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PoliticsNation, Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

July 24, 2014

Guest: Emanuel Cleaver, Anne Filipic, Jackie Speier, Ken Padowitz, Carmen
St. George

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

Tonight`s lead, a vision for economic patriotism on an economic
anniversary. It`s been five years since the last time the minimum wage was
raised. And late today, President Obama demanded that Congress take action
on that front and others.


since the last time minimum wage went up in this country. That`s too long
between raises for a lot of Americans.

I want an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together as one
nation and as one people. Economic patriotism says it`s good when we close
wasteful tax loopholes and invest in job training that help it is economy
for everybody. Instead of tax breaks for millionaires let`s help on child
care or college. Let`s stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas.
Give tax breaks comings that are bring them back to the United States.


SHARPTON: President Obama has called this the defining challenge of our
time. It`s a vision of fairness, of opportunity. And what`s ironic, as
President Obama laid out the vision, Congressman Paul Ryan rolled out his
new anti-poverty plan.

Yes, the same Paul Ryan who spent years trying to cut the safety net, who
blamed it on the culture. But today that`s over. Here comes the new,
softer Paul Ryan.


fragmented in formulator. I would start a pile a program called an
opportunity grant. Consolidate up to 11 federal programs into one stream
of funding to participating states. Combine into one funding stream, up to
11 different programs. Things like food stamps, housing assistance, child
care, cash welfare.


SHARPTON: So Paul Ryan`s plan to combat poverty is to let the states
decide and to consolidate existing programs? It`s a first step towards
enormous cuts to critical programs. And when it comes to the minimum wage,
Ryan is even more blatant.

His report cites the, quote, "draw backs of raising the minimum wage." And
he writes, quote, "evidence confirms that increases in the minimum wage
harm employment."

Congressman, if you want to fight poverty, don`t attack the minimum wage,
simply raise it. People working full time jobs are still living in
poverty. How is that right? How about reelection, instead of more phony

Joining me now, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of Missouri and
Richard Wolffe, editor of, executive editor I might say.

Thank you both for joining me.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, five years after the minimum wage was last raised
Paul Ryan and the GOP are attacking it. How do you fight back?

CLEAVER: Well, you know, first of all, Paul Ryan is sincere, but he`s
sincerely wrong. What we`ve got to do is tell people around this country
that they are the ones being hurt. If you are making $7.25 an hour working
eight hours a day before an entire year you will earn less than $16,000 a
year. That`s poverty. That also means that poverty is contagious. You
can catch it from members of Congress. The country will have to change the
minimum wage. And the way you do that is to change Congress. And people
can do it by going to the ballot.

SHARPTON: Less than $16,000 a year. You know, Richard, President Obama
took direct aim at Republicans. Listen to this.


OBAMA: What`s really going on is that Republicans in Congress are directly
blocking policies that would help millions of Americans. Just this on the
other end, they voted to give a massive tax cuts to the wealthiest
Americans. Just last week they actually voted to gut the rules we put in
place to make sure big banks and credit card companies couldn`t hurt
consumers and cause another crisis. They are going in the wrong direction.


SHARPTON: I mean, how big an issue Richard, will this be in the midterms?
I mean, making the GOP pay for the economic issues and policies that they
have represented?

to have at it. There is no question that when it comes to minimum wage,
Democrats are on much stronger territory in terms of where public opinion

Paul Ryan, I don`t think he is aiming for the midterms here. He is trying
to reposition himself, maybe clean up the mess of what he went through in
the last presidential election. But if he`s going to try and be, you know,
George W. Bush from 2000, you`ve got to do something to prove that you are,
in fact, a compassionate conservative beyond just simply talking about
poverty. And what even George W. Bush did was take on the House
Republicans on something that didn`t want to talk about.

Now, if he really wants to take on his party, you don`t just talk about the
unearned income tax credit. You would talk minimum wage because the
evidence that quote/unquote "evidence" about the minimum wage doesn`t track
with what he says.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, Paul Ryan`s plan adds a new hurdle for
low income families who need assistance. They`ve got to meet with someone
and promise they will hit so-called bench marks.

Quote "each beneficiary will sign a contract with consequences for failing
to meet the agreed upon benchmarks". And Ryan warns a quote "sanctions for
breaking the terms of the contract."

So, someone will decide if a low income person is behaving properly. I
mean, this is the solution to poverty? I mean, is this just a new threat
are from Ryan or is it just to punish the poor?

CLEAVER: Well, I think under this plan, if you call it a plan, poor people
are going to end up becoming victims of capital punishment.

Reverend, here`s I think that I think is important. We don`t require the
big banks to meet any kind of standard before they can get billions of tax
dollars. Some of them have been convicted of mortgage fraud. They still
haven`t paid a penalty. None of them have are gone to jail. But here, we
want to put poor people in some kind of catch-22. And sending this money
to the states, if my colleague`s plan was in fact implemented, would be a
disaster. Just think about the states that would implement the affordable
care act. Poor people would be in serious trouble and even in my state of

SHARPTON: Now, you are right. If you look at the states that won`t do the
affordable care act. And as well, Richard, when you look at the fact that
Paul Ryan is talking about people signing up and as the Congressman said
banks that got billions of dollars weren`t required, not only not to meet
with anyone. There were no benchmarks. There were no sanctions. So, is
this only for people that are poor? Is this a class-based kind of threat
and/or penalty?

WOLFFE: You know, there is no historical precedent for doing what we have
done. Not just in this country, but in many countries over many, many
decades which is to say there is the deserving poor and the undeserving
poor. That`s what the contract is trying to get at.

Some people need help. And some people deserve help. And nobody takes
that attitude toward corporate America. It is not like, you know, the
Republicans are saying, here is a good company, here is a bad company.
Actually, that`s what the president is trying to set up. He is saying
there are patriotic companies and they deserve the help. And then there
are others who are looking for a tax break. Are we there to help
multinationals who are trying to find the lowest tax rate possible or
trying to help people who create jobs here?

That`s an attempt to say hey, there are deserving and undeserving
companies. But Republicans are really wanted to say morally, some people
need help and some don`t want to have it.

SHARPTON: But you know, Congressman, the president seemed energized today.
I mean, he seemed full of vigor. And I was thinking as even President Bush
support the minimum wage, is this a winning issue, these economic issues
and including the minimum wage? Is it a winning issue for Democrats this

CLEAVER: I can tell you that there was yell of support over here on
Capitol Hill when the president made those comments because we look at
polling every day. And the majority of people, the overwhelming majority
of the people in this country support an increase in the minimum wage.
Even in red states, they support an increase in the minimum wage. And the
Catholic, the new bishop, the new Pope, I`m sorry, is encouraging his
church to change, focus on the poor. The great Gandhi said there are
people so poor they can`t even be reached by God except by a loaf of bread.

And for those people who don`t want government involve, they need to think
about what Gandhi said.

SHARPTON: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Richard Wolffe, thank you for
your time tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, when you cut through all the noise in Washington, the
affordable care act is helping people. And today, we know how many

Plus, you almost can`t believe it. But house Republicans voted to move
ahead with Speaker Boehner`s stunt lawsuit against President Obama. But he
doesn`t seem too worried.


OBAMA: You`re going to sue me for doing my job? OK.


SHARPTON: And there are new questions about the police officer using a
choke hold in this video. Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Speaker Boehner`s lawsuit against President Obama for using
executive action is moving forward. And that`s got our facebook fans fired
up. We`ll have more on the speaker`s empty suit coming up in the show.

But first, we want to know what you think. Please head over to our
facebook page and join the conversation that keeps going long after the
show ends.


SHARPTON: We hear so much noise really about health care law. The real
news about it can get drowned out, news like this.

A new study finds 10 million previously uninsured Americans got coverage
under the law, 10 million. Before Republicans were fighting to take the
idea of health care away, now they take away -- they would rather take away
real coverage. They cheered when a court ruling threatened subsidies for
millions of Americans.

And today, "the New York Times" profile people that ruling puts at risk.
Like Gloria Spotswood from Virginia, she receives a subsidy to help pay for
her plan. At the thought of losing her subsidy, she says, "I`m scared,"
sitting in the lobby of her condominium building here because her air
conditioning had broken and she didn`t have the money to fix it. She said
I don`t see how, in all honesty, I would be able to afford to pay the whole
thing. They also spoke to Mary Katzke (ph), an independent film maker in
anchorage who said there is no way she could pay for the policy without her

These are real people relying on the law.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Kristen Siegler (ph) says her 19-year-old
brother and parents who are in their 60s have all signed up under the ACA.
She says she is hoping the benefits she has received under the law will not
be affected by the court rulings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s easier to find doctors and pharmacies I can get
my medication at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If something happens, I have a place to turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: That reassurance could fly out the window if a
federal court of appeals ruling sticks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) takes a pill to take her high blood

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought I was healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: She started taking the pills after gone to
her first well check doctor visit in 12 years after getting health
insurance through the affordable care act.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there is no subsidy, I`m done. I can`t do it.
There would be no insurance.


SHARPTON: So let`s cut through the politics and focus on helping real

Joining me now is Anne Filipic, president of enroll America, a nonprofit
group working to get more people enrolled in plans under the affordable
care act and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons.

Thank you both for being here tonight.


ANNE FILIPIC, PRESIDENT, ENROLL AMERICA: Hi, Reverend. Thanks for having

SHARPTON: Anne, you work with people who`ve gotten covered under the law.
How would they feel if they thought their coverage was threatened?

FILIPIC: Well, we hear stories every single day like the ones you just
showed of people that for the first time ever, got access to coverage that
they could actually afford. And we have heard stories of people that, of
course, are concerned hearing about the court case.

The big thing we are making sure all consumers now is that nothing is
changing for them. No one is taking the coverage away. And no one is
taking away that financial assistance. And we are confident that at the
end of the day the case is going to be dismissed.

SHARPTON: You know, Jamal, I mentioned that "New York Times" story about
people worried about losing their health care subsidies. One woman said,
quote, "for people like me who have health issues and have the opportunity
now to actually have some health care, we will fight to make sure we can
keep it."

Will people start to hold Republicans accountable for working to take away
health care, Jamal?

SIMMONS: I think that average everyday Americans are going to start hold
Republicans accountable for taking it away. Now, when we talk about it in
theory, what might happen in the future, what Obamacare may do, there was a
lot of ability for Republicans to scare people.

Now people have been through the process and they actually have this
benefit. They are starting to benefit from it. They were taking advantage
of it. And kids are taking advantage of it. And you want to take that
away from real Americans? I think that is going to be a really political
problem. So, if I`m a Democrat, I`m talking about Gloria Spotswood. And
the republicans went on attack Democrat. But they ought to be attacking
problems. That`s what I would be out there saying.

SHARPTON: You know, Anne, what occurs to me in researching this is it`s
not just more people getting coverage. But it`s the people that already
have insurance that are getting better deals. Today the department of
health and human services reported the American people have gotten $1.9
billion in refunds from are insurance companies since 2011. Are more
people starting to understand the law`s benefits?

FILIPIC: Well, yes. And you mentioned the New England journal of medicine
report from earlier this week that shows that over 10 million Americans who
were previously uninsured have gotten that coverage through this first
enrollment period. But this is really just one of a long list of evidence
that showing that the ACA is working.

And we saw a Gallup survey last month that came out that showed that the
uninsured rate in the country is the lowest it`s been since Gallup started
tracking it at 13.4 percent.

You know, HHS put out a study showing for all the Americans, millions of
Americans that got financial assistance, the average premium they are
paying each month is $69.

And Commonwealth Fund put out a survey showing 80 percent of people that
used coverage are happy with what they have gotten.

So what we are seeing here is fundamentally story after story, study after
study is showing that the ACA is working. And it`s affecting real people.

SHARPTON: You know, Jamal, Republicans are giving the same responses to
questions about health care that they gave four years ago. Listen to
Speaker Boehner today.


BOEHNER: In all the discussion about Obamacare and what the replacements
going to look like continue, trying to build consensus around one plan.
Not there yet.


SHARPTON: I mean, he is still looking for a replacement? I mean, check
out how Senator Ted Cruz reacted to that ruling that came down and that
would threaten subsidies? Listen to Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It rejected President Obama`s lawlessness with
regard to Obamacare. Now, the matter will be appealed. So it won`t go in
to immediate effect. But I think the ruling was correct. And it
highlights the brazen lawlessness of President Obama with Obamacare.


SHARPTON: Now, he`s using the ruling to attack President Obama. Could
that be used by the Democrats in the midterm elections, language like this
that Cruz has used?

SIMMONS: I think the reality is most Democrats probably won`t run on
Obamacare. But when they are attacked on Obamacare, they need to have a
ready and strong defense to go out there and talk about individual cases
like we just said a minute ago.

I mean, when you think about the Republicans have just said, they are still
trying to come up with a health care plan. They passed this plan five
years ago. I mean, it`s been forever. We have already had two national
elections. We are on the third election to the health care pass. And they
now are still trying to figure out what the plan is.

Again, Republicans are talking about attacking Democrats. They ought to
attack problems. And the Democratic candidates ought to be out there
holding their feet to the fire for not coming up with solutions that
actually benefit people.

SHARPTON: But Anne, it comes back to me that this law is about real
people, real people. I talked, for example, to a lady named Spike Dolomite
Ward who said the law has been a life saver for her. Listen to this.


SPIKE DOLOMITE WARD, BENEFITS FROM ACA: My life has literally being saved
by the affordable care act. I`m halfway through my treatment now for stage
three breast cancer. And I`m responding well. There are no death panels.
Nobody is messing around with my health care. I`ve got the best doctor.
He`s taking very, very good care of me.


SHARPTON: Do you hear a lot of stories like this, Ann?

FILIPIC: We hear these stories literally every single day. And it`s
exactly that. People that say, my life was saved because of this

I think something for us to remember is as proud as we are and as much as
we want to protect the millions who have gotten coverage, there are
millions of Americans who have are the opportunity to enroll and have no
idea it is available to them. And a lot of these conversations get are
really confusing.

And so, what we all need to do, I think, is come together, leave the talk
of repeal behind and really focus on implementation. So we can make sure
that every single American who has the opportunity knows about it and
actually enrolls in coverage.

SHARPTON: And let`s hear more stories about real people that are really
getting help.

Anne Filipic and Jamal Simmons, thank you both for your time tonight.

FILIPIC: Thank you so much.

SIMMONS: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, it`s been a rough summer for Governor Scott Walker
and it just got rougher.

And Speaker Boehner`s lawsuit stunt against President Obama is moving
forward, but Democrats have a plan. Wait until you hear this one.


SHARPTON: Wisconsin`s Scott Walker has really made a name for himself in
the last few years. When he`s not busting unions, he`s signing voter I.D.
bills into law, the resume of a Republican rising star. He`s running for
reelection. And it turns out he`s in the fight of his political life.

A new poll released today shows Walker is essentially in a dead heat with
his Democratic challenges. So what`s the union buster governor, going to
do? Slam his opponents on jobs, of course. The Walker campaign is putting
up ads criticizing his opponent`s company for outsourcing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your fortune
grow? By making millions of dollars, sending jobs overseas that could have
been done in Wisconsin.


SHARPTON: That`s interesting, very interesting line of attack coming from
Mr. Walker.

I`m no psychiatrist but I think he might be projecting a little bit.
Maybe, he`s trying to maybe distract voters from the fact that his campaign
has accepted nearly $70,000 in donations from companies that, wait for it,
ship job overseas. It`s terrible. It`s terrible if it his opponent does
it. No problem.

Like I always say, you can have your own opinions. You can`t outsource
your own facts.

Nice try. But there is no outsourcing this one because we "Got you."


AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": This is actually happening. I
thought maybe they would come to their senses. But Speaker Boehner`s
lawsuit against President Obama is moving forward. Today the House Rules
Committee approved the legislation with a partisan seven to four vote.
They accused the President of abusing executive authority.


REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: Unfortunately the President has ignored the
requirements of the constitution instead he has selectively enforced the

REP. ROB WOODALL (R), GEORGIA: Whether you love the law or hate the law
you believe it ought to be implemented.


SHARPTON: This lawsuit is the latest laughable attempt for party leaders
to a piece of far right fringe that`s never accepted this President as
legitimate. And Speaker Boehner`s attempt to pacify the radical right that
keeps calling Obama lawless. Suing him over everything.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: President Barack Obama`s legacy
will be and I predicted this a year ago, the establishment of lawlessness
in the United States of America.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: There is a pattern of lawlessness in this
administration. Ignoring law after law after law.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We have an increasingly lawless presidency.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The President has lawlessly decided which
parts of ObamaCare to implement and which parts not to implement.


SHARPTON: But these attacks have only energized the President. He`s vowed
to take action and he`s even had a little fun mocking it.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You hear some of them. Sue him.
Impeach him.


OBAMA: Really?


For what? You`re going to sue me for doing my job?

They plan to sue me for taking executive actions that are within my
authority while they do nothing. I have a better idea. They should do


SHARPTON: The resolution is headed to the house for a full vote sometime
next week. There is so much work to do on jobs, infrastructure,
immigration. And this is what they`re focusing on. Good luck with this

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jackie Speier, democrat of California.
Thank you for being here, Congresswoman.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: House Republicans are backing the lawsuit to suit the President.
What`s your reaction to that?

SPEIER: You know, give them credit. They get flash cards every morning of
the words they`re supposed to use. And they use them like myna birds
responding to the call. It is really preposterous. And, you know, it`s
red meat for their base. No question about it. But it`s grizzle for
everyone else in this country who recognizes that this administration is
trying to do something for the American people. Eight million people have
health insurance today that didn`t have it before.

What the executive action taken by the President is, just to postpone the
implementation of the employer mandate. Something that the Republicans
have asked us to do over and over again with the Affordable Care Act as one
of their ploys to not have it implemented. They wanted to postpone its
implementation for a year. But now they want to sue the President for
postponing implementation of one component of it.

SHARPTON: When you talk about executive action, what was interesting to me
Congresswoman is today Speaker Boehner -- and remember Boehner was the
first that announced the lawsuit against the President. He`s actually
calling for the President to take action. Watch this.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have a humanitarian
crisis on the border. It has to be dealt with. But the President clearly
isn`t going to deal with it on his own even though he has the authority to
deal with it on his own.


SHARPTON: I mean, you almost can`t believe it. I mean, is he serious?
He`s now saying he has the authority to move on his own. And this lawsuit
is backfiring. The day after the announcement the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee raised $584,000. That`s the most it raised in a single
day this year. Last month, the DCCC raised $4.5 million in grassroots
donations. And now that the DCCC is using the lawsuit as part of their
2014 campaign with ads and Robo calls in an effort to, quote, "Contrast
Republicans focused on suing the President with Democrats focused on
economic solutions for the middle class." I mean, this lawsuit could
really backfire on them, Congresswoman.

SPEIER: Well, I think it is backfiring. They are moving forward because
it would look bad optically not to after they made such a big roll out
about it. But I think you`re going to will see polling results are going
to be so I think negative on this that they`re going to have to find some
way to soften this. Because it could actually help us gain a number of
seats. The American people are sick and tired of the games. And that`s
all that seems to be played on the other side.

SHARPTON: And games again. I go back to what I said. He`s suing the
President over taking executive action of having authority. And today he
says that he has the authority to take action. The same Speaker Boehner.
Let me play it for you again. This is him today.


BOEHNER: We`ve got a humanitarian crisis on the border. It has to be
dealt with. But the President clearly isn`t going to deal with it on his
own even though he has the authority to deal with it on his own.


SHARPTON: I mean, is he serious? He has the authority to deal with on his
own on the humanitarian efforts leading at the border. But he`s suing them
over using his authority in the Affordable Care Act, Congresswoman.

SPEIER: So, we need to appropriate funds so that we can take action on the
border so Congress must do something. It`s also important to point out
that when George Bush was president and they suspended to roll out the
Medicare party, the prescription drug benefit for one year, they didn`t
make any bones about that. They didn`t stand up and want to sue the
President over that. So, I think it`s very apparent to the public that
this is a gain and they find it disgusting and I think it`s going to hurt
the Republicans come November. And it`s costing money. The last lawsuit
was $2.3 million. God only knows how much this one is going to cost as

SHARPTON: Big waste of time and money. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank
you for your time tonight.

SPEIER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, self-defense or murder? Today possibly conflicting
statements at the trial being compared to the George Zimmerman case. And
the chokehold death of Eric Garner. He was laid to rest last night. But
troubling questions are emerging about the officer involved.


SHARPTON: Was it self-defense or murder? It was day two of the
prosecution`s case in the murder trial of Renisha McBride. Fifty five-
year-old Theodore Wafer is charged with second degree murder and
manslaughter for shooting the 19-year-old Renisha McBride last November.
Renisha showed up drunk but unarmed on the Wafer`s porch in the early
morning. She just crashed her car and apparently says, she wandered to
Wafer`s house looking for help. But the 55-year-old shot McBride in the
face through a closed door, killing her.

Today, the prosecution called the first responding police officer that
night. The first to speak with Wafer after the shooting. The audio of his
conversation with Wafer was captured by a dashboard camera. And the
prosecution played it in court.


gun at?

THEODORE WAFER, RENISHA MCBRIDE`S SHOOTER: It`s on the ground inside the


WAFER: It`s a little mossberg, you know, shotgun, self-defense.


SHARPTON: Wafer then explained what it happened.


MCMANMON: What happened here?

WAFER: A consistent knocking on the door and I`m trying to look through
the windows but every time I look through the windows, and the door, it`s
banging, somewhere else so I open up the door kind of like who is this and
the gun discharged. I didn`t know there was a round in there. I don`t get
it. Who`s knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning? Bang, bang, bang.
Somebody wanting in.


SHARPTON: The gun discharged. He didn`t know there was a round in there.
His attorney laid a very different account in the opening statements


issue in this case. Why. He shot her because of fear. Never had been so
scared in his entire life. I will ask you at the end of this case to come
back with a verdict of not guilty on all charges because he acted in self-
defense. So did the gun discharge? Or was it self-defense? The jury will
have to decide which story they believe.


SHARPTON: Joining me now are criminal defense Attorney Ken Padowitz and
trial Attorney Carmen St. George. Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Ken, why the discrepancies in Wafer`s accounts?

PADOWITZ: Because that is the job of the defense attorney. Their job is
not to prove their client innocent who`s already presumed innocent. Their
job is to create reasonable doubt with that jury. And so, give the jury,
according to the defense, more options like a pepperoni pizza pie. Throw
that on the wall and see what sticks. If the pepperoni or cheese sticks,
that`s reasonable doubt, and that`s a reason for an acquittal. So, that`s
what the defense is doing this. The prosecution now is going to have a
different view of this. They`re going to try to undermine the defense and
show lack of credibility. Because on one hand it was an accident. And now
in court it`s not an accident, it`s self-defense. And the prosecution is
going to try to use that against the defense.


GEORGE: I think this is an easy case. The prosecution is going to use the
defense`s opening statement to turn this all around. There is no way, if
this man experiencing the greatest fear he`s ever experienced in his whole
life, what he would be doing was telling the police, I was scared to death.
I didn`t know if there was any other people out there. I was so in fearful
of my life that I shot her. But he`s not going to get away from the fact
that he has a shotgun which is at least a couple of feet in length which
gives him separation.

He`s got a locked door which she`s behind. And he shoot an unarmed young
woman to death with a shotgun in the middle of the night. He can`t even
say that he was surprised, there might have been other people. Because
he`s calm and cool when he calls 911. He`s not going to be able to get
away from his own words.

SHARPTON: Ken, you know, the defense spoke at great length about Wafer`s
state of mind that night in the opening statement. Listen to how they
described it.


CARPENTER: He gets on the ground, crawling in fear and to hide.
Throughout this whole time there is nobody saying a word. And that creates
even more fear for Thad. He`s never been this scared in his life. And
he`s ready because he`s scared. He was just put in fear for his life.
Fear for your life and somebody`s about to come in.


SHARPTON: He`s scared, he`s terrified. But that`s totally the opposite of
what he told police, Ken. Here`s what he told police. He told police --
he told police he didn`t know the gun discharged. He didn`t even know it
was loaded. So, how do you reconcile that, Ken?

PADOWITZ: Well, and that`s the problem. When a lawyer says your opening
statement is not evidence, the evidence is going to be what the jury has to
decide whether they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. And so, if
there is evidence that is contrary to what the lawyer is saying in court,
that`s obviously going to be a problem for the defense. I mean, clearly
the locked door if you`re in such fear, why are you unlocking the door and
opening it and going out of your safe place inside your home. And that`s
going to be a big hurdle for the defense to get over. And it`s definitely
going to be a major weapon of prosecution that`s going to be used in this
case in an attempt to get a conviction.

SHARPTON: And as I played the tape, I played it in the opening. He said
and we played his voice saying it to the police that night right after it
happened. He didn`t know the gun was loaded. And now his defense is he
was terrified he was scared. He shot because he was terrified. He was
saving his life, he felt.

GEORGE: OK. So, let me get this straight. You want us, the jury to
believe that a man who was so in fear for his life grabbed a gun which
wasn`t loaded and went to the door and opened the door, opened his hard
door to the screen door because he had an unloaded gun. There is no way on
earth. He could have grabbed a bat, he couldn`t grab some other tool. He
should have called the police like normal people would have called. And
said, oh my God, there is somebody at the door. I`m scared to death.
Please come right away. That would have made sense. But this is a man who
sat back, spoke to his attorneys, decided on a creative offense and he is
now trying to sell it to this jury.

SHARPTON: How effective is that to a jury though if what the lawyer is
saying -- the defense lawyer this is Ken is not -- whatever they say is not
evidence. Is the inconsistencies that are being raised there, does that
have a bearing on the jury?

PADOWITZ: Well, absolutely. As a former homicide prosecutor, I can tell
you, I would be zeroed in on the inconsistencies between what the lawyer is
saying and what the evidence was at that scene, at that night. How do you
jibe the fact that you have an unloaded gun, according to the defense, you
know, at the scene, according to the defendant? But now in court, no, it`s
self-defense. He opened the door in self-defense. There are conflicts in
what they are saying. And if you could undermine the credibility of the
defense there is a much more likelihood the jury will be focused on that
evidence and come back with a verdict are of guilty because it`s proven to
them beyond a reasonable doubt.

SHARPTON: Now, will that outweigh the pizza pie on the wall theory?
Whatever sticks, Carmen?

GEORGE: Look, jurors listen and pay attention to everything that is said.
And when it comes out of the lawyer`s mouth they are listening. But judges
going to give the instruction at the end that it`s not evidence but they`ve
heard it. So, they are going to then say to themselves, well, I remember
that the defense attorney made this claim. So, they`re going to hold you
to it. So, I don`t think the defense is going to throw things that are
going to stick on the wall. At best, they will going to get this off a
murder conviction and get it to an involuntary manslaughter.

SHARPTON: Ken Padowitz and Carmen St. George, thank you for your time.
We`ll definitely be following this case. We`ll be right back.

PADOWITZ: Thank you.


SHARPTON: Coming up, the Eric Garner case and new questions about police
force. We are starting to learn more about the officer at the center of
the story. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the way forward in the Eric Garner case. He`s
the father of six who died after an NYPD officer placed him in a chokehold.
The police officer`s gun and badge have been taken away. And he`s been
assigned to desk duty. And four EMS workers have been suspended without
pay. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has ordered all 35,000 New York City
officers retrained in the use of force. These are positive first steps.
But there is a lot more to be done. And many more questions in a case
where Eric Garner said he couldn`t breathe 11 times. That was part of my
message last night at the funeral.


SHARPTON: Let`s not play games with this. You don`t need no training to
stop choking a man saying "I can`t breathe."


You don`t need no cultural orientation to stop choking a man that says, "I
can`t breathe." You need to be prosecuted.


SHARPTON: We are also starting to learn more about the police officer at
the center of the story. Court records and published report show that in
the last two years he`s been the subject of two civil rights lawsuits.
For, quote, "Allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests." Including
one where he`s strip searched two suspects on the side of a street.
According to published reports. One case settled for $30,000. One case is
still pending.

Tomorrow morning in my role as president of the National Action Network, I
will join Mr. Garner`s family in a meeting with federal prosecutors from
the eastern district of New York. There are federal civil rights law that
should be examined. One bright spot in this terrible story. Is that there
are still people who are willing to do the right thing, people like Ramsey
Ortiz. The young man who filmed the encounter with Eric Garner and the
police. He stood with me at the funeral last night.


SHARPTON: This young man --


This young man showed more respect for the law, for human life, for decency
than the police and the EMS workers -- his example. He turned around and
said this is wrong. I will video it. This city ought to thank God that
when the police and EMS failed us, there was a Ramsey Ortiz that did the
right thing.


SHARPTON: Yes. This video that this young man did is the reason why there
is a chance that this family may be able to get what others have been
denied. Let us also remember the video in L.A. A Rodney King now on
Pinnock, what it says to you and me is we can`t just be cynical. We`ve got
to step up, and do what`s right and make it stick. That`s what makes the
country work. All police are not bad. Most of them are not bad. But when
they are wrong, righteous citizens must step up and make the country work.
Justice is something that we should all expect and we should stand by
police to make sure that justice is done, even if other police are the ones
we question.

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


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