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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

February 19, 2014

Guests: Marshall Hemmington, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jonathan Capehart,
Karen Finney, Wayne Slater

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

Tonight`s lead, breaking her silence. Juror four in the Michael Dunn
murder trial speaks out. In an interview last night on ABC`s "Night Line,"
Valerie takes us inside the jury room during more than 30 hours of
deliberations that led to a hung jury on the first degree murder charge.
In a confession she said she felt Michael Dunn got away with murder.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you think Michael Dunn got away with

myself, personally, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: When you went to the deliberating room you
thought Michael Dunn was guilty?

VALERIE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Of killing a 17-year-old boy.

VALERIE: Yes, sir.


VALERIE: To me it was unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You didn`t think Michael Dunn had to kill
Jordan Davis?

VALERIE: I don`t believe so.


SHARPTON: But not everyone on the jury agreed with her and she revealed


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You all first took your first poll on guilt or
innocence on the murder of Jordan Davis. What was your vote?

VALERIE: 10-2.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Ten people thinking he was guilty?

VALERIE: Yes, sir.


VALERIE: Self-defense.


SHARPTON: So two said self defense. So as we expected it came down to
self-defense. The controversial stand your ground law that says you have
no duty to retreat if you feel threatened and you can use deadly force.

Michael Dunn said he was in fear and that he saw a gun. No gun was ever
found. It was his word against everyone else`s that he felt he was
threatened. Juror four also had a message for the parents of Jordan Davis.


VALERIE: I would say I am sorry, of course. Nothing will bring back their
son. I hope that they feel that we didn`t do them a disservice.


SHARPTON: Back with us tonight, Florida criminal defense lawyer Ken
Padowitz and former prosecutor Faith Jenkins. Thanks again for being here.



SHARPTON: Ken, give me your reaction to juror four going public.

PADOWITZ: Well, this is fantastic news that we finally have insight into
what was going on in that jury room. And I believe that this juror gave us
important information. We know that the self-defense instruction is
confusing. We know that the stand your ground in Florida embedded in the
self-defense instruction makes it even more confusing. And this juror
confirms it, confirms that two jurors in this trial that the evidence was
so strong that self-defense really, you know, did not apply here and it was
a very, very strong murder case, that two jurors still latched on and found
that self-defense was something that would hang them up or cause them to
vote not guilty. It tells me that, again, we must redouble our efforts to
change this law and to take out the stand your ground law in Florida. It
also gives prosecutors an opportunity to strengthen their case in the
retrial of Mr. Dunn that will be coming up.

SHARPTON: Your reactions, Faith?

JENKINS: Well, first of all, when I heard her comments and I heard her
analysis of Michael Dunn testimony and how it related to the evidence, I
thought OK, she watched the same trial I did because she understood that he
did not have credibility, that there was no gun and that this was not

I thought it was really interesting when she talked about how at the very
beginning the vote from the very beginning was 10-2. And that tells me the
state made a strong case of first degree murder from the very beginning and
they should go forward again with that charge. Because they weren`t
debating the degree of charges when it came to murder. They were debating
whether or not it was murder or self defense.

And so now the state knows going forward especially in jury selection, they
have to find jurors that are not going to buy into Michael Dunn`s
nonsensical story. What surprises me so much is there were two jurors and
then three in the end that actually credited his testimony to a certain
degree. There was absolutely nothing to corroborate there was a gun in
this case besides Michael Dunn`s self-serving testimony.

SHARPTON: But isn`t that, Ken, the fact that he could make the statement,
there was no corroboration, no evidence, isn`t that also indicative of how
important this stand your ground law is? Because the law basically is if a
person says they are threatened and they`re acting reasonably, all of which
is based on them. They need cooperation. This is what is so dangerous
about it. The juror said a key moment in the trial was when Dunn`s
attorney directed jurors to read the self-defense law in his closing
statements. Watch this.


VALERIE: Check page 25. Start with page 25.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Page 25 reads, the use of deadly force is
justifiable if Michael Dunn reasonably believes that the force is necessary
to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.

VALERIE: And we took a poll. There are two of us undecided. Two for was
justified and the rest were not justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Why were the others so convinced that Dunn was

VALERIE: We all believed there was another way out, another option.


SHARPTON: Now, page 25, Ken, was stand your ground. I mean, she directly
said and quoted what he, the defense attorney for Dunn said in his closing
argument, start at page 25. So all of this does stand your ground have
anything to do with the case? The juror said I remember what he told us to
do. Page 25, which was stand your ground that was where he directed the
jury to go.

PADOWITZ: Exactly. And the defense attorney used it. He used the stand
your ground law and the self-defense law and did a great job with it
because the juror remembers him saying that. He directed the jury to that
page of stand your ground and so, therefore, you know, he made his
argument. In a 12 member jury in a first degree murder case you just need
one, two or three jurors to get a hung jury or to get you a not guilty.
And that is what the defense attorney was doing.

So the prosecution in the retrial of this case needs to redouble their
efforts to show that Mr. Dunn is not credible because it`s the defendant
who has reasonably believes he is in fear and can defend himself. So the
prosecution can undermine that reasonable belief. Show the jury that they
have the power to grant great weight, some weight or no weight at all to
Mr. Dunn`s testimony. If they can get the jury to vote no weight then
therefore no credibility and that can come back with the verdict of guilt,
on first degree murder.

SHARPTON: Faith, you said all along throughout the last several nights
since Saturday`s verdict that you don`t agree that they should not reargue
murder one. Is that how they do it by going at the credibility of Dunn,
something they really been go heavily? I mean, how do they reargue it more
strongly in a retrial if, in fact, they decide to do that, try murder one

JENKINS: Well, I think now we heard the juror speak out, I think it is
even more of an incentive to, of course, to prosecutors go back with murder
one because the evidence was so strong. When you have a jury of 12 and you
come back and you know that there was a vote of ten initially to convict
you know that you put on a really strong case.

So they need to go back. There are obviously some guidance that they can
take some from the jurors. But they can go back now and use the same
evidence. The facts are on their side. The evidence is on their side. I
think this case was won or lost in jury selection. There was a hung jury
because there were three jurors for whatever reason bought into Dunn`s
story. And I think that it takes a certain mindset the person has to
actually believe and credit what he said, given the fact that they were
obviously able to overlook that he fled the scene, that he didn`t call the
police and then addition just his story in general. And so, I think you
have to do a better job of betting jurors from the very beginning and talk
about some of those implicit biases that people may have they bring into
the jury room because I think that had to play a role in the fact that the
jurors believed he was justified in killing Jordan Davis.

SHARPTON: Now, the juror spoke about the testimony of Michael Dunn`s
fiancee. Here is what she said, Ken.

Quote "that was a big deal for me because he testified he wouldn`t say or
use the words thug. But he said he would use the words rap crap. However,
in his interview, he did say thug a few times."

And she is talking about the interview, she is talking about the interview
with the police. So it was a big deal to her that the fiancee said he
referred to them as thugs. He said he doesn`t use that language. She saw
that he had in fact used that language with the police. So in this case,
in this juror, they were paying attention, Ken.

PADOWITZ: Absolutely. She was listening and she indicated that that was
part of the discussions in the back with those 12 jurors. So, we really
can feel good in the fact that these people took their job very seriously
back there and I heard there was yelling and screaming amongst the jurors.
So, we know that there was a lot of passion back there. But the
prosecution and the defense are going to glean whatever they can from these
comments and they are going to try to tweak their cases in the next retrial
of Mr. Dunn.

SHARPTON: Well, talking about screaming and arguing in the jury room, we
are going to get to that and more next.

Ken, thank you for your time this evening. Faith, please stay with us.

PADOWITZ: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we go inside the jury room. What happened in the 30
hours behind closed doors?

And developing news, two key figures in the Christie investigation refuse
to hand over documents. But tonight, the committee investigating is
getting tough. We are live with a committee member.

Plus, why is GOP embracing a rock star who called the president of the
United States a subhuman mongrel? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We have more dramatic details from inside the Michael Dunn jury
room. Why were jurors screaming and yelling at each other? And how will
the fact who are speaking out affect the retrial? That`s next.


SHARPTON: In an interview with ABC`s "Night Line," Juror Number Four,
Valerie, revealed she thought Michael Dunn was guilty. After 30 hours
three jurors believed Dunn acted in self-defense, but that means nine
thought he was guilty. So, what happened inside the jury room?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: There were reports that there was yelling
heard coming from the deliberation room.

VALERIE: There was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Give us some of the yelling.

VALERIE: Yes. At one point we were all trying to get the point across.


VALERIE: Yes, sir.


VALERIE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: People passionate about their position.

VALERIE: Yes, sir.


SHARPTON: Tempers flaring, cursing, screaming, but the majority who
thought Michael Dunn was guilty couldn`t convince three of their fellow
jurors. What swayed those jurors and how might this effect the retrial?

Back with me is Faith Jenkins. And joining us now is Dr. Marshall
Hemmington, a nationally recognized trial and jury consultant.

Thank you for being here, Marshall.

MARSHALL HEMMINGTON, JURY CONSULTANT: Appreciate it. Thank you for having

SHARPTON: Why couldn`t a majority co convince those holdouts, Marshall?

HEMMINGTON: You know, anytime you have a case that is hotly debated and
you have a situation such as this case that is really hardly debated and
you have a situation such as this case has had national exposure, you are
going to have tempers flare and you are going to have different various
opinions about this individual`s guilt as well as his innocence. And
that`s basically what Juror Four was stating is that there was a lot of
passion going on in that room where tempers were flaring and they just
could not reach a consensus in terms of this individual being innocent
about the charges against him. It`s not unusual, by the way.

SHARPTON: Faith, you said in the early, first segment, tonight about jury
selection. Are you inferring that maybe some people came in with the pre-
ascribed kind of notion that they stuck to, this was where their head was
and they could not be swayed from bleeding with the initially walked in

JENKINS: I do because when you look at Michael Dunn`s testimony and the
fact that you have this 17-year-old teenager, high school student, no
criminal history, no history of violence and all of a sudden at this moment
he is a shotgun wielding threatening thug and gangster, right? In order
for you to believe his story that is what you have to believe about Jordan

And so, and I think in order for you to believe that some people had to
come in with some pre-conceived ideas that Jordan Davis couldn`t be a
victim in this case and because of who he is, not because of what he did,
because of who he is, he was the initial aggressor. And they could not get
past that. I think that those jurors identified with Michael Dunn despite
his lies, despite his contradictions, despite the evidence showing that he
fled the scene. , didn`t call the police and they could not identify with
Jordan Davis.

SHARPTON: Let me go, Marshall to Jordan Davis`s parents. They reacted to
this interview that they did. Watch this.


LUCIA MCBATH, JORDAN DAVIS` MOTHER: We believe absolutely with all of our
hearts that they did everything that they could to come to what they
believe was the most just decision.

RON DAVID, JORDAN DAVIS` FATHER: Well, and for me, you know, you have the
stand your ground instruction, even though the defense, they don`t actually
file for stand your ground. And that confuses juries. You know, these
people are torn because of the jury instruction. I believe and that is the
case. I believe the facts to everybody in the world show that this guy had
indifference towards my son and just killed him.


SHARPTON: Now clearly, Marshall, you get from that the father saying the
instructions, stand your ground, made the difference, in his opinion.

HEMMINGTON: And the father may be correct because, you know, it was a
recent poll done by PBS which showed the way in which they interpret the
stand your ground rule is very different in the way in which blacks
interpret the law.

SHARPTON: What do you mean?

HEMMINGTON: And what I specifically mean by that is that in the PBS study,
they show that blacks are very cognizant of the fact that if they were to
kill a white person in self-defense that law would not be able to support
their actions. Whereas, if whites were to kill a black in self-defense
then the law would actually be applied to help their case.

So therefore you have two different mind sets in terms of the
interpretation of the law and the problem is that the law is not dispersed
evenly. And therein lies the conflict with respect to the stand your
ground law.

SHARPTON: You`re shaking your head, Faith. We don`t know if the two or
three jurors were black or white because there were two blacks on the jury.

JENKINS: Well, the issue is reasonable fear and putting the onus on the
jury to determine if the person was in reasonable fear. Because you bring
your life experiences into the courtroom with you. And one person can look
at Jordan Davis in this situation and hear Michael Dunn`s testimony and
say, I can understand why Michael Dunn was in reasonable fear, a group of
black kids in a car listening to loud rap music, I would be scared, right?
And then another juror with a different experience who have kids that
listens to loud rap music can think something totally different.

So that`s why we don`t want laws like stand your ground because we don`t
want to give people the power on the street in a moment now to decide that
they are in reasonable fear for their lives in that moment, right, making
them the final judge, jury and executioner in that moment and taking that
back to the jury and saying hey, is this person in reasonable fear? We
want you to make that determination, as well.

SHARPTON: That is the problem with the law. It`s not just bringing your
life experiences, because I don`t think -- I mean, you can have blacks that
have been in high crime areas who also feel that a person has to defend

I think the law cannot be set up to where you cannot make objective
analysis. And this law is set up where they are saying do what you think
is reasonable and anyone in the world can decide reasonable differently
from everyone else in the world. That is a dangerous law.

HEMMINGTON: That is a dangerous law. And Also, there are no equal
protection under the law. That is the problem with the way the law is set
up is that the law is not enforced the same way it is for blacks as it is
for whites.


Now, you had in the George Zimmerman case, one of the jurors in that trial
who said she fought for conviction. Listen to this, Faith.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m thinking to myself, did I go to right way or
wrong way? I know I went the right way because the law and the way it was
followed, it is the way I went. If I would have used my heart I probably
would have went hung jury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Some people have said George Zimmerman got
away with murder. How do you respond to those people who say that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can`t
get away from God. And at the end of the day he`s going to have a lot of
questions and answers he has to deal with.


SHARPTON: So here you have a juror from the Zimmerman trial again saying
about the law and she fought for a conviction that ended up voting
acquittal. All of them voted acquittal. So again, this is what happened
in the jury room, fighting between what you believed to be so which you
honestly and convinced though but dealing is this tension in the jury room.

JENKINS: Well, you want jurors to discuss and argue and debate the issues,
right? Because and the things are very serious cases where life has been
lost. So, you want them to do that. But what you don`t want to happen is
what we are seeing here which is a pattern and a formula sort of emerge
with stand your ground where a person can say I was in fear for my life.
And when you say, especially young black male on the other side, and he
reached for my gun or had a gun although there is no evidence to support
that and then make sure jurors that you understand that I was really
afraid, he said I`m going to kill me. And they were having what we see in
these cased when the other person is dead, they are not there to tell their
side of the story.

SHARPTON: But the others that didn`t diem did tell a story. Nobody saw a
gun. Nobody said there was a gun. His girlfriend, who was with him, the
defendant, never brought it up.

JENKINS: There were convictions for those three other young men.

SHARPTON: I mean, it is a lot to try and believe when there is nothing

Faith Jenkins, Marshall Hemmington, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thank you both for your time.

HEMMINGTON: Thank you.

JENKINS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the parents of Jordan Davis talking about how they
define justice for their son.

Plus, a legal show down in the Chris Christie bridge scandal.
Investigators want a judge to force two key players to turn over documents.
We`ll talk live to a lawmaker on the panel leading that fight.

Also, why are so many Republican leaders embracing extreme rhetoric of Ted
Nugent? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Tonight a major legal battle is heating up in the Chris Christie
bridge scandal. Lawmakers are taking two key players in the scandal to
court to force them to comply with subpoenas. The stakes are rising
tonight. And I`ll talk to one of the lawmakers investigating the scandal


SHARPTON: Developing news in the Chris Christie bridge scandal. Lawmakers
leading the investigation have dramatically raised the stakes in a legal
show down with two key former Christie aides. Bridget Kelly and Bill
Stepien have both refused to comply with subpoenas demanding they hand over
documents related to the scandal.

So, late today the investigating committee asked a state court to order
Kelly and Stepien to produce the material. They argue that Bridget Kelly
possesses information that could be critical. Quote, "As the person who
authored the e-mail stating that it was time for some traffic problems in
Fort Lee, Ms. Kelly certainly has relevant information." Kelly and Stepien
were two of Christie`s closest aides. He fired them both as the scandal
exploded. They haven`t spoken publicly and they refuse to cooperate. But
now lawmakers are taking them to court.

Joining me now is Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, a member of the
Select Committee investigating the scandal and "The Washington Post"
Jonathan Capehart. Thank you both for being here tonight.


INVESTIGATION: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Assembly woman, tell me about today`s filing.

COLEMAN: Well, we tried to get this information without having to go to
court but this information is very germane to our finding the answers to
the issue of the who, what, when, where, why and how of this whole
incident. And so, without getting the cooperation outside of the court we
asked our attorney to file the papers. He did. And now it is before the
judicial system. And it will have to play out there. It is unfortunate.
It`s going to add more time to it. But everyone needs to know that this
committee is serious. We take this very, very serious. This is not
lightly done. And so if we believe these are germane issues, if we believe
that these subpoenas are important to exploring the answers to these
questions that is what we`re going to do.

SHARPTON: If they don`t comply then what happens next?

COLEMAN: You know, I`m not a lawyer, Reverend. Sometimes I wish I were.
I`m not a lawyer. I will be in wait and see like everybody else. But I`m
sure that there is a hierarchy in the judicial system that will more than
likely be available to address the issue if we need to go further.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, you have been following and writing about this scandal
from the beginning. This new development of the committee taking two key
players to court, how does that strike you and what does it do in terms of
how the public now perceives this ongoing scandal?

CAPEHART: Well, to my mind it shows that as the assembly woman was just
saying the legislative committee is very, very serious about getting to the
bottom of what happened in Fort Lee. What we are seeing here, though, is a
tension between the state legislative committee and the U.S. attorney. We
can`t forget that there are two investigations going on here, the state and
the feds. And you know, to my mind I wonder if Bridget Anne Kelly, Bill
Stepien, David Wildstein and anyone else who`s high up and implicated in
this are hedging their bets trying to work out a deal with the feds and
therefore not cooperating as fully as assemblywoman would like them to,
cooperating fully with the state legislative committee.

SHARPTON: Now, assemblywoman today, the chairman of the Port Authority,
David Samson, he made his first public remarks since the scandal broke.
Listen to this.


DAVID SAMSON, PORT AUTHORITY CHAIRMAN: I cannot allow this agency to be
mischaracterized by the actions of few individuals when the day to day work
of so many including this board is so important. On behalf of the board of
commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused to our


SHARPTON: Now, David Samson, he is facing a subpoena from your committee.
What is your response to his statement?

COLEMAN: I have to wonder whether or not he used the same speech writer
that prepared the governor for his response. Because it seems like
everybody who is in a position to make decisions and to have the kind of
power they think they have and they say they have, it is very easily and
very quickly pushing it down to the little man at the end of the totem
pole. And everybody knows that the little man at the end of the totem pole
could not have started this, could not have conceived this and could only
be the foot soldier in this whole scenario. So, I just think that is just
a way of blaming somebody else.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, interesting article in the Bergen record is
reporting that Port Authority police told commuters that the traffic was
the Fort Lee mayor`s fault. Quote, "As motorists slowly road towards the
bridge`s toll booth many rolled down their windows and asked police what
was causing so much congestion. Aggravated motorists were told by Port
Authority police officers at the scene that they should call the mayor or
Borough officials." Was this a larger operation in just a few individuals
as Port Authority Chairman Samson described it in what I just played you?

CAPEHART: Yes. I mean, this sounds like something that is a whole lot
bigger than a few rogue people within the governor`s office and within the
Port Authority. And as we have seen as time is going on, new names come
forward, new names of people who we haven`t heard about or knew of at the
beginning of this are now coming to light and showing just how wide spread
this could possibly have gone. You know, the one thing about Bridget Ann
Kelly`s text message that has always stuck with me when she said time for
some traffic problems in Fort Lee and the response back was got it.

That got it speaks some thought had gone into this. Anyone who would get a
text message or an e-mail like that and responding got it must know what
the plan is, what the plans are and how to execute them. And if you are
going to try to pull off something this big it is not just going to be two
people over e-mail. You`re going to have to have more than a few people
and trusted people I would think from their perspective to pull this off.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to talk about the role of Port Authority police
lieutenant Chip Michaels. You know, he has a close personal tie with the
governor and apparently gave David Wildstein a tour of the traffic jam.
The Wall Street Journal" reports today, "Newly released documents include a
text message sent by a Port Authority police officer Chip Michaels asking
to reroute local traffics towards the closure." Now, this might have made
the traffic jam even worse. Does your committee want to learn more about
Chip Michael`s role in this matter?

COLEMAN: Yes, well, you know, here is a new actor in this whole scenario.
It just seems that as we look we see more and more and more. You keep
trying to peel back the lettuce looking for the good lettuce and the bad
leaves. And you just get more and more and more. So, his role seems to be
evolving. Every day, we seem to be learning more and more and more. And
absolutely we will need to have a discussion about the relevancy of having
him and give us information --

SHARPTON: Because --

COLEMAN: -- as documents or whatever. But, Reverend, let me just say one
thing about what Jonathan said. Just like Wildstein`s response to Bridget
Kelly`s e-mail suggested that there had to be some prior discussion, just
her sending that e-mail saying it is time for some traffic flare up or
whatever on the George Washington bridge strongly suggests that this didn`t
just start that day.


COLEMAN: This went back. And we need to go back as far as we have to go
to get to the beginning of this.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to Chip Michaels again, the police
lieutenant. Because I want to say that the Governor Christie`s
spokesperson says the governor has not spoken to Chip or his brother Jeff
about the matter. Quote, "The governor has never had any conversations
with either Jeff or Chip Michaels on this topic. So, does your committee
intend to subpoena Chip?

COLEMAN: We haven`t had a meeting since all this evolved. I`m sure with
him have one shortly. I do believe that the co-chairs of the committee
said that they are interested in getting more information as it relates to
Chip Kelly and his role here. So, I would assume that we are going to do
that but I can`t speak to that as assuredly. It doesn`t make since that we

SHARPTON: Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Jonathan Capehart, thank
you both for your time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

COLEMAN: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the GOP`s Ted Nugent problem. Why are some praising a
rocker who once called the president of subhuman mongrel?


SHARPTON: The Republican Party has a problem and his name is Ted Nugent.
Just listen to the vial way the rocker recently described President Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod if not
shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-
raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the
ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way
into the top office of authority of the United States of America.


SHARPTON: Subhuman mongrel? That`s disgusting. I mean, that is no way to
talk about anybody, much less the president of the United States. But why
should we care what Ted Nugent thinks? Well, because Republicans care.
This is the type of man some party leaders are embracing. Right now the
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is using Ted Nugent supporting his
campaign for governor. They appeared at a campaign event just yesterday
and Abbott actually praised him.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you, Ted Nugent, a fighter for freedom in this


SHARPTON: So the man who called our president a subhuman mongrel is a
fighter for freedom. Instead of denouncing Nugent`s kind of extremism.
Too many Republicans are embracing it. Nugent was also a prominent backer
of current Texas Governor Rick Perry. In fact, Nugent even performed at
the governor`s inaugural ball wearing a confederate flag t-shirt. Even
Mitt Romney sought out Nugent`s endorsement. That`s right. The GOP`s
presidential candidate wanted support from a man who went on to say this.


TED NUGENT, ROCK MUSICIAN: If Barack Obama becomes the president in
November again I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.


SHARPTON: The Secret Service actually paid Nugent a visit after that to
see if he posed a threat of any kind. But that didn`t stop a Republican
congressman from inviting Nugent to the State of the Union just two months
later. So, no, we shouldn`t care about Ted Nugent. What we should care
about the stunning lack of judgment and lack of leadership shown by these
politicians who want Ted Nugent to help them win votes.

Joining me now is Karen Finney, host of MSNBC`s "Disrupt," and Wayne
Slater, senior political writer, Dallas Morning News. Thank you both for
coming on the show.


SHARPTON: Karen, what does it say about some GOP leaders that they
continually cozy up with the man who calls the president a subhuman mongrel
and other things? And I`m talking about these things now. We`re not going
back decades here.

FINNEY: Right. And you don`t even have to go back that far for some of
the most horrible comment. I think what it says Reverend is that there is
a comfort level with that kind of language and that kind of hatred because
they recognize he has an audience, he has a base of supporters. One of the
articles from the Avett, people said that when they announce that Nugent
was coming their numbers increase.

So, clearly there is a crust political reason that they don`t feel the need
to disassociate themselves with Ted Nugent. I think the problem becomes,
how do you say a man like that stands up for liberty and freedom and then
make an argument to the whole State of Texas that you will represent the
interests of every single person when that is the kind of hatred that you
are supporting.

SHARPTON: Now weighing Greg Abbott, the attorney general in Texas there
and candidate for governor, he defended campaigning with Nugent. Listen to
what he said.


GREG ABBOTT, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Wendy Davis is more associated with
Barack Obama than anybody in the state. I don`t think there is anybody in
the state who is disliked more than Barack Obama. If there is this effect
by relationship that they want to trump up then that is a game that will be
to the detriments of the Davis campaign because of their ties to Barack


SHARPTON: Now, help me out here, Wayne, is he insinuating that Ted Nugent
and President Obama are the same thing?

WAYNE SLATER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: He is insinuating that in one regard.
And that frankly is kind of troubling, you have to say, and that is to
suggest that Barack Obama is more disliked in Texas than Ted Nugent. And
you would rather be associated with Nugent than be associated with Obama.
What that does raise, let`s assume that is true for a moment at least in
the context that he gave it. What that does say is there was a
constituency in the Republican Party in the hard right, the birther -- wing
of the party, that believes that they like the things that Ted Cruz has
said are willing to look out and look over those because of his support of
the second amendment compared to Barack Obama.

If that is true, who are these voters? What is it that they want? And how
does that reflect on the Texas constituencies who say, yes, this is what we
think voters are all about in Texas? It is as Karen said a class political
calculation for Greg Abbott trying to make an appeal and to excite the far
right of the Republican Party in order to win now and in November.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, going back to that point, Karen, the fact is if the
president was as unpopular or more unpopular than Ted Nugent in Texas they
certainly aren`t unpopular for the same reasons.

FINNEY: Right. So clearly it is a statement about a candidate that would
stand with Nugent and what Nugent has said and therefore represents than in
Wendy Davis standing with the president who may be controversial because
they disagree with him on policies like affordable health care, minimum
wage, not because he says such crust and unbelievably offensive things.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s exactly right Reverend. But, you know the other
thing of it is, it says that the Abbott campaign is willing to run on hate.
And that is dangerous. I mean, as an American we should all be offended by
that. This is a country that is about -- we are supposed to be one
country. It is one thing to, you know, disagree. You may not like the
president. You may not like his policies. Then talk about that. This,
you know, this language about mongrels and some of the other horrible
things that he said about the president, not just the president -- I mean,
he is a pretty equal opportunity offender, but I think particularly more
talking about the presidency of the United States of America, there needs
to be some level of respect. And some are trying to suggests that there
are some false equivalency here though, will Democrats have, you know, talk
like that, too, sometimes. Not to this degree and not when we are talking
about campaigning on hate.

SHARPTON: Now Greg Abbott and Rick Perry are not the only Republicans cozy
with rocker, Wayne. Listen to what Nugent said last year.


NUGENT: I work close with Ted Cruz who is a great patriot, a great
statesman. I worked close with Scott Walker`s team in Wisconsin. I worked
with different sheriffs and different attorney generals. I work closely
with Greg Abbott and Governor Perry in Texas.


SHARPTON: So, he seems to have a good relationship with several very
prominent Republicans according to him. Wayne?

SLATER: Yes. I think he certainly believes that. And frankly that may be
true in some cases. I go back to the idea that who are these voters you
are trying to appeal to? As Karen says, these are the voters who energized
by hate and by rather despicable things, not just that he called the
president a mongrel which has racial, ethnic and historical antecedents
that are very very dark but then he called women leaders fat pigs.

And these are the kinds of things that I have to say won`t appeal to a
majority of voters in the fall and raise questions about whether suburban
women, moderates, independent and maybe even Republican leaning women might
say, wait a minute, let`s take a look at Wendy Davis because of the company
that Greg Abbott keeps.

SHARPTON: Well, Karen, all of this extreme and negative talk has hurt the
Republican Party. Just 25 percent of Americans identify as Republicans.
That`s the lowest number in the last 25 years.

FINNEY: Well, that`s right. And we are also seeing numbers that suggest
that increasingly on issues even moderate Republicans feel like the
Republican Party doesn`t represent their values, doesn`t represent what
they think. So certainly you would think to your opening premise that
there would be some consciousness within the Republican Party that, you
know, campaigning with a person who is endorsing hate and campaigning on
hate is probably not a good strategy if you are trying to make an appeal to
the broader United States of America.

SHARPTON: Karen Finney --

SLATER: Yes. But Reverend, one minute Reverend, one quick thing.
Remember today Sarah Palin said if Ted Nugent is good for Greg Abbott, I
like Greg Abbott. So, there is a constituency there.


SHARPTON: Well, there is no better indicator than having her make that


Karen Finney and Wayne Slater, thank you both for coming on the show

And watch, make sure you watch "Disrupt" with Karen Finney weekends at the
4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, how the parents of Jordan Davis plan to honor his memory and
turn their grief into action.


SHARPTON: The parents of Jordan Davis has impressed all of us with their
grace and dignity in the months since their son`s death. In these past few
days since the verdict they have continued to impress us. Now they are
trying to turn their grief into action, a positive force for good. That`s


SHARPTON: Finally tonight moving from grief to action. That`s what Jordan
Davis` parents are doing speaking this morning to ABC News. They talked
about how they hoped to turn their loss into a positive force for good.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Justice for Jordan will be ultimately really when we
change the laws. Because that will be not just justice for Jordan and
justice for Trayvon and justice for all the children at Sandy Hook and
justice for Aurora, and justice for Virginia Tech and the Navy Yard, it
will be justice for everyone that has suffered because of these laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m in constant contact with Tracy Martin, Trayvon`s
father. And I text Sybrina all the time and I just want to let them know
that every time I think justice for Jordan is going to be justice for
Trayvon for us.


SHARPTON: Justice for Jordan, justice for Trayvon, justice for Sandy Hook,
for Aurora, for Virginia Tech, for all the victims of senseless and
preventable gun violence in this country. That is why we fight. And that
is why we need change. These parents lost the most valuable thing in their
life, their children. We can never give them their children back. But we
can give meaning to their children`s loss and we can protect other parents
from losing their children too. We must wipe our tears away and stand up
and change society in the name of those we should have never lost.

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


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