together
at the 9/11 commemoration in New York. That official seen in the red tie
is David Wildstein, a central figure, the official who replied "got it"
after an e-mail said "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Last
week, here is what Christie said about Wildstein.


CHRISTIE: I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a
long time, well before the election. You know, I could probably count on
one hand the number of conversations I`ve had with David since he worked at
the port authority. I did not interact with David.


SHARPTON: Really? No interaction? Because this certainly looks like
interaction. "The Journal" also reports two other bridge officials were
there, Bill Baroni and David Samson. Keep in mind Governor Christie said
he had no knowledge of any bridge problems until at least three weeks
later. If we are to believe Christie, it means none of these officials
said something to him, despite complaints from residents.

E-mails reveal half a dozen angry calls on the first day of the closings,
including one who accused the agency in charge of the bridge of playing God
with people`s jobs. A day later, September 12th, the final day of the lane
closures was the first day reports of traffic jams hit the press. That day
Bridget Kelly, who sent the smoking gun e-mail, was in seaside heights, New
Jersey, with her boss. After the fire had broken out, she was there with

But here is the key. As she was making her way down to the shore, she
received this e-mail from David Wildstein. Call me when you have a moment.
Wildstein just found out the mayor of Fort Lee was upset about the
closings. Kelly responded on the way to seaside. Will call you later.
Remember, these two are at the heart of the scandal. The one who sent the
e-mail and the one who replied "got it."

If we are to believe Christie, it means Bridget Kelly didn`t mention
anything to her boss that day, despite the message about the Fort Lee
mayor. It means none of those officials said anything about traffic chaos
on the bridge. David Wildstein, Bridget Kelly, Samson, Bill Baroni, none
of them said a word to the boss. Is it possible? Yes. But is it a lot to
believe? Yes.

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, executive editor of and "Star
Ledger" reporter Sal Rizzo, live from the state house in Trenton, New
Jersey, where Governor Christie gave his address earlier today.

Thank you for being here.



SHARPTON: Richard, today we have proof that the man responsible was with
the governor at the time of the unfolding. What`s your thoughts?

WOLFFE: Well, two things. First of all, didn`t he sound completely
credible and believable in his press conference, and yet when you look at
the actual evidence, how could he have delivered such an unyielding
statement, a statement with such certitude. No contact with this guy for
who knows how long, well before the election. You can count on one hand
the number of interactions. That`s where credibility starts to fall apart
and where believability, people`s own confidence in what they think was a
good performance starts to crumble.

And secondly, he set his own trap here. When you say mistakes were clearly
made, it makes it sound like at just those events. But what happens when
politicians struggle to explain themselves is that they repeat their
mistakes. They add to their mistakes, and their explanations become the
trouble and not the main event.

SHARPTON: Now, Sal, you covered this administration. And this is a
governor that is known to keep everything close to the vest. And are we to
be -- are we to be asked to believe, let me put it that way, that you have
this bridge closing for three days. The largest bridge -- and the most
traffic used bridge in the state as well as the world, but in his state,
and no one ever mentioned to the governor at any point in three days all of
these traffic problems? Let`s forget that there was a conspiracy. The
fact that he didn`t even know that there was all of these traffic problems,
all of these officials around him and no one mentioned anything to him
about it, and he is in the middle of a reelection and could have been
questioned at any public forum or interview, what about the bridge? Is
that the way he operates, Sal?

RIZZO: Yes, it`s a good question. Aside from, you know, the damage that
these people were suffering in Fort Lee, you know, it was a political time
bomb just waiting to explode for the governor. As you say, right in the
middle of the election season. That`s why Democrats are so, you know,
incredulous that the governor would have only learned about this on January
8 as he said in his press conference last week.

The woman who is slated to become his next chief of staff, in addition to
Bridget Kelly, who was with him in seaside heights that day, Regina Egea on
September 13th, she was copied on Patrick Foye`s angry e-mail to Bill
Baroni. Patrick Foye is Governor Cuomo`s top appointee at the port
authority. And in that e-mail, Foye says, you know, point-blank, you know,
I believe laws were broken in both states and federal law. And so, that`s
an issue that also raises the question, you know, if, you know, one of the
top aides to the governor who is in charge of supervising authority for him
isn`t alerting him to this very, very explosive, you know, situation, you
know, who was informed in the governor`s office, you know? Who was in
charge of digesting this information and responding?

SHARPTON: Now, David, today Governor Christie said he would cooperate with
all investigations, Richard.


SHARPTON: Listen to this.


CHRISTIE: I`m the governor. And I`m ultimately responsible for all that
happens on my watch, both good and bad. And without a doubt, we will
cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of
trust does not happen again.


SHARPTON: What will you be watching, Richard?

WOLFFE: All appropriate inquiries. The problem here is that we`re now
looking based on the newspaper reports at a pattern of behavior where other
mayors, the victims of retribution for their refusal to endorse or their
neutral positions in some of these election, the pressures they face at the
time of the election.

If there is a pattern of behavior, who gets to say what is an appropriate
inquiry? Is the governor going to get locked into a dispute about well,
no, that allegation is out of bounds? That`s where this is going to be
headed, because, you know, we`ve seen this at the national level when
presidents get investigated. They don`t like the mission creep that is
naturally a part of this.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to you, Sal. You know, David Samson, the
chairman of the agency running the bridge, was with Christie on September
11th as well, the day three of the closing. The leading investigator wants
to know why a meeting between Samson and Christie just a week before the
closures was included in David Wildstein`s documents. These are the
documents he handed over. Does the news today about Samson being with
Christie again raise any concerns to you?

RIZZO: Well, you know, David Samson is a key figure in the investigation I
think for the Democrats. He is a top appointee as the chairman of the port
authority. He is the governor`s top appointee. And it does, you know, it
does raise questions. Why did Wildstein include that e-mail about the
meeting with Samson and Christie a week before this happened when he was
only asked to turn over things relevant to the lane closures.

I think you`ll be hearing his name a lot more frequently as the weeks
progress alongside Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien who are due at some point
for subpoenas this week.

SHARPTON: All right, Richard Wolffe and Sal Rizzo, thanks for your time

WOLFFE: Thank you.

RIZZO: Thanks very much.

SHARPTON: Ahead, new details about the woman at the heart of the Christie
bridge scandal. Is Bridget Kelly still devoted to her old boss, even after
he fired her?

Plus, Republicans are trying to spin the Christie scandal by making it all
about President Obama. But they`re having a few problems with the facts.
I`ll set them straight tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: She`s the woman at the center of the bridge scandal, a top
Christie aide known for toughness and loyalty. That will now be put to the
acid test. That story is next.


SHARPTON: We`re getting closer to hearing from the woman at the center of
the Chris Christie bridge scandal. Her subpoena is expected to drop on
Bridget Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff, who sent the e-mail that
said "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Only she knows the
motivation behind that message. Was she going rogue or simply following a
chain of command? Governor Christie has let it be known what he thinks.


CHRISTIE: I`ve terminated the employment of Bridget Kelly effective
immediately. I terminated her employment because she lied to me there is
no justification for ever lying to a governor stunned by the abject
stupidity. That was obviously a lie. Proved that that was a lie. Bridget
clearly did not tell me the truth.


SHARPTON: But today "The New York Times" paints a different picture. It
reports that those closest to Kelly say her actions were highly
uncharacteristic for someone who had always been a loyal soldier but never
a rule-breaker. Her friend says, quote, "she follows the chain of command.
She is not a cowboy."

But despite that, several Trenton political operatives say Kelly changed
after being brought into Christie`s inner circle. In fact, they suggested
she seemed to relish teaming up with Mr. Stepien, Christie`s campaign
manager in administering political payback. So what was her motivation?
Right now Bridget Kelly may be the only person who knows the answer.

Joining me now is the daily beast`s Michelle Cottle.

Thanks for coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Michelle, what do you make of the reporting that Bridget Kelly
was not a rogue operator?

COTTLE: Well, look. When you are a trusted staffer in a situation like
this, part of your job is to protect the principal and would do what you
think they would have you, you know, what they would want you to do. Now,
even if there is no proof or any indication that Christie himself was
involved in this particular episode, there is the question of the kind of
climate that he created in his office that led her and Stepien to think
that this was an appropriate course of action. And he has really not
addressed those questions that well. I mean, the governor has kind of
ducked and weaved about how he needs to do a little bit of soul-searching.

But I think that`s going to come back again. Because I think if she is
following the chain of command, I think Stepien is going to be next person
who we`ll all be grilling, and then after that Christie is going to have to
answer more questions about the climate in his office there.

SHARPTON: Now "the New York Times" reports that despite being fired and
denounced by Christie, the governor, Bridget Kelly is still loyal to him.
Quote, "even now after Mr. Christie`s denunciation of her, friends of Ms.
Kelly said she sounded as devoted to him as ever. Her unrequited loyalty
is not wavering, a friend said."

COTTLE: Well, you know, you find this in Washington a lot as well. You
have a situation where staffers` entire jobs revolve around the principle.
And even when they have to fall on their sword, a lot of them remain
completely loyal on the assumption that they`re serving the greater good,
or that it will come back one day and they will be rewarded for their

Now, you know, when you look at the players here, there is a lot of players
beyond Bridget Kelly embroiled in this mess. You have Christie`s chief of
staff, Kevin Dowd, and chief council Charlie McKinnon questioned Bridget
Kelly before she was fired. Then there is Christie`s press secretary.
What did he know over at port authority, two executives have already been
implicated in the bridge incidents, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein,
Christie`s campaign manager Bill Stepien corresponded with David wildstein
and was close to Bridget Kelly. I mean, is it believable that Bridget
Kelly could orchestrate all of this by herself?

COTTLE: No, no, no, no. Every scandal needs a scapegoat, and she is the
designated scapegoat in this. Now, whether or not you think Christie had
any direct involvement, you need a flow chart to keep track of all the
characters and no way she could do this on her own. There are some other
people who at least they are part of the blame, but you know, it happens.
You have to have one central figure for people`s outrage to focus on and to
kind of be the fall guy. And she is clearly the person chosen for this

SHARPTON: Yes, you know, I heard something today that just kind of caught
my attention. If the motive here we`re told by some, Michelle, is that
this was political retribution, then it would have been put together by
someone to pay back those that wouldn`t endorse the governor, and that
someone would want to show the governor they were loyal and paid back his

Well, why would they do that without letting the governor know? I mean,
you wouldn`t do that without getting credit from the one you`re doing it

COTTLE: Well, it may be that, you know, somebody up the chain of command
would know this, or it may just kind of be -- again, we go to the question
of climate in the office. If it is a system whereby people do the wink,
wink, nudge, nudge, we`re going to get a little payback here, then, you
know, you wouldn`t have to keep the governor apprised of everything. And
in fact he would be kind of stupid if he were involved in all of the
details of every little stunt they pull.

SHARPTON: But wouldn`t you want him to know that you were taking care of
something for him if that`s what you were doing, if that is in fact the

COTTLE: I think probably Christie is a smart enough guy that he knows kind
of what his mean operatives, you know, he has kind of given them a general
sense of what he expects from them. And whether or not that means that he
knows every detail of everything, you know, that gets pulled in the office.
It does, you know, suggest that he has a general -- you know, this kind of
stuff comes from the top. It trickles down.


COTTLE: And so, they probably know if it`s OK or not to have retribution
on their minds.

SHARPTON: All right.

COTTLE: So what is going to be a problem is the drip, drip, drip, as
Richard Wolffe was talking about if this isn`t the only person who steps
forward, you know, it gives greater credibility to everybody else who has
ever said they have been bullied in this way.

SHARPTON: Well, talking about the drip, drip, drip, we`ll be watching and
see what happens later this week when she is subpoenaed and others come

Michelle Cottle, thank you for your time this evening.

COTTLE: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Chris Christie vowed cooperation in this
investigation. The question is how will he cooperate? New Jersey
Assemblywoman Linda Stender is coming up.


SHARPTON: Republicans can`t find a good way to spin Chris Christie`s
bridge scandal, so they`ve tried to make it about President Obama comparing
bridgegate to Benghazi and the IRS controversy. But we`ve got some bad
news. Their so-called Obama scandals are falling apart. Remember what
they said about the attacks in Benghazi?


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Number two, during the attack, why were
rescue troops told to stand down? We need answers to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had people who were willing to risk their lives to
go save them, and somebody told them to stand down.


SHARPTON: Troops were told to stand down? That`s not true. A Republican-
controlled committee has released hundreds of pages of documents from
classified briefs and the leader of the security team in Libya testified.
Quote, "madam chairman, I was not ordered to stand down." A favorite GOP
talking point taken down by the facts.

Here is another one. The right also claimed the U.S. ignored warnings of
an attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the top security officials on the ground during
the Benghazi attack breaking his silence last night. He says the U.S.
government knew an attack was imminent and didn`t do a thing about it.


SHARPTON: But the commander of the response testified, quote, "I have not
found the intelligence that would indicate that an attack in Benghazi was

And Benghazi isn`t the only phony scandal that is falling apart. Last
summer Congressman Darrell Issa accused the White House of using the IRS to
target conservative groups.


administration is still, their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture
behind, he is still making up things about what happens. My gut tells me
that too many people knew that this wrongdoing was going on before the


SHARPTON: Turns out Congressman Issa`s gut was wrong.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports the FBI won`t file criminal charges in
the IRS case because, quote, "investigators didn`t find the kind of
political bias or enemy hunting that would amount to a violation of
criminal law. Bureaucrats made mistakes. But was this a political scheme?

Congressman Issa must be pretty embarrassed. So what is he up to in the
New Year? Well, "The Hill" reports his 2014 agenda is IRS, Benghazi, and
fast and furious. If at first Republicans don`t succeed in finding a
scandal, I guess they`ll try, try, try again.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Goldie Taylor.

Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Dana, a lot of Republicans responded to Chris Christie`s
problems, but waving the Benghazi and IRS flags, but now those have just
fallen apart. Your reaction.

MILBANK: Yes, I mean, Benghazi, the IRS, and even fast and furious, I
mean, we`re going way back now. Is it time to start bringing the blue
dress back and maybe get Ken Starr back into the committee room.

Darrell Issa`s had a rather difficult time of it during his time as
chairman. What he has done in each case, and wearing this play yet over
again and again with Benghazi, he comes out with some outlandish
accusation, releases some selective bit of information. And then we get
all the information. And that contradicts what he said in the first place.
And that`s of course what happened with IRS when we found out. Well, they
were targeting groups of all ideological persuasions and the selective
release of information in the Benghazi case has now been demonstrated it
wasn`t all of those things they were talking about.


MILBANK: And it wasn`t Al-Qaeda as Darrell Issa continues to insist that
it was.

SHARPTON: No, well clearly it has fell apart.

But Goldie, is this just really being used by them to try and distract from
what is going on with Christie or because they can`t defend anything with
Christie, so they`re trying to just come back with the old talking points
that clearly has fallen apart and continues to fall apart?

TAYLOR: You know, Reverend, this was the agenda clearly before the debacle
that is Chris Christie, you know, sort of emerged. Now, what is happening
is, and I say this all the time, if you show me your budget, if you show me
your agenda, what you do with your day, then I can show you your values.
If you look at Darrell Issa`s budget, if you look at his agenda, what he
does with his day, what it seems to me is that it shows us that he values
not what is going on with the American people, but what is going on with
his politics, what is going on with his party.

This is a form of baiting, really, getting people whipped up on issues that
don`t really exist and into the voting booth in order to keep a certain
select people in power. So that`s really what this is about.

If Darrell Issa was really about doing his job, then maybe he would be
investigating what happened in target, with that retailer`s unveiling of I
think it was 120 million people`s personal information. How did that
happen? That impacts real Americans` lives. And so, I wonder if you take
a look at the kind of agenda items that he puts forth, if you could really
begin to understand what he`s after here. He certainly isn`t after the
truth for the American people.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Dana, when Goldie talks about budget, let me tell
you something that was very interesting to me. The new budget bill
unveiled last night mentions four times, four times that it bans funds
going to the defunct organization group ACORN. A Republican witch hunt
forced ACORN to disband more than three years ago. Doesn`t it show that
when the GOP gets an idea for a scandal they`ll never let it go? You`re
still putting in the budget four times that you`re not going to fund a
group that you had disbanded three years ago?

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: You can`t be too sure, Reverend. Just
in case they come back to life, they`re going to make sure that they don`t
get any money in there. It actually shows to the extent to which our
government is on autopilot, and for all the House Republicans` talk of
redoing the way Washington works, they`re basically just, you know, cutting
and pasting the budgets from years past. And those include some of their
pet provisions, even if they`re no longer relevant.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, Republicans are constantly talking about
impeachment when it comes to the president. Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell was asked about that last night. Listen to this.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You as a lawmaker really have two meaningful
options. And the main one that has been used historically is try to
impeach him. I mean, is that -- is that ever considered as opposed to
running into the courts and trying to get them to do it? The other one is
to try to defund the president`s legislation, which of course you guys have
tried before.

less dramatic response. The challenge there is the U.S. Senate is in
democratic hands, and they basically, you know, enable the president to do
all of these things.


SHARPTON: Now, we`ve heard others bring up impeachment. But she brought
to it McConnell. And if you notice, he didn`t dismiss it. He just talked
around it. What do you make of, that Goldie?

TAYLOR: Well, that`s because no one, not Mitch McConnell, not Megyn Kelly,
no one, not even on the right believes that there is something that this
president has done that really warrants impeachment, or that they can, you
know, get an impeachment, bill of impeachment through the House and through
the Senate. It certainly just cannot happen. What this is, this is about
ratings baiting. This is about feeding an audience that really wants to
hear this kind of thing day in and day out. This isn`t about what this
president is or is not. This is about the next election. This isn`t about
convicting him on articles of impeachment. They know that that can`t
happen. This is about 2014 and feeding red meat to a base of low
information voters who act on nothing else.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing
last month about how the president has failed his constitutional duties.
Here is some of the reasons they gave. Listen.


REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: And you can insert whatever you want,
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of advocacy groups, NSA
overreach, if you like your health care, you can keep it.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: The president ordered Anwar al Awlaki
killed by drone strike.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: The president effectively enacted the
dream act itself.

REP. TRENT FRANKS (R), ARIZONA: The deep-water drilling ban. Mr. Holder`s
attempt to reform criminal justice by selectively enforcing our laws. Mr.
Obama`s unilaterally ignoring immigration laws in many cases.


SHARPTON: Dana, you wrote about this. How desperate are they?

MILBANK: Well, you know, these are just everyday run of the mill policy
disagreements. And rather than saying we disagree with the president, they
say we want to impeach the president. And what was very important about
that FOX News clip you played there is that of course Mitch McConnell knows
that that`s not going to happen. But he is not going to say it because he
himself is in a tough primary battle with this Tea Party Republican, and
all the crazies in the base are saying impeach him, impeach him. And Mitch
McConnell can`t get up there and say, guys, impeachment isn`t on the table
because that could lead to him losing his own job.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Goldie Taylor, thank you both for your time

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: More subpoenas coming in the Chris Christie bridge scandal, and
new investigations being opened. We`ll talk to a key New Jersey democrat
at the center of all of it. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Today Chris Christie admitted that mistakes were made in the
bridge scandal. And he vowed to cooperate with all appropriate inquiries.
But what will that cooperation look like? And what is next in this
investigation? New Jersey assemblywoman Democrat Linda Stender is with us.
Assemblywoman, thank you for coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Where do you believe this investigation is headed now?

STENDER: Well, on Thursday we will go back in for a special session, and
we will reauthorize the subpoena power. And in new committee will get to
work. Part of the work of that committee is going to be issuing new
subpoenas. I expect they will go to Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien
for starters. And as well, I expect that we are going to hire a special
attorney to come in and work with us on this investigation.

SHARPTON: Now, you subpoena them, they come in. You`re on the committee.
What questions do you want to hear answers to?

STENDER: Well, the obvious question first that has gotten so much
attention from Bridget Anne Kelly is what did she mean it`s time for
traffic in Fort Lee? The questions are lengthy. I want to know about a
traffic study that the governor said he never had anything to do with
traffic studies, but we know from some of the documentation that in fact he
was involved with authorizing other traffic studies. I want to know --

SHARPTON: He was involved in other traffic studies?

STENDER: According to the documents that we already have, according to the
comments made.

SHARPTON: But there was no traffic study here?

STENDER: He -- in the documents that we have, reference was made to an
additional separate traffic study in another community that he authorized.


STENDER: Which is different than the one that was purported to be imposed
upon the people of Fort Lee.


STENDER: So I want to understand. If you are not involved in any traffic
studies, that`s what you have already said to us, then explain. I mean,
it`s just one there are so many questions. Every question creates another
opportunity for another ten, plus all the issues of redactions. Who was
taken off of the list? Is it somebody that we need to know? They need to
identify that. This is going to be lengthy. It`s going to be methodical.
We have a lot of work to do.

SHARPTON: Now, let me put up this photo that was in today`s "Wall Street
Journal." It`s a photo of Wildstein and Baroni and Samson. Baroni is not
in the photo, but he was there. This was at 9/11. All of them with
Governor Christie.


SHARPTON: Now, is it believable to you that all of these guys could have
been with him while we`re dealing with the bridge closings, we`re beginning
to hear complaints. This is the second or third day. And no one would
have mentioned to the governor that they`re having all of these bridge
problems and traffic problems, and he is in the middle of his reelection
campaign. I mean you run for office. I mean, just the fact that it can
come up at a campaign stop so he would know what to answer. No one, it is
believable to you, no one would have mentioned to him this problem?

STENDER: It`s not believable to me. I don`t think it`s believable to most
people. But we need to see the documentation that proves it. Clearly, a
picture where they`re being gathering. They know each other. Those people
are close associates. He relied on those people to be his advisers, to
speak to him and guide him in policy and planning.

SHARPTON: Do you feel that the fact that we`re hearing now from different
mayors throughout the state that when they didn`t make endorsements, that
things happened like meetings canceled that would have helped their city or
that they felt shortchanged with some of the Sandy relief money. Does that
add to the kind of fervor in your committee that you want to get to the
bottom of whether or not there was some improper use of public funds as
well as the public in terms of the George Washington Bridge situation?

STENDER: Absolutely. We know that the Port Authority has enormous
resources. David Wildstein was in charge of capital projects. I think
that one of the things that we will want to know is identify all the
capital projects. Let`s look at where they went, what towns got money.
Let`s look at the towns that made requests that didn`t get money, and where
did their elected officials sit in this listing of people who endorsed and
didn`t endorse.


STENDER: So many questions.

SHARPTON: A lot of questions. Well, a big thanks for coming tonight.

STENDER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And we definitely will be watching. New Jersey Assemblywoman
Linda Stender, thank you for your time.

STENDER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Now to the story of Jonathan Ferrell, the unarmed college
student who was shot and killed by a North Carolina police officer in
September. Today Jonathan`s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against
that officer, Randall Kerrick. The Charlotte police chief, the county and
the city were also named. Last September, Jonathan was driving home late
at night when he crashed his car. He went to a house to ask for help. The
woman inside thought he was a burglar and called 911.

When police arrived, Officer Kerrick fired 12 bullets at him, killing him.
The lawsuit states Jonathan was unarmed and committed no crime. Quote,
despite being completely incapacitated and mortally wounded, Mr. Ferrell
was been handcuffed with his hands behind his back as he laid dying on the
ground. The officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. The
criminal case will go to a grand jury next Tuesday. The video from the
car, from the police car dash cam has not been released, but sources tell a
local TV station what was on the tape.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Video from one or more of the patrol cars shows Ferrell
was clearly empty handed as he approached officers. At one point, Ferrell
hiked up his pants, perhaps to show he had no weapon there either.


An unarmed young man gunned down by police as the wheels of justice roll
forward, relatives of Jonathan Ferrell say they still have too many
unanswered questions.

Joining me now are Jonathan Ferrell`s mother, Georgia, and his brother,
Willie. Also with us is the family Attorney Christopher Chestnut. Thank
you all for being here.




SHARPTON: First, I`d like to express my condolences for your loss, Mrs.
Ferrell. How are you holding up?

GEORGIA FERRELL: I`m doing as well as expected. I`m holding up okay.

SHARPTON: All right. Christopher, why is the family filing this lawsuit?

CHESTNUT: Well, Rev, you know, the civil justice system is really our only
avenue right now. We`ve been waiting for an indictment since last year.
The indictment didn`t come, or at least it still hasn`t come. So, a grand
jury is not being commenced the same day we filed a lawsuit. So, we`re
trying to make the wheels of justice roll a little faster here and get some
answers to questions and get some evidence that we have been asking for
from day one and that have been concealed deliberately.

SHARPTON: Why it is taking so long for them to decide on an indictment or

CHESTNUT: You know, it baffles me, Reverend Al. I mean, everyone knows
what happened here. We have 12 shots, ten at a downward angle into
Jonathan Ferrell who is unarmed, who has commit no crime, who is looking
for help after being injured in an accident. It`s very clear that this is
cold-blooded murder. The only question is why is it taking so long for us
to have a criminal trial.

SHARPTON: Now the lawsuit states that officers can use force when, quote,
"the individual to be subdued is engaged in aggravated active aggression."

CHESTNUT: Correct.

SHARPTON: That are likely to result in the death or serious bodily injury
to an officer. Ms. Georgia Ferrell, does that describe your son, someone
like that?

GEORGIA FERRELL: Not at all. Not at all.

SHARPTON: Tell us about Jonathan.

GEORGIA FERRELL: Jonathan was a very gentle young man. He obeyed the law.
Jonathan never got in trouble. Outside of the home or at home. Jonathan
was a very caring person. He loved everyone.

CHESTNUT: And Reverend Al, that`s why we want the video released. If you
see the video, it is very telling that this is cold-blooded murder, that he
was not an aggressor, that he possessed no threat to officer Kerrick.
Officer Kerrick just killed him.

SHARPTON: Now, officer Kerrick`s attorney had no comment about the civil
lawsuit, but he did say this about the criminal case, and I`m quoting,
"We`re confident that at the resolution of this case it will be found that
officer Kerrick`s actions would justify on the night in question."

What do you feel than as your brother is the victim here and you`re sitting
there with your mother, Will?

WILLIAM FERRELL: First of all, I hate that the situation had to occur the
way that it did. And I don`t -- we really want this stuff to take place so
no other parent or family have to deal with the situation that our family
has had to deal with at the time. And we would really hate for another
child or innocent person to have to deal with the danger of the stuff that
my brother had to go through.

SHARPTON: You know, one of the things that really I had to take a real
pause back and look is, Georgia, when I heard that the family had decided
to forgive in this situation. You want justice, but you hold no acrimony
toward the officer?

GEORGIA FERRELL: No, I do not, Reverend, because I love God. And what I
was told in Sunday school from a child to forgive. Vengeance is mine, say
the lord. But he do speak of justice. And I want full justice.

SHARPTON: And Christopher, all you`re seeking here is justice given what
you see as the evidence, you feel this case should move forward in a court
of law and let a jury decide on the fate of this officer whether he be
guilty or not?

CHESTNUT: Absolutely. And we want to see changes in the policies and
procedures, the training. We want to know how is it that a murder could be
hired and this is an animal control officer who was suspended in his first
year of employment at the Police Department. So we want to know how it was
that he was hired at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. We want to
know how there were 179 incidents in a two-year span of injuries for arrest
or attempted arrest at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. There
is a policy and practice here, and we need answer because the safety of the
citizens of Charlotte depend upon it.

SHARPTON: Now, you have seen a tape that they will not release from the
dash cam video. What`s on the tape?

CHESTNUT: Murder. Murder. It illustrates the fact that this officer at
no time was under threat. As highlighted by the fact that he is flanked by
two other officers who never fire one shot. But you hear it`s the
succession of the shots, Reverend Al that is so convicting of him. It is
one, two, three, four, pause. One, two, three, four, five, six pause.
One, two. That`s two pauses, that`s two times, two opportunities to stop.
All the bullets from the autopsy report are downward and at an angle. He
was shooting down. This man pose no threat to him. This was a man looking
for help.

SHARPTON: And then after he was mortally wounded, they handcuffed him
while he was on the ground?

CHESTNUT: Reverend Al, the epitome of barbaric inhumanity was the fact
that the medical examiner had to remove the handcuffs from this young man`s
hands. They handcuffed him after he was dead, shot ten times. Handcuffed.

SHARPTON: Georgia Ferrell, what do you say to people around the country
that are watching you tonight as you stand and ask for justice for your
son, saying you are forgiving, but you want justice? What do you want the
say to America tonight?

GEORGIA FERRELL: I want full justice, and I pray that no one else in
America, anywhere else have to have their child brutally murdered the way
Jonathan was. Jonathan was one of the best people you could meet.

SHARPTON: Georgia and Willie Ferrell, I want to thank you both. And
again, you have our condolences and in my prayers.


SHARPTON: And Christopher Chestnut, thank you very much for your time

CHESTNUT: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: At the beginning of his state of the state address today,
Governor Christie addressed the bridge scandal. Said today that mistakes
were made, trying to get to the bottom of this scandal or trying to get out
of this. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Chris Christie said something today that sounded very familiar.
Mistakes were made.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: For the last week has certainly
tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result,
we let down the people we`re entrusted to serve.


SHARPTON: Mistakes were made. It`s something we`ve heard before from
politicians in trouble. President Reagan used it in 1987 talking about the
Iran/contra scandal.


achieve what we wished and serious mistakes were made in trying to do so.
We will get to the bottom of this, and I will take whatever action is
called for.


SHARPTON: Serious mistakes were made. President Bush said pretty much the
same thing, discussing the war in Iraq.


FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: Our troops in Iraq have
fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where
mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.


SHARPTON: Again, where mistakes have been made. We`ve heard it from
Democrats as well like Bill Clinton and John Kerry. And today we heard
that familiar refrain from the governor of New Jersey. Yes, mistakes were
made. But what happens now? Is Governor Christie trying to get to the
bottom of this scandal or get out of it? Today he vowed to cooperate with
the investigation. So will he? What really bothers me is that it seems
that whoever was involved and whomever their help was, it seemed that the
people of New Jersey and the people traveling through didn`t matter to

Children on their first day of school, seniors that may have needed medical
attention. People that on September alert lived right in the shadows of
what was once the World Trade Center in a serious day of high alert. It
didn`t matter to them. They must be held accountable because no matter who
is guilty or not, we can`t live in a nation where people are just
collateral damage for political retribution.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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